Congratulations! You have completed your first weekend of STOTT PILATES® Intensive training with us at Equilibrium Studio. You love fitness and you entered this program at the top of your game, but this was different than you expected. Perhaps you are exhausted, mentally and physically. You could feel overwhelmed. It could have been a humbling experience, to say the least, and you may even doubt that it was a good decision sign up for this training program! If you have experienced any or all of these feelings, you are right on track. Forgive yourself. Personally, all of these doubting thoughts played loudly in my head, plus “I thought that I had a CLUE about exercise, but maybe I can’t do this…but I have already paid for the training!” Stay with us, because the first weekend is the most intense, as we are asking you to integrate a lot of new information and take a whole new approach to looking at, feeling and teaching movement.
The STOTT PILATES® training course names do not belie their content. Take Intensive Mat Plus™ for example. Plus? That goes without saying. There is so much more to this training than Pilates mat exercises. Postural analysis, programming, how to teach an exercise, why would you might or might not teach an exercise.
“I really enjoyed that each exercise was very carefully described and practiced. It was most helpful that when a muscular dysfunction was noticed with any of the participants during any particular exercise, the instructor took that opportunity to show us how to correct the faulty posture or movement. It truly helps to see dysfunction vs correct form and alignment. It is also helpful to switch partners each day as we practice. Allows for improvement on cueing strategies as well as the opportunity to work with someone you may not know. This mimics the studio environment with new clients. Job well done ladies!” Brenda Stella, PT, STOTT PILATES® trainee
The course is INTENSE, no doubt. When Equilibrium first opened as a licensed training studio, the STOTT PILATES® training took place over the course of a year, during two weekday sessions. The trainees integrated the newly presented material into their clients’ workout programs the other days of the week. It was equivalent to a lovely five-course meal that you can savor over hours. Since many trainees cannot commit to that type of schedule, the Intensive weekend program was born. You are presented with the same material, but condensed into a weekend format. In order to succeed, you must practice and INTEGRATE the material into your body, your dialog, and into your teaching. The only way that this can happen is if you practice what you have learned right away and this is why the STOTT PILATES ® curriculum requires that you dedicate equal time after a training weekend to practice the material presented. If you spent 15 hours in the training course, the expectation is that you will practice at least 15 hours before the next scheduled weekend. This can be a combination of practicing the exercises, practice teaching the exercises or observing an instructor or the training videos.
When I was a new physical therapist, I used to get certified in anything and everything, taking courses nearly every weekend. Some of the best advice I heard was to take time to integrate the material that I had learned before attempting to add more information to the pot. Greg Johnson, a gifted physical therapist that heads the Institute of Physical Arts sat us down at the end of a weekend course and suggested that for the next three days, we should become “specialists” in what we had just learned. Every client should learn something that you learned that weekend. It can be as simple as applying a principle of an exercise already familiar to them, or you could challenge your client and yourself by teaching a series of STOTT PILATES ® exercises.
Those trainees that completed the yearlong program during twice weekly sessions in the studio, then taught the material to real-live clients the other days? They are all fantastic instructors, half of which went on to teach the curriculum as STOTT PILATES ® Instructor Trainers. Do you think that they felt “ready” to teach the new exercises the very next day? My point is, that if you wait to feel ready to teach this material, you will never feel “ready.” You have to commit to teaching it and you will make yourself ready.
“I was really nervous about teaching on Friday and Saturday, and even when I started out today, but today I started to feel more confident and so much better about teaching the exercises.” Nye Rahal, STOTT PILATES ® trainee
Training to become the Pilates instructor that you want to be is a process. It is hard work, but it is worth it. The effort put forth right now will affect your future training weekends and your future as a trainer. Just as a child passes through developmental skills on the ground in order to perform a higher-level task such as walking, you too, will follow a similar path in your teaching journey. Regardless of how you plan to use the information presented in the training program, you are laying the groundwork right now. If you don’t practice the skills taught this past weekend, you will feel more overwhelmed and less capable during the following weekends. We are all overwhelmed during the first weekend, but subsequent material builds upon the material presented in previous sessions.
“I realized regardless of all of our educational experience as well as backgrounds with Pilates we were all nervous and we were all in this together to achieve the same goal of teaching and helping others to be the best they can be through Pilates.” Alka Kravetz, retired dentist, STOTT PILATES ® trainee
Every trainee feels overwhelmed in the beginning, but what will make the difference for future training weekends is the effort put forth to prepare for the upcoming training sessions. Practice what you have learned. Look ahead at the exercises that you are going to learn. Get together with classmates that you connect with and review, practice, formulate questions. Email an Instructor Trainer to get clarification on questions that come up after the training weekend. We want you to succeed. If, after getting some rest, practicing and working with fellow trainees, you still feel overwhelmed, please reach out to our Training Coordinator or one of the Instructor Trainers. We can help you formulate a plan to get on track for the next training weekend. It is an INTENSE marathon. You can do this, we can guide you, but you have to commit to your training. Good luck, and I can’t wait to see you in the studio!
Amy Slowik, PT
STOTT PILATES ® Instructor Trainer