Teacher Focus Feature ~ Brittany Crosby

It’s no surprise that Brittany Crosby, a red haired Pilates maven, is as fiery as her locks. Don’t get her wrong though — she’s as precise in her teaching as a scalpel and will get you sweating even in her hushed tones. Her visible tattoos and a wicked sense of humor is what got my attention at first glance, but her teaching passion and ability to help others heal is what had me welcoming her with open arms to the FORM family. Here’s her story:

New York Headshot Photographer Sofia Negron

Brittany, a professional dancer, got into Pilates like so many of us that teach it, through her art. Looking to improve her dance technique she started studying the method. When she realized how much mindfulness and concentration it required, she was instantly infatuated. The transition from practicing to teaching was natural. She had already been teaching dance classes off and on for years so as she got into her Pilates practice and the opportunity came up to be able to certify, she jumped on it. Learning the theory, how to practice for herself, and how to teach others just overlapped. Even now, after 10 years of teaching, it blows her mind how when you allow the work to center yourself, you can actually realign your body.

New York Dance photographer Sofia Negron Brittany Crosby Pilates

Fascinated by anatomy and physiology, Brittany’s focus as a teacher is on rehabilitative movement for special populations. Her favorite clients are those who are post-op knee/hip replacement, rotator cuff surgery, and spinal fusion. Working with this type of clientele is really gratifying for Brittany because finding the movements that relieve restriction and pain are a huge deal. Every subtle shift and advancement in her client’s ability is a notable milestone that drives those working against injuries or disabilities. Helping people to realize that they have control by mindfully moving and truly focusing is a spectacular thing to see progress and makes her a better teacher. More and more she’s also getting into working with those who are stunted by diseases like Fibromyalgia and Parkinson’s.

When Brittany isn’t teaching she’s dancing (duh) or watching Youtube videos of hip and knee replacements (this is true! I’ve witnessed the horror many times!!!) Her bigger vision is to be part of innovative movement research that furthers the understanding of the brain-body connection that can be applied to help those dealing with pain and movement-debilitating conditions. We have no doubt she’ll do just that!

 

4 Fun Facts About Brittany:

  • I used to work on a cruise ship as a dancer
  • I developed my own major at Indiana University
  • I like being connected and collaborating with my client’s health care practitioners (acupuncturists, physical therapists, chiropractors, orthopedists)
  • The first year I lived in NYC I dressed up like an elf and did a flashmob in Union Square

Like what you see? Sign up for updates… It’s FREE!

 

For The Pilates Virgins

 

virgin-mary

I’m always the first to say, and have been known to shout it out loud in a mat class or two, Pilates instructors LOVE Pilates Virgins. I mean, I can understand from the perspective of a newbie not wanting to show their rookie status, favoring hiding in the back, and meekly or not at all raising their hand when asked if they’ve done this before. I get it. We want to always be the expert in the situation. No one wants to look the fool, but as the other side of this equation, as the instructor, let me tell you: we <3 the beginners. I know — you virgins may not yet be convinced.

Well, here’s three reasons why no experience is needed to be our favorite population to work with:

  • You’re like clay

That’s right! Like a malleable piece of clay, we can use Pilates to mold your body into exactly what it’s meant to be. Since everything is new we can just observe how the work looks on physique without a bad movement habit throwing you off. You’re soft (no pun intended) so we can shape and work to create a strong foundation in the Pilates method that will serve you for years to come.

  • You are usually eager

Since you’ve had absolutely no previous Pilates experience, good or bad, you are less likely to be resistant to our corrections, suggestions, and instruction. Beginners are usually the most eager to please, the hardest workers, and the most present in their workouts. You don’t have a previous Pilates “movie” going on in your head which means that you are in the moment listening to our every word. Besides the fact that it boost our teacher egos, it also helps you get the most out of your session so you “finish” feeling completely worked and rejuvenated.

  • You see the most change

I often say, there’s in-shape and then there’s Pilates-shape. This work guarantees to be different than ANYTHING you’ve ever done, because simply there’s nothing like it. Our bodies usually respond best to varied movement and challenge so your first 10-30 sessions will be your most memorable. You’ll always remember when you mastered that seemly impossible exercise, saw your pants getting a little baggier, and notice a muscle growing where you didn’t even know you had one. This new-ness only comes once in a Pilates lifetime and we love to be a part of it.

DSC_4569

So, own your naiveté and know that your instructor is stoked to have a novice in their midst. When it’s time to declare that it’s your first time in class, raise your hand high. Remember you only have your first time once…

The team at FORM Pilates wants to take you through your first time…email us today to speak to our Pilates concierge

 

Like what you see? Sign up for updates… It’s FREE!

Guest Post: I AM a Pilates Nerd. (The one who created the brand)

If you would have told me two years ago that I would create a ‘brand’ that would be distributed and wholesaled internationally, get picked up by a major Pilates retailer, and make people smile with knowing enthusiasm, I never would have believed you.

In fact, I would have been really scared to try.

 

image2

 

It all started with a logo, a blog idea, and one t-shirt. But even before that, it began with a declaration I read in a blog:

“Once you understand that there are problems just waiting to be solved, once you realize that you have all the tools and all the permission you need, then opportunities to contribute abound. No one is going to pick you. Pick yourself”.     – Seth Godin

Pick yourself.  What?

I’d have to say this idea of picking myself – of creating my own path, changed my thinking and how I see myself in the Pilates world.  Beyond teaching my own students, I hadn’t allowed myself to think I could offer more to the Pilates community.  But if you’ve ever sat down with a copy of Return to Life, you know that Joe Pilates’ discipline was all about pushing yourself.

I’ve been teaching Pilates for 16 years. Some of those years in the trenches were admittedly not my best work. I spent too much time comparing my teaching skills with others and defending my philosophies.

Now I think I wasted so much time not allowing other facets of my creativity come to light.

It turns out it was the shirt, especially the logo, that made an impact on people. What’s surprising is I wasn’t expecting to build a small apparel brand, but that’s what happened. Ultimately, connecting people who feel as passionate about Pilates I do, is the most satisfying part of Pilates Nerd.

While I write this I am knee deep in online orders, preparing another wholesale order, and getting ready for my first big Pilates conference as an exhibitor.  It’s overwhelming not just because of the crazy workload in addition to my teaching, but because there is so much about the apparel business I am still learning!

Believe it or not, I have yet to assert myself and make it widely known that I am, in fact the face behind the brand.

It’s daunting to admit that I created every shirt, every post, and every item.  Mainly because it’s scary to fail, scary to be judged, and scary not to have control. (Insert Contrology joke).

I think we were born to create, to move people and to connect with people. The challenge is finding our niche and following through. Part of the bigger picture is this: we get on the mat and apparatus week after week and you never know what you can do until you try…that’s half the fun of it. So, be patient and move through the fear.

“…Patience and persistence are vital qualities in the ultimate successful accomplishment of any worthwhile endeavor.”

Thanks Mr. Pilates, that’s a quote to live by – body, mind and spirit – for sure!

image1Raised in upstate NY and now a Southern California local, Karen Ellis is the owner and director of Prana Pilates in Costa Mesa. She began her journey of movement in ballet, earned a BS from Indiana University and received an MFA from the University of California Irvine. After a professional ballet career in Boston concluded with injuries, a passion for healing the body and new career in Pilates was born.

In 2013 Karen created Pilates Nerd®, a company designed to celebrate Pilates through apparel, accessories and shared sentiments.  The simple goal of her idea is to generate enthusiasm for the benefits of Pilates and help connect people.

 

Learn how to build the business of your dreams! Sign up for FREE tips and tricks below…

Guest Post: Burning Out is Not an Option

The bright lights lured me here to make a name for myself. I wanted to make it big and what better place than New York City. I did what most people do when starting a new career; I went the safe route and joined a big health and fitness club.

Joe

 

While I enjoyed the comforts of working for a company, I have always had the desire to start my own business. With that dream I took the leap and I started my own personal training business. I left the comfort of the big brother and went out on my own. It was cool, it was exhilarating, and it was scary!

It was great at first, the money was piling in, I was my own boss, and I was making a name for myself.  The more money I made the more work I took on and before I knew it I was exhausted. Soon after I started I was completely burnt out. Trying to do so much was killing me, or to be less dramatic it was aging me. I started to look like a vampire with bags under my eyes. I had to fix this. How could I be helping people better their lives while neglecting my own? I was making people happy and healthy but I was looking and feeling like crap!

The solution was to take care of myself first so I can take care of others. What did I do? I didn’t have time to go to the Himalayas and hang with Buddhist monks, however, I made the time to sit quietly, plan, relax, breathe and have fun.

Here is my routine to success (or sanity) 

  • Start the day with YOU

Scarfing down breakfast while responding to emails and rushing out of the house is so unproductive. Instead, wake up a little earlier and give yourself time to jumpstart the day. During this time don’t allow emails, texts, social media, or any other distractions. This time is solely about you and your thoughts.

  • Write it out and give gratitude

While sipping my coffee I write down all my thoughts and worries. This might seem daunting but writing down your worries actually makes them seem more manageable. This process is a great form of release and most times it helps you come up with a solution. After I am done I write a short gratitude entry. This includes everything I am happy or grateful for. Seriously folks, this really changes your attitude. This is so therapeutic and has changed my life forever.  When you try this you will be forever grateful. (see what I did there?)

  • Plan, plan and plan again

Planning everything in a business is a must. After your morning notes take time to look at your schedule for the day. Fail to plan and plan to fail kind of thing. This will help resolve conflicts and organize your day. I do this with my personal life and business since they always overlap. I plan my free time. This might sound silly but if I have learned anything from being a workaholic it is that you have to PLAN TO HAVE FUN.

  • Take the day off

There will be days that your body or mind just needs a break. Listen to your body. You’re a business owner and you will always have work to do, its inevitable. Your task list isn’t going anywhere but there are times when you are running on empty and need to recharge. When I am feeling like I am getting run down I clear my day. I rather sleep and rest a day then be sick for an entire week. Take the time for yourself when you need it.

  • Practice what you preach

We like telling our clients to get their rest, stay hydrated, eat healthy, sleep 8 hours a night, and exercise regularly but it is astonishing how many health practitioners don’t take their own advice. My health and wellness is my priority and it should be yours. My energy and focus have been amazing since I make sure my meals are healthy, my sleep is adequate and I am moving and recovering daily. Practice what you preach.

  • Hard Stop—“Work Hours” 

This is something I have been culminating over the years. I have an end of the workday hard stop. Usually it’s at 7pm and sometimes 9pm if there is a particular time sensitive project I am working on. I stop, put my phone away and just unwind. I have employees, customers, friends, and colleagues that all know that I do not respond to emails or phone calls after 7 pm. Once you set those boundaries your quality of life will improve dramatically. Put your mobile device in the other room, turn off alerts, and unplug from the matrix. Spend time with a loved one, even if that loved one is you. If you respect your time so will everyone else.

These are some of the tools and practices that have given me sanity through the craziest of times. We are entrepreneurs, employers, leaders, and coaches. We need to take action in our own lives so we can lead by example. Learn to take care of your health and well-being so everything else can follow. Give yourself as much as you do to your business and clients.

 

 

biophoto

Joe Barbagallo is the owner of Joe Barbagallo Fitness training systems; a New York City based coaching service that focuses on fat loss, performance, and strength. His clients include professional athletes, actors, models, and mixed martial artists. Joe also is the co-owner of the film production company Planet Nerd Rage Productions. He is currently in production working with his comic book idol Larry Hama of GI Joe shooting their latest film “Ghost Source Zero!”

Learn how to build the business of your dreams! Sign up for FREE tips and tricks below…

Ask Lindsay- Marketing Spells You Can Cast

0How do I get more clients through the doors of my studio? My studio is fairly new; we opened in February and while I’m excited by the growth that we’ve seen already, I want more! Can you please share how you’ve made your studio a success?! What were some of the pivotal decisions you made that helped to drive up your clientele? My retention rate has been good, and I am confident in my skills as an instructor, but I need your help on how to infiltrate my market and create a strong community of lifers!  ~Anonymous, New York

Getting people in your doors (or on your mat) can be tough when you’re just starting out. Over the past 10 years of my practice I’ve built (and re-built after various moves), from just a handful of loyal clients to today’s bustling studio with a wait list for new clients. Sadly, there’s no magic to my process, just hard work, consistency, faith, and LOADS of patience. Allow me to be your fairy princess of marketing. Here are four spells you can cast on your market to drum up some interest in your Pilates practice:

  1.  Do That Voodoo That You Do So Well The first step is to concentrate on the clients you already have. What can you do to make them absolutely fall in love with you? How can you make their experience like none other so that they gush to their friends and family about how ah-maz-ing you are? Check up on them after your session together. Make them a little homework video. Throw them a party in appreciation and ask them to bring their friends. Offer them a free TY session for referring you to their sister. I’ve gotten 75% of my own clients that way, which proves word of mouth is powerful. Either that or I’m damn good at casting love spells….
  2. Look Into the Crystal Ball Do you even know who you’re marketing to? Casting a wide net may get you a few little fish, but aren’t you going for the big catch? The only way to do that is to identify who your ideal client is and market accordingly. Look into the future…who do you see sharing your space two or three times a week?  Which clients do you just jump for joy over teaching? Write out this fantasy client. Give them a name, a specific job. Know where they live, what they read, even their favorite meal. Then look into the ball and see what their fears are, and how you can solve them. Put that knowledge into your marketing and they’ll come running to you saying, ”Wow, you must be psychic.”
  3. Do a Fly By Get on your broomstick and get out of your studio space! Go to where these ideal clients are hanging out. Concerts, readings, plays, restaurants, clubs. Go there and bring your best self (oh and some biz cards). Chat up everyone and if it feels right share what you do (chances are they’ll ask you anyway). This is a great way to get clients. I once found a lifelong client in the cosmetics department at Barney’s!!! Make sure you have an email sign-up list prominently displayed on your homepage so people can sign up for correspondence with you, which brings me to my final tip….
  4. Spellbind Them Often Send regular correspondence, email newsletters, blogs, and/or video blogs (aka vlogs:) will keep you in the forefront of prospective minds. Don’t be afraid to be a little pesky. Research has shown it takes at least 5 interactions before a potential client actually makes an appointment. Shorten that time by offering new email subscribers a free consult with you or a discounted intro session. Remember that you have to be able to “look” into their eyes often to astonish them!

How do you get clients in your doors? I want to hear from you! Leave your comments below and share with your friends!

Have a burning biz-nass question?  Post yours in the comments below!

Learn how to build the business of your dreams! Sign up for FREE tips and tricks below…

To LLC or Not to LLC

I've come a looong way from having just a reformer in my dining room!

I’ve come a looong way from having just a reformer in my dining room!

When I started my business 8 years ago in the dining room of my one bedroom bungalow-I knew diddly-squat about handling a business. All I had was one reformer, an empty room, and a desire to set my own schedule. Not even one client. As my business grew, I did as well.  I discovered that to have a legit business I needed to become legit. I got a separate checking account, and my DBA (aka Doing Business As). That first year I progressed from using the cash I got from clients on gas and cocktails to depositing $500 checks in my FORM Pilates business account. I was official.

Fast forward years later and BAM! I own an actual brick and mortar studio! While it is super exciting, more growth means more responsibility…AND more liability. This time I learned I needed to make the transition into the big time and form an LLC.

Here are some of the questions I asked and my findings- so you too can bone up on business legalities 101:

What the heck is an LLC?

A limited liability company or LLC is a business structure that combines the taxation of a partnership or sole proprietor with the limited liability of a corporation.In English that means that while you can still report your business income on your personal tax return, you’ll get the benefit of being like a corporation, meaning if your business owes money or faces a lawsuit, only the assets of the biz are at risk. Basically, if your Pilates client decides to sue your butt, they can’t take everything you own, including the Lululemon clothes off your back.

Do I need to form an LLC?
In general, you would benefit from an LLC if you are worried about personal exposure to lawsuits or racking up debts with your biz. When I started mine in my home, I could sleep at night with just having liability insurance. Later on, when I went big time and signed the lease on my studio space in NYC, I was advised to have an LLC to help protect myself. Bigger risk= Bigger loss.

How in the world do you make an LLC happen?

First, you need to name your company. Pick something you want to identify your empire with and then check and see if your choice has not already been taken. Once you’ve settled on your handle, you’re ready to file. In most states you can simply file an “articles of operation” with your states LLC filing office and pay a filing fee. My bank’s business associate was kind enough to go online and do it for me here (http://www.dos.ny.gov/corps/llccorp.html), but if you’re not as spoiled as me you can simply google it up and find your state’s office online. The final piece of this puzzle is an expensive one- publishing. To make your LLC legal you have to publish it in a local newspaper. In NYC you’ll pay $1000 to publish on the low end, but if you’re lucky enough to live in the very popular state of say…Delaware, it will be less costly. You have 120 days after you file to publish that puppy and then you’re official.

IMG_2207Bottom line: if your operation is small and you stay that way, just stick with a DBA. If you plan to launch a line of workout equipment, teach hundreds of bodies, or partner up with your ex-boyfriend you may want to look into the investment of forming an LLC so you can rest easier.

Now’s your chance to take action. Leave a comment below and if you like this post make sure to share it on your social networks or forward it to a friend.

Need more help figuring out how to structure, brand, or market your business? I have just what you need! Schedule your 30 min complimentary consult with yours truly. Let’s make a plan that works!

If you like getting free business advice (and who doesn’t?) make sure to sign up for my email newsletter. Your business will thank you!