Guest Post: Teacher Training and You!

Teaching has been in my blood since birth. When I was a little girl, I played school instead of house with my dolls. When I was in high school, I volunteered to tutor geometry instead of going to the mall. When I joined professional ballet company, I started teaching ballet classes at night to supplement my income. What I found was that I actually loved teaching more than performing.
The career transition from dancer to Pilates Instructor made perfect sense for me because it combined my love for movement with my love for teaching. So in 1998, I got comprehensively certified through Power Pilates NYC. After teaching Pilates full time for 5+ years, I decided to join the Power Pilates teacher training team. I did it to share my passion for teaching with others, travel more and boost my income. What I didn’t realize is that teaching teachers how to teach would make me a better teacher and fall in love with the Pilates method even more! About Page
There is a clarity that comes when you have to explain to others not just how to DO an exercise but how to TEACH an exercise! It makes you think about the “why” not just the “how”. It makes you honor the process not just the end result. It makes you realize that every single thing you do and say as a teacher will impact on your clients. In 2012, I moved on from Power Pilates to pursue other Pilates pastures and gain some autonomy in the industry. I still do guest teacher trainings and lots of continuing education courses here, there and everywhere but my focus is mostly my family and my clients. Here are the 3 top lessons learned over my almost 12+ years as a teacher trainer.

1. Be responsible for what you say and do!
Once you become a Teacher Trainer, your apprentices will mimic and take notes on every move you make! If you show up 5 minutes late, they will show up 5 minutes late. If you chew gum while teaching, they will chew gum while teaching. If you use silly meaningless cues or swear words while teaching, they will too! Be present! Be professional!

2. Expect to give more time than just your hours teaching.
Although being a Teacher Trainer will inevitably bring in another revenue stream to your business, it is a lot more involved than just the hours you spend teaching clients and weekend seminars. You will need to set aside time for weekly meetings with apprentices. When your apprentices observe you, you will have to take time in between your clients to answer a plethora of questions. It used to take me 20-45 min to grade tests and write evaluations for each apprentice and then another 15-30 min to give evaluations and feedback to each apprentice. If you have a group of 5 or more apprentices, that is substantial!

3. Invest in yourself and always be a student.
No matter what “level” of teacher you become always remember the value of being a student. Take weekly lessons with other teachers. Make it your job to do Continuing Education regularly. Keep your energy cup full by getting massages, exploring other forms of fitness, reading a book, going to a museum, etc.

Remember that above all, it is important to understand that we are all in this together as students of the practice of Pilates, even when we are training future instructors. There is always something more to learn, some way to further refine and perfect your technique. Teacher Training is a wonderful way to give back to the proverbial “next generation” of Pilates instructors-and is a wonderful way to share both intel and technique with those who are just beginning to experience this, our shared art of Pilates.



Formerly a professional ballet dancer, Carrie Campbell was introduced to Pilates in 1992 as part of her physical therapy to help rehabilitate chronic dance injuries. She fell in love with the Pilates method at first sight and 6 years later when her dance career ended, she decided to get certified to teach. She received a 600 hour comprehensive Pilates certification through Power Pilates NYC in 1998 and she has taught clients, teachers and teachers in training full time ever since.
DJG_1837Over the past 15 years, Carrie has built an extensive client base. To date, her youngest client was a 12 year old aspiring gymnast and her oldest client was a 97 year old Pilates devotee. She has trained many celebrity clients including Naomi Campbell, Whoopi Goldberg, Laura Linney, Mandy Moore, Mary Louise Parker, etc.. Carrie has appeared in numerous Pilates DVDs, online workshops/workouts, training manuals and has an audio CD of mat work called “Pilates on the Go!”  She has been featured in Fitness Magazine, Pilates Style, Us Weekly, Quest, Allure and has appeared on Good Morning America, The Today Show and the WB news. In addition, Carrie has presented workshops and workouts at numerous conferences including IDEA, PMA, Equinox and Power Pilates.
Carrie Campbell is the owner of Positively Pilates, LLC. She teaches privately, group classes and continuing education workshops in NYC & NJ.  She lives in Jersey City, NJ and is a mother of two beautiful children. For Carrie, Pilates is not just a workout, it is a way of life.

The (Pilates) Joke’s On Us

I am officially an OG in the Pilates world. I got thrown into Pilates years ago. At the risk of dating myself, the year was 1999 and I was hooked before I could barely even pronounce the word “Pilates.” My introduction to the method was on the west coast where the work can be found with audible exhales and little, if any mention of the man himself. It wasn’t long after receiving my certification, that I was teaching out of a Beverly Hills studio, and got my first taste of what is known in my industry as Classical Pilates. I became obsessed with finding out as much about Pilates lineage as I could, and learning about this crazy man in tighty-whities named Joe Pilates. Does all of this sound like Greek to you? Never even knew there were different styles of Pilates, or that there existed a man behind the method? You are not alone, and frankly, it’s all our fault.




A controversial article about the death of the Pilates industry-The Pilatespocalypsewas published in New York Magazine recently. The article talks about Pilates industry’s need to get trendy (and quick!) to stay relevant. While the rest of the world licked their fingers and, well, just turned the page, in my community it was an uproar. A few of my colleagues circled together to start a dialogue about the supposed demise of our industry and what, if anything we could do about it. In typical Pilates instructor fashion, what started as a benign conversation on how we can educate you folks, ended in a debate about what Pilates really is. These instructors-certified, qualified, over 600 hours of training and observation between them, couldn’t agree on how to explain Pilates to a layman in 140 characters or less. Shocking you say? Read on.

Since the rise of both the Pilates industry and its training programs, we teachers have kept our heads down training and learning, with little concern for how to make something that can be deemed difficult palatable for the rookie.

We worked for a good 50 years prior to Pilates landing on American soil to have an official industry association (although some teachers still don’t recognize it), and still to this day have no governed, regulated or standardized teaching training programs. The Pilates industry can feel, to a teacher, like the wild west (sans guns and horses). And while we as teachers spend so much time infighting about the use of the Pilates name or the authenticity of the methodology of our neighbors, the world turns round without truly understanding what Pilates is.

So to clear it up, let me start with what Pilates is not. It is not yoga, or for dancers only. It is not girlish or feminine. It does not have separate methods for mat vs machine. What it’s not is, like anything else. When someone asks me what is Pilates I simply reply: “A method of moving your body to make it optimal for anything you want to do in life, created by a man named Joe Pilates, using both mat and spring bound machines.” Seems simple doesn’t it? Well, Pilates really is.

We’ve vastly overcomplicated the damn thing and, gotten so wrapped up in the cherished work, that we’ve alienated the people we want to reach-you. So next time you take a Pilates class, private session, or video, remember this: not all Pilates is created equal or is one size fits all. Don’t settle for an explanation. Try the thing and see how your body feels afterward. If you don’t see a difference don’t fault the message blame the messenger.

Now it’s time for us to hear from you! Tell me what your idea of Pilates is or your experience with the damn thing. Trust me my fellow teachers are foaming at the mouth to get your feedback!

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Guest Post: Is Working Out Just Another Chore?

Just the other day I overheard a trainer-client conversation about setting up the next workout appointment. When given the options between two slots, the client said: “Let’s do it as early in the day as possible. Then it’s out of the way.”

It’s the “out of the way” that got me thinking. While I recognize this sentiment from whenever I schedule my own workouts for an already packed week, is it true that working out is just another chore?

It’s probably true: if we could maintain a happy, healthy, and good-looking body without exercise, chances are we wouldn’t go out of our way to work out and stretch. We know about all the health benefits, yet some of us think of it the same as walking the dog on a cold and rainy night – something we know we should do, but don’t really feel like doing. So it’s important to remind ourselves from time to time why exercising is different from walking the dog, washing the car, or doing our taxes!

    Let’s face it: how often do you get to have some personal time, away from family, career, and assets? Exactly. Whether you are taking a run, pumping iron, or doing Pilates, focusing on nothing but the physical task at hand will get you in a zone in which you can put everything else on hold for a while. Think: work out = time out.
    Ever spent a workout session thinking “what I really need is a massage” only to find out afterwards that you didn’t need one anymore? No surprise here: exercising and stretching relaxes the muscles, strengthens and lubricates the joints, cleanses the skin and detoxifies the organs, improves the circulation and immune system, stimulates the brain, rejuvenates and energizes – basically it’s just like a visit to the spa! Let it be something you look forward to.
    Do you know that amazing feeling after a really good workout, a sense of power, bliss, and instant stress-relief? This happens thanks to the release of endorphins, a chemical produced by the brain during exercise. It also occurs when feeling excited, in love, having an orgasm, or eating spicy food. Exercise is clearly your best bet if you want to schedule your next endorphin-rush (and rely on it.)
    As you see, there are plenty of reasons and incentives for you to look forward to your next workout. Still seeing it as a chore? Then maybe you are simply not doing the right thing! Try a different kind of activity, find something that you truly enjoy, independent from the desired results. We all tend to stick to activities that stimulate and challenge us physically AND mentally – and that are fun!

Of course, Pilates is my workout of choice, but at the end of the day – as long as you’re moving, it’s good for you!



Benjamin Degenhardt 282483_10151157663845706_2094099938_n-300x300 is the mastermind behind 360° Pilates, a continuing education program for Pilates teachers. He has been involved in the Pilates world for over a decade in addition to his extensive dance and movement teaching background. While performing as a dancer he found a passion for teaching movement and, inspired by Joe Pilates, immersed himself in the study of injury prevention andbody mechanics. With his expertise in historical Pilates and modern fitness he established himself as a “teacher of teachers” and conducts workshops around the globe. He has maintained a true passion for the Pilates method and its ability to improve people’s lives. You can find him and his articles for Pilates teachers on his website at

Ladies Who Crunch

There’s a new phenomenon occurring at a gym, yoga studio, or barre class near you. Chances are you’ve already seen it. Adult women, comfortable in their Lululemon workout gear, spending 75% of their disposable income on fitness classes. Gone are the days of sipping martinis over finger sandwiches in the middle of the day at the Plaza. Now both kept woman AND their successful exec counterparts are siding up, spandex to spandex, in spin class and then again later in the day at yoga, barre, or the cardio dance class of their choice. Gone are the days where working out once daily is enough. Now the daily workout means multiple times daily. For women who have the cash to shell out $100 a day plus on fitness, working out has left past-time and graduated to infatuation. Is all this good, too good for you? Have we gone overboard on wellness?


So more of a good thing is better isn’t it? Not really. Research says that just 30 minutes a day of physical activity is enough to help prevent things like diabetes, high-blood pressure and cholesterol. The idea that two hours of exercise is better than one is a little well, obsessive thinking, ladies. In actuality, too much exercise can yield very opposite results like injuries, exhaustion, and surprise — depression! Basically, too much of anything is no good and some experts say this could be the new form of addiction: Exercise.

So how do you know you should go to exercise rehab instead of your next Pilates class? Telltale signs are refusing to take time off even when injured, exercising at inappropriate times like when your wife is giving birth, and being OBSESSED with counting calories, inches lost, or that tiny piece of chocolate you just ate. Another giveaway sign is the obsession with how you look. Do you obsess about your abs, ass, or all of the above? You might just be crossing the line from where something is gratifying to controlling.

Recognize yourself in the above? Don’t fret — there’s recovery for what ails you. First off, come into balance. If you feel the need to add another workout to your schedule think again. What self-soothing activity can you do instead? Get a massage? Take a nap? Do nothing? Ask yourself why you’re wanting to squeeze in that extra spin class today. Is it because you need it or would like it? Another great solution is to get professional help. Working with an exercise professional such as a personal trainer or Pilates instructor, they will keep your feet on the ground while still reaching for your fitness and wellbeing goals. They can design a plan to keep you healthy without over doing it and injuring yourself. Finally, talk it out. Think you might have a bit of a dependence on the exercise high? Ask your friends and family for their advice, or even better see a professional to address the underlying issues that got you jones for your exercise fix in the first place.

Find some equilibrium in your workouts and eat a sandwich. Turns out those ladies who lunch were onto something after all…



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