Instructor of the Month

Introducing Zara Walters

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About Zara

After years of working as a successful PA within the fitness industry, Zara was prompted to change career after the birth of her first child. Always interested and passionate about exercise, she was encouraged to train as a Pilates Instructor at the Pilates Institute with Michael King in 2000.  She now teaches 1-2-1 sessions in the comfort of her client’s own homes working together with a Physiotherapy company based in Bedfordshire and also teaches on morning a week at a leisure centre in Huntingdon.

Contact Zara for more information via email: zen60702@zen.co.uk

Q & A Session:

How would you describe your style of teaching?

I try to encourage an informal, fun atmosphere when I teach, so that clients can feel relaxed and do not feel under pressure from other participants or me.  I really like to combine technique and strength, where one week we will focus on technique and alignment, whilst other weeks we’ll do lots of strength exercises.

In large classes I encourage participants to feel with their fingers the muscles, or areas, we are trying to work, just as you would in a 1-2-1 situation (as the trainer), leading my clients to be a little more focused with the targeted muscles.  Every single class, client and week is different, so I try to pick up on the mood as soon as I enter the venue I’m teaching in, I spend a little time planning each session, but 9 times out of 10 I’ll teach something completely different!  One of my small classes frequently spends the whole hour laughing and that’s what they love.

What is your client base like?

I have a fantastic mix of clients, they are all absolutely lovely.  My oldest client is a 80+ Grandfather who comes to a class with his wife and my youngest client, joins in with his parents session when he’s home from university.  I teach some very fit individuals, through to clients trying to maintain their range of mobility and not lose it with age, general body wear and tear.  I teach in a variety of locations and formats, from large group classes, to small physio classes and 1-2-1s.  Great variety and I love teaching them all.

After your level 3 training what other training have you done?

I originally trained to teach pilates in 2000 but to stay in line with new legislation I retrained and completed level 3 in 2011.  Since then I have attended various workshops run by JPilates to constantly develop my existing knowledge.

What are you planning for 2013?

This year I plan to do the Level 3 Certificate in Exercise Referrals, Level 4 Certificate in Lower Back Pain, 3 more workshops and the barrel collection course.

What is the most rewarding aspect of being a pilates instructor?

Seeing clients laugh, smile and enjoy themselves.  Hearing positive, motivational comments about pilates as they chat to each other.  Clients telling you how pilates has changed their lives and the pleasure it brings.  Seeing great improvements in alignment, technique, strength, progression.  What a fantastic job…

If you could give one piece of advice to a new instructor what would it be?

If you have a spare 5 minutes every now and then choose a move and experiment with it, feel which muscles (or areas) increase/decrease with intensity depending on the angle of movement, learn how clients bodies naturally go for the easier option with moves, this is a great way to learn what to look out for whilst teaching.  Enjoy playing, changing, adapting the moves and investigating, small equipment is fantastic.  SMILE and ENJOY.