Instructor of the Month
Introducing Juliet Nicholas of New Forest Pilates
In 2005 I qualified as a personal trainer and enjoyed a successful few years with one to one sessions. In addition to my personal training, I decided to investigate Pilates to enhance my personal training sessions. During my teacher training, I was impressed by the demands that Pilates put on me and the positive effect it had on my body - I was hooked!
In 2010, I decided to focus entirely, specialising in Pilates and I still invest a lot of my time attending courses, workshops and conventions, training with a multitude of instructors and Master Trainers. I am currently expanding on my personal development by researching opportunities to study with Joseph Pilates trained Master Trainers in U.S.A.
I run classes in Lymington and Milford on Sea. I also teach at Limewood Herb House Spa, Lymington Health and Leisure, Shape up Studio, Lymington and Elmers Court Country club. In 2013, I shall be launching home-based one to one sessions.
Q & A Session:
How would you describe your style of teaching?
I have studied with a variety of organisations and my teaching style reflects this. I plan my classes but I always try and read the mood of the class so that I can adapt the session to suit my clients. My approach is lighthearted, so although we work hard, it is fun. I don't follow a 6 week program or a regular order of exercises and just focus on making my teaching points easy to understand, making everyone feel comfortable and gradually layering up the information that I offer.
I use lots of equipment to add variety but I like to keep everyone on their toes, so maybe one week, we will go hard core and go for strengthening and the following week we will have a much slower session and go back to basics and focus on breathing and alignment.
Although I have specific beginner classes and a couple of more advanced classes, I generally offer my classes as mixed ability to accommodate everyone, always offering a range of different levels. It works for us!
What is your client base like?
My client base is a real mix. I don't tend to see many serious athletes but I have a healthy mix of ages from 16 to 85 (very proud of that one!!) with the main client base being 40 - 60 age group. I generally teach classes of up to 10 people but I also do some one to ones and teach a couple of small groups of 3 or 4 people or husband and wife teams at their home. I have found after years of Personal training, that I prefer the camaraderie and energy of a class.
After your Level 3 training what other training have you done?
After my level 3, I have looked at broadening my skills and my understanding. I have enjoyed attending Jo’s courses as I “get” her approach and it works well for me. I have also studied with Amy Kellow at Everybody Pilates and have several courses and workshops booked this year, including the Classical Pilates convention in September and lots of J Pilates workshops.
I regularly look at REPS to see what Pilates courses are on offer and I also chat fairly regularly with my local osteopath and sports massage therapist to deepen my knowledge.
What are you planning for 2013?
My plan for 2013 is to really get confident with my Anatomy and Physiology and to get out of my comfort zone. I am starting to think about a sports massage course for the purpose of better understanding the human body. What I am also planning to do is to discipline myself to study 3 exercises a month and look at all the different variations of performing the exercise, adding props, changing my cues etc. looking at how others teach the exercise through all my mountains of dvd’s, books, you tube etc. so I start to become a little braver in the areas I maybe tend to avoid!
I am also very seriously looking at doing my reformer training. Think that’s it for now!
What is the most rewarding aspect of being a Pilates Instructor?
I love being a Pilates instructor. Out of all my Christmas cards this year, my two most treasured ones were from two classes who had taken the trouble to all sign their card andgive them to me as a group. I was thrilled. I also organised aChristmas drinks party for all my clients- I had a cash bar and I paid for mince pies. I was overwhelmed with how many people turned up and what lovely and kind things they said about how much they loved their classes, saw improvements, looked forward to their weekly sessions, enjoyed my teaching. I was so proud and so felt so valued. That makes my job worthwhile - being supported and appreciated. I have always said, if I won the lottery, I would love to give up work but I couldn't give up any of my classes as everyone is so loyal to me and I couldn't let them down!
If you could give one piece of advice to a new instructor what would it be?
If I was to give some advice to a newly qualified instructor, I would say - be yourself! We are all individuals. We are all different in every way so don't try to copy when it comes to your teaching. You have qualified so therefore you have a knowledge and understanding so believe in yourself.
The first few classes may be horrendous but remember, you will know more than anyone standing in front of you so keep the faith! And remember there is the wonderful JPilates Facebook forum of like minded instructors right here who will be really happy to support you and hear you out - it continues to help and support me and we all need a virtual hug now and again!
For further information about Juliet, please visit: New Forest Pilates
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