Instructor of the Month

Introducing Louisa Hughes-Freeman, owner of The Pilates Studio New Forest

When did you first begin practising Pilates?

I first practiced Pilates almost 10 years ago now.  I only started due to back issues and to be honest with you I wasn't that keen on it!  However, my body did feel the benefit… so I kept at it.  

I tried many different classes until I found an instructor that I really liked and then something clicked and my love for Pilates really began.

Why did you decide to become an instructor?

I wanted to get back to work after having children, but I didn’t want to go back to a 9-5 job in finance again.  I knew for a start my back wouldn’t cope with sitting at a desk for hours each day.  I was practicing pilates about 4 times a week at that stage and I was always raving about the benefits of it to everyone, so I thought that I would take it one step further and start teaching it.

What did you enjoy most about the training and why?

I enjoyed every second of my training with JPilates.  I remember my first trip up to London, thinking that I should feel a bit nervous, but all I felt was excitement!  Training with Jo was definitely one of the best things I have ever done.  We had a wonderful group of girls, some of which have become good friends.  Its great having people that you can bounce ideas off about class plans or go to with questions if you are ever unsure of something.

What was the most challenging?

I’ve got to admit that it was the A&P exam!  I studied hard for it, but I find exam situations tough and this did stress me out!  I think a lot of us felt the same, Jo was brilliant though and put us all at ease.

How did you start your Pilates business?

I started my business before passing the exams.  I practiced on anyone that would let me (I probably became a bit of a pest)!  I had a great crowd of school teachers that let me practice on them each week in the school.  They continued with me once I qualified and have stuck with me since.  This was a great way to get in with the parents at the school and word soon got around.

What is your favourite client/type of class?

My clients are mainly mums from the school and I guess this is the clientele that I most enjoy teaching, because it is what I know.  I do however teach a wide range of clients, from young mums that have just had babies (who they bring along to class with them, which is great because I get to cuddle them for an hour)!  To a more gentle senior class, which I get so much from.  Their hour of Pilates, is a huge part of their week and they are probably the most loyal bunch out of all of my clients.

What do you think makes a great Pilates teacher?

A great Pilates teacher to me, has to be fun, upbeat and thorough.  I like to see that a lot of thought has gone into the planning of the class and that they have modifications/progressions ready when needed, so that each client feels loved and looked after. I think that fact that I’m very normal and a little bit ditzy helps me!  Especially with a client who is perhaps slight insecure or new to exercise.  It makes them feel better to see that you are human too and you say silly things sometimes!

Do you have any tips for anyone thinking of becoming a Pilates teacher?

Go for it!!  Fall in love with Pilates and keep practicing the moves as often as you can.  Enjoy your training and immerse yourself completely.  Your hard work will pay off quickly and you will be more confident when it comes to teaching your own classes. 

You can connect with Louisa on