Instructor of the Month

Introducing Mary Fryer, owner of Ardent Pilates

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I was introduced to Pilates many years back in my early 20’s when I was looking for more specific strengthening exercises to help with postural issues and knee damage. Over the years I dipped in and out of it until I found it was incredibly successful in rebuilding strength and mobility post operatively, in my leg and then more recently my shoulders. So for the past 16 years I have developed a deep commitment and passion for Pilates.

I am so pleased that I took the plunge to get qualified as not only do I love my job, I am also able to carry on strengthening and rebalancing my own mind and body. Jo has been hugely supportive in my training and I’m eternally grateful to her for encouraging me to crack on!

Q&A Session:

How would you best describe your style of teaching?

I tend to be a bit of a stickler for technique!  I don’t like it getting in the way of the fluidity of the class though so it means (like most instructors) that I am constantly cueing and correcting as we go.  As my lessons, at the moment, are either duo or private I do have the luxury of being a hawk so they don’t tend to get away with sloppiness or bad technique!  Having said that I do vary my style to suit my clients and I am sensitive to their individual requirement s from their practice.   I like to keep things light-hearted whilst I’m teaching so will often get onto the mat with them and admit when the going gets tough!  I find I say “fantastic” a lot…. Think that has something to do with the JPilates tutor!

What is your client base?

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The age range of my client base is 12-61 years  and the abilities vary just as much.  I would say a 50/50 mix of beginners/intermediates and predominantly women, although I am “coaching” a rugby squad of 12/13 year olds which is 25 in size so that would outweigh the ladies enormously if they counted!  The male client base I teach are all professional men aged between 45-61 years whilst the ladies are mid to late 40’s. My lessons are pretty evenly split between matwork and reformer.  As I only have one reformer (I'm saving for a second!), if clients want to "share" then I do circuit style classes which so far work really well."

After your Level 3 Pilates training what other training have you done?

I booked onto the full Masters Diploma with JPilates so along with my matwork qualification I am  also trained on Reformer, Cadillac, Wunda Chair and Barrels.   I have just (literally!) been on The Small Equipment Collection which was absolutely brilliant and I now am redoing all my lesson plans!  (If you haven’t done it or are thinking of, just do it!  Well worth the investment).  I attended the fantastic JPilates Convention which was not only fun but meant I met a lot of lovely teachers .  Finally I completed a workshop with Alan Herdman over the summer specifically for Reformer.  It’s been a busy 18 months! 

What are you planning for the next 12 months?

I feel ready to expand my business now and am actively seeking out halls or studio to rent.  I have been incredibly lucky so far to have a loyal client base but I know that not everyone wants or can afford what I currently offer.  So it’s time to embark upon bigger classes which at the beginning seemed too daunting! I’ll be launching my website early next year which will mean I can get proactive with marketing rather than just relying on word of mouth.  

I’ve booked onto the Flexibility and Stretch Workshop in January with Jo and I am also working with young rugby players which I hope will lead into more youth Pilates.  The workshop couldn’t be better timing.  My son’s Senior school will be starting some Pilates lessons with me too in 2014 which is really exciting!

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

(The money! Ha! NO ONLY JOKING! Not yet anyway!)

Seeing my clients progress and achieve their goals gives me the biggest buzz.  The intensity of duo and private classes undoubtedly accelerates their results too. I get amazing feedback from my clients which helps me develop my teaching skills and have a greater understanding of how Pilates benefits different posture types and those with imbalances through injury.  I love the challenge of getting my clients to understand their body and give it the attention it deserves.  

Having a new career that I can fit around my kids is also hugely rewarding and it gives them a greater awareness of their bodies and how to keep strong, flexible and healthy.  

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

Believe in yourself and your ability in being a great teacher.  The confidence grows almost from day one and continues to grow.  Keep adding to your qualification too as it really makes you stand out from the crowd as a teacher.

You can contact Mary by email atmary@ardentpilates.com or telephone 07973 796606 or connect with Mary on Twitter @ardentpilates