Instructor of the Month

Introducing Vicky Barton

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In 2007 I qualified as an Exercise to Music instructor and enjoyed the benefit people were getting as a result of the classes I took. I started to participate in Pilates classes with a very good friend and fellow instructor Michelle Clements, and with her inspiration I enrolled with the Pilates Institute in London, when lovely Jo was the head tutor. I completed my Matwork level 1 to 3 with Jo and I was totally hooked. This September I have finally made the best decision of my career - to concentrate on my teaching.  A year ago I was a payroll Manager for a large Care organisation and a part-time, instructor and since having my first baby, life has changed for the better and I now just teach, meeting lots of superb clients.

Q & A Session:

How would you describe your style of teaching?

I do like to work on technique first with all of my classes and my one to one clients, and then as they all start to understand the moves we concentrate on the flow and introduce different levels, as Jo would say ‘go a little hard core’!.

In all of my classes I want people to feel comfortable. Yes we do have a giggle and some fun and there maybe a few groans now and again with some more challenging moves or if I have a new favourite move I do get the odd “oh no.......”

I am a naturally calm person which is reflected in my classes and in my teaching style. I will change my classes to keep everyone interested and regularly use small equipment and I know they love using the foam rollers.

What is your client base like?

My client base is a really health mix of age groups from 20 to 86 (which I am very impressed with). The main client group are aged between 30 to 60, with female to male ratio 70:30

I have a special and inspirational client, who has just started to train with me, who took part in the Para-Olympics archery team. We are currently working together as her prosthetic arm has been of an incorrect weight and now is causing lower back pain. It is challenging but I love it- that’s what we are here for and the reward of seeing an improvement is tremendous.

I set up a rehabilitation class for a very good friend of mine, who used to spin with me every week, who was going through breast cancer treatment. One of her friends was going through the same treatment and they asked if I could spend an hour a week with them. We had a great time together, they were very inspiring ladies and their determination was outstanding, but very much a pleasure to teach. It was more about them being themselves forgetting about the “C” word as they used to say and just be totally natural, being able to do a little strength work and get those endorphins going, again. They giggled and had a laugh especially when I brought my marbles along and we were concentrating on activation!!

After Level 3 training what other training have you done?

I have attended various Workshops including Jo’s Pilates circuits, which if you haven’t been on it I would highly recommend.  I think you need to refresh all the time, I have just completed the Pre and Post Natal weekend, so once I have finalised my coursework I am hoping to do my GP Referral and then move onto Level 4 Back Care.

What are you planning for next 12 months?

I have just made my decision for the next 12 months. I have taken that big leap and given up my ‘Day Job’ in order to concentrate on my teaching. I want to work with health professionals with my Pre and Post Natal qualification, as I have just experienced this and there is nothing around for Pilates or fitness- like thousands of other new mothers  I just got told to swim and walk, and I did have a healthy pregnancy, not finishing teaching until 3 weeks before. I want to spend time with my family and just enjoy my new exciting path.

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

The most rewarding aspect of being a Pilates instructor is working with so many different people. To see how Pilates has changed their life and become part of their day to day life. For instance from not being able to move after a day of gardening, to now being pain free, or one of my ladies handing me her stick at the bottom of the stairs and climbing up the stairs unaided confident after suffering from a stroke. With her hard work and determination she did it, and you just feel so proud and elated, I feel valued as an individual that I can help people, achieve that goal.

What a fantastic job!

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

My advice to a new instructor is to ‘be yourself’. We are all different as individuals and you don’t have to be the same as another instructor. You have earned your qualification and worked hard for it, so just go for it. Those first classes are not easy believe me. Remembering the moves, cues, flows etc, but you get used to it. Just believe in yourself and be confident, I still get nervous if I cover for another instructor but that’s because I am passionate about what I do, nerves are good. Keep updating all the time reading articles, blogs and if you are not sure on something - ask, you will never sound silly. We are all constantly learning and will keep learning all the time no one will know everything, that’s why Jo’s forum is great for this or ask Jo and her team for advice.

Vicky can be contacted on 07813160604 or by email viclinc@hotmail.com