Instructor of the Month

Introducing Kelly Saunders


I have been working in the fitness industry since the late 1990’s. I began with individual personal training sessions, whilst also teaching spinning classes, weight management programmes, stability ball and bosu.

I started my Pilates training with the Pilates Institute London in 2001.  I taught in gyms and also my own class in a local village hall.  This was all fantastic experience.  I continued with my Pilates training, gaining certification in Pregnancy & Pilates, Knee & Foot, Shoulder Girdle & Neck, Sacroiliac & Hip and Healthy Back.

In 2005 I moved to Japan with my husband.  This is where I really gained confidence and experience in teaching 1-2-1 Pilates for clients in their homes. I took up yoga at this time, which I think helped me to get the physical balance right with my own fitness. At this time I decided to specialise in my career and focus purely on Pilates.

In 2007 we moved back to the UK and I had my first baby, I gained my Les Mills Body Balance certificate and started teaching Pilates at a local gym.  In 2010 I had my second baby.  

In 2013 I found JPilates. Thank goodness for Jo and her wonderful team. I attended the JPilates Convention, which was fantastic, cant wait until next year! I am now teaching more small groups and 1-2-1’s again, which is the perfect mix, alongside my large Pilates classes in the gym.

Q&A Session

How would you describe your teaching style?

Challenging but flowing wherever possible, with lots of hands on adjustments

What is your client base like?

My client base is very mixed. The larger classes in the gym range from 18-80years old, from complete beginner to athletic and/or advanced.  My small groups are mainly mums from school who are in their first year of Pilates.

What are you planning for the next 12 months?

Over the next 12 months I will be booked onto one of the Level 4 courses with Jo. I want to attend regular Reformer classes and I am aiming to teach using the equipment once my youngest daughter has started school.  I will be taking on more small groups and 1-2-1’s.

What do you find most challenging about your work and how do you overcome it?

I am most challenged when teaching my large classes at the gym. You never know who’s going to turn up so my class plan has to be flexible.  I also take great care to assess and feed off the energy emitted in my classes. I’m a firm believer in strong technique, making sure I get round to as many people as possible to physically adjust them.

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

There are many rewards for being a Pilates teacher.  One, I never feel like I am at work and I like to think the class also feels this way.  The feedback I get is amazing and often I walk out of a class after teaching feeling like I’m on cloud nine. The feeling of achievement when a super-fit individual proclaims, “they never knew how hard Pilates could be”, or when my 70+ ladies and gents perform the Boomerang and Jack-knife provides huge motivation.

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

Practise what you preach and keep your training up to date with Jo. Being around Jo and her students gave me a real boost in confidence, and spurred me on to teach all the original moves, which most of my clients seem to really enjoy. 

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