Trainee’s Perspective: Juggling Life with Teacher Training

pilates LA

Why Pilates? …

I had just been let go from the corporate world after 17+ years of making toys.  I wanted to do something more personal and impactful with my life. I had looked into OT, PT, and Diagnostic Medical Sonography, but all of these career paths required such a huge investment of time and money at this stage of my life as a single mom of a 10 year old.  I wanted something similar but more within reach for my situation. I have also loved fitness for most of my life: from gymnastics as a kid to aerobics, kick boxing, and bootcamp as an adult (the latter which I taught as a side gig in my mid-thirties). The idea of becoming a Pilates instructor had always appealed to me since I was a “guinea pig” for my friend who got her training at PISC 16 years ago.  The fundamental philosophies of Pilates that I learned with her in that short time made an impression on me, and I thought it would be such a rewarding career. So I called up my friend to ask more about her training, and she lead me back to PISC. Turned out, I could get my training in half the time and for a fraction of the cost it would take to go into the other careers I had entertained, and I believed I would like it more.  It also happened to be just 3 miles down the street from where I live, so I deemed this to be my destiny and signed up a week later. Can you say “serendipity”?

The program, the requirements, and the juggle…

The PISC program consists of weekend lectures once a month for a year, hours of observing, taking lessons, researching, teaching, and homework.  So, there’s a lot to do and learn, but it is all good stuff!

For me, the PISC program was ideal because I could attend lectures just 1 weekend a month and then fit in the other requirements around my various responsibilities and new pursuits (including working with a career counselor, resetting basically every form of insurance that life requires, applying for jobs, interviewing for jobs, reviewing all of my finances and expenses, and mentally struggling with a WHOLE lotta uncertainty.  And just to keep things exciting, I also got a new dog for my son to add into the mix).  So I started my Pilates journey with a very haphazard schedule and a lot of uncertainty, but it was something my heart wanted to try more than anything else.  And with that … I took a leap of faith into a whole new world.  

The weekend lectures are 3 days of intense instruction. They are great, but a bit difficult for me just because I have to find care for my son during those 3 days: Fri, Sat, Sun.  Luckily, I have family in Orange County who can watch him, but it does require a lot of driving in a short, hurried amount of time. But, it’s worth it to have him in good hands and have peace of mind for those days so I can focus on my studies. After the first lecture weekend, I dove headlong into tackling the other various requirements of getting my Pilates training. Per the advice of my friend, I started with in-person observations a couple hours a day for 2-4 days a week while my son is in school.  This varies depending on other appointments and activities that may pop up during the week. The good thing is, there are instructors who teach both morning and/or evening, so there are lots of opportunities to find a lesson to watch that works with your schedule.

Admittedly, I got a late start on my reading and anatomy homework (coloring), so I am playing a bit of catch-up after a couple months into the program.  You would think coloring would be so fun, but you do have to pay careful attention while you do it. Once you sit down, turn on some chill music and do it, it can be very relaxing and educational.  Reading is not my strength even though I enjoy it. So, I have to work at these portions of my assignments a bit more. I find it’s about adding it in small doses when the opportunity presents itself.  And sometimes the opportunity presents itself at 4am when you can’t sleep anyway! Might as well read, right?

After a few weeks of in-person observations, I then added in taking at least 1-2 classes per week myself.  Preferably, I like to do 1 session in the studio and at least 1 class at home online watching an approved app that counts toward credits (yet another perk that PISC offers to make the juggling easier).  Ideally, I want to get to the “Mr Pilates recommended - 10 minutes per day” and work my way up so that it becomes a regularly scheduled part of my day/week and increases from there (along with my strength, flexibility and endurance). Lastly, I need to start my “teaching hours” with friends or fellow trainees.  This proves to be the most challenging part just to align people’s schedules. It is also the most daunting activity for me to start, but ultimately the most beneficial and rewarding.  This will be the next task to incorporate into my schedule and I haven’t quite figured it all out. But, I think I can replace some of my observation hours with teaching hours in the studio so that I have access to the equipment.  Then I can do more of my “watching” hours at home (again using one of the online apps).

The beauty of PISC is also that they understand that ‘life happens’ and flexibility is paramount.  So, if it takes you longer than a year to finish, it’s ok. You have up to 2 years to finish. It’s more about you and when/how you want to approach your new life as an  instructor. I’m not gonna lie, it is a lot to manage, but it is doable and so worthwhile!  My juggle may be different from your juggle. While transitioning your life completely may not seem like a tall ordeal to someone who has a full time job and a lot more family and responsibilities to manage, it’s all relative.  What works for some won’t work for all, but it is feasible if it’s what you want. And, it’s a huge part of what I want. I want to grow in “power and love and self-discipline” and Pilates will help me accomplish just that in due time!

Stacey VArgas