How I Became A Full-Time Pilates Instructor by Lesley Logan and Brad Crowell
Lesley Logan: “…And I think they thought it was just going to be this part-time thing. Like who could make money as a pilates instructor. How much could you make?”
I thought pilates was like an infomercial type thing. My friend invited me. It was 2005 and she invited me to a pilates mat class. And she said “I want to go to this pilates mat class.” And I said “It’s an infomercial thing.” And she said “Just come!” I was living in Orange County [California] at the time. I went with her and it happened to be one of the best schools of pilates and I didn’t know what I was walking into. But I took this mat class and I left and went straight to work where I ran a jewelry store and I changed my entire schedule so I could go to pilates every day. It was the best thing I had ever done. I was a cross-country runner and a track runner and I never felt so connected to my body and so strong. And so I was finishing college and I didn’t really know what I was going to do except run a jewelry store and I thought “This is my workout.” So that is where I discovered pilates and I fell in love with it.
I lived in Orange County about a year and a half-ish after finding what pilates just was and it had become a daily part of my life. I moved to Los Angeles and I couldn’t find pilates like I had in Orange County. In all honesty looking back, I didn’t really look that hard but the few classes I went to I was just disappointed. And I didn’t have it in my budget to take privates or duets on the equipment with teachers. I really needed it to be a mat class (those were the prices I could afford). I happened to meet this woman. It was in late 2007-early 2008 who said “Why don’t you just become a teacher?” And it was so funny because when she said that I was like “That’s a thing? You can become a teacher?” Because I went to college to be a kinesiology and sports medicine major and then I graduated with a communications degree. And then I thought “Well now I have that, but I don’t really know what to do? I didn’t know you could just become a teacher?” And it was a brilliant idea and I thought “Well I’ll do that. I’ll become a mat teacher. Teach mat pilates here (at this studio). And then the money I make will pay for my pilates sessions.” That was in early 2008.
In 2009, I started the comprehensive training to actually train on the equipment. That’s a 9-month process. The studio where I had been teaching mat classes they started giving me clients. So while I was finishing my certification I was already getting clients. Before I would go into work at the jewelry store, I would teach a couple clients. Then I would work all day managing a studio and then I would go and teach again. And so as I finished my training in 2009 I already had my hobby. I already had my part-time hustle. And then when I did finish working for this woman, I wanted her to train me. I wanted her to be my mentor. She didn’t know it, but that’s what I wanted. So I worked in her studio and it was in 90 days that I so many clients before and after my regular job that I…had to leave my regular job.
They knew the whole time that I was getting this training. My bosses (the owners of the store) knew that I had decided to do this part-time hobby. And they actually came to be my body and practice pilates with me, which they were really supportive. And I think they thought it was just going to be this part-time thing. Like who could make money as a pilates instructor. Like how much could you make? And I don’t know if they took it for granted that maybe you can be a pilates instructor for a living? But they were surprised when I took them aside and said “I really love you guys!” and I had been working for them at that time…it had been 7 years. I started with them as a cashier and worked my way up to running their largest store and then I transferred to one of their first stores in Los Angeles. And they were shocked in that I always said it would be a side-hustle. I was so surprised myself when it became very apparent that I was working more than a Doctor and so I should pick one or the other and pilates was just really pulling me in.
Question: Have you ever gone to a pilates class?