by Pam VanGilder

After teaching STOTT PILATES® Pilates for 15 years I decided to become certified as an Instructor Trainer. Off to Toronto I went, to the Merrithew Health and Fitness headquarters, where I took the week long IT training in STOTT PILATES® Mat and Reformer.  This was the first time I had been to the headquarters and it felt like home from the minute I walked in the door. The studios had all the familiar equipment, large and small, with instructors teaching all the familiar exercises. Many of their faces I recognized from their photos on the website, in the manuals and in the DVDs. 

As I began warming up with my classmates I realized I was the only one from the U.S; others were from Budapest, Taiwan, Hungary, Singapore, Montreal, and the Netherlands, nine of us in all.  The application process for the training was extensive and included letters of recommendation and intent, videos of performing the work as well as teaching the work, and a record of exam grades and continued education credits.  This process insured everyone in the program was an experienced instructor interested in sharing their knowledge and experience of teaching to those training to become STOTT PILATES® Instructors. 

There is an art to teaching that crosses all disciplines, including classes in health and fitness.  In the training much emphasis was placed on teaching people how to teach the exercises and how to develop programming for different body types.  Emphasis was also placed on uniformity at all levels, from the progression of the exercises, how they are taught, the use of postural analysis to create individual programs, and the administering and grading of exams. This ensures that all STOTT PILATES® Instructors and Instructor Trainers are consistent in their approach to the work, whether they are teaching in Budapest, Singapore, or any region in the U.S. This is what sets STOTT PILATES® apart and makes it recognized as a leader in the health and fitness industry. And this is what made the Merrithew Health and Fitness headquarters feel like home. A familiar setting, like-minded trainers committed to the method, and support in the on-going development of the work in the field. 

As an Instructor Trainer, I look forward to helping Tamara further develop the training program at the Pilates Centre.  In my personal review from the trainers at Stott I received many positive comments on my teaching, including “She loves to teach!”.  And this is true, I do love to teach. I love helping people become more aware of their body and how to take care of it for lifelong health and fitness.