Time for a change

So in case you were wondering where the heck I’ve been for the past few months, I can assure you that I’ve not become a beach bum, or a compulsive shopaholic, nor have I retired. I’ve been doing is something I’ve always wanted to do, train as a fitness instructor, more specifically a STOTT Pilates instructor.

As my friends and family will testify I am a bit obsessed with sport, and generally being outdoors; walking, running, cycling, swimming, kayaking, I also love to watch sports but that’s another story (I hate football so don’t get me started on that). Everyone always said to me that I should turn my passion into a career, but until now I’ve never had the opportunity to do so.

At the end of last year, I was feeling a little dis-illusioned with the events industry, particularly in the Middle East due to a number of reasons & with my babies gone I had more time to take on a course that didn’t have to fit in with the school run. So I bit the bullet signed up, paid the fees and embarked on the first class – 20 hours of Functional Anatomy.

This was a real eye opener, everyone has a general idea of where the major bones and muscles are, but I can honestly say I had no idea how clever the body is in weaving all 640 muscles and 206 bones together to make us move – it really is incredible. Having studied for the past few months knowing the attachment sites for these muscles makes it very clear to work out how we can move in the most efficient and pain free way. ¬†As someone who exercises regularly and is the wrong side of 40, injuries are always on the horizon, but with my new found knowledge I can work out where I’m going wrong and hopefully how to fix it.

We learned about posture, and now I find myself analysing people in the queue at the supermarket, or on the bike in front of me on the track, or in a spin class. I consciously think about how I am holding my posture, what muscles I am using and when, which are supporting me and if I’m twisting or creating undue stress.

The STOTT Pilates course itself was tough, really tough, but it’s tough for a reason. Anyone can sign up to a “pilates” instructor course, 1 day, job done off you go. But having done STOTT Pilates, there is no way you can possibly understand how the body works and how to instruct after an 8 hour course.

STOTT Pilates is the contemporary approach to the original Pilates methods, which were introduced by Joseph Pilates back in the early 1900’s, but STOTT uses modern principles of exercise science and rehabilitation.The 2 week course covers every exercise in the repertoire; what muscles are working, how they are working, why they are working, how to modify if your client feels any tension or pain. What was a eye opener for me is how small the movement is if you do it correctly. Anyone can do a very macho ab crunch but if you do a proper ab curl using the right muscles and not tugging on your head or using your hip flexors you won’t need to do 100 reps to get results, because you won’t be able to, your muscles will fatigue way before that.

After the course the hardwork started observing instructors, teaching friends and family what I’d learned and making sure I studied hard for the exams. Several hundred hours later I was ready and 2 weeks ago took the practical and theory exam. I really want to pass, it’s a minimum of 80% or a fail so it’s not easy.

At the end of July I will get the results and if I’ve passed then I can do something I love, I feel I can make a difference to people around me, help keep them injury free and able to train and compete, and help to make sure they don’t fall over as often when they are old and frail. I will continue with a few events, but long term I have plans to follow my passion and share what I’ve learned with clients here in Dubai and eventually overseas.