Continuing Education for Pilates & Fitness Instructors

Jessica Valant Pilates

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“Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young.” Albert Einstein

In the past two months I’ve had the pleasure of teaching workshops to two different groups of amazing women and also attending the annual Pilates Method Alliance conference, where I got to immerse myself in all things Pilates and movement.

I have to say, I’m a true nerd for learning and teaching because I love anatomy and health and fitness and Pilates and movement so much! (I would NOT say I’m a nerd for learning and teaching how a computer works. I run from that as fast as I can :).

continuing education

When you are in the midst of busy schedules, tough work hours, family duties, deadlines and clients, it can feel like you just don’t have time to add a single other thing to your plate.

You might want to take that amazing workshop on low back pain and exercise, but you can’t imagine leaving your kids or clients for an entire weekend just to spend money and learn.

I totally get it and I’ve been there numerous times myself!

When I owned my two physical therapy clinics and Pilates studios in Hawaii, every moment was spent on either seeing clients or growing the business. I had bills to pay, emails to answer, staff to train, paychecks to write and events to attend.

Not to mention Hawaii is a tough place to find good continuing education. Small towns and far away places sometimes get forgotten when good instructors are touring and teaching.

Now that I’ve sold my studios, I spend most of my hours as a mom to a preschooler. Instead of paying bills and talking to staff all day, I’m cooking and playing and coloring. In my “down time”, I’m seeing clients, working on the PMA Board of Directors, teaching workshops and building my online business.

It’s HARD to find time to attend workshops when you need to make money and spend time with friends and family.

continuing education
The amazing ladies at who attended my PostPartum Fitness workshop in Hawaii this year

But I truly think it’s necessary if you want to stay passionate about what you do, make more of an impact on your clients and grow your business.

Whether I am the instructor or student, I always leave workshops and courses so excited and enthusiastic about what I do for a living. It’s a chance to connect to our own bodies, which we sometimes lose sight of during our busy days. You can pick up entire concepts and principles you’ve never heard before, or simply gain small nuggets you can go back and apply to your clients right away.

I have three tips to help you incorporate continuing education into your life:

1. Attend your industry conference

If there is just one event you can go to every year, make it your industry conference. For me it’s the Pilates Method Alliance annual conference. I get to connect with new and old friends and attend numerous workshops. It’s the biggest bang for your buck and the networking opportunities are priceless. Being a physical therapist, I also really enjoy the APTA annual conference and want to put that on my radar for next year.

2. Commit

I really miss my daughter and husband when I’m not with them. My daughter is young and its especially hard to leave her (my current personal limit is three nights – I haven’t been able to go longer yet :). Owning an online business, I also have social media and client commitments online each day. But when I go to a conference or workshop, I go all in. Once I get on that plane, I become “Jessica the student” or “Jessica the teacher”, depending on what role I’m playing that weekend. If you are taking the time and spending the money, then you can put your phone down for the day and dive into the information. Take notes, introduce yourself to new people and really commit yourself to the learning process.

continuing education
Me, my mat and my Pilates workshop binder

3. Take online continuing education courses

If you truly can’t get away from work or family commitments for a day or two, or the schedule of the continuing education workshops coming to your town doesn’t work for you, consider an online course. There are many resources for online continuing education courses. I’ll give you a little warning that not all of them have good content. I’ve done my research and unfortunately found quite a few that only give you copies of a chapter of a book after you purchase. That is definitely not worth my time or money! Look for courses that include videos, a test and a certificate upon completion, as well as access to the teacher (either through email or possibly a private Facebook page). I am currently putting my in person workshops into online courses so that people can access them and get their continuing education CEC’s from anywhere. You can sign up for my mailing list here to learn more and get all my updates.

continuing education
I had so much fun teaching this great group in Southern California recently!

It’s ok to be selfish every once in a while, and taking the time to learn and stay inspired about your industry is the best reason to take time for yourself. I hope you’ll join me in the future for either a live or online workshop and CEC course!

If you are interested in hosting a Jessica Valant Pilates workshop or course, email Jessica at [email protected].

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