Longtime Pure Pilates instructor Kim Marian is known for her expert and thorough instruction — she began teaching pilates in 2010, has undergone extensive, additional training over the years, and is a post-rehabilitation specialist, helping people recovering from injury or surgery and those with postural challenges such as scoliosis.
Recently, Kim took her. training to an entirely new level, when she earned certification as a STOTT PILATES® Instructor Trainer (IT) specializing in Mat and Reformer. This certification allows her to teach new and experienced pilates instructors around the world. While STOTT PILATES® has trained more than 50,000 people globally, there are only 400 ITs to do so.
“I am honored to be part of the small cadre of ITs to continue sharing STOTT PILATES®!” she said.
We sat down with Kim to learn more about this impressive training accomplishment, what it means for her clients at Pure Pilates, and thoughts on her personal pilates practice.
Why was it important to you to take on this recent training?
Throughout my training, I have learned from very knowledgeable instructor trainers. I am driven to learn as much as I can and have developed a deep understanding and appreciation for the STOTT PILATES® principles. We perform better when we have a deep understanding and I find myself teaching my clients to have as deep an understanding of the principles and quality movement as I do. It simply makes sense to me to teach other instructors to share this passion for the modality.
Can you share how you’ll incorporate this training into your teaching? What can your clients expect to experience?
As with any training I do, it benefits my understanding of human movement. The better I understand movement, the better I can give my clients a good workout and help them improve their movement. Unfortunately for my clients, my new certification will pull me away from the studio for different windows of time as I am called to teach courses.
Tell us about your recent training and what it entailed.
I’ll start by sharing what goes into becoming a pilates instructor! In the fitness field, there are many ways to become a coach or instructor. Some modalities allow you to watch videos online and then work as an instructor. Others offer a weekend workshop, thus giving you some background to coach. Yet others offer in-person training followed by an exam. But when it comes to most pilates certifications, the opposite is true. STOTT PILATES®, the brand which has taught most of the instructors at Pure Pilates, has more stringent requirements. Each pilates apparatus (mat, reformer, etc) requires its own certification course, running from 1-10 days for the essential and intermediate level exercises. Adding advanced level exercises requires additional courses. Not only must an instructor-candidate complete the courses with a Certified Instructor Trainer (IT), but they also must complete a prescribed number of observation, self-practice, and practice-teaching hours before qualifying to sit for a certification exam. Upon completion of the exam, which consists of a written and practical component, to achieve certification, an instructor must score at least 80% to achieve certification. But wait, there’s more! To maintain one’s certification, an instructor is asked to complete six hours of continuing education each year. These workshops and courses also are taught by Instructor Trainers. It’s a big effort to become a STOTT PILATES® instructor!
Becoming an instructor trainer (IT) was an endeavor unto itself! To qualify as an IT, a fully Certified STOTT PILATES® instructor must have achieved at least 90% on their certification exam, prove at least 1,000 hours teaching clients, be current with continuing education credits, and hold an additional active certification or degree in a movement discipline. My exam scores, teaching hours, and continuing education credits all are well above the requirement and I am a Certified Personal Trainer with the American College of Sports Medicine, among other movement certifications.
Once proving I meet these thresholds, I completed a live audition with a senior instructor trainer via teleconference. For the live audition, I presented to five individuals as if they were students learning to teach STOTT PILATES®. My audience consisted of two current Pure Pilates instructors, two of my private clients, and a friend who had never done pilates. I took them through a presentation I scripted teaching the principles and specific mat and reformer exercises. Once my “pseudo-teaching” was completed, I continued with an exercise demonstration for the IT to ensure my body can move properly on both apparatus. After several weeks, I learned I had been accepted into the Instructor Trainer course in Toronto, the world headquarters for STOTT PILATES®.
In June, 2023, I traveled to Midtown Toronto for the IT/Mat-Reformer course which lasted six days. There were eight of us in the class; four from the U.S., two from Canada, one from the UK, and one from Australia. After the week-long course, each of us scheduled a student-teaching assignment where we shared instructional duties with a senior IT for a mat course and a reformer course. My student-teaching occurred this fall in Toronto. The courses I taught ran every weekend in September as well as two weeks in October. During the student teaching, I learned a lot about how to work with people from many backgrounds and countries in guiding them to teach pilates to clients. I learned as much as my students! My mat course had eight students from Canada and Korea while my reformer course had 13 students, most from Canada, and again some from Korea and one from Japan. In 2024, I anticipate teaching courses in the Americas and look forward to the day I can teach in Asia and beyond!
How would you describe your relationship with the practice of Pilates and what it means for you personally? What does it mean to you to teach Pilates?
Pilates is an exercise modality that I adore doing to keep myself balanced, strong, and sane. Of all the modalities and sports I’ve tried, I always bring an element of pilates to it. My practice gives a solid foundation to allow me to do all the other activities I enjoy while staying injury-free. As an example, on the occasion I play golf, as I address the ball, I am scanning my body to ensure my pilates principles are intact before I swing the club! Inhale to prepare (backswing), exhale to power through and hit the ball! If I wasn’t in the studio or studying so much, I might play more than one round each year!
Being able to work with a client, of any ability, within pilates gives me great joy. It’s a special feeling when you see a client evolving from limited or painful movement to one of ease and little to no pain. I still remember an early client, before any of my specialized injury training, sharing how they were able to decrease their reliance on pain pills thanks to the work we were doing. Those are the moments that mean the most to me! Teaching new instructors can have the same impact as I know those instructors can help others find their way to easier, more balanced movement.
Is there anything else you would like to share, about your training or anything else related to your Pilates practice and Pure Pilates?
At present, I am awaiting my first teaching assignment and am excited to teach more students to become pilates instructors! Pure Pilates is a special community! Clients come in for a good workout and leave satisfied they accomplished something. Often as instructors, we choose exercises and movements clients are uncertain they can accomplish. I hear it often, “I’m not sure I can do that!” When clients can achieve what we intend, it’s a great feeling for everyone! Our group clients are quite the cheering section for each other and that is a special feeling. I hope to take a little of this Pure Pilates spirit into teaching my courses, wherever they may be.