Being a POP Pilates Instructor

If you’ve kept up with my blog, you’ve read about POP Pilates. I currently teach 2 30-minute Express classes each week at my local YMCA. If you live in Hastings, NE or the surrounding area, feel free to drop by (free for Y members, $10 to get into the gym for nonmembers).


My class is located just behind the front desk in the Multipurpose Room. It’s low to no impact and every move can be adjusted to fit your fitness level, including injuries and pregnancies. I only ask that you talk to me (Katie) before class to let me know if you’re pregnant or have an injury so I can give appropriate modifications when necessary.

The playlist is fun and people have been known to laugh when they’re not busy killing their abs. Actually, one woman did start laughing while doing a Teaser toward the end of the workout. She immediately fell out of it. The more she tried, the more she laughed, and the more time she spent splayed out on the floor. The Teaser was a lost cause that day. But at least we had lots of smiles and lighthearted fun. Not every workout can be a battle to the death against yourself. And, really, that day it was just the one track that got people laughing so we all still got a great workout.

Yes, even the 30-minute Express class will give you a good workout. I want my students to push themselves but not so hard that they can’t continue or that they hurt themselves, so I’ll suggest harder variations for those who want to try to push. I’ll lead by example too and push push push myself. I used to be shy about huffing and puffing into the microphone but not anymore. I’ll grunt and growl and breath heavy to my heart’s content.

In the beginning when I first started teaching I came right out and told everyone that I was a Huffer and Puffer. Maybe I’d be the Big Bad Wolf for Halloween. It broke the ice and lightened the mood. Smiles all around. Because of that mic, everyone in my class knows I practice what I preach and push myself as far as I can go. When I can’t go farther, I’ll admit it and switch to a modification. I praise everyone for their abilities and congratulate them on their strength to get through everything, modification or not.

It used to be that I’d be so nervous I’d want to throw up a full 2 hours before class. Imagine spending 2 whole hours feeling butterflies skittering around in your belly and wanting to crawl into a hole and disappear so you don’t have to face it. Then I’d start teaching and the jitters would disappear. It was like magic. Nowadays, I barely feel jittery – sometimes not at all – unless I’m introducing new stuff and even then it’s not so bad.

Teaching class always makes me feel so happy. My students are awesome and it really makes my day when I can get them to smile and have a good time. It was devastating in the beginning when no one would show up. But I chose to take it was an experience to get through and learn from. And now I have a steady, regular group and my ladies are super awesome! The best part of my week is teaching POP Pilates to them and having everyone tell me how sore it makes them and seeing them be so happy with their smiles and laughter.

If you’ve been thinking about becoming a group fitness instructor and are interested in teaching POP Pilates, you might want to check it out. The instructors are pretty supportive of each other and the number of classes is growing all across the world. People who try this class almost always enjoy it and the atmosphere in a classroom can get pretty upbeat.


Click the above pic for a list of upcoming trainings or to sign up for one.

The live training classes are currently only available for people in the USA, but that doesn’t mean others can’t join up. There are online workshops and printed materials are mailed to the international participants. Not living in the States but wanting to join the POP Army? Check out the picture below.


Click the above pic for info on the international workshop or to sign up.

It really has been an awesome opportunity for me. It was difficult at first because nobody in my area knew about POP Pilates, but I lucked out with my YMCA taking an immediate interest. They loved my demo class and after I got hired it was all a matter of getting the word out through other instructors.

The certification cost isn’t all that expensive when compared with other certifications, especially a Pilates certification. And the best way I’ve found (through the trials and errors of other POP instructors) to prepare students for what they’ll be experiencing (just in case they expect strict Pilates) is to tell them that this class ISN’T Pilates. It takes Pilates and Pilates-inspired moves and choreographs them to pop music so you’re constantly moving instead of striking a pose and holding it till your body gives out.

And, actually, I recently had a certified Pilates teacher come to my class and she had a lot of fun. She thought the modifications were excellent and thoroughly enjoyed the choreography because it was different. Her only problem was that she was having so much fun that she was disappointed when it ended after 30 minutes. She definitely wanted the full 55-minute class.

It is a seriously fun class, designed for people of all ages and all fitness levels. In my own class, I’ve had women in their 20s having fun and working alongside ladies in their 60s. Age doesn’t matter because there are modifications for everything. And if you think it’s not for guys, I guide my husband through some of the tracks when he wants some at-home strengthening work. He’s no wuss but he struggles to get through some of this stuff. No joke.

Becoming a POP Pilates instructor was one of the best choices I’ve ever made. Everyone is so supportive and accepting and helpful. It’s been an awesome journey and I have a feeling it’ll only get better.

If you’re wanting to become a group fitness instructor but you’re worried that you don’t fit the general body image, I say don’t worry about it. If you flip through some of my old posts (most recently my Before/After post), you’ll see that I’m not lean and I don’t look muscular. I don’t fit the generally accepted body image of a group fitness instructor. I went for it anyway and saw women who were much larger than me who were also stronger than me. And after getting my job as an instructor, my body size has never been commented on nor am I even the largest instructor. So long as you are physically capable of teaching your class, then there’s no problem to your size.

So I say if you really want to go for it, don’t let your size or your nervousness or anything get in your way! I’m really shy and have had to push myself to get out there but I did it and am SO happy I did!


About Katie St. John-Shin

I believe in living life and not letting it pass you by. I mean, come on, if you really want to do something but don't have the courage to do it so you let the opportunity disappear, you may regret it for the rest of your life. How can you know what you're capable of unless you go for it? Like every writer, I naturally plan on becoming world-famous (not really). I love reading, writing, fitness, coffee, watching my favorite movies/shows, listening to music, and trying new things even if they're sometimes terrifying. I'm a writer, a group fitness instructor, a personal trainer, and a nutter for doing all of the above.

Posted on October 13, 2016, in Fitness, Personal, POP Pilates and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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