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March 15, 2012 / ShapedforFitness

Pilates & Yoga Instructor Trainings

Two trainings complete. . . . One to go!!!

The past couple weeks have been quite busy for me with fitness training, teaching and practicing. Three weekends ago, we flew up to Portland for the Peak Pilates basic mat training and then two weekends ago I did the YogaFit Level 1 training. Last weekend I had off (THANK GOD!) and enjoyed the much-needed rest. Both the Pilates and yoga trainings were 16 hours long and exhausting. Plus, traveling to Portland added another tiring component because we flew in late Friday night and flew out at 7am Monday morning. But, we were also able to spend precious time with family and close friends, which made the trip worth while. Here’s a brief summary of the trainings I did.

Peak Pilates Basic Mat Certification Course

Loved, loved, LOVED this course!! Highly recommend it to anyone looking to get into Pilates instruction. It was very intense and every minute was packed, but after the course I felt prepared to teach a Pilates mat class the next day. And I greatly improved my overall teaching skills. I also really appreciated how thorough the course materials were and I was able to study and prepare before the course, which gave me a jump-start to the training.

So here’s what we did over the 16 hours and 2 days:

  • Classroom learning with lectures on Pilates history, principles, class format, successful teaching skills, etc
  • A full Pilates mat class to start each day
  • Learn, practice and teach the fundamentals
  • Break down all 24 basic mat exercises to the smallest details
  • Practice teaching the exercises to each other
  • Memorize the order of exercises (classical Pilates)
  • Perfect our own form and alignment, over and over (exhausting!)

The most difficult part of teaching is getting the right words to come out of your mouth at the right time. And, in the training we weren’t confident in what we were saying, which made us fumble our words even more. Confidence is critical in teaching. We practiced teaching the exercises over and over until we felt more comfortable in what we were saying, and felt better about the sequence of exercises. By the end of each day we had done hundreds, upon hundreds of core exercises and I couldn’t do one more ab crunch, I was pooped!

Certification Requirements

In order to be a certified Peak Pilates basic mat instructor, I had/have to do the following:

  • Pass the 25 question written test (100%!)
  • Pass the exercise test by performing the all the exercises in sequence with proper form (passed!)
  • Pass the teaching test by instructing the students in 6 exercises (passed!)
  • Complete 30 hours of Pilates: 10 hours of personal practice, 10 hours teaching, 10 hours observation (14 hours complete)

Even though my original intention of this Pilates course was only to satisfy the requirement for Xtend Barre, I’m considering taking more Peak Pilates courses in the future because it was such an great training program. Pilates is also a wonderful foundation to any type of fitness because all the exercises are taught to increase strength and flexibility while protecting all the joints and spine. My body feels so much better after Pilates training!

YogaFit Level 1 Training Course

Two weekends ago, I completed the 16-hour YogaFit Level 1 training course in Newport Beach, CA. This was only a training course because in yoga there really isn’t a certification to get. The minimum education standard set by the Yoga Alliance is to complete a 200-hour (yes, 200 hours!!) approved training program and be registered with the Yoga Alliance as a yoga instructor. Once you become a 200-hour RYT (registered yoga teacher), you are more likely to be hired as a yoga instructor. Even the YMCA in Newport Beach requires a yoga instructor to have a 200-RYT. But, that doesn’t mean you can’t teach yoga without it. Some gyms or studios will hire you if you are in progress towards a 200-RYT, which is where I am now. YogaFit is an approved yoga training by the Yoga Alliance and by completing the level 1 training (16 hours) plus donating 8 hours of yoga instruction, I will have completed 24 hours of the 200, 176 to go!

The YogaFit level 1 training course was just okay for me. The course materials were pretty good and the instructor was very knowledgable, but I didn’t feel the course prepared me to teach yoga. Thankfully I’ve been teaching yoga for a few months and have my own flow down, but some of the other students had never taught anything before and felt like it would be impossible to teach a yoga class the next day. I thought one girl was going to walk out crying, she was so scared to teach! The focus of the training was more on the proper form and execution of the poses, not instruction. Yoga instructor training? Not really, more like deepen your personal yoga practice. That frustrated me because I paid a lot of money to improve my yoga teaching skills.

But, I am thankful I completed the 16 hour course (even though it was 85 degrees and sunny that weekend in Newport Beach!) and now have some documentation on yoga trainings. To be honest, I’m not sure if I want to pursue the 200-RYT, but the hours never expire so I can take 10 years to get to 200 if I want to. As of today, I’m going to focus on my primary goal of teaching Xtend Barre and Piloxing classes.

Now that leaves me with ONE more training, Xtend Barre!

This weekend I’m doing the 3-day, 18-hour Xtend Barre instructor training course in San Diego, which I’m super excited for. I love taking Xtend Barre classes and I can’t wait to learn how to teach it so I can share it with other people. Another exciting thing about the course is that it’s taught by Courtney, a friend and an instructor at the studio I go to in Mission Viejo. Courtney is also the west cost instructor trainer for Xtend Barre:

Courtney Miller - Xtend Barre Mission Viejo

After this weekend, I’ll be done with all the training courses for the year! 

On another note. . . . last week I taught my first “real” Piloxing class (with paying customers) at Xtend Barre Mission Viejo! I was so excited and a little nervous the night before, I only slept for an hour or two. Even though I was running on pure adrenaline, we had a fun, sweat pouring class! Here’s a photo of me before class (courtesy of Sarah, aka Skinny Runner):

Hope you have a fabulous, fitness filled weekend!!



Leave a Comment
  1. Tricia Minnick / Mar 22 2012 10:35 am

    They sound like great courses. Do you have a pilates DVD you recommend? As a stay at home mother to a 4 year old, I find it difficult to consistently make classes but am on the hunt for a DVD for at home workouts.

    • ShapedforFitness / Mar 22 2012 11:13 am

      Hi Tricia!
      Yes, I have a lot of great DVDs that would be good for you. One of my favorite Pilates & barre instructors is Tracey Mallett and she has a few DVDs that I really like. Have you tried a barre workout? My favorite is the Booty Barre Plus Abs and Arms DVD, which very challenging but you’ll see results quickly. The Booty Barre Beginners & Beyond DVD is also a good workout and offers a tutorial on the proper form. Her Pilates DVD, Pilates Super Sculpt, is also challenging. Check out Tracey’s website or for more info:

      I also really like, which is an online Pilates video website where you can stream videos to your computer for only $18/month. They have over 500 videos to choose from and you can do a free trial for 15 days. Check out my blog post about it:

      2 other workout DVDs that I love are Xtend Barre and Piloxing. Check them out! Thanks for reading my blog!


  1. Xtend Barre Instructor Training « SHAPEd for Fitness
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