Jo James – Jo James Wellbeing
Jo James gives us an idea about what it’s like as a Pilates instructor
Tell us about your background and why you chose this field as your career?
After returning home from finishing my degree in dance, my friend and I decided to set up local cheerleading classes. During this time I started to suffer from lower back pain and I kept getting injured. Fortunately I met an osteopath who was also a Pilates instructor. I started seeing her regularly and she explained that I just wasn’t simply wasn’t strong enough in my core to support all the exercise that I was doing. At 22, this wasn’t quite the news I was expecting, so she suggested that as part of my rehab, we start doing Pilates weekly. A complete game changer! I no longer suffered with any back pain and what’s more, I loved it. After three years, I had seen fantastic results and I decided to train as an instructor. I completed my training with Stott Pilates in 2014 and I’ve never looked back.
What is the most enjoyable part of what you do and what type of work do you do most of?
The majority of my work is private groups, duet classes and one-to-ones. When working closely with people, I am able to tailor each session to suit their individual needs. My clients are then able to reach full their potential and get the most out of each session – after all, everyone is different. For me, the most enjoyable part of my job is building relationships with people and helping them achieve whatever they set out to do.
I have recently started running retreats abroad and that has been an amazing experience. To completely immerse yourself with your clients in a beautiful setting and doing a job you love really is a dream come true.
Tell us a bit about the challenges you have had on your journey?
I remember when I started advertising my first ever group Pilates class, I went into a small shop and asked if I could pay to have my flyer up in their window. The answer that came back was: “you won’t do very well around here, there’s too many Pilates instructors we don’t need any more.” That hit me quite hard, I was working in a sales job which was long hours just to keep afloat financially and with my two days off and evenings, I was trying to teach. I decided that it didn’t matter how many instructors were out there, everybody’s different and I can only hope people relate to me as in instructor and appreciate my approach to Pilates.
What have you planned for the future and where do you see the business in five years?
The Pilates industry is gaining quite a big online presence. I see a lot of online studios popping up or being advertised on social media. I understand that classes aren’t always accessible to everyone but I don’t believe there is any substitute by being taught by a professional instructor. I think we need to be present with our clients to fully help them reach their potential and most of all I like people to enjoy what they’re doing and understand the benefits of the exercises being taught.
For me personally, I would love to be doing exactly the same thing in five years’ time, with the added extras of meeting and helping new clients and running more retreats!