Why I Am Not A Celebrity Trainer


I am not a celebrity trainer.

I may be well known, command fees of well over $100 per hour, and train celebrities.

But I would rather be the help.

As many of you know, hubby and I have had several major life changes in the past decade. We sold everything and moved to the Caribbean island of Providenciales in the Turks and Caicos in 2005, then over to the tiny, A-list resort island of Parrot Cay in 2007, and then to the very big island of Manhattan in 2011. Where were we before TCI? On the Main Line of Philadelphia, living a life that we created, but realized that we didn't want.

IMG00021.jpgI turn 48 in just a few months, and am thinking back to where I thought I would be and what I thought I would be doing at this point in my life.

Generally, I knew I would be teaching something (since I do that well) and hoped to be in a major metropolitan area. Oh, and I was sure to have cats.

Just typing this is funny, because life turns out so differently.

Now I find that while I have general ideas about my likes and dislikes, I have stopped major life planning beyond how much money I would like to earn in order to live well, and where I want to live. And I am always open to changes in these depending on situation. Living well in NYC, for example, costs more than living well at Parrot Cay.

NYBG.jpgIn the course of this move I have had to do lots of introductions and lots of profile changes. Facebook, Twitter, Linked In, professional forums, directories, and bio boxes are everywhere and they all always need updating.

This is causing a small crisis as I attempt to redefine myself.

Who am I?

I am a Pilates teacher, a fitness trainer, a writer, a mom and grandmom; I am a gourmand who loves pizza and Five Guys burgers as much as caviar, and a clean freak who hates to actually clean. I am actively and openly Jewish, I appreciate Buddhism, and I cannot stand religious zealots of any kind (even though I believe in something unidentifiable, I lean towards atheism); and once a philosopher always a philosopher, as I spent over a decade of my life teaching and studying western philosophy.

I love to stay up late and sleep late (which people don't always know with my current schedule that starts at 7-7:30am), love dogs as much as cats, identify as a liberal, and truly believe that we are witnessing what Plato meant in The Republic when he said that democracy would devolve into rule by the lowest common denominator.

Oh, and I am a Usui Reiki Master teacher who practices and teaches energy channeling even though I am not always sure what it is that I am doing (I do it because Reiki actually works).

So who does this make me?

Titles bother me. I hate the phrase "celebrity trainer" even though I do train plenty of celebrities. I don't like the phrase "reiki master healer" even though that is the official title on my certificate. Plus people do feel and sleep better with my reiki treatments and my students all successfully practice reiki on themselves and others.

I actually like the phrase "service worker." I like being the help. I am lucky enough to choose to live my life and earn my living in service to others (and hopefully myself as well). Never denigrate service workers — all of us behind the scenes people who keep people and places going.

You like a clean subway seat? Thank the people cleaning. You like having dinner served on clean plates at a restaurant? Thank the dishwasher before you thank the chef. Had a great workout? Thank the trainer.

When did chefs, personal trainers, and hair stylists become celebrities? If you get paid to provide a service, whether it's deciding what's for dinner and cooking food for your customers, cutting and styling someone's hair, or helping someone look and feel great, you are the help. You are in service.

My name is Lynda Lippin, and I am the help.

Social Media Basics for Pilates Teachers

Social Media Basics for Pilates Teachers - social media should be an important piece of your marketing and client attraction.

Most Pilates teachers I meet are on social media for personal interest. They have a personal Facebook profile, maybe join Twitter to follow celebrities, and use Instagram or Pinterest to publish selfies and fashion photos.

Now, you may wonder if it is really worth it for a Pilates teacher to have a strong social media presence.

The answer is, a very resounding, "YES!"

I started my social media and web networking while I was living and working on Parrot Cay in Turks and Caicos. I wanted a way to keep people connected to me and to stay connected to the outside world.

I wanted to entice potential guests with fabulous photos of Pilates on the beach and the gorgeous natural surroundings.

And, I wanted to ensure that, when I decided to leave Parrot Cay and return to the "real world", I would be able to easily prove my worth and have a high-profile job and client list.

Guess what? It worked!

Here are some ideas for how to grow your very own Pilates social media empire. In this post I will cover the big three - Facebook, Twitter, and Linked In.

I link to my pages on these sites to give you an idea of what I do.

Facebook - we may love to hate Facebook, but it isn't going anywhere.

  • Do not use your personal profile for business, unless you want to share your personal life with clients and have to "friend" every potential interested party.
  • Set up a Business Page for your Pilates practice and make the posts public. When people "like" and "follow" your page they will get your posts in their news feeds.
  • Basically, if you don't have a website or blog yet, your Facebook Page can act as one for the short term.

Twitter - life in 140 characters or less.

  • Use your name or your business name, but have it be recognizable. Add a photo and links to your other profiles.
  • Follow people you know, you like, and those in your pilates niche.
  • Take time to read tweets, Retweet, Favorite, and Reply. Thank people who do this for you. Twitter is about conversation.
  • Make your tweets public. Don't set up roadblocks for your followers!
  • I tend to not like linking my Facebook and Twitter posts. Hashtags work differently on these sites (more on that in another post), so Twitter posts can look silly on Facebook.

Linked In - professional connections

  • Linked In is where you connect with other professionals. It is basically your resumé on the web. Linked In is also full of active professional groups, where you can really connect with other Pilates teachers in your city, country, and the world.

Since being back in NYC I have had several social media connections prove to be quite lucrative.

  • Several Pilates teachers from other countries (Greece, Denmark, Uruguay) have come to NYC on holiday to take sessions with me at Real Pilates.
  • I "met" Form Pilates owner Lindsay Lopez on Twitter, and yesterday I spent an afternoon with her in Union Square, coaching a group of Pilates teachers about how to work overseas and gain high-profile celebrity clients.

Basically, your social media presence will allow people to interact with you and see what you are about before meeting you. In a crowded Pilates market this is crucial.

And if you want to work outside of your home country, your public social media presence will allow potential employers to learn more about you and how you present yourself before they interview you, which should be a good thing.

So, Pilates teachers, if you have been hesitant to put yourself out there professionally on social media, get cracking!


DVD Review: Lisa Johnson Modern Pilates & Body Physica: Intense


Two Great New Fitness and Pilates DVDs from Boston-based Pilates Pilates teacher, Lisa Johnson

Social media has been one of the most effective Pilates networking tools I have ever used. In the past I joined professional collectives, forums, and training organizations to meet other trainers, and none brought me as many solid, practical, and talented connections as Twitter. One of my Twitter compatriots, and a fellow blogger of fitness and food, is Lisa Johnson (@lisajohnson), an established (15 years) Pilates and fitness instructor, and owner of Modern Pilates (@modernpilates) in Brookline, MA. When she put out a call for reviews of her new DVDs on Twitter and Facebook, I answered.

Note that even though I teach at a fabulous Pilates studio, and certainly do many of my workouts there, I do on occasion workout at home, and I prefer having an audio and/or video guiding me through. Seriously, after creating other people's exercise programs all day, the last thing I want to think about is my own!

Body Physica: Intense

I'm starting with my favorite of the two, the high intensity interval training segments on Body Physica: Intense. Four short, but really intense, workout routines that combine many variations on body weight exercises and cardio. Lisa's use of a chair as a workout bench is brilliant!

I find Lisa Johnson to be engaging and informative without sounding too cheerleader-like. The exercise routines were safe but challenging, with modifications given. I give this one 5/5 Stars.

Order Body Physica: Intense


Modern Pilates

The older I get, and the longer I teach Pilates, the more I return to the Classical work. While I used to love the latest redesigned Pilates equipment with smooth ball bearings, extra light springs, adjustable ropes, and all kinds of bells and whistles, now I prefer a good old Gratz or Basil reformer with no ball bearings, leather straps, and four heavy springs.

And while I used to do lots of mat warm-ups and such, I now prefer to get right down to business. The concessions I do make to contemporary theories are significant, however. I limit most legs over head movements, such as roll-over and jack-knife, since they become compressive for most people and are completely contra-indicated for osteoporosis, and I will often introduce spine extension earlier than normal in the classical series, since people seem to need more of the back strengthening.

In general, Lisa's style is clear and conversational, with little background chatter. Her two assistants, who demonstrate the beginning and advanced versions of the exercises while Lisa does the pure intermediate, have great form and a clear knowledge of the exercises. I found the introductory comments on neutral pelvis and safe technique to be useful. But for a home video, I had issues with roll-over being taught, instead of something safe, functional, and in the same vein, like bridging.

Lisa comes from the more contemporary side of Pilates, and so her Pilates mat series is slightly different from the classical. Not huge, but doing the Pilates abdominal series (single leg stretch, double leg stretch, scissors, double leg lower/lift, and criss-cross) out of order was disconcerting.

That said, this is a generally safe and effective home Pilates routine. Advanced home exercisers will find this challenging, but it is still approachable for beginners. Just note that if you are expecting the stritctly classical Pilates series, you will not find it here. I give Modern Pilates 4/5 stars.

Order Modern Pilates


Pilates Testimonial: Suzanne Dvells


My latest Pilates testimonial from designer, writer, and activist Suzanne Dvells, @zoozan on Twitter.

Pilates Break

"How can an hour-long training session feel better than a massage? Beyond her status as a Master Pilates instructor Lynda Lippin possesses deep expertise in a wide range of fitness techniques.

She cunningly wields a light-handed, wry teaching style that is equally demanding and distracting. Somehow she manages to put her finger on the point of concern, bringing results with amazing consistency.

After just one ten session series with Lynda, I now commanded basic Pilates techniques that eluded me for years in the hands of other trainers. At the conclusion of a second series, distinct changes in my posture were evident. After a third series, I boast a new body.

Thanks to her many gifts, I walk away from sessions with a fresh point of reference for a healthier mind, body, and lifestyle."

Would you like easier movement, better posture, and a new body? I have just a few spots left open for Pilates privates or duets, some weekday late mornings (9:30a-11:30) and afternoons (2p-4p) at Real Pilates in Tribeca. $125, with package rates available.

Want a Pilates group class with me instead? You can try a SpringTone® class on Mondays 11-11:45am or a Beginner Mat and Tower class on Wednesdays 3-3:45pm. $30, with package rates available.

Contact the studio to schedule - email or call (212) 625-0777.

Hope to see you in the Pilates studio soon!