Pilates Teachers - On Celebrity Clients and Overseas Teaching


Pilates Teachers - On Celebrity Clients and Teaching Overseas. Expand your horizons!

Last week I presented a Business Development lecture to a group of lovely NYC pilates teachers.

Most of them were interested in working overseas at some point, and all were fascinated by the idea of retaining at least one celebrity client.

Regarding celebrity clients:

  • Up your customer service! No sloppiness, no lateness (even if they are always late), no uber-familiarity, no mixing of personal and business.
  • Be prepared for last minute scheduling, scheduling of friends, late minute cancels, and possible travel.
  • Set your price so that you are comfortable with the above. And think about what costs you will have to cover if you have to travel or cancel your other clients.
  • Network (especially in NYC and LA) with your nail salon, massage therapist, acupuncturist, trainer.... Let them know you are open to celebrity clients and would appreciate referrals.
  • Be solid and comfortable in what you teach. The first session will be a test.

Regarding working overseas:

  • Try to experience all brands of Pilates equipment. You never know what you will get overseas (including homemade stuff), so be prepared.
  • Be solid and comfortable in your own teaching. You may be the only one on your little island.
  • If you work at a resort, be prepared to always be on. You will be living and working with everyone. Want to hit the beach on your day off? The guests will be there.
  • Be prepared for a 1-2 year contract. It costs a lot to bring someone in from overseas, so it's not usually worth it for a short term contract.
  • Beware of Fitness Travel companies, or any company that asks you to come through immigration as a tourist when you will actually be working. There will be dire consequences for your future ability to travel and work overseas should you get caught.

Caring and Communication During Sandy at New York by Gehry


New York by Gehry Staff Delivered Wonderful Service During Hurricane Sandy

Hubby and I live in a fabulous apartment building downtown - New York by Gehry or NYBG. At 76

8 Spruce Street by Frank Gehry

stories, power loss and loss of elevators were a huge concern, as well as staffing, safety, and security. Running a building like ours is similar to running a high-end hotel, but your guests stay longer and pay monthly instead of daily. Here is a note I sent to our GM, Jeffrey Cohen of Cooper Square, after the power was restored on Saturday night.

Hi Jeffrey,

Thank you so much for all of the attention, concern, and communication over this past week. All of the building staff and management have been so available and present, from just reassuring banter and a smile while charging our phones and knowing what stores and restaurants were open, to taking out a mountain of trash and procuring glow lights for the potential dark stair climb. And all of this when everyone was dealing with their own Sandy trauma at home.

The fact that we were secure in the dark is huge. Hubby and I greatly appreciate your presence. We were staff at Parrot Cay Resort through several cat 3 hurricanes, and know how tough it is to handle high end guests and residents in a high stress emergency situation. We can only imagine the "back of house" organization that it took to get through this unprecedented storm in a huge new property. We are lucky to have all of you! Please share with the staff.

Yes, we may tip and compliment every once in a while, but nothing beats a positive letter to the GM. If you have staff around you who helped you get through Sandy, please recognize them any and every way you can - they deserve it! Tip, compliment, and give that reference. It will help everyone.

Hubby Caught A Purse Snatcher


My Hero Hubby Caught a Purse Snatcher at South Street Seaport on 9/11!

South Street Seaport

We took the Smiley dog out for her walk on the evening of 9/11, and took Fulton street towards South, turning onto Front Street by the Coach store. This Asian kid holding a purse ran towards us with a guy in a suit behind him shouting, "Stop him! He stole someone's purse." Hubby threw me Smiley's leash, and when the kid saw the dog he dropped the bag right in front of me and kept going, with Hubby leading the chase. Another guy came up and when he saw I had the bag, joined the chase.

The woman whose bag it was came running up and I told her that I had her bag. She was distraught, but felt better when she checked the bag and everything was there. She told me that she had been laid off that afternoon and went to sit by the water and compose herself before taking the PATH train home to NJ. This robbery was the icing on the cake, and she was so happy to get her bag back. As I put my arm around her, we heard applause.

Around the corner on Fulton came hubby and the suit along with the kid who stole the bag, an FDNY guy, and two security guards. My 57 year old hubby chased the kid around the block, and when he hesitated (a limo driver turned away from his car to see what was happening) hubby pushed him into a wall and held him until the neighborhood fire guy showed up, congratulated hubby, and grabbed the kid to hold until the police arrived.

The cops came quickly, took statements, assessed the situation, and said that they were so happy because they never catch these purse snatching mules, young illegal Chinese kids working off their travel forever for the Chinatown gangs. Seriously, this kid was young and clearly terrified, with no ID and a throwaway cell phone. We didn't even have to give statements because only the guy in the suit actually saw the crime happen.

Sad to say that this kid will probably be bailed out, have the bail added to his tab, take a beating, and be back out stealing purses in a day or so.

Just another day in the FIDI. Good thing hubby does cardio (thanks Robert Brace's 28 Day Challenge)! The funny thing was that everyone else was either huffing and puffing or making lame excuses for why they couldn't run. Even the young kids. Hubby didn't even sweat. He wasn't even breathing hard!

I am so proud of him!!

To My Fellow NYC Dog People



To my fellow NYC dog people,

As a dog person myself, I am very aware of what the laws and general rules are regarding how to safely walk my dog around the city without incident. The effectiveness of these rules hinges upon the fact that everyone follows them. If Smiley is on leash but nobody else bothers, well, it's just a bad idea.

So, to my fellow dog people of lower Manhattan, the rule is simple - I shouldn't have to worry about your pet or its poop. You dealing with your companion allows me to focus on mine without worrying about her acting out towards, or my having to control, an unleashed or poorly controlled animal.

1. Leash Laws, people! In NYC it is required by law that your dog be on a maximum 6' leash in any public space, including parks, building lobbies, and elevators. Recognizing that dogs do need to run and play off leash, there are several free dog runs in the neighborhood, including the Fishbridge and Wall Street runs.

If your dog is off leash that means I have to worry about what your pet is doing, especially if he or she is running up to Smiley, who is very protective and anxious when on leash. I can almost guarantee the encounter will not go well, and it will be me who has to try to pull Smiley away while pushing your dog away at the same time. Thanks.

Oh, and so you know, carrying the leash in your hands is not the same as walking your dog on leash.

2. Just because your dog is small, or nice, or "fine"... Dogs are dogs, and no matter what size they need to be on leash. Between traffic and other animals there are many deadly canine obstacles outside. And just because your dog gets along well with others, doesn't mean the neighbor whose butt she decides to sniff does. Again, don't make other people worry about your dog!

3. Personal space, please! If I don't know you, your children, or your pet, it's probably not the best idea to come right up to me and Smiley without any announcement or introduction. So if your dog is on leash, please control where it walks so it isn't suddenly on my dog's butt or by my leg.

By the same token, do not decide to pet or have small children approach my dog without asking first if it's OK with us. The number of adults who just reach down to pet her along with the number of small children that come running right up to Smiley's mouth is truly astonishing. Teach your children proper respect of dogs and a little about dog etiquette.

4. Lobby, Hallway, and Elevator are still public space. Dogs are territorial creatures, and the lobby is home turf for many dogs who would normally fight out their territorial disputes. Since they cannot go that route, they tend to snap at each other. For this reason it is much less stressful if everyone practices dog avoidance. If we are in an elevator, do not try to bring your dog on. In the hallway, let's try to back up or turn a bit to avoid confrontations. And let's always keep our dogs on leash!

5. Dog run etiquette. Smiley loves the dog run! Socializing, playing, and otherwise having a great time at the doggy playground is always a fun time. But then there are a few people who screw it up for everyone. So here are some basics:

  • Don't bring a unfixed or sick dog into a run - no need. And I shouldn't have to explain why.
  • Listen to and communicate with the other people. For example, Smiley gets mean when a newly arrived dog tries to play with her toy. Once the dog is in the run everything is OK, it's just that moment when the new dog runs over to check out the toy. So I ask people to wait outside for a moment while I put the toy away. And a few times people have been nasty, when I am just trying to avoid a problem.
  • Don't assume that all dogs get along. If needed, walk around the block and give the other folks a chance to leave quietly.
  • Whoever starts a fight leaves the run. Even if he or she just got there.
  • Pick up you dog's poop and rinse off your dog's pee and poop! Leaving that to fester will cause bacterial infections in other dogs.

Which leads me to... 6. PICK UP YOUR DOG'S POOP! It's the law. There are a lot of dogs in the City, and I know mine poops 2-3 times a day. That's a lot of poop, which is why there is a Pooper Scooper law in NYC. Every pet store carries holders and little bags (we now have scented pink heart ones), and if you can't afford those you can use those plastic grocery bags. Even if your dog is small, you still need to pick up its poop. If you forgot a bag, ask. I am more than happy to give you one of mine.

So, you see, most of the rules boil down to respecting others by simply taking responsibility for your own pet. That allows me to be better able to take responsibility for mine, and so on.


Real Pilates

Pilates: Body in Motion  Yesterday I went over to Real Pilates in Tribeca to first review my contract with friend and owner Alycea Ungaro and second, take a fabulous archival Pilates mat and spring work class from the beautiful and brilliant Shari Berkowitz. Regarding the first, you may start booking Pilates, Reiki, TRX with me at Real Pilates starting Monday October 3, 2011. Regarding the second, Shari's class was wonderful. Geared towards Pilates teachers, she gave us some lesser known but still very useful archival additions to the "traditional" Pilates mat and spring work. Something I really missed when I was the only teacher on Parrot Cay was the ability to work with other Pilates teachers.

In addition to Real Pilates, I am also teaching limited privates in other areas of the City as well as in-home training. Just email me [lynda AT] if you are interested.