Escape the Norm and Find an Online Studio Scheduler You Actually Love

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Note from Kaleen:  Katie is one of my dearest friends, whom I met while working at Balanced Body.  She is outgoing, loud-mouthed, smart and an awesome Pilates instructor who has her own busy studio.  I help her with her website and graphic design, and since she raves about Tula so much I asked her to write something for you guys.  I hope you enjoy! By Katie Prior of Pilates Heartcore, Rancho Cordova, Ca. In the world today, there are a lot of choices out there for us.  Hundreds of resturaunts, multiple coffee shops and clothing stores galore.  And if you cannot find what you need in a physical store, then you just go online.  Or these days, you go online … Read More

What riding my bike taught me about the difficulties of Pilates equipment maintenance


A couple of weeks ago my boyfriend and I went cycling through wine country in Dahlonega, Georgia.  We stayed in a cool container cabin at the Hiker Hostel, visited a few wineries, and cycled 32 miles and climbed 2500 feet.  Whew!  My quads were bricks! About 3/4 of the way through our ride, almost to our last winery, I was cursing my bike.  My fitness.  The hills.  You name it.  And every time my bike took 5 seconds (yes, 5 whole seconds!) to shift gears while climbing, boy was I furious!  That’s like 4 or 5 more pedals at an effort that I didn’t want to be at!   It was the straw that broke the camels back. The thing is, around town I … Read More

How to create and actually perform an equipment maintenance routine


Pilates equipment maintenance is an easy subject to gloss over in the grand scheme of running a successful business.  Everyone knows they should be doing it, but few do.  It’s like cleaning your house or maintaining your car.  The average person knows there are basic schedules and tasks they should do, but they often put them off until it’s really necessary.  It’s too easy for other tasks (often more fun or seemingly important tasks!) to get in the way. Sometimes I go into a studio and it is immediately evident that I’m working with someone who is Type-A about everything (seriously, everything).  Their laundry room at home is impeccable, I’m sure.  Dirty clothes sorted by color and type, special hanging … Read More

The Number 1 missed question on my Maintenance Quiz


Before you read the rest of this post, take a minute to go take the maintenance quiz.  It’s quick, free and I need some more data to make any sort of statistical analysis! Go ahead, I’ll wait. … …….. ………….. …….. … Thanks!!  Now that you have done that, we can talk about some of the answers I’ve see submitted. Before we start, I want to note that at the time of this post I had only 9 surveys submitted, so let’s consider these preliminary results. The first question on the quiz asks, “How often do you clean your Reformer rails?”  And it’s first for a reason: I find that the condition and cleanliness of my client’s Reformer rails are … Read More

Don’t Be Afraid of the Nuts and Bolts: Easy Equipment Maintenance for Pilates Instructors


I’ve been published!  It’s an honor to be featured in one of Brett Miller’s Pilates Intel newsletters.  The subject: learning how to take care of your own Pilates equipment!  Here’s an excerpt. One of the first things the professor in my college Introduction to Engineering course told the class was that that no mechanical invention is truly unique. Everything we make or work on as engineers already exists somewhere in nature. Most notably, the human body. My education as a maker and an engineer has been a long and incredibly fun one. I love figuring things out. The challenge of understanding all the parts to make the contraption smoother, faster, stronger, quieter, or better drives me. The use of my body … Read More

New Equipment vs. Refurbishing Old Equipment


Some of you are looking to add equipment to your studio.  Or, you are looking to replace your current equipment.  How do you know whether to buy new from the manufacturer or scour craigslist and ebay for used equipment?  Is your older equipment worth refurbishing? Owning high quality equipment from Gratz, Balanced Body or Peak is a great investment, as it retains its value and relative condition over time.  Consider that if you closed your studio tomorrow, your client list would be hard to sell.  But, your equipment would be worth quite a lot. Here are a few questions to ask yourself when you are considering adding or starting your stable. Do you own your current equipment? Basically, the goal here … Read More

The truth about essential oils and your Pilates equipment


One of the big surprises for my clients is that your Pilates equipment manufacturer probably doesn’t recommend cleaning vinyl with essential oils.  While a diluted solution of tea tree oil is the inherent choice for many studio owners, the major vinyl manufacturers (Naugahyde and Boltaflex) don’t recommend it. What the manufacturers say Shari Berkowitz published a handy guide to Equipment TLC in 2012 (click here) and Balanced Body, Gratz, Basil and Peak representatives all recommend a mild soap and water solution.  Stott actually recommends using tea tree oil (I’m not sure why, I can’t get any information on who their vinyl comes from). Naugahyde recommends a 10% liquid soap and water solution for light soiling, and a 10% bleach/90% water … Read More

Why your studio’s ambient environment matters


After just 5 months in the deep South, the black bolts on my Reformer are rusting!  Luckily, the parts shown in the image above aren’t load bearing, but it is kind of gross and is indicative of the humidity’s effect on your equipment. While I worked at Balanced Body, I heard about studios on the coast experiencing rust on bolts, springs and tower tubes fairly often.  Many people didn’t believe that, even indoors, their equipment is sensitive to the ambient environment. How does it happen? Rust develops when iron comes into contact with oxygen and water.  There are many types of coatings that help prevent rust from forming.  Chrome plating, zinc plating, and bluing are some forms.  Plus, metal alloys like Stainless … Read More

The truth about Spring Lifespans


Every client I visit asks if they really need to replace their springs every two years.  My short answer: Yes. Here is what the major manufacturers say: From Gratz… The average life of a Gratz Reformer spring is 18 to 24 months if you use your equipment daily or continuously. If the springs show any sign of wear or emit any unusual sounds, then they should be replaced immediately. From Balanced Body… All Balanced Body springs should be replaced at least every two years. Certain environments and usages can shorten the expected life of the springs and you may need to replace the springs more frequently. Therefore, it is very important to inspect springs on a regular basis since worn or … Read More

Leather Strap Care


Your leather straps originate from Latigo straps found in ranching.  And just like any leather used on the ranch, they need to be cleaned and oiled regularly to keep them soft, supple and strong. See the cracks in this photo?  That’s from years of neglecting the leather straps.  Eventually, the straps will break at those cracked locations. To prevent this and keep your straps comfortably supple, use Saddle Soap (link, here) on a quarterly basis.