Turning 50 was a wakeup call for me. I found myself out of shape and concerned about my long term health and well-being. After trying a number of different fitness methods, I discovered Pilates. I soon began an incredible transformation. Everything began to unfold in a way necessary to bring me to where I am today. From making better health and fitness choices, to joining the fitness center, taking my first Pilates class and finally teacher training. At age 60, I became a Pilates instructor! I’m now helping clients achieve their own transformation through Pilates.
They say that 50 is the new 40, but this wasn’t the case for me! When I turned 50, I began to notice signs of aging; stiffness, less flexibility, more aches and pains, not being able to do things I did when I was younger. I figured that if I felt this way at 50, what would life would be like at 70 or 80? My excuses for not exercising disappeared when a new fitness center opened where I worked. One day a personal trainer encouraged me to try a Pilates class. I entered the class reluctantly but left it feeling like I’d come home. I had discovered a way of exercising that felt right; for my body, mind and soul. I felt stronger, breathed deeper and stood taller. I had more energy and my flexibility improved. The stiffness I’d attributed to “getting older” had gone and I was more confident about maintaining a great quality of life. I soon developed a thirst to find out more about the Pilates method.
I found a local studio and delved even deeper into the Pilates world. The more Pilates classes I attended, the more I wanted to attend! I started thinking about teaching Pilates but didn’t know how I would be able to do the training and work full time. Sometimes, fate works in strange ways.
When outsourcing eliminated my corporate job I decided to take the plunge and join the training program. It consisted of 750 hours of instruction, workshops, observations, and student teaching, covering the mat and all apparatus. The instruction helped me understand the exercises and get them in my body. Observations exposed me to different instructors and their styles. Workshops deepened my understanding of the method and taught me proper cueing. Student teaching helped me practice my skills. Tests on Pilates principles, anatomy, and exercise order ensured comprehension. Practice classes provided feedback and the final exam, performing the entire advanced reformer series, was like a rite of passage.
Fifteen months later, at age 60, I became a Pilates instructor. Quite an amazing transformation! Now, I enjoy enabling my clients to realize their own transformation. Working with “Baby Boomers” like myself, I feel I am best able to relate to their particular needs and concerns. It has been an incredible journey.
This year I celebrated my 5 year teaching anniversary and have never been happier. Joseph Pilates taught until he died at age 86. Many of Joe’s original students, collectively known as the Pilates elders, taught into their 80’s and even 90’s. I look forward to teaching as long as I can.
Len Palombi is a classically trained Pilates instructor, qualified on all apparatus. He completed his initial training in 2012, through The Village Pilates Studio in Forest Park, IL, under the direction of Master Instructor Regan Zubak and is certified by the Pilates Method Alliance (PMA). Len has also completed the Polestar® Pilates Comprehensive Training Program and holds additional teaching certificates.*
Len is experienced in working with older adults. Having completed his training at age 60, he is able to draw on his own experience with the method to make Pilates accessible regardless of age or level of fitness. His mission is to change lives through positive movement experience.
*Practitioner of Pilates Studio – Polestar® Pilates
*Post Rehab Breast Cancer Survivor Exercise Specialist – Pink Ribbon Program
*Bone Safe© Pilates for Osteoporosis – Jenna Zaffino