We are proud to present Jeroen Vancollie (33 y/o), owner of GRACE Pilates studio in Leuven, Belgium, to Pilatesglossy. He’s a married father of 3 and thinks that together, we should strive for a higher quality of Pilates through a better education for the trainers. Jeroen loves his job; Pilates is his passion. Jeroen:”Let’s all strive to have a higher quality of teaching the instructors.”
When did you start doing Pilates?
I first learned about Pilates through a workshop 7 years ago. I was sold.
Who trained you?
My base is a comprehensive Peak Pilates training. That was 3 years ago. But that was only the start. I felt a huge drive to learn more, experience more and hopefully meet the right people. It turned out to be quite a challenge. I feel underground since then; I don’t think I’m part of any movement within Pilates and I try to be as close to the source as I can.
How did you learn about Pilates? Does your background have anything to with Pilates?
I originally started in fitness and I thought: “I’ll just do a Pilates training”, as many think they can do easily. And then when I got older, I’d teach Pilates, but I didn’t think it would be that hard. It turned out to be so much tougher, much more elaborate, but also much more interesting than I could’ve imagined. And just liked that I quit fitness and started studying Pilates.
What made you decide to make this your profession?
At first I wanted to start a personal training and small sessions concept in Leuven, where I live. People were asking about it and I really wanted to train people and not just give groupclasses. Then Pilates came along, and there was no Pilatesstudio in Leuven yet. So this kind of happened gradually. And we’ve been there for 6 years now.
What is a common misconception about Pilates, according to you?
I think the core, the Powerhouse is a big misunderstanding. Everybody wants to do Pilates nowadays because it strengthens your abdominal- and backmuscles. Okay, they get stronger but please, Pilates is a total body workout and is challenging for everyone. And Pilates is for men too, it’s even created by a man. Many typical male exercises have not been respected enough over time, the armsprings and guillotine for example.
Can you describe your own studio?
The studio is really homey, and it’s not very big. I have the greatest team. In our kitchen you can enjoy a nice cup of tea. It was a big investment but you start with what you have and what you can afford. My first Pilates apparatus was a secondhand Balanced Body Reformer and mat, but these days I mostly have Gratz apparatus. I prefer Gratz.
Why did you start your own teaching method?
We definitely don’t want to present ourselves as a trainingscentre because that’s what the more experienced teachers are for (25+ years) but I will start an internal mat course for 10 people. It’s mainly for a few interested clients and my teachers. I want to go back to the basics of the mat. It’s a 5 day course with coaching, spread over 5 months, once a month. So we can immediately put anything that’s learned to the test. It’s to improve on their own skills and their teaching skills. I also want to stop the intermediate-advanced system, because for me it’s illogical. Although commercially speaking it must provide a good income.
Do you frequently take workshops yourself? Which one made a lasting impression on you?
I take a workshop at my mentor; Javier Velazquez every two months. They are so well put together, inspiration, knowledge, anecdotes, comedy and he’s down to earth. Javier is someone that dedicates his life and time to research. It’s great to be able to hear whenever he’s discovered something new.
Are there any physical injuries or ailments you solved or kept under control by doing Pilates?
Physically I’m doing very well. My Pilates sessions seem to reset me. Everything seems to fall back in it’s place and everything gets stronger. For my brain it’s amazing to recharge in between trainings.
Is there a certrain demographic that you teach?
It’s very widespread. From athletes to housewives to people with chronic injuries. From 25 to 65 years old, and we have a lot of male clients!
How many classes do you teach each week?
I teach about 30-32 private classes each week, and about 10 groupclasses. Perhaps it’s a bit too much; I’m often forced to take a day off.
It’s often women that teach Pilates, and not men. What is your experience as a male Pilatesinstructor?
As a male instructor I experience being male as a positive thing. Of course there are more women during trainings and workshops, but I don’t have a problem with that. I think a male instructor is an advantage because a lot of men prefer to be trained by men. Don’t get me wrong, female instructors kick ass, but that’s the hard part for a lot of men J.
How do you see the future of Pilates?
Let’s all strive to have a higher quality of teaching the instructors. There are so many new classes and instructors because Pilates is so popular, and you’re bound to lose some quality because of that. And the so called Mastertrainers are made Mastertrainer way too soon. You should need more experience to be able to get this title.
Do you work with other Pilatestrainer(s), if so, who?
I have a small team with two other great teachers. Leen Druppel and Gabriele Casteels. But I really hope I can expand soon.
What is your favorite Pilates exercise and what is your least favorite?
I’ve noticed that even my least favorite end up being favorites over time. I think those are the exercises you need most.
What “Pilatesword” do you prefer not to use?
I mostly use words that work for that person and in that specific moment. If I go to the Efteling (amusementpark), my words tend to be fairytale like that week. Your vocabulary grows every week!
Are there things you changed about Pilates or would you like to?
Joe was a genius and every body is different. The way you teach Pilates takes shape in the person you have in front of you. There is no black and white in all this, but there’s mostly a lot of grey.
What’s the most important insight Pilates has given you?
Pilates is movement and total body! Pilates gets easier the longer I’m doing it, people just make it too complex!
Who is your biggest inspiration?
My biggest inspiration is my teacher; Javier Velazquez. I’ve never met anyone who’s as inspirational as he is. He has a lot of knowledge and a great sense of humor, is very experienced and really down to earth!
Have you ever met one of The Elders?
I’ve met Jay Grimes and trained with him, that’s nice. Unfortunately I never got to meet Romana, but I can hear her voice through Javier.
Do you think you’ll always continue to do and teach Pilates?
I love my job, it’s my passion! I hope I’ll be able to continue this for a long time to come, to be able to inspire myself and pass it on to others.
©Jeroen VancoillieGRACE Pilates studio en personal training Comprehensive certification GRACE Pilates studio Sint-Lambertusstraat 29 bus 1 3001 Heverlee,België +32 479 74 86 42 firstname.lastname@example.org www.grace-leuven.be