Tatjana Plotnikova was born on October 13th 1976 in the beautiful city of Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia. Tatjana has always been athletic. She did synchronised swimming with the Georgian national team. Even at young age she helped her coach with the training. She helped her teammates adjust their movements in the water, so they could execute them better. That’s how Tatjana started teaching for the first time.After she moved to Amsterdam in The Netherlands she continued swimming with the Dutch national team for another 1,5 years, but she decided to quit her athletic career after the 2001 Olympics. At the “Shape all in” Gym Tatjana started her new career as a fitness instructor. Tatjana Plotnikova is the owner of Bodyvita Pilates Studio at Kerkstraat 276 in Amsterdam (the Netherlands).
When dit you start doing Pilates?
I was a professional synchronised swimmer from when I was 9, and during the training we would use Pilates exercises.
Where and from who did you get your training?
I took the Ground Control Course from Debbie Jenner, but I also did Polestar, Balanced Body University and Stott Pilates.
How did you learn about Pilates?
I was taking Pilates classes at the Shape all in Gym in Amsterdam, and Nuria and Jennifer were training me.
Does your background have anything to do with Pilates?
The control I had over my body which I needed to keep myself under water during swimming, has definitely helped me be a better teacher now.
What was the reason for you to make this your profession?
This method is perfect for helping people; to make them more aware of their own body and to make them feel good, both mentally and physically. To me Pilates is a passion and it’s a huge part of my life.
Do you have your own studio?
My studio is called Bodyvita and is located on a very special place at the heart of the Amsterdam canals. The studio has a luxurieus and spiritual vibe. I used Balanced Body Pilates equipment. The studio is completely furnished. We add new apparatus or small props on a regular basis so we can offer our clients more and to give them quicker results.
What Pilates apparatus is your favorite? What brand do you prefer to use?
Balanced Body is one of the finest brands out there and they continue to evolve and improve. Balanced Body is my number one. To give you an example: the Allegro 2 is their newest machine that combined the repertoire of the Cadillac, the Reformer and the Clinique Reformer with the Infinity bar.
Do you find it hard to get new clients or keep your old ones? Has the financial crisis affected you in any way?
The last years the Fitness-, Mind & Body branche have developed a lot. People want to invest in their health. The crisis hasn’t affected me. We are happy with our clients that share their experience with their friends and familymembers. Some give a Personal Training or a group class to people, because they feel it’s important to them.
Why did you start your own studio?
The idea to start my own studio came from my clients that kept following me from different gyms if I switched.
Do you take workshops yourself?
Yes, I take new workshops every 3 months. My first workshop was at the EFAA convention, where I worked behind the scenes. This made such an impact on me. So many (3000!) passionate, sporty people that went from masterclass to masterclass, for 8 hours a day -3 days in a row-, I’ll never forget it.
Were there any physical problems you solved by doing Pilates?
It’s been known for some time that being a professional athlete isn’t very healthy, so after I quit my professional career I started feeling discomfort in my knee, neck and back. Because of pilates all these problems are gone and they haven’t been back either.
Do you have a target audience that you teach and how many lessons do you teach every week?
On average I teach 35 to 45 hours a week, with 9 groupclasses. I really prefer the ‘the difficult cases’. I love working with people that no one else can help. I have different target audiences:
- People with serious health problems
- People with chronic pain
- People that are recovering from an operation, with hip- or knee prosthesis
- Athletes and artists from Cirque du Soleil
- People that are addicted to Pilates and want to train at a very advanced level
Who would you like to teach Pilates to?
I would love to teach Pilates to Queen Maxima. Maybe she will believe in the Pilates method as well and she can help Pilates classes to be covered by insurance companies and Pilates being taught at school.
There are often more women that teach Pilates than men (this is the case in Europe). How do you see this from a Pilatestrainer point of view?
It’s true, but it’s changing. There are more men now that take the training. In Russia, 30% of all Pilatestrainers are male.
More and more studio’s are popping up in Amsterdam. I love it, the more people will try this method out the faster it will grow. I think more studios will come that will train well qualified trainers. You couldn’t find any Pilates training in Amsterdam 15 years ago, no Polestar, BBU, Stott or Basi, you can now! Pilates guru’s find their way to the Netherlands more often, with the likes of Lolita San Miguel, Ton & Michael, Brent Anderson en Liz Bussey coming to our country. It’s becoming more popular in the Netherlands`. What truly helps is having an online magazine such as Pilatesglossy, that gives us information, creates a platform for trainers and informs the public about Pilates. We really have something to look forward to and to grow further.
Are there any Pilates trainers that you collaborate with? If yes, who are they?
I work together with my 6 Pilates Trainers (Andrea Derkse, Connie Guitonneau, Devon Ress, Emelie de Wijer, Rosi Soto, Monique Wetzel, 2 Polestar educators from the Netherlands; Annemieke De Jonas and Leila Kester, and Russian trainers in Russia.
Are there things you changed about Pilates or would you like to?
The method changes itself, because more is possible and the knowledge about the human body and technical progression has grown. I would like to add more techniques from the Feldenkrais method, Myofascial stretches and Psychomatic therapy.
What is the most important insight Pilates has given you?
It stimulates people to live healthy. Their lifestyle changes and they feel happier.
Who is your biggest rolemodel? Who from the Pilates world would you like to meet?
Elisabeth Lakram is a rolemodel for me, but I have met more of my Pilates idols and took their classes and workshops. To name a few:
- PJ O’Clair
- Elizabeth Bussey
- Shelly Power
- Michael Fritzke & Ton Voogt
- Brent Anderson
What is your favorite anecdote about (Joseph) Pilates?
During the Balanced Body convention in London a letter from Joseph Pilates to the President of the USA at the time was read. His way of writing and his absolute conviction about his method were special. He really sincerely believed that he could help mankind to be and stay healthy.
What is your dream?
My dream is to open as many Pilates studio’s as possible and to make BodyVita into an international brand.