Pilates Teachers' Manual

Special Guest - Adam McAtee

January 21, 2021 Olivia Bioni Season 4 Episode 3
Pilates Teachers' Manual
Special Guest - Adam McAtee
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Adam McAtee joins me on the podcast to share his Pilates experience, the importance of an evidence based approach to teaching Pilates, and offer some inspiring sage advice for Pilates teachers. He's also in the process of becoming a physical therapist, and he shares his way of weaving different movement modalities together.   

I want to hear from you! Share your thoughts and follow the podcast on Instagram and Facebook @pilatesteachersmanual. Full show notes, episode transcription, and chapter markers can be found on the podcast website here: http://bit.ly/pilatesteachersmanual. Be sure to subscribe to the podcast for updates, and rate and review wherever you listen!  Episodes now available on YouTube: *https://bit.ly/YouTubePTM*

Email [email protected] with your feedback.   

Show Notes:

You can follow Adam on Instagram here and sign up for his Pilates Meets Exercise Science workshops, his Core to Coeur classes, and his newsletter here.

The course I took with Chelsea Corley is a six week Motor Learning Theory adventure called What You Say Matters. Check it out here.

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Olivia: [00:00:00] Welcome to Pilates Teachers' Manual, your guide to becoming a great Pilates teacher. I'm Olivia, and I'll be your host. Join the conversation and the Pilates community on Instagram at @pilatesteachersmanual and visit buymeacoffee.com/OliviaPodcasts to support the show. Today's chapter starts now.

Hello, hello everybody. Welcome back to the podcast. I [00:01:00] am so excited today to have Adam McAtee on. He is an incredible Pilates teacher. He is currently studying to be a physical therapist as well. He wears many hats and does many cool things, of which he will share with us today. So thank you so much for joining us.

Adam: [00:01:17] Thank you for having me. It's a pleasure to be here and I'm excited to dive right into it. 

Olivia: [00:01:22] Yeah. So first thing I always want to know because everyone's experience is so different, but how did you first find Pilates? 

Adam: [00:01:30] That's always kind of fun to chat about that. I actually just kind of stumbled in Pilates as a 20 year old, who was kind of not doing a whole lot. And my mom was actually going through her teacher training program. And as we all know as instructors, you just need bodies to teach. So she chose her children and I was one of them obviously. And I went in, you know, very stiff, a lot of back pain. 

And I actually literally used the ship Pilates equipment on semi-trucks. I didn't know there were Pilates. I just knew they [00:02:00] were big and they're heavy. So I used to ship those. Had a lot of back pain and I was just like your typical stereotypical guy walking into the Pilates studio. It all looks like torture devices. It's strange. I actually can't touch my toes, but I can do a pushup.

And so it was really humbling. You know, I started shaking a lot, which is always like validating. Something good must be happening. And I was also really humbled and that I couldn't actually do a task that sounds really simple, like sit up with your legs straight. And I couldn't actually achieve that. And so it was really humbling. 

And I left and I felt really good. And that's what I liked about it the most. That I felt really energized and I felt really good afterwards. And that drew me back into the studio as a student. I had a really short span as a student, as I just jumped right into the teacher training program, like literally like three sessions and. I'm signed up to learn how to teach it. Like they shouldn't, I'm glad they did, but they really shouldn't have let me take the program. But I needed a [00:03:00] change in my life. 

I didn't go right to college. I was just working on a forklift at two in the morning, and so I was like totally happy to go into Pilates school. So I did that. I originally had a classical training from a hole in the wall studio here in Southern California, an absolute gem. And I got out of the program as soon as possible, so I could start teaching. 

And so, for me, I didn't go in there because I had an injury. I didn't go in there because I was referred to by a physical therapist. My mom needed a human to teach and I happened to be available. Just serendipity that I ended up loving it and have made a career out of it.

Olivia: [00:03:34] I think that's incredible. I can relate to that a lot. The first Pilates class that I took was like a therapy mat class. And it was for like older people and kind of like maintaining mobility and stuff. And we were doing side lying. We were doing like clams or something and I couldn't lift my knee. And I'm watching these like 70 year olds, 80 year olds, like banging these out like a champ and I couldn't lift my leg. Because I didn't know what I was doing. 

And so that also kind of [00:04:00] inspired me to want to learn more about Pilates because you know, I'm like a young fit person. Why can't I do this, you know, like you said, simple task? 

Adam: [00:04:09] Yeah. Yeah. And it is really humbling and it takes a bit of curiosity to want to go ahead and take on that task.

Olivia: [00:04:14] You jumped right into your teacher training, which is awesome. But I mean, you know, you know. I guess you just hop in. 

Adam: [00:04:21] Yeah. There was just something intuitive about it and I listened to that voice to continue to go. And it wasn't easy. Like I was a closeted man and a 20 year old man in a room of like 90% women.

I just remember going through like a Kathy Grant cat series. And like, we're literally, we're just doing like cat, different cat variations, for an hour. And really like, it was the first day. And I was really questioning my life decision to be here. Why are we shaking our tail? You know, it was really, really feminized and really like a dance oriented program.

And so, so it really challenged me in that way, but I am forever grateful that [00:05:00] I took on that challenge. And then now that's a tool in my toolbox, but that was not an easy- egoically, it wasn't an easy task to achieve, to just keep shaking my tail feather. 

Olivia: [00:05:11] Nope. I would say like classical especially is like heavily informed by dance. And if you're having, you know, Kathy Grant focused things, that's like very dancey. 

Adam: [00:05:19] Yeah. And I have zero dance background. Like I grew up playing team sports and that was my identity at the time. It was a culture shock in many ways. 

Olivia: [00:05:29] So then you become a teacher and I know that you're teaching virtually right now. A lot of things are still shut down. What is your like secret sauce for teaching or what do you think, like sets you apart as a teacher or just like inspires you as a teacher? Any of that stuff? 

Adam: [00:05:46] Yeah. No, that's a great question. What I would say is that I stay open and I stay informed. If a teacher can do that, they're set up for success. And they're also setting up their colleagues as well as their [00:06:00] students for success and staying open. It could be like, yeah, I learned things in my classical, original classical training, but I stayed open to new information that directly conflicted, or sometimes there's alignment with that information. And then I got to make an informed decision on whether it was valid or invalid information. 

And a lot of times like the stuff taught in Pilates school is invalid in terms of human movement or it's challenged in a lot of ways. But then a lot of times it's right on the money, you know? And so it's important to stay open to different perspectives, to stay open to new information as it comes along and be adaptable.

And if there's like anything you've, we've had to learn in 2020, it's to be adaptable. Like actually we found out touch actually isn't really important to teaching human movement. Research doesn't support that you need to touch someone for them to get stronger. But you can use your voice and you can motivate them and you can promote autonomy. And there's all of these other things that aren't always taught in Pilates school, [00:07:00] even though there are some programs that do promote it, but I would say that that's my like secret sauce. 

Something that I'm currently inspired by is to have and maintain an evidence based practice rather than just spinning the same wheel that I was taught 11 years ago, or that I was taught five years ago, a year ago. To stay current and read, you know, read research, to learn movement that has no attachment to any kind of modality.

Because if I read something that's about Pilates, it's going to be biased to Pilates inherently. Someone bashing it and someone promoting it, but it's a bias. So that's something that's kind of my secret sauce. So that sets me apart from, you know, a lot of the community is that I stay informed on human movement. And then I, with my Pilates experience, I know how to bridge the gap from movement and bring it into the Pilates studio. 

Olivia: [00:07:49] I think that's really important because I see it in Pilates a lot, I see it in yoga a lot, that sometimes doing the exercise can be great from the point of view of [00:08:00] just like doing the exercise, but not necessarily in terms of like a transferable skill, it could be like just a thing that you can do.

Like, I think about how much fun I have doing headstands and handstands. And there's a lot of benefit that comes from them, but I'm not gonna like, need that necessarily to like do other things. 

Adam: [00:08:19] Yeah, absolutely. That points to the why and the how behind the event, like footwork is something that we do a lot in Pilates on the reformer. So then it's like, well, what is foot work? Well, you're lying in your back, you're straightening your legs, you're bending your legs. So that's pretty much what you're doing. So then that kind of points to- that's where the movement science comes in play. 

Like one of the first things they'll teach you in any exercise science degree is the SAID principle, which is- that's a acronym that stands for the specific adaptations to imposed demands. So what other tasks do you have to do where you're sitting and standing? Getting out of a chair. 

And then it's like, what's your population? So [00:09:00] are you working with 65 year olds or, you know, 75 year olds? Sit to stand, that's really, really important. Cause like when you can no longer get out of the chair, like you really value that. So then it's learning to transfer that and just doing footwork is not going to help someone get out of a chair. They're on their back. You're not loading it. So it's start with your footwork, but you need to finish that to a vertical stance and you need to get some kind of squatting movement or be able to model it a little bit differently. 

And sometimes you have to come out of your teacher training manual to do that because even the way they teach squats a lot in the Pilates world is that you're in like a neutral spine and used to go vertically down with the spring. That doesn't work. I don't know how to say that. It's just, it doesn't work. 

And that's where, if you learn about center of gravity center mass in the biomechanics of the squat, you have to hinge forward, you know, like just drop something and pick it up and try not to hinge forward. It doesn't work. That's where it just gets that critical thinking.

And [00:10:00] so it's like, Oh, okay. Like I have to teach this person how to sit down or get something off the floor. I actually have to break some Pilates rules and I'm okay with that because there's a logical reason behind that. And I'm still being respectful to the work, I'm just also helping my client. 

Olivia: [00:10:15] Yeah. I mean, that makes a ton of sense. And I think, you know, with the teachers that I've spoken to, it's like, Pilates is a tool in your toolbox, the same way that if you are a Barre teacher or a yoga teacher, like there are things from any movement modality that are going to be really helpful. And the more tools you have, it's like having lenses to look at a problem, or different ways to approach a problem. 

Because you know, I've worked with clients who are older and, you know, doing a squat vertical is not happening in their life right now, but footwork is like they're supported and they're able to do that. It's more of like a step in the journey. Like you said, it has to be a progression. It's not the end all, it's there's many ways to go [00:11:00] from there.

Adam: [00:11:01] Absolutely. And it's important to also remember that if we can't transfer or to getting out of a chair, you need to do something different because foot work is not working. It's not helping the task. That's where teaching becomes an art of like, Oh, this like tool that like should work. It either does, or it doesn't. And then you like pick out like another tool out of your toolbox. 

But it's, it's important to stay task focused because the client couldn't get out of a chair and them doing Pilates for two months now they can, they don't even think about getting out of a chair. That's a hundred percent victory. 

Olivia: [00:11:35] I think about stuff- I'm going to link to Adam's Instagram as well, because he's like an exercise and Pilates like MythBuster, which is really cool. Going back to what you were saying about touch, because Pilates is so reliant on touch in teacher training and how touch can facilitate movement and all of these things. 

And like, I've done some research with motor learning theory with Chelsea Corley as well. And [00:12:00] just this idea that touch has a place, but it's not like the only solution to things like- because you know, whether you're teaching virtually or you're teaching six feet away. You're still going to need to get some directions across without your hands on the body. And so like, how can we do that? I don't know exactly where I was going with that, but that was a thought that I had. 

Adam: [00:12:23] That's okay. I'm happy to, you know, I can certainly just add on a perspective, you know. Everyone has their own own value, you know, with their perspective. Sometimes, you know, people may say like, I have to touch the teach. It's part of my teaching. It's what I was taught to do. 

It falls apart really quickly, because if you have to touch in order to teach the research would be saying that. The research doesn't say you need to touch anybody to have them facilitate a motor task. It's absolutely unnecessary. It can, it can be super helpful, [00:13:00] especially like older populations that maybe live alone and they haven't been touched by anyone, like just having a hand on someone's back can be really comforting. If someone's in a fearful situation and you just like, like, let's say you're doing like a long stretch on a reformer and they're just like, Holy crap. Like I'm going to fall on my face, touching them can be a sense of security. Absolutely. 

And then, you know, you hold on a lot at first, like, all right, you got this, you hold on a little bit, but you have to get to, like, you don't need to touch clients. They need to do this on their own with that. So I don't want to say that there's no value in touching, but I'm honestly going to say that you can not touch anyone in your whole Pilates career and you can make a damn good difference cause you don't need to touch anybody. 

And especially myself as a male teaching a predominantly female population, even though I'm a flying queen, a lot of times they don't want to be touched because there's their stuff in there, those non tactile aspects to the session that are just brought in by that male female dynamic. 

[00:14:00] Olivia: [00:14:00] A hundred percent. Yeah. And layering in as well, like I've also been studying like a trauma informed approach and there's just like a lot of factors and touch can carry, even like the most well-intentioned touch, can carry more than you are anticipating as a teacher or more than a student's anticipating. Because it's not just a body that's in front of us. It's an entire life of experience. 

And the equipment itself. You know, I had taught yoga for several years before I even looked at Pilates, because exactly like you said, those look like torture devices. I want nothing to do with that. You're lying down on your back. It's like intimidating. The springs make noise, people next to you make noise, the straps are clanging around, you know, like there's a lot going on there and just a lot to, a lot to keep in mind. 

I do want to talk about your physical therapy adventuring as well, because you are currently studying to do that and I think that that's super awesome. Can you tell me how you got into that journey and [00:15:00] how that weaves with your Pilates-ing?

Adam: [00:15:03] Yeah. I was just a couple years out of my original Pilates education and I knew that there was just something missing. You know, I'm like, I'm doing this thing. I think I'm helping people, but I don't actually understand why this works, but I know how to teach Pilates exercises, but I know I don't really know movement that well.

And I just kind of had a thirst to enhance my own knowledge and my own experience for my own reasons, but also to help people a little bit more, which I imagine that plenty of people end up having that experience at one time or another. 

And I was pretty much an awful high school student, so I, I didn't even really consider college. Like I'm shamelessly, like as a sophomore in high school, I had a 0.0 GPA and all of the behaviors that are associated with that. I was an awful student. I feel bad for my parents, but, but like, [00:16:00] but it's my truth and I'm at total peace with it. 

But I did graduate high school and I got exactly enough credits to graduate and I have like a 2.0. You know, so I didn't really consider going back to, to college. And I went into interview to go get a second Pilates credential or a certificate at like an ultimate classical studio, because that was something that I really valued and they were so mean. Really mean, when I'm interviewing them. So it was like, ah, this isn't for me and so I left. 

That's just an example of like, that happened for me. They guided me in another direction. And my boyfriend at the time, who was also kind of mean, was he gave me like really blunt truth. Cause I was like, I can't go to college. X, Y, Z, here's all my reasons.

And he was just, he was actually in grad school and was fed up. He took a piece of paper and he wrote down, he put up boxes and he wrote down, this is the first thing you do. This is the second thing you do. The third thing you do and you'll be in college. So [00:17:00] don't tell me you can't because you can, you know.

But he was totally right. And so that kind of stuck with me. And by the end of the week, I was enrolled in my local community college. I started with one class. I was terrified. One class, got an A. Went back. I did one more class. And then I started doing two classes and then three classes. It took me eight years to get a four year degree.

But degrees don't have years on them. They don't even have a community college. All that says is it says degree from this university and my name. And so anyone who's listening to this and like, I can't go to school cause it's going to take me so long. Nobody cares how long it takes, nobody but yourself. So just do one class. That's what I did. 

And through that, I knew that I studied exercise science, so that was my undergraduate degree. And I only chose it because the choices to get into physical therapy school, which was my ultimate goal, [00:18:00] was either biology or exercise science and biology sounded really boring for me. I mean, totally the same for someone else. It wasn't, for me. It was, I just wanted to get into PT school because I wanted to be a physical therapist and I didn't know much about exercise science. 

So I went and I got my degree in exercise science and I found myself in PT school less than six months afterwards. But through that journey, I completely revamped my teaching. 

You learn way more than anatomy. Like anatomy is one of the least important things to me as a teacher. You don't really need to know the landmarks of the head of the humerus to teach Pilates. You need to learn movement and, even better, and learn communication. 

And so something that I was taught a lot in Pilates school was to teach about muscles, especially deep stabilizing muscles, because you had to stabilize X and then move Y and that's Pilates, when that, like, it's not even considered in an [00:19:00] exercise science. 

It's just like the first day of class and motor learning. They hand you a paper and it's about an external cuing. Which is, you know, teaching someone task focused or like push the bar away instead of engage your hamstrings to extend at your hip or something, something ridiculous. And it really conflicted. So that's just an example of like my Pilates education said this, because engage in the transverse abdominis is super important prior to movement and then research that's presented and exercise science actually conflicts with that. 

So for me, I really, really, really grew as a teacher. And it wasn't easy because you have this habit and this dedication to people that you respect, you know, and you don't want to like to disserve them, but then like the proof's in the pudding. When you read something and it's like, Oh, it's actually like, not, it's not helpful.

So that's where I really learned to value evidence-based, where I really learned to value human movement. And that has carried over [00:20:00] into my physical therapy program. Getting that kind of an education is less about facts and figures because those facts and figures change over time. Like we learn more, we get better. When you know better, do better.

But what it teaches you to do is it teaches you how to think. It teaches you how to critically think. Even if you choose to read research sometimes like what's in the discussion, which is like the summary of the author telling you what they found, is not what the results say. So it'd be know how to read the results. You can be like, Whoa, that's true, but misleading, just for example. 

So what I would say, sorry, I went a little bit of a tangent, but the education, the undergraduate in exercise science, the current education and physical therapy, it stretches you. It really teaches you how to think critically, which is why I ended up on. Instagram or just in conversations and do myth-busting. I [00:21:00] absolutely am about pushing boundaries, challenging thoughts, and staying open and informed in the process. And I'll continue to do so and get more informed over time.

Olivia: [00:21:16] Hi there. I hope you're enjoying today's chapter so far. There's great stuff coming up after the break, too. Be sure to subscribe wherever you're listening and visit buymeacoffee.com/OliviaPodcasts to support the show. There you can make a one-time donation or become a member for as little as $5 a month.

Membership comes with some awesome perks, including a shout out in the next episode, a monthly newsletter, a monthly zoom call with me and more. You can also visit links.OliviaBioni.com/affiliates to check out some sweet deals on products I use and love. Now back to the show.

[00:22:00] I know from when I did Chelsea Corley's course on motor learning theory and we'd looked at that research that said, you know, saying the name of the muscle doesn't help people execute the exercise. And at best it's like a neat thing that you can share, but it's not going to help them do the thing that you want them to do. I joke and say, like, knowing the name of the muscle, isn't going to help it work for you. It's been working for you your entire life, whether or not you know, it's there. 

Adam: [00:22:42] Absolutely. And what sometimes gets misinterpreted is that like a, having an evidence-based QA in which is essentially externally focused cuing does not mean you cannot refer to the body. So internal cuing has a time and a place to generate context in an exercise. 

[00:23:00] So like, for example, like with the sidebar, like you have to tell someone to grab the bar, you know, you can give them contacts like your, your arm's going to be straight, but then once you provide that context, you gotta move away from it. So then when you say a straighten the arm, you can be like push the bar to the floor, get it closer to the floor, bring the bar to your waistband. You know, things of that nature. 

Or that's like where touch can be handy. You can be, you can put like your hand on someone's back. Cause like, yes, the serratus can help, you know, protract the scapula or also keep the scapula close to the trunk. That's the serratus anterior's job. Oh, you also have a whole like scapular humeral rhythm that's happening. Your latissimus dorsi is working, your triceps and there's- a hand is complicated. Like, do we want to go down that route? That's another podcast on just pulling a bar to your hip. 

So you can have your hand on someone's, you know, let's say like the back of the shoulder, like where the [00:24:00] rotator cuff is, and you're trying to generate dynamic stability, but you can just say be strong right here. That's just an example. I meant that's where everyone gets to be their own artists in teaching. You can come from this informed place. Then you have these like tools in your tool box that are known to be more correct, or are really known to be less wrong than other tools. And a lot of times they're going to be right, but it's not a guarantee. 

Like research doesn't prove a damn thing. It teaches you how to be wrong less of the time. But you got to get comfortable that you're wrong. It's an uncomfortable truth. But the strength of being able to sit with that and then staying open and informed is the foundation of a teacher that's willing and able to grow and to meet their own potential, which is what we ask of our students every day. Are you willing to be open to new information? [00:25:00] Are you willing to be informed? Are you willing to grow? 

Olivia: [00:25:03] That's such a beautiful way of putting it. And that is exactly what we ask our students to do. And when you think of people who maybe their first Pilates class was with you and then how much they grow over the weeks, over the months, how much more confidence they gained that that's of utmost importance.

And it's going to be a little bit different, I think, for every student, I have one student who wants to know what muscles are working, even though it's not going to help them execute it. That's just, it makes them feel in control and confident knowing that, Oh yes, that is my lat. I can, I can feel that happening.

Adam: [00:25:42] Yeah. So that that individual comes in with a bias that them knowing muscles gets them stronger. So yeah, you use their language because it's communication. I'm going to communicate to your language that you're willing to receive. So if I go to muscle [00:26:00] cuing with that person, it's not because muscle cuing works. It's because when someone values something they're more motivated.

So motivation works. That person just happens to have a motivation that's in conflict with current research, which is fine. You know, and then once you build that rapport, that like client-teacher rapport, where they start to trust you a little more, you can start to play with belief. You know, and sometimes that belief is like muscles specific cuing. 

But I mean, I've totally gone there. Like I have someone who's just extrinsic, just has extrinsic motivation, which is basically like- extrinsic motivation would be like, if you do something, you're going to get a financial reward. Or in this case, like aesthetics, like someone's gonna like my post more. Or I'm a model, so I have to- 

LIke this, this individual is a model. And then we're going to go to Maui for a photo shoot. So she has extrinsic motivation to look cute for a photo shoot. So it's not the feel good. It's not for health. It's just to look cute. So we're doing [00:27:00] like one legged foot work and I'm just burning out her quad, which is something that is in conflict with some Pilates strategy.

But I was burning out her quads because she wants her legs to look sexier. And so I'm like, Oh, well, you know, how long is your photo shoot? Oh, it's in 15 days. You better keep going. What's like the scene going to be like, Oh my God. So they're going to look at your legs. Okay. Keep going. You know? 

So it's like, that's usually not where I go with people. Cause I don't teach for aesthetics, but aesthetics is important to that person. And so I needed to communicate to that individual to get the most out of them. So that's where teaching is truly an art. Even though a lot of times we kind of try, as professionals, to shy away from the aesthetic nature of Pilates, but if that's really important to somebody? Teach aesthetics all day to them.

Olivia: [00:27:46] Yeah. I love your emphasis on communication because I feel like what it comes down to is like you're a person in a room with another person. And whether their language is aesthetics, or their language is [00:28:00] muscles, or their language is, you know, wanting to be able to play with their grandkids. Like whatever their motivating factor is. You're just going to take your session and really make it fit for them and work for them so that they feel successful. 

Adam: [00:28:14] Yeah. Because it's their session, you know, and it's, how can I help you achieve your goals? And in communication, the knowledge that you express is only as valuable as it's received. I can give the most anatomically correct and accurate information. Like it'd blow your mind. But if you don't understand it, it's like I'm speaking a foreign language to you. Like, what use is that? Like, it was totally waste of our time, so yeah. It's you speak the client's language as you see a benefit to them, and then if you just need to change it over time, that's where the communication comes in. 

Olivia: [00:28:58] That some schools [00:29:00] of Pilates or studios kind of reliance on the muscle cuing. Even though we know that that's not going to be helpful at all to our students. Kind of lends itself to this elitism or this power dynamic that it's like, well, I know more than you and I'm better than you. And, you know, you have to keep coming to sessions in order for you to glean some of this wisdom from me. 

And I think anytime we can break that down and really, like you've said, promote autonomy. Let people be in charge of their body, move in ways that works for their body, regardless of what it looked like in the Pilates textbook, is the way to go.

Adam: [00:29:42] Of course. And like that kind of stuff is like the difference between being right and being accurate. And those a lot of times individuals are much more interested in being, right so for example, if I say something like engaging your transverse abdominis prior to doing movement helps with low back pain, that's the [00:30:00] 1995 science, which has been tested over and over again and it's not a thing. 

Like, like, let's say someone says that and I go, Oh, no, like this research actually suggests otherwise here's like six systematic reviews, it's done. And they go, well, no, my client, you know, I have like 10 clients who got better from this, you know, I see them and they got better from this, that works. And then like six other people agree with them. They're right in the context of the room. But they're actually wrong. 

They're wrong in that the research says they're wrong. And a lot of times I'm kind of getting into like how our bias like shape our beliefs and that you may have like 10 clients that you did, core stabilization exercises that came back and that they're in that they now feel better.

But overall, like you've tried this, you've done 50 introductory sessions and 10 people came back in those 10 people got better. But for the people that didn't come back because the [00:31:00] 40 people didn't get better. You actually like hurt the back or something. That's called the survivor bias. And that, that the only people that you actually have feedback from are the people that, that return to your services.

So it is something that's really, really important because that's a common argument with, with having some kind of evidence drawn to somebody is it's like, it's not my clinical experience, but your clinical experience is a lot of times isvery biased to the people that came back or, or other forms of biases.

Olivia: [00:31:31] And I think we see as well, that movement is always better than not movement. I'm going to just blanket statement that, that it's always better to move than to not move. And especially, I think as teachers, we have a lot of power, like even as we're minimizing the power dynamic, that you know, our clients listen to us and look up to us and believe what we say.

And if we say things like this is bad for your back, you know, then we're, we're instilling fear [00:32:00] and that's going to create less movement. And then that's going to lead to crunchiness and grumpiness, those are the technical terms, down the line. 

Adam: [00:32:07] Of course. Yeah. That's, that's a nocebo effect. So if you think you're going to get better from a treatment, you're more likely to get better. And this has been tested time and time again. They give people sugar pills for back pain, and then all of a sudden the back pain's gone. 

But if you say, this is actually really going to hurt, this is really, really going to hurt, it's more likely going to hurt. Or if you say you'll get hurt, if you don't engage your abs during a squat, you're more likely to experience pain during that squat, just because of the language.

And that's where studying communication is one of the most valuable things we can do as teachers. Like we're Pilates instructors. I know we're teachers too, but let's just say instructors. Instruction is communication. How can we say we have an education as a Pilates instructor when we have no education, I think, in communication, you know? So we're educated in exercises. 

[00:33:00] Olivia: [00:33:00] I think you have woven this in, throughout your past answers to questions, but do you have any advice for other teachers and, and or advice that you would give yourself at this point in your teaching adventure? 

Adam: [00:33:16] There's always a time for good sage advice. Well, it goes to stay open and stay informed, you know, is part of that. But with that in terms of being informed, I would suggest to study movement that has no affiliation with any modality. If you take a yoga workshop, maybe you take a Barre workshop, if you take a Pilates workshop, they're going to promote the modality and they're going to show you movement that's biased to that modality.

But if you just study the shoulder, you gonna learn about the shoulder. And the shoulder is going to be applicable when you grab that roll down [00:34:00] bar and you press it to your waistband and your shoulder is doing that. That's what I would recommend, is to study movement and to read movement literature that is just about movement, or just about communication. 

To study movement is helpful. To study communication is helpful, but also to learn how to learn, like read research that is, that shows you strategies to learn is really, really helpful. And it sounds like so obvious, but it's so like rare, like I'm going to learn this thing, but I actually don't know how to learn. And like a lot of times, like, even as a student, it's like reading something over and over again and highlighting it is one of the biggest waste of time you can do, you should just teach, you know, teach it to other people. And that's really how you learn. 

I would recommend to get involved and like put yourself out there. And it's really scary to do- but I, and sometimes people aren't comfortable doing that. And right now, honestly, it's like, get on Instagram and get on Facebook, get in Pilates forums if you [00:35:00] haven't done it. I got out of them mostly because I had my good run there and I just had to get out of them, but I'm really happy that I got in them. And it's a really good place to start into grow from. 

And when you're there, you don't even really have to post things, but just reading things and getting involved in that, eventually you'll find yourself interacting. And when you're like on your Instagram or on your Facebook like follow like really smart people, because really smart people are going to post things that are relevant, you know, post things that are educational and that may be inspirational.

And before you know it, you're more ready to put yourself out there because everyone has something to offer. Even if it's like really invalid information. You learn about how to react. Like if I read something I'm like core stabilization helps back pain, which is something that we've discussed, I either know how to let things go, or I know how to react in a sophisticated way. And sometimes you learn that by [00:36:00] acting in a non-sophisticated way. And then you're like, Oh, that didn't go well. I'm not going to do that again. 

But it can always just be really, really good to check in with ourselves. And something that I do is I journal and I check in every now and then that do my branches match my roots? And that here are my beliefs and things that I really value. This is me and my roots. And my branches are my expressions into the physical world. I teach at this studio. I'm a part of this program. I'm affiliated with these people. Does that match my roots or is it something superficial? Something that doesn't really jive with me. 

And I've had to do that. I've had to, you know- I was affiliated with the teacher training program, but I'm really passionate about evidence-based practice so I can no longer teach for that program. It doesn't match my roots. It's not where I want to go. 

So essentially [00:37:00] staying informed, staying open, interacting with people that are very intelligent, even if it's vicariously, and really just identifying where do you want to grow into? We're always growing. Where do you want to grow into? And take actions to coordinate.

Olivia: [00:37:15] That is fabulous. Sage advice. Thank you. I really love that. Do your branches match your roots? 

Adam: [00:37:22] And that'll be my next post. 

Olivia: [00:37:24] Yeah. Well, I mean, looking at just like alignment in your life and like, are you practicing what you preach? Are you doing what you want to be doing? 

What projects are you working on right now? Speaking of intelligent people contributing to the Pilates community, that's you, my friend. 

Adam: [00:37:40] Oh, thank you. Thank you. I appreciate that. It's kind of like which projects. I'm always doing something. It's an awful habit, but I have generated the Pilates meets exercise science workshop. I'm currently revamping it. I submitted a few, I love feedback. I got feedback, [00:38:00] really, really great feedback. And people loved it. This breaking it up into two workshops. It used to be a movement principles and cuing workshop. And it was just, it was just a lot of information, like a lot of dumping information on them. 

So I'm going to have two workshops. It's going to be a Pilates meets exercise science. And then two subsets, one workshop they're both gonna be two hours are, movement principles, you know, such as things we talked about today, core staibilization, SAID principle, and even a little bit of physics. And then another one on research-based cueing strategies.

Also, I like to practice what I preach. So I, I do teach classes on Core to Coeur. I teach strength and conditioning. I teach reformer classes as well as strength and reformer, where dare I say it, we use weights on the reformer. 

Olivia: [00:38:51] That's awesome. I will link to all of Adam's amazing stuff in the show notes and in the episode description so that you can follow him [00:39:00] and learn from him and hopefully attend some of his super cool workshops.

Is there anything else that you'd like to share or throw in any last ideas or things? 

Adam: [00:39:10] No, I just, I just want to thank you for the opportunity and for anyone who is listening to this, just continue to, to learn, to grow and, and you can always reach out to me for any advice or even just, you know, any questions about what was this.

Olivia: [00:39:27] Sounds good. Thank you so much for being on Adam. 

Adam: [00:39:30] Thank you very much.

Olivia: [00:39:40] Thanks for listening to this week's chapter of Pilates Teachers' Manual, your guide to becoming a great Pilates teacher. Check out the podcast Instagram at @pilatesteachersmanual, and be sure to subscribe wherever you listen. For more Pilates goodness, check out my other podcast, Pilates Students' [00:40:00] Manual, available everywhere you listen to podcasts.

The adventure continues. Until next time.

First Experience with Pilates
Secret Sauce for Teaching
Skill Transfer
Thoughts on Touch
The Journey to Becoming a Physical Therapist
Shifting to External Cuing
Advice for Teachers
Current Projects