How I Became a Pilates Anytime Teacher


The Opportunity

Believe me when I say that when I started working at Pilates Anytime, I had no desire to teach on camera. I always enjoyed working behind the scenes, and because of my role at Pilates Anytime, I didn’t really think teaching on camera was an option.

But late last year - my fifth year working at Pilates Anytime - Kristi Cooper, Co-founder of Pilates Anytime, surprised me by saying she wanted me to teach on the site. To say I was flattered would be an understatement, although, I was terribly nervous. There are already so many amazing teachers on the site, and I needed to figure out what I could bring to the table.

Much later, when I traveled to Australia for a vacation, I was hit with the inspiration I needed for my classes.

Watch Gia's Mat Class for Traveling

The Audition

Just like all of the teachers on the site, Kristi needed to see me teach before I could set the date to film. I filmed a quick warm up at home on my iPhone, (like many of the people who enter our annual competition!) and sent it to Kristi. I was relieved and a bit shocked when she emailed me an official invitation to join the distinguished list of Pilates Anytime Teachers. My adventure was about to begin!

The Preparation

It’s incredible how that glowing red light on the camera can make your heart race and your throat tense up. I knew that teaching a class off camera would be very different from teaching in front of the lens. And, I knew to seek advice.

I am so lucky to be a part of a supportive community of teachers, and I wasn’t shy about asking them for perspective and insight.

Sarah, Kristi, and me before filming

Sarah Bertucelli and Meredith Rogers, in typically smiling fashion, told me to be myself and to have fun!

Kira Sloane from Yoga Anytime suggested I get my nails done and to purchase new outfits. I would be on stage after all!

Kristi advised me not to over-rehearse. It’s harder than it sounds!

Filming Day

Even though I’m used to being on stage and having the spotlight on me from years of performing as a dancer, public speaking has always been tough for me. When I’m dancing, I don’t have the pressure of addressing the audience directly. My body and movement speak for me. That made filming the bio interview and intros to the classes the hardest part for me.

Teaching was much more natural for me. On the Mat, I was surprised at how I was able to forget about the camera. At some point during my teaching, I felt perfectly at home, comfortable, and in the moment. I didn't even notice the train going by during my class!

I was nervous throughout, but I powered through. Amy Havens' reassuring presence off-camera made me feel comfortable and at home. (Thanks, Amy!)

Wine after filming

A Perfect Ending to a Perfect Day

We ended the day with a celebratory dinner and drinks at Smithy Kitchen and Bar, a local eatery in Santa Barbara.

We enjoyed cocktails, a wonderful dinner, and donuts (I have a major sweet tooth!) for dessert, and the vibe was warm, happy, and so much fun. I was grateful to be in the company of my Pilates Anytime family.

Kristi, Amy, and me at Smithy Bar and Grill

When I arrived at my hotel, I found a little gift bag and a bottle of wine in my room that had arrived that morning, but that I had missed because I'd gone straight to the Studio. I felt even more special and appreciated.

Energized and still excited by the day’s events, I had trouble falling asleep.

When I finally drifted off, I dreamt I was a Pilates Anytime Teacher filming a class at the Studio at Padaro Beach.

Oh, wait -- it wasn’t a dream after all.

Gia Calhoun
About the Author

Gia Calhoun

Gia Calhoun is a Pilates teacher based in Los Angeles, California, who has been teaching Pilates since 2007. In addition to being an employee for Pilates Anytime, she is also a ballet dancer who has danced with companies all over the United States.


Becky P
2 people like this.
great story!! can't wait for more classes with you:)
Gia, all I can think is why did I wait so long to ask you?!
Thank you so much Becky and Kristi Cooper !
2 people like this.
I’ve enjoyed your classes so far, and am excited for more! You have a very warm and calming teaching style. We are lucky to have you as another fantastic teacher on this site.
Chanda Hinman
So well deserved, Gia Calhoun! Thanks for writing about your experience!
1 person likes this.
Congratulations Gia! Loved your story!
Maria Earle
Way to go Gia Calhoun !! Can´t wait for you to film more classes.
2 people like this.
I've been enjoying your class often. Kristi Cooper chose wisely and the loving support you received from Meredith Rogers and Amy Havens was consistent with the kind of encouragement they provide us ALL!
Joni ~ I couldn't agree with you more about their encouragement! Thank you so much, everyone!
2 people like this.
Congratulations Gia, I can't wait to try your class.
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