After spending 27 years as Director of Education at a Pilates gym, Colleen was tired. She had just turned 60, was recovering from some significant injuries, and had come to accept that Pilates (as she knew it) no longer felt right or good for her body. She needed to find a new path in the fitness world.

However, transitioning away from Pilates was disorienting. Colleen lacked a system for understanding functional body movements, and she felt insecure about what she could offer to clients — an emotion she hadn’t experienced in many years. Colleen knew she needed a new approach to health and training if she wanted to maintain her thriving fitness career. That’s when she found Gray Institute®.

A Whole-Body Approach Helps Colleen Find Her Footing After a Career Change

As a classically trained dancer, fitness specialist, and Pilates instructor, Colleen was used to breaking things down into their “lowest common denominator” or the simplest movements. When she heard some of Dr. Gary Gray’s teachings and philosophies, everything he said made so much sense to her.

“With Gray Institute,” Colleen says, “it’s not about teaching exercises. It’s all about the biomechanical systems and working with the individual in front of you.”

Through 3DMAPS® and CAFS, Colleen learned how to look at the body’s natural connections and basic movements on all three planes of motion. This functional approach gave her tools to understand movements and modify them to meet her clients’ needs.

“For instance, when I have a client doing walking lunges, I now notice when their form is all over the place,” Colleen explains. “Before, I knew their form wasn’t right, but I didn’t have the background or knowledge to correct it or to help them adjust their form to get better results.”  

While Colleen still maintains her deep respect for the Pilates practice, she understands how integrating a functional approach can help clients get even better results within the Pilates world. Now, she can suggest variations that she wouldn’t have considered before, like driving the arms more during certain movements.  

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A Strong Foundation Supports Personalized Perspective and Uplifting Training Sessions

“When I was teaching Pilates, I worked in a strong system with a good foundation. I feel the same thing with Gray Institute,” Colleen says. “There is a strong foundation, the philosophy makes sense, and the biomechanics are essential. It’s a place where anyone can grow!”

Now, Colleen is working in a gym that prides itself on its functional approach and client-centered perspective. Her newfound understanding of biomechanics, in addition to her 27 years of teaching experience, means Colleen can successfully train people no matter their background, goals, or age.

“[Gray Institute’s Applied Functional Science ®] is not just a template; it’s a system. For me, I found the right pathway that aligns with my educational journey and philosophical sensibilities.”

One of the biggest shifts for Colleen after taking two Gray Institute courses is in how she approaches “problems.” Before Gray Institute, if she had a Pilates student or client who had a performance issue, she would “zero in” on the problem area to help her clients “fix it.” Now that she’s adopted a functional approach, Colleen says that fixing these problems is no longer her goal.

“I always focused on what was wrong. Always. I thought you had to hit the problem, and I worked on [problems] locally a lot. I don’t do that anymore. I can see what’s wrong, but I go around it, and I build people up. Before, I got too much in the minutia of fixing someone. It’s a difference in philosophy. You can still work on getting femurs to rotate or to move more functionally, but they should leave your session feeling good. I want [clients] to feel empowered, not just like they’re working on something that’s wrong.”

Ready to Refresh Your Career and Revitalize Your Approach? Gray Institute Is Here to Help

Whether you’re 30 years into your career or just setting out, there’s something at Gray Institute for you. Our foundational courses like 3DMAPS and CAFS give you the tools you need to assess movements, apply corrective exercises, and help your clients get the results they want and need.

To learn more about which courses could be right for you, enroll, or understand what makes our approach different, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us! We love speaking with passionate movement specialists and look forward to hearing from you!