Sitting with FFC Pilates instructor Natasha Tsoutsouris and her client Dave Seman at a local, popular eatery on Wells St. in Old Town, you quickly get the feeling that these two have achieved a lot together.

They laugh like siblings and finish each other’s sentences. Dave had had 2 trainers prior to Natasha. He met her while they were both entering the gym on Dave’s wedding day.

Related: yes, manly men do, indeed, do Pilates. Check out this awesome testimonial of a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu practitioner and how Pilates has helped him!

‘I was walking down the sidewalk just before 7 AM, and as I walked up the steps into the club, I caught the reflection of a man I didn’t know standing right behind me. Like, RIGHT behind me,’ said Tsoutsouris.

‘I’m not a creep, I swear!’ exclaimed Dave. And the rest was history.

Dave had lost his wife in November 2015 to a long battle with cancer. At the time, Dave had been working with his previous trainer twice a week – the gym was a constant in his life. Everyone was so friendly, without prying – the gym encouraged positivity and self-care for Dave.

After a period of time, Dave found out his trainer was leaving FFC, and that he would be re-assigned to Natasha. Before training with Natasha, Dave was constantly re-injuring himself. While working with her, however, the two were able to assess existing injuries, find their origin, and lay down a strong foundation for preventative fitness – with a huge focus on Pilates. Through her Pilates-based practices, Natasha was able to address the imbalances and discrepancies that continually led to Dave’s injuries – especially those related to his back.

Related: what’s Pilates good for, anyway? Check out these 3 scenarios and why you might want to try Pilates!

Not only that, Natasha proved herself to be the accountability partner Dave needed as he worked through challenging stages of both fitness and his loss. Natasha was bold and seasoned enough to confront him on topics both inside and out of the gym. Due to the nature of their sessions, he found himself ceasing some previously acquired habits like smoking and drinking. He knew it would make them too challenging. Around the time of the one-year anniversary of losing his wife, he came close to reacquiring some of those bad habits – but assistance from Natasha, conversations about his progress and grieving process, once again helped to guide him back to his journey of wellness.

Dave shares how the FFC community gave him a safe space and how much of a positive impact it was on his recovery. He’s appreciative of what Natasha has come to mean – much more than a Pilates instructor, he considers her a friend and support system.

As told by FFC Old Town fitness director Eric Alexon.

About Natasha

Natasha is a top trainer with experience in Pilates and personal training, and is also one of Chicago’s top competitors in Jiu-Jitsu. She is also passionate about creative writing, storytelling and performing in Chicago’s comedy scene. Want to set up a complimentary consultation? Email her at!