Created by Joseph Pilates as a method of exercise to strengthen the body AND mind, Pilates has been growing rapidly in popularity since the early 20th century. Now practiced by fitness enthusiasts, those looking to overcome chronic pain and ailments and professional athletes like the Cubs’ Jake Arrieta and the Blackhawks’ Jonathan Toews alike, there’s no reason not to give it a shot.

Want to take it a step further? While there are endless benefits to be reaped from practicing Pilates, there is no parallel for the level of knowledge you’ll receive from going through a Pilates teacher training program. Check out the testimonials from some of our Pilates Chicago grads below!

Related: how Pilates makes you mentally stronger and why you should try it.

Karen Ljungmann

I knew I wanted to take my fitness career in a new direction by attending Pilates school, however, I was undecided about which program to attend. I could not be happier about the choice I made! I knew from the beginning FFC’s program was going to be different from any other trainings I’d attended. I was very impressed by the organization and layout of the program, and I felt very supported – from the beginning to the end. There were times I felt like I didn’t know what I was doing, but now looking back, it was part of the learning process (like letting go of the training wheels). I was learning new things, new ways to move the body and new ways to teach.

We were able to learn from THE best Chicago Pilates instructors, not just one. But what was really unique was all the hands-on training we had. We constantly practiced with each other – I was able to use the instructors as a resource on a constant basis. The classes were intense, but I looked forward to every weekend. We all grew together. I’m still friends with several of my peers from the program. I felt we were immersed and committed. I am excited and am getting ready to take the PMA, which I am fully prepared for thanks to the FFC Pilates Teacher Training program. I’ve been in the fitness industry for 10+ years and have gone through several different formats, trainings and certifications. Hands down, this is one of the best decisions I have made. My only regret? That I’d done this sooner! – Karen (

Alyssa Bell

Pilates helped me get back on my feet. Literally. In mid August of 2016, I had a nasty fall and injured my right ankle. I was devastated because I was 3.5 weeks away from beginning my Pilates teacher training program. The healing process for a periosteum tear takes a while – I couldn’t walk and I needed a boot to get around. However, I wasn’t going to let that keep me down; I started the program and began learning Pilates Mat work (which was perfect during that first month, it allowed me to work free of direct weight on my ankle).

I couldn’t believe it but I was actually getting stronger, without having to stand on my feet. I knew as a massage therapist, this was speeding up my healing process. As time went on, the black and blue swelling faded and I was learning exercises on various Pilates apparatuses.

Thinking back to the first day of the program, we had gone around to introduce ourselves and say why we wanted to be Pilates instructors. I told the group that to me, it’s a form of therapy, and something additional I want to give my clients. It empowers them to discover their own bodies and learn things they can take with them for the rest of their lives. The strength I was able to get back because of Pilates is something magical that I want everyone, especially dealing with an injury, to discover. It’s a form of medicine! – Alyssa (

Related: read about this instructor’s life-changing pre and post-surgery Pilates experience!

Jennifer Dahl

As a long-time lover of fitness, I’ve always appreciated Pilates, but no more than working one-on-one with a trainer. I decided to take the plunge into the Pilates Teacher Training Program in August 2018 and have been thrilled to work through the program so far – the content is extremely well put together, the trainers are highly knowledgeable, approachable and willing to help me grow. As a fitness director at FFC, I have seen two of my personal trainers successfully complete the program which has set them up to be incredible hybrid trainers.

As a powerlifter, I was intrigued by Pilates as a means to improve my posture, stabilize muscles and increase my core strength – all as a means to life heavier! So far, Pilates has done exactly that. I’m sitting taller behind the desk I’m at for hours on end, feeling less pain in my hips, shoulders and knees, both in and outside of training sessions. Additionally, I can see my posture is improving – I look taller, my shoulders are more relaxed and the rest of my mind/body connection has increased dramatically.

The Pilates training program is perfect for anyone who wants to learn for their personal practice to enhance their skill set as a trainer, or even as someone craving education. – Jen (

Paula Ziols

I came to FFC a year ago with a modern Pilates certification, and enrolled in the classical Pilates teacher training program to learn more. I loved what the training did for my body, in strength, and found all three instructors to be very supportive. The training was exceptional and I would recommend it to any personal trainer to bring their training level to a new place. I have been incorporating the classical method I learned with clients and have had great success. – Paula (

Joanna Tomczynska

Many years ago, while I was living in Connecticut, I decided to try a Pilates Mat class because of my aches, pains, lower back issues, shoulder impingement and straight neck. I wasn’t aware of all the good that Pilates was going to bring to my life – but kept doing it and getting better.

I then moved to Chicago, joined FFC and started going to mat classes. That is where I met Kristin (very pregnant then) who would give the classes with such ease, knowledge and energy that I started to love it even more and would look forward to her classes. I’ve always been athletic, but Pilates gave me the inner core strength I needed to gain better posture and flexibility, AND get rid of my back pain. I didn’t want to continue going to the chiropractor, so I kept going to Pilates classes. That’s when a friend told me about becoming an instructor.

I joined the training program and I have to say, it is not only the knowledge of the teacher that is important (and surely is what the instructors with the FFC Pilates teacher training program have) but also the good energy they put into it, the beautiful facility, flexibility to allow students to train and practice and the work opportunities! Kristin pushed me to my current level of confidence and without her I would not be where I am today, loving what I do, and seeing my clients progress. – Joanna

Take a Pilates Class or Sign Up for the Program!

Want to learn more about this part of the Pilates Chicago community, the program, or simply try out a Pilates class at FFC? Email!