The instant that I met Julie, almost two years ago, I knew that we would become friends and that there was a reason that she came into my life. Julie has many gifts and talents. She is an amazing mom, wonderful wife, and a good friend. She is organized, thoughtful, and thorough. The reason that you are meeting her today? She is the owner of PilatesMPLS and an incredible Pilates Instructor with over 10 years experience. Some of you met her last spring at the TCM Event: Pilates for the pre and postnatal mama. You may have also met her at various other TCM Events she has attended as a participant. If you are looking for a way to make some you-time, and to give your body some love, you will want to schedule a session with Julie. You will feel great, it will likely be different than anything you’ve tried before, and you can even bring a friend! Enjoy!
Name: Julie Rose
Occupation: Certified Pilates Instructor and Owner of PilatesMPLS
Family: Husband, Bryan Kahrs and son, Milo. Dog: Brooklyn, our “furry daughter”
Hometown: Cleveland, OH
Lives in: South Minneapolis
Favorite weekday dinner: Anything Mexican. Bryan is a fantastic chef and makes incredible authentic Mexican dishes.
Favorite Workout: Hard to pick one… Pilates, yoga, biking and walking. I just like to keep moving.
Favorite downtime activity: Spending time with my family
Kate: What exactly is Pilates?
Julie: The Pilates Method, developed by Joseph Pilates almost 100 years ago, is a system of more than 500 exercises focusing on core strength to facilitate a full body workout. Instead of performing many repetitions of each exercise, Pilates incorporates fewer, more precise movements that emphasize control and form. Pilates exercises, which engage the mind and condition the whole body, are done on either a mat or on various pieces of apparatus with spring attachments which create resistance. The main focus of each exercise is spinal and pelvic alignment to work the deep attachments of the muscles in order to create more strength and stability. There are six Pilates principles that are essential to a classical Pilates workout, which include: Centering, Control, Concentration, Precision, Breath and Flow. The primary benefits of the method include: longer, leaner muscles, increased core strength and stability, improved posture, coordination and flexibility, heightened body awareness and stronger back muscles which can lessen the probability of pain or injury. Pilates is not just for women or dancers, it is truly for every body.
Kate: When did you first find out about Pilates? Tell me about your journey to becoming a Pilates instructor?
Julie: While in college, I was studying social work and modern dance. During my dance training, we were offered Pilates mat classes along with a chance to work with Pilates trainees in a fully equipped studio when we weren’t dancing or studying. I absolutely hated it! It was so challenging and I wasn’t used to working out. I still participated for a few years as I knew it was beneficial for my dancing, but I dreaded every moment!
Fast forward three years and I was living in New York City, pursing my modern dance career and working as an administrator in a nonprofit performing arts space. A friend was going through a Pilates training program and needed “bodies” to practice on. I was offered 10 private Pilates sessions for free and then 20 more at an extremely discounted rate and I thought, as a poor dancer would, “how can I say no?”. I came to my sessions with a different outlook and attitude and found the Pilates method to be incredible. I was intrigued by each piece of unique apparatus, all of the exercises focusing on efficient movement and the fact that there was no judgement. That was not something I was finding in the dance community! I wanted more time to be able to audition, rehearse and perform and decided that I should complete a Pilates program in order to be able to teach and have a more flexible schedule. After a rigorous 600-hour training program with an anatomy focus, I became a certified Pilates Instructor in 2002 and a year later, audited the full training program again in order to be a teacher trainer and help certify prospective students.
Kate: Tell me a bit about your practice.
Julie: After opening and running a big Pilates studio in upstate NY for six years, Bryan and I moved to Minneapolis and I realized that I wanted to have a smaller studio where I could focus on private and duet sessions. My studio is located in the Cowles Center for the Performing Arts in downtown Minneapolis. It is a fully equipped studio where I see one or two clients at a time. I work with people of all ages, fitness levels, pre and postnatal women, clients who are healthy and others who are dealing with injury. Each Pilates session is tailored to a client’s individual needs and I’m a fan of changing things up with each session to continue to challenge the body. There is so much to focus on with the Pilates principles and over 500 exercises on the mat and apparatus combined that clients will never get bored. In fact, I’ve been practicing Pilates for almost 15 years and I still love it.
Kate: What is the best part of your job?
Julie: Working with so many different people. Each body is so unique and every person I work with has different goals. I absolutely love teaching and helping people in pain get some relief. I’m continually amazed and it gives me great joy when a client comes to me in pain or with an injury and we are able to get them to be pain-free and stronger. One of my biggest successes was helping a male client, who was dealing with a back injury, stop taking daily pain killers by working slowly and methodically through the Pilates exercises.
Another great perk of my job is being able to meet wonderful people in the community. Because we’ve lived in a few cities over the past 13 years, teaching has allowed me connect with and make some great friends!
Kate: What are the general benefits for a someone who starts working with you?
Julie: Posture, increased flexibility and a stronger core. One of the most common observations I hear from my clients has to do with how Pilates makes them approach their daily activities differently. After a few sessions, you will begin to understand the mechanics of your body and use them to your advantage. I have heard from many clients about how Pilates has made them attack stairs differently, lift objects more efficiently or have better posture, even when sitting in the car.
Kate: Do you work with women during pregnancy? And how soon after baby arrives are you ready to see women back in your studio?
Julie: Absolutely! I have taken a number of women through their pregnancies and worked with them again postpartum. Even women with diastasis recti (a separation of the abdominal walls) are able to do some movement with proper support. It is a great way to strengthen and stretch the body during pregnancy, working deep core and pelvic floor muscles in a safe way along with stretching the areas of the body that tend to shorten as the body changes. Most women who have given birth vaginally can start a Pilates program at 6-8 weeks postpartum while mamas who have had a Cesarean can start after 12 weeks. We start slow in reconnecting the abdominal walls and work on strengthening the arms, back and shoulders for all of the nursing and cuddling we do with our little ones. There is also some stretching involved although we work more on having proper body mechanics to insure minimal pain and injury in our day to day lives. Being a mama sure can be rough on our bodies!
Kate: How often do clients usually work with you?
Julie: Because I currently only offer private and duet sessions, most of my clients come to see me one to two times a week. Twice a week is ideal, but certainly not affordable for most. It is possible to get just as much out of a duet session (two people with me at the same time) and it is more affordable. For those clients who want to come once a week but still want to do exercises at home, we leave a little time at the end of our session to review a few exercises.
Kate: How has being a mom changed your Pilates practice or instruction?
Julie: Through my pregnancy and postpartum, I decided to go back to the Pilates basics. There was no need for me to do all the fancy exercises, nor could I actually do them properly. Because things felt different, I was able to identify with other body types and was able to find better modifications in order to still experience the method. I continued to study the anatomy of my changing body and I understood why it was so important to workout/move efficiently. I was determined to bring this to my clients. We ALL went back to basics, even my most advanced clients and focused on placement and form.
Kate: How would you say that you are unique from other workout options in the community?
Julie: Pilates in such an incredible method of exercise and I am not just saying that from a teacher’s perspective. It has changed my life in so many ways and gives me a chance to work on my mind/body connection while getting a great workout to boot. You simply cannot think about anything else going on in your life while you are in a Pilates session as you are trying to work proper form and engage the right muscles. The method does not promise huge weight loss or an amazing cardio workout, but what it does promote is overall strength as you work your “powerhouse” or core, inner thighs and buttocks as a unit. The results are better posture and a longer, leaner body.
Kate: Do you have any advice you’d like to share with our pregnant readers?
Julie: It takes most women six months to one year to regain full integration of their abdominals. Advancing too quickly can jeopardize this process and a central weakness will occur, especially during subsequent pregnancies. With time, abdominal muscles will shorten due to the demands of normal activities, but without specific exercises and focus, they often do not shorten to a pre-pregnancy state.
The sooner we address muscle weakness after birth, the sooner the body heals and the quicker women will regain their former muscle tone, strength and posture. Pilates is one of the best ways to accomplish this and while it is incredibly difficult to carve out time as a new mom, it will be one of the best investments you can make for yourself long term.
Kate: Do you have any advice you’d like to share with our post birth, new mom and new dad readers?
Julie: Working out is hard and not always fun. And it’s really easy to put it on the back burner as we have a million other tasks to complete in order to keep our lives going. But here is something I tell my clients all the time… Putting your workout clothes on and getting to the place where you are going to exercise is 90% of your workout. Once you’re there, you just have to give 10% more and you’ll feel 100% better afterward.