How have you adapted to change in the last 2 years?

Adapt to Change, Secret to Change Quote

What a roller coaster the last two years have been for everyone!  It has certainly been a turbulent time with everyone being affected in some way by COVID. We have all had to adapt to change to  accommodate this new way of living and I think everybody has had their ups and downs.

Pre-pandemic, I was running a successful Pilates business from my studio in Wokingham.  I ran small Pilates classes for people local to me and I loved it.  As I have mentioned in previous blogs, all this changed in March 2020, when we went into our first lockdown. It amazes me that this was 2 years ago. I think we can separate the last two years into pre-pandemic, pandemic and post pandemic with pre-pandemic seeming a lifetime ago.

As we gradually move into post pandemic, I believe we are still adapting and this will continue to happen, particularly with what is currently going on in the world at this present time. There seems to be so much uncertainty and anxiety around (to find out about my charity event raising money for Ukraine, please click here).

So what have I learnt from the past two years?

Firstly, you can’t stay static with your business. This new world is constantly changing and we have to move with it, even if it takes us out of our comfort zone. I can definitely say I’ve been so far out of my comfort zone over the last two years, I’ve forgotten what it feels like to be in my comfort zone! Going from face to face to online, was a big step for me and I can still remember my husband saying to me “Lisa, don’t be disappointed if it doesn’t work, but at least you have given it a try”.  This gave me the sheer determination to make it happen and yes, we had some blips along the way, technology is not my forte and my husband who will admit is not the most techy of guys, became IT support overnight.  I sometimes froze, both in terms of IT and confidence, I have been known to swear and there have been times when pets or family members can be heard in the background! However, I have managed to build a business that is now predominately online and I love it!

Secondly, If you remain positive and have a keep going attitude, then people will respond.  Although, some days, it was hard to remain chatty and upbeat on screen, I did it, because I knew for some of my clients, my classes were a lifeline and they definitely didn’t want doom and gloom as they got this enough when they turned on the news every day. Keeping a positive mindset and surrounding myself with other positive people has definitely helped me through the last 2 years.

Coming in at number 3 in terms of lessons learnt – one size doesn’t fit all. What do I mean by that?  Offering lots of different options to clients has helped me to grow my business.  As well as running online classes, I also provide a video library with over 100 videos, which means when clients can’t make a live class, they can still do their Pilates workouts.  Clients are now wanting more face to face, so I have set up monthly Pilates Workshops at a local school, so I can then interact and see my clients and be able to provide hands on assistance.  As the world has picked up the pace, over the last few months, trying to get to a class in person, week after week is challenging, so by offering a face to face class every few weeks, they get the human interaction, but then they also have the convenience of hopping onto an online class that suits their schedule.  As we move forward, I’m sure my business model will continue to evolve.

My fourth lesson – I really love to study .  Throughout the pandemic, I was able to attend many online training courses to further my knowledge all from the comfort of my studio.  For those of you, who know me well, you will know I don’t like to travel, so being able to sit in the warmth of my studio, at the end of my garden has been a great plus for me.

During the pandemic, I also discovered MELT.  For me, this is many lessons rolled into one. Without the pandemic, I would never have been introduced to MELT, which has been life transforming for me and my clients. Before the pandemic, all the MELT training was in the US and as much as I would have loved to have done the training, it would not have been an option, so to be able to take all my levels of training from home has been amazing and I am loving everything I am learning. Studying and teaching MELT has provided me with a perfect combination with Pilates and as I continue to learn, my depth of knowledge grows, which makes me very happy. As more people learn about MELT and as my clients embrace it, then my business model will adapt and change again.

So, I think it is fair to say we have all had to adapt and change, but I guess as long as the world keeps changing, so do we.

I also think these quotes some up the last two years perfectly:-

“Change begins at the end of your comfort zone.”

“Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.”

“There is nothing permanent except change.”

How have you had to adapt to change in the last 2 years? I’d love to know.

What is MELT?

MELT Feedback | What is Melt? Lisa Hill MELT Instructor Wokingham

Do you sit at a desk all day and then find you have low back pain or neck pain?  Have you ever woken up stiff and achy? Do you have a persistent pain or niggle that you put down to “one of those things”?  If that sounds familiar, then you might have “stuck stress” living in your body.  Over a period of time, this “stuck stress” or dehydrated connective tissue can lead to more chronic pain problems. Most of us live with some sort of pain, which we think we need to put up with. Maybe you’ve got carpal tunnel syndrome, arthritis, fibromyalgia, disc degeneration, osteoporosis, RSI, tennis elbow or you might suffer with neck or low back pain.

Becoming a MELT Instructor, has meant I can help clients as I’m passionate about letting people know they don’t have to put up with unnecessary pain.

So, what is MELT? 

It’s a question I get asked frequently.  This is how some of the MELT Instructors describe MELT:

“MELT is a gentle technique using soft rollers and balls to promote healing in your body.”

“MELT is a self-treatment to help your body prepare for exercise and heal faster afterward.”

“MELT creates better stability in your joints and improves muscle timing so movement is more efficient.”

“MELT enhances mobility and stability – especially important as we age.”

“MELT is a technique that’s easy to learn and helps you feel better, move better and age actively! It’s good for the body, mind and soul.”

You will see from all the quotes that MELT is gentle and is a self-treatment, which means as an Instructor, my job is to educate clients through my classes to then be able to practice the techniques at home. Cell dehydration is a daily occurrence, so by doing MELT daily, we can start to unstick the stress.

I also think this quote on the MELT Method website sums MELT up perfectly:

“MELT Method is a gentle self-treatment technique that enhances mobility, stability, and performance and is clinically proven to reduce persistent pain while easing the mind and restoring overall wellbeing” 

As I write this, I have just completed my first half term of MELT Induction classes and what a success they have been.  I began my MELT journey last February, when I started to attend some online MELT classes and quickly realised that I wanted to become an instructor as I felt it would complement my Pilates classes. I became a Level 1 Instructor in September 2021 and I’m so pleased I did, the feedback I have had has been really positive.  One of my clients no longer has issues with her ongoing tennis elbow, another client has said she is now sleeping so much better and a number of clients have said they no longer feel overwhelmed by life.

How do my classes work?

As MELT is so different to anything, my clients have done before, I run four face to face induction classes in my studio in Wokingham for six weeks, which allows me to teach all the techniques and moves, I studied in my Level 1 training.  This includes the hand and foot treatments using the balls and the lower and upper body sequences with the rollers. By being face to face, it means I can adjust clients with the positioning of the rollers.  However, if someone lives too far away to do a face-to-face class, I offer online 1-2-1’s. As it is a 1-2-1, rather than a class setting, I usually do two to three 1-2-1’s.

Once all my clients are up to speed on the moves and terminology, they then join my online classes.  At the moment, I am running two classes a week for 45 minutes on a Monday lunchtime and a Thursday evening.  You can find my MELT classes here.

I ran my first class and it was a great success. One of my clients said; –

“Oh my god! I had THE BEST night’s sleep in weeks; I feel like a new person this morning”.

Another client said she definitely woke up feeling less achy and stiff.

There are five levels of training in MELT and I have already started my Level 2 training which I will complete in May and then it’s straight onto Level 3 in the summer.  There is so much to learn and I am soaking up all the new information.  We use the analogy of a sponge in MELT to describe how we rehydrate the tissue by working fluid into a sponge, then, just like a sponge, once you’ve got it moist, you squeeze the sponge out so when you let it go, it can absorb the fluid more efficiently.  I feel as though my brain is like a sponge, as well, as I can honestly say I learn something new every day with MELT.  The MELT Instructor community is a great place to ask questions and learn.  I can then use all this new found knowledge, both as a MELT and Pilates instructor, so it is a win-win for my clients.

I love how MELT helps my body and my clients, but don’t take my word for it, here is some feedback from a couple of my clients who have recently started to add MELT into their daily routine.

“I have had a couple of MELT 1-2-1s and have been carrying out some Level 1 exercises for a few months. Within a few days I could already feel a difference and a couple of months on it has really helped ease my pain, and helped my mobility. Lisa is really thorough with her learning and passes on her newly gained knowledge so enthusiastically. She is a brilliant, patient teacher and also hilarious at times. I am definitely converted to MELT and cannot wait to learn new exercises as Lisa’s training develops. Everyone should try MELT with Lisa!”

“Just managed to stand while cooking and no back ache. I could cry; never felt this good since before I had open heart surgery in 2007. It is magic to not suffer from all the problems from cerebral palsy.”

If you would like to know more about how MELT can transform your life, please get in touch.


Celebrating 10 years as a Pilates Instructor!

Pilates Instructor, Lisa Hill celebrating

I can’t quite believe that it’s been 10 years since I qualified as a Pilates Instructor back in November 2011! It was a great achievement for me and I’m so pleased to still be teaching and watching my clients get stronger, flexible and more mobile with every class.

I feel it is a great accomplishment and something to be celebrated. It got me thinking, what are some of my highlights over the last 10 years? Here are 10 of my best achievements since becoming a Pilates Instructor:

• First ever Pilates class

Prior to qualifying as a Pilates Instructor, I had been a Personal Trainer for 10 years, so I was used to working with clients on a 1-2-1 basis. Teaching a class was a whole new experience and I can honestly say it was a completely nerve wracking experience. I think that first class was the hardest class I have ever taught, but once it was over, I knew I had made the right decision to become a Pilates Instructor.

• Every class is different

I know how important it is to keep the classes fresh and I’m so proud to be able to say that in 10 years, I have never taught the same class twice. We might do the same theme, for example, Posture Week or Stretch, Strength and Mobility, but I can guarantee that the class will be different in some way.

• Having my own studio

In September 2016, I made the decision to have a studio in my garden. It was a dream come true, my own personal space to teach my clients both in classes and 1-2-1’s. I loved my studio and the commute was so easy! 😀

• Fundraising event for CLIC Sargent

In June 2018, I held a fundraising Pilates day to help raise funds for a very worthwhile charity. So many of my clients got involved. It was a great day and we raised £2,615. I was so proud that day that we could help to make a difference.

• Moving Pilates online

Due to the pandemic, it was either sink or swim as traditionally Pilates is a face to face service, however, during the three lockdowns of 2020/2021, I managed to retain many of my existing clients and grow my business. I love the fact that now I can teach Pilates online and reach a wider audience. Moving online has been a revelation for both myself and my clients. You can read more about this in my previous blog.

• Still teaching some of my original clients

It’s hard to believe that I still have clients who have been with me right from the start. They’ve been with me as I have grown in confidence and experience and have also had to put up with the same jokes for 10 years. In fact, one of my clients recently said she knows exactly what the punchline is before I say it. I think it may be time for some new jokes in the next 10 years!!

• Seeing my clients transform

The main reason I became a Pilates Instructor was to help clients have a better quality of life. When you see someone, who has been struggling or had an injury and can start to enjoy life again because they are stronger, fitter and more mobile, it is one of the best feelings in the world.

• Every day is a school day

My clients all know that I love to learn. It has always been a passion of mine and attending courses and learning is so important to me. When I qualified, I set myself a goal that I would attend a course every year to keep my knowledge up to date and I love coming back to class and sharing what I’ve learnt. As I always say, “Every day is a school day.”

Nationwide and European clients

If you had told me 10 years ago, I would have clients from all over the country and Europe, it would have asked what planet you were from. The pandemic has changed all that. Since moving online, I can now take clients from all over the country and the world. Completely crazy, but it works and I love it!

• November 2021

People who know me well, know I don’t like change, so I think my biggest achievement and something for me to celebrate is that in 10 years, I have had to constantly change my business. From school halls, to my living room, to my studio, to online, I am doing a job I love, with clients I love and who knows where I’ll be teaching in November 2031.

Here’s to the next 10 years and beyond.  What are your memories / highlights from the last 10  years of Pilates? I’d love to know! If you’d like to find out more about my Pilates classes, I’d be delighted to hear from you.


Excited to introduce MELT!

MELT Method and Pilates

The two most common questions I get asked when I tell people I have recently qualified as a Level 1 MELT Instructor is what does MELT stand for and how did you find out about it? I’m actually going to answer the second question first.

How did I find out about MELT?  
It was actually through another Pilates Instructor, who I met on a training course a few years ago. We hit it off and kept in touch and then earlier this year, she told me she had qualified as a MELT Instructor and I should look into it. She also invited me to attend her online MELT classes, which I started in February. As soon as I started, I was hooked. As she had said to me it was the missing link when she was teaching Pilates and I totally agree with her.

As soon as the next instructor training dates were released, I had booked up for the course.  One of the benefits of the pandemic was all the training was online, which was perfect for me as I don’t think it would have been very easy to travel to the US for the training.  Online training suited me perfectly as it meant I could study in my own time, whilst still working.  I will admit, I hadn’t appreciated how much study there was, but I absolutely loved it and have learnt so much over the past three months and what I have learnt is helping me with my Pilates teaching as well.

After three months of studying and practising MELT, I became a Level 1 Instructor, which means I am now qualified to teach MELT and I can’t wait to get started with my clients.

What does MELT stand for?
MELT actually stands for Myofascial Energetic Length Technique, which won’t make a lot of sense to most people, but if I told you that the MELT Method is a self-care treatment that eliminates chronic pain, improves performance and decreases accumulated stress caused by the repetitive postures and movements of everyday life, that might make more sense.

The MELT Method was created by Sue Hitzmann, who in my mind, one of the most knowledgeable people, I have ever met.  Her enthusiasm and love of MELT is infectious and I can honestly say I have never learnt as much as I have done in the last 3 months about how the body works and how with specialised soft rollers and balls, MELT can make a difference.

What do the specialised soft rollers and balls do?
They help to rehydrate the connective tissue, also known as fascia, they rebalance the nervous system and they restore space to compressed joints.

As Sue says, this preventative, proactive approach known as Hands-Off Bodywork is a simple daily self-care practice anyone, of any age or activity level can use to effectively improve their sense of wellbeing and live a more active, healthy pain-free life.

By incorporating MELT into your daily life, you can calm the mind and ease pain symptoms, improve sensorimotor control and restore joint centralisation and stability, improve alignment and posture, flexibility, sleep and digestion.

In Level 1, we learn about the 4 R’s of MELT, Reconnect, Rebalance, Rehydrate and Release.  Each R has different techniques and moves and we learn how to put these into different sequences and maps to help our clients.

How does MELT fit in with being a Pilates Teacher?  
I have a lot of clients who come to see me in chronic pain, or they have aches and pains and want to strengthen their core and sometimes performing Pilates exercises is not enough to make the changes that my clients want.  This has now changed with MELT.  Any new client or 1-2-1 client who now visits my studio all start with a soft MELT ball and we work on their hands and feet.  This helps them to understand what MELT is about and it also highlights how important our hands and feet are to our overall health and how using the balls under these areas can help with neck and low back pain.  We always start with an indirect, before direct approach in MELT and I love seeing how using the balls can make such a difference to my clients.

It is important to emphasise that MELT is not only for people in chronic pain,  It is for everyone, because we all do repetitive movements daily whether we are sat a desk all day, have a job that involves a lot of standing or participate in sports, exercise or are suffering from an injury.

I cannot wait to start teaching MELT to both my existing clients and any new client that thinks they will benefit from Melting.  My job as an instructor is to help clients understand the moves and techniques, so they can do them at home. As I mentioned earlier, this is a self-care treatment and clients will get the most benefits if they melt daily,

How can I join a MELT class?
My plan for teaching MELT is to run face to face induction classes in my studio for 6 weeks for 5 clients. If clients can’t make a face to face class, due to geography, I will also do some induction classes online, Once my clients have done 6 weeks of classes, they will then be ready to move online to a class  and the next group of clients who want to learn Melt, will then join the next set of induction classes. You can book your place here.

What’s even more exciting, is there are 5 levels of MELT training and each training builds on the previous training so as I learn more, so do my clients.,  I am already registered for the Level 2 training which begins in February 2022..  I have always had a passion for learning and MELT ticks all the boxes.

What do my clients think?
As I have been studying and learning, I have been working with a couple of my 1-2-1 clients so that I could practice and get their feedback on Melt.  I have asked them for their feedback and this is what they have told me

“Following recent surgery on my spine and finding myself in no less pain, Lisa encouraged me to try the Melt Method of self-care.  I took Lisa’s advice and with her reassurance and guidance, I am now using the melt balls and rollers on a daily basis.  It really only takes ten minutes of your day once you get into a routine,  I honestly cannot believe the difference it has made to my body,  I am in less pain, I have more stability and my balance is improving daily.  I now have the confidence to increase my mobility through exercise which is having a profound effect on my mental health and daily living, even my husband now uses the MELT Roller every evening after work.  I don’t know where I would be without Lisa’s support and teaching… probably hearing for a fusion –but not anymore!”

“I was so excited when Lisa told me she was going to train as a MELT Instructor.  With Lisa’s great teaching I have not looked back. It can take as little as 10 minutes of your time to do either the Hand or Foot sequences and the benefits felt are really beneficial.  I even took the balls away with me when I went on holiday recently (it’s a small set of balls, with the biggest being smaller than a golf ball – but way softer and kinder!).  Lisa has also introduced me to some of the other techniques and sequences using the rollers such as neck tension release, SI Joint shear and a fabulous lower body sequence where we worked on the calf’s, and inner and outer thighs.  In MELT, we use soft rollers – so much better than the solid rollers we were led to believe were right for us. I have definitely felt the incredible difference that MELT can make.”

As a Pilates teacher, the best part of my job is when I see how it helps clients have a better quality of life, if you combine this with MELT, it becomes so much more powerful.I cannot wait to start teaching MELT and helping people.

To find out more about the MELT Method and the creator, Sue Hitzmann, please follow this link.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Are you a Mabel or a Rose?

Pilates for Older Adults Poster

Being a Pilates instructor, means I meet many different people from all walks of life and all different ages and I can honestly say that one group of adults that I really enjoy teaching are my older adults.

So many of them want to continue to enjoy life and see Pilates as part of the key to helping them to continue with living life to the full.

I have recently qualified as an Older Adults Pilates Instructor, which means I can now teach classes specifically targeted at the over 65’s. I have worked with older adults for many years, but now having the opportunity to be able to offer a class specifically for this group of adults I know will be really rewarding. My oldest client is 80 and it is so inspiring to see how Pilates can keep her active and mobile.

As part of my qualification, I had to design a poster to advertise my new classes and I came up with the concept of Mabel and Rose. Rose is my typical client, who runs after her grandchildren, can get out of chair unaided. Rose goes on a daily walk and enjoys life and when the world is a little bit more back to normal, will hopefully enjoy going on holidays again. As one thing I’ve learnt, is that this particular demographic do love a holiday ☺

I then came up with the concept of Mabel, who is at the opposite end of the spectrum. Unfortunately, Mabel struggles to get out of a chair and is breathless going up stairs. She has lots of aches and pains and as a consequence is quite low in her mood. She is also frightened to go out in case she falls. This can be very common with older adults and especially after the year, we have just experienced, a lot of older people have moved far less, which does, unfortunately, put them at risk of falling.

By doing Pilates for older adults, we can slow down bone mass changes by performing weight bearing and strength based exercises. These are incorporated into my sessions and can then help to reduce the risk of fractures if a fall should happen.

Falls can also be prevented by having better balance and co-ordination. Balance exercises can help strengthen bone mass and this can reduce your chance of a fall by -30%*. I always make sure that we do balance exercises every week in Pilates, because balance is so important, whatever your age.

Other benefits of doing a regular Pilates class is helping to improves cognitive and brain function, which can then help lift your mood. It will also improve sleep, lower blood pressure and help to manage stress.

And don’t just take my word for it, the ACSM (American College of Sports Medicine) – Exercise and Physical Activity for Older Adults (Wojtek et al, 2009) did a study and showed that regular exercise has shown to be effective in helping to reduce the risk of developing chronic disease in old age. It reduces the chance of developing of Type II diabetes by 40%*, Cardiovascular disease by 35%* and Joint and Back pain by 25%*.

Loneliness is another reason for low mood and not wanting to do exercise, but by coming to a weekly Pilates class, and having the opportunity to meet new people, can really help and is particularly important if someone lives on their own and doesn’t see many people day to day.

Ageing is inevitable, with loss of muscle mass, strength or function and it’s easy to see how people feel as though they are a Mabel and can’t make the changes needed to become more like Rose, BUT it is possible for a Mabel to become more like a Rose and embrace their inner Rose.

So at least 150 minutes’ moderate exercise per week or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise* or a combination of both can mean Mabel can become more like Rose.

From mid August, I will be running two Senior Strength and Stability classes in my studio in Wokingham at 2.15pm and 3.30pm each week. If you’d like to find out more, please contact me on 07760 176348, or get in touch here.

*UK Chief Medical Officers’ Guidelines 2011 – Start Active, Stay Active