With the start of the New Year, a lot of people make the resolution to get in shape. It’s actually one of the most popular resolutions to make. Here, at The Middle Edit we are no different (see our resolutions here)! Getting in shape and prioritizing working out is at the top of our lists this year. So when we had the opportunity to work with Jackie, founder of Jackie Parks Pilates, on a fitness series, we jumped at the chance!
I was introduced to Jackie through a mutual friend and instantly knew she would be a good fit for The Middle Edit. Jackie has made a career out of her passion of fitness, specifically pilates, started her own brand, Jackie Parks Pilates and her drive to shake up the industry is more than admirable!
I was lucky enough to have a one-on-one session with Jackie at her current studio and let me tell you, it was no joke! She is good at what she does, walks you through each technical movement and is not afraid to make you work! Here, read more on how Jackie turned her passion into a career, the challenges she faced in doing so, and just how she balances it all.
Name: Jackie Parks, Certified Pilates Instructor, Jackie Parks Pilates
Location: Scottsdale, AZ
How, exactly did your pilates career start?
I started teaching Yoga when my husband and I lived in Brooklyn. I was quickly disappointed that I wasn’t instantly traveling the world teaching at yoga retreats in Bali – bummer. When we moved to Scottsdale for his job, I was teaching Yoga at a Pilates studio and started getting exposed to the classes and equipment. I loved the technical aspect of the movements and have been hooked ever since my first class.
Do you have any plans to open your own studio?
Right now I have something in the works but nothing has been finalized…yet! It turns out that branching out on your own is terrifying and also requires a lot of work. It took a great deal of (false) confident to brand myself and go out on my own. Around the same time, I had decided to leave the studio I had been teaching at for several years. That was a major energy shift for me. Luckily I have some really wonderful clients and colleagues that have been both patient and helpful as I work through this process. Above all, it has been totally a fake it ‘till you make it situation with the business side of things. I try to stay focused on teaching and believe the rest will fall into place at the right time.
“I try to stay focused on teaching and believe the rest will fall into place at the right time.”
What, if any, challenges have you experienced working for yourself?
There is an ebb and flow to setting your own schedule. There are definitely some weeks where I take my foot off the gas and some that I have more energy to take on more classes and appointments. The hardest thing for me so far has been social media, I love and hate it so much! I am working right now on not feeling so defined by my Instagram interactions or feeling the need to constantly come up with content. It definitely makes a huge difference in how I fill up my classes but it’s a whole other job in itself!
What advice would you give to someone who also wants to make a career out of pilates?
There is really no way to soften the blow of how hard this industry is. After 6 years, I am not even sure about where I stand with it all. I have the pleasure of mentoring a lot of young teachers and the number one thing I always make sure to tell them is that it is hard…like really, really hard.
We are all contracted so there isn’t a lot of guidance. If you get in with a good studio you might get on track to managing and become salaried but that was never the role for me. If you want to be a really, really good teacher you have to be self motivated. It’s as simple and as difficult as that. You will float aimlessly for a while but over time and after a lot of practice you begin to find your voice. Once you find your voice you discover your message and when you have a message you have started to make the transition from an instructor to a teacher. The number one responsibility of a teacher is to never stop learning. If you are reading this and you need advice, please don’t hesitate to ask me a question. I am always available and happy to help.
“Once you find your voice you discover your message and when you
have a message you have started to transition from an instructor to a teacher”
How do you balance starting your own business, working and raising your daughter?
Wine! And I give myself a lot of grace. I can try to do it all but at the end of the day something always has to give. I try to be kind and patient with myself so that I can be authentic when I am teaching my daughter those same lessons. It was really important to me that my daughter sees that her mom can do something she loves and be successful at the same time. She will always come first but I’m so glad that she will grow up watching me crush my goals.
And lastly…you are new to your 30s, but how would you describe your 30s thus far?
Turning thirty was a big milestone for me. I don’t know if it was turning 30 or getting settled into motherhood but I feel more confident than ever. Mothers are efficiency machines and I now know I can tackle anything that comes my way. There was a lot that I wanted to accomplish before I turned 30. I was able to get most of it done so being able to come up with a whole new list of goals for the next decade was really exciting.