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Q & A with Cheryl Turnquist

What do you remember about the first time you tried Pilates?
It was in 1999 in the basement of someone's house where she had 2 reformers, one tower, and a chair. There were only 3 Pilates instructors at the time in Rhode Island, and it was hard to get sessions with any of them. It was a very strange experience for sure and we left asking each other... what was that? What is this all about? And when can we go back for more?

What is a misconception about Pilates you want to clarify?
That it is 'like yoga' ... When I tell people I am a Pilates instructor, I often hear.. 'oh, isn't that like Yoga?' NO!!! it's not like Yoga at all! And then I list why.

The best piece of advice you've received?
Never give up ... there were moments in the beginning when I was just starting out when I wondered how it was going to work and if I had done the right thing by going for this career change ...The mentor instructors I trained with believed in me and kept me on track ... I'm so glad I listened and didn't give up!

What advice would you give a Pilates teacher just starting out?
Never stop learning ... be patient... and understand that it is a process that requires hard work and time to build a clientele. That being said, it can be the greatest job you ever have.

What were your last 3 purchases?
Guinea Pig food (we have 2); Dunkin Donuts ice coffee (my favorite), a book on my Kindle - Wild - about a young woman who walked the Pacific Coast Trail alone.

When did you feel you made a difference as a Pilates teacher?
Hmmm... I think it happened early on when I had several clients with back issues continue to report that they felt so much better after they had done their Pilates workouts. And I have seen clients through pregnancies, loss of spouses, major illnesses and surgeries... and all of them have said that doing the Pilates helped them in some way through their issues and they so looked forward to coming to the studio

What is your greatest indulgence?
Chocolate! I love chocolate (except white chocolate) and find a way to get some into every day!

Do you have any funny client stories?
Aside from the guy who pulled his pants AND shorts off at the same time - (It was the change of seasons and he wanted shorts inside but threw jogging pants on over them... and then somehow grabbed both because he was distracted) GASP!!!

What do you do to unwind after a long day of teaching?
We love board games at my house. We play family board games like Yahtzee, Sequence, Trivial Pursuit, Scrabble, Uno, you name it... we try it

When did you feel like a Pilates teacher?
Sometimes I still ponder that question! I think when I bridged into Power in 2006 I felt confident then that I really was doing things right and I was on the right path.

What is your personal motto?
'If you really want something bad enough you will figure out a way to do it'... I figured out how to get funding to start my business and I really wanted to make it work. When new instructors lament to me about having a hard time getting clients I tell them those words.. you have to figure it out and then you make it work. It may require changes to your current routine or lifestyle, etc... but... if you want it bad enough, you will figure out a way to make it work.


Cheryl Turnquist
Cheryl is a Power Pilates Teacher Trainer, Chair of the Power Pilates Curriculum Committee and owner of the Providence Pilates Center in Providence, RI. She has been teaching since 1999 originally certified by the Physicalmind Method of Pilates. She Bridged into Power Pilates in 2006 and is PMA certified. Along with Pilates she also holds certifications with AFAA group fitness, spinning, TRX suspension systems, Yogafit and more.