trying reformer pilates for the first time

In college, I was all about getting out of my comfort zone –especially when it came to working out. When I stopped doing high school sports, I knew I had to figure out a way to keep working out fun. So I made it a goal to try new activities every year. One quarter I did yoga, another quarter I did ballet. I also took hip hop classes and learned how to partner stunt (even though I never actually cheered). One of my favorite workout classes I ever took was Pilates.

Fast forward a few years and I’ve continued to run and go to the gym but I’m finding myself wanting variety in my workouts. So when Seattle Pilates Collective reached out and asked me to collaborate, I was so excited! I’ve been wanting to back to Pilates but I was a little nervous about the reformer (the intimidating machine that wasn’t present in my first Pilates class). Before we get to my Pilates experience, let me tell you about the Seattle Pilates Collective…

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reformer pilates - seattle pilates collectiveSitting on the carriage of the reformer - reformer pilates

So what is Pilates?

The Seattle Pilates Collective describes Pilates like this: “Technically, Pilates is a method of exercises that is low impact, with a focus on strength and flexibility emphasizing proper alignment, core strength and muscular balance…  It is the conversation and relationship you have with your body. It’s taking time out of your day to focus on how you feel, check in with how you’re moving and hopefully let your body teach you something new about yourself.”

To me, Pilates is a workout that focuses on strengthening both your body and mind. I love how Pilates shows me new ways to move and challenge my body while also improving flexibility and core strength.

What is the Seattle Pilates Collective?

The Seattle Pilates Collective is a group of instructors focused on creating a space that makes Pilates more approachable, supportive and fun. The Seattle Pilates Collective aims to inspire, motivate, and educate their clients as well as encourage them to kick some ass and have a great workout.

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Who founded Seattle Pilates Collective? And where are they located?

Nathalia and Jake! They found Pilates 10 years ago and founded the collective together. All the instructors with the Seattle Pilates Collective are focused on building a welcoming community. They are also super nice and take the time bring you up to speed in the classes. You can take group Pilates classes at the Seattle Pilates Collective Greenlake studio and private Pilates lessons/duet in their Ballard studio.

Now that you know who Seattle Pilates Collective is,

Here is a recap of my private lesson and first group class:

Seattle Pilates Collective Private Lesson with Rachel:

Nathalia and Jake recommended that I work with Rachel for a one hour private lesson before starting the group class. Since I’ve only done mat Pilates, I’m glad the offered this option. I honestly really enjoyed my one hour private Pilates session with Rachel in the Ballard studio.

She introduced the Reformer to me for the first time. I was really intimated by the Reformer at first– a traditional piece of equipment that is made of a bed springs, pulleys, and weights. The Reformer allows the user to add weight and resistance to their exercises. Rachel led me through changing the weights/resistance, using the straps for both leg and arm workouts, and even showed me exercises with the box on top of it. It was truly a unique, personalized workout experience. And I appreciated that I could ask questions 1 x 1 without feeling embarrassed. I was so excited that I learned how to navigate and manipulate the the Reformer during our lesson!

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Reformer Pilates Group Class with Jake:

After my private lesson with Rachel, I was ready to take on my first reformer group class with Jake. The Greenlake location is absolutely beautiful! It was spacious and light and airy in the studio. I was grateful that I was introduced and worked on the Reformer before the class. I felt way more comfortable working with the carriage, adding and removing weights/springs, and using the pulleys. I really liked how the class sizes were smaller – I felt like we got the attention we needed to confirm if we were doing the exercises correctly or not. The class pace also moved smoothly and I didn’t feel like we were rushing through the exercises.

Seattle Pilates Collective Studio in Greenlake

Greenlake Seattle Pilates Collective Studiobeautiful pilates studios - pilates reformer workoutOverall, I had great workouts with Seattle Pilates Collective.

I highly recommend Pilates if you’re looking to change up your workout routine or even just want to try something new! Right now Seattle Pilates Collective is offering 20% for either a 4 or 8 class package for any new students. Check out their website here! Thank you Seattle Pilates Collective for inviting me into your beautiful studios!

If you are interested in trying out Pilates, here are a few tips:

1.Don’t be afraid to set up a private lesson. One on one instructor time will help you ease into Pilates -especially if your nervous to try it in a group setting. An instructor can go over the foundations with you too!

2. Don’t be afraid to try Pilates. I think there’s a lot of fear around the Reformer machine. I personally was intimated by the Reformer before actually doing workouts on it. Honestly, it’s just an exercise machine that’s there to give you an all body workout.

3. You wear socks to Pilates. There are actually Pilates socks that help you not slip during workouts! I haven’t invested in a pair yet but I do need to find a pair of Pilates socks!

4. Pilates is great for strength building, core strength, and alignment. If you want an alternative to running and lifting weights, Pilates is a great cross training workout!

Have you tried Pilates before? What are your tips for trying Pilates for the first time?

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Photos: Karya Schanilec

*This is a sponsored blog post made in collaboration with Seattle Pilates Collective and all my opinions are my own*

Thank you for reading!



One question I get a lot as a blogger is: how do you grow your Instagram following?

Let me first say that reaching 14,000+ followers has been a long but organic journey for me. I started blogging almost 4 years ago during my senior year of college and only started taking it really seriously this past year and a half. But I’ve learned a lot along the way so I wanted to pass on the knowledge to the next blogger or small business who’s looking to grow their Instagram account out there. So I’ve finally put together 10 everyday tips on how to grow your Instagram and some reminders to help you keep your sanity with instagram’s changing algorithm.

10 Everyday Tips to Grow Your Instagram Account 

1.Don’t get hung up on the day to day quirks of Instagram

I decided to make this the first tip because I think it affects a lot of people out there trying to grow their Instagram accounts. The algorithm of Instagram has changed and sometimes your photos don’t get the normal likes/comments/engagement it normally gets. Don’t let this get to you. Don’t think just because a photo didn’t perform well that your content is less worthy of being seen. The daily grind of Instagram means sometimes your photos do well and sometimes they don’t. Which leads me to my next tip…

2. Remember it’s the cumulative efforts that help build your Instagram

You can’t let your single photo that didn’t get as much likes or comments get you down because it’s the cumulative efforts that matter. It’s the series of photos that build your Instagram. Your Instagram is today’s modern day online magazine – a grid of photos that give insight to who you are and your passions.

So my main advice for building your Instagram is post at least once day. Posting once a day leads to consistency which is the step to build your page.

3. Post Quality Content

Whether you take iPhone photos or get a photographer to take your photos, make sure your photos are clear. Blurry, darker photos don’t tend to resonate well with people. Since Instagram is a photo sharing platform, I would recommend focusing on improving the photos you share. People see the photo first before they read the caption (and a lot of people don’t take the time to read captions). Remember content is king. People are following you for the (photos) content you produce.

4. Choose a Consistent Aesthetic

Alongside quality photos, a consistent aesthetic is crucial to growing your Instagram account. Whether you decide on a minimalist approach or colorful and bright, make sure your photos all flow. Remember that your aesthetic can flow into different series as you scroll through your page. It doesn’t have to be minimalist for the entire life of your page. For instance, when I’m traveling on vacation, my aesthetic and 6-9 set of photos are colorful and bright. And when I’m back in Seattle, my aesthetic is light and bright.

Here’s my instagram feed when I was traveling through Italy this past summer:

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Here is my feed around spring time this year – I was really feeling the florals:

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5. Engagement is key to growing your Instagram

Honestly, engagement is probably the key element to grow your blog and Instagram. Engagement is commenting and liking others photos and bringing people to your account to engage with your content.

Are you taking the time to engage with accounts in your niche (fashion, travel, etc)? When you engage with other accounts in your niche, their followers can see that (through comments or collaborations) and that helps build your reach.

6. Use hashtags and geotags 

If you want people to find you as a fashion or travel account, you should be using hashtags related to your content. Hashtags and geotag locations allow your photos and page to be seen by others beyond your following. For instance, I always use the hashtag #seattlestyle for any of my every day outfit photos. So if any brands or potential followers are looking for style inspiration based in Seattle, they can type in #seattlestyle and see my photos in that thread.

How to become an Instagram Star with these 10 tips

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7. Don’t be afraid to test different things

The Instagram algorithm has changed (and probably will continue to change) so that means your typical Instagram habits have to grow and adapt to the new Instagram world. I would recommend:

Trying different posting times to see if your audience responds more in a particular time (example: start of the work day vs. lunch) and tagging different locations in your hometown or city (example: tagging the Space Needle vs. Seattle, WA for a specific tag).

8. Don’t Compare Yourself to Others

In this modern day social media world it’s hard to tell which is authentic engagement and followings and which aren’t. People are buying their followers and engagement these days. As a normal person who has blogged on the side while working full time and going to both undergrad and grad school, it took me 4 years to reach 13,000+ followers. Don’t compare yourself to someone who’s been blogging for a year and hit 50,000+ followers. You can only focus on what you can control: your content and your engagement with other accounts.

9. Remember Instagram Growth is NOT a Race

I feel like there is this rush to the first 1,000 followers, then 5,000 followers, and now 10,000 followers that all these bloggers around me are experiencing. I don’t know where it comes from, but there’s this layer of pressure to grow your account quickly. There’s also this belief that reaching a specific amount of followers – like 10,000, is going to change your life for the better somehow.

But to be honest, 10,000+ followers doesn’t guarantee more (paid) brand collaborations and more likes/comments. The truth is brands are still asking you to trade product for promotion (work for free) and engagement is difficult to maintain as your following grows.

So my advice is to focus on growing real authentic followers –who actually care about the work you produce. When you actually gain followers who enjoy your content, they’ll more likely be engaged.

10 Tip to grow your Instagram following

10. It’s not about being perfect, it’s about being yourself

Social media may lead you to feel like you can only share the best parts of your life. But everyone knows that there is a world beyond social media. Your audience will resonate with who you are, more than the clothes or make up that you wear – so don’t feel like you can only share the professional photos. Share what’s important to you on your Instagram and Instagram stories.

For instance, I still try to channel who I am through my photos. I’ve let you guys know I’m actually 5 ft tall or that I’m actually sitting in class while I post this photo. I’ve also shared how I’ve written about taking a leap of faith in your life and how I believe in community over competition. I’ve even shared with you guys my communication research problem on the gender pay gap. You can replicate photos and aesthetics, but no one can replicate who you are.

I hope you enjoyed these 10 tips to grow your Instagram following!

Grow Your Instagram - How to Gain More Instagram Followers - Pinterest _ blogger tips and tricks

What are your tips and tricks to grow your Instagram account?


Thank you for reading!



Photos: Ashley Jacklyn