The Surprising Pilates Transformation of a Former Personal Trainer

pilates transformation

My Pilates transformation was unexpected. I’m a former personal trainer, ex-gym rat, and long-time “clean eating” advocate. I’m also in the depths of disordered eating recovery and body image healing.

I always exercised to change the way I look. Get more toned, keep my belly flat, and feel like I was good enough, or in many cases, better than everyone else. Running parallel to my fitness journey, was my food journey, which included intense elimination diets to heal a variety of mysterious body issues, like extreme bloating and a rash all over my chest, shoulders, and back.

For a Type-A, perfectionist who thinks in black and white, this was a recipe for disorder. 

However, nearly a decade after I started my body healing journey, in the fall of 2022, I said to my husband, “I’m walking a fine line between disordered eating and conscious eating.”

At that moment, though, I knew which side of the line I was on. I was also more obsessed with how my body looked than ever before. I was doing intense workouts, eating with strict rules—and feeling anxious and stressed.

The realization that I needed to make a change came clear and sharp. I was exhausted. I felt like I was running on a hamster wheel and could not, no matter how hard I tried, get off. So, I did what I do best: went all in. 

I listened to stories of eating disorders and recovery through podcasts, started reading books on Intuitive Eating, and most importantly, started working with a professional for body image and disordered eating recovery.

And this is where my story with Pilates begins. Just two months after starting this work I began working with Lindywell as their SEO and content marketing consultant. Part of my job was to try the app, try the workouts, and get familiar with what they do and how they do it. 

I resisted logging in and trying a workout until January 1, 2023. But on Day 1, my Pilates transformation began. 

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Week 1 Transformation

Setting non-body intentions and loving quick and easy workouts that energize and ground me.

I can honestly say, the moment I stepped on the mat, I felt a shift. As someone who had always lifted heavy weights and sprinted hard on the treadmill, this was different in so many ways. The slow-down, the moments of grounding, the gentle movement. It was all exactly what I needed. 

As a natural content creator and 12-year marketer, I decided to share my experience on Instagram Stories for the first 14 days with Lindywell. I posted each day, right after the workout, so rather than telling you how I felt in week 1, I’ll let those posts do the talking.

Within the first few days, I also realized that this was the perfect way to move my body as a busy mama who also runs a business and has an active social life. On Day 4, I posted: 

“Day 4 with @Wearelindywell, and my intention was energy. Weston was up real early today and mama is tired!” 

If you notice I said, “my intention was…” This was another big part of my Pilates transformation. I wanted to make this time on the mat about more than my body. So each day, I set a clear intention that’s focused on something other than my body, like energy, creativity, or peace. 

Almost four months later, I’m still setting an intention before each workout. Shifting my focus from how my body looks or “performs” to how I am feeling from the movement has been incredibly powerful.

Favorite workouts in week 1:

Week 2 Transformation

Turning Pilates into a daily part of my routine and noticing my physical strength.

As week two rolled in, the calm of the movement became one of my favorite things about it. On Day 8, I posted: “Day 8 with @wearelindywell and feeling so grateful for the slow, powerful pace of Pilates and the calm I always feel when I come onto the mat.”

It was at this point that I also realized this was now part of my daily routine. On day 9, I posted: 

During week two, I also started noticing how strong my body was becoming. In just 10 days, I could see an increase in strength, especially in my core. After one of my workouts, I was playing around with doing a headstand, something I’ve been able to do for many years. Getting up into the pose had never felt as easy as it did that day. 

I was also noticing certain movements—like Rolling Like a Ball—that were challenging on day one already felt so much easier to do. My body was changing, but so was my mind. They were syncing, connecting, and supporting me in every area of my life.

Favorite workouts in week 2:

Week 3 Transformation

Showing up on my mat without question and loving the variety of options.

On Day 15, I posted this photo with greasy hair and no make-up, full of those post-movement feels: 

This sums up how week 3 felt for me. My Pilates transformation was always about so much more than my body, and during week 3, I began to simply love the process, the experience, and how I was feeling after every single workout. 

I also started digging into the different workout options, even doing two a day—one that challenged me in the morning and one that helped me wind down and stretch in the evening. It didn’t feel like I needed to do two to change my body. I was just craving being back on the mat.

Most importantly, I loved that I could choose a long or short workout and, no matter which it was that day, it was always enough. This mindset is the direct result of what Robin, the founder and lead instructor of Lindywell, reminds us every time we step on the mat: 

Being here is enough
Meet your body where it’s at
Do what feels good for you today

For me, that translated into total bliss. All the pressure I used to carry around working out disappeared. 

In addition to all of that, the mindfulness I was practicing on the mat was also translating into my disordered eating recovery. I was eating foods I love (that I’d sworn off for years), listening to what my body really wanted, and so much more. 

Favorite workouts in week 3:

Week 4 Transformation

Leaning into ease off the mat and feeling beyond grateful for Lindywell.

On Day 23, I posted a Reel titled, “Pilates Lessons for an Easeful Week” and this is the perfect example of how I was feeling as my first month of Pilates closed out. While I was noticing clear strength gains and was able to commit to daily workouts in a way I never had before, the greatest Pilates transformation I experienced wasn’t felt so much on the mat, but off the mat. 

As I shared at the beginning, I’ve always had a Type-A, black-and-white, perfectionist personality. Pilates brought a calm and groundedness that I was resisting as I moved through this incredibly challenging healing journey. As Stephen Pressfield, the author of The War of Art (if you haven’t read it, pick it up now), says: 

“The more resistance you experience, the more important your unmanifested art/project/enterprise is to you—and the more gratification you will feel when you finally do it.”

This was so true for me. I knew Pilates, specifically from Lindywell, would change me, but I was resisting slowing down and grounding. I was resisting finding a new way to move. On the other side of that resistance, however, was something that will impact me forever.

Favorite workouts in week 4:

I Am So Grateful for My Pilates Transformation

My Pilates transformation was so much more than I could have ever imagined it would be. It came at a time when I needed it most and has now become a regular part of my routine that I truly love. Whether I get on the mat for 10 minutes or 25, I always feel strong and energized—and somehow also calm and grounded. It changed so many aspects of my life and I know it will do the same for you.

If you haven’t tried Lindywell yet, I highly recommend signing up for their 14-day trial. I have a feeling at the end of the 14 days, you’re going to wonder how you ever got through your days without it!

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14 thoughts on “The Surprising Pilates Transformation of a Former Personal Trainer”

  1. This was encouraging to me to help me finally get serious and really settle into a Pilates routine. My husband and I just moved across the country and now I am craving being settled after six months of planning, packing and moving out of my house of 23 years.

    What are some good workouts to do to help with exhaustion?


    Katie, always a California girl

  2. This is how I’ve felt since joining Lindywell 3 years ago. I was eager to get on my mat every day and loved how it made me feel.
    Recently it’s not been so easy for one reason or another but reading this article has inspired me to make more of an effort, to get on my mat especially on the days I don’t really want to. Thank you Jessica for the inspiration I needed to take care of myself

    1. We are so glad that you are a part of this community and we are celebrating you getting on your mat when you can. We are cheering you on, Susan, you are worth it!

  3. Thank you for sharing. I commend you on your commitment and motivation. The 2 things I lack the most. I will use your story for inspiration.

    1. We are so glad that you can draw inspiration from Jessica’s journey and we are cheering you on on your own!

  4. Thank you for being so inspiring. I look in the mirror and do not see how I really look, I know it is all in my mind and need to get past this but have struggled with image most of my life. I have been part of the Lindywell family for over a year and always feel good after a workout.

    1. We love hearing how Pilates makes you feel, Lynne! We hope that you have the support and help that you might need to feel good on and off your mat!

  5. Thank you so much for sharing your story! It is very inspiring and I needed this right now. I’ve been with The Balanced Life- now Lindywell since 2020 and I’ve experienced how good it feels. I remember the first time I heard Robin say “Do the thing you need to do to feel the way you want to feel” and it got me. For one reason or another I’ve been on and off my mat..Right now I feel I have/need/want to get back on my mat and your story has given me that push I needed. Thank you!

    1. We are so glad that this blog has provided you with some inspiration and motivation. We are so thankful that you have been a part of this community and appreciate you sharing about your journey. We are celebrating you getting on your mat when you can and for practicing grace over guilt when you can’t. We are cheering you on!

  6. Sue Glickman (Scooby60)

    I really enjoyed reading this transformation journey. I have been off my mat for quite some time and, after reading this, I get to be back on my mat in the morning. I feel like this is the push I needed to get back to self care. I love Lindywell and the amazing staff that supports us. Thank you and a big thank you to Jessica for sharing her journey.

    1. We are so thankful that you are a part of the Lindywell community, Sue! And we are so glad that you took the time for yourself today. Keep up the great work. You are worth it!

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