I never thought I’d work with a personal fitness trainer, but now I’m reaping the benefits of doing just that! I played high school basketball and collegiate football growing up and continued to be reasonably active since then—biking, running, swimming, tennis, etc. However, I’d always wanted to improve my core strength and flexibility but never did. Last May, I took my first Pilates class ever. The instructor, Niki Muckenhirn, was so helpful and joyful in teaching the class that despite initially needing to start at the most basic level, I wanted to try more. After just a couple of weeks, there was noticeable improvement in class and I felt better just walking around. After this initial success in class with Niki, I thought I’d try personal fitness training with her, initially thinking I might take a few classes and then focus again on group classes and my own workouts.

At our initial training session, Niki took the time to really understand my goals, which included core strength, flexibility, and improving my Pilates technique so I could get the most out of each group class session. Fortunately for me, Niki’s education (master’s in health science) and training (Certified Stott Pilates instructor) meant that she knew how to help me achieve my goals.

Her customized training sessions for me have been incredible! She has me focusing on just those exercises that help me the most and I’ve also learned how to get more out of each group Pilates class session too. Instead of taking just a few personal fitness training sessions, I’ve been working with Niki every week since September and I already have more core strength and flexibility than I’ve had in decades, perhaps ever. I’m more limber at the start of my runs and even running faster; I can exercise more frequently; and my everyday activities feel freer. I leave each personal fitness training session with Niki feeling great and can’t wait to see where this weekly journey will take me over the ensuing years.

~Peter Golder (Member since 2021)

Peter was one of my first private clients at RVC. To say he made my transition from group teaching to one-on-one easy would be an understatement. He started taking my classes having never done Pilates before, and now demonstrates great technique on previously challenging exercises. We started together after he initially approached me for advice on how to keep up his training during a long overseas business trip. I briefly wrote up a regimen with exercises I knew he could do properly on his own, to keep up his mobility and core strength.

When he returned, he decided to maximize his time with private sessions to benefit his group practice. Initially that’s what I focused his programming on, making sure he understood the correct movement patterns and why we were doing them. As he progressed, we were able to add new exercises and really place a focus on his goals of flexibility, core strength, and running pain free. Aside from being a model client, eager to learn and willing to put the work in, he was my advocate. Pilates can often have the stigma of being more feminine, and new terminology can make the first few classes daunting. Peter showed up to my group classes three times a week and shared his success story with newcomers. He encouraged them to come back and give Pilates a few weeks to work its magic. I’m humbled by his confidence and appreciation for my teaching ability. He’s made leaps and bounds in his athletic journey and I’m proud to be a part of it.

~Niki Muckenhirn (Team RVC since 2021)

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