Kara Duval and Her Special Sauce

 "I don’t know why but I like this photo. It’s intimate yet you know my mind is going." -KD

"I don’t know why but I like this photo. It’s intimate yet you know my mind is going." -KD

When I first started my fitness career in 2014, I don’t remember thinking to myself, “I need to find what sets me apart in this industry” I just started and truly observed the people in my classes. Whether it was Pilates or Barre I was constantly thinking to myself, “What did they like?” Without them verbally saying it. “What do they want less of?” Without them actually telling me. I simply observed and took countless physical and mental notes. I was naïve, self-conscious and eager to learn as much about my field as I could...so I watched. Four years later, I still have the same approach to my teaching style and my ability to retain new information as the observer. As I reflect on my career, I can now see that a part of what does set me apart is my ability to completely separate myself and my own physical needs and instead immerse myself in my community. My tagline is “Pilates for the people” because I truly love being the observer, the facilitator of your movement, and a member of the Pilates community. If you have ever been a member of a class where the instructor was teaching from a place of arrogance or entitlement, I vow to never be that instructor. First and foremost, I consider myself a peer among you rather than a leader in front of you. Even to this day, I don’t look at the behaviors and skill of other instructors and envy them. This is not because I’m complacent or disinterested, it is just the simple fact that other instructors are not ME. 

 COEO's portrait of Kara: BADASS + Superhero. Yup!

COEO's portrait of Kara: BADASS + Superhero. Yup!

In addition to the community of people, it is quite obvious that while being a member in my class you are going to learn something about your body and how it functions and moves. Some instructors love to use motivational quotes to inspire their classes, I love to educate the S*** out of them. Can I sometimes be redundant? Sure. Should I sometimes shut up? Maybe.  As someone who was once new to Pilates and Barre, I understand that the real connection comes from the subtle nuances that need additional explanation. I see it as my duty as a well-educated instructor to share the knowledge I have gathered and my privilege to help people connect to their bodies. At the end of the day, I am a Pilates instructor by trade but my real drive and passion is including functional movement into every single one of my classes to help improve how your body feels no matter what physical activity you are participating in. 

As someone who was teased during adolescence, I am obsessed with making every private client, group class member and free class attendee, feel welcomed and included. “Where did you go for dinner last night?” I’d love to know. “How does your knee feel?” Tell me. “What body parts need extra love tonight?” Speak up. These are questions I often ask of everyone. Group Fitness and Private Training are meant to be both interactive and therapeutic. It’s an hour of release, an hour of connection into yourself, an hour to laugh and sweat. I am empathetic of all reasons people come to classes and to be honest with you, teaching is both my job and my therapy. If you decide to come to class be prepared to laugh, ask questions of yourself, meet your neighbors and come again next week.

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Stay tuned for more COEO instructor blogs on what makes them unique. And sign up for Scarlet's webinar on this topic next week via BrightTalk!  https://www.brighttalk.com/webcast/16591/320201?utm_source=brighttalk-growth&utm_medium=web&utm_campaign=thought-leader&utm_content=none&utm_term=Scarlet