The pandemic hasn’t slowed Body Be Well Pilates of Red Hook, NY, down any! Like so many of our local (and national and global) businesses, adapt-adjust-persevere is what we have all had to do. And Body Be Well has done just that. Now, with the help of an Internet connection and a free app, you too can exercise with Chelsea Streifeneder, or one of her Body Be Well instructors.
This past week, I partook in two of Chelsea’s (virtual) classes and I have to tell you, it felt pretty spectacular. I had downloaded the free app (don’t worry, I’ll give you step-by-step instructions at the end of this article – it’s super easy) and created an account, which took all of two minutes. Then ten minutes before the class was set to start, Chelsea emailed me a link – which I clicked on, and I was up and running … in the comfort of my own living room. Talk about convenience – and safety (considering the times). The other members of the class joined too, and you caught a quick glimpse of the class while we waited for it to start. Everyone greeted Chelsea, and she them – the dozen or so folks in the class all seemed to know each other, and it was obvious that they had a nice little Pilates community.
Pilates in the comfort of your own home
The first class that I took was a Pilates class, while the second class that I partook in was a 15-minute stretch class. Now, I am no Pilates expert (*disclaimer) – but I’ve probably taken 30+ or so classes by now – and they all involved the use of some sort of machine with springs and gadgets. And so I was curious to see how Chelsea would work around that. But it wasn’t a problem – at all. I had my yoga mat on the floor; I hadn’t brought my elastic stretch bands, which Chelsea used at the beginning of the class, but it didn’t really matter. I did just fine without them.
For the next hour, Chelsea ran us through over a dozen exercises that had some of my muscles screaming – but in a good way – in a “Hey! Wake up! You-have-these-muscles-for-a-reason!” kind of way. And all of this took place in the comfort of my own living room – with my three-year-old running around, trying to exercise with me, while competing for my attention. But so many of you are like me: trying to do things (like exercise) with your kids running around. So for that one fact, this at-home set-up is quite honestly pretty great.
Throughout the hour-long class, Chelsea explained the methodology and what you were supposed to be doing: engaging which muscles and where, how far (or not) to lift a limb, etc. She explained the exercise, and would talk you through while she demonstrating it. For me, being the visual learner that I am, this proved to be very helpful. After the hour-long session, I felt taller. I felt ready to tackle the day. And I felt like I could breathe better. This is how I always feel after a GREAT Pilates and or yoga class – and I was surprised that I could accomplish this in my own home, and achieve it through my phone. But alas, these are the times that we live in.
Streifeneder, a Red Hook native, is the founder, CEO, and a 100% self-made Pilatespreneur. Her background from her days at Red Hook High and Bard College are dance and movement. She was introduced to Pilates in 1999, after her doctor recommended it to help with chronic hip and back pain from a dance injury. At first she was skeptical: finding herself out of her comfort zone, unsure of what she was doing, and doing unfamiliar movements on various apparatuses with springs. “I was confused and was positive that this was going to be my last class ever!” Chelsea tells us today. But in two days, she was back for more. “Even though I didn’t understand the movement or method, I felt better. I felt taller and I knew this is where I needed to be if I was planning to continue to dance. So I continued with Pilates and went every week. Little did I know that later in life I was going to become a Pilates instructor myself.”
After finishing college at Bard, Streifeneder moved to Los Angeles, where she really fell in love with Pilates and got certified through the Pilates Sports Center. After a four-year stint in Cali, she decided to move back to her hometown, and spread the love of Pilates in the Hudson Valley. “Over a decade later I am the proud owner of Body Be Well Pilates in Red Hook, Catskill, and Saugerties, NY,” she shares.
“I manifests a love for Pilates, fitness, and health,” Chelsea continues. “And I love nothing more than helping others make their bodies and businesses become healthy and strong. When I am not in the studio teaching I am presenting, teaching others how to teach Pilates through the Pilates Sports Center teacher training program, creating workshops, and running all three locations. One of my goals is to help people realize that Pilates is for everybody. It is like no other workout and system of exercise out there, and our client base is from ages 12-90 – and everyone in between. Pilates is resistance training that will make everything else you do better.”
The Body Be Well team
“My team and staff are the backbone of the studios,” Streifeneder explains. “The studios would not be what they are today without them, and we would not have been able to grow and expand and take care of so many people without them. They are loyal, smart, and each one of them brings something special and unique to the studios, their clients, and classes.”
Chelsea continued, “We take great pride in our education and knowledge. Pilates is our job and livelihood. In addition to their original 650 hours of Pilates Certification program, all teachers, including myself, are required to take continuing education and to further their education every year. We have taken countless amounts of workshops including anything from the Pink Ribbon Program, scoliosis, joint replacements, etc., and everything in between. I also certified my sister and mom, who have been teaching alongside me for years as well as with the other amazing teachers who have worked for me for over six years. I pride myself on the people that I have hired to teach at Body Be Well Pilates, and I believe in- and support every one of them. We learn from each other, support each other inside and outside of the studios, and make the studios what they are today.”
The pandemic effect
Like most other non-essential New York businesses, Body Be Well had to close per Governor Cumo’s orders. “We closed our studios in March,” shares Chelsea. “We were supposed to open our third location on April 1 in Saugerties, which obviously did not happen. Like everyone else, we are scared of the uncertainty of our world right now. So in a hurry – with the help of my amazing team and staff – we created our at home studios, created a schedule, and started teaching and streaming LIVE classes for our community.”
Why live and not pre-recorded? “Because Pilates is real and our clients and teachers are real,” explained Chelsea. “We teach the bodies that are in front of us and by teaching in real time we can ‘see’ their movement and correct, cue accordingly, and modify or vary the exercises appropriately so people can stay safe and strong with their at home Pilates practice.”
“I am trying to keep our studios above water right now,” Streifeneder continued referring to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. “I’m paying our bills, our overhead, and above all I’m doing all that I can to keep my employees employed. Three weeks before we closed, I bought all new equipment for our Red Hook location, signed the lease for Saugerties, and purchased the equipment for the fully equipped third studio as well. Right now it looks like we will be closed through May. We are planning on reopening all three locations as well as bringing some newly certified teachers on board, but we are waiting and taking things day-by-day right now. I can’t predict what the future holds, but I can say that my team and I will continue to teach classes, privates, and semi-privates online until we can open our studios doors in a safe and effective way.”
And speaking of the online class structure: on a weekly basis, Chelsea and her fellow teachers had over 45 group classes as well as private and semi-private sessions seven days a week. “I went from a normal day of teaching four group classes and an average of eight privates to teaching one group class and one private session a day,” Chelsea shared.
“When we changed our in studio classes to an online studio platform it has taken some adjusting for our clients. A lot of them have shifted their Pilates practice with us online as well as clients doing privates from their homes with their trainers, which we are so grateful for. Additionally, our Body Be Well Pilates community has grown. People from Florida, Massachusetts, Texas, California, Connecticut, North Carolina, and many other states have joined us online where they wouldn’t have been able to take class with us in the studios,” Chelsea shared. “This has also opened up the idea that when we reopen we will also offer a few virtual classes to keep our new clients who joined our community to keep working out with us and our teachers. We also have a huge support system and even though some clients are not ready to take online classes, they have donated classes and/or sessions to us so our teachers and I can get paid. We cannot thank our community enough for their support.”
Chelsea concluded by sharing, “Pilates is powerful and magical. Being able to work with my team has been gratifying, emotional, and has made me realize that if we can survive this (which we will), we can survive anything. Even through this pandemic, Body Be Well Pilates has been connecting and helping people. Pilates will get us through this!”
To learn more about Chelsea and Body Be Well Pilates, you can visit them online at www.bodybewellpilates.com.
To take an online / virtual Body Be Well Pilates class, here is what you have to do:
How people can participate is super simple! They can call us at 914-641-1110 or email us at Info@bodybewellpilates.com and we will sign them up and handle everything for them. If the choose to do it by themselves they can sign up on our website under “schedule” (www.bodybewellpilates.com) or just use the quick & user friendly Mindbody app to reserve their spots in the classes they would like. All they will have to do is download the RingCentral Meetings app on whichever device they wish to stream on and then 10 minutes before the class starts we will email them a link and all they have to do is click on it to join the class.
If you prefer less words to make it look better:
- Reserve your spot using the Mindbody app or call us 914-641-1110, firstname.lastname@example.org message us on Facebook or Instagram (bodybewellpilates or chelseastreifeneder)
- Download RingCentral Meetings onto whichever device you want to stream LIVE on.
- 10 minutes before class check your email and click on the link your teacher sends you.
- Have fun!
If my 90 year old clients can figure it out so can you! We know technology is scary sometimes so we also offer free “tests” and will help you set up your home studio for FREE!