The POP Pilates fitness craze pops up in Murfreesboro

By Emma Demonbreun, Studio M staff //

POP Pilates, which sets Pilates exercises to popular new music, is the latest group fitness method making its way into Tennessee.

Alex Windings teaching POP Pilates at the MTSU Campus Recreation Center. (Photo by Emma Demonbreun, Studio M)

Alex Windings, 24, is one of only two certified POP Pilates instructors currently teaching in Tennessee. She teaches a free class at Third Baptist Church in Murfreesboro on Saturday mornings as well as a Tuesday night class at the MTSU Campus Recreation Center She became a certified POP instructor in June 2016.

“(In) spring of 2016, I was having a hard time figuring out what I wanted to do workout-wise,” Windings said. “And I didn’t know a lot of people in Murfreesboro at the time … so I just YouTubed workout videos and came across Blogilates.”

POP Pilates was launched in 2009 when Cassey Ho posted a YouTube video for her fitness class to view. Her channel, Blogilates, is now the No. 1 female fitness channel on YouTube with nearly 4 million subscribers. Ho says her workout format brings something different to the fitness world.

POP Pilates is more than just a workout – it is a community of like-minded people who are motivated to reach their goals and achieve their dreams (fitness-related or not),” Ho said in an April 2017 interview with Tamara Rahoumi.

Windings says that POP is different from other fitness methods because of its accessibility to normal, everyday people.

“I like that it has the different modifications for people in class, too. So it’s not like you have to be really in shape and fit and perfect to even take the class. It can be the first thing you’ve ever taken, and that’s okay because there’s different modifications. I really appreciate that,” Windings said.

Windings says that POP Pilates has had a positive impact in her personal life by helping her find a community.

But Windings also feels it will take time for POP Pilates to gain traction in Tennessee. She says that because the format is relatively new to this area, it will take time for leaders in the fitness world to take POP instructors seriously.

“We have a really, really good support system with Cassey and Blogilates, and they’re really good about giving us pointers and tips. We have a private Facebook group with all the [POP] instructors in the world so we talk a lot on there, so it’s nice to have that community of even people online,” Windings said.

Autumn Cofield, 20, is a nursing student at Southern Adventist University in Collegedale, Tennessee, and is currently the only other certified POP Pilates instructor in Tennessee. She has been participating in POP workouts since her junior year of high school and became a certified instructor this past summer. She currently teaches classes at her university’s gym.

“I never thought instructing was something I really wanted to do, but I was looking for a way to motivate myself to stay fit personally, because in college it’s really crazy, and it’s hard to find time to go to the gym and work out and meet friends when you just get really settled in your routine,” Cofield said. “I just really wanted to connect with other people at my school, and I knew that having to learn the choreography and the practice would make me better.”

Cofield says that she has met fellow “POPsters” through her class, and she feels many of her students may one day be interested in becoming certified instructors.

“I don’t know of any other instructors in my area, so hopefully I’ll be able to start something,” Cofield said.

Cofield also says that she may teach a class in Chattanooga next summer to help spread POP Pilates to the city.

“It’s really cool to go to a workout class with a brand. There was one class I really enjoyed at my school, but there was nothing to really hold us together. If you move from the school or go to another city, you can never do that workout that you really enjoyed ever again. But POP Pilates is like the glue. You can always be a part of the Blogilates community no matter where you go,” Cofield said.

Instructor trainings are held throughout the U.S. to grow the POP Pilates brand and certify new instructors. So far, there aren’t any instructor trainings planned to be held in Tennessee, but those interested in becoming a certified instructor can locate the nearest training on the POP Plates website. The instructor trainings include an eight-hour workshop as well as access to online materials and new workout releases.

Emma Demonbreun is a senior public relations student at Middle Tennessee State University. You can reach her at ecd2x@mtmail.mtsu.edu.

Studio M, a project of the College of Media and Entertainment at MTSU, allows student journalists to be published statewide and nationwide. It’s made possible through grants and donations from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, The Tennessean and BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee.

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