No matter what we do, what we do matters.
Meet Megan Sullivan. Megan is the former owner and teacher of Reform Pilates Studio in Clarendon Hills, IL, a home-based pilates reformer studio. This summer Megan is taking a giant leap and moving her booming pilates business to Energie Fitness and Spa in Hinsdale, IL as the new partner and co-owner. Not only does Energie offer amazing group and reformer pilates classes with Megan, but it also offers yoga and personal training, as well as nutrition, acupuncture, massage, skincare, haircare, and more. Megan’s classes are energizing, fun, and a great opportunity to connect with and meet new people.
G: I love coming to your classes. It’s not just the pilates and the classes themselves, but it’s the way you teach and the whole vibe and energy of coming here. Did you set out with the intention to create the space that way?
M: I have loved pilates for a long time. It is my passion. And I have always wanted to do something on my own. I always knew I wanted to be my own boss, which I use that term loosely, because I don’t feel like this is a job. When you are doing something you love it doesn’t feel like “work”. The part about impacting people in a bigger way has been a surprising piece to me. Yes I am providing a workout, but for a lot of us busy Moms, it’s an hour for ourselves in a day, a break for mental clarity, and a way to reach out and meet new people and make new connections in our community. It’s been really cool to see that. And we’re all getting energy from that. And for all of these unforeseen reasons, I just keep falling in love with what I get to do every day.
G: Your former studio was unique because it was in your home. Your classes, which only accommodated four people, were always full. Are you excited to expand it even more?
M: There were only four people to a class in the old space, which was really intimate and that’s part of why people loved it. But the ultimate goal is to help as many people as you can, right? Once you dip your toe in the pool of doing something that people love it feels good. It starts to feel like, ‘let’s go swimming’, ‘let’s go into the deep end now’. So we’ll see.
G: You were an athlete in college right? How did pilates come into your life?
M: I was. I played softball in college. Growing up, I played all sports; softball, basketball, all the team sports as a kid. And I wish I would have learned about pilates in all of my athletic training growing up. But after I had my kids, pilates just worked for my body. It kind of spoke to it. Through pilates I got myself back, but in a different way.
G: What is different about pilates? What sets it apart?
M: In the beginning when I found pilates I was only doing reformer or barre classes. Now I am branching out so much more. I am taking yoga, a running class, and now I feel like pilates can help strengthen every other aspect of exercise to make it more efficient and more purposeful. But pilates also for your life too. As we age, through pilates we are able to have better posture and functional movement. So I hope that’s what people get when they come.
G: What’s so great about how you started out was that you established your studio and your following out of your home. You were able to be at home and be a Mom and create a schedule of classes that worked for your life. And at the new space, you can still teach and work around the busy schedule of being a Mom.
M: Yes, that’s what I love about it. I am mostly teaching when my kids are sleeping or in school, so I feel like I get to have the best of both worlds.
G: What you do is very relationship driven because of how well we get to know you and others in class every week.
M: I think that’s what people like about it too. And yes, a lot of them are my friends or have become my friends, so they tell me that they like the workouts, but that they are also coming to support me in what I am doing. That’s what is amazing about women coming together and supporting each other. Yes, it’s on small scale, but when we do that, we are all redefining our own successes in that way.
G: You have taken something that you love and turned it into a business. Which means that you have to go beyond just teaching the classes. You have had to set up the studio, manage the equipment, figure out the business end of it. Taxes, website, online scheduling. What has kept you motivated to do all of those tasks to get set up and keep running?
M: I think you have to do all of that if you want people to find you. Word of mouth has taken me very far, but you have to be set up. I am not tech-savvy, and have had to work at the online scheduling app that I use. It took a lot of hours at the beginning, but now it just works. There was definitely a learning curve, some 4 am mornings where I was trying to figure it all out, but I was excited to do all of that because I knew that I really wanted to do this, so I had to figure it out and I was happy to learn it all. It’s just what I had to do to get to do the thing that ultimately I love. It’s a telltale sign that you are doing the right thing for yourself when you don’t mind doing those things that you otherwise wouldn’t have wanted to do.
G: You have very recently made the jump into a bigger space. You have moved your studio from your home into a studio in downtown Hinsdale that offers a ton of stuff, in addition to pilates. How did you decide to make this move?
M: I’m thrilled to be able to bring pilates to a bigger audience than I previously was in my in-home studio.Generally I made the jump to the Hinsdale studio as part of my personal evolution. It will allow me to grow and learn more, afford me opportunity to connect with others, and be surrounded by a larger Pilates community, both clients and like-minded creative teachers which energizes my soul!
G: You are a super busy Mom, people are flocking to your door for classes, and you are managing your family. What keeps you afloat? What do you do in your life that inspires you and keeps you going? How do you recharge your batteries?
M:Honestly, there’s just something about physical movement that for me is my meditation. It’s my spa. I am learning yoga now, and they are teaching us to notice the chatter of our minds and let it go. And that has always happened for me naturally through exercise. It’s my mental shift. My clarity. My release. I wish I had a better answer but for me it’s as simple as that!
G: No. I think its perfect. I think it’s a beautiful example of how you are aligned with your purpose in the universe. The very thing that you value most for yourself you are providing for others. That is such a gift. You are giving others the very thing that you rely on the most for your own life.
M: It is organic for me, and I believe that when you are passionate about something, it just feels right and doesn’t seem like work. It has felt like there has been this intuition that this is what I am supposed to be doing. Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of mornings when I get up at five am, and I don’t know how I am going to get going so early. But then I get up into the studio and I find my voice. It’s uplifting and I just find my game. I don’t think I have ever once been up there and wished I was doing something else. When I am in there, I am with you. I am focused. Because I know that that’s what I expect when I go to a class. Every curl up, every leg lift. I am feeling it too. It just flows.
To connect with Megan, visit demi-barpilates.com