Get to know Denise — our Zumba Gold & Ballet for Fitness instructor!

Tell us about yourself / your family.  
I’m an Iowa girl. I grew up in Des Moines, moved to Manchester, where my husband Scott grew up, raised our 5 kids there, & just moved to Cedar Rapids.

I have 3 daughters & 2 sons. My oldest, Jessica, is an ASL interpreter fit the Cedar Rapids Schools. My daughter Amanda lives in Tampa, Florida, where she is s branch manager for one of the libraries. My daughter Meghan is a graphic designer who has duel citizenship in Israel & the U.S. She lives in Rishon Letzion Israel with her husband Shay & our grandson Rahmi. My two boys, Jordan & Cameron Live in Chicago. Jordan is a manager at a restaurant, Cam’s day job is in claims, but he is in a band that has been together for many years. They are getting ready to release their 5th cd.

Describe yourself in 5 words.  
Creative, caring, open minded, loyal

Tell us about your first Zumba experience.    
I started Zumba when the DVD’s came out years ago. Loved it! I’m a dancer/dance instructor, so the format just spoke to me

When/Why did you start practicing Zumba?  
As I mentioned above, I love to dance! I like that it’s based on Latin rythms, with a bit of hip hop, oldies, & world music in the mix.   I started with dvds, then live classes.

Favorite food / or favorite restaurant
Oh my gosh, I love lots of different foods & restaurants. I like trying new cuisines.   I love recipes passed down from my grandmas, so Mexican & Jewish food.

If money were no object, what would you do all day?  
Well, I’d still teach group fitness. I’d also teach dance classes for free/non profit for those who can’t afford class.    Then I’d travel!!

Why did you become a Zumba/fitness teacher?   
Because I love dance fitness, &  love to work with others to get/stay fit.

Describe why you love Zumba ( or dance) in three words.    
Fun, Fitness, Positivity

What are your favorite ways to incorporate movement into your life in addition to dance/fitness?    
I love working with free weights. Since I teach lots of cardio, I do weight training workouts whenever possible.



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in Rivercity Pilates Instructors

Have you taken a class with Rachel?

We have some new teachers in the studio, and we thought you might like to get  to know them better!    

Tell us about yourself / your family.  I absolutely love to read and I’m a total nerd, in general.  I love Star Wars, Harry Potter, and Science. I now love to nerd out over Pilates…

I met my husband, James, just after I turned 19!  We’ve always let each be who we are and we always have the best time together, even if we are just sitting around doing nothing.  We have a son who is autistic and he is our pride and joy.  He continues to make us better parents and people.  He’ll turn 7 this June.  We have two miniature schnauzers, who are totally nuts.  We love our family. My mom comes out almost every week (to do Pilates 🙂 ) and my in laws live around the corner, so we see them almost every day.

Describe yourself in 5 words.   Honest, awkward, creative, loyal, helpful

Tell us about your first Pilates experience.    When/Why did you start practicing Pilates?  I was hurting a lot. Physically and mentally. I wasn’t sure if I would ever be able to get back into shape or be strong, again.  I went to my complimentary session with a lot of anxiety, but I ended up feeling so good about what I’d been able to do that I knew I had to go back.  I fell in love with Pilates so fast!  

I love how Pilates allows you to start at your own working level, which can change based on how your body is feeling that day.  I love how it allows you to feel results quickly, and it helps you gain control and strength. 

Favorite food / or favorite restaurant   I love pizza. And chocolate covered almonds from Trader Joe’s.

If money were no object, what would you do all day?  My husband said I would do Pilates and read and play with dogs.  He’s right, but I’d also make time for him and my kiddo 🙂   I also love volunteering and community work.

Why did you become a Pilates teacher?   I’ve always loved learning and teaching/training. 

One of my original interests in the teacher training program stemmed from my hope of helping correct my son’s posture and stance.  He tends to walk on his toes and hunches his shoulders quite a bit.   So far he has been very open to “doing some Pilates” and some days is very excited to “do some new moves”.  

I also had hopes that I could help others feel good about what they can do with their bodies using the Pilates method.

Describe why you love Pilates in three words.    For Every Body

Would you rather hike or bike?  I don’t do the outdoors. If someone made me choose, I would choose hiking because there would be shade. I would probably complain about the bugs, though. 

If you could live anywhere in the world — where would you want to live?  Somewhere with some cloud cover, minimal wind, and a temperature that only fluctuates between 65-70deg.

What are your favorite ways to incorporate movement into your life in addition to Pilates?    I’m sort of a busy body at the house – I’m always running around doing something.

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in Rivercity Pilates Instructors

Pilates Inspiration of the Month Kris Smith

When did you start Pilates and what inspired you to start?
I started Pilates in late April 2019.  My co-worker, Teena  invited me to a 6:00 am Friday morning mat class.  I was hooked after that session. 

How often do you practice Pilates and what type of sessions or classes have you been doing?     
I practice about two times per week and enjoy a variety of equipment and mat classes.   

What benefits or improvements have you noticed in your body and life from doing Pilates? 
Shortly after starting Pilates I was diagnosed with chronic rotator cuff/pulled muscle/frozen shoulder issues that I had been having for about two years. I emailed my concerns to Carey and she set to work devising a modified Pilates regimen that works in conjunction with my physical therapy.  She also suggested sessions with Sara Sea, who worked miracles with Neural Reset Therapy. I am impressed with how instructors at Rivercity Pilates are helpful and willing to truly “work at your level” for each class. 

My greatest physical improvements are my core strength and posture, (shoulders engaged!). My range of motion for all joints has improved as well. Pilates has helped my shoulder and back issues immensely, something I don’t think physical therapy alone would have been able to do.  Life/mental improvements are noted as better sleep and less anxiety, as I find myself taking “deep Pilates breaths” throughout the day. 

Do you have a favorite exercise or piece of equipment (or both)?   
Pilates Tower, Pilates Equipment and Foam Roller are my favorite classes.  All exercises are my favorite—well maybe not Teaser.  Ha!

What would you say to someone who is thinking about doing Pilates?
Just do it and keep doing it.  Pilates movements do not come naturally, they take time and practice.  Take advantage of the complimentary sessions and new client private sessions, they are a great basis for starting Pilates.   


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in Inspiration of the Month, Motivation and Inspiration

Have you ever pulled a weed out that knocked you over?

I have to tell you about something someone told me this week!

My client says to me at the beginning of her session:      I was out pulling weeds and we had some really tall weeds, that were probably this high(she held her hand as high as her shoulder!) So I got down low and grabbed on and pulled and pulled and pulled(she was demonstrating as she told me) and then pulled some more and then finally it came out!  And do you know what happened? 

My answer, “… Oh no… did you fall backwards?”

Her answer:  NO, I  didn’t! And I absolutely think in the past I would have! I think all that practice on the balance board really helped me!! 

How amazing is that?  I love to hear client stories about how they are doing life better and avoiding injuries because of their Pilates time!! 

If you are looking to add more movement time into your life that helps you navigate whatever you are doing in life better… we’d love to help! Sign up for a complimentary session where we’ll get to know you, introduce you to some Pilates movements tailored to your body and help you figure out how to best get started!! 

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in Motivation and Inspiration, What’s so great about Pilates?

Inspiration of the Month Shelley Waldron September 2019

When did you start Pilates and what inspired you to start?
I started doing Pilates about a year ago.  When my oldest daughter moved back to college for her Sophomore year she told me that I needed to start trying to do more things for myself that I like:). I had done Pilates a few times at Carey’s old studio and would still get the newsletters.  

Every time I saw the newsletter I thought about taking classes, so when Annah said this I realized that she was right. I really needed to find something for myself that I loved to do.  Once I had kids my time just naturally filled up with all of their activities and I kind of put myself on the back burner. I decided to purchase the one-month beginners package and commit to going to as many classes as I could and see how I felt at the end of the month. I think I went to around 17 classes that month, loved the classes and the instructors, and have been pretty consistent ever since.

How often do you practice Pilates and what type of sessions or classes have you been doing?    
I usually try to do 3-4 classes per week.  I really like to do a variety of classes.  I do both mat and equipment classes and I also like to do yoga.

What benefits or improvements have you noticed in your body and life from doing Pilates?
I have had a lot of lower back and hip problems since my son was born almost 18 years ago.  Pilates has really helped strengthen my lower back and my hip is not stiff and sore like it used to be.  I can really tell in the morning when I get out of bed, I feel so much better!

Do you have a favorite exercise or piece of equipment (or both)?
Right now I think my favorite thing is the Oov.  You don’t realize how hard your body is working during class and my back always feels so good after class.  Kimberly makes this class so fun, we always seem to have a lot of laughs during class.

What would you say to someone who is thinking about doing Pilates?
If someone is thinking about trying Pilates I would tell them to go for it.  It can be a little scary to go into a new studio and try some new classes but everyone at Rivercity is so nice and welcoming.  Not just the instructors, but the other students in class as well!  It is so much fun and such a great workout!

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in Motivation and Inspiration

Your Guide to New Fall Classes!

We have so many new classes on our schedule this fall and we’re so excited for you to try them!  As you look over our fall schedule you might be wondering if one of these new classes might be a good fit for you. So we decided to make a quick guide giving you a description of each class so you can see what resonates with you! 

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in Motivation and Inspiration

Inspiration of the Month Janet Coester

When did you start Pilates and what inspired you to start?  
I began Pilates after injuring my shoulder. I believed Pilates would help me regain full range of motion.

How often do you practice Pilates and what type of sessions or classes have you been doing?    
I started out doing private lessons once a week on the Tower. Then at some point I moved to a Reformer class once a week. My practice primarily involves class once a week when I am in Iowa. In everyday life I incorporate breathing and remembering to engage core and other muscles as well as to keep my shoulders down. This is one of the reasons that I was able to shovel snow for three hours last winter without injury.

What benefits or improvements have you noticed in your body and life from doing Pilates? 
I have full range of motion in my shoulders. I can do almost anything I want to do with proper engagement.

Do you have a favorite exercise or piece of equipment (or both)?    
I love the Tower and the pelvic stability and core engagement work with the leg springs.

What would you say to someone who is thinking about doing Pilates? 
 Go for it! You will be glad you did. Listen to your instructor. Listen to your body. Modify exercise as needed until you reach your goal. Be patient with yourself. And remember to breathe! I am so grateful for Carey’s caring instruction. Thank you Shelley for your welcomes and scheduling support.

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in Inspiration of the Month

Do Pilates. Do Spelunking???? Who knew that Pilates would allow me to have priceless moments with my son?

On my belly, army crawling in complete darkness other than the lone beam of light coming from my head and I hear Tyler say, “Mom I think I found gold!”  Lots of thoughts were going through my head at that moment…like:

Can I really fit through there?  What if the cave collapses?  I hope I don’t smash my phone that is in my front jean pocket.  I wonder if anyone every gets stuck? I wonder how many spiders are around me that I can’t see.. I bet I’m going to have a lot of random bruises tomorrow… How do I keep moving forward without smashing my head on the cave ceiling…I hope the batteries don’t die in this headlamp…I wonder what I’m actually grabbing as I pull myself forward?…good thing I have gloves on…

I was trying to ignore all the things going through my head and just asked,” so you were able to sit up eventually?”  Ty answers with an excited “yes there’s lots of room back here!”  So I keep going and eventually come to a small opening where I could sit up.  I wouldn’t have said there was lots of room, but there was enough room for 3 of us to sit and shine our lights on the intricate cave walls that had some beautiful gold color in them.  We chatted about how amazingly cool it was and how great it felt to just sit for a moment. Tyler was beaming and so excited…this was his idea of a perfect day…cave exploring with his mom and dad! If you are a parent you know…moments like these are priceless. 

The way out of that first cave (we explored 13 different caves that day!) was just as challenging as going in, maybe a little more so because I had crawled out head first and then had to figure out how to maneuver my body near the entrance so that my feet could lead me out. There was a 3 or4 foot climb to get back to solid ground still and of course there were some people standing there watching at the entrance.  I found myself saying in my head so many times…it’s a good thing I do Pilates!! As we spent the day hiking and splelunking there were so many moments when I knew that my body was able to do the things it did, I was able to have the moments with my son…because of my Pilates practice!

I lightened this photo so you could get an idea of what the cave looked like from the inside.

All this cave exploring had me reflecting on how grateful I am that I found Pilates as a way to train my body for life! In my younger years I worked out because I liked a challenge, because I was part of a team, because I wanted to fit into a certain size or shape, or because I wanted to lose weight. These days I workout simply because I want to have energy, strength, flexibility and mobility in my body that allows me to live my life to the fullest. I want to enjoy doing things with my kids, I want  to get outside and enjoy things like hiking and exploring and I want to feel good in my body no matter what I’m doing!

Here’s just a few ways that Pilates has prepared me for spelunking and anything else my body wants to do:

  • Pilates has taught me how to engage muscles and move my body in ways that keep me safe and I don’t get injured.  Things like simply knowing how to engage my core muscles, keeping good alignment throughout various movements and coordinating breath to help me move better..all come in handy when you are doing new movements in life or even in situations where you could potentially hurt yourself if you weren’t paying attention to how you moved.  
  • Pilates gives me confidence that my body has the flexibility, mobility and strength to do things in life…like crawl through caves! Pilates exercises move your body in a variety of ways (side bending, twisting, arching, etc.) and since I know my body can do that stuff when I’m practicing Pilates I am confident that I can put myself in a different environment (like crawling through a cave!) and safely do those same movements! 
  • Pilates has taught me how to pay attention to my body and do things “my way”.  I know that that different bodies move in different ways and instead of trying to do an exercise so I look like someone else, the best thing to do is to do it in a way that is appropriate for my body. It has taught me how to create my own movement strategies! When I was cave exploring this gave me the confidence to trust my body and climb and move in a way that felt right for my body and not just look at my 13 year old son and copy what he was doing (because his strategies might not have been the best for my body!)

Looking for an exercise practice that helps you live life better and helps you prepare for whatever fun adventures you want to take? We would love to introduce you to Pilates! Contact us today to learn more about scheduling a complimentary private Pilates session to see if Pilates is a good fit for your life! 


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in Motivation and Inspiration

Want to try Yoga, but not sure where to start?

Increased flexibility, decreased stress, strength, and a workout you enjoy…

If you’ve heard about Yoga you might be thinking it could just what you need in your life….we agree!!  We also know that sometimes it can be really intimidating to start something new, so we’re writing this blog to help you feel more comfortable before you walk into the studio and so you’ll have a better idea of where the best place might be to start. Here’s a few answers to our most frequently asked Yoga questions and a guide to the best way to get started!  

What do I wear to Yoga?  Wear clothes that you can move comfortably in!  This could be leggings and a t-shirt, shorts or whatever you feel most comfortable in! There are absolutely no rules to what you should wear other than you want clothing that allows your body to move in a variety of ways comfortably!

Should I take a class to get started or a private session?   The choice is entirely up to you!!  At Rivercity Pilates we know that everyone has different learning styles and we offer either a complimentary private session or a complimentary class to get started so that you can start with the option that you are most comfortable with.  We have a variety of classes on our schedule that are truly beginner friendly and our teachers are fabulous about giving variations of exercises so that everyone in class feels comfortable.  If you are brand new to Yoga and want to start with a class here is a list of our favorite first time to Yoga Beginner Friendly classes:   Yoga for Life w/ Nil  Tuesdays at 8:30 am, Fridays at 12 pm or Sundays at 9 am, Yoga for Happy Hips and Back w/ Kim Thursdays at 6pm.     

Are you one of those people who really doesn’t enjoy not knowing how to do things(especially in a group setting?) or maybe you have something going on in your body that might effect your movement time and how you do exercises?  Taking a complimentary private session before jumping into a class might be the best option for you!  A private session gives you time to chat individually with a Yoga teacher and ask all the questions that you might be a little nervous to ask in a group class!  It also allows your teacher to teach you the exercise in a way that is completely individualized to your body.  If this sounds like you click here to schedule a complimentary private Yoga session or simply call us at 319.665.2499.

Can I talk during class? I think there are a lot of misconceptions about the atmosphere in a Yoga class.  Every teacher is different when it comes to the music they play and the atmosphere they create in their class so I can’t speak for everyone, but I can tell you about our teachers at Rivercity Pilates.  Our teachers are super passionate about making Yoga accessible to ANY BODY and they are all really great at creating an atmosphere where everyone who comes to the class is comfortable!  It’s pretty common in our group classes to hear moments of laughter and casual conversations during class!  Of course everyone is super respectful of each other and no one is loud and obnoxious…but no one is overly strict about someone asking a question or talking during class.  In fact most of our teachers encourage their students to ask a question in class if you have one, because they know if you have a question someone else has probably thought the same thing!  

Do I need my own mat?  We have Yoga mats at Rivercity Pilates so you don’t need a mat.  If you want to bring your own mat you can though! 

Have more questions?  We would love to answer them for you!  Email us at or call us at 319.665.2499!  



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in Motivation and Inspiration

Could you actually feel results after only one Pilates session?

One of the most common questions I hear on a client’s second visit, goes something like this:

“I felt really great after our session. I felt taller and my posture was better. My ______________(fill in the blank with an achy body part like low back, shoulder, neck, foot, etc.) seems to be feeling better . . . could that really have been just from that one session?”
My simple answer: YES!

Here’s why:

The exercises you did in your first session were taught in a way unique to your body.  Your teacher took time to learn what was going on in your body at the beginning of your session by going through your health intake form and asking you questions about your movement time in your life.  After learning about you, your teacher taught a session that was designed to help your body stretch the muscles that were tight and strengthen the muscles that were weak or underdeveloped.  Doing these exercises tailored to your body resulted in your body practicing great alignment and had your body working in a really balanced way.  When you do this…your body appreciates it and you’ll know it because you actually feel better…even after just one session!! 

Wondering if that feeling better in your body after your first session will continue? It absolutely will!  Every time you practice Pilates you will be repeating this process of strengthening your underdeveloped muscles, stretching your tight muscles and bring your body closer and closer to your ideal, balanced alignment and posture! 

Like anything though…the more you practice Pilates the more you may take for granted how much it is helping you and not be so aware of it after each session.  Many of our clients comment to us that they forget how much their Pilates practice helps them feel better in their body until something happens in their life that they end up taking a few weeks off.  Clients comment that they can just feel a difference in their body, even after just a week or two.  Luckily, as soon as they get back to their movement time the “feel better” results come right back!

Ready to try an exercise method that gives you results every time you practice it?  Click here to read more about our complimentary first session or click here to set up a time for your first session!  



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in Motivation and Inspiration

Inspiration of the Month July 2019 Shuva Rahim

Inspiration of the Month
July 2019
Shuva Rahim

When did you start Pilates and what inspired you to start?
I started Pilates about 10 years ago when I first met Carey. We were both growing our businesses at the time and I thought I’d see what it was about. So, my inspiration started more as a curiosity.

How often do you practice Pilates and what type of sessions or classes have you been doing?    
Currently, I practice Pilates once a week and am a regular in Sunday’s Reformer Jump Board class with Shaina. I started coming to this class last year and have really enjoyed it.

What benefits or improvements have you noticed in your body and life from doing Pilates? 
I’m a runner – currently training for a marathon – and have used Pilates to help strengthen my core. This helps me especially when training or racing on uphill terrains.

Do you have a favorite exercise or piece of equipment (or both)?  
The Reformer Jump Board class is super fun. When I first show friends a video of it online, their first reaction is, “It looks like a torture machine!” Well, yes it does, but it’s definitely not. I think because you’re horizontal through class, it doesn’t look intense. But during and after class, you definitely feel like you got in a workout.

What would you say to someone who is thinking about doing Pilates?
Try one class, and then try some others. Rivercity Pilates has a variety of offerings, and there’s definitely something for everyone. 


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in Inspiration of the Month

3 Great Reasons To Try Small Group Classes in a Studio Setting

RCP-511.  Your instructors get to know you and your body.  In a small group setting an instructor can really get to know you, where you need to work, what motivates you and how to help you get the most out of your workouts(aka results).  This makes for a very efficient workout(Let’s face it we are all crazy busy these days and want to maximize our time!)

2. The most effective workout is the one you doMaking yourself accountable to a class, an instructor and classmates is a great way to keep you on track!

3. Safety….  A trained instructor can make sure they are challenging you but also making exercises safe for your body.  One size does not fit all when it comes to movement and it’s important to have instructors who recognize and implement this!  If you injury yourself you will be less likely to stick with your program.

So what are you waiting for?  Try one of our small group classes for free or schedule a complimentary private session to get started!!



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in Getting Started, Group Classes, Motivation and Inspiration

What to Expect in Your First Private Pilates Training Session

Many people have never worked one on one with a movement or exercise  instructor and have some misconceived ideas about what a one on one Pilates session will be like.  Let me put to rest some of your fears!  If you’ve been watching the Biggest Loser we may have some work to do:) Or maybe you’ve heard horror stories of people doing personal training and being so sore they can’t even walk the next day or lift their arm to brush their teeth?  That is something you will not experience after a session at Rivercity Pilates!

Today I’m going to walk you through your first Pilates private session at Rivercity Pilates. (P.S.- this session is free so definitely take advantage of it!)

  1. When you arrive at the studio we’ll give you a tour of our space.  We’ll show you where you can put your coat, shoes, and gear, point out the restrooms, show you our massage room and our two spacious studio rooms that we use for private sessions and small group classes.
  2. If you haven’t already filled out our new client paperwork we’ll have you fill out our health intake and other preliminary forms.  The health intake form in particular is very important to us.  Your instructor will start your session by sitting with you and going over your health history and discussing how it effects your exercise program.  As instructors we want to help you create a Pilates practice that meets your goals and is safe for your body!
  3. After we’ve learned a little bit more about you, your instructor will start by sharing a little more in depth about the history of Pilates and what and how we teach the Pilates Method at Rivercity Pilates.  We find that learning Pilates is a process and teaching the “why” behind the method is important when helping others create a Pilates practice in their life.
  4. Whether you have been practicing Pilates for years or a brand new beginner we will start the movement portion of your session by teaching the Pilates fundamentals in your body.  The Pilates fundamentals are the building blocks of every exercise and movement we do in Pilates and it’s important to us that you understand them as they are used over and over again in your Pilates practice.  These fundamentals include the concepts of breathe, engaging your deep abdominal muscles, how to stabilize your hips and shoulders and more.  We’ll tailor the exercises we use to teach these ideas to your body and move at a level appropriate for you.
  5. After we teach you the fundamentals and have had some time to work with you and see how your body moves we’ll introduce you to some Pilates exercises that are appropriate for your body.  We often like to let you experience exercises that are considered Mat work (just using your own body for resistence) as well as letting you experience exercises on some of the traditional Pilates equipment such as the Univeral Reformer, the Cadillac or the Pilates Wunda Chair.
  6. We’ll wrap up your session with some time to talk about what we did and give you an opportunity to ask questions.  Your instructor can help to explain the different ways you can learn and practice Pilates and give suggestions as to what might be best for your body.

Our goal during your first session is to start the teaching process and help you decide whether you want to pursue a Pilates practice.  Your session will be a combination of discussion and movement.  Will you be sore the next day?  You might be.  Often when you are learning a new movement and engaging new muscles you’ll feel it the next day- but in a good way!  You’ll know you did something different but no need to worry about being so sore that you can’t function!!

Ready to try a complimentary session?  Click here to find a time that works best in your schedule!  We look forward to meeting you!

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in FAQs, Private Pilates and Yoga Sessions

Commit to an Active Healthy Summer!

Welcome to our 2019 Healthy Summer Challenge! Whether you are starting a new movement practice or maybe you just want to continue to keep consistent this summer with your already established practice we are excited to have you join our free summer challenge. Our challenge to you is to stay committed to keeping movement as important part of your life, no matter where you are or what your summer schedule looks like!   Our summer challenge is not about a 6 pack or focused on losing weight — our summer challenge is about body confidence, energy, strength and happiness!    

Like we’ve done in past years we’ll be giving you a chance to win super cute Rivercity Pilates gear for being consistent and getting regular classes in at the studio. Simply check off on the chart at the studio when you are in to track your classes! Get a minimum of 8 classes in (1 per week) and you’ll win a newly designed Rivercity Pilates love handle (Carey’s favorite accessory for her phone), Get 16 classes in and earn a super cute Rivercity Pilates baseball hat! Get 24 sessions or more in and you’ll earn a Rivercity Pilates shirt from our fall collection!

Out of town but still want to participate? If you have internet access you can take a class virtually! Just email us and we’ll help you set it up!! We’ve been doing this for some of our clients who travel a lot and they love it!! These classes count toward prizes!!

Not able to make it into the studio this summer but still want to participate? Take our 10 minutes a day movement challenge! Click here to get your tracking sheet! Use one of our weekly workout videos or do your own movement practice each morning for 10 minutes. Turn in your completed sheet after the challenge to win a Rivercity Pilates journal (great for tracking fitness, writing down your health goals or just taking notes)!!     

Click here to officially sign up for the challenge!




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in Motivation and Inspiration

Inspiration of the Month June 2019 Cindy Brown

When did you start Pilates and what inspired you to start?
My first private with Carey was in July of 2015. My dear friend, Sara Tack suggested that I give Pilates a try as she had been a regular client at Rivercity for years. I was in need of increased core strength as I had some minor back pain. I quickly signed up and began taking mat classes, eventually adding in Tower and Reformer.

How often do you practice Pilates and what type of sessions or classes
have you been doing?    
 I try to attend 4 classes per week. I attend Mat, Tower and Reformer classes.  When I am not at Rivercity Pilates, I practice Pilates at home.

What benefits or improvements have you noticed in your body and life
from doing Pilates? 
I have increased my core strength significantly. I use the Pilates Principles to keep my back safe while participating in (modified) CrossFit classes and gardening.

Do you have a favorite exercise or piece of equipment (or both)?    
My favorite is the Tower. The feedback/support the Tower system gives is very
encouraging. It has helped me to gain strength, so I am better able to perform exercises in the Mat and Reformer classes.

What would you say to someone who is thinking about doing Pilates?
You will not regret investing in yourself. Pilates is the perfect complement to any other movement practice. Pilates is for everybody!

How has the journey of becoming a Pilates teacher effected your Pilates practice?  
Teacher Training has made me love Pilates even more. I am amazed at how far I have come in (almost) 4 years – I can’t wait to see what the next 4 years bring!

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in Inspiration of the Month, Motivation and Inspiration

Is Mindful Boring?

When you hear the word mindful what image pops into your head?  Silence, solemness, stillness….

Here at Rivercity Pilates we are big believers in the power of mindful movement to create results in your body and life, but we also like to have fun.  Of course we want to stay focused and mindful throughout our movement practice but at the same time we know that if you are enjoying your movement practice you are more likely to keep doing it and hence get even better results!

We have a “No Grimacing Rule” at the studio!  (See the sign we included here.)  We use this rule to remind clients to smile, lighten up and be positive – all of which are conducive to better movement!


If you are looking to find an exercise program you love, consider trying our our small group classes and expect to smile throughout class!   Your first session is complimentary — you can email us or call the studio to schedule  (319-665-2499).

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in FAQs, Group Classes, Motivation and Inspiration, What’s so great about Pilates?

Happy, successful people create these 2 habits in their life!

Do you ever look at those successful, happy people who seem to be doing it all in life and doing it well and wonder how do they do it?  How can I have what they have?

I do and I’ve made it part of my journey to take notice and even study the lives and patterns of those people who have what I strive for in life.  The two habits that I see over and over again are physical exercise and “me” time.  No matter how busy these highly successful people are they find time to exercise their bodies and renew their soul.   Many times this is a daily exercise routine, meditation, a time to read, and simply time to relax on a daily basis.

What amazes me is that these people have the same amount of time in the day as you and me yet they manage to accomplish extraordinary things AND carve out time for themselves and their bodies.  In fact when I talk to these happy, successful people they often credit their successes in life to these habits that they’ve incorporated into their life.  They will also be the first to tell you that it’s not always easy to find that time but the results have made it “not an option” but a requirement in their life.

So all of this is great to hear, but how do you incorporate it into your life?  My suggestion is to start small and doable.  Can you get up a half hour early everyday and add 15 minutes of Pilates, Yoga, Stretching, Cardio  or even meditation to your life?  Create a small doable goal and do it consistently(everyday) for at least 2 months.  Yes, I said  2 months.   If you get to the place where you can add more time- great!  That’s it…see where it takes you and let us know how it changes you!!

CareyIMG_2781-1 Sadler is the owner of Rivercity Pilates in North Liberty Iowa. Carey is a PMA Certified Pilates instructor who has been teaching Pilates since getting her comprehensive certification from Body Precision Studios in 2001.  Before that Carey was a personal trainer, a chemical engineer and a volleyball player!  Carey’s love of health, movement and happiness have lead her to open her Pilates studio and continue her passion of living life to the fullest!  She is a wife and  a mom of 3 energetic children as well as a spunky cat and dog.

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in Motivation and Inspiration, What’s so great about Pilates?

Inspiration of the Month May 2019 Brenda Kochanny

When did you start Pilates and what inspired you to start?     

My Pilates practice started as a joke. My girlfriends and I decided we needed to find an alternative to happy hour. In all seriousness, the joke turned into the feeling of my muscles getting longer and uncoiling from stress. When I started I had just had twins and was early in my trading career with high stress and high demands.  At this time I didn’t have time for exercise and I loathed exercising, but Pilates never felt like exercise to me, as I loved it. So, I bought the Windsor Pilates VHS tapes and off I went!

How often do you practice Pilates and what type of sessions or classes have you been doing?    

My goal right now is 3-5 times per week. I mix it up with Mat Class, Reformer, Roll/Release & Relax on Saturday morning, and Privates with Carey.  With some current health challenges if I can do Pilates this often I have found my body and pain level responds very well.  

What benefits or improvements have you noticed in your body and life from doing Pilates?  

Pilates for me is a big benefit to my stress and tension levels.  When I do an early morning class I stand taller and ready for the day. When I know it’s going to be a particular challenging day in the office I get to the early morning class. Being recently diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis & other Autoimmune Conditions Pilates has been a key to my journey to find my way back to less pain, function and decreasing fatigue. Pilates is less impact on my body and if I am having a particular hard day I can change my level of intensity or the way I do the exercise and still get movement in which is key to my health. Another key for my health is stress reduction.  Being in a high demanding Agriculture Commodity Trading business my neck and shoulders have been known to turn into cement.  Doing Pilates keeps me from turning into cement, which keeps me away from doctors and physical therapists offices.

Do you have a favorite exercise or piece of equipment (or both)?    

Favorite exercise is Seal & I love the Reformer!  The Seal reminds me of doing Pilates early on in my living room during the early morning hours and being terrible at it.  I couldn’t roll and my legs were going everywhere! My biggest concern was my husband seeing my crazy Seal legs and laughing at me. The reformer classes feel like my muscles stretch even further, which is always good for me. I love the different balls we use in Roll/ Release class and I have bought my own and they travel with me.  Some days I have to get them out during the day if it’s a harder day in the office and use them to roll out my neck and upper traps. If I do it sooner than later I have no headaches.

What would you say to someone who is thinking about doing Pilates? 

Do it… You can adjust each exercise or each class. Even if you aren’t feeling on your game you can get benefits of it.  If you’re looking for stress relief do Pilates. Coming from a person who has a love hate for exercise do Pilates. Pilates is an investment for today and for your future health.  I truly believe Pilates saves me from other medical bills.

How does doing Pilates make you a better Mom?    

Pilates has helped me with stress for the entire life of my kids. Over the last year my kids have seen me do less and be in pain. Getting a diagnosis, outlining a path on how to improve my health and doing Pilates consistently has helped reduce my pain and fatigue, so I feel like doing things again.  My kids will graduate high school this year so I need to stay active so I can travel to see them wherever their adventures take them.  I have many more years of being a part of my kid’s lives and Pilates is crucial to that.  Pilates keeps me grounded. I find so many times during my everyday life of using my breathing practice.

How has the journey of becoming a Pilates teacher effected your Pilates practice?  

Being a teacher has helped me be more aware of movement in my own body. I think there are a couple exercises that I was probably “hanging out”, so now I know how to engage more and reap the benefits.  Using different props in my practice has been very beneficial.


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in Inspiration of the Month

Secret Momming Energy Tricks!

Somebody said to me this month… Don’t you get tired of being at the studio? And how do you get everything done? How do you get your kids to places, do the dishes, fold the clothes, do all the mom stuff and life stuff… and how do you find time to sit on your butt and watch Netflix and just relax??
I laughed and said well… sometimes that stuff just doesn’t get done! But really… I have an amazing husband who shares all the family duties with me and we coordinate as much as we can to get the important stuff done( you know .. kids to school, feed the kids( totally Jeff’s department as I don’t cook..), laundry, cleaning, etc  AND we try not to get too crazy with each other when the house is messier than we’d like, the kids are fighting with each other and we forget an appointment that we thought the other person was going to take the kids to…. 
Do I get tired of being at the studio?…honestly no. There are days when I am ready to go home so I can replenish and get some me time in and get some family time in…but I love what I get to do! That must be the key because even after a crazy day when I’ve been teaching for 8 or more hours and trying to do business stuff in between…I wouldn’t change it for anything.   As for finding time to sit on my butt and watch Netflix…that’s pretty rare and I’m ok with that.  I’ll sit and watch an occasional show with my hubby or kids but honestly I would rather relax by reading a book, going for a walk or taking a relaxing bath! 
Momming and parenting in general is hard.   If you are a parent I don’t have to tell you this!!
50% (that’s generous… maybe 75% if I’m being really honest!) of the time I feel like I am totally failing at parenting and the other 50 percent I am having proud mom moments when I just stand back in awe at the loving, caring people our kiddos are becoming..
Pilates and movement are clearly my business but they are also a non negotiable part of my life that keeps me sane, less stressed and focused on what’s really important to me and my family.
I kind of feel like movement is my secret momming energy trick…
For a long time I didn’t realize how powerful it actually was in my life but lately I have really realized that if I’m not moving on a regular basis all the other stuff in life gets harder… I get stressed out easier, I feel lethargic and I don’t get my to do lists done! So I’ve made it a point this year to be overly intentional about my movement time. Here are 3 pretty simple movement rules I follow in my life…
  1. EVERY day starts with a minimum of 10 minutes Pilates time. I picked 10 minutes because I can always fit 10 minutes in. 10 minutes doesn’t seem like much but because it’s short I can commit to staying focused and flowing through exercises and I always get a great little workout in. Many days if I have time I do work out longer but honestly my longest morning workout are usually only a half hour max!
  2. ALWAYS a walk with the dog.. rain or shine I figure we always both need a walk… so even if it is a run around the block in the pouring rain or snow… I just do it!
  3. If I’m feeling tired or lethargic (this usually happens in the afternoon) I make myself do a minute of movement time before I reach for tea or coffee… yep just a minute! And you know what? 9/10 times I don’t get the coffee! My favorite go to movements are bouncing on the big ball for a minute, jumping jacks, or footwork on the reformer if I’m at the studio… all these things engage my whole body, get my heart rate up and my breathing activated and always leave me feeling energized!! It’s kind of amazing how simple yet effective this can be!

If you haven’t ever thought about how important moving your body is in helping give you energy to live the rest of your life, maybe today is the day to think about it! If you are rushing through life and find yourself not having the energy to do all of the things you want to do I would encourage you to explore how you could add some movement and exercise time into your life in ways that will improve how all your days feel! And of course if you need some ideas or suggestions myself and the movement teachers at Rivercity Pilates would love to help! 





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in Motivation and Inspiration

Inspiration of the Month Ellen Alexander April 2019

Ellen Alexander

April 2019 Inspiration of the Month

When did you start Pilates and what inspired you to start?
I’ve been thinking about trying to start Pilates for a couple of years, and finally took the plunge late last year. I’ve had some chronic shoulder problems in the past, including a frozen shoulder, and had tried Neural Reset Therapy with Sara See, which is what got me in the door of Rivercity. I’ve practiced Yoga off and on for years, and wanted to get back into the habit of this type of movement. As I age I’m starting to realize more and more how important strength and stretching are to feeling good.

How often do you practice Pilates and what type of sessions or classes have you been doing?  
I have mostly been doing mat classes, but have also enjoyed Equipment classes and a few Pilates Mat and Barre classes. I love the variety.   I have also been taking advantage of Rivercity’s online presence and trying to do some of the YouTube videos at home a few days per week. I’ve been trying to follow along with March MATness, and find myself randomly just doing small Pilates-inspired movement as I make dinner or sit at my desk at work.

What benefits or improvements have you noticed in your body and life from doing Pilates? 
I feel like I’m using my muscles more as they are meant to be used. I’m more aware of my core muscles and my posture, and I am finding muscles I didn’t realize I had. I have more energy and it just seems to motivate me to be more active – doing the Pilates workouts does not register as exercise on my Apple Watch, but I feel like other activity is much more likely to register on days when I have done Pilates (like when I walk, I’m doing it with more energy and it counts!). Finally, I find it to be a mental enough practice that it is a mind break. Paying attention to so many details of what my body is doing forces me into mindfulness.

Do you have a favorite exercise or piece of equipment (or both)?
Two exercises that always make me smile are Seal and Helicopter. With Seal I think it’s just the silliness, and Helicopter really gets my hips. Anything that is a good shoulder stretch I also love. Open Leg Rocker is my nemesis so far, but I’m hoping that our relationship will evolve.

What would you say to someone who is thinking about doing Pilates?
I would encourage anyone to try. It is so customizable and not as intimidating as it might seem. Part of the beauty is how personalized a Pilates practice is – it grows with you and I’ve already started to discover details and layers I wasn’t aware of when I first started. The staff at Rivercity Pilates truly make it fun. It is a wonderfully welcoming and encouraging environment filled with people of all different ages and fitness levels.

What do you like about taking the early morning classes? 
I love getting to the studio before I really have a chance to think about it. I love how it gently warms up and wakes up my body for the day. It is also a great way for me to fit it in before the other demands of the day have a chance at me.

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in Inspiration of the Month, Motivation and Inspiration

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