Tag Archives: fitness

Get to know PJ Wight

PJ is a personal trainer here at Art of Fitness, bringing with her over 25 years of experience in the fitness/coaching industry. She is certified with the Canadian Personal Trainers Network and the International Youth Conditioning Association. Her primary goal as a personal trainer and coach is to develop a goal-oriented plan and provide guidance, encouragement and creativity in assisting each of her clients to attain his/her personal fitness goals and improve their quality of life.

Prior to joining the Art of Fitness team, she was a figure skating coaching and attained a Level II coaching certification. She states that two things led her to pursue a career as a personal trainer. First, is her personal love of fitness. Second, she loved coaching and guiding both young people and the young at heart to achieve their personal fitness goals.

Below is part 1 of an interview we did to get to know PJ even better! 

PJ Wight

1. What is on your bucket list? Trip to Australia to see my cousins; travel to Scotland, Ireland, England, Italy, Alaskan cruise
2. Where did you grow up? Kitchener, Ontario
3. What food can you not live without? eggs
4. Who is the funniest person you know? Gary 
5. What is the best gift you have ever received? Finding my birth family
6. First thing you do in the morning? turn the alarm off
7. What is the one thing people would never guess about you? my age 🙂
8. What’s on your bedside table? Tiffany lamp; clock radio and decorative turtles
9. What’s the best advice you’ve ever received? follow your gut instincts
10. What’s the background on your computer? The beach and the ocean

 “If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or otherwise it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them”- Bruce Lee

Pilates Can Take Your Yoga Practice to the Next Level

Many yoga practitioners lay down on their yoga mat with a specific goal in mind. I want to deepen pigeon pose, I want to hold my handstand effortlessly, I want to float into crow without bruising my triceps. No matter what your goal is during your Yoga class, we have the secret.

Pilates is often compared to Yoga, but there is a defined difference. Pilates requires strength and precision, teaching you to move from a solid foundation, and connect to postural muscles that are universally underused. Learning to connect to these postural muscles can lead you into a lengthened chest position during triangle pose, control your centre of gravity during half moon, and flow through chaturanga lightly in neutral alignment.

PJ Yoga

Here are a few key reasons why Pilates will take your Yoga poses to the next level.

Proper Alignment

Pilates is all about positioning your spine in proper alignment, so you can walk out of your session and take this posture into everyday life. Focusing on balancing the musculature helps create symmetry between the left and the right sides of your body. Working both sides simultaneously, you’re able to compare the strength of both sides and work them equally. You can take this knowledge to your Yoga mat, and connect to your muscles equally during balance poses to help your stability and use your core properly to protect your back during back bends.


Pilates exercises incorporate dynamic stretching, so not only are you strengthening one muscle, you are getting a stretch through another. Although Pilates does not solely focus on flexibility, it is known to create more flexibility and length through the muscles, lengthening your body from head to toes. Learning how to dynamically stretch and stay neutral also protects your muscles from hyperextension during Yoga classes, this allows you to engage proper muscles before you lengthen into a stretch to avoid injury and create lasting results. 

Stronger Core  

A stronger core equals less back pain. Ask anyone who came to Pilates to relive back tension, they will tell you that they experienced some sort of relief. Our bodies were made to move, it only takes a few classes or private sessions to remind our body how to align and work properly to avoid tension. Having a strong core leaves more room for mobility through the body while doing Yoga, instead of suffering through back pain during poses. As a beginner going into a Yoga class, you may not realize when and where to connect to your centre, by incorporating the Pilates principles you can trust that your body is properly flowing from pose to pose. 

Allows you to Work Deeper

Once you start focusing on your abdominals, you realize that your bodies movements are powered through your core. Try doing downward dog without your core engaged; you’ll most likely leave with back pain. During exercise our larger muscles like to take over, Pilates helps us zone into our small, more intrinsic muscles. During Yoga classes, you will notice more strength during movements. With stronger abdominals, you can improve every single one of your poses on the yoga mat. If you decide to work one on one with an Instructor you can even mimic and improve your entire Yoga routine by dissecting each exercise.

Overall, Pilates can help Yogis advance into poses that they hadn’t felt possible before and avoid injury. Have you always wondered how that girl at the front of class effortlessly holds her position in handstand? Well now you’re in on the secret!





Get to Know Erin Mahony

Welcome to our new series “Get To know Our Instructors”. We grilled Erin with 30 random questions, that we will post for you over the Spring Session! Have a question for Erin? Email us and stay tuned to see it answered! 

Lower back weakness and muscular imbalance initially brought Erin to the practice of Pilates more than 15 years ago. What initially began as a prescription for rehabilitative and strengthening exercise has since developed into a tremendous passion of hers! As an ambitious woman going after a variety of athletic pursuits, Pilates compliments her lifestyle as both student and instructor. Training clients to be conscious of posture, breathing and alignment in various exercises, offers increased core strength and greater body awareness. As a Pilates instructor, Erin looks forward to educating her clients, challenging them and having fun!

Learn more about your Tuesday evening Instructor, Erin, below: 

1. What is on your bucket list? Open a market stall at the Paris Wincey Mills, run a hobby farm with my family, rent a houseboat for a holiday, knit a sweater, travel to Australia, play a gig at a coffee house
2. Where did you grow up? I’m a home-grown honey, born and raised here in Kitchener-Waterloo
3. What food can you not live without? Grandma Elsie’s homemade perogies
4. Who is the funniest person you know? Uncle Doug
5. What is the best gift you have ever received? My husband and two step-children
6. First thing you do in the morning? Meditate
7. What is the one thing people would never guess about you? I love to crochet
8. What’s on your bedside table? A lamp, my happiness journal and a few random pieces of jewellery
9. What’s the best advice you’ve ever received? “Always remember, everyone is doing their best with what they know”
10. What’s the background on your computer? Boring old black default screen…it’s a work laptop so I haven’t personalized it

Want to take a class with Erin? Click here to register.   

Certifications Include:

  • Certified PhysicalMind Institute Vertical and Matwork Intensive
  • Body Harmonics Pilates Reformer Intensive – Apprentice
  • Half Marathon Runner, Participant in Sprint level triathlons
  • Member of ROW Masters Swim Program

When Instructors become Students

As Instructors we are always looking to keep things interesting for our clients. Taking courses and workshops to learn more about movement is key to staying up to date with current information and to keep things creative for our clients and so we don’t get bored stuck in the same movement patterns. We are constantly searching for different ways to challenge your bodies creatively so you see the benefits!

That is why in April, our favourite Studio owner, Steph, is heading to Merrickville, Ontario in the Ottawa area to explore three separate workshops, ‘Angamardhana A Classical Hatha Yoga‘, ‘Bhuta Shuddi‘ and ‘Surya Kriya‘.

See below for some information on what Steph will be bringing back to the Studio at the end of April! 


Anagamardhana means gaining complete mastery over the limbs, organs and other parts of the body. This is a physical practice that roots from the belief that being fit is not about showing off your muscles but about moving through life without having your body as an obstacle. Anagamardhana is partially an aerobic exercise but it also tones muscles without bringing any rigidity to your body. This is an ancient system, which brings stability to the mind and body. Staying true to its name, Anagamardhana revitalizes the body on all levels, muscles, circulatory system, skeletal structure, nervous system and energy system.

Benefits of Angamardana:

  • Strengthening the spine, skeletal system, and muscular system
  • Builds physical strength, fitness and tenacity
  • Takes years off the body, bringing a sense of lightness and freedom
  • Prepares the body for Hatha Yoga


Bhuta Shuddhi is the most fundamental practice in the yogic system. “Bhuta” refers to the five elements and “Shuddhi” means “to cleanse.”

The basis for all creation, including the physical body, is a group of five elements: earth, water, wind, fire, and space. The wellbeing of your mind and body can be established by purifying the five elements within the human system. This is a stepping stone towards ultimate wellbeing.

This purificatory process helps one to achieve a state of harmony and balance which prepares the body for higher levels of sadhana, or spiritual practices..

Keeps the body and mind in harmony and balance. Prepares the system to handle powerful states of energy.

Benefits of Bhuta Shuddhi:

  • Keeps the system in harmony and balance
  • Prepares the system to handle powerful states of energy
  • Enhances the capabilities of the physical body, mind and energy system
  • Creates the basis to gain complete mastery over the human system


Surya Kriya, also referred to as the forefathers of Sun Salutation, is a 21-step, potent yogic practice with tremendous antiquity. Traditionally only practiced by reserved Yogis, Surya Kriya becomes a strong foundation to explore higher dimensions of life.

Surya” means “Sun,” and “kriya” means “inner energy process.” Surya Kriya activates the solar plexus within the system and balances a person’s energies, leading to stability of the body and stillness of the mind.

Benefits of Surya Kriya:

  • Develops mental clarity and focus
  • Remedies weak constitutions
  • Boosts vigor and vitality
  • Balances hormonal levels in the body
  • Prepares one for deeper states of meditation
  • Enhances the elements and benefits of Surya Namaskar

To learn more about these courses, click here.

Spring Registration!

Spring Landscape HeaderIt’s that time of year again!

Spring classes will begin on Monday April 2. 

Spring Classes: Monday April 2 – Friday June 22, 2018
Monday classes (11 weeks), Tuesday – Friday classes (12 weeks)Classes cancelled Victoria Day Monday, May 21, 2018

If you’re a returning client and have already let your instructor know you’re coming back you’re already enrolled.  Otherwise you can enroll here.

Transitional Season Break: Monday June 25 – Friday June 29, 2018

Downloadable Printable Schedule
Online Schedule

Class Cancellation Policy: Gentle reminder of our 8 hour cancel policy in order to receive class credit, otherwise the class cost will be processed

E-Transfer Payments: Please note that we do accept e-transfer payments to ‘steffipilates@me.com’

Meet Our New Instructor: Katie Cameron Sullivan

Hi! My name is Katie and I am so excited to be the newest Instructor at KW Art of Fitness. I have been living in Toronto for the last nine years, originally moving to pursue a career in Public Relations, but life had other plans. I walked into my very first Pilates class with a friend during my first year of school and after the 55-minute class I realized I had never been more inspired by anything. My curiosity of the way the human body moves and this exercise that has so much depth and purpose took over and I was signed up for my first teacher training a few months later.

Katie Cameron Sullivan

I started teaching Matwork in local studios and worked as a Physiotherapist Assistant. I worked closely with client injuries putting them through safe and effective exercise programs. After gaining this invaluable experience I landed a job at the STOTT PILATES® headquarters bridging my Public Relations experience and my passion for Pilates. I spent the next two years working in the Toronto headquarters marketing the STOTT PILATES® Studio and learning from some of the top Instructors. While I was there I furthered my training and completed the Matwork and Reformer programs.
I can’t wait to bring my experience and love for this form-focused exercise to KW Art of Fitness and in time learn more from all the Instructors and you! My inspiration comes from the clients through the changes you see in daily life from committing to Pilates. Whether you are looking to hold your grandchild without a sore back, recover from having a baby of your own, help your golf drive or to just walk with a taller spine, I want to help you get there.
On my spare time you can find me taking my puppy Addy to the dog park, taking a Pilates class of my own, snowboarding in the winter or driving my husband crazy by planning our next travel adventure while on a current vacation. I love getting to know new people and hearing what brought them into the Studio. As much as my clients inspire me, I want to also inspire you!
If you want to learn a little more about me, you can visit my website here, or visit my Instagram page 

Certified in:

Vote K-W Art of Fitness!

The Waterloo Region Record Reader Awards 2015 have just opened up! It’s time for you to nominate your favourite businesses, people and service providers that make our community so great.

We’re so excited to be included in the “Health Wellness and Beauty” category under “Favourite Fitness Club.” If you think K-W Art of Fitness rocks, we’d love for you to vote for us by clicking here.

The nomination period will be open until Monday August 31st at 12:59pm.  The 10 Nominees in each subcategory with the MOST nominations will move onto the voting round. After the votes have been tallied they’ll publish a list of the winners in October.

Thanks so much for all of your support!

Reader Awards

Regular Exercise Might Be the Key to Work-Life Balance

A recent study done by Harvard Business Review just revealed yet another reason why regular exercise is a MUST. The study argues that working out regularly not only reduces stress but might actually make juggling your work and personal life easier.

Click here, to read the full article.



How to Choose a Personal Trainer

11 Important Questions to Ask

Working out with a personal trainer is a great investment in our health and fitness, but it can be tricky to know how to choose the right one. Here are the top questions to ask when deciding whom to hire.


The Benefits of a Personal Trainer

With the festivities behind us and the credit card bills paid, there are no more reminders of the holidays—except maybe the few extra pounds around our midsections.

Choosing a Trainer

When this is the case, many of us consider hitting the gym to burn off those extra calories. But when we’re unsure about what to do once we arrive at said gym, it’s a great idea to hire a personal trainer.

A trainer understands the way the human body moves and which exercises are best for each specific body part. With their knowledge and experience, we’re in good hands on our fitness journeys.

However, a laundry list of questions to ask a prospective trainer regarding background, education, and experience is necessary; we would be doing ourselves a disservice if we neglected to interview our trainers before putting them to work.

These are the most important questions to ask when looking for someone to hire.

1. Are you certified?

This seems like a pretty obvious question, but unfortunately, there are trainers out there who are not qualified through a certifying body such as the British Columbia Recreation and Parks Association (BCRPA) or the American Council on Exercise (ACE) (see the sidebar “Reputable certifying agencies” for more certifying bodies).

To become certified, a personal trainer has to go through coursework and standardized testing, as well as CPR and first aid training.

2. Are you specialized?

A 20-year-old healthy woman has different needs than a 75-year-old osteoporotic woman. Trainers need to understand these differences, and if they specialize, they can cater to those specific needs.

“Specializations give me the knowledge to help people with various physical conditions, improving their quality of life,” says personal trainer Lucy Anderson, who is a joint replacement specialist and cardiac rehabilitation instructor, among other things.

3. How long have you been in the industry?

Experience is important! Every year, we all learn more about the field we’re in, and fitness is no different. The more workshops, networking, and courses trainers take part in, the more knowledge they have.

Take into account your needs and goals, and consider looking for someone who has put in at least two years in the field.

4. Can I call your past clients for a reference?

Any time we hire someone, we usually receive references, so why not with a personal trainer? If a trainer is happy to share his references, this means his clients back him up and enjoyed his services.

5. Do you have a blog/website I can check out?

These days, most businesses and professionals have an online presence with a blog or website. If a personal trainer updates her blog with current events she’s hosting or sends out monthly newsletters, it shows that she is the type of person to go that extra mile to keep clients informed.

6. Can I try before I buy?

Many trainers are happy to give a session gratis before clients decide to hire them. This is a way to try out their services before committing to a package that can run into the hundreds of dollars. This is not a new concept for trainers, so they should not be surprised if asked.

7. Do you keep up your continuing education?

Did the prospective trainer get certified 20 years ago—or more? If so, he needs to be current on today’s fitness trends and not the trends of the past generation. Continuing education is an essential part of being a professional personal trainer. Not only that, but CPR and first aid training also need to be updated at regular intervals.

8. How long will it take for me to reach my goals?

A trainer should give a realistic time frame with no quick fixes guaranteed. Going in with a little knowledge can ensure that our expectations are realistic, and the trainer’s theories on when we’ll get there match our expectations.

If a trainer guarantees we’ll be down two sizes in a week, his methods may be unreliable or unsafe. It takes time to get fit!

9. Are you insured?

This keeps everyone safe, and it’s mandatory for trainers to have insurance if they are independent. Some gyms will cover their full-time trainers. If we were ever to get injured, we know that we will be covered.

10. Do you have any success stories?

If a trainer is seasoned and has satisfied clients in her past, she should have at least one great success story to share. She should be excited to tell about her past clients’ successes and hope that she can add more clients to her roster of successes.

11. Why you?

With all the personal trainers out there nowadays, what makes one individual trainer stand out from other personal trainers with the same qualifications?

It’s so important to find a certain “wow” factor with a trainer for it to work out. Trainers and clients need to be compatible on many levels, whether it be that the trainer specializes in a specific need, is relatable, or just has a similar moral code. These things do matter!

Don’t be afraid to ask a prospective personal trainer as many questions as possible; trainers and clients spend a lot of up-close-and-personal time together, and when your trainer is in your face telling you, “Do 10 more!”, you won’t mind quite as much if you like him.

Reputable certifying agencies


  • British Columbia Recreation and Parks Association (BCRPA) bcrpa.bc.ca
  • Canadian Fitness Professionals (CanFitPro) canfitpro.ca
  • Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology (CSEP) csep.ca

International (recognized worldwide)

About the Author

Nicole Palacios, BSc, ACE, has been part of the fitness industry for 17 years. Her passions include her family, fitness writing, and weight training. perfectfit.ws

Article Credit February 2013 Alive Magazine

David Higgins’ Top 5 Fitness Questions


Master Trainer and Co-Founder of TenPilates, David Higgins gets asked all kinds of fitness-related questions. Some are bizarre and some are clever. Check out his “Top 5 not-quite-as-daft-as-they-sound Fitness Questions.”

What are some fitness questions you have that you’ve always wanted to ask a fitness expert? Be sure to ask us next time you’re in the studio. We’d love to help you, or direct you to someone who can.