Jocelyne Pelchat is a self-declared anatomy nerd, nature lover, Pilates fanatic, in love with basically anything that moves her spiritually, physically, emotionally and intellectually. A Pilates devotee with over a dedicated global following, Jocelyne is keen to share her love of all things fitness with us all so we didn’t hesitate to find out more about The Cornerstone Pilates brand she has built and how Jocelyne is helping us to feel our best every time we step foot outside the studio and to fall in love with the way our body moves.
Hey Jocelyne, can you introduce yourself to us?
I am someone who never ceases to learn and to challenge herself. I believe in feeling good on the outside and on the inside, and for me, Pilates is the gateway to doing just that. I have been working with people with varying degrees of pain ranging from disc herniations, stenosis, ankylosing spondylitis, SI-joint dysfunction, arthritis, hip replacements, MS, breast cancer survivors, and the list goes on.
I have seen time and time again the miracle of movement help people heal and regain confidence, help recover from aches and pains and it is my own personal reward when I see someone I work with walk out with a renewed kick in their step or a smile on their face. I am a true advocate and my main mission is to share my knowledge with people and help them on their movement journey.
Can you take us through your journey to where you are now?
I come from a 15-year career in the Apparel Industry. It was in 2012 that I visited Costa Rica with my family and there that I decided to make a change in my career. I used to do Pilates every morning without missing a beat, just like brushing my teeth. One morning, while I was doing Pilates on the docks by the Pacific Ocean, I thought to myself “why would I not do the one thing I do every single day for a living?” It makes me happy.
On my return home, I registered for my first Mat Pilates teacher training. I proceeded to open up my business immediately after obtaining my certification. I was working part-time in the Apparel Industry and teaching at nights and weekends. 2 years after that, they eliminated my position and I was offered a different position or a package. I chose to take the leap and trust my gut and my passion. I never looked back. I continued to learn and study and prosper. I now have multiple movement specialisation designations and am certified in various different modalities. Fast forward 3 years later, I opened my first storefront in Burlington, Ontario and run a boutique Pilates studio which focuses on the power of movement as a form of rehabilitation.
What is a day in the life of you like?
Wake up early. Make myself a jasmine tea. Shower and turn on music that motivates me. I dance every morning while I’m getting ready for work. Even though I work in the Fitness Industry, I come from the corporate world so looking professional at all times is important to me. You’ll never see me frumpy, it’s part of what I value as professionalism, the presentation is key. I teach between 8 to 12 hours per day, classes and privates and reflexology sessions. I am fuelled by my interactions with people. I come home late, I read a book to unwind and get ready for bed.
What is the concept behind The Cornerstone Pilates?
At The Cornerstone Pilates, we teach movement, not exercise.
We have people come to us with pain in their backs, loss of balance, diminished range of motion in their joints, wanting a stronger core, more flexibility, and balance.
What we do is a simple formula, we bring it back to basics by looking at the bones. With our expertise in biomechanics and which muscles move the bones, we can determine which muscles are stronger and which ones are weaker and our job is to create symmetry, balance, and alignment in your body.
The staff at The Cornerstone Pilates have over 20,000 hours of training combined so you know you’re working with a highly trained movement specialist and our goal, each and every time, whether you’re coming in for a private session or a group class, is to help you feel strong, move with ease and power and to fall in love with movement.
How is The Cornerstone Pilates funded, is it bootstrapped, self-funded etc?
The Cornerstone Pilates is self-funded. I saved all the money made during the first 5 years of being in business. All revenue went right back into the business to build my dream. When I opened the studio, I had saved enough to purchase all the Pilates equipment and start the renovations in the new storefront.
Can you tell us more about your brand DNA and ethos within The Cornerstone Pilates?
Helping people move with ease and power. Many belief systems think that when there is pain, there should be rest. The Cornerstone Pilates, we believe that moving in the proper way is most beneficial for the joints, for the muscles and for the brain. Exercise doesn’t need to be painful or aggressive. We just need to learn to move more efficiently to help us do the daily things we do without pain.
Can you tell us how you are helping us to feel our best every time we step foot outside the studio and to fall in love with the way our body moves?
By creating awareness in the body. We teach our clients how to help fix their own bodies, we don’t do it for them. We teach each and every one of our clients about the biomechanics of the body in simple terms so they know why their bodies move the way they do and how they can prevent moving in ways that don’t best serve them.
Can you highlight 3 movements that give us the most impact we can benefit from?
Neutral bridge: Great for SI-Joint hypermobility, to strengthen the glutes and the entire backside of the body. Lying on your back, knees bent, feet flat. Press firmly into the feet to lift your hips up in order to create a long line between the shoulders and the knees, without arching your back and without squeezing the bum. Let the activation of the required muscles happen organically and not forced.
Quadruped arm and leg reach a.k.a. bird/dog: To strengthen 2 of the core systems of the body. On all 4’s, lengthen opposite arm and leg away from the centre whilst maintaining level hips and core support. Think of moving from your core rather than moving from your limbs.
Side Bridge: Best exercise for the lateral system and can also incorporate one more system if we add variations. Lying on your side propped on an elbow with knees bent. Feet stacked, hips stacked, shoulders stacked. Press into the anchoring elbow, knee, and foot and lift the hips up so as to maintain equal length on both sides of the waist
Who does the team involve behind you at The Cornerstone Pilates?
We are a team of 3 at The Cornerstone Pilates. What’s great about the team is that we all come from different types of training. Caleigh is STOTT® trained and brings a level of expertise on Classical exercises and breath and alignment. Hélène is a Balanced Body® trained and Body Control as well. They are the Pilates gurus of the industry. I, myself, Jocelyne am Body Harmonics® trained where we bring it back to basics and dissect the exercises and look at how they can best serve different bodies.
Where can you see yourself within the next 3-5 years?
Helping our clients get stronger every day, sharing our passion for movement with everyone we come in contact with. Continue to grow and expand organically.
What strategies do you have in place when looking at the expansion of your business?
We are a Body Harmonics® affiliate studio and in the next year will be bringing the curriculum to Burlington Ontario. By 2020, our clients will be able to become Body Harmonics® comprehensive Pilates Instructors at our studio and also continue their education through the various different Continuing Education workshops in the Body Harmonics teacher training program.
Can you tell us what areas you have struggled in professionally?
Finding my groove. I tried adding different things to my services before I could pinpoint what really worked. I added yoga, suspension yoga, Barre Pilates, trying to find what would work best for the studio throughout the years. I had to fail before I could realise that sticking to one thing and doing it really well was the best recipe for this business. I believe in mastering one thing before you take on another.
Have you ever had any other mentor? If so how has this benefitted you to grow?
Of course. One cannot succeed without a mentor. We don’t know how when we first start. We have to ask how, ask questions, observe, learn from successes and learn from other peoples mistakes as well as our own. It has benefitted me immensely to learn from others, whether in the same industry or in others. I’ve spoken with consultants, accountants, marketing strategists, studio owners. I’m always learning.
What outlets do use to market The Cornerstone Pilates?
Word of mouth and social media. I’ve tried numerous other methods, but in the end, they have never bared fruit quite like the recommendation of one satisfied client to another.
Which methods are you using to build your own support network?
I only associate with like-minded people. People willing to support small local businesses, women entrepreneurs, people with success stories, whether personal or professional.
What do you believe are the common misconceptions about the health and wellness industry and how are you using your platform and voice to educate people more?
I take this question to heart as it is a common struggle that we deal with daily as movement professionals. There are Pilates Instructors that took a mat certification over 15 years ago that have the title as that is what they were required to take so many years ago. Then there are Pilates Instructors that are movement specialists and have taken over 6000 hours of training to perfect their trade and really make a difference in peoples lives. We all have the same title and it affects me personally as there is a significant difference between the two, but the layperson doesn’t know it. We are highly trained with equivalency to Physiotherapists and I use my voice to communicate this to individuals on a regular basis, however, find that we need to keep doing it and I wish there was a way to make a clear distinction.
What would you like to see changed for millennials in business?
Less reliance on social media.
What is the best piece of business advice you have received to date?
Don’t spend a huge amount of money on marketing. Do what you do and do it really well and your clients will end up doing the marketing for you.
What is the number 1 critical lesson you have learned in your career so far?
Take time for yourself. I take a Pilates class every week and/or get a one-on-one with a Pilates Instructor. I also work with a fitness coach to keep me motivated and to do something else than what I do for a living. My battery must get recharged or I won’t have any fuel to give to others.
How do you create an evenly balanced work and personal life?
I’m still trying to figure out the perfect recipe for balance. Right now, I work really hard and then I travel. I love to visit new places and explore and I adore learning about different cultures, but I work 6 to 7 days a week the other 49 weeks of the year. Let’s say it’s a work in progress.
A seminal point in your career so far?
Finding the courage to push forth and pursue my dreams. 2017 was a pivotal point for me. I was working for Body Harmonics® in Toronto and running a small studio in my home basement and I was busy and everything was going great. A part of me always wanted the Pilates studio storefront and the other part of me relished in the security of not having overhead or simply working for someone else as there was a certain sense of security.
I worked with a Mindfulness coach that year to help me break through my fear of the unknown. It was in me to pursue my dream, but I got lost in the comfort of every day. I pushed forth and it was the best thing I could have done. I accomplished and set out to realise my dreams. Vision board complete!
What gives you ultimate career satisfaction?
Seeing people get stronger and become pain-free. The ultimate reward is my clients telling me that they no longer have pain and can now do the things they love to do without fear of re-injuring themselves.
What challenges have you seen to have been presented during the growth of your business?
Finding the staff that is professional and proficiently trained in the GTA. If I were in a larger city, it would be much easier, but my studio is in the suburbs and there are not that many qualify Instructors looking for positions in the area. If they are, they’re already working at a different studio.
Which other leading entrepreneurs and pioneering game changers do you also admire and why?
So many to name. I love hearing about people that came from nothing and built small empires. I love hearing about the person who never gave up no matter how many times they failed. I love hearing about women taking over the world, CEO’s, presidents, vice-presidents, directors, entrepreneurs, basically any position that used to be dominated by males. We still have a long way to go, but we are making definite progress. These are the success stories that I want to emulate.
How do you define success?
Success to me is waking up every morning and never feeling like I have to go to work. It’s loving what I do with a passion and the drive to see my clients get stronger and live pain-free lives. It’s the ultimate reward. If I feel like I’ve helped someone today, I feel successful.
What is next for you?
The Cornerstone Pilates is bringing a new teacher training program and continuing education workshops to the studio. We are adding new staff, new classes, reflexology, and osteopathy. Stay tuned as we grow and continue to serve our expanding community with health, wellbeing and movement education.
Instagram: @thecornerstonepilates @jocelynepelchatpilates