“I just wasn’t happy,” said the 42-year-old Brentwood resident. “So I did some soul-searching and realized that I have to do what I’m really passionate about. It’s not about money; it’s about what I enjoy doing.”
What she enjoyed more than anything at the time – and ever since – were her after-work exercise classes. Especially Pilates.
So the human resources director gave up her dream job, setting off a storm of family gossip and speculation, to earn her Pilates teaching certification. “My family thought I’d lost my mind,” she said from her home studio – formerly the garage.
Today, the mother of three sons, 8, 6 and 4, runs a studio from her Brentwood home. Wetherbee and her husband, Steve, turned the garage into what’s now the Get Fit Pilates Studio as soon as they moved into the place in 2003. By then, Wetherbee had been through about a decade of training and internships, and had racked up a plethora of certifications in Pilates, Yogilates and massage therapy.
“This is how I want my life to be,” she said. “I work at my home, I get to be there for my kids and I’m doing something I’m passionate about by helping people get into the best shape of their life.”
So what’s the appeal of Pilates over, say, Yoga? Wetherbee says it’s the variety and movement. In a Yoga class, you switch from one static pose to another in the same order nearly every time. In Pilates, you keep moving the entire 55-minute class, fluidly transitioning from one exercise to another.
“We mix it up every time,” Wetherbee said. “And each workout is tailored to the individual.”
The exercise form, invented by German-born physical-culturist Joseph Pilates, has been around for the better part of a century. The U.S. immigrant wanted to develop a psychosomatic discipline that based every movement on the body’s core – the abdominal and back muscles. It uses several pieces of exercise equipment custom-made for Pilates, such as the “reformer,” “wunda chair,” “jump board” and spinal corrector. Part of the reason people sign up for one-on-one, duet or group classes led by a certified trainer is because they can’t afford to buy the equipment themselves.
Pilates appeared on our cultural radar in the 1970s when Hollywood celebrities made it a mainstream phenomenon. Today it’s the exercise of choice for injured dancers or professional athletes trying to cross-train their way to a leaner, lither physique.
Antioch resident Holly Quansah, 36, signed up for her first class with Wetherbee four years ago because she wanted to balance her cardio running workouts with a core-strengthening workout. “I think it’s just a good counterbalance to the running because the running I can do outdoors, which I love,” she said. “But I otherwise don’t take time to do a lot of strengthening and conditioning.”
The seamless, core-centered exercises of Pilates can be tailored to any physical ability or background. So when Quansah was in her first pregnancy, with her now-2-year-old daughter, she turned to Wetherbee to coach her changing body. Currently pregnant with her second child, Quansah’s doing the same workouts to prepare for labor. “(Wetherbee) has kids of her own, so she knows what’s going on with your body during pregnancy,” said Quansah, an advertising executive. “She helps you pinpoint your strengths and weaknesses.”
Wetherbee’s other clients include a professional waterskiier, pro football player and septuagenarian ice-skater.
“I enjoy the process of getting to know what each person is capable of and tailoring the workouts to fit their needs,” she said. “I’m hard on them; these aren’t easy workouts, but I do it because I want the best results for my clients.”
Interested in trying it out? Wetherbee’s studio offers free evaluations to determine what workout regimen is best for you. Check out her website for pricing and class schedules at www.getfitpilates.com or call 925-584-8888.