Personal Best Pilates Studio


History of Personal Best

Hi!  My name is Carrie Cohn.  I started my career in fitness in 1986.  Those were the days of leg warmers and high-impact dance aerobics.  I was taking classes at a fitness center and was frustrated that the instructor teaching the class couldn’t keep the beat.  As a music student for most of my life, I figured I couldn’t do any worse than the current instructor.  So I inquired about the qualifications necessary to teach aerobics.  The response I got from the fitness center manager was “Can you yell loud?”  “Sure, I can yell loud”, I said.  The manager said “Can you start on Saturday?”  “Sure”, I said.  And, just like that, I became an aerobics instructor!  Teaching group fitness and personal training was always a part time job for me, and I spent 14 years working full time in the corporate world.

I took my first Pilates mat class in the late 1990’s.  The movements were so different from my aerobics and weight lifting background; I couldn’t believe that they could be effective.  The next day my skepticism was put to rest.  I was so sore in my abs that I couldn’t take a deep breath!  Well, I was hooked!  I had to learn more about this amazing system of exercise that had humbled me so.

At that time, there weren’t any Pilates instructors in Kansas City, and no where even close for me to go to get trained to teach Pilates.  I found a school in Santa Fe, New Mexico and literally had to live there for 2 months to complete my training.  Right after my training, in May of 2000, I opened Personal Best Pilates Studio, the first Pilates-only fitness studio in the Kansas City.  Before I knew it, I was booked completely solid with clients – 6 days a week, and sometimes up to 10 clients per day.  I quickly realized that I needed more instructors!

At that time, there weren’t any Pilates instructors in the Kansas City area to hire, and I realized that many other instructors interested in getting certified may not have the luxury of traveling away from their homes for an extended period of time.

Additionally, I found the education I received to be severely lacking in quality.  The materials were old and looked like they were thrown together with a copy machine and stapler.  The curriculum was vague and unfocused.  The requirements for certification ranged from 100 hours to 600 hours!  I found myself wondering if there was a better, more affordable option for Pilates instructor education.  And, after some research, I discovered that there really weren’t any other options.  The industry was still several years away from the creation of the Pilates Method Alliance, and nationally recognized standards for certification.

Luckily, my sister, Amanda Jessee, MA, CSCS, PMA-CPT was a faculty member at the Santa Fe Community College, and was teaching in the exercise science program there.  She had already developed a semester-long, Pilates Mat Instructor Course that students could take for credit towards graduation.  She and I worked together to build an exercise science-based, contemporary Pilates Instructor training program.  

Amanda’s strong background in exercise-science, combined with her extensive experience in developing college-level curricula, made her the best possible partner for me in creating this material.  She moved back to Kansas City in 2003 and became our Director of Instructor Education.  Using her curricula to train our own instructors, our Pilates studio has realized these benefits while we have continually improved the program.  We are the only Pilates studio in the Kansas City area to embrace the Pilates Method Alliance international Pilates certification, and have trained and hired more internationally certified Pilates Instructors than any other Pilates studio in the area.

Our studio is the largest and best established Pilates studio in the state of Kansas, and was even named top women owned service business in the state of Kansas by the Kansas Department of Commerce in 2005.  We have worked with over 3,000 clients, ranging from professional athletes to people suffering from debilitating diseases like multiple sclerosis, and everyone in between.

Our goal, quite simply, is to provide our clients with the BEST experience, led by a team of EXTRAORDINARY team of instructors and massage therapists, in a WORLD-CLASS environment.


Personal Best Pilates Studio is the ONLY Pilates Studio in the Kansas City area that requires PMA Certification for all our Pilates Teachers.
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