Spring is coming to Chicago, and it’s time to get moving! As we near our one-year quarantiniversary, so many of us are renewing our focus on self-care and wellness. Whether you’re starting to get outside a bit more, or still making the most of at-home Zoom work outs, taking time for yourself and your health (of all kinds) continues to be so important. Don’t believe us? Just talk to Randi Whitman, the own of Frog Temple Pilates Chicago! She’s helping Chicagoans get moving, stay sane, and find their center with her work-outs that all of us can do – and benefit from! Read on for your dose of Monday inspiration…
How did you first get into the world of health and wellness?
I was a professional dancer for many years. I danced in my younger years, all through college, and then professionally with the River North Dance Company in Chicago. I sustained so many injuries along the way and was always on the mend in one way or another. Finally, I had some pretty serious back issues and was seeking out relief. It wasn’t until I was living in Colorado that I discovered pilates. I was sold from the get go! I got stronger and more pain free after every session. I knew I needed to learn all I could about this method of fitness, so I went to the mecca for pilates training at the Pilates Center of Boulder in Colorado. It was a yearlong, super in-depth course, and I soaked up all that I could. I knew I’d open a studio some day and share my knowledge with others.
What is something people might not know about the industry overall?
People often are surprised to learn that there is a person named Pilates—Joseph Pilates to be exact. The method was created by Mr. Pilates beginning in the early years of his life in Germany, The history of this method is very fascinating and organic. He called it “Contrology” originally. Also, folks seem to think this is a “dancers workout,” or for women only, when in fact the method, which was created by a man, was first taught to soldiers during WWI in the internment camps. So don’t be afraid to give it a go, guys!
What do you want people to feel when they leave your classes at Frog Temple Pilates Chicago?
I want people to feel taller, pain free, energized, more flexible, and stronger when they leave!
What makes the Frog Temple experience unique compared to other programs?
Frog Temple is unique in that the instructors have in-depth knowledge of the body and years of experience, not only as instructors, but as practitioners of pilates. All instructors have gone through Frog Temple’s intensive 600+ hours year long teacher training program with a strong emphasis on the study of anatomy.
We are also unique in that we are one of the few studios in Chicago with a Great Yoga Wall. We use the wall for so many exercises as well as tractioning the body, using gravity to create space in the joints and release tight muscles.
What is some of your favorite music to work out to at Frog Temple Pilates Chicago?
Personally, my musical tastes vary all the time. I am a fan of Classical Rock artists like The Rolling Stones, Van Morrison, Tom Petty, and Fleetwood Mac, but I also love to put on whatever I’m in the mood to hear that day. It may be classical piano, pop music, or Spotify radio. It is so much easier with Spotify these days than when I used to bring my big CD case to the studio and flip through that to pick out the music for the day. We would have to always listen to the whole album, of course, and often on repeat haha
It has been a bit of a bummer throughout Covid, in that I don’t get to play any music on our Zoom classes. It’s just too loud to teach over. That is one thing I really miss about live classes. However, I did just begin Group Apparatus Classes recently and it is such a joy to play music again!
Especially now, how can we all make time for self-care?
Sometimes it is difficult to carve out time for yourself, but it is so important for overall health. Even with only a few minutes to spare you can move, foam roll out some tight muscles, or forward fold into a stretch. Something is better than nothing at all. If you have even 20 minutes, there is so much you can accomplish leaving you feeling refreshed and revived.
What does your overall daily schedule look like now?
My schedule is quite full these days. Due to Covid, my studio—once full with 10 instructors, a front desk staff, full of music and buzzing with clients—is now down to just a small handful of instructors. There is no shortage of students though, so we are teaching all day long. We have group mat classes on Zoom every day of the week, as well as live studio group and private classes going all week long. In between teaching, there are carpools to drive, groceries to purchase, and 3-5 meals a day to prepare for my family of four. I’m always moving!
What is the best part of your job?
Changing lives, one person at a time. I love to see progress in my students, and everyone has a different story. I love that everyone comes to Frog Temple for so many different reasons. Whether it is the pro- athlete, prenatal, someone rehabbing an injury, or a teenager getting flexible for their sport, I just love getting to know everyone and helping them achieve their goals.
And the toughest?
The toughest part is probably all the accounting and the bookkeeping. You know, the part of the job that is not about creativity but more about running the business and keeping it afloat, especially during this pandemic. This has been an overwhelmingly challenging time as a small business owner. Several times I have thought about closing the business during Covid. But I love what I do, and I love what I have built over these last 21 plus years. I didn’t want to walk away without a fight. So I fought (so to speak) and I just jumped right in, pivoted with the changes that I needed to make to stay alive, and plugged away. I am so grateful for my loyal clients that stuck by me and never gave up on us at Frog Temple. We have so many loyal clients who need and love pilates!
What are some of your favorite Chicago small businesses to support?
I love my acupuncturist who works at Elemental Health, Karen Forman. She is amazing and I send everyone I know to her. We also love our Logan Square neighborhood restaurants, Buona Terra and Namaste. We order from those restaurants as often as we can. I also support my hairdresser, Bridget Wake, who opened her own place early in Covid called Gloiss.
What are you looking forward to most in 2021?
In 2021, I hope to widen my reach in the community of healing. I feel the need to grow and expand. Not necessarily grow my physical space, but expand my pilates boundaries. I am so deeply moved and interested in many facets within the health and wellness field. I want to specialize in more communities and modalities. I have some ideas brewing, but I also want to get some semblance of normal back in place. I miss the buzz of friends chatting with friends, hugging friends, shaking hands, sharing time together in the studio and in the world.
What is your favorite inspirational quote?
There are so many, but one sentence that has come to my mind lately is “Mediocrity is never on the to do list,” from Robyn Arzon. I mean, that says it all for me.
For more Chicago businesswomen to love, check out our past Women We Love features!