The Rural We: Chelsea Streifeneder
Chelsea Streifeneder is one of those professional hyphenates we often meet in the RI region. Owner of Body Be Well Pilates in Red Hook and Catskill, New York, she not only runs and teaches at the studio, she is also a lifestyle and motivational speaker, fitness industry professional coach and mentor, and now an author. She will launch her book, “Studio Shape Up: The Key to Transforming Your Fitness Studio into a Thriving Business” at Oblong Books in Rhinebeck on Feb. 12.
I grew up in Red Hook and went to Bard College, majoring in writing and dance, then moved to LA, where I first got hooked on Pilates. That’s where I did my teacher training program and got certified.
My whole family is still here, and when my grandfather got sick and passed away, I felt I needed to be home, but I had to figure out what I wanted to do. I decided to open a Pilates studio, and started with a space of 600 square feet and one piece of equipment. In the past 10 years my business has grown, so I now have a space with 2300 square feet and 10-plus employees, and a second studio in Catskill.
The whole concept behind my book is to offer fitness professionals a roadmap to setting up a business, offering tips and ideas to help make a business thrive. It includes stories from the real world, because I think a lot of things about opening up a fitness business are sugar coated. It’s not rainbows and butterflies, it’s hard work. I share real conversations and issues. The main thing Pilates teachers struggle with is the business side. A lot of people start studios and then say, now what? I share my tools to build and grow a business.
I’ve always written for online publications — Prevention, Hudson Valley Magazine, AARP, a blog series for Pilates Style magazine — and once I had the idea for this book I just sat down and wrote a book proposal and submitted it. A couple people responded, and the publisher I chose wanted the manuscript in six months, and I got it done.
It’s been kind of a whirlwind. I’m just about to start on a book tour, with stops in Dallas, Nashville, New York, and maybe Miami and D.C. And I’m getting married in June. One of the chapters in my book is how to fit in “me time.” It’s really important. I have a dog, Stella, our studio mascot, and I like being outside with her. I also like going to Poet’s Walk and Catskill Point with my sister and nephew.
I’m teaching 30 hours a week on top of everything else. I still enjoy it. Hard work pays off.
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