Doing It (Almost) Dailey At The Dailey Method

This is the second of three posts I am writing about my month-long trial of The Dailey Method. (Read the first one HERE.) I am so excited to be able to share my experience with you!

Addicted. That’s me.

Not one to ever take an opportunity for granted, I am taking my “Unlimited Month of Classes” at The Dailey Method very seriously: In the past fifteen days I have enjoyed ten classes, and have already made reservations for eleven classes for the next fifteen days.

Though I lost five pounds in the first week, a couple of those came back. I’m not stressing about the number though, to be honest. My main goal here is to tone up and feel better. After two weeks, I am seeing some pretty nice changes. I even see it in my face (I’m not as puffy!), and for me to see a change in my own face…don’t you think that says something?

I already wrote about my posture improvements. I am feeling stronger, and I definitely have more energy. I’m excited to see what the next two weeks hold.

I wanted to talk to Colleen and Michelle, the co-owners of the Naperville and Wheaton locations, and then share the conversation with you. They were thrilled to set up a chat, and I met them at the studio yesterday. We had such a great talk that I forgot to type out what they were saying half the time, so NOTE TO SELF: JUST BRING A VOICE RECORDER NEXT TIME and SORRY, READERS. I will now cobble together some of the pieces of our conversation for your enjoyment.

You can read about the origins of The Dailey Method on the website, but I wanted to get into more detail about how it landed in the Chicago area. Colleen’s story is amazing and has more than a dash of serendipity. Once upon a time she was a marathon runner who ended up injuring herself. After spending more time in rehab than at the gym, she took a Pilates class with a friend of hers and fell in love immediately, deciding that she wanted to become an instructor. She bought a reformer for her basement and drove to the city (Chicago) from her home in the western suburbs for her training. One day during a lunch break, she saw a sign in a spa window for a Core Fusion class, went in to take the class, and had what she calls an “Oprah a-ha! moment”. She wanted to do this. She completed her Pilates training and took six months of Core Fusion training (and you thought *I* went to the city a lot!). At the end of her training, the spa owners decided that they didn’t want to allow her to teach there because she lived so far away. She started investigating what kinds of similar workouts she could bring to the area. One workout she found was The Dailey Method and the other was a competing workout program that uses a ballet barre. (The main difference between the two is that the competing workout program is based more on dance and The Dailey Method focuses more on strength and athletics.)

Colleen made some calls to both companies and heard back from someone at the other program. She flew to California to take some classes at the other program’s studios and since The Dailey Method studio was right around the corner, visited there, too.

Cut to the best part: after returning to the western suburbs of Chicago, Colleen was in charge of her neighborhood’s progressive dinner. The person who was hosting dessert had to back out and she put out the call for a replacement home. One of her neighbors suggested the new family in the neighborhood, and they agreed to do it. The new family in the neighborhood? None other than Erin Dailey Dern, the sister of the founder of The Dailey Method.

Cut to the end: Erin connected Colleen and Jill, who worked up a franchise agreement, and Erin-who’s been with Colleen since the day the studio opened- has been an integral part of the growth and success of TDM Naperville. Colleen says she could not have done it without her. The Naperville studio opened in a basement five years ago and was the first location in the Chicago area.

Michelle, who is a Pilates instructor transplanted in the Chicago area from Detroit, started taking classes with Colleen from the beginning and, at the end of last year, became her partner at both the Naperville location and the newly-opened (earlier this year) Wheaton location.

What a story, right?

One of the things I asked them about is what it takes to become a TDM instructor. I have had that question since my first class because one of the things that blew me away was the knowledge involved. Colleen said that she and Michelle, along with Bonnie, one of their instructors (LOVE HER. SERIOUSLY.), are Master Trainers. They themselves originally trained with Jill and now meet with her twice each year for training updates. (In all areas of the fitness industry, it is paramount to stay on top of things because changes do happen. Continuing education is a must!) The three of them train new instructors. Someone who is interested in becoming a TDM instructor must first take the classes themselves. Colleen said that most of them take classes for a year before even beginning the instructor training. Once training begins they observe and assist the veteran instructor and continue to take a certain number of classes each week. The Master Trainers go through piece by piece of the class and then they do Corrections Workshops (corrections are when the instructor helps the class participant to do the poses and stretches properly, refining the form). The training process usually takes four to six months, and once an instructor is “official”, she takes a Masters’ Class once each quarter. (Note: these people KNOW THEIR STUFF. I am in awe of it.)

I asked them to address comments I have received from people when I mention that I’ve been trying out The Dailey Method. I have been warned that it’s addictive (uh…yep!) and somewhat “cult-like”, always said with a smile. Michelle said that she had also heard that reference and we talked about it for a while. She believes–and I agree–that some might make judgements like that both because they don’t know anything about the workout and because they have some fear of it. My take on the cult thing is that for someone to walk in off the street and see a sparkling clean, colorful studio full of slender, toned women wearing gym clothes that show off their muscles and make them look great (many wearing a certain, upscale brand), well, that can be intimidating. If “cult-like” is what you say when you don’t know how else to describe women who participate in a challenging workout, enjoy it, see results, and then want to keep coming back, well…cult-like it is! But only in the best way. (<---That? Is a ridiculous sentence. Actually, it's a fragment. Still ridiculous, but you know what I was trying to say, right?) We talked a lot about the workout itself. Colleen's description: "The Dailey Method is a Happy Place where you get your butt kicked. It's not 'no pain, no gain'. You feel it and all you know is you want more of it." (again, yep!) They also talked about how, during The Dailey Method, it's really you (er, me) slowing down for an hour. It's letting go of all of the stuff you have going on outside the studio (Michelle talked about having a hard time quieting all the voices in her head and I'm right there with her!) and just focusing on body movements. This reduces cortisol in your body and releases endorphins, hence the “happy place” reference. It all made sense to me, one hundred percent. Goodness knows I have enough going on in my life that a forced slowdown a few times each week is exactly what I need.

In all, even though I started our conversation by saying, “This probably won’t take long…” we were talking for more than an hour. In many ways I feel like I have known them for much longer than two weeks: they are so down-to-earth and friendly (just like every other instructor and class participant I’ve spoken to!), and I really appreciate that they took the time to talk to me. Thanks, Colleen and Michelle!

Even though I didn’t type up everything (heck, not even close), I can summarize the conversation for you by saying this: These ladies have passion for what they do. They believe in the workout itself, they believe in helping their clients reach their fitness potential, and they believe that The Dailey Method fills a need.

Sidenote: I can’t wait for my next class.

By the way, if you do not live near a TDM studio, you can get the new “No Excuses” DVD and do the workout in your own home. Check it out here.

Disclosure: In exchange for writing three posts about The Dailey Method, I have been given a complimentary month of Unlimited Classes. I was asked to give an honest account of my own experience with The Dailey Method program, and to that end–and as usual–all opinions are mine.

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