Our Founder Lizzy Caldwell’s Story

Author: Lizzy Caldwell

My name is Lizzy Caldwell, I am the owner and Lead Physiotherapist and Pilates Instructor at North Coast Pilates & Physiotherapy. I first started doing Pilates aged 17 following a VHS video! Very quickly I realised I wasn’t “getting it” so progressed to attending classes.

While I was at university studying Physiotherapy I was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease, aged 19. I continued to do Pilates and found that it really helped me to mange my energy levels and to cope with some of the abdominal pain I was experiencing. I enjoyed it so much that I completed my final year degree project in Pilates and Exercise for Low back pain.

After graduation I had a severe flare up of Crohns (I blame the stress of finals). Following months of medication and specialist liquid diets to rest my bowel without success I had major abdominal surgery to remove the diseased section of bowel. Pilates was key to my recovery from the surgery. Affording me a gradual scaled return to activity and to strengthen up my tummy muscles in a safe and effective way.

I’ve always had a love for Pilates and an interest in it’s benefits, having experienced them for myself and researched them as part of my degree so I decided to train as a Pilates Instructor. I undertook rigorous training with the APPI (Australian physiotherapy & Pilates Institute) The APPI – The Australian Physiotherapy and Pilates Institute – is a global organisation founded by two Physiotherapists who modified the application of Pilates principles, and is now practiced by a select number of qualified physiotherapists, osteopaths, chiropractors and other medical practitioners around the world.

The training itself requires as a pre-requisite that you have a degree level health Care professional qualification before you will be accepted on the course. Over 150 hours of supervision, formal learning, practice teaching and self practice are required prior to being permitted to sit the examination (written and practical) to be a Fully Certified APPI Pilates Instructor.

After achieving my Pilates qualification in 2007 I began teaching classes as a hobby and using it as an adjunct to physiotherapy treatments.
 
In 2009 I established North Coast Pilates & Physiotherapy, initially teaching in Primary School halls and various other locations. I continued to personally reap the benefits of Pilates being fortunate enough to teach during both of my pregnancies. Pilates was vital in keeping me fit and healthy during pregnancy and in my post natal recovery. During my first pregnancy I undertook specialist training in ante / post natal Pilates.

With a growing client base, I opened my first studio in 2014 and was able to further invest in equipment and expand to offering specialist one 2 one and small group sessions, including the instruction of pregnant and post natal women and children. I also gained a licence to teach HealthyHIT® Pilates.

In 2017 after 17 years working for the NHS (albeit part time in the latter years) I was able to leave and step fully into the world of business owner and self employment. In April 2017 I opened the only dedicated reformer studio in the area housing 6 state of the art Peak Pilates Reformers. Providing group and private reformer sessions.

September 2017 saw North Coast Pilates & Physiotherapy as a runner up in the Causeway Coast and Glens Small Business of the year award. An award we later went on to win in 2019
Rapidly outgoing the original studio space I moved business premises in October 2017 to a stand alone unit. Two beautiful studios, a lovely atmosphere, Physiotherapy treatment rooms and my own front door! Everything I could have dreamed of!

In 2019 we were runners up at the Northern Ireland Health & Fitness Awards in two categories – Rehabilitation Provider of the Year and Pilates Provider of the year. And I myself won Causeway People Business Person of the Year award.

I am lucky to have other superb Physiotherapist Pilates Instructors along with me for the journey and their support & commitment is invaluable in providing a high-quality Pilates experience. We are all committed to developing our Pilates knowledge and constantly completing further training and workshops
2020 has brought it’s challenges with Covid -19 effectively closing my face to face business for 4 months. I rose to the challenge of providing Video Pilates classes and set up an online channel which now has over 50 Pilates sessions available on it. We have just started back to our live classes and it’s so good to be seeing our lovely clients again in person.
The rest of this year will be about re grouping and building back up ready for a fresh new vibe in 2021!

North Coast Pilates & Physiotherapy has an outstanding reputation for providing Pilates to suit all levels, ages and abilities. I am so proud of what my business has achieved. From doing Pilates as a hobby to being able to earn a living from it has only fuelled my passion for Pilates further. With a firm belief that Pilates works and is an an exercise that everyone can enjoy I am excited to see what the next few years bring!

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