From being a celebrity fitness trainer to owning an acclaimed Pilates studio

“The most satisfying part about teaching is being able to change people’s lives – seeing pleasure in people’s faces when they can do something special. I had someone come in with a debilitating spinal injury. All he wanted to do was to play golf again. I trained him hard and intensely until he was able to return to his passion. It’s amazing! What makes me more determined is going through difficult times and not letting it get to you. If something’s not working, try to face it and analyze it to see how you can make it better.”

Gemma Sadler is your average-above-average representation of girl-power, and easily one of the heavyweights in the Pilates industry in Sydney. With two decades of experience behind her, she founded Dynamic Pilates, with studios located in Manly, Crows Nest and Glebe. Her stature in in the fitness industry attracts enviable publicity, leading to features in Women’s Health, Women’sFitness, the Huffington Post, Herald Sun and OH! Magazine. She succeeded in securing the reputable BASI accreditation, making Dynamic Pilates the only Pilates studio in Sydney that can carry out instructorship certification programs.

Before her magnum opus, let’s take a glance at her Book of Genesis, the place where it all began. It may come as a surprise but her origins were very much like yours or mine. At a very young age, Gemma had an inkling of what she wanted out of life as she worked out to the routines of Cindy Crawford. At 14 she was a full-fledged gym junkie. But after graduating, she was pre-occupied with one thought – “what next?” She said, “I had no idea what I wanted to do when I left school.”

If there is one part of this story that is out of the ordinary it is that Gemma discovered her passion very early in her life. Amidst the backdrop of a million other things a person could do, and the confusion that often accompanies youth, it was only a matter of time before she surrendered, “After spending a couple of years taking time off after school, I thought ‘Why not just do my passion.’”

But she didn’t start her business (not yet). The idea barely landed. Instead she moved to London to work as a personal trainer. The interesting part about this chapter is her clientele – less because of who they were but more so on what she gained from them. Her clients were Princes, Lords, theatre and movie actors, politicians and athletes; definitely not your average Janes and Joes. She spent 10 years working with these distinguished individuals who encouraged her to start her own business. Finally, the seeds were planted.

When she returned to Australia to open up shop, she discovered that the Pilates environment in Sydney was still very young. She took it as a challenge upon herself to introduce Pilates into the general market. She said, “I found it difficult and I was unsure how to introduce it to Sydney because it was unfamiliar here. Sydneysiders have done mat Pilates, but not on machines.”

Aside from that, to start her business, she had to work with scarce resources. She reminisced, “When I first came back from overseas, I started with nothing. I had to build up my business by getting bank loans and loans from my parents. I had to put everything I had into the business. I placed my heart and soul into the business. I could not even go out on a holiday since finances were low.

The nurturing nature of time coupled with her unyielding hustle had carried her through. But when it came right down to it, it is her unique love for Pilates that foreshadowed success, almost to the point of predestination. When describing Pilates, Gemma said, “I love Pilates, it’s not a chore. When I used to do boot camp style exercises, I used to dread it due to the over usage of the wrong muscles. Pilates puts you in a meditative state, takes your mind off everything in the world. It gives you that break mentally.”

She created Dynamic Pilates to share her love story, her romance with Pilates, with anyone who dares to take part. She explains, “I want people to leave my classes feeling like they’ve activated the right muscles. It is not just a relaxation class. It is also high intensity – hence, Dynamic.”

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