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Studio Spotlight: Vivian Zapanta Pilates Studio

Vivian Zapanta Vivian Zapanta

IT Qualifications:
STOTT PILATES® Matwork & Reformer, Cadillac, Chair & Barrels, ISP, Total Barre®, CORE, ZEN•GA® Mat, ZEN•GA Equipment

Merrithew Lead Instructor Trainer Vivian Zapanta shares her wealth of knowledge for success from over 40 years of experience in the industry, as well as six inspiring ways to ensure your business remains competitive.

With her bright smile, sociable nature and enthusiastic attitude, you would never guess Vivian Zapanta is in her 60s. The Lead Instructor Trainer in Makati City, Philippines, has passionately and successfully navigated her way through the health and wellness industry as a fitness professional and Pilates instructor— but not without challenges. Now, she has two locations, and one upcoming in May 2019 including her primary Makati studio Mindful Movement Asia where, Vivian Zapanta Pilates Studio, a Merrithew™ Licensed Training Center, is housed. She’s also earned several awards and ‘firsts’ in her career, most recently becoming the first to have completed all of the STOTT PILATES Specialty Tracks.

In 2012, the Licensed Training Center earned the Leadership & Mentoring Award by Merrithew during the Community of Excellence Conference. This recognition is given to a Licensed Training Center that has gone above and beyond to support new business ventures and the community. Vivian and her team work tirelessly on a daily basis to ensure her students receive quality training and education, and that all clients receive the personalized support they need for their health and wellness goals.

So how did Vivian grow such a successful career and business? In this spotlight, she shares what she’s learned from many years of experience in this increasingly competitive business.

Know your market

To be clear, this doesn’t happen overnight and Vivian explains that you need to do your research and hear what your clients are asking for. Overtime, she found that clients and students were coming to her from other studios to learn the STOTT PILATES method after they found other methods weren’t working for them.

“Once you understand your market then you can position your brand accordingly,” she said. “We also experimented with adjusting price points because business management in the Philippines is different than in the West. We wanted to ensure our classes were accessible to mindful clients who really wanted to understand the benefits of Pilates.”

Vivian Zapanta with student

Conquer your fears

“How can you be a good instructor or business owner if your fears are holding you back?”

Vivian doesn’t like drama, and she explained that if you want people to look up to you and respect you that you need to face your fears, conquer them and be professional so that you can effectively share your knowledge with your clients in a way they understand.

“I once had a student that was so nervous she started crying before her exam even started,” Vivian said. “I was supportive and told her to take a moment to gather herself, but I also gave a bit of tough love and explained to her that she needed to move past her fears if she wanted to be a good teacher.”

Never stop learning

“Practice and study until your craft becomes second nature,” Vivian said. “If you want to be there for your clients with the best practices then you need to be open to learning all the time.”

She mentioned that even in her 60s she is still learning; looking for her next course that will enhance her knowledge and craft as a fitness professional.

“I learned from my past experiences and looking at my own body and lifestyle that you can always make changes for the better and Pilates really helped me do that. A while ago I developed Osteoporosis but my condition has improved significantly because I changed my lifestyle, and I’m now happy that to share that my Osteoporosis has regressed to Osteopenia. To keep learning, I’ve just enrolled in the updated STOTT PILATES Post-Rehab programming for Osteoporosis and Scoliosis at the upcoming Korea Symposium!”

Vivian added she felt she had a responsibility to always be ahead of the game so she could help guide her students and personalize programs in a way that aligned with their health and fitness goals.

Studio Spotlight - Vivian Zapanta

Give back to the community

To Vivian, being involved in the community is a part of her daily life as many clients and students look to her for advice and support. Because of this, Vivian recognized there was a need to inform and educate the Filipino community about Pilates; so she started to offer scholarships.

“Over the years, Pilates has become increasingly popular and there is more demand for instructors to service the clientele,” Vivian said. “Unfortunately, it seemed that only the wealthy people could afford the education and they also didn’t want to work for anyone else. We decided to offer scholarships for deserving candidates who demonstrated their passion for Pilates and learning, and in return for their education they commit to working with us for a few years—which also helps the business.”

Vivian has taught and mentored numerous students over the years—and a number of her scholarship winners have found great success with their own business.

Vivian Zapanta with her team

Have a solid team

When it comes to bringing on new members to her team, Vivian looks for instructors who are passionate, willing to learn and have the clients’ best interests at heart.

“We aim to develop and create a rock-star team of instructors that uphold our business values and goals,” she said. “We value character, integrity, loyalty and honesty so we’re very selective about the people that become part of our core.”

Studio Spotlight - Keep moving forward

Keep moving forward

In spite of some ups and downs, Vivian remains focused on things that contribute to growing her business. For Vivian, teaching Pilates has never been a ‘job’ to her, and she continues to hold passion for moving forward in the industry.

“I’m as excited about Pilates now as I was when I first started,” she said excitedly. “I’m looking forward to offering more variety such as the STOTT PILATES Rehab Program as part of the elective courses for physical therapists. We want to create a hub to nourish and mentor all the mindful movers through Merrithew’s Mindful Movement education to be the best in the business.”

Vivian Zapanta is a Merrithew Lead Instructor Trainer and a Merrithew Licensed Training Center owner in the Philippines. She is a Fully Certified STOTT PILATES® Instructor, and qualified ZEN•GA® Mat, ZEN•GA® Equipment, Total Barre® and CORE Instructor. For more information on her education and background, visit her bio page.