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STOTT PILATES® instructor on living out his dream

Sam Hoops in Korea

Thanks to our Community

This month we’re celebrating our mindful movement community with stories highlighting your accomplishments and experiences bringing fitness and joy to people around the world. Healthy communities are happy communities. Thank you!


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Sam Hoops Byron admits that he lives a “truly blessed” life. He gets to travel the world to teach Merrithew’s mindful movement programming, including STOTT PILATES® and Total Barre®, something that often shocks and amazes his airplane seatmates.

It does seem like an unbelievable occupation— one that’s taken the Texas-born instructor to South Korea and will bring him to China in August— but he’s worked hard to get to this level.

Sam has been practicing Pilates since 2002. He began teaching STOTT PILATES in 2011 and became a Merrithew Instructor Trainer six years later. He also has a Bachelor of Science in Exercise Science and a Master of Science in Kinesiology.

After finding out about all the travel opportunities available to Instructor Trainers, he was inspired to take his Pilates career to the next level.

“I worked my butt off to become an Instructor Trainer and then I was asked to travel internationally. Now I’m really living out my dream,” Sam says. “I’m truly blessed that I get to travel with Merrithew and I get paid to teach Pilates and see the world.”

Sam’s next assignment will take him to M-Pilates, a Merrithew Host Training Center in Shenzhen, China, where he’ll be teaching STOTT PILATES Intensive Reformer and STOTT PILATES Intensive Mat-Plus from August 30 to September 18, a place he never imagined he’d get to visit.

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While his schedule will be jam-packed with teaching, he’s looking forward to experiencing a new culture, trying the food and going to the beach on his day off.

Sam’s experience teaching in Korea was such a positive one, he decided to return to Asia.

“Students in Korea really value their teachers and they’re so passionate about learning as much as they can about Pilates because they want to make a career out of it. They were really attentive and respectful of what I had to say,” he says. At the end of the course, his students serenaded him in thanks.

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Sam has a lot of education and expertise to share and his students recognize that. “I see things that a lot of people don’t, so I try to train their eyes. I give all my secrets out to everyone I teach. Their instruction is a reflection on me no matter where they are in the world,” he says.

He’s also gained from the experience as well, learning how to be a better communicator and adjusting his teaching style so his students get the most out of it.

“When you’re working with a translator especially, you need to be clear, concise and articulate in your instruction and cueing. You need to choose your words and expressions carefully, and if they don’t understand what you’re trying to get across, then you need to know how to explain things differently. So when I teach in the U.S. now, I’m really precise in what I say and how I teach.”

Traveling abroad to teach STOTT PILATES and other Merrithew modalities has allowed Sam to learn more about the world, expand his teaching skills and share his passion far and wide.

“When I tell people what I do on the plane or wherever, they’re like, ‘What a cool job.’ All I can say is, ‘Yes, it is.’”

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Travel Q&A with Sam Hoops Byron

Places you’ve been with Merrithew: Korea and soon China

Best food discovery, so far: Cucumber kimchi

Comfort items: Bed pillow from home, slippers for the plane, TRX

Souvenirs brought back: Fridge magnets. “I’m a collector.”

Dream location: India

Toughest part: Being away from my husband and the time difference

Tips: Become best friends with your translator, try to pick up some of the local language and enjoy yourself

Register now for the Merrithew Mindful Movement Symposium in Shanghai, China and learn from our Master Instructor Trainers from North America! Workshops will be running from Sept 20-22.

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