Our customer success manager, Kyra, sat down with personal trainer Laurie Bulman, one of our earliest adopters of Trainnr. Laurie specializes in pilates and whole-body movements; she believes that proper form plays an essential role in maintaining bodily balance and health. We were delighted by the opportunity to learn a little more about who she is, her fitness journey through dance, gymnastics, and pilates, and her experience with navigating personal training in a pandemic-stricken world.
Laurie currently has the following programs up on Trainnr:
PRIME 21 Day Program: This is a 21 day program that will give your body a balanced and toned outcome through the PRIME body philosophy. P – Posture/Proprioception R – Range of Motion I – Integration of Core M – Movement E – Energy
21 Day Pilates Crash Course: This 21 day Pilates crash course program is the perfect program for anyone, from beginners to seasoned Pilates vets. This program is power packed with 19 days of workouts that will get you moving, feeling good, and familiarized with the Pilates way of fitness. If you’re ready to get moving, get in shape, and feel physically great, this program is for you!
Men’s Pilates Shredder Program: This 21-day Pilates program designed specifically for men will get you shredding fat, toning muscles, and building a stronger core in no time. You will be doing lots of low impact, core focused, muscle building work that is perfect for anyone with a history of back issues.
Check out the full interview below!
Kyra: Can you tell us a little bit about yourself? Who is Laurie?
Laurie: Laurie Bulman is a woman who has been in the movement experience [and]working out her whole life. This is a true story: when I was growing up I used to try to play Hooky from school in Washington DC. I went to Sidwell Friends Highschool and would leave to try to get to an aerobics class because I was obsessed with the body and working out. And seeing the movement patterns, I am just obsessed with choreography. I became a modern dancer, and it was an obsession from an early age. I was always very athletic and loved sports.
Within this arena of being on a team, [of] having each other’s back, I feel like that is what I’m about with [my] clients. I really have their back. I like the partnership that is created –that has been instilled in me since I was a little girl. I was Little Miss Charleston too.
KS: Little Miss Charleston, wow! That’s awesome! Where are you from, then?
L: I’m from Chevy Chase, Maryland but I went to school in Washington, DC.
KS: Did you pursue sports there as well?
L: I was very athletic. I also was training as a ballet dancer so it got overwhelming — not for my parents but for me. [In terms of] athletics, I was a soccer player [and a] basketball player. I [also] did gymnastics. I was on the gymnastics team and I [can still] remember the coach.
One time, [during a gymnastics meet], I was on the beam doing a back walkover and I fell. [My coach] made me get back on [the beam]. It was that coaching that gave me the inner spirit to keep going. For our team to win the gymnastics meet, I had to do this vault. My coach had me go through mind and matter and do [the vault] in my head.
And I did it, because it’s so important — the mind and body connection. And I think that’s why I’m so involved with movement and mind and body.
KS: Would you say that your gymnastics coach kind of inspired your transition into this more personal training and coaching position?
L:Yes, I would say all my peers [inspired me], [as well as] all my teachers…not only scholastically but in every way. My ballet teachers, my coaches, they all instilled something in me [from] a young age,
I also went to camps. I was part of a team to win, you know? I was always a good loser but I loved winning. Even as a kid playing games, I just loved that [feeling of] giving 100% [of my] effort and walking away with an achievement. I tend to do this with my clients.
KS: Of course! I imagine that that winning, competitive spirit helps you focus on your clients so that when they achieve something, you’ve achieved something.
L: Oh, totally! A lot of people say to me, “oh, teaching? You do it when you’re with a client.” But I never do it: that time is about the client, [being] a teacher takes years. They also say to be an actor, to train like an actor- actress, it takes ten years.
You develop that craft and those traits. And to be a good trainer, [to be a good] teacher — it can take years. Some days, I feel like I don’t know anything and I’ve been doing [this for] twenty some years.
But you’re constantly learning and evolving and it’s a great relationship [to] have with your clients. It transpires in so many ways, [both] mentally and physically. It’s great.
K: Wow, twenty years as a trainer. What’s been the biggest lesson you’ve learned from starting out as a trainer to where you are now?
L: I think that a lot of things aren’t just written in the book. Each body has certain patterns and recruitment patterns and challenges and it can be a mental challenge.
It can be something physically, like a frozen shoulder or a hip problem, or a lower-back area sacrum issue, but it’s not in a book – it’s hands-on experience and it takes time to really master that.
K: How do you keep your clients motivated and accountable?
L: I follow-up [with them] all the time. I’m one of those people that once they’re in my bubble, they’re in my bubble and I take care of them. Remember, it’s a service. They pay for my service. You wanna be 100% on the ball every time you’re working with them.
In New York City, you [are] replaceable. So I had the mentality of, I have to be [at] my best every time. Now, you do get friendly with your clients. You start talking and I learned over the years that you have to keep it business.
It does take a lot of concentration. Now, I feel like I’m the client, which is fun [because I get to] learn and experience what they experience with me.
K: Right, So you’re teaching but also constantly learning and improving yourself. That’s awesome.
L: And evolving. It’s never stagnant and our bodies are different every day. Like, when I was on stage as an actor or dancer, [I found that] every single day [was] different…you’re a different person.
All sorts of things can cause you to feel differently. You can have too much sugar or too much salt. Or you don’t sleep well, […] COVID and the election and this and that [going on]. Even how you sit…it’s constant work […]to maintain the posture, to maintain a body that is sound.
K: And [in terms of your[ teaching style, is there anything in particular that you specialize in?
L: It’s interesting that you say that because I definitely think that every teacher who has mastered teaching has had to find their- their shell, their teaching style.
I don’t want to be somebody else. I think I do have my own style: it’s definitely pilates-based but also movement-based because I was trained as a modern dancer and I got my degree in dance. I love yoga, so [my style] also [incorporates] some yoga elements.
K: I know you briefly touched upon this but I want to circle back and ask, how has COVID-19 affected your business? And what do you imagine your business will look like in a post-COVID world?
L: When COVID happened, I did have a couple of clients who knew that something was going to happen financially and so kind of just stopped training. They just felt like they weren’t sure what was going to happen.
[But] I did have a lot of clients that kept up with me. They weren’t sure about the virtual [style of teaching], but I can really see the body well [even in a virtual setting], so they tried it and have been doing fine with it.
There were also people who came to my studio. We wore masks, and I [cleaned everything] very well, this and that. But to answer your question, [there was a shift to a more virtual setting].
That’s why I’m studying every day. I’m very hands on but can’t do that now, so I really have to verbalize [instructions] and it can [get] frustrating. I have a lot of clients who have ADD and some others who are even depressed.
A lot of clients who aren’t moving [their bodies] are depressed. Right now, I’m [working with] twenty to twenty-five clients. During COVID, I had five [clients] but now I built it up to thirty.
[…] I do have about ten clients whom I haven’t seen because I’m not allowed in the building where I’m the wellness director.
And they don’t want to go virtual because it feels unfamiliar. I get that but they’re missing out because the virtual setting really has been wonderful for the people who’ve kept it up the whole time. I have clients who started it and are still doing it.
I started with five clients, but then it built up. Somebody would say to somebody else, “ you should do it, try it.” And I always said, “ try it, and if you don’t like it, I won’t charge you.” A lot of them have stuck with it, which has been great.
K: How does Trainnr fit into the virtual side of your training business?
L: Training on Trainnr has been wonderful for me because it was so unbelievable to put classes together out of what I like to call “phrases of movement.” Trainnr’s technology made it easy to design my programs. Clients will be able to stop and start the programs at their pace, watch me do the workouts and hear me explain how to do them. I think for somebody out there who has not worked with a trainer before will really benefit from this visual and auditory learning. There are so many good programs and designs that are for you. It’s not expensive and I’m here to answer any questions or calls during the program.
I’m excited to do more and more. I think Trainnr is a great way for somebody to workout in the comfort of their home and keep their body and mind sound. It’s so important.
I was just being educated about Osteoporosis… you know, we need good posture, and oh my god, just sitting down all the time can be detrimental. Our hip flexors are tight. Our upper body and thoracic spine is rounded instead of lifted and extended. It can put such a damper on your mind and body and make you feel like you’re in pain.
So we really want to get the body moving and Trainnr is a great way to do so.
K: It’s definitely something I need. It’s something I struggled with — my posture, that is.
L: I think I struggle with it now because I’m doing so many virtual classes and have to lean forward. […] I think that for me, this whole pandemic has really made it so that instead of doing forty or so clients a week, I am having to step back, take care of me and also learn so that I can be a better teacher. I’ve always educated myself but I’m really educating myself more now that I have more time.
K:That’s wonderful, Laurie. Out of curiosity, what excited you most about Trainnr? What appealed to you most?
L: What appealed to me most was that I could program and design with these certain movements. There are so many different ways for that person, which is so cool and if somebody doesn’t understand what I’m trying to say, it’s that I will do a certain phrase of a movement, and then I could do a different phrase right after that and then another one, for one program and then design it in a different day in another way. So, it keeps you captivated: the trainer and the client.
K: It’s been a pleasure chatting with you, Laurie. Thank you for your time.
Learn more about Laurie and check out her programs with Trainnr!