Balancing the Grind with Ann Wilde, Owner & Pilates Trainer at Master Pilates

Ann Wilde is the owner and principle pilates trainer at Master Pilates, a Melbourne-based pilates studio she opened in 2010.

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1) To kick things off, could you tell us a little about your career background and current role?

From childhood into my teenage years and mid 20’s, I was a ballerina. I suffered a back injury during a rehearsal when I was about 20 years old and the rehab led me very fortunately to Pilates.

At first, I thought Pilates was terribly boring but when I started to see the results, and eventually after about 12 months when I was fully rehabilitated, I was addicted to the method! A few years later, after graduating with a Bachelor of Dance at VCA and living in London, I decided to become a Pilates teacher. 

In 2010, I opened Master Pilates in South Yarra, Melbourne. The studio has become an incredible place with a very loyal team and clients. Since opening, I’ve gotten married, had two children and still teach in the studio as well as manage it. I’m now a Principal Pilates Trainer and I specialise in teaching pre-professional ballerinas. 

2) What does a day in the life look like for you? Can you take us through a recent workday?

I get up at 6am, make the lunchboxes, shower, get myself and my 8-year-old and 3-year-old ready for kinder and school, then do about 40 mins on the business which includes the daily to-do list for my receptionist.

I’ve become very good at spotting any “fires” before they occur, and it seems that being one step ahead every single day is the way to go when it comes to running the business smoothly. 

I then drop the kids off and return home to do 3 hours of remote teaching with some clients that moved out of the city when the pandemic began. As soon as I hang up from the last class, I get straight to the studio to teach in-person for the afternoon.

Once I finish, I do a quick workout for myself, and then try to whip around The Tan (a walking track in Melbourne) before picking up the kids and usually following my oldest around for her after school activities. Then it’s home for dinner and bed for the kids, and more admin once they are asleep. 

If we’re in lockdown, it’s much the same except I squeeze in a walk first thing in the morning, ALL the classes are online, and there’s a bit of a juggle with homeschooling!

3) Does your current role allow for flexible or remote working? If so, how does that fit into your life and routine?

Yes, I’m so lucky as I choose my working hours and have always had the business setup to be remote by using software like Mindbody Online (how we schedule our clients), Xero (online accounting) and the business is now entirely paperless which allows myself and my receptionist Ainslie to run everything efficiently from home. 

Since March 2020, we have developed an online studio both live and on-demand, so now more than ever I can work remotely any time I need to. It’s very useful as I can maintain more classes than ever, even when clients are away on holidays. This morning I taught a client in Shoreham, Vancouver Canada and then one at Mt Buller!

4) What does work-life balance mean to you and how do you work to achieve that goal?

Work-life balance is something I have always held as top priority. Since I left home in Albury and moved to Melbourne in 1999, I have always lived within walking distance of where I need to go. This is still the case so whilst I have a car, I try very hard not to use it. I think if you live, work and be in the community you live in, life is easier – especially in the city. 

I have been very lucky with my job and business that has allowed me to have a family and choose my hours. I am also so pleased to not need to be working predominantly at a desk. 

I would place equal importance on work, exercise, nutrition, family and social life, and I truly feel very lucky for the life that I have. 

5) In the past 12 months, have you started or stopped any routines or habits to change your life?

I started playing tennis, which I adore. We were still able to play during the last stage 3 lockdown and I felt like it was my little ray of light each week. I now play weekly with a friend and it’s been great fun, and the coach has seriously helped me to improve. 

I’m always trying to be healthier and I think I’m often the first to jump on new ways to be healthier and eat well. I’m about to begin weekly sessions again with my mentor, Paula Baird Colt (ex-Australian Ballet, Pilates, strength and conditioning coach for Collingwood Football Club); she’s so inspiring and incredible and has transformed not only how I teach but how I view the body that I teach. 

6) Do you have any favourite books, podcasts or newsletters that you’d like to recommend?

Two days ago, I listened to the podcast Conversations on ABC where they spoke with Ben Crowe, Ash Barty’s mindset coach. He is incredible and very inspiring, and I am rather fascinated by how the mind works. It’s seriously life-changing and it’s clear how Ash has benefited by her recent win at Wimbledon! 

I always listen to audiobooks while I walk and just love The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle and lots of memoirs of Ballet dancers – a recent favourite (and obsession) is Body of Work by the Australian Ballet’s Artistic director David Hallberg.

7) Are there any products, gadgets or apps that you can’t live without?

I bought my husband a Theragun for his birthday and we LOVE it. It’s a hand-held massage tool that is so effective! I try not to have any apps on my phone as my aim is to only look at devices for absolute necessity. All my sounds and notifications are turned off on all my devices so that they never interrupt home life. 

8) If you could read an interview about work-life balance by anyone, who would that be?  

Roger Federer, David Hallberg (the Australian Ballet’s artistic director), and That Comms Co. director, Rebecca Smith. 

9) Do you have any last thoughts on work, life or balance that you’d like to share with our readers?

My work-life balance has only been possible because of the help and support of my husband, parents, in-laws, friends and extended family. Nothing I have achieved I have done alone, and I think surrounding yourself with great human beings helps enormously. 

I think Nike’s trademark ‘Just do it’ is perfect for positive changes in life. I think having routines and being consistent are incredibly important to achieve what you want. I also think you can only do what you love and enjoy, or else you won’t want to do it. 

In order to really have work-life balance, we need to learn to say ‘no’ sometimes and have realistic (and kind) expectations of ourselves. 

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About Author

Hey there! I'm Hao, the Editor-in-Chief at Balance the Grind. We’re on a mission to showcase healthy work-life balance through interesting stories from people all over the world, in different careers and lifestyles.