How a Hot Mama Pilates Entrepreneur Balances Training and a Newborn

Photo courtesy of MNTstudio

Photo courtesy of MNTstudio

Elaine Hayes discovered Pilates in high school, but it wasn't until she was in law school that Pilates struck her as an appealing career option. (Law school, I would argue from personal experience, has a way of steering people to seemingly disparate alternatives.) Still, Elaine wasn't ready to go all in on the wellness world without a backup plan. "I decided to take a leave of absence from law school and enrolled in a teacher training program," she recalls.

The program clicked, and Hayes realized she had found her calling. She started teaching in 2010, and was training clients in her apartment when she began dreaming of the concept that would become MNTstudio. 

Photo courtesy of MNTstudio

Photo courtesy of MNTstudio

In reality, MNTstudio was born out of necessity. Hayes was so busy with one-on-one training that she was turning away clients. And she couldn't find the kind of group studio that she wanted to attend. "I wanted a place that offered challenging, no-nonsense classes while still focusing on form and technique, all in a beautiful space, with friendly and knowledgable teachers," she says. "This all made me realize that there really was a demand for what I had envisioned."

Hayes took to leap and launched MNT in 2013. Today, clients flock to MNTstudio's airy space in SoMa (766 Brannan Street) for Pilates, barre, and yoga. In addition to offering ridiculously good classes for all fitness levels—do yourself a favor and try Pilates Reformer Bootcamp—MNT has a few special perks for new mothers: pre- and post-natal classes, as well as child care. 

Read on to find out how Elaine balances running a business, training clients, and maintaining her own fitness routine.

Photo courtesy of MNTstudio

Photo courtesy of MNTstudio

Rockyt: How do you prepare for classes?

Elaine: I get inspired by my own workouts and by working out with my team. I love getting together with my instructors and getting creative together to find new ways to move and sweat. 

Rockyt: How do you cross train?

Elaine:  I like to run outside in my neighborhood in Menlo Park. 

Rockyt: What are your favorite studios for cross-training?

Elaine: I don't go to other studios or gyms at the moment because I honestly don't have time (#momlife!), but I do love trying out various workout videos like Jillian Michaels, Tracey Anderson, and Melissa Wood Health (through the [Playbook] app). 

Rockyt: Are you training toward a particular fitness goal right now? 

Elaine: I had my son in April of last year, so I'm still working towards regaining my strength and shedding the last remaining couple of pounds leftover from my pregnancy. 

Rockyt: What's your training regimen?

Elaine: I run 3 days a week, do Pilates 4-5 days a week, and barre/yoga 2-3 days per week. 

Rockyt: Do you take rest days? 

Elaine: Usually I try to take one rest day a week. I will still walk my dog, but I don't worry too much about getting a "workout," per se. However, I will admit it's difficult for me to tale a rest day because I start getting antsy. I feel better if I can break a sweat at least once a day. 

Photo courtesy of MNTstudio

Photo courtesy of MNTstudio

Rockyt: What's the best thing about having your own studio?

Elaine: I love the community we've created at MNT. One of the fundamental principles I've worked really hard to instill in my staff is inclusivity. I want everyone and anyone who comes to MNT to feel welcomed, included, and empowered to learn about their bodies. Seeing the way our community has evolved and grown over the years is so gratifying and I truly feel that my staff and our clients are family. 

Rockyt: As an instructor, what are you known for?

Elaine: I'm known for taking a move that may seem easy when you're doing it incorrectly, and making a few small tweaks to your form to make it super difficult and effective. You always get sore after my class, no matter how long you've been working out. (I've also been nicknamed the "Ab Queen" by some of my clients.) 

Want to know more about Elaine? Catch her classes at MNTstudio, follow her Insta for cute baby photos, or follow MNTstudio for more fitness-related stuff.