Suzanne Wakeling

Suzanne has been a Private client for over two years now utilising some of her NDIS funding, in that time Pilates and her friendship with Kristen has been a lifeline through some extremely difficult times. Sometimes the relationship with clients is purely about physical fitness but in this case, the two have built a real trusting relationship that has allowed Kristen to help Suzanne in many areas of life. Its so crazy, I remember Suzanne hobbling down the corridor with her cane which is just no longer a thing! 


With Kristens’s guidance, Suzanne prioritised the consistency of her sessions and last week, achieved the 250+ session milestone joining our Elite member honour board club! Her story is inspiring and for me, really highlights the benefit of focusing on what you can do rather than allowing the circumstances you face overwhelm you. 

"I’ve now lost 30 kgs and gone down 3 sizes."

Q – What was happening in your life when you decided to try Pilates?

I started at the Pilates Klinik in January 2020 after what had been a particularly gruelling year. Starting in January of 2019 I was having physiotherapy treatment for bursitis and tendinitis in both my shoulders. This had mainly been rock tape strapping and after 3 months I was worse off than at the beginning. My mother died in Sydney in April after an intense 5 months in hospital. I started having panic attacks and an increase in social anxiety, and I could no longer manage my pain after my masseuse died. I’d always exercised but with my increased disability I was no longer able to keep up with circuit training. I was also at the end of the first year of my National Disability Insurance Scheme plan with some money still to spend so I decided to go with my favourite exercise and contacted the Pilates Klinik. With all that had happened that year, I’d struggled to exercise consistently and I needed to get moving again in order to get my pain under control. 

Q – What prompted you to call the Klinik and see if it would help you?
I was holidaying with my sister in Sydney that Christmas. I’d been able to take my electric wheelchair with me and it had been a healing time, catching up with family. 2 days before I was due to leave we were discussing what I was going to do about exercise and she encouraged (forced) me to contact some Pilates places near where I lived. The Pilates Klinik had by far the best website so I sent an enquiry and much to my surprise Michael rang me immediately. I was still feeling quite broken and vulnerable so Michael’s confidence and the positive way he spoke about putting me with Kristen, who he assured me could absolutely help me get my fitness and flexibility back, meant I made an appointment for the day after I got home.
I was actually excited about meeting Kristen and confident (hubris it turned out to be) that a few private sessions and I’d be in the group classes. I was feeling lonely and thought this would be a good way to make friends. It hasn’t turned out that way as I’m still having private sessions with Kristen. However, her kindness and graciousness has helped heal me both physically and psychologically, so that those 2 hours a week are very precious to me.
Q – What have you been able to achieve since starting? What improvements have you noticed?
I was starting to get my pain back under control with Bowen therapy about 6 months before starting with Kristen, so I knew it was time to also get my fitness back. However, walking any distance was a real struggle, so for the first few months, I’d hobble into the Klinik with my walking stick. Kristen is the kindest most encouraging person I have ever met. Put that together with her rehab knowledge and experience and I really did improve quite rapidly, especially if you consider that for a while in 2020 we were in lockdown and I couldn’t exercise. 
I’m not an open trusting person so to Kristen’s credit, she gently persevered in discussing other areas of my health. By the end of 2020 I was being treated by a naturopath who diagnosed me with metabolic syndrome (also called pre diabetes or insulin resistance), confirmed by my GP with a blood test. With Kristen’s knowledge of diet I started eating regularly, added in animal protein, stopped eating the lentils and beans I loved and I’ve now lost 30 kgs and gone down 3 sizes. I still don’t get hungry regularly, so I use the alarms on my phone to remind me to eat. I also still get very sick with my illness but right from the beginning Kristen told me to come to Pilates even when unwell and that has been a major turning point. In the past I would have to stop exercising until I was well again so I was always having highs and lows in fitness.
They were always going to be friends with their shared love for bright hair!

Q – What has exceeded your expectations since joining?

I’ve always loved exercising and I’ve loved Pilates specifically for many years. My expectations were very low before stating at the Pilates Klinik, I just wanted to get moving again. Now I’m strong and flexible even as my illness has progressed. I’m more socially engaged and I’ve found a real friend in Kristen.

Q – What about our business surprised you the most?
To be honest the thing that has surprised me the most is that Michael and Kristen have been willing to keep me in private sessions. I’m sure I’m not as economically valuable time wise to work with themselves. 
Q – What is your favourite exercise or movement and why?
I wouldn’t say I have a favourite but whenever I’m lying on my back on the trap table and Kristen grabs the springs for my leg exercises I always think “oh good” so that is probably the one that feels the best!
Q – What is your least favourite exercise or movement and why? 
None! I love all the exercises. 

Q – What was it about your Pilates practice you wish you had known in the beginning?

If I think back it’s the flexibility that took me by surprise. Most exercise is good for our mental health but not all exercises gives both strength and flexibility the way pilates does. 
Q – What advice would you give to someone just starting their own Pilates practice as a new member at The Klinik?
Persevere. Attend regularly. Make it a priority. Give up other things if you need to but just don’t skip your sessions. 
Q -Is there anything else that you would like to comment on or say about our staff, community or business?
The Pilates Klinik is a welcoming place with a lovely friendly atmosphere. I haven’t got to know people because I’m not in a class and I always wear a mask, yet everybody smiles at me so I always feel included. The instructors are incredible. The times I have worked with the other instructors I always surprise them because I’m stronger and more flexible than I look.  I’m also very unwell, disabled and in pain regularly which is why Kristen’s guidance and patience has been such a blessing. The care all the instructors take with me is such a blessing. The Pilates Klinik has made it easy for me to use my NDIS funding to pay for classes. In fact, I never even think about it till Robyn let’s me know she’s sent an invoice. It’s such an inclusive place.

If you see Suzanne coming or going at the studio give her a pat on the back for all her hard work and courage in sharing her story here, we love you Suzanne!