In Case You Were Wondering: Business Edition with Annie Counsel

reliquia jewellery gold earrings and necklace on anthea counsel

Owning a Pilates studio kind of sounds like a dream job – cute and comfortable 'fits, lots of girly action, keeping fit and feeling fab. Annie Counsel, founder of Melbourne's Street Pilates, gives us the intel. What gets her moving? Where does she find her go-get-em attitude? Read on for all the juicy details (it's not all easy breezy, but the perfect gold jewellery kind of helps).

The Annie Counsel elevator pitch:

I’m the loud and proud owner and creator of a Strength-Based Reformer Studio in Melbourne! I help athletes and everyday movers build towards their goals of getting fit, strong, happy, and healthy using a hybrid of Strength Training & Reformer Pilates. I mentor other Pilates industry members on taking their regular Instructor qualifications and helping them become kick-ass Trainers who build sessions with purpose. 

I truly believe Pilates can help every single type of person, whether you’re a regular walker, 10km+ runner, professional sportsman/woman, or Uni student. My passion lies in showing you how you can use a practice like Pilates to become the strongest version of yourself.

Top 3 moments that helped to kickstart your biz:

  1. Working amongst some of Melbourne’s top studios, I noticed a big gap in the market with the style of Pilates I liked to teach to my clients.
  2. The first few waitlists I ever had for a session were cool and exciting. When it started to happen pretty much everywhere I worked, I started to realise it wasn’t just the studio… it was me?! 
  3. A boss I had sat me down and calmly said to me, “Some people come into this industry and are built to be trainers and work alongside others. While some are built to run their own show and become so much more. You’re the latter.” 

Top 3 things you wish you knew before:

  1. That the accounting / financial side of it all fricken sucks, especially if you don’t have a strong team around you. So, learning to lean on others who provide you with their expertise is always the best option.
  2. Your schedule is about to be turned upside down. When I started, I thought I’d have it down pat, where I’d work in the morning, admin during the day, and still have time and energy to work out myself. But running a business is mentally and physically exhausting. I’m still trying to find the perfect work-life balance so I can get back into the gym! 
  3. You’re going to fail, a lot. But the most important part is how you pick yourself back up. In the beginning, I was so terrified of failing that when something wouldn’t work out, I’d have a meltdown. Now I realise that running a business consists of more failures than wins! It’s just that all those little failures usually lead to the biggest wins.

Top 3 sources of inspiration:

  1. Fellow trainers in the industry. I follow some pretty wicked trainers online and it feels like we've built a solid community where we can all bounce off each other, and it's judgment-free. 
  2. My parents. I grew up in a household of do-ers, and it helped me dream big. Always backing me and following along with my crazy ideas… like graduating with an architecture degree to end up opening my own Pilates Studio.
  3. For my own personal style of training, I love getting inspiration from all the other trainers on Instagram. Flows, reels, it’s all so easy to learn from each other! 
reliquia jewellery gold star sign necklace on anthea pilates

Top 3 reasons – why Pilates?

  1. Low impact but big results. When I found the combination of Pilates & Strength Training, there was no looking back for me. It was the perfect balance of gritty and smooth and gave me the best results I'd ever experienced without all the hardcore cardio and strain on my body from heavy lifting. 
  2. Pilates gives a lot of our clients so much enjoyment that they forget they’re working out rather hard! It’s the challenge of coordination, strength, balance, and endurance all wrapped into one very lethal package.
  3. You’ll never get bored. If you’re going to sessions and finding them boring, it’s usually because your trainer isn’t putting in the time and effort to create good workout plans. The movements in Pilates are endless, meaning you should never feel bored or like you're not progressing. You’ll repeat movements! But usually with some kind of modification or progression to ensure you’re always building and getting stronger.

Top 3 tips for beating studio fear and overwhelm:

If coming to a studio gives you a bit of anxiety, here are my top tips to beat it! 

  1. Book with a friend. It’s always so much less daunting when you aren’t walking in on your own! It makes the workout so much better when you know they’re right there with you, having the same sweaty struggles. 
  2. Pump your favourite tunes on the way. It honestly helps get those endorphins going before you even start moving. 
  3. I HATE being late for anything. So if I’m trying somewhere new, I’ll deliberately leave super early so I can scope things like parking etc. It helps ease the anxiety that builds around walking into a session late. 

Top 3 outfit essentials:

  1. Kicks, kicks, kicks. I’m a sneaker girl every day of the week. I wear them with activewear, casual clothes, and nice clothes. Whenever I can, to be honest. 
  2. Gold. You’ll always find me with jewellery on. Bracelets, rings, earrings – even at 6am, I think it helps elevate any look and makes me feel a lot more put together than I usually am.(We wholeheartedly agree).
  3. At the moment, a headband! I’ve leaned into this trend and it’s honestly been fantastic. I hate having hair in my face, so I always have a headband in my car or handbag ready to go. 

Top 3 workout must-haves:

  1. A cool-girl drink bottle. It’s always good to hydrate and now it’s made even easier with the rise of the drink bottle accessory! Having an aesthetic drink bottle to match your workout fit is a no-brainer. 
  2. Good tunes. Whether you’re in the gym on your own or in a group session, having the right tunes is the most important thing! 
  3. A sweat towel. I am one sweaty gal, so I always carry a sweat towel with me — no matter the gym or studio’s policy! Bonus points for it being a Street towel…because, duh. 
annie counsel wears gold earrings and necklace by reliquia jewellery

Top 3 not-so-guilty pleasures:

  1. Popcorn is the way to my soul. Specifically, popcorn from the movies. I’m very well known for trotting myself into the cinema, grabbing a large popcorn, only to take it home and enjoy it on the couch watching Netflix. 
  2. I love trashy TV. I watch it pretty much every day while I’m doing admin work from home. My partner can’t stand it, but he knows it’s my comfort show — anything from Vanderpump Rules to Love Island. If it’s trashy, I’ll watch it!
  3. Malteaster bunnies. IYKYK. I wish these bad boys were available all year round. But then again, I also don’t because I don’t think my body could handle it.

Top 3 fitness tracks for major vibes:

  1. Missy Elliot - Bomb Intro / Pass That Dutch 
  2. Drake & DJ Khaled - For Free
  3. Nicki Minaj - Pink Friday Girls 

Top 3 top-secret Melbourne haunts:

  1. Ricardo’s Trattoria in Albert Park has always been our go-to place as a family. The Italian food and service are like no other; it's the taste of Europe I so desperately crave close to home.
  2. Miss Viet in Cheltenham - it’s a small local Vietnamese restaurant but we swear by their vegetable pho! It’s my go-to takeaway.
  3. True South Black Rock - our local watering hole. If you enjoy an Aperol in the sun, this is where you go in Bayside. Especially because you can swim in the Aperol glass, it’s that big! 

Annie wears: Evil Eye Huggies, Scorpio Celestial Necklace, Lunel Earrings