From mat to screen: The story of Go Chlo Pilates
Engage your core, lengthen through your spine, focus on your breath. It’s not what most of us say during our typical 9¬¬–5. But for Chloe de Winter, work is far from typical. A Melburnian turn New Yorker, Chloe’s career in Pilates instructing was just taking off – before COVID came along and brought everything back to ground. So, back in Melbourne, crashing with her parents and brainstorming with her husband, Chloe sat on her computer and asked herself, ‘How can I keep working with my passion during a pandemic?’ And that’s when she realised, the answer was right in front of her.
Lunging through the lockdown
Not to bring up the ‘C’ word, but life before COVID looked very different for Chloe.
‘After completing my Master of Physiotherapy Practice and Bachelor of Health Science in 2014, I was a Pilates instructor in New York. And then COVID hit,’ Chloe explains, shaking her head at the all-too-relatable tale. ‘I lost my job, so I had no choice but to move back to Melbourne.’
Questions of ‘What now?’, ‘What next?’ and ‘What will I do?’ quickly followed.
Desperate to recover her income, Chloe came up with an idea. Call it a moment of panic – or a stroke of genius – but at the beginning of 2020 and the height of lockdown, Chloe launched Go Chlo Pilates.
‘It all began with some live Zoom classes,’ Chloe says. ‘And we started with a bang. Sixty people came to my first-ever class!’
‘Everyone jumped on board,’ Chloe reminisces. ‘It was exciting, it was new, and it was a way for people to move when the gyms were closed and we were only allowed outdoors for an hour a day.’
What’s more? It was a way to move your mind.
More than a workout
Building strength and control through all the muscles in the body (including the ones you didn’t even know you had), Pilates is inclusive in more ways than one.
‘The beautiful thing about Pilates is that anyone can do it, whatever their level,’ Chloe says. ‘It’s all about making you feel good in your own body. Improving the way you walk, the way you stand, the way you move – even the way you think.’
Essentially, Pilates is a gentler way of doing weights. It’s strength training, core training, flexibility training and mental training – all in one.
Think about it – if you’re concentrating on your breath, your body, and the burn making its way through your muscles (in a good way, of course), it’s hard to think about anything else!
‘That’s what I love about exercise,’ Chloe says. ‘It creates this safe space where you can do something just for you, and leave whatever is going on in your life at the door.’
And the best thing about Pilates? ‘You can’t be bad at it!’ Chloe assures. ‘As long as you feel good, you’re doing it right.’
The new business balancing act
The problem with COVID-born businesses? Adapting to a post-COVID world, or at least, post-lockdown.
‘After staying at home for so long, people started to get Zoom fatigue, home fatigue – and just a general need for face-to-face connection,’ Chloe says. ‘I knew I needed to change my business model, so I decided to create an online platform – knowing it was going to take a lot of time, money and energy to make it work.’
Was she confident from the start?
‘Not at all!’ Chloe laughs. ‘I was very scared. I remember saying to my husband, Phil, the night before we launched that I didn’t know if anyone would subscribe,’ says Chloe, with a nostalgic smile on her face.
But they did. And over time, under this new-look Go Chlo Pilates, the Zoom classes phased out altogether.
‘It just wasn’t what people wanted anymore,’ Chloe explains. ‘And that’s the main lesson I’ve learned in business – listen to what the people want, and let it guide you.’
Train like a girl
Let’s rewind time to gym culture in the early 2000s. Are you seeing all the flashes of Men’s Health magazine, male bodybuilding and stereotypical ‘gym bros’, too?
And while there isn’t anything wrong with those things, there also isn’t anywhere near as much representation of women in fitness.
Luckily today, things have changed.
‘It’s the perfect time for women in fitness right now,’ Chloe affirms. ‘We’re respected and listened to, and the fitness forms that may have been dominated by a specific sex before are becoming more gender neutral.’
Weightlifting, yoga, boxing, Pilates – these activities are for everyone. And they always have been.
Going further with Go Chlo
Today, Go Chlo Pilates is a subscription platform with a library of video classes that’s updated each week. With over 300 videos to select from, Go Chlo subscribers can choose the best workout for them. With their available time, equipment and fitness level in mind.
‘Most of the feedback I receive is about how this platform has changed people’s lives,’ Chloe explains. ‘I have clients from all over the world tell me how having the choice about when, where and how they exercise has finally allowed them to actually do it.
‘It makes them feel better about themselves. They look forward to doing something that’s not only good for them – but that they truly enjoy.’
Moving forward, Chloe plans on continuing to help people find that confidence within themselves through Go Chlo Pilates – as well as her other business, Nala (an underwear brand she founded with her husband).
Both businesses were built for the same reason: helping people feel comfortable in their own skin.
Some words of fitspo
The hardest part about living an active lifestyle? Getting started.
‘Finding the motivation to take that first step is always the most challenging part of your fitness journey,’ Chloe says. ‘But if you enjoy the exercise, you’ll keep doing it! So try out all different forms of movement until you find what you like.’
‘And don’t let any intimidation you may feel about going to the gym stop you from meeting your fitness goals,’ she encourages. ‘You can formulate a professional-grade workout from home using only your body weight.’
Plus, there’s a world of online workouts right at your fingertips.
‘I’ve always found gym spaces to be incredibly welcoming, but you have to feel comfortable if you really want to make the most of your workout,’ says Chloe.
‘So, if all else fails, you can always do my online classes where no one is watching!’