Tara helps build confidence, reduce stress and increase energy, strength and flexibility through fun and encouraging barre, pilates and cardio classes that anyone at any age can do. Her method of movement can help rehabilitate after injury, help manage chronic pain, give you an incredible mood boost and keep you feeling strong and mobile for years to come.  

Q: What's your background, and what are you working on?

I was a competitive gymnast growing up and into college so fitness has been part of my life for a long time. I left my health and fitness days behind and went into advertising and commercials production and was a successful (albeit stressed out and unhealthy) production company producer for about 10 years. I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis at 28 years old and it helped to resurface my healthy habits. And I’ve spent the past 15+ years trying different alternative ways to manage my RA, doing elimination diets to determine triggers and trying various forms of exercise to see what helps and what hurts. The method of fitness I teach incorporates strength and resistance based training with cardio and flexibility and its this combination that has helped me sustain mobility and strength in my muscles and joints and continue to move with agility and less pain. It’s not just physical pain I am passionate about working with, I have a genuine interest in how a workout makes you feel— a perkier bum is one of the many happy side effects. The positive energy and uplifted mood you can get from exercise is extraordinary and I would like to see more of this mindset shift away from how exercise makes you look to how exercise can make you feel.  

I have recently launched an ON DEMAND library that includes Barre, Pilates and Cardio workouts ranging from 20 to 55 minutes. I am working on adding to that library and would like to broaden my reach. If COVID has taught us anything, it’s that you can join an instructor or take a class from anywhere in the world. What a unique opportunity this is!  

I am interested in increasing awareness about they types of exercise we should be doing to help us age — men and women, but in particular women. How can we future proof ourselves, maintaining bone density and muscle mass so we can garden and play on the floor with our grandkids at 80. I don’t think there is enough info on types of exercise that will best support us and sustain mobility throughout life and I’d like to change that.

Tara Riley, founder of Pilates & Tara

Q: What motivated you to get started with Pilates & Tara?

I was working as a producer with a production company in London, which I know many people go oooh that’s exciting. And it was, always changing, super fast paced but the hours are also long and my health wasn’t great. I was having a lot of RA flares and always getting a niggly cough that I just couldn’t shift. When I had my 1st son and returned to work I found it really difficult to juggle. Production doesn’t happen between the hours of 9-5 and I often found myself tapping away at the computer or in the phone organising something whilst also trying to feed my son or bathe him. I was starting to resent both sides — the job for being so full on at all hours and my gorgeous son for interrupting me whilst I was trying to work at 7pm. When I think about that now, it feels crazy, but I know so many who are in that position…it’s so very stressful. I retrained as a pilates instructor and feel very fortunate my husband and I could make this switch work. I was able to build my business whilst also looking after my kids.

Q: What are your goals for the future?

In addition to broadening my ON DEMAND community and keeping my IRL classes going strong, I am looking at ways to become more sustainable with my equipment — mats, resistance bands etc. Watch this space ;).

Q: What are the biggest challenges you've faced so far?

I would have to say this Pandemic has been the most challenging thing I’ve faced. Pivoting from a business that was solely in person and in studio to one that was solely online overnight was challenging, but it turned out to be one that allowed my business to grow in a direction I hadn’t considered before.  

Q: What's your advice for female founders who are just starting out?

Ask for help. You can’t do everything, at least not well. Outsource what you can or ask for help from friends when first starting out.

Take messy action. Everything doesn’t have to be perfect.

Make time for yourself to recharge. Wearing all the hats can be exhausting, you need to replenish yourself to keep going!

Be yourself. You are unique and what you have to offer is unique.