Cathy Konciak of North Arlington was in the photography field almost 20 years ago when she had a clear and fortuitous vision that the digital age was going to change everything, especially her job.
She saw, in fact, that it would probably disappear with the likes of the steam engine. So she changed tracks and entered the world of physical fitness.
At first, she concentrated on weight training and taught mainly in that arena at local gyms. But another person's insight nudged her in the direction of yoga at a time it wasn't yet a household word.
Rosemarie Rubinetti Cappiello, a fellow teacher with her at Classic Athletic Club in Lyndhurst (now sold and renamed) was starting to teach yoga at the gym.
"She told me if I was smart, that's what I would do too. She was right. Yoga was different. I found that as strong as I was, yoga made me stronger in a different way," Konciak, 59, said. "It made me both stronger and flexible."
Yoga led her to Pilates, which brought both her fitness and career to a whole different level.
"Pilates was the hardest thing I had ever done and I saw the changes in people as I started to teach," she said. "It's all abdominal muscles, then adding movement. And Pilates is for life; a lot of modalities don’t work for life. You can do a work out regardless of any injuries."
She commands $125 per hour doing personal Pilates training in Manhattan. Locally, she's a bargain at $65, where she travels to people's homes all over Bergen and Hudson counties.
"I have a few clients who are 85. Another who is 70, with rheumatoid arthritis. I've worked with her through four joint replacements."
She said learning from a top instructor, Peter Roel, whom she still trains with today in Manhattan, made all the difference in how she approaches her work.
"If someone has an ailment, I can work around that. We all change as we age," she said. "I teach my clients that it's their workout. I encourage them to be mentally engaged in what they're doing, as well physically."
She makes use of the Pilates Reformer, a machine that can be used to challenge a client to become stronger, or assist one who needs special help.
"Not everyone can get on the floor, so the Reformer can be a huge help."
Pilates was developed by Joseph Pilates in Germany as an art of controlled movements. It first gained popularity with Manhattan dancers in during the 1920s and 30s. It's now practiced worldwide.
To reach Konciak for training, email her at email@example.com or call 201-259-7265