The OTA Pilates Craze!

Every Tuesday and Thursday evening at 5:30, OTA employees gather in one of the community rooms at Online Trading Academy to release stress after a day of work, get some exercise and have fun with fellow co-workers. Laughing, crunching and squeezing their way through what may seem like a recent craze, but in actuality has been around for almost 100 years, Pilates has found its way to the core of OTA (pun intended).

For those of you unfamiliar with this work-out form, Pilates is a low-impact exercise that helps strengthen muscles while improving posture and flexibility. Typically focused on the core, this form of body movement also works other parts of the body, as well as the mind and spirit, through slow, precise movements and breath control.

We were looking to add something to benefit the employees,” says Senior Human Resource Manager Isabel Zippel. “When a large room became available, we thought Pilates would be a great idea. Plus, the best thing is, it's only $5 a class,” adds Isabel, who also participates in the twice a week class.

Jenna Perez from OTA’s Tax Pros says, “Between work and a toddler, it isn’t always easy to make it to the gym for a class. I love that OTA offers a class on-site, that allows me to simply walk down the hall for a wonderful class with coworkers.”

Wendy Pine, OTA’s Customer Care Director agrees. “I am so grateful for the opportunity to join a Pilates class that is just a few steps away from our work areas. It is amazing.”

Pilates was first developed in the 1920’s by Joseph and Clara Pilates. Joseph was born in Germany and suffered from asthma, rickets, and rheumatic fever as a child. In his determination to overcome these ailments, he became very interested in fitness eventually becoming a competent gymnast, diver, and skier.

With his wife’s assistance, the two taught classes with these basic principals at the core of this discipline:

  • Breath
  • Concentration
  • Centering
  • Control
  • Precision
  • And flow

It turns out Joe and Clara were on to something. In fact, a 2016 study found that just eight weeks of Pilates classes improved abdominal endurance, flexibility, and balance. Additional benefits include:

  • An increase in muscle strength and tone
  • Weight Loss
  • The prevention of musculoskeletal injuries
  • Reduced stress
  • And the relaxation of upper body, shoulders, and neck after a long day at work

“Doing Pilates after work is a great way to unwind after a busy day,” says Harley Coffey, OTA’s Content Producer.

“It is great to work out with co-workers!” says Jenna. “And the instructor is great!”

“She is world class,” says Harley.

Between 10 and 15 Online Trading Academy employees show up twice a week to crunch their abs and squeeze those buttocks led by instructor Sigal Ben-Ad.

“Sigal is an excellent guide and watches our progress so expertly as we attempt to master the routines. She is a master at determining when to advance the positions, so the workouts fit our abilities and stretch our bodies. I feel the pain and am stronger for it,” says Wendy.

“She's really good,” adds Isabel.” She kicks your—Wow!” 

On that note, if you are interested in joining the class, please reach out to Isabel Zippel (, and she will get you signed up.