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The Best Shape of My Life as a 30 Year Old USA Rugby Olympian and Pilates Instructor

Meet Abby Gustaitis, a Professional female Rugby player and Olympian! Abby's story with Pilates began nearly two years ago - read more from her below...

I went to my first Club Pilates intro class nearly two years ago, after I saw an ad for it on Instagram. I thought I would give it a try and went to the Morena studio, which I later learned is the OG CP location - so cool! My instructor has now become one of my coworkers - Annette. She was so engaging and I immediately fell in love with the workout and different apparatuses.

I remember talking to her for awhile after class, and she explained how complementary Pilates could be to a sport like rugby.

She was definitely right! At this time, I was a full time professional athlete playing rugby. I decided to stick with Pilates as I could see the benefits to my athletic career, body and overall health. I started taking reformer classes 2-3 times a week in addition to my full time rugby career.

Within the first month, I could see physical changes in my body but most importantly, I felt so much better. I was stronger in every sense and I couldn’t wait to keep following this Pilates journey. 

Since starting in August 2019, I have taken 300 CP classes and the number is only growing. My favorite classes are the reformer flows. I move my body in every direction possible, strengthen my core and all my muscles and feel rejuvenated overall. 

I became inspired to teach Pilates myself.


In April 2020, when the pandemic was at an all time high, my Club Pilates location closed and I resorted to online Club Pilates for my workouts. I was so grateful for the Pilates community to help keep me grounded and motivated during this difficult time. I took a class almost every day for 2 months and never felt better! I was definitely missing the Reformer, but at this time I decided to pursue teacher training.

I already reaped the benefits to my body and overall health from doing Pilates, but I began to see the joy it brought me, as well as the community, which is so passionate about health and Pilates.

I then chose to pursue becoming an instructor so I could share my new found love of Pilates with the world! (Or at least a few people!)

I completed most of the coursework during quarantine, and then completed my in person training in the Autumn of 2020 - just over a year after I discovered Pilates. 

At that point, I was also preparing for the Tokyo Olympic Games, which just took place in July 2021.

Pilates was a great way for me to focus some of my energy and to keep me at ease with all the unknowns of the Olympics being postponed. I began teaching as soon as I could and I just love it so much. I enjoy sharing this passion and love making people feel good after a great class. Teaching cardio sculpt is one of my favorites because clients love the high energy and they are always down to sweat! I try to make sure everyone gets a workout in while also moving their bodies in each way. And I really love using the EXO chair! Probably my favorite apparatus!

I am super excited to continue teaching with club Pilates and possibly follow the path to becoming a Master Trainer.

I love that you can always learn something new with Pilates - whether it’s a way to move your body, feel an exercise differently, or how a specific workout routine benefits you! I plan on practicing and teaching Pilates for the rest of my life.  

I have never felt in better shape than at 30 years old as a USA rugby Olympian and Pilates instructor.

Not only do I feel so much stronger overall - especially core and glutes - but I feel more in tune with my body than ever.

Pilates has taught me more body awareness in barely a year than I have learned my entire life.

The Pilates breath is also one thing I carry over with me into my sporting career. Taking a few deep breaths can ground me and bring me back to the moment and task at hand. 

I truly feel that Pilates has helped bring me to the prime of my athletic career at 30 years old. I feel in total control of my body and am performing at my best.


Overall, I noticed a reduction in muscle injuries and strains since discovering Pilates and feel that my flexibility has also improved over time with regular practice.

I lift weights a lot as a professional athlete but I love that Pilates focuses on the underused muscles. The low impact of Pilates is also a great way to keep the body moving on recovery or travel days. 

At 30, I am still continuing my career as a rugby player and that is thanks to Pilates. 

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