Meet the Team
Joakim Valsinger NCPT
Owner of Bälans
2nd Generation Pilates Instructor Joakim set up Bälans in 2005. He is an Award-winning Fitness Instructor, has Advanced Pilates Qualifications including the prestigious NCPT Nationally Certified Pilates Teacher (formerly known as the PMA), and is also a Sports Therapist. Alongside running Bälans he has worked for British Military Fitness in Perth since 2007.
Joakim is a regular presenter at Pilates Industry Conferences around the UK and across the globe. He has shown his wares in the USA, Spain, Germany, Switzerland, Brazil and Puerto Rico.
In 2014 Joakim was awarded the Spirit of Flame at the UK Active Awards ceremony where the best and the brightest in the Fitness Industry are recognised for their efforts. Joakim beat some very worthy candidates from some of the biggest gyms all over the UK in the category which applauds individuals for going ‘above and beyond’ with the aim of getting more people more active more often.
Joakim trained as a Pilates Instructor with the Pilates Foundation, before qualifying as an Instructor with Body Control Pilates in 2004. He has a Level 4 Lower Back Pain Specialist Pilates accreditation with REPs, the Register of Exercise Professionals. Joakim is one of only a handful of Pilates Instructors in the UK who can claim direct lineage from Joseph Pilates, having completed a two year course with Lolita San Miguel- the Pilates Master Mentor Program. Lolita is one of the 1st Generation Pilates Elders, having trained and been certified by Joseph Pilates himself in New York City in the 1960’s.
Joakim’s skills have been tested and honed under Lolita’s Mentorship and in 2015 Lolita invited Joakim to attend further training to become an Educator for her Comprehensive Pilates Teacher Training Course – Lolita’s Legacy. Joakim is now running regular Courses teaching the next generation of Pilates Instructors.
Joakim was the first man in the World to qualify as a BarreConcept Instructor. He’s no ballet dancer, so his classes are not pretty, but they are brutal.
A Swedish born Australian, Joakim came to the UK in 1998. He is a former Australian Army Reserve SF Commando, Bondi Beach Surf Life Saver and Territorial Army Physical Training Instructor. Joakim first became interested in Pilates back in Sydney because of vanity (ask him why). He has always understood the massive benefits Pilates and Sports Therapy can have for improving wellbeing. He gained first-hand experience of debilitating injury when he ruptured his Achilles tendon in 2010. Pilates and Massage saved his sanity through the long rehabilitation back to full health and he has since taken part in a half marathon and triathlon races.
Joakim makes regular trips overseas as a Fitness Instructor and guest Pilates Instructor. He has lead the Exercise Active Archipelago series on a remote island in Sweden, and taught at SunFit for British Military Fitness, and the beautiful Pilates & Yoga Retreat AzulFit, both on Fuerte Ventura.
Joakim offers Matwork Classes, Fitdankbaby Classes, BarreConcept Classes, 1:1 sessions, Studio Apparatus sessions, Sports Therapy, Massage, and outdoor Military Fitness.
As a graduate of Lolita’s Legacy Educator course, Joakim became the first person in the UK to train students to become 3rd Generation Pilates Instructors on Lolita’s Legacy Comprehensive Pilates Teacher Training Course.
Pilates, BarreConcept & Fitdankbaby Instructor
Alison qualified as a Pilates Instructor with Body Control Pilates. She has a Level 3 accreditation with REPs, the Register of Exercise Professionals, and has trained to teach on the Reformer and Chair. Alison is also a Fitdankbaby and BarreConcept Instructor and is currently enrolled on Lolita’s Legacy to become a Comprehensively Qualified Pilates Instructor in 2017.
Alison graduated from the University of Aberdeen with Honours in Sports and Exercise Studies in 2009. Since coming back to Perth she joined Bälans as a client, later to discover she enjoyed Pilates so much she wanted to make a career out of it.
Exercise and teaching have always been a part of Alison’s life and with a background of physiology and anatomy Pilates fitted in perfectly with her lifestyle. “Bälans is a great working environment; the clients are very friendly and make the classes enjoyable. Pilates is a fantastic career as you are constantly learning new exercises and moderations that you can bring to the clients.”
Alison offers Matwork Classes, Fitdankbaby Classes, BarreConcept Classes and 1:1 Pilates sessions.
Melanie has always been interested in health and fitness, her earlier career having been in Nurse
Education. In 2007 Melanie became a client of ours and quickly fell in love with Pilates and its
Holistic approach to the body.
Inspired by the Method and Joakim’s teaching Melanie decided to train to become an instructor and
qualified with Body Control Pilates in September 2014. Melanie has since specialised in Pilates for theOlder Person and Pilates for Pregnancy.
Melanie has years of experience travelling the world and seeing different forms of exercises and is currently enrolled on Lolita’s Legacy to become a Comprehensively Qualified Pilates Instructor in 2017.
Melanie offers Matwork Classes, and 1:1 Pilates sessions.
Pilates & BarreConcept Instructor
Petra qualified as a Pilates Instructor with Hanson Pilates. She has a Level 3 accreditation with REPs, the Register of Exercise Professionals, and is also a BarreConcept Instructor. Petra is a retired professional Ballet dancer and brings grace and dignity to the Bälans team and is currently enrolled on Lolita’s Legacy to become a Comprehensively Qualified Pilates Instructor in 2017.
Petra offers BarreConcept, Matwork Pilates Classes, and 1:1 Pilates sessions.
Sabrina Simpson grew up in Canada, where she was involved in many sports from a very young age. She is an outdoor enthusiast, so if she is not in the Pilates Studio helping clients achieve their goals, you will find her on the hills; walking, running, mountain biking, skiing or travelling. She moved to Scotland in 2002 and has been here ever since.
Sabrina is a Second Generation Master Teacher and Educator trained by Internationally Acclaimed first generation teacher Lolita San Miguel. She completed the Pilates Master Mentorship Programme, in Palm Beach Florida, July 2016.
Sabrina’s Pilates qualifications include; Body Control Pilates Matwork in 2007, with recognition as a Master Mat Teacher, Intermediate Matwork in 2008, Reformer 1 Certificate in 2011, Advanced Matwork in 2011, Cadillac 1 Certificate in 2012, Chair 1 Certificate in 2012, Reformer 2 Advanced in 2013, Pregnancy 1 & 2 in 2013, Pilates for Children Foundation in 2013, Pilates for Children Ages 12-16 in 2013, Pilates for Bone Health (Osteoporosis) in 2014, Pilates for Golf in 2015.
Other qualifications include; Diploma in Personal Training – Premier Training & Development (now Premier Training International) First Aid, Optimum & Sports Nutrition, Circuits, Body Massage & Sports Massage Therapy, Fitness Training Award; Ante & Post Natal, Older Adults, Sports Specific, Weight Management in 2002, Power Studio Cycling – First Marketing in 2004, and Stability Ball Training Level 1 & 2 – Education in Action in 2005
In 2016 she was living in Rishikesh India, studying yoga. And has received her 200hr teaching certificate. Other international work includes teaching a retreat in Panama.
Sabrina’s outlook towards life is always be learning, overcoming fears and looking for new challenges, and looks forward to meeting you in the studio.
She offers Apparatus, Matwork, Antenatal and Private Sessions
Andrew has always been interested in instructing, and has taught across a wide range of sports. He qualified to teach Kung fu in 1997, which he had been learning since 1993. He enjoyed being able to help people change their lives for the better. In 2002 he joined the Army Reserves, and is still active with them today. In 2006 he graduated from Aberdeen College with an HND in Fitness, Health and Exercise, and worked as a fitness instructor in a hotel gym in the city.
For a time after that he worked in the army, and when he came back he got into electrical engineering, and while working he was contacted by British Military Fitness and asked to be an instructor. I was with BMF for over 2 years and became Park Manager before he left in 2014.
In 2015, he decided to focus on making his life more fitness-related, so he contacted Joakim and asked about pilates, thinking it would be something to do one or two nights a week.
Joakim explained to him that Aberdeen has no dedicated studio and as most instructors there only do matwork, with one or two qualified on reformer, there was a gap in the market waiting to be filled.
In 2016 he started in group A of Lolita’s Legacy UK, and after qualifying in May 2017 he started Aberdeen Pilates Man.
Andrew offers Matwork and Apparatus classes, as well as 1:1 sessions
Lee Cullen is a qualified massage therapist with over 5 years of experience. She trained at Perth for 3 years and has been a passionate practitioner of massage therapy since 2014. Throughout this time she has constantly updated her skills and ensured that her knowledge of the latest techniques is up to date. The great pride she takes in her work is obvious in the personal, yet professional service that she offers. Her goal is to give each individual a great experience and to help people live better lives by utilising the healing power of massage.