Michel Velasco is the founder of UMove Fitness and Pilates Plus. A licensed Physical Therapist who has been in the Fitness Industry for more than 20 years aiming to educate people to take care of their bodies.
My Work Story
I got my license as a Physical Therapist in 1999 and worked in the rehabilitation industry for a while before I made a side step to the fitness industry.
I felt that I have more to contribute to society by teaching people exercises to prevent injuries rather than rehabilitating them after an injury.
Fortunately, I had a chance to acquire the knowledge and skills to teach Pilates in 2000 in my hometown Cebu, Philippines, and I have never looked back since then. My prior knowledge and experience in rehabilitation equipped me to help people with more complex needs other than just improving their fitness.
I successfully built a large community of Pilates practitioners in Cebu until I got an offer to teach Pilates in Singapore in 2004. It took me three years to take the offer as I was reluctant to leave my students as I loved and enjoyed working with them, but the opportunity to grow and challenge myself was too strong to ignore and I moved to Singapore in 2007.
In Singapore, I started to work as a full-time Pilates instructor in one of the pioneering studios at that time. Whilst working I was able to further deepen and enhance my knowledge by learning under various well-respected Pilates Master Teachers and Elders in the global community.
Pilates Plus and UMove Fitness
Fast forward to 2013; I opened Pilates Plus to teach pilates. Moving on from there, inspired by the knowledge and skills acquired from other respected living legends in the movement industry I ventured to teach Calisthenics and Movement classes in the studio.
And in 2017, I decided to open UMove Fitness to create a playground to explore more exercises that I can do for myself and share them with our community.
At UMove, we opened various classes like:
- Contemporary dancing
- Indoor Parkour.
I tried them all and they unravel strengths and weaknesses that inspired me to work harder. All these explorations kept me grounded and made me realize that there is always something new to learn and share with the community.
Currently, I am creating more educational online content for our sites and YouTube videos, so even with the current pandemic situation, my students and their family, and even people that I haven’t met or known can benefit from the knowledge I have accumulated through the years.
Gratitude to all my Mentors, Teachers, and Inspirations
I owe it all to them!
Throughout this journey, I have had many teachers, some good, some not so good, and others have imprinted deep lessons in my life and my practice. And I am grateful to all of them. They have molded me one way or another to what I have become in the present.
Here are the teachers that have had a profound impact on my life and my practice:
I attended two workshops with the late Ron Fletcher in the early 2000s. My very first inspiration in Pilates. He was 84 at the time I met him, and he was literally more flexible than me. He was one of the direct students of Joseph Pilates.
I attended a few more workshops with Pat Guyton while she was working with Ron Fletcher and as she was doing her own workshop. She is one of the strongest Pilates teachers I have known.
I have attended workshops, Movement Camps, and Internship under Ido Portal, that’s more than 200 hours of study, excluding the practice that I do by myself, and it feels like I barely scratch the surface of his teachings. Ido revolutionized the word “Movement” and literally moved it into a different definition. The biggest shift in my practice and teaching comes from his influence.
Marcello Pallozo - my environmental teacher, not that we’re becoming an environmentalist but more of how we move around our environment. My definition of common stairs, rails, and walls was redefined after learning from this master.
Simon Ata (Simonster) - if you don’t know him, then you haven’t looked around enough of what a human body can do. I study Calisthenics from Simon, aiming to inherit even a little bit of his monstrousness.
My late Mom - the person who gave me everything, including herself. I have learned from her how to be super positive, survive, and fight until your final breath without holding back.
My Personal Story
I look forward to going home every day to my beautiful family. Spend time with my lovely wife and son in the gardens and just simply enjoy time as it passes by. They are my guardian angels, and they are the source of my unmatchable work energy to keep pushing on through the toughest of times. I tend to work a little bit more than usual as I start my workday around 3-4 am every morning.
I always work very hard for my business and family and for whatever goal I aim for. But I actually have very simple expectations in life. You can feed me anything; I have very little expenses, I don’t feel the need to take a vacation, and I prefer to be just quiet and spend time alone most of the time attending to my work.
I like to build things, and I am a sort of handyman by nature. I do clay sculptures, do carpentry, build bike frames, guitars, and cardboard toys for my son. Anything that requires me to be quiet, solve problems, and do something with my hands can keep me occupied for hours even without sleep and food.
My ongoing goal is to be a student for life and keep learning with whatever life has to offer, and work on it with enthusiasm, like a child playing games as if their life depends on it.
I like to provide well for my family, keep them happy and contented, and remember me as a good person.
My weird and varied Interests and Ventures
Though I live my life simply, somehow, I ended up with things that might make you think that I have thrown myself all over the place. Here is a list of some of the key moments and ideas in my life that even I myself think it’s a bit weird.
- I have always been curious to sleep in the streets for days just with cardboards like a homeless person and watch how life unfolds day and night.
- I worked as a Classical guitar teacher
- I built my own classical guitar… from scratch!
- I have grown Bonsai plants from seeds as a teenager and made my own bonsai pots in my own homemade clay oven.
- I competed in a 6-hour inter-island kayak race without a map and sea-navigation skills and won it! You can say the tide was on my side.
- I became a semi-professional cyclist at the age of 35 and was sponsored to race around Asia. It’s pretty cool to get free bikes and holidays.
- I won Vertical Marathons! That means climbing up a 70-storey building!
- I have a carpentry site called UWood Carpentry which I build and design stall bars and other fitness equipment that can be used as furniture… I call them Fitnessture.
- I used to own an eatery that never made money.
- I made burger patty for a living once together with my friend
- I ran a coffee shop/Billiard/Pizza shop for two years with my friends
- I cycled for 314 kilometers on my own from 5 am to 10 pm with a very vague idea of where I was going… and I made it to my brother’s place.
- I want to make a robot one day with my son
- I am learning to be an internet marketer...and getting good at it
- I can make good sourdough bread - but I have to take a break from baking and froze my poor starter.