Meet the Big Toe Studio Staff

Don Spence

Certified Pilates Teacher/Program Director/AMTA Massage Therapist

CEO Founder of Big Toe Studio and Body Quest Advantage

Don Spence, Founder & Owner of Big Toe Studio

Don has been involved in athletic development since the age of 14.  He began by using exercise to lose weight, which sparked his career in athletic performance and competition. A personal quest developed into a lifelong passion of athletic and fitness excellence. This life experience allowed a passion to turn into teaching and assisting others in their quest to be leaner and healthier while providing a better understanding of lifestyle choices that affect overall health and personal fitness. This knowledge of how personal body image and the positive effects from athletic performance has allowed Don to follow through on his own personal quest  of helping others to achieve their individual high level of knowledge regarding sensible fitness exercise decisions. This led to the creation of Body Quest Advantage and Big Toe Studio 12 years ago!

Don has been motivated for a long time in supporting others to become their best selves.  His personal experience began in a Colorado Springs summer outreach program at the Garden of the Gods working with deaf, blind and physically/mentally challenged students in Colorado Springs at the age of 14 as a young counselor in training. The effective of seeing how enthusiastic and capable the clients were in dealing with average daily activities that were great challenges for them taught a life lesson that has has never been forgotten, "Remember the unique individual gifts we all have and appreciate the courage of others in waking up each day deciding to be a better person both mentally and physically".  Climbing Colorado fourteeners throughout his life, many in the winter, studying the art of Judo in college and finally 26 years of competitive road and mountain bike racing as a Category 1 and Professional taught him the lessons of competition and the real focus on physical excellence.

After a great career as a Professional Bicycle Racer, he started a new career in rehabilitation as a Neuromuscular Therapist with Orthopedic Center of the Rockies in Fort Collins, Colorado. He went on to become the Rehabilitative Fitness Coordinator for Health South Outpatient Rehab centers in Northern Colorado.  With his interest in rehabilitative exercise, Don became a Certified Practitioner of Pilates for Rehabilitation and Mat work in 2001. Don opened his first Pilates studio in December of  2004, and then opened his current location in the beautiful Palmer Flowers Retail Center in 2009. In 2015 Don launched Big Toe Studio Comprehensive Pilates Teacher Training School. The school is training student teachers to be experts in utilizing Pilates to reach all levels of potential for students and teachers. 

Don is a Polestar Certified Practitioner of Pilates for Rehabilitation, a Pilates Method Alliance Certified Pilates Teacher, Director of Big Toe Studio Comprehensive Pilates Teacher Training School which is a Colorado Private Occupational Teaching School under the Department of Education, a Personal Trainer, and an American Massage Therapy Association Certified Massage Therapist, Don has spent more than three decades bringing people back from injuries to their fully functioning selves...and, often, to even better selves.

Don enjoys his personal Pilates practice and enjoys the study of Pilates as a movement science as well as being an avid expert alpine skier, indoor sport climber, mountain biker, road cyclist, SSI scuba diver and always, an enthusiastic Pilate’s teacher! Don appreciates the effect that Pilates has had in his life, and attributes his continued competitive performance and athleticism to his regular practice of Pilates. 

 

Tessa Higgins

Massage Therapist

Tessa Higgens, Massage Therapist at Big Toe Pilates Studio, Fort Collins, COTessa chose to pursue a career in massage therapy after seeing close friends and family struggle with PTSD and war-related injuries. Since graduating from USCI and getting her NCBTMB certification in 2010, she has worked as a traveling massage therapist and enjoyed taking continuing education classes to better serve the people she works with. Tessa's goal is to see her clients live healthy, pain-free lives, and is excited to continue exploring the endless opportunities of natural healing methods.

Echo Strong

Big Toe Studio Certified Pilates Teacher/PMA CPT

Echo Strong, PMA Certified Pilates Teacher at Big Toe Studio Fort CO

Echo has always enjoyed the pursuit of exercise as a form of learning and being physically fit. Born and raised in Colorado allowed her to pursue volleyball and basketball as a High school athlete. The many wonderful choices of fitness as a Colorado native has guided her to be an active outdoors sports woman. Hiking, running, biking, walking, skiing, snowshoeing, kayaking and all of the many choices has shaped her healthy attitude for herself and family.

Being a good example to her two children and husband of 18 years has become a top priority of her life and becoming a certified Pilates teacher was a natural choice.

 Echo first discovered Pilates in 2011 and loved it from day one!  After doing her personal practice of Pilates for three years at Big Toe Studio focusing on overall health, flexibility and strength she discovered the natural benefits of consistent proper movement exercises. This sensible approach to health and fitness shaped her decision to participate in Big Toe Studios Pilates teacher training program and then become a staff member for the studio.

 A big part of the decision process was discovering the benefits she personally received from the physical and mental effects in her Pilates practice. Echo has always wanted to continue to learn more about Pilates and share this knowledge with her friends and family. After completing the Comprehensive Pilates Teacher Training program at Big Toe Studio and successfully taking the exam to be part of the Pilates Method Alliance, Echo is now recognized as a PMA Certified Pilates Teacher and Big Toe Studio staff member.

 Echo’s quest to study Pilates as a movement science and her gracious repertoire with all of her clients is a natural fit for Big Toe Studio, “safety first, all questions are good questions and it’s all about you!”

Echo is a Big Studio certified Pilates Teacher, PMA-CPT and holds a B.A. degree in Biology from Fort Lewis College. A wonderful Mom and happy wife that truly enjoys the teaching of Pilates to benefit so many others on their own quest for personal health and fitness.