Joseph Pilates was born in Germany in 1880. His father was a successful athlete of Greek descent and his mother who was of German descent, worked in natural medicine. Joseph had a small body structure and suffered from several chronic diseases. His poor health prompted him to devote himself to the study of anatomy and gymnastics. Young Joseph had a strong will and was able to grow stronger and embark on a life long journey of a deep understanding of the human body and how to bring it to an ultimate state of health. "As a kid, I used to lie for hours in the wild, hiding in the trees, watching animals," he said. "I researched their movements and how the mother teaches her cubs to survive in the wild." Pilates continued to deepen his knowledge and understanding of the human body and devoted his life to formulate a unique exercise regimen originally called "Contrology".