PILATES WITH THE NEXT FITNESS STAR KATIE YIP (PART 2)
On Monday I introduced Katie Yip as my vote for Women’s Health’s Next Fitness Star. I met with Katie (and Women’s Health Sr. Publicist Mary) at Pilates Challenge where she teaches for a private workout. As I mentioned, I was really impressed with Katie’s answers when I interviewed her earlier in the week, but I was even more so when I met her in person. First, she’s a tiny, beautiful ball of energy. I am GIANT compared to her and Mary (you’ll see below). Second, she firmly shook my hand (I love a girl with a good handshake!) and smiled welcoming me to Pilates Challenge. I swear her smile and bubbly personality just lit up the already bright studio. Look how cute she is!
I couldn’t wait to get started on the reformer machine. That’s what those
S&M machines, torture chambers, apparatuses are called. Reformers are made up of springs, pulleys, bars, and straps that provide tension and resistance when performing an exercise. They’re nothing to be afraid of, unless you’re afraid of your muscles burning. Because the burn.is.real. While the workout is not the high-intensity, cardio workout I’m accustomed to, learning to squeeze, lift, and hold my body weight was definitely a test of strength. Imagine my Physique 57 workout and add additional resistance.
While I had taken pilates before, this was my first classical pilates session. Yes, there’s a difference. I didn’t know either! Classical pilates stays true to Joe Pilates’ original method by using his original exercises and the order in which they were performed. The classical method also teaches to lengthen and support your spine from head to toe as much as possible. The modern method teaches the neutral method where there is some space between the floor and the lower back.
Friends, do not wear running shorts to pilates. It’s just not flattering, nor is it comfortable. Even though I was wearing underwear and there was a gussett in the shorts, I just didn’t like the idea of having my legs up in the air for all to see. After my morning run, I had intended to change but found myself stuck in Manhattan because the trains weren’t running between Queens and Manhattan. No matter how hot it is, always wear leggings during pilates.
In addition to being smart (she’s getting her Master’s in kenesiology and exercise physiology), passionate, and gorgeous, Katie is extremely hands-on when it comes to her pilates instruction. She believes in getting her hands dirty, or sweaty, by helping her students achieve great form. Great form leads to a better workout, stronger body, and prevents injuries. She corrected my form multiple times. She was able to identify why my neck hurt during the ab series, and helped me correct my form. By the way, her plank exercise was one of the hardest I’ve ever had to do in my life. Mary and I didn’t even have to hold a minute, but we both looked at each other wondering what had just hit us. It’s amazing how small changes in form will intensify a workout. It’s like adjusting weights, except this time the weights are your own body weight.
The session with Katie was slow-paced, but the time passed quickly because I was having fun. Somehow she was able to take my mind off the clock and help me focus and be present in the moment. Do you ever do that? Do you ever push through a workout just to get it done? Is your brain ever numb thinking of what you have to do after, tomorrow, or next week? Workouts are not something that we have to check off our to-do list but rather time to honor ourselves and our bodies. It’s time for me to focus on myself, and I was able to do that with Katie.
I hope you enjoyed “meeting” Katie these last few days and hope you’ll go out and vote for her so she has the chance to star in her own Women’s Health workout DVD when she wins the contest. Then all of you can take pilates with Katie Yip at home!
Thanks to Pilates Challenge for having me in your beautiful studio. You are the only place on Yelp! to have a full five stars that I know of and I will be back. For those who are interested in taking a Pilates class with Katie, please visit Pilates Challenge. Thanks as always for supporting the partners who make LGC possible!
A big thanks to Mary W. and Women’s Health for providing the opportunity for me to meet Katie and sponsoring The Next Fitness Star contest so we can continued to be inspired by women making a difference in fitness and health.
All photos by MJ
**Editor’s Note: In an earlier edit, I mentioned that the Classical Method of Pilates taught the posterior tilt. I retract this statement as it is incorrect. The classical method stays true to the idea that Pilates is intended to be a workout and that we get stronger by just moving well and moving often. As Katie previously mentioned, exercise is cumulative. My apologies for any confusion!