After sustaining injuries throughout her dance career, Mandy discovered Pilates and learned about the many benefits it had on her body. Pilates not only saved her career, but inspired her to become an instructor and share her passion with others. Learn more about Mandy in our Q&A below!
What motivated you to begin leading Pilates?
During the later years of high school and into college I suffered severe ankle sprains, chronic tendonitis and knee issues from dancing. Pilates helped me rehab from these injuries and build strength by addressing my underlying alignment issues that were causing reoccurring injuries. Learning about my body through pilates saved my career and has kept me performing at my best through all the ups and downs. I saw how this technique can really change your body and help you re-pattern, manage and/or prevent future injury. My success story inspired me to share that knowledge with people and become a teacher of Pilates.
How would you describe your training personality?
I am a classically trained no-frills kind of teacher at my roots. I always like to say that Joesph Pilates knew what he was doing when he created these exercises, so why mess with perfection! However, I was first introduced to pilates through a physical therapy setting, so I think that mindset of what is imbalanced and how can we reform that is very important to me. I’m fasciated by the body and all of its little quirks and habits. I love to look at things and try to problem solve in real time to make an exercise click with someone so I becomes an exploration for both of us. Sometimes my inner dancer likes to play around with props and weights and choreograph. I guess you can say my approach is a little bit of everything, and I try to mix and match those styles based on my clients needs to give them a well rounded training experience that never becomes boring.
What’s one item on your bucket list?
I love to eat, especially meat and cheese or pasta. My dream vacation would be eating my way through Italy top to bottom. I would probably have to wait until I retire from dancing since I would gain about a million pounds, but it would be worth it!
What advice do you have for people that are just getting into fitness?
Be patient. Success is not linear. Like anything in life; in fitness you will have set backs, injuries and obstacles. Sometimes the only way to move forward is to go back to square one. But even if that happens just know you are already doing better than you were yesterday just by being present and working. As a dancer I am always and forever a student, so these are lessons and reminders I have to give myself everyday. Its hard, it takes a lot of willpower. The satisfaction you get from the little victories is what its all about, and that is something you have to really want.
What’s your favorite workout & why?
Pilates, duh! Seriously though, I do pilates everyday as part of my warmup before rehearsals and class, as well as cross training. I’ve also started meditative running, which I love doing after some intense pilates core work because I can feel myself using my center to support my movement as I run. I find that when I run after pilates I make better time and I’m able to push a little faster towards the end of my cardio without flatlining.
Tell us a little bit about the Reformer & Cadillac.
First of all, its not as scary as it looks! People often see the Reformer and Cadillac for the first time and they are overwhelmed by all the straps and springs, so they assume mat is easier. I believe the opposite actually, because the springs and straps are there to help support your weight and guide your movement. With Mat Pilates all you have is the mat and gravity, and often times people can’t feel that you are doing things incorrectly because you have zero feedback or you’re compensating.
With the Reformer you absolutely can not compensate. I like to think of it as the great equalizer, the Reformer helps you inform your body so that you can reform your body (see what I did there?). Plus its so versatile! You can jump on the Reformer like a trampoline, you can stand, sit, kneel, lie down, work your upper body, lower body, back, core, spine and brain. It really does it all!
I like to call the Cadillac the adult jungle gym because it is just that. You can hang on it like monkey barres, there is an attachment that is literally called ‘the swing’ which you can use to lunge, hang, bridge or even plank on. There are fuzzy stirrups we use so that you can hang from your feet like a bat.
Even though the Cadillac looks more intimidating I find that I often use it for a lot of therapeutic exercises like low back traction, stretching and basic re-alignment for the spine. I also use the platform like a physical therapy table to do rolling and pre-pilates concepts. So it’s not all torture chamber scary stuff, I promise.