Beginner Pilates suggestions from Lashaun Dale, Vice President of Content and Programming for 24 Hour Fitness
A long-time fitness professional, Lashaun Dale is the midst of adding new programming to the 24 Hour Fitness Schedule including Treat While You Train by Jill Miller, Booty Barre by Tracey Mallett, Athletic Training Club by Melissa Guest-Smith, and and POP Pilates by Cassey Ho. Dale decided to work with Ho because she describes popular Pilates teacher is a role model who can relate to people’s challenges and can inspire them toward positive change.
What suggestions would you give to people who want to get started with Pilates?
LD: Be okay with not being a Pilates Diva from the start. There will be moves that are so humbling that you want to quit…pick a base move that is your, “I will do something move.” For me in Pilates, when I can’t deal with the burn in my core in some of the moves, I practice just holding my legs up in the air totally straight, with my core engaged and my breathing in sync. I’ll give myself a moment to reset, and then get back in the game. Do some pre–study including watching videos about Pilates moves; seeing them before you actually do them is a mental warm up for your body. And because of the amazing way our brain works, we actually impact our physiology to have some familiarity with the moves when we try them physically. Now don’t get confused—you can’t watch your way to fit! Fitness requires some sweat equity, but watching then trying, then watching some more, is a great pathway to mastery.
What suggestions would you give to someone if they are trying a new class for the first time?
LD: Let the instructor know that you are new. Don’t be shy about it. This gives them information and a call to action to make sure you are successful. Go to class with the expectation that you are going to do as much as you can and get the best workout available to you right now. Then celebrate afterwards somehow–even if you just take the time to fully enjoy a hot shower. Practice mini self-care rituals that to reward your effort so you literally condition new habits into your life.
What do you consider when developing fitness programming?
I expect workouts to do double (maybe even triple) duty. One, the workout has to deliver what it promises, such as a good sweat or good bliss-out session. Both have their place. Second, I appreciate authenticity and leadership. So I want to know that the instructor or program designer is willing to bring everything they know and have to the program including their life experience and to share that with the participants. This ensures that we are moved emotionally and spiritually and then transformed by the investment of that hour of our day. For the triple extra credit, if a class can be entertaining and educational, and make me either laugh or learn or both, then it’s a home run.
What do you do in your own life to cultivate balance?
I don’t actually believe in balance and it is not my goal. Even nature tends to thrive with transitions and decay if overly still. What matters to me is to feel alive and inspired. To do that every day, I meditate. I try to create something new (which means I have to learn something new) and I make sure to surround myself with the people and activities I love most—especially my children and my husband.
For more information about 24 Hour Fitness, visit: 24hourfitness.com.