Last week we heard from Jessica, this week we hear from the other half of the pie. Alicia Lavender, co-owner of Pilates studio, TONE Pilates and Wellness Center in Astoria, New York, gets reals as she opens up about her favorite exercises that get quick results, how Pilates helped her through her pregnancy, and why she's hooked on Pilates for good.
Q. What got you interested in Pilates?
A. Pilates was a lifesaver for me. I blew out my knee performing in 2006, had to have three knee surgeries. I used Pilates as my rehabilitation…I knew then that I needed to be in this profession!
Q. Why do you still pursue Pilates?
A. I love Pilates, I love what it does for the body and how it makes a person feel. I truly love seeing a new client be amazed by the power of their center and realize how standing tall and proud can change perspective.
Q. What's the secret to staying fit long-term?
A. If you don’t’ move it, you’re gonna lose it!
Q. What is your favorite muscle to work out?
A. Oh, I’m a booty girl…Right now I’m loving squats with power loops, side squat, side squat with leg lifts…gotta keep it tight!
Q. You just had your first baby. How did Pilates help you through your pregnancy?
A. Pilates has been so beneficial to this wonderful journey. I feel that all my training through the years has allowed this pregnancy to be what I wanted it to be. Most people don’t think about it but having strong postural muscles and support has allowed me to move freely and with very little pain and of course having a strong pelvic floor has allowed myself and the baby to feel supported.
Q. What would you recommend to a prenatal client who is having a hard time staying motivated to stay fit?
A. I found the days I rested were the days I felt the worst. Moving, whether it’s Pilates, walking or what I enjoyed, riding my bike, just makes the body feel better. Now, don’t get me wrong, during the days after work during my pregnancy, I needed to go home and put my feet up. I also struggled with motivating myself, so I would do my commercial break exercises. For example, I was watching the mid-season finale of Mad Men and at every commercial break I jumped up and did 20 squats…by the end of the show I had done 100 squats!!
Q. For the clients who are about to start trying for a baby, what recommendations do you have for them before they get pregnant to ensure a strong and healthy pregnancy?
A. I would recommend to treat their bodies as if they were pregnant already. Take your prenatal vitamins before you get pregnant, eat tons of leafy greens to get your folic acid. Keep your exercise habits consistent and try not stress. That’s the hardest!
Q. What are your favorite exercises to keep those arms toned? And how about that butt? Is there anything to be done to lift and tone it, keeping it perky even during pregnancy?
A. Tricep dips, I also love standing arm work with the Thera-Band, bicep curls, front and lateral shoulder raise. The Thera-Band is a great prop to have for a pregnant woman as well as a stability ball!
OH, the booty! I hate to say it but from the beginning of the pregnancy I said, “I don’t care how big the belly gets, I just want my butt to stay lifted.” The good thing about pregnancy is that it should not conflict with any leg and glute exercises. In fact you should be concentrating on them more, since that is your foundation. Squat, squat, squat!! Also, I do work in the all four position, lifting one leg straight behind me, then pulsing, bend and stretch and pulse again…that will get the buns a blazing!
Q. What piece of advice do you wish every client knew?
A. Don’t take it so seriously. Enjoy it and have fun. Also, you have to feed your soul; make sure to find time to do things that make you happy. If you exude happiness, you will create a world around you of happy people; it’s infectious.