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Lesley Logan Of OnlinePilatesClasses On How Pilates Can Improve Your Health and Wellbeing

An Interview With Maria Angelova

Pilates Reduces pain — Pilates does not overwork or underwork your muscles. Injuries happen if you are too tight or too loose. For example, I trained two football players; one was an Ex NFL player, and the other was a college football player. They were both incredibly strong; there was nothing they couldn’t do — the aches and pains they had were due to how tight they were. By training with a Pilates practice, we worked all of their stabilizing muscles in their shoulders, hips, and backs, and they stopped having all the aches and pains. As a result, they stopped sustaining minor injuries.

Pilates was invented around 100 years ago, and it is becoming an increasingly popular form of exercise. What exactly is Pilates? How is it different from other modalities like Yoga or Tai Chi? What are the benefits of Pilates? Who can most benefit from it? In this interview series, we are talking to Pilates professionals & practitioners who can talk about how Pilates can improve your health and wellbeing. As a part of this series, I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Lesley Logan.

Lesley Logan is a certified Pilates teacher, habits, and mindset coach, who fell in love with Pilates after her first 100! From side hustle to full time, she jumped from teacher to manager to running multiple studios. Next, she wrote a book that focused on the business of Pilates, which grew into ProfitablePilates.com and is now a business coaching program called Agency. Later she created OnlinePilatesClasses.com, which includes the first free online catalog of Pilates tutorials. When not in Las Vegas, she travels, leading workshops and retreats worldwide.

Thank you so much for joining us! Before we dive in, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your ‘backstory’?

I was always an athlete — a friend invited me to a Pilates class — I thought it was an infomercial workout and couldn’t and wouldn’t do all the things it claimed. But, I tried it and felt parts of my body working that I hadn’t ever felt. From that very first class fell in love with Pilates. From that day forward, I went to mat Pilates almost every day. I moved to Los Angeles and couldn’t find Pilates classes I liked. A friend of mine suggested I become a Pilates instructor — Which I did, of course, and because I wanted to figure out what the foundation of Pilates was all about, I am lucky to say I trained with Jay Grimes, who worked directly with Joseph Pilates. What started as a hobby became my full-time gig- inevitably, I was teaching so many people Pilates because I loved it- I decided to replace my full-time job at Fred Segal with teaching Pilates full time. The rest is history.

Can you share with us the most interesting story from your career? Can you tell us what lessons or ‘takeaways’ you learned from that?

Interestingly, I have had the privilege of traveling all over the world to teach Pilates. You don’t hear people teaching TRX, traveling the world. I didn’t know this was possible when I first started teaching Pilates. I have been to every continent to teach Pilates.

Our bodies are different daily — and I know this because I have benefited from working with people of all ages, shapes, and sizes worldwide. It is fascinating to see people get in touch with their bodies when they commit to a Pilates practice; our bodies reveal how well we care for them. What is so remarkable is how much we can learn about ourselves based on how we speak to ourselves, how we take care of ourselves, and how we show up for ourselves in working out what we may or may not be able to do that day. I have been an athlete my whole life — I never learned the lessons about how to take care of my body until I studied Pilates and where your body will meet you that day.

You are a successful leader. Which three character traits do you think were most instrumental to your success? Can you please share a story or example for each?

I am a messy action taker. I don’t wait for things to be perfect, I see a problem that needs to be solved, and I take action. For example, at the beginning of my Pilates teaching career, a colleague required me to teach her 30-person class. I didn’t hesitate and thought — someone else should do that. I had only been teaching individually up to that point. I didn’t think twice about teaching this class. I thought, yes, I can do that, and I will figure it out. I have taught workshops worldwide, and I never had a plan or a formula as each situation was different; I always figured out how to give my students the best experience.

I am a problem solver. People love going to the gym because they love being accountable. When I created my online platform, I wanted it to be unique because it held people accountable. I had an issue because I was being asked to travel to teach Pilates workshops around the world at various events, etc. I noticed a gap, and I took action. I knew my students needed me, and I was one of the first teachers to start teaching online with skype way before zoom was even an option. This allowed me to reach more people and keep my regular student in their practice. I started Onlinepilatesclasses.com way before online classes were a thing. — around 2017, I was teaching live and filming classes for my students to do while I was traveling so we could sustain our work together.

Being Authentic — I believe in being authentic. As a teacher, I know being authentic about my process, and my practice allows people to feel safe and identify. It also enables me to be real and not have to pretend I am someone I am not. OPC has a solid community, which depends on how safe people feel. I know every day is another opportunity to get Pilates into your body. Some days will be fluid and easy, and others will feel hard and blocked. The point is doing Pilates every day it’s a practice, not a perfect.

Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that might help people?

I’m working on my flashcards; I started with the Mat deck, created The Reformer and the Cadillac decks, and am currently working on The Chair deck. I know not everyone has access to equipment, but it is a way for us to introduce equipment and show you can have equipment in your home like you have a bike. Also, it allows more people to have access to understanding Pilates for themselves, to be their own teachers, and to create a practice. I do want more bodies to do Pilates, and not everyone can make it to a studio, and having a Pilates studio in the palm of your hand with any of my decks allows more people to do Pilates more consistently wherever they are.

In addition, we host a Pilates retreat in Cambodia, and I think getting people out of their routine into a new unique environment is so important. Cambodia is a place in the world people think they want to go, but it seems far away. I like that Brad (my husband and CEO of OPC) and I can lead people to our house in Cambodia, which is right near the temples, combining doing something great with your body and visiting places that were built 1000' s of years ago. All our attendees take all these experiences home with them, which changes them.

Ok, thank you for all that. Now let’s shift to the main focus of our interview about, Pilates. To begin, can you tell our readers a bit about why you are an authority on the topic of Pilates?

I am an authority because I was a second-generation Pilates instructor once removed from Joseph Pilates. My path has been arduous, but I am fortunate that I worked directly with the masters who trained directly with Joseph Pilates. I completed my first certification in 2008 — a 9-month program — I finished 600 hours of apprentice training on each piece of equipment. In addition to the 600 apprenticeship hours, I completed six weekends of 18-hour training. In 2012 I completed my second certification, which was a masterclass with Romana Kryzanowska- who is very well known as one of Joseph Pilates’ proteges. In 2014 — I discovered Vintage Pilates, founded by Jay Grimes, who studied directly with Joseph Pilates. In 2016 I did a year in a program called ‘The Work,” which is Jay Grimes’s program for teachers. The Work program is rigorous. I had to audition to get into the program. Jay only chooses 12 people a year, and as the program continues, you must be constantly reassessed to stay in the program. This was intense but so worth it because of what I have learned. It gave me grace and patience, and I witnessed how everyone’s bodies differ. I know from my years of practice that Pilates is the answer to being a better mom, wife, friend, and worker because It is a full-body workout, and even 5 minutes of Pilates a day will feed and nourish your body and soul.

Let’s start with a basic definition so that we are all on the same page. What exactly is Pilates?

Pilates is a strength workout that is designed to balance your imbalances. It never underworks or overworks a muscle group — every exercise is meant to strengthen and stretch the muscles. We are never spot training; the entire body is incorporated to do the work for every movement. The mat workout was invented first, and all the other equipment was created to support the mat work. The mat is where it is, and we want to master it because It is where you want to perfect your practice. The goal is to connect to your center. Your center is not just your abs. I want to stress Pilates is not an ab workout; Pilates is often mislabeled as a core workout. It is your entire body altogether. Your center includes the muscles around your shoulder girdle, the front and back of your torso, and the muscles around your hips. All these muscles integrate and connect in an exercise, and then you move your arms and legs in diverse ways to challenge that connection. It is super cool.

How is Pilates different from other movement modalities that you have practiced?

I still lift weights, do yoga, and spin; I was an elite sponsored runner. So, how is Pilates different from all of them? The same reason that running is different from yoga from tai chi. There are similarities in everything; they require our muscles and our bodies, The way you would create a weight training session is much different from how you would design a Pilates session. For example, in a weight session, you would say it’s leg day, arm day, and add in supplement exercises. With Pilates, you always incorporate the whole body and are doing sets, not reps, quality over quantity; you don’t overwork and tax the muscles. The other significant difference with Pilates is that you don’t repeat the exercise- for example, in something like yoga, you are repeating downward dog or with weights like a bicep curl. With Pilates, you layer the movement on top of one another- where each activity can be beneficial when done on its own. As you move on to the next exercise, it is meant to enhance what you just did or enrich the next activity you perform. There is a beautiful fluidity to Pilates.

On a personal level, what are the biggest benefits that you have gained from regular Pilates practice?

I am the strongest I have ever been. I am stronger today at 39 than I was at 16 or 22. The more I do Pilates, the stronger I get. There is never a ceiling I get to keep going. I used to look at things like a cross fit or handstand pushups. And think I can’t do that — I know now because of Pilates — my body can figure it out.

Another personal benefit — I have always been 5'9" since I was 12 years old- my mother has always told me to put my shoulders back. Two years into having a consistent Pilates practice, someone said to me,” wow, you have the most fantastic posture” I saw Jay Grimes my Pilates teacher the other day. He said wow, are you 6' feet now. I said no, still 5' 9"– I am not taller; my posture makes me appear taller. Having great posture has excellent benefits; it helps with your digestion, prevents back pain, etc.,

Who do you think can most benefit from Pilates?

Truly Pilates is for every-BODY. It takes consistency and finding the right teacher. I have taught every kind of body. NFL Players, bodybuilders, runners, children, older men and women, and children. I taught a woman who had one leg. You can work on the equipment if you can’t work on the mat. Pilates is a workout that everybody, and I mean everybody, will benefit from.

Pilates can sometimes be expensive. Can you share with our readers your perspectives on why Pilates is worth its costs?

You can’t compare Pilates classes to other workout classes. Is it more expensive? Let’s break it down — when you look at a typical Pilates class, there are an average of 12 reformers in the room where every other fitness regimen can pack people into the class- 30 people in a step class, 50 people in a yoga class. Pilates is not a fly-by-night practice. Your teacher has likely spent thousands of dollars and hours on their training to become a Pilates instructor. This is not a slight to any fitness trainer. However, the training to become a Pilates teacher is intense, timely, and costly. So when you practice with a certified Pilates teacher in class or individually, you pay for the expertise that your teacher brings to the practice. You also get a lot more attention in Pilates classes because fewer students are in each class. The instructors can spend more time on everyone, ensuring the students are engaged and performing the exercises beneficially.

Based on your research or experience, can you please share your “5 Ways That Pilates Can Improve Your Health and Wellbeing”?

Posture, let’s start with a good posture story- I had a client who was a dentist and spent his life hunched over. Most of us spend our days hunched over. After about two years of coming to Pilates, He told me he hated Pilates, but his wife made him come. He came in one day and informed me he had been to his DR, and he was taller -his posture had improved, and because of his excellent posture, his golf game improved. He was taller than all his friends, who were shrinking as they age, so he decided he wanted to come to Pilates more often. Posture is not just about looking tall — If your posture is out of alignment, it affects many things; lousy posture leads to poor digestion — poor digestion leads to poor sleep. It is a vicious cycle. We all aim to have good posture, and Pilates will help perfect your posture.

Pilates Reduces pain — Pilates does not overwork or underwork your muscles. Injuries happen if you are too tight or too loose. For example, I trained two football players; one was an Ex NFL player, and the other was a college football player. They were both incredibly strong; there was nothing they couldn’t do — the aches and pains they had were due to how tight they were. By training with a Pilates practice, we worked all of their stabilizing muscles in their shoulders, hips, and backs, and they stopped having all the aches and pains. As a result, they stopped sustaining minor injuries.

Flexibility — I want to be cautious with this description. Often people pride themselves on their flexibility, and I will say you must have an equal balance of strength and flexibility. With Pilates, you are actively stretching and strengthening your muscles. In a way that allows you to be balanced. I had a celebrity client who could barely lean over to tie his shoe- his lack of flexibility affected his acting because he couldn’t do basic things. Through consistent practice, we increased his flexibility. I recently saw him in a movie, and his body is way more flexible because of his Pilates practice.

Energy –

We all know that people who work out have more energy than people who don’t. Because you can work out more parts of your body in less time, I had a client who was a mom of 4 who would arrive to her sessions so tired and bleary-eyed, and by the time she left, she would feel so much better and energized. This was her form of self-care, and it made her show up for herself and her family much better. Likewise, I hear from my OPC member all the time they feel tired at the start of the workout, and after the training, they feel completely transformed.

Efficiency

You get way more for less time. Because you are working the entire body in each workout, if you are traveling and you only do two Pilates workouts, you know you did a full body workout, whereas if you were doing another kind of training, for example, cardio or weights, you are only doing your legs or a targeted body part. . Lots of people do not think of Pilates as an endurance workout. However, you can get your heart rate up and down during a Pilates workout. We must stop thinking we are going to spin, run, or elliptical into the body we want; it doesn’t work like that. Pilates works because each exercise transitions into the next, which couples strength, cardio, and length into one workout. I train one of the top lawyers at Google, and she doesn’t have time to work out for hours a day. She made time for Pilates three times a week, and I have seen her get stronger, taller, and leaner year on year.

In my Pilates practice, I stress the importance of precision in Pilates. Based on your experiences and research, what are your thoughts about why precision is essential in Pilates?

I would agree that precision is essential, but I think people get a little more precious with this concept. Pilates was first called Contrology- the art of controlling your body. Precision was a part of this, but that does not mean going so slow in the practice or trying to be so perfect that you miss out on the good stuff. If you get too caught up in being too perfect, you will miss out on all the benefits. Allow your body to practice being precise. Especially if you are new to Pilates, it’s going to take you a little time to learn the precision of Pilates. Our muscles and body are precise, and we need to work on our imbalances, which is how you get the most precision out of your muscles.

You are a person of enormous influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. :-)

I wish I could start a movement where people just celebrated the fact that they showed up. Let’s start celebrating that you showed up because it triggers something in your brain that makes you do more of that because it feels good. As human beings, if we can celebrate that we showed up, even if it was for two minutes. We would have a massive movement of people who would be happier, healthier, and stronger!

In my community, we celebrate FYF F*&K Yeah Friday.

Everyone must share a weekly win. If they don’t share a success during the week, they must share a win on Friday. No victory is too small, and even if they only post the fact, they are posting a success — we initially did this for two weeks. My community loved it so much that we kept it going, and we are still doing it with new participants joining in every week. Supporting each other is the best medicine there is.

What is the best way for our readers to continue to follow your work online?

My website is.

https://onlinepilatesclasses.com

Instagram @lesley.logan

This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for the time you spent on this. We wish you only continued success.

About The Interviewer: Maria Angelova, MBA is a disruptor, author, motivational speaker, body-mind expert, Pilates teacher and founder and CEO of Rebellious Intl. As a disruptor, Maria is on a mission to change the face of the wellness industry by shifting the self-care mindset for consumers and providers alike. As a mind-body coach, Maria’s superpower is alignment which helps clients create a strong body and a calm mind so they can live a life of freedom, happiness and fulfillment. Prior to founding Rebellious Intl, Maria was a Finance Director and a professional with 17+ years of progressive corporate experience in the Telecommunications, Finance, and Insurance industries. Born in Bulgaria, Maria moved to the United States in 1992. She graduated summa cum laude from both Georgia State University (MBA, Finance) and the University of Georgia (BBA, Finance). Maria’s favorite job is being a mom. Maria enjoys learning, coaching, creating authentic connections, working out, Latin dancing, traveling, and spending time with her tribe. To contact Maria, email her at angelova@rebellious-intl.com.

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Maria Angelova, CEO of Rebellious Intl.

Maria Angelova, CEO of Rebellious Intl.

Maria Angelova, MBA is a disruptor, author, motivational speaker, body-mind expert, Pilates teacher and founder and CEO of Rebellious Intl.