During the summer, I got really into Pilates (still am!) and I began to realize why women are so addicted to it. The long, lean look and perfectly toned muscles you'll get from a class like this and even the slight soreness I don't expect to have the day after, but do, gets me super pumped whenever I have a Pilates date on my weekly workout schedule.
I started searching around for a Pilates studio that kicks butt—and stumbled upon Jumping Frog Pilates in Tenafly, New Jersey, just outside of Manhattan. Jumping Frog Pilates is one of the most successful Pilates studios in the state and one of the instructors, Alexandra White, a Lululemon Ambassador, is truly a FITNESS magazine role model. Mom to two young boys, Alexandra is also a successful runner who holds training camps for adults and kids, teaches girl's lacrosse, competes (and oftentimes places) in local half-marathons, 5Ks and obstacle course races like Spartan Race, and is an avid skier. She knows firsthand why Pilates is the perfect complement to all the running she does, so I scouted some moves. What you got was the very awesome Absolute Power workout in our September 2012 issue. Read on to find out a little more about our trainer of the month:
Everyone I talk to seems to have a pre-trainer life. What’s your story?
I went to Parsons School of Design for a degree in graphic design and I was an Art Director for an advertising agency in New York City for 15 years until I switched gears and decided to make my workout hobby my job. I still do freelance print and web design on the side, because I still really love it.
What's the hardest part about following your dreams?
Giving up knowing what is coming. When you work for an agency, you have predictable hours and rates. Working for yourself is much more unpredictable. I had to get used to having a very flexible schedule and income from week to week. But I'm so much happier now!
During those 15 years, how did you fit fitness into your busy schedule?
Fitness is part of my day no matter what. I work out like I eat my meals. I feel like I have to do it at some point during the day. I often worked out at 9-10pm just to get it in. I still do that now sometimes when my kids are asleep- just get on the treadmill late at night to fit it in. I put my workout first always--and if that means I have to come an hour later to a happy hour gathering, I do.
You’re an avid runner—okay I've read your race times border on elite status. Tell me how you got so good?
I wouldn’t say I’m elite by any stretch, but thank you! I usually place in the top 10 of a big race and I'm lucky to get a podium finish if it's a smaller one. But I have just been doing it a long time—and maybe it's some talent too! I've played sports my entire life that included a lot of running. And I’m too competitive to be mediocre, so I train hard and try to get better each time. You definitely have to put the time in to get the results you want. And yes I've won a few races!
Of the races you've done, what’s your favorite?
I did a really fun Super Spartan obstacle race with my younger brother. It was fun to break up the running with obstacles and mud!
How did you go from running to being a Pilates pro?
I hurt my back a few years ago and had to do some physical therapy to get it better. I tried Pilates to help strengthen my back and core and since I don’t like lifting weights, I found this was a great way to get my whole body strong without spending hours and hours lifting dumbbells.
Why does a Pilates workout complement a regular running routine?
When you run, your power comes from your core. As soon as you get fatigued, you start to lose form. A strong core helps keep a good body position, which allows for the best running economy.
You’re a Lululemon Ambassador. How did that happen?
I was actually just shopping for some clothes because I teach Pilates in a lot of Lululemon apparel and I started talking to one of their community advisors in the store. She asked me to fill out the application that very night. A few weeks later, after interviewing me a bit more, they asked me to be their running ambassador. It was such an honor. My favorite piece of clothing is their Run: Speed Short. They are cute and sexy AND they are great to run in.
Which sneakers do you run in?
What’s always in your gym bag?
Sneakers, running shorts, a sports bra, and my Garmin GPS watch.
Fave running songs on your playlist?
I actually don’t listen to music while I run. My days are pretty long and LOUD. I have to listen to myself teach for hours at a time. So when I run, I just love the silence. At the studio, I usually pick U2 radio or Bruno Mars radio station on Pandora, my clients like that.
What’s the one must-do move women should be doing?
Planks and side leg lifts. Women tend to have weak glute muscles and that leads to a lot of hip and back issues.
What’s your workout heaven?
A trek through the jungle or up a beautiful mountain.
What’s your workout hell?
Swimming! I'm so bad at it!
What’s on your fitness bucket list?
Become the next Jillian Michaels!
You're the founder of Learn To Run With Alex White, how did that come about?
I started the running training about a year ago. It really just started with one Pilates client who asked me to teach her how to run. From there, I started my Track n Training program as a running and full body strength combo class outside at local tracks. It's done pretty well because people can go at their own pace. I instruct people by effort level, not an exact speed/pace, so everyone will be at same effort level and not feel like they are dragging behind. It works for all levels. I actually have three clients doing their first races this month! Others have gone from not running more than one mile around the track to completing 4 miles this week. It makes me so happy to see!
How do you juggle two thriving businesses, staying in shape and two young boys? What's the secret to your success?
My iPhone calendar. :) I try to do as much as I can, as efficiently as I can without losing time for my kids. I set aside two afternoons during the week and most of the weekend for my kids.
What’s the one misconception about working out while you’re pregnant?
That you have to stop doing it. I ran until the day I gave birth with my kids. I wasn’t going fast, but I was jogging or speed walking. The more active you stay during your pregnancy, the easier it will be to bounce back.
What’s the biggest mistake new moms make in regards to trying to lose the baby weight?
The eating for two concept. You aren’t really eating for two. I barely ate any more during either of my pregnancies. And afterwards, even though I was breastfeeding, I still didn’t eat more. I ate healthy foods and started exercising as soon as the doctor said I was ready. I really only took off 5-6 weeks and then started back up running again. The less time you let go by after the birth, the easier it will be to get back into the game. So the longer you wait, the harder it will be!
What’s your fave pre-workout snack and post-workout snack?
Pre-workout I often have a piece of whole wheat toast with almond butter and some raw honey. Afterwards I often eat greek yogurt with a bit of honey or granola for the carbs. And LOTS of water all day!
What’s your workout mantra?
Make your workout part of every day. It’s not a sometimes thing. It’s an everyday thing. I treat my workouts like meals. They have to happen at some point.
Which celeb would you love to whip into shape?
Any of the Gossip Girls or Housewives on Bravo. They need some muscle! It’s not all about dieting and starving yourself.