How to take Pilates to the next level

Yes, you can eat whatever you want and still get fit, according to YouTube POP pilates sensation Cassey Ho

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WHO IS SHE?
Cassey Ho, 29. The American fitness instructor started her YouTube channel in 2009 for her class of 40 students in Los Angeles when she moved to Boston for work. The videos drew thousands of views, and people requested for more fitness videos. She gave them what they wanted, and the rest is history. Today, over 3 million YouTube subscribers and 1.3 million Insta-fans follow the creator of POP Pilates, an up-tempo Pilates workout done to beats of chart-toppers. The bubbly instructor was in town recently for the Zespri SunGold Kiwifest, where she held Singapore’s first POP Pilates session with over 3,500 people at Empress Lawn (above).

8 DAYS: What’s your fitness routine like?
Cassey Ho: I’m doing Pilates Intense Interval Training, or PIIT28, which is a combination of pilates and high-intensity interval training. It’s my new program and each workout is only 28 minutes. No one has time these days, so the faster you do it, the more fun you have. I wanted to mix in brand new pilates movements together with cardio moves, so that you can easily break into sweat without using any equipment. I think it’s cool ’cos we often travel so much and we may not have a gym where we’re at. The less equipment you need, the more likely you are to stick to your routine. I do it every single morning. I don’t necessarily plan for a rest day because I travel around and sometimes, rest days naturally happen.

What are your best get-fit tips? Pick a workout that you really enjoy. If you like doing yoga and pilates, but try to switch to Crossfit because you’ve heard that it gives you an awesome body, you’ll dread doing it every day, and you’re not going to stick to it. Do something you enjoy and you’ll notice that the fats will go away naturally and your body will tone up. Also, drink lots of water. I drink two litres of water daily.

You believe in having a cheat meal once a week. Why? I call it the YOLO (you only live once) meal. It’s a positive twist on the idea of cheat meals. The thing about this concept is that you shouldn’t think of food as the enemy. A lot of people think that food is going to make you fat but food is energy, it’s culture, it’s friendship and it makes you happy. So once in a while, you need to feed your soul too. When I have a YOLO meal, I eat whatever I want and not feel guilty about it. You should eat it, feel awesome, and know that your body will get back on track, ’cos it will.

What do you do when you feel like giving up halfway through your workout? I have something called the ‘power phrase’. It’s what I say to myself at the moment when I feel like I can’t do it anymore. My power phrase is: “It’s going to be okay, keep going”. And for the most part, it’s going to be okay. You’re not going to die. Nothing bad’s going to happen. You just need to keep going and you’ll find that every time you do that, you get a little bit stronger.

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What do you do on days when you feel fat? When people say you’re fat, or you feel fat, you’re describing a feeling. Fat is something physical, it’s just the fat cells underneath your skin. I think people need to stop saying that, ’cos you are so much more than how you look. On days when I feel fat, I dress so that I look good, and then I work out, as that makes me feel more energetic.

You’ve received negative comments online about your body. How do you react to body-shamers? When I first started getting negative comments, it would make me really sad and I would cry. Now, I’ve gotten used to it. I realise nobody has ever come up to me to say things to my face that they have said online. So if I turn off my phone, it’s like these comments don’t actually exist, and the negativity has no place in my body and mind. I just block them and delete the comments if they’re really hateful.

What’s one thing you’ve learnt on the job that they didn’t teach you in school? You don’t need years and years of education, a lot of money, or even a whole team of people working for you. As long as you have an idea, passion, and determination to make that idea come to life, you will be successful. 

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