Q&A on Pilates with Nicollette Van Den Bergh (Bodywise Pilates instructor)
What do you love most about Pilates and what inspired you to teach?
Growing up, I have always loved looking for different forms of exercises, to find new ways to challenge myself. When I heard about Pilates and the numerous benefits, it immediately sparked my interest. During my first Pilates session, I felt my muscles activating in ways so different to any other form of physical fitness. I was playing various sports at the time like netball, cricket, waterpolo, swimming and my most favourite of all - athletics. I felt like Pilates challenged me on both a physical and mental level, and from that day I was totally hooked and couldn’t wait to learn more and more about the wonderful world of Pilates.
Once I got my BASI mat qualification, the next natural step for me was to share my knowledge and help people around me to experience the level of physical control they can have over their bodies. I wanted to show my clients the amazing effects Pilates can have on their bodies.
One thing that really inspired me to carry on teaching; that moment when a client masters an exercise and the look on their face when they achieve a goal they thought would take them a very long time to achieve.
What is your favourite Pilates exercise?
If I had to choose a Pilates exercises I love the most, it would be a toss-up between the jack knife and the seal. The first time I tried those two exercises, I fell over so many times trying to perfect them and instead of letting my failed attempts dishearten me, I would burst out laughing because falling and tumbling around all over the place made me realize how much it reminded me about being a kid again. I loved the memories it brought back to me each time.
And yes I have perfected both exercises now ;)
You only have 30 minutes, what is your go to healthy lunch or dinner?
Hmmmm… that is a toughy. I really love food and if I had to choose one of my quick and easy, go to meals when time is limited, it would have to be chicken wraps. It’s such a quick and delicious meal.
First I cut chicken breasts into thin pieces, add some salt and pepper to season and throw it in the pan. While the chicken is cooking on the stove, I quickly chop up some tomato, cucumber, lettuce, avo and feta to add to my chicken wrap. This all takes about 15-20 minutes and once the chicken is done, I just throw everything together in a wrap and add some of my favourite salad dressing- garlic and feta dressing. And voila! A yummy yummy meal ready for me to have on the go. Describing this has made me hungry!
One random fact about you that the Bodywise community doesn’t know?
Never in my life have I ever been able to do this one thing. I have practiced and practiced as a kid and I just couldn’t get it right. I tried tips and tricks from everyone who could do this one thing but it hasn’t helped. After all these years of trying and trying…and trying, I have finally accepted that I...cannot whistle.
What would be your one gem of advice for someone who is trying to get in to fitness and Pilates?
My advice to someone would be; once you make that decision to start this path of physical wellness, stick to it and don’t procrastinate. The beginning phases of anything new and sometimes challenging in life (for e.g. starting Pilates) takes determination and commitment.
Don’t allow the struggles you initially experience to discourage you and never say “I can do it tomorrow” or “I don’t have the time to do it now”. Believe me, it all pays off in the end and you will be very proud of yourself once you look back to the first day that you started and how far you have come!
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