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Nicole Stuart on Living Healthier

Nicole Stuart on Living Healthier

Personal trainer Nicole Stuart works with a celebrity clientele that includes Courtney Love, Kate Hudson, Goldie Hawn and Julia Ormond. Stuart trained with Mari Winsor, a leading Pilates expert, and researched the benefits of the technique for women during pregnancy and postpartum. To help her clients benefit their bodies as well as their minds and spirits, Stuart combines Pilates with yoga, stretching, reflexology and dance for a holistic approach to exercise.

What is Pilates?

It’s an exercise system focused on improving flexibility and strength for the total body without building bulk. It includes a series of controlled movements, engaging both body and mind, performed on specifically designed exercise apparatus and supervised by extensively trained teachers. It’s for people of all ages and physical conditions.

Do you teach your clients any other techniques besides Pilates?

I think it’s good to do a little of everything. I like combining exercises because your muscles won’t get used to doing the same old moves. If you get into a routine, your body grows accustomed to certain movements and stretches.

When someone starts training, how long does it take to start feeling fit?

Assuming it’s someone who has never watched their diet, I would first put them on a diet. I would not kill them with a really heavy workout, but I would definitely get them to do 30 minutes of cardio four days a week. Cardio is key, along with a circuit type of exercise routine and something like Pilates, yoga or weight training.

Why is Pilates so good for the body?

It centers people and opens them up. It grounds them by emphasizing the mind-body connection, which is really important. A person can lift weights all the time and then come in and do Pilates, and he or she is sweating their butt off, not used to working their body in that way. People need to be really grounded and open, stretching and lengthening all of the muscles. You work from your center, which means you’re always working your stomach, whether you’re working your arms, butt or back.

What’s your perspective on the mind-body connection?

I think it comes from how you’re feeling about yourself, your diet and how you end up feeling at the end of the day. If you’re eating healthier, then you’re feeling healthier and that energy translates into working out a little bit more, staying a little more focused. Exercise isn’t always so much about the physical, like how you look; it’s also about the mental benefit, the happy feelings you get. The physical benefits come if you stay on a consistent program for a long period of time.

How can we make sense of all the trends in health and fitness?

Research is important. Talk to people and get their advice and opinions. Just use common sense and don’t follow bad crazes. People say Pilates is so fashionable, but Pilates has been around forever.

For more information on Nicole Stuart, visit www.nicolestuart.com.

Posted: 12/28/07