It's all about balance. Looking and feeling your best is all about giving yourself what your body needs from exercise, eating right, having personal time and also getting sleep. Our lives are pretty hectic so sometimes it may be tough to make sure that we have everything that we need. We took some time to chat with Cassey Ho, who is not only the founder of Blogilates and continued on to POP Pilates.
, but travels around the country motivating others to embrace their bodies and to stay moving. We chatted with Cassey to find out more about how she got started, what her day is like and her partnership with Zzzquil and how essential sleep is to her routine to stay on top of it all.
ATHLEISURE MAG: We've been fans for years! Please tell our readers how you came to creating Blogilates?
CASSEY HO: I created Blogilates back in 2009 when I was teaching a class at 24 Hour Fitness in Los Angeles after college. I was teaching about 30-40 students every Tuesday and Thursday
night. I was about to move to Boston for my first job out of college and my students were like “what are we going to do without you during the week? No one else teaches Pop Pilates.” I decided to film a video just for those 40 people, put it on YouTube and then I left [for Boston]. The next time I looked at that video, it had thousands of views and hundreds of comments. I read the comments and people were asking if I could do another butt video or another ab video and these were not just the people at 24 Hour Fitness, they were from people all over the world. Now we have over 3.7 million subscribers on YouTube, which is craziness, and it all is stemming from the intention to want to teach.
AM: What drew you to Pilates and why is this such a good method to do in terms of toning your body?
CH: I really love Pilates because it is all about competing against yourself and who you were yesterday. You do not have to compete with anyone else. Pilates is so good for your body because if you are doing mat Pilates you do not need any equipment and you are using your body strength, which also means you have fewer excuses when you are traveling. You don’t have to go to the gym to do Pilates; you can do it literally in your hotel room or at home. My form of Pilates is called POP Pilates, which is Pilates with pop music, so it makes it really fun to do and it is like a dance on the mat.
AM: What are you currently working on and tell us more about Sheroic podcast?
CH: I am currently working on the next POPFLEX collection, which is my active wear line and we are hoping to launch some new lines in the fall, which will be fun! Also on June 21, we are launching the Sheroic podcast. I am super excited about it and I am hosting it with my good
friend and fellow female entrepreneur, Lisa Bilyeu. We are talking everything female empowerment, how to follow your dreams, how to have successful relationships and how to deal with failure. We also talk about body image, plastic surgery and pretty much anything and
everything else. We get real, we get raw and every episode will leave you with at least one nugget of knowledge that will enrich your life.
AM: What are 3 exercises that are good to tone abs, legs and your butt?
CH: A great one for abs is the eagle crunch. You would cross your knees over each other and then cross your ankles if you can and cross your elbows over each other and then your wrists, if you can. Essentially, you are trying to make the body nice and tight. While you are laying on your back, squeeze and crunch up touching your elbows to your knees and then you release. That action is really going to attack your core, your abs and it is pretty insane. You will want to
try about 15 or 20 of those and the slower, the better.
For legs, I really like squat lunges. This is from my PIIT28 workout (Pilates Intense Interval Training), in which you begin in a squat with your legs hip width apart and toes tracking forward. You squat down with your chest open and back flat. Your butt will be almost to the floor, at least parallel to the floor. You then jump up and land in a lunge. Then you go back
into your squat, jump up and land in your lunge on the other side. This is all cardio, lots of legs and added butt too.
If you want another butt exercise, one that I really do enjoy is the standing single leg lift. Imagine you are balancing on one foot, leg is straight, hands on the hips and the other leg extended behind you, nice and long with your toe pointed. Now, while balancing on that foot like a flamingo, bend your knee and extend it up. That is really going to tack that one glute. Then to get the other glute, you lift the other leg high in the air and bring it back to that parallel position. This entire sequence is so good for your legs and your butt.
AM: What are great power foods that we can eat in order to maintain our energy when we're running around or about to work out?
CH: If you are looking for energy foods, you are looking for something with a bit more carbs in it for that quick energy. For me, I enjoy a really good acai bowl. You get your fruit, maybe some granola and it is fun to eat. Acai is really so good for you so I like that. They also make beautiful pictures.
AM: What is your personal style when it comes what you wear when you work out vs what you wear for brunch vs going out for date night?
CH: For working out, I love looking really cute because it keeps me motivated. I also think that looking cute helps with better form. If you look in the mirror and feel good about your outfit, you will have better form. I like wearing my own line, POPFLEX Active, because I like testing
my clothes to make sure they are working. I want to make sure that the pants are not see-through when you squat or that your boobs stay in when you do jump squats. These are all very important things, so I love testing the clothes before anything comes out.
In terms of what I wear for brunch versus going out, sometimes I finish my workout and head straight to brunch. I’m cool with doing that because I feel like the workout wear is very versatile, but I also really love rompers. I can wear rompers all day long. Rompers for brunch, rompers for date night, rompers all the time.
AM: Being healthy focuses on eating right and working out, how important is sleep to this formula?
CH: The three pillars for health are eating healthy, being active daily and getting enough rest daily. I think many people skip on the sleep part because it is not often talked about with the same level of emphasis as working out and eating right. I think people need to try to get 7-8 hours of sleep a day. Obviously, everyone is different but that is the number that tends to work for me and when that happens you will not only learn better, but you will remember more and
feel happier, which studies have proven. A recent ZzzQuil survey found that nearly nine in ten Americans (87%) say they experience trouble falling asleep—I can definitely relate to this! When life keeps me up, like when I get back from a big trip, I get major jetlag and it is very difficult to fall asleep, which screws with my entire weekly routine. On those occasional nights when jet lag keeps me up, I will take ZzzQuil, a realistic solution that helps me fall asleep usually in as little as 20 minutes. Then I am able to wake up the next day feeling refreshed and
ready to go!
AM: Tell us about your partnership with ZzzQuil and why do you prioritize sleep?
CH: I’m very excited to be partnering with ZzzQuil to promote the importance of sleep and rest to my fans. Sleep is so important and people often try to take time out of their sleep so they can get more done. The truth is when you try to get more done, you are not as productive because you don’t feel as good or energized.
Sleep needs to be there and it needs to be done every day. Of course sometimes when you aren’t able to sleep because you’re going to go out later or something comes up, that’s fine every once in a while. However, over a long period, it can be detrimental to your wellbeing.
So many people ask me my secrets to maintaining a healthy lifestyle when life gets busy and honestly, one of the biggest factors for me is sleep. I prioritize sleep because it helps my body literally function. I had issues with not being able to lose weight because I was not sleeping enough. That was something that I didn’t realize until I discovered it, because I didn’t sleep enough. Sleep also helps with my memory, which is awesome because I have to memorize
POP Pilates choreography all the time and that is a lot of moves and sequences. Getting a good night’s sleep after practice is helpful to be able to drill the moves into my memory.
AM: Do you have a sleeping routine, such as writing in a journal, drinking a tea etc. to begin the process?
CH: My sleep routine consists of some stretching at night and if I have time I’ll put on one of my favorite Netflix shows and stretch for about an hour to really open up my body. That puts
me in a calm mood physically. Then I’ll head to bed and I will begin to read, which calms my mind and helps me drift off into sleep.
AM: Please share anything that you feel you'd like our audience to know!
CH: For anyone out there that feels like they can’t pick their butt off the floor and they feel unmotivated to work out, I would say you need to figure out what it is that makes you really excited and really happy when you are moving. Even if it’s something as simple as walking, that’s fine. It doesn’t have to be crazy or intimidating, like CrossFit or running a marathon, but everyone has something that will really work for them and get them excited. We are all different human beings, so all of our workouts and diets are going to be a different prescription for ourselves. I suggest you try everything and I know you are going to find that one thing that gets you excited to want to jump out of bed and just do it, and that will be the right workout for you. Working out should make you happy, it shouldn’t feel like a chore.