Even though we are on the tail ends of quarantine, we are far from going back to "normal living," So what is one to do in order to make sure that they are staying healthy in the digital age? Emi Gutgold has been one of the many pioneers who have flipped the fitness industry on its head! Taking your daily workout into your home! Heres what she had to say about overcoming fears, starting your fitness journey, and much more helpful insight.
Why is fitness important to you? And why should it be important for others who don’t consider it essential?
Fitness is important in the same way eating vegetables, getting my flu shot, and listening to my doctor is important to me. I use fitness as a tool to help improve and maintain my quality of life. I've had a lot of ups and downs with my body. I was obese for most of my childhood, developed an eating disorder in high school, and then spent a lot of my college years drinking heavily. It took me a long time to make the connection that our quality of life is really affected by our health. I use the same approach for my students too. The fitness industry, despite all its good intentions, sometimes has us believe that fitness equates to looking hot or reaching a certain aesthetic. But really, fitness should always be about achieving optimal health. I often joke "health is wealth" but it's true!
At the core of my why, is always about helping students move in a way that helps build strength and confidence so they can live their lives with more energy and more vibrancy. When you're healthy, it shows up as happiness.
What are some common fears about starting a fitness journey that you find easy to overcome? And how does one face any fear in regards to working out?
If I could pull younger me aside before she stepped into her first Pilates class I would tell her this:
No, you're not going to look stupid.
Yes, you're going to be humbled.
No, no one else cares but you.
I think it's natural for anyone to feel like we have to do things the first time perfectly, and that applies to more than just fitness. We often have expectations of ourselves or go into auto-pilot and think we should be experts on everything and put all this pressure on ourselves. It's all in our head.
It's a little bit of a cliche, but if you can just get yourself through the door of that first group fitness class, or, more likely in 2020, sign yourself up for that Zoom class, you've already done the hardest part. You've shown up! And that deserves applause and kudos. To get to the next part, and to keep going, make sure you're showing up for instructors or classes that care about YOU and click with YOU! Not every work out or trainer will make you feel like a million bucks, but when you find the class or the teacher that gels with you, staying with it becomes easy. Yes, easy!
Anytime someone tells me they're scared, I usually bring up how the first time I took a reformer Pilates class, I fell off the reformer. Straight up just ate shit. Every other person in the class stopped and looked. I remember watching everybody else move and be so graceful and dainty. Looking back, that was probably just something in my head because I was so used to comparing myself to other people. Throughout my Pilates practice, I have fallen so many times. But every time you fall, you learn not to make that mistake again. You get back up! I would never have become the instructor I am today if I had let the first fall, or the second, third, fourth, fifth, bajillionth kept me on the floor.
Secondly, HYPE YOURSELF UP. Roll your eyes at all the mantras and affirmations you want, but they work. I tell myself every day that I'm the baddest bitch in the universe. Verbatim. That's the energy I want to exude. And you know what, even if it's just in my own head, I can tell you I always feel like a bad bitch. For anyone who knows me personally, I'm actually a huge softy (cancer rising, what's up baby) so I encourage you to pick a mentality that feels a little like a fantasy. You'll surprise yourself at what you can achieve.
People have been discouraged about the current state of the fitness industry. For you, what are the positives of the transformation of boutique fitness to the digital world?
I'm not discouraged at all. I'm actually LOVING the fact that fitness has become so accessible! So many more students are rolling out their mats more than ever for workouts that are less expensive and just as effective. It's great. I'm so happy just to see so many people moving and discovering that at the end of the day, it's not fancy lights or a big dark room with a bumpin' stereo system that makes their work out hard or effective — it's their own dedication to themselves.
When NYC group fitness has a more clear path to reopening, I'll be there in a heartbeat! I'll always want to teach students in person but won't be canceling my Zoom subscription anytime soon.
What’s the workout that everyone should start doing today?
Pilates! Truly. Speaking to what I said earlier about having a good quality of life, that's what Pilates does for your body. It's a practice that encourages you to find balance and proper mobility through every single little joint of your body. Pilates will keep you strong so you can live your life and also keep you strong for the REST of your life. It's not about aesthetics — although you'll probably be feelin' pretty good about yourself anyway — it's about making sure your body can properly function and move through all ranges of motion with proper muscle engagement and without pain.
Tell us about your classes and what you offer?! Where can people find you?
I'm teaching virtual group classes four times a week and training private clients in person and virtually too! Find all my offerings and sign ups at emimoves.com or on Instagram @EmiMoves. And seriously, never hesitate to DM me. I really miss connecting with students after class — so slide on in and say hi!