Three days into my summer vacation (which, being a college student, started in mid-May) I suddenly stopped to look at myself. There were fast-food bags on my nightstand. I’d hardly left my bed other than to get food and use the restroom. I’d been churning through recorded tv shows and movies at a ridiculous rate. I realized that even with starting summer school in a few weeks, I needed to do something to knock myself out of this lazy rut I was in. I vowed that I would not allow myself to sloth around this summer! Something was going to change, and it was going to be me!
As part of my Physical Education requirement in high school I took an aerobics class that featured some of Mari Winsor’s Pilates DVDs. After that, I became a Pilates machine and was an extremely healthy and fit teen. Unfortunately, we all know what happens when college comes around. Complacency! Even though I’ve lived at home while in college as opposed to dorm/apartment life, my diet and exercise routine has still been pretty atrocious.
Cut to me in my bedroom earlier this May lamenting how I’d given up my Pilates. I still had the Winsor DVDs, but I felt like it wasn’t enough for me. I wanted something fresh, new, different, and challenging. So, off to YouTube I went! A quick search brought me to the user name “blogilates,” and a new obsession was born!
Blogilates is actually Cassey Ho, a Pilates instructor based in San Francisco, California known for her POP Pilates routines set to popular Top 40 radio hits. She is certified by both NESTA and Balanced Body University for mat and reformer. She’s also a gym bag and workout clothing designer with her own online boutique, oGorgeous.com. (She even models all of her designs herself!) Cassey’s two YouTube channels, blogilates and blogilatestv, have a combined 167,000 subscriptions and her videos on both channels have around 20 million views. Cassey also has an immense online presence, with thousands of fans on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and Pinterest. She’s also won many social media awards for her fitness blogging and is a YouTube partner. Cassey is certainly making a name for herself in the world of fitness, and it’s not difficult to see why.
Most of Cassey’s workouts are categorized into different target areas. Want to work your abs? Strengthen your legs? Pump up the cardio? Cassey has a huge variety of videos working out each target area for you to choose from! Create a YouTube playlist and you’re free to mix and match whatever videos you like for a totally unique workout!
Cassey’s teaching style is also motivational and encouraging, without being cliché. It’s funny because just when the workout is getting tough and you think “Okay, I’ll just sit out five reps for a short break,” you suddenly hear “Don’t you dare drop that leg any lower than where it is!” Cassey knows her workouts are tough, but they’re also effective and she works hard to make sure you get the full benefits of every Pilates move she throws at you. As she pushes you, you can feel yourself getting stronger and even though you’ll die if you do another 10 squats, Cassey keeps you going and gives you the results you want.
Something I especially love about Cassey’s blog and workouts is the lack of emphasis on numbers. So many “health” magazines and blogs have brightly-hued headlines shouting “HOW TO LOSE 20 POUNDS FAST!” “BURN 500 CALORIES NOW!” “SLIM DOWN 3 DRESS SIZES IN ONE WEEK!” It’s difficult not to fall prey to these numbers and think “How am I ever going to achieve that?” Certain body types simply cannot achieve those numbers, and shouldn’t need to in order to be considered healthy and to be able to live a fulfilling lifestyle. Cassey adheres by this, and always emphasizes healthy food choices over restriction, toning as opposed to weight loss, and making what you have look as good as it can for you instead of looking like a magazine cover model.
Cassey also doesn’t focus on restricting diets that punish you for eating what you love. Instead, Cassey has an enormous recipe index on her blog for affordable and tasty meals that are both delicious and healthy! It’s about eating clean and cutting out the unnecessary junk without depriving your body of valuable nutrients, and is a diet that anyone can follow. Since following Cassey’s blog, I’ve definitely made better choices when it comes to eating and I can see and feel a difference in my body! You can have a healthy relationship with food and still eat right, and Cassey provides a great foundation for both. It’s not about following diet rules and counting carbs and tallying up numbers; it’s about being smart about what you’re putting into your body!
It’s also remarkable how accessible Cassey is to her viewing audience. If you tweet her a question, write a comment on Facebook, or email her, she’ll respond! She’s currently working on an “Ask Cassey” YouTube series where she directly answers popular viewer questions based on your comments. Cassey also takes song and workout requests and uses them in new videos. Cassey is determined to connect and help out her viewers in any way she can, and it makes her seem even more like your own personal workout BFF! Being able to not only benefit from Cassey’s workouts but also know that you can ask her questions and get a direct answer makes Cassey different than many other online trainers, and if you watch only about a minute of one of her videos you’ll know how friendly and approachable she is.
It’s easy to be discouraged when it comes to working out; “I have to do how many reps how many times a week to lose how much weight?” Who has the time to do that? It’s like climbing to the top of a mountain you know you don’t have the equipment to reach. Instead, Cassey chooses to motivate you to “do what you can, and do it well.” Her workouts are innovative, effective, and you’ll have FUN doing them! Yes. I just said that working out could be fun. And I really wasn’t kidding when I said that! You’ll look forward to Cassey’s workouts, tough as they are. You’ll learn to not just “feel the burn,” but enjoy the burn! You’ll feel awesome and strong while doing her workouts, and her motivation will keep you doing those reps when it feels like you can’t do any more, meaning you’ll see and feel the benefits much more quickly.
I haven’t been keeping track of any sort of progress since I’ve started doing Cassey’s workouts, because I didn’t want this to be about weight loss or smaller dress sizes or any of those discouraging numbers. However, I know I’m far more toned than I was in high school. I feel stronger, and can carry far more groceries from my car than ever before. I have more energy and apply the same dedication and motivation I have during Cassey’s workouts into other aspects of my life.
Cassey has accomplished so much already, and her viewership and influence continues to grow every day. She has been featured in magazines like Shape, Cosmopolitan, and Fitness. She has a loyal fanbase of “POPsters” who continually share their stories of success with the rest of the Blogilates community. Cassey continues to motivate and inspire myself and others every day, and I know only awesome things await her in the future!
About the Author
Emma Craighead is a contributing writer to The Hudsucker when she’s not playing Dungeons & Dragons, screaming at her iPhone while playing Angry Birds, or finishing up her Bachelor’s Degree in Social Studies Education. She also spends way too much time on way too many social networking sites. Emma currently lives in Denver, CO, and you can follow her on Twitter @efcraig.