Forming a healthy relationship with your body isn’t always easy. No stranger to feeling at odds with herself, Callie Jardine, former competitive figure-skater and New York based pilates instructor, is on a mission to find peace with her body and help other women do the same.
The term ‘pilates’ is circulating the explore pages of Instagram and Tiktok more than ever before, but it’s far more than a trendy workout. College Fashionista sat down with Callie to get the inside scoop on the equally restorative and strengthening practice — touching on everything from how to get started, to how beneficial it really is for your health.
Anna Cate Meis: Tell me about your journey with pilates, how did you discover it? Did you love it immediately?
Callie Jardine: I was a competitive figure skater for most of my life, and if you are not familiar with how skating works, it is incredibly hard on your body. It’s similar to gymnastics in that when you land a jump, it’s eight times your bodyweight coming down on you. Because I was growing at the same time, I got really bad pains in my knees called Osgood-Schlatter. As a result, I have chronic tendinitis in my knees, ankles and feet. I was fifteen at the time, and my mom was like, “Hey I found this thing called Pure Barre, you should try it.” I fell in love with it!
Fast forward, I went to college, became a Pure Barre instructor, and eventually found reformer pilates. I then became a certified pilates instructor right before the pandemic. I taught a lot of online mat pilates classes and formed my own pilates workouts with a spin of barre. From there, I became obsessed — it’s so fun!
ACM: Can you explain the different kinds of pilates?
CJ: There are actually so many different types. I am certified in what is similar to Lagree style, so it’s more intense pilates. If you’re familiar with Solidcore, it’s very comparable to that style. When you take a reformer class at, let’s say, Equinox, it’s classical pilates which is a more traditional technique. It’s more chill and not quite as intense. These styles are only within reformer, beyond that there is tower, chair, mat and so much more.
ACM: Is there a form of pilates you would recommend specifically for beginners?
CJ: Start with mat. All other types of pilates stem from the core foundations on the mat. When I was first trained in reformer, they told me to think of the carriage of the reformer — the long part that moves back and forth — as a mat. Master the basics on the mat first before you throw yourself on a contraption in the air with springs!
ACM: What are some benefits of pilates?
CJ: Pilates is awesome because it’s high repetition and primarily bodyweight, with added resistance here and there. Because it’s high reps and lower weight, you are going to get more of that lengthened and long muscle. It’s also a really great workout because you are moving so many different parts of your body at once. It targets and strengthens your core while helping with balance, total body alignment, and flexibility. It’s also low impact, so it’s a great option if you have any injuries and you can’t do the jumping that comes with other workouts.
Photos via Callie Jardine
ACM: As women, the relationship we have with our bodies can be a very complicated one. Can you tell me a bit about how your journey with pilates has helped you with this?
TW: Body image language
CJ: I had a really really toxic relationship with my body. I would do all of the workouts that I thought were the only way to see results. There are so many marketing schemes that preach that mindset, and as someone who is uneducated in fitness, what are you supposed to believe? I ended up feeling really bloated and low-energy, and I was having a lot of issues with food in general. I was in high school and I started comparing my body to those around me. When I went to college, I continued to struggle. I was still going to the gym, doing endless cardio just because I thought that was the only way to do it.
I knew barre was great, I loved barre, so I went back to it my sophomore year and that’s when I found pilates. It was kind of over COVID summer when I really started to realize that I didn’t actually have to be doing two hour long workouts. I was doing 30 minutes of pilates and walking and I had never felt so connected to my body. I felt lengthened, light, and energized, and on top of that, it was helping my mental health. When I started my online pilates studio I wanted to promote to women, that transformation starts within you. When you are engaging in movement you enjoy, it can help with depression and anxiety because you feel so connected to your body. When I started doing movement that actually felt good for me and that my body was craving, I was able to say, “Okay I feel feminine, and I feel good.” I really started to heal my relationship with my body, because I wasn’t working against my body anymore, I was working with it.
ACM: Pilates has gained popularity on social media because of its potential to change physical appearance. How do you feel about this?
CJ: It all comes down to: what is the core reasoning behind your goal? Maybe your goal is to have abs because it makes you feel strong, that’s totally fine, but if the goal is that you want to have abs because you want to look like someone else, or you want to fit in, then that is coming from a place of you not being proud of your body. It all comes back to your intention. I have many clients who do want to lose weight, and it’s coming from a place of genuinely wanting to feel more energized and confident and good in their body, and there is nothing wrong with that. We are all entitled to wanting to better ourselves, and that can look different for everyone. The why is most important. Are your goals from a place of love?
ACM: What advice would you give to someone who is just getting started on their pilates journey?
CJ: Just start small. The fitness world can be overwhelming, and there are a million things out there telling you what is right. You have to start with just one or two things that are going to push the needle forward. I like to think of being at point A right now, and maybe your goal is to be at point B. Focus less on point B, and more on what is going to get you to point B. I would say to start by challenging yourself to do one five-minute beginners pilates workout, just to see if you like it. I have a bunch of beginner pilates workouts and YouTube is a great resource if you don’t want to commit to something paid right off the bat. After one workout, you will probably become obsessed!
ACM: What do you love most about pilates?
CJ: I love how you can always challenge yourself. No matter how often you do it, there are always ways to push yourself more. Nothing feels better than when you stay in something for an extra few seconds, when you felt like you were just going to come out of it, and you’re like, I just did that! Especially when you are having a really bad day. I recently came out of a really awful phase of anxiety and depression, and throughout it, I was making sure to move my body. The highlight of my day became working out because it made me feel so good in my body and about myself.
Featured photo by Callie Jardine