NG:I am originally from Ukraine, I became a gymnast at age 6 and was very accomplished in this sport until I got severely injured at age 16. At age 19 I immigrated to the United States of America. I began to compete again and re-injured myself. After suffering for years, I came across a lady who recommended I take Pilates. I took the class and fell in love. I continued to pursue it. I was extremely fortunate to eventually have the opportunity to be trained in Pilates by the renowned Romana Kryzonowka.
FG: Please share how pilates is beneficial and helpful to people who have sustained injuries, such as myself?
NG: It is beneficial, pilates is the whole body workout, in each workout, you work you body from your toes to the muscles of your face. It creates balance and it creates harmony. Just say you’re working legs, you get to do foot work, every group of muscles works, quads, hamstrings your glutes, nothing gets neglected. Not only amazing for esthetics and its great for rehabilitative work and preventive injury work. Phenomenally, if something is out of balance in your body, you can potentially re-align your body with Pilates.
FG: Wow, that’s amazing, you can accomplish overall body conditioning and body sculpting with Pilates?
FG: What about abs? What would you recommend for people that want to target specific areas, like abs?
NG: I would start with tiers of 5 which is 5 abdominal moves and then proceed to teasers which is for your upper thighs. Back injury and abdominal work are my areas of specialty. I enjoy customizing workouts for my clients and their needs.
NG: Absolutely, I recommend supplemental cardio and weight training to build bone density , especially for women to prevent osteoporosis . Pilates can be accessory to your workout. Don’t stop doing the workouts that feel good. If you love step aerobics, do step aerobics..keep doing what makes your body happy. Add Pilates as an enhancement to your workout regimen.
FG: Is there any specific type of cardio that you recommend as an ideal compliment to Pilates?
NG: I am a huge fan of swimming because it’s works your whole body as well, also what I love about swimming is that it easy on the joints. I love the elliptical machine. For people with knee injuries, I recommend the stationary bike, all of these are great for cardio work.
FG: What do you like most about the elliptical?
NG: Not much impact on joints, especially on ankles, arches and feet. It gets the heart going and you burn a lot of calories with little impact on your joints.
FG: How do you keep your clients motivated and consistent? When they say “Nonna, my life is so hectic, I’m so tired”, I’m so busy?”
NG: First thing, I don’t do the same workouts, I change workouts, my workouts are creative. One day we may do more stretching, another day, more meditative work. I just try to put a lot of ingredients in my workouts so my client do not get bored. The second secret that I have, is I always look at where my clients are standing today, in other words, I assess…if the client full of energy, if the client tired, I cater to the body, if the body is tired-let’s take care of the body. For instance, If the clients body is stiff, just say they just got back from Europe. Ok,let’s I’d focus more on flexibility and stretching, let’s stretch your muscles, let’s stretch your back..whatever my clients needs, for that day is exactly what I’m going to give to the client. You know what I always say? “This is not about me, it’s about the client!” My ego is not here, I put my ego to the side. I’m here to channel the energy and help you get where you need and want to get today. It’s not about me…It’s about you Kim!
FG: Wow, your philosophy is out of this world. You say it and I believe it! You’re so humble and authentic in your approach. I love that your approach is so wholistic. It sounds like you meet your clients where they are mentally, that day, in that moment..Amazing. It’s no wonder you’re in such demand!
FG: I just have a few more questions for you, I know that you specialize you workouts for clients. Do you work with them one on one or small groups?
NG: I work with my clients , one on one, muscle by muscle, I am molding your body. I work with my clients individually. I now have an assistant, however, who will be teaching some group classes. The clients that typically come to me, want the individuality, workouts customized to their needs.
FG: So, your studio would be considered more boutique, in a sense?
NG: Yes, absolutely. My studio is very private. My address isn’t even listed. I want to provide my clients with privacy and amenity. I want my clients to be able to concentrate on their workout and to have peace.
FG: Yes, please share….
NG: First thing I must say, I believe in food!
FG: I love it!
NG: I believe you should 6 or 7 small portions. I believe you should eat a lot of vegetables, especially green veggies like, kale, collard greens, broccoli. They have a lot of calcium and iron which cleans the liver. When your liver is clean, it also cleans your blood and thus delivers clean blood to your brain. This helps to prevent depression, disease and great for the immune system. When it comes to vegetables, the darker and greener, the better! Also, I also believe in protein, I love protein. I am not vegan, so I eat meat in moderation. My philosophy is when you have protein, try to have it with vegetables. I never mix protein and carbs, it tends to be very hard for the body to digest. I am also a big fan of coconut water.
FG: Do you have a favorite brand of coconut water? I’m just curious.
NG: A real coconut. I prefer a real coconut with a straw.
FG: Yum..I can’t remember the last time I had juice/water from a real coconut. I want to get one today!
NG: I usually recommend my clients mix coconut water in their shakes and smoothies.
FG: Do you like the almond milk as well?
NG: I prefer the coconut water because it’s much lighter.
FG: Back to carbs, protein, and veggies, one more quick question. Any suggestions about carb intake? Is there a better to time to eat them during the day, breakfast, lunch, dinner or does it matter?
NG: I recommend eating carbs in moderation, often times you need a little of the sugar for energy while working out. I just recommend eating in the morning or noon, but not for dinner. The sugar in carbs gives you energy, why waste all that energy when your body is trying to go to unwind during the evening and while preparing your body for sleep.
NG: My other suggestion, when buying products, remember less is more! Healthier products have fewer ingredients. Also, I recommend avoiding artificial sugar.
FG: I agree! Are you okay with the natural sweeteners like stevia and agave?
NG: Absolutely, I’m okay with them because they come from a natural source.
FG: I have one last question for you, but first I want to thank you for taking the time to speak with me and share such wonderful advice, and inside fitness tips with our readers. What’s next for Nonna?
NG: I would love to put my work on DVD and extend my reach. I want to share my work with the world. What I do, I consider it to be God given. I want to share my gift and blessing with others. It’s not about me.
FG: What a thoughtful and profound philosophy and beautiful conclusion to a wonderful interview with you. Thanks again for your time. We look forward to more to come from you and to keeping in touch. Please keep us posted on your upcoming endeavors. We want to support you.