Classical-Meets-Contemporary for Fun Fitness at Lisa Mills’s Pilates Plus

Lisa began as an athlete but struggled to connect her fitness routine to the slowing of the mind that comes with a pilates practice.  She has participated in multiple sports such as track, softball, cheerleading and volleyball, where fitness and consistency were the only option. But leaving high school behind for the fast-paced media cycle, she found it harder to maintain a consistent practice. 
She attended Michigan State University where she "goofed off for nearly 4 years" ultimately graduating after 5 years from Wayne State University with a bachelors degree Communications.  Her first job was as an Assignment Editor and then Associate Producer at WDIV and then Fox 2 in Detroit, where she has worked for nine years.  She then moved  to Miami where she began to work for a cable company that produced entertainment news. 
Pilates began as a refusal for Lisa -- she didn't start because of her love for the practice.  It was challenging to slow her mind, since she was accustomed to running, spinning and boxing.  When she started her Scott certification program, she discovered her love for the body and physical experience in the process. She sees each body in front of her as a different masterpiece that requires her full attention, and grants particular care to changing mindsets and creating smiles on top of changing the physical body. 

 

 

SBS: What’s your approach to Pilates?

Lisa Mills:  My personal take on pilates especially with so many different methods is that it is okay to blend various styles.  When I was first certified there was so much emphasis on sticking w one method as well as the contemporary vs classical pilates debate. After getting certificated in other methods of pilates such as Power Pilates and Balance Body I finally decided that it was okay the blend the best of all that I learned making my approach to teaching quite unique.

My unique approach is not being married to one method of pilates. I absolutely love blending various methods which guarantees my clients will never get board. It’s kind of like, “can’t we all get along”. While I can teach both classical as well as contemporary pilates, I prefer contemporary but do a nice mixture of both. I take pride in making my classes fun. The goal is to make pilates fun while keeping the client focused and working from within. 

 

SBS: What’s your style of teaching?

LM:  I believe my style of teaching is to always make my classes fun but I have developed a unique ability to make my classes interactive as the client advances. Sometimes it just so happens that we may choreograph  together which makes the client feel important and in charge of their session. 

 

SBS: What’s your Covid journey been like?

LM:  When Covid hit, like most instructors I panicked but because I’m 70% home clients, I almost immediately had clients asking for virtual sessions. It took me a couple of weeks to realize that I could  be successful with virtual  lessons as well. So once I got out of my own way, we didn’t miss a beat. Not only did my skill level build for virtuals but I was now able to adapt and train clients from across the country. I had girlfriends who also had home studios as well and groups of friends simply wanting virtual mat classes.  I also took my studio group classes to the park where we wore masks, sanitized and social distanced. As many instructors, I was blessed to be able to pivot opening so many doors. 

 

SBS: What’s your own wellness practice?

LM:  My personal workouts have shifted over the years. Mid 40’s I finally accepted the fact that I cannot do the HIT type high intensity workouts that I preferred. My runs are now circuit runs. High intensity boxing is now technical boxing and of course my go to is Pilates which I believe has kept me pretty much injury free.

 

SBS: What advice would you give to instructors teaching online?

LM:  For me, virtual training was/is no different than in person. I’ve always had a sharp eye for proper alignment and modifications. In fact, I may have 4 eyes helping me teach virtually if my cutie pie shih Tzu is sitting on my lap. What I missed the most is hands on manipulation and stretching the client when I’m virtual but we make it work. In fact, my privates would say their workouts are just as good as in person.

 

SBS: What’s your advice for new instructors post quarantine?

LM:  My advice for new instructors post quarantine is to not give up on building your clientele. If things are still somewhat slow, continue to tighten your virtual teaching skills which is the next fitness wave. Have a mentor who can throw you extra clients. Don’t be afraid to use social media to your advantage in picking up new clients without looking thirty other as if you are begging for clients. Be professional at all times.

  

SBS: What’s your advice for first-time Pilates clients? 

LM: My advice for a first time pilates clients is to do your research on your trainer making sure they are certified as well as the reviews of the pilates studio you are attending. Communication is key so never be afraid to speak up and ask for modifications  if something doesn’t feel right. Lastly, remember that slow concise movements with breath are key. Proper breathing oxygenizes the blood while allowing you to properly engage the abdominals and maintain posture. 

 

SBS: What’s your approach to nutrition?

LM:  I am a constant student in the nutrition department and I honestly believe what works for one may not work for another. Nutrition is personal. Intermittent Fasting has been m y best friend since turning 50 and I TRY my best to eat as clean as possible but the struggle is real. I’ve had to adapt to cleaning up my diet and embracing  the fact that I cannot eat the same things I did in my twenties and stay a size 4. While I’ve accepted the inevitable, I’ve also decided to never deny myself the foods that please me. I now operate on an 80/20% diet. Eighty percent clean eating and two cheat days. Yes two cheat days not one. Hey, a girl has to live.

  

The Zaniest Part of Being Lisa:  The Zaniest and best part of being Lisa is that I don’t take myself too seriously. I hope that being able to laugh at myself in those not so pretty moments makes others see it’s not always about perfect or the perfect filter all the time. It’s okay, to keep it real and look like you stuck your finger in the electric socket some days. 

Lisa’s SBS Mantra:  This question was very difficult for me as many of the SBS mantras resonated with me. However, I’ve chosen Be Bright. When your light shines you never know what a difference it may make in someone else life especially someone whom maybe less fortunate than you. While I take pride in making my clients smile and laugh, I take equal pride in brightening the lives of those I encounter through my charity work. Three years ago I was a secret Santa to a little girl named Jakayla through the Rhonda Walker Foundation. Jakayla and her siblings were in a homeless shelter. In the last three years there hasn’t been a birthday or Christmas that I have missed. Spending time w Jakayla brings me true joy and I pray that I continue to being her the same joy she give me. 

To TRULY Be Bright is an act of selflessness which is something I hope we can all practice.

 

Lisa mills image

 

Lisa’s Michigan Faves: 

Healthy Restaurant:  Inn Seasons in Royal Oak, Michigan
Splurge Restaurant: Bella Piatti in Birmingham 
Nightlife Spot: Don't really do night life but my favorite low key lounge would be The Candy Bar. It has a beautiful old Hollywood feel not to mention lots of pink which is my favorite color
Yoga Studio:  Yoga Blue in Birmingham Michigan…Rachel and Nikki are my favorite instructors. I kick their butt in pilates and they return the favor.
Athleticwear: Lululemon and Athleta
Athletic Shoes: Nike Duh!!
Fitness Studio:  My home…I’m addicted to the new Queen Warrior Workout app for women. Women supporting women. I can roll out of bed and workout w an amazing group of positive young uplifting women. Shout out to Fabiana who is killing it and changing lives. 
Fun Activity:  Tennis lessons w Clarence Boyd.
Calming Activity:Hiking Cranbrook w my beautiful daughter
Online Resource:  Instagram can be the devil but I’ve truly loved connecting w other pilates instructors from around the world. An example of using social media wisely. 
Books:  lyanla Vanzant's Acts of Faith……It's my daily read to get my day started w positive affirmations and stories of faith. I've read it daily for the Last 15yrs. 


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