Lara Hudson’s Community Moves
Lara Hudson couldn’t ever stop moving: She fell in love with gymnastics when she was just six and went on to compete, adoring the community and discipline it provided. When she sprouted past the balance beam, she gravitated toward dance and theater. The stage proved as satisfying as the mat, and she went on to dance professionally with Diavolo in LA. There, watching a colleague wield Pilates to recover from a herniated disk sealed her next chapter. For someone who didn’t find herself “powerful or fast enough,” Pilates taught her how to use her body to a much fuller extent by accessing the deeper muscles that surround the pelvis and spine. She was hooked—belly button to spine.
Now, Hudson not only brings Pilates to her audiences through fitness videos, but she also serves a mixed menu of wellness for her community of devotees through health writing, her blog and TV appearances. SBS chatted with Hudson to find out why building a workout crew is essential, how she overcame her own wellness struggles and integrating all types of fitness and food approaches into your day.
SBS: Why is finding a fitness community important?
Lara Hudson: Finding a community of people—family, friends or teammates—committed to wellbeing helps galvanize a consistent lifestyle and makes it easier to stick with it. They can give you moral support and confidence. Unfortunately a lot of people are intimidated by exercise, so they isolate themselves out of insecurity. So the first thing is finding your gumption to be a little vulnerable. Then, my suggestion for building your team or getting over those nerves is to try group classes. When you hook up with a group of people who have made that jump and understand what you’re there for, you’ll find your family. Plus, in classes, you don’t have to think about what you’re doing while you follow the teacher. And that’s the crux: Find a teacher who you enjoy that speaks your language.
SBS: What are your thoughts on integrating a diverse range of workouts? Is it helpful? How can you do so without going crazy?
LH: We’re in the age of extreme multi tasking. So, the first thing I would keep in mind is you don’t have to like everything. For example, I remember when high intensity interval training was the hot trend…and it was my own special form of hell! I knew the studies showed it was an effective workout, but I’m not that person. So you have to give yourself a break. If you don’t like Pilates, if you’re frustrated and it doesn’t feel good, it’s ok. Find the two or three things that you enjoy and that work for you. For me, that’s Pilates, running and yoga. But, never judge a workout in one session! It takes at least three to five times. And remember: The teaching style can make or break a class. Give it a chance.
SBS: What’s your view on the amount of workouts per week? Is there a point where working out is counter-productive?
LH: All the studies currently say working out four times a week is optimal. Some people love the endorphins of every day, but what’s truly important is how you work out. If you’re taking boot camp one day, then yoga and running on other days, as long as you’re a conscientious mover with intention and you’re not over-training, that can work. But in my many years of teaching, I’ve seen plenty of people who work out three hours a day, and they still look and feel the same. That’s because they’re missing the point. If you go into a class mindlessly, change will not come. If you’re intentional about working out, you could go down to three times a week and see change from the quality. Approach everything you do with your best.
SBS: You wrote a piece about your own struggle with anorexia. What are your thoughts about creating a nutrition plan that’s healthy?
LH: Like myself, I think people who struggle with food think about food a lot. They are constantly focused on that. What I’ve always wanted to be free of is thinking of food and using it as an emotional resource. That said, I’m not averse to structured programs like Weight Watchers: They provide a community and system, and that works. The most important thing is to find support. Just like with fitness, having a community of people who identify, empathize and encourage you is key. Whether that’s joining a wellness program at your work, or you and your girlfriends sign up for a healthy cooking class, find a group that will bolster you. Especially if you’ve been using food as emotional comfort, you have to break that pattern. Food is for fuel, nourishment, and yes, enjoyment. But, it’s not for comfort when something else in our lives isn’t working. You can learn that.
SBS: What are your tips for improving your diet in a healthy, easy way?
LH: You can find so many resources online for easy, healthy recipes. We are so busy that it’s hard to get into the kitchen. But, you never truly know what’s going into your food when you’re dining out. So, you can also try to cook at home: I go for three times a week. I also focus on whole foods, and once you do that, it takes a lot less to fill you up. Your body wants nutrients, not quantity. You can eat so much processed food and not feel full because your body isn’t getting the building blocks it really needs. Root around for interesting produce items and get those nutrients in with whole foods!
- Favorite healthy food spots: http://www.senzujuicery.com/
- Favorite healthy snacks for yourself and your kids: Sunflower butter on celery, fresh organic strawberries, homemade oat-flax-banana muffins
- Favorite peaceful activity: Reading either Elle or InStyle on a Sunday morning, with no kid-interruptions!
- Favorite splurge items or activities: Hudson Jeans, private Pilates, mani-pedis!
- What's your favorite SBS matnra? Be Brave, Be You, Be Calm etc…."Strive to become your own Body Architect"
main website larahudson.com
pilates website: larahudsonpilates.com