When pilates goes viral: 5 minutes with Cassey Ho of Blogilates
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It's not everyday you get to meet someone who owns a YouTube channel with over 3.4 million subscribers, and counting. For Cassey Ho, her sensational fitness career took off when she stumbled on an infomercial of Mary Winsor (of Winsor Pilates), whose confident poise led her to fall in love instantly with the empowering practice. She persevered and got her certification to teach four years later. Since 2009, Ho has garnered worldwide attention and recognition through her inspirational at-home Pilates tutorials shared on her Youtube channel, Blogilates, as well as her other social media platforms. What's her secret to success? The gorgeous Chinese-Vietnamese, who grew up in America, believes in staying grounded and finding your best self through exercise — one that doesn't model rock-hard abs or following a strict, miserable diet. Her workouts are all about having fun, and that's one of the biggest reasons for her channel's loyal viewership.
Ho is also the creator of POP Pilates — Top 40 pop tunes fused with traditional Pilates routines, a workout that many of our local gyms have already adopted. Over the weekend, she conducted a mass POP Pilates session here on our shores for FitnessFest 2017, and at the same time debuted her latest workout PIIT28 (Pilates Intense Interval Training), a dynamic combination of Pilates and HIIT.
Tell us what your everyday workout regime like.
I love to work out in the morning so whenever possible, I'll wake up at around 6am and start working out at 7am. I like to vary it all the time so my muscles stay sharp — whether its doing choreography, POP pilates, PIIT28 or hot yoga classes. After that, I go home, make breakfast and get ready for work. Exercising in the morning for me really sets the tone for the day, so when I'm at work, I'll feel the need to hit it really hard as well.
Do you have any advice for procrastinators?
I think people procrastinate because they don't like what they're doing. If you guys have a hobby that you enjoy, won't you want to do it all the time? Find that workout that makes you feel that way as there's a workout out there for everybody. And in this day and age, where workouts are on the uptrend, you'll definitely find something.
You're in fantastic shape. Can you tell us about your diet?
I've been pretty much paleo for awhile, but right now I'm taking some meat out of my diet, and I'm always trying something new. But here's something I want to let everyone know: No diet is perfect for everyone, as we're all made differently. When people get so religious about how you need to eat this or that way, it's not true. Food is medicine for your body, so that medicine is different for everyone. For me, at the end of the day when I'm paleo or vegetarian or whatever, it's about eating whole foods because the closer you can get to the earth, the healthier it's going to be for your body. I usually stir fry a lot of things — frozen vegetables, meat or tofu, and sometimes I'll have brown rice or quinoa on the side. It's super easy and I don't think healthy eating has to be expensive or time-consuming.
Besides healthy eating, we understand that you have a YOLO meal as well.
(Chuckles) Yes, my current favourite YOLO meal is a matcha green tea milkshake. It sounds healthy but it's not. The matcha just gives it the green colour. But it's full of sugar and fat and it's amazing... it tastes like butter.
How do you find the best workout for yourself with so many fitness videos around?
At the end of the day, we are all teaching you how to do a push up or a bicep curl or whatever, so it's about finding the instructor that motivates and speaks to you. Just like how you have best friends, friends, colleagues or you have people you just don't want to talk to, you have to find that instructor that can speak your language.
What's been the hardest part for you since the launch of Blogilates?
I would have to say my genetics. I recently did a DNA test and it told me I'm pre-dispositioned to be more overweight than a woman of my age and height. I always had trouble losing weight as I was a chubby kid growing up. So the hardest thing for me is that I don't look the part — and it's not because I'm not doing the right things but it's because I have to work eight times harder to get certain results than some people, while doing exactly what I'm doing. It's coming to terms with that fact and I'm still figuring out how to find my best self physically — that it's not about looks, but it's about you feel and how strong you are.
What does being Asian-American in the media mean to you?
It is very important to me, because I feel we don't have enough representaion in America. When I landed the cover of Health magazine last year in America, I looked at the stands and there was me, and everyone else was Caucasian. That's kind of a symbol or a reflection on what's been going on. I feel that a lot more Asians in general need to step up and go into creative fields that our parents were previously scared about venturing into.
Who are the role models you look up to for inspiration?
My fans! They have given me the inspiration for my next steps in content as well as entrepreneurial ventures. They are the ones who've asked, "Cassey, can you make a clothing line for us or can you make a t-shirt?" and whenever I listen to them, it's always the right direction. Because we are constantly communicating, it is us doing things together.
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