Alicia Doyle has been a trained dancer for over a decade, but after suffering from a plethora of nagging injuries, she decided it was time to add Pilates to her daily routine. She found that practicing Pilates not only helped her injuries, but also made her feel stronger, leaner and healthier. She loved it so much, that she opened her own studio, Rebel Pilates, in San Francisco. We had the pleasure of talking with her to learn more about Pilates and how she stays healthy and happy.
Photography: Ashley Batz
When did you start doing Pilates? What was it like? Was it hard at first?
I started doing Pilates in college as part of my dance program. I felt a difference in my dancing almost immediately, and within a few weeks it healed a hip injury I’d been suffering from. I remember certain exercises feeling impossibly hard, but those of course were the ones I needed the most.
Is Pilates still tough for you in some aspects?
Pilates is actually more challenging for me today than when I started! The more advanced your practice becomes, the deeper you have to work.
What drew you in and got you to become passionate about Pilates?
I fell in love with the way it makes me feel—centered, strong and lengthened. My passion grew from seeing how much I could help others through teaching Pilates.
Has becoming a small-business owner allowed you to grow in ways you never knew?
Definitely. Running my own studio gives me a wonderful feeling of independence and self-sufficiency.
What is your favorite thing about working out of your home? What is your favorite thing about working with your clients?
Working from home definitely has its perks (like the commute!), but it’s been especially helpful in making my schedule more flexible. I feel lucky because my clients are such wonderful people; it’s really a joy working with them. I love seeing how Pilates changes their bodies—they get stronger and more flexible, aches and pains disappear, and it boosts their energy and self-confidence.
Is Pilates for everyone? If so, why? If not, who is it for?
Yes! Anyone can do Pilates. There are hundreds of exercises, so the trick is to do the ones that are right for your body.
What is your favorite movement to do? What is your least favorite?
Nothing beats the feeling after moving your body in every direction, stretching and strengthening together (which is what Pilates is all about). My least favorite type of workout is doing tons of repetitions using a short range of motion. I only like to do things that feel good, so the whole “no pain, no gain” style is not for me.
If someone were just starting, what would you suggest ?
Don’t worry about being perfect or getting everything right the first time. Just have fun, and remember to breathe!
If someone cannot afford private lessons, where would you direct them to go?
I would suggest signing up for a small group class or getting a DVD. Another option is to take a few private lessons geared towards creating a home routine that you can do on your own.
If you were to suggest something we could do every morning to start our day, what would you say?
Breathe fully. Stretch in all directions. Get your blood flowing and your heart rate up.
Other than Pilates, what are some of your other passions?
Travel, movement, laughter, exploring and trying new things.
What are your favorite clothes to practice in?
Anything comfortable and fitted. I recently got some awesome new leggings from a local shop called Clary Sage.
How do you de-stress?
Massage, sunbathing, a good book, a great red wine, and of course Pilates.