With Kim Bishop

Top five things people should know about you?

1. I am an executive recruiter and company owner
I recruit for board directors and senior level positions. I started my company five years ago: Kimberly Bishop Executive Recruiting. I went from being a corporate executive to an entrepreneur.

2. I moved from Nebraska to NYC nine years ago
I decided to change my life…and moved into the recruiting industry then. I love the work I do, and my clients and candidates, so it’s been great.

3. I really love dark chocolate
I will always have a bar in my fridge at home. If there’s ever a chocolate dessert on the menu you can be assured I will pick that one. ANYTHING that’s over 70 percent cocoa is good.

4. I met my guy at PJ Clarkes in midtown
We met four years ago and it was totally random. I was walking through the crowd and said hi to him (with the encouragement and prodding of one of my friends!) We went out on a date the next day and have been together ever since.

5. I am a couponer
I love saving bits here and there. Seeing the receipt with the savings at the end is a thrill!!! It’s possible I even watch Extreme Couponing… But who doesn’t want to save a dollar?

What brought you to Pilates?
I first tried Pilates two years ago and started going to some classes at a studio. I liked it but didn’t understand the mechanics. Eventually I stopped going. I had even considered privates but at the time, decided against it. Even though I was doing different kinds of workouts (spin, etc) I wasn’t getting the core workout I wanted or the strength.

Why Plank Pilates?
In December 2013, I was out for dinner with my friend Karen, and was telling her that I needed to get my core back, and wanted to take privates. Karen suggested Kristen. While PLANK isn’t totally convenient, I love working out with Kristen and my sessions there. It feels like she customizes the sessions to my needs on a session-to-session basis. I really like PLANK: that it’s small groups and the community there is great.
Fun fact: the first time I did a plank with Kristen both of us almost started to cry. It was a total breakthrough for my body!

Top Tips for staying slim
Pre planning and sticking to my appointments is key. I have an exercise journal that I am fastidious about…it keeps me in check. I’ve also started doing aqua cycle, and it’s fantastic. The goal is: five days a week, I need to be moving my body. I had to make a commitment to myself, and find what worked for me in terms of balance. As we get older, it’s more difficult to stay in shape. I have chosen things that I can sustain to stay in great shape and looking and feeling healthy.

What’s your guilty pleasure?
I’m obsessed with the new 24. Yes, the TV show. Jack is back. And it’s amazing, so lately that’s been my thing. My husband and I also love watching cycling on TV. Oh, and also mani/pedis!!!! It’s cheap, you can get it at any time of the day and it makes you feel pampered. What’s not to love?

Kim has been a member at Plank Pilates since February 2014 (and she’s already lost four inches and four pounds!!!)



(for summer.)

It’s finally getting warm. We’re wearing less. We’re staying home less and we are most definitely thinking of looking our best much much more. The warm months are a time to show off all our hard work and strut our Pilates bods with pride! And what is the best accessory…Shoes? No! Great hair.

I am someone who battles with my hair constantly: it’s long. Takes forever to grow. Breaks easily and is curly yet super fine (thanks genetics!) I turned to one of best gal pals, Lucie Ducrot, for tips on how to manage our luscious locks this season.

Hair is like skin: in order to keep it looking healthy you need to maintain a balance of sleeping well, staying hydrated and a healthy diet. (I had no idea how much our hair can be affected by health until mine started thinning and drying severely after a double round of antibiotics!)

In the sun, it’s important to wear a hat: not surprisingly, it bleaches out the hair. The sun creates a simple but lethal combination of air, salt and heat rays that can give you that fun beach look but is simultaneously doing serious damage. So you need to be careful about your hair’s sun exposure.

Other than a hat, oil such as Moroccan, applied from the middle of the hair shaft to the end, creates a protective shield. It’s a great way to both hydrate and protect your hair.

With all the summer heat, blowing out your hair is extra heat stress you really don’t need, so try and keep it to special events or less frequently than you would in the colder seasons.

When you come home from a holiday, make sure to trim your hair immediately. There’s more than a good chance you’ve done damage and you don’t want those split ends to destroy the entire hair shaft. In fact, regular hair cuts (about every two months) are a fantastic may to keep hair in great shape.

So get out there in your straw fedora and summer frock and enjoy the much earned weather!

Lucie Ducrot is a senior stylist at the Julien Farel Salon and a Plank member. You can follow her on Instagram at lucieducrot.



With Kelly Keesler.
(Kelly is an instructor at Plank Pilates)

Top 5 things we should know about you?

1. I am a graphic designer.
In college I got my degree in graphic design (North Eastern) and I never thought I would use it. Now, I spend half of my time doing free lance work for various clients. I sometimes pull out my laptop and work between classes. It’s actually kind of exhausting!!!

2. I love travel.
I LOVE COSTA RICA. I fell in love when I went there a couple of years ago. One of my dreams would be to open a Pilates Studio in a place like that: near the water, in the sun, palm trees…you get the picture.

3. I surf.
I went to Costa Rica to learn to surf and spent two months there. I recently went back and I got right back on the board…catching waves left and right. I was even stronger in the water than I had been. Thanks Pilates!

4. My older sister used to dress me up as a model
When I was three years old, my sister would dress me up in full make up and “big girl” clothes and then make me do a photo shoot. At the time I found it annoying but now we have an entire Kelly album. It’s a super happy book of memories.

5. I was a gymnast in high school
I taught myself how to do gymnastics. I would copy my older sister when she was doing cartwheels and such. I can actually still do flips. It’s a handy skill to pull out of my pocket!

How long have you been practicing and/or teaching Pilates?
I have practicing Pilates for four years, teaching for the last two.

What brought you to Pilates?
My best friend took a class in college as part of her curriculum. She showed me some of the exercises and I got hooked. Now I’m the one introducing her to all the studios in the city. It was the only exercise I had ever tried that actually changed my body. I had no idea it was possible to tone my muscles like you do in Pilates. I became sculpted in a way that I never knew was possible.

Top 5 exercises to do between classes?
Super Nutso Fetal Five thigh/glut series. Start lying on your side with your legs in a ‘table top’ position in front of you. Knees in line with hips, ankles in line with knees. Shoulders and hips stacked. Abdominals drawing in and up for entire sequence.

1…Lift top leg up, feeling the work in your top booty cheek, and lower it down. Repeat 10 times. Be sure to keep the ankle in line with the knee the whole time.

2…Lift top leg up, keeping the leg bent, circle your leg around 10 times, being sure to circle your thigh bone in it’s socket (keeping your leg bent). Get into the booty more by making sure you have a full circular movement going on, really engaging the glut to circle the leg. Reverse circles for 10 more reps.

3….Keeping the leg lifted after your circles, extend the leg up to the ceiling (almost like a karate kick) and bend it back in. 10 reps, reaching long through the heel with every kick. Try to keep hips stacked.

4…Extend the leg out in front of you, heel reaching forward and hip reaching out. Your leg should be parallel to the ground to start. Lift the leg up and lower back to the starting position. 10 reps. Then hold the leg for 10 seconds in that spot, finish with 10 small pulses up to the ceiling.

WHEWWWWWWW. Pound the booty out for a quick muscle massage.

And 5…Stay lying on the same side, just extend your legs out in line with your body, so you are one straight line. Flex the heels. Engage the core to lift both legs off the ground. Hold the legs off the ground and simply bend your knees into your chest, using your low abdominals to pull the knees in. Then extend the legs back out, keeping them lifted off the ground. Repeat 10 times.

And Voila! Killer booty and core. Turn over and repeat on the other leg.

What do you always have in your refrigerator?
To be honest, I don’t really keep much in my fridge. I always have fruit, like strawberries, and also avocados. I love avocados. I am obsessed with chunky peanut butter so you’ll always find some in my cupboard. Usually a bar of chocolate too (the organic good for you kind, of course.)

What’s Your Guilty Pleasure?
I have a serious addiction to ice cream. It’s a problem…I can’t go bed without eating a pint (GULP.) For realsies. If anyone has any suggestions on how to get over this, please let me know!

Be sure to check out Kelly’s classes on Monday nights at 5, 6 and 7 pm and Friday mornings at 7, 8, 9, and Plank 360 at noon. Her classes are focused and fun, with a fantastic vibe of positivity. She is also available for private sessions by request.



I have been doing a lot of thinking about eating habits lately. Mine specifically as it happens.
I am definitely one of those people who could go hours without touching food and function fairly well without any caloric intake. Of course, when I do that, I have this tidal wave of hunger that overtakes me and I then have to eat something IMMEDIATELY (it’s best that no one is around me in those moments. I become a panic stricken little eating machine!) The upside is that I don’t gorge myself. I am also super disciplined about what I eat all the time. The downside, I was not sure that was the best plan for nourishing myself.
I started to ask around about people’s breakfasting habits: do they eat in the morning? How much? What kinds of foods? The answers were surprisingly varied.
Some people were strict about always eating something as soon as they wake up, regardless of hunger level. Others let their body guide them: if they’re hungry, they’ll eat. If not, they’ll wait until they get blatant signs from their system. I tend to fall in the second camp.
After consulting with a doctor and other nutritional experts, there seemed to be a common thought on the matter. Here’s the breakdown about breakfast.
Scientifically, it has been proven that adults (over the age of 18) are able to function well both mentally and physically without early morning food intake for a prolonged period of waking hours. The only consistent negative effect seems to be on “memory.” If you don’t have immediate need of your memory skills, you should be just fine until your first piece of bran toast or omelet.
The most consistent concern from all parties was, you may have guessed it, overeating.
If you wait too long, there is a theory that you not necessarily physically but mentally need to compensate for the lack of food and hence, binge. This floods the system in a way that shocks the body so that the calories and fat can’t be properly dealt with. No big surprise there, I’m sure. Overdoing anything has never been considered a positive thing. Also, when panicked for food, we tend to grab for the closest (and often not the healthiest) option to satisfy our urgent need. This also contributes to a negative cycle.
An addition warning. A word to you coffee drinkers: caffeine has the ability to mask the body’s natural signals of hunger. So if you are a “wake and caffeinate” kind of a person, make sure you pay special attention to your body’s hunger signals which can come in the form of nausea, headache, fatigue and loss of focus.
I was pleased to hear that the metabolism rumor was not entirely true. Delaying your first meal does not mean that the calories you finally ingest will be processed poorly. Metabolism is considered more of a genetic thing and tends to be fairly consistent throughout ones lifetime. (Phewf.) Yes. Your metabolism does slow down to help conserve the food energy that’s left in your body, but skipping meals does not directly affect weight gain. What you eat….most definitely does.
So. Listen to your body. Eat when you’re hungry. And be smart about your first meal. Don’t let yourself get so hungry that you are tempted by the first food item you see: that donut in the office kitchen, or muffin at the nearest coffee joint. Organize to feed your body when it’s ready with good proteins i.e. eggs, turkey, and healthy carbs i.e. oatmeal, whole grain bread and plan your breakfast for when you’re ready…even if it’s at noon.



With Apple.
(Apple is an instructor at Plank Pilates)

Top 5 things we should know about you?

1. I am obsessed with travel.
I ALWAYS have my passport nearby and have no problem traveling on my own. At 14, inspired by a last minute invite, I dropped everything, ran to Penn Station and jumped on the next train to Montreal. At 24, I moved to Italy for a year without knowing a soul. Most recently, my boyfriend and I (on a whim) decided to backpack through Asia for three months.

2. I went to FIT.
I attended FIT twice. First time round, I got a degree in fashion design, then worked doing illustrations for several designers. I then went back for business and photography. And continue to freelance as a photographer around the city.

3. My last name is Apple but I use it as my first name.
Everyone has always called me Apple instead of my first name. I used to feel really uncomfortable about introducing myself as Apple. But then I saw how much people enjoyed it and more importantly how people NEVER forgot it. So Apple it is! (BTW my first name is Stefanie but the only people who ever call me that are my family!)

4. I’d like to know how to speak more languages!
I grew up around Greek and Hebrew with my grandmothers but didn’t retain it. This was a big regret of mine. I would love to know more languages but I find the only way for me to learn a language is by living in that country and immersing myself. (Another great reason to travel!)

5. I was super nervous to teach at Plank!!
Before Plank, I was used to teaching primarily privates. I also was more familiar with other Pilates apparatus. The members really know their stuff and I want to be able to give them a real challenge! It took me pretty much till the third class to become really comfortable (and it didn’t hurt that a member tweeted about how much my class rocked!!!)

How long have you been practicing and/or teaching Pilates?
Ten years. I practiced Pilates on my own for eight years before getting certified. I had suffered a shoulder injury and rehabilitated it with Pilates. I have always been active in many sports: martial arts, snowboarding, and any HITT/ Boot camp like training. Pilates was a fantastic addition and compliment to those activities.

What brought you to Pilates?
I had done Pilates for a long time. And was working as a freelance photographer for Coach as well as bartending. The lifestyle was not working for me and I really wanted to find some way of being healthier (and happier). I was urged by friends to get certified in Pilates. After I got certified, I stopped bartending for good and have been living a totally different existence, which has proved to be a lot more rewarding all around.

Top 5 exercises to do between classes?
Thigh/ Glut Series with a Flexband:
Prep: take FB and tie around mid thigh

Start position: Side-lying, Hips & shoulders stacked w/back to edge of the mat head resting on bottom arm. Bend knees to 90 degrees (hip height)

***Remember all movement comes from the hip!

1. Lift knee and heel straight up & down 10 times
2. Glue heels together and only open & close knees
3. (Bottom heel moves closer to butt for this one) top knee comes up and over bottom knee to touch mat then up and over so the heel hits the mat in front of the bottom foot.
4. Straighten top leg, lower & lift
5. Top leg stays straight finish with 5 small circles forward and 5 backward. (After remember to flip over and work the other side!)

What do you always have in your refrigerator?
Hummus. Avocados. Always tons of fruit and veg. I have a special weakness for the brown rice wraps from Trader Joes. After going gluten free, I missed sandwiches in a major way. These wraps were my savior. They’re super delicious and don’t hurt my belly. Win! Win!

What’s Your Guilty Pleasure?
Day drinking in the sun. Anytime it’s warm, I want to have a cocktail with friends, while soaking up some rays. It makes feel like I’m on vacation!

Be sure to check out Apple’s classes on Sunday mornings at 9, 10 and 11 am! (As well as the 1 and 2 pm classes starting on April 27th.) Her classes give you a kick ass workout that will push you to try new things… so you can “Feel Better at Brunch!!” She is also available for private sessions by request. Visit her blog at:



With Marissa Jurmark

Top five things people should know about you?

1. I love garden gnomes
In high school I would collect them. In fact, my bedroom had a corner dedicated to my collection. I have a replica of a traveling gnome that comes with me wherever I go. I just think they’re cute and reliable!!!! I feel like they take care of you, as silly as that sounds….

2. I used to train to be an opera singer
I went to Fordham for English but was involved with music. I would be asked to perform at different events around campus i.e. the Ave Maria at Xmas concerts. I ended up sidestepping into a more financially viable pastime: namely, finance. But I would like to get back to it at some point.

3. I try to educate people about healthy eating
At work, people often complain about fatigue. I suggest that instead of caffeine, they try eating a kiwi or another super food for extra energy. My mother passed away from cancer. Being part of that experience inspired me to learn more about how to take care of my health and be responsible for it without depending on western medicine exclusively. It helps me feel empowered.

4. I volunteer for an expat community (Internations)
I put together events at tapas bars that our Latin culture inspired. It’s fun and brings different people together. The last thing I organized was a salsa lesson: People attended from Germany, France, India and the US. It was great to have all these different people coming together for a unique experience.

5. I love to travel
I am very curious about the world. I want to see how different cultures live. I’ve already made my way through most of Europe, but I’m interested in seeing all the other continents. Ultimately I would like to be able to one day say I’ve seen it all….Next on my wish list is Thailand.

Why Plank Pilates?
I was trying to find a really good studio downtown and I was having issues. I came across PLANK online and went in. It was love at first class. I’ve never gone to a bad one. Pilates is known as the rich man’s exercise, but at PLANK, anyone can do it. It’s affordable and amazing. Also, different studios really vary in terms of difficulty, friendliness, expertise… All the teachers at PLANK are not only experts but really understand women’s bodies. Even if you feel like you’re not being pushed in class, afterwards you feel worked!!! I don’t feel the classes at other studios really understand women’s particular needs and that’s something that is important to me.

Top Tips for staying slim
I try to go to PLANK at least twice a week. I walk everywhere. I try not to take life too seriously: if you’re stressed, at least for me, you balloon up. Eat badly, you know, all that stuff. I’ve tried all these other types of exercise but I find Pilates is the most comprehensive. It works your muscles more specifically than anything else I’ve ever tried.

What’s your guilty pleasure?
Chocolate. I can’t live without chocolate. I love Nutella crepes. I love the rich milky texture. If I’ve had a hard day chocolate tends to make things feel better….but only good chocolate. From a specialty store. Now all I need is for Godiva to start making chocolate gnomes!!!!

Marissa has been a member at Plank Pilates since January 2014.



“Does anyone have any injuries? How are you feeling today?” These words have become my cue that class is starting….
On Saturday morning, several people at PLANK were talking about back injuries (namely herniated disks) and it got me thinking about my own back story.

Four years ago, I was teaching spin part time and loving it. I knew the technique and was feeling strong, but had no awareness about my core. In fact, my legs and lower back were doing all the work. Cut to me waking up one morning, paralyzed from the waist down: I literally could not sit up without electric bolts of pain rocketing down the left side of my body. When I was finally able to mobilize, see a doctor, and get an MRI, the prognosis was clear: I had herniated my L4/L5 and L5/6 disks. At the time, the recommendation was a half a million dollar spinal surgery and discotomy. No big surprise when I tell you: I got a second opinion.

After reviewing my test results, my back specialist concluded the following: NO SURGERY WAS NEEDED. If I went down that path I would be signing up for not just one, but a lifetime of operations. His number one recommendation was to strengthen my core and support my back more efficiently. In fact his specific recommendation was to start doing a consistent regime of PILATES!!!

My story is not unique. After speaking to PLANK member, Mae-Lily Cohen (who injured herself during Bikram yoga class when she was feeling especially “strong”!) I realized that many of us not only have lower back problems due to overexertion, poor alignment, etc. but are looking for ways to be pain free and stronger all around. Of course in some extreme cases, medication and therapy are required. Mae-Lily said “The only reason I am able to get up and do things after my injury is because of Pilates. Just doing the exercises at home made a huge difference in my recovery.”
One thing is clear, with the help of consistent Pilates practice, it is possible to overcome lower back issues and embark on previous (and new) activities while remaining virtually pain free!

Below are three at home Pilates exercises you can do to both relax and strengthen your lower back muscles.


Be sure to keep your hips aligned on top of one another. You can place your hand on the ground in front of you for extra support. Repeat for three sets of 10 reps each (on both sides.)


Make sure your hands are aligned with your shoulders. The hands should not be used to push yourself up, but as a stabilizer. Use your lower back to lift yourself gently up and down. Repeat for three sets of 10 reps each.


You do not need to maintain a neutral spine if you have lower back issues, but always make sure your core is engaged. The toe may tap the mat, if your back doesn’t hurt. Alternatively, you can just lower and lift halfway. Exhale and engage your core when coming back up through the movement. Alternate legs lifting and lowering for 12 reps.