with Kimmy Smith
(Kimmy is an instructor at Plank Pilates.)
Top five things we should know about you?
1. I was born in Florida.
But I’ve lived my whole life in New Zealand and Australia. IN the last five years I’ve spent time in London, Hong Kong, and New York (where I came chasing my love.)
2. I was a national competitive gymnast
I did it for eight years but had to retire early because of injuries. It’s kind of like being in the military: super regimented, no birthday parties, no fun foods, my whole life was about competition. I was second state champion in Queensland.
3. I backpacked through Europe for two months on my own!
It was a great lesson in learning who to trust, and how to manage on my own. The friends I made on that trip are, without a doubt, ones I will know my whole life.
4. I’m number 7 out of 8 kids!!!
I didn’t grow up with a lot of my siblings but they would come in and out of our house throughout the years. Being the second youngest made me feel like a middle child. We are all outgoing, opinionated and fun loving; so family gatherings are quite an event!!!
5. I met the love of my life at Disney Land (Hong Kong)
We were both working there and met in the cafeteria, over a bowl of rice, no less. That same day, we went on a date, held hands, kissed and then saw each other every day after that without a break! We lived in China for a project for a bit then moved back to NYC together. I’ve actually only been in NYC for one year.
How long have you been practicing and/or teaching Pilates?
Ten years. I’ve been teaching for three. I was training to be a professional dancer and Pilates was actually part of my studies.
What brought you to Pilates?
As part of professional dance training, alignment is a key element to prevent injury. I’ve always had back and hip issues and I’ve since had hip and knee surgery (which put dancing on hold for the moment.) I have a lot to thank Pilates for: it has helped rehabilitate my body extremely efficiently, and maintain back health.
Top 5 exercises to do between classes?
My back is always a concern so my five suggestions are going to focus on that part of the body.
1. (Superman) Lie on your stomach. Legs together. Arms along the body. Lift your shoulders up first, followed by your torso. Make sure your gaze is facing forward rather than up. Then lower. Repeat 10X.
2. Lie on your stomach, forehead rested on your hands. Push your pubic bones into the floor and straighten the backs of your legs. Lift one leg, the lower. Repeat 10X. Lift the leg and hover. Bend at the knee and straighten while hovering for 10 reps. Then switch legs.
3. (Shoulder bridges) Press your back into the floor then roll your hips up so that your knees, hips and shoulders are in one line. Hold the hips up and raise one knee, without collapsing at the hips. Then raise the other. Alternate legs 10X.
4. Put a small ball under the middle of the back, feet hip distance apart. Hands behind the head. Lean all the way back, head touching the floor. Nod chin to chest then roll through the spine all the way up into a C curve, then slowly articulate back through the spine to the floor.
5. Lie on your side, hips stacked on top of each other, knees and hips at 90 degrees. Press bottom leg into the floor and lift top leg, maintain the shape. Repeat 10X. Then switch to the other side.
What do you always have in your refrigerator?
Milk. For coffee. More importantly what’s in my freezer? Fresh coffee beans ready to be ground. You will never find me in class without having had my caffeine fix for the day.
What’s Your Guilty Pleasure?
Bubble tea. I seem to be a liquid person!!! Wait…and Portuguese tarts. And chocolate. Oh and margaritas occasionally. All these things are delicious but I really try to stay away from sugar as much as possible.
Be sure to check out Kimmy’s classes on Wednesday mornings at 7, 8 and 9 am! (As well as Fridays 7, 8, 9 and noon.) Her lighthearted attitude and huge smile are not to be misinterpreted…she will work you hard, all the while giving you a cheeky grin and a wink.) Kimmy is also available for private sessions by request.