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Aleksa's secrets

What sparked your initial enthusiasm for Pilates? Were you always into it? 

I started Pilates when I was 15 with my physiotherapist in Brazil. At the time I was trying for a career in professional tennis training about 6 hours a day. Tennis is a very high impact sport and even though I was well conditioned, I needed help with flexibility and stretching.  Initially I worked 1-1 with her to help me mainly with flexibility and to deal with my injuries in the shoulder and lower back that started quite early in my career. The work I did with her was a lot different to the reformer method I teach now. But using pilates for re-hab and to gain more flexibility was the best way for me when I was training so hard.

What does a normal day look like for you?

Wake up really early and go out to exercise for 1-2 hours every day. You will either see me at the studio for a 7am class or you can find me in Kensington Gardens running. I have very recently started training for a triathlon and I am adjusting my body for endurance based running, which is actually quite hard for me considering I come from a tennis background. 

I also walk Dylan (my dog) every morning around Fulham/Parsons Green, and then go home to work on a fashion business I'm starting up. And of course, pop over to Absolute for my group classes =)

Do you have any tips for people who have a hard time finding motivation to get started? Or for those who just want to keep the focus but find it hard?

One of the things that I always say is: WORK OUT IN THE MORNING! It's the best time... find a way to do it! I have actually written an article exactly about that in my blog if you want to check it out:

Do you read any blogs or follow any instagram accounts for fitness motivation?

I have 2 blogs that I regularly check out: OH SHE GLOWS (for vegan recipes) and a famous Brazilian fitness blogger that just posts about workouts and beauty and makes me feel really bad every day if I get lazy to go to the gym - Gabriela Pugliese 

You’re from Brazil – would you say there’s a difference in body perception and how we treat ourselves in the UK and Brazil? If so, how?

Ha! Great question! Yes, for sure! And this is a lengthy topic for discussion. But to summarize, Brazilian standards of beauty are ridiculously high, especially for women. And it's very difficult to be a woman in Brazil, in any age group. Not so much about being thin, but about being PERFECT. Perfectly tanned, perfectly curvy, no cellulite, perfect white teeth, long wavy sun kissed hair. It's very stressful to be a women in Brazil as you are always chasing something and feeling defeated. I mean you are in your bikini all year round! In the UK I feel it's more about the make-up and beauty; Brazil is about the body and the tan. Although I feel people are becoming more body conscious in the UK with all the "hype" around fitness, and how suddenly it became so fashionable.

What’s your favourite exercise on the reformer?

I love all the squats, lunges and scooters (lol) amazing how they can shape up the thighs and bum! - Also love all sorts of planks and working the obliques ;)

What do you do in your spare time?

Spare time? Hmmm... I spend time with my husband and dog. During the day we will be either working out, playing tennis, having brunch around Chelsea, South Ken and at night at some restaurant. We love to try all the new restaurants in town, so many exciting things happening in London. 

Your husband comes here sometimes. Do you have any suggestions or tips for couples that want to stay active together?

I think it's fun to work out together, and find things that both like doing. It's fun to also learn other things. I teach him tennis he teaches me golf, so even if you are different levels, you can still find ways to hang out together. We also find that exercising together during the day makes us feel less guilty about our weekend food extravaganzas. 

I know you’re good at cooking healthy food and I’ve tasted your smoothies (yum!) – what’s your favourite smoothie recipe?

I have a rule for my house: only healthy foods are allowed inside, if we want to be naughty we need to go out! 
At the moment, I am into avocados and spinach smoothies. You can find the recipe on my blog:

Is there a role model out there for you, in terms of fitness?

My role model is me when I was 16 years old. I had the discipline of a professional athlete and I always look back to those days to find strength and motivation to stick to my objectives. 

If someone would play you in a movie, who would it be?

Erin Brockovich