Happy Wednesday, and welcome to another episode of Meet the Crew. Today we’re featuring Hydrow On the Mat Athlete, Christie Wang.
How did you get into Pilates?
Christie: I first learned about Pilates at a dance summer program. Growing up, I was a very serious dancer and just assumed that Pilates was a “just for dancers” type of exercise. When I stopped dancing in college, I discovered a passion for running.
As I was training for my first half marathon, I passed a Pilates studio. I was reminded of just how beneficial Pilates had been when I was dancing and decided to go in to learn more. I ended up going to that studio about two to three times every week for about a year and a half before deciding to complete their comprehensive teacher training. A thousand hours of training later, and I was a licensed instructor. Since then, I have been teaching full-time.
What is it like training for and completing a marathon?
Christie: In my mind, the marathon isn’t only about the day of the race, but instead about the journey of training. I have run four marathons and typically start training for a marathon three or four months in advance. I didn’t grow up as an athlete. I was that girl who was allergic to sports. Learning to run learning how to be an athlete was challenging for me. It took me many long and grueling hours of training to feel confident and successful. Running and training for a marathon not only teaches you how to run, but how to have grit, how to persevere through pain, and how to achieve your goals. There is nothing more satisfying for me than crossing the finish line after a marathon, knowing how much effort and determination it took to reach that point.
You live a vegan lifestyle; could you describe your journey with that?
Christie: I became a vegan in September 2017 after being a vegetarian for many years before that. I made the decision to transition to plant-based foods for environmental reasons. I felt like it was a way that I could do a small part for the world around me. Since then, I feel like I am healthier and more in tune with my body. If you are interested in going more plant-based, my advice is to take it slow. Cut out one thing at a time to gradually get yourself there.
Why is supplementing rowing with On the Mat exercises beneficial?
Christie: While rowing is an incredible workout, just like all other things in life, fitness is all about balance! Pilates and our other On the Mat workouts give you a chance to find that balance in your routine. Our workouts are designed with rowers in mind. If rowers don’t strength-train and cross-train, then they can develop muscle imbalances -- some common ones for rowers are quad dominance, hip flexor tightness, thoracic kyphosis, and internally rotated shoulders. Pilates helps to balance out many of these issues, while emphasizing flexibility, core strength, and breathing, which all translate directly to rowing!
What drew you to Hydrow from the very beginning?
Christie: I love working with dedicated athletes, so when I connected with the Hydrow team, it felt like a natural fit. I also love Hydrow’s mission of bringing fitness into people’s homes. I think that in a world that is increasingly focused on convenience, Hydrow meets the desire for people to be able to work out whenever they want to from the comfort of their home.
What is a fun fact about you that not many people know?
Christie: I have lived in five different states in the U.S. I was born in Michigan, grew up in New York, lived in Rhode Island and Alabama, and now live full-time in Massachusetts.
Is there anything else you want to share?
Christie: I encourage everyone to try the Pilates workouts. It’s funny, I think there’s people out there who still consider Pilates to be a more passive activity versus a challenging, strength-building workout — and that couldn’t be farther from the truth!
Joseph Pilates, the inventor of Pilates, was an athlete (a boxer) himself, and originally designed the method for men in the army. After he moved to New York, he was plugged into the circus arts community, and from there, many female dancers found him. These dancers became instructors and popularized his method, which goes to show the versatility it offers. Pilates is an amazing workout that challenges your balance, core strength, and flexibility — I believe that’s something everyone stands to benefit from. What would you like to learn about our Hydrow Athletes? Tweet your questions at @Hydrow_by_CREW using #AskTeamHydrow.