Let's talk Pilates, Post-Partum Fitness and Self-Care with Dasha of The Dash Body

If you had a song to define your life, what would it be?

Madonna “Push” addressed to myself.

How would you describe your philosophy on health and fitness?

Fitness is a tool of self knowledge: it is rewarding to compete with yourself and win over your past, weaker self or lose and get humbled. Health is the priority but fitness - makes it fun!

How did you get into fitness? What are your tips for womxn who don't have a 'traditional' background to enter fitness?

I’ve always been active since early childhood and growing up in Russia, long, dark, snowy winters didn’t stop me from playing outside. I had scoliosis since high school and heard that Pilates can fix it.. that’s how I first got interested in this method. Then I fell in love with how it made my body feel and move so I decided to take it to the next level and become an instructor myself. 15 years after my first pilates class and i can say that scoliosis doesn’t bother me at all. Also when I worked as a model, going to the gym was something that helped to take my mind off being away from my family and also helped to build stamina and even a bit of a character to deal with long hours of work and grow a little bit of thick skin to deal with rejection.

My advice would be: try as many fitness methods as you can, pick the one(s) that best suit your personality, learn everything about it, never stop learning more and go for it.

What does a typical day in the life look like for you?

Wake up, teach an early private client, feed the kiddos, do zoom school with the youngest, do my own workout (morning workouts for me are non negotiable), teach two-three more private clients, take a walk (a must, no matter what the weather is), spend the rest of the day with the kids (outside if possible) with some zoom group classes or a couple of privates at night sprinkled throughout the week.

How do you balance your time between working with individual clients vs group workout classes?

Before COVID I taught mostly group classes in person, now it’s the opposite - mostly individual clients irl. Looking forward to the warm weather to teach group classes outdoors again (can you tell I’m obsessed with being outside

I like them both: group classes for meeting new people irl and just chatting away while exercising together with a small group of women on zoom and privates for more intimate relationships when we can really focus on what their bodies need and want.

What's the biggest change that you've seen in the fitness industry since the beginning of the pandemic? How did you adapt?

Everything became virtual (great, I can connect with people from different states and even countries) and free: instructors and studios did/do a lot of free lives - awesome for the participants to be able to try new things and it’s a good opportunity to get the exposure on social media for the trainers. It seems like I didn’t miss a bit: I still give form corrections and words of encouragement on zoom since our cameras are on and I always wanted to offer on demand video lessons and the pandemic gave me a push to do that.

What does a typical week of exercise look like? How do you change your routine?

My main focus is to be strong and to keep my bones healthy as I age, so strength training is a must 2-3 times a week, with mobility, stretching, balance and coordination in the form of mat Pilates and yoga twice a week and the reformer, my love, at least twice a week. In the gym with strength training, I try to progress over time, using heavier weights and with all other workouts - I change the routine every time, but it’s based on basic movements patterns, always working the entire body so all my workouts compliment each other.

How important is nutrition when it comes to fitness and overall health?

Well nutrition is the most important part in any fitness and health journey: you can’t out train a bad diet. But just like with everything else in life, balance is important but we are allowed to have fun, right?

Tell us a typical menu for you?

I tried to do plant based, no added sugar and no dairy (a little bit of cheese is fine though, because it’s life:), with a lot of fish and fruits and veggies and I have a treat every day - mostly dark chocolate because of antioxidants or at least that’s what I tell myself. I also love coffee (a new frother has changed my life!) and all kinds of whole leaf tea and don’t leave the house without a water bottle.

What are the benefits of exercise, more specifically pilates, in pregnancy?

Pilates works the deep stabilizing muscles especially in the core and glutes making you less prone to pelvic, SI joint and low back pain. It also helps with posture (through serratus anterior and the back muscles) which is so helpful not only when you are pregnant but also afterwards during feedings and holding the baby. It also teaches how to connect movement and breathing - a good thing to know while giving birth or during stressful situations to help to relax and focus just on the breathing and nothing else. Pilates also can be as gentle as you want it to be but still makes you move and take the time to yourself.

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