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Strength in Movement



A local Pilates instructor finds joy in safely guiding her clients beyond what they initially believe is possible.

LiveWellLoriPilatesMar2016It was a background in dance that led Lori Crosthwait, a Pilates instructor at Crescent City Pilates, to her current profession. Crosthwait spent her childhood in Louisville, Kentucky; she later went on to receive a Bachelor of Fine Arts in dance at the University of Arizona. After graduating, she moved to Chicago where she met her current partner (who grew up in New Orleans). “Fast forward seven years, and here we are,” Crosthwait says. “It’s good to be closer to family. I am also happy to be in a city that facilitates entrepreneurship and fervently supports community building.”

When Crosthwait first moved to Chicago, she worked full time as a restaurant server — and she was also dancing professionally. That combination quickly took its toll. “Pilates as a regular practice gave me a break from the repetitive nature of serving and the extreme nature of dancing,” she says. “I recognized a lot of parallels between teaching dance and teaching Pilates, so I decided to enroll in the BASI Comprehensive Teacher Training Program. The emphasis on smart work resonated with me — learning how to teach Pilates made me move much more efficiently in the dance studio and daily life.”

Crosthwait began teaching Pilates in Dec. 2010, and, since then, she has received additional certifications. “I am TRX Suspension Training Qualified, a Pilates Method Alliance® Certified Pilates Teacher and a CoreAlign Master Instructor for Balanced Body (the only one in Louisiana),” she says.

CoreAlign, a functional training tool developed by physical therapist Jonathan Hoffman, is designed to stimulate core stability muscles, while performing challenging exercises, deep stretches and core-controlled aerobic training.“Training with me on the CoreAlign at Crescent City is certainly a unique opportunity for New Orleans residents,” Crosthwait says. “Most of the exercises are performed standing, which is often missing from Pilates sessions.”

As for her typical personal fitness and diet routine, Crosthwait’s biggest priority is consistency. “I have recently started to practice yoga regularly, and I have established for myself the value of yoga and Pilates as complementary modalities,” she says. “I always eat breakfast. I am not an early riser, so I aim for late-morning classes and workouts.”

On Staying Motivated
“I stay motivated because I want to wake up and feel my best,” Crosthwait says. “Feeling my best means I can hustle to teach clients and classes, and take classes myself, and enjoy a slow cup of coffee, and catch a performance, and … See what I mean? I want to do it all! I try really hard to be my own teacher and notice my own progress. I am motivated by new discoveries daily.”

Her Fuel
“I do my best to choose a combination of fresh produce, minimally processed proteins and
healthy grains to feel full and happy,” Crosthwait says. “I love a traditional bacon and eggs breakfast, but (unsurprisingly) I perform better when I have a different favorite of mine: fresh avocado smashed on a hearty slice of toast with a little salt and pepper. For lunch and dinner, I love big bowls of food: rice and beans with chicken, grilled peppers, onions, avocado and salsa; wilted kale salad with red onion, goat cheese, blueberries and bacon; noodles with spinach, butter and garlic. My guilty pleasure? A chocolate-covered doughnut from Alois J Binder Bakery.”

Success Story
“A client in Chicago was uncertain about trying Pilates at all,” Crosthwait says. “Three years of dedicated practice later, he is in the midst of completing the BASI Pilates Teacher Training Program. I am overwhelmed by the transformation he experienced physically and emotionally during our work together. I am proud to report he is currently completing his student teaching hours and looking forward to making a full career transition later this year.”

Wise Words
“Skip the snooze button on your exercise program,” Crosthwait says. “Day one will not get any easier the longer you avoid it. If you are brand new to exercise or have been sedentary for an extended period of time, consult a trusted health professional to evaluate you before getting started. Consider the value of private instruction. Know your goals, both short and long term. Consider finally these 10 principles of Pilates (from the BASI approach): awareness, balance, control, efficiency, precision, breath, concentration, center, flow and harmony. A regular Pilates practice will facilitate a deep mind-body connection, and therefore energize you to pursue your goals both inside and outside the studio.”

Crescent City Pilates now offers an introductory special to new clients: three private sessions for $99.