Liz Polk, Speir Pilates Co-Founder, Shares Her Story & A Fabulous Workout Routine

Speir Pilates

We all know that staying fit during quarantine can be a little discouraging. Luckily, Speir Pilates is a program that offers both personal and virtual classes, and it’s just what you have been waiting for. Pilates is such a beautiful resource for self-care, mental health and of course ones physical wellbeing. Speir Pilates offers scholarships and a free pilates certification program to low-income individuals and minorities in hopes of diversifying the Pilates industry.

Co-Founder Liz Polk, has helped scale and grow the LA-based pilates business to where it is today. Luckily, I was able to chat with Liz and talk about how she got her business to where it is today and she even shared a quick pilates workout that gives you just the right amount of burn!

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Keep reading for how Speir Pilates came to life…

Speir Pilates
Speir Pilates

Tell us a little bit of your background & how you began Speir Pilates.

I’ve loved fitness for years, especially fitness classes. When I discovered Pilates I fell in love with it. As I sought to find a Pilates instructor that shared my values around body positivity and inclusion (selfishly, so that I would feel comfortable), I found Andrea and ultimately partnered with her to co-found Speir Pilates. We’ve since opened our first group fitness studio in Santa Monica, CA and are excited to launch our second location in West Hollywood.

Can you talk about how you started your scholarship and certification programs within Speir Pilates?

When Andrea and I started working together, we were seeking to hire diverse teachers but it was obvious that the pipeline was limited due to the inaccessible and costly certifications. When I began to dive deeper into the business of Pilates and learn more about the fitness industry as a whole, I realized there were other issues around pay inequities and a lack of diverse body positive representation. All of this lit up my desire to find ways to train more diverse Pilates instructors.  The importance of inclusion and diverse representation in the fitness industry goes beyond the value of having diverse teachers, it builds a foundation for the recognition that everyone deserves to feel healthy and fit, regardless of shape, size or race.

Now, in response to this, we seek to sponsor at least one person with potential from an underrepresented group in each of our certification classes. We typically look for someone that would be a good fit for our studio. We’ve found success with former dancers seeking to find a new career that utilizes their prior experience. We’ve chosen not to announce the recipients, as we do not want their experience to be differentiated from the rest of the certification class.

We hired one of our sponsored instructors recently. It has been incredibly rewarding to see her connect with our clientele. We’d love to continue to add instructors to our roster that truly reflect the world around us.

What is the best way to stay motivated while we are working from home? Share any tips you have!

I have to admit, I struggled with motivation when we started working from home. It’s hard to break away from work and my three toddlers when everything is happening around me at home. I miss the accountability that comes from signing up for group classes and personal training.Just before the fitness studios were ordered to close in California, my OBGYN cleared me to work out after having my twin boys, but I couldn’t turn to fitness classes to get me started. That caused me to lose my momentum initially, but I recently started to implement a few things that are getting me back into the groove: (1) waking up early (earlier than the kids!), even if that’s just 20 minutes earlier, to get a quick 20 minute workout, Peloton ride or a simple stretch, (2) scheduling and planning my workouts and self-care (I’ve literally been adding them to my calendar and inviting my husband for visibility), and (3) finding accountability partners by making Peloton dates, meeting friends to hike or walk, and doing live-streamed sessions with my favorite instructors are great.

Can you describe what a typical day in the fitness industry life looks like?

I’m responsible for the business side of the studio and I have another career, as a lawyer, so my typical day looks completely different from other fitness professionals. A typical day begins with an early morning visit to the studio. I usually take the first class in the morning. This week, I’m trying out our new rooftop classes at our West Hollywood location. Once I’m done with class, I check my Speir email. My emails could be about human resources, finances, onboarding, leadership and motivating the team, growth, retail pop-ups or brainstorming new ideas. Before I leave the studio, I delegate as much as I can to our business manager and call Andrea on my way home. Delegating is the only way I can juggle two careers. At the end of the day, Andrea and I check in with each other. Our kids are the same age (we were pregnant at the same time, twice), so we typically wait until after the kids’ bedtime routines to connect again.

Do you have a go-to Quarantine Workout you can share with us?

I’ve struggled to find the time to get workouts in, so I asked Andrea to design something effective that I can fit in a few days a week.  She sent me a circuit workout using light weights and resistance bands and I’m loving to hate it, if you know what I mean!

Full workout at the end. 

At BELLA, our tagline is Life Is Beautiful… where do you find beauty?

Beauty comes from within. There’s so much beauty in our uniqueness. There’s beauty in being our authentic, natural selves. There’s so much beauty in being unapologetic about who you are.

Lastly, where can everyone follow you for more information, new programs, workouts, etc.?

To sign up for our classes, both virtual and in-person, go to our website speirpilates.com and keep up with our programs and get tons of workout tips on IG @speirpilates.

Liz Polk

FULL QUARANTINE WORKOUT

CIRCUIT 1– 5 lb. Weights

Repeat 3x

  • 30 Bicep Curls
    • Cue: Make sure elbows are bent in by sides and shoulders are drawn back and together
  • 30 Tricep Lifts
    • Cue: Elbows are hugging close to face. Full range- as low as you can go and as high up toward the ceiling as you can go
  • 30 Push-Ups (*no weights)
    • Cue: Strong, engaged abs throughout

CIRCUIT 2– Looped Resistance Band

Repeat 3x

*Stand with feet hip distance apart and band above knees.

  • Full range squats- 30 seconds
    • Pulses (hold halfway down and pulse)- 30 seconds
  • Crab Walk- 30 seconds
    • (Laterally walk from one end of the mat to the next)
  • Jump Squats- 30 seconds
    • (from a deep squat, jump straight up and land softly back in squat- repeat jumping for entire 30 seconds)

CIRCUIT 3– No Props

Repeat 3x, Lie on mat

  • Criss Cross- 30 seconds
    • (Lie on mat with head and chest curled up, one leg in and one leg extended out. Twist upper body to bent leg and then alternate legs, twisting toward bent leg every time.
  • Plank Hold- 30 seconds
    • (Hold forearm plank (on elbows shoulder distance apart, feet hip distance apart).

 

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