Chat with Karen Ellis – Chief Pilates Nerd


Angie Omata

Co-Founder / Creative Director at simplyWORKOUT
Angie Omata

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“A Pilates Nerd is a highly intelligent individual, does Pilates, gets really excited to learn, and is fascinated with most everything related to Pilates.” If you find yourself nodding to that definition, you just might qualify for the label.  We recently had the opportunity to chat with Karen Elias – the founder and Chief Pilates Nerd of the Pilates-centric blog and clothing line, Pilates Nerd.

How did Pilates Nerd get its start?

Pilates Nerd started as a simple blog. I really wanted to create an online space where people who were enthusiastic about Pilates (or didn’t yet know how cool it was) could visit to learn about exercises, equipment and even the science of why Pilates works.

From the beginning of the Pilates Nerd blog, I created a T-shirt that had the definition of what a Pilates Nerd is, which was kind of humorous and poked fun at being inquisitive about Pilates. That tee completely took off and sold through the blog. Soon after, I designed another t-shirt and that sold very well, too. Ultimately, I was so busy shipping and trying to figure out overseas customs and postage, the blog really had to take a backseat. But a T-shirt brand was born!

Why Pilates?

I think what I love most about Pilates is that it’s an incredible way to connect to your body and figure out how it functions. Pilates is great for all types of people and it’s a pretty versatile workout if you have an injury or a specific weakness you’re trying to improve. I teach several older clients as well as young athletes and I love to see the way that Pilates enhances their daily activities. The method I teach isn’t easy, which people sometimes imagine when they think of Pilates. I definitely like to challenge clients and sometimes whining is involved!

For me personally, I have a back injury from my late teens and Pilates always provided me with the combination of strength, flexibility and a physically, yet mentally challenging workout. I find Pilates is the type of workout that prepares you well for other workouts, too.

How do you get inspired for your designs?

I get the inspiration for my designs and posts from my clients, colleagues and a lot of the time, from songs and pop culture! It’s so much fun to create something that unites people and makes them feel good!

Our best seller is a T-shirt that says Pilates Has Your Back and it has an outline of the spine on the back. I love that one, too because I feel like Pilates truly does have my back; in the literal sense for sure, but also metaphorically. Pilates connects me more deeply to myself I’m so lucky I get to share that joy with people every day.

What is your favorite Pilates exercise?

I think my favorite exercise in Pilates might be the Saw…it combines that awesome rotation the body needs plus the opening of the chest muscles.

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