Pi·LA·tes by Ari Basile
It is truly special when you find humans that you can be honest and be your true self with ~ people that you know how to make you laugh, people that you can cry with, eat and drink with, talk and also be silent with ~ and, it is a bonus when they also know how to motivate you to get your bod moving and in the tip top shape that it deserves. Welcome to the stage one of those "humans" ~ my good friend, actress, writer and rockin' Pilates teacher, Miss Ari Basile. Read on to learn how this babe grooves through Los Angeles all while enjoying SoCal living, working in the biz and taking that necessary down time for herself. BONUS: She even shares some quick and easy booty and arm toning exercises that are sure to keep those stems looking pretty...just in time for the holiday season! I recommend printing the exercises below, pasting them in a place that you see everyday and practicing them on a daily basis! You will see fast results. Ya, I said it! The Vibrant Beet: How did you discover Pilates?
Ari Basile: I moved to LA 7 years ago from Washington with no job and no real plan of plan for how I was going to make it work. In addition to teaching Pilates, I am an actor and a writer and I just knew that I needed to be in Los Angeles and I was going to do whatever it took. Luckily, I got a job quickly working at the front desk of a private gym, which was fortunate because I had definitely not saved enough money to live here for long without one. One of the perks of working there was that I was able to take private Pilates lessons. Growing up, I was a gymnast and had also done mat Pilates since I was a teenager and loved it so I jumped at the opportunity to take class 3 days a week with a private instructor. The rest was a sort of natural progression: sitting behind a desk has never been my thing, auditioning while working a full time job was tough, it was hard to take time off for last minute auditions, and I found myself turning down opportunities...which was devastating. I needed something different. One of the instructors at the gym suggested I get my Pilates certification and I did.
TVB: How long have you been acting and writing for? And what is this new business you’re starting? :)
AB: I’ve been acting since I was a wee babe in Everett, WA. I think the first play I ever did was “The Emancipation Proclamation” at my elementary school, I was maybe 7. Writing is something that I got into a little later. I started with a journal around 11, writing everyday as a tool for self expression/exploration (pre-teen life is rough) which eventually turned into story telling, and once I realized that I could create any scenario I wanted just by writing it - I was in trouble. COME ON THROUGH (http://www.comeonthrough.com) is a production company I started with two of my very talented friends (coughs, points at you). We’ve all been working in the entertainment industry in different fields (producer, writer/actor, director/editor/musician) for years. One night at the Yamashiro Farmers Market, we started riffing about story ideas, and laughing ourselves to tears, in that moment I’m pretty sure we all thought, “Why have we never done this before?” the rest is history. It’s been a wonderful collaboration.
TVB: Can you tell us a little about how your Pilates teaching contributes positively to you in your acting and writing?
AB: I LOVE teaching Pilates. Making my own schedule has probably been the biggest “business” bonus, I teach one on one classes and have amazing clients who know about my acting and writing and support me in that part of my world. From a “life” perspective, Pilates has had unlimited positive contributions, it promotes me keeping my body healthy. Not just because I spend a lot of time in a Pilates studio but also because being around positive, healthy people, who’ve made a commitment to make exercise as part of their routine is inspiring! I also have to be able to demonstrate everything I want them to do, plus, I get that ol’ Italian guilt if I go too long not practicing what I preach..
TVB: Living in Los Angeles we are always on the go, in the car, etc. How do you keep your energy up throughout a normal work day?
AB: My days are all over the place, I don’t really have a “routine” which makes it hard to anticipate how much energy to conserve/expend...so I definitely have my bag of tricks. I’m a HUGE podcast listener: This American Life, RadioLab, Comedy Bang Bang, The Moth, Doug Loves Movies, Fresh Air, The Treatment, +more. If I’m laughing or learning something, I seem to have copious amounts of energy. If I’m feeling really sluggish and I’m away from my house, I’ll pick up a green juice, I like greens with a kick of ginger or lemon. If I’m at home or if I can stop by my place quickly I’ll make a green smoothie that I love, my friend Jo suggested it when I was doing a cleanse and it’s become a trusty companion. I usually don’t keep groceries in my fridge but I always try to have the ingredients for this smoothie: coconut water, spinach, kale (if I have it), dates, an avocado (or a banana if the avocados aren’t ripe), almond butter, and shaved coconut.
TVB: Besides pilates, what else do you do to stay active and keep up that bod looking so sexy?
AB: Haha - What? This ol’ thang? I like to be active but I’m not an exercise nut. I sign up for a lot of those “intro month specials” at various places with good intention but I find myself only going a few times before I lose interest or too sore to go back. I try to live an active day to day lifestyle, I like to hike with my dog Ziggy (who LOVES to hike), because we live in LA and we have to be in our cars so much I walk whenever possible, or ride my bike, I tried stand up paddle boarding the other day, I’m super sore but can’t wait to try again, I practice yoga on the regular, and I dance whenever I get the opportunity - which is usually in my kitchen.
TVB: What are your favorite ways to decompress in Los Angeles?
AB: The Korean Spas in Los Angeles are unreal, I had never experienced anything like them before moving here, it really feels as if you’ve travelled to another place completely. Shower/soak/scrub/soak/steam/soak/massage/drink tea/etc. I want to go right this minute. Should we? They have food there too.
TVB: What are your favorite healthy restaurants, cafes, food trucks, etc in LA for you to get your eat on?
AB: We have so many great options for healthy food here in LA. A few of my “go to’s” are, Bloom Cafe (on Pico) I like the tandoori chicken bowl, they cook the quinoa in coconut milk or something and it’s really tasty. Cafe Gratitude often (both locations) I love the “I Am Whole” bowl and the “I Am Immortal” with cacao (a nice warm drink). There are also rice bowls from Chego (Downtown) that are great. I love grain bowls with stuff on top.
TVB: When I was preparing for my wedding last summer. you totally kicked my butt into shape! Can you share some of your tips with us?
AB: Fo Sho. See below for “Bootylicious” and "Wedding Guns". I like these exercises for my arms, legs and butt. Cardio is also really important and there are so many ways to get your heart rate up. I hate to run, really, I have asthma and it gives me a headache (double sucky). So I find other ways that are more fun for me, I take a dance class, hike, swim, or sometimes even taking a vigorous flow yoga class will do it.
Lie on your side with your legs at the corner of the mat (or slightly at an angle if you dont have a mat.):
10 LEG LIFTS: straight up and down 10 KICKS TO THE FRONT: swing the leg forward 5 BIG CIRCLES IN EACH DIRECTION 10 SMALL CIRCLES IN EACH DIRECTION
Then bend the knees in to a right angle:
10 LEG LIFTS: obviously with your knees bent 10 KNEE CIRCLES IN EACH DIRECTION 10 CLAM SHELLS: feet stay glued together and open the knee 10 JACKIE CHANS: karate kick to the back
Then bend the top leg in front of the bottom leg for your inner thigh exercises:
20 lifts of the bottom leg 10 circles of the bottom leg in each direction
Alright, you can do this whole thingy up to 3 times every day. Stick with only 5lb and 3lb weights since you only want to tone and not bulk. You may want to alternate between the 5's and 3's, example: do one set with the 5's then one with the 3's and one with the 5's. or any variation. You get it.
10 BICEP CURLS: full extension- full contraction 10 BICEP "PULSES": from full contraction (by shoulders) to halfway down 10 BICEP "PULSES": from full extension (by your hips) to halfway up
10 BICEP CURLS: full extension- full contraction, but this time instead of having your fists in front of you turn them out to the sides of your body (elbows in, fists out)
10 TRICEP EXTENSIONS: both weights above your head bending and straightening your elbows
10 TRICEP "KICK BACKS": bend at the waist, glue your elbows to the sides of you body and extend the arms back behind you
BAR METHOD TRICEPS: You should at least do 2 sets of this one every time, even if you only do 1 set of everything else. Step one foot back so you're slightly split stance. Take the weight in the same hand as the back foot. Touch your booty with the weight (straight arm) and then lift the weight behind you- the weight shouldn't come in front of the hip. All the work for this series happens behind you.
20 lifting straight back: keep the arm straight and lift it 10 times away from the booty 10 circles in each direction: keep the weight as far behind you as you can and make tiny circles 10 "Pulses" behind you: hold the arm as far back as you can and pulse it there 10 times
As aforementioned you can do this every day if you feel like it BUT please please please focus on not engaging your traps or anywhere around your neck. Also, check in with yourself on occasion and roll the shoulder back keeping the work in the parts of the arms and the postural muscles - where we want to work, and not in the neck and front of the shoulders - we do not want to work there.
LASTLY, stretch post workout, if you can you should stretch your whole body every day for a little while but at least stretch your triceps, chest, and back after this workout. Taking the arm above the head/ put an arm in a doorway and stretch your chest, child's pose, cat/cow backs, etc.
TVB: What does living a vibrant lifestyle mean to you?
AB: It means: Finding things that feed your soul and making them a priority, being open to new experiences, and laughing a lot.
TVB: I love you Ari B! Thanks for taking the time to share your knowledge with us and for helping to tone me (and others) both mentally and physically.