A rebel with a cause, Erin Huggins’ cutting-edge combination of mind and body conditioning is what keeps her enthusiasts coming back for more. Adorned with tattoos, this petite punk-turned-health & wellness-pro has a secret for success — her synergy of mental and physical training.
A few stints promoting bands for the Blue Note, bartending at the world famous Troubadour and working for one very infamous, misbehaving punk princess (Courtney Love), Erin had an epiphany. It was time for her to ignite her own inner rock star! She set out on her journey of self-discovery and reconnecting with the positive influences of her past. She's never looked back. Erin has since been featured in Shape Magazine, Pilates Style, The Los Angeles Times and speaks passionately on the weight and wealth connection, holistic nutrition and living in abundance.
Erin knows what it's like to lose weight -- and do it the healthy way. Just check out her before and after pics above.
MindBodyGreen: Any common misconceptions about Pilates that you'd like to clear up?
Erin Huggins: Pilates has earned an unfair reputation about being just about the core. Pilates is a full body methodology. We work on all our precious body parts, not just our abs. However, we focus on the principle that strengthening your core or "powerhouse," provides crucial trunk stability which is necessary for improved full-body mobility and strength.
MBG: Pilates vs yoga -- how does someone know which practice is right for them? Can you describe your relationship to yoga - what do you like most about it?
EH: My mother was my first yoga teacher and I was obsessed with her yoga books when I was a kid. Truth is, I'm a big fan of incorporating them both into your life. I don't have an either or mindset. For me, they are both a form of meditation in movement. And they both require intense concentration, focus and discipline. Yoga will increase flexibility, reduce stress and tone. While Pilates will improve posture, strength and increase coordination.
MBG: Pilates mat vs Pilates reformer. Which do you prefer and why?
EH: Mat work all the way. Don't get me wrong, the reformer rocks. But the mat work forces you to concentrate deeper and use your own body for support, whereas the reformer can sometimes be a crutch if you're not focused.
MBG: Do you have a favorite Pilates move for someone who wants great abs?
EH: I'm a sucker for the hamstring pull. But in order to get really great abs you have to incorporate plank pose with the traditional Pilates moves like the hundreds or hamstring pull.
MBG: What is the biggest mistake people make when decide they want to slim down and tone up?
EH: When people make a decision to slim down, they often make the mistake of drastically counting calories, when what they should be doing is counting chemicals and carbohydrates instead. Regardless of your weight, most of us are actually starving for whole nutrition. Drastically counting calories is only going to make your body need more of what you are reducing in the name of weigh loss -- whole food. People end up eating "lite" or "reduced fat" or "low calorie" food and all that stuff is really processed and terrible for the body. When trying to slim down people need to have a paradigm shift -- you've got to get healthy to lose weight, not the other way around. That means whole nutrition, seasonal fruit and veggies, organic, pastured meat and no refined sugars or grains.
MBG: Who or what inspires you?
EH: I'm inspired by Weston A. Price who made it his life's work studying traditional cultures who thrive on whole foods. And by nutrition pioneer, William Wolcott who is the mastermind behind Metabolic Typing. His genius has allowed us to create customized nutritional protocols to support our individual needs. I'm outrageously inspired by my fellow holistic health and fitness practitioners who wake up everyday with a mission to help the world get healthy and happy. And of course Joseph Pilates who said, "It is the mind that shapes the body." That's a quote I repeat constantly for both myself and my clients.
MBG: Favorite healthy food?
EH: Pastured grass-fed steak over a bed of greens and a side of quinoa (pictured, right).
MBG: Favorite guilty indulgence?
EH: No guilt allowed! M Cafe chocolate cake.
MBG: Describe the outlook of Pilates and wellness practices as legitimate ways to combat sickness and change lives in the future.
EH: Exercise is s crucial element to health and well-being. Exercise increases happy hormones and more importantly reduces stress hormones. When stress hormones like cortisol are increased it causes the body to breakdown. Maintaining proper hormone balance helps to stabilize metabolism, keep your blood sugar balanced, maintain muscle integrity and support immune system function. It's important to note though, that too much exercise, especially long steady state cardio -- think 45 minutes on the elliptical -- can increase stress hormones as it activates the "fight or flight" response. I recommend keeping the cardio to 20 to 30 minutes max.
MBG: What are you currently working on, what's next for you?
EH: I'm preparing to launch The Sugar Smackdown group coaching program. It's a 21 day sugar detox I take my private clients through. But, after I did a Sugar Smackdown video last December it's created quite a buzz online and now it's time to take it to the masses. In addition to my current pilates downloads, I'm also preparing to launch more downloadable workout videos from my website.
For more on Erin:
Twitter, Facebook, YouTube
Interview by Sarah Greenberg. Sarah is a yoga enthusiast, and University of Maryland student.