I'm excited to share this week's (So)(Co) Sit Down with you! Kelly Keesler and I met the day we both moved into Stetson West - the freshman dorm at Northeastern University. We lived down the hall from each other, became instant friends and have remained close ever since. Kelly is one of those people that I constantly remind how talented she is in so many ways and to chase after all that she is passionate about. After years doing work she wasn't quite so passionate about, she took the leap. She's an incredible graphic designer, kick-ass Pilates instructor and amazing friend. I'm so proud of her for taking the leap towards doing her own thing and following her passion.
JOIN ME ON THIS JOURNEY OF SHARING STORIES AND INSPIRING ONE ANOTHER TO BE THE BEST VERSION OF OURSELVES IN OUR EVERYDAY LIVES.
READ ON TO LEARN MORE ABOUT KELLY KEESLER.
HOW DO YOU SPEND YOUR DAYS?
I’m usually up with the sun (sometimes before it!), teaching early morning classes to those kick-ass clients who like to get their workout in before work. My evenings also consist of teaching, but those hours are more often filled with my private Pilates clients. I love having the contrast of teaching both full, energy-packed, music-pumping fitness classes and quiet, one-on-one private Pilates sessions. Both styles of teaching keep me inspired and excited. Teaching early mornings and late evenings leaves my afternoons open for me-time, although this time is usually spent running errands, answering emails, scheduling clients, etc. so it can be pretty exhausting!
WHAT ARE THREE THINGS YOU ARE GRATEFUL FOR?
I only get to pick 3 things? I’m grateful for everything, really. During my hectic days, I often find myself either on the subway or driving along the BQE on the way to teach thinking “…is this really my life? Do I really teach Pilates and fitness in NYC for a living?” That may sound silly, but I worked really hard to change my life from sitting behind a desk and feeling lost and bored to being on my feet, active all day teaching others how to train their bodies to be the healthiest, strongest version of themselves. It’s really rewarding and I’m so grateful for that, everyday. Of course, I’m beyond grateful for my friends and family who believed that I could do it and pushed me (and still do!) to be my best. My sister is especially supportive and inspiring to me—she has always been the one to say “Go for it!”….and I have, thankfully. Finally, I’m grateful for the every minute of free time I have to spend with those people. They mean the world to me. Also, ice cream.
EXPLAIN YOUR LIFESTYLE IN 5 WORDS OR LESS.
Active, chill, fun, thoughtful.
IF YOU WERE TO ATTEND A POTLUCK DINNER, WHAT WOULD YOU BRING?
I’ve recently started making my Mom’s baked macaroni and cheese—it’s actually my Great Grandma’s recipe and it is super cheesy and oh-so-bad for you, but soooo good. I’d probably bring that.
IF YOU COULD GIFT EVERYONE YOU MEET WITH ONE BOOK, WHAT WOULD IT BE AND WHY?
The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. It is, by far, my favorite book of all time. I find the message behind the story to be so powerful. Basically it says that if you trust in yourself and the universe, and if you follow your heart, you’ll be wealthy in love, life, and happiness.
WHAT IS THE FIRST THING YOU DO WHEN YOU WAKE UP IN THE MORNING?
Brush my teeth. I can’t do anything before I’ve brushed my teeth. I’m a little weird about it. I wish I had something cooler to say here.
IF YOU COULD CHANGE ONE THING IN YOUR DAILY ROUTINE, WHAT WOULD IT BE? WHAT WOULD IT TAKE FOR YOU TO MAKE THAT CHANGE?
I wish I could make a commitment to my guitar playing. I started taking lessons a few years ago, and actually was learning pretty quickly. Life got busy and I lost the time to practice. I really need to just sit down and do it. It wouldn’t take much. Even just 30 minutes a day playing would make me happier.
WHAT DOES BEING HEALTHY MEAN TO YOU?
I don’t think being healthy is only about the food you eat or the workouts you do. I think being healthy is an overall lifestyle. I think it means taking care of yourself in all aspects of your life, whether it be cardio 30 minutes a day for physical health, or making sure you have the time to read a good book every night for mental health, or carving out time for friends and family for emotional health. I think being healthy is all about balance in each of these areas. Including everything from a work/life balance to a healthy food/guilty pleasure balance. Everything.
HAVE YOU EVER BEEN FACED WITH HEALTH CONCERNS THAT PUSHED YOU TO CHANGE YOUR LIFESTYLE?
I’ve been very fortunate to not have been faced with any serious health concerns in my life. That said, I know a lot of people who have so I still know the importance of keeping a healthy lifestyle and making sure that you are doing every thing in your control to be the best body, mind, and soul that you can be.
WHAT SONG CAN IMMEDIATELY CHANGE YOUR MOOD IN THE BEST WAY POSSIBLE?
Shout by the Isley Brothers. You can’t not be happy when you hear that. A classic.
WHAT IS ONE PIECE OF ADVICE SOMEONE HAS GIVEN YOU THAT SHIFTED YOUR WAY OF THINKING?
My sister has always said “you don’t need to be the best, you just need to do it.” She told me this when I was hoping to build a freelance graphic design business but I didn’t think I was good enough for people to pay me money for design work. Well, she totally changed my perspective and now I am (and have been!) a freelance designer on the side. It’s extra income and it allows for my creative side to come out a little. It’s also somewhat therapeutic to sit in a coffee shop and play away on my computer some days.
WHAT ARTICLE OF CLOTHING/OUTFIT DO YOU FEEL MOST EMPOWERED WEARING?
Recently I’ve been diggin’ my Nike high tops. They sort of make me feel like a badass, especially when teaching. I’ve had some clients actually say “oh no, she’s got her ass-kicking sneaks on…” Haha!
COMPLETE THIS SENTENCE: "IN ORDER TO BE HAPPY, I NEED TO..."
…soak in the sun. I absolutely need sunshine. I try to soak it up as much as I can on a sunny day. It makes me so happy.
WHAT DO YOU HAVE GOING ON IN YOUR LIFE THAT YOU'D LIKE TO SHARE WITH THE (SO)(CO) COMMUNITY?
I am holding a Pilates retreat (my first!) in Amagansett, Long Island this September! I am so excited to share Pilates with new and old clients in a beautiful beachfront setting. Doing a retreat has been a goal of mine for a long time now, even since before I became a certified instructor, so I am elated to finally be doing it. Click here to learn more and join me!
Kelly is a classically trained and comprehensively certified Pilates instructor. Kelly began her career in fitness in 2012, and has been an athlete practicing movement since her early days as a gymnast and dancer as a young girl. It was only natural that Kelly gravitated towards Pilates as her preferred exercise routine in the years after college, as the focus on precise movement appealed to her senses.
Kelly feels that bringing awareness to your body, and in particular learning how to isolate specific muscle groups, is one of the most physically rewarding and ‘a-ha’ moments Pilates can give you. She now shares her love of Pilates teaching her private clients and classes in New York City.
Kelly is also certified in Prenatal Pilates and the Lagree Fitness™ method, an exercise method performed on the Megaformer, an innovative take on the original reformer that transforms and sculpts the entire body with cardio-infused Pilates-esque exercises. Head over to Brooklyn Body Burn to sign up for one of my classes.