FYF - Pilar Millhollen


Pilar is a trainer at Body By Simone in NYC. I met her through BBS and now religiously take her class. She is so kind, honest and incredibly knowledgeable about the body and how it works. It is so fun to sweat it out with her, she is amazing! She inspired me to want to get strong, at a time when I didn’t think muscle really mattered. Pilar is also a certified personal trainer with the American Council on Exercise (ACE), and certified in bodyART, ReXist360, and LifeBarre. She works with private clients of all ages in Manhattan.

Let’s get into Pilar’s FYF!

When did you first start getting interested in fitness?

When I first started my career in show business, I wanted to look fit and strong enough to do 8 shows a week without problems. I realized quickly when I first got injured doing exactly that (8 shows a week for month after month) that my approach needed to shift. It wasn't simply going to work to do cardio five days a week and throw in some crunches; I actually needed to BE functionally strong so that my body could sustain repetitive movement day after day. After I tore the labrum in my hip dancing and had surgery and physical therapy, I learned so much about the way our bodies move and how to treat them in a way that promotes stability as well as strength - which led me into group fitness and eventually into teaching so I could share with others what had helped me so much.

Why do you exercise? Has your "why" changed from when you first started?

The "why" has morphed SO much for me over the past decade! 10 years ago, if I answered honestly, it would have been, "I exercise so I don't get fat; I exercise so my body will look a certain way and help me get jobs." I share this brutally honest truth because I have a feeling a lot of women - not just those in cosmetic industries - are motivated by this deep-seated fear. And that fear then drives how they treat their bodies. Now, fortunately, after a long and hard journey through injury and ups-and-downs with my body shape, I can honestly say that I exercise because it is a part of what makes me a healthy human being, physically but also emotionally. I exercise for how it makes me feel: not just the endorphin rush, but for the love of cultivating a discipline that has long-term positive effects on me as a person, and that I can hopefully share with others to help them feel empowered in body and mind.

What motivates you?

That's such a hard question! I am surrounded by experiences that come and go throughout life that give me motivation. Other people light a fire in my heart all the time - I worked for some time with a 91-year-old woman who had spent a career as an attorney for vulnerable families and children, and developed rheumatoid arthritis but then found a medication that allowed her to start moving again. Her presence in my life, as well as my presence in hers while we did stability and strength training and she remained in great health, had a huge impact on me. People who love their work motivate me. Dancers who heal themselves motivate me. I have two friends who've dealt with life-changing debilitative injuries and have handled the situations as spiritual warriors - and have worked their way to good health. I'm awestruck by the people I know and their journeys. Everyone has a mountain to climb; when I meet a person who is climbing it with courage and aplomb, I learn from them.

Any other passions that you want to share?

In addition to still having one foot in show business with a show I have loved for thirteen years, I hold a Master of Divinity from Union Theological Seminary, and I practice ministry in various settings. I've always held a deep concern for issues of social justice, and my ministry work has allowed me to advocate in a unique way for those on the margins of society. In this era of increasing turmoil, advocacy has become where I "take my last stand." It's what drives everything I do!

Classic black or colorful, patterned active wear?

Heehee! If it's neon, it's on me...those who know me know, COLORFUL and bold patterns! Love my brights when I'm working out!

5 things you are grateful for right now?

What a great question:

1) Good health that allows me to do what I love;

2) Work that pays my bills and has personal meaning;

3) Deep friendships. Wow, I'm SO grateful for my friends...

4) Amazing clergy, laypeople, and community organizations that are stepping up to protect people and do good where they can!

5) Personal agency. I've learned to take my own power and say no to what I'm unable or unwilling to do, and I wish for all of us to learn what empowers us individually and hold to that.

Favorite food indulgences?

SAVIN' THE BEST FOR LAST! I have such a sweet tooth for anything cake-based, especially the vegan red velvet cupcakes at Sprinkles (that coconut icing!!!) and the TO DIE FOR Belgian waffle pastry at Citizens in Chelsea - doesn't hurt to indulge sometimes! ;) *Sprinkles and Citizens* - here's my ploy for a frequent visitor rewards card! LOL…

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