Beyond the Pulse: How a Pilates ProWorks Master Trainer Cross-Trains

Welcome to How Trainers Train, a new series quizzing the Bay Area's top trainers about their fitness routines. 

Ellie Houston of Pilates ProWorks

Ellie Houston of Pilates ProWorks

Ellie Houston loves climbing on things, but she stays grounded with Pilates. When she's not teaching, you can find her clambering, jumping, running, balancing, and picking up heavy things only to put them back down again. 

Pilates ProWorks fans know Houston, the company's Director of Fitness, as the trainer who sets pulses racing. Her killer classes—including Pilates, matBox, Tone and Flow, and Barre—will activate muscles you never you knew you had. Houston is clearly fit, and she knows how to make her clients feel the burn, but have you ever wondered exactly how she sweats outside the studio? Let's find out!

Rockyt: How do you prepare for the classes you teach?

Ellie: I take classes from our talented staff of instructors constantly, plus yoga classes elsewhere. I'm always looking for new movements to incorporate into my class programming; most of the sequences are based on a simple foundational movement (like a plank or a lunge) with added levels of variation to make it more complex and challenging. I always try my new sequences out on myself first. I like to know exactly what I'm asking of my students and how it will feel in their bodies to provide the most comprehensive cueing and support. 

R: Do you cross train?

E: I do full-body calisthenics workouts three to four times per week—all body weight movements—combined with plyometric intervals for cardio. I take a couple Vinyasa or Power yoga classes per week and rock climb one to two times per week. When the weather is nice, I like to mix in a five-mile run.  

R: What are your favorite studios for cross-training? 

E: Planet Granite, Mission Cliffs and Dogpatch Boulders.

R: Are you training toward a particular fitness goal right now? 

E: I had a shoulder injury last year that forced me to regress my training for six months, but just beforehand I hit my PR for pull-ups: 17 in one minute. I'm trying to beat that by my next birthday…in six weeks!

R: What's your training regimen?

E: I do a lot of very focused lateral engagement exercises to re-train my shoulder. Also, I do a lot of handstands, planche progressions and a lot of myofascial release using a Rumble Roller on my lats, pecs and shoulders.

R: Do you take rest days?

E: I don't usually take rest days with no activity at all, but once a week I just do something restorative like yoga and foam rolling. And maybe a few pull-ups, because I can't resist. 

There you have it. Ellie Houston rarely rests, and she can hammer out more pull-ups in one minute than most of us will complete in a lifetime. If you want to join Ellie for a full-body beast mode workout, check out her classes at Pilates ProWorks in both the Marina (2238 Union Street) and FiDi (563 Commercial Street).