In 1997, Ellen Weinstein opened a Pilates studio in Albany, NY, the first in the Capital Region, because she hoped to help others find the connection between mind and body — a connection that helped her view fitness as a lifestyle, not a chore.
As a former bodybuilder, Ellen was fixated on cutting weight, becoming sculpted, and tracking nutritional intake. Ellen’s relationship with fitness had become unhealthy and her daily routine was difficult to maintain.
“Bodybuilding makes you look a certain way,” Ellen said. “But it doesn’t do anything for you internally.” She needed a change; exercise had always been a part of her life but bodybuilding veered her in the wrong direction. It wasn’t until she found Pilates that she started to love exercising again.
Pilates is a holistic form of exercise because, when practicing, blood begins to flow from the top of the body, down, which does something for the brain, Ellen explained. It does more than sculpt your body. It can also help you mentally, she said.
For almost three years, she was trained by Master Instructor Romana Kryzanowska. “I’m considered a second generation teacher because I was trained by his [Pilates founder, Joseph Pilates’] protégé,” Ellen said. “There’s no deviation in the way I was trained,” she said. “[…]A lot of people change the method in a lot of ways but I have not done that.”
Ellen owned her studio in Albany for 12 years before closing the doors due to circumstances, the most significant being her father’s passing. Ten years after the closing, Ellen realized she had put on significant weight; it had been years since she last exercised. So she decided to join the Bethlehem YMCA and make the necessary changes in her life to feel better.
For a year, Ellen was a member but didn’t come to the Y. When she finally did, she met Ethan Crevatas, head trainer, at his TRX class and they immediately hit it off. “It’s like a family here,” Ellen said. Now, she takes Ethan’s high intensity interval training (HIIT) class and trains with him personally once a week. Within three-to-four months, she experienced huge physical changes. “I think I look the best I’ve looked in a long time,” Ellen said.
Ellen explained how losing weight is more difficult as you get older. “You can lose weight,” she said, “but it won’t look the way you want it to look without doing some kind of exercise; when you’re younger it’s a bit different.” Ethan helped Ellen to sculpt her body and feel confident.
“He [Ethan] is passionate about what he does and makes you feel very passionate about being in his class,” Ellen said. “You can’t get that anywhere else.” He makes a connection with every member in his class, whether there be five or 25 participants, because everything at the Y is scalable. “Fitness isn’t cookie cutter,” Ethan said. He wants to make sure everyone has a great workout experience.
At the beginning of Ellen’s journey, Ethan said her biggest challenge was confidence. “Where she is now is miles head of that [where she started],” he said. “She is constantly pushing herself, finding the limit and blowing past it.”
The biggest message Ethan has is to get up and try new and challenging things, especially for people in Ellen’s age bracket. “Nine times out of 10,” he said, “we limit ourselves with our thoughts.”