Get off the Couch…There I said it – Interview with Tara Gillespie


So if you were wondering where you were going to find motivation this spring search no further, I present you Tara Gillespie. Owner and instructor at Harmony Mind Body Fitness in Lincoln Park Chicago, Tara has the most energizing personality and the practices to back it up. Like more motivational than Jessica Alba in a bikini. I just wanted to go sweat after we talked.  After reading what Tara has to say on all things health and fitness, you will probably find it hard to keep sitting behind this very screen that has consumed the past 5 minutes of your time, Tara’s advice…don’t fight it.mbh interview 3

Harmony is just over 11 years old and focuses primarily in the Pilates practice. The community is thriving with young professionals (shout out to the YPs!!) and families which makes for a majorly functional group moral. The strong sense of community within the studio’s circle is a huge motivational factor for both the clients and the instructors.

With a highly focused background in dance and technical Pilates training, you will love Tara’s take on injury and how to be better at your fitness no matter your background or motivation. Think of Pilates as your go to when things aren’t feeling quite right. Tara completely destroys the stereotype that Pilates is for fitness crazed women with flawless genotypes who somehow possess the ability to manipulate their body into that of a pretzel…thank goodness for that.

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“I genuinely think Pilates works for everyone and everything. The focus on modifications supports that. Flexibility and coordination are benefits of Pilates, not requirements.”

If you could change one thing about the way people view exercise and wellness what would it be?

That it has to be back-breaking, dripping sweat, shaking muscles work all of the time. It is perfectly acceptable to finish a work-out and feel GOOD.  I appreciate hard work and pushing limits, but I also try to appreciate my body and remember that I only get one.

My shin splints are loving this right now. So how can someone who is always sore manage injury and pain in a more effective way?

By managing their body BEFORE injury. I am guilty myself of going through stages where I don’t do the homework needed to keep my body healthy. Once you have had an injury, in some ways you will always have it-it will always require maintenance. It’s easy to forget the maintenance part when your body is feeling good, but that is when it is most important to keep the maintenance going.

While we are on the topic of road blocks, what are the most common inhibitors you see when people struggle to formulate a fitness plan?

Consistency and motivation! We just had one of the worst winters on record and it was hard for many of my clients to stay motivated and consistent in their workout routines. Feeling good and staying active is addictive if you let it be. One vacation or busy workweek can kill the routine you’ve worked so hard to maintain.

Where do you see the value of personal health in terms of a daily fitness routine?

The biggest thing people need to consider about their personal health is that it is in fact personal.

One thing to do right now that will give a positive long term pay-off for my health.

It is important to start small and work your way up. Go into your workouts with a goal. Every class from beginner to advanced should be challenging, find one way to make it so. A beginner class done well is just as hard, your workout doesn’t have to be just for show, and it has to be for you.

Best advice as…

A teacher?

It’s okay to take a day off, but you should need it, not excuse it. Find a purpose in why you are doing what you do whether it is the way you chose to sweat, or the way you handle yourself at work consider the ‘why’ factor.

A fit person?

You will never regret getting off your couch no matter what!

While chatting with Tara a huge point that we kept coming back to was the idea of accountability. And while most instructors could give the school principal definition and shoo you out of the office, I learned that Tara seriously goes the extra mile having texted a client every week for almost 6 years to “have a great day and come to class later.” Um be my life coach please?

We live in times of stronger=better, a time when you feel pressure from all outlets to push your body past its limits; to always accomplish something more, and to never be content. At some point you need to feel confident be strong with what you’ve got to grow into your future.  There is no growth potential until you can understand your body, what drives you, and what you need to keep it going. Tara at Harmony Mind Body Fitness exemplifies this mentality in a way that provides meaningful results both physically and mentally.



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