• Dena

Love Stories, Meet John Novak

This month, I'd like to introduce you to a newcomer to Love Pilates, John Novak. John is serious about movement and about Pilates, so if you're a morning class person, you've most likely already met John. John is a certified Pilates instructor, and will be teaching a Mid-Week Mat class Wednesdays at 7am beginning August 7th.

1. When did you start working out at Love Pilates and why?

It was kind of an accident. Most of my prior Pilates experience was Mat Pilates, and I wanted to get more Reformer experience. I purchased a couple of Groupons to try out Reformer classes. One that I purchased was for that studio across the street. I felt their name was a misnomer

as the brand of Pilates practiced there did not fit with my own image of Pilates. After taking my first class there I noticed there was another Pilates Studio across the street, so I walked over, looked in through the door (no classes at that time) and saw a vision of Pilates Paradise!! There was all of the equipment needed, and a most wonderfully spacious room. I checked out the studio online and saw the heavy imprint that the certification program at Orange Coast College has on the studio, confirming my very strong feeling that this was a great place to be.

2. Describe your workouts. How many days a week do you work out?

Every day, and most of my waking hours. As I sit here writing I am conscious of my posture and continually monitoring bodily systems. When standing I am constantly shifting my weight from foot to foot and activating various muscle groups. On my best days I am up at 4:45 and get in 75-90 minutes of stretching and exercise at home. Next stop is Love Pilates to take a class here—on really good days I might get in two classes— and then back up to Long Beach for Mat and/or ballet classes. I also do Gyrotonic sessions 1-2 times/week, plus I try to get in at least a 3-5 mile walk daily and two or three 15-20 mile bike rides each week. I also get in at least one longer (10-15 miles) hike weekly, and am always looking for opportunities to walk up hills. A couple of Tuesdays ago I had an epic day with a 7 am Level 1 class, the 8:30 Jump Board class, a ballet class at 10:30, a four mile walk, and then a Mat Pilates class in the afternoon.

3. What is your current fitness goal?

I have some friends who are serious endurance athletes and do the long (200 mile+) ultramarathons. They also do cool adventures on a regular basis that require the ability to cover long distances under one’s own power in a reasonable time. My current goal is to achieve and maintain a state of readiness to travel at least 50K (31 miles) in less than 11 hours any time I want, and to be able to do it without destroying myself.

4. What has been your biggest accomplishment?

I actually got to the point where I completed a 50K back in April, 2018, but then had some injuries that took me way back, but I know that I can achieve my standard and the new challenge is to get there again and stay there.

5. What helps you stay on track?

I have two brothers who for a long time were both over 400 lbs. One of them has managed to get below the 300 lb. mark, but the other is still up there. Without a lot of working out I would be right up there with them. At several times in the past I have been in situations where I couldn’t get in the work I need and have put on 50-60 lbs. I know how hard it is to take that off, and how easily it can creep up on you. I don’t ever want to be back in the situation where I can’t even see my feet when I look down.

6. What do you do when you're not at the studio?

I take ballet, swing dance, and Gyrotonic lessons. I do some writing on my blog ( , but have been not at all diligent about that lately. I love to hang out in coffee houses and have a circuit of a half-dozen or so locations where they know me well. I like to meet people, talk to them, find out what is remarkable about them, and then remark on it. I like to hear live music, and at music gigs I am that lone guy out there on the dance floor—bands love me for that. When the music is grooving, my body starts moving! I am also up for good adventures, which again is why I want to stay as fit as I can.

7. Do you have a favorite exercise or favorite piece of equipment?

My current favorite is the Cadillac, aka the Trapeze Table. I love doing my footwork on the Cadillac as I can really watch what is going on with my hip-knee-alignment. Exercises like Parakeet and Tower have been very helpful in improving the articulation of my thoracic spine. I can stay up there and really work through that area.

8. Describe our studio in 3 words.

Darn fine place!!

9. What advice would you give to someone who is thinking about starting Pilates?

In the words of the Greek goddess of victory, Nike, “Just do it!”. Okay, so maybe that didn’t come from a Greek goddess, but it is still my advice.

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