Meet the Next Fitness Star: Katie Yip (Part I)

Interview with Grace Kim from Lean Girls Club

"Women’s Health is in search of the Next Fitness Star and this week is the final week to vote. While there are many excellent candidates, I’ve already cast my vote for Katie Yip. Katie is a NYC-based pilates instructor who teaches at Pilates Challenge on the Upper East Side. This weekend I had a private pilates session scheduled with Katie, but before that I had the opportunity to ask her a few questions about her personal fitness and health journey. Even before meeting, her answers won me over. Katie is smart (she’s earning her Master’s in kinesiology and exercise physiology), passionate, and charming. I can’t wait to share how our workout went, but for now get to know your Next Fitness Star, Katie Yip." 

1.     Why is health and fitness important to you? 

Health and fitness is important to me because a) the research continues to affirm the prophylactic effect of exercise on health and longevity, and b) because it gives me a sense of ownership over my own life. There are many aspects of life that we have little to no control over, but nutrition and exercise are among the few where our own decisions can greatly influence the quality of our individual lives. Our bodies are our own, and we can choose to nourish our bodies with food and movement that make us feel good. 

My ultimate goal is to become the best version of myself — physically, mentally, and emotionally — and to be better and stronger than I was the day before. Although I cannot always measure internal growth, Pilates (and other types of exercise!) is the most tangible way for me to evaluate my own physical progress. 

2.     Many Lean Girls Club readers have a hard time fitting a workout into their busy schedules. What is your go-to workout for someone who has less than an hour? 

Exercise is cumulative. Exercise doesn’t have to be performed in an hour segment, it’s entirely possible to break up exercise throughout the day and still reap the benefits from it. For example, take the stairs or do some body-weight squats before lunch. It doesn’t matter when or where physical activity is performed, it’s a matter of taking responsibility for yourself and your health and making the time to incorporate little pieces of movement throughout the day. 

Interval training, which can be completed in 15 minutes, is another excellent option for a fast and highly effective workout. Interval training is an exercise method that uses alternating periods of work and rest. This type of training can be done with simple body weight exercises, and induces a similar and perhaps elevated cardiovascular response sans equipment. If I’m doing this kind of workout, I  like to perform 4 exercises that consist of the 4 athletic movements: run, jump, push, and pull. I’ll perform each exercise for one minute with 15 seconds of rest in between, and then repeat this for a total of three rounds. 

3.     What is your favorite go-to healthy meal or snack? What fuels you when you’re on the go? 

My favorite go-to healthy meal is grilled salmon (cooked with lemon/salt/pepper) with brown rice, and a side salad of romaine lettuce, avocado, shredded carrots, and tomatoes with olive oil and salt. When I’m on the go, I’ll usually pack a few hard boiled eggs or a quest bar. If I didn’t pack anything I’ll go to the supermarket and purchase foods such as a can of sardines, a whole avocado, or kombucha. 

4.     What is one tip you would give all Lean Girls to looking and feeling their best selves? Call it a healthy mantra or words to live by if you will…

“It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.” - Aristotle 

I think this quote is so important because it encapsulates what I feel women should do before embarking on any health/fitness journey. There’s always going to be latest trends in diet and exercise, but those trends may not necessarily be the right solution for you, your goals, and your lifestyle. People respond differently to different types of training and dietary programs - importantly, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution for transformation. Instead of blindly adhering to specific protocols, I believe in understanding what those protocols call for by doing your own research and self-experimenting. Authentic transformation happens, externally and internally, by learning what works and doesn’t work for your individual body. Importantly, embrace the research but also consider real world results to find the right formula unique to you. 

5.     If we were to look in your purse, what is one thing that we’d be surprised to find? 

Golf ball. In between clients or classes, I’ll use a golf ball as a foam roller to massage the muscles of my hip and the bottom of my foot. I always try to be as productive as possible with my time…time is valuable! :)