How Pilates Gave Fitness Entrepreneur Heather Dorak Newfound Health and Happiness
Photos via Heather Dorak
As founder and owner of four Pilates Platinum studios in the greater Los Angeles area, Heather Dorak's life is clearly impacted by fitness — and it's been that way as long as she can remember. The San Antonio, Texas native was enamored with dance from a young age, and that passion ultimately lead her to Los Angeles where she headed after high school to study at UCLA. During her senior year, Heather suffered an injury and began Pilates to help herself heal, as recommended by a physician. Her connection with the practice was immediate and soon enough, Platinum Pilates was born.
Now that Heather is a new mom, Pilates has become an even more integral part of her life: from helping her stay strong and healthy through pregnancy and childbirth (not to mention the ability to bounce back into shape postpartum) to to keeping her feel sane and connected to her body as she navigates life as a busy working mama. We asked this fitness entrepreneur to elaborate a little more on all the things Pilates as done to improve her health and happiness, plus what advice she has for moms who need a little motivation.
How did you first become introduced to Pilates?
My world used to revolve around dancing. It was dancing first and then everything else. After getting a bad injury while dancing, I desperately tried seeking out every way I could to heal as quickly as possible to get back out on the dance floor. After trying a lot of different forms of exercise and therapy I stumbled on Pilates and decided to give it a try. It was literally love at first class.
How did your love of pilates eventually turn into starting your own business?
My first class brought me such an amazing feeling in that I was actually able to still work out while having a serious injury, yet it was still a challenge for healthy parts of my body. What I felt from the classes, I wanted to be able to share with as many other people as possible. I opened up my first studio in Hollywood, and quickly one studio turned into four! I have been beyond blessed with the success of Pilates Platinum. Owning this business still amazes and inspires me every day.
You recently gave birth to baby Noah! Do you feel that regular Pilates workouts helped you with pregnancy? If so, how?
Pilates is perfect for pregnant women. One of the major misconceptions out there is that women should not work their abdominals during pregnancy, but they totally should. It’s just a matter of how. Pilates gives women a stronger connection to their pelvic floor muscles, provides good practice for connecting to the breath, and less discomfort due to muscle and skeletal imbalances. Keeping the body strong and connected during pregnancy gives their bodies the foundation to get back into pre-pregnancy shape afterward. This all helped me tremendously with my pregnancy with Noah. I didn't start working out until the doctor gave me the go-ahead, but I was amazed as to how much strength my body maintained, as well as how quickly it bounced back. Doing Pilates while pregnant gave me the sense of being able to really connect a lot more with a lot of our clients that come to us while pregnant and postpartum. Plus, at Pilates Platinum, we have a lot of instructors that specialize in prenatal and postpartum exercise as well.
Besides your fitness routine, what are some other must-have wellness practices that keep you feeling happy and pampered as a busy working mom?
Pampering for me comes with properly fueling my body. I have come a long way when it comes to loving my body and fully appreciating everything it does for me. Pampering myself means, showing my body thanks by seeking out the healthiest foods whenever I can. I am a big advocate on eating nutritious meals and love adding in cold pressed organic green juices, too. I also love massages and going to my hair stylist.
What advice do you have for any moms who want to feel stronger and better about their bodies but are short on time and motivation?
Not to sound like Nike, but really if you have a moment where you can sneak something in here and there, just do it! One of my favorite things is to play with Noah by holding him high above me, or out in front of my chest while doing squats. He just laughs and laughs, which is the perfect motivation for me to keep squatting. Plus, holding him high in my arms works my arms and shoulders as well.