From WTF Wednesdays (unsafe, uncertain, and unreal Pilates movement) to all things classical, meet classical pilates snob and instructor at Real Pilates NYC, Victoria Batha. We love her honesty and that she keeps it #real!!! If it’s not classical, it’s not Pilates! Intrigued? Read my interview with her below!!
Name: Victoria Batha, aka the Pilates Snob
Location: New York (Greenwich Village)
Education: B.S. Television/Radio/Film from Syracuse University, M.A. Candidate in Applied Exercise Physiology at Columbia University
When and why did you start practicing Pilates, or focusing on your own wellness, generally?
I started practicing Pilates around five years ago, but have been interested in physical fitness since I joined the women’s rowing team at Syracuse University my freshman year. I was not at all athletic throughout high school, and learning what I could accomplish through exercise and commitment was both rewarding and addictive! The human body is amazing.
Tell me a bit more about your approach to Pilates? I know “because Joe says so,” but why, more specifically, is classical versus other forms of Pilates an important distinction?
Simply stated, if it’s not something Joseph Pilates created, it isn’t Pilates. You wouldn’t bring two soccer balls to a game and call it soccer, and the same applies to Pilates. Classical Pilates refers to exercises that Joseph Pilates created in a specific order to be practiced and perfected. The order progresses based on perceived difficulty as well as increased workload for the spine. Many contemporary or “off-brand” Pilates studios are not safe for the body, and many contemporary instructors are not trained to the same standards as classical Pilates instructors.
What led you to start The Pilates Snob?
Honestly, seeing a lot of “influencers” and “trendy” studios gain a following by posting make-believe Pilates got kind of old (and outright hilarious). It’s important that people know and understand that there is a difference; it’s up to them whether they want to explore and practice classical Pilates or someone else’s methodology once they have that knowledge in hand.
What’s been the most fun and or insightful part about connecting with other “snobs” and growing your brand?
The support system of fellow “snobs” that I’ve gained has been incredibly fun and rewarding. I’ve also learned that there will always be haters, but even bad publicity is better than no publicity. There’s always a silver lining!
What’s one conventional wellness belief or mantra that needs to go away forever, and why?
Oh, this is easy: “fitness trends.” I wish I could erase this phrase from existence. I liken this to “fast fashion”- if you wouldn’t buy cheaply made clothing, why would you expose your body to a flashy “fitness trend”? The quality is inevitably lower, and the long-term results and safety have not been tried. Beware…all that glitters is not gold.
How do you destress at the end of your day?
This sounds so bad, but reality TV is the best source of stress mediation in my household. E!, Bravo, MTV, ABC, you name it. I tried meditation a few times by using the “Calm” App, but I used to do it as I laid in bed and it would put me to sleep every time (insert laughing tears emoji). I stay stress-free regularly by managing my time effectively, prioritizing commitments, and spending as much time as I can outside if the weather permits, usually with my dog!
What advice do you have for young women who want to get into the wellness industry/profession?
My advice to women who want to get into this sphere would be — DO IT! If you’re working in a space where you feel unfulfilled, stressed, or generally unhappy, make the change. I had a lot of fears leaving my career in residential real estate and transitioning to Pilates, but I’m 10x happier than I could have ever thought. Take the leap of faith!
Career paths are a winding road. Any hiccups in your life/career, and what did you learn that has lent itself to your success today?
I’ve worked in so many different career spaces that I’ve lost track! From record labels to bars, to real estate companies; as an assistant, as a waitress, as an administrator and beyond. I never planned for the life I’m currently leading, and I couldn’t be happier with the way it’s turned out.
Do you have a mentor? Who do you look to for inspiration and support?
My biggest mentor is my boss, Alycea Ungaro. She opened Alycea Ungaro’s Real Pilates over 20 years ago as a way to pay her way through school. Since then, the studio has expanded to 3 NYC locations, and over 20 sister studios throughout the United States, Europe, Asia, and Mexico. She has published books, videos, and a range of media, and became a Doctor of Physical Therapy as well as obtaining her M.S. in Nutrition along the way! #goals
Final words of wisdom to all the young women out there who are strategizing to reach their wellness goals?
Define your wellness goals and then figure out the most authentic way to obtain them. I believe in diff’rent strokes for diff’rent folks — and wellness is no exception!
If you are open to connecting with our readers, how can they reach you?
Thank you, Victoria!!!
Oh, and check out her line of #pilatessnob gear on her IG and website. You can get 20% off your order with code STRATEGY. The OG sweatshirt is my favorite!!!