The 6 Steps to Exercise Enlightenment

Hey POPsters!

How is your weekend so far? I saw a lot of you made the 2 ingredient banana peanut butter ice cream! Wasn’t it SOOOO GOOD? Crazy! I know. Been experimenting other goodies like this ultra nutritious carrot cake! I’ll share the recipe soon! It’s super easy and doesn’t take too many ingredients. I really like to keep things simple and quick.

Anyway, I wanted to continue the discussion I started on my instagram after I posted this picture of me and Brett Hoebel at Cafe Gratitude on Thursday! It’s actually a pretty funny story how this lunch actually happened.

cassey ho brett hoebel cafe gratitude.jpg

FLASH BACK: So I was dining at Cafe Gratitude back in December when I was searching for apartments in LA when my friend noticed a guy sitting at a table with his laptop and facebook fan page open. He was like…looks like a fitness person working on social media. Immediately I turn my head over (cuz ya know, fitness and facebook are totes my thang) and was like OH. MY. GAH. That’s Brett Hoebel from Biggest Loser and BeachBody Rev Abs!!????

I really didn’t know what to say…sooooooo I didn’t say anything.

Being the social media freak that I am, I actually decided to tweet him after he left. Hahahahahahaha. I know, I know. I’m a sad case aren’t I? I really didn’t expect to hear back from him.

But I did!

So that is the story of how we both ended up meeting for vegan lunch back at the place where it all happened!

cafe gratitude i am accepting.jpg

FAST FORWARD: We both ordered the “I am Accepting” sushi bowl which boasts a load of quinoa, sea veggies, avocado, micro greens, sesame seed, kale, and a lovely tangy sauce. It’s my fave menu item at the restaurant, so if you ever get a chance to eat here (there’s one in San Francisco too) – ORDER IT!!!!

Now the reason why I am writing this post is to involve you in a very enlightening conversation Brett and I had about weight loss, the fitness industry, and how to help people achieve their goals. After we both talked work stuff, common friends, family, schedules, and traveling, we started talking about how important it is to be able to help your students ignite their own fire within…to keep striving for the best version of themselves everyday. To not focus on skinny jeans, muffintops, or the number on the scale. To genuinely want to work for health and happiness…not just physical beauty.

We high fived across the table over every point that made us go YEAHHHHH because seriously – the fitness industry is so commercially focused on weight loss and pure physique. Do you ever see an infomercial that says this?

“For just 5 easy payments of $19.95, you’ll get the DVD for Happy HIITs, the cookbook for Nutrition to Nirvana, and the Smiling Stepper to sky rocket your heart rate while soaring your spirit to the heavens! Hurry! Time is running out!”

Okay, I know it was corny….but NO.

The infomercials and ads we see promise six pack abs, thinner thighs, a perkier butt, drastic weight loss, and total body transformations. Now listen, I am not saying there’s anything wrong with that! Every trainer or instructor can surely show you how to achieve that dream body of yours. So let’s be real here – the reason why MOST PEOPLE choose to work out IS to look better. That’s just the honest truth. And it’s totally okay! Because once you’re in, and you start feeling those endorphins after a fantastic POP Pilates sesh or energizing run outdoors – oh man, it is addicting! And it’ll get you coming back for more.

I’ll admit it too. How did I get into Pilates? I was 16, a sophomore in high school, and wanted to look more fit for a pageant I’d be competing in. So when I saw Mari Windsor on TV advertising her Pilates DVDs I begged my parents to buy it for me! Yes her DVDs firmed up my body and flattened by belly – but guess what else it did? It introduced me to a whole new world of healthy living and exercising because it makes me so crazy happy. I mean, look what I do now!? Fitness is my life!

Brett and I were saying that it’s fine to “lure” people in to exercising using weight loss or flat abs tactics, so long as in the long run, people begin to realize by themselves the OTHER INTANGIBLE benefits to choosing an active lifestyle. Here’s what I’d like to call:

exercise enlightenment

In more detail…

LEVEL 1: I work out because an authoritative figure (PE teacher, doctor, the media etc.) forces me to.Β 

*In this stage, individual would never work out if it were up to their own choosing. They despise exercising.

LEVEL 2: I work out because I want to change my body.

*Individual desires a physical change for any reason.

LEVEL 3: I work out because I want to get stronger! Run faster! Be more flexible!

*Individual shifts focus from sculpting physical attributes to developing skill and talent.

[edited 11:38am 2/16/12 thanks so you guys in the comments. Realized I was missing this new level 4!]

LEVEL 4: I workout to nurture my health.

*Individual focuses on exercise for longevity, disease prevention, and overall health and wellness.

LEVEL 5: I work out because it brings me happiness.

*Individual exercises because they simply enjoy it.

[editedΒ 12:28pm 2/16/12]

Level 6: I work out because it inspires others to choose a healthier lifestyle.

*Individual serves as a role model to others through working out. At this stage, individual may also be in a position to influence the fitness industry by developing exercise formats to help more people work out.

Which level do you think you’re on? Only you can decide if you’ve truly graduated onto the next level! But listen, it’s possible to feel like you’re on a few levels – like you can “feel fat” but also work out because it makes you feel good. If you realize this, TRY TO SHIFT YOUR FOCUS!


Because whether you are exercising to fit into a size 2 or exercising because it’s fun, you’re most likely going to lose weight/gain muscle/increase bone strength anyway! These things are built in already. The great thing about working out is that as long as you work hard and work it with passion, you WILL benefit from it. Now it is time to control your mental focus in order to make the journey more enjoyable.

It’s like going to work at job that makes money to pay the bills versus making a career out of your passion as money just comes because you’re doing what you love, you’re good at it, and people are willing to pay you for your talent. Get it?

REFOCUS. Tell yourself that it’s not about making money or losing weight. It’s about doing what you’re doing because you LOVE IT. Trust me. If you put your heart in the right place, everything will happen as it is supposed to. Life just works that way.

My goal is to help you shift your mind and help you achieve your goals in the funnest way possible! I believe it is all about great instruction so you’ll never feel lost, having a supportive community to keep you inspired, awesome workouts to challenge you, and tasty recipes to nourish you! I will do whatever it takes to help you sculpt a healthy and positive outlook on life! I promise you.

cassey ho brett hoebel outside.jpg

It was so fabulous meeting Brett! The conversation was engaging and we definitely are on the same wavelength about this enlightened approach to fitness. I know you POPsters would have loved having an open discussion with us at Cafe Gratitude too! I’d love to hear your thoughts!!! So here are some questions I have for you:

1. Anything you wanna add to the 6 Steps of Exercise Enlightenment?

2. Guess Brett’s enthicity. He’s half Palestinian and half ________. (No cheating! DO NOT LOOK IT UP!!!! I’ll reveal in next blog post!)

You can also follow him on facebook and twitter for more inspiration!

Love you guys!

<3 Cassey

  • Kyameron

    I’m at 2 – 4 occasionally dipping into 5. Unfortunately I’m still at a point where I’m twisting my own arm to make myself do it. So until I can change that I don’t think I’ll be able to stay in 5. However, that won’t stop me trying to get there. ^_^

  • sanne van vliet

    I’m a 2 or 3 but I really am getting better!

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  • gabrielle

    im a 5 :) because of you i became motivated :)

  • Haley

    I’m a 5. Love you Cassey (: