The 6 Steps to Exercise Enlightenment

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. 

*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.

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.

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

117 thoughts on “The 6 Steps to Exercise Enlightenment”

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  1. Kyameron says:

    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. ^_^

  2. sanne van vliet says:

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

  3. gabrielle says:

    im a 5 🙂 because of you i became motivated 🙂

  4. Haley says:

    I’m a 5. Love you Cassey (:

  5. It’s truly very difficult in this full of activity life to listen news on Television, thus I simply use world wide web for that purpose, and obtain the latest information.

  6. Viktoria says:

    Hi Cassey,

    The only thing that you haven’t mentioned, but I feel it everyday I workout(I don’t know if it’s normal) is that sometimes I do think I cannot do something (exersice or a cardio video) I mean I feel like it is just too hard…but if I really decide to do it all over anyway I CAN DO IT. So my conclusion is that working out gives me faith, that I am able to do/achive anything I’d love to 🙂 How about you?? xoxo Vik

  7. Christina says:

    I think I am a 2, 4, and 5. Right now I am 30 pounds overweight, straddling the obesity line and I’m only 13! So that’s why I’m a two, Trynna get fit by June. I am a 4 because once when I went to the doctor I learned that I had either high blood pressure or low blood sugar or something like that. So I had to stop eating all sweets and drastically change my diet. Now I’ve added exercise to help reduce my risks of diabetes and heart problems. And lastly but DEFINITELY not leastly….I am a five. Honestly before I started exercising with Cassey (on YouTube) I never gave a hoot about exercise. But now it really exhilarates me and makes me feel AMAZING!!!!
    THANK YOU CASSEY!!! You inspire me!

  8. Kristin says:

    I can definitely relate to a lot of these steps. When I was in high school, and for a couple years after, I bounced back and forth between being bulimic and anorexic. I was completely obsessed with being as thin as possible; I worked out and barely ate thinking that it would make me feel better about myself and look better. At my thinnest, I weighed 115 lbs (I’m 5’10”). Eventually I met my current boyfriend, and (i know how cliche this sounds) but the way that he really loved me for who I am and wanted me to be happy and healthy made me want to be stronger and get better. So, I started eating well, and once I felt that I was strong enough to start an exercise program, I searched on YouTube and discovered Blogilates. At first I worked out strictly to get stronger and because it made me feel less guilty about eating. But your never-ending happiness and perkiness is so contagious, and it didn’t take long before the workouts stopped completely draining me and genuinely made me feel good about myself. So then I added going to the gym, and now, about three years after this whole recovery process started, I’m really truly happy with my body. I’ve gained 20 pounds, and I regularly get compliments on how toned and healthy I look (I always tell them to check you out on YouTube :D). I’ve never felt better. I wish I could say I inspire people to be healthier, but I don’t know that I do, so I’m probably still a 5. At any rate, I would like to genuinely thank you from the bottom of my heart for the role you’ve played in helping me to become a better, happier, fitter person.
    Thanks 🙂

  9. Caitlyn says:

    I’m a level 5 definitely. I’m only 14 years old and I’m really motivated to continue my working out. I do really love exercising, but sometimes I get lazy. I have a friend who inspired me with all her workouts. She’s definitely a level 6. Thank you!

  10. amazing post Cassey! Being fit and healthy is a lifestyle not a fad diet or 2 classes a week sort of thing. You have to give it your all and make it your life’s goal to treat your body as best as you can becuase you only have one! thanks so much for your inspiration Cassey you! xo

  11. Danni says:

    I definitely started out on a level 2. Although I do feel like I am still on level 2 a lot, I am definitely a 3-5 now! I love working out, and if I don’t get a chance to do it for a week if I’m away on holiday I feel sluggish and horrible. I love the energy it gives me and how good it makes me feel both during and after the work out.

  12. Monika C says:

    OK, So I am level 4 – doing it to support my health and nurture my body.
    And I am guessing Brett is half German or Jewish (my assumption based on his surname:))

  13. Lani says:

    I am level 2, 3 and 4! I want to change my body, get fitter and stronger and of course healthier 🙂

  14. Jamie says:

    I’m levels 3 and 5. I love the feeling when I can run a bit faster, do an advanced yoga pose, or make it all the way through one of your videos. And it makes me happy! My day gets better when I make a little progress transitioning from a shoulder stand to a bridge. I’m in a better mood after working out, even if I dreaded getting off my butt and onto the treadmill.

    But thanks for this chart super much! It’s making me realize that I can focus on becoming healthier, or inspiring others. Hello, new motivation!

    Also, this post has made me admire you a lot more. I now understand what you were getting at with your VS Model theme: Advertising a perky butt and flat abs isn’t to make people feel like they need to be skinnier, it’s an easy way to get them interested in fitness. That’s how I started! And I feel like I understand your Honey Boo Boo post better, too. Society is constantly being bombarded with “buy this product, lose 10 pounds” etc. that when we see somebody encouraging a healthier lifestyle, we automatically think it’s about physical beauty; when really, that’s not always the case.

    Love you Cassey! x

  15. elly says:

    I work out to have a chance to wear nice workout clothing 🙂 Just kidding, but I think a nice outfit can motivate you, as well as it improves the experience from the exercise/outdoor activity etc. Other than that, I exercise because I want to shape my body, get stronger muscles and because it is so much fun and I cannot be without it, it makes me feel better.

  16. Amanda says:

    PLEASE post the carrot cake recipe!! I’m literally about to run out the door to buy the ingredients.

  17. Lara says:

    it brings me happiness, level six, i do workout every day after my studies, it so good , thank you Cassey!!)) i do new body workout… and somth whatever i like , it so nice)

  18. Kimberly says:

    Started as one of the others, but now I am TOTS a level 6’er!

  19. Kirsty Ferguson says:

    I am more of a level two. Mainly my focus has been on just looking better – but lately I have also been a level four where I have begun to realize the importance of good health and eating and exercise and that has become very important to me as well as looking good.

  20. Rebekka says:

    OMG i got your dvd today and just finished the whole workout! KILLER!! I’m like so totally on step 5 right now (Happiness all over the place) and I would do the whole thing over if I was able to move, which I won’t be for the next couple days. So anyway, you definitely inspired me….Oh and this friday I’m gonna inspire my mum, she loooooves pilates and is gonna get addicted to the dvd! Thank you soooo much for everything you do for us POPsters!!
    Love, becky

  21. Chris says:

    Love this post!! I have to say I’m a combo of all your levels. I have reached #6 because I have 2 kids and I want them to be inspired by good nutrition and exercise. I love your recipes and have made numerous dishes for my family. Can’t wait to make that carrot cake. It looks scrumptious!! As for your friend, he actually looks a little like my daughter’s tennis coach who is Italian. 🙂

  22. Mercedes says:

    I am a four but I feel that being the sole inspiration for people to become fit impossible they have to want to be fit for their own reasons to truly devote themselves to a healthy lifestyle. In my opinion thfirst step should be to “I want to help others lead a healthy lifestyle” or something similar.

  23. Michelle says:

    Thank you so much for this, Cassey. I just moved to a new place and as you know, it’s tough to find time to work out when there are so many boxes to unpack. I think I’m between a 3 & 5 on the scale. It’s tough to stay at 5 all the time. Plus, there are days when reason #3 is more motivating to work out haha.

    Anyway…this revitalized me a bit and I’m even more excited to work out now and work my way to be at #5 & #6 every day.


  24. Landie says:

    I’m happy to say I’ve recently reached step 6. I don’t stay there all the time of course..Steps build upon one another so, I’m still doing it for all the prior reasons. I’ve just noticed I’ve willingly be lending a hand to people and trying to inspire those people to get healthy/workout more. :’)

  25. Sarah says:

    I am somewhere between 2 & 3…..

  26. enlightened says:

    Love this! I’m always stuck between Levels 2~5, mainly because 2 tends to drag me down sometimes, but it’s great to see these ‘levels’ articulated. It really helps 🙂

  27. Darlene says:

    He looks half Palestinian and half Mexican, Maori, or Korean. Pretty wide range of guessing, I know. Haha!

  28. Kimberly says:

    Thank you Jodie 🙂

  29. Katy says:

    I love love love this post.. I am going to repost it tonight (linking back to you of course). I’ve personally achieved all levels of fitness enlighenment and it feels amazing!

  30. Michayla Banning says:

    I just started your vids not too long ago and I can already feel a shift in my purpose. I started at a level 3/4 but I’m already falling in love with being healthy. Being in college it’s hard for me to eat right without starving all the time but your vids have given me the encouragement and creativity needed to turn all aspects of my health around.

  31. Andrea says:

    About 7 years ago I was at level 5…and then I just fell off the wagon completely! I have been teetering on level 1 but haven’t gotten back into it until recently. Now I am at level 2. I know level 3 is right around the corner though.

    I think it is important to go to level 6 and stay there when you get to it. Otherwise you will do what I did; gain a lot of weight, bad eating habits and lose the mind set. It seems harder to get motivated because you get stuck in thoughts of, “I used to be a size 4,” and can’t keep up steam to just be a healthier you, not a healthier you 7 years ago.

    I might one day be at that size again, but that is not my goal. My goal is to thin out and be strong. Why…because it will make me feel wonderful and it will help my overall health as I get older.

    Thank you Cassey!!

  32. Kimberly says:

    I’m a 3,4, & 5! Sometimes a 2 but I started out a 3 when I really started making an exercise regimen part of my daily life. I have a history of being unhappy with my body ( though I was never overwieght or obese. Have always been naturally athletic and slim and a size 4) and obsessing about trying to lose so many pounds and inches, suffered an eating disorder in high school and after treatment I really didn’t know if I could ever be physically active or eat healthy without becoming obsessed again and getting frustrated but by some miracle I became quite content.
    I was overall happy with the way I looked by the time I started taking pilates and dance classes, I had a few nuissance areas on my mind of course but I wasn’t expecting to transform them in a day or even a year. Soon after that, I had a wake up call in the form of BOTH of my parents being diagnosed with diabetes in the same year, it was only then that I decided to also make a few dietary changes. Nothing major or extreme and of course I had been a somewhat healthyish eater before then anyway, softdrinks however were my greatest vice so of course that was my biggest challenge. I eat a lot cleaner now, and workout daily, look great in everything (forgive my boasting) but I only truly care about and prioritize my health. It also really does make me feel super to live this kind of lifestyle! I like feeling like a bada** when I train with weights or like a pro athelete when I push myself 🙂

    1. Jodie says:

      “I eat a lot cleaner now, and workout daily, look great in everything (forgive my boasting) but I only truly care about and prioritize my health.”

      It struck me that it’s actually unusual to hear a woman say she thinks she looks great. I’m sure you do – but I wanted to say well done for your positive attitude also!

  33. I am so frustrated at the fitness industry. Nothing is real. I am 53, and have had four children, Before my kids were born, I was very much into staying healthy, then life happened. Now that the kids are grown and gone, I am trying to get my young body back, and know I can never be as small as I was before, it would not be healthy, yet as I see the commercials, about loosing weight, etc, it depresses me. They never show real people. This not only goes for loosing weight, but makeup too. You know the ones, “Try this and your wrinkles will go away.” Then they show a 20 year old. Really!? And then there is the food. Most of it is fake food. My daughter (who is a dancer and yoga instructor) is really getting into this health craze too. No GMO’s, only organic, etc. It is not an easy thing to do. She lives in a big city, but me, well, I am in a small town, and it is really hard to find REAL food. I know, eventually, I will figure it out. Thanks for your blog!

  34. Tiff says:

    This reminds me of David Logan’s TED talk on tribal leadership/”stages” of organizations:

  35. Tiffany says:

    My reasoning really depends on the day. I can bounce from a 3 to a 6 or anywhere in between from one morning to the next or even from morning to evening. I believe there are multiple reasons and those multiple reasons are what keeps us going. Like working, sometimes it is only to pay the bills, sometimes you want money to go on a date, sometimes you are saving up for something big like a down payment for a house. I think all those reasons are important.

    1. Elizabeth says:

      I agree with you. You said it a lot better than I could. Just during one workout, I could be motivated by many different factors, and I am thankful for all of them.

  36. Carmen says:

    I really love those levels of exercise enlightenment, because it’s totally true in my case! I’m on level 3 now, and I really did start with level 1, went to level 2 and now I’m there. Thanks for showing me my future reasons for working out haha 😀

  37. Nora says:

    Cassey, I found out your blog next week and just wanted to say how great your work is. You are a true inspiration to me and finally got me get my bum from my couch and kick some ass with your videos. You are beautiful on the inside and on the outside, and that’s truly a rare thing. I love you! (By the way, I’m working out because I really want to be healthier -it’s not even that I don’t feel like looking good, I just feel like for being a 20 yo girl my body is too weak… and I really want to change that!)

  38. Hope Woods says:

    I loved this post! Right now, I’m definitely at level 2 wanting to get to level 3. I just started working out to your youtube videos and you are so inspiring and motivational. I wish I discovered you last Summer; better late than never. Have a good day!

  39. NathDaredz says:

    GREAT GREAT post. I love the 6 steps. I thoughs I’m on level 3 or maybe 5 or 6 ha haha. Thank you for inspiring post. love u CASSEY^_^

  40. rachel says:

    Great post. I think I’m around a 4-5… A 6 if the exercise is something like tai chi. I haven’t quite gotten to 6 with pilates, though I love the results. I think an additional level, one that is strong for me, is that I work out hard because my body complains if I don’t. If I haven’t worked out in a few days for whatever reason, my legs start to get restless and achy. Also my back starts to hurt more. My body is literally hurting from a lack of exercise. It almost seems the more I work out, the more I have to. Anyone else like that? Perhaps it’s an age thing (mid 30’s)

  41. MelodyJ says:

    I think I’m on multiple levels because I workout for more than one reason. Can’t wait for the Carrot Cake recipe.

  42. Jessie says:

    oooh, i’m at Level 5 pretty much always have been! i’m lucky my entire family is active but i wonder if one day i’ll ever get to Level 6.
    Brett’s half Palestinian?! that’s funny because I thought Brett was latino (i’m brazilian) so he seems from our continent haha in any case, he is incredibly attractive! if he’s single and straight + you’re single too, then you guys would make an incredible couple 😉

  43. Rodelyn Lipumano-Smith says:

    Awww Cassey! This post is something I’ve been waiting for you to speak on for a long time! I know you live and breathe this lifestyle but I’ve longed for you to just call us out on the tendency to just do these kinds of things just for the sake of looks. I’ve struggled with body image all my life, and I know that many of the women and young ladies on your page resonate. I believe that you spur on women to walk beyond the mirror and get excited about healthy delicious foods and valuing health and nutrition because it is whats best for each one of us. period. And not best because _______________________ (enter clarifying reason). Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!

    Have you ever thought about doing live chats, or live video chats that discuss topics like these? I’d love to just be in a web room with you and other popsters and hear each other’s struggles and victories about weight loss, body image, diet ups and downs, tasty recipes, etc, etc….

    You are such an inspiration. This is my favoritist post EVER.

    1. Rodelyn Lipumano-Smith says:

      P.S. He looks Half Palestinian and Half Korean or Japanese or Filipino? I’m guessing Asian descent.

      Oo oo and I think I’m at a 4. But I workout because I know exercise is a factor in my overall sense of fulfillment in life because it promotes my physical confidence, develops my strength and flexibility and sustains my overall health and wellness which contributes to my joy and happiness.

      Wait. Does that make me a 5? Lol. What do you think? I’m confuzzled.

    2. blogilates says:

      Yes that is a great idea! we should do that! i’ll have it when the community launches or maybe even before that!

  44. Jenne says:

    That carrot cake looks so yuuuummmmmy!! I love cooking healthy for my family my lil babies eat food that trip people out lol I love that though.. When are you gonna have more booty shorts and workout bottoms on your store??? I’ve been wanting to buy more but there all gone 🙁

    1. blogilates says:

      Yes they are coming this week! end of week/weekend.

  45. Vitória says:

    Hello! I guess I can say i’m a #2, #3 and #4, but I believe I’m progressing into #5 as well.
    Also, is Brett half latino?

  46. Bekah says:

    My guess is half Brazillian! IS he??? Ugh! I need to find out!

  47. adriana p says:

    I definitely workout for to stay fit, get stronger, to cleanse my mind, it is a kind of meditation in motion, to challenge myself and I love it, even at times when my energy level is not that great. From your list, combination of # 3, 4, 5, 6.

  48. Gabby says:

    Hey Cassey!
    Love the 6 steps, they are so true. I am definitely at both a level 2 and a level 4. Not gonna lie, my biggest motivation for working out is for an inner thigh gap and a flat tummy, but after about 1 month of working out, I started working out not only for that reason, but because I find it SO much FUN and exciting. I cannot wait to workout to your vids everyday! Hopefully I can get up to a level 5 and 6 soon. 🙂

    And dang, you two would look GREAT together 😉 Two beautiful, fitness people with a lot in common. Whhaaaat? Totes perfect. I’m guessing he is… half Italian? Half Persian? Either way, he’s super cute and sounds like an interesting guy!

    Can’t wait for the carrot cake recipe, looks absolutely delish! I’m guessing the frosting is made outta Greek yogurt? 🙂

    <3 Gabby

  49. Bula says:

    Thanks Cassey. Great post! I’m on level 3 and 4. I love the fact that I can look forward to moving up the scale. Don’t know what ethnicity Brett is, but he looks good next to you 🙂 wink, wink! <3 u

  50. maria carolina says:

    Is he half Brazilian?

  51. Paulina says:

    What a great post! Thank you <3
    I am def level 2 but I am really trying to shift my thinking that exercising will not only help me lose weight but also improve my general health and make m stronger!

  52. Laura says:

    Cassey! Thank you for this post! And thanks for adding another category, I think it fits very well and it is definitely one of the reasons I’m working out. I guess I am a 3, 4 and 5 at the same time.
    Also, I do believe you’re right and that it’s important to focus on one’s happiness instead of obsessing about beauty and perfection.that’s encouraged everywhere.
    Now I considered your inspiration to not focus on the looks part anymore but to work out because it’s fun and makes me feel happy and relaxed. Yet this is really hard for me. Today I tried to shift my mindset to thinking that going to spinning class is loads of fun, instead of thinking that I have to get stronger. But then I noticed that I was super tired and exhausted from the long week. I thought, if I don’t really have to work out because it’s not about getting stronger anymore, but it’s about my happiness, then I would rather lie down and listen to music. If I had told myself “you have to go to the gym to get rid of that extra fat and get super toned” then I would’ve probably gone to spinning class. And then, I would have probably felt a lot better afterwards. Still, I can’t seem to remember this “after-sports-feeling” but mainly focus on the exhausting workout that’s coming up. Now I’m not blaming you that I missed my workout today. Obviously, I am still way too obsessed with how I look and how I should look like to be the perfect girlfriend/woman generally.

    So I was wondering: How do you do it?! Is working out your equivalent to laying down and listening to music? Is this the ultimate goal I have to reach – to think of sports as the number one thing? Or do you also have to force yourself to workout sometimes because you want to look better?

    Hm. Hope you get where I’m coming from. And thanks for being awesome and inspiring me to live healthier every day 🙂

    1. blogilates says:

      I work out because I enjoy it and it is my zen time! so in a way yeah it is like laying down and listening to music…but wayyyy more active! haahah

  53. Merideth says:

    I’m a 3 with a smattering of 4. I was athletic as a child, but an serious illness in high school left my body a devastated shadow of what it had been. College was a time of mental healing, coming to grips with what I’d been through, with what I do have power over and what I don’t. Now in my mid-twenties, I’m completing the process of physical healing. I have a renewed interest in health, particularly with a passion for yoga, martial arts and chinese dance. I have realized that the human body is capable of so much beautiful movement, and I want to experience it all!

    A part of me wishes I had discovered these passions when I was a child… it’s not easy to build flexibility in your mid-twenties, especially not when still rebuilding after surgeries, but I am quite determined to both nurture my body and push it to its limits in order to reach my goals and maintain my health.

    Thank you for the encouragement your blog and videos bring.

  54. Mike L says:

    I’ve been in the 6 range for some time. Its great to want to loom great but that will only keep you going to the gym for a while. In and of itself its not reinforcing. Eventually when you feel and can sense everything that goes in and comes out of your body you get feedback into your overall health and level.

    I’ve discovered that training for a sport that radically departs from your everyday life pushes your habits and workout levels in new directions also. For me that’s trekking and mountain climbing.

  55. Blaze Dawson says:

    I know I’m definitely on Level 2 right now, but working out definitely does make me happy. But happy probably because I’m a step closer in losing weight, rather than the actual act. Does that make sense? A lot of my friends strictly work out just to lose weight and they actually hate it (and they’ve been doing it continuously for a long while.) I hope I don’t I want to get to the point where working out is a hobby. Amazing post!

  56. Sarah says:

    Yes I love this post! Even though I feel like I’m on a combination of levels. I mainly do it because I think it’s fun, but also because to get stronger AND nurture my health.
    I think he’s also half… Asian?

  57. Elena says:

    Hi Cassey! I think I’m at level 2 or 3.. Maybe even a little of 4. For his other half of his ethnicity I think he might be Vietnamese or Korean. I was tempted to look it up but you told us not to cheat haha 🙂

  58. I absolutely love carrot cake. One of the healthiest ways i’ve had it is actually for breakfast but in oatmeal form. Here’s the recipe if you want to check it out.

  59. Asha says:

    Half Italian?
    I’m a level 3 on that scale 🙂

  60. Aryanne says:

    I think i’m on level 3, but also level 5 and 6, i do workout to get stronger and because makes me feel good and happy! 🙂

  61. Mary says:

    I love this Cassey, you’re the best!!!

    And I bet he’s half Palestinian, half Korean (he looks exactly like my friend who is Korean)

  62. Krystle says:

    Where is this cafe gratitude?
    This is the only one I can find in san fran and it says it’s closed!

  63. Elena says:

    I’m still at level 3. Not that I don’t enjoy it, but I do want to get that strenght and flexibilitiy, it makes me fell soo good. With much more control over my moves and sideeffect: over my life in general.

    Thank you Cassey for all your work! You helped me so much in feeling better by taking care of my body and health through food and funny but serious exercising! 🙂

    PS: BTW I open my bananas from the top. 🙂

  64. Kacie Piscatelli says:

    I’m on 4,5,6.
    I workout because it makes me feel empowered, beautiful, happy, and healthy. I haven’t felt this amazing in years.

  65. Kee says:

    Hmmm… half Mulatto? he does look he has a bit of Black in him. Love your blogs, Cassie!

  66. Melanie says:

    SO badly want that carrot cake recipe!!

    And, I guess I feel like I could be 3, 4, aaand 5… I like to set goals for myself and get better at being physical and fit, as well as flexible. I danced classical ballet for 15 years, so I think that constantly wanting to improve my fitness level and gaining strength and doing new things comes from that.. But I also love to work out, it makes me happy, and it makes me feel good. I think everyone should do it! I want other people to enjoy working out, and I love living a healthy lifestyle.

    Cassey also just want to say I love you and you’re great!

  67. Lena says:

    This ist such a nice post. When I was reading it my boyfriend asked me why I was smiling. Today I read so many reviews all basically on how to look better. Your post is the only one that really reflects beauty. One can’t fake a happy expression. If you try you will just end up looking like the joker. … Oops, point being: nothing is more important than feeling good about yourself and you help me/the community so much with that.
    I love you Cassey!

  68. me says:

    I think I’m at level 3 now

  69. Christina says:

    I can’t say I fit in any one of those. I’m in 2 because I don’t like my body as it is… but I’m also 4 because I enjoy working out.

  70. Caitlin says:

    I’m a 3 working to a 4. I love the way exercising makes me feel mentally and emotionally but I am still looking to gain physical results from it too.
    I really look forward to doing Cassey’s videos every day! It’s like “me” time with a bff who pushes me along! Thanks!

  71. Liz J says:

    He is half Palestinian and half GORGEOUS. You are one lucky lady to dine with him.
    I would say I’m at a level 3.5. Yes I’m working out to get stronger but I am at the point where I really look forward to working out every day. On days I work out in the morning, I’ll feel like the fun part of my day is over and I get all disappointed about the rest of my day. I feel like this scale also applies really well to school. I’m going to be graduating with my bachelor’s in May and I started in school because that’s what everyone said I should do and now at the end I’m working hard and getting awesome grades because I’m studying a subject I am genuinely passionate about. I guess the scale doesn’t just apply to exercise, I can apply to how actively involved you are in your own life.

  72. Emily says:

    Level 3 for me, but going up to 4. This is thanks to you and your videos!

  73. linda H says:

    I would say I am a 2, 3 and 4. I seemed to be half way obsessed of being stick thin and being a size 2, then I realized, since I am very short, I will never be stick thin, so I kind deal with that on certain days, but I seem to fall back into believing that . I also want to gain more strengh, especially in my upper body. As for being a number 4, I have realized that working out helps me control the stress I get from my job, and life. After working I feel like I can take on anybody and anything.

  74. Aruna says:

    Good morning. Happy Sunday. 🙂 Shared on Facebook.

  75. Nicole says:

    Wow. I thought I was still a level 2, but I’m definitely a level 3 now! That makes me so happy that I’m exercising for more than just looks now. Not yet a level 4 because I get off-track easily. Not yet exercising like it’s a hobby.

  76. Jodie says:

    I would say I’m a 4.5… Exercise and healthy eating does bring me joy. I want to inspire my friends and family. BUT it doesn’t come naturally to me yet – I still get upset about the number on the scale from time to time and I can be too hard on myself when I miss a workout. I also find it difficult not to gain weight since I travel and have been living in different places (I’m in academia). I’m hoping this year I will reach 5!

    Great post and I can’t wait for the carrot cake recipe! I’ve been adding nutmeg, ginger, cinnamon & shredded carrot to my pancakes to make them carrot cake flavored. 🙂

  77. Amanda says:

    Hey Cassey! great post btw. I think I’m a 3 or 4 because I want to be able to run better for track season coming up but I also like the endorphins it makes my body feel. Generally when I feel fit I am happier because I don’t have this “gray cloud” hanging over me sorta thing:) As far as his ethnic backround uhmm..maybe Vietnamese? haha idk but it sounded like you had a great time with him and saw very eye-to-eye which is great! Take Care!<3

  78. Elaine says:

    Kudos on meeting Brett & the 5 Steps to Exercise Enlightenment, Cassey <3 I think that you're right on the ball w/them & don't see the need to add anymore once an individual reaches the 5th level of complete contentment & is off to inspire others to also lead a happy & healthy lifestyle. As a matter of fact, that's where I am b/c I'm extremely passionate about fitness & try to set an example for my peers to join in the workout madness… As for Brett, could his other 1/2 of origin come from Dubai? Last wk, I met my friends' soccer teammate who's from Dubai & has some striking similar features that resemble him! By the way, if neither Brett not you are "spoken for": y'all would make a cute couple – not just in the looks dept, but a definite match in your health values 😉

  79. Kylie says:

    ok so no disrespect to (if he has one) his lady but anyone else think that if these to got together n had a baby it would be BEAUTIFUL!!!!! lol and pri come out with abs of steal! lol ANYWAYSS!!! I would say ima level 2 to an EXTENT…like im not TOTALLY focused on loosing weight! I want to get stronger as well but i do have a few lbs i wanna see go. I also think ima 3 like i said i do wanna get stronger! 🙂 AND i belive ima level 5! 😀 N i didnt realize that untill my friend asked to come over to my house n workout with me cuz she said i always talk about blogilates and Cassey ho n pilates! lol i told her she could just do the work outs at home if she wanted! But she said she wanted to do it with me cuz i knew wut i was doing n i could teach her the right moves! i was like :0 WUUT!! lol it made me feel sooo good!! N when she did come work out with me i pushed my self even HARDER cuz i wanted to show her the correct form n that she hadda push herself as well! 🙂 I helpd her correct her form as well. It made me feel like i was you! lol ok not really but still! now i see why u LOVE wut u do n WHY u do it!!!!! 🙂 thank u Cassey for all u have given me! <3 as far as the the other ?s 1. id add nothing! i think their perfect!! 2. part Italian?

  80. michelle says:

    i’m a 3, leaning towards 4. the stronger i get, the more fun it is. but with skateboarding, i’m a 7. it’s my love, my life, and i don’t know where i would be without it.

  81. Ivori Rose says:

    I’m going to guess Brett’s ethnicity. He’s half Palestinian and half ________Vietnamese ?

  82. Ivori Rose says:

    I would like to add Level 6 : Therapeutic
    I love to exercise, especially jogging outside , because I fell like all my stress is gone and I just focus on the fresh air, the beautiful scenery , the burn in my legs =D
    Afterwards , I fell invigorated ; energized but relaxed about Life at the same time.

  83. Idabelle says:

    I am definitely at level 3. I want to get sttonger and sculpt my body. I also am starting to see parts of bpth 4 & 5. This has been a fantastic journey Nd gets better every step of the way!

  84. Camilla says:

    Can I be on more than one level? I would say I’m at level 1, 2 and 3, haha. I don’t think it’s funny yet, and I’m not that kind of person who really enjoys working out. I don’t think I’ll ever be that person. haha

  85. Nikki says:

    I’m at level 5 now, I think. I’ve been able to inspire others around me to start working out. In fact, have lots of new people joining me in a half marathon, yay!

    Brett is half….French?

    1. Nikki says:

      I take it back, he looks a bit Asian…maybe Thai?

  86. Lise says:

    This is such an inspiring post Cassey ! Thank you for being you, you are really a wonderful person, in your heart as much as physically.

    I’m a combo too, I started because I feel fat (recovering from anorexia) but I realised I was just weak and had practically no muscles. So, at first, I was sort of an extreme Level 2. Then I like that, I love that, and now I’m between Level 4 et 5 🙂 Fitness changed my life, as much as you. That’s thanks to you Cassey, and each and every day I’m happy you exist somewhere in this earth. You are the perfect role model and every little girl should know you more than this stupid ads with stick-thin girls.

    Is Brett half-brasilian ?

    Have a wonderful day ! (and sorry for my english, I’m french 😀 )

  87. Natasia says:

    I’d say I’m at 2.75. I don’t really care about the weight, although I’d love to have slimmer thighs/arms/whatever. But my ultimate goal is to have stronger arms to support me when I’m in a plank position, have better balance when I do single-legged T-squats, be flexible enough to do the splits, etc. But I can’t say I enjoy working out… it still feels like a chore to me.

    Given Brett’s last name, I’d say he’s half Dutch or German. Can’t wait to see the answer!

    By the way Cassey, I’m just curious: do you wash your hair everyday? Because workout => sweat, sweat => hair wash. Workout everyday => hair wash everyday. No way! So every other day, I may put in less effort to workout just because I don’t want to wash my hair everyday… Just curious.


    1. blogilates says:

      No I wash it about every other day.

  88. Emily says:

    Is he..half… Puerto Rican

  89. Cassie Vaughn says:

    I’m somewhere between a 4 and 5. And it’s awesome. I’m so much happier!

  90. Elina says:

    One of your best and most inspiring posts ever- thank you Cassey!

    I’d say I have one foot on level 2 and the other on level 5. Let me explain:

    I love fitness and sports in general. I love the happiness and freedom it gives us, the cocktail of fresh air, endorphins and smell freshly mown grass, the responsibility and resilience that come as byproduct of building our character, and last but not least, I love hanging out in the pub with the buddies after a good rewarding practice. Oh, that AND the TEAM spirit if one goes for a team sport. I did, played rugby for years, got very serious about it and even made it to the women’s national team of my country for three years in a row. Sports became a passion and I pursued it out of sheer joy, not with the agenda of getting slimmer or faster (which I did without putting too much thought in it). Oh we’ll, maybe I should confess that I DID go to practice with the secret hope of getting hitched with some nice string guy on the men’s team ;o)

    Glory days gone, after two back-to-back pregnancies (did end up with a rugby player btw), there are some stubborn trouble zones that need to be dealt with and that’s when I feel I’m on level 2, thinking I need to work my butt out (quite literally) in order to feel good about myself again… Not the best mindset!

    My, my I usually don’t write much (not least because of lack of time) but this post really got me going somehow!


    1. blogilates says:

      “cocktail of fresh air” – i love it

      1. Elina says:

        You replied to my comment, you read it! Yippiiiieee- dancing around the room, waiving hands in the air! ;o))))

  91. Kat says:

    I’m between 4 and 5 but think there is a No. 6 which is my primary drive for working out. That would be the drive to maintain good health. Since there is a genetic predisposition to HBP and diabetes in my family, I work out and eat right. I’m 46 and want to avoid any type of pill for anything for as long as I possibly can.

    I was probably more in line with those 5 Enlightenment steps in my late teens and 20’s, but once i hit 30, the sole focus became health and disease prevention. That focus becomes even stronger with every passing year.

  92. Sandy says:

    I think I have hit stage 5. I have been addicted to exercise and fitness for at least 25 years. I really want to teach Pilates but don’t know how to get trained and have no teaching experience. Can you tell me how to be trained?

  93. Carla says:

    Cycle between 2 to 5 but mostly between 3 to 5, and 5…. I don’t know all the time when I am a 5, but I think I am for some of my friends and family especially my husband.

  94. Marthe says:

    Oeh I can’t wait for the carrot cake recipe! I loooove carrot cake! On the levels: I think I’m a combo of different levels. I’ve been dealing with a chronic kind of depression and excercising helps a lot with that ’cause you get the endorphins and stuff, but I’m also starting to like it more just for the fun of it and for me noticing that I’m getting leaner and more fit :). Also: I’m going with Ann-Kathrin’s answer about Brett!

  95. Tatiana says:

    this is such an interesting idea! I swing wildly between levels 2, 3 and 4, depending on my mood that day 😛 you’re really the one who got me past level 1, though- so thank you so much!

  96. Leonie says:

    Hmm… I would say italian 🙂
    I have upgraded to level 3 recently I think. Because I want to be able to do the spllits and I want to be able to lift this and that weigth at the gym. I want it really badly and it is fun to achieve it. And I do sports/pilates because I know I will feel happy and proud afterwards, which is the best feeling you can achieve :). I do not need to loose weight, but it also helps me to be able to eat more of the stuff I love, so that is a great thing too, because I LOVE food 😀

  97. jessica says:

    i think im betweetn 3 and 4! haha im thinking he is half asian!!

  98. Ann-Kathrin says:

    Hi Cassey, great post! I like those 5 steps.
    I think I am somewhere inbetween 3 and 4. I know you say that we cannot be in 2 steps at the same time…. but with me it’s like you wrote, I love working out and it definitely makes me feel very good and it now belongs to my lifestyle. But in the back of my head I think that I do it for fat loss reasons. So I should rethink that once again, shouldn’t I?
    I also will try this recipes your talkng about. I love baking so much but now want to go with healthy recipes. And because of you I know that this is a possible thing! Healthy cakes, great!!!
    Concerning Brett’s ethnicity… Is he maybe half Spanish or Mexican? Or, just because you asked like this… is he Vietnamese like you?? would be a perfect match 😉

    Oh, and I wanted to know when the community is coming up?? Really can’t wait for it!

  99. Holly says:

    Oh breyt’s gotts be half italian!

  100. Holly says:

    I’m level 2 but starting to fall in love now with fitness and nutrition. I want to do more amd be more! I’m trying to get my boyfriend involved as well by doing something fun but active every sunday and getting him away from his 42″ screen- today we’re cycling to the beach then going for a hike on the cliffs. Thankyou Cassey for being so motivating and such a good role model xxx

  101. peach says:

    You are so right. I started because of a strange thought. My last boyfriend was addicted to bug butts. I’ve been thin and didn’t really have one. Only thin, nearly no muscles. I started working at it for him, but without any passion
    After the relationship broke i wanted to look as awesome as possible to show him what he would never be having again. It only took 2weeks of dayly workouts till i felt this inner freedom it is giving to me.
    I’m struggling with eating disorders for half of my life and it gave me the power to work on my eating habbits,too. I started to eat more often than 1 time a day, getting up 6am with a smile in my face and i reaaly enjoy my life much more!
    Thank you for helping me, changing my life :-*

  102. Debby says:

    I don’t think I can classify myself in any of the enlightenment categories…
    I excercise because my doctor told me I need to get healthier (1) and because I want to lose weight (2), but I find I’m having an awesome time on the treadmill and when I’m doing yoga or pilates.
    I still do it because I want to lose weight and get healthier… but I do it because I love it as well!

    Guess I’m a combo 😛

    Also, no idea about his ethnic background ^^ Israeli?