GoRecess Playground Pro: Jenn Seracuse, Pilates ProWorks, NYC
Where She Teaches: Director of Pilates at Pilates ProWorks NYC
Classes She Teaches: Pilates Pro, Pilates Pro 2.0, Pilates Classic, Prenatal Pilates, Mommy & Me Pilates; Sub for Barre Pro & Barre- X
Hometown: Colorado Springs, CO
Background: Jenn grew up singing and dancing, and discovered Pilates while studying for her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Musical Theater. After performing in NYC, as well as touring around the country, she paused and underwent colon resection surgery due to her Crohn's Disease. Using Pilates to rehabilitate after and also cope with the surgery, she fell even more in love with it, and is now stronger and healthier than ever! Pilates became not only body-altering but also life-altering for Jenn when she realized that her passion for doing translated into a passion for teaching. This ultimately led to a transition from Musical Theater to a successful career in fitness, and she is now the Director of Pilates at Pilates Proworks NY. She is certified in Mat and Apparatus through Pilates Academy International as well as having Suspension Training and Prenatal & Postnatal certifications. The latter (combined with her love of babies) helped Jenn to develop the an extremely popular Mommy & Me Pilates Program in New York.
Jenn has been featured in several major publications including New York Magazine, People Style Watch, The New York Daily News and The New York Metro News and her Pilates Pro 2.0 class at PPW NY was voted one of the Top 10 NYC Classes That Will Set Your Abdominals on Fire by fitness website RateYourBurn. She has also appeared in segments on The Today Show, Fox News and Telemundo. Jenn trains a wide range of clients including Television and Broadway stars, Marathon and Ironman competitors, Models, NYC Socialites, CEOs and of course new moms.
She loves transforming bodies by adding a modern spin to the classical Pilates exercises. Her clients will tell you she is a stickler for form and precision, which adds to the intensity of the workout, and ultimately leads to faster results. Jenn will leave you feeling leaner, longer, stronger and also with a greater understanding of the connection between your body and mind… you may even have a little fun too!
ABOUT PILATES PROWORKS
What makes Pilates ProWorks unique? Pilates Proworks is not your average Pilates studio. Our motto is "Hard Core" and that is exactly what you can expect. Our classes kick traditional Pilates up a notch, adding cardio, functional and weight training exercises with awesome heart-pumping music. All of these things combined create a fast-paced, super intense full body workout! We offer a variety of classes - Pilates, Barre and TRX- all of which complement one another. Because every class we offer incorporates the principles of Pilates, you will not only sweat, but also work on form, precision and alignment, ensuring you get the most out of every exercise. This helps to create a stronger mind-body connection and ultimately achieve a faster overall body transformation. We also hope you’ll have some fun here too! Our instructors are top notch, and in my opinion some of the nicest in the business. Everyone who walks into our studio is instantly treated like part of our family.
Pilates Pro is our signature class done on the FitFormer, a machine exclusive to Pilates Proworks. On top of adding cardio, functional training exercises and awesome music, we have taken a Pilates Reformer and redesigned it to work you out unlike any other machine. I’ve even heard it referred to as “The Mercedes Benz of Reformers!” The machine’s construction makes it possible to move from one exercise to the next quickly and efficiently, resulting in less stop and start and adding more cardio to the workout. We also do a lot more 360-degree core work, standing, planking and kneeling on the machine, and less lying down than you might in a traditional reformer class.
Do you need prior Pilates experience in order to take a class? You do not need prior Pilates experience to take a class at Pilates Proworks; however, if you’ve never done Pilates before I would suggest starting with our Pilates Essentials class, so you can get familiar with working on the machine.
Barre Pro pairs cardio and dance with Pilates and strength training. Like all of our classes, it is super high energy, but rooted in form and alignment. Our choreographed intervals incorporate multiple muscle groups creating a higher capacity for burning calories, and we move clients through various ranges of motion, from those pulses that burn oh so good, to more dynamic full range of motion exercises like jumping jacks. This combo builds stamina, strength as well as flexibility. Barre Pro also pulls from many different styles of dance, which creates variety in the room, ensuring you will never do the same class twice!
For someone new to Pilates and barre classes, how do the physical benefits of Pilates Pro differ from Barre Pro? Pilates Pro and Barre Pro complement one another perfectly and we definitely recommend doing both! Both are going to give you amazing results, because they incorporate cardio and functional training along with Pilates Principles. Everything you are doing on the equipment in the Pilates studio will help you be better in the Barre studio and vice versa. Because of the added dance component Barre Pro can be more cardiovascular and will help you work on stamina as well as strengthening, whereas in Pilates Pro you are working with a moving piece of equipment which helps with balance, core strength and posture/alignment. Our 30/30 class which is 30 min of each is a great way to get the best of both worlds!
Why do you recommend group fitness classes as a great way to get a workout?
The energy in group fitness is amazing. People feed off of each other to stay motivated and it builds community. It’s also an accessible way to work with a trained professional. Not everyone can afford 3-5 private sessions a week, but 3-5 classes a week might be doable.
How do you feel Pilates has been body-altering and life-altering for you?
Body-altering: Even though I was always active in things like dance and cheerleading growing up, I was definitely not "fit" and I hated working out. I needed to be tricked into exercise. When I got really sick with my Crohn's the first time at 19, I lost all of my muscle tone. It was really scary to be that weak. I had to rebuild from square one and I made the decision that I would never let that happen again. Luckily, it was that year that I was introduced to Pilates and it totally clicked. Eight years later when I had my colon resection surgery, it was a life-saver as far as my recovery, and now at 30 I am stronger and healthier than ever and in the best shape of my life.
Life-altering: If you told me ten years ago that I would be a successful Fitness Professional I would not have believed you. I grew up thinking that performing was the only thing I was meant to do. It turns out I was wrong and I've never been happier. Pilates has given me a joy and confidence that I didn’t even know I was lacking. It’s a very empowering feeling to wake up every day and know you are on the right path. I absolutely love my job!
How would you describe your personal teaching style? I am very passionate about what I do. My students will tell you I am a stickler for form and give a lot of hands-on corrections. In addition to giving people a great workout, teaching them to connect their mind with their bodies is a huge part of my job, and it's very important to me. I know how amazing it can feel and how effective exercises can be when the form is correct, and my goal is for everyone in my class to get to that point. I am obsessed with the “light bulb” moments of Pilates where it suddenly clicks and things make sense.
Personal eating style? I eat kale pretty much every day, but if I want a little dessert I have a little dessert. I have never been big on deprivation. It just doesn’t work for me, and given that there have been points in my life that I literally couldn’t eat because of my Crohn’s, I can’t imagine purposefully denying myself food. I love to cook and bake so I am a big fan of eating what’s fresh and in season as much as possible. It helps having the Farmers' Market so close to work!
“Go-to” workout songs? I’m always changing my playlists, but some songs I would have on there every week if I could are: Lonely Boy by the Black Keys, Only the Horses by Scissor Sisters and my all time favorite song to move to: Walkin’ on Sunshine by Katrina and the Waves (I dare you not to have fun during this song!)
When you’re not teaching at Pilates ProWorks, how do you like to spend your time? Any favorite NYC spots? I am a huge foodie and (like I mentioned above) love to cook, so I’m always reading up on, and taking advantage of all the amazing restaurants in NYC. My two favorites continue to be Joseph Leonard in the West Village and Roberta’s in Bushwick. Both are farm to table, sustainable and AMAZING! I love open kitchens so I can watch the chefs at work!
I still love to sing and try to find ways of keeping that in my life, even though it’s no longer a career I am pursuing. Recently, I had the honor of singing with the Philharmonic in Colorado! And I, of course, love going to see Broadway shows. I’m lucky to have lots of talented friends, who are still in the business, that I get to see perform!
If you could give GoRecess users one piece of fitness advice what would it be?
Find an exercise routine you love. If you don't love it, you won't do it. I believe there is a “Soul Mate Workout” for everyone.
For more info and great tips, check out Jenn's website and book one of her classes today at Pilates ProWorks NYC. For those of you in the Bay area, check out great classes at Pilates ProWorks Financial District and Pilates ProWorks Marina.