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NeXa Pilates & Fitness – A Q&A with Founder & Senior Trainer Anna Clark

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Anna Clark has been in the fitness industry for over 16 years teaching Pilates, yoga, personal training, and dance. She taught for seven years in New York City before deciding to travel, running her own Pilates and yoga business throughout West Africa. She came back to NYC in 2015 to open NeXa Pilates and Fitness on the Upper West Side with business partner Anne Jameson.

Anna’s studio not only has a diverse team of elite Pilates instructors and top personal trainers but is also equipped with a group fitness studio and wellness spa with a range of services including infrared sauna and cryotherapy.

Below we learn about Anna and her journey into fitness and beyond.

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1. How and when did you first realize you wanted to work in your current industry?

I started taking Pilates when I was 13 as part of a cross training program for my dance school. By 15, I was completely immersed in training Pilates every day and thought of it as a surefire path to a new career beyond my dance aspirations. It was a natural next step to get my first Pilates certification right out of high school at 18 years old.

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2. What is your biggest career highlight to date?

I definitely attribute NYC to offering me the best Pilates education in the world, but my highlight was being able to take those skills and travel with them. I spent years in Senegal, Guinea, Togo and other areas of Africa teaching both Pilates and yoga.

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3. Any celebrity clients or memorable stories related to your business that you want to share?

I think the most triumphant moment in my Pilates career was working with… Tamra Lhota, [the wife of former MTA head Joe Lohta] an incredible woman who suffered a fall and broke her back leaving her paralyzed from the waist down. She refused to give up, and through years of training Pilates with me was able to retrain her motor skills and muscular strength to walk without any assistance.

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4. How would you describe your personal style?

I am known for not cutting any slack. I believe in challenging the body in every way, including ways you might not have thought of yet, to trigger adaptation and consistent growth in muscle strength, coordination, flexibility, and endurance.

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5. What is a typical day in your life like?

Since opening Nexa Pilates and Fitness with my partner Anne Jameson I easily spend about ten hours a day in the studio teaching, managing, taking class, and studying the ever-changing world of fitness theory and application.

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6. What are three never-miss events on your calendar?

I love taking class from my Pilates colleagues and old friends around the city, going out for a full night of salsa/bachata dancing after a long day at the studio, and of course nothing beats a night out in NYC at the comedy club to remind yourself not to take it all so seriously.

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7. What are your three favorite locations in the city you reside in?

I love to explore, I’m always finding new areas of town I haven’t seen yet when I go out. Otherwise I am happy to sit and watch a show with a glass of wine in my apartment.

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8. What are your three favorite restaurants?

Saigon Market (Vietnamese), Thai Market (Thai), and the V-spot downtown (Vegan).

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9. What about your three favorite bars?

You can always find me out dancing salsa and bachata at Bar 13, Copacabana, or the Mondrian on Park Avenue.

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10. What has been your best New York moment? What about the worst?

Best moment in New York was my first date with my true love Ramon: we made our way from a noisy jazz club to my rooftop on a romantic evening usually only found in the movies. The worst, I think is getting caught up in Times Square on a holiday weekend trying to navigate the crowd without getting trampled or pick pocketed!

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11. Name your go-to: 

a. Outfit– A bodysuit, be ready for anything!

b. Movie– The Shining

c. Book– Napalm and Silly Putty – George Carlin

d. TV show– Big Mouth

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12. Name your favorite vacation spot, and the hotel you stay at while there. What makes these spots special?

Punta Cana – this is my favorite place to visit because they always have a dance festival of some sort going on. You can relax by the beach or get down and dirty in the dance club.

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13. What are your three most played songs?

Anything by Black Coffee, Bad Bunny, or Youssou N’Dour.

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14. What are three items you couldn’t live without?

My boyfriend, kale salad, and a positive dance community in my hometown.

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15. If you could meet anyone in the world, who would it be and why?

I would meet Molly Melching, the head of one of the most progressive charitable organizations across Africa, spreading education about women’s rights and working to end FGC [female genital cutting] globally.

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16. What is something people might not know about you?

I spent the majority of my 20s in Senegal, West Africa teaching fitness and studying their dance style. Til today, it is one of my favorite places on earth.

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17. When did you feel like you had “made it” professionally?

At about 22, when I started to get requests from individuals and organizations outside the studio I taught at. I thought, “People are really enjoying my teaching style and are seeking me out, this is good.”

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18. Do you have any advice for those aspiring to work in your industry?

I would say build a foundation in the basics and then add to it by learning as much as you can, train with as many different teachers as you can and no matter how good you get – stay humble.

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19. What changes do you think your industry will undergo in the next 5-10 years?

I think that people will always need fitness to be a part of their life in order to be happy and healthy. As fitness professionals, we serve to facilitate their journey to becoming the best version of themselves. As society deepens their understanding of this basic principle, the training world will see an increase of interest and engagement. There’s only up to go from here.

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20. Is there anything else you’d like to share, discuss or promote?

I think you have to experience Nexa Pilates and Fitness for yourself to truly see what we are. Don’t take my word for it. Come in, try out a session, and feel how high-level training can improve your quality of life.

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For more information, visit www.nexapilates.com.

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Images Courtesy of Anna Clark and Nexa Pilates & Fitness