Formerly a professional ballet dancer, Carrie Campbell was introduced to Pilates in 1992. She received a comprehensive Pilates certification through Power Pilates NYC in 1998. Since then, Carrie has been teaching Pilates full time in NYC and NJ and has built an extensive client base. She has trained many celebrity clients including Naomi Campbell, Whoopi Goldberg, Laura Linney, Mandy Moore and Mary Louise Parker. Carrie has appeared in several Pilates videos, online workshops and workouts, training manuals and has an audio CD of mat work called “Pilates on the Go!” She has been featured in Fitness Magazine, Us Weekly, Quest, Allure and has appeared on Good Morning America, The Today Show and the WB news. In addition, Carrie has presented at numerous fitness conferences, including IDEA, PMA, and Power Pilates.
Carrie is the owner of Positively Pilates. She teaches privately, offers Prenatal, Postnatal, and corporate group mat classes, and gives continuing education workshops in NYC & NJ. As a mother of two beautiful children, Carrie gives all the credit to Pilates for both of her healthy and happy pregnancies, as well as helping her bounce back to her pre-pregnant body soon after birth.
How old are your children?
My daughter is 5, and my son is 3.
Where were you in your career when your children were born?
I was a senior level Teacher Trainer for Power Pilates NYC. Before I had kids I was traveling the world teaching Pilates. Then my daughter was born, I kept busy but I limited myself to teaching in the NY Metro area. Then after my son was born I left Power Pilates and started my own business, Positively Pilates, so that I could have total control over my schedule and balance work life with motherhood!
How did you discover Pilates? How was it a natural evolution from your dance career?
I did a few Pilates mat classes as a teenager. I had my first apparatus lesson when I was 18. It was my first year in a professional ballet company, my partner dropped me from an overhead lift and I broke my foot in 5 places.
I was devastated and scared to death that I would get out of shape while injured. A fellow company member suggested that I go to Pilates because most of the exercises are done lying down and they can custom fit your workout to suit you needs. So I tried it and it was love at first sight! I started taking 3-4 classes per week and the joke within the ballet company was that I was in better shape when I came back from my injury then when I got injured.
What are you most passionate about as a Pilates instructor?
I love watching clients change their bodies from the inside out! Pilates will not only help you look better, it will help you feel better and thus improve your quality of life!
How did pregnancy and motherhood affect your feelings about your body? How did you get back into shape post-baby?
As a dancer, I spent so many years trying to be super thin and hating my body. When I was pregnant I gained so much respect for my body. I actually loved my curves and so did my husband! Post baby, I got back in shape by walking 45 minutes to an hour a day AND by doing Pilates mat work in my living room when the baby was napping. Breastfeeding was also very helpful in taking off the extra weight.
I suffer from diastasis recti, a separation of the two halves of the rectus abdominis. This physically and emotionally stressful condition condition is responsible for the "pooch" on many a mom, even those who are physically active. When surgery isn't an option, what exercises can you recommend?
If you have diastasis recti, avoid sit-ups or crunches because they will only make it worse! If you do do any flexion ab exercises you should be wearing a splint. Also avoid doing anything that stretches your abdominals such as upward facing dog in yoga or the down stretch in Pilates. Here is a simple exercise that you can do every day to help close the gap.
Transverse Abdominal Pulses
1. Kneel on all Fours and place your spine in neutral.
2. Without rounding your spine, pulse your navel up to your spine 30-50X. You will feel your abs and your back muscles working in synergy.
After doing this consistently every day for 2-4 weeks you can advance this by doing the pulses in a plank pose as opposed to kneeling on all fours.
What is your best "why me?" mommy moment?
One time I was at the airport with my sixteen-month-old daughter waiting for our luggage after a flight. This young, very good looking gentleman approached me and said in a rude tone of voice "so that is what was kicking my seat the entire flight!" I was mortified!
How do you find "me" time?
I schedule it in just like everything else. If it is on the calendar I know it will happen but if I leave it up to spontaneity I know it never will. I am also a huge fan of the 10-minute back rub at the nail salon when I don't have time for the full hour. It is amazing how that 10 minutes of relaxation can transform your mood.
Do you think your expertise as a Pilates teacher influences how you parent?
I am always telling my kids to take a deep breath. Does that count? No, but seriously we are an active family and I have tried to stress the importance of exercise and healthy eating from a young age. I am also grateful that I am in good shape so that I can run around and keep up with my kids on the playground.