Each week, we’ll toss out six questions to a local health or fitness expert. Topics will range from new workout trends to healthy eating tips and everything in between. We all have fitness goals: Here’s to helping each other achieve them. 

Being a part of the fitness industry in Boston is interesting. You know a lot of individuals by name, have subbed for their classes and work in the same gym, yet never have you met them face to face. Most instructors are all ships passing in the night; flowing in and out of our classes on a schedule and with a purpose. So when you have the pleasure of actually meeting one of these cheerful teachers, you embrace the opportunity and get together, like I did with yoga and spin instructor Cara Gilman. And if you’re lucky enough, they introduce you to Sweetgreen. I can’t tell yet if that was a good or bad thing.

Caroline Earle: Do you remember your first yoga class? What was it like?

Cara Gilman: Yes, I remember it clearly. I was completely burned out from marathon training and was looking for another form of exercise that would get me out of my head and give my body some recovery time it needed. My gym was offering a new Monday night yoga class and I decided to give it a try. I fell in love right away. This vinyasa yoga class taught me how just like running, yoga is a powerful form of moving meditation. My mind was no longer moving at 100+ miles per hour and I felt relaxed and at ease.

CE: You’re a Lululemon and Sweetgreen ambassador. Ahem – awesome. What’s your favorite article of clothing and salad from these places?

CG:  I’m a huge fan of Lululemon’s wunder under cropped pants. These pants are comfortable, great to sweat in and are amazing for that post-yoga-class dinner or lunch date. Put on a cute sweater or long t-shirt over your tank top, slip on a pair of cute tall boots and you’ll be ready to take on the city.

I’m not sure what I did before Sweetgreen! This is my go-to place for both lunch and dinner and it feels so refreshing to have healthy options right at my finger tips. Most of their ingredients are locally sourced. The number of calories for each salad is listed. But better yet, their salads are creative, delicious and most importantly, filling! For a more hearty meal, I go for the cobb salad or the earth bowl. For a lighter meal, I love the kale caesar. But either way, you can’t go wrong with any of their salads. I recommend trying a different one each time.

CE: As a marathon runner do you have any plans to run another? If so, which one?

CG: Yes, I have been itching to get another marathon on the calendar! Maintaining a strong, regular yoga practice has been an incredible asset to my running for the past several years as I have trained for half marathons and 10Ks. The same nagging injuries that I used to experience when I increased my mileage – lower back pain, tight hip flexors and hamstrings – have come a long way and I feel energized to take it to the next level, especially now that I know how to take care of myself and prevent those injuries before they start.

I will be running Lululemon’s Half Marathon, Seawheeze, in Vancouver this August and am also hoping to run the Chicago Marathon this fall.

CE: If you had to choose; sweet tooth, salty and savory or fried fanatic?

CG: I’m a total sweet tooth. I’m a sucker for chocolate chip cookies, banana and pumpkin bread, blueberry muffins, trail mix with chocolate chips, you name it. I would happily turn away a second helping of dinner for a chocolate chip cookie any day.

CE: Most days you teach multiple times, classes and styles, how do you stay motivated?

CG: I feed off the energy of my students. What I love about being a teacher is that it’s my job to help create a space where everyone can celebrate who they are. Whether it’s on the spin bike or a yoga mat, what gets me excited is the opportunity to have fun and to help people leave the stresses of their day behind and show up for themselves. Who wouldn’t be inspired by that? It’s really powerful.

CE: If you could only teach one exercise, what would it be and why?

CG: I truly can’t pick just one. It’s like picking your favorite sibling. Each has its own unique qualities but the overall love is the same. That’s how it is for all the different classes I teach – Yoga for Runners, Vinyasa Yoga, Hip Hop Yoga, Rev & Om (spinning & yoga) and spin – and what I love about all these classes is no matter what the style, what the music, what the class format or even what the physical movements are, it’s all a community of people breathing, moving and having fun. People are getting out of their heads and doing something that makes them feel powerful. So to be able to provide a space for all that to happen is what makes me love what I do each and everyday.

Be sure to check out Cara’s blog and upcoming events as well as take one of her classes at the following times and locations: 

Monday – 7 a.m. Back Bay Yoga – Vinyasa Yoga

Monday – 4:30 p.m. – Sports Club LA, Chestnut Hill – REV & OM

Tuesday – 12 p.m. – JP Center Yoga – Vinyasa Yoga

Tuesday – 4 p.m. – JP Center Yoga – Vinyasa Yoga

Wednesday – 7 a.m. – Back Bay Yoga – Vinyasa Yoga

Wednesday – 2 p.m. – Back Bay Yoga – Hip Hop Yoga

Thursday – 6 p.m. – Sweat & Soul – Cycle

Thursday – 7:30 p.m. – Sweat & Soul – Hip Hop Yoga

Friday – 7 a.m. – Back Bay Yoga – Vinyasa Yoga

Friday – 11 a.m. – Sports Club LA, Chestnut Hill – Hip Hop ‘n Pop Vinyasa

Sunday – 7:45 a.m. – Sports Club LA, Chestnut Hill – REV & OM

Sunday – 10 a.m. – Sweat & Soul – Vinyasa Yoga

Sunday – 12:45 p.m. – JP Center Yoga – Yoga for Runners