We’ve been following Pilates teacher and healthy lifestyle blogger Hande Demirel for some time now – thanks to her blog and Instagram account, we’re never short of wellness and exercise inspiration! So we thought we’d catch up with her to find out more about her journey and get her tips on living a healthy, balanced lifestyle.
1. Hande, tell us about yourself and what you do.
Hi! I'm Hande, a certified Pilates teacher and wellness entrepreneur based in San Francisco. Besides sharing my passion through teaching, I also share my online Pilates workouts through my eBook, Let’s Start Pilates. My mission is to inspire women to move mindfully, live healthier, and create a body and life they love!
2. When did you first get into Pilates and wellness, and how did it become a passion for you?
I stumbled upon Pilates ten years ago in college. But my wellness journey started when I moved to the US—to the other side of the world from Turkey, where I grew up. After finishing my M.A degree in Education at the University of San Francisco, I found myself questioning what I really wanted to do with my life and career. I decided to enroll in a Pilates training program to see where it would lead. The training completely transformed my body and how I viewed fitness. I loved how good I felt after each Pilates class – calmer, stronger, healthier. After experiencing how Pilates transformed my life, I decided to get certified and share the amazing benefits of Pilates with other people. I have been happily teaching Pilates since 2017. I also share wellness and healthy living tips on my Instagram and my website, which allows me to connect with more people around the world.
3. What does a typical day look like for you?
I wake up around 6 AM every morning. First, I have a glass of warm water with the juice of half a lemon. Then I try to meditate, even if it’s just for five minutes. It helps me to breathe deeply and feel centered.
Once that’s done, I have breakfast. I don’t check my emails or Instagram until I finish my morning routine. Then, I either go to the studio to teach Pilates or start working on my laptop. If I’m not teaching in the morning, I like to do my own Pilates routine on my mat for 20-30 minutes. Around 10 AM, I’m usually at my desk, replying to emails or working on my blog. I might have a fun wellness event to go to or brand meetings in the afternoon. At night, I try to be in bed around 9 PM and wind down with a good book. I love sleeping and try to get at least 8 hours every night!
4. Do you follow a specific diet? What does a day of eating look like for you?
My approach to diet is very similar to my fitness philosophy: simple, and mindful. I eat a mostly plant-based diet with very little meat and dairy (sustainably sourced whenever possible.) I try to listen to my body and don’t believe in strict diet rules. My breakfast is almost always an avocado toast on gluten-free bread with salt and pepper. I love having a coconut matcha latte in the mornings, which I make myself at home. Lunch is usually a rice bowl with vegetables or veggie pasta and salad. I like to keep my dinners light. I usually have some soup or leftovers from lunch. For snacks, I love fresh fruit. My go-to’s are bananas, raspberries, and blueberries. I try to drink lots of water during the day and ginger tea before bed to improve digestion and relieve stress.
5. Do you have a healthy routine you do every day or every week?
Yes, I love routines! My daily routines include working out and meditating for 10 minutes in the morning. These two practices help me feel and look my best every day. During the weekend, I try to make time for wellness and self-care. I love having Epsom salt baths to relax my sore muscles.
Every Sunday morning, I use a Vivoo wellness strip to learn about my body's needs. Vivoo tracks hydration, ph level, ketone levels, and much more! Vivoo has become my favorite way to track my overall well-being. I love how affordable, quick and easy it is to get customized lifestyle advice with Vivoo’s app in the comfort of my home. It really helped me to increase water consumption by showing how dehydrated I get and how much water I need to drink daily.
What I love most about Vivoo is that it provides science-based wellness recommendations for different diet and lifestyle choices. I prefer to eat vegetarian. Vivoo gives me personalized nutrition tips like adding almonds to my diet for magnesium and trying raw chocolate as a healthy snack. I use these suggestions to create my meals for the week and do my grocery shopping accordingly. Vivoo helps me stay balanced and healthy throughout the week.
6. Other than Pilates and wellness, what are your other interests and hobbies? What do you like to do in your spare time?
I love traveling and exploring new places around the world. Last year, we traveled to Mexico, Germany, the Netherlands, and Belgium with my family. I also love reading and find so much inspiration in books. My favorite genres are female biographies and autobiographies. “Educated” by Tara Westover was one of the best books I read in 2019!
7. Are there any wellness products you love to use?
I recently got into dry brushing. So a good dry brush is definitely on my list. I love my essential oil diffuser for creating a relaxing space at home. And my Vivoo subscription is another favorite I love to use on my wellness journey. I look forward to taking a new test every week and staying on track with my goals.
8. What is your best-kept wellness secret?
Creating a healthy morning routine! I really believe that how we start our day sets the tone for the entire day. We want to start the day feeling calm, strong, and organized, not rushed and hectic. Instead of waking up and scrolling through Instagram, do something good for your mind and body. Here are some simple things you can do: When you wake up, drink a glass of warm lemon water. Do a 5-minute meditation. Roll out your mat and do some gentle Pilates or yoga exercises. Doing these things will give you a happy and healthy start to your day.
10. How do you stay motivated and consistent, without becoming obsessive?
The best advice I can give you is this: do what you love. Find a workout routine you love. Eat nourishing, healthy foods you love. My favorite way to connect with myself is through movement. I do Pilates consistently because I love how it makes me feel – calm, strong, and healthy. This feeling becomes my motivation to exercise every day. When you love what you do, you do it more consistently. When you do something consistently, you see amazing results. It is that simple. If you find it hard to be motivated or consistent with your exercise routine, maybe you need to change what you are doing. Ask yourself if you really like it and why you are doing it. Do you work out to feel better, or do you do it just to burn calories? How do you feel before or during your workouts? Are you exercising because you love yourself or because you don’t like your body? When you do things from a place of self-love, you will feel so much more motivated and stick with your routines.
11. What’s your top advice for someone who is looking to start a healthier lifestyle, or who is just feeling unmotivated in general?
Start with small and realistic goals. You don’t have to change your life overnight to become healthy. What is one small step you can take today to be healthier? It might be as simple as going for a walk outside or drinking a glass of water. Every day when you wake up, remind yourself of your goals and commit to your well-being. It’s never too late to start living a healthier, happier life!