Heart to Heart with Alisa

Heartcore's co-founder and head trainer, Alisa, shares how the Megaformer changed her body and her life.


Tell us about yourself.

Hi! I'm Alisa, one of the co-founders of Heartcore, and also Heartcore's head instructor. I'm from the Bay Area (born in Berkeley and raised in San Mateo) and lived in LA from 2008-2013, which is where I fell in love with the Megaformer! I love moving my body, staying present in the moment, and getting the most out of everyday!

Tell us about your fitness journey.

I've always had a strong sense of body awareness from my background in dance (12 years of Flamenco dancing) and from getting adjustments from my dad my whole life (he was a chiropractor). After graduating USC in 2011, I wanted to get super fit and tried almost every workout in LA. I joined Brick, a Crossfit box in West Hollywood. After a year of classes, I realized that Crossfit was not the best workout for my body - a bone had became loose in my foot and it had to be removed. Because of my injury, I decided I did not want to do anymore high-impact workouts - no more running, jumping, lifting heavy weights. I didn't want to push myself so far that I'd eventually have severe knee or joint pain in my 40s or 50s. No thank you!

While recovering from my surgery, I started working at SoulCycle in Brentwood and spun ~5 days a week. I then discovered Pilates Platinum in Brentwood, a Megaformer studio, and I quickly became obsessed with the high-intensity, low-impact classes. When I moved back to the Bay in late 2013, I was shocked to discover there were no Megaformer studios near San Mateo and convinced my sisters to help me open Heartcore in June 2014.

Since we opened Heartcore, I've only consistently done Megaformer workouts. I completely stopped going to the gym, lifting and spinning - the Megaformer is all I do and I've never looked better. I take class around 3-4 days a week, and focus on rest and recovery on my off-days. I've been getting into Yin and Kundalini Yoga (meditative-style yoga) and try to eat as cleanly as possible... well at least on the weekdays ;)

Alisa in December 2009 after 5 months of cardio and step classes 

Alisa in December 2009 after 5 months of cardio and step classes 

Alisa in November 2010 after 11 months of circuit training

Alisa in November 2010 after 11 months of circuit training

Alisa in January 2016 after 4 years of Megaformer classes

Alisa in January 2016 after 4 years of Megaformer classes

What contributed to your success outside of working out? 

Eating high-quality foods (plenty of proteins and fats), sleeping at least 8 hours a night, meditating, journaling, and positive self-talk has brought me success for sure. I found that just focusing on the physical aspects won’t be enough to create real change in your body - it’s like putting a band-aid over a gaping wound. You need to take the time to cultivate a positive outlook on your body and your life. Sleep more, meditate more and show compassion for yourself and for others. When you build that confidence and love every single day - the results will absolutely come.

Bonus: Gratitude for my body and my life makes all the difference. The fact that I can walk on two legs and grab things with my hands blows my mind! I practice gratitude in my daily life by blessing my food before I eat and all the people who have helped bring that food to my table. I thank my body every morning right after I wake up. I know my body is listening to everything I am thinking and saying, so I am very kind. 

How did you keep yourself motivated to keep going?

During my whole fitness journey, I never felt "I need to lose weight. I look bad." Back in 2009 and 2010 (in the two pictures on the left), I thought I looked fantastic. I remember in 2009,  I had a male friend tell me I would look so much better if I lost 10 lbs. and I laughed in his face. I thought to lose 10 lbs. at that time was crazy because I thought I looked perfect as I was.

Fitness has never been about weight loss for me or about me not feeling not good enough. I love feeling strong and accomplished and I can access those feelings during and after a workout.

Where did this confidence come from?

I grew up with many strong women surrounding me: my sisters, mom and grandma. Also, my dad is the most confident person I know and I emulate him in a lot of ways. He has such a strong internal sense of self and I have always looked up to that. I went to an all-girls high school (Notre Dame in Belmont) and I was able to really express myself there for 4 years. I was always the class clown and felt so comfortable being myself in that setting. When I went to college, I felt so confident in who I was that because I felt beautiful inside, I knew that I was beautiful outside too!

Any last pieces of advice?

My top two pieces of advice are 1) to stay patient and 2) to stay present. It took me 4 years of consistent Megaformer workouts to see the amazing results I have now. That's because it takes time to train your mind/body to move in a new way. In each move, there's 10 things you have to keep track of at any given time. For example:

In our most basic move, Wheelbarrow, your hands are gripping the edge of the front platform, knees on the first red line, dropping your hips down to a kneeling push-up position, you're relaxing your shoulders, spreading the collarbones, keeping a neutral spine, bracing your entire core, engaging your lats and triceps, tucking your pelvis and squeezing your center glutes to protect your lower back, and finally, remembering to breathe evenly the entire time to get oxygen to your muscles. And that's our most basic move!

It takes time to build that mind-muscle connection and it takes hard work to stay intensely present. It's surprisingly easy to zone out! Focus on keeping proper form and engaging the right muscles to get the full benefits of this workout. Put the time and effort in and your results will be magical ✨

Catch Alisa's classes on Mondays at 9:30 AM, Tuesdays at 7/8 AM, Wednesdays 9:30 AM and 12 PM, and Thursdays at 4:30/5:30 PM.  Book your Megaformer here