Liesbeth Lecomte (26) is the owner of ‘LL Pilates’. The ‘LL’ are the initials of her name, but it can also mean LiveLong Pilates or Learn & Love Pilates!
It also happens that her studio is located on the LindenLei! Her studio is in Schoten (close to Antwerp) but she can also teach elsewhere if that is requested.
When did you start practicing Pilates?
My Pilates adventure started in 2011. Before that I practiced yoga and fitness for years.
Where and with who did you train?
I was first trained in Antwerp by the True Pilates method. Later I trained in Ghent with Yves the Moor by the PeakPilates method. I got my matcourses from Helga Stekelenburg Sylverster in Oud- Beijerland and Rotterdam. Obviously the supplementary training is never done, and I will always continue to participate in workshops and trainings.
How were you introduced to Pilates? Does your background have anything to do with Pilates?
I was working as an assistant at the university in Ghent for a professor that has since become a good friend of mine. I told her that I had been doing yoga for quite some years and was contemplating teaching yoga. She had been doing Pilates for years and advised me to try Pilates first, because maybe that would suit me even better. We took some classes together (at Yves the Moor) and I was sold. Unfortunately my lawdegree doesn’t have a lot to do with Pilates, but I want to start a Physiotherapy course (parttime) so I can completely focus on Pilates and rehabilitation.
Why did you decide to turn this into a profession?
With my lawdegree I had a career ahead of me with many hours of sitting work. Soon my body was begging for more movement, more than an hour of cardio at night after work. I saw painful, aching, rigid bodies, hanging shoulders and stressed faces all around me. The Pilates classes were doing their job, but I had a big hunger for more. I wanted to know everything, wanted to know how everything worked. At first it was just to ‘fix’ myself, but after that I wanted to help everyone that needed it. In our current society I actually think that’s almost everyone!
Yes, I now have my own LL Pilates studio in Schoten (Antwerp)! Here I can teach privateclasses on Pilates equipment and the mat, in a homely atmosphere.
I can also teach individual and duoclasses at clients’ homes. I will only use smaller props in this. We can also schedule other classes, such as trioclasses, classes for sportsclubs, etc.
What kind of Pilatesequipment is your favorite? What is your favorite brand?
Choosing a favorite piece of equipment is very difficult, because they all have their own unique qualities and objectives. I love working on the Cadillac, I usually curse a bit more when I’m on the Chair. I prefer Gratz equipment to teach and train on.
Was there any discomfort or injuries that you sorted with Pilates or do you keep them under control with Pilates?
Definitely. Because of Pilates I found out the one of my legs was longer than the other. Apparently my pelvis had been askew for years, which had consequences for my body. A combination of arch support and Pilates keeps my pelvis straight now.
I also have a mild form of scoliosis, which gave me backpains. I also had a rigid neck and tensed shoulders. All that discomfort is controlled by Pilates now.
Do you have a targetaudience that you teach?
Yes and no. Pilates is good for everyone, so everyone is welcome! I do think it’s important my clients like to come to me and they’re enthusiastic about Pilates. I don’t want to train anyone that doesn’t really want to be there. Furthermore, I do think that clients that have severe issues should contact a physician/physiotherapist/…. first.
Who would you like to teach sometime?
Daniel Craig, aka James Bond! I’m curious to know if this stylish, muscular man also has a nice powerhouse. Also, I’m just a big Bond fan!
What is your Pilatesvision?
Pilates is already over a century old and is still gaining popularity. It’s definitely not a ‘hype’. I think the thing that makes Pilates so successful is that it’s based on the science and anatomy of our bodies. If you think about it, everything is very rational and natural. This is the authentic Pilates method I’m talking about!
I think the power of Pilates lies in the fact that it’s good for everyone, when it’s adapted to a persons specific needs. I think it’s a shame that sometimes a sort of competitive atmosphere is created to give the ‘best’ or ‘most intense’ work-out.
It’s much more important to listen to what your client needs. Even a mild approach can lead to great results. Pilates was originally intended to strengthen and rehabilitate people and not to exhaust them!
Do you cooperate with any Pilatestrainers?
I sometimes substitute when my colleagues are unable to teach. I’m always open to fun collaborations.
What are your favorite and least favorite Pilates exercise?
Another difficult question. The answer differs from day to day. I think the ‘Push Through’ on the Cadillac always feels very nice on my back. The ‘Up stretch’ on the reformer is one I don’t always like that much.
What Pilatesword would you rather not use?
There are no words that I avoid at all costs. There are some expressions that aren’t as effective, so I use them less. In a beginner class some expressions can be downright confusing. I will not always say “reach over a ball’ when doing the spine stretch forward, because a beginner will automatically pull their shoulders up.
Are there things you have changed about Pilates or would you like to?
I follow the classic method and change almost nothing about the exercises or the order of the exercises. I think the system is so well build that changes would only deteriorate the method. Of course you need building blocks or modifications in some instances, but that’s all part of the method as it was developed by Joseph Pilates.
I do sometimes put on some quiet background music, which is mostly advised against, but I notice that it has a positive effect on my clients’ workout. I put it on so quietly no one is distracted by it.
What is the most important insight Pilates has given you?
There is no such thing as a perfect body and every body has different needs, that can differ on a daily basis. If you listen to these needs and give your body positive attention, your body is capable of so much more than you think. It’s remarkable how quick someone can be rehabilitated by correctly performing Pilates.
What is your opinion about authentic/classic Pilates and contemporary Pilates?
I myself was trained in the authentic method, so I’m biased towards classic Pilates. New variations can be a fun and trendy work-out, but I think it’s a shame they use the Pilates name for that. For people that aren’t familiar with Pilates it can be hard to differentiate these different forms of Pilates. They will choose a cheaper fitnessvariety (which is usually more like BBB or gymnastics). Unfortunately the fitnessvariety will not yield the desired results, which will get people disappointed in what they thought was Pilates. For people that have injuries (back injuries for example) it can even be dangerous to be taught by people that aren’t properly qualified. They can get seriously harmed, or injured even more, and they will lose their faith in ‘Pilates’, when actually, they weren’t even doing authentic Pilates.
Who is your role model?
Jeroen Vancoillie! He’s a Pilatesteacher from Belgium, and the owner of a cozy studio on Leuven. Big talents don’t have to live far away, right?
His positive energy and enthusiasm are contagious. I think his biggest talent is adjusting every class to the client and to how this person is feeling at that time. He respects the boundaries of what you can handle that day, but will give you a satisfying workout every time.
Do you think you’ll always keep practicing and teaching Pilates?
Of course! It may sound a bit cliché, but I don’t think I’d be able to miss it.
What is your dream?
Teaching Daniel Craig! But mostly; be able to work with Pilates and rehabilitation fulltime. I’d like to teach the widest spectrum of clients, from athletes to invalids and everything in between. Preferably in a homely studio, fitted with all Gratz equipment and where everyone can feel at home!