By Madisen Carter
UPPilates Burlingame’s owner and instructor, Stella Sandoval, says Pilates is for everybody, and stresses how important it is for someone to start working on their body as early as possible. According to the UPPilates website, “Pilates is a method of physical conditioning that works the entire body to restore muscle balance, and in the process teaches one to move more efficiently, enabling you to do everything in life with greater ease.”
Sandoval has an athletic background and has worked as a fitness professional for 30 years. She has starred in many exercise videos that were sold nationwide, including Dancing Off The Inches and Sizzling Salsa. She has always been an avid fitness enthusiast and got into Pilates after she had a full hip replacement in 2011.
Pilates helped Sandoval with her rehab and full recovery. She said that after two years of training, and completion of Pilates Certification, it completely changed her body and her life. She felt more mobile, more flexible and more at ease with her movement.
“When I got into Pilates, I felt like that just gave me a second chance with my fitness career,” Sandoval said. “It taught me better movement patterns and helped strengthen the core muscles of my deep abdominals, lower back, hips and buttocks while addressing all the weak and tight muscles, to improve my posture, alignment, flexibility, endurance and control so I have less injuries.”
The benefits of Pilates include the improvement of posture, flexibility, athletic performance, agility, mental focus and body awareness. It also reduces stress, tension and lower back pain while also correcting imbalances in the body.
Sandoval said her body transformed, and she felt so good that she wanted to become a Pilates instructor herself. In 2018, the opportunity to have her own studio presented itself.
Sandoval and Unlimited Potential Basketball’s CEO, Bianca Turner, have been in each other's lives for a long time, as Sandoval and Turner’s mother have been friends since they were teenagers. As UPB continued to grow, there was an extra room that needed to be used that was brought to Sandoval’s attention.
She already had experience managing, building and running health clubs and studios and took the opportunity to open her own studio, UPPilates Burlingame. Sandoval said it all fell into place, and she had many people supporting her. Some of her Pilates friends reached out about Pilates equipment for sale to help get the studio started, another client and friend helped get the website done and of course with the support of her husband with encouragement and the remodeling of the studio, UPPilates was ready for business.
“I always feel that if it was meant to be, one door will close when the other one opens. It was just something that I realized, ‘This is meant to be’. And so when you're relentless, when you're consistent, and when you're passionate, it's good,” Sandoval said. “The main thing that is awesome about my space is this: [UPB’s] mission statement. The way they run their space [and] how they do their leadership there, is in line with mine.”
UPB’s mission statement is, “Through basketball, we strive to develop hard working and mentally tough individuals who understand their potential is unlimited.” Sandoval strives to get individuals towards their unlimited potential by taking care of the body so that it not only benefits them now, but also in the long run.
The biggest key Sandoval tells athletes is that Pilates reduces injuries. Pilates also helps speed up recovery time, improves range of motion, promotes efficiency, helps with breathing and develops mind and body connection.
“[The athletes] need to learn how to not only work hard, but also take care of the body and grow old in the sport, because what I don't understand and I don't get is this: ‘Oh, by the age of 29 or 30, they're done.’ I'm like, ‘What do you mean? Why can't we flip that script?’ They should be able to go beyond,” Sandoval said.
For the athletes at UPB, Sandoval has many things that she wants them to learn and take from Pilates. She explained that she wants them to work out smarter with less strain so that they can grow in their sport. She also wants them to take care of their bodies while also working their feet. Most basketball injuries involve the ankles and knees, and it is important to work on the feet to prevent those injuries.
Sandoval not only works with the athletes at UPB, but also children, mothers-to-be, dancers, senior citizens and everyone in between. She said it is fun to see all the different types of people that come in and work out in her studio.
“The goal for me is that [my clients] get the work in their body. So that everything that they learn in the studio [including] how they lift equipment [and] how they move through the studio, translates into their everyday life,” Sandoval said.Sandoval said she likes to give back to the community because of what was given to her. If any athletes are interested in getting more information, they can check out the UPPilates website or go into the studio and consult with her. She believes it is important that the young and upcoming athletes start off right.