Wisdom from fitness influencer Cassey Ho on how to remain authentic in the social media era. By Dawn Chen
Cassey Ho’s Pop Pilates workouts are taught in over 3,000 classes worldwide each month. Photo: Frenchescar Lim
It started as a one-man-show in 2009. Then, Cassey Ho (@blogilates) was just a passionate certified pilates instructor who shot and edited videos of her routines for her students to follow on YouTube. Now, the Blogilates team has grown to become 12-people strong and reaches an audience of over five million subscribers and followers across various social media channels. Her Pop Pilates workouts alone are taught in over 3,000 classes worldwide each month.
Los Angeles-based Cassey was in Singapore recently as part of the inaugural FitnessFest 2017. Despite the sweltering heat, the crowd turned up in full force to get a first-hand taste of the Blogilates workouts. The tent was overflowing with hundreds of participants who all wanted to meet Cassey. With a following as impressive as hers, you’d think it’d be easy for her to get swept up in the fame and popularity of social media. But when we met her for our cover shoot later in the day, there were absolutely no airs about her. Cassey is genuinely one of the most down-to-earth personalities we’ve met. Here’s how she personally keeps things real.
With a following as impressive as hers, you’d think it’d be easy for her to get swept up in the fame and popularity of social media. But when we met her for our cover shoot later in the day, there were absolutely no airs about her. Cassey is genuinely one of the most down-to-earth personalities we’ve met. Here’s how she keeps things real.
Don’t let social media define you
While Cassey loves how Instagram or YouTube can be a way to spark conversations with people from all over the world, she also hates how it can just as easily be an avenue to breed mindless narcissism.
For Cassey, photos and videos are a way for her to tell a story that others can learn or grow from. The drive to lead by example and inspire her followers is also the reason you won’t catch her feed filling up with gratuitous selfies.
“I don’t just do selfies,” she says. “Every time I post any content, I’m always mindful that it should be something that helps somebody.” She adds that “social media is simply a platform for me to share my workouts, my recipes, and my thoughts. My content has never been vanity-driven, and I don’t let the platform control me.” (Also Read: These Fun Facts About Blogilates Founder Cassey Ho Will Surprise You!)
Cassey Ho, Blogilates / Photo: Frenchescar Lim
Learn to switch off
Throughout the preparation and shoot, Cassey didn’t stay glued to her phone even though the digital domain is her playground. Content creation is so much a part of her life, but Cassey still strikes a balance between reel life and real life. “I try to live in the moment,” she says.
We’ve all been there and done that: When a delicious plate of food is in front of you, do you need to Snapchat or Instagram it first or do you just tuck right in and enjoy? “It gets a bit ridiculous,” says Cassey, who admits she isn’t as active in documenting every moment of her life the way other influencers might. “I don’t like to broadcast my life like a full-on reality TV show. If I did that, I would feel like I was performing the whole time. I choose to keep parts of my life private to remain authentic to those I care about most.”
Filter out the hate
Being in the public eye definitely comes with its share of trolls, and being a fitness instructor means that people tend to be even more critical of your body. “As a human being – and an emotional and passionate person – yes, I am affected by negative comments. But how much it affects me has diminished over the years,” says Cassey.
“I’ve come to realise that a person’s mean comment has a lot more to do with them than it has to do with me. So if I can’t learn anything from those remarks, I choose not to let it bother me.” Instead, Cassey looks out for constructive criticism in the comments and turns it into motivation to make herself stronger and smarter.
Photo: Frenchescar Lim
When it comes to fitness, always be sure to listen to your body. Back in early 2016, Cassey came clean about an eating disorder she developed four years prior. While training for a bikini competition then, she subjected her body to an immensely strict diet on top of working out about four hours daily.
On the day before the competition, Cassey’s trainer wanted her to lose as much water weight as possible so that her muscles would show better the next day. He asked her to take diuretic pills, go to the sauna for an hour, do an extra hour of cardio on top of her regular workouts, all while drinking only 240-480ml of water the whole day. “I did everything he asked except for the pills because I already felt like I was going to die,” says Cassey.
That episode birthed an unhealthy relationship with food that lasted a few years. Cassey finally broke the cycle by first admitting that she had a problem, and allowing herself to slowly recognise that food was fuel and not the enemy. “It took time to break out of that ‘food jail’, but once I freed myself of restriction, I regained control over my eating habits,” she says, adding that she would never diet again. “Eat to feel your most energetic and most at peace. It takes a lot of trial and error to figure out what that means, but eat something that makes you feel good in the long run, not just because it’ll make you look good in the short run.”