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Welcome to Racked New York's search for New York City's hottest trainer. Over the coming weeks, we'll profile sixteen smoking locals—fitness experts who not only look hot in spandex, but can make you look amazing too. Once you've gotten to know everyone, we'll host a March Madness-style showdown in which readers vote for their favorites. Let the games begin!
Photos by Sean Gomes for Racked
Do you even plié, bro? Because lots of guys can lift, but to have strength and grace—like professional-dancer-turned-FLEX-Pilates-instructor David Holland—is much more rare.
The North Carolina native lent his moves to several modern dance companies, including Philadelphia's Philadanco, over his 16-year stage career—but it's Pilates that really gave him a deeper understanding of flexibility and control.
In the classroom, David's all positivity—his goal, he says, is to give students a workout that's "physically challenging, mindful, and lively." Read on to learn about his athlete role model, the biggest misconception about Pilates, and the gym class memory he'll never forget (spoiler alert: biting is involved).
What classes do you teach and at what studios?
FLEX Pilates at FLEX Studios
How long have you been in the fitness industry?
What is the biggest misconception about your sport?
That pilates is like yoga. While the goal of uniting the mind and body are similar, pilates and yoga approach movement with very different techniques and exercises. Pilates was developed with physical conditioning and rehabilitation in mind, whereas yoga developed from a religious, spiritual practice. Pilates also extends beyond the mat, with the use of the apparatus. Equipment developed by Joseph Pilates—like the reformer, Cadillac, chair, and tower—allow for resistance training in a full-body workout that focuses on spinal alignment and core strengthening.
What's one song that always gets you pumped up?
"Titanium" by David Guetta featuring Sia—great anthem with a hot beat!
Fitness advice you swear by, in five words or less.
Strive for progress, not perfection!
Who is your athlete role model?
Michael Jordan for his focused athleticism, graceful power, and lasting tenacity—plus the North Carolina connection.
What's one gym class memory you'll never forget?
I'm eight years old, playing dodgeball in the gym. Me and another boy grab the ball at the same time, a struggle ensues. He won't let go and neither will I. So I bite him. Upon seeing this, Mrs. Williams, my second grade teacher, pulls my hand from the ball and bites it—hard! Lesson learned. I now keep my teeth to myself and play nice with others.