Category Archives: Excercise & Fitness

Pilates is Addictive – 5 Reasons why You Should be doing Pilates

PilatesAddictionWhen I started practicing Pilates over 16 years ago, I was not a person who liked to exercise, I was the person who knew you should, but hated it. Yep! I tried everything. Going it on my own at the weight bench, hiring a personal trainer, taking classes, nothing seemed to stick for very long. I was hopelessly uncoordinated when it came to fast moving choreographed exercise (kickboxing or step classes), Boot camps left me feeling too sore for days and my discipline wavered when left to my own devices (weight machines etc.) I didn’t feel at home anywhere, then I unknowingly walked into a Pilates Mat class and I was stunned. I could do it. I could follow along without feeling clumsy. I felt a good sore in all the right places, and there was no intimidation. I found my exercise. I was no longer the girl who was bored easily and felt lost in a gym. I was home. If you’re on the fence about whether or not Pilates is for you, here’s 5 reasons why Pilates is for everyone serious about not only their strength but there overall health:

  1. One of the 6 Principles of Pilates is ‘Concentration’. This has given Pilates the title of the “thinking person’s exercise.” Pilates not only challenges your body it challenges your brain.  Efficiency of movement and quality over quantity are key in your Pilates practice. You need to be 100% present to get the full benefit of your workout; tapping into muscles you didn’t even know you had. Challenging you with moves that stimulate your coordination as well as your physical body.
  2. You use Pilates in every aspect of your physical life. From putting groceries into the car to picking up your toddler, it brings a mindfulness and balance to your movement that will have you standing taller and walking straighter. Athletic activities are performed with more ease. Runners run faster, cyclists feel more endurance and balance, golfers improve their swing. Even cleaning the house feels like less effort.
  3. Pilates assists in therapeutic healing from an injury and strengthens muscles around joints to prevent injuries from happening. It’s used in Physical Therapy offices across the nation for rehab and used by professional athletes to reduce the incidents of injury.
  4. Pilates protects the back! 9 out of 10 adults experience back pain at some point in their life and 5 of those 10 experience it regularly. Pilates strengthens the core muscles surrounding the spine, protecting it from common rotation injuries. Many of the exercises are focused on articulation of the spine, lengthening the space between the vertebrae and counteracting the compression caused by sitting or standing for long periods of time.
  5. When you stop doing it, your body will miss it. I’ve stopped my Pilates practice twice over the past 16 years due to injury. Both times I was in so much pain, the mere thought of doing a simple roll-up brought tears to my eyes. During the first few weeks of rehabilitation when I couldn’t practice my Pilates, I missed it, not only mentally, but physically. When I returned to my practice after healing it was like coming home. This is a very common feeling among my clients as well. Your body will love Pilates and when you return to it, it will thank you with that Rock Star strength that only Pilates can provide.

I’ve found that fitness trends come and go, but having a common thread of Pilates throughout your life will give you strength, endurance and longevity in your body that you will not experience through other forms of trend exercise. In fact, continuing your Pilates practice along side whatever fitness craze has caught your attention will only enhance that experience as well. Love Pilates.

 

 

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Pilates vs. Yoga – Similarities & Differences – which one is right for you?

Pilates vs. Yoga: What are the similarities and differences and which one is right for you? As a Pilates Instructor, I hear all the time, “oh yeah, it’s like yoga right?” Since I practice both, I know the differences and in my opinion, they should both be on your repertoire. Oftentimes someone will tell me, I only do Yoga, or I only do Pilates. You know my philosophy, you should never do just one thing. Mixing it up keeps your interest in your health fresh. Too much of a good thing can be, well, boring. So let’s break them down:

Similarities
  • Both will tone your body, with a focus on abdominals.
  • Have a mind / body focus which requires concentration on movement.
  • Will increase your flexibility and range of motion
  • Help your body’s alignment.
  • Encourage you to focus on breath.
Differences
  • Yoga is typically practiced on a mat or on a comfortable surrounding e.g., the beach.
    Pilates can be practiced on a Pilates machine or a mat.
  • Yoga classes are typically 60-90 minutes.
    Pilates classes are typically 60 minutes.
  • Yoga has a more of a body / spiritual focus.
    Pilates has more of a body / physical health focus.
  • Yoga will increase your sense of well-being, and can meditationally reduce stress.
    Pilates will strengthen your “core”, e.g., your abs, torso, lower spine, and will help you develop long and lean muscles and will physically reduce stress.
  • Yoga will help you learn to control your breath.
    Pilates will help you learn to better control your posture.

The true difference is in the time spent doing them. I suggest strongly you try both. I mix a little yoga into everyone of my Pilates and TRX classes. You probably already like them both and don’t even know it.

    Fitness Myths: Strength Training with Weights will make me Bulky

    Many people, especially women, avoid weight training because somewhere along the way they heard that it will make their muscles big. This is simply a matter of misinformation. Strength training is a critical element to create muscle tone and burn fat and should not be left out of your well rounded routine.

    Every pound of muscle you have burns ~ 30-50 calories more in a day. The more lean mass you have, the more calories you burn. Without some kind of weight or resistance training, you’re likely to reach a plateau quickly and you won’t achieve those nicely sculpted muscles. 

    Light to moderate weights with between 12-20 repetitions are most effective for toning lean muscle mass. Building large muscles takes a great deal of discipline and a very strict regimen of heavier weights. Body builders work for years to get the muscle mass that they exhibit.

    Stick to the moderate weights, enough to challenge your muscles at the higher reps and your muscles will be sleek and toned without any bulk. If you’re still not sure, hire a personal trainer to help you decide what workout will help to reach your health goals.

    Breathe Deep

    There’s more to breathing then meets the nose!

    Your sitting in Yoga class and you are told to breath deep through your nose, exhale through your mouth. There are a lot of good reasons for this.  Emotionally, deep breathing reduces feelings of stress, aids in achieving a relaxed state, and assists us to put our busy minds to rest by inducing a meditative state, however, one of the most important reasons is purely scientific! According to Dr. Mehmet Oz, it’s because of a gas called nitric oxide that’s made by your nose and sinus mucous membranes. This gas is produced in small amounts, but when inhaled into the lungs, significantly enhances your lung’s capacity to absorb oxygen. Nitric oxide is lethal to bacteria and viruses and is also known to increase oxygen absorption in your lungs from 10-25 percent. This is why it’s important to inhale through your nose, especially when you are exercising.

    Go ahead, take a deep breath!

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