Reformer Planks

I love planks in all its forms.  This series on the reformer is fun and challenging.

 

Let me know if you try these variations. Enjoy.

 

Life Happens

We all get sidetracked from our health and fitness goals from time to time, because life just happens. As a fitness professional, I have been there and completely understand.  But instead of beating myself up over it, I have chosen to get back on track.

Here are a few tips that has helped me to refocus:

  1. Figuring out what caused me to drift away from my wellness plan. Was it vacation, injury, sickness or lack of planning.
  2. Planning my workouts for the week.
  3. Just start. It does not have to be a super hard work out, it can be as simple as going for a walk outside.
  4. Implementing good habits daily, and this often starts with a healthy and fulfilling morning routine.  Having a morning ritual sets you up for the day.
  5. Reading and researching  topics on health and fitness.
  6. Forget perfection.
  7. Having positive thoughts and remembering this is self-care.
  8. Never give up.

What has helped you to bounce back and get back on track? Share in the comments below.

 

 

A Healthy Spine

 

There are two popular quotes from Joseph Pilates that many are familiar with and if you have never seen them or heard anyone say them here they are:

” You are only as young as your spinal column.”

” If your spine is inflexibly stiff at 30, you are old. If it is completely flexible at 60, you are young.’

When you really think about it, it makes complete sense. Our bodies/spines are designed to move with freedom not with restrictions.  The exercises in Pilates works all the movements of  the spine to keep it healthy, flexible and strong.

The spine is worked in extension ( backward bending), flexion (forward bend), lateral flexion (side bending), rotation (twisting). By working the spine in all different directions we create a proper balance and maintain proper alignment and posture.

Before I show you some of the exercises that goes along with each spinal movement, I would like to explain axial extension or lengthening.  All the movements in Pilates focus on lengthening  the spine or creating space, we do not collapse or sink into the movements. We always want to think of lengthening.

Below are a few of the exercises that goes along with the above mentioned movements.

Flexion

Chest Lift, Hundred and The Roll Up.

Pilates Hundred

Pilates Hundred

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rotation

Side Bend Twist, Spine Twist, Criss Cross

Spine Twist

Spine Twist

 

 

 

 

*important to note the rotation comes from the spine not the shoulders or neck*

 

 

Lateral Flexion

Mermaid, Side Bend.

Side Bend

Side Bend

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Extension

Swan, Swimming, Leg Pull Up, Shoulder Bridge.

Leg Pull Up

Leg Pull Up

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hope you enjoyed this weeks post. Feel free to share.

 

Burning a 100 Calories with Chobani

We have all heard sitting is the new smoking so we are concerned with burning calories through out the day. Adding small spurts of movement in the day adds up to burning off 100 calories or more daily.   Chobani  has a new line of yogurts called Chobani Simply 100 Crunch.   Chobani is encouraging us to live life lighter whether by walking an extra mile daily or eating 100 calories less.

A few ways I like to incorporate exercise into to my daily routine is to play my fav music and dance I do this while cleaning my house as well, yes cleaning is great calorie burner too. I also take a 10-15 minute break and go for a brisk walk.

On days I need a quick snack that won’t derail my healthy plan I grab yogurt. Chobani Simply 100 is the perfect size to grab and go and best of all there is a “crunch” and who doesn’t love a good crunch.

Here are a few ways to burn 100 calories feel free to print and keep.

chobani_100cal_12version (1)

How do you plan to incorporate exercise to your daily routine?

 

 

 

 

Relieve, Release, Relax Your Muscles

Hope everyones day  is going well.     I will be sharing with you some new Massage Balls that I have been using for a few weeks now.  I would like to introduce to you, sFera Massage Balls.

Sfera Balls

There is a lot of information out  on the benefits of not only getting a massage but also  a lot on myofascial release using props such  as a the foam roller the stick and of course balls, go ahead google it.

This set of massage balls comes neatly packed in there own tote bag, which is convenient to travel with. There are 4 balls in the set, 1. large ball 4″ 2. 1 small ball 2.5″ and 3. 2 small spiky balls 2″.

Tote Bag

 

The balls are made from  eco friendly materials that grip and grab the skin ( conforming to which ever part you are rolling out).

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Sfera Balls and Tote Bag

I really like the the large ball for rolling out my quadriceps, my glutes and my hamstrings. I found this ball perfect for really massaging/releasing my hamstrings and much better in my opinion than the foam roller for releasing my “knots” and the ball did not slide out from under my leg.

The small ball is perfect for smaller areas like my calves and the soles of my feet. Great for boosting circulation and stimulating all the nerves in the feet and at the end of a long who does not like a good foot massage?  The spiky balls are designed to be used on your hands as well as feet and if you are brave they can be used on your scalp. Just be aware that spikes are a little hard so you will definitely be getting a deeper massage.

I really like this product and I use it daily.  I highly recommend them, you won’t be disappointed.

Have you ever used massage balls? Which one is your favorite? If you give these a try let me know.

I will be reviewing more products I like in the next few weeks.

 

Disclaimer: I was not compensated for this review. 

 

A Little History

Happy September!!!

I hope you are all having a fantastic September so far.  I thought I would share an interesting interview/discussion on Memories of Mr Joe Pilates.  Enjoy!

A little extra Pilates history:

Origins of Pilates

Have a great week friends.

Around the Web

 

Thought I would share with you some  interesting articles I have come across from around the web. Grab a cup of “joe” and enjoy.

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This is one of the most basic human postures but many are unable to.  This article goes into the health benefits  of being able to do this:   5 Reasons to Full Squat 

What happens when you Stop Drinking Diet Soda

Signs You Are Not Getting Enough of this Mineral

Strength Training Moves that Double as Cardio

Cerebral palsy Does Not Stop Laura From Teaching Pilates

What are your favorite reads from around the web?

 

 

The Pilates Roll Up

 

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The Pilates roll up works the abdominals but it also works on spinal articulation.  When performed correctly the rollup is more effective on strengthening the abdominals than countless crunches.

As a side note you may have noticed the count or rep range in Pilates is remarkably less than most fitness exercises, except for the Pilates hundred.  You may have wondered why, and I will let Mr Pilates answer this with one of his many quotes ” A few well designed movements properly performed in a balanced sequence are worth more hours of doing sloppy calisthenics or forced contortion.”    The focus in Pilates quality over quantity.

 

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Let’s get back to the Roll up. Personally, I have had a love hate relationship with this exercise when I just started  Pilates, because I was not able to perform the exercise correctly, but through practice and some helpful tips/modifications on my Pilates journey  the roll up has become one of my favorite exercises.  The purpose of this article is to  share some of the  modifications I not only used for myself but ones I use with my clients.

Common “roadblocks” while performing this exercise is 1. weak abdominals 2. a tight low back  3. not recruiting the bum and hamstrings.

The first tip is to keep your knees bent and as you roll up straighten your legs.

2. Place a rolled up towel under your low back and press into the towel as roll up and roll down.

3. Holding light weights 1-2lbs during the exercise will help.

4. Use your hands to help you, this is done by holding the back of your thighs

5. The half roll back is a great way practice.

Instructions for Half Roll Back:  Sit tall and roll back to about the top of your pants, maintaing the C curve, and roll back up, again you can hold the back of your thighs to assist.

6. Remember to press the back of your thighs into the mat and to squeeze your glutes.

7.Place a theraband around your feet and holding the ends in your hands. Use the band to assist the roll up.

Be patient with your self and keep practicing.

Pilates is grace, strength and stability through movement.