This Client Really Gets A Workout!

Ana rides her bike - weather permitting - to every workout

Ana’s Portuguese heritage is right at home as she cycles around the Beaches and mid-Pinellas, doubling up on her Pilates workout benefit by riding to the studio from her Madeira Beach home.

Making The Most of Every Pilates Session

Ana – “Tita” to her friends – is one of my favorite clients. This Lisbon, Portugal, native and former pro basketball player loves our weather and enjoys riding her bike the short distance to the studio from her nearby Madeira Beach home whenever she can.

Ana estimates she rides 20-plus miles daily. Typical trips include the grocery, banking business, and checking her mail at the beach post office, all part of her route around town.

The 2-wheeled commute to her weekly YPL workouts means crossing the intracoastal waterway, with its panoramic post card view of Boca Ciega Bay in front, the Gulf of Mexico behind, and a steady stream of leisure boat traffic passing below the Tom Stuart Causeway bridge draw span.

Ana works out with her friend during a YPL mat class.

Exercise Bonus – A Ride With A View

Not only does Ana add more international flavor to the studio, her Pilates enthusiasm can be contagious. Just ask her workout partner and local friend Vinkica after they teamed up for Classical mat sessions (above). And yes, it is all about the abs! Note the extra challenge holding the ball between the knees.

Although riding bikes for general transportation is much more common in Europe, Ana says she enjoys it here more than when she travels home to Portugal several times a year. She likes that she’s saving gas, helping the environment, and improving her health with this pleasant exercise every time she heads out the door.

While in the U.S. her travels include trips north to Tallahassee to visit her son, currently a business and finance major at Florida State University. Meanwhile her daughter helps run the family’s businesses back home in Portugal.


Ready For The Pilates Chair?

Your Pilates Lifestyle workouts include the ChairPilates Chair Offers Advanced Students Benefits

One piece of equipment that nearly always invites questions is the Pilates Chair. Because it requires real body awareness and core control, it’s usually not part of a new student’s workout. Here’s an online review that summarizes a Chair routine.

For advanced students, it offers significant fitness benefits, and there are an astounding number of exercises that can be performed. For instance, for those familiar with a regular gym’s stairstep apparatus, the Chair can deliver a cardio experience that’s just as intense while also including balance that can’t be duplicated on a machine.

In the photo above, Jen is using her abs to lift while balancing with her forearms in a move that requires body awareness while building core and upper body strength.

If balance, cardio and toning from arms to legs is on your checklist, ask about YPL’s Chair workout when you book your next class.

How Pilates Can Improve Your Running Game

Pilates and running are the perfect match.

Pilates and running are the perfect match.  A solid core supplements and improves a number of areas critical for peak performance.

Runners Get Big Boost From Core Strength

The other day I came across a guest blog over on Brooks (shoes) Running that shows several exercises runners can perform after a run to improve their results. The writer says that, “A strong core helps create a runner’s longevity on the road and can help alleviate back pain.” Fair enough – but wait, there’s more!

Most runners don’t realize how important maintaining the correct posture is to peak performance and endurance. Joseph Pilates’ original concept of Contrology – the method of developing controlled movement from a strong core – is even more applicable today, as we pursue a variety of physical activities on a regular basis. And that’s especially true when it comes to running.

Pilates System Connects Body And Mind

His Pilates System stresses the connection between the mind and the body for maximum efficiency and benefit. Along the way, Pilates practitioners learn to focus on (among other functions) breath control while they build that strong, long and lean core by performing the interconnected movements Joe first described nearly a century ago.

Pilates balance chartRunners – and cubicle workers, and frequent flyers – all benefit from a well developed core, first and most noticeably from an improved posture which in turn leads to more efficient breath control, better coordination, extra stamina, and overall strength.

If you’re a runner, Pilates should be part of your workout. It starts with The 100. But it doesn’t stop there.

Should You Be Sweating?

megaformer workout another version of Pilates

Just Don’t Call It Pilates!

This article in the New York Times titled “A Souped-Up Pilates Workout” made me think about what’s behind the comments people make when it comes to their idea of how they should feel after a workout.

In this case the writer, who admits to being a Pilates novice, says, “In reality, however, the few classes I’ve taken have done nothing to work up a sweat or amp up my heart rate — not the best outcome for an adrenaline-seeking exerciser like me.”

I suspect she’s never tried a Classical Pilates class, one that incorporates flow with breath and mind control. Too often the group classes offered at gyms and clubs fall far short of what Joseph Pilates intended and end up like a lazy day at the beach.

Can You Say Jumpboard?

At Your Pilates Lifestyle, I offer classes for all levels from beginners to professionals, and pay particular attention to those who may be physically challenged yet who will still get plenty of benefit from a toned down Pilates routine.

At the other extreme are my superfit clients, the ones who thrive on an intense Pilates workout. One that includes plenty of non-stop flow that leaves everyone short of breath and dripping with sweat! Cardio? You’d better believe it!

Learn How To Walk Before You Start Running

You may not be working to capacity in the beginning as you are learning the exercises and correct body mechanics. However, as you move into intermediate, advanced or even super advanced exercises you should be working to capacity. If you’re not – it’s on you!!

Joseph Pilates was a genius when it came to the order and flow of his exercises to work the entire body in a demanding and efficient way to achieve total body FUNCTIONAL fitness. When was the last time your daily life required you to bench press a desk to fatigue?

There really is no reason to change Pilates as it was designed unless it’s to periodicially shake things up and challenge the client in a totally different way.

Not All Reformer Work Can Be Called Pilates

The reformer is a brilliant piece of equipment that can be used in many ways. If you’re going to use it to perform gym based exercises, then it should be labeled accordingly.

If the workout strays too far from it’s original intent then it shouldn’t be called Pilates. I will sometimes gear a class to more of a gym based exercise session, but I always specify when an exercise is not “Pilates”.

 

 

Sitting May Be Hazerdous to Your Health

A Quick Overview of Cubicle Life

Not mentioned was the essential ingredient for combating bad posture: core strength! The votes have all been counted, and the results are this – a well developed core is the most important thing you can do for your body when it comes to modern workday stress.

Whether it’s a coast-to-coast flight, sitting all day in front of a monitor, or running a marathon, core strength is one of the most important elements when it comes to avoiding the effects of poor posture.

The Pilates Chair Builds Core And Cardio

Of all the strange looking (to Pilates newbies) apparatus you’ll find in a professionally equipped studio, the Pilates Chair really gets a lot of attention.

Designed and developed by Joseph Pilates for double duty as a dedicated piece of exercise equipment that can also be converted to seating in a tiny living space, the Chair is one of my most versatile training aids. As a chair, though, I’ve got to say it’s got a long ways to go before I’ll be using it to sit in.

When combined with a Reformer footboard routine, you’ll get a cardio workout unlike anything you’ve experienced before, challenging both those abs and the big muscle groups in the legs. Did I mention upper body strength? As you can tell, the Pilates Chair is as versatile as it is strange looking.

Ready! Set! Jump!

Cardio? Pilates? Just Add Jumpboard To Your Reformer Practice!

Including cardio in your Pilates practice can be done in a couple of different ways:

1) The traditional way is to move through the classical Pilates routine in a vigorous flow from one exercise to the next. (Of course, this is done without sacrificing proper form!!), or…

2) The addition of a jumpboard session at the beginning of your workout as a warm up or as the grand finale is a more contemporary approach.

Don’t know what a jumpboard is? It is exactly what it sounds like!  A padded board is inserted into the end of the reformer. You lie on your back on the reformer mat with light to moderate spring settings and yep, you guessed it, JUMP!

The jumping can include simple jumping and running or can move into more dance type choreographed routines. The addition of hand weights or Therabands takes the cardio up another notch!

Whether you choose to include either of these options in your session is a personal preference. You can always opt for separate cardio like walking, running, or hitting the treadmill at the gym, but if you want it all in one session – it CAN be done.