Monday, December 26, 2011

R.I.P. Ron Fletcher

Ron Fletcher

May 29, 1921 - December 6, 2011

A memorial service is planned for May 5, 2012 in Tucson, Arizona. Per Ron's request, donations can be made, in his memory, to your favorite animal charity or cause.

To learn more read about him on Wikipedia or Fletcher Pilates

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Top 10 Workout Songs- 2011

Crank up the tunes and get your workouts going with these top 10 hot tunes of 2011:

  1. Tim Berg - Seek Bromance (Avicii Vocal Edit) 
  2. Katy Perry - The One That Got Away 
  3. Alexandra Stan - Mr. Saxobeat (Maan Studio Remix) 
  4. Flo Rida - Good Feeling 
  5. Wolfgang Gartner & Will.I.Am - Forever
  6. Hot Chelle Rae - Tonight Tonight (Goldstein Remix)
  7. Taio Cruz & Flo Rida - Hangover 
  8. Enrique Iglesias, Pitbull & The WAV.s - I Like How It Feels 
  9. Kaskade & Skrillex - Lick It 
  10. Kelly Clarkson - What Doesn't Kill You (Stronger)

To find more workout songs--and hear next month's contenders--folks can check out the free database at Visitors can browse the song selections there by genre, tempo, and era--to find the music that best fits with their particular workout routine.  Read the full article here.
Compliments of: Chris Lawhorn, author of Run Hundred  (

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Eat Well for the Holidays

Holidays can be a hectic time of year which may lead to bad health decisions and potential weight gain.  Take these simple steps to keep your body, mind and spirit in check till New Year:

  1. Use a smaller plate to provide the visual illusion of feeling fuller.
  2. Drink a glass of water or bowl of warm soup before your meal.  Often we are dehydrated instead of hungry.
  3. Be active before/after holiday meals.  Go for a walk with the dog, play a game with the family, fit in an express workout, or join a holiday fun run.  
  4. Include plenty of color on your plate and focus on filling up on the veggies first.
  5. Limit yourself to one "celebration" beverage such as eggnog or alcohol.
  6. Ask if you can bring along a healthy option to the meal (such as veggies and dip, sweet potatoes, salad).  Knowing there is a "safe" choice will help curb cravings.
  7. Engage in conversation to ensure you listen to your internal signs for hunger to avoid overeating.
  8. Try to limit yourself to only one sweet per meal (one slice of pie, one cookie, one chocolate).

Friday, December 16, 2011

Holiday Fitness Gift Ideas

Give the gift of fitness this holiday season.  Here are some excellent options for those on your lists this season:

    • Favorites: Define Jacket, Groove Pant, Run Your Heart Out Skirt
  • Heart Rate Monitor to stay in your zones
  • Massage Stick or Grid (foam roller) or Personal Massage
  • New shoes 
  • New socks 
  • Training log book to track progress

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Health Advice: More Veggies

Q: As a kid I wasn't a fan of veggies and now as an adult I'm still not able to eat the amount I should.  Is there an easier way to get my veggie count in for the day besides drinking a V8?

A: Stop being picky and try preparing your veggies a different way!  Grill, bake, or dice them up into smaller chunks.  Mix them with healthy spices or herbs such as thyme or rosemary.  Add liquids like vinegar and citrus juice to enhance the flavors.  Put artichokes on your pizza, spinach in your mac 'n cheese, choose sweet potatoes fries or add zucchini strips into your lasagna.  Get creative, but when in doubt add in a traditional side salad with light dressing.  

Monday, December 5, 2011

Break It Down: Open Leg Rocker

Take the challenge of the Open Leg Rocker as Joe demos below.  

Purpose- rid the body of toxins, prep for Teaser, massage the spine

Preps- Rolling like a Ball, Spine Stretch Forward, Roll Up, Bridging, Hamstring stretches

Form- maintain the same shape throughout, lift sternum and lengthen spine when balancing, hold onto knees/ankles, gaze at toes

* May not be appropriate for those with tailbone discomfort or those with low back problems such as disc injuries or fusion.

Modifications- hold back of knees/thighs instead of ankles, rock back and forth without balancing, practice balancing while you bend/straighten your legs

How to Advance- hold onto ankles, squeeze ball in ankles 

Challenges- magic circle in ankles, legs tight together, transition to full Teaser + balancing twists

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Lulu Lemon Trunk Show Dec. 6th, 2011!

Trunk Show Sponsored by Lululemon (

When: Tuesday Dec. 6th, 2011
Plymouth, MI
Time: 5:30-7:30pm
*Get presents for yourself and those on your holiday list!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Quotes by Joe

"A few well-designed movements, properly performed in a balanced sequence, are worth hours of doing sloppy calisthenics or forced contortion."   

"Physical fitness is the first requisite of happiness."

"Contrology develops the body uniformly, corrects wrong postures, restores physical vitality, invigorates the mind, and elevates the spirit."

"Patience and Persistence are vital qualities in the ultimate successful accomplishment of any worthwhile endeavour."

 -Joseph Pilates

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Avoid Holiday Weight Gain

How do you avoid putting on those dreaded pounds each time the holiday season rolls around?  Have a plan and stick to your healthy goals.  Give yourself the ultimate present of good health.  Below are suggestions to keep you on track:

  1. Sleep 7-9hrs each night.  Quality sleep matters to help your muscles rebuild from workouts and your brain to recoup from the day.  If you need to sneak in a nap make sure it is before 3pm (so you don't mess up your normal sleep cycle) and that its a half hour to hour long at most.  
  2. Drink plenty of water.  Take your body weight and divide it by half to calculate the amount in ounces you should be consuming per day.  Workouts and environment changes mean adding in more water.  Rule of thumb: if you are thirty you are already dehydrated.
  3. Limit sweet intake.  This is the time of year that sugar surrounds us along with classic comfort foods.  Allow yourself to have a bite of the cake at work or one sweet treat a day so you stay in control of your calorie intake.  Drink some water or eat an apple if the craving hits you for more.  Also hiding sweets in a hard to reach place (not on your desk at work) will decrease the temptation.
  4. Get more active!  Meditate, go for a walk on your lunch break, strength train on your TRX at home or try a new fitness class.  Either way schedule it into your planner.  This will ensure you are being social in a way not focused on food.  Make a commitment along with close friends or family to run a holiday 5K or go to Zumba each week.
  5. Take time to relax and beat the end of year stress.  There are so many people to see and things to do that sometimes you need a break from it all.  Journal, call a friend, send a quick email to extended family, go to a matinee, play with your pets, or write down what you're grateful for.  This will create some time for you to escape the hussle of the season and put life in perspective.
  6. Fight off germs.  Layer up on clothes, vacuum often, wear warm jackets/hats/gloves, and wash your hands frequently.  The holiday season means being around more people and the risk of getting sick.  Holiday colds can equal weight gain.  It's easy to tack on extra pounds when you are stuck in bed for a few days.  Stay healthy and you will be happy with the results!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Health Advice: Fight Fatigue

Q: As the holiday season approaches and days get shorter I am feeling more fatigue.  I've tried to keep up with my workouts and get extra sleep.  Is there a change I can make in my diet that would help?

A: Yes!  Your diet can play a large role in how much energy you have throughout the day.  Always start by making sure you are getting enough H2O.  Even though it is winter season you can be dehydrated without knowing it (chapped lips and dry skin are indicators).  Choose water dense foods like watermelon or dark leafy greens.  


Healthy snacks can help such as pumpkin seeds (high in magnesium), yogurt (probiotics to fight colds), wheat bran cereal (high in fiber), and red peppers (one cup contains 200% daily vitamin C).  Finally, adding in a little treat of dark chocolate helps increase levels of the happiness-boosting brain chemical serotonin.

Monday, November 14, 2011

FREE Pilates Mat Demos!

FREE Pilates Mat Demos
*Bring your mat and try a Pilates Mat class!  This floor based series of exercises will strengthen your core, align your spine and increase flexibility.  All ages and abilities welcome.    
When: November 14th (Monday) @4:30pm
November 17th (Thursday) @4:30pm
200 S. Main St. Suite B, Northville 48167
For more info call: 248-449-YOGA

Instructed by Meghan Fidge
Meghan is a 2009 graduate from MSU.  She learned Pilates through the Core Dynamics program by taking weekend workshops in Chicago/Santa Fe.  Pilates has helped her narrow her rib cage, maintain proper posture and be internally strong.  She is also an avid runner who has worked up to a half marathon and plans to run the Detroit Free Press Marathon in 2012.  In addition to Pilates, Meghan is also an ACE Personal Trainer and TRX certified.

Friday, November 11, 2011

How to Be a Better Instructor

It takes a special type of person to be an amazing instructor.  It also takes years of practice.  You have to be able to connect with your clients, be well organized and knowledgeable all at the same time.  This can be hard to juggle since most training programs only teach you the exercises and not necessarily how to teach or communicate.  Here are my 5 key tips to being the best instructor you can be:

  1. Listen to your client.  There is a reason we have two ears and one mouth.  Make sure you take the time to hear and confirm what your clients are telling you.  Pay attention to dialogue about their family life, kids, pets, holiday events, birthdays, and vacations.  The more you are able to listen like a friend, the more the client will trust and learn from you.  The relationship is the most important part of being a trainer.  Once you care about them as a person they will feel less stressed, make some dietary changes, get more active in between sessions and stay in touch.  Also take the time to learn your clients "why story".  They may come to you because they have back pain, but their real reason to get in shape may be a dream to run a marathon.   
  2. Provide healthy motivation.  Teach positive self talk to promote better self esteem.  Most females want to "loose 10lbs+".  This may or may not be possible for them.  Your job is to be encouraging and teach them how to love their strong arms or compliment them how much their posture has improved.  Over time that 10lbs may be less of a worry.  Use positive words throughout your workouts such as "excellent job on that squat", "perfect form holding your plank" or "great job making it through the workout".  Avoid phrases with words such as "can't" or "don't".  The more positive the verbiage the more positive the results.  Other forms of motivation can include referral discounts, sending out a fitness newsletter, writing a personal email, rewards when goals are reached or learning new exercises (progressions). 
  3. Make sure you always do continuing education.  Once you stop learning you stop growing.  This is an ongoing process.  You are in a field that is constantly changing and evolving.  The more you know the better off you are.  Make sure you are watching the news, reading articles/books, taking workshops, earning new certifications when appropriate, listening to cues and staying open to new ideas.  Other things such as a business class or marketing lecture also provide insights on how to attract clients.  Keep your certifications up to date along with renewing your CPR/AED training.
  4. Realize that life happens.  This is easier said than done.  Clients will come and go, people get sick and kids have summer break.  Be flexible and go with the flow.  Your clients will get stuck in traffic, injured or move away.  Take one day and one client at a time and you will be okay.  Be understanding if someone has to cancel or move to a later time in the day.  Learn compassion.
  5. Love your career.  If you wake up each day and go to work for the paycheck you are in the wrong field.  We don't get sick days or paid vacation time.  We are trainers who wake up each day because we love our clients and want the world to be healthy.  Money will come once you are fully invested in your clients as people.  Also make sure you are practicing what you preach.  Try to eat well, get in your own workouts and don't go to the club till 2am on a Friday if you have to teach at 6am the next day.  Take care of yourself and be a role model for those you inspire!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Exploring the Magic Circle

The Pilates Ring (Magic Circle) was modeled after a beer keg ring.  It is a prop used in Pilates to enhance the method or can be used on its own.  It is made of bands of metal with padded handles which provide resistance when squeezed.  Besides engaging your core, the ring helps tone your hips, inner thigh, chest, and arms.  

The ring is light, portable and lies flat.  They are simple for travel or quick workouts when pressed for time.  You will tone and strengthen in a new, fun way adding in this prop.  It helps provide you with more focus and control in your movements.  For other ideas on how to utilize the ring click here. 

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Pilates Principle: Control

There is a reason why Mr. Pilates called his method "Contrology".  If you lean to control everything during your session (the breath, mind and body) you will have a beautiful workout.  This means that no matter the tempo (slow when first learning or quicker as you progress) there should be precise movements done in a deliberate manner.  Remember the control starts with your abs and then moves to your limbs.  The stronger your center the more you will be able to make each exercise look effortless.

Also make sure you are working toward your fitness goals by showing up to class early and mentally being present during each session.  Having this discipline will get you the results you deserve.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Break It Down: Roll Up

The Roll Up is a basic Pilates mat exercise, yet it is one that frustrates new clients.  The more you use your abs and breath the more easily you will be able to move.  Don't get frustrated...when in doubt modify and in time you will be moving with grace.

Purpose- massage the spine, stretch the back and hamstrings, link breath to movement

Preps- Curl Up, Hip Escalator, Roll Back, Hamstring Stretches

Form- peel off the floor bone by bone in a smooth manner engaging the core, take as many breaths as needed (especially on the getting up)

Modifications- bend the knees, "walk up" using hands under thighs, add in small hand weights or hold pole to counterbalance, put a strap on feet to hold them down, start seated and only roll halfway back

*May not be appropriate for those with low back problems such as disc injuries or fusion.

How to Advance- use one full breath to move, use in transitions from other exercises, hold magic circle or small ball to work chest muscles 

Challenges- keep arms by ears as you move up/down, do combo moves like roll up/saw or roll up/teaser 

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Food Labels 101

Learn what is in the food you consume and you are on your way to living a more nutritious lifestyle.  Nutrition labels tell you the facts.

Start at the top: Serving size and how many per container are important.  These are standard sizes used to measure food.  Pay special attention to this, especially when buying beverages.  Your sports drink may contain 2.5 servings.  Instead of 100 calories you may consume 250 calories when drinking the whole bottle.

Stats: Make sure that your calories from fat is less than half of your total calories.  Limit sodium and load up on protein or fiber to make sure you stay full throughout your day.  Vitamins like calcium, vitamin A/B/C, and iron are good, especially if the product includes more than 5% per serving.

Below it all: Another good thing to check is the list of ingredients.  Make sure you are able to read and understand what is in the products you purchase.  The less ingredients the better.  Limit artificial sweeteners, high fructose corn syrup, and dyes.  Make sure there are whole grains or soy, fresh fruits or veggies, and lean meats like fish or turkey.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Pilates Principles: Diet

Life is busy and how you eat is just as important as fitting in your workouts.  Let's learn how to eat mindfully using Pilates principles from the book Pilates Practice Companion  by Alycea Ungaro.

Breath: Take time to smell your food before you eat it.  The process of cooking food helps the body prepare for the dish ahead.  Also be aware of different temperatures of food.  Room temperature chicken tastes and smells different then BBQ chicken or cold fried chicken. 

Control: Be aware of your portions.  Use the hand method to regulate serving sizes.  A cup of fruits/veggies is the size of your fist, a serving of cheese is the size of your thumb, and meat portions are palm size. 

·         Concentration:  Lastly, try not to eat mindlessly.  This means be present with your food.  Try not to read or watch TV.  Take smaller bites (or use chop sticks) and make sure you chew your food more than you think you need to.  This will give you time to enjoy the textures/flavor while allowing your body to tell you sooner when it is full so you don't overeat. 

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Eat Right, Feel Great!

Take a look at your nutrition and chances are small changes can make a world of difference.  The foods you eat effect your mood, how your body recovers from workouts, and how much energy you have to make it through the day.  Here are some food choices to help you look great in no time:
1.             Salmon: High levels of vitamin D can help increase muscular strength.  The omega-3 fatty acids also are great for your heart.  Try: Baked Salmon
2.             Cherry Juice:  Prevent inflammation by using this as your recovery beverage.  This antioxidant-rich choice is great to drink alone or add to smoothies.  Too expensive?  Try berry or grape juice instead.  Just make sure it says 100% on the label. 
3.             Sweet Potatoes: Plenty of vitamin A and C make this a good root vegetable. It will fill you up with fiber while giving you the much needed carbs you crave.  Known to help stabilize blood sugar levels.  Try: Sweet Potato and Apple Casserole  
4.             Greek Yogurt: Get your calcium fix along with important protein to repair muscles.  Eat alone, mix it up in a party dip or use it as a topping on your burger.  Versatile and yummy!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Break It Down: Stomach Massage

Stomach Massage is anything but a "massage".  This exercise is an advanced way of doing a posture series of Short Box on the Reformer.  Find your rhythm and work your deep abs in this intense series.    

Purpose- cleanse the internal organs, increases coordination, work posture

Preps- Cat/Cow, Rolling like a Ball, Footwork, Short Box series

Form- keep leg alignment (hip, knee, toes), lats engaged, abs resist springs on return in, can add lower/lift with toes when out long for challenge

Different versions: Round, Flat, Arms Up, Twist, Single Leg

Modifications- can put small pad under bottom if hips are tight, lower footbar, hands can stay on Reformer for assistance or tight shoulders 

*May not be appropriate for those with hip replacements or disc injuries that have trouble flexing their spine

How to Advance- add in Twist, less springs to ensure more stability in waist, magic circle in palms (Arms Up, Twist, Single Leg)

Challenges- Single Leg version, increase tempo

Friday, October 7, 2011

Pilates Principles: Precision

Pilates has a specific order of exercises and each is done in a certain amount of reps.  Each exercise has a purpose and goal.  Rolling like a Ball is done in a compact ball shape and is meant to massage the spine and rid the body of toxins.  In performing each exercise in the series the student must have this understanding in order to have discipline in their form.  Quick and efficient transitions also count when it comes to precision.  Your workout needs to have an even tempo and flow to utilize your time.

Make sure in each session you push yourself and gain a deeper understanding of the method that will lead you toward your ultimate goals.  Good health and fitness always come first.  Modifications can be made or props added, but make sure the true essence of Pilates remains.    

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Bosu Basics

What is the Bosu?  How does it work?  This half stability ball is perfect for balance, strength and getting your heart rate up.  Train your brain and make your life your playground!  Learn the basics about an intelligent piece of fitness equipment:  
How do you pronounce it?
"Bo" like the boy's name and "Sue" like the girl's name; an acronym for "Both Sides Up" 

Who invented it?
David Weck in 2000
Famous names who use it:
Lance Armstrong, Olympic Freestyle Skier Shannon Bahrke, MLB player Evan Longoria

Who should use it?
Everyone! This tool is great for working on balance training.  Athletes find it helpful for aerobic activity or drills.  It can also be added to a Bootcamp with hand weights, Pilates or TRX class for a challenge.  You will use your core no matter what because of the unstable surface.

What exercises can you do on it?
·                     Basic squats or lunges for stability 
·                     Jumps to up the intensity
·                     Step class moves/athletic drills 
·                     Push ups (either side)
·                     Crunches/abs
·                     Kneeling leg work

Principles of Bosu:
1.             Balance left and right sides of the body
2.             Time efficient for the body to load and explode with power

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Seasonal Meals

Attend your local farmer's market, grow your own, or know what's in season before you shop for the best selection.  Purchase extras to freeze or can for winter use.  Plan your meals around produce that is in season to get the best nutrition and taste throughout the year.   

Here are some recipes to help you and your family eat more healthy:
·                     Avocado-Spinach Salad w/Honey Lime Vinaigrette
·                     Wagon Wheels w/Summer Squash and Mint
·                     Mozzarella Tomato Salad w/Balsamic Drizzle
·                     Red Cabbage, Cranberry & Apple Slaw
·                     Oriental Chicken Salad
·                     Avocado Feta Salsa
·                     Spinach & Artichoke Pasta

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Pilates Principles: Flow

Pilates, when done correctly should look like a graceful performance.  It takes a great amount of energy to ensure the exercises look effortless.  Other basic principles such as breath and concentration need to first be in place before flow can occur.  Flow also relates to smooth transitions.  Each exercise should flow into the next without taking breaks in between.  The tempo of each exercise can fluctuate, however it needs to be done with purpose.  

The equipment will tell you if you are using flow correctly.  Ideally the machine will be quite when you are in control, otherwise springs will bang or clank.  It takes a high level of focus to make sure each exercise is done in this manner.  This can take years of practice to perfect.  It is also one of the most rewarding of the principles.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Barefoot Running

After completing my second half marathon (in 20 minutes less than my first one 12 weeks ago) I am proud.  Proud to have completed all my training and finished strong with my parents standing by to witness my hard work.  My dad even came to help coach me through my last mile which meant a lot to me (he had previously done a 5K earlier and ran his best time).  I'll admit, I started at an 11 minute mile pace and ended at about a 13 minute mile pace.  It is to be expected when running distance races.  As part of my training I purchased New Balance minimus shoes to wear at work to help strengthen my ankles when I wasn't training.  I love them because they actually look and feel like shoes compared to those "webbed" versions out there.

Today, barefoot running is all the craze.  If you don't have the shoes no need to worry.  Here are some exercises to make your feet and calves strong enough to make it through that last mile:
  • Squat Jumps (can add in weights for more resistance)
  • Single Leg TRX Squats/Lunges
  • Balance 
    • Yoga poses, Bosu, Walk/Run on grass/sand
  • Dynamic walking:
    • Toes only, Heels only, Skipping, Side shuffling
  • Calf raises: lift on your toes and lower back to the heels
    • Parallel, Heels together toes apart, Big toes together heels apart 
    • Add pulses while keeping your heels raised

I'm helping host another C25K workshop at Core Sport this year to prep you for theWicked Halloween Run in Plymouth, MI (costume contest included!).  Join us by registering today to learn more tricks to make your next run the fastest yet!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Field Trip: ROM Fitness

Want a full body workout in 4 minutes a day?  Try ROM Fitness to get the benefits of cardio and strength in only a few short minutes!

This Range of Motion Machine (ROM Machine) is used for upper/lower body workouts.  It provides a low impact way of doing H.I.I.T. (High-intensity interval training).  You will use all your muscles (especially your core) and burn fat more efficiently.  Over time you will increase endurance and gain strength. 

  • Simple workout
  • Any fitness level 
  • Increase flexibility
  • Decrease aches/pains
  • No impact on joints

The best part is this machine will teach your body how to "fire" your muscles in the proper sequence.  I did both upper and lower body on my first try and was amazed.  I was sweating at the end and slightly out of breath.  However, I had excess energy so I went for a few mile run afterwards and felt very strong.  This is a type of workout that is a wonderful addition to any fitness program; especially those of us crunched for time.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

TRX Basics

What is the TRX?  Let's break down the basics of TRX:

What is it?  A form of Suspension Training that uses your own body weight as resistance.  It allows you to adjust the intensity during each exercise incorporating strength, balance and flexibility.

Who made it?  U.S. Navy SEALS, founder Randy Hetrick

Who should use it?  Everyone!  It can assist with squats/lunges or challenge an elite athlete at a one legged push up.  Other elements such as golf swing rotation, Pilates ab series, or yoga stretches can also be performed using the TRX.  You can workout at your own pace during a group class and is great for rehab clients.

Some famous names who use the TRX: Mary J. Blige, Drew Brees (NFL), Bob Harper (Biggest Loser), Jennifer Lopez

What are some advantages?  This type of workout is one you can take with you (hence the company name of Fitness Anywhere).  The TRX itself weights less than 2lbs which makes it portable and can be setup in seconds (to an overhead beam, door frame, tree, ect).  The best part is that its a full body workout no matter which one of the 100s of exercises you do!  

You can also include other pieces of fitness such as standing on a Bosu while doing upper body work with the TRX or holding onto a weighted ball while performing single leg lunges.  This makes it highly functional and great for Bootcamp sessions.

In addition the company has recently come out with the TRX Rip Trainer meant for those who wish to specialize more in power and rotation movements.

Ready to check it out?  Watch this video to see the TRX in action!