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