You discovered Pilates and fell in love. A true Romeo and Juliette story!
Having a regular Pilates practice is one of the best things you can do to build a stronger, leaner, healthier body with the posture to match. As a student looking to improve, you are no doubt wondering what you can do to get even more benefits from your practice.
Look no further, we have you covered with the following five tips!
1. Wear appropriate fit wear
You wouldn't run without appropriate running shoes so why attend Pilates without the appropriate attire? The good news is that you only have to follow a few rules:
2. Stay Hydrated
For optimal performance you want to stay hydrated throughout your practice. Make sure you bring a bottle of water and sip throughout the session. We do not have water fountains so please bring your own bottle or you can purchase one from us.
3. Bring mindfulness and purpose
Pilates isn't a mindless imitation of movements. It is the intent and focus on execution that sets this discipline apart. For each exercise you perform, direct your focus and attention on maintaining and improving at least 3 aspects of the exercise.
For example in a Lunge you could have the following focus points:
4. Maintain a regular practice
It should go without saying but we get better by doing things repeatedly and often. It is said it takes 10,000 hours of deliberate practice to become an expert! The good news is that you improve from each session incrementally, building to a stronger practice each and every day. We recommend attending Pilates a minimum of twice a week.
5. Be patient
Rome wasn't built in one day! It is easy to see more advanced practitioners and feel like we have too far to travel to catch up to them. Forget about the others! Remember that your Pilates practice is a personal journey. Strive for small victories and achievements. You will get better and stronger inevitably as long as you make the commitment to yourself. You will achieve your goals
We think it is amazing when you know your instructors so we have asked Rebecca a few questions on your behalf :)
Rebecca currently teaches Mondays, lunchtime in Bloomsbury. Do check her out!
Love them or hate them ( secretly we all love them) the plank carries a multitude of benefits. A full body move proved to maximise strength, improve stability, reduce injury and maintaining mobility. 5 Key benefits below. 1. Strong Core Muscles — Planks not only work your transversus abdominis muscles, which are the deepest layer of abdominal muscles, and other primary core trunk muscles, they elicit the greatest activation compared to other exercises like a traditional trunk flexion and extension exercise.
2. Reduced Back Pain —Because planks build up your core, they're excellent for preventing back tenderness or pain. The exercise requires minimal movement while contracting all layers of the abdominal fascia.
3. Increased Balance and Flexibility — Planks target the muscles needed for proper posture, stability and balance. Planks strengthen the muscles that make holding a neutral spinal posture possible, reducing the stress to your back even when sitting.
4. Improved Athletic Performance — planking and moves associated with planks builds endurance, raises the heart rate and burns some calories.
5. Better Posture — Planking requires engaging the muscles necessary to stay upright and maintain proper posture, including your back, chest, shoulders, abs, neck, gluteals, legs and ankles. Maintaining the stability of these associated muscles, supports proper posture by safeguarding an erect position and proper alignment of the spine.
We have revamped our refer a friend and hopefully made sharing the Pilates experience easier!
To refer a friend please do the following:
I have just read The Obesity Code by Jason Fung. This is not going to be so much a review as much as a reflection on the text, weight loss and wellness in general. I am sure I won't do justice to the book so I highly recommend you find yourself a copy and give it a read!
The author makes an interesting and compelling case. Weight loss is an hormonal problem and not a calorie imbalance problem. The main hormonal culprit being insulin. He defines obesity as persistent high blood insulin levels coupled with a state of insulin resistance.
Calorie imbalance is the proximal cause of obesity. More energy stays in the system then leaves therefore one gets fat. The distal cause is the aforementioned hormonal imbalance that make it near impossible to maintain calorie balance.
The solution is twofold:
"If you suffer with lower back pain and want to know how to improve it through your Pilates practice then this workshop is for you. We teach a lot of clients who suffer with discomfort in this area either from bad postural habits, pregnancy, or an old or current injury. Many physiotherapists will tell you to come to Pilates, and for good reason. It is an excellent practice for spinal health and posture, and with a bit of commitment you can reverse old habits by starting to practice Pilates in your everyday life as well as in class. I will be taking you through a number of common reformer exercises, explaining modifications and adjustments so that you can remember them for next time you come to class. The workshop will be part practical and part learning through demonstration and observation. Observing other people can be very useful to spot mistakes and start recognizing them in your own body, as we don't always get to watch ourselves. You should be able to come away from the workshop with a new understanding on how lower back pain can manifest in the body, and some tips on how to make your Pilates class more comfortable and enjoyable.
If you want to ask me any questions about this or whether you'd be a good candidate for it, please speak to me after class or send us an email. If you have a spinal injury that I don't already know about, please let me know before you sign up so we can discuss it. Otherwise, I hope to see some of you there!"_Scarlet
You can book the workshop here
Pilates is the training that holds together everything else I do. The demands of being a dancer and marathon runner, means I need to really take care of my body, and Pilates on the reformer really allows me to do that. I love sharing the benefits I get from my training on reformer with others, whether it be helping to improve posture, support for sport performance or just to get a really great toning workout.
What's your favorite exercise on the reformer and why?
Sideline Leg Sequence, especially the tiny circles at the end. I love the way it targets gluteus medius muscles, in a way I have never found on any other equipment. I attribute all compliments on my butt to this exercise.
In your quest for health and fitness what other habits complement your Pilates practice.
I believe in holistic fitness so my training program is really varied. I train in pole fitness and callisthenics, so although I am small I can do pretty cool things when the strength work is body weight. My cardio comes from dancing (Ballroom/Latin) and running, which also do wonders for my mental health.
Can you give us one tip for better living?
Ask yourself the question ‘is this sustainable?’. There is no point doing a 6 week program of fitness or nutrition and then completely stopping. Find things you enjoy and make it a lifetime of better living!
Can you tell us something about you that most people wouldn't know?
I have a Masters Degree in Mathematics.
Before discussing this condition, it is crucial to have a good understanding of the structure of the abdominal wall. The abdominal wall often referred to as the core is comprised of the following muscles. Starting from the most superficial layer, we have the rectus abdominis ( commonly described as the six pack), the internal, external obliques and the transverse abdominis.
All these muscle have different origins and insertions but they all attach to the linea alba which is the white fibrous tissue that runs vertically down the midline and splits the rectus abdominis into two halves. This fibrous band is key in keeping the abdominal muscles in place.
What causes abdominal separation ?
This phenomenon mainly occurs during pregnancy. It can occur in infants and men but at a much lower occurrence.
The main cause for a pregnant woman is the pressure the expanding baby exerts on the abdominal wall. The connective tissue expands to allow for the growth of the baby and the abdominals split. This is normal and happens in about two out of three pregnancies.
The following factors increase the risk of abdominal separation
• Pregnancies after 35
• Multiple pregnancies
• Twins +
• Weak abdominals prior to pregnancy
This separation weakens the abdominals and reduce their effectiveness at providing support and protection to the internal organs. This can sometimes lead to some of the following:
• Weak bladder
• Lower back pain
• Hernia (when an organ breaks through the connective tissue and gets exposed)
How to improve the condition
The objective is to bring the two sides of the abdominal back together. This is done by focusing on the innermost layer of the abdominals, the transverse abdominis. This corset like muscle will tighten the waist and reduce the gap.
Tyre following two cues are great in helping us connect with this deep layer
2. Drawing the abdominals in towards the spine
Exercises such as the vacuum that really try to tighten the waist while engaging the deepest core muscles are most beneficial.
We want to avoid direct stimulation of the rectus abdominis at this stage. Working them in this compromised state might make the situation worse. Avoid any exercises that allow the belly to bulge and push out. Exercises such as curl ups.
With these considerations in mind, you should be able to accommodate clients with this condition quite easily. Keep the waist small and remain in control of the midsection all the time. Working on the obliques is also a great way to challenge the core without putting too much pressure on the rectus abdominis.
In my book, “the shredded life”, I describe the simple equation that dictates whether we gain, lose or maintain our weights: calories in vs calories out. How much we eat vs how much we burn.
It is thus logical to attempt to get a grasp on what we consume: the calorie in part of the equation.
If you aren’t familiar with calories and macros, I recommended purchasing my book or finding some information through Google.
The reason to read labels is that they enable us to make informed decisions. By looking at a label we can choose the lower calorie version of cereals we like. We may decide to go with a low sugar and higher protein variety.
Reading labels also reveal artificial ingredients we may want to avoid like colourings, preservatives and other chemicals. The labels will also highlight allergens that we may need to avoid ( think lactose or nuts).
Reading labels allows us to use the principle of substitution. It allows us to make better and better nutritional choices at a slow but sustainable rate. Small changes can have a huge impact on the quality of food we eat, on our health and finally on our weight.