Pain, Pilates, and a Tool to Help

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One of the things I love about Pilates is how it gives us permission - permission to listen to our bodies.  I feel like when I was younger I was all about pushing myself and pushing my body to perform.  In order to do that, I had to ignore signs of fatigue and pain.  

Then I found Pilates, and my teacher would ask me questions like "Where do you feel that?"  Nobody had ever asked me that before.  As long as I was performing well, nobody cared.  Now that I've found Pilates, I use my workout time to not only improve the performance of my body, but to also check in.  It's one of the things I love about traditional Pilates that follows Joe's order.  If you repeat the order of the exercises each day, they become a barometer to check in and see how your body is doing.  The consistency acts as a guide to see how my body is feeling each day.  If the 100 is always first, then if it feels different, better, or worse, I know I need to adjust.  I need to listen.  So if I feel a twinge or a pain, it matters.  

The other thing that Pilates taught me is the difference between good pain and bad pain.  Discomfort that lasts during an exercise but goes away when I'm done?  Good.  Discomfort that lasts hours later?  Bad.  Muscle pain?  Good.  Joint pain?  Bad.

And that joint pain leads me to that little bottle above (housed in front of my manuals and research and general to-dos).

I was sent a sample of the Banja Balm by Khroma Herbal Products, so if I was working out and felt a twinge or pain, I would apply the balm to the area after I worked out.  I would massage it in and I always felt better.  So better, in fact, that applying the balm is now part of my ritual after my Pilates practice.  Usually, I workout at 8 or 9pm after the kids are in bed, so I use Pilates as a way to unwind and check in after a long day.  After my workout, I'll apply the balm, and really massage it in.  I've found it also helps relieve the over-stimulation that nighttime workouts can give me as well.  It smells super good, and is full of vegan and organic yummy ingredients.  I've been recommending it to my clients who want a sore muscle rub without camphor because some of them are adverse to the smell.  It is a little grainy, which concerned me the first time I used it, but the balm melts on contact and absorbs well.

So how about a little self-massage after your Pilates session?  Don't mind if I do.

Disclaimer:  I was given a free bottle of the Banja Balm, but all opinions expressed above are my own.

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All the details on our Donation Mat Class

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Who can come?  Anyone who wants to help support hurricane relief by doing what we love - Pilates!

Where is the class being held?  The Pilates Barre Portland, 1515 SW Sunset Blvd, Portland, Or 97239.  There will be a link on their mindbody class software to register for free.  Class is limited to 15 people.

When is it?  Saturday, October 21st.  Doors open at 10am to register and donate.  Class begins at 10:30 and goes for an hour with Master Instructor Jessica Schultz.

How do I donate?  Bring a check to send in or show a copy of your donation on your cell phone or even bring an old school paper print out of your donation.

How do I get 1 Peak Pilates CEC?  Just donate, join us for class, and Jessica will send your name in.

 

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Donation Mat for Hurricane Relief - and get a CEC

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Join us at The Pilates Barre Portland October 21, 2017 at 10:00am for a Donation Mat Class taught by Master Instructor Jessica Schultz.  Donate what you can.  Every dollar will be given to the American Red Cross to aid continuing hurricane relief efforts.  Any Peak instructor attending will receive 1 CEC no matter what they donate.  This class is open to the public.  Love wins!!!  Let's do this people! 

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Powerhouse Cues!!

100 - Imagine there are bricks on your hips, Like a statue, Like birds flapping, bouncing a ball

Roll Up - Roll a marble down your centerline, Like quicksand, melting chocolate, merging with the floor, like a gear

One Leg Circle - Balance a glass on your hips, strong like a tree, pelvis nailed to the mat

RLAB - Tuck your pelvis and roll like a doodlebug, Like a rocking horse, make a fruit wedge

SLS - Knee to nose, Steady as a rock, like a mountain, steady and unchanging, anchor into the mat

DLS - Hold a pencil in your inner thighs, Body is anchor, extremities are sails, body is like concrete, whoosh sound while rowing arms

Scissors - Mat is mud to sink into, root spine, legs are branches, legs cut through fabric

Lower and Lift - Lower like an elevator, steady foundation as elevator rises

Criss Cross - Twist like a pretzel, wring out lungs, folding origami, twist doorknob, dog-ear a book, gaze out lighthouse beacon, twist tie

Spine Stretch Forward - Scoop ice cream out away from yourself, someone pulling you with a rope, pull your sticker-self off the wall, fiddle-head fern, articulate spine like a wave

Saw - Move upper body like an owl's head, sawing body through PH, twist like a cinnamon roll and lick the frosting, cutting like a knife

Swan I/Neck Roll - Smell the cookies in front of you, pushing a marble

Rest Position - Like a hollow log

Shoulder Bridge Prep - Roll spine like train cars, like rain drops falling one after another, feeling each vertebra, rusty door hinge

SK:  Front and Back - Torso between two walls/Nail through hips, Leg like a pendulum 

SK:  Up and Down - Pull your toe down through wet sand, Closing legs like a fan, pushing down through mud

SK:  Inner Thigh Lifts and Circles:  Balance a teacup on ankle, Drawing circles on the wall with heel, draw a donut or pizza

Seal:  Be a hedgehog, Applause with your feet

Standing Roll Down:  Balance soccer ball on the back of your neck, Hold like the space before thunder, snaking under a door

Check out more Powerhouse Cues here

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Foam Roller Workshop

Did you miss our Foam Roller Workshop last year?  Only $100 if you BYOR.  Check out the details in our latest newsletter.

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Stretches and Strengthening Exercises for Feet and Ankles

I made this video for a client of mine who recently sprained her ankle, and thought I would post it here as well.  It's a great series of exercises to do to strengthen your ankles for dance or sports conditioning, or if you've been wearing too many heels this holiday season!  Because ankle and foot flexibility play a key role in allowing the knee to move in a healthy range of motion, these exercises can also help with knee pain.  I recommend doing this set of exercises daily (if you're a runner or a dancer, do them before you move).

  

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How to Eat Like a Pilates Teacher

 

So this is not a post on how to loose weight, or what Pilates teachers eat.  It's a post for all the Pilates teachers out there who don't eat.  I usually teach at least five hours in a row, and don't have time to eat.  Literally.  And that's not ok.  And while my go-to lunch is a salmon salad with kale (just let the kale sit with basalmic and it softens up just fine, thank you, no need to massage the kale - hey, why should my kale get more massages than me?), there are days I bring my salad home uneaten.  Not ok.  I can't get up at 5am and then be home at 3pm and not eat.  So one of my mentors, Pamela Garcia, gave me a great tip that I want to share with you:  Eat while the clients clean the equipment.  They really don't need you to direct them while they do that.  It's ok.  The trick is to have food you can quickly grab a few bites of, so it has to be eaten out of hand and not too messy.  Fruit works - apples or oranges are good (you just have to pre-slice them like you're in preschool. I find an apple or orange eaten whole is too messy).  Trail mix is good.  I like the mix of good fats and protein.  You can buy it, which gets expensive, or make it yourself.  Tanka Bites are a great source of protein and not too messy (some jerky gets a bit greasy).  And you can always go with a bar.  I recently tried the Sunwarrior Sol Good Bars, and I liked them.  They were easy to break into pieces to eat quickly, had ingredients I could pronounce, and use plant protein.  I found them filling without being too sweet.  My favorite was the blueberry, which had actual blueberries in it!  So Pilates instructors, make sure you take care of yourself.  It was one of my New Years Resolutions last year (along with Use the Bathroom When you Need To.  No, Seriously, Use the Bathroom When you Need To.).  Sometimes the simplest change is the best.  Practice self-care this year.

**Please understand that I am not suggesting that the above ideas are substitutes for a healthy balanced lunch.  They are simply suggestions as to what you can eat to keep your energy up without a lunch break.  I still eat that salad as soon as I can.  

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How to Drop a Few

My clients often ask me how to drop a few pounds right before a big event, and I've found a simple formula that works, so I'd love to share it with you today.  It's perfect before a big event like a wedding or reunion.

So my secret is simple (Don't you like simple?  No books to buy or complicated lists of "yes" and "no" foods).  Only eat foods that start with a "S" - smoothie, salad, and simple super.

Check out my Mama Morning Shake Recipie to see what I put in my morning smoothie.  I've been digging this protein powder lately.  It has no added sugar, and doesn't have such a "protein powder" taste that I can't taste the fruits and veggies.  I want my smoothie to taste like food, not like chalk.

For lunch, have a salad.  I'm a protein girl, so I usually have salmon on mine, but you could do hard boiled eggs, chicken, or keep it vegan. 

A "simple supper" for me is meat and unlimited vegetables.  Namely, try to avoid carbs late in the day.  Learn how yummy and filling fruit can be.  Add rice or quinoa if you still feel hungry, but add vegetables before that.

And that's it.  Here's why I love this plan:  It's simple, you can repeat it without thinking (sometimes my leftover dinner meat is my salad for the next day), and you can customize it to your budget.  I love a cleanse as much as the next girl, but sometimes those get ridiculously expensive.  Flexibility for me is key - make it vegan, make it organic, make it local, whatever works for you.  Just eat the 3 "S"s!**

 

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Stretches for Back Pain Relief

Here are a few of my favorite stretches to help alleviate back pain. 

These are not Pilates exercises, but stretches that can be performed 2-3 times a day to help stretch and strengthen your lower back.  If you have back pain that is acute or has not been diagnosed, please check with your doctor before adding in this stretch series.

 

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Powerhouse Cues

Here are some more cues for instructors:

100 - reach arms and legs like you're grabbing fruit from a tree, pump arms like a bouncy ball

Roll Up - zip up your zipper as you roll down

OLC - Don't rock the boat, balance a cup of tea on your pelvis

RLAB - curl and look in as you hug a bowling ball into your belly

SLS - wrap your seat, hug your cheeks

DLS - power thru your heels like you're hitting the brakes

SSF - reach up and over like a candy cane, get punched in your belly, round over a beach ball

Saw - wring out the washcloth

Side Kicks:  Front - swing your like a pendulum

Side Kicks:  Side - lift like a can-can, lower like a feather

Side Kicks:  Inner Thigh - don't spill your favorite drink on your foot

Seal - Be the ball

Need more?  Find more cues here

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Chair and Barrel CEC Workshop

Want to advance your Pilates practice in the new year?  Keep your certification current?  Lean 73 exercises and how to integrate them into a session?  Check out our latest Instructor Newsletter to learn more about our Workshop January 30-31st.

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Mat Trainings Added to Schedule

Check out our newest Teacher Newsletter with details on how to learn the Basic and/or Intermediate Mat work!

Fall 2015 Teacher Training Newsletter

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The Top Three Reasons to Choose the Peak Pilates Training Program

I often get asked what makes Peak Pilates unique.  After years of owning my own studio and hiring teachers of many different backgrounds, here is what I can say for sure. 

1.  We teach Pilates by honoring the past

Peak Pilates teaches Pilates as a movement system, honoring the work of Joseph Pilates.  We don't feel his work needs to be changed, but we work hard to understand it in today's language with some minor adjustments to reflect the advancements of science and what we know about the body and mind.  You certainly wouldn't want a doctor with medical knowledge limited to the last century.  So as a Pilates instructor, it's important to understand advancements that have been backed up by science so that you have the latest knowledge to safely teach your clients and help them meet their workout goals.

2.  It's all included.

At Peak Pilates, our training is integrated.  After successful completion of PPC-I, you will know all the beginning exercises on Mat, Reformer, Cadillac/Tower, Chair, Small Barrel, Ladder Barrel, and Power Circle.  You will not pay additional money to assess.  You will pay for the four modules and material fees (and shipping).  That's it.  You will understand how to modify exercises to keep people safe with general back, knee, wrist, ankle, shoulder or neck problems, as well as how to modify a class for a healthy older client.  Everything to understand the system is included.  You don't need pre-anatomy courses.  Anatomy is included. 

3.  We teach not just WHAT to teach, but HOW to teach. 

There are a number of reputable companies that can teach you what the 100 is, but at Peak we teach you how to teach your clients to perform the 100.  That means how to spot, how to communicate, how to use imagery and touch...all the amazing things that will set you apart as a Pilates instructor.  Our Five-Part Formula for Success is unique in that it sets up people who have little to no teaching experience to achieve excellent results. Even if you have taught before, the Five-Part Formula will expand and deepen your teaching skills.

Without this system unique to Peak, it's easy for beginning instructors to get overwhelmed.  Imagine, you've spent thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours taking exercises apart and discussing the nuances of movement.  So what do you do when you get that first new client in front of you?  If you share everything you know about an exercise, they will very quickly be overwhelmed.  How do you know what to say and when to say it?  How do you cue a body in motion to stay in motion without music?  How do you safely progress clients?  As a graduate of a Peak Pilates training program, you will know how to do all these things.  And because you have this knowledge, you will stand out, and you will get excellent results.

So start your Pilates journey will all the information necessary to succeed -  check out our latest trainings and get started today!

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Why I Won't Let you Berate Your Body at JSP

After I had my first child, my husband banished me from using the words "muffin top."  And I thought, "Why can't I say muffin top?  I have one!  Can't you see it?  I hate my muffin top!"  But I am at heart a rule follower, so I did what he said and stopped using that phrase.  And you know what?  My muffin top didn't disappear overnight.  It took months of Pilates (thank you Ab 5s and Side Sit Ups on the Reformer!) and focused eating.  But by just stopping the negative self-talk, I think I made a significant change in my head for the better, which helped me work out in a more focused way.

And that's the reason I think negative talk just doesn't work.  Sure, we all have conversations with ourselves in front of a mirror - I hate this, I hate that.  But I don't think those conversations inspire us to change.  I think they actually hurt our ability to change, because if you are so intrinsically flawed, why would you try?  If the part of your waist that meets your jeans after having a baby (or just a few too many not-so-great food choices, or a hard genetic hand) makes you rename it something hideous, doesn't that take away your power to own your body?  You've just separated yourself from a part of you that, like it or not, has carried you and helped you move (and yes, maybe expanded a bit from time to time).  But it's not a muffin top, it's your waist.  And your waist isn't even your waist (that's for another post).  Your waist is an invention of the fashion industry to sell pants.  You don't have a waist bone.  You don't have a waist muscle.  You have many muscles that connect your pelvis to your torso, so don't oversimplify the wonderful machine that is your body into one part you dislike. 

I've written a lot about mantras here, so I'm a deep believer in self-talk.  How we talk to our bodies, even in our heads, is important.  And I'm sure as anything not going to be that Pilates teacher that tries to make you feel bad about your body to workout.  Not only because it isn't kind, but because I don't think it helps.  Do you really think you'll go deeper into your Powerhouse by renaming it after a high-fat pastry?  No, you'll disconnect from it more.  But a little bit of self-love goes a long way, especially when you're sitting on top of the Short Box in front of a mirror and see your thighs squoosh out to the sides.  Yes, I've finally written about the Pilates exercise we all hate to see ourselves do. 

So, here are your two choices: 

1.  Wow, I hate my thighs.  Look at how big they are.  I shouldn't have eaten/drank that. 

2.  Hmm.  I think I'm losing my seat.  Maybe I should pinch/perch. 

Guess what?  Number 2 is always the better choice (because it works!)  Through the eyes of a skilled teacher, none of our bodies are flawed.  They are just still evolving.  And we need to be that guide for ourselves, too.  See something that's not right?  You probably need to change how you are performing the exercise, not how your body is put together. 

So, that's why I don't want to hear about how much you hate your butt, or your thighs, or arms.  Sure, we all want to grow and change and shape our bodies, but let's choose the path of least resistance, shall we? It's simple, just correct to the positive.

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The Best Pilates Exercise for your Lats

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So, that title was total click bait.  Sorry, there are no Pilates exercises for your lats...not that Pilates doesn't work your lats...let me explain...

Someone asked me the other day for an exercise to work their lats.  And I was stumped for a little bit.  What should I give them?  The arm weight series?  Row Series on Reformer?  Pull Up on Chair?  And then it hit me why I didn't have a quick answer.  All Pilates exercises work your lats.  And more importantly, in Pilates, we don't break the body down into segments.

Your lats (or latissimus dorsi) are a major posture muscle and connect your trunk to your pelvis.  They also help to rotate your scapula (shoulder blades) downward, which is important since most people are becoming kyphotic due to smart phone or computer use, or overworking their chest muscles.  If you have a kyphotic posture, your shoulders generally rotate inward. 

But in Pilates, we don't isolate the lats and then work them separately from the rest of the body for 10 minutes, or have a "back" day and a "leg" day.  We are continually trying to depress the shoulders for good posture and alignment (not the entire way, but only say, 80%).  So, the 100 becomes a lat exercise.  Even a "leg" exercise like Footwork on the Chair uses your lats to help keep your trunk elevated and stable.  See those ladies working above on the ladder barrel?  They're working their lats, too, to help keep their balance.

And that brings me to the bigger realization I had when I was asked this question.  In Pilates, we don't think of the body as separate parts.  We think of the body as a whole.  We want to strengthen our lats so they can help us stabilize our trunk, not just to have strong lats, or to have a good-looking back.  It's important to see how all the muscles connect, not to just work them in isolation.  It's this connection that makes Pilates so functional.  That way, your lats help you lift your child, lift weights, and execute the Pull Up on Chair.  We don't want to separate your muscles from the movement your body needs to perform, and that's what makes Pilates a movement system

So, go ahead and work your lats.  Every exercise, all the time.  Your posture will thank you for it, and you'll be stronger and more supported in all you do.

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I love it, Sir!

So my son recently started taking Taekwondo, and one day as I was observing class, my son and the instructor had this conversation while he was trying to do the splits.

Master:  How are you doing, Ty?

Student:  Not so good, Sir.  It hurts, Sir.

Master:  Oh no, Taekwondo Kids do not say, "It hurts."  Taekwondo kids do not say, "Ow."  They say, "I love it, Sir."  Say "I love it, Sir."

Student:  I love it, Sir.

So what to make of this?  Well, initially I was a little worried.  Is my son being taught to ignore pain or his feelings?  I wouldn't want that. 

But on second thought, it seems the lesson is that you can frame thoughts in your head so that you don't defeat yourself.  This reminds me of my mantra, "I love the burn." or why I need to do the exercises that I "hate."  But maybe I don't "hate" them anymore.  Maybe I "love" them.  Because they're making me stronger. 

How we talk to ourselves is very important.  How you talk to your clients is important.  Honor that something is challenging.  Much of Pilates is.  But find the joy in the struggle, the love in the work.  Pilates is difficult enough.  Adding negative energy won't help you find depth in a stretch or connection in a movement.  But maybe "loving" it will.  And it will make the journey that much more pleasant, so go ahead - love the burn, love the stretch, love your body and the effort you're putting into it each time you approach the work.  And who knows?  Eventually, your self talk may turn into actual self love.

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The Top 3 Things I Learned at WDS

This is the sight that greeted me Saturday at the World Domination Summit, which tries to answer the question, "How do you live a remarkable life in a conventional world?"  Here, my top three ways:

1.  If you tell someone "no," and they react in anger, it means you made the right decision.  Oh wow, where do I start with this one?  How many times have you said yes because you were afraid to upset someone?  And you went against what your heart was saying because you were avoiding a difficult conversation?  What if instead of fearing that reaction, you decided that it was validation you made the right choice?  I like this quote from Jon Acuff because it's another way of looking at fear.  It can teach us and direct us in what is our true path.  But we have to lean into it, and try to explore what it's teaching us instead of avoiding it.

2.  Apparently, I have the characteristics of a healer.  Lissa Rankin talked about the characteristics of a healer - hearing a call to help others at a young age, to want to take care of animals and the earth, and having empathy.  Check, check, and check.  What is your calling?  Is it justice?  Service?  Order?  It was nice hearing someone speak to what I've always felt deep in my heart, that teaching Pilates changes people's lives for the better, and that's what motivates me to keep investing in learning more and more about this work.  Joe said that if people practiced his work, there would be less war.  On first hearing that, I thought it was a little far-fetched.  But think back to that last time you were in pain.  I certainly had a short fuse and was pretty miserable.  It's difficult to not pass that negative energy on to others.  Sure, I might not start a war, but I'd certainly want to cut someone off in line.  Healing the body heals the soul.  Movement heals.  Those of us who get to practice Pilates should remember how lucky we are to be part of this healing energy in the world.

3.  No Mud.  No Lotus.  This is actually a quote by Thich Nhat Hanh, who wasn't at the conference, but this was shared by Vani Hari.  I love this quote because it reminds me of the struggle that is involved in transformation, and that we don't need to fight the struggle.  We can love the struggle, we can love the mess, we can love what makes us imperfect.  And it reminds me of one of the first things I learned:  don't run from the hard stuff.  Embrace it.  Know that it's teaching you something.  Maybe the resistance you're feeling means you're on the right track, that you're breaking through something deep in yourself that's been holding you back - maybe in your career or your relationship.  But we can also think about this with our Pilates work as well.  How often do we "hate" an exercise?  Avoid doing what's uncomfortable?  What if we embraced the mud?  The messy, sloppy exercises might be what we need most to break through.

So thank you, WDS.  I learned so much.  I learned I'm on the right path.  I learned to embrace the struggle, and I learned how to hug a few strangers in the process.

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My New Secret to Keeping Healthy

At the end of a long day, I used to sit down with a piece of dark chocolate.  That was my "reward" for working so hard.  But after awhile, I started to rethink my idea of "dessert."  Often, when I was working out my clients, they would remark how good it felt to stretch, and I would say, "That's your Pilates dessert." (For example, after Teaser on Reformer, when you drop the straps into the well and arch back, that's dessert for doing Teaser).

So, what if my treat at the end of a long day is to reward my body?  To thank it for the hard work it did to carry me through my workout, run around with my kids, fuel my brain?  What if "dessert" meant taking care of myself?

But who has the time?  Don't I deserve a few minutes to sit?  As a Pilates teacher, I'm constantly on my feet.  As a mother of two young kids, I'm rarely sitting down (unless I'm driving them somewhere or reading a book to them).  Who has the time?

Then it hit me.  I love to eat my little bit of chocolate while watching TV.  You know, those shows you're addicted to?  (And I've already shared a lot of myself on this blog, but I'm not ready to share my guilty pleasure I like to watch at the end of the day.  Let's just say we all need a mix of high and low culture).  What if I use my time watching TV to use my roller?  That's 22 minutes treating myself really well, stretching my muscles (and I always feel really good after).  My kids are already in bed, I watch my shows on the computer when I want...it wouldn't be hard to just change what I'm doing while I'm watching. 

And that small change made a difference in my life in that I'm rethinking what a "reward" is.  A "treat"  treats myself well.  A dessert doesn't have to come in a tub of ice cream.  And I've started looking forward to my roller (almost) as much as I look forward to my chocolate (hey, I love a good dark chocolate).

So has this helped me drop 10 pounds?  No.  But it's changed my thinking about my body, and that's just as important to me.

And the chocolate?  Yeah, I still eat that too.  It's all about balance.  Only I don't label it as a "treat" I've earned.  I think the more we separate ourselves from food labels, the better.  If it's not a treat, then I don't eat it just because I had a rough day.  I eat it because I want to and I enjoy it.  I'm aware that it's what I desire, not what my emotions dictate.

So, what's your definition of Pilates dessert?

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Mat Vs. Equipment Pilates - Which is Better?

People often ask me which is better - mat or equipment Pilates.  Or people will tell me, "I hate mat" or "I only do mat."  So which is better?  Well, let's start by looking at what makes each unique.  As I say to my children when they complain that someone got a bigger piece of something or a longer whatever, "You are not equal, you're unique."

Some things that make mat unique:

1.  It's portable.  You can do it just about anywhere with very little equipment.  See Keeping Up Your Workout While Traveling.

2.  It's affordable.  You'll probably pay $10-15 for a mat class, while equipment classes will run you about $25-60, depending on how many people are in a class.

3.  It's what Joseph created first.  It's the beginning of the work.  It connects you to the largest equipment available - the earth.  It's is the foundation to everything.

4.  It's done using your own body for stability and is more open-chain (exercises where the hand or foot is free to move).  This means that you will have to work in your core a lot to hold your body still or mobilize it during an exercise. 

5.  Mat has more flow.  Since you're not getting up to move a box, change a spring, or attach a bar, you can just keep moving from one exercise into the next.

So how is Equipment Unique?

1.  It uses more resistance.  Most equipment (outside of the barrels) have springs.  These springs give resistance in both directions to every exercise.  So, if you're looking to strength train and up your metabolism, the equipment will help.

2.  If you need more support and alignment cues, equipment has the edge as well.  On reformer alone, you have a head rest, shoulder blocks, and a foot bar so your teacher can easily see exactly how your body is moving.  I call my Reformer the diagnostic piece of equipment.

3.  There are more exercises on equipment.  There's about 50 mat exercises, and on reformer 250, chair even more than that.  So it's great to help keep variety in your Pilates routine.

So which is better?  It's important to understand that Pilates is best as a system.  If you've always done the hundred on the mat, imagine pumping your arms with resistance (that's Reformer).  If you've always done Short Spine with springs to help you, imagine doing it without them and you'll really build up your Powerhouse and train it how to lift your pelvis while performing the Roll Over on the mat.

I've seen it time and time again, clients who only like one or the other, and they don't progress as much as clients who perform the entire system.  What you learn on one informs your body on the other.  You'll build newer connections faster and deeper if you do both.

And sadly, whichever one you "don't like" is probably the one you have to do.  Sometimes tighter people don't like mat - it's a lot of sitting or straight legs extended in the air if your hamstrings are tight.  But guess how you help lengthen your hamstrings?  By performing mat.  People who don't like equipment because it's too much stopping and starting probably have a hard time connecting their mind and body without distraction.  But guess what helps with that?  Unlocking the rhythm sections on Reformer.

So, yes, I love my two children equally.  Does one get on my nerves sometimes?  Do I feel more connected to another at points in my life?  Certainly.  But that doesn't mean I stop loving one or the other.  So challenge yourself to explore new exercises on the mat, or try an equipment class.  You may just find that it helps push your body in a new way help you go deeper into the work.

 

 

 

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Keeping Up Your Workout While you Travel

I once had a conversation with a client and I told him that I figured out my body could go three days, four tops without Pilates or I would start to feel some tightening in my SI joint.  His reply to me was, "It sounds like you're addicted.  It's like Pilates is your crack."  I do think my body does go into withdrawal when I don't do Pilates, so whenever I travel, I have a plan.  Here are some simple ways to keep up your workout while you're away from your favorite studio.

1.  Did you see those cool note pads from Pilates Nerd?  It has the classical mat order, power circle, wall, toe work, and space to write more notes!  It's perfect!  I write out my client's workouts on these papers, and it saves time since I only need to fill in reps or modifications for them.  Some of my clients even take a picture with their smart phone so they don't even have to travel with the piece of paper.

2.  Have you made friends with classical Pilates yet?  All you need is a mat and your brain.  You barely need much space at all.  You can even travel with a Power Circle easily to do a Power Circle Mat.  Or what about Reformer on Mat?  This very challenging workout will take your Pilates to a whole new level.  Have  a certified Pilates instructor teach you it before your trip.  If you know the Classical Reformer order, it won't be hard for you to remember how to practice Reformer on the Mat.

3.  Did you know I have workouts here?  All free, all fun, and a great way to take me with you on the road!  They're all listed here.  You can also find the JSP youtube channel here.

4.  Other options that cost money include:  a skype lesson with your teacher, or drop in on a Pilates class where you are traveling.  Find a list of Peak Pilates certified instructors here.

 

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