Exercise is Better Together

Oh, February! The month of love. While some couples opt for the chocolates and sweets to celebrate, we believe the best way to show your love is by sweating with your sweetie.

We offer some great yoga classes in our studio – check them out HERE. But, if you’re looking for something a little more intimate, below are some tips and tricks to keep toned with that special someone.

– Julie Erickson

Boat Pose Navasana

Challenges balance, works abdominals

Sit, facing each other, pull the knees into the chest and then bring your soles together.  Extend the legs, pressing into the feet and roll back slightly to balance.  Hold for 30 seconds, progressing up to a minute with practice.

To add an additional challenge, keep the feet together and roll away from the legs.

Repeat 3 times.

Boat Pose With Spot

Challenges balance, works abdominals

One partner seated, one standing, reach legs toward standing partner and press into legs. Hold wrists, pull the abdominals in and roll away from standing partner and back up.

Repeat for a total of 5.

Half Moon (Ardha Chandrasana)

Challenges balance

Start facing in the same direction, toes pointed toward each other.  Bend “front” knee slightly and reach hands toward each other, connecting at the wrists.  Lift opposite leg and balance reaching out through the heels.  Lift free arm to the ceiling and hold for 20-30 seconds on each side.

Chatarunga Dandasana High Plank/Sun Salutation

Challenges full body strength, Opens the chest and front of the body

Facing away from each other- reach opposing feet toward one another, lower to low plank position, pull into upward facing dog with both feet lowering to the floor, then back into downward dog.  Switch feet.

Repeat for a total of 4 sun salutations

Upward Facing Dog from Sun Salutation With Spot

Opens chest

An upward facing dog with an assist. One partner pulling up into an upward facing dog or cobra position, assisting partner stands over backbend, draws shoulders back and assists in keeping the backbend position – hold for 20 seconds.

Seated twist

Assists in rotation

Sitting with backs together, arms intertwined, lengthen through the spine and rotate in one direction, holding, pulse a little further for 3 small pulses, return to center and reverse direction.

Repeat 5 times on each side

 

 

 

5 Confessions of a Pilates Teacher and Personal Trainer

We are not in good shape purely just because of our jobs as trainers! 

Being a trainer is a very active occupation,  however, I schedule my workouts, have trainers that I work with, have a running coach and I plan my students around my workouts.  So, when I have to miss, I have 6 other full days!  I had a friend who mentioned after I opened my first studio, “OMG, I saw you running the other day!  How do you have time?”  I don’t-  I make time.  Every day.   My alarm goes off at 4:30AM most days.   Some nights, I don’t leave the studio until 9:30PM but I get on the treadmill at 11PM.  And, it is very difficult sometimes, but so very much worth it to me.  I am in much better shape in my 40s than I was in my 20s.  My 14 year old son is always my first priority, then my health, then everything else!

We cram too much into our days! 

I never get enough sleep.  I have a Fitbit for the sole purpose of tracking my dismal sleep patterns.  It’s 11PM, I’m getting up at 4:30 to run.  Do the math (because I am denying it- haha).  I’m not done with the post either.  There’s a lot going on in my life and I am supremely lucky to be able to function on not a lot of sleep.  Am constantly working on this one.

We don’t eat perfectly all the time, but we also know that diet is the biggest contributor to our students’ overall health! 

I am not a breakfast person at all.  I will eat toast prior to a long run, but I’d rather have a salad mid morning or a cheese sandwich if I’m really hungry versus any other typical breakfast food. I also believe that banana bread should never be made without chocolate chips and during marathon training, I eat an entire baguette- almost every day.  Wine is a food group, medicine, happy juice.  I have been a vegetarian for 25 years.  In 2010, I cut out all the chemicals and preservatives I could out of my diet and never had a “boofy” belly again.  I eat things that I love that make me happy and would never deny myself a treat if that is what I wanted, but I am a maniacal label reader and will lecture you on the ingredients in the foods you eat. And, expect me to ask for ingredients lists if we are out to dinner.  But, only because some of them do make you puffy- and mess with everything else in your system.  I only eat real sugar.  I don’t believe in shakes or bars- mentally, I feel like they mess with your body’s ability to recognize nutrition and sustenance, so you are still hungry after 500 calories of processed stuff- as good as those ingredients may be.  I try and eat well 95% of the time, so when I want to have that piece of cake my student just dropped off for me, I eat the whole thing, never feel an ounce of guilt and can smile when I well her how much I on

We are maniacally picky about who we work with- doctors, trainers, physical therapists. 

I will question decisions, go with my instinct and seek out other opinions.  All the time.  At least once a month, I will travel 3+ hours to workout with a trainer.  Because I deserve to work out with somebody that I can learn more from as a student and as a teacher.  It is worth it to me to pay for and seek out the best available when it comes to health.

bridge

I sometimes wonder if my leggings are appropriate for dinner out.  I sleep in them, teach in them, workout in them.  I get excited to put on heels and a dress- like it is the highlight of my month!  I can’t imagine life in any other sort of work clothes.  And, if you tell me that yoga pants are not appropriate as pants, I will fight you on that!

One on Ones are the BEST!

Try a Private Session!

Working out one on one is absolutely the best way to learn how to move your body properly.  While a group class can provide many benefits, such as camaraderie, competition and energy, even a two person session is one person too many when it comes to understanding your own particular body, all of its quirks and habits and its unique strengths and challenges.  A good trainer will key in on the little things- the precise movement patterns that will benefit you in your chosen activity, whether you are a golfer, runner, mom or student, every single physique can benefit from the attention to detail.  I once had a sub 2:30 marathoner tell me, “that was by the far, the most I have ever sweat moving so little!” after we did a one hour session which involved only perfecting two pieces of choreography- a bridge and a rollup.  We did many exercises that led up to the demonstration of perfect bridges and rollups, broke down and “workshopped” places where he was getting stuck and using the wrong muscles and honed in on opening the places where he was tight from running long distances.  The next time he took a class, he was able to employ all that we had worked on in the one on one session

By learning, even in just a few sessions, where to feel certain exercises, how to properly execute choreography and what to work on in your own physique, you can tremendously improve your performance in a group class setting as well as in your chosen favorite activity.  We will use Meg as an example.  Meg is a triathlete who keeps up her fitness with indoor cycle classes during the winter months.  When Meg first came to Pilates, she loved the challenge of the classes, but was shocked at how unfamiliar she was with moving “in a Pilates way”.  For the first time in her life, Meg struggled in a movement class.  In our first private, we worked on opening the chest, utilizing the back muscles to just get Meg comfortable standing up straight- this was a lot of work for her mid back muscles!  We had to counteract her cycling posture just to get her upright and then taught those muscles to act in endurance- getting her to a place where she didn’t have to think about it!!  I gave her homework to do every day to improve her seated and standing postures.  We also targeted her core and abdominal muscles for additonal mobility and stability support.  Like many students, Meg had developed the habit of overusing her shoulders and hip flexors instead of her abs when she was doing “core” workouts in group classes.  I took away all of these vices and gave her exercises (and homework!) that disallowed these bad habits and for the first time, Meg really had to work to find her core and abdominal muscles!  Meg learned that it is not about “showing” the choreography, it is about doing the exercise right.  So, instead of flinging her torso up and down during the rollup, she learned to control, to use the back muscles to keep the shoulders out of the exercise and perfected 3 perfect executions of an exercise, with PLENTY of sweat and work, instead of 30 poorly performed movements.  We changed Meg’s whole body into a leaner, more efficient machine!

Group classes are great- fun, affordable and they can cement your one on one discoveries about your body, its habits and strengths!  But, if you can swing even one private session, you will discover more than you could ever imagine- it could change your workout style, body and will significantly improve your athletic performance or fix your postural challenges!