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 Tips For Your First Turkey Trot

Getting ready to run your first 5k or 1st Turkey Day run?

5 Tips to make your Thanksgiving Day trot your best ever!

  1. Make sure you pick the race that is best for you!

Looking for lots of competition?  Just a quick easy jog?  Running with your dad or your 2-year-old daughter?  Races range from a dozen participants to thousands!  Some require an hour to get into and out of the parking lot while others welcome everyone who saunters up to the start line with a minute to spare!  Check a website like coolrunning.com and active.com/running for race calendars and results

  1. Be sure to supplement your running with some cross-training for your posture in the weeks leading up to your target race!

Two Pilates Exercises to help you keep proper form when running!

Single Leg Kick– Pull the shoulders back and get the back of the body involved to open your heart and hips.

Start by lying on your belly.  Bring the elbows under the shoulders and pull the shoulder blades in closer to the spine to open the chest.  Pull the belly, front of hips and ribcage off the floor and press the pubic bone into the floor to find a deep stretch through the front of the body.  Keep this opening and squeeze the bottom, stretch the right leg super long and bend the knee engaging the hamstring without disturbing the upper body!  Pull the heel as close to the bottom as possible without shifting and switch sides- alternating 20 pulls of the heel to the bottom!

SingleLegKick

 


Rowing Strengthens the upper and middle back muscles for endurance in order to keep the upper torso in proper alignment all the time- PERFECT for runners!

 Rowing 1

 Starting seated with legs extended and reaching forward, straight in front of shoulders, band wrapped around arches of feet and crossed, forming an x, arms are straight, holding onto bands.  Sitting up tall and lifting up even further through the crown of the head prior to moving the arms, so spine grows longer, corset feeling of abdominals grows tighter.  Arms pull straight back, wrists straight and in front of shoulders and hands, shoulders and elbows all at the same height.  Return to start with as much control and care.  10 repetitions.  The goal is to engage rhomboids and to keep shoulder girdle and core stable while moving arms.

row2

Rowing 2

 Starting seated, arms forming a 90-degree angle holding the band in hands, directly in front of shoulders.  Keeping proximity of hands to elbows, draw shoulder blades in closer to the spine as the elbows move from in front of the shoulders to in line with the sides.  Repeat 4 times and then small repetitions to engage the rhomboids, pulling the shoulder blades in and down, 10 times.  Each time, focus on maintaining an upright position and engaging the rhomboids- repeat for three total cycles.  The goal is to engage endurance muscles of the shoulder girdle and core to keep upright position while working the lats.

row3 

 row4


  1. Work your legs to establish proper gait and maximum effort from the right leg muscles!

Two Pilates leg exercises to prime your legs for their best effort!

Kneeling Side Kick challenges the torso stability in a more upright position against leg movement, momentum, and gravity.  This exercise encourages stretching and lengthening in the back and forth movement of the leg- increasing length in hip flexors and hamstrings and encouraging control with the possibility of developing a longer stride.

Perform a kneeling side kick:  Kneel, lengthen both sides of the waist and tip to the left, left hand to the floor, right hand behind head.  Pulling the belly in and up and lifting up on the pelvic floor muscles to create a corset-like feeling (with Spanx on top of the corset- sucking that belly WAY in) to completely stabilize the upper body, reach the right leg as far forward as possible and then as far back as possible, ensuring that the leg stays parallel to the floor, the torso absolutely still and getting as much reach forward and back with the leg as possible 10X.  Lift the leg up and down as many times as possible.  Draw small circles as many times as possible in each direction.  Repeat on the other side.

legfrontpull

Leg pull front– this exercise works controlled mobility and stability in the torso, pelvis and shoulder girdle. The straight line neutral positioning of the shoulder girdle, spine and pelvis are very challenging to maintain especially against the ankle and shoulder movements.

To do leg pull front:  Come to the top of a pushup position with the legs either hip distance apart or heels together toes apart.  Pull belly in and up and lift up on the pelvic floor to create the corset/Spanx feeling in the torso and engage every muscle in the body to assume a strong, lifted start position.  Keeping body like a blade, lift right leg away from the floor, with flexed ankle, create a long line from heel to head and shifts weight back extending both wrists and shoulders and plantar flexing her right ankle, pointing toes.  Returning to the start position with a flexed ankle, switch sides.

plank

 


  1. This post-run stretch will keep your flexibility in check and safely maximize your gait!

Work on strengthening all of the muscles in the legs for balance and for a strong and sturdy base, but think about really stretching the hip flexors.  Our seated culture has created a posture that pulls the hips into flexion and the lower back into extension- this simple stretch will help to undo some of this. 

One joint hip flexor stretch 

HipFlexor 

This hip flexor stretch encourages more length in the flexors that connect from the leg to the torso.  Assume a lunge position, back shin on the floor- legs parallel.  Hands start on the front thigh but attempt to bring the torso more and more upright, stretching the entire front of the body.  Like the first stretch, please pay attention to the position of the lower back.  Draw the pubic bone up toward the belly button and the tailbone toward the floor in order to further open the lower part of the torso connection.


  1. Fuel for the duration of your run- you won’t need to carb load for a 5K or 10K- save your indulgence for Thanksgiving

But do…

Drink plenty of water!  Hydration is key during any exercise, but especially during an intense workout

Avoid large meals and “new to you” foods at least 2 hours prior to the workout.  When we exercise intensely, blood is directed away from the stomach and into the muscles that are moving the body.  Depending on your experience, fitness level, and digestive cycle, this could cause stomach cramps, diarrhea or bloat.

Keep pre-workout snacks light and heavy on the carb side.  Carbs are the only fuel that the muscles can use for aerobic activity- you need to eat carbs in order to exercise.  Some examples would be:

  1. Fruit- watermelon, oranges, bananas, melon
  2. Granola
  3. Pretzels or saltine crackers
  4. Greek yogurt
  5. Natural fruit juices diluted with water

Post workout remember to refuel and rehydrate!  For sessions that last an hour or longer, look for a sports drink like Gatorade.  The ideal recovery ratio is a 3:1 or 4:1 ratio of carbs to protein.  Three great examples are a turkey sandwich, wheat bread with almond butter or Greek yogurt with honey or fruit.


I hope these 5 tips help you accomplish your goal of running your first 5k or Turkey Trot!

In just a year, Jaz has accomplished so much! Glad to be a part of the journey…and can’t wait to see what tomorrow brings!

One year ago on September 13, my friend and student Jaz was in an accident.  Unfortunately due to the injuries this young man sustained, his left leg was amputated above his knee.  Recovery has not been easy for Jaz or his family- he is 13 years old and is growing like all of our little guys do at that age- like a weed of course.  As anyone that has ever lived through prosthetic fittings, it can be very challenging in the first year for an adult, let alone a growing teenager, to find a leg and a fit that may never be described as comfortable, but one that doesn’t inhibit movement, instead it enhances mobility.  Jaz will need some additional surgeries and more tweaks to his walking prosthetic leg and is very excited to receive his running prosthetic very soon- thanks Challenged Athletes Foundation!  Jaz has been very patient throughout the process, although there are days when he is down emotionally and in pain.  But, he’s a student and a brother and a friend and an athlete and he knows that he needs to keep pushing forward.  There are some days when this is very challenging.

I have been very blessed to have played a tiny little part in Jaz’s recovery.  Prior to Jaz being fitted for a prosthetic, we started doing Pilates every week, on his living room floor.  Now, if you’ve ever worked out with me, you know that it certainly isn’t a walk in the park.  We started focusing on Jaz’s core, on his posture, on his overall torso strength and once he had his prosthetic, we were able to work on leg strength, flexibility and mobility and he has done an amazing job in every single workout.  I know it wasn’t easy for him to start, nor have I gotten any easier on him.  Jaz’s mom, Jess hung out with us at every workout and learned enough to be able to work her son out on their own.  I’m hoping she keeps going down this path as she is a natural! 

Jaz can do burpees, play basketball, in fact, his team won their tournament this summer!  What an inspiration this young man is to others- young and old.   There are days when I am just “calling it in” on my run- pausing way too much to check for emails or texts.  And then I remember how darn lucky I am and how hard some of the folks I work with have worked, still work and will work to run.  And, I try a lot harder.  Jaz can dance and climb and run and jump and swim.  We chat Pokemon hunting!  He has come so far over the past year- and is still in the process of healing.  I am so thrilled to have met this amazing family and I know that today, I certainly am not focusing on the accident that led to me meeting  Jaz and Jess.  I am grateful for the past year that this family has allowed me to come into their homes and their lives and hopefully with a little bit of movement training, give them a little more hope for the future.  Jess is a personal friend that I enjoy chatting with and sharing the ups and downs of our lives.  And, I will never forget the day that Jess told me Jaz would like me to be his godmother….we’re not sure how that works, but I’m not sure I have ever been so honored in my life. 

It is so much more than just a workout.  Endurance.