Pilates Helps with Part 1: Balance

I was sitting down writing all the different benefits Pilates offers and wanted to elaborate on how exactly Pilates helps. The Pilates core concepts offer a wonderful platform to hone-in on a client's specific needs. It still amazes me how versatile and adaptable Pilates is, I am still learning more in my practice and teaching.  

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Why is balance important?

Good balance is an important skill in everyday activities, such as walking, climbing, running. Good balance also prevents injury from falling. As we age many things begin to affect our balance. The cells in our vestibular system (inner ear balance system) die off, our muscular mass decreases, our vision changes and blood pressure rises and lowers as you move from a sitting to standing position. With all these factors against us is there a way to maintain good balance as we age?

Yes!! Pilates can help?

Pilates will work with what your body currently provides. It doesn't matter how good or bad your balance currently is, Pilates can offer the proper and appropriate exercises to improve it! 

1. Build lower body strength. Strongly connecting your feet to the floor and having the leg strength to catch yourself if you trip can prevent a fall. 

2. Body awareness. Our bodies change and if we don't work on tuning into our system we lose coordination and movement precision. Pilates' core concept on concentration has us focus on moving our bodies with deliberate focus and connecting our mind to our muscles.

3. Footwork. Our toes and feet have a huge impact on our balance. If you shuffle your feet when you walk, have toes that curl in or overlap, you are greatly affecting the neurological connection to your brain. In Pilates using different surfaces to press against, being barefoot and doing toe isolations help to ground your stance into the floor. 

4. Abdominal Strength. The abdominal core is the support for the mid and upper body. Not only does having a strong core give you better posture, it also allows the body to move more fluidly. If you're losing your balance and your core engages you can correct and bring yourself back to stability.    

Need Help Improving Your Balance?

Start Pilates! We are here to help, sign-up today and get started on your better balanced body!

The Story of Joseph Pilates

Joseph Pilates was born in Germany in 1883. His father was a gymnast and his mother a naturopath. Joseph was a sickly child with asthma and rickets. To better health and overcome his physical adversity he began studying anatomy and practicing martial arts, wrestling, gymnastics and body building. By 14 he had developed his strength and muscles and was modeling for anatomy charts. 

Joseph Pilates believed in the importance of mind, body, and spirit. He began developing Contrology; which addressed muscular imbalances, poor posture, strength, balance and flexibility. When the war began he was in an internment camp with poor health conditions all around. He began to insist that everyone in his block participate in daily exercise. When an injured soldier could not leave his bed, Joesph would pull the bed springs out and attach them to the metal bed frame and give him resistance exercises. He later expanded on this idea to develope the Reformer, Caddillac and Chair. 

In the late 1920's Joseph immigrated to the United States and married a nurse, Clara, and together they opened a fitness studio in New York. Joe continued to invent new pieces of equipment and further his teaching and methods of Contrology (aka Pilates). His work began gaining attention from the dance community and he worked with the Great George Balanchine and Martha Graham. His teaching and ideas were ahead of his time and genius. He created a program and ideology that benefits the whole body and is still relevant and growing today.  Over 13 million practice Pilates today and that number still increase because of its adaptability and effectiveness.    

Summer Fit At Home Exercises!

Get your beach body ready with these 5 moves! It's almost June and swimming season is upon us. Try my Cardio-Pilates workout to tone up and get strong!

 

Plie Squat with Rises and Jumps

-Scoop low and rise high to squeeze the glutes! Scoop low and JUMP to the stars... try to pointe your toes while in the air! Keep alternating for 10 sets. 

Plank Stealth Mission

-Pull one knee in, then the other (pic 1). Then, pull you knee to the outside of your elbow as you bend your elbows(pic 2). Try this for 10 sets.

 Mermaid Push-up

-Lift your upper body as shown in picture 2. The trick is to push through the heal of your hand, activating your triceps, biceps and lats. To make it a real challenge, resist slowly on the way down (don't collapse). 5 each side

Boo-tay-burn

-Balance is part of the challenge here, you are not just working your moving leg, but your supporting glute is stabilizing and working like crazy! Keep your supporting knee soft, not locked and stretch through your heal on your lifted leg. Do small 1 inch movements up as high as you can for 30 pulses on each leg.

Ab-tastic

-Roll-up with the right leg, roll down. Roll-up with the left-leg, roll down. Teaser-up (both legs lift as you roll up). Try 5 rounds, then roll down half way and click your heels like Dorothy all the way home!(30 heel clicks)

Pilates Beyond Pilates

One of the many comments I get from my clients is how after just one session they feel more connected with their bodies and abdominals. It's amazing how just one focused hour of proper form and concentration can totally change your body and the effectiveness of your workout. Lets dive into the benefits of Pilates Beyond Pilates. Think of your body like an egg and how by changing the temperature or separating or beating the the yoke you will get a totally different product. Your body is the same. Our bodies move in thousands of ways, so is it a surprise that by just adjusting the way you sit or move in a workout will effect your results? A small change can make a huge difference. Concentrating on what you are doing is an important part of your workout and the main focus in a Pilates class. The cool thing about this is after you end your session your body continues to maintain muscle awareness and that carries on throughout your day and life!

It takes more energy to slump all day than to stand up straight with proper posture. Take the belly challenge!!!!!!! Set an alarm on your phone every hour. When it goes off take a moment to pull in your belly stand or sit up straight and make your abdominal muscles engage. Then proceed on with your day trying to keep your posture strong and belly tight. Don't worry, you will get a friendly reminder every hour to check back in. The whole point of this challenge is to bring awareness to your posture and build up you abdominal endurance. Having strong abs and a strong spine will reduce back pain and improve digestion...oh yeah, plus a tight mid section looks good too :-)    

20 minute Pilates at home workout!

Want to feel toned and connected with your muscles? This is a little at home workout I like to do when I'm feeling heavy after a meal or after a long road trip or when I have little aches and pains I need to work through. Even if you only have 20 minutes you can get a full body workout that will keep you aware and in-alignment for the rest of your day.

Roll Down (5-8 times) This exercise will stretch your low back and hamstrings along with strengthen your transverse abdominals. Reach up and over your toes, then pull in your belly and roll down to laying on your back.

100's (inhale 5 hands pumping down to the floor, exhale 5 hands pumping down and repeat 10 times, it equals 100 taps!) This exercise is all about the abdominals and heating the body up. My biggest rule is to press your lower back to the mat, you DO NOT want to feel this exercise in your lower back.

Bridge (10-20 times) This exercise is all about the bass! With each bridge try and pinch your glutes (those bum muscles) tighter. This exercise also doubles as a back stretch. The more you articulate you spine up and down the mat the more you increase the flexibility of your spine.

 

Lawn Chair aka Double Leg Stretch (10-20 times) Again we focus back to our abs, they are the support and stability of our spine. As your legs extend remember the golden rule!!! Back stays flat on the floor. When you bring your legs and arms back in try to deepen the burn in your belly. Ready for a challenge???? Try and hold your legs and arms extended for 3 secs each time you extend them out.

Double Leg Lowers (10 times) Get them while they're hot!!! Keep your abdominals working and lower and lift your legs as straight as you can without your heels separating.

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Elbow Plank (30-60 secs) Now these 30-60 seconds might be the slowest seconds you've ever experienced when you are holding a plank, but try to focus on your breathing and remember this is an exercise for your abdominals. Just keep breathing in and out and make your belly tighter each time you exhale.

Swan (10 times) Ok! It's time to stretch your abs out! As you lift your chest think of first lengthening your forehead out before you lift up. This way we open the vertebras in the spine vs. compacting them.

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Push-Ups (5-20) A Pilates push-up keeps the elbows close to the body activating the triceps. Lower down to your knees for modification.

Oblique Lift (10-20) Squeeze right into your side, or as we playfully call your "love handles" You can start by just lifting your legs or make it a bit more challenging by lifting your supporting elbow off at the same time. Turn around and repeat.

Advanced Clam (30 squeezing lifts) Hold that leg up as high and straight as you can! Then make sure your supporting glute is engaged, from there lift that leg even higher to tighten and strengthen the glutes. Don't forget to do the other side ;-) 

One more Elbow Plank (30-60 secs) after this set press up onto your hands and walk them towards your feet before rolling up to stand. 

Plie (60 secs) How low can you go? Just have fun holding this pose and keep your knees lined up with your middle toe. You can play around with small bounces and heel lifts, just as long as you stay low! Stand-up proud and strong! You're done!

   

 

Designing the space to de-stress and sweat with style!

Imagine this, you step into a place where all your worries and the stress of daily life lift away. You transport your mind into your steady breath... inhale, exhale, inhale exhale. No place is left in your mind for what is going on at work or at home, just the focus of moving your body to the rhythm of your breath, transporting your muscles, it's effective and deepest burn you've ever experienced. You don't feel tired, but energized. Your muscles lengthen and your body stretches more than it has all day, you are strong, powerful and ready to take on the world. As class finishes you stand up feeling better than when you walked in. You are more awake, more aware of your body and that feeling travels along with you for the rest of the day.

Sound pretty good? This is how I feel every time I take a class. Whether I start feeling pumped, stressed, exhausted, sore, Pilates is a class I can always do and know that I will feel better for the rest of my day. I will leave feeling like I accomplished something special, I will stand up taller, I will feel the deep work my muscles did and I know that I did something good for myself!

This is the experience we want to give you at Pilates 512! I want to share this amazing and functional program with you! We have been hard at work making our studio a peaceful, soothing place to sweat! I have also been creating some absolutely amazing deals on our pre-sale packages that I am going to share with you closer to our opening date.     

Exciting News!!!!

Hello my friends!!! Today I received the email I was preparing to wait 10 months for. The wonderful staff at North Forest has confirmed my suite number at their Gattis School Commons location! We will be a couple steps from the wonderful Dazzle Coffee Shop, 1 mile from the 45 toll road, 2.2 miles from Dell and 4 miles down the road from HEB Plus.  I am so excited to start the design process and create a peaceful, beautiful space where it's cool to sweat ;-)  Monday we are moving forward and getting more information about our opening date and I will of course pass that information on to you! Right now I am working on some killer beginning packages at an amazing steal for pre-opening purchasing. Keep an eye out for specials and our website will be expanding with class descriptions and schedules soon. I'm ecstatic to bring high quality, thoughtful, and fun Pilates classes to the Round Rock, Pflugerville and Hutto community! Here's a sneak peek and first draft of our studio layout.  Enjoy! Have a wonderful weekend!

Signing and Waiting

Today we signed our lease on our Pilates 512 location. We love North Forest Leasing and they are trying their best to get us a great and convenient location on Gattis School Road. We look forward to working with them to develop a beautiful space that gives you the best experience possible! I can't wait to share more and we all have our fingers crossed to securing our building suite soon!!

Future Pilate 512 Location 

Future Pilate 512 Location 

My Story

Before I dive into all the wonderful benefits of Pilates I wanted to share a little about myself and my story. My love for movement started at an early age in a ballet studio. The art of movement as expression has always spoke to me and gave me the opportunity to communicate through dance. As I became more serious in making Ballet a career the importance of cross training and keeping my body healthy was a priority. I started taking mat Pilates and appreciated how I could build the lean strength I needed for dance, plus Pilates kept me away from injuries and stiffness.

      Richmond Ballet 2007

      Richmond Ballet 2007

After dancing 2 years with the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre and a year with Richmond Ballet, I came back to my home town and danced a season with Ballet Austin. Back in Austin I continued to get more interested in Pilates and was implementing daily Pilates exercises in my training. After getting my mat certification I continued my education with my full comprehensive Peak Pilates certification and interned for 6 months with one of Austin's leading trainers, Vlada Sheber.

KXAN Studio 512

KXAN Studio 512

  Since teaching Pilates I have met so many wonderful people and have had amazing opportunities. I married my best friend 7 years ago and we now have two crazy and beautifully spirited children. I exercised throughout both of my pregnancies and expose my kiddos to the importance if exercise daily. We love camping, biking, ballet and playing outside. I've seen the change in my husband and clients' attitude and self confidence as they've incorporated Pilates into their lives and I look forward to what the future has in store! Enjoy your evening and stay tuned ;-) 

Coming to the neighborhood!

Hello Friends! This is my first BLOG post ever!!!! I am so excited to start the journey of bringing a Pilates Apparatus Studio to my neck of the woods in Pflugerville/Round Rock. For those of you that are new to Pilates, Pilates is a full body workout that tones, increases flexibility and improves imbalances in your body by using resistance and springs . I am amazed everyday how Pilates has impacted my life by giving me both a great workout and added energy through out my day. I've seen Pilates transform my clients' muscles and body awareness, fix their once constant pain and aggravation that used to plague their life and give them this amazing strength and power inside and out!

So what is Pilates 512???? Pilates 512 will be a fully equipped Pilates Studio complete with Balanced Body Reformers, Tower units, BOSU balls, and much more! I want to make exercise as luxurious and effective as possible, bet you've never heard those two words in the same sentence :-)  Our studio's mantra is "Everyday is a good day to do Pilates" and we want you to leave feeling better than when you walked in! Pilates is deep and effective work that will make your muscles burn in a whole new way, but the low impact aspect will make your body crave more. We want every client to feel welcome and enjoy their stay, no matter what physical fitness level they may be. 

Although we can not give you an exact location or date on when we will open our doors, we are getting closer to locking everything down! Can't wait to share more! Have a wonderful evening!

-Brittany Harpole