This Is Why You Need Pilates

Whether you come to Pilates for general fitness, for help with certain ailments, to cross train your body for sports performance, or to exercise safely during pregnancy–whatever it is–you’ll begin to feel and see results after about ten sessions. Below are a few testimonials from clients who are in their first ten to fifteen sessions. See what they have to say, and think about how Pilates might be able to help you.

I already feel positive change, and my low back isn’t hurting like it used to! I even went for my first pain-free run in months and I’m so happy.
-Lorie B.

I’m a 6’4,” 225 pound man who has been bodybuilding for more than 25 years. I can bench press over 300 pounds, deadlift 500 pounds, etc. But Pilates kicked my butt! It works my muscles and my core like nothing else. Best of all, it makes my body feel great! I’ve had chronic shoulder and upper back pain, and after just a handful of sessions, I’m nearly pain free. As a 47-year-old, still very fit man, I now see Pilates as a sustainable way to work out for life. It can challenge you at any level, no matter how big and strong you are.
-Kelly W.

I have really enjoyed how Pilates works on every part of the body, giving a complete work out! It lengthens & strengthens the muscle groups giving the lean, strong result that I like! Andrea has been wonderful at teaching me the proper postures and working with any injuries I’ve had.
-Gina D.

I like how it’s low impact to suit my health conditions. It also seems to help relieve stress. Even though I’m pushing my body it feels good. It helps my breathing, too.
-Cheryl D.

Give me ten sessions to work with you twice a week, one-on-one. It will be my greatest pleasure to address your personal goals and help you truly feel and begin to see results in your body. “You’ll begin to feel a difference in ten sessions, see a difference in twenty, and in thirty sessions you’ll have a whole new body,” said Joseph Pilates. Try his method, let it improve your life.

This month I’m offering a New-to-Pilates special! Three private sessions for $90. Learn about the foundations of Pilates all while getting a custom workout designed with your needs and goals in mind. Simply go to the contact page and fill out the form to find out available session times. 

Health and Wellness Goals

I avoided New Year’s Resolutions like the plague this year. Who of us hasn’t written down one or two sweeping resolutions over the years and failed miserably? *raises hand* Resolutions tend to flop because we haven’t truly addressed why we want to achieve them, or because we bite off more than we can chew. Let’s resolve to stop that nonsense, and do something (or many little somethings) that are practical and doable.

You’re coming to class or private sessions for some very good reasons, I know! I am invested in you and your goals, and I want to help you achieve them.

What is your main goal? This would be something like, “Lose twenty pounds,” or, “Have more flexibility,” or “Tone my body.” Wonderful! Now why? It will be great to achieve those things, but there has to be something other than the end goal that helps drive you to it. Do you want more energy? To feel healthier in your own skin? To be able to do something you love with more efficiency?

Now that you have your goal and your why written down, you need to think practically about how you will achieve them. What are your first second and third steps, and how will you work toward them on a weekly basis? How will you measure your progress?

I will share my fitness goal with you: Perform a teaser.teaserjp

Why? After I had my sweet little Eleanor, it was nearly nine months before I could connect and fire my lowest and deepest abdominal muscles efficiently. If you don’t know me and are reading this for the first time, I had three babies exactly three years and six days apart from first to last. I had a severe diastasis recti that needed to be addressed, and my abdominals were very worn out (to say the least). So my why isn’t just doing the exercise, it means I’ve been able to rehabilitate my core to a point of being able to perform advanced level work for my own practice and for my Pilates certification. That is a big driving force for me!

How? I spend 3-5 hours each week doing Pilates on my own time outside of teaching. You’d think this particular exercise would just come naturally, believe me I wish that it did. When I first decided to make it my goal to accomplish this apparently monumental task, I found additional weaknesses in my body that needed to be addressed. My hip flexors were weaker than I knew, and my knee extensors (particularly my right knee) were weak or potentially damaged from an accident years ago. So now I’m not only working on my core rehabilitation, but on knee health and rehabilitation, plus the strength of my hip flexors. Whew! It’s a lot. But I’m getting closer each week and progress is measurable (I take photos and can feel how strong I’m getting by the efficiency of my workouts or particular exercises).

Think about your goals, keep them handy, and take time for yourself to address those goals weekly, along with tracking your progress.

 

Meal Plan Foundation

I said in an earlier post that I would share a little bit about how I plan nutritious meals with a simple foundation. And my weeks can be are crazy. We have five kids, life moves very fast around here.

mealplan

Here’s a weekly plan–notice the base. I rotate through almost the exact same breakfasts and lunches every week, and I have one master list of dinners that frankly, I don’t stray from often. Sound boring? Nah. Refer to the chicken soup post; many meals I make have a counterpart with different flavors or ingredients. This means I can keep my grocery lists each week more or less the same. It’s all about continuity and keeping a base of items in the cupboards, fridge, and freezer. I do change up meats/cheeses/vegetables, or swap a breakfast for another day’s plan to suit our tastes.

Sunday:
Fruit (frozen peaches and blueberries) and yogurt
Tuna salad on whole grain crackers with veggie sticks (carrots/celery/peppers)
Grilled chicken with red potatoes and salad (romaine, corn, bell pepper, cucumber, shredded carrots, grape tomatoes)

Monday:
Fried egg on whole grain English muffin with smashed avocado
Grilled chicken and salad (leftovers!)
Beef stew (carrots, celery, onion, turnips, beef broth, beef, rosemary, thyme, pepper, salt) and salad (more leftover salad)

Tuesday:
Oatmeal with raw flax seeds, raisins, unsweetened shredded coconut, cinnamon, pecans, drizzle of maple syrup, splash of almond milk
Leftovers with fresh veggies
Bean and rice bowls with avo, fresh salsa, monterey jack

Wednesday:
Blueberry scones (or muffins, homemade) + milk + fried egg
PBJ + Veggies (I will eat a turkey sandwich on whole grain bread, PBJ is for the littles)
Teriyaki Chicken Bowls over rice with roasted broccoli, cauliflower, bell pepper, red onion (sauce: 1c light sodium soy sauce, 1 c chicken broth, generous squeeze of honey, ginger, garlic, chicken in crock pot)

Thursday:
Scrambled eggs with cheese and a green veggie, whole grain toast
Tuna sandwich with an apple and fresh veggies
Hatch Chile Mac & Cheese with shredded chicken, roasted broccoli

Friday:
Yogurt, fruit, granola
Leftovers or Turkey sandwiches
Salsa verde enchiladas with shredded chicken, corn tortillas, light cheese, avocado, salsa, beans and rice

Saturday:
Waffles and Fried Eggs
Leftovers
Chicken Soup of some kind with homemade bread

Snacks:
Hummus with veggies (carrots, tomatoes, cucumbers, bell peppers, celery)
Whole grain crackers with goat cheese and a piece of fruit
Handful of pecans (or other nuts) and fruit
Smoothie: One overripe banana (I keep them in the freezer), 1 C unsweetened almond milk, 2TBSP nut butter, dash of cinnamon, small splash vanilla, a scoop of oat flour (BEST. Tastes like dessert!)

And secret? We eat some things that are not entirely healthy, but it’s food that makes my family so very happy. You’ll probably be able to figure those pretty quick. I often skip them (like waffles or french toast) in lieu of the healthier items from other days. And when I do indulge in that mac and cheese, I eat a bowl full of roasted broccoli first to take up some space in my belly.

It has taken me many years to have  a happy, healthy relationship with food. I think it will be a lifelong journey. I’m coming to appreciate it; I know each bite gives me valuable fuel and nutrition for my body. Again, I do not count calories or whatever fancy food/diet trend happens to be about at the moment. That has always harmed my idea of food, and so I stopped. I eat in moderation, I eat as many vegetables and fruits as I can (and only the ones that I like!), I try not to eat too much at once, and I allow myself to eat whatever the heck I want one day a week and enjoy it. These things take time to develop to match your lifestyle and to meet you where you’re at. Don’t overhaul everything at once. But perhaps that’s a post for another day. 🙂

Chicken Soup

Make maintaining your healthy life easy with simple go-to meals you can build on. Chicken soup of just about any kind is one of my favorite comfort foods. Start with a simple soup base:

1/2 chopped yellow or sweet onion
4ish cloves garlic, minced

Sauté these in your soup pot, onion first 4-5mins, then garlic for one minute. Add:

1 32oz container of organic chicken broth (Fred Meyer’s Simple Truth Organic is usually very close to the same price as non-organic!)

A few chicken breasts (yes you can throw them in frozen, you’re welcome)

That’s it. From there I decide what I’m in the mood for. Do I want a Mexican style soup? Season with a teaspoon or two of cumin, one of chili powder, a dash or two of Mexican oregano. Add black beans, corn, fire roasted tomatoes, hatch chiles, top with cilantro. Bam. Dinner in less than an hour. 

How about minestrone? Yes please. Season with rosemary, thyme, oregano, celery seeds, a couple dashes of red chili flakes. Add diced tomatoes, white beans, red potato, celery, carrot, zucchini, chopped kale, go crazy with the vegetables. (Be forewarned, this may be your new favorite.)

Want a simple, hearty soup? Season with turmeric, a few chili flakes, pepper. Add sweet potato, black beans, carrots, corn, and hot chilis if you like it spicy. 

Feeling adventurous? Try it with sweet potatoes, 2/3c natural peanut butter, and sriracha to taste, topping with cilantro and eating it over brown rice. Honestly, the options are nearly endless.

Simmer the chicken and harder vegetables, covered, for 30-45mins in a stock pot or Dutch oven, adding the softer vegetables toward the last 15-20 mins, and shredding the chicken with two forks at the very end. 

What’s your favorite chicken soup recipe? 

The Missing Link to Eating Well

A plan is usually the missing link to eating well. And something I heard a trainer say once (or a hundred times), “If you put good food in your fridge, you will eat good food.” If you’re putting forth the effort to do Pilates, don’t shun the role of the kitchen and the fuel you give to your body.

I don’t scrutinize labels or count calories or look at fat content. Nope. Too much work and too restricting. If you know anything about me, you know I love food and I love to feed people; most things in my life revolve around food and hungry people (six of them, and always hungry). And frankly, we should be able to enjoy food without guilt, so long as it’s nutritious food to fuel your body.

Here are some things I do to plan my food intake for the week.

  1. Make it easy. For Pete’s sake, make it easy! You’re busy with a million things. Sit down for half an hour (or if you have five kids, an hour) and devote yourself to it. Plan every meal for the week, and keep it simple: meal plans and meals that don’t take hours of effort.
  2. Put good food in your fridge and cabinets, and throw away the junk. Just throw it away and don’t buy it again. It’ll be easier in a week or two.
  3. Prepare your fruit and vegetables ahead of time. When you come home from the store, allow yourself the extra fifteen to twenty minutes to chop veggies/fruits and put them into containers in the front of the fridge (not in those freaking drawers at the bottom!).
  4. Give yourself a cheat day, guilt free. Personally, mine is a glass or two of Prosecco on Friday nights with dinner and sharing a pint of Talenti Peanut Butter Cup Gelato with my main squeeze. Yes, every week, and no it doesn’t get old. 😉
  5. Make a list of your top five favorite vegetables and plan how to mix them into your meal plan. Mine are: Broccoli, Asparagus, Bell Peppers, Zucchini, Cucumber. Don’t try to eat healthy food you don’t like.
  6. Eat mindfully. Ask yourself if what you’re about to eat will help you reach your goals or if your body needs the fuel. I can’t tell you how many pastries I have turned down by asking this one question (because banana bread or an ocean roll, just stop it).

Do the best with what you’ve got. If you can’t afford all organic and grass fed everything, it’s OK. I struggle with that myself. Say it again, “Do the best with what you have.”

I’ll create posts with a meal plan foundation you can use weekly, plus different snack ideas and new recipes (only tried and true ones). Just be gracious with yourself and only make one or two small changes at a time until it becomes just a part of the way you do things. Small steps toward a greater goal. Good health all around.