Happy New Year!!!
Now is the time of year that everyone flocks back to the gym, the personal trainer, the Pilates class, or the yoga studio after weeks, or even months of abandoning the regular “routine”. At our Pilates studio, we too are jumping on the Resolution bandwagon with the implementation & promotion of “Fit & Fabulous in 50 Days!”, assuming, of course that 50 days would be about the time it takes to make a lifestyle change. Actually, it’s very easy to resolve to make a change, either by deleting or adding something to our lifestyle, but how easy is it to MAKE the change?
Well, we decided to do a little poking around, and we found a number of sources that stated, and with a great deal of “authority” at that, that it takes 21 to 28 days to change a habit. By this logic, if all of us can just stick with our new routines, whatever they may be, until January 31 or so, then we’ll have no problem keeping our resolutions until the end of the year. …Yeah, right! We all know that it’s not so easy!!
So, we continued to search for other articles about habits, and habit forming, and we came across this one (click here!) We highly suggest that you read it, but this article sites a study in which it took some participants UP TO 245 DAYS to change their habits!!!! The average was around 66 days. Well, if 66 is the average, then maybe we’re not too far off with our 50 day plan!
At our studio, because we offer not only Pilates (Pilates mat classes and Pilates Reformer classes, yay!), but also XTEND™, CARDIOLATES®, GYROTONIC®, and ActivCore, we figure we have enough in one location to keep even the most ardent sufferers of ADD satisfied and entertained! Couple that with the whole idea of muscle confusion that has become popular, and our New Year’s Resolution plan should really kick off the New Year right!!
We’re actually looking for 10-12 people who want to be case studies at our Manhattan Pilates studio! If you are interested, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and please put PILATES NYC in the subject line!!
Katherine & Kimberly
Yes, we know that Souza did not end his famous poem as such, but if we’ve learned one thing from the filming of our Pilates workouts, it’s how to increase the intensity of your . If you don’t think Pilates is hard enough, then imagine that you are doing Pilates in an Olympic arena, equipped with a full panel of judges who score you based on proper execution…. WOW!! Take it from us, it’s grueling. You can take a “beginner’s” workout and turn it into one of the best workout sessions just by focusing on all the little details and fine tuning. We like to think of it this way: as long as you’re investing the time to work out, then why not get the most that you can out of your session? Here are some few helpful hints based on what we’ve gleaned from filming our Pilates videos for the site:
1) Pull your abs in!! …And when you think they’re in, pull in a little more! Then, with every new exercises and every other repetition, repeat!
2) Straighten your knees fully! We know that we’ve written about the knees before, but it really is a way to kick up the intensity and get the whole body involved.
3) Open the shoulders! Involve the muscles of the upper backto keep the shoulders from rounding forward and create that beautiful, trademark Pilates posture.
4) Don’t forget your glutes! When doing side lying or prone exercises, your glutes (the muscles in your buttocks) are key to stabilizing your torso and upholding Pilates as a total body workout.
So there you have it! Just a few simple tips to help you get the most out of your Pilates workouts. Also, in addition to the four points above, proper form and technique will make the Pilates exercises even more effective. If you need help with an exercise or just want to know if you’re doing a Pilates exercise correctly, simply check out any of our podcasts. (link to podcasts)
Working out with a partner can be motivating, challenging and FUN!
Our first exercise is an abdominal exercise for the obliques. You will need a stretch band, which can be purchased online, or exercise tubing can work well too.
Start Position: Sit up as tall as possible facing your partner with your knees bent and feet braced against each other’s. Pull in your abs and try to lengthen your spine. We suggest that the man hold the middle of the band, approximately shoulder distance apart, and the woman hold the ends of the band so that she can adjust the tension.*
Inhale, pull in the abdominal muscles and lengthen up through the spine.
Exhale, roll back off the sit bones, simultaneously rotating the rib cage to the right and bending the right arm.
Inhale, pass through the start position, keeping the abdominal muscles engaged.
Exhale, roll back of the sit bones, simultaneously rotating the rib cage to the left and bending the left arm.
Repeat this exercise 8-10 times, 4-5 times each side.
*The greater the tension, the more support there is for the abdominal muscles, but the harder the exercise will be on the muscles of the arm. If the woman holds the band, she can reach further up the band for more tension (more support) or more towards the edges of the band for less tension, less support.
For more great stretch band workouts, log onto www.ultimatepilatesworkouts.com and try the “Tighten and Tone” workout or try our “Pilates in Ten” podcasts for Arms and Legs, which also use the stretch band.
Love Pilates but hate cardio? CARDIOLATES® offers all the cardiovascular benefits of rebounding with the alignment benefits of Pilates — and it’s fun too!
Forget your fabulous triceps or your six pack abs, your HEART is the most important muscle in your body. Pilates flattens your abs, strengthens your core and tones all the muscles of the body, but it was never designed to elevate your heart rate to the levels required for cardiovascular conditioning. To keep your heart healthy, you must engage in regular cardiovascular activity.
CARDIOLATES®, offered at Pilates on Fifth in New York City, combines heart-pumping rebounding with ab-sculpting Pilates to deliver the cardiovascular activity necessary for heart health. Clients who reach a weight loss plateau in their regular Pilates classes see their final pounds melt away with CARDIOLATES®.
And here’s the best news: because CARDIOLATES® is gentle on the joints, those who find high impact activities too taxing on the body can enjoy CARDIOLATES® pain free! The mat of the rebounder absorbs 87% of the shock to the joints (according to a NASA study) so you can burn calories without your joints paying the price.
Remember to apply yourself to your workout if you want to see results!
Check out UltimatePilatesWorkouts.com for great FREE on line workouts!
Of all the questions we get asked at our studio, the question “will I lose weight?” tops the charts. The answer is not a simple “yes” or a simple “no,” so we’ll devote the next few articles to exploring weight loss and Pilates.
First of all, successful weight loss requires three components: proper diet/nutrition, maintenance of muscle mass and fat burning cardiovascular exercise. If one exercises vigorously, but then eats without concern for calories, sugar, fat, etc., then that person will most likely see less results than the person who embarks on a program focusing on exercise AND diet. Next, increasing and maintaining muscle tone helps increase the body’s metabolism because the more muscle one has, the more calories one burns. Muscle cells require more energy just to exist, so people with greater muscle mass burn more calories even when not exercising. Dieting without exercising can lead to both a decreased metabolic rate and a loss of muscle tone, which can thwart all the effort when pre-diet eating habits are resumed.
Additionally, the current fitness level, age and sex of the individual starting Pilates plays an enormous role in determining how much weight loss he/she will experience. With regards to current fitness level, a deconditioned body may reap more initial benefits from Pilates than someone who engages in regular exercise and is adding Pilates to it. As people get older, body composition changes and muscle tends to decrease, thus fat comprises more of an individual’s weight. Also, metabolism naturally slows with age, which changes the body’s caloric needs. Unfortunately, most people continue eating the same amount as they age even as their caloric needs decline. And sorry ladies, but men usually have a higher metabolic rate than women because they have less body fat and more muscle than do women of the same age and weight.
Furthermore (and this may be obvious but we have a reason for mentioning it) how much one applies oneself to their Pilates session determines how much weight they will or will not lose! The media has touted Pilates as a wonderful weight loss regime, but if people do not apply themselves to their workouts when exercising (be it Pilates or any other workout regime), results will not be gained! Also, keep in mind that Pilates was designed to be a rehabilitative regime, to be done thoughtfully, precisely and with great attention to detail. Pilates was not designed to be a fast moving, heart pumping workout! Of course, when one improves one’s Pilates technique, the exercises can be accomplished more fluidly, and the pace of the workout increases as the flow improves. If one takes the time to go slow and learn the technique from the start, the “faster” they will be able to move through their workout in the future.
At our New York studio Pilates on Fifth, we see men and women reach their fitness goals every day. But we also see a lot of people get frustrated because they are NOT reaching their goals. If you fall into the latter group, be sure to evaluate your eating and lifestyle habits — and be very honest with yourself! And check back to our page for more articles on Pilates and weight loss!
We’re sure you’ve all heard some version of the phrase “if you’re stranded on a deserted island, how do you keep your muscles bulging and ripped? Push-ups, of course!”
When push-ups are done correctly (i.e., pulled in abs, strong gluts, energized legs, etc.), they really do tackle every major muscle group. Even if you start with your knees down and progress to more advanced versions, push-ups help strengthen your core. But don’t forget, a strong core can help strengthen your push-ups!
Whether you already have excellent push-ups and are looking for a challenge or are looking to gain strength to be able to DO a good push-up, the ActivCore FEX© system can be your solution. Our clients from weight lifting men to willowy women have seen dramatic strength improvements using ActivCore©.
The instability of the cords adds two new and important dimensions to your push-ups: 1) keeping the cords still as you perform the push-ups triggers deep stabilizers of the shoulders and torso to fire, increasing both shoulder stability and core strength and 2) maintaining alignment of the torso three-dimensionally (preventing sagging or piking hips, rotating pelvis and rocking side-to-side) further strengthens the core and creates important muscle memory for proper alignment in other endeavors. Exercises range from simple, rehabilitative movements to intense, core strengthening workouts.
As dancers, both of us have always struggled with upper body strength and neither of us has ever enjoyed working on upper body strength. Thus it has remained our “weakest link” all our lives! We got the ActivCore FEX© system for our studio on January 9th and WOW! The increase in strength is dramatic, and we’re both enjoying the journey, too!
And for you men out there, if you want to see some “real men” practicing on ActivCore©, click on this link and watch the video of Norwegian skier Kjetil Andre Aamodt, the only Alpine skier to win 8 Olympic gold medals in addition to many other titles, using ActivCore© to train.
Between work, family, the economy, etc., you are under enough stress! Read on to learn to discover some fun — and maybe some flatter abs — with Pilates.
As with any exercise, the more serious your mindset when approaching your workout, the more results you will see. But even world class athletes enjoy their sport, or they never would have the will to drive themselves to excellence.
We’re serious about Pilates, but we believe in stressing form and alignment without stressing our clients! Rolling Like a Ball is an original Pilates exercise that tones the abdominals, strengthens the core, challenges balance….and is a whole lot of fun!
To start, sit tall with bent knees and flat abs. Then, roll back off your sit bones and pick your legs up one at a time to balance in a little “ball” position, as in the above picture. Inhale, pull in your abdominal muscles more to roll back until the weight is between the shoulder blades. Then exhale and return to the start position — without putting your feet down on the mat! On the roll back, don’t let the weight go onto the neck, and when you return, don’t let your feet touch the mat.
The spine never changes shape throughout the exercise, but because your abdominal muscles act as the accelerator and the brakes, Rolling Like a Ball tones the abs quite effectively! The first time you attempt this exercise, it may take a couple of tries before your body figures out how much energy to put into the roll back and the roll up to the start position. This takes abdominal strength and coordination…but it makes you laugh in the process.
And after all, laughter is the best medicine….
For more fun and exciting Pilates exercises accessible to all levels, visit www.UltimatePilatesWorkouts.com! It’s free!
When we meet new people, we often get asked many questions about Pilates…. How many times a week they should do it, what Pilates DVD we recommend, if we know of a good Pilates studio in their home town, etc. People also often share with us that they’ve purchased a QVC Reformer, or Aeropilates Reformer, or Stamina Reformer, and “just aren’t sure what to do with it anymore”.
Once again, Ultimate Pilates Workouts to the rescue!! We have created over 8 full length Pilates Reformer workouts for the site, ranging from Level I to Level V. For a low monthly subscription, owners of QVC Reformers can have access to a whole new library of Pilates reformer workouts…. Your own personal QVC Reformer Workout Library!
The QVC Pilates Reformer, as with all Pilates Reformers, is based on a design by Joseph Pilates nearly 100 years ago. In fact, Pilates’ system was originally created as a Reformer Workout! Joseph Pilates rehabilitated injured and bedridden soldiers using a variety of large equipment pieces modeled after hospital beds, one of them becoming the Pilates Reformer. The Pilates Reformer allows users to improve their alignment without gravity. Working out without gravity allows users to strengthen and improve specific parts of their bodies without exacerbating old injuries or reinforcing bad habits.
The Reformer is one of the most important pieces of equipment in Pilates and doing Pilates Reformer workouts with your QVC Reformer or any Pilates Reformer will challenge your strength and flexibility. The Pilates Reformer challenges the body to work in concert–rather than working on individual, very specific parts of the anatomy (as is the case with the Cadillac), the Reformer works on the body as a whole.
Ultimate Pilates Workouts offers a series of cutting-edge reformer workouts perfect for all levels. Designed in Manhattan’s leading pilates studio, Pilates on Fifth, these exercises were created to add fun, variety, and challenge to our clientele! We realized that every body requires different fitness attention, and therefore, we made sure to incorporate a range of workouts that reflect the spectrum of Pilates devotees and their corresponding target areas. And, now Ultimate Pilates Workouts brings New York City’s number one pilates repertoire to the convenience of your own home! Our at home Pilates reformer workouts will tone all the muscles of your body and leave you feeling refreshed and invigorated! Sensitive care is taken to balance the spinal movements of our workouts, as well as to stretch and strengthen so you’ll fee better than you did before you started! Select the reformer workouts best for your fitness needs and goals! Ultimate Pilates Workouts brings innovation and excitement to at home pilates and QVC pilates reformer owners interntaionally! Select to purchase a workout to be formatted as a DVD, iPod download, or to simply play on your computer screen with an easy click of your mouse!
For instance, start with My First Reformer Workout to learn the basics… Then, enjoy Fit & Fluid to stretch, strengthen, and tone your whole body. Like a harder workout, or more of a “gym rat workout? Then try Corps Physique: Gym Rat Reformer Workout or Strengthen and Define for a fast-pace, challenging workout that will invigorate the whole body and sculpt long, lean muscles. Put a few more sentences at least here…. We know that the spring settings will be different for each manufacturer. On Ultimate Pilates Workouts, we use Stott Pilates® Reformers, but we will help you with spring conversions if you need them for your QVC Reformer. Just email us at email@example.com.
At Pilates on Fifth, our fabulous instructors know just how to keep classes fun, interesting, and effective, and now we’re delivering the essence of Pilates on Fifth straight to your home computer with a full line of Pilates DVD’s… all available online at www.ultimatepilatesworkouts.com! Whether you do Pilates Mat DVD’s, Pilates Reformer DVD’s or Pilates Chair DVD’s, you can be sure that your Pilates workout will engage your mind and your sense of fun, as well as the deep, core muscles of your body. One of the ways our instructors keep their mat classes interesting is the use of small equipment and props.
Props, such as stability balls, elastic bands, foam rollers, and arc barrels, improve our classes in a number of ways. First, small pieces of equipment help “level the playing field.” Advanced students will find that props like stability balls help keep their Pilates classes challenging. New students will find that props improve their understanding of the exercises. For instance, using a stability ball can help a client “find” the right muscles to use. Using equipment helps “fire your muscles” in exactly the right spot. Props are essential to Pilates workouts of all levels! Pilates for seniors, athletes, dancers, pregnant women, clients recovering from injuries, and the everyday Pilates enthusiast alike! That’s why we’ve integrated Pilates props into Ultimate Pilates Workouts! We’ve designed full-length Pilates DVD’s specific to each prop for a number of different conditions. Choose from Pilates DVD’s custom designed for the ultimate Pilates Stretch Band, Pilates Stability Ball, Pilates Small Ball, Pilates Magic Circle, BOSU and Mini Body Bar workout! You’ll never get tired of Ultimate Pilates Workouts with the variety of Pilates Stretch Band DVD’s, Pilates Stability Ball DVD’s, etc, etc, to choose from!
Firing your muscles correctly empowers you to do the exercises correctly. Our instructors are sticklers for good technique; the better your technique, the better your results will be. When you enjoy a Mat Pilates Plus class in our sun-filled penthouse studio in New York City, you will improve everything from your flexibility to your balance to your core strength. You’ll even improve your bone density. Pilates aids in the process of improving a number of different health conditions. At Pilates on Fifth, we advocate Pro-Health Pilates! Our Pro-Health Pilates program incorporates custom Pilates instruction for Breast Cancer Survivors with our Pink Ribbon Pilates and heart health with our CARDIOLATES® just to name a few! Our instructors are well equipped to design workouts specific to clients with osteoporosis, spinal conditions, hip/knee replacements, abdominal surgeries, torn rotator cuffs, and neck injuries. We strongly believe in Pilates for bettering the health of its followers. Ultimate Pilates Workouts offers a fabulous collection of DVD’s specific to special populations and injuries. Enjoy Pilates for Lower Back Care DVD’s, Pink Ribbon Pilates DVD’s, Pre-Natal Pilates DVD’s and more from the convenience of your own home!
We look forward to bringing quality Pilates workouts to the convenience of your own home! Visit www.ultimatepilatesworkouts.com to browse through our extensive and inexpensive Pilates DVD library today!