PRO FOOTBALLERS ARE JUMPING ON THE PILATES TRAIN,  AND YOU SHOULD TOO!

PRO FOOTBALLERS ARE JUMPING ON THE PILATES TRAIN, AND YOU SHOULD TOO!

PRO FOOTBALLERS ARE JUMPING ON THE PILATES TRAIN, AND YOU SHOULD TOO!

Professional athletes often challenge the status quo, signing up for any activity that will take their game to the next level. Several years ago, we learned that professional football players were attending ballet classes to improve their game. While the world today is a little more flexible than it was when footballers were beginning to learn first and second position, some men are still squeamish about entering women-dominated domains.

Pilates is for everybody. It was created by a man and initially used to rehabilitate soldiers who’d been hurt in the line of duty. However, as with other fitness regimens that don’t involve throwing iron around, the misconception is that men don’t necessarily fit in Pilates studios. Well men, it’s time for a revolution.

In case you need further convincing that Pilates is a challenging, well-rounded place to enhance your fitness using variety and engaging the mind, read on to learn how the practice has improved the game of three NFL athletes.

·      Tom Brady—Quarterback for the New England Patriots

Why he does Pilates: According to his former instructor, Tom Brady uses Pilates to improve his footwork and to strengthen his lower body. The variety of the Reformer was a draw for him, too.

Why you should, too: You’re probably not going to need footwork like Tom Brady in your everyday life, but agility is important, no matter what your daily routine consists of. If you spend time playing any recreational sports, footwork is important. If you hike on rocky terrains, footwork is important. If you run around chasing your kids or step on and off of curbs throughout the day, footwork is important. Pilates helps develop the agility and body awareness that help maneuver your body from position to position, effortlessly. The difference between a challenging hike on uneven ground and a disastrous hike on uneven ground is your ability to remain upright, no matter what uncertainties try to trip you up.

Martellus Bennett, Tight End for the Green Bay Packers

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Why he does Pilates: According to stack.com, “To counteract the joint compression caused by weightlifting, I go straight from weights to Pilates as often as possible. [It] helps me work on rebalancing and activating my muscles…supporting muscles that hold up the bigger ones.” His instructor added that Pilates helps him change directions on the field, since his regimen has brought a major increase of flexibility to his hip flexors.

Why you should, too: The weight room is important, and no one’s asking you to lighten your load in there, but just know that Pilates can provide balance to your efforts under the weight bar. “Little muscles” are often ignored in the weight room, as the exercises that target these muscle groups aren’t as well-known and celebrated as the bench press, curls, and squats. However, little muscles provide support and stability for the big ones, help keep you free from injury, and make the big muscles look better. That’s something we can all get behind.

 Antonio Brown, Wide Receiver & Punter for the Pittsburgh Steelers

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Why he does Pilates: Brown’s time in the Pilates studio is geared towards core strength and explosion, which means lots of work for the hips and glutes. According to stack.com, he commented, “It’s not like weight training…it’s all about control and body position, which receivers like myself need the most.”

Why you should, too: The muscles on both sides of the body need to be balanced. It’s no good to have one side overpowering the other. Pilates provides thorough corrective work that will make sure your muscles are parallel as possible. Core strength, control of the body and breath, and body awareness are the foundations on which anyone can develop true strength from within. When these three elements are established and developed, the leaps and bounds in gains, lower recovery time between sets and workouts, and mental stimulation will speak for themselves.

So fellas, are you ready to claim your position in the Pilates studio? No more hesitation. Once you get into your first session, you’ll realize that you’re truly at home.  

FOR THE FIRST TIMERS

FOR THE FIRST TIMERS

FOR THE FIRST TIMERS

You did it! You signed up for your first Pilates class, you’ve laid out your fitness gear like it’s the first day of school, and you’re ready for the challenge—at least you think you are. Here’s what you can expect on your first day.

1.     You’ll walk in to calm, smiling faces. You’ll let your guard down and start to think that your session is going to be either a nice hour of stretching to help loosen you up from the workouts you did earlier in the week, or a tactic to help you back away from the couch potatoness that is your present life. Either way, you’ll laugh at yourself in two hours when you think back to this moment.

2.     You won’t remember sitting upright being so difficult! In fact, you probably won’t remember the last time you sat upright.

3.     You’ll appreciate how long a minute actually is, because time seems to stop in those seconds when you’re holding your arms parallel to the ground.

4.     You’ll be tempted to ask if you can do fifties instead of hundreds, being that it’s your first day and all.

5.     You’ll think to yourself, “My run would have been over by now,” or “One episode of my series on Netflix would be have been over by now.” You’ll start to question all your life choices.

6.     You’ll wonder why your instructor didn’t have you do push-ups at the beginning, before your arms and shoulders were screaming for mercy. But you go with it, because she’s the professional.

7.     You’ll try to keep your grunting and tears on the inside, since this doesn’t seem to be that type of party. How are these people breathing so…seamlessly?!

8.     You’ll lie on the floor after it’s done, hoping no one will notice. “That was totally not what I expected,” you’ll admit to yourself. Yes, it hurt. But did you like it? You kinda did! You’ll peel yourself up off your mat, wipe the egg off your face, and sign up for a package of classes. You’ve found your new thing.

DRINK UP!

DRINK UP!

DRINK UP!

Let the temperature drop a few degrees, and here comes the pumpkin-spiced everything. It seems that every year, pumpkin flavor makes its way into just about any drink we can put into our mouths. And who can blame the powers that be? It’s delicious! But as yummy as it might smell…and look…and taste, the human body hasn’t yet evolved into such a machine that can run on the stuff. We still need our water, and while they say that water consumption among Americans is up 38% since around 15 years ago, many of us still aren’t getting enough. 

People cite all kinds of reasons for not drinking enough water: “I just don’t think about it,” “I always forget the bottle at home,” “Water has no flavor.” No matter why we don’t get it in, our bodies don’t respond to excuses or intentions.

Seventy percent of the human body is water. We lose hydration throughout the day via sweat and urine, and not replacing this necessity could mean illness, dehydration, dry skin, and fatigue. All that, just from not getting enough H2O? Really? Really.

No worries though. We’re here to light the fire under your desire to step your water game up. Take a look at these handy facts that will remind you just how amazing the clear stuff really is.

·       While some people push for everyone to chug a gallon of water a day, that’s not really necessary. Take your weight in pounds, and divide it by two. That number, in ounces, is the amount of water you need each day. If you weigh 150 pounds, you need 75 ounces of water in a day. Simple enough, right? If you work out, add another 1-2 bottles.

·       There is such a thing as water intoxication (when ingesting too much water severely dilutes the sodium in your body), which, in some cases, has led to death. So, while you may need to increase your intake, there’s no need to get all beastmode on the water hole. Just follow the guidelines above, and call it good.

·       You’re actually thirsty way before your body even feels it. By the time you’re parched, you’ve already lost over 1% of all the water in your body. Another sign of thirst is hunger. If you need to keep eating and eating can’t figure out why, you might not be hungry at all. Have a glass or two of water, and if the cravings subside, then you know that all you needed was something to drink.

·       Since coffee and tea are diuretics, the water you get from drinking those doesn’t count. Sorry!

·       Many people who suffer from acne claim that drinking enough water daily greatly diminished, and in some cases, even cured, their ailment. So if you’re tired of breakouts, challenge yourself to 30 days of adequate water, and see if you get similar results.

Even though it’s cooling down and you may not be sweating as much, it’s still necessary to stay on top of your hydration. Keep a log to track your intake, and pay attention to your energy levels and complexion. While other yummy beverages might tickle our fancies for a while, when it comes to the greatest beverage of all time, water still reigns supreme.

On Your Mark, Get Set, STRETCH!

On Your Mark, Get Set, STRETCH!

On Your Mark, Get Set, STRETCH!

Race season is upon us, and runners are tightening up their laces to smash their marathon, half marathon, 10k, and 5k goals for this year. While running may seem simple enough—put on some shoes and put one foot in front of the other—there are lots of moving parts involved in clocking a good time. Even the fittest among us can stand to tweak and fine tune certain aspects of our run game, like recovery routines and such, but have you taken time to assess your joints—specifically your hips—to insure they’re in tip top running form?

Flexibility, though it’s been downplayed in recent years, is king when it comes to keeping you injury free and race ready. The hips especially need to be strong, flexible, and balanced to avoid back pain and a distorted gait. If they’re imbalanced, you’ll be sidelined by unwanted injuries and disappointed by personal records that never get broken.

Flexibility is the strong, silent aspect of the fitness world. There’s nothing flashy about stretching, but when it’s absent from your regimen, you know it. When you’re ready to get serious about stretching, please know that not just any type will do. Static stretching is better post-race or workout, as it is most effective when the body is warm, it lengthens the muscles, and it helps you feel less like the Tin Man the next day. Before pounding the pavement, take a chunk of time to engage in some dynamic stretching, instead. What’s dynamic stretching? Glad you asked!

Dynamic stretching exercises are those that warm your body up through repetitive motions, stretching each body part a little further with each rep. Such warm-ups will activate your muscles and lubricate your joints before a run, making you less stiff and susceptible to injury.

After a workout, pull the static stretches back out, and engage in poses that stretch your body from bottom to top, holding each one for several seconds. This practice will elongate your muscles and reduce the stiffness and soreness that follow a workout session.

Pilates is a beautiful thing for reasons that could fill up page after page, but one of its benefits is that it prepares its practitioners for activities outside of the studio. Consult your Pilates professional about the best dynamic exercises to add to your running program. She’ll make sure your powerhouse stays strong, balanced, and ready for sessions inside the studio, as well as life on the roads and the trails.

Welcome, Nora!

Welcome, Nora!

Welcome Our Newest Instructor, Nora!

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Nora was busy, hurting, and scared.

On the brink of a major life achievement, while writing her master thesis, she struggled with back problems that stood between who she was and who she was striving to be. Nora was ready to be done with the pain, but the thought of shots in her back was terrifying.

In her search for relief, she found a calling.

Nora began her Pilates journey on the mat. One session turned to ten, and she’d begun to notice that not only was her back feeling better, but her posture was better, too. She kept going. Eventually, she progressed to the Reformer, which is now a part of her everyday morning routine.

Nora is a STOTT trained Pilates instructor who believes in the proper alignment and movement of the complete body--everything working together, synergistically. Stories like hers are an inspiration, because they prove that when we give our bodies what they need, we give ourselves a chance at holistic health, free of unnecessary medical intervention. In the process, we may even set our lives on a new path, spreading the passion of wellness on to the next person, who’s also looking for a way to tap into the best their body has to offer.

Would you like to know more about how Nora implemented Pilates into her life to eliminate the back pain she battled? She’s now part of the ECP family, so drop by and chat with her about how she can you help you overcome nagging pains and debilitating injuries the way she did.

Nora is available at the studio on Mondays from 6am-11am, Wednesdays from 12pm-5pm and Thursdays from 6am-12pm. Get on her schedule while there's still room!

Pilates for Teens? It’s a Thing.

Pilates for Teens? It’s a Thing.

Ah, the teenage years—a time of volatile internal change, anger for no good reason, and the search for identity. Adolescence is a trying time in a person’s life, and the challenges of today don’t make it any easier to navigate. How can a young person deal with the inevitable pressure of the years leading up to adulthood?

It should come as no surprise that Pilates is the PERFECT outlet for the youth among us. We could really drone on and on about its benefits, but today, we’ll just concentrate on three.

1.     It’s good for the mind. Although the generations before them may not be able to find much good to say about how the youth of America spend their time, the truth is, they spend a large portion of time worrying about the future. In 2013, the APA ran a study and found that America’s teens are even more stressed than adults. Climate change is taking a toll on the planet, higher education’s prices are climbing by the minute, and social media is creating a fantasyland that they feel like they absolutely have to live up to, even though they know they can’t. Pilates can help slow down young brains and teach them to master the life-altering skill of mindfulness, or living in the present and accepting things as they are without judgment. Can you imagine if we’d all learned this trait early in life?

2.     It’s good for the body. They say this is the first generation of children who won’t outlive their parents, due to obesity. People are sitting more now than ever, as our society isn’t one in which everyday life calls for much movement. If you’re not an athlete, plugging into an activity that gets the blood pumping may not always be a priority. Fortunately, Pilates offers an opportunity to develop a love for fitness without the pressure of scoring a letter jacket. Its emphasis on core strength, flexibility, and body awareness makes it a great fit for students who sit much of the day, or put strain on their posture by holding and looking down at devices.

3.     It’s good for the soul. While Pilates has no religious leaning, its low-impact, focused nature has a way of drawing us into ourselves, calling us to explore the intrapersonal oneness that comes along with thinking about what we’re doing, overcoming hurdles, and strengthening the body that carries us through this life. Pilates helps us work as one complete being. Since the practice requires synergy, teens will learn to operate synergistically in and out of the studio.

What youngsters do you know who could benefit from what Pilates has to offer? Give them a hand and point them towards a studio ASAP. The difference you’ll see in just a month will leave you and them saying OMG.

Step Into the New Millennium with Massage

Step Into the New Millennium with Massage

Isn't it funny how luxuries of the past have become present-day necessities? Back in the day, only cool guys in convertibles with white suits and pastel shirts owned cell phones, but today, you'd be hard pressed to find anyone with a landline. Remember when direct deposit was causing a corporate uproar, but now, people are like, “A paycheck? What is this—1998?”

Well, I don't mean to sound sensational, but massages are next in line. They have made their way from beach canopy vacation luxuries to an integral part of a sound body and mind. Let me explain.

We live in a go-go-go world, where we hustle from place to place to sit more than the human body was designed to. With an increase in careers and activities that require little movement, and the speedy pace of life we rarely question, it's no surprise that the overall health status of the country is less than stellar. It's up to each of us to make a conscious effort towards self-care, and the winning trifecta consists of a nutrient-rich diet, a steady fitness regimen, and regular massage. So why is massage such a big deal?

1.     It soothes your body. A legit massage therapist does far more than rub oil on your skin until the hour’s up. Professional massages reduce muscle tension and nerve compression, relieving you of spasms, contractions, and conditions made worse by muscle tightness. Like what? Anxiety, fibromyalgia, sports injuries, and even insomnia. If you're looking for a pharmaceutical-free method to help alleviate such issues, massage could be your answer.

2.     It eases your mind. Studies show the stress hormone cortisol drops after a massage. What does that mean for you? You don't have to walk around in a perpetual state of tension. Couple your massage with regular Pilates, being sure to practice mindfulness throughout both activities, and you'll start to see your mindset transform from one of pressure to one of peace.

3.     It's readily available. Quality therapists can be found in spas, or you can book them to come right into the comfort of your living room. How's that for relaxation?

So, are you ready to add a regular massage to your list of necessities? Once you do, you'll wonder how you ever got along without it.

Elevate your Hiking with Pilates

Elevate your Hiking with Pilates

Elevate Your Hiking Adventures with Pilates

Autumn is right around the corner, and that means beautiful hikes on colorful tree-lined trails! The temps are dropping and you’re ready to strap on your boots, but is your body in tip-top hiking condition?

We’re not talking just a stroll in the woods. To complete a strenuous hike safely and efficiently, you must have strength, stability, agility, and focus. If your last hike left you feeling like your fitness is lacking, or if you’re ready to embark on some tougher escapades, read on to learn how Pilates can take your hiking game from subpar to superb.

Breathe In, Breathe Out

Hikes are a cardio fest, and if you’re struggling to get up the inclines, you’ll be too busy gasping for air to enjoy the natural beauty surrounding you. Above all else, Pilates focuses on breathing patterns and techniques. As with hiking, Pilates requires breathing correctly through physical stress, and in your sessions, you’ll develop the skill of executing deep, full, rhythmic breaths that will work to your benefit, whether you’re lounging around or climbing Mt. Everest.

Body Awareness

Hikes are full of little surprises—a wayward tree root here, slippery rocks there. If you’re not fully aware of your body and what it needs to do to stay upright, you can end up with a sprained ankle, or worse. Agility is about mindfulness and precision in movement, skills that Pilates makes a primary focus. You can’t get through a Pilates session by going through the motions; you have to fully engage your mental capacity in order to perform each rep of each exercise correctly for maximum benefit.

Core Strength

Pilates is all about the “powerhouse,” or the entire core of the body, which includes your abs, lower back, pelvic floor, hips, and glutes. It sounds like a lot, but when was the last time you hiked and didn’t use all those body parts? Think about it. You strap on a heavy backpack, you’re taking big steps to cover group going uphill, and you are exerting your energy in an effort to remain upright and stable. Since there isn’t one movement you can perform in Pilates that won’t recruit the muscles of your core, there isn’t a better workout to whip said muscles into shape.

Hiking requires breathing, body awareness, and core strength to work together, synergistically. Before you strap on your pack and head for the hills this fall, drop in for a few Pilates sessions to make sure you get the most out of your adventures.

Summer Recipes- Halibut Tacos and Fruity Mojitos

Summer Recipes- Halibut Tacos and Fruity Mojitos

Summer Yummies: Halibut Tacos & Fruity Mojitos

We are still in the glory days of summer, so it’s the perfect time to experiment with new fresh food recipes that you wouldn’t normally give a second look. This month, we’re highlighting Pacific halibut and putting a spin on one of our favorite summertime mixed drinks.

These halibut fish tacos are so easy to grill or bake, they can quickly become one of your weekday staples or weekend party go-to dishes. On top of offering you a quick option, they deliver a full range of health promoting ingredients. And the flavor? Your taste buds will be turning backflips and begging for more.

I prefer to use a white-flesh fish for my tacos, since the flavor is mild and the texture is tender. I elevate my fish taco game by putting the spotlight on the seasonings and extras. Halibut is a legit omega-3 protein source; it’s high in energy-boosting vitamins B12 and B6, magnesium, and vitamin D; and it provides the full daily intake of selenium!

You’ll pair the fish with a traditionally prepared nixtamal tortilla and an easy cabbage slaw for the ultimate nourishing crowd pleaser. The versatility of simple slaw leaves room for chopped seasonal fruits like strawberries, blueberries, or pears, or an unexpected crunch from jicama or sugar snap peas.

Now for the drinks.

To add some nutrition to your adult beverage, give a blackberry mint mojito a shot. This drink is void of refined sugar or other ultra-sweet juices that can leave you dehydrated. Now, look below for these refreshing recipes that are full of antioxidants, freshness, and deliciousness.

Fish Tacos with Lime Cilantro Crema

(Adapted from Cooking Light)

Serves: 2

Tacos:

1 lb wild caught Halibut, Cod, or Snapper

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp ground coriander

½ tsp smoked paprika

¼ tsp ground black pepper

1/8 tsp Himalayan sea salt

1/8 tsp garlic powder

Cabbage slaw and crema:

¼ c extra virgin olive oil

1 tsp lime rind

1 lime, juiced

½ c full fat plain Greek yogurt

¼ c Cilantro, chopped

1 garlic clove, minced

1/8 tsp Himalayan sea salt

¼ tsp ground cumin

½ purple cabbage, shredded

Optional: summer berries, mango, jicama, shredded carrot, green cabbage, sugar snap peas

4-6 organic corn tortillas (Recommended: Three Sisters Nixtamal, Portland OR)

Additions: avocado, lime

Cabbage Slaw Instructions

1.     In a small bowl, combine the olive oil, yogurt, lime rind, lime juice, cilantro, garlic, sea salt, and cumin. Shred cabbage and place in medium bowl.

2.     Pour yogurt mixture onto the cabbage and mix thoroughly. Add additional prepared items if desired.

3.     This can be served on top of the fish or as a side salad.

Fish Taco Instructions:

1.     Preheat oven to 425 degrees, or prepare grill

2.     Line baking sheet with foil in preparation for the fish.

3.     To prepare slaw, combine first 8 ingredients in a small bowl and set aside. Pour crema over shredded cabbage and mix thoroughly.

4.     To prepare tacos, combine cumin, coriander, paprika, pepper, salt, and garlic powder in small bowl. Place fish on lined baking sheet, and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil to coat all sides. Rub fish with spice mix until all sides are covered. Cook at 425 for 9 minutes or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork. If using a grill, wrap fish in foil and grill for approximately same amount of time.

5.     Wrap tortillas in foil, and heat in the oven or grill for 3-5 mins.

6.     Break fish apart into bite size pieces, watching for bones and removing if necessary. Place fish on taco and top with cabbage slaw. Finish with lime slice and additional items if desired. Enjoy!

 Blackberry Mojito Cocktail

Adapted from LetsTalkFitness

Serves: 1 or 2

Ingredients

6 oz blackberries

3-4 mint leaves

1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

2 tsp raw honey or raw maple syrup

¼ cup plain vodka or rum

1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

½ cups seltzer water or club soda (no sugar added)

4 ice cubes, crushed

Instructions

1.     Put the blackberries, mint, lemon juice, lime juice into the glass(es).

2.     Muddle the mixture.

3.     Add seltzer or club soda and vodka or rum.

4.     Stir cocktail.

5.     Add ice and serve.

***If you want to make this blackberry mojito alcohol-free, remove the rum or vodka and replace with an additional 1/4 cup seltzer water. Also, a fun way to serve the cocktail (either version) is to freeze some of the blackberries and serve them on top of the drink in place of 2 ice cubes – the frozen fruit will keep the drink cold and makes for a nice presentation.

Planning a trip? Pack your Pilates!

Planning a trip? Pack your Pilates!

It's travel season, which means you're probably going to be hitting the road or the friendly skies soon for an escape from reality. Some time off from a normal routine is extraordinary for our physical and mental health, but only if we do it right.

Travel has a tendency to throw our bodies all out of wack if we let it, but the power to maintain your fitness progress is in your hands. If you're planning a getaway, here are a few tips to keep your Pilates practice in line.

1. Put in the extra time before you leave.

Spend some time before or after your normal class having your instructor observe your form and routine. This way, when you pack your bands or mat to take with you, you can workout in full confidence that you're performing each movement correctly.

2. Stay focused.

Trips can mean long nights and lazy days, but it's possible to carve out some quality you time, even when you're in chill mode. You're probably thinking about how exhausting vacation activities can be, or how the point of the trip is to recuperate from the craziness of everyday life in the first place, but arguing with the fact that exercise gives you energy is a battle you just can't win.

3. Do it online.

Does your instructor offer online sessions? Could you tease and 100 your way through a Skype workout? Why not?! Ask if she'd be willing to make that accommodation for you while you're away. That's the beauty of the Internet—it's made the world much smaller.

4. Find a studio where you're going.

In fact, your coach may even be able to refer you to a quality instructor in your destination city. This is a great way to stay accountable while making new acquaintances. And for a bonus, the locals will be more than happy to point you towards the hottest spots in town.

So there they are—four excuse slashers to keep your body moving in the right direction while you're gone. The discipline it takes to stay on a fitness regimen on vacation can empower you. Now go have some fun, and come back rested and ready for some advanced Pilates action.

STP + ECP: Why Cycling & Pilates are a Win

STP + ECP: Why Cycling & Pilates are a Win

STP + ECP: Why Cycling & Pilates are a Win

Emerald City Pilates would like to take a few moments to give a shout out to the thousands of super-fit maniacs who just completed the STP Bicycle Classic!

You trained, you showed up, and you cycled over 200 miles through the beautiful hills of the Pacific Northwest. We have no doubt that you feel euphoric, accomplished, and stiff. While you bask in your accomplishment, let us school you on how Pilates can help elevate your recovery to the next level—not only after ultra-races like the STP, but as part of your normal training regimen.

Upper Body

If you experience pain in your shoulders and chest after riding, chances are these muscles lack the strength to support your head’s weight for extended periods of time. Any muscle group that must stay contracted for long periods must intentionally be developed to do so. Otherwise, you can consider pain and injury a constant sidekick. When riding a bike, there is a lot of work going on with the nerves and muscles between your shoulders and chest. Pilates is an ideal way to strengthen these muscle groups, because it strengthens and balances not only the shoulders, but the muscles around the shoulders. Pilates employs strengthening dynamic and static movements, which ensure a synergistic balance between the shoulders, neck, and chest, taking the pressure off the muscles that work to support the head the most.

Lower Body

If you get off your bike after a long run and feel like being the Tin Man from Wizard of Oz would be a step up, it’s time to give some focused attention to your hip flexors. Pilates considers the hips as part of the core, so naturally, we give them all the attention they deserve. Cycling’s repetitive movements can result in shortened hip flexors, which can cause tight glutes, which can cause pain and injury. Pilates ensures that not only are the flexors strengthened, but that they’re lengthened, as well.

Movement

Cyclists spend a lot of time leaning forward in what’s called the sagittal plane. In order to maintain quality mobility, stability, and balance, it’s important to also operate in the frontal plane (moving side to side) and the transverse plane (rotating and twisting). The body is created to work in all three, so when we neglect doing so, we increase our probability of injury and weaken muscles and joints throughout the entire body.

Working on a bike for hours, while a formidable accomplishment, is sure to throw the body out of balance. Incorporating Pilates into any cycling regimen is a move that will keep you rolling in the right direction.  

How to Love Monday

How to Love Monday

How to Love Monday

Mondays have gotten a bad rap. Honestly, this leading day of the week hasn’t done anything wrong to anybody, but on Sunday afternoons, millions of people everywhere start to dread Monday mornings, consider writing letters to their congressmen and women about adding a third day to the weekend, and question the overall choices and direction of their lives. But perhaps this isn’t the fault of Monday at all—maybe it’s a result of what psychologists call “negative affect.”

Psycologydictionary.org defines negative affect as, “an internal feeling or emotion which is typically experienced after one has failed to complete a task or goal, or where they have completed the task but at a lower than required standard.” Not everyone hates Mondays, as we see on ads for webinars that promise to help you cultivate a life you don’t need a vacation from. The “Mondays” are an individual disorder that attacks those who desire to be “there,” but feel stuck “here.” So what can its victims do to fix it?

Pilates. One session. Ten weeks.

Seriously. They did a study on this, and the numbers show that just one session of Pilates each week, for ten weeks, yielded a significant 12% decrease on negative affect for sedentary young women. It also showed positive changes in muscle mass, flexibility, balance, core strength, ab strength, and body awareness. One of our previous blogs expounded on how Pilates increases mindfulness. One session of Pilates each week isn’t enough movement for the human body, but it’s a good start. And think about it—if one hour can bring such results, what could happen with a regular practice?

A decrease in negative affect, an increase in body image, and the practice of mindfulness can all work wonders for the state of our mental health. Eckhart Tolle, author and spiritual coach, says, “The primary cause of unhappiness is never the situation, but your thoughts about it.” When we practice presence in our daily lives, we can see value and beauty in our circumstances, and the dread will melt away. We can find satisfaction in even the most mundane tasks. We can show gratitude for abnormal schedules and the ability to pay our bills. We can look for good qualities in the most annoying colleagues. And we can do it all while creating the physique we want.

How’s that for getting rid of the Mondays?

July Events

July Events

Meet the Artist Spotlight

We cordially invite you to join us for Meet the Artist on July 7th, where Dr. Agnes Lee, contemporary Chinese painter and biomedical researcher, will be the guest of honor.

Agnes will be at the studio from 6:00-7:30pm, displaying specially selected art pieces especially for this event. All are welcome to stop by, mingle with the artist, and check out the studio. Vine Street Markets will provide the wine. We would be honored for you and a friend to join us.

After retiring in 2003, Dr. Lee traveled throughout Europe to study art, a love affair that began as a grade school student who learned to create pencil sketches from her sister. A chemist, Lee assisted the Tzu Chi Organization in establishing a Bone Marrow Registry in Taiwan, and as a result, has had a hand in assisting hundreds of people over the greatest obstacle of their lives. Through all her accomplishments, art remained a passion, and with the help of her teacher, Mr. Deng Zuolie, coupled with the experimentation of various techniques, Agnes has created a style all her own.

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The fun doesn’t stop after Friday night! Join Kelsey on July 8th at Sweetgrass Food Co. for Kegels & Kale at 10am, where food planning will be the topic of the day. This event is free for members and $20 for non-members. Sign up here.

In the mood to give back? Dress for Success is looking for volunteers for their summer clothing sale from Thursday, July 13-Saturday July 15. Please contact Dress for Success directly for more information.

Pilates Anti-Aging Benefits

Pilates Anti-Aging Benefits

Keep waking up in the morning, and one thing’s for sure: you’ll age. We know you’re thinking, “Thanks, Captain Obvious,” but the years fly by without warning. If we’re not diligent in establishing routines to keep us fabulous and fit, the aging process will sneak up on us.

Aging itself is not a disease. The ailments of aging often involve pain, stiffness, and loss of body awareness and control. Disease and discomfort, which are common in the geriatric community, are part of the vicious cycle of pain, which decrease the desire to include physical activity into your day. Everyone’s looking for the fountain of youth, and since that fountain might lie in a cocktail instead of one single faucet, Pilates is a tailor-made solution to combating the woes of the golden years.

Pilates reduces inflammation.

Studies show that mat Pilates aids in reducing CRP, a protein in the blood that increases with inflammation. Compared to resistance training, Pilates was more effective in reducing inflammation. While Pilates doesn’t cause a drastic decrease in the protein, it does increase the protein’s tendency to drop off. Therefore, when paired with healthy diet choices and other consistent forms of movement, Pilates serves as a secret weapon against inflammation, the main culprit of aging.

Pilates keeps you on your feet.

Whether you prefer the mat or reformer, Pilates is unmatched when it comes to methods of increasing balance. The fear of falling is a valid concern, as broken bones and bed rest follow such injuries, making it significantly more difficult to establish and maintain a regimen of movement. One marked result of a regular Pilates practice is improved balance. The heart of Pilates is core strength, and a strong core means more grace, agility, and the ability to stay on your feet when missteps try to knock you down, literally.

Pilates loosens you up.

Remember those arthritis commercials featuring ladies and gentlemen who were just trying to find a solution for the pain and stiffness in their bodies? You don’t have to qualify to audition for those commercials. Pilates is well known for its ability to add suppleness to your frame. Where there is flexibility, you won’t find stiffness or slow-to-heal injuries. The body will respond better to changes in your physical environment, and you’ll find that the ease of movement seemingly adds years to your life.

Paired with other healthy lifestyle choices, Pilates serves as a real game-changer for the more seasoned community. So sign up for a class, and pair the wisdom of this season of life to the fitness of before.

Staying Well in the Summer

Staying Well in the Summer

I Haven’t Been Sick in Almost Three Years

That’s what he announced, as he ate his bowl of green stuff and sipped his tea. The girl, surrounded by dirty tissues, gave him a watery-eyed glare—made of one part annoyance and one part curiosity—and visualized a life free from cold and flu seasons. Imagine what that would be like. You could win perfect attendance at work for never using sick days. You could sip chai in the fall instead of cough syrup. Even beyond that, those nagging illnesses or constant belly bloat could be history. For real.

A healthy immune system battles anything awry in the body, and it’s designed to win. Our gut, which houses 70% of our immune system, serves as home for little bacteria that regulate its function and fight infections. Diets lacking in appropriate nutrition damage the balance of the gut flora, inviting all kinds of sicknesses and ailments to set up shop in our bodies. This doesn’t just include colds and flu, but asthma, autoimmune disorders, and some cancers. Even people with pretty decent eating habits are often lacking the necessary good bacteria for the immune system to do its thing at full capacity. If you’ve had enough of spending your resources on sicknesses, and you’re ready to get your tummy flora back in tip-top shape, it’s time to recruit some high-quality soldiers for your gut’s probiotic army.

MegaSporeBiotic is a spore formula probiotic, designed to survive the acids of the gastric system. It colonizes well in the system and supports the growth of good bacteria already growing in the intestines, making it significantly beneficial to gut health. Spore formula probiotics, and the people who use them, boast improvements of a plethora of sicknesses, including:

Asthma and allergies

Urinary tract infections

Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Colds, flu, and other infections

Side effects of antibiotics

Bacterial overgrowth/candida

Pain from Rheumatoid arthritis

Additionally, MegaSporeBiotic is reported to help lower the risk of heart disease and cholesterol, and it improves digestion through correct absorption of nutrients. This brand of probiotic is special, in that it is the first commercial probiotic of its kind to produce such a large amount of carotenoid antioxidants throughout the intestinal tract, where it can be absorbed and get to work.

If you’re ready to get to the root of your health problems, consider giving MegaSporeBiotic probiotics a shot. Call, email, or see us at the front desk of the studio for more information. 

Pilates FORE Golfers

Pilates FORE Golfers

Pilates FORE Golfers

Golf season is in full swing, and when it comes to flexing your skills on the green, you don’t want to be out of bounds. To give you the edge, read on to see how Pilates can keep you in the zone on the apron.

The main elements of the golf swing are the set-up, the backswing, the downswing, and the follow-through. Each element possesses intricacies that could be the difference between your name on the leader board and being the last pick for the next fundraising scramble. Let’s go through each element and why Pilates is the ideal way for you to develop your skills.

The set-up

This is another name for the stance, or the way you set your body and club in alignment with the ball. This part of the swing requires a great deal of static balance. Pilates stabilizes the muscles around the joints and increases the muscle strength in your trunk. These improvements have a direct effect on your balance, which is key for the setup and subsequent quick-burst movements of the swing. Since golf is about precision, any drop-off in balance could ruin the whole movement, adding more strokes to your scorecard than necessary.

The backswing & downswing

These are the circular movements of the golf swing, and they require a great amount of core strength and body awareness. Pilates is king when it comes to improving trunk strength and control, as it strengthens and stabilizes the small, deep muscles of the back and core. These muscle groups stabilize the position of your spine, which will engage in a great amount of twisting and turning during the back and downswings. Additionally, Pilates classes will take your body awareness to a whole new level, given that you must engage your mental faculties when performing the movements. Body awareness is knowing what your body is doing and listening to it in order to control and adjust what happens next. Having the ability to make quick adjustments during sports is a skill that will give you a leg up on the competition. When your body awareness is on point, you don’t have to surrender to whatever happens next—you determine what happens next, even in a split second.

The follow-through

The follow-through utilizes the same skills as the backswing and downswing—balance and body awareness. Additionally, being that this is the back end of the movement, it’s easy to slack off on the technicalities of your form. This is where mindfulness comes in. Pilates increases the level of mindfulness within you, forcing you into presence and feeling what your mind and body are doing in each moment. And since golf is one of the few sports with an environment geared towards mindfulness (consider the silent audience), the skill of presence crosses over here from Pilates, beautifully.

Convinced yet? Sign up for a private lesson today, and you’ll be playing lights out in no time.

Stop the Desk Slump- How Pilates Can Help

Stop the Desk Slump- How Pilates Can Help

From Desk to Mat: How Pilates Can Heal Your Postural Woes

Thirteen.

That’s the average number of hours Americans sit each day. Many of those hours are spent at a desk, in front of a computer, practicing bad posture. Since this is everyday life, it’s easy to overlook the damage that something seemingly as trivial as the way we sit at a desk might cause, but the truth of the matter is this single practice might be causing more health issues than you realize.

Desk jobs can cause kyphotic spine, or forward movement of the head, forcing your back and neck to work considerably harder to keep your body upright. This movement increases the probability of injury, creating the potential for disc injuries and pinched nerves. Have you ever wondered how someone could throw their back out or pull a muscle doing something as simple as reaching for their purse or keys? Well, this is how.

Consequences of Poor Posture

·      Poor posture does more than make you look sloppy in candid photos. If you feel like you’re consistently low on energy, or your breathing isn’t quite right, your posture might be to blame.

·      When our positioning is consistently off, we might be exacerbating health issues, such as digestive problems, poor circulation, headaches, and chronic fatigue.

·      If we don’t protect our spine and muscles, they can’t work correctly. Throwing these structures out of wack can cause them to arbitrarily collapse.

What You Can Do About It

·      If your spine suffers from the desk job blues, Pilates can help you sing a different tune. Its balancing movements and focus on the core strengthen the muscles that support the spine, helping you regain that beautiful curvature your backbone so craves.

·      Additionally, Pilates improves strength and mobility, enabling you to hold seated and standing positions for longer periods of time without breaking down your posture.

·      Your flexibility will improve, along with your body awareness. You’ll more easily notice when you’re not sitting pretty at your desk, and you’ll be more mindful to fix it.

·      You’ll likely suffer from few to no injuries, aches, and pains.

Many times, people don’t know they feel bad until they start feeling better. A regular Pilates practice has the potential to help correct and proactively combat any damage that regular, long days at the office have the power to inflict on your spine. Getting your posture in check with Pilates could eliminate the need for medicinal treatments for your ailments, by getting to the root of the problem. If long hours at the office are breaking you down, Pilates could be the answer to help get you back in line.

Nutrition Coaching now at Emerald City Pilates!

Nutrition Coaching now at Emerald City Pilates!

DRUMROLL, PLEASE!

We are excited—no, GIDDY—to introduce our latest team member and what she brings to the health and fitness table. Please welcome Kelsey Jewell to the ECP family, your new go-to gal for all things nutrition!

Kelsey, a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner, holds a nutrition degree from Bastyr University. While she does not diagnose or treat disease, she does help bring balance to the body by recommending nutritious foods that promote optimal wellness. Her expertise will help you manifest the healthiest version of yourself.

Kelsey will lead our monthly nutrition meeting, “Kegels & Kale,” provide individual nutrition coaching, and offer three unique programs designed to get your nutrition on point.

RESTORE

If you suffer from severe health issues, such as autoimmune disorders, mental health conditions, disruptions in your digestive system (dysbiosis), or other illnesses that require extensive detoxification, this six-month program is for you. It includes an evaluation of your health history and current habits, a comprehensive analysis of your tailored nutritional needs, and follow-up recommendations for movement. This option allows us to walk you through the process of restoration for an extended period of time, equipping you to convert the program to a lifestyle.

REVISE

Have you lost track of your fitness goals? Do you need to correct nagging health issues, such as acne, recurring headaches, or food sensitivities? Then you’re a perfect candidate for this three-month plan! Together, we’ll discuss your goals, review your health history and current dietary habits, and customize a meal plan for you. You will also receive a life transition guide, recipes, supplemental protocol, and recommendations for lifestyle and movement.

REFRESH

If you’re looking to make small, effective changes by utilizing a whole-foods, nutrient-dense diet to help increase energy, then this monthly, hour-long consultation is the first step in discovering the status of your foundational health. We will assess your current dietary intake and extensively review your health history, in order to outline a game plan to help address your health concerns. We will educate you on the right dietary choices to fuel your own busy lifestyle, provide you with reliable diet-related resources, give you a chance to ask whatever questions you have, and discuss next steps.

Which of our new offerings would best suit you? Shoot us an email if you’re ready to get started with Kelsey today, and stay on the lookout for more details about the new RESTORE/REVISE/REFRESH programs.

Mat vs. Reformer Pilates- Which one is right for you?

Mat vs. Reformer Pilates- Which one is right for you?

As if its ability to strengthen the core and increase mindfulness weren’t enough to keep us singing its praises, another sprinkle to add to the topping of Pilates deliciousness is the fact that there’s more than one type to choose from.

You’ve probably heard of mat Pilates, and you’ve likely heard of the reformer, but how do you know which method is best for you? Let’s take a look at the similarities and differences between the two to help determine which option is more suitable to your goals and lifestyle.

How are they the same?

In the 1920s, Joseph Pilates created a new exercise program to provide functional rehabilitation for war veterans. People found Pilates to be low-impact and highly effective, which is why it’s still widely practiced today. The program is built around strengthening and initiating movements from the core, or the “powerhouse,” as Mr. Pilates called it, and the rest of the body will follow suit. Because of the foundation of the program, you can expect to gain strength, a strong core, flexibility, body awareness, and mindfulness from Pilates, no matter which option you choose to jump into.

If both options will benefit me in this way, why make a choice?

The Mat

Mat Pilates is the foundation of the program’s concepts. Designed to improve strength, flexibility, and posture, a highlight of this low-impact method is that it requires your full attention for accurate body control. In mat Pilates, you use your own weight for resistance, so there’s nothing else to support you, which is important in the development of core strength and body awareness. Mat work can do wonders for your core and posture, as long as you are sure to execute the movements with correct form.

The Reformer

The Reformer is a specialized apparatus designed to take you through a variety of movements with additional resistance. This machine supports the body, helping to perfect your form during the exercises. The springs in the apparatus make it possible to significantly increase resistance, more intensely taxing the muscles and more rapidly building strength and coordination. The cables on the reformer force your body to get full range of motion during workouts, increasing your flexibility and joint health. Plus, the machine just looks super cool, so there’s that.

So how do I choose?

Well, which one is calling your name? If you’re stuck in the middle, one aspect to consider is that you can do mat Pilates just about anywhere, but to do work on the reformer, you need to be around the machine. That may not always be possible, so having mat knowledge is beneficial. Also, you’d need a trainer to teach you how to use the reformer, so consider if you have the resources to hire someone to show you the ins and outs. On the other hand, if you’d like more resistance and variety, the reformer is the way to go. There really is no wrong or right, so think about which option tickles your fancy. But don’t think too long—the benefits are waiting for you!