Tuesday, 12 October 2010

I am back - phew! Bands and muscles!

I havent posted anything here for a while, mainly due to being tied up in nutritional training and starting up fitcamp sessions for clients wanting to lose weight , shape up, asess their diet and be healthier and fitter.

But today, I was in Truro holding Two Personal training sessions, one client had just returned after recovering from a hysterectomy, we went gently, but she did some great glute medius work, (side lying legs and oyster) shoulder bridges, leg slides, bent knee fall out and shoulders strengthening with the thera band. Im sure her legs will be feeling it later! she did so well and was pleased with what she could do, bless her!

My second session was with a lady who plays tennis once a week, had a knee replacement a couple of years ago, and due to the Dr .telling her not to put weight on it, has developed a side ways lean, all her weight is now resting on the right side,the left shoulder is raised and the ankles are tight, especially the left one. So in her first ever Pilates session, we concentrated on ankle and hip mobility, thoracic stretching and mobility, side lying legs, glute work in the shoulder brisge as well. The hour flew by and she was very pleased she could do the moves and stretches we went through, so was I!
Theres a modification and moves for everyone , no matter what brings you to Pilates.

Thats the beauty of it.Thats why I love it!


Monday, 30 August 2010

Bank Holiday

The suns out! get outside before it changes its mind! get your Vitamin D intake for the day.

I was up early, fed the chickens, let them out for a run and a peck amongst the weeds, picked up 2 eggs and poached them for breakfast with swedish rye bread and organic plum tomatoes.

Went for a walk around the village and on the beach which was starting to fill up with windbreakers and ice cream .
Now Im home, practicing Pilates for this weeks classes and correcting the internal domes, which is such an easy portable way to check your posture and muscular inbalances as you go through your day.

Align Pelvic floor,  diaphragm, breast bone(Sternum) soft palette of the roof of your mouth..think of them as your internal domes or spheres and balance them on top of each other. Each time I do this its usually my head thats too far forward, this creates tension in the shoulders and the lower back, all the way down the chain to the knees and the feet.

Balance yourself out x

Thursday, 1 July 2010

Busy doing lots of stuff

As the classes are pretty much stuffed to overflowing, I needed to find another place to teach. My sister always was the lucky one, opportunities just landed in her lap,  and I always had to go out looking for mine!
Not so this time! I am a member of Network Cornwall, a FREE (Yes..FREE!) site that has about 4k members (all female too) advertising businesses, looking for people to help them fix things, recommending people(builders, massage, whatever!) and a general forum for a chat,also on FACEBOOK under Lets Link Up where a few of us say Hi !! and put a face to a name and advertise our wares. Why don't you join it? Its an eye opener to whats going on in Cornwall and how many people are working for themselves or asking for your assistance or advice, where you can ask for assistance or advice as well, its like having heaps of real Friends in cyberspace but you know they are on your doorstep, so to speak.
One of these members runs Blue Lotus Therapy Centre at Scorrier House, and got in touch after reading my emails on Pilates, Boot Camp & Stretch classes. She has a spare room for hire, so looks like I can have more Pilates classes available on Thursday mornings , Tuesdays as well, but going to start on one day a week and see how it goes. Ive got to fit in Boot Camp classes as well, as it seems you all want to lose Fat and be healthier, have more energy & know the truth about your food and metabolism to get that sluggish feeling a kick up the backside.
Looking at the calendar, I may need a few extra hours in the day, but those hours I would like at night so I can sleep for a couple more hours!
Im now preparing like mad for Saturday Mornings FREE Pilates for Charity.
Check details on www.pilatesmad.co.uk
Hoping for a great turnout, but it seems Ive picked a Saturday when most cannot make it due to Holidays or Kids being around, never mind, another one in September will follow for a different charity, got to do what you can, and if you can do it, then why make excuses, just get on with it!

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Running & Pilates

If your passion is for running, you are dedicated to your sport, out training in all weathers and all times of day, I admire that! I always think of that when I pass a runner in the cosiness of my car ..

You also are open to injuries in the lower limbs, calves, ankles, achilles tendon..and the precious lower back..uneven surfaces, poor technique, incorrect footwear, excessive training all contribute.
So how do simple slow precise Pilates moves help? Its for flexible dancer type Females isnt it?? This is a myth..!!

 If you already do Pilates, you will know its not easy, as you have to concentrate , actually think about what you are doing and think about your body..from the inside..something you dont do in other classes!

Common Injuries.. Sciatica, poor posture is one of the causes, leg length difference is another. Tight Piriformis muscle..this can irritate the Sciatic nerve, you get pain in the buttocks and possibly down the back of the leg.

Iliotibial Band..a main cause for lateral knee pain, its thick tissue on the outside of the thigh from the outside of the Pelvis, over the hip & the knee, so you can see the many issues you get if its tight. It will bow the knees, and pronate the feet, the lower legs turn inwards creating issues above the knee in the hips as well, then the back as well.

Hamstrings..back of the thigh, insert at the sit bones and run down to the back of the knee..3 muscles..warming up before you run helps reduce strain , especially in winter..stretching them effectively reduces strain on these 3 very important muscles.

Calf strain..the calf is the Gastrocnemius, what a cool name!
Plus the smaller Soleus muscle. They get tight and need stretching, again warming up before running is helpful to reduce strain, as is stretching after the run..

Achilles Tendonitis..the largest tendon in the body! connecting the calf to the heel..it gets inflamed through overuse or through degeneration of the tendons. If you turn the foot whilst running..you will get tendonitis..a change in footwear, calf weakness, tight Gastroc, excessive pronation of the ankle pulls it off centre..

 Plantar fasciitis...causes the heel to ache, feel hot or swells..the fascia is inflamed. Poor foot posture, prolonged sitting or excessive running can be causes, wearing shoes with inadequate arch supports, a tight achilles doesnt help either.

Can you see that a tightness in all these muscles leads to injury, incorrect technique is a major factor..foot muscle strengthening is important good flexibility in the lower limbs is important..and great footwear is a bonus.

Theres many Pilates moves that help all of the above, but dont expect a class to me fast, furious and dont expect to "feel the burn" Its not a hard workout class, well, not in the beginning anyway...starting with the foundation and working your way up..bit like running really, you wouldnt start your running career by buying a pair of cheap shoes and running a Marathon the next day and expect a time of 2 hours 15 minutes, so why expect to go to a Pilates class and expect to see a result immediately and understand whats going on in your body in under 60 minutes in a class of 8 people who have totally different needs to you..they may just be going to a class to get flat abs!
So, find a great Pilates teacher, if your budget cannot be stretched to personal training once a week , see if you can sign up for one a month, or just one hour and pay for a personal programme for you to do at home whilst attending the classes...this information is invaluable to improve your muscle function..reducing injury..spend more time running effectively ..isn't that what you want to do..?

Sunday, 16 May 2010

3 tips for Fat Loss you can do NOW..

Wander over to your Kitchen cupboards and have a good look at your tins and boxes of cereals...grab a black bin bag..and throw away the following:

1. Breakfast cereals ... all of them..even if they say they are healthy (Special K, Alpen, Jordans, Dorset Cereals..)
2. Throw away carbonated drinks..diet and non diet coke, lemonade, fanta etc AND Alcohol!! (has your jaw just dropped and you've lost interest, suddenly you dont want to loose fat anymore that much? Alcohols more important!)
3. Sugar - chuck it out, including Honey..(shock horror!)

How empty are your cupboards now..as most things will have sugar in them, including ready made convenience foods in the fridge and freezer..

WHY should you do these and why will you feel better for it?

1. All Breakfast cereals have sugar in them , sucrose, glucose, fructose..doesnt matter how they dress it up... they change the name.. its sugar and will leave you wanting more sugar a few hours later, its an energy draining food.You will not lose the belly fat if you keep on munching cereals.
2. You know Coke etc is full of sugar so dont buy it. Diet drinks contain fake sugar, its also in diet foods like weight watchers stuff. Its bad for the health and leaves you craving sugar again! Check the Labels on your food, and check again. Alcohol ..sugar...cut it out, don't buy it, don't have it in the house...please dont think..ahhhh, just one glass wont hurt.. as it will lead to another and another, before 3 bottles a week have gone (or more did you say?) and the fat is still there on your belly, thighs, arms...& you wonder why you are still fat..

3. As the above, sugar is fattening, everyone knows that. The body cannot tell the difference between Sugar and Honey, so Honey is on the sugar list..sorry!

4. Just as a bonus..drink more WATER.

..now is a good time to start..if you really want to go for it, get a water filter as it removes all the chemicals in your tap water, and oh my god theres loads of those...
Bottled water..the best ones are Evian and Volvic.
Brita water filters only removes Chlorine. The chemicals remain .
How much water to drink? Get a 2 litre bottle of Evian/Volvic and drink it through your day..this does depend on your weight, but this is a guide, some of you dont drink water at all,(tea & coffee 'count!) so you can start this today, feel more awake, more alert, flush out the breakfast cereal toxins and start to drop some fat. Your urine should be clearer!

If you are still here ...you cannot carry on eating sugar filled foods and expect to lose fat , keep it off , and keep fit and healthy. Theres a difference to losing Fat and losing Muscle..so weighing yourself doesnt always work...Change your Lifestyle..and start Now..not tomorrow!
Your new motto for your fridge door?

                             "you cant out-train a bad diet"

Theres heaps more info on foods, changing routines, sleep and why you cant sleep or wake up at certain times..all to do with what you eat, change your lifestyle, change your diet, change your nutrition, or stay the same, and still be the same a month, 6 mths, 12 mths down the line..its not just about losing fat, its about being healthier, having more energy, feeling more alive!! 

More posts to follow, hand outs for my clients, and nutrition and fat loss workouts coming up, so keep an eye out for these!

Friday, 23 April 2010

work your arse off!

I love my job! I love teaching classes for beginners as you can see the concentration on their faces  as we go through the hour, finding their sit bones and why they are important, finding their Lats (Latissimus Dorsi) and why its important to use them, finding out why they hold tension in their shoulders and how it can be released, finding their Glutes and how to "switch them on" ...finding out their posture type, how their pelvis is tilted and then of course, the deepest abdominal muscle, the Transversus Abdominals.

 I also love teaching the next level and Intermediates, as we can challenge ourselves a little bit further, going into the harder moves which are so much fun!

Then theres personal training,going to someones house or they come to mine, a 1:1 or a couple of friends sharing an hour, we do different things we don't/can't do in a class situation, using the foam roller, use Franklin balls, use the Combo Chair (at my house) Stability Ball, and they got a more personalised routine, made to fit their posture type and any issues they may have with their back/shoulder/knees or especially Osteoporosis or Scoliosis clients who wouldn't benefit from an everyday mixed level Pilates class.

Then theres Rehabilitation Pilates, I love this too, as you can see the benefits so quickly, and you are dealing with clients who are scared to move, who want to improve, desperate to be stronger, even if its just to be pain free when getting out of bed and walking down the street.

I love all dimensions and aspects of Pilates, sometimes I wish it wasnt called that as not many people know what it means, some who have been attending gym based mass turnout classes arent even aware Pilates was a bloke who created the moves and why he did, but it has become so popular recently, so hopefully the message is reaching more and more people, the benefits being felt in more and more bodies...

and then, once they've discovered the Matwork, theres another few doors to open to discover the Reformer, Wunda Chair, Ladder & Step Barrel, Ped-a-Pul, Magic Circle, Cadillac, Arm Chair..and the moves you can take from some of these to the mat using props like a resistance band and/or a foam roller/small inflatable ball and/or Stability ball.

So come on then if you've never tried it before, learn what your Psoas is and why its so important to your body and how it will make you stronger! Its fun ! Its hard work! Your abs get flatter and you get 100% more than that..Bonus! Its better than a BOGOF deal!  Experiment and enjoy! Put your excuses in the bin....get your trackies on and a t shirt, and book a class..see you soon!

Thursday, 15 April 2010

we're on the road to nowhere..

Spinning..Ive tried to like it..really...but I don't..no crime in that of course, but its supposed to be a major calorie cruncher..or is it?

One things for sure, its creates shortened Hip Flexors ..an anterior tilt in the pelvis, short neck muscles, tight upper trapezius as the chin juts out, shoulders lifting up ,weakened glute muscles which all go to affect your posture, your back, your shoulders etc etc...
the very least you could do (apart from not going to a Spinning class) is to stretch them out if you are totally addicted to spinning..or your back pain wont get any better, havent got back pain yet? wont be long then if you spend time on the spinning saddle.
Educate yourself, or find someone who will tell you the facts. Be aware and use the deep core Transversus Abs to strengthen the back & torso, lengthen the spine, melt the shoulders down the back is sooo important, Pilates and Flawless form isnt all about the core..use the principles in every day life to reap the benefits 100%.

See the spine in this diagram? The Psoas(Your primary Hip Flexor, it lifts your leg..) is the first red muscle attached to the vertebrae..theres one each side of the spine (but not in this diagram). it snuggles each side of the lumbar spine and runs through your pelvis to the top of the Femur to the lesser trochanter , thats just in from your pubic bone, about a quarter in along the upper thigh where it meets your body.

Don't you think Metabolic Interval Training burns more fat than Spinning..research says Yes..and it also says that it carries on burning long after you've finished (24 - 38 hours!)..so I'm interested..got my attention for sure! and in less time..no more double spinning classes when you've got better things to do with your time.

Don't let your subconscious fool you though, its no miracle workout, looking at your diet is crucial to loosing the FAT..don't think you can work hard then eat crap every day, its not happening ..but allow the occasional "fall off the wagon" but don't beat yourself up about it, you are only human, get back on that wagon and keep going in the right direction.
...the information is out there folks, you've just got to be motivated to want to look for it, read it and act on it..sitting on the bum wont work the butt cheeks (your glutes!) thats Spinning out again then!!
this is one of my faves for firing them though..
Shoulder Bridge..with one leg raised before you start, knees in line, drawing the sit bones towards each other to fire those sleepy glutes, same rules apply as usual with the shoulder bridge , hips level, wide collarbone, shoulders drawn down the back, even weight in the feet, knees in line with the sit bones..aim for 10 each side with focus on 100% quality of the movement
Too much for your back to deal with right now? 
Start with alternating heel lifts once in the shoulder bridge "ski slope" position, once you can manage these with perfect form go on up a notch to alternating knee floats..work within your level, and when your technique is flawless, challenge yourself, maintaining that flawless technique of course...every time..no exception..

Thursday, 25 March 2010

Awareness....why dont we have it??

This is my big question of the day...I'm watching a programme on channel 4 and have just seen the tightest shoulders...everytime I see something like that I want to reach into the TV and grab the person...show them their posture in a mirror..have you seen your back? do you ever look at yourself , naked or clothed, Im not fussy!
I makes me wonder if you know more about the swirls in your fingertips, they are about much of a mystery as your spine, why is that?  I'm sure you care about yourself or you wouldn't wash or have your haircut every now and then..so does the awareness of yourself stop at your face and hair, maybe hands/feet if you like nail varnish or moisturise them
This awareness , Ive noticed, takes a while to filter through, it took me a while too.  Hair looks nice, face look nice, back looks awful!

Not everyone says "Hi how are you, have you noticed that bump in your right shoulder?"  - and before you think, well, how rude! I don't say it straight away, but in a private session I will, in front of a mirror, ask them what they see, and show them what I see...hard to do in a class situation, taking photos or a video of them moving is a great help, as what you think you are doing and what you are really doing is usually very different..isnt that what you are paying your Pilates Teacher for, isnt that why you are here? we dont want you to waste your time or money, we want you to see the results you want to see.

So what can i say...well, BBC Breakfast TV..the chap called Simon who stands usually to chat about the Business news..his hunched shoulders and forward head drives me nuts, I look at him and want to grab his shoulders and want to give him the gift of Pilates to get him on the road to better shoulders,less headaches, less backache, less neck pain, stronger muscles, and..as he will be working his deep ab muscles or his Pelvic Floor his sex life will be boosted too and when he gets older and older, he wont be a hunched over old man, but a sprightly skipping light stepping stronger happy chap who can hold his own head up and has strong pelvic floor muscles, carry heavy supermarket bags and not fall over as his balance will be excellant too!! 

My rant over for the day...I'm off to stretch my shoulders..

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Release & Relax..get some balls..

Balls - green ones and blue a mini roller - part of a goody bag from APPI who hosted an Eric Franklin http://www.franklin-methode.ch/content-n6-sE.html               workshop over a weekend in London - I have wanted a pair of green balls for a while (stop sniggering you!)  now I have them and am using them on myself and on private clients, they are about 10cm in diameter, and are great for relaxing and releasing tension anywhere in the body, soooooo effective!

They are just lovely when placed under the feet and you rock back and forth on them, and even more divine when placed under the shoulders and you sink back into them..they are around £10/£15 a pair, not cheap, but worth every penny.
I bought some tennis balls for class to create a similar effect, and will use them in an effective stretch and relax class over the easter holidays.. OK... so not as luxurious as the emerald green balls, but getting there!

Eric has published a few books on his method , they all make very interesting reading, he knows so much about the body and how it works, if you get a chance to attend a workshop..GO..he has been teaching for many years and will be retiring soon, but has many teachers trained in the method to carry it on.
He also runs Franklin Method teacher training courses, and theres one planned for 2011 in the UK.
I gave my clients a spikey massage ball for christmas..these are also great to rest and roll feet on to break down the tight fascia in the feet, releasing tension, relaxing the legs and hips, also under the shoulders and down the arm, great if you sit at a computer for hours on end or sit at the wheel of a car most days..get relaxing & releasing..you wont regret it!

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Cowboys & Angels

Have you ever sold a house?  how did you choose your estate agent..theres so many to choose from! They all advertise in the same place..high street presence with a window display, local paper and websites, their own websites and websites like rightmove.co.uk or findaproperty.co.uk who have loads of agents all under one roof to save you the bother of searching.
How do you ever choose the right one? Theres the posh ones who wont look at a property under £200k, and theres the middle grounders who will take on anything, and sometimes have a posh property section, sometimes in a totally different office, or did you choose a Cowboy?
I used to be in the property business, but in the Letting department ..offering the same as many other agents, we usually took on the property by personality, the owner signed us up because they liked us, we were friendly, open, caring, found common ground and even though we were a little bit more expensive than a few of the competition, there were those charging more than us..so how did we build up a database of propertied..personality and knowing our stuff..

So how do you choose a Pilates Instructor, pretty much the same way? Personality? Experience?
Every teacher is different, Ive met a few through either taking part in their classes or meeting them at training courses..when I took the practical of my final exam, I was a guinea pig for a day and was amazed at how many styles of teaching I saw, some I couldnt wait to get out of the room and some engaged me from the very start, and wished I could do their class every week, yet we all teach the same thing and our goal for you is the same..to understand the method and the work of Joseph Pilates and to see improvements in your body..not just a flat stomach..but as you understand it more, you will see that you achieve pain free and stronger shoulders..stronger and more balanced muscles in your legs..its a full body head to toe workout programme..and its as hard as you want it to be..ok so we dont jump about the room so you cannot class it as a cardio workout (until you get on some of the equipment and do a tough routine..& a tough mat routine will make you sweat)  but you become aware that your shoulders may be tight( and you never knew it!), your hamstrings will be tight and your quads weaker, your feet will be a revelation as to how you use them and the precision in each move is highlighted..the awareness of your body is enlightening..inside out..
The work is endless, and a joy..each class you learn something new, discover muscles you never knew you had or a new move you werent aware of..taking Reformer work to the mat..using a Pilates Circle, Ball, weights, bands, foam roller..its fun as well as an education!
Good luck in choosing your teacher and long may you have a great working relationship with them!

Thursday, 4 March 2010

Hows your Butt looking? (or whatever name you have for it!)

Last night..I was awake for a while thinking about Pilates..sad eh?? thought of great idea for a blog and now Ive forgotten it..must write these thoughts down when i get them..as my bed is against a wall, the wall will be covered in words the next morning..
So Im just going to tap out words and see what happens....eureka!! now Ive remembered..it was about Bottoms, Butts, Behinds, Arses..whatever you call them!
I attended Pilates classes for a couple of years, and one morning, after a shower, I caught a glimpse of my backside in the mirror and wondered why it was heading South and not looking too good, then had a look at my belly and wondered the same, if i was doing Pilates and these "core" moves, why wasnt it working after all this time? I was holding everything  tight at 80% plus as I was told..so whats the issue? I wasnt lazy, I was at class twice a week and doing cardio on top of that..
Like most people, I carried on, forgot about it, until the next time, and the next time..and I didnt do anything about it..do you think we, as human beings, are just lazy until we really push ourselves..? something happens to make us change our ways..?
Day One of my Pilates Teacher Training with The Pilates Institute in London was an amazing Light Bulb moment..I got it straight away..it was everything I wanted and more, it delivered and answered my questions..everything I didnt get from the past 2 years, but I didnt know that until now..its a bit like going upstairs to get something, getting there & forgetting what it was you wanted, and going all the way back down to try to remember what it was..then going back upstairs again hoping you dont forget!

Anyway, not wishing to annoy or undermine the teacher of the large studio class (20 plus clients..never knowing who is in the room or what their background is in fitness , health..etc)  we all have different teaching styles & life would be dull if we were all the same, & a gym style class will always be different..the choice is yours as they say, maybe until you have that light bulb moment or look in the mirror and wonder why your butt and/or tum is looking a bit South facing..why your shoulder pain hasnt gone, why your knees hurt, why you keep getting sciatica, why your hamstrings are still tight?

  So..now I take that Eureka feeling and hopefully translate it to all my clients in all my classes, so they get "it"..my body shape changed in a matter of months..more than it ever did in the last 2 years when all I saw was a droopy arse and abs (bit too graphic? sorry!) why we do what we do, how it works, how it makes you stronger, why sitting at a desk for 4 - 8 hours a day will make your back hurt and shoulders/neck ache if you arent aware of your posture, posture type, how to correct it, just by a bit of tweaking & knowledge of the deep stabilising muscles we are aiming for..its easy but at the same time its hard..if youve been to one of my classes you will understand what I mean by that, if you haven't then you wont, so see you soon then for the answer..
got a car? ever had to take it to the garage for an MOT , did they tweak it to make it run smoother..your body is the same..spend money on the car to make it run better..spend it on your body to do the same..as in the words of a well known Supermarket(but changing the first word..)...learn something new today

Saturday, 27 February 2010


A friend of mine didnt want to come to pilates as he has sciatica..just wants to sit there and wait for it to go..ooohhh...wanted to shout "havent you listened to anything Ive said ??!!" but shut my mouth again and held onto my words...so just photocopied stretches from one of my very fave informative books on stretching and popped them in an envelope and put them into his letterbox..sent a text to let him know check them out..told him to read EVERY word and stretch...he did...now hes skipping around..yes!!  so its not for everyone but a simple stretch like a calf stretch can help your sciatica, its all down to nerve tetherings apparantly, just check your form as you stretch, I know it sounds obvious but look at your foot as you stretch it behind you..is the foot straight or is the heel slightly to the left or right, so many dont bother to check, or just check and dont double check & wonder why a stretch isnt being felt.

second stretch was the figure 4..easiest way is to do it seated..crossing one foot onto the other knee and very slowly and slightly lean forward or lie down and have one leg up the wall, bend the knee and place sole of foot flat on wall, your other foot rests on the knee of the leg up the wall..draw the foot on the wall down until you feel a stretch in the outside thigh of the crossed leg...
stretch 30 - 60 secs 2 - 3 times a day ..
its a start and will help enormously..

Friday, 19 February 2010

Combo Chair

Photo from Pilates on Fifth

Theres many clips on You Tube of moves on the wunda chair..Rael Isacowitz being the most passionate with his words..heres 2 clips to have a look at..but remember, you've got to start somewhere, and the majority of these moves are Intermediate to Advanced and take practice, not just to perform them but to use the correct muscles to make the move effective..you are not in a gym lifting a weight with a tight rounded back , rounded shoulders & tight pecs with turned in feet and knock knees and wanting just bigger biceps..pilates means working every muscles from top to toe effectively..so not a minute is wasted...



Joe Pilates created a series of movements in the early 1900's..and they are still being discovered by new people every day..and have been practiced by many people for years...once you've discovered Pilates on the mat ..discover Pilats on equipment if you can..reformers are being used more & more in studio settings and sometimes in a gym environment..and now the Wunda Chair is becoming more popular too..a beautiful and inspirational piece of equipment created by Pilates for a friend who had no room for a Reformer...the chair has been re created by other companies..they are sturdy and use those fantastic strong springs as resistance..www.fitness-mad.com have a chair called the Combo Chair..now sitting in my front room..and I love it..!!
Classes or private sessions are more expensive than a Mat class as the equipment isnt cheap!
A Reformer will set you back about £1 - £4k and a Chair £600 - £2k...classes and 1:1 sessions vary instructor to instructor and location to location..you have to ask to find out..dont be shy..

 The Pilates Chair /Wunda Chair/Combo Chair/Stability Chair is one versatile exercise machine. Don't let the word "chair" fool you - it's not necessarily a sit-down workout!!
You will be seated, standing, on the floor using the pedals and springs as resistance, lunging, push ups...theres over 70 moves to take your whole body through a challenging workout..starting with footwork ..hmmmm...seems easy enough..then take the connecting bar away from the pedals & you have to use equal strength on each side to move the pedals..your weaknesses will be highlighted as you work! Its humbling and amazing...trial 30 mins and a cup of tea(with a drop of brandy??) coming soon..watch this space..or the website www.pilatesmad.co.uk

Have fun practicing!!

Friday, 5 February 2010

Now for those Lordotic types..

So if you are not Swayback but are Lordotic..means you have a lumbar curve in your spine but its deeper than it should be.... want to see if you are??
Place the heels of your hands on your hip bones, fingers facing down to pubic bone and thumbs towards each other.. if the hip bones are forward of the pubic bone this is classed as lordosis, and increased curvature of the spine.
Tucking your tail bone under is great for you, until the hip bones and pubic bone are all on the same level. (if its hard to feel this standing, do it lying down on the floor on your back)

Head – the head is usually in a neutral position.. not tilted forward or backwards.
Neck –  usually a normal curve in the neck
Upper Back –usually a normal curve in the upper back
Lower Back – the lower back has an increased curve
Pelvis – the top of pelvis is titled forward
Knee Joints – the knees are slightly hyperextended
Ankle Joints – the angle between the leg and the sole of foot is greater than 90 degrees

Weak Over Stretched Muscles
The forward tilt of the pelvis increases the distance between the top of the pelvis and the ribs. This lengthens the front ab muscles . They should counteract the forward tilt of the pelvis keeping it neutral
Your hamstrings( back of the thigh, 3 muscles)  insert into the base of the pelvis(sit bones), the forward tilt of the pelvis lengthens them . The hamstrings may or may not be weak.
Tight  Overly Strong Muscles
An increase curve of the lower back shortens the lower back muscle, these muscles can also be overly strong, pulling the back of the pelvis upwards(tailbone) causing a forward pelvic tilt. The hip flexors (Psoas being the primary one) can also be tight, overly strong, tilting the pelvis into that lordotic curve

Being aware of this increased curve as much as you can and doing exercises to help the awareness and address the muscular imbalance(Pilates! yay!!)helps prevent twinging in the back, as you move, as you function from day to day, bending down to pick up objects from the floor, hoovering, washing up, carrying shopping home or in and out of the car..sitting at the computer, watching TV..the list is as long as the daily tasks you perform!

Sitting on the floor in neutral with the sit bones placed equally and grounded is something you can do fairly easily without pain, its the shoulder placement you need to be aware of now, the settling of the rib cage, the circle of the rib cage floating above the circle of the pelvis..the lengthening of the spine and the crown of the head.

Wednesday, 3 February 2010

Swayback Posture? dont be scared...

Part of Pilates level 3 is learning posture types, I love it!  But now I tend to look at people and notice what posture type they are, so please dont be offended if I tell you, I have stopped telling people as they look at me as if Im a bit odd ..(well....)  I dont mean I told a complete stranger in the street..but people I know at the gym, in a class ...etc

Anyway, I think its fascinating as its all about knowing what imbalances you have and why this affects your posture which affects your back, shoulders, feet, legs, knees pelvis..

Me...Im a swayback posture..and when I try to correct it I turn into Flatback posture, though now with Pilates and a lot of hard work, its starting to look better, though Ive got a long way to go yet, and its accepting that you have a long way to go thats half the battle, you wont fix it in a few weeks!

So I noticed a guy in a class I go to at the gym who is swayback, Ive noticed it for a while, hard not to as he stands right in the front of the class and is sometimes the only guy, and if you are standing behind him, you cant help but notice the derriere..ok..so if you get a fit bloke in a class standing in front of you arent you going to occasionally look at his bum? thought so...anyway, I was looking at his posture..(honest!..Im so naieve..) Ive noticed other posture types in the class as well, theres quite a few Lordotic, the teachers swayback as well by the way..just incase you wanted to know..at times I want to say..dont say tuck your tail as its there already!!! say neutral pelvis please!!  But its not my class ..so there..I digress..so today, I told him..and do you know what..he was fine about it (I think) which was refreshing..he seemed interested and I learned heaps more about his back in under 5 minutes as he told me more..very interesting..(do I need a life?)

Swayback: The Pelvis is in a posterior tilt, it sways forward, in relation to the feet  causing the hip joint to extend.
The lumbar spine flattens with a posterior tilt.
Its not possible to be lordotic and swayback, you are one or the other..the trunk (Thoracic spine) must be noted here..see the photo, its like a lazy posture..usually with your arms crossed as you chat to someone, your bum tucked and you lean back..classic Swayback posture..
                Head: Forward
                Neck: Extended slightly
                Thoracic Spine: Long Kyphosis(so, increased flexion)
                Lumbar Spine: Flexion/flattening
                Pelvis: Posterior Tilt (tucked)
               Hip Joints: Hyperextended, anterior displacement of
               Knee Joints: Hyperextended
               Ankle Joints: Neutral.

Hip Flexors are long & weak
External Obliques Long & weak
Upper Back extensors & neck Flexors Long & weak

Hamstrings short and strong (tight!)
Strong but not short: Low back Mucles
Internal Oblique upper fibres are short & strong

working with swayback client, I need to watch they stay in Neutral..its easy to forget as you concentrate in the moves you are doing and the back just sinks back into the mat..

One of my fave moves is spine stretch forward( on a block you sway back peeps, so you dont tuck under!) ..makes you feel those sit bones as you sit forward of them..its hard work but looks sooooo easy..pelvis neutral, it doesnt move..the T.A draws in and up, ribs stay lifted away from the hips..draw those shoulder blades down your back..breathe into your sides and back, now you are ready to move..
your hip flexors will tell you about it the next day though...
this is just one of many I could tell you..but this one was taught to me..on me..by my pilates course tutor..boy it taught me that I had a long way to go with my posterior tilt, and my legs......eeeek were they telling me the same..and the shoulders and torso has to be correct too!!  sigh...carry on working!!


Scoliosis & Pilates

I have a client with scoliosis, an abnormal curvature of the spine...and its very common, even in kids..
Kids with rucksacks full of heavy school books tend to lean and hike up their shoulder on one side to cope with the load, leading to a wonky spine over time..so a lengthened spine becomes a spine with a kink..a bit like a long straight road having a roundabout breaking it up along the line somewhere..the roundabout is a "bossy" muscle, its in charge and is pulling the vertebrae to the side..so if the upper right side of the thoracic spine (your middle 12 vertebrae..thats your torso)has the bossy muscles, you can be pretty sure that the bottom left will also kink too..2 roundabouts for the price of one, making an S shape of the spine..

so think about it..this will make it hard to breath into the left lung as the left side has dipped, the hip bones arent going to be level, it affects your leg length, one will be longer than the other..and so on..
So..what causes it? theres quite a few things, apart from kids and their book bags, think about a mother carrying a child on her hip, day in day out..creating uneven hips, bossy muscles on one side, weak muscles on the other..but it can be avoided in most cases by just being more aware of the one and only precious body that you are ever going to have whilst on this planet..hair looks nice? great make up? nice polished toenails? loosing weight on your new years resolution? nice new shoes? great new pair of jeans?

lovely...now look deeper...it isn't going to cost a penny to be more posture aware from head to toe and everything in-between, and when you think you've got it sussed, look again as you may have missed something. Walking, sitting, shopping, carrying bags, how you stand, leaning in to one hip a lot?

In the picture above, her perception is that this is sitting normally as as upright as possible ..
Now, just pressing lightly into her hands..lengthening through the crown of the head , lifting the diaphragm..
Can you see the difference in her back..? 
This is hard work for her, yes we do heaps of other specific moves that help the alignment and release the bossy muscles first and go on to strengthen the weak muscles, the basis being the pelvic floor, and the feet, start in the basement and work your way up the floors to the penthouse!

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Pelvic Floor for Men & your sex life!

Blokes, you do have a pelvic floor, did you know that? Maybe you did..so do you know how to activate it and the benefits?

Let me tell you..(dont peek chicks, your turn next week)

Imagine you are lifting a weight (a light one) with your crown jewels..feel that lifting? like an elevator lifting up inside you?
Hola Pelvic Floor!!
So benefits to working them are ....?? Well the main one is to improve the sex life..performance, timing & strength..need I say more..
Im doing a flyer for you guys and will hand it out in class on Monday night .
Thankfully, fibres of the Transversus Abdominals run into the Pelvic Floor, so when you practice regular Pilates its an extra benefit..if you have a chick, see if she notices the benefit too..
so it doesnt just give you a strong healthy back, increased mobility in the hips, stronger leg muscles, stronger shoulders and core, mobility in the spine...etc etc etc

Sunday, 24 January 2010

How long do you sit down for?

Typical day for most of us...get up..shower..sit down eat breakfast, drink coffee/tea..sit down as drive to work or on the bus, sit down at the computer, sit down and eat lunch..sit down on the way home..get home..sit down and watch TV, sit down whilst chat online or on facebook playing games, updating the blog (!!)

Turns out you have no time to come to a class as you are sitting down..kids are in bed, theres cleaning up to do..before you know it ..its time for bed..and it all starts again!

so..due to your spines demand,  Office Pilates is born..I come to your office, usually 30 mins is all that is needed..pilates moves at the desk, standing, seated(correctly of course!), stretching, beneficial functional moves and stretches..moves to help avoid RSI, so important when you use a keyboard on a daily basis..

One flat rate fee..share it between office colleagues, for about 6 maximum of you...if theres more of you let me know, its not a problem at all!

want to know more..pilates@pilatesmad.co.uk       www.pilatesmad.co.uk

Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Rebecca's amazing!

Rebecca Leone - Pilates Nun (shes not a real nun you know..)

Hi you!!
Well the website has been sorted and should be working...well..I think so


I think the link to the Blog needs refining..patience my dears!

New prices etc are being released today, emails going out later to everyone whose email I have on file!

Anyway, whilst spending too much time on the laptop, I came across Rebeccas  (Pilates Nun..had privilege to attend workshops with her late last year) new video link to her little films on Pilates..mainly aimed at instructors but very interesting to watch if you are into Pilates and how it instantly changes your body with some words from your well trained Instructor and your well trained ears to listen and act..this is the link to a website that allows you to upload professional style videos, nicer than You Tube ..its free to register..those who want to be more professional about their videos pay to upgrade, but its FREE to watch..to do something different today..start to see the re-alignment in yourself


THEN..just type in Rebecca Leone in the search box and her videos come up...you will see the most most interesting things in misalignment in a body and as it straightens as she speaks  Nikkis Domes & Patricias Domes are the most effective and most noticeable..fascinating watching to see a shape change before your very eyes..

Sunday, 17 January 2010


ive re-branded!!! it wasnt painful either......

just to make the business more out there than it seeming just in Portreath..as i teach in Truro, Camborne and Hayle....makes sense....still me though and still great pilates classes too...!

website coming this week..email is now ..pilates@pilatesmad.co.uk

new facebook page, so click the badge on the left of this blog page...simple!!!

Thursday, 7 January 2010

The White Stuff

I love the Snow..it make everything look clean and untouched ..until you have to go out in it, then you hate it..especially when it freezes..it gets dangerous then folks..so the classes tonight were cancelled, but thats no excuse to do nowt now is it?    (NO is the answer...I can hear you all say it..)
So I know you wont be bothered to get the mat on the floor whilst watching eastenders(or whatever..arent you fed up with watching the snow on the news...isnt anything else going on??) and the excuse will be you've just had dinner(or just about to), had a glass of vino, had a bar of choccy, had a piece of cake, feel too tired, had a hard day, its too cold..theres loads more..'cos Ive used them as well!!

So heres the thing..if you sit (sorry, I meant slouch)on the sofa please just sit up, on those sit bones, lengthen your spine, lift ribs from the hips, practice the lateral thoracic breathing & the core connection, do this for 5 minutes...time yourself with the timer on the cooker...when it goes beep and you have to stand up, push into your feet and push the floor away from you as you stand without using your arms to help you get up.....use your legs.....then go to sit down again and before your butt touches the sofa, stand up again...do this 5 -10 times ..dont use your arms, leave them out of it, or let them float up in front of you...then go and turn the beep beep thing off as its driving you nuts by now, then go to the bathroom and look in the mirror..look at your shoulders..no..really look at them..is one higher than the other? are they balanced left & right..do your arms rest by your sides..are your shoulders rounded? Do you sit at a computer..? well...
Now widen your collarbone..almost like it was smiling a big fat wide long smile and it was floating as it has 2 balloons tied to each end..your shoulder blades are melting down your back ...your head is as light as a balloon and lifting up and away from your shoulders and, as you grow taller , your abs that are below your navel draw in, the ribs stay away from the hips..you are taller, more confident and more beautiful! 
Now stay with the fab posture to do your whole body a favour for the rest of the day..see if you can...its hard work! How about the rest of your life?