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5 Minute Pilates

Ok – I’m keeping this short today. I’m headed out in a few minutes to teach my Saturday morning pilates classes.  But wait, I think I have time to do just a little bit of my own pilates workout.

What about you?

You’ve just finished your workout. Maybe you like spinning or you have a solid weight training routine you follow.  Maybe you do a combo of High Intensity Interval Training on Cardio machines along with circuits.  Perhaps you keep it simple and go for a run every day.  How ever you choose to workout…you probably have 5 minutes left at the end of every workout to do just a little bit more.

Here is a quick 5-minute pilates workout that I like to do at the end of my workouts.   I even take 5 minutes on days when I’m not moving around too much (i.e. thank you computer!) to do these simple exercises.

  1. Chest Lift – Ab Prep – 10x
  2. Chest Lift with Twist – 10x each side
  3. Single Leg Straight Leg 1 – 10 switches
  4. – then with hands behind head – 10 switches
  5. Criss Cross – 10x each side
  6. Breaststroke – 10
  7. (Swimming on all 4s if you can’t be on your belly)
  8. Plank on Forearms – switch weight forward and backward at the end to stretch out calves. – hold for up to 30 seconds

Make sure to do some gentle stretching and relax in child’s pose after you finish.

Check out this quick pilates workout video I did yesterday…you’ll notice I got down and did pilates in my jeans.

Have a great day and try to find 5 extra minutes in your day to do some pilates.

Pilates Before Your Pregnancy

Biological Clock Ticking? Are you currently in the “working on it” phase of getting pregnant?

Do a quick search online and through your local bookstore and you’ll quickly find a ton of resources related to pilates and pregnancy.  There are videos, books, blogs, studios focused on guiding you through your pregnancy and then helping you bounce back quickly using pilates workouts & techniques.

But what about before your pregnancy?  Should you prepare your body in any way prior to getting pregnant?  Should you avoid doing sit ups or other abdominal work?

Let’s start with the basics of preparing your body for pregnancy…

Fitness Strategy

  • What’s your goal here…to get in shape, lose weight, tighten up, build muscle? Think about this and understand that you will feel like you step back a bit when you get pregnant and your body starts changing. That said, if you start out in great shape, you will have an easier time bouncing back after you go through pregnancy and have an actual baby!
  • Decide which activities fit into your strategy — maybe you already have a workout routine and just want to add pilates to the mix.
  • If you need help deciding what your “strategy” or plan of attack will be, let me know. I will point you in a few directions that are right for you.

Nutritional Habits

  • Clean up your act big time.  The cleaner your eating habits are, the better you will stick to them.  Take it from me, once I got pregnant, my already floundering sugar/fast food addictions flourished.  If you build a habit of eating well, making your own food, limiting sugars and really taking care of yourself, it’ll be much easier to stick to it.
  • See my post on Doing a Kitchen Cleanse!

Consistency

  • Set a schedule of workouts…and do the work. Even if you don’t work at the same intensity every single time.  Show up. Do the work to the best of your ability on that day.
  • Keep your goals written down and read through them often.  Keep them posted on your fridge or in your home office.
  • Set a routine for yourself that includes things like the workout, what your snacks are, walks, routine activities that will become your anchors when you are pregnant.

Habits and The Myth of the “Free Pass”

There are no bullet points here.  Just one main point I want to make…people love saying, oh you have a free pass for 9 months.  People said it to me often and they will say to you…maybe every day even.

No you do not.  While you can definitely eat more calories…you can also start some bad patterns of eating, and little to no exercise… You are building habits that will be tough to break.  If you breast feed, you will continue those habits because again you’ll be famished from all the nursing your little one does.

There is no free pass. Habits form easily…and take a lot effort to break.  Be prepared for this reality.  I’m not saying you have to be perfect, but the less you veer from your good established clean eating, the less you’ll be fighting your way back to pre-pregnancy weight.  So don’t go hog-wild and think you can finally down pans of brownies and lasagna with reckless abandon.  Sure, have yummy foods but try to fill up on healthy foods.

Now that you know the basics to getting your body in shape and ready to get pregnant (this sounds bizarre, but you know what I mean), read on to find out how to integrate pilates into the mix.

Your Pilates Pregnancy

  • Find a studio that has at least a few prenatal pilates classes.  Start taking whatever type of class you want. Get to know the studio, and then continue there once you are pregnant.  Email me if you are having a tough time finding a good studio in your area.  I know several great pilates studios across the U.S and here in Los Angeles that specialize in these sort of classes.
  • Find a physical therapist that also specializes in prenatal and postnatal care.  While it seems very L.A. to go to physical therapy for all the aches and pains of pregnancy, you don’t have to endure them for long.  I speak from experience that this type of treatment is great — you’ll strengthen areas of your body you need to keep strong fro delivery, get TLC in those tender/achy spots, and feel great when you leave…plus, your insurance covers it…so do it.  If you live in the Los Angeles area, please check out:  Bebe PT in West L.A. and Playa Del Rey.
  • Start doing pilates at home using a DVD or online video.  Check out my recent post: Simple Pilates Moves for More Energy? to get you started.
  • Start right now!  Pilates workouts can be as short as 10-15 minutes to start getting all the benefits it has to offer.

ABH Part 2: The Kitchen Cleanse Update

I realized that I forgot to follow up on my Kitchen Cleanse SEVERAL WEEKS ago. Well, I just did another mini-cleanse, so here are some pics of the fridge…

You’ll see some things still in there that aren’t on a clean eating food list…  I can’t make everyone in my house be on my quest, so I’ll need to be a bit stronger, avoid using the condiments that I don’t need and the snacks that don’t fit into my clean eating plan.
Ok…so that’s the kitchen…

Next up: Defining my intentions…

Simple Pilates Moves for More Energy ?

I’m always getting requests for workouts, exercises to help this or that…and the one I get a lot of is: “What simple pilates moves can give me more energy?”

Trick Question.  They all do.  The breathing, the focus, the centering and the control you put into your pilates work returns the favor and you feel invigorated after most pilates workouts.

I went on a search to find some of the better pilates video workouts you can find online.  Some you will need to purchase, others you can watch streaming, and still others come in the form of Iphone Apps.  Take your pick; they all do the trick.

Ultimate Pilates Workouts is a fabulous site for all types of pilates workouts.  Sign up for the free membership and you can watch several mat workouts without downloading them.  If you have a home reformer, then you’ll be able to download reformer workouts for a nominal fee.  I never thought I’d purchase the workouts, but after seeing the quality of the mat routines, getting on their mailing list for the frequent video podcasts, I knew I could do no wrong with the reformer download purchase.  And I was right! Challenging, easy to following, and just the right length.  Check them out!

Erin Huggins is an energetic, inspire pilates instructor based in Los Angeles.  I discovered her on YouTube and now love to visit her blog.  Check out her reformer & mat video workouts here!  After checking out the videos, make sure to spend some time on her blog.  She has a complete approach to health and offers coaching for nutrition, mental wellness, as well as pilates and personal training.  You can find her blog at:  ErinHuggins.com.

Video Jug also has some short mat pilates videos worth checking out.  I find them a bit slower paced, so if you are just starting out, comb through their collection and see what others are saying!  Each video breaks the movements down methodically — detailing the breath, the starting point, the movement and how to finish.  Pilates beginners will love the pace and descriptions.  Make sure to start with their Pilates Essentials video.

About.com’s Pilates site is a superior site that brings a lot of resources together for all pilates lovers.  Marguerite Ogle
is an amazing resource for beginners and teachers as well.  Definitely check out the videos and workout explanations on this site.

Sarah of Diet.com also has a great YouTube channel worth checking out. There is a series of pilates videos that most will really enjoy–she breaks them out into different areas of the body–Core, Sexy Legs routine, Butt & Thighs, Toning Arms.  Sarah’s down to earth style and approach to fitness will connect with people used to traditional gym workouts as well as anyone interested in pilates.

Do a simple search for Pilates Iphone Apps and you are going to get many to choose from.  Everything from Pilates on the Go to Pilates for Pregnancy to Pilates for Beginners.

The one I’ve been looking at recently is a free lite app that goes with a posture device.  It’s called IPosture.

Iposture is a full application that comes with a monitor that you wear.  It tells you when you posture is less than ideal.  Not sure I could deal with that, but hey, maybe you can!

The free version of the application is great! It includes:

  1. Full List of Exercises – Grouped by Exercise Type
  2. Learn Section – with a bunch of great posture-related articles.
  3. 3 Routines – Beginners, Advanced, 10 minute Power Core

If anyone has the actual device, I’d love to know more and might pick it up myself..since it is related to teaching pilates!

Now that you have a few video sources for pilates workouts online, get to it.

And if you want to increase your energy – focus on your breathing, your controlled movement and the slow engagement of your muscles as you move through the exercises.