Monthly Archives:November 2019

Can I do Dynamic Pilates during and after pregnancy 25 Nov

Can I do Dynamic Pilates during and after pregnancy?

As many of you may know, both myself and Tiffany have been through two pregnancies on our reformers! And as we are about to embark on more pre and postnatal classes, I thought it would be good to set the record straight about pre and postnatal Dynamic Pilates.

Sooooo many clients get referred to me when they fall pregnant by doctors and medical professionals, because Pilates (and Yoga) are deemed to be a ‘safe’ pre and postnatal form of exercise. Which they are, BUT what they (all) don’t understand is that there’s so many different types of pilates out there, and not all of them are going to be suitable for pregnancy and postnatal, because guess what guys, pilates is not ALL about gentle stretching!

I’m all about keeping active during and after pregnancy, however, having had my fair share of issues (a prolapse after my third baby) I know how important it is to be sensible too.

My general rule of thumb is that you can continue whatever your body is USED TO ALREADY DOING (in Pilates classes) as long as you make modifications along the way. That means that you shouldn’t start Dynamic Pilates pre or early postnatal, as your body isn’t used to it. As those of you know who do our classes (or other ‘dynamic’ style classes) it’s a challenging workout that requires a lot strength, coordination and endurance and unless your body is used to being pushed to these levels, then this isn’t a good time to start. If you’re new to reformer Pilates, then you should be doing specialist pre and postnatal classes to ease you in.

So, if my body’s used to it, what can and can’t I do? 

There’s a heap of advice out there for each trimester, but generally speaking (without going into each separate trimester) the rules for are pretty similar:

1. No curl up action AFTER the first trimester (gradually building back up to this postnatally)
2. Reduce/modify plank holds and anything that causes a lot of intra abdominal pressure
3. Limit the amount of time spent laying on your back as you get heavier during pregnancy
4. Reduce wide ranges of movement to avoid injury
5. Pay particular attention to good posture, alignment and technique to avoid injury
6. Don’t move in and out of positions too quickly
7. Avoid tricky balances! 

Apart from the obvious physical changes that will limit movement, hormones are also flying high (relaxin the hormone that softens ligaments, muscles and joints both pre and postnatal, especially when still breastfeeding ) which is why we shouldn’t go into extreme ranges of movement.

Basically, pregnancy and post baby is not a time to be pushing yourself to the extremes, (you have plenty of time for that don’t worry!) it’s more about maintenance, relaxation and preparation (for birth) and then rebuilding the foundations slowly once your baby is born.

If I could advise one thing (from my own experience) that would be to work on your pelvic floor and don’t take it for granted! Go see a specialist who can teach you how to connect properly (there’s more to it than just squeezing you know!) and then practice every day (a few times a day) and apply these techniques to your every day life and importantly in class. Because in all honesty, even the BEST Pilates teachers don’t have time in a group class to teach pelvic floor properly, to the point where everyone really ‘gets’ it. Especially not in a dynamic class.

And finally to end on a more positive note after all the warnings, I truly believe that Pilates has been my saviour throughout my last two pregnancies AND for getting me back on my game after baby. You cannot underestimate the power of exercise both physically and mentally. Don’t be fearful, just listen to the guidelines, take them on board and keep moving!

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11 Nov

Classical Pilates vs. Contemporary Pilates

I have been practicing Pilates for over 20 years and have been teaching for almost 15 years. Until 4 years ago I was a self-proclaimed “Pilates Snob”. I only practiced and taught the classical work every single day. The same exercises and order EVERY SINGLE DAY. I truly love much of the classical work in my own body. I also love the discipline of the classical order. However, as a teacher and business owner I knew my clients were less inspired by its repetitiveness. I had a mediocre business at best. It paid the bills but that was just about it. The Pilates I taught back then just did not keep people interested or motivated long. I tried everything I could think of to make class feel new and fresh without straying from the classical order, but people still would come then go. I told myself for years, “they just do not get it”. It was actually me that did not get it. I was beating my head against a brick wall. After 10 plus years of trying to convince people that “Classical” Pilates was going to change their lives I was burnt out. I wanted to close the studio and practice my beloved, misunderstood Pilates in the spare bedroom in my house.

Then one day I stumbled upon an IG post by Korin Nolan. Fate must have been at work as she is now my business partner. Anyway, she was doing a move she called the “Flying Plank”. It was a push-up/lunge hybrid. At first glance it looked nothing like Pilates until I tried it. Once I tried her crazy looking move, I realized it was just like Pilates. It had all of the fundamentals mashed together. The “Flying Lunge” was “The Push Up” from the Mat work and “Eve’s Lunge” from the Reformer work. As scrolled through her IG page I realized what she was doing was brilliant and could be the solution to my business failure. For the first time I began thinking outside of the Pilates box and all of a sudden, I saw so many new possibilities. I was also finally able to see my client’s frustration with my old teaching style. I was so stuck on doing it “Joe’s” way I was not willing to bend or try anything new. Because of this mindset I was not providing a fitness program that was most beneficial to the clients walking through my door.

There is NOTHING wrong with the “classical” work. To this day I still practice it regularly however, my business thrives because I do not limit myself or my clients to it. My classes today look very different than they did 4 years ago. However, if you take a second look you will see that almost every sequence or flow I put together has a very strong classical root. Yes, I do consider my work “Pilates”.

Many may disagree with me and that is fine. I do not care. I am confident in my work, I am proud of the content I teach and my business is thriving. Joseph Pilates was a very creative, brilliant man. I truly believed if he were still alive he would continue to evolve and create new movements to adapt to today’s clientele. Do you really think he would keep recycling the same exercises over and over, 80 years later? Today’s clients are very different from his clientele. Our strengths and weaknesses are very different. Adapting the classical work to better suit your client’s needs should not be “classical vs contemporary”. It should be common sense. For me it is all about balance. I feel like I have created a teaching style that is the perfect blend of “classical” and “contemporary” for my studio and clientele. Every teacher or business owner should find their own balance. If you are struggling like I was 4 years ago, let your client’s needs help guide you.

And for heaven’s sake call it PILATES if you want.

Can Pilates help you live a more stress free life 4 Nov

Can Pilates help you live a more stress free life?

I’m writing this blog today because in all honesty, I feel like it might be able to help me a little as well as you!

Sometimes, life gets overwhelming. I don’t know about you, but I feel like I am constantly rushing from pillar to post. With two small kids (one that wakes up every day between 4-5am) and two businesses, I’m already pretty maxed out. And, if I dare throw a social life into the mix too, then I’m almost at tipping point! I’m sure I’m not alone here, right?

So, how can we juggle everything successfully, without feeling like we’re being pushed over the edge?

Here’s a few things I’m thinking:

Say no – As much as we want it all, sometimes we simply can’t. Learn to say no to some invites and also only take on what you can realistically handle with work.

Exercise – We all know the positive effects that working out regularly has on mental health and stress, so really, you need it even more when life gets busy! Even if it’s only 30 minutes a day or every other day. I think this is one of the reasons that our short classes are so popular on DPTV.

Eat well – You can’t feel good on the inside, if you’re fuelling your body with quick fix rubbish. Healthy eating doesn’t have to be time consuming, but you do have to be a little prepared. Keep your fridge and cupboard stocked up with healthy staples, eat foods as close to their natural state as possible, whack everything in a steamer or under the grill, and cut out processed foods, stodgy carbohydrates, sugar and alcohol as much as possible.

Focus on one thing at a time – A friend made me think about this one. For example: if you’re with the kids, then be with the kids. Don’t bother trying to answer emails and make work calls at the same time, as you’ll end up doing a rubbish job of both. Allocate a separate time to do this when they are not around. Plus playing with your kiddies is actually a good way to switch off from the real world!

Less time on the phone/laptop – How many times do you sit scrolling through your phone just out of habit? Technology is great, but too much of it can induce stress. The world isn’t going to end if you put it away for a few hours and actually spend time speaking to people instead.

Take naps/mediate – I know this isn’t always possible, but when it is, do it! If you find it difficult to fall asleep in the day, then use a meditation app to help you switch off. Taking a quick power nap/mediation of around just 20 minutes, has been proven to have a big impact on overcoming tiredness and stress.

Look after yourself – Sometimes we are the last person on the list when it comes to care, so it’s no wonder we sometimes feel burnt out. Get your remedies from the health food shop, treat yourself to a massage to relieve stressed shoulders or just get your nails painted and go for a wax if that makes you feel better!

Gratitude – It’s all too easy to be negative and complain about how stressed we are, and about how much we’ve got to do. But negativity only brings more stress and bad feeling. So, if you try (again, I know this is sometimes not easy!) to be grateful for all the good things in your life and state them to yourself over and over, I promise it does make you feel happier and therefore less stressed!

Can Pilates help you live a more stress free life 4 Nov

Can Pilates help you live a more stress free life?

I’m writing this blog today because in all honesty, I feel like it might be able to help me a little as well as you!

Sometimes, life gets overwhelming. I don’t know about you, but I feel like I am constantly rushing from pillar to post. With two small kids (one that wakes up every day between 4-5am) and two businesses, I’m already pretty maxed out. And, if I dare throw a social life into the mix too, then I’m almost at tipping point! I’m sure I’m not alone here, right?

So, how can we juggle everything successfully, without feeling like we’re being pushed over the edge?

Here’s a few things I’m thinking:

Say no – As much as we want it all, sometimes we simply can’t. Learn to say no to some invites and also only take on what you can realistically handle with work.

Exercise – We all know the positive effects that working out regularly has on mental health and stress, so really, you need it even more when life gets busy! Even if it’s only 30 minutes a day or every other day. I think this is one of the reasons that our short classes are so popular on DPTV.

Eat well – You can’t feel good on the inside, if you’re fuelling your body with quick fix rubbish. Healthy eating doesn’t have to be time consuming, but you do have to be a little prepared. Keep your fridge and cupboard stocked up with healthy staples, eat foods as close to their natural state as possible, whack everything in a steamer or under the grill, and cut out processed foods, stodgy carbohydrates, sugar and alcohol as much as possible.

Focus on one thing at a time – A friend made me think about this one. For example: if you’re with the kids, then be with the kids. Don’t bother trying to answer emails and make work calls at the same time, as you’ll end up doing a rubbish job of both. Allocate a separate time to do this when they are not around. Plus playing with your kiddies is actually a good way to switch off from the real world!

Less time on the phone/laptop – How many times do you sit scrolling through your phone just out of habit? Technology is great, but too much of it can induce stress. The world isn’t going to end if you put it away for a few hours and actually spend time speaking to people instead.

Take naps/mediate – I know this isn’t always possible, but when it is, do it! If you find it difficult to fall asleep in the day, then use a meditation app to help you switch off. Taking a quick power nap/mediation of around just 20 minutes, has been proven to have a big impact on overcoming tiredness and stress.

Look after yourself – Sometimes we are the last person on the list when it comes to care, so it’s no wonder we sometimes feel burnt out. Get your remedies from the health food shop, treat yourself to a massage to relieve stressed shoulders or just get your nails painted and go for a wax if that makes you feel better!

Gratitude – It’s all too easy to be negative and complain about how stressed we are, and about how much we’ve got to do. But negativity only brings more stress and bad feeling. So, if you try (again, I know this is sometimes not easy!) to be grateful for all the good things in your life and state them to yourself over and over, I promise it does make you feel happier and therefore less stressed!