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Busting The Myths About Pilates. No, It’s Not Just About Your Abs.

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Ada Wells, Physical Therapist and Pilates educator recently shared her thoughts about Pilates misconceptions at The Huffington Post:

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I read an article several months ago where a few celebrity trainers were spouting off about workouts that they hated. Pilates made the list with one trainer even claiming that most Pilates teachers wouldn’t be able to handle the monkey bars. Well, as a physical therapist and Pilates teacher, I’d wager that he’d probably have difficulty handling my resistance bands and 1 pound weights because I can pinpoint someone’s weak-spots pretty quickly, but that’s besides the point. My point is that Pilates, when executed properly, is a valuable form of training that compliments other training methods and might make the difference between someone progressing towards their fitness goals and someone ending up as a patient.

First and foremost, let me clear up 3 common misconceptions about Pilates.

1. The CORE is not just your 6-pack abs, and Pilates is not just about strengthening it. Let’s first start by saying that most people have a misunderstanding about what the core actually is. The core is not just the 6-pack. The core is not something Pilates teachers are trying to “strengthen” in isolation. The core is a symphony between the deepest abdominal muscles, pelvic floor, diaphragm, and the tiny, deep stabilizing muscles of the spine. These are muscles that are designed to anticipate the load that the spine will have placed on it rather than what the larger muscle groups (the 6 pack muscles, etc) that are more responsible for consciously “muscling out the movement.”

A well-designed Pilates session uses language and gentle tactile cues that focuses on alignment. When the skeleton is aligned, then those core muscles have a chance at control…without artificially needing to say “squeeze”, “tuck,” or “tighten.” The core is about control. Pilates emphasizes control before moving on to more challenging feats of strength.

2. While Pilates improves flexibility, it’s not just about stretching. I always have to resist doing the internal eye roll when people find out that I am a PT/Pilates teacher and they ask, “Can you give me a stretch for my tight hamstrings/neck/back?”

So here’s the thing…rather than trying to lengthen the muscle that seems tense and shortened, we need to look at WHY that muscle is in that state in the first place. It may surprise you that muscles often get tense because those deep core stabilizers I mentioned in #1 are not doing their job. When those small stabilizers are no longer able to activate at the appropriate time or handle the postural asymmetry that our daily life has provided, our larger muscles try to do the job. The problem is, those larger muscles aren’t made for posture…meaning, they’re not designed to be “on” all day long. Rather, they’re designed for creating movement and to have the ability to turn on and off when needed.

If you try to stretch a tight muscle group with long holds, it may feel good at the time, but the results will be temporary because the brain/body doesn’t know what to do with that new motion. By contrast, when you lengthen the muscle while concurrently using the core stabilizers to help align the body and control the movement, THEN you’re on to something. By the way…Pilates does this. That’s why we don’t just go into a position and hold a stretch, but rather, we encourage controlled movement. This control is ultimately what allows for the sensation of flexibility.

3. Just because doing Pilates alone isn’t going to “melt away your belly fat,” doesn’t mean it’s useless. While you can get a pretty intense workout doing Pilates, most Pilates sessions are not cardiovascular in nature and definitely not at the level of intensity that will make a huge dent in your fat loss journey if that is your primary goal. Losing weight is systemic, not something you can “spot reduce”. It requires a combination of proper diet and caloric burn and is influenced by other factors such as stress, hormones, and genetics to name a few.

However, just because Pilates doesn’t have the intensity needed for dramatic weight loss, it can be an important part of the puzzle. Mastering movement quality, as is required in Pilates exercise, creates the foundation that allows you to do more intense exercise when speed and resistance are added. There are ways to incorporate high intensity interval training (HIIT) in a Pilates class (CLICK HERE FOR RELATED VIDEO). In addition, the mindfulness component within a Pilates session can be great for reducing stress and bringing focus to what’s happening to your body. This can be an important mindset shift to get you on the right track.

With these three misconceptions clarified, I need to add that not all Pilates is the same in style and quality, and finding the right teacher for your body is just as important. Just as in any area of fitness, there is a spectrum of quality that will impact the results. Assuming you have a teacher who has had comprehensive training (look for those who are certified through the Pilates Method Alliance or have completed a Pilates Teacher Training program with over 450 hours of focused training) and is attentive to what your body needs, you’ll find that Pilates’ benefits extend way beyond the goal of those 6 pack abs.

Ada Wells, DPT, PMA®-CPT is a Physical Therapist and Educator for Polestar Pilates International as well as the founder of www.ProBalance.TV, a site dedicated to showing people how use intelligent and mindful movement to stay active for the long haul.

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Pilates Teacher Training in Salida!

If you're looking for a Big Goal for 2017, why not learn to be a Pilates instructor?

Getting started will be easy, because Reformer Level One, the first session of the certification course, will take place here in Salida, January 28-29! Please talk to Steve or Sonia if you're interested. 

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Turkey Day Vacay

It's time to break the news to the flock: Thanksgiving holidays are imminent. 

Kyanne will be away November 23-29; Steve and Sonia will be out November 24-30.

PLEASE check to be sure your classes are covered through the end of November.

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AHA Releases Advisory Statement on Sedentary Behavior

Can exercise positively affect the potentially harmful effects of sitting?... Recently the American Heart Association released a science advisory supporting the conclusions that “warn that no amount of exercise offers any protective effect (to mitigate the effects of prolonged sitting).”

“Regardless of how much physical activity someone gets, prolonged sedentary time could negatively impact the health of your heart and blood vessels.” The statement added that more effort should be made to determine specific recommendations as to how much sedentary and active time is appropriate for optimal health. In the meantime, the researchers offered a simple solution based on what they do know: “SIT LESS, MOVE MORE”.

  • Excerpted from IDEA Fitness Journal, Nov/Dec 2016

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Wednesday = Stretch Day!

Are you stretching enough?  As we age, our joints and muscles become less flexible, making us more prone to injuries.  Stretching is as important to our health as aerobic exercise, eating well and getting enough sleep!  Come join us on Wednesdays at 11am for an hour of stretching. 

Drop-ins welcome.

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Taters!

It's tater time! Starting Tuesday, October 4, we will have freshly harvested potatoes available at the studio. French fingerlings and two types of russet, all organic, $2/pound while they last. Please bring your own bag.

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Bellyfit and Yoga Workshops

Join certified Bellyfit instructor Wendy Bradshaw for a 5-week Bellyfit workshop at the Studio, beginning June 15th. Bellyfit combines aspects of dance, yoga, and Pilates for a core and cardio workout. Contact Wendy for more information and to register: 719-839-1038

Bellyfit Earth
Wednesdays, June 15 - July 13
5:30-6:30pm

$45 for the series, first class is FREE! 

ALSO: YOGA begins June 15th, 8:00-9:00 am. $15 drop-in, $95 for 10-class punch card.

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Recipe: Granola

Almond Granola with Dried Fruit

(Published March 1, 2012. From Cook's Illustrated.)

  • 1/3 c maple syrup
  • 1/3 c packed light brown sugar
  • 4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 c vegetable oil
  • 5 c old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 2 c raw almonds, coarsely chopped
  • 2 c raisins or other dried fruit, chopped

Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and heat over to 325. Line rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

Whisk maple syrup, brown sugar, vanilla and salt in large bowl.  Whisk in oil.  Fold in oats and almonds until thoroughly coated.

Transfer mixture to prepared baking sheet and spread across into even layer (3/8" thick). Using stiff metal spatula, compress oat mixture until very compact.  Bake until lightly browned, 40-45 minutes, rotating pan once halfway through.  Remove from oven and cool on rack to room temp, about 1 hour.  Break cooled granola into pieces of desired size.  Stir in dried fruit.  (Granola can be stored in airtight container for up to two weeks).

(Cook's note - I usually substitute coconut oil and pecans.  Watch closely, as the pecans burn faster than almonds. If you don't add the fruit, it seems the granola keeps longer than two weeks.)

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Schedule Update

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Schedule Update

There are a few updates to the schedule: Strong Arms/Upper Body Mat Class is now at 4pm on Wednesdays instead of 3pm and there is an Intermediate Mat Class at 8am on Thursdays. Call the studio if you have any questions or if you're interested in seeing a class offered that you don't see here! 

Stay warm out there! 

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Recipe: Green Barley and Kale Gratin

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Recipe: Green Barley and Kale Gratin

Green Barley and Kale Gratin

(from Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone by Deborah Madison)

  • 2/3 c pearl barley, rinsed
  • Salt and freshly milled pepper
  • 1 large bunch kale, about 1-1/4 lbs, stems entirely removed
  • 2 T butter
  • 3 T flour
  • 1-1/2 c milk or vegetable stock
  • 1/4 tsp allspice
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 c grated Gruyere or provolone

In saucepan, add barley to 1 qt. boiling water with 1/2 tsp salt and simmer, uncovered until tender, about 30 minutes.  Drain.  While it's cooking, cook the kale in a skillet of boiling salted water until tender, 6-10 minutes.  Drain, then puree with 1/4 c cooking water until smooth.

Preheat oven to 375.  Melt butter in small saucepan, whisk in flour, then add milk (or stock).  Cook, stirring constantly over medium heat, until thick.  Season with allspice, nutmeg, salt and pepper.  Combine all the ingredients, check seasonings, then transfer to a lightly butter baking dish or ramekins.

Bake until lightly browned on top, about 30 minutes.  If you've used ramekins, run a knife around the edges, then un-mold them by giving them a sharp rap on the counter.  Present them browned side up.

(Cook's note - you can very easily make a white sauce without dairy or wheat flour. Substitute either a butter substitute or olive oil and some other type flour - I've used sorghum and it works just fine. Almond milk (unsweetened) works well in place of the milk, too.)

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Vacation Dates

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Vacation Dates

Sept 30th- Oct. 11th

Steve and Sonia will be gone September 30th thru October 11th. Check with them for scheduling (some classes will be covered, otherwise you might be able to find an alternate class to join). They will be back in the studio October 12th. 

Thanks and happy Autumn! 

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VEGGIES for sale!!!

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VEGGIES for sale!!!

Garden veggies from Steve and Sonia's garden are for sale this week.

Contact Sonia at: salidapilatesstudio@gmail.com to let her know what you would like. 

Available: 

  • Shallots ($3/lb)
  • Tomatoes ($5/lb)
  • Peppers: banana, Hungarian hot wax, Capperino ($4/lb)
  • Sweet onions ($3/lb)

(Garlic is gone!)

In another couple weeks, the storage onions should be cured, and there will be both yellow and red. 

 

Happy September! 

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Recipe: Sprouting Broccoli with Sweet Tahini

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Recipe: Sprouting Broccoli with Sweet Tahini

Sprouting Broccoli with Sweet Tahini

(from Bon Appetit, August 2015)

  • 10-1/2 oz sprouting broccoli or 9 oz. broccolini (you can easily substitute broccoli florets cut up into bite-sized pieces).
  • 4 oz fresh green beans, trimmed
  • 6-1/2 oz snow peas, trimmed (I like sugarsnap)
  • 1 T peanut oil
  • 1-1/3 c cilantro leaves
  • 2--1/2 T sesame seeds, toasted
  • 1 tsp nigella seeds (optional - try Sunshine Market for odd spices/herbs.  They stock a      lot of stuff!)

Sauce 

  • Appx 3-1/2 T tahini 
  • appx 2 T water
  • 1 small garlic clove, crushed
  • 1/2 tsp tamari
  • 1-1/2 tsp honey
  • 1 T cider vinegar
  • salt

In a small bowl, whisk together all ingredients for sauce along with 1/2 tsp salt.  You want the consistency to be smooth and thick but pourable, a bit like honey; add a tiny bit extra water of tahini if needed and whisk well.

Trim off the broccoli leaves.  If the stems are thick, cut them lengthwise in half or in quarters so you are left with long, thinner stems, similar in proportion to the green beans.

Bring a pot filled with plenty of unsalted water to a boil.  Blanch the green beans for about 4 minutes, until just cooked but still retaining a bite.  Using a slotted spoon, transfer the beans to a colander, run under plenty of cold water and then dry well.  In the same water, blanch the peas for 2 minutes - remove, refresh and dry the same way as beans. Repeat with broccoli, blanching for 2-3 minutes.

Once all the vegetables are cooked and dry, mix them together in a bowl with the oil.   Mix most of the cilantro and seeds with the vegetables and then toss with the dressing.  Sprinkle remainder of sauce and seeds on top and serve.

Serves four.

(Cook's note - not really liking tahini, I've found that roasted sunflower seed butter is just as good. Look for one without added sugars.)

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Recipe: Potato Salad with Grilled Kale

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Recipe: Potato Salad with Grilled Kale

Potato Salad with Grilled Kale (from Bon Appetit, August 2015)

  • 5 T olive oil, divided, plus more
  • 2 lb. waxy fingering potatoes
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 lb shallots (about 12), unpeeled
  • 3 T fresh lemon juice
  • 1 T apple cider vinegar
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 c chopped cornichons
  • 2 T drained capers
  • 1 bunch Tuscan kale, ribs and stems removed
  • 3 scallions, sliced
  • 1 c parsley leaves with tender stems

Prepare grill for medium heat; lightly oil grate. (I would suppose a grill "wok" would work just as well here). Place potatoes in large saucepan and cover by 1" with cold water.  Season with salt and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer until tender, 15-18 minutes.  Drain and return to saucepan.

Meanwhile, grill shallots, turning occasionally, until skins are blackened and flesh is tender, 15-20 minutes.  Let cool.  Halve lengthwise and scoop out insides, discarding skins.

Whisk lemon juice, vinegar and 3 T olive oil in large bowl; season with salt and pepper.  Add cornichons, capers and potatoes and toss to coat.

Toss kale with remaining 2 T oil in medium bowl and season with salt.  Grill, tossing often, until charred and crisp-tender, about 1 minute.  Fold into salad along with scallions, parsley and shallots.

Can be made and hour before serving. 

6 servings

 

Enjoy!! 

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Article: Pilates and Scoliosis

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Article: Pilates and Scoliosis

Pilates Practice Can Improve Functional Scoliosis

by Shirley Archer, JD, MA on Aug 23, 2012

Mind-Body-Spirit News

Clients often seek out Pilates instructors to address postural issues or to alleviate back pain, and new research suggests that these clients may be on the right track. Poor alignment from asymmetrical movement patterns contributes to functional (i.e., nonstructural) scoliosis—a curvature of the spine that can cause back pain and difficulty accomplishing daily tasks. A small study of 31 female college students showed that Pilates training programs, designed to address functional scoliosis, significantly reduced the grade of scoliosis, increased flexibility and decreased back pain. Researchers randomly assigned subjects to a control group or to a Pilates therapy program that consisted of 1-hour sessions two times per week for 3 months. All subjects were sedentary; had functional scoliosis, back pain, and shortening of muscles in the posterior chain; and were willing and able to participate in the study. Spinal curvature, flexibility and pain were measured at the beginning of the study and after 3 months. All Pilates participants repeated the same exercise sequence with individual modifications for intensity and for side-bending exercises in the direction of the convexity of the scoliosis. Postintervention data showed that Pilates participants experienced a 38% improvement in the Cobb angle (a scoliosis measurement), an 80% improvement in trunk flexion and a 60% reduction in pain. Control group participants experienced no significant changes in any measured variables. Study authors were encouraged by the findings: “These results show that patients with non-structural scoliosis can significantly improve muscle shortening of the posterior chain and subsequently reduce pain levels in the spine using the Pilates method.” Participants did not experience any adverse effects. Monitoring the results of the treatment protocol for longer periods of time would be a valuable topic for future research, the authors noted. The study appeared in the Journal of Bodywork & Movement Therapies (2012; 16 [2], 91–98).

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Recipe: Slow Cooked Zucchini Coins & Herbs!

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Recipe: Slow Cooked Zucchini Coins & Herbs!

Slow-Cooked Zucchini Coins with Chopped Herbs and Crumbled Feta

by Deborah Madison, Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone, published 1997

(Cook's note - this particular edition is out of print, but is well worth looking for a used one or buying her newer version).

  • 2-3 T olive oil or butter
  • 1-1/2 lbs zucchini, thinly sliced
  • 1 garlic clove, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 c chopped mixed herbs - dill, parsley, basil and cilantro (I prefer mint)
  • 1/2 c crumbled feta
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Heat the oil in a wide skillet, then add the zucchini and garlic.  Sprinkle lightly with salt and cook over low heat for 20-30 minutes, stirring every so often.  The finished squash should have a light golden glaze over the surface and be caramelized in places.  Taste for salt and season with pepper.  Toss with the herbs and cheese and serve.

(Cook's note - seems weird to cook zucchini so long, but it gets wonderfully soft and sweet which is a great pairing with the herbs and salty zing of the feta.)

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