Feedback from students –
This weeks blog is a focus on one of our lovely teachers at Farnham Pilates, Sara Rounce. Sara teaches in the studio on Thursdays. She trained with The Pilates Institute in London back in 2003 and has enjoyed a varied career teaching classes at all levels and abilities as well as pregnancy, postnatal and seniors. Since having 3 children, Sara has become increasingly interested in pregnancy and postnatal exercise and is a specialist in this area.
Here’s what we asked Sara about her background in Pilates.
What is your favourite exercise and why?
I have two!
First is The Dart as it really focuses on extension of the spine whilst stabilising the shoulders. It is a strong exercise for the upper back and excellent for correcting poor posture. There are a lot of elements to get right which makes it a challenge to teach but it is so beneficial and I love the way client’s backs change when they make the correct movement in this exercise. You can see the ‘wings’ (scapulae) sink into the back and it is beautiful to see.
Secondly, The Plank! It is one of those exercises that, from a teaching perspective, most clients groan when I say that is what we are going to do next! However it is also one of the exercises that clients see the most or the quickest progress with and I find it a great benchmark. It is fantastic for building overall body strength, stamina and focusses on the core and the shoulders. It is great because you can easily modify to cover every ability level so everyone can join in and not feel left behind.
How do you like to structure a class?
My classes are usually an hour long and start with a standing warm up to focus the mind onto the body and to work on elements such as balance, coordination, centring and breathing. Then there is about 50 minutes of matwork exercises which involve lying on the back, side, front and seated movements. Then the last 5 minutes involves stretching and allowing the body to warm down.
What was your training and how long have you been teaching?
I have been teaching for 12 years. I was trained by Michael King, Cherry Baker and Malcolm Muirhead and my inspirations are based on my initial training at the Pilates Institute in London as well as my time with my own inspirational Pilates teacher, Kira Bowie who owns Aberdeen Pilates Studio where I taught for 3 years and more recently Carolyne Anthony (Center of Women’s Fitness).
What is your main area of interest in Pilates?
I am passionate about post-natal recovery in women and in March 2015 I attended Carolyne Anthony’s course “Healing Exercises for Diastasis Recti, C-Section and Pubis Symphasis Derangement” which I now apply in my teaching. Having had 3 c-sections and suffered from diastasis recti myself, I realise how important these healing exercises are for new mums. I felt so passionately about helping women to recover after having a baby that I have developed the Postnatal App available on iTunes to help women around the world.
I hope you have enjoyed finding out a bit more about one of our teachers. You can read a bit more about Sara here and if you are interested in coming along to her class on a Thursday then do get in touch below.
At the start of any New Year there is so much pressure on us to make sweeping changes, lose weight, eat more healthily, do more exercise. Whilst all this is great and having goals is a great thing to motivate us, if you are busy Mum so much pressure and big targets to achieve can actually have the opposite effect and demotivate us. I propose that actually smaller, more manageable targets are actually going to see greater gains if you are already pushed for time.
Simply tune into your body’s needs to get the power to make positive, lasting changes in 2016. Changes you make affect your childrens choices later on (trust me I nearly have a teenager who makes her own choices now!). So showing that change can happen just by doing small things is a great example to set them. Here are my suggestions.
1. Take 15 mins a day to put yourself first – it’s only 1% of your day, making small daily changes and you’ll find what makes you feel good! Take a look at our 10 minute relaxation and breathing video here, which can give a you perfect time out solution.
2. Plan your meals – proper family healthy meal planning stops you snacking, plan the family meals around when you are hungry, and have relaxing nights out – say “yes” to healthy and a life!
3. Get to bed early – sleep is major (I’ve been tracking my sleep and it’s a shock!). When you are tired you reach for sugar. Get more energy from exercise or more sleep. It also lowers your risk of disease. Scientists compare those getting less than 6 hours sleep to those getting 8.5hrs and it alters genes involved in metabolism, inflammation and immunity. Also taking magnesium or eating foods like leafy dark greens, fish and avocado gives you deeper sleep.
4. Look slimmer by correcting your posture – slide your shoulders back, lift your chest up and lift through the spine, lift and engage your deep abdominal muscles to pull in your tummy. Encourage good posture in your children as well.
5. In 45 minutes you can increase your metabolism with a good work out! With regular exercise you can increase the part of your brain associated with learning and memory! Get out as a family- cycle, run or swim. They will thank you for the motivation and they look to you how to live their lives!
6. (OK I said 5 steps but I’m feeling generous!) You must do daily stretches and joint mobility to help you age gracefully – I’m training for the marathon and have to stretch to prevent back pain the next day. See my Facebook page and youtube channel for the right stretches.
At Farnham Pilates we offer videos with mobility, strength, core work, stretching and relaxation! Take a look here for more inspiration or sign up to our newsletter (to the right on a PC or below on a tablet/phone) for up to date tips and news of our upcoming online programmes.
If you have made a New Year Resolution you will know the hardest part is keeping them! Here are my top tips for making sure your resolutions become a way of life.
1. Incorporate more activity into your daily life.
Actions speak louder than words and even small changes can make a huge difference. Don't just join a gym! If you really want to change something, you'll have already made steps to do so. Being more active doesn't mean you've already been for a run or hit the gym (although that's a great start). You may have opted to walk instead of take the car, or have got the kids out in the fresh air. Start today with small changes - not next Monday.
2. The weather mustn't stop you.
Newsflash: Rain, wind and cold are not unusual weather conditions for January. Yes, it's grey and soggy but you won't melt. Grab your rain jacket and get outside. If muddy puddles are good enough for Peppa Pig, they're good enough for you. Then treat yourself to an indulgent soak in the tub when you get home.
3. Block out workout sessions in your diary.
Blocking out time in your diary is the only way to ensure you workout, especially if you're a busy person. If it's your work diary, use work speak: 'meeting' (with your Pilates instructor) or 'training course' (in the park) are much easier to justify than 'gym-time' - especially if your colleagues are not exercise enthusiasts (more on that later). Time won't find itself. Set the alarm for 20 minutes before the kids get up or walk for 30 minutes in your lunch hour.
4. Your motivation for exercise should not be focused on the way you look in the mirror
FACT: Increasing your exercise levels increases your body's ability to produce energy. FACT: Exercise is one of the best ways to manage mental health conditions like anxiety and depression. FACT: Fitness and strength gains improve your cognitive function. FACT: Exercise boosts your immune system. FACT: Regular exercise reduces your risk of diseases like Alzheimer's, heart disease, type 2 diabetes and lifestyle related cancers like breast cancer. FACT: Exercise can actually keep you younger by reducing muscle and brain atrophy.
Choose one or all of the above and your regular exercise session becomes a vital part of your wellbeing. It's your choice, factor in regular exercise sessions or spend a similar amount of time out of action, curled up on the sofa – sick.
5. Stock your fridge/freezer to be stocked up with nutritious food.
Food planning is the key to great nutrition. You can't train or adapt to exercise on a poor diet. Fish, meat, greens, pulses, vegetables and plenty of water should be the norm, rather than the exception to your dietary rules.
6. Have a back up plan.
Whether it's a 20-minute 'at home' workout (and we have some great videos that can support this here) or a home cooked meal in the freezer, back up is your health and fitness insurance.
7. Get support or a train with a partner or group.
Training goals are much easier to achieve with friends, or as a team. If you know you struggle with motivation, join a class or enter an event as a team. As a Pilates instructor, I know that my most consistently well attended classes are those where participants have become friends and we often end up giggling. They are also the participants who progress quickest!
One of the best ways to stick to a goal is to arrange a private class for a group of friends or colleagues. You all get to meet up and learn something new together. Corporate classes are some of my favourite classes to teach. All you need is a group of colleagues and a spare meeting room.
8. Get your significant other on board with your training goals.
Discuss your training commitments with your other half, especially when getting out means they have to be in to watch kids or pets. It might not seem important now but when motivation starts to flag, having a team on your side is the difference between pushing on or giving up.
9. You understand the concept of periodizing your training.
Most people get bored because their training plateaus. Plodding through the same workout or running at the same intensity is better than nothing but your body quickly adapts to the same volume of exercise. A periodized programme means you constantly progress, keeping both your brain and your body interested and challenged.
10. Consistency is far more important to fitness and strength gains than intensity.
There's a time and place for intensity but pushing yourself until you want to vomit in a bootcamp once a month won't serve your body or your bank balance. Twenty minutes five times a week beats one hour, once a week.
How about you? Do you have any top tips to help stick to a New Years Resolution? And do let me know if we can help at Farnham Pilates. We have a wide range of classes available for all abilities and needs – take a look here.
Happy New Year
At this time of year finding time to exercise can be hard and with our regular classes closed for the holidays, it can be easy to just not bother. But just doing 10 mins exercise each day can really make a difference, keep your fitness levels up, and make you feel better overall during a time when we are generally less active. Here are my top 6 Pilates exercises to get me up in the morning, stretch, move and strengthen, which I feel are great for fitting into your daily routine.
To begin – Breathe wide and full and gently engage your tummy muscles as you breathe out.
1. Seated arm circles – sit cross legged or legs forward and circle your arm left arm round and lean with your body as much as possible. If you need support place the opposite hand in front of your knee. Change arms.
2. Spine twist or the saw – sit with a support behind your back legs out in front, twist your spine and reach your opposite arm to the toes.
3. Side bend or mermaid – standing or sitting, reach your arm out the head, support your back by placing your opposite hand on the floor or waist.
4. Cat stretch – on your hands and knees, on your out breathe let your head drop down and lift your tummy, tuck your bottom under without moving the hips forward.
5. Shoulder bridge – lying on your back let your bottom tuck under, squeeze your tummy muscles and let the hips slow rise lifting vertebrae by vertebrae.
6. Hundred – lying on your back with the knees bent, let your arms pull towards your toes and slowly lift the head as your tummy pulls in and down towards the floor to support the back. The image is shown using the Pilates ball, but that is a more advanced version, you can just have your legs in table top with no ball.
To finish – Stretch into the child pose from your hands and knees, gently lift the tummy muscles and then press your bottom back to the heels to get a good stretch into the lower back.
If you feel you need a bit more help over the Christmas period or at any other time when you are too busy to make class we have a 15 minute video available to purchase with exercises you can do at home – click here for full details.
Have a Happy and Healthy Christmas and New Year from all at Farnham Pilates
We are delighted to announce that we are adding Heated Pilates to our timetable at Farnham Pilates from January, 2016.
But what is Heated Pilates?
Heated or warm flowing Pilates is an effective workout in a warm environment. The class uses the benefit of heat to help muscles into muscles more deeply and effectively and the heat allows for a greater range of movement in muscles, ligaments and joints. A heated Pilates class covers a number of areas including Dynamic Mobility, Strength, Flexibility, Balance and Core Stability Work.
Here are the top 5 reasons to try Heated Pilates
1) Detoxification -Obviously when exercising in heat you will sweat more, and sweating promotes detoxification through the skin. Sweating is very effective in flushing out toxins and it also helps the body cleanse itself and clears bacteria out of the skin. Sweating can improve circulation and the appearance of your skin too.
2) Increased Flexibility – The high temperatures allow you to stretch your muscles further and can reduce the risk of injuries. It can also improve circulation and can help ease bodily pains, strains and stresses. This can lead to healthier connective tissue as the additional stretching helps lubricate your body’s connective tissue which will in turn help your flexibility.
3) Mental Wellbeing – Heated Pilates can help your mental wellbeing by fighting stress and insomnia. This is achieved by inducing relaxation and encouraging sleep by calming and soothing your adrenal system and nerves. All the normal benefits of Pilates are enhanced in a warm class.
4) A healthier immune system – In hot temperatures viruses cannot thrive. Additionally, the heat increases your body’s production of white blood cells, which also fight infection.
5) Weight loss – Sweating will help you lose some weight, but more noteably, the stretching builds more muscle, burning more fat and therefore increases weight loss.
Sound good? We’ve had some great feedback already from a couple of trial sessions we have run.
We will be running a new Heated Pilates course at the Garden Pilates Studio, Rowledge, Farnham on Thursdays at 1pm starting February 4th 2016. We currently have a special offer – a course of 6 sessions for just £75 instead of £90. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for full details
To see our full programme of classes for the New Year, including Heated Pilates visit our classes page.
I’m sure I’m not alone in loving a good massage. It can work so well with Pilates clients who combine Pilates for strengthening and massage for relaxing tense muscles. Massage and Pilates really are a great match.
This week we have a guest blog from deep tissue and hot stone massage expert Aase Waterman. We work together to help clients and I absolutely believe that combining regular exercise like Pilates and massage keeps your body strong and mobile and releases unnecessary tension.
Why having a massage is definitely worth it
“If you have been thinking about having a massage but never got round to booking an appointment, wait no longer as there are numerous reasons why you should make regular massage part of your lifestyle. Massage is an excellent way not only to manage stress and reduce chronic pain and so improve your life, it can also act as a preventative measure and promote a sense of well-being. Today more and more people are turning to complementary therapies including massage as part of a balanced wellness plan.
The aches and pains that come from working long hours, sporting activities, ageing and daily stress can be reduced by regular massage. Recent Technology developments that affect your posture and can give upper back and shoulder symptoms can also benefit from massage.
Technology can play a huge part in today’s common ailments.
The plethora of smart devices such as phones, tablets and computers that we find ourself continuously using in today’s digital age, has led to an explosion in “technology” related conditions such as tight neck and shoulders or sore wrists and backs. A high percentage of clients complaints and worries about their is posture is often due to holding a device for long periods and repetitive activity such as texting or working at a computer leading to discomfort. Common muscular problems people seek a massage for, are for stiff neck and shoulder, and low back pain – this isn’t a coincidence!
Have you found yourself propped up in an awkward position reading information from your iphone or slouching on the sofa?
The technology explosion and increased multi tasking has had a negative impact on lifestyle, mindset and our stress levels so exercise and alternative therapies like massage can provide time and space away for this “techno-stress”.
Massage can provide a calming and relaxing therapy alongside the physical benefits it brings, and is ideal for people of all ages and lifestyle. It can also give you a greater body awareness that can help detect any potential issues earlier as a preventative measure. A time for you to unwind!
This is where I as a professional massage therapist can help people feel better, improve their mobility and flexibility and address any problematic aches and pains. The positive effects of massage can be prolonged by adapting regular stretching and exercise activities as part of a healthy lifestyle.
My training incorporates various techniques like deep tissue, clinical and Swedish massage, hot stone treatment, passive and active stretching, soft tissue and myofascial release. I take time to understand your background and treatments can be tailored to individual requirements.”
But don’t take our word for it. Here is a testimonial from a client who has seen both Aase for massage and myself for Pilates.
I thought my body was declining at 84 but since starting weekly one to one Pilates with Hannah in July and monthly massage since August I feel my posture is improved and I’m walking tall for the 1st time in years. I know you and Aase are going to keep me going until I’m 100!” Peter Hillier age 84, Farnham
If you would like to see and feel first hand how Pilates and Massage can work so effectively together, join us for our Xmas Wellbeing event. We will have bubbly, nibbles, massage (20 mins with Aase), Heated Pilates (more about this in next weeks blog!) and Positive Mindset workshop. This will all take place on Thursday 10th Dec at our Garden Studio in Rowledge, Farnham.
Gym-phobia is a stumbling block for a lot of people who want to start exercising more regularly but feel really anxious about working out, but I have some tips to anyone who wants to get over their fears of fitness and face their demons head-on.
It may surprise some people but the biggest hurdle many face when trying to lose weight, tone up or just focus on their body is the fear of working out in front of people.
They feel that they will look silly in tight fitting sports gear or they’ll sweat too much or not know the correct way to do the exercises. It can cause really high levels of anxiety so they avoid working out altogether.
Hopefully if you’re thinking of joining a class nearby you don’t think all fitness professionals are scary and we really do just want to help you, so don’t be afraid to ask.
I have a variety of options from private one to ones in our specialised Pilates studio, small group classes to larger mat classes at Rowledge Village Hall and soon, Weydon school, Farnham. I run a personal service designing your workout for you and your bodies needs – whether that be private or in a friendly group.
Some more advice if you are worried –
• Try getting a friend to come with you to one of the classes. Working out with someone you know can help you feel more comfortable and the moral support you can give each other can be invaluable
• Check for beginners classes or explain that you are new and have no experience and need a few pointers
• Wear workout clothes you are comfortable in. You don’t have to have all the latest gear to exercise. If you work out properly it’ll be covered in sweat anyway, don’t feel you need skin tight Lycra just a normal loose fitting t-shirt and leggings will work just as well.
• Don’t compare yourself to others. Everyone struggles in the beginning and you may not know the moves or the right techniques but you’re not alone
• Don’t be afraid to ask for help. You may think a reformer or hand weight is something you’d find in the kitchen but try not to get overwhelmed. Gyms can be daunting at first but we all start somewhere, if you stick at it you’ll feel more at home the longer you are there.
Please use these tips from me to push through your fears you face head-on. You never know you may just end up surprising yourself. For full details of the classes we offer in and around Farnham click here.
September, as we know is the start of a new school year for most but it increasingly feels like a fresh start in all walks of life. There have been a number of events that Farnham Pilates have taken part in this month that all give a sense of restarting or taking stock of where our lives are at and where we want them to go.
At the beginning of the month we celebrated National Fitness Day. We teamed up with Bfit Belinda Andrews for a bootcamp and also organised a walk round my favourite thinking spot, Frensham Ponds. It was great to see many local women, some friends, some clients and some business associates just taking time out to do something healthy, chat and enjoy the fresh air. I was interviewed by Eagle Radio about this event and how we can incorporate fitness in our lives more.
The major event for me this month was speaking at the WIFE conference in Guildford last Saturday. It was a big deal for me to speak at such a big event of about 80 attendees, the last time I have done anything like this was at university when I froze. I chose the topic of metime/youtime, as I’m passionate about how understanding yourself and your needs have to come first to fully be able to help and support others, especially loved ones, who rely on you to be strong. I showed how using mindfulness can help give yourself space and a break. I also strongly believe that we have choices in life how we think, behave and act so we must be kind, forgive and support ourselves, and each contact with everyone around us is the legacy we leave not possessions. It is also vitally important for women, businesses and self employed to be able to stay focussed and positive to be successful. In researching for this talk I have connected with many other fabulous women to find out what they do for Youtime and they produced a series of video selfies to share what they do. Do take a look below for some inspiring ideas to help keep you on track. Also you are able to join the Free 10 day reset “me-time”daily email?
The WIFE conference was a big challenge for me but one that I am so glad I took, I was so nervous but talking about a subject I am passionate about made me want to do it again! I’ve had some amazing feedback from my talk and it makes me so happy that it may inspire some women to take more care of themselves so they can achieve more out of life.
It was great to also listen to other amazing speakers like Anna Kennedy OBE (from The Peoples Strictly) how she set up an autistic school for her boys and it now is the largest school in UK. Clare Newsman a child physchologist talked about how to get the best out of our children by not praising. There were other diverse topics but networking with these amazing women who had done something or changed an act of parliament made me feel inspired. The one thing I took away from the conference was to keep going helping clients and striving for the best I can.
It seemed fitting that my talk was timed at the start on National Work Life week which runs all this week. What great timing for us all to take stock, as routines get back to normal and we enter the last quarter of the year. What have we achieved? What aspects of our life need rebalancing? How can we achieve this? It sometimes feels that to make any change we need to make a huge effort, but we can make really small changes that can start us on the road to a big change in attitude. Our “Just Breathe” email course that was launched this month helps by giving just one exercise a day to help us refocus and make more time for ourselves.
So now as September reaches its end I am looking forward to celebrating another huge milestone. Farnham Pilates celebrates its’ 10th Birthday! We are delighted to have been delivering quality Pilates sessions for the last decade and we are also looking forward to continuing this in our new garden studio which has its’ grand opening this Friday, 25th September 10.30 – 1pm. We will be offering demonstrations of our new reformer equipment and we are also pleased to be teaming up again with some other local businesses – Aase Waterman who is offering massage, Georgina Watts who is offering Reiki sessions and Merel Keuning who is offering reflexology. The morning is in aid of MacMillan coffee so do join us to celebrate this huge milestone for Farnham Pilates.
I hope September has been a good month for you and that you are also able to refocus and see the road you want to take in this next chapter of our lives. Let me know if you need any support from any extra classes or our wellbeing workshops that will be run in November.
On National Fitness Day we are encouraging women to get walking with their mothers, sisters, daughters and friends. We want everyone discussing what body image means to them and make their #AWomensWord pledge. #AWomansWord seeks to promote greater awareness about negative and disempower the words we use to each other about image. A Womens Word encourages us to replace these words with those that empower us instead, it is a pledge and a promise we make as women for women.
Hannah is a Pilates teacher running Farnham Pilates with 10 years experience and qualification level 3 CYQ, MA Marketing.