Just keep moving!

Mums and posture

Movement is an integral part of every function and process within our bodies! It is not just strength and endurance that is affected by moment, but also our thought processes, emotions, understanding and decision making. Pilates is a great way to gently incorporate daily movement into your lives.

We sit so much these days, that the simple act of standing, stretching and moving can bring so many benefits, especially to the back.

For this reason, our focus at Farnham Pilates is to encourage you to concentrate on movement everyday, and today we’re looking at some back stretches. It’s important to move our spines in different ways, so you don’t become stiff from all that sitting. Sitting all day can lead to the phenomenon of ‘use it or lose it’ -reduced movement will result in your muscles reducing in strength, size and function within 24 hours.

So, our exercises today focus on:

  • Laterally flexing the spine with exercises like a mermaid side bend;
  • Extending the spine and opening the chest with a double leg kick;
  • Rotation and flexing the spine and stretching the hamstrings with the saw.

Take a look at our 25 minute Stronger Back video here (you will need Vimeo to view the video).

If you are already a Pilates Community follower, you will know that we have a library of back care exercises (and many others) available for you to follow at your own pace and in the comfort of your own home. Take a look at our sister website here: Pilates Community online. And our blog over on our that site this week relates to Hip and Shoulder stretches.

Don’t forget, details of all my classes can be found here.

Just keep moving! Squeeze and breathe,

Love Hannah x

10 minute Pilates stretches to improve mobility – focus on shoulders and neck

What a strange time it is.  More has opened up over the last week, and yet I’m feeling as if I’m still stuck at home more than I’d like to be. It’s like we’re busier but we’re not doing any more, does that make sense?! Over the next few weeks, these blogs will be focusing 10 minute Pilates stretches and on the need to remember your health as things get busier.  It can feel as if there is not enough time to do everything, but if you don’t prioritise your health, an increase in your workload and the stresses and strains of life will really take their toll. I promise you, just 10 minutes of Pilates stretches a day will give you a huge benefit. Some of the stretches can even be done at your desk.

With this in mind, I have developed a new FREE Facebook group to help busy women build mobility and freedom, and reduce pain from achy joints. Each day I post a short and sweet 10 minute Pilates stretches video; even the busiest person can enjoy improved mobility and less pain. Give it a go!

Shoulder and Neck stretches

So, the focus of this week’s videos is on shoulder and neck stretches.

It’s important to work these together, as you should not carry out neck stretches without first releasing the shoulders. 

Why is neck stiffness and pain so common?

Common reasons for neck pain:

  • actions as simple as looking down at your phone repeatedly, or holding your head in one position, this can affect posture long term
  • hours at computer and cellphone without movement
  • incorrect seating at a desk
  • reading (especially a good book that you are engrossed in!)
  • driving or sitting for extended periods
  • cycling, especially  if you are not properly positioned on your bike can lead to real neck tension
  • walking, especially on uneven terrain
  • sleeping incorrectly, in strange positions or with bad pillows
  • sewing, sketching, or writing
  • carrying a heavy shoulder bag
  • sports that use one side of the body such as tennis or golf
  • repetitive movements of the upper body such cooking/ stirring

Aim to increase the daily movement of your neck – making small changes to your movement can be a really simple way to start to improve mobility and reduce pain.  Try these gentle daily movements:

  • rotate the neck from side to side
  • bend the neck forward (neck flexion)
  • tip the head laterally to bring the ear to the shoulder
  • extend the neck to lift the chin upward

Note a normal range of motion is (in neck flexion) 40 to 80 degrees, without experiencing pain, discomfort, or resistance

Check out these short stretch videos, remember to do the shoulder one first, then the neck stretch.

Shoulder video

Neck stretch video

 Additional exercises

Neck flexion stretch

This exercise will help loosen your posterior neck muscles and reduce tightness.

  1. Rest your arms alongside your body and engage your core muscles to stabilise your spine.
  2. Draw your shoulder blades back and down.
  3. Slowly draw your chin in toward your chest.
  4. Hold for 15–30 seconds.
  5. Do 2–4 repetitions.

To deepen this stretch, place one hand behind your head with your fingertips at the base of your skull to help guide the movement.

Neck retraction

This exercise loosens up tight muscles, relieves pain, and reduces spinal pressure. Keep your eyes facing forward the whole time.

  • Place your fingers on your chin to push your head as far backward as possible.
  • Feel the stretch in the back of your neck.
  • Hold for 2–3 seconds before returning to neutral.

Do 3–4 sessions of 8–10 repetitions all at once or throughout the day.

Exercises for improving neck extension

The goal of these exercises is to lessen the intensity and severity of symptoms. These stretches relieve neck tension and pain, making them the perfect counterbalance to activities that require you to look down repeatedly.

Upward neck extensions

This exercise targets the front of your neck. You can do this exercise by moving with each breath instead of holding the position. Inhale as you look up and exhale as you return to the starting position.

  • Begin in a seated position.
  • Slowly bend your neck backward and gaze up toward the ceiling.
  • Hold this position for 5-10 seconds.

Do 5 repetitions.

Bed hangs

Do this exercise when you first wake up or before bed to relieve pain and increase circulation.

  • Lie horizontally across the bed with your head, upper back, and shoulders near the edge.
  • Gently manoeuvre your body to allow your head to stretch along the side of the bed.
  • Reach your arms and hands overhead or place them alongside your body for more support.
  • Hold this position for at least 30 seconds.
  • Release by tucking your chin into your chest and using your arms to shift your body back onto the bed.

Do this exercise 1–3 times.

I really hope these 10 minute Pilates stretches have been helpful.  Do check back next week, when we will focus on Mid-back stretches and mobility. Don’t forget our FREE Facebook group or you can see an enormous library of videos and a host of helpful articles with our monthly Pilates Community membership for only £16.99 per month! 

Until next week, squeeze and breathe,

Love Hannah xx

Strong Saturday – Farnham Pilates Blog

Easy ways to stay healthy at home

It’s easy at times like these to slip into bad habits, so here is a reminder about some simple things you can do to ensure you stay healthy – and happy – at home.

Make the most of the first 10 minutes of the day and set the tone for the day ahead – exercise, stretch, sit, and breathe. Get dressed and some days wear a dress or your favourite outfit that you feel good in. 

Be kind to yourself – try not to put high expectations on yourself. We all have different worries and concerns and this time and this means that you may not “achieve” much, so be kind to yourself. Try to incorporate self-care in your day even if it is just to shower and moisturise with your favourite smell; I love rose products from the Body Shop and like to put orange essence on my wrists to lift my mood. Every night I put lavender drops in my bath and on my pillow (I’m a bit of a smell freak!). Do things to make you find the joy and happiness within you – what do you love doing? How about reading, jigsaw puzzles or knitting.  If you are missing the coast you could find the sound of sea on YouTube. Even a simple bath and early night will make a massive difference to your stress levels,  so get a good night’s sleep. If you struggle try breathing exercises 10 mins before. 

Make plans and goals for the day – do meal plans and batch cooking to make life easier, it is so much less stressful if you know what is planned. Do a shopping list and stick to the plan – this will also help you avoid overeating.  Batch cooking makes for a stress-free dinner as you just have to reheat what you have already made.  Try to think of non-food related treats, such as a special cup of tea, a walk around the garden or a face mask. To mix things up a bit, look out for local schemes to help the community through these times: for instance the Maltings in Farnham is running a jigsaw and games swap. And with garden centres opening up, a little gardening can be a great stress reliever and improve the view out of your window!

Create a new routine – we have come out of the initial holiday phase at Easter (even if you are working) and feel we need to achieve things so plan your day. Try and do the daily exercise, do a 10 mins exercise video then Pilates, also plan a walk. Even if you just dance round the kitchen it will make a big impact. 

Keep a healthy diet – your energy levels will be affected by what you eat, so be sure to focus on good gut health and keep your immune system strong. I swear by Symprove, a local firm (I don’t get commission!) https://www.symprove.com. Learn more about the gut here – https://www.symprove.com/gut-microbiome/. You have 70-80% of your immune system in your gut, so manage your immune system with good gut microbe. Lack of Vitamin D can have a massive impact on energy levels and there is evidence that it can reduce the impact of Covid-19, so ensure you get enough sun and consider taking a supplement. Eat regularly to help balance blood sugar levels and add more fibre into your diet. An easy meal could be lentil bolognaise with whole wheat pasta and cheese. 

LAST CHANCE to join before the price increases next week then the doors close at end of May. 

I have 2 types of membership – 

ZOOM I only do zoom classes for the clients that pay for the class membership on £45 a month. The classes are small – there are about about 4-8 people in each class.
Monday 2.30 back care 
Monday 8pm improvers (business class)
Tuesday 9.30 beginners mixed
Some Saturdays  

FACEBOOK The rest are on Facebook – those are for the clients paying £9.99 a month.
Classes 
Mon, Wed, Fri at 9.35am 
(some Saturdays) 
This includes access to the website with a library of videos.

Membership also gives offers you a private Facebook group and WhatsApp group where there are lots of classes, both recorded and live.

I want you to take this opportunity to try this deal as Prices are going up next week on Thursday 21st April.  

Class membership will increase from £45 to £49 per month.

Online membership will increase from £9.99 to £11.99 per month

“I LOVE THE PILATES COMMUNITY. YOUR TEACHING IS OUTSTANDING AND I FEEL “SAFE” THAT YOU KNOW WHAT YOU ARE DOING. PILATES CONTRIBUTES TO MY WELLBEING AND I SIMPLY LOVE BEING PRESENT. IT CAN BE VERY STRESSFUL WITH ELDERLY PARENTS SO I LOOK FORWARD TO PILATES AS PART OF HELPING TO KEEP MY MIND AND BODY WELL. THANK YOU.”

Jayne

“SINCE DOING PILATES, I FEEL MORE SUPPLE, KNOW HOW TO STRETCH PROPERLY AND FIND THAT RUNNING IS MUCH EASIER. HANNAH HAS ALSO HELPED WITH MY POSTURE AS I SIT AT A DESK ALL DAY.”

H Mortimer, Surrey

Next week’s blog will cover stretches for homeworking. Check back then!

Squeeze and breathe,

Love Hannah x

How are you doing?

How are you? These are strange times and I just wanted to check in to see how you are doing? With so much uncertainty, I hope that you are able to spend some time looking after yourself and taking time to stay healthy.

I know that many people have turned to their kitchen for comfort – my children and I have been baking a lot, but it can be difficult with limited ingredients! I couldn’t get eggs the other day, so was pleased to find a recipe (below) for banana loaf made without eggs. If you use vegan chocolate it’s also completely vegan!  It’s a slightly difference take on banana loaf, with a moist, orangey taste, I hope you like it. A friend gave me a handy tip about bananas too – if you have lots that are on the turn but you are not ready to use them, pop them, as they are, into the freezer.  Frozen bananas are great for banana loaf and delicious smoothies too!

During lockdown, many people are getting used to the new normal of working from home.  As well as managing distractions, having no colleagues for support or water cooler catch-ups, and quite possibly becoming a teacher overnight (home-schooling, anyone?), you do still need to find the time and headspace to keep fit. Sitting at a desk, in an uncomfortable chair, every day may be giving you lower back pain or discomfort in your hips.  Here’s a great exercise to stretch your hip flexors:

Lunging Hip Flexor Stretch

Kneel on your left knee. Place your right foot flat on the floor in front of you, knee bent. Lean forward, stretching your left hip toward the floor. Squeeze your butt; this will allow you to stretch your hip flexor even more. Hold for 30 seconds to 2 minutes. Switch sides and repeat.

If you need some daily motivation, you might like to try my 30 Days of Pilates programme for a special price of £5.99 – daily motivational videos and emails to keep you on track with your Pilates.  Click here for more details.  

Alternatively, a library of over 500 daily videos can be yours for just £9.99 per month with our Pilates Community online membership – and the option to join our Farnham Community Online Facebook Group to help with motivation and camaraderie. In addition, you will have access to 4 Facebook Live classes per week! Click here for more details.

Egg-Free Vegan Pecan and Dark Chocolate Chip Banana Loaf

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 ripe-to-overripe bananas, mashed (about 300g when peeled)
  • 75ml olive oil
  • 80g soft, dark-brown sugar
  • Zest and juice of 2 clementines
  • 250g self-raising flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 100g vegan dark chocolate (70 per cent cocoa solids minimum), cut into small chunks
  • 100g pecans, roughly broken

METHOD

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C/ 160C fan/Gas 4, and line a medium roasting tin or a baking dish with non-stick baking or greaseproof paper.
  2. Whisk the mashed bananas with the olive oil, sugar and clementine zest and juice until fairly smooth, then stir in the flour and baking powder. When they just start to combine, stir through three quarters of the dark chocolate and the pecan nuts. Smooth the batter into the prepared tin (don’t worry, it should look pretty doughy), then scatter over the remaining chocolate and nuts.
  3. Transfer to the oven and bake for 20 minutes, until it is well risen and a cake tester or skewer inserted in a non-chocolatey area comes out clean. Let it cool in the tin for five minutes before transferring to a wire rack. This is best eaten warm, but will keep in an airtight tin for two or three days.

Please – STAY INSIDE – and don’t forget to squeeze and breathe!

Love Hannah x

Stay fit with Farnham Pilates – classes at home via Facebook Live and Zoom

Now that we are all minimising social contact to prevent the spread of Coronavirus, let me show you how you can continue Pilates from your own home. Due to government guidelines, the Garden Studio is now closed until further notice.
If you are already a class attendee, these are the classes available to you. Please note that Zoom classes are limited to 35 mins for tec reasons, and Facebook Live classes are 45 minutes as these are much more intense classes.

Monday      2.30 – 3.05 Back care Zoom
                      7.30 – 8.15 Beginners Facebook Live
                      8.30 – 9.15 Improvers Facebook Live

Tuesday      9.30 – 10.15 Improvers Facebook Live 
                      10.30 – 11.05  Beginners Zoom 

Wednesday 9.00 – 9.45 Relaxation Facebook Live 

Friday           9.00 – 9.45 Mixed family session – Facebook Live

Saturday     9.00 – 9.45 Mixed family session – Facebook Live 


At the moment, these classes will continue weekly until 10th July but this is subject to change in these difficult times. I want to support you and would be so grateful if you could support me. We normally have a break for Easter but I have decided to continue classes through the Easter break, with the exception of Good Friday through to Easter Monday.  Naturally, if I am ill or anyone in my family is ill and needs looking after, I will be unable to do the classes but I will let you know if this happens. Let’s use this an opportunity to look out for eachother and to maintain some structure to our days! 

For live classes, the cost for current and new members is £10 per week.  This can be paid to me weekly, monthly or termly.  The added advantage of these new Facebook and Zoom classes is that you will be able to “virtually” attend all of these classes for just £10 per week. 

Once you have paid, you will be put on a separate email list to receive daily emails and videos, so please confirm your payment by email.

So that is all for a price of just:
£10 per week; or
£40 per month; or
£100 until 10th July.

If you are already attending my classes you will have received a link to my WhatsApp group that contains details about Facebook Live and the Zoom link. 

If you are new, once you have paid I will send you the Facebook Live and Zoom Link. 

Payment details
Farnham Pilates 
Account number: 00095005
Sort code: 30-93-20

Please put your surname in the reference field.

Join the Farnham Pilates Facebook group – this is so important to keep you motivated and so you can ask any questions. Also please invite a friend to join so you can work out together. Please Join here  (let me know if you struggle I can help.)

Once you have paid you can also access the WhatsApp linkHERE

MEDICAL QUESTIONNAIRE: If you have not previously completed one, please do so here:  https://pilatescommunity.co.uk/par-q-form
so I can help if you have any problems.


Thank you,
Squeeze and breathe!
Love Hannah
(virtual hug xxx)

Please Email, Text or WhatsApp me on 
07855 291833 
hannah@farnhampilates.com
Farnham Pilates   www.farnhampilates.co.ukwww.pilatescommunity.co.uk

Farnham Pilates weekly blog – get ski-fit!

Get Ski fit  – Pilates Exercises to get ready for Skiing 
[Week 1]

Pain and injury-free skiing for all the family with Pilates

Five-minute read
I am a keen skier so I appreciate that getting your body ready for your ski trip really can help you avoid injury, get stronger so you can do more runs faster or with more confidence, as well as prevent general ski-related aches and pains. This goes for everyone in the family including children; I notice a great difference in my children’s improvement and tiredness levels by getting us to do a few exercises before we go. 
 
So, if you are planning a weekend or Easter ski break, Pilates can help you avoid injury, ski without aches and pains, and have a better time. This week I make a case for doing ski prep exercises, but I’ll follow this up over the next couple of weeks with exercise routines.

Ski preparation – How can Pilates help prepare you for skiing? 

Skiing uses lots of muscles that most of us don’t use a great deal in our everyday lives; if these muscles are prepared, they are less likely to pull or tear i.e. quads, gluts, core and obliques.  

Pilates will…..

  • Improve body awareness and alignment to reduce risk of injury.
  • Strengthen and increase endurance of the right muscles by isolating movements. 
  • Improve core strength, balance and stabilise the joints to create better controlled slalom turns.
  • Mobilise joints so if there is a fall you are less likely to injury yourself.
  • Improve fitness and cardio levels for during and post ski activities.  
  • Reduce aches and fatigue to enable you to ski longer during the day.

Preventing injury

Taking care to strengthen, stabilise and mobilise the joints that twist and turn during skiing can help prevent injuries on knees, neck, wrists, ankles, shoulders and muscular problems. Statistics show falls are a high risk for women and children skiers, while men tend to suffer from injuries as a result of high speeds like muscle fatigue, head and neck injuries, neck sprain, and shoulder and medial ligament injuries. Snowboarding tends to cause ankle and wrist injuries. However, for every thousand people on the ski slopes per day, only two to four will sustain an injury that requires medical attention, that’s a risk of only 0.2-0.4%. However it may not only bring your holiday to an abrupt end but could also prove expensive in terms of medical treatment. 
 
Your exercise programme needs to have key elements for Skiing – 
Brenna Kelleher, a former NCAA ski racer and ski instructor and guide explains that each turn down a slope is like a sprint that engages leg, back and core muscles. While an aerobic base can help skiers recover faster the key for preparing your body is to focus on cardio intensity with core strength. Pilates exercises combines and improves the following elements – 

  1. Your alignment and posture. 
  2. Cardio endurance – for an aerobic base (essential for recovery), a high lactate threshold (so you can ski longer before you feel the burn) and lactate power (which provides the oomph you need for intense efforts).
  3. Strengthen quads and back muscles especially if you are a beginner in a snow plough position. 
  4. Increase strength and endurance of legs, buttocks and hips to mimic skiing to help create precision of movement, coordination and power i.e. squats on the vibration plate.
  5. Improve your balance and stability with one-leg emphasis exercises.
  6. Improve spinal mobility and oblique strength for rotations for turning and twisting at speed. 
  7. Strengthen your core abdominals. 
  8. Improve coordination and body awareness for speed accuracy (so that you can respond quickly when avoiding another skier or ice).
  9. Improve joint mobility and flexibility like ankles, knees and hips. (Feet influence a skier’s alignment and his or her ability to execute powerful movement. Edging and applying pressure to carve a turn and stay in control starts with the feet.)

Your ski exercise preparation routine – 

 
Start to prepare six weeks in advance with the following exercises and sign up to do videos at home like our online Pilates program (www.pilatescommunity.co.uk) and your ski trip will be more comfortable, easier on your body and your children will be less tired and have more fun.
 
I recommend an increase in a weekly schedule of exercise as follows :

  • Daily moderate in small chunks of 30-60 mins – obvious things include cardio like fast walking, take the stairs, cycle, walk to work 
  • Weekly cardio moderate to vigorous exercise 3-4 times intense 20 mins (cycle, jog, swim, dance, football) 
  • Weekly mobilise and stretch routine 2-3 times a week for 10-20 mins like yoga or Pilates. 
  • Increase your stamina and repetitions over a six-week programme. Build slowly, increase your speed and the mix of exercise.

To get strong join our 30 days of Pilates only £9.99 or the Pilates membership try 1 month get access to ski fit videos for only £11 per month, or full access for all videos for £49 for six months  or £110 for annual membership.

Next week… Next week we look at the basics of how to exercise along with some stretches and vital balance exercises.

Squeeze and breathe,

Love Hannah x





Farnham Pilates Weekly Blog – Fitness in February

Hello and welcome to February! This is a short month (even on a leap year) and this has got us thinking about the time it takes to get fit. In the old days, getting fit was all about how much time you put in. An hour of swimming laps in the swimming pool, 45 minutes jogging, anyone? Research is growing that there are many benefits to short bursts of intense exercise, for both improving cardiovascular function and fat loss. So where does Pilates fit in with this? Here at Farnham Pilates we can offer 1:1s or small group 1:1s. This allows for more interaction with the Pilates instructor, meaning that exercises are done to a greater intensity. Couple that with use of the Pilates reformer or vibration plate, and you can have yourself an intense and effective workout in a fraction of the time! So you can reap the benefits of an hour long class in less than 30 minutes!

What is the Pilates Reformer?

The reformer a piece of Pilates equipment that you can lie on. It is large enough to accommodate full-range motion, which is wonderful for increasing flexibility while building strength. It seems to invite the length you want to create in the body, and it trains the body to sustain that length. Pushing and pulling with legs or arms against the resistance of the springs, carriage, and body weight is generally strength building. The exercises provide enough resistance and movement variety to help build strong bones. And there is a special feature – eccentric muscle contractions. This is when a muscle lengthens as it resists a force. It is great for injury rehabilitation as there is less impact on the joints and many exercises are done lying down. The reformer has a ‘rolling carriage’ with the springs set at different levels of resistance; this provides all kinds of stability challenges that develop core strength and promote better balance. For example, having less of the body on the carriage is one of the ways Pilates exercises get harder. It means more body weight has to be supported by the practitioner, and the body and machine have to be controlled even more from the core.

Springboard

Even if you regularly take reformer classes, incorporating some Springboard classes will help you quickly break through that fitness plateau.

Vibration Plates

Here at Farnham Pilates we use vibration plates help you speed up a routine with vibration making stability harder. So the increase in stability and basic movements, balances and exercises such as bodyweight squats, bicep curls and lunges, feel harder and give you a more intense workout.

For any Pilates reformer or vibration plate 1:1 personal training approach we track you progress and adhere to safety.

THE BENEFITS OF reformer and vibration plate-

✅Burn calories and fat whilst toning your muscles ✅Build muscle strength ✅Reduce cellulite due to boost in blood circulation to the tissues and its ability to tone muscles and tighten connective tissue ✅Improve your overall fitness resulting in improved moods, better sleep, and posture ✅It’s easy on your joints and tendons as there is no jumping or running involved ✅It gives you a full workout in a fraction of the time

Farnham Pilates 1:1s

Contact me if you want to try out a 1:1 session, where you can use the reformer or vibration plate to kickstart your fitness. I can offer ad hoc sessions or regular sessions, to fit in with your busy schedule. Prices as follows: 1 hour assessment: £65; 45 minute follow-up class: £45; 30 minute follow-up class: £35; Small group 1:1 class: 1 hour for £85 (split between the participants)

Availability: Thursday AM; Monday and Wednesday after 1500; Fridays 0830-1130; Saturday 0930-1230

Squeeze and breathe,

Love Hannah xx

Why do Pilates?

This week we are looking at why people choose to do Pilates classes.

“Pilates develops the body uniformly, corrects wrong postures, restores physical vitality, invigorates the mind and elevates the spirit” Joseph Pilates

  • Are you busy running around with back pain or aches but trying to ignore them?
  • Are you trying to do your best to do lots of exercises, keeping fit and healthy, but your back and core is still weak?
  • Are you tired, achy or injured and need to get back to your previous strength?
  • Do you need more mobility? Do your muscles or joints feel tight and stiff especially hips, back or pelvis?
  • Do you fall or trip easily – we work on improving your balance using balance pads and stability exercises.
  • Do you have pelvic floor accidents (incontinence when you laugh jump or sneeze – those “Oops” moments…) ?
  • Maybe you’ve had children and still don’t feel your body is back to how it should be and your tummy is still weak?
  • Are you training for a big run, a skiing trip, or to improve your golf, and know you need to strengthen your muscles and core but not sure how or what to do?

Farnham Pilates is here to help! Our clients have given us some wonderful feedback this week, telling us why they do Pilates and what they love about their classes. Pilates can help you learn what is right for your body, improve your posture, strength and mobility. But what is it about Farnham Pilates that has kept clients coming back year after year?

What is unique about Farnham Pilates?

Location: All of our classes at Farnham Pilates take place in a purpose-built, warm, cosy garden studio. The studio is also fully equipped with Pilates equipment and mats.

People: You will be working with like-minded, friendly people. Many of my clients have been attending for years and have found the classes are a lovely way to keep up with friends they have met at the class.

Variety: I have classes for all levels: improvers, beginners, focus on back-care, focus on abdominals. If you and a group of friends are interested in a particular area, let me know and we can see if I can create a class especially for you.

Expertise: I have helped over 1500 clients over 12 years of teaching. I am qualified at Pilates OCR level 2, CYQ level 3, Equipment level 3. I have a back injury form a serious car accident, so I know what it means to train with an injury.

Testimonials

Don’t just take my word for it, here is what my clients have said about why they love their Pilates classes with me:

I come to Pilates because Hannah is a great Pilates teacher, I have been coming for years. It stretches and strengthens me.

BC, Farnham”

The garden studio is a lovely, cosy and personal venue to do Pilates.

LE, Rowledge”

Helps me strengthen my back and joints, plus we have a giggle! It’s a lovely small and personal group so I get a lot of attention from the teacher.

CB, Rowledge”

30 days of Pilates for just £9.99

Classes not for you? Or do you find that one class is not enough, and you want daily movement? Our 30 days of Pilates programme may be for you. A daily email containing a short video, hints and tips, and the opportunity to join a supportive group via Facebook or WhatsApp. To find out more or to join, see here.

Special February rate for classes: £60 for 6 classes from 24th February! For more details, please email me: hannah@farnhampilates.co.uk

Click here for our latest timetable.

Squeeze and breathe!

Love Hannah and the Farnham Pilates team xx

Creating Healthy Habits – how to keep up the momentum

So – it’s the third week of January.  How are all your new year’s resolutions going?  Chances are, some of them have already slipped.  If you put too much pressure on yourself, you set yourself up to fail.  Short term gains do not create a healthy lifestyle, so it is important to see how incorporating regular, gentle exercise into your daily life, can become a habit and therefore make a real, long-term change to your life.

How long does it take to form a new habit?

Researchers at University College London, recently conducted an enlightening study on habit formation. Participants performed a self-chosen, health-promoting dietary or activity behaviour, like drinking a glass of water, in response to a once-daily cue, like after breakfast, and gave daily self-reports of how automatic the behaviour felt. On average it took 66 days for the participants to start a habit. (That’s March 6 if you are attempting a New Year’s resolution).

Can I miss a day?

Popular belief has seemed to suggest that missing a day in the habit formation process meant you had to start over from day one. The study stated that,

“Missing one opportunity to perform the behaviour did not materially affect the habit formation process.”

What this means is, if you miss a day in trying to start a new habit, don’t put yourself on a guilt trip. Just keep trying; you’ll eventually get there.

So whether you are trying to eat 4 servings of fruit everyday, or walk 20 minutes a day, keep trying. You will eventually get there. And don’t get discouraged if it takes more than 66 days.

So, what can you do to kickstart this habit?

Why not sign up here to my 30 day Pilates Challenge course? For a special price of just £9.99 (usual price £11 per month) you will receive a daily video to practise in the comfort of your own home, the opportunity to join our online community via Facebook or WhatsApp to help with accountability, motivation and to share tips and stories. Pilates can help relieve pain, increase core strength and flexibility and increase strength and stability. A comment from a recent sign-up:

“Me and my 12 year old are doing the videos each night before he goes to bed. It’s helping him to go to sleep so it’s definitely working!” LV, Portsmouth

So, with my 30 day Pilates Challenge, building that new habit may just be a little easier….

Squeeze and breathe,

Love Hannah x

This week’s recipe – a healthy Christmas cake

Healthy Christmas Fruit Cake

A healthy Christmas fruit cake recipe that’s gluten free, dairy free and grain free using almond flour and coconut flour. Easy to make!

Prep Time: 40 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 40 minutes
 

Ingredients
500 grams mixed dried fruits         
75 grams walnuts
1 orange
125 grams almond flour/meal 
67 grams coconut flour 
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
2 tsp salt
3 tsp mixed spice 
1 tsp ground cinnamon
5 eggs
50 grams butter or coconut oil, melted
1 tbsp vanilla extract
60 ml amaretto or other liqueur of choice (optional)

Glaze (Optional)
2 tbsp honey or other liquid sweetener
2 tbsp amaretto or other liqueur of choice

Instructions

1.        Start by soaking the fruit. Fill your kettle and pop it on to boil while you organise all the dried fruit into a large bowl. If you’re using larger fruit like dates and apricots, roughly chop them up first (my quick tip: snip them with kitchen scissors – it will save you so much time!). Pour the hot water over the fruit and allow to sit for 10 to 15 minutes to soften and then drain and allow to cool to room temperature (get on with your cake prep while this is happening).

2.        Preheat your oven to 150 C. Line a 20 cm cake tin (preferably spingform) with baking paper along the base and sides.

3.        Combine the almond flour, coconut flour, bicarb, salt, mixed spice and cinnamon in a large mixing bowl. Zest the orange and roughly chop the walnuts, and add the zest and walnuts to the bowl too. Keep the orange.

4.        In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, melted butter (or coconut oil), vanilla and amaretto. Squeeze in the juice of the orange (doesn’t matter if some pulp goes in).

5.        Create a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and gradually stir in the wet mixture, stirring as you go (coconut flour is very absorbent so it’s better to add it gradually). You should end up with a very thick batter, almost like a wet crumbly dough.

6.        Make sure your soaked fruit is well drained, and then add this to the cake batter. Fold it in with a spoon until combined evenly.

7.        Scoop the cake batter in to your lined baking tin and press down with your fingers or the back of a spoon until there are no gaps and the top is smooth.

8.        Bake the cake for between 60 – 70 minutes, or until the top is well browned and the centre feels firm to touch.

9.        If you’re going to glaze the cake, do so immediately while the cake is hot, brushing on your glaze of choice with a pastry brush. You can also poke a few holes in the cake and then drizzle it over, if you want to use a lot and really soak the cake. To use the glaze I have suggested above, simply heat up the honey so it’s really runny, mix with the amaretto and then brush over the top of the cake.

10.    Allow the cake to cool in the tin for 30 minutes and then place on a wire rack to cool to room temperature. (Store in the fridge for about 1 week or freeze for a longer life.)