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Posts Tagged ‘pilates’

Grab a Workout Buddy

Saturday, February 9th, 2013

Unless you are a highly motivated self-starter and aren’t prone to giving up when it comes to working out, your chances of sticking to a long-term fitness plan without a friend are significantly lower than they are with a friend. So grab your friend and buddy up for fitness!

With a friend, the time goes by faster, you won’t be as tempted to cancel a workout or cheat, and you have someone to celebrate with when it comes to your progress and successes!

I recently read a great article on one of my favorite fitness websites called Get Motivated: The Workout You Won’t Cancel. It makes sense! The buddy system has proven itself in just about all areas of life.

At the Butler Community School one of the things I love is the sense of community. If people don’t come to take a class or workout with a friend when they first come to the BCS, it’s not long before there is a sense of camaraderie. Everyone’s in it together. I see it in drop-in classes, during the workshops, and in the Pilates Center. It happens! It’s accountability and encouragement at its best.

Here’s my challenge. Bring a friend, strike up a new friendship with someone in a class, or get a group together. Prove me right! i’m convinced you’ll stick with it! Try working out with people you enjoy being with, in a class that you enjoy.  Meet new people! Give it enough time to test it. If it helps, if you experience the benefits of the buddy system, I want to hear your story! If it does nothing for you let me know that too…but I will want to know why!

So grab your workout buddy and get started today!

Hello Glutes, Welcome to Today!

Thursday, December 20th, 2012

I am loving the blogs written by Schools Program Coordinator Jodi Schwaben. Here’s her latest in the Pilates journey…

 

Hello glutes, welcome to today! That’s what Ballet Austin Pilates Instructor Alex Miller said before announcing another set of leg lifts, but for me it was more like Hello glutes, quads, hamstrings and all of you other leg muscles I didn’t realize existed until just now.

Yesterday was my final Pilates session for this series of blog posts, and I must admit I’m feeling pretty good (aside from the sore thighs and abs). I’ve been doing Pilates once a week for three weeks now, and I’m noticing a difference in my stamina, posture, flexibility and overall body awareness.

Here are my suggestions for other beginners:

Take a private lesson. Before you attend a group session, it would be wise to first take a private lesson with one of Ballet Austin’s instructors. This is a perfect opportunity to familiarize yourself with the reformer and become accustom to the adjustments and movements that occur in every class.

Be prepared for corrections. The Pilates instructors want you to get a good workout and they also want to avoid injury, so they will correct your position if it is wrong. This is not to frustrate you or make you feel uncomfortable. To reiterate my first suggestion, a private session will get a lot of these corrections out of the way in a more comfortable setting.

Dress appropriately. At some point in your session, you will be lying down on the apparatus with your legs extended, so loose shorts are not suggested. Fitted clothing are best for a couple of reasons, first, you don’t want to worry about anything showing, second, your instructor will be able to see your body alignment more clearly. For women, I suggest a fitted t-shirt or tank top with leggings, bicycle shorts or yoga pants. For men, I would suggest a t-shirt with bicycle shorts, running pants or gym shorts with bicycle shorts underneath. You will be barefoot.

Communicate with your instructor. Before or at the beginning of your session, let your instructor know if you have any injuries or limitations, and he or she will make the proper adjustments for you. While in session, if anything hurts or feels wrong, tell your instructor immediately.

During yesterday’s appointment I was able to do some of the Pilates moves that I couldn’t complete only two weeks ago. I think it may be due to more than just my improved stamina; I think the encouragement from my instructors helps a lot. Alex and Vlada are not shy to shout out a personalized “great job” or “beautiful” as you go through the motions, and the small class size allows the instructors to give individualized attention to each student. I will definitely be back.

-Jodi

I Take Pilates with Robots

Friday, December 14th, 2012

…Or maybe Energizer Bunnies. My class is full of women and men of all ages and body types and they do.not.stop. I asked one woman how she was able to keep up without her abs bursting into flames, and she explained that she’d been taking Pilates here at Ballet Austin for a while. As the class continued, I realized I too felt more confident in my movements and the transitions became easy (well, easier), which got me thinking about my normal excuses and how Pilates seems to be the exception to my many rules.

No Energy
I’m having one of those just on my first cup of coffee, don’t talk to me type of day. I’m not sure if it’s the gloomy weather or all the calories I burned Christmas shopping at the Domain this weekend, but I just didn’t want to get out of bed. So of course, the last thing I wanted to do was shimmy into a pair of yoga pants and hit the Pilates studio. Honestly, my desires were to stay in my baggy sweatpants and hit the couch for an all-day marathon of Friends reruns. However, after an hour of Pilates, I have a burst of energy, especially on the days when we do Pilates Cardio. I can also tell a difference in my metabolism throughout the day.

Joint Issues
I was born with dislocated hips, so I’ve always had lower back and hip pain. This is my #1 excuse. High-impact classes tend to hurt my hip flexors and mat classes are uncomfortable for my lower back. However, as today’s Pilates Instructor Alex explained, if it hurts or just doesn’t feel right, let your instructor know and modifications can be made. I’ve learned in my appointments that if I am restricted from a move, it doesn’t mean I can’t still target that specific muscle group. The Certified Pilates Instructors are able to make the proper adjustments or teach a completely different move to still get the same results without the pain – well, not completely pain-free (remember the abs bursting into flames comment?)

I Cheat
I’m not trying to brag, but I’m an awesome cheater. Years of evil gym teachers made me a fantastic exercise cheater.  I can cheat, cheat, cheat without the instructor ever knowing; I can do the same move as you and feel nothing just by turning my arm a little bit. One problem, if the instructor standing over you can’t tell you’re cheating, the reformer sure can. I cannot cheat on the Pilates Reformer. If you don’t do the movement, it won’t move. It’s that simple. It’s impossible to leave a Pilates Apparatus class feeling like you didn’t get a great workout. The machine adds just enough resistance and forces you to do it right.

That sums up appointment # two in this four part series, and so far I’m sticking to my original statement: Pilates may be the workout for the girl who doesn’t work out.

Jodi

Could this be the exercise class for the girl who doesn’t exercise?

Friday, December 7th, 2012

I am turning over the BEACTIVE! blog to Schools Program Coordinator Jodi Schwaben for a few weeks. Enjoy!

I was never the most coordinated person. Alright, I’ll just say it – I was a nerd. In high school, I chose to exercise my mind over exercising my body. Now, closing in on the big 3-0, I’m noticing my metabolism slowing and my body starting to slouch. To combat this I’ve increased my activity level, which includes sticking in a pair of headphones and walking on a treadmill until I’m bored. I prefer individual activities, ones where I can do things at my own pace and without comparing myself to the athletes around me.

So when my director asked me to take a Ballet Austin Group Pilates class on the reformer, I wasn’t exactly chomping at the bit. Luckily, I had a week to mentally prepare for the impending hour of torture.

At my appointment time, I checked out my classmates – one, a Ballet Austin employee who could basically be a Prima Ballerina as fit as she is – I instantly felt nervous and out of place. Everyone knew what to do; they went right to work stretching on the Pilates apparatus. I felt foolish, fumbling with my equipment, but no one seemed to notice; all of the students stared ahead, focusing on their own movements. What a relief!

The class did not stop after that, shifting between core, to legs, to arms, to legs, to core – I never felt bored. Then we switched to cardio. How does one do cardio on a Pilates reformer? In the most fun and entertaining way possible! We attached springboards to our reformers and jumped, while lying down – kicking our legs out to the sides, then up and down. SO MUCH FUN! I looked at the clock after 10 minutes of class and realized I didn’t look at it again until it was time to go.

Still, I may be a Private Pilates kinda gal, but one thing I loved about my group class was the camaraderie; I struggled, it was a tough class, but I had women struggling right along with me. I felt comforted the minute a classmate grunted out “This really hurts.” Oh great! It wasn’t just me!

This is absolutely a class that you feel during and after, but I’ll be back – Not just because my boss is making me – but also because it’s a ton of fun.

Follow my progress the next four weeks as I continue to try out Ballet Austin Pilates apparatus classes!

What are you waiting for?

Sunday, December 2nd, 2012

Somewhere along the way, it was decided that the New Year is a good time to start a fitness plan. That’s great, but to cringe and quote an old cliché, “Don’t put off till tomorrow what you can do today.”

Seriously! Do you want to start a new exercise program? Then start! Not “I should start” but “I will start”. We have it in our heads that if we wait until the first of something it will somehow be easier for us to accomplish the task. “I can start that on Monday” or “let’s wait until the first of the month”. And the big one now is “what is your New Year’s resolution going to be?” But what’s wrong with Tuesday…or Thursday…or December? If today is Thursday, don’t wait until next Monday because you think it’s better to start at the beginning of the week. Resolve today and start today. To quote NIKE, “Just Do It!”

I’m not always the best at taking my own advice. I try to stay up on significant trends in fitness. What’s new, what will provide the best overall workout, what will keep people engaged long enough to see results, and so on. I’m fairly knowledgeable about a variety of exercise programs, but other than a couple of private Pilates sessions and some Pilates mat classes, I can’t say that I know as much as I’d like about the Pilates method. I have been saying for months that I will start working out in the Pilates Center. I have not yet started.

Last week I was speaking to Vlada about plans to get the word out about our Pilates Center and the benefits of Pilates. I explained to Vlada that I had asked Jodi, one of my staff, to begin taking Pilates weekly to gain experience and knowledge to better communicate with potential clients. Vlada looked at me and said, “what about you?” Of course my answer to her was, “That would be great; maybe in January.” Her reply, “How about Thursdays at noon? You and Jodi are booked beginning December 6”. Vlada would not accept anything short of “Just do it! And do it now”. So I am.

I’m excited. Jodi and I will begin this challenge together. We are not waiting until January. We have fought and won the battle of good intentions.

Check back to the blog each week as Jodi will be blogging the pains, the gains, the challenges and benefits of Pilates.

What are you waiting for?

Are You Half Done?

Sunday, September 16th, 2012

A good workout is better than a half done workout and a half done workout is better than none at all.

We live in a time when it’s all or nothing. We apply the “all or nothing” mentality to how we eat, sleep, and work out. This past week there was a day I was not able to go for my 60 minute. Instead of going for 20 I stayed home and sat on the couch.

Think about that for a minute. For example, does it really make sense that if we eat healthy all day and then blow it with a gooey candy bar in the afternoon, we just throw up our hands and say, “oh well, I ruined my diet for today so might as well eat junk the rest of the day”?  Does it really make sense to commit to exercise every day, do great for weeks, and then laziness sets in so motivation goes out the window and you turn into a couch potato again? It happens so quickly! We miss a workout, eat unhealthy, and so on. Defeat leads to derailing.

It’s easy to make excuses not to exercise. Even when we know how good it is for us, we just find it easier to not. We’re too busy, too tired, too…whatever to exercise. And rather than put in even half the time or half the effort, we do nothing.

I know how easy it is to get trapped into the “I give up mentality. If I can’t do it all, then I will do nothing.”

So let’s flip our thoughts.

What if we look at it this way: In stead of focusing on a goal to exercise for one hour a day, we focus on a goal to limit our sitting and sleeping time to 23 hours a day!  Sounds a bit ridiculous but it just might work. Out of 24 hours in a day I can only sit or sleep for 23. Maybe I’m not too busy!

Adding a bit of practical advice to this thinking; when you are in a slump, catch yourself quickly and choose to get back on track right away. So you have slacked off a bit lately; no big deal! It happens to all of us. Accept it as a part of the ups and downs in life. Don’t be so hard on yourself. The key is to get back on track before it becomes a lifelong habit. When it comes to food, instead of eating the whole carton of ice cream, feel terrible, defeated, and give up, realise you made a bad choice, and then follow it up with a new one; a better choice. Put a stop to your defeated thoughts before they stop you! Sometimes it’s harder to do than others, but once you recognise it’s a problem, it gets easier.

Start again and move on. Your success is the accumulation of continual good choices and effort over time. The key is to make sure you have more good days then bad ones! Don’t let a bad moment, day, week, or month undo all your hard work. Start each day fresh. And remember, doing half as much is still better than doing nothing at all.

What kind of a workout will you have this week? What will you do each day to limit your sitting and sleeping to only 23 hours?  Make a choice!

 

Looking for something new and fresh to motivate you this week? Check out Ballet Austin’s Butler Community School’s dance & fitness classes and state-of-the-art Pilates Center!

I Was Triple Dared But Accepted The Challenge!

Thursday, July 19th, 2012

We are going to be wrapping up the Ballet Austin staff “Get Moving Challenge” soon. Several of my colleagues have already shared their challenges with you. It’s been fun and motivating to read their stories! Next on the agenda is Ballet Austin’s new Marketing Director Tim Dillon. Quite an initiation for Tim! Check out his blog…

Tim Dillon, Marketing Director

I am one of the newest employees at Ballet Austin and the staff challenge is the first time I’ve taken classes at the Butler Community School. After agreeing to participate, I found myself staring at the expansive list of drop-in classes available, wondering where to start.

As someone who is not a fan of the typical gym workout, I tend to find the repetitiveness of lifting weights and running on a treadmill a bit boring. As a result, I’m always looking for a workout that mixes cardio along with building muscle. So, I was immediately drawn to the class offerings of Pilates, arms and abs conditioning and below the belt.

With the clock ticking on my assignment due date and no decision made on my part as to where to begin, my colleague Eric Caruthers walked past my office one day and asked, “Jazz Fit class tomorrow night?” Without really thinking about it, I responded, “Sure!” What I didn’t think through was the fact that I have never before danced to choreography. Of course, I’ve spent many, many nights “cutting a rug” on a nightclub dance floor, but have never followed dance steps to the instruction of someone else. This was going to be interesting.

The very experienced Meghan Gill Bowman leads the 60-minute Jazz Fit class. We started with a 30-minute warm up  similar to a fast-paced Yoga class. We did a lot of full-body stretching and lengthening in yoga-esque moves, and went from twists, to push ups, to lunges and beyond so fast that I worked up a sweat immediately. Just when my body was giving in and tired, we started the choreography, dancing to one of Madonna’s most recent releases “Give Me All Your Luvin’.” (One of my least favorite Madonna songs of all time, but that’s commentary for a different blog.)  I learned one thing really quickly: I’m not very good at remembering choreography., and sometimes had trouble remembering what was supposed to come next… Was it a kick, or turn or a shimmy? But it didn’t matter that I couldn’t remember. I was laughing, sweating and thoroughly enjoying the class. Later, and especially the next day, I could feel the results in my tightest muscles, the hamstrings.

My second class was chosen mostly out of convenience. I normally find myself being fairly lazy on Sundays, but Ballet Fit at 1:00pm seemed like a perfect fit. Being late enough in the day makes it easy to take care of errands and eat a full meal beforehand. And it’s fairly low impact so I didn’t expect it to wear me out. Plus, I was also excited to learn some of the ballet lingo that is so often used around the office.

The very graceful Kaitlyn Moise leads this fun class that again had a very familiar feel to Yoga. Kaitlyn had us go through fast rounds of stretching and warming up, much of which I found myself unable to keep up. When Kaitlyn would call for and count 10 push-ups I could make it through 6 or 7, but it was okay. Again I was laughing and sweating, and felt the burn again in my hamstrings, so I knew I was getting a good work out.

For my final class in the challenge I thought I better get back into my comfort zone and steer away from choreography this time, so I took Arms and Abs Conditioning – a very popular weekday morning class. Led by the sweet and passionate Brittany Harpole, the class uses a lot of props including a rubber ball, weights and various tensions of Therabands. Brittany led the 45-minute class on a fast-paced round of various exercises that focused, of course, on our arms and abs, but I also felt the workout in my back, shoulders, and legs. It was high energy and fun. Again, I found out there were some reps that I could not complete, but it just gave me motivation to want to come back again and again until I can do it all.. It wasn’t until two days after the class that I felt the effects… Especially when I coughed or laughed.

This staff challenge was the perfect motivation to throw myself into classes that I may not normally have considered. I encourage you to think outside your comfort zone and come try a drop-in class at BCS soon.

Words of Wisdom from Your Typical 20-Something Overachiever

Thursday, July 12th, 2012

If you haven’t noticed, the Ballet Austin staff “Get Moving Challenge” has revealed the challenges people face in their quest to to to be active on a regular basis. Today we get to hear from my colleague Eleanor Bartosh who works in the Marketing Department at Ballet Austin.

Eleanor Bartosh, Digital Media Manager

I am a planner, through and through.  Whether its meals for the week, Saturday morning errands or vacation agendas, you name it and it’s probably on my calendar somewhere… most likely a few weeks in advance. Because of this – on top of being just plain busy – it’s often hard for me to just “hit the gym after work” on any given day.

Enter in the BCS Staff Challenge. I filled the role of your typical 20-something overachiever: I work a lot, and outside of the office, my free time is usually spent running to happy hours instead of running on the trail. Clearly things had to change.

For the challenge I took Zumba® (insert hip shake), Body Sculpting (not as scary as it sounds) and I tested out a workshop called Pilates Thera-Band® Stretch (my favorite).

All of my friends and co-workers are well aware that I’m not cardio person (my gym time is spent on a yoga mat), but I’ve been dying to try Zumba® for months now. It looked like a fun way to work up a sweat and target your ‘problem areas’ – and, yes, even 24-year-olds have those. It proved to be both of those things and more. I’m not the most coordinated person in the world, but it didn’t matter as I shook my hips and wiggled across the floor for 45 straight minutes. Our instructor Rebekah Fowler was sassy, sweet and totally inspiring. Tip: Bring a water bottle and a friend and laugh at yourselves in the mirror.

The next day found me in Body Sculpting, another of our drop-in fitness classes. Thankfully I spent the morning on a mat rather than tripping over my tennis shoes, doing a variety of Pilates-inspired exercises designed to target muscles ALL over your body. I loved the full workout and my hips and shoulders were pleasantly sore later that evening. Tip: Dress comfortably (workout tights are great) and don’t worry about wearing sneakers.

To switch things up just a bit, I sampled one of our popular Pilates workshops called Pilates Thera-Band® Stretch – and let me just say… it was INCREDIBLE and by far one of the most enjoyable workouts I’ve ever done next to yoga. Despite getting sweatier than expected (sorry in advance to my 2pm coffee date), the 45-minute lunchtime session FLEW by and I found myself smiling the whole time… even while my legs were shaking and my abs were cramping. Taught by Company Dancer Elise Pekarek, it’s quick, fun and effective. I will definitely be back (and you should come, too!). Tip: Bring a towel and your own band if you’re allergic to latex.

It’s Thursday and I can’t believe I’ve already worked out three times this week – or that I can already feel the benefit! With every class I feel stronger, I’m sleeping better and my abs are starting to show some definition again. Which makes me wonder: Maybe this whole ‘exercising regularly’ thing IS worth it after all…

Baby Steps Toward Motivation

Monday, July 9th, 2012

The Ballet Austin staff “Get Moving Challenge” ends this week. It’s been fun watching staff take a variety of classes, and especially fun to receive the photos of staff in a class.  I am also enjoying the blogs as well!  Check out what LuAnn has to say about her experiences…

LuAnn Glowacz, Ballet Austin Communications Manager

A body in motion stays in motion. I have to remind myself of Newton’s law every day as I contemplate the endless excuses I have to skip that 5:30 am power walk or noontime Pilates class. Working at Ballet Austin, I’m surrounded by elite athletes. And I can’t help but covet the apparent gene they possess that keeps them craving blood, sweat, and tears (while I much prefer the couch, kolaches, and pedicures).

So it’s as if the Staff Challenge was custom made for me. During June, I used the opportunity to take Ballet Fit, Pilates Ballet Barre Workshop, and Feldenkrais. I also had the chance to duck into a few minutes of Videodance™ and Brazilian Samba…WAY outside my comfort zone. And here’s what I’ve learned on the road to better motivation.

  1. Don’t be intimidated. As someone who doesn’t exercise regularly, I’m always the “novice” in most classes that I take. What I’ve learned with near certainty is that your fellow classmates are not there to watch you or judge you. If you don’t believe me, ease your nerves (and paranoia) by bringing a friend or by arriving early and seeking out another person in the studio who seems terrified to be there (introduce yourself and make a quick comrade).  Just knowing that someone else in the class who feels as if a big “A” for “Amateur” is written across his or her forehead can be a huge help.
  2. Commit yourself. While signing up for a full workshop wasn’t requisite for the Staff Challenge, the commitment of a multi-week workshop (as opposed to relying on drop-in classes) did wonders for me. While I struggle with motivation, I do not take accountability lightly. Having a reserved spot in Pilates Ballet Barre Workshop kept me motivated to show up, week after week.  And how was the workshop? If you’ve never taking a Pilates course led by a former Russian ballerina (in this case, Pilates Program Director Vlada Sheber), you haven’t truly taken a Pilates course. My body transformed within minutes (as well as my ability to gracefully descend Ballet Austin’s grand staircase).
  3. If you want to dance, dance! I’m not a dancer and anyone who has taken a dance-based fitness class with me can attest to that (Can I hear an “Amen!” my Ballet Fit and Videodance friends?). But dancing fills an hour’s worth of exercise much easier for me than any other fitness class or routine can. Concentrating on choreography or ballet positions takes my mind off of the fact that I’m [gulp] exercising. And the added responsibility of not tripping the person next to me helps. That type of trickery is really the only way to keep me moving for any extended period of time. So if you’re not a dancer but you feel like dancing…congratulations! You’re a dancer! Don’t allow anyone to convince you otherwise.

My Motivation: Easing Into The Golden Years Gracefully

Thursday, June 28th, 2012

Ballet Austin’s Director of Operations & Finance has become famous during the Staff “Get Moving Challenge“. She has been to many of the classes. I love it! See what she has to say…

Gail Romney, Director of Operations & Finance

First class – Turbo Kick. I am alive. That is good news because there is a chance now I can finish the Staff Challenge. You know me, I’m the busy downtown professional who is in the second half of a century of life and would like to ease into the golden years gracefully. Ha. I am motivated by the fact that my mother and mother-in-law are in their 90’s and, as my mother puts it, still running around loose. My mother-in-law is 95, can walk 3 miles without breathing hard, and takes Pilates once a week. Who needs a staff challenge when I have her around? I tell myself there is an outside chance that if I exercise and keep in shape, the reward will be a long and mobile life and perhaps I won’t lose my marbles too soon. So, back to Turbo Kick…this is a fun and energetic 45 minutes and if you take it for the first time, don’t worry about the jabs and hooks, punches and kicks. If you keep moving, you will sweat – and that is a promise. I can see that after a few classes, the moves become second nature, as evidenced by the synchronized movements of everyone but me.  And instructor, Tara Shakleford, is adorable (in sort of a drill sergeant way). But it was fun, and I will definitely come back to it when I am done with all my other adventures at the BCS.

Second Class – Zumba. A terrific class and again, a great cardio workout. Rebekah Fowler is a fantastic instructor and makes all the steps easy to follow, although I am sure I dislocated both hips with all the sultry Latin moves!

Third Class – Elementary Contemporary. I took this even though I wasn’t exactly sure what I would be getting into. The description sounded intriguing but I was a bit leery of the hour and a half class time since I nearly expired in the previous two classes that were half as long. Not to worry, there was a lovely warm up involving aspects of Yoga and ballet along with abs and arms work. Then instructor Dane Burch got us moving with choreography that was challenging, but doable, in a jazz/lyrical/modern style. It was great fun and Dane was very patient with us newbies.

Truly, all the classes at Ballet Austin’s BCS are wonderful, my favorites over the years have been Ballet Fit, Arms & Abs, and Body Sculpting (love this one), as well as doing the Pilates Reformer classes. The Staff Challenge was a blast and I even got my picture taken several times – I could get used to this paparazzi thing…

Yes, Gail found herself in front of the camera several times over the past week or so. Check it out on the BCS facebook page! You too could win a FREE class. Staff sightings are everywhere! Love the “Get Moving Challenge“!

Never taken a class? Get Started!

 
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