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Archive for the ‘Pilates’ Category

Pilates is Nearly 100 Years Old and STILL One of THE Best Total Body Workouts

Ever walk past a Pilates studio and wonder if the equipment inside is some kind of medieval torture device? You’re not alone. Despite being nearly 100 years old, the workout method still remains a mystery to most people who don’t already practice it. 

If you’ve never tried Pilates, the appeal and experience of taking a class, either in-studio or online, or signing up for a private session might not be so obvious. But the first thing you should know is that “Pilates is more than a fitness routine,” says Marina Kaydanova, founder of BK Pilates in New York City. 

“It’s meant to fix alignment and improve mobility,” she explains. “In that way, it’s sort of a form of physical therapy.” Pilates workouts are all about slow, controlled movements that tone muscles, increase muscular endurance, and promote good posture and balance.

And in case you were wondering why it gets capitalized when yoga, for example, does not, it’s because Pilates is named after its creator, Joseph Pilates, who developed the exercise style in the 1920s in Germany. Ever since, it’s been popular with dancers, not to mention super-fit celebs (see: Kate Hudson), who swear by the fitness method because it’s hardcore (read: lots of abs) but low impact.

Keep reading for everything you need to know before your first Pilates workout—plus, all the health benefits to expect after taking up the muscle-shaking sessions.

What happens in a Pilates class?

That depends a lot on what sort of session you sign up for. All classes fall under two main types: mat and reformer.

The good news for newbies is that “you can achieve the same results with mat or reformer classes and can do either one if you’re just starting out,” says Kaydanova. The main difference is that using a machine gives you more options and can up the challenge, she notes. She also says to keep in mind that muscles are harder to target on the mat, which means “you just might need to add some props to a mat class for certain moves,” she explains. “For instance, you can’t do inner thighs on a mat unless you have a magic circle.” WTH is a magic circle? More on that later….

Reformer classes add resistance with a spring-based machine. (Joseph Pilates created the first ones by rigging up springs on hospital beds.) “Moving on a reformer strengthens you as you move one way and stretches you the other way,” says Kaydanova. Using a machine makes it more interesting but also gives you more support than a mat class, she says, as you can play with resistance depending on your ability. 

Mat classes don’t require a large machine, but you’ll likely reach for other pieces of gear—like a block, the aforementioned magic circle (also known as a Pilates ring), and mini exercise ball—to pump up certain moves, add stability to exercises, and help you connect with your deepest core muscles.

Aside from there being two types of Pilates workouts (reformer and mat) there are also two styles of Pilates workouts—classical and contemporary—and the exercises you’ll perform has everything to do with which one you choose. 

Classical style runs you through 34 of the same exact moves (with straightforward names like the roll up, spine twist, jack knife, and the all-time classic abs moves the Hundred) in the same exact order every session. (Moves can be altered slightly depending on your level.) 

Watch this video to get familiar with a dozen common exercises you’ll likely do in your first Pilates workout: 

Contemporary style classes, on the other hand, mix in more creative choreography and exercises from other fitness modalities such as lunges, plank variations, and other popular bodyweight resistance moves. If you’re not sure which style the studio or instructor you’re taking lessons from teaches, just ask.

No matter which type and style of Pilates workout you choose, you’ll likely hear some new lingo during your first lesson. Common terms your instructor might use include: control, alignment, C-curve, roll up and roll down, and articulate (meaning to roll down one vertebra at a time). Don’t worry, though, you’re teacher will either demo or talk through what each of these terms means and offer adjustments and cues to help you execute them properly. 

No matter what Pilates workout you choose, prepare to feel it: “People are surprised after the class, how sore they are and how much they hurt, even if the class is paced more slowly than they expected,” says Kaydanova. But you’ll also feel good. You’ll likely walk out of the studio a little lighter on your feet than when you came in—feeling more elongated and relaxed, since stretching is half the point of Pilates.

What should you wear to and expect from your first Pilates workout?

Think form-fitting. A pair of leggings or Spandex shorts and a sports bra or not-too-baggy tank are the way to go, and many studios require students to wear socks with grippy treads on the soles.

How often should you do Pilates?

For the best results, aim for a few weekly sessions. “Two to three times a week is ideal,” says Kaydanova. “But what I always say is: Everything you do is more than you didn’t do.”

Will Pilates help you lose weight?

It definitely could—but it might depend on how much you exercise to begin with. Women who did Pilates three times a week for eight weeks lost weight and inches in their waist and improved their BMI, in one small study from Pamukkale University in Turkey. However, the women in the research were overweight and inactive beforehand. 

If you already get your sweat on often, adding Pilates to your routine might not end up tipping the scale down. But even if you don’t drop pounds, adding muscle and improving your posture make the workout a win-win.

What else is Pilates good for?

A lot. Research has shown that hitting the mat regularly improves muscular endurance and flexibility. After just eight weeks of a Pilates routine, people showed improved flexibility in a study published in the Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness. It’s also a killer core workout, which can not only give you envy-worthy abs, but can also help you stand up straighter and nix back pain.

Are there any risks to practicing Pilates?

All in all, it’s a pretty safe workout to pick up. “Pilates is very welcoming and safe for your body,” says Kaydanova. That being said, for the best experience, you should always let your instructor know about any injuries or conditions you’re experiencing. If you’re pregnant, for instance, you can totally keep up a Pilates routine—but your teacher will let you know all the tweaks you need to make to keep the session safe.

Archive for the ‘Pilates’ Category

Butternut Portobello Lasagna

Ingredients

  • 1 package (10 ounces) frozen cubed butternut squash, thawed
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • MUSHROOMS:
  • 4 large portobello mushrooms, coarsely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • SAUCE:
  • 2 cans (28 ounces each) whole tomatoes, undrained
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • LASAGNA:
  • 9 no-cook lasagna noodles
  • 4 ounces fresh baby spinach (about 5 cups)
  • 3 cups part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 1-1/2 cups shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 350°. In a large bowl, combine the first five ingredients. In another bowl, combine ingredients for mushrooms. Transfer vegetables to separate foil-lined 15x10x1-in. baking pans. Roast 14-16 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally.
  • Meanwhile, for sauce, drain tomatoes, reserving juices; coarsely chop tomatoes. In a large saucepan, heat oil over medium heat. Add garlic and pepper flakes; cook 1 minute longer. Stir in chopped tomatoes, reserved tomato juices, basil, salt and pepper; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, 35-45 minutes or until thickened, stirring occasionally.
  • Spread 1 cup sauce into a greased 13×9-in. baking dish. Layer with three noodles, 1 cup sauce, spinach and mushrooms. Continue layering with three noodles, 1 cup sauce, ricotta cheese and roasted squash. Top with remaining noodles and sauce. Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese.
  • Bake, covered, 30 minutes. Bake, uncovered, 15-20 minutes longer or until bubbly. Let stand 15 minutes before serving.
Nutrition Facts

1 piece: 252 calories, 10g fat (5g saturated fat), 27mg cholesterol, 508mg sodium, 25g carbohydrate (5g sugars, 4g fiber), 15g protein. Diabetic Exchanges: 2 starch, 1 medium-fat meat, 1/2 fat.

Archive for the ‘Pilates’ Category

Aerobic vs. Anaerobic – Which is Better?

Aerobic exercise versus anaerobic exercise has been one of the many great debates in the fitness world since the beginning of time. And there are many people that feel very strongly one way or the other. We’re going to take a look at each of these forms of exercise and determine for ourselves which one is better.

Aerobic Exercise

Aerobic exercise is essentially exercising in a way that your body is able to maintain an adequate oxygen supply to fuel your muscles. These exercises are not as intense, and are completed over longer periods of time. Think of long-distrance running, walking, recreational swimming, etc. Your body is able to keep up with the oxygen your muscles demand and doesn’t have to find fuel from another source. For years, this was the only form of exercise that anyone thought to do. Even the old aerobics tapes your parents kept in the basement involved aerobic exercise. It was the only real form of cardio until people started looking elsewhere for ways to lose weight faster.

Pros and Cons

The pros of aerobic exercise is that you are able to exercise for longer periods of time before becoming fatigued. For people who love to run long distances, like marathons and triathlons, compete in obstacle courses, etc., this is the exercise for you. It’s what you’ll be doing come race day so it’s how you train, for the most part, until that point. Aerobic exercises also work well to build your endurance level, which is necessary in any sport.

Many people enjoy aerobic exercises like walking because you can complete it over a period of time, at your own skill level and pace. However, running, especially over a long period of time, is very hard on your joints. Some would argue that aerobic exercises are not as effective because you are not working out as intensely when you do them, but they can be just as effective as anaerobic exercises over time.

Anaerobic Exercise

Anaerobic exercise, on the other hand, occurs with exercises that are higher in intensity and typically, shorter in duration. Think of the world of HIIT exercises or High Intensity Interval Training, or running sprints. This involves short bursts of high energy output to the point that your body cannot keep up with the oxygen demands and has to fuel your muscles some other way. The idea behind anaerobic workouts is that because your body has to use an alternate fuel source, it will burn fat faster to provide that energy.

Tons of people absolute love HIIT workouts because it is believed that you can burn more calories over a shorter period of time and in the world we live in today, no one seems to have time to workout. People also really like HIIT workouts because of the “after burn” effect. This occurs when your muscles run out of oxygen to meet their demand and they start to look for fuel elsewhere. Your metabolism kicks into high gear to meet that demand and because anaerobic exercise puts your body in this condition but only lasts a short amount of time, your metabolism keeps going until it thinks you body is at a regular state again. The idea is to ramp up your metabolism so much so that it continues to burn calories for fuel long after you’re done with your exercise, and that is believed to make your burn fat faster.

Pros and Cons

Obviously I’ve just mentioned some of the pros to anaerobic exercise: it saves you time and it can burn fat faster because of ramping up your metabolism. Some people think that anaerobic exercise is more effective overall because it works on your cardio endurance, as well as your muscular strength. But once again, HIIT workouts can be very hard on your joints and some people, especially those who are older or not already in shape, will have a lot of difficulty with anaerobic exercises.

Because anaerobic exercise is essentially working out to the point of reducing oxygen to your muscles, they can fatigue quickly, which can affect your endurance. Also, some people may feel as thought they cannot breathe while performing exercises and it can be difficult to judge when this is appropriate and when it becomes a problem.

 

Which One Is Better?

We’ve looked at some of the pros and cons for both aerobic and anaerobic exercise and quite honestly, as long as you’re putting in the time to exercise, it doesn’t really matter. Some would argue that anaerobic exercise is better for losing weight because of the intensity and “after burn” effect. But if you can’t do anaerobic exercise, then aerobic exercise is a great option. Besides, some exercise is better than no exercise at all.

I personally prefer aerobic exercise to anaerobic exercise because I can’t stand the feeling of not being able to breathe while I’m working out. I like to take my time, focus on what I’m doing, and really feel each muscle as I’m working it. If you would ask my husband though, he would say the exact opposite. He doesn’t feel like he’s getting a good workout unless he feels like he’s going to throw up after. Now that doesn’t mean I don’t like to get my heart rate up, but it takes a balance. A great cardio workout is perfect to add in especially when I’m short on time and it keeps me more physically balanced. Besides, you can’t beat the endorphin rush of a HIIT workout. It makes you feel amazing! But if you only ever train one way, how can you expect your body to perform well doing anything else?

Instead of worrying about getting both aerobic and anaerobic exercise mixed into your routine, focus on the exercises you enjoy. After all, if you don’t enjoy it at least a little bit, you won’t do it and then it becomes completely ineffective. It’s fine to stick to your favorites most of the time, but every once in a while, try something new or something completely different. If you normally like to bike long distances, try a HIIT workout at a gym. Or if you’re a gym junkie hooked on the HIIT world, get outside and take a long, easy jog. You’ll feel refreshed and may even find a new favorite activity you’ll want to mix into your routine more often.

Archive for the ‘Pilates’ Category

April 2018 Client Spotlight Walter Sorensen

Walter has been a dedicated Five Starr client for almost 3 years now. Once participating in bootcamps and running he turned to Five Starr for more safe, yet challenging workouts to rehab an injured back.

Walter is 41 years old and a Winery Sales Director and he and his wife own a wine label themselves. Walter travels often but his ideal workout schedule includes 3 Pilates and 3 cycling classes per week.  With his demanding travel schedule he tends to make it in at least 4 times per week.  Walter says the workouts provide the cardio and strength/core workouts that he feels are most important for his overall physical health.  He loves morning classes because they start his day off on the right foot mentally.  We couldn’t agree more that nothing clears the mind, alleviates stress and brings balance to our minds, body’s and sprits like a good safe workout.

When it comes to food Walter doesn’t eliminate any particular food or food group, but he tries to eat mostly whole foods and limit his intake of starchy carbs and desserts.  Traveling and eating out at restaurants make this a challenge, but when he is back at home one of the first things he does is book a spin class and sweat out all of his indulgences.  Isn’t that the truth?  We have a couple of clients who workout so they can have dessert!

Walter told us “I am really please with the routine that I’ve built at Five Starr and feel like it’s one of the best investments I”ve made in myself in recent years.”  AMAZING right?  We could’t agree more that investing in ourselves is the absolute first thing we all must do for not just ourselves, but for those we love also!

Keep up the great work Walter!

Walter’s family also owns TOYBOX Wine Cellars in Napa Valley and  you can find them at Willmore Wine Bar on Atlantic just around the corner!

 

Archive for the ‘Pilates’ Category

Lynne Riperti – March 2018 Client Spotlight

Lynn has been working out at Five Starr since July 2016. Lynn is a 64 year old IT Project Manager. She tries to do something physical 7 days a week. As she approaches her 65th birthday, Lynn is in the BEST SHAPE of her life due to the discipline and tools that she has found at Five Starr Pilates & Fitness!  WOW!
This achievement is also due to her disciplined lifestyle. Lynn depends on a diet of fruits, vegetables and greek yogurt as her staples. When she does eat lean meat she is sure to fill upon veggies as the first thing she eats at those meals.  Lynn aspires to eat healthy, but doesn’t beat herself up when she gets off track on any given day.  Instead she pushes restart the very next day and self corrects the very next day.
Lynn power walks 5-10 miles daily, takes indoor cycling classes 2-3 days per week, practices yoga 4 days a week, due to that stressful IT job and utilizes weights 4 days per week and Pilates 1 day a week.   Although that sounds like a lot Lynn mixes it up and she has found hat to be a key for her.
Lynn has found that Pilates has increased her body awareness, allowed her to work though her scoliosis limitations and feel more balanced physically, emotionally and mentally.

Archive for the ‘Pilates’ Category

A Five Starr Pilates & Fitness Shining Star!

By Laura Scavuzzo Wheeler
Professor of English at Long Beach City College for (can it be?) twenty years.
I’ve been scheduling in an hour of Pilates six days a week for about two years now. Because I teach English, I spend inordinate amounts of time—hours and hours every weekend in addition to moments snatched between my classes and office hours—grading essays. After a good ten hours of grading, I can feel myself transforming into a hunched gargoyle; Pilates has helped to keep my posture and mood elevated and my days balanced. Nutritionally, I aim for moderation: I cook the meals for our family nearly every night, striving to help our family eat tasty, healthy, nourishing foods. Our daughter is off at college; our son, who’s a junior in high school, is often ravenous when it’s time for dinner, having run cross country and being, of course, a teenage boy. I don’t do diets or any extreme regimens. Instead, we eat lots of Mediterranean dinners, a nod to my Italian heritage—I could never renounce carbs!—and lots of fruit and fresh veggies, which I love. An occasional indulgence—cheese, wine, dessert—is part of the pleasures of life.
As someone who grew up not playing sports but studying ballet, I find that Pilates appeals to my sense of discipline—ballet emphasizes form and control—and leaves me feeling better than when I came into the studio. Five Starr Pilates has been wonderful. Not only is it close to where I live, but its schedule allows me to manage a class after work and before I make dinner, or to come in early on Saturdays before the real day’s activities begin. The variety of instructors keeps classes from feeling routine. I am consistently amazed at the creativity the instructors bring to their approaches—some emphasize breathing and form and classical Pilates moves, others more athletic conditioning and cardiovascular challenges. My running days are, I think, past—I find the notion of running uninspiring now that I seem to develop shin splints!—and intense training that involves my being yelled at has never been appealing. But Pilates offers me an avenue to fitness that I can sustain, and I can feel the ways in which I’ve grown stronger as I’ve made Pilates a consistent part of my routine. Once it’s scheduled, my time in Pilates becomes part of my day, and even when I’m exhausted on my way to class, I’m always glad I’ve gone as we finish and stretch. I’ve been inspired to see my classmates in Pilates who have been doing this form of exercise for many more years than I have, and I hope to be able to keep up my flexibility, strength, and balance for years to come as a result of this practice.

Archive for the ‘Pilates’ Category

Five Starr Pilates & Fitness – The Only Medically Endorsed Pilates & Cycling Studio in Long Beach

Spine and Sports Medicine Expert by Your Side

IMG_4226
Hi everyone!  I would like to introduce myself.  I am Dr Danh Ngo and I help people find an alternative to pain killers, medications, procedures, and to avoid surgery.  Besides the medical title (label), I am more proud of being a father of two children.  I love being a father and I decided to venture into this small business arena to spend more time with them.  I love to listen to other parent’s story because no two stories are the same.  We all try our best to do our part in raising our little ones into wholesome and caring adults.

I would like to take this time to applaud everyone that is on this fitness journey.  If you are reading this article, you deserve an extra pat on the back for appreciating what us real humans have to say.  As a spine and sports medicine expert, I can lecture all the benefits of exercise and why one should do it.  I am NOT going to do that, but I would like to take this time to extend my medical expertise and background to keep you on this fitness train.

You may have heard that the hardest part of anything is the first step.  My opinion is that the hardest part is consistency and grit after the first step.   The secret ingredient to “GREAT” change, whether it is for weight loss or confidence within yourself, is having guidance.   A journey time frame cannot be predicted.  I can predict that it will come with many different emotions, like fear, insecurity, excitement, and life distractions that will cause you to lose focus.

This is one reason that I am taking the time to slow life down to introduce myself, not as a medical expert only, but a person that understands real things happen to real people.  If you are worried about that nagging stiffness when you exercise or after, I am here to provide guidance (only if you act on it).  If you are nervous about starting the fitness class after an extended period of absence, you are not alone.  Take that extra step and request a chat with me at revitalizerehab@gmail.com.

One LOVE,

Dr Danh Ngo

562.548.0876

Archive for the ‘Pilates’ Category

What a Mom Wants…

We’re proud moms, but that doesn’t mean that all of our jewelry has to be engraved with our children’s names or that the only artwork we want on display is an abstract doodle by a 4-year-old. And it certainly doesn’t mean that we want another machine-washable “handbag.” This Mother’s Day, the items topping our real wish list aren’t exclusive to moms, they’re not necessarily practical, and they’re definitely not for sale at Babies”R”Us. Consider this a list of what we really want this year . . . or any day we need a reminder that while we’re moms, we’re also just women who love a good spa treatment.

Stylish Sunglasses

A Body Scrub Treatment

Nice Perfume

Artwork

An Ongoing Supply of Wine

A Future Heirloom

Unique Flowers

A Designer Handbag

A Decorative Object

Stud Earrings

A Memorable Experience

 

Archive for the ‘Pilates’ Category

How to apply sunscreen

How to apply sunscreen

Sunscreen is safe and can protect your skin against skin cancer and premature aging. However, it is not as effective unless it’s applied correctly. Follow these tips from dermatologists when applying sunscreen:

Choose a sunscreen that has an SPF of 30 or higher, is water resistant, and provides broad-spectrum coverage, which means it protects you from UVA and UVB rays. Follow these helpful tips when selecting a sunscreen.

    1. Apply sunscreen generously before going outdoors. It takes approximately 15 minutes for your skin to absorb the sunscreen and protect you. If you wait until you are in the sun to apply sunscreen, your skin is unprotected and can burn.
    1. Use enough sunscreen. Most adults need at least one ounce of sunscreen, about the amount you can hold in your palm, to fully cover all exposed areas of your body. Rub the sunscreen thoroughly into your skin.
    1. Apply sunscreen to all bare skin. Remember your neck, face, ears, tops of your feet and legs. For hard‐to‐reach areas like your back, ask someone to help you or use a spray sunscreen. If you have thinning hair, either apply sunscreen to your scalp or wear a wide‐brimmed hat. To protect your lips, apply a lip balm with a SPF of at least 15.
  1. Reapply sunscreen at least every two hours to remain protected, or immediately after swimming or excessively sweating. People who get sunburned usually didn’t use enough sunscreen, didn’t reapply it after being in the sun, or used an expired product. Your skin is exposed to the sun’s harmful UV rays every time you go outside, even on cloudy days and in the winter. So whether you are on vacation or taking a brisk fall walk in your neighborhood, remember to use sunscreen. For more skin cancer prevention tips, see a board-certified dermatologist.

People who get sunburned  usually didn’t use enough sunscreen, didn’t reapply it after being in the sun, or used an expired product.

Your skin is exposed to the sun’s harmful UV rays every time you go outside, even on cloudy days and in the winter. So whether you are on vacation or taking a brisk fall walk in your neighborhood, remember to use sunscreen.

For more skin cancer prevention tips, see a board-certified dermatologist.

Archive for the ‘Pilates’ Category

Mother’s Day Brunch Ham & Egg Crepe Squares

med106461_0111_how_ham_crepe_vertINGREDIENTS

  • Simple Crepes
  • 8 slices black forest ham
  • 4 large eggs
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • Chopped fresh chives

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place 4 crepes on a rimmed baking sheet. Place 2 slices ham on each crepe. Crack 1 egg into center of each; fold edges toward center. Season with salt and pepper. Bake until egg white is set and yolk is still runny, 12 minutes. Top with chives.