buninyong

So You Want a Strong Core… BUT Do You Know Why?

Ever headed to “Dr Google” with Questions like…
How do I strengthen my core?
What is the best exercise for my core?
Why should I strengthen my core?
Can a weak core cause back pain?

If so, I am sure that you were bombarded by blog posts and articles ranting and raving about the importance of a “strong core”. And, as is to be expected with an extended amount of “Dr Googling”, you were probably left confused and maybe even convinced that You “have no Core!” or that strengthening your core would be the answer to all of your problems.

So Let's Break This Topic Down, What Is This Core Thing And Does It Even Matter?

Pilates, Plank, Reformer, Buninyong, Ballarat

Pilates, Plank, Reformer, Buninyong, Ballarat

The “Core” Is a term often used by people to describe the centre of their body and most people associate this with their abdominals, back muscles and pelvic floor.

Originally, we taught people to squeeze and contract all of these muscles at once, thinking it would help them be “stable” and would get rid of their back pain.

But more recent research suggests that it isn’t all about your abdominals, and that having weak abdominals doesn’t necessarily mean you will have back pain.

The thought process on how we should engage these muscles has also changed.
Whilst it can be important for certain people to engage and cue their pelvic floor and whilst we know that it is important to be strong throughout our body, we also now know that we don’t have to be squeezing these muscles all of the time.

Why Not?

Well…

Muscles are meant to contract and relax to produce or control a movement or body part.
Our muscles and our bodies adapt and produce more or less force depending on the demands of a task, rather than producing a large force all the time.

If we were to squeeze everything all at once, all of the time or even to perform a task, our body would become rigid; movement would become more difficult to produce and tasks like bending over or twisting, would be much more difficult to perform.

So now you're confused…

If I don’t need to squeeze everything at the same time and having super strong abs isn’t the answer to my problem then what am I meant to do?

You are meant to Move!

Your body is meant to be able to move in all planes of movement.
Your spine is meant to bend, extend and rotate with control and strength!

So, the answer, the key to you being healthy, fit and relatively injury free is to;

  • Find an activity you love, a way of moving your body that makes you happy and do that!

  • Be able to confidently move your body in all directions with control and strength

  • Get yourself and your body strong and resilient, so that you can perform the tasks that you love and need to do daily, with ease.

  • And then include all of the other ingredients to a healthy lifestyle; adequate sleep, healthy diet & minimal stress,

Do all of this and you will be laughing!

“Change happens through movement and movement heals.”
— Joseph Pilates

This is one of the main reasons that I love Pilates - because although Pilates focuses on building strength in your body (all of your body not just your abdominals), it also teaches you
- How to have control over your movements
- How to have confidence in your body
-To move through all planes of movement.


Pilates although often thought of as a method to increase “core strength” always was and still is a method of movement and as Joseph Pilates himself said, “Change happens through movement and movement heals.”


Want to fall in love with moving your body again?
Then get in touch with us today at hello@pilates-hq.com.au


Steph & The Pilates HQ Team

Xx

HQer of the Month - Jo O'Kelly

This month we are shinning the light on the wonderful Jo O’Kelly! Jo is a busy working mum of three gorgeous Children, as well as an incredible Photographer (She actually did all of our staff photos!).

Jo started at HQ just over 1 year ago hitting the ground running with our January Deal and doing 2 Classes a Week. Since this time, Jo has been so incredibly consistent with her Pilates and as a result has showed great improvements in all aspects of her practice.
Read on to find out all the things that Jo loves about Pilates at Pilates HQ, her advice for fitting in exercise to a busy schedule and her tips on where to go in Buninyong.

I don’t ever remember feeling as strong or as flexible as I do at this point in my life.
Reformer Pilates, Long Spine, Pilates Buninyong

Reformer Pilates, Long Spine, Pilates Buninyong

Tell us a little bit about you. (You are a teacher, photographer, mum) what else makes you you! and what do you get up to when you are not doing all of the mum, teacher & Pilates things?

So, where do I begin and what do I choose to share with you all about ME??
I am who I am because of the strong foundation of my extended family. I learnt from a young age that what is most important in life is people and the relationships in which we hold, develop and treasure. So I invest much of my time and effort into the relationships that I am most fortunate exist around me. I have a gorgeous husband and three children whom I adore beyond words could ever adequately express. My children are aged ten, eight and four.

I work as a primary school teacher. I adore supporting children on their journey as learners.

I also work in the professional photography industry and continue with determination to develop my craft, always exploring new avenues to learn and to extend my own knowledge and skill set.

Why did you decide to try Pilates and what made you choose Pilates HQ?

I first became aware of Reformer Pilates when gorgeous Steph made contact with me for my photography service. This was in 2016. I admired from a far for almost 12 months as at the time I had allowed myself to live at the 'bottom rung of the ladder' and I guess in retrospect had chosen to place the needs and desires of others consistently before my own. Prior to having children I was heavily involved as a netballer at my home club in Birregurra.

I continued to admire Pilate's HQ via instagram and often sat on my couch in awe watching Steph do the most incredible things with her body in the video footage that she posted. In January 2018 I made the decision to improve my self care choices and to value what was important for me to be successful in all facets of life. I had really enjoyed the time I had spent with Steph whilst photographing her. I truly believed in her story and knew that I would feel most welcome and safe at her headquarters.

You started out doing beginner classes and you are now stepping up the challenge to advanced classes? (AHHMAZING BY THE WAY)

What have you liked about the intermediate & advanced classes?

I truly still spin out and some times laugh out loud during classes at what my body has become and is able to do. I love everything there is to a Reformer Pilates class. I love the challenge of moving my body with an instructors direction. I love most the strength and flexibility elements. I don't ever remember feeling as strong or as flexible as I do at this point in my life. Both the intermediate and advanced classes challenge my mind and body in the most positive of ways. I also love watching Steph and her team model an advanced movement. I smile at how incredible their own bodies are able to move and feel excitement at what my body might be able to achieve once I make my own attempt.

Were you nervous about jumping into the next level of class (eg. beginner to intermediate?) and if so how did you feel after a few classes at that level?

I don't remember feeling nervous as such. I did however question in my mind whether my body would be able to do what was expected in the advanced class. Mindset is crucial and it was necessary for me to spend time with my own mind preparing myself. I chose to attend the advanced class with a mindset of growth believing that I could be successful, perhaps not immediately, but that with continued effort I would achieve success. I choose to believe that I can master new poses, stretches and skills with grit, tenacity and determination and genuinely believe in my mind and my body.

Do you have any advice for anyone out there who might be considering jumping up to the next level of Reformer Class but is hesitant or nervous about it?

My advice would be to listen to the suggestions of our gorgeous Pilates HQ instructors. They are all skilled and so aware of our bodies. I encourage you to trust in their knowledge. I also encourage you to trust that if they suggest trying an intermediate or an advanced class that they will guide you every step of the way. I believe this to be part of the genuine beauty of Pilates HQ. The way our instructors monitor our movements and use of the machines, is testament to their skill level and commitment in supporting our bodies to be the strongest they can be.

Have you noticed any benefits or improvements since starting Pilates at Pilates HQ?

Goodness YES! Without word of a lie I have never felt as strong, flexible and toned as I do at this point. My balance has improved and I have even noticed an improvement with my posture. The strength I feel isn't exclusive to one area of my body either. My legs, arms, abdominal area, back and even my neck all feel stronger.

There is an additional benefit. This is one I hadn't considered. I can arrive at Pilates a little like a duck. When I refer to a duck I consider the analogy that 'on top of the surface of the water' I am mostly calm and poised, but 'under the surface of the water' my legs are paddling for dear life. My mind is often so full that I feel it could explode within seconds and I can feel all sorts of mixed emotions. The truth is that once class formally begins and I focus on the instructors voice, her guidance and then allow my body to move; my mind calms, my body calms and when I leave I feel much more in control. I feel much more in control of everything. It is the most wonderful feeling having Pilates HQ allow me to reset and resume a state of calmness, in addition to the physical benefits.

People often say that it is hard to fit exercise in and to make time for themselves, what are you secrets to fitting in your classes?
You are a working mum so we would love to know if you have any tips for other mums out there, when it comes to exercising with a busy life/kids?

This is a really important question. I could give multiple reasons why I could choose not to fit my two classes per week into my schedule. I don't believe I have any secrets. I have simply made a commitment. And when I make a commitment I keep it. Rarely do I make commitments for myself at a personal level, however, when I took some time to reflect I realised that I deserve this commitment. I deserve to feel strong. I deserve to feel balanced and I deserve to practise mindfulness. I deserve time.

We love supporting our little Buninyong Community & We know you do too Jo, so we would love it if you could give us a few Hot Tips

1. Where is Your Favourite Place for coffee in town?

I am not a coffee lover and so couldn't make comment about where you'll find amazing coffee in Buninyong. Jimmy (my 4 year old) and I have lunch on Fridays during the school term at Katrine's, Maggie and Kate. I adore her smashed avocado dish with pomegranates. Jimmy loves her chicken wrap.

2. What is Your favourite place to hang out with the kids?

There are so many places that my family and I enjoy in Buninyong. We love bike riding as a family in and around town, in particular the track around Desoza Park. It is tranquil and full of the most beautiful shades of green. We also love riding to and around The Gong.

If the kids could choose where our bikes would take us, they would choose Chocalatto every time. They adore Zach's spiders.

3. What is Your favourite spot in Buninyong to photograph?

I am most fortunate to open my blinds daily to the sun rising from behind Mt Buninyong. We often sit at our kitchen table admiring the Mount. Some days we see it in its full glory and other days it is hidden by low fog and cloud cover. We regularly reflect as a family about how fortunate we are to look out to such natural beauty when in the comfort of our own home.

Mount Buninyong Photography, Jo O’Kelly

Mount Buninyong Photography, Jo O’Kelly

I would like to take this opportunity to thank Steph and her team for all that they offer at Pilates HQ. I personally feel so grateful to be a member of the Pilates HQ family. It is a beautiful place and one that Steph should feel incredibly proud of creating and nurturing. I look forward to continuing to care for my mind and body at Pilates HQ into the future.

Thank You Jo for bringing your beautiful bright personality and amazing attitude to our Studio each week. We truly are blessed to have you as part of our community and we look forward to seeing what you achieve both in and out of Pilates HQ in 2019.


Love
Steph & The Pilates HQ Team
Xx

How to Conquer your Group Exercise Anxiety. And Yes, it is a Real Thing!

You all know the feeling… that deep in your gut, stomach flipping feeling you get when you even think about joining a new gym or exercise class. Thoughts start to creep in like; “I’m not fit enough”, “people will judge me”, “I could never use that equipment”, “I’m overweight”, “I’m too skinny”, I’m not strong enough” “I’m not flexible enough”.

PilatesHQ20171112_08.JPG

Starting something new can be scary and daunting; a new environment, new people, challenging exercises, and the fear of looking silly.

But having these feelings and thoughts are completely normal. We can guarantee that nearly everyone attending that class/gym with you, has been in your head space at some point and has had these exact thoughts.

We can’t necessarily stop all of this from happening, but, what we can do is give you some suggestions of how you can lessen the nerves associated with attending your first Pilates Class… or whatever it may be!

Bring A friend

Why not exercise together? Having a buddy in class with you, can put you at ease knowing you are not alone in a new environment! Someone to giggle with and go out for coffee with when you’re done! PLUS, they also help hold you accountable – if they go, you have to go!

Why not try a 1 on 1 session first?

This will give you the opportunity to get the hang of the exercises and machines, without feeling the pressure of anyone else watching you while you are learning.Feeling nervous about having other people watching you in the class or not knowing how to do the exercises is perfectly normal. Remember: everyone has to start at the beginning!

Have Confidence in Yourself

 Believe in yourself, We do! You are your only competition - You don't need to compare yourself to others, worry about whether you will be as good as others, about what you’re wearing, because we don’t! You are amazing! If you have a goal, stick to it and don’t let that fear of what other people will think, or doubt in your own ability creep in. Focus on yourself! You are there for You, so take the class at your own pace and do what feels right for you and your body!

Call or email us

We would love to talk to you! Maybe even organise a time to come and see the Studio, we love meeting knew people and strive to make your time in our studio as amazing as possible. Any questions you have are more than welcome so please, shoot us an email or a phone call and we will set you on the right path.

@spiritualgangster

@spiritualgangster

So why not strike while the iron is hot, check out our timetable and send us an email with your burning questions or with a request for a 1 on 1 - we can’t wait to hear from you.

Love

Steph & The Pilates HQ Team!

P.S YOU’VE GOT THIS! - YOU ARE A MOTHER FLIPPIN GODDESS!

 

5 Key Ingredients to the Perfect Pilates Posture

Any one that has been to a Pilates Class before knows that there is a lot to think about if you want to achieve the Perfect Pilates posture. Tuck this under, stick this out, suck that in…. oh and don’t forget to breathe. It can all get a bit confusing, and sometimes overwhelming, especially if it is your first time in a Reformer Class. New machine, new space, new people and new posture…woah. Well, I am going to try to make it all a bit simpler and break it down into 5 Key Points.

When setting up your posture, the easiest way to make sure you have everything in check, is by doing a little body scan. So, lets start at the top shall we?

Start lying on your back with your knees slightly bent and feet on the floor and let’s scan from the head and neck first.

1.       Head and Neck Position

Gently tuck your chin towards your chest, as if you are holding a peach between your chin and your chest. You just want to hold the peach softly without squishing it.

Then imagine that your head is a helium balloon, and think of your head just gently floating above your shoulders

2.       Shoulder Position

With your arms resting by your side, reach your finger tips towards your toes letting your shoulder blades reach down your back. Then shrug the shoulder blades towards your ears. Once you have done this find a resting place half way between the two of these positions

Next gently open out through the front of your chest and feel the backs of the shoulders sink down into the floor.

3.       Rib Cage Position

Try to imagine that you have some heavy books resting on your ribs and let the base of your ribs sink into contact with the floor.

4.       Lower back position – Neutral Spine

To Find your neutral spine keep everything else nice and still and then gently flatten your lower back into the floor, reaching your tail bone to the ceiling. Then arch your lower back pressing your tail bone to the floor, creating space between your lower back and the floor. Once You have found these two positions come and rest half way in between, in Neutral Spine.

5.       Hip, knee and foot position

Finally, with a slight bend in the knees, try to make a nice straight line from your hip to your knee to your foot on both sides. And try to have your weight nice and even through both feet.

 

Once You have done all of this you have found your Perfect Pilates Posture, and it is time to activate those deep abdominals… and Breathe. But, that’s a lesson for another day.

 

This may seem like information overload to begin with, but I promise you, if you practice this, it will all become second nature soon enough.

Next thing you know you’ll be strutting the streets of Buninyong with the best posture ever!

Steph & The Pilates HQ Team

 

STAND UP STRAIGHT

“Stand up straight!”

Surely, you can all recall your mum yelling this phrase at you daily. Well, turns out Mum didn’t just say this because she liked the way it sounded, but because she was looking out for you and your posture.

“Straight” may not be the answer, but “good” posture is most definitely something that we all need, and should strive for.

So What is Good Posture?

Well text book good posture, in standing, is when the line of gravity falls

Reproduced from http://www.spinalphysio.co.uk/advice/posture
  •  in front of the ankle bones
  • in front of the knee joint
  • just behind the hip joint
  • through each vertebrae in the lower back
  • through the shoulder joint
  • through most of the vertebrae in the neck
  • and through the center of the ear

 

But, no one is text book perfect, so “Good” Posture is simply as close as we can get to the above.

Why? Because in this position there is the least amount of stress or pressure through our ligaments, joints and muscles. Therefore, any posture that varies from the above “Good” Posture will increase stress on these structures and may contribute to pain/injury.

Fellow people watchers out there have surely noticed though, that it is quite rare to see someone with the perfect posture walking around.  We all look a little more like one of these postures below;

Images reproduced from http://www.spinalphysio.co.uk/advice/posture

Images reproduced from http://www.spinalphysio.co.uk/advice/posture

These postures are common due to habitual changes, muscular imbalances, pain and/or changes in joint/boney structures. And each of these postures can place increased stress or strain on different areas of our bodies, which can go on to create aches and pains and even injuries.

As a result, it is always important to make sure we are doing all we can to help improve and maintain our posture each day. Whether it be taking frequent breaks from prolonged postures OR taking active measures to stretch and strengthen your muscles,

It is also important to remind yourself of that inner mum voice, that told you to.. “Stand up Straight, You don’t want to look like your Aunt Joan do you?”

Steph & The Pilates HQ Team

P.S

Don’t Forget that we are all a little bit different and so we may all stand a little differently or even Walk a little differently.

I think Peter Combe said it best when he said….. No one walk’s the same cos...

HQ CLIENT LOVE

The one thing we love most about seeing everyone's smiling faces  in class each week, is when we see people achieve something they didn’t think they could, or when we see how much people have improved since they first walked through our doors.

This month we would like to shine the spotlight on one of our HQ clients, Suanne Murdoch, and everything that she has achieved since starting Pilates Classes with us.

Suanne started coming to our classes around nine months ago with the aim of improving her posture and helping her aching shoulders. She began with beginner exercises, learning how to activate her deep abdominals and trying to get both legs into table top (in the air). Suanne has attended classes once a week, almost religiously since her very first session and in this time has improved so much.

In the nine months that Suanne has been coming to Pilates HQ, she has gone from attending beginner classes once a week, to now, being able to jump into an intermediate class, when the time suits. 

We had a chat to Suanne recently to ask her a few questions about her Pilates Journey so far.

 Why did you start Pilates?

 I was having trouble with my shoulders and lower back at work because I work at a desk all day. 

How long have you been doing Pilates for?

I started in March/ April this year.

What is your favourite thing about coming to classes at Pilates HQ?

 The laughs, comfortable environment, the new challenges every class brings and Steph for her caring nature and knowledge. Thank you. 

 What has kept you interested in Pilates and why do you keep coming back to class each week?

 Comfortable environment, the small personal sized classes, the challenges each class brings and the feeling of accomplishment at the end of a class.

 What improvements have you noticed since coming along to Pilates Classes regularly? 

I can now get through a day at work without aching shoulders. I can get my legs into table top with no problems (this was impossible when l first started). The other bonus for me has been, l have dropped a dress size. This wasn't my aim but a great result. 

Anything else you want to add about your Pilates Journey so far?

I have felt very comfortable and at Ease at Pilates HQ. Thank you.
 

Well Done Suanne!

 

WHAT TO EXPECT AT YOUR FIRST PILATES HQ REFORMER CLASS?

It can be daunting and scary thinking of starting something new, venturing into a new environment with people you don't know and machine's that look like they may be some form of medieval torture device.

Everyone who has walked into a new gym or studio has felt this way at some point. Perhaps if you knew what to expect before your first class, this experience would be a little less daunting.

Your First Visit to Pilates HQ

When you walk in the door you’ll see 7 Reformers, all lined up in rows and will be greeted with a smile from your Pilates Instructor. You will be asked to fill in a small pre-exercise questionnaire, so we can find out a little bit about you, and will be shown the Reformers. We will then explain a little about the Reformer and how to use it.  If you forget, it’s not an issue, because the instructor will be there throughout the class to help you along. The Reformer Classes run smoothly from start to finish aiming to get you moving and working on each area of your body.

 

The Class

You will probably feel a bit strange gliding up and down on the reformer for the first time, and will no doubt feel somewhat vulnerable the first time you put your legs in the straps. Don’t worry though. I guarantee you that everyone in the class is remembering back to the first time they did these same things and feeling reassured that they aren’t the only ones that found it weird and awkward.

BUT you will be comforted by the fact that the other people in your class were all once in your position.

And YES they did came back a second, third, maybe even tenth time.

 And YES they now look very comfortable on these strange machines.

And YES, this will be you in no time!

The longer the class goes on the more you will get used to the way the Reformer works and you will soon realise that the sweet Pilates Instructor who greeted you at the start of your class, is not as sweet as they seemed.

You will leave your class at Pilates HQ, surprised that such small movements could leave your muscles trembling.  You will feel energised and invigorated and will be excited to book your next visit, or two or three or more.

Soon enough you will be the person making those once weird and awkward movements look easy, smooth and fluid.

 

So come on in and try your very first class at Pilates HQ, I guarantee you we will try to make your Pilates journey as enjoyable as possible.

We can’t wait to see you soon.

 

Steph & The Pilates HQ Team