Archive for March, 2013

Why One To One Pilates Sessions Are A Real Personal Investment For Your Body

Thursday, March 14th, 2013

From seasoned yoga enthusiasts to celebrity personal trainers, it seems like everyone is raving about the endless benefits of Pilates. This popular exercise programme doesn’t simply help you burn off excess calories – regular sessions will strengthen your core and improve your balance, co-ordination and flexibility. High profile celebs such as Cheryl Cole and Madonna have been singing its praises for a number of years now, but if you’re entirely new to the concept of Pilates, exactly how do you follow their lead and start to incorporate the programme into your routine? 

If you just want to give it a try, we’d naturally recommend popping along to a local gym or Pilates studio for a group taster session. However, Pilates devotees are developing a noticeable penchant for one to one coaching sessions instead. Why, we hear you ask? Well, here are five reasons why we believe attending one to one Pilates classes will help you see quicker results and will ultimately be a valuable long-term investment for your mind and body.

1.       Getting Initiated With Pilates Will Be A Breeze

There’s nothing more daunting than walking into a new exercise class for the first time, especially if you’re relatively new to the gym or have decided to brave a session without the support of a friend. You may feel as though the class is moving too quick for you or, even worse, you could slip into bad habits from day one if no-one is at hand to keep you on top form. So why not banish your anxiety altogether and opt to work with a Pilates coach on a one-to-one basis instead?

Working closely with a trained instructor means you’ll be given the very best introduction to Pilates possible. You’ll soon feel your first-time nerves disappear as you begin to understand how everything works and discover exactly how the programme is going to benefit you.

2.       You’ll Get To Know The Specialist Equipment At Your Own Pace

Sticking to mat work won’t necessarily give you the results you need. To really feel like you’re getting the most from your session, you’ll need to start using some of your studio’s specialist equipment. Your personalised induction will teach you how to use this equipment with confidence and you’ll feel more comfortable with using some of the scary-looking machines, from the fairly basic ladder barrel to the elegant yet complex Reformer. Learning exactly how to approach each piece of equipment (and use it to your advantage) is invaluable, as you’ll be able to draw upon this knowledge as your Pilates programme evolves.

3.       You’ll Receive a Tailored Exercise Programme That Will Meet Your Individual Needs

Another great thing about booking a personalised Pilates session is the fact that your instructor will be able to carry out a comprehensive fitness assessment before you even begin to exercise. He or she will be able to discuss any health conditions or other limitations that might prevent you from performing certain moves and, best of all, will be able to help you work out exactly what you want to achieve from your Pilates classes. It sounds simple, but knowing which exercises are going to help you achieve your goals will keep you motivated if you’re lacking enthusiasm or having a particularly difficult session.

4.       You Will Be Able To Use Pilates as a Means of Rehabilitation

If you’ve been struggling to recover from a recent injury, you may benefit from regular sessions with a Pilates-trained physiotherapist. Plenty of physios are tapping into the benefits of Pilates as an effective means of therapy alongside traditional rehabilitation techniques. This means that more and more specialists are combining these skills and earning qualifications in both fields simultaneously. Whether you’ve recently sprained your ankle or suffer from chronic back pain, you’ll be confident that all of the exercises your instructor asks you to do will strengthen your body, not aggravate the problem even further. The Australian Institute of Physiotherapy and Pilates (APPI), train physiotherapists to teach Pilates and have an excellent high quality training school, turning out highly trained Pilates instructors, with the benefit of Physiotherapy back grounds.

5.       Your Instructor Will Push You Harder Than You’ll Ever Push Yourself!

Why do so many people prefer to work with a personal trainer? Because they want to train hard, of course! Your Pilates instructor will be at hand to recognise when they need to take your session up a notch and will introduce new and exciting exercises and techniques when they believe you’re ready to cope with them. Your session will never be dull and the constant variety will encourage you to keep coming back for more, plus having an expert by your side every step of the way will inspire you to push your body just that little bit harder. This will typically result in noticeable results in a much quicker timeframe.

Gina Jenson worked as a personal trainer in a previous life. She now spends her time writing insightful fitness articles for the online community on behalf of the Stretch clinic, which offers one-to-one Pilates classes in Chelmsford for those who want to reap the benefits of this exercise with the right training and direction.

Using An Adrenalin Rush To Combat Stress: Extreme Sports

Friday, March 1st, 2013


You know when your stress levels are too high – your heart rate starts to race, your skin becomes clammy, your breath become a little shorter and you start breathing more rapidly. It’s a horrible feeling, you become overwhelmed with how much you need to get done and just how little time there is to do it. All of this stress builds up and goes nowhere. Our bodies and brains are telling us through their stress responses to get out of the situation that we are in as fast as we can, but instead we battle on against what is essentially a fight of flight response by our bodies to get us out of a harmful situation, and continue to make ourselves steadily worse, until stress levels become a health issue. The way that we combat this stress, deal with it and reduce it enough so that we can function normally again varies between individuals, people either choose to slow down and relax it all away, or others choose to put the adrenalin of stress to some use.

A Choice of Two Camps

When it comes to finding an avenue to deal with your stress there are basically two camps, two schools of thought that you could fall into. Prescription drugs are not classed as a separate camp here, as they could be used by everyone regardless of the other methods of stress chosen. The first school of thought asks us to slow down, to still our minds and regain control of our bodies. This is achieved through relaxation exercises and meditations. It asks us to reconnect with ourselves and find a sense of balance that will help us to move forwards and give us the tools we need to deal with stressful situations as they arise. The other group, well they have a different attitude, to them the stress must be met head on and released the only way that they know how.

Adrenalin Fuelled Sports

Ask an adrenalin junkie how he deals with stress and he will probably say something along the lines of he scares the crap out of it. The thrill that the build up to performing some kind of extreme sport provides is akin to the way that you feel when you are suffering from a build up of stress. But unlike when we are dealing with stress, there is no release. Extreme sports provide that release. All of the adrenalin that has been coursing around the body finds a way to be released through what could be sheer fear or extreme exhilaration, either way it finds a way out of the body before it causes any harm. The exhilaration of performing the sport releases feel good endorphins in the brain and the adrenalin junkie is one happy bunny.

An extreme release like this won’t work for everyone, but if meditation, yoga and relaxation exercises are really not your thing, try doing some stress busting with an extreme sport, and find a release for all of that pent up stress.

Mark Adamson is a renowned author and frequent speaker on all things sports and exercise – Mark regularly visits Puddle Ducks for more information on sport and exercise for children.