Blog

These are a few of my favorite things – Part 1.

It’s a love/hate relationship we all seem to have with the notorious foam roller. Minutes of the worst pain your body can stand is followed by the most incredible release and openness, but typically you cannot attain one without the other.

However, what I’ve found in the past 5+ years of teaching Pilates is a surprisingly large group of people still in the dark about how much one can actually do with this “torture device.” Not only does this thing release knots by your hand or another’s, but it can also be used as a phenomenal chest opener, support for your lumbar spine during core exercises, and a foot massager.

Below are some of my favorite exercises and/or positions for an all-around supporting and effective workout with the foam roller. I use a high-density roller (typically very dark grey or black in color) and at least 36-inches long…

1. Chest Opener – this is typically the first thing I do when I jump on a foam roller. You will take a seat on the very edge of one end of the roller, with feet wide and planted on the floor, legs bent. Use your abdominals and palms on the floor to slowly articulate your spine onto the roller, until your head is resting on top of the roller. You may need to shift your spine/roller up or down to make sure everything is supported. From here, the options are endless…! Just lay here for 10+ minutes, and/or once you’ve found your balance with your feet and core, lift your arms up toward the ceiling and start drawing big circles – first reach both arms back toward your ears (or below, if you can), circle arms wide out to your sides, then back up toward the ceiling. Eventually, you can add light weights and/or a weighted bar. ***For those of you looking for a little bit of extension, carefully slide your spine up the roller, until your head and neck are off the roller, and you can rest your head onto the surface below. Continue your arm circles here, just be sure to slide back onto the roller and take a minute before coming up.

2. Figure-4 Glute Release – most of us by now have witnessed the IT band stretch, where we’ll choose a side of our body, place that hip on top of the roller, and use the same side arm and opposite foot to balance us while we slide back and forth on the roller to release our muscles. Once you’ve had enough of that pain, you can move to this one! Take a seat on the foam roller and place your hands behind you onto the floor for balance. Choose a leg (maybe the first side you did for the rolling) and bend the leg, placing the foot onto the opposite knee (creating a figure-4-like position). This, for most, is already a stretch and you will feel the roller digging into the bent knee side’s hip. To get a bit deeper, tip more weight onto the bent leg’s hip and start to roll back and forth on the roller. Get creative here and try to find where the pain is the most intense. Try to find a tender spot and stay there for 30+ seconds, taking deep breaths and doing your best to release your body, as it’s easy to tense up here. Make sure to switch sides!

Crock Pot Chicken Soup

Counteract the cold winter with some homemade crockpot chicken & vegetable soup! Minimal prep time with maximal flavor and health benefits.

chickensoup

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb chicken breast
  • 6 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 5 medium carrots
  • 1 medium yellow onion
  • 4 stalks celery
  • 1-3 cloves of garlic
  • Red pepper flakes
  • Salt and pepper
  • Any leftover herbs (thyme, rosemary, bay leaf, etc.)

Recipe:

1) Dice up raw chicken breasts and season with salt/pepper and red pepper flakes. Add into crockpot.

2) Dice up carrots, celery, onion, and garlic and add into crockpot.

3) Pour the low sodium chicken broth over the top and add in leftover herbs.

4) Cover and cook on low heat for 7-8 hours.

 

Thanks!

Katie

 

Take your workout and your clothes to the next level!

blog-clothes I absolutely love the days I open up my mail box and find a little brown box from Splits59! I immediately rush inside to open it. Inside the box —- a brand new work out outfit. I happily wear it to the studio the next day. All day, I feel strong, confident, and sexy in my new top and tights. But, when it comes time to actually work out – I change my clothes!!! Why? Because my new outfit is too nice to sweat in! I know this sounds crazy. Work out clothes that you don’t want to work out in??

I will be honest and make a confession here: I have had work out clothes that I didn’t want to actually work out or sweat in because they were “too nice.”
But over time, here is what I have learned: it is ok to work out in your new work out clothes! Your clothes are tough – just like you – they can take it! They are supposed to get you through your sweaty workout feeling strong, confident, and sexy. Chances are that your new outfit will give you the confidence to go a little further that day — to take your workout to the next level. Don’t worry – after they are washed, they will be as good as new. It is what they were meant to do. So go ahead. Take that barre class. Run your long run for the week. Head to a spin class or try a few extra hills this week. Wear your best Splits59 outfit and feel your best. Sweat. Smile. Wash and repeat!

Enjoy taking your workout and your clothes to the level this year!

Cathy

One Hit Wonders

overnight

One thing that has always blown my mind is the misconception of “overnight success” – In a day and age where celebrities make it to chart topping status with a “one hit wonder” be that a song, a bad hair day, a new or perhaps even destroyed relationship… it’s clear that our culture is fixated on the speed of trends and constantly falling for the trickery that is instant fame/overnight glory.

If you really consider it, nothing truly great or long lasting is manifested over night. Perhaps what we see from the outside makes it appear as instant as oatmeal, but in reality, years of people’s hard work, dedication, sacrifice, etc… all contribute to their success. A recent interview I read asked Dustin Moskovitz, the co-founder of Facebook, “…what it felt like to be part of Facebook’s “overnight success.” His answer was something like this, “If by ‘overnight success’ you mean staying up and coding all night, every night for six years straight, then it felt really tiring and stressful.”

Let’s be honest with ourselves, the milestones we’ve accomplished in life have not come at the mere convenience of time and place – more often than not, they are the result of tireless hard work, which in turn, allows us to celebrate/appreciate the results even more – kind of like a day of endless sunshine that follows a day of endless downpours.

And what’s the easiest way to the top, we might ask? I’ve discovered approaching worthy goals requires an upward climb, one step at a time. Challenge yourself to do one thing each day for your “betterment”. Be that a simple phone call with an inspiring friend, stealing a couple more hours of sleep by turning in early, or treating yourself to a healthy, life-giving homemade/store-bought/chef-prepared meal.

Success is waiting there at the top for each one of us. Smiling down, encouraging our journey and shedding light upon us in the crooks and valleys of life. Let us enjoy the process, all the way up.

Workout Wednesday: Working out with a TRX

Purchasing a TRX is one of the best investments I have ever made. Why you ask? Two reasons: convenience and a wide variety of exercises. I’m all about no excuses when it comes to working out and I don’t mean it can only be heart pumping, sweat dripping and I’m about to pass out workout (let’s hope this is never ever the case). I also mean working on flexibility, stabilizing and strengthening.

The TRX comes in a conveniently small black mesh bag to store in. It doesn’t weigh much either so carrying it in a gym bag, travel bag or luggage bag is not an issue. Not working out is the issue! The TRX comes with a door anchor for doors or a strap to wrap around a pole or tree. I bet some of you are asking what is a TRX? It’s a suspension system that uses leverages of gravity and body weight to get hundreds of exercises in and change the level of resistance based on different body positions.

The TRX can be used in 2 methods by repetition or timed exercise. I personally recommend reps for people who are new to the TRX or still haven’t grasped full knowledge of body positions during exercise. The time based method I recommend for people who have put their dues into the gym and using the TRX, but there isn’t no wrong or right in this one!

The TRX is found in a variety of practices these days from physical therapy offices, Pilates studio to some MMA facilities. I’ll leave you with one of my personal favorite core TRX workouts I’ve put together that I’ve found effective.

TRX Core workout
Try these moves as a circuit w/a minute rest after completion for 3 sets of 45sec or 15reps each exercise. Give it a try and have fun.


-Standing roll out: keep the body aligned as you move forward. Slow and control will help strengthen

-Standing hip drop: keep the chest and hips facing the same direction as you drop the hip (make sure to do both sides)

-Walk up plank: feet in foot cradles. Start in push up like position to forearm plank and continue the motion

-Crunch: contract the abs tuck the knees to chest

-Oblique crunch: knees to elbow alternating sides

Own your workout and take control! Happy TRX-ing

Instructor Ade