Posts Tagged ‘Workouts’

My New Love – Pilates

February 21, 2012

Pilates class OK, I’ve been thin all my life, not counting the times while pregnant. However, I’ve always felt that I had a little pooch. I longed for the flat tummy and tried doing crunches. But, that never did the trick.

Recently I started taking Pilates Mat classes on a weekly basis. I can’t believe the difference in how my body feels and looks! And I’ve noticed a difference in ballet class. My upper body is much more stable and my balance has improved.

I wish I had tried Pilates a long time ago. I heard of it when I was a dance major at Brockport State,  but I had no idea what it was (no internet back then). Pilates was developed in the early 20th century by Joseph Pilates. It is a conditioning workout that improves core strength and creates long, lean muscles. The workouts can be done on the mat or using special apparatus.

The Pilates mat class is definitely work, but I find it very enjoyable. I’ve found a wonderful instructor, Tenicia Trask (T), of TNT Fitness Studios. She has a special way of explaining how the exercises should be done. T has an eagle eye and lets you know if you are not doing the movement correctly. She is in tune with the different ability levels of the class participants and offers modifications and challenges. Pilates is a tough workout, but T makes the class enjoyable and is very encouraging.

I look forward to the the class every week because I feel amazing afterwards. And I finally have that flat tummy!

Sometime I’m going to try Pilates on the apparatus….

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In the Back Row of Balletone Class

November 29, 2011

Instead of teaching Balletone yesterday, I got to take a class from Kathleen Riley. Kathleen was the Balletone Master Trainer for the Balletone Instructor Training workshop that I took in 2006. She no longer teaches the instructor workshops, but offers several Balletone classes at Benefitness located outside of Boston, MA.

I try to take Kathleen’s Balletone class whenever we take our son back to college in Cambridge, MA. It’s so much fun to take a class for a change! As an instructor I sometimes feel like I get stuck in a rut and offer the same sequences over and over in class.

I want to keep my students interested in class by keeping them challenged. Kathleen’s class has given me some new ideas and new material. Her choreography is always interesting and she pulls in movement that I would never  think of. The steps are tough, but fun.

I can’t wait to teach Balletone tonight so that I can share some new choreography!

Be prepared, students!

Balletone logo

Book of Foot Strengthening Exercises

October 18, 2011

The Perfect Pointe Book , by Lisa Howell, has many excellent foot strengthening exercises. Included with the book are video clips of students who demonstrate the exercises.

As you can guess by the title, it is geared towards dancers who are preparing to go on pointe for the first time. However, the exercises are great for any dancer or athlete. We don’t always think of strengthening the feet, but it is important.

All my younger dancers that are preparing for pointe work or who are already studying pointe do these strengthening exercises. I also incorporate them into my Balletone classes, which is a barefoot workout.

Do you exercise your feet?

Barefoot is Better

September 6, 2011

The other day I watched my husband try on and purchase a pair of Vibram Fivefingers. I thought about getting a pair for myself, but I just couldn’t picture myself wearing those ugly shoes! (Just look at the photo!)

I know how imporFeet wearing Vibrams Fivefingerstant it is to strengthen the muscles of the foot and not rely on shoes for support. That’s one of the reasons why I teach Balletone, a barefoot work out that incorporates cardio, ballet movement, and Pilates and yoga inspired exercises.

The barefoot training helps increase the strength, agility and function of the feet. This in turn provides a solid base of support and improves balnce and stability.

I’m sure that the Fivefingers help do the same thing. But, for now I’ll do the Balletone barefoot work outs and continue to wear more traditional shoes in everyday life.

What do you think about these shoes? Do you wear minimalist shoes like these? If so, what is your experience?

Ballet is Great Exercise!

July 26, 2011

A fellow instructor posted a link to a ballet article on Livestron.com , a website supported and promoted by Lance Armstrong.  The article gave some ballet barre exercises that you can do at home.

What amazed me the most was that this was not the only ballet article on the site. There are at least 20 entries about ballet! And there are also videos that demonstrate ballet moves, although I had trouble viewing them.

All of the ballet-related information is under the fitness section of the website. I know from experience that Ballet and Balletone (a cardio fitness class that incorporates ballet movement and pilates based strengthening exercises) are great forms of exercise. Looks like more people are catching on!

Do You Get Enough Sleep?

November 9, 2010

We just gained an extra hour over the weekend, so you may have caught up on a little sleep.

I’m sure that you’ve heard that it’s important to get enough sleep. Well, it’s even more important if you work out. When you exercise as dancers do, sufficient sleep helps you bounce back. Sleep is a time when the body does most of its repair work. Muscle tissues are rebuilt and restored by growth hormones that are secreted during sleep. In addition to building muscle tone, skin appearance also improves.

If you don’t get enough sleep, it can affect you physically. Coordination suffers and we also lose our ability do things with agility. It’s also hard to think clearly. Dance combinations challenge the brain, so it’s important to be well rested before tackling a dance class. Besides all of this, lack of sleep can make you hungry.

So, what is the right amount of sleep? It varies for each individual, but eight to ten hours seems to be the typical amount.
Make sure you get to bed at a reasonable hour, don’t power nap late in the late afternoon or evening, avoid caffeine and alcohol late in the day, and avoid using the computer right before you go to bed (reading a book is a good idea).

Sleep tight!