FFF: Spanish Shrimp Paella + Dancer’s Body Barre

Hello all!  It’s Friiiiiday!  And for me, it is a long weekend!  I have some really fun things planned for one of the biggest holidays of the year in Brazil: Carnival.  I’ll be sharing it all with you next week.  In the meantime, let’s do a little food and fitness recap, shall we?

Friday's Food and Fitness

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Five Tips to Amp Up Your Pilates Routine

Last year NY Magazine made an uncharacteristic stir (note the sarcasm) when it proclaimed a Pilates Apocalypse.  Basically, with the rise of boutique studios, pilates, the original boutique studio, was going bust.  I have to admit, in reading the article, I totally got what they were saying and, I kind of agree.  Basically, the issue with pilates is that it doesn’t provide the same edgy experience or the same sweaty workout you get with the likes of  spin classes at Flywheel and Soul Cycle or barre classes like Physique 57 and barre3.  Not only that, the newer boutique fitness studios cater to those who want to feel pampered, prestigious and enjoy their workout surroundings, something that was maybe not a huge focus in opening the traditional pilates studio.

advanced pilates twisting side bend

But does this mean pilates is dead?  Maybe not, but the article did have a good point in that people are looking for more out of a pilates workout.  I don’t disagree.  I’m looking for more!!  It seems to me that in order for pilates to survive, it needs to transform itself from the traditional purist pilates to a more amped up, fitness focused pilates that attracts those looking to feel the burn and see the results.



While this may not happen overnight, I have a few tips on how you can amp up your traditional pilates workout!

  1.  Add Resistance.  One of the best ways to amplify your pilates workout is to add a bit of resistance.  Now you can definitely get a great mat workout using your own body weight, but if you want to kick it up a notch, why not try using a playground ball, some weights or a resistance band?  Check out my recommended pilates equipment here for more options!
  2.  Compound Movements.  A great way to make your workout more difficult is to do more at once!  Try putting together some traditional pilates moves like bridge with non-traditional moves like a chest fly.  Or add some pushups to your planks!
  3.  Use Quick Transitions.  Don’t spend a lot of time in between exercises but quickly transition from one exercise to the next.  Pilates is meant to flow and you should take that to heart!  Keep moving through the movements doing them slow and controlled and then quickly transitioning to the next one.
  4.  Pulse It Out.  One of the reasons barre has become so popular is that it is so easy to feel the burn from the small movements that occur right in the work zone.  You know, that zone where you start to shake and quake.  Well, there is absolutely no reason why pilates can’t offer the same thing.  Add some pulses on to your leg pull down or side kick series.  Or even just get into your work zone and hold it!
  5.  Stand Up and Add Some Cardio.  We all think of pilates is this modality where you just lie on the mat and move around a bit.  Well, I spend almost half of my pilates classes standing up!  Why?  Because gravity is a great resistance tool and there is no need to stay on your back.  Move your legs, include your arms, work your balance and engage your core while standing up!  And don’t be afraid to add in some cardio moves like rolling like a ball to a stand or jump, plank jacks or even just doing some intense leg work like plies.

Readers, what are your thoughts on the pilates apocalypse?  How do you amp up your workouts?  

Balance Book Club

Hi all!  How was your weekend?  I always find facing a Monday to be a little daunting so I like to start off with a good thought for the week because it helps give me something to look forward to!  This week’s good thought is that my mom is coming to stay with us for a month and she arrives on Wednesday.  Yay!! Looking forward to that!  

For the longest time now I have been wanting to join a book club.  Something about it just sounds really fun.  Plus I love to read and my husband jokes that he is quite jealous of the attention I give my Kindle (side note– I don’t know why I delayed so long in buying a kindle. I used to read books on my iPhone! This is a huge upgrade).  I recently joined a book club and I’m really excited about our upcoming meetings but I thought it might also be fun to start a little book club on the blog too.  Personally, I’m always looking for great book recommendations so I’m hoping this little club can help you out and in turn, all I ask for are a few book suggestions!

balance book club

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Friday’s Food & Fitness: Thai Chicken Lettuce Wraps

Hello and happy Friday to you!  How was your week?  Mine flew by!  I really have no idea what happened and the next thing I knew it was the weekend.  I took Cooper to a music class this week and it was absolutely adorable.  He started out standing behind me with his hands on my back because he was a bit shy but then he became really interested in the guitar and the shakers and the rattle balls!

Friday's Food and Fitness

Welcome to Friday’s Food & Fitness!  I’ve got a great recipe for you this week plus an exciting new video!

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Pilates Mat Workout {New Year Reset Challenge}

This pilates mat workout is the fourth and final workout in the New Year Reset Challenge and it is not your average pilates workout.  Get ready to bust through plateaus with this tough workout!

Hello!  Cooper has a little toy phone that sings a little song that goes something like “Hello, hello, just calling to say hi!” and now everytime I say “hello” I start singing the little diddy in my head!  Haha!  

We are in our final week of the New Year Reset Challenge!  Have you been sticking with your workouts?  How are you doing on your goals this year?  I’m really excited for today’s Pilates Mat Workout because it was the first workout I shot for this challenge, even though it is the last workout I’m posting!  It’s tough and you do need a bit of equipment.  For this workout, you’ll need some light hand weights and a playground ball.  This is not your average pilates mat workout.  We are going to use our props to kick it up a notch and you’ll be sweating bullets by the time you are done!

mat workout

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