by Jessica Schmidley
It’s March, we’re still in winter, and many of us are still trying to get on track with those resolutions we made at the beginning of January. We see clients every single day who want to improve their health and body composition in some way, but they overcomplicate it.
“I just need to stop eating sugar”
“I’m only going to eat between 10am and 6pm”
“No more carbs”
Or any combination of those. These concepts seem simple in theory, but they require cutting out entire food groups, specific timing of when we can or cannot eat, or eliminating certain macronutrients (carbs/protein/fat). We also end up demonizing food, which just hurts our relationship with food in the long run. Food is fuel. There are better options and worse options depending on your goals, but that doesn’t mean you have to eliminate those things you enjoy forever.
What if we looked at it from a different perspective? What if instead of focusing on what we need to cut out, we focus on what to add in?
Most Americans eat a diet that is high in carbohydrates and fat, and low in protein. Protein helps many of our major body systems function effectively, most importantly helping us to grow and maintain muscle tissue.
Why is muscle important? Quite simply, when we talk about metabolism, muscle is a huge part of that. Muscle even at its resting state requires energy. The more muscle we maintain on our bodies, the more calories we burn daily without even lifting a finger. Plus as we age we lose muscle mass, so a diet rich in protein plus regular strength training is super important.
To get more protein in your diet, aim to have a good quality protein source in each main meal and at least one of your snacks. Sources like lean chicken/beef/pork, seafood, eggs, yogurt/Kefir, cottage cheese are good places to start for the bulk of your protein intake. Protein also takes longer for your body to digest and requires energy to digest as it moves through your digestive tract (meaning you burn calories just to digest the food!). Protein also helps to keep you full longer in between meals.
You can also supplement with protein powders/bars, beans, grains like quinoa and nuts but try not to make these your only sources of protein.
To put it simply, most of us don’t get enough vegetables in our diet. Vegetables add fiber and nutrients that our bodies need, and don’t get otherwise. Vegetables also help to fill you up with generally low caloric values. Basically, your stomach feels full because the vegetables take up a lot of space but don’t add a whole lot of calories to your daily intake.
Adding more vegetables to your daily meals can be challenging for some, and may take a bit more planning if you don’t usually do it.
Start easy, buy pre-prepped vegetables or salad mixes from the grocery store. Many stores like Heinen’s even have pre-cooked veggies that only require reheating at mealtime. Another great option that we utilize often is frozen veggies! Many come in microwave friendly bags, all you have to do is heat for a few minutes in the microwave, add a little seasoning and you're ready to go. I prefer frozen veggies to canned (better flavor and texture, and less salt), but that’s just me.
Once you’ve gotten into the habit of eating more veggies, branch out! Seek out new plant based recipes, different ways to sneak veggies into the foods you already eat (for example, whenever I make meatloaf of meatballs I chop up carrots, spinach and mushrooms to get more nutrients), or just new methods of preparing and cooking vegetables to bring out their best flavor and texture. Or, I’ll sub part of a higher calorie food for vegetables, like cutting my pasta portion in half and adding vegetables like zucchini or spaghetti squash to make up the other half.
Ditch the scarcity mindset:
Focus on adding more protein and vegetables to your diet and you’ll find you reach less for the other stuff. Fill your plate with good, nutrient dense foods most of the time. Feed your body what it needs and then enjoy those other foods in moderation.
When I was a kid, we always had to do our chores and homework before we could watch tv. It’s kind of like that. Eat your veggies and protein first and you can still have those other things in moderation once you’ve given your body what it needs. Beyond that, listen to your body and your hunger cues. Most often, once you’ve gotten those good protein and nutrient sources squared away, you’re naturally not that hungry for those things you were focused on leaving out!
Cutting out entire food groups or macronutrients usually only makes us want them more anyways. How will you ditch the scarcity mindset and improve your health this year?
by Jessica Schmidley
January is the time when everyone starts thinking about resolutions. I consider resolutions to be just another type of goal, just like I would set for myself throughout the year. All too often we see clients give up on goals before the end of January. This year, let's commit to changing that by making better goals to begin with.
The key to achieving any goal, is how you create it.
We talk casually about goals all the time...I want to lose 5 pounds...I want to go on a vacation...I want to get a new job. However, wanting doesn’t get the job done. Action does.
If I want to lose 5 pounds, but I never make any changes in my lifestyle that will support that goal, it won’t happen. If I want a new job, but I never update my resume, talk to a recruiter or start applying for positions...It’s not likely that will happen either.
I talk with people all the time who set goals, but give themselves unrealistic timelines to complete them. Look at what you want to accomplish and set a reasonable timeline in order to follow through on that task.
Step One: Time Period
Identify a goal and decide how long the process of achieving that goal will reasonably take (not necessarily how quickly you want to get it done):
These do not have to be health or fitness related. They can be literally anything that you want to get accomplished. Go one week without dessert. Finish a project. Save up a certain amount of money to take that big vacation. These can be related goals or individual goals.
Choose your words:
Consider the words that you use while goal setting. Instead of saying “I want to…” or “Try to…” use the words “I will…”.
Step Two: Actions
List 1 to 3 actions that you will do to accomplish these tasks in this period of time. The larger the goal, the longer the period of time, and generally you will need more actionable tasks to complete that goal.
Step Three: Skills
Part of accomplishing a goal may involve learning new skills. If you want to cook more of your own meals, you may want to attend cooking classes or learn knife skills to help during that process. There are so many good online classes now to learn basically any skill you could imagine, check out sites like Masterclass.
1 Week Goal:
1 Month Goal:
1 Year Goal:
Step Four: Identify Your Sacrifices
“The real challenge is not determining if you want the result, but if you are willing to accept the sacrifices required to achieve your goal. Do you want the lifestyle that comes with your quest? Do you want the boring and ugly process that comes before the exciting and glamorous outcome?”
This article really spoke to me, and I’m already a big fan of James Clear’s work. The want is not enough, identifying what needs to be done and if you are willing to do the work to accomplish the goal is a very important part of the process. Click the link above for the full article if you want to go a little deeper into goals.
Goals can be very powerful. Be strategic, be realistic and identify a few things that you want to check off your list this week, month or year!
by Jo Ann Graser
Are you aware that your nail tech and hair stylist must be licensed, but licensing requirements don’t apply to your Pilates/Personal Trainer/Group Exercise or Yoga instructor? Seems crazy, right? I think so and many in our profession have been working hard to remedy the situation.
The fitness industry is unregulated, which means there are no universal standards for instructor training. The bottom line is that anyone can market themselves as a fitness professional regardless of their level of training. For the purposes of this blog, I will be discussing the steps the Pilates industry has taken to up-level the profession.
Learning movement science, anatomy and program design is a lengthy and nuanced process and cannot be tackled in a weekend. A Pilates teacher needs to attend classroom lectures and workshops, engage in self practice and student teach for many hours to adequately learn to lead safe and effective sessions. This endeavor can take up to 2 years and 500+ hours to complete.
The not-for-profit professional association dedicated to the Pilates field is the PMA (Pilates Method
Alliance). In 2005, to fill the void in credentialing for Pilates teachers, the PMA created and launched the first and only legitimate credential exam which when passed conferred the title of “PMA-CPT” or Certified Pilates Teacher. Fast forward to today, and the Certification program has become autonomous and rebranded as the National Pilates Certification Program (NPCP). The following is taken from their website:
“The purpose of the NPCP is to establish, maintain and promote professional standards, and to award the title of Nationally Certified Pilates Teacher (NCPT) to the comprehensively educated Pilates teacher who has provided evidence that they meet these established professional standards.
For the public, employers, government agencies, and other professionals in allied fields, the NCPT
credential provides assurance that the Nationally Certified Pilates Teacher is competent in the provision of services.”
An instructor must complete a 450-hour comprehensive program of study in Pilates in order to sit for the exam. Once they have passed, they earn the designation of Nationally Certified Pilates Teacher or NCPT. This is the only objective way to ensure that your instructor has the adequate knowledge and experience to lead safe and effective sessions.
Over the last year, we introduced recurring monthly memberships for our Pilates Apparatus and Yoga & Fitness classes.
Having more than one option for your classes has left many with questions on how it all works, and how do you choose which one is best for YOU. We’re here to clear that up with the benefits and drawbacks of each option.
What is a punchcard/package?
A punchcard or package is a one time purchase of 10 or 20 sessions of either Pilates Apparatus or Yoga & Fitness classes. The classes are added to your account at the time of purchase and you can book up to that many classes in our schedule (10 or 20).
All packages expire 6 months from the date of purchase.
Packages allow the client the flexibility to book as many or as few classes per month as they like, they work best for clients who want flexibility in their schedule and/or travel a lot.
What is a monthly membership?
Monthly memberships are based on each calendar month and charged by an auto debit on the first day of the month. Whichever size you choose (6, 8, 12 or 20 sessions per month) will be deposited into your account on the first of the month. You may book your classes anytime within that month. You may add more sessions at your prorated membership rate if you find you need more in a month, however any unused sessions at the end of the month may not be carried over.
Memberships offer a lower price point per session, great for those who attend regularly and know they will use a certain amount of sessions each month. As a perk for our members, we are able to reserve your preferred time spot in upcoming months for you, just stop by the front desk and we’ll get you setup.
Here are the pros & cons of each:
Month to Month Memberships
For all current pricing information, click here.
If you’ve recently attended a Pilates class in a private studio or gym/health club setting, you may have heard a variety of phrases floating around.
Classical. Contemporary. Fusion. Mat. Apparatus. Advanced. Fundamental. Multi Level. These are a few examples of terms that studios use to describe their Pilates classes to give you an idea of what to expect. However, these terms can be confusing and misleading.
Let’s examine the basics and create some clarity.
Though every studio has their own system, the following are fairly standard designations when it comes to the difficulty level of a class.
The starting point is the Fundamental level upon which all the higher level Pilates exercises build. These exercises are meant to be the foundation of your Intermediate and Advanced work. You might start with the basic plank position or lying on your back with legs lifted in table top prior to intermediate work which may add in dynamic movement. As you work toward the advanced repertoire, the exercises become more complex, often moving the spine or torso and extremities together in more complex choreography. Some of the truly advanced exercises are not appropriate for group work as they require spotting from an instructor. Many group classes will be primarily a combination of the fundamental and intermediate work, with advanced level work sprinkled throughout.
At Tensile Strength Studio, all classes are Multi Level, consisting of a variety of levels which makes the class appropriate for most clients. Your instructor may challenge your class more or less by pushing the pacing of the class, adding extra variations or choreography to achieve a challenging, but accessible workout. Clients with preexisting conditions or injuries that may affect their ability to move fluidly through a class may be in private sessions where the instructor can tailor the workout to your specific conditions. Be sure to chat with studio staff prior to attending class if you are concerned about any movement restrictions.
Mat or Apparatus:
Historically, to find an apparatus based workout, it was necessary to go to a Pilates studio. However, in the last 10-15 years Pilates apparatus have become more commonplace in health clubs and fitness centers where Pilates Mat based classes were the norm.
The fundamentals of Pilates are the same whether you are on a mat or equipment. Mat Pilates is executed mostly with your own body weight and gravity as your resistance, occasionally incorporating bands, small weights, rings, balls, etc.
Pilates Apparatus classes are performed on specialized equipment, which may include the Reformer, Cadillac, Chair, Small or Large barrels in addition to smaller props previously mentioned. The use of equipment can either offer more support or more challenge depending on the design of the workout.
The Great Style Debate:
Which is the best style of Pilates? Classical? Contemporary? Fusion? You may get a different answer depending on who you talk to.
The Classical Pilates repertoire follows very closely to Joseph Pilates’ original work and order, created nearly 100 years ago. You may hear the words “first generation” or “second generation” when referring to certain instructors, the former being instructors who studied directly under Pilates himself and the latter being instructors that were trained from a first generation teacher. With each generation, the method changed a bit depending on the influences of the instructors. Today, the method has also evolved with the advancement of movement science/biomechanics.
Classical Pilates is often performed in a set order with a specific amount of reps for each exercise. To be considered Classical, strict protocols are followed for both Mat and Apparatus work.
One of the main distinctions of Contemporary Pilates is the introduction of variations in movement and the addition of props. Practitioners of contemporary Pilates believe it offers more challenge through variety, but the classical adherents find that same challenge through working deeper into the original work. Contemporary is a broad distinction and can incorporate most any modern form of the work that has developed over the years since Joseph Pilates, keeping in line with the spirit of the original method while integrating current knowledge of the body and biomechanics.
Fusion based classes combine Pilates with other forms of movement such as yoga, strength training, suspension training, boxing etc. Fusion classes may be performed on the apparatus or mat.
All of our instructors at Tensile Strength studio began their education with comprehensive Classical training and are NCPT’s (Nationally Certified Pilates Teachers). They have completed a minimum of 450 hours of in person learning, student teaching, observation and personal practice. In order to maintain their certification, our instructors complete 16 or more hours of continuing education every 2 years. These education hours may vary based on the instructor's interests, and will often shape how they teach in the future. Though our instructors begin their journey with the classical work, over time they develop their own perspective and approach to the work. We recommend that clients try a variety of classes as each instructor has unique areas of strength and focus.
Chat with us prior to class about any movement or health restrictions and your goals so we can maximize your experience at Tensile Strength Studio. Our collective 50 years of experience as instructors, teacher trainers, and industry leaders positions us to help you fulfill your Pilates goals.