I received my original Pilates certification through Quantum Pilates and was happy to back at the studio.
I previously met Blossom while attending Pilates Method Alliance conferences when she accompanied Kathy Stanford Grant, a first generation Pilates teacher (Kathy died in 2010 at almost 90 years of age). Blossom studied with Kathy for well over a decade and now brings her knowledge gained not only from Kathy but Pilates Elder Romana Kryzanoyska, where she received her Pilates certification in 1999.
Blossom taught exercises on the Reformer, Cadillac, Chair and added a fun but challenging mat class into the mix. She not solely introduced us to “Kathy's Way” of teaching Pilates but her own very detailed oriented teaching style, while maintaining flexible when different bodies presented challenges during the workshop.
I believe in continuous learning and growing as a teacher and coach. I thoroughly enjoyed the different views' presented by Blossom appreciating her kind teaching style and knowledge.
So don't be surprised to hear ....breast away from chin or soften number 3.....during your next Pilates session.
The other day I received this text from my client and it said: "I did not believe it so I had to take a picture"!
This text came in at 8am in the morning and it just made my day. Why, you may ask?
My client Lori (I know she does not mind me revealing her name) started her journey to a fitter and healthier self on July 4th, 2012, when we first met. At this point she weighed 270 lbs. and was ready to start losing weight.
We discussed her goals, time constrains, nutritional needs - she also plays Softball and Football! in additon to wanting to start running.
We agreed to start tracking her food with myfitnesspal and a weekly workout at the studio. Within one week she had lost 8 lbs. by just keeping a food log and paying attention to her diet.
Lori and I worked on her kitchen makeover, i.e. the pantry and fridge and I sent her a little help sheet on picking the right foods. Foods that will support her exercise habits, lifestyle and health.
Lori signed up for races as well, for instance, the Muddy Buddy was one of her first ones to participate in.
We continue to monitor her diet, have monthly weigh-ins and body measurements, and continue to workout once per week. In addition, Lori, does the treadmill or elliptical on alternate days plus some extra corework and cardio at home.
She also completed her first 1/2 Marathon two weekends ago I could not be more proud of her!
I asked her the other day what motivated her to finally be serious about her weight? She thought about it for a minute and said: "I was ready"!
Lori and I will share the final reveal in a few months with the before and after, but for now ...
thank you for sharing this journey with me and I am glad that I am part of it!
What a terrific event and a fantastic learning opportunity right in my backyard.
This year’s conference focused on “Training with a Purpose”, and the sessions offered reflected that overall theme.
Once again, I was chosen as an assistant to help out in the market place and I loved being there.
Attendees came by looking for the best in exercise, nutrition, wellness, and business to add to their library. Making new friends and reconnecting with my old friends is very easy at the market place, as everybody stops by at one point or other.
I find it interesting to learn more about IDEA and how shows of this magnitude (this year’s was sold out again) are organized and orchestrated. The friendships I made last year with the staff continued on this year and it was fun to catch up. On the right you see me with my friend Magali Sparks -she is in charge of the market place.
When I was not working, I attended sessions to enhance my knowledge as a Personal Trainer and business owner.
Here are some of my highlights from this years event:
Shannon Fable, presented us with a fabulous session on marketing our business and the “7 Core Self-promotion strategies”.
Peter Twist, encouraged us to “Perform a the Speed of Life” - yes, that's correct “life”. As I always say: “Everyone is an Athlete”.
Chuck Wolf, taught us about flexibility, the relation to the body's facia and how activating it can produce better movement – you will see some of his ideas in your next session.
Mike Bracko's approach to back exercises for injury prevention and performance confirmed my current approach with some of my clients.
The BOSU (the blue half ball) was one of the movement classes I took and got my share of HIIT (high intensity interval training) – what a fun class. Be ready to sweat!
Thank you to IDEA for providing the industry with such high standards of education and for allowing me to be part of it.
What is my purpose?
I will assist you in your goal to enhance your athletic performance or improving functional movement. Supporting you in your goal to live your life to it's fullest potential.
See you soon,
During our long run of 13 miles last weekend one of our runners posted this question:
How do I breath when I run? the short is deeply....and then there is.. diaphragmatic breathing, into the stomach, into the lungs are the most popular forms of breathing. Not to forget breath holding :)
Breathing is an art for sure and most of us breath shallow.
Some, very few of us breath to much and results into a very shallow breath. At resembles a bit of "huffing and puffing" and one get's very tired doing that.
Here is an article that describes breathing a bit more in
HOWEVER (of course) I don't agree with everything in it.
Here is what I recommend to my Pilates clients and how it translates into your
Pilates breath - in through the nose out through the mouth.
From the lower abdominals, raising the diaphragm, up into the lungs (the chest does rise)
That only works if you can breath through the nose (I am one of those that can't) and get
enough air into the lungs!!
Here is what I like you to try:
breath in for 8 counts through the nose or mouth(no breath holding)
then out for 8 counts
Most of us can exhale much more then inhale! It makes for a good practice though.
You will feel the belly rise a bit but also your chest - now check in with your upper
back!! is it moving too. If so then you are on the right track with the breath
into the lungs.
Breathing patterns vary with everyone.
I like to breath in for 2 steps and out for 2 steps while running relaxed.
Always trying to match my breath to my movement and visa versa.
I would not use the exercises shown in the video to demonstrate what we try to
accomplish. Effortless breathing no matter what the pace and fast recovery after
each (i.e.sprint or hill) is your aim.
Until then see for how long you can breath in and out, comfortably and deeply.
Many of us want to be more flexible but don't seem to find the time to do just that “stretching”. There are many forms of stretching,i.e static stretching, PNF stretching, dynamic stretching, myofascial release, just to name a few stretching modalities.
Let's look at some of the questions that might present themselves:
Why even bather with stretching?
What benefits does stretching have if any?
What type of stretching should one do?
How long do I hold it a stretch for ?
When do I stretch?
Does it matter what muscles I stretch?
Besides running is more important then stretching right? Wait a minute, although studies about the benefits of stretching are mixed, some say there are benefits and others not so much.
The main benefits of stretching seem to be,
reduced risk of injury,
and improved running performance.
Stretching helps joints move through their full range of motion, decreases the risk of microtrauma to tendon, which can lead to overload and injury, and increases blood flow (Mayo clinic).
Stretching is best done after your run, although doing it before may just feel good, it does not make a difference in your performance or injury rate (ACE) .
Here are some stretching safety tips:
Stretching is not a warm-up. Some studies show that pre-stretching prior to running may actually decrease performance. So warm up, go into your dynamic stretches and safe the rest for later.
Focus on stretching your major muscles and joints, i.e. hamstrings, quads, calves, IT-band, lower back, neck and shoulders used in running.
Don't bounce! Bouncing can cause small muscles tears and cause more tightening of your muscles, hence more pain. Hold you each stretch 30-45 seconds and perhaps increase the stretch by reaching even farther for one more round of 30-45 seconds.
No pain no gain is out! This motto applies to stretching as well.You should feel a gentle pull in the muscles being stretched, if it hurts or burns you have gone too far. Back off and hold your stretch there. Burning may actually signal an underlying injury! Keep an eye on it.
Make your stretch sports specific. You are a runner, stretch like a runner!
Stretch always! Best results are achieved when consistently stretching, stretching 2-3 times per week after running or other cardiovascular exercise.
Increase ROM (range of motion) and decrease DOMS (delayed onset of muscle soreness) Studies show that keeping up a regular stretching routine not only increases ROM but also decreases DOMS. DOMS = when you feel tight the next day and know it was from the workout the day before.
Can stretching lead to injury? Yes, in some cases.
Stretching a muscle that is pulled or strained can further inflame the muscles and increase the strain, as the muscle has not time to heal. Let the muscle rest from running and stretching, try RICE and see a doctor if the condition does not improve.
I have included a little video to show some of the stretches appropriate for runners. http://youtu.be/poAHUOuu8zw
Stretching is not only for athletes and runners but everyone!
Enjoy and see you on the trail
In the spring of 1963, numerous 50 mile races across the country were held as part of President John F. Kennedy’s push to improve physical fitness. After his assassination in November of 1963, most of these events were never held again. The race name changed many times and the JFK 50 Mile in Washington County, MD is the only original JFK 50 Mile Challenge event to be held every year since then.
My journey to run an Ultra began in January 2012 by joining the group “26.2 to Boston”, formerly known as “Boston Bound”, and later on the XMP (Experienced Marathon Group of the MCRRC ) It is so much fun to run with a group of determined and goal-minded runners. The support of your peers can take your performance to the next level.
This was my race schedule for the year ahead:
March 17 - Rock N'Roll Marathon (one week skiing prior did not help my performance at this race)
June 2 - North Face 50K - 30 miles (after a rainstorm pounded the area, it was tough going due to tons of mud - do not compare it to the Tough Mudder !)
July 29 - San Francisco Marathon - fantastic race (did it with my son)
September 9 - Parks 1/2 Marathon - my favorite hometown race
October 28 - Marine Corps Marathon - could not participate due to injury
November 17 - JFK 50 Miler - fantastic, amazing, empowering, just plain awesome
November 17, 2012 race start 7:00 am in Boonsboro, MD
It was a cold, crisp, sunny morning with the temps hovering around 29 degrees and the promise of mid 50s later in the day. A group of about 500 gathered at the starting line to head out and tackle the JFK 50 and I am one of them!
Dressed in long sleeve running clothes, trail shoes, water belt filled with Perpetuem, coffee flavoured Hammer Gue, Aspirin, Hammer Electrolytes, I am ready to go.
My game plan: run the flats, walk the hills and once off of the Appalachian Trail, it is 1 mile running with 2 minutes walking. My Garmin was set up to give me a signal each time I needed to start walking.
The gun goes off and we are heading out of town toward the Appalachian Trail (AT). The first several miles asphalt road and onto an incredibly steep hill to top it off. You can feel the excitement in the air as the crowd heads toward the AT entrance.
We have 8 check points, 14 aid stations and along the way our support crews. My crew consisted of my boyfriend Jan, my daughter Melanie, and son Jesse (he is joining me at mile 34). My crew carried with them a change of clothes, extra supplies, and fresh shoes as well as a lot of smiles and encouragement for me along the way.
Once entering the AT it is rocky and steep, one must watch their step in order not to fall. We mostly run in single file, some talking, others like me, silent and focused. It is important to know that each checkpoint has a cutoff time that you must reach prior to it, in order to continue on or you will be removed from the field and sent to the finish line by bus.
My goal times are 30-minute ahead of the cutoff time just to be on the safe side. I made my 1st checkpoint, Gathland, in my goal time, reaching it by 9am. Now onto Weverton, the most treacherous part of the trail with switch backs, narrow and steep. My hiking skills came in very handy, and I exceeded my goal time by 15 minutes - terrific, extra time! My crew was there to refill my bottles, Gue, change clothing AND I ate a yummy pancake with lots of sirup.
The aid stations along the way were stocked with: M&M’s, cookies, pretzels, chips, coke, Gatorade, water, some even had soup. The motto is: “Eat on the walking portion and don’t stop moving”.
After Weverton the race continues on the C&O Canal towpath, which is flat or has a bit of a false flat going slightly uphill until mile 42. By mile 34 I started to feel tired and was looking for my son, however my Garmin was ahead by 1 mile and I thought he would never join me or could not get on the trail until I realized, that indeed my Garmin was off. What a relief when I saw him and we finished the race together. I need to add though, that one we met up the first thing coming out of Jesse's mouth were: “My knee hurts, I may not finish with you and someone else may”. Not what I wanted to hear at all.
At mile 38 I was treated like a “race car”....my boyfriend and son refilled my supplies, my daughter took off my shoes and re-tied my chip on my shoes, another friend gave me electrolytes and water....the whole exchange felt like an eternity but in reality (as my Garmin later showed) less than 2 minutes. I had the best crew!
At around 3:30pm we reached Dam#4 at mile 42, it was time to put on our “Jackets of Shame” - glowing in the dark safety jackets. Runners that do not make the cut off at this point early enough to finish in the daylight receive this fabulous jacket :)
From this point forward it was back to asphalt again, glad I changed my shoes earlier. My energy was coming back and I ran more often than walked. Through Downsville mile 46, where I saw my boyfriend and daughter one last time before the finish in Williamsport, MD. There I understood that because of my son’s knee my daughter was going to finish with me. However, to my son’s credit, he sucked it up and ran with me ‘till the end.
I finished strong with a big smile and a tremendous sense of accomplishment.
The strong support of my family preparing for the race and being there for me while racing was something not to be taken lightly and I appreciate it very much.
The obstacles along the way, mostly my injury 4-weeks prior to the race only made me stronger. I was diagnosed with an inflamed glut muscle by ProAction Physical Therapy, followed their advice of little to no running and cross training, i.e. biking, swimming, without the pounding of the road. I believe it made me a stronger runner and helped me to stay healthy throughout the race and beyond.
My time: 10 hours 39 minutes 41 seconds
Age group placement: 11 out of 38
Field placement: 554 out of 1041
Average pace: 12:49
Will I do JFK again? Not sure, but ask me in a few months again until then see you on the trail
You are at home waiting for Hurricane Sandy to strike, you have taken all the safety precautions.
The fridge is full, you have plenty of water, batteries, candles, games for the family, and blankets in case the power goes out.
You might not make it to your regular workouts due to power outages etc. and wonder what to do?!
Print this little list before the power goes off and voila you are ready to go.
Here is what you need:
A blanked or yoga mat
You and maybe the family
Ready? Here is your workout!
Stand at the end of your mat/towel and try to touch your toes – 10x
Put your hands on the floor and walk into a quadruped position (all fours)
Next, opposition arm and leg (aka bird dog – remember! ) 10 each side
Onto a plank position hold it for 10 breath (you may not have a working clock) repeat 3x (can be done on forearms and knees or toes)
10 Push ups – either on hands and knees or toes you choose
Side plank is next – hold for 10 breath on each side (knees can be bent)
Now it's time to be supine - facing the ceiling!
Arms to the sky, knees bent, roll up to touch your knees – 10 x
Arms by your side, bridge your hips up and roll down – 10 x
Onto the bicycle – hands by your side, navel to spine and make a cycle motion with your legs try to go for 10 counts on each leg
Stretch your back by bringing the knees side to side
Hands behind your head and then right into the criss cross (right elbow to left knee and reverse) 10 x on each side
Roll up is next (do the best you can, you know what you can do) roll up to touch your toes and then back down
This little workout should keep you going until I see you next time.
Stay safe and see you soon.
It is official!
I am now a Road Runners of America (RRCA) certified running coach.
My journey began by running the Cherry Blossom 10 miler in 2007 – afterward I thought if I can run 10 miles, I can run 26.2, right?!!?
I joined in the Montgomery County Road Runners Club (MCRRC) first time Marathon program. 6-month later I ran the Marine Corps Marathon (MCM) and qualified for Boston in my first marathon.
Encouraged by my success, I joined the Boston Bound group under Coach Mike's guidance.
During the almost 4 months it took to get ready for Boston, I learned so much from Coach Mike Broderick and was encouraged to also become a running coach.
I trained my son to run MCM with me in 2008 and prepared for my 2nd Boston in 2009. Things did not go according to plan – running too much and neglecting my cross training took a toll on my body. I took off from marathon running for a few years and stayed with shorter distances.
In the meantime, I coached my boyfriend (2010) and my daughter (2011) to run the Parks Half Marathon.
Seven years of running half and full marathons, with some 10 milers mixed in and so far this year a 50k to top it off. I have learned a lot along the way. It was now time to go and get my certification.
I successfully completed the RRCA training and certification this week.
If you are looking to ….
...start running – never done it before but want to try
...increase your distance from Couch to...5k, 10k, ½ marathon or marathon
...increase your running efficiency
I will provide you with sound training methods and plans that will be in line with your goals and your performance. I will encourage cross training along the way which may include Pilates for Runners and more.
Contact me today to find out more about the training I offer and what program is right for you.
My journey to run the JFK 50 miler continued on with the
North Face Endurance Challenge - 50k,
my Garmin actually read 32.1 miles at the end of the race which made it 51.65 kilometers !
Things started out with a Tornado warning the night before the race, which dumped many inches of rain on the terrain to be run. My crew, boyfriend Jan and daughter Melanie where up and out early with me to help out along the way with gue, gatorade, band aids, and glide if needed.
Busses took us to the actual site of the race start, the Algonkian State Park, Virginia, everybody was preparing and getting their game face on. I always love that moment, music is pumping, everybody focused, or silly or simply just being in the moment.
Dean Karnazes, http://www.ultramarathonman.com/web/ sent us off with some words of of encouragement and “I” got a high five from him ! Never washing that hand again :)
The race began and in short, it was HARD much harder then I thought! We ran many miles in mud up to our ankles, very steep hills up and down, through streams as high as up to our thighs, the terrain slick and dangerous. If you know Old Rag, picture racing it several times over in mud.
My result: 7 hours 10 min 47 seconds, Top 1/3 in my age group and top ½ of all women
(the fastest women in this race came in at 4:47:50 and
was at least 10 years younger – just wanted to mention it)
I hope you enjoy the pictures and the video which captures some of the moments from the race.
When I heard about the Pink Ribbon Program I was intrigued. This unique program was teaching health professionals to work with Breast cancer survivors using Pilates-based exercises.
Here is a little history: My first in-depth experience with Breast Cancer Survivors was in 2007, working as a Fitness consultant for Healthmark Multimedia on a Breast Cancer Survivor project named:
Moving on: Tools for Breast Cancer Survivors. http://www.healthmarkmultimedia.com/survivors/index.html
I designed a Fitness/Pilates based program for Breast Cancer Survivors for Healthmark Multimedia. Through my work with Healthmark Multimedia, I learned so much about procedures, drug choices and side effects of both related to the surgery and recovery thereafter. The lack of education in making the right choice for the patient involved was staggering. Breast Cancer Survivors dealing not only with the emotional side of their surgery but the pain and often lack of function thereafter, while left to themselves.
By taking the Pink Ribbon Program Certification, I am coming full circle. In addition to my continued work with some of my current clients, I want to share the knowledge gained with others in need of a plan.
To this day, Breast Cancer Survivors are being released without physical therapy or follow up plans.
Doreen Puglisi, owner and creator of the Pink Ribbon Program, a survivor herself, created a Pilates- based program to help women regain lost strength and mobility, while learning about choices available to them prior to surgery and beyond.
I am grateful, for being part of such an amazing program and a
“Breast Cancer Exercise Specialist”
for the Pink Ribbon Program.
If you have questions and/or know someone who can benefit form my help, please let me know.
In addition to private training, I will be offering small classes to Breast Cancer Survivors.
PS: My class was taught by Doug – one very compassionate and well-educated trainer. Thanks Doug!