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5 exercises for at-home reformer Pilates

If reformer Pilates sounds like your kind of deal, you better be prepared to part with a pretty penny. An hour-long private lesson can set you back hundreds of dollars, while group classes are still quite pricey. But for those without the watertight income, exercise physiologist Jennifer Smallridge and physiotherapist at Sportsmed biologic, Rebecca Huppert put together five spins on classic reformer moves to have you reaping all the benefits in the comfort of your own home:

1. Reformer lunges

This move is traditionally performed with one foot on the carriage, one foot on the stable platform, and the lunge pushes the carriage back (creating instability). This can be reproduced with XR Slides on a carpeted area (xrslide.com) by placing one foot on the ground and the back foot on the slide, lunging and then swapping sides. You could also use a book to gain the sliding motion.

2. Hands in straps – pullovers

Without a reformer, a resistance band can be wrapped around a steady object (table leg, tied tightly around a door handle). Lie with your body facing away from the band, ensure there is tension in the band, extend both arms up to the ceiling and pull the band down towards your sides while keeping your pelvis neutral. Challenges to this move include putting the legs up in tabletop, and/or adding an abdominal curl.

3. Leg press

This is one of the foundation moves in reformer Pilates. Without the footbar to put the feet on, you can lie on a mat and place your legs in tabletop, then try to keep the pelvis level as you tap one foot down on the mat at a time. You must engage your core muscles for this to be effective and safe. Add difficulty by straightening the leg each time it lowers, or lifting up the head and chest.

4. Reformer row

Again, wrapping a resistance band around a fixed object will allow a row type movement to be performed. The reformer works well by challenging the core, so to get the same benefits, stand on an unstable surface (BOSU, cushion, one leg stand) or complete a squat at the same time, with your core muscles active.

5. Scooter

This exercise involves one leg firmly on the floor and the other on the carriage, pushing it back against resistance and challenging the gluteal muscles on both sides. Without a reformer, arabesques are a nice way to work these muscles. Stand on one leg, hands on hips and lower your chest/lift your back leg at the same time, so that you feel it working all of the stabilisers of your stance leg. Rise up and repeat.

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5 exercises for at-home reformer Pilates

Posted in Bodybuilding, Exercises, Fitness Equipment, Nutrition, Personal Fitness Training, Weight lossComments Off on 5 exercises for at-home reformer Pilates

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‘How I regained my health after bikini competitions’

After getting in the best shape of my life, I didn’t know what to do next…

After four months of strict dieting, twice-a-day gym sessions six days a week, endless chicken breasts and egg whites, layers of fake tan and learning how to walk in six-inch heels; competition day arrives. All of the sacrifices and exhausting workouts lead to those 60 seconds on stage. I had shed 12kg and got my body fat down to 11 per cent. The day comes and goes. Now what?

‘I found myself feeling really low’

For me, that question lingered for a long time. I placed fourth and third in my competitions, bringing home two glorious trophies which still manage to pick me up if I am feeling sorry for myself. The highs of show day leave you feeling somewhat useless once it is all over. Every day for the past 16 weeks has been dedicated to reaching one goal, and during that time nothing else outside of the competition bubble has seemed important. Yeah, I know… it seems like a selfish sport.

After the photo shoots, congratulations and celebratory cheat meals (plural indeed), I found myself feeling really low. I struggled to get back into my normal eating habits, lacked enthusiasm and lost focus. On top of that, months of strict dieting and a gruelling exercise regime left my hormone levels awry.

Sports nutritionist and dietician Helen Phadnis explains, ‘Inadequate energy intake affects not just menstruation but also bone health, cardiovascular health, metabolic rate and immunity’. The stress hormone cortisol ‘causes the release of glucose into the blood stream and insulin resistance’. In the long term, continuously raised cortisol levels can ‘directly contribute to weight gain, increasing hunger and cravings for high fat food’. To say I could relate to this is an understatement. Pizza, anyone?

‘Constant overeating’

Feeling low and hormonal led to binge-eating, an emotional comfort. Takeaways followed by Krispy Kremes and late night cereal, constant overeating… we’ve all been there. Jennifer Low, dietitian and health writer, describes binge-eating as ‘a maladaptive coping mechanism that can really harm a person’s health – both physically and mentally. The person will have learned to not recognise negative feelings, they may binge as a way to cope with the feelings’.

After a week of indulging I gave up on trying to weigh my food and instead started to just eat sensibly, allowing myself a treat if I felt like it. The problem is I had no idea how many calories I was consuming, and as predicted, gave in to my sweet tooth whenever it called. Over the summer I partied, like any normal 22-year-old should if they want to (which always leads to the local kebab shop), and continued not to track my food.

‘My gut was irritated and I was extremely bloated’

The consequences? Five months post-show I felt awful about myself and was unable to find balance. I would eat well, binge, and then do extra cardio workouts to make up for it. More importantly, I was having gut health issues. I suffer from ulcerative colitis, a chronic irritable bowel disease, and after spending the summer consuming food that I wasn’t used to, such as dairy and alcohol, my condition flared up. My gut was irritated, I was extremely bloated and I had terrible fatigue (a common symptom of UC). A specialist put me on an eight-week steroid course to calm my symptoms – I was taking up to eight tablets per day.

Being an aspiring nutritionist, I wanted to use food as medicine where possible, too. I saw it as a push to get my eating habits back to normal, stop binging and feel healthy again. At the same time, I started an Access to Science course to study nutrition and also landed a magazine internship, which gave me a new motivation and focus.

‘Reverse dieting ensures your metabolism can adapt steadily’

The right thing to do straight after competing would have been to reverse diet. Jennifer Low explains that ‘calorie-restricted diets might reduce your basal metabolic rate (the amount of energy you expend)’. This in turn slows your metabolism, ‘so it is then a lot easier to gain body fat once you resume normal eating’. I had been on calories as low as 1100 for four months, so you can see why my body had a shock. Reverse dieting ensures that your calories increase gradually week by week, your metabolism can adapt steadily and that you can make some lean gains.

To get back on track I began a ‘gut restoration’ plan eliminating irritants like gluten, dairy, soy, eggs and alcohol; which commonly cause my ulcerative colitis flare-ups to worsen. My plan consists of five meals spread out over the day and includes sweet potato, chicken, white fish, green veg, white rice and gluten-free oats. Little and often is the key. I lift heavy weights four to five times a week and do four 10-minute HIIT sessions a week.

12 weeks after starting my new plan I felt better than ever. I reached a maintainable weight and built muscle, my digestion and gut health improved and I am now back in love with training. I don’t obsess over the scales but I have gone from 62kg to 57kg and can see my results through weekly progress pictures. I weigh my food to ensure I hit my macro goals every day and stay in control of what I am consuming. On the other hand, if a friend wants to go out for dinner, I will happily say yes without stressing that it won’t fit into my eating plan.

‘I haven’t binged for months’

That is the difference between prepping for a competition and prepping to feel healthy. I know that weighing my food and being on a plan can’t last forever, just as my competition couldn’t, but I am able to maintain it for now and it has given me a positive approach to food. I haven’t binged for months, my calories are high and I don’t schedule in huge cheat meals to go wild. I simply stay on plan, but if a social event comes up or I fancy something different, I’ll go with it.

A study published by Dr. Sherry of Dalhousie University, The Perfectionism Model of Binge Eating, states that ‘individuals with a high degree of perfectionism are often setting themselves up for a host of physical, emotional and mental problems– particularly related to binge eating’. Competing is all about bringing the perfect package to stage and you can become obsessed with achieving this image.

Continued here:

‘How I regained my health after bikini competitions’

Posted in Diets, Exercises, Fitness Equipment, Personal Fitness Training, Sports nutrition, Training Methods, Weight loss, Weight TrainingComments Off on ‘How I regained my health after bikini competitions’


Paige Hathaway

13 hours 28 minutes ago

F45 update! ✨💪🏼 So guys, I am excited to share my amazing experience with F45 Training so far! After feeling the positive energy and upbeat vibe of this fitness community, I knew I had found my new home. If you are looking for a workout program that delivers, THIS IS IT!!
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Paige Hathaway

1 day 11 hours ago

If kissing burns 6 calories per minute....
How many calories do you think laughing burns? 🤔

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