Barley Crepes with Yoghurt and Cinnamon

July 20th, 2017

Barley crepes











If you can’t decide between a cup of Greek yoghurt and a plate of delectable crepes for breakfast, why not have them both? A barley crepe with yoghurt and cinnamon is an irresistible pancake recipe that is sure to love! Barley Flour is used in this recipe and is a great alternative to wheat flour as it has lower gluten content and packs more fibre. This is also especially suitable for those who are allergic to wheat.

Top it off with bananas and cinnamon, a sweet spice, which is rich in antioxidant and you are ready to enjoy this incredible goodness!


  • Crepes
  • 1/4 cup Barley Flour
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tbsp milk
  • 1 tbsp walnut oil
  • 1 cup whole milk Greek yogurt
  • 2 medium bananas
  • 4 tsp honey
  • 3/4 tsp cinnamon


  1. In a bowl, add barley flour, salt, eggs, milk and oil and whisk until smooth. Heat the pan and lightly grease with oil. Pour ¼ cup of batter to cover the entire pan and cook for about 30 seconds. Flip and cook for another 15 seconds.
  2. Peel and cut banana into 1/2 slices. Mix with honey and cinnamon in a pan and simmer over medium heat until bananas are tender for 3-4 minutes.
  3. On one side of the crepe, spread 1/4-cup of yogurt and layer a few bananas on top, folder over, and repeat with remaining crepes. Drizzle honey and remaining banana slices over crepes and serve.


Recipe and image courtesy of



Don’t Run to Get Fit, Get Fit to Run

June 29th, 2017














Running is one of the most practised sports in the world, and although we are all born to run, many are still susceptible to getting injured. In this issue, our Runity Master Trainer and Exercise Physiologist, Daniel has shared with us on his latest running experience in Peru and some insights on getting started.

“I just got back from a run in Arequipa Peru at 2,300m and it certainly wasn’t as easy as normal. However, at the end of the run, my running App declared that it was my “17th fastest run”! As my lungs laboured in the thin air it got me thinking, while running is a natural function, there is still a lot that goes into giving us the physical capacity to be able to run. In this case, while there isn’t much I can do about the reduced oxygen content of the air, I need time for the red blood cell production to increase to match my demand for oxygen, so I can burn more fat prolonging the point of fatigue.

Previously, I wrote an article about reducing the amount of load and force through our body, just by increasing our cadence by 5% (number of steps taken per minute). That equates to over 100 tonnes (or the weight of 70 cars) for a 60kg person over 5km run. Imagine the force that is still passing through the tissues of our body when we run, it’s no wonder that without adequate conditioning, running injury rates are reported up to 80% per year.

When we run, these forces tend to travel through the same path with every step, challenging the capacity of the tissues. It is well known that our tissues such as the muscles, tendons, ligaments and bones are in a constant state of remodelling based on the load that passes through them. If the load is less than the tissues capacity, the tissues get weaker, our muscles decrease in strength, tendons lose their spring, and bones start to weaken. This happens when our lives become sedentary and is the reason why many people develop chronic injuries such as back pain.

If the load surpasses our tissues capacity within a certain range, the cells in our body will be stimulated to strengthen our tissues against the increased load. Our muscles will then get stronger and have more endurance, improved elasticity in our tendons can also recycle energy better to make running more efficient. At the same time, our cardiovascular fitness improves, so does the efficiency of our lungs and heart.

The danger here is that our cardiovascular fitness increases much faster than our tissues adaptation and strengthening, so we feel that we can run more often and further. This is often where a newbie runner will develop an injury. In this case the load and force passing through our body exceeds our tissues capacity, we develop muscle, tendon or joint inflammation and pain. We need to back off our running or stop altogether for a while, which is necessary for recovery, however this brings us back to the other extreme where our tissues start to weaken again, leaving us with even less capacity then when we started, hence starting over a cycle that is sure to see us get re-injured

Running alone won’t be able to condition our body sufficiently for the demands of even recreational running, especially when most of us spend long hours at the desk. Hence, special conditioning exercises are required to prepare our body, allowing us to run without injury and enjoy the whole process more. While specific Pilates exercises can help with this, even better however are the specialist running conditioning exercises from our new Runity programme”.

From the end of July, running assessments will be offered in our studios, with a conditioning exercise programme prescribed based on your running technique using video analysis and movement assessment to keep you injury free.


Please click here for full details on our Runity package. Running conditioning group classes will also be available from 27th July onwards, so stay tuned!

If you have any questions about running, kindly drop us a message on our Facebook page and our Runity Master Trainer and Head Instructor will help to answer it!


-Daniel Dittmar, Runity Master Trainer and Exercise Physiologist



How to Prevent the Common Neck Pain

May 26th, 2017


Neck pain is one of the most common symptoms we see with clients at Focus Pilates and about 4 out of 5 of these cases are work-related. More specifically, the common neck pain is mainly due to poor working habits at the desk.

Most of us, even with the healthiest and fittest body, are not built to sit or stand for long periods of time; our bodies are made to move (except when you are asleep, but even then, we still move, just not consciously). That is why it is unrealistic to expect ourselves to be able to sit at a desk for long hours at a time, on a regular basis, and get away with it.

The good news is, it does not take much for us to do to prevent this common neck pain. To start off, here are two simple tips you can follow:

1)      Take a 2-minute break every hour and perform these three easy stretches:

  • Seated Upper Back Stretch
    Sit upright at the edge of your chair, palms flat on your desk, feet on the floor. Focus on your shoulder blades. Keep your arms straight as you pull your chest forwards towards the desk by gently squeezing your shoulder blades together. Then reverse the movement by pushing your chest away from the desk and allowing your shoulder blades to spread apart across your upper back. Do not allow your shoulders to shrug up towards your ears. Repeat this sequence 10 times.
  • Seated Cat-Camel stretch
    Remain seated upright at the edge of your chair, with palms flat on the desk and feet on the floor. Keep your arms straight and round your chest away from your desk; allow your spine to curl into a C-shape, but be careful not to shrug your shoulders. Reverse the movement by arching your back and reaching your lower ribs towards your desk. Repeat this sequence 10 times.
  • Seated Trunk Rotation stretch
    Continue in the same seated position as the other two exercises. Keep one hand on your desk as you open the other arm out to the side and reach towards the back of the room, allowing your head and chest to rotate with the arm, but your hips should remain still. Repeat on the other side. Repeat this sequence 10 times.

Like with learning any new routine or habit, it will take some effort in the beginning, but after practising for a week, it should become a lot more natural.
Top Tips to make it work: 1. Set an hourly alarm on your mobile phone or calendar. 2. Get a stretch buddy to remind each other on the hour. 3. Stick a post-it or sticker on the side of your monitor as a reminder.

Please note: exercises should be pain-free when performed. If you have any pre-existing neck or back conditions or are unsure of any of the exercises, please contact us to make an appointment with one of our qualified physiotherapists.


2)      Check your work station ergonomics 

  • The seat should be at a height where your feet can be comfortably rested on the floor or on a footrest.
  • The chair should be close enough to your desk that your elbows are almost touching the side of your ribs when you are typing, writing or using the mouse. If necessary, position your keyboard and mouse closer to you (i.e. closer to the edge of your desk).
  • Top of your computer/laptop screen should be level with your eyes.

Click here to read more on setting up your work station properly. Follow the checklist and start stretching!


– Max Teong, Physiotherapist

Beat the Heat with Coconut Ice-cream

May 26th, 2017

Coconut ice-cream















Do you know that coconut is a great source of fibre, minerals and vitamins? This highly nutritious fruit is also suitable for those who are lactose intolerant.

In this edition, we have found an all-time favourite coconut ice-cream recipe that comes just in time, as the weather gets warmer in our sunny island!

Top it off with fresh antioxidant-rich berries to make it extra refreshing – a healthy dessert that allows you to indulge without feeling guilty!


Prepares approximately 4 cups of ice cream.


  • Ice Cream Maker
  • Blender


  • 60 – 400ml Cans of Coconut Milk
  • 3 to 4 Vanilla Beans
  • 3/4 to 1 Cup Raw Honey
  • A Pinch of Sea Salt
  • Fresh Raspberries or Blueberries (optional)


  1. Slice open the vanilla beans and scoop the vanilla out of the pods (1 teaspoon).
  2. In the blender, add the coconut milk, vanilla, honey and salt and blend until smooth.
  3. Pour the mixture into ice cream maker and freeze. Serve.


Recipe courtesy of



Pilates for Women

April 25th, 2017









Pilates is a wonderful low-impact exercise that is suitable for everyone and is especially ideal for new mums or mums-to-be, whether it be a growing bump, a new little bundle or an active toddler.

Known for toning and strengthening your muscles (particularly the pelvic floor!), Pilates is also great in creating flexibility and increasing endorphin production – those great hormones which promote happier moods and a more restful sleep!

In this special edition, we have rounded up three insightful articles written by our team of experienced physiotherapists and Instructors on how Pilates can help prepare you for your pregnancy as well as recovery after giving birth.

Contact our studios today to find out the available packages suitable for you.

Happy Mother’s Day, mamas!



Painless Running with Runity

March 31st, 2017

Running edit












Running is a skill that humans are supremely adapted for, there are more than 20 physiological and biomechanical qualities and adaptations that make us one of the most efficient running animals on earth. While we are far from the fastest or the strongest animal on earth, we, however, have the ability to outrun many other animals over long distances. Elite human runners, while slow over the short course, will beat almost any other animal including elite horses due to the unique advantages of the body heat regulation and breathing.

Running is also associated with various significant health benefits such as 40-76% lower risk of certain types of cancer, and running 10-15min per day reduces the risk of death from all-cause mortality by 29%. Despite the high injury rate reported at between 20-80% per year, it is, however, one of the most practised sports amongst working adults in Singapore. So if we are born runners, why are we getting injured so often? One of the most common reasons people run is to get fit. However, the old adage that says, “you need to get fit to play golf, not play golf to get fit” is also applicable to running. Running like any physically demanding activity requires the body to be prepared for it, to prevent any form of injuries.

Running place many physical demands on our bodies and if we do not have the right conditioning of the pelvis, legs, feet and the rest of the body, chances of you getting injured are high. There are also several factors that influence our running efficiency such as running style and technique, which are surprisingly easy to modify.

An example of which is our running cadence (number of steps taken per minute), by adjusting your cadence by as little as 5%, we can significantly reduce loading through the hip knee and ankle joint. In fact, it can reduce the amount of force passing through your heel by 565 times your body weight. So for a 60kg runner over 5km, that is over 100,000 tonnes (the weight of 70 cars!). If you want to fully reap the benefits of running, which are not just physiological but also psychological, it is worth putting the time into getting your body conditioned to run.

We are pleased to announce that Focus Pilates will be hosting for the first time in Asia, the Runity coaching programme. Its popularity is spreading rapidly throughout the US, Europe and Australia and we are honoured to have the founder of the programme, Juan Nieto to join us and conduct the course. This course is suitable for all running enthusiasts or those who want to develop their running coaching skills. In the course, you will learn how to assess running style through movement screening and video analysis, as well as exercises to prescribe and condition yourself or other runners.

Date: 26-28 May 2017
Location: Raffles Place, 22 Malacca St, RB Capital Building, #08-00 Singapore 048980
For more information, please email and we hope to see you there.

Focus Pilates will soon be introducing Running Analysis to clients, so stay tuned!


-Daniel Dittmar, Head Instructor




March 31st, 2017

  apr nutrition









We all know that green juice and smoothie is good for you. But a healthy smoothie doesn’t always have to be green. This April, we are happy to share with you a brightly coloured fruit smoothie recipe that will leave you feeling refreshed and energised!

Consists of banana, strawberry and beetroot, this perfect trio combination are packed with nutrients including powerful antioxidants, fibre, vitamin C and potassium that are vital for a healthy diet.

Enjoy this cup of refreshing smoothie in the morning to feel good all day long.


  • 1/2 cup cooked beets
  • 1/2 sliced of banana
  • 1/2 cup strawberries (about 4 pieces) roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup of plain or flavoured Greek yogurt
  • 1-2 teaspoons honey (optional)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3-4 ice cubes


  1. In a blender, place all ingredients and blend for at least a minute or until smooth.


Recipe and image courtesy of


How do I know when to change classes?

February 27th, 2017

Trial Hundreds low










So you have been coming to classes for some time, reaping the benefits of Pilates but you noticed a variety of classes on the schedule (Back Care, Multi-level, Beginner Strength and Conditioning etc.). How do you know which are the classes right for you? When is it appropriate for you to try different classes?

The more challenging classes such as the Multi-Level, Intermediate, and Strength and Conditioning classes are conducted at a faster pace with more challenging exercises. In order to ensure that you progress to the advanced classes in a safe manner, it is essential for you to be familiar with the beginner level exercise and Pilates principles.

So how do you know what classes are appropriate for you?
Everyone progresses through their Pilates practice at a different pace, some people are more consistent and some may have an injury that may be more of an issue. We recommend you to check with your instructor prior to the class to keep an eye on your technique during the class and advise you after on whether you are able to progress to an advanced class. Another thing you may consider is whether you find that the class you attend still provides you with the benefit and physical challenge. If it does, chances are you probably should stay at the same level of class for the time being.

Apart from the tips mentioned, there are however some basic rules to follow:

  • Fundamentals

Prior to joining a Beginner class, it is compulsory to complete three Fundamental classes.

  • Multi-level / Beginner Strength and Conditioning (S&C)

You should have attended at least 10 Beginner Reformer classes. As the class is conducted at a faster pace with slightly more challenging exercises, it is recommended to have a good understanding of the fundamentals of Pilates.

  • Intermediate classes

Our team of experienced and professional instructors will be able to give you advice on the appropriate level you should be doing. If you are not ready for the next level, this could mean that you need to work on your technique. Perfecting your technique will make you feel the exercise in the right place and prevent yourself from getting injuries.


Other things to note on our specialty classes:

  • Prenatal classes

With changes to your body, certain movements must be modified for the benefit to you and your baby. If you are in your first trimester, you must get a written approval from your doctor prior to joining our Pilates classes. Always inform your instructor that you are pregnant and don’t assume you can go to your regular class, just because you feel fine.

  • Postnatal classes

Your body needs time to recover after giving birth to your little one. If you are looking to do Pilates, we recommend you to start classes 6 weeks after a natural birth and 12 weeks after a C-section. Most importantly, make sure you have received an ‘all clear’ sign from your gynaecologist! For those who are looking for a comprehensive postnatal programme, we also have a Postnatal package designed specially to help new mums ease back into Pilates.

  • Express classes

These classes are 45 minutes long and conducted at a faster pace than our usual full hour classes. As such, we emphasise on class punctuality. Don’t forget for each Express Class that you attend, $10 will be credited back to your account for your next package purchase.

One great thing about our regular class packages is that they can be used for any classes, so you may get to attend your favourite class. We hope this guide will help you to pick out the right class and get the most of your workout!

Click here to visit our website and learn more about the different classes we offer!


– Daniel Dittmar, Director and Head Instructor




Energy Booster Bar

January 26th, 2017











If you are looking for something healthy to eat between meals, try this easy homemade Granola bar recipe, which is tasty and filling, perfect for a quick snack!

The main ingredients in the Granola, oats and nuts contain healthy fats and extra fibre that aid in improving digestion, reducing cholesterol and are great in giving your energy level a boost!

This nutritious snack packed full of goodness is beneficial to your health and helps keep you from reaching out to sugary snacks. You may even bring the Granola bar along with you on your next workout!



  • 2 ripe bananas
  • ½ cup almond butter
  • ¼ cup chia seeds
  • ½ cup roughly chopped nuts (almonds, walnuts & macadamias)
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • ¼ cup dried cranberries, raisins or goji berries
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ cup unsweetened grated coconut



  • Preheat oven to 180 degree Celsius. Line the flat baking tray with baking paper and lightly grease with healthy oil.
  • Mash the banana in a bowl and stir in the almond butter and mix well.
  • Add rolled oats, chopped nuts, chia seeds, dried fruits, cinnamon & grated coconut and stir until everything is well combined.
  • Spread the batter evenly on to the prepared baking tray. Bake for 20-25 minutes and cook until top is lightly browned.
  • Set aside to cool before cutting and store in tight container.


Recipe and image courtesy of


Move With Oov

January 24th, 2017


Have you heard of the Oov? It is a device made from highly durable foam, specifically designed to complement the spine’s natural curve. A new and increasingly popular way to train and build your core strength.

Watch our short video from Director, Daniel and Instructor Georgie on how to challenge your core and stability using this new equipment!