Pilates for Women

April 25th, 2017

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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

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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
Website: https://runity.run/public/
For more information, please email courses@focuspilates.com.sg and we hope to see you there.

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

 

-Daniel Dittmar, Head Instructor

 

 

DETOXING STRAWBERRY BANANA AND BEET

March 31st, 2017

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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.

Ingredients:

  • 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

Directions:

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

 

Recipe and image courtesy of homemadenutrition.com.

 

How do I know when to change classes?

February 27th, 2017

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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

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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!

 

Ingredients:

  • 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

 

Preparations:

  • 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 movenourishbelieve.com

 

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!

 

 

Say Goodbye to Postural Pain and Stiffness

December 29th, 2016

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If you are spending hours at the desk, it is important to maintain a good posture and do some simple stretches at regular intervals while in the office to avoid various muscle pains!

This January, we’ve rounded up our picks for the top three ergonomics blog articles written by our fabulous team of physiotherapists to give you an idea of what ergonomics is about and some useful tips to set up your workstation properly for the New Year!

  1. http://blog.focuspilates.com.sg/2012/12/ergonomics-for-office-workers-how-to-set-up-your-workstation/
  1. http://blog.focuspilates.com.sg/2015/08/posture-perfect-improving-your-office-posture/
  1. http://blog.focuspilates.com.sg/2014/03/ergonomics-in-the-workplace/

How to Un-lazify your Bum

November 29th, 2016

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If you have a job that requires sitting for at least four hours a day, you probably have a lazy bum. Even if you exercise a lot, sitting down for long periods of time everyday, reduces your brain’s subconscious ability to activate your glutes.

You might think, so what if I have a lazy bum?! Well the glutes are the biggest muscle in your body and one of the main stabilising muscles of your pelvis, which joins your legs to your torso to make the body a whole unit. Lazy glutes result in poor pelvic stability, and poor upright alignment, which can lead to all sorts of biomechanical problems.

If you think about your body as a factory production line, and each group of muscles (i.e. calves, quads, hamstrings) is one engine or machine on that line. Your gluteal muscles are the biggest machines and they are right in the middle of the production line. If the biggest machine is not pulling its weight, the rest of the machines have to work harder and they end up breaking down. (i.e. knee pain, back pain, tight hamstrings etc.)

Glute Activation

Glute activation is about waking up the connection from your brain to the muscle, so that and the muscles are fired up and ready to do some work.

We can increase the amount of work done by our glutes by activating them with some exercises before your workout.

Here are three simple exercises to wake up those glutes!

  1. Pelvic clock

This is a prep before your glute activation exercises to improve body and joint awareness and relax the hip flexors and other potentially tight muscles around the hips.

  1. Glute bridge
  • Bend your knees and put your feet flat on the ground. Your feet should be about sit-bone width apart.
  • Bend your elbows to 90 degrees so that only your upper arm is on the ground.
  • Press into your heels, tilt the pelvis back and peel the spine off bone by bone until you come up to the widest part of the shoulders. Keep tilting the pelvis back so you don’t extend your lower back
  • Make sure your legs are parallel and your knees don’t drop in or flare out to the side.
  • Squeeze your glutes for 3 seconds at the top and then roll the spine down again slowly with control.
  • You should feel this move in your glutes and hamstrings and not in your low back.
  1. Modified Clamshell
  • Lie on your side with your head resting comfortably.
  • Your bottom leg should be straight, with your top hip bent up to ninety degrees so your top foot rests behind your bottom knee. Your hips should be forward, and should remain in this forward position throughout the entire movement to come.
  • Squeeze your glutes and lift your knee off the ground, keeping your top foot rested on your bottom knee (make sure your top hip doesn’t roll back because it most certainly will try to do so).
  • You should feel this exercise approximately where your jeans pocket would be.

 

So start activating your glutes today!

 

– Wong Zi En, Instructor

 

Pomegranate Festive Sparkler

November 29th, 2016

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Festive season calls for a celebration! For those who are health conscious, toast to the holidays with this Pomegranate festive sparkler that is tasty and nutritious – perfect for parties!

This recipe here uses pomegranate seeds and fresh raspberries containing antioxidants and vitamins, which is not only refreshing but also gives you an extra health boost.

In a glass add the pomegranate and raspberries. Squeeze the lime juice over and pour in the sparkling water. Top with ice cubes and a sprig of mint. Serve and enjoy!

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon pomegranate seeds
  • ½ lime juice
  • ¼ cup raspberries, smashed
  • A Sprig of mint
  • 2 cups of mineral water or sparkling water
  • Ice cubes

 

Recipe and image courtesy of movenourishbelieve.com.

 

Another Rewarding Weekend in Peru

November 1st, 2016

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As you all know, our Director has been continuing his charity work with the Peruvian children’s charity, Intiwawa. Daniel has shared with us some insights of what he has most recently been working on, read his short yet inspiring story here!

I just got back from a very long but rewarding day travelling to a local town to help some elderly with food donations and improvements to their houses.

Each Sunday, a group of volunteers from Intiwawa in Ariquepa, Peru, travel three hours to the village of Coporaque, to help the children in the community, but also some of the elderly residents of the village known in Spanish as “abuelitos”. These abuelitos often have no family support as their children have either travelled to the larger cities for work or are unable to help them due to social or economic problems. To add to their existing problems, a large earthquake hit in August this year, causing severe damage to their stone and mud-brick houses.

So today we travelled to Coporaque, rising at 4am, to purchase some basic food supplies for five abuelitos and delivered it to them. It was an eye opening experience as their living conditions were quite harsh with some sleeping on the dirt floor and some sleeping in tents waiting for the pre-fabricated replacement “houses” to be completed. As they are elderly, some suffer health conditions such as severe arthritis, making it impossible for them to walk down the rocky hill to the village plaza. The local coordinator reminded me that the visits were more than just helping them with food and repairing and cleaning their houses; it is also about the social support and giving them someone to talk to, and that they very much look forward to the weekly visits.

While we were delivering the food we also built a chicken coop and purchased live chickens, so that they can have a sustainable source of fresh eggs. We also wind-proofed one of the small stone houses from the bitterly cold evening winds.

Overall, the day was not only fruitful, it was an insightful experience into how some communities live. 

If you would like to help Intiwawa continue to support the children and elderly in poorer parts of Peru, please feel free to click here to donate.

 

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– Daniel Dittmar, Director and Head Instructor.