Four Graces Pilates Studio

Sarah's Blog

Sarah Malloy

Come here to find inspiration for healthy living, in and outside of the studio! 

Tomato Basil Soup

Please join Four Graces at lululemon athletica Classen Curve Saturdays this month for FREE community mat classes.  9 am, we'll see you there!

via cookingclassy.com

Ingredients

  • 2 1/4 lbs Roma tomatoes, halved lengthwise
  • 1 1/4 lbs Cherry tomatoes
  • 4 1/2 Tbsp olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 cloves garlic, peeled and left whole
  • 2 small yellow onions, sliced just under 1/2-inch thick
  • 2 cups (32g) lightly packed fresh basil leaves
  • 4 - 5 cups vegetable broth
  • Grilled cheese croutons (optional), see notes

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place tomatoes on a rimmed baking sheet and toss with 3 Tbsp olive oil then season with salt and pepper (place Roma halves cut side upright). Place onion slices and garlic on a rimmed half sheet and toss brush with remaining 1 1/2 Tbsp olive oil on all sides, sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place baking sheet with tomatoes and half sheet with onions in oven side by side and roast onions 30 - 35 minutes until edges are golden, and tomatoes 40 - 45 minutes until golden. Peel away any burnt papery layers of onions if there are any. Pull peels from tomatoes (I didn't do this with mine but later wished I would have so I'd recommend it so the soup isn't loaded with peels. If you want some peel then I'd peel at least half). Pour onions and tomatoes into a large pot. Add 4 cups vegetable broth and the basil. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes, adding an additional 1 cup vegetable broth to thin as desired. Blend soup with an immersion blender or in small batches in a blender (only fill blender half full). Serve warm topped with grilled cheese croutons if desired.

Start with Pilates!

PILATES DAY 2015

 Pilates Day is May 2nd and we are so happy to share our LOVE of all things Pilates with you and your friends!  Join us for a FREE 90 minute Pilates extravaganza!!!

Wunda Chair!

Joseph Pilates originally created the Wunda Chair to give NYC residents (where he also lived) a small and versatile apparatus for home use.  He imagined people in their small apartments reading books while sitting on their chairs, then hours later being able to remove cushions and get an incredible work out.  Pretty cool!  Those of you who have been on the chairs at our studio (we have the Combo Chairs, an updated version of the original Wunda Chair) know that this athletic piece of equipment can give you one of the toughest workouts imaginable.  We hope you'll join us at our next Combo Class!  And click here https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=SAxnC3ek1WY to view Joseph and his wife Clara demonstrating the Wunda Chair in 1936 - so cool.

 

 

 

 

Lemon Orzo Salad with Asparagus

After a bit of a hiatus here on the blog, I'm back!!!  And getting things back up and running with a delish recipe!

Ingredients:

1 cup orzo
Salt-about 1/2 tsp. for boiling water

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 teaspoon olive oil
8 asparagus spears, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 cup packed fresh spinach
Juice of 1 large lemon
1/3 cup feta cheese
Salt and pepper, to taste

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Directions:

1. In a medium sauce pan, bring 4 cups of water to boil. Add the salt. Stir in orzo. Cook until tender, about 10 minutes. Drain orzo and set aside.

2. In a small sauce pan, saute garlic in olive oil. Add in asparagus pieces. Saute for 3-4 minutes. Stir in spinach. Cook until asparagus is tender and the spinach shrinks down.

3. Put the orzo in a medium bowl and add in the vegetables. Squeeze fresh lemon juice over the orzo and vegetables. Stir. Season with salt and pepper. Taste-add more lemon juice if you wish. The lemon I used was huge, so I only needed to use one lemon. If you need more juice, go ahead.

4. Sprinkle feta cheese over the top of the salad. Serve warm. (I also liked the salad cold.)

 

ENJOY!

Happy New Year!

Comforting Winter Squash and Bean Soup - YUM!

 
 
4 large carrots
4 stalks celery, plus leaves
2 handfuls fingerling potatoes
1 large squash, peeled and cleaned (or 20 ounces cubed butternut squash)
3 plum tomatoes (optional)
1 large bunch kale 
1 small wedge aged Parmigiano Reggiano
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Several sprigs of fresh thyme
6 to 8 cups water, plus as needed
Pinch red pepper flakes
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
1 15-oz can of your favorite beans, rinsed and drained

 
Directions:
 
1. Slice the carrots and celery plus the celery leaves. Quarter the potatoes and cut the squash into chunks. Quarter the tomatoes. Remove the ribs from the kale and chop into bite-sized pieces. Set all the vegetables aside. Trim the parmesan away from the rind (or use a rind saved from a previous wedge) and set the rest aside. 

 
2. Heat the olive oil in a large soup pot over medium high heat. Add the carrots, celery and celery leaves and stir to coat. Cook until lightly browned, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the potatoes, squash, tomatoes, water, thyme and parmesan rind and bring to a simmer. Add a generous pinch of red pepper flakes and season with salt and pepper. Cook until the vegetables are tender, the squash is beginning to break down, and the soup is full of flavor, about 45 minutes to 1 hour.

 
3. Stir in the beans and cook to warm through, 2 minutes. Remove the lid and add the kale. Stir to cook (uncovered) until bright green and tender, 3 minutes more. Ladle into bowls and grate parmesan cheese generously over the top. Serve warm with buttered bread. 

 

 

ENJOY! 

Great Gifts!

All packages are 25% off right now!  Come to the studio to get yours!!! And don't forget to shop our boutique this holiday season to find unique workout gear for someone you love (or yourself!).  We also have gift cards.  Shop at Four Graces this Christmas!

 

 

 

Happy Monday

YUM!

 

Need some Thanksgiving side dish inspiration? 
Try this delicious and HEALTHY recipe.

 

 

Sweet Potato, Kale and Quinoa Fritters

1 Large sweet potato steamed and pureed (makes about 3 cups)
2 cups cooked Quinoa (approximately ½ cup of uncooked quinoa yields 2 cups when cooked)
2 cups kale finely chopped. ( I used flat kale, any kind will work)
2 eggs (vegan: substitute 2 tablespoons ground flax seed + 4 tablespoons of water)
½ cup panko or any kind of plain bread crumbs.
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon grated ginger
1 good pinch paprika or smoked paprika
1 teaspoon fresh ground pepper

1 teaspoon kosher salt

4-6 tablespoons grape seed oil, peanut oil, or coconut oil  to pan fry.


 

 

 

     Directions:

  • Chop Kale finely.  
  • Combine all ingredients in medium sized bowl and mix well.
  • In a medium size pan heat up about 4-6 tablespoons of grape seed oil, peanut oil or coconut oil. With a small Ice cream scooper scoop about 6 patties into the pan and slightly flatten the tops.
    Cook for about 3-4 minutes on each side or until golden brown.
  • Cool on rack. 

for the dipping sauce:

¼ cup Greek yogurt
1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
pinch of salt

pinch of pepper

In a small cup mix all ingredients and chill.

Add hot sauce of your preference. I highly recommend Sriracha Sauce.

Stay BOLD In The COLD With These Awesome Pilates Exercises

Baby, it's C O L D outside!  But these Pilates exercises are sure to warm you right up all winter long.  And did we mention this winter is supposed to be a long one?  We'd better get started!

 

100s

Blast winter belly fat by doing a set of hundreds each day.

Lay on your back, legs extended to the ceiling.  Reach your arms long by your sides, lift your head and shoulders away from floor.  Begin pumping your arms. 

Inhale 5 quick pumps, exhaled 5 quick pumps.  Make your way to one hundred!

 

Plank

Yes, it's all of our favorite, right?!  This is a tough exercise, but you'll reap the rewards when you plank each day!

Place hands or fists under shoulders, extend your legs out long and hold the position.  Work your way up to one minute planks!

 

BRIDGE

Bridging is a crazy-effective way to develop lifted glutes and toned hamstrings.  Just bridge.  You won't regret it!

Lay on your back with arms long to your sides, knees bent and feet flat, heels under knees. 

Roll your spine slowly off the floor, beginning with your tailbone and working your way up to you shoulders.

Pulse your seat 10 times at the top before rolling down or try single leg bridges to challenge yourself further.

Boo! A Scary Good Deal!

 

 

 

Happy Halloween!!!

 

We thought we'd do a little Trick-or-Treating and offer you all an awesome fall deal, good now through Halloween!

TREAT yourself to 15% off all packages

TRICK? You must purchase at the studio. 

Grab some for you, and some as Christmas gifts!  This deal is too good to pass up!

Want to become an Xtend Barre instructor?

Four Graces is looking for new instructors to join our Xtend Barre team!

We are searching for energetic, motivated individuals with a desire to learn more about movement and challenge others.  Four Graces will be hosting an Xtend Barre teacher training sometime this winter/spring and we need a couple more individuals to sign up!  Hosting our own training means you'll be in familiar territory when it comes to attending the training.  It also means that we will be flying in a master instructor who will guide you through all you need to know to become an AWESOME teacher. 

If you are considering this path, please call Sarah at the studio (608-4446) or talk with an instructor with any questions.  Also, look at xtendbarreworkout.com for more info!  We look forward to hearing from you!!!

 

 

Fall is here!!!

Happy Monday everyone!  This morning is crisp and cool and it's officially the FIRST DAY OF FALL! I love this season...the weather, the changing leaves, football, pumpkins...I could go on.  I thought I'd offer up a yummy and HEALTHY fall recipe to inspire you today.  See you at class tonight!


 

 

Simple Supper Recipe

Stuffed Sweet Potatoes with Beans and Greens

Serves 4

4 sweet potatoes
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 shallot, diced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 (4-inch) sprig fresh rosemary
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 1/2 cups (or 1 can) cooked and drained white beans
6 cups kale, trimmed and sliced into ribbons
Juice of 1/4 lemon
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Scrub the sweet potatoes and prick them in a few places with a fork. Place them on a baking sheet and bake until soft all the way through, about 45 minutes to 1 hour.

Start the beans and greens about 15 to 20 minutes before the sweet potatoes are done.

In a wide, deep saucepan with a cover, heat the olive oil over low-moderate heat. Add the shallots and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, rosemary sprig, and red pepper flakes and cook, stirring, for about a minute. Add the beans and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the kale, cover the pan, and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes or until the kale is soft. Remove the rosemary sprig, stir in the lemon juice, and season to taste with salt and pepper.

We love to TEASE!

Did you catch this pic in our latest newsletter?  We love it!  It's amazing how Joe Pilates' exercises are still as effective today as they were 60 years ago.  Join us this week for some fresh inspiration and a good "burn" as we focus on The Teaser!

Monday Motivation

Xtend Barre classes are at 4 & 5:30 tonight. 

Reformer class is at 5:30. 

Join us and start your week off right!

 

Labor Day SALE

All packages 20% off through Labor Day!  

Pick one up the next time you're at the studio...you don't want to miss out on this AWESOME DEAL!  And don't forget to tell your friends.  See ya at the studio : )

Inspired Movement

Joseph Pilates was a beautiful mover!  Here are some still shots of him performing and perfecting the Pilates method we still practice today.

AT HOME - Toe Taps on the Foam Roller

Hey ya'll.  We're coming at you today with an awesome foam roller exercise for out "At Home" series.  This month, our studio focus will be on the foam roller and all of the challenging exercises as well as release work that you can do on it.  The foam roller is an INCREDIBLE prop that is easy to store in a closet or under a bed.  Foam rollers improve balance, are wonderful for your powerhouse, and are excellent stress melters (most people like them best for this final trait!).  But, if you don't have a foam roller, you can certainly do this exercise directly on you floor mat.  Have fun!

*Sit on the front end of the roller and slowly roll down.  You spine should be centered along the length of the roller.

*Begin to gently sway side to side a few times, before coming back to stillness and finding your center.  Establish a neutral spine/pelvis.

*Lift one knee at a time to table top, legs hip distance apart.

*Keeping knees bent, inhale as you begin to arc you right knee out and away from you.  Go as far as you can without OVER arching your back.  Exhale that leg back to tt.  Alternate sides.  Move SLOWLY. 

*Advance this by squeezing your legs together and moving both legs away as described earlier.

*Modify by keeping your lower back pressed down into the roller.

 

 

Summer Workouts

Hey everybody!  Sorry, we've been M.I.A. over here on the blog for a bit...but we're back!  Summer has been busy.  I think almost every single instructor has been able to take some much deserved and well needed time of to vacation, relax, attend some weddings, etc. and things are finally starting to slow down (a bit!).  But, the studio has been HOPPING all summer.  You all have committed yourselves to sticking with your Pilates, Xtend Barre, RIPPED and TRX classes throughout the summer and we are always happy and grateful to have you and help you reach your fitness goals.  See ya at the studio!

 

 

 

Tips for staying hydrated this summer

 

 

We've all heard it a million times...drink lots of water!  We know that water is great for flushing out unwanted toxins from the body, but a tall drink of water can do so much more for your overall well-being!  And, there's no better time to discuss this than now.  Oklahoma summers are notoriously HOT (you hadn't noticed?? :) ) and dry.  So, make sure during and after an awesome Four Graces workout, treat yourself to water...and lots of it!  Here are a few tips to keep you hydrated this summer.

1. Tired of the same old?  Grab some fresh fruit (lemon, watermelon, strawberry, you choose!) and infuse your water with some sweet and delicious flavor.

2.  Try to sip 10 ounces of water for every 20 minutes of exercise or outdoor activity to fight of the dreaded DEhydration.

3.  Dizziness, dry mouth and even mild thirst can be signs of dehydration.  So, drink even when you feel only mildly thirsty. 

Stay hydrated and enjoy the upcoming week of 4th of July Festivities!

Need some motivation?

 

Join us.  Let us be your motivators.  We'll be here as you embark on your fitness journey and NOW is the time to start!  Call the studio today. 

At Home - Star

Hi everyone!  Happy summer!!!  We are diving right back into our "At Home" series.  Remember, scroll down to get more great ideas for keeping yourself toned at home or as you travel this summer.  If you ever have any questions about form our well qualified instructors would be happy to help! 

Today, we will be focusing on a side plank.  In Pilates, this exercise is known as the "Star," and believe me, after doing a few of these you will feel like a SUPERstar!  This exercise is challenging and effective at blasting waist fat.  Let's get to it.

 

STAR

Begin seated on you right hip, knees bent and stacked in front of you.

Place your right hand on the floor beneath your shoulder, press hips off mat.

To advance, straighten your legs out one at a time, stacking your left foot over your right.

Extend your left arm to the ceiling.

Hold for 10 seconds as you breathe.

*Keep your hips lifted, engaging obliques.

*Keep shoulders rolled down away from ears.

**Try pulsing your hips to the ceiling for an extra blast!

 

Have fun!

 

Happy Memorial Day

We want to take a moment and extend our appreciation for all of our service members.  We are so grateful for all of the sacrifices you have made and continue to make in the name of our freedom.  Thank you! 

Happy Mother's Day!

We love and appreciate all of the Moms in our lives who nurture, inspire and motivate us to be our best selves.  We hope you take a moment to reflect on how amazing the women in your lives truly are, and while you're at it, appreciate yourself!  Exercise is one of the BEST ways to keep yourself happy and healthy.  We're glad you choose to work out with the women of Four Graces.

Pilates Day!

 

Each year, the Pilates Method Alliance designates the first Saturday of May as Pilates Day, a day when we all take a moment to appreciate Joe and our love of Pilates.  And this year we are thrilled to be hosting OKCs Pilates Day celebration with a 90 minute super charged class featuring Pilates Reformer, Chair, Spine Corrector, and Xtend Barre from 9-10:30 followed by a visit from OKCs premier juice truck, Super Juice OKC, from 10-12:30!  Sign up for class or pop in to grab a juice and learn more about Pilates.  We'll see you there!

At Home - Side Kick Series

Hey everybody!  So, how have your rear ends been feeling this month?  Have you felt the work in your Pilates, Xtend Barre, RIPPED and TRX classes?  We're excited to bring you another exercise on our "At Home" series.  The Side Kick series is pure Pilates and a wonderful way to burn you glutes and outer hips. 

 

Side Kick Series

Lay on one side, hips stacked, legs reaching long.

Keeping you pelvis still, lift the top leg up to hip height (or higher if your hips can stay still) and resist it down 10x.

Hold leg up and make small circles 10x, reverse direction 10x.

Bring both legs to first position and reach top leg up to ceiling (keeping turnout) 10x.

Switch sides.

*Pull abs in and up throughout.

*Keep your pelvis still, don't make movement so big that the pelvis has to shift around.

*Movement originate from your hip (femur head). Leg is reaching long, pointed toes.

Have fun!!! 

At Home - Kneeling Leg Extensions

This exercise is simple enough and oh-so-effective when done regularly.  Let's get to it!

 Kneeling Leg Extensions

 

 

Come to an all 4s position (quadruped), shoulders over wrists and knees under hip bones.

Pull abs up and in, shift your weight to your right knee and reach your left leg behind you with toes touching the floor.

Lift leg up to your fullest potential while keeping your hips level to the floor. Perform 10 reps and switch sides.

*Try adding pulses and circles, or add a ball behind your knee. 

*Try reaching your opposite arm out in front of you to challenge your core even more.

An Awesome Rear View

It's warming up outside!  Yippee!  Sunshine, outdoor activities...shorts...swimsuits...are you ready?  I think we can all confess that having a great rear end is almost always a primary fitness goal.  Women in particular are prone to gaining weight in the hips and back side.  So, I thought we'd focus on developing a great butt - and by that I mean the gluteus minimus, medius, and maximus as well as your hamstrings and deep hip rotators.  When these muscles are worked simultaneously and regularly, you'll begin to see a more lifted, lean, and toned rear view! 

We will be focusing on giving your booty a lift in class during the month of April and we'll be giving you "At Home" exercises here all month long!

At Home - Swan


Back extension is such an important part of your overall balance and strength.  And in a well-rounded Pilates workout, it is vital to keep the spine flexible and strong by moving it in all ways.  Further, performing swan on the mat is a great way to open your chest and improve your posture. 

 

Swan

 

 

Lay on your stomach with your elbows bent next to your waist, chest on mat, and legs reaching long and in first position (V feet).

Inhale as you press into your palms and begin to lift your head, neck and shoulders away from the mat.

Press your hips into the mat and continue lifting your upper body and straightening your arms to your potential, pulling navel to spine throughout.

*Keep your neck long, thinking of not wrinkling the back of the neck. 

*Think of the extension coming from the upper-middle of your back (around the bra line).

 

 

 

 

What's the Transversus Abdominis?

The Transversus Abdominis muscles lay beneath your "six-pack" abs.  They are super important in all exercise modalities, but are especially vital in your workouts at Four Graces.  This layer of muscle, when worked effectively, pulls your stomach muscles in, giving you a smaller waistline and flatter stomach.  These muscles are activated by creating a "vacuum."  Try rolling into a C-curve, and "vacuuming" your navel to your spine (suck in) while breathing deeply for ten seconds.  Feel that?  Those are your transversus abdominis muscles saying, "hello!"  If you are not "pulling-in" these muscles then you are likely developing abs that push outwards.  So, pull that tummy in!  You know you've heard your instructor ask you to time and time again :).  So, if you really want to created a smaller waistline, work that T.A.! 

At Home - 100s

Hi everybody!  We had an awesome Xtend Barre continuing education weekend and we are thrilled to share all we learned with you!  It was so, so inspiring to learn new material and to be amongst peers with the same goal in mind - give our clients the results they are looking for while having a good time. Hopefully you've enjoyed your classes so far this week.

 Now, on to our "at home" series.  This week we are focusing on core strength with a true Pilates classic -the 100s! 

 

The 100s

Lay on your back, feet planted on the floor hip-distance apart

Lift the head, neck and shoulders and arms off the floor

Pump arms up and down as you inhale/exhale.

Pull navel to spine throughout.

Pump arms a total of 100 times and lay your head down.

*Advance with your legs in table top or extended to the ceiling (you can lower/lift for even more challenge).

**Place hands behind head for neck issues.

***Remember, we are working up to a full "at home" mat workout.  Look at past blog posts to layer in other exercises.  Have fun!!!

Continuing Education:Xtend Barre

This weekend, your loyal instructors are excited to welcome Christine Nowicki back to the studio for our Xtend Barre continuing education weekend!  Christine trained us last year (when we brought you Xtend Barre Stick!) and this year we're getting lots of new choreography, new use of props (like the balls and bands) and some great new cardio work.  To maintain our certifications to teach we are required to complete a certain amount of new education each year, and we always finish up feeling fresh, inspired, and very, very SORE!  Let's just say we get a really good workout over the course of two days and multiple classes!  So, Xtend Barre classes will pick back up Monday and you can look forward to lots of new challenges!  We'll miss ya!! XO

 

At Home - The Plank

Let's continue our "At Home" series with...Planking! Planking is an intimidating exercise for many clients because of it's difficulty. It's hard. You know this. But, it's also one of the most efficient exercises to get the heart rate pumping and to get a FULL BODY WORKOUT. Shoulders, legs, ABDOMINALS, and back muscles must work together synergetically in this powerful exercise.

 

THE PLANK

Come into an all 4s position on your hands and knees. Wrists should be directly beneath shoulders.

Flex ankles and reach one leg out at a time, coming into a long diagonal from the crown of your head to your heels.

Keep abdominals lifted and ribcage pulled in, do not let low back sag towards the floor.

Hold this position for 30 seconds.

Variations: Add more time. Lift one leg up above hips for half the time, then switch.

Try lowering one hip to the floor, then the other to activate obliques.

Modifications: Perform on forearms. Stay in all 4s and lift knees a few inches off the floor.

At Home - Bridging

We are starting an "At Home" series, where each week we will feature an exercise you can easily do in the comfort of your own home (or office, or with a friend...you get the drift).  As you've learned through your instructors at Four Graces, form is SO vital to each movement.  Correctly setting up and performing an exercise sets you up for SUCCESS in the exercise.  We are starting with the basics and we'll build up progressively.  Here we go!

BRIDGING


Lay on your back.  Knees bent, feet flat on the floor and hip bone distance apart. 

Inhale.  As you exhale, flatten the small of your back into the floor then begin slowly pressing your back off of the floor, beginning with the tailbone. 

Breathe in at the top of your bridge, then roll down slowly.

Perform 10xs.

Helpful Hints:  Think of your spine as a "string of pearls" and lift one single bead off the floor at a time.  Once lifted, you'll feel that you're "standing" on your shoulder blades.  Think of lengthening from you neck to your seat.  Check to make sure your stomach isn't flaring out above your hips and constantly suck your stomach in.  *Pulse your hips to the ceiling to add some burn.  Try on your tip toes or single leg as pictured above!

Regardless of which classes you take at Four Graces, chances are you've done a bridge or two!  Bridging is awesome for working your glutes, hamstrings, core, and for creating a more flexible spine.  Have fun perfecting your bridge!

Juicing!

Have you all gotten on the juicing band-wagon yet?  It's still January, still time to set goals for the new year, and starting out clean would feel oh so good!  Plus, there are lots of benefits besides just "starting fresh."  By cleaning your body of toxins, and replacing those toxins with nourishing fruits and vegetables, you'll have more energy and your well-being will improve as a result.  Here are a few combinations that I am hoping to give a whirl!

Joe's Words

"Physical fitness is the first requisite of happiness. Our interpretation of physical fitness is the attainment and maintenance of a uniformly developed body with a sound mind fully capable of naturally, easily, and satisfactorily performing our many and varied daily tasks with spontaneous zest and pleasure." -Joseph Pilates

Joseph Pilates performing "Star" on the Reformer.  Beautiful.

 

 

It's the most wonderful time of the year!

 

As the year comes to a close and you prepare to (maybe) make your New Year's Resolution, it got me to thinking about those resolutions that we all make...then fail to keep.  So, how can we make these resolutions and actually follow through with them?  This can be a tough task.  Often, it takes a few steps to really follow through! 

 

Here are a few ideas that may help you on your 2014 journey!

 

1.  Choose wisely.  If you want to eat better, don't resolve to cut out all sugar forever.  Instead, commit to  slowing down to 2-3 desserts per week.

2.  Share your resolution with your closest friend.  This can help to hold you accountable! 

3.  Have this friend check up on you!  Weekly, give your friend an update and be honest.

4.  Don't give yourself excuses!  You chose your resolution for a reason, you know you need to make this positive change, don't allow excuses to get in your way.

5.  Love yourself!  If you fall of the wagon, love yourself enough to get back on!  You're worth it :)

 

 

 

 

 

Instructor/Client Relationship

The open letter below can be found at Pilates-pro.com.  While I may not agree with every single thing the author, Dana Auriemma, says, I think it is an awesome way to create an open forum of communication amongst instructors and clients.  Many times, we see you all for a quick hour, then you are out the door and on to the next part of your busy day.  Always know that we are here for you to help you meet your goals - your success is our goal! 

"In my years of experience as an instructor, Pilates studio owner, and fitness studio consultant, I have seen and heard it all when it comes to students. And I know my fellow fitness professionals have too! We are blessed to work with dozens if not hundreds of students from all walks of life who come to us with inspiring energy and dedication. Yet I see many of them are still a little misguided about a few things when it comes to fitness. So here is what I think we could say to help:

Dear Students,

Thank you for working hard to make fitness a part of your life. Really… truly…you are awesome. As fitness professionals, we are honored that you choose to work with us, trust our expertise and support our businesses. We love our profession and are passionate about helping you live a fit and healthy life. It’s because of this that we want to make sure you fully enjoy and benefit from your exercise program(s). In working with hundreds of different students, we see things time and time again that hold students back, negatively affect their workout experience or the experience of those around them. So we, your instructors, have some important advice that we want to lovingly share with you.

1. Don’t judge an entire exercise program by a studio, class or instructor.

Every fitness instructor has heard this: a student had a disappointing experience with a certain form of exercise, believes that experience is indicative of the entire program and has therefore decided they don’t like that program. Ahhhhh no! For reasons both good and bad, studios and instructors are as unique as snowflakes. They have different levels of education, different teaching styles and approaches. One studio, class or instructor can almost never completely represent a given exercise program. So please, try at least a few different instructors, classes and/or studios before you decide against an exercise program. You may find that the right instructor can be a good fit and make you a convert.

2. Look for a workout and an education.

This is an important balance to find. We know most students want to feel-the-burn and target their least-loved body parts, but please don’t just look for a workout that makes you feel sore. A good exercise program will have a well-rounded and educational approach to fitness, challenge your body and teach you good movement. Great instructors know anatomy, kinesiology and can tell by looking at you if you are initiating a movement from the wrong muscle. This is important to developed a balanced physique and avoid injury. So research your instructor or trainer’s background and education. Set your standards high and only train with true professionals.

3. Go private once in a while.

Many fitness programs offer both group workouts and private ones. Understandably, students often back away from private training options because the price tag is intimidating. I know…we all have budgets to be mindful of. But know this: for many exercise programs and with the right instructor, you will progress much faster when you work one-on-one than you will in a group class. Just think about the difference between getting 1/10th of your instructor’s attention in a group mat class versus their undivided attention in a private training session. In a private session, instructors hardly let you do a single repetition wrong. Plus they help you tackle personal challenges and reset bad exercise habits in ways you can’t in class. Yes they cost more, but you get a lot more out of them. So if your budget can afford it, take private sessions at least once in a while.

4. We can’t make promises. You’re in control.

Students are with us on average 3 hours a week. That’s it. The other 165 hours you’re on your own. So please don’t ask us how soon until you see results. Bad infomercials and fad fitness programs got you thinking that we can promise lost inches, lost pounds or 6-pack abs in 4 weeks. We can’t…and no professional instructor will. We can give you great exercises that burn calories, strengthen, and tone, but what your body will look like or how much it will weigh comes down to the quantity and quality of your exercise plus what you eat. Fitness is a way of life so adjust your approach. Focus on exercising to feel good, get strong and make your body happy. Exercise in some way almost every day. Keep your eating clean and the rest will follow.

5. Check your attitude and clear your head.

We know in today’s overworked world, it’s challenging to carve out the time and money to exercise. So we cry a little inside when we see you walk into the studio in a bad mood or with a head full of distractions. We know it means you won’t enjoy or benefit as much from your workout as you could with a positive attitude and a clear head. True, the act of exercising can be cathartic and help improve your mood, but the quality of your workout will still suffer. You won’t be as open to our instructions or as observant about your body. You’ll be tense, breathing poorly and not moving or using your muscles as well as you could. So please, do whatever you can to walk into the studio in a positive, pleasant mood and ready to learn! On your way to class, listen to soothing music, avoid taking phone calls or talking about work. Take a moment outside the studio door for a personal pep talk or arrive early to breath, stretch and prepare for class. Your body will thank you!

6. Be a good neighbor.

Exercise is a community experience. Even in a private session. There are people around you (getting close to you) who are affected by your energy, your hygiene, your commentary and your movements. Make an effort to be pleasant to be around. Watch your clothing and your cleanliness. Watch the space around you and the volume of your voice if talking. Be friendly and courteous and help make the studio a great environment for us all!

7. Talk to us.

We are here for YOU! So talk to us and tell us what you need or like. Tell us if you loved class and why. Tell us if you want to do things differently, if you have issues or requests. Tell us if you don’t understand our instructions. Tell us ANYTHING that hurts or is injured. We need to know! If you’re unhappy with your class or the studio, please tell us and give us a chance to fix it. We hate losing clients and not knowing why. We can handle it. We understand you may prefer another instructor and that’s okay. Just talk to us. The more we know, the better we can be for you.

Thank you so much for being our students and keep up the great work!

Sincerely,

Your Fitness Instructors"

Awesome Deal!

So many of us are Xtend Barre enthusiasts and through November 30th we can all get a great deal on our Xtend classes!  Woohoo! Packages of 5, 10, and 20 are now up to 60% off!  And, it's that time of year to be thinking about gifts for friends - wouldn't it be awesome to get your gal pal an Xtend package so that she can join?  Grab your packages today!

                                                                                                    

Real People, Real Stories

Hi Everyone!  Here's a great article on (http://digitaljournal.com/article/36149), that, as Pilates enthusiasts, we all need to read!  It's a great reminder of how awesome Pilates really is and we know you all have your own stories about finding Pilates and Xtend Barre.  You have your own tales to tell about how they have changed your life making your stronger, happier, with more vitality and confidence.  And we would love to hear those stories!  Contact the studio (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) and let us know YOUR story.  I look forward to hearing from you!

 

Concentration

We have worked our way down to our final Pilates principle!  Yippe!  And, it's a good one :)

*CONCENTRATION*

If one brings full attention to the exercise and does it with full commitment, maximum value will be obtained from each movement.  Sometimes it is so hard to let the business of the day go and just become present with Pilates.  Especially this time of year!  Pilates can be such a wonderful calming, releasing, and strengthening presence in your life.  When we fully invest ourselves in each exercise during our hour of class, we will receive so much more in return, both physically AND mentally.  All of the principles (Breath, Precision, Centering, Control, Flow, and Concentration) play a vital role in making Pilates the unique method that we all love so much!

Joseph Pilates said it best: "The Pilates Method of Body Conditioning is gaining the mastery of your mind over the complete control over your body."

 

 

 

 

Roasted Fall Salad

Okay, so I do not have a picture of the final dish, but I promise you this delicious fall salad is enough to fill you up and leave you feeling satisfied and warm.  Feel free to play with proportions and ENJOY!

1 small butternut squash, peeled

2 apples, chopped

1/2 red onion, chopped

1 c. (generous) chopped brussels sprouts

2 T. olive oil salt and pepper

1/4 c. crumbled or diced feta cheese chopped parsley

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Put squash, apples, brussels sprouts and onion in a large bowl – toss with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Lay in an even layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Roast for 45-50 minutes, tossing every 15 minutes.

Remove vegetables and let cool for 5 minutes. Return veggies to bowl and toss with feta and chopped parsley. Serve immediately.

Plie for Pink!

Our Plie for Pink event is this Saturday and Sunday during our Xtend Barre classes!  We would so love to see you there!  All donations go directly to BrightPink.org and you will receive a cute tank top with your donation.  See ya this weekend :)

Flow

 

 

*FLOW*

In a great Pilates class, there is an effortless flow where transitions between exercises are seamless.  Flow, or the fluidity of motion, sets Pilates apart from other exercise modalities.  When your energy is focused fully on creating fluidity in each moment of each exercise you are better connected to your body and therefore will see better results.  The Pilates equipment should mirror this sense of flow, following your commands...we all know the sound of our carriage slamming into our bumper when our mind trails off to the grocery store during class, right?!  So, focus in on the flow of your Pilates practice and become more at one with that all important triad: Mind, Body, Spirit.  Have a great week everyone!

Have you tried quinoa yet?

Quinoa (keen-wah) is a nutrition-packed super-grain (well, seed actually) that is delicious! 1/3 cup of cooked quinoa has 160 calories, 2.5 grams of fat, 3 grams of fiber and 6 grams of protein!  Try out this delicious Quinoa Chili recipe on a crisp fall weekend!

Back to School, Back to Four Graces!

We know, you've had a busy summer and things are just starting to get back to normal in your world.  Right?  We hope with this return to normalcy you'll find your way into the studio for your favorite Barre/Pilates/TRX/Ripped classes!  Enjoy 20% off ALL PACKAGES through September 30th!  How awesome is that!?!  Check out our Specials page for all the details.  See ya soon!

Precision

You've probably heard the saying "quality over quantity" when it comes to things like your job, but have you ever added this idea to your workout? 

*PRECISION*

At Four Graces, we believe that performing one exercise with deliberate precision is far better than performing dozens of sloppy repetitions of that same exercise.  Exercising thoughtfully and with exactitude allows for full awareness and immersion into your workout.  There is an appropriate placement and focus on alignment in each and every exercise you perform in Pilates.  This will make your workout deeper and more focused.  Yippee!

Barre Classes are Sweeping the Nation

Oh, how I love Xtend Barre!  All around the country - and the world - barre classes are insanely popular.  But, Xtend Barre is at the top of the list.  Xtend Barre is the only PMA (Pilates Method Alliance) recognized program featuring Pilates Mat certified instructors who are required to take Continuing Education courses EVERY year.  So, what does this mean for you?  It means inspired instructors who take pride in providing you with fun and challenging classes with a focus on form.  Here's a great review on barre class!

"Ballet (Barre) inspired classes out there are all designed for one purpose: to help you achieve a slim, strong, sculpted dancer's body.  The celeb fan base is huge: Sofia Vergara, Drew Barrymore, Madonna, Anna Paquin, Kelly Ripa...just to name a few.  Expect a lot of reps of small, pulsing movements (we're talking lifting and lowering limbs a mere inch or two), targeting the muscles in your core and lower body (many classes also hit your top half), with big emphasis on form and alignment. They sometimes throw in a bevy of other props, too, like yoga straps, exercise balls and hand weights. In any case, you will hurt after the first few classes, but you'll also probably see some pretty major results in short order." - Huffington Post Review

Centering

We have been discussing the 6 Pilates Principles over the past few weeks.  These set Pilates apart from other exercise modalities.  Let's continue with centering!

*CENTERING*

Finding your center is a huge part of creating a holistic Pilates practice.  In all of your Pilates exercises (and yes this includes Xtend Barre and TRX, which we consider an extension of Pilates!), movement is initiated from your center.  You can think of it as working from the inside to the outside.  In class, you want to physically work from your center, your powerhouse, the area between your lowest ribs and your pubic bone, deep in the body.  Energetically, all Pilates movements are sourced from your center. 

Challenge yourself to really become present in your next class and you will feel the warmth from your center, thereby improving your workout!

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