Posts Tagged ‘exercise’:

I’m happy to announce that I’ve joined forces with Andrea Speir, a talented and seasoned Pilates instructor, to bring you The Pilates Fix.  We know Pilates can be expensive, so we wanted to make it accessible to everyone. The workouts will be available on our Youtube channel, either with Andrea or myself.

Every week we will bring you classical Pilates workouts with a modern twist. Together we have almost 20 years of teaching experience, have worked in top Los Angeles gyms, and hold 600-hour classical Pilates certifications.  We will give you well rounded workouts and exercise tips to help you feel good and look good.

If you enjoy the workouts, please forward them on to your friends. And let us know what you would like to see on The Pilates Fix in the future.  Enjoy!


Pensive reformer shot

Curious what I have to say with all things Pilates related including exercise ideas?  Then check out  Pilates Style.

On, a healthy travel website, you can check out my reviews for Los Angeles based classes and restaurant as well as wellness posts.

MindBodyGreen offers a diverse collection of articles on all things relating to living a healthier and happier life.

Remember to check back often as I contribute every few weeks.


Sitting cross legged

Do you have an answer for that often asked dinner party question, “if you could meet anyone dead or alive, who would it be?”  Over the years my answer has changed, with a few standby’s in my pocket; Audrey Hepburn because I admire her beauty and philanthropic work, and my Grandpa Lee, whom I never got to meet.  But today, if someone asked me that question my answer would have to be Joseph Pilates.  I’d like to thank him and ask him just a few of the million questions I have.  However I’ve heard he didn’t like to answer too many of them.

Lucky for me not all my questions have to go unanswered as there are a handful of people known today as the “elders”.  While many people studied with Joe and his wife Clara over the years, the elders are the ones who have continued to carry on Joe’s dream of integrating Pilates into people’s lives.  They all chose to pass along their knowledge and keep Pilates alive.  While  I never had the opportunity to talk with Joe or Clara, I feel fortunate to have found Pilates when I did as I’m not too far removed from the source.  Some of the elders have passed away, but some are still very much alive and here to learn from.

That is exactly what I did this past weekend at the Pilates conference I attended here in Los Angeles.  I finally got to meet Jay Grimes, one of the elder’s.  He lives in LA, but for one reason or another I had yet to meet him. It was a pretty exciting and informative weekend.  There’s something so magical about being in the presence of a person who was taught by and knew Joe.  I asked a few questions, got clarity on incorrect information I had heard over the years, and heard stories that were completely new to me.  I learned a lot, way too much to write in a blog.  I will however tell you the 5 things that stood out the most to me, that I didn’t know before:

1. In 1926 Joe picked the location for his gym, which was 5 blocks away from Madison Square Garden, because he wanted to be close to boxers.  I have always thought that one of the reason he picked that space was because George Balanchine of the New York City Ballet was in that building.  Balanchine didn’t even move to the U.S. until 1934, and NYCB was formed in 1948.

2. The double leg pull (also known as double leg stretch) is in every exercise you do in Pilates.  It incorporates a strong center and opposition (a two way stretch).  It seems pretty obvious now that it was pointed out to me, I just had never thought about it.

3. Jay Grimes never once heard an anatomy term come out of anyone’s mouth while he was at Joe and Clara’s studio.  Clara apparently would point to a person’s body part she wanted to be worked and said “this.”  When Jay told that story he said “this” with a German accent which sounded like “dis”.  I loved the description and reenactment.

4. You were responsible for knowing your own program, there was always supervising, just not hovering.  Again, I’m not surprised to hear this, just hadn’t before.  I was taught to do everything myself, like change my springs, put on and remove the box, and know my order.  But I was training to become a teacher very early on.  I tend to do too much for my clients, but I might go vintage and have the clients do more for themselves :-).

5. The 6 principles of Pilates, which I was taught to memorize the moment I stepped into my training over 8 years ago, were published and seen for the first time in a book in 1980, 13 years after Joe died.  While Joe wouldn’t know what the 6 principles are as he didn’t come up with them, Jay said they are still very valid.

I can’t wait for my next elder encounter!



I recently took a workshop on “The Science of Pilates.” We discussed the parallels and differences between Personal training and Pilates, and how we (Pilates instructors) fit into the gym world. Pilates has been around for many years, but it’s really only been the past few that it’s become more mainstream. With that being said, it can sometimes be a challenge making gym members see the benefits of Pilates. My goal is to help people realize that Pilates can be an important foundation to any type of physical activity. Both Pilates and PT take clients through workouts that are based on their level from beginner up to advanced. And in both you work on hypertrophy (changing the muscle), muscular endurance, and muscular strength. The goal in any type of exercise is to change your body and variety in your workouts will help to reach that goal.

Personal training focuses mostly on concentric motion, which occurs when a muscle shortens in length and develops tension. An example of this is the upward movement in a bicep curl. In a training session you typically tear muscle fibers, which creates muscle soreness, lactic acid build-up, and degrades flexibility. On the other hand, Pilates focuses mostly on eccentric motion. This is the development of tension while the muscle is being lengthened. Picture the lowering of the arm in a bicep curl. Pilates typically stretches muscle fibers because of the focus on eccentric motion and the goal is to find symmetry between strength and flexibility. Pilates will restructure your body from the inside out, starting at your core. It’s an all over workout, with many muscle groups working for each exercise.

When putting together your own workout schedule, think about how you can vary it. As much as I love doing Pilates I’d get bored pretty fast if that was the only type of physical activity that I was doing. I mix it up by going to yoga classes, hiking with friends, and working with my Personal trainer, Laura Hebert of Santa Monica Sweat. In every one of those activities I am engaging my core. My yoga is stronger because of my Pilates practice. The training I’m doing with Laura is helping me see weaknesses that I wasn’t noticing when doing Pilates. And hiking is a way to get my cardio in and spend time with friends. Who said working out should be boring! Remember that the more you do something, the faster you will see results. If you’re thinking of adding Personal training or Pilates to your routine, aim for doing each two times a week. You can even start with doing Pilates two times a week and training one day a week or vice versa. Your body will thank you and so will your health.