5 Reasons You Should Come to PiYo at CustomFit

As I walked in to teach PiYo this morning, (offered at CustomFit on Mondays at 5:30pm and Wednesdays at 7:00pm) my muscles were aching and I was wondering how on earth I was going to make it through leading the class. I’ve taught a few hard classes this week and have gotten back to my own workouts so the soreness today was a bit more than usual.

During the warm-up my legs screamed at me, on to heat building and I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to keep up with the lunges, but by the time I hit lower body I was in full stride for a great workout.

Try my PiYo class at CustomFit on Monday at 5:30pm or Wednesday at 7:00pm for FREE!

Try my PiYo class at CustomFit on Monday at 5:30pm or Wednesday at 7:00pm for FREE!

This got me thinking…I need to share the benefits of PiYo on my blog! Here’s why you should take the time to come to a PiYo class:

One: PiYo is a great compliment to other types of workouts

It doesn’t matter if you are a runner or a BootCamper, a weight lifter or a swimmer, PiYo offers an excellent workout to compliment what you are already doing. As I mentioned, I was very sore heading into this workout, however, the stretching helped me tremendously. By the time I left class I felt far less sore and my muscles were much less tight.

Many of us don’t take the proper time to stretch following a hard workout. Failing to stretch can lead to additional soreness, muscle tightness and increased inflexibility. PiYo is an excellent way to get in a great workout while stretching and toning your muscles.

Two: PiYo is an excellent full-body workout

If you are unfamiliar with PiYo you might think, how could it really be a tough workout? So let me tell you more about the format:

  • Warm-Up – the warm up takes you through a few upper body and lower body moves to do just that – warm you up.
  • Heat Building – this is where you really start moving; from chaturangas to lunges your heart rate increases and your entire body will be ready for the workout.
  • Lower Body – can you say squats and lunges? But it’s all choreographed to fun music so before you know it you have really worked your legs and are ready to move on.
  • Full Body Fusion – in this section you combine both upper and lower body exercises, maximizing your workout efforts. Between tricep push-ups and variations of downward dog you’re certain to be challenged.
  • Power – this is the ‘cardio’ section of PiYo, and believe me your heart rate is going to rise! There are always low impact options for those who need them.
  • Flow – this is my very favorite part of class. Everything slows down a bit and you get an opportunity to hold some really great stretches.
  • Core and More – we all know what ‘core’ work is, but PiYo offers the ‘more.’ The moves are challenging and at times you won’t even be thinking about your abs because other muscle groups are being challenged just as much.
  • Strength and Stretch – this portion of the workout incorporates deep stretching with a final strength move like push-ups.
  • Cool Down – just like the warm-up you get the idea…we cool down and do some more stretching.

Believe me, PiYo is not a joke workout – it’s challenging, while giving your muscles a great stretch, strengthening your core and toning your body.

Three: There is a new routine every month

We do the same routine for a month. This offers you time to get to know the moves and become more comfortable with them which in turn helps to increase your strength and flexibility.

So that means if you start at the beginning of the month you are at the same level of everyone else – everyone is new to the routine. But every week we have newcomers so don’t feel intimidated if you miss the first week.

Rest assured I take time to preview moves when necessary so that no one feels lost in class.

Four: It’s FUN

Seriously one of my favorite formats to teach! I love the music and I love the choreography. Believe me, I am not your ‘dancy’ type instructor but I totally get the moves in PiYo. Everything is timed perfectly to the music (all hits you know) so before you know it you’ve made it through the entire hour.

Five: It’s offered twice a weeek

PiYo classes meet at 5:30pm on Mondays and 7:00pm on Wednesdays. Some of my class members attend once a week as a compliment to their BootCamp classes, while others come both days to maximize their work on toning and flexibility. Either way, you surely can make one of the classes work with your schedule.

Interested in giving PiYo a try? Contact me by emailing jenn@customfitpt.net. Your first class is FREE so you have nothing to lose!

Check out our full list of classes!

 

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Making the Most of Sitting

A couple months ago my husband anxiously awaited the delivery of a stand to convert his traditional desk to a standing desk. As someone who hadn’t been tied to a desk for a few years I had a hard time understanding the purpose or even his excitement about making the change. I can honestly say given the option I would too have a standing desk. 

Sitting all day makes me anxious, and in some ways, even though I’m clearly working, it makes me feel lazy. I work in a small office where I rarely need to get up to have a conversation with a co-worker and there are definitely no stairs involved in my day. The most activity I get is walking to the water cooler to refill my water bottle. By the time I leave the office I’ve accumulated a whopping 1,500 or so steps for the day. 

I think it hit me the hardest when I was completing my profile for the MyFitnessPal app and selected ‘sedentary’ for my lifestyle. Ugh, I saw red flags flash before my eyes and heard warning sirens screaming through my head – personal trainer and group fitness instructor turns to a sedentary lifestyle.  

Unfortunately, I’m not to the point that I feel comfortable asking for a standing desk. First, I’m still relatively new and with it being a small company there isn’t a whole lot of focus on providing customized desk set ups. In fact, I’m pretty sure most of the office chairs would fail ergonomic testing. Second, I’ve already proved myself as ‘which one of these things is not like the other.’ My co-workers think I’m a bit strange for ordering salads with no dressing when we go out to lunch and no one understands why I turn down the daily offerings of breads, pastries and other sweets.

While I don’t have the power to change my seating arrangement, I do have the ability to change my posture and activate my muscles while sitting. One of my favorite classes to teach is Pilates because it largely focuses on body awareness and activating muscles through proper posture. Pilates helps to build flexibility, muscle strength and endurance while developing a strong core. So why not apply the principles of the ‘Pilates posture’ to sitting at a desk? 

Here’s how to do it (give it a try as you read through these cues):

Head: Elongate your spine and pull the top of your head towards the ceiling. You should feel taller.

Shoulders: Draw your shoulders down and away from your ears. You should also feel your chest open and your shoulders slightly tucked back so your shoulder blades are in contact with the back of your chair.

Core: Draw your navel up and in as though you are buttoning it to your spine. You should feel your abdominal muscles engage while your lower back presses lightly into the back of your chair.

Legs: Zip your legs together from your feet to your sacrum. You should feel your inner thighs (or adductors) engage.

Now granted, I understand this posture isn’t one that comes naturally. Believe me, I find myself with hunched shoulders, crossed legs and an overall droopy posture more than I would like to admit. However, now every time that I catch myself slouching I start from the top and work my way to my feet correcting my posture. It’s certainly not a full blown workout but maintaining these ‘connections’ makes my body do more work than if I was sitting here with no body awareness. For me it’s yet another good reminder that even the small things count when trying to maintain health.

Maybe after a while I will be comfortable enough in my own skin to stand at my desk, but until then I’ll continue with my seated Pilates workout.

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The Power of Pilates

I just returned from an excellent training weekend for a Pilates Mat Certification. Two 10-hour days filled with practice and drills, followed by more practice more and drills was both mentally and physically exhausting and it was worth every minute!

I discovered Pilates last fall when I was looking for a noontime class that wouldn’t leave me a hot, sweaty mess for returning to work. And after years of countless crunches and ab work I finally found something that helped to reduce my midsection.

Pilates seeks to increase the strength and flexibility of the body through controlled breathing and movements.

If you have not tried Pilates here I’d like to share with you some reasons you may want to consider it:

  • Body awareness and control: each Pilates move has a very specific purpose. As you become familiar with the exercises you increases awareness of the mind/body connection. As you become aware of the muscles used for the movements you learn how to best control your body for maximized results.
  • Increased core strength: throughout the Pilates routine you are reminded to keep your navel buttoned up to your spine. Once you become accustomed to engaging your core during the exercises it begins to become natural to “button up” during every day activities.
  • Adaptable to fitness levels and needs: regardless of age, gender, fitness level or size you can participate in Pilates. Almost every exercise that has a modification for special considerations. There aren’t a whole lot of exercise programs out there that offer this wide of accessibility to participants. Pilates is a gentle conditioning for those new to a fitness program and an increasing challenge to the physically fit.
  • Creates strength without bulk: so many women avoid strength training because of the fear of “bulking up.” Pilates is an excellent way to build strength with natural body resistance. (As a side note, lifting weights does not mean you will bulk up – it is possible to build long lean muscles with strength training.)
  • Increases flexibility: as we age we lose flexibility. Pilates movements help to increase range of motion and as a result increases flexibility – something we all can use.
  • Improves posture and a lean appearance: the Pilates stance promotes a lengthening of your body. You learn to pull your shoulders down and away from your ears and to pull them back. Drawing your navel up and into your spine helps to support your lower back. Just those things alone improve will help you to stand taller, appear more confident and lean all at the same time.

I encourage you to find a Pilates class near you and to give it a try. If you like it half as much as me you will be hooked!

Note: My experience with Pilates is limited to Mat work but there are also a number of specialized pieces of equipment that can be used for Pilates exercises.