Tag Archives: actress

Exercising on the beach: Is it more than sandcastles and ice-cream?

Healthy Beach Barcelona

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I am excited. Those who know me will also know that I get excited a lot, and it’s usually to do with either snowboarding, surfing, a new guitar, TRX training, ice-cream, or most typically Pilates.

Today I am excited about my new project in Barcelona, Healthy Beach Barcelona. I have said many times that health must be holistic. You cannot just run, life weights, eat tomatoes or even only do Pilates. To be truly healthy, sure you can do all those things and more, but you also need spiritual and mental health. And we all know the psychological effects of feeling and looking good. Wellness is a word that is used a lot nowadays, and for me wellness encapsulates (a word that is not used enough nowadays) the holistic nature of health. So Healthy Beach Barcelona offers Pilates (naturally), fitness, nutrition, massage, meditation, NLP, Life Coaching and a range of beauty procedures.

So why am I excited about Healthy Beach Barcelona? It is because Pilates specifically and wellness generally has historically been the reserve and the domain of more mature people, but with Healthy Beach Barcelona I am introducing many concepts to a much younger audience. Starting here on the beach in Barcelona. Which brings my onto the purpose of my article, what are the benefits of exercising outside?

I grew up with Aerobics Oz Style on Sky Sports, which is certainly not a bad way to start the day. But there are other more serious benefits, and I think the most obvious is that the scenery and fresh air (assuming you are not exercising next to a major road) simply raise the spirits and are great for emotional well-being.

But my favourite place is the beach. Sand is constantly shifting and changing, demanding various muscles in the body to come into play that might not normally engage on a pavement or gym floor workout. For example when doing Pilates, sand is on different levels, and you have to adjust to that difference which brings a new element to exercise. It also removes the issue of the hard surface on your knees. When you kneel on your mat laid over the sand, your joints are cushioned.

Running in the sand is also kinder on the joints than running on pavement because there is less impact on the body. I am using my bodyFUNC© functional training system for Healthy Beach Barcelona, and running and movement through sand forces you to use a fuller range of motion as it requires the body to move through a full range of motion, which stretches your muscles more than running on the pavement. Studies suggest that it is possible to burn up to 1.6 times as many calories for that extra effort. Sand develops the arch strength in your foot, the calves and all the muscles below the knee, as well as the quads.

However, a word of warning, you need to work up to a sand run or workout because it might be very different to what you and your body are used to. Start by the shoreline where the sand is flat and it’s packed down. When you feel comfortable, you can mix up your run by moving into the softer sand for a minute, like doing an interval workout, and then moving back into the harder sand. Tread carefully and go at a slower pace than what you’re used to.

Barefoot is a popular today (I have previously written articles for Barefoot Running Magazine and I will write about that next week) as it is argued that it is good for building up muscles in the foot and creating a more natural gait, as opposed to shoes dictating the gait. Beach running is a great way to try the method out. When I train people on the beach, I build them up in their running shoes by the shoreline and then the softer sand and then go for a short run on the harder sand with no shoes on.

Obviously there are considerations to be aware of when training on the beach. Look out for debris, such as bottles and sticks, wear sun-block, don’t trend on people sunbathing or little Johnny’s sandcastle,  and most important for me (see reasons why I get excited above) keep clear of ice-cream sellers.

By the way, for those who were wondering where my celebrity was today, my picture today is of actress Ileana D’Cruz, someone who regularly does Pilates and exercises outside. She credits Pilates with her health so that is how she earns her place in my blog today. Celebrity watchers can now relax. I nearly went a whole blog without a celebrity! It’s not possible…. 😉

Health and wellness are all about feeling good, and for me there is no better place to feel good than in the fresh air on a beach. If you haven’t tried it, then I recommend that you do. And next time you are in Barcelona, click on Healthy Beach Barcelona and pop along for a session, or contact me before you arrive and we can organise a beautiful retreat.

If life is a beach, then why not be a healthy beach?

Chris is an international Pilates presenter and educator based in Barcelona, Spain. He is the creator of Pilates EVO©, bodyFUNC©, and CEO of Pilates Rehab Limited and Sport Core Strength.  He also organises Pilates Carnival and Fitness Carnival, conventions where all profits go to local children’s charities. For more information about Pilates with Chris in Barcelona, please click on Barcelona Bienestar. To learn more about Chris, please read Just who is Chris Hunt anyway?

 

Felicity Kendal at 67: Pilates better than botox

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So it’s my birthday today, but there is nothing I like to do more in life than to champion the benefits of Pilates!

Today I am writing about the British actress Felicity Kendal. She has always looked amazing, and she has now revealed some of her secrets. She naturally uses Pilates as part of her routine, and she says some very intelligent and interesting things about health and beauty. So for once I will let someone else do most of the talking!

She used Botox and fillers earlier in her career to try to halt the ageing process, but last week the 67-year-old actress admitted she has now dispensed with cosmetic surgery, claiming she wants her complexion to ‘match the rest of her body’.

Miss Kendal, who shot to fame in cult BBC sitcom The Good Life in 1975, said she now prefers to use a combination of yoga, Pilates and weightlifting to help maintain her striking looks. Speaking about pressure to maintain her youthful appearance, she said: ‘There is pressure in the movie business, but I’m not in that. I haven’t done fillers or Botox for ages. There comes a point where you have to match bits of you with the other bits, otherwise you get a terribly random situation. All that is off the cards now.

‘I do a combination of yoga, Pilates, and weights. Very often I don’t feel like it, but you get to the point where you either get stiff and stop, or you keep going. And it’s so worth it, because it makes me feel good. If I don’t do it, I feel yuck, the jeans don’t fit, and I’m lacking in energy. I’m fitter and stronger now than I was 20 years ago, and I’ve never felt so good. ‘Women have become incredibly independent. We’ve really come a long way in almost every walk of life in the past 30 years, and society is more equal now. But we’ve still got this hang-up about what women look like. I do it myself. There is still an obsession with women’s looks, and that’s never going to go, but we could be a little more generous.’

As well as appearing as Barbara Good alongside actor Richard Briers in BBC hit The Good Life, which ran between 1975 and 1978, Miss Kendal has made numerous stage appearances. She also starred in the 2010 series of Strictly Come Dancing where she impressed viewers with her athletic dance routines.

Talking about her approach to staying healthy, she added: ‘My pleasure is a glass of red wine… maybe two. After that, I can’t remember! But I don’t believe in guilt. I used to feel guilty: I should do more exercise, I shouldn’t do this, I should do that… But now I just think, this is who I am, and give into it. There’s a liberation in that. At my age, women get to a point where we don’t make decisions to impress somebody else, but to please ourselves. Like when I got my tattoo four years ago. It was the opposite of trying to be younger and ‘with it’, it was about celebrating the fact you’re not young anymore, so you know what you want to do. It’s something I did totally for myself.’

Chris is an international Pilates presenter and educator. He is the creator of Pilates EVO©, bodyFUNC©, and CEO of Pilates Rehab Limited and Sport Core Strength.  He also organises Pilates Carnivals, Pilates conventions where all profits go to local children’s charities. Read Just who is Chris Hunt anyway? for more.

Mila Kunis Pregnancy Pilates

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Mila Kunis’ pregnancy seems to be the worst kept Hollywood secret. Whilst news she is expecting may have broken the hearts of millions of men, she is doing all the right things with her exercise regime. The 30-year-old was spotted leaving a Pilates class last week.

The actress, who is engaged to Ashton Kutcher, is rumoured to be having a girl, but of course we are not concerned with Hollywood gossip, we are concerned with the amazing benefits that Pilates can bring during pregnancy.

So why is Pilates such a great exercise system before, during and after pregnancy? There are many reasons, and I want to keep this blog short and sweet so for the benefit of those who are not so familiar with Pilates, I will try to briefly explain some of the reasons why Mila will benefit from her regular Pilates sessions.

The beauty of many Pilates exercises that can be used during pregnancy is that they can help with body awareness, they can help to maintain good posture, and they can help to reduce some of the typical aches and pains that most women will experience at some point. Pilates is just about the safest exercise system out there and because it can be adapted, it remains relevant and safe throughout all the stages of pregnancy.

It’s never too late to start either. Even if an expectant mum has never done Pilates before (or even any other form of exercise) it will still provide many benefits. Plus it can help to reduce the recovery period after baby is born. Pilates can and should be last form of exercise a pregnant mum does before the birth, and it can be the first exercises she does after the birth.

There are of course some serious considerations that any Pilates teacher should be aware of when instructing pregnant clients as the pregnancy develops, not least minimizing the time spent lying on the back as this can in rare cases cause nausea and dizziness. Supine hypotensive syndrome is where the weight of the developing baby can prevent normal circulation of blood which can in theory lead to a lack of oxygen which affects baby’s blood supply. Of course exercise should be stopped immediately if any pain or uncomfortable sensations occur. It’s also important to ask all the usual questions about health and previous issues/injuries rather than just concentrate on the fact your client is pregnant.

In my system Pilates EVO Pregnancy© (www.pilatesevo.com) the sequences of movements ensure that no more than 5 minutes is spent on the back at any one time. The NLP, mindfulness meditation and meridian aspects work perfectly in conjunction with traditional Pilates to create a full mind and body experience. I also teach how we can appropriately touch and instruct a pregnant client, and all the special considerations that must be taken into account.

There are of course considerations, and it is this attention to detail that makes professional Pilates teachers such experts. But this should not detract from the fact that Pilates can be totally safe during pregnancy, and it is the perfect way to prepare your body and mind.

I’m happy as always to chat in more detail about Pilates during pregnancy and Pilates EVO Pregnancy© so please get in touch via my website or Facebook.

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Kathleen Turner: Pilates helped fight rheumatoid arthritis

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It can be inspiring (if not a little tiring) to see an article about another actress with a flat belly that she has achieved through Pilates. My blog today is about a famous actress, but it is an altogether more inspiring story, and another great example of why Pilates has changed so many people’s lives. Kathleen Turner says it saved her life.

The 59-year-old was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis in 1992 and has had 12 operations over a 12 year period to combat the painful disease.

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease that causes inflammation in the joints. The main symptoms are joint pain and swelling.  You can find out more by clicking on www.arthritisresearchuk.org.

Kathleen was told that she would spend the rest of her life in a wheelchair after she was reduced to shuffling up stairs on her bottom. However Kathleen, who is currently starring in the new West End production, Bakersfield Mist, says she maintains her strength and flexibility because she practices Pilates. ‘Pilates, baby! Twice a week. Pilates saved my life,’ the actress told The Times Newspaper in London.

Rheumatoid arthritis in women can be common for those in their late 30s and early 40s, after they have given birth. Kathleen was told by a physician that she would spend the rest of her life in a wheelchair, but rather than accept the diagnosis, she fired that doctor and endured a staggering number of surgeries.

She shot to cinematic fame opposite William Hurt in the 1981 classic Body Heat, and over the years has proven her worth in films like Romancing The Stone, Peggy Sue Got Married, and even voiced the animated character of Jessica Rabbit in Who Framed Roger Rabbit?

Now she is back on the stage and citing Pilates as the main reason why she can still act.

Another Pilates “good news” story. It works for Kathleen, and it works for over 11 million people who regularly do Pilates around the world. 

If you want to find out more about how Pilates can help with many different issues, then please contact me.

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Pilates for the over 60’s? Susan Lucci swears by it

 

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As all Pilates trainers know, there really is no age limit to practising Pilates and the continued benefits it can bring.

A great example of this is Susan Lucci, A household name in the US thanks to a very successful career in TV , the sixty-seven year-old is still looking amazing.

During a conversation about the second season of the TV series “Devious Maids,” Lucci revealed her tips for staying slim, happy and healthy. Her biggest secrets? Hot water with lemon, and Pilates of course.

“Everything I do is Pilates-based, which is dancer strength training. I didn’t want to bulk up. I’m very petite, so Pilates is what dancers use and that was good for me,” Lucci said. “I try to combine some cardio, too, and whatever I’m doing, it’s all about the core and flexibility and balance.”

Susan was born in December 23, 1946, and is an American actress, television host, author and entrepreneur, best known for portraying Erica Kane on the ABC daytime series drama All My Children. Lucci has been called “Daytime’s Leading Lady” by with New York Times and Los Angeles Times citing her as the highest-paid actor in daytime television. As early as 1991, her salary had been reported as over $1 million a year.

Pilates is generally appropriate for senior fitness, and it is gaining popularity among senior citizens. The ability to modify the exercises to meet differing needs, along with the many benefits of Pilates, such as increased levels of strength, balance, flexibility, muscle tone, stamina, and well being, make Pilates an ideal senior exercise program. After all, Joseph Pilates practiced his method into his eighties. There are specific programs for the over 60s including my Pilates EVO Forever Young.

So if you are thinking that you are too old to start Pilates, then please think again. You are seriously never too old. Find a good qualified instructor (if you need any help with that then please get in touch) and get started right away. It will not take long for you to notice the benefits.

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Audrina Patridge’s Pilates’ Abs

Audrina

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Anything that raises awareness of Pilates can only be a good thing. In today’s culture, it’s a fact that many people associate themselves with celebrities. I’ve no intention of arguing the rights of wrongs of this, I just accept it as a fact, and if just one person tries Pilates because of one of my blogs, then I consider this to be a success. If you want a technical Pilates discussion then please click on the link above to my website or my Facebook link below and let’s chat.

When I go shopping I never look this good! But from the woman who once suggested her stomach was her best asset, Audrina Patridge might just be right!

She is the former Hills star and this is her shopping in Los Feliz, Los Angeles. The former MTV star’s super trim physique is down to a combination of genes and hard work, she insists, citing Pilates, walking the dog and lifting light weights as her main exercises .

She once told  OK! magazine: ‘This is my best asset – my stomach. I’ve always had a flat stomach. I eat anything I want, but you have to eat in moderation. You have to balance it out, and be active at least five days a week.’

She added: ‘I love Pilates. I don’t like going to the gym, so I find things to do outside, and I do have little five and ten pounder weights. If I’m sitting there, I’ll lift them and do squats and do leg-ups, sit-ups, stroll a little on the beach or in the park. I love riding bikes. I go and find anything possible. I walk my dog. Anything!’

So another great example of Pilates forming an important part of a balanced exercise regime.

If you want to learn more about how to incorporate Pilates into your life, then please contact me.

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Gwyneth Paltrow: Conscious Uncoupling/Conscious Pilates

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It was a sad day on Tuesday to hear that Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin were separating. For 10 years they have been one of the most interesting celebrity couples.

Gwyneth is well known to the Pilates community. After the birth of both of her children Apple, 9, and Moses, 7, it was well publicised that she used Pilates exercises in her routine to recover her strength and flexibility.  It was reported at the time that she worked out for two hours every day, even if it meant having her children crawling around with her.

Gwyneth was reported to have said that as well as the physical side of Pilates, she also really understood that it was a mind and body experience, and that it made her much more conscious of her body and movements. This is a vital aspect of the system and one that must never be over-looked or diminished.

I believe this is so important that  I have enhanced this aspect of Pilates in my system, Pilates EVO by using NLP, Mindfulness Meditation, Mantra chanting and meridians.

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Uma Thurman: Pilates at 30,000 feet

 

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She is an actress and a former model. And Uma Thurman’s toned body shows no signs of any middle-age spread. So how does the mother-of-three do it? Thurman, 43, says she ‘fits in workouts when she can’ with plenty of walking, Pilates and yoga. She also stays active with regular snowboarding, skiing and horse riding so she has a nice range of activities to keep her fit and in shape.

She began her career as a model, yet, after so many years and childbirth, she is still one of the fittest, most beautiful women in showbiz.

Uma, the Kill Bill star, it seems, is a fervent believer in exercise anywhere, anytime, including  as a passenger on a flight from JFK to Salt Lake City. It’s reported that she started doing yoga and Pilates exercises in the aisle of the plane.

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Sandra Bullock: Pilates defies Gravity

 

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Oscar winning movie. Whilst I was wowed by the amazing cinematography and special effects, the most remarkable thing about the film for me is Sandra Bullock. She is simply amazing.

The actress and producer is an incredible 49 years old, and is a testament to the fact that the aging process is not necessarily as unavoidable as many people think.

So how does she do it? How does she look so great? In her own words, “I do a lot of Pilates, kick boxing, and weight training in L.A. and when I’m in Austin I run or ride a bike,” She puts in an  hour at the gym 6 times a week and boy does it show.

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Whilst other actresses claim with some justification that Hollywood is ageist and roles diminish when they get towards 50, Sandra’s career is booming with Gravity being her most commercially and critically successful film yet.

Once again Pilates is at the heart of a successful career, and Sandra is truly an inspiration.

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Madonna, Queen of Pilates!

Madonna

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Madonna must be the celebrity Queen of Pilates. The 55 year-old pop superstar and actress was see last week in West Hollywood on her way to her Pilates class.

She was one of the first celebs to include Pilates in her exercise regime, and she has done more than most to raise the profile of Pilates around the world.

But of course Pilates alone is not enough for any exercise regime, so Madonna spends six mornings a week completing a mix of workouts and cardiovascular exercises. She recently told Elle magazine “I mix it up – Pilates, gyrotonics, yoga. I do it six days a week, with Sundays off. Actually, Sunday is a day of horse-riding. There’s no such thing as a day off.”

Despite her regime, she still has “fat days” when she worries about her weight. She told Elle “I run longer on the treadmill and don’t eat as much the next day, so then it evens out, but I’m sure it’s all in my head.”

So she is human after all, and much like the rest of us!

I often hear people say that celebrities are lucky because they have the money and time to exercise more than “normal” people. But I disagree. You do not need money to exercise, and the celebrities I have worked with usually have far less time than the rest of us. What celebrities like Madonna have is dedication and commitment. And those are qualities available to all of us.

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