Tag Archives: model

Our proud Pilates Community; we are stronger together

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Usually in my blog I try to bring a more light-hearted look to Pilates and health. I was going to write today about Pilates in Russia following my latest visit. But if you have been reading my articles over the past months you will see that I have a big interest in the issues of mental health and depression and their link to physical exercise. I do not seek controversy, but I am not afraid to talk about the topics that some people would rather ignore. I could write interesting articles about Shoulder Bridge, but I leave such articles to other people.

I lost my father to Alzheimer’s (see my blog “I lost my father, don’t lose yours” and I have also talked about depression and the link between mental and physical health in several previous articles. So it was with great sadness that over the weekend I read about the suicide of a 34 year-old Pilates teacher in New York last week, who jumped from her Upper West Side building.  My deepest and sincere condolences to her family and friends. I am sure that some people reading this article will know the lady in question, so I hope you will forgive me for writing about this tragic event.

There are suggestions about incurable disease and mental health issues. I have personal experience of the dark places that can lead people to depression and even suicide. I lost a close friend many years ago and I found it very difficult to understand how I did not see the signs. But the truth is that as teachers we are performers, so most of us have a great “game face” that we switch on during those times when we would rather be anywhere else than standing smiling in front of a group of people. As much as we all love Pilates and bringing our knowledge to the communities that we live in, we are human as well, so we have difficult situations to deal with and we are allowed to be sad sometimes. “The show must go on” is an old cliché but it has a lot of relevance for many people every day.

I love being a Pilates teacher, and I love helping people to change their lives (it is important to remember that we do not change people’s lives, we simply give people the knowledge and belief so that they can change their own lives). I also love the Pilates community. Sure, people criticize me and the things that I write in my blogs sometimes, and of course I do not and cannot expect everyone to always agree with my point of view. And there are also always people in every walk of life who try to make a name for themselves by being negative as they find it easier to criticize than praise. But everywhere I travel from Russia to the US, and every Pilates forum and group I am a member of,  I always have a strong sense of community, a sense that the vast majority of Pilates professionals want only to help each other, want to share their knowledge and experience.

It is for this reason that I love our community, and I always try to give more than I receive. It is also for this reason that I created Pilates Carnival, conventions that give all profits to children’s charities and where I ask everyone including the presenters (and of course me) to work for no money, donating their time and energy for the good of our community. Of course some presenters are horrified with this thought and I have been accused of cheapening Pilates and devaluing the system. Whilst I always respect the opinions of other people, I think these people simply do not get it. They are so commercially orientated they fail to see that by promoting themselves and Pilates in an environment that benefits charities as well, they are creating a positive energy that no money can buy. And of course it is not rocket science for these people to realise that if you do a Pilates convention for charity attended by over 100 Pilates teachers/studio owners and hundred’s of member’s of the public, you might just get some good exposure and new clients from the experience. But I respect their life choices, thank them for their time, and I simply do not work with them because they are not “my type” of people.

But I am happy that the majority of Pilates people are my type, they give more than they take, love much more than they hate. To paraphrase Lennon and McCartney, in the end the love we save is equal to the love we gave. So let’s keep supporting each other, looking after each other and looking out for each other. Most things in life are more important than money or reputation. Much more important.

In the U.S.: If you are contemplating attempting suicide, there are people who can help. Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255)

In the U.K.: For confidential support call the Samaritans  on 08457 90 90 90 or visit a local Samaritans branch

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?

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?

 

Demi Moore: Pilates and you are what you eat, no excuses!

 

Pilates EVO Demi Moorewww.chrishuntwellness.com

I like Demi Moore. Maybe it’s because she had a hard childhood, maybe it’s because of the scene with Patrick Swayze and the potter’s wheel in the film “Ghost”, maybe it’s because she is an intelligent and likeable person who has stood the test of time.

I certainly like the fact that she does Pilates, and at 51 as the picture above shows, she is in an amazing condition.

Demi follows a raw vegan diet, so as I am a vegetarian I appreciate that about her as well. There is no doubt at all that to achieve a healthy body (and mind) we must look holistically at how we live and how we train. Diet of course is a vital part of that jigsaw. It never ceases to amaze me that people will train their bodies really hard then eat some crap food, justifying it by saying (and clearly believing) that “I have earnt that”.

The idea that junk food is some sort of treat is one that I find interesting and disturbing in equal measures. Here in Barcelona I often hear people say “have a cake, treat yourself”. What I am saying is if you want to eat food that is full of fat or sugar then I have no big problem with this, as my philosophy is everything in moderation, but please do not think of it as a treat or a reward, because that is dangerous.

We can speculate as to where these thoughts come from, maybe rationing in the war, but in my opinion, such an attitude is only (and quite literally) fuelling the obesity epidemic that is sweeping the world.

Another scary thing I hear people say is that eat junk food because their body is telling then to eat it because it needs some type of particular ingredient. And people actually believe this nonsense. Take it from me, it has nothing to do with your bodies nutritional needs.

Another chestnut I hear is that diet is influenced by blood-type. Particularly popular is the belief that people must eat meat because they have the “meat blood group”. Let’s just spend one moment to consider this. They must eat meat because our ancestors ate meat? It is no surprise that the vast majority of respected medical experts do not support the idea that blood group has any affect what-so-ever on dietary needs. Worry about your blood group when you need a transfusion, not lunch. It’s dangerous to be thinking that it’s due to 50,000 years of evolution that our blood type is the reason we feel the need to eat a certain type of food.

The moral of my story? Eat what you want, but if you want to be healthy then try to eat a balanced diet. But for the love of God, do not try to justify your eating habits with outlandish, nonsensical and irrational excuses. We are what we eat. And what you eat is not the fault or influence of your ancestors, World War 2 or the little voice in your head. It is your choice. Pure and simple. And the sooner you stop making excuses and accept that and accept responsibility for what you put into your mouth, the sooner you can start to change things.

I want Demi to have the last words on this blog.

“I have had a love-hate relationship with my body. I sit today in a place of greater acceptance of my body. And that includes not just my weight, but all of the things that come with your changing body.”

After decades of suffering a neurotic preoccupation with being sexy, Moore said she ultimately found that beauty and thinness never truly made her happy. “I had an extreme obsession with my body,” she said. “I made it a measure of my own value. I tried to dominate it, which I did, and I changed it multiple times over. But it never lasted, and ultimately it didn’t bring me anything but temporary happiness.”

I think these are wise words indeed.

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 the services that Chris offers in Barcelona including Pilates, functional training, massage, NLP, coaching and beauty treatments, please click on Barcelona Bienestar. To learn more about Chris, please read Just who is Chris Hunt anyway?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pilates, baby tossing and butt training? Alessandra Ambrosio has some explaining to do

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There is something likeable about Alessandra Ambrosio. She is Brazilian, a 33 year-old model and a Victoria’s Secret Angel. But that is not why I like her, honestly.

I like her because she is open and honest, and she loves Pilates. The picture above is of her during a workout last week in a Santa Monica gym. She is also honest about her training and lifestyle. She recently said that she never exercised until after her daughter was born. She said: ‘When I started with Victoria’s Secret at 21, I never worked out. Then when I got pregnant with my daughter, I gained about 60 pounds and had to walk the Victoria’s Secret show three months later. That was the first time I had to really fight to get my body back into shape.’

I am very happy to let celebrities help me to promote Pilates, health and fitness. But I have to say that sometimes their lack of knowledge about training astounds me, and the things they say certainly do not help the public to understand what is important. Clearly sometimes money does not buy good advice.

Alessandra says that she doesn’t “do much” for her arms as she doesn’t think people notice them as much as the rest of her body. ‘When you’re in a bikini, your abs are the most important. I like doing bridges, and I’ll also finish a workout with 100 bicycle crunches. I’ll do three sets of 25 “Superman’s” to tone my back. I don’t really do much for my arms; throwing my kids in the air helps already. Plus, as a Brazilian, I know the last thing a man is going to look at – even after your feet – is your arms! I Spin on Monday, go to Pilates on Wednesday and yoga on Sunday. You have all these other things to put in front of [workouts] that you say are more important, but they’re not. Your health is most important.’

Where to start with these comments…. First let’s start with the positive. Regular Pilates and yoga is of course great, as is a varied fitness regime that includes cardio as well. Also “your health is most important” is clearly a good message to be getting out there.

But in my opinion as a Pilates teacher, a holistic exercise regime is vital, so neglecting any body part is flawed and an inadequate approach to health (throwing children in the air is not a recognisable training method and is probably dangerous and maybe illegal? I am sure that one day someone will try to launch it as a mother and toddler fitness concept…)

The part of this interview that I find most disturbing is the concept of training the part of your body that you think people look at most. Whilst I am sure (and I really hope I am right) that she was saying this with her tongue firmly in her cheek, the idea of training your abs and butt only because that is what men look at is not on any level a good message.

I think I should let Alessandra have the final say on this post: ‘Having a perfect body isn’t everything. I want my daughter to be nice, have a good education and be disciplined. That’s what makes people like her. A perfect butt doesn’t make an amazing person. It’s about feeling confident.’

“A perfect butt does not make an amazing person”. Inspiring words indeed. 😉

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 Carnival and Fitness Carnival, conventions where all profits go to local children’s charities. Read Just who is Chris Hunt anyway? for more.

 

Bikini Body using Pilates? Jennifer Hawkins knows better

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‘Tis the season for Pilates for Bikinis posts and articles. I cannot seem to open my inbox or look at the net without seeing yet another “5 Pilates exercises to get you into bikini shape” article.

I wrote previous about the claims that Pilates claim give you a flat stomach (see Does Pilates create a flat stomach?) and if you read that post you will know how I feel about people who make such claims. So is “bikini Pilates” any different?

Let’s use Jennifer Hawkins as our example today. She has never been shy about her love of working out, and at the weekend she posted on her Instagram account some nice pictures of her doing Pilates with the comment “Fave toy. Ohhh, lil bit of luv/hate for sure!! #caddy #workout.”

Jen

The 30 year-old is an Australian beauty queen, model and television presenter best known for being crowned Miss Universe Australia and later the same year Miss Universe 2004 in Quito, Ecuador. She is currently the host of Australia’s Next Top Model. She previously told Vogue that early mornings were her favourite time to exercise in between her hectic schedule. ‘I’m definitely a schedule person so I’ll get up really early and do a Pilates class or go for a run. Pilates I love. If I could do that three times a week I would but I just don’t have the time.’

So back to Pilates for bikinis articles. Of course such an evocative claim is not far from the truth. We all know the benefits of a regular Pilates exercise regime. Such benefits can and will be increased by integrating other exercise systems (including cardio) into a weekly practice, and by eating a healthy diet. For sure the body will respond over time and for sure you will look better in a bikini. What gets my goat is the headlines about “5 Pilates exercises to get in shape”. This for me categorically goes against the principle that Pilates is a holistic practice, especially as typically those “5 exercises” will focus on abs and butt. Such headlines and articles are simply trying to grab attention, and as is typical in today’s culture, give the impression that you are only 5 exercises away from the body you want.  Jennifer Hawkins has achieved her body thanks no doubt with a little help from genetics, but also hard work over a sustained period of time.

The other dangerous thing is that it is now, in spring/early summer that these same old articles and miracle cures do the rounds, clearly suggesting that you only need a matter of a few weeks to achieve that wonder-bod for the summer. Such claims, in keeping with other “New Year” diet nonsense (see my blog “Another Year, another new diet….) only serve to fuel the misconception that there is a quick fix, and of course this only leads to failed diets/exercise regimes and ultimately disappointment.

The simple truth is that there is no quick fix. Any lasting changes we seek to achieve in life usually take time and lot of dedication and sometimes sacrifice. Whilst “Get a bikini shape in 12 months” might not get me many clicks, it’s a far better target to be aiming for next summer and be able to maintain a body shape change than it is to con people into thinking change is easy.

And as a final point, why do I never see “exercises to get fit for your swimming trunks” articles?!?! I can feel another blog coming on….

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.

Model Karena Graham wants to teach Pilates

Karena Graham Miss Irish Sun 2010

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It was reported this week in Ireland that Karena Graham is ready to wave goodbye to modelling and wants to move to LA for a major career change.

The 27-year-old model has decided that after 13 years behind the camera, she was to live in Hollywood and become a personal trainer. The Dublin-based model is also taking on a course to become a qualified Pilates instructor.

“I’ve had an offer to learn how to teach, so to get a job in Pilates when I land in LA would be ideal because working in that arena is what I really want to do,” she said.

“It’s a weird one, but I’m obsessed with fitness, and California is the ideal place to work in that area,” she said.

“I’ve been visiting LA for years and it’s just very me, it’s casual and chilled and I can wear my gym gear all day if I want to.”

About modelling, Karena says “It’s a great job and I’ll do it as long as I can here, but over in the US I want to focus on different things and I do want to get away from it in a sense.”

So welcome Karena to the Pilates family.

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Margot Robbie Pilates Pose

Margot Robbie

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Margot Robbie is the latest in a string of celebrities to join the Pilates craze of sharing an image of herself flaunting her new gravity defying skills on Instagram.

Following in the footsteps of Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Taylor Swift and fellow Australian actress Phoebe Tomkin, the Wolf of Wall Street star used her newly created social media account to document her workout at the Los Angeles fitness studio.

Legs outstretched in vertical splits, the stunning 23-year-old posted a photo of herself by a Cadillac machine.

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Alessandra Ambrosio is a Pilates addict

Alessandra 1

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Alessandra Ambrosio is at it again with her Pilates practise, and she doesn’t need make-up or a private gym session to burn calories.

The 32-year-old Victoria’s Secret model was barefaced whilst displaying her sculpted physique in a class full of students at her Pilates studio in Los Angeles on Saturday morning.

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The mother-of-two donned hot pink leggings, a white sports bra and loose-fitted printed pastel tank top.

She returned to the catwalk only three months after giving birth, to wear a 20-carat diamond Fantasy bra in the 2012 show. She described her preparation for the feat as ‘intense.’

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‘You work out as an athlete. All your mind, all your everything goes into it,’ she said, before adding, ‘But what better motivation to get into shape than to be wearing a ($2.5) million dollar bra?’

But whether there’s a big runway gig or not, Alessandra appears to always maintain a strict workout routine, frequently seen hitting the gym.

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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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Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, a Pilates beauty

 

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The beautiful model Rosie Huntington-Whiteley has posted some pictures of her doing Pilates, and she looks great.

The British model is best known for her modelling work with Victoria’s Secret and Burberry, and Pilates is an important part of her exercise regime.

I cannot promise you a body like Rosie’s, but Pilates will certainly help you to achieve the body that you want.

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