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The World Cup: Coleen Rooney, WAGS, and Pilates

Sport Core Strength Chris Hunt Pilates

www.chrishuntwellness.com

Any excuse to talk about football and I am there. I am a lifelong passionate fan of Arsenal and Barcelona. When I lived in London I was a regular at Highbury and then the Emirates, and now I am blessed to be in Barcelona watching one of the most beautiful football teams in the world. I played football for many years as a boy and young man, so applying my knowledge of Pilates to footballers is something I naturally enjoy.

Before the serious stuff, you might have noticed that the World Cup is almost upon us, and whilst the players are going through their final preparations, so too are the wives and girlfriends (WAGS). In the UK there is always s big fuss about the WAGS and their impact on the players.

Queen of the WAGS. mother of two and wife of England striker Wayne Rooney is Coleen Rooney. She took to twitter this week to tell us all about her fitness regime, which includes gym sessions, interval training and of course Pilates. She said “I always wear a bikini on holiday, they’re the first thing I think about packing. I have drawers full and I always take far too many away. But like anyone else I have to be careful about what I choose. There are certain shapes I’ve found that make me feel confident, so I stick to those. I tend to avoid anything too skimpy on the bottom half and I look for halter neck styles on top. My main problem area is my love handles so I don’t want to wear anything tight around my hips. Thin, stringy, tie-side briefs aren’t flattering so I always go for big bikini bottoms.”

With these inspiring words in mind, let me turn to the serious point of my blog today. I love to work with sportsmen and women. Whilst I get a massive sense of satisfaction when I see someone rehabilitate from injury or improve their posture, I also love to work with athletes to help them to improve even further their game. In Barcelona I am working with people involved in sports such as golf, surfing and rock climbing.

We are all very familiar with the benefits that Pilates brings, and specifically for football Pilates is relevant because it can help to: improve  flexibility, improve mobility, improve co-ordination, build overall fitness, improve endurance, build body awareness and focus, reduce the risk of injury, and help to rehabilitate after injury

Football demands rapid directional changes, often at near maximum pace, and the delivery of controlled power from unbalanced body positions. As our understanding of the demands placed upon footballers develops, so has the approach to training and injury prevention. The quiet revolution in training techniques is now not so quiet, with modern-day managers acknowledging the crucial importance that stretching, suppleness and flexibility gives their players. Pilates meets these demands perfectly, so an ever growing number of footballers use Pilates to improve their core strength, their co-ordination, mobility, flexibility and technique, as well as for prevention and rehabilitation from injuries.

Pilates is also a perfect form of warm-up prior to playing, and cooling down post-match. Any out-dated opinions of Pilates being a sedate pursuit for ladies only have long been extinguished, with many Premiership Football Teams including Pilates in their training schedule. The benefits are also used by other top sportsmen and women, such as the All Blacks Rugby Team, and individuals such as Tiger Woods.

Pilates is not only appropriate for the professional player. Youth players, semi professionals, and weekend players, whatever their age, sex and ability, would all gain enormous benefit from a regular Pilates’ routine.

I developed Sport Core Strength (http://www.sportcorestrength.com) in London and now in Barcelona to encourage more sportsmen and women to include Pilates in their regimes. Whilst working one-on-one is always a very effective way to teach (especially when most players will have their own specific issues), it is a lot of fun to work with whole teams as well, creating exercises in pairs and groups.

If you want to chat about Pilates for sports (including golf, football, cycling, surfing, tennis, skiing/snowboarding, running rock climbing etc), about Sport Core Strength, or about Pilates in Barcelona then please contact me.

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?

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Bikini Body using Pilates? Jennifer Hawkins knows better

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www.chrishuntwellness.com

‘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.