Pilates for Beginners

April 18, 2021

Starting your Pilates Journey – Part One

Don’t panic, no acrobatics required!

Pilates for Beginners - Form Fitness Pilates

We often get calls from concerned individuals who are keen to start Pilates but think they need a degree from Cirque de soleil!  

Relax knowing that anyone can start Pilates anytime and at any stage of life. Modern styles of Pilates focus more on functional movement that will benefit you in your everyday life and help you build a stronger body. In the first part of this series, we start with the absolute basics.

Like anything in life, you will get better results if you start with a strong foundation. In Pilates terms, this means practicing and mastering the following:

1. Finding your Neutral Spine

A neutral spine is when the natural curves of your spine are present. We now know it is the safest place to work out from as your natural curves act as a cushion to protect your spine.

In Pilates, we work from various positions but let’s start on a mat by lying on your back, knees bent, legs parallel and hip distance apart.

Place the heel of your hands on your hip bones with your fingers towards your pubic bone in a triangular shape. Now start to gently tilt your pelvis and push your lower back into the mat, then rock the other way to make a big arch. 

Continue these movements five to ten times to mobilise your lower back. 

You want to eventually settle at the point where your hands lay flat on your torso or where your hip bones and pubic bone rest on the same plane. At this point you may have a small natural arch under your lower back. This is considered your neutral spine.

Breath and Core Engagement - Form Fitness Pilates

2. Breath and Core Engagement

Proper breath, along with core engagement helps to fire off small stabilising muscles that support your spine. Developing these muscles, along with correct spinal alignment, may assist in alleviating lower back pain and allow individuals to start moving more freely than they ever thought possible.

The core is a complicated device, it does not consist of just one muscle. All of the associated muscles need to work in harmony to give us great core strength. Before we get into the nitty-gritty (in Part Two), first, we need to take a step back and learn how to engage our deep core muscles. Activating pelvic floor and engaging transverse abdominis (try saying that really fast a few times!). 

The transverse abdominis (TA for short), in a nutshell, is the deep corset-like muscle that wraps the circumference of your torso. By switching on the pelvic floor, we can (hopefully) also start to feel this important muscle contract. 

Let’s start by lying back on our mat, with knees bent and hip distance apart. Find your neutral spine and place the heel of your hands to your hip bones. Doing this will help your feel your TA (transverse abdominis) activating. Take your fingertips down and in a couple of centimeters. 

Start to concentrate on your breath. 

As you exhale, try to engage your pelvic floor (toilet muscles at the front) and let go as you inhale. Try not to fully contract your pelvic floor, take it to about 30%. You should start to feel tightening under your fingertips (this is your TA engaging), with each exhale and release on your inhale. 

Do not let any other muscles take over or engage your glutes at this stage. Take around 20 breaths and then relax.  Now repeat this, but as you exhale keep your pelvic floor and TA switched on.

Hello, have we still got your attention!?

Now that you have a basic understanding, you can follow along in this short video we made. It may just help it all make more sense as you follow along and do it with us.

Practice makes perfect, keep going until it becomes second nature.

Woohoo, congratulations on starting your Pilates journey with these easy foundation practices! Watch out for Part Two in this series when we will add more muscles and take your foundation practice to the next level.

Matthew & Brett

Changing lives through Pilates & Fitness

How to Live Your Best Life

February 12, 2021

Weight Plates - Form Fitness Pilates

2021 has started off with a bang and most of us (shout out to our 30-day Challengers!) have been getting busy doing it right with daily exercise. The trick now is to master keeping up this new year momentum, hello February.

The new year gusto, enthusiasm and energy can start to lose its shine so we need to remember why we started and remind ourselves about all the amazing benefits, some tangible, others not. Many of us make the error of embarking on a new exercise regime wholeheartedly but we over commit from day one. In doing so, we are setting ourselves up for… we hate using the F word – Failure! Let’s just say we burn ourselves out well before reaching any of our set goals.

Now for the good news! 30 minutes a day, at least three days a week is the general health and wellbeing guideline to a happier, healthier and fitter YOU. Everyone (including us) should start with this and build up from here. As your energy increases and you feel stronger, you can increase to a level that suits your body and your lifestyle.

We all have our personal reasons for exercising. Weight loss, improved fitness, heart health and most importantly mental health are just some of the lasting benefits of moving your body. In today’s society, we are all guilty of being busy bees and often physical exercise is overlooked or put on the backburner.

It is our mission to help change people’s mindset around exercise by shining a light on the life changing benefits of leading an active and healthy lifestyle. To help you on your merry way, we have a little gift for those of you who keep reading until the end… 😉

Hello Weight Loss

Studies have shown that inactivity is a major factor in weight gain and obesity (no surprises here)! Our body expends energy in three ways: by digesting food, exercising and maintaining crucial body functions like our heartbeat and breathing.

Lowering our calories will lower our metabolic rate, which may delay weight loss. Regular exercise has been shown to increase our metabolic rate, which will burn more calories and help us lose weight.

Additionally, by combining aerobic exercise with resistance training, we can maximise fat loss and muscle mass maintenance, which is essential for attaining and maintaining our ideal weight.

Strong Muscles and Bones

Outdoor Pilates - Form Fitness Pilates

Exercise plays a vital role in building and maintaining strong muscles and bones.

Physical activity like strength training can stimulate muscle building when it is complimented with a healthy lifestyle and eating plan.

As we age, we tend to lose muscle mass and function, which can lead to injuries and a loss of mobility. Practicing regular physical activity is essential to reducing muscle loss and maintaining strength as we age. Exercise also helps build bone density when we’re younger helping to prevent osteoporosis later in life.

Reduce Risk of Chronic Disease

Lack of regular physical activity is a primary cause of chronic disease.

Regular exercise has been shown to improve insulin sensitivity, cardiovascular fitness and lower body fat. It can also decrease blood pressure and cholesterol (winning!).

In contrast, a lack of regular exercise, even in the short term, can lead to significant increases in belly fat, which increases the risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease and an early departure from this life (no thank you).

What better reason to embrace daily physical activity, recommended to decrease the risk of developing these diseases.

Feeling Good

Physical activity releases feel good chemicals into our body like endorphins and serotonin (oh yeah). These chemicals in our system make us feel good, lift our mood, increase our energy levels and improve our sleep. Staying active also gives our general health and wellbeing a significant boost.

Child in Blue Bubble Suit - Form Fitness Pilates

We all experience off days when we feel low on energy and unmotivated. Turn these days around – get moving, find your FORM, feel amazing and lift your mood!

No matter what our age, fitness level or ability, let’s get moving! It’s an absolute necessity to maintain a regular exercise regime, your future self will thank you for it. We all want to live our best lives and maintain our physical strength well into our mature years.

Fancy stepping up your fitness by adding more variety to your schedule? Until the end of March 2021, come and try a class with us you are yet to experience (Complete, Barre, FIIT, Control or Intense). Simply send us a text with “I want to live my best life with Form!” and this class will be on us! Conditions apply.

Here’s to a fabulous, active 2021!

Matthew and Brett

Be Accountable & Thrive

December 16, 2020
You've Got This

Accountability – “The willingness to accept responsibility for our own actions”.

Accountability factors into many areas of our lives, especially our health and wellbeing.

How many times have we said “I’ll start exercising tomorrow” or “my healthy eating plan will begin next week”. We are all guilty of this at some point in our lives.

Why don’t we just stop kidding ourselves and commit to a fitter, healthier lifestyle?
Remember, we have only got one shot at this life, so let’s start now and make it count.

By creating and implementing achievable exercise, eating and lifestyle choices you can take your health and fitness to the next level.

Let us show you how, don’t let the following pesky excuses stop you from achieving your goals!

Say goodbye to your old friend Laziness

Motivate Yourself to Workout and Be Fit

Cat Yawning - FORM Fitness Pilates

This one always lets most of us mere humans down.

What is the worst that can happen when your alarm goes off and you don’t want to wake up and get out of bed? The reality is you may feel tired for two minutes, then you get up, start moving, and by the time you finish your workout you feel fantastic and are ready to take on the day. That’s when you discover your new friend – Motivation!

The way you were feeling when you wanted to throw the alarm clock across the room is a distant memory. If you struggle with the snooze button, why not put your phone/alarm clock in the next room or your bathroom so you have to get up to turn it off?

Ok, so maybe you are, “just not a morning person”? We’ve heard this many times from our clients and surprisingly this can be turned around in an instant if you simply commit to waking up at the same time every morning. Your body clock will very quickly adjust and soon you won’t even need your alarm to wake up to get to your early morning class.

We love nothing more than seeing our clients turn around their lives by making small changes and feeling 100% more positive for doing so. You can be one of them too, remember consistency is the key!

The Over Commitment Bug

Create a Simple Fitness or Lifestyle Plan

People also tend to over commit themselves when beginning a new fitness or lifestyle plan. You know, the ‘all or nothing’ types (are you one of them)?

It usually goes something like this…
“I’m going to stop drinking coffee and alcohol and do 2 classes every day, then fast for 12 hours and have a salad for dinner every night!”

We recommend starting slowly with a realistic goal (or two) in mind. Then there will be less chance of disappointment or feelings of guilt when you can’t stick to your plan.

What you want to focus on is creating new healthy habits to assist you in reaching your goals. Be kind to yourself, build up to exercising daily and making healthy eating choices.

If you enjoy making small changes and stick to them, this new way of living will become a habit and you will see and enjoy the changes in your health and body.

Remember, “Rome wasn’t built in a day!”

Unrealistic Diets

Small Changes Makes Huge Impacts on Your Diet Plan

DIET is a dirty four-letter word as far as we are concerned.
Don’t fall into the yoyo dieting trap! Instead, think of adjusting your relationship to food.

Our eating habits are a big contributor to how we feel, so getting your nutrition needs right is so important to making positive lifestyle changes. Feed and fuel your body with all the good stuff to ensure you feel great and can enjoy moving your body.

As soon as we deprive ourselves of anything we enjoy, it usually results in us wanting it even more and before we know it, we end up consuming double the amount. Chocolate comes to mind here, like a whole family block!

By making small, sensible changes that you can easily commit to, you are more likely to achieve some consistency and make positive changes. Perhaps you might commit to only having a wine on the weekends or eating meat free 3 days a week. You can always up the anti when your bodies in tune to the small changes first.

Diet Plans - Acai Bowl - FORM Fitness Pilates

When you choose healthier eating habits and commit to regular exercise you will be surprised how your positivity will shine through and how much more structure and direction you will have in your life.

How can you begin making positive lifestyle changes?

  1. Start by writing down 3-5 achievable lifestyle and fitness goals. Keep these goals in view every day, whether it be on your fridge or mirror as a reminder.
  2. Remember to be accountable to yourself, first and foremost. If you feel like you need an accountability partner, ask a friend and help each one another.
  3. Be consistent and be kind to yourself!
  4. Keep a diary (old school or try an app like Daylio) and record all your wins, this will help build your motivation.

If you don’t get to your fitness class or you find yourself not making responsible food choices, ask yourself ‘why not’? Focus on your end goals, think of how you will feel when you’re living the healthy lifestyle you want to live.

By taking positive action now towards achieving your goals, your moods, your wellbeing and your overall health will thank to for it.

Start now, be accountable for your actions and break through to enjoy a happier, more confident, and healthier YOU. That can only be a good thing right?

As we come to the end of what has been a crazy year for a lot of us, why not start off 2021 by stepping up to a better version of yourself. Join the 30-day Lifestyle Reboot Challenge!

You’ve got this…

Matthew and Brett

Motivational Fitness Plans - FORM Fitness Pilates

Drink Your Juice

September 30, 2019

When living in Sydney we always made a habit of treating ourselves to a “green” juice at least once a week as we had read a few articles about the health benefits and also knew it was a great way to add a little more veg into our diet.

Move forward a year and we’ve found fresh juice bars on the Gold Coast are not on every street corner as they are in Sydney and also when we do purchase them we’re paying in excess of $8 for one!!! When you really want to be having a fresh juice at least three times a week, this can send your weekly food budget into a downward spiral.

Problem solved!! Leading up to my 50th birthday (more of a joint present than just for myself) I requested a cold pressed juicer so we could have fabulous fresh juices whenever we wanted them at a much lower cost.
Juicer purchased, jam jars purchased and a trip to our local green grocer, leaving with enough fresh produce to set us up for our juicing journey!

One word….AMAZING! The flavours are amazing, colours are vibrant and the best part, jam packed full of vitamins and nutrients.

Fruits and Vegetables

On our first juicing attempt we made three different juices ending with a total of 12 juices (4 in each flavour) therefore supplying us each with a juice everyday for the next six days.

We love them so much that we want to share them with you !
If you can’t make them yourself we will have a limited supply in the studio each week for only $5

Blending Smoothies

Drink your Greens

Fresh, zingy and packed with spinach which is vitamin dense has anti-cancerous properties and is one of the healthiest foods on the planet!

  • 2 cups spinach (or kale)
  • 6 celery sticks
  • 2 large cucumbers
  • 1/2 a lemon (peel it !)
  • 3 medium apples
  • 1-2 inches of ginger
  • 1/4-1/2 cup parsley

The Detoxifier

Sweet and earthy. Beetroot is full of blood pressure reducing nutrients that fight inflammation and support detoxification.

  • 2-3 medium Beetroots
  • 6 carrots
  • 2 medium apples
  • 1/2 a lemon (peel it!)
  • 1-2 inches of ginger

The Vision

Vibrant and yummy the carrots in this are not only a great source of beta-carotene and potassium, but have also been linked to lowering cholesterol and keeping your eye health on point.

  • 8 large carrots
  • 2-3 oranges (Peel them !)
  • 1-2 inches of ginger
  • 1 inch of turmeric

Store in jam jars shake well and serve these over ice. These will keep in the fridge for 7 days.

Keep your health on FORM with some fabulous juices

Enjoy

Matthew and Brett

Healthy Winter Warmers

July 22, 2019
Healthy Vegetables Diet - FORM Fitness Pilates

BROCCOLI CAULIFLOWER SOUP WITH CASHEW CREAM

It sure doesn’t really feel like winter as we sit here in the sun writing but those mornings and evenings are definitely cooler. Its really important to get your daily dose of nutrients and this yummy creamy soup hits all the write spots.

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Vegetable Diet Tips - FORM Fitness Pilates

Today’s world everyone is juggling a busy lifestyle, and finding a balance can be difficult. One of the first aspects of our lives that suffers is our general health and well being. People always have the best intentions when it comes to diet and exercise but a lot of people tend to set unrealistic goals that are impossible to maintain.

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Enjoy Proper Cardiovascular Workout

Well we’re already in March! Can you believe it! 3 months since we opened the doors to FORM Fitness Pilates. All of our members are enjoying the studio and their commitment to their health and well being is inspiring. We’re loving everyone’s positive feedback and most of all hearing their achievements so far. No more back pain, I have more energy, I feel stronger, my clothes are getting looser and my favourite….There is a gap between my thighs!!

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Pesto Risotto with Roasted Veg and Cashew Parmesan

We discovered this recipe a few months ago and have become a bit obsessed ! We have tweaked it a little and added a little heat. When you are making this be patient with the rice and stir, stir then stir some more. This beautiful green pesto risotto is so creamy, tasty, low in fat, but full in flavour. Packed with spinach and nuts this is a truly yummy healthy alternative to all that butter and cheese in traditional Risottos. You can play with using basil and spinach, changing up the veggies or leaving out the wine.

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Pilates Reform Instructors - FORM Fitness Pilates

Hi everyone and welcome to our first blog at FORM Fitness Pilates.

We opened our doors on December 1st and now eight weeks on all is going fabulously. We’re loving the feeling of community the studio has achieved at this point and classes have a wonderful feeling of fun and positivity.

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