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Patience and Persistence

I've been teaching Pilates for a long time and in that time I have gotten to observe a lot of different people and different bodies who come to Pilates and try it. On a daily basis, I get to hear from clients about how their Pilates practice has changed their life, made them stronger, helped them get rid of pain and allows them to move better in their daily life so they can live the life they dream of. Many talk about how Pilates makes them happier and keeps their body feeling happier.

I also see lots of people who are super excited to try it, enjoy it and can really see how it could benefit their life and then give it up. So what's the key to being a Pilates success? How can you get what those happy people have, those people are feeling amazing in their body? It might be simpler than you think. The secret is patience and persistence.

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Client of the Month November 2020

Diana Schmidt has been coming to Highway 54 Pilatesfor 2 years now. She originally came into the studio because she suffered from terrible hip pain that was impacting her daily life.

After Diana’s hour commute to work each way she was stiff, in pain and had trouble walking. Amie helped her become pain free and now she can run and play with her grandkids after working all day on her feet. Diana has taken part in the Pilates – Private and Group classes, and The Gyrotonic Expansion System®. Diana continues to inspire us with her progress!

When did you start working out at Highway 54 Pilates?

I started 2 years ago this January. I was having pain in my hips and found nothing to help, also after my hour drive to work each day I was stiff and had trouble walking.

Describe your workouts. How many days a week do you work out?

I go to the morning Reformer and Springboard classes 2 to 3 times a week.

What are your current fitness goals?

My goal is to get stronger and have no pain.

What has been your biggest accomplishment?

After 2 weeks in class I had no pain!

What helps you stay on track?

I think of class like an appointment for my health. I just can’t believe how much better I feel after each class.

What do you do when you are not at the Studio?

I try to walk some, but the truth is Pilates is the only workout I do.

Do you have a favorite exercise or favorite piece of Equipment?

I think my favorite thing is when Amie throws something new at us in class. I can’t believe how much she knows and how many ways she can think of to torture us… I mean help us! 😊

Describe our Studio in 3 words.

Happy, Helpful and Healthy

What advise would you give to someone who is thinking about starting Pilates?

Stick with it.

Listen to your Body When it Whispers

There is a quote that says,” If you listen to your body when it whispers, you won’t have to hear it scream.” As a Pilates teacher, this is a lesson that I find myself trying to teach clients. People think I’m a little crazy at first when I suggest that maybe they try the “easier version” of an exercise so they can do it properly and not injure themselves. For some reason, we have this belief that just because we have done something at a harder level we are failing if we don’t do that all the time.

First of all let me say, “There is no failing in Pilates! If you have showed up, are doing the work and are paying attention to your body as you are moving- you are succeeding!” Second, one of the biggest gifts you can give yourself in your Pilates practice is learning how to pay attention to your body and adjust your movements to what your body needs and can handle.

As a teacher, I can tell you it is always one of my goals to teach clients how to listen to their own body as this is such an amazing health tool in your life!

So the next time your Pilates teacher suggests you try a different or maybe easier version of an exercise, don’t let yourself go down that negative road of saying to yourself, “I am not strong enough, I’ve gone backwards, I can’t believe I can’t do that.”

More than likely your instructor (who spends a lot of time helping people find the best movement for each body) is trying to give you a version that is best for your body that day and one that will help you continue to create balanced strength and flexibility in your body. Be nice to yourself, listen to your body (and probably your instructor too!) and see what happens!

Love the Body you have!

As a Pilates teacher I get to work with lots of different bodies that have lots of different things going on and I wouldn't have it any other way. There is nothing I love more than being able to help someone figure out how to use movement to empower their body and inspire their life. I love the challenge of putting myself in my client's body and then giving them suggestions on how they might move to most benefit their body.

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I have a Secret

I have a secret that you may not know. If you are a regular client of mine, you may have figured this out already. I think it’s OK and encourage my clients to not always give 100% in their workouts!

Let me explain. First, let me just say that I know how challenging Pilates can be. When you are giving 100% and paying attention to every little detail of your alignment, engaging your core and staying balanced, it can be intense!

When I’m teaching you, and you’re giving it everything, I can feel that work! If you work with me regularly you know there are times, I’ll “ask” for that effort more often than not and you always do your best.

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unrecognizable woman showing pain spot on back in doctor office

Have you ever had a “I slept wrong” kind of morning?

Have you ever had one of those days when you wake up and know that you slept wrong?  By slept wrong I mean you wake up to find that the muscles in your back or neck hurt and it hurts to move?

I had one of those days this week. It was an early morning for me as I had 5:30 am clients, and when my alarm went off at 4-something I immediately knew I had "slept funny". The muscles around my right shoulder blade were screaming at me and it hurt and ached when I did even a shoulder roll. I wasn't too concerned as I just assumed that it was caused from how I slept and that eventually it would go away.

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When was the last time you were coached?

I find that our male clients end up starting their Pilates practice because their wife or significant other convinces them to try it. Once they get into the studio and start practicing Pilates, they realize they enjoy the work and can feel the difference in their body.

I was checking in with a wife of one of our new to Pilates male clients this morning and she mentioned something that got me thinking about how we teach Pilates. She said he mentioned," It's been a long time since I've been coached and I'm really enjoying the instruction and coaching."

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Joseph Pilates with quote

Has it been awhile since you did Pilates?

"If you will faithfully follow the instructions, beginning with the introductory lesson, you will without a doubt acquire correct physical fitness with proper mental control.
As you progress in your self instruction, you never have anything to "unlearn". These exercises will actually become part of your very self, securely stored away forever in your subconscious mind. You who have learned correctly how to ride a bicycle, how to swim or how to drive an automobile need never worry with respect to the possibility of your failing to use the right technique in these skills.
So too the the acquirement and practice of the art and science of Contrology will instill confidence in you that will remain forever for future use. Then it is simply only a question of "re-toning" the muscles that have in the meantime become "soft" as the result of disuse."

Joseph H. Pilates, Return to Life

I love this passage taken from Joseph Pilates' book Return to Life! To me, it really speaks to the value of learning how to move your body properly versus just exercising. I am a firm believer that any movement is good movement if it is safe and you enjoy it, but at the same time, I know that by there is immense value in learning how to move your body efficiently and with an awareness of your body.

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Client of the Month for September 2020

Julie Barker has been coming to Highway 54 Pilates for 18 months. She originally came into the studio because she had plateaued with her own workout routine at the gym. She has participated in private and group classes in Pilates and is now a student instructor. Here are her answers to our questions.

When did you start working out at Highway 54 Pilates and why?

About a year and a half ago, I was in one of my Mom’s doctor’s offices and saw the Highway 54 Pilates video running on the monitor in the waiting room. I had been going to the gym but was not losing weight or gaining any more tone. In my 20s I had a very athletic friend that did Pilates, and she always talked about how it “kicked her ass.” That was intimidating to me, especially since she was a former gymnast.

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Close-up of Amie helping a student

Our Muscles Obey our Minds

I was teaching footwork to a client this morning on the reformer. I asked her to stop for a second and just pay attention to how her body and her backside felt on the reformer carriage. I then requested she put weight into her left hip and left rib cage and just notice the balance between the two sides. She did what I asked, found a balanced place, and then we started the footwork sequence again

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Do you know your Pilates Instructor well enough to say this?

As a Pilates instructor one thing I love about teaching is getting to know my clients and getting to be part of their health journey. So many of my clients have been with me for years and I think that is so amazing! As an instructor, I can tell you that like any relationship the instructor/student relationship definitely evolves and matures as clients get to know me, I get to know them and as they progress in their Pilates practice.

One of the funny things that happens as clients get to know me better is that sometimes they say the things that are going through their head during their session or class. You know, that stuff you've been thinking since your first session but just finally feel comfortable saying! Here's just a few of my favorites.

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What is the Cost of Pilates

If you are new to the Pilates Method of exercise and you are just starting to look at ways to learn and practice Pilates you might have sticker shock. It's not unusual for Pilates equipment classes to cost $45 per class.

You are probably thinking, "These people might be crazy if they expect me to pay what I normally pay for a month membership at the box gym for just one 50 minute class." Why in the world are the classes so expensive?
There are many factors that go into the price a studio charges for a class but the two major ones are the cost and upkeep of the equipment that is being used for class and the cost to train Pilates equipment instructors (in both dollars and time).

Professional Pilates instructors are not your average fitness instructor in their training and experience. Pilates Method Alliance certified instructors have a minimum of 450 hours of initial training and many comprehensive training programs require 600 to 900 hours of training. Instructors are not taught to repeat movement sequences but trained in how bodies move, how to adapt movement for various body types and conditions, and safely progress clients of varying abilities. When you take a Pilates equipment class, you are getting an individualized movement experience tailored to what your body needs. Most studios only offer small groups of 6 to 8 people maximum in a Pilates equipment class so that the method can be effectively and safely taught to everyone in class.

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Marci Watson

Have you been cheating in Virtual Pilates?

Is Pilates too easy when you do it at home? Maybe that's not Pilates, maybe it's about the effort you're putting into it!

Often when I correct a client on a particular exercise (at home or in the studio) they will respond afterwards with a, “Oh, so I was cheating.” I don’t really love the word cheating when it comes to movement because I feel like it’s such a negative word.

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A class of students on the Pilates reformer

Are you waiting until you feel like exercising?

I ran across these tips for adding more movement to your life!

You're not always going to feel like it.

Even those people who have made movement and exercise a habit in their life don't always "feel" like doing it. What happens though is when you create a habit of movement in your life the benefits outweigh the not doing it. The more you do it, the more your body remembers how good it feels when you are moving regularly.
It's easy when life gets hectic and stressful to let movement and exercise be the first thing you don't do, when you would probably feel better mentally and physically if you did something. So often you need to make yourself move, or at least get started moving.

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Donna Ditrani in Pilates Class

August 2020 Client of the Month

Donna DiTrani has been coming to Highway 54 Pilates for 4 years now. She originally started Pilates because she and her wife purchased several Pilates packages at charity auctions that Highway 54 Pilates had donated. They both felt the other one could benefit because of their aches & pains. And they are still loving their Pilates at Highway 54 Pilates all these years later. I guess they were both right.

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Class stretch on the barrel

I Will start Pilates when I’m in better shape.

Recently I had a client come back in after being away for a while. This is a client I knew well and who I knew had been battling some health complications over the years I've worked with her. When she came back in we had an honest talk about why she hadn't been back in sooner and I really appreciated what she told me.

She mentioned that she kept telling herself that she needed to get in better condition before she came in. She said it embarrassed her at how far out of shape she had gotten and honestly didn't want to disappoint me. I can tell you she's not the only one who has thought something like this or told me this.

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Amie Ross, owner of Highway 54 Pilates

The Questions People ask about our Teacher Training Program.

Have you ever wondered if you could be a Pilates teacher? And if so, why haven't you pursued it?

The number one question I get from people as they are considering becoming a Pilates teacher is: Am I physically ready to go through the program? This may be code for, "Do I need to lose weight or be better at Pilates to become a Pilates teacher?" There are absolutely no rules about where you need to be in your body and life when you start the teacher training program! If you are waiting to be at the "perfect weight and shape of your life", it probably will not happen!

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Image of heart and book

How Pilates can help your Heart

It turns out some of the most common causes of heart disease including lack of exercise, being overweight, high blood pressure and stress are things a regular Pilates practice can help you with!

Long before heart disease was a common household term Joseph Pilates was talking about the benefits of his method of exercise (which he called contrology) in terms of heart and whole body health.  In his book Return to Life, Joseph Pilates states,"Contrology exercises purify the blood in the bloodstream and whip it into instant action so the organs of the body receive the benefit of clean fresh blood carried to them by the rejuvenated bloodstream." He also stated," you should exercise every muscle in your body to improve the circulation of the blood so that the bloodstream can and will carry more and better blood to feed every fiber and tissue of your body. These exercises induce the heart to pump strong and steady."

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Becky Pilates student, and part time blogger!

What’s in a Name

Pay attention to the names of those exercises when you're in a Pilates class at the studio. Why? It may give you a clue to whether you're doing the exercise correctly.

Case in point. Me.

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It’s OK to feel awkward for your first few Pilates sessions!

Many clients come into a session and expect to do everything we teach them perfectly on the first try, then beat themselves up when they can't do it! It doesn't matter if you danced for 20 years, are an elite athlete, run marathons, lift weights, did Yoga, or if you are in the best shape of your life! If you are brand new to Pilates, you are brand new to Pilates and it will take some time to learn!

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Your neck should never hurt during Pilates!

One of the first things I tell new clients when they are starting Pilates is, "Pilates should not hurt!" If something hurts then we need to adjust the exercise in your body in a way that it can be effective and help you create balance and strength so you can continue to progress without pain.

One of the most common places people find their neck hurting is while doing an upper ab curl. This movement specifically involves lifting your head off the mat and curling toward your body as you roll to approximately the tips of your shoulder blades. This movement is fundamental in many traditional Pilates exercises, although it can be modified as needed for individual bodies.

If someone is brand new to Pilates, and they jump into a large group class without any specific training on how to do this movement properly in their body, they end up feeling like they are straining their neck and not feeling the work of the movement throughout the rest of the body.

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Stretching for flexibility

Do You Think You Need to Stretch More?

Something I hear from people when they know I own a Pilates studio is," I am so inflexible, I really need to take Yoga." It is true that that many people could use more flexibility in their bodies and a mind body practice like Yoga may help, but I find that most people don't understand the process of how to gain that flexibility. I get the impression that many people believe they need to sit around and stretch more and that would do the trick. That if they just sat on the floor with their legs in a V and leaned forward into a stretch on a regular basis that would make them more flexible (and it might help a little!)

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Aime teaching beginner Pilates

Those People Look Normal

was chatting with a client during one of her introductory private sessions and we were talking about adding some classes into her regular routine. She mentioned that she was enjoying her beginner classes and she thought she was ready to add another class per week. She also mentioned how relieved she was to see the people headed to a different class on our schedule that day were, well, normal.

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Highway 54 Pilates & More West Wichita Location

West Wichita

9099 W. Central Ave.
Highway 54 Pilates & More East Wichita Location

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Highway 54 Pilates & More East Wichita Location

East Wichita

214 S. Rock Rd.