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jean, march 2021 client of the month

March 2021 Client of the Month

Jean has been coming to Highway 54 Pilates for 1 year now. She originally came into the studio because she had knee pain and needed help with her balance. She has participated in private and group classes in The Pilates Method and continues to inspire us with her progress! Here are her answers to our questions.

When did you start working out at Highway 54 Pilates and why?
When Covid hit, I no longer felt comfortable going to my local health club for help with strength and balance. A friend noticed I was limping and suggested Amie and Highway 54 Pilates could help. I investigated and decided I liked the Studio and felt comfortable there, so I started my journey and have enjoyed every workout since. I can tell a difference in my balance and strength when I miss a session.

Describe your workouts. How many days a week do you workout?
The Reformer classes are my favorite! I do Pilates in the Studio 3 times a week.

What is your current fitness goal?
At my age of 92, it is important to me to keep up my strength and continue to work on my balance.

What has been your biggest accomplishment?
Getting stronger and feeling better.

What helps you stay on track?
The fact that I feel better after workouts keeps me motivated.

What do you do when you’re not at the studio?
I use video tapes at home in between workouts at Highway 54 Pilates. They are not as good as what I do in the Studio.

Do you have a favorite exercise or favorite piece of equipment?
I love leg squares on the Reformer.

Describe our studio in 3 words.
Helpful, Friendly, and Accepting of Limitations

What advice would you give to someone who is thinking about starting at Highway 54 Pilates?
Go try it. You will be surprised at what you can do. Amie is such an encourager and helper and makes such a difference in the attention she gives the smallest details to make the biggest changes.

stylish dreamy black woman with afro hairstyle on blue background

What is Mindfulness?

Have you heard that Pilates is mindful exercise? Many students ask me what that means, so I thought I would write about it in today’s blog.

What is mindfulness? How do I achieve it? What will it do for me? What I learned is there are many answers to these questions.

What is mindfulness? According to Jon Kabat-Zinn, “Mindfulness is the awareness that comes from paying attention, on purpose, in the present moment, non-judgmentally.”

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Stretching with Pilates

No Shrinking!

So what can we do to slow the shrinking process?

You may slow shrinkage by taking steps that will help protect your bones and muscles. Things like consuming adequate calcium, vitamin D, and other bone-healthy nutrients; not drinking alcohol to excess; and not smoking will help! Doing weight bearing exercise and strengthening the muscles that support your spine is also very important.

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Implement the Pilates Principle of Precision in your daily Pilates time!

I want to talk about “Precision” in your movement practice. For me, precision is simply fine tuning.

Precision is the challenge of continuing to practice a movement so that each time I do it, it gets a little better and I get a little “more” out of the exercise. Precision keeps my mind occupied when I’m doing an exercise that I’ve done thousands of times. Precision is also what creates movements that are controlled and refined.

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Should I be in a more Advanced Pilates Class?

Have you seen pictures on social media of people doing Pilates exercises that you've never done in your classes? Maybe it even stopped you from trying Pilates. Joseph Pilates developed his exercise method so we can change all the exercises for what an individual needs on any day. However, all of those exercises—no matter what level—are effective and help you progress in the Pilates method!

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red and orange solar flare

What if you don’t “feel the burn”?

This week, while I was teaching, I found myself saying something more people should hear. I told my new students they would not be sore after their first class and that is OK.

Many times, when a new client starts Pilates, they mention that they took a fitness class somewhere, and they were so sore they could barely walk the next day. I reassure them and tell them they may feel some increased "muscle awareness" of muscles they have not used in a while, but Pilates should never hurt.

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The 1 piece of fitness equipment that works for everyone!

I think we could all agree that not all workouts are for every body. For example, running is not the best choice for everyone. If you have knee or hip issues, running will not feel good on your body and it's not necessarily good for it as it may exacerbate pre-existing conditions.

Another example is if you have low back problems, jumping into a fitness program that does a lot of burpees and planks may actually make your back pain worse if you are not using a suitable form. Yet if you are an elite athlete, or fairly healthy with no pre-existing conditions, this might be the perfect type of workout for you. I truly believe there is not one exercise program that is the perfect fit for everyone, although I do think there might just be a piece of equipment that effectively trains every body: the Pilates Reformer.

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Need Balance? Try Pilates Chair

When you hear Pilates Chair what do you think of? Do visions of an infomercial with come into your head? Does it sound like something elderly people would use so that they could exercise their feet while sitting in a chair? The Pilates equipment called the chair was named the chair because Joe's original design allowed you to convert this mighty piece of exercise equipment into a sitting chair when you weren't working out on it.

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Pilates It’s more than a Workout

I recently read an article all about occupational Pilates.  Never heard of it? Neither had I, but as I read the article, the name made perfect sense.

The article was specifically talking about marcia Polas a Pilates instructor who was working with bartenders and teaching them how to stand and move their bodies more efficiently so they weren’t hurting in their bodies after working all day or night.  The article then shared how she was also working with firefighters and had created a specialty niche of teaching people based on their jobs.

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Amie with Student in Private Session

A Secret to More Results in Less Time

I love small Pilates classes.

I love teaching them and I love taking them! I am a firm believer that every movement experience you have is a chance to work on your own movement practice, learn new things about your body, and keep your body healthy.

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Pilates over Fifty

Are you Thinking about Knee Replacement Surgery

Are you thinking about a knee replacement soon or maybe you’re finally fed up enough with your knee pain that you decided to get it done? Congratulations!!

As a Pilates instructor I see lots of bodies and lots of different things going on in the body. As a general rule, I’m a fan of “do everything you can first before resorting to surgery” but I’ve really changed that attitude over the years when it comes to knee replacements. I have had the opportunity to work with a lot of clients pre and post knee replacements and all of them have said something like this,” I’m so glad I did it! I can move and be active and not have pain in my knee! I wish I had done it sooner!”

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photo of woman doing yoga

Do We Do Planks?

A common question I get from clients new to Pilates is, “Are we going to be doing a lot of planks? They really hurt my wrists or my back.”

The quick, short answer is no. You do not have to be able to do a plank to practice Pilates.

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Amie Ross, owner of Highway 54 Pilates

How does a semi-private session work?

Since the pandemic - we have implemented social distancing at our studio, and to us that means we can not offer classes in our current space. We can do sessions of 3 or less and adhere to the guidelines that the CDC has put out for Pilates studios, so we wanted to go over some questions people are asking!

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KISS Principle

You have probably heard the phrase Keep it Simple. Yet when it comes to our health & wellness, our natural tendency is to think that to find pain relief, the solution must be complicated.

After years of teaching Pilates, I find the opposite is true. Effective movement and exercise that gives you results such as more strength, more flexibility, more balance in your body and less pain does not have to be complicated. In fact -- the simpler the better!

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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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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.