Dude… Lose the Gut

Men, start using the natural corset you were born with: the transversus abdominis.  It’s the horizontal layer of muscle beneath your six-pack, and it can make your waist smaller. Consider Pilates as part of your regimen and increase strength, endurance, agility and power. Pilates works both your transversus abdominis (for a smaller waist) and your rectus abdominis (for bigger abs).

Is Pilates for men different than Pilates for women? Men have different physical structures than women but require the same benefits of regular exercise. Pilates has been falsely identified as a “women only” exercise. People forget that Pilates was created by a man for men.  Joseph Pilates was a hard-core German who developed the method to rehabilitate injured soldiers on the Isle of Man. The first practitioners of Pilates were soldiers, boxers, and athletes.

If your belly is rounder than it ought to be, try these lean tactics in addition to Pilates:

Eat Lean. You want a flat stomach? Watch what goes into it. We’re not suggesting that you live on alfalfa sprouts and granola. Most guys can get away with making little changes in their diet like cutting down on fatty toppings and cutting back on cheese and red meat.

Exercise Aerobically. Cycling, rowing, running, whatever — it’s your call. Anything that gets your heart pumping will burn away blubber.

Relax. When stress hits, one of the first things your body does is crank up its production of adrenaline. This causes fat cells from all over your body to release their stored fat into your bloodstream, so you can burn it and use the calories to fight or take flight.  But your stress is probably caused by your boss, your kids or the IRS, so all that newly-released fat goes unused. What happens next, experts believe, is that the fat is taken out of the bloodstream again — only this time it’s stored preferentially around your belly. So do whatever you can to de-stress. Take up a hobby that will help you unwind. Take time at some point in your day to stretch and breathe deeply.

All men will benefit from more stretching to increase mobility, core strengthening for stronger backs, and exercise that is gentle on their joints. Pilates can provide all these things as well as improve posture, flexibility and coordination.

Give us a call to schedule your first session to see how Pilates can help you!

Photos: Ryan Abel, myyogaonline

Cross Train With Pilates

There are several great reasons to add Pilates to your cross training routine.  A few:

Pilates exercises are oriented toward FUNCTIONAL FITNESS, meaning that Pilates teaches you to move more efficiently in general, thereby enhancing performance and reducing risk of injury in other activities.

Cross training adds sustaining VARIETY to your workout routine. Cross training that combines strength training with cardio is the best way to get in TIP TOP SHAPE.

The Pilates method is founded on core strength.  Pilates mat and equipment exercises strengthen not just the outer muscles of the torso, but also the deep inner stabilizing muscles of the pelvis, abdomen, and back- the core muscles.  Core strength supports the back and neck, giving us healthy posture and freeing the joints to allow a natural flexibility of the limbs. This kind of strength and flexibility training translates well into all kinds cross training activities.

Pilates develops long, lean muscles. Pilates resistance training is enough to give you functional power, help build bone, and burn more calories (because muscle is a calorie burner) AND will help you perform your weight training routine with better alignment, greater range of motion, and integrative focus.

By practicing Pilates, you’ll improve the quality of your fitness, reduce your risk for overuse injuries and improve all of your fitness endeavors.  Pilates cross trains well with anything.  But because of the extra health benefits of cardio training such as strengthening the heart and lungs, stress reduction, and increased energy levels, we suggest cross training Pilates with cardio exercises.  This is especially true if you are interested in weight loss.

Cross training is really just combining exercise types.  For beginners, cardio and strength training are best done on different days. That way you won’t wear out and your muscles get a chance to rest and repair, which is how you build strength and endurance.  It is also a good idea to alternate the exercise intensity levels in your weekly routine.  An every-other-day cardio then strength program with alternating heavy and light workouts is a good choice as people often underestimate the exertion level of Pilates and often find it too much to do a full Pilates class and cardio on the same day.  As you begin cross training, stick with alternate days or do a very light Pilates workout on a cardio day.

We are here to help you map out or maintain your cross training goals. Give us a call to schedule an appointment and see how Pilates can help improve your cross training routine.

Photo: FitnessOrlando

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