Tag Archives: core

Felicity Kendal at 67: Pilates better than botox


GH Felicity Kendal L2.jpg

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So it’s my birthday today, but there is nothing I like to do more in life than to champion the benefits of Pilates!

Today I am writing about the British actress Felicity Kendal. She has always looked amazing, and she has now revealed some of her secrets. She naturally uses Pilates as part of her routine, and she says some very intelligent and interesting things about health and beauty. So for once I will let someone else do most of the talking!

She used Botox and fillers earlier in her career to try to halt the ageing process, but last week the 67-year-old actress admitted she has now dispensed with cosmetic surgery, claiming she wants her complexion to ‘match the rest of her body’.

Miss Kendal, who shot to fame in cult BBC sitcom The Good Life in 1975, said she now prefers to use a combination of yoga, Pilates and weightlifting to help maintain her striking looks. Speaking about pressure to maintain her youthful appearance, she said: ‘There is pressure in the movie business, but I’m not in that. I haven’t done fillers or Botox for ages. There comes a point where you have to match bits of you with the other bits, otherwise you get a terribly random situation. All that is off the cards now.

‘I do a combination of yoga, Pilates, and weights. Very often I don’t feel like it, but you get to the point where you either get stiff and stop, or you keep going. And it’s so worth it, because it makes me feel good. If I don’t do it, I feel yuck, the jeans don’t fit, and I’m lacking in energy. I’m fitter and stronger now than I was 20 years ago, and I’ve never felt so good. ‘Women have become incredibly independent. We’ve really come a long way in almost every walk of life in the past 30 years, and society is more equal now. But we’ve still got this hang-up about what women look like. I do it myself. There is still an obsession with women’s looks, and that’s never going to go, but we could be a little more generous.’

As well as appearing as Barbara Good alongside actor Richard Briers in BBC hit The Good Life, which ran between 1975 and 1978, Miss Kendal has made numerous stage appearances. She also starred in the 2010 series of Strictly Come Dancing where she impressed viewers with her athletic dance routines.

Talking about her approach to staying healthy, she added: ‘My pleasure is a glass of red wine… maybe two. After that, I can’t remember! But I don’t believe in guilt. I used to feel guilty: I should do more exercise, I shouldn’t do this, I should do that… But now I just think, this is who I am, and give into it. There’s a liberation in that. At my age, women get to a point where we don’t make decisions to impress somebody else, but to please ourselves. Like when I got my tattoo four years ago. It was the opposite of trying to be younger and ‘with it’, it was about celebrating the fact you’re not young anymore, so you know what you want to do. It’s something I did totally for myself.’

Chris is an international Pilates and functional training presenter and educator based in London and Barcelona, Spain. He is the creator of Pilates EVO©, bodyFUNC©, and CEO of Pilates Rehab Limited and Sport Core Strength.  He also created Pilates Carnival and Fitness Carnival, conventions where all profits go to local children’s charities. He organises fitness holidays and sports holidays in Barcelona, as well as retreats. For more information about training with Chris in Barcelona, please click on Barcelona Bienestar. To learn more about Chris, please read Just who is Chris Hunt anyway? You can also subscribe by completing the form on the this BLOG to receive articles and special offers straight to your inbox.

Chris pays all profits made from this BLOG to his charity partners. More details can be found by clicking on www.chrishuntwellness.com and selecting the “charity partners” tab.

Sugar Ray and Pilates for the over 50’s

Sugar Ray Leonard

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Anyone who reads my blogs regularly will know that there is nothing I love more than a good Pilates story about men doing Pilates. One of my aims in life is to get more men doing Pilates, to convince more men of the benefits of Pilates, and to dispel the myth that still perpetuates that Pilates is only for girls.

So what better example than one of the most famous boxers alive today?

Sugar Ray Leonard, the five-world champion, is now 57, but he needs to exercise and eat like a champ. He still describes himself as “vain” and still a “disciplined athlete,” which is a combination that inspires him to exercise and practice moderation in all things. Health and fitness after 50 he says is about attitude, fortitude and being realistic about what your body can do. His advice? “Check your ego at the door” and “use what you can.” This is an excellent attitude for the over 50’s. It’s about balance. Sugar Ray again speaks wisdom when he says “People say ‘Oh God, I can’t do anything, also, they try to maintain what they were doing when they were 20 or 30”.

As a professional boxer, Leonard’s typical workout consisted of a 5-mile run, hundreds of sit-ups and push-ups and hours pounding bags at the gym. Today, he recommends an age-appropriate variation on that intense training: a half-hour on an elliptical machine because it’s easier on the knees, combined with bicep curls and 10 to 20 squats, sit-ups and push-ups.  But back trouble, arthritic knees and a torn rotator cuff signal the wear and tear of aging. Two years ago, he experienced pain and tingling in his back, arm and chest. He was told that he had an issue with his back because of all the punching he did.

To address this, he started Pilates. Did he find it hard? “(Bleep) yeah! I said, ‘I can’t do this’ — because I turned 50, and I hadn’t used those kind of muscles. I’d been a fighter like this for 40 years. So, now I look in the mirror and straighten it up … and I incorporate all those (exercises) into my training.”

So like many people, Sugar Ray came to Pilates because of an issue with his body. It’s a shame he didn’t know about Pilates all those years ago because it would’ve no doubt helped to improve his performance and condition. I work with many athletes via my business www.sportcorestrength.com and the improvements that even an Olympic athlete can make are nothing short of astounding.

But the moral of my story is that it is never too late. In his own words “It’s all about dreaming. If you don’t dream, you get old. You have to dream.”

If you want more information about Pilates for sport, rehabilitation or anything else, then please contact me via my website, Facebook or the form below.

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.

 

Vanessa Hudgens: Does Pilates create a flat stomach?

Chris Hunt Wellness

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Pilates brings many benefits, most people know that. In my experience most people come to Pilates because they have an existing issue with their body that they want to rehabilitate from, they want to improve performance and quality of life (especially in a sporting sense), or because they want to change their body shape.

Pilates can achieve all these things. But I think it is always vital that clients understand exactly what Pilates is and exactly how it achieves what it does.

I am often asked the question, “will Pilates give me a flat stomach?” To help answer this question, I will use the example of Vanessa Hudgens, as she is a Pilates fan and is regularly complemented for her great figure. She was pictured this week leaving a Pilates studio in LA.

First of all, if you are not familiar with Vanessa, she is a 25-year-old American actress and singer. She rose to prominence playing Gabriella Montez in the High School Musical series and has also appeared in various films and television series for the Disney Channel.

So, back to the question, will Pilates give you a flat stomach? The simple answer is it will help for sure if it is done properly, as the abdominal muscles are trained as part of the holistic exercise system. But, and it is a big but, exercise alone is not enough. I like the saying that flat abs (or even a six-pack) is creates 20% in the gym and 80% in the kitchen. It’s an obvious fact that we all have a six-pack, of course some are genetically blessed with a head-start, but we all have one! The problem is some people’s six-packs are a little shy, they like to hide behind a layer of fat! This is why diet is vital.

I think it is important not to simply equate a stronger core with a flatter stomach. For most people, flatter abs means weight loss as well as exercise. I do not think that Pilates teachers should advertise Pilates simply to get flat abs, as this demeans the whole system. It makes me very angry when I see headlines like “5 Pilates exercises to get a six-pack”. What we should be saying is that Pilates is a holistic system that will make your body stronger, more flexible and healthier. A nice side-effect of this is often a slimmer more toned body and in turn a flatter stomach, something that is also helped by the improvement in posture that Pilates will bring. If most people simply learn and are able to stand up straight in a neutral position, then hey presto their stomach will often flatten.

Also, Pilates is about how to use your body and body awareness. This is what I really stress through NLP and mindfulness when I am teaching my system, Pilates EVO. Pilates can give you swagger!

Something that many gym goers are unaware of is that the abs should also be flexible. It’s a dangerous myth that to be strong and look good muscles should be tight. Nonsense. Every muscle needs flexibility. If we have no flexibility and balance in our bodies then eventually our bodies will break-down, often not in the area of the inflexibility.

As always, if you want more advice on anything Pilates, or about how exercise and diet can help change your figure, then please drop me a line via my website, Facebook or the form below.

 

Beyonce & Paul McCartney are Pilates buddies!

B&P

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It doesn’t get any more celebrity than this, Beyoncé and Sir Paul McCartney doing Pilates together!

Regular readers of my blog will know that as well as more serious articles about Pilates, I also write about famous Pilatistas. My opinion is that anything that raises awareness of Pilates can only be a good thing. In today’s culture, it’s a fact that many people associate themselves with celebrities. It’s not my place to argue the rights of wrongs of this, I just accept it as a fact, and if just one person tries Pilates because of one of my blogs, then I consider this to be a success. If you want a technical Pilates discussion then please click on the link above to my website or my Facebook link below and let’s chat…

So back to Beyoncé and Sir Paul McCartney. The two music legends were staying in the same hotel, the Four Seasons, during the Coachella Music and Arts Festival in California.

The famous pair were seen going through their paces at an LA gym, according to the UK press. It’s reported that they hit the treadmills and after some cardio, Macca, 71, and Beyonce, 32, did some Pilates before heading off for a run.

Celebrity gossip aside, this Pilates pairing shows the world exactly how great Pilates can be. Yes, men and women do it! Yes, old and young do it! Yes, you can do Pilates with a friend because it can be done at many different levels as it is possible to modify the movements to make them appropriate for all levels of ability.

It is clear to the world what amazing condition Beyoncé is in, and it is a good job Sir Paul is staying in good physical shape at his age after he added six more dates to the North American leg of his Out There Tour.

Celebrities, love them or hate them, they do sometimes show the world the possibilities when it comes to using Pilates. For that, I thank them.

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Pilates for the over 60’s? Susan Lucci swears by it

 

susan-lucci-1_thumb

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As all Pilates trainers know, there really is no age limit to practising Pilates and the continued benefits it can bring.

A great example of this is Susan Lucci, A household name in the US thanks to a very successful career in TV , the sixty-seven year-old is still looking amazing.

During a conversation about the second season of the TV series “Devious Maids,” Lucci revealed her tips for staying slim, happy and healthy. Her biggest secrets? Hot water with lemon, and Pilates of course.

“Everything I do is Pilates-based, which is dancer strength training. I didn’t want to bulk up. I’m very petite, so Pilates is what dancers use and that was good for me,” Lucci said. “I try to combine some cardio, too, and whatever I’m doing, it’s all about the core and flexibility and balance.”

Susan was born in December 23, 1946, and is an American actress, television host, author and entrepreneur, best known for portraying Erica Kane on the ABC daytime series drama All My Children. Lucci has been called “Daytime’s Leading Lady” by with New York Times and Los Angeles Times citing her as the highest-paid actor in daytime television. As early as 1991, her salary had been reported as over $1 million a year.

Pilates is generally appropriate for senior fitness, and it is gaining popularity among senior citizens. The ability to modify the exercises to meet differing needs, along with the many benefits of Pilates, such as increased levels of strength, balance, flexibility, muscle tone, stamina, and well being, make Pilates an ideal senior exercise program. After all, Joseph Pilates practiced his method into his eighties. There are specific programs for the over 60s including my Pilates EVO Forever Young.

So if you are thinking that you are too old to start Pilates, then please think again. You are seriously never too old. Find a good qualified instructor (if you need any help with that then please get in touch) and get started right away. It will not take long for you to notice the benefits.

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Pilates EVO: The Past is Dead

The Past is Dead

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Since its birth around 100 years ago, the Pilates method has been modified and arguably made more effective by some distinguished presenters, but diluted and the basic principles largely ignored by less scrupulous teachers.

Pilates EVO© (EVO is an abbreviation of evolution) is like no other Pilates class you have ever been to. Developed by Chris Hunt Pilates in London, it takes Pilates in a new and exciting direction incorporating more functional training methods and movement patterns, whilst staying true to traditional Pilates principles.

Pilates EVO© expands the mind and body element of Pilates by incorporating Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) and Mindfulness Meditation techniques to maximise the psychological and physical benefits, improving concentration and making clients emotionally, mentally and spiritually fitter. It improves motor fitness such as agility, balance, speed, co-ordination, reaction time and power. Pilates EVO© also draws on the thousands of years of teachings from Kundalini yoga and meridian stretches to enhance the overall experience.

It has more flow and movement with sequences of moves made up from the sacred numbers 3, 7 and 21, and it uses unique, uplifting soundtracks mixed in London by DJ Shameless to enable clients to really connect with how their body is moving and working, giving a far deeper and rewarding experience. Most moves have different levels progressing muscular fitness using repetitions, range of motion, rate and resistance. This creates a system that will remain challenging to a wide range of training goals from elite athletes, people seeking everyday fitness, to clients rehabilitating following accident or injury.

This system increases muscular strength and endurance as well as flexibility, and helps prevent injury and improve performance with movements that are applicable to life and sport.

Pilates EVO© is more than an exercise system, it is a way of life. A way to maximise your potential physically, mentally and emotionally.

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Pilates helps Boston bombing survivors

CelesteSideKick3-11

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Pilates means many different things to different people. It changed my life by helping me to recover from a serious back condition, and for that reason I will always be passionate about it. As I tell me Pilates EVO students, I want teachers who teach from their heart because they believe in the system, not those who teach from their bank balance.

Pilates has helped to change many people’s lives, and this week it was reported that Celeste Corcoran is using Pilates to change her everyday life.  She is getting free Pilates sessions three times a week.

If you are not familiar with the name, Celeste and her daughter Sydney are survivors of the Boston Marathon bombings. In addition to having both legs amputated (one above the knee and one below), Celeste also had both ear drums blown out. Sydney, a freshman at Merrimack College in Andover, severed her femoral artery and nearly bled to death. While both women are healing, there’s still a lot of work to be done.

Celeste has new prosthetics, but she needed a lot of strength both physically and mentally to move on with her life. About Pilates, she says “This is absolutely what I need in order to be strong and walk comfortably and to have my balance,” Celeste says. “Because my legs were taken away, there are muscles that I hadn’t used before. I wasn’t in the greatest shape. I noticed a difference almost immediately in my balance, like just standing. I believe that it’s absolutely because of Pilates.”

Pilates is the perfect rehabilitation technique because it not only gives many benefits including strength and flexibility, but it also teaches body control and muscle movement. In a rehabilitation scenario it can help to give people back control of their bodies and their lives. As it is not simply a hands-on method, it also gives people responsibility for their own rehabilitation. Whilst this may sound grandiose, I have experienced it first hand working with many clients via my organisation Pilates Rehab Limited so it is not inflated rhetoric.

I am always stressing the body control aspect of Pilates to my students as it saddens me to see some Pilates methods and teachers neglecting this crucial area. In my system Pilates EVO I use NLP and mindfulness meditation techniques to really enhance the mind and body experience for both the teacher and the student.

Pilates is not only celebrity pictures. It is a very real system that is changing the lives of millions of people around the world. I am very proud to be a small part of this global phenomenon and I will be forever grateful for the change in my life that Pilates bought about.

If you want any more information about Pilates, Pilates EVO or Pilates Rehab then please get in touch.

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Kelly Smith: Pilates extends football career

Kelly Smith

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As a Pilates presenter, my different Pilates businesses work with a range of people, from those rehabilitating following serious injury (www.pilatesrehab.co.uk), to elite sportsmen and women trying to gain that sporting edge (www.sportcorestrength.com).

Footballers have long used Pilates and core training to help them improve their game and reduce the risk of injury. Players like David Beckham and Ryan Giggs are well documented Pilates fans.

Last week Kelly Smith, a footballer for England and Arsenal in London, confirmed that she is using Pilates to prolong her playing career. Smith, 35, has an eye on the World Cup in Canada in the summer of next year, which she believes could see an explosion in the women’s game.

“At my age it takes a lot longer to recover after games, three or four days, when it used to be one or two,” she said.

“About 18 months ago I took up Pilates off my own back and that has really helped. “I go once or twice a week and it keeps me supple and fresh. With the BBC taking up the rights to the Women’s World Cup in 2015, giving the public access to it, it should give a huge lift to the game and see people start going to matches or supporting a team. I’d love to be there, so I’ll be pushing to make the squad.”

Smith has scored 46 appearances in 115 appearances for England.

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If you would like more information about using Pilates for football or soccer teams, then click on www.footballcorestrength.com or please contact me on my website above or via Facebook (please see link below).

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Model Karena Graham wants to teach Pilates

Karena Graham Miss Irish Sun 2010

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It was reported this week in Ireland that Karena Graham is ready to wave goodbye to modelling and wants to move to LA for a major career change.

The 27-year-old model has decided that after 13 years behind the camera, she was to live in Hollywood and become a personal trainer. The Dublin-based model is also taking on a course to become a qualified Pilates instructor.

“I’ve had an offer to learn how to teach, so to get a job in Pilates when I land in LA would be ideal because working in that arena is what I really want to do,” she said.

“It’s a weird one, but I’m obsessed with fitness, and California is the ideal place to work in that area,” she said.

“I’ve been visiting LA for years and it’s just very me, it’s casual and chilled and I can wear my gym gear all day if I want to.”

About modelling, Karena says “It’s a great job and I’ll do it as long as I can here, but over in the US I want to focus on different things and I do want to get away from it in a sense.”

So welcome Karena to the Pilates family.

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Prince George will keep Pilates in the family

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The latest picture of Prince George and you can really see how much love there is between him and the family dog Lupo. I think he will make a good King. The future of the Royal Family looks bright! :)

And I am sure that his mum will introduce him to Pilates as soon as he is old enough as Kate is such a big fan, as is her sister Pippa. Kate attended 3 Pilates classes a week whilst she was pregnant with George in Fulham, London, and she is also reported to like using dumbells and a Swiss ball for an hour every morning as part of her regular gym workout.

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