Tag Archives: healthy living

Health Retreats Barcelona are in fashion

health retreats barcelona

Health Retreats Barcelona are in fashion

Recent surveys show that more and more people are choosing a healthy holiday

The Great British Public are, finally, changing their holiday habits. New research we are studying at Barcelona Bienestar, a health, fitness and sport holiday business based in Catalunya, shows that the number of British people planning a fitness holiday has doubled in the past year, with around one in two people considering an activity-based break as opposed to the traditional ‘fly and flop’ vacation.

The survey found that one in the three people wanted to ‘tone up’ whilst on holiday and a quarter of people surveyed said they would like to lose weight. In contrast, only one out of twenty people said they would want to go on a group drinking holiday. Separate research by a travel company found that staying active while on vacation is now important for 82 percent of people.

Most popular activiites included Pilates, yoga, boot camp, walking and cycling.

More and more people are saying no thanks to over indulging on holiday, and instead they are choosing much healthier pursuits. It’s way too early to think that this could be the demise of the boozy Brits abroad stereotype, but it is a very positive step in the right direction.

health retreats barcelona

At Barcelona Bienestar fitness, sport and wellbeing holidays in Barcelona and Ibiza, we give people the chance to get away from their normal life with all the associated stresses and strains on a health retreat Barcelona, and spend quality time in beautiful locations whilst also refreshing their body and mind. We have a wide range of holidays. On our detox, yoga and meditation retreats, clients immerse themselves into programs designed to make mind and body healthier. Our fitness holidays feature many different activities in both personal training and group training, such as boot camp, Pilates, boxing, HIIT and TRX. These are designed for all levels of fitness, and we work closely with you to achieve all your goals. We also offer sport holidays where you can try new sports such as SUP, surfing, snowboarding, beach volleyball, cycling, hiking, golf, kite surfing and many more.

All of our fitness professionals you will meet on Health Retreat Barcelona are fully qualified in everything they teach. Most countries are not as regulated as the UK when it comes to fitness and health instruction, so be careful when abroad. You can trust Health Retreat Barcelona with you health and fitness.

Health Retreats Barcelona can be designed to meet all requirements, so for example you can have a mixture of fitness sessions and trying different sports. Also do not forget that you are on holiday in beautiful locations, so the full holiday experience can also include day trips, city tours, time to relax on beautiful beaches, and also entry to the best restaurants and clubs.

The attitude that a holiday should be over-indulging and going over the top are long gone. We know that you can return from a holiday feeling refreshed, fitter, healthier and having tried and learnt new training techniques and sports. You can also have a personally designed health and fitness plan to continue to follow.

Kelly Brook: Pilates or bust?

Kelly Brook Pilates Chris Hunt Pilates

www.chrishuntpilates.com

Kelly Brook: Pilates or bust?

I have explained before that I am not obsessed with celebrity. Honestly. I have never bought Hello Magazine. What I am obsessed with is Pilates. And whilst not every one agrees, it’s my opinion that if someone starts Pilates because their friend, neighbour, sporting hero or favourite celebrity does Pilates, then why not?

I’ve had comments about glamorising Pilates, about how privileged celebrities are, about creating false hope, even about living on a different planet. But I am sure that I live on planet Earth (most of the time) and so whilst I always respect everyone’s opinion, it is my humble opinion that these people are missing the point of my posts and they are taking everything a little too seriously. All I am doing is raising the awareness of Pilates. If you do not or can not understand that, then it is your choice not to read my blog today! :)

Kelly Brook knows how to manipulate the media, but there is no doubting her committment to her Pilates practise. The British model and actress knows a thing or two as well about taking a selfie that accentuates her figure and maximises exposure.

So Pilates is in the news again thanks to Kelly and her camera angle.

Chris Hunt 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 Pilates events, retreats, fitness holidays and sports holidays in Barcelona and Ibiza. For more information about training with Chris in Barcelona, please click on Barcelona Bienestar. To learn more about Chris Hunt, 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 Hunt 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.

 

Fifty Shades of Grey: Dakota Johnson, sex and Pilates

fifty shades of grey Chris Hunt Pilates

Fifty Shades of Grey: Dakota Johnson, sex and Pilates

With little over two months until Fifty Shades Of Grey hits cinemas, Dakota Johnson is keeping up with her fitness regime while she can. The actress, who will be hitting the road on promotional duties for the raunchy flick very soon, was seen leaving a Pilates class in West Hollywood last Friday.

This is going to be a massive movie event of 2015 whether we like it or not, but irrespective of the soft-porn appeal of this movie, it is another opportunity for members of the public to see a celebrity who uses Pilates as part of her fitness regime.

The daughter of Melanie Griffith and Don Johnson stars as Anastasia Steele in the bestselling erotic book turned movie with Jamie Dornan, who plays the title character Christian Grey. The film, which is directed by Sam Taylor-Johnson, will be released on Valentine’s Day. How very romantic…

The film’s trailer topped at 93 million Youtube views, besting the new Star Wars: Episode VII teaser, which placed at the second spot with 81 million views. So there is clearly a demand for some excitement in the lives of many people.

This book (which I have not read myself) is the talk of the town, including here in Barcelona. It really seems to have grabbed the attention and interest of many people across the world. I am often asked by people attending one of my Pilates, sport and fitness holidays in Barcelona and Ibiza about the benefits of Pilates and exercise on sexual performance. Maybe I should create a Sex Retreat on the Barcelona Bienestar calendar for 2015!

It is also a topic that I speak about during my PilatesEVO educations around the world.

This is not the first time I have blogged about Pilates and sex. I’d like you to read my previous article “Sex and Pilates, but Mostly Sex” because this sets out my opinion about the possible links between the two. Many people I have spoken to are convinced that regular Pilates has improved their sexual performance, so I am interested to know your opinions.

I am fully aware that some of you reading this will be rolling your rolls and itching to start deriding this article accusing me of glamorising Pilates and cheapening our beloved system for the sake of a few hits on my blog. To you I say this. Firstly all profits of this blog go to charity so I hope I do get lots of clicks. Secondly, as I have said many times before, the aim of this blog is to publicise Pilates and get more people reading about it, understanding it and ultimately doing it. If more people are aware of Pilates, even if it is on the back of a soft-porn film, then I really cannot see that can do any harm.

Many people in your studio, many of your clients will be talking about Fifty Shades of Grey in the coming months. As long as we base our comments in fact and reality, why not use this to further promote what we do and the benefits it can bring?

Chris Hunt 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 Pilates events, retreats, fitness holidays and sports holidays in Barcelona and Ibiza. For more information about training with Chris in Barcelona, please click on Barcelona Bienestar. To learn more about Chris Hunt, 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 Hunt 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.

Pilates and Weight Loss: Maria Menounos

Chris Hunt Pilates Maria Menounos

www.chrishuntwellness.com

Another Monday morning. I always remember the quote “It’s not Mondays that are rubbish, it’s your life that sucks” and that makes me smile as another week begins.

In my article today, I want us (us being the operative word) to talk about Pilates (of course) and also those emotive words diet and weight-loss. Today I would like to know your interest in and experiences about your client’s eating habits and how in your opinion this affects their Pilates practice and the progress that they make.

Diet is of course only one aspect of wellness, but of course it is a very important one. I talked about the outrageous and often false claims that some people make in my previous articles “Vanessa Hudgens: Does Pilates create a flat stomach?” and “Bikini-body using Pilates: Jennifer Hawkins knows better”. I also talked about diet in my article “Demi Moore: Pilates and you are what you eat” so please if you have time read those articles in conjunction with this one.

One of the things that prompted my article today is that I was reading over the weekend about Maria Menounos, so I want us to use her example as a reason to debate exercise and diet. If you have never heard of Maria, she is something of a star now in the diet and weight loss arena. She credits the Mediterranean diet and a combination of Pilates and fitness workouts for her quite stunning 40-pound weight loss. She wrote the inevitable book about her achievements.

The Everygirl Diet: The Cheaper, Smarter, Simpler Way to Better Health

I am very sceptical about “quick-fixes” and miracle diets, and Maria did lose a lot of weight in a relatively short period of time, but it seems that she did it in the right way and in a sustainable way. She is Greek and followed the Mediterranean diet, which emphasizes healthy fats such as olive oil, salmon and avocados, high-quality animal proteins, vegetables, fruits, beans, nuts, and seeds. She says that she was raised in a strict low-sugar diet as a child because her dad had type 1 diabetes, so when she went to college, she went overboard indulging all her junk-food cravings.

Tired of being overweight, Maria completely overhauled her diet and began exercising during her early 20s. Within a year, she lost 40 pounds and slimmed down to a size 4. The 5-foot-8 Maria now weighs about 125 pounds. She has maintained an active, health-conscious lifestyle ever since. For exercise, Maria tries to walk 10,000 steps (about five miles) every day and she also runs on the treadmill, takes spinning classes, jumps role, plays basketball, and does Pilates and Krav Maga workouts.

It is my opinion that simple logic dictates that our clients will not make as much progress if they take Pilates in isolation, but how much responsibility do you feel about other aspects of your client’s health and wellness? I talked about what I call “total fitness” is my article “Exercise is only one part of Total Fitness” so today I welcome your thoughts and comments about how you approach other aspects of health and wellness, or if you see you role as purely a Pilates teacher. I appreciate that most of us are not qualified in nutrition so for those who are not, how do you try to approach this topic, if at all? For those of you who are qualified, how open do you find your clients to advice about what they eat?

Monday’s aren’t rubbish. And I am sure that this debate today will make this particular Monday an interesting one.

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.

 

Sex and Pilates. But mostly Sex.

Kelly Brook Chris Hunt Pilates

www.chrishuntwellness.com

Sex sells. It’s reputably the oldest form of employment and it sells big time.

So when model Kelly Brook, a long-time proponent of Pilates, yoga and dance, gives an interview and says that her sex life have been improved by exercises including Pilates, it get attention and sells magazines.

A simple Google search on “Pilates and sex” pulls up over 2,720,000 results with blogs, forums and tutorials touting how Pilates leads to better sex ranging from “Relight the fire in your relationship by doing Pilates with your Partner” to “The Secret Ingredients Of How to Have Better Sex Doesn’t Come From A Cake Recipe,” “10 Reasons Men Should Try Pilates”, and even eHow offering five-part instructions on “How to Have Better Sex Using Pilates”

Hhhhmmmm. If you know me, then you will know that I am very sceptical about headlines that promise “flat abs using 5 Pilates exercises” or “beach body using Pilates for 10 minutes a day”. So when it comes to “how to have better sex using Pilates” I feel the need for a Pilates community discussion.

There are two sides to every story, and this story also has two sides, men and women. So before I deal with what could be reasons why Pilates is a benefit for sexual performance, I want to consider a more light-hearted look at the differences between Venus and Mars.

Men
As my previous blogs “You do Pilates? Are you gay?” and “Men do Pilates! Ask Dwayne Allen” have tried to highlight, there are in my opinion not enough men doing Pilates. So if the promise of greater prowess in bed does tempt a few more men to try our beloved system, then I’m all for that.

I want to use the example of, err, a friend of mine, Not me you understand, no, definitely not me. A friend. Let’s call this friend, err, Christian. Not Chris, and not his real name you understand. And definitely not me…. So I was talking to Christian about the effect of Pilates on his sex life as he is a Pilates trainer /educator and has been doing Pilates for over 20 years. In his opinion, there does come a sense of greater control but it is not clear exactly what the balance is between the physical and the psychosomatic effects. I should point out that I have not spoken to any of Christian’s former girlfriends, so I have no evidence to prove or disprove this, and if any of them are reading this blog, before posting any derogatory comments Christian has asked me to point out that the night you are talking about he had drunk too much, ok?!

As Rachel in Episode 4.01 of Friends tells Ross in no uncertain terms,Just so you know, it’s not that common, it doesn’t happen to every guy, and it is a big deal!” (Yes I know, they were on a break. Or were they?) Society puts great pressure on male sexual performance as shown by Rachel and the sales of associated drugs, yet very few men connect their sexual function with the health, strength, and general well-being of the rest of their body. In keeping with the general attitude of society nowadays, many people prefer to rush to the chemist for a quick medical solution to any issue they have, and impotence and poor sexual control is no different. I have read the slogan “work hard, train hard, be hard!” Really? It sounds a little like one of those Les Mills’ call to arms, but in my opinion it gives the wrong message. I have head men talk about how their fitness has made them god-like in bed, but I suspect that it’s only their ego’s that have taken on biblical proportions rather than their sexual performance.

Most experts will tell you that probably stress is the number one dysfunction cause, and any benefits men get in bed from training hard is more likely to be in reduced levels of stress and increased self-esteem.

Women

Researching this topic has taken me to places that I never thought I would go on the internet, dark places that I never knew even existed. But in summary, there are very conflicting opinions about the effects of Pilates. One enthusiastic blogger wrote that  “I think the difference needs to be noted between being a better lover & having better orgasms. Not the same thing at all…You can tone your pelvic floor & have better orgasms through either yoga  or through Pilates, but you can still be lousy in bed.” That’s difficult to argue with. Another wrote “My friends who have borne children swear by Pilates for restoration.  And I’ve known more than one over-50 woman who found it very helpful for bladder difficulties. So yeah, I think there’s something to this,”

But my favourite has to be “Pilates teaches women how to fine-tune pressure of the vagina, including the g-spot, against a penis by articulating the pelvis forward and back. This allows a woman to control pressure against her clitoris. A woman with these two skills can give herself and her partner mind-blowing powerful orgasms”. And a hush falls over the room….

I would welcome the opinions of some of my female Pilates colleagues as to the veracity of such statements, but it seems to be a rather bold if not vivid claim to me.

So, getting back to the real world, what could possibly be the factors that might help influence sexual performance? Here is a list I have compiled from my research, but I want you all to add you points, opinions and comments. Remember, this is a “big” debate (if anyone gets that smutty school-yard joke, then please explain it to anyone near you who does not).

1. Pilates increases physical stamina
A key element to Pilates is muscle control. The slow performance of a Pilates movement (I don’t have the time or energy right now to talk about the Pilates systems out there that involve quick movements. I am writing a blog about that, but for now suffice it to say that in my opinion they are simply not Pilates) means that the emphasis should be on the technique.

So, number 1, it could be argued that Pilates gives strength and stamina during sexual activity allowing for a longer, more intimate experience?

2. Your body is your exercise equipment.
Unlike working out with machines at the gym, in Pilates you are using your own body weight to perform the exercises. Because sexual activity often requires the use and sometimes support of own body weight, you will be able to enjoy yourself without any physical discomfort and will not become easily fatigued.

Pilates is certainly functional training, but I had never thought about it being functional training for sex before. Thoughts?

3. Pilates teaches you to be fully present.
Now I am liking this one more. I am always stressing this element of Pilates in the teaching of my system Pilates EVO. There is no doubt that being fully present or “in the moment” enhances our life experiences. By doing regular Pilates, we can learn focus and concentration.

So claim number 3 is that Pilates trains your body and mind to be totally present. This will carry into the bedroom, enabling you to be totally present with your partner for a more intimate and enjoyable experience. As Paolo Coelho says in his book Brida, sex should involve all the senses at the same time.

4. Greater flexibility means more creativity.
Whilst trying to get out of my head images of the Karma Sutra, it is of course true that Pilates gives more muscle flexibility and improves the health of joints.

So number 4 is that Pilates allows you to get into positions you previously thought to be impossible. It also increases back and hip flexibility, eliminating the back pain some people suffer from during sex.

5. Increase blood flow equals more intense orgasms.
Moving onto a slightly more contentious topic, it is said that Pilates brings increased blood flow to the pelvic area.

So claim number 5 is that this continuous rush of fresh blood and oxygen to the sexual organs results in an increase in libido and more intense orgasms.

6. Pilates reduces your stress level
Safe ground at last, and one that I suspect very few will dispute. As I have already mentioned, the most common cause of sexual dysfunction is stress. Pilates breathing teaches breath control, and this method of breathing not only increases physical health, but it also reduces blood pressure and triggers a relaxation response in the brain.

Claim number 6 is that Pilates = less stress which = more sex.

7. Pilates gives increased self-confidence
The vast majority of my clients have told me that they experience increased self-esteem from their Pilates practise. It’s a logical leap that greater physical confidence carries over into the bedroom, and that the removal of negative self-conscious thoughts about your body might improve your performance.

So claim number 7 is that Pilates teaches you to love your body and this allows you to be less worried about body image and have more fun.

8. Pilates enables you to have great sex into later life
Last one (phew), and it can be argued a bit of a mixture of the ones above. It is said that sexual dysfunction can increase with age in both men and women.  Pilates focuses on the deep muscles of the abdomen and the pelvic floor, strengthening the muscles that support your internal organs.

So our last claim, numero 8, is that increased overall muscle strength, greater flexibility, healthy joints and greater self-confidence means that Pilates contributes to a great sex life well into your golden years.

If you are still reading, and haven’t rushed screaming from the room looking for your little Black Book (sorry, showing my age there, I mean scrolling though your SnapChat contacts) so you can call your previous sexual partners to check on your performance, then I really want your opinions.

Some of the benefits of Pilates (and physical exercise in general) will have fairly obvious benefits for life in general and sexual performance, but as an exercise system, can we really claim that Pilates has greater benefits than most other systems?

I am very interested to hear your thoughts so please share this article with as many Pilates people as you can. But maybe not your ex because their opinion may be a little biased.

Chris is an international Pilates presenter and educator based in Barcelona, Spain. He is the creator of Pilates EVO©, bodyFUNC©, and CEO of Pilates Rehab Limited and Sport Core Strength.  He also organises Pilates Carnival and Fitness Carnival, conventions where all profits go to local children’s charities. For more information about Pilates with Chris in Barcelona, please click on Barcelona Bienestar. To learn more about Chris, please read Just who is Chris Hunt anyway?

Chris pays 50% of any money made from this BLOG to his charity partners. More details can be found by clicking on www.chrishuntwellness and selecting the “charity partners” tab.

 

Barcelona: A runner’s dream

The Streets 1

www.chrishuntwellness.com

“I see drawings and pictures in the dirtiest of corners”: Van Gogh

Everytime I run around Barcelona, it gives me so many photo opportunities. For such a small city, it’s jam-packed with beauty.

Chris is an international Pilates presenter and educator based in Barcelona, Spain. He is the creator of Pilates EVO©, bodyFUNC©, and CEO of Pilates Rehab Limited and Sport Core Strength.  He also organises Pilates Carnival and Fitness Carnival, conventions where all profits go to local children’s charities. For more information about Pilates with Chris in Barcelona, please click on Barcelona Bienestar. To learn more about Chris, please read Just who is Chris Hunt anyway?

 

 

Free Pilates Session: The more we give, the more we recieve

Chris Hunt Pilates

You want a free Pilates session with Chris Hunt? Tweet “I want Chris Hunt Pilates” with the hashtags #chp, #pilates and #barcelona and you can win!

www.chrishuntwellness.com

I talk a lot about being Buddhist and about giving. In these times of austerity, maybe we do not have as much money to give away, but no matter what our financial situation, we can always give away our time and our expertise. And I have absolutely no doubt that the more we give, the more we receive.

So, as I am someone who practises what I preach, I will be giving away a free Pilates session with me every week. You can have the session in person if you are in Barcelona, we can arrange to meet if I will be travelling to your country soon, or you can have the session online.

All you have to do is follow me on twitter www.twitter.com/thechrishunt and tweet “I want Chris Hunt Pilates” with the hashtags #chp, #pilates and #Barcelona. Simple.  You can enter each week as many times as you want to and I will announce the winner every Friday. So good luck, and I hope to see you soon for a private Pilates session!

Chris is an international Pilates presenter and educator based in Barcelona, Spain. He is the creator of Pilates EVO©, bodyFUNC©, and CEO of Pilates Rehab Limited and Sport Core Strength.  He also organises Pilates Carnival and Fitness Carnival, conventions where all profits go to local children’s charities. For more information about Pilates with Chris in Barcelona, please click on Barcelona Bienestar. To learn more about Chris, please read Just who is Chris Hunt anyway?

 

Our proud Pilates Community; we are stronger together

www.chrishuntwellness.com

Usually in my blog I try to bring a more light-hearted look to Pilates and health. I was going to write today about Pilates in Russia following my latest visit. But if you have been reading my articles over the past months you will see that I have a big interest in the issues of mental health and depression and their link to physical exercise. I do not seek controversy, but I am not afraid to talk about the topics that some people would rather ignore. I could write interesting articles about Shoulder Bridge, but I leave such articles to other people.

I lost my father to Alzheimer’s (see my blog “I lost my father, don’t lose yours” and I have also talked about depression and the link between mental and physical health in several previous articles. So it was with great sadness that over the weekend I read about the suicide of a 34 year-old Pilates teacher in New York last week, who jumped from her Upper West Side building.  My deepest and sincere condolences to her family and friends. I am sure that some people reading this article will know the lady in question, so I hope you will forgive me for writing about this tragic event.

There are suggestions about incurable disease and mental health issues. I have personal experience of the dark places that can lead people to depression and even suicide. I lost a close friend many years ago and I found it very difficult to understand how I did not see the signs. But the truth is that as teachers we are performers, so most of us have a great “game face” that we switch on during those times when we would rather be anywhere else than standing smiling in front of a group of people. As much as we all love Pilates and bringing our knowledge to the communities that we live in, we are human as well, so we have difficult situations to deal with and we are allowed to be sad sometimes. “The show must go on” is an old cliché but it has a lot of relevance for many people every day.

I love being a Pilates teacher, and I love helping people to change their lives (it is important to remember that we do not change people’s lives, we simply give people the knowledge and belief so that they can change their own lives). I also love the Pilates community. Sure, people criticize me and the things that I write in my blogs sometimes, and of course I do not and cannot expect everyone to always agree with my point of view. And there are also always people in every walk of life who try to make a name for themselves by being negative as they find it easier to criticize than praise. But everywhere I travel from Russia to the US, and every Pilates forum and group I am a member of,  I always have a strong sense of community, a sense that the vast majority of Pilates professionals want only to help each other, want to share their knowledge and experience.

It is for this reason that I love our community, and I always try to give more than I receive. It is also for this reason that I created Pilates Carnival, conventions that give all profits to children’s charities and where I ask everyone including the presenters (and of course me) to work for no money, donating their time and energy for the good of our community. Of course some presenters are horrified with this thought and I have been accused of cheapening Pilates and devaluing the system. Whilst I always respect the opinions of other people, I think these people simply do not get it. They are so commercially orientated they fail to see that by promoting themselves and Pilates in an environment that benefits charities as well, they are creating a positive energy that no money can buy. And of course it is not rocket science for these people to realise that if you do a Pilates convention for charity attended by over 100 Pilates teachers/studio owners and hundred’s of member’s of the public, you might just get some good exposure and new clients from the experience. But I respect their life choices, thank them for their time, and I simply do not work with them because they are not “my type” of people.

But I am happy that the majority of Pilates people are my type, they give more than they take, love much more than they hate. To paraphrase Lennon and McCartney, in the end the love we save is equal to the love we gave. So let’s keep supporting each other, looking after each other and looking out for each other. Most things in life are more important than money or reputation. Much more important.

In the U.S.: If you are contemplating attempting suicide, there are people who can help. Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255)

In the U.K.: For confidential support call the Samaritans  on 08457 90 90 90 or visit a local Samaritans branch

Chris is an international Pilates presenter and educator based in Barcelona, Spain. He is the creator of Pilates EVO©, bodyFUNC©, and CEO of Pilates Rehab Limited and Sport Core Strength.  He also organises Pilates Carnival and Fitness Carnival, conventions where all profits go to local children’s charities. For more information about Pilates with Chris in Barcelona, please click on Barcelona Bienestar. To learn more about Chris, please read Just who is Chris Hunt anyway?

Exercising on the beach: Is it more than sandcastles and ice-cream?

Healthy Beach Barcelona

www.chrishuntwellness.com

I am excited. Those who know me will also know that I get excited a lot, and it’s usually to do with either snowboarding, surfing, a new guitar, TRX training, ice-cream, or most typically Pilates.

Today I am excited about my new project in Barcelona, Healthy Beach Barcelona. I have said many times that health must be holistic. You cannot just run, life weights, eat tomatoes or even only do Pilates. To be truly healthy, sure you can do all those things and more, but you also need spiritual and mental health. And we all know the psychological effects of feeling and looking good. Wellness is a word that is used a lot nowadays, and for me wellness encapsulates (a word that is not used enough nowadays) the holistic nature of health. So Healthy Beach Barcelona offers Pilates (naturally), fitness, nutrition, massage, meditation, NLP, Life Coaching and a range of beauty procedures.

So why am I excited about Healthy Beach Barcelona? It is because Pilates specifically and wellness generally has historically been the reserve and the domain of more mature people, but with Healthy Beach Barcelona I am introducing many concepts to a much younger audience. Starting here on the beach in Barcelona. Which brings my onto the purpose of my article, what are the benefits of exercising outside?

I grew up with Aerobics Oz Style on Sky Sports, which is certainly not a bad way to start the day. But there are other more serious benefits, and I think the most obvious is that the scenery and fresh air (assuming you are not exercising next to a major road) simply raise the spirits and are great for emotional well-being.

But my favourite place is the beach. Sand is constantly shifting and changing, demanding various muscles in the body to come into play that might not normally engage on a pavement or gym floor workout. For example when doing Pilates, sand is on different levels, and you have to adjust to that difference which brings a new element to exercise. It also removes the issue of the hard surface on your knees. When you kneel on your mat laid over the sand, your joints are cushioned.

Running in the sand is also kinder on the joints than running on pavement because there is less impact on the body. I am using my bodyFUNC© functional training system for Healthy Beach Barcelona, and running and movement through sand forces you to use a fuller range of motion as it requires the body to move through a full range of motion, which stretches your muscles more than running on the pavement. Studies suggest that it is possible to burn up to 1.6 times as many calories for that extra effort. Sand develops the arch strength in your foot, the calves and all the muscles below the knee, as well as the quads.

However, a word of warning, you need to work up to a sand run or workout because it might be very different to what you and your body are used to. Start by the shoreline where the sand is flat and it’s packed down. When you feel comfortable, you can mix up your run by moving into the softer sand for a minute, like doing an interval workout, and then moving back into the harder sand. Tread carefully and go at a slower pace than what you’re used to.

Barefoot is a popular today (I have previously written articles for Barefoot Running Magazine and I will write about that next week) as it is argued that it is good for building up muscles in the foot and creating a more natural gait, as opposed to shoes dictating the gait. Beach running is a great way to try the method out. When I train people on the beach, I build them up in their running shoes by the shoreline and then the softer sand and then go for a short run on the harder sand with no shoes on.

Obviously there are considerations to be aware of when training on the beach. Look out for debris, such as bottles and sticks, wear sun-block, don’t trend on people sunbathing or little Johnny’s sandcastle,  and most important for me (see reasons why I get excited above) keep clear of ice-cream sellers.

By the way, for those who were wondering where my celebrity was today, my picture today is of actress Ileana D’Cruz, someone who regularly does Pilates and exercises outside. She credits Pilates with her health so that is how she earns her place in my blog today. Celebrity watchers can now relax. I nearly went a whole blog without a celebrity! It’s not possible…. 😉

Health and wellness are all about feeling good, and for me there is no better place to feel good than in the fresh air on a beach. If you haven’t tried it, then I recommend that you do. And next time you are in Barcelona, click on Healthy Beach Barcelona and pop along for a session, or contact me before you arrive and we can organise a beautiful retreat.

If life is a beach, then why not be a healthy beach?

Chris is an international Pilates presenter and educator based in Barcelona, Spain. He is the creator of Pilates EVO©, bodyFUNC©, and CEO of Pilates Rehab Limited and Sport Core Strength.  He also organises Pilates Carnival and Fitness Carnival, conventions where all profits go to local children’s charities. For more information about Pilates with Chris in Barcelona, please click on Barcelona Bienestar. To learn more about Chris, please read Just who is Chris Hunt anyway?

 

“You do Pilates? Are you gay?” Pilates for men, Landon Donovan and Moscow time.

Chris Hunt Pilates

www.chrishuntwellness.com 

The World Cup is in full swing, so do we really need another football related story from me? I think yes, as it relates to the most beautiful game of all, Pilates.

My article today is (not for the first time) about men and Pilates. My celebrity headliner is considered by many to be the best player in Major League Soccer history and he is the national team’s all-time leading scorer, L.A. Galaxy midfielder Landon Donovan.

He may have been left out of the US World Cup team in Brazil, but he is still a superstar. As retirement approaches for the 32year old, in a recent interview he revealed one of the secrets of his prolonged success: “I do Pilates. I love Pilates because we do very specific training in soccer for the same six or seven muscles, but we neglect so many other muscles. So when I do Pilates it helps get all the rest of the muscles in shape and gets them working together.” Wise words indeed about our holistic exercise system from a top athlete and sportsman who has firsthand experience of the benefits Pilates brings.

So back to my headline and Pilates for men in general. I am just back to Barcelona (via  two days in London) after spending a wonderful 10 days in Moscow teaching Pilates EVO© to Pilates teachers, and as with my previous visits, I found the Russian people to be really wonderful. It’s a little annoying that I am writing this blog at 5 am in Barcelona because clearly I am still on Russian time! More about my visit to Moscow and Pilates in Russia in my blog later this week. Today I want to talk more about the ignorant attitudes towards Pilates that still exist today.

Whilst in London, I was asked the question again that forms the title of my blog today. I have lost count of the number of times people question my sexuality because I am a man who teaches Pilates. Whilst I take such comments as a compliment, they would be quite funny if it was not such an ignorant attitude. I am not gay, not that it matters, but I still find it interesting and disturbing in equal measures why some people make a link between men doing Pilates and their sexuality. I have some very close friends in the fitness industry and in the Pilates community who are openly gay, but there are also others who hide their sexuality, presumably for fear of suffering the prejudice that regrettably still exists in society today.

One of the (many) wonderful things about living in Barcelona is the openness of most of the people. There is a strong gay community and I am happy and honored that my Pilates sessions are popular with that community.

There are so many men in the public eye who do Pilates now, it never ceases to surprise me that there remains a section of society that is still so ignorant. I wrote previously about Dwayne Allen (see my article “Men do Pilates, ask Dwayne Allen”) and I could (and no doubt will) write about many other men including most football and rugby teams.

Such comments do make me all the more determined to continue to change attitudes towards men and Pilates. It is a battle, but it is one that we can and will win.

It’s breakfast time in Moscow now, Barcelona will not be waking up for a while yet….

Chris is the creator of Pilates EVO©,  and an international Pilates presenter and educator based in Barcelona, Spain. He is also the creator of bodyFUNC©, and CEO of Pilates Rehab Limited and Sport Core Strength.  He organises Pilates Carnival and Fitness Carnival, conventions where all profits go to local children’s charities. His business Barcelona Bienestar in Barcelona offers services including Pilates, functional training, personal training, wellness retreats, massage, NLP, life coaching, meditation and beauty treatments. Healthy Beach Barcelona also offers a range of wellness services including Pilates and training on the beach. To learn more about Chris, please read Just who is Chris Hunt anyway?