Tag Archives: wellness

Lucy Liu: Life balance with Pilates and meditation

Chris Hunt BLog Lucy Liu Pilateswww.chrishuntwellness.com

Lucy Liu: Good life balance with Pilates, meditation and diet

Over the weekend, as usual I was reading the Sunday Papers to see what is new in the world (I read the tablet edition during the week but on a Sunday I still go old-school with the printed edition). I read an article about Lucy Liu. I’m sure we all know Lucy, the actress and director. There are lots of articles about celebrities and I know that many of us do not find what celebrities get up to all that interesting. So why am I bothering to write today about Lucy Lui?

The reason is simple. I’ve read before about her philosophy on life and health, and this article further confirmed to me that she does know a thing or two about what she is talking (even if she is trying to promote a new book), and her philosophy has, in my opinion, a good balance.

About her training routine, Lucy says “I mix Spinning, running and Pilates. Pilates is great for posture. When you first do Pilates, you don’t feel anything and don’t know that anything is happening. As you continue, it really strengthens from the inside out. I like using a reformer…. the counterweight keeps me engaged.”

The things that people say about Pilates make me smile sometimes, but some of the things that Lucy say are close to the mark. So she has a good mixture of cross-training underpinned by her Pilates practise. Of course I like this, but I also like her newfound interest in meditation. This began when Deepak Chopra wrote an introduction to an art book she wrote. He asked her if she wanted to learn meditation from him. She not surprisingly said, “Absolutely.”

The advice he gave her was “Get in a comfortable seated position. The most important thing is not to judge your meditation.” This is one of basic principles of mindfulness meditation, no judging. Just accept your thoughts and your situation. This is the way that I teach Pilates EVO; awareness without judgement. Self-judgement or how we view ourselves tends to be negative for most people and this can erode self-esteem and be self-defeating. It is therefore very important in many aspects of our lives that we practise acceptance without judgement. I recently wrote in my article “Cindy Crawford: Pilates and self-image” about this topic as it is very important for many people to understand. If you have time and you are interested in this topic then please read that article. I also teach about NLP in my Pilates EVO course which in my experience is a great way for people to improve their self-image. I will be writing more about NLP soon.

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 retreats, fitness holidays and sports holidays in Barcelona. 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.

Cindy Crawford: Pilates and self-image

Cindy Crawford Chris Hunt Pilates

Cindy Crawford: Pilates and self-image

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An article about Pilates, one of the most famous models to ever walk the planet and self-image. Surely this is a contradiction?

It’s Friday so I have that Celebrity feeling again, my compromise after a week of serious blogs. I was very pleased by the response to my blog ealier this week about Pilates for men. But it’s Friday now….

I have explained before that I am not obsessed with celebrity. 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 I am sorry for wasting your time and please do not read my blog today! :)

So back to Cindy.  She recently said her age-defying beauty secrets include getting enough sleep, a sensible low carb diet and regular workouts that include yoga and Pilates. She also said not smoking, taking good care of her skin and being happy have kept her young-looking at 48 years old.

“I eat right and I exercise and I drink water. I try to get enough sleep. True beauty is the energy you give out, and that comes through being happy.”

Crawford is a long-time fitness fanatic and works out three to four days a week, combining cardio exercise, weight lifting, yoga, hiking, biking and of course Pilates. She mixes up her exercise routine to keep from getting bored and to make sure she works her entire body.

Despite being hailed for her stunning beauty, Crawford admits she has struggled with body image because she was always bigger than other models during her heyday. As she approaches her 50th birthday, Cindy said she hopes to come to terms with her body.

Unlike many celebrities, Cindy admits to having undergone a few cosmetic procedures (including Botox), but she says that said consistent exercise, eating well and having a positive attitude are critical for successful aging and true happiness. “If you’re happy in your life and you’re doing work that you like, that comes across.” she said.

Many might find it surprising that she struggles with self-image. But of course everything is relative. Whilst many might envy her beauty and see only their own faults, Cindy is no different. Many of my clients who come to Barcelona for fitness or sport holidays struggle with their self-esteem when to the outside world they “look” super confident.

So what exactly is self-image? Well, it’s the personal view (or mental picture), that we have of ourselves. Self-image is an internal dictionary that describes the characteristics of the self, including intelligent, beautiful, ugly, talented, selfish, kind, etc. These characteristics form a collective representation of our assets and liabilities as we see them.

Our self-image is a product of learning. Early childhood influences, such as parents and teachers can significantly influence our self-image. They are mirrors (ask Justin Timberlake) reflecting back to us an image of ourselves. Our experiences with others such as teachers, friends, and family add to the image in the mirror. Relationships reinforce what we think and feel about ourselves. The image we see in the mirror may be a real or distorted view of who we really are. Based on this view, we develop either a positive or a negative self-image. The strengths and weaknesses we have internalized affect how we act today. We continually take in information and evaluate ourselves in multiple domains such as physical appearance (How do I look?), performance (How am I doing?), and relationships (How important am I?). With a positive self-image, we recognize and own our assets and potentials while being realistic about our liabilities and limitations. With a negative self-image, we focus on our faults and weaknesses, distorting failure and imperfections.

Self-image is important because how we think about ourselves affects how we feel about ourselves and how we interact with others and the world around us. . A positive self-image can enhance our physical, mental, social, emotional, and spiritual well-being. Conversely, a negative self-image can decrease our satisfaction and ability to function in these areas.

So how can we create a positive self-image? The good news is that self-image is not permanently fixed (but it not always easy to change). Part of our self-image is dynamic and changing. We can learn to develop a healthier and more accurate view of ourselves, thus challenging the distortions in the mirror. Self-image change is a process occurring over a lifetime. A healthy self-image starts with learning to accept and love ourselves. It also means being accepted and loved by others.

Body-image is part of self-image. Our body-image includes more than what we look like or how others see us. It also refers to how we think, feel, and react to our own self-perceived physical attributes. Body-image development is affected by cultural images and the influence of family, peers, and others. A positive body-image contributes to enhanced psychological adjustment (less depression, positive self worth, life satisfaction, less interpersonal anxiety, fewer eating disorders).

Distortions in our thinking contribute to a negative body-image. Again, body image is not fixed. Our body experiences change as we grow older, and each stage in our life is associated with body-image markers. Maintaining a positive body-image is a lifelong process. Changing negative body-image means more than changing our body. It means changing how we think, feel, and react to our body.

So back to Pilates. As teachers, we all know what an amazing physical and psychological effect Pilates can have on our clients and their own self-image. As much of the evidence to support the claims we make as Pilates professionals is anecdotal, I like a good scientific study. In May 2008 a study in Portugal tried to prove this. The objective of this study was to determine the effect of Pilates-based mat exercises on life satisfaction, perception of appreciation by other people, perception of physical appearance, perception of functionality, total physical self-concept, and perception of health status in healthy women. A trial was conducted in Evora, Portugal, in which 62 healthy adult women were randomized to a Pilates-based experimental mat group or a control group. Experimental group participants performed mat Pilates twice per week, 60-minutes per session. The study concluded that life satisfaction, perception of appreciation by other people, perception of physical appearance, perception of functionality, total physical self-concept and perception of health status may improve after 6 months of Pilates-based mat exercise.

But we knew that already. Today I am asking you to please share your stories of clients whose lives were improved by Pilates, not so much physically, but mentally.

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 retreats, fitness holidays and sports holidays in Barcelona. 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.

 

 

Fitness-und Sporturlaub in Barcelona, Spanien

Personal training and fitness holidays in Barcelona www.barcelonabienestar.com

Fitness- und Sporturlaub in Barcelona, Spanien

Urlaub bedeutet für jeden etwas anderes!

Manche Menschen machen Urlaub in einem Strandresort, um in der Sonne zu entspannen, andere sind eher auf Abenteuerurlaub aus. Wiederum andere entscheiden sich für Sightseeing oder Gastroferien, um die Kultur besser kennen zu lernen. Manche machen Sport- bzw. Fitnessurlaub, um ihrem Hobby nachzugehen oder aber um andere Sportarten wie Golf, Reiten, Skifahren, Snowboarden, Mountainbiken, Kitesurfen, Wellenreiten, SUP (Stand Up Paddle) oder Wandern auszuprobieren.

Also wieso sollte man sich für Urlaub in Barcelona entscheiden? Ganz einfach – hier ist all dies möglich!

Die Tage der Pauschalreisen sind in Zeiten des Internets gezählt. Jeder von uns möchte gerne einen indiviudellen Urlaub, geplant nach seinen eigenen Wünschen und Vorstellungen sowie nach seinem individuellen Zeitplan, geniessen.

Genau dort setzt Bienestar an. Hier wird auf die einzelnen Bedürfnisse eingegangen. Es gibt nichts, was wir nicht für unsere Reisenden aus aller Welt organisieren. Barcelona ist eine unglaublich vielseitige und pulsierende Stadt. Wir helfen Ihnen, dies zu entdecken, indem wir einen persönlichen Urlaubsplan für Sie erstellen.

Wir bieten Gesundheits- und Wellnesspakete ganz auf Ihren Geschmack abgestimmt an. Unsere Fitnessaktivitäten umfassen Personal Training, Pilates, TRX, Boxen, weight vest training, funktionelles Training, HIIT, sowie Programme für spezifische Sportarten wie Stand Up Paddle (SUP), Fitness, Ski / Snowboard, Surfen, Wandern, Mountainbiken, Klettern und vieles mehr. Für all diese Aktivitäten organisieren wir nicht nur ein Sportprogramm sondern Sie haben auch die Zeit, das Meer, die Piste und die Berge zu geniessen.

Aber wir bieten nicht nur sportliche Aktivitäten an sondern auch Wellness- und Beautybehandlungen wie bspw. Massagen, Ernährungsberatung, Abnehmkurse, Mani- und Pediküre. Des Weiteren organisieren wir Kunst- und Gastrotouren, empfehlen landestypische Lokale und Trips zu den schönsten Sehenswürdigkeiten.

Wir nehmen Ihnen den Organisationsstress ab, aber Sie bestimmen weiterhin Ihr individuelles Programm. Also ein massgeschneiderter Urlaub – ganz ohne Hektik. Hotels, Transfers, Sportaktivitäten, Kultur, Ausflüge etc. – Sie entscheiden was gefällt und wir kümmern uns darum.

Unsere Urlauber kommen aus aller Welt, z.B. Amerika, England, Deutschland, Schweden, Russland, China, Frankreich, Italien, Holland sowie Australien.

Für weitere Informationen klicken Sie auf www.barcelonabienestar.com oder kontaktieren Sie uns für die Organistion Ihres Traumurlaubes. Barcelona und das Bienestarteam warten auf Sie!

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How to make your Barcelona holiday a health and fitness retreat

Personal training in Barcelona How to make your Barcelona holiday a health and fitness retreat

A holiday means many different things to different people.

Some people go to a beach resort to relax in the sun. Some people choose adventure holidays to explore. Some people like sightseeing breaks or a more gastronomic emphasis to immerse themselves in a different culture. Some people choose sport-based holidays to practise their favourite hobby or try something new like golf, horse-riding, skiing or snowboarding, mountain biking, surfing/SUP or hiking. Others might want music and the arts to form the basis of their vacation.

So why is a holiday to Barcelona such a great choice? It is because in Barcelona you can have every one of the holidays I mention above.

More people are choosing to have some organisation to their holiday. The days of the traditional package holiday may be long gone as people use the internet to create their own designer holidays, but more people want something constructive to do on their holiday. But they do not want a hotel-organised series of events or classes that the hotel manager thinks you will like at a time specified by the hotel. They want a tailor-made, personal itinerary that fits in with individual particular requirements and timescales.

This is where Barcelona Bienestar answers the needs of our clients. There is nothing we cannot arrange and organise for our clients who come to us from all over the world. Barcelona is such a diverse and interesting city and we complement this by giving our clients a personal itinerary so they can maximise their enjoyment of their holiday.

We offer a health and wellness package based around whatever interests our clients. Fitness activities include personal training, Pilates, TRX, boxing, weighted vest training, functional training, HIIT, and programs based around specific sports such as Stand up Paddle (SUP) fitness, skiing/snowboarding, surfing, walking, mountain biking, rock climbing and many more. For all these activities, we arrange time not only training, but also practising. So you will get time on a surf board, on the slopes or on a mountain.

But it’s not just physical activities we offer. We also offer a range of wellness and beauty services including massage, diet, weight loss, eye lash curling and extensions, gel nails and meditation.

We also organise cultural holidays including the arts and gastronomy, and we give advice on all aspects of Barcelona from the best restaurants to the best sights to see.

We take the stress out of organising your holiday, but you are always in control so you have exactly the holiday you want and need. We can simply arrange your activities, or on a full package we can organise your hotel, meals and transfers as well. What ever you want and need.

For more information, click on www.barcelonabienestar.com or contact us and let us organise your dream holiday for you. Barcelona is waiting for you, and so are we.

 

I’m a 20k blogger and I’m a little proud!

Blog June 2014

www.chrishuntwellness.com

So I am blogging about my blog. That must be kind of ironic or maybe just a little sad?!?! But I am proud to be a 20,000 blogger in only 7 months, and saying that on my blog has some poetic justice about it.

So thank you to everyone for spending your precious time and reading my ramblings, some of which I hope you liked. And here is to the next 20,000 hits. I won’t let it go to my head…. :)

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?

 

 

 

Chinese Medicine on the NHS? Whatever next! Pilates?

דיקור

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Chinese medicine could be available on the NHS if there is enough evidence to prove that it would benefit patients, UK Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has suggested. Let me repeat that. Chinese medicine could be available on the NHS. It’s not April 1st and I am not still suffering from an overdose of wine and cake after my birthday this week.

So, the NHS, that bastion of all that is traditionally British and not what you would ever describe as being particularly cutting edge when it comes to new therapies or treatments is considering integrating traditional Chinese medicines with Western medical techniques. Jeremy Hunt said his frequent travels to China (his wife’s home country) had taught him that it is important to “follow the scientific evidence” concerning Chinese medicine. He said that taxpayers’ money should never be spent on the traditional techniques if there was not “good evidence” that they would be beneficial.

He made the comments in the Commons on Tuesday in answer to a question from the Conservative MP David Tredinnick.“In your travels to the People’s Republic of China, what have you learnt about the integration of Western medicines with traditional Chinese medicine?” Mr Tredinnick asked. The Health Secretary replied: “What I’ve learnt is that the most important thing is to follow the scientific evidence and where there is good evidence for the impact of Chinese medicine then we should look at that but where there isn’t we shouldn’t spend NHS money on it.”

This is truly music to my ears, but why? As a Pilates teacher why do I care so much? The reason is that Chinese medicine can involve methods such as herbal remedies, acupuncture and massage therapy. The very fact that it is being discussed at the echelons of UK Government shows a huge shift in the way the Western world is thinking about health and healthcare. You could say that thinking is coming full circle.

I am Buddhist and I have studied Buddhism and spirituality. I am also qualified in Thai Massage. If you read my blog regularly you will know that I have a profound belief in the link between the mind and the body. You will also know that that I think tradition and science both have a vital role in our thinking. We all know that Pilates is holistic, mind and body. I have long believed that the mind connection is understated. This is why that in my system Pilates EVO I integrated NLP, meditation and most importantly for this article meridian exercises and stretches.

So what are meridians?
Meridians (also known as collaterals) circulate in each of us, and can be thought of as paths in which energy flows.  The central idea in Eastern medicine is the assumption that all physical problems are due to an inhibition of the energy flow and that the revival of this circulation can contribute to improving health and well-being. Meridian exercises can also be used as preparation for meditation. In a traditional sense Meridians are functionaries without substantial structure as most people cannot feel or see them. The discovery of the meridians was made possible only by a very sensitive perception of Chinese people and their close relationship with the nature. The twelve meridians in the YIN-YANG pairs are responsible for six basic functions. Six of the basic functions with six yang meridians and their associated organs refers to the more superficial layers of the body. The other six basic functions with six yin meridians refer to organs, and so are more inside the body.

It is my opinion that a knowledge and use of such ancient methods as meridian and meditation can perfectly complement modern exercise science and psychological methods such as NLP, which is why Pilates EVO includes all of these.

To see Chinese methods and also meditation (a future blog about this is coming…) potentially moving into the mainstream of Western healthcare is for me a wonderful step in the right direction. A shift away from drugs can only help us all as Pilates and yoga teachers as our holistic methods will increase in their value and acceptance.

If you want to talk more about Pilates EVO, meridians or Pilates then you know where I am :)

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.

Keep your New Year’s Resolutions Part 2

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www.chrishuntwellness.com

2014

www.chrishuntwellness.com

Yesterday I posted the first part of this article, so here is Part Two of my blog on New Year’s Resolutions. In Part One I explained some of the reasons why people fail to maintain their good intentions. Now I give you some tips to maximise your success this time around. If you are reading this having read Part 1, then congratulations! You have already showed some staying power!

So those tips….

Man in underwear on bathroom scales, smiling, portrait, elevated view

1. Examine your motivation for change.
Are you just feeling full and bloated at this moment? Do you have a hangover from last night? Did your last cigarette give you have a hacking cough? Or is there a more enduring reason for your desire to change? If you can’t think of a better reason than the fact that you’re uncomfortable at this moment, then you’re better off not making promises to yourself that you probably won’t keep. However, if you are realistic and accept the responsibility of discipline required for change, your motivation will be sustained long after the discomfort from over-indulgence has passed.

2. Set realistic goals.
Habits and behaviours that are changed gradually have a greater chance of success.

3. Focus on the behavioural change more than on the goal.
For example, if you decide to control your eating, your goal for the day is not to lose a specific number of pounds, but to stick to your program. Such focus on your behaviour will help you feel in control of your life. You will gain satisfaction from making sensible choices several times throughout the day.

Chris Hunt Wellness Measure

4. Learn to redefine physical sensations of discomfort.
Whenever we restrict ourselves, we have both physical and mental reactions. For example, a smoker feels bodily sensations when his nicotine level drops. However, he has a choice as to how he interprets these symptoms. He can define them as extremely unpleasant, or alternatively he can interpret them as his body cleansing itself of the drug.

5. Make tasks non-negotiable. People who are most successful at implementing such changes are those who make their tasks non-negotiable. For example, if you debate with yourself at 5:30 a.m. whether you feel like getting up to exercise, you will probably opt for staying in bed for another half hour. But if getting up for exercise is no more negotiable than getting up for work, then you’ll do it regardless of how you feel about it. The same goes for organising your closet or taking charge of your finances. One can almost always find an excuse not to do these things. However, if you make a non-negotiable decision that’s based on a sound logical reason rather than on how you feel at the moment, you will be successful.

6. Allow for imperfection.
No one is exactly on target all the time. In fact you should expect to falter every now and then. If you give in to temptation, do not use this as an excuse to abandon the whole program. Learn from your mistake and move on.

7. Do it now.
If you’re waiting for a more convenient time to begin behavioural change, it won’t happen. It’s almost never convenient to change ingrained habits. Now is just as convenient as any time.

Making changes to your life should not just be for the New Year. Try writing a 12-month plan. I will tell you why and how in another blog soon.

Good luck! If you need any support then you know where I am!

www.chrishuntwellness.com

Something money cannot buy

Even if you are not in the wellness industry, I hope that you will read this article. I organise conventions two or three times a year called Pilates Carnivals. They are very different to any other convention, in fact as far as I know they are unique in the health and fitness world. It’s not only Pilates, it also includes yoga, meditation, health, fitness, diet and functional training. But what makes them different?

It’s different because it is non-profit. All the profits that are made go to a local children’s charity. Everyone who participates (including me of course) does so free of charge, giving all their time and energy knowing that we are all creating something very special, a very positive energy. The aim is to teach, learn, socialise and break down barriers whilst sharing our passion and our ideas.

Pilates Carnival aims to promote and assist with the training of teachers all over the world. It does this by providing free places to training courses, conventions and workshops and through the conventions. I am creating a global community who are not motivated by money, but simply what to give something back to the fitness community that we love and rely on, whilst also helping charity at the same time. Of course the truth is that the more we give, we more we get back, it’s one of the Laws of the Universe.

My next goal is to arrange Fitness Carnivals based on the same principles, including all forms of exercise. That will be a lot of fun!

My conventions have been very popular, I’ve held them in several countries including the UK, Germany and Poland and this year will be Spain and Australia (I want many more in places all over the globe). But a few people have met my idea with bitterness and animosity. They say I am reducing the value of Pilates. This is of course nonsense, the truth is they are afraid that their commercial interests might be reduced. And some people will never get the fact that by giving, we are creating something money can never buy.

So if you “get it”, you can help. Please get involved. The more we spread the word, the more we can buck the trend of money-making commercialism, bring the Pilates and fitness communities together, improve standards and the more we can raise for very worthy charities. You do not have to be a Pilates teacher. If you have any interests in the area of wellness then you can get involved. You can help by sponsoring the events, donating products that can be sold at events (everything from clothing to drinks, equipment to retreats), donating places on your training courses, presenting at events, offering to work with me to organise an event in your City, giving time in promoting events or web development, and by simply sharing this blog or the Facebook Page.

Please join this community. We can make a difference. Never let anyone tell you that we can’t.

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