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Can you do Pilates While Pregnant?

Pilates is famous for being an effective and enjoyable method of movement but is it really suitable during pregnancy and post-partum? The simple answer to this question is – absolutely!

Contrary to popular belief, Pilates does not ‘focus’ on abdominal strength. It focuses on full body movement because the whole body needs to be uniformly strong and flexible to be in peak condition. What’s the point in having a rocking 6 pack if your gluteal muscles aren’t strong enough to help you off the couch?

The need for a strong and flexible body does not diminish once pregnant. Current research (ASCM Guidelines for Exercise Testing and prescription) shows that moderate exercise 3 to 4 times per week is ideal for healthy pregnant women. The recommendation states, “Dynamic, rhythmic physical activities that use large muscle groups are ideal.” – Pilates anyone? All women who are pregnant and healthy are encouraged to exercise throughout their pregnancy however movement will need to be modified throughout pregnancy based on symptoms, discomforts and abilities of the individual.

I find small group sessions of 1 – 3 participants utilising the reformer, Cadillac and wunda chair to be the most enjoyable and effective classes for pregnant and post-natal clients. These sessions are so great because of the vast amount of modifications available for all stages of pregnancy. These variations in the movement are so valuable not only because it allows flexibility in the movement being taught but also because it means that you will never get bored during class. The Cadillac, chair and reformer allow movements to be performed standing, side lying or sitting once supine (lying on your back) is not an option for you. We offer these small group classes along with our group reformer classes at Pilates & Co. Modifications to suit your stage of pregnancy are offered in both types of class.

AVOID DURING PREGNANCY:

  • Lying flat on your back after 16 weeks. This ensures that venous obstruction does not occur
  • High humidity
  • Isometric muscle actions i.e. weighted holds
  • Contact sports
  • Quickly increasing physical exercise (especially if sedentary)
  • Overstretching, due to the release of the hormone relaxin during pregnancy
  • Smoking
  • Alcohol

TO-DO DURING A HEALTHY PREGNANCY:

  • Good movement
  • Time outdoors
  • Gentle Pelvic floor exercises – don’t overdo it!
  • Time to relax
  • Trust your body
  • Nurture and nourish yourself
  • Stay hydrated
  • Listen to your body – you are a unique and beautiful individual. No comparisons or self-judgment are needed.

Pregnancy is not a condition or disorder, however, if you have not been active previously or have any contraindications for exercising during pregnancy, it’s necessary to check with your doctor before joining a class.

Belinda Survilla is a mother of 3 and Manager of Pilates & Co. and regularly teaches Pilates reformer, reformer HIIT, clinical small group and private sessions at the studio. Belinda found the benefits of practising this wonderful method of movement invaluable, allowing her the strength and confidence to take back her health.  instagram @belindasurvilla

Midlife Kitchen Shashouka

Recipe: Midlife Kitchen Shashouka

A Mediterranean and Middle-Eastern favourite, this dish is served for breakfast but can be eaten all day, every day, as far as we’re concerned. It’s so tasty and packed full of goodness. This healthy Shashouka recipe is courtesy of the new cookbook The Midlife Kitchen which is full of ‘health-boosting recipes’, from one of our favourite foodie Instagram feeds by the same name. Enjoy!

Yield: Serves 2, Active Time: 25 minutes, Total Time: 25 minutes

INGREDIENTS

A spray of olive oil

1 small red onion, diced

1 clove garlic, crushed

2 small peppers, one red, one yellow, deseeded and chopped

1 400g can chopped tomatoes

½ tsp chilli flakes (or more, to taste)

½ tsp ground cumin

½ tsp paprika

½ tsp brown sugar

A squeeze of lemon juice

4 eggs

Sea salt

Fresh ground black pepper

To serve:

A handful of fresh parsley, chopped

A dollop of Greek yogurt

 

METHOD

Heat a medium-sized frying pan and spray with a little olive oil.

Add the chopped onion and sauté for a few minutes until the onion begins to soften.

Add garlic and continue to sauté, then add the peppers and cook for 5 minutes over a medium heat until softened.

Stir in the tomatoes, together with the chilli flakes, spices, sugar and lemon and simmer for a further 5-7 minutes until it starts to reduce.

Make 4 evenly-spaced wells in the tomato mixture and then crack one egg in to each. Season well and cover the pan with a lid. Cook for 10 minutes, or until the egg whites are firm and the yolks still runny.

Garnish with parsley and yogurt on the side.

 

HEALTH TIP

Studies have shown that lycopene, a potent antioxidant found in tomatoes, is boosted by cooking, so by slowly simmering this rich, red sauce you are also maximising the nutritional benefit.

 

Recipe extracted from The Midlife Kitchen, by Mimi Spencer and Sam Rice – available on Booktopia, Dymocks and from all good bookshops.  Follow on Instgram @midlifekitchen

Pilates Reformer Pilates & Co Gold Coast - pilates is great for athletes

Why Pilates is great for athletes

What professional dancers and performers discovered years ago, athletes and sporting professionals are discovering now. It’s that Pilates is not only a killer workout, it’s one of the best forms of full-body conditioning. And what that translates to is that Pilates is great for athletes – both female and male. We have a number of men who do classes at our studio, and some male instructors too, but we’d love to see more of them complementing their sports training with Reformer Pilates and here’s why…

Research has linked Pilates to better flexibility, increase core stabilisation, higher focus and improved athletic performance. Whether it’s in team sports such as rugby or football, individual sports like tennis and athletics or endurance events, here is why more teams and athletes are making it a key practice in their training regime.

 

Increase core strength

When you start focusing on your core, you will realise that all your muscles are connected. For example, have you tried doing lunges without your abdominals? With a stronger core, the remainder of your workouts will begin to improve. More specifically, deep core strength in the abdominal muscles directly leads to improving the length and flexibility of the hamstring muscles which is vital for increasing speed. Core strength is one of the key benefits of all Pilates programs, enabling athletes to channel and make the most of their power.

 

Better flexibility

Pilates allows you to strengthen while you lengthen. In one Brazilian study, when young women (without any prior Pilates experience) performed 20 Pilates sessions, they became 19 percent more flexible. When you’re tight, you shorten your muscle and limit your body’s range of motion which is needed especially in professional sports.

 

More explosive power

The spring resistance of the Pilates’ reformer and jump board create a great environment for plyometric training. Athletes can learn to rebound and explode with control which is very good in sports such as basketball and netball.  One key to explosive power is the concept of triple extension (the coordinated extension of the ankle, knee and hip). Effective triple extension requires strength, range of motion and timing – all of which can be taught using the reformer in a Pilates class.

 

It hones your focus

Pilates urges you to focus on your breath, your body, and how they move together. It takes a lot of concentration and doesn’t allow you to zone out. That means you’re forced to forget about work, family, kids, partners, and other drama for the duration of the class. A great skill to have in any competitive or solo sport, or in any line of work for that matter.

 

If you’re an athlete who loves Pilates or hasn’t tried it yet, come visit us at the studio or try one of our introductory passes. Even better? Sign up for our next 6-week challenge.

Healthy Protein Ball Recipe

Recipe: Leila’s Goji Berry Protein Balls

We celebrated our birthday last month and everyone was raving about studio assistant Leila’s delicious protein balls that were served up at the party. She’s kindly shared the recipe! These are so easy, quick and good for you, that you’ve no excuse to grab the ingredients and get cracking now. They’re the perfect little snack to keep in your bag and have after a workout at the studio (with a big glass of water) to crush any post-exercise cravings.

INGREDIENTS

2 cups of oats

1 cup of almonds

1 cup of coconut

½ cup of goji berries

1 cup of dates

2 scoops of Prana On Protein (Leila uses chocolate. Prana On is available in the studio for purchase).

5 tablespoons of milk (oat, coconut or almond)

Cinnamon or mixed spices

Coconut oil

 

METHOD

Blend oats, almonds, goji berries and dates separately.

Mix everything in a bowl until it is all mixed and you can’t see the oats anymore. Use coconut oil on your hands to make the bowls and put coconut around.

 

Leila Burate is the Pilates & Co. studio assistant and you’ll see her around the studio keeping it tidy, working out and signing up our new members.

Enter our Insta Birthday Competition

This is our biggest competition yet! One lucky person is going to get to celebrate like it’s their birthday…on us, with a little help from some friends. Overall prize haul is $1,275. Here’s what you can win –

  • Gift Card for Bikini & Me, valued at $250
  • Shopping Spree at The Source Miami, valued at $250
  • Luxe Soak Session from Greenhouse Bathhouse, valued at $140 (90min soak, botanical lunch and bubbles)
  • Elysium Escape Package from Elysium, valued at $200 (includes classic massage and nutrition facial and is just under 2hrs)
  • Bio Lipstick box set from Eye of Horus Cosmetics, valued at $165
  • 10 pack Group Reformer sessions from Pilates & Co, valued at $270

Image the day (or weeks!) you could spend spoiling yourself rotten with this beauty of a prize. All you need to do to be in the running is snap and share a pic on Instagram of your idea of a dream day. Share the image on Instagram tagging us @pilatesandco with #happyBdayPandC.
Make sure you follow all the contributors above, including us and like the competition post on our Instagram page. You’ll get an extra entry for every friend you tag in the comments!
Get creative as we will select the winner on our Birthday Party, 19th May based on originality and creativity.

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