Archives for posts with tag: Reformer

I am still here being a mom, eating clean, working out, and doing the other million things I have to do each day. It has been a little hectic. I haven’t gotten a new recipe up because my computer was not working. Well, it was working, but storage was totally full so it couldn’t even load Facebook. My husband had to transfer a ton of photos over for me. I have a little habit of taking thousands of photos! Then there is something up with our cable/internet. It has been going in and out randomly all week. We have a technician coming by today. Here’s to hoping I can finish this post. I started it a couple days and ago and then bam, connection lost.

Last week I made a shrimp dish that I meant to share on here. This was before I knew about my computer. I sat down to get it all typed up only to realize that I never wrote down what I came up with. I must have planned on remembering it for the following day. I do not remember it now a week and 5 days later. Whoops!

My 30th birthday is mixed into this time slot. As well as two sick kids (really, again? I know, I feel the same way!) I have just been making tried and true recipes. Sometimes that is simpler.

I have been making strides in my post baby core recovery.


I have been working on this plank into pike since Alexander was born 7 months ago. I have been able to do it but not with the form, grace, control, and strength I knew I was capable of. Yesterday that all changed. I felt incredibly confident when I went through this move. I am not sure if I get more excited when my old clothing fits after baby or when I start being as physically strong as I used to be. I have my spring load on 1R 1B. My goal is to continue to build up my strength and let my abdominals and core continue their healing process. I will work on dropping the spring load to get deeper into those muscles. With this particular move, the lighter the spring the more challenging it is.

That is one thing I love about Pilates. It does take a knowledge of the work and the equipment. There is no general rule for every move. Sometimes a lighter spring assists you and is a modification. Sometimes a lighter spring challenges you and is a variation. The same goes for heavier springs. Bicep curls with 1R 1B? Yowza! Plank into pike with 1 R 1B? Thanks for the love, Reformer! It all depends on what you are doing. It is a fluid process. It exercises your mind as well as your entire body.

I will hop off my long box now! (Ha, Pilates nerd over here!) It is the day before Mother’s Day. My house is quiet, my coffee is hot, and my internet is working! That is almost a trifecta of a mother’s morning. How rare is that? I am going to either run or play with my new toy the Motr. It was a birthday gift from my husband and kiddos. I haven’t tried it yet because it just arrived the other day. I also ran two days in a row but I have been digging running the past few days. I may hop on the treadmill again. I have not committed 100% to either decision yet. These are tough decisions to be made on a foggy Saturday morning.

Happy Mother’s Day to all the mommas out there reading this. I hope your weekend and your day tomorrow is filled with sleep, peace, and quiet (it is what we all REALLY want, anyway!)

I have been participating in MarchMATness challenge this month. I haven’t missed a day. Matwork got me started with Pilates. I  went to a class with my mom when I was in high school. I fell in love instantly. It actually took me a while to be convinced about the amazingness of the Chair and Reformer. I was really loyal to my Matwork. I now understand why they are all wonderful. But Mat was where it all began for me. This month has been nothing short of fun. Returning to things I haven’t done in a while, mostly because I was pregnant.

Yesterday’s challenge, The Hip Twist, humbled me a bit. I was really struggling to do it on the mat. My shoulders are so tight. Lately, the rounded over nursing position has been taking its tole on me. 6 months baby! Not to mention the 39 weeks of pregnancy before that.

My core is not exactly where it used to be. It is getting there. It is close, but I still have some rebuilding to do. I was 3 years post baby before I got pregnant with Alexander. I had THREE years of rebuilding under my belt. I was at my strongest. Now, I only have 6 months, so I must cut myself a little slack.

I have been running for nearly 10 years. I can actually recall when I started getting into it. Not the exact date, but the timeframe. In a month or two it will be 10 years. I wasn’t as hardcore into it as I am now when I began. I do know, if you run, you’re a runner. It doesn’t matter how, when, where, you do it. If you move your body into a run, you’re a runner. With that though comes tight hipflexors for me. I stretch them, but my hips are just in their own world. I also am still recovering from the separated pelvis my lovely last born gave me. It doesn’t bother me too much, but I can tell there are imbalances at times.

All of that together, The Hip Twist is a challenge for me. I was getting so frustrated. Then I thought about doing The Teaser on my WundaChair. Surely, I could turn this into a Hip Twist modification.


I did. It worked so much better for me. I wasn’t pulling into my shoulders. I wasn’t holding my breath. I wasn’t straining my arms, trying to figure out how to get them to stretch behind me the way I wanted them. I could move my hips in small circles while keeping my low belly pulled in and engaged. It worked! I added two medium springs, for support. I wasn’t looking to press the pedal down. Although, with time I could see turning this into a whole little series. Teaser into Hip Twists! Food for thought for the next coming weeks for me.

That is what I love about Pilates. In one moment I can make a small change that will entirely challenge me in a new way. I can make myself shake just by changing a spring. At the same time, adding a spring can mean added support and assistance when I need it. There is no shame in modification. You must continually work to perfect your form. You cannot perfect your form if you are flat out struggling to even move in the slightest amount. It is better to work gradually towards building your strength, balance, and control, rather than trying to muscle through something with your shoulders in your ears and your belly popping out.

When I was all done with my modified Hip Twists I hopped off my chair. I walked around to the other end. My back facing the pedal. I rolled down, walked my hands out in front of me. I brought my feet onto the pedal. I then did 15 pushups without blinking. So while my Hip Twists may be a work in progress, my pushups are on point. We all have our strengths and weaknesses. Pilates can help to highlight the former and correct the latter.

I am starting to get back to my old level of training. I have really started to push myself again. It has been a long year plus since finding out I was pregnant! One of the most difficult things for me to handle was the way my strength changed. It doesn’t matter how much I worked out while pregnant, the bottom line is, your body changes and with it so does your strength.

After baby arrives you are exhausted. If your child is anything like mine, you spent the first 20 weeks waking up 2+ times a night! Alexander has just very recently started sleeping through the night. When I say recently I mean within the last week! Someone or all of us have been sick once or twice a month since Alexander was born in October. Two bouts of strep. Two strains of Influenza. 5 ear infections. Bronchitis. Several colds. A couple sinus infections. Croup. I was still training throughout all of this. However, I wasn’t pushing myself like I used to. I was just tired. Sometimes sick. But mostly just tired.

Immediately after having Alexander I discovered I could barely do a bridge on my Reformer. I was so frustrated. Bridging is a staple in my training. It is a staple in my teaching. I could bridge until I collapsed. I could have a student bridge until they collapsed. I truly love the way bridging works the entire body. Imagine my complete dismay to discover my core strength was entirely destroyed and I could barely get my tail bone off the mat, let alone keep the carriage at the stopper.


That was then. This is now. Alexander is 20 & 1/2 weeks old. He will officially be 5 months on the 28th. I have started running farther distances. I have started to push myself while doing Pilates. I shake and drip with sweat. Planking is my best friend. I do some kind of plank every single day. My options are abundant with my mat, Reformer, WundaChair, Bosu, and Pilates ball. I could plank all day long if I wanted to.


On Sunday I ran over 4 miles. I haven’t done that since my first trimester of pregnancy. It felt amazing. It felt amazing because I pushed myself to be where I used to be. Yesterday I did an incline program on my treadmill. It had a nice plateau of incline. I smelled like a hockey player when I was done. I have never been happier! I ran 3.2 miles entirely uphill. That is the sweet smell of my fitness returning.

20 weeks postpartum

20 weeks postpartum

I can be very hard on myself. I pride myself on being and feeling strong. So when I struggle to do exercises that I used to be able to do without blinking, I can really feel defeated. I hear a lot “you just had a baby!” I recently asked my husband “Exactly how long is that excuse applicable? How long do you get to say that? I think you get a couple weeks” He told me I was crazy. Maybe. But I also don’t see anything wrong with expecting more from myself. I don’t see anything wrong with pushing myself to be the best I can be.

Lately I have noticed my strength returning. I am able to bridge much better. I can plank rather well. I can move on my WundaChair with greater ease than right after birth. I have noticed my C-scoop improving. My biceps are looking more toned again. I feel I have a lot of work left to do. My hips. My low belly. It will take time though. I am aware of that. I do feel that as I am getting more rest and making the conscious decision to make sure my workouts really work me out, the strength I want will trickle back in.

IMG_7983It is one of the hardest things in life, growing a baby and birthing it. It really changes you emotionally, mentally, and physically. I have done it twice now. It is not easy. You have to be strong in so many ways. For me, my physical strength and fitness helps keep everything else in my life strong. It is all so intertwined it is hard to see where one thing begins and another thing ends. Feeling strong and being strong keep me happy and significantly less stressed. As I am peeking at the end of the exhaustion tunnel, I can see glimpses of my old life and strength returning. And I am positively giddy about it!

I flew over a huge hurdle yesterday! I had been asked to sub for another Pilates instructor. Three Reformer classes needed to be covered. 8:30, 9:30, and 10:30 in the morning. A Saturday morning. Saturdays are busy at my studio. I said yes. I decided to just go ahead and do it. I knew my master teacher would be in the building. I just wouldn’t have another instructor sitting by free to help or answer my questions. I have always had that crutch to lean on. Also, I have never taught three classes in a row. I considered all of this after I had been asked. My parents happened to be over. I discussed it with them and my husband. The consensus was that I needed to do this. I was capable of doing this. I am meant to do this. “Rip the band aid off” is my husband’s favorite phrase. He told me to do just that.

I am SO glad I did. It went really well. There were no major issues or hiccups. I got a lot of positive feedback. From my master teacher/boss and from the clients. I love the Mermaid. I love it on the Mat, Reformer, and Chair. There is rarely a day that goes by where I don’t do some version of the Mermaid. I included it in my classes yesterday. I had a few clients rave about it. Saying they had never done it before. They LOVED it. I explained my passion for the position. They replied that they think it needs to be in every class they take. Well, I think it is safe to say I have found my signature move at this studio. “If you take a class with Nicole, you will more than likely do the Mermaid in some way!”



I feel so empowered. I know that practicing Pilates can empower you. I have been empowered by it. I am empowered by it. Teaching Pilates can also empower you. Being able to help people. Seeing them find the work. Listening to them tell you how great that move felt on their body. Lately, every time I leave the studio after teaching a class I am riding on this high. I feel so great, happy, energetic. I am not even working out. I am just working. I am doing what I was born to do. I left after my last class and drove home. I thought along the way, this is clearly what I was born to do. This is my career. I have never been so sure of that in my life. Besides being a mom. I always knew I wanted to get married and have a family. Other than that I  have never quite made up my mind. Nothing made me feel this way. Nothing until I started teaching Pilates. I am about halfway through my Reformer teaching hours for certification. Chair will likely be conquered in the fall when my boss adds more chairs and then adds some chair classes. I love Chair. I own one and I practice on it pretty much daily. I know a lot of people loathe it but I feel that is because it is intimidating. It doesn’t have to be. It can be so tailored to a client that gradual increase in strength can be achieved  I also have a potential offer from my boss to teach at Lulu on Saturday mornings. If it does happen it is supposed to start in early May. It is not 100% yet but I am excited that she even thought of me to do that. I will bring the same passion I just wrote about along with me to the store. I will turn people on to the love of Pilates. I will hopefully be able to convince new people to walk into the studio that is my home.

It feels good to find your place in the world. I have found mine. I am Nicole. I am a mom, a wife, and a Pilates instructor.

What/who are you?

I came across one of the funniest Pilates quotes I have ever read. It has been cracking me up all day. It is from a Men’s Health interview with George Lopez.

“I started doing Pilates a while back. I thought my childhood was rough? Pilates is harder. When I do Pilates, I think about those sad summers I was making Kool-Aid and trying to sell it on a cul de sac that no one traveled, and Pilates is much harder than that.”

Pilates is hard. No doubt about it. I really appreciate the humor in this though. I like nothing more than a good laugh. I will always pick to watch a comedy over a drama. But like I said, the reality is, it is hard. It is not easy. It is not a one time workout. It is a practice. Something you must craft and master over time. Weeks, months, years. I started doing Pilates in high school. My mom took me to a class. I wouldn’t be where I am right now without her influencing me. I instantly loved it. photo (2)

I am a million times better now than I ever was in my teens or early 20’s even. Especially once I decided to really focus solely on Pilates. I used to rotate between different types of fitness. I am glad I have found a focus. There is such a centering feeling in practicing and perfecting your craft. Pilates is my craft. I continually challenge myself. I know where my weaknesses are and I set goals for myself to correct and eventually perfect them. I have really opened my hip flexors since I stopped running. That was a very tight and short area for me. I can feel a difference. My current struggle has to do with the tightness in my shoulders. I also want to be able to do a perfect teaser every single time. I can do awesome teasers, but every so often I wobble, or get stuck etc. Those are my goals.

Pilates is hard. But that doesn’t mean it should scare you away. It is so empowering to practice a hard craft. When you reach your goals, big or small, you are filled with this sense of accomplishment and self worth. No one but you created that ability. Sure, your teacher/trainer guided you, spotted you, and instructed you. I cannot engage your core for you. I cannot do the work for you. Ultimately, YOU had to do the work to get there.

My motto with teaching is “We are all on our own journey.” When I am explaining things to my private clients I always tell them that. I will carry that on in my Mat class as well. That is the most important part. To stay true to yourself and your body. It doesn’t matter what your neighbor is doing. It doesn’t matter what I can do as your instructor. That is my journey and yours is different. No two journeys are exactly the same. So, while Pilates is hard, life has never claimed to be easy. Sometimes, the hardest things we go through have the greatest results. Pilates is one of those things. And as George Lopez knows, it is ok to laugh about that fact!

Yesterday marked the end of our formal Reformer training. We actually finished the book on Thursday, but yesterday was a big review class. We went over any move we had a question on. Class flew by and we actually stayed 30 minutes over our normal time. It ended up being a 4 hour class. We even attached the jumpboards and had a mini jumpboard session. That was fun and another facet I look forward to learning a bit more about.

I say it marked the end of our formal Reformer training because I truly believe I have so much more learning to do. This will be hands on learning that I experience as I shadow, co-teach, and eventually teach entire classes myself. I know that I have read that book front to back, attended all of my classes, and reviewed it at home. You can learn a lot that way. It is just a base knowledge though. Experience will help me become the instructor I want and long to be.

As part of our Reformer culmination we all took photos of each other doing Front Splits. It kind of became an inside joke that I won’t go in to, but it ended up being super cool to do this for one another. This is a tough and advanced move. My favorite part of it is the concentration you must have in order to successfully do it. My mind is usually all over the place. I don’t think it ever shuts off. Being a busy mom who is in school and starting her career, you do not have time to stop thinking about things. This move requires you to only think about one thing, not falling off of that Reformer. Being in the moment, breathing, concentrating, and balance.


I woke up this morning feeling very excited about life. I am starting my career. It is funny for me, because, since we decided to try getting pregnant I wasn’t thinking about a career. I knew I wanted to stay home with the child we would eventually have. I was finishing up my BA in History and shortly after I graduated I found out we were finally pregnant. It took us a while for that to happen. I won’t write about that journey right now. But now, I am ready to start thinking about the career I never put on the front burner. Perhaps it is because I found something I have a deep love and passion for. Something that, for now, can work around my schedule as a mom. As he grows older and more independent I can add more to my plate. I am pretty sure my Mat workshop will begin this Wednesday. I am still waiting on 100% confirmation. If not this week then after the Holidays, which is fine too. I am flexible, pun intended. I know, I cheesy at times.

My joy of Pilates is overflowing to those around me as well. I recently discussed it with my dad and he is interested in training with me. I have taught my future sister in law, my mom, and my mother in law. Last night my husband said to me “I need to do some Pilates so I can be flexible.” He has also been talking up Pilates to those around him. Once it was in front of me, to our Realtor. I was taken aback to listen to him praise me and what I do. I always thought he was a little skeptical of it, but lately he has really been showing this appreciation for the practice of Pilates. He has been telling his employees about it as well, apparently. He came home and told me one of them was interested in it. I would never have pegged this person for being interested in it, but after Jason spoke about it, he did take interest  See, my love of it has caused a ripple effect. The way I speak about it has flowed over into my husband’s day to day life. Pilates can do that. Passion can do that.

We did some written test review. She just asked us questions out loud and we could answer if we knew it. Individually or as a group. This always makes me a little nervous, especially because now we all make an effort to not refer to our book. I am happy to say I knew a lot of the answers without looking. That is such a confidence booster! I know more than I think I know. It has been embedded in my brain because I have spent the time and energy trying to learn it. Last night I went to bed thinking about Reformer things and this morning I woke up thinking about them as well.

We have become intertwined, Pilates and I.

What is your passion? It doesn’t have to be fitness related, anything that you feel this deeply about. I feel this way about my son and husband too, so there isn’t always just one answer. Have you reached a point in life where you are feeling satisfied with your family life and career choice, be it staying at home or working outside the home? Like I said, I never thought a career would become this important to me at this point in my life, so everyone is different and everyone’s “ideal” can shift  over time.