Thursday, 2 June 2011

Pilates Beach Body workout with Sue Ashcroft

WANT TO FEEL FANTASTIC in your bathing suit this summer? Then now is the time to tap into the transformative power of Pilates. Developed for dancers, this total-body strengthening and stretching system creates long, lean lines and a strong center by combining technique, alignment, and breath to fire up your abdominal muscles while you're targeting other areas of your body.

If you want fast results, look no further. "Pilates moves feel good, and they deliver a quick return" ,says Michelle Dozois, co-owner of Breakthru Fitness Personal Training and Pilates Studio in Pasadena, Calif., who designed this at-home workout for NATURAL HEALTH readers. "Follow the principles of precision and control along with breathing and mental focus, and you'll see your muscles become strong, firm, and toned in no time."

The trick is to concentrate on doing every rep as if it's the only one you'll ever do. Each movement is designed to simultaneously lengthen and strengthen the working muscles while challenging the abs and spinal muscles as you strive to maintain balance. You'll get a workout for your mind and your muscles, along with a body that, come summer, you won't want to cover up.
Toss that sarong: We've got the ultimate workout to help you slip on a bikini with confidence. "Each of these exercises targets at least three major muscle groups -- so you train smarter, not longer,"

says Rael Isacowitz, a Pilates specialist and exercise physiologist based in Costa Mesa, California.

The Result: Swimsuit-worthy abs, plus sleeker arms, butt, and thighs. Do this workout twice a week for 60 minutes (complete the entire series of exercises twice), then add another 15 minutes of high-intensity cardio.

To boost the challenge, use light weights where indicated. Include two 45- to 60-minute cardio sessions on your off days and follow a healthy diet, and in just four weeks you'll be sitting poolside with pride.

About Sue Ashcroft

Sue has been practicing Pilates for 8 years. As a busy mother of 3 she has seen the benefits that this discipline brings - toned muscles, good posture, and better self image that add a zest to everyday life. She is passionate that everyone, whatever their age and level of fitness can benefit from Pilates .Sue is a student teacher at the U.K STOTT PILATES headquarters in Oxford.

•August - October 2010: Stott Pilates Intensive Reformer Course
•April 2010: Stott Pilates Intensive MatPlus Course (Final Module), Oxford
•March 2010: Stott Pilates Intensive MatPlus Course (Postural Analysis and Intermediate Matwork), Oxford
•February 2010: Stott Pilates Intensive MatPlus Course (Basic Principles and Essential Matwork), Oxford
•January 2010: Essential Anatomy, Intelligent Fitness, Oxford
•December 2009: Analysis of Human Movement, Intelligent Fitness, Oxford
•November 2009: Foundations of Anatomy, Intelligent Fitness, Oxford

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