NIFS Healthy Living Blog

NIFS December Group Fitness Class of the Month: PiYo

Piyo2.jpgContinuing with the Group Fitness Class of the Month series, December is upon us and we are highlighting a new class. Hopefully you had the opportunity in November to do a BODYATTACK class. This month we take a closer look at another group fitness class: PiYo. This Beachbody class has been on the schedule for a good chunk of time now, but in case you don’t know what it is or haven’t taken the opportunity to try it, let’s pick it apart a little bit.

A Low-Impact, Fat-Burning Fitness Class

Now, stepping into an even smaller group fitness studio can also be very intimidating, I know, but the faster-paced movements and music in PiYo will hopefully diminish some of those feelings. And for those of you (this was me at one point as well) who feel this is just another stretching class…think again! PiYo takes the muscle-sculpting, core-tightening movements from Pilates and the strength and flexibility benefits of yoga and ties them into one class. Talk about a great combination! And with the ramped-up speed of the different movements, this class includes fat-burning, low-impact movements to help you see results.

My Experience with This Workout

I personally have done a PiYo class to see what it was all about, and allow me to share my experience. I started out with the mindset of this is “just another stretching class,” like I talked about above. Within just a few minutes, I quickly learned I was mistaken. The class moved much faster than I had anticipated, and the movements were quite challenging. I would consider myself to be an active, decently fit individual, with a good amount of flexibility and strength. But some of the moves in PiYo really challenged the flexibility and mobility of my body. And I could see how over time, taking this class would allow a person to actually see measurable results in those two areas.

PiYo_LOGO_Gray_M.jpgPiYo at NIFS

NIFS offers two different kinds of PiYo on our group fitness schedule. PiYo Strength focuses on agility, dance conditioning, athletic training, core conditioning, balance, flexibility, and so much more. Many athletes benefit from this format because of its flexibility, and using the body as full-body resistance. This is a fusion format that moves quickly and powerfully, and creates strength from the transverse abs out. We also offer Pilates/Yoga Fusion, which is a unique class designed to build strength, balance, agility, and flexibility. The moves fit perfectly together to form a class filled with intense choreography that's fun and challenging and will make you sweat. It is a perfect blend of Pilates, yoga, sports stretch, dance stretch, athletics, and more. Don't worry, no previous experience is necessary!

Watch PIYO workout Video

This blog shows what another NIFS Health Fitness Specialist has to say about PiYo. Take some time to try a PiYo class and see what you think!

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 This blog was written by Amanda Bireline, Fitness Center Manager. To find out more about the NIFS bloggers, click here.

Topics: NIFS exercise fitness center yoga group fitness workouts balance strength Pilates core strength Group Fitness Class of the Month PiYo

Thomas’s Corner: Turn Back the Fitness and Nutrition Clock: 2006

ThinkstockPhotos-491229984.jpgGreetings, NIFS friends. We have passed the midway point in the calendar year 2016, and I hope that you have been successful in meeting some of your yearly goals as well as making new ones. During this time of year, we find outdoor and recreational exercise more readily available and appealing, understandably, and because of this, there is time for the occasional spare moment for yours truly to ponder (by ponder, I mean BLOG!).

This series will elicit memories of fitness past, turning back the clocks to years past as fitness was evolving quickly to what it is today. We will look at the sometimes-crazy equipment trends, clothing necessities, what worked, and what did not work. Sit back, relax, and enjoy a stroll down memory lane.

2006: The Rise of Functional Training, Tai Chi, Pilates, and More

Our first stop is 2006, which seems not too long ago, but it has been 10 years already. What we do have is plenty of information on the topic thanks to the evolution of technologies of the times (the World Wide Web, for instance). The year 2006 saw many positives as well as negatives. Functional training as we know it today was still in the early adoption stages for many old-school fitness enthusiasts. But as we saw more and more benefits of this training ethos, many people jumped aboard.

Thankfully, those pioneers were able to show us that no matter how fit we think we are, there is still room for improvement. Along with tai chi, yoga, and Pilates and a byproduct of functional training ideas, BOSU became an instant fitness trend providing a new type of workout that incorporated sound body, mind, and balance. Today, we find BOSUs are still in high rotation at NIFS as well as among some of the top fitness professionals in the world.

Fad Diets of the Recent Past

Although we saw some great fitness-related breakthroughs, there were still some concerns when it came to nutrition and dieting. Fad diets, which had been all over the board for decades, brought us a couple of interesting trends that proved to work but were not without consequence and danger. The “low-carb” diet, which relies heavily on protein consumption with very little carbohydrates, showed promise when people began losing weight, but the cost ran high as individuals began experiencing an increased risk of coronary disease.

Another trend, the “grapefruit diet,” wanted us to eat a somewhat unfortunately sour piece of fruit to see our weight drop. This seemed good in principle, but time has shown that balanced nutrition is still king. Conversely, gyms adopted catchy marketing phrases to promote themselves such as, “diets don’t work.” It’s a misrepresentation of the truth, which is that we are all on diets (some are not as good as others, though).

All in all, there was little to be learned or gained from this time period in nutrition. Many people wanted the quick fix or magic pill to make all the bad stuff go away and accelerate the good stuff beyond what is considered good or normal. This seems to still be the case today, but there are always going to be those people who do not want to work for their fitness gains.

The More Things Change…

As you can see, there are many similarities between today and 2006. There is also an equal amount of topics we would like to move away from, which isn’t all bad considering we learn from our mistakes. The emergence of healthy mind and body really sticks with me as well as a movement toward functional training. Only time will tell how the new fitness trends of today will stack up and be viewed 10 years from now. 

If this blog has been a trip down memory lane for you, please share your yesteryear experience below and request a specific time/year for us to visit in a future blog so that we can continue together on this trip down memory lane. 

As always, muscleheads rejoice and evolve.

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This blog was written by Thomas Livengood, Health Fitness Specialist. To find out more about the NIFS bloggers, click here.

Topics: nutrition Thomas' Corner yoga functional training Pilates fitness trends diets

Why I Have a Passion for PiYo Fitness

piyo.jpgOkay, so you may have been hearing the word “PiYo®” circulating these last few months within the world of group fitness. For those of you who feel like you do not completely know what it means or what the class entails, fear not. I guarantee you are not the only one with questions, and as a certified PiYo instructor, I would love to share a few reasons why I teach it, and the benefits that can come from practicing it.

PiYo® is a Beachbody program created by celebrity fitness trainer Chalene Johnson (who is also the creator of TurboFire, Turbo Kick, etc.). She originally created the PiYo® class because she wanted a workout that would provide results without straining your body. She loved the benefits of Pilates and yoga but got bored with the static moves in yoga and the microscopic movements in Pilates. So essentially, the class is set to music, combining moves from both techniques and making them dynamic to give participants an enjoyable yet challenging class that works on not only body strength, but also balance and flexibility. Let’s look a little more deeply into those features.

Bodyweight Strength

PiYo_LOGO_Gray_M.jpgSurprisingly, for many of us (myself included), just using our own bodyweight for certain exercises can be challenging enough. From moves like triceps pushups, to lunges, to side planks, 140+ pounds begins to feel really heavy really quick! PiYo® takes many of these simple-to-learn yet challenging moves and combines them with aspects such as “time under tension” and dynamic pulses to keep the body moving the whole time.

Each song also has its own focus; the workout begins with a heat-building track to wake up the body and get blood flowing to the muscles, then moves into a lower-body and power track. Following those, we seamlessly transition the second half of the class into a yoga flow, and finish with a core and stretching/strength track to leave you feeling worked and refreshed.

Balance

I want to take this opportunity to emphasize that balance does matter! It’s amazing how quickly we lose balance over time if we do not continue to develop it. Think about how many times you shift your weight from one side to the other; from simply walking, to going up and down flights of stairs, to catching yourself when you trip, to leaning backward or forward to grab something off the floor. For the younger generation it might seem quite simple, but I promise you, in 30 years, if you never trained in a split stance or single-leg pattern, just standing on one leg for 30 seconds can turn into one of the most difficult and frustrating things you have done.

Flexibility

As a former dancer, this aspect is one of my personal favorites. If you want to deepen your flexibility in your hips and hamstrings, and focus on finding space within those areas to stretch, PiYo® is wonderful for this, especially the flow section, which focuses on this. Even if you have never been very flexible, and simply just want to work on being comfortable when you reach to tie your shoes, or being able to twist and open the t-spine to improve your posture, PiYo® has something to offer for that as well. Mobility work is so important in performance, as we age, and is essential to maintaining and improving quality of life.

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If you are wondering whether you could keep up in a PiYo® class or if you could do it, you can! The best part of PiYo® is that it’s your workout! I run the class and have the moves and choreography, but it’s your workout and you are more than welcome to take it at your own pace. That includes modifications; I make sure to offer plenty of modifications to assist and advance you as you go along, allowing you to have a suitable class that will not only challenge you, but also be safe for you to participate in. Take a look at NIFS group fitness schedule and:

Try a group fitness class for free

This blog was written by Rebecca Newbrough, Lifestyle Program Coordinator and Health Fitness Instructor. To find out more about the NIFS bloggers, click here.

Topics: fitness yoga balance Pilates stretching core strength bodyweight Beachbody

Why You Need Pilates in Your Fitness Regimen

Okay, I know what you are thinking. I have conversations about Pilates almost daily with skeptical fitness enthusiasts, and so often people feel that Pilates is not worth their time. I sympathize; before I tried Pilates I thought that I had things covered with weightlifting, core work, yoga, and cardiovascular training. Why would I need to add anything to my already busy schedule?Pilates

When I took my first Pilates class, I realized that I was wrong. I could barely finish any of the exercises and for several days after I was so sore that I thought I had broken a rib. I almost did not go back because I was embarrassed by how poorly I had done. I could not believe how weak, inflexible, and uncoordinated I was. Later I learned that the muscles targeted in Pilates exercises should be used in other forms of training, but that people are not always taught how to use them when they exercise. Since including Pilates in my regimen, my strength and skill has improved in all of my workouts!

The Workout Benefits of Pilates

So, why should you consider Pilates? Pilates enhances everything you do. The Pilates Method Alliance states that Pilates improves posture, coordination and balance, flexibility, and strength in every muscle group. It helps to align the body and adjust imbalances from sports. The system even increases lung capacity, circulation, joint health, and bone density. From marathon runners to baseball players, athletes in every sport benefit from Pilates.

I love that, once you are confident enough to do so, you can take Pilates with you anywhere and do it any time. It is easy to incorporate the movements and principles into your workout regimen, and you don’t have to do many repetitions for the work to be effective. Even a few exercises a day will benefit you greatly!

Pilates at NIFS

Interested in trying Pilates? Check out our NIFS Pilates Training page for more information about our group mat, group reformer, and private training sessions. Request a free class pass to try our group Pilates mat class, or any class on the schedule at NIFS!

This blog was written by Morgan Sanders-Jackson a group fitness instructor at NIFS. Meet our other NIFS bloggers.

Topics: NIFS group fitness group training balance flexibility strength core Pilates

My First Workout with the Pilates Reformer

I considered myself to be a pretty fit person—and then I met the Pilates Reformer.

You can find me in the gym five or six times a week, and I try to get at least two outdoor running sessions into my weekly routine as well. Exercise is my go-to stress reliever, my “me” time, and my hobby. I’m even a fitness instructor and consider exercise my stress reliever and hobby. But still, the thought of attending a Pilates Reformer session was a little—okay, a lot—intimidating! I have attended several mat Pilates classes, and I even taught a basic Pilates class while working on a cruise, yet I had never set foot on the Reformer, which is a device developed by Joseph Pilates that creates resistance for the body through a system of pulleys and springs.

Pilates Reformer

Tara Takes on the Reformer

I am always open-minded and willing to try new types of exercise. When I found out that Pilates was NIFS’s June group fitness class of the month, I thought that I would take my lack of experience on the Reformer and use it to YOUR advantage. I know that NIFS has an amazing Pilates program, and I know that our instructors are delightfully personable and highly qualified. But I also know that our Pilates program is one of NIFS’s best-kept secrets.

When I entered the room full of Pilates apparatuses, such as the Chair and the Tower, in addition to the Reformer, I was excited, nervous, and tired from a long day’s work.

Pilates TowerI attended a private session with Morgan , one of our resident Pilates experts. Boy am I thankful that I had a private lesson! Naturally, I am very inquisitive and find myself always asking “why” and “am I doing it right?” The private session allowed me to ask lots of questions, have Morgan’s undivided attention, and learn about why we were doing what we were doing and how it would help my other workouts. Although I am thankful I started with a private session, the small class sizes (maximum of only four participants) allow the instructor to be very engaged with participants even in the group setting. I am mostly thankful I had the private session because I could get chatty!

We began as they do in every class with very basic exercises to get my body warm and my mind focused. I had forgotten how much focus a Pilates class takes, and when we were initially beginning the class my mind was all over the place, making it more difficult to maintain proper body alignment. After a few deep breaths and basic movements, my mind was clear.

Pilates allows our bodies to build muscle without overuse, strain, and misuse of the body—AND we are developing smaller stabilizer muscles at the same time!

Morgan was very hands on during our session, paying specific attention to my body’s alignment, allowing me to perfect my form and feel the exercises in the targeted muscle group. 

Pilates toys

A Challenging but Rewarding Workout

Overall, this workout was challenging for my muscles and for my mind, as I tried very hard to engage my core the entire time and focus in on specific muscle groups while maintaining my posture.

After class, I immediately felt refreshed, relaxed, and rejuvenated despite the hard work I had just completed. I had a heightened awareness of my body and the way my posture effected how I walked and carried myself. Although the workout was very different than my typical routine, which consists of running, BODYPUMP, interval training, and more high-impact exercises, it still challenged me and left my muscles fatigued the day after. I really enjoyed this workout and I would recommend it to anyone who wants to build strength and stay safe in other forms of exercise, who has difficulty completing high-impact exercise, and who wants to try something new! After one private session, I feel much more comfortable with the reformer and would feel at ease taking a group class.

Make sure to join Morgan and Glenna for a mat or Reformer Pilates class. Check the NIFS Pilates Schedule for times and locations!

Ready to try the Pilates Reformer? NIFS has an intro package just for beginners to Pilates Reformer. Click here to get started.

This blog was written by Tara Deal, NIFS Membership Manager and a group fitness instructor. Author of Treble in the Kitchen.
Topics: NIFS exercise fitness group fitness strength core Pilates