Branded Content, Health & Fitness

[Material World x Breathe Pilates] 30-Days Pilates Challenge – Matthew Fam

If a session of pilates leaves your legs wobbling by the end of its duration, try doing consecutive sessions in 30 days. Sounds crazy? Not quite. Breathe Pilates’ 30-Days Pilates Challenge is perfect for everyone of all fitness levels committed to a healthier lifestyle.

If there’s one workout you must get involved in, it’s this. Taking place in August 2014, the 30-Days Pilates Challenge provides first-timers an opportunity to commit to a fitness regime, while allowing seasoned practitioners to hone their practice. And we’ve got the lo-down on how manageable undertaking this challenge can be:

What’s so good about pilates?

It involves a contraption that skeptics may confuse for a medieval torture device. But you’d be surprised at the bevy of health benefits ranging from weight loss, increasing one’s muscle tone, to recovering from sports injuries! Its an all-in-one workout that’s part strengthening, part rehabilitating.

20130707_B6555175What kinds of exercises can I expect from the 30-Days Pilates Challenge?

There are three types of exercise you can expect to do during this challenge: reformer, tower, and mat exercises. And none of these involve impossible contortions, rest assured.

“Reformer and tower exercises make use of different parts of the reformer, a bed-like structure with a series of pulleys and springs. On the other hand, mat work involves the usage of simpler equipment such as therabands or free weights on mats to challenge the body,” shares Ru Shin, participant of last year’s 30-Days Pilates Challenge.

The focus of these sessions rotates throughout the week, so all your muscle groups get an equal chance at a workout. “We would be assigned different instructors during the challenge. They would alternate their focus between abdominal and spinal articulation, arms and legs, and cardiovascular activity.” Suffice to say, these 4 weeks will have fitness regimens specially tailor-planned for you.

Can I join the 30-Days Pilates Challenge if I have zero experience?

If being able to touch your toes feels like winning the Olympics gold for gymnastics, don’t give up your pilates-practicing ambitions just yet! This programme is suited for people of various fitness levels. “I was a total beginner!”, exclaimed Ru Shin of her experience.

Be it those recovering from an injury, disciplined gym users, or people whose idea of exercise is their daily walk to the refrigerator, this challenge is built for anyone along the fitness spectrum. “One of the great things about the challenge is that it suits nearly everyone- young (the youngest student was 14 years old and came with her dad!) and old.”

The small group setting ensures that trainers give you a more personalised coaching.

The small group setting ensures that trainers give you a more personalised coaching.

Will I be able to cope with the intensity of 30 days?

Relax. The trainers will not expect you to wrangle yourself into a pretzel. “The sessions increased in intensity as the weeks progressed, so by week 4, exercises were significantly more advanced than week 1,” says Ru Shin. Its gradual intensification means that you’ll be well accustomed to the basics before moving on to intermediate workouts.

At the same time, the challenge would not consist of superficial poses that one could easily replicate without the trainers. You will be breaking out a sweat. “After some of the sessions, my arms and legs were shaking like jelly. I even ached in places I never knew had muscles! It wasn’t smooth sailing. I had recently given birth at that time and wasn’t exercising regularly before starting the challenge. But after the first few days, I started to get the hang of it.”

Some participants of last year's 30-Days Pilates Challenge and their trainer.

Some participants of last year’s 30-Days Pilates Challenge and their trainer.

What’s different about this pilates challenge?

This is not the same as attending a pilates gym for 30 consecutive days. Its comfortable group setting allows you to ease into the rigour of workouts without feeling self-conscious. And you get individual attention from the trainers too, so you won’t be lost while awkwardly yanking random pulleys looking totally ridiculous.

“The group was just right- there were 5 of us- which enabled the trainer to pay attention to each student. The trainers were all very good. They demonstrated the exercises before letting us commence. Moreover, they would take the time to check that every student had proper postural alignment during the exercises!”

On top of that, Breathe Pilates’ emphasis on a holistic lifestyle transformation is underscored with an option for healthy cold-pressed juices you can enjoy after workout sessions.

How will I be able to commit to these 30 days in light of hectic work schedules?

Sure, it’s one thing to maintain discipline in a fitness regime, but how does that stand when busy work schedules get thrown into the mix? Here is Ru Shin’s tip: “I signed up for the challenge weeks in advance and was able to plan my schedule. I would start work earlier just to make sure I would be able to make it for the sessions on time. I also tried to push business trips just before or after the 30 days. I really wanted to do something about my fitness so I made it a priority to attend every single session. No excuses.”

Ru Shin and her daughter.

Ru Shin and her daughter.

What improvements can I expect after the 30-Days Pilates Challenge?

You don’t even need to wait 30 days for visible benefits from this challenge. “Even within the first week, I noticed improvements in my posture. As the weeks went by, I became stronger and more toned; my back was hurting less and I had higher energy levels throughout the day.  Most amazingly, a shoulder injury that I was nursing bothered me less. I was well on my way to recovery!”, says Ru Shin.

Yes. A fitter, healthier you is definitely within reach.

 

The 30-Day Pilates Programme lasts from 11 August to 5 September 2014, Mondays to Saturdays. Register now for an Early Bird Special of $650 (usual price $680)! Daily Juice option, $140, includes 3 bottles of 250ml cold-pressed juice provided for 30 days.

Breathe Pilates is located at #09-33 Novena Medical Center, 10 Sinaran Drive (8 participants); and #02-05/06/07 Tides, 217 East Coast Road (10 participants). For more information or to make an appointment, call 9835 5683, email info@breathepilates.com.sg, or visit www.breathepilates.com.sg.

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Body News, Food & Supplements, Health & Fitness, Infographics

[Infographic] Does Eating Late At Night Make You Fat? – Vanessa Tai

Whenever I’m up late at night, I never fail to feel peckish. Whether I’m working on an article, reading or just mindlessly surfing YouTube, I’ll start to crave for chocolates, instant noodles or chips (not necessarily in that order.) I often end up giving in to my cravings before crawling into bed feeling guilty. Why the guilt? Well, as I was growing up, people used to tell me that eating after a certain time at night will make me fat. They could never agree if this “time” was 6pm or 9pm or something in between, but one thing they all agreed on … eating late at night makes you put on weight.

Of course, we now have research that disprove this myth. After reviewing the results of various studies on the correlation between night-time eating and weight gain, the British Medical Journal concluded there is no link between the two. What actually causes weight gain is the amount of food you eat, not when you eat it.

Here’s an easier way to look at it: Say your body needs 1,500 calories to maintain a healthy body weight and you ate only 1,000 calories by the time it got to 9pm. In reality, you could probably eat another 500 calories but the problem is, the longer you wait till you actually eat, the hungrier you get. And you know what happens when you’re hungry – the chances of overeating and making unhealthy food decisions increases. This is why you’re encouraged to have small meals throughout the day instead of waiting till you get to a certain mealtime.

But what about those among us who don’t count our calories obsessively? Or what if we already had a healthy dinner at a reasonable hour but we’re still feeling somewhat hungry? Before you reach for that packet of chips, ask yourself if what you’re feeling is thirst or hunger. Very often, we mistake dehydration for hunger. Try sipping a glass of water first before assessing if you still need to eat. Also, choose your snack wisely – it may be easy to tear open a packet of chips or dial for fast food, but such food are calorie-laden and may also interrupt your sleep patterns.

If you absolutely feel like you need to eat something, check out this handy infographic on which late-night snacks are acceptable, and which are simply a no-go.

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About The Author: Vanessa Tai is a founder of Material World who has previously worked on magazines Simply Her and Cosmopolitan Singapore. Now a freelance writer and a full-time contributor to this website, the 26-year-old dreams of attending every single major music festival before she turns 30. She is on a mission to lose 10 kilograms (she says this every year.) Follow her on Twitter @VannTaiTweets.

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