However, armed with a few questions - in particular, how long it actually takes to see results - we spoke with classical Pilates instructor and Director at Authentic Pilates Studio, Olga Tamara, to get a full run down on the type of results you can expect, the difference between reformer and mat and if there really is such thing a "magic" number of classes we should be doing a week for optimal results.
How often should we be doing Pilates a week to see consistent results. Is there such thing as a "magic" number?
Is there ever a magic number for success? No, but there is magic results with effort and hard work. What really matters is willingness to commit to being dedicated to your health and practice. If you are, no matter how many times a week you do Pilates you will find an endless supply of benefits on an ongoing basis. You and only you can make that commitment.
How long does it take on average to start seeing results from Pilates?
Founder and inventor of the Pilates method, Joseph Pilates, wrote "In 10 sessions you'll feel a difference, in 20 sessions you'll see a difference, and in 30 sessions you'll have a whole new body". This is a quote you see often as a marketing tool for Pilates studios as it resonates with the imagination! Often, feeling better is what gets us hooked on Pilates. In just 10 sessions your muscles are stronger, your body is more aligned, and your mind if clear and stress-free. After 20 sessions, you may notice muscles definition and see a change in body shape. After 30 sessions with your personal instructor, you'll be moving with more vigour and not only feel and look better but be well on your way to living a better life because Pilates translates to other aspects of our lives, keeping us healthy and strong, physically and mentally.
Why do you specifically mention 30 sessions with a personal instructor?
This is key! To get the most out of Pilates you need to understand what it is you're actually doing and why. You won't get this in a gym group class or a big mat or reformer class as it takes focused, personal attention. Make sure you do your homework and source a good teacher who has done full comprehensive training that can help you understand the Pilates method and how to adapt Josephs philosophies to your mind and body.
Is there a difference in the type and speed of results you will see from reformer and mat Pilates?
I can't testify to the speed of results between mat and the reformer as everyone is different. What I can categorically state is that the speed of which you will see results in Pilates is far greater when you attend studio Pilates sessions in a private or small group setting, rather than large group classes. If you are going to large group Pilates mat or reformer classes then you may want to ask yourself, "Am I being taught Pilates?" It's possible you are doing fitness exercises and not Pilates at all. Now, I'm certainly not saying that's bad, exercises in all forms is great for the body, it's just that it's not "Pilates".
What are the types of changes you can expect to see from Pilates?
There are many changes you'll see, but more importantly feel. Your shape will change for the better. You'll look taller and be taller. You'll feel lighter, stronger, more energetic and happier. You'll also improve your quality of sleep; and your mind will be more focused. If you have commitment to your daily routine and discipline in your movement, your whole body will develop uniformly giving you the quality of life you deserve. Remember, "Pilates is complete coordination of body, mind and spirit", it's not just about a rock-hard core. It is more than just a physical exercise and can radically enhance mental, emotional and spiritual well-being.
Is Pilates really for everyone?
A lot of people only take up Pilates when they feel they need rehab, or they have an ailment of some kind due to postural issues and their working environment. Pilates will help of course but keep in mind it is very much a preventative form of exercise. It's never too late to start. Whether you are a mature person with a sedentary lifestyle, an active athlete, or a young teen, Pilates is for you. With multiple modifications, this workout can be applied to every individual no matter the age or activity level.
It's official! Tommy Hilfiger is launching a performance line for men and women. Titled TOMMY SPORT, the collection is made up of performance-driven essentials including sports bras, leggings, shorts and tank tops with the American-cool aesthetic brand loyalists love Tommy for at the forefront. You can expect bold colour-blocking, oversized star graphics and the new TOMMY SPORT logo (because, logos are life right now) to reign supreme.
"Active living has evolved into a way of life and changed the way we dress, with the next generations looking for designs that fit their on-the-go lifestyle," said Tommy Hilfiger. "Clothing needs to follow this trend and we are delivering on consumer expectations with TOMMY SPORT, which injects a cool and bold edge into performance. We are taking iconic pieces from our archive to the future with modernized classic sports fabrics and executions."
We've all sacrificed sleep during the week because we think we can catch up by snoozing all weekend long. Then, like clockwork, Sunday night rolls around all of a sudden, you can't sleep! Leaving you tossing and turning 'til 2 a.m., trying to figure out why the hell you can't sleep like a "normal" person. So, what gives?
That sleep-in you're desperately holding out for, is doing your health more harm than good. It's called "social jetlag", and no, it's not just the best excuse your yawning self-has ever heard, it's an actual phenomenon.
The term describes when we sacrifice sleep in favour of social obligations, thinking we can play catch-up further down the line.
Unfortunately, for those of us who love a lie-in, it's all bad news.
Those Sunday sleep sessions you love so much, are disrupting your circadian rhythm, and are most likely to blame for why you can't fall asleep at a regular time once Monday rolls around.
According to Dr. Harrington, this is a bit of a sleep myth. "Catching up on sleep can make us feel more alert, but we haven't done the processes every single day that we need to make us healthy." She goes on to explain, we should think about sleep similarly to how we think about exercise. "If you only exercise on Saturday, that's not as good as exercising four times a week. Don't think you can get all your sleep on a Saturday, it doesn't work that way."
Why Does Sleeping In Impact Our Ability to Get (Back) to Sleep?
We must first understand how the body's natural circadian rhythm and production of melatonin (a sleep hormone) functions. According to Dr. Harrington, "The way the body works, when you wake up in the morning and expose yourself to bright light, you offset the production of melatonin. When you offset production, you set your 24-hour rhythm. About 16 hours after our offset of melatonin, we are ready to go back to sleep again."
So, when we look at the phenomenon of social jetlag, essentially what is happening is by sleeping in, you are offsetting your melatonin production later in the day, therefore disrupting your normal sleep cycle. Dr. Harrington explains, "People don't get enough sleep during the week, and it comes to the weekend and they play catch up, and might sleep in 'till eleven on Sunday. Well, of course, they then have offset production at eleven on Sunday morning, so they try to go to bed at nine on Sunday night thinking they can go to sleep - well, they can't."
So Does That Mean Sleeping In Is Cancelled?
Obviously, sleeping in isn't a terrible sin. But if you're looking to improve your sleep health, or you've been struggling to fall asleep you may want to consider cutting back. According to Dr. Harrington, for optimal sleep health we actually shouldn't alter our wake time by more than an hour - ever! (Even on weekends or during holidays). As an alternative, if you really need the extra sleep Dr. Harrington suggests a siesta is the better choice. "Take advantage of an afternoon nap, about the time our circadian rhythm naturally drops down, around 2 p. m."
Confession: I used to be running obsessed ("used to" being the key acknowledgement here). But after a series of fairly significant life changes - including what shall only be referred to as the knee injury of 2015. I found that I'd fallen out of love with running. And believe me, I've tried to fall back in love, or at least, tried to make running fall back in love with me. But despite my efforts, something continued to feel a little, well, off.
So, when NIKE offered me the opportunity to head to South Korea for the launch of their latest shoe I honestly felt a bit weird about it. I'm no running genius, nor am I a pro-athlete. Who am I to review a running shoe? But, then it came to me - that's exactly why I should! I'm just a regular girl, who wears shoes, who runs. Hence, I've got a pretty valid opinion to share. And, in my opinion, I've just found a great shoe - so great in fact, it might just be responsible for making me fall in love with running again.
Whether you're a runner, a sort-of-runner, a sometimes-runner, or you just want a great looking pair of shoes to go to brunch in, keep reading for a definitive ranking of why you should (really) give NIKE's newest sneakers a go.
1: They Feel Really Good On
No word of a lie, the moment I put these on my feet I may have let out an audible sigh. But for real, these sneakers feel soft and supportive. The only way I can think to describe it is it's like upgrading from the very first mattress you bought when you moved out of home for the first time, to the fancy, duck-down, memory foam mattress you maxed out your credit card on when you finally became a "real" adult. Not only did they leave my feet sad to get back into any other shoe, but they offered enough support that when I started getting tired on a run (which for me is embarrassingly fast), I did't get the speed wobbles. You still feel connected to the ground, but minus any jarring involved that can be found in other lightweight shoes (even if you're heavy on your feet).
Things feel surprisingly springy, and as a fellow runner even put it "fun", which brings me to my next point . . .
2: These Shoes "Werk" For You
As Rihanna once sang, you've got to do the "werk, werk, werk, werk, werk, werk". But to be fair, if you put the hours in, it's always nice to get a little something back in return. And this shoe does just that. One of the benefits of NIKE's high-tech React foam, is that it gives you 10 percent greater energy return. So essentially, if this was the stock market these shoes would be offering a solid return on your investment. Not only are you personally reaping the benefits every-time you wear the shoes, you're going to be faster. Because, the real question is, why would you even be wearing a shoe that doesn't give back?
3: They Feature Some Hardcore Tech
In the same way, you upgrade your iPhone, you need to consider the tech that goes into your sneakers. Gone are the days where shoes are simply laced together material designed to protect your feet from twigs. These shoes are pieces of state of the art tech. To keep it simple, engineers, innovators and designers have spent years making sure these shoes are lighter, softer, and offer stability and energy return so that you can enjoy your run. The added genius of this tech is that unlike your iPhone it's future proof - they are designed to last longer. So, that means more run time for your investment, saving your feet, and your wallet. So even if you can't always last the distance, you can be comfortable knowing your shoes will.
4: They Look Cool
There's no reason to be wearing a pair of daggy sneakers at the gym, and most of us do care what our feet look like when we're working out (is feet vanity a thing?). Fashion is changing, and the way we wear our activewear, and our sneakers have changed too. No longer does a great (but ugly) pair of sneakers cut the mustard. In two unisex (NIKE get it, people) colour-ways, you can be confident these are the kind of sneakers that look just as good with workout leggings, as they do with denim. In fact, you'll probably look cooler wearing these sneakers.
With one-in-every 80 women at risk of developing ovarian cancer in their lifetime and around 1500 Australian women diagnosed every year, ovarian cancer is a topic we really should be talking about more.
After speaking to numerous women about what they actually understood about ovarian cancer and its symptoms it was obvious that many of us are, in fact, pretty confused when it comes to the topic. It also became clear that there are many myths surrounding ovarian cancer – in particular, regarding how it can be detected.
Because of this, we thought it was time we reached out to an expert who could arm us with the facts and information we need to know. Cue, Dr Yeh Chen Lee, a medical oncologist with a special interesting in treating gynaecological cancers and an active research fellow on ANZGOG, which is the peak gynaecological cancer research body for Australia and New Zealand. Below she answers our most asked questions.
How do you know if you are at risk of developing ovarian cancer?
If a few of your close relatives had breast or ovarian cancer, you may be at risk of ovarian cancer. Some medical conditions, such as endometriosis, can increase your risk of ovarian cancer.
Can ovarian cancer by genetic?
Yes. Approximately 15 percent of ovarian cancer can be hereditary. Women who inherited BRCA1 or BRCA2 genetic mutations have a substantially increased risk of ovarian and breast cancers. If you are concerned you might be at risk of ovarian cancer, there is a simple questionnaire to help you access your risk called the "Know Your Risk Tool" from Pink Hope.
What are some of the early signs or symptoms?
The classical symptoms included bloating, feeling unusually full after eating, abdominal discomfort, and feeling easily tired. These symptoms can be vague and there are a number of other conditions that can cause similar symptoms. However, if the symptoms persist and do not resolve over several weeks, you should see your doctor for investigation. If you are still concerned you should request a referral to a gynaecological oncologist.
There's a lot of talk about bloating being a sign of ovarian cancer. Why is this and should we be concerned?
Bloating is a common symptom of ovarian cancer, however, there are also a number of other medical conditions that can cause bloating. The main thing is to have this checked out by your doctor and if the symptom persists, return to your doctor for a further check-up.
How can ovarian cancer be detected?
There is no simple test to detect ovarian cancer. Diagnosis may involve a range of tests, including blood tests, scans and biopsy.
What are some of the biggest misconceptions about ovarian cancer?
1) A Pap Smear is a test for cervical cancer, but not a test for ovarian cancer.
2) Although most women diagnosed with ovarian cancer are in their 60s, young women may develop ovarian cancer too.
Is there anything we can to do reduce our risk factors?
There are several basic lifestyle approaches that may reduce our risk of developing ovarian cancer: avoid tobacco smoking, maintain a healthy weight and avoid hormone replacement therapy unless medically indicated.
How likely are we to develop ovarian cancer?
About 1 in 80 women develop ovarian cancer in their lifetime. About 1500 Australian women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer each year.
What is the prognosis like for those who develop ovarian cancer?
Unfortunately, most women are diagnosed when their cancer is already at an advanced stage (stage three). Only about 45 percent of women survive more than five years after diagnosis for ovarian cancer.
With such a high mortality rate, why don't we yet have any early detection tools?
There is no one simple test effective enough to detect ovarian cancer early. That is why it is important to raise awareness about ovarian cancer so that women can access information about their risk of developing ovarian cancer and be proactive to discuss any concerning symptoms with their doctor.
If someone has concerns or worries regarding any ovarian cancer symptoms, what should their next step be?
These symptoms can be vague and are often related to other less serious health problems. However, should these symptoms intensity or persist for more than a couple of weeks, the first step is to visit your family doctor for a check-up. If you are still concerned after this visit, request a referral to a gynaecological oncologist.
Their latest awareness campaign features a how-to video, breaking down the right way to perform a tit-check, with their sole mission being to educate and remind us ladies (and men) to get acquainted and comfortable with feeling our boobs on a monthly basis. The thought being, the more familiar we are with what feels normal (for us), the more likely we will be to recognise when something is wrong.
Watch the video below and be sure to share this important message with the people in your life. And remember, if you think something doesn't feel right, or you just want some more information, talk to your GP.
But there are some moments in life that require an eat-straight-from-the-ice-cream-tub level of binge (be honest now, you know you've been there). And, as long as it's not something you're doing every week, tucking into a good ice-cream can solve - or at least help soothe - most problems.
However, if you'd rather not go too crazy, cracking a tub of vegan-cream can be the perfect compromise. Made without a single animal product in sight, vegan ice-cream is fast becoming a dessert of choice for non-vegans too, and for good reason - the options are actually really delicious.
Keep reading to shop the best vegan ice creams on offer.
While most people may have resolved to getting back in the gym, or Mario Konding their entire life as their New Year's resolution, our focus has been spotlighting in an entirely different direction; our guts.
And this resolution is not unfounded. With an ever-growing and evolving pool of research suggesting an interaction between our gut and almost all other aspects of wellness - from our skin, to our mental health - when it comes to living healthier and happier lives this is one area of improvement we shouldn't be overlooking.
To learn more we reached out to, Dr Paula Smith-Brown, an accredited practicing dietitian at Microba and expert on the topic to break down the findings of this recent study. Keep reading to see what she had to say below.
The gut is home to a community of microorganisms known as the microbiome. The microbiome plays a very important role in the body including contributing to gut, metabolic and immune health. Each person's microbiome is unique and there is no "perfect" microbiome we should all aspire to. However, as a general rule of thumb we know that healthier people tend to have more diverse microbiomes, which means they have lots of different species within their microbiome without any species becoming overly abundant or dominant.
Why are artificial sweeteners thought to be so disruptive to our guts?
It is not fully understood why artificial sweetener consumption if associated with changes in the microbiome, but it is thought that it may be due to their ability to prevent certain bacteria from growing while feeding other species of bacteria, therefore disrupting the overall balance in the community of microorganisms.
What are the key concerns we should be aware of when it comes to using artificial sweeteners?
Artificial sweeteners are intensely sweet compounds which can be added to foods at much lower levels than sugar. Most are not absorbed by the body and therefore do not enter the blood stream. Replacing sugar with artificial sweeteners is promoted as a strategy to reduce energy (calorific) intake or prevent spikes in blood sugar. However, evidence is not consistent that their inclusion in the diet is helpful in managing weight or blood sugars. As artificial sweeteners are not absorbed by the small intestine, they reach the large intestine where they have potential to influence the gut microbiome.
Recent research has indicated that artificial sweeteners could make it harder for our bodies to process and regulate sugar and other carbs, why is this?
The gut microbiome plays an important role in metabolism including how blood sugar is processed in the body. Glucose is the main fuel our body utilises and the levels within our blood are generally tightly controlled. Glucose is principally obtained through the digestion and metabolism of carbohydrates in the diet, however, dietary sugars cause the most rapid increase in blood sugar levels. Animal models and limited research in humans suggests that consumption of artificial sweeteners can cause changes in the gut microbiome resulting in adverse effects on the control of blood glucose levels, known as glucose intolerance.
Can our gut bacteria affect our overall well-being and weight?
Our gut microbiome is an essential part of our body and plays many important roles and functions which contribute to our overall well-being. Although there has been much interest in the research exploring the association between weight status and the gut microbiome, so far there has been no consistent microbiome profile associated with obesity. This might be because most research has been conducted using an older style of technology which only identifies which species are present in the microbiome, whereas the mechanism linking the microbiome to obesity most likely involves alterations in certain functions that the microbiome performs, for example through alterations in digestions, metabolism or inflammation.
Should we be looking to avoid artificial sweeteners in our diet?
Food sweetened with artificial sweeteners are not an essential part of a healthy diet and should be considered "sometimes" foods. Some people may not be aware that they are being exposed to artificial sweeteners not only through processed foods and drinks but also in personal care products such as toothpaste.
Are artificial sweeteners less harmful than normal sugar?
When looking at nutrition it is important not to look at individual ingredients or nutrients but rather consider the balance of foods within a diet. For example, fruits are a natural source of sugar in the diet, but they are also important sources of vitamins and prebiotic fibres and as such are considered highly nutritious and healthy foods overall. However, processed foods with high amounts of added sugar or artificial sweeteners often provide limited nutritional value to a diet, so should only be consumed in moderation.
As the weather continues to heat up, it's important to get smart about your workouts. Are you adequately hydrated? Can you move your run to a cooler time of day? Could you switch to a low-intensity workout, like yoga, instead? All good questions. But are you taking into account your activewear choices? Yep, what you wear can dramatically affect your workout's success. Sounds crazy, but opting for lightweight pieces that keep you cool as your gym session heats up is what all the smart girls are doing this Summer.
To help you ace your workouts we've rounded up 10 key pieces you need for a successful Summer sweat session.