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In This Issue

Ahead of the Trend
On the Plus Side
Expert Q&A with Rael Isacowitz
Close-Up: Quadruped on Box
Modern Casseroles
Calendar of Events
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Ahead of the Trend

Much like fashion, trends come and go for diet and fitness, too. What’s in store for the upcoming year? To help you stay in the know, we asked top experts for their predictions for 2017's "it" gear and eats for your active lifestyle.

Collagen
This protein is found naturally in our muscles, bones, joints, cartilage and skin. “This tasteless white powder is being mixed into almost any food, such as oatmeal, drinks and coffee,” says Lindsay Langford, RD, a sports dietitian with Ascension St. Vincent Sports Performance in Indianapolis. “It dissolves and blends easily.” Also found in gelatin products, collagen can be beneficial in the recovery, repair and maintenance of many body components, says Langford.

Fitness trackers
When the American College of Sports Medicine surveyed nearly 1,800 fitness professionals about trends, wearable technology topped the list for 2017. This includes smart watches, activity trackers and heart-rate monitors. “These devices can help you monitor how long, hard or far you’re working,” says Michele Olson, PhD, a certified Pilates instructor and professor of kinesiology at Auburn University in Montgomery, AL.

Pea protein
Made from, yes, green peas, this protein powder is growing in popularity. It’s one of the few plant-based proteins that contain all nine amino acids needed to build muscle. “It’s an alternative to soy and whey powders,” says Angel Planells, RDN, a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and a Seattle-based dietitian. Try adding it to baked goods and smoothies.

Shorter cardio workouts
Whether it’s a cycling class or treadmill run, fitness instructors and trainers are focusing on interval training combined with heart-rate monitoring. You can get double the heart-protecting benefits—even when you exercise for less time, says Jimmy Minardi, a personal trainer and founder of Minardi Training in East Hampton, NY.  

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On the Plus Side

Pilates benefits bodies of every shape and size. In fact, a growing number of instructors are offering classes and workshops specially geared toward plus-sized clients. We chatted with Amy Sabry, founder of Curvilates.com and senior instructor at Pilates Resort in Oklahoma City, about why these specialized sessions are growing in popularity. 

PS: Why did you decide to focus on plus-sized clients?
AS: I drew upon my own experience. Although I was a competitive weightlifter in school, I fell into the common post-athletics-but-still-eating-like-an-athlete trap. Coupling that with a family tragedy, my weight spiraled up. Pilates gave me back my zest for life. But I often felt uncomfortable: After private training, I went to classes with fit, slim people where there was no way I could keep up. I wanted an environment where other people in my situation would feel comfortable. So I decided to become a Pilates instructor.

Curvilates.com founder Sabry works on oblique strength on the Reformer.
Photo Credit: Michael Ibrahim, Ruminator Studios

PS: Why should plus-sized people practice Pilates?  
AS: The best forms of exercise for the back and joints are swimming and Pilates. This is even more important for plus-sized exercisers. A movement that is bad for your back or knee is dangerous when you’re already shouldering extra weight. Those injuries can linger.

Pilates is great for plus-sized people in particular because it’s so conscious of good form and positioning. The first thing I tell each client is that, “no pain, no gain has no place in Pilates.”

PS: What types of training do you offer your clients?
AS: At the moment, I’m only offering one-on-ones. My marketing is for plus-sized people, but I’m surprised that many of my clients aren’t. Many of them just wanted an intimate environment where they didn’t feel like they had to compete or feel pressured about their appearance. They are looking for the benefits of a healthy, balanced posture in a supportive environment.

PS: Do you adapt your teaching for plus-sized clients?
AS: Yes. We start in pre-Pilates and stay there for a while. For beginners, I want to build up strength and protect those joints from the start. I consider common injuries. It’s also important to be sensitive in referring to body parts, and to understand that plus-size alignment won’t always look like your instructor manual.

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Expert Q&A with Rael Isacowitz

Q: I’m new to Pilates, and a nearby studio offers a 30-day challenge with unlimited Reformer classes. As a novice, is it a good idea for me to take a class every day for a month?    

A: There are many factors that potentially affect my answer. They include: your fitness level; your age; the classes being offered; and the experience and knowledge of the teachers. I am going to assume that you’re a healthy, fit person in your early 30s. Let’s also say that the classes are appropriate for your skill level, and that the teachers are well-qualified and experienced.

Given those assumptions, I don’t see anything wrong with doing a class every day for a month. I don’t think there would be any adverse effects. In fact, a 30-day challenge could be a lot of fun. That said, there is a risk of having too much of a good thing—doing it so much that you burn out mentally and lose interest. 

I’ve seen this happen time and again with new clients. After an initial session, they are so fired up and raring to go that they book five sessions a week. Often, these same people will stop coming after a month or two. This is the reason I will often recommend three sessions a week instead of five, six, or even seven. I know it will give me more chance of retaining the client.

Personally, I like doing a session on my own body every day. There are days I miss, but most days, I do a Pilates workout. Other activities, such as hiking, stand-up paddleboarding, kiteboarding and cycling, are an extra bonus.

In short, my suggestion is to go for it. Enjoy the promotion and know that it is only for 30 days. Following that, you may want to establish a more moderate, regular routine of three to four times a week.

Rael Isacowitz, MA, has been practicing Pilates for more than 35 years and is recognized internationally as an expert in the field. In 1989, Rael founded BASI Pilates®, a comprehensive Pilates education organization represented throughout the world. Rael has authored two books, Pilates and Pilates Anatomy (co-authored with Karen Clippinger) and well as a series of training manuals. He has been featured in a DVD series, created the groundbreaking software, Pilates Interactive, and most recently, designed a line of Pilates equipment, BASI Systems. For more information, visit basipilates.com and basisystems.com.

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Close Up: Quadruped on Box

By Jillian Hessel

In the January/February issue of Pilates Style, Jillian Hessel breathes new life into matwork. Drawing upon her dance, weight-training and Pilates backgrounds, she created a full-body workout using only the Reformer Box. In this bonus exercise, Hessel adds an extra challenge to three classic moves.

Back Leg Raises, Side Leg Raises and Leg Circles

Prop: Long Box
Purpose: tones the buttocks; Box facilitates increased range-of-motion
Setup: Kneel on one knee on the Box, with your other leg extended out behind you, flexed foot resting on the floor.

1. Inhale, leading with your heel to lift your leg. Exhale, lowering your leg. Do 10 reps on both sides.
2. Move your flexed foot on the floor out to the side, in line with your hip. Inhale, lifting your leg; pause as you point your foot. Exhale, lowering your foot. Do 5 reps. Then point your foot as you lift, and flex as you lower for 5 more reps. Repeat on your other leg.  

3. Point your foot. Inhale, lifting your leg. Exhale, performing a full Leg Circle. Do 3–5 reps in each direction. Repeat on your other leg.  

Tip: Make sure your torso is in neutral, with both your hips and shoulders squared off.
Modification: Bend your working leg for a shorter lever.
Adavanced: Add an ankle weight.

Jillian Hessel has been teaching Pilates for 35 years. She is a “Hybrid of the Masters,” who names Kathy Grant, Carola Trier and Ron Fletcher as her Pilates mentors. Known for her concise verbal instruction and crystal-clear imagery, Jillian is the author of Pilates Basics, and is featured in many Gaiam DVDs, as well as her own line of DVDs and handbooks for Pilates teachers. She mentors Pilates teachers through Balanced Body’s “Passing the Torch” program, and you can take her online classes on Pilates Anytime. For more information, visit jillianhessel.com or email  studio@jillianhessel.com.

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Modern Casseroles

When you think casserole, chances are that tuna-and-pasta concoction from your childhood comes to mind. But chefs are elevating this humble dish with ingredients like quinoa and polenta. The following three dishes are elegant enough to serve to a crowd, but easy enough to whip up on any weeknight. They’re destined to become staples in your dinner rotation.

Vegetable Polenta Casserole
Polenta is a classic Italian side. This recipe transforms the creamy cornmeal dish into a hearty vegetarian casserole. (Serves 6) 

1 cup cornmeal
½ teaspoon salt
⅛ teaspoon pepper
3 cups boiling water
4 ounces cream cheese, cubed and softened
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 onions, thinly sliced
1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
4 cloves garlic, minced
3 cups sliced mushrooms
2 cups tomato-based pasta sauce

1. Grease the insert of a slow cooker. Grease a 13-by-9-inch baking dish.

2. Place the cornmeal, salt and pepper in the prepared slow cooker. Gradually add the boiling water, whisking constantly until blended. Cover and cook on low for 1½–3 hours, until the liquid is absorbed and the cornmeal is tender. (You can also cook the polenta on the stovetop on low for 30 minutes, stirring often.) Transfer the slow cooker insert to a heat-resistant surface. Stir in the cream cheese, ¾ cup mozzarella and ¼ cup Parmesan.

3. Spread two-thirds of the polenta in the prepared baking dish; set aside. Preheat the oven to 400°F.

4. In a skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onions, red peppers, garlic and mushrooms; cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Stir in the pasta sauce.

5. Spread the vegetable mixture over the polenta in the baking dish. Drop the remaining polenta by spoonfuls over the top. Sprinkle with the remaining mozzarella and Parmesan. Bake, uncovered, for 25 minutes, until heated through and browned.

Courtesy of Best of Bridge Family Slow Cooker by The Best of Bridge © 2016 www.bestofbridge.com. Reprinted with publisher permission. Available where books are sold. Image by Colin Erricson.

Spinach, Chicken Sausage and Artichoke Casserole
This egg-based casserole has a soufflé-like texture without any of the fuss. You can use fresh, frozen, or canned artichokes, and any type of sausage. (Serves 6)

4 egg whites
4 eggs
1 cup nonfat milk
½ cup sliced basil
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
5 cups packed fresh spinach, trimmed and thinly sliced
4 cups cubed whole-grain bread
1 cup diced cooked chicken sausage
¾ chopped artichoke hearts
¾ cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese

1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg whites, eggs and milk. Stir in the basil, mustard, salt and pepper.

2. In a large bowl, combine the spinach, bread cubes, sausage and artichokes. Add the egg mixture and toss to coat. Pour into a greased baking dish. Cover and refrigerate for at least 6 hours or overnight.

3. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Bake the casserole, covered, for 40–45 minutes or until set. Sprinkle with the cheese. Bake, uncovered, for another 15–20 minutes, until puffy and golden on top. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool for 15–20 minutes before serving.

Courtesy of 300 Best Casserole Recipes by Tiffany Collins © 2010 www.robertrose.ca. Reprinted with publisher permission. Available where books are sold. Image by Colin Erricson.

Turkey-and-Pepper Slow-Cooker Casserole
A slow cooker makes this five-pepper casserole a breeze to whip up. Have the leftovers for a satisfying lunch: Thanks to protein-packed turkey and quinoa, you’ll stay full all afternoon. (Serves 8)

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 onions, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons dried oregano
½ teaspoon cracked black peppercorns
1 cup dry white wine
1 can diced tomatoes, including juice
2 cups chicken or turkey stock
Salt (optional)
1½ bone-in turkey breast, skin removed, cut into ½-inch cubes (about 2½ cups)
2 teaspoons sweet paprika, dissolved into 2 tablespoons water
1 jalapeño, finely chopped
2 green bell peppers, diced
1 roasted red bell pepper, diced
3 cups water
1½ cups quinoa, rinsed

1. In a skillet, heat the oil over medium heat for 30 seconds. Add onions and cook, stirring, until softened, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic, oregano and peppercorns; cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the white wine and tomatoes with juice. Bring to a boil.

2. Transfer the mixture to a slow cooker. Add the chicken stock and stir well. Season to taste with salt, if using.

3. Add the turkey and stir well. Cover and cook on low for 6 hours or high for 3 hours, until the turkey is tender.

4. Add the paprika solution and peppers to the slow cooker and stir well. Cover and cook on high for 30 minutes, until the peppers are tender.

5. Meanwhile, in a large pot, bring the water to a boil. Slowly add the quinoa, stirring to prevent lumps; return to a boil. Cover, reduce the heat to low and simmer until tender and the liquid is absorbed, about 15 minutes. Set aside.

6. When the peppers are tender, add the cooked quinoa to the slow cooker and stir well. Serve immediately.

Courtesy of The Healthy Slow Cooker, Second Edition by Judith Finlayson © 2014 www.robertrose.ca. Reprinted with publisher permission. Available where books are sold. Image by Colin Erricson.

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Calendar of Events

February 15 to June 9
What: Comprehensive Teacher Training Program
Where: Tash B Pilates, Ballito, South Africa
http://basipilates.co.za/

February 16 to April 23
What: Comprehensive Teacher Training Program
Where: Living Life Pilates, Cape Town, South Africa
http://basipilates.co.za/

February 17 to July 9
What: Comprehensive Teacher Training Program
Where: Pilates Studio 64, Brisbane, Australia
http://www.basipilates.com/

February 17 to May 21
What: Comprehensive Teacher Training Program
Where: Pilates Design Studio, Watchung, NJ
http://www.basipilates.com/

February 17 to May 28
What: Comprehensive Teacher Training Program
Where: Darte Pilates, Marbella, Spain
http://dartepilates.com/

February 24 to June 25
What: Comprehensive Teacher Training Program
Where: Beach Pilates, Toronto, Canada
http://www.basipilates.com/

February 25 to September 17
What: Comprehensive Teacher Training Program
Where: Spine Pilatesstudio, Berlin, Germany
http://www.basipilates-natax.net/

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