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For 2020...Lose the Training Wheels, but Stay off the Curb.

Updated: Feb 29

You remember what it was like when you first learned to ride a bike, no? Did you have training wheels on your bike? You may have felt that the training wheels were great and allowed you to ride your bike safely, but how did you go from riding with training wheels to no training wheels? At some point after you took the training wheels off, you had to take the leap and trust yourself to stay balanced on your bike. You no longer relied on that extra base of support in order to avoid falling off. For my three kids, we also used a tiny little blue bike that was very close to the ground, and it never had any training wheels. The kids could ride for as long as they could stay balanced on the bike and then if they were about to fall, their feet were so close to the ground that they could catch themselves. These ideas could be the analogies for the way you tackle your Pilates practice, your nutrition program, how you manage your business or your household, and the list goes on!


On New Year's eve, I was at a party having a conversation with one of my best girl friends. She is a pediatric nurse and her sister is a registered dietician. I was thinking out loud to her about possibly doing another one of these diets in the new year (Ketogenic, Whole30, etc.) when she said to me, "But Jennifer, you already know what you need to eat. You've already done all of these programs. They are like the training wheels. These diets dictate for you what you eat and when, but you are not having to make decisions for yourself depending on the situation. " That really got me thinking...


What if I could take the training wheels off of my method for weight management? My Pilates practice? The Pilates practice of my clients? You could essentially apply this concept to any area of life such as managing a business or a household. This list could go on, but let's focus on our Pilates Practice, shall we?


Joseph Pilates created what he called Contrology (we call it Pilates today) as a method for training the whole body. Pilates is a system that he designed to be executed based on the unique and specific needs of an individual body. The Method is to be taught, but then each individual was expected to practice at least four time per week. When he originally introduced the exercises in his book, Return to Life, he was instructing the reader on the thirty four Mat exercises that he created to be executed in order. The full thirty four exercises only take about fifteen or twenty minutes to do. He created all of the different pieces of apparatus in the studio to address specific needs of individuals as they worked to improve the Mat work. If an injury or condition was present, then the protocol to address or work around the specific pathology was indicated until it was healed.


Regarding the way the system was implemented in Joe's studio, clients would come into the gym and do their own customized workouts and they didn't always have a teacher guiding each and every movement. They were expected to know their unique workout and typically at least one teacher was overseeing the studio to guide and direct based on how a body was moving in or out of proper alignment and quality. If a student seemed to have improved, the teacher would walk over and teach a new exercise in order to further challenge the body. In essence, the training wheels were removed WAY sooner than they are today in the typical Pilates studio. You could think of the teacher watching the floor as if they were the curbs on the side of the road when it comes to riding a road bike.


Now you might be thinking, "Well, Jenn. I don't want to ride a road bike. I want to ride a dirt bike so that I can ride off the road and into the woods." In terms of your Pilates practice, you might compare this off-roading to using different modalities such as Yoga, traditional gym exercises, Barre, physical therapy, massage, etc. So, what happens if you go trail-riding instead of road-biking? Well, the scenery may be beautiful and exciting, but you don't get nearly as far as you would on the road bike. So, to that I say, that's fine! Joe designed the system to complement other sports and activities, not to replace them. Experience other microcosms and movement practices. But, return to Pilates in a consistent manner so that you can experience more of the benefits of the original system. I say "more of" because although I try to do Pilates in it's purest form every day learning from live teachers here in Atlanta along with taking virtual classes from my favorite online teachers, the depth and breadth of Pilates in it's original form continues to expand my understanding of it.


With the original Pilates studio in mind, I have created some new and affordable options in my studio that will get you familiar with Pilates exercises and the different pieces of equipment so that you too can have a feeling of freedom as you move throughout my studio. You will become familiar with the apparatus so that you can execute your own individually customized workout sequence and this will progress as your body gets stronger and healthier.


Workshop Series:

“The Classical Pilates Apparatus - What do I do with all these pieces of equipment and why?”


Monday, January 13 at 7-8pm OR Tuesday, January 14 at 9:15-10:15a Mat

Monday, January 20 at 7-8pm OR Tuesday, January 21 at 9:15-10:15a Reformer

Monday, January 27 at 7-8pm OR Tuesday, January 28 at 9:15-10:15a Wunda and High Chair

Monday, February 3 at 7-8pm OR Tuesday, February 4 at 9:15-10:15a Cadillac

Monday, February 10 at 7-8pm OR Tuesday, February 11 at 9:15-10:15a Barrels

Monday, February 17 at 7-8pm OR Tuesday, February 18 at 9:15-10:15a Baby Arm Chair


Open Gym Visit (Pre-approval is required) - $10 - begins January 16, 2020:

Thursdays from 6am until 8am Fridays from 9am until 11am


Call or text me, Jenn Allen, at (678) 429-1030 to ask questions and sign up to lose YOUR training wheels when it comes to your Pilates practice.


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