Friday, March 23, 2012

Friday Five

I am so happy the weekend is here.  It's always nice to spend extra time with my family.  I do have several things planned for this weekend, but they will be fun.  Tomorrow I am going to do a Yoga class at a spring retreat.  I always like getting to introduce Yoga or Pilates to new faces.  For many it will be their first experience with it.  I will let you know how it goes.  Mid-day I am off to see the Hunger Games, like everyone else!  On Sunday, brunch with a few friends.
Here are the 5 things that are on my mind this Friday:

5.  Despite trying to drink aloe juice/aloe water several times, I am still not a huge fan.  I bought my third bottle this week and was determined to finish it.  The last two I have bought ended up being thrown away still half-full.  The taste isn't too bad, sort of blandish-fruity.  It's more the consistency.  It's like liquid jello with bits of gummy bears.  This latest bottle was alo enliven.  Its aloe + a blend of 12 fruits and veggies, including cabbage, passion fruit and spinach.  I love getting a variety of fruits and veggies, so I was excited to try this one.  Well, the consistency and taste were still the same, but I drank about 6 ounces each day, Tuesday through Thursday.  I would drink it first thing in the morning on an empty stomach.  I definitely got a boost of energy after drinking it.  I have also noticed, even just after 3 days, that my skin looks better.  Despite not being a huge fan of actually drinking it, I plan on buying a bottle each week and continuing with a few ounces each day.  Have you tried aloe juice before?  How do you like it?

4.  In order to be a good instructor, it is essential to practice the work.  After teaching 10 Reformer classes this week and seeing less-than-perfect form, which I need to keep a good eye for, I was craving to get on the Reformer myself.  I didn't do an entire workout because I was short on time, but I did Hundred, Short Spine Massage, Coordination, part of the Rowing series, the Long Stretch Series, Running and Front Splits.  It felt SO good to feel the exercises in my body, correct my own movements, and to do a mental review of what I have been teaching all week.  It is so very easy to ignore your own Pilates practice when you become busy as a teacher, but the busier I am, the more I find it necessary to work out myself.  

3.  Monkey Muffins are my new go-to snack/breakfast.  I love this recipe from  I found the recipe a few weeks ago when I was looking for banana bread using no refined sugar.  This recipe uses honey instead of sugar and flax instead of oil.  So cool!  I have already made them twice.  It's great if you buy bananas and they are slowly wasting away.  The more brown, the better for this recipe, so I like it!  I have a variation I made using pumpkin that I can post.  Who's interested?

2.  "Crack a Walnut" between your shoulder blades is a great imagery cue for posture.  I use it in Pilates and Yoga after hearing it in my PPS-II training last fall.  Saying it automatically causes the student to stand (or sit) with their shoulders down and in.  I still use it because it works, but I feel like I don't use it as often as I did because it's becoming cliche.  Do you have anything like that with your job?

1.  Counting calories and keeping track of your exercise really DOES help with weight loss and motivation.  I have been using the MyFitnessPal app for several months now.  When I think I had a really bad day calorie wise, I will enter everything in and sometimes it's not so bad.  Other times, maybe I think I did pretty good and it helps me realize that, oops, I had 34 M&M's and a handful of Goldfish too many.  It's also really nice for tracking workouts.  Even though it's just an approximate value of calories burned, it's nice to see in print!  You can also enter things like house cleaning and food preparation, which is really nice because that does burn more than just sitting on the couch watching 30 Rock.  You can get the app for iPhones but you can also do everything online.  If you are on there, find me!  I am SeeSallyRun.  If you aren't on there, check it out!

***As of right now I have absolutely no one sending me free things or handing me a wad of cash to promote their products.  I am hoping this happens some day soon, but, for now, any products or websites I mention are just because I like them, dislike them, or want to share my experiences***

Thanks for reading!  Have a great weekend,


Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Workout Wednesday

Hello, hello!  I absolutely am in love with my idea for workout Wednesday.  I can't wait to learn more about the people I know and their workouts.  I am currently working on photographing and interviewing several people.  Because we are all so busy, this is taking longer than I expected.  I didn't want my ginormous blog readership to get angry and think I had forgotten about this post, though.  That might cause mass hysteria, right???
So, please stay-tuned.  I should have everything ready to go soon and once I start I really want to be able to make this a true weekly post.  If you are interested in being featured, please let me know.  You don't have to be a fitness junkie or gym rat to be featured.  Maybe you only do one Yoga class a week or walk whenever time allows.  I would love to feature all sorts of fitness routines and people, so contact me and we can chat.
For today, I will give you an example of what a typical week is like for me:
Monday:  Teach 50 minute mat Pilates class
                Interval run on the treadmill, usually 20 minutes.
Tuesday:  Teach 60 minute Cycle class
                 Teach 2 60 minute Reformer classes (I am standing to teach, which involves spotting and some walking.  I am not working out, but I am definitely not sedentary!)
                Teach 30 minutes of Cycle, 30 minutes of Yoga
  At 1:00 pm I am finished for the day!  Now that the sun is up longer I sometimes catch a 20-25 minute walk while Ezra is at piano lessons.
Wednesday:  Clean the house like a mad woman!
                      Teach 60 minute Cross Training class, if I am lucky.  The past several weeks no one has showed for this class.  Not a huge deal for me because I get an extra hour for management work OR I workout on the Reformer.  BUT, I would love to see this class flourish again.  So, if you are local to Independence area, come check it out at 4:30 pm!
                      Teach Pilates Chair, a 60 minute class on the MVe chair.
                       Teach 2 Reformer classes
Thursday:     This day is NUTS!  
                      Teach 50 minute mat Pilates class
                      Run.  For me.  Sometimes intervals on the treadmill, sometimes a 2-4 mile run outside.  Depends on the weather, my mood, my IT bands and/or my new foot thing.
                      Teach 2 Reformer classes, sometimes 3 if I get in a private session at 3:30.
                      Teach Yoga
Friday:           Teach 3 Reformer classes
                       Teach 30 minutes Cycle, 30 minutes Yoga
                      One more private Reformer session and done for the day at 2:00 pm!
Sunday:         I usually try to run at least one day, typically 3-4 miles.  We also are very active some weekends and end up going for a walk or hike.

Typed up in front of me this looks like a lot, but it's just an average week for me!  I do have to make sure to take in plenty of healthy calories and liquid.  I have found that 4-6 small meals work best for me.  Between classes I also snack on light bites, like chopped celery, mandarin oranges, nuts, or my newest favorite, Raw Rev squares.  They are small but mighty and give me plenty of energy to keep going.  I have definitely fallen in to the trap, in the past, or not getting enough to eat followed by consuming too many calories (not eating at all during a shift, then grabbing a burger on the way home, for example).  When this happens I tend to feel like crap and be unhappy.  It's a balancing act for sure, but I am so very happy that my job allows me to stay active and help people reach their fitness goals!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Contrology or What is Pilates?

Guess what?  That form of exercise that you love is not really Pilates.  It is Contrology.  Yes, Pilates is the man that invented it and Contrology is the name he gave it.   Joseph Pilates created his workout system waaay back in the early 1900's.  He created the mat work while he was a POW in World War I.  His group of prisoners did not suffer from respiratory infections or other common illnesses that POW's normally have.  He kept himself and the others moving and breathing properly.  The equipment work was designed to rehabilitate soldiers after the war.  This explains why the classical equipment looks similar to an old-fashioned hospital bed.  Joe attached poles and springs to the beds so that bed-ridden soldiers could get a good workout.

"Pilates was created by Joseph Pilates during WWI in hopes to improve rehabilitation efforts for injured veterans. Pilates developed a collection of precise movements that would emphasize the control and form necessary to aid injured soldiers as they worked to regain their health by strengthening, stretching and stabilizing key muscle groups."*

Joseph Pilates named the work Contrology, or the study of control.  As you go through your Pilates practice you learn to control your muscles and your form so that you have optimal balance and movement.

So, what is Pilates?

Pilates is a form of exercise that balances the development of the body through flexibility, core strength, balance and concentration.  Those that practice Pilates regularly move more efficiently and gracefully, have improved strength in every day activities and notice improved posture and even relief from chronic pain.
Stronger, leaner, confident.  Just a few benefits of doing Pilates.

I just love the picture of Joseph Pilates working with a student.  I could look at pictures and hear stories about him ALL day!

What benefits do you get from Pilates?  Do you think we should still practice in speedos?  Would you like to hear more on the history of Pilates the workout and/or the man?

*Peak Pilates "What is Pilates" manual

Thursday, March 15, 2012

On teaching...

I taught a class of 11 today.  Mat Pilates.  I had 4 new students in the class.  After teaching Pilates for the last 5 years, I know which exercise are going to be difficult for new students.  Roll Up, Spine Stretch Forward and Saw seem to really be hard, because there is so much going on.  As I was teaching today I slowed down the pace, gave clear cues, and only one or two cues at a time.  The class as a whole had great form and I only had to adjust the new students a handful of times.  Am I patting myself on the back?  Sure!  But it also has made me step back and, yet again, be thankful that I have taken the time, effort and, yes, money, to become classically trained.  I LOVE my Peak Pilates certification!  It is because of the teaching technique they use that I am able to go from teaching a one-on-one Reformer class to a large group mat class seamlessly.  If you are an instructor--keep teaching!  Practice makes perfect.  If you are a student--make sure your instructor has a national certification and the ability to keep your body safe!
Breathe :)

Tuesday, March 13, 2012


I wanted to do a very quick summary of my experience in the field.  I have so many stories to share about my trainings and experience, but before I start with that, here are the certifications I hold and the training/experience I have:

September 2003  Started working at the YMCA as a Fitness Attendant.  Teaching YMCA members how to use the weight and cardio equipment as well as giving fitness assessments.
February 2004  Became a YMCA certified Personal Trainer
October 2006  Became certified through the YMCA as an Indoor Cycle Instructor
February 2007  Began working as a Physical Therapy Tech.  This job involves working one-on-one with physical therapy patients following the exercise and stretching program provided by the Physical Therapist
July 2007  Became certified through the YMCA as a Yoga Instructor

October 2007  The doors opened for business at the Studio On Main.  I began day 1 teaching Pilates on the mat and equipment, cycle, yoga and circuit training.  
September 2007  Observed Peak Pilates System Level I training as well as MVe Chair training.
July 2009  Received my PPS-I certification
November 2011  Received my PPS-II certification

I currently teach at the Studio On Main.  I am also the manager.  I teach Pilates mat and equipment (Reformer, Tower, Chair), Yoga, cycle, circuit training, personal training and anything else that comes along.  I also teach two Pilates mat classes each week at the YMCA.  I love to talk about what I do and help others get started in the field.  Your questions are welcome!

Thanks for reading, 
*PPS-I Certification covers the beginner/basic mat work and Reformer/Tower exercises and teaching technique.
*PPS-II Certification cover the intermediate mat/Reformer/Tower exercises and teaching technique.

Monday, March 12, 2012

I am currently working on writing about my Pilates experience.  Trying to summarize my training, teaching experience, etc.  It is more time consuming than I thought, but I really want my readers to know about my background.  I feel like you need to see the big picture before you can understand the little picture in this case :)
So, sometime this week I will have that post.  For now, I would like to share this article with you.  It is about the popularity surge that Pilates had in the early part of the 2000's and where the community is heading now.  I would like to share my own thoughts soon about classical vs. modern Pilates, the need for Pilates in the medical field, and more, but for now, let me know what you think of this article.  At the end it mentions Pilates being used more as a cross-training tool.  Most of my students are doing just this.  Combing Pilates with other forms of fitness.  I do have a few that "just" do Pilates and nothing else.  I myself do Pilates in addition to running, walking, biking, and Yoga.
If you do or have done Pilates, do you feel like it enhances your fitness program?  Do you feel like Pilates alone is enough?

Friday, March 9, 2012

Friday Five

On Friday I am always happy the weekend has arrived.  I love teaching and getting to see my students, so I don't have the typical "clock countdown" that some get at their jobs, but I do enjoy some me time during the weekend.  I usually have so many ideas of how to spend my weekend, things I want to do the week ahead, and so much more.  What I would like to do on Fridays is post the top five things that are on my mind.  Please give me your feed back.  Good idea/bad idea, etc.

5.  I want to change the food that is served at my son's school.  Before he even started school I wanted to do this, but I never have.  With more and more stories like this one  it seems obvious that the children of the United States are being fed whatever is the cheapest, easiest option.  Is this really how we want our children to be fed?

4. This weekend I would like to paint the boys bathroom.  Their bathroom is also the guest bathroom.  The people that lived in our house before us, it seems, liked to paint with their eyes closed.  The little bathroom is white, but you can see old wallpaper through it and it is just time!  I want to go with a butter-yellow color.  If this happens this weekend, I will blog about it next week!

3.  Sonje Mayo is an AWESOME Pilates Instructor!  She danced for Martha Graham and was taught by Joseph Pilates himself!  If you have a few minutes, you should read about her awesome career that is still continuing to blossom.  I had the pleasure of meeting her last summer, and this June she will be back in town to host another Peak Pilates training.  I want to email her to see if she will give me a private Reformer session!  She inspires me to be a better teacher.  Who inspires you?

2.  I am in love with Fage Total 0% Greek yogurt with fruit.  I love pouring the fruit into the yogurt.  It's sweet.  It's creamy.  It gives me energy to continue teaching.  Have you had it?  What's your favorite flavor?  Mine is Blueberry Acai.

1.  I am SO happy I started this blog.  Right now I am still trying to really get into the groove and find an identity/brand for my blog.  But I promise...I will always talk about Pilates, nutrition, life as a working and working out mommy.  What would like to hear about first?

I hope you have a great weekend!  If you want to post a few things YOU are thinking about this week, I would love to see.

Stand tall and lead with your heart!


Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Workout Wednesday

Brand new blog, brand new feature!  One of the things I am most excited about doing on this blog is "Workout Wednesday".  Each week I will post a short interview followed by a sample workout of someone that I think is awesome.  Maybe it will be a fellow trainer.  Maybe it will be a student I am inspired by.  Maybe it will be the cute older man that walks all afternoon around my neighborhood.  Who knows?  You have to stay tuned to find out.  Because this is my first Workout Wednesday, I will start with myself.  

Name:  Sally Whitaker
Age: 32
Occupation:  Manager of a fitness studio and Pilates trainer/personal trainer
How many days a week do you work out?  4-7...but usually 5
What is your most favorite form of exercise?  I have so many!  But if forced to pick I choose running.  And Pilates.
Favorite healthy food:  It's a tie between celery and those little Cutie mandarin oranges
Favorite treat:  FroYo or anything chocolate-coconut

Okay, I could continue the Q&A more, and I will when I am interviewing someone else, but for now I will wrap it up.  I don't want to tell to much about myself on day 1, right?

Here is a sample workout.  A workout that I would do myself, not one I would create to teach :)

Interval running on the treadmill.
5 minute walking warm-up, 4.0 pace, increasing the incline by 2.0 each minute until i reach 4:30 on the timer.  Then  I take the incline down to 0 and prepare to run!
For 10 minutes (from 5:00-15:00) I alternate each minute from a moderately fast running pace to a sprint.
7.0 pace for minute 5-6
8.6 pace for minute 6-7
Back to the 7.0 pace for minute 7-8
Alternating back and forth for 10 minutes.  
Finish with 5 minute walking cool-down at 4.0 pace, again adjusting the incline by 2.0 each minute.  At 20:00 minutes I take the incline down and I am finished.

Lat-Pulldown Machine to keep my upper back strong and toned.  
50 pounds, 2 sets of 12-15 reps

Leg Extension Machine to keep my quadriceps strong for running
65 pounds, 2 sets of 15 reps

Leg Curl Machine to keep my hamstrings strong and to keep IT band pain at bay
65 pounds, 2 sets of 15 reps

Core/Balance Training:
I love to go through the complete classical Pilates Intermediate Mat work.  It is challenging and not only does it lengthen and tone my muscles, it also keeps me it "fighting form" so that I can successfully teach.

Several years ago I would spend hours on the weight floor.  Due to not wanting to be bulky and my ever-intensifying love for Pilates, I limit my weight lifting only to what I know I need to stay strong and functional.  But more on that another day!

If you are interested in being featured on Workout Wednesday, email me!

Well, hello there!  I have been thinking about blogging quite a bit lately.  I feel like I have many unique experiences each week...from teaching Pilates, Yoga and Cycle to cooking kid-friendly meals to finding ways to deal with anxiety and more...I deal with it each week.  I have also noticed that many of friends and acquaintances come to me with questions about fitness, food, wellness and more, so I would like to have a spot that is easy to access where I can share information.  
My plan is to have posts concerning Fitness (lots of Pilates with a dash of my other favorites), What to eat/Cooking, Wellness (dealing with anxiety, etc.) and maybe a bit about Children (how to keep them active, eating healthy, etc.)  I am sure this will change a bit over time and if you have any suggestions I am always open to hearing them.
I hope you will read along.
Alrighty.  Here we go!