Monday, November 22, 2010

Hey Moms--ever heard of diastasis?

Have you been wondering why you just can’t get that Mommy belly to flatten out?  Have you ever heard of a diastasis?  Diastasis technically means “the separation of parts of the body that are normally joined together, such as the separation of certain abdominal muscles during pregnancy, or of adjacent bones without fracture.” (Thank you Wikipedia).
Transversus abdominis muscleImage via WikipediaThe type of diastasis I deal with regularly in my practice is the first example given above—the separation of muscles in the abs that occurs during pregnancy.  When a woman is pregnant, and her pregnancy continues to grow, the rectus abdominis muscles often split apart (think of that “6 pack ab” area of your body) in order to make way for your increasing belly.  You can feel this condition if you know where to look, or “feel,” as the case may be.  If you lay on your back and put your fingers a few inches from your belly button and lift your head, you can sometimes feel a ridge sticking out of the middle of the abs.  This is the diastasis I am talking about.
A lot of women I have trained have developed this condition during pregnancy, and sometimes it can heal on its own, but there are many exercises that can be done in order help it heal (or to prevent it getting worse).  Further, one of the keys is that you have to know how to do the right exercises to do in order to not make it worse.  I think this is one of the reasons some women feel they can never get rid of that “pregnancy paunch”—because they are not doing the right exercises to get rid of it, and they are doing in fact the exact wrong exercises to exacerbate it.  For instance, in order to heal a diastasis, you shouldn’t be doing crunches, which is probably the first thing a lot of people think of when they are worried about a protruding belly.  Exercises that focus on the internal obliques and the transversus abdominis are great options both before and after pregnancy to help with a diastasis problem.  You also need a trainer who knows how to look for this problem, and most importantly, knows how to avoid certain exercises that intuitively, might seem like a good idea, but will only make the condition worse.
Pilates can be a great option to help with a diastasis problem because exercises can be tailored to the individual and to that individual’s body—there is no one size fits all in Pilates in general, or at Indianapolis Pilates by 15 to Fit.  Check out our website if you are in Indianapolis for great info on classes ( or check out my great workout videos for expecting Moms and post partum Moms (  There is hope!

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Monday, November 8, 2010

What is the "Core" anyway?

There are certain words you hear thrown around a lot in fitness these days, particularly in a Pilates setting.  One of these words is “core” or “powerhouse.”  What exactly does that mean?  If you look it up on Wikipedia, you will see the technical anatomical definition to include the following major muscles: the pelvic floor muscles, transversus adbdominus, multifidus, internal and external obliques, rectus abdominus, erector spinae (sacrospinalis), the longissismus thoracis, and the diaphragm. Minor core muscles include the latissumus dorsi, gluteus maximum and trapezius.

Muscles of the trunkImage via Wikipedia Ok those are some big words for muscles mainly in your abs (both in the center and the sides), your back, your butt, and your pelvic floor—which are low ab muscles—the one you would use to stop yourself from peeing (sorry to be graphic, but that is usually the easiest way to describe it).  Think of it like this, they are the muscles that keep you upright and able to do major body movement. 

A lot of traditional exercises will target a few of these muscles, but the reason I have learned to love Pilates so much is that it integrates very precise movements in order to target ALL of these core muscles.  And some of those muscles are deep within your abdomen, underneath those “6 pack” muscles.  And trust me, crunches are not targeting all these core muscles—crunches only target one area.

By getting in and working all these core muscles, you can improve your body health dramatically. Your posture can improve.  Toning these muscles is great to maintain your balance and flexibility and also maintain nice things like continence, or not peeing yourself when you laugh or sneeze (some of you Moms know what I am talking about here).  They are also great to help during childbirth which is why Pilates can also be great for expectant mothers (and why I have an entire DVD aimed at you guys!).  You won’t have a bad back if you have strong core muscles, because your core will take care of you if you take care of it.  Seriously, a strong core is the key to so many things, but you have to know how to work it.

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Monday, November 1, 2010

$5 Pilates Class is Tomorrow November 2nd!!!

$5 Teaser Tuesday Pilates Class
15 to Fit Pilates
DATE: Tuesday November 2, 2010
TIME: 6:30-7:30 PM

MORE: Sign up today at under "webscheduler" or contact Christina Morog, Marketing Coordinator at