Pilates is better then aspirin – Angel F.

Angel has been working out at Body Evolutions for a little over two years now, and he always has a smile on his face for everyone. The best part is when he is done with this session, because he like to let everyone know just how great he feels.

Recently, after finishing his session with Chris he was on his way out the door and he says out loud with a huge smile on his face, “Pilates is better then aspirin”, expressing just how good he felt in that moment. I happened to be there and of course I asked if we could have that in writing. Angel agreed to write about his experience at Body Evolutions and this is what he had to say.

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“My name is Angel Figueroa and I have been coming to Body Evolutions since the beginning of October 2016 for about two and a half years. I have worked in tech my whole career and have been very active in sports.

Before trying Pilates I was complaining every day about soreness in my shoulders and neck from working on a laptop every day. I had a chronic stiff neck and could not touch the wall with my hands when standing with my back up against it.

My wife was a current client rehabbing a knee and shoulder injury, and she talked me into giving it a try. Pilates and the GYROTONIC® method were new to me as I have never sought help from anyone other than a Chiropractor.

Since my wife convinced me (with a nice intro pkg) to give it a try I went down to see Chris and Sonia. After a few minutes with Chris he could instantly tell the condition of my body by spotting my posture, hearing my complaints and by performing some mobility checks.

Chris is a very good listener, I come in once per week and tell Chris what the trouble for the week is, he takes my input and develops a program for me for that visit. Every time I leave the studio I feel like I stretched back into a normal body position and I would feel great and ready to go back into the world for another week.

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A few things I you like about Body Evolutions are that the place is very calm, and clean, and I feel 100% focused on working on my body parts as we go through my routine.  Chris will work carefully with you to get the full benefit of each exercise as I guarantee you will feel like cheating vs doing it right all the time. But most of all Chris is a professional body whisperer and whether I say anything or not he will observe and dial in what is needed for my body.

Chris has given me some exercises to perform at home to assist holding on to my gains during the week. He also educated me along the way as I needed to understand what the objective is for each exercise. Today my mobility and energy to golf, garden and bike ride is very high! I feel very alive and ready for action and movement. My ability to rotate during a golf swing is so much improved. I can stand up against a wall and hold my hands flat against it and I no longer complain about my body to my wife :) 

My most challenging exercise is on the GYROTONIC® tower sitting backwards squeezing my shoulders, as my posture is not very good.

My favorite exercise is side bending on the Pilates Cadillac with the push through bar, as it stretches my torso.

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When I started with Body Evolutions my goals were getting out of shoulder pain, and improving mobility in my upper and lower body

Taking lessons at Body Evolutions made my life easier by taking me out of pain and tightness from office work. It has given me more flexibility to golf and to generally more active.

Chris also encourages me along the way to perfect each movement for a maximum result. I tend to need the instructions and encouragement each time no matter how many lessons I have had. His approach is to always use good communication and to train for a positive result for each movement.

I would definitely recommend Body Evolutions! Since I enjoy golfing, gardening and biking (which I do always as a weekend warrior) I find I'm always in need for Chris to help me get ready for the weekend and to prepare my body for the work week ahead. His professionalism and care factor are both very high and are much appreciated!

The tips I would give someone thinking about becoming a student at Body Evolutions would be to be specific about your goals so your trainer can design a specific improvement program.”  

~ Angel Figueroa

Thank you Angel, for your beautiful testimonial. You are a ray of sunshine and we couldn’t be happier to have you and your smile in our studio.

Sonia


Garrison’s journey with scoliosis and Pilates

I first met Garrison about fourteen years ago when he was still a teenager in high school. His mom knew one of our teachers and brought him to the studio to take some Pilates lessons because he loved golfing but was having issues due to his scoliosis. Once he graduated from high school and went on to college we only saw him a few times and then this past March 2019 Garrison now an adult was back at the studio because his scoliosis was causing him pain once more. Now an adult Garrison works long hours sitting at a desk, which isn’t good for people with healthy spines, much less for someone with scoliosis.

When we first started working together Garrison had a significant S-curve that created shoulder asymmetry, a rib hump, hips rotated, and lots of pain. Just imagine what a 30 degree curve in your spine might feel like. This is what Garrison has been dealing with most of his life. We’ve only been working a few months but we’ve already made significant progress, alleviating the majority of the stress and pain he’s been been suffering from the scoliosis. This is Garrison’s story.


My name is Garrison, I’m thirty years old and I live in San Jose, California. And before I started working with Sonia at Body Evolutions I was experiencing a lot of back pain and discomfort from my scoliosis and I really noticed it when I was waking up in the mornings and when I was driving for a lot of hours during my daily commute to and from work.

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I originally heard about Sonia from my mom who is the smartest lady I know. and I wanted to go somewhere that came highly recommended.

I wanted to work with a professional studio because I felt like my problem was something that I needed to seriously get professional help with and I wasn’t getting the help I needed from doctors at traditional health care places so I wanted to do something that I knew was going to be good for me for the long term and was something that I could do for the rest of my life.

My biggest concern before working with Body Evolutions was being able to see the kind of progress I wanted to see in a short amount of time, and I definitely see the results.

My first impression of the studio here was that it’s a very neat and organized place with everything you could hope for from a professional studio.

I remember my first session for being so far out of alignment from where I am now and I can’t believe how quickly much my progress has progressed.

I’ve tried other services such as yoga, and traditional personal training at the gyms and they didn’t offer the attention to the specific needs I felt I needed to correct my type of scoliosis and other back issues, hip and leg issues and the Pilates here has definitely addressed those specifically and have helped me address them appropriately.

My favorite exercise is the short spine on the reformer because it stretches every part of your back.

My most challenging exercise is the hundreds on the reformer.

What surprised me the most about my practice with Pilates is how quickly you start seeing results and how good you feel the minute you walk out the door.

My top goals when I first started here was to work on my scoliosis alignment and to learn different techniques I can do for the rest of my life to make sure that I keep myself in good shape.

The top three benefits I’ve seen from joining this Pilates studio is the no the longer feeling discomfort from my back or joints when I get out of bed in the morning or when I am walking now I feel like I’m walking with better posture and my hips are freer, and when I’m sitting at my desk for a period of time at work I feel like I have better posture to sit in a more comfortable position for the day.

When I’m not at the studio I enjoy riding my bike, and golfing, and hiking in the hills and all of those activities require having a healthy back which has definitely been greatly improved since I started working here.

I feel like my outlook on what I’m able to do with my scoliosis and how I can further correct it for the rest of my life is looking much more positive.

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What’s made me the happiest about working in the studio is how hard it is the work but how good you feel right after you’re done. You don’t have any discomfort after the hard work out sessions.

My tips for starting at Body Evolutions would be to start away. Don’t wait. It’s worth it.

How Pilates can Help with Sciatic Nerve Pain

These methods of exercise are safe enough to be recommended by chiropractors, physical therapists and orthopedic specialists.

These methods of exercise are safe enough to be recommended by chiropractors, physical therapists and orthopedic specialists.

Sciatic nerve pain can appear to come out of nowhere. One minute you’re just walking around minding your own business and the next minute you have pain running down your backside. This happened to me twenty-two years ago when I was pregnant with my first child. My husband and I were walking through the mall when suddenly my glutes (butt), hamstrings and calf muscles of one side of my body began to tighten up and I felt as if I had done the mother of all workouts on one hip and leg. I could feel the muscles tensing up making it difficult to walk and I had to stop every few steps because the pain seemed to intensify.

After that first incident the feeling alternated between the mother of all workouts and a sharp pain running down my backside. If sciatica pain is painful, sciatica and pregnancy, well, let’s just say that it’s a miserable combination. Has this ever happened to you? I’m guessing yes, otherwise you wouldn’t be reading this blog.

A few things you may not know about sciatica:

  • Sciatica is the name given to pain caused by irritation of the sciatic nerve; therefore, sciatica is not a condition; it is a symptom.

  • The sciatic nerve is the single longest and widest nerve in the human body.

  • The sciatic nerve begins from nerve roots in the spinal cord in the low back and extends through the buttock area to send nerve endings down the lower limb.

  • Sciatica typically only affects one side of the body.

  • The most common cause of sciatica is herniated disk. Other terms used to refer to a herniated disc: a slipped disc, ruptured disc, protruding disc or a pinched nerve.

  • Sciatica symptoms include pain that people typically feel from the low back to behind the thigh which can then radiate down below the knee.

  • One of the most common first complaints of those with sciatic nerve pain, is pain in the lower back. Eventually, they may notice numbness in their rear or leg.

The medical term for sciatica is lumbar radiculopathy and refers to disease involving the lumbar spinal nerve root, typically caused by a compression of the spinal nerve root.

The medical term for sciatica is lumbar radiculopathy and refers to disease involving the lumbar spinal nerve root, typically caused by a compression of the spinal nerve root.

What causes sciatic nerve pain?

Sciatica is most common when a disc is slipped or herniated, there is a narrowing of the spine (spinal stenosis), or a bone spur is present, and it compresses part of the nerve. These are some causes of sciatic nerve pain, but not all.

Age
As we get older our bodies begin to show signs of wear and tear. This age-related degeneration can create changes in the spine, such as herniated disk, and spinal stenosis. Arthritic changes in the spine, such as bone spurs, also increases the risk for sciatica as we age. Although, not necessarily age-related isthmic spondylolisthesis and sacroiliac joint dysfunction can also contribute to sciatica and the resulting sciatic nerve pain.

Obesity
Aside from taxing the cardiovascular system, being overweight also increases stress on the joints, including the spine. This stress can lead to compression of the spine which can damage the discs contributing to a slipped disc, aka disc herniation, increasing the risk for sciatic nerve pain.

Sedentary Lifestyle
A sedentary lifestyle includes driving for long periods, sitting in front of a computer, or just sitting on the couch watching tv for hours on end. People who sit for long periods or lead sedentary lifestyles have a greater propensity of developing sciatica then their active lifestyle counterparts due to the weakening of the muscles which can lead to poor posture . Another reason is that sitting for prolonged periods compresses the spine and vertebrae increasing the risk of herniating a disk or piriformis syndrome.

Occupation
Jobs that require you to carry heavy loads, do repetivie movments, sit for prolonged periods, or use the body asymmetrically can create muscle imbalances and misalignments which can lead to sciatica pain.

Diabetes
People with diabetes are susceptible to nerve damage because of the way the body uses blood sugar, increasing the risk of experiencing sciatic nerve pain.

Pregnant Women
Hormonal changes and the baby’s position in the mother’s body increases the risk of a pregnant woman experiencing sciatica.

Symptoms of Sciatica

  • Lower back pain.
  • A constant pain in only one side of the buttock or leg (rarely in both legs).
  • Pain in the rear or leg that is worse when sitting.
  • Hip pain.
  • Burning or tingling down the leg.
  • Weakness, numbness, or difficulty moving the leg, foot or toes.
  • A sharp pain that may make it difficult to stand up or walk
  • Pain that radiates down the leg and possibly into the foot and toes (it rarely occurs only in the foot)

  • Prevention

    It's not always possible to prevent sciatica, but practicing a few good habits can play a key role in protecting your back:

    Exercise regularly. Exercise in general is good, but Pilates is excellent in helping bring balance to the muscles of the back, hips, and abdominal muscles to realign the body. Functional exercise improves posture, and good body mechanics, which are important to keep your back strong and healthy and reducing the risk of sciatica.

    Maintain good posture when you sit. Choose a chair with good lower back support, armrests and a swivel base. Keep your knees and hips level and take lots of breaks to stand, stretch and move around. Practicing Pilates table top to strengthen your core will help improve your sitting posture.

     Use good body mechanics. If you stand for extended periods, rest one foot on a low stool or box from time to time. Pay special attention that your hips stay level when doing this. When lifting heavy objects, bend at the hips and knees making sure to keeping your spine straight and your abdominal muscles pulled in. Always hold the load close to your body and avoid lifting and twisting at the same time.  A good Pilates session will teach proper body mechanics to support the body in sitting, standing, and walking.

    Home Pilates Exercises for Sciatica

    Being a Pilates instructor I’ve worked with many people who have suffered from sciatic pain and have witnessed first-hand the incredible healing power of Pilates. It’s important to understand that the symptoms of sciatica are usually a result of age, obesity, sedentary lifestyle, occupation, diabetes, or pregnancy. Making healthy lifestyle changes in diet and exercise can help alleviate or eliminate the pain caused by sciatica.

    As with any injury, it’s important to first discuss your exercise program with your primary care physician before starting to make sure it’s safe for you to workout. Then work with a qualified Pilates instructor who can create a Pilates exercise program that is safe to do at home.

    Quadruped – cat/cow
    Quadruped – arm/leg reach
    Supine pelvic rocking
    Supine - femur circles single leg
    Supine – dead bug
    Supine – bridging exercises
    Side-lying – clams
    Prone – swan

    A typical Pilates for sciatica program will include modified exercises that can be built upon as you feel better and get stronger.

    Long recognized by the dance community for their fitness and rehabilitative benefits, Pilates and GYROTONIC® exercise are safe enough to be recommended by chiropractors, physical therapists and orthopedic specialists as an effective part of their patients' recovery programs. In addition, Pilates and GYROTONIC® are the rehabilitation method of choice among professional athletes and coaches.

    As both a rehabilitation and wellness program, Pilates and GYROTONIC® therapeutic exercise provide a valuable complement to Physical Therapy, Chiropractic, Massage Therapy and many other therapeutic or physical fitness systems.

    Do you or someone you know suffer from back pain or sciatic nerve pain?

    Our private training in the Pilates or GYROTONIC® Methods is an excellent way to strengthen the body and alleviate or relieve pain from sciatica. Our new client intro offers, are a great way to get started, and will give you a better feel for our space, instructors, and teaching.

    Don't forget to SHARE this post if you know someone who could benefit from Pilates to help with sciatic nerve pain.

    Pilates Reformer Classes: 4 great reasons you should try them

     
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    Pilates has grown immensely in popularity since I was first introduced to it in 1994. Back then Pilates studios primarily taught private lessons or open sessions where students would come to the studio and practice the routine they were taught in their private session alongside other students practicing their personalized routines. Reformer classes as we know them today were uncommon and only became mainstream as Pilates grew in popularity. 

    During that time there wasn't a whole lot of information to be found about Pilates and since there weren't very many studios it was difficult to find one locally. I remember the internet was just barely gaining popularity around that time so most studios didn't have websites. Remember AOL? 

    Despite the lack or non-existence of printed information, internet, or social media to disseminate the benefits of Pilates,  the word quickly got out and now you can find Pilates in studios, gyms, doctors offices and just about everywhere.   

     
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    The rapid growth of Pilates in recent years inspired the need for more studies to open and make equipment classes available to the masses. Many of these studios host reformer classes varying in size from four to twelve reformers per class. Pilates is a great way to connect with your core, stretch, make new friends, and is an economical option to private training. 

     

    Reformer Classes: 4 Reasons for you to try them

    Pilates Reformer classes are a great way to achieve a stronger core and toned body making it a great workout for most populations. Pilates is designed to work from the inside out, using your breath to connect to your deep abdominals while simultaneously moving with control and precision in rhythm with the choreography. The movements are done slowly and with intention ensuring a safe and effective workout.

    That being said, if you're just recovering from an injury, surgery, or are currently experiencing back pain please consult with your doctor before joining a class. Some individuals may require more experience on the reformer in a private setting before safely joining a group reformer class. 

    You will become more flexible with each session. Although Pilates is universally known for strengthening your core, one of the great benefits of this workout is how it also serves to increase your flexibility. This, in turn, helps to alleviate stress on the joints and body, giving you an overall sense of relaxation when you're done.  

    The reformer classes are an affordable alternative to private training. If you're looking to stretch your dollar then classes are the way to go. Depending on the package or membership you purchase you can usually attend two or more classes for the same price as a private session.

    Reformer classes are a great way to make friends and workout with people who love Pilates just as much as you do. The Pilates community is growing every day and working out with others who share your same passion for the work makes coming to class that much more special.

     

    Despite the surge of larger class sizes we chose to keep our classes small.  
    Our class size is small enough to get personalized attention yet large enough to get the social interaction that so many of us love. When we first introduced equipment classes years ago, we knew that we wanted to teach them in such a way that our students would get a more personalized class experience with attention to detail and technique. And that's just what we've done! 

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    Reformer classes at Body Evolutions are an extension of our private training sessions and are an excellent adjunct to or transition from Pilates sessions.  
    Some experience is required before entering an open level class, and we recommend taking a few private sessions to familiarize yourself with the equipment, terminology, and exercises. Taking a few individual lessons prior to joining a class will prepare you and make the transition into an existing group a smooth one.  

    If you feel that group reformer classes are something you'd be interested in, we recommend you contact the studio and set an appointment for a one-on-one consultation. Check out our new client intro offers, they're a great way to get started. Starting your sessions this way will give you a better feel for our space, instructors, and teaching. You can also check out our class schedule or visit a class to get a better feel and sense of the class format. 

    Do you think 4 reasons for you to try a reformer class is helpful? Don't forget to share.

    Interesting workouts and focus on problem areas - Wendy G.

     
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    Body Evolutions Studio is run by two great teachers; Chris and Sonia.  I have been lucky to work with both of them as my schedule has jumped around over the years.  

    I have been going to Body Evolutions Studio for over thirteen years. Sonia and Chris are both fabulous trainers and take professional pride in their work.  They keep their workouts interesting and fun, and they vary the routine so it's never boring.  Most importantly they check with me to see what areas I need to work on when I come in and if I have a problem spot they can change the work out on a dime to focus on that area.  

    I feel so lucky that my daughter lived in Campbell and found Body Evolutions studio so many years ago and even luckier that she urged me to go there. 

    ~ Wendy G. - Saratoga

    Increase flexibility and range of motion – Sam K.

     
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    I have been visiting Body Evolutions in Campbell for few years now and my experience has been very positive. Initially, I had major issues from lack of flexibility due to unhealthy muscle mass built at an early age. Over the past couple of years I have experienced dramatic improvement in my range of motion, especially in my spine and neck. It has really been life changing to experience the benefit of such flexibility in every day life. Sonia understood my body's capabilities and limitations and was able to work with me slowly but surely to overcome those limitations. She possesses an unbelievable level of patience and skill which allows her to work with every client to achieve positive results.