PJ’s mission is to educate and rehabilitate people through movement. After suffering a spinal injury, she began her fitness journey and now travels globally, presenting at conferences and training instructors in multiple movement modalities. She has also written numerous fitness and therapeutic articles.
Pilates and yoga are both wonderful and have great benefits, but there are differences. Pilates has a conditioning program and segmental articulation of the spine, yoga has a spiritual component and linear pattern with the spine. Also, Pilates incorporates equipment such as the reformer to boost strength quicker than with bodyweight alone. Transcript: "Great question. What is the difference between Pilates and yoga? While both are wonderful and have great benefits to them, there are definite differences. With yoga, it's more of a spiritual component, whereas with Pilates it's more of a conditioning program. The second thing is what happens with the spine. In Pilates we have classic exercises like the roll up where we do segmental articulation of the spine, whereas in yoga it's more of a linear pattern with the spine and you're hinging a lot more from the hips like in downward dog. The third reason and why I'm in the Pilates studio today is to show you that there is equipment with Pilates. There are what we call the reformer. And with the reformer, there is spring tension that you load the machine with. And what I find is that with spring tension you can boost your strength much quicker than with bodyweight on the mat. So I hope that helps clear up what the differences are. And those are my three favorites."
Pilates can be done without equipment, but the equipment does help you get stronger quicker. Joseph Pilates designed the equipment so that his dancers and athletes could get stronger when they were doing mat-based work or functional work. An example of the equipment is the roll-down bar on a trapeze table or cadillac which helps facilitate articulation through the spine. Another piece of equipment is the stability chair which strengthens the hip joints, ankles and knees. The classic piece of equipment is the reformer which allows for full leg elongation and helps those who don't have as much core strength. Transcript: "OK, great question. Do you need equipment to do Pilates? Well, you don't. However, the equipment does get you stronger so much quicker. And it can actually make you stronger at the map-based work that you do. In fact, Joseph Pilates designed the equipment so that his dancers, his athletes could get stronger when they were doing their mat-based work or their functional work or their dance and their performance. So let me have Stephanie show you what the differences are. So I'll give me a couple of little demonstrations today. Stephanie is going to show you the roll-ups. So she's not using the equipment, although she is lying on the equipment. So she's going to articulate her spine and roll all the way up. So show the roll-up, Stephanie. So she's rolling through the spine, articulating the spine, coming all the way up and over. And then as she starts to go down, you'll see she's going to roll through her spine, articulating. Now, she's quite good at this. Maybe another person might have a little bit of a difficult time. And that's where the equipment comes in. So roll all the way up against, Stephanie. And then she's going to show you using what's called the trap table, the trapeze table, or the cadillac, how she can use the roll-down bar on the table to facilitate that articulation through the spine. So she'll inhale to prepare, press down slightly through the bar, and get that activation of the back of the body. And then she'll start to articulate and use the spring-loaded bar to help her control her rolling down. Now it's really wonderful. As she starts to come up, the spring tension is going to help her facilitate that articulation through the spine as she comes all the way up and over and then stacks her spine back up. Beautiful. Another piece of equipment is the stability chair. So she's sitting on the top of the chair. And she's going to press the pedal down, which is spring-loaded. And this is going to strengthen her, especially at the hip joints, the ankles, and the knees. And meanwhile, she's having to maintain really good upright posture while doing the exercise. So you can see she's doing a great job with that. But if she were new at this, it would be a real challenge for her to be able to maintain that core stability. So we utilize the breath for that. Beautifully done. This is the classic piece of equipment called the reformer. And now what Stephanie's doing is she's doing footwork, which is exactly what she was doing while she was on the chair, only now she's lying down. So you can see that could help somebody who perhaps didn't have the core strength to stay seated. And also her legs are able to now fully elongate."
The best bands to use for blood flow restriction training are B Strong, which can be purchased directly from bstrong.com or from me. They come with an upper and lower body band and a pump, and are great for workouts. If you have any questions about BFR, just let me know. Transcript: "The question is, what is the best way to buy BFR bands? So just in case you're not sure what BFR is, blood flow restriction is what BFR is. And we do blood flow restriction training here at my facility, in Beverly, Massachusetts. The best bands on the market, I believe, for fitness are B Strong. And you can purchase the bands directly from bstrong.com. Or you can get them from me. I'll just give you a quick little glimpse of what they look like. So the bands come with both an upper body and a lower body, if you're doing full-body training. And they come with a pump. And you pump them up. Then you do your workout. It's a great workout. If you have any questions about what BFR is, just let me know. And I can answer that for you."
Pilates is a great way to get inner core strength and develop the mind body connection. When starting, make sure your instructor has been trained by a reputable organization. Group classes are a great entry point while private sessions are better if you have particular goals or postural concerns. Transcript: "OK, how do I get started doing Pilates? Should I do a group class or should I do a private one-on-one session? That's a great question. But my first suggestion would to be sure that your instructor, whomever is teaching you, has been trained by a reputable organization, that they've done their Pilates training by a reputable organization. That's the most important thing. You want to be sure you're in really good hands when you're doing this work. Group training is a lot of fun, and it's a great entry point. Maybe it's where you start just to see if you even like Pilates. However, if you're looking to work on a particular goal, or you have some postural concerns, or maybe even coming out of an injury, then a private one-on-one session would be the way to go. The instructor, when they're well trained, will put you through an analysis, perhaps a static analysis of your posture, a movement analysis of your movement of your body, and then develop some programming specific to you. Whichever it is, get started. It's a great way to get that inner core strength and to develop that mind body connection."
TRX and cycling are both great for building muscle and losing weight, but it's important to remember that diet is just as important. Combining resistance training with cardiovascular exercise and a healthy diet is the best way to achieve your goals. Transcript: "Okay, so great question. I get these kinds of questions a lot. And this time of the year, what is the best way to gain muscle and lose weight, TRX or cycling? They're both very different TRX is using your body weight. It's the straps that hang from Anchor Point, that uses your body weight for for training, whether you were trying to build muscle or to gain Mobility to your ex's, absolute wonderful for that. And then some cycling is a great cardiovascular exercise and you do spill some his leg strength for that. Depending on how much resistance you have if you're climbing, or if you're spinning, right? So they're both very different ones more. Cardiovascular ones, more strength and Mobility oriented, and it takes a combination of that, plus diet. If you want to lose weight, you can't really just exercise to lose weight. Oftentimes, it's what you're putting in your body for fuel that will determine whether or not you're going to lose the calories or burn enough calories. To compensate for the amount of food that you eat the. So it's really not as simple as that. I think doing resistance training is super important and TRX is a wonderful tool for that and riding a bike is a lot of fun and it does build a solid heart and gets the calories burnt. So I hope that helps you and keep the questions coming."
Yes, I do online personal training through Zoom. To book a session, please email me at PJ@PJOClair.com. Transcript: "Hi, yes, I absolutely do personal training online. I do it through Zoom, both Pilates and strength training, if you'd like to book a session. The best way to do that is to reach out to me, directly through email, you can reach me at PJ at PJ o'clair.com. Thank you so much."