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CORE Fitness Studio Blog

Ultimate Barre: Yes, It Involves Dance Moves, No, It’s Not a Dance Class



Sometimes people call the studio and ask if they can do the Ultimate Barre Workout even if they have no dance experience. Or worse, even if they have no coordination or “two left feet.” The answer is simple: Yes!

The Ultimate Barre Workout is not a dance class. You just need your body, a yoga mat (we’ll provide one if you don’t have your own), and a desire to get fit fast. No dance experience or coordination required.

The Ultimate Barre Workout, like many of the other barre workouts, is a blended class. It combines exercises along the ballet barre, mat Pilates exercises, and yoga stretches.

The ballet movements are small and controlled and they work the small muscle groups that support the larger muscles to help you move no matter whether you’re sitting down, standing up, walking, running, playing tennis or playing with the kids or grandkids.

The mat Pilates work incorporates light hand weights and mat work to strengthen the core (we are, after all, CORE Fitness) and tone the arms and shoulder.

The yoga stretches help tone all the muscles and minimize soreness that sometimes occurs after a workout.

The bottom line: This barre workout is going to tone your body quickly and you don’t have to be a Dancing With the Stars All Star to make it happen.

We offer 15 Ultimate Barre Workout classes every week and in keeping with our mission to make fitness easy fun, and affordable for every body, our prices can’t be beat.


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Exercise More, Live Longer – But How Much Longer? A Lot Longer

Posted by Dave Clarke, November 12, 2012, 7:09


At CORE Fitness Studio, we’ve long said that people who exercise live longer. And, although no one has ever asked us, “How much longer?” we’ve often wondered what the answer is. 10 minutes longer? 10 days? 18 months?


Well, a new study published in PLOS Medicine finally answers the question and it’s actually a rather impressive number.


Researchers from institutes in the U.S., Norway, Sweden, and Finland studied more than 650,000 people aged 21- to 90-years-old for 10 years.


Their findings showed that, for people 40-years-old and older, those who exercised vigorously at least 150 minutes per week (so, 30 minutes per day, five days per week) lived an average of 3.4 years longer. Even those who exercised for half that time, 75 minutes per week (or just 10 minutes per day!), lived, on average, 1.8 years longer than those who did not exercise.


The study also showed that it didn’t matter if you were overweight or obese. But it did show that being obese and inactive might shave as much as 7.2 years off your lifespan.


The gains plateaued at 300 minutes per week (about an hour per day, 5 days per week) where the added life expectancy was about 4.2 years.


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What’s Your Post-Baby Workout Plan? If You’re a Victoria’s Secret Model,

It’s Pilates and Ballet

Posted by Dave Clarke, November 8, 2012, 5:09


You may already know that lots of athletes and celebrities do Pilates Reformer to improve their performance on the court or field. You may also know lots of women use a ballet barre workout (like our Ultimate Barre Workout) to get their bodies back in shape after giving birth.





















But, it seems, if you’re a Victoria’s Secret runway model, like Lily Aldridge, you double down and do both. Which, as it happens, is exactly what we excel in at CORE Fitness Studio.


“ I’ve been training very hard to get my body to bounce back from the baby for the show. I’ve been in New York taking a lot of ballet classes at Ballet Beautiful and also doing a lot of pilates,” Aldridge told Celebuzz.

We’re far and away San Jose’s leader when it comes to Pilates Reformer with more classes and better prices than anyone else. And, at $99 per month for unlimited Ultimate Barre Workout classes, you will get your pre-baby figure faster and less expensively than any place else in Silicon Valley.

You don’t have to be a runway model to join us, you’ll just look like one! Call or come in today to learn more.


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Et tu, Andy? Yes, Andy Murray, World #3 Tennis Player Does Pilates Too

Posted by Dave Clarke, November 1, 2012, 1:09


If you’ve taken any Pilates Reformer classes from us at CORE Fitness Studio, especially from our fearless leader (and Chief Fitness Officer), Nanci, you probably know what a big fan she is of professional tennis, especially the hunky Spaniard, Rafael Nadal, and of late, the young Scotsman who took home the gold at this summer’s Olympic games, Andy Murray.

If she was a moderate fan before, certainly Murray’s latest disclosure–he’s did Pilates to relieve his back pain and get in shape for the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals next week–secured his place in Nanci’s heart.

““I started doing Pilates a few weeks ago and I think it has helped already. I did three or four Pilates sessions and my body feels good, so hopefully I’ll be fine for the next two weeks.”

Attaboy, Andy! And, if you’re in town for the SAP Open in February, drop in to any of the 37 Pilates Reformer classes we offer every week and we’ll make sure you’re in shape to take the tournament, the same as we do for everyone who comes to the studio, professional athlete or not.


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Grow Your Muscles, Grow Your Brain?

Posted by Dave Clarke, October 30, 2012, 9:44


Most of us work out to build or maintain muscle. The benefits of regular exercise are well-known by now–it prevents heart attack, reduces the risk of injuries, helps in maintaining a healthy weight, and seems to reduce the chances of certain diseases attacking the body.

We’ve also known that exercise helps keep your mind sharp and researchers may now have some idea why.

In a new report published in the journal, Neurology, a team of scientists from the University of Edinburgh explain that exercise seems to stop the brain from shrinking as we age, something which is associated with declines in memory and reasoning skills.


The study followed 600 people aged 70 and above for three years. Using imaging scans, the scientists saw that people who took part in physical exercise, such as as walking several times a week, showed less brain shrinkage or deterioration in the brain’s white matter known to be responsible for the brain’s internal communication functions, such as remembering and reasoning. Factors such as age, health status, or IQ were factored out leaving the researchers to conclude there was at least an associated benefit (if not directly causal) between physical exercise and a larger, therefore healthier, brain over time.


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Posturing: Pilates, Your Posture, and Your Health

Posted by Dave Clarke, October 26, 2012, 10:02


When it comes to posture, most of us don’t immediately recognize it when it’s good and what good posture means as much as we understand what it means when someone’s posture is bad.


Think about it. When you see someone with good posture, you subconsciously observe that person has a certain vitality. But, when you see someone with even moderately bad posture, you instantly realize that something is out of sorts, perhaps they are in poor health or otherwise afflicted with some debilitation.


Much of our Pilates programs at CORE Fitness Studio, like those of any reputable Pilates program, are centered around helping you achieve good posture. The reason is simple: Good posture is at the (pardon the pun) core of good health and physical fitness. Here are the benefits of good posture:


1. Banish back and neck pain      Much of back pain is the result of bad posture. Improve your posture and you reduce or eliminate back pain and the chances of injuring your back or neck.

2. Breathe easier    Good posture helps you breathe more deeply, getting more air into your lungs, improving all bodily and brain functions. Slouching makes getting all the air you need into your lungs more difficult.

3. Jump higher     Good posture facilitates a better athletic performance. You can move better, faster, and stronger when your spine is properly aligned and you will minimize the risk of injury from worn joints caused by bad posture.

4. Slouching sucks   Prolonged slouching can have a long-term negative effect on your spine. In the worst cases, surgery is required to put you back together in alignment.

5. Look good   People who slouch are perceived as being weak and lacking self-confidence. People with good posture are naturally, if subconsciously, perceived as being healthy, confident, and fit. That perception is carried through in personal and professional relationships and may lead to more and better opportunities in all walks of life.


Perhaps the best reason for getting and maintaining good posture is this: You’ll feel great. That’s why our motto is literally, “CORE Fitness: Every Body Should Feel This Good.” We offer more than 35 Pilates Reformer classes per week–more than any other Pilates provider in San Jose–to help you be, look, and feel better. Call (408.CORE.FIT), click, or come in to see how we can help you feel that good too.


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I Dance, Therefore I Am Fit: Choreographer Alice Alyse on Dancing for Fitness

Posted by Dave Clarke, October 23, 2012, 11:30


The Los Angeles Times recently spoke with Alice Alyse, artistic director of the acclaimed Joffrey Ballet West and Joffrey Ballet South about the connections between dance and fitness. Here are some of the highlights from that interview:

Dancing is good for nonprofessionals, Alyse says, because, “A huge part of dance is also the stretching part, and to stretch your body and muscles is so important. It promotes not having bad backs or not being tight in certain areas.”

Among other forms of dance as exercise, Alyse says: “With ballet, you tone a little bit more, and you tone lots of different muscles, maybe some muscles you've never used before.”

To prevent injuries during your dance workout Alyse recommends: “It's very important where you take a class and who is instructing you, because learning technique is crucial to avoid injuries. Your instructors should be able to guide you through the movements in such a way that you don't get injured. So I would suggest researching the instructor's background, where they studied, who they studied from, and what styles and techniques they've learned.”

In addition to her dance, for fitness, Alyse says, “If I'm not dancing, I prefer to do Pilates. Pilates is not aerobic, but it is more refined; there's not a lot of movement, but it's more slow and steady. Pilates is a really good alternative to dance because it lengthens the muscles, and it's very feminine and more ballet-based. I either work with a partner or on the Reformer.”

Those are her words, not ours. But we couldn’t agree more. That’s why CORE Fitness Studio offers 15 Ultimate Barre Workout™ and 37 Pilates Reformer classes every week. That’s why our instructors have years and years of experience in their disciplines. And, of course, it doesn’t hurt that we have the best rates around either. Call us (408.363.1200), email, or come in and see why we say, “CORE Fitness: Every Body Should Feel This Good.”


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Oh, My Aching Back…Doesn’t Ache Anymore Because I Do Pilates

Posted by Dave Clarke, October 15, 2012, 09:10


People come to CORE Fitness Studio to take our Pilates Reformer classes for a lot of reasons.

Some come because they want to keep fit.

Some come because it dramatically improves their athletic abilities whether they are runners, bikers, golfers, or tennis players.

Some come in to get back in shape after a pregnancy.

A lot of people, however, come in because their doctor or chiropractor recommended Pilates Reformer to help relieve their back pain or to continue the gains they’ve made in physical therapy recovering from an injury.

“Since I started doing Pilates my back doesn’t hurt anymore,” is something we hear almost every day. And, it’s music to our ears. We love knowing that we are helping keep our members healthy and strong. It’s what motivates us to keep doing what we’re doing; it’s a large part of why we’re Silicon Valley’s leading Pilates Reformer studio.

So, what’s up? How and why does Pilates Reformer do what it does for people afflicted with back pain? Here’s the deal:

The Causes of Back Pain

Pilates addresses the fundamental causes of back pain—poor core support, instability in your pelvic region, imbalances between your muscles, and poor posture.

Posture

Pilates helps with your posture by strengthening your core muscles and helping them fall into proper alignment more easily during your everyday activities. Pilates helps relieve the stress caused on the skeleton (especially the spine) by mitigating uneven stresses caused because your alignment is off. The exercises you do in Pilates develop uniform muscle use allowing movement to be performed more naturally.

If, for example, your pelvis is either tucked or tilted out of alignment you will create weakness on one side of your body and tightness on the other side. Your spine doesn’t get the support it needs from the natural curves. Those aches and pains travel along the spine. Pilates creates the proper muscle support to put your body into neutral spine—no stress in either direction.

Harmony

Pilates doesn’t just work on the major muscle groups in your core, your rectus abdominis (the “six pack”). It works on strengthening all the muscles in your core and trains to harmonize and work together. The result, better movement, less pain.

Flexibility

Pilates also improves your flexibility. A well-developed core helps your spine curve backward and forward, move side to side, and twist using all your muscles in harmony. Because properly trained Pilates instructors can give you modifications to the exercises, everyone can develop flexibility at their own pace. It’s ideal for people looking to rehab from injury or just get rid of that nagging backache.

Mind-Body

Pilates is one of those exercise regimes that falls into the “mind-body” category. If you’ve taken one of our Reformer classes (see our schedule of 30+ classes per week), you know your mind needs to be fully engaged to get through the routines. That engagement helps create body awareness and that body awareness sticks with you consciously and subconsciously through the phenomenon known as muscle memory.

So, whatever your reasons for choosing a Pilates Reformer program—back pain or better performance at work and play—you will be training your body to work as nature intended, in harmony and pain-free.


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Two New Ultimate Barre Workout™ Classes Added!

Posted by Dave Clarke, October 11, 2012  17:57


Katherine, barre workout instructor extraordinaire, has added two classes Friday mornings at 9:00 a.m.and 10:00 a.m. We now offer 15 classes weekly. Join her for the Ultimate Barre Workout™ and get the longer, leaner, fitter, more-toned, stronger, more flexible ballet dancer’s body you’ve always wanted.


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Is It Bar or Barre? Would a Rose by Any Other Name Smell as Sweet?

Posted by Dave Clarke, October 11, 2012  17:56


People come into CORE Fitness or they call us and ask “Is it a bar workout or a barre workout?” Referring to our Ultimate Barre Workout™ classes. They pronounce it bar or barr-e or barr-eh or barry. They know it’s ballet fitness but the French spelling throws them off. Specifically, it’s the handrail used by ballet dancers for their exercises.


For the record, it’s pronounced like “bar.” The second “r” and the “e” are silent, kind of like the silent “t” in ballet. Also, for the record, we don’t care how you pronounce it. Just come in and get a great ballet workout combining ballet work, Pilates, and yoga exercises. You’ll get a longer, leaner look, you’ll tighten and tone, and you’ll add flexibility, strength, and improve your balance.


Some people ask if the Ultimate Barre Workout™ is like the Dailey Method or Pure Barre. Sort of. We don’t want to split hairs, all of them are based on the Lotte Berk Method developed in the late 1950s and early 1960s (see our post below describing it). All of them are fantastic ballet fitness programs but ours cost less–way less, because we believe in making the best fitness and exercise programs affordable for every body!


We just added two more classes on Friday mornings at 9:00 a.m. And 10:00 a.m. Bring our weekly schedule total to 15 classes.


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Pilates–It’s for Every Body

Posted by Dave Clarke, October 9, 2012  14:22


Sometimes people call us at CORE Fitness Studio and ask if they–a mere mortal–can do Pilates or is it only for elite athletes, professional dancers, and movie stars.


We’ll let serious athletes, top-notch dancers, and celebrities do Pilates training with us (and they do!), But our mission is, always has been, and always will be to take this incredibly effective exercise format and make it available to everyone. And, we’re not alone, here’s what the Mayo Clinic has to say on the topic:


“Pilates isn't just for fitness fiends. Pilates is an accessible way to build strength in your core muscles for better posture, balance and flexibility.”


Why? Because here are the benefits of Pilates that everyone can achieve according to Mayo Clinic:



They go on to say: “Pilates can be adapted to provide a gentle strength training and stability program or a challenging workout for seasoned athletes.”


You don’t have to take our word for it, or that of the good folks at Mayo Clinic. Come on in and observe any one of the 30+ classes we offer every week (more than anyone else in Silicon Valley by a long shot!) and ask our members–the school teachers, nurses, librarians, real estate agents, techies, marketers, sales professionals, doctors, and so on, ordinary folks just like you.


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Thanks a Lotte!

Posted by Dave Clarke, October 4, 2012  18:26


CORE Fitness Studio has been offering the Ultimate Barre Workout™, our ballet barre workout program for about six months now. The Ultimate Barre Workout™ combines mat Pilates, yoga and ballet exercises to strengthen your core and help you quickly sculpt a longer, leaner body.


The Ultimate Barre Workout™ is so effective because ballet exercises target the smaller muscles you don’t use very often, muscles that support the larger muscle groups, such as abdominals, quads, or glutes.


Instead of working your quads, for example, these ballet moves work the inside and the back of your leg. They also raise your center of gravity when you pull up through your stomach and open your shoulders to work the back and upper body. Your inner thighs are engaging and squeezing your glutes to lift. As a result small and large muscle groups are firing as one and the result is a more effective workout.


So, who do we have to thank for this highly effective dancer’s workout? Lotte Berk, that’s who. But, who was Lotte and why did she develop this program? Here’s a little background on Lotte:


Born Liselotte Heymansohn in Germany in 1913, she grew up to become a ballet dancer. The rise of Nazism prompted her and her husband, Ernst Berk, to move to England (Ernst held a British passport). For some reason her style of ballet dance did not appeal to the British professional ballet community so she knew she would have to find an alternate means of making a living.


Working with an osteopath, she developed her unique exercise method based on the exercises ballet dancers use. The method (now known as the Lotte Berk Method) focused on developing core strength, flexibility, and balance. She opened her first studio at age 46 in Manchester, England.


She must have been a bit of a maverick, giving her exercise moves unusual names, such as “the Prostitute,” the “Peeing Dog,” and the “French Lavatory.” Regardless, or perhaps because of her colorful approach, she soon attracted celebrity clients including Barbra Streisand, Joan Collins, and Britt Ekland.


At age 50, with her husband’s permission, she moved in with a painter. Her husband gave her two years to explore the relationship after which he would take her back. Her 30-year marriage ended and she married the painter, a marriage which lasted three weeks. Lotte continued to teach into her 80s and passed away in 2003 at the age of 90.


Thank you, Lotte, for your insight, experience, and a fitness legacy that lets us teach barre workouts, such as the Ultimate Barre Workout today. See our schedule to find a class time that works for you.


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Ring-Tone Redefined: Using the Pilates Ring

Posted by Dave Clarke, October 1, 2012  15:11


If you’ve been coming to CORE Fitness Studio for your Pilates Reformer or mat Pilates workout, chances are you’ve done some work with us using a Pilates ring (sometimes known as a Pilates circle or magic circle).


Given the option of using the Reformer and its tower and all the various movements those two pieces of equipment allow, you may wonder why use the ring, what can it accomplish that the Reformer can’t?


The answer is simple: The ring helps you create resistance and forces you to balance and use your core muscles in ways the Reformer and that you cannot do on your own. It tones your muscles in ways we cannot easily achieve otherwise.


One of the fundamental principles of Pilates is to create imbalance among the muscles and thereby force you to use your core muscles and the other muscles you’re working out.


But, as is always the case in Pilates, this is done with light resistance to tone and strengthen the muscles. The ring provides elasticity that adds resistance to your movement and thereby increases the physical effort you need to use to respond and keep your balance.


By having you move the ring into different positions, you work different muscles each time or the same muscles in different ways and from different angles. It’s one of the ways a proper Pilates workout adds diversity to ensure you get a complete and balanced workout for all your muscles.


Additionally, free weights generally add more resistance and thereby increase the risk of injury. That’s why a doctor or chiropractor more often recommends Pilates for rehabilitation instead of a personal trainer. It’s also why the ring is used in helping senior citizens keep in shape (such as our gentle mat Pilates classes on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons).


The ring is a simple tool that actually creates some complex responses in your body. The result is a workout that challenges your muscles in a variety of ways enhancing your strength, flexibility, and balance.

 

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When’s the Best Time to Exercise?

Posted by Dave Clarke, September 27, 2012  09:16


We know, you’re expecting us to say, “Anytime is the best time to exercise.” And, in general, we agree with that statement. After all, any exercise is better than no exercise, so, if you’ve got the time, go for it.


That being said, researchers have found that certain times of the day do seem better-suited than others for exercise. Those times are based on the body’s natural rhythms, sometimes referred to as the body clock.


According to Michael Smolensky, an adjunct professor of biomedical engineering at the University of Texas, Austin, and lead author with Lynne Lamberg of "The Body Clock Guide to Better Health," peak physical performance and the lowest risk of physical injury occurs between 3:00 p.m.and 6:00 p.m..


Muscle strength peaks between 2:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. at levels up to 6 percent more than the lowest level of the day. This makes your ability to grip a racquet or barbell easier and more effective.


Just as important, lung capacity is as much as 17.6 percent higher at 5:00 p.m. than at any other time of day according to Boris Medarov, an assistant professor of medicine at Albany Medical College in New York, who studied nearly 4,800 people.


Late afternoon also seems to be the best time of day for eye-hand coordination making you more adept at sports activities, such as baseball, basketball, tennis, or squash near sunset.


Muscles and joints can be as much as 20 percent more flexible in the late afternoon and early evening according to Dr. Smolensky, so risk of injury is at its lowest at this time of day.


A study at the University of South Carolina at Columbia in 2007 showed that these factors hold true regardless of sleep or eating patterns. The researchers forced healthy students to adhere to an otherwise abnormal sleep and eating schedule and still, 5 o’clock or thereabouts, was the best time of day for physical activity.


Yes, we schedule morning classes at CORE Fitness because, regardless of the body’s clock, life goes on. Work and family dictate when we can squeeze in a Pilates Reformer class or a barre class and, so, we’re back to our original contention: The best time to exercise is anytime you can do it but apparently some times are better than others.


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Jump for… Cardio. Jumpboard on the Reformer

Posted by Dave Clarke, September 26, 2012 10:50


About once a month, our members walk into CORE Fitness Studio and find the reformers outfitted with jumpboards.


The flat panels slip in between the foot bar and the carriage of our reformers and allow you to jump, horizontally while lying on the reformer carriages. It’s something like being on pogo stick sideways only a lot more challenging to your core.


While, at first glance, jump while lying down sounds easy, it only takes one or two movements directed by the instructor to realize just how hard it is. The reason: From the time you propel yourself off the jumpboard until you return, your abs and core are fully engaged keeping your legs elevated.


Factor in the cardio workout you’re getting (like the pogo stick) and this becomes one intense workout. It’s an hour of almost nonstop movement keeping your core muscles fully engaged the entire time. The results speak for themselves. After a jumpboard workout you have burned calories, blasted fat, and engaged your core to the max.


Give us a call or stop by the studio and ask when our next jumpboard class is scheduled, then give it a try. You may not jump for joy–but your abs and your heart will thank you.


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5 Tips for Taking Your First Ultimate Barre Workout™ Class

Posted by Dave Clarke, September 20, 2012 12:38


We introduced the Ultimate Barre Workout™ at CORE Fitness Studio about five months ago.


Since then, the program has been very well-received, to the point where we’ve added five classes to our barre class schedule in just that short period of time.


Still, the program is relatively new, indeed barre workouts are still in the early phase of being adopted a the more progressive fitness studios. So, here are some answers to questions we are frequently asked by those of you coming to an Ultimate Barre Workout™ class for the first time:


1. What should I wear? Wear loose, comfortable clothing that lets you move easily and won’t get hung up during movement. Stretch pants, tops that won’t be revealing if you’re asked to invert yourself, yoga pants, or other workout clothing work nicely.


2. What kind of shoes should I wear? It’s your choice: barefoot, socks with grips on the bottom, or ballet shoes work nicely for the kinds of movement you’ll be doing in a barre class. What doesn’t work well are running shoes or sneakers, or any kind of street shoes.


3. What should I bring? Just bring a good attitude. You can bring your own yoga mat if you have one or you can borrow one of our loaner mats. You can bring a bottle of water if you like but we have complementary bottled water for all our guests.


4. What can I expect in the class? Each instructor teaches the Ultimate Barre Workout™ a little bit differently but you can expect some mat Pilates work, yoga stretches, ballet barre work, and some light weight work. You don’t need any experience or any dance experience to take an Ultimate Barre Workout™ class. You can expect that during some of the exercises your muscles will start shaking. Shaking is good! It means you’re working the muscle to its maximum and that’s how you’ll strengthen and tone.


5. What can I expect after class? Expect to be sore, especially if you haven’t done any exercise for some time, and even if you have. You’ll be working muscles you don’t often get to use otherwise so a little soreness is common. Don’t let it deter you! Come back the next day to work it out and keeping improving your muscle tone and flexibility.


If you have other questions, we’re happy to answer them. Give us a call at 408.363.1200 or drop us a line.


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Weight Loss Help That’s Light on the Wallet

Posted by Dave Clarke, September 17, 2012 16:50


Some of the people who come to CORE Fitness do so because they are looking to lose weight. For this, we recommend our cardio-focused group exercise classes, such as Zumba, step aerobics, or U-Jam.


These classes can help you burn up to 500 or 600 calories per hour all while having a great time dancing and moving to the high-energy, fat-blasting tunes our instructors have put together for you. But sometimes, that’s not enough, in fact, most times, it’s not, because diet and nutrition also play a big part in weight loss.


Here are some low cost ways to get the help and support you need to lose weight. One of them even PAYS YOU to lose weight.


SparkPeople.com offers an online tool with personalized meal and fitness plans, recipes and videos. You can get nutritional info and even join a group, known as a Sparkteam with interests that appeal to you such as how to break through a weight loss plateau or plan vegan meals.


Taking Off Pounds Sensibly (TOPS) is an online support group ($28 registration fee, plus $2 to $5 per month, varies by location). You’ll be part of a support group to get you through the tough times and once you’ve reached your goal, you can join Keeping Off Pounds Sensibly (KOPS) to keep it off.


HealthyWage.com runs weight loss contests and pays the winners. The idea is to bring your body mass index (BMI) down from 30 to 25 or less, for which you can win $100 from sponsors who want to reach people like you. If you put up $300 or your own money, the prize money increases to $1,000.


However you choose to do it, you can’t go wrong going from overweight or obese to a healthier weight. At CORE Fitness, we’ve got more than 50 classes per week to help you do that, everything from cardiodance to barre workouts to Pilates Reformer.


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Eat, Drink, and Be Merry for a Better Barre Workout

Posted by Dave Clarke, September 10, 2012 11:01


As many of you know, the Ultimate Barre Workout™ at CORE Fitness is one of the best and fastest ways to get in shape or stay in shape, whether you’re new to working out, just getting back into a workout routine, or need to get your pre-baby body back.


But, did you know that what you eat or drink before your workout can be an important factor in the effectiveness of your workout?


Hydrate


Sometimes thirst is perceived as hunger. If you’re hydrated, you can better assess your true hunger level, but more important, when you are hydrated you have more energy and therefore get a better, more vigorous workout. Drink about 8 to 12 ounces of water before (or even during) your Ultimate Barre Workout™ to stay hydrated throughout the hour.


Snack Smart


Fruits, vegetables, and nuts are the best way to get ready pre-workout. They’re natural, wholesome, and provide just the right amount of nutrition to keep you energized during a one-hour toning session. Avoid prepackaged snack foods and instead nosh on some almonds or macademia nuts. Dip baby carrorts in hummus. For a splurge, try some apple or orange slices with a 1-ounce serving of dark chocolate.


Be Smooooth


One of the best ways to energize for a workout is a smoothie. Use soy milk, add some almonds, and your choice of bananas or in-season berries. If you crave a little sweetness, add a tablespoon or two of honey.


No matter what healthy choice you make in a pre-workout snack or drink, by keeping hydrated and giving your the body the type of quick-energy fuel it needs, you will see better results because you are primed and ready to go.


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Skinny Jeans Workout Starts Friday, 9/7 @ 9 a.m.

Posted by Dave Clarke, September 4, 2012 08:45


You know those jeans you keep in the drawer, the ones that are just a scoche too tight here and there, mostly here, but a bit more there? They fit around the hips (barely) but the snap at the top doesn’t quite make it far enough over to snap shut?


Well, get those jeans out and tell them you’re coming back because you’re going to take the Skinny Jeans Workout at CORE Fitness starting this Friday, September 7, at 9:00 a.m.


The Skinny Jeans Workout is engineered to help you fit into those skin-tight jeans (just like when, as the song says, you were a Teenage Queen). It’s a one-hour workout that focuses on hips, abs, glutes, and lower body (Don’t worry, we’ve put some upper body in there too so you get a full workout) to help you slide into those skinny jeans and strut your stuff.


No advanced signup required, just bring a yoga mat (or borrow one of ours) and get ready to get fit.


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What’s So Great About Glutes?

Posted by Dave Clarke, August 23, 2012 15:15


Somewhere between Some Like It Hot and Baby Got Back, our gluteus maximus (or is that gluteus maximi?) took on a new (or perhaps renewed) focus. Those backside muscles came into favor as a must-have accessory to a desirable body. So much so that gyms and fitness clubs around the world created classes dedicated to sculpting these rear-facing globes, everything from Brazilian Booty to CORE Fitness’s own Gorgeous Glutes (Thursdays @ 11 am).


But what, exactly, is this butt? Here’s some insightius minimus into your gluteus maximus and why keeping them firm, healthy, and strong make more than just good sex appeal sense:


The glutes are actually three muscles working together, gluteus maximus, gluteus medius, and gluteus minimus. Gluteus maximus is the largest muscle in your body. The stronger your muscles, including gluteus maximus, the more quickly and easily you will burn calories. So, it stands to reason, that the more gluteus maximus you have the more calories you will burn in ordinary activities as well as when exercising.


The gluteus medius and minimus (beneath the maximus) help you walk, hold your pelvis upright and control all hip movements.


Extra fat around the hips and glutes diminshes their natural shape taking out curves where you want them and putting extra curves where you don’t.


To lose weight, cardio is key. Calories are burned throughout your body, not just in a given area you are working at any one time. To shape the muscle, however, you will need to focus on the muscles in your backside and the surrounding areas. Squats, lunges, and leg lifts, with and without weights, on the stability ball or the ballet barre, and variations of these movements all target the glutes to gain strength, tone, and shape.


So, whether you’re after an eye-catching behind, better posture, or more stability, a solidus gluteus maximus, medius, and minimus are what you need. To get there, try our Ultimate Barre Workout™, Gorgeous Glutes, or Body Blitz classes.


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Models at the Barre

Posted by Dave Clarke, August 21, 2012, 11:30


When it came to fashion models and exercise, the standard thinking was more along the lines of MAD magazine and its iconic spokescharacter, Alfred E. Neuman: "What, me exercise?"


The waifish women were known for their genetic propensity to consume countless calories with nary a one left behind to blemish a thigh, hip, or even a behind.


Most of today's models, however, require a bit more tone to their shape and that's where the type of exercises CORE Fitness Studio offers in its Ultimate Barre Workout come in. The focus is on the small muscle groups according to one trainer to the runway stars, Justin Gelband, aka The Model Whisperer.


“Everything is about lengthening and strengthening, being lean and fit, because these women can’t afford to bulk up," Gelband told the New York Times.


Gelband emphasizes movement to activate smaller, interconnected and so-called “intrinsic” muscle groups. "Everything is about posture and core, a combination of low-, medium- and high-impact movement and sequences that work groups of different muscles at the same time.”


The Ultimate Barre Workout at CORE Fitness does exactly that. It works the small muscle groups in ways that strengthen the core, improve posture, and increase flexibility and balance. It's all about lengthening and strengthening.


"I might incorporate boxing or Pilates,” Gelband adds. “But, it’s always about changing it up so they stay interested and engaged.” What a coincidence. The Ultimate Barre Workout is also about changing things up, adding in Pilates, and in our case, yoga and stretching.


You could hire someone like Gelband to help you lengthen and strengthen using your small muscle groups. He charges about  $200 per hour.  Or, you could join us at CORE Fitness for one of the 12+ classes we offer per week and pay as little $13 per class. You decide. Spend your money on looking like a model or on the fashions runway models wear.


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What’s the Best Kind of Exercise?

Posted by Dave Clarke at 10:59, August 17, 2012


Different people have different goals when they come to CORE Fitness Studio. Some want to lose weight, some want to tone or strengthen, some want to do all of the above. And so, they ask us which of our classes are best-suited to their goals.


Is it our Pilates Reformer classes? Our Ultimate Barre Workout™? Or one of our group exercise classes–maybe Zumba or U-Jam, Body Blitz, NIA, or mat Pilates?


There is, of course, no one “best” exercise, each of our formats do different things. Zumba and U-Jam burn calories to help you lose weight. Body Blitz and mat Pilates help you tone. Pilate Reformer and Ultimate Barre Workout™ help you strengthen, tone, and improve flexibility and balance.


So, which exercise format is best for you? The one you’ll stick with, the one(s) you enjoy most. Almost any professionally designed exercise program is good and good for you, but none of them are any good if you don’t enjoy them and don’t do them. Find what you like and you’ll like what you find–that you’re exercising and getting and staying healthy because you enjoy doing it.


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What Goes into a Good Pilates Reformer Routine?

Posted by Dave Clarke at 1:59, August 13, 2012


Lots of people come to CORE Fitness Studio to take Pilates Reformer classes with Nanci or Jen (Lots of people, that’s why we offer more than 35 classes per week to choose from.).


And, they all leave knowing they’ve gotten a good workout every time. If they didn’t, they would soon stop coming to class. But they don’t. Many of our members have been coming for more than five years now. We must be doing something right, but what is it?


Here’s our formula for successful, effective Pilates Reformer routines:



That’s it. It’s fairly simple, but (we’re told), few other Pilates instructors invest the time to do it.


Maybe that’s why we have 35+ classes per week and the others have…way, way less.


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Mind-Body: What Is It? Why Is It Better?

Posted by Dave Clarke at 11:10, August 08, 2012


You may have heard some of our CORE Fitness Studio instructors speak about the mind-body connection, or mind-body exercises. But, don’t all exercises involved your mind telling your body what to do and then executing on that thought? Yes, but some exercise formats, like some of the ones we teach here, Pilates Reformer, mat Pilates, NIA, and Ultimate Barre Workout™, for example require more mindfulness, more concentration, to execute than others.


These mind-body exercises are, in many ways, the opposite of many other forms of exercise during which you just put your mind on auto-pilot. Examples are jogging, biking, or hiking the stair-stepper. Just put one foot in front of the other and stop when your time is up.  They are literally quite “mindless.”


Mind-body exercises however require that you be fully engaged in the process. The result, according to many medical professionals, such as those at the Cleveland Clinic, is a more effective workout and a marked decrease in stress and other ailments.


Mind-body exercises have been shown to:



Although experts, especially those in the fitness industry disagree on what precisely constitutes a mind-body exercise, Ralph La Forge, MS,  the managing director of the Duke University Lipid Clinic and Disease Management Preceptorship Program at Duke University Medical Center in North Carolina, suggests mind-body exercises have the following in common:




La Forge goes on to say, “Mindful exercise (sometimes referred to as ‘mind-body exercise’) in its most simple form can be defined as low- to moderate-level physical activity performed with a meditative or proprioceptive or sensory awareness component. Although there remains no universal consensus definition, mindful exercise can also be simply described as physical exercise executed with a profound inwardly directed mental focus.”


However you describe it, clearly, these exercises–if for no other reason than they require you pay more attention to what you’re exercising and why–do have an added benefit. We believe it goes beyond less stress, but we leave it up to you to judge for yourself.


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Our Latest Mashup–Piloxing, Mondays @ noon


Piloxing, which those of you who are good at deciphering mashups may have discerned, is a combination of Pilates and cardio-kickiboxng and we’ve put it back on our schedule Mondays at 12:00 noon.


Swedish dancer and celebrity trainer, Viveca Jensen, recognized what we at CORE Fitness have known for some time, Pilates is great for toning and cardio-kickboxing is superb for burning calories, so she put the two together and created Piloxing.


The format is based on the notion that feminine is powerful and so Piloxing’s aim, its mantra, is “sleek, sexy, powerful.” It combines aerobic dance, kickboxing, and standing Pilates moves to help sculpt your body, increase flexibility, and energize you  along the way.


Trish is teaching Piloxing, Mondays @ noon, effective immediately, so stop by to check it out.


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How Much Exercise Do I Need?

Posted by Dave Clarke at 12:28, July 30 2012


People often ask us at CORE Fitness Studio, “How much should I exercise?” Although our instinct is to say, “As often as possible,” the real answer we give is perhaps even less clear: “It depends.”


How often any one person should exercise depends on many factors including their age, physical condition, and fitness goals. But there is now a general guideline anyone (aged 18-64) can use to help them plan their fitness routine. Developed by the Department of Nutritional Sciences at the University of Missouri, the MyActivity Pyramid   PDF is similar to the nutrition pyramid developed by the U.S. governmet, and illustrates how to best plan exercise to get the most benefit.


The chart divides activity into four categories: Lifestyle activities, aerobic activities, strength and flexibility activities, and inactivity.


The Lifestyle category includes walking, biking, yard work, and household chores and the researchers recommend one of these activities as often as you can every day.


The Aerobic category includes things like jogging, sports, swimming, or other cardio activities, such as those we offer at CORE Fitness like Zumba, U-Jam, Piloxing, or step aerobics. The center recommends doing this at least 150 minutes per week with moderate intensity or 75 minutes per week with vigorous intensity.


The Strength and Flexibility includes things like Pilates Reformer, mat Pilates, yoga, and barre workouts, at least two days per week.


And, as you might imagine, the Inactivity category—essentially doing nothing—should be done as little as possible according to the scientists at the University of Missouri.


If you follow these guidelines, research at this university and others shows your risk for experiencing heart attacks, type 2 diabetes, and some types of cancers will be significantly reduced.


So, there you have it. And there we have it. With more than 35 Pilates Reformer classes weekly, more than 20 group exercise classes each week, and 14 Ultimate Barre Workout™ classes each week, CORE Fitness has you covered and, at the best rates, with the best instructors for miles around.


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Another Ultimate Barre Workout Class Added!

Posted by Dave Clarke at 13:08, July 26 2012.

Member and newcomers alike are really taking to CORE Fitness

Studio’s latest addition–The Ultimate Barre Workout–so we’re

adding another class, this time on Monday evenings at 6:30 pm.

That brings the total number of barre workout classes at CORE

Fitness Studio to 14 per week, making it easier and more

convenient than ever to get in on this fantastic workout which

combines ballet barre work, mat Pilates, yoga, light strength training to get you in shape faster than ever before.

Our ace ballerina and instructor, Katherine, will be teaching this class. Combined with our low, low rates, this is your chance to add even more barre to your weekly workouts. Click, call (408.363.1200), or come in for more details if you need them.

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U-Jam Is Coming to CORE August 2

Posted by Dave Clarke at 13:00, July 22 2012.


If you don’t know what U-Jam is, we’ll tell you. It’s one high-energy, world beat meets urban street, kick your behind cardio workout. Think Zumba meets hip-hop, Bollywood, and African rhythms and you’ll start to get the idea.


Jersey girl turned California babe Deanna will turn you on to U-Jam every Thursday night at 7:30 beginning August 2nd.


For those of you who don’t know, U-Jam is a hometown original, started by locals Suzy Cabral and Matt Marks in January 2010. The format is now taught more than 90 times weekly throughout the Bay Area and now, of course, at CORE Fitness Studio too.


A part of our Group Exercise schedule, there’s no advance reservations required and it’s part of your unlimited monthly group ex pass if you have one. The first class will be free and after that U-Jam will be $5 for the entire month of August so come check it out. Oh yeah, Deanna says, “Be prepared to sweat and have fun!”

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Olympians Choose Pilates

Posted by Dave Clarke at 06:54, July 19 2012.


If you've been into CORE Fitness Studio this week, you'll see we've got the place decked out for the Olympics (you all know how obsessively festive Nanci can be!).


Dana Vollmer, Olympic Swimmer


Not only are we excited about the upcoming games and the athletes who will wow us with their performances, feats of strength, agility, and the determination and hard work to get there, but we're especially please to note that many of these Olympians do Pilates to imrprove their ability to compete at the games.


Here's a short list of some of the competitors that do Pilates Reformer to increase strength, improve flexibility and balance, add endurance and explosiveness to their jumps, tucks, runs, flips, dives, and everything else they do in competition:

riana Kukors, swmmer; Lolo Jones, 110 m hurdles; Alicia Sacramone, gymnastics; Sanya Richard-Ross, 200m and 400m track; Natalie Coughlin, swimming; Bershwan Jackson, hurdles; Kerri Walsh, volleyball; Misty May-Treanor, volleyball; NIck McCrory, diver; David Boudia, diver; Dana Vollmer, swimmer;

You may not be Olympic athletes, but you can train like one with Pilates Reformer at CORE Fitness. And even if you're just ordinary folk like us, you will benefit from Pilates at any age and any fitness level.

We're Silicon Valley's leading Pilates Reformer provider with top-notch instructors, more classes and better rates than any other studio in the Valley. Call, click, or come in to see why.

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My Muscles Shake When I Exercise. Why?

Posted by Dave Clarke at 13:38, July 16 2012.


It’s something we see here at CORE Fitness Studio fairly regularly; in fact, we see muscles shaking in almost every Pilates Reformer class and every Ultimate Barre Workout™ class, every day. And, in our case, that’s a good thing.

Yes, it’s true that shaky muscles can be a sign of muscle exhaustion or dehydration, but in our classes, it’s because a member is trying an exercise for the first or second time and their muscle-brain connection is trying to understand what’s expected of them to execute the move.

It indicates “"how the muscles grab and release one other as they lengthen and shorten," Dr. Daniel Vigil, director of sports medicine at Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in Los Angeles explained to the Los Angeles Times.

Our clients are constantly challenging their muscles in new ways because our instructors vary their routines weekly (or more, sometimes) to ensure our members get a complete workout every time they come in to CORE Fitness.

There are two types of muscle fiber—fast twitch and slow twitch. Slow twitch is mostly used for walking, maintaining posture, and most daily activities, while fast twitch muscle fibers are used in running, jumping, lifting weights and other “fast” activities.

In reality, these two types of muscle fiber switch off between them for most movements. This switching gets a little clumsy when the connective tissue, a layer of fluid-filled tissue between the muscles and skin gets ‘confused’ because it’s not used to working those muscles in this new way.

That’s why you’ll hear our instructors explain the shakiness by telling you your muscles “have lost their connection.” They have—between the fast twitch and slow twitch fibers and between the brain and the connective tissue receiving the signal from the brain.

So, while we encourage you to work hard in every one of our 36 weekly Pilates Reformer classes or 12 weekly Ultimate Barre Workout™ classes and we want to challenge your muscles, when the shaking starts, as good as it is, back off a bit to ease the intensity until your brain and muscles understand how to make the connection.

Save your shaking for the dance floor to show off that hot bod!

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Oops! We Did It Again -- A Better Barre-gain!

Posted by Dave Clarke at 06:25, July 12 2012.


We're CORE Fitness Studio, so we understand about the importance of having great core strength, better balance, and improved flexibility. It comes from getting a top-quality workout by a great instructor.

But, we also understand is what it takes to offer great value--something that's often lacking in the fitness world. We recently showed you what great values we have in Pilates Reformer classes. We blow away the competition with savings to you that average $1500 per year while offering anywhere from two to five times more Pilates Reformer classes from which to choose.

Recently, we added a new core-centric fitness format to our offerings, the Ultimate Barre Workout™. So we decided to do a little comparison shopping here too, to see how our rates stack up against the competition. Our barre workout rate comparison proves that once again CORE Fitness Studio San Jose has the best barre workout rates (pardon the pun), barre none!

If you decide to take one Ultimate Barre Workout™ barre class once a week, you'll save $250 to $300 per year with CORE Fitness compared to our competitors. If you take two classes a week, naturally, you'll save twice as much--$500 to $600 per year getting fit with us.

If you decide to take our unlimited monthly Ultimate Barre Workout™ class pass--something you might want to do to get in shape for a special event, such as a wedding or class reunion, or to get your pre-baby figure back--you'll save a whopping $1500 per year compared to the other guys.

We offer 12 classes per week as of this posting and will be adding more just as soon as we can great instructors to teach them.

In case you missed it, Target Stores just announced a partnership with Neiman-Marcus to provide the best value at every end of the shopping perspective. So, consider us the Target/Neiman-Marcus of fitness studios, we both have the same philosophy when it comes to our customers--"Expect More. Pay Less."  We've got the goods and we've got the value and we prove it to our members every day!

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The Magic Formula for Great Group Exercise Instructors

Posted by Dave Clarke at 12:38, July 9 2012.

At CORE Fitness Studio, we've been working at this group exercise fitness thing for a while now. Some of us, notably Nanci, our founder and chief fitness officer, has been involved at the instructor level for more than a decade now.

In that time, we've seen a lot of group exercise instructors come and go and, we've seen a lot of club members come and go because of the instructors. These folks, the instructors, (forgive the pun) are at the core of any group exercise endeavor. Whether it's Pilates Reformer, mat Pilates, Zumba, Piloxing, step aerobics, NIA, or any other group exercise format the instructor is the experience.

Lots of people have the knowledge and certifications necessary to teach group fitness but knowledge and certifications alone don't distinguish a good instructor from a bad one. So, what does?

It's just our opinion, but we hope that by offering more than 50 group exercise classes every week and having seen hundreds of instructors teach that our opinion counts for something, but we think it's two things primarily (above and beyond knowledge) that make a good group ex instructor: Dedication and the ability to conduct an informative, engaging, effective class.

An instructor's dedication to ensuring their students get a good, safe, effective workout is the foundation upon which everything else rests. When a group exercise instructor is dedicated to their craft they take the time to keep on top of the latest innovations in the field; they take the time to observe the members during class and tactfully point out how any particular member can improve what they're doing; they invest the time to craft new routines so that members--and they're muscles--don't get bored doing the same thing over and over again.

The ability to conduct an informative, engaging, effective class is what keeps people coming back to their classes. Group exercise instructors are performers but unlike a typical performer, their audiences are not passively engaged just watching and listening and applauding at the end. Their audiences are actively engaged in the performance and it's up to the instructor to ensure their own dedication, enthusiasm, and knowledge for fitness is shared by the audience, the members, every time they take the floor and conduct a class.

The instructor's passion for fitness becomes the member's passion for fitness and in the process, the members are motivated and entertained while their muscles are being educated and trained by a knowledgeable instructor. That's when people say, "I got a great workout," that's why they come back to the instructor's classes over and over again, and that's what makes a good group exercise instructor a great one. Not coincidentally, that's who we look to hire whenver we have an opening at CORE Fitness Studio and not coincidentally, those are the instructors we work to keep with us as long as they'll have us.

If you don't know what great group exercise instructors look like come try ours. If you do know what a great instructor means to your fitness experience, come all the same. Every one of our instructors is great!

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Let's Compare Pilates Studios: I'll Show You Mine, If You Show Me Yours

Posted by Dave Clarke at 13:00, July 4 2012.

At CORE Fitness Studio, we've always had just one mission: To make fitness easy, fun, and affordable for every body, especially the leading fitness disciplines, such as Pilates Reformer (our specialty).

We always knew we had great rates and we knew we were able to offer more classes to choose from every week because of those great rates. We just never knew how great our rates were compared to every competitor for miles around or just how many more classes we are able to provide compared to the competition. So, we decided to do a rate and schedule comparison.

Save Thousands of Dollars Per Year!

We learned that our members save anywhere from several hundred to several thousand dollars per year by choosing CORE Fitness Studio. Yes, several thousand dollars -- the average savings is more than $1500 per year!.

One of our competitors charges nearly $3,000 per year more than we do and they have less than one-third the classes we do. Of course, that shouldn't be a big surprise. With those kinds of rates and so few offerings, how many people would choose to go there? Not many--or they would be able to offer more classes.

Low Prices Doesn't Mean Low Quality

Of course, you might say, well, you get what you pay for, so maybe we offer less in our classes. But, you would be wrong.

Whenever one of our competitors loses a Pilates Reformer client to us, the clients invariably tell us they left their old studio because the level of instruction was sub-par. And, then, they tell us how much better our instructors are, how much more often our instructors vary the routines (every week!), and how much better our facilities are -- all for an average $1500 per year less. That's a lot more Pilates Reformer you can afford or vacations to show off your smokin' hot Pilates bod.

More Class Choices by a Mile!

Then, we looked at our class offerings--that's where you get tremendouse flexibility in finding a class time that meets your schedule. After all, what good are low rates if you can't find a class when you can need one, one that doesn't interfere with your work or family obligations? Well, as of this writing, we are offering 36 classes per week. That's nearly twice what our closest competitor offers. In some cases, we just put the competition to shame (well, OK, in every case)--we have more than seven times the classes from which to choose.

No Other Pilates Studio in San Jose Comes Close

So, don't take our word for it. Look at our comparison chart and call around to verify the results. You'll see that when we say we make fitness, easy, fun, and affordable for every body, at CORE Fitness Studio, we mean it.

Tagged as: pilates reformer, pilates reformer classes, core fitness, core fitness studio, pilates reformer classes san jose, pilates classes san jose

Letterman, Eat Your Heart Out. Here Are Our Top 10 Fitness Facts

Posted by Dave Clarke at 06:38, July 2 2012.

Dave may have his Top 10 Lists, everything from Top 10 Signs You’re Not Ready for Swimsuit Season (“Your body is ‘Newty’,” “In addition to drawstrings, your bathing suit has support cables”) to Top 10 Things an Out-of-Touch Person Would Say (“That Trump Guy Makes a Lot of Sense,” “When Will Ellen DeGeneres Meet Mr. Right?”), and we’ve got ours. Here are 10 Top Fitness Facts that go right to the core, of CORE Fitness, that is:

1.     Exercise Reduces Stress           There’s no shortage of stress producers, but there’s no shortage of stress reducers either. Exercise helps reduce stress levels making you feel better and probably helping those you interact with to enjoy a less-stressful you too!.

2.     Exercise Improves Mental Acuity            When you work out, you increase your serotonin levels. That makes your mind sharper and more productive.

3.     Exercise Gives You Energy       The endorphins that kick in after a brisk 30-minute (or longer) workout give you an energy boost. Forget coffee and caffeine, 30 minutes of cardio in the morning will boost you up stairs faster, make carrying groceries seem like a load of feathers, and keep you energized throughout your workday.

4.     Exercising With a Buddy Is Better          Find a workout partner or two, or three. The support you get from exercising with a friend makes the time go faster while the peer pressure will keep you from slacking off on days when you might not feel like doing the right thing and exercising.

5.     Finding Time for Fitness Is Easy                        Think outside the box, outside the gym, outside the norm. Got 10 minutes? Jump some rope. 20 minutes? Take a quick jog. Just 5 minutes to spare? Climb the stairs a dozen times or more. It all adds up and can supplement your regular fitness routine.

6.     Exercise Keeps You Healthy      Study after study has shown that regular exercise can help ward off heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, type 2 diabetes, arthritis, osteoporosis (bone loss), and loss of muscle mass. It also slows the aging process and minimizes aches and pains, and minimizes the risk of injury.

7.     Exercise Makes the Heart Grow Stronger            A stronger heart means a longer, healthier life.

8.     Exercise Lets You Enjoy More of Your Favorite Foods   Because exercise burns calories and builds muscle, you can enjoy a bit more of your favorite foods without worrying about weight gain.

9.     Exercise Improves Weight Loss             You’ve heart it before, if you want to lose weight, you need to eat less and exercise more. Exercise is critical to weight loss according to all the experts.

10.  Exercise Improves Performance             When you’re fit, everything works better. Whether you’re a golfer, a basketball player, or just a social walker, exercise makes physical activity easier.

So, pick your poison (figuratively, of course), and stay fit with us doing Zumba, mat Pilates, Nia, Body Blitz, Gorgeous Glutes, Ultimate Barre Workout, Pilates Reformer, or any of our group exercise formats. Check our schedules and see why we say we make “Fitness as Easy as 1-2-3.”

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Pilates at Wimbledon?

Posted by Dave Clarke at 06:21, June 28 2012.

For tennis fans (like CORE Fitness Studio founder and Pilates instructor extraordinaire, Nanci M.), Wimbledon is the creme de la creme of tennis, it's the Super Bowl, World Series, and Kentucky Derby rolled into one big tennis extravanganza.

As it happens, it's also an opportunity to see the benefits of Pilates Reformer in action. because lots of the the tennis pros and professional wannabes do Pilates Reformer to ensure their performance on the court--whether it's Wimbledon's grass, Roland Garros's clay, or the hard surfaces in Flushing Meadows or Sydney--is at its best.

Here's what the U.S. Tennis Association has to say about the benefits of Pilates Reformer:

"Many elite athletes turn to Pilates to help improve their game and tennis is no exception; Pilates is an excellent and functional adjunct to one’s training program. Because Pilates works on developing overall core strength and spinal alignment, through the use of kinetic chain exercises, there are no tennis specific exercises. However, the translation can be seen on court with improved stroke play, as a result of a stronger core.

Finally, Pilates can benefit tennis players from an injury prevention perspective.

Tennis players often exhibit muscular imbalances between their dominant and non-dominant side; in performing Pilates one is developing the musculature on both sides of the body. As is the case with beginning any new exercise, be sure to perform these exercises under supervised instruction.

Recent research articles indicate that with continued practice of Pilates participants reported less lower back pain, while a group of elite gymnasts saw significant improvement in the leap height, ground reaction time and explosive power."

So, do you need to be world-class athlete to do Pilates Reformer at CORE Fitness Studio? No, but we have trained an Olympic athlete or two and plenty of marathon runners, competitive bike riders, tennis players, and golfers. But mostly, we delight in working with 'ordinary folk' just looking to stay in shape, feel energized, reduce back pain, recover from injury or prevent future injuries no matter their atlhletic intentions or endeavors.

And, keep in mind, we have more classes, better instructors, and when it comes to competition, we've got the most competitive rates for miles and miles around.

Here's to the next Wimbledon champs! Give us a call if you want to learn more about our Pilates Reformer programs. 408.CORE.FIT

Tagged as: CORE Fitness, CORE Fitness Studio, Pilates Reformer, Pilates, Pilates classes, Pilates classes San Jose, Pilates Reformer classes San Jose, Wimbledon


What Will You Do with Your Gorgeous Glutes?

Posted by Dave Clarke at 10:24, June 25 2012.

Maybe it began with Billy Wilder’s classic comedy, Some Like It Hot, when, referring to Marilyn Monroe’s behind as she walked by, Jack Lemmon’s character, Jerry, tells Tony Curtis’s character, Joe, “Look how she moves. Like Jell-O on springs. She must have some sort of built-in motor. I tell you, it's a whole different sex."

Maybe it goes back further than that, to prehistoric times. But, when it comes to a gal’s glutes (gluteus maximus, to be precise), a good set has always been a thing of beauty.

And, the best way, the only way, to achieve that is by spending some time working on your glutes. That’s what the Gorgeous Glutes class at CORE Fitness is all about.

Your gluteus maximus are the single largest muscles in the body and they help you do everything from powering you up out of a chair, helping you climb stairs, or straightening you up after bending over to reach for something.

An hour-long class (Thursdays at 11:00 A.M.), Gorgeous Glutes will give your bottom a complete toning, shaping, and strengthening workout. Additional options to get those buns in shape include our mat Pilates class (Mondays at noon), the Body Blitz class (Fridays at 9:00 A.M.), or any of our Ultimate Barre Workout™ classes offered 11 times a week. If you’ve never been to see us before and need a little extra incentive to get started at CORE Fitness, click here to download a free 5-Day pass, good for any of our group exercise classes five consecutive days or a free Ultimate Barre Workout™ class pass.

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Are You Making One of These 6 Mat Pilates Mistakes?

Posted by Dave Clarke at 02:42, June 21 2012.

Mat Pilates is one of the most effective—and affordable—ways to gain all the benefits Pilates has to offer.  At CORE Fitness Studio, we offer mat Pilates classes in one form or another six times a week (You can also get some mat Pilates in our Ultimate Barre Workout classes) for just that very reason.

But, there are a few mistakes you may be making that even our ace instructors might not be able to catch. Watch out for these moves, correct them, and get the most out of your mat Pilates classes.

Not Engaging Your Deep Abdominals

The transverse abdominals are the deepest layer of the four layers of abdominal muscles. If these are engaged, all four layers will be working. Use your exhale to ensure your deep abs are engaged by pulling them into your spine with a little lift up. If your abs are poofing out a bit, you’re only work the top layer and not getting the full benefit of the exercise.

Momentum Is Not a Muscle

Although it takes its name from Joseph Pilates, Pilates himself called the discipline “Contrology” because it was all about muscle control. Go slow and take the brief, deliberate pause built into the moves. This ensures you’re stabilizing the muscles and creating more isometric contractions.

Attitude Up, Chin Down

Your chin should be pointed down toward your chest as though you were holding (not squeezing) an orange when doing your ab series. This helps round the upper spine. With weak abs, this may be a challenge at first, but with each rep, you’ll be getting stronger and stronger.

Here’s the Scoop

You want your lower back rounded—scooped out—with the vertebrae in contact with the floor. This strengthens your abs and protects your lower back.

The World on Your Shoulders

It’s one of the most common mistakes we see, hunching your shoulders up toward your ears. It’s a natural tendency, one you’ll have to fight at first, but it creates unnecessary tension in the neck and upper body.

Fading Focus

Pilates is a mind-body discipline, not a mindless one. Stay focused on performing the exercises as the instructor tells you to. Losing focus means you won’t be working the muscles properly and you won’t get the full benefit—or maybe even any benefit!—if you’re not paying attention and doing the moves correctly.

Whichever of our mat Pilates classes you choose--mat Pilates, Body Blitz, Gorgeous Glutes, or Gentle mat Pilates (which, by the way, is excellent for seniors and people at every level of fitness)--you are certain to get a great core workout--if you don't make one of these mistakes!

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Lose 9 Lbs. in 13 Days -- Shrink Your Hips by 2 Inches and Your Waist by 3!

Posted by Dave Clarke at 10:00, June 18 2012.

The cover story in a recent issue of Prevention magazine explains how you can “Lose 9 lbs. in 13 Days” and “Shrink Your Hips by 2 Inches and Your Waist by 3!”

So, what’s the secret according to Prevention? A barre workout.

Hmm, what a coincidence. We introduced the Ultimate Barre Workout here at CORE Fitness Studio just a few months ago. I guess we knew what they knew—only before they did. A barre workout that combines ballet barre work, Pilates, and yoga is one of the fastest, most-effective ways to lose inches, tone up, improve strength, balance, and flexibility, and help energize you.

The editors at Prevention did bring a little something extra to the table—“3 Eating Tips for a Hot Body,” and some recipes for great tasting meal replacements and snacks.  The tips were pretty straightforward:

1)      Send the sugar packing. They suggest fruit instead of packaged foods, stevia instead of sugar added to coffee, tea, or Greek-style yogurt.

2)      Hydrate! Sometimes what feels like hunger is just thirst. Drink plenty of water, both before, during, and after your workouts. They recommend half your body weight in ounces every day. If you weigh 130 lbs, drink 65 ounces of water (about 8 cups)

3)      Some fats are good. The healthy fats found in salmon, olive oil, avocados, and certain seeds, such as chia or flax, are critical to your health and can help keep hunger at bay.

Here’s one of their recipes for a “Get Up and Go Smoothie” See the rest of them at Prevention.com.

Get-Up-And-Go Smoothie

Serves 2-3

Ingredients

1/4 cup chia seeds

2 cups water or coconut water

8 pitted prunes (if hard, soak them overnight)

2 medium frozen bananas

1 large handful of spinach, chopped

2 tablespoons almond or sunflower butter

10-15 drops vanilla stevia or 1 tablespoon honey

Pinch sea salt

Dash cinnamon (optional)

Preparation

If you don't have a high-speed blender, pour the chia seeds into the water and allow them to sit there while you prepare the rest of the ingredients. This will soften them for blending. One by one, add the remaining ingredients to blender, blending between each addition separately so that you can achieve a smooth consistency. (If you have a high-speed blender like a Vitamix or a Blendtec, everything can go into the blender at once and blend on high.

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What's NIA?

Posted by Dave Clarke at 13:00, June 13 2012.

The definition of NIA is as fluid as the movements and classes themselves. Officially, according to the NIA website, NIA is "A one hour class incorporating structured and freeform movement to music incorporating the body, mind, emotions, and spirit."

If you've seen or attended a NIA class, whether here at CORE Fitness Studio or elsewhere, you know that the classes are as varied as the instructors themselves. Some use New Age music, some contemporary music. Some include shouts and grunts and other vocal movements to release tension and refocus your energies, and others do not.

The end result, however, is always the same. You get an hour of gentle movement that is therapeutic physically and spiritually. You needn't be a dancer or anything even close to enjoy this form of movement while stretching, improving your balance and flexibility, and freeing the mind and body of the challenges life throws at us during the rest of the week.

Check our Group Exercise schedule and try a NIA class to see if it's for you.

Tagged as: NIA classes, NIA classes San Jose, CORE Fitness, CORE Fitenss Studio, group exercise classes san jose, gym san jose


More Barre -- More CORE Fitness

Posted by Dave Clarke at 07:49, June 11 2012.

Two new Ultimate Barre Workout classes just added (and more on the way!). Join Katherine (long-time CORE Fitness member and now instructor) as she adds two more Ultimate Barre Workout classes to the CORE Fitness schedule. Katherine will be teaching Tuesdays @ 11 am and Wednesdays @ 10 am.

The Ultimate Barre Workout is a combination of ballet barre work, mat Pilates, and yoga designed to tone and sculpt from head to toe while adding flexibility and strength in much the same way a ballet dancer does.

CORE Fitness Studio has the most competitive rates for barre classes in San Jose, (pardon the pun) bar none! And, it doesn't hurt that our instructors are dedicated professionals (even Katherine brings decades of ballet training to her classes).

We now offer Ultimate Barre Workout 11 times a week for your convenience. Stay tuned as we add some more evening classes in the next few weeks.

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Are You Ready for the Olympics? No? Regular Folks Need CORE Fitness Too.

Posted by Dave Clarke at 02:25, June 7 2012.

OK, so the chances you’ll become an Olympic gymnast anytime soon are slim and none. OK, let’s be honest, none.

Still, that doesn’t mean being fit, healthy, and happy is out of reach and it couldn’t hurt to take a few pointers from an Olympic gymnast, or in this case, from her mom.

Anna Liukin, whose daughter, Nastia Liukin, took the individual all-around Olympic gold medal at the 2008 Olympic games explains (to the Dallas Morning News), and is herself a former rhythmic gymnast offers these tips for staying fit:

Eat well             Lots of fresh fruits and vegetables and fresh-squeezed juices. Anna says, “Your body is like a car. The fuel you put in is the performance you will get.”

Exercise regularly          Anna and her husband set a good example for their children by ensuring they exercised as a family several times a week at least.

Get rest                        Your body needs rest as much as it needs exercise. Get a good night’s sleep every night and don’t be afraid to take a nap in the afternoon.

Listen to your body       The body doesn’t lie. If you feel pain, get it looked into as soon as possible. Soreness from exercise is one thing, pain is something different.

Live life!            Eating well, exercising, and rest are fine, but if you’re not happy and living life to the fullest, you’re missing out on the joy of living. “Enjoy the moment,” Anna says, “Don't forget to stop and smell the roses. If you want to have a cookie, have a cookie. Just don't have five and sit on the couch without exercising!"

You don't need to be an Olympic gymnast (or aspire to be one) to get fit with us at CORE Fitness Studio (although we've had several of those train with us too). You just need to want to get a great workout--whether it's Pilates Reformer, Ultimate Barre Workout™, or group exercise--and be ready to make fitness easy, fun, and affordable.

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More Ultimate Barre Workout Classes Coming Soon

Posted by Dave Clarke at 08:31, June 4 2012.

We shouldn't be surprised, but the Ultimate Barre Workout classes at CORE Fitness Studio are popular. So popular, that we will soon be adding more classes to our schedule (by the end of this month).

We'll be rounding out the schedule which curently offers 9 classes per week with more classes in the mornings and a few more in the evenings as well. We anticipate being able to offer about 15 classes weekly from which our members can choose.

Because the Ultimate Barre Workout is a combination of ballet barre work, Pilates, and yoga, you get a combination of strengthening, stretching, and toning exercises that will help you tone your core, build strength, gain flexibility, and improve your balance. It's one of the most effective workouts we know.

If you'd like to try an Ultimate Barre Workout class, we offer a free class pass. After that, if you like it, as always, CORE Fitness Studio offers the most competitive rates in Silicon Valley for a barre workout (as low as $12.50 each). So, come give us a try and see. Or, if you have questions, please give us a call at 408.363.1200.

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With Muscles, It’s Use ‘Em or Lose ‘Em

Posted by Dave Clarke at 13:00, May 30 2012.

Many people believe that, as we age, we lose muscle. It just comes with the territory, they think. But, research shows, it just ain’t so. Judging by our CORE Fitness members, we agree. Some of our members are in their 80s, others are in their ‘90s. One of them is 97-years-old and he’s here twice a week!

People who exercise regularly and use their muscles well into old age lose some muscle, but not nearly as much as those who do not exercise regularly. And, they keep quite a substantial amount of muscle, more than enough to continue to lead a healthy, active lifestyle well into our so-called “declining years.”

Scientists at the University of Pittsburgh and University of Western Ontario (Canada) studied 40 athletes between the ages of 40 and 81. The athletes routinely trained four to five times a week running, cycling, or swimming. Using a series of fitness and strength tests and MRIs, the researchers found that the exercise had virtually warded off the aging effects.

The 40-year-old athlete and the 71-year-old athlete’s quadriceps were virtually indistinguishable from each other. By comparison, the quadriceps muscles of a sedentary 74-year-old man were shriveled and enveloped in fat.

The results were clear: When it comes to your muscles, use ‘em or lose ‘em.

We’re biased at CORE Fitness, but we’d much rather you used your muscles rather than lose them. Life is so much better that way.

That’s why we make fitness easy, fun, and affordable for every body. We have classes for seniors, classes for athletes, and everyone in between. Check out our schedule of group exercise, Pilates Reformer, or Ultimate Barre Workout™ classes and find one you enjoy.

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My Aching Back (And What to Do About It)

Posted by Dave Clarke at 06:26, May 29 2012.


Back pain sucks. We know because many of the people who come to CORE Fitness do so to either get rid of back pain or keep it from coming back.

They come because their doctors, physical therapist, or chiropractor recommended Pilates Reformer, or because one of our clients told them about how helpful it's been for them in alleviating back pain.

Some back pain is caused by things genuinely being out of sorts--a nerve is pinched or perhaps one part of your spinale column is coming into contact with another part with which it's not supposed to come into contact. Those more-serious issues require professional treatment.

But much of back pain stems from having weak back muscles or weak core muscles altogether. This can be caused by inactivity, extra weight around the midsection, or injury. The back pain caused by those issues is something that Pilates Reformer can almost always help with.

Doing Pilates--the series of exercises developed by Joseph Pilates in the 1920s--on the Reformer machine helps to gently strengthen the muscles around your core and thus gives you better support and flexibilty putting less strain on the muscles and, as a result, less pain.

It's not a one-time thing--do Reformer for a few weeks and the pain is gone forever. But, it is something that, if kept up, almost always results in the pain going away for good.

At CORE Fitness Studio, we are Silicon Valley's leading provider of Pilates Refomer classes with more class offerings and better prices than anyone for miles around. We offer an $89 Introductory Package of five Reformer classes (including an Intro Class) to help you decide if Pilates Reformer is right for you and your back pain. Call (408.363.1200), click or come in, and we'll help you find out!

Tagged as: Pilates Reformer, Pilates, CORE Fitness Studio, core fitness, back pain, reformer classes, Ppilates San Jose, Pilates Reformer San Jose

Keeping Low-Back Pain on the Down-Low: Pilates your way to a pain-free lower back

Posted by Dave Clarke at 13:00, May 23 2012.

If you’ve ever tweaked your back just right and felt that sharp pain cut through your very soul like a hot knife through butter, you know how debilitating back pain can be. Low-back pain, say the folks at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, is the number one cause of disability in the United States.

But according to a study by researchers from Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario, Canada, and published in the Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy, Pilates can provide more relief than even traditional therapeutic approaches.

We know, lots of members at CORE Fitness Studio come to us to help relieve their back pain. For many, their doctors or chiropractors have recommended Pilates in general and CORE Fitness Studio in particular.

What the Study Revealed About Pilates Reformer

Using active adults ages 20 to 55 with chronic low-back pain, the investigators assigned half to Pilates exercise and a control group followed the “usual care” route of physicians and other specialists.

The results: The Pilates participants had substantially lower levels of pain intensity and functional disability than the control subjects. Better yet, a year later, the Pilates participants had maintained their improvements.

CORE Fitness Studio is Silicon Valley’s leading provider of Pilates Reformer classes, offering nearly 40 classes per week. Many of our clients come to us to help them relieve back pain, often on the recommendation of their doctors or chiropractors (For that matter, doctors come to us too!).  We also offer mat Pilates classes and even one class, Goodbye Pain, specifically to help mitigate and get rid of pains, notably back pains. As always, we have no contracts or monthly dues, so come check us out and see how we can help you make those aches and pains vanish.

Tagged as: Pilates reformer, core fitness, core fitnes studio, back pain, mat Pilates

I'll Exercise Tomorrow: Procrastinators Finish Last

Posted by Dave Clarke at 13:00, May 16 2012.

It's hard to think of anything that we should be doing but often find ourselves not doing than exercise.

We should eat, we do eat. We should go to work, we go to work. But exercise is one of those things that we easily postpone and find a way to rationalize out of doing. Why? Because it's hard work. But--and this is a big but--the exercise rewards come after. We've never seen anyone leaving CORE Fitness Studio who said, "I'm sorry I exercised today." Instead, they leave feeling tired (for a few minutes until their endorphins kick in), feeling better, and feeling better about themselves. They know they've done something good for their mind and body.

So, here's what our fitness experts say are the biggest hurdles to regular exercise and how to overcome them:

Stress     You say you're streesed out, just don't have the time to exercise right now. You're right, you are stressed out. That's when you should go exercise--walk, run, Zumba, Pilox, Pilate--just do it as the saying goes. Exercise is one of the best stress relievers and it will help you get through the rest of your day more effectively.

Too Tired    You're tired. We know. We get tired too. Everybody does. Plan for being tired and plan your exercise around that. If you're tired at the end of the day, plan to exercise early or take a walk at lunch.

You're Hungry    OK, everybody gets hungry. Bring an energy bar, eat a piece of fruit (bananas are great pre-workout). Then, after fueling up, work it out.

Surprise Obstacle    You were expecting one instructor in your group ex class but it's a sub. You thought you were on time for Zumba but you were wrong, it's mat Pilates. So what? The point is to get some exercise time in, any and all of it, is a good thing, so try something different.

It's easy to talk your way out of exercising. What's not so easy is talking your way out of the illness, injury, and other not so pleasant things that come from not exercising over long periods of time. We've got dozens of classes at CORE Fitness--everything from Pilates Reformer to Ultimate Barre Workout to Zumba, Piloxing, Gorgeous Glutes, and more. One of them is right for you. No, make that all of them are right for you, so give one a try. You'll feel better. We promise!

Tagged as: exercise, core fitness, Pilates reformer, zumba, piloxing, ultimate barre workout, barre workout, fitness

Who Was Joe Pilates and Why Should We Care?

Posted by Dave Clarke at 11:06, May 15 2012.

Pilates, pardon the pun, forms the core of what we offer here at CORE Fitness. Although our founder, Nanci, had years of experience as a group exercise instructor, it was her discovery of Pilates Reformer that led her to make her passion her profession and begin teaching Pilates at her own studio.

Since people who come into the studio are often curious about Pilates Reformer, how it got started and when, now seems as good a time as any to share what we know about the origins of Pilates.

From Sickly to Superman

Born in 1883 in Germany, Joe Pilates comes by his health and fitness credentials quite honestly. His father (who Germanized the family’s Greek name, Pilatu, when they emigrated to Germany) was a prize-winning gymnast and his mother was a naturopath.

The younger Pilates, however, suffered a number of ailments as a child, including rickets, asthma, and rheumatic fever. It was these diseases that motivated Pilates to devote his life to improving his overall health and physical strength. He studied bodybuilding, yoga, kung fu, and gymnastics fervently. By age 14, he was in such good shape physically that he worked part-time as a model for anatomical charts. He came to believe that the modern sedentary lifestyle and bad posture were largely responsible for people’s poor health.

After earning a living as a bodybuilder, diver, and gymnast in Germany, when Pilates moved to England in 1912, he paid his way working as a circus performer, boxer, and self-defense trainer to police departments, including Scotland Yard.

Despite his work with law enforcement, when World War I erupted, Pilates, along with other German immigrants in England was placed in an internment camp for the duration of the war. It was under these restricted conditions that Pilates would begin to develop his signature fitness training regime, which he called Contrology and today we call Pilates in his honor.

After the war, Pilates returned to Germany in about 1925, but as the social and political atmosphere began to curdle under the Nazis, he emigrated again, this time to the United States.

Pilates met his future wife, Clara, on the cruise to America and the couple soon opened their famous New York studio. There, they focused on posture, proper alignment of the spine, strengthening the deep abdominal muscles, and breathing techniques.

Dance legends, such as George Balanchine and Martha Graham, became devotees and regularly sent their students there for training and rehabilitation after injuries.

Joe Pilates passed away in New York City in 1967 at the age of 83, but his legacy lives on at Pilates studios around the world, including ours, CORE Fitness.

We’ve built our business on preaching the benefits of Contrology (aka Pilates) and, as a result, have become Silicon Valley’s leading provider of Pilates Reformer classes with more than 35 classes per week. That volume of classes-without sacrificing quality, mind you—also allows us to offer the most competitive pricing of any studio in the area. So, join us, won’t you, and see what Joe Pilates methods can do for you. We’ll even get you started with a great introductory offer of 5 classes (including an Intro class) for just $89.

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