Christa Gurka

Christa Gurka

An orthopedic physical therapist specializing in Pilates-based fitness, rehabilitation and injury prevention, Christa Gurka, MSPT, PMA®-CPT, is highly regarded and respected among the Pilates and physical therapy communities. With a clientele of both fitness enthusiasts and high-profile athletes/celebrities, Christa owns, operates, and teaches at Pilates in the Grove, which serves the Coconut Grove and South Miami communities with two premier locations.

Fitness Industry COVID-19
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Op-Ed: The Future is Bright in the Fitness Industry For Those Willing to Put in Sweat Equity

While COVID-19 has been a humbling experience for many business owners, the pandemic has been an outright disaster for the health and fitness industry. A lot of fairly significant brands, including Golds Gym, 24 Hour Fitness, YogaWorks and Flywheel, have filed for bankruptcy. On top of that, over 38,000 fitness clubs and studios in the US have been shut down due to the virus. It has been reported that less than 50% of these businesses will reopen successfully.

Here are some unsettling statistics:

  • 34% of gym exercisers have or plan to cancel their gym memberships after.
  • COVID-19 and more than 20 million gym memberships could be cancelled due to COVID-19.
  • As a result of the coronavirus, 40% of Americans exercised at home for the first time.
  • At least 500,000 fitness club employees have been furloughed as a result of the club shutdowns.

There are a variety of factors that continue to be real threats to the industry. The main threat remains government mandated shutdowns. Some places in California and New York (specifically Manhattan) have been dark since March, with no real sense of when they will get the green light to reopen. This has been a devastating loss, especially in these areas where commercial rents are at an all-time high.

*RELATED 4 Ways COVID-19 Will Change the FItness Industry

Another factor that threatens health and wellness are the continued reports from the media that gyms, studios and fitness centers are not safe and could be super spreaders for the virus. At this time there is no evidence that the spread is coming from the fitness industry. As a matter of fact, most studios (especially boutique fitness) may be safer than your average grocery store. These studios are able to limit class size, maintain adequate social distancing, enforce mask wearing, evaluate who is appropriate to return to the studio and keep accurate records of those who were in the studio at any given time.

Lastly, negotiating with landlords has been significantly challenging for most businesses. When over 38,000 studios were forced to close back in March, there was a mixed response from landlords. While some offered abatements and others offered deferment, there were many that offered nothing. This challenge continues even as businesses have been allowed to reopen, albeit at limited and lower capacities. There continues to be a huge need for rent relief and additional government aid for this industry sector. This may prove to be the most significant barrier for a majority of health and wellness businesses to remain financially solvent now and in the future.

While this industry has seen many devastating effects, there are some positives on the horizon. The volatility of the late spring and early summer is beginning to stabilize. According to ZenPlanner, member check-ins are steadily increasing — up 1% over the last month to 79% of what we’d normally expect this time of year. Revenue is slightly behind check-ins but increasing at a faster rate — it increased 3% over August to 75% of normal in September. This number is especially encouraging when compared with April, when the number dipped to 14%. Nationwide, revenue is at 77% of 2019 numbers, up two percent from last month.

*RELATED 7 Ways the Pandemic Impacted 2020 Fitness Trends

Despite having the impact to financially devastate the health club industry, the 37% of all survey participants indicated they would work out more after COVID-19, and over 50% of them said they are motivated to do so by a renewed appreciation for their health and well-being according to a survey by the Sports and Fitness Industry Association.

Gyms and studios that have seen success are the ones that were able to be flexible and creative: expanding class offerings outside a typical schedule, consistent communication and engagement with members and students, and hybrid memberships and class options. They are also investing heavily in digital and expanding their on-demand and virtual platforms.

*RELATED A Silver Lining in Fitness: A Miami Gym Owner's Journey Through COVID-19

Boutique fitness and micro gyms have seen an increase in new customer acquisition since reopening, as many Americans may still be fearful of going to a big box gym and are looking for a smaller, more intimate experience. Several local studios including Pilates in the Grove have seen an increase in revenue from 1:1 private sessions both virtually and in-studio.

Businesses looking to grow and capitalize on this positive trend should seek to start a marketing campaign aimed at people who are tired of working out (or avoiding working out) at home. Once people come through your door, make sure they feel safe and welcome. Take extra time with leads and members to strengthen your community.

Along with the positive trend of increasing revenues, the industry has also seen a surge in proprietary inventions. Many in the industry were not about to sit back and allow the pandemic to shutter them forever. Instead, they saw a need for better and have gone on to create new products, features, and programs that will most likely be a part of our new normal well into the future.

While there are still massive hurdles to overcome in the health and wellness industries, the future is promising for those willing and able to innovate and stay the course for the long haul. We on the business side of this industry are hopeful that our communities will rally together to keep health and wellness alive. As they say ... our greatest wealth is health!

The fitness industry has had a lot to worry about since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. But Pilates in the Grove owner Christa Gurka thinks the future is bright for those willing to work for it.

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Christa Gurka

Op-Ed: Confessions of a Miami Studio Owner During COVID-19

To call these last several months unprecedented would be the understatement of the year. I never in my wildest dreams thought that phrases such as quarantine, social distancing, or flattening the curve would become part of our everyday vernacular. Nor did I imagine that I would be forced to close my business for an entire quarter with only a moment's notice. 

So many have been affected by this pandemic. Parents have had to learn to homeschool, teens have forfeited their senior year athletics and graduations, millions have lost their jobs, thousands have lost their lives and there is still no real end in sight. 

As the owner of Pilates in the Grove, a multi-location service-based business, I completely believe it is all of our responsibility to do our part to flatten the curve and do what we can to slow the spread of this virus. I along with countless others made the difficult decision to close both of my studios on March 17th and pivoted quickly to online classes and telemedicine in less than a week. To be honest...I believed this would last no more than two weeks at the time. Boy was I wrong!

We would all be in for a rude awakening. 

We went from competing with only a handful of other high-quality boutique fitness establishments in our area to competing with millions of people offering free workouts online in a matter of a few short days. And I get it ... people didn’t know what to do or where to turn. It was like the hunger games out there ... we were all just trying to survive. 

But channeling my inner Katniss, I felt that I didn’t have the luxury to merely survive. I run a business that not only has goals but commitments. I have responsibilities to myself and my family. I have team members who rely on me for their livelihood. And that requires financial solvency.

In a 2016 study on Pilates in America, 60% of studio owners said they earned less than $50,000 net annually. Studies also show that less than 50% of all boutique fitness studios are even profitable. It has become my mission to help other business owners (specifically women) learn how to operate a more profitable business. 

Much like the restaurant industry, the fitness industry is highly competitive and operates on very very low margins. Customers are always looking for discounts and sales. Enter ClassPass, Groupon, and GymPass. These third-party aggregators trim margins to almost negligible for business owners. 

RELATED This Miami Gym Owner is Lobbying Congress to Include Fitness in a Coronavirus Bailout

Meanwhile, many fail to realize that in order to provide all of the things that come with a high-quality experience including ample free parking, clean and updated retail locations, state of the art equipment, and the high-quality staff, there is usually a high cost. The costs of commercial space (especially in large cities like Miami), property taxes, software, equipment, and quality labor are not cheap. 

So if even on a good year most fitness businesses are barely scraping by imagine what happens after a mandated shut down from a global pandemic.  

Businesses were forced to shut down overnight ... however, someone failed to relay this information to our landlords or vendors. Rent payments continued to be required as did software costs, utilities, and most other things that go hand in hand with running a business. All while our revenue grinded to a halt in a matter of hours. 

Then came the requests for refunds, freezes, stop payments and more. 

As business owners we were faced with the difficult choice to either terminate their entire team or innovate our offerings, I chose to keep as much of my team intact as possible. I pleaded my case to clients asking for continued support if they found it was possible. And so many of our clients stepped up big. Our community supported us. And my team came together big time to work through these unforeseen times. 

RELATED A Silver Lining in Fitness: A Miami Gym Owner’s Journey Through COVID-19

Fast forward four months. Four long arduous months. Months of applying for loans, negotiating with landlords, restructuring contracts, whittling down expenses, oh ... and homeschooling two teens. 

We are finally given the green light to re-open. By now we have sunk additional money into all of the new measures required to re-open. Updated HVAC units, additional cleaning supplies and services, PPE for staff and clients, new tech to support our virtual platforms, and the list goes on and on. Oh yeah, and did I forget to mention we can only open at 50% or less capacity?

So while costs are up and capacity is down and you have already exhausted all of your government assistance you buckle down and strategize how to be able to ride this out as long as possible. How do you keep your community engaged and your team paid? 

I fight hard to stay the course ... to keep pushing and pivoting and getting creative. Trying to make clients and staff feel as comfortable as possible. Trying as hard as possible not to increase prices or make too many internal changes. But at the end of the day, my rent and payroll do not get paid with well wishes and good intentions (believe me I have tried)  

I speak with dozens of studio owners every day who are closing their doors. And I wonder for those of us that do make it out of this what will the next 12 -24 months will look like. 

RELATED Gym Owners Form Miami Wellness Coalition to Speak with Unified Voice

Thankfully pre-COVID business was good. I was in the top 30% of businesses that ran a profitable ship, understood projections and planning, and jumped on government assistance right out of the gate. I let our clients know right from the beginning that we needed support in order to have our doors open when this was over. I was open and honest with my team that we needed to do everything possible to remain financially solvent so we all had jobs to come back to. 

With each and every month that passes, we see less and less attendance in our virtual classes. We get more and more requests for membership freezes and cancellations while at the same time receiving countless “best wishes”, “we are pulling for you” and “can’t wait to be back when this is over”. People are getting tired and bored.

So here comes the tough love part. In order for businesses like mine to still be here when COVID is all over we need more than well wishes. We need support.

And now is not the time for business owners to be shy about asking for it.

If you want to know how to ensure that your favorite locally-owned small boutique fitness business remains open here are some things you can do to help.

Get your butt to class! Most studios are extremely safe places to be right now. We have taken cleaning protocols and physical distancing very seriously. Studios are required to operate at a limited capacity and will keep you safe from the time you arrive to the time you leave.

Sharing is Caring! Feeling great after a class? Loved your private session? Share it on social, and tag us! Tell all of your friends about our online and virtual services ... Post a pic or tell your friends how great it is in the studio. We are not too proud to beg!!!

Pay full price. Now is not the time to bargain shop. Most fitness studios are hanging on by a thread and barely breaking even if at all. Asking for a discount or promotional offer is only adding fuel to the fire. Also, remember you are now getting an even better value with fewer people in each class. In most cases, you are actually being offered a more premium personalized service than before (at the business's expense).

Exercise is BEST right now. It has been shown that being healthy and physically fit is one of the best defenses against this virus. Moving your body and improving your cardiovascular health is critical now more than ever. 

Be Understanding. If you don’t like a schedule change or that you can no longer shower, or that you have to wear a mask, understand that there was likely a reason for it. Ask questions, or better yet ask how you can help. Remember that this is a difficult time for everyone - including the front desk staff and studio owners who are on the receiving end of dozens of complaints, requests, and emails.

In the end, most small businesses are doing our absolute best just to keep our heads above water. While most of us are not looking for charity or hand outs we want you to know that we love what we do. We are passionate about our community and want more than anything to be here when we are on the other side of this. 

We are in this together, whether we like it or not so let’s make the most of it and do our best to come out of this pandemic stronger than ever!

Christa Gurka, Owner of Pilates in the Grove, shares her experiences navigating COVID-19 as a small business owner.

Christa Gurka

Why It Might Be Time To Stop Blaming Your ‘Tight’ Hamstrings

Not a week goes by without one of my clients reporting that they have “tight hamstrings.” And not a day goes by that I don’t see folks on social media doling out advice about how stretching your hamstrings is the antidote to all kinds of ailments, including back pain.But what if tight hamstrings aren’t even the culprit? And what if stretching isn’t always the answer?Stretching has become the universal prescription for just about everything these days. We sit too much, so we need to stretch more. We have poor posture, so we need to stretch more. We have back pain, so we need to…you get the point.Thing is, I love a great stretching program just as much as the next fitness professional, but it’s time we recognize that making blanket statements about why we all need to stretch our hamstrings specifically is a little short-sighted and uninformed.

*Read: Why Pilates May Be The Only 'Pain Pill' You Need*

So, how do you know if your hamstrings are really tight or if you’re dealing with a separate issue entirely? The first thing you need to do is determine if mechanical tightness (true shortening) of your hamstrings is really the cause. Here are a few ways to help you decide:

  1. Try and bend forward to touch your toes while standing. If you can touch your toes, then your hamstrings are not tight.
  2. If you cannot touch your toes, then lie on your back and try to raise one leg straight up to the ceiling. If you can get your leg beyond an 80-degree angle, then your hamstrings are not tight.
  3. If you cannot get your leg beyond an 80-degree angle, try using a towel or strap to help you lift your leg or lie with your legs up against a wall. If you can now get your legs to an 80-degree angle, then your hamstrings are not tight.

And if you are constantly stretching and foam rolling and manipulating the hell out of your hamstrings without improvement – you guessed it – tightness may not be your problem!If you are able to do any of the above with little resistance, then the issue is less about the actual “length” of the muscle and more about your mobility, motor control and nervous system. Remember: your brain controls everything in your body, from breathing, walking, muscle function and more. If your brain perceives a “threat” to your body, it kicks in with a protective response (which can manifest as a feeling of tightness).For example, say you have damage to your spine or an injury to a disc. In this case, when you try to touch your toes or put your spine in a risky position, the hamstrings respond with what we call protective tightness. This is the body’s way of keeping the disc from getting damaged or further damaged. This is sort of like your brain causing your body to hit the brakes. All the surrounding muscles sacrifice their normal functions to unload the lumbar disc, which leads to a feeling of chronic “tightness” in the hamstrings.Another reason your hamstrings may feel tight (operative word being “feel”) is if they are doing too much work/overcompensating during functional movements. Think about it this way: your booty is supposed to be doing most of the work when you extend your hip, which is often. Like every single time you take a step. When the gluteus maximus muscles are inhibited or shut off for any number of reasons, the hamstrings will kick in and begin to also perform the action of hip extension. And if your hamstring is doing all of that extra work, of course it will begin to feel tight (although it’s not actually mechanically tight). It’s just overworked and really pissed off. Wouldn’t you be if you were doing a ton of extra work just because one of your teammates got lazy and decided not to show up?These are overly simplified explanations for an incredibly complicated system that takes place in your body and brain. But at the end of the day, your body deserves to feel and function at its optimal level. And truth is, you owe it to yourself to get properly assessed, diagnosed and treated.

Not a week goes by without one of my clients reporting that they have “tight hamstrings.” And not a day goes by that I don’t see folks on social media doling out advice about how stretching your hamstrings is the antidote to all kinds of ailments, including back pain.

Succeed As A Fitness Entrepreneur

Want To Succeed As A Fitness Entrepreneur? Follow These 5 Pro Tips

Okay, so you are crushing it as a personal trainer or spin instructor or group fitness expert. And now you are ready to branch out and start your own fitness biz. Awesome! But here’s the thing: being a rock star at your craft and running a successful business is not mutually exclusive. At all.That’s a lesson that I – a fitness small business owner myself – learned after many, many years of hitting roadblocks, changing direction and learning what works (and what doesn’t). Through these lessons (which I share below), I have taken Pilates in the Grove from a 500-square-foot space to two, 1,600-square-foot locations that generate seven figures…and growing.And now I want to help you build an infrastructure and cultivate a philosophy that will put you on the path to a thriving wellness brand. Here are my tips for creating a successful fitness business.1. Understand Your WHYIt is crucial to not only understand WHY you are doing what you’re doing, but to be able to articulate that to your clients. Really think about it: what gets your juices flowing? What is your business’s purpose? And more importantly, why should your potential customer care about what you’re “selling”? In his book, “Start With Why” (which I highly recommend to any entrepreneur and their team), Simon Sinek writes, “People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.” And that couldn’t be truer.2. Understand Your WHOI often hear fitness professionals say that “anyone can benefit from my services.” While that may be correct, it actually undervalues what you do and the service you provide. Creating a niche market and truly understanding your customer base (and how they think) will yield much higher returns, especially when budgeting where and how to spend your marketing dollars and time. So set out to become the go-to person for [fill in your fitness specialty]. Not everyone is your customer…and that’s ok.3. Build A CommunityPeople enjoy doing business with people that they like. It’s just human nature. It’s kind of like that restaurant you keep going back to, not because the food is the best, but because the host knows your name and the bartender remembers your favorite cocktail. Consumers like to feel special, and it’s no different with fitness clients. Growing a successful fitness business is not just about running your clients through a program of exercises, but about developing that personal relationship and creating trust. This approach cultivates clients for life, rather than for a season.4. Keep Your Clients On TrackSet goals for your clients, and then demonstrate consistency in helping them achieve those goals. Clients seek you out because they want something different or better than what they have or had. They are looking to you for guidance and accountability to achieve their desired results, so communicate with them. Speak directly about how often they should work with you for optimal results, and encourage them to schedule sessions for weeks and even months in advance. Keeping your customers consistent with their schedule improves accountability and ensures a full schedule for you.5. Continue To Learn & GrowThe world around us never stops moving forward, and neither should we. If you want your business to thrive, seek out opportunities to learn, grow and improve. With new studies about human biomechanics, treatment options and fitness protocols constantly emerging, there’s a lot of information out there. Attend fitness conferences/workshops, listen to podcasts and read. Read a lot. Train with an expert in your area, and soak up all you can from them. Surround yourself with a team that inspires and motivates you to be better. Even after 20 years in the wellness industry, I am still an education junky that seeks every opportunity to learn from the best. And I believe that has been a key to my success.I’ll be the first to admit that scaling a profitable fitness biz isn’t easy, but I can tell you from firsthand experience that it is possible. So get focused, work hard and prepare yourself to succeed. And finally, don’t worry about what the competition is doing. Focus on you, your clients and your goals. You are, after all, your best investment.

I want to help you build an infrastructure and cultivate a philosophy that will put you on the path to a thriving wellness brand. Here are my tips for creating a successful fitness business.

Christa Gurka

Why Pilates May Be The Only ‘Pain Pill’ You Need

Yup, you read that headline right. Depending on your circumstance, it is absolutely possible to avoid pill popping (and perhaps even prevent a pain management situation altogether) by incorporating Pilates into your fitness routine and lifestyle.Whether you’ve thrown your back out from lifting weights, tweaked your knee during that marathon training or want to proactively prevent sports-related injury, there ARE healthy alternatives (read: no addicting drugs!) to relieve pain and get back in the gym. And with our state – and our Miami community – facing an opioid crisis, it’s clearly time that we all think twice before turning to highly addictive medications, like fentanyl, hydrocodone, morphine, codeine and tramadol, to manage our aches and pains.According to the Miami Herald, prescription painkillers have caused dozens of deaths and hundreds of overdoses in South Florida in recent years. Florida Gov. Rick Scott has declared a statewide opioid epidemic and called for new regulations and $50 million in new funding from the state to address the problem.Thankfully, there is good news. We have the ability to mend our own bodies naturally through corrective exercise, specifically Pilates. By focusing on proper breathing, postural alignment, improved mobility and increased stability, the mindful movement of Pilates creates improved body awareness and refined motion. These changes may benefit many pain sufferers. Here’s how:

  • Reduced torque on joints, such as the knees, hips and spine, directly reduces pain and inflammation.
  • Improved breathing helps increase oxygen flow to the body, assisting damaged tissues during the healing process.
  • Positive, pain-free movement increases the release of endorphins and dopamine, allowing the body to feel better and move more.
  • Increased body awareness helps us become more cognizant of our bodies outside of the studio, reducing the likelihood of injury during both physical activity and everyday motions.
  • Strong and mobile bodies are not only advantageous for quicker injury recovery, but also for lifelong injury prevention.

While pain meds can be an appealing magic bullet, natural methods – while under the supervision of a trained professional – are safe, effective, and at the very least, worth a try. At Pilates in the Grove, we are seeing more and more folks from all walks of life (including doctors!) utilizing the exercise as a replacement (or complement) for pain meds, injections and even surgery. And that’s why we are working hard to become part of the opioid solution by educating our clients and providing them with customized Pilates programming.As always, it’s important to consult with a medical professional (Pilates in the Grove is also a comprehensive patient-centered Physical Therapy facility) to determine your best treatment plan, but it’s just as important for active people to know that there are options beyond the prescription pad. And we all need a little support while navigating our journey to a healthy, pain-free life.

Yup, you read that headline right. Depending on your circumstance, it is absolutely possible to avoid pill popping (and perhaps even prevent a pain management situation altogether) by incorporating Pilates into your fitness routine and lifestyle.

workout smarter

How To Work Out Smarter (Not Harder) In Miami’s Fitness Scene

When it comes to Miami’s fitness community, there is certainly no shortage of options. From boutique studios to big box gyms and everything in-between, our city is filled with the latest and greatest trends fitness has to offer.But what if I told you that getting in shape is not always about what kind of class you take or even how hard you work while you’re there? Might sound counterintuitive, but the fact is that since most of us are not high-performance athletes (who push themselves 120 percent with the goal of running faster, jumping higher and lifting heavier), it’s not necessary to exert yourself to this level, particularly if your main goal is to lose weight, tone up or maintain.True story.It’s a tough concept for many fitness enthusiasts to grasp because we’ve been taught for years that it’s all about “no pain, no gain.” But the reality of maximizing your fitness routine (and saving your joints while you’re at it) is to work out smarter, not harder. You do not build more muscle by killing yourself with endless reps and weights that are too heavy. In fact, your body burns fat most optimally at low to moderate intensities of activity, especially if you are just beginning an exercise routine.Another common misconception is that working muscles in isolation is the smartest way to exercise. Machines are a great way to isolate muscle groups, but to make the most of your workout, try to involve multiple body parts per exercise, which translates to increased calorie burning and muscle building. And that’s just one reason why Pilates, which uses several different muscle groups at one time, is such an optimal way to exercise.Another tip for working out smarter is to avoid the dreaded exercise plateau, when your body gets too accustomed to a fitness routine and goes into autopilot. Even if you’re breaking a sweat, you generally are not building as much strength or burning as many calories when you reach this point. And that’s another reason why I often recommend Pilates, which provides your body a new workout every time, and keeps your body and mind guessing.And perhaps the most important way to work out smarter is to perform your routine with proper form. You aren’t doing yourself any favors when you cheat or get sloppy, because form is one of the most important factors for results in both weight and cardiovascular training. For example, while weight training, if you lose proper form instead of targeting the desired muscle, you will use compensatory muscle groups, which often leads to joint breakdown and injury. Not only is it unsafe, but it’s counterproductive. You are much better off decreasing the resistance and executing the exercise with proper form. Not only is it safer, but you’ll also notice greater definition and tone in half the time.Bottom line: it’s easy to get distracted by the hot new fitness trends constantly popping up all over our city. But don’t let yourself lose sight of the health and wellness goals you have set for yourself…especially if you have your sights set on results.

When it comes to Miami’s fitness community, there is certainly no shortage of options. From boutique studios to big box gyms and everything in-between, our city is filled with the latest and greatest trends fitness has to offer.

Christa Gurka||||

The Secret on How To Set Your Glutes On Fire...Anytime, Anywhere

We’ve all been blessed with different body types. And when it comes to the booty, most of us are on a quest to accomplish one of two things: add more junk in the trunk or trim down that tush.Besides the aesthetics of a toned and lifted derriere – and regardless of the backside “look” you are going for – properly functioning glutes are necessary for the safe and proper performance of many daily activities, including walking, running, lifting and squatting.Unfortunately, the gluteal muscle group has a tendency to get lazy and go on vacation, frequently forcing other muscles to take over (namely your hamstrings and low back muscles). This can eventually lead to pain and possible injury. More reason to get those glutes in gear!Studies show that most people achieve greater gluteal contraction during body weight exercises (as opposed to squatting or deadlifting heavy weights), so try these three exercises that – when performed properly – will result in proper activation of your glutes…and are sure to have you feeling the burn.

  1. Bridges - Forget about how much weight you can lift, let’s get back to the basics. Bridges are a great, simple exercise to really target gluteal activation.
  • Lie on your back with knees bent and heels close to your bottom.
  • Roll the hips up off the ground, trying to avoid any extension in the spine. Pressing the arms down into the ground will help engage your lats, which will also engage your gluteal muscles.
  • Hold for 5-10 seconds and repeat for several minutes. To add a challenge, try a single leg variation.
  1. Quadruped Hip Extension - You will often see these exercises (also called donkey kicks) performed in the gym improperly, causing the low back muscles to overcompensate for the glutes. Try this variation to ensure proper execution.
  • Get on your hands and knees. Drop down onto your elbows.
  • Sit back on your heels until your bottom is about six inches away from your heels (to take up the slack in the low back).
  • Reach one leg behind you and place it on top of a block so it is almost in line with your hip.
  • Pull the belly up and in, lifting the leg off the block without shifting to the stance leg side.
  • Make sure to keep breathing throughout each repetition.
  • Perform 15-20 repetitions on each side.
  1. Single Leg Stance Kettlebell Slingshot -Believe it or not, the kettlebell is one of the premiere booty-strengthening items in your gym, particularly because it is perfectly suited to build gluteal strength efficiently.
  • Stand on one leg with a kettlebell in the ipsilateral (same side) hand.
  • Balance on one foot as you pass the kettlebell in front of your body to the other hand, balancing for several seconds.
  • Then pass the kettlebell behind the body, back to the other hand. Try and maintain balance when transferring the kettlebell from one side to the other, keeping foot/ankle stability and a straight leg.
  • Repeat for 2-3 minutes on each leg.

Any of the above exercises can be done at the gym, in your home or even during a break from sitting at your desk. All that matters is that you do it, especially if you are looking to give your backside a facelift.

We’ve all been blessed with different body types. And when it comes to the booty, most of us are on a quest to accomplish one of two things: add more junk in the trunk or trim down that tush.

best Pilates studios in Miami|wedding

4 Helpful Hints to Get You Fit and Fab on Your Wedding Day

Every bride-to-be knows that planning for your big day is a big deal full of big decisions. But when it comes to getting photo-ready for your dream wedding, it’s all about looking and feeling your absolute best. That means moving your pre-nuptial fitness plan to the top of that wedding checklist. And since not all wedding dresses (or bodies) are created equally, how you exercise matters - especially if you’re looking to achieve a toned look without any added bulk.With South Florida’s wedding season traditionally ramping up in the Fall, now is the time to kick your health and fitness into high gear. By following these helpful hints, you’re sure to trim down and tone up in time to tie the knot! Find The Right Workout Plan Many brides are on a mission to shed unwanted pounds and tone up before the big day. To achieve your desired result, we recommend combining cardio exercise (jog, cycle, dance, whatever) about three times a week with a strength training routine (lifting weights are key to this operation!) three to four times a week. Increasing muscle tone increases your metabolism, which improves your ability to burn calories even at rest. If getting to the gym is a challenge, try doing pushups at home or investing in small weights (5-10 lbs) and doing a few sets of bicep curls or shoulder presses. Squats and lunges are also a great way to build up the muscle tone in your legs.Going for a strapless dress? Then it’s time to focus on shaping those shoulders and arms. Opting for a backless number? Well, then it’s those often-neglected back muscles that need a little extra TLC. Pilates is the perfect complement to hone in on those areas that will be on full display to your guests and the many cameras. Watch Those CaloriesWeight loss is a marathon, not a sprint. Losing a pound or two a week is reasonable, as is eating a well-balanced diet. That means there’s no need to ditch all carbs. But now is the time to choose your calories wisely. Before engagement and bridal festivities (hello high-calorie cocktails and sweet treats!), make sure to drink lots of water and fill up on healthy snacks so you are less likely to overindulge. Bottom line: plan ahead. Oh, and put a pic of your dress on the refrigerator to remind yourself that’s it all worth it. And remember: it’s not about starving yourself into a stick skinny frenzy. It’s about becoming the most confident, radiant version of you!


Start EarlyThe early bird gets the worm, especially when it comes to whipping yourself into wedding shape. Most brides begin wedding planning at least 6 months out, the perfect time to get your booty in gear. It takes 8-10 weeks for the body to respond to a consistent strength-training program, and longer to really see and feel those physical changes and muscle definition. So get moving.On the food front, we know that healthy and sustainable weight loss is 1-2 pounds a week. In other words, this is not the time to wait until the last second and then cut all carbs in a last-ditch effort to lose weight. Nobody wants to feel grumpy or deprived on such an important day, and going carbless as a last-minute resort can affect energy levels, mood and cravings. Find a well-balanced eating plan that works for you, and stick to it. You will thank yourself later. Reduce Stress & Take Time For YourselfThis is the last – but certainly not least – piece of the puzzle. While wedding planning can be super stressful, we know that thanks to the stress hormone cortisol, stress and weight loss are closely linked. When we are under stress, and our bodies go into fight or flight mode, it is much harder to lose fat. Plus, stress can suppress the immune system, and cause weight gain, cravings, mood swings and illness in general.Do your best, but don’t make yourself crazy. You will be a beautiful, glowing bride no matter how many squats you do and calories you count. Pick a flattering wedding dress, relish in the love of family and friends…oh, and opt for that open bar.

With South Florida’s wedding season traditionally ramping up in the Fall, now is the time to kick your health and fitness into high gear. By following these helpful hints, you’re sure to trim down and tone up in time to tie the knot!

private training session

A Little Privacy Goes A Long Way - 7 Reasons to Book a Private Training Session

Whether you’re a fitness newbie or have years of practice doing planks, squats or bicep curls, one thing is for sure: your body WILL benefit from a private training session. In addition to spicing up your exercise routine, here are seven reasons your practice, physique and fitness regimen are sure to benefit:

  1. Personal Attention. Why share the spotlight with a room full of class-goers when you can have the attention all to yourself? During one-on-one sessions, your instructor can focus on how you perform each exercise, and subsequently provide specific instruction to help you better understand proper alignment and performance of the exercise. They can assess where and how you may be compensating or “cheating” and give you cues and feedback on how to get the most out of each exercise. Enjoy your “aha moment” in these private sessions as you realize how each movement is really supposed to feel.
  1. Customization. Private sessions allow the instructor/trainer to design a program with your specific needs and goals in mind. Want to improve the muscle tone and strength in your arms? No problem. Your instructor can gear the flow to incorporate all the upper body exercises you want. Looking to focus on stretching today? Your wish is basically our command. And if you don’t know what you want or need, then leave it to the instructor. Most of us can assess what your body most needs, and then personalize our program to get you into the physical shape you deserve.
  1. Quality vs Quantity. In private sessions, you can’t get away with just muscling through any exercise the way we can during group classes. Your instructor will always get the best from you, and in turn, you will really “FEEL” how each exercise is meant to be performed. You will leave each session feeling a sense of true accomplishment…and probably a little sore (the good kind)!
  1. Injury-Related Concerns. This is a biggie. Many people with injuries avoid group classes for fear of re-injury. That’s why one-on-one sessions are perfect for clients looking to recover and/or prevent injuries, as well those ready to get back into their fitness routines. During a private session, instructors help guide you through a program that is safe and effective for the most important person in the room…YOU! They will show you proper performance of each exercise and teach you modifications that you can apply in a group class. And if, for example, you have a cast on your arm, we can continue to strengthen your legs.
  1. Growth. Exercise and fitness, like many other areas in life, is a practice. That means that in order to grow and improve, you need consistency. Striving to get into a more advanced group class? Or were you struggling with an exercise that was taught in class recently? Then private sessions are the perfect safe place for you to work on and practice those exercises that may be too advanced to learn in a group setting.
  1. Carryover. As a result of consistency and one-on-one attention, you will see a higher level of carryover from one session to another. You will also see an improvement in your performance during group classes because you will now have the tools to fine-tune the movements performed during a group class and experience a more efficient workout while in a group setting.
  1. Fun! While working out with friends in a group is always a good time, having some one-on-one time with your own instructor is a blast! You’ll laugh together, develop a rapport and sweat your way to new and improved physical capacity.

If you’re just getting started in the workout world, then scheduling a private session is the optimal way to get a good understanding and foundation of proper form and alignment so you can get the greatest benefit. And if you’re already a fitness junkie, scheduling a private session on a monthly or regular basis can help challenge your body to take it to the next level.But you don’t have to choose. Try mixing and matching. But whatever you decide, just remember to take care of your body…it’s the only place you have to live.

Whether you’re a fitness newbie or have years of practice doing planks, squats or bicep curls, one thing is for sure: your body WILL benefit from a private training session. In addition to spicing up your exercise routine, here are seven reasons your practice, physique and fitness regimen are sure to benefit.