Monday, November 21, 2011

2012 SOMN Polar Bear Plunge

Polar Bear Plunge for the Special Olympics of MN

Plunge Crew 2011!

click photo to pledge Susie directly!
It was early 2006 when on a bathroom stall door I saw a flier from the Special Olympics of MN presenting an interesting and somewhat strange way to raise money and awareness for their wonderful cause.  So along side two friends and many other crazy strangers I plunged into White Bear Lake in the middle of January on a very cold day. I decided that day to plunge for the SOMN every year for as long as I was physically able.  So brought the second year, myself and five friends plunged marking our first year as an organized team. The third year we came up with a name, "Susie Q and Her Crazy Crew", tee-shirts and a photo team with a crew of eight plungers. Last year, January 2011, we had a total of TWENTY-FOUR plungers, had our biggest and most successful fundraiser to date and raised just under $10,000 by the day of the plunge! In 2012 I will now be holding up my deal for the seventh consecutive year plunging on January 28th 2012 at White Bear Lake, with hopefully many friends agreeing to plunge as part of the crew. This plunge season the crew has a t-shirt sponsor so every crew member will receive a plunge shirt for their pledge raising efforts. Also this year we are planning a big fundraiser with a silent auction and tons of cool prizes to win and we have a new motto... 20K in 2012!! can we do it??  I believe we can! 

Plunge Crew 2010!
Every year the plunge season gets bigger and more exciting for the crew, in 2011 we started our own Facebook "Like"  and Twitter pages!!
This year I set my pledge goal at $750 and would love to go way beyond having raised over $1600 for the 2011 plunge!  Any pledge amount is amazing and used to support this wonderful organization The Special Olympics of MN. "Special Olympics Minnesota is founded on the belief that people with intellectual disabilities can —  with proper instruction and encouragement — learn, enjoy and benefit from participation in individual and team sports, adapted as necessary to meet the needs of those with intellectual and physical disabilities" -

2007 Plunge!
First printed shirts 2008 plunge!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Pilates for Men? Yes Please!

Pilates for Men

Why Pilates Is Good Fitness Training for Men  

By Guide Updated May 10, 2010 

     Is Pilates useful for men? I've always felt a certain reserve about that question. After all, why wouldn't it be? Pilates was started by a man, Joseph Pilates; it's been a training vehicle for elite athletes, both men and women, for over 50 years; and men have figured prominently as instructors and promoters of the Pilates method throughout its history. Though men have always been part of the Pilates scene, the surge of popularity that Pilates has enjoyed in recent years has been powered to a large extent by a wave of women participants and instructors, leaving some with the impression that the Pilates method is more for women. This is an unfortunate side-effect of an otherwise positive development. Fortunately, it is quickly dissolving. Pilates is one of the fastest growing fitness trends in the world, and men are definitely taking advantage of Pilates many benefits. 

Why Pilates Works Well for Men 

     Core strength, flexibility, balance, uniform development, and efficient movement patterns - all are hallmarks of Pilates training and highly relevant to mens fitness. The integrative component of Pilates can be especially beneficial for men, whose workouts often emphasize a part-by-part approach to muscular development, such as what what finds in weightlifting. Pilates, by contrast, emphasizes moving from the center of the body, the powerhouse, and developing core strength in the deep muscles of the center to stabilize the trunk and protect the back. This kind of core training makes Pilates an excellent technique for whole-body fitness, as well as a foundation for cross training with other kinds of sports and exercise.Increasing flexibility is a goal that Pilates addresses in a way that men often feel comfortable with. Pilates works toward functional fitness. That is, the ability to have the strength, balance, and flexibility that allows one to move through daily-life tasks with grace and ease. To this end, Pilates exercises do seek to increase flexibility and range of motion, but one won't find the kind of pretzel stretches in Pilates that one might find in gymnastics or yoga. 

3 Tips for Men Who Are New to Pilates 

     #1. If you start learning Pilates by taking classes, the best way to go, you might find that women outnumber men by quite a bit. As I said, that demographic is changing, and there are many men in Pilates, but for now, you'll probably have to deal with being the minority gender, so be forewarned. 

     #2. There is nothing specifically different about Pilates training for men, especially in the beginning. The Pilates method is the same for all. Developed on a man's body, and taught with input from both men and women, Pilates is founded on healthy movement principles for the human body in general. Men might find that their muscles are a little tighter than women's, especially in the hips and hamstrings, but exercises can be easily modified to allow those areas to stretch out gradually. Modification of exercises is commonplace in Pilates, allowing it to meet a variety of needs in practitioners.  Read: How to Modify Exercises  

     #3. Pilates is a body/mind practice where part of the exercise is to bring one's full care and attention to every movement. Similarly, exacting alignment, and core training that goes beyond the superficial muscles, require more subtle attention and micro-adjustments than some men are used to finding in an exercise class. There is none of the "just power through" kind of attitude that men might be used to from gyms. This often becomes most apparent when working with the Pilates equipment, which, though it is resistance equipment, is not intended to be overpowered. In fact, sometimes the lightest setting on a piece of equipment, such as the reformer, is the most challenging for the core muscles. In Pilates, controlled, well-aligned movement is the ticket to a deeper level of fitness.

Resources for Men in Pilates 

DVD: Stott Pilates for Men

Book: Pilates for Men: Fit for Sport - Fit for Life

Book: The Complete Book of Pilates for Men   Read Marguerite Ogle's Review 

Find this article here:


Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Empower your life with Pilates!

      Autumn is finally starting to peak it's nose around the corner and Minneapolis community Education is already in the third week of classes. With lots of new to Pilates students this session teaching has been a tons of fun! I am hoping by now my students are starting to feel, possibly see the benefits of learning Pilates and are planning on incorporating the practice into their everyday lives! has a great article this month outlining some of these wonderful benefits!


Click here or any benefit  below to Read On!
#1 Weight Management

#2 It combats health conditions and diseases.

#3 Mood Boost

#4 Get More Energy!

#5 Sleep Better

#6 Pilates is just fun!

The bottom line: Pilates is a great way to feel better, gain health benefits and have fun. As a general goal, aim for at least 30 minutes of physical activity every day (or a minimum of three days per week. (If you want to lose weight or meet specific fitness goals, you may need to exercise more.) Remember to check with your doctor before starting a new exercise program, especially if you have any health concerns.
Pilates has been a great part of my life; watching my clients become happier, healthier and connect with others is priceless. I’ll leave you with my favorite Joe Pilates quote: “I must be right. Never an aspirin. Never injured a day in my whole life. The whole country, the whole world should be doing my exercise. They’d be happier.” -By Michelle Dumovich, NC


Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Minneapolis Community Education 2011 Class Schedule

Fall 2011 classes begin September 26!  

Pilates 1 Mat Class- Experience a low-impact, gentle-to-the-joints body conditioning class. Improve your posture, balance, and flexibility with this unique method of conditioning through stretching and strengthening exercises. Build strength in your abdomen, lower back, and hips with the focus of making your torso the power center of your body.

Pilates 2 Mat Class- In this class is for those of you who have taken Pilates 1 and are looking for a little more. This class is sure to test your conditioning with both strengthening and stretching exercises. The focus is on making the torso the power center of the body. 

Pilates/Yoga Power Sculpt Mat Class- In this Class we begin with Yoga Sun Salutations to heat the body then continue with Pilates at an intermediate level adding resistance-bands for resistance. Resistance-bands are available through me to borrow or to purchase for $5.

Minneapolis Community Education 2011 Class Schedule. 

*Monday and Tuesday evening Winter/Spring/Fall session Classes are held at Washburn H.S. in the Black Box Theater Room. Enter Door 3 (the community ed entrance) on 49th Street at Washburn H.S. walk through the double doors and make your first right. The room is down a short hallway with black doors labeled The Black Box Theater Room.  It is a nice private, quite comfortable room for pilates! OR call 612-668-3450 (Washburn H.S.)

6:00pm Pilates 1
7:15pm Pilates Yoga Power Sculpt

6:00pm Pilates 1
7:15pm Pilates 2

*Wednesday evening Winter/Spring/Fall session Classes are held at Lake Harriet School in the lunch room located in the center of the school. 4912 Vincent Ave. S., Minneapolis, MN  55410 Located between Washburn and Vincent Avenues South and between 49th and 50th Streets West. OR call 612-668-3330 (Lake Harriet School) .

6:15pm Pilates 1 OR call 612-668-3450 (Washburn H.S.) 612-668-3330 (Lake Harriet School) 

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

From the Soap Box; Pilates Style Magazine Blog "From Corsets to Core Strength"

I would like to share this blog post from Pilates Style Magazines blog; The Soap Box "From Corsets to Core Strength" by Tannis Kobrinsky.    This is a short and exciting article summarizing Joesph Pilates and his introduction of a new way to view our bodies and exercise. Also outlining the history of woman and the metamorphosis that took place from the time of corsets until today.


Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Pilates Equipment. What is that all about?

information from 

 The Pilates REFORMER

Most probably the best known Pilates equipment is the Reformer. "With its sophisticated system of springs, straps and pulleys, more than 100 exercises can be performed on this surprisingly versatile apparatus"
"The crux is in the gliding platform on which one can sit, kneel, stand or lie on their front, back or side. The user pushes and pulls off the foot bar using the arms, legs, wrists and ankles to slide back and forth along the rails in a controlled manner while the tension in the springs gently works the muscles."
"The Pilates Reformer helps one establish torso stability and postural alignment while working peripheral limbs in a range of motion. The adjustable springs allow for progressive resistance, which helps to lengthen and strengthen the muscles rather than building bulk. It makes for an effective, no-impact stretching and toning workout that is friendly to the joints."

About STOTT PILATES® Equipment


Q. What is a Reformer?
A. The Reformer is the main piece of equipment used in Pilates exercise. The Reformer glides forward & backward on rollers and uses springs for resistance, along with other attachments, for a wide variety of exercises and positions (i.e. lying down, seated and standing.)

The Pilates Stability CHAIR

"Deceptively resembling a stylish little stool, the Pilates Chair (most commonly known as the Wunda Chair or Stability Chair) is one versatile exercise machine. Don't let the word "chair" fool you - it's not necessarily a sit-down work out."    

"While many of these Pilates exercises are performed seated on top and pressing down on the step/pedal with your feet, others entail lying on the floor, standing straight up, lunging forward or doing push-up like moves with the arms. More than 75 exercises can be performed on the Chair - it makes it a great addition to your physical fitness routine."  

"Once again, adjustable spring resistance is the key to challenge with this specialized piece of fitness equipment. In most models, four springs and five spring attachment positions make for a wide range of resistance. While pressing down on the step with arms or legs, the much of the stabilizing work is up to the torso - it's harder than it looks. This apparatus activates the lower back, buttocks, shoulder, transverses abdominals and pelvic region and heightens neuromuscular coordination. From a rehabilitation perspective, the Pilates Wunda Chair or Stability Chair is particularly effective for stretching and re-balancing muscles that have been strained or injured."

"Joseph Pilates' original design had one spring-loaded pedal, but several reputable equipment manufacturers had modified the Chair to expand the exercise potential of the machine. One such modification is splitting the step/pedal so one can work on rotational movement and reciprocal movement of the peripheral limbs. Handles, chair backs, rotational discs and other accessories can be added for increased variety. Some Chairs are designed to be adjustable from high chair to low chair mode."

The Pilates CADILLAC

"Often referred to as "The Rack" as it resembles something you might find in a medieval torture chamber. But fear not. The Cadillac (also known as the Trapeze Table) is one of the most effective and versatile pieces of exercise equipment ever to be engineered."
"The Cadillac was originally devised by Joseph Pilates to rehabilitate bedridden patients back when he was working as a hospital orderly. The apparatus has evolved a bit since the makeshift bed spring days, but its inspiration is apparent and it continues to be a bridge between exercise and physical therapy."
"The Cadillac is essentially a raised horizontal table-top surrounded by a four-poster frame on which various bars, straps, springs and levers are fixed. Standard models include a push-through bar (which can be sprung from above or below), a roll-down bar, a trapeze or cross bar, arm springs, leg springs, thigh and ankle cuffs and even fuzzy hanging loops. As with most Pilates equipment pieces, the Cadillac contains various adjustable parts and you really need a trained instructor to guide you through safe, proper usage and effective technique."
"Over 80 different exercises can be performed on this piece of Pilates equipment, ranging from gentle spring-assisted sit ups to advanced acrobatics that have one hanging from the upper bars - there's something for all ages and abilities. The Cadillac repertoire of exercises truly challenges the core abdominal muscles, develops spinal flexibility, works the shoulder girdle, strengthens the back and stretches the total body."
My choice of Pilates Equipment for my own personal home studio is the simple Foam Roller

"Foam rollers are cross-over equipment from rehab training. They are inexpensive, lightweight and versatile -- making them ideal for a home workout or studio. Very simple pieces of equipment (nothing more than a cylinder made of high-density foam) foam rollers are put to all kinds of uses, such as stretching, self-massage, body support, and stability exercises."

Personally at home I do all of the same exercises I teach in my mat classes balancing on my foam Roller. Besides it adding an extra benefit to use my core to stay balanced and stable throughout my workout, it also adds the extra benefit of a spine massage with every workout and is a tool to keep my spine aligned indefinitely. 

as a Massage tool:

"Massage Tool: Don't you love it when a massage actually gets to just the spot you need to release? Well, try rolling that muscle or area on the foam roller. Notice I said "on the roller," not "with the roller." That means you actually put your body weight on the roller and gently rock and roll your way to stress relief."

as a Pilates Prop:

"Body Part Prop: Under the knees! Lie on your back in rest position and let the foam roller support your slightly bent knees. This position will help lengthen and relax your spine. There are lots of other ways to use the foam rollers as props, but that is my favorite. Other places you might see a foam roller used as a body prop are under the hips or to support a limb."
 used for Stretching:

"Stretch Support: One of the very nice things about using a foam roller as a support for stretching is that you have a curved surface to work on. But you are not far off the ground and chances of tipping off are slim (unlike exercise balls) so you can really relax into your stretch. You can find many creative ways to work a stretch off the foam roller. For example: Sit with your leg straight and the roller under the calf (don't lock your knees). Leaning forward over your leg will give you a nice extra stretch."

as a Stability Tool:
"Pilates is famous for taking advantage of the core strengthening potential of an unstable surface. As a person tries to maintain balance while working with an unstable surface, all of the deep muscles of the back and abdomen are recruited to help maintain balance. Pilates instructors are inventing many ways to enhance mat exercises and mimic equipment exercises with the foam rollers. Some you might try are exercises like plank or push-up done with your hands on the foam roller instead of the floor"

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Minneapolis Community Education Spring 2011 Class Schedule. Registration Is OPEN !!

As winter session is wrapping up plan for spring session beginning the week of April 11.

Minneapolis Community Education Spring 2011 Class Schedule. 
Registration Is OPEN Now!!

*All Spring Classes Held at Washburn H.S. in the Black Box Theater Room. Enter Door 3 (the community ed entrance) on 49th Street at Washburn H.S. walk through the double doors and make your first right. The room is down a short hallway with black doors labeled The Black Box Theater Room.  It is a nice private, quite comfortable room for pilates!

Monday April 11-May 16
(6 Classes)
6:00pm Pilates 1

Tuesday April 12-May 17
6:00pm Pilates 1
7:15pm Pilates 2 OR call 612-668-3450 (Washburn H.S.)