Choose How Hard You Work

Good morning readers!

One of the things on my todo list after I get comfortable with this whole blogging thing is to immerse myself in youtube videos. Making a video takes a lot of work! But more on that later… However, this has prompted some preemptive thought on the types of things I will say in my videos.

While driving home from the beach last night I was thinking about what my workout would be for this morning. If you read my post from yesterday you may recall that I have given myself a break for the past few days due to overworked muscles and injury, so I really wanted to plan out an effective and therapeutic workout for this morning.

Now, like any other fitness-inclined individual, I wanted to come back with a bang. Generally when I feel like I want a really challenging full body workout that I’ll feel the next day, I search for the HARDEST video online, or I’ll combine some favorites in my own routine and really sweat it out.

I have always been guilty of this.

So, what to do when you want to work really hard and really feel it the next day? With body-weight workouts such as pilates the secret is not necessarily finding the most advanced moves and doing a million of them. How hard you feel the burn really depends on you. Or on me, since that’s who we are talking about. 🙂

Post workout soreness or just a really great well-rounded workout results from a combination of things, of course. I am in full support of weight training and dabble in it occasionally myself. However I tend to think that there is more to effectively tiring muscles than finding uncomfortable ways to pick up heavy objects without hurting yourself. Because honestly that’s what lifting is; Oh, way-too heavy object? Lets pick it up 10 times!

If you’re sensing some type of opinion forming here it’s only because my companion and lover does exactly this for about an hour every morning. In our bedroom.

Back to my topic of the morning..

Linking back slightly to what I touched on previously about ‘range of motion,’ there is a sweet spot in every routine and every move where the activated muscle group is really working. So accomplish this, and particularly in pilates, you must maintain a stable core and really put your mind to SQUEEZING and consciously activating the muscles. If you feel discomfort in surrounding muscles (frequently I feel discomfort in my hip flexors) this is generally due to flexibility issues and not enough core activation.

With the correct amount of core activation and by practicing moves that are consistent with your personal flexibility level, you will achieve the burn you are searching for!

I prefer not to give advice in general (suggestions and anecdotes are kind of my thing), but here I think it is ok just because this is something I have learned on my own through experience: Worry less about the ‘difficulty’ of the workout you are doing and instead learn to work as hard as you possibly can on the simplest moves. I promise, if you focus instead on completing 100 sit ups and more on your neck alignment and core activation you will be sweating after five!


Have a great workout!


❤ Tammy

The Invincible Body

About three months ago I sustained what I now know as ‘an injury.’ There is a tender achy sore spot about halfway down my left buttock and it occasionally pinches my sciatic nerve. It is not fun.


So what have I been doing for it? Really nothing, lots of pigeon stretch. Because I’m in my 20’s and I can’t ACTUALLY get injured, right? Wrong!


Just a little background here, sciatic nerve pain is caused by a few things including  irritation of the lumber (lower) spine, or disk degeneration in the lower back. This causes irritation of the sciatic nerve roots in the lower back, which can travel down the leg and even in to the foot. (Check out webmd at the bottom).


Causes of my injury could be my job which involves lots of lifting, frequently jogging outside, or even something as simple as driving far distances causing my sacrum to misalign. The Sacrum is a triangular bone in the lower back that rests between the lower vertebrae and two hip bones of the pelvis. In Pilates it is also known as a major component of the pelvic floor.


So where is all of this going, you might ask. When you feel strong and athletic, it can become habit to think of yourself as invincible. We demand lots of taxing activities from our bodies and provide nothing in return. Our bodies were build for athleticism, right? Yes and no.


I believe, myself included, that young adults who display the first symptoms of injury do not understand what this truly means. We must provide our bodies a chance to recover when they are injured, otherwise they simply will not.


Now this is the part where I get to preach my own area of (semi) expertise! Pilates was actually founded by Joseph Pilates to provide physical therapy to WWII vets. This makes Pilates the most appropriate strength training/therapeutic form of exercise for injury, obviously.

However, sometimes I believe that our bodies can just be overworked and something as therapeutic as pilates even is not a replacement for just plain old rest! We all know our bodies better than anyone else, therefore as difficult as it is to take a few days off once we get into a fitness routine, we know when it is necessary.


We are all creatures of habit. I know that when I get into the habit of doing something especially regarding fitness, it is very difficult for me to break the routine without feeling wildly guilty (refer to my post on ‘guilt’!). I actually have to force myself not to workout for a few days to let my muscles recover fully. But sometimes this is necessary and it is really what we need.

Pushing yourself to the limit is good for achieving fitness goals, but pushing past this can cause injury which as we all know is counter productive and painful.

In closing, do not sacrifice physical wellness for the purpose of athletic gains..In the long run this will be disadvantageous as in the end, an injured body is not capable of much.

❤ Cammy


Staying Faithful to Fitness Goals

Good Morning Readers!

A few things might tell you this, including the title of my blog, but my fitness focus is Pilates. This includes mat (beginner through advanced), the Pilates Reformer, and Barre. To recap, I have been practicing Pilates since the age of 16, which was approximately nine years ago. Over the last three years I decided I should make this my livelihood and in the past year I have begun and almost completed (HOORAY) my training to become a Certified Pilates Instructor!


So, why am I telling you this? Well here’s the thing, I don’t only do pilates. Gasp, I know. In my previous posts I have discussed the importance of switching it up. To me this means, running, crossfit, weight training, and miscellaneous cardio machines as well at HIIT workouts.


Yesterday I did a full body circuit workout in the comfort the bedroom and it was fantastic. This morning I woke up feeling sore and athletic, a great combo in my opinion, and only one that happens when I perform a workout that surprises my muscles. I also had a sinking feeling of guilt, like I had let myself down.


This is an emotion that is known to me regarding my personal training. If I am going to be a Pilates Instructor, an expert that is knowledgeable enough to guide other people through a Pilates routine, mustn’t I practice pilates day and night like my life depends on it? But how can I advance my own physical fitness in order to demonstrate these advanced moves with seeming ease if my own muscles become accustomed to Pilates exercises after 4 or 5 repeated workouts?


Here is one solution; Practice Pilates for 30 minutes each day and then supplement with cardio or other forms of strength training to switch things up and work different muscle groups.


Problem; I simply don’t have enough time or energy to do multiple workouts in one day. I am also very cautious of overworking my muscles; I want to be able to work out for many years to come and avoid injury along the way. Overworked and tired muscles cannot perform as well as well-rested and well-fueled ones, which leads to a lapse in proper form, which then leads to injury and a wasted workout. Remember to STRETCH.


This is quite the conundrum I face. The feeling of guilt that I am not constantly practicing my prefered branch of fitness makes me feel like maybe I don’t want it bad enough. If I REALLY wanted to be a fabulous Pilates instructor, wouldn’t I just have the desire to practice it every day, all day, all the time regardless of my own fitness advancements?


I feel like I am cheating on my own goals, and guilty that maybe I don’t want it bad enough.


above are the feelings I frequently have, and these are the ways in which I dispel them

  1. No exaggeration or embellishments here; I work out 3-5 times a week, generally for about 45 minutes to 1 hour, approximately 2-3 of these workouts are Pilates/mat/Barre.
  2. I feel great after everyone of my workouts, I feel sore (in a good way), and I feel like there is no part of my body that has not been worked. (Feel free to peruse my post about forgetting a body part…whoops).
  3. I feel strong and confident.

By keeping positive feedback in the forefront of my mind, it is actually quite easy to quash these feelings of guilt. Once again, I believe that the negative emotions are derived from subconscious comparisons I make of myself to professional Pilates instructors, who DEFINITELY (maybe) practice their specific area of expertise 100% of the time. (that is sarcasm, we really have no idea).


I choose to stand by my own beliefs in the importance of supplemental fitness. I have goals for the future in regards to my passion for Pilates. However I also have goals for myself in regards to my personal fitness and I will find a way to balance them equally.


This is a very specific instance in which I feel guilt about not working hard enough to achieve my goals for the future, but it is certainly applicable to many different scenarios. How about you? Do you feel guilt about not spending 1000% of your energy on one goal whilst trying to accomplish many?


❤ Cammy


Body Types

Good Morning readers!


I little while ago I stumbled across something on pinterest (no, not StumbleUpon tehe), that discussed different body types and their relation to fitness. I came to learn that there are many many articles detailing how best to workout for your specific body type to see the best results.


What a great thing to think about! I wonder if it has anything to do with the topic I wrote about on finding a range of motion that was comfortable for your own body shape? Not really.


The articles instead tend to focus instead on how to best increase fat burn and muscle growth for cosmetic purposes, which is completely fine as this is a primary goal for many who delve into the world of athleticism.  


Anyways, back to my train of thought…which was?


Oh right, there are three main body types;



  • Endomorph- tendency to store more fat cells, is generally shorter and rounder
  • Ectomorph- high metabolism, tall and lanky, difficulty building muscle
  • Mesomorph- high metabolism, gains muscle with ease



After discovering these three body types, I decided to educate myself a little further because I had a few serious questions. For example, Do men and women fall equally into these categories? I always thought that women genetically had more fat cells…


Also, Isn’t there an in between? Because I really don’t see myself in any of these categories.


As it turns out, these categories apply equally to men and women, and yes there is an in between. The Science of Eating is a great resource to learn more about diet and exercise as it pertains to your body type.


However, like I said previously, it does not seem realistic that we all fall perfectly into one of these very specific categories. I am definitely not round and short, tall or skinny, or especially muscular, my metabolism is average as is my ability to gain muscle and fat.


It seems dangerous that having this type of information floating around on the internet could cause some to focus too heavily on genetic makeup and how it dictates an exercise regimen. As always, I believe it is important to be balanced in everything.


For example, if someone is of the less-fat-having fast metabolism body type (ectomorph), there is temptation not to do cardio, since cardio is widely associated with weight loss. The workout regimens on many sites recommend HIIT workouts, combined with strength training to build mass. HOWEVER sustained cardio is important even if weight loss isn’t the goal! Cardio strengthens your heart and lungs by increasing blood flow and also lowers blood pressure. Although ectomorphs have less fat they are subject to the same health issues as anyone else, and cardio is important in alleviating this conditions. I would recommend Pilates for all in this categories.


For those on the other end of the spectrum, the endomorphic body type with higher fat content, the regime specifies low impact cardio for fat loss. The fear of gaining mass by adding in strength training to the workout regimen is, without sounding judgemental, ill advised. Strength training, like cardio, is so important for everyone. Stronger muscles aid in form and posture, prevent injury, and if the goal is losing fat, you will not lose it for good unless there is a solid foundation of muscle built to replace the fat cells! Pilates is really good for this as it is known for building lean ‘dancer’ muscles.


For the last category, the Mesomorph, I will only add that it is important once again to stay balanced throughout all exercise regimens. If the goal is weight loss, evenly train and combine cardio and strength training. However with all body types weight/fat loss will not be attained without the proper accompanying diet. If the goal is gaining mass, just remember the muscles won’t really pop unless you add in some cardio.


I am not a nutritionist, I am advising based on my research and what I have learned in my 9 years being an avid fitness participant and learning to become a fitness professional, as well as what I know about my own body. The importance of balance in everyday life is something I don’t believe I shall ever stop preaching.


I do have a minor bone to pick with these articles however, without throwing the authors under the proverbial bench press..

In terms of the articles I have read, there is an apparent emphasis placed on the assumed goals of those with different body types. We are assuming all skinny people want to gain mass, all of those blessed with more mass are trying to lose it, and all those with an inherent muscular build are either trying to become body builders or lose muscle. No one is content (sigh). Unfortunately I do believe that often this is the case and not just with our bodies but with everything. There is a trend in our society to just be generally dissatisfied, which is kind of unfortunate. Instead of trying to change our bodies, let’s focus on being the best we can with what we’ve been given? I am not perfect, I’m dissatisfied all the time but I’m trying to learn how to be content and satisfied even when what I think I want seems so unattainable.


Aaaand I think that wraps it up!

❤ Cammy


“The 3 Body Types Explained.” The Science Of Eating. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Aug. 2017.



It is becoming clear to me that the world of online fitness professionals is a very intimidating one. This is a tough realization for someone flirting with possibly becoming an active member in said world in the seemingly less near future.

Online fitness professionals have no apparent flaws and move through sequences with no little effort. Physically they are obviously in impeccable condition which is also hugely intimidating. I consider myself in excellent physical condition but I don’t imagine that I could make it through a 50 minute videotaped mat class looking completely perfect and effortless the whole time, without breaking a sweat. 

So many video channels, Insta accounts, and personal/business blogs feature fitness models who have achieved a level of fitness that I’m not sure my own body is even capable of. It is definitely tempting to feel a little discouraged. And so comes an onslaught on unhelpful and saddening questions; Am I reaching too high? Is my goal to someday be a member of this community too aggressive?


No. Hell no.

Sidenote- I am glad that my main source of discouragement is one that I can dispel so quickly.


Like many confidence issues young women and men in our society suffer from, this one is derived from unrealistic media portrayals of a group of individuals in our society. This generates a negative comparison of the self to this group. I am definitely guilty of comparing myself to others, because I have been trained to do so after decades of living in an environment where I am encouraged to do.

I HATE feeling like I’m not good enough, like no matter how hard I work or train or practice I will never be ‘as good’ or ‘as fit’ as the individuals I see online. It’s the worse feeling ever and I refuse to compare myself to these people anymore.

These are my reasons;

  1. They may have gone through the same thing I am going through and didn’t give up, so really I should respect their perseverance.
  2. Clearly they work out really hard, so that’s commendable.
  3. OF COURSE people featured in online videos are stunning, otherwise no one would watch them!
  4. I am just starting out, so I should really give myself a break…but not stop working really hard.
  5. If something is harder for you and you do it anyways, when you get there you have accomplished so much more.

The list goes on these were just the first five..So let’s focus on the last one. Some people are genetically predisposed to have an advantage in the fitness world (we shall visit endo-,ecto-,and mesomorph body types in the future). However physical fitness is attainable for everyone if the effort is put in and in the end, it really does not matter what physical advantages you have. It isn’t basketball where you don’t really stand a chance unless you are 7 ft. tall, However if there is a pro basketball player who is 5’5 can you imagine the respect he/she receives?

I do not feel intimidated in a sense that anyone is working harder than me, or are inherently better than me at the fitness thing. Much like I don’t feel intimidated when I go to a Planet Fitness and someone sets off the lunk alarm; You don’t have to be a buff man in your mid-30’s to set off the lunk alarm. I could easily set off the lunk alarm if I tried to pick up something that was too heavy and yelled about it…

I really believe that comparison is the route of all evil when it comes to having confidence in our society. It is simply unrealistic to compare our achievements to those of others because we really have no idea what their path to success looked like. Perhaps we are all a little more similar than we realize at first glance.

The only comparison I will condone is one between myself now and my past self. Am I where I want to be? Am I proud of my achievements? If the answer is no, I would advise thinking very hard about why. Are you not where you want to be because you idolize someone who is in a different place? Or because you scroll through your news feed and you see people doing things that you believe you should be doing also?

The online world is dangerous in this sense because we only see what people want us to see, we all know this. No one wants to display their failures and struggles. We are all guilty of this! I will post a picture of my beautiful and delicious sushi dinner on instagram in all it’s glory. I am probably not going to post a picture of the slightly overcooked chicken breast and microwaved sweet potato that I also had for dinner this week.

So in summary, I feel discouraged all the time. It takes a lot of work to be positive and motivated when you see no results, or when you see other people doing the same thing with apparent ease. However when we remove comparisons, we can focus on working as hard as possible to be the best version of ourselves. A truly liberating feeling.


Also, I LOVE microwaved sweet potatoes. Anyone else?


❤ Cammy

Switching and Forgetting

Good morning Readers!

Just a quick thought this morning…

I had a small realization the other day.

Workouts come in phases for me as I am a huge believer in switching up workouts. For example I have really been getting into Barre lately. For those who do not know Barre, think ballet plus pilates except standing up with a little ZUUUMMBBAA influence (one does not merely say Zumba…it’s ZUUUMMMBBAA).

As you may have noticed, pilates is kind of my focus. However I also run, make periodical trips to the gym for the elliptical and shiny(ish) weight machines, and have been known to take the occasional crossfit class. During the summer I try to run outside 3-5 times per week. Here in New England we only get four months out of the year where this is possible so it feels like a sin not to utilize the warm weather when it happens.

Lately my workout routine has consisted of lots of Barre classes, Pilates mat workouts and running. These workouts are full body burners, however particularly with Barre and running there is a lot of emphasis on legs.

Everyone has a different body part that they favor when it comes to strength training. For some it’s arms, often it’s legs, etc. I definitely will chose a leg workout over arms any day because a majority of my strength is concentrated in my legs. My arms have much less strength so it takes much more effort and focus for me when I workout my arms.

So here I am running, doing my standing Barre classes in my kitchen using our filthy, paint-stained stepstool as my bar…

My legs are burning,IMG_5444  I’m sweaty from my cardio, all is good.

So why do I feel like I’m forgetting something?


Oh! I forgot to workout my abs!

With so much focus on new workout routines, my poor abs have been forgotten along the way. 

Switching up workout routines is important for muscle growth and development. However it is also important to keep it balanced and work out ALL the muscle groups, just like it is important to sleep enough and eat a balanced diet. Over all strength does not increase if certain muscle groups are omitted, so it’s super important to ensure that no body part is left behind.

And so wrap up my musings for this morning.

Just remember, don’t skip leg day or you’ll end up like Johnny Bravo;


Just kidding. But still don’t skip it.


❤ Cammy

Stretching Goals

Stretching has always been a weakness of mine. After I complete a tough workout I’m  so excited to hop in the shower and eat something that stretching is postponed and frequently forgotten. This is terrible for a few reasons;


  1. Actually helps build strength,
  2. Reduces bulky muscles and lactic acid build up,
  3. Can help decrease/prevent post-workout soreness (obviously) and,
  4. Increases flexibility.

These are all pretty well-known benefits of stretching I would say. However, there are a few subtopics that are a little less well-known. They were certainly unknown to me.

  1. Stretching can help build strength.

After you work out your muscles are tight, swollen and bulky due to lactic acid and other ‘fluid’ buildup your body creates during an intense workout, particularly strength training. When we stretch our muscles, we release the lactic acid tension created by the workout. This decreases the recovery time of our muscles so they are less fatigued come the next workout session. Stretching also increases flexibility, which I will get in to in a moment, however when we increase flexibility we also increase our range of motion (one of my favorite topics apparently). When we increase our range of motion, we get more benefit from different exercises because more of the muscle and the surrounding muscle groups are being utilized!. Think squat- If we are more flexible we can squat lower, which is harder. When we are able to work harder we get a better workout. YES.


2. Stretching reduces buildup of lactic acid and BULKY MUSCLES.

For us pilates-doers, we always crave the long lean muscles our exercises are known for. I also run and partake in occasional weight-lifting/cross-fit/etc. excersices. Bulky muscles are not a goal for me. By stretching, not only do we relax these muscles but we STREEEETCHH them, elongating the tight muscles, thus aiding in muscle recovery.

A moment here to delve briefly into lactic acid. Lactic acid is not bad, it is simply a process our bodies use to fuel the muscles when there is a lack of oxygen due to an intense workout. When oxygen is scarce, our body instead breaks down the sugar from carbohydrates in our diet and turns it into something called Pyruvate to use as fuel for the muscles (read more).

Muscles retain waste and lactic acid residue after an intense workout. Lactic acid does not really hang around for that long; it generally dissipates on it’s own within an hour post-workout. Stretching merely increases the cool-down process helping to get rid of the excess more efficiently. Why do we want to eliminate lactic acid? I’m sure you are familiar with the burning sensation that comes along with any strength workout. This is the lactic acid building up. Now generally I relish this feeling because I know I am really working, but sometimes it just hurts. So yeah.

3. Stretching can reduce post workout soreness.

If muscles are not stretched post workout, they forget how to elongate. This leads to tightness and is the source of post workout soreness. By elongating our muscles after a workout these by products are released and the muscle has a chance to relax and recover instead of just being bulky and tight. (I’m thinking of a tightly coiled spring with an emoji face that’s kind of growling at me when describing tight bunched up muscles).


4. Stretching increases flexibility.

Some people are just more flexible than other and this is genetic. For example, dancers are chosen generally because of their natural foot and general flexibility. I am not very flexible which is possibly why I have historically avoided it…occasionally…I stretch every day (kind of).

Warming up is crucial prior to working out, however it is also important not to overstretch before you work out. The best time to stretch is AFTER a workout. Stretching before a workout is good if muscles are tight from a previous workout or just built up tension. Stretching muscles that are already loose and unworked however, can cause a lack of performance and injury. Overly loose muscles can not perform as well as muscles that are energized because they are feeling lazy and thus do not have the ability to react as quickly as necessary.


Learning to be a pilates instructor, stretching is so crucial for me. I am really working on stretching more to increase flexibility and my range of motion. 


Let’s remember, however, that we are not trying to kill ourselves. It is not necessary to create unnecessarily and semi-unreasonable goals for ourselves. If you have super tight hamstrings (like myself) setting a goal like “I will do a split at the end of three weeks!” is going to take a LOT OF WORK and is probably unreasonable. We should stretch and feel the stretch, but never put ourselves in excruciating pain which it totally can be.


How much do you stretch? What is a reasonably goal you can set for your stretchy self?


That’s All folks!!

❤ Cammy






Al.kavadlo. “Stretching For Strength: A Better Way To Approach Flexibility Training.” N.p., 06 June 2017. Web. 06 Aug. 2017.

“Does Stretching Release Lactic Acid?” Back. N.p., n.d. Web. 06 Aug. 2017.
Sigust, Andrea. “How to Remove Extreme Lactic Acid in Legs.” LIVESTRONG.COM. Leaf Group, 22 June 2015. Web. 06 Aug. 2017.

“Stretching Exercises That Build Strength.” Rodale Wellness. N.p., 07 July 2015. Web. 06 Aug. 2017., n.d. Web. 06 Aug. 2017.






Range of Motion continued…AND Tiny Pulses!



Good Afternoon, Pilates aficionados!

A few posts back I began the conversation about my journey to discovering my range of motionJust to recap slightly, it took me 7 years to discover how my body wanted to move and to start paying attention to what my body was telling me.


I was inspired to right this post by a video I watched on PilatesAnytime (yet again). Tracey Mallett’s Barre class had me sweating more than I thought was possible in 30 minutes. And she zeroed in on tiny movements at the top of the range of motion, my fav!.


In my previous post I focused on the ‘double leg lift,’ a lower ab workout performed from a supine (flat on yo’ back) position. I have always struggled with protecting my lower back and hip flexors while doing this popular pilates series; it never dawned on me that perhaps what works for one person does not necessarily work for me (I realize now how silly this may sound)!


When I began my teacher trainings in the Balanced Body school of Pilates, one of the first things we learned about was how to protect your clients from injury. It is obvious of course why this is so important when learning to become a teacher; it is a teacher’s worst nightmare to have a student injured in class. However, it was also a huge moment for me because I learned how to protect my own body from injury. A win win!!


I will not recap all that I said before, but essentially what I learned was that making a movement smaller not only took away all of the pain and discomfort I was feeling but actually made the movement harder.


By focusing only on the very top of your range of motion, the discomfort from performing the full range is alleviated. When this discomfort is gone there is nothing left to focus on but SQUEEZING the activated muscle groups.


Focusing on the very top of the range of motion also discourages any cardiovascular work the  movement may create when performing a huge movement to tempo. Cardio is amazing but there are specific exercises for this. If you feel cardio from a strength based workout there is risk for injury because the range of motion may be too big! A strength movement performed too fast does not allow the practitioner time to focus on supporting the back, squeezing the abs, or supporting the neck, shoulders, etc…


What exactly do I mean by range of motion? It is the distance that your arms/legs/torso/what-have-you move throughout an exercise where you really feel the muscles activate. The burning feeling that us pilatesters love so much. The deep muscle connection. Think of any time your instructor has had you perform an exercise and then ‘pulse, pulse, pulse’ at the top! This is the burn I am talking about, where the range of motion is tiny but all focus is on the activated muscle groups and you can really zero in on squeezing like your life depends on it.


Whoo, I’m getting sweaty just thinking about it!


“Tracey Mallett Pilates Teacher.” Pilates Anytime. N.p., n.d. Web. 05 Aug. 2017.

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