The Benefits of Pilates

Becoming a healthier person is more than just watching what you eat. It involves exercise and an ability to be more flexible. This is why Pilates was first developed and why millions of people love doing this specific type of exercise to strengthen and lengthen their muscles for a toner and leaner look. Pilates is most often used in the dancing and ballet community as a way to keep dancers’ limbs flexible for tough routines. For the average person, you can begin developing long and lean dancer’s muscles by doing these exercises regularly.


What Is Pilates?

Developed in the 1920s by Joseph Pilates, this particular type of exercise was specifically designed for the purpose of rehabilitation. It was most often recommended to soldiers returning from war or for dancers who would experience aches and pains after tough routines. The exercises became more popular when people realized that not only was it ideal for rehabilitation purposes, but that it was also helping to tone up the body and create a lean and beautiful physique. Today, millions of people practice Pilates regularly and love the results that they get from doing it.


What are the Benefits?

The exercises work just about every muscle of the body, which means a leaner and stronger physique. It’s ideal for people who are trying to lose weight because it helps to tone up the body as you drop away the inches. For individuals who just want a stronger and leaner body, Pilates helps to tone up areas that you might have been struggling to tighten for years. It’s especially ideal for middle aged individuals who are noticing that their bodies just aren’t looking the way that they used to. You can recapture your youth by incorporating Pilates into your routine several times a week.


What to Expect

The great thing about the exercises is that, while incredibly effective, they are also easy on the joints and body. This is what makes it an ideal exercise for just about anyone and everyone who wants to get fit. It does not matter your age or current physical fitness level since Pilates can easily be incorporated into your life.


Here at Zero Gravity Fitness we offer a range of beginner and intermediate classes that are ideal for those who are just starting out and individuals who have been doing Pilates for years. For more information, feel free to schedule a consultation with one of our fitness experts to discuss your options and see which class is best fit for you. We are conveniently located in Ocoee, FL. Contact us to set up your appointment today!

The Benefits of Pilates in Orlando

Pilates in Orlando has the power to make a positive impact on your health, without the typical stresses other exercises can have on your body. Read on to discover all the amazing benefits of Pilates that you can get.

A revitalizing workout for both mind and body

By spotlighting correct breathing, proper pelvic and spinal alignment, and fluid, free-flowing movement, you become keenly attuned to your body. In Pilates, the focus is on the quality of movement rather than the quantity of repetitions. Correct breathing is crucial and helps you perform moves with peak efficiency and power. Just as importantly, learning how to breathe correctly can bring down stress levels.

Get lean, long muscles and increase flexibility

Most other conventional exercises have a tendency to build short, burly muscles. These muscles are the type that are more susceptible to injury. Pilates elongates and strengthens, improving joint mobility and muscle elasticity. This balance of strength and flexibility makes your body less prone to injury.

Develop an evenly toned-up body, prevent injuries, and improve sports performance

In the same way, a lot of these traditional workouts have a tendency to work the same muscles. This leads to strong muscles getting stronger and weak muscles getting weaker. Muscular imbalance is the result – a leading cause of chronic back pain and injury.

Pilates trains the entire body, even the feet and ankles. No one muscle group is undertrained or overtrained. Your entire muscular structure is evenly conditioned and balanced, allowing you to enjoy sports and daily activities with greater comfort, better performance and a smaller likelihood of injury.

Discover how to move with efficiency

Pilates exercises in Orlando work out several groups of muscles at the same time in continuous, smooth movements. By learning the correct technique, you can teach your body to move in safer, more efficient motion patterns, which is priceless for sports performance, optimal health and good posture.

Pilates could seriously help you. Make an appointment at Zero Gravity Fitness in Ocoee to learn more. Contact us today to schedule a consultation!

Looking for Pilates Classes in Orlando? Visit Zero Gravity Fitness!

Zero Gravity Fitness is a personal training studio that specializes in Pilates and personal training. It is located in Ocoee, Florida, which is roughly 13 miles west of Orlando. It is owned by the husband-and-wife team Leo and Sara Acioli who founded the studio eight years ago.

Sara Acioli is a native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, with a background in dance. She was a professional dancer who performed all over the world. She became interested in Pilates after undergoing rehabilitation for a serious back injury. She was so impressed by the results that she decided to become an instructor and earned certification as a Stott Pilates instructor and personal trainer. Sara is also certified kettle bell instructor.

Leo Acioli earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Health Science, Exercise Physiology track, from the University of South Florida. He also minored in Health Services Administration. He has been training since 1992 and is a member of both the Aerobics and Fitness Association of America (AFAA) and the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NCSA).

What is Pilates?

Pilates is an exercise program developed by Joseph Pilates (1883-1967), a German-born athlete and fitness instructor. The program emphasizes strengthening the core or the abdominal, thigh, hip and back muscles. The exercises can also improve flexibility, balance and posture and reduce back pain. Pilates resembles calisthenics to a degree in the sense that it involves simple exercises and many repetitions.

A modified form of this exercise program is offered to pregnant women. People with conditions like osteoporosis, a herniated disk, or unstable blood pressure need to talk to a staff member before taking a class, for they may also need modified exercises.

Other services offered by Zero Gravity Fitness

Zero Gravity Fitness offers both personal and group training. The staff can also help athletes playing a specific sport tailor their exercise regimen to fit the demands of that sport. In addition to a Pilates studio, Zero Gravity Fitness has a gym with strength training equipment and SuperFlex wall stations.

Other classes provided by Zero Gravity include the following:

• Body Shock Training
• Yoga
• Kettlebells
• Group Reformer

Body Shock Training is a personalized program designed for experienced athletes who have been doing the same workouts for a long time and have consequently reached a plateau. It includes cardiovascular training and free weights.

Learn More at Zero Gravity Fitness

If you are looking to improve your physical fitness, Pilates at Zero Gravity Fitness is one of the best ways to do it. Contact our office in Orlando to learn more!

The 10 Miraculous Benefits of Pilates

Joseph Pilates created an effective, cross-training workout in the early part of the past century that will add a completely new level to your cardio and weight-lifting routine. Pilates can be tailored to your individual needs. It is great for men and women of any age because it can be as easy or strenuous as you want. This type of exercise has become synonymous with a fit and toned body, so it is no wonder the benefits are considered miraculous. There are various benefits that you stand to gain if you start a regular routine of Pilates.

1. Improve flexibility – When you stretch your muscles, they become elongated, which increases your range of motion. As you continue to practice Pilates, you will become more flexible. If you do other workouts, you may find that your performance improves too.

2. Improve breathing – Since you pay careful attention to breathing while doing Pilates, your breathing patterns improve along with your blood circulation. When you are breathing properly, your bloodstream is better able to deliver oxygen to your muscles and organs while removing toxins. This may also help muscles recover faster after a workout.

3. Improve your posture – After doing Pilates for a few weeks, you will notice how you stand because you will be focusing on good spinal alignment during the exercise, and this will change your awareness at other times of the day.

4. Improve bone density – Bones respond to resistance exercises just as muscles do. During Pilates workouts, you may use resistance bands and springs to create stronger bones.

5. Improves back pain – It strengthens the core support to the back and stretches and strengthens the back muscles that may be out of alignment due to poor posture and overuse.

6. Strengthens abdominal muscles – You will contract your abdominal muscles with every exercise. In addition, the deep abdominal muscles are targeted.

7. Provides a cross-training workout – You can avoid overuse injuries when you want to up your performance by adding some Pilates sessions into your regular routine.

8. Provides aerobic benefits – The aerobic benefits vary depending on the intensity of the workout. Some advanced moves will raise your heart rate while seated or prone moves may lower it. Moving quickly between the two gives the best workout.

9. Strengthens joints – With elongated and strong muscles, you may have more joint mobility. This helps ward off arthritis because there is less risk of stiff or weak joints.

10. Improves digestion – When your blood is circulating properly, toxins are removed from your body faster. This helps the digestive system.

Along with these benefits, you will also experience increased energy, body-mind awareness and reduced stress levels. Pilates offers many more benefits, which is why it is the most popular fitness method all over the world. It is recommended by many health and fitness professionals and incorporated into different kinds of workouts.

When you talk to our specialist at Zero Gravity Fitness, you may learn about beginner or advanced Pilates sessions, depending on your situation. Contact us today to schedule an appointment at our office in Ocoee.

Just 45 Minutes of Exercise a Week can Benefit Older Adults with Arthritis

According to the CDC, arthritis, or inflammation of the joints, affects 49.7 percent of people over the age of 65. That means nearly half of us will experience pain and discomfort in the joints during our “retirement years.” The good news is, a new study shows that it doesn’t take much to improve and maintain good physical function. Professor of Rheumatology and Preventative Medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School, Dorothy Dunlap and her team have determined that just 45 minutes of moderate exercise per week is enough to help arthritic patients better control their condition.

Here at Zero Gravity, we have found that the trick is to find forms of exercise that don’t intimidate our senior population. Over the past ten years, we have helped older adults exercise in a way that helps them feel better, not beat up. Exercise can be intimidating for people who live with arthritis pain. We help people recognize their limitations and then design programs that fit those limitations. At Zero Gravity, what we find is that over time clients eventually feel better and do more. When they exceed expectations, they also gain confidence.

When working with an older population, it helps to have all of the Pilates equipment available. This specialized equipment is particularly beneficial to those who find it difficult to get up and down off the floor. It allows people to use the equipment for strength and stretching without putting them in an uncomfortable and often embarrassing position. Supporting our clients through some light cardio in addition to this type of work is usually enough to get them feeling better. At Zero Gravity we have seen amazing results. It’s nice to see that research confirms this approach is working.

There is no need to put off getting started on a program. If you are suffering with arthritis, what are you waiting for? Give us a call today. We can guide you through that 45 minutes of exercise that will help you manage your pain, and improve function. Get started on the path to a better you.

Sara Acioli
Zero Gravity Fitness

* Doctor Dunlap’s study can be found in the journal Arthritis Care & Research

Improve Your Posture with Pilates

Pilates is a collection of exercises somewhat reminiscent of yoga. It was developed in the 1920s by the gymnast Joseph Pilates, who originally devised the exercises as physical therapy for injured dancers. Many of the movements were patterned after those of animals like big cats, seals and swans.

What Does Pilates Involve?

Pilates emphasizes strengthening the body’s core or the muscles in the body’s mid-section. The core includes the lower back, abdomen and thighs. This is a low-impact form of exercise that emphasizes correct form over “feeling the burn.” It is, therefore, less likely to cause injury than other types of exercises.

There are over 600 exercises, and they range from easy to difficult. “The 100” involves laying on one’s back with the legs and head raised. The person pumps their arms up and down while keeping them straight. The exercise both strengthens the stomach muscles and teaches breath control.

“Rolling like a ball” also strengthens the stomach muscles and massages the person’s back. The individual sits down with their legs drawn up and then rocks back and forth.

“The saw” is another beginner’s exercise. The person sits with their legs straight and spread wide. With their arms straight out to the side, the person twists to one side to touch their toes. They pulse back and forth over the foot three times and then return to the starting position. They then twist to the other side and repeat the exercise.

What are the Benefits?

Pilates strengthens the body’s core, and that has multiple benefits. It reduces the chances of injury; a person with a strong core is less likely to hurt their back while lifting a heavy object than somebody with a weak core.

This form of exercise can also improve balance, coordination and flexibility. The emphasis on correct form not only reduces the chance of injury, but it also helps the athlete improve their posture. Pilates itself is also flexible. There are hundreds of exercises, so the person is unlikely to get bored.

What is the Pilates Reformer?

This is a piece of exercise equipment that was invented by Joseph Pilates himself. It has a frame about the size and shape of a bed. The frame has a foot bar at one end and a set of springs at the other. A wheeled platform or carriage lies within the frame. The carriage has shoulder blocks that keep the athlete from slipping off. It is also attached to the springs at one end, and the apparatus can be adjusted to provide different levels of resistance.

Many exercises can be performed on the Reformer. A person can sit, stand or lie down. Many of the exercises involve pushing or pulling the carriage, while others involve holding it in place during a routine.

At Zero Gravity Fitness in Ocoee, we are proud to offer a wide range of Pilates classes that are led by our experienced trainers. Contact us today to schedule an appointment to learn more about your options!

The History of Pilates

Pilates is a form of exercise that emphasizes strengthening the core. Most of the exercises, therefore, involve the abdominal muscles, lower back, thighs and hips. This form of exercise has often been compared to calisthenics and yoga. It is named after its developer, Joseph Pilates.

Who Was Joseph Pilates?

Joseph Hubertus Pilates was born in 1883 in Monchengladbach, Germany. He was a sickly child afflicted with asthma, and he badly wanted to grow stronger. He, therefore, turned to exercise and athletics and studied a variety of exercise regimens. He became fascinated by the classical Greek ideal of man being balanced in spirit, mind and body. As he grew older, his health improved, and he became a gymnast, boxer, skier and diver.

Joseph moved to England in 1912, where he trained Scotland Yard detectives in self-defense. He interned as an “enemy alien” during World War I, but during this time, he still continued his studies of exercise. He also taught his methods to some of his fellow captives. He attached springs to hospital beds so the patients could perform resistance exercises, an innovation he later incorporated in his equipment designs. When a flu epidemic struck England and killed thousands, all of Joseph’s students survived.

After the War, Joseph returned to Germany, where his exercise methods caught the attention of professional dancers. He then left Germany for good in 1926, when he immigrated to the United States.

Joseph met and fell in love with a woman named Clara Zeuner during the journey, and they eventually married. After arriving in New York, the Pilates opened a fitness studio near the New York City Ballet. Again, Joseph’s exercises became popular with dancers. He called his exercises “Contrology;” people did not start calling them “Pilates” until after he’d died. Joseph continued training people until his death at the age of 83 in 1967.

Gaining in Popularity

Pilates was popular with dancers in New York City and eventually spread throughout the United States. The exercises could be used to train people or to help them recover from injury. Some of Joseph’s students, including Bob Seed and Carola Trier, became Pilates instructors themselves and opened their own studios. Another former student, Eve Gentry, established a studio in Santa Fe, Mexico. In 1970, one of Joseph’s former students, Ron Fletcher, opened a studio in Los Angeles. Many Hollywood stars became clients. Fletcher also added his own innovations to the original exercises.

Fletcher’s studio, with its Hollywood connections, arguably contributed the most to the spread of Pilates. The media eventually took note of the stars’ love for the exercises and covered it extensively in the late 80s. The coverage led to a boom in Pilates, and it ceased to be the province of dancers. Elite athletes associated with the Olympics, NFL, NBA, NHL, MLS and MLB began and continue to practice this form of exercise. Today, over 10 million Americans practice it.

Experience the Benefits for Yourself

At Zero Gravity Fitness in Ocoee, we have a fully-equipped Pilates studio where we host private classes for those who want to build strength while creating a sleek and toned physique. Contact us today to schedule your appointment to learn more, or to start a program.

Combining Pilates and Sports Training to Maximize Performance

Keeping fit and healthy calls for maintaining balance. It’s well-known that a strength training program should be accompanied by an aerobic exercise to help build stamina and strengthen the cardiovascular system. Exercise routines that concentrate on only one set of muscles need to be accompanied by exercises that work out other muscles.

What is sports training?

Sports training or sports-specific training is an exercise regime designed to improve an athlete’s performance in a given sport. Many such regimes emphasize stamina, flexibility and strength. They also concentrate on attributes needed to perform a sport at an elite level. For example, swinging a golf club calls for both good balance and strength, so a golfer’s exercise program would emphasize those needs. A tennis player needs strong arms and good reflexes, so their program would focus on those attributes.

A sports training program would also teach the athlete about the game itself. The trainer would also help the athlete train or practice at the optimal pace to ensure their fitness and readiness for game days.

What is Pilates?

Pilates is a form of exercise that emphasizes conditioning and strengthening the core muscles to improve flexibility, balance, and posture. Practitioners perform exercises involving the lower back, abdomen, hips and thighs. During a typical routine, the athlete could perform 25 to 50 repetitions of a given exercise.

Pilates reminds some people of yoga or calisthenics. Many of the exercises are done on a mat while others require a piece of equipment called the reformer. It resembles a wooden bed frame with a flat carriage the athlete lies, sits, kneels or stands on. Shoulder blocks help keep the athlete stay in the proper place. The reformer also has a set of leather straps.

For all its virtues, Pilates is not an aerobic exercise and should, therefore, be paired with an aerobic exercise like biking or swimming to get the best results.

How can Pilates help an athlete with sports training?

Pilates provides balance. Some athletes, like golfers or tennis players, use one side of the body a lot more than they use the other. Eventually, the muscles on the dominant side become much stronger than the muscles on the other side, resulting in imbalance.

That imbalance can lead to overtraining injuries. Pilates works both sides of the body, and the exercises can be tailored to strengthen the weaker side and relax the overworked side.

Pilates strengthens the core muscles and thus gives the athlete a strong foundation. All athletes, no matter what their sport, need strong core muscles. A strong core provides stamina and enables the athlete to move efficiently.

Also, strong, well-balanced muscles are less susceptible to injury. A Pilates program can reduce the number of injuries an athlete might suffer and, therefore, gives them more time to train.

Contact Us

Contact Zero Gravity Fitness today to see how combining Pilates and sports training can benefit you.

The Benefits of Prenatal Pilates

Staying active during pregnancy is quite the feat, but not all have been able to do it. Prenatal Pilates has a host of physical benefits that help women during pregnancy and labor and into the postpartum period.

Preventing Diastasis Recti

As a woman’s abdominal muscles stretch to accommodate the growing uterus, a separation between the rectus muscles begins. This is normal and keeps the muscles from having to overstretch. However, this separation becomes a bit too pronounced in some women and it is difficult for the muscles to return to normal after labor and delivery.

Diastasis recti is not dangerous, but the belly will retain a vaguely pregnant appearance years after delivery. Short women are more likely to get diastasis recti simply because the belly has to grow further out. To help prevent it from occurring, pregnant women should focus on their transverse abdominals, the muscles deep in the abdomen, and stop focusing on the superficial “six pack” muscles. Strong abdominals help support the growing size and weight of the belly of the uterus, acting almost like a corset to put less strain on the back and shoulders.

Lowering the Risk of Stress Incontinence

Many women experience a loss of bladder control after birth when they sneeze, cough, laugh, or exercise. This is because the pelvic floor weakens and the sphincter in the bladder becomes weak. As the uterus grows during pregnancy, the pelvic floor is responsible for supporting the bladder. When it is time to deliver the baby, these same muscles have to become completely lax. Pilates helps pregnant women feel the contraction and relaxation of the pelvic floor muscles, indicating they are working the muscles as they become strong and flexible. The flexibility returns the pelvic floor to normal post-partum.

Strengthening the Back and Preventing Back Pain

As the belly grows, the back starts to bear the burden of that extra weight. Many women get back pain as their pregnancy progresses. Good posture alleviates back pain, but good posture is hard to come by when the center of gravity is thrown off by a burgeoning belly. Strong back muscles improve posture because they’re strong enough to support the extra weight. Strong back muscles also play a part during labor and delivery and reduced back pain when new moms are constantly holding a baby or hunched over feeding their newborn.

Breath Control

Pilates uses breath to support different postures and get students through difficult moments when the muscles are bunched and burning. Breath work is important in prenatal Pilates, and these techniques are useful during labor, too. Women have to breathe through contractions, pushing, and delivery. Deep breathing while pushing puts more power behind the pelvic muscles, reducing how long women are pushing.

Prenatal Pilates is a great form of low-impact exercise that a healthy pregnant woman can successfully do for her entire pregnancy. Contact Zero Gravity Fitness today to schedule an appointment.

Eliminate Aches and Pains with Prenatal Pilates

Pregnancy is the most amazing experience of a lifetime as you prepare for that moment when you will bring a new person into this world. As your baby grows inside of you, your body will undergo significant changes. The weight and strain of carrying your baby can cause discomfort that can wear you down. With prenatal pilates, you can eliminate the aches and pains that are a common companion for expectant mothers.

What is Prenatal Pilates?

Pilates is a form of exercise that focuses on focused movements that improve flexibility and strength. It addresses proper posture and mental focus as well. Prenatal Pilates is based on the concepts of Pilates but has been adapted for the pregnant mother to help you feel better and avoid injury.

Prenatal Pilates is considered to be a safe alternative when it comes to choosing a fitness regimen during pregnancy. Throughout each trimester of your pregnancy, you will be provided with exercises that specifically target the changes in your posture and the alignment of your body that occur over the course of nine months.

In addition to helping you as you carry your baby full term, prenatal Pilates will provide you with strength and help you to be limber during the stages of delivery. It will also make it easier during the postpartum period as you get your body back into shape once again.

Take Care of Your Body During Every Stage of Pregnancy

From the moment you find out that you are pregnant, until the day that you deliver, you need to remain active. Your physical fitness is key in maintaining a healthy weight and having the strength that is needed during the rigors of labor.

Unless you have a health condition or high-risk pregnancy that prevents you from exercising while you are expecting, prenatal pilates is an excellent alternative that can be performed several days a week. Be sure to have a day of rest in between each exercise day to allow your body to recharge and avoid too much strain.

Listen to what your body is trying to tell you and take breaks between sets as necessary. The further along that you are in your pregnancy, the more you may need to adapt your routine to adjust to the changes that are happening in your body.

With consistent exercise and the techniques provided through prenatal Pilates, you will be fit and relieve the pains that often plague pregnant women.

Discover the Prenatal Pilates Difference

Regardless of what stage of pregnancy you are in, you can experience the prenatal pilates difference for yourself. At Zero Gravity Fitness, we offer prenatal pilates and are happy to help you get started. With strength, flexibility, and proper posture, you will find that it is much easier to bear the weight of the little one developing inside of you as the miracle of birth approaches. Contact us today to request an appointment.

Zero Gravity Fitness