March MATness

Happy Friday! Today we will add the last 3 of the “series of 5.” The single straight leg stretch, the double straight leg stretch and the criss cross. These 3 exercises are not part of Joseph Pilates original mat repertoire but are great core strengtheners. Your ultimate goal is to perform the “series of 5” without rest in between.

Single Straight Leg Stretch

1. Lie on your back with your knees into your chest and your head and shoulder blades curled off the mat
2. Extend both your legs up to the ceiling and walk both your hands up your right leg towards your ankle
3. Left leg lowers down a few inches away from the mat
4. While keeping a strong stabile center scissor kick and switch legs
5. As the legs are moving focus on keeping the tailbone and shoulder blades anchored into the mat. Repeat 6-10x








Double Straight Leg Stretch

1. After you have completed the single straight leg stretch, interlace your hands and place them behind the base of your skull, legs lengthen long and squeeze together as straight as you can up to the ceiling
2. Inhale, stretch your legs away from your body as you actively pull your rib cage and abs into the mat
3. Exhale, deepen the abs and pull your legs back up to your starting position. Repeat 6-10x








Criss Cross

1. After completing the double straight leg stretch, keep your hands interlaced behind your head, bend your right knee into your chest and lengthen your left leg a few inches away from the mat
2. Inhale, twist your torso to the right, bringing your left armpit towards the right knee
3. Exhale as you maintain control and twist to the left bringing the left knee into your chest
4. As you alternate side to side try to curl up deeper into the work each time
5. Focus on the rotation of the spine as you are twisting. Repeat 6x each side

IMG_1566 IMG_1563

March MATness – Single Leg Stretch and Double Leg Stretch

Today we are going to add the single leg stretch and double leg stretch to the mat repertoire that you have hopefully been practicing at home! These are the first two in what we call the “series of 5”

Single Leg Stretch

1. Lie on your back with your legs full extended and engaged. Arms actively pressing into the mat by your side.
2. Squeezing the legs together tightly, pull your ribcage and abs into the mat and lift both the legs a few inches away from the mat
3. Bring the weight of the head forward by curling the upper body and gaze past your toes
4. Bring your right knee into your chest, grab onto your shins and pull the knee into the chest
5. As you are pulling the right knee into the chest, the left leg is actively reaching away from the body
6. Maintaining a strong center switch legs
7. Repeat on each side 5-10x

Double Leg Stretch

1. Lie on your back with your legs full extended and engaged. Arms actively pressing into the mat by your side.
2. Squeezing the legs together tightly, pull your ribcage and abs into the mat and lift both the legs a few inches away from the mat
3. Inhale as you bring the weight of the head forward by curling the upper body and gaze past your toes
4. Arms stretched long, Squeeze the palms in tightly on the side of the thighs and hold for 3 counts
5. Deeply bend the knees into your chest and give them a big hug as you exhale
6. Inhale extend the legs back out and squeeze the arms in tight to the side of the thighs. Repeat 5-10x

The double leg stretch can also be done with the arms extended behind you as the legs are stretching away from your center. Think of the body as being stretched into two directions with a strong center. Visit for video clips of all the exercises!



March MATness – The Roll Over

Here we are on day 3 of March MATness and that brings us to the rollover. The roll over is a “rolling” exercise and requires a lot of control. A very important component of this movement is to remember the “full body” connection. Before you practice the roll over, make sure that you feel strong and in control when performing the prep below.

Roll Over Prep

1.  Lie on your back with your legs fully extended and engaged, arms long by your side actively pressing into the mat

2.  Inhale and begin to lift the legs away from the mat using the deep squeeze of the thighs, glutes and abs

3.  Lift the legs up to a 90 degree angle

4.  Continue the active engagement of the legs and press the upper body into the mat as you peel the tailbone away from the mat

5.  Keeping a strong center lower the legs back down to the mat. Repeat 3-6x









Roll Over

1.  Lie on your back with your legs fully extended and engaged, arms long by your side actively pressing into the mat

2.  Inhale and begin to lift the legs away from the mat using the deep squeeze of the thighs, glutes and abs

3.  Continue the active engagement of the legs and press the upper body into the mat as you begin to peel your spine away from the mat and bring the legs overhead (Use the support of the strong arms and core to support the weight making sure it is not in the head and neck)

4.  With the legs overhead, exhale and open the legs hip width and flex the feet

5. Inhale, begin to roll the spine back into the mat as you lengthen the legs away in opposition

6. Exhale as the legs lower down and together to the mat as far as you can control. Repeat 3x

7. Reverse the pattern of the legs and repeat 3x




March MATness – The Roll Up


The Roll Up

1. Lie on your back with legs fully extended, feet flexed, arms lengthening towards the wall behind you
2. Inhale as you bring your arms to the ceiling and pull your ribcage and abs into the mat
3. Bring the weight of your head forward and begin to peel your spine away from the mat exhaling as you roll all the way up
4. Take a deep inhale, exhale as you start to roll back onto your mat
5. Repeat 3-5x
















If the full roll up is too challenging for you at this time, try the Roll Back. This is a great to tool to help you connect with your deep abs, work flexion and your articulation.

Roll Back

1. Sit on the mat with your knees bent about 2 feet away from your seat
2. Hands behind your thighs, elbows wide
3. Squeeze your thighs together as you curl your tailbone under bringing your lower back into the mat
4. Use the work that you feel in your abs to bring yourself back up to seated








***remember that every movement is full body!



Most people know that adequate sleep is necessary for optimal health however; most do not realize that inadequate sleep can cause weight gain. Research shows that the number of hours an individual sleeps influences their risk of obesity. Sleep deprivation can be a vicious cycle – eventually it will sabotage your waistline and your health!

Studies have shown that sleep deprivation is linked to obesity. Sleep deprivation can influence two appetite hormones – leptin and ghrelin.
1. Leptin, is a hormone that is produced in the fat cells. Its main function is to signal the brain to reduce appetite and burn more calories.
2. Ghrelin, is a hormone released by the stomach that increases hunger, slows metabolism and decreases the body’s ability to burn fat.

Sleep deprivation can be a vicious cycle with your health and your waistline. It starts off with making poor dietary choices when you are low in energy, like going for some sort of comfort food (like cookies, sweets, or potato chips, etc.) just to try to stay awake. Those that are sleep deprived eat more possibly due to the decreased levels of leptin. The brain responds thinking it’s a sign of starvation and the body slows down its metabolism (burning fewer calories) as a result makes it easier to pack on the pounds or difficult to lose weight.

Obesity Can Also CAUSE Lack of Sleep
There is another connection between obesity and sleep deprivation – obstructive sleep apnea, or sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is a condition where an individual’s airway becomes obstructed, often by a large amount of fat tissue in the neck. The result is a cutoff in airflow, causing one to wake up numerous times throughout the night. Obesity is thus a major contributing factor for sleep apnea, and is often listed as one of its main causes.
For those that are not getting sound quality sleep per night, start by getting a good’s night rest with a few tips from the Cleveland Clinic’s Sleep Disorder Center.
• Establish a routine with going to bed and waking up around the same time – even on the weekends.
• Make sleep a priority
• Exercise is great to add to your daily routine. Exercise can help boost your energy but be sure to exercise earlier in the day or 4 hour before you go to bed so you are not too stimulated.
• Avoid alcohol and caffeine as it can interfere with sleep. Especially with alcohol, make you feel sluggish the next day.
• Keep the bedroom free from distractions, such as watching TV, cell phone, lap top, home work, emailing, etc.
• Talk to your doctor if you are experiencing trouble with sleep apnea, insomnia or other sleep disorders. If untreated overtime can affect your overall health.

How to Get A Better Nights Rest

Sleep Disorder Center

Recipe: Citrus Salmon with Cannelli Beans

Servings: 1/Serving Size: 1
Weight Watcher pts; 7/Pts plus: 8

Calories: 345/protein: 27 g/ carbs: 24 g/ fiber: 7 gImage


3-4 ounces broiled Wild caught Atlantic salmon 1/2 c cannellini beans – boiled & drained (canned, rinse well) 1/4 c chopped Italian parsley 1 tsp olive oil
2 Tbsp fresh squeezed orange juice
1 tsp orange zest (preferably organic)
1 Tbsp green onion, finely chopped
1 small garlic clove, minced
Salt and black pepper to taste


In a small bowl combine, beans, parsley, olive oil, 1 Tbsp orange juice, green onions; mix well. Transfer to serving plate.
Top the broiled salmon on bean/parsley salad. Top salmon with garlic, orange zest and remaining orange juice. Add salt and pepper to taste if you like, serve with orange wedges for more flavor.

Nutritional Analysis: 345 calories/protein: 27 g/ carbs: 24 g/ fiber: 7 g/ sugars: 5 g/ total fat: 15 g/ saturated fat: 3 g/ monounsaturated fat: 7 g/ polyunsaturated fat: 4 g/cholesterol: 53 mg/ sodium: 295 mg
% Daily Values based on a 2,000 calorie diet for adults: vitamin k: 348%/ vitamin C: 75%/selenium: 56%/B12: 40%/ folate: 40%/ B3: 39%/ phosphorus: 38%/ B6: 35%/ B1: 27%/ B1: 32%/ manganese: 27%/ magnesium: 21% /iron: 19%/pantothenic acid: 16%/ copper: 16% B2: 12%/ calcium: 11%/zinc: 9%/ chromium: 2%



Deciding how often to indulge in your favorite treats can be a difficult choice. Do you indulge in a treat every day or just on the weekends? If you are too strict with your eating plan, it can backfire, resulting in binge eating or worse yet uncontrollable binge eating. A single binge is not the end of the world, as long as you get back on track with your diet. But regular binges could definitely interfere with your progress and damage what you are trying to accomplish – balancing a healthy eating lifestyle.

When it comes to allowing yourself to indulge in your favorite foods, you always hear the phrase, ‘moderation is key”. What does that even mean? For the foodie, it may mean eating a few bites of fries every day or eating pizza once a week. For the extreme health nut, it might mean eating pizza everything three months with light cheese and no pepperoni! Most nutritionists agree it’s about finding that balance of eating healthy and allowing some indulgences.

Research has suggested that indulging in your favorite foods during a “diet” can have some benefits. For instance, it can help eliminate binge eating because you are not adhering to a strict unrealistic diet plan. In addition, research has found that it can help speed up your metabolism. If you tend to eat the same clean eating healthy foods over and over without over indulging, your body gets kind of lazy metabolizing the same foods. Your body starts to recognize the same foods you are eating and this decreases the amount of work needed to metabolize it. Getting a tasty treat in once or twice a week during your diet may actually be helpful in allowing you to reach your long term weight goals.

This holiday season, allow yourself a treat that that you truly enjoy and love and forgoe the others. If you don’t have a weak spot for cake, don’t eat it. Just because the people around you are eating it doesn’t mean you have to as well. If your weakness is pizza, have a slice just keep in mind to skip something else to make room for that pizza slice. It’s all about finding balance in exercise and eating a variety of nutritious foods.

** Recipe ***


1 (16 ounce) box linguine (such as Barilla linguine)
1 (ounces) can diced tomatoes with liquid
1 medium white onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 teaspoons dried oregano leaves
2 ¼ c broth (I used low sodium)
2 ¼ c. water
1 TBSP extra virgin olive oil
1 bunch (about 10 to 12 leaves) basil, diced
optional: Parmesan cheese for garnish
Optional: add your choice of protein: shrimp, fish, meat balls, chicken, etc.

1. In a large stock pan or 3 quart sautee pan, place un-cooked pasta, tomatoes, onion, and garlic in a large stock pot. Pour in broth and water. Drizzle top with oil.

2. On medium heat, cover pot and bring to a boil. Reduce to a low simmer and keep covered and cook for about 8 to10 minutes, stirring every 2 minutes or so with tongs or large fork. Cook until almost all liquid has evaporated – I left about an inch of liquid in the bottom of the pot – but you can reduce as desired.

3.Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add basil leaves and stir pasta several times to distribute the liquid in the bottom of the pot evenly throughout the pasta as you are serving.

4. Serve garnished with Parmesan cheese. Top with your choice of protein.


Commandment #8: YOU NEED TO BE MINDFUL

Over the last few weeks of the Prevent the Pudge Challenge, we have covered various nutrition topics from eating clean to macronutrient consumption but little focus has been shed on how we eat! The purpose of mindful eating is to have a reconnection with food and enjoy the experience of eating. Mindful eating is based on the idea that there is no right or wrong way to eat, but instead being aware of what we are eating and why. The goal of mindful eating is to base meals on physical cues, such as hunger pangs versus emotional triggers like stress eating.

Strategies for Beating Mindless Eating:
Whether you’re at your computer munching on a bag of pretzels or watching television chomping on a bag of potato chips, or a few bites of your kid’s leftover meals, mindless eating is one definite way to pack on the pounds. In addition, just mindlessly eating 100 calories a day, can lead to consuming an extra 700 calories at the end of the week. Worse yet, keep eating an extra 100 mindless calories a day and you’ll be gaining up to 10 pounds in a year!

To prevent mindless eating and unintentional weight gain, follow these mindless eating strategies:

Write it down. Food journaling is a great tool to use because it helps you discover the emotions that lead you to over snack or to overeat at meals. If you note in your food diary that you did overeat, ask yourself why, without being judgmental. What events or emotions triggered your eating?
Savor the silence. Our daily lives are full of distractions. Consider making mealtime (especially with families), an electronics-free zone this includes silencing the cell phone. Focus on the taste of your food as well as taking the time to enjoy your family. This will allow you to check in with yourself so that you can stop when you’re satisfied.
• Know your trigger foods. Out of sight, out of mind. Make it a rule to keep your trigger foods out of your grocery cart and out of your house! Eat with your stomach, not with your eyes
• Slow Down. Take the time to enjoy the food you are eating. Try to slow down your eating my chewing your food about 15 to 20 chews or just enough number of chews to really savor the food in your mouth. Another technique is to eat with your non dominant hand because it requires more attention to coordination and placement. Set your fork down and take a 30 seconds to determine if you are still hungry or if you’ve had enough.
• Eat only when hungry. Eat only when hungry. Ask yourself if you are truly hungry before reaching for something. Try drinking a glass of water or some hot tea. If you are still hungry then eat, but try to eat until about 80% satisfied, not until you are stuffed. Aim to eat until your 80 percent full – any more will make you feel stuffed and any less will make you feel deprived.
• Smaller Plates. Portion sizes have increased in size over the years, just like our waistlines. To avoid this, check in
Avoid the Stomach Growls. When you are ravenous, the more likely you are to overeat and consume more calories than your body needs and before your brain can register all the food you devoured. Try eating smaller frequent meals every 3 to 4 hours with a small snack in between meals if need. This way you are less likely to experience the powerful stomach growls.

Start out by practicing mindful eating by taking on one or two of these strategies and gradually add them into your eating plan. Mindful eating is a process of making peace with all foods, no foods are off limits – the focus becomes how you eat, not what you eat. You may find what you want to eat shifting dramatically for the better too. It can be practiced with chocolate or salad, cupcakes or oatmeal. You can practice mindful eating at home, at work, or even as you snack on the go. Chances are, you’ll not only gain a greater appreciation for your food, but you’ll find your habits changing in the process too. In no time, you will see, feel and taste the difference.

Benefits of Mindfulness

Five Strategies for Mindful Eating and a Healthier, Slimmer, You

*** recipe***

Gingerbread Granola
Servings: 10 / Serving size: 1/2 cup
Weight Watcher Points Plus: 7
Calories: 205 / Protein: 5 g/ Fat: 8 g/Carbs: 40 g/ Fiber: 1 g
4 cups of old fashioned rolled oats
1/4 cup molasses
2 Tbsp maple syrup (add a bit more if you like your granola sweet)
2 1/2 tsp ground ginger (I added a bit more after I toasted the granola)
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/2 cup walnuts
1/2 cup chopped dried apples
1. Pre -heat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with silpat mat or parchment paper, set aside.
2. In a medium bowl, add rolled oats. In a small bowl add: molasses, maple syrup, and spices; mix well. Pour the molasses mixture into the bowl of oats. Get ready to get your hands dirty by mixing until the oats are all covered with the molasses mixture.
3. Evenly distribute the oat mixture on the baking sheet, put into the oven to bake for about 15- 20 minutes or until golden brown, stir every 5 minutes or so.
4. Remove granola from the oven, let it cool. Add dried fruit, nuts or seeds.
5. Store in an air tight container, keep in the refrigerator or freezer.
6. Package them into cute containers such as mason jar or treat bags to give away as gifts!
Check out other granola recipes that make awesome holiday gifts!
§ Pumpkin Cranberry Granola
§ Cherry Coconut Granola
§ Banana Walnut Granola


Commandment #7: YOU NEED WATER.

Water makes up about 60 percent of total body mass in adults and about 75 percent for infants. Water is the most essential nutrient the body needs, followed by electrolytes. The major electrolytes include sodium, potassium and chloride, they are essential to maintain normal fluid balance. Each cell must have just the right amount of water and electrolytes for normal function of our cells.

Some of the important functions of water include:– Aids in weight loss
– Helps transport nutrients (vitamins, minerals, oxygen, etc.)
– Removal of waste and toxins
– Helps suppress appetite
– Helps with metabolism of carbohydrates, fats and proteins
– Improves muscle tone
– Promotes bowel regularity
– Helps with muscle recovery

How much water should you drink? There is no one size fits all to water needs. It basically depends on your age, gender, weight, activity level, and the environment you live in (hot humid conditions, etc). The Food and Nutrition Board recommends an adequate Intake (AI) for men to consume about 3 liters (~13 cups) of total beverages a day. The AI for women is 2.2 liter (~9 cups) of total beverages a day. Some experts believe drinking half your body weight in ounces is a good estimate. For example, if you weigh 150 pounds then your goal is to drink about 75 fluid ounces of water or liquids per day.

How to check your hydration status? There are two ways to measure hydration status. One way is to monitor your urine. If the urine is plentiful and colorless or pale yellow, this means you are well hydrated. The second way to measure hydration status is with the sweat test. The sweat test is a great tool to use to give you an idea of how much fluid you lose during an hour long workout. First, weigh yourself naked before your workout, then after you are done working out weigh yourself again preferably naked because the sweaty clothes will give you an inaccurate reading. For every one pound lost during the workout, (one pound equals 16 ounces) your goal is to drink 16 fluid after your workout to replace the fluids you lost through sweating.

What if you are tired of drinking plain old water? Water is the best source of fluid intake but other sources count towards your fluid intake too. Be sure to include a variety of foods with a high water content and other beverages such as: smoothies, milk, coffee and tea, 100% fruit juice, soups, coconut water, popsicles, jell-o, fruits and vegetables.

What about sports drinks are they necessary? The main purpose of sports drinks is to replace the lost fluids along with replacing electrolytes and carbs (see below on how you can make your own homemade sports drink!). Sports drinks are best for individuals that have lost electrolytes during high intensity exercises exceeding 45 to 60 minutes. If you find that you have salty sweat on your skin from an intense workout, it means you lost a lot of sodium.

Can drinking too much water be harmful? Yes, it is possible to drink too much water – though it is uncommon. It can be detrimental to your health if you drink too much water especially if your kidneys are unable to excrete the excess water because the electrolyte content of the blood is diluted. The sodium levels are diluted (low), this condition is called hyponatremia.

Institute of Medicine Dietary Reference Intake for Water and Electrolytes.

What Should I Drink While Exercising?

water with cucumber 2

DIY Homemade Sports Drink

Servings 3/ Serving Size ~ 16 fluid ounces
Weight Watcher Points Plus: 2 pts
Calories: 70 /protien: 0 g/ fat: 0 g/ carbs: 19 g/ fiber: 0g
sodium: 204 mg / potassium: 40 mg

• 1 quart of water or your choice of liquids such as green tea or herbal tea, or coconut water
• 1/4 tsp Himalayan or Sea Salt (I prefer pink Himalayan salt for the trace minerals)
• Your choice of 1/4 cup or more of juice for flavor – I used a combination of fresh squezed lime and lemon juice (other juices work well too)
• 2 Tbsp to 4 Tbsp of honey or your choice of sweetener – I used 3 Tbsp to cut down a bit on the sugars
• optional add fresh cut herbs, fruits and vegetables – I added 1 peeled and cut cucumber with a handful of fresh mint leaves.

1. In a large pitcher add water or your choice of liquid.
2. Add salt, fresh lemon/lime juice, and honey; mix well.
3. Add cucumber slices and fresh mint leaves.
4. Serve immediately or store in the refrigerator when ready to drink.

Testimonial, Steve Ann Arbor

As a 49 year old with a desk job who hadn’t engaged in any sort of regular exercise for over four years, I approached Core Sports in March 2011with a great deal of trepidation.  Now six months later, I can easily say that my experience with Core Sports and my trainer, Kelli Hatfield, has been truly transforming.  Kelli has made each of my twice weekly sessions very challenging yet gratifying. She has also counseled me on my dietary practices.   I have already significantly improved my cardiovascular fitness, flexibility, and muscle tone. Most importantly, Core Sports and Kelli Hatfield have caused me to reformulate what I am doing with and to my body.  I am still a work in progress, but I certainly appreciate the progress that I have made so far.

-Steve, Ann Arbor

Testimonial Melissa, Plymouth

I convinced my husband to see Jaime for an introductory lesson and he too has been going for physical training twice a week. He has been working with Jaime on a personal training routine inside as well as outside the studio and continues to see the physical benefits of his Coresport workouts. The activities are simple, effective and can be done just about anywhere – at home or while traveling for work.

– Melissa , Plymouth