Steph is the founder and director of Melbourne’s most premium health and fitness destination Studio PP and one of Australia’s leading experts and advocates for women’s health and fitness. On the eve of her launching her much anticipated online training program this month – perfectly timed for your Spring fitness overhaul – she shares with us her tips to take advantage of nutrition and an active lifestyle and provides a timely at home Spring power abs workout.
Winter is on it’s way out, do you have any tips to get us motivated and shrug off the winter workout blues?
I have a funny spin on being “motivated” Everyone sees motivation as a key driver for success and a re-boot. Simply put Motivation is a short term fix. In order to achieve optimal performance, results and success you need to take the few weeks of good work you got from your “spirt” of motivation and use it as a springboard for success to set you up for long standing sustainable habits and results. Successful people, high achievers don’t wait to just wake up with motivation they just start. Staring is key. Turning up and committing to the process is key. If you don’t first try, you can never succeed.
So long story short – just start. If you need a boost you can try our 28 day spring challenge at Studio PP kicking off 28th September!
How do you take advantage of nutrition and an active lifestyle to transform your beauty routine?
Relaxation, movement, cooking, alone time and sleep are key beauty tools for me to recharge my energy, mind and body. Key tools are:
- Daily movement 30-45 mins (my week consists of x 2 pilates classes, spin, barre and x 1 gym session and I walk on the weekends)
- Dry body brush – 3 times per week
- Drink/sprinkle ProPlenish onto cereal or pop in my daily smoothie
- Nogjtly organic probiotic and magnesium
- Cooking for me is inspiring and a relaxation outlet. I love cooking with my husband and I’m getting better at my food prep. I get a lot of Qs on Instagram about my food – for me it’s a necessity and survival tool for personal performance
- Not overdose on protein but instead lots of good fats (hello guacamole and pretty much anything you can make out of avocado)
Wellness is all about a holistic lifestyle. How does your daily routine nurture your mind, body and spirit?
Mind: positive affirmations, attitude of gratitude – meditation and visualisation and breathe work. I also use yin yoga and gravity floats for mental relaxation.
Body: movement is medicine – move everyday even if it’s just a stretch or foam roll. Drink water (with ProPlenish) eat nourishing and low inflammatory foods, Epsom salt baths. Acupuncture / massage once a week.
Spirit: alone time, adventure in nature (hiking, snowboarding) breathe work, travel, wonder and creativity.
Lastly, what would be the top Pilates moves you would recommend to incorporate into our weekly routine to bring us into Spring?
This at home Spring power abs circuit is a great start. Repeat each move one after the other without rest. Once one set of each move is complete, rest for a minute then repeat for a total of 4 to 5 sets. Work at a moderate to intense pace throughout.
PILATES ROLL UP
Perfect for: Stomach definition and upper ab strength.
- Lay flat on the ground with bent knees a ball rested on your belly button ( a kids ball or soccer ball will do).
- Engage your core and draw your belly button to your spine.
- Exhale as your roll the ball up your legs to the top of your knees.
- Reach as high as you can take a deep breath in at the top and then exhale as you role the ball back down to your belly button.
- Repeat 15 times.
BRIDGE LEG LIFT
Perfect for: A lower body all-rounder, this exercise works your hamstrings, quads, and glutes, with an added bonus of toning the abs too.
- Lay flat on your back with bent knees and hip width apart.
- Take a deep breath in draw your belly button into your spine and tuck your pelvis under, squeeze your glutes and drive your hips and pubic bone up to the ceiling into a nice bridge shape. (Be careful not to arch your back but instead squeeze and tuck you bottom under).
- Now squeeze your right glute and lift your left leg straight up into the air.
- Lower and repeat on the other side all the while keeping your hips straight and stable.
- Add 5 pulses on each side if you need to make it harder.
- Repeat 6-8 on each side.
Perfect for: Working both your inner thighs and core.
- Lie on your back with legs in table top, and toes pointed.
- Place an exercise ball (or a cushion) between your knees and begin to squeeze the knees together. Remember to engage your core and focus on your breathing exhaling as you squeeze.
- After 5 quality squeezes grab the ball and exhale as you extend your legs and reach with the ball to your toes into a crunch.
- Lower back down in the exhale returning the ball to your knees and start squeezing again.
- Repeat x 2 sets of 10.
Perfect for: Core and Hip Stabilisation.
- From plank position, bring one knee towards your chest. Keep your back leg straight and front leg bent.
- Jump to switch sides so that your opposite leg is straight and the other is bent.
- Continue to alternate for each rep, keeping your hips square throught.
- Keep your neck in neutral and shoulders away from ears the entire movement.
- Repeat for 30 seconds.
Perfect for: Core activation.
- From a seated position, tip back onto your tailbone, keeping your spine long and neck neutral as you pull your shoulders down and back.
- Lift your heels so your shins are parallel to the floor and extend your arms out towards your knees.
- If you’re feeling strong, lengthen out your legs straight or keep them in table top position if you start to feel it in your lower back.
- Hold the position for 30 seconds.
1) It feels soo good! Like a firm massage – it’s good pain I swear and the best thing is, you can do it to yourself, for free. By applying pressure to specific tight spots and trigger points on your body, you are able to aid in the recovery of muscles – making them healthy, flexible and ready to perform at a moment’s notice.
2) Cellulite be gone. Now we’re talking! Foam rolling improves cell recovery and blood circulation of your fascia (your connective tissue) muscles, tendons and ligaments, which in turn rids the body of cellulite. Say goodbye expensive firming creams and just keep on rolling ladies.
3) It lengthens your muscles. The quadriceps are often the major “OUCH” spot for the foam roller. Exercise and everyday movement to the legs can make them tight, shortened and in turn limit the function and range of motion in the hips, whilst adding stress to our lower back. Sound familiar? This is why foam rolling is great as a maintenance tool to flush your legs. I suggest rolling every couple of days.
4) It’s the perfect warm-up and warm-down. Foam rolling (in a perfect world) should be performed before and after your workouts. As a dynamic warm-up, it gets the blood flowing to the areas that need it most pre-cardio and strength training. As a cool-down, it’s a great tool for flushing out the toxins and blood that has built up during your workout. It also helps move new oxygenated blood through the muscles and speed up the recovery process.
5) It can help shape the perfect butt — perky peachy butt in, sad saggy bum out! Rolling can loosen up the ITB (that sore muscle down the side of your legs) the quads, the glutes and the calves, which is important to maximise your range of motion. Basically foam rolling allows you to lunge and squat deeper, in order to really target and tone the butt.
NOW LETS GET ROLLING!
Start by rolling out the front of your thighs. Place the roller under your thighs and about an inch or two below your hip joint. Use your elbows to pull yourself forward and roll all the way down to about an inch above your kneecap.
Duration: Repeat the forward and backwards rolling motion for at least 10-15 times.
Tip: You want to stay on the ‘big’ muscles and avoid rolling directly on bone and hip joints.
Move onto your side. Again, stay about an inch above your knee and an inch below your hip and roll with pressure at least. When you feel a tight spot, work on it in a forward and backwards motion – and don’t forget to breathe into the tight spots.
Duration: Roll 10 times.
Tip: If the pressure is too much, take the top leg off and rest it on the mat in front of you – keeping the bottom leg straight – and just work through the same motion without the weight of the second leg. Build up to full pressure.
Sit on the centre of the foam roller, with one foot crossed to the opposite knee. (into a flute stretch) Place one or both hands on the floor behind you to support your upper body then slowly rock and roll the glute of your bent leg. Then switch leg positions to roll the opposite glute.
Duration: Roll 10-15 times each side
Tip: To enhance the stretch tilt your hips slightly to the side that the leg is lifted and apply a little more pressure to the tight spot! (ouch!)
Place the roller horizontally under the belly of your calves. Roll from just above your ankles to just below your knees.
Duration: 15-20 rolls each side
Tip: Cross your legs at the ankle to increase the exercise’s intensity.
Place the roller horizontally across the back of your rib cage (or for ladies in line with your bra strap) Keep your abdominal muscles flexed and your head and neck in a neutral position. Roll slowly from the lower edge of your lower-thoracic area to the top of the upper thoracic area.
Duration: 10 rolls
Tip: Do NOT roll onto your neck.
Lie face-up on the floor, with the back of your neck resting on top of the foam roller. Very slowly rock your head from side to side allowing the roller to press into the muscles on the sides of your neck. Keep your body relaxed during this exercise. The weight of your head should be the only force against the foam roller. Breath deeply into the stretch.
Duration: 5-10 breaths
Tip: Caution: This exercise is not recommended for an individual with an injured or unstable cervical spine.
Steph is the founder of popular health and lifestyle digital publication premium-performance.com
To train at Steph’s Melbourne luxury health and fitness destination ‘Studio PP’ visit studiopp.com.au or @studiopp_ Follow her Instagram for healthy lifestyle tips and fitness insight as well as news on when her much anticipated online training program launches this month!