Pilates Class 6: With Arms Wide Open

We did some serious arm exercises today and I left feeling super swol. As shown in the video below, this exercise was a serious upper arm workout and is definitely harder than it looks. A big key to this exercise is good posture, something that I find very important seeing how I’m 5’9” and a tall girl slouching is just sad. Not only in this exercise, but in everything you do in pilates, proper posture is vital in getting the most of your workout and making sure you create long, lean muscles in the right places. So we focused on sitting up tall and lengthening muscles while working those upper arms.

We do at least one arm workout in every class and this one shown below is definitely one of the tougher ones. Anything that includes pulling your own body resistance can be tough, but that just makes the reward so much greater!

Until next time,

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Pilates Class 5: All About Those Abs/We’re Halfway There

Caitlyn’s 5th installment on her Pilates journey.

The stomach, belly, tummy, flab, gut, area – where future abs will be – is usually a big target area for most people, including myself. I find myself always pulling at my shirts to make sure they aren’t sticking to my stomach and giving away my little (or big secret) so going after that gut is a big one for me.

There are about a million ways to work those abs in Pilates, one of which is shown in the lovely time-lapse video posted below. In this particular exercise, you engage your core while straightening your legs and pulling your arms down to your sides, hold for a second, then go back into tabletop. And of course, repeat. This exercise really works your whole body (and is much harder than it looks) and especially gets deep into your core. As per usual, I’m going to be sore tomorrow!

With class 5 down, we’re halfway through the first of 3 segments to this journey, which is super exciting! I’ve got to say, I already notice a difference in my body day to day and in classes– my arms are more toned, I don’t get tired as easily, the exercises are easier, and I have more muscle control. I’m also feeling more confident in my clothes and have upped my variety instead of just wearing the same loose baggy shirts and leggings every day. I’ve got to say, this much progress is making me really excited for the future and positive that this plan is working and making me feel great. Only 5 classes down and I’m already seeing an improvement. Just look at these wicked sweet stats:

Weight: 223 lbs (that’s 6 pounds down!)
Hips: 48 in (1 inch less)
Waist: 39 in (1 inch less)

Crushing it.


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Pilates Class 4 – My Hips Don’t Lie

Caitlyn’s fourth installment on her Pilates journey.

I’ve decided to keep naming my posts after songs (when I can think of one that works) because I think it’s funny and well, why not!

So, to get to the good stuff, today’s class was all about opening up the hips and stretching the lower back mostly through using the straps on a reformer. For those of you not familiar with this exercise, you lay down on the reformer, put your feet in the straps, and then do various leg lifts, circles and strength exercises. This is one of my favorite things to do on the reformer, probably because I have long legs and watching them circle around while in the straps is fun, and also because it really opens up the hips and makes the rest of the exercise so much easier and more effective. I really notice a difference from when I first put my feet in the straps and take them out to move onto the next portion of class. Opening up your hips is really important not just for Pilates, but also for day to day activities. I notice that when my hips have been loosened properly it makes doing things a lot easier, from climbing the stairs at my apartment to getting in and out of the car.

Hopefully now you won’t have Shakira stuck in your head all day like I do and now you know about opening up the hips!


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Pilates Class 3 – Jump! Jump!

Caitlyn’s third installment on her Pilates journey.

I thought I had seen it all but today my Pilates class surprised me. There was a spring board attached to the reformer and I laid down on my side with my head on a ball (I thought I was going to take a nap and I got super excited). And then Liza said….JUMP. Jump??? How???

I pushed off from the spring board and went flying toward the tower a little faster than I probably should have. I touched down on the board and pushed off again, with a bit more control this time.

You’d think there wouldn’t be a lot of ways to jump on a spring board but boy would you be wrong! I did it on one foot with legs parallel, one foot with hip turned out, both feet at the same time, and one foot at a time (in a skipping motion). Then when I rolled onto my back I jumped with both feet and threw the ball up in the air! I’m not especially coordinated so I kept my throws small so I wouldn’t lose the ball. I say with confidence that I definitely got the hang of it (that may or may not be true).

Stay tuned for more surprises to come!


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“Both Sides Up” for Planking

Caitlyn’s second installment on her Pilates journey. See her first installment here

My second class was this afternoon and OMG! was I sore going into it! We focused a lot on core and cardio today and I’ve gotten close to mastering the Bosu ball (Bosu stands for “both sides up” meaning you can use both sides of the ball). For those of you who have never seen one (which I hadn’t until pilates), a Bosu ball is like half of an exercise ball mounted on a plastic base. I used it for balance and even did a plank on it! Which I didn’t even think was possible, but here’s photo proof. I definitely looked like a fool trying to stay balanced but I fell off way less than I did in my first class, so I consider that a success.

I left class today exhausted but super excited that I was already feeling like I was getting the hang of the exercises.

Signing off for now,


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Guest Blog: My Pilates Empowerment

I am a real person. I’m not an athlete, a fitness junkie, a health nut, or an endorphin addict. I like to read, play video games, watch tv, and I LOVE food. I wanted to tell you that because this adventure I’m about to embark on is going to be real, raw, and honest. I am the newest guest blogger for Pilates Encore.

I’m a graduate of Chapman University class of 2013, an ex-Hollywood assistant, and just completed my last day of substitute teaching for the summer (and hopefully ever). Oh, and I’m getting married in a year.

I’ve struggled with my weight for most of my life, being overly thin (due to a parasite) in high school, and have been steadily gaining weight ever since I started college. I’ve always tried to have a healthy relationship with my body but I reached what I call my breaking point just a few weeks ago. I realized that I don’t want to show up on my wedding day, in my dress, and have people think that I look “good for my weight.” This realization put a huge weight on my shoulders (no pun intended) but also gave me a sense of relief. I’m not just going to literally sit around and hope to lose weight, I’m going to face it head on with my favorite fitness guru, Liza at Pilates Encore.

I was an intern at Pilates Encore during college but when I moved to Los Angeles for three years to pursue a career in the industry, I totally fell off the Pilates wagon. Now that I’m back in Orange County and am ready to make such a big lifestyle change, the first person I turned to was Liza.

So we begin my fitness journey with Pilates Encore with Liza. I’m going to outline my short term and long term body goals and my body measurements (AH) to track my progress and show the power of pilates. I’ve never done anything like this before (the blogging about my weight or the pilates journey) and I am starting from almost nothing. No exercise, pretty much no stamina, no sustained diet (I eat okay, I wouldn’t say i’m really healthy or unhealthy, probably about in the middle).

My goals are going to be based around the above quote from Joseph Pilates, so I’m going to structure my short term and long term goals around this timeline of classes. I will be taking two classes each week (with my first starting today) so my goals will go from there.

10 Sessions Goal (5 weeks):
Lose 10 pounds
Lose 1 dress size

20 Sessions Goal (10 weeks):
Lose 20 pounds
Lose 2 dress sizes

30 Sessions Goal (15 weeks):
Lose 30 pounds
Lose 3 dress sizes

My Long Term (Wedding) Goals:
Lose 74 pounds before May 2018
Go down 3 dress sizes
Improve stamina and energy levels

Class 1: June 14, 2017
Here’s what I look like after my first pilates class at Pilates Encore (with my buddy Shadow the pug lending his begrudging support).

I promise I’m not always that sweaty and gross looking!

Here are my current measurements:
Weight: 229 lbs
Hips: 49 in
Waist: 39 in
Bust: 43 in

My first class in 3 years was NOT easy. But, I did leave feeling empowered, like I could do this, and excited about getting stronger (and looking good in that future dress). I left feeling incredibly motivated (albeit sweaty) and I’m ready for my next class.

I’m definitely going to be sore tomorrow!

Until next time 🙂


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Early Morning Classes are Now Available!

Have you been wanting a great workout that will give you energy throughout the day and get you ready for the summer? Here’s a special offer for valued customers like you!

Meet Charissa Hartunian, our newest Pilates Teacher and Certified Fitness Trainer who is ready to get you into shape and feel more strong, flexible and energetic.  Charissa brings to the studio her expertise in nutrition and bootcamp training, along with her many years of teaching Pilates to clients of all shapes, sizes and goals.

Charissa currently has classes at 7:00, 8:00 and 9:00 a.m. during the week and by appointment on weekends.  Call us today at (714) 288-1168 to book your next session!

Last but not least, if you’re a new client and book 6 sessions up front, you’ll get a bonus session for FREE.

Cheers to your health!

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Pilates for Brides

As the summer season winds down, so does another; wedding season. But before the “I Do’s” are said, the finishing touches must be made to ensure for the perfect day.  I frequently get calls from brides looking to lose those last five pounds or achieve those shapely shoulders that will perfectly accentuate any gown.

What most of my bridal clients don’t anticipate is the improvement in their overall lifestyle.  To say that planning a wedding is stressful is quite an understatement.  Bridal Pilates provides stress relief during a period when cake flavors and seating charts take on the importance of breathing and sleeping.

In addition to your increased strength and leaner muscles, you will also acquire a penchant for time management.  Embrace your inner Superwoman, because full-time jobs and hectic schedules will be no match for you!  You’ll find that as your motivation soars, so will your results!

Did I mention that Bridal Pilates will also guarantee an unforgettably sexy wedding night?  Show your groom the moves it takes for a body like yours.  Get ready for a killer confidence that will tame your inner Bridezilla and have you looking like the gorgeous knockout you are.


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Explore your Core

Most of calls I get from prospective clients seek to “strengthen their core. The reasons stem from a variety of circumstances:

“I had a couple of kids and my belly has not been the same since.”

“I threw out my (back,hip, shoulder) and my doctor recommends I do Pilates to strengthen my core.”

“I am a (runner, dancer, golfer, athlete) and I know that core strength will give me an advantage.”

Once they come into to the studio, they are surprised that the core is not just the abs or six pack!

So what are the core muscles of the body? Basically, it’s the area from the bottom of the rib cage down to the top of your pubic bone.  It incorporates the sides of your torso as well as the low back and base of your buttocks, or your pelvic floor.

Anatomically speaking, the major muscles of the core are abdominal muscles which are the transverse abdominis (the corset of muscles that wrap around your torso), the rectus abdominis (the elusive six pack!), and the internal and external obliques (side muscles). To find deep parts of your abdominal core, wrap your fingers around your waist with your finger tips pushing down on the inside of your pelvic bones.

The low back muscles are your multifidus muscles and are located on either side of your spine.  If you place your hands in the back just above the bony areas of each hip bone as you stand tall, you can feel one side pop up as you take a step forward with the opposite leg.

The area below is your pelvic floor and it’s always fun to see which description will click with my clients when I’m teaching them how to connect with that area in their bodies.  Now, sit tall with your legs hip distance apart, relax your belly, butt and thighs.  Pull the floor of your bottom inward and upwards, as if to stop the flow of urine, or like your hugging a tampon or like your holding out before climax (I always save the latter as my last attempt, and I wonder why, because they get it immediately!)

Now that you’ve got a general idea of what and where you core is, contact us to find out how Pilates Encore can fire up and support your core as your “powerhouse.”

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Just for the Holidays – Holiday Detox Circuit

Hey PE lovers!  We’ve just developed a new Holiday Detox Circuit workout just for the holidays.

Circuit training is a fun and dynamic way to stay in shape over the next few weeks as the the season of celebrating, overeating and partying begins. In our newly developed circuit training program, we’ve added our own version of cardio with jumpboard and Cardiolates to keep your heartrate up. And, you’ll move through the studio feeling stronger, limber and lighter!

This is an effective workout you can do during your lunch hour and head back to the office without even having to shower. You’ll feel happy, energized and reinvigorated after your lesson!

This program is offered only for the holidays and is available on a first-come first-served basis. 


  • Saturday, November 17 at Noon
  • Saturday, November 24 at 10am
  • Saturday, November 24 at 11am
  • Saturday, November 24 at Noon
  • December classes will be announced

COST $20.00  Call us for a reservation at (714) 288-1168.


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