How Pilates Helped Me with Biking Experience

How Pilates Helped Me with Biking Experience-Lisa Goddard


Imagine this…a sunny, warm day…you are in Northern California wine country on a bicycle with friends who are also cycling, feeling the warm breeze on your face as you coast over the “California Roll” (constant rolling hills typical for that region)…smell the Eucalyptus trees, Bay Laurel, Lavender and Anise.  Sounds sweet doesn’t it?

Bicycling has always appealed to me.  It was my major mode of transport until I got my first car in my late twenties. I still love mountain biking quietly in woods or on trails but my enjoyment of this sport was limited for a few years when I was experiencing a lot of lower back pain.  During that phase I found that even a short ride would create pain and stiffness in my hips and lower back.  Then I discovered Pilates and Yoga.

 In conjunction with Physiotherapy, Pilates was a huge reason why my lower back rarely hurts today.  However, when I booked a 6-day Bicycling/Wine Tasting trip in Northern California (through a company called Backroads) with a friend who regularly cycles 60 km in a day, I was a little concerned how my back would hold out.  I trained to the best that my schedule would allow but I knew going in to it that I wasn’t physically prepared for the length of the routes planned on this trip.  Kudos to the Backroads leaders for planning a lot of options for the riders in our group…My friend could get huge mileage and I needn’t if I chose not to…but everyone saw points of interest and visited the wineries. (Thank goodness for the van that picks you up when your body is done!)

On this trip we had stellar scenery, amazing meals, impressive wineries, top notch accommodations and friendly, knowledgeable guides.  I would highly recommend the experience of traveling with Backroads…but six days on a bike (minimum 27 miles) was challenging for under-trained me! The good news was that, although I really appreciated a good massage for my sore legs and butt (that were still sore, incidentally, for two days after we finished riding!  The sitbones took about a week to recover!), my back pain didn’t rear its ugly head once in 180 miles of biking!!  I was relieved and a bit awed! I feel that I have to credit my pain-free back to good form on the bike which largely came from knowing Pilates.  Pilates taught me where I need to activate in my deep powerhouse musculature (and where I need to relax) for ease of movement in the spine, hips and shoulders. The deep internal strength, stability and joint flexibility I have developed from practicing regular Pilates served me well through my six days on the bike.

I have to admit that I loved Northern California and I will return for sure…next time though I may have fewer days cycling and add in a bit more relaxing…those convertible cars looked pretty enticing!

Please click here if you want to learn more about the Pilates we offer at Balanced Motion and click here if you want to learn more about Backroads.

Recipe Of The Week: Homemade Rolo Knock Offs

Homemade “Rolo” Knock-Offs – Vegan, Gluten-Free, & 5 Ingredients


This recipe was given to us by one of our clients and let me tell you they are DELICIOUS!! Thanks so much Frankie for this great recipe!



Ingredients (18 bites)

For the caramel

·        200 grams pitted soft Medjool dates (about 11 large)

·        1/2 tbsp peanut butter (or other nut or seed butter)

·        pinch of fine grain sea salt


For the chocolate coating

·        scant 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips

·        1 tsp coconut oil


For garnish

·        chia seeds (optional)


1. [Note: You want to use very soft Medjool dates. If yours are firm, soak in water to soften before using. Be sure to drain well.] Process pitted dates in food processor until a sticky paste forms. Now, add in the nut or seed butter along with a pinch of fine grain sea salt. Process until combined. The mixture will be SUPER sticky, but this is a good thing!

2. Scoop out the sticky mixture into a bowl and freeze for about 10 minutes. Chilling it makes the caramel easier to shape into balls. After chilling, lightly wet your fingers and shape caramel into small balls to make about 18 balls total.

3. Place balls back into the freezer for another 10 minutes on a parchment lined plate. Meanwhile, melt chocolate chips along with 1 teaspoon coconut oil on the stove top over low heat. When 2/3 of the chips are melted, remove from heat and stir until everything is melted.

4. Remove balls from freezer and dunk each ball into the melted chocolate, one at a time. Roll around to coat. Tap off excess chocolate and place back onto parchment-lined plate. Sprinkle with chia seeds (optional) and stick a toothpick into each. Repeat for the rest.

5. Freeze again for at least 20 minutes until set. Bites taste best straight from the freezer and will soften (but will not melt) at room temperature.

By balancedmotionblog Posted in Recipes

Yoga For Anxiety

By Sherry Morton-Jibb RYT, Certified Pilates Instructor

In these tough times when stress levels are so high it is so important to connect to the calmer side of our being. Yoga keeps me connected to my body, mind, & spirit. Injury drew me to Yoga but what I found on the mat kept me there. Practicing Yoga has saved my life and my sanity more times than I can count. Most recently with the onset of Menopause I have truly experienced the benefits of Yoga for anxiety. Menopause is one of the great transformations in a women’s life. Every woman’s experience is a little different. My Menopausal experience has been increased anxiety levels and disturbed sleep patterns. I have always been able to keep my anxiety level in check with my Yoga practice and a healthy lifestyle. Intuitively I knew that I needed to change my home Yoga practice to help increase my relaxation response. While doing my research to create change in my practice I discovered the work of Bo Forbes a Clinical Psychologist and founder of Integrative YogaTheraputics. She specializes in Yoga for Emotional Balance and talks a lot about using Yoga’s more subtle tools (breathing exercises, focused awareness, postural alignment work, and restorative postures) to create change. “These tools will help you become more body and mind aware, more relaxed, and more grounded in the present moment.” (Bo Forbes, Yoga for Emotional Balance) This works on the subtle body to increase the engagement of the parasympathetic nervous system (often referred to as the digest relax nervous system). This practice requires consistency and repetition to be effective. Getting in touch with our breath and relaxing our nervous system which is often stuck in overdrive when we are stressed is a great place to start. For some of us our nervous system never relaxes and is consistently heightened. (Fight or flight response)

Getting to know our breath;

Try using nasal breathing for both the inhale & the exhale if that is comfortable for you.

Find a quiet space where you can spend at least 5 minutes uninterrupted.Lying down on your back wrap a blanket around your waist, place your eye pillow over your eyes and lay a pillow on the front of your body chest to pelvis.  Spend a minute getting to know how your mind and body feel right now, then you can observe any change afterwards.

Allow your eyeballs to relax. Visualize them moving inward, dropping gently towards the heart. Breathe in and out through your nose for about 1 minute then start counting the length of your inhale & exhale. Let each count be about 1 second it doesn’t need to be completely accurate. Let your breath be natural and try not to force it. If it feels good for you, start to lengthen your inhale and exhale by 1 count. If this makes you feel anxious then go back to just observing your breath. Essentially the most important thing is to relax and breathe.

By balancedmotionblog Posted in yoga

Recipe of the Week: Herb Marinated Goat Cheese

Herb –Marinated Goat Cheese

ImageImage Courtesy of Google Images

Makes 4-6 Servings

Use dental floss to cut the goat cheese into neat slices for this flavorful make-ahead appetizer. The recipe is adapted from Thyme in the Kitchen: Cooking with Fresh Herbs (Prentice Hall Canada) by Yvonne Tremblay. She says the recipe is just as successful if you substitute an equal amount of feta, cut into ½ inch cubes.

  • ·       1 300 g package (or two 130-140g pkgs soft goat cheese
  • ·       ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • ·       ¼ cup chopped fresh basil leaves
  • ·       2 tsp minced fresh rosemary leaves
  • ·       1tsp mince fresh thyme leaves
  • ·       1 clove garlic, minced
  • ·       ¼ tsp black pepper
  • ·       Toasted baguette slices and cherry tomatoes

Put unwrapped goat cheese in freezer for 30 minutes (this makes easier to slice thinly) Remove cheese from freezer and cut into ½ inch slices. Arrange slices of cheese in a single layer in a shallow serving dish.

Stir together olive oil, basil, rosemary, thyme, garlic and pepper in a small bowl, then spoon half of the oil mixture over the cheese. Cover the dish and refrigerate for at least 8 hours or for up to 1 week. Remove from the refrigerator and let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes before serving. Serve with toasted slices of baguette, and cherry tomatoes on the side.

By balancedmotionblog Posted in Recipes

Education Friday: Massages… More Than Just a Treat

HAPPY FRIDAY FRIENDS! Another week has gone by and some of us may be feeling a little tense if it was a hectic work week. You know what the best thing is for a tense body? A massage of course! Can’t justify getting a massage because you think it is just an indulgence? Take a look at this great blog by Dr. Joel Kahn explaining that a massage is so much more than just a treat!

My Journey THROUGH the Pain

As a teen and young adult I was often in pain. I had quite a few horse accidents and a car accident but nothing in particular was injured badly. A few fractured bones in my lower spine and some whiplash was the worst of it. These injuries did not explain all of my pain though, and most of the time no one, my regular doctor included, believed that I was in any pain at all. Even though my doctor didn’t believe me she tried to help by sending me to specialists. I saw neurologists that pretty much put me on harsh drugs and kicked me out the door, a rheumatologist who said nothing was wrong and to come back when I was an adult and I went to a sports medicine clinic where they lost my file multiple times and gave up on me because the exercises that they had me doing were making things worse. I also received multiple bone scans (pretty neat tests) that revealed minor Ankylosing Spondylitis, but they told me nothing about it or what to do for it. Still, all of these doctors couldn’t explain the actual pain I was in or take it away.

To clarify how I felt back then:

  • stiffness in my joints – especially upon waking up
  • muscle tenderness and pain
  • migraines and headaches
  • fatigue, weakness
  • trouble getting to sleep and staying asleep
  •  low back pain – sharp stabbing pains as well as a constant aches
  •  IBS
  • Poor circulation
  •  Loss of feeling in legs – pins and needles as well
  •  Constant ache in my body and random sharp pains

Wow, that’s a lot now that I see it typed out. All of this started when I was around 13 and continued until recently. I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia when I was 24. I was glad to have an answer, however this diagnosis is not something I truly believe.

Now here is the best part of my journey:

I’m all better!! Well I still have some issues but not nearly as many as I had before.

Before what? you ask…. Before PILATES, YOGA, and PROPER NUTRITION!!

Let me explain

YOGA & PILATES – well this is where everything really changed!! Once I was taught how my body really works and how to use my core muscles properly by my Pilates Instructor here at Balanced Motion, I could already see a difference. For my body the Pilates classes were too much so I started slow with Yoga. I used the knowledge about my core muscles in my Yoga classes, which for me was the best thing. I have been doing Yoga as much as possible for the past two years now and WOW!!! My body is completely different. Don’t get me wrong, I still have some joint problems and I adjust for those when doing Yoga. You would be amazed at what proper breathing and posture can do for your body. I would not be the person I am today or the person I will be a year from now or 5 years from now without Pilates and Yoga…Thank you Sherry Morton-Jibb and Lisa Goddard!

NUTRITION – now for the hard part! I LOVE FOOD, I love the taste, texture, smell…everything. Food, especially sugary food is my addiction…and addictions are hard to quit. My sister is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist so of course her voice is always in my head when I’m eating crappy food (which I still do from time to time…I refuse to give some things up). But she has helped me alter my eating habits for the better. Once you learn about what certain foods do to your body, especially in excess, you’ll be amazed. Once I cut out red meat (causes inflammation), limited my dairy (also an inflammatory food) and wheat and of course reduced my sugar intake drastically I physically, emotionally, and spiritually felt different…better…new!

I must admit this is hard and I slip up from time to time and don’t take the time for myself that everyone requires to stay healthy and sane in this world but I do what I can and I am determined to do better.

Yoga and proper, real food have changed my life and got me through the pain I was in, and will continue to change how I feel physically, emotionally and spiritually.

By: Liz Cowell

Recipe of the Week: Gluten and Wheat Free Bread

Gluten and Wheat Free Bread

ImageImage Courtesy of Google Images

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

  •         1 cup of arrowroot flour
  •         1 cup of tapioca flour
  •        1 cup of rice flour
  •        ½ cup almond flour

Mix above ingredients in a large bowl.

Add to bowl:

  •     3 tsp. quick rise yeast (instant)
  •    1 tbsp. sugar
  •   1tbsp. xanthum gum (or plain Knox gelatin)
  •   1 tbsp. potato flour (optional)

  •    Separate 2 eggs
  •    Beat eggs whites until peaks form
  •    Whisk egg yolks in separate bowl
  •    Add whisked egg yolks first into dry ingredient bowl then add egg whites


  • 1 1/2 cups warm water @ 110 degrees (60 seconds in microwave)
  •  Add 3 tbsp. vegetable oil in measuring cup with water
  • Add liquid ingredients to dry ingredient bowl & blend together with a dough hook
  • Place in a greased bread pan & cover with a dry cloth to rise. (45 minutes to an hour)
  • Bake 45 minutes to an hour or until done, remove from bread pan, cool.
  •  Slice bread before freezing.


By balancedmotionblog Posted in Recipes

Education Friday!

Happy Friday Friends!

As we go into the Thanksgiving long weekend probably the last thing on our minds is “This is going to be a healthy eating weekend!” So after the weekend is done and all the turkey and pumpkin pie has been eaten you may need some tips to eat healthy and eat healthy on a budget 🙂 (because just as Thanksgiving has come at lightening speed that other little holiday in December will be here at the speed of light! ) Here is a blog we found on MindBodyGreen giving us some tips on how to eat healthy on a budget.

Have a wonderful long weekend everybody and a very Happy Thanksgiving!

The Mystery of a Good Nights Sleep

The Mystery of a Good Nights Sleep

 by Lorrie Mickelson, M.A. B.A./BPHE,  RYT and Certified Pilates Instructor

ImageImage Courtesy of: Google Images


Ah……the elusive good nights sleep.  A mystery for sure as it oftentimes takes quite a lot of detective work to “uncover” the secret.  On those wonderful mornings, we wake up feeling refreshed and rejuvenated.  It’s raining out, we say “good for the garden” ‘, the kids are screaming at each other, we feel blessed that they are communicating.  We feel overall joy and the rest of our day just seems to flow.


The next day, we wake up at 2 a.m. and 4 a.m. and finally get up at 6 a.m….. and it is raining.  We immediately check the basement for leaks, muttering under our breath, and lament that we  have to drive the kids to school so they are not soaked at the bus stop.  We feel neither joy nor creativity to deal with the challenges of the day and the only flow in our day is the rain flowing down the road into the gutters.


So, there is some good news and some bad news about solving this mystery of a good nights sleep. The bad news is that there are a huge number of factors that can affect our sleep.  The good news is that there are a huge number of factors that can affect our sleep.  In other words, lots of opportunities to solve the mystery.   They can range from medications, caffeine , alcohol, sugar, to television, bright lights, too much exercise, too little exercise, pain and stress to name just a few.  Undoubtedly for women, hormones wreak havoc on our sleep.  It starts with our first menstrual cycle and continues right through menopause.


In my many years of researching and  experimenting with sleep,  I have to say that the best piece of advice that I have come across comes from Dr. Andrew Weil who says, ” A good days waking leads to a good nights sleeping”.  It is extremely important to have a structure and consistency to your day.  You can start by journaling your daily activities and soon you may determine the habits or activities that are either helping or hindering your sleep.    


If you would like to do some more detective work, come out for my Blissful Sleep Workshop on Thursday October 24th at 6:30 p.m. at Balanced Motion.  For more information or to Register, Please Click Here


Happy zzzzzzz’s

Recipe Of the Week: The Best Sweet Potato Fries You’ll Ever Eat!

This recipe was found on MindBodyGreen Blog Site and was added by Sylvia Bianco.


(based on 2 potatoes)

  • 1 sweet potato per person
  • 1/2 cup of gluten-free panko
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 4 or 5 leaves sage, finely chopped
  • 1 Tbsp. Olive Oil or Coconut Oil
  • Sea salt and pepper to taste


Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.

Cut potatoes in half and then in 1/4-inch steak fry slices.

Place in a large mixing bowl, add the oil and toss until all are well coated (add more if needed).

Season with salt and pepper and toss.

Mix together the panko, parmesan, sage and garlic and place on a plate or leave on the cutting board.

Dip each fry into the mixture on both sides. Press the mixture down with your hands to help it stick.

Place fries in a single layer on a baking sheet that’s been lightly coated with olive oil or place a sheet of parchment paper on the tray and then layer.

Bake for about 20 minutes or until cooked through.

Balanced Motion Note: *I needed to Bake 20 minutes on each side because I had thicker slices.

By balancedmotionblog Posted in Recipes