Mind/Body Exercise to Help Empower Children

by Melody Gamba

A healthy body combines physical, emotional and mental strength. Every child can benefit from positive mind, confidence and self-respect. How much of your children’s activities promote the development of a positive and strong mindset? We often focus on the physical attributes such as strength, speed and agility. Our children’s mindset is key in all aspects of life from schoolwork, to time with family and friends and after-school athletic activities. By training the body and the mind at a young age we help set up our children for success in approaching life situations, dealing with stress and aiding in the development of effective coping mechanisms. Mind/Body exercise techniques are one of the many ways we can provide our children with the right tools to prepare them for the challenges on their way into adulthood and beyond. Below is a short list of a few of my favorite mind/body techniques for children. All of these techniques combine a system of exercises for mental and physical health while increasing physical strength, flexibility and posture and teaching the use of breath in movement.

1. Pilates

“Pilates allows youths to learn about their bodies and how it works - and gives them something to strive for”, Moria Merrithew the executive director of education and co-founder of Merrithew Health & Fitness™.

2. Yoga

“Christina Enneking, the founder of Heart Happy Yoga, a studio in Los Gatos, California, believes yoga introduces cornerstone values "such as non-harming, truthfulness, moderation, cleanliness, gratitude and self-discipline."

3.Tai Chai

Taoist Tai Chi Society of Australia executive director Peter Cook, “Tai chi has become increasingly 'mainstream' and recognized by both health professionals and the public as highly beneficial,” Cook said. “Tai chi helps to reduce stress and improve concentration. The continuous flowing movements have a calming effect on the mind and can improve mood and cognition.” In this fast paced world everything is at our fingertips with a tap of a screen. I encourage you, along with the children in your life, to take a moment to unplug, slow down a little, quiet the mind and focus on the positive. It seems the pace of life and the world around us will only continue to intensify in speed. As we shift into a new season, let us use this opportunity to educate and train our children about the importance of a healthy mindset in addition to a strong body to carry us through each day.

Organic Foods Not Worth Buying!

By Maryellen Fowler, Providence, RI

We all feel the pressure to buy organic produce. However, some non-organic foods are really safe to eat. We buy organic because the food is lower in pesticides and other environmental impacts. But buying organic foods are often much more expensive. So are there non organic foods that are safe to eat? Yes!

1) Avocados: The creamy fruit has a very thick skin! It is protection from agricultural chemicals. Be sure to thoroughly was the skin prior to peeling.

2) Seafood: The USDA does not provide organic standards for fish and shellfish. Seafood labeled “organic” may not be safer; it still may contain contaminates, such as PCBs and mercury.

3) Onions: According to the Shoppers Guide to Pesticides in Produce, 98% of all non organic onions were pesticide free.

4) Quinoa: Quinoa doesn’t need pesticides, because it has a bitter tasting saponins, making the crop distasteful to pests.

5) Pineapples: The tough spiny skin keeps the fruit from absorbing agricultural chemicals.

6) Sweet Corn: The USDA found no detectable chemicals on all sweet corn samples. This also applies to frozen corn as well!!

7) Maple Syrup: Maple syrup is usually forest harvested. Pesticides are almost always NOT used in forrest harvested foods.

8) Cabbage: Another member of the Environmental Working Group clean 15, cabbage is low in pesticides because of its natural resilience to bugs. Once the outer leaves are peeled, it is safe to cook or eat raw.

9) Mangoes: They have a thick inedible peel. Peeling would remove almost all of any chemicals.

10) Kiwi: Although the skin is edible, you’re better off discarding it if you choose the non-organic route.

Whether you go totally organic or opt to mix conventional and organic foods be sure to follow these tips:

- Select a variety of foods from a variety of sources. - Buy fruits and vegetables in season whenever possible. - Read food labels carefully. - Wash and scrub fresh fruits and vegetable thoroughly under running water.

We're Turing 9 Today!

10342773_10203455579724462_8683746582879295045_n A note from Owner, Denise Chakoian-Olney

9 years ago today I opened the doors to My fitness studio Core! It was a huge risk but something that I always wanted to do. I would say to anyone who is scared and has to give up a lot to do something you love, do it! I want to share this day with my amazing staff who brings joy to many lives on a daily basis, my husband David and my friends and family who have always supported me. Thank you! I look forward to entering this new chapter for Core with all of you.

Change is in the Air - Getting back into fitness after a long winter

By Kim Silvia-Paré While we may not be rid of all this winter's snow until at least July, it is still that time of year to make some change. Spring is the perfect time for new beginnings!

Think for a moment about your exercise routine. Ask yourself if you're feeling good about yourself.  Did you allow winter to affect you negatively? Did you turn to food to survive the long, cold nights?  If the winter blues got to you this season, it's time to step away from the caloric comfort foods and get into an exercise routine. But how do you start?  Are you a deconditioned athlete? If so, getting back into your sport might be something you could pursue. Exercise doesn't have to be tedious. You are more likely to stick with a program if you actually enjoy what you're doing. If there's a sport you've always wanted to try, don't be afraid to learn!

What if you have never exercised a day in your life? Fear not. I have the answer.


If you throw yourself into a fitness routine 100% without a plan, you are most likely going to burn out quickly, get bored, or worse yet, get injured. First, think about what you like. You'll really need to assess your personality traits. Here are some questions to ask yourself to help you choose a path towards fitness! Remember: don't begin an exercise program without checking with your doctor first to make sure that you are healthy enough to start.

  1. What do you want to get out of exercise? We all have heard how exercise is great for the body and the mind. Be very clear on what you would like to gain. A fitness program for a client who is looking to lose weight will be vastly different than someone who wants to gain muscle and for someone who wants to exercise to manage stress. Fortunately, weight loss, muscle toning and stress management are all side effects of exercise. Cardiovascular exercise such as running, swimming and cycling is great for weight loss. Strength training is great for building muscle. Yoga is great for flexibility. A perfect fitness regime should have a mix of cardio, strength and flexibility.
  2.  Are you self-motivated? The truth is, only 8% of regular exercisers stick to a fitness plan on their own. If you feel that you could be self-motivated though, look into joining a gym that has all kinds of exercise equipment. Make sure you get some guidance from a certified personal trainer on how to correctly use the equipment. If you have a gym membership, try to get there at least four times a week. Big gyms in particular can charge lower membership rates because unmotivated clients "donate" money every month and never step in the door. Consistency is key with any exercise.
  3.  Are you a social person, or a private person? Fortunately there is something out there for all types of people. Social people might enjoy the camaraderie of group exercise classes. There's no better feeling than knowing that you aren't suffering alone in a challenging class. How do you pick a class? While you should try to mix up your schedule with different classes to be a better rounded program, you should pick what you like. If you like dance, try Zumba. If you love sweating a lot, try indoor cycling classes. If you prefer not to sweat a ton, try Pilates or yoga. I couldn't even begin to list the choices in fitness classes that are out there. Try them all! As I say all the time: what's the worst that could happen?  If you prefer to be alone, one on one personal training in a boutique studio is your best choice for privacy. Be sure that your trainer is certified through a nationally recognized organization such as ACE or NASM. This will assure that they have sufficient knowledge to keep you safe during each workout. This will also ensure that your form is correct during every exercise.
  4.  Do you like being inside or outside? With spring coming, get out if you love the outdoors! Walking, biking, rollerblading, running, hiking, or outdoor boot camps are all great options for springtime workouts. But if you don't like the unpredictability of New England weather, stay climate controlled indoors. Indo-Row and indoor cycling are outdoor activities brought inside! No need to risk drowning or crashing on your bike.

With so many places to work out and train in this area, you have numerous options. Finding what is best for you requires a little bit of self reflection. You are already on your way to being a better you by choosing to get active!

Kim Silvia-Paré is the Group Fitness Director at CORE Studios in Providence. She is an ACE personal trainer and instructor.

Pilates for Men

By CORE Pilates Director, Melody Gamba lebrons-james-doing-pilates-slider

What do Tiger Woods, Curt Schilling and Kobe Bryant all have in common? Pilates. Men, get the image of a bunch of ladies stretching while talking about their feelings out of your head. Believe it or not, Pilates was created by a man and originally tested on men. Regardless of your current level of fitness, do not let the stereotypical image of Pilates intimidate or deter you from experimenting with something new. From a stronger core to better sex here are 5 reasons why you need Pilates in your life now.

1. Stronger Core Plain and simple, your core is your body’s engine. All of life’s movements should initiate from there. You would not want to power a mustang with a 4 cylinder engine. So, training your body without proper core technique is the same. Pilates will teach you how to properly power every movement from your core. Throughout every session all four layers of your abs will be challenged, strengthened and stretched. But, did you know your core extends far beyond just your abs? It is time for a proper core introduction. Practicing Pilates will help you unlock the true power of your core and give you a better understanding of powering all of life’s movements from it. Ultimately enhancing all of your daily activities from functional movement to hard core fitness.

2. Better Posture It is true, proper spinal alignment is necessary for overall health and to help reduce pain in the neck, back and shoulders. But, more importantly, you never get a second chance to make a first impression. Pilates improves your posture and teaches you how to stand tall. Standing tall gives off an air of confidence. People perceive you as stronger, in control, and aware of what you want. Better posture will reflect in a positive way in the boardroom, on a date, playing a round of golf with colleagues, the list is endless. Never underestimate the power of good, pain free posture.

3. Increased Flexibility Generally speaking, the more muscle mass you have, the less flexible you are. Men typically have very tight muscles, especially the hamstrings. Not being able to touch your toes may not seem like a big deal but, wouldn’t it be nice to avoid pulling a hamstring while bending over to tie your shoe? or picking up a free weight from the gym floor? Unfortunately, you often don’t realize the importance of flexibility until the body makes you understand. A healthy muscle is a balance between strength and flexibility. What is so great about Pilates is that you are NOT required to sit and hold a stretch to lengthen your muscles out. Rather, the technique was designed to create more flexibility through movement. While you are strengthening one muscle you are lengthening and stretching the opposing muscle. All you men out there who “hate to stretch”, you will not even realize that you are “stretching” throughout the entire workout. You will, however, be very aware of all the new muscles you discover as they burn and quiver.

4. Prevent Injury Whether you are looking to improve athletic performance, increase mobility in an aging body or rehab from an injury or illness, practicing Pilates will result in a better quality of life overall. In a nut shell, Pilates increases core strength and flexibility while teaching you and improving the body’s ability to move more efficiently and effectively. Combined with better balance, coordination and neuromuscular control the body now has an extra layer of protection against injury. Pilates, in my mind, sort of becomes your hidden superpower.

5. Better Sex Pilates strengthens the core and pelvic floor while increasing flexibility. Men who practice Pilates have more control of their body in this area. Any questions?

So, whether you are a gym rat or prepping for your first fitness class, practicing Pilates will greatly benefit you. Plus, this is just a short list of all Pilates has to offer. Moving through life stronger, pain free with increased mobility seems like a no brainer. Think outside the box and try something new. If nothing else your significant other will thank you.

Author bio:

Melody is the Pilates Director at C.O.R.E. Pilates Mind/Body studio and a professional dancer with Fusionworks Dance Company. After personally using Pilates as rehabilitative exercise from a serious dance injury she is passionate about helping others enjoy an energized, pain free life through movement.

CORE Pilates Mind/Body Team Welcomes Jean Rattle!

CORE's new Pilates instructor, Jean Rattle Jean first discovered Pilates while teaching at an art college in Chicago. She became hooked by the mental focus and physical precision required by Pilates, and noticed how much more energetic and efficient she had become in other areas of her life. After moving to Los Angeles, she received her comprehensive Pilates certification in mat and equipment through Body Arts and Science International. She then worked at a Pilates and physiotherapy practice in downtown LA, where she trained a wide variety of clients, including people recovering from surgery or injury, athletes interested in enhancing their performance, and others interested in improving their fitness.

Jean's approach to training is to focus on the individual needs and goals of her clients. She loves working with people at all levels of ability and physical condition, and is especially passionate about introducing new people to Pilates. She strongly believes that Pilates is for everyone and is a valuable tool in maintaining long-term health and mobility.

Currently she runs, swims, and practices yoga in addition to Pilates, and enjoys experimenting with other types of movement and exercise. You can often find her running with her two-year-old daughter on the Blackstone path.

Ask the Trainer

Q: Am I crazy or do I feel more accident prone during parts of the month? I am a woman and I heard hormone levels actually have an effect on my training! Can that be true?

A: Research suggests that women are 4-6 more times more likely than men to experience a painful knee injury when engaging in plyometric-based sports like soccer, volleyball, basketball, and dancing. Research points to hormonal surges of estrogen which appear to affect the neuro-muscular control.

During the first half of your menstrual cycle, estrogen is very dominant. During the second half progesterone is the dominant hormone, resulting in a difference of muscle timing. Large levels of estrogen in the first half have been shown to drastically increase the risk of injury.

Ways to guard against this is by focusing on your landing - if you are jumping and leaping you want to make sure you are engaging your hamstrings even more when landing. This is good advice across the board but important to remember if you are prone to knee and ankle injuries.


Ask the Trainer


Q: I was told that if I worked out on an empty stomach, I would burn more calories from fat. Is that true?

A: Yikes! Coming to class on an empty stomach is like trying to run your car with no gas in the tank. Because you have no fuel, you will work at a lower level of intensity and have to take more frequent breaks. If you don't normally eat breakfast, start slow. I call it the sandwich method: meal, workout, meal. Eat a light meal beforehand. Maybe a banana with peanut butter, some almonds with greek yogurt, and add some milk to your coffee. You want to intake between 150-200 calories at least! Then work out and have your last part of the sandwich. Have light breakfast #2 afterwards. This meal should be about another 150-200 calories. Try grabbing a bobo bite or a protein replacement bar on your way home! You will find that you will have a more effective work out and burn more calories with fuel in your stomach.

Training with Katie

2013 Providence Rock n Roll Half Marathon Last week there were no classes but this week we were back at it! The Boulevard was the place to run for class this week. It was really hot this week so we focused more on effort than on times. When it's really hot and humid out you should do the same, don't worry if you run slower than usual. Just think how much better you would feel if it were 20 degrees cooler out!

Check out my the article I wrote in RI Fit Magazine this month about incorporating running as part of your workout routine! http://issuu.com/gillantini/docs/v1_issue_5_sample_proof/1?e=4265616/8474995 (pg.18)

One For all and All For One: Pilates – From a Personal and Professional Point of View.


In this day and age of “one size fits all”, Pilates actually does!  On the personal side, I came to Pilates as a 30 + year old professional dancer searching for something that would ease my back pain and help me to sustain my career.  I started training with a fellow dancer and Pilates instructor who later became my Pilates mentor.  We started with all of the Pilates classic exercises based on Joseph Pilates's theory of emphasizing concentration and control while integrating flexibility, strength, precision, breath, flow of movement, which develops an awareness between the body and the mind. Because I was young and fairly fit, being a professional dancer, I progressed quickly and my training regimen became more aggressive, including handstands on the ladder-back barrel, inverted hanging exercises from the Cadillac and forward roll like movements that took me from a standing position to directly lying down on the reformer. It did exactly what I needed for my back and career, improving strength in my abdomen (relieving my back pain), increasing the much-required flexibility a dancer needs, enhancing overall (especially upper) body strength, giving me more balance control, creating more “body awareness”, and teaching me the importance of breathing and breath control.

It is now 29 years later; I have retired as a dancer (which has left me with some ”not so great” hips) and have been a Pilates instructor for about 20 years. Do I still hang upside down from the Cadillac?  Well, not so much. But out of the estimated 400 + Pilates exercises, there are plenty of them for me, along with the rest of my baby boomer comrades, to do. 

Over the years as a trainer, I have had clients ranging from a 15 year old with Osgood-Slaughter Disease, pre and professional dancers, a client with Parkinson’s’ disease, a mural painter with a frozen shoulder, 80 year old clients trying to get strong and more mobile in order to maintain their independence, as well as the everyday person just trying to get or stay in shape.  With one very adaptable exercise system, I have accommodated them all.  Yes, my 15 year old client made it through the trials and pain of his disease, my dancers did go on to have great careers performing and my painter continues to paint. Could I stop the Parkinson’s from progressing?  Of course not, but I can assure you it kept my client mobile for a longer time than the doctors thought, resulting in a much greater quality of life.  My octogenarians did not go out and start running marathons, but they were able to maintain their daily beach walks and give up using canes for balance and become active in fighting for the rights of senior citizens.

So as I, along with a large portion of the American population, age and cannot do all of the things we did in our thirties, a lot of us are not ready to sit in our rocking chairs. I feel and know from personal experience and a professional perspective how important it is to keep our bodies strong and flexible not only for physical health, but mental health as well. I also know that with Pilates, it is never too late to start exercising and setting goals for a healthier life style, regardless of your age, abilities or limitations.

Ask the Trainer


Q: How do I integrate intensity into my running or walking? I run into the problem of moving in a steady state and I feel I need to add some interval.

A: Use telephone polls or trees! If you're running outside and want to add some flare to your workout, switch up your movement or speed at each telephone poll. Maybe you sprint two and jog one OR lunge one and skip two. Get creative and don't be afraid to look silly!

Have a question for Maryellen or another trainer? Email us at coremve@gmail.com

Summer Running-Drink It Up


Hi Everyone!  There has been some great weather for running lately.  It is important to remember that as it gets warmer that you need to be hydrating!  Water is great but make sure you are also having drinks that include electrolytes.  Make sure you drink throughout the entire day, especially before and after your run.

Not having the below 0 temperatures in the mornings has made the Tuesday and Friday morning Outdoor Running Clinics much more fun!  We have been doing a variety of workouts on the track, boulevard, and hills.  We have a great group that has been coming (shout out to Dave, Dan, Libby, Lori, Jamie, Sally & Kim!) and look forward to more joining us!

As far as my own running goes I have had the chance to run a some races over the past few weeks and plan to run a race this weekend (so I will let you know how that goes!).  Most recently I ran the Gaspee Day 5k in Warwick on 6/14.  It was a tough race but I was able to hold off the competition and won!

Have a great rest of your week!

Katie, Running Coach

Run, Katie, Run!


Each week our Certified Running Coach, Katie Moulton, will update you on her training, coaching, and quick tips for your own running.

Katie has been running competitively for over 15 years, training and racing in distances from the 400m to the marathon. Originally from Albany, NY, Katie first came to Rhode Island to attend Providence College on a track scholarship. Having also worked in education she has always had a passion for teaching and coaching. Katie is NASAM (National Academy of Sports Medicine) certified, USATF (United States Track & Field Association) Level 1 Coaching certified and CPR/AED certified. Katie loves running and working out, and looks forward to sharing her passions with you!

Check back soon for her updates!