What happens when a Pilates instructor walks into a Crossfit?


I’m not going to lie- I’ve been hating on Crossfit for quite some time. Here’s the thing…I had never actually been inside a “box” or completed a WOD with AMRAP. Translation: Crossfit calls their gym a “box”, a “WOD” is the workout of the day, and “AMRAP” stands for as many reps as possible.

So it all began when Kevin (my husband)  joined Crossfit RedZone a few months back. He loves it and talks about how great it is. I was annoyed by his love for Crossfit, but after months of seeing Kevin clock 500-700 calories during every workout (yes, we share our workouts with each other via our apple watches, and yes, I know we are annoying), I finally decided to join him. I wanted to see for myself what all the fuss is about. I mean, you can’t exactly judge something unless you’ve tried it, right?

Let me set the scene- it’s a rainy morning and we pull into the parking lot and up to a loading dock. Yes, the “box” is basically in a warehouse and you walk through a loading dock to get there. Once we go in, Kevin introduces me to the owners, Kurt and Kris; brothers and Newtown natives. Oh, and did I mention they are both gingers? They use the hashtag “#gingertrained”. What’s there not to love?

The workout:  So I tell Kurt that I’m slightly apprehensive about losing my crossfit virginity, he assures me that I’m in good hands. We started with some rowing, followed by a warm up strength training portion. Then we did some bench presses, “hollows” (similar to the teaser in Pilates), and pull ups. After three rounds, we moved onto the WOD. Once Kurt started playing ACDC, I knew I was about to get my ass whooped. The WOD consisted of jumping pull ups, box jumps, and kettlebell swings AMRAP for 12 minutes. I have to say that Kurt was paying close attention to form, went over every exercise prior to starting, and gave me modifications as needed. The crossfit veterans in class were encouraging during the workout and showed me the ropes as we went along.

I definitely applied all five of the Pilates principles during the Crossfit workout; breathing, pelvic placement, rib cage placement, scapular stabilization, and cervical placement. I’ll avoid getting technical here, but I will say there is a strong overlap between Crossfit and Pilates. Many of the exercises in the Stott Pilates repertoire focus on strengthening the core, maintaining the natural curvature of the spine, and improving balance. I can see where Pilates would definitely help Crossfitters over the long run.

Overall, my experience at Crossfit was a positive one. I learned that not all Crossfits are created equal, so I can really only talk about my experience at RedZone in Newtown, CT. Kurt, Kris, and Jacqui (Kris’ wife) were incredibly nice and welcoming. These guys definitely know what they are doing and I’ll probably give it another go….just as soon as my body recovers.


Beyond Autism Awareness


It’s April. With the month of April comes “Autism Awareness” month. For those of you who are just catching up, we have a 5 year old daughter who is incredibly smart, beautiful, kind, and spunky. She also happens to have Autism Spectrum Disorder. We got her official medical diagnosis almost a year ago, and we’ve begun this bumpy, terrifying, yet incredible journey.

The purpose of this post is not to educate you about Autism, or explain the signs, causes, and treatments. What I really want is for everyone to think about this month as “Autism Acceptance”. And not just for Autism, but for everything and everyone who might be a bit different. It is easy to be aware of C’s differences, but to accept them? That’s a whole other beast.

I’ve accepted that we will never be a “normal” family. Outings, vacations, even trips to the grocery require extreme planning. I often have a babysitter or my mom in tow because during a melt down things turn tragic quickly and evacuating with two child often requires two adults. I’ve learned to accept we will have good days and awful days. I celebrate the tiny victories on the good days, and use the bad days as a learning experience. I’ve accepted that I will never be the perfect mom and will continue to make mistakes along the way.

I’ve accepted that people are assholes. No matter how much I educate someone about autism, they still may not accept that autism is a “real thing”. People are ALWAYS going to judge. People are ALWAYS going to say things that piss me off. I’ve learned to move on. Their loss, not mine.

Lastly, I’ve accepted that C is different, but not less of person. She is smart and capable of learning so much. She’s the kind of kid that is more interested in the inchworm on the sidewalk rather than greeting her classmates at school. She loves to touch, smell, and sometimes lick, everything in sight. She has memorized almost every Disney, Pixar, and Dreamworks movie, line by line. She can’t always verbally articulate how she’s feeling, but she comes up with the most interesting ways to convey her emotions and feelings. So yes, she’s “different”, but she’s amazing. If you can take a few minutes to see past someone’s “differences”, maybe you’ll find that they are a pretty incredible too.

Shout out to Nancy Hodari and Equilibrium in Michigan from my family in Connecticut: Thanks for supporting the Michigan Shines for Autism Gala, April 29th, 2017. To my peeps in Detroit get your tickets here: Autism Awareness Gala

Martina Sprague
Certified Stott Pilates Instructor
Owner: Balanced Pilates

Martina is back!

Introduction 2.0

For the 7 people who have actually followed this blog over the past few years, I’m baaaack!!! My life has changed a bit since my last post. My original bio reads as follows:

“30ish, married, one daughter, one husband, one dog, certifying in pilates, helps nancy run equilibrium by doing all the stuff nancy doesn’t like doing. sassy and genetically opinionated. more about her mother later.”

Well, I’m closer to 40 than 30. I have TWO kids, one of which is almost a “threenager”. The other is almost six and has autism spectrum disorder. We moved to the east coast, which means I no longer work for Nancy. I certified in Pilates and have been happily teaching. We built a house. Still have the same husband. Still have the same dog. Still genetically opinionated, but I’ve learned to drop my judgements. Oh, and did I mention my mom almost died? The key word being “almost”. Fortunately, she’s still feisty as ever and an even bigger pain in my ass. Let’s just say our journey has been tiresome, lonely, educational, and amazing all at once. (And my neighbors wonder why I get wine delivered to my house?! ) I’m still the same Martina, just a little older and a tiny bit wiser with a few more wrinkles. Looking forward to sharing our not-so-normal adventures with you!

Martina Sprague
Certified Stott Pilates Instructor
Owner: Balanced Pilates

“Oh hell no!” Moment – Cheetah Print Bikini

cheetah-bikiniYou always hear about people having their “Ah Ha!” moment-  celebs on E! gushing about how they had this “epiphany”. How now their life has suddenly become clear and they new insight and perspective on life. In my 31 living years, I can say I’ve had a handful of life changing moments- but they never brought this magical clarity to my life- in fact they made it more complicated. I’ve never had an “Ah Ha” moment, but I can tell you I have definitely had a “Oh Hell No!” moment…..

Last January, my husband and I decided we were going to plan a trip to Mexico and leave Charlotte with my parents for the week. For those of you that have kids, you know that a vacation without kids is like a gift from the gods. I immediately starting online shopping for some new beach duds, a new swim suit was definitely in order. Here was the thing, I still was carrying around some baby weight, so wearing a bikini was not really an option. So I ordered the two cutest one-piece suits I could find.

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