The Core Equation

einstein_may2010Despite my lack of math aptitude, some formulas have managed to stick in my head. There’s E=mc2, which addresses the mass energy equivalence. Yeah, I don’t really understand what that means. But it always conjures up images of Albert Einstein.  Another one is Pi, the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter. It goes by the symbol – π , sort of like when the artist formerly known as Prince changed his name.   

But the one formula I do get is the one about weight loss – in order to lose pounds, you need to burn more calories than you are consuming.  Sounds simple, doesn’t it? Often, people can get so hung up on the math that they focus exclusively on cardio. The gratification of seeing 300 calories burned on an elliptical machine monitor, or twice that after an intense spin class, can become addictive. However, the truth is that you need more. Strength training makes a world of difference. Stretching is important. And  don’t forget about your middle.

Core strength works your abs, back and pelvis, which carries your limbs – your arms and legs. It is the support system that keeps you body together. As Lori Harber, founder of PerFORM Pilates explains, “When you do too much cardio at too high of a level, you can burn muscle. With too much strength training, you are speeding up your metabolism but not supporting or strengthening your heart.  Core work promotes overall health and is good for everyone’s body.”

That’s why Pilates has moved beyond celebrity circles and into the exercise mainstream. Created in the 1920’s, it originally comes from yoga, boxing and gymnastics.  Pilates works. I lost a clothing size after several months of taking up the practice without making any other changes in my eating or regular exercise routine.

Curious about how to get started? Lori shared a few tips. Consider making an investment and take a few private lessons with a fully certified instructor to get the movements right for your body – and then investigate mat classes and videos. Notify the instructor about your physical limitations so they can modify the moves. Remember that Pilates is the opposite of “no pain, no gain” and the goal is to work in a pain-free range of motion.  It should be challenging for your muscles without any neck or back pain. Want to learn more? Check out or email Lori at

What do you think about core work?


  1. I have never done pilates with machines but always wanted to…if I had some extra money laying around. I have done the mat version and really found it helpful. I had just started up again in January (after several years off when my old gym closed) and have not been in months since my injury. I can’t wait to get back:) I also liked doing core work in my class that did all the strength exercises with a bosu.