Too much Halloween candy? Check. “A little” turkey and pumpkin pie until stuffed and sleepy? Check. Late-December holiday socials fast approaching? Triple check.

Of course, this also means that I best be getting myself in shape to feel great while wearing my ideal holiday dress… and not worrying about the repercussions of eating that extra serving of cake (or pie… or both). There is always the option to change up your usual Pilates routine through cross training, but that can really take some effort getting into. Doing what you already know can still help you feel your best (as it always does) – you may just need to utilize different tools step up your routine!

My favorite tools (ahem, “mind body accessories”) are the Pilates Magic Circle and yoga strap. Both are incredibly simple, portable, and great aides for feeling varied forms of resistance and stretch in simple mat exercises. The Pilates Magic Circle is peculiar in the sense that it is such a simple concept; it is literally a rubber or metal circle with two small pads in a parallel relationship on the circle. Density and weight while applying pressure on the circle can vary, but purchasing even the lightest of Magic Circles will enhance your training immediately. It can be used to create variations in exercises to discover true balance, alignment, and strength. It is, at the very least, a great visible marker of alignment and, well, lets just say I never realized how much stronger and dominant the left side of my body is compared to the right!

As for yoga straps, they are great for stretching, but can also be used as placement, strength, and flexibility indicators. Doubling up a strap and where you hold it can gently, but vastly, promote placement and evenness when working on shoulder and arm exercises.

Wanting to look your best doesn’t have to mean a crazy, extreme new workout routine. Sometimes all you need is to push that routine just a tiny bit further, acknowledge new adjustments, and be proud of the work you have already accomplished!

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