Walk the Distance challenge/ join anytime


  • For people who want a fun way to get fit and healthy
  • For people who strive to live an active lifestyle that’s
    both fun and challenging
  • For competitive people who want to challenge their
    friends, family or colleagues
  • For people who want to virtually experience the
    beauty of The Appalachian Trail.
  • Experience the Beauty of the Trail with virtual sign posts, scenic points and trail volunteer information. 

Better Health and Fitness with Motivation from the Aspire Team

What you get for $49.99 (member pricing)

  • 2200 Miles and 19 Sections- Virtual starting point-      Georgia- Section 1
  • Cute hat and Velcro patch for your virtual starting point in Georgia- Section 1
  • Earn as many patches for every 2 sections (starting at Section 2 in North Carolina) completed within 3 months from your start date
  • App fee for entire Appalachian Trail

Members of Aspire Pilates and Fitness Studio or Online Studio $49.99 *   **

Non-Members $59.99 *

*Sign up by December 15th and you get a free American Flag patch

**After December 28th,
Price increases to $59.99

Starting Monday, January 6th, but your start date and begin when you are ready!

#75Hard Thoughts and Insights

“Everything around you that you call life was made up by people that were no smarter than you. And you can change it, you can influence it… Once you learn that, you’ll never be the same again” Steve Jobs


Thoughts on 75 really hard days.  When reading through the 6 tasks, it really didn’t seem tough or should I say, it seemed “doable” For a review, here they are:

1) Follow a diet. This is left up to you. You’re allowed to pick any diet of your choice as long as it’s designed for physical improvement.

2) Work out twice a day for at least 45 minutes each time. One of these workouts MUST be an outdoor session,

3) No alcohol or cheat meals.

4) Drink one gallon of water.

5) Read 10 pages of a book. (Audiobooks do not count)

6) Take progress photos every day.


75 Gallons of Water consumed
225 Miles Walked (at least)
112.5 hours exercised
150 work outs
5 Books read
Pounds lost- who knows?

I know people love to see “Before and After” Pictures..Read through to the end. 

The tasks that I thought would be difficult were easy and those that I thought were easy, became difficult.   All, were monotonous.  But as Andy Frisella (founder of 1st PHORM and developer of this program) said, “Grit is a series of monotonous behavior repeated over and over and over”

Thoughts during 1st days: 

  • I was ready and since 1 workout had to be outdoors, I was all up for an outdoor workout in rain, sleet or snow…Bring it!
  • My 2nd workout was a usually a boot camp, yoga, or Pilates workout and every once in a while I would do a second walk outdoors.
  • I think I may throw up drinking the gallon of water
  • I will go about this like I trained for the ½ marathon or MS 150. It’s not about weight loss when you train, it’s about the goal.

Meal Plan

  • Gluten Free- Due to my autoimmune disease (Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis) I would stick to a Gluten free meal plan (I’m not always diligent on that) but since #75Hard leaves the diet up to the individual I set the plan from the beginning. 
  • Cycling carbs (some days, none, low and high – Not stringent), Eat Breakfast, Lunch, Mandatory snack at 3pm (small meal), dinner at 6pm and nothing after.  
  • 12 -13 hours between dinner and breakfast. So if on rare occasions my dinner was after 6pm, I would eat a bit later in the morning. 
  • No fried foods or added sugar but I wouldn’t decrease good fats and I would add them to anything. (Olive Oil, Butter made with olive oil etc. )
  • Weight loss was not my priority, only healthy eating to decrease the inflammation that is ever-present with Thyroiditis.

Thoughts during middle days: 

  • Can I keep doing this since my birthday, mother’s day, graduation parties, and daughter’s b’day coming up?
  • I don’t want to walk one more time in the rain. I will look at the forecast and avoid it.  I will plan better.
  • I’m sick of reading books (this is something that I thought would be easy- it’s only 10 pages for goodness sake.
  • My diet is easy and I feel great, and I haven’t once had to take Motrin or Tylenol (gluten free)
  • Water is now easy, especially since it’s super-hot outside

Thoughts during last part:

  • I’m ready for this to be over but I feel great and can’t believe I am doing this. I can’t stop now.
  • I think I can even do Phase 1 , 2 and 3 after this is done.
  • I now have tendonitis in my foot, but I will not stop, have gone too far
  • How will I detail my thoughts to my clients

End of Program Thoughts:

As a fitness instructor, I really do not like before and after pictures.  “After pictures” do not tell a story.  A story of how strong, agile, or flexible you are.   You can be “thin” and have none of these and actually feel pretty bad physically. Also, it would totally go against my motto which is:

“I hope that what you can do with your body will far outweigh what you think it should look like”

If this was just about weight loss, I could have gone on a juice cleanse and been done after a couple of weeks. This was a mental toughness challenge.  Anyone can do this if they put their Mind to it. 

Off to phase 1, 2 and 3 but not before a break and vacation…oh yeah, and I saved my B’day cake, in the freezer (May 14th), I will now have a bite!

Thoughts from my supportive and loving husband:

  • Husband left at party because I had to go home and walk
  • Dinner on the blue-hair schedule (husband’s words)
  • Get home early and leave early from wherever we are so that I can do my final workout
  • Husband participating in some of my walks now and doesn’t like it, but did it because he was supporting me. 

Deborah Lea

So many Ways to measure progress and success!

Crow Pose- Easy for most but accomplishment for me.
Low Triceps Pushup Hold or Chaturanga.
Wheel Pose or Bridge- Not easy for my inflexible back
After Pic

Pilates With Spark


Strength * Power * Align * Renew *Kardio

The New Schedule Starts on April 5th 2021

Our schedule is designed to give you variety and to improve your fitness. 

Fusion, Power, Traditional Classes? We’ve got you covered:

Pilates Reformer & Barre
Want Power without joint stress?
New to Pilates Try Traditional Reformer
Pilates Reformer &Yoga
Reformer, Kardio,Weights

What in the World is Pilates?

A Little “Pilates” History

The following excerpt is taken from www.josephpilates.com  “In 1880 near Dusseldorf Germany, Joseph Pilates was  born . As a child, Joseph suffered from several health ailments: asthma, rickets, and rheumatic fever.  In an effort to restore his own health, he studied anatomy books and reinforced what he learned by observing animals in the woods.  When Britain entered World War I, his German citizenship led to his imprisonment along with other German nationals as “enemy aliens.” Despite the unfortunate circumstances, this was a fundamental time in the development of his method.  During his imprisonment Joseph taught his exercises to fellow compatriots, and later he acted as a nurse-physiotherapist of sorts. Here he developed the first concepts for his innovative machines by disassembling the camp bunk beds and using the springs as a form of resistance to rehabilitate the injured and bed-ridden.  One of the greatest examples of the immense benefits of practicing Joseph Pilates’ holistic approach to health is the outbreak of a terrible influenza in 1918. The 1918 influenza epidemic decimated populations all over the world; areas of close co-habitations of people, such as internment camps, were especially hard hit. However, all those who followed Joseph’s routine survived due to their good health.”

In Short –Does it Work?

 An eight-week study published in Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport studied the effectiveness of a Pilates exercise program on healthy adults (average age of 25) who had enrolled in a Pilates course for the first time (26 females, 2 males). After an eight week course, the Pilates exercise group showed a significant improvement in decreased body fat, improved flexibility for hamstring and low back muscle groups, and improved abdominal muscle endurance.

STOTT Pilates

There are different Pilates certifications..this in mine: I’m certified by STOTT Pilates for this reason: STOTT PILATES incorporates modern exercise principles and the original Pilates method and are designed to restore the natural curves of the spine and re-balance the muscles around the joints.  STOTT makes it applicable to sport-specific training and everyday life.

Pilates makes everything …better!

Why Pilates

*Pilates focuses on the flexion, extension and rotation of the spine. It also  strengthens all of those deep ab muscles and muscles around the spine

*Reduces joint & lower back stress

*Balances flexibility with strength Leads to better muscular symmetry

*Heightens body awareness

*Non-impact, easy on the joints

*Can be customized to suit everyone from rehab patients to elite athletes

*Complements other forms of exercise

*Improves sports performance (golf, skiing, skating, dancing, equestrian etc.)

*Improves balance, coordination & circulation.

Beginner- Two Pilates Exercises

 The Roll-up-  Lie back with legs straight and arms extended above head next to ears.

Bring arms forward, tilt chin down, and slowly curl upper body up, reaching hands to toes.

Half Roll Back- Begin seated on the Mat, tall and lengthened, ensuring your feet are hip-distance apart. Curve your spine and roll back as far as possible while keeping feet on the mat

Start with 10 reps of each of these.  Usually this is just the beginning for the entire repertoire.  More to come!

 CAUTION: Please note the following important cautions before attempting STOTT PILATES exercises. Consult with your doctor before beginning this or any other exercise program, as not all exercises are suitable for everyone. This or any other exercise program may result in injury. If you experience pain or discomfort during exercise, stop immediately and consult your doctor. To reduce risk of injury, never force or strain during exercise.

Health and Fitness from the inside out

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