How to keep up your yoga practice on the road

2016Apr25_Yoga_AMany yoga practitioners love to travel, but, despite good intentions, keeping up with the practice while on the road can be challenging. As you explore new places, cultures and foods, it’s easy to forget about the routines of your normal life, yoga being one of them. So how can you maintain your yoga practice while traveling? It all starts with being prepared and following these simple guidelines.

Pack your yoga gear

You’re traveling, so you don’t need to pack every single yoga item and accessory you have. Instead, think essentials: yoga towel, comfortable clothing to practice in and, of course, your yoga mat. And speaking of yoga mat, avoid packing the one you normally bring to class. Instead, see if you can find a light, more compact yoga mat that doesn’t take up too much space in your suitcase.

Practice early

When you travel it’s easy for plans to change as you discover the new and unexpected. While this is one of the joys of traveling, it can also be very disruptive to your yoga practice. So try practicing first thing in the morning. By doing this, there’s no chance you’ll accidentally skip your practice due to distractions later in the day and you’ll also feel more present and centered for all the new experiences ahead of you.

Find classes in the area you’re traveling

Of course, if you’d rather experience the local yoga culture instead of practicing solo in your hotel, you can also find a class. There are a couple ways you can go about this. You can check notice boards at visitor or shopping centers, ask the receptionist at your hotel or other locals, or simply Google yoga classes in your area.

Stay at hotels that offer classes

If you want to attend a class while traveling, but don’t want to bother with the hassle of finding one on your own, an alternative option is to simply stay at accommodation that offers classes. While this may sound difficult, more and more hotels, lodges and guesthouses are featuring this as a perk to staying with them. If you have yet to book your accommodation, add “yoga” as a keyword when searching for a place to stay.

Find creative places to practice

You’ve surely seen images of people practicing yoga in exotic beach destinations, in the mountains or on a pier overlooking crystal clear waters. Why can’t you do the same? But don’t let your imagination stop you there, you can roll out your yoga mat in just about any place that can accommodate it. So think outside the box. You can try yoga in an airport lounge, on the grass at a highway rest stop, or even in the town square of your destination amidst the fountains and tourists. Sure you may garner some odd stares from passerbyers, but it can also be a fun alternative to the norm. Remember you’re traveling and you’ll likely never see these people again, so why not be that yoga weirdo in love with her practice?

Maintaining your yoga practice while traveling doesn’t have to be a burden. While you may not be able to stick to your regular routine, there are plenty of opportunities to have fun with your practice. And when you get back, we’ll be happy to hear about your adventures and ready to welcome you in our classes. Until then, happy travels.

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Fight for your fitness!

2016Apr27_ExerciseGeneral_AIf you ever need to relieve some stress after a frustrating day of work, why not try martial arts? It is a great way to get in shape and offers a high intensity workout that activates your body on a different level. What’s more, is you’re also learning some valuable self-defense moves in case you ever face any real danger. It certainly worked for Daniel Larusso, when Mr. Miyagi ordered him to wax his car. So if you’re looking for a fun alternative to working out in a gym, try out some of these martial arts.

Judo

Originating from Japan, Judo is perhaps the most practical martial art for self-defense. In Judo, you use throws, holds and chokes to use the attacker’s momentum against them and force them to submit. It’s a full body workout that puts emphasis on strengthening your core, grip and upper body strength.

There’s barely any striking involved in Judo, although they do teach you to defend against fists coming your way. While Judo practitioners supplement their learning with strength training, the only way you’ll improve is by getting experience from sparring. As a beginner, you can expect to be thrown on your back – a lot. This is to help you practice minimizing the damage of throws before you move on to more advanced techniques.

Capoeira

If you’re looking for a more stylistic martial art and workout, try Capoeira. Originally from Brazil, this fighting style was created to disguise intricate dance moves as a martial art. Although your first classes can seem intimidating at first, you’ll find that the fast paced, high intensity environment can really work up a sweat. Capoeira classes involve a lot of gymnastic movements, postures and flexibility while being accompanied by lively background music. If you’re into yoga, dance or gymnastics, then there’s a good chance you’ll find Capoeira is a martial art that suits you.

Taekwondo

Taekwondo is an Olympic sport centered around delivering devastating kicks to your opponent. In such a fast paced sport, a Taekwondo practitioner focuses on speed, agility and high impact moves. Unlike other martial arts, Taekwondo is an intense cardio workout that is very demanding on your legs. Flexibility training is also required to do more advanced moves, so expect to be doing splits and other stretches to perform high kicks. Overall, you really burn a lot more calories in sparring sessions since you practically never stop moving. The only problem is, Taekwondo specializes on kicking so your self-defense techniques are limited.

Muay Thai

There’s a reason Muay Thai is used by so many Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) athletes in the octagon – because it’s effective. Muay Thai is also a high intensity, cardio focused training that works your entire body. Just after the first session you’ll understand that power, speed and conserving your stamina is key to doing well. While strength will give you a slight edge, it’s really a fighter’s endurance and technique that determines the winner. Moving around, changing stances, throwing punches and kicks, defending against your opponent can be a lot to take in – at first. So expect to be completely exhausted in your first sessions, but it’s a fun and addicting sport to get your body into fighting shape.

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu

Much like Judo, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu employs throws, takedowns, sweeps, chokes and grappling techniques to force your opponent into submission. This fighting style is more focused on ground fighting, and tends to require strategic thinking and proper technique. Brazilian Jiu Jitsu requires less cardio but is great for strength training and conditioning. As for its practicality for self-defense, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is the best self-defense martial art against a single opponent since you are removing their ability to throw punches and taking them to the ground, where you have control.

Martial arts provides an intense workout that you’ll never get bored of. Just knowing that there are other people learning in the class can give you extra motivation to push yourself even harder and kick some ass. When choosing a martial art, make sure it’s one that you enjoy doing and one that you don’t mind sticking to.

If you want to learn more about different and exciting workout routines, contact us today.

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Why exercise with your significant other

2016Apr20_ExerciseGeneral_AMany people exercise alone. A quick look around at the gym will verify this as you notice solo runners on the treadmill and muscly dudes moving across the free weight floor. The truth is a lot of us don’t consider bringing a friend to the gym. But why not? And why not bring one of the most important people in your life – your significant other? Exercising with your partner can be rewarding and offers some notable benefits. Here are a handful to think about.

Spend more time together

It’s a busy world. Between work, personal obligations, chores, and trying to achieve your goals, it can be difficult to find the time to spend with the one you care about most. And when you do find the time, a lot of those hours are spent on the couch staring at screens. But not if you exercise together. Whether you decide to strap on your sneakers for a run or hit the gym, exercise gives you an opportunity to talk and spend quality time together while improving your health.

Develop shared friends

In many relationships, a couple has two sets of friends: yours and your partners. While you may not make too many new friends if you simply use the machines at the gym, if you take an exercise class (such as yoga, dance, and martial arts to name a few) you’re sure to meet some new people and develop a shared friend base among you and your partner. This can provide a sense of community in your fitness endeavors and a group of friends both you and your partner can relate to.

Couples who release endorphins together are happier together

You’ve likely heard of endorphins, the natural chemical in your body that produces a euphoric like high. The endorphin release from exercise can produce a noticeable boost to your mood, which can create a greater sense of mutual, physical well-being. In other words, it makes you and your partner happier. What’s not to love about that?

Support each other

In a relationship, you and your partner support each other in various ways. Maybe it’s through listening to your partner when he’s had a tough day at work, or maybe it’s attending an event you absolutely dread because you know your presence makes your partner happy. Well, when you exercise together, you also have another opportunity to support each other, but in a different way. If you set joint exercise goals, you can motivate each other to achieve them. If you fall down or struggle, your partner will be right there to pick you up – and vice versa. Just as you support each other in achieving your life goals, supporting each other in your joint fitness goals can also help strengthen your bond and deepen your connection, letting the other know you care.

Enjoy each other’s body

When you workout together, you will witness firsthand as your partner’s body changes, becoming firmer and leaner. Experiencing these changes together can obviously crank up the heat in the bedroom. And to add to the fire, endorphins produced during exercise trigger the release of sex hormones, which can ignite passion in your relationship and sex life.

Outside of the bedroom, knowing that your partner is committed to their health and physical well-being can be extremely attractive. Obviously you want your partner to take care of his or herself. And when you exercise together, you can see that commitment first hand.

If your fitness goals or relationship are stuck in a rut, working out together may be worth a try. But whether you choose to exercise solo or with your partner, we are always here to lend a helping hand. We have classes, trainers and the all equipment you need to achieve your fitness goals. Give us a call today and learn how we can help you.

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6 healthy cooking tips for weight loss

2016Apr19_DietAndNutrition_ACommitting to a healthy lifestyle can be tough, especially when you have very little experience in the kitchen. With such a busy schedule, it’s hard to stick to a strictly healthy diet as well. There is also a misconception that healthy eating means that you’ll only be eating bland and unexciting meals everyday. However, healthy cooking isn’t difficult, boring or expensive, you just need to know a few tricks to get started. Here are some clean-cooking tricks that’ll help you stick to your diet and slim down in no time.

Switch to spray

Cooking oil is essential in the kitchen, but it can be difficult to get the right amount on the pan. Most people usually add way too much and end up ingesting more calories. So if you want to avoid drenching your pan in unhealthy vegetable oil, try using a cooking spray. Sprays will allow you to use less oil and give you just the right amount to cook your meals.

You should also go with cooking sprays that provide healthier fats like olive oil or coconut oil. Olive oil tends to burn up faster so cook in medium low heat if you’re planning to use the spray. Alternatively, coconut oil can withstand higher temperatures, so use this if you’re planning to crisp up some chicken.

Avoid sodium rich foods

A lot of our favorite food items like bacon, frozen pizza and cold cuts contain way too much sodium. Salty foods tend to be high in fat, which leads to higher levels of bad cholesterol in your body. With increased bad cholesterol levels comes greater risk of heart disease. You can simply decrease your daily sodium intake by avoiding salty dishes high in fat.

However, don’t assume that your food will be tasteless from this point on. You can use salt-free seasonings to substitute for excessive sodium intake. Herbs and spices like red chili peppers, paprika, rosemary, garlic, and oregano give your meals some nice flavor without feeling like you need an extra helping of salt.

Save some money

Stop thinking that clean eating is pricey. Buying in season produce or food that’s on sale can save your wallet from taking such a big hit. You can also buy your protein in bulk and keep it in the freezer so you’ll never have to worry about frequent visits to the grocery store or, even worse, a fast food joint.

Load up on veggies

Throwing in more vegetables in your diet is a healthy way to add more volume in your meals. Go for green vegetables like broccoli, spinach or kale to add more fiber to your diet – you’ll feel like you’re eating more without consuming too many calories. If you’re bored of eating salads all day, try adding some peppers in your omelet or you can stir fry your veggies instead. When stir frying, it’s important to stir the vegetables in high heat quickly because you’ll lose the nutrients over longer periods of frying.

Prepare meals in advance

If you’re always busy during the weekdays, sticking to a strict diet regimen can be tough. That’s why you should plan and prep your dishes on the weekend. If you take the extra effort to prepare your meals ahead of time, you can save yourself from cheating on your diet for the coming week.

Boil eggs for low-fat protein

Instead of frying an egg for breakfast, boil it instead. Hard boiled eggs are a healthy source of protein, and they’re pretty easy to prepare. You simply toss the egg in boiling water – no oil or butter needed.

Clean eating means changing your cooking habits so that you can easily stick to a healthy diet. Although it can be a lot to take in at first, we can assure you that it is well worth the effort. So consider using any or all of these healthy cooking tips if you want to see a slimmer waist and some good results on the weighing scale.

If you need some help transitioning to a new diet plan, give us a call. We’ll be happy to help.

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Treadmill running or outdoor running?

2016Apr13_ExerciseGeneral_AAs a runner you’re going to find yourself at a crossroad. Should you work up a sweat outside or do you pay your local gym a visit and run on their treadmill for 30 minutes? This is a question that many runners face and while some may think that both are exactly the same, there are clear differences and advantages to outdoor and indoor running. So if you’re just about ready to put on your running shoes and can’t decide where to run, here are are a few benefits to both treadmill and road running that you should consider first.

Treadmill running:
Avoid terrible running conditions

In a gym, you avoid the rain, the heat or tripping over the occasional curb. One of the advantages of running on a treadmill is the fact that you’re in a controlled environment free from bad weather. Running in unpleasant conditions can affect your performance and increases the risk of injury. The treadmill is also a cushioned surface, which is more forgiving on your joints. So if you’re planning to fit in a workout when the weather or the running surface is less than appealing, try using the treadmill and run outdoors some other time.

Simulate different training

Whether you have a sprint, 5K or even an uphill race coming up, the treadmill can help simulate the conditions required for your goal race course. A unique benefit of running on a treadmill is that it gives you the option to program the speed, distance and even the incline of your training. As an added bonus, if you can’t get to a park or a hill to do your workout, the treadmill is a wonderful substitute.

Easier rehydration

If you’ve tried running outdoors, then you’d understand that carrying a water bottle with you is quite cumbersome. It can also be difficult to rehydrate on the go while you’re focusing on not falling over. Running on a treadmill helps keep you on a rhythm that makes taking in fluids much easier for those longer running sessions. It even holds your water bottle for you!

Outdoor running:
Learn how to pace

When you run outdoors you can properly develop and maintain a pace on your own, which is better than the treadmill determining your speed. In some cases, runners, who have always stuck to indoor running and then decided to go for an outdoor run, ran much slower. Since they haven’t accounted for the wind resistance and the varying terrain, indoor only runners tend to struggle at first.

Visual cues

The biggest appeal to outdoor running is that you can enjoy the scenery. You’ll have an open space to look forward to rather than a treadmill timer you constantly glance at every 10 seconds. You can also see a clear distance that you have to reach rather than just choosing to stop and get off the machine. If you get bored of seeing the same thing every session, you can simply change your route and enjoy a different view. Running outside can be motivating too. Passing people in the park whenever you run gives you a slight boost of confidence and fuels that competitive spirit, allowing you to run farther and faster.

Ultimately, if you’re just starting out, you should pick a running routine that you are much more likely to enjoy and stick to. If you do decide to run on the treadmill regularly, make sure you try to vary the incline or speed to get the same benefits that you would normally get when you run outdoors. Also choosing to run outdoors doesn’t mean you aren’t allowed to run indoors. You can always change up your routine and see what works best for you.

Want to learn more tips on setting up a workout routine? Give us a call, we’re happy to help.

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Old school nutritional rules still relevant

2016Apr12_DietAndNutrition_AIn nutrition and life, everything changes. Items like floppy disks, pagers and cassette tapes are outdated. Political views like segregation and women’s right to vote are no longer relevant. As for the world of nutrition, it seems like things change every week. So much so that it can be a bit confusing to separate facts from just another fad. To help you make sense out of the mess, we’ve listed some tried and true nutritional rules that have stood the test of time. Here are some we hope can help you on your nutrition journey.

Learn to compromise

Choosing to eat healthy requires a lot of compromise. You can’t always eat that bag of Doritos after lunch, and you may have to force down that healthy plate of greens. The point is that healthy eating requires you to learn to eat some healthy foods you dislike, and eat less of some junk foods you love. You must accept this fact and develop self control to make healthy eating decisions if you want to make a permanent diet change.

Food is medicine

Every meal presents an opportunity to improve your physical and emotional well being. What you eat influences not only your overall health, but also how you feel. To prove this, pay attention to how you feel after you eat a meal ripe with fruits and veggies compared to a heavily processed meal of fats and starches. You are sure to notice a difference in your mood.

So how do you differentiate the good foods from the bad? For one, if you can’t pronounce the ingredient you’re eating, it’s likely not good for you. For example, foods containing autolyzed, aspartame, and sodium benzoate should be avoided. On the other hand, usually whole foods are ones you’ll want to eat more of. Just about anything in the produce section of your supermarket is a good choice and can have a dramatic impact on your health and the way you feel.

You only get one body. Take care of it.

This is a fact of life. If you screw up this body, there’s no place to return it to for a replacement or refund. Take care of your body and appreciate your health. If you eat a poor diet for many years, you may develop incurable diseases such as diabetes and coronary heart disease.

Be a sugar opportunist

Some of us have sweet tooths by nature. But just because you love sugar doesn’t mean you have to reach for the Oreos or box of Sara Lee every time you’re craving. Instead, eat sugars that also do your body good. Try dates, grapes, mangos, chocolate almond milk or other foods that have nutritional value in addition to sugar.

Plan for cheat days

Let’s face it, we’re all human and what we want to eat is not always the healthiest. That’s why most people who try to stick to a rigid diet fail. Forcing yourself to only eat healthy foods day after day will only make you long for junk foods even more, and suck the joy out of eating along the way. That’s why you need to plan ahead for cheat days/meals. This will provide you the freedom to enjoy the junk foods you love, and avoid the binge eating sessions where you break your diet in a moment of hedonistic rapture. When that happens, you’re left with nothing but feelings of defeat and the desire to give up.

Eat less. Eat more fruits and veggies. Exercise.

While there are thousands of books and diet plans out there that are quick to give you some convoluted plan to improve your health, eating right and taking care of your physical well-being is not rocket science. Perhaps the most tried and true method to do this is simpler than ever: eat less (smaller portion sizes), eat more fruits and veggies, and exercise. If you do one thing to change your diet and lifestyle, this is it.

While our nutritional experts know a lot about diet and nutrition, the rules we’ve presented above don’t take a brainiac to figure out. If you look a bit closer, you’ll notice that they’re all pretty much common sense. If you need help achieving your nutritional goals, give us a call and we’re more than happy to help you. But if you choose not to and are later faced with trying to figure out how to achieve your health goals on your own, just take a moment to reflect. You likely already know what to do.

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Why you should exercise in a class

2016Apr6_ExerciseGeneral_A“I tend to think of myself as a one-man wolf pack. But when my sister brought Doug home, I knew he was one of my own. And my wolf pack… it grew by one… And six months ago, when Doug introduced me to you guys, I thought, ‘Wait a second, could it be?’ And now I know for sure, I just added two more guys to my wolf pack.”– Zach Galifianakis (Alan Garner) in The Hangover (2009)

There is strength in numbers. The affable fat guy from The Hangover knew this as well as anyone. Wolves, like people, can oftentimes accomplish more when they work together towards a common goal. And so it is in exercise too. That’s why if you’re struggling with your fitness goals, we believe joining a class may just be the solution to get you over the hump. Here’s why.

Develop a routine that sticks

When you’re exercising solo it can be difficult to stick with your routine. You may grow bored and procrastinate on it, or events may pop up that give you an easy excuse to skip your workout. When you join a class, however, you’ll meet friends and develop a relationship with the instructor. This may motivate you to show up, especially if they’re expecting you or you’re looking forward to seeing them. Of course, making new friends isn’t the only motivation to attend. Exercise classes are also a lot of fun. Many play music and there are plenty of opportunities to socialize with other class members.

But what if your class isn’t fun? What if, again, you find yourself choosing Netflix over exercise? Well, chances are you have yet to find the right class. This, however, can take some time as it’s a trial and error process. But once you’ve found a good match, you’re almost certain to look forward to and attend classes regularly.

Gain support

A pack of wolves is more likely to succeed in the wild than a loner. And when you exercise in a group, you also have a greater chance of succeeding. While wolves in the wild are fighting for survival, you are fighting to achieve your fitness goals. And your class members and instructors are there to offer you the support you need to get it done.

Instructors can answer questions and provide valuable guidance while your classmates can offer the morale support you need to cheer you along. In fact, many of your fellow class members are likely to have been through similar fitness and weight struggles, and are likely happy to offer you advice, encouragement and an ear for you to vent your frustrations.

Be part of a community

If you haven’t guessed it by now, it should be obvious that joining a class provides a sense of community. You’ll make new friends and find people who share similar interests to you, all coming together for a common goal – to improve their health. Going to class gives you a chance to get out of the house and interact with others in a positive environment. This can be a mood booster when you’re feeling depressed or frustrated. And who knows, being around your health conscious classmates may just snap you out of a funk.

These are just a few of the benefits of joining a class, and we encourage you to give it a try and find your own wolf pack. When you have the support of others around you, achieving your fitness goals may be closer than you think. Call us today to learn about our classes and other fitness programs.

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If you’re gonna cheat on your diet, do it right

2016Apr5_DietAndNutrition_AStarting a new diet can be tough, especially when there’s a donut or pizza calling your name from across the street. Even after a long week of dieting and working out, those cravings start kicking in and you decide to reward yourself with a cheat meal. But before you start stuffing your face on your favorite fast food, you should still exercise some self-control so you avoid falling behind on your diet. Follow these simple rules, if you want to properly treat yourself without seeing the effects on your waistline.

Don’t cheat too frequently

Let’s make this clear, regularly eating a tub of ice cream every night to reward yourself is the wrong way to treat yourself. Instead you should aim for the 90/10 rule, where 90% of the time you should be eating foods strictly related to your diet plan and 10% of the time you are allowed to cheat on your diet. Within one month, for example, you can take three cheat meals. It’s best to spread out your cheat meals evenly throughout the month to avoid slipping back into unhealthy eating habits. If you schedule your cheat meals this way you are less likely to see higher numbers on your weighing scale.

The frequency of your splurges also depends on where you are in your diet and exercise program. If you have just begun your diet plan, frequently excusing yourself with cheat meals can lead to a slippery slope where you start to lose motivation or even discontinue your fitness program. If you are much closer to your goal weight however, taking an occasional cheat meal is less harmful.

Post-workout cheat meals

If you’re going to cheat, cheat after an intense workout session. This helps minimize the blow of high-calorie foods going into your system. Eating meals high in protein and carbs after a workout stand a better chance of being used for your muscles to recover rather than being converted into fat. And, if it’s any consolation, you probably won’t feel too bad about eating some chicken wings when your entire body is exhausted.

Don’t stuff your face with processed food

Probably the only foods that should be off limits in a cheat meal are processed food. The next time you’re craving a burger and fries don’t turn to places like McDonald’s. This is because major fast food chains lace their food with preservatives and, if ingested, could lead to a lot of health risks including heart disease, breathing problems and cancer.

When looking for cheat foods, it’s important to know just what exactly is on your plate. So if you’re still hungry for a burger either go to a burger joint or, better yet, make one yourself. Chances are, it will probably be healthier and tastier than the fast food option.

Save cheat meals for special occasions

It’s usually pretty difficult to watch what you eat during the holidays or other events. That’s why you should schedule your cheat meals during special occasions. Suppose you’re invited to someone’s dinner party, and your friends offer you food that they have labored to make since the day before. Are you going to tell them that you’re on a diet and proceed to throw away the food on your plate? It’s okay to be flexible with your diet just as long as you don’t overeat and develop unhealthy habits on those special days.

Cheat meals aren’t binge meals

Many people confuse cheating on their diet as being given the freedom to binge on high-calorie foods. Be careful about having several servings when you have a cheat meal. In extreme cases, eating too much in a single sitting can completely undo the work you put in for the entire week. Remember that the purpose of indulging is to keep you sane from the monotony of your regular diet plan, not to see how many cookies you can eat before being sick.

At the end of the day, well incorporated cheat meals throughout the month can give you the mental boost you need to stick to your workout and diet program. Just make sure you don’t overdo it or you risk going back to square one. If you would like to hear any other advice concerning your diet and nutrition, give us a call and we’ll be happy to help.

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Pose for sport: welcome to competitive yoga

2016Apr4_Yoga_ACompetition and yoga are two words you don’t see put together very often. It’s also quite difficult to imagine yoga as anything more than a class that you go to after work. However, it’s a thing, and the world of competitive yoga is making great leaps to establish itself as an Olympic sport. Already celebrating its 13th year, the International Yoga Sports Federation claims that the purpose of competitive yoga is to inspire others to take up the practice and gain from its health benefits. So how does competitive yoga actually work? Here’s everything you need to know.

How do you compete?

In competitive yoga, yogis are given three minutes to perform six different poses. Each pose has to be held for at least three seconds to be counted as a successful pose. Yogis have some freedom on the choice of poses that they wish to execute. However, four poses are mandatory and must contain variations of a stretch, a twist, a forward bend, and a back bend. Of course, judges factor in the difficulty of various poses too. For example, a forearm stand or a one handed tree pose are likely to be awarded more points than a downward facing dog.

So how do they decide the winner?

A panel of judges, from professional yoga studios, are positioned in front of the stage, where they decide the fates of many hopeful yoga contestants. Much like gymnastics point systems, competitive yoga is weighted on a scale of 60. This means that the maximum amount of points a pose can be awarded is 10. However, not many people have been able to achieve a perfect score. In fact, the highest number of points that have been awarded to a competitor is a 42.

What the judges are looking for in each performance is the difficulty of the pose, if they can maintain balance, breathing and the perceived concentration of each contestant. Although it does sound ridiculous at first, many gymnasts and contortionists have underestimated the difficulty of competitive yoga. While an individual’s body is contorted in an impressive yoga pose, it can be extremely difficult to remember proper breathing techniques, which can cause their entire performance to fall apart. Basically, if you can make a pose seem effortless, you get more points.

What’s the environment like in competitive yoga?

Putting yoga, a traditionally calm and judgement free hobby, into a competitive scene can seem quite contradictory. But, apparently, contestants are actually quite supportive of each other and don’t resort to trash talking like you would see in other competitive sports. Most people see the competition as an opportunity to improve on their poses and see the result as extra motivation.

Similar to other performance competitions, audiences cheer and applaud the competitors when they are impressed by the number of ways the yogis can bend and twist their bodies.

Any backlash from traditional yoga practitioners?

As you’d expect, some traditional yoga practitioners would disagree with the practice of competitive yoga. They believe that it places too much importance on comparing yourself to others and encourages the idea that different poses have more value over the other. For instance, no contestant performs a corpse pose during the competition since it won’t give them any scores.

At the end of the day, the great thing about yoga is that it can be interpreted and practiced in so many ways. While some may think that mindfulness can only be achieved through traditional yoga, it’s possible that some can find it through friendly competition. Competitive yoga is already being practiced in over 32 countries and, if it’s inspiring more people to take up yoga, we can’t simply dismiss it as an illegitimate practice.

Want to learn more about the latest trends in competitive yoga? Call us today.

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Get stronger with bodyweight training!

2016Mar31_WomensFitness_AMore women have taken to strength training and building muscle to help them quickly lose fat and get a toned body. But what if you don’t want to go to the gym or if a membership is a little out of your budget? Fortunately, there are plenty of strength training workouts you can do by yourself with little to no need for any exercise equipment. So if you plan on getting stronger, leaner and healthier, try out these basic exercises to get your body into shape.

Squats

The lower muscles of your body are going be working in this exercise. This includes the quadriceps, glutes, hamstrings and your posterior chain. Start with your feet a little over a shoulder width apart. Whenever you’re doing a squat, make sure that your knees are not going inwards or outwards, instead they should remain in neutral position as they go forward whenever you descend. Imagine you’re sitting back down on a chair while trying to keep your back straight. Start off with 2 sets of 20 reps.

Incline push-ups

Wherever you go, people will always say that push-ups will always be a staple of any strength training exercise. If you’re just starting out and find it difficult to do normal push-ups, start with inclined push-ups first. This is done by placing your hands on an elevated surface like a bench and proceed to do the normal motion for a push-up. The goal is to gradually strengthen your body so that you’ll be able to do normal pushups on a flat surface. To get some results try doing 3 sets of 10 reps.

Bench dips

The great thing about dips is that they can strengthen your arms and you can do them with any park bench or chair. Simply place your hands behind you on a bench with your knuckles facing forward. Have your legs extended forward and dip down until your arms are in a 90 degree angle. Don’t shrug your shoulders as you’re lowering yourself down since this might cause injury. Do 3 sets of 10 reps with these.

Aussie pull-ups

If you’re a complete beginner, being able to do your first pull-up can seem like an impossible feat. You should go with a less intense version and work your way up instead. Using an inverted row, go under the bar and position your body horizontally from the bar. From there, pull yourself towards the bar while squeezing your abs and glutes. Make sure you don’t bend your hips as you go back down. Only do 2 sets of 10 reps of these and increase the amount when you feel more comfortable with it.

Hip bridges

This exercise rounds out your training session by stabilizing your spine, hamstrings, and muscles in your inner thigh. To perform this, start lying on your back. Have your legs bent on a 45 degree angle and keep your arms to your side with your palms planted on the floor. Lift yourself up by extending your hips upwards. As you’re going up remember to squeeze your glutes and breathe out. Inhale and relax as you’re going back down. For beginners to this type of training do 3 sets of 10 reps.

Lying knee tucks

No training session is ever complete without a little ab work. Again, lie on your back with your legs just a few inches above the floor and your arms at your sides. For each repetition, tuck your legs closer to your chest and extend them out to finish the repetition. Unlike crunches, there’s little strain placed on your neck with knee tucks so there’s less risk of injuring yourself. Try to do 3 sets of 15 for this one.

Once you’re more comfortable with these exercises you can increase the intensity by adding more sets to your workout or by trying a more difficult version to some of these exercises. If you’re at a point where push-ups are not doing much for you anymore, try challenging yourself with clap push ups. Or if you’re getting bored of Aussie pull-ups, go vertical and do normal pull-ups. Always remember that proper technique beats out how many repetitions you complete so focus on doing it right to get the most out of your workouts.

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