Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Yoga: Anywhere, Anytime, for Anyone

If you are conditioned to believe that yoga is not for you because you “don’t bend” or you “just aren’t into that sort of thing,” then please, keep reading.

There is a saying in yoga: “Go where your yoga meets you today.” What does that mean, exactly? It means that just because you can’t touch your toes doesn’t mean you can’t do yoga. Even the most experienced yoga practitioners won’t have the exact same workout twice. And for you beginners, like any other new activity, sport or hobby, you have to start somewhere. After every yoga session, your body will be able to do a little more than the time before. Over time, like any physical practice, the measureable results will be revealed.

The Basics
Yoga focuses on three main components: mindfulness, physical movements, and breath. Through the regular practice of yoga poses (asanas) the health benefits are reaped from head to toe, and include improved concentration, sleep and energy levels, as well as increased muscle tone, joint flexibility, balance, and weight loss.  The breathwork in yoga (which, simplified, merely amounts to remembering to breathe deeply, slowly and regularly throughout the poses) has been shown to help both blood pressure and resting heart rate.

Yoga: A Complement to Any Type of Training
Yoga’s emphasis on stretching and flexibility result in strengthening— not just to muscles, but to joints and tendons as well. This is precisely why yoga is fast becoming a training mode for every category of athlete, from high school wrestlers to college swimmers to professional basketball and football players. Think about it: What athlete from any sport, or discipline couldn’t benefit from added flexibility, core strength, balance, and concentration? 

Anywhere, Anytime
The beauty of yoga is that if you are looking for purely a physical release, and a quick workout that can wake up your joints, muscles and tendons, yoga can help. You don’t have to be confined to a dimly lit room with soft music and a yoga mat. Of course, those elements will add the benefit of relaxation and more of a de-stressing component, but if you just need a good s-t-r-e-t-c-h and to get your blood flowing, yoga poses can be performed anywhere that you have enough room to lay down and stretch your arms out to your sides. Yes, this means even in front of the TV. Watching your favorite show? Get on the ground and do a series of five poses, holding each several minutes. This “Yin Yoga” practice, which calls for holding poses for 3 – 5 minutes or longer, especially targets connective tissues such as ligaments and tendons, as well as bones and joints that are not typically targeted during more active yoga sessions.

Yoga is coming to Motivate Personal Fitness Academy! “Like” our  page on Facebook and find out more!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

HIIT: High-Intensity Interval Training is Where It’s At!

Let’s break it down: High Intensity (move at 100% effort) Interval (short period of time) Training (over the course of several weeks, months, etc) is not a new concept, but it is rapidly growing in popularity. Why? HIIT strengthens your body, fast, without breaking it down. But what else does HIIT deliver? Keep reading.

HIIT burns fat. In fact, look at these stats from one of the most studied HIIT programs happening today: Tabata. This high-intensity, interval-based training model has been used throughout the world since it was first developed in the early 90s, and is structured around “20/10” sessions (20 seconds of high-intensity exercise followed by 10 seconds of rest)that  are repeated eight times, for a total of four minutes of exercise. HIIT programs like Tabata jump start your metabolism and keep it revving for up to 48 hours after only a single workout.

HIIT adapts: Anyone, any fitness level, can benefit from a HIIT program. If you are out of shape, you can do it. If you are in shape, you can do it. If you are an elite athlete, you SHOULD do it. Regardless of where you are on the fitness scale, so to speak, during your very first HIIT session, it can and will take you to the next level or get you to the next goal.

HIIT is portable: You can literally do it anywhere—outside, inside, living room, bedroom, garage. Unless your goal is serious bodybuilding, you don’t need weights (a medicine ball and a set of dumbbells are all that you need). 

The best part: HIIT won’t break your body down. Instead, it supercharges your metabolism to burn fat, and it relies on the science of body mechanics to improve balance, and strengthen muscles while protecting connective tissue (ligaments, tendons) from injury or strain.

The bottom line: HIIT pushes your body to its maximum output for short intervals, using mainly just your body weight, and then programs your body (improves metabolic performance) to deliver maximum results, faster than any other method of exercise or fitness regimen.

For more about the science behind HIIT, click here. Or better yet, send me a note at Motivate Personal Fitness Academy today.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Tabata: What It Is and Why You Should Do It

Tabata? What’s that?! Root vegetable? New dance move? Tropical island destination? Intense, effective workout that provides maximum results in a fraction of the time of traditional workouts? Ding-ding-ding-ding! We have a winner.

Tabata was invented by Dr. Izumi Tabata, a Japanese doctor and researcher whose interval-based training model has been used throughout the world since it was first developed in the early 90s.

Tabata consists “20/10” sessions that are repeated eight times. That’s 20 seconds (yes, seconds) of high-intensity exercise (giving it all you’ve got, in other words) followed by 10 seconds of rest; this is one “set.” Repeated eight times, you’ve got four minutes of exercise, total.

Learn more right here.

The benefits in this short interval-based workout may only consist of up to 80 calories during the time of exercise, but it’s the after effects that make the difference. Science has proven Tabata to be a jump start to your metabolism for up to 48 hours after only a single workout. How many extra calories are burned after a single Tabata workout? Not 100… not 200… but up to 350 more calories per day, for up to 48 hours after working out. If that’s not worth it, I’m not sure what is.

Sound easy? It isn’t. In fact, it’s far from it and should be introduced slowly for anyone who is not already in fairly good shape. Depending on the specific exercise moves, Tabata can be personalized for target zones of the body, which is one reason why it is catching on so fast. Need core strengthening? Pick four ab moves that work various areas of the lower back and torso. Training for short distance running? Tabata is widely used at the track where runners create interval workouts to improve their overall speed.

Just to be clear, there is no shortcut to getting and staying fit, but like any other sciences, new research and discoveries lead to an ever-evolving menu of options when it comes to exercise. As with anything “new,” do some reading of your own and talk to your trainer before you try Tabata.

Keep moving as much as you can and see you next time!