Short High Intensity Training or Long Moderate Exercise?

It’s ideal if you can carve out the time to exercise daily. Although you want to make sure that your routine doesn’t get stagnant. While maintaining 30-60 minutes regularly at the gym has benefits, you may see more improvement with doing short bursts of high intensity training.

It’s easy to go on autopilot and do your typical continuous movements without breaking much of a sweat. With short periods of high intensity training you are pushing yourself to the limit, working muscles and body parts that often lay dormant. We’re talking only 15-20 minutes of exercise in one session!

High Intensity Training

Research has shown that high intensity training can lead to greater weight loss (and fat loss) especially the reduction of dangerous visceral fat. It also seems to improve insulin resistance, your heart and lungs, while suppressing appetite in ways that low intensity workouts do not.

Combining Exercises

This doesn’t mean that you have to stop attending Soul Cycle, running in the park, or taking leisurely walks in the neighborhood. What you should be thinking is “How can I use the other 2-3 days a week practicing something new and intense that doesn’t require as much time?” The combination of both methods is really where you will achieve the most physical fitness.

High intensity training doesn’t have to come with the expense of a fancy gym or equipment. You can learn the moves from a qualified trainer or work your way up to exercises that you probably did in high school gym class like pull ups, push- ups, and “suicides” sprint drills.

High Intensity Training Goals

If your goal from high intensity training is to gain muscle and lose fat, you must also acknowledge diet. Just because you are working hard does not entail needing to down large bowls of pasta or rice for extra fuel. You are most likely getting enough carbohydrates in your current diet and upping them drastically will only lead to weigh gain. In that case you may mistake this new exercise change as being ineffective. Instead, implement some form of calorie restriction while performing this practice. Intermittent Fasting or a nutrient dense plant based diet with complex carbohydrates and clean protein will be your best bet to yield great results.

 

 

 

The Lost Art of Functional Training

By Celebrity Trainer JR Allen

 

We live in a society in which daily routine has limited movement due to that fact that the majority of us are sitting in front of a computer most of our days doing little to no muscle movement or cardio activity. This can lead to the inhibition of key muscle groups such as the glutes, subscapular, and erector spinae which typically are not active sitting in front of our computer. Functional Training takes into account our daily movement pattern and strengthens those muscle groups. Functional training involves mainly weight bearing activities targeted at core muscles of the    abdomen and lower back.

The mass majority of people with lower back issues do not realize that gluteal inhibition is the cause of most of their problems in this area. In activating your glutes, you will release the stress on your lower back which in turn improves posture, quality of life, and range of motion.

 

sqatting2

Key gluteal movements:

1) Squats, Gluteal Bridges

Protraction in the shoulder area is another consequence of lack of daily functional movement.

Weakness of upper back and posterior deltoid muscles can cause protracted shoulder as well. To help strengthen and reverse the problem here are a few exercises I recommend.

 

Prone shoulder press

 

prone_snow_angel

Key posterior deltoid movements:

1) Prone snow angels, Rows and Prone shoulder press

Functional Training should be the base of all workouts whether you are a novice or expert. This builds secondary muscles and improves in our daily movements. Most importantly it helps us to move freely in our day to day activities.

Typical weight training focus mainly on the primary muscles groups. Whereas Functional training will focus on those same muscles groups but will also take into account the secondary muscles that surround the larger muscles.

From cleaning the bathroom, washing the dishes and picking up a child; these are functional activities that we do daily. Functional training helps make these movements easier with less stress on the muscle and allowing you to maintain greater range of motion and flexibility as you age.

 

Original Photo of JR Allen by Heather Photography.

 

 

 

The Power of Restorative Yoga

By Lauren Taus

We live in a culture that rewards gains with pay raises and praise. Whether at work or at the gym, we are on a seemingly endless quest to improve ourselves and be better. We even do this in yoga classes, asking how can I perfect my headstand, master crow, or deepen my flexibility. This orientation is not, by nature, negative or wrong. We should always be growing, but this single pointed focus needs to be balanced with a willingness to be in acceptance and peace with what is.

Recently, I’ve deepened my meditation and restorative yoga practice. I’ve quickly come to appreciate these parts of my health routine as the most challenging – and the most important. The benefits are immediate. I sleep better, eliminate better, and I feel better every day that I carve out time for myself in repose.

But I’m just one person, and I don’t expect you to trust my experience. I do, however, expect you to trust the world around you. Most modern diseases are connected to stress: heart disease, cancer, high blood pressure, diabetes, etc. When the stress response is on, all other vital systems shut down – digestion, elimination, growth, repair, reproduction and immunity – because the body perceives no need for them. Over an extended period of time in stress, we suffer massively negative impacts on our physical, psychological and social well-being. Some can be lethal.

The good news is that we can learn to undo unnecessary, habitual tension. We can learn to relax into what is and feel the support around us. Restorative yoga is the key to this embodied preventative health, and it may be a style of yoga you don’t recognize at all.

Unlike Hatha yoga, restorative yoga does not require any muscular effort. We do the poses lying passively over props, such as bolsters and blankets, and you are meant to let go into them completely so that you allow yourself to be and feel supported. Over time and continued practice, you surrender layers of deeply held tension. This is an exercise in conscious relaxation that can lead to a state of integrated and holistic well-being.

Here are four poses you can practice at home.

1. Supported Childs Pose

Place blocks underneath two ends of a bolster or large cushion, and come into childs pose with your torso supported by the bolster. It should feel as though the support is coming up to meet you rather than your torso dropping into the support. Slide your arms underneath the gap between the bolster and the floor, bringing each hand toward the opposite elbow. If the forearms or elbows don’t touch the ground, fill in the space with towels or blankets so that you are supported from the elbows to the fingers. Supporting the elbows and arms helps to release tension in the upper back and neck while integrating the arms back into the body. In order to release tension in the lower back and create a deeper sensation of groundedness, place a heavy blanket on your sacrum. If the base of the shins or the tops of the feet are off the floor, prop them with a rolled towel.

Turn the head to one side, alternating sides halfway through the pose. On each inhalation, feel the back body expand and on each exhalation, feel the support under the chest and belly. Stay in the pose for 5-10 minutes.

2. Supta Baddha Konasana

This pose opens the entire front body: the pelvis, belly, heart and throat. These are areas we instinctively protect, which is why this pose can leave us feeling exposed and vulnerable.

Place a block lengthwise under one end of a bolster to prop it up on an incline. Sit with your back to the short, low end of the bolster. Place a second bolster under your knees and bring the soles of your feet together. Wrap a blanket around your feet to create a feeling of containment. Place another folded blanket over the pelvis to create a feeling of insulation. Lie back on the bolster. Place support under your arms so that they are not dangling and there is no feeling of stretch in the chest. Stay for 5-15 minutes.

3. Side-Lying Savasana

Twists are generally good for the nervous system, but some constrict the breath and create more anxiety. This gentle supported twist allows more room for the breath to come into the rib cage and belly. Lay on your left side with your feet at a wall and your
back against a bolster that is at least as high as your spine. Bend your right knee to 90 degrees and support your right knee and shin with a bolster or folded blankets so that the right leg is as high as the right hip. Rest the sole of the left foot on the wall. Place folded blankets under your top arm and hand to lift them to the height of your shoulder. Tuck a folded blanket under your head and neck to lift your head in line with your spine. Rest here for 2-5 minutes.

To move into the twist, roll your torso to the right over the bolster, keeping your right arm fully supported by it from shoulder blade to fingers. Your right hand should be no lower than the height of your right shoulder. If you have tightness in your shoulder or chest, place more support under your arm until it’s higher than your shoulder. You should not feel a stretch, but rather as though your chest is open and your breath is fluid. Stay for 2-5 minutes and repeat on the other side.

4. Savasana

This pose can be very expansive, especially when the arms and legs are spread wide from the body. Keeping the legs and arms a little closer to the body encourages a more contained feeling.

Roll up a blanket and place is alongside a wall. Lie down with the soles of your feet against a blanket. Place an additional rolled blanket or bolster under your knees to encourage the thigh bones to drop deeper into your pelvis. Place a folded blanket over your belly to release tension and weigh the hips down even more. Rest your arms by your side, palms facing down. Support your cervical curve with a small, rolled towel and place a folded blanket under the head to create a cradling effect. Your chin should be perpendicular to the floor, and your throat should feel open and tension free. With each exhalation, allow the earth to fully hold each part of your body: heels, thighs, pelvis, upper back and head. Once you feel completely connected to the ground, rest your mind on the waves of your breath. Realize too that the nature of the mind is to wander and, each time you catch it doing so is an awakening.

Research shows that, after 20 minutes in a state of relaxation, we can stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system, and quell the sympathetic nervous system. But don’t worry if you find yourself getting anxious and making laundry lists while you practice. Turn on some music that soothes you. Google about it to find a guided practice. Just keep trying. It takes time to learn to relax, but you’re teachable. You can do it, and it’s worth it. Trust me, I know.

 

 

Weight Loss Tips: Don’t Waste A Workout

By Danielle Pashko, Author of Breaking Your Fat Girl Habits

If you are religious about your workouts – yet still don’t have the body you want- there a number of things to consider. Exercising is beneficial but it’s not as simple as just dedicating an hour a day to something physical. What are you doing in that hour? Exercise also will provide little value if you’re kind of like “Well, what I eat is not really a big deal because I’ll burn it off anyway.” Think about your routine and then review the following questions.

1. Are you getting in enough cardio?
2. Do you use free weights? If so, do you rest between sets?
3. Do you skip cardio all together and solely use machines for weight-bearing exercises?
4. What time of day do you work out?
5. Do you usually eat a full meal before a workout?

We’ll get back to these questions shortly, but although you may disagree with me I believe that taking off weight is 80% diet and 20% exercise. I have seen countless cases where clients have come to me to lose weight and their chief complaint is, “I work out all the time but just bulk up”. So let’s dissect why this may be happening.

Rule #1.

A workout will not promote weight loss without cardio. A bare minimum 30-45 minutes of cycling, brisk walking, elliptical, or spinning is required at least 3-4 times a week to see the best outcomes. Short intense exercises can provide value; although different results (such as size and muscle).

If your objective is to slim down and lean out, Yoga, Pilates™ and weight training are all encouraged, but they should be in addition to your cardio workouts. If you are doing a super vigorous practice such as Astanga or Vinyasa yoga, that is the exception. As a former group fitness instructor at Equinox Fitness, The Sports Club LA, The Reebok Sports Club and Exhale Spa, I can appreciate a talented instructor or personal trainer. Yet set aside time for vigorous cardio (cycling, running, brisk walking, elliptical) as often as possible. If you have never worked out before, it’s advised to start off slow and build up your tolerance. Rather than 30-45 minutes on day one, start with 15 minutes cardio. Keep adding on five additional minutes each week, although you don’t need to go past an hour which is plenty.

Rule #2.

Lifting weights should NOT make you gain weight. Weight-bearing exercises will actually contribute to weight loss when done in addition to consistent cardio. It speeds up your metabolic rate and will lead to burning additional calories even when you are not active. Instead of taking your normal 30-60 second rest in between sets, use that time to hop right into another exercise such as lunges. Then as soon as you finish a set of lunges, jump right back into your bicep curls. Practicing high rep, low weight workouts will lean you out while giving definition to your body parts. When using the machines, it’s easy to rely on them for support. Free weights require more balance and core strength which is sometimes harder, yet will lead to more aesthetic results.

Rule # 3.

When you work out matters. One of the worst times to work out is right after you’ve eaten a main meal (except for breakfast) since that’s a light meal to begin with. You have to time your workouts and here’s why. Let’s say you eat a big lunch at noon and then go for a workout at 1 p.m. Despite the fact you probably won’t have fully digested your food, you will also work up an appetite too early. When you are done around 2 or 3 p.m., you will be ready for another meal. A protein shake may hold you over if you plan to have dinner by 5 p.m., but who eats dinner at that time? Maybe your parents in Boca Raton. Since we are more social in other parts of the world, dinner is not until 7, 8 or 9 p.m. and that will create a problem. You don’t want to go into a dinner meal being ravenous. You’ll end up overeating and that negates any benefit from your time at the gym.

You also don’t want to have dinner and then go to the gym after 8 p.m. This is for the same reason of eating way too late at night. If you get home around 9:30-10 p.m. and your workout was worthwhile, once again you will be very hungry. Now if you are disciplined and can have Greek yogurt, some grilled chicken breast or turkey slices then it’s not a problem. Yet most people can’t stop with just a light snack and end up overeating right before bed. It’s one of the sure ways to keep on the weight despite how many calories you may have just burned. The other problem with late workouts is that they can be over-stimulating and not good when trying to unwind and get in a good night’s sleep – which is another key to weight loss.

The best thing is to eat very light before a workout, enough food to give you energy but not something that qualifies as an actual meal. In fact, a lot of athletes and competitive body builders who want to look shredded often skip meals prior to a workout for better results. Some studies have shown that pre-workout fasting helps metabolism and prevents insulin resistance. With that being said, you shouldn’t exercise if you are feeling extremely hungry or low energy. Personally, my blood sugar tends to drop often when I don’t eat enough and I would probably pass out without a snack so you need to know your body. I don’t need much; just a little bit of protein like a hardboiled egg or a scoop of protein powder does the job without overeating.

Getting into the habit of planning workouts around meal times is the way to not eat double meals. For example, having breakfast at 6:30 a.m. and having a second breakfast at 9 a.m. after cycling, or eating lunch at noon- going for a run an hour later and having another lunch around 3 p.m., or lastly (which is the worst) eating dinner at 6 p.m., taking a yoga class at 8 p.m., then coming home at 9:30-10 p.m. and eating once more – which will end up calorically being a second dinner when all is said and done.

And before you obsess too much about how you didn’t work out hard enough or if you totally didn’t work out at all, DON’T. It really comes down to what you put in your mouth. It’s better to have healthy habits like taking the stairs when possible, not looking for the closest parking spot and accepting the 20 yard walk or just simply not sitting on your butt all day, combined with a really well managed diet than exercising heavily and eating all wrong.

 

The Four Steps to Burning Fat

A Healthy High-Tech Body then is one that embraces healthy leanness, where the fat on and in your body isn’t killing you. If you want to achieve healthy leanness, there are four steps you need to take, essential to fat burning and lean muscle building:

1. Change toxic eating habits.
2. Control insulin, glucagon, and cortisol so that you don’t accumulate fat around your waistline and stomach, anywhere you don’t want it.
3. Exercise aerobically to enhance long-term fat burning.
4. Exercise anaerobically to build and increase fat-burning muscle.

THE WINNING FORMULA IS A COMBINATION OF:
Aerobic exercise | Anaerobic exercise | Prudent eating

Neutraceuticals for Burning Fat

The main thing supplements help accomplish is providing chemical support for regulating appetite and for burning accumulated fat. There are many ‘fat burners’ on the market. They work in a variety of ways with varying degrees of effectiveness. The term we’ll use here to describe ‘fat burning’ is thermogenesis. Thermogenesis is the creation of heat from the stored energy that is fat. This Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) is an advanced polyunsaturated fatty acid use to promote thermogenesis which can be taken as an oral supplement. We also combine CLA with other neutraceticals depending on the client’s metabolic individuality. High quality protein bars and shakes can additionally offer advanced support.

It’s also important to ask your doctor to test you for thyroid problems, in which case you may need different medications. There are other hormone deficiencies, such as DHEA or testosterone, that can also contribute to weight gain and difficulty in losing weight. Your doctor can test for these deficiencies as well, and determine if you need supplements or medication to correct the problem.

High Tech Muscle: Bulking Up with Neutraceuticals

Suppose you’re not in training for a particular sport of event, but you exercise regularly and want to pump it up just a little. Supplements alone cannot make you stronger or give you more endurance. But when coupled with an appropriate fitness routine, they can elevate energy levels and help repair damaged tissue.

Here’s a recap of those supplements most helpful in increasing the efficiency of your workouts:

Creatine Monohydrate
Creatine naturally occurs in your body. When you contract your muscle, you break down the chemical adenosine tri-phosphate (ATP) into two other chemicals, adenosine di-phosphate (ADP) and inorganic phosphate. This process releases the energy that gives your muscles power. Unfortunately, ATP is used up almost instantaneously. Fortunately, your muscles contain creatine phosphate, which is used to replenish ATP. Eventually, however, your supply of creatine phosphate runs down, and so do you. Taking this supplement can increase the amount of creatine phosphate available to your muscles, thereby increasing the amount of energy available, allowing you to exercise with greater intensity and build up your muscles.

HMB
HMB, or beta-hydroxy beta-methylbutyrate, is also produced naturally in the body. It is an amino acid that prevents muscle breakdown, boosts strength levels, and increases muscle size. It can also be found in some foods, such as grapefruit and catfish, but it would be difficult to consume enough of these foods to get the benefits of HMB. Scientists are not exactly sure how HMB works, but it appears that it aids in minimizing protein breakdown that can occur after intense exercise. Some studies have even shown that HMBV can help in reducing cholesterol levels.

ZMA
ZMA is zinc monomethionine aspartate. It is often combined with magnesium aspartate. Its primary goal, like the other products in this category, it to boost strength levels, prevent muscle tissue breakdown, and enhance muscle size and definition. ZMA has also been shown to increase testosterone levels.

Mix Your Exercise

Everyone should exercise and there can be no significant lasting weight loss or good health without it. We know that exercise helps regulate appetite, facilitate digestion and control insulin flow. It also works to increase circulation and the flow of oxygen. Yet we need to understand that everyone is metabolically individual. Understanding the inner workings for your specific body type will tell you what kind of exercises will be best for your body. Not everybody will respond well to heavy cardio. Weight training is good for some and not for others. Concentrating on the wrong type of exercise can create an invisible obstacle to optimum well-being.

By identifying your metabolic type, you can discover which exercises will turn your body into a lean, vital, fat-burning machine functioning at peak efficiency all the time. The same experimentation that you apply to choosing your foods should go into choosing your exercise. Set realistic goals by starting off slowly and then increasing your endurance every day. You can mix and match your exercises- alternating between aerobics, practices like yoga or martial arts and resistance training. There may be times when you feel the need to speed your system up; that’s when running or cycling may be the best choice. If you want to slow yourself down, try a period of weight training, yoga or Tai Chi. Whatever you decide, chooses activities you enjoy so you are likely to continue being active on a consistent basis.

Short High Intensity Training or Long Moderate Exercise?

It’s ideal if you can carve out the time to exercise daily. Although you want to make sure that your routine doesn’t get stagnant. While maintaining 30-60 minutes regularly at the gym has benefits, you may see more improvement with doing short bursts of high intensity training.

It’s easy to go on autopilot and do your typical continuous movements without breaking much of a sweat. With short periods of high intensity training you are pushing yourself to the limit, working muscles and body parts that often lay dormant. We’re talking only 15-20 minutes of exercise in one session!

High Intensity Training

Research has shown that high intensity training can lead to greater weight loss (and fat loss) especially the reduction of dangerous visceral fat. It also seems to improve insulin resistance, your heart and lungs, while suppressing appetite in ways that low intensity workouts do not.

Combining Exercises

This doesn’t mean that you have to stop attending Soul Cycle, running in the park, or taking leisurely walks in the neighborhood. What you should be thinking is “How can I use the other 2-3 days a week practicing something new and intense that doesn’t require as much time?” The combination of both methods is really where you will achieve the most physical fitness.

High intensity training doesn’t have to come with the expense of a fancy gym or equipment. You can learn the moves from a qualified trainer or work your way up to exercises that you probably did in high school gym class like pull ups, push- ups, and “suicides” sprint drills.

High Intensity Training Goals

If your goal from high intensity training is to gain muscle and lose fat, you must also acknowledge diet. Just because you are working hard does not entail needing to down large bowls of pasta or rice for extra fuel. You are most likely getting enough carbohydrates in your current diet and upping them drastically will only lead to weigh gain. In that case you may mistake this new exercise change as being ineffective. Instead, implement some form of calorie restriction while performing this practice. Intermittent Fasting or a nutrient dense plant based diet with complex carbohydrates and clean protein will be your best bet to yield great results.

 

 

 

The Lost Art of Functional Training

By Celebrity Trainer JR Allen

 

We live in a society in which daily routine has limited movement due to that fact that the majority of us are sitting in front of a computer most of our days doing little to no muscle movement or cardio activity. This can lead to the inhibition of key muscle groups such as the glutes, subscapular, and erector spinae which typically are not active sitting in front of our computer. Functional Training takes into account our daily movement pattern and strengthens those muscle groups. Functional training involves mainly weight bearing activities targeted at core muscles of the    abdomen and lower back.

The mass majority of people with lower back issues do not realize that gluteal inhibition is the cause of most of their problems in this area. In activating your glutes, you will release the stress on your lower back which in turn improves posture, quality of life, and range of motion.

 

sqatting2

Key gluteal movements:

1) Squats, Gluteal Bridges

Protraction in the shoulder area is another consequence of lack of daily functional movement.

Weakness of upper back and posterior deltoid muscles can cause protracted shoulder as well. To help strengthen and reverse the problem here are a few exercises I recommend.

 

Prone shoulder press

 

prone_snow_angel

Key posterior deltoid movements:

1) Prone snow angels, Rows and Prone shoulder press

Functional Training should be the base of all workouts whether you are a novice or expert. This builds secondary muscles and improves in our daily movements. Most importantly it helps us to move freely in our day to day activities.

Typical weight training focus mainly on the primary muscles groups. Whereas Functional training will focus on those same muscles groups but will also take into account the secondary muscles that surround the larger muscles.

From cleaning the bathroom, washing the dishes and picking up a child; these are functional activities that we do daily. Functional training helps make these movements easier with less stress on the muscle and allowing you to maintain greater range of motion and flexibility as you age.

 

Original Photo of JR Allen by Heather Photography.

 

 

 

The Power of Restorative Yoga

By Lauren Taus

We live in a culture that rewards gains with pay raises and praise. Whether at work or at the gym, we are on a seemingly endless quest to improve ourselves and be better. We even do this in yoga classes, asking how can I perfect my headstand, master crow, or deepen my flexibility. This orientation is not, by nature, negative or wrong. We should always be growing, but this single pointed focus needs to be balanced with a willingness to be in acceptance and peace with what is.

Recently, I’ve deepened my meditation and restorative yoga practice. I’ve quickly come to appreciate these parts of my health routine as the most challenging – and the most important. The benefits are immediate. I sleep better, eliminate better, and I feel better every day that I carve out time for myself in repose.

But I’m just one person, and I don’t expect you to trust my experience. I do, however, expect you to trust the world around you. Most modern diseases are connected to stress: heart disease, cancer, high blood pressure, diabetes, etc. When the stress response is on, all other vital systems shut down – digestion, elimination, growth, repair, reproduction and immunity – because the body perceives no need for them. Over an extended period of time in stress, we suffer massively negative impacts on our physical, psychological and social well-being. Some can be lethal.

The good news is that we can learn to undo unnecessary, habitual tension. We can learn to relax into what is and feel the support around us. Restorative yoga is the key to this embodied preventative health, and it may be a style of yoga you don’t recognize at all.

Unlike Hatha yoga, restorative yoga does not require any muscular effort. We do the poses lying passively over props, such as bolsters and blankets, and you are meant to let go into them completely so that you allow yourself to be and feel supported. Over time and continued practice, you surrender layers of deeply held tension. This is an exercise in conscious relaxation that can lead to a state of integrated and holistic well-being.

Here are four poses you can practice at home.

1. Supported Childs Pose

Place blocks underneath two ends of a bolster or large cushion, and come into childs pose with your torso supported by the bolster. It should feel as though the support is coming up to meet you rather than your torso dropping into the support. Slide your arms underneath the gap between the bolster and the floor, bringing each hand toward the opposite elbow. If the forearms or elbows don’t touch the ground, fill in the space with towels or blankets so that you are supported from the elbows to the fingers. Supporting the elbows and arms helps to release tension in the upper back and neck while integrating the arms back into the body. In order to release tension in the lower back and create a deeper sensation of groundedness, place a heavy blanket on your sacrum. If the base of the shins or the tops of the feet are off the floor, prop them with a rolled towel.

Turn the head to one side, alternating sides halfway through the pose. On each inhalation, feel the back body expand and on each exhalation, feel the support under the chest and belly. Stay in the pose for 5-10 minutes.

2. Supta Baddha Konasana

This pose opens the entire front body: the pelvis, belly, heart and throat. These are areas we instinctively protect, which is why this pose can leave us feeling exposed and vulnerable.

Place a block lengthwise under one end of a bolster to prop it up on an incline. Sit with your back to the short, low end of the bolster. Place a second bolster under your knees and bring the soles of your feet together. Wrap a blanket around your feet to create a feeling of containment. Place another folded blanket over the pelvis to create a feeling of insulation. Lie back on the bolster. Place support under your arms so that they are not dangling and there is no feeling of stretch in the chest. Stay for 5-15 minutes.

3. Side-Lying Savasana

Twists are generally good for the nervous system, but some constrict the breath and create more anxiety. This gentle supported twist allows more room for the breath to come into the rib cage and belly. Lay on your left side with your feet at a wall and your
back against a bolster that is at least as high as your spine. Bend your right knee to 90 degrees and support your right knee and shin with a bolster or folded blankets so that the right leg is as high as the right hip. Rest the sole of the left foot on the wall. Place folded blankets under your top arm and hand to lift them to the height of your shoulder. Tuck a folded blanket under your head and neck to lift your head in line with your spine. Rest here for 2-5 minutes.

To move into the twist, roll your torso to the right over the bolster, keeping your right arm fully supported by it from shoulder blade to fingers. Your right hand should be no lower than the height of your right shoulder. If you have tightness in your shoulder or chest, place more support under your arm until it’s higher than your shoulder. You should not feel a stretch, but rather as though your chest is open and your breath is fluid. Stay for 2-5 minutes and repeat on the other side.

4. Savasana

This pose can be very expansive, especially when the arms and legs are spread wide from the body. Keeping the legs and arms a little closer to the body encourages a more contained feeling.

Roll up a blanket and place is alongside a wall. Lie down with the soles of your feet against a blanket. Place an additional rolled blanket or bolster under your knees to encourage the thigh bones to drop deeper into your pelvis. Place a folded blanket over your belly to release tension and weigh the hips down even more. Rest your arms by your side, palms facing down. Support your cervical curve with a small, rolled towel and place a folded blanket under the head to create a cradling effect. Your chin should be perpendicular to the floor, and your throat should feel open and tension free. With each exhalation, allow the earth to fully hold each part of your body: heels, thighs, pelvis, upper back and head. Once you feel completely connected to the ground, rest your mind on the waves of your breath. Realize too that the nature of the mind is to wander and, each time you catch it doing so is an awakening.

Research shows that, after 20 minutes in a state of relaxation, we can stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system, and quell the sympathetic nervous system. But don’t worry if you find yourself getting anxious and making laundry lists while you practice. Turn on some music that soothes you. Google about it to find a guided practice. Just keep trying. It takes time to learn to relax, but you’re teachable. You can do it, and it’s worth it. Trust me, I know.

 

 

Weight Loss Tips: Don’t Waste A Workout

By Danielle Pashko, Author of Breaking Your Fat Girl Habits

If you are religious about your workouts – yet still don’t have the body you want- there a number of things to consider. Exercising is beneficial but it’s not as simple as just dedicating an hour a day to something physical. What are you doing in that hour? Exercise also will provide little value if you’re kind of like “Well, what I eat is not really a big deal because I’ll burn it off anyway.” Think about your routine and then review the following questions.

1. Are you getting in enough cardio?
2. Do you use free weights? If so, do you rest between sets?
3. Do you skip cardio all together and solely use machines for weight-bearing exercises?
4. What time of day do you work out?
5. Do you usually eat a full meal before a workout?

We’ll get back to these questions shortly, but although you may disagree with me I believe that taking off weight is 80% diet and 20% exercise. I have seen countless cases where clients have come to me to lose weight and their chief complaint is, “I work out all the time but just bulk up”. So let’s dissect why this may be happening.

Rule #1.

A workout will not promote weight loss without cardio. A bare minimum 30-45 minutes of cycling, brisk walking, elliptical, or spinning is required at least 3-4 times a week to see the best outcomes. Short intense exercises can provide value; although different results (such as size and muscle).

If your objective is to slim down and lean out, Yoga, Pilates™ and weight training are all encouraged, but they should be in addition to your cardio workouts. If you are doing a super vigorous practice such as Astanga or Vinyasa yoga, that is the exception. As a former group fitness instructor at Equinox Fitness, The Sports Club LA, The Reebok Sports Club and Exhale Spa, I can appreciate a talented instructor or personal trainer. Yet set aside time for vigorous cardio (cycling, running, brisk walking, elliptical) as often as possible. If you have never worked out before, it’s advised to start off slow and build up your tolerance. Rather than 30-45 minutes on day one, start with 15 minutes cardio. Keep adding on five additional minutes each week, although you don’t need to go past an hour which is plenty.

Rule #2.

Lifting weights should NOT make you gain weight. Weight-bearing exercises will actually contribute to weight loss when done in addition to consistent cardio. It speeds up your metabolic rate and will lead to burning additional calories even when you are not active. Instead of taking your normal 30-60 second rest in between sets, use that time to hop right into another exercise such as lunges. Then as soon as you finish a set of lunges, jump right back into your bicep curls. Practicing high rep, low weight workouts will lean you out while giving definition to your body parts. When using the machines, it’s easy to rely on them for support. Free weights require more balance and core strength which is sometimes harder, yet will lead to more aesthetic results.

Rule # 3.

When you work out matters. One of the worst times to work out is right after you’ve eaten a main meal (except for breakfast) since that’s a light meal to begin with. You have to time your workouts and here’s why. Let’s say you eat a big lunch at noon and then go for a workout at 1 p.m. Despite the fact you probably won’t have fully digested your food, you will also work up an appetite too early. When you are done around 2 or 3 p.m., you will be ready for another meal. A protein shake may hold you over if you plan to have dinner by 5 p.m., but who eats dinner at that time? Maybe your parents in Boca Raton. Since we are more social in other parts of the world, dinner is not until 7, 8 or 9 p.m. and that will create a problem. You don’t want to go into a dinner meal being ravenous. You’ll end up overeating and that negates any benefit from your time at the gym.

You also don’t want to have dinner and then go to the gym after 8 p.m. This is for the same reason of eating way too late at night. If you get home around 9:30-10 p.m. and your workout was worthwhile, once again you will be very hungry. Now if you are disciplined and can have Greek yogurt, some grilled chicken breast or turkey slices then it’s not a problem. Yet most people can’t stop with just a light snack and end up overeating right before bed. It’s one of the sure ways to keep on the weight despite how many calories you may have just burned. The other problem with late workouts is that they can be over-stimulating and not good when trying to unwind and get in a good night’s sleep – which is another key to weight loss.

The best thing is to eat very light before a workout, enough food to give you energy but not something that qualifies as an actual meal. In fact, a lot of athletes and competitive body builders who want to look shredded often skip meals prior to a workout for better results. Some studies have shown that pre-workout fasting helps metabolism and prevents insulin resistance. With that being said, you shouldn’t exercise if you are feeling extremely hungry or low energy. Personally, my blood sugar tends to drop often when I don’t eat enough and I would probably pass out without a snack so you need to know your body. I don’t need much; just a little bit of protein like a hardboiled egg or a scoop of protein powder does the job without overeating.

Getting into the habit of planning workouts around meal times is the way to not eat double meals. For example, having breakfast at 6:30 a.m. and having a second breakfast at 9 a.m. after cycling, or eating lunch at noon- going for a run an hour later and having another lunch around 3 p.m., or lastly (which is the worst) eating dinner at 6 p.m., taking a yoga class at 8 p.m., then coming home at 9:30-10 p.m. and eating once more – which will end up calorically being a second dinner when all is said and done.

And before you obsess too much about how you didn’t work out hard enough or if you totally didn’t work out at all, DON’T. It really comes down to what you put in your mouth. It’s better to have healthy habits like taking the stairs when possible, not looking for the closest parking spot and accepting the 20 yard walk or just simply not sitting on your butt all day, combined with a really well managed diet than exercising heavily and eating all wrong.

 

The Four Steps to Burning Fat

A Healthy High-Tech Body then is one that embraces healthy leanness, where the fat on and in your body isn’t killing you. If you want to achieve healthy leanness, there are four steps you need to take, essential to fat burning and lean muscle building:

1. Change toxic eating habits.
2. Control insulin, glucagon, and cortisol so that you don’t accumulate fat around your waistline and stomach, anywhere you don’t want it.
3. Exercise aerobically to enhance long-term fat burning.
4. Exercise anaerobically to build and increase fat-burning muscle.

THE WINNING FORMULA IS A COMBINATION OF:
Aerobic exercise | Anaerobic exercise | Prudent eating

Neutraceuticals for Burning Fat

The main thing supplements help accomplish is providing chemical support for regulating appetite and for burning accumulated fat. There are many ‘fat burners’ on the market. They work in a variety of ways with varying degrees of effectiveness. The term we’ll use here to describe ‘fat burning’ is thermogenesis. Thermogenesis is the creation of heat from the stored energy that is fat. This Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) is an advanced polyunsaturated fatty acid use to promote thermogenesis which can be taken as an oral supplement. We also combine CLA with other neutraceticals depending on the client’s metabolic individuality. High quality protein bars and shakes can additionally offer advanced support.

It’s also important to ask your doctor to test you for thyroid problems, in which case you may need different medications. There are other hormone deficiencies, such as DHEA or testosterone, that can also contribute to weight gain and difficulty in losing weight. Your doctor can test for these deficiencies as well, and determine if you need supplements or medication to correct the problem.

High Tech Muscle: Bulking Up with Neutraceuticals

Suppose you’re not in training for a particular sport of event, but you exercise regularly and want to pump it up just a little. Supplements alone cannot make you stronger or give you more endurance. But when coupled with an appropriate fitness routine, they can elevate energy levels and help repair damaged tissue.

Here’s a recap of those supplements most helpful in increasing the efficiency of your workouts:

Creatine Monohydrate
Creatine naturally occurs in your body. When you contract your muscle, you break down the chemical adenosine tri-phosphate (ATP) into two other chemicals, adenosine di-phosphate (ADP) and inorganic phosphate. This process releases the energy that gives your muscles power. Unfortunately, ATP is used up almost instantaneously. Fortunately, your muscles contain creatine phosphate, which is used to replenish ATP. Eventually, however, your supply of creatine phosphate runs down, and so do you. Taking this supplement can increase the amount of creatine phosphate available to your muscles, thereby increasing the amount of energy available, allowing you to exercise with greater intensity and build up your muscles.

HMB
HMB, or beta-hydroxy beta-methylbutyrate, is also produced naturally in the body. It is an amino acid that prevents muscle breakdown, boosts strength levels, and increases muscle size. It can also be found in some foods, such as grapefruit and catfish, but it would be difficult to consume enough of these foods to get the benefits of HMB. Scientists are not exactly sure how HMB works, but it appears that it aids in minimizing protein breakdown that can occur after intense exercise. Some studies have even shown that HMBV can help in reducing cholesterol levels.

ZMA
ZMA is zinc monomethionine aspartate. It is often combined with magnesium aspartate. Its primary goal, like the other products in this category, it to boost strength levels, prevent muscle tissue breakdown, and enhance muscle size and definition. ZMA has also been shown to increase testosterone levels.

Mix Your Exercise

Everyone should exercise and there can be no significant lasting weight loss or good health without it. We know that exercise helps regulate appetite, facilitate digestion and control insulin flow. It also works to increase circulation and the flow of oxygen. Yet we need to understand that everyone is metabolically individual. Understanding the inner workings for your specific body type will tell you what kind of exercises will be best for your body. Not everybody will respond well to heavy cardio. Weight training is good for some and not for others. Concentrating on the wrong type of exercise can create an invisible obstacle to optimum well-being.

By identifying your metabolic type, you can discover which exercises will turn your body into a lean, vital, fat-burning machine functioning at peak efficiency all the time. The same experimentation that you apply to choosing your foods should go into choosing your exercise. Set realistic goals by starting off slowly and then increasing your endurance every day. You can mix and match your exercises- alternating between aerobics, practices like yoga or martial arts and resistance training. There may be times when you feel the need to speed your system up; that’s when running or cycling may be the best choice. If you want to slow yourself down, try a period of weight training, yoga or Tai Chi. Whatever you decide, chooses activities you enjoy so you are likely to continue being active on a consistent basis.