Why You Should Become a Yogi.

Why You Should Become a Yogi.

Yoga has been around for thousands of years and it’s not going anywhere.  Yoga is actually becoming more popular and here’s why you should be adding this workout into your routine.

No, you don’t need to do Yoga every day, but doing Yoga at least once a week will allow you to reap the benefits.

In todays world, mobility and stretching is something that often gets put on the back burner.  People are limited on time, especially when it comes to working out, so they want to make the most out of their workout time and unfortunately people don’t think stretching and mobility is valuable.  I could go on and on about why mobility and stretching are super important, but let’s keep it short: If you want to continue to do the things you love (working out, playing with your kids, walking around, etc.) we need to take care of our bodies in order to do that!

Let’s keep in mind that there are several different types of Yoga.  Some Yoga classes are more relaxing and holding stretches for a long amount of time.  Some classes are faster pace and more of a sweaty endeavor.  Some is active stretching.  So, when picking out a Yoga class to attend make sure to work with a Yoga instructor to see what style would best fit where you are currently at and what your goals are.

The Benefits

So, why Yoga then?  Yoga has both physical and mental benefits.  Let’s go over the physical benefits:

  • Increased flexibility
  • Increased muscle strength and overall tone
  • Improved respiration
  • Improved energy levels
  • Maintain a balanced metabolism
  • Weight reduction
  • Cardio and circulatory health
  • Improved athletic performance
  • Protection from injury

As you can see, there are several physical benefits to practicing Yoga and this is why Yoga is becoming bigger among athletes as well.

Let’s check out the mental benefits:

  • Helps manage stress
    • Stress can reveal itself in many ways: back and neck pain, sleeping problems, headaches, drug abuse (including caffeine), and an inability to concentrate.
  • More positive outlook on life
  • Create mental clarity and calmness
  • Increase body awareness
  • Relieve chronic stress patterns
  • Relax the mind
  • Center attention
  • Sharpen concentration

Are you stressed?  I can guess that the answer to that question is yes! Life is hectic, and it seems to continue to get even more busy.  Yoga can be a way to get to a healthy state of mind and allow you to enjoy life, even when it’s stressful.

Yoga is for every body!

Yoga is a very accessible workout for anyone and clearly there are several great benefits to this type of exercising.  Whether your just starting out or have been working out for several years, Yoga should be part of your routine.

Now, get out there and get your Namaste on!

Optimize Your Time at the Gym with These 4 Training Methods

Optimize Your Time at the Gym with These 4 Training Methods

Michol Dalcourt developed the 4Q Model after years of research.  Who’s Michol Dalcourt?  He is the founder of the Institute of Motion, inventor of a piece of equipment called the ViPR (see picture below), and co-founder of PTA (Personal Training Academy) Global.

Now that you know Dalcourt’s credentials, let’s take a look at the 4Q Model:

As you can see in the graph, there are 4 quadrants of training:

  1. Loaded Linear Training
  2. Unloaded Linear Training
  3. Loaded Movement Training
  4. Unloaded Movement Training

There are also X and Y axis.  The X axis is linear movement and transitional movement.  Linear movement is one-dimensional movement along a straight line.  Transitional movement is moving from one position to another.  Think about babies for this one – yes, babies.  For instant, a baby rolling, getting up to standing and getting back to the floor from standing, etc.  The Y axis is Loaded and Unloaded – meaning weighted or non-weighted.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So, now that we have clear understanding of what the 4Q Model is, let’s dive in deeper to each quadrant:

  1. Loaded Linear Training: This is probably the most common training you would see in a gym, more specifically in the weights area.  This type of training is linear, movement from front to back and side to side (Frontal and Sagittal Planes of Motion).  It is loaded, meaning that you have some type of weight during this type of training methodology.  As you can see in the model this includes exercises such as Bench Press, Deadlift, Hang Clean and Bicep Curl.
    • Benefits of this method:
      • Greater muscle Hypertrophy
      • Time under tension
      • Increase hormonal release
      • Improvement in Stability / Strength / Power
      • Improved intra-muscular coordination
  2. Unloaded Linear Training: Very similar to Loaded Linear Training, but unloaded (so no weight).  Some examples, as see in the model, are running, cycling and swimming.
    • Benefits of this method:
      • Re-education of neuro-muscular system
      • Stability / Mobility training
      • Weak Link Activation
      • Targeted tissue improvement (i.e. muscle)
      • Improved intra-muscular coordination
      • – Cardio and motor efficiency
  3. Unloaded Movement Training: This is multi-plane, unloaded training.  Think about the baby – crawling, rolling, standing from a seated position and getting back to seated from standing.  Some examples, aside from the ones in the model, includes yoga.
    • Benefits of this method:
      • Rapid NS activation
      • Mostability training
      • Improved Motor learning
      • Speed, agility, quickness improvements
      • Increase functional reaction capabilities
  4. Loaded Movement Training: This is multi-plane and loaded.  Examples of this method include warding patterns and ViPR training (tool pictured above).
    • Benefits of this Method:
      • Greater adaptations in muscle, nerve, skin, fascia
      • Less compressive forces
      • Increase hormonal release
      • Improvement in multi-directional Stability / Strength / Power
      • Improved inter-muscular coordination
      • Whole body integration

So, what method is the best?  There’s not one training method that is better than the other and creating a program that’s comprehensive with all of these methods is ideal.  There are several benefits to each method and if you want results, having a combination of all of these will get you there.  With that said, you can see how Loaded Linear, Unloaded Linear and Unloaded Movement Training are all rather popular.  Loaded Movement Training, although it’s becoming more popular, it’s still a method that is challenging to ensure you train.  The reason why you want to train using this method is because it will create a more resilient human body.  If you think about it, we do things such as carrying groceries from the car to the house.  We carry toddlers on our hips.  We reach down on the ground to pick something up or reach up to get something out of the cabinet.  We are constantly in  multi-planes with load throughout our lives.  So, if we also train in this way, we create a more resilient human body!  Try adding this to your next workout routine.  If you can’t get your hands on a ViPR for training, try adding some of these movements to your workouts:

Weighted T-Plane Squat

Weighted Halo Chop

Wood Chopper

Squat with Figure-8

Those are just a few to get your head in the right mind space.  Get creative!  If your wanting help creating a comprehensive program that includes all 4 methodologies of the 4Q Method, let us know!  We’d be happy to help.

 

*Reference: Michol Dalcourt, Institute of Motion: Loaded Movement Training

 

Why High Intensity Interval Training is a big HIIT.

Why High Intensity Interval Training is a Big HIIT!

High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is some version of a brief period of all-out effort followed by a rest period.  Here’s everything you need to know about HIIT Training and how you can reap the benefits from this sufficient workout method.

Why is Hight Intensity Interval Training a big HIIT?

  1. Efficient: HIIT Sessions are short, but definetly not sweet.
  2. Effective: Studies have proven this method as extremely effective.
  3. Multi-Purpose: No matter what your goals are, this training methodology is for you.

Efficient: Why is HIIT such an efficient method of training?

To answer this question, first we must look at what types of work-to-rest ratios we should be using:

1:1 – example: 30 seconds on, 30 seconds off

2:1 – example: 40 seconds on, 20 seconds rest

3:1 – example: 45 seconds on, 15 seconds rest

For beginner HIIT athletes, start off with a 1:1 work-t0-rest ratio and incrementally increase as you become more conditioned.

The key is to ensure that your all-out effort is truly all-out.  So, the length of your training can vary as well. Length of time should be determined by your all-out effort.  So how long should your HIIT sessions last?  It’s time to quit when you can no longer maintain an all-out effort for the designated work time frame.  Typically, this time frame is no longer than 45 minutes.  This is why this method has gained its popularity.  If you are short on time, it’s a great way to be efficient with your time.

Effective: 

Studies have proven that HIIT training helps you burn more fat for up to 24 hours after your session.  This method puts your body into overdrive with repair processes, therefore, your body burns more fat while in repair mode.  Studies have proven HIIT to be an effective way to lose weight, while also not sacrificing muscle.  More muscle on the body means that you burn more fat at rest as well.  Not only that, but HIIT increases the production of your Human Growth Hormone (HGH).  This increases caloric burn and also reduces the aging process.  These are just a few benefits of HIIT training, which only proves this method even further.

Multi-Purpose: 

Whether your have goals of fat loss, increasing muscle while maintaining a lean physique, or athletic performance, this method may be used to help you reach your goals!  This is a big reason why this method has gained such popularity.

Some things to mention about HIIT:

Adding 2 sessions a week is an ideal amount to reap the benefits from HIIT training.  Why should I do it only 2x a week if it’s so effective and efficient?  The whole idea of HIIT training is to shock your central nervous system and constantly challenge your body to adapt in new ways, meaning you will get results.  If you were to do HIIT training every day, the body would adapt and it would become less effective, so keep this in mind while developing your workout routine.

As you can see, HIIT is a great tool to add to your regimen!  Find a beginners HIIT workout below.  Go get ’em!

Beginners HIIT

Exercise 1: 30 seconds work, 30 seconds rest + Exercise 2: 30 seconds work, 30 seconds rest; each round 3x

Round 1: Push-Ups + Burpees

Round 2: Squats + Side to Side Squat Jumps

Round 3: Plank Shoulder Taps + 4 Cross-body Mountain Climbers and 4 Jumping Jacks

Round 4: Reverse Lunges + Split Squat Jumps

Round 5: Bicycle Crunches + Shuffle side to side

 

 

 

Beginners Guide to Intermittent Fasting

Beginners Guide to Intermittent Fasting

Intermittent fasting, like Keto, is becoming a buzz-word in the fitness community. It has become a huge trend because of the results people are achieving. Many studies show that intermittent fasting can cause weight loss, improve metabolic health, protect against disease, and perhaps even help you live longer. Are you curious about trying it? Here are the things you need to know before trying it for yourself.

What is intermittent fasting?

Intermittent fasting is an eating pattern where you cycle between periods of eating and fasting. There are several different methods that we will go over below. The reason this is a fast-growing eating pattern is because it’s an easier way to live life, and there are several health benefits as well.

Health benefits 

  • Weight Loss:Naturally, if you fast, you will eat less. If you eat less than your output energy, you will lose weight.  That is, assuming you don’t compensate during the times you are not fasting, as in “making-up” for the lost time.
  • Insulin Resistance:Fasting lowers your blood sugar and can help protect from Type 2 Diabetes.
  • Inflammation:If you are someone that often experiences inflammation, fasting can help reduce this painful swelling.
  • Heart Health:Fasting may reduce “bad” cholesterol and other risks to heart disease.
  • Cancer:According to animal studies, it is suggested that fasting may prevent cancer.
  • Brain Health:Fasting increases the brain hormone and may aid in the growth of new nerve cells.
  • Anti-Aging:Fasting in rats extended their life-span, so this could be a positive effect for you as well.

As you can see, there are several benefits to trying intermittent fasting. On the flip-side, there can also be harmful effects. Always consult your physician before switching your diet and/or if you experience negative side effects.

Fasting methods

  • 16/8 Method16 hours of fasting and an 8-hour window to consume food. For example, skip breakfast and eat lunch at 1:00 pm, a snack around 4:00 pm, and eat dinner before 9:00 pm.
  • Eat-Stop-Eat: 24-Hour fast 1x or 2x a week. Example, not eating dinner one day until dinner the next day.
  • The 5:2 Diet:You consume only 500 – 600 calories on 2 non-consecutive days a week, but eat normally the other 5 days.

 

How fasting affects your cells and hormones 

  • While fasting, your body adjusts hormone levels to make stored body fat more accessible. This can cause weight loss.
  • While fasting, your cells initiate important repair processes.

Now that you know the facts, how do you decide which method is right for you? Or is fasting for you at all?  If you think about it, our bodies were built to survive. We were hunters and gatherers.  If we did not hunt or gather food, we did not eat.  We are busy people.  Much busier than we ever used to be. So, if you are constantly on the go, fasting can make your life a little easier when it comes to food. It’s also less expensive, because you’re eating less. My recommendation to determine which method works for you is to ask yourself which method would make your life easier? Also, what category do you fall under:

  1. 16:8 Method:For dedicated gym-goers who are looking to lose fat and gain lean mass.
  2. Eat-Stop-Eat:Healthy eaters looking for an extra boost.
  3. The 5:2 Diet:  Disciplined dieters with a specified goal weight.

Maybe you don’t fall under any of these categories right now, and that’s okay! My recommendation would be to start with small goals. Making incremental changes over time will help make this a lifestyle. And making it a lifestyle will ultimately make you successful with any health and wellness goals you have in mind! If you don’t fall under these categories, start off by eating healthier. Once you fall into one of these categories, then test out each method until you find one that works for you.

If you are interested in the 16:8 Method, find more information here about meal planning around workouts and what to eat during your feeding window.

These are not the only methods of fasting. If you want to learn about other methods and more about what might work for you, click here.

 

Advanced Plank Exercise for Next Level Strength

Advanced Plank Exercise for Next Level Strength

Having a strong core is essential to proper movement, posture, and strength training. As your core gets to an adequate level of strength and control, you can start adding “Advanced” exercises to your daily routine. The Single Arm Plank is an exercise that I would integrate into every training program once a baseline core strength has been achieved.

Benefits of the Single Arm Plank

The Single Arm Plank is one of the best core exercises because it utilizes significantly more muscles than the standard front plank. The Front Plank primarily uses the Transverse Abdominus, Rectus Abdominus, and Erector Spinae. The Single Arm Plank primarily uses all of the aforementioned muscles, as well as the mid and upper Trapezius, Rotator cuff muscles, Serratus Anterior, and internal and external Obliques.

The added benefit of utilizing more muscles in the exercise significantly improves the strengthening of your core in more locations. Specifically, the scapulae (shoulder blades) and shoulders receive the most benefit of going to single arm. This is especially important for overhead and throwing athletes.

How to Perform the Single Arm Plank Properly

Here are few things to think about when performing the single arm plank.

  1. Begin in a forearm plank position
  2. Keep elbows directly below shoulders
  3. Place feet slightly wider than normal
  4. Slowly release one arm and raise it up next to your side
  5. Maintain flat back, with shoulder blades tucked down and in
  6. Head up, in a neutral position
  7. Hold for 30-60 seconds then repeat on opposite side

Common errors:

  • Hip shift when moving to one arm (keep those hips locked in with your core, no twisting!)
  • Arching (keep your butt down and in line with heels and head)
  • Chest drooping (don’t let your chest “fall” in, shoulder blades should not be popping up off your back)

 

How to implement the Single Arm Plank into your workout routine

The Single Arm Plank can be added into your workouts in several different places. If you want to implement it into your dynamic warm-up to activate the muscles involved, hold the plank on each side for about 20 seconds, just one time on each side. You can use it as a superset in between circuit sets of squats, deadlifts, RDL’s, bench, pull-ups, you name it! And finally, you can of course add it into a core circuit. The biggest point of concern is simply maintaining proper form. If fatigue is setting in and your form starts to suffer because of it, drop back to a standard front plank until you have the strength to hold perfect form.

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