Tag Archives: Yoga

The Unexpected Ways Yoga Can Build Muscle

yoga stretch

I am a bodybuilder. I cannot even count the number of times that I have walked around in a tank top and people have asked me, “wow, do you do a lot of yoga or something?”

I used to get so offended by this question. I would think to myself, “How in God’s name does anyone think that yoga could have built this hard earned muscle? Stretching doesn’t build muscle!”

Little did I know, yoga is way more than just trying to touch your toes, and I was humbled by discovering this first hand when I decided to give it a try. I thought that a nice little stretch session would be good for my flexibility and recovery after demolishing some weights, but yoga offers a lot more than just that.

I ended up doing two workouts that day. I had no idea that yoga could be such an intensive practice and provide much more for my body than an increase in flexibility. Yoga has made its way into my weekly exercise routine, and it has not only helped my flexibility, but also my muscle building as well.

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Get Ripped Like Summer 2015’s Biggest Blockbuster Stars

mad max workouts

Blockbuster movie season has officially begun. Though there are many, many reasons to see the following films, these action-packed summer movies feature some of the hottest celebrities in the world. If you use A-listers as your guiding light at the gym, see how can you combine your workout with your favorite new movie.

The secret? Almost all of these stars rely on strength training to get trim, lean, toned arms, legs, booties, and bellies. Strength training is not only one of the biggest trends in fitness this year, it’s one of the very best things you can do for your body. Yes, even women. Even two days of weights a week will make a difference in how you feel and look. If you need inspiration to get started, this list has a lot of muscle.

The Avengers: Age of Ultron

Everyone has been talking about Age of Ultron lately, and why shouldn’t they be? The sequel to 2012’s The Avengers has certainly earned its buzz. Wondering how you can get in superhero shape yourself? Grab a kettleball and wield it like Loki’s hammer. I mean–try not to hurt anyone or yourself–but your arms will thank you later.

Turkish Get Up Full-Body Kettlebell Workout

Hot Pursuit

The buddy-comedy Hot Pursuit stars two of the hottest actresses in the world: Reese Witherspoon and Sofia Vergara. It would be stellar to have either of their bodies, but to match their workouts, you’re going to want to focus on your squats. It is safe to say that both sexy ladies have very nice backsides. Work those glutes, guys.

Lower Body Blitz Workout (more…)

The Hottest Fitness Trends to Rock Your Body in 2015

fitness-trends

Each year the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) surveys its membership of fitness professionals (myself included) to identify the top trends in fitness. The 2015 list was recently published with, in my opinion, only a few surprises.

What did surprise me on this list? Outdoor activities are #12! I see and hear a lot about running in fitness circles, but not much else. Most popular classes and activities take place in some sort of gym, be it a commercial one or the budget home gym you created in the spare bedroom. I would love to see more people get off the spin bike and on the bike path. Hiking is a new love of mine and, unlike the treadmill, it does wonders for your body and soul. Boot camps are last on the ACSM list at #20. They are still very popular in the Midwest so I am curious what group fitness trend will be taking their place. What are you seeing where you live?

Agree or disagree, here are five “big” fitness trends you can look forward to in the coming year.

1. Body weight training and High Intensity Interval Training came in #1 and #2, respectively, on the ACSM list. This worries me for two reasons. One, the high rate of injury that goes along with beginners starting at too high of intensity as well as over-training, and two, the level of burnout that often follows. I think body weight exercises are great. They can be some of the most challenging exercises you can do, but if proper form isn’t developed before adding the explosive intensity of popular programs like Insanity or P90X you may be asking for trouble.

Trend tip: Perfect your form on squats, push-ups and other body weight exercises slowly before adding weight or plyometrics. 
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The 5 Indoor Fitness Trends Your Body Deserves to Try This Fall

pound-fitness-trends

Resolution season is just around the corner, which means now is the time to get serious about your fitness. Make your outdoor workout continue for as long as possible, but when the cold sets in leave your excuses at the door! Whether you’re moving the workout indoors or it’s just time to explore some new ideas for staying active, these hot fitness trends will satisfy your body’s need to sweat and move.

Here are 5 ways to stay fit for fall: 

1. POUND

We spoke with former drummers Christine Perrenboom and Kirsten Potenza as they combined their passions for music and fitness to create POUND, a full-body cardio workout that uses lightweight drumsticks to beat out rhythms to high intensity music, plus some Pilates and plyometrics. Torch up to 900 calories in 45 minutes at Crunch gyms or through their DVDs. We seriously love this liberating workout!

2. PiYo

A little bit Pilates, a little bit yoga, and maybe even a little bit rock ‘n roll. PiYo is a total mind-and-body workout that boosts the energy of the class with upbeat music. You’ll torch calories during this strength and cardio class, which introduces elements of Pilates, yoga, and even dance and martial arts. PiYo is not to be confused with Yogalates. (more…)

Michelle Moran Lost 213 Pounds and Her Binge Eating Habit, “I Only Trusted Myself to Buy Enough Groceries for One Day.”

It’s been three years since Michele Moran tipped the scales at almost 400 pounds. Overweight as a child, Michelle adopted a habit of binge eating that only got worse when she moved out on her own. Now, with a new healthy outlook on food and a weight loss of 213 pounds, Michelle is looking forward to a bright future – and maybe even a triathlon.

Michelle Moran collage

More from Michelle in her own words –

Tell me when your weight struggles began. I have been bigger since childhood. When I turned 13, I was wearing a size 13. I remember someone mentioning that I seemed to be going up a pant size every year. From that moment on I was consciously aware and insecure about my weight.

“When I lived at home I binged when people were asleep. When I moved out on my own it got even worse.”

What habits specifically led you to gain weight? Lack of exercise contributed, but the main issue was binge eating. My dinner might be an entire pizza, bag of chips and a box of Hamburger Helper. I felt sick and I was in pain, but I did it every single day.

What caused you to realize you needed to change? I couldn’t fit into the largest sizes at plus size stores. I could only wear tights or elastic waist pants or dresses. I couldn’t fit into seats at the movies, sporting events, roller coasters, or even just booths in restaurants.

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SUP Yoga Challenges Your Practice in the Water

SUP Yoga Brendon

There is a not-so-new sport sweeping across the waters of the world and you really need to catch this wave. SUP, or Stand-up Paddle Boarding, in itself has been popular for quite some time but this new twist, is opening the sport to yoga devotees. Yes, there is yoga on a paddle board out in the middle of the water.

Like most fitness classes, there are also certified instructors for SUP Yoga. You know we fitness freaks are always looking for new, different ways to challenge ourselves. I think we finally found one that is the perfect mix of fitness and fun. (more…)

7 Fool Proof, No Excuse Ways to Move More Every Single Day

move more

Thousands of years ago, humans were always on the go: gathering berries, hunting prey, running from predators. Our metabolisms are still essentially the same as these humans and yet we are lucky if we can get in more than just the walk from our car to our desk and back again. With the rise of desk jobs comes the rise of ultra-sedentary lifestyles, even increased diabetes risk for women who sit too long.

This is not your fault! Plus…You are busy! You work hard! You get home at the end of the day exhausted, and your only remaining energy gets allocated to helping your kids, then maybe watching a quick TV show before your own well-deserved bedtime. And while this movement is no longer built into our survival like our early ancestors, we still need activity for our body to thrive.

Here are 7 Fool-Proof Ways to Move More in Your Day.

Not only does your body deserves this, it needs it. (more…)

Breaking Down the Barre Craze: Which Ballet-Inspired Workout is On Pointe for You?

Ballet dancers have flexible bodies conditioned from hours of training. Their specialized workouts create long and lean frames — think Natalie Portman in Black Swan. Their shapely legs, abs, thighs and buttocks come through hybrid weight training, Pilates and cardio workouts with some straight-up ballet pole (barre) stretching.

Their moves are spreading like wildfire, and barre-style workouts are popping up throughout the world with a variety of applications. From sweat-inducing cardio sessions that are hardly a dainty ballet class, to classes that stay true to their ballerina roots, there is a barre workout for you!

If you don’t want to dance in Swan Lake, but do want to get a more toned ballet-ready body, read on as we break down the different methods and tell you which celebrities are on pointe for this craze.

It doesn’t matter which class you choose — you are gonna WORK! 

beyond barre

BEYONDBARRE

Feel the burn and see the results in your core, arms and legs, and the glutes.

You’ll need a ballet barre, a handrail (or a counter top), and a super cool GlideBoard.

Inspired by ballet, ice skating, and intense cardio classes.

Differs from others because of an intense approach that incorporates cardio for fat burning and endurance.

Attend a class at one of a dozen studios in the U.S.

 

barre3

BARRE3

Described as “ballet meets yoga and Pilates”

Utilizes a 3-step method where poses are held for longer periods with focus on small muscle movements. Session ends with a cardio blast.

Celebrity fans include Madonna, who may be striking a pose beside you at your next Barre3 class.

Required accessories include a yoga mat, small “prop” ball, ballet barre or sturdy chair.

Classes popping up in over 30 US cities, Canada and even the Philippines with more coming soon. DVDs: Seven different workouts sold on the Barre3.com website.

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Add Simple Yoga to Your Back to School Routine for Happier, Focused Kids

kid yoga

Don’t you know the feeling you have when you get to do a little yoga or meditation before you start the work day? Why not carry that same euphoric feeling over to the kids? Shouldn’t they be able to enjoy starting the day with a nice, calm, relaxed energy?

Introduce some quick yoga, or mild stretching, as part of your kids’ morning routine! There are yoga options for kids of all ages to try before they head to school each morning, and the results will be positive from their mood to their energy, and even focus and grades!

Elementary age kids are the most energetic, if you can get them up and out of bed that is! Wake them up to a few rounds of cat/cow, then have them hold downward dog for a few seconds. Repeat this cycle 2-3 times. This is sure to wake them up! Have them make the corresponding animal sounds for each move. It helps with breath control, engages the mind, and it’s just plain fun! (more…)

The 5 Best Moves Every Woman Needs for Strong, Toned Arms

Women often neglect strengthening their arms simply because they don’t know which exercises to do, but building arm strength is important for a number of reasons. A woman with strong arms can help…

1. Prevent osteoporosis

2. Strengthen the spine

3. Improve posture

5 More Reasons Women Should Lift Weights

Plus, who doesn’t love toned arms?! Allow me to take you through my five best arm exercises for women. All you need for this routine is a pair of dumbbells and a few short minutes in your living room, hotel room, or wherever you may have a few spare minutes!

dempsey triceps

OVERHEAD TRICEPS EXTENSION

— Begin standing with your feet shoulder distance apart.

— Hold a dumbbell with both hands in a heart-shaped grip (it should feel like you’re cradling the dumbbell).

— Bring the dumbbell behind your head, bending your elbows.

— Engage your core and extend your arms straight, reaching the dumbbell overhead.

— Slowly return to the starting position. This is one rep. Complete 8-12 reps. (more…)