22

Jul

Yoga – The Beginner’s Guide

Corporate Yoga ClassesYoga… put your hand up if you’re not sure where to start. For anyone exploring yoga it can be daunting trying to work out which style of class to attend. If you don’t know your Ashtanga from your Iyengar don’t worry, you’re not alone.

Whether you are looking to stretch and lengthen tense muscles, or increase physical strength and endurance, a yoga class will be available to suit you and your needs.

The amazing physical and emotional benefits of yoga include:

Lowering stress levels

Improving concentration & focus

Reducing pain

Increasing strength & mobility

Combating fatigue

Boosting energy levels

Lessening sickness

Building the immune system

To make it easier to find a yoga style that suits you, first work out what you are hoping to gain from your yoga practice. It might be worth looking at other factors in your life. If you participate in a lot of physical or sporting activities you may prefer a more relaxed, gentle yoga session.

On the other hand, if you spend many hours of the day stagnant at your desk you may need a more invigorating practice to get your blood pumping and body moving. In all styles of yoga you will also experience an incredible link to your breath and a feeling of balance and clarity.

You may see ‘Hatha’ used to describe many yoga classes as it is broadly recognised. ‘Hatha’ is a generic term that is used to describe any style of yoga that combines physical poses (asanas), breathing exercises (pranayama) and meditation. In the western world if a class is described as Hatha style, it should give you a good understanding of the basic yoga postures and run at a gentle pace.

If you are attracted to a gentle practice that follows a slow, relaxed pace you many also like to explore Yin, Satyananda or Restorative yoga classes. These classes will be more calming for the body and mind and provide a soothing experience to leave you feeling stress-free bliss.

If you are at the other end of the scale looking for a strong physical practice try Power Vinyasa, Ashtanga or Hot Yoga. These styles are practiced in a warm or hot room to help detoxify the body and allow a deeper range of movement. These practices will weave through a fiery asana flow to build strength and mobility as well as boost energy levels.

This is just the tip of the iceberg. There are many more styles of yoga waiting for you to discover and enjoy. Find a class close by to try, or get in touch if you’d like us to bring a yoga program to you. Whatever yoga you choose – get ready for transformation. Your body and mind will thank you!

Kacey Bennett is the Director of Kula Yoga – proud to be partnering with Revolution Personal Training. Kula Yoga delivers corporate yoga programs throughout Melbourne boosting the health and wellbeing of business employees. www.kulayoga.com.au.

4

Jul

Superfoods

Superfoods are classified as foods which are nutrient-dense, containing antioxidants, amino acids, vitamins, minerals, fibre and healthy fats. There are numerous foods that are considered superfoods, and by including them in your diet you are ensuring the maximum possible benefits from your foods. Such foods include green tea, salmon, blueberries/acai berries, chia seeds, oysters, kale, broccoli, oats, tomatoes, pomegranates, goji berries, yoghurt, quinoa, chillies & bee pollen. Let’s look at a few of these foods in more detail and discover what makes them super.

Green tea is high in antioxidants called polyphenols, which can help prevent the early signs of aging, can increase your metabolism (helping in weight loss), reduce sugar cravings, suppress appetite, and manage symptoms of stress. Green tea is also thought to have many properties that can lower the risk of prostate, liver, ovarian and oral cancers, as well as reducing the risk of heart disease, and lowering cholesterol. Drink a few cups of green tea each day to help boost your antioxidant intake, and don’t worry – it’s a great caffeine-free alternative to coffee.

Salmon is known as a true superfood, high in omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin D and proteins. Omega-3’s have many health benefits, from anti-inflammatory properties (great for joint problems or sore, tired muscles), cardio-protective properties (helps look after your heart), and increases in the hormone leptin (which allows your body to burn fuel as an energy source rather than store it as fat). One serve of salmon 2-3 times a week allows you to get all the health benefits mentioned, and you won’t need any additional supplements.

Both blueberries and acai berries are very popular at the moment and are packed full of antioxidants. These antioxidants help to protect our bodies against free radical damage and help prevent disease. Not only that but they are a great source of vitamin A & C, and of course fibre. These are all vital for a balanced diet and they are low in calories, so a great option for snack time.

Chia seeds are a newly popular seed from South America and are rich in omega-3, fibre, antioxidants, protein, iron, calcium and vitamin C. These seeds are more beneficial than their previous counterparts (flaxseed & LSA), and are a great addition to your diet. More importantly, anyone can consume this as it’s low allergenic, gluten-free and suitable for vegans. Chia seeds are great on their own or as a snack, with breakfast cereals or in soups or salads for lunch and dinner.

The best way to look after yourself and your body is to try to include a variety of these superfoods in your daily diet. As snacks or as part of a meal, they are bursting with nutrients, and are a great way to energise your body and feel great.

Image Source

15

Jun

Differing Your Resistance Training Methods

weights funny baby weight liftingBeen going to the gym for a while and sick of doing the same program and the same exercises?

You could try a totally different approach like mixed implement training or go with a more functional approach.

Or if you want to stick with what you know but add a new twist here are some different strength training methods to mix up your program.

You can mix these different methods with working over time rather than reps for a different stimulus again.

SUPER SETS

  • Single set with two or more exercises
  • Can train opposing muscle groups
    • Little or no rest in between
    • Eg Bench press followed by lat pull down
  • Can train the same muscle group or body part
    • One set of several different exercises performed in succession
    • Little or no rest in between
  • This method is good if you are limited on time because you can move back and forth through exercises quite quickly (make sure it’s not peak time in the gym though because you will find your machine will disappear quite quickly!)

MATRIX TRAINING

  • Full range of movement (ROM) mixed with partial ROM exercises, i.e. 7-10 reps top half, 7-10 reps bottom half, 7-10 full ROM.
  • Higher repetitions are used with lighter weights
  • Effective for body fat reduction and muscular development

PRE-FATIGUE

  • Single joint movement followed by a multi-joint movement, for example triceps pushdown followed by a bench press
  • Produces high levels of metabolic and cellular stress for hypertrophy, strength and muscular endurance
  • This form of training fatigues the nervous system very quickly from intense nature of the loading, so this form is not to be used frequently.

CIRCUIT TRAINING

  • Series of exercises arranged in a particular order
  • Time and space efficient
  • Suitable for beginners – does not develop specific strength or aerobic fitness goals
  • Circuit Training develops muscular endurance, aerobic capacity, anaerobic capacity, muscular strength and decreases body fat while increases lean muscle mass

NEGATIVES

  • Working on eccentric strength (greater than concentric strength)
  • Eg. Chin up – assisted on way up, then lowering as slow as possible.
  • Note: will cause a great deal of soreness and should only be used by more advanced lifters

There are many advantages and disadvantages of each of the methods name above. Trying out some new methods will hopefully increase your motivation in the gym which at the end of the day will give you the biggest spur to achieve better results. Make sure you have suitable supervision when undertaking the more advanced methods especially negative, these will often require more than one spotter, and be prepared to be feeling sore!

24

May

Get nice and stretchy with some Flexibility Training

 

Flexibility Training

A lot gets said about improving flexibility. Well… What exactly is flexibility?

Flexibility is the ability of a joint to move throughout a full range of movement. Muscles surrounding the joints are usually responsible for poor flexibility so it is important to stretch regularly to allow for muscle tension reduction and a greater range of motion to be achieved.

So what is the best way for you to increase your range of motion and flexibility?

The activity you are performing will help dictate which type of stretching method may be most beneficial for you. All of the methods listed below have their advantages and disadvantages and are important during different phases of exercise. The different types of stretching methods are:

Static this involves holding a stretch at the farthest most comfortable point. This is the safest and most common type of stretching.

Dynamic – is an activity specific stretch that involves moving a joint through full range of movement in a more movement focused approach. It may be performed after static stretching but must be performed before activity.

Passive This type of stretching uses another person or object to take a joint through range of movement without any effort from the subject. It is generally used in the rehabilitation process where one or more muscle groups may be weak.

Ballistic – This type of stretching involves bouncing or rhythmic movement, which takes a muscle to the maximum joint limit. It is not recommended to perform these types of stretches, as they do not allow the muscles enough time to adapt to the lengthening which sets off the stretch reflex, causing tension of the muscle and increased susceptibility to injury.

PNF (Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation) – This type of stretching involves the contraction and relaxation of muscles in a stretch position. The theory behind PNF is that once the muscle has contracted, there should be less resistance to the stretch, allowing the joint to move in a greater range of motion. PNF should be done with a partner so that the subject can apply force to something and then the partner increase the stretch after contraction occurs. These must be performed after the muscles are warm, with a partner and contraction held for up to 10 seconds.

The most important time to undertake a flexibility program is after exercise as research shows that this is the time when the muscles are most susceptible to lengthen as a result of the muscle being completely warm.

Stretching has many benefits to many people. Stretching increases the joint range of motion/movement; as a result of this the risk of injury is dramatically decreased. Stretching can decrease stiffening/tightening of muscles after exercise which helps promote recovery.  An improvement in muscle coordination between muscle groups is also another benefit of stretching.

Having an increased range of motion can also aid in being able to achieve a more optimal posture. Studies have also shown that flexibility training can help to improve maximal force production and 1RM performance. In other words stretching can make you stronger!

Flexibility training is important for all ages however the appropriate method needs to be taken into consideration. The most important time to stretch is post exercise after which the muscles are completely warmed up. The most common and safest type of stretching is static. Stretching has many benefits, including decreasing the risk of injury by increasing the joint range of movement. So make sure after your next session you get nice and stretchy!

Stay tuned for our flexibility ebook that is coming out soon. It will help you to get the most out of a full body stretching program.

image source.

17

May

Caffeine: Part 4 Are the negative side effects of caffeine enough to warrant concern?

Last week we discussed moderate negative side effects of caffeine, this week we will discuss some of the more serious side effects you can suffer from use of caffeine

Anyone in a high risk group should be aware of the severe negative effects. People in this high risk group who should minimise caffeine intake include people with mood disorders, high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease, chronic intestinal issues, work night shift or women who are pregnant… or even men that are pregnant! 🙂

The negative effect of caffeine in increasing heart rate can create problems for people with heart conditions, and in high doses, caffeine can induce irregular heartbeats in healthy people.

The physical dependence on caffeine can cause excessive sleepiness and ultimately cause sleep disorder. Caffeine can disrupt sleep cycles, causing less deep restful sleep, particularly when the person drinks caffeinated beverages within a few hours of bedtime. So while one person may be using coffee to get started in the morning, one reason they might need this extra boost because they are getting inadequate sleep the night before. This is in big issue for night shift workers who constantly use caffeine to try to adjust to the time of day.

People with any panic or anxiety disorders are much more prone to reacting badly from increased heart rate. Even in small doses, caffeine can create panic attacks and interfere with medications taken to calm the system.

People with high blood pressure or high blood sugar levels need to be very weary of consuming caffeine as both of these things are raised after intake. The liver releases glucose into the bloodstream after adrenalin has been released from the adrenal glands. This rise in blood glucose levels can be dangerous for diabetics.

Overall caffeine can cause a range of moderate to severe side effects. It is extremely important that people in a high risk category that have certain physical conditions will tend to have more problems with caffeine and should definitely minimise intake. On the other hand people who are healthy and drink caffeine occasionally will only have minimal side effects. So should you be using caffeine to boost your performance? Let us know what you think.

11

May

Caffeine: Part 3 Are the moderate negative side effects of caffeine enough to warrant concern?

too much coffeeThe past couple of weeks we have spoken about how caffeine positively affects sporting performance. There is however some negative side effects which need to be discussed. Negative side effects of caffeine can be broken down into moderate and serious side effects. This week we will discuss some of the moderate negative effects, and next Tuesday some of the more serious side effects so keep an eye out for that one.

Firstly caffeine is a stimulant and it will elevate heart rate, increase blood flow, and raise body temperature. Caffeine enters the blood stream where the brain detects and stimulates the adrenal glands to release adrenalin. This release in adrenalin will increase heart rate. The liver is then stimulated where glucose is released into the blood stream. As a result blood glucose levels go up and the pancreas then releases insulin to regulate blood glucose levels. This process triggers hypoglycaemia.

Caffeine is a diuretic which causes frequent urination and a reduction in water intake which can also cause a stomach upset. A stomach upset can also be due to the fact that caffeine contains around 208 acids.

While we may feel more alert and energised, caffeine intake can cause headaches. Small amounts of caffeine taken daily can create physical dependence on caffeine. For example if a regular coffee drinker fails to drink their daily dose of caffeine, they can end up with headaches. Withdrawal from caffeine can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks depending upon how much caffeine a person generally consumes.

All though there are negative side effects to caffeine most of the studies correlate the negative effects of caffeine with high caffeine intake, and with certain physical conditions or groups of people who tend to have more problems with caffeine. A small amount of caffeine intake by a completely healthy person may have minimal effect. People with certain conditions, or who consume large amounts of caffeine, may suffer more negative side effects.

So there are some minor negative effects of caffeine such as frequent urination and headaches; however a small amount from time to time will not be a major issue. A healthy person drinking caffeine occasionally will have a minimal effect on health. Next week we will discuss the more serious negative side effects of caffeine. So now you can hopefully make an informed decision as to wether to use it to help you improve your performance.