Tag Archives: functional fitness

Lean, Toned, or Buff: What It Really Means to Be Fit

Flying In A Blue Dream

Different people have different reasons for starting a fitness program. Some want to lose weight, others want to build muscle, others want to reduce cholesterol, and the list goes on. If you’re a wellness-enthusiast, you’ve undoubtedly come across countless fitness philosophies, and it can be hard to know what’s really important in a workout routine. Do we need to be as big and bulky as, say, a body builder? Is that the epitome of fitness? Or rather should we focus on toning and building functional strength?

To help us answer some of these questions, we interviewed Sports Club/LA fitness expert Rob Kram.

There’s so much health information going around these days, but what does “fitness” really mean to you?

To me, fitness is the physical component of the entire health and wellness continuum. It fits right in with the importance of nutritional health, mental acuity and the holistic view that includes stress management leading to overall happiness. When you consider the body’s ability to move properly and painlessly, fitness encompasses many levels from an elite athlete focused on performance enhancement, to a grandmother simply wanting to be able to bend over and pick up her grandchild.

Is it more important to be thin, toned, buff, or what?

There are plenty of people with buff bodies who cannot functionally perform well in athletic activities. There are also very toned people who are functionally weak. Fitness is relative to one’s activities. For example, an elite marathoner and a world class sumo wrestler are both probably very functionally fit for their activities. But, switch their roles and both would fail miserably. Quality of one’s movement relative to their targeted activity is the most important factor.

Is muscle-building a sure-fire route to fitness? And if not, what’s your number one rule for building muscle for fitness?

Nothing is sure-fire in the fitness industry, simply because everyone’s body is so different. Muscle-building is as important as any other factor in overall fitness. It is a forgotten component for many who focus only on cardio exercise. As for a number one rule for building muscle – “surpass the ignition point every time.” Regardless of the exercise or goal, if you don’t reach the point of discomfort during your workout, you simply do not realize the benefit of that exercise. This point of discomfort is what I call the “ignition point” and many people waste their time working out and going through the motions without ever, or rarely getting past this point.

If someone comes into the club who is struggling with weight, endurance or a specific health concern, what are some of the first fitness tools you would suggest?

Each of those struggles are very different from one another and require different tactics. One thing that they do have in common is the need for professional guidance. Without a trained professional the struggles will simply continue through trial and error. Most people get their information, and therefore fitness advice, from the mass media. Although this raised consciousness is a positive thing, the application of exercise science needs to be specific to each individual. There are simply too many factors that create the person that you are for mass marketed trends to be effectively applicable to everyone. One exercise that yielded great results for one person may be detrimental to the health of the next person. If I had to pick one fitness tool that I would suggest to everyone, it would be a Private Trainer consultation.

What daily lifestyle practices would you encourage people incorporate in order to stay fit and strong, apart from (or perhaps in addition to) a formal fitness routine?

Move daily and stay conscious of how you are moving. Do things hurt? Does life get in the way of moving at all? Whatever you have to do to remind yourself to raise these questions in your own head, do it. Sign up for a fitness blog, hire a Private Trainer or coach, buy products that remind you to move and track movement. Create the conversation with everyone in your life (who’s willing to talk about it) so that they are all involved as a support system to continue to motivate you.

Add fitness to your calendar and make it a priority. Even picking a favorite tv show and starting a habit for yourself to do an “at home” workout whenever it’s on, works well. Everyone has time to do a set of push-ups, so there is never a reason to go extended periods without some type of strength training. Look for opportunities to challenge yourself and see if you can lift, move something or engage in any manual labor. Getting and staying strong needs to be a priority. The penalty is that if you don’t make time for it now, your body will deteriorate sooner and make you spend that time later in life.

 

Rob shared some great tips, and we hope this inspires you to get out there and get active!

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SPortsClubLA2012Sports Club/LA has been recognized as an urban lifestyle brand that serves as the ultimate health and wellness destination. Visit a Sports Club/LA location in Boston, Chestnut Hill, Miami, San Francisco, Washington D.C., and New York Upper East Side as well as their sister club, Reebok Sports Club/NY. For more information visit www.SportsClubLA.com.

5 Natural Ways to Boost Total Body Wellness

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There’s a reason we often refer to “wellness” instead of “health,” though both words in essence refer to the same thing. The difference is that the former connotes a whole-self vitality that brings mind, body, and spirit into alignment for optimal health. And in most cases, the path to wellness is paved with natural products and practices, making the individual the expert on his or her own well-being.

If you struggle with any health concerns, or if you just want to boost overall wellness, increase your energy, and get that “glow” people are always talking about, then you may benefit from introducing some new practices into your daily routine.

Here are 5 natural tools to boost overall wellness:

1. Introduce spices and herbs into your diet.

Many common seasonings pack antioxidants and polyphenols, which can curb inflammation in the body, relieve pain, lower blood pressure, and more. In addition to that, spices and herbs add so much flavor to recipes that you’ll find yourself reaching less and less for the salt, sugar, and other unhealthy additives. A win-win all around!

Our tip: Ginger is the perfect spice to start with. With its spicy kick and subtle sweetness, ginger adds delicious flavor to savory and sweet dishes, alike! We love Wakaya Perfection Organic Ginger powder, which is 100% pure ginger naturally sourced from the beautiful island of Wakaya.

2. Start a mindfulness practice.

“Mindfulness” can mean different things to different people, but the intention is always the same. Be aware of your thoughts and biases, practice listening, practice gratitude, and challenge yourself to speak, think, and act mindfully throughout the day. Mindfulness techniques, which can include meditation, focused awareness, and yoga, have been shown to help reduce stress, depression, and anxiety (along with other conventional treatments.)

Our tip: Find a time of the day that works for you to sit, be still, and just breathe. Maybe it’s right when you get up in the morning and are still sitting in bed; or perhaps it’s a few quiet moments after the kids have gone to sleep and the computer is turned off. Return to this inner space every day, and feel the effects the practice has on your life.

3. Try natural remedies for common ailments before turning to chemical-based drugs.

There is certainly a time and place for conventional medicine, don’t get us wrong! But many common, daily ailments – like headaches, nausea, sore muscles, and morning sickness – can be more easily (and effectively!) remedied by natural products. If there is a specific chronic condition you struggle with, do a bit of research to see what herbs, spices, and practices might help alleviate discomfort.

Our tip: Ginger has been proven to be an extremely effective product for easing nausea and related ailments. Try Ginger-Eze, a natural ginger remedy, as your go-to for alleviating motion sickness, cold symptoms, sore muscles and more.

4. Incorporate fitness into your daily routine.

For some people, having an allotted hour at the gym or in a fitness class is what they need to make sure exercise makes it into their schedule. But for many of us this strategy can be daunting, and we either skip it altogether or over-work ourselves when we do make the time to exercise. Staying active can be surprisingly easy, though, when we incorporate fitness into our lives by walking and biking for transportation, doing exercises that promote practical strength, and enjoying fun weekend activities that get us moving!

Our tip: Opt for “functional fitness” workouts, either on your own or at a gym that specializes in this kind of exercise. Functional fitness focuses on whole-body strength, balance, and stamina for daily life.

5. Use natural products for beauty and skin care.

Many commercial beauty and skin care products are terrible for your health. Some products have even tested positive for mercury, lead, bacteria, and other toxins. Yikes! Thankfully some of the most effective, powerful, and beautifying products come right out of the earth and don’t carry the same side-effects at the drugstore variety.

Our tip: To nourish and moisturize your skin, as well as treat rashes and minor burns, try Dilo Cream, made with oil from the super-plant Calophyllum inophyllum. This tree has so many amazing properties, and its oil has been used as a skin treatment throughout the Pacific and tropical regions of Africa for years.

We hope these tips give you some creative and empowering ideas for boosting your own wellness practice. What are your favorite tools for overall health? Let us know in the comments below!

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Wakaya Perfection Ginger Powder has been featured in the LA Times, New York Times Gift GuideOprah’s favorite things and many more!

To experience the benefits of natural wellness practices, stock up on Wakaya Perfection’s 100% organic Dilo Cream and Ginger powder! Visit WakayaPerfection.com to order your Dilo Cream, Ginger powder, and Ginger-Eze, too, with accompanying recipes like the Ginger Lime Creme Brulee or Mushroom-Stuffed Pork Chops!

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How Functional Fitness Change Your Life – Plus 4 Exercises to Try Today!

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If you’ve ever wondered why your workout leaves you with overly achy muscles, sprained joints, and strength in all the wrong places, then you’re not alone. Pumping iron or running for miles on the treadmill may seem like great ways to burn calories, but how helpful are those activities in our real lives?

For most of us, the true test of our strength comes in moments throughout our daily lives. We pick up heavy bags of groceries, reach for items on top shelves, dart after our kids on the playground, and climb stairs at the office. If your hours at the gym still aren’t helping you develop strength and stamina for everyday requirements, then it’s time to opt for a new functional fitness routine.

What is “functional fitness”? The idea behind this style of fitness training is that your workouts should improve your daily life. The activities mimic everyday activities (like squatting to pick up grocery bags), thus preparing your muscles to undertake tasks with increased strength and flexibility.

As Rob Kram, National Director of Fitness Education and Development at Sports Club/LA, explains:

It is important that anyone engaging in a functional training program consider the movements they incorporate in their daily lives. For example, functional training for a golfer may include medicine ball twists with a weighted ball that trains trunk rotation. This specificity with your biomechanics recreate what is happening during a golf swing helping create the neuromuscular pathways needed for improved efficiency and the resulting performance enhancement.

Benefits of functional fitness:

  • Exercises help you develop strength and stamina for everyday activities
  • Exercises engage multiple muscle groups and joints, which reduces the risk of injury
  • Workouts are safe and particularly helpful for seniors and people with a history of injuries and joint pain
  • Exercises promote balance and flexibility, along with strength

Examples of functional fitness exercises:

1. Squat to bicep curl: For help lifting your children, the laundry basket or a grocery bag

Start with your feet hip-width apart, back straight, core engaged. Holding dumbbells at your side, slowly bend your knees and lower your body until your knees reach a 90-degree angle. As you return to standing, turn your palms facing up and curl the dumbbells in toward your shoulders.

2. Stair climb with bicep curl: For strength and balance while climbing stairs (especially while carrying a load)

Start at the bottom of a staircase with a dumbbell in each hand. As you ascend the stairs, slowly curl weights in toward your shoulders. Walk or run down the stairs with dumbbells at your side (not doing curls), and repeat 5-10 times.

3. Multidirectional lunges: For strength and flexibility while vacuuming or doing yardwork

Begin standing straight. Keeping one leg in place, extend the other leg forward, to the side, or behind until your knee reaches a 90-degree angle. Your stationary leg should be fairly straight with the knee parallel to the ground. Repeat on both sides.

4. Diagonal reach with weights: For help reaching up in the cupboard or closet

You can use either hand weights or a medicine ball for this. Start in a standing position holding the medicine ball in your hands at chest level. Lift the ball above your head and to the right, extending your arms entirely. Simultaneously extend your left leg to the side. Your body should be in a diagonal line from toes to medicine ball. Return to start position and repeat 10-15 times on each side.

Perform these functional fitness activities every day or several times a week, and begin to notice your strength, balance, stamina, and flexibility increasing in your daily life!

What are your favorite functional fitness exercises? Let us know in the comments section below!

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SPortsClubLA2012This summer, Intent and Sports Club/LA are teaming up to host a worldwide fitness challenge – The July Games. By participating in the July challenge, you’ll join thousands of people around the world in setting a collective intent to get stronger and healthier this summer. The July Games include seven fitness “events” you can do to build your strength, endurance, and stamina throughout the month of July.

Read about the challenge and each event here.

If you’re unable to get to your health club, or don’t have prior fitness experience, you can still participate. Simply set your intents for each event, get support from your community on Intent.com, and update your progress throughout the month.

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