Tag Archives: Workout

Designing A Workout Program That Makes You Thrive

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A lot of people want to workout. Most people don’t know how. Thankfully, psychology can show us the best types of exercise routines for every person. A practical fellow should not always have the same style of workout that the intuitive fellow does. The important thing is that they have a workout to begin with. That is the key. Motivation helps us to improve and become the people that we should be. Continue reading

Intent of the Day: Health Focus

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Everything is demanding your focus.
Your job. Your family. Your personal goals.
Your finances. Your relationships. Your new business idea.
Not to give you one more thing to think about, but when was the last time you paused and thought about your own health? Until sci-fi movies catch up with reality, we only get one body to take care of and we don’t always treat it that way.

When was the last time you had a check-up? On a scale of 1-10 would you say your eating and health habits are more likely to build you up or tear you down?
We invite you to join us today in slowing down and letting our health be a focus.

You too? Here are 3 things to consider:  Continue reading

Give Working Out A(nother) Chance

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I was 22 when I got my first gym membership.
This was post college. I had just moved to Nashville where the currency is biscuits and butter. My new roommate had just lost 80 pounds by exercising and switching her diet (translate: cutting out teenage overindulgences on pizza, burgers and anything you can heat up in a microwave) and I decided maybe I would give it a try too. She looked happy and she was an ordinary person!

But maybe you’re like me. I had long avoided the gym for a lot of reasons.
I was self conscious. I had no idea what half of the equipment did or how it worked.
I had been disappointed by a lack of results in the past.
I realized that the hard part wasn’t just the workout. For me, it was just as tough getting through the front door because of all the baggage I carried about my body, the perception of others, a myriad of things.

But I went. And these were some of the things I learned from experience and from my fellow gym goers: Continue reading

The Ultimate Guide to Getting Lean

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Want to lose weight once and for all? Are you tired of crash diets and endless cardio sessions? Then you should change your approach to dieting and exercise. There is a lot of confusion about how to get a lean body. In general, women try to lose weight on strict diets with too few calories, which slows down their metabolism. Men, on the other hand, struggle to build muscle and shed fat at the same time. Unfortunately, this is not possible. The only way to get lasting results is to change your lifestyle habits.

Why Do Crash Diets Fail? Continue reading

Get Pumped with Our Workout Playlist with Tara Stiles

playlistWhat are your essential items you have with you when working out? We can bet that for most of you an iPod or some sort of music ranks in the top 3 things you need to get you up and ready to burn calories. Music is a really great way to get you moving and motivated. That’s why Tara Stiles always incorporates music into her Strala Yoga and teaching sessions – to keep things loose and energized.

Do you have a song that always gets you pumped up? Maybe a dance number that makes you jog a little faster on the treadmill? There are a lot of people that like to choreograph their yoga routines to peaceful music – or if you’re like Tara a little hip-hop couldn’t hurt either. We wanted to spring things up a bit this week, get everyone moving, so we made a workout playlist of our own. Check out the individual tracks below or favorite the entire playlist by clicking here.

PLAYLIST:

1) Pharell – “Happy”  *- If this Oscar nominated jam from “Despicable Me 2” is enough to make Lupita Nyong’o and Meryl Streep shimmy then it is good enough to get us up and moving too.

2) Classified – “Inner Ninja”*- This song makes us feel badass because who doesn’t love getting in touch with their ninja? (Everyone has one)

3) Aloe Blacc – “Love is the Answer”*- You know that unmistakable voice from “Wake Me Up” that won’t leave you alone every time you turn on the car radio? Well check out Aloe Blacc away from the DJ’s and get stirred again.

4) Quad City DJ’s “Space Jam” – In the wise words of Kid President, “What if Michael Jordan had never made Space Jam? And I looooooove Space Jam.” Part of the reason “Space Jam” is so great is because of the killer soundtrack. If this song can motivate a bunch of Looney Tunes to defeat evil aliens bent on enslaving them to an eternity of outer space amusement work then it can definitely push us to do a few more crunches. Plus it’s just the most fun song ever.

5) Taylor Swift – “22” – What is a workout playlist without a guilty pleasure song? And there is no greater guilty pleasure than the country queen of break-up songs herself. To be fair we added one of the only songs not about one of her exes, so let us have this one.

6) Jay-Z – “Run This Town” feat. Rihanna and Kanye West – If your preferred mood while working out is to feel like a boss then this is the song for you. It’s got a good beat and you can show everyone who’s in charge – just try to resist the urge to belt out Rihanna’s soprano verses in case you startle someone.

7) Keri Hilson – “Pretty Girl Rock” – There is absolutely nothing wrong with owning the fact you look fabulous, even in yoga pants and a raggedy t-shirt. This goes for you guys too. Have a little confidence when you’re stepping it out and this is the song to give it to you.

8) Maroon 5 “Moves Like Jagger” feat. Christina Aguilera – It’s possible that the radio also ruined this song for everyone forever – but when you’re trying to face that stair machine there are few jams like this one to make you feel light enough to get up there. Mick Jagger was one of the original kings of swagger so there’s no harm in borrowing a few of his “moves” if you need it.

9) Macklemore & Ryan Lewis “White Walls” feat. Schoolboy Q and Hollis – If there’s one thing Macklemore and Ryan Lewis know how to do it is to make catchy songs. However, the chorus of “White Walls” is what makes this a stand-out hit for us and a necessary addition to the playlist.

10) Justin Timberlake – “Sexy back” feat. Timbaland – Did you think that a playlist could be complete without a touch of JTimbs? Of course not! There were so many good songs to pick from his catalog but this one is a classic – and the theme of this playlist is definitely songs that make you feel awesome and fabulous.

(* = Tara Stiles recommendations)

Want to see all the songs in order? Just press play below!

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.

Mallika Chopra: Train Your Mind Like An Olympic Athlete

 

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By Mallika Chopra

Wellness is a popular trend these days. From bootcamps, to botox, to gluten-free diets — there is no shortage of methods and techniques promising to change your body and fix your life. But we, as a society, often forget that wellness is not just about physical prowess. How far you can run, how fast you can swim, how heavy a weight you can lift – these kinds of measures sometimes suggest that wellness always comes with a six-pack and perfectly sculpted calves.

No doubt, physical fitness is  important – especially the strength, balance, and confidence that becomes so important for quality and longevity of life. But let’s not forget the emotional and mental aspects of wellness.

Olympic athletes like cross-country skier Chandra Crawford, alpine skier Emily Brydon and freestyle skier Shannon Deanne Bahrke have spoken about how yoga, mindfulness, meditation and breathing has helped them deal with the pressure of competitive sports, as well as giving them the mental clarity and space to perform better.

Body and mind are intricately interdependent, and in my experience, fitness and healthy lifestyle habits are made infinitely more successful when coupled with a clear and centered mind.

This is where meditation comes in.

I began meditation at 9 years old. Meditation was a powerful tool my family and I shared to cultivate mindfulness and clarity — because nurturing a balanced, healthy home was something we all cared about. I didn’t know how the practice might benefit my life in the long-run, but all that mattered was how it made me feel in the present moment. In my teenage and adult years, the practice of meditation stayed with me as a lifestyle technique I could use in countless situations. The mental strength gained through meditation, which I have the benefit of nearly a lifetime in practicing, gives me that extra edge to stay centered and persevere through even the hardest of “workouts,” whatever shapes they might take.

Many recent studies illustrate meditation’s benefits. A study from researchers in Brazil showed that meditation increases people’s mental focus.  Researchers in India have found that meditation (and yoga!) can improve stamina, cardiorespiratory performance, and even increase the body’s secretion of melatonin, which is important in sleep regulation. Finally, another study by researchers at the University of Oregon demonstrated that mindfulness meditation training can even lead to white matter growth in the brain. While these studies are only preliminary, they do suggest that meditation could provide benefits for athletes in their training. And for the rest of us, meditation is a powerful tool for helping us achieve our fitness intents.

My father, Deepak Chopra, is a great example of someone who has been meditating for many years and has maintained excellent health into his 60’s. Through my own meditation practice, I have gained more awareness of my body, and the ability to listen to what I need to feel healthier, more energetic and more balanced.

My intent is to continue meditating for my own mental, physical, and spiritual health, and to encourage others to incorporate meditation into their every day routines. And, I’d love to hear from you if meditation affects your exercise experience, in particular.

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If you would like to learn the basics of meditation and live in New York, I’d like to invite you to join me for a very special evening of mindfulness and meditation in partnership with Sports Club/LA and Reebok Sports Club/NY.

On Thursday, June 20th, I’ll be teaching a short meditation, followed by a reception with refreshments and live entertainment at the Reebok Sports Club/NY,  from 6:30pm to 9:30pm. We’ll cover strategies for quieting your mind and incorporating meditation into your life, as well as the vast health benefits of its practice. More information here

Sports 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 Ways Ginger Can Revitalize Your Post-Workout Routine

ginger_healing_wrapWhat’s your go-to remedy for sore muscles – Ice? Protein? Massage?

If you’ve ever experienced the plight of an achy body – whether you lift weights or spend hours gardening – then you know the necessity of having quick tricks to get some relief. What you might not know is that ginger is one of the most effective, and least tapped, remedies for sore muscles out there. How does it work?

As we exercise, microscopic tears occur in our muscles, and it is through the healing of these tears that our muscles build new protein strands and ultimately get stronger. But the harder the exercise, the bigger the tears, and the more sore our muscles feel after working out. Ginger happens to contain Gingerols, which are anti-inflammatory compounds that make the root great for sore muscles, as well as arthritis, nausea, and digestive disorders.

Here are 5 ways to use ginger in your post-workout routine:

1) Apply a ginger healing herbal wrap!

Ingredients:

  • 6  cups hot water
  • 2  tbsp. Wakaya Perfection Organic Ginger Powder

Directions:

1. Fill bowl with hot water.

2. Add Wakaya Perfection Organic Ginger Powder and stir well with your hands.

3. Soak towel in ginger-water for 10–15 minutes.

4. Remove and wring out until semi-moist.

5. Wrap towel around areas where muscles are sore to ease pain and reduce inflammation.

6. Leave on for 10 minutes.

2) Rub on some DIY topical ginger cream.

Mix ginger powder with camphor oil (or almond, argan, or vitamin E oil) and a few drops of water. Apply directly to the sore area.

3) Soak in an aromatic ginger bath.

Draw a hot bath and sprinkle at least 3 tbsp. of organic ginger powder in the water. Soak up and soothe those sore muscles!

4) Drink some refreshing ginger tea.

Stir several teaspoons of ginger powder into a mug of hot water and enjoy with lemon and honey. You can also prepare a large batch at once and store it in the refrigerator for a quick, thirst-quenching post-workout drink.

5) Incorporate ginger into your post-workout meal!

Whether you turn to yogurt, protein shakes, a big salad, or meat/fish/tofu, ginger can be added to all of your post-workout snacks. Sprinkle a spoonful of powdered ginger on your yogurt, salad, or whatever you’re craving and enjoy the subtle spice and muscle-loving properties it adds to your meal.

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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!

Summer is just around the corner, and now is the perfect time to stock up on Wakaya Perfection’s 100% organic ginger powder to use in your summer work-out routine! Visit WakayaPerfection.com to find Memorial Day Recipes (like the Ginger Lime Creme Brulee or Mushroom-Stuffed Pork Chops) and stock up on Wakaya Perfection Organic Ginger to use in your kitchen. Use the promo code THRIVE and receive 15% off your next purchase!

 

6 Reasons (And One Adorable Video) to Celebrate “Bike to Work Day”!

Screen Shot 2013-05-16 at 12.46.33 PMIf you haven’t heard, May is National Bike Month, and it’s time to start gearing up for an active and green summer! Sponsored by the League of American Bicyclists, this month is all about staying healthy, doing your part for the environment, enjoying the rush of fresh air, and experiencing your city outside the confines of a car. There will be bike month events taking place in communities around the country, which you can learn more about here. Tomorrow is Bike to Work day, so if you haven’t hit the pedals yet this month then there is no better time to start!

“But I don’t have a bicycle,” you might say. “I don’t know how to ride a bike… My bike is broken… I want a cycling partner…” Fear not! The League has compiled a database of resources for cities around the country. So if any of the above concerns applies to you, simply visit their website, type in the name of your town, and voilà! (If your town is very small or remote it may take some more digging, but Craigslist and Meetup.com can be great places to start. Just beware of scams.)

For some people, a bicycle might seem like an absurd alternative to the ease, comfort, and speed of a car. But there are several invaluable benefits to cycling over driving:

  1. You can avoid traffic and parking woes.
  2. You can get a great workout while simultaneously getting where you need to go.
  3. No gas, cheap(er) fixes, easier to maintain.
  4. You’re able to experience your city in a more tactile way than you would from inside a car.
  5. Fresh air, wind in your face, feeling your muscles work to get you from place to place.
  6. You can feel super cool and inspire healthy habits in your friends and colleagues!

What are your top reasons for biking?

As if you needed any more inspiration to hop on your bicycle this minute, here is a ridiculously adorable video of one Philadelphia cyclist biking around town with his kitty cat on his shoulders. How cool is that?!

 From the purring we gather kitty is into biking, too. 🙂

 

Photo credit: Flickr

Bodybuild Like an Ancient Warrior – 5 Hilarious Exercises from the Latest Fitness Fad

Diet and fitness fads over the last few decades have run the gamut from the glamorous to the science-hyped to the new age. We seem to love whatever is fresh, hip, and destined to change our lives and bodies – and you have to hand it to fitness gurus for never lacking in ingenuity. The messaging that goes into fitness and diet programs is endlessly inspiring: “Look like a celebrity,” “get beach ready,” “feel stronger, healthier, and more beautiful.” One recent fitness trend, though, might make you stop and scratch your head… Forget looking a celebrity – how about looking like an ancient warrior?!

That’s right. This new fad in fitness and bodybuilding promises to prepare participants not for the beach or the bedroom, but rather for Spartan-style combat, minus the actual combat (we assume.) This may be inspired, in part, by recent films like 300 and Troy, but even the hunky Brad Pitt and Gerard Butler are 100% 21st century. So what do we actually know about the ancient human specimen?

Keep in mind that ancient Greek and Roman soldiers would have averaged about 5’5”, while the men of the ancient Aztec, Incan, and Mayan societies would have reached just 5′. Clearly the ideal of huge, bulky, and imposing masculinity would have been nonexistent in these cultures, or at least it would have been conceptualized in a way that fit closer with the reality of male bodies. Women likely would have been roughly the same, if slightly smaller. There were no weight-loss pills, no fancy workout machines, and no steroids. So daily activity and simple diets were the most ancient studs could hope for.

The ancient warrior model might actually be onto something, then. Forget the pills and shakes and hours on treadmills, and adopt a more active and funcional lifestyle. Consider food and eating habits with this, as well. Ancient Aztec warriors certainly wouldn’t have been eating Big Macs and chocolate cake, but instead probably meat, vegetables, and some grain. This sounds similar to the much-hyped “paleo” or “primal” diet, which has been popular among athletes but has received mixed feedback in the medical and scientific communities. But whatever fitness regimen you decide to implement, just remember that obsessive dieting is not the way to go. For any changes you make to your diet and lifestyle, be sure to do some research, consult your doctor, and ultimately do what feels right for you.

If the ancient warrior physique is what you’re after, then get started with these simple and hilariously illustrated exercises:

 BarbarianSquat-500

GraveDigger-500

SplittingWood-500

SpearStab-500

DynamicCurl-500

Illustrations by Ted Slampyak, originally published on ArtofManliness.com.

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