Tag Archives: health

Yoga for Weight Loss: What You Need to Know to Succeed (part 2)

Welcome back folks.

Okay, let’s cut right to the chase for how Yoga for weight loss works.
We’ve gone over the sun salutations and if you are anything like me, you probably tried them out and are sold on Yoga “the stretching”  exercise actually burning calories.

Now let’s target the trouble spots.

Poses for Trouble Spots when Using Yoga for Weight Loss:

1. Abdominal Region: The Forward Bending Pose, the Bow Pose, the Peacock Pose, the Spinal Twist and the Triangle Pose.

2. The Arms: Definitely the Peacock Pose! the Wheel Pose, the Crow Pose, the Side Plank Pose and the 4-Limb Staff Pose.

3. The Thighs: The Bow Pose, The Shoulder-Stand, the Hero Pose, the Triangle and Wheel Poses.

4. Love Handles: The Spinal Twist, the Triangle Pose, (with practice) the Side Crow Poses, (for ease) The Side Plank Pose.

I realize the spots above are the ones most of us seem to target when trying to lose weight, so I have made sure to go over them first.

I’m under the impression that if you had searched in google or done some research on Yoga for weight loss, you must have gotten some degree of information on the poses above, or signed up for a class, bought a Yoga DVD,  something to learn some more about it, which is why I did not go over each pose in detail. But trust me, they are indeed very easy. I will emphasize though, performing the Sun Salutations (upwards of 24 rounds) should be your main focus in using Yoga for a weight loss regimen, even before the other poses.

This too will help: One pose that some Yogis and Yoginis state to be a versatile enough pose for the whole body will be the Shoulder-Stand. It is best practiced with its counter poses, in fact, since these poses have effects on the meta-physical and spiritual aspects of our lives, it will be safe to say never execute a yoga pose without counter posing it. You may throw some things out of normalcy.

Here’s a brief overview on the Shoulder-Stand as a yoga pose for weight loss:
Spread a thick blanket on the floor and place your yoga mat on it. Lie on the back. Slowly raise the legs. Lift the trunk, hips and legs to a vertical position. Rest the elbows firmly on the floor and support the back with both hands.  Raise the legs till they become vertical. Press the chin against the chest. This is the chin lock. While performing this pose, the back of the neck, the posterior part of the head and the shoulders should touch the floor. Breathe in counts of 5-5-5 (inhalation, retention and exhalation). Don’t allow the body to shake. It’s counter poses are the bridge and fish poses which will target your forearms/thighs and chest/neck respectively.

As I promised; here is the Breath of Fire breathing exercise that you can add to your yoga practice to speed up the burning of calories. (Doesn’t the name alone tell you something??)

Breath of Fire Exercise (aka Kapalabathi or Bellows Breath)

-Take a few breaths and see that the diaphragm is moving properly.  Now with the eyes closed (as they should be when performing all breathing exercises) make a sudden contraction of the abdomen with a backward push. This leads to a sudden yet firm expulsion of stagnant air from the lungs.

-Now follow this with a sudden relaxation (which naturally makes the new air rush in) now perform the exercise in this manner: passive inhalation and active expulsions at a rate of sudden abdominal push per second one after the other. A round should have 15-20 expulsions. Do not exceed 3 rounds

-You may gradually increase to 120 expulsions per round and then perform only 2 rounds. (As soon as you are doing 50 expulsions per round, do not exceed 2 rounds!) Between each round take a pause for about 30 seconds of normal breathing.

Now, there you have it, the information needed to get you started on the use of Yoga for weight loss: The poses for the trouble spots, the bellows breath, the shoulder-stand and the almighty Sun Salutations.

Remember, for the same reasons Hippocrates-the father of Medicine stated: “Let your foods be your medicine and your medicine your foods”,  you’ve got to include a proper diet when seeking to lose weight with yoga. Keep in mind this is an all too important limb of this exercise so, there’s no way around it friends. (But I’m sure you know that already).

So strike a pose, and see for yourself how Yoga for weight loss can be an effective and safe choice.

7 Must Know Facts to Build Your Strength Training Routine

Building a strength training routine can be one of the trickiest parts of a fitness program. Ask 10 personal trainers what the best strength training routine is and you will get 10 different answers. Below are 7 must-know guidelines to use when building a strength training program. Each guideline provides the basic foundation that all strength training programs abide by. Learning the proper way to use free weights will greatly improve your strength, fitness, and health levels.

1) We cannot strength train a muscle today and tomorrow. We have to allow at least 24-36 hours of rest. Lifting on consecutive days leads to overtraining, muscle fatigue, and possible injury. All of our strength gains are made during the rest time!

2) We cannot spot reduce. This means if we want to lose weight in our stomach, doing 100 crunches a day will not make our stomach flab disappear. To reduce stomach fat, we need an overall reduction in body fat. Reducing overall body fat results from eating well, regular exercise, and proper rest.

3) We can spot tone. If we want bigger biceps, we can strength train for hypertrophy (fancy word for muscle growth). It is possible for us to focus on one specific muscle group. This is sometimes called targeted training. Studies have shown that machines isolate a muscle better than free weights.

4) Our strength training routines must be regular and consistent for results to take place. It took us years to put on the weight. We shouldn’t expect it to all fall off in three weeks. The best outcome from your fitness and strength training program should be a lifestyle change. Replace bad habits with healthy ones and reap the rewards.

5) Realize that our strength training routine must be changed every 4-6 weeks. This will prevent our body from hitting a plateau and it will keep things interesting. We can change our method, our exercise or our intensity level. Not changing our routine on a regular basis will eventually stop producing results. We will continually grow stronger as we progress with our fitness program. Be sure your body is challenged on every workout.

6) Our strength training routines must be built according to our specific goals. Specific goals may be: fat loss, hypertrophy, maintaining weight or adding bulk. Each goal will have a different method that is best suited for optimal results. Someone who is interested in losing body fat will strength train differently than someone looking to increase muscle bulk. Knowing what your specific goals are will aid in creating the best strength training program possible.

7) Our strength training routines must work all of the major muscle groups in our body 1-3 times per week. This includes our biceps, triceps, shoulders, chest, back, abs, quads, glutes, hamstrings and calves. Leaving out muscle groups will create an imbalance.

By using these 7 guidelines, anyone should be able to build a decent and effective program. The idea is to develop a safe strength training routine that provides us with major health and fitness benefits. Strength training has certainly increased in popularity over the past few years. Knowing how to build a strength training routine for our specific goals will move us one step closer to a fit body.