01-17-2014

My First Hot Yoga Experience

Earlier this week, my local lululemon store posted that they were having a Blacklight Yoga Party on Thursday, at a studio in my area. I quickly RSVPed for my sister and me because we had never done hot yoga before.

I was really nervous…I was afraid of sweating an insane amount and being stinky and having people be disgusted (sometimes I over-think things). My yogi friend assured me that everyone will probably smell and be insanely sweaty.

I went to social media for other tips for a first time hot yoga-er, and some common ones were:

  • Drink a lot of water in the days leading up.
  • Bring a big towel.
  • Bring a water bottle.
  • Bring an open mind.

I absolutely loved it. I have had this instructor before at lululemon’s community classes, and usually it’s pretty mellow, but this class was really upbeat and fun. We got light-up bracelets at the door too!

The class started with upbeat music, and once Timber by Pitbull & Ke$ha came on, everyone was singing and grooving along to the beat. PS – I’m obsessed with that song, I could listen to it on repeat.

This was certainly the most challenging yoga class I’ve taken. Obviously, because it was hot. But also, the sequence of movements and how long certain poses were held made it tough! The good thing was that the room wasn’t TOO hot-about 97-100 degrees. I have read other reviews of hot yoga where people have said it was too hot to even concentrate, and that’s what I was afraid of.

When people say the heat helps you get deeper in your poses, they aren’t lying! I got into my deepest downward dog, usually I have to keep my knees bent, but this time they were straight and I almost got my heels to touch the ground.

Overall, it was a great class, and I love yoga in general. She ended it on a spiritual note, reading us a quote while we lay in corpse pose. I left feeling refreshed and really wanting to commit to adding more yoga into my life.

Blacklight + yoga = awesome

My clothes were definitely soaked through afterwards, but you really feel good! I would like to add in hot yoga to me exercise routine-just need to find the time and budget ;)

Have you ever tried hot yoga? Or yoga in general?

What are your thoughts about it?

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01-07-2014

Workouts You Need To Stop Doing

workouts you need to stop doing

I stumbled across this article form TODAY Health, entitled “Workouts You Need To Stop Doing In 2014.”

On the list of “fitness fads” are these exercises:

  • Pole dancing
  • Yoga mash-ups (such as hot yoga, stand up paddleboard yoga, and aerial yoga)
  • Gas mask training (gas masks in order to train for high altitude runs/climbs or restrict their oxygen intake for a much tougher workout. While proponents rave about the results, they also readily admit to “seeing stars”)
  • Backwards running
  • Stiletto workouts (Fans of this “fitness” fad say working out in sky-high heels can strengthen your core, improve your balance and give you toned, taut legs.)
  • Mud, obstacle and beer races
  • Stability ball stands

Well…interesting…

Let’s talk about both sides of this story.

Don’t Discourage Others

On the one hand, should we really be discouraging people from doing a workout they love? When I worked at a personal training studio, my boss hated running. He would always lecture clients (and me) about how bad long distance running is, how it increases your cortisol and makes you fatter, etc. It would annoy me so much because at the time I was training for the New York City Marathon! We know running has its benefits, who is he to say that ONLY lifting is the way to go?

He had the same view about yoga, Zumba, spinning, and more. He thought they were pointless and you would only see real results from training with him (and only his way).

As a personal trainer, I want to encourage everyone to do what they feel comfortable doing and love. If lifting with a trainer isn’t your thing, then find something else. While I agree with my old boss that perhaps Zumba won’t lead to a toned physique, that’s not the goal for many people. It is still exercise, still getting your heart rate up, and that’s what matters.

Is That Safe?

Now, on the other hand, some of the above mentioned workouts sound straight up dangerous. Workout out in high heels? Wearing gas masks? The doctor quoted in the article states,

“When you wear high heels, you’re shortening your Achilles tendon, throwing off your center of gravity and putting stress on your lower back. And then there’s what happens in your feet.” ER doc Stanton is more blunt: “Anything in stilettos is an ankle injury waiting to happen,” he says.

Throwing off your center of gravity is a big reason why many trainers do not advise lifting while on BOSU balls or an unstable surface as well. But I’ll discuss that in another post ;)

The gas mask thing I just do not understand. It can not be good to be struggling for air while working out…while your heart is pumping and asking for air.

BUT, some things on this list surprised me. Yoga? Obstacle races?

I actually did a 5K mud run in 2012, and it was awesome. I have read about many injuries, and sadly, deaths, due to these races. They are dangerous, which is why you need to train for them. It’s not just a fun little race where you jump over things.

If obstacle runs are what gets you out there, then go for it! Make sure you do the right training, and include cardio and strength workouts. I think mud runs are a fun way to encourage people to be active, especially those who aren’t that into running.

I’m all about people getting out there and being active, especially when we are supposed to get 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week.

But use caution when trying something new, such as some of the workouts listed above, and do research as well. Will the exercise of your choice help you in reaching your goals? What are the benefits? Contraindications?

Does advising someone not to do a certain workout make you a fitness snob?

What do you think of these workouts? Which have you done?

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05-13-2013

My First Yoga Class!

I randomly decided a few days ago that I wanted to try the community yoga class at my local lululemon this past Sunday. I like trying out new classes (like BodyPump 2 weeks ago) and I’ve been wanting to try yoga for a while, so I decided to go.

Not a picture from the class I took, but this is the store and the set-up

I’ve done yoga videos before, but I really wanted to try an actual class. To my surprise, the class was packed! I was a little nervous but felt more comfortable since I know the basic yoga moves, like downward-dog, chaturanga, etc.

I was not expecting to get much of a sweat. If anything, I figured I’d get a nice stretch session.

I was so wrong.

I was pretty sweat by the time the class was over! So were a lot of people. It was definitely a good workout to start the day. We did a lot of lunge poses and the chair pose which kills me (quads. burning.). Overall, I loved it. The instructor was really kind and helpful to those who were brand new. She also was just very inspirational throughout the class and I really liked the sense/vibe of the “yogi community.” We ended the class with a passage she read to us about finding inspiration and beauty in our surroundings, and taking time out of each day away from the hustle and bustle to do this. It sounded way better when she read it.

I really, really liked this class and it had me feeling good and positive for the rest of the day. The instructor was from a local hot yoga studio, which offers discounts, so I think I may try a hot yoga class! Possibly the week after my half to stretch out? Either way, I definitely plan on going back to the free Sunday classes lululemon provides.

Do you take yoga classes? Have you taken a hot yoga class? What can I expect?

 

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