Crucial Benefits of Exercise During Pregnancy

Crucial Benefits of Exercise During Pregnancy

pregnant exerciseWith all the other things you need to deal with, exercise could be the last thing on your mind right now as a would-be mom. However, exercise during pregnancy is as important as a highly nutritious diet for you, your baby, and childbirth. Think of it as an investment which will give you invaluable returns in terms of your overall health for the long run – making sure that you are enabled to deliver your baby with less complications. In fact, all those weird feelings and seemingly unexplained fatigue you are experiencing can be alleviated by any form of exercise when endorphins get released. So it doesn’t matter that much as to which kind you choose as long as you get moving until you finally give birth.

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Real Deal Benefits

Staying physically active is undoubtedly an effective way of keeping yourself happy and healthy. However, some women can have doubts and fears about exercising during pregnancy as it may cause harm to their unborn child. Fortunately for you, that is not the case. Keeping yourself moving through a regular exercise routine has been proven to help with weight maintenance and with the prevention of diseases such as gestational diabetes.

The advantages of pregnancy exercising include:

Relief from back and pelvic discomfort

As your baby bump grows, extra weight and pressure are likewise exerted, particularly targeting the lower half of your body. This causes the aches on your back and pelvis that can really bother you and even agitate the way you walk. With proper stretching and exercising, you can minimize back or pelvic pains especially during the late period of your pregnancy when you are at your heaviest.

Significant mood improvement

Exercise is not only known to help you physically, but mentally and emotionally as well, as your brain secretes chemicals called endorphins that activate a positive and energized feeling in your body. You see, with hormones raging, pregnant women tend to be so much more hypersensitive to depression and anxiety. Such a condition is not only harmful to you but can also cause negative effects on your baby’s overall growth and development in your tummy. Staying active will help reduce depression while boosting your mood and decreasing any feelings of anxiety and stress.

Well-managed blood pressure levels

A pregnant woman’s blood pressure can increase occasionally, but preeclampsia can likewise occur if it gets too high. Preeclampsia is a condition characterized by high blood pressure in pregnant women who have not had it before. If not properly diagnosed, it can develop into eclampsia which is an even more serious condition that puts you and your baby in danger and can result to death in rare cases. One study highly suggests that any form of exercise or movement, such as simply going for a walk on a regular basis, will help prevent blood pressure from rising.

Constipation prevention

Active bowels are indicative of a healthy, well-functioning body system. In pregnancy however, an increase in hormones called progesterone can cause constipation as the smooth muscles are relaxed throughout the body, digestive tract included. Constipation can result as food pass through your intestines more slowly. It is advisable then for pregnant women to do at least 10 to 30 minutes of brisk walking to get them going and regular.

Sleep recovery

Many pregnant women reportedly find it difficult to fall asleep especially at that time when their bellies start to grow bigger and they struggle with their sleeping positions. In addition, the pressure on their urinary bladder can really wake them up in the middle of night, sometimes many times during the night, forcing them to get up and go to the washroom for relief. On the other hand, those who are constantly active attest that their sleep has better quality and they feel more refreshed upon waking up as long as their physical activity is not nearing bedtime and is able to boost their energy during the day.

Reduced risk of complications in pregnancy

A 2012 study has found that women who frequently took part in fitness programs have a slimmer chance of developing type 2 diabetes. It doesn’t have to be something that you engage in rigorously right away. You can simply stay active for 30 minutes daily or at least 5 days in a week. Walking is a natural way by which you can achieve this and is highly recommended during pregnancy. Compared to those who remained sedentary, active women lowered their risk of having unplanned cesarean sections.

Diminished fatigue

Fatigue usually plagues most women, especially on the earlier and later stages of pregnancy which is the first and the third trimester. On the contrary, choosing inactivity over regular exercise and taking more than enough rest can sometimes tire you out more, making you feel weak or groggy. You can, however, try taking easy walks or prenatal yoga classes to up your energy level without pushing yourself too far off your exhaustion limit.

Reduced risks of complications during delivery

A study conducted in Spain has revealed that women who exercised at least thrice a week had lesser weight gain during pregnancy with lowered odds of carrying babies that weighed over nine pounds, also called macrosomic babies, upon their birth. This is really good news since delivering heavier babies can result to problems for both you and your child. Thus, exercise does not only help you with your own weight management but also eases the way for your equally fit baby during delivery.

Quickened recovery after delivery

Since exercise is proven to improve the stamina that you need badly during labor and childbirth, your physical recovery after delivery will also tend to be faster when you have prepared your body sufficiently through exercise. The same study in 2012 reached the conclusion that women who exercised recuperated faster after childbirth and returned to perform their household work or get to their jobs quicker than those who were physically inactive. The effects of regular exercise are both immediate and long-term.

Ultimately, there are exceptions to consider like specific medical conditions that might put both the mother and child at risk. In addition, exercising doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll have zero complications during delivery nor does it guarantee the complete absence of backaches. However, being active is generally recommended in order to have a healthy and comfortable pregnancy up until you finally give birth.

For your babe

While you enjoy dancing, swimming, or brisk walking for yourself, the benefits also get happily extended to your baby. Researches are still being conducted, but little by little, human studies are starting to confirm animal studies on the benefits of exercise on both mommies and babies. Recent studies show that the benefits of pregnancy workout routines tend to last for years as seen in rats and mice, and that the same promising results can be foreseen in human subjects.

The potential gains on your baby’s well-being can include the following:

Optimal brain health

In yet another mice study, would-be moms were given exercise wheels and when they gave birth, their offspring showed less tendencies for neurodegeneration or those brain changes that can ultimately result in Alzheimer’s disease.

Happier heart

A group of researchers on human babies were able to discover that those whose moms exercised regularly while pregnant had lower heart rate at 36 weeks gestation indicating that the fetuses did not suffer any fetal distress. It was in 2014 that a follow up study of the same babies was conducted until they were a month old, and it was seen that their mom’s pregnancy exercise still had its beneficial effects on their heart rates even after birth.

Low Body Mass Index

In more studies on mice pregnancy, the researchers have discovered that exercising pregnant moms had babies that were least prone to obesity. Even if their moms consumed a high-fat diet, the same favorable effect was observed, wiping out the negative consequences of their unhealthy consumption with regular exercise.

Diabetes prevention

In a study of exercising rat moms, it was found that their babies were more sensitive to insulin compared to those who were not. The odds of diabetes had been significantly reduced up until the baby rats grew into adults themselves.

Pre-exercise essentials

Before you get on that yoga mat or put on your swimsuit, it is important to follow these ground rules first. Yes, you need to exercise if you want the benefits, but for the sake of safety, here are the pre-exercise essentials that you need to take note of first:

1. Pay your doctor a visit

In anything and everything that you do, always ask for your doctor’s approval to confirm that you are indeed on the right track. Your OB-GYN’s experience and expertise about your particular case will zero in on the specifics of what is safe and not safe for you. Do not do anything just because most pregnant women you know or have read about do it themselves because not all pregnancies are the same. Should you have a medical complication or an at-risk pregnancy, your doctor can impose limitations on your exercise program or completely restrict you from doing any. On the other hand, if you have been diagnosed with gestational diabetes, you will be highly encouraged to stay physically active.

In both cases, ensure that you and your practitioner are on the same page when it comes to your fitness level and exercise intensity, clearly defining what you consider easy or moderate. If you have been active before you got pregnant, it is most likely that your doctor will recommend that you continue with your regular routine with minimal modifications but without any of those pregnancy-taboo, high-contact, or altitude sports. If you are not used to any exercise at all, ask your OB-GYN which ones you can try.

2. Let your morphing body take the lead

Your body is not the same when you become pregnant and just by your shape, you too can tell the difference. As such, it should follow that your exercises change together with your body. When you notice your sense of balance shifting or when you’re feeling the need to slow down, then modify your workout routines to avoid harm, injury, or any untoward accidents. Even the way you execute specific routines that you have been doing for years will seem different as your motherly instincts prompt you to decrease any strain on your growing belly. If you are fond of brisk walking, you’ll notice yourself slowing down or getting easily tired as you feel the pressure on your knees and hips while your pregnancy progresses each week.

And just because you seem to be gaining weight doesn’t imply you will feel stronger as well because your ligaments and joints are loosening too, making you feel and act differently. Also remember to keep your blood flow going by avoiding yoga and tai chi poses, exercises, or movements that may restrict the same such as continuous standing or lying on your back without any movement.

3.Take it slow

There is no rush when it comes to exercising during pregnancy. What counts more is the consistency of having sufficient physical activity daily. So its best to just take it slow and then focus on making a much-desired lifestyle out of exercise especially when you are new at it. If you already are a fitness buff, it is more advisable to maintain your current pace and level of intensity as when you were not yet pregnant. You can simply pick it up and increase it a notch when you want to after you give birth.

In terms of exercise duration, thirty minutes per day is an ideal goal to keep in mind. You don’t have to push yourself too hard, too soon but gradually work your way up until your reach your thirty-minute goal depending on how your morphed body is taking it. What will be good for your heart and overall health though is three 10-minute walks spread out during the day as this is as good as a 30-minute treadmill. Your daily chores also count even if they are non-exercise physical activities, so some light gardening or vacuuming at 15 minutes each is desirable. You can also choose to workout for an hour at the most when you feel your body can still handle it. Pregnant women are more prone to fatigue and then injury when they are not careful. Try not to exert too much effort as overexertion can lead to dehydration and shortness of breath, depriving your baby of much-needed oxygen.

4. Have fun!

The motivational key to a regular and consistent pregnancy exercise is the fun factor. So choose one that you will enjoy and always look forward to doing especially no- to low-impact exercises like swimming and walking. Other recreational activities such as dancing and aerobics are also considered safe for baby and enjoyable for mommy especially during those low energy, lazy days. If you are the social type and feel energized around people, you can attend prenatal yoga classes or have a walking buddy you can have juicy conversations with. This way, it won’t feel like you are exercising but simply socializing.

5. Get ready and gear up

Mental and physical preparations are a must in the world of maternal exercise programs so you have to exercise smart for your developing baby. Use your motherly intellect to judge your actions before embarking in a new endeavor. To sustain your energy, you can have some light snacks an hour before your workout. Also gup down one glass of water or fresh fruit juice and stay hydrated all throughout your physical activities. At the end, refuel yourself with some more healthy drinks. Do not go out if its too hot outside as this can also cause dehydration. Dress comfortably in warm and loose clothing and have a supportive sports bra under to accommodate your enlarging mommy breasts. Your shoes should likewise correspond with the exercise you are doing for maximum support.

No-no exercises during pregnancy

Most workouts are considered generally safe and effective for expectant mothers but there are exceptions to the rule. These are exercises to avoid at all cost if you do not want any risks or complications during these delicate times.

High-risk sports

Some sports become more appealing as the risks involved increase. However, pregnancy is not the best time for risking abdominal injuries or falling. Avoid ice-skating, gymnastics, horseback riding, intense racquet sports, downhill skiing or snowboarding, bungee jumping, soccer, and all other contact sports. Even light exercises that require you to lie on your back are not recommended after you reach your third trimester of pregnancy as the pressure on your blood vessels can cause restrictions in yours and your baby’s circulation. You will know when this happens because you will feel dizzy or experience shortness of breath.

Those considered as high altitude sports and activities like mountaineering or hot air ballooning, no matter how adventurous, are not to be experimented on while you are on the way. If a certain activity would require you to go higher than 6,000 feet, then avoid it for your own good.

Rough exercises and movements

Some exercises or seemingly small movements can actually be rough on your pregnancy and should be avoided. As your abdomen grows, your sense of balance will also be challenged and you do not want to contract any injuries to your abs. Advanced abdominal movements can cause for the abs muscles to get separated from the midline or worse, get torn. So if you really are into strengthening your core, go for ab moves that are pregnancy-safe, but a big no-no to double leg lifts or full sit ups. Should racket sports be your thing, go for playing doubles to lessen the impact instead of playing singles.

Exercises that involve balance is strictly off-limits in this case. In fact, hanging on to a chair or keeping by the wall while roaming around the house or office is a good back up plan in case you feel dizzy all of a sudden or lose your sense of balance. Keep jumping or jerking movements to a minimum as you gain more weight. Slow dancing or aerobics are fine if you are used to them and you do not go too fast. To avoid cramping your calves, do not point your toes and instead flex your feet to drive the top of your foot towards your calves.

Extreme moves

Critically intense movements tend to heighten the risk of getting injured and this is the primary reason why they need to be avoided. Your ligaments loosen up during pregnancy and is therefore not the best time for back bends, excessive stretching, contortions, deep knee bends, or those in which deep flexion is involved. So forget about bouncy stretching, trying a split, extending your joints, or giving advanced yoga positions a shot at this time.

Specific to yoga, some movements that require you to stand motionless for some time can actually restrict the flow of blood and this include extended hands to big toe or the tree pose. Hot or bikram yoga cannot also be enjoyed during pregnancy as the humid conditions raises your body’s temperature too strongly resulting in blood shunting away from your uterus and towards your skin as it attempts to cool off. In the same manner, the flow of oxygen cannot be interrupted for you and your baby so any activity that can cut off this constant flow is not allowed – think scuba diving or simply holding your breath for some reason. Plan your next dive when you aren’t carrying a passenger in your tummy any longer as you do not want to risk decompression sickness in your baby.

Pregnancy Exercise Tips

1. Listen to your body. You can learn all about playing safe while exercising but you are still the best judge when it comes to doing the right thing, as your body will tell you when you are getting too far. So listen to your body, go at your own pace, and stop or pause whenever you need to.

2. Never overexert. Definitely, exercise is recommended during pregnancy but only to a certain extent. Shortness of breath and dehydration are consequences you want to avoid by overexerting yourself.

3. Exercise to energize. Remember that the purpose of exercise, even in pregnancy, is to give you energy and continually renew your strength. If a particular workout leaves you exhausted to the point of fatigue, then you might not be doing it right. Take a rest, slow down, and exercise more appropriately.

4. Calorie up. Preggy or not, working out burns calories and this means eating nourishing foods and preparing your body. If your current BMI is at a healthy range of 18.5 to 24.9, then you will need an additional 340 calories per day in your second trimester and around 450 calories on your third trimester. Should you be underweight or overweight, you will have to make the necessary adjustments to your calorie intake with your doctor’s guidance.

5. Have just enough. If you are the competitive type or is used to pushing yourself hard, pregnancy requires you to take more caution than usual. Muscle soreness the next day after workout can be expected but watch out for acute joint and muscle pain as they could indicate an overuse injury. And so, exercise enough but never too much.

6. Start right. Another way to avoid injury is to start right by warming up before you dive into any physical activity. In this way, you will be able to prepare your joints and muscle as well as increase your heart rate in a gradual manner. A good old warm up reduces the aches and pains after a workout.

7. Watch out for irritability. The release of endorphins during exercise is intended to boost your mood. However, if you are feeling even more hot-tempered than usual, then watch out because this is a sign telling you to taper back.

8. Hydrate and drink up. The best time to hydrate is before, during, and after you work out. There’s no specific amount as to how much you should be drinking but, experts advise you gauge your hydration level using the color of your urine. When it’s pale yellow or almost clear, then you are good to go. When its dark yellow, you could be dehydrated and you need to gulp down a glass or two every hour till it’s nearly clear.

9. Develop a habit. Consistency is key to reaping the full benefits of exercise during pregnancy and unless you make a habit out of it, it’s not gonna make a significant impact. So make it a commitment to yourself and your baby until the routine eases up on your body. As long as your healthcare provider gives you the green light, 20-30 minutes of exercise for all or most days of the week is recommended by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

10. Sleep like a baby. It won’t be the same once baby is out, so while you are still pregnant, take advantage of it and enjoy a full 8 hours of simply dozing off. This will allow your body to rest and rejuvenate for the next day’s workout grind. Besides, your physical activities during the day will tire you just right and you will easily have a shut-eye once you hit the sack.

Exceptions to Pregnancy Exercise

Each pregnancy experience is as unique as every individual. As such, not all pregnancies are the same and not all pregnant women can go through a workout routine safely. In fact, there are complications that when coupled with exercise, prove to be more dangerous than helpful. Cases such us an incompetent pregnancy, persistent vaginal bleeding, pregnancy-induced hypertension, or intrauterine growth restriction aren’t usually exercise-friendly and need absolute approval from your healthcare provider.

Even when you do not have any of these complications but experience some warning signs, you are advised to stop any physical routine immediately and notify your practitioner. The symptoms include vaginal bleeding, contractions, faintness, shortness of breath, dizziness and sharp pain.

Typically, your baby inside the womb will just relax while you do your workout. A healthy snack afterwards can help you feel revitalized as well. Also after your workout, in about two hours, it is expected that fetal movement will return to normal. In case it does not, it is best to call your doctor immediately.

Whether a complication exists or not, steering pregnancy exercise to your advantage would mean listening closely to what your body tells you. A good guide to follow is the Rate of Perceived Exertion where you imagine a scale of 6 to 20 in terms of the effort that you exert. When you are at rest, a scale of 6 is rated, while 20 is when your exercise is at its maximum. An exertion rate that is between 12-14 is considered ideal for exercise during pregnancy such as in brisk walking. To demonstrate it more clearly, your workout should let you exert effort and feel your breath go more heavily. But if it comes to a point where it’s almost impossible to breath and that its hard to talk or whistle, then that is certainly the point of overdoing it.

Get all the workouts you need plus Pre and Post Natal workouts with Beachbody On Demand.

14 Weight Loss Obstacles and How to Overcome Them

14 Weight Loss Obstacles and How to Overcome Them

weightloss obstacles

Losing weight is simply not easy and there are just so many obstacles that you have to deal with. Whether it’s as little as six pounds or a body-changing forty pounds, shedding them all will take so much from you including the mental, emotional, and lifestyle changes that you need to make. However, there is no other best time to keel over each one of them but right here, right now. It is really doable as long as you do not stop until you succeed and do not let anything get in your way. With perseverance, you will be able to finally achieve that ideal weight you so desire.

To increase your chances of weight-loss success, you need to reflect a little and think about the possible obstacles that you could face along the way. Then, you can come up with some strategies that will help you overcome them in the most practical way possible. Meanwhile, here are 14 common obstacles that individuals like yourself encounter in their weight management journeys and how to deal with them effectively.

1. No time for exercise

Time is one of most common issues that prevents most people from finally embarking into an exercise program. There’s just so much to do that you can’t find time to exercise. Thing is that, if you do not consider exercise to be top priority and of utmost importance, then you will never have time for it. So the first thing to do to overcome this obstacle is to change your mindset about exercise. Accept the fact that you will never lose weight safely and effectively if you do not make exercise a crucial part of your lifestyle. Exercise plays a major role in weight management that if you are serious about shedding those pounds, then you have to make time for it.

Fit exercise or gym time into your schedule. Besides, you will not only lose weight, but you will be healthier as well. A schedule that is too busy for exercise is unhealthy in a lot of ways. So make it a point to include it like you would a very important appointment for the day. There are also exercises that will give you the maximum in terms of results but require less time from you. High Intensity Interval Training, better known as HIIT, is one such exercise program. Compared to the regular, steady-state exercises, you will be able to burn bigger calories per day and some more in the following days after your workout. Beachbody employs the same principle in 22-Minute Hard Corps and Focus T25 where you can get the comparable benefits of an hour’s workout in just 30 minutes. What happens is that, with the varying of intensity levels, the heart also goes up and down, and then up-down again. Consequently, your oxygen consumption increases, post-exercise and more calories get burned even in the days after.

2. Exercise is a drag

An exercise program is typically done via a series of repetitions and the routine can be boring especially if you have been doing it for some time. But don’t let this stop you from hitting the gym because there are so many choices out there for you. Working out should never be a chore because once you feel that it is, then it is not the right one. You have to enjoy what you are doing in order to have the motivation to keep doing it until you reach your weight goals. You simply have to find those activities that you love, vary what you do weekly, or continue to explore various forms that may interest you. There’s the treadmill, kickboxing, line dancing, swimming, mixed martial arts, tennis, yoga, and so much more.

3. Pushing yourself too hard

While others do not really care about exercise, you on the other hand, may be working too hard. There is nothing wrong with working hard because it shows how determined you are to lose weight. However, overdoing it can have adverse effects and even result to injury. In the end, you will only feel frustrated to see that there seems to be not much change on the weighing scale despite all your efforts and everyday workout. Some people even hit a fitness plateau as a result of too much effort and too often.

You will only see desirable change when you do it right. And an effective exercise program includes time for you and your body to recover and regain its strength. It is actually when you rest that muscles build and grow. Consequently, as you go back to your intense workouts after a respite, you will notice a significant increase in your speed as well as efficiency. On the other hand, not resting at all can leave you feeling drained and unable to lift weights for more repetitions. So go ahead take time to rest, make up on sleep, or still workout but make it light and easy. A 3-Week Yoga Retreat from Beachbody can be perfect for some gentle exercises and full body stretches. Maintain balance and achieve maximum results by making recovery an inevitable part of your fitness program.

4. Pain and aching joints

When you are in some kind of pain due to an injury or a chronic problem, it is certainly hard to get out of your way and even think about exercise. But as long as you have your doctor’s approval, it is more helpful to make the smallest of movements compared to none at all. You just have to go low-impact and step it up a bit. Start with exercises that are doable for you such as walking, biking, or swimming, even just for a good half hour. These are more likely to help you burn those calories and shed those pounds than just sitting on your couch doing nothing.

5. Workout and nothing else

Some people think that working out is the only thing that can make them lose all the weight. Truth is that, maintaining a healthy lifestyle that includes both exercise and a proper diet is what really makes the difference. Research has confirmed that individuals who start out with a healthy diet coupled with regular exercise are more likely to succeed as they are able to maintain this kind of lifestyle over time. Weight loss is mostly a result of dieting and about 40% exercise.

As such, you can workout intensively everyday but end up not shedding any pounds if you fail to follow a diet that will complement your exercise program. It is important to understand that exercise is just part of a whole and the other parts have to be done as well if you are to get to your weight loss goals. So do not rely solely on exercise to lose weight. Adopt healthier eating habits that are geared towards helping you achieve your most desirable body ever.

6. Exercise makes you hungry

If you have been following a strict diet or have been trying to cut on food to lose weight, you might not want to work out as it can cause you to crave for more food. However, the successful principle behind healthy weight loss has to involve both proper nutrition and exercise. As such, you do not have to worry about working out and eating more because what really matters is the amount and kind of food that you eat that will result in maximum weight loss. In fact, depriving yourself of food will take its toll sooner and will only make you go back to your nasty old eating habits.

The key is to load up on foods that are filling but have low calorie counts such as lean protein, veggies, fruits, and whole grains. They have to be rich in protein and fiber so that you feel full longer as digestion is slowed down. Non-starchy vegetables are also very helpful in this sense and it can include squash, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, and broccoli. To make them more flavorful, you can add some spices and vinegar’s, or roast them if you like them caramelized and sweet. The fiber content and water is sure to fill you up. Plus, it can also give you lots of phytonutrients, vitamins, and minerals.

7. Too busy to cook

One of the primary reasons why most individuals gain a lot in the first place is that, they are fond of consuming instant and processed food. However, if you want to be successful at losing weight, you have to do just the opposite and invest time in preparing your very own weight loss-designed food. It doesn’t have to take you hours though. You just need to plan ahead so that you can fit it right into your schedule and get into the habit of eating fresh, healthy food at the right proportions.

Plan your meals and snacks for the day or for the week before you go hungry and reach for a bag of junk food. Clear your cupboard and fridge from everything that will hinder your weight loss. Stock up on healthier choices and ingredients. Instead of ordering takeout, try tossing your favorite main course salad and enjoy a scrumptious meal without the guilt. Check out some recipes that are quick, tasty, and doable for you so that you can follow through on them.

8. Healthy food tastes bland and boring

Try eating leafy green vegetables for a week and you will soon feel like you’re turning into a goat. Healthy food can taste boring especially when you are used to savory, processed, frozen, or canned ones with high-salt or sugar content. However, you have two critical choices here: one is to continue eating those delicious, sinful foods and gain more weight; or two, do everything you can to make healthy food more palatable for you while losing weight at the same time. If you are more excited to see a sexier body this time, then it will take patience and some experimenting on your end.

Healthier food can taste different at first but over time, you will find that you can enjoy them too. This is especially when you are able to explore tastier ways of cooking them such as using spices to boost its natural flavor. So yes, how bland or delicious they taste is up to you as you try to learn the basics of cooking them tastefully, and then experimenting a bit till you achieve the flavor that suits you best. Keep trying new recipes and ways of cooking when you feel like you can’t take anymore of the healthier foods that you have been preparing. Who knows, broccoli might just become your next favorite thing.

9. Going healthy is expensive

The first thing that might come to mind after you finally decide to eat healthy is that, organic produce is expensive! Fortunately for you, it’s not your only choice. One smart move is to go for fruits and vegetables that are in-season because it would mean that plenty would be available and that they would be cheaper. Frozen veggies are also good options as typically, they are as nutritious as the fresh ones. Going vegetarian is another wise choice for those on a budget. You can consume more plant-based protein over meat, which can be costly. Moreover, preparing your own meals at home is far more budget-friendly compared to eating outside. In the long run, investing in your health today means tons of savings in the future. Paying for a fresh chicken salad over a fast food meal will save you tons in health-related expenses later.

10. Resisting temptation is just too hard

You know yourself better and if you are aware about how weak you can be in the face of temptation, then this is what you need to prepare for ahead of time. Your willpower and determination to stay true to your diet program is going to be constantly tested and you have to pass the test each time. Think about those times when you have to be outside of the house, with loved ones or friends, having a good time. Plan your defense before going out and know exactly what to order, gulp on a filling healthy shake beforehand, or bring some healthy snacks to munch on.

For support, tell whoever it is you’re meeting up with about your weight goals so that they can help you choose healthier choices instead of letting you give in to the temptation. For office birthdays, happy hours, and other tempting occasions, have the willpower to resist eating too much or just have a taste or a spoonful of your favorite food to satisfy your cravings but still stick to your diet program.

11. Lacking in follow-through

It’s easy to be excited and all pumped up at the start of a new endeavor especially when it involves losing weight to get a sexier body for a wedding or a high school reunion. But when the going gets tough, only the tough gets going while the rest fail to follow through on their weight loss agenda. As such, it is important to have the right motivation from the start and be able to set short-term as well as long-term goals. In this way, when the excitement wears off, you will still have more than enough reason to push through with what you have planned and not end gaining back what you have worked so hard for to lose.

Wearing that bikini for the summer is a good short-term goal but avoiding health problems encountered by other family members can be a source of strong and serious long-term motivation. To keep yourself motivated, it is also advisable to create daily goals with corresponding immediate rewards. Say for instance, if you are able to finish a cardio workout for a consistent 30 minutes for the whole week, you get to see your favorite movie for the weekend. If you are the competitive type, you can challenge yourself by joining marathons and ending the race with a gold medal. Losing weight in this sense, isn’t anymore your end goal but a start to a long-term lifestyle enhancement.

12. Past failed attempts holding you back

Failure can wear you down. Numerous failed attempts can literally make you feel ashamed of yourself. But if you just dwell on how much you have failed in the past, then it is going to continue to haunt you down and success will never be a part of you. On the other hand, you can turn those failures around and turn them into stepping stones for success. Besides, you cannot really call it a definite failure unless you have given up and quit for good. So the key is not to quit, but to keep trying until you have succeeded. To ensure your success this time, check back and reflect on what specific obstacles you have encountered previously and think up some strategies to counter each one as you plunge into a new attempt. There are no guarantees, but you can choose to be stronger with each failure, get back up, and fight another day.

13. Punishing goals and impossible deadlines

You can only lose a certain number of pounds each week or each month and you are already punishing yourself unnecessarily if you push beyond that. This will be bad for your motivation and self-worth. Weight loss is certainly not an overnight thing and you should remember too, that you spent years of unhealthy habits to gain that much weight in the first place. Be a friend to yourself and set only realistic goals and reasonable deadlines. Don’t wait too long before you start on a program when your sister’s wedding is just a month away.

Plan at least a year ahead to help yourself and your body adjust to the new activities and eating habits. Do not lose hope when you don’t get to a certain weight at a specific date. Instead, make your progress slow, but steady and sure. It is no use going yoyo with your weight because that can pose serious damage to your health. Do research as to which kinds of food and exercise routine can help you lose weight effectively according to your individual characteristics. Consult a weight management expert if you have to so you can help yourself.

14. Getting stuck in a plateau

A plateau can be equally frustrating as gaining more weight than you desire. It’s like sacrificing so much and working hard for nothing. Come to think of it however, there must be something to what you are currently doing that has made you reach that point. Impatience over a plateau will certainly not help in this case. Health experts believe that reaching a plateau is part of the weight loss cycle. It could be the body’s natural reaction or it could be that you have slackened in following your program to the letter. Whatever the reason may be, this is no cause for quitting but a signal to recheck your current activities and see where you might need to improve. Extend your patience and just focus on your goal.

As a whole, obstacles are there for you to overcome. Take them as a challenge, work hard to overcome them, and you will find success to be your sweetest victory ever.

7 Ways to Overcome your Fear of Working Out

7 Ways to Overcome your Fear of Working Out

fear of working out

It’s easy to fear the unknown, that is human instinct. When trying to learn something new or starting new feats that you have never done before, fear is sure to set in. However, if you just focus on that fear, then you might end up stagnating in your comfort zone and achieving less. The fear of working out can attack you in the same way. You may feel like exercising or going to the gym is not something you can be good at and so you end up feeling conscious of yourself or anxious. Just looking at those weights can be intimidating and you might fear getting hurt or simply doing it wrong. It’s like being forced to dance and looking awkward in front of so many people. The fear of failure can really stop you in your tracks.

Most often that not however, all that is just in your head. Because you will never know how it will really turn out if you haven’t even tried, right? Besides, working out and the fear of it is worth overcoming with all the physical, emotional, and mental health benefits that it can give you. Who knows, you might actually enjoy it! But first, here are some tips to help you cross over and overcome the fear of working out.

1. Focus on yourself

The gym is the most bustling place you can get into and it can be very intimidating especially when it’s your first time to enter it’s jungle-like environment. You will see highly confident individuals lifting weights or running on the treadmill like they have been doing it all their life. If you are not into loud music, rotating disco lights, and hardcore athleticism, the multi-sensory atmosphere at the gym can overstimulate you instead of pump you up. You might end up asking yourself, “What did I get into?” At this point, it would be easy to just bail out. However, the goal is for you to overcome your fear and the best way to do it is to tune out all the distractions and just focus on yourself. Turn on your kind of music or listen to an audio book or podcast on your headphones so you can put everything else in the background. You can also focus your attention on the TV while on the elliptical or treadmill. Lastly, if you feel a bit intimated by how good others around you seem to be doing, divert your attention away from them. Focus on your own development, follow your own pace, and enjoy every moment of your workout.

2. Jazz up your work out

It’s true, working out can be difficult and exhausting. And so, if your fear is having to deal with all that then just end up quitting in the middle, then you’ve got to find a solid motivation. Marit Weikel, owner and licensed professional counselor at Weikel Health and Wellness, recommends doing something that you actually enjoy in terms of exercise. As an adult, you are best motivated to consistently do something when you like and want what you are doing. In this way, your workout routine won’t be a boring or straining one that will make you give up easily. Work with your instructor on exercises that you prefer or combine spinning, boxing, and swimming to your usual routine depending on what will make it more fun for you. You will notice that every effort you make will go beyond just burning calories and more about feeling good about yourself. Realizing that simply moving your body is already beneficial as a health mindset, and in this case, you can give dancing a shot with Beachbody’s CIZE or Country Heat. If you enjoy the outdoors or nature, you can do your workouts there for a refreshing change. Practically anything and everything to jazz it up and make you happy is great to help see you through your long-term workout program.

3. Establish a sound mind-body connection

For some people, the idea of exercise in general can cause severe anxiety. If this is true in your case, then a more serious approach is likewise called for. Typically, severe anxiety, like all other extreme types, will need the intervention of a mental health professional who can help you deal with it effectively. Meanwhile, you can do exercise routines that help sync the body with the mind so that when the psychological issues have been resolved, the body will be able to execute its desired goals. Mind-body classes such as Pilates, tai chi, and yoga do not only give you relaxation but help you get comfortable with your body as well. Janelle Railey, an Ashtanga teacher, espouses that yoga allows you to understand yourself better from the inside-out. It develops a sense of self-awareness where you become mindful about what is beneficial for your body at a given moment. For those who are afraid of exercise, this can prove to be empowering.

Beachbody has a yoga series that has been specially designed for beginners. It is a 3-week yoga retreat with 3 experts who will guide you through the basic fundamentals of yoga right at your own home. In this way, it will be easy for you to just relax, breath, stretch, and explore different yoga moves without feeling conscious about other people around you.

4. Do it one-step at a time

When you think about exercise and everything that you need to do that is outside of your usual routine, it can make you feel afraid of getting injured in the process. But if you just think about all the bad that can happen to you, then you will never be able to develop to your fullest potential. As such, it is better to go and brave the waters, but to do it gradually and wisely. And so, to avoid injury, work with the basics and the less intensive ones to start. If you haven’t been doing any sort of exercise lately, slowly introduce your body to the gym with the simplest of exercises such as walking, instead of getting into running right away. Railey, also a psychotherapist with a practice base in Asheville, N.C., suggests that walking is great for starters because it makes you feel in control. You can walk at your own pace – walk slower or faster as you see fit. And when you are in control, the less you will feel afraid that something might go wrong that will end up in an injury.

As for classes you can attend, start with the less intense ones. As you enroll in a gym class, work with your instructor as to the level of difficulty that you can take. In fact, your instructor already knows where to put you as a beginner but it is also good to communicate your apprehensions so that you can be guided accordingly. Do not try too hard to keep up with the rest of the class because your fitness needs and development are different from theirs. If you do what they do, then that will only increase the likelihood of you getting injured. So go for a class where you belong for now such as Beginners or Level 1, including the 3-week Yoga Retreat by Beachbody. As for classes labeled Extreme or Bootcamp, you can save them for later.

Another way to conquer your fear of injury is to make sure that you are doing proper form as you execute your routines. Good form will never result to injury because proper execution is the safest for your body. For instance, Beachbody has a mixed martial arts CORE DE FORCE video program that will teach you good form to ensure that you are doing it right with zero to minimal injuries. Make sure to warm up with some jumping jacks or a light jog to prepare your muscles for more rigorous movements ahead.

5. Start with a home workout

One of the reasons why people work out in the first place is that they desire to look good and feel good, aside from wanting to stay healthy. So what if, you are at that point where you are not that confident with your self yet and you are afraid that you might look awkward in the eyes of other people in the gym? Besides, not everybody is born with that natural coordination in executing those various workout moves. It’s definitely not a crime to build that confidence first, right at the comforts of your own home. In this way, you will know what to do and how to do it properly when its already time to go to a public gym. So spend those first-timer awkward moments at home where no one can criticize you or throw you that what-in-the-world-are-you-doing look. Beachbody On Demand has put together a streaming service that can jump start your home workouts. You will be able to access hundreds of enticing workouts that match your particular fitness level. The best thing about it is that, you do not only do it in private, but at your own pace, duration, and time as well. You can workout when it is most convenient for you, without feeling rushed or pressured in any way. Enjoy it with a trainer of your choice and at an intensity level that’s right for you.

6. Consider creating a support group

In any endeavor, the fear of failure seem to be always looming at a distance. Once you go to the gym, people will have expectations and what they will say if you fail with your fitness goals? Would you opt not to go because you are not really sure if you’re going to make it? The fear of failure can have this devastating effect on you, but if you can ensure your success then there is no reason for you to feel this kind of fear in the first place. You have to be strong in your conviction, believe in yourself that you can do it, and do everything that you can to succeed. What would really help in this case is some outside motivation that a support group can give you.

Your support group can consist of your family, friends, and other loved ones whom you know are always full of positive and encouraging things to say to you. Let them know about your goals so that they can boost your morale when needed. Some gym buddies can provide you with such accountability boosters directly so you can get one or two for yourself as well. You can motivate and push each other to persist in your gym objectives.

7. Cultivate trust

If you just think about it, and sometimes, even overthink, you will never be able to cross over and finally work out at the gym or join that class you have desired in a long time. Most of the time, just letting of go all your fears and everything else that is stopping you is the only way to go. Just going ahead with it and actually doing it will make you realize that it’s not that bad after all. In fact, it can even be great! You just got to trust yourself and the people around you that it will all fall into place no matter how bold and new this feat may be to you at this time.

Trust in your coaches, trainers, or instructors. They are there to provide you with the support that you need, just when you need it the most. If they tell you to push harder, then do so because they know what you are capable of and like you, they want to see the greatest progress that you can achieve. Should you experience failure from time to time, trust that failures are there as learning stepping stones that will eventually lead you to your goals.

7 Tips for Serious Muscle Building

7 Tips for Serious Muscle Building

Beachbody Muscle Building

What is the best way to build muscles? If you have been wanting to see progress but have been mostly disappointed, then there’s must be something that you need to do right this time. Whatever your fitness goals may be – get bigger, stronger, or more powerful, muscle building has to be done efficiently. Typically, this takes more than just spending time lifting weights. There are must-do resistance training strategies to include in your overall muscle-building program.

1. Introduce variance into your program

Because you desire visible muscle growth right away, you may initially think that lifting heavy weights is the only way to go. Explosive exercises such as sprints and heavy weight-lifting can indeed give you the most, in terms of growth potential, as it targets Type II muscle fibers. Studies suggest, however, that your Type I muscle fibers do have growth potential as well. Better known as the slow twitch, Type I fibers are those often utilized during endurance activities and are not to be ignored. Thus, it would be great to work them out once a week or every 2 weeks via high repetitions and low weight. For instance, you can do 15 reps (or more) with 3-4 sets per exercise. You can also choose among the Beachbody programs that adopts this kind of variation such as the 22-Minute Hard Corps, Master’s Hammer and Chisel, P90X, 21-Day fix, or the Body Beast.

2. Achieve that balance in your lift

You have to mind the way you lift weights and be able to lift responsibly. Yes, your muscles do need to be challenged to activate growth, but there is a smart way of triggering the same. Sometimes, you may tend to shift to heavier weights too quickly that you also increase the chances of injury. However, doing it too slowly can result to a growth plateau or you, shortchanging your growth potential. The key then is to strike that balance by paying close attention to the efforts that you exert. Once you are able to lift in perfect form and you feel that the last few reps seem similar to the first ones you did, then you know that it is time to shift to a heavier weight.

3. Gorge on more protein

Protein is essential to muscle growth, repair, and recovery. Amino acids, or the protein building blocks, are what’s needed to build muscle tissue. You have to eat more protein to make all these happen as you lift weights. For a protein-rich meal, the optimal amount is 20 grams of protein as an American Journal of Clinical Nutrition study has shown that the body only uses up 20 grams of protein to build muscles in one sitting.

For the whole day, about 80 grams – equivalent to 4 meals with 20-grams of protein contained in each meal – is just right for an average individual. To compute the amount of optimal protein that’s suited for you and your fitness goals, it is recommended by the American College of Sports Medicine that the ideal consumption range should be between 0.5-0.9 grams per pound of your body weight per day. For instance, if you weigh 150 pounds, you should consume about 75-135 grams of protein in one day.

In this case, you can split the 80-gram allowance for protein each day by having 3 meals with 20-gram protein content and a post-workout drink which contains the last 20 grams of protein you need, like the Beachbody Performance Recover that provides you with that exact amount per serving conveniently. Meanwhile, if you are the ambitious type and want to build more muscles than that, much like those who are into Beachbody’s Body Beast program, then aim higher and go for the highest grams in the 75-135 range, then add 1-2 additional 20-gram protein snacks to your day. Just make sure you don’t go overboard and go beyond the 135-gram cap. The more you exercise though, the more protein your body will need to consume for muscle building and maintenance.

4. Cover multi-joint exercises

Florida State University Interim Director, Dr. Michael Ormsbee, from the Institute of Sports Science & Medicine, recommends that while all kinds of moves can help build muscles, spending some time doing multi-joint exercises provides for a strong base. When you load your workouts with multi-joint or compound exercises like bench press, squat, pull-up, and lunge, you are tapping the most efficient way in resistance training to build lean mass. Science purports that compound moves trigger the highest increase in testosterone levels which plays a major role as the hormone responsible for muscle building.

5.Sleep some more

When you sleep for less than 7 hours each night, you build up a sleep debt that eventually halts muscle growth or protein synthesis. A study conducted by Brazilian researchers show that sleeping for less than 7 hours on a regular basis increases protein degradation equivalent to muscle degradation. As such, it is best to get 7 hours every night or even sleep some more so that you can activate that muscle growth that you desire. Besides, adequate sleep also gives you other equally-important benefits as the human growth hormone levels are at its peak when you are sound asleep.

6. Minimize cardio exercises

Calories are needed to build muscle and when you burn most of your calories doing cardio exercises, such as biking or running, then your body might have nothing much left for muscle building. To build muscles more quickly, minimize your cardio or use it only for short warm-ups of up to 2 to 5 minutes, and then spend your calories more on the weight training.

7. Give it time to recover

Recovery is crucial in muscle-building because it is actually when muscles grow and not during your workouts. Recovery includes eating healthy with more protein and taking time to rest instead of over training. Over training your muscles at very high intensities too frequently may hurt, cause injury, and put your efforts to waste. On the other hand, rest and recovery days that you spend in between at 1-2 days per week, allows your muscles to recover fully and grow. To maximize your rest days and downtime, you can do light cross training such as cycling, hiking, or yoga. Patience, focus, consistency, and recovery are what you need to achieve your desired results.

Understanding the 21 Day Fix Containers

Understanding the 21 Day Fix Containers

21  Day Fix Containers

21 Day Fix Containers

Portion control is a critical aspect of any successful nutritional or diet program. However, figuring it out can be tricky without the right tools to guide you along the way. The 21 Day Fix containers provide you with a color-coded solution to help make portion control a breeze and allow you to focus on your fitness goals. This means, no more calorie counting for you because if it fits on the containers and it is on your list of approved foods, then you can go ahead and simply enjoy it.

The Whys

So why is it worth giving a shot? The 21 Day Fix Container is a system that works in a very practical manner. It understands how counting calories is extremely important to you but can be likewise a daunting task. And so with this container system, you do not have to tediously count calories because you would only need to count containers. Its evidently easier keeping track of 3 enticingly green containers compared to counting calories.

Moreover, it ensures that you get all the nutrients you need for the day by eating a little portion from each of the container. You might find, as you begin the program, that you will tend to feel full even when you haven’t finished all of the containers yet. Well, this is because nutritious food has got a lot more in it than junk food food so it has also has more volume. So the key is to be able to eat a little portion from each container from your favorite to your least-liked.

The best part about the 21 Day Fix Containers is that it doesn’t take away the fun out of eating by making you feel aware of what you eat and empower you to practice moderation. By the end of the 21 day program, knowing how many and enjoying your vegetables, fruits, healthy fats, and lean proteins will be second nature to you as you go through your wellness regimen each day. To make it even more exciting, Autumn Calabrese, 21 Day Fix creator, has put together a FIXATE cookbook for enticing meal plans you can try.

The What 

The 21 Day Fix Containers are all about color and nutrition. Six colors correspond to 6 types of food. Green means vegetable container which can include raw or cooked, and chopped or sliced veggies. This goes for vegetables like kale, lettuce, pepper, squash, onions, and mushrooms. For a voluminous and scrumptious salad, squeeze in as much lettuce as you can in there!

Purple is the container for your fruits. Berries, grapes, or cherries are great as they fit as is, but you can cut larger ones like watermelon, apples, or peaches. Red is the designated container for your protein-rich foods such as shellfish, tofu, eggs, yogurt, and chicken breast. Let the food list guide you for other protein sources. Yellow is the color for caloric carbs and starches. Foods like whole-grain pasta, sweet potato, beans, and rice fit in here. In case there are foods in the list that don’t fit like tortillas and waffles, the guide will specify the portions that you can consume.

Blue is the container for healthy fats that includes hummus, cheese, nuts, and mashed avocados, to name a few. For dressings and seeds, they are to be placed in the orange container. The dressings are those recommended in your 21 Day Fix program together with calorie-dense foods such as coconut, olives, and seeds.

To make measuring easier, a teaspoon measurement is included as well and to be used for butters and oils, like in the case of peanut butter and olive oil.

The How

Here’s the most exciting part – learning how to use those colorful containers! First step is to go to Page 4 of your 21 Day Fix guide and check the calorie count that you will need each day. After that, go to page 19 and see the 21 chart to determine the number of containers for each color you should be consuming for the day based on your calorie range. Looking at the macro-nutrient percentages, it is evident that the plan is about 30% fat, 30% protein, and 40% carbohydrates.

To make it more fun, you can mix and match the foods in one container as long as they belong to the same category. So if you prefer not to have all spinach in one green container, then you can mix it up and fill one half with some carrots in there. You may enjoy your favorite food straight from the containers especially when you need to be outside or simply empty the contents into a bowl whenever you’re at home or however you want to enjoy them.

39 Yoga Tips for Beginners

39 Yoga Tips for Beginners

yoga for beginnersYoga is no joke and even those who have been doing it for years admit how it can be daunting a practice. And so, if you are one of those who have bravely decided to take on the challenge, then it is important to arm yourself with the right knowledge to see it through. Imagine yourself finally joining a yoga class for the first time and how confident you can be instead of feeling shy or afraid to do it. You can avoid the common mistakes beginners make due to lack of preparation. These pointers are certainly going to help you enjoy every yoga session you attend while maximizing the benefits the practice can give you.

1. Meditate with intent
Yoga won’t be complete without meditation so start your practice with one. Sit in your most comfortable position or do an easy pose and get into meditation mode for a few minutes. This will help you to focus as well as begin with your purpose in mind based on whatever goals you may have for your practice.

2. Learn how to breathe properly
Proper breathing is one of the most essential things that you have to learn in yoga to be able to execute and hold the various poses. It is important to breathe in and breathe out from the nose then into the belly. One of the basics is the Dirga pranayama breath.

3. Practice from within
When you are new at something, it seems easier to just look at how others or how your teacher would do it. However, this may result to you getting awkward with your poses or not doing it properly. So feel your body and practice yoga from within because it is really an intimate encounter with yourself. Deepen your self-awareness and let yoga build you from within.

4. Safety first
Yoga does not discriminate and anybody at any age can benefit from it. However, you must make sure that you are safe to practice it before you proceed. In general, you have to be free from any injury or ailment that might complicate it if you make it a part of your routine. In this case, a medical clearance from your healthcare professional must be sought. There are also contraindications specific to a posture that you have to pay attention to. The most common ones are high blood pressure, pregnancy, menstruation, and injuries in your neck, shoulders, and knees.

5. Keep a practice journal
You will learn a lot of things along the way and you might want to take down notes so you can come back to them at any time. Record your realizations, insights, observations, thoughts, new terms learned, curious questions and a list of postures that you already know or the ones that you need to work on.

6. Practice at home
Establishing a home practice gives you numerous advantages. It lets you practice at your own pace and at your most convenient time. It also makes you comfortable outside of the yoga “classroom” so you can adjust to any environment when you need to travel or stay some place else. Most of the time, classes can be so fast-moving that you will not be able to align your body properly as you try to catch up. This is a habit that you do not want to build so practice at home and be as flawless as you can be when you are back in class.

7. Unleash your creative side
It will help you a lot if you utilize that creative side of you when you start practicing yoga. With all the different poses that you have to go through, making stick drawings or any kind of visual will make you remember them with accuracy and execute them better. They do not have to be amazing works of art but the tip is to make use of visuals like drawings or digital photos to help you master your practice easily.

8. Get a yoga mat
A sticky yoga mat is a must-have for all yoga enthusiasts whether a beginner or not. Choose the one which can provide adequate padding and a non-slip surface. To start, classic yoga mats are good enough but as you go along, you will need a thicker mat. A sticky mat will help you achieve firm footing and stability in your poses.

9. Learn the principles of alignment
The principles of alignment are like the foundations of a building. When the footings are shaky, then it is likely to crash down. The emphasis of yoga and its various styles is in musculoskeletal alignment as this is key to your safety – avoiding injury, as well as your ability to capitalize on the benefits of the asana. So take the alignment principles to heart and build a solid foundation with strong lines.

10. Bring joy into your practice
Like any other seemingly difficult feat, beginning your yoga practice with a smile can really lighten the load and help take you through the challenge. A smile can relax the body as well as your mind, and makes you enjoy the asanas more than anything. When you do it with cheerfulness and calmness, it gives you the extra energy to push your body to the limits and stretch it like it’s the most enjoyable thing in the world.

11. Check out some yoga props
Props are meant to ease your way through yoga when you are just starting – make you feel comfortable as you work on improving your alignment. Yoga blocks help stabilize your standing poses. Yoga straps allow you to stretch further when you are doing seated poses or bound poses. Bolsters or blankets facilitate restorative poses. You can choose to get them for home practice but in the yoga studios, they have stacks of these props for use during classes.

12. Include relaxation with your postures
You will find that your typical yoga class will emphasize heavily on the asana practice and the relaxation aspect would sometimes take a backseat. As a newbie however, it is important that you take time to relax, meditate, recover, and feel better. This will help you achieve that essential balance between physical health and mental well-being.

13. Don’t forget to warm up
Before you hit your mat, remember to warm up. Gentle exercises such as the Sukshma Vyayam will loosen you up and prepare you for the asanas up ahead. You can give your cheeks, nose, brows, and head a good massage. Then, turn your neck clockwise and counterclockwise to relieve stiffness. Finally, pump those shoulders and shake your hands off to wake up the body.

14. Take it step by step but go beyond your limits
Yoga is a pretty dynamic practice and the best thing about it is that it gives you plenty of room to improve and reach your highest potential. So yes, you do what is comfortable for you but as you become more confident, you can opt to stretch a bit further and challenge your limitations. You will know when your body is still okay with what you are doing when your breathing remains light, long, and relaxed. However, when it starts getting uneven, then you might have over-exerted already, so just slowly tone down your pace. In any way, make your practice as challenging as you can because there’s still a good number of yoga asanas you can explore.

Beachbody 3 week yoga retreat

15. Allow a qualified instructor to guide you
Certainly, you are not going to proceed without a qualified teacher to lead you to the right path. Your teacher will guide in doing each technique correctly, learn the postures properly, and be from injuries along the way. Keep an open mind because those yoga philosophies will not only enhance your experience, but improve the way you live your life as a whole.

16. Kickoff with beginners level postures
It is but right that you start with the basic postures first so you can build a solid foundation and climb your way up with confidence. Do not attempt any yoga pose because it looks complicated and doing it will make you look impressive. Begin with some warm-up sequences and proceed with simple postures such as a forward bend, seated twist, triangle, cat, mountain, dog, cobra, child, and downward-facing dog. Once you are well-adjusted with these poses, then you earn the right to get into the advanced level.

17. Let it do its work
In the process of you getting to know yoga, you might reach that point where you will want to do it your way or feel like doing something else. While this is a natural tendency, it would be best not to give in and just allow the practice to do its work on you. Instead of trying too hard, try to let the posture, breathing exercise, or meditation, work as it is because it will allow you to receive maximal benefits this way.

18. Inform your instructor
If there is anything that is restricted of you due to a medical condition, inform your teacher about it before the yoga class begins. In this manner, he or she can take note of the things that you can and cannot do. It would be easy for him or her to customize your practice with consideration on your safety.

19. Don’t eat or drink before your practice
Considering the poses you have to do during a yoga session, you are advised not to eat or drink beforehand. This is especially true when the session will include practicing inversions. So make it a habit to eat way before your class starts at around 1-3 hours before, and drink small amounts of liquid only. During the practice, it is advisable to refrain from drinking water.

20. Gear up
What to wear on your first day? The principle to yoga clothing is to wear something loose or comfortable so as not to restrict movement or make you feel too shy to stretch out when some body parts get exposed with your movements. Stretchable clothing is recommended in this case and you can check out dozens of manufacturers that specialize in yoga-suited clothes. You can also opt for what you already have in your closet that’s great for any exercise such as unitards or tights.

21. Create a yoga corner in your home
For your home practice, it is highly suggested that you allot a special area just for your yoga sessions. In this way, it will motivate you during those times when feel sluggish or lazy. Put your mat in there, together with some props in one place, and probably some inspiring posters – anything to make the area look serene and inviting enough for you, right in the comforts of your home.

22. Try stepping back
If you are one of those who would typically sit in front of your academic class, try a different strategy in your yoga class. Step backwards, go to the back of the room, and be a good observer instead of an active, competitive, front-row student. You might find that moving away from where the action is will help you focus and internalize the practice better.

23. Choose doable postures
You would want to take it easy while you are just starting so it would be good to choose postures that seem doable at first glance. With this, you can go for floor-bound postures first over standing postures that will require greater strength or balance from you. Also do postures that have longer hold times in terms of breaths because it would mean that they would be easier to execute.

24. Don’t hesitate to ask
The perfect time to unleash your inquisitive tendencies is during your yoga classes. Don’t be shy to ask questions especially when something is not clear to you. Your yoga teacher is sure to welcome them and not consider it a distraction. Direct questions about specific postures to your instructor. Meanwhile, the whole class would be more than willing to chip in their own insights as more experienced students. Otherwise, you may ask questions after the yoga session.

25. Be early to bed
You will notice later on that yoga enthusiasts would typically sleep on time or early because they want to meditate and enjoy a long asana to help them start the day. It might take giving up or toning down on some of those late-night actions that you are used but it will be worth it. So if you are not a morning person, give yourself time to adjust and allow the practice to do its wonders on you.

26. Focus on yourself
In a class of 15 or so, it would be easy to get a bit jealous with how others seem to be able to do it competently and confidently. You can get lost in how your classmates in the yoga class execute poses like its nothing. However, it would be more beneficial for you to focus on your own pacing and development rather than comparing yourself to others. Remember that you are as unique as every yoga asana there is. No need to feel pressured when you are not as fast or as good especially when you are just beginning your journey. Focus on yourself and one day, you will be surprised at how good you have become.

27. Check your pain tolerance
It is expected that you will feel some some soreness in the first few days of your practice especially in the muscles. This is something you need not get alarmed about and as the days go by, your body will be able to adjust and not feel that much pain anymore. As long as you keep to your practice and make it an important part of your routine, then your body will get used to it. However, if it is that kind of pain that persists, it is time to let your instructor know about it so together you can determine if it is something else and you need to do something about it.

28. Never give up
Preferably, yoga asanas are to be practiced in the morning, as early as you can. But if you are not a morning person, then you can definitely choose to do it later in the day. What’s more important is the consistency of your practice, that you never give up until you become a regular yogi – no excuses whatsoever.

29. Select your yoga type
There are tons of yoga classes out there and you need to do some research to pick the one that is just right for you in terms of your pacing, personality, ability to learn, and physical state. Take a look at different yoga styles and get to know them a bit. For beginners, vinyasa or ahatha class is recommended with consideration on whether you prefer it to be fast or slow-paced. This will be good to start and you can simply move on to something more fancy later.

30. Make your practice distinctive
Make your yoga practice a seriously fun business by making distinct definitions. Explore various techniques and pick the ones you would like to focus on. Then, balance it with proper breathing, meditation, and your asana practices. Get into the details such as the order of your routines, the poses you need to prepare for, as well as the methods you’re using. For anything, you can ask your yoga teacher or classmates for help.

31. Make the necessary adjustments
The postures you see in pictures or with your yoga instructor is your goal, or the direction that you are supposed to take. However, these are not strict or inflexible standards because you can actually modify them to fit your bodily dynamics and uniqueness as an individual. So go ahead and experiment on different positions and align them with your body’s mechanics to make them work for you.

32. Gather relevant yoga resources
To have the best practice, you have to have all the knowledge and skills right at your fingertips. You can collect books, videos, audio records, or CDs that will help increase your knowledge base and help you internalize your practice and meditation. Get them from different sources and levels of practice so that you can explore different perspectives. Manual-style, inspirational, or yoga philosophical books are highly recommended together with basic anatomy workbooks.

33. Cool down
After an intense yoga workout, take time to cool down with a Yoga Nidra as this is as essential as the workout itself. Sometimes, you can have so much to do in a day, that you would tend to just get up and go immediately after your asana practice. However, you need to cool the body down first so the energy can get consolidated inside of you. Just lie down and savor the Yoga Nidra even for a few minutes, relax your body and mind, and let the energy flow through you. Now, you are recharged and ready to face your big day!

34. Find a yoga class to your liking
Check out resources on the Internet and see what yoga classes are offering in your locality. Your local newspapers or online magazines can direct you to a listing of wellness studios or gyms which conduct regular classes. The one nearest you can be motivating to go to but make sure that you get into a beginner’s level class with a teacher who can understand your needs and is very helpful with your practice.

35. Practice frequently
It is certainly preferable to practice more times in a week even if they are short, than to do it longer and less frequently as it will yield better results. Your practice can be 15-90 minutes each day or at least thrice in a week. You have to make it fit into your schedule as much as you can if you consider it an important aspect of your overall well-being.

36. Learn some Sanskrit
If you are into languages, it would do you great to learn some Sanskrit and be able to sound it off. It is actually an elegant and orderly language and has been used in yoga for thousands of years. Many of the mantras used for meditation is associated with Sanskrit as well so it will help you pronounce the words accurately and maximize its effects.

37. Steady and intense
As a newbie, you can start slowly and gradually work your way up, then increase the level of your intensity. When you are ready, you can take up the challenge and be as vigorous as you can, as long as you already have mastered the alignment of each posture. There are different ways to intensify your practice and one is to hold the postures longer and in longer time periods. Another one is to try more advanced postures or be able to move between varied postures quickly.

38. Keep a positive and open mind set
You are a human being and even in yoga, you can commit mistakes. Try to stay positive when your teacher would give you corrections to your postures. Remember that it is only for your own good and interest that he or she is doing it. This is one of the best ways by which you can learn. Keep a good sense of humor in this beginning stage, smile when you make a mistake, and just enjoy every moment of it.

39. Take a breathing break
It’s not all work as they say so take breathing breaks in between. This is a powerful antidote against stress especially when you make use of them on a regular basis. When you are feeling exhausted or extremely busy, take a moment to count your breaths and relax the tension away – close your eyes if you have to. Do this for at least 5 minutes, twice daily and find yourself feeling recharged by this meditation-like practice.

–If you would like to try some yoga a great place to get started is with our 3 Week Yoga Retreat which can be accessed with Beachbody On Demand. You will also have access to a ton of other yoga workouts and workouts like P90X, P90X2, P90X3, Insanity, T25, Brazil Butt Lift, TurboFire and man many others.–

3 Week Yoga Retreat

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