I was looking to build strength and flexibility when I joined my local Core Power Yoga center. I like variety and pushing my boundaries, so the faster paced Vinyasa flow, weights and power movements held my attention more than Bikram and Hatha. Yes, the breathing techniques helped me be present, but they were more of a positive side effect. The real benefit for me was how my body's positive response showed both immediately and over long periods of yoga discipline. Plus it was encouraging to see how my body was changing from day to day.
I'm not a competitive athlete, but we don't need to be a sponsored Olympian for our bodies to be healthy and optimized. Yoga for athletes is something I've been talking about for a while and incorporate into my personal lifestyle. Because of it's benefits I also share it with people I coach.
When I was first implemented yoga for athletes and power yoga into my workouts, I was in an energized environment. I felt like I could be a part of that tribe, and was ultimately adopted into it. With any workout or new challenge, it's important to be in a dynamic but safe space. This kept my development improving and allowed me to better understand my physical and mental conditioning, without being distracted.
Adjusting Workouts For Injury
It's always good to be informed about your training and to be realistic about your own body's potential and capabilities. Many people push past what their body is ready for, and overdo it in competitiveness. This puts you at risk of permanent issues. The more I work out the more I become aware of my body mechanics, and keeping myself safe. But we can still keep our muscles healthy during an injury. Remember if you don't use it, you lose it. That includes flexibility and muscle mass.
Of course the location and severity of the injury will determine how you adjust your workouts to stay in shape. The best options to continue your fitness with an injury are swimming, walking, yoga, isometrics and biking. Many people with an injury will be referred to isometric therapy after injuries to keep muscles contracted and engaged. What's the other go-to? Yep. You guessed it. It's yoga. You can adjust low impact workouts with yoga that keep muscles lengthened and flexible to prevent further injury. Consider low impact repetitive motions, and resistance bands as additional options.
We talk more about the injuries of the body, because it's more acceptable, but don't forget to exercise your mental health, especially during an injury. Injuries are often paired with self-criticism, depression and declining health. If you've been solely focused on your body and then can no longer use it like you use to, it's bound to create anxiety, doubt and negative feelings. You may even think your body has betrayed you. Having the power of your body taken away, and feeling like a caged animal is a significant stress factor. Luckily our bodies and minds are resilient and we can use our emotional well-being to improve our recovery with focus.
Addressing psychological issues is a significant component in healing injuries. "[An injury] is a realization of the fact that you’re not invincible, and that things can take us all out at different times," says Deborah Roche, PhD, clinical psychologist at the Hospital for Special Surgery. Your brain is tissue you need to exercise too, so don't let an injury trigger negative mental health.
What To Do Differently If You're Not Seeing Results
Not getting the results you want with your workouts? Genetics, diet and age all play a factor here, but there is more you can do when you hit a plateau. Maybe you have a specific goal like creating more lean muscle (like me) or a race to train for (like me) or a certain percentage of body fat you're targeting. (did we say me?).
Some adipose tissue (fat cells) are healthy are useful to store energy. They are ready to release fuel in times of need. But if you are not moving to use that energy it just sits there. Lean muscle on the other hand, is like a Ferrari always burning energy and calories. That's why when you create more of it, it's easier to consume more (healthy) fuel and continue to lose fat tissue. Healthy eating takes planning, and why I've grown to love weekly meal prep.
Want things to change? It's time to switch things up, even if you're a creature of habit. Let's start with diet first, because what you're putting in will have a chemical effect on your body and brain. "You'll have to keep a daily log of what you eat and carefully adjust your eating patterns so that you eat an average of 500 calories less than you burn each day.' according to Matt Danielsson of BodyBuilding.com. That is until you achieve a better burn rate. So choose your carbs carefully and increase healthy proteins as you adjust your diet.
Your fat doesn't turn into muscle. You lose fat and create muscle. That takes a bit of muscle confusion. Keep your muscles guessing and learn to embrace the fatigue in your workout. The burn is where the magic happens. So pushing past that plateau is all about finding something you enjoy. I personally like to mix it up with HIIT, F45, sculpt & power yoga, weight training, hiking, kayaking, swimming, and anything fun that catches my attention. I love moving, and the more I do it, the more I want it.
Staying fit in my forties offers additional challenges I stay on top of, but ultimately I'm in better health and shape than in my twenties. Why? Because I'm more aware and educated. So I tackle more cardio and weight training for an anti-aging workout. I'm not talking about an eye cream, I'm talking about anti-aging on a cellular level. To get scientific that means longer telemeres and more of the enzyme telemerase, that aids in regeneration. That's healthy aging.
Cheat Sheet: Yoga For Athletes
For athletes, yoga can be a valuable part of training. As I've already touched on, it helps prevent injury, aids in recovery and strengthens micro-muscles we may not address in other workout routines.
But with such a wide variety of disciplines out there, where do you start? With so many disciplines, information, apps, and articles on which one is best, yoga can scare away beginners who don't know where to start. I often get the questions, "Where do I start?" or "Am I too old to start?" I've coached yoga to groups in their twenties and those in their seventies, and no matter the age or level, they are ultimately looking for the same thing, the best health options for them. Without sounding flippant, the best way is simply to take the first step, and there is no age limit to yoga.
Consider where you body base line is to start, and set incremental goals. If you need less action while opening muscles with longer held positions, try Yin Yoga. If you like more predictable, repetitive practices with both gentle and power moves try Ashtanga or Bikram. And if you're looking for a faster paced power flow, choose Vinyasa. There are many more options, and online videos through You Tube, Amazon Prime Fit Videos, Netflix Health Videos, or free and paid apps are amazing low cost tools to start. Perfect for playing around at home, and getting comfortable with terms, flow and your body. When you're ready for more there are affordable fitness holidays, yoga retreats, and pop up wellness events to get involved in.
Post Yoga Morning Fat Blasters
Just want a quick routine to jump start your day? Here is one of my favorites to burns calories.
10 - 15 Minute Wake Up Workout
- 20 push ups
- 25 sit ups
- 30 squats
- 50 jumping jacks
- 20 alt lunges (jump switches)
- 30 second plant hold
15-25 Minute Morning Body Meltdown
- 40 jumping jacks
- 15 squats
- 20 lunges
- 40 mountain climbers
- 5 burpees
- 60 bicycles
- 20 superman
- 5 push ups
- 40 high knees
- 30 secon plank hold
- 40 mountain climbers
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