Get Beach Body Ready

Walking-Walk-sunset-beach-1082204_1280

Days are getting longer, Summer is growing closer: are you beach body ready or do you need conditioning to increase your confidence?
Let’s face it, whether we’re in pretty good condition or feeling more whale than whey, I’m sure there is something we would all like to improve on ourselves. Below are some great moves to increase body confidence when stripped down. Keep movements slow & controlled. Remember quality is more important than quantity.

Tone Your Abs

Probably the main area people like to focus on when thinking of a beach body is their abs. Here are 2 key moves to get you started.

Pilates 100 – Lift into a basic crunch position, keeping a gap between your chin & chest, and hold at the top. Extend your arms down the side of your body, palms face down & pump your arms up & down for 10 breaths. Lower. Repeat 10 times. Remember to keep your tummy pulled in at all times.

Leg Raises – Lay on your back with your legs extended straight up towards the ceiling. (Bend your knees if needed to protect your lower back). As you exhale, lower 1 leg down towards the ground. Inhale to raise it back up, alternating legs, or working both together if you feel strong enough. Keep that tummy pulled in & don’t hold the breath. Repeat for 24 breaths.

Men and Women Lose Weight with Kettlebells

Lift Your Buttocks

The key to beach body buttocks is to build muscle & lift the cheeks, giving you a lovely round, pert shape. There are a number of moves to get the look. Below are a couple to get you started.

Knee Openers – Lay on your side with your knees bent in front of you, knees together, feet lifted. Exhale pushing your knees apart, keeping the feet together. Inhale knees together. Repeat for 24 breaths on each side.

Rear Raisers – On all fours, extend one leg straight out behind you, toes on the floor. Exhale as you cross the straight leg over the bent leg. Inhale to start position. Repeat 24 breaths on either side.

kettlebell training for women

Shape Your Thighs

Exfoliate & keep those pins moving to help you ooze confidence. Try the moves below & enjoy the results.

Chair Squats – Stand with your feet under your hips, feet pointing forwards parallel to each other. Bend into a squat, exhale back to a standing position. Keep moving, but keep the movements slow, getting as low as you can without the knees passing the toes. Repeat for 24 breaths.

Walking Lunges – Keep your upper body straight. Step forward with your right leg, bending the knees to about 90 degrees, as you lower yourself to the ground. Exhale as you push back with the right leg, keeping the weight in your heels & then step forward with the left. Repeat for 24 breaths, ensuring the knee doesn’t pass the toes.

How to Get a Toned Lower Body

Repeat these exercises daily, more than once if you wish. Team with cardio workouts if you wish to see results faster.

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Strengthen Your Core

Toned Not Skinny
Improve core strength

What is Core Strength?

A good core strength is a great way to keep your body injury-free & healthy. Your core muscles include your abdominal muscles, back muscles & muscles around the pelvis; basically, any muscle that contributes to you maintaining a neutral spine.

Benefits

Having a strong core has many benefits, aswell as keeping you looking fit & toned. It can improve posture, meaning you’ll likely stand taller & more confidently. This makes you look leaner, in control & also helps to rid of (or prevent) back pain. Poor posture can lead to compressed discs in our spine & as a result, our quality of life can be affected negatively.
Core strength & stability also helps to protect our body: organs, nervous system, spinal cord, veins & arteries. A strong core helps to support every aspect of our body, allowing simple & more challenging daily activities to remain achievable.
There are many exercises that focus on your core muscles & it is important we keep our bodies balanced, as opposed to focusing purely on our abs. If we strengthen our abdominal muscles without strengthening our back muscles, for example, we are likely to suffer poor posture & back pain at some point. Balance is the key.

How Do I Improve Core Strength & Stability?

The plank is an excellent starter to build core stability. Once this becomes easy, you can raise a hand or opposite hand & leg. Once you are comfortable here, add a suspension trainer & keep building up the challenges as your strength increases. By practicing core challenges such as these, you also burn more calories & fat because you are working larger muscle groups, than basic ab crunches or similar.

Can you do a one armed press up?

TRX suspension trainers are generally an excellent way to train your core because you are required to keep yourself balanced at all times, despite working on an unstable surface. By using your abs, obliques & back muscles to stabilise your body, you are constantly keeping your core engaged.
Other popular options include the use of gym balls, balance plates & medicine balls; all of which are easily accessible & easy to use.
However, if you prefer to train without any equipment, this is perfectly feasible too. Ensure if you do ab crunches you also do back crunches. Positions such as Yoga Chair with crunches are excellent for building core strength without putting any strain on your back. Then there’s Boat pose, leg lifts on your stomach…the list is endless.

Put the corr in your core!!

Suspension Straps
Suspension Straps

What is Fitness Yoga?

Yoga Relaxation

Fitness Yoga is my personal preferred form of Yoga, both to teach & to practice.
There are many forms of Yoga & with each form, every instructor is unique & will have their own slant & belief on how it should be interpreted.
I believe that Yoga is about the mind & body, & the unity of them with the breath. Fitness Yoga is a modern form of the ancient tradition, focusing on stretching, strengthening & toning the body using various postures. I believe it should also incorporate meditation, relaxation &/or breathing exercises.

What Will Fitness Yoga Do For Me?
Yoga is not only an exercise, it is a way of life & can benefit your physical & mental health in multiple ways. All forms offer a variety of these benefits; it is purely personal preference for which type you choose. By practicing, you become more aware of yourself: aware of how you feel, your physical well-being & mental health. You can not only improve your physical health but also improve your own willpower & focus, & rid of anxieties & stress. It’s also a great way to lose weight, improve metabolic rate & condition your body.

Who’s It For?
Fitness Yoga is suitable for everyone, & it is never too late to start. I’ve had people in their 70’s who have never practised any form before & who have never been big on exercise. I’ve also taught amateur boxers looking to improve their flexibility & focus their energy. Both extremes found the practice challenging, but achievable & benefit from their sessions. There are also many walks of life in between who I’ve had the pleasure of working with: all ages, shapes, sizes, men & women.

In short, I would describe a Fitness Yoga class as a blend of Hatha Yoga & Pilates. Fitness yogis tend not to get so caught up in the names of asanas, or traditions such as chanting, but instead just enjoy the practice & it’s benefits. I look forward to going into further detail with you about the benefits over the next few months.

www.fitnessyogawithemma.co.uk

Yoga Boat

No Gym, No Excuse…

Home workouts are a great way to exercise without the hassle of cost, travel or opening hours & they can be equally as effective as a gym workout.

Procrastination is so common when it comes to exercise & health: it’s too hot/wet, party season, diet starts tomorrow, the gym’s shut, I work late. The truth is, the most important thing you can do for yourself is look after your body & your health & you don’t need a gym or copious amounts of equipment to be able to succeed.

By using your body weight only, you can successfully tone, strengthen, burn fat & build muscle. Below are some of my personal favourite moves that can be done in the comfort of your own home, or even hotel room when travelling:-

Plank – My all time number one, favourite move. Planking is an excellent way to improve your core strength, with available options for beginners to prevent injury. It builds strength also in your upper & lower body, so truly is a great full body workout. There are also ways to advance the plank as you develop your strength: 1 leg, 1 arm, add a press up, etc.

Plank

Squats – A great calorie burner as you’re targeting large muscle groups. Squats are also an excellent way to increase lower body strength & again, work the core. Squats help to strengthen your entire body, including bones, muscles & joints, aswell as increasing flexibility. This results in reduced chance of injury, aswell as making you look good!

Squat

Half Bridge – An excellent posture to practice after doing planks; a half bridge can improve posture & prevent/improve back pain. It’s also a great move for working the glutes & hamstrings, strengthening the core & energising the body.

Half Bridge

Reverse Plank – As a plank freak, I also love the reverse plank (yes, & side too!). It strengthens your glutes, hamstrings, abs, lower back, shoulders, triceps & of course your core – what’s not to like?! Again, there are options for beginners (bent legs, on forearms) & developments for when you are more advanced, so it is great for a whole range of abilities.

Reverse Plank

HIIT It Hard

This week’s blog is vastly different from last week’s, as I concentrate on HIIT workouts for weight loss. Every week we’ll be looking at differing parts of fitness. Feel free to give me a nudge if there’s anything you’d like to read about in future weeks.

Are you looking to burn fat & lose weight & not scared about working up a sweat to get there? If so, HIIT could be for you.

You don’t need to spend hours & hours on cardio workouts, if you work out at a high intensity properly.

High Intensity Interval Training (often referred to as HIIT for short), is a style of exercise where you alternate between a short burst of extreme effort, followed by a short rest period to catch your breath & recover. This improves your metabolic rate by pushing your personal limits, resulting in improved fitness & weight loss.

You need to be working out to a degree where you can no longer hold a comfortable conversation – really push yourself, knowing you’ll get your recovery time soon. This trains your body to work anaerobically, helping you to become more efficient at producing & using energy. This increases your body’s fat burning potential, meaning that even for up to 24 hours after your workout, your body can still be burning fat. Just to reiterate though, the key is pushing yourself HARD (90%) on those intervals.

Obviously, HIIT workouts are not suitable for everybody & it’s always a good idea to check with your GP before starting any new exercise regime. Once you get the all clear, get going. Below is a short, simple workout to get you started, where all you need is a watch & your own body!!

Remember to warm up, cool down & stretch!!

  • 45 Secs – High Knees
  • 30 Secs – Tuck Jumps
  • 30 Secs – Rest
  • 45 Secs – Plank
  • 30 Secs – Mountain Climber
  • 30 Secs – Rest
  • 45 Secs – Moving Squats
  • 30 Secs – Jump Squats
  • 30 Secs – Rest
  • 45 Secs – Left Split Squat
  • 30 Secs – Jumping Lunge
  • 30 Secs – Rest
  • 45 Secs – Right Split Squat
  • 30 Secs – Jumping Lunge
  • 30 Secs – Rest

Complete 3-5 Rounds

 

Good luck, enjoy & reap the benefits!

Yoga for Therapy

Crying is a natural release of emotion. Often, this release can make us feel better, although perhaps uncomfortable at the time if tears come in the middle of a class.

People who suffer from depression, anxiety, or people who have developed bad breathing habits, are commonly shallow breathers. Yoga teaches you to breathe deeply, to tune into your breath, body & emotions. This can cause a rush of emotion & can result in tears or feelings of being overwhelmed. Crying is a natural release & is nothing to feel ashamed or embarrassed of. Yoga can help to get to the root of the bad feeling; or sometimes there may be no apparent reason for the tears. Just let them be, allow the release & know you are making yourself stronger in mind.

Yoga has many benefits. We’re frequently shown how it can improve posture, flexibility & fitness. Yoga also encourages us to pause from the rat race of our lives & listen to ourselves: listen to our body, our thoughts & experience the moment. This is a positive for our mental health. You allow yourself to feel & to notice things that you would usually push aside or that would go unnoticed. Yoga is therapy.

Different postures trigger different responses from different people. However, if we were to stereotype, it’s often the more restorative positions that can generate the most emotional response. Pigeon, cobra, bow & savasana can help to release emotions, as well as the deep breathing exercises often practised.

  • Emotional pain from the past often lingers in the hip flexors. Practice pigeon pose to release this tension & challenge your hips.
  • Heartbreak & depression is commonly released when we open the heart & stretch the chest, demonstrated in camel pose. Camel can be known to make you cry or giggle, as tensions release.
  • Resting poses encourage your thoughts, which is why they can provoke an emotional response. Relax in savasana & allow your mind & body to release all tensions.

So, if you’re feeling down, why not treat yourself to the gift of yoga…the gift of time for you…& if you need to, allow those tears to fall as you practice. Finish with a smile, knowing you are improving yourself mentally, as well as physically.

 

Namaste.

The Beginning

I’m Emma, a 30 year old, soon-to-be mother of 3. I’m self employed & run local fitness classes, specialising in fitness yoga. 

I’m one of those ‘lucky people’ who enjoys keeping fit & staying in shape, but I do also enjoy chocolate, cake & wine!!! 

My ambition through my fitness company is to encourage ‘normal’ people to enjoy exercise & find something that they can stick to & that works for them. Fitness yoga is a great way to get into/back into exercise, improve your performance if you’re a keen athlete & prevent injury…amongst many other things, which I will discuss in the coming weeks.

So, welcome to my blog!!! I plan to share with you various postures, relaxation techniques, weight loss tips & benefits of exercise.

I hope you all enjoy. Thank you for reading. 😘