The Fitness Guide

Rosie Gomez's Guide to Getting Fit!


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Yoga Styles: Which One Is Right for You?

Yoga workoutYoga has become incredibly popular in the United States over the last few years, with over 16 million people practicing on a regular basis. With a history steeped in the religions of South Asia, yoga was originally used as a way to quiet the mind by controlling the breath in a series of movements and postures.

While yoga is still an excellent way to relieve some of the stresses and worries in our hectic lives, it is also great exercise, and the very nature of yoga poses encourages stretching and the development of long and lean muscle.

Just 10 short years ago, yoga classes were not considered as mainstream as they are today, and one didn’t have many styles of yoga to choose from. Now that its popularity has soared and yoga teachers are learning more about the many different styles, it might seem confusing to a newbie.

If you’re looking to add yoga to your fitness routine but don’t know where to begin check out this handy list of three styles and the benefits of each.

1. Hatha Yoga

This type of yoga is excellent for beginners and while it’s not always considered easy, it is the best type for those who have never practiced yoga before. The poses tend to be more manageable and each pose blends seamlessly into the next.

The focus in Hatha yoga is about breathing and placing your body in the proper alignment. Blocks and other aids are often used to assist beginners in the poses, and the teachers are often very free with corrections to ensure that you get it right. Hatha is also good for those with injuries or other situations that might have hindered their flexibility.

2. Bikram Yoga

Bikram yoga, also called hot yoga, is a challenging class that takes place in a room that is heated to over 100 degrees. The poses are more difficult and the heat adds to the overall effectiveness of this type of yoga, by loosening the muscles.

This type of yoga is best practiced by those with substantial experience, and you must check with your doctor before beginning, as certain health conditions could be exacerbated by Bikram yoga. However, if you do decide this is the class for you, you can expect to lose weight and build muscle if you follow a regular schedule.

Working out together3. Power Yoga

Easily the most challenging of all the yoga styles, Power yoga is designed as an intense workout and eliminates some or all of the spiritual practices of other types of yoga. The poses are difficult and each flows directly into the next with no pauses in between. Wear your monitor from HeartRateMonitors.com to really see how this type of yoga compares to other forms of exercise.

Power yoga is best for those who already have some strength and flexibility, and who have practiced other types of yoga in the past. If you’re already involved in other intense forms of exercise such as running or cycling, power yoga can be a great way to build upper body strength and keep your other muscles loose and strong.

Whether you’re interested in stress relief or want to lose weight and become more fit, yoga is the perfect way to accomplish all of those things. Simply assess your ability carefully and consult your doctor, then join the ranks of the millions of people for whom yoga has become their go-to form of exercise.


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Bikini Season and How to Get Ready for It

Bikini WeatherIt’s getting closer and closer to that time of year again! While it’s true that much of the United States is still blanketed in snow, the days of sun, vacations, and bikinis are just around the corner. While this might seem like a great time to freak out about the state of your body after a winter of less exercise than normal, there are plenty of things that you can do now to ensure that you’re ready. Obviously the first step is to choose your bikini, unless you plan to recycle the one from last season. In some ways this can be beneficial because you already know what your toned body looks like in that particular suit. If you decide to buy a new one perhaps keep it similar to the style of the old one. While you may already have a tried and true exercise regime, specific workouts can target those areas that are more prominent when you’re in a bikini. Try some of these moves to be certain that everything stay in places and looks fab when you’re on the beach this summer.

1. Squats

Squats are a bikini girl’s best friend. This exercise targets your quads, glutes, and calves and ensure that you look good both coming and going when you’re clad in your bikini. While these exercises are tough and may have you ready to give up, if you keep with it, the rewards are worth the effort. Start by standing with your feet hip distance apart, and sit back like you’re going to sit a chair. Ensure that your knees never extend beyond your toes, and then squeeze your glutes as you return to standing. Start by doing 20 reps in sets of three if you can, then increase the reps by 10 each, day after day. As always, be sure that your form is correct or you may risk injury.

Working out your abs2. Crunches

Crunches can feel like an exercise that the devil himself came up with, but there is really no better way to ensure that your abs are toned and ready for summer. Again, the proper form is crucial when performing crunches, otherwise the proper muscles won’t be targeted and you could hurt your neck or back. Lie on the floor on a yoga mat or blanket and bend your knees. Clasp your hands behind your head and keep your eyes focused on the ceiling. This can help keep your neck from rolling forward. Raise up, contracting your abs and keeping your back straight, until you are about eight inches from the floor. Keep your abs contracted as you return to a flat position. Start with three sets of 15 reps and increase that amount daily. While it’s certainly not the easiest of workouts, crunches are the fastest way to get that slim and shapely torso that you’re looking for.

3. Yoga

If an all-around workout is more your style definitely consider a yoga class. The movements and poses in yoga target the whole body and can help you develop long, lean muscles that will certainly get you, and your bikini, noticed. Shop around for yoga studios in your area and arrange to meet with the instructors. If you can be clear about your fitness goals they can help you choose the right class that can help you succeed. If you attend the classes regularly you’ll find that results come rather quickly. You can also combine yoga with other targeted exercises to see results even faster. Summer is closer than you think so now is the time to prepare. Pull that bikini out of the closet and get ready for some hard work, but you’ll be thanking yourself later.


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Should You Join a Gym?

working outAs each New Year comes upon us, people are flooded with inspiration in the form of resolutions. It’s not surprising that many of the resolutions are health or fitness related, as we all want to feel better, look better, and become healthier.

Joining a gym might seem like one of the best ways to set yourself on the right path to these goals, but is it always the right or best way to accomplish them? The smiling receptionist at the desk of your local fitness center is likely to tell you that is, as their job is ultimately to increase revenue, but how can you be sure?

We’ll look at some of the reasons why a gym membership might be right for you and some of the reasons why it might be the wrong choice.

The Pros

People join gyms or fitness centers for a variety of reasons, but one of the biggest is variety. Perhaps you’ve become bored or complacent with your self-directed fitness routine, or perhaps you’d like to try new routines, such as yoga and would prefer to work with a professional. A gym membership offers you a wider range of activity choices in a controlled atmosphere and, for some, this is exciting and motivating.

The structured environment found within a gym is also very beneficial for those who have difficulty with self-motivation. The simple fact that friends or your trainer are expecting you to be present for a certain class or an coaching session can make the reluctant fitness buff feel more inclined to participate.

Taking time out of your day to visit the gym can be a great way to relieve stress. By removing oneself from home and work environments you can focus on your personal goals and have some time to yourself at the same time. This can be especially attractive for very busy people with high-stress jobs, or those who stay at home to care for young children or aging parents.

training with a partnerThe Cons

While the benefits of joining a gym are certainly obvious, that scenario is not right for everyone, for a number of different reasons. One of the main concerns for many people is the expense. Many gyms require some sort of contract that can be up to 12 months in duration, and people often question whether they will get their money’s worth, especially if they don’t show up often enough.

While it’s true that many gyms offer extended hours, and some are even open 24 hours per day, the fact remains that even these liberal schedules might not align with your own. Acquiring child care can also be a problem for some people, as is transportation to and from the fitness center. If these issues apply to your life then a gym membership might not be the right choice.

So if you don’t join a gym how can you meet your fitness goals on your own? The option to buy your own fitness equipment is available, which gives the opportunity and the ease of working out at home. Additionally, videos and other tools are abundantly available, both free and for purchase, that can help you stay on the right path.

Whether you choose a gym membership or a home workout plan, the point is to stick with it so that you can be better prepared to meet your fitness goals.


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3 Easy Ways to Jumpstart Your Health

Drink more waterWhile most people would say that they want to become healthier, as we all know, saying it and doing it are two very different things. It can seem like an insurmountable task at times, especially for those people who might be severely overweight or have an ongoing or chronic medical condition.

The good news is that, after you receive the go-ahead from your health care provider, there are many small ways to begin improving your health, and most of these can be done throughout the course of an average day. Yes, joining a gym or an exercise program is a great way to get started on the road to better health, but it’s not the only way, and for those people who might be intimidated or unsure, having a list of little things can be a big deal.

If you’re ready to partially take the plunge and learn how to improve your health, check out this list for tiny ways to make a huge impact.

1. Drink More Water

It seems so simple, but some might be surprised to know that many people struggle with drinking enough water throughout the day. Perhaps it’s because we’ve gotten used to the strong taste of flavored drinks, but whatever the reason we should all make a conscious effort to hydrate with water over anything else.

Aim to drink 64 ounces of water each day. While this might sound like a lot, it translates into only eight 8-ounce glasses. Add sliced fruit or fresh berries to your water if you’d like a little flavor, just don’t add sugar or other sweeteners.

2. Keep a Movement Diary

Even those who might self-identify as couch potatoes move more in one day than they might think, so it is a great idea to keep a movement diary. Simply jot down the times that you engage in any movement throughout the day. This could be as simple as taking the trash out, or something more intense like walking your dog for 30 minutes.

Now might be a great time to invest in fitness tools like heart rate watches, as well. As you monitor your heart rate you’ll have a better idea of your fitness level, and seeing your heart rate decrease over time can also encourage you to keep going and increase the amount of exercise you do every day or week.

Snack Healthy3. Snack More Often

While it might seem logical to skip or reduce meals during the course of your day to try and lose weight, that can actually have the opposite effect on your health. The human body needs energy in the form of food to keep all of its systems operating, but a bag of chips or a fast food burger is not the best way to accomplish this.

Be sure to start your day with a healthy breakfast, and then plan to have a snack two hours later. This could be as simple as a spoonful of natural peanut or almond butter, a piece of cheese, or a handful of grapes. Then, plan to have another snack after lunch. Again, choose something healthy like a piece of fruit, a slice of whole grain bread, or a cup of yogurt. As your body gets used to being fueled throughout the day you’ll find that you feel better and that you eat less at meal times.

Health and fitness are not a destination but a journey. If you start with small steps that you can increase to big steps over time, you’ll find that the journey becomes more rewarding and a whole lot easier.