Stop Using These Exercise Machines At The Gym

You should already know that using free-weights will beat out using exercise machines, every time. Not only does it work out more muscle groups than being on a machine, free-weights are less likely to compromise your form, forcing you into uncomfortable positions, thus resulting in less injuries. Of course, we all have different bodies, and different things work on different people. Certain exercise machines like the standing cables (for any arm or shoulder exercises), elliptical and assisted pull-up are great for utilizing more than one body part. But not all exercise machines are created equal; beware of the following machines that might not be the best options at the gym (especially if you’re petite like me):

1. Any Abdominal Machine

Ab Machine

Do you ever get on an abdominal machine and think “hmm… well this feels awkward.” Well, that’s because… it is. Abdominal machines are the absolute most awkward exercise machines I’ve ever used, not to mention, they’re the spine-killer!

As I’ve mentioned in a previous post, you can’t reduce fat on your core, you can however, try to tone it up, and definitely not by centering on only working the abdominals. The ab machines advertises just that, a concentration on losing your stomach or love handles. Except, it’s total false advertisement. You will not lose your love handles or stomach fat no matter how many repetitions of this exercise you do. Instead, opt for ab exercises that will work more than just your core.

2. Seated Shoulder Press Machine

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6 Traditional Yoga Myths Debunked

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I truly believe that yoga is good for the heart, body and soul. I love my practice and I always advocate to my friends to give it a go. The excuses and reasons some of them give for not opening up to such a great form of fitness are simply stigmas associated with yoga. So I would love to clear up some of those myths.

1. Yoga Is For People Who Are Flexible

I’m so tired of people telling me that they’re not flexible enough or that they can barely touch their toes. Everyone starts from somewhere.

Despite being quite flexible as a child, I lost my bendiness around middle school. So for a long time until I graduated college, I was one of those people who couldn’t touch their toes. But since starting yoga and attending class regularly (I was going about 3 times a week. Less now that I’m focused on weight-training), I became noticeably more flexible. Not only can I reach my toes now, I can do all sorts of back bends and stretches.

Keep in mind that yoga is not only about flexibility. It’s a focus on alignment and breath, bringing awareness to your body in the present moment. Being able to bend and fold is wonderful and amazing (and you’ll eventually get there), but how your body is stacked during a particular posture is more important. Having the correct form and alignment will bring the greatest benefit to a yoga practice.

2. Yoga Is For The Young And Skinny

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Rodney And Colleen Saidman Yee On Love And Yoga

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We know that yoga can make us one with our inner selves, but for two yoga instructors, the centuries-old practice led them to love. Rodney Yee and his wife, Colleen Saidman Yee are among the most sought-after and renowned yoga instructors in the world. They teach together both nationally and internationally, and have been featured in many lifestyle publications such as SHAPE, Vanity Fair, New York Times and television networks like Oprah and PBS.

Despite their love scandal that rocked the yoga community in 2002, the couple’s impressive clientele–from Christy Turlington to Russell Simmons– continue to be faithful devotees. The Yees shared advice on marriage and tips for yogis of all levels.

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5 Effective Moves For Amazing Abs

Can you believe it’s already May? It’s that time of the year where we start prepping our Summer bodies! Many of us want to tone our abs or simply lose a few pounds. At the gym, I see girls doing crunches and sit-ups, but they never see results because those are not the most effective exercises for overall abdominal toning. You’ve probably heard of the phrase “You can’t spot-reduce, you can only spot-tone?” Well, crunches and sit-ups put focus on the front and sides of your abs but they help build muscles in those areas only. They won’t help you look skinnier since you still have the layer of fat covering your sought after waistline. It’s crucial to target all the muscles of the core along with other body parts for effective fat burning. Here are 5 moves that will help you achieve killer abs:

  1. Plank

Plank

I love this move. It’s my go-to during every gym session. Not only will it tone your abs, it will also work out your butt, thighs and arms. The plank helps train muscles to stabilize the spine and pelvis so you can avoid back pain and improve posture. It also burns more calories than crunches because it works more muscles.

Lie face down resting on your forearms and palms flat on the floor. Raise your body up, keep your back flat, in a straight line from head to heels. Try holding this position for 1 minute, then rest. Repeat for 2 more sets.

  1. Mountain Climbers

Moutain climbers

This is one of the best moves to strengthen your entire core. Like the plank, this move will benefit your arms, legs and booty.

Get down in push-up position and make sure your body stays parallel to the ground. Start moving one leg at a time towards your corresponding arm and move in intervals. Climb slowly for 30 seconds and emphasize the movement, then go as fast as you can while maintaining proper form for another 30 seconds. Repeat 3 times.

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Manduka’s LiveOn Collection Will Be Your New Yoga BFF

Manduka LiveOn Collection

One thing I dread about going to yoga class is having to lug around my heavy a** mat. I’m not about to rent one of those sweaty-stinky-germ-filled-slimy mats at my local studio just so I can slip and slide all over them (eww), and neither should you. So as if my kindle, cellphone, wallet and carrying around the entirety of my life all in one purse wasn’t enough, now I have to carry my yoga mat during my 60 minute MTA commute too. SIGH.

Thankfully, in this day and age of technology, Manduka came to my rescue. I was introduced to their brand new LiveOn collection at a media event during the Yoga Journal Conference this past week. As I was stretching and building up sweat during the yoga session with one of the world’s most revered yoga teachers, Elena Brower, I noticed that I wasn’t slipping and sliding on my mat like I usually do. The asanas were difficult enough, I was sweaty enough, but my palms and feet stay glued to the spot I planted them on. Not only that, the mat was super light-weight. Hallelujah! This is amazing.

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Yoga Pose Of The Week: Camel

Camel Pose

The Camel pose, also known as Ustrasana is a great stretching asana to strengthen your back and help to correct your posture. If you work a desk job like me, you will greatly benefit from this. Not only is this pose good for your aching back, it also stretches your neck, chest, abdomen, thighs, hip flexors (psoas), groins, and ankles and help to tighten your glutes! Who knew such a simple pose can reap this many benefits?

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Yoga Pose Of The Week: Standing Bow

Standing Bow

This is one of my favorite yoga poses to strike (Still a work-in-progress for me). The Standing Bow, also known as Dandayamana-Dhanurasana, reaps many benefits. Mentally, this asana will be a test of patience, determination and concentration. Physically, besides the obvious practice of balance, the Standing Bow will help with better blood circulation, increase elasticity in your rib cage, firm up your abdominal wall, strengthen your lower spine, work your glutes and upper thighs. That’s a lot of benefits in one basic pose so I know you’ll love it as much as I do!

How do we get into this asana?

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5-Minute Instant Happiness

#readysethappy

You might be surprised, but happiness is purely internal, a state of being that you can create for yourself! Therefore by tricking your brain into thinking it’s happy, you will feel happier! So if you’re having a bad day at work or simply need a little mid-day pick-me-up, here are a few things that helps put a smile on my face, and hopefully will do the same for you.

1. Look at old photos
Look back at old vacation photos, party pictures, or any pictures of good times with loved ones! I like to keep pictures on my work desk to remind me of those memories.

2. Look at photos of cute animals
Buzzfeed’s “animal” section is my best friend on a rainy day. How can you be grumpy after all the cuteness-overload?!

3. Listen to upbeat music
Music always puts me in a great mood. Make a happy playlist when you have time and blast it when you’re feeling down! Move to the beat and the next thing you know, your anxiety will melt away.

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Options For A Healthy Breakfast

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Breakfast is the most important meal, the fuel that gets you going for the rest of the day. Skipping it can lead to overeating and low energy. I don’t know about you, but I wake up and struggle on what I should eat for breakfast. Life has too many choices… Hah. So here are some options for those of you that want to eat healthier, have little time in your morning routine and too lazy to be fancy.

Oatmeal

  1. Oatmeal

This is an easy go-to option, made in less than 15 minutes. Oats are super rich in omega-3 fatty acids, potassium and folate. It’s also packed with soluble fiber, which helps to lower cholesterol and regulate blood sugar levels. It’ll keep your stomach satisfied for hours! Avoid the sugary instant packets and opt for the plain ones, you can always top it with honey or fruits if you crave sweetness.

Greek Yogurt

  1. Greek Yogurt

Grab one on your way out the door! Greek yogurt is loaded with calcium and protein, almost twice as much as regular yogurt. Choose a plain, nonfat version and add fruits and honey to give it sweetness and flavor.

Egg

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4 Ways To A Fit Girl’s Heart

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So you want to date a fit girl, or is currently dating a fit girl. Great choice, gentleman! Fit girls are happy, motivated and inspiring. Here’s how you can potentially court your very own fit girl and how to keep her happily ever after.

1. Be open to attending a fitness class with her.

This is one of the ultimate ways to a fit girl’s heart. Before we started dating, my current boyfriend attended his first yoga class with me. I was shocked that he was open to it even though he’s a manly-man who’s only into bodybuilding and weightlifting. It made me see him with a new set of eyes… that he’s willing to get out of his comfort zone for me.

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