A Guide to Postpartum Fitness

In an era when we are surrounded by images of celebrities bouncing back effortlessly after having a baby, it can be difficult to have realistic expectations for your postpartum fitness journey. The focus on returning to your pre-baby body also can take the focus away from the real reasons behind engaging in postpartum fitness: long-term health and happiness for you and your baby. Pursuing postpartum fitness will not only help you achieve certain superficial physical goals, but also provide myriad mental and life benefits, from self-care to an improved ability to care for your baby.

When considering your return to fitness after giving birth, setting yourself up for healthy, realistic expectations should be at the forefront of your mind. It is easy to be convinced by the media and celebrities that achieving that “pre-baby bod” is easy, painless, and should happen extremely quickly. Unfortunately, while many celebrity moms have succeeded in empowering new mothers to pursue body confidence, they have also set new moms up for accomplishing their goals within an abbreviated timeline.

Why are celebrities able to achieve such results in such a short amount of time? The simple answer is a combination of fortunate genetics and even more fortunate circumstances. Remember, celebrities often have a whole staff and team to help them rebound to that amazing body; also, they are PAID to do this, and their careers demand it! Remember that celebrities are, in many ways, professional athletes: they are in exemplary physical condition and have personal trainers, dietitians, and nannies on staff to make sure that they return to that amazing pre-baby body. Furthermore, they are usually blessed with the genetics to help them, and years of maintenance encourage their bodies to rebound to their previous states. Focus on your own journey!

While genetics and circumstances – such as the amount of time and thought that you can devote to returning to fitness – are major elements in your body’s resiliency, so too are level of fitness at time of birth and age. A 40-year-old woman who has maintained a steady fitness regime of workouts and healthy eating for years might recover faster than a new mother who is 30 years old but has always led a sedentary lifestyle. As a general rule, however, one can expect that the more advanced in age and less fit one is, the harder and longer the process will be, and greater care that will need to be taken to ensure a safe and sustainable health and fitness lifestyle postpartum.

So, you have given birth. Congratulations! What can you expect from your fitness journey?

First and foremost, check with your doctor! Depending on the method of delivery and any complications that might have occurred, you may need total rest for your abdomen during the first two months.

The first six weeks after giving birth, expect to be cleared for walking only. With the change in your lifestyle and taking care of a little one on a less-than-optimal sleep schedule, you will likely be grateful to have permission not to work out! Feeling pressure to get back at it or cut calories? Remember that in the weeks following birth, your body is healing from the inside out, not to mention that you may also be producing milk for your child. The physical repairs, changes in lifestyle and hours spent awake, and breastfeeding will actually increase your caloric needs, often by as many as 500 extra calories a day for breastfeeding alone. Talk to your doctor to determine how much weight loss is safe during this time; losing weight too quickly can be a sign that something is wrong.

Many new mothers are surprised to discover that, even without a baby inside, they still have a bump! Don’t worry, the baby-less bump will go down with time; if it does not, you may be dealing with diastasis recti.

Diastasis Recti

Diastasis recti, or separation of the large abdominal muscles, is a condition that affects approximately 1 in 200,000 pregnant women. If you are still not seeing your belly flatten at all in the weeks or months following birth, or if there appears to be a drastic or uneven pooch at any time, talk to your doctor, as you may have diastasis recti. This will impact your return to fitness.

Diastasis recti is more prevalent in women with babies of larger birth weight, women with multiple births, and women over 35. Though rarely painful, it is a relatively serious condition that will impact the way you use your body and, if not treated correctly through physical therapy, can be permanent. Have your doctor examine you during your post-delivery appointments; if diastasis recti is present, consult a physical therapist immediately. Avoid exercises such as planks, situps, and even yoga poses such as downward dog.

During these first six weeks, focus on the joys and trials of new motherhood, as well as your mental and physical health through proper nutrition, sleep, gentle stretching, and, if necessary, counseling.

Six Weeks to Three Months

After your six-week appointment is the time to really start to buckle down on your nutrition. Remember, you are not only fueling your own body’s return to health and fitness, but also feeding that cutie in your arms! All the more reason to fuel for success with a diet full of veggies, whole foods, and quality proteins. Talk to your doctor about the calorie intake necessary for breastfeeding, because while you might have weight loss on the mind, your body needs sufficient fuel for the baby as well. A food journal is a great place to start.

Your doctor will begin to determine if you are fit for exercise at your six-week appointment. If your physician gives you the go-ahead, start to plan a return-to-fitness program. A balanced mix of cardio, strength training, and stability work will help you feel and look your best. But don’t expect to start out where you left off; instead, plan on starting gently and gradually increasing intensity month by month.

You might start with a full week of stroller walking with some bodyweight squats, triceps dips, and baby-weight biceps curls interspersed throughout. The second week might see you engage in some postpartum yoga or Pilates classes (find licensed practitioners!) and light weights at the gym. If you are new to working out with weights, hire a professional who can show you the proper way to work out your new body.  

Three to Six Months

Now might be a great time to try running! Aim for a total of 10 minutes of running your first time out, and gradually extend that time by adding in more intervals and more time running. Also, when you are walking, make it a working, not idling, walk. Make sure to hydrate and have a small snack with protein and carbohydrates after, such as a small, low-sugar granola bar (look for one with more protein than sugar, and less than 150 calories), or half an apple with a piece of string cheese.

Expect to be slower when running, to fatigue more easily, and to not to be able to carry the same amount of weight. That’s okay! You are going to set new post-baby personal records every day. Consider every workout a success and treat that time as self-care time, whether you meet up with girlfriends or enjoy the quiet.

During the first six months of your health and fitness journey, you’ll have weeks where you make incredible progress and weeks when you find that you plateau or even slip up. When less-successful weeks occur, remind yourself that this truly is a journey and that everybody is unique. Focus on your successes and what you can do, not what you can’t. Because you may not be able to do that pullup just yet. You might not be cleared for running, but that doesn’t mean that stairs are off-limits. You might have to carry your baby to comfort and get him or her to sleep, but that just means you have a little extra weight for you squats.

Set accessible goals that make sense for you and your lifestyle, above all, and enlist help to achieve those goals. Don’t assume that your body is going to respond the same way that it did before your child – fluctuating hormones, pelvic changes, and more will likely result in a body that seems to have a mind of its own for a little while.

6 Months to 1 Year

Six months after giving birth is a great time to assess your progress and potentially set new goals. If you have been stroller walking for the duration of your postpartum fitness journey, why not try stroller running and even set a goal of running a 5K with your baby in front of you? Maybe try your hand at a new form of exercise, like kickboxing or Zumba!

By the time your baby is about 9 months old, you should find that you are cleared for most all exercise and that you have made substantial progress in working toward your fitness and health goals. If you are no longer breastfeeding, remember that your diet may also require some changes to achieve any weight loss goals. That said, with the increase in fitness and activity as well as lean muscle mass, you might find that you actually need to eat more than before! If you have questions, consult a registered dietitian who can help you maintain your results.

You may have gotten into your postpartum fitness journey as a way to get back to your pre-baby body, but if you go about postpartum fitness correctly, you will likely find that activity is an indispensable part of your daily or weekly life. Keep it up, Mama, and set an amazing example for your kiddo to lead a life of health and happiness!

Source: https://www.fix.com/blog/guide-to-postpartum-fitness/

What To Do When You Don’t Feel Like Working Out

Whether you’re a gym rat or a fitness beginner, we all have days when we don’t feel like working out. Maybe it’s been a stressful week, and you just want to get home and relax. Perhaps you’ve been working out for weeks and are feeling frustrated that you aren’t seeing results. Maybe you used to go to the gym regularly but fell off, and you’re now having a hard time returning. Or maybe you just have no idea where to start and are feeling overwhelmed at the prospect.

Whatever the reason, sometimes we just don’t feel like working out. Here are some tactics to get you through.

Make a Plan

The first step to reaching any goal is setting the goal in the first place. Try to make your goals S.M.A.R.T:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Attainable
  • Relevant
  • Time bound

This is usually the part that trips people up. Many people know they want to feel better, but they don’t know what will get them there because they haven’t given it much thought. Losing weight is measurable goal, but it isn’t terribly specific. How much weight do you want to lose? Maybe you want to lose 10 pounds, which is specific and measurable. It’s also more realistic and attainable than saying you want to lose 50 pounds is (which is still attainable, but much more difficult). Next, ask yourself whether the goal is relevant. If there’s no real reason you want to lose weight, you likely won’t stick to the goal. It must have some relevance in your life to matter to you. Finally, make it time bound by putting some constraints on the goal. How quickly do you want to lose 10 pounds? Two weeks may not be attainable, but two months might be. By making your goal time bound, you’re adding some built-in motivation and accountability.

Figure out What’s Holding you Back

Before you can implement steps to reach your goal, it’s important to determine what’s been holding you back so far. Are you struggling to feel motivated? Is working out hard because you don’t have a babysitter? You can’t justify the cost of a gym membership or personal trainer? Whatever is holding you back, it’s important to acknowledge it so you can get past it.

It’s also important to make sure you’re ready. Fitness, like any other habit, requires you to be ready to make a change in your life. Per the transtheoretical model of behavior change, if a person is not ready to make a change, it won’t stick. It’s important to understand which stage you’re in and that we can relapse and reenter at any stage. Slipping up every now and then does not set you back to square one.

Break the Plan Into Smaller Pieces

Rome wasn’t built in a day, and your goals won’t be accomplished in one fell swoop either. Take that big goal you set and break it into smaller pieces. Sure, maybe you want to go to the gym five days a week, but how realistic is that when you’re first starting out? Set a smaller goal to start, such as working out three days a week, and celebrate when you accomplish it. You’ll feel great about hitting these goals, which will make you more likely to continue.

Not only can you break your plan into smaller pieces, but also you can break your workout into smaller pieces! The American College of Sports Medicine recommends 30–60 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise (five days per week) or 20–60 minutes of vigorous-intensity exercise (three days per week). The good news is that research has shown that it is just as effective if you break these workouts into 10-minute intervals – if you’re working at the right intensity. As such, a 10-minute body weight workout before work, a 30-minute brisk walk at lunch, and 20 minutes on the stationary bike after work count as 60 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise.

Remove Excuses Before They Arise

This comes from identifying what has been holding you back. Get your gym bag ready at night before you go to bed so if you’re running late in the morning, you won’t skip bringing it. If you want to get up early for a run, lay out your workout clothes and get to bed early. That way, all you will need to do is throw them on, lace up your shoes and head out the door. Choose a time to work out and stick with it by creating an appointment in your calendar. You wouldn’t cancel a meeting with a coworker, so don’t cancel an appointment with yourself for your workout.

Working out for a specific event or goal, like a wedding or a high school reunion, can be great for motivation. The pitfall is that once that event has passed, it can be hard to maintain the motivation for working out that existed before. To maintain that motivation long term, it’s important to find your why. This is the real reason behind working out. For some people, it is becoming fitter so they aren’t out of breath while playing with their children. Others want to lose weight to live longer and to be around for their family. It could include wanting more energy to get through the day. Whatever the reason, it’s personal and it’s something that will last long term. When you know your why and are reminded of it every day, it’s a whole lot easier to get up before sunrise for a run.

Source: https://www.fix.com/blog/motivating-yourself-to-work-out/

Walk Your Way to Fitness

Walking is more than a way to get from here to there. Tossing on a pair of sneakers and heading out for a stroll has numerous health benefits that go way beyond weight loss. If you are new to exercise, recovering from an injury, or just hoping to spend more time in nature, walking is the perfect first step.

Getting Started on a Walking Program

The best part about walking for health and fitness is that all you need is a pair of sneakers. If you have an injury, or are recovering from one, or if you struggle doing weight-bearing activities, it is recommended that you consult your physician before incorporating any physical activity into your routine.

Once you are committed to starting a walking program, schedule 15–20 minutes 5 times a week to get outside and find your stride.

Day 1 should involve a brisk walk for 15 minutes that is slightly faster than a leisure stroll, but not so quick that you can’t comfortably carry on a conversation. Assess how you feel after your first day. A little soreness can be expected if you are not used to walking for longer intervals.

Repeat your 15-minute route on Day 2. If you woke up feeling great after your first walk, tack on an extra 5 minutes on the second day.

If you are feeling fatigued, Day 3 can be used as a rest day. However, if you are still feeling energized and strong, go for another 15- to 20-minute walk.

Day 4 will be your final walk before you rest day, so really try and push yourself. If you have been maintaining 15 minutes all week, bump it up to 20 minutes. If you have been going for 20-minute walks, aim for 25 minutes.

Day 5 is the perfect time to rest and reflect on your success so far this week. You have already walked between 60 and 80 minutes, which is about half the amount of moderate weekly exercise recommended by the Mayo Clinic.

Now that your legs are rested, it’s time to push yourself with a 25–35 minute walk. You’re going to be walking farther than you have all week, so make sure you start out slower than usual and gradually build speed over the duration of your walk.

Day 7 is your last rest day for the week. Keep this framework each week while adding time, distance, and speed to your workouts. Before you know it, you will be walking for 60 minutes straight!

What’s in a Number?

If you have been walking for a while and are ready to kick it up a notch, strap on your step counter, and aim to be part of the 10,000 Steps a Day Club. While 10,000 steps isn’t an official recommendation by the Center for Disease Control, it is an achievable goal to help you stay healthy and active. By walking 10,000 steps each day, you are covering roughly 5 miles (there’s roughly 2,000 steps per mile) while burning an additional 3,500 calories a week. That is equivalent to 1 lb of fat! Here are some changes you can make to help you get your steps in.

  1. Walk to work: If you live within walking distance of your office, this is an easy change to make. Start by vowing to walk to work three days a week. Not only will you get more steps in, but the fresh air will leave you feeling alert and focused by the time you arrive at the office.
  2. Skip a stop: If you commute on a bus, metro, or train, get off a stop or two before your workplace. These extra few blocks will quickly add up on your step counter.
  3. Back of the lot: When heading to the shopping mall or grocery store, choose a parking space far from the entrance. Not only will you get extra steps in, but you will also have lots of parking spaces available and no worries about carts or car doors dinging you.
  4. Take the stairs: Skip the elevator and head for the stairwell. Climbing stairs is a great way to tone your legs and behind, while improving your cardiovascular fitness. If you work on the 20th floor of a high-rise, taking the stairs might seem like an impossible task – especially first thing in the morning. Instead of dismissing the idea, hop off the elevator a few floors early and continue your commute in the stairwell. Slowly add more floors until you can conquer them all.
  5. Lunch hour stroll: Keep a pair of sneakers at your desk and head out of the office on your lunch break for a walk. It’s a great time to get some fresh air, clear your head, and relax a little before a long afternoon of meetings and emails.
  6. After-dinner routine: Make it part of your evening routine to head outside for a stroll after dinner. It’s a great opportunity to set a healthy example and bond with your family. The dishes can wait.

Unexpected Benefits of Walking

Losing weight, toning your legs and buttocks, and having more energy are great benefits associated with walking, but these aren’t the only benefits your body will experience when you lace up your shoes. You might be surprised by these additional health benefits associated with walking.

  1. Happiness: Exercise is a great way to boost your mood. Going for a brisk walk can help reduce anxiety and stress.
  2. Dementia Prevention: Going for a 30–40 minute walk a few times a week can prevent brain shrinkage and memory loss.
  3. Digestion: Going for a walk after a meal can help speed up your rate of digestion. A quick 15-minute walk will stimulate your midsection and help you feel less bloated.
  4. Immunity Boost: Studies suggest that walking for 30 to 40 minutes will boost the amount of immune system cells in your body. This increase in cells remains for several hours after exercising.2Also, when a person follows a regular workout routine, there appears to be a cumulative effect that helps protect the body from illness over time.

Whether you have had a stressful day or you want to start on a weight-loss journey, walking is the perfect solution. Start today by slipping on your tennis shoes and exploring your neighborhood. You might be surprised by how quickly you notice the benefits.

Source: https://www.fix.com/blog/walking-fitness-plan/

Five-Minute Workout Bursts For Your Busy Days

I know I am not unique in having a gross shortfall in discretionary time. It appears there is a never-ending list of appointments and things to do and not nearly enough time for self-care. Tim Ferris, who wrote The 4-Hour Body, asks, “What if we could find the Minimal Effective Dose (MED) for activities of daily living so that we could free up time to do the things we really want to do?” I agree. Who doesn’t want more time in their day?

So, what would an MED mean for fitness? When it comes to fitness, it seems that an hour-long class at the gym or repeated lengthy bouts on your elliptical are what we are told it takes to get fit. But what if I told you there are other ways to be fit, and they might be more effective, make you smarter, and help you live longer?

How do these short bursts of exercise work? Short-burst workouts are intended to be highly versatile for your busy schedule. Ideally, you perform these burst workouts whenever you have a few free minutes during your day.

What Are The Benefits of a Five-Minute Burst Workout?

Improved athletic capacity: Burst or high-intensity workouts increase athletic output by building endurance and strength in a different way than slow, steady workouts.

Improved glucose metabolism: Our ability to regulate our glucose levels improves significantly with high-intensity workouts.

Heightened resting metabolic rate or afterburn: Although it may not appear you have burned many calories during a burst session, your ability to burn more calories steadily throughout the rest of the day will be markedly improved over traditional cardio.

Faster and more efficient: Because the intensity is heightened, there is no need, nor is it safe, to perform extended versions of burst workouts. By their very nature they are designed to be short and sweet.

Better brain function: Brain structure and cognition have been shown to improve with intense burst-type exercise. Even better, the best improvements are seen in areas of the brain where age-related decline tends to occur.

Boost in human growth hormone and fat burning: HGH is going to elevate after a burst exercise session to restore lost glycogen. Fat will then be burned as a result of elevated HGH. Although we aren’t in “fat burning” mode during burst exercise, the fat burning that occurs after the workout, during recovery, is of far greater benefit.

Improved longevity: When you perform burst exercise you get an increase in anti-aging and anabolic hormones. These hormones are essential for healing and slowing the aging process.

What Are The Rules of The Burst Workout Game?

  1. Always be safe and know your limits.
  2. If you are not sweating and panting by the end of the five minutes, you have done something grievously wrong.
  3. Don’t cheat. Go the full interval.
  4. Make sure to get warmed up. Walking briskly or some gentle dynamic stretching is very effective.
  5. Stretch after your burst. These circuits are very challenging and stretching can make a big difference between possessing calves like painful rocks or feeling like a million dollars.
  6. If you are a beginner, start slowly. These individual bursts build on each other. Go at a pace that allows you to safely execute the whole five-minute circuit.

Five Five-Minute Burst Workouts to do in The Comfort of Your Own Home

KITCHEN: Push a kitchen chair against a door or wall so that it is secure. Start with 30 seconds of step-ups on the chair. Perform these as intensely as you can muster. Next, turn around, facing away from the chair. Put your hands on the chair with your legs straight out in front of you. Perform 30 seconds of triceps dips. Continue facing away from the chair. Place the top of your foot on the chair so you are in a lunge position with your back leg elevated onto the chair. Perform single-leg squats with one leg extended for 30 seconds. Switch sides. Repeat circuit again. For the fifth and final minute do box jumps (jump-ups) onto the chair for one minute.

BEDROOM: This is a core series. What better place to take care of those love handles than in the bedroom, where they are seen a little more frequently? You only need a tiny space to perform this circuit. Start in a side-plank position. Slowly touch the downside hip to the floor and come back up again. Repeat until your 30 seconds are up (side-plank with hip touches). Roll forward into a plank position and bring your right knee between your arms. Gently tap the inside of each elbow for 15 seconds and then change knees (plank with knee touches to inside of elbows). Turn over onto your back and perform the bicycle abdominal exercise. Do this by touching the right knee to the left elbow and then switch. Perform these for 30 seconds. Use control and keep your core engaged the whole time. Finally, stand up quickly and do the high-knees exercise for 30 seconds by bringing each knee up to your chest separately in a vigorous, exaggerated running motion. Repeat this circuit two times.

STAIRS: Sprint up and down your stairs for one minute. Do 20 jumping jacks. Sprint up and down the stairs again for one minute. Follow with 10 push-ups. Repeat the stair sprints, alternating the push-ups and jumping jacks in between sprints. Do a total of four 1-minute sprints.

FAMILY ROOM: In this workout, we are going to do 20-second bursts of effort with 10-second rests. Start with 20 seconds of vigorous mountain climbers by getting into a plank position and “running .” Get your knees as close to the space inside your arms as possible. Rest for 10 seconds. Stand and get into a squat position. Jump up and then back down into a squat position. Don’t let your butt drop past your knees during these squat jumps. Perform with intensity for 20 seconds. Rest for 10 seconds. From a standing position, bend over and place your hands on the floor in front of you. Perform a modified inchworm by walking your arms out until your body is in a plank position. Briskly walk the arms back into your starting position and stand up. Repeat this modified inchworm for 30 seconds, keeping the core engaged. Take a 10-second rest and then head to the coffee table for incline push-ups. Place your hands on the coffee table or couch so you are in an incline plank position. Holding your core tight, perform incline push-ups for 20 seconds. Modify as needed. Finally, after your last 10-second rest, get into a side plank position. If you are able, raise your top leg and arm so that you are in the shape of a star, for side star plank. Hold for 20 seconds. Only do one side per circuit and then switch the next time through. Rest for 10 seconds. Go through the circuit two times for a total of five minutes.

Now that you know the many benefits to short burst-style workouts and how easy they are to incorporate into your day, I can’t wait for you to try them. Remember to start easy and build your intensity as you get used to each exercise. Pay special attention to form and maintaining control of your body. If you would like additional information on the benefits of burst workouts for body and brain, follow up with the resources listed below.

Source: https://www.fix.com/blog/five-minute-workout-bursts/

EMIRATI WOMEN IN FITNESS

 

 

 

 

 

 

Emirati women have been recognized for their pivotal role in the community and their contribution to the development and advancement of the UAE on various areas and levels. Over the years, Emirati women have broken all sorts of barriers and have been triumphant in spreading awareness about sports, fitness and health. Emirati women are taking matters into their own hands and achieving the goals they set for themselves in an effort to inspire other young girls and women to do the same. Today (August 28) marks the 3rd Emirati Women’s Day, so here we feature some incredibly influential local women and their achievements in the fitness and sports industry

‘Make time for yourself, love your body, do everything you do with passion. If you do not like a sport, try another one”. Never give up is the message Amna Al Merri wants to convey to women. Al Merri- a 24 year old bioengineer by profession and certified gym trainer and weight-lifting instructor serves as an inspiration to all women. She works for the Dubai Health Authority (DHA) but her true passion lies in the women-only running club in Dubai which she founded along with her three friends. The running club provides free training to women of all nationalities to urge them to focus on their health and fitness. This love for physical fitness led to the creation of Anagow, which means “I am strong” in Arabic. Al Merri loved that her self-esteem and energy levels were boosted through exercising and wanted to inspire more Emirati women to start running and wanted to encourage them to be healthy.  “We train with different running programmes, timing each member so that they can one day participate in the marathon. We use body weight to do weight-bearing exercises and many of our members are now participating in marathons,” said Al Merri.

Amal Mourad is one of the first female Emirati parkour coaches and calisthenics athlete in the Middle East. It can be overwhelming to start a new sport but she explains why she loves Parkour so much- “My favorite part of parkour is that you’re overcoming the obstacles that are in your head that you have created for yourself . When I first started practicing the sport it liberated me from a lot of things, I wasn’t afraid anymore, I wasn’t afraid of being who I really am, I wasn’t afraid of trying something new, I wasn’t afraid of what people thought about me, I wasn’t afraid to fall, I actually learned how to land”. As challenging as Parkour was she didn’t let it stop her.

On the other hand, coming from Abu Dhabi was a woman who defied all odds and chose to become a figure skater. “I’m covered, I’m Muslim, I’m from a desert country but I’m doing a winter sport and it’s fine, there’s nothing wrong with it.” Words spoken by Zahra Lari who is the first Emirati figure skater. Lari proves that there is nothing you can’t do when you put your mind to it. Being a hijabi or from a desert country did not stand in her way to achieve her dreams. She aspires to compete in the Winter Olympics and would be the first person to represent the UAE in such an event. Both women are prime examples of chasing your dreams and being able to compete and participate in sports even if they are outside your comfort zone.

Emirati women are constantly engaging in sports and fitness. The 2016 Olympic Games in Rio were especially momentous because Nada Al Bedwawi made history for not only being the youngest female to carry the UAE flag in the opening ceremony but also the for being the first female to represent the country in swimming. She was quoted as saying “It’s been a great honor to represent my country and, most importantly, represent the young Emirati girls, especially those who want to do sports.” Sexism is still prevalent in sporting events and Al Bedwawi is hoping that this perception will shift as more female athletes compete. “My main goal is to break down these barriers, these gender barriers, and pave the way for other female swimmers,” said Al Bedwawi after her 50m freestyle heat. “Especially in our country, people are reluctant to start something new.

Another female athlete breaking barriers is Ayesha Al Balooshi, an Emirati weightlifter. This was only the second time that a female weightlifter has represented the UAE, the other being Khadija Mohammed, who competed in London four years ago. Al Balooshi walked away proud saying “I achieved my Olympic goals, I walked behind the flag in the opening ceremony and proved that nothing is impossible for Emirati girls who can do wonders in all games.” As the women left the Olympics, they left with the hope that the games inspire more Emirati women to participate in sports and as Al Badwari says, “The dream is that when we return to the Olympics in four years time, we arrive with many more athletes — and especially more women.”

Besides the Olympics, here are a few Emirati females blazing a trail in their respective fields

  1. 15-year-old Alia Al Shamsi became the first female swimmer to fly the UAE flag in a competition when she swam the 50m and 100m breaststroke and 50m backstroke at the Arab Championships in Dubai.
  2. Track and field athlete Fatima Al Hosani won a silver medal in discus throw at the Asian Youth Athletics Championships in Doha.
  3. The UAE Cycling Federation formed a women’s national team in 2012 and their four-medal haul at the Arab Track Championships in Sharjah was an unprecedented feat for them.

This day is part of a bigger movement to increase female empowerment in the Middle East and there would be no women’s empowerment in the UAE without the critical support provided by the political leadership and so, we hope to see more Emirati women in sports paving the way to more success and bigger achievements.

Using a BOSU Ball for Full-Body Fitness

What in the heck is a BOSU ball, and how do I use it? The BOSU ball is a unique-looking piece of workout equipment that you may have seen at the gym but aren’t sure how to use. Flat on one side with half of a stability ball on the other, it can be used in countless ways to challenge your strength and balance. With the ball side up, you can work your small stabilizer muscles while maintaining a relatively stable platform. Ball-side-down removes that stable platform and forces you to rely even more heavily on your stabilizer muscles and your core. As far as the movements themselves, you can do just about anything on a BOSU ball for a full-body workout.

From your biceps and triceps to your chest and shoulders, the BOSU ball can give you a complete upper-body workout. However, we’re going to focus on a few popular exercise and how to incorporate the BOSU ball in them.

You’ve probably heard of or been doing squats already. After all, they’re one of the best workouts for all the muscles in your lower body. But there are several ways to modify your squat by adding the BOSU. We’ll focus on two. For the first, start with the BOSU ball side up. Step on (carefully!), and practice keeping your balance as you squat until your upper legs are parallel to the floor, then return to a standing position. Make sure your weight doesn’t float to the front of your feet, or you’ll be putting too much pressure on your knees. If you have no problem keeping your balance with the BOSU ball side up, it’s time to flip it over. Put one foot on the flat side of the BOSU along the edge. Carefully lift your other foot to the opposite side, and balance with the ball in the middle. Try to keep the BOSU steady as you squat to parallel and return to a standing position. By flipping the BOSU ball side down, you’ll be working against a platform that moves a full 360 degrees, challenging your balance and strength.

To do lunges with your BOSU, begin with the ball side up. From here, you can either step up onto the BOSU or start on the ball and step down to the floor. With either approach, balance your weight between your back foot’s toes and your front foot’s heel. Lower your back knee toward the floor while your front knee moves toward a 90-degree angle, tracking over your toes.

If you want to hit more of your glutes, a bridge is a great bet! Lie with your back on the floor, and place your feet on the BOSU. If you’re a beginner, start ball side up. If you’re more advanced, flip your BOSU over. With both feet on the BOSU, squeeze your glutes, and press your hips toward the ceiling. Pause at the top, and lower your body back to the floor with control. If you’re ready to take it to the next level, try a single-leg bridge. With one foot on the BOSU and your hips pressed toward the ceiling, raise your other leg. Make sure you don’t swing your leg for leverage. Instead, squeeze your glutes to raise and lower with control. 

 

Who doesn’t want a stronger core? Many of your favorite (or not-so-favorite) ab and core exercises can be replicated and kicked up a notch using the BOSU ball. From the plank to sit-ups and even bicycle crunches, the BOSU adds an extra level of instability to every move.

Let’s start with the plank. The idea behind any plank is to keep your spine in alignment while you engage the muscles in your core, lower body, and upper body. For all the BOSU plank progressions, flip the ball side down. For beginners, start on your knees, and begin the way you would for the beginner BOSU push-up. Now hold it. Even as your body shakes, keep holding. If you want to take it a step further, raise up on your toes while you hold the position. Be careful that the ball doesn’t move side to side! Try to keep it as stable as possible, and don’t forget to breathe. If you’re looking for an even bigger challenge, try doing your plank on a single leg with your other raised. As you complete your circuit, switch legs to make sure you get an even workout.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

These are just a few of the innumerable exercises that are possible with the BOSU ball. Even if you have no other piece of equipment at your disposal, you’ll be able to challenge every muscle in your body. As with any exercise, safety should be your number one priority. Always consult with a physician or personal trainer before beginning any exercise plan.

Source: https://www.fix.com/blog/get-fit-with-a-bosu-ball/

Kickstart your fitness regime with KickBoxing!

 

Did you know that kickboxing can revolutionize not only your body, but your life? An incredible workout, kickboxing is a fun, effective alternative to traditional strength and cardio workouts, transforming your body composition and overall health. Even more impressive, kickboxing also has a valuable function as it teaches you to defend yourself, improves reaction times, balance, and coordination, and empowers you to take charge of your life beyond the gym. Kickboxing is the workout that won’t quit and it will teach you not to quit, either.

Popularized in the 1990s, kickboxing is a sport based on kicking and punching that is a combination of various types of martial arts and boxing. There are several different types of kickboxing, with the most common being fighting (contact) kickboxing and fitness kickboxing (sometimes referred to as cardio kickboxing). Fitness kickboxing can be either contact or non-contact. Equipment is not always necessary, but depending on the style of kickboxing you are doing, you might find yourself using a punching bag and boxing gloves!

Looking to unleash some stress, in a fun, non-judgmental environment? Maybe you simply want to improve your body composition and get fitter without being a cardio bunny. Perhaps you are in great shape, but you need a confidence boost? Or are you looking to improve your reaction time and feel safer? Luckily, regardless of the category you fall into, kickboxing will satisfy your needs in a dynamic, fun, and high-energy workout atmosphere.

Don’t worry if you are new to exercise; kickboxing offers something to everyone. Start with shorter, less complicated, non-contact classes (classes will always give recommendations for experience levels). The first punch you ever throw should not be against someone else! Additionally, don’t worry if you never want to spar – many lifelong kickboxing lovers have never sparred!

Kickboxing studios often offer classes dedicated to beginners, teaching common combinations and technique for routine moves. All classes should be scalable to your fitness level, and instructors should accommodate anyone and everyone who wants to join. If you find that you are in a class that is far too advanced, ask if another teacher offers the classes, or try another studio. Don’t give up!

Kickboxing produces tangible physical results as you shred fat and burn calories with the high intensity intervals that elevate your heart rate but also allow for active recovery before you boost that heart rate again. All the while, even though you may not be using weights, you are building strength and toning muscles all over your body by creating your own resistance. You will be amazed at how exhausting and satisfying punching air can be!

If you are looking for an outlet for pent-up frustrations and stresses, kickboxing might be your answer! If you are stressed out, kickboxing allows you to unleash your power and release the stressors of the day, while also instilling a discipline that calms you down and brings you back to center. Alternatively, if you are struggling to find your voice, kickboxing can empower you to find your inner worth and confidence in the studio as well as the rest of your life. Whether you are high strung or super-shy, kickboxing can help you find balance.

One of the few completely functional fitness or exercise practices, kickboxing teaches participants real self-defense skills while improving balance and reaction times. If you’ve ever felt physically threatened, kickboxing can help you learn how to protect yourself on a basic level through daily practice, and there are even self-defense-specific kickboxing classes. Hopefully, you will never need to use those self-defense skills and will only notice that you are lighter on your feet and more reactive in traffic.

Whether you need to build confidence or work out some pent-up stress, looking to lose fat or build muscle, kickboxing will deliver what you need. You will be able to track how much your fitness improves by your recovery times, watch your coordination increase in your ability to follow complicated combinations, and you will be breathing easier when you deal with frustrating or threatening situations. What are you waiting for?

Source: https://www.fix.com/blog/try-kickboxing-style-workouts/

Staying Fit on a Vacation

There’s no better way to beat the blues than to grab your sunscreen and passport and head somewhere tropical. The only problem is, when you’re relaxing on the beach with a coconut drink in one hand and a great book in the other, your fitness goals are the last thing on your mind. Here are some simple ways you can stay fit on your next tropical holiday.

Get Involved

While most resorts have gyms on-site, the thought of taking up precious packing space with sneakers and workout gear is unnerving. Even if you opt for extra sundresses and shorts, there’s no need to fret. You can still get a great workout at your resort or on your cruise ship just by taking part in the daily activities.

Dance Classes

Just like in Dirty Dancing, your resort will offer fun dance classes on the beach and by the pool. One hour of shaking your hips to Shakira and J-Lo will help you tone your core and legs while torching up to 400 calories per hour.

Aqua Aerobics

Don’t be a spectator on the pool deck–get in the water and try an aqua class. These classes are perfect for all fitness levels and abilities. If you really want to challenge yourself, head for the deep end of the pool and feel the burn in your legs as you work to keep yourself afloat. A standard aquafit class can burn upwards of 300 calories an hour. Not bad for splashing around to energizing music!

Snorkeling

If you love the ocean and all the beauty that lives below, grab a snorkel and venture out to the reefs and sandbars. Swimming around and spying on the tropical fish is fun and fitness-friendly. This adventurous activity can burn over 600 calories an hour–as long as you don’t eat the bread you bring to attract the fish.

Beach Volleyball

You don’t need to be in a Top Gun montage to join in on a beach volleyball game. Even if you are new to the sport, the lateral movements and jumping in the sand alone will be a great core and leg workout. Add in the bumps, sets, and spikes and your shoulders and arms will be feeling the burn too. Spend an hour on the courts and sweat out up to 500 calories.

Barefoot Running 

Embrace the beautiful tropical morning and head to the beach for a barefoot run. The loose, dry sand causes your feet to sink and your stabilizing muscles to work harder than they normally would when running on a treadmill or sidewalk. You can burn up to 80 extra calories per mile running on sand! If you are new to running, I suggest sticking to the harder wet sand and slowly progressing to dryer sand as your body becomes more accustomed to the terrain. The beach is a beautiful place to run–just make sure to keep your eyes open for sharp sticks and shells.

Heat Protection

If you’re heading outside to do a workout on your tropical vacation and aren’t used to the climate, make sure you keep these six things in mind: 

Vacations are for relaxing and having fun, so don’t be too hard on yourself for missing a couple of workouts. But if you want to keep your waist line in check and still have a good time, do these simple activities to keep yourself active. And don’t worry, the gym will be waiting for you when you come home.

Source: https://www.fix.com/blog/keeping-fit-on-resort-vacation/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What’s Your Fitness Personality? Picking the Best Class For You

Long before I worked in fitness as a personal trainer and group exercise instructor, I was a group fitness junkie. I was the one who showed up early to get the step and risers set up so I could claim a great spot in class, and I’d race home from the studio to practice the choreography at home.

You name the class, and I’ve probably taken it. I’ve taken hip hop dance classes, aerial silks, yoga (all formats), step, boot camps, and more. And each type of class has its own benefits.

In general, though, you get out what you put in. You can take a really intense boot camp class and only burn a few calories if you don’t follow the instructions. You can find yourself sweaty and wiped out after a Pilates or dance class because of the intensity of the moves.

So let’s take a quick look at a list of general class formats, and then we’ll dive deeper.

  • Cardio: generally, your goal here is to get your heart rate up, either through intervals or a pyramid structure (low intensity, medium intensity, high intensity, and then back down)
  • Strength: your goal here is to build muscle mass and/or strength
  • Core: your goal is to increase your core strength so that you can have better functional fitness

Most classes have more than one benefit, though – so a class that includes cardio may also feature a strength component, and, of course, when we use our full range of motion and move across our planes, we will naturally have some overlap (yay, three for one!).

Some popular formats and certification agencies include Les Mills (BODYPUMP, BODYBALANCE, etc.), BeachBody (PiYo Strength, Turbo Kick, CIZE LIVE, etc.), various barre/ballet programs (Pure Barre, Total Barre, etc.), various spin classes. In these cases, the class really doesn’t vary much from instructor to instructor or class to class. Some of them are totally pre-choreographed, meaning that the songs and moves don’t change; others have a basic outline, but each teacher can have some flexibility on how the class is presented.

Again, the key to getting a good workout lies within you. Nobody can make you turn the dial up on your stationary bike to make the hill climbs more intense or force you to go a little deeper during a squat series.

Remember that your weight, fitness level, intensity, and age all make a difference in how effective your workout is. I absolutely believe that most classes can be modified for every student, but there are a few things to keep in mind.

If you have joint issues or injuries, you may want to avoid higher-impact classes. But that doesn’t mean you have to avoid high intensity! With a doctor’s or medical provider’s oversight, you can get a great bodyweight workout that raises your heart rate and helps with muscle strength and power, builds bone density, and helps you lose weight without doing any plyometric or jump training.

If you love to dance but have trouble with advanced choreography, try a class like Zumba or Barre. You’ll typically follow the same or a similar format from week to week, so it can really help you gain confidence and retain the moves and postures without getting overwhelmed.

Have great muscle strength but really struggle with balance? A yoga class might be the perfect supplement to what you’re already doing.

If you aren’t sure which type of class is best for you, try as many as you can before making a decision! Boot camps just aren’t for me. They work well, and others love them – it just stresses me out to have that level of intensity and rapid-fire circuit training. But my beloved kickboxing and dance classes feel wrong to others.

Source: https://www.fix.com/blog/the-right-fitness-class-for-you/

Increase Productivity And Have An Active Lifestyle

Are you getting stressed out with all the tiring work activities and you have this feeling that you cannot do all the things with accuracy and confidence? Maybe, you should give yourself a break. For you to be able to have a healthier lifestyle, here are some useful tips that can help you reach your full potential and increase your work productivity.

Tips on having an active lifestyle

Discipline and determination are two essential factors needed to have an active lifestyle. Here are the top useful tips that you should follow to achieve this way of life.

Eating Healthy

This is the basic tip for your active lifestyle. Food is your source of energy. You have to eat healthy foods in order to gain more vitamins and minerals that will provide your body with essential nutrients. Here are some tips with regards to food consumption.

  • Choose foods that have less unhealthy fats. These unhealthy fats include saturated and Trans fats. These fats are the cause of high level of LDL cholesterol that can  lead to heart disease.
  • You should eat healthy fats moderately. These fats can increase the level of your HDL cholesterol which can help in terms of reducing your chances of developing heart disease.
  • Choose foods which have low sugar level and are rich in carbohydrates. As much as possible, minimize your consumption of soft drinks, white bread and sweets. You can eat fresh fruits and whole grain bread.

Exercise Regularly

This is intended for you to not only look great but to also have a flexible and healthy body. These include:

  • Stretching- this is important to do before and after a workout to improve your flexibility, blood circulation and to decrease risk of injury.
  • Go to your chosen workout gym three to five times per week- you can mix it up, numerous gyms nowadays offer classes so that you can try different things and keep your workouts interesting
  • Exercise with a friend or neighbor- Having a workout buddy means that you can motivate and push each other to exercise and have fun while doing so
  • – Exercise at home- If you can’t make it to the gym one day, don’t neglect your workouts, there are numerous activities you can do at home to keep fit such as jumping jacks, squats, push ups/sit ups etc. Be proactive with your health- Go to work by biking or walking instead or take the stairs instead of the elevator, these small changes to your daily routine can have a big impact on your overall well-being

Avoid unhealthy habits

Unhealthy habits can ruin your efforts from the start. These include excessive drinking of alcoholic beverages, high intake of caffeine, junk food and sodas, irregular meal times and no exercise. Instead, eat lots of fruits and vegetables, try and have six small meals throughout the day instead of three big ones, this way you’ll feel more satisfied and also increase your metabolism. Sleep is also a vital aspect of being healthy, make sure you get enough sleep at night to freshen up your mind and body.

Always have proper hygiene

You can start this thing by showering every day. This is the key for you to feel more energized and refreshed. You must also brush your teeth every day, every after meal as well as flossing.  Make sure also that you are cleaning your feet in order to prevent foot problems. And lastly, always clean clothes at all times especially when you are going to work.

These are the things that you have to follow if you want to have an active lifestyle and increase your productivity at your work. Impress everyone with the new you and make your best everyday!