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Get hot but don’t overheat with Bikram Yoga

The article Some Like It Hot http://www.theage.com.au/lifestyle/some-like-it-hot-20130211-2e799.html was featured recently in The Saturday Age on 16 February, 2013. It chronicles the experience of Benjamin Lorr, a New York resident who describes his 2-year boom to bust intensive journey with Bikram Yoga. Some articles have a way of creating controversy over their subjects, and it seems this one is no exception.

Lorr was overweight and largely inactive and decided to do something about it. He thought yoga would be a good start. With a plethora of different types of yoga to choose from, he unwittingly stumbled across a Bikram Yoga studio as it was the one to his house. Bikram Yoga follows a series of 26 poses developed by founder Bikram Choudhury. It’s a little different to regular yoga those poses are performed in a room that is heated to 40.6 degrees Celsius – a bit hotter than usual for most of us, unless you call the Kimberley or the Pilbara home.

Bikram Yoga has been steadily growing in Australia over the last few years and numerous students speak of the enormous health benefits it confers, not least of the weight they have lost from regular commitment to classes, but just like any intensive sport or activity which requires a high degree of skill and challenge, for the inexperienced practitioner a slow escalation of frequency and intensity is vital to preventing injury. In the case of Bikram Yoga, it is also vital to be prepared for lack of acclimatisation to hot environments.

So, if you’re planning to get into Bikram Yoga, it’s best to allow your body to acclimatise to the heat in the first couple of weeks and to take it easy in that time. It can take the body up to two weeks to acclimatise to hot environments, so it’s best to allow your body that time to get used to the hot conditions. You will also need to be well hydrated before you start your classes as you could sweat up to a litre or more per hour depending on your own sweat rate. If you don’t replace the fluids you lose in sweat, you could land yourself in a hot nasty place. Even mild to moderate dehydration can have unpleasant side-effects including dizziness, hallucinations, heat rash, severe fatigue and muscle weakness. Even if you’re cramping, it’s a sure sign you’re dehydrated and lacking in electrolytes.

A lot of people think that sweat is just plain water, but it contains much more than just water alone – it contains vital electrolytes like Sodium, Potassium, Calcium and Magnesium. The body can generally get these from food during the course of a regular day when intense activity isn’t performed, but, in the hot environment of a Bikram Yoga studio, you need to rely on more than water and the food you eat to replace those lost electrolytes. It’s best to go for an electrolyte formula that matches body chemistry. AquaForce aims to replicate the concentration of the electrolytes you lose in sweat and in the bloodstream, making it rapidly absorbed for immediate uptake by working cells. Having these electrolytes in your system could prevent heat fatigue or more severe forms of heat illness from occurring and it’s wise to drink at least some form of electrolyte beverage before and after your Bikram classes to stay hydrated and to treat and prevent dehydration. AquaForce has helped lots of people stay hydrated and reduce related fatigue during their Bikram Yoga classses - check out what Elise had to say about how it’s helped her: http://www.aquaforcelife.com.au/the-word-on-the-street/.

Take a look at this Bikram Yoga blog for more information on health and nutrition tips: http://bikramyogafitzroy.com.au/blogs.php.  Enjoy Bikram Yoga – if you prepare properly and take it slow as you get adjusted to the heat you’re sure to reap its benefits.

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Filed Under: Acclimatisation, AquaGirl, Bikram Yoga, Fitness, Hydration, Weight Loss | | Comments Off  

Should I sleep or go to the gym?

The pressure is slowly creeping up at work and I’m feeling it. Sleep sounds like a better option than the gym but I force myself to go and always end up glad I did. I can see my fitness improving although the weight loss has stalled.
It’s hard to keep on top of it all when there is always something more pressing. My job has a lot of deadlines and I find myself missing meals which means I am suddenly starving and in need of the vending machine. There have been days when I’ve forgotten my trusty bottle of Aquaforce and gone most of the day without drinking (I don’t drink tea or coffee). But I’ve learnt I feel better when I drink more so now I sit the bottle on the kitchen bench the night before so I don’t forget it! Sad to say I just can’t keep on top of the diet so I’m focusing on working out. I know it won’t translate to weight loss but exercising makes me feel strong and for the first time in a long while I’m not bothered by aching knees.

Prioritising my time is hard. By the time I get to me its bedtime! I’m very lucky to have a trainer who keeps tabs on me. If it wasn’t for Kelly I would probably have given up on the gym. I’m managing to get there at least 3 times a week and get outside in the weekend. My field is now home to the local football team so I’ve been alternating walking and running between lamp posts with the dogs. My dogs get so excited when they see me put my running shoes on and I feel so mean if I’m headed out the door to the gym!

It’s because I can!

Some days everything just falls into place and others, well, it feels like the world is collapsing round your feet. It’s the times when the daily grind is threatening to overwhelm that reconnecting with what feels good becomes even more important. Think Happy Gilmore not drunken rampage. Think happy place.

I found my long lost happy place when I took a couple of days off work and concentrated on me for a bit. I didn’t sit around, I walked the dogs, gardened and I put myself through a mini boot camp that involved getting outside and wait for it – running (jogging is more accurate).

That might not sound like much, but for me it’s a big deal. My knees have copped plenty of abuse and running was on the list of no-can-dos. I had discovered the local footy field was level and forgiving – just right for me to shuffle around. My trainer Kelly and I jogged around the field early in the morning. It sounds silly but it was exhilarating. I wasn’t breaking any records but I was jogging and not suffering any consequences. Being outside and feeling the sun on your skin is a great feeling. That first jog I did 20 minutes and I think I was less tired when I finished than when I started!

I realised that for a long time I’d been internally focusing on what I couldn’t do instead of what I could.  It’s easy to get sucked into thinking things are impossible but until you try you won’t know for sure. So now I’ve added running to the weekly workout. It might only be 20 minutes but it’s a start. Not every day is problem free but if I had to say why I run – it’s because I can.

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Filed Under: Contributors, Fi Collins, Fitness, Gym Workouts, Running, Training, Weight Loss | | Comments Off  

Get Fit and Shed Kilos - My Goals for 2012

Like most people getting fit was on the top of my New Year’s resolutions. I had been going to the gym a couple of times a week but not really putting much emphasis on it. So New Year, new me and as someone who is fast approaching the big 50 milestone I figured it was time to get serious. My change in attitude was helped by the fact that I had given my knees a bit of a thrashing over the years and now I’m paying the price – getting fit and losing weight is part of my long term goal to avoid surgery.

Since the beginning of the year I’ve been pretty focused – I make it to the gym at least 5 times a week. The treadmill is a no-no so I get my cardio from a combination of cycling, cross trainer and the rowing machine. I do high intensity bursts throughout a 40 minute session. Right now the rower is still my nemesis. I really need to work on my upper body! Strengthening the muscles around my knees and working on core strength, round out my basic program.

Through the week I have a couple of sessions with my trainer – this can be anything from boxing to weights, to cxworx. I’m never bored and always challenged with Kelly! She pushes me harder than I would by myself. I’ve got to the point now I feel like my day is missing something if I don’t get some form of exercise. But I also have learnt to accept that sometimes a busy schedule can mean missing a day every so often. I’ve had to travel a bit already this year so I’m always pleased when I find a way to include some exercise.

In the last month I’ve started tackling my eating habits – this has been hard, no one likes to admit they have bad habits! A food diary made me realise I was eating in response to stress. Now I stop and ask myself why am I eating – am I really hungry?

I’ve been a fan of Aquaforce for several years but I had only been using it when I was active, now I drink it throughout the day as well as when I work out – I’ve always believed it helped with focus and I find I actually drink more than if I was drinking plain water so I know I’m staying well hydrated. My son now joins me at the gym and he is also an Aquaforce fan.

So far I’ve seen a decrease in my overall measurements but only a minor decrease in weight. My fitness and energy has improved markedly which is very satisfying. The next step is to enlist the help of a dietician – I think I’m doing the right things but it would be nice to see better results! I have a goal for my birthday later this year and I want to reach it!