How to Develop Your Own Workout Routine

If you’re struggling to see real results in your current workout routine, or looking to start for the first time, planning your new exercise schedule beforehand is crucial. Important factors to take into consideration include your age, weight, diet, daily habits, and much more. With that said, the best workout routine you can develop should be based solely on your personal goals to best fit your needs.

Take into account how much time you are able to commit to exercising. If you have a fairly loose schedule and are able to commute to the gym, or workout in your own home three to four times a week, you’ll be able to incorporate more exercises or devote more time to one specific muscle group. If you have a bit of a tighter schedule, don’t let that deter you from working out altogether. Try to squeeze in at least 30 minutes of exercise focusing on a type of your choice. Working out for even small periods of time is better than not working out at all.

The next step in developing your routine is deciding what exercises to perform. What areas of your body do you wish to improve? For beginners, it is typically recommended to perform a general, full-body routine that targets all muscle groups and cardiovascular abilities. This way, you’re not only improving overall strength and endurance, but reaping the health benefits of every exercise possible. For example, combining simple movements like pushing, pulling, and squatting incorporates virtually every muscle group, and comes with a variety of different exercises.

It’s important to note however, that performing the same workout routine every day for months will begin to yield less and less results. Your body needs to be challenged in order to truly benefit from exercise. Running for 15 minutes followed by the same weight training exercises every workout will help, but only for so long. Mix up your routine every now and then, but be sure to give yourself a proper amount of resting time. Going to the gym and hitting the weights every single day is guaranteed to lead to an injury.

The length of your workout is another important thing to consider. It is strongly suggested that you workout for at least 45 minutes, but no longer than an hour. Try to fit as much into the time slot as you possibly can. Faster, more intense workouts typically see the best results. If you’ve reached the hour of your workout routine and you feel as though you can continue with little trouble, you’re not pushing yourself hard enough.

 
Developing your own workout routine can be overwhelming given the number of exercises that are out there. To make things simpler, take a step back and focus on what you want to get out of exercising, and choose your methods accordingly. This is the first step towards a better life, both physically and mentally.

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How to Become a GYROTONIC® Instructor

In recent fitness news, GYROTONIC® is a new workout regime that helps people work on their range of motion in a revolutionary way. The GYROTONIC® workout does what few other workout programs do; it helps people move their bodies in comprehensive ways instead of on a single linear plane. This wide variety of motion helps participants become more flexible and strengthen their bodies. There are incredible benefits to this type of workout and new people constantly join the movement. If you’re interested in becoming a certified GYROTONIC® instructor, read on to learn how to make that happen.

What do instructors do?

GYROTONIC® instructors help those taking classes perform the movements and exercises in a safe and effective way. Because of the unique nature of GYROTONIC®, it takes special expertise to know how to properly perform the exercise routine. You’re moving your body in ways that are foreign to what you’re used to, so it’s important that an instructor understands the program and can successfully assist those in their class.

Benefits of certification?

Once you get certified as a GYROTONIC® instructor, you have access to more classes and exclusive learning experiences that others wouldn’t normally have. You can teach GYROTONIC® classes anywhere and have another skill you can add to your resume. For general fitness instructors, getting certified in GYROTONIC® shows that you’re aware of current trends and ideas in the fitness world and are willing to try new workouts; it makes you a valuable asset. Right now, there are not many GYROTONIC® trainers offering classes, so your skills will be in high demand in many areas.

How do you get certified?

You must first take the level 1 training program and then you can work your way up from there, getting certified to teach various class types and levels. The training program takes 188 hours and fully prepares students to teach others how to complete a comprehensive workout on Gyrotonic Pulley Tower Combination Unit. Instructors must continue to attend further classes every two years and have exclusive access to in-depth classes about various techniques and equipment.

 
This page has more information on what is required to become a trainer and what benefits you’ll receive.

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Why Tap Dancing Can Improve Your Fitness

Tap dance is a traditionally American type of dance, but it has its origins in a mix of other rhythmic dance techniques, such as African foot stomping, 17th-century clog dancing, and even Irish jigs. The dance incorporates various aspects, such as attention to the beat, creating your own music, and controlling your body in a way that allows you to make measured movements that create a routine.

Tap gained popularity by its frequency in musicals during the 1900s. No longer just for musical theater, tap dance is now a type of dance that’s enjoyed all over the world by people of all backgrounds and ages. Besides being a lot of fun, tap dance can also be a great workout!


Strengthens core

Tap dancing is incredibly beneficial because it strengthens your core muscles. While your core includes your front abs, it also affects the interior abs that wrap around your middle. Instead of focusing only on your visible abs, tap dancing allows you to strengthen your entire core, which is more beneficial and leads to more comprehensive fitness and better, overall health. Here’s a program you can do at home that utilizes tap dancing!

Great cardiovascular exercise

Cardiovascular exercise improves your heart rate and significantly helps fight fat. Tap is a fantastic cardio workout and a great alternative to running on the treadmill. You’ll enjoy dancing, and in a single session, you can burn anywhere between 300-600 calories, depending on the intensity and length of your tap dancing.

Tones leg muscles

While tap dancing includes some degree of upper body work, the main focus is your legs and core. Through dancing, you’ll build strong leg muscles, fight off cellulite, and get rid of fat. As you continue with tap dancing, you’ll notice how your endurance builds up as your legs become stronger. This short video shows a variety of people doing a tap dance workout.

Helps balance

As you increase your core muscles, your balance will be improved. Tap also requires dancers to stand up straight and hold the good posture, which helps your balance and takes the stress off your lower and upper back. Working on your balance and posture will lead to fewer back issues later in life and can even improve current issues you may experience.

 

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What are the Benefits of the GYROTONIC® Routine?

GYROTONIC® is an up-and-coming fitness routine that improves people’s range of motion and prevents future injury using a unique method that is unlike other workout routines. For more background on what exactly GYROTONIC® is and how it’s done, take a look at my previous blog on the topic. This exercise routine can benefit anyone at any level of fitness, though it’ll take some time to adjust to the equipment used and the specific way you’re required to move your body.

Strengthen the spine

The main goal of the GYROTONIC® routine is to strengthen your spine. A lot of stress sits in the spine and negatively affects posture and stress throughout your back, which impacts your entire life. By utilizing GYROTONIC®, participants will be able to loosen their spine and make it stronger in order to fight stress. This benefit is particularly helpful for those who spend a lot of time sitting or hunching over a desk or keyboard.

Greater balance and flexibility

GYROTONIC® uses a great deal of balance increasing exercises by having you move your body into non-vertical positions. While these movements at first feel unnatural, your inner ear adjusts its internal righting mechanism and you’ll eventually feel more at ease when not vertical. You’ll have better natural balance when bending or twisting, because your internal balance will more quickly adjust to your changing movements.

Releases tension from pregnancy

Using the routine during and after pregnancy can immensely help pregnant women with physical discomfort. GYROTONIC® is a surefire way to release lower back stress and retain flexibility even when pregnant. Regularly doing this routine can prevent fatigue that’s common during pregnancy. Though, like any exercise during a pregnancy, caution should be taken to ensure that the exercise is appropriate for you and will not jeopardize your, or the baby’s, health.

Promotes healthy joints

A final benefit of the GYROTONIC® routine is that it keeps your joints healthy. By working on increasing your range of motion, you’ll improve your joints as well. You’ll be less likely to get arthritis by keeping up a healthy range of motion. If you continue with the GYROTONIC® routine, the synovial fluid in your joints flows more easily, promoting joint health and greater movement.

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Best Flute Players of All Time – Part 1

Music has been a part of my life for a very long time. I started playing the flute almost on a whim when I was in high school; I had no idea I would form such a deep love and connection with it. I’ve been playing flute ever since, and while I didn’t choose to turn my passion for the flute into a career it’s still a huge part of my life.

This month, I wanted to share some of my favorite flautists, the ones who, in my opinion, are some of the greatest of all time.

 

William Bennett(1936-)

The child of two architects, William was destined to be a creative mind. He studied under the famed English flautist Geoffrey Gilbert and attended the Guildhall School of Music and Drama.   Bennett accepted the first principal flute position at BBC Northern Orchestra (which is currently the BBC Philharmonic) when he was just twenty two years old. Bennett is not only an excellent musician, but he is also an innovator. The Altus-Bennett Scale is based on his work and is hailed as a scale that “offers excellent intonation, carefully tuned harmonics, and balanced registers.” William Bennett received the National Flute Association’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2002.

Matt Molloy (1947-)

Matt began playing the flute when he was eight years old, and won the All-Ireland Flute Championship just ten years later at age 18.  He reigns from Ballaghaderreen, County Roscommon, which is an area that has a legacy of creating extraordinarily talented flute players. He is world renowned and his piping technique is known to have been influential to several contemporary flautists. Matt founded the folk group, The Bothy Band and has worked on several notable music projects, including working with the Irish Chamber Orchestra.

 

Watazumi Doso Roshi(1910 – 1992)

Watazumi Doso played the Japanese bamboo flute, and was a master of his craft. The bamboo flute that Doso Roshi played is incredibly interesting because it was actually used by a sect of Zen priests as a disguised weapon.

Doso Roshi was a pupil of Rinzai school, which is one of the sects of Zen in Japanese buddhism, and obtained the title of Roshi in his lifetime. He later shunned the traditional Zen practice, and devised his own practice of breathing training and vigorous exercise. Doso Roshi did not regard himself strictly as a “musician”. He believed his practice was directly related to his dedication to his vigorous physical discipline.


Check back next month to discover a few more of my favorite famed flautists!

 

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Singing Bowls: The Answer to Your Stress

tibetan singing bowl

Singing Bowls are technically not “music”, but they are one of the most fascinating implements I’ve come across is my journey through yoga and meditation.

Passed for centuries through many generations, Singing Bowls are used for both meditation and healing. As I mentioned in this blog post, music and sounds are deeply linked to our health, and vibrations can be used for healing purposes in a variety of scenarios. The singing bowls produce sonic waves that work to heal both physically and emotionally.

 

What Are Singing Bowls?

The singing bowls are technically bells. Unlike standard bells, the singing bowls rest with their closed surface on the ground, and the rims are stimulated to produce sounds in the first through third harmonics. In their countries of origin, the bowls are used to either start & end meditation, or to initiate a change in activity.

How Are They Played?

  1. Singing Bowls are held in your left hand, (palm for larger bowls, and fingertips for smaller ones). A mallet is held with fingertips and palms pointing downwards.
  2. Once you’re properly positioned, you must tap the mallet along the side of the bowl to “wake it up”.
  3. Then, run the mallet in a clockwise direction along the lip of the bowl. Use pressure, as the friction between mallet and bowl is what actually creates the sound. This is not a movement of the wrist, you should be using your entire arm for the motion.

How Do Singing Bowls Heal?

The waves that the singing bowl produces push our brain into accessing Theta brain wave frequencies. The higher end of the theta brain wave spectrum is the area that is deeply entwined with healing. Theta brain waves push our minds into a more peaceful state, and allow for easy transition into meditation. When the brain is in a meditative state, our nervous system engages with the sound vibrations, which in turn triggers relaxation and curbs the activity of pain and stress receptors.

Dr. Herbert Benson’s research found that stress in the body is directly related to both physical and emotional blockages throughout the body. He noted that true health would not be possible if unchecked stress was left within the mind and body. Bodies need stress relief to elicit the “relaxation response”, which is a “a physical state of deep rest that changes the physical and emotional responses to stress”. The singing bowl’s ability to produce theta brainwaves plays directly into their ability to create the relaxation response in those who are listening.

I highly encourage everyone to use a singing bowl if you have the chance. But in the meantime, here’s a great video of what the singing bowl experience is like:

 


 

Sources: JevonDangeli &  Bodhisattva

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Negative Effects of Poor Posture

Negative Effects of Poor Posture

Last Updated: Jun 04, 2015 | By Chris Sherwood

Negative Effects of Poor Posture
A woman sitting tall in lotus pose in a studio. Photo Credit Comstock/Stockbyte/Getty Images

Overview

Posture is an important part of preventing problems ranging from back pain to fatigue. When the back is straight, the spine is supported and stabilized, but as you slouch or practice other methods of poor posture, your spine no longer has the support it needs to stay balanced, leading to many health problems.

Sore Muscles

The most common effect of poor posture are sore muscles. As you slouch, the muscles have to work harder to keep the spine stabilized and protected. The extra work on these muscles can cause muscle tightness and fatigue. This can lead to chronic issues with tight and sore muscles from the neck all the way down to the lower back. Two major muscle groups that bare the brunt of these issues are the flexors and extensors of the trunk, which allow you to bend forward and lift objects.

Spinal Curvature

One of the most serious issues that can occur with bad posture is developing a spinal curvature. According to the Chiropractic Resource Organization, the human spine has four natural curves that make up an “s” shape. When bad posture is practiced, the spine can experience pressure, slowly influencing the spine curves to change their positions. The spine is specifically designed to help absorb shock and keep you balanced, but as the spinal position changes, this ability becomes compromised.

Subluxations

Once the spinal curve is altered, one major issue that can occur are subluxations. Vertebral subluxations occur when a vertebrae become misaligned from the rest of the spine. This affects the overall integrity of the rest of the spinal column. These misalignments can eventually cause chronic health problems including stress and irritation of surrounding spinal nerves.

Blood Vessel Constriction

As bad posture changes the alignment of the spine, the resulting movement and subluxations can cause problems with blood vessel constriction. The constriction of the blood vessels around the spine can cut off blood supply to the cells of the muscles, which can affect nutrient and oxygen supply. Blood vessel constriction can also raise your chances of clot formation and issues with deep vein thrombosis.

Nerve Constriction

One of the most common side effects of bad posture is nerve constriction. As the spine changes in shape, the resulting movements or subluxations can put pressure on the surrounding spinal nerves. Because the nerves that connect to the spine come from all over the body, these pinched nerves can not only cause neck and back pain but may also cause pain in other unrelated areas of the body.

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