bookmark_borderBody Shaping Exercise Secrets

Body shaping is not bodybuilding, power-lifting, or weight training. These forms of exercise are not for everybody – but body shaping can be, especially for women who are not satisfied with the shape of their body.

Too fat and flabby or too skinny and unshapely? A well structured body shaping exercise program can be the missing link between you and the sexy body you desire and deserve.

Body shaping is the wise use of certain principles of exercise, fitness and smart nutrition to manifest desired changes in the body. Much too often, the term is confused with other types of exercise programs that are not conducive to firming and shaping the female body, safely and efficiently.

There are several elements of body shaping, although not all elements apply to all women. Fat removal, cellulite reduction, skin tightening, feminine muscle shaping, inches lost, changes in body composition levels, shaping curvy thighs or a rounder butt, toning up the arms and shoulders, losing stomach flab – these can all fall under the heading of body shaping for women.

Two ladies with very different goals can follow the same type of fitness program while adhering to nutritional plans that are structured to be in line with their goals, and dependent on their starting points, with measurable progress and consistent success.

A woman who is sixty-three pounds over weight and wanting to lose body fat has the same ‘body’ (a human body) as a woman who is slightly under weight and wants to gain some muscle weight, through body shaping exercises, while improving her overall level of fitness. Although there may be differences in natural abilities of coordination or strength they can both do the same exercise routine. Differences in caloric intake and the quality of foods eaten will be the factor that brings each of these women closer to their individual body shaping goals.

Cardiovascular exercise may be slightly different. The woman who wants to lose body fat to achieve body shaping results, will devote a larger amount of time to cardiovascular exercise (25 – 40 minutes) as compared to the woman who wants to build up certain areas of her body to become more shapely(15 – 25 minutes).

Some body shaping programs try to combine the resistance exercise with cardiovascular exercise. While this is not easy, and most programs fall short of doing this successfully, it is possible – especially when the body shaping program uses body-weight exercise principles.

A body shaping program is not usually found in the gym setting. You either have individual programs of weight training and machine exercises or large group classes doing some form of aerobics with some basic body shaping moves. True body shaping takes advantage of gravity, body-weight and kinesiology to bring about changes in the female body through full body conditioning and targeted muscle shaping exercises and workouts. When these factors are combined properly, you can realistically expect to see definite results within three to four weeks – especially when a moderate amount of attention is paid to nutritional intake and daily calories.

bookmark_borderPower of Supersetting

Supersetting is doing two different exercises back to back without stopping for rest. There are numerous benefits to supersetting. It shocks your body in doing something different. Doing the same same exercises every week can be boring and should be altered to suit the trainee`s needs. Supersetting is an easy way to try something different. If you`re short on time, it is one of the quickest ways of getting in a workout.

Supersetting is a great way to add muscle mass to your body. It will also be benefiting from an aerobic workout since switching from different exercises will keep your body guessing. This could even lead to fat loss as your body is metabolising more calories.

Supersetting every training can lead to boredom just as easily as any wokrout program available. The key is not allowing your body to adapt. So change your workout around. No two gym sessions should ever be the same.

You need to be extra careful while doing supersets as the rotation of exercises, in a fatigued state, is dangerous. Use common sense, don`t use more weight than what you can handle and you should be on your way to achieving a great body. Until next time, later.

bookmark_borderExercising In The Heat

Apart from the obvious source of heat: the environment, the body also has another major contributor: metabolic processes. Anything that increases energy production, the release of hormones, or basal metabolic rate, also increases heat production.

Body temperature reflects the balance between heat production and heat loss. As we exercise we increase our body temperature and for us to be able to continue we must be able to release the excess heat.

This is done using the circulatory system. The heat is carried by the blood, to the skin. It is then released into the external environment.

The release of heat is completed by any of 4 mechanisms:

  • Conduction: the heat is transferred through contact with another object. This object must have a lower temperature. The body loses only small amounts of heat due to this process.
  • Convection: the heat is transferred by the motion of a gas or liquid (eg, air across the skin when running, or water across the skin when swimming). As these air or water molecules come into contact with the body, heat is released to them, they move on, and are replaced by cooler molecules.
  • Radiation: the heat is transferred from one object to another without contact. This can result in heat loss or heat gain, depending on the environmental conditions
  • Evaporation: heat is transferred through the evaporation of bodily fluids when brought into contact with the external environment (eg, sweat evaporating off the skin, and to a lesser extent our breathe as we exhale). This is usually the most important form of heat loss during exercise. In this process the heat is transferred from the body, to water on the surface of the skin (sweat). When the sweat reaches a certain temperature it is converted to a gas and the heat is released into the environment.

What does all this mean to the average exerciser?
The human body’s automatic temperature controls work very well, but you’ll perform much better if you follow these guidelines:

  • Expose as much of the skin as possible to the open air. This will not only allow the sweat on your skin to evaporate, but it will also allow some heat loss via convection.
  • If you are not able to expose much skin (eg, sports uniform), then take frequent water breaks.
  • Wear cotton clothing whenever possible.
  • In extremely hot weather, take frequent rest periods.
  • If you do not regularly exercise in hot conditions, take time to acclimatize before participating in high intensity exercise.

bookmark_borderIntervals to Improve Endurance

Muscles are made up of millions of individual fibers. Each fiber is a single muscular thread that functions independently. When you contract a muscle, you contract only a small percentage of these fibers at the same time. As each muscle fiber fatigues, you lose the ability to contract that fiber. When enough of these fibers stop contracting efficiently, you lose strength and your muscles feel tired. However, stronger fibers take longer to fatigue because they are being worked at a lower percentage of their capacity. So stronger muscles can be exercised for longer periods of time.

Making each muscle fiber stronger and bigger, allows it to exert force for a longer period of time and therefore, increases endurance. The only way to make a muscle stronger is to exercise that muscle against progressively greater resistance, and that applies to each muscle fiber also. It is impossible to put great pressure on a muscle for a long time. When you do all-out fast bursts for a short time, you exert so much pressure that you have to back off after a few seconds or up to a minute or two. All-out sprints for a short period followed by resting and then repeating the sprint is called interval training. It makes the entire muscle stronger and delays fatigue.

Athletes in all sports use long and short intervals. Short intervals take less than 30 seconds and because you do not build up significant amounts of lactic acid in that time, you can do hundreds of repeats in a single workout. Long intervals take two to three minutes and are very damaging to your muscles. Because you feel burning in your muscles and become very short of breath, you can do only a few of these in a single workout. So athletes in all sports that require endurance do both long and short intervals to help them exercise longer.

bookmark_borderImprove Stamina

  • Skipping: Start small. Skip for some time daily – as long as you feel comfortable. Each week try to increase the duration a little. This can have a good effect on increasing your stamina.
  • Running on the Spot: Run on the spot for a set period of time, like 2 minutes to start with. Later as days pass by you can increase it to maybe 5 minutes etc.
  • Swimming: Everybody must be aware of the good effects of swimming. It is a very good exercise. If you make a habit to swim at least 30 minutes everyday it can do wonders for your stamina.
  • Cycling: This is another very good exercise for increasing stamina vastly. All the above mentioned exercises not only improve our stamina, they come with a wide range of other health benefits too.
  • When working out, keep in mind two things: overload and progression. Overload is necessary to improve stamina, but don’t overdo it. If you are getting irritable or depressed, they can be the first signs of fatigue. Progression means to keep on improving.

bookmark_borderYoga Mats

Sticky Mats

These yoga mats offer a covering for your practice area, as well as some stability for you when doing poses. They are thin, lightweight, and come in a variety of colors. Some of them have guide marks on them to illustrate proper hand and foot placements. In order for these mats to be sticky and prevent you from slipping and sliding, you need to sprinkle them with a small amount of water and let them air dry. You can use these mats for most types of yoga.

Ultra Double Thickness Mats

These yoga mats are basically sticky mats that are ultra thick. They provide both stability and cushioning which is useful in certain poses. They can be a great choice for Astanga practitioners who often jump from one pose to another. I personally love the ultra thick mats because of the extra cushioning they provide. It is the only type I take with me to classes.

Travel Mats

This type of yoga mat is great to throw in your suitcase or carryon luggage when you are on the go, so you can practice no matter where you are. Travel yoga mats are very thin. You would use one either on a carpeted floor or on top of a towel or blanket on a floor that isn’t carpeted.

Cotton Mats

These yoga mats are excellent for those types of yoga that traditionally cause you to sweat a lot such as Astanga or Bikram. Because they absorb sweat, they help keep you from slipping and sliding during these heat-producing practices. They work best when they are sprinkled with a small amount of water. The damp mat gives you a good amount of traction so your hands and feet stay where you place them. Many of them have lines in the patterns, which can help with your body alignment.

Cotton mats also provide cushioning. They can substitute for blankets by helping to bolster your body during certain asanas. Some people use cotton mats over sticky mats during their practice.

Yoga Mat Bag

A yoga mat bag is a great accessory for carrying your yoga mat or mats to class, work, or anywhere else you need to go. Many have extra space where you can put your keys, water bottle, and tee shirt. The bag protects your mat and helps make it easier for you to transport your yoga gear.

bookmark_borderAbdominal Flattening

You need a strong body core in order to do almost every daily task. Your core is used to help you get out of bed, lift children, to perform your job (even if your job consists of sitting in a chair all day) and to take you places.

Before discussing abdominal flattening exercises any further, lets take a look at just what your body core is.

Most people are confused when it comes to knowing exactly what their body core consists of. Some think it’s just their abdominal muscles, others think it’s their back, while others just don’t know.

Let’s explain it here.

Your body core is made up of the middle section of your entire body. It starts at your shoulders and goes all the way to your groin – in both the front and the back.

Therefore your core will include your pelvis, abdominal muscles (including the obliques), your upper, middle and lower back and the muscles that make up your chest.

It is this core that offers stability, balance and flexibility. That’s why when you are performing abdominal flattening exercises you must make sure that they are good abdominal exercises that also develop your core.

Just because an abdominal exercise or piece of infomercial abdominal equipment is said to be good for your abs it may not be if it doesn’t help your body core become stronger.

Every time you move your core comes in to play. Even when performing simple tasks, such as rolling over in bed at night, combing your hair or competing in some type of athletic event. If your body core is not properly conditioned through good abdominal flattening exercises in addition to exercises that work the rest of your core, it will limit your physical abilities.

You cannot focus on one aspect of your core such as your abdominal muscles and not pay the same attention to the rest of your core. If you do you will at the very least end up with a muscle imbalance, which can lead to injury.

Effectively exercising your body core muscles will improve the effectiveness of movements in your limbs. When you create a secure, strong base for all of your muscles you can optimize your results for each one.

As you know, you need to provide your body with proper nutrition, good clean water and exercise.

Your limbs provide the ability to move, lift objects, etc. it’s your body core that provides the basis of each. If you are inactive, in addition to being in poor health, your muscles will weaken and can easily become injured.

Even if you workout or participate in sports, use the best abdominal flattening exercises available, you may not be working the body core muscles you need to.

In addition to effective abdominal flattening exercises what can you do to strengthen and develop your core?

Well there are a number of ways. There are many basic exercise routines and pieces of exercise equipment you can find that are very effective at developing the muscles in your core.

Personal trainers can create a customized exercise routine in order to properly develop your core depending on your goals, abilities, etc.

The exercises you can use to develop your body core do so by creating resistance or instability so that your core muscles respond to in such a way as to maintain proper balance.

Body core exercises, such as good abdominal flattening exercises need to be gentle on your joints but intense enough as to promote a positive change in the muscle structure.

One of the most important things to remember is that you must use proper form at all times on all exercises including abdominal flattening exercises.

All body core exercises, including abdominal flattening exercises are functional exercises. This means that while exercising, your body moves in the same way it moves during activities in your everyday life.

bookmark_borderActive Recovery for Exercise

The body needs a break and rest from our routines. When we change the routines, we are allowing our bodies to rest and recover properly. For example, a runner might need to rest from an injury. The water can be a great source of active recovery for people who exercise and athletes. Using a pool to do a light workout can be one way to change our routines. The key is allowing the muscles to recover by doing something completely different and less intense for our bodies. Stretching and using a foam roller are commonly used for active recovery techniques since it may help prevent injury. Stretching is often overlooked but is a great idea for active recovery since everyone needs flexibility.

Active recovery is not to be confused with cross-training. Both are different but the main difference is the activities for cross-training might still be intense. The activities for active recovery would most likely be less intense. This is only because the muscles need rest and recovery. Someone doing cross-training might run and swim with the same intensity on different days. A person should try to do less on off days and remember they are recovering from the main activity they are focusing on. This is why I strongly feel the exercise should be lighter and not as challenging.

bookmark_borderStress Can Make Fat

Research scientists have discovered that the hormone cortisol, loves stress and basically the main job of cortisol is to degrade your muscles and cause you to put on weight. It is impossible to stop cortisol from being released from your body and it would be unwise to do so. However there are a few things that you can do to help keep cortisol levels in check and under control.

Cortisol is actually released from the pituitary gland in the brain; its primary role is to help regulate your blood pressure. So when you get stressed, cortisol is released in large levels to help keep your blood pressure under check. The bad thing however is that is also breaks down protein and converts it into fat. It does so by breaking down the protein to amino acids, these are then broken down to give you energy. The problem is, if you are stressed over nothing, then you aren’t using the energy, so it gets converted to fat and you lose muscle as well.

There are a number of ways in which you can control cortisol levels; the easiest is simply by thinking positive and thinking happy thoughts. Don’t forget that stress is physical as well as mental, so if you are overtraining you are putting extra stress on your body and muscles which can induce your body to release more cortisol.

It is quite uncommon for your body not to be able to control cortisol levels or to consistently produce too much. However you can get medicines to help control cortisol levels for people who blame their weight gain on cortisol. But before you try these, give the natural methods a try first as you’ll be much healthier for it. Just relax, chill out or even try yoga or meditation.

It is almost impossible to avoid stress and if you do find yourself stressed don’t stop eating. Eat healthy snacks to provide your body with the energy it needs in these stressful situations, which should help reduce excessive cortisol release. If you maintain healthy eating and sleeping habits you should be able to reduce your stress levels. If you still think that your cortisol levels might be excessively high, speak to your doctor and get a proper consultation.

bookmark_borderLayering Exercise Cloths

  • Base Layer: The purpose of this layer is to wick moisture/perspiration and keep it away from your skin. This keeps you warm and dry. For best results, choose a tight-fitting wicking material such as polypropylene, silk, polyester, thinsulate, cool max or dry fit – all good choices. These materials will pull the moisture away from your body and keep you dry. Avoid cotton because it traps moisture and your body has to work hard to dry the cotton and keep you warm. Base layers come in various weights (lightweight, midweight and heavyweight). Select a weight based upon the outside temperature and your activity level. The lighter weight is better at wicking; the heavyweight provides more insulation.
  • Mid Layer: This layer provides more insulation and its function is to pull the moisture from the base layer out to the outer-layer. As the fall progresses into winter, you will need to add this layer into your dressing, especially if you are going to be doing lower-level activities for a long period of time. The amount of Insulation desired is also dependent on your personal preference: if you get hot quickly you may still want to stick with a lighter insulation layer. The mid layer should be a bit loser then the base layer but it still needs to maintain contact with the base layer. Common materials for a mid layer are down, polyester, fleece, and synthetic materials. Many mid layers may have added ventilation for when you warm up on your adventure. Things like pit zips, long zippers, adjustable collars or cuffs provide a way to moderate your body temperature throughout your workout.
  • Outer layer: This layer provides a critical wind block, and also allows moisture to escape. Typical outer layers include shells made of Gore-tex. There again this layer should also have special features such as pit zips and adjustable collars and cuffs.

As we layer our upper body we tend to forget that that same rules apply for our legs. As your fitness level improves, less blood will flow to the legs, so for the longevity and productivity of the activity make sure you keep those legs warm with appropriate clothing. Layers of tights are strongly recommended.