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By The FIRM Master Instructor Stephanie Huckabee
Many of us keep a list of things we’d like to do before we reach a certain milestone. With my 40th birthday looming, I spent some time evaluating what I would like to include on my own so-called “bucket list” as I move forward in life. My list consisted of things like traveling to specific places, learning to cook my grandmother’s dressing and actually reading many of the classic literature titles currently gathering dust on my book shelf.
But what about a bucket list for exercise? Have you ever thought about keeping a running list of your dreams for fitness? Making a list of your long-term goals along with some smaller ones along the way could be just what you need to keep you motivated for years to come!
By The FIRM Master Instructor Kelsie Daniels
The holiday season is once again upon us. And because I am one of those people who fully enjoys holiday dining, I have to prepare myself for the usual question that comes as I am stuffing my face: “How do you stay in shape?” One of the people who always asks me this question is my dear Aunt Jo. She asks it every year and then follows with how she wants to start working out and eating right.
Holiday fun can wear you down — eating, drinking and festivities can take their toll on you mentally and physically. While a workout may seem like the last thing you have the time or energy for, it can enliven your spirit and alleviate stress. Think you have to choose between fitness and fun? Not so! Incorporate elements of the holiday season into your workout routine and you’ll add variety and interest and increase your motivation and enjoyment. Here are some ideas to help you put the holiday spirit into your workout:
The yoga practice is a glorious dance of the physical possibilities in the human body. An advanced practice can take your breath away as easily as it can expand your ujjayi. It can twist and turn in directions that make an artist quiver with creative jealousy and inspire even the heaviest of sloths to entertain a change of mind.
That being said — it can also be intimidating as hell.
I learned, trained, teach and practice in Santa Monica, California. It is the mecca of yoga these days and the cream of the crop when it comes to beautiful practices. It’s hard to find a level 2-3 class that doesn’t have at least one yogi soaring through the air in-between asanas or adding what appears to be a level-X variation to every pose. It can often be inspiring and mind-blowing but it can also be, in a word, daunting.
It’s not uncommon to hear people bemoan their inability to get to the gym, or more specifically, to get to their favorite group fitness class. Even worse, not making it to class means they probably won’t work out at all. But missing your regular class doesn’t mean you have to skip exercise altogether. You can get a great workout anytime, anywhere with the right workout plan in place. And it’s much simpler than you think to create one yourself!
Regular exercisers know that music can make or break a workout. Listening to the right playlist during exercise can motivate you to work longer and at a higher intensity. It can make the workout seem easier and leave you feeling great afterwards. It can reduce perceptions of fatigue and improve performance. Choose the wrong playlist or forget to charge your MP3 player? You might as well go home now!
What to consider when choosing music that enhances an exercise experience?
While we all recognize the ‘right’ music when we hear it, choosing an hour’s worth of workout-friendly selections isn’t as easy as it sounds. Is fast better than slow? Strong rhythms preferential to weak? Are lyrics important? What about musical genre? And how about bass?
When the editorial team at Gaiam got invited to go on a little field trip to try a new exercise class called QiDANCE, we were intrigued, excited and a little nervous. Truth be told, even with all the yoga we do, we aren’t the most coordinated bunch. But we didn’t let that stop us from lacing up our boogie shoes and giving it a try!
I love walking — outside, on a treadmill, whatever — but I have a little problem commonly known as lack of motivation. On days when it’s cold outside, or drizzly, or appears to be either of the above, I am easily dissuaded from working out … and easily persuaded to sleep the extra half hour instead. But I hate the “no cookie for you today” feeling of regret that not working out brings.
Lucky for me (and you!), GaiamTV.com has a ton of great walking workout videos. They’re perfect for working out at home — no weather restrictions, no too-loud-for-the-downstairs-neighbors cardio; just fun routines for burning calories.
My favorites combine upper-body strengthening with the lower-body workout. If they have gorgeous scenery, so much the better! These videos eliminate my excuses and, in time, my jeans size. Here are my top five favorites from Gaiam TV. I’m confident you’ll find at least one in here that will tempt you to pick up the pace.