Category archive: Workouts
There is something particularly mesmerizing about an aerial silk performance–the aesthetic grace, the defiance of gravity, and the incredible body strength of the acrobats make for an amazing spectacle.
Aerial silks is a form of aerial acrobatics that takes its style from contortion, suspension, and trapeze, and applies them to long lengths of silky fabric for a breathtaking aesthetic. Aerial silks have made their mark in the famed Cirque de Soliel, and, much like pole fitness, has recently opened itself to the market of alternative fitness classes. Recently, I had the opportunity to take aerial silk classes and I fell in love with it! So, if you’re looking to explore a fun, new alternative as part of your fitness routine, give it a go!
What to Expect:
When you first start, you’ll be working with a knot, rather than loose silks. This will allow you to build the strength and skill sets to complete forms and poses properly, without the risk of letting go and falling to the ground. However, unlike some other skill-oriented classes, you can expect to learn a lot in your first few classes–several poses and techniques per class, as opposed to one. This keeps things fresh, exciting, and dynamic. As a result, you will progress quickly and truly get the value of your lessons.
You should expect bruises; as you are using your body in new ways, you may find yourself sore or sporting some “signs” of your new work. Also, as you will be hanging by your armpits, hips, and back, red and purple markings on the skin at points of pressure is practically inevitable. Own these marks as a sign of your progress!
The majority of aerial silk classes are either taught in circus schools or pole fitness studios, so you can expect your instructors to be fun, positive, and even kind of quirky. This is a huge benefit to your learning–their enthusiasm will encourage you to feel confident, sexy, and graceful, even when out of your element. Embrace the energy and reap the rewards.
Tips to Prepare:
Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! At some point, you will be spending a lot of time upside down and not being properly hydrated when you are suddenly inverted may lead to a colossal head rush and wave of nausea. Bringing a bottle of water to sip on will help clear your head and settle your stomach, if you happen to feel this way.
Wear a loose fitting top or at least something with sleeves. Normally, when you go to an exercise class, a form-fitting top over a good sports bra is the way to go. Not with aerial silks. Without good sleeves, you will burn your armpits. In my first few classes I heard plenty of horror stories about this one! I also recommend a comfortable, supportive sports bra to keep your girls in place as you bounce, hang, drop, and swing through the air.
It is very important to warm up and stretch, particularly in your hands and wrists! Wrists are the most commonly injured body part when it comes to circus training and, when you’re holding your body weight entirely in your grasp, you’ll understand why. Roll those wrists, stretch your forearms, and make sure after your class they receive some TLC.
Soon we’ll see you flying through the air with the greatest of ease!Details
This article was written for and recently posted on ActivewearUSA – go check them out!
I’m a gym rat, so when my regularly snow-free city got a massive dump of the white stuff, I felt completely out of sync for the four days I was snowed in. Not being able to get to the gym is like having a fight with your best friend: you feel guilty, annoyed, and anxious because all you want to do is return to normal. And you can’t.
Fortunately, I didn’t allow my forced immobility to keep me from working out, but it had been a long time since I’d done an at-home workout. I was forced to be creative and re-evaluate my routine for the week and, along the way, I picked up a few tips to share:
Lacking Heavy Weights?
Increase your rep range. If you’re normally curling 25s for 8-10 reps but only have a set of 10s at home, try pushing for 15-20.
Remember, the key to effective exercise is to go to muscle failure, rather than just an arbitrary number. Therefore, do as many reps as you can until your body refuses to do another! This technique can be stretched as far as needed. For example, rather than squatting resistance, I alternated 100 squats, 50 single-leg squats, and 100 walking lunges in as many cycles as I could manage. Not only was this an effective workout, it was intense!
Resistance bands are a common alternative in a fitness-oriented household, but if these are nowhere to be found, head to the kitchen! Try soup cans, household items, or milk jugs. Considering that a gallon container weighs nearly 8.5 pounds when full, you can definitely create enough weight for resistance. One friend I spoke to during our snow week was front squatting with his guitar amp – anything can be used as resistance, as long as it is done safely!
No problem! Turn to body resistance exercises such as pushups, lunges, squats (and one-legged squats), burpees, planks, tricep dips, and crunches. You’ll be amazed at how good you feel. Body resistance exercises are often neglected when we’re at the gym, however they are extremely effective and beneficial. They force us to actively engage stabilizer muscles and small muscle fibers that are not engaged in an isolated exercise.
Not Sure What to Do?
Workout DVDs can be extremely effective when you’re in need of a guide, but the majority are designed to require extra equipment. It might be time to dust off that DVD collection and sweat it out.
The other option is to be creative! Use your homebound status as a chance to experiment with targeting your muscles from new angles using new grips and with new equipment you may never have thought of before. You might find that your couch makes an awesome support for dips or that washing dishes with calf raises burns more than your current gym routine.
Good luck! And remember, eventually you’ll make it back outside!Details
Below, I’ve provided a sample (100 Songs) of the music I like to listen to while working out – these songs incorporate what I use for weight lifting, cardio, pole fitness, aerial silks, kickboxing and many other workouts, so you will find a great variance in music choice. My tastes range from musical scores and theme songs, to things you might hear on the radio, right into obscure bands that aren’t well known.
Where available, I’ve attempted to include Youtube links to the songs. I hope you enjoy, and perhaps find something new to add to your list!
- Escape the Fate – Gorgeous Nightmare
- Metallica – Fuel
- Katzenjammer – A Bar in Amsterdam
- Mariana’s Trench – Toy Soldiers
- Mariana’s Trench – Desperate Measures
- Mariana’s Trench – Haven’t Had Enough
- Mariana’s Trench – Stutter
- Mariana’s Trench – Shake Tramp
- Mariana’s Trench – September
- Mariana’s Trench – Vertigo
- Mariana’s Trench – Celebrity Status
- Mariana’s Trench – Sing Sing
- Rob Zombie – Dragula
- Sonata Arctica – Kingdom for a Heart
- Sonata Arctica – San Sebastian
- Sonata Arctica – Still Loving You
- Rev Theory – Hell Yeah
- Theory of A Deadman – Bad Girlfriend
- Saving Abel – Addicted
- Saving Abel – New Tattoo
- Jakalope – Witness
- Emily Osment and Josh Ramsay – Hush
- Hot Rod Herman – Dragula Remix
- Rammestein – Feuer Frei
- Enomine – Mitternacht
- My Chemical Romance – Black Parade
- My Chemical Romance – The Sharpest Lives
- Voltaire – Zombie Prostitute
- Voltaire – Vampire Club
- Voltaire – Brains
- Christina Aguilera – Express
- Christina Aguilera – Show Me How You Burlesque
- Christina Aguilera - Not Myself Tonight
- Christina Aguilera – Vanity
- Pink – You and Your Hand
- Pink – So What
- Danny Fernandes and Josh Ramsay -Hit Me Up
- Shinedown – Sound of Madness
- Shinedown – Devour
- Shinedown – Sin With a Grin
- Shinedown – Cry for Help
- Hammerfall – Hearts on Fire
- Hammerfall – Blood Bound
- Hammerfall – Natural High
- Dropkick Murphys – The Gauntlet
- Within Temptation – What Have You Done?
- Within Temptation – The Howling
- Within Temptation – Angels
- Nightwish – Amaranth
- Nightwish – Bye Bye Beautiful
- Cee Lo Green – Fuck You
- My Darkest Days – Porn Star Dancing
- Adam Lambert- For Your Entertainment
- Repo! The Genetic Opera - Zydrate Anatomy
- Paramore – Thats What You Get
- Paramore - Let the Flames Begin
- Paramore – Fences
- Versa Emerge – Fixed at Zero
- Papa Roach – I Almost Told You that I Loved You
- Papa Roach – Hollywood Whore
- Oingo Boingo – Dead Man’s Party
- Oingo Boingo – No One Lives Forever
- Symphony X – Accolade II
- Symphony X – Out of the Ashes
- Game of Thrones – Intro Theme Song
- Ascetic Junkies – Dracula
- Concrete Blonde – Bloodletting
- DJ Bobo – Vampires are Alive
- DJ Bobo – Pirates of Dance
- Army of Lovers – Crucifed
- Dragon Force – Through the Fire and Flames
- Dream Evil – Fight You to the End
- Grace Potter and the Nocturnals – Paris (Ooh La La)
- I am Ghost - Lovers Requiem
- I am Ghost – Killer Likes Candy
- Jonathan Coulton – I Feel Fantastic
- Jonathan Coulton – Skullcrusher Mountain
- Maroon 5 – Moves like Jagger
- The Trews – Not Ready to Go
- Princess and the Frog – Friends on the Other Side
- Selena Gomez – Naturally
- Tom Jones – Sex Bomb
- Tom Jones – You Can Leave Your Hat On
- Warren Zevon – Werewolves of London
- Young Artists for Haiti – Wavin’ Flag
- Drowning Pool – Bodies
- Rancid - Red Hot Moon
- Finger Eleven – Paralyzer
- Nine Inch Nails – Hand that Feeds
- Blackmore’s Night – Storm
- Blackmore’s Night – Rainbow Blues
- Bowling for Soup – The Bitch Song
- Christina Perri – Bang Bang Bang
- David Guetta - Love is Gone
- Flogging Molly – Black Friday Rule
- Freedom Call – Carry On
- Gackt – Vanilla
- Great Big Sea – Company of Fools
- Great Big Sea – Consequence Free
- Great Big Sea – Ordinary Day
When people start working out, they almost invariably go straight for their abs. And perhaps it is reasonable – the abdominal area is where people are most acutely aware of carrying extra weight, bloat, or softness, and it is the spot almost all people want to see direct improvement.
What’s more, having a great set of abs is the primary marker of ‘fitness’ in the general world. And when the abs don’t seem to be improving any more drastically than the rest of the body despite receiving the most attention, people get discouraged and begin to think that perhaps they are just not genetically capable of building a tight, lean six pack.
However, as we should all know, there is no effective way to spot-fix a body part. Regardless of how manycrunches you may do, an isolated focus is an ineffective way to change your body, especially when it comes to your midsection.
In order to train your abs for the best results, a full-body approach is necessary. In fact, if you are carrying extra weight in your abdominal area, chances are it is not the only culprit. Bearing this in mind, there are two key concepts that are crucial to building a strong foundation for ripped abs: Engage, and Diet.
Rather than going straight for the crunches, consider that the most effective way to see improvement in your abdominal areas is to hold off on direct and exclusive ab exercises until you have begun to reduce your overall body fat percentage. Why? Like all other forms of resistance work, ab exercise increases the growth of muscle, and muscle under fat has a tendency to look like more bulk.
This is why some people get discouraged with their middle thickness despite heavy ab workouts — they have the muscle, but the fat overtop is hiding their achievement. This is not to say ‘neglect your abs entirely until later on’, as this would be a serious detriment to your fitness goals. Strong core muscles (Abs, obliques, back, glutes, etc) are vital to all other types of workouts — without them, you could seriously injure yourself, especially while lifting.
So what do you do? You engage. Engage your core muscles in everything you do. Squeeze your core tight when you jog, when you squat, when you do jumping jacks, when you do push ups, when you lift weights, when you do pull ups, when you do ALL types of workouts. If you are doing squats and not even thinking about your abs, you are missing out on the full potential of what that move can do for your body! Is it not better to work more at once?
Abdominal engagement can be done anywhere – in the office, at home while cooking dinner, or even while enjoying your favourite evening TV show. By doing so, the strength in all your core muscles, especially your abs, will start to improve, while you are working on melting the fat from all areas of your body, and building a nice frame of lean muscle. You will be surprised, when they softness burns away, that you have a nicer, flatter stomach to work with, and finally give that extra attention to.
Here, the old adage of “abs are made in the kitchen” truly needs to be stressed! What you eat and how you eat are fundamental to the aesthetic results of your midsection; if your diet is not en pointe, shredded abs are not going to develop. Even the fittest of people will noticeably bloat and soften when they consume something full of sugar, fat or sodium – and this shows most in the midsection.
It must be emphasized that a diet full of processed, sugary foods will be a serious detriment to the fat burning process that will uncover your strong, toned abs. If you want to have a great six-pack, your focus needs to be on eating clean, eating at proper intervals, and most importantly, eating enough! If you’re not getting enough calories to support your caloric burn and exercise activity, your body will begin to cling to fat as a survival instinct.
Eating smaller, more frequent meals that comprise of lean proteins, whole wheat or whole grain complex carbohydrates and bountiful portions of veggies are the best way to ensure that you are left feeling satisfied and energized with every meal, while still shedding fat from your midsection to reveal your abdominal foundation. So never forget to think about what you are eating, and how that one thing will reflect on your body, especially when you want to see firm, taut abs.
Overall, these two key concepts are crucial for building the best, strongest and most aesthetic foundation for your midsection. Utilizing these tricks will help you to sculpt your abs into the six pack of your dreams!Details