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Find Your Fitness Through Love of the Game

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by  Keith Allison 
Caption: Stacy Lewis (pictured) is a great example of a female athlete, who also maintains her fitness levels

 Find Your Fitness Through Love of the Game

You hear a lot these days about the dangers of yo-yo dieting – but what about yo-yo exercise regimes? How many times have you decided you’re going to get yourself really fit (usually at the same time as going on a new diet) and you’ve set off at this like a bull at a gate? We’ve all been there; from being relatively sedentary, perhaps, suddenly you’re togged out and running round the block or swimming up and down your local pool every chance you get. Perhaps you’ve decided to go cycling regularly or, most commonly of all, you’re hitting the gym – running on a treadmill and pushing the weights and taking a few workout classes.

 

This is all very good – but if you’ve ever started this kind of regimen (and particularly if you’ve done so more than once) but not managed to keep it up – then there’s clearly a bit of a problem.

 

So what makes you think you’re going to be able to keep it up this time around?

 

Now all the forms of exercise we’ve mentioned so far have one thing in common; there’s no particular “point” to them in that they’re exercise for exercise’s sake. And this may be no bad thing if you love participating in them. But if you’ve started a regimen like this once or more before and not managed to stick at – then you probably need to change the way you approach it. And one way of doing this is to find joy or utility or sheer fun in what you do.

 

Remember as a child when you loved playing games? You weren’t doing it because you wanted to get fit – you did it because you loved playing the game. You may not even have differentiated, as a child, between playing a game of football or cricket or tennis on a beach – and playing a board game indoors. The point is that you saw it as an enjoyable game. That’s the magic you need to try and rediscover because then, keeping it won’t be a chore – it will be something you’re able to do for the love of doing it. In other words, the exercise benefits become purely incidental to your enjoyment of what you’re doing.

 

This may be something as simple as playing golf, for example. Lots of ladies in middle age who’ve slipped into relatively sedentary lifestyles start off with golf on the road back to fitness. This is because it’s a fun game to play, as strenuous as you want to make it – and yet you walk miles pulling a bag around. It’s surprising how this increases your fitness if it’s been years since you did much.

 

Getting interested in golf or any other sport you choose, can help. Next time there’s a major golf tournament on TV, for example, have a small punt on the golfer you like the best with an exchange like Betfair and if they start to do well, you can lay it back and lock in a profit. This can be a fun way of getting your interest going and you’ll be surprised at just how much you may start to feel like having a game yourself; that’s the way it works. You will also soon learn who the elite players are, which can be key should you wish to model you’re playing style on, or even if you want to copy their personal fitness regimes.

 

Of course, if you’re younger and fitter, you may want to pick a far more energetic sport – but the same principles apply. Getting into the sport first by watching it really makes you want to play it – and imitation of professionals is one of the strongest techniques there is in getting good at something quickly.

 

The other thing to remember, which is absolutely crucial, is to simply put yourself in the moment. So make a commitment, for example, to play badminton, squash, tennis or whatever with friends. Making that commitment then turning up at the appointed date and time is half the battle. When we involve others in our arrangements, it makes procrastination much harder to do.

 

Similarly, if you’ve decided to go for a swim / run / cycle ride / gym etc., but you don’t feel like it on a cold winter’s night, just go to the place anyway and tell yourself you only need to do a very small amount. You’ll be surprised, again, how often you just end up doing what you usually do anyway. And if you don’t it doesn’t matter – you still turned up.

 

Alternatively, build exercise into things you need to do anyway; so walk or cycle to the shops or to work etc., for example, if you can.

 

Better still; find something you just love doing for its own sake, which is also slightly physically demanding. When we’re children, we love to play – and when we’re adults, most of us still like to play, but we repress these urges a bit. Don’t do this. Instead, try to find that kid inside of you that loves the game, or to dance to music – or whatever else.

 

In this way, you’ll find your fitness while you’re having fun. And far from it being a chore that you grit your teeth to maintain – wild horses won’t be able to drag you away from the disco, dance class, tennis court, golf course, squash court hockey pitch, football ground, five a side pitch or whatever else you’ve found. Fitness should always be fun.

 

You Can’t Fake Sweat!

The Sweat Manifesto

by Thad Peterson, founder of You Can’t Fake Sweat

 

Working out sucks.

 

Burpees make my heart pound and light my lungs on fire. Wall balls make my legs burn. Crunches make my stomach quiver.

 

More often than not, when I’m in the middle of a hard workout, I just want it to be over. I want more air in my lungs. I want my heart to stop pounding against my chest. I want the pain to go away.

And even when it’s finally over, I am left there sweating. Dripping wet.

 

That means my clothes are left soaked with perspiration. Which means more laundry to do. I hate doing laundry.

 

Yet that feeling of sweat pouring down my face is perhaps the most glorious sensation I know. I love sweat.

 

“The vision of a champion is bent over, drenched in sweat, at the point of exhaustion, when nobody else is looking.”
That’s what Mia Hamm had to say.

Sweat cannot be bought. It cannot be falsified. You cannot achieve it by pondering it. You have to earn your sweat. Every single time.

 

Champions—not just Superbowl winners or gold-medal Olympians, but those who truly aspire to get closer to their best selves—learn to love sweat. They crave that sensation of pushing their bodies. They are charmed by the hard work that makes their hearts pound and their muscles burn and their lungs ache for more air.

 

So next time you’re out there in the 8th minute of your 12-minute workout, and the sweat is starting to trickle down your skin, make sure to savor it. Make sure to remind yourself that this is when you’re most alive. Make sure to remember that the worse it feels during the workout, the better it feels when it’s over.

 

And remember this: You can fake a lot of things in life, but… you can’t fake sweat.

 

For a limited time, get a 15% discount when you use this discount code at http://youcantfakesweat.com: LivingSmartGirl

 

YCFS

This post is from Thad Peterson, founder of You Can’t Fake Sweat. Like 99% of all guys, Thad earnestly believed he would be a pro athlete one day. And like 99.999% of those 99%, he never even got close. But sports and fitness have played a huge role in his life nonetheless. These days, the sports he participates in most frequently are hockey, Ultimate Disc, basketball and CrossFit.

Intelligent Sportswear – CEP Compression Socks

Disclosure ~ Living Smart Girl received product to facilitate a review. All opinions on the product are 100% that of Living Smart Girl’s.

wp55xxx-p-black_grey CEP is intelligent sportswear using 60 years of research and advanced stitching technology. The CEP Compression Progressive + Run Sock 2.0 targets areas of the foot and leg with compression. This improves blood flow to the heart, provides improved support, and reduces swelling. Thus, the runner has more energy and endurance while lowering risk of injuries by supporting muscles and joints. You can choose from four sizes for men or women. These socks have a polyamide/spandex filament fiber making the durable and have a wide top band. Extra flat toe seams make they comfy without any annoying pressure points. CEP Compression Progressive Sock 2.0 come in different styles for several sports from Running to Horseback Riding, each with unique qualities to aid the wearer. Check out their entire line of apparel at http://www.cepcompression.com/.

Since I am not into running I was excited to offer my friend Tara these socks for her to review.  She runs daily, and loves it.  Here is what she had to say about these socks ~

CEP Running Sock… Pros: Very comfortable on toes and heel. Cons: Very hard to put on. Size was small for left calf.

On a cooler Saturday morning, I went for my normal 8 mile run. I became frustrated when it took me more than 5 minutes to put on the CEP running socks. After getting the socks on they were very comforting on my toes, heel and arch. Very form fitting. Three miles onto the run, my left calve became irritated because the sock was too tight. I rolled the socks down and continued on my run. After getting home, I did wear the socks around the house. Again, comfortable but too tight on my calves. Maybe I need to order a size bigger.  I’ve been very curious about these socks and was excited to try them.  I would recommend getting them from a dealer at a running expo for the first pair so the right size is order. I will definitely get a pair now.

 

 

CEPSocks1

 

 

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Easy Ways to Exercise While You Travel

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Do you like to travel, or just have to travel for work or other reasons?  Sticking to your exercise routines while you are traveling is not always easy because you are not near your local gym, don’t have any of your favorite workout gear with you and are not familiar with established routes. All of this should not stop you from getting in the exercise that you crave, and still be able to see everything you want to in your new destination. There are several easy ways to add exercise while you travel, and most of them are fun or give you a new way to see a city, countryside or beach town.

 

No matter what type of travel you are doing, or where you end up, here are a few easy ways to add exercise into your travels.

 

As You Go Rentals

More and more destinations are investing in citywide, pay as you go rentals for everything from bikes to fitness centers. These options are perfect for travelers that want to be able to access great facilities and equipment, without having to make a big commitment. Look for private or public bike share programs and use a bike to get around instead of taking the bus. Find hotels or fitness centers that offer day passes, or pay as you go passes that you can use during the duration of your trip.

 

Add a Walking Tour

Instead of booking a trolley tour that will drive you up to every landmark in the city, find a walking tour that forces you to get active. These tours let you see the city in a new light and have more of an insider feel than any of the larger tours that will drive you past a lot of places you might be interested in.

 

Create a YouTube Playlist

There are several fitness instructors, workouts and exercise ideas on YouTube, so before your flight, take the time to create a playlist. Use this playlist when you don’t have the time to get in a full workout, want a quick morning routine or have a rainy afternoon to fill. Its also the best way to make sure that you are working out and toning all parts of your body equally while you are away.

 

Try New Forms of Cardio

To get your cardio in and create some vacation memories, try out a new form of cardio like the locals would. Anything from rock climbing to kayaking to paddleboarding are fun ways to get out and get in a nice workout. Think about the destination and find an activity that pairs well with the locale. Anywhere near water is a new way to discover a fun water sport. Country destinations can include activities like hiking, climbing, cross country skiing or snowshoeing in the winter and even horseback riding.

 

Getting in your workout while traveling is all about including more physical activity into what you already have planned or need to get done while at your destination. Turn that activity into fun things to do while out of town and your exercise is as easy as having fun.

Whether you travel for enjoyment, or for other reasons, make sure you check out our partner site (owned by us) at That Traveling Chick, because we offer low prices on all sorts of travel as well as lots of great reviews on places we have traveled and travel tips.

 

Multi-task like a celebrity, at the beach

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Multi-task like a celebrity, at the beach

When a celebrity like Jennifer Aniston tries out a new activity, you can bet the paparazzi will have it on film and the industry moguls will be right on their heels.

Aniston is Hollywood royalty for the most Hollywood of reasons: She once dated a mega star. Her successful film career is not the question at issue here; that’s a quaint sidebar to her spectacular dating life, which appears to be far more interesting, depending on the film or the date of any particular year.

What if she took up paddleboarding? She likes the beach, right? Let’s just put a paddleboard in the background and take a photo of her smiling. That would make a terrific opportunity for the paddleboarding industry, would it not?

Let’s put that down as a yes. And you don’t have to put the board in the background, either. The likes of actors Jennifer Anniston, Mathew  McConaughey and Pierce Brosnan have all been captured on paddleboards, making it trendy and hip and hinting that anyone with a modicum of balance can figure out how to survive on a seven-foot board.

Rihanna has been photographed on a paddleboard and even though I have to look up who that is (a singer who is cute enough to be given movie roles), it is clear that paddleboarding does one very advantageous thing for celebrities: It allows them to stand alone with the ocean and the sky in a sexy bathing suit, all your un-trim or trimness in full view of the camera.

Yes, it’s live or die out there on a paddleboard. There’s no hiding behind the bushes our there on the briny deep.

Karina Smirnoff, who performed on Dancing With the Stars, has taken up paddleboarding (at least long enough to have her photograph taken) and she, too, has a criterion figure and Hollywood caliber good looks. She looks like a good pick for June’s Paddleboarding Monthly’s centerfold, meaning someone should rush out and start a magazine called Paddleboarding Monthly or perhaps someone should call Sports Illustrated.

And you thought paddleboarding was going to become popular because its fun and versatile and gets you in great shape. Sorry; think again. It’s simply the seven-foot long floating fashion runway for bathing suits that will make the sport a household name.

Yes, paddleboarding has come a long way from the days when the sexiest practitioners were Polynesian islanders, who used boards to paddle from island to island and to surf the waves for recreation.

After that, paddleboarding made its way to the United States, where it was used in the 1920s by lifeguards in Santa Monica as part of their rescue equipment. The city, to this day, hosts annual paddleboard races that include the popular a Catalina to Santa Monica Pier relay race.

Companies LegendsSUP.com are riding the crest of the wave. The sport languished in relative obscurity for hundreds of years. Stand up paddleboarding is now popular at inland lakes and rivers, where a wave is nowhere in sight. Surfing is supposed to be fun because the wave or the wind pushes you along. You mean, it’s fun, too, when you have to put your back to it to propel yourself?

In this day and age, any new sport that turns exercise into recreation or recreation into exercise has a chance of making it big. It’s the chance to multi-task, which is more than a cure, corporate sounding expression. Time is and always has been our most useful (and our most desperate) commodity. If exercising is fun, so be it. If having fun builds up muscles and keeps you in shape along the way, there will be few complaints. If you look good standing on a board for all the world to see, there you are. You have arrived. If you don’t look so good standing on a board, keep paddling. Eventually, they say, you will get there.

 

Workout Gear: Necessary Investment or the Fashion Industry Trying to Make a Buck?

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Workout Gear: Necessary Investment or the Fashion Industry Trying to Make a Buck?

These days it seems like you need a specific coordinated outfit for each individual type of exercise you plan to do; God forbid you wear your yoga pants on a jog or your football jersey to the gym!

The truth is that there is some gear that has been invented for very specific and workout-helpful purposes. For example, you shouldn’t wear the shoes you wear during a race around a track while jogging on a treadmill (or jogging anywhere, really). So that made us wonder: what, exactly, do you actually need to wear when you are working out?

The Right Shoes

While we want you to read the rest of the article we’d be remiss if we didn’t point out that you can wear just about whatever clothing you like while you work out and you’ll probably be fine. Your feet, though, are another matter entirely. It is incredibly important that you have the right shoes for the type of workout you’re going to do. The reason you shouldn’t wear track shoes on a treadmill (or a sidewalk, for that matter) is that they are light weight and don’t offer a ton of support.

Furthermore, they are equipped with spikes that are meant to dig into a track and give you traction while you sprint. Those same spikes force your foot to bend upward slightly when you wear track shoes on non-track surfaces and could cause damage if worn for long periods of time.

Compression Wear

Compression clothing has long been used to help people heal after illness or injury and to prevent problems like improving blood circulation and preventing blood clots during long trips (like a cross country flight where you might not be able to get up and walk around a lot). Compression clothing is created to have some give (to accommodate swelling) while also maintaining its shape and structure. Some people have sworn that it helps improve their performance and speeds up the muscle toning process.

Where compression gear can be really helpful is after a workout. Specifically crafted athletic compression gear from companies like Therafirm is great for marathons or lengthy training sessions because it helps keep blood circulating and alleviates the pressure that builds up and causes swelling.

Comfort, Health and Safety

Beyond shoes and compression, what you wear is largely up to you. You can wear that ratty old cotton t-shirt and pair of shorts to the gym if you want. What would be more helpful, though, is choosing at least a couple of things that are built specifically for exercising. Here’s why:

Clothing meant for sports and exercise is usually built from materials designed to wick moisture (aka sweat) away from your skin instead of simply absorbing it into itself. Cotton is very absorbent but leaves you with a wet shirt hanging all over you. It also allows moisture to pool in inconvenient places. Those pools can lead to problems like fungal infections (think athlete’s foot where you really don’t want it) and staph infections. Yuck!

Clothing built for sports and working out is usually built to fit snugly against your body while still allowing you to move. You might feel self-conscious at first (it puts most of your shape on display, which can be uncomfortable) but you’ll feel more self-conscious when you accidentally trip over your those loose and flappy legs of your sweatpants or accidentally punch yourself because your arm got tangled in the loose and flapping hem of your t-shirt.

So: make sure your feet and muscles are supported, that you can move and that you keep moisture from pooling in inconvenient places. Beyond that, it’s up to you!

 

Weight Loss the Right Way

Weight Loss the Right Way: Practical Tips for Success

If you have had some trouble shedding those extra pounds, don’t be too hard on yourself because you are certainly not alone. Us humans are a peculiar bunch, and for some reason, we have a good amount of difficulty making good decisions with regard to our health. It should be easy, but it’s just not.

You are not a weak, terrible person for struggling, you are simply human. So, it is important we adopt realistic and practical strategies to get us from where we are to where we want to be. Different things work for different people, and it can take some experimenting before finding your own personal weight loss groove.

Here are just a few tips that can help set a solid foundation for your efforts. Good luck…you can do it!

Get Specific

If you want to reach your weight loss goals, you need to make a plan my friend. The vague musing of wanting to lose weight is a step in the right direction, but it is certainly not enough to make things happen. Specifics motivate us and keep us on track. Devise a set of concrete actions that you will take to reach your weight loss goals. When will you go to the gym? How will you incorporate healthier foods into your diet?

While on the subject of getting specific, think a bit about what is sparking this desire to lose that weight. What is driving you? What benefits are you looking to get? What do you think will be better in your life after you lose this weight? Go deep beyond vague, surface reasons to get at the core.

Focus on Health, Not Appearance

If looking better is a main motivator for losing weight, it’s okay. There is nothing wrong with wanting to improve our appearance, and feel more confident about our bodies. But, when we use our appearance as a main driver, it can be difficult to stay the course because it can take awhile before we start seeing differences that are really noticeable; your most ideal body may not make an appearance for at least several months, and waiting so long for positive reinforcement may chip away at your efforts.

So, it can be a good idea to shift your focus to just becoming a healthier person. Each good decision you make will support that immediately, and you will feel good about that. And when you feel good, it motivates you to keep making healthy choices. The improved appearance will naturally emerge without you obsessing on that one aspect.

It Isn’t Just about Diet and Exercise

Achieving a healthy weight is not just about diet and exercise. There are so many factors that influence our weight. Did you know lack of sleep increases cravings for sugar and refined carbohydrates, and can cause the body to store more fat? High stress levels not only cause physical changes that make weight loss more difficult, its mental effects can sabotage your weight loss efforts in a number of ways, from triggering emotional binge eating to creating a more pessimistic attitude that will thwart your attempts at being healthier.

Take note of the variety of ways to rev up your metabolism—all these smaller things can add up to a big difference, such as making sure to stay hydrated to taking supplements that contain herbs known to boost fat-burning. Ones such as Healthe Trim offer a mix of different substances, such as green tea and cambogia, for maximum effect.

Educate yourself about the various influences on your weight, and how you can address them in your plan.

Protect Yourself from Overwhelm with Mini-Goals

Right now, you are overweight , and brimming with bad habits. You think to where you want to be, and all the changes that need to be made, and how hard it is all going to be. And, this feeling of being overwhelmed can stop you in your tracks.

Setting some mini-goals can alleviate this problem, and keep you on track with the bigger picture. So, right now, don’t focus on losing 60 pounds—a better goal might be the 10 to get you into last summer’s wardrobe. Don’t concern yourself with revamping your whole diet in the next 72 hours. Instead, vow to try a new vegetable each day for the next week, or replace your ice cream with fruit for at least four days over the next week.

If you can follow these tips, you are well on your way to a successful weight loss campaign.

 

4 Great Family Activities that Build Relationships While Burning Fat

Get Active: 4 Great Family Activities that Build Relationships While Burning Fat

Most parents would agree that finding time to exercise is among their most difficult problems. Between shuttling children to and from school, social activities, sports, and then trying to find time to cook, do the shopping, run errands and eek out maybe just a teensy tiny bit of free time for yourself – exercise is often at the end of the priority list.

It’s no wonder that more and more parents are overweight, unhealthy, and completely unhappy with their current situation. It’s a catch-22, as most assume that any time spent exercising is additional time away from their family, while what they really want to do is get home from work and spend time together.

The solution is an easy one. Get your family active, together!

Here are 4 simple activities that any household can do to remain healthy while building bonds with their children that last a lifetime, and – as an added bonus – teaching your children lessons in living a healthy lifestyle.

Have a Dance Party!

You can do this the old school way by just turning on some tunes and taking 15-20 minutes to dance around the house, or you can fire up some “Just Dance” on the kid’s video game system while you take turns… um… dancing! This allows some silly fun time for your and the kids, while burning calories and getting you and the family active, together.

Walk, Jog, Bike, etc.

My family goes on a walk or a bike ride around the neighborhood every night after dinner. The kids love it, and it gives us the time we need with them while keeping everyone active. Second hand bikes are cheap enough for any budget, or if you really want to be the talk of the town, take turns on some of the three wheeled bikes from Street Strider.

Turn TV Commercials into Fitness Breaks

The average 30 minute TV show has 6 minutes of commercial breaks. If you’re one of the many families that enjoys spending your down time glued to the tube, make good use of this commercial time by challenging each other to see who can do the most pushups, sit-ups, or jumping jacks in that time frame. Keep it fun by giving out prizes to family members who break their personal bests.

Take It To the Garden

Gardening is a great example of a task that works your body, while providing a great escape from stress, and rewarding your family with beautiful flowers or fresh produce. Next time you head out to the garden, bring the kids. Kids love to help in gardens as it allows them an opportunity to get dirty all while remaining amazed at the results of their hard work.

These are just a few examples that you can try at home. I’m sure if you took the time to look at your daily activities, there are plenty of times that you could include the family as well as adding a workout element. The problem isn’t staying moving, it’s getting your family moving in the first place. Once you and the family become active, it’s much harder to go back to your sedentary ways, and your kids – as well as your body – will thank you for it.

You CAN Workout Every Day

Think you can’t fit a workout in today?  Think you are just to busy, don’t have any free time, or just not sure when or what to do?  Check out some of these fun, quick, easy, and effective ways to get a workout in any day of the week no matter what you are doing or where you are.  I totally understand not having time to hit the gym every day.  Sometimes it’s hard to find that 1 hour time slot to commit to a gym or fitness class.  But, there are so many things a person can do every day to just squeeze in that little workout every day.
A great list of things compiled by me and Theresa Roemer

1.      Sit up straight at your desk engaging your core muscles.  If your upper and lower abs are working, its like doing light crunches as opposed to sitting hunched over, which means no muscles are engaged and they are literally like Jello. 

2.      While up and straight, squeeze your glute muscles, pulsing up and down in your seat.  These are mini-squats in your chair.  Do three reps of ten each, you should feel the burn. 

3.      Alternate your glutes queeze, one side and then the next, rapid-fire for two minutes straight.

4.      Work your calve muscles by toggling your back and forth (up on your toes and then in a flex), in sync.  Put emphasis on the stretch forward and back, feel the muscles on the backs of your legs push and pull.  Do three reps of ten.

5.      If you have a chair with arms, lift your body up doing arm push-ups and hold your body weight up just two inches from the chair for 10-20 seconds before releasing.  You can also pulse in place doing three reps of ten.  This is great for the lateral muscles in your arms. 

6.      Leave your desk and go for a brisk 10-minute walk anywhere you feel comfortable.  This could be up and down a set of stairs in your building, or around the block.  As long as the walk is brisk and your heart rate goes up, you’ve achieved the goal. 

7.      If you have an office or can hop in to a private conference room, just 60 seconds of jumping jacks will do wonders for your heart and brain. 

8.      If you have a private space, do 5-10 pushups, or hold a plank for 10-20 seconds.  This will strengthen your core and improve your overall strength, while also speed up your heart rate.

9.      Stand about three feet from a wall, facing the wall, and place your hands on the wall shoulder width apart, chest high.  Lean forward and do push-ups off the wall, three reps of ten.

10.     If you are going somewhere and need to park, park far away and walk.   Just the extra walking to and from the entrance of the store will give you those few extra steps a day to help with your cardio.

11.     Do squats while you brush your teeth.  Might sound funny, but I do it every morning.  I have an electric toothbrush and get in 60 squats in, every morning and night.

12.    Take the dogs for a walk.  Kill 2 birds with one stone (as they say).   Exercise for you and your dog is a win win.  You most likely have to take the dog for a walk so they can go potty, right.. so why not get exercise for you both.

13.    Do counter push ups when cooking.  I do this all the time.  It is easy, like doing a pushup against a wall, but using a counter.

14.    Play with your kids.  A good session of playing catch, Frisbee, tag, hula hoop, or any other fun activity.

15.    Whatever you do, make it count and enjoy it.   Life is to short, and your health is too important.

Do any one of the above, or a combination of any of them each day and you will notice a difference in your attitude, performance, and overall strength.

Yoga For Beginners

yoga Copyright: andresr / 123RF Stock Photo

Yoga for Beginners ~ What to know

Have you tried yoga?  Do you do it at home in the comfort of your living room or do you do it at a local gym or community center with others.  Regardless of if you do it, or where you do it, these are some great tips to help you with your decision on how and where to try yoga.  Kendal Perez has covered every angle, I hope you enjoy her tips as much as I do.

1. Research Studios & Classes
Learn about the opportunities for yoga in your area. In addition to studios, check out gyms, wellness centers and community recreational facilities for classes. Even if your town doesn’t have a designated yoga studio, your local fitness club or rec center likely offers a class or two.

2. Get Free or Discounted Newbie Passes
Most yoga studios offer a free introductory yoga class, week of classes or deeply-discounted rates so you can test their facility and instructors. Take advantage of this by visiting as many studios in your area as possible for free or cheap. It’s a great way to learn about the different styles and teachers without busting your budget!

3. Read Up on the Styles
People do yoga for a variety of reasons, so determine your goals and find a style that helps you achieve them. If you sit behind a desk for a living and want to sweat, consider a Power or Vinyasa class. Gentle or Yin yoga classes are great if your day job leaves you stressed and out of breath. For more information on yoga styles, check out this article from Gaiam.

4. Talk to Instructors
Let teachers know you’re a newbie and ask if they offer variations for beginners. Most do, but some classes are targeted specifically at intermediate or advanced practitioners, and instructors can point you to a more appropriate class or style of yoga for your needs. Know that teachers are the key to a yoga class — once you find one you like, you’ll feel more motivated to practice consistently.

5. Try At-Home Practices
I got my start with yoga using a “Yoga for Dummies” DVD. It may sound silly but I found it hugely helpful when I stepped onto my mat for the first time in a studio setting. The instructor calls out postures like “Mountain Pose,” “Warrior Two,” “Downward-Facing Dog” and the like, and knowing what these look like ahead of time made me feel better prepared.

6. Check Online
These days, online yoga videos are prolific at sites like YogaDownload.com and YogaSessions.tv. The site YogaJournal.com also offers free videos based on practices designed for their monthly magazine subscribers. Even YouTube offers some video tutorials, but be careful not to make this your exclusive method of practice. Going to a studio will help you better learn and internalize the right form for postures so you stay safe and avoid injury.

7. Go Basic for Gear
Lululemon dominates the yogascape in many studios across the country. Their pieces are cute but hard on the budget, and definitely not a necessary investment for beginners! As a frugal shopper, I use the Coupon Sherpa coupon app to save on yoga gear from Sports Authority, or hit up TJMaxx and Marshall’s for discounts on brands like Nike, Under Armour and New Balance.

8. Accessorize for Comfort
Most studios have props for student use, including blocks, straps and blankets. Take advantage of these items to help strengthen your practice or make challenging postures easier. For example, using a block during Half-Moon pose can help you balance better and focus on extending your lifted leg. Similarly, a strap can help you deepen the stretch in a Seated Forward Bend when you wrap it around your feet.

9. Don’t Skip the Variation
Teachers speak often about listening to your body and leaving the ego off the mat. This can be tough for competitive types, but beginners should definitely heed this advice. Variations are instrumental in creating a strong foundation for your practice, so drop that knee or use your strap as needed. Achieving the peak posture will feel all the sweeter and far more stable if you’re confident in the foundational steps.

 

Disclosure ~  I was given the ok to post these great tips from Kendal Perez for my awesome followers to enjoy.