#sejtips – Why I yoga

This week I happened to have a slight altercation with my car…The end result of this being a new car and a very stiff sej. But this post isn’t about the car, it’s about yoga and why I bother spending my time sitting on a pink mat breathing really slowly.

I’m a big advocate for yoga and pilates, but will admit I got lazy. I used to be a bit of a busy bee – rushing everywhere all the time (like a classic Aucklander, really). I realised that people tend to make more mistakes when they’re rushing and I needed to do something to slow down. Yoga happened to be trendy, but after actually trying it, I really realised how much I enjoyed taking the time out of my day to slow down. It took my accident to remind me the importance of stretching, breathing and spending time on myself.

So, one day it occurred to me that I didn’t need to get up at 7am on a Saturday morning to go to Lulu Lemon for a yoga class (and I bought a new car with the savings in yoga pants) and I found my own tutor, at home: Adriene.

This isn’t a plug for Adriene, my Youtube yogi, but more an overview of why everyone should be doing yoga. I do love lists, so here’s one on yoga:

  • If you’re a fitness buff, it’s a really good way to stretch out your muscles and support your workouts
  • If you’re constantly rushing around/very busy and stressed – then yoga forces you to take 30 or so minutes (Adriene has different timed workouts) to focus on you. Taking the time out, just to breathe, gives you a lot of energy and clarity – not to be underestimated
  • It’s really really good for back problems/any other muscular or skeletal issues
  • If you suffer insomnia, it helps to clear your mind – yoga isn’t about having no thoughts, but taking the time to think about what matters

Youtube yoga is great because it’s free, it’s at home and you can do it whenever it suits you. Yoga isn’t just for the skinny blonde Lulu Lemon brigade – you don’t need fancy clothes, or even flexibility to give it at home. Go to Kmart and grab a mat (any excuse for a Kmart trip really) and give it a go.

I recommend starting easy. I did this one tonight, because I’m really stiff and it’s been so long. It’s a 40 minute practice, but takes you through all the basic of yoga. No Hindi required. So, go, try it! Namaste.

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When gym is not #bae

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Anyone who knows me knows I’m a bit of a gym junkie. I’ll be the first to admit that I send the odd (okay maybe slightly more frequent…) snapchat of my workouts and I’m definitely not that quiet about it. #Sorrynotsorry for being a millennial. But today’s blog post isn’t for people like me, it’s for those people who just want to go to the gym. Perhaps so you can justify eating an entire chocolate cake as your ‘preworkout snack’.

Disclaimer – I’m not a personal trainer (if was, I’d have that 6 pack by now). I just wanted to write something that the average person could identify with without all the jargon. So here’s some #sejgymytips for the non-aspiring body builders, who just want a work out, for whatever reason that may be:

-My number one tip has got to be: get pinteresting. Pinterest is an amazing resource and I use it to plan 99% of my workouts (the other 1% is bodybuilding.com, but it’s not as user friendly). You can search whatever workout you’d like – for example, I would do a legs, chest and back, or bi and tri workout. Their circuits are also pretty amazing. If you don’t have much of an idea of what you’re doing and don’t want to splash out for a PT, definitely jump on pinterest – but grab one of the workouts with pictures to guide you.

-On that note: if you don’t want to do super serious weight training on the machines, try with circuits. Circuits are great and there are a lot of bodyweight ones if you’re not keen on loading up the barbells. They’re also a fantastic mix of weight training and cardio that I enjoy. This is the same line of thinking as a Kayla Itsines workout, without the pressure of doing 12 full-on weeks.

-Start small. If you’re gymming to lose weight or get that Kim K body (lots of squats!), it’s not going to help you to start with massive weights – trust me, I’ve been there and all those heavy weights do is stop you from being able to manage the stairs at work for days on end. Generic advice I got given here (though take this with a grain of salt) is that you want to be a little bit sore, but still able to use your body and function as a human being the next day. Once you stop being sore, then you can try up your weights.

-If you just want to go to the gym and not think about what you have to do, I highly recommend classes. If you’re willing to spend a little bit more on a world class gym experience (no I don’t actually go here, but used to when I was on a good student rate), then Les Mills is 100% the way to go. If you want to be able to afford daily coffee as well as your gym membership, then try something like Snap Fitness (I like Browns Bay or Constellation), they actually do pretty okay classes.

-My last piece of advice  (I won’t overload you, I could probably talk about the gym all day) is to reward yourself so you actually want to go to the gym. If you’re not going to get high from those sweet cardio endorphins, then chances are you’ll need some other motivation so your membership doesn’t turn into a monthly donation to your local club. I used to reward myself with gold star stickers (because I’m, at heart, a grown child) and once I racked up 5 stars a week for 5 weeks, I’d get a massage. Other motivation ideas could be buying yourself new workout gear or going to all you can eat ribs at Deep Creek (although perhaps counterproductive to those gym goals).

Oh and make sure you stretch- always stretch and if you’re not sure what to stretch, get pinteresting! Good luck and go hard or…whatever pace you want really. Just do you.