In western cultures like ours, countries like the U.S., UK, Australia, Canada and other European nations, what’s the first thing that anybody thinks of or tells you whenever the idea of weight loss is brought up? You’ve got to hit the treadmill, exercise bike or the streets and burn those calories! On the surface of it, this makes sense, right? After all, you’re doing a lot of work and you’re sweating and breathing heavy. Surely running a few miles every day must be dissolving those unsightly Lbs like crazy, right? Would you be surprised to hear that this is actually wrong? No, I’m not crazy – let me lay it out for you… Yes, cardio does burn calories, it’s true. And yes, some cardio is good for you. Light cardio promotes a healthy heart and increases your endurance.
On the other hand, though… heavy cardio actually begins to have the opposite effects. Before I get into why, let me give you a simple but common sense example. Imagine Pre-Historic Man. These men and women are running around the Paleolithic world chasing down antelope, red deer, Aurox, bison and the occasional Woolly Mammoth. Most of their diet comes from animal protein and what edible plants they can scrounge. Well, if cardio was so great for losing weight, these people would simply starve to death while running down their food. All that cardio would burn through their energy reserves faster than they could replace them. Yet they didn’t starve to death… why? For one thing, a lot of heavy cardio is hard on your knees and feet. Second, it’s also hard on the heart. Too much cardio actually begins to add scar tissue to your heart and increases your rate of heart attack. We didn’t realize that for a while until many scientific studies were done on the subject. As for losing weight, excessive cardio actually has the reverse effect and here’s why. Our bodies are genetically designed to survive. Our body’s job is to store energy as fuel both for its immediate use and in the form of fat for those times when food is scarce. In modern times, of course, food isn’t really scarce, so this built in safety feature is rarely needed.
However, when you deprive your body of the nutrients it requires, either by starving yourself on some crazy diet or by over-taxing your body with lots of cardio, it begins to switch into survival mode.
Additionally, and unfortunately with heavy cardio, your body also becomes Anabolic.
This means that it begins to burn the most effective source of energy first – and that’s not fat… it’s your muscle. Take a good look at some of these chronic long distance runners who compete. Many of them are kind of stringy looking and have to pack in the carbs just to maintain their muscle mass.
You want your body to burn fat, not muscle, obviously. It’s not really about calories, as many diets and so-called fitness gurus try to make you believe. Calories are only a means of measuring food energy. Yes, if you want to lose weight, you must take in less calories than you consume, yet there’s so much more to it than that.
The biggest secret to weight loss isn’t running 10 miles every day, starving yourself or even avoiding some of your favorite carbs, believe it or not. In fact, if you’re going to lose weight properly, it’s actually important that you do eat some of your favorite foods!
I know that sounds crazy, too – but it’s absolutely true, and I can prove it to you! If you know how to use your body’s natural processes to your advantage, it’s entirely possible to lose 10, 20 or even 30+ pounds in a single month without starvation diets, gut wrenching cardio, ridiculous workouts and eating anything gross! It’s true and I can show you the science to prove it!
Want to know more about dropping some stubborn Lbs right away? Then click this link and I’ll show you a video that’ll explain how and show you the science backed by independent clinical studies to prove it.
Yoga and meditation are about something different for everyone who practices. It is becoming widely understood that Yoga and meditation are wonderful tools for alleviating stress, anxiety and even sleeplessness. It is also no secret that it can also be used for sculpting a toned physique. Asana, or the Yoga poses that we commonly think of in the Western world help people develop greater strength, flexibility, balance and overall better body awareness. Keep in mind that the foundation of an effective Yoga or Meditation program is the breath. One key to developing a great core through your practice is by matching your breath with your movement in a Vinyasa style. Here is a quick sequence with some of the best poses for developing a functionally strong core.
Start by sitting in Easy Pose and taking three long, slow, deep breaths and feel you breath drop down to the base of your abdomen. Each time you exhale try to make it last longer than the time before, controlling and suspending your breath. It can be helpful to place your hand on your abdomen as you breathe for greater awareness.
– Cat/Cow X 5 – In a table position alternate between inhaling and drawing your spine up like a Halloween cat and then curving the spine down like a bovine while exhaling.
– Sunbird X 10 – in combination with Tiger Stretches – In your table pose with a neutral spine, extend forward with your right arm and extend back with your left leg. Send energy forward through your fingertips and back through your toes, lengthening through your spine. Contract and draw your knee and your elbow toward your midline before extending them out long again. Do this ten times in a row on one side and then switch to your opposite arm and leg. Each time inhale as you extend out and exhale as you contract.
Do three Sun Salutations, each time being conscious of drawing your navel to your spine and drawing your heart towards the tops of your legs. Inhale when you come up and exhale as you fold forward.
Chair / Utkatasana x 2:
– Chair with a twist – Come into chair, draw your navel to your spine and your palms together. Twist bringing your left elbow towards your right knee and keeping your hands together in prayer. Hold the pose for five breath cycles. Repeat on the other side and then do the same series again performing the pose on each side twice.
A Balance Pose X 2:
Balance poses will strengthen your core like none other, truly providing you with functional strength. Two of the most core intensive balance poses are Warrior III or Virabhdrasana III and Half Moon or Ardha Chandrasana. Choose your own adventure here or do both poses. It is impossible to perform either of these poses successfully without engaging your abdominal muscles. Perform your balance pose twice on each side and notice if it improves the second time. Remember to continue breathing even while you are balancing.
Boat/Navasana & Paripurna Navasana X 5:
Lay on your abdomen with your forehead on the floor, draw your navel toward your spine and reach through your finger tips in front of you and your toes behind you in a Superman looking pose. Lift and lower your torso and legs, inhaling as you lift and exhaling as you lower. Do this five times.
Seated Boat – Sit on the floor with your knees bent and extend up through your feet, lift through your ribs and the crown of your head bringing your body into a V while continuing to bring your belly button toward your spine. Your arms reach out in front of you and you gaze forward at your fingertips. Inhale on your way up and exhale on the way down. Repeat this action five times.
Knee Down Twist / Jathara Parivartanasana X 4:
Recline on your back and draw your knees into your chest. Extend your arms out to the sides, like a T. Gently guide your legs toward the ground on the right side, turn your head and gaze out over the left hand. Engaging your abdominals, draw your knees back to center. Perform the pose on the opposite side. Repeat the pose four times on each side, inhaling as you bring your legs back toward your center and exhaling as you release them to the side. Stay in each twist for a duration of two breath cycles.
Corpse Pose / Savasana:
Always end your practice with a well deserved Savasana. Allow your whole body to relax as you imagine melting into the mat and then returning to your breath. Allow your belly to rise and fall with each breath. Let any other sounds just wash over you as you listen to the sound of your breath. Set a gentle timer for Savasana or stay there as long as you need.
There are many different Yoga poses can be used to develop a strong core. Remember to breathe and move with your breath and you will build beautiful functional core strength.