And they’re influencing your results more than you think.
Tired of the same repetitive yoga poses? Meet BodyBalance: one of Goodlife Health Clubs’ most popular Les Mills choreographed, exercise-to-music group fitness classes.
This winning combo of yoga, tai chi and pilates doesn’t just work your core and build strength through your back; it focuses on the connection with our breath and movement and helps us find complete relaxation and acceptance in our current state of fitness.
As such, I can personally vouch for its amazing transformative and healing powers. I first discovered BodyBalance classes not long after my father died 12 years ago and I’ve been regularly practising it ever since. I find it immensely calming and nourishing, with the added bonuses that it’s a decent cardiovascular workout and builds flexibility and strength.
What’s more, you’ll feel your stress melt away while doing this health-enhancing mind and body workout, where the lights are dimmed, the mood is serene and the body is brought into a state of harmony and balance. And my absolute favourite bit? Classes conclude with a 10-minute relaxation exercise to send you away feeling like you’re floating on air. How often, in our busy world, do we actually get to just lie down and breathe? It’s so awesomely good for you!
And you certainly don’t have to be either a yoga nut and/or an athlete to enjoy the many and varied benefits of BodyBalance either – indeed it’s designed for people of all ages and fitness levels says Chikko Ford, Group Fitness Instructor at Goodlife Health Clubs.
Chikko (pictured), loved BodyBalance classes so much, he became a fully-qualified instructor a few months ago. Here, he gives us the low-down on BodyBalance’s substantial mind/body/spirit gains and why everyone can and should be doing the class.
Is Body Balance a decent workout and why?
The only hurdles to overcome are those that BodyBalancers place upon themselves. As an instructor, it is my duty to coach and motivate to improve the current fitness levels of my participants by providing challenges in the workout. However, it is ultimately dependent on the individual’s limitations and fitness level to see how far they can take it. Improvements in your fitness level and flexibility are developed by attending regularly and being open to accepting the challenges in the workout – it’s pretty simple!
What are the main health benefits of Body Balance?
My approach to BodyBalance has always been finding a connection with your breath. It is the essence of anything we do and we gradually build from that. In BodyBalance we utilise the breath with each move to find how the poses should feel for your body. When this is done correctly, BodyBalancers are able to find optimum strength, length and are able to hold poses for long durations.
As an instructor, I enjoy doing BodyBalance because I find that I am less likely to injure myself as a result of instructing a number of high-impact programs during the week. BodyBalance gives me that time for myself and my body to reap the benefits of actively stretching from head-to-toe which has been proven to reduce tiredness, improve concentration and promote positive sleeping habits. I really feel great afterwards.
Can the class boost your fitness and flexibility the more you do it?
As mentioned by many instructors of mind and body programs, it is more about the journey and not the destination. Personally, I have improved my strength and flexibility by incorporating BodyBalance into my workout schedule.
I always feel so calm and nourished after completing a BodyBalance class: why is this so?
This is exactly what the program was designed for. The music plays a massive part in BodyBalance – it really sets the mood. The poses and flow of the program from one track to another feels effortless and beautiful; it’s like your body telling a story that starts with your breath.
What are the best things about the class and why do you love it?
As an athlete, I am constantly struggling to find motivation to stretch and recover – I am very impatient when it comes to rest days! In a BodyBalance class, I am constantly trying to perfect my techniques and to correctly breathe into the poses to achieve optimum results. Personally, I enjoy the challenge of the standing strength and core tracks and I absolutely love the spinal twist tracks; they leave me feeling completely relaxed. However, many of my participants say that their favourite part is the relaxation/meditation track where they have time to indulge in the music and reconnect with their body and breath after all the effort they have put into the workout.
Does it suit all ages and fitness levels?
Yes, my participants range from teenagers to the elderly with varying fitness levels. BodyBalance caters for all body types and abilities by offering a range of options with the poses. For example, one pose may suit one person while the optional pose may feel better for another. It is also safe for pregnant women and for those who have injuries. However, please contact your doctor prior to commencing any programs at the gym!
Images via resolvefitness.com.au, alianzatex.com, grandnat.co.uk
Marathon season is just around the corner as runners start lacing up to beat their personal bests and complete their running goals. From now on, fun runs and running events are occurring every weekend, giving runners a practical chance to participate and train for events like the Sydney Morning Herald Half Marathon in May, the Running Festival in July and the City To Surf in August.
Make it your goal this year to complete a marathon and make a commitment to your health and fitness. Participating in running events not only gives you something to work towards, but is often a great way to support charities and fundraisers and to have a great time with friends, family and colleagues.
Participating in a marathon or running event involves much preparation that needs to be started early, so that your body can handle the run. Personal trainer and pioneer of his own fitness app, Luke Heath has some great tips for getting started in your marathon preparation.
The ‘Running Fitness’ package that is available on his app, has been designed in conjunction with exercise scientist and marathon runner Josh Harris, and is specially suited to helping you reach your marathon goals. The boys have created this app specifically for the fun run season, to help you with your preparation and make sure your body is ready.
“Training for a fun run is a great way to encourage yourself to exercise regularly and it gives you something to work towards so it’s a lot more rewarding. By using my latest ‘Running Fitness’ package in the Luke Heath Fitness App you can get loads of running tips and training to ensure you’re doing it right from the beginning and to set yourself up for a win,” Luke says.
Having run marathons before, Josh Harris knows what it’s like to train for such a big event and says: “Increasing your running efficiency can make a big difference to your times. I increase my efficiency by incorporating some technique based speed work and by spending more time on my legs. It’s amazing what you can achieve with just 5 minutes of your time. By incorporating a combination of Luke’s running workouts you can take your running to another level this fun run season.”
The ‘Running Fitness With Harry and Luke’ package features ten different workouts for you to maximise your fun run fitness. It incorporates fitness of the whole body, not just the legs as many people would expect. Training your chest, core, back and legs, as well as using techniques such as interval training, body weight circuits and time trials, you’ll be able to get the most out of your workout and get a great running result; after all, running is about the whole body.
Being a great runner isn’t just about long, moderate jogs to train. It’s about engaging the whole body and having a great technique that will keep you going those long distances. Luke has put together his top 5 tips for mastering the marathon this season.
- Quality is just as important as quantity: 5 minutes of speed work a couple of times a week will shave seconds off your time.
- An efficient runner is a fast runner: Focus on your running technique each session. Lift your hips, heels, and knees to shave minutes off your goal time.
- Variety is the spice of running: Mix up your sessions. Take it to the trails or grass. Running on a softer surface for speed work 2-three times per week will ease the pressure off your joints and muscles.
- Strength work is the core of great running: Adding sport specific strength training to your weekly training such as core planks, athletic lunges and burpees will have you powering up the hills and into the finish line.
- Recovery Stretch: 5 minutes as a part of your cool down will make all the difference to your muscles and help to keep you injury free
‘Running Fitness With Harry And Luke’ also features additional training tips and warm up and cool down methods to minimise and hopefully prevent the risk of injury. Training properly for such a big event is so important to keep your body healthy and fit and to get a great result.
So what are you waiting for? Get downloading and get running!
Images via sites.newpaltz.edu and www.thorpetriathlon.com