Workout

7 Activewear Brands So Stylish, You’ll Wanna Live In Them

We’re never taking these comfy-ass outfits off again.

Gym Fashion: Motivating Or Intimidating?

There’s a must have when it comes to working out, that in recent years has inspired many Instagram posts, tweets and Facebook selfies. No, it’s not the brand of protein that you use, or how much you lift; it is of course, what you wear when you hit up the gym.

RELATED: The Fitness Mistakes We’re All Guilty Of

Brands like Lululemon, Lorna Jane and Nike have encouraged women, and men, to invest in some fabulous workout wear to enhance their workout and encourage them to exercise. But what about those of us who haven’t jumped on the overpriced bandwagon and have continued to workout in shorts that we wore for sport at high school? Are we not getting as good of a workout as our sisters dressed in neon patterns?

Of course we are! It seems silly to think that buying pretty, matching workout gear actually makes us work out more. If anything, it just means more mirror selfies with a pair of weights at your feet. Or yoga mat selfies. Or…you get the point!

But then the question arises, are those of us not dressed in the latest gym fashion intimidated at the gym? Us ladies can be self-conscious when pumping iron as it is and having the pressure of those around us looking like they’re coming off a fitness runway can be daunting.

It’s another instance in which we feel that women are being pitted against each other in competition of being the most fabulous or the most fit. Workout wear is classed as another way in which we can feel inadequate. Those of us not dressed like a Nike billboard can feel a little shameful of our oversized t-shirt and old leggings combo.

In a bid to gain our own self-confidence and feel great no matter what we do or wear, we need to learn that it doesn’t matter what you put on when you go to the gym. As long as you’re comfortable, wearing clothing and shoes that support your body, and are in something that you can smash a workout in, it really doesn’t matter what you have on. However, if you’re in booty shorts, it does – because those just go straight up your ass.

Once we start to care less about what other people think and do, we can be so much happier within ourselves and not have to feel inadequate because someone’s hot pink leggings are brighter than your own.

Image via workandworkout.com

Post-Winter Workout Overhaul: Banish Bad Thoughts

I think we all know how tough it is to get your running shoes and sports bra back on after a long break from working out. Maybe you were injured or sick, or maybe it was winter and snuggling in your warm bed just sounded so much better than trudging to the gym in the cold.

RELATED: What Not To Do Before A Workout

It’s officially spring – and those who paused their workouts for the winter are starting to get back into fitness, but I can guarantee you of some of the thoughts that will pop into your head as you struggle through those workouts in your first week.

I am so puffed already.

During the warm up, most likely. “Really, the warm up could now be the main event I’m puffing so much. What is regulated breathing? How did I used to do this? I’m super unfit and I’m red already!”

Can that person hear me breathing?

“Do you think that person next to me notices my heavy breathing? They don’t have headphones in so they must wonder what I’m doing. Is my wheezing getting too loud? Maybe I should just give them a smile so they know that I’m okay.”

Is it possible I could die from this?

“I mean, I used to do this, so the possibility of me dying is low. But all this heavy breathing, I can’t even talk. Do you think that guy would save me if I fell to the floor? Imagine getting mouth to mouth at the gym. From a stranger. Sweaty, gross mouth to mouth. Ew.”

Hold on, I think I may be dying.

“My legs are weak, I’m wheezing away, my face is beetroot red and I’m sweating everywhere. It is possible that I may be about to fall on the floor and crawl to my car. Why do I do this to myself?!”

Time for a break…

“How did I ever used to enjoy doing this? I feel so awful. I’ll just go lay on a mat and do some ab exercises. Or maybe I’ll just lay here for a bit and stretch. Maybe I’ll just pretend to stretch while my brain comes back from its overheating, oxygen deprived holiday. It’s a miracle I’m even in the gym today, so I’ve done enough to warrant a tweet about how great my workout was.”

Image via vidavibrante.com

#Fitspiration: Get Fit With Katie Austin

In the days when women used to feel intimidated to step into a gym and before pump and attack classes were a huge ‘thing’, many fit-loving ladies would work out in the comfort of their own home to an exercise DVD or VHS with their favourite celebrity trainer. Not to say that workout DVDs aren’t still popular, but many women would choose to go to the gym instead of sweat it out in their living room.

RELATED: Banish Bingo Wings With Strong Triceps

At the forefront of at home workouts was, and still is may I add, the queen of fitness DVDs, Denise Austin. Denise is the all American girl, enthusiastic fitness instructor and author who helped our mothers burn fat through her tailored workouts.

With the rise of the internet, workout DVDs are not as popular as they used to be. That is no matter to Denise, however, who is all about change and growth, launching her internet empire and taking over American morning talk shows with her fit daughter Katie.

katie austin, denise austin, workout, fitness, fitness icon

At 21 years of age, Katie is following in the footsteps of her mother and training others to become the best versions of themselves. Appealing to a younger audience who haven’t been working out with Denise herself, Katie Austin is some major fitspiration if you’re after a gorgeous tan and a toned, slim body – who isn’t?

Living on the beach in California, Katie is often in a bikini and through her Instagram, her website and Twitter, she has some great inspiration for getting fit and staying fit. Gaining more media attention by appearing with Denise on day time television programs such as The Doctors and The Today Show, Katie has been demonstrating that there are easy ways to fit in exercise, even if it’s on your couch.

katie austin, denise austin, workout, fitness, fitness icon

The workouts that Katie has created also use minimal equipment, so they can be done anywhere and are perfect for travelling. You can bring up workout videos or Katie’s e-book on your phone, laptop or tablet to exercise in your own lounge room and get fit while having fun.

She has also been publicising her goals in getting you fit, which means not only getting physically healthy, but being fully confident in who you are and about being yourself and having fun. While having the genes from her age defying mother is a huge bonus, Katie is the sort of inspiration that we ought to be following on our social media channels.

Images via instagram.com/katie.austin

Top Tips For Your Pregnancy Workout

Did you ever watch What To Expect When You’re Expecting? And think, I’m going to be Elizabeth Banks, who has the awful pregnancy experience while Brooklyn Decker is still wearing stilettos and going to pre-natal yoga classes. Everyone’s pregnancy is different, but staying fit and healthy during a pregnancy is good for you and your baby. However, there are certain things that you should take into consideration when you’ve got a bubba growing inside of you.

RELATED: What Dads-To-Be Can Experience During Pregnancy

There’s a certain false impression that working on those abs is going to help you push out the baby when the (terrifying) time comes but accredited exercise physiologist Kate Faber from Precision Physio is here to bust that myth, saying it’s just not going to help in the way you think it is.

kate faber, precision physio

Kate Says, “Many women (and some medical, health and fitness professionals) believe there is great need to strengthen the abdominal muscles during pregnancy, in order to assist in pushing the baby out during delivery. While this may seem logical, the abdominal muscles are not directly involved in delivering the baby – the uterus and pelvic floor are responsible for that!”

And if you’re thinking that’s not a problem, but you’ll continue to do crunches to make it easier to get that flat belly after your pregnancy, you should definitely think again about that one.

“While you may think, “well, it couldn’t hurt, right?” Unfortunately, some women will find the tighter and stronger their abdominal muscles are, the more likely they are to develop abdominal separation (diastasis recti). So it’s not always easy, but you need to find the right balance between maintaining all-over, whole-body strength (which still includes the abdominal muscles), without overdoing it and putting yourself at risk of abdominal separation,” says Kate.

Pregnancy exercise is a great way to keep yourself fit and minimize the extra weight gain that isn’t pregnancy weight but just ‘I can eat whatever I want weight’. Everyone gains weight during pregnancy, but let’s take a tip from Jessica Simpson to put down the deep fried Oreos and Southern spiced wings and keep it healthy for the baby. Eating a healthy diet and engaging in some pregnancy-friendly exercise is a great way to keep yourself fit and not have to shock your system once you’ve given birth and you’re looking to get your pre-baby bod back.

Kate also has some great pregnancy tips for the type of exercise you are looking to do. You should always take your baby’s health into consideration and see your body as a place that you are nurturing a life. Women don’t need to be completely wrapped in cotton wool when they’re pregnant, but there are safety tips to follow when considering how you’re going to work out.

Let’s take a look at Kate’s top pregnancy workout tips:

  1. Include a gradual warm-up and cool-down pre and post exercise.
  2. Exercise at an intensity that is comfortable for you – avoid unsupervised high-intensity exercise during pregnancy if you weren’t doing it before you fell pregnant.
  3. Stay well hydrated and avoid over-heating.
  4. Avoid any activities (e.g. very heavy lifting) which cause you to hold your breath or alter your posture.
  5. Beyond 16 weeks, be careful when lying on your back – you may be more comfortable in a seated or incline position.
  6. Avoid activities which increase the risk of physical injury (e.g. contact sports).
  7. If you do develop abdominal separation, seek guidance around exercises you need to include or avoid.
  8. Get moving – reduce time spent sitting and get regular exercise in!
  9. Maintain good bowel habits – go when you need to go!
  10. Practice safe manual handling techniques – whether it be at work or home.

Keeping it gentle is key and activities like walking, swimming, yoga and pilates are low impact activities that keep your body fit and build a strong cardiovascular system, which makes mum and bub healthier.

For more information about Kate Faber and Precision Physio, you can visit their website.

Images via myrtylebeachbirthservices.com and precisionathletica.com.au

How To Get A Flat Belly For Summer

Since it is summer time, the number one thing everyone wants for a bikini-ready body is a flat stomach. This can only be achieved by regular exercise and a healthy diet, but sometimes it isn’t enough to control where any unwanted fat can go!

RELATED: What Not To Do Before A Workout

Try the following tips to tone-up your abdominals, de-bloat your belly and to help you keep healthy all-year round.

Water

Drink between 8-10 glasses of water each day to flush the system from harmful toxins. This is essential if you want to burn fat and cleanse your body from the inside out.

Fat-burning foods

There are a variety of foods to incorporate into your diet which can actually help to burn body fat. They include ‘good fats’ such as avocado, olive oil, and hummus; all of which are tasty and easy to snack on.

Protein

Foods rich in protein are ideal since they help to keep the body feeling nourished for longer. Eggs, fish and lean meat are all great options because they actually decrease the level of fat and promote muscle growth. Make sure your diet is balanced, however, and never cut out a particular food group without the advise of your doctor.

Green tea

Sipping on green tea after meals is another great way to speed-up your metabolism and help the body to de-bloat.

Foods to avoid

As a general rule, it’s best to avoid foods which contain refined sugar and carbohydrates since they don’t benefit the body in any particular way. Choose whole grain options over white bread and substitute refined sugars for something simple like a fruit.

Abdominal exercises

Try a few of these exercises which will tone your abdominal muscles and help keep any excess fat away from your belly! Combined with a healthy diet, it’s the best way to workout if you don’t have time on your side.

Side plank

How To Get A Flat Belly For Summer

Feet up crunch

How To Get A Flat Belly For Summer

Plank

How To Get A Flat Belly For Summer

Bicycle crunch

How To Get A Flat Belly For Summer

Images via Gym Flow 100, Womens Health Mag

Rookie Gym Errors We Need To Stop Making

Whether you’re a rookie in the racks or a veteran with weights, there are still common gym errors that many of us will make during the time that we exercise. It doesn’t matter if you’re trying to lose weight, gain some muscle, or get a better cardio vascular system, these mistakes that we make in the gym apply to most.

RELATED: How To Clean Up A Dirty Diet

Doing the same thing

If you never change up your routine, your body gets used to doing the same things and you will start to plateau, meaning that you won’t be making any improvements; rather, you will be staying at the same level. This could mean that you won’t lose any weight, you won’t gain any muscle and/or you won’t improve your cardio vascular system. It’s important to change up your routine and try lots of different things to keep your body guessing and get fit in many different dimensions.

Not changing your diet

You can exercise all you want, but if you don’t change your diet to something that is healthier and more beneficial for your bod, you won’t be getting the improvements that you want. We’ve often heard the terms ‘you can’t outrun a bad diet’ and ‘abs are made in the kitchen’, and they’re not wrong. To get the results you want, especially if it involves losing stomach fat, it’s important to change your diet.

Not being consistent

We’re probably all guilty of this one, especially through winter, but only hitting the gym once a week is not going to be enough to achieve the goals you’re after. Consistently hitting the gym 3-4 times per week is great, and 4-5 times is even better for making improvements to your body.

Not doing enough

You may be consistent with your time at the gym, but if you’re not pushing yourself and your body, you’re going to stay the same. Just because you’re at the gym, it doesn’t mean that you’re putting in the hard yards. By working hard, you’ll feel your body fighting to get fit.

Image via sofeminine.co.uk

4 Killer Ab Exercises: No Crunches Included

Alright, ladies! It’s time to get off the couch, put the cookies away and start working on getting that stomach you’ve always dreamed of. No, this is not an infomercial, this is real life – and you too can get those strong, sexy abs. Sorry, I couldn’t resist that last line.

RELATED: 5 Winter Sports To Join This Season

Back in the 90’s and early 2000’s, celebrities would divulge their workout secrets and it would all come down to doing heaps of crunches. Let’s be real though; celebrities don’t get killer abs from doing hundred of crunches and they don’t want to give out their real workout secrets because then you would look as good as them and they would lose their job.

You can get a great set of abs – yes an actual six pack – without doing crunches. Don’t believe me? Let’s get your sports bra on then. Crunches are boring and doing hundreds of crunches doesn’t get you a sexy six pack, but adding in these simple ab exercises can help trim and tone that tummy (yes, I watch way too many infomercials).

Move one: Ditch the bad diet

Not technically a workout move, but very important in getting abs. You can’t out-run a bad diet and that’s what is causing the fat that hides your abs. The secret is that everyone has a six pack, some are just better hidden. You can bring yours out by reducing your belly fat through cleaning up your diet.

Move two: Spidercrawls

These may look easy and even a little bit fun, but they’ll make your abs burn like a bowl full of chilli. Assume the low plank position with your shoulders over your elbows. Bend one leg and bring your knee as close to your shoulder as you can on the side of your body. Take it back down and repeat on the other side. While these are similar to mountain climbers, they also target your oblique muscles, pulling in that waistline and erasing those love handles.

workout, abs, six pack

Move three: Hanging knee lifts

Not only do these work your abs, but they also work on getting your grip, shoulders and back strong from hanging onto the bar. While assuming a hang position, bring your knees up to your chest, squeezing especially at the last point to get them really high and slowly release them down to starting position. Try not to swing as this uses more momentum and less abs. Once you get really strong, keep you legs straight and lift them to an L shape in front of you.

workout, abs, six pack

Move four: Swiss ball jackknifes

Placing your hands on your floor and your feet on the swiss ball, assume a push up position. Bring your knees to your chest and slowly roll them back to the starting position. Feel the burn as your keep yourself stable and slowly complete the movement.

workout, abs, six pack

 Images via Oxygen Mag, Womens Health, Popsugar, Get6packfast.com

New Extreme Sport: Wall Running 101

Looking for a new way to test your agility without compromising on fun? Wall running combines the foundations of parkour with a trampoline, making your workout twice as amusing and interactive! SHESAID chatted with Blaise Witnish, chief operating officer at Sky Zone Australia about some of your main queries involving the latest ultimate Australian adrenaline rush.

RELATED: What Not To Do Before A Workout

What is wall running, and where did it start?

Trampoline olympian Ji Wallace remembers putting a tramp against a wall for shows back in the 80’s and 90’s. It’s been an entertainment go to for a long time. Trampoline performers and imagineers in Cirque du Soleil took it and made it spectacular, but it’s been in the amateur realm for a long time. The first trampoline park to add it to their offering was in San Francisco, a place called House of Air.

Do you have to be of a specific age group to participate?

Anyone of all ages can learn how to be a wall runner. However, people who tend to be interested in this sport are thrill seekers, skate boarders, snow sport enthusiasts with an average age of 11-30.

How does it work? Do you need any formal training?

Formal trampoline training is required if you want to learn quickly. Many of our guests learn from watching; it’s great because wall running has created its own community.  Everyone who can wall run loves teaching novices the first steps in doing it. Sky Zone does offer a trampoline training program called Sky School, running through school terms. Here students can progress through a structured program that teaches you all the tricks and tips you need to know to improve your jumping skills. The program is headed up by olympic silver medalist, Ji Wallace.

What kind of health benefits does it have?

The benefits of training the body using trampolines are many and varied. Anatomically, training in unstable environments will make your body engage, and incorporate your core, and stabilise muscles around the joints of your body. You can burn up to 1000 calories in an hour. It is also excellent for your lymph system.

Where can our readers participate in it?

All Sky Zone venues in Australia have a wall running area and it is available to guests during our opening times. Every Thursday night Sky Zone offers a 3 hour jumps pass for $20 to jump on The Wall.

The Barre Method: The Workout Keeping Celebs In Shape

If you’re looking for a new workout class to try, we’ve got the perfect one for you! While it’s not quite the ballet slippers and tutus that you had when you were little, the Barre Method is a serious workout that will have you trim and toned in no time.

RELATED: 5 Winter Sports To Join This Season

Celebrities have been a driving force in the popularity of Barre classes, with Natalie Portman, Margot Robbie and Taylor Swift endorsing the workout method as the one that keeps them looking amazing. The elongating and isometric moves create leaner and lengthier muscles that look fabulously toned – do you ever wonder how Madonna keeps her incredible bod? Not to mention ballet dancer Misty Copeland’s amazing figure!

The Barre Method is a fantastic workout for your whole body. By incorporating small weights, the arms and upper body are toned, while the abs, butt and legs get a killer workout from isometric moves. You’re sure to feel the burn!

ballet, workout

The Barre Method is often a mix of ballet and barre work, and yoga or pilates, adding in high reps of small movements to really work those muscles and target areas of the body that can be hard to shape.

Of course, weight loss is going to be the number one reason to start up Barre classes – especially if you’re doing a cardio Barre class – but it also has a great impact on your posture by strengthening the muscles of the back that hold you upright. You will also see an increase in muscle definition, meaning stronger and more toned muscles that make you look leaner, plus the added benefit of increased flexibility and reduced stress.

Doing a Barre workout combines strength and cardio into one, while your core is constantly engaged to really fire up the abdominals. It also helps with grace and balance, which can help your poise in everyday life, not just your workouts.

There are many variations of the ballet inspired workout that are all about sculpting your long, lean body, so check out a Barre class in your area today – no tutus required.

Images via mybodyequation.com, lifestyle.com.au

Get The Look: The Winter Workout Edit

Have you ever heard the saying that summer bodies are made in winter? Get your workout on this season with a few of our favourite picks courtesy of our friends over at THE ICONIC. Simply click through the image to shop directly to your door!

RELATED: The SHESAID Guide To The Best Winter Boots

Tights

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Singlets

http---static.theiconic.com.au-p-nike-1647-104781-1http---static.theiconic.com.au-p-adidas-originals-3485-396781-1

Long-sleeve tops

http---static.theiconic.com.au-p-nike-1534-673781-1http---static.theiconic.com.au-p-calvin-klein-8680-656991-1

Hoodies

http---static.theiconic.com.au-p-running-bare-6194-702881-1http---static.theiconic.com.au-p-champion-1400-074191-1

Bags

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Shoes

http---static.theiconic.com.au-p-nike-4329-228791-1http---static.theiconic.com.au-p-asics-2646-872112-1

Sports bra

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Pants

http---static.theiconic.com.au-p-adidas-originals-6179-117781-3http---static.theiconic.com.au-p-pilot-athletic-1914-85848-1

Natural Ways To Prevent Sagging

Rather than going down the plastic surgery route to enhance the chest area, many women are instead opting for a cheaper and more long-term alternative – exercise. So, use a few of the exercises below to not only tone your body, but to also help prevent premature sagging of the breast tissue.

RELATED: Sex Vs Exercise – Which Is Better For You?

Standing Chest Press

1

  1. Stand up straight with your arms bended at the side.
  2. Hold light dumbells in each hand, then extend them inwards and outwards in slow, fluid motions.
  3. You should be able to feel the burn in your upper arms and chest area. It’s also a fabulous exercise which helps to straighten the vertebrae, and will give your body better posture in the long term.

Planks

getty_rm_photo_of_woman_doing_plank

  1. Lie down on the floor with your arms at a 90 degree angle.
  2. Extend your toes outwards until your heels are up in the air – this will also help press your body foreword.
  3. This workout is best for the core muscles, arms, legs and even the chest which is at the centre.

Ventral raises

3

  1. Stand up straight (or lie down – depends on which feels better) with a weight in each hand. Raise one arm upwards, then slowly alternate with the other.
  2. As your arm is slowly coming downwards, make sure it lines up with your hips.

Push ups

4

  1. Start with your palms flat on the floor and keep your knees down low on the mat for extra stability.
  2. Exhale on every upwards motion and remember to keep your arms bent at the sides.

Back extensions

5

  1. In the same position as the push up, put your arms over the side of your head, then lift and lower the upper body.
  2. This exercise will help to strengthen your arms, back, as well as the chest area by giving it an extra lift. Feel free to use a yoga ball to give you some extra stability if you’re just starting out.

Images via Oxygen Mag, Fitness Blender, iBodz, Womens Health Mag

Start Deadlifting For A Killer Body

You’d hope by now that everyone has heard of the deadlift. But for those who haven’t, don’t let the name scare you, because it is something you’re going to want to incorporate into your gym circuit.

RELATED: Easy Barbell Exercises For Women

A deadlift, which is mainly used for legs, butt and lower back training, is in simple terms: picking up a weighted bar off the ground. But for your body, it involves so many muscles that you didn’t even think would be working to help lift the weight.

Deadlifts are often portrayed by bulky men, with oversized muscles and hugely weighted bars that look as if they may bend under pressure, and this can scare women off the exercise. However, in reality, the deadlift is one of the best exercises we can do to gain strength, build lean muscle and burn fat.

Performing a deadlift engages the butt and legs, the upper and lower back, and the abs. Deadlifts are great for core strength and when bracing with the abs, will help you flatten the stomach and get that six pack you’ve been working so hard for.

deadlift, women's fitness

Not only are deadlifts great for building a fabulous body, when performed correctly, they strengthen the back muscles to eliminate back and leg pain. There is a preconceived myth that deadlifts are bad for your back, but anything will be if you perform it incorrectly. When a deadlift is performed correctly, it strengthens your back muscles, while other muscles protect it from injury.

This whole body workout, exercise and strengthener is a great addition to your gym routine. You should start small with your weights to ensure you can correctly lift, and then gradually build up the weight to really challenge your body and get a great figure.

There are also simple variations of the deadlift that you can try to switch up your sessions. A sumo deadlift, stiff leg deadlift or single leg deadlift can be used to fire up the glutes and work all your muscles in a different way.

It’s best to consult your personal trainer before trying new moves, to ensure the exercise is performed correctly and without harm to your body.

Images via Life Plus Fitness and Huffington Post

Inhale The Benefits Of Yoga

There’s a predisposed image of what you have to be before trying yoga. As the myth goes, you need to be flexible and thin, be wearing fabulous Victoria’s Secret yoga pants and carrying a green juice.

RELATED: A Beginner’s Guide To Yoga

Well, the green juice and Victoria’s Secret yoga pants are optional, being thin and flexible are not necessary at all, and everyone needs to start somewhere, so why not right now? The two things that is a necessity in yoga class are breathing and an open mind. While you may have to train your brain to be a little more free, your breath is ready for the challenge.

The way you breathe can change your mood and state of mind. Breathing is so important during yoga class because it acts as a sensor to our body and our movements.

Claire Nettley, President of Yoga Australia, believes that breath is the connection between mind and body:

“It’s often said that breathing is the bridge between the mind and body so when we consciously breathe and practise, we’re able to drop into our body and move with awareness, moment to moment. We use the breath as a barometer of how we’re feeling and moving.  For example, if we push ourselves too hard in a pose we may hold our breath. While we may not recognise the limitation physically (or want to mentally), the breath tells us to pull back. It basically helps us to practise in a more conscious way.”

claire nettley, yoga australia, breathing, yoga

Changing the way we breathe during yoga can have great effects on your mind and on your body. It can help to change mood and how we feel. Breathing during yoga is so important because it has many benefits.

“We can achieve many things – how we choose to respond to things, how we behave and how we feel physically. For example, if someone triggers something in us and we’re angry, we might hold our breath and our chest might tighten. But when we consciously tune in, take a deep breath and give ourselves a moment we can respond very differently to how we might have otherwise. Certain pranayama practices can help us relax, perk up or focus. They are many and varied!” Claire says.

But before you go ahead and dive into different breaths during your sun salutation or copy hot the girl on the mat next to you breathes you need to establish what your individual breath is like.

“It really depends on the individual and what you’re trying to achieve. What works for you might not work for me,” says Claire.

“Before we go off and explore lots of wonderful Pranayama practises, it really is important to check in with our regular breath. That starts by watching the breath in any given moment. Do I breathe into my belly or chest? Do I feel tension anywhere when I breathe and if so, where? Is my breath smooth or ragged? Can we watch our breath without judgement or wanting to change anything?  We need to establish a baseline before stepping into other practices or we could create more tension in the body. Without a baseline we won’t know what’s working and what’s not. And again, that will be different for the individual.”

Images via kyrinhall.com and twitter.com

Why You Should Start Working On Your Summer Body Now

Summer has just passed us here in Australia and it’s coming around soon for those in the northern hemisphere. But while you may have slacked off as autumn hit and put away your bikinis, you shouldn’t let yourself go just because the weather is getting colder. In fact, you should be working on your summer body all year round.

RELATED: Why Detox Diets Don’t Work And Are Dodgy

When the seasons change, it’s human nature to get out our sweats and slodge around the house after work, snacking on comfort food and snuggling under soft blankets while watching Sex and the City re-runs. Or is that just me? Hibernation often seems like the best option to survive autumn and winter, and when the warmer months come around, we have to really push ourselves to be bikini ready in time for the pool party or beach trip.

Around the same time each year, respective to your hemisphere, magazines will bring out articles about how to get your perfect summer body within a matter of weeks, but how realistic is that? Maybe if you didn’t eat the whole time. And is that going to be a long term result? Probably not, because you will switch back into the same cycle that you do every year.

This is exactly why we need to start working on our summer bodies right now. Whatever time of year it is, we need to continuously hit the gym, so we can feel and look fabulous, so we won’t have to go on a dramatic diet to shrink down come summer.

Personal trainer and Fitness On Toast blogger Faya Nilsson agrees that when summer comes, we’re compelled to pursue unattainable deadlines that are set at certain times during the year for special events such as Valentine’s Day, Christmas and the summer months.

working on your summer body year round

“This typically involves radically changing your entire fitness regime, nutrition requirements and social life. But with 4 weeks until holiday, do you want to be a monk, shun dinner with friends, go teetotal, spend every spare moment on the treadmill, eat lettuce religiously and remove all fun from life?” she asks.

As a personal trainer, Faya knows all too well how we often seek quick fixes for special events that just don’t work because they are unrealistic, short term plans. Knowing that developing and maintaining a great bikini body is hard work, Faya encourages everyone to start working on their goal bodies with plenty of time to spare.

“This will guarantee you can have a life but actually make slow, steady progress towards your goal. Eat and enjoy wholesome foods with nutritional purpose and delicious flavour. Watch your body grow stronger – lift heavier, run faster, recover quicker. You can sculpt your body and ultimately the results you feel and see over time are more likely to stay with you over time because they become habits. A short term push has an end date in mind, beyond which you probably relinquish all of your progress!”

By creating good habits, you’re more likely to succeed and keep up your fabulous special event body all year round. Not only is this more sustainable, but it’s better for your body than a continuous yoyo diet. By taking things slow, you can really appreciate the results your body is giving you from your dedication and you’ll feel much better than depriving yourself for a month, only to binge afterwards and see your hard work disappear.

Faya says that starting your summer body early and keeping it up all year round is a much more realistic approach than changing your whole life for one month and then slipping back into old habits. Instead, new, healthier habits will be created and your goal will be much easier to reach.

“The final month push is fine too, but you’ll be starting from a higher base, and are more likely to achieve your target result!” Faya encourages.

summer body, workout, year round

After all, a balanced lifestyle is much easier to maintain than an extreme fitness and diet plan that will only last for two to four weeks. Start living happily and healthy and your body will show the results.

This is just the motivation we need to keep up our fitness routines as the evenings get colder and the mornings get darker. Plus, a great excuse to buy a few new pairs of tights for our winter workout wardrobe.

Images via fitnessontoast.com

The Great Crop Top Controversy

It’s surprising that a touchy subject when it comes to gym attendance is not how many times you should go, how many reps you should complete or even the type of exercise you should do, but what you should and shouldn’t wear.

RELATED: Activewear To Make You Want To Get Sweaty

Personally, I would’ve thought that you could wear whatever you like to the gym, whether it be old camp sweat shirts and shorts you picked up as a souvenir from the beach, or that old sports jersey from three years ago. But with workout gear becoming brighter, sexier and tighter, it’s easy to see how people can feel uncomfortable if they don’t keep up with the trend.

Working out at the gym shouldn’t have judgement attached to it – other people shouldn’t care what you wear when you’re sweating it out on the treadmill or squatting your heaviest weights. This is why it’s confusing when you receive dirty looks or smirks if you’re wearing a crop – it is literally meant for gym wear!

crop top, gym wear, workout

The crop top is a very controversial topic amongst gym goers. Should you wear it if you have the confidence, should you not wear it because you might sweat on things? It’s tough, right?

Apparently, wearing a crop top to the gym makes you self obsessive, a show off and intimidating to the other ladies who may not want to bare their physique in such attire. Is this really the case ladies? Are some of us spreading hate to others because of our own self-esteem? If so, why should girls not be wearing crop tops at the gym?

Today I want to stick up for the crop top girl. Through my days of working at a gym, I only ever saw two girls working out in crop tops. They both didn’t touch machines, so there was no worry of them sweating on things. Both their workouts comprised of cardio and weights and they would both receive looks from other, sometimes older women in the gym that were somewhat disapproving.

So should you be wearing a crop top at the gym? Absolutely! If you feel confident enough to wear a crop top, go for it. Just make sure that you are wiping off the equipment before and after use and that you’re able to complete your workout comfortably. I for one know how hot it can be when you’re smashing out an hour on the cross-trainer and your shirt is drenched and stuck to you – it’s gross and you just want to rip it off.

But does wearing a crop top to the gym really deserve the stigma that seems to be attached to it? During an intense workout, it may be more comfortable to ditch the shirt and work out in a crop top. During that Zumba class, you might want to show off your new Lorna Jane coordinates. Does it really matter that much?

I now put the question out to you ladies (and gents): Should you wear a crop top to the gym, and why or why not?

Imgaes via mirror.co.uk and popsugar.com

Why You Should Wipe Fitness Equipment Before Use

Although you don’t like to think about it, the local gym where you workout is a germy place. There’s no way to deny the amount of germs in there when hundreds of people use the exercise equipment on a daily basis to complete their sweaty, intense workouts. Now that you’re actually imagining it, it’s pretty gross, isn’t it?

RELATED: Simple Ways To Stay Healthy

While there may not be many people in the gym at the time of your workout, you have to remember all of the people that put their damp clothes and exposed, sweaty skin on that particular piece of equipment before you did. Many gyms don’t get their equipment cleaned properly, and even if they do, how do you know there wasn’t someone on that machine an hour before you?

Gyms tend to rely on patrons to abide by simple gym etiquette and wipe down the machines after use. But in reality, a huge amount of people neglect to do this, instead leaving their sweat and any sickness they may have on the equipment that you are about to get on. Wherever there is contact, particularly with the hands, there is a higher chance of catching something nasty. This is why we’re encouraged to wash our hands many times throughout the day and especially before touching our face and eating. But while you may be courteous enough to wipe down the machine after use for the next person, how do you know if the person before you was thinking the same thing?

This is why you need to wipe down the gym equipment before you use it. Yes, it may seem pedantic, or be a little time consuming, but do you really want to be getting someone else’s sweat all over you? The hard surfaces at the gym are a great environment for viruses and fungi to survive, making it easier for you to catch something – especially if someone has been silly enough to come to the gym while they are sick. Having open wounds such as blisters or cuts also makes the body more susceptible to catching germs by having microorganisms invading the body.

Wiping down equipment before use is not something we usually think about when we’re in gym-mode, but as cold and flu season approaches, we need to protect our bodies from pathogens and keep healthy. Using your towel as a barrier between your skin and the equipment is also a good idea if your gym doesn’t have wipes or spray available – just make sure not to touch the towel to your face and always wash your hands after your gym session!

So next time you’re having a workout, do yourself and your body a favour and wipe the fitness equipment with an antibacterial wipe before you use it. You’ll be protecting yourself from nasty bacteria that’s on the equipment and lessening the chance of sickness or infection.

Image via The Huffington Post

Why You Shouldn’t Wear Makeup At The Gym

We’ve all partaken in our fair share of beauty sins like sleeping with our makeup on, rubbing our eyes and popping pimples, and we’ve probably all, at least once, completed a workout with makeup on. Well it’s time to stop, right now. While we might brush it off as a makeup misdemeanour, wearing makeup while exercising is a little more criminal for our skin than we think.

RELATED: Should You Re-Wear Those Sweaty Workout Clothes?

When we exercise , heat up and get into a really good sweat session (which we all should be doing), our pores expand to sweat out the dirts and oils that have been trapped in there all day. Here’s the thing though; if you’re wearing foundation, your pores expand and this allows your foundation, which has added bacteria trapped in it from being on your face all day, to get into your pores. Mix this with sweat and it’s a bit of a nasty combination, not to mention a little bit nasty to wipe on your white gym towel. Going all natural allows your pores to detox and get rid of all the toxins, allowing you to feel rejuvenated and relaxed. Clogged pores can lead to skin breakouts from the bacteria that is getting trapped when you cool down and your pores tighten. This can also cause irritation of the skin.

Not only is wearing makeup to the gym bad for your skin, it can also be a little harmful to your eyes. When you start to sweat, eye makeup, even the waterproof kind, can start to deteriorate, especially if you’ve wiped your face and then found it was actually on your towel. The fibres of your makeup, mixed with sweat can drip into your eyes, causing them to sting and become irritated. In a worst case scenario, you can contract infections from the bacteria in mascara fibres that fall into your eyes and aren’t expelled, during your workout.

exercising, makeup, gym,

Having makeup on your face while exercising can also affect your workout intensity. If you’re worried about having your makeup smudge all over your face or you don’t want to clog your pores, you aren’t going to be working out as hard as you would if you didn’t have the makeup to worry about.

You should also avoid putting on moisturiser before your workout as this has the same effect as foundation and will melt off as your body starts to heat up, making your slimier than you should be. If you are working out outside, a dry sunscreen can be used to protect your skin from sun damage.

Exercise is a great way to keep your skin healthy, so make the most out of your workouts by going all natural. If you’re going to the gym straight from work, keep some makeup wipes handy and at least get rid of the foundation before commencing your workout. Besides, that cute personal trainer is much more likely to be interested in you if you’re not afraid to sweat during a killer workout than if you’re walking on the treadmill with a full face of makeup.

Images via femside.com and mfcinstitute.com

Should You Re-Wear Sweaty Workout Clothes?

It’s 5pm and you finally get to leave the office and head to the gym. You change your clothes in the gym toilets and get started on your gruelling one-hour workout that has you sweating like it’s the middle of summer. As you arrive home, you check your calendar and realise that you have a dinner tomorrow night, which means you have to hit the gym in the morning. Do you: A) chuck you workout clothes in the wash and get out fresh ones for your groggy wakeup; or B) take a shower and hang your gym clothes on the doorknob, ready for you to re-wear in the morning?

RELATED: Check Out The Top 5 Gym Crimes Here

Quite a tricky one isn’t it? One the one hand, you would have less washing to do if you just re-wore your sweaty clothes, who would know anyway? But on the other, is it a little gross and can it affect your body?

There are many opinions on this issue, and they are generally polar opposites. Some think it’s okay to re-wear gym clothes because you’re only putting your sweat back on and you’ll just be getting sweatier anyway. Others think that this is gross, because you are wearing clothes that have already been saturated with sweat and they might feel or smell a little off.

Everyone has a personal preference, however, re-wearing gym gear that has become sweaty can add extra bacteria to your skin and make you more susceptible to breakouts and yeast infections. Breathable fabrics such as cotton, which soak up your sweat, are not as bad for you to re-wear as polyester ‘sweat-wicking’ workout clothes. Polyester clothes that have become sweaty have a larger chance of encouraging the growth of Micrococci, a bacteria that often makes your sweat smell worse. By re-wearing workout clothes, you are putting stinky bacteria onto your skin.

Re-wearing workout clothes can also contribute to yeast infections, and no, they don’t just affect your downstairs. You can be affected by a yeast infection in places where you sweat a lot or where the skin folds, like under your armpits or breasts.

Adding extra bacteria to your skin by re-wearing sweaty workout clothes can also clog pores and cause breakouts, especially on the areas that are drenched in sweat for long periods of time, such as your back and chest.

In fact, you should be getting out of your gym clothes as soon as you can and throwing them in the wash before you take a warm shower to wash off the sweaty bacteria. This will help to keep your body clean and avoid any infections or breakouts.

Image via huffingtonpost.com

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