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The Ultimate Guide to 10 Different Types of Yoga

By Maire,

How to find the best class for you.

by Jake Panasevich

When I first started yoga, I wanted a fast-paced, physical and sweaty flow class. After a few months, I tried other styles, but they were hit or miss. In one class I ended up in, for example, the teacher talked about philosophy and led us in chants for nearly half the time. I was confused, bored and in pain from sitting cross-legged. If that had been my first experience with yoga, I’m not sure I would have continued.

If you are looking to get into a yoga routine this fall, choosing from all the different styles can be overwhelming. Studios offer more variations of yoga than ever before, but don’t let all the trends and gimmicky classes distract you. Be clear about what your goals are before you choose your path. Once you know what you want, choose a program that fits you best. Here’s how:

Yoga for the Athlete

  • Flow: If you want to get in shape and tone up without bulking up, an exercise-heavy flow class is a good choice. When I first started yoga, I lost 40 pounds practicing heated power yoga or hot Vinyasa. These classes include plenty of lunges, core work and pushups, which are effective movements to build strength and burn calories fast. The temperature of a power yoga class is around 90 degrees, and you move very quickly through the poses. It is very fitting for those who want to sweat more and talk less about alignment and philosophy.
  • Fusion: Classes that blend yoga and exercise are popping up everywhere. CorePower Yoga, for instance, is a newer, popular branch of the standard power yoga class. CorePower offers heated flow classes as well as yoga with resistance and weights. The weights will help increase the intensity and help you get a more chiseled physique. However, the stakes are much higher if you misalign. Another fusion of fitness and yoga combines yoga and barre, which involves a workout using a ballet barre. All of these options are focused on physicality and moving quickly to get a workout.
  • Vinyasa: “Vinyasa” can mean many different things – so much so that it is difficult to tell exactly what you are signing up for when you attend a class. However, most Vinyasa classes move briskly in cadence with your breath. These classes are not heated, but that doesn’t mean you won’t get a good workout. While Vinyasa is fun and moving fluidly can be beneficial, these classes are not the best choice if you have an injury or joint pain.
  • Bikram: Bikram yoga is also a very intense method that builds focus. It is a very different physical challenge than Vinyasa. The yoga studio is heated to a sweltering 104 degrees and it is humidified to 40 percent so you break a sweat almost immediately. In Bikram, you practice 26 postures in 90 minutes, and hold the poses for a set amount of time. Bikram teachers repeat the same script each class, and it is the same sequence every time. If you enjoy the intensity of the heat and thrive with consistency, you will excel with Bikram yoga. If you enjoy variety, you should consider a different class.

Yoga for the Engineer

  • Alignment: If you have injuries or tend to be more tight and strong than flexible, an alignment-based class like align and flow, Iyengar or alignment-based Hatha is a good fit. The classes focus on subtleties where you learn by intellectualizing the biomechanical components of the practice. At some point, whether it is from getting hurt or just longing for more depth and knowledge about yoga and the poses, most people eventually seek out a slower, more thought-out, mechanical practice. Each class focuses on key alignment principles that provide insight on how to progress, and they are normally organized around a peak pose or a general focus. Additionally, alignment-based classes are great for beginners. You will move more methodically through poses and hold them longer than in a flow class. Pausing in a posture allows for more depth in a pose. This will provide a completely different challenge than moving at a quick pace.

Yoga for the Poet or Mystic

Yin and restorative yoga are perfect for those who love being still and who just need to stretch, restore and relax. In these classes, you will hold just a couple of positions for long periods of time. Exercise is involved in either style. Sequences are slow-moving and you use props to set up poses in a way that you can hold them for five to 10 minutes and attune them to your breath. If you are already on a grueling workout regimen, this type of yoga is a nice way to recover. By finding stillness in the poses, it becomes more of a meditative practice.

  • Restorative: Restorative is focused on alignment and positioning your body in a way that engages your muscles to protect your joints. This often requires props or using the support of the wall. For example, you may be asked to lie on your back with your legs up the wall for five minutes. This pose encourages students to attune to their breath and body.
  • Yin: Yin is slightly different from restorative yoga in the way instructors teach the poses. In this style class, you settle into the poses and stretch. There is less emphasis on engaging your muscles and, instead, you relax into each position.

Yoga for the Light-Hearted

If you are just looking to try something new and to not take yourself too seriously, there a couple options that are very playful and can be fun to try with a partner:

  • Aerial: If you’re feeling adventurous, you might try this style, in which the teacher helps you move through yoga poses while you are suspended in midair. I recommend trying a beginner’s class first and be willing to laugh at yourself when you fall and enjoy the anti-gravity effect.
  • Acro: Acro yoga normally involves coordination and time to build strength and to learn how to spot your partner. Usually, it takes some time for students to build self-awareness in their own bodies before trying these classes.
  • Partner: Practicing with a friend is helpful to go deeper into your poses. Events are also a fun way to make friends and try a class with a twist. Workshops range from music-themed classes – think metal music paired with Vinyasa – to yoga followed by beer tasting.

 

Find your flow and check out the latest Fit Radio Yoga mixes on our Yoga Station!

A Beginner’s Guide to Getting in Shape

By Maire,

A Beginner’s Guide to Getting in Shape – by Steve – NerdFitness.com

You woke up today and looked in the mirror.

And you said to yourself, “Gosh darnit (or #$^@  $#@$@%), I’m going to get in shape!”

Just one problem – you don’t quite know HOW.

It’s okay; we’ve all been there.   This might be the first, tenth, or the fiftieth time you’ve tried to lose weight and get healthy.  Sure, things didn’t work last time, or the time before that, or even the time before that…”but things are going to be different THIS time,” right?

So you hop on the internet, search “how to lose weight,” and see 7.8 billion websites that promise you fast results with minimal effort.  You get overwhelmed, intimidated, and then go back to playing Modern Warfare 3 or Hello Kitty 2: Island Adventure.

Somehow, you stumbled across Nerd Fitness…which means there is hope for you yet 🙂

By the end of this article, you’re going to know exactly how to get in shape.

Get your act together

First and foremost, if you suck at life…it’s time to stop.

I know it.  You know it.  Even your mom knows it (she called me).

So let’s get started.  Think back to the last time(s) you tried to get in shape and lose weight.  How successful were you?  What made you fall off the wagon?  Congratulations, you already know what “get in shape” method doesn’t work for you.

They say the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.  Unless you’re insane, don’t try to get in shape the same way you did last time…it’ AIN’T gonna work!  If you counted calories, ran on a treadmill, did kickboxing, tried starving yourself, or whatever, and you’re not happy with the results, it’s time to try something new.

May I recommend the Nerd Fitness method of success: the Triforce of Winning!  Well, I just came up with that title, but now that’s what I’ll call it henceforth.  If you want to succeed at changing your life, you need three things:

  • Education: know HOW to get in shape
  • Inspiration: know WHY you’re getting in shape
  • Support: having others help you along the way to get in shape

If you can successfully combine these three crucial pieces, then you’lldefeat Ganon and save Hyrule have a fightin’ chance at getting in the best damn shape of your life.

Education

1) If you made some New Year’s Resolutions for 2012, make sure they don’t suck.  Be incredibly specific with your goals so that you can actively plan what steps are needed to achieve those goals.  Alternatively, if you somebody that NEVER succeeds at your goals, instead try making a new habit every 30 days…put the focus on the habit and not the goal.

Whichever method you decide, it’s important to be deliberate in your actions:

  • If you are setting goals – be SUPER SPECIFIC, write them down, and plan them out.
  • If you are making new habits – add them to your calendar, set phone alarms or alerts, and do them EVERY DAY.
  • Understand that Rome wasn’t built in a day, and Optimus Prime didn’t transform in one move.  This is NOT a diet, or a quick fix, but a LIFESTYLE CHANGE.  Don’t expect overnight results, or abs in two weeks.  Slow, steady progress.

2) Identify your kryptonite.  If you tried to get in shape in the past and failed, it’s important to know WHY.  Did you get sick and give up after a few days?  Did you go on vacation and say “why bother?”  Maybe you just got bored?  If you sucked at getting in shape last time, educate yourself on the hurdles and kryptonite that made you suck, and work on either avoiding those pitfalls or develop methods to deal with them.

3) Clean up your diet.  Believe it or not, 80% of your success when it comes to getting healthy will depend on your diet – unless you are running marathons on a daily basis, you cannot outrun your fork, and you can’t out-train a bad diet.  I honestly cannot stress the importance of this enough.  Whether you want to count calories, cut out certain foods, or attempt a new diet all together, this is the most important step you can take:

Now, most people suck at eating better because they try to make TOO many changes at once, their stomach freaks out and they run back to their comfort foods.  My advice?  Pick one food change every few weeks, and stick with it.  Whether it’s eating less calories per day, drinking one less soda, eating more vegetables or cooking your own meal once a week…small changes can lead to big successes in the long run.

4) Find an activity that makes you happy, and do it all of the time.  Do you like to run?  Awesome, do that (just do it right).  Do you like to lift weights?  Awesome, make sure your workouts don’t suck.   Maybe you like yoga, or dodgeball, or Ultimate Frisbee, or rock climbing, or whatever!  If you tell me that “I don’t like to exercise,” then you just haven’t found the activity that makes you happy yet.

We’re genetically designed to be active.  If you don’t like to move, then it’s time to try new things until you find something that you DO like.  Sign up for a new class, join your company’s running club for a day, try out something in your basement or living room, just keep trying new stuff until you find something that you like.  And then do it as often as you can.

Remember, your diet is 80% of your success or failure.   Exercising regularly will help you build muscle, strengthen your heart, lose weight, increase your endurance, stamina, and/or flexibility.  On top of that, regular exercise keeps your mind thinking healthy, which in turn will keep your stomach thinking healthy, which will cause your mouth to want to continue eating healthy foods.  It’s the circle of life, sucka.

Now, if you want specific direction on weight lifting, weight loss, or running, I’ve offer a few premium resources on Nerd Fitness.  Yes, they cost money, but they work.  These guides have helped hundreds upon hundreds of NF readers transform their lives.  Each guide comes with specific workout plans depending on your fitness level, video demonstration of exercises, and more…they all come with 1-year, 100% money-back guarantees as well.

  • Rebel Fitness Guide: a fitness guide for beginners who want specific diet and exercise advice.
  • Rebel Strength Guide: a guide for people looking to build strength and muscle, either bulking up or slimming down
  • Rebel Running Guide: a guide for new runners who want to have fun while AVOIDING INJURY

If you want to buy more than one guide, email me atSteve@NerdFitness.com for combo pricing.

If you’re more of a do-it-yourself kind of person, you can build your own workout, or get started with a free resource like my Angry Birds workout.  The important thing is to GET STARTED, and then try to get better each time.

5) Put it all together:  These are the steps you can take today:

  • Determine your goals or habits you want to establish.  Write them down and hang them up.
  • Determine why you sucked in the past and how you can avoid it in the future.
  • Start cleaning up your diet in whatever method works best for you.
  • Pick an activity that makes you happy, and do it.  A lot.

Inspiration

WHY do you want to get in shape?  What is your reason for wanting to do so? Do you want to get in shape to…

  • Impress a cute coworker?
  • Win a weight loss competition at work?
  • Eventually play with your newborn son?
  • Grow old with your significant other?
  • Prove everybody wrong who said “you can’t do it?”

Have a freaking reason, friend!  Write it down, hang it up in your bedroom, have a calendar alert pop up every day, whatever.  But keep that reason for wanting a better life at the front of your mind at all times.

Many people get inspired by reading success stories of folks like them.

Lucky for you, Fit Radio has plenty of them on our blog.

Support

Last but not least, you need support.

Yes, I understand its kind of fun to be an army of one: the lone ranger trying to succeed against insurmountable odds….but it’s not necessary.

Once you decide to get in shape, want to know the best way to guarantee success?  Make it public.  Tell all of your friends, start a blog, and/or inform your co-workers and ask them to keep you accountable!  Unless you like being called a quitter, you’ll probably think twice about skipping out on your workouts.

Maybe your word isn’t your bond, and you need a different kind of motivation and support to succeed.  Try money.  My buddy Saint said he would pay his friends $500 if he didn’t get in absolutely incredible shape for his wedding six months down the road.  Saint didn’t have $500 to lose, so he decided instead to just get in great shape…and it worked.

Build your own Jedi Council – find people who are stronger than you and work out with them, or faster than you and run with them, or more educated than you and ask them questions.  These are people that you can turn to when you need advice or help.  If you don’t know anybody in real life, keep reading…

Find a workout buddy!  There are going to be days when you want to sleep in and skip your workout.  There will be afternoons following a crappy day of work where all you want to do is play Halo.  Find somebody who’s at a similar level of fitness as you, and work out with them!  He/she will push you on days when you’re dragging, and vice versa.  You can inspire and support each other, feed off of each other’s success, and offer up tough love when the complaining gets too much (and yes, there will be complaining).

 

Read more about how Fit Radio, the number 1 fitness music app, is designed to help keep you motivated and reach your fitness goals here.

How Fat Turns to Muscle Through Exercise

By Maire,

How Exercise Changes Fat and Muscle Cells

BY: Gretchen ReynoldsNY Times

Exercise promotes health, reducing most people’s risks of developing diabetes and growing obese. But just how, at a cellular level, exercise performs this beneficial magic — what physiological steps are involved and in what order — remains mysterious to a surprising degree.

Several striking new studies, however, provide some clarity by showing that exercise seems able to drastically alter how genes operate.

Genes are, of course, not static. They turn on or off, depending on what biochemical signals they receive from elsewhere in the body. When they are turned on, genes express various proteins that, in turn, prompt a range of physiological actions in the body.

One powerful means of affecting gene activity involves a process called methylation, in which methyl groups, a cluster of carbon and hydrogen atoms, attach to the outside of a gene and make it easier or harder for that gene to receive and respond to messages from the body. In this way, the behavior of the gene is changed, but not the fundamental structure of the gene itself. Remarkably, these methylation patterns can be passed on to offspring – a phenomenon known as epigenetics.

What is particularly fascinating about the methylation process is that it seems to be driven largely by how you live your life. Many recent studies have found that diet, for instance, notably affects the methylation of genes, and scientists working in this area suspect that differing genetic methylation patterns resulting from differing diets may partly determine whether someone develops diabetes and other metabolic diseases.

But the role of physical activity in gene methylation has been poorly understood, even though exercise, like diet, greatly changes the body. So several groups of scientists recently set out to determine what working out does to the exterior of our genes.

The answer, their recently published results show, is plenty.

Of the new studies, perhaps the most tantalizing, conducted principally by researchers affiliated with the Lund University Diabetes Centre in Sweden and published last month in PLoS One, began by recruiting several dozen sedentary but generally healthy adult Swedish men and sucking out some of their fat cells. Using recently developed molecular techniques, the researchers mapped the existing methylation patterns on the DNA within those cells. They also measured the men’s body composition, aerobic capacity, waist circumference, blood pressure, cholesterol levels and similar markers of health and fitness.

Then they asked the men to start working out. Under the guidance of a trainer, the volunteers began attending hourlong spinning or aerobics classes approximately twice a week for six months. By the end of that time, the men had shed fat and inches around their waists, increased their endurance and improved their blood pressure and cholesterol profiles.

Less obviously, but perhaps even more consequentially, they also had altered the methylation pattern of many of the genes in their fat cells. In fact, more than 17,900 individual locations on 7,663 separate genes in the fat cells now displayed changed methylation patterns. In most cases, the genes had become more methylated, but some had fewer methyl groups attached. Both situations affect how those genes express proteins.

The genes showing the greatest change in methylation also tended to be those that had been previously identified as playing some role in fat storage and the risk for developing diabetes or obesity.

“Our data suggest that exercise may affect the risk for Type 2 diabetes and obesity by changing DNA methylation of those genes,” says Charlotte Ling, an associate professor at Lund University and senior author of the study.

Meanwhile, other studies have found that exercise has an equally profound effect on DNA methylation within human muscle cells, even after a single workout.

To reach that conclusion, scientists from the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm and other institutions took muscle biopsies from a group of sedentary men and women and mapped their muscle cells’ methylation patterns. They then had the volunteers ride stationary bicycles until they had burned about 400 calories. Some rode strenuously, others more easily.

Afterward, a second muscle biopsy showed that DNA methylation patterns in the muscle cells were already changing after that lone workout, with some genes gaining methyl groups and some losing them. Several of the genes most altered, as in the fat cell study, are known to produce proteins that affect the body’s metabolism, including the risk for diabetes and obesity.

Interestingly, the muscle cell methylation changes were far more pronounced among the volunteers who had ridden vigorously than in those who had pedaled more gently, even though their total energy output was the same.

The overarching implication of the study’s findings, says Juleen Zierath, a professor of integrative physiology at the Karolinska Institute and senior author of the study, is that DNA methylation changes are probably “one of the earliest adaptations to exercise” and drive the bodily changes that follow.

Of course, the intricacies of that bogglingly complex process have yet to be fully teased out. Scientists do not know, for instance, whether exercise-induced methylation changes linger if someone becomes sedentary, or if resistance training has similar effects on the behavior of genes. Nor is it known whether these changes might be passed on from one generation to the next. But already it is clear, Dr. Ling says, that these new findings “are additional proof of the robust effect exercise can have on the human body, even at the level of our DNA.”

Has Fit Radio Helped You Reach Your Fitness Goals?

By Maire,

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Has Fit Radio helped you reach your fitness goals? We want to hear from you! (And congratulations by the way! 😉 ) Tell us about your experience for your chance to be featured in your own personal spotlight on our blog and social media! All you have to do is answer the questions below, email them to team@fitradio.com along with 1-3 of your best photos to accompany your feature.

 

  1. What has been your overall experience using Fit Radio?
  2. How did you hear about Fit Radio?
  3. How has Fit Radio helped you reach your fitness goals?
  4. What do you love most about Fit Radio?

 

Thank you all for your support of the #FitRadioLife! Keep it up!

Fit Radio DJ Spotlight: DJ Euphoria

By Maire,

This week, we had a chance to sit down with DJ Euphoria and ask him a couple questions. Here is what he had to say:

 

1. How would you best describe yourself in three words?

Honest , Friendly, and Ambitious.

 

2. What is the most embarrassing thing that has ever happened to you?

It was picture day in middle school and my mom decided she was going to start cutting my hair herself. Let’s just say, I came out looking like I went to a blind barber. She still made me go to school wearing a hat, but little did she know hats weren’t allowed at school. (Like I told her!) I got called so many names that day and ended up getting my head shaved completely bald. We didn’t purchase the pictures that year. 😉

 

3. Who is or was your celebrity crush?

Shailene Woodley

 

4. If you could read minds, whose would you want to read?

DJ AM – his music selection and live mashups were unreal. A true legend.

 

5. What is the most important thing to you when you make a mix for Fit Radio?

I always put myself in the user’s shoes. I make sure that a listener would love to listen to the mix over and over and look forward to more.

 

Learn more about DJ Euphoria and listen to his latest mixes here.