Fitness Yin and Yang

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Fitness yin and yang - low intensity mindful exercise (yin) is as important to health, fitness, and weight loss/maintenance as high intensity (yang) training.

All you hear about in fitness news today is high intensity training. Boot camp, tabata intervals, crossfit, P90X, Insanity - all of these tell us that without high intensity exercises all the time we will never lose weight and get in shape.

But what we all need to remember is that our lives tend to be very high intensity and high stress. And we know now that it is this constant stress that causes all kind of physical and emotional problems, from loss of sleep to weight gain to inability to lose weight.

I learned this first hand last year. After all the stress of losing my parents and having a crushed toe while my pilates training schedule exploded with new clients and referrals, I needed to start working out again.

And because I felt fat and yucky, I went right into high intensity work - kettlebells, cardio intervals, and hard TRX. I was constantly sore, didn't sleep well, and the scale did not budge.

So I stopped.

I started giving myself reiki every day, getting on my foam roller to breathe and stretch, and doing gentle pilates. I started walking more. I took a week off for the first time in eight years. And I went for a massage.

And hubby commented recently that I look smaller and less bloated.

This week I added some higher intensity work, with two SpringTone® classes, and I am less sore and am feeling better.

Basically, I needed some cool and calming yin to balance out my warm and intense yang.

Interestingly enough, my acupuncturist says the same thing and that's what he tries to do every week. It just took me a while to figure it out for myself.

Now, not only I as a fitness professional have these issues, so do most of my clients. So I always try to balance their workouts with cool and warm. Here are some examples:

  • Yin: restorative yoga, tai chi, slower pilates, melt method, meditation, body rolling, moderate pace walking, slow weight training
  • Yang: Bikram and ashtanga yoga, intense faster pilates, kettlebells, weight training, running, interval training, crossfit, heavy weight training

Yin and yang.