Strength in Balance  

"
Balance is the all-important factor in a fighter's attitude or stance. 
Without balance at all times, he can never be effective." 
Bruce Lee, The Tao of Jeet Kune Do

 

Increase Lean Muscle, Burn Fat, and Relieve Stress through Exercise

Bringing together the most cutting-edge information on fitness, strength training, flexibility, yoga, and stress management.

Let us help you put together a specific work-out program based on your body type that will complement your eating plan and help you lose body fat, increase lean muscle, maximize sports performance, and balance energy!

Strength in Balance will refer you to the best strength/fitness trainers and body-workers in the industry.

Jennifer Workman has done the world a great service with her new book "Stop Your Cravings". This is NOT another fad book, nor is it a one size fits all diet book. "Stop Your Cravings" uses tried and tested eastern methods, providing a fully customizable approach to your very own eating plan. By integrating the exercises and nutrition education Jennifer provides, you will achieve optimal well-being, and better yet, free yourself from unnecessary non-foods and medical drugs, regaining full control of your body and mind!  Paul Chek, HHP, NMT,

Lack of willpower is not the cause of many individuals' weight loss failures; improper dietary approaches that send faulty signals to the brain are. Now there is light at the end of the tunnel. Workman has artistically blended the time-tested Ayurvedic nutritional principles and the latest Western scientific discoveries to help you achieve permanent weight loss along with optimal health.  Charles Poliquin
Three-time Olympic Strength Coach and author of Modern Trends in Strength Training


Sets the stage for realistic weight loss and long-term success. One of the most comprehensive and useful approaches, synthesizing the latest information of Western nutritional science and the ancient wisdom of Ayurveda.   Edmund R. Burke, Ph.D.
Professor and Director, Exercise Science Program at the University of Colorado and author of Optimal Muscle
 

Ayurveda meets Western Fitness:

Vata, Pitta, Kapha-Your Constitutional Type can help you determine the best plan.  And then it will change for the season, your goals, etc....

Below are excerpts from The Strength in Balance chapter of 
Stop Your Cravings 


Just as there is no perfect "one size fits all" diet, there is no one exercise program that will be appropriate or effective for all people. And, if something-be it diet or exercise-doesn't produce results, no one is going to stick with it.

Getting started seems to be the hardest part of any program.  Many people think that if they can't work out every day, there's no point even in starting. You can "start small" and still get results and you should want to stick to your program because it feels right!

Vatas are drawn to movement. When Vata is imbalanced, (in just about everyone in America), it's hard to sit still. Feeling stressed, anxious, nervous, worried, traveling too much, flying, moving, or any kind of change can cause a Vata imbalance. Doing more and more aerobic activity -spinning, stepping, and running can then cause even more of an imbalance. Try to balance all the aerobic activities with some strength training to increase lean muscle and Yoga, Tai Chi, or Pilates to "ground" and calm you down. Since Vata body types are usually thin you don't need to lose any more body fat, but you do need to build lean muscle, relieve some stress, and support your nervous system. The goal is to balance and nurture your tired wired adrenal glands and nervous system, not force you to sit still and meditate.  Most Americans are overstressed, moving too fast, and over-training in aerobic activity.  Exercise has been shown to increase the levels of endorphins and serotonin in the brain, making people feel better about themselves, while lack of exercise is equally shown to increase susceptibility to depression.  If some exercise is good, more is not always better.  The old ideas of cutting calories and fat while over-training in aerobic activity can eventually cause injuries and fatigue.  Try a more "balanced approach" to feel strong, grounded, clear, and energized.

 

Pittas are the fiery type, most biologically adapted to develop muscle and usually enjoy competing in their work-outs. An out of balance Pitta, Type A personality, may not have an exercise plan because they are working 80 hours/week and always pushing too hard. Working until you develop high blood pressure or drop from exhaustion is not a balanced approach to life or fitness. Stress is counter-productive to your weight loss goals, as cortisol and other stress hormones increase body fat!!  Extreme exercise in the middle of a hot summer, or the hottest part of the day may also exhaust and imbalance a fiery body type. Adding some weight lifting, Pilates, and a cooling calming yoga class may help a lot.  The goal is to harness all that amazing Type A energy the way a martial arts master can do, so that you become more efficient and productive with less stress and strain.   More is not always better!

 

Kaphas are usually bigger thicker body types and the most exercise-resistant.  They of course, are the ones who would benefit most from getting themselves moving to crank up their metabolism. Movement of any kind will help and early morning is best since the Kapha time of day is from 6 am- 10 am.  The longer you sleep in, the more lethargic and congested you will feel and then you won't feel like getting up or moving. Once you get in a groove, even walking around the block in the morning for 20 minutes, you should begin to feel lighter and less sluggish.  Combining some cardiovascular activity with strength training to increase lean muscle  along with gentle yoga will help start clearing clogged channels, get things stimulated, and provide a well-rounded program you can live with and enjoy.  Just get moving in some direction, even 20 minutes will help!

Strength/Resistance Training:

Strength training, also called resistance training, is defined as the use of resistance to build maximum muscle force. The resistance can be supplied by weights; by isometric contractions, as in yoga; or by water, as in swimming. Strength training is an essential component of any exercise program, no matter what your body type.

Aerobics/Cardiovascular Fitness:

A person's aerobic capacity, or cardiovascular endurance, measures the degree of efficiency with which your heart and lungs are able to deliver oxygenated, nutrient-rich blood to the working muscles and organs and remove "spent or depleted" blood and metabolic waste products during physical exertion. In practical terms, this is a measure of "functional fitness," or your capacity to climb stairs, carry heavy packages, or run for the bus without huffing and puffing. In other words, the fitter you are, the less strain there will be on your cardiovascular system when you exert yourself. The goal is to do a minimum of 20-30 minutes 2-3 times/week to receive some benefit.  Most Vata's and Pittas are doing way more than that!!  So once again, balance in the key!

Flexibility/Stress Management:

Flexibility is determined by measuring your range of motion around a joint. Maintaining flexibility is, obviously, important for everyone, and it's particularly important as we age.

Yoga and Tai Chi are excellent forms of exercise for improving balance and flexibility, which becomes even more important as we age. Yoga has been shown to help prevent osteoporosis as well!

Determining the Exercise Program that is Right for You:

It's important to combine strength and cardiovascular training with flexibility and stress management. The proper ratios and combinations, like everything else, will depend upon who you are and what your goals are. To begin, ask yourself the following questions:

What is my body type?

What is my personality type?

What are my goals?

The goal of Ayurveda is to teach you how to listen to your body so that you learn not only when you need to move but also when you need to stop.  I personally had to learn this the hard way by tearing the cartilage in my knee. Now I understand that if I wake up feeling really tired, rather than pushing myself through a weight-training workout, I'm better off going to a gentle yoga class to cool, calm, and ground myself. Then, if I get a good night's sleep, my weight workout is invariably more productive the next day.

Before You Begin

There are certain "rules" everyone should learn to follow before starting to exercise in order to get the most out of their program and, above all, prevent injury.

       Always warm up by doing at least five minutes of walking or light biking or lifting to get the blood flowing to your muscles.

       Never weight-train directly after a yoga class. Lifting weights after static stretching is contra-indicated because muscles are temporarily weakened after static stretching due to the relaxation response and are, therefore, more likely to pull or tear or be injured.

       Always pay attention to your breathing. You should try to keep your breath deep in your lower abdomen. Shallow breathing is an indication that your body is in fight or flight mode (in other words, under stress), and holding your breath can increase your blood pressure.  Stress hormones increase body fat!!

       Before starting a new fitness program, it would be best to consult with your physician as well as a qualified fitness professional in your area. 

       See recommendations and links to preferred exercise specialists in your area.

 

Suggested Exercise Programs for Vatas, Pittas, and Kaphas:  It's always important to remember that changing your routine every 3-6 weeks will help you get better results, avoid over-training, and stay energized and excited about your plan.  Athletes may need to change it up more often.  

Vatas:

Strength/resistance training two to three times per week

Hatha, Integral, or Iyengar Yoga or Tai Chi at least twice a week

Aerobic running, biking, hiking, etc. but  not necessarily more than 20 to 30 minutes two or three times a week

Interval training-good for working off excess energy while building lean muscle and  increasing bone density

Pilates 2 times per week to increase core strength

Pittas:

Strength/resistance training 2-4 times/week depending on goals followed by 20 minutes interval training

Hatha, Integral, or Iyengar, Level 1 Ashtanga, 2 times/week on a day when you do no other form of exercise

Pilates 2 times week (followed, if you like, by 20 minutes of interval training 

Recreational, aerobic exercise such as biking, hiking, skiing, swimming, on weekends 

Kaphas:

Weight or interval training 2 to 4 times a week to increase lean muscle and improve metabolism

Hatha, Iyengar, Bikrams, Ashtanga, or another of the more aggressive forms of yoga twice a week

Recreational aerobic activities such as running, hiking, or rowing

The Bottom Line

Exercise should be an essential part of your daily program and should involve a variety of activities including strength/resistance training, aerobic exercise, and flexibility training. Just as there is no one diet that will be appropriate for all people in all circumstances, so there is no one exercise program that will provide equal benefit for all.

If your goal is to become physically more fit, leaner, more toned exercise will help. We also want to help you to calm and sooth whatever emotional imbalance which will help you to curb your cravings for sugary, oily, calming, unhealthy-foods.

Discover the combination of activities that will both make you feel good and produce the most beneficial results!

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