Category Archives for "Sport"

6 Worst Glute Training Mistakes Exposed

glute training mistakes

Glute training mistakes result in disappointing flat bums!

Why should something like what are the worst glute exercises be on your mind?

Well, if there’s one body part that women are dying to improve these days, it’s the butt!

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Sexy, curvy behinds are in, no-one wants a boring flat bum anymore, and the internet is packed with exercises supposedly to help you get those gorgeous glutes.

However, not all of these exercises are as great as they may seem.

Some glute training mistakes can actually derail your attempts to get a sexy backside, no matter how often you do them.

So perhaps it’s best to start your journey to sexy glutes, by working out what not to waste your time on.

And hey, I know some of these are going to be controversial, because I’m including some of the kings of compound exercises that strength gurus hail as positive for literally everything.  I love them too, I just believe there are more effective ways to target the glutes, and so including them in “glute workouts” is just lazy programming.

Let’s take a look at some of the worst glute exercises.

Glute training mistakes 1 - Squats

This first item on the list may be surprising to many. Squats are often lorded as the exercise for people looking for a well-built booty.

Unfortunately, squats are not as good as they seem.

The main problem with using squats to target the glutes is that squats are a compound movement. They target a variety of muscles including the glutes, lower back, hamstrings, and quads. Compound strength-training exercises are great for losing weight, strengthening the legs, or getting ready for a more serious lifting regimen.

However, if you’re focusing primarily on building your glutes, squats aren’t going to give you the results that you’re hoping for.

There are a few ways to make squats more effective for glute activation: you can squeeze the glutes as you move and try to get yourself deeper into the squat to put more focus on your backside. However, you will still be working a multitude of muscles as well as putting your knees at risk if you aren’t careful.

Squats are still one of my favourite exercises, and I would include them in most people’s training programs, but;

 If growing your glutes is the goal, you may want to skip the squats for the workouts where you are targeting glute development. Therefore, while we love squat day, they deserve a spot in the list of glute training mistakes.


Glute training mistakes 2 - Lunges

Lunges are another great example of glute exercises that everyone adds to their workout. Unfortunately, lunges are also a compound exercise that will often do little for activating the glutes.

When done properly, lunges activate the glutes, quads, hamstrings, calves, and abs. While that all sounds great for someone trying to build a more general fitness routine or super strong legs, it isn’t going to do much for anyone trying to isolate their glutes.

In fact, most people do lunges using a form that may not activate the glutes at all.

The biggest mistake when performing lunges is taking too large of a step and leaning forward so that your knee bends out past your toes.

This form does not force you to use your glutes at all. Instead, you’ll be putting all of the tension into your legs, forcing them to work while your glutes remain idle. Glutes only work when you make them, and lunges just don’t do it.

Lunges will be more beneficial for the glutes if you use the proper form: take a small step forward and sink your back knee towards the ground instead of propelling your body forward. However, this move is still a compound exercise. If you really want to blast your glutes, you need to focus on exercises that specifically isolate that muscle.

Glute training mistakes 3 - Abductor Raises

Abductor raises were a staple in the iconic buns of steel workout, but recently, fitness gurus have been suggesting that they aren’t all their cracked up to be.

They can actually be one of the worst glute training mistakes.

There are some benefits to abductor raises. They are great for increasing the range of motion in your hips and, unlike squats and lunges, actually do serve to isolate the glutes and force them to do the work instead of your legs or core.

However, the main problem with abductor raises is that the only resistance that you can use is your own body weight. To really get fit, toned glutes, you need to incorporate isolation exercises with a significant amount of resistance.

That is the only way that you’ll be able to effectively build more muscle.

There are some ways to make abductor raises work for you.

One solution is to use a resistance band or ankle weights to increases the resistance that your glutes will be fighting against to complete the movement.

However, an even better option is to use a hip abductor machine. This will allow you to pile on the resistance to really work those glutes, but I realise that not everyone will have access to one of these machines.

Glute training mistakes 4 - Donkey Kicks

Donkey kicks, also known as glute kickbacks, are another of the glute exercises that have a misleading reputation.

There are actually several problems with this common workout move.

One common problem is that the donkey kick is a compound exercise, While the glutes do work the hardest in this move, the back and hamstrings are also activated white performing this exercise.

In addition, donkey kicks offer little in the way of resistance.

As with abductor raises, the only real resistance that you get with a donkey kick is your own body weight. You can try adding a resistance band or using a glute kickback machine, but you’re still unlikely to get the results that you’re looking for if the glutes are your main focus.

It is also difficult to get the form just right in a donkey kick, further decreasing the odds of hitting the glutes hard,

Glute training mistakes 5 - Step Ups

Step ups, while again in theory engaging the glutes, in reality it’s very rarely the case.

It’s way too easy to cheat, by pushing off the ground with the other foot, and thereby making it easy on the glute.

Another common mistake is to lean forward too much when stepping up, which again will ease the strain on the glute.

 It’s natural for people to find the “easiest” way to do an exercise, rather than keeping strict form, just as people do with most things in life.  

Expecting anyone for whom you’ve set a program to keep strict form while completing their sets of step ups is just not going to work in reality. 

Glute training mistakes 6 - Deadlifts

Deadlifts are great for the back muscles, but many also use them for glute exercises. Unfortunately, deadlifts are not the ideal move for targeting the backside.

Deadlifts are also a compound exercise, targeting the glutes, hamstrings and the back. In fact, when doing a proper deadlift, your back and hamstrings will be much more activated than your glutes.

There is really no way to perform a traditional deadlift in a way that puts more tension into the glute muscles.

Just like squats, Deadlifts are one of my personal favourite exercises, and would usually be included in any general strength program, however they simply are not the best for targeted glute exercises.

glute training mistakes

What glute training exercises to do instead?

The bottom line is that if you want to make real progress on your backside, you have to choose exercises that specifically isolate the glute muscles and offer a high level of resistance.

Good options include barbell hip thrusts, barbell glute bridges, retro step ups, single leg dead lifts and single leg foot elevated hip thrusts. If you isolate the muscles and pile on the resistance, soon your booty will be looking fine!

Single leg exercises are great to really focus on the glutes, while also requiring balance, which recruits the smaller stabilizer muscles. Try some, and you’ll find that they are harder to complete than you first think.

So what does the gluteus really do anyway?

I mean, apart from looking spectacular in the right pair of tights!  Is there really more to it?

The gluteus is made up of three main groups, the gluteus maximus, gluteus medius and gluteus minimus, which all function essentially to move the hip joint.

The gluteus maximus is the most superficial but also the largest of the glute muscles, and therefore is what most people are thinking about when they refer to, the glutes.  Being the largest, it is also what is going to have the most impact on the shape of your hips.

You’ve probably heard of these, but you might not have heard of the panniculus adiposus of the buttocks, which is the muscle which actually gives the butt it’s rounded shape, and therefore is a major contributor to a sexy bum.   The amount of fat stored generally in your body will impact the shape of the panniculus adiposus greatly.

One of the main functions of the glutes, is in making it possible for you to stand upright, as apposed to other primates whose hips tend to be much flatter, and are unable to remain erect on two legs.

So, if what the glutes are really doing is, moving the hip joint, to work them affectively we should be focussed on, any exercise which moves the hip joint, and doesn’t entail major engagement of other major muscle groups.

Lifestyle factors

Your general lifestyle can have a big impact on the shape of your butt as well.

Obviously your level of activity will impact on overall fat levels, which will influence how defined your body is in any area including the glutes. 

But think about the amount of time that an average office worker spends sitting on their butt, and the corresponding amount of flat bums that can be seen in any inner city lunch break period.

So, the amount of time sitting that your job entails can have a massif impact on your glutes.  If that’s you, then you will really benefit from including some targeted glute exercises in your training program.

There is a tendency for lower back pain to originate from having weak glutes as well.  If your glutes aren’t strong you will tend to overcompensate by using the lower back more when lifting, which can result in injury. 

Also given the glutes play a major role in just standing erect, having weak glutes means that there is extra strain placed on your lower back just remaining upright throughout the day, which can cause injury over time.

Given that it’s obvious you need to maintain a level of general health, your diet will impact this as well.  I’ve got some great suggestions here, for clean eating recipe’s that will help both fuel your workouts, and keep your body fat levels down.

Eating the wrong foods can cause inflammation in the body as well, which can slow any progress in a training program, so you need to stay on top of a healthy clean eating diet.

worst glute training mistakes

Benefits of strong glutes

Ok, we all know that they help us to look great, but what else?

Better posture;

Ever seen a sprinter, with their glorious glutes, and watched how they stand and move generally.  Given we’ve discussed how the glutes are important in helping us to stand upright, it’s easy to see how strong glutes will give you generally better posture and movement.

Pain reduction and prevention of injury;

Even if you’ve already got a painful lower back, you will generally find improvement once you’ve strengthened the glutes. 

And a strong set of glutes will definitely help defend against back injuries and pain.

Fat loss;

Given that increased muscle mass will lead to increased calorie burn throughout the day, working your glutes should be a priority for anyone wanting fat loss, or maintenance.  The glutes are one of the largest muscles in the body, so working them will generate muscle growth and calorie burn, that leads to fat loss.

Athletic performance;

The gluteus is responsible for generating a massive amount of power through the lower body, and thereby contributes to athletic performance.

You won’t see top level sprinters or strength athletes with flat bums.

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To measure this for yourself, just try completing a focused glute workout twice a week for a period of four weeks, and measure your vertical jump at the start of the four week period, and at its conclusion, and see how much more lift you’ve developed.


So, I hope you can see, that it’s not all just about appearances, but having a great butt can bring a range of health benefits that make it generally easier to lead a healthy lifestyle.

Whatever your reason for wanting to enhance the derriere, staying clear of these glute training mistakes is going to be positive for your training!

Postpartum Fitness: What You Should Know

Pregnancy can be a wonderful or wretched time for different women.

Likewise, postpartum fitness can be easier for some than it is for others.

Before you begin your postpartum workout regimen, there are some important things you should know. We will cover these, as well as the differences between exercising before and after baby, and bust some myths about postpartum fitness.

What you Should Know About Postpartum Fitness

Doctor's Approval

You will typically visit your doctor six-weeks postpartum. He or she will examine how well you are healing and can give you the go-ahead to begin working out. It is important to wait until after this visit to avoid complications that can develop like postpartum hemorrhage.

Every woman recovers from pregnancy at a different rate. The way you delivered your baby whether it was natural, with an epidural, or by C-section can have a large influence on this.

Waiting six weeks will also give you time to adjust to the new demands of parenting such as lack of sleep. If you're anything like me, you're still adjusting to not sleeping seven years postpartum.


One of the most important things you should know is that relaxin stays in your body for up to one year postpartum, or for as long as you are breastfeeding.

Relaxin is the hormone made by your body to help loosen ligaments and joints making childbirth easier on the body. This means that you may feel less stable, and you can feel achy in areas you never did before.

You may also be more prone to injuries like sprains. It is very important to listen to your body. If something hurts or simply doesn't feel right, it probably isn't.

Kegel Exercises          

Kegel exercises are the contracting and releasing of the pelvic muscles. These can be done almost immediately following childbirth if you're so inclined.

Kegel's can help to strengthen the now stretched out pelvic muscles, along with helping to prevent incontinence that sometimes follows childbirth. You can find more in-depth information on Kegel exercises and their benefits here.

Postpartum Depression

Exercising and setting goals for yourself after delivery can help prevent or alleviate symptoms of postpartum depression. About one in seven women will experience postpartum depression as their hormone levels begin to return to normal. 

The catch is that if you are already suffering from postpartum depression, it can be hard to motivate yourself to workout. To learn more about postpartum depression and how to get help click here.

The Differences in Exercising Before and After Pregnancy


There are some major differences between working out before and after having a baby. Most notable is the fact that you now have an extra person to consider.

If you are planning on using a gym, finding one that has childcare is a bonus.

There are many activities such as jogging with a jogging stroller, mommy-and-me groups, and hiking or walking with a hiking backpack. However, your baby usually needs to be at least six months old before you can utilize these devices with them.

Not only will you need to consider packing your own hydration and snacks, but its essential to bring sustenance along for baby, too.


In order to workout, you need energy, and these days it seems to be in short supply. There are so many reasons for this and the biggest one is that you just spent the past nine months making and then delivering a tiny human.

The simple adjustment to having a new baby and tending to its needs is another reason for lack of energy. Your baby wakes up two or three times in the middle of the night to feed, so you do, too.

Long gone are the days of luxuriating in bed for hours on end. The thing about beginning your postpartum exercise regimen is that not only do you need the energy that sleep provides, you also require more sleep to recover from your workouts. It certainly can feel like working out is working against you.

Ways to maintain your energy postpartum is to eat properly, continue taking your prenatal vitamins, maintain fluid intake, and sleep when you can. Eating a proper diet with a balance of macronutrients can help keep you going.

You can find some great recipes for balanced meals here. Keeping yourself hydrated with water and electrolyte infused drinks low in calories is also a good idea. Sleeping when the baby sleeps can sometimes be difficult, especially if you have work or other chores to do, but it will help to enhance your overall energy in the long run.

Seriously, vacuuming can wait.

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Body Changes

Another major difference between working out before and after baby has to do with the changes your body has undergone.

As previously mentioned, having your six week postpartum check-up with your doctor is a must. For example, if you've had a C-section, you may have to restrict certain workouts.

Excess weight gain during pregnancy is another bodily change that can affect working out postpartum. There is also a slight chance of postpartum hemorrhage simply because of all your body went through down there.

Postpartum fitness

Postpartum Fitness Workout Regimen Myths

Getting Your Body Back

Wait, where did it go? That's right, no where.

While it's totally okay to feel however you do about your postpartum fitness body, it never really left you. You have undergone significant changes that brought you a miracle. Let's face it, most of us do not have the resources (i.e. in-home nanny, personal trainers, money) that most celebrities do. They seem to just "bounce back" immediately after baby, and we are left to think that we should be able to as well.

Getting your body back will take time and dedication to a fitness regime that works for you. It can be done, but maybe not as quickly as we are lead to believe.

Breastfeeding Drops the Pounds

Unless you are like the millions of other women who did not reap the benefit of weight loss by breastfeeding, this myth is just silly, but it seems to persist.

Every single one of us is completely different and though some may lose weight from breastfeeding, it isn't a guarantee for all

Crunches Alone will get rid of the Baby Belly

It sort of makes sense why women believe this, but it is not true.

Crunches are more of a "surface" exercise that target abdominal muscles. However, they do very little to enhance the deep core muscles that are most affected by pregnancy.

Consider doing planks alongside crunches or checking out a pilates class designed to specifically target core muscle groups.

For the Quickest Results, Cardio is Key

Cardio is important for a workout regimen but should not be considered the only way to workout.

Cardio alone will burn calories, but you can actually burn more calories for longer periods of time by incorporating resistance training into your routine.

Utilizing cardio along with resistance training will raise your resting metabolic rate, allowing you to burn more calories while at rest.

You Must Work Out for Hours for the Best Results

While it is true in theory that the longer you workout the more calories you will burn, marathon postpartum fitness sessions are simply unnecessary.

Additionally, with a baby, they can be downright impossible.

Try instead to break up your workouts into short segments. You could take the baby on a walk in its stroller for 15 minutes, and later, squeeze in a quick HIIT workout while baby is napping.

HIIT workouts are great because they are quick and can be tailored to fit into any schedule. These small burst of elevated heart rates all count toward your daily exercise goal.

You Can Do It

If you are ready to begin your postpartum exercise regimen, there is no better time to start than now.

You can find some excellent guidelines and workouts here. Always listen to your doctor and your body and aim for overall good health over weight loss.

You will want to stick to a nutritious healthy diet to keep your energy levels up, and these 31 clean eating recipes will help you with that.

You've got this!

Sports Nutrition for Body Sculpting

sports nutrition

Sports nutrition for the body you want

Sports nutrition isn't just for top athletes, because you deserve to have the best body you can as well! 

You do want the best body you can have don't you?

Robert Frost;

A person will sometimes devote all his life to the development of one part of his body - the wishbone.

You might have never been to see a sports dietitian or nutritionist, thinking that they are just for sporting teams or top athletes.  That's not the case, and in my experience pretty much everyone can benefit from their expertise.

They can help us become a healthier happier version of ourselves, so we can live our best life, and stay beautiful for longer. Because that's important too!

sports nutrition

What type of eater are you?

Take this easy test to find out. Start here.

The importance of sports nutrition

You are what you eat - It is a simple philosophy that I endorse.

What you eat and what you do, defines your body. If we work this theory the other way around, what you look like, defines what you eat and what you do.  

When I look at an obese teenager, I’m quick to jump to the conclusion sedentary lifestyle, eats a lot of junk food.

On the other hand when I see properly defined six-packs on a lean college student, the conclusion is simple – Works her butt off, thinks before she eats, probably a dedicated sportswomen.

The importance of Sports Nutrition can’t be stressed enough

sports nutrition

Eat Clean, Train Hard

Often people ask me how I rate nutrition vs. training and my answer is 50% vs. 50%. I know a lot of trainers who would say it's more like 70% vs. 30%.

This is usually hard to digest for most people, but it is one of the uneasy truths in the field of fitness, especially weight training.

The truth of the matter is that sports nutrition is as important as the training itself.

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You don’t make muscles in the gym; you make them while you’re resting, by the help of whatever you’ve eaten.

Similar is the case of fat loss. Most of the fat is lost while you’re resting.

The math is pretty simple; work really hard in the gym, eat healthy, and rest plenty! You can’t lose weight without proper nutrition, hell; you can’t even breathe without proper nutrition!

When you dig into the world of sports nutrition, you sink into a deep abyss of Do’s and Don’ts. There is no easy way to wrap it up into a few pages or a few chapters or even a few books.

There is so much that can be said and done when you talk about Nutrition; What you eat, how much you eat, when you eat… are a few questions we can start off with.

Another thing, that is specific to women trying to lose weight, is that there is a common feeling that sports nutrition is detrimental to their weight loss effort.

First of all, by ‘sports nutrition’, I don’t mean ‘eating a muffin’. By sports nutrition I mean making accurate food choices.

It is true that excessive eating isn’t going to help you lose weight or sculpt your body but you can’t quit eating altogether!

Starvation is never the solution. What you need is an eating pattern that can be followed for a life time! It has to be healthy, it has to make sense and it has to cater for your fitness regimen.

If you take into consideration, these simple pointers, you’ll be able to successfully hit each defined milestone and target.

"Give a man a fish; you have fed him for today. Teach a man to fish; and you have fed him for a lifetime”

This quote pretty much sums up what I intend to do in this blog post. Rather than providing you with a custom diet plan, I'm going to teach you everything that you need to know in order to create your very own diet plan.

It is always a hard job to write content that applies to every reader. If I was to consider the needs of each of you I'd probably have to come up with 20 - 30 odd diet plans! Why not create your very own?

Why not learn what ever there is, that helps you to create your very own?

The philosophy is simple but knowledge is infinite. Even after years in the field I learn something new every day. So, to cut it short, I'll teach you how to catch the basic fish. You may use the method or customize it or improve it and catch a whale!

Nutrition for body sculpting

Macro nutrients come in three broad categories. They are known as Proteins, Carbohydrates and Fats. 

Each of these Macro nutrients can be subdivided into a hundred different subcategories! Each macro nutrient has a particular function and purpose in the body.

Broadly speaking, the general purpose is to provide our body with energy. How much energy does each Macro nutrient provide?

It is quite simple.

sports nutrition macronutrients


The favorite macro nutrient of anyone who weight trains!

Proteins are made up of smaller biological units called amino acids. Amino acids come together to form polypeptide chains of varying shape, size and compactness.

A typical protein may consist of 20 Amino Acids, other Proteins may contain thousands of these Amino Acids. Protein is present abundantly in the body. It is present in your hair, tendons, muscles, ligaments and even skin.

Talking about dietary protein; this protein has multiple functions:

  • Improves Immune system function
  • Required for growth
  • Required for tissue repair
  • Needed for the production of enzymes & hormones
  • Needed for lean muscle mass
In total there are 20 known Amino Acids. Out of these 20, the body can synthesize (Make on its own using dietary Protein as a source of Amino Acids) almost 11 of them.

The rest of the 9 Amino Acids cannot be synthesized by the body and as a result, they must be included in the diet. 

These Amino Acids are known as essential amino acids. The list of essential Amino Acids includes:
  • isoleucine
  • threonine
  • tryptophan
  • valine
  • leucine
  • methionine
  • phenylalanine
  • histidine

We often hear the phrases 'Animal Protein' and 'Plant Protein'.

Ever wondered what the difference is between the two?

Animal proteins are called a high quality Protein or complete Protein because it contains all essential amino acids. On the other hand, plant protein doesn't contain the complete profile of essential amino acids.

But that doesn't mean plant protein is useless. Taken with a combination of sources, the amino acid profile can be easily completed.

For example, rice together with lentils contains the complete essential amino acid profile. Similarly, chickpeas with bread or potatoes with lentils complete the essential amino acid profile in the same way a grilled steak does.

Proteins can also be utilized by the body as a source of energy; However, proteins are hard to break down. 

The energy required by the body to break down Proteins is relatively high and for this reason, the body's preferred source of fuel isn't Protein. 

How much protein

How much Protein does a healthy person require

That's actually a question that can inspire much debate, and in terms of the scientific / nutritionist opinion, the jury is still very much still considering their verdict. 

We can form our own opinion though, based on what you would like to achieve and your current condition. 

The recommended daily dietary intake is 0.8 grams of protein per kg of body weight.  You can do the math, or use this simple online protein calculator.

That doesn't work out to be much, and is usually less than the average person is already eating.  

A sports nutrition diet plan will often be based around a higher protein intake, which is probably approximately twice the recommended daily dietary intake, or around 30% of the total caloric intake.

A protein summit of some 40 nutritionists who gathered in Washington DC reported that the potential benefits of a diet higher in protein included;

  • preserving muscle strength despite ageing
  • maintaining a lean fat burning phsique

Sounds good to me, high protein all the way!

If you'd like to read more about the debate and research on protein in the diet, Harvard Medical School have published an interesting article; How much protein do you need every day?


Next up we have the self sacrificing Carbs! To keep things simple, we'll divide the Carbohydrates group into 2 categories:

Simple carbohydrates

Simple Carbohydrates or mono-saccharides are ready made sugars. These types of carbohydrates cannot be further broken down into simple sugars.

Examples of simple sugars include glucose and fructose.

Complex carbohydrates

Complex Carbohydrates or poly-saccharides contain strings of simple sugars.

This means that these Carbohydrates need to be broken down in order to get digested or to be used as fuel.

Some examples of complex carbohydrates include lactose, maltodextrins and amylopectin.

The human body is a master of converting carbohydrates into energy.

Carbohydrate is the body's preferred source of fuel. The brain constantly needs glucose, the liver needs and stores glycogen, the muscles store glycogen as well.

This way, carbohydrates are needed by the entire body in one form or the other. Basic functions of Carbohydrates include:

  • A major energy source for the body
  • Helps to maintain bodyweight
  • Prevents Fat accumulation
  • Helps in digestion and bowel movement
  • Involved in organ repair
  • Food for the brain

Dietary fiber is another form of Carbohydrates.

Dietary fiber is a form on non-starch Carbs. Dietary Fiber consists of indigestible parts of plant food (Cellulose).

This property of dietary fiber helps us with our gastro intestinal tract.

The indigestible fiber ensures a good transit time (Time interval between eating a particular food and excreting it!), avoids problems like constipation and protects us from serious problems like colon cancer.

How much carbohydrate

How much Carbs does a healthy person require?

Dietary guidelines recommend a range of between 45% to 65% of your total daily caloric intake. 

In a sports nutrition plan that focuses on higher protein intake, your carbohydrate intake will likely be towards the lower end of that range.  

Obviously sports nutrition can cover a wide variety of sports, and depending on the particular requirements of each, some may need higher Carbs to provide quick energy replacement. 

The quality and type of carbohydrate that you're eating will have an impact on your results as well.  some further tips about proper carbohydrate intake can be read in this article by the Mayo Clinic on nutrition and healthy eating.


No one likes them, everyone avoids them yet they are responsible for many important bodily functions.

Fats have gotten a really bad rap for the past few decades, based on guidance from government organisations.  That's changing, and much of that guidance is being seen as based on advice from lobby groups or studies sponsored by other food groups. 

Who would have thought, special interest groups misleading the government, who then mislead the rest of us. Even about our diets!

Their is a growing body of research which contends that healthy natural sources of fat in our diet are actually really good for us. 

There is also a growing movement that says that high fat diets have advantages and can be best for weight loss. Many people following sports nutrition plans for body sculpting will in the later stages of their preparation, start following a Keto diet, with the intent of achieving a Ketogenic state in their body, intended to help burn the last of the fat off their frame.

The scientific jury is still out on that one too. (they just love continual studies!) But some interesting research on the topic is discussed in this article by Brad Deiter Phd on, Science Driven Nutrition.

Just look at the comments his article received for an example of how controversial this topic is.  I'm glad he closed the comments before it got really nasty:)

One quality of fats that sets them apart from Carbs and proteins is their energy density.

Unlike carbs or proteins, 1 g of fat yields 9 calories of energy. This may seem spectacular but fats are the hardest to burn for energy.

They are energy-efficient yet slow, meaning that they are an ideal candidate for energy storage. This energy store comes in handy on a rainy day when there aren't enough calories present from carbs and proteins. Under such circumstances, the body burns fat for energy.

Other functions of fats include:

  • Protects vital organs
  • Act as a solvent for absorption of many vitamins and minerals
  • Important for formation of hormones (E.g. Estrogen)

Fats can be subdivided into 4 categories. These subcategories are made on the basis of the double bond present between carbon atoms.

My apologies for diving deep into the world of biochemistry but this knowledge will come in handy when you are looking for healthy fats to consume during your training regimen.

Saturated Fats: 

These fats are saturated, meaning, they have no double bonds. This tells us that the fat is already fully saturated with Hydrogen atoms.

These kind fats are usually solid at room temperature. Examples include animal fat, Lard, fat found in cheese.

Saturated fats are important as they are a basic building block of a variety of hormones and cell membranes. The downside is that an excess of these fats can raise blood cholesterol levels.

Monosaturated Fats: 

These fats only have a single double bond.

These fats are usually liquid at room temperature. Examples include olive oil and canola oil.

The specialty of Monosaturated fats is that they help us protect against heart disease and blood cholesterol build up. 

Polysaturated Fats: 

Polyunsaturated fats have two or more carbon double bonds.

Polyunsaturated fats are known to reduce the risk of Coronary heart disease. They are liquids at room temperature as well. Polyunsaturated fats can be subdivided into 2 important subcategories:

  • Omega 3 Fatty Acids: Have a positive impact on cardiovascular health. Sources include Oily fish (Salmon, Mackerel), Soybean and rapeseed.
  • Omega 6 Fatty Acids: Have a positive impact on brain function and normal growth. Sources include seeds and nuts (Peanuts, walnuts, Cashews)
Trans Fatty Acids: 

Trans Fatty acids are chains of unsaturated fats combined together in a Trans configuration.

This is done mainly by hydrogenation of vegetable oil. This is a seriously unhealthy type of fat that must be avoided at all costs. It is usually found in foods like margarine and baked goods (biscuits, cakes).

Trans fat intake elevates the risk of heart disease.

Micronutrients and macronutrients are equally important for the body. The body cannot function properly without both.

The difference between the two is the quantity in which they are consumed.

Micronutrients are required in minute quantities by the body. Any imbalance (Usually deficiency) in these quantities can cause problems in bodily functions.

Vitamins and Minerals make up most of the micronutrients. This list can be further divided into 30 (Approximately) different Vitamins and minerals that the body extracts from the food we eat.

Each Vitamin and mineral has a different part to play.

For example, Vitamin A is responsible for physical growth, immunity and development of white blood cells. Similarly, all 30 vitamins and minerals have a different story to tell.

To acquire all these micronutrients along with the required macronutrients, we are required to eat a variety of food.

Nature has been kind enough to supply these micronutrients abundantly in raw fruits and vegetables but unfortunately, the modern woman isn’t a big fan of the Broccoli! 

For this reason we are forced to go with the artificial alternative – supplementing vitamins and minerals.

The following table shows the normal daily requirement of various vitamins and minerals.

As a general guide line for people doing strength training, a good idea would be to go with the RDA’s recommendation of the listed dosage just to be on the safe side.

To make it simpler, go for a broad spectrum multivitamin that covers most multivitamins and minerals.

Try to get the RDA recommended dosage from the multivitamin pill itself. The rest you can extract from the diet you’ve opted for.

But be careful, anything in excess can create toxicity for the body. For this reason I wouldn’t go for supplements that provide 4000% of a typical micronutrient that is famous among the body builders; for example, Nitric Oxide (NO2) supplementation.

I’ll start by a typical statement: It depends on your goals and your current body type.

The statement holds; the number of calories you take daily depends on what your current body is like. Your height, age, BMI and weight can narrow down what your current body type is like.

Next comes your goal. What do you want to achieve?

Personally, I’m a big fan of mathematics. It allows you to quantify exactly what should be done.

Nutrition is no different. By using a few equations and simple Mathematics we can work out almost everything that is associated with Nutrition.

Let’s start by working out your daily caloric requirement.

Step 1 - Calculating Your BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate)

For Women, the following formula must be used:

BMR = 0.9 x body weight (in Kg) x 24

Step 2 - Finding Your BMR Multiplier

Find your body fat percentage. This can be done by using a body composition analyzer, or by measurement of skin folds.  Once you’re certain about your body fat percentage, refer to the table shown to find out the multiplier that applies to your body type.

For Women

Body Fat Percentage of 14% - 18%

Multiplier is 1

Body Fat Percentage of 18% - 28%

Multiplier is 0.95

Body Fat Percentage of 28% - 38%

Multiplier is 0.90

Body Fat Percentage of Over 38%

Multiplier is 0.85

From the chart, we can draw a few important conclusions.

The first one is that people with a higher muscle mass have a higher BMR and thus, a higher metabolic rate.  Secondly, women have a slightly greater body fat percentage as compared to men.

Step 3 - Determining Caloric expenditure with respect to daily physical activity.

Steps 1 and 2 helped us to accurately calculate our BMR.

BMR, as we already know, signifies the amount of Calories we burn by doing absolutely nothing. It is our resting Caloric expenditure.

In step 3, we’ll calculate the number of Calories we burn by the physical activity we indulge in.

This step includes identifying the category you fit best. The categories are based on how much physical activity you perform on daily basis.

Category Type

Activity List

Physical activity Multiplier

Category 1

Sedentary Lifestyle. Sitting, talking. Little /Almost no physical activity throughout the day.


Category 2

Sedentary lifestyle 2. Little walking but no exercise. Some physical activity but nothing that can be labeled as ‘Exercise’


Category 3

Moderately active. Weight training with light weights for 30 – 45 minutes daily.


Category 4

Active Lifestyle. Hitting the weights hard for 45 – 60 minutes + 20 minutes of Cardio training.


Category 5

Intense physical activity. Weight training for 60 and over minutes, hitting the weight really hard. 30 - 45 minutes of Cardio Conditioning.


Step 4 - Final calculation: Compiling results.

Your Caloric Needs = (Value in Step 1) x (Value in Step 2) x (Value in Step 3)

Let’s take an example. 

Jane is an average working woman. She is 58 Kg, pretty lean and usually alternates between Cardio and weight training days. Her Cardio days involve Running/Cycling/Swimming (On average) for an hour and weight training days include lifting weights for 45 minutes (No or little warm-up Cardio). 

Jane has a day job where she mostly sits and does her work on a computer. Various other physical activities done throughout the day include the average post-dinner stroll in the street or walking the dog early in the morning. 

She had herself checked recently and her body fat composition test indicated that she had 15% body fat percentage. This is pretty much all the information you need to calculate the daily Caloric requirement.

Putting this into perspective, let’s see what the Calorie indicator suggests.

BMR Multiplier (Body fat percentage) = 1

Category Level 4 = 1.80

Calories = 1656 x 1 x 1.80 = 2255

or maintenance, Jane’s Calorie requirement is 2255.

The word to remember here is ‘maintenance’. Maintenance means that you don’t want to gain or lose weight. Anything above this caloric intake will prompt your body to start gaining weight while anything seriously below this intake and you’ll start to lose weight.

BMR X BMR Multiplier X Physical Activity Multiplier = Your caloric Needs 

Determining the right ratio of Carbs, protein and fats from your diet isn't less than a work of art!

A person consuming 2600 calories in a certain ratio could be losing weight but alter the mix while keeping the calories constant, he/she may start to gain weight.

You can never underestimate the effectiveness of the proportions by which you take your Macronutrients.

Another thing to remember is that Macronutrients are sometimes very unforgiving. An extra 100 calories of fat consumed daily adds up to 36500 calories a year which can be translated into 4.7 Kg of fat!

Of course, the body has its own regulatory system which will resist it to gain this exact 4.7 Kg as fat but a 2 Kg gain resulting from 36500 excess calories annually doesn't seem like a far fetched assumption.

After all, the human body has a limit to its resilience.  

Category Type

Activity List

Protein Requirement

Category 1

Sedentary Lifestyle. Sitting, talking. Little /Almost no physical activity throughout the day.

0.8 g/kg

Category 2

Sedentary lifestyle 2. Little walking but no exercise. Some physical activity but nothing that can be labeled as ‘Exercise’

0.8 – 1.2 g/kg

Category 3

Moderately active. Weight training with light weights for 30 – 45 minutes daily.

1.2 - 1.8 g/kg

Category 4

Active Lifestyle. Hitting the weights hard for 45 – 60 minutes + 20 minutes of Cardio training.

6 – 2.2 g/kg

Category 5

Intense physical activity. Weight training for 60 and over minutes, hitting the weight really hard. 30 - 45 minutes of Cardio Conditioning.

2.2 - 2.8 g/kg

I usually start off with my favorite macronutrient (The protein).

RDA recommends a meager 0.8 grams per Kg of body weight for an individual. This usually works fine for a couch potato who doesn't do much throughout the day.

For athletes and people who train/workout daily, this recommended dose of Protein isn't enough. Let's go with another table that categorizes Protein intake for different people (See previous page):

Going back to the example of Jane, her maintenance calories were 2255. Consulting the Protein chart, she would likely fall into category 4 which means that he requires around 2.2 g / Kg (Bodyweight) of proteins. Protein requirement for Jane:

2.2 x 58 (Bodyweight in Kg) = 128 grams of protein

152 grams of protein add up to 512 calories from protein.

So, out of 2255 calories, we have so far dedicated 512 calories to proteins. 

Next comes the fat intake. You fat intake must be around the 20 – 30% mark of your total calories.

This means that Jane’s calories from fat equal:

0.3 X 2255 = 676 calories

For fat, 1 gram equals 9 calories so,

676 calories equal around 75 grams of fat.

So far;

Protein : 128 grams or 512 calories

Fat: 75 grams or 676 calories

This means that we are left with

2255 - (512 + 676) = 1067 calories

These resultant calories will come from carbohydrates. 266 grams of carbohydrates will be included in Jane’s diet. Her final Macronutrient breakdown looks something like this:





in grams















I’m certain that your head must be spinning due to the mathematics I’ve been throwing your way. So to wrap it up, let’s summarise how you would go about, determining your macronutrient breakdown.

  • 1
    Find your total caloric needs (step 4 above)
  • 2
    Protein recommendation X weight X 4 = Protein calories
  • 3
    Total caloric needs X 0.3 = Fat calories
  • 4
    Total caloric needs - Protein calories - Fat calories = Carbohydrate calories

Customizing nutrition

The discussion so far in this post deals with how to calculate your base caloric intake and macro-nutritional needs.

This means that if you continue to consume these amounts of calories or macro-nutrients, your Body Composition will remain pretty much the same; hence the word ‘Maintenance’ is used time and again.

Once you understand your base requirements, it becomes easy to tweak your diet plan according to your goals.

For example, if your goal is to lose fat while maintaining your current lean mass, you tweak your diet plan, do a few adjustments to your protein and carbohydrate and there you have it; a diet plan that helps you lose the fat without compromising on your lean body mass.

The same holds true for diet plans that enable you to gain muscle mass.

I know that this isn’t a very hot topic for women since they are usually looking for a leaner look compared to men, but all the options are there! 

Adjusting the timing of your nutrition, recalibrating your macro-nutrional breakdown and making minor adjustments to your diet can enable you to customize your diet according to your goals and preferences. 

Did I mention additional supplementation to aid your cause?

One of the most useful supplements is protein.  When on a high protein diet, it can be a challenge sometimes to get the correct amount of protein from your natural foods, so supplementing with a high quality protein powder as a snack can really help.

Let's start cooking!

Now that we have done the mathematics, now it’s time to convert those numbers into food items!

Now you can easily read food labels and decide what you’re going to eat. You can easily translate 6 g of protein into ‘An egg’ or 60 grams of carbs into ‘A cup of boiled rice.’

Nutrition is a very vast field and I’ve tried to squeeze in as much practical information here as possible.

I’ve tried to provide you with a starting point and an understanding of how to design your diet plan, following a sports nutrition pathway. However, most of the discussion has revolved around numbers and percentages.

Once you know your numbers, you can choose your food alternatives more wisely

If you'd like some inspiration for planning healthy meals, start with these 31 Easy Clean Eating Recipes.

clean eating recipe, garlic chicken

Garlic Chicken With Roasted Sweet Potato

Remember that the more you can get your nutrients from fresh wholesome food, like animal proteins, vegetables, grains and fruits, rather than from a packet or a tin, the less artificial additives you'll be eating, and the better you will feel. 

Get your sports nutrition right, and the results from your training will accelerate.  Focus on both, and achieve your body sculpting goals!

For those of you who are interested in the science of nutrition for weight loss, this Tedx talk by Ruben Meerman on the mathematics of weight loss makes for entertaining and interesting viewing.

Carmen Miranda;

Look at me and tell me if I don't have Brazil in every curve of my body.

*Nothing in this article is intended or should be understood as specific nutritional advice for you.  Before commencing any new nutrition plan you should consult with a qualified medical practitioner and nutritionist about your own particular circumstance to receive personalised advice on a sports nutrition plan. 

50 Beginner Yoga Poses, With Benefits


Beginner Yoga Poses And Their Benefits;

I was looking for some easy beginner yoga poses for myself, and I really couldn't find a good collection to choose from without bouncing around between different sites.  So I thought I'd take it on myself, and share with you.

I hope it's helpful:)

Yoga itself is an ancient practice originating in India which involves the mind, the body, and the spirit coming together.

As a whole, there are many benefits to practicing yoga, but each pose has its own set of benefits.

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it's important to know which poses have which benefits so you are using the ones that will most benefit you in the moment.

If you are stressed, you may want something to stretch and calm the muscles of your back and shoulders or just something that focuses more on breathing.

If you are trying to focus on flexibility or weight loss, there are poses for those as well.

These are 50 beginner poses, as well as their benefits, so you can create and follow a sequence that best matches your goals.


Conquer Breath - Ujjayai Pranayama

beginner yoga poses - ujjayi-pranayama

If you are having difficulty quieting your thoughts due to stress or anxiety, this is the perfect pose for you.

While focusing on your breath, be sure not to tighten your throat. Stay relaxed at all times. You will notice as you become a conqueror of Conquer Breath that you can slow your breath for longer periods of time and that you will become more and more relaxed during your time in this pose.

Easy Pose - Sukhasana


You'll have to be careful with this pose if you have a knee injury but there are three main benefits to doing it if you are able to.

  1. It strengthens the back because you are sitting tall and using those muscles to do that.
  2. Because of the way you are sitting, and because of the support of the blanket or folded up towels you are sitting on, it stretches the knees and ankles which is good for people who may have stiffness not related to an injury; And
  3. Of course, because of the mindfulness it is great for calming the brain and allowing you to center yourself.

Staff Pose - Dandasana

beginner yoga poses - dandasana

Because you will be placing your hands flat on the floor while sitting upright, either modify the pose for any wrist or hand discomfort or look to another pose that has similar benefits.

This pose is all about upper body. You will see improved posture with regular practice of this pose as it strengthens the back muscles to help you stand tall again.

Also, any weakened shoulder and chest muscles from poor posture over the years will be stretched so standing or sitting upright is no long uncomfortable for you.

For a more detailed description, including an easy to follow video with instructions on how to perform staff pose, click here.

Cat Pose - Marjaryasana

marjaryasana yoga pose

If you have a neck injury, be sure to keep your head in line with the torso but this pose should be no problem for you and you can reap all the great benefits from it.

First, this pose gently stretches the back, neck, and torso. This is a great one for building up some toned core muscles over time. Also, as you do the stretch, you are actually massaging your spine as well as the organs in your belly so they can get a healthy workout as well.

Sphinx Pose


If you have a headache or a back injury, this pose is not recommended. However, there are a lot of other beginner yoga poses on this list that will help with both of those so don't be discouraged.

When you first do this pose, it is quite obvious that it stretches the chest and lungs, also the shoulders, as well as the abdomen.

However, it has many other benefits as well;

  1. It strengths the spine, which can help with posture.
  2. If you're looking for tighter glutes, this is the pose for you.
  3. It can also stimulate your abdominal organs so they are working better and, you will see stress relief with Sphinx Pose.

Warrior 1 Pose - Virabhadrasana 1


Women with high blood pressure or other heart problems should seek a doctor's counsel before practicing this pose.

For students, if you have shoulder problems keep your raised arms parallel to each other, and if you have neck problems keep your head in a neutral position.

This pose is used quite often to treat Sciatica. It has many benefits all over the body. You will feel a stretch in the chest, shoulders, neck, belly, and groins. It will also strengthen your arms and shoulders, plus the back muscles.

The lower legs, including thighs, calves, and ankles will all get a good stretch as well, and be strengthened over time.

Gate Pose - Parighasana


If you have a knee injury, kneeling may be hard so you can try kneeling on a folded towel or blanket to modify the pose.

This pose stretches the hamstrings, as well as along the sides of the spine and torso. It also opens the shoulders for better posture, stimulating better breathing, as well as stimulating other abdominal organs.

For a more detailed description and instructions on how to complete this asana, including a video demonstration click here

Extended Side Angle Pose - Utthita Parsvakonasana


If you have a headache, insomnia, or high or low blood pressure, this may not be the pose for you.

There are other poses that can help calm the mind to help with headaches and insomnia, and still others that can help with blood pressure.

This pose can help with many other things, however. It is known to help with menstrual discomfort as well as infertility problems, Sciatica and low backache, constipation, and osteoporosis.

You will be stretching as well as strengthening the legs, knees and ankles in this pose, as well as stretching the groins, waist, spine, lungs and chest, and shoulders.

This pose stimulates organs as well as increases stamina.

Follow along watching this easy how to video with Kerri McCubben demonstrating this beginner yoga pose - click here

Wide Legged Forward Bend - Prasarita Padottanasana


If you have problems with your lower back, avoid the full bend and only bend as far forward as it is comfortable for you.

This pose is used to treat headache, mild depression, as well as fatigue.

With this pose, you with stretch and strengthen the inner and back parts of your legs as well as your spine plus you will tone your abdominal organs.

The Wide-Legged Forward Bend relieves mild back ache and calms the brain.

Wide-Angle Seated Forward Bend - Upavistha Konasana


If you have an injury to your lower back, you should sit on a stack of folded towels or on a blanket and keep your upper body upright as much as possible.

This pose is used for three main purposes. It helps extremely well with arthritis and Sciatica, but it also helps to detox the kidneys, which most people are surprised to hear.

This pose stretches the back and insides of the legs, as well as the groins. It stimulates abdominal muscles while strengthening the spine.

The Wide-Angle Seated Forward Bend is great for mindfulness.

To learn more about Upavistha Konasana, including a how to video taking you through the pose click here

Reclining Bound Angle Pose - Supta Baddha Konasana


Use supports under your thighs to keep your stretch from becoming too intense for you if you have a knee or groin injury.

Quite often, the Reclining Bound Angle Pose is used to help with the symptoms of menopause or menstruation.

This pose helps to stimulate circulation, while also stimulating the organs of the lower abdominal region like the ovaries, bladder, and kidneys.

You will feel more relaxed in your inner thighs, knees, and groin after this stretch and it also helps with stress and mild depression.

Watch Kerri McCubben share how to do this yoga pose in easy steps in this video.

Hero Pose - Virasana


This pose is not recommended if you have heart problems. If you have headaches, you can do the pose lying on your back.

There are many benefits to the Hero Pose. It stretches the ankles, knees and thighs while strengthening the arches.

If you are pregnant, this pose will help reduce swelling in the legs and feet. It is commonly used to aide symptoms of high blood pressure and asthma.

And it can help with those suffering from the effects of menopause.

Because of the very posture-perfect pose, it may help improve digestion and relieve gas when practiced regularly and at the right times.

Chair Pose - Utkatasa


Be careful with this pose if you suffer from any of the following: low blood pressure, headache, or insomnia.

In Chair Pose, you will strengthen your ankles, calves, thighs, and spine while also stretching your chest and shoulders.

You will stimulate your heart and diaphragm as well as many abdominal organs. Many people are surprised to learn that this pose also helps to reduce flat feet.

Mountain Pose - Tadasana


This pose should not be practiced if you have a headache, low blood pressure, or insomnia.

Just like the Chair Pose, this pose reduces flat feet.

The pose also improves posture as it strengthens the ankles, knees, and thighs. You will see firmer buttocks and abs when practiced regularly.

It is commonly used to relieve the pain associated with Sciatica.

Bharadvaja's Twist - Bharadvajasana 1


This pose is not recommended if you are suffering from insomnia, low or high blood pressure, or if you have a headache, diarrhea, or if you are menstruating.

This pose is especially good for the lower back. It helps in the second trimester of pregnancy to strengthen those lower back muscles, it helps to relieve lower back and Sciatica pain, as well as neck pain.

This pose stretches the hips, shoulders, and spine.

Because of the gentle twist, it massages the abdominal organs which can improve digestion. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome gets a little help with this pose because of hand placement, but be sure not to place your hands anywhere they feel uncomfortable.

This pose is very helpful for reducing stress.

Salutation Seal - Anjali Mudra


This pose is a great beginner's pose because it has some great benefits and is easy to do.

It helps ease your brain into mindfulness, reducing your stress and anxiety.

It also has physical benefits like creating more flexibility and dexterity in your wrists and fingers.

Corpse Pose - Savasana


If you have a back injury, you can raise the knees and place your feet on the floor, making sure they are hip width apart.

If you are pregnant, raise the head and chest on a bolster so that you are not lying flat.

This pose helps in many areas of physical, mental, and spiritual health. It can calm the mind and relieve stress. It can relax your body.

Because of both of those working in tandem, it can reduce insomnia, fatigue, and headache.

It can also help to lower blood pressure.

Standing Forward Bend - Uttanasana


If you have a back injury, you can do this pose with knees bent, or you can perform Ardha Uttanasana, which is a Half Standing Forward Bend.

There are many benefits to this pose and even when practiced by itself, it can give you some of these benefits.

However, when combined with other beginner yoga poses in a sequence, you can have an even greater experience and even more benefits.

Some of these benefits include mindfulness, improved digestion, and relief for insomnia and headache.

It can also help with high blood pressure, asthma, osteoporosis, sinusitis, and infertility.

Over time, it will reduce fatigue, anxiety, and the symptoms of menopause.

Physical results include strengthening of the knees and thighs, stretching of the hips, calves, and hamstrings, and stimulation of the kidneys and liver.

Seated Forward Bend - Paschimottanasana


This pose is not suitable for those with: asthma, diarrhea, or back injury.

This is another pose with a lot of benefits, especially when practiced regularly.

It can be used to treat high blood pressure, insomnia, infertility, as well as sinusitis, although ancient texts say it also increases appetite, cures diseases, and reduces obesity.

It calms the brain which can help to relieve stress, sometimes leading to less depression if symptoms are mild.

It stimulates the liver and kidneys as well as ovaries and uterus. It can help with the symptoms of menopause as well as the discomfort of menstruation.

Lastly, it can be soothing for headaches and anxiety.

Childs Pose - Balasana


During pregnancy, this pose should be avoided. It should also be avoided if you have diarrhea or knee pain/injury.

There are a few benefits of this pose, but those benefits have long-lasting effects and they fit in well with other poses in a sequence to add to the benefits of yoga as a whole.

You will gently stretch your ankles, thighs, and hips.

Also, you may see some relief of neck and back pain when this is done while the torso and head are supported so relaxation can be achieved during breathing, letting tension out of those muscles.

Mindfulness helps to calm the brain, relieving stress and fatigue.

Cobra Pose - Bhujagasana


Because you are laying on your stomach for this pose, it should not be practiced during pregnancy.

Also, because of the backward stretch of the back, it shouldn't be done if you have a back injury unless you have been told it is okay by a doctor or physical therapist.

It's not recommended for anyone with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome or a headache.

Even though there are some limitations to this pose, there are many benefits if you are able to do it.

It strengthens the spine and firms the buttocks.

While stretching your lungs and chest, plus your shoulders, you will open your lungs and heart, therefore this pose is sometimes used to help open airways for those with asthma.

Cobra Pose stimulates the organs of the abdomen and relieves fatigue and stress with the way it brings oxygen into the body and stimulates the organs.

Plank Pose


Planks have gotten some trendy exposure lately as a great fitness regimen, and it is.

However it is a yoga pose and using the mindfulness and breathing techniques as well can make it even more effective not only physically, but also mentally and spiritually.

Because you will be spending time on your hands, it is not recommended for people with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.

Plank Pose, when done regularly will show you a more tone abdomen and it will help you strengthen your spine, wrists, and arms.

Happy Baby Pose - Ananda Balasana


With the knees brought to your chest the way they are in this pose, it should not be practiced during pregnancy or if you have a knee injury.

If you have a neck injury, place something soft under the head and neck for support.

This pose gently stretches and relaxes the inner groins and the spine.

It helps reduce fatigue as well as stress and anxiety. This is an excellent pose in which to practice deep mindfulness.

Low Lunge - Anjaneyasana


This is a pose that should not be practiced if you have heart problems, but it is oftentimes used to help those who have Sciatica.

This pose helps to improve balance, both mentally and physically, and works the buttocks, thighs, hamstrings, and more.

You will also stretch and lengthen your hip flexors which is great for those who sit down most of the day at work or school.

High Lunge - Utthita Ashwa Sanchalanasana


Just like with the Low Lunge, you should not do this one if you have heart problems.

But again, this lunge is used in therapy with Sciatica as it has been shown to improve symptoms.

With this pose, you will also work on your hip flexors.

Both of these lunges can be done easily in a hall (or in your office, if it's big enough) a few times throughout the day to make sure you keep limber and so that you don't end up having hip and back problems later on from a job where you sit much of the time.

Standing Half Forward Bend - Ardha Uttanasana


This pose is safe for pretty much anyone; however, if you have a neck injury, do not lift your head to look forward or to the sides (keep the head in line with the torso and in a neutral position).

This pose stimulates the belly, meaning it can aide in digestion and get other abdominal organs and muscles working.

It stretches the front of the torso and strengthens the back which can lead to improved posture.

Root Bond - Mula Bandha


The root bond – one of three bonds in yogic practice – allows the spine to support the sitting position in a much better way so that when you are in any sitting pose, you can be centered and balanced.

Shown here in downward facing dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana) focus on contracting the muscles at the bottom of the pelvic floor, behind the cervix.

Garland Pose - Malasana


If you have a lower back injury, or injuries to your knees, this pose can be difficult and should not be done if it causes you any discomfort, especially pain.

Besides toning the belly muscles, you will also be stretching the back of the torso, the groins, and the ankles with the Garland Pose.

Extended Puppy Pose - Uttana Shishosana


Because you are kneeling in this pose, it's not recommended for anyone with a knee injury.

However, if you'd like to try it, you can try kneeling on a prop, folded towel, or thickly folded blanket.

If it causes discomfort, please discontinue.

This pose stretches the shoulders and the spine which can lead to improved posture over time.

Lion Pose - Simhasana


If kneeling to do this pose, be careful if you have a knee injury.

This pose can also easily be adapted to be practiced in a chair. There are several unique benefits to Simhasana.

According to ancient Indian texts, this pose helps to destroy diseases in the body and helps with the three bandhas, which are Uddiyana, Jalandhara, and Mula.

This pose helps to keep the platysma (a rectangar-shaped muscle that is flat and thin and sits at the front of the throat) firm as we age.

This helps to prevent wrinkles around the mouth, cheeks, and neck. You will also see a release of tension in the face and chest.

Intense Side Stretch - Parsvottanasana


With high blood pressure or back pain/injury, instead practice Ardha Parsvottanasana, which is half of this pose.

This pose is often used to treat flat feet and the discomfort associated with it.

The Intense Side Stretch is very good for mindfulness as it calms the brain.

It strengthens the legs while it also stimulates and massages the abdominal organs which can lead to improved digestion.

When done regularly, this pose will improve posture, give you a sense of balance and coordination, and also stretch many areas of the body, including the: hamstrings, hips, wrists, shoulders, and spine.

Locust Pose - Salabhasana


If you have a headache or a serious back injury, this pose is not recommended.

If you have a neck injury, it is possible to practice this pose (as long as it is comfortable to do so), but the head should remain neutral by looking at the floor instead of straight ahead.

You may find it easier to support your forehead on a prop or a folded towel or blanket.

The Locust Pose has been used to treat lower-back pain and fatigue for quite some time.

It is also used to treat digestion problems such as indigestion, constipation, and flatulence.

When practiced regularly, you can see improved posture because you will be stretching the muscles of the thighs, belly, chest and shoulders, while also strengthening muscles in the legs, arms, buttocks, and spine.

Because of the stretch in the belly, the abdominal organs will be stimulated. This pose also helps to reduce stress.

Heron Pose - Krounchasana


This pose should not be practiced if you are menstruating.

You can simply replace it with a more appropriate pose that will help with that during that time.

Also, if you have an ankle or knee problem, this pose will be very difficult and may cause more problems so ask a doctor or experienced yoga instructor before practicing this.

The Heron Pose is therapeutically used to treat flatulence and flat feet. It both stimulates the heart and abdominal organs, but it also stretches the hamstrings.

Fish Pose - Matsyasana


You must be very careful practicing this pose if you have any of the following: low or high blood pressure, insomnia, a migraine, or a serious neck or lower back injury.

Other than basic benefits, which are listed below as well, this pose has many therapeutic uses.

It can help with menstrual pain and mild backache (which may also be a symptom of menstrual pain) or constipation.

It can help with respiratory ailments because it opens up the chest.

It can help with fatigue and anxiety.

The Fish Pose does a lot of stretching in the body, including the deeper hip flexors and the muscles that are between the ribs (which is what helps to open up the chest), the belly as well as the neck, and it strengthens the upper back and back of the neck.

All of this stretching and strengthening can lead to improved posture when practiced regularly.

Some ancient texts say that the Matsyasana is the "destroyer of all diseases."

Legs-Up-The-Wall Pose - Viparita Karani


This is an inversion pose and because of that, it should be avoided if you have serious eye problems, such as glaucoma.

As we were doing these poses outdoors, there aren't any handy walls around to rest the legs against, so the pose here is more like a shoulder stand, Salamba Sarvangasana.  You would normally rest your legs against a wall, with your back flatter on the ground.  You could try to find a tree if you're practicing yoga out in nature too, as long as you have flat ground at it's base too.

There are many therapeutic uses with the Viparita Karani.

It can help with menopausal symptoms as well as menstrual cramps and PMS.

It helps with both regular headaches and migraines.

Mentally, it can help with anxiety and mild depression.

It can help relieve digestive problems as well as issues with low and high blood pressure.

Insomnia, respiratory problems, and varicose veins are just a few of the other benefits.

If you stand on your feet for much of the day, this pose will help to relieve cramped feet and legs, rejuvenating them as well as your back.

It also gently stretches the back of the neck, the front of the torso, and back of the legs.

Cow Face Pose - Gomukhasana Twisted

cow face pose

If you have serious shoulder or neck problems consult a doctor or an experienced yoga instructor before practicing this pose.

This pose stretches the chest, the triceps and armpits, the shoulders, the thighs and hips, as well as the ankles.

Overall, this is a great pose for getting a nice stretch.

If you can't reach your fingers behind your back, you can use a strap to do that until your shoulders are limber enough to reach. It could take time so don't push yourself.

Warrior II Pose - Virabhadrasana II


When you have high blood pressure or are suffering from a bout of diarrhea, this pose should not be practiced.

If you have a neck problem, do not turn your head. Instead, look straight and keep the head neutral.

Other than increased stamina, you will see a stretch in the groins, lungs and chest, as well as shoulders.

This pose strengthens the ankles and legs, as well as stretches them.

Throughout the second trimester of pregnancy, this pose can relieve backaches, but it is also therapeutic for flat feet, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, osteoporosis, Sciatica, and infertility.

Tree Pose - Vrksasana


The Tree Pose should not be done if you have a headache or insomnia.

You also shouldn't do it if you have low blood pressure but you can do it if you have high blood pressure, just don't raise your arms over your head.

This pose strengthens the legs and the spine while also stretching the inner thighs and groins, shoulders and chest.

Because this pose is done on one foot, you will see an improved sense of balance over time. It is therapeutic for flat feet and Sciatica.

Downward Facing Dog - Adho Mukha Svanasana


If you have Carpal Tunnel Syndrome or have diarrhea, do not practice this pose.

If you are pregnant, you can practice Downward Facing Dog up until you are considered late term, or it becomes uncomfortable for you, whichever comes first.

If you have a headache or have high blood pressure, you should support your head on something placed between the arms.

This pose helps to energize the body and calms the brain so it can help to relieve stress and depression.

It stretches the hands, arches and calves, hamstrings and shoulders, plus it strengthens the legs and arms which is great for toning those muscles.

The Downward Facing Dog helps to relieve symptoms of menopause, and when the head is supported as described above, it can relieve menstrual cramps.

It helps to prevent osteoporosis, or the worsening of it if it has already started, and it aides in digestion.

This pose is therapeutic for sinusitis, flat feet, high blood pressure, Sciatica, fatigue, insomnia, back pain, and headache.

Half Lord of the Fishes Pose - Ardha Matsyendrasana


If you have a spine or back injury of some sort, only practice this pose with the help of an experienced yoga instructor.

This pose stimulates digestion, the liver, and the kidneys.

It also helps to get things moving with the spine so it doesn't stiffen.

When performing this pose you will stretch the neck, hips, and shoulders. Therapeutic uses for Half Lord of the Fishes Pose include relieving menstrual cramps, Sciatica, backaches, fatigue, infertility, and asthma.

Bridge Pose - Setu Bandha Sarvangasana


If you have a neck injury, make sure you have an experienced yoga instructor present.

This pose stretches the spine, neck, and chest while also stimulating the thyroid, lungs and abdominal organs which can lead to improved digestion.

Bridge Pose can aide in mindfulness which helps especially with mild depression and stress.

If you have tired legs, are going through menopause, menstrual discomfort, insomnia, headache or backache, anxiety or fatigue, sinusitis or asmtha, osteoporosis, or even high blood pressure this pose can help.

Four Limbed Staff - Chaturanga


Be careful with the Four Limbed Staff Pose if you have a wrist or shoulder injury.

This yoga pose strengthens your wrists and arms, as well as your abdomen.

This is a great pose to practice in preparation for other poses where you will be balancing on your arms.

Standing Two-Legged Forward Bend - Standing Paschimottanasana


If you have a back injury only bend forward as much as is comfortable.

If you have a neck injury, be certain to keep your neck in a neutral position and don't look forward.

The benefits of this Forward Bend include stretching the backs of the legs as well as teaching patience and mindfulness.

Pigeon Pose Head Down - Adho Mukha Kapotasana


Because you will be folding one leg under your body, this should be done with the presence of a yoga instructor or with permission of a doctor If you have a hip or knee injury.

The Pigeon Pose opens the hips and stretches the fronts of the thighs.

This can be great for people who mostly sit during the day.

Lotus Pose - Padmasana


This pose opens the hips which is another great pose for those who sit much of the day.

However, this pose is mostly meant as one used for meditation and mindfulness.

Warrior III - Virabhadrasana III


This is another pose in which you will be standing on one foot so if you have any reason to believe your balance may be compromised, such as if you have low or high blood pressure, a lack of regular sleep, or a headache, then you should not practice this pose.

However, the Warrior III gives benefits of strength to the legs, core, and arms, as well balance over time, plus it helps you to focus.

Cow Pose - Bitilasana


Because this pose releases the muscles surrounding the spine, if you have a back injury, you may want to consult your doctor before practicing this pose.

However, this pose is great for relieving tension along the spine, helping with backaches and tension.

Upward Facing Dog - Urdhva Mukha Svanasana


Upward Facing Dog shouldn't be done by anyone with a back injury as you are inverting the spine.

However, there are other yoga poses that can help you increase flexibility in your back so that you can get to the point of being able to practice this pose if your back allows it.

This is a chest opening pose so it can help with respiratory problems.

It also stimulates the abdominal organs and relaxes the spine.

Shoulder Stand - Salamba Sarvangasana


This is an inversion, so once again, if you have serious eye problems this shouldn't be done.

Also, your weight will be on your neck and shoulders, so if you have injuries or pain in those areas get clearance from your doctor.

However, this inversion is great for circulation which can be great for people who aren't as active as they should be or suffer from poor circulation.

It also opens up the back and the neck to help stretch those related muscles.

Butterfly Pose - Badhakonasana


Because you will be stretching your hips and lower back with this pose, only let your knees relax as far into the pose as is comfortable for your hips, and only lean forward as much as is comfortable for your back.

This pose is great for mindfulness and meditation sitting. As mentioned, it opens the hips which is great for people who sit much of the time.

Enjoy creating your own routine with these beginner yoga poses

Apart from the many physical benefits, yoga can be really relaxing and a great stress reliever.  

Apart from the many physical benefits, yoga can be really relaxing and a great stress reliever.

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​There are lots of great yoga studios around, but perhaps you could try getting out in nature, doing some meditation and some of these easy yoga poses to relax.

Many thanks to our yogi Kerri McCubben for her help in taking me through these poses. That's her in all the images:)

Having studied in the spiritual home of yoga, India, and being a qualified raw yoga instructor Kerri ​is a great teacher.

You can follow Kerri on her web site for some great inspiration at Home Of Yoga New Farm

​I hope you have fun and enjoy pursuing yoga. 

Please feel free to share any other easy yoga poses which you enjoy, and think others might too, in the comments below.​

10 Tips To A Healthier Life In Just 21 Days

10 health Tips

Easy Steps To A Healthier Life;

Some of these tips to a healthier life might seem really basic to you, but have a think about how many you’re actually doing consistently.  If you get yourself into a routine of following just these ten tips, then you’ll be feeling healthier in 21 days.

Why 21 days?  Well, although you are likely to start feeling the benefits well before then, I believe in the theory that it takes 21 days to form a new habit.  So, once you have been following these tips for 21 days, you will have developed healthy new habits that form a great base to build on, and get even better.


10 health Tips

10 Tips For Health In 21 Days


I’m not trying to overload you with information here. If you’re already following a training and nutrition program then you are already tuned into what we’re achieving here.  If you’re just looking to start improving your health, to move towards a healthier life, then you might need some help with some of these tips, like, what’s a good nutrition plan?  What sort of exercise should I be doing?

Well, don’t worry, just start thinking through what this can mean for you, what you’d like to do that will maintain your interest and enthusiasm, and I’ll be posting some more guidance about nutrition and exercise planning to help you out soon.

Always remember, life rewards action, so take action every day, to become a healthier you!