Archive for the tag - gymnastics

Video: The Gymnast Workout!

Screen Shot 2013-11-01 at 10.35.25 AMThe only thing that I like more than gymnastics is filming videos with “The Lean Machines.” Today’s video combines both! And I hope it’ll rock your world.

Click on over to YouTube to watch the video – or check it out below.

Enjoy!

Who Says Exercise is No Fun?

Flying Davey Wavey!

Exercise doesn’t have to be a chore.

In fact, by connecting exercise to the things you enjoy, it can be something to which you look forward. And if you look forward to exercise and enjoy the experience, you’re more likely to do it more often!

Whoever said exercise is boring didn’t have much of an imagination. There are so many ways to get your body moving and heart pumping that are fun, exciting and exhilarating. A summer swim in the ocean is exercise. Dancing in your underwear to your favorite playlist is exercise. Playing volleyball or basketball in recreational league is exercise. All of it counts! And it’s all better than sitting on the couch.

While the majority of my exercise takes place at the gym, I love gymnastics. And so each and every Tuesday night, I take a class at my local gymnastics center. Whether it’s jumping into the foam pit, bouncing on the trampoline or playing on the parallel bars, I always have a great time while connecting to my inner child. And I always get a workout that leaves me sore for days.

Exercise can take so many different forms, be it hockey, boating, biking, hula hooping, jumping rope, ping pong, rock climbing, jogging with your dog, tennis or hiking. When it comes to increasing your activity level, it’s okay to think outside the gym.

At the end of the day, the only bad workout is the one that didn’t happen. So get moving and get active doing something you love.

P.S. Check out my 8 tips for making gym workouts more fun!

Meet the (Shirtless) U.S. Men’s Gymnastics Team.

Every now and then, I like to share a little bit of fitness inspiration and motivation – and, after watching the Olympic trials, I know there’s no shortage of either in the U.S. men’s gymnastics team. I have two words, “Yes, please.”

These men are, of course, very delicious eye candy. But with their incredible flexibility, strength an athleticism, they’re also incredible examples to which all of us can aspire. Sure, most of us aren’t going to compete in the Olympics. But I like to say that it’s better to shoot for the stars and land on the moon than aim for the mountains and reach them.

With all that in mind, I give you the Olympians of the U.S. men’s gymnastics team.

Jake Dalton: Age 20, 5’5″

Jonathan Horton: Age 26, 5’1″

Danell Leyva: Age 20, 5’7″

John Orozco: Age 19, 5’4″

Sam Mikulak: Age 19, 5’6″

Jake Dalton is my absolute favorite, but – as someone who loves shorter guys – each one of these gymnasts makes my heart skip a beat.

Which gymnast will you be tuning in to watch during the Olympics? Let me know in the comments below!

Does Strength Training Decrease Flexibility?

Gymnasts remind us that muscles and flexibility need not be mutually exclusive. And also that spandex can be super sexy.

You’ve probably heard the age-old adage that lifting weights decreases flexibility. But like so many of the things we’re told about exercise, you’ve probably wondered if it’s really true.

The simple answer is that strength training can decrease flexibility, but it doesn’t have to.

Each time you complete a repetition, you’ve technically shortened your muscles. (To be fair, muscle shortening also happens when we don’t exercise at all – or lead a sedentary lifestyle.) Over time, the shortening caused by weightlifting can add up to a decreased range of motion.

But not so fast. A recent study by the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks shows us that decreased flexibility isn’t inevitable. According to their findings, strength training exercises actually improved flexibility in participants using a full range of motion.

Of course, if you’re cutting each repetition short (i.e., stopping before your thighs are parallel to the floor in a squat), then your muscles might not have the opportunity to lengthen – and you may experience some flexibility loss.

Stretching can still be very important, though it’s important to do it properly. Dynamic stretching (stretching with constant movement, like arm circles) is great before cardio or strength training. Static stretching (holding a pose for a longer period of time), on the other hand, is best saved until the end of a workout. Doing static stretching before strength training exercises actually decreases performance and increases the risk of injury.

With your improved flexibility, you’ll also likely experience a boost in your performance.

The bottom line: Lifting weights won’t result in a lose of flexibility if you perform each exercise through your full range of motion and incorporate proper stretching.