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Ever what the heck we’re doing over at Yoga Athletex? We’ll here’s a little break down to the method behind all the madness going on in the HUSTLE room. All Athletex and YAX classes are high intensity explosive training and conditioning circuits designed to maximize the body’s ability to burn fat, build lean muscle, optimize the body’s hormone and physiological response to exercise while improving overall daily and athletic performance. I know, it’s a mouthful. But, had to get it out. It is truly made for EVERYone at ANY stage of athletic development (see LTAD model). Our circuits are made accessible to everyone regardless of age or fitness level through the use of progressions and regressions. Meaning we can modify or up-level most anything!

This type of high intensity explosive training triggers an improved physiological response to exercise by elevating activity of the endocrine system leading to increased hormone production (including growth hormone) which stimulates protein synthesis. This, in turn, leads to improved muscle growth, fat metabolism leading to a reduction in body fat, and increased metabolic rate for sustainable weight loss and effective weight management. It is important for people in the 30+ age bracket to participate in high intensity circuits, to stimulate hormone production because this is when a decline starts to take place. That’s right. I said it.

Our circuits will improve strength, speed, endurance, balance, flexibility, coordination, motor control and more through the OPT model used to build these circuits, approved by the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM). The movements are sequenced so that participants perform dissimilar consecutive exercises, promoting active recovery. Each circuit, throughout the year, aims to achieve performance in phase one (Stabilization Endurance), Phase two (Strength Endurance) and Phase five (Power) of the OPT model. We work to achieve high rep, low intensity sets within a 30 second period to fatigue the muscles, which will ensure that all muscle fibers are recruited. Clients who have been working with low reps and heavy weights for some time are often in dire need of a higher repetition strategy. As stated before, the neural and hormonal benefits of such protocols are much more effective for the speed and power state of the client/athlete than what has been previously believed and researched. It’s 2018, y’all. Don’t get complacent with 80’s training. You will find a full body workout with every circuit at YAX, work in every plane of motion and constantly be challenged to increase performance! Clients will optimize calories burned during the exercise, and will also experience nearly two times the post exercise caloric expenditure, in comparison to traditional workouts! That’s just an added bonus with no extra work. Can’t beat it.

In addition to our HIIT (high intensity interval training) classes, we also offer a full yoga schedule in our stunning FLOW room. You can move dynamically with breath as a means to sweat, restore and take active recovery. With styles from hatha, vinyasa and restorative, we have something for everyone. 2 for the price of one. Come get on the mat with us to really reap the benefits of our programming. Sign up HERE.

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In light of the Masters starting this month, we’re doing a little spin off the golf course and taking it to the row.

Major Row Challenge: April 2-30 we’re featuring a different event each week.

The Details
Using the Row Machine, or Erg, complete each of the following four events during the timeframes indicated and log them on the challenge board. Meters can be completed throughout the week or all at once. This is an individual challenge. You do not need to belong to a team to participate. Meters must be entered on the challenge board. In studio meters only (to be done before or after class).

The Masters: Week 1, Apr. 2-7: 5000 meters *(50 pt. bonus if 5000 meters completed at once in under 20 min.)* The Open: Week 2, Apr. 8–14: 500 meters *(50 pt. bonus if 500 meters completed at once in under 2.5 min.)* The Championship: Week 3, Apr. 15–21: 2000 meters *(50 pt. bonus if 2000 meters completed at once in under 7 min.)* The PYR (Professional YAX Rower): Week 4, Apr. 22–30: 10,000 meters

Who Can Participate
Anyone with a membership or package can participate in this challenge.

Incentives and Rewards
Participants who meet the challenge can enjoy: Name inclusion on the Texas Chalkboard displayed through May, a specially designed certificate, a YAX goodie bag and 500 Reward Points!

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Not Seeing Results? Finding your sweat and shavasana every day is not enough. There are several other factors that go into being a well rounded, healthy athlete. Below are several areas to review and incorporate into your daily regime to build a better path toward total well being and start seeing results. Accomplish 80% of the below weekly and you are going places!

Nutrition
Eat WHOLE foods. Less processed food. More fruits and veggies.
Eat often. Fuel your body throughout the day with healthy fats, proteins and carbs (yep, carbs).
Drink ⅔ of your bodyweight in ounces of water every day! Stay hydrated.

Sleep and Recover
Get a minimum of 8 hours sleep every night.
Go to bed early, wake up early. Do what the sun does.
Sleep in a dark, quiet room (without your cell phone).
Don’t be afraid to take a cat nap before or after a workout.

Stress Management
Incorporate a weekly (if not daily) dynamic yoga and pranayama (breathwork) practice.
Find a hobby outside of sports or fitness (i.e., art, cooking, gardening, reading).
Attend mobility playshops.

Mental Training
Attend yoga for athletes and restorative classes.
Practice visualization techniques and meditation.
Incorporate more positive self talk.
Listen to motivating, positive music.
Find a present tense mantra: “I can touch 10 foot.” “I am an elite athlete.” “I am love.” “I can do great things.” “I have no fear.”

Community
Surround yourself with positive, goal oriented people.
Make friends at YAX!
Build quality relationships.

Make sticky notes, write in a journal, set reminders. Do what you can to incorporate these practices into your daily life to heighten your overall success and build the WHOLE athlete. Ready, GO!

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We are so very excited to introduce our newest team member, Liya Mar! You can catch her on the mat every Thursday evening at 6 PM for Yoga 4 Athletes and 7:15 PM for Slow Flow, starting November 30, 2017!

Liya grew up in a family with a regular meditation practice. She started her yoga journey when she was pursing her Ph.D. in Wisconsin. Yoga literally saved her from the chronic upper back shoulder pain which she suffered from the intensive graduate works. She finished her Vinyasa Yoga teaching training in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in 2017 before moving to Houston with her husband. She is currently studying for the NASM-CPT with an expected certificate in 2018!

Liya remembers, as a young child, meditation and breath work aren’t easy tasks, but with yoga, breathing and calmness comes naturally. Liya seeks to deepen her understanding of different lineages of yoga, as well as anatomy-based practices. She now teaches in schools, gyms and online. In her class, you’ll find inspiring music and strengthening sequences of asanas. Aside from yoga, she loves spending time in the gym, watching basketball, wondering in nature with her family and friends.

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As most of you know, I recently had hip surgery due to a torn labrum and damaged cartilage. I’ve been an athlete my whole life and have always had semi-tight hips. When I started my yoga practice, I went deep into working on hip openers. I honestly only worked on yoga poses for about 3 years, before putting strength exercises back into my routine. I was working so hard on just building flexibility that I stopped working on strength building and stability as much as I used to. What I’ve learned is that hip stability is just as important as hip flexibility. The root of my torn labrum was never confirmed from just yoga or just sports, I believe is from years of playing sports and my body’s anatomy (I have funky hips per my x-rays). I am just wanting to help share some good insight, on what I’ve learned through my own personal journey with movement. Overall finding a balance between flexibility & stability is crucial in your body’s health. The good thing is, if you’re already taking YAX and Yoga classes, you are doing the best thing you can for your body!

Working on Hip Stability vs. Hip Flexibility

When yogis talk hips, it’s generally about opening them. But your hips CAN be too open… Learn why balancing strength and flexibility in the hips is so important.

Hip strength is necessary in day-to-day life. Whether we are walking in the park, running for the bus, or cycling to work, the hip joint takes the brunt of the body’s weight and enables all of these fundamental actions. In short: Stable hips are a good thing—they carry our bodies throughout the day.

Understanding the Hip Joint

The hip joint is a ball and socket joint composed of two bones. The femur sits in the acetabulum, which is part of the pelvis. Covering the bones of the hip is the articular cartilage. The articular cartilage is important for providing a cushion and a smooth surface when the bones move on one another. Surrounding the acetabulum is additional cartilage called the labrum, which forms a lip around the cup-shaped bone to provide additional stability in the joint.

While it is helpful to understand the anatomy of the hip, what may be more even important (if a bit frightening) is knowing that one of the deepest layers of the joint, the cartilage, does not have any nerve endings. This means you may not be aware of any damage to the cartilage until it is too late. Although cartilage doesn’t have nerve endings, the surrounding muscles, tendons, and ligaments do, which is why yoga can be helpful for tuning into the body to find a balance between strength and flexibility for health of the muscles and the integrity of the joints. By listening to our bodies with this sense of mindfulness we can begin to notice our strengths and weaknesses, which enables us to develop a nourishing practice that our bodies truly need.

Most athletes, THAT’s US! have extremely tight hips. So, hip openers are a great thing for us! But with all of the hip openers we practice, we want to balance it out and always stabilize and protect our joints.

3 Poses to Build Stability in the Hips

Bridge Pose, variation

Lie on your back with your knees bent, feet hip-width apart and knees directly above your ankles. Place your arms on either side of your body with your palms facing down. Lengthen your tailbone toward the front of your mat. Lift one leg perpendicular to the floor (optional: bend knee). On your inhalation, keep your leg raised and lift your hips off the floor into a Bridge position. On your exhalation, with your leg still raised, lower your hips again. Repeat the exercise for 5 rounds of breath on each side.

Chair Pose, variation

For this exercise, hold Chair Pose with your feet hip-width apart. As you inhale, straighten one leg to the side and as your exhale bring it back to its original position. Repeat the exercise on each side 10 times or until the hip-stabilizing muscles start to fatigue.

Leg Raises

For this final exercise, lie on your side and rest your head on your arm. Bend your bottom leg to approximately 90 degrees so you have a steady base. Raise your top leg about a foot above the ground. Extend your lifted leg in a straight line from your spine and flex the foot. Hold for 10 breaths and relax the leg for 5 breaths. Repeat the exercise for 3 rounds on each side.

Deep Squat

This exercise sequence increases your core and hip stability and mobility. The movement takes your hips and legs in a full, deep squat and retrains your nervous system to activate your core and hips to generate stability in movement. It also functions as a warm-up before training and competition.

Stand with your feet shoulder-distance apart and your toes pointing forward in front of a step or a similar platform that you can put your hands on. Raise your arms above your head, and bend forward to place your palms on the platform. Lower your hips into a deep squat while keeping your spine tall and chest high. Hold the position for a few deep breaths.

Then raise your arms above your head, and push yourself up, keeping your spine in the same position without bending forward. If you have trouble doing the squat pattern, place a rolled-up beach towel under your heels for support. As you become proficient with the movement pattern and improve your posture, remove the heel support.

Hip Flexors

Hip stability also depends on strong hip flexors. These muscles, like the psoas, are responsible for functions like helping you to step up onto a stool; or lift your leg from a lying-down position.

Kneel on your right knee on the floor. Place your left foot on the floor in front of you. Place your right hands on top of your left thigh. Make sure the left knee is stacked over top the left ankle. Hold your torso upright. Tuck your tailbone under to make a long spine and in order not the compress your lower back. Contract your glute muscles to allow the hip flexors to relax and extend.

Toe Taps

The toe tap is a much more controlled and equally, if not more, brutal stability exercise for the hip. For this drill, you need either a mini band or a barbell. With the mini band around the thighs or barbell on your back, put all your weight into one leg and bend the knee slightly. Then reach out with your other leg, leading with the heel, and tap the ground out to the side. The goal with this drill is to look like a robot. The leg that you are standing on shouldn’t move. It should be bent and stay bent the whole time. The leg that is tapping the ground should be tapping so lightly that you could touch an egg shell but not break it.

If you have any questions, please feel free to leave a comment below!

-Kalynn

Sources:

ALICE LOUISE BLUNDEN

www.yogajournal.com

More on common myths about tight hips: https://www.yogajournal.com/practice/5-common-myths-athletes-tight-hips

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It’s finally cooled off in Houston, and we wanted to share this yummy Sweet Potato & Black Bean Chili Recipe! This recipe is Vegetarian. So, you can keep it that way, or add in some ground turkey or ground venison if you have any hunters in the fam. Chili is the best for this time of year! So, get to cookin’ & get cozy!

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium-large sweet potato, peeled and diced
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 4 teaspoons ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon ground chipotle chile (see Note)
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2½ cups water or vegetable stock
  • 2 15-ounce cans black beans, rinsed
  • 1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 4 teaspoons lime juice
  • ½ cup chopped fresh cilantro

Preparation

  • Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add sweet potato and onion and cook, stirring often, until the onion is beginning to soften, about 4 minutes. Add garlic, chili powder, cumin, chipotle and salt and cook, stirring constantly, for 30 seconds. Add water and bring to a simmer. Cover, reduce heat to maintain a gentle simmer and cook until the sweet potato is tender, 10 to 12 minutes.
  • Add beans, tomatoes and lime juice; increase heat to high and return to a simmer, stirring often. Reduce heat and simmer until slightly reduced, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in cilantro.
  • Make Ahead Tip: Cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months.
  • Note: Chipotle peppers are dried, smoked jalapeño peppers. Ground chipotle chile pepper can be found in the spice section of most supermarkets or online at penzeys.com
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Planksgiving Challenge starts November 1! Anyone can join in by participating in the studio with other YAX team members, or completing each day at home. If you complete the challenge at home, make sure to take a video or snap a pic and tag @yogaathletex on your choice of social media!

Your goal for the challenge is to work your way up to holding a plank for 3 minutes, to get stronger arms and abs, while also showing your gratitude for everything positive in your life! So when thanksgiving rolls around, you won’t think twice about grabbing a second piece of your grandma’s pumpkin pie! Each day you will plank for a specific amount of time and write down one thing you are thankful for. So, let’s PLANK together with GRATEFUL hearts!

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