FitnessMats Blogs

Prop Up Your Yoga Practice with FitnessMats

Cost-effective props, such as blocks, can provide greater accessibility when exploring a wide array of yoga poses. In honor of National Yoga Month, here are four asana variations that pair perfectly with the FitnessMat to offer greater comfort and support in your personal practice.

Puppy Pose , FitnessMatsExtended puppy pose: At the center of mat assume a hands and knees position with wrists below shoulders and knees below the hips. Slowly walk hands forward toward the front edge of the mat, allowing the chest to rest atop block with palms pressing into the floor. Keep hips stacked over knees while actively reaching forward with fingertips. Hold this position, breathing deeply for five complete cycles of breath.

Modified pyramid pose: Begin in a half-kneeling on the mat with right foot forward, placing a block on each side of right foot. With hands atop blocks tuck left toes under and lift left knee off the mat, rising to a supported low lunge position. Inhale to extend both knees, drawing hips up and back while allowing the chest to guide toward right thigh, continuing to keep left heel lifted off the mat. Hold this position, breathing deeply for five complete cycles of breath before switching sides and repeating.


Bound angle variation:
  Assume a seated position with knees bent and legs pressed together. Allow both knees to open toward opposite sides of the mat, resting knees atop blocks as soles of feet draw together.  Keeping heels close to groin place hands on top of feet or ankles, allowing outer edges of feet to remain in contact with the mat. Inhale to lengthen the spine, then exhale to lean torso forward slightly, guiding chest toward heels. Hold this position for 5 complete cycles of breath.

Bridge Pose, Yoga, FitnessMatsRestorative bridge pose: Lie on back with knees bent and feet flat on mat positioned hip-width distance apart. Draw heels as close to glutes as possible so that fingertips can lightly graze backs of heels with arms extended. With the back of head and shoulders remaining in contact with the mat, inhale to lift glutes off the floor, sliding a block at its lowest setting beneath the sacrum (lowest part of the back). Rest body atop block, allowing arms to remain relaxed at sides with palms facing the ceiling. Hold this position for five complete cycles of breath.

 


Jessica Matthews,  M.S., E-RYT 500 is a nationally-recognized wellness expert and professor of yoga studies at MiraCosta College, where she helped design and implement a 500-hour yoga teacher training program recognized by Yoga Alliance. Additionally, she serves as senior advisor for health and fitness education for the American Council on Exercise (ACE) and is the lead editor and author of the new ACE Group Fitness Instructor Handbook: The Professionals Guide to Creating Memorable Movement Experiences. Connect with Jessica at www.jessica-matthews.com and on social media at @fitexpertjess.

Posted by Kelly G on 09 September, 2016 Healthy Living, Workouts, Yoga, Yoga Everyday, yoga mat | Read more →

Back-to-Basics: The Benefits of Aerobics Workouts



Bikini Pro Andreanna Calhoun, explains how you can reap the benefits of adding a variety of aerobic workouts to your fitness routine.When most people hear the words “aerobic exercise,” they automatically think back to the golden days of headbands, ladies in spandex and bright neon step-up boxes! It has definitely evolved over time. Aerobic exercise, also known as “cardio” exercise  that requires pumping of oxygenated blood by the heart to deliver oxygen to working muscles.  It stimulates the heart rate and breathing in a way that can be sustained during an exercise session.  Aerobic meaning “with oxygen” can improve your endurance, so long as the heart rate is not elevated too high. One may not be able to sustain such endurance if the heart is working at a level it is not used to performing.

Aerobic exercise not only improves fitness but also has a plethora of benefits for both emotional and physical health.  It can help prevent or reduce the chance of developing some cancers, diabetes, depression, cardiovascular disease and osteoporosis just to name a few.  Many people also enjoy utilizing aerobic exercise as a stress reliever or bonding time with family and friends. Some examples of aerobic exercise are cardio machines, spinning, running, walking, hiking, aerobic classes, dancing, cross country skiing, and kickboxing. Sports are also great for aerobic exercises such as basketball, boxing, soccer, rugby and much more.  


Bikini Pro Andreanna Calhoun, explains how you can reap the benefits of adding a variety of aerobic workouts to your fitness routine.A person’s aerobic exercise plan should be simple, practical, and realistic. Do not try to make up for years of inactivity all in one session.Choose what is best for your
body. If you want to begin as soon as possible, you may want to start with walking. It is not a foreign exercise to you, it does not require equipment, and you can do it right around your home.  You must choose wisely when to want to attend an aerobics class. The classes are normally categorized as beginner, intermediate and advanced. It does not matter if it is low impact or high impact, so long as you sustain for 30 minutes or more-that is considered cardio and it counts!  Specific equipment, such as cardio machines, step-up boxes, leg/hand weights, may be used but is not necessary for successful aerobic exercise.

 

By: Andreanna L Calhoun

Citation: www.medicinenet.com

The Physical Benefits of Strength Training by Olivia Figueroa

When most people hear the words “strength training” they immediately think of bodybuilding, powerlifting or strenuous workouts. To the average person or someone newly into fitness, strength training and using weights can be intimidating. A lot of people think that strength training is only associated with athletes and experienced individuals. Although I believe any form of exercise or movement is beneficial, incorporating weight in some or all of your workouts is crucial for a healthy lifestyle.

 

As we age, we face an inevitable decline in bone density and muscle strength. It has been scientifically proven that aerobic exercise alone is not enough to sustain bone health, muscle tone, posture and an all-around functional body. Stronger muscles lead to stronger bones which can prevent injuries and osteoporosis. Strength training can involve dumbbells, stationary machines, weighted bars, suspension training and resistance bands. The intensity of strength training routines can vary and can be suitable for any level of fitness. For individuals who are trying to lose weight, weight bearing exercise is a necessity for fat loss.

 

Being a female in the fitness industry, I am constantly being asked by other women about my views on lifting weights. Not only am I in the fitness industry as a personal trainer, but I also teach barre which is known for little to low weight and high repetition exercises. The idea that weight will make someone look “bulky” verses “long and lean” is a common misconception and could not be further from the truth. I have often heard well-known trainers discourage women from using challenging amounts of weight and I am constantly encouraging my female clients to eliminate this mentality. With proper form, a great workout routine and a balanced diet, weight training can take your body to the next level of awesome.

 

With clearance from a doctor and expert advice from a fitness professional, anyone can start a safe and effective workout program which incorporates strength training. If you are still not convinced, the fact that you don’t technically need a gym membership to maintain a routine should seal the deal. All you need is a set of dumbbells to get started in your home, garage or outdoors. Eventually, a beginner starting with minimal time and equipment can progress into more advanced movements and longer workouts. Aside from the physical benefits of strength training, it increases cognitive performance, mood and confidence for both men and women of all fitness levels.

Olivia Figueroa

Owner of Liv Fitness, CPT, Fitness Model

Posted by Katie B on 08 July, 2016 Read more →

Preventative Maintenance for Yourself and Your Loved Ones

What’s the first thing that comes to your mind when you hear preventive maintenance?  Most of us would think of cars and oil changes.  But those two words should not only apply to automobiles but the human body as well.  You wouldn’t wait until the pistons in your engine seize before routinely changing your oil would you?  So why would you wait until you have bone and joint issues before you start paying attention to your calcium intake?  

When I began my bodybuilding career over 2 decades ago I primarily focused on bringing my best physique to the table and longevity wasn’t really a concern.  I grew up the “skinny kid” so felt rewarded for every ounce of muscle I’ve been able to build over the years.  I trained hard and heavy until I was sore for days and on some occasions couldn’t walk out of the gym after an intense leg session.  I would occasionally sustain some minor injuries but would stubbornly push through the pain to reach my goals.  I not only accomplished my goal of becoming a professional drug free bodybuilder but also remaining competitive at the Pro level and placing Top 3 in most of my shows.

However, the past few years, things have changed.  I am now married and blessed to have two amazing daughters so longevity has become one of my top priorities.  I am constantly asked, “Why are you always wearing a weight belt?  Why do you wrap your knees when you train knees?  Do you have knee problems?”  I simply smile and answer, “Preventive maintenance!”   I want to remain healthy for my kids so I will do my best to ensure that I remain injury free and continue to train smarter and not necessarily harder in the gym. 

We’ve been taught to start investing in our retirement fund in our 20’s.  I also recommend starting in our retirement HEALTH in our 20’s!  Ensure that you get enough calcium in your diet to keep your bones healthy and strong for the years to come.  Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated and keep your skin healthy.  I recommend at least 6-8 12 ounce glasses a day and more if you’re exercising.  Begin your “preventive maintenance” early and keep your heart healthy.  Heart disease IS the leading cause of death in the United States. 

Remaining healthy is a lifestyle for me and my family and not a chore.  We enjoy the healthy food we eat and I even have a hard time getting our 3 year old to order something else other than broccoli when we venture off to eat. If there are healthy foods that you don’t enjoy eating then simply find a substitute.  Not only will your body thank you but your loved ones will in the years to come.

 

Charles “Skeletor” Fuller

 

How to Maintain Your New Healthy Lifestyle in 2016 with Dani GetURGunz

Creativity and Consistency for your New Year

It’s that time of the year again; you know the beginning of a New Year, a fresh start, a new and improved you. At least, that is what we all strive for right? I’m going to share some simple tips with you today to help make that a reality.

As a personal trainer, this is the busiest time of the year for me and for most gyms out there. As busy as we all are, it’s not always easy to make it to the gym, squeeze in a workout or a cardio session. Let’s not even discuss how crowded the gym is after work. I’m not against working out at a gym; I’m just trying to show you that it isn’t always necessary and not to use that as an excuse to get moving! It’s a very hard balance these days with work, kids, traffic, etc. It is what we do with those excuses that count. I want you to really push through the reasons why you “can’t” do it and focus on the ways you can.

What I often recommend to clients and my social media followers are home workouts.  I have exclusively worked out in my garage gym for 10 years. I have invested in some nice equipment in there over the years but there are so many things you can do with minimal equipment. I’m seeing this as a very popular trend these days probably due to our busy schedules. If “not” getting to the gym is preventing you from being successful in your goals, let’s change it up a bit. I would rather see you active and do as much as you can at home if you can’t make it to a gym. I am going to share with you some ideas/tips of things you can do at home, at the park with your kids, in your front yard, etc.

  • Body Weight Exercises: don’t discount the amazing effectiveness of body weight exercises! I will admit, I was pretty “old school” in my thinking of classic weight training is the only way to go, but my mind was changed years ago when I started adding in body weight exercises to change things up. These require VERY little-to-no equipment and can be very effective for getting you in shape and helping you reach some of your fitness goals. I was blown away at how sore I actually was after adding these in with my weight training. 
  • Plyometrics: incorporate plyometric training into your home workouts. Jump squats, box jumps, skaters, burpees, jumping jacks, star jumps, agility ladders drills (which can be also done with tape on the floor to mark out a ladder) see…….no excuses! 
  • Use what you have at home: I have learned to be pretty resourceful working out at home. I have a garage gym and I have created workouts using rolling plant stands, skateboards, pieces of cardboard, kids step stools, a chair, a jug of a gallon of water, my steep driveway, a huge steep hill outside the neighborhood, you name it. 
  • Invest in a few quality items: Some of my favorites, of course, are my two FitnessMats from WellnessMats. I use them for everything! They save my knees, feet, back, forearms and wrists while doing exercises. I would get a varying set of dumbbells or adjustable dumbbells (they take up a lot less space than an entire set of dumbbells), a resistance band, an agility ladder or tape as mentioned above, a stability ball, etc. 
  • Make a schedule and stick to it: Put it on your calendar, if it’s not scheduled, it will most likely not happen. The most important thing (and the most difficult) for us is Set realistic goals for each week and go for consistency.

Here are some videos giving you some ideas of things to try. Just get started, get creative and get moving! I wish you the best this year and many more! You can do this! I believe in you!

 Best of luck, Dani Tolbert

DaniGetUrGunz.com

 

Danielle “Dani GetURGunz” Tolbert is a FitnessMat Brand Ambassador and Certified Personal Trainer

 

 

2015 - That’s a Wrap! A Year of Giving Back to the Fitness Community!

With 2016 upon us, we are reflecting on the past year and the positive healthy changes we have made as a company throughout the year.  FitnessMats has made some exciting updates this year and has had great opportunities to give back to the fitness community!

Launch of MobileMat and MobileMat Bag

   

This spring kicked off the launch of our MobileMat and the MobileMat bag. Our first portable FitnessMat! This 5’ x 2’ x 5/8” folding mat design maintains all of the traditional attributes of the FitnessMat line but includes an integrated hinge seam and comfortable handles for ease of portability and convenience. The MobileMat bag is the perfect accessory and comes in 4 different colors. The MobileMat is taking the comfort and support you know and love-on the go!

Fit Pregnancy

FitnessMats also had another surprise this year when we learned our Brand Ambassador, Hilary Hall, was expecting! FitnessMats partnered with her to create our Fit Pregnancy video and blog series. The Fit Pregnancy Series includes weekly at-home workouts, recipes and tips for mamas-to-be. This series elaborates on why the FitnessMat is the perfect pairing for a healthy pregnancy.  You can follow Hilary’s Fit Pregnancy journey here: http://wellnessmatsfitness.com/blogs/fit-pregnancy

Celebrate National Yoga Month

In the fall, FitnessMats ran a yoga challenge for National Yoga Month. Our following was encouraged to participate in our “Pose A Day” to increase their flexibility and incorporate more yoga into their current fitness routines. Using the FitnessMats for yoga gave us the ultimate supportive surface to improve our poses!

Breast Cancer Month

Perhaps our biggest success of 2015 was creating an engaging and exciting social media campaign with benefits beyond our office! All October long, every mat that was sold on www.wellnessmatsfitness.com , a donation was made to various breast cancer charities!  It was met with great success and the FitnessMat community really stood behind it to give back to a great cause.

Holiday Health

The holidays are a time when people start really thinking about their habits and the changes they are going to make in the upcoming year.  The past several months we have been sharing tips and workouts for a healthy holiday season, keeping you on track by making small changes that add up to big results!

New Things to Come!

FitnessMats looks forward to an exciting 2016! We have so many great new ideas and concepts to ensure our commitment to living a healthy way of life. FitnessMats are the fitness enthusiast’s perfect match…enhancing your workout experience by making it comfortable, safe, and clean.

 

The Benefits of Adding Circuit Training into Your Daily Fitness Plan

Can Circuit Training Get You the Results You’ve Always Wanted?

One of my FAVORITE parts about being a personal trainer (both online and in-person) is helping clients design individual workout programs that WILL get them to their health and fitness goals. I have been a personal trainer for 14 years, and I know that circuit training can produce some incredible results! My DVD series, Keridon’s FAT Krusher, contains several circuit training workouts and this type of training is one of my favorite ways to stay in shape. I love how it sculpts your body in a unique way and works wonders for building endurance. Let me tell you a little more about circuit training. 

What is circuit training?

  • When you do a series of exercises back-to-back (with little rest, less than 30 seconds). Example: Exercise A, B, C, D, E. Then repeat A, B, C, D, E etc. (I recommend 3-4 sets).
  • Typically, circuits are full-body workouts.
  • Order matters - you need to be consistent about the order of your exercises, keeping circuits consistent, to achieve maximum and regulated results.

Circuit training is difficult to do in a gym because you often have to wait on machines. If you’re circuit training in the gym, it’s best to use the free-weights area. You can also grab the equipment you need and go into a separate area of the gym where you can workout without interruption. If you’re like me, you might prefer to do your circuits AT HOME! Home workouts can be just as effective as going to the gym. They are big time savers, money savers, AND you get to be comfortable in the convenience of your own home.

Is circuit training for you? Let’s find out!

Who benefits from circuit training?

  • Circuit training is better for endurance over strength.
  • Circuit training is great for toning and weight loss.
  • Circuit training is great for keeping your heart rate up - therefore, not a lot of cardio is needed. SO AWESOME!
  • If you’re trying to bulk up - you want a lot of rest between each set. Circuit training is not the best option for you.
  • A true circuit takes about 8-15 minutes. I recommend resting 60-90 seconds in between each circuit. Do you like quick workouts? I sure do.

Now that you know more about circuit training, are you ready to give it a try? I hoped I inspired you to incorporate more circuit training into your fitness plan. Be sure to follow me @keridonfitness across social media for more information on circuit training and other great ideas to get your sweat on in fun and effective ways.


-Keridon

 


Keridon is a FitnessMat Brand Ambassador, Certified Personal Trainer and Owner of Living Patterns.

Adding Yoga to Your 2016 Exercise Routine

4 Yoga Poses for the New Year

Let 2016 be the year in which yoga becomes a regular part of your workout routine. Research shows that there are many physiological and psychological benefits of a consistent yoga practice—from reduced stress and anxiety, to improved balance and flexibility. Using nothing more than a mat, here are a few poses you can begin practicing at home that will help to stretch commonly tight areas of the body, including the hips, shoulders and chest.

 

Extended Puppy Pose

Begin in hands and knees position, with wrists aligned below shoulders and knees below hips. Keeping hips stacked over knees walk hands forward toward front of mat, drawing chest and forehead toward floor. Maintain this extended position, breathing deeply for 3-5 breaths.

Dolphin Pose

From a hands and knees position, place elbows on floor just below shoulders, resting forearms and palms on mat. Inhale to tuck the toes under and exhale to lift the knees off the floor, drawing chest toward the thighs and tailbone toward ceiling. Knees can remain bent as much as needed to create comfort and accessibility in this pose. Maintain this position for 3-5 breaths.

Reverse Tabletop

Assume a seated position on mat with knees bent, feet flat on floor. Place hands directly behind the body with palms on mat and fingers pointed toward backside. Inhale to gently press into palms and feet, lifting glutes off floor and extending hips until they are in line with knees. Gently roll shoulder backs and draw shoulder blades together, lifting chest toward ceiling. Hold this position for 3-5 breaths.

Supine Figure-4

Lie on back with knees bent, feet flat on floor. Pick up right foot, crossing right ankle just above left knee, allowing right knee to open toward right side of mat. Lift left foot off floor keeping left knee bent and both sets of toes drawing toward shins. Thread right arm through space created between legs and reach left arm around left leg to interlace hands behind left thigh. Keeping head, neck and shoulders on floor, hold this position for 3-5 breaths before repeating on the other side.

Jessica Matthews is a FitnessMat Brand Ambassador, ACE certified representative, master yogi and Exercise Science and Health Professor.

3 Tips for Healthy Eating with Charles Fuller

 

Hop online and you’ll find a wide variety of excellent diet plans readily available.  However, you may get overwhelmed and even find contradicting information that just may end up adding some confusion.  So which dieting strategy is the best?  As a seasoned vet, I can say that there isn’t just ONE magical formula that will help you reach your goal, but a combination of consistent habits that will work.  In my case, I have found a strategy that is both effective and, most importantly, enjoyable for my family and myself.  No matter what your fitness goal is, you should adopt consistent habits in order to reach your fitness goal.  I’ll list just a few of mine that help keep me “photoshoot” ready 365 days a year!

 

Cook in Batches                                                                                                                                           

I cook in batches twice a week.  Typically on Sundays and again midweek.  This will make things much easier and help you stay consistent with your meal preparation throughout the week.  For example, I’ll either pan broil or grill a batch of chicken and store it in one of those big rectangular Tupperware containers.  I’ll also cook and store a batch of ground turkey/beef, rice, potatoes, and whatever else I plan on eating for the next few days.  Then, the night before I head out to the office, I’ll divide and pack my meals in smaller containers for the next day.  This technique has helped keep me structured and consistent with my meals.

Drink your water

I picked up this awesome habit about two decades ago.  Not only will you keep your body hydrated by drinking water, but it also aids in nutrient absorption and improves overall performance.  I work in an office environment, so the frequent trips to the water refill station and restroom help keep me active.  :-D  I recommend at least 6-8 12 ounce glasses a day and more if you’re exercising. 

 Find balance

Most people stray off a diet because they aren’t enjoying themselves.  I continue to eat clean and healthy foods because I enjoy it.  I constantly switch seasonings and even the way I cook and prepare food.  For example, I’ll dice up chicken breast and pan broil it one week but then the following week I’ll grill it outdoors.  To maintain a “photoshoot” shape throughout the year, I don’t lock myself in the house and eat meals all day.  I actually venture out and social eat with family and friends on occasion and believe me, there ARE healthy alternatives on the menu.  Find the foods that you really enjoy and mix them in your diet. 

I’ve only listed a few things that have and will continue to help me stay consistent.  Like I mentioned earlier, there are amazing diets readily available, but they won’t do you any good if you aren’t able to enjoy yourself and remain consistent.  Find a plan that helps you reach your goal, but at the same time, create a formula that you ENJOY. 

Good luck!

Charles “Skeletor” Fuller

Charles is a FitnessMat Brand Ambassador and Professional Natural Bodybuilder with over 16 years of training experience. Charles has earned his WNBF pro card and has taken home several other titles since he started competing. 

A Pose A Day - Celebrating National Yoga Month in September

In honor of National Yoga Month, FitnessMats launched our incredibly popular "A Pose A Day" campaign. Follow along as we celebrate all things Yoga! And next time, try it on your FitnessMat! 

Posted by Katie B on 30 September, 2015 Fitness Lifestyle, FitnessMats, FitnessMATters, Healthy Habits, Wellness, yoga | Read more →

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Latest posts

  • Prop Up Your Yoga Practice with FitnessMats

    Cost-effective props, such as blocks, can provide greater accessibility when exploring a wide array of yoga poses. In honor of National Yoga Month, here are four asana variations that pair perfectly with the FitnessMat to offer greater comfort and support... Read more →

  • Back-to-Basics: The Benefits of Aerobics Workouts

    When most people hear the words “aerobic exercise,” they automatically think back to the golden days of headbands, ladies in spandex and bright neon step-up boxes! It has definitely evolved over time. Aerobic exercise, also known as “cardio” exercise  that requires... Read more →

  • The Physical Benefits of Strength Training by Olivia Figueroa

    When most people hear the words “strength training” they immediately think of bodybuilding, powerlifting or strenuous workouts. To the average person or someone newly into fitness, strength training and using weights can be intimidating. A lot of people think that... Read more →