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Friday, February 12, 2010

Boosting Metabolism with Muscle

Gaining muscle (fat free mass) is a highly promoted concept for improving your metabolism and efficiency for losing body fat. Understanding this concept and some of the myths are important when working towards adding an exercise routine that builds fat free mass. First off, all tissues in the body require a constant flow of energy contributing to resting metabolic rate. Resting metabolic rate (RMR) is the energy that body consumes when the body is physically inactive - all basic processes used to maintain bodily functions (not including digestion). The higher our daily RMR is, the more overall calories we more effectively consume without the aid of exercise - basically, when we increase RMR, this is a bonus consumption of calories when we are trying to manage body composition.

Muscle consumes approximately 6-10 calories a day per pound with daily RMR. In comparison, the brain consumes 109 calories pound, the heart and kidneys each consume 200 calories per pound. Since organs can not be increased in size, our best option for increasing caloric consumption with RMR is by increasing muscle mass.

One popular myth is that muscle burns 50-100 calories a day per pound. Studies have indicated that increases in muscle mass add increased calorie burning with numbers ranging from 20-90 calories per pound per day. But questions have risen asking if the increase in calorie expenditure was because of the extra muscle alone or if other factors were involved. Experts then concluded that 10 calories per pound per day is a more reasonable estimate versus the 50-100 calories per pound.

By gaining even a small amount of extra muscle mass like 5 pounds can increase your daily calorie consumption automatically by about 50 calories. By the experts figures, this works out to 1500 calories extra a month. To lose a pound of fat requires a net loss of 3500 calories, therefore, this extra 1500 calories via muscle gain can be a very helpful method to reaching the 3500 calorie goal for fat loss.

Morale of the story: if you are working to improve your ability to manage your body composition or to loss weight, it is important to add some exercise activities that will increase your muscle mass. Dieting alone often results in an undesirable decrease in muscle mass and with little fat mass loss - when you exit a diet, your caloric burning capacity is diminished and you will likely gain even more body fat.

Will Yoga add muscle? Yoga can add muscle for those who have been sedentary and beginning a fitness program. Yoga will help maintain fat-free mass for those who are already well conditioned with fitness. Progressive and muscle loading postures will engage large muscle groups and contribute to improving muscular strength, endurance and toning. Here are some ideal Yoga poses that work large muscle groups:
*Warrior Poses (Virabhadrasana)
*Chair Pose (Utkatasana)
*Plank Pose / Push up transitions (Chaturanga Dandasana)
*Upward Facing Dog (Urdhva Mukha Svanasana)
*Bridge Pose and Spinal Lift Pose (Setu Bandhasana)

Another key myth especially for women is the fear of looking bulky and masculine with increased muscle mass. An addition of 5-10 pounds of lean muscle mass distributed over the entire body would be quite insignificant in terms of showing as bulk and for woman, this would be more represented as a more ‘toned’ image. Consider that 5 pounds of fat has a much greater volume than 5 pounds of muscle. By replacing 10 pounds of fat with 10 pounds of muscle, you would effectively decrease your body size and enjoy a more toned physique.

Putting physical attributes aside, the gain in muscle mass will also be beneficial in generating more supportive tissue around joints thus balancing the increase in flexibility you gain from Yoga. Again, challenging another myth, increasing muscle will NOT decrease your range of motion and flexibility as long as you remain consistent in your Yoga practices and train without producing injuries or deep muscle soreness. Finally, increasing muscle mass likely involves generating weight bearing stress on the bones. This loading effect on the bones contributes to improved bone health and reduced development of osteoporosis.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Power of Positive Thinking

My Yoga Online has posted a new yoga article by Kreg Weiss titled, Energy of Positive Thinking: Empower Your Mental Wellness.

The concept of positive thinking and affirmations is a popular topic throughout the media and mainstream self-improvement channels. We will discuss how intentional modifications of thought processes actually help us to improve quality of living.

Thoughts can be viewed as a system of processing information and extracting neural data from our memory stores. For most people, very few thoughts actually coincide with the action that is occurring in the present. The mind is wandering and distracted by thoughts of the past or the future. These waves of irrelevant thoughts can be easily tainted with negative attributes fueled by the Ego: anger or resentment from past interactions, jealousy or envy from unfulfilled desires, worry or anxiety from future events.

By addressing these negative thought patterns and modifying the resulting manifestations, we can avert a cascade of negative energy on the body and mind.

Click Here to Read More

Friday, August 01, 2008

Preventive Yoga Therapy for Carpal Tunnel Health

My Yoga Online offers a new free Yoga video with Dr. Carla Cupido who demonstrates simple Yoga exercises that prevent the onset of carpal tunnel syndrome. These Yoga exercises can quickly be performed at work, at home, or as part of your Yoga practice.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Asana Anatomy-Understanding the Sacroiliac Joint

The sacro-iliac joint can produce chronic issues for yoga practitioners. Through awareness and mindfulness, we can practice into this joint retaining its' health and function. Dr Robin Armstrong provides insight into the structure of the sacro-iliac joint and applications in our yoga practice.

"Controversy does not often strike the yoga community. Non-harming, truthfulness, and loving kindness are not very controversial concepts. Yet the poor, barely mobile, sacroiliac joint has become the center of a yoga debate – to square or not to square the hips. Ok, so it is not as racy as a celebrity feud, but it may affect your personal yoga practice.

Let’s dissect this joint.

The two sacroiliac joints (SI joint) are formed by three bones: the triangular sacrum bone, and the two wing like bones of the pelvis known as the ilium. Each iliac bone (one half of the ilium) comes in contact with one side of the sacrum, forming two SI joints. This connection is like three puzzle pieces fitting together known as form closure. Form closure creates stability, keeping the pelvis together in one unit. The SI joint itself is shaped like a boomerang with two arms at 90 degrees to each other. The upper portion lies in an up-and-down orientation and the lower portion lies in a front-to-back orientation. The surface of the joint is covered in coarse cartilage, adding friction and contributing to the force closure. Continue to READ MORE

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Your Wrists Don't Need Pain in Yoga

Even with proper technique and holistic intentions, many yoga participants endure discomfort with wrist-loading yoga postures, especially when these yoga poses are repetitive and lack rest periods. When one’s wrists chronically experience pain during and/ or after a yoga class, one should consider a new approach to what yoga poses should be performed along with the type of overall yoga practice. Learn More on how to modify and protect the wrists in yoga postures.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Tips for Modifying Virabhadrasana 1 (Warrior1)

MyYogaOnline has a new article discussing tips and modifications for performing Virabhadrasana 1 or Warrior 1. Virabhadrasana 1 is a wonderful strengthening yoga pose that can be enjoyed in most hatha yoga practices when aligned mindfully. Yielding numerous benefits Warrior 1 pose strengthens the shoulders, arms, thighs, ankles and the muscles of the back; expands the chest, lungs and shoulders; stretches the hip flexors, abdomen, and ankles; develops stamina and endurance in thighs and core muscles; stimulates abdominal organs and digestion; improves balance, concentration, and core awareness. Click here to read more.


Friday, September 21, 2007

Yoga Nutrition – Health Benefits of Nuts

MyYogaOnline offers a new article on the health benefits of nuts. This article "Health Benefits of Nuts" lists the top 4 nuts to consume.

Nuts are excellent sources of protein, minerals, healthy mono-unsaturated fats and other nutrients as well they’re good for promoting a healthy cardiovascular system. Consuming nuts has shown to lower the risk of heart disease, lower “LDL” (bad) cholesterol, and aids in reducing body fat and managing body composition. Consuming a small quantity of nuts between or prior to meals helps reduce hunger and increases the feeling of satiety, thus reducing the incidence of over eating.