Book Review: Master Your Core - What exactly is “the core” and how should we strengthen it? These questions often cross the minds of the millions of people worldwide pursuing a fitter body. In Master Your Core, these questions are answered by award-winning Doctor of Physical Therapy and board-certified orthopedic specialist, Dr. Zazulak of Yale New Haven Hospital and Yale University. Much more than being a book of prescribed exercises, like most popular material about core strength, Master Your Core provides comprehensive, yet concise information about the core. Through each chapter, Dr. Zazulak explains how the core affects our movement and body function from our heads to our toes, and how activities like breathing, jumping, and balancing influence core mastery. With three decades of experience as a clinical physical therapist specializing in the study of sports injuries and gender disparities, and as a former competitive athlete, Dr. Zazulak not only expresses her academic and athletic experience, but she also provides science-based data to guide readers to understand the mechanics of the core. Why We All Should Master Our Cores “[L]ack of core stability is directly linked to injury,” Dr. Zazulak, Master Your Core A flat stomach or a six-pack are often the motive for gym-goers to hit the mat and attempt to strengthen their cores. But as readers will learn in Master Your Core, that focus, apart from being a shallow and incomplete way of developing core strength, can lead to injury. This is because, as Dr. Zazulak explains, popular exercises to achieve a flat stomach or a six-pack, such as crunches, are aesthetically focused and inadequate for all-around core development. Further, this incomprehensive approach in these short-sighted programs can lead to injury, as they often neglect to address core stability and awareness. Dr. Zazulak supports this information by detailing clinical studies she has conducted, along with providing professional and personal anecdotes. Gender Differences A feature that makes this book about the core different than others is Dr. Zazulak’s research in differences between the female and male core. Unlike popular narratives about the core that simplify core development down to exercises to get visible abs, Dr. Zazulak goes deeper, and notes things women and men can do to ensure greater core development and injury prevention. Natural Movement “Developmentally, all movement starts at our core. Central inner-core muscle pre-activation creates a stable foundation for distal movement of the arms and legs,” Dr. Zazulak, Master Your Core Core development starts from birth and the mission to have a robust core for athletic performance starts then as well. Dr. Zazulak refers to this as “natural core development,” the way the human body has evolved to move, stabilize, and operate in various environments and under different pressures. However, she explains if you have missed out on healthy core awareness and development in your childhood, it is never too late to improve. Master Your Core provides a Core BASE Guide (detailed further) to help readers begin their journey of improving their core strength, stability, awareness, and ability. Modern Sports Science “You’ll learn more about how you can positively influence your genes with simple strategies and healthy lifestyle choices later in the book,” Dr. Zazulak, Master Your Core “Your genetics is not your destiny.” This new phrase, originated by George M. Church, is rooted in modern science, and Dr. Zazulak brings this modern science to readers. In addition to citations about genetic testing and injury differences between genders and across modern sports science, Dr. Zazulak writes that, despite our genetics, we all can work to make our core do more through her book’s holistic approach, involving mind, body, and spirit. The Pelvic Floor Another area of the core that is often neglected by popular training programs is the pelvic floor. Dr. Zazulak explains that the pelvic floor is composed of stabilizer muscles that reside deep in our core. The pelvic floor muscles provide sustained support and control of our spinal vertebrae while the body is at rest or in motion. Healthy function of these muscles becomes more important as we age, but also at any age, with regard to athletic function. Dr. Zazulak offers readers ways to assess and develop awareness of their pelvic floor function and strengthen it via her Core BASE Guide. Core BASE Guide If you have spent any time on a fitness goal, you have likely heard about “the core” and seen or been offered ways to strengthen it. Generally, this “strengthening” focuses on the anterior plane of the body and is centered on the frontal abs with movements that involve rounding the back and tightening the abdominals repetitively. But as Dr. Zazulak explains in Master Your Core, the core encases our midsection and lower back 360 degrees and is composed of thirty-five muscles. This encasing includes anterior muscles: abdominals; posterior muscles: the back and glutes; and the pelvis. Therefore, considering all the muscle groups that compose the core, strengthening it is not as simple as targeting just one area of it: our mirror muscles, the center abdominals. Master Your Core’s Core BASE Guide provides a library of progressive movements for readers to test and develop their core for true strength; meaning, not just developing force, but also balance, stability, and awareness. Rating – 5 Stars LLAFIT gives Master Your Core five stars. As a website with a focus on lifelong functional fitness and athletic ability, Master Your Core stands on its own as a complete guide to understanding and developing the strength, awareness, and function of the core. LLAFIT also appreciates the evidence-based science shared with readers. As a Yale Doctor of Physical Therapy and Researcher, a practicing clinical physical therapist, and an orthopedic specialist, Dr. Zazulak is at the forefront of the latest findings and advances in sports science. She delivers her expert knowledge through accessible language, relatable stories, and easy-to-understand citations from her research. Master Your Core is not only a guide for developing current athletic performance and function, but it is also a resource for those pursuing lifelong fitness and health – mind, body, and spirit. Get Your Copy of Master Your Core Get the Audiobook
Best Med Spas & Resorts in Texas - Below is a compilation of the best med spas and resorts in Texas, as rated by our website and TripAdvisor.com. As a woman who is suddenly pushing 40 (I swear it sneaked up on me!), I’ve learned that some body maintenance needs cannot be met by any amount of gym time. Collagen depletion and lower growth hormone levels that we all experience as we age, leave their mark on our faces and bodies. I’d be lying if I didn’t say I’m disappointed that I’ve been unable to escape dimpling on my legs after practicing muscle-building and lean body mass maintenance since before turning eighteen. Some effects of aging are just inescapable and our genetics play a big roll, which no amount of exercise can overcome. But, thankfully, we live in a time when we can still do something about cellulite formation, fine lines, and other signs of aging, if you choose to. Modern technology, the type found at med spas and high-end resorts, has given us procedures that can literally break apart and tighten dimples, erase fine lines, and create near-flawless skin. I had my first facial at 34 (I know, I’m late to the game). I was skeptical about what a topical treatment could really do. I’ve always been of the belief that you must change the body from within via sound nutrition, regular exercise, and stress management. But, after that initial treatment, I was proven to be very wrong. Some epidermal treatments can significantly improve skin quality. Following that initial facial, I’ve experimented with other skin treatments, and I can’t imagine not taking advantage of them. They are now part of my long-term body maintenance regime — which I call meeting my standards — a non-negotiable. But, since this website is about lifelong health and fitness that is affordable and sustainable, I must first mention that some face and body treatments are expensive and out of reach for those concerned about affordability, but some procedures can be undertaken in a pay-as-you go fashion while giving you the same results. One such procedure is Endymed, a laser technology that reduces fine lines and scars, which I tried last year and would recommend to anyone. San Antonio, TX – Med Spas – Recommended by LLAFIT Anyone who knows me personally, knows I go straight to the top for anything I want. I won’t go to a spa in a strip mall for any procedure when I can go to the office of a board-certified surgeon instead. Below are the top two spas I have personally received services at and would recommend to anyone for lunchtime/daytime treatments. Connie Hiers Plastic Surgery & Med Spa Get the personal treatment. When you book an appointment at Dr. Hiers office, your time slot is dedicated to you. I’ve never experienced delays in service or been met with a crowd of clients waiting for treatment. This is the primary reason I rate Dr. Hiers’ office above others on the LLAFIT list — that’s in addition to the results I’ve received from treatment. Services offered: Dermalinfusion Platinum Facial Purifying Facial/Deep Cleaning Facial Back Facial Dermaplaning Facial Chemical Peel Hydra Radiance Peel Micro Peel SecretRF Radiofrequency Microneedling Ultra Peel Skinpen Microneedling w/Sculptra Non-Invasive Blepharoplasty And more Dr. Ayala Dr. Ayala is one of San Antonio’s top-rated plastic surgeons. It was at his med spa in 2020, that I had my second facial, which was much more than a standard facial, it was Endymed laser treatment. One of Ayala’s spa technicians gave me an evaluation of my concerns: a scar from a homemade brow piercing, and she advised Endymed. That treatment did far more than I expected, and I swear my face looks better than it ever did when I was younger. It’s a little change that I can’t put my finger on, but one that changed it for the better in my opinion. After this treatment, I’ve scheduled future treatments on my yearly calendar. I just can’t do without. Services offered: CoolSculpting® Laser Hair Removal Chemical Peels Dermaplaning and Vibradermabrasion Laser Skin Resurfacing IPL Therapy Erbium Laser Resurfacing Vein Removal Skin Tightening ZWave® Thread Lift BOTOX® JUVÉDERM® JUVÉDERM VOLUMA XC® PRP Facial Rejuvenation Lip Injections And more Resort Spas Across Texas – Trip Advisor’s Top 21 Resort Spas #1 – Gaylord Texan Resort & Convention Center 5,091 reviews on Trip Advisor #1 Best Value of 21 Spa Resorts in Texas Visit hotel website #2 –Omni Barton Creek Resort & Spa 179 reviews on Trip Advisor #2 Best Value of 21 Spa Resorts in Texas Visit hotel website #3 – The Woodlands Resort 2,478 reviews on Trip Advisor #3 Best Value of 21 Spa Resorts in Texas Visit hotel website #4 –Great Wolf Lodge Grapevine 748 reviews on Trip Advisor #4 Best Value of 21 Spa Resorts in Texas Visit hotel website #5 – Margaritaville Lake Resort, Lake Conroe/ Houston 118 reviews on Trip Advisor #5 Best Value of 21 Spa Resorts in Texas Visit hotel website #6 – La Cantera Resort & Spa 5,705 reviews on Trip Advisor #6 Best Value of 21 Spa Resorts in Texas Visit hotel website #7 –Hotel Galvez & Spa 5,236 reviews on Trip Advisor #7 Best Value of 21 Spa Resorts in Texas Visit hotel website #8 – Hyatt Regency Lost Pines Resort & Spa 3,817 reviews on Trip Advisor #8 Best Value of 21 Spa Resorts in Texas Visit hotel website #9 – Tapatio Springs Hill Country Resort 789 reviews on Trip Advisor #9 Best Value of 21 Spa Resorts in Texas Visit hotel website #10 – Lajitas Golf Resort 993 reviews on Trip Advisor #10 Best Value of 21 Spa Resorts in Texas Visit hotel website See full list on TripAdvisor.com See the full list of top 20 Texas spa resorts on Expedia.com. Do you have a favorite med spa or spa resort? Drop the name in the comment section below.
Best Workout Songs of 2021 – Spotify vs Apple Music! - This website earns commissions for sharing valuable, relevant content with visitors when qualifying purchases are made from posted ads. We are now six months into 2021, and these are the top 100+ workout motivation songs of the year, according to Spotify and Apple Music. Which list do you like most? Spotify Below is the top 10 of Spotify’s list of 109 best workout motivation songs of 2021. #1: Goosebumps – HVME #2: The Business – Tiesto #3: BED – Joel Corry, RAYE, David… #4: Youngblood – STRANGE ROVER #5: Bring The Noise – ALRT #6: Your Love(9PM) – ATB, Topics, A78 #7: On the Run – Jules Brand, Namelle #8: Not Enough – Subshock & Evangelos #9: Friday (feat. Mufasa…) – Riton, Nightcrawlers, Mu… #10: I’m Sorry – Crusy, Harttins See the full list on Spotify. Apple Music Below is the top 10 of Apple Music’s list of 40 best workout motivation songs of 2021. This list offers two hours and seven minutes of gym pump. #1: Blinding Lights – The Weeknd #2: Rain On Me – Lady Gaga & Ariana Grande #3: Breaking Me – Topic & A7S #4: Before You Go (Edessa Remix) – Lewis Capaldi #5: Circles – Post Malone #6: Diamonds (Joel Corry Remix) – Sam Smith #7: Paradise (feat. Dermot Kennedy) – Meduza #8: Don’t Need Love – 220 KID & GRACEY #9: Boyfriend (Tiesto Remix) – Mabel #10: Get Out My Head – Shane Codd See the full list on Apple Music. Also check out Amazon Music’s many workout playlists.
Rethinking Nutrition & Exercise w/ Momentum, Strength & Wellness Holistic Lifestyle Coaching - In this interview, I speak with Elise and Dan of Momentum, Strength & Wellness, based out of Los Angeles, California. Elise and Dan have dedicated their lives to the study, exploration, practice, and application of all things wellness, doing so through continued physical, mental, and spiritual growth and well-being. Momentum, Strength & Wellness offers holistic lifestyle and nutrition coaching in-person, online, and on an app. Where to find Momentum, Strength & Wellness Website: https://www.momentumstrengthwellness.com/ Instagram: @momentumstrengthwellness Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCvwwmCMD129aTlcNjK4i5Hg Exercise Guide: https://guide.momentumstrengthwellness.com/build App: Apple – https://apps.apple.com/us/app/momentum-strength-wellness/id1492441129 Google – https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.momentumstrengthwellness.app&hl=en_US&gl=US Images featured in video by @kevin_olds
Weight Loss at Any Age – Interview with Coach Lyn Hepner - Football coach and history teacher Lyndon Hepner is an excellent example of how one can achieve a weight loss goal at any age. In 2016, before turning 60, Lyndon decided to lose excess body fat, change his eating habits, and, in turn, change his lifestyle. He succeeded. In this interview I talk to Lyndon about his decision to adopt a healthful lifestyle, how he did it, and how he stays on track. Lyndon is a football coach and history teacher in Oklahoma. You can follow him on Twitter @lynhepner and on Instagram @lynhepner. For more interviews and podcasts, visit our “Podcasts” page or check the homepage for the latest.
Interview w/ Brett Schill, Founder & CEO of Grit Loops - Brett Schill is the Founder and CEO of Grit Loops, the creator of Dumbbell Anchors, an innovative twist on exercise resistance bands that can be attached to dumbbells to unlock a variety of exercises and increase exercise intensity. Dumbbell Anchors Grit Loops’ Dumbbell Anchors securely attach resistance bands to dumbbells for use with various strength exercises for your upper and lower body. A pair of dumbbells coupled with dumbbell anchors, provide added tension to push-ups, squats, chest presses, and other core strength movements. Your only limit is your imagination. More on Grit Loops Grit Loops Website: https://gritloops.com/#group
Why You Need an Exercise Log - An exercise log has three primary functions: it should contain a pre-written daily workout or workout of the day (WOD, as CrossFitters say); it can be used to track training output per training session; and it’s a way to compare weekly and monthly training progress. Although a written exercise log (digital or physical) might seem too simple a tool to boost goal attainment on your fitness journey, there many uses for it that can lead to tangible results, regardless of your goal. For starters, exercise logs are a regular tool of professional coaches and personal trainers, who use them to plan and measure the progress of athletes or clients. If you lack the luxury of having a personal trainer or a coach, crafting and utilizing an exercise log can elevate you to an elite-level self-trained athlete. Below are six truths about exercise logs that support this claim. 1. Focus on your workout, not on what to do next Always write your daily workout in advance, not at the gym before you get started. This gives you time to thoughtfully create your WOD, review your previous workouts, and research routines for your goal or find some inspiration to add variety. The more your WOD aligns with your goals and is composed of exercises you enjoy doing, always wanted to try, or need to do, the more likely you’ll be motivated to do follow through. Plus, the work involved in crafting a routine can create a sense of duty to carry it out. 2. Make sense of the complexity of meeting training goals Tracking your training via an exercise log can be used to push you harder and prevent you from overtraining. As someone who once spent 8-hour days in the gym as a personal trainer, I can recall hearing gym members saying, “I think I’m going to train [this or that muscle group] today” or “I feel like doing [this or that workout] today.” If you truly want to reach a specific goal, you should never spontaneously decide what workout or exercise to do based on a random thought or feeling on a given day. This lack of planning will not only forestall progress, but increases the probability of overtraining or undertraining: neglecting to train some muscle groups or your whole body too infrequently. Many days at numerous gyms, I saw young women doing ab workouts day after day because they felt like training their abs again . . . and again . . . and again. They had no understanding that muscles require recovery days for development. Training favored muscle groups more often than other muscle groups can lead to muscle imbalances, which is an all-to-common pathway to injuries and a world of movement deficiencies as we age. In addition to ensuring you train your body fully, planning your workouts with an exercise log is based in science. Large muscle groups, like the glutes and quads, require more recovery days than smaller muscle groups, such as the triceps, biceps, and calves. I’ll summarize recommended recovery times for the abdominals and glutes as an example. Despite popular public-gym practice, the abdominals need time to recover and shouldn’t be trained every day. An every-other-day training routine with varying levels of intensity each training day is generally the most the abdominals require. In fact, in many cases, one can develop well-defined abs by training them for no more than 10 minutes per day, twice a week. Abs are made in the kitchen, not (solely) on the gym floor. And the all-beloved glutes, require more recovery time than the abs, as they are a large, complex muscle group. Two days per week of training the glutes should be the maximum, with one day per week being sufficient. If you train with no regard for adequate recovery periods, you can expect little to no gains, overtraining, undertraining, and/or injury. 3. Make progress If your goal is to get stronger or to build muscle, progressive overload should be at the core of your training. Whether you are a weightlifter or a calisthenic athlete, you can use an exercise log to track and review your strength progressions from previous workouts. Doing this will inform you of how much resistance or leverage to add for the next workout. For a weight lifter, logging the amount of weight they lift every session can prevent them from forgetting what weight they left off on when it’s time to return to a specific exercise – let’s be real, in many training regimes, there are too many exercises and weights/progression levels to recall by naked memory. An exercise log can do that job for you. 4. Prevent injury and regression An exercise log can prevent you from jumping up in weight too quickly, which can result in injury or a premature plateau caused by overtraining or overreaching (a state in which the body is stressed, caused by harsh training it is not prepared for). The visual accountability provided by the log can also keep you from the possible temptation of returning to a lower weight or lower progression level on days when you might not be as motivated. 5. Use for every type of exercise Apart from tracking strength or muscle gains, logging flexibility, meditation, and cardiovascular exercise can also be beneficial. With cardio, for example, you can track the amount of time you trained and the type of exercise you did. If your goal is endurance, you can compare your training durations per session and make adjustments as needed. If your goal is speed, durations can also be useful to log to compare progress from training session to training session. For general cardiovascular health, knowing the exercise(s) and what intensity you performed at for a prior workout can keep you from doing the same activity all the time, for the same duration, and at the same intensity. When this common scenario is repeated often, your body will have no reason to make an adaption; meaning you will not see any further progress. With a daily exercise log, you can make sure you add variety and adjust intensity for every workout. 6. Track your mood You can use an exercise log to jot down how you felt during a given workout. I find this useful because if I don’t feel well or if I lack energy one day, I’ll know for the next workout why my performance wasn’t in line with previous workouts. Of course, logging your mood during a workout is optional and might have little influence on the outcome of your goal(s). Still not convinced? Despite working out for nearly 20 years, I rarely train without an exercise log. Although I have no problem improvising, like mentioned earlier, there are too many poundages and progression levels in my overall training regime to recall by memory. My goals are ever-evolving; my body is never in a fixed state; and my daily workouts are rarely ever the same from week to week. I regularly change my individual exercises, set volume, set duration, or resistance level. My workouts without a pre-written WOD are often less productive than when I have them laid out in my exercise log. Based on my experience as a personal trainer and a trainee, attempting to reach a fitness goal without an exercise log can be chaotic and unsteady, leading to unremarkable results.
Do You Need a Gym for an Effective Workout? – A Fit Mom’s Experience - As a young, broke mom, I worked out at home for five years before ever joining a gym. I developed a six-pack for the first time a month after giving birth to my son, and a few months later, my legs were toned for the first time. I had my first taste of muscle growth and progress with exercise. I developed so much strength and solid conditioning that when I joined the military a year later, I was awarded Top Female Physical Readiness Trainee and Warhawk. I created my own exercise schedule, starting at just three days per week, then I gradually moved up to doing something every day. My trainer was Fit TV, and my primary TV instructor was Cathe Friedrich, whom I can credit with the strengths I gained that led to my military fitness awards. Given those results, it took quite a bit of convincing from reading books by several professional coaches to encourage me to join a gym (based on my then-goal: muscle growth). After training at home for five years, being a personal trainer at various gyms for eight years, and working out at gyms for a decade, I know reaching your desired physique and performance goals can be achieved without a full-blown gym. I know many skilled, impressive, and well-built athletes who train at home gyms, some even train outdoors in the grass or utilize bars, wood planks, and other equipment at local playgrounds. The question isn’t whether you can effectively exercise without a gym, it is what kind of setup is required for you to effectively reach your goals. To help you best visualize the role your goals play in where you work out, this article is organized by general goals, focusing on the optimum setup for maximum results, based on my experience as a personal trainer and broke single mom with 18 straight years of dedication to health and fitness. Fat loss Fat loss exercise requires little to no equipment. In fact, I’ll go with the latter: fat loss requires zero equipment. Unlike exercising on a machine that provides momentum, such as a treadmill or elliptical, when propelling your body on the ground or on a floor, you get no assistance from the momentum of a machine. 100% of the force that moves your body comes from you, amounting to more caloric burn. Wasting time driving to a gym (in which you’re sitting down) and spending money on a gym membership simply to lose fat is a flawed approach. Instead, find an empty 6’x6’ space in your home or hit the pavement or grass; train immediately, with no travel time or money lost. You’ll also gain the bonus of high-caloric burn from using your own body’s resistance and strength, not the momentum from machines. Utilize the floor and pick up, hit, throw, drag, push, and pull objects. If being at home doesn’t motivate you, the outdoors is ideal for fat loss. It provides an abundance of space for the type of multi-joint, metabolic exercises that will maximize fat loss. Muscle Gain/Tone A gym with varying weights is ideal for the progressive overload required to stimulate muscle growth. It is possible to gain muscle at home, even with limited equipment, but muscle growth potential can vary by body type and genetics, and limited options for progressive overload can exacerbate this. Assuming an appropriate diet with a caloric surplus has been implemented to aid in muscle growth, bodyweight exercise, for example, which is common with home workouts, can present limited opportunities for progressive overload for many people. This is because progressive overload in bodyweight training requires mastering the body in ways that aren’t as easily attainable as picking up a heavier weight. For example, advancing from a pike push-up on the floor to a freeform handstand push-up can require months and sometimes years of work. This is because the body must make many strength, balance, proprioception, stability, mobility, flexibility, and joint adjustments to enable someone to advance through each progression. That’s a lot of slow, mindful work that does not leave much room to focus on muscle gain, rather skill is emphasized. Beyond advanced bodyweight work, muscle growth and tone can still be achieved at home. The safest bet is equipping your home gym with gear such as bands, sandbags, and weights to ensure progressive overload can be executed regularly. Maintenance Save your money, train at home. When working to simply maintain your current body composition and fitness level, the primary benefit of the gym: loads of equipment, is most often unnecessary, unless maintaining your level of fitness involves access to a variety of equipment and weights. In which case, if you’d like to save money on a gym membership or enjoy the aforementioned perks of working out at home, perhaps consider investing in a home gym. The total cost can be cheaper than years of paying for a gym membership. Skills Home or the outdoors is sufficient for this goal. Of course, a gym can be used for varied equipment, but much of those pieces of equipment can be emulated outdoors or within your own home for skill work: bars, poles, walls, etc. Flexibility, Mobility, Functionality Save your money, train at home or outdoors. A gym is definitely not needed for optimal flexibility, mobility, or functionality. 500 years of ballet dancers acquiring extreme flexibility and mobility using little more than horizontal bars, walls, and floors confirms this. High flexibility and mobility translate to great physical functionality. Nuff said. The Verdict Currently, I’m rebuilding my home gym, spurred by COVID-19 lockdown orders. My goals are a mixture of functional strength, mobility, flexibility, gymnastics skills, and muscle retention/gain. I have a bare-minimum home gym setup. I purchased a yoga stand primarily for pull-up, muscle-up, and ring work that I have learned to use for leg exercises, and I’m creating new exercises as I go along. Because my goals involve muscle retention and building, I also plan to buy a few choice weights — that is, as soon as they’re available again owing to the COVID-19 exercise equipment shortage. Since March, when I returned to training 100% at home, I’ve finally been able to hold a handstand for longer than 10 seconds – and I’ve been working on handstands for three years! My splits have improved dramatically; my muscle-ups are finally getting somewhere; and my glutes are developing better than before, now that I can do publicly unacceptable glute exercises without shame. Although I love having access to the many heavy weights available at full-scale gyms, at home, I’m much more relaxed, at peace, and I have no judgers, onlookers, commentators, think-they-know-it-all-ers adding an air of negativity to my workout. Working out at home can be liberating, fun, and just as effective as training at a gym. When I work out at home, I can watch a movie and laugh out loud; I never forget my intra-workout drink (the kitchen is nearby); there are no haters, judgmental onlookers, or self-proclaimed know-it-alls critiquing me from a distance. Most of all, my focus is 100% on myself. So, no, a gym is not required to exercise effectively. People can work out anywhere. However, a lack of certain types of equipment can make it more difficult and inconvenient to reach some goals. Sure, many people advocate picking up random objects at home to use as weights, but that can be impractical and even dangerous because weights sold specifically for exercise are designed to be safe to grip and store away. If you’d like ideas on how to build your own home gym, read: “Best Home Gym Equipment for COVID-19 Self-Isolation.”
Best Home Gym Equipment for COVID-19 Lockdown & Beyond - Spurred into a fitness equipment shopping frenzy by COVID-19 self-isolation orders, I’ve narrowed down some of the best equipment to purchase for living room, garage, or bedroom fitness. I stopped training exclusively at home over 10 years ago, and I sold all my equipment back then. But now that all gyms have closed because of national stay-at-home orders, I’m forced to rebuild my home gym. Instead of getting a bunch of weights (because I was a bodybuilder the last time I had a home gym), I purchased a handful of choice fitness tools to support me as the functional athlete I am now. The primary equipment I ordered are Olympic rings and a foldable pull-up/muscle-up station I can do various bodyweight exercises on. Below are other affordable home gym options that won’t kill your living space by quantity or with bulk. For convenience, I’ve categorized each piece of equipment by exercise goal. Strength Pull-up Stand Do pull-ups, muscle-ups, hanging ab exercises; attach rings and do ring movements. This indoor exercise stand enables you to do more than the traditional exercise stations at local gyms, which often don’t permit free movement to do muscle-ups, kipping, or aerial movements. Olympic Rings Rings can help anyone build a strong, functional body with as little equipment as possible and are perfect if you have a tight budget or little room to setup a home gym. Bands for Full-body Exercise Resistance bands are often underrated for their strength-building capabilities and are often relegated to warm-up and rehab movements. But resistance bands can be used to build muscle and strength. Various resistance levels enable you to incorporate progressive overload in your training with no need for a complete weight rack. Booty Bands Stackable Weights With stackable weights, you can train your upper and lower body without consuming too much space in your home. The set pictured below is affordable and from the reputable brand Les Mills. Don Oliver BODYPUMPÂ® WEIGHT SET WITH BAR Entry level bar and weight system for strength and cardio training. [More]Price: $130.00Buy NowBody Weights Maximize calorie burn by incorporating resistance to multi-joint movements or cardio. See some affordable options below that won’t take up more than a corner of space in your home. Ankle Weights Weighted Vest Sand Bags Adjustable Sandbags with Filler Bags Stability A workout that incorporates stability and resistance builds strength and muscle, so you won’t have to worry about losing hard-earned muscle during however many COVID-19 stay-at-home orders we’re subjected to. Bosu Ball Stability Ball Balance Board Flexibility Yoga Block + Mat Combo Stretch Helper Fat loss Rebounder Jump rope Battle rope (garage fitness, backyard fitness) Because businesses deemed “unessential” by world governments are closing, I suggest getting your home exercise equipment orders in as soon as possible. I just put in my order, and (fingers crossed) I should get my equipment later this week. I have a feeling many of us will be trying new exercises and gaining new skills due to our need to get creative to stay fit. I know I will be pushing myself. I wish you all the best of fitness during this strange period in our history.
Bodyweight Training: Save Money, Prevent Injuries, and Stay Fit for Life - Bodyweight training is surging in popularity. This trend can be seen in the form of the calisthenics fitness movement and is the foundation of CrossFit training. If you follow any fitness tags on IG, Snapchat, or TikTok, you’ve surely seen posts of people performing gravity-defying yoga stands or difficult strength and technique movements, like planches or muscle-ups. But outside of the amazing strength and skill of athletes shared on social media, anyone can undertake bodyweight training, and there are three solid reasons to do so: it costs nothing, its beneficial for all age groups and levels of fitness, and it can make you stronger than the muscle-isolating, aesthetically geared workouts prevalent in commercial gyms. If you have a tight budget, are lifelong fitness-minded, or are simply just alive, these perks of bodyweight training are difficult for other fitness programs to beat. The Logic of Bodyweight Exercise Bodyweight training has always been the foundation of a sound exercise regimen to build basic strength and stability before loading the body with external resistance, like free weights. This strategy, taught in personal training courses and to kinesiology students, prevents short-term injuries and reduces the formation of muscle imbalances that can lead to future injuries. The incremental methodology and synergistic elements that play into a well-made bodyweight routine, firmly place bodyweight training under the umbrella of functional training. Functional and bodyweight training are two complementary methods that lay a solid foundation for injury-free muscle and strength gains. Functional strength is more than how much weight a specific muscle can bear: it involves balance, flexibility, and coordination through whole-body movements. You will often meet people with a fitness model physique who still can’t accomplish much in the realm of functional movements, such as performing pull-ups or a strict-form deep squat. This common phenomenon is evidence that isolation routines in the weight room can make many people look athletically impressive, but their appearance is no reflection of their actual athletic abilities. Focusing on developing “mirror muscles” instead of developing all muscle groups equally, has little long-term practicality and is most often a ticking time bomb for injuries. Even though most of us want the “gym fit” look, functional strength is what we all actually need. Functional training focuses on the way humans move in day-to-day life and in athletic pursuits. Core areas of concern are establishing proper posture and correct movement habits prior to taking on complex exercise routines. If poor movement and posture fail to be corrected, dangerous movement patterns can carry over to a new routine and invite injury immediately or down the line. This is where functional and bodyweight training partners with each other. To address poor movement issues, functional training relies on building up bodyweight mobility and strength to develop core athletic movement sequences. Prevent Injuries Do you have a hunch at the base of your neck? Is one of your shoulders higher than the other? Do you have a hard time sitting on the floor? If you cannot easily squat to pick something up off the floor, bend over to touch your toes, or balance on one leg, these weaknesses should be corrected before engaging in weight-bearing exercises to avoid injury. Functional training can alleviate many forms of chronic pain and restore a full range of motion to the body. When taking on functional exercise, you should learn to assess your movement capabilities to ensure proper form and execution and also track your progress. If you lack experience with this, seek help from a professional trainer who specializes in functional movement and/or corrective exercise. Your training plan should be individualized to address and resolve your body’s specific weaknesses. How to Start Bodyweight Training The Alexander Technique is an ideal starting point for functional training. It cultivates mindfulness around the ways humans use their bodies in daily activities. The changes are subtle and incorporated into everyday life, so it is hard for some people to see it as a fitness activity. However, as you learn to align yourself properly your body will begin to build the strength and balance you didn’t even realize you were lacking. Five functional exercises that everyone should use to build their foundation are the squat, push-up, pull-up, row, and plank. These exercises alone can realign and build the entire body by developing stability, skill, and strength. If you are new to bodyweight training, it may take some time to master these basics. To overcome this introductory phase, spend fifteen to twenty minutes a day practicing the above five recommended exercises until the movements become natural. After mastering baseline bodyweight exercises, free weights can be incorporated into functional training routines to increase intensity and progressively overload muscles to build mass and improve strength. Dumbbells, kettlebells, battle ropes, and medicine balls are equipment commonly used to enhance the functional skill and strength initially gained with bodyweight movements. Final Word Bodyweight training is affordable, can be done anywhere, and is recommended for all fitness levels. Whereas, the muscle isolation-based weight training popular in many gyms and for physique competitions, increases the likeliness of developing muscle imbalances and often does. This reality is why aesthetically geared training should never be a starting point for an exercise regime or the base of anyone’s training scheme. Fitness professionals understand the risks of following physique-based training and are taught to design routines that develop a solid foundation in bodyweight skill and strength to create well-rounded, functional. But that’s not all, bodyweight training can still provide the strength challenges to build a muscular, aesthetically pleasing physique. Further Reading: “Rise of the Body-Weight Workout”: https://magazine.nasm.org/american-fitness-magazine/issues/jan-feb-2015/body-weight-training “7 Amazing Things That Will Happen When You Do Plank Every Day”: https://www.lifehack.org/292578/7-things-that-will-happen-when-you-do-planking-exercise-every-day
How Many Days/Week Should You Work Out? - Your body is a reflection of your habits. For results, you must expose yourself to the right exercises for your goal at a frequency that tells your body it’s time to adapt. In other words, shake up what your body is used to and introduce it to a new norm that it must condition itself to. That conditioning can come in the form of fat loss, muscle gain, increased strength, or learned skills – depending on how you train. Given this reality, it’s important to understand how many days of training are required to meet your fitness and body goals. Certified personal trainers often tell clients they need to dedicate at least three days per week to training to garner any hope of results. But, in reality, trainers know that number should be at least four days per week. The three-day prescription is a compromise with clients, who on average have fallen so out of regular exercise that telling them to train for half of the week can sound overwhelming. However, as written above: Your body is a reflection of your habits, and training three days out of seven days per week is less than half the physical exposure the body needs to fully adapt to a regime. Below are general guidelines for how many days per week one should train for maximum results per each goal in the form of split routines. What’s a Split Routine? A split routine is the opposite of a full-body training regime. In a split routine (or split training schedule), specific muscle groups are trained on separate days, as opposed to all muscle groups trained during one exercise session. The Benefit of Split Routines: Optimum Recovery Growth happens in recovery. The danger of full-body routines is overtraining; or exercising muscle groups that have not recovered adequately from being exercised previously. As a rule, small muscle groups (arms, calves, abs) require approximately 2-3 days of recovery or rest for optimal muscle growth and repair, and large muscle groups (back, legs, glutes) require between 4-7 days recovery. Rest or recovery does not mean zero physical activity, but the intensity of physical activity should be decreased. As such, many professional training routines include “light” and “heavy” training days or “Pre-hab” days, in which muscles are still exercised but at a low intensity or with a focus on function or flexibility, for example. Recommended Training Days Per Goal Goal: Fat Loss & Muscle Growth/Tone The Minimum: 4 Days/Wk Optimum: 5+ Days/Wk Four days of exercise offers enough stimulation for the body to begin making adaptions. This is the case for most people. Such is why a four-day training minimum is recommended over a three-day minimum from most trainers. Five days or more of training will help you lose fat faster than three days of exercise. Seven days of training per week, however, is often unnecessary. The body requires rest to avoid overtraining, prevent injury, and for muscles to recover and grow. A sound fat loss weekly training schedule should include a blend of cardio and strength training. Cardio liberates fat and increases caloric burn during exercise; similarly, stress placed on muscle during strength training causes elevated caloric burn, except caloric burn from strength exercise lasts for days after training. The process of repairing and building muscle is a calorie burner in itself. Goal: Skill The Minimum: 4 Days/Wk Optimum: 5+ Days/Wk Skill training involves learning how to manipulate the body in space, using only your bodyweight or tools and structures, like rings, bars, kettlebells, etc. Common skills are handstands, muscle-ups, pistol squats, and flips. To master these skills, the body must make many adaptions: increased proprioception, muscular conditioning – and in some cases, corrective exercises may need to be done to address muscle imbalances before certain skill exercises can be embarked on. Further, a trainee might have to develop their patience and concentration, because unlike typical cardiovascular exercise or strength training, skill training frequently involves holding specific positions for long periods or repeating difficult exercises again and again. And then there’s the necessity of developing a tolerance for the dizziness that often comes with body inversion, tumbling, and manipulation that must be practiced. Frequency is Key To successfully acquire skills like handstands and others, like learning to walk for the first time, the body needs frequent exposure to the movements and progressions leading up to mastering a skill. This why training at least 4 days per week is recommended, and up to 7 days of training is not uncommon. The difference between training 4 days per week versus seven is the intensity of training embarked on for your skill goals. If your skill days consist of bodyweight only at low volume (a few sets and a few reps each set), training 7 days per week will not pose a great overtraining risk. However, having differentiated training intensities, switching up muscle groups, and throwing in a recovery day or two each week is still wise. Conversely, if you’re skill training involves a lot of ring work, weights, and plyometric movements, training at such an intensity 7 days per week is unwise. Muscles worked at high intensity need rest for growth so you can come back stronger. As written above, “growth comes with recovery.” This is again where light/heavy days come in. Many trainees who do strenuous skill training have, for example, two heavy days per week, two light days per week, and one-to-two active rest days, e.g., stretching and pre-hab (e.g., band exercises, mobility exercises, etc.). Goal: Maintenance The Minimum: 3-4 Days/Wk No optimum amount of training days per week is necessary for this goal; just train at least 3-4 days per week. Of course, training beyond four days per week Is fine in a maintenance period. So long as good nutrition is followed, three-to-four days per week of exercise works well for most people desiring to simply maintain a specific level of fitness and body composition. Sample Week of Training for Each Goal Above Note: Although each sample schedule of training is written for one week in the same month, that does not mean one should follow the entire calendar of training days. Each week is meant to be viewed as a window into just one type of training: fat loss, muscle gain/tone, skill, or maintenance – separately. It is not recommended that all forms of training be embarked upon exactly as pictured, as each week is formulated for a different goal. Last Word Not all goals, fitness levels, and body types are equal. Therefore, while 3-4 days of training per week might be sufficient for maintaining one fitness level, it might not be for another. For general good health and fitness, however, the above guidelines for the above-listed goals are effective for most trainees. Interesting Video from a Neuroscientist About How Exercise Improves the Brain, and How Often She Recommends Training Additional Reading: “How Often Should You Work Out,” Healthline.com: https://www.healthline.com/health/how-often-should-you-work-out#4 “How Many Times Should I Exercise Per Week?” Livestrong.com: https://www.livestrong.com/article/503173-how-many-times-should-i-exercise/c “This Is How Many Times Per Week You Need To Workout To See Results,” WomensHealth.com: https://www.womenshealth.com.au/how-many-times-per-week-should-you-workout
Baby Foot Exfoliating Foot Peel Review - As a busy, working single mom and college student, I can’t always make it to a spa, much less afford it. I’m all about in-home beauty treatments, and foot peels are a treatment I keep up with. I discovered the Baby Foot exfoliating foot peel via a video review on my PopSugar Roku channel. I watched the video, was stunned by the results, and I bought my first Baby Foot package. After the peel, my feet were as smooth as a baby’s, literally, for about three months. I became addicted to the softness of my feet, and now I do an in-home foot peel every three months. Watch PopSugar’s Review of The Baby Foot Exfoliating Foot Peel The Baby Foot peel is not the only product of its kind on the market. I personally prefer Lavinso’s foot exfoliation peel because, unlike the Baby Foot brand, each package comes with two pairs of exfoliating packets, which means I’m covered for six months. My only complaint against Lavinso’s product is that the plastic packets that hold the formula do not form around the ankle very well. So, I’m basically restricted to one spot on my sofa for the 60-minute processing of the product. Also, the peel formula did not reach the top of my feet, as the Baby Foot product does in the PopSugar review video. However, overall, I’m very pleased with Lavinso’s product, and I understand why it is an Amazon Choice item. I have yet to try Sephora’s foot peel and other brands. Scroll down for various, popular in-home foot peel products under $20. Baby Foot Lavinso Sephora AsaVea Bangbreak Shop More Foot Peels
Not Ready for a Public Gym? No Problem. - Believe it or not, you don’t have to join a gym to get in shape and stay that way. Before I joined a gym, I exercised in my living room every day for five years. I never wanted membership at a public gym. I can be myself at home and even goof around, which makes for a more enjoyable workout. I also tend to train harder in privacy (grunting and ugly faces of strain are allowed). At a gym, since it’s a public place, some people, like myself, find it uncomfortable, and time doesn’t necessarily make this go away. Thankfully, a public gym membership is optional for many goals. If you simply want to improve your health, get lean, get toned, have a swimmer’s build, etc… you can attain that at home. Best of all, home training is often the cheapest option, and if you’re a broke single parent, that might be a deciding factor in not joining a gym. Below are some excellent home workout video series, online video courses, and books that are effective and informative to guide your goals. The trainers and coaches below will work you out, while teaching you about the exercise, so you know what you’re doing and why. For General Fitness – $0 PopSugar Fitness – $0 Top trainers from elite fitness studios head the free — yes, free — exercise classes in the PopSugar fitness library. So long as you have internet, a computer or Roku, AppleTV, an Amazon Fire Stick, or any other video streaming service, you should be able to gain access to PopSugar and its free, on-demand fitness videos. Workout selections vary from the relative low intensity of a yoga routine, like the Get Long and Lean With CorePower Yoga workout, to the high-intensity of a Tabata-Style HIIT Workout. Many exercise styles are available for whatever your goal or mood is. If I’m feeling lazy or wiped out from a week of high-intensity strength workouts, I’ll finish the week with the Bring the Heat With This Country Dance Workout. Sport Fitness Advisor – “No hype. No bullshit. Just the facts.” – $0 Sport Fitness Advisor is a true example of utilizing knowledge as power. Led by accredited practictioners of sports science, the website offers visitors the information to become knowledgable, self-trained athletes. While their website is listed under “General Fitness” for this post, it actually offers knowledge and work plans across the sport’s spectrum, from strength training to flexibility to circuit training and more. In keeping with the idea of informing visitiors, Sport Fitness Advisor also offers information on nutrition and body composition. As BrokeSingleMomFitness.com advocates, taking the time to learn at least the basics of exercise and nutrition can fortify you against training routines and nutrition programs that are unsustainable or unhealthy. For Every Goal Bodybuilding.com All Access – $ Finally, Bodybuilding.com entered the home workout, on-demand exercise video market, and they offer training for many goals: powerlifting, calisthenics, fat loss, and, of course, bodybuilding. All the work is done for you, from mapping out your weekly workout schedule to exercise progressions. And, only the best, most reputable trainers are chosen to head each program. For a Body Built by Calisthenic Strength (Specialized Fitness) $-$$ Body Bible – $ By British Olympic Gymnast, Nile Wilson: Learn gymnastics at any age in your home. The main equipment you need is your body, so this course is cheap in that sense. Price options can also be affordable, ranging from $7-$20. The British pound is the currency the course is offered in. However, in the world of the internet, that’s hardly a barrier. Remember, Nile is an Olympian! Sample video Gymnastic Bodies (Gymfit) – $$ Getting fancy now. Learn gymnastics in your living room, at your pace, with this online course library created by elite gymnastics coach, Coach Sommers. This course is tailored like the gymnastics routines a first-time gymnast would follow at a local gymnastics studio. No corners are cut, no skill is skipped over, and no gains should be missed with this diligent course. The catch is, courses are between $99-$500. Sample video Overcoming Gravity – $ This book was written and compiled by coach and former gymnast, Steve Low. Like taking notes? Better yet, like having words you can reference to aid you on your bodyweight strength or gymnastics goals? Overcoming Gravity is an excellent choice — and a cheap one compared with the hundreds of dollars you can potentially spend on the Gymnastic Bodies and Body Bible online courses. This book is currently $45 on Amazon, and cheaper, used copies can be found. Complete Calisthenics – $ Here is another book that is a hell of a lot cheaper than purchasing one of the two above online gymnastics courses. I have not read it yet, but it is nearly 5-star rated. The current purchase price is $16 on Amazon, and can be bought cheaper used. For Flexibility & Tone – $$ Amazon Instant Video Yoga Options The videos below are free to you all year long if you’re an Amazon Prime member. Membership is currently $119/year. Sample video
Women’s Beginner Upper Body Strength Workout - Exercise Type: Strength/Resistance Level: Beginner Goal: Muscle development & endurance Baseline set & rep schemes for strength exercise: 8-10 reps – This rep range stimulates muscle growth if performed with a challenging weight. To maximize muscle stimulation, lift a weight or choose a resistance level that is challenging enough that you’re physically unable to perform more than 8-10 reps. 12-15 reps – This rep range builds muscle endurance. Lift a weight or choose a resistance level that enables you to perform at least 12reps. Any reps above 25 are often unnecessary but depend on your physique and performance goals. Reps to failure – Perform an exercise until your form suffers or until performing a rep feels physically impossible. Rest periods for strength: During resting periods between sets, shake out exercised muscles to flush built-up lactic acid. This will help you continue a workout with more-or-less fresh muscles. 60-second rest periods are recommended for each exercise detailed below. This is enough time to recover so you can push hard each set, but short enough to keep the muscles warm. For muscle growth and/or strength, a general recommendation is to have a between-set resting period of at least 60 seconds. This is because growth comes from maximal effort. If your muscles don’t recover every set, your performance can dwindle along with potential gains. The warm-up Total time: approx. 5 minutes 3-minute jog around the gym or on a treadmill set to a challenging incline or decline 1-2 minutes of dynamic stretches: 20 Forward and rear arm circles, followed by 20 seconds of shoulder dislocates with a band or lightweight bar Dips on parallel bars For absolute beginners: 3 sets of 4-6 reps For more experienced trainees: 3 sets to failure Many people do dips in a manner that isn’t “functional,” meaning their movement pattern is unnatural for the human body. When doing dips, always use parallel bars or two surfaces that enable your body to dip down directly between your arms. Using a chair or bench dips puts strain on your shoulders in an unnatural movement pattern that can lead to shoulder injury. See the images below. Dumbbell shoulder press For muscle growth: 3 sets of 8-10 reps For muscle endurance and tone: 3 sets of 12-15 reps Dumbbell rows For muscle growth: 3 sets of 8-10 reps For muscle endurance and tone: 3 sets of 12-15 reps Tricep overhead extensions Try using cables for this exercise. If you use dumbbells and bodyweight for the above exercises, using cables will give the body more diversity of resistance. The first exercise, dips, is a bodyweight movement that trains small and large muscle groups simultaneously. The use of dumbbells in the two exercises proceeding the dips places focus on large muscle groups. Doing tricep extensions with cables will again train large and small muscle groups together, but under constant resistance, AKA constant tension, which creates the added benefit of muscle endurance. For muscle growth: 3 sets of 8-10 reps For muscle endurance and tone: 3 sets of 12-15 reps You’re done! Now stretch the muscles you worked. Total stretch time: Approx. 5-10 minutes or longer to increase your flexibility.
3 Rules to Push-Up Mastery - A proper push-up (knees off the floor) is a basic upper body exercise. But for many, the movement is strenuous and difficult to learn. Women especially often struggle with how taxing the exercise can be. But, believe me, performing a correct, no-knees push-up has nothing to do with gender and everything to do with discipline and dedication. Follow the rules below for progressions from beginner to push-up master, and soon you’ll be doing advanced push-ups with ease. Rule 1: Get off your knees Doing push-ups on your knees creates an unnatural movement pattern that makes it difficult to transition to proper, off-the-knees push-ups. Get off your knees, tighten your abs, breathe out on the way down, and feel your arms working. Taking the proper position will create the stimuli necessary to strengthen your arms and master the movement. If you need a modification on your way to performing a push-up without your knees, a wall, a bar, or a bench are excellent choices. If using a wall, bar, or bench, be sure to lower the angle every week until you can do a push-up on the ground. Rule 2: Be dedicated I started working on push-ups when I was seventeen, and I tried to practice daily. My progress stagnated if I took a day or two off during this early-exposure period. I had more strain when I returned to the exercise. This occurs when exposure to an exercise is cut off soon after being introduced, and the body returns to what it’s most accustomed to: not doing the new exercise. To prevent regression when beginning push-ups, don’t do the exercise only when you have the energy to do it or for less than three times per week. If you do so, you may find yourself never mastering the movement. Practice daily, and try to commit to 20 or more push-up attempts per day, cumulatively, and you’ll be a push-up pro before long. Rule 3: Set a time limit to mastery Set a one or two-month limit to achieve proper push-ups. If you do several push-ups per day every day, you will no doubt have the exercise mastered in one month. If cannot practice push-ups a little every day, for whatever reason, expose your body to the exercise at least three times per week (20+ reps per day or per workout). At a three-day per week rate, you can master a proper push-up in two to three months. BONUS RULE: Set higher push-up goals Don’t stop at basic push-ups. Aim for mastery of
Transcript – Weight Loss at Any Age: Interview w/ Lyndon Hepner - Powered by RedCircle LLAFIT 0:00 Hi, listeners, I’m on the line with Lyndon Hepner, a 6A high school football coach in Oklahoma, a history teacher, and someone who represents that it’s never too late to reach a fitness goal and change your relationship with food and exercise. You can follow Lyndon on Instagram @lynhepner, l-y-n-h-e-p-n-e-r. So, Lyndon, was there a specific event that triggered your lifestyle change? Lyndon 0:30 It was more a culmination of just, like, okay, good daily things, you know, like, clothes that wouldn’t fit, you know, you know, and like, go to the doctor and they’d say, pre-diabetes, and [I] never failed, go to a restaurant and, you know, had to eat at a table because couldn’t fit in the booth; stuff like that. LLAFIT 0:51 Was there a year that you started, or have you worked out on and off throughout your life, and then you just kind of took off on a specific year, or? Lyndon 1:00 Well, I can’t really pinpoint to a year. I coach, and that takes up a lot of time, you know, you can’t work out and watch your workout. And when, you know, 5:30, 6 o’clock in the evening that I would come home because you know, I had my kids. And so, and I’m not I’m not blaming anybody or, or the situation, it’s just that I did not take the time for myself. And that’s when there’s kind of a steady, but slow descent, you know, the scale started going up, and the clothes started getting tighter, and then got replaced and stuff like that. So I can’t really point to a time. But 2016 is when I started going back to the gym, but it was, you know, what I was used to and what I was comfortable with. So it took a couple of years to finally, you know, admit that, okay, you don’t know everything, you’re gonna have to change. And so 2018 is kind of when I point to when it you know, it took off. Something that I know is corny, but I believe this: fear stands between you and your goals. And the fear of losing one I wanted in the moment was greater than what I wanted most. And so I’d face up to that and overcome that fear. And now I apply that all the time. Like, are you serious? Are you really going to do 1000 reps a day? Won’t that hurt? Or should you be afraid of that? No, just power through it. That’s kind of underlying or overriding attitude that I have to remind myself to do, but it tends to work. LLAFIT 2:28 And that was part of the spark? Or is that what keeps you going? Lyndon 2:31 I think that’s more keeping me going? You know, because I’m always looking for, you know, I mean, I’m on Instagram, and I’m seeing yours, and I’m seeing others, and I’m getting ideas, and I’m stealing stuff. Good coaches are the biggest thieves ever, you know, will act like is ours. So just a combination of, you know, years of this, and trying to put it together, find out what works and what doesn’t. LLAFIT 2:53 Yeah, because maintaining fitness isn’t about one specific goal. After a while there, there will be a series of things and sometimes you can’t just pinpoint one answer. Lyndon 3:05 Exactly. LLAFIT 3:06 Have you found that to be true. Lyndon 3:07 Exactly. I mean, it kind of changes, you know, and just when you think, you know, people, you know, my brother said, Well, what what, you know, what are you aiming for? What is your goal and go, you know, I’m never satisfied. And I don’t like to sound, you know, like anything wrong, but like you said it’s ever changing. And then once you reach a milestone or a point, well then now that’s in the rearview mirror. Let’s go for something else. LLAFIT 3:32 Exactly. And then your new starting point is better than your previous starting point. So you’re just building on top of what you’ve already accomplished. Lyndon 3:40 Exactly. LLAFIT 3:42 So you’re a history teacher and a football coach. So have you always done both together? Or what do you focus on more prominently of the two? Lyndon 3:53 Well, I was raised on a ranch in northwestern Oklahoma. And it wasn’t for me, my dad said boy, you ought to go to college. And I did, and, so, I left the far… left the ranch and I became a teacher; I wanted to coach and the only way you can coach to get into high school coaching is that you got to teach, right. And I just, I love that. I am hired to be a teacher. Okay. And extra duty pay is coaching. Now what takes up more? The coaching part, but I love the the l love, you know, history. And so I’ve done both to answer your question. I’ve done both except for one season that I spent in Austria coaching American football there. All the other years of in combination history teacher and coach. LLAFIT 4:38 Okay, so that’s interesting. So you coached in Austria, how did that come about? View this post on Instagram A post shared by Lyn Hepner (@lynhepner) Lyndon 4:45 Well, my son who had coached at southeastern Oklahoma State University as a grad assistant–we were at my daughter’s pa graduation like a meal before–she she’s a PA–and like the meal before we’re going to go to graduation, he just happened to mentioned that one of his former players wanted him to come to Germany and coach. And I said… they have football in Europe? And, so I get on a website and some Skype meetings and some emails and I’m going on to Vienna to coach American football in the spring of 2011. And, so that’s kind of how it happened once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I loved it. You know, I’d like to go back sometime. That’s kind of how it happened. LLAFIT 5:28 That’s, that’s really cool. So how in demand is American football coaching and how popular is American football in Austria? Lyndon 5:38 They have teams from Sweden to Italy. It’s–always, you know, this is not a slam or anything, but I always say, you know, football in Europe is treated kinda like soccer was in America about 20 years ago. Whereas, like, what is this… and maybe 30? You know, it depends on the area, you know, saying, but its popularity. You know, it’s it’s edged out by soccer. Most of our football games are actually played on soccer fields that had to be remarked for football. So the popularity isn’t just overwhelming. It has pockets, but great opportunity. And he was really fun. LLAFIT 6:15 Yeah, that sounds awesome. And so in our previous conversation prior to this interview, you mentioned being a 6A football coach, can you explain that to me? Sorry, I don’t follow football. Lyndon 6:27 That’s fine. Okay. There’s like 130 some high schools that play football in Oklahoma and forgive me if I don’t have that number, correct; I should know. But what they do is the biggest average daily membership schools, there’s you know, they take the top 32 largest, as far as population, schools and that’s 6A, and then they move down the next 32 or 5A and you see it just goes down like that. Now, some classes are bigger because you know, there’s just you know, they don’t have they can just put 30 on everyone. And it even goes down. There are two classes of eight-man football, you know, regular football is 11 man. And there are two classes of eight-man football. So 6A is the biggest schools, that play Oklahoma. Okay. I’ve been a Mustang High School the last couple of years. It’s an awesome school: awesome administrators, teacher, students. We got a great football program. Coach Blankenship is our head coach. So, I gotta throw in the Go Broncos! All right. LLAFIT 7:30 So were you a football player in your youth at all? Or what specifically led you to that? And does any of your training somewhat mirror football strength training or any aspects of that type of training? Lyndon 7:44 Well, I was like I said, I was raised on a ranch and I was riding horses, all my youth and then started watching football, like maybe 8, 10, 12 years old, and went out for football at Freedom High School in Freedom Oklahoma. And, so, played their eight man football. It was a small school, so we did everything played basketball, ran track, and then had an opportunity to go play football in D2 college, Cameron University in Lawton, Oklahoma, and then transferred to Northwestern Oklahoma State University and Alva and played college there. And so that was that’s kind of been my, my sports background as far as training, you know, strength training. It’s, it’s essential in football. Now, it wasn’t when I was growing up in high school and almost in college. But now strength training is paramount in, in football and every sport–I will say that–every sport, basketball, I don’t care, baseball, strength training, conditioning is something that you cannot do without… and, you know, be successful, in my opinion. LLAFIT 8:54 You develop power… Lyndon 8:57 Power, flexibility. explosiveness… LLAFIT 9:00 Yeah. Lyndon 9:01 Injury Prevention. I mean, just… LLAFIT 9:03 Yeah. Lyndon 9:04 The list goes on. And you overcome obstacles, you know, saying. You’re not going to lift as much as you want every day. And, so that failure provides feedback, and dedication, you know, dedication and perseverance. All of those things become important, you know, in the development of athlete. So do you work out alone? Or do you have a trading partner partners? Well, I kind of, I mean, most of the time, I’m alone at the gym. I mean, but I’m at a gym. And so, you know, I ran into a guy that we trained sometimes His name’s Kevin stamper. We train a lot together. But I have a training partner. That’s also my best friend, Susan, my wife of 41 years. Lately, we’ve been training together as much as possible. So that’s really cool. LLAFIT 9:55 Yeah, that’d be awesome. To have a more permanent training partner. Lyndon 10:01 Right? LLAFIT 10:01 Such as your spouse Lyndon 10:02 Right. LLAFIT 10:02 So do you both share the same training style or… Lyndon 10:06 You know, she started out–she had knee replacement surgery–she had gone to the gym with before, but then, you know, work and everything had kind of kept her out of it. So she was motivated to get that knee back in, you know, in a workable functional situation. And so she was going to the gym to do that. And then it wasn’t long before she started adding, like upper body stuff. And now she’s got a broke down to where she does pushing one day pulling one day muscles, and then legs one day along with our stretch. And sometimes I’m going are you guys not done? Are you not done yet? Can we go? So she’s, she’s, you know, once she decides to do something, stand back because it’s going to get done. LLAFIT 10:49 So, one thing and that too–with some people who aren’t familiar with exercising regularly–they don’t understand what the draw is. And so once you actually get started, then you start adding goals, and it kind of had has a way of growing on you. Lyndon 11:03 Exactly, exactly. It can be anything you know, and what I suggested this may be off track a little bit. But so you remember those goals, it’s not a thing where it’s vanity, but take a picture, you know, take a picture at your worst–because I...
True Health & Fitness over Aesthetics - There’s such an emphasis on looking good in today’s fitness industry. I won’t deny that I care about looking good, but during my 19 years of dedication to lifelong fitness, the desire to feel good has always been my most reliable motivator. For many of us, reaching an aesthetic ideal can be frustrating and might never happen. By year eight of my once-aesthetics-focused regime, I reached this conclusion with disappointment. I had to contend with things out of my control, like my torso being an inch or two too short; my body naturally storing fat below my butt rather than on my butt, which forced me to keep my body fat low to minimize my pear shape; then, there are my calf muscles, which are much too high. Oh, how I wish I had a longer medial head and gastrocnemius! Describing this sounds ridiculous reading back, but I once obsessed over those features of my body. Fortunately, the act of exercising and healthful eating grew on me during that eight-year period, and I decided to press on, but with new goals: skill development and functionality. I had to set realistic goals for my physical makeup. Some aesthetic goals are out of the realm of our genetics, some athletic goals are too. We don’t all have the makeup of an Olympic athlete, despite what supplement companies will tell you. Although I’ve been rewarded for athletic performance and obtained a fitness modeling contract, there are tiers of greatness. That’s life. After sobering up to this reality, I began to value my hard-earned abilities over my image in the mirror, my strengths over my muscle size, and a healthy heart over having the best legs. I also learned to appreciate my natural gifts. Instead of focusing on things I cannot have, I began embracing what I do have. Instead of focusing on an image that wasn’t attainable for me, I began pushing my limits where growth was possible, such as addressing athletic imbalances developed during my long dedication to aesthetic training. While some might believe I created an elite physique (pictured above), there was always another level, as stated above. I faced criticism over small areas of my body, such as my rear delts (critic: “They’re kinda flat.”), or the depth of the grooves in my abs (critic: “flex harder, blow your air out!”), or my natural pattern of storing body fat (critic: “I mean, your butt is developed, but it’s shaped weird.” – me: “It’s because how my body stores fat. Wanna pay for my fat transfer surgery!?”). None of these things about me were good enough for some people. Although my body was much stronger than it had ever been at the time, those people and others who focus on aesthetics, overlooked my hard-earned skill and ability—my journey—and focused on areas of my body that are just not quite perfect compared to other people’s. Imperfections are what make your body uniquely your body. Some people take injections to pump up these areas. I have not. Some people take steroids for that extra bit of muscle growth. I have not. My goal is lifelong fitness, not to have health issues down the line because I was obsessed with perfection and the appearance of fitness. All this is to point out a major fault in the current fitness industry, more correctly, the “health” and “fitness” industry. There’s a pervasive, lopsided focus on physical appearance over actual athletic ability and physiological health. On a shoot I participated in during my stint as a fitness model, a girl who literally cried in pain while doing basic push-ups got a long-term contract with the company hosting the shoot. Meanwhile, more physically conditioned women, but less of the Western ideal of attractiveness, were overlooked. This is common in an industry that focuses on aesthetics and marketability first and foremost. Not to single out Michael B. Jordan (see “Sources & Further Reading” below), but as someone who once surrounded herself around bodybuilders and focused on aesthetics, I know Kinesiologist Greg Doucette speaks the truth about the reality of the aesthetics “fitness” world. As someone with almost 20 years of dedication to lifelong fitness—reaching goals through self-study as a single mom and on welfare some of that time—I learned to value and respect people who go after goals no matter the obstacles; people who, while disappointed with their physical limits, still refrain from taking anabolic substances that would give them an extra edge; and people who are dedicated to true health and fitness. I encourage anyone reading this to prioritize actual health as well as physical mastery when seeking fitness or nutrition information. Look for programs that have the goal of longevity built in. Oftentimes, those are the cheapest options available. Lastly, question “the shiny objects”—those celebrities and fitness models you see on TV and on the internet. Do they, unlike you, have resources available to them that make attaining their physiques easier and more attainable? What is the incentive for them to reach that level of fitness, and does that incentive drive them to take unhealthy routes to get there? In the end, the cheaters and those just scraping by burn out or fade away. Those with a lifelong vision and the sense to learn how to achieve it, are the real winners. Sources & Further Reading “Black Panther and Creed Star - Michael B. Jordan - Amazing Transformation WAS HE NATURAL ?” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AmOxXPk-QSA "Hip Dips Surgery: Procedure, Side Effects, Costs - Healthline." 24 Feb. 2020, https://www.healthline.com/health/hip-dips-surgery. "Hollywood's dirty diet secrets - NY Daily News - New York ...." 23 Mar. 2008, https://www.nydailynews.com/life-style/hollywood-dirty-diet-secrets-article-1.286090. “Tom Hardy’s Steroid Cycle - Was He Natural In ‘Warrior’ Or As Bane?” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hyj1CgLG7PM
Transcript – Momentum, Strength and Wellness: Rethinking Nutrition & Exercise - Powered by RedCircle *MSW – Momentum, Strength and Wellness Watch/Listen to full interview. LLAFIT: “In this recording, I’m speaking to Elise and Dan of Momentum, Strength and Wellness, based out of Los Angeles, California, which offers holistic lifestyle and nutrition coaching in person online and on an app, so you can access their services from virtually anywhere. Elise and Dan have dedicated their lives to the study exploration practice and application of all things wellness doing so through continued physical mental and spiritual growth and well-being. So, first I’d like to thank you both for accepting my invite for this interview.” MSW: “Absolutely. We’re happy to be here. Thank you for inviting us.” LLAFIT: “Through looking at your Instagram and also your website: momentumstrengthwellness.com, your dedication to practical lifelong fitness – it’s an important message to spread, so that’s why I reached out and tried to contact you both. So, firstly, Elise, you’re a nutritionist. How long have you been helping people with their nutrition?” MSW – Elise: “Oh, gosh, probably about two years now, formally. When I got my certification, it had been something I had done for years because I had been so enthralled with food and just curiosity, and I wanted to gain as much knowledge and information for my own health and wellness. I started talking and just giving advice to friends and family, and then I just found it so so much is a passion of mine that I wanted to actually become certified so that I could help people because there’s just so much misinformation and almost an overload of information, you know, what do people believe what do people not believe; what’s right; what’s wrong. So, I hope that I’m, you know, a vehicle of information, where I can take the guessing and the questions out for a lot of people. So that’s how I got started with it.” LLAFIT: “And, uh, Dan . . . so, you’re a personal trainer and a Chek Certified Holistic Coach. Can you explain what a Chek Holistic Coach is?” MSW – Dan: “Yeah, so, I guess for listeners, if they’re not familiar with Paul Chek and his work, I think that it’s something everybody should be looking into. He’s been in the holistic living and, you know, exercise game for a very long time. He’s such a wealth of knowledge. But I, about a year ago, became certified as a level one holistic lifestyle coach through the Chek institute. Holistic lifestyle coaching is, you know, kind of what we’re all about. So, it’s obviously the exercise and the food, but it’s everything else tied in as well. So, you know, how you’re breathing, how you’re sleeping, how you’re thinking – every aspect of your lifestyle and how it can all – is all intertwined and related to everything else.” LLAFIT: “Okay, so you mentioned breathing, eating, exercising, and you do have a 7 Daily Habits link on your website. So, does that tie in with both the nutrition and training aspect?” MSW – Dan: “Absolutely, yeah. The 7 Daily Habits is something we came up with as basically just sort of an idea, like, a simple little checklist of things that if you can do these seven things every day that’s a good day you’re going to be healthy you’re going to feel good and it’s really simple things it’s you know getting eight hours of sleep going for a walk breathing eating real food yeah eating real food exercising spending time in nature spending time in nature and meditating I think we got them all there. It’s out of order, so . . .” LLAFIT: “When it’s your lifestyle, it’s kind of a part of you, and it’s kind of hard to break it all down. Is that . . .” MSW – Dan: “Yeah, definitely, absolutely.” MSW – Elise: “And, you know, seven does seem like a lot of things to do in a day, but the coaching that we do with our clients and people we work with . . . we implement them in stages. We do not throw people to the wolves; we set people up for success. So it’s. . . we don’t tell people to do these things immediately. We give them . . . guidance and instructions on how to incorporate, basically, one [habit] at a time until it’s seamless, where the seven is just, like you said, a part of your everyday life. So that’s really what we’re coaching people to do.” MSW – Dan: “That’s the idea of momentum. That’s why our name is what it is; momentum being one small step and then building off that to build another step and another step, and you’ll notice as it starts to become your lifestyle . . . those things, basically, they snowball, and it grows and grows gets really big really fast just doing little things.” LLAFIT: “I understand. So do you think your approach is different than what’s offered out there? I do like the small steps, and I think . . . I honestly think your approach is very thoughtful because it does seem like a lot of programs want you to adopt everything at once. So did you see that need to allow people to take baby steps?” MSW – Dan: “Yeah, I think, absolutely, because . . . . We think . . . keep saying lifestyle, but that’s what it is . . . there is no finish line when it comes to being healthy or just kind of well-being in general. It’s a lifelong thing, so it needs to be sustainable. And if you do everything at once, not only is it not sustainable, like, you’re going to burn out, but, also, you don’t know then what do you do next. So, we – if you can just break it down into one thing today and then do it again tomorrow, but add something and then . . . add something next week over time you’ll get really good at the things that you’ve been doing and then it’s easier to add something else like you’re saying before like once it’s part of your lifestyle you don’t really need to think about it yeah then then you can experiment a little bit you can try new things and see what works because you have that foundation in place. So, I think building that foundation is really important.” LLAFIT: “Can you tell me how you both teamed up and formed Momentum, Strength and Wellness?” View this post on Instagram A post shared by Momentum, Strength & Wellness (@momentumstrengthwellness) Origin of Momentum, Strength and Wellness MSW – Elise: “Absolutely. We’ve been . . . been together for many many years. I think we’re on like 16 or 17 years, and so, we’ve kind of grown up together and been through this process – this wellness journey together. And, you know, we were not . . . super-super unhealthy when we were younger, but we just didn’t understand, you know, . . . that everything is everything and, um, as we got older, you know, in our in our late 20s early 30s, as we began implementing small changes, we could see the impact that it was having on our lives – when we began eating correctly and began moving correctly and began paying a lot of attention to our mindfulness and our breath work . . . it was like just light bulbs went off. We want to share this with the world because we had been taught the complete opposite our entire lives. We had done things that, you know, the mainstream media was telling us, marketing companies were telling us, and it unfortunately was just so wrong. We want to be voices of reason and really inspire people to change in the most beneficial way for them to become the best version of themselves because we feel like we’re only getting better with age, and the narrative in society is, ‘oh, no, wait, once you hit a certain age, you’re gonna deteriorate. And just wait till you hit the other five-year mark, you know, you’re gonna deteriorate.’ But we’re almost like defying odds. I’ve never been in the shape I’ve been in, and I’m, you know, I just turned 34 last week . . . and to that point, you know, everyone said, ‘wait till you hit 30, it’s just gonna go downhill.’ But it’s not. I’m getting better, you know, so we feel like we’ve got a really great solution and want to help people and tell people, you know, age isn’t a life sentence. We can help you improve your quality of life very simply.” LLAFIT: “Do you find that a lot of people have negative feelings toward maintaining a health and fitness lifestyle as if you have to be really disciplined and that it in the long run, you’re gonna hit a brick wall and it’s inevitable that you’re gonna end up you know out of shape and . . .” MSW – Elise: “Totally, . . . yeah. Like, almost everybody gets nervous that they’re gonna hit that plateau right. yeah.” MSW – Dan: “Absolutely. The fitness industry in general is kind of is like I think built in a way that you know it’s the idea of convincing people that they aren’t good enough and that the solution is you know buy this thing or buy this this workout program this gym membership this diet and that system doesn’t work. It’s basically like teaching people to punish themselves until they’re healthy or until they look the way they want to look. And I don’t you know neither of us think that . . . . You can’t punish yourself or like hate yourself into being the best version of yourself. Being healthy, whether it whether you know aesthetics is important to you or your focus is more on health I think the industry is kind of set up in a way that it’s you know selling you selling you a product that you probably don’t need and then it works for a little while and then it doesn’t work and then you know we’ve kind of normalized failure and dis-ease and aging and sort of like what is expected.” LLAFIT: “Yeah, I’ve definitely seen a lot of that in the industry. So, have either of you fallen into any of those traps, either with exercise or with nutrition?” MSW: “Oh, yeah, yeah.” MSW – Elise: “We both I think went through phases of it, yeah. I definitely did firsthand. I mean, I jumped right on the Beachbody train when I was, gosh, this is maybe like 10 years ago, and I do need to commend them: they, they’re not a horrible company of course you know they do want to promote a healthy lifestyle for sure you know all of the programs that they offer either you know 30, 60, 90 days. And I did them I did several and again like had Dan mentioned they all have an end date so once that end date hit you know and I did you know the workouts they were wonderful I followed the nutrition kind of guidance that they had given in recipes but after that 90 days I was so lost I said to myself what do I do now and I would just repeat the program again and my body wouldn’t change if anything I probably gained a lot of the weight back because I had already done it my body was used to it I wasn’t challenging it more it wasn’t even giving it something new. So that’s kind of the plateau that everybody hits at some point. And you know we want to emphasize that it’s great to start off because I do think it’s a wonderful jumping off point, but I really don’t love end dates to things.” Nutrition View this...
Go Beast Review - At the start of the 2020 Covid-19 lockdown, I, like many other people, began scouring the internet for home exercise equipment. But, unlike some, who were seeking traditional weights, treadmills, and stability balls, I sought a different and very specific piece of equipment. Something multi-functional that would enable me to perform hanging, swinging, pulling, and pushing upper- and lower-body exercises. I needed a sturdy bar tall enough for my toes not to touch the floor while dead-hanging and low enough for me to flip over it and not hit the ceiling. I could, in theory, visit a kid’s park and find such a bar, but, in practice, that’s inconvenient and unlikely to occur regularly. If there’s one major takeaway I learned from 19 years of fitness: good exercise and nutrition habits should be made convenient to support consistency. Jumping the fence to get into any of the local kid’s parks in my area is not convenient. So, I searched. Fortunately, within one hour of playing with Google search terms, I saw my dream piece of equipment. Not only could I do pull-ups, gymnastic pullovers, dead-hangs, stretches, and attach Olympic rings for a variety of exercises, I could also do parallel bar movements from different heights – and on an incline or decline. The dream piece of equipment with all that versatility is called Go Beast. But – I soon learned I had to keep looking. Go Beast was sold out everywhere I looked. So, I bought a close runner-up to the Go Beast’s versatility: a yoga stand. It was another six months before I discovered the Go Beast was back in stock on Amazon and with other retailers. Before long, it was in my apartment. In this review, I will focus on the features of the Go Beast, but I will also compare its structure and versatility to a generic yoga stand (often also called a yoga swing), like the one I purchased before the Go Beast was back in stock. Note: The image below is of a yoga stand on Amazon.com. I purchased my yoga stand from Ebay (not recommended). Generic Yoga Stand vs Go Beast Small screen? Tap and scroll right. 👉🏽 Yoga Stand Go Beast Yoga Stand via Amazon.com[/caption] Prior to finally owning a Go Beast, I spent eight months working out with a yoga stand for much of my upper and lower body needs. While both pieces of equipment look almost drastically different, they both enable a similar variety of exercises and each have their own pros and cons. Full Go Beast Review Bar height options Go beast offers two primary bar heights and at least two additional height options for the entire structure, if you’re creative. Through these options, different strength and flexibility exercises can be performed. Additionally, TRX, Olympic rings, resistance bands, and other equipment can be attached to the structure to add a plethora of other movements. It has a solid Structure for non-swinging exercises, although it can be rickety. A solution is to place a sandbag or weights on the base of the structure to prevent tipping during dynamic movements. Sandbag and/weights aside, some dynamic movements, like a gymnastic pullover, can be done without the stand tipping or wobbling, provided the stand is set at a low height and the pull-over starts from an L-sit position off the floor. Pros Good rubber feet on all ends. Easy to put together and take apart. Doesn’t take up a large footprint, and the different height options of the bar make it usable in different-sized spaces. It can be used for cardio and warm-ups, believe it or not (e.g., fast feet, hurdling, toe taps at different heights, upper body plyometrics). Cons Not very sturdy where sections of the structure are secured together (by metal clips). These areas are the sources of wobbling. Not sturdy in terms of swinging. Recommend putting a sandbag or heavyweight on both sides of the base of the stand, as needed. Finger-smashing is a given – and might occur frequently if you breakdown and reassemble the Go Beast often (e.g., if you’re a traveling personal trainer and setup/break it down for clients frequently). From the moment I began assembling the Go Beast and every workout since, I have snapped or snagged a finger either due to the spring design of the metal clips that secure each pipe of the stand or by attempting to align the metal clip through the holes of the pipes. It’s just the nature of the beast (no pun intended), I’m painfully learning. If you are tall, the highest bar setting won’t be high enough. I’m 5’2″ and the highest bar setting is still causing me to bend my knees a bit during dead-hang movements. Leaving rings and other equipment attached to it can be impractical because it is so versatile, and it’s intended to be flipped and rearranged to enable different exercises. As such, unlike with a largely static yoga stand, with the Go Beast, you will be spending some time setting up attachments from time to time, if you’d like to include one or more in your workout. Generic Yoga Stand vs Go Beast Small screen? Tap and scroll right. 👉🏽 Yoga Stand Go Beast Final Verdict Although, the Go Beast is more flimsy than the yoga stand I purchased, I’m happier with it overall. While the yoga stand might meet some of my home fitness needs, the Go Beast meets more of them. But, this might not be the same conclusion for everyone, depending on their goals and exercise style. Additionally, both items of equipment also come with their own sets of pros and cons. As such, I give both the Go Beast and the yoga stand an 8 out of 10 rating. I settled on the Go Beast because I can do more exercises with it. I also appreciate Go Beast’s small footprint and ease of disassembly/assembly, as advertised. The yoga stand, on the other hand, was so large and time consuming to setup that I never broke it down until I decided to trade it in for the Go Beast. The “easy assembly and disassembly” advertised for the yoga stand was such an issue that I ultimately gave the yoga stand a dedicated area in my home where it permanently hogged space. The Go Beast, by contrast was truly easy to take down and store away. But, there is a big trade off: I miss the stability of the yoga stand and extra bar space to add attachments without having to remove them based on the day’s workout. I also cannot safely perform some exercises on the Go Beast (e.g., a shoulder stand with Olympic rings). To practice those skills, I have to take out the yoga stand (not likely) or save them for the gym; else I’ll lose those hard-eared abilities. Yet, whereas the difficult setup and take down of the yoga stand could not be overlooked, my primary complaint of the Go Beast, its flimsiness, can easily be resolved by placing a sandbag or weights at its base and by lowering its height, creating a lower center of gravity. It’s these equal tradeoffs with both pieces of equipment that directed me to tie the Go Beast and the yoga stand’s overall ratings. But the Go Beast is a uniquely designed piece of equipment; it has no direct comparison that I’ve found on the market so far. The creators have made a strong effort to meet overall bodyweight exercise needs, and it meets that need; thus, I highly recommend it.