Let’s talk fitness, shall we?
It seems we’re all dying to know what the best type of workout is, and when to do it, and for how long. Magazines and blogs and YouTube videos like to tell us what works best, or at least what’s trending, but guess what? The truth is, there is no “best” type of exercise out there. Sorry. Was the title of this post misleading? Made ya click.
Seriously though, if you treat exercise as the enemy, or use it as a tool to punish yourself after eating one too many Twinkies, there’s no getting around the dread.
That being said, there are certainly benefits to various types of fitness. I could do a whole bunch of research to make the case for cardio, or tell you what yoga has done for me … but why don’t we let the experts take it from here? Friends, meet Trinity and Eileen. Ladies, meet our friends.
Trinity Connors is a personal trainer and Eileen Goddard is a yoga teacher. Both are based in NYC, and wonderful! We recently got a chance to catch up and talk fitness basics & benefits (aka they answered all my burning questions).
BShan: Okay, when it comes to exercise, where to start? What’s something everyone should think about?
Trinity: As with anything it’s important to add variety to a training plan. I’m a firm believer that if exercise is seen as a chore, it becomes a chore. If we embrace and enjoy our body’s abilities, and have FUN with movement, then it has that much more of an impact on our daily actions. We are BUILT to move.
Eileen: Most people start practicing yoga for one of the more obvious reasons: they want to touch their toes, lose weight, or maybe do a handstand. But the benefits of yoga go so much further than just stretching, sweating and gymnastics. After the first couple of weeks, most students start to notice other benefits as well. This is what I love about yoga, it’s holistic, not just about toning certain muscles or seeing specific results. A yoga practice is really what you make it. It can be an addition to a fitness program, a daily fitness and wellness program all by itself, or even the foundation of your lifestyle.
BShan: Yes, just as Trinity mentioned earlier, there are so many benefits and yet it’s often overlooked as part of a physical regimen. What are some lesser known reasons to practice, for CTK readers who may deem it for the hippies?
Eileen: A short list of physical benefits from regular yoga include building muscular strength and upping your metabolism, improving bone density, circulation, and balance, and increasing flexibility. All of these are cumulative: the more often you practice, and the more time and effort that you commit, the more depth of results you will see. Yoga also boosts your immune system and your mood, reduces stress, and can even lessen anxiety and depression, making it the perfect compliment to any mental health and wellness program.
BShan: Ohhh yeah, that I can vouch for. It’s amazing how lifting yoga can be for your mood. So say someone is ready to get into yoga. It can be intimidating! Where to begin?
Eileen: As a new student, it can be confusing to know where to start since there are so many studios and styles of yoga to choose from. I teach and practice vinyasa, which focuses on linking movement and breath, and I think that’s an excellent place for any new practitioner to begin. Going to group classes is great, although I recommend investing in a couple of private classes first, so you can build a strong, safe, and informed foundation. If private classes seem out of reach, most studios also offer beginner or basics classes, which are great options.
BShan: Yes! One of our fave NYC studios, Yoga Vida (which I know you teach at!) has an awesome basics class for beginners. How about a tip for our readers who are already practicing yoga or looking to mix it up?
Eileen: The other recommendation that I make to absolutely everyone is to start a daily meditation practice! Meditation can be a tougher sell than yoga, because asking someone to sit still and close their eyes doesn’t sound quite as sexy as Instagramming a handstand. Even I refused to meditate for years, until I finally started by committing to sit for just five minutes every day. That’s really all the time it takes to start feeling the mental and physical benefits, like improved immunity, sharper attention and memory, and reduced inflammation and pain. Most people don’t know this, but meditation is actually the foundation of yogic philosophy! So yoga and meditation are a natural, complimentary match for anyone, of any age or ability, who is interested in supporting and improving their physical and mental health.
BShan: Preach! We’ve got some tips for getting started with meditation here. I think we’ve made the case for yoga and meditation, yes? Thank you! How can our crowd get in touch with you?
1. Do what works for you. There are benefits for every type of workout, and just as Trinity said, any type of movement is better than none at all. When it becomes a chore, you’re less likely to get it done, so try not to let it get to that point. Most of all, exercise should be something you enjoy.
2. Mix it up. You’re going to get the maximum output with a variety of workouts. This also keeps it interesting and prevents a plateau.
Do you have a training or yoga question for Trinity or Eileen? Ask it below in the comments! They’d love to hear from you (and we’d love to hear their answers, ’cause they so smart)