XPERT: Dr. Yogananth Andiappan

WHAT AGE DID YOU START YOUR YOGA JOURNEY AND WHY?
My Father started his yoga journey during the mid 20th Century in India.  During that time, yoga was taught by and taught to the elites only as well as those who belonged to the Braham's caste, which is the highest in the caste system and accounts for about 5% of the Indian population.  The access and benefits of yoga were therefore not available to the majority of the people.  One common myth during that time was yoga can only be practised by adults and those seeking spiritual enlightenment.

My Father started studying yoga himself and self-practised before he met Guruji (Teacher), who was willing share his knowledge with him.  He made his life’s mission was to bring the benefits of yoga to the common man.  As a yoga practitioner, he was keen to assess how the practice of yoga can be adapted for various age groups as well as different body conditions and mindsets. That was how my yoga journey began, at the age of two.

Many people actually thought it would be harmful for a two year old to start practising yoga. Some thought I would grow up with deformed limbs, become a midget or even die early. However, my Father and Guruji were able to tailor make yoga to a child’s physical and mental state and was a fascinating start to my yoga journey.

WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO PURSUE YOGA AS A FULL-TIME CAREER?
Growing up watching my Father and Mother adapt to the principles of yoga to help people heal years of pain and discomfort through simple yogic practices is what inspired me to pursue yoga as a passionate career so I can help enrich people’s lives.

Some people do not immediately think of yoga to obtain physical or mental well-being. However, once they experience its benefits, they will embark on a yoga journey which will last a lifetime. Yoga is definitely a practice which positively benefits on people’s quality of life.

CONGRATULATIONS ON JOINING THE GEN T TATLER LIST FOR 2019. HOW DO YOU FEEL AND HOW WILL YOU USE YOUR VOICE AND PRACTICE TO INSPIRE OTHERS?
I strongly believe the honour of joining the Gent T Tatler list is a collective effort of all the people who have supported me and continue to support my passion for yoga. The people who have played a key role are my Father and Guruji for sharing their in-depth knowledge of yoga with me since my youth. My late Mother who was a keen yoga practitioner, wife Anna who help to manage the business, as well as her active support of the NGO I founded called Andiappan Yoga Community.

Joining the Gent T list not only motivates me but many of my peers who came from India and teach yoga in different parts of the world. This also enhances the recognition of yoga amongst the wellness industry professionals. I will take this opportunity to actively collaborate with more groups to raise awareness on the benefits of yoga.

HOW DO YOU SEE YOGA IN HK AND ASIA AND HOW COULD YOU CONTRIBUTE TO HELP INCREASE THE INFLUENCE AND AWARENESS OF YOGA IN THESE CITIES?
Yoga is very dynamic in Hong Kong with styles fading over time such as yoga dance, yoga combat and partner yoga. New styles continue to be popular but only for a short while.

As people become regular yoga practitioners, they will begin to understand yoga is more than just an exercise, but more of a practice to control the body and the mind. People will appreciate the importance of the safety aspect of their yoga practice.

My approach to teaching yoga is a practical one. I would tailor make different yoga sequence to suit the needs and limitations of different people’s body and mind.

When I travel various cities across Asia to teach workshops at conferences, people are usually fascinated by my approach to teaching yoga. The common feedback is “I never thought yoga can be practised this way!”

I always tell the students attending my Teacher Training course about the common misconceptions of yoga, such as all asanas much be perfect to gain the full benefits. I would strongly recommend students to practise both yin and yang based approach to create body and mind balance.

In the future, I would like to help ensure yoga be taught as part of the syllabus in school, colleges and universities. With such technological advancement, my mission is to use these tools to introduce the practice of yoga to everyone in a simple and effective way. This will hopefully better equip the future generation face challenges such as reduced mobility with the increased use of computers, stress and increased depression.

CAN YOU TELL US MORE ABOUT THE ANDIAPPAN YOGA COMMUNITY AND WHAT YOUR AIM IS? (FEEL FREE TO SHARE ONE OF YOUR MOST MEMORABLE MOMENTS) 
Andiappan Yoga Community (AYC) is an inspiration for community outreach, similar to what my Father dedicated most of his life to achieve. I recall spending my school holidays traveling with my Father providing free yoga awareness programs in village schools when I was young.

Yoga in Hong Kong and in the West is viewed predominantly as a sport, a type of fitness regime and one which is currently trendy and cool as it is celebrity driven. Many people do not have access to yoga classes taught by qualified and experienced yoga teachers.

I founded the Andiappan Yoga Community in Hong Kong to reach out to different pocket of the community, especially those who cannot afford a yoga class, people with special needs and those who are the disadvantaged. Our aim is to continue to grow the community outreach to help as many people as possible.

There are two very recent memorable moments I would like to share. One is the Elderly program for Lok Sin Tong, where students as old as late 80’s come to the yoga therapy. This really motivates our volunteers and I to continue with this group. It proves it is never too late to start yoga as long as it is tailor made for them.

The second memorable event I would like to share is the pain management program at the Queen Elizabeth hospital. At the end of every program, we would ask patients for their feedbacks. One elderly student who had severe back and neck pain told us she was in so much pain and misery for years she was always crying in pain. She had acute limitations in her body where simple poses and breathing techniques are challenging and she actually thought she would never recover from this. As she was sharing this, she cried but said now these are happy tears of joy because her pain is gone. She said after the yoga practise, she can move freely without pain and said she wishes to have access to this practise regularly in future.

I also remember, my father used to teach yoga and meditation for inmates in jail at India. He recruits some of them train them as yoga teachers and provide a yoga teaching job at our franchisee yoga schools. This reminds me when people are given an opportunity to change their lives positively they do make a sincere effort. Hence, our aim is to continue to grow the Andiappan Yoga Community outreach to help as many people as possible.

WHAT'S NEXT FOR YOU - WHAT IS YOUR NEXT YOGA GOAL?
My next goal is to promote the therapeutic benefits of yoga among the medical and paramedical professionals. I believe Yoga Therapy is the future of yoga. Modern science can help shape collaborative studies and research on the benefits of yoga as a holistic treatment on health.

My Father was able to lobby for yoga to be a mandatory part of the medical syllabus in India. With increased awareness within the medical professional regarding yogic science, there will be increased acceptance that various health conditions can be improved with simple lifestyle changes, daily practise of some asanas, breathing and meditation. Just as physiotherapy and psychotherapy have been adopted as complimentary treatments in hospitals. Yoga is also an effective therapy for children with special needs as well as the elderly.

I have set up a yoga academy which runs yoga teacher training courses from beginners to advanced practitioners, a monthly yoga journey distributed across Asia and a successful yoga business, what is missing at the moment is a comprehensive portal which documents the evolution of yoga. It would be an online platform of yoga resource, similar to an encyclopaedia where different yoga traditions and lineages are included, all asanas (yoga poses) available today are documented. There are so many types of yoga today and most people have no idea about their history, why these styles exist or begin to understand which style is suitable for them.

HOW HAS YOGA CHANGED YOU MENTALLY, PHYSICALLY AND SPIRITUALLY? 
For me, the experience of yoga cannot be separated. The ability to adapt to different situations is where I see the influence of my yoga practise. If yoga only improves one’s physical flexibility but not their mental flexibility, then there is no balance.

I believe yoga is a state of mind and a form of lifestyle. My yoga practise gives me a sense of balance in my thoughts, actions and emotions. When one is aware of themselves and their surroundings, they will understand their role in this life and will enjoy their life with the balance of giving and receiving.

WHAT EXERCISES WOULD YOU SUGGEST FOR OUR RIDERS TO DO ON A DAILY BASIS TO ASSIST WITH THEIR RIDING? 
While yoga is beneficial for improving your performance in different sports, it offers much more.

For Riders, it is important to start with an analysis of the overall body alignment and see whether there are any physical conditions which need to be addressed. For Riders who wish to improve their energy and stamina, I recommend the deep diaphragm breathing to improve their cardio function with the practise of Agni Sara

In terms of stretching exercises, I would recommend hip flexors stretch such as the equestrian pose, supine diamond pose. For the hamstrings and calve muscle stretches, the mountain pose and half forward fold would help. Lastly, to improve the back and to prevent back conditions, the Tiger pose and the Supine leg extended twisting would help. Also remember to connect the movements with proper breathing.

WHAT TIPS WOULD YOU HAVE FOR PEOPLE WHO ARE EXPLORING YOGA?
I would recommend for anyone new to yoga to talk directly with an experienced yoga master, experience and knowledge being key and not anyone else such as a sales person. Let the teacher recommend yoga classes which are suitable to your body condition and lifestyle at the time.

For complete beginners, especially those with physical conditions, I would recommend taking a few private classes with an experienced teacher to learn the basics and the modifications which suit your condition.

Try not to judge a teacher’s expertise based on their physical skills in yoga poses or their social media followers. Best not to start your yoga journey watching online videos or from reading books. Last but not least, people who are inflexible need yoga more than those who are already flexible and not the other way around.

WHAT IS THE BEST ADVICE YOU CAN GIVE/ WHAT MOTTO DO YOU LIVE BY? 
To create a balance in life.  People call me Yogi. I would not want to be a Yogi living in an Ashram on my own, in a protected serene atmosphere meditating my way to enlightenment or death. Everyone has a responsibility and a role to play in this life. If one understands and are aware of their thoughts, actions, and emotions, one can always find peace and calmness anywhere and anytime. 

Posted Jul 5, 2019 1 Comment

LEARNING HOW TO FACE OBSTACLES


Fresh back from representing Hong Kong at the Spartan Team World Championships, Gigi takes us through her Obstacle checklist.

GAIN PERSPECTIVE
When faced with an obstacle, emotions often run high. Taking a step back from the chaos can help you see the obstacle from a greater perspective.

"For me, this was remembering why I started. I believe you always perform best when you enjoy something and that was why I started training for my first Spartan. So I knew I had to trust that my mind and my body would not fail me and just have fun and take it all in."

STAY FOCUSED AND COMMITTED
An obstacle is not intended to weaken your actions. It is an invitation to get clear on the process to advance to the next stage.

"There were a lot of fears going into the race. I’m not strong enough, not fast enough. But this fear for me was a good fear as it kept me focused on training me to be the strongest and fastest I could be. Twisting my ankle a week before the race threw me off course as I felt like I didn’t train enough. But I rested up and trusted my body to do its thing and recover, and it pulled through. It’s important to stay focused and committed but recognise that also can mean knowing when to take a step back. Rest is as important as training."

"My running playlist to warm up to and a motivational track from the Nike commercial “welcome to the grind” helps me stay focused pre-race. Then I find a sunny spot somewhere and I welcome the sun into my palms, blessing me for the day."

EVALUATE
Look at your obstacles objectively as though you are seeing it for the first time. Winners know they are going to face hurdles, obstacles, failures and disasters.

"Set on a ski slope, with a freezing swim at the summit, heavier weights and a starting altitude of 6200ft, rising to 8200 ft: I knew this was going to be the toughest race I had faced yet. Not just physically but mentally given the course structure and extreme climate conditions. Warm up started early with temperatures barely above 0 degrees but by the time the course finished it was 22 degrees. We got wet, dried off, only to get wet again. Many had to drop out due to hypothermia. Given the knowledge I had, I made my training program around this."

ASK FOR HELP
Reach out to those that can help you overcome your obstacle. A fresh pair of eyes or legs and arms, in this case, might be able to see or assist in what you may be missing.

"There were two races, solo and team. Dropping the ego was key for success in the team challenge. It was important for me to accept and acknowledge where my weak spots on the course would be and be ok for asking the team to support me. There are certain rules in the team race, honesty and communication are the key ones. We have to play off each other. It worked we finished top out of the female Asian teams and I am so proud of us.

Posted Oct 12, 2018 0 Comments

KNOW YOUR RIDE

Ros has been an instructor at XYZ for over 3 years but before that he was a highly competitive road cyclist competing in Hong Kong and South East Asia in seasons 2009-2012. We caught up with Ros to fill us in on exactly what’s working when we are working out.   

IN AN INDOOR CYCLING CLASS WHAT ARE THE MAIN MUSCLES GROUPS WE ARE WORKING?
In an XYZ class, it really is all about a full body workout as we have incorporated the arm section into the ride. Obviously cycling predominantly uses the legs but to maintain a strong riding posture, the abdominal section plays a big part. It’s kind of like an anchor for your ride. It’s what helps you keep the upper body relaxed but stable. 

SO WE HEAR INSTRUCTORS TALK ABOUT THE PEDAL STROKE. WHAT ACTUALLY IS THAT AND WHAT’S HAPPENING? 
The pedal stroke is the 360 circle you make with your feet when riding. Starting at the top of the pedal stroke is 12 o’clock when the foot is at its highest. This is actually a dead spot in the pedal stroke. 

As you push down from 12 o’clock to 5 o’clock this is the most powerful part of the pedal stroke and has the greatest muscle activity. Think about driving down more through the heel than the the toe. Toes should not be pointing down. 

Then as you reach the bottom you want to feel like you’re scrapping mud of the bottom of your shoe before you pull up through the back stroke. The pulling up action is important as pushing down. 

Even though you create more power in the downward stroke you want to try and keep your circle as smooth as you can. Not over forcing one part of it.

SO WHAT ARE THE LEG MUSCLES USED IN CYCLING?
To keep it simple think of your quads doing most of action in the downward stroke then your glutes  and calves take over around 6pm, then your hamstring sweeps the pedal back to 9pm and your hip flexors help lift the pedal back to the top to start all over again.

DO YOU STILL DO MUCH OUTDOOR CYCLING?
I still try to get out on the road at least once/twice a week if my schedule and weather allows. For me it is the best feeling to hit the road and ride along the coast on a beautiful sunny day, worry about literally nothing. complete relax for the mind and soul. 

Posted May 25, 2018 0 Comments

AWAKEN THE WARRIOR IN YOU

Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice saying “I will try again tomorrow”.

 

You don’t have to be brash, bold and big to be a warrior, it’s about your mindset, not how loud you can roar. Recognising that warriors don’t just show up on the battle field but that they are present in all aspects of their life.

 

1 CULTIVATE THE RIGHT MINDSET
 

See obstacles as opportunities. Seek out challenges knowing that they could represent the greatest experiences in your life.


Gigi: “Last year I participated in the open challenge but I knew this year I needed to hold myself to a higher standard and expect more from myself as a competitor.”

 

2 HONOUR YOUR BODY

 

Pay respect to your body, as how can your mind reach its full potential if you are not letting it sit inside a respected body. Foods are the raw material for our bodies so be conscious about what you put into it.

 

Gigi: “2 hours before the race, I fuelled up on a healthy chicken and avocado sandwich, banana and coffee”.

 

3 EMBRACE FEAR

 

Your greatest accomplishments are always right on the other side of fear. Use fear as an energy source to drive you forward, not keep you down.

 

Gigi: “I thought my biggest fear would be to fail the monkey bars as this is what I stumbled on last year; but I realised it was my mindset, not my ability, that held me back. I thought because I am small I couldn’t conquer them. I proved myself wrong”.

 

4 ACT LIKE A WARRIOR

 

Rise to the occasion, act with focus and give it your all. But don’t be afraid to steer course when your heart tells you it's time. Chasing a new path is not about failing but about knowing when it is time to let go and seek a new one.

 

Gigi: “I knew that the sandbags in the hercules hoist were heavier than my actual body weight. So I knew going into the race I needed to increase my muscle mass and build up my back and upper body strength. Then master the technique. I knew this would take all my strength and I was ready for it!”

Posted Nov 11, 2017 0 Comments

CYCLING CORE

ONE MINUTE A DAY

Just one minute a day can make a difference with one of the most simple yet effective abdominal exercises. The Plank. It works the whole core, not just your abdominals but from the pelvic girdle to the shoulder girdle. Teaching your body to act as a unit and work together.

 

There are many different versions of the plank: we are going to focus on the forearm plank. Start by placing your forearms about shoulder width apart on a mat keeping your elbows under your shoulders. Have your legs straight out behind you, keeping your legs together and your forefeet on the floor. Now raise your body up by keeping your body in a straight line.
 

Be careful not to collapse in the back, so keep the feeling of squeezing the belly button into the spine. Start by aiming for 6 times 10 second holds, then 3 times 20 second holds  and work your way up to a one full minute hold. Just make sure you do a minute a day, whether that’s in 6 segments, 3, 2 or 1.

 

TAKE THE FEELING WITH YOU

That feeling you had in the plank, replicate it in class. You want to feel lifted in the core. Your body should be supported through your core, not in the handlebars. So work on keeping your hips back over the saddle, keeping your upper body less stove than the lower body. Try and remove that bounce out of your ride, and use that energy for your core.

Posted Nov 3, 2017 0 Comments

THE SWEAT FACTOR

What is sweat? - There are two types of sweat glands - the eccrine and the apocrine. The apocrine ones normally start working when we are in stressful situations or fearful about something. When our body temperature rises, it’s our eccrine glands that start to secrete sweat, and the evaporation of moisture from our skin helps us cool down.

Why do I sweat more? This is down to multiple factors such as gender, age, genetics, weight, humidity and temperature. Did your know younger people sweat more than older people, men tend to sweat more than woman and larger people tend to sweat more because their bodies generate more heat.

So does it mean I’m unfit? Have you seen our instructors at the end of a class? Surprisingly, fit people tend to sweat more. Research shows that as your fitness level improves, your body’s heat-regulating system kicks in sooner, cooling you down faster and allowing you to work harder, which means more sweat!! However don’t get dis-heartened if you’re not that sweaty, some people just don’t sweat much in general.

BEST SWEATS FOR SWEATING
Clothing made of fabrics such as polyester or Lycra can help you feel less sweaty. They wick sweat away from your skin to the outer layers of the cloth, which is where the moisture evaporates. You want to avoid Cotton as it does the opposite; it actually absorbs the moisture but doesn’t let it evaporate. Leaving you feeling drenched and icky.

SWEAT TAKEAWAY
Don’t base your sweat level on how well you’re working out as perspiration rate is personal and highly affected by many factors. Fitness level, heat, humidity, weight and even age and gender. Whatever our sweat level, just make sure you are replenishing it by drinking your H20 to replace the water you lose in your sweat.

Posted Oct 14, 2017 0 Comments

IT’S NOT JUST ABOUT THE NUMBERS – IT’S THE WAY YOU FEEL.


 

Meet Catherine, a rider at XYZ since January this year.

“I was proposed to last November by my boyfriend, now fiancé, and I knew I had to make a change.” Catherine loves to wine and dine after work and on weekends, but exercise was never part of her routine. However, she knew she had to be in better shape for her wedding. After months of convincing, her fiancé finally persuaded Catherine to try a spin class and she hasn’t looked back since.

Once a week spin turned to three times a week, starting her day off with a 7am class before rushing off to work. It became a habit. “Waking up was the hardest part”, she recalls. “Setting my alarm for 5.30am and dragging myself out of bed was tough”. However, results showed quickly and in 5 months time when due for her pre-wedding shoot, Catherine had dropped an astonishing 18 pounds! It wasn’t just the numbers on the scale, but also the impact it had on her mind.

I felt lighter, happier, more energised.

Catherine had read that spinning  releases endorphins that trigger a sense of satisfaction and reduces stress but didn't really believe it until she felt it! Something we all need given our surroundings of being in what can feel like a concrete jungle.

Her support crew included the encouragement from her friends who commented on the change in both her physical and mental form. However, it is her fiancé whom Catherine considers and thanks as her biggest cheerleader. “He kept bugging me to try a spin class since him and his friends are addicted to it too. So I said that if I tried and didn’t like it, then I’m done!” Thankfully that was not the case.

One thing Catherine didn’t have to compromise was her diet. She still eats and drinks at her favourite restaurants and bars, but her lifestyle has now changed to incorporate fitness. She doesn’t need to give up food – instead, she believes in exercising so it gives her room and the luxury to reward herself with a meal after!

Catherine insists that it’s all in your mindset. There’s a goal and you find ways to make it happen, even if it gets a little rocky along the way.

She lives by “the future depends on what you do today” and we couldn’t agree more. So what are you waiting for! 

Posted Sep 15, 2017 2 Comments

STRETCH SERIES

First of a series of specially designed stretches from Motion Dynamics

Before getting started, it is important to understand 6 key movement procedures:

1. Each Motion DynamicsTM Foundational Flexibility protocol starts with unilateral (one side) movements and then proceeds to bilateral (both sides) movements.

2. Each Motion DynamicsTM Foundational Flexibility movement should be repeated between 8 and 10 times. 

3. All Motion DynamicsTM Foundational Flexibility movements are held past maximum end-of-range for no longer than 2 seconds sometimes referred to as “the 2 second Stretch.” This will help to retrain the restrictions and resistance in the joints and soft tissue surrounding those joint structures.

4. Always return the limb back to the start, or 'zero tension' position, after each movement is performed to relax the target tissues, increase blood shunting and speed up the lymphatic return. We call this concept “Squeeze and Refill.”

5. Be gentle, be specific and be gradual in all of these movements so as not to elicit the protective in-built myotatic stretch reflex during the Motion DynamicsTM Foundational Flexibility training protocol. When the stretch reflex is engaged you will experience a mild to extreme force/counterforce push/pull jerk reaction from the neural system.

6. Always breathe-in prior to the flexibility movement and breathe-out as you perform the stretch. This ensures maximal oxygenation of the contractile tissues and full dilation of the circulatory systems.

Whether it be from sitting at your desk for hours, carrying your backpack, taking calls by squeezing your phone between your shoulder and ear or from riding, whatever the reason, we carry a lot tension in our neck, shoulders and upper back.  To help with this, try a Forward Shoulder Elevation (shoulder flexion) on and off the bike:  

Seated on the bike, have both arms down by the side with the thumbs pointing forward. And fingers outstretched.  

One arm reaches up as high as possible keeping the arm close to the ear. At the same time the opposite arm reaches backwards to full hyperextension. This acts as a counterbalance for your upper body preventing hyperextension of the spine.  When reaching upwards allow the rib cage to expand and extend to facilitate full thoracic spinal extension. 

Also try the forward shoulder elevation as above with thumb pointing downwards, which is like doing a backstroke in the pool. Repeat on the opposite side.

Variation: Double arm shoulder forward elevation will stretch the latissimus dorsi and shoulder girdle. Bringing both arms up at the same time with thumbs pointing upwards. Reach up and look up. This will help you to stretch the upper abdominal muscles (Rectus Abdominus) which when tight tend to flex the spine forwards creating a mild kyphotic curve in the mid back.

The muscles stretched are you triceps, posterior deltoid, and anterior serratus.  Those contracted are your anterior deltoid and biceps brachii.  Try it!

 

Posted Jul 14, 2017 0 Comments

ANGIE’S MASK MENU

A class in XYZ allows us the space to walk out of it feeling energised, but we can continue this energising journey by giving our skin some extra love. Spinning is  a high intensity cardio exercise, which if done right makes us sweat a lot. Thus we loose a lot of moisture from our skin. That is why my post spin recommendation is a warm shower after the class to help soothe the muscles and also open up the pores. Opening the pores enhances my next step, which for me is putting a face mask on. I always like a super soothing, hydrating mask at this moment, because what we want to do is to replenish any moisture lost and soften the skin. 

Recently I have been using the FRESH BLACK TEA INSTANT PERFECTING MASK. It is the perfect choice that is easy and light and you only need to have it on for 5-10 mins so something very doable after the class. To take it to another level, I would recommend to double up the mask and use the FRESH VITAMIN NECTAR mask right after! This mask is one of my favourites as it smells so fresh like orange marmalade (just the smell itself will continue energising you!). This mask instantly brightens your skin and lifts your post spin glow. Using these two masks together creates a much better and effective result! 

Work out?
Energised?
Moisture ?
Glowing ?

This is a routine that I follow 2-3 times a week to keep my skin feeling and looking energised and fresh.

Stop by the studio next week to get your workout in and pick up your Fresh Mask Ritual kit.

See you at the studio,

ANGIE

Posted Jul 8, 2017 0 Comments

Tagged: Angie's Blog

GROW STRONGER WITH XYZ

HERE ARE A FEW TIPS FOR YOU TO THINK ABOUT WHEN RIDING:


 

  • The handlebars are there for balance, not support. The support should come from your core. So keep your shoulders down, elbows in, hips back and a light hold on the handlebars.
  • Knees should be kept behind the resistance knob. This will ensure that you don’t put too much pressure on your knees and also makes sure that your glutes are engaged.
  • Knees should be kept in. The moment your knees start to move outwards, you create too much torque (a force that causes rotation) at the knee. Think about your knee creating an up and down motion, using your adductors (inner thigh muscles) to stay aligned. It will help protect your knees and also get you on the right path to the double time out of the saddle.
  • If you feel like you are losing your form, take a seat and slow down. We often lose our form when our bodies start to tire, so listen to your body and don’t let your ego get in the way of your riding form. There is nothing wrong with taking a seat and being a badass in the saddle.

Our instructors love being asked questions, so feel free to check in with them before or after the class with any questions. If you feel like you want to take it back to basics, sign up for the How To XYZ ride at CWB. It’s $350 for the class and you get a complimentary ride added to your account to ride a class of your choice and try out your new skills. No matter how many rides you’ve done, it’s always good to have a refresher.

Posted Mar 24, 2017 1 Comment

NO PAIN, NO GAIN?

So you’ve just tried spinning for the first time or upped your resistance to intensify your ride; you’re feeling great and then you wake up the next day, barely able to move. This is what we know as DOMS, delayed onset muscle soreness, but should you wear that soreness with pride?

As the name suggests this muscle soreness becomes evident six to eight hours following the activity, peaking around 24 to 48 hours post training, then diminishing after 72 hours. It’s normally most pronounced when you introduce a new training stimulus, like a new activity or increased intensity in your ride. Your body makes adaptations to better prepare your muscles to do it again. That’s why the 1st ride is always so tough, but from then on you can build from there and as your muscles adapt, the soreness starts to lessen.

So here are some myths vs facts on your body and muscle soreness

1 - DOMS is caused by the build up of lactic acid in your muscles - FALSE
During exercise, your body needs energy and it breaks down molecules to get that. As a result of this metabolic process, your cells naturally become more acidic which can give you that burning sensation in your muscles. But this isn’t caused by lactate. Lactate is actually a by product of the metabolic process and serves as a buffer and slows down the rate at which the cells become acidic.

2 - It’s not a good workout unless you’re sore the next day - FALSE
Many fitness buffs wear their DOMS as a badge of honour and believe if we’re not sore, we’re not doing enough. It’s normal to feel some soreness 24 hours to three days after but if after three days you try to do the same exercise and you cannot because you go immediately to muscle failure, it’s a sign you’ve done too much. DOMS isn’t the best gauge of how effective your workout was or who’s in better shape.

3 - The more fit you are, the less susceptible you are to DOMS - TRUE/FALSE
As you’re body adapts to new workouts, it’s true you will start to feel less sore. Your body learns to distribute the workload across your muscle fibres more effectively. However there is also a genetic component to how sensitive we are to pain and soreness. If you’re a high responder you will experience DOMS more acutely than someone who is a low responder. There is nothing you can do about your genes.

4 - Muscle damage is a bad thing - TRUE/FALSE
DOMS is caused by trauma to your muscle fibres, but it’s not a definitive measure of muscle damage. Some muscle trauma is needed to stimulate protein production and muscle growth; when muscles repair themselves they get stronger so that the muscle soreness doesn’t happen again.

5 - Pre and post workout stretching is a good way to prevent and treat DOMS - FALSE
Stretching has been proven not to reduce the development of DOMS but don’t lose faith! The best way to avoid soreness is to advance slowly into a new class or increase of intensity. Give your muscles time to adapt and recover. But remember, even though stretching may not prevent DOMS it is critical to maintain mobility/flexibility and prevent tightness from regular training. 

Posted Sep 2, 2016 0 Comments

The Exercise Tips You Should Stick To

Taking care of your body is part of the journey to being happy and successful. It has been proven that exercise eases stress, anxiety and depression. It can even decrease memory loss, improve self-esteem and prevent heart disease, so there really is no reason not to make it a priority.

5 tips that anyone can follow:

1 - SET GOALS
Fitness training leads you to be more efficient and productive. We all know it’s difficult to balance a full-time job with the rest of your life but finding time for exercise might actually help you conquer the rest of your to do list. So set your goals and make sure it’s a goal that is challenging to keep you motivated.

2 - STEP IT UP
We understand that time is tight and precious. This is why at XYZ we aim to give you an intense workout in under an hour, so you need to come in ready to get focused, sweat and make your heart race.

3 - PREVENT INJURIES
Knowledge is power when it comes to this. With any physical activity there is always the risk of injury and 90 percent of injuries come from overuse or improper form. It’s good to know what the common injuries are for the exercise you do and then use strength training and correct form to prevent them. If you are unsure, just ask one of our instructors to help you out.

4 - TOO MUCH INFORMATION
Fitness trackers can be effective to keep you motivated to hit your goals but don’t let a tracker change your mindset. If you’re feeling awesome after a workout that is a good sign. Any sort of exercise, sweat, or getting your heart rate up is a positive thing, and don’t let your tracker tell you different.

5 - BE YOU
If you want to move more and keep on moving more, it’s important you find something you actually enjoy doing. Just because everyone is doing one new type of exercise doesn't mean you have to be doing it. Try things but if you don’t like them, don’t force yourself to do it. Tap into what drives you and motivates you. 

Thank you for making XYZ part of you being you.

Posted Jul 9, 2016 0 Comments

PUNCTUALITY

We know that sometimes things happen that are out of your control and lateness is unavoidable but don’t let that become a habit. We don’t just ask you to arrive on time so we can keep the studio running on schedule but also out of respect to the other riders. Here’s why it’s important to us and your fellow riders to arrive on time:

  • If you are bringing a first time rider to the studio, first of all thank you, but secondly to get the most out of their first ride we need to ensure that they have the correct bike set up. Arriving at least 15 minutes before the class starts, allows us to do this.
  • Once the lights are low and the wheels are spinning it can be a little hazardous to walk in between the bikes. This is why we only allow riders into “the cave” (that's the spin room), up to 4 minutes after class start time. Also any empty bikes at the beginning of class will be offered to the riders in the room, so late arrivals will be asked to take the bikes at the back of the room, to avoid any safety issues.
  • The instructor’s aim is to create the right atmosphere for you to get the most out of the ride, having the door open and close multiple times into the ride can be very disruptive.

Read more to find some tips on how to be where you should be, when you should be.

Posted Jun 29, 2016 0 Comments

GOOD WORKOUT

Go hard or go home. Train Insane or remain the same. Those are a few of the Instagram quotes that we read everyday, so does that mean that every workout has to be crazy tough?

Here are five science backed ways to know you’re putting in the right kind of effort.

1 YOUR HEART RATE SAYS SO.
A good workout, by most definitions, involves a heart rate of 75% the maximal heart rate, sustained for 20 minutes (or longer). 

2 YOU FEEL STRONGER IMMEDIATELY.
Maxing out and collapsing on the floor isn’t the goal of a good work out. The hard work and the toughness of a workout should translate to you feeling stronger and better - not beaten down. You’re at a point where you could max out, but you’re not quite there yet. You have to be honest with yourself, if you want to get the most out of your workout. Think of your workout on a scale of 1 - 10, a great workout means you should be hitting around level 8 or 9 of what your max is.

3 YOU RECOVER FROM INTENSE INTERVALS QUICKLY.
How quickly your heart rate recovers during the low intensity periods of your workout is pretty telling of how effective your training is. A healthy heart will recover at a quicker rate than one that is not healthy or not accustomed to regular exercise. If your heart rate drops down in one minute or less during rest periods, you’re on the right track.

4 YOU FELT CHALLENGED IN NEW WAYS.
Your goal is to work out at a level that feels challenging - it should be a struggle to stay on beat for those last 30 seconds. If you’re unsure try the talk test. If you’re working at a challenging level then it should be difficult to get a sentence out, if you’re gasping for air and can’t utter a word, pull back a little on the intensity. Remember no talking in class!

5 YOU BECOME MORE FOCUSED.
Experts agree that sweat sessions should give you a mental boost, not just a physical one. A sign of a good workout is when you walk out feeling better than you did walking in; that means feeling happier thanks to the endorphins and feeling more confident, focused and with a greater sense of clarity. The best part about all of this is the effect is immediate. Talk about instant gratification.

Posted Jun 4, 2016 0 Comments

Calling all exercise buddies

Research suggests that exercise buddies can provide a powerful combination of support, accountability, motivation and fun that can help keep you going just when you feel like you’ve had enough - a buddy can motivate you to do one more set, run 5 minutes longer or last through an entire XYZ sprint….!
 
Benefits of finding a workout buddy:
An exercise buddy can give you the courage to try out a new workout – there is safety in numbers after all.

- When you sweat together, you can drink and/ or eat together afterwards…guilt free!

- Challenging yourself to workout harder can be tough; but when you're working out with your friends, it's easier to take on one general fitness challenge as a group and tailor it to your personal fitness level and goals

- An exercise buddy can help hold you accountable for achieving your goals and staying on track

- You have a built in photographer to take those after workout photos for you to post on social media (hashtag #youarexyz!)

When thinking about a workout buddy, there are a few things that you need to look out for:
- Choose a buddy with a similar commitment to fitness, both in terms of time and also interests

- Choose a buddy who you have an emotional connection with. Your buddy doesn’t have to be your best friend, but they do have to be someone you care enough about to feel a sense of responsibility and commitment towards.  After all, you don’t want to let down the people you care about do you? 

When you’ve found your exercise buddy, why not bring them along for a Buddy Ride (your buddy rides on us!) at XYZ?  Simply book your bike online first and then call the front desk on 2865 0999 to reserve your buddies bike.

Posted Feb 14, 2016 0 Comments

Love or Loveless

First of all we love you as you come and ride our classes but here’s what really makes us want you front row and center…

  1. Be on time. This not only shows respect for the instructor but also for your fellow riders. Sure it’s better that someone shows up a little late than not at all (lets not mention the “no shows’!) but out of courtesy don’t make it a habit.
  2. Help a first timer out. Remember your first time, remember the feeling of not knowing what to do and or what to expect; we don’t mean you should correct their form but if someone looks lost or doesn’t know where the weights are point them in the right direction. Helping a first timer sets a great tone of camaraderie for the class and immediately makes them feel welcome in the XYZ community.
  3. Grit. To make your instructor fall head over heels for you, show you are giving 110%. We don’t care those about those involuntary grunts or faces of pain that to us looks beautiful and those noises are sweet music to our ears.

Now for the bad news, whilst we still love you for coming along and riding our class, there are some sure fire ways to make us fall a little  (just a little!) out of love with you…

  1. Using your phone in class. Put that phone to good use…use it after class! That means selfies or even better, group sweat pictures letting us know how hard you worked make us swell with pride -  but keep it to after class. Phones in class make us think you would rather be elsewhere and if you’re on your phone you may as well be. It’s 50 minutes guys!
  2. Front row and taking it easy. We know sometimes you just don’t have the energy to go 110% that's cool, but book a bike at back. We love that you came but if you’re on the front get ready to work -  you’re responsible for leading the rows behind. Be the leader we know you are.
  3. Yesterdays gym clothes. Ok we are going to get funky and sweaty together but lets make that a progression like our workout, not arrive smelling like we have just killed it in a spin class. 

Love the XYZ Trainers.

Posted Feb 7, 2016 0 Comments

8 Reasons why spinning will have you coming back for more

1. Provides you with 100% of the energy you need to get the workout done
We all lead busy lives and it’s easy to arrive at class feeling tired, but after class you can feel reborn and full of energy. This is driven primarily by the fact that there is never a dull moment in a spin class as each one is different from the last; from the music, to the instructors and the lighting, a good spin class keeps you engaged. Energy is contagious and the energy is high in spinning.

2. Get lost in the music
Research has shown that athletes work harder when listening to music that suits the tempo of the exercise they are executing. Each Instructor carefully constructs a playlist to help you keep pace in class and drive you to stay on beat. Music also plays a big part in bringing out your emotions in class; emotions of defiance, reflection and determination.

3. It’s not about the Tour de France
We don't promote that we can train you to race the Tour de France but we do offer classes for all levels - beginner to advanced. Focusing on metabolic intervals, light resistance to heavy resistance, your legs will feel challenged and you will feel the burn but not overly fatigued. Interval training gets the heart rate up so you can burn calories in less time.

4. It's a full body work out
Those weights might seem light at first but after a few minutes the muscles start to burn, the weights start to feel heavier and then the challenge begins to push all the way to the end.

5. Ok we know, your butt hurts
There is no getting around it, if it’s your first time or you haven’t been riding in a while chances are your bum will be a little sore the next day. Gel seats are provided complimentary in the studio or why not invest in the custom made XYZ padded underwear, which are designed to be discretely worn under your regular gym wear.

6. Defined lean legs
There is a misconception that spinning can bulk up your legs; you only have to look at our instructors, who teach up to 12 classes each week, to see that this isn’t true! The interval training that we practice in spinning allows you to tone muscles that you may have not even known you had and sculpt your body into youthful shape.

7. It’s about community
As we mentioned, energy is contagious and when you are surrounded by 44 riders who are ready to show up and get the work done, you can’t help but ride the wave and push yourself harder. It’s about having fun so you don’t even realize how hard you are working; before you know it, it's the second to last song and then you’re done – you and your fellow riders have completed a great 50 minute workout together!

8. Walking out on a high note
That's what it’s all about, feeling better than when you walked in. Knowing you showed up, achieved your goal and worked to the best of your ability.

Posted Jan 9, 2016 0 Comments

Take Your Training to the Next Level

People often gravitate towards either weight training or cardio and strongly prefer one over the other. I usually find that men in particular love the weight room but dislike cardio. Now is the time to consider how much more you could get out of lifting when you combine it with an intense cardio workout like spinning on a regular basis.

Spinning trains the major lower body muscles (our “prime movers”) as well as the support muscles (our “stabilisers”). High-cadence spinning also develops endurance, speeds the body’s recovery, and eliminates lactic acid buildup. By riding at XYZ 2-3 times per week, you can reap the rewards of these benefits and give yourself the extra edge you need at the gym to push heavier weight and build strength and power more effectively.

Most of you reading this article, however, are probably already addicted to indoor cycling. But is your workout routine well-rounded enough to get you into the best shape possible? To achieve your ideal body shape, it is critical to supplement your spinning workouts with weight training.

XYZ tailors each ride to include dumbbell exercises to tone our arms and shoulders. This style of “high-rep low-weight” training focuses on building muscular endurance, toning our arms and shoulders, and actively stretching our muscles. However, there is more work to be done!

This is where the weight room enters the picture. We can build strength and power in our muscles — while improving our form on the bike — by doing these simple exercises:

Front lunge: Strengthens thighs and hamstrings — the larger muscle groups in our legs — as well as the smaller stabiliser muscles. Keep a slow tempo to protect the knees and ankles.

  • Find a long hallway or room where you can take at least 8 big steps before you reach the opposite wall.
  • Holding 5-10kg dumbbells in each hand (dead weight with arms relaxed), take a deep lunging step forward. While in the deepest part of the lunge, your back leg should bend low, with your knee nearly touching the ground, and your front leg should be bent as well.
  • Step forward with the back leg and lunge again. You have now completed one rep.
  • Complete 15 reps (2 lunges — right and left leg — equals 1 rep). Rest for 45-60 seconds. Then do 2 more sets of 15 reps for a total of 3 sets.

Split squats: Strengthens the thighs, glutes, and stabiliser muscles around the knees. Start slow, mind your posture, and add 5-10 kg dumbbells in each hand only after you feel stable enough to support the added weight.

  • Find a step approximately 10-15cm high. An aerobic stepper that you’d typically find at the gym works perfectly.
  • Place one foot on the step; this foot remains flat on the step. The other foot remains on the ground, approximately one normal-sized step back; you are balanced on the ball of this back foot, with your heel lifted.
  • Squat so that the knee of the leg on the step stays in line with and moves over and past your big toe.
  • Repeat 10 times on the same leg. Switch to the other leg and repeat 10 times. You have now completed one set. Perform 3 sets total.

Plank: Strengthens lower abdominals.

  • Start with 20 seconds in a regular plank (push-up pose), then 20 seconds in a right side plank, then 20 seconds in a left side plank.
  • Perform 3 sets; 1 minute per set.

Let’s all make our bodies as fit as possible by committing to a balanced workout routine that includes both weight training and spinning at XYZ!

Posted Jul 1, 2015 0 Comments

Tagged: Ros's Blog

Riding Fundamentals

Each time we step into The Cave and clip into the bike, we get the chance to make that ride our strongest, most powerful one yet. Seize that opportunity and create real progress in your riding ability by sticking to these core fundamentals. Soon you’ll be riding more efficiently, more effectively, and more rhythmically.

  1. BIKE SETUP: Whether you’ve ridden at XYZ 5 times or 500, take a couple of extra minutes before your next ride to check your usual settings on the bike.  I often find that riders have their saddles too low, handlebars too high, and/or black knobs too loose.  If ever in doubt, ask your instructor before class to check your settings!  
    • SEAT HEIGHT - The saddle should be approximately the same height as your hip bones (the little pointy bones sticking out of the front of your pelvis).  Confirm that your seat height is correct once you’re clipped into the bike by doing a full rotation with the pedals.  When your foot is at the bottom of the rotation, you should have only a very tiny bend in your knee.  Anything more than a very slight bend in your knee means your seat needs to be raised.  If you’ve raised your seat to the proper height and feel the seat poking you in the bum when riding out of the saddle, then you should adjust your riding posture (see point #2 below) instead of lowering the seat.
       
    • HANDLEBAR HEIGHT - Unless you have lower back problems, your handlebars should be only a few centimetres above your saddle height.  Any higher than that, and we stop engaging our abdominal muscles — which is a critical part of the ride!  Be sure also to check the distance between your seat and handlebars, which should be the same length as the distance from the tip of your elbow to the tip of your middle finger.
       
    • BLACK KNOBS - Loose black knobs will lead to instability of the seat and/or handlebars during your ride.  The last thing we want is wobbly handlebars or falling seat posts when we’re in the middle of an intense sprint!  So, before you mount up on your bike, check to make sure the black knobs are locked into the holes on the seat post and handlebars, and tighten all 4 black knobs so that the seat and handlebars feel very secure.  For our taller riders, the handlebars and seat posts have “STOP” etched into the metal to mark where the last hole is, and that is the highest that the handlebars and seats will go.  I highly recommend stopping one notch before the “STOP” — because if you go all the way to the last notch, you’ll experience a wobble during your ride no matter how hard you tighten the black knob.
       
  2. POSTURE: Whether we’re riding in a seated position or out of the saddle, posture is key!
       
    • CORE TIGHT - To protect your lower back, and to get the most out of your ride, keep the core engaged at all times!  Imagine that you’re about to take a big punch to the gut, and you clench your abdominal muscles in anticipation of taking the hit.  This is the kind of abdominal engagement you should feel during the entire ride — whether you’re seated or standing.
       
    • HIPS BACK AND LIFTED - Your bum should always be centred over the back of the seat when riding out of the saddle, with your bum lifted just a few centimetres above the seat.  The tailbone is pointed up and back, the back is flat (and supported by your tightened abdominals), chest is lifted, shoulders are drawn back, head is up, and neck is relaxed.  If you see your knees in front of the red resistance knob when you’re riding, pull your hips back until your knees are behind the red knob.  Another good guidepost is the nose of the saddle — you should feel it grazing the inside of your legs as you ride.  This “hips back” position allows us to target the muscle groups that our ride is designed to strengthen — the hamstrings and glutes!
       
    • KNEES POINTED FORWARD - Resist the tendency for your knees to bow outward when riding. This keeps our leg movement fluid and prevents us from popping out of the pedals during the ride.
       
    • AVOID LEANING ON HANDLEBARS - Your handlebars are there to offer balance — not to support the weight of your body!  Bear that bodyweight with your legs and glutes instead of your arms.  Save your arms workout for the weights track.  :)
       
  3. RESISTANCE: Sometimes riders are very tentative to TURN IT UP.  Use that red knob as a measure for growth, and as a means of support — literally!  Without the right amount of resistance on the red knob, your legs will spin over the beat, or they'll move too slowly to stay on the beat.  So, play with the red knob throughout your ride and get a feel for the amount of support you need on the red knob to sense a push beneath your feet — but not so much resistance that it’s impossible to keep your feet synchronised with the beat of the music.
     
  4. NOURISHMENT: Drink plenty of water BEFORE class.  Eat a protein-rich meal BEFORE class (and a small serving of complex carbohydrates with protein after class).  Finally, remember to breathe DURING class.  Try lining up your inhales and exhales with the rhythm of the music; this will keep your breathing efficient and controlled throughout the entire ride.
     
  5. ENERGY: Positive energy only inside The Cave!  If you feel burdened with the negative, use the ride to shed that baggage, regroup, and regain control.  Your ride is the remedy, and you have the power to take yourself to the next level by pushing your limits.  All it takes is realising that you’ve already got all the tools you need to get there.  Simply realise that you are 100% in control of how you feel, and make the choice to feel lighter and more energised.  Use the inspiration from the music, the instructor, and the person riding next to you to drive your ride and reset your mentality.
Posted May 30, 2015 0 Comments

Tagged: Kat's Blog

Why I meditate, and why you should too!

Meditation reduces stress better than anything else I know, it gives you some "down time" to rest physically and mentally. Most importantly, it has a very direct effect on your entire nervous system by reducing your body’s production of stress related chemicals and enhancing a calming relaxing experience. 

People who meditate are less stressed, healthier, they sleep better, and they have a more positive outlook on life. Simply put, meditation makes you a happier person! It makes me be the best instructor I can possibly  be in that moment and allows me to explore the intensity of a class, stress free. 

I usually meditate for 15 - 20mins per day depending on the activities that I've come across during my day and class times that I've taught. 

Constantly returning my mind to a place of awareness and mindfulness helps me let go of unnecessary  worries and more so returns me to my breath, the most important tool when I ride and teach. 

To feel comfortable sitting in silence takes time but if you’re willing and ready the process is easier. Observe where your attention leads too, make a note of it, and then return the focus to the breath. It's interesting to see where your mind races, whether it be a thought, an emotion, or, just a daily task. 

Practice makes perfect but being patient with myself starting out got me through the early stages of focusing and refocusing my attention. 

Everything you achieve In your life is a result on your actions, the decisions you make are completely dependent on the quality of your mind, if you have 5 minuets to spare today, try and soften your mind and free yourself from day to day stresses. 

Posted Mar 30, 2015 0 Comments

Tagged: Morgan's Blog