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Meet crossfit queen Kara Webb (+ her fave Paleo Chocolate Cake)

26 Jul

Today’s health power players are no longer just doctors or dieticians. They are smart businesswoman and men, tradies, bloggers, and health/fitness coaches – the new ‘it’ people on the health scene so to say.

Each week we will talk to a variety of inspiring individuals – from raw foodies, crossfitters, organic city dwellers, paleo peeps, nutritionists, bloggers & overall amazing human beings who actually practice what they preach.

First up I would like you to introduce you to Kara Webb who is THE fittest gal in Australia. For real. She placed number 1 at the Wollongong Crossfit Regional Games which is a massive feat – and she is current in California competing at the Crossfit Games which is running now until July 22-28.

Kara Webb

Name: Kara Webb – (placed #1 at the 2013 Crossfit Australia Regional Games)

FITC Question: For the people who aren’t familiar with you (or just want to know more), tell us a bit about yourself.

Kara: I live in Brisbane and I my life is pretty much CrossFit. I am a coach as my sole job and love it. I get to use my experience to help others be better and in return I can learn from them to better myself. I have almost completed a nutrition degree but have taken some time off to just live and enjoy the cool stuff going on in my life. I got married, bought a home, made it to the CrossFit games and just decided to really enjoy it because this is the best time of my life and I don’t want to blink and miss it. I plan on finishing off my degree in the next 12 months or so, slowly but surely.

FITC Question: What made you choose the path of leading a healthy life and was there a particular turning point?

Kara: I was 19 and I had been going out doing all of the usual things a 19 year old does, drinking and carrying on, but I just felt gross. I didn’t have much energy or motivation for anything in life, I was eating bad food and didn’t feel very productive. I decided to ditch the silly times and joined a regular gym to try and feel good and get some positivity in my life. I started to really enjoy being fit and eating well, and the people that came into my life. Within 3 months I had met my now husband and also my coach/boss/friend. My choice to focus on being a better be brought the right people in my life and they haven’t left. My coach was my personal trainer and then he started CrossFit and I joined in too. My life is now perfect!

FITC Question: What does your usual daily routine look like – what is on your ‘must do’ and ‘must take’ list?

Kara: I am up at 4:30am every morning to coach at 5am so I don’t have a great deal of time to play around with. I always have a banana, and some other piece of fruit depending on the season and a big glass of water as soon as I wake up. I then have a second glass of water for my supplements. I take Pure Pharma’s fish oil, vitamin D3 and Magnesium and at the moment some Co-Q10.  I then coach 2 classes (with a cup of Earl Grey tea J) and sometimes train in the morning or practice some skills, and then come home to a second more satisfying breakfast usually left over dinner or some kind of eggs and ham or bacon and avocado.  I love a warm cooked breakfast. I then have lunch around 11:30-12 because I like a solid meat and veg or meat and salad lunch and don’t want a full belly when I train at 2:30. I will then usually have some kind of little snack about an hour again before I train. Heaps of water during the day, and then a Progenex protein shake straight after I train while I cool down. Then more water, some kind of fruit or snack if I have to coach again and then straight home to more meat and veg for dinner. I love every kind of meat, poultry and seafood you can imagine and make sure I balance it out over the week. Always have a cup of chamomile tea before bed to turn my body off and calm my nervous system after a crazy day.

FITC Question: Let’s take a peek in your bathroom cupboard – what are your must have products?

Kara: Since I train heaps I have to have things like Lavender oil for torn hands or grazes on my shins from Olympic lifting. I also take really good care of my skin since I train so hard and the mix of excess free radicals and salt on my skin can dry it out and leave it a bit worse for wear. I have a natural range from a company online called EZEntial. A nice gentle balanced cleanser, definitely toner, and a good night time moisturiser are my must haves.

FITC Question: What do you always have in your kitchen (both fridge and supplements)?

Kara: Always have dark chocolate, bananas, tea, heaps of meat, sweet potato, fish oil, magnesium.

FITC Question: How important is clean, nutrient rich food in your diet? Do you follow a certain style (ie raw, vegan, paleo etc)

Kara: I guess the basic structure of my diet follows a paleoish form. I eat red meat, fish, poultry with salad, fruit and vegetables for all of my main meals. Most other foods are occasional foods and might pop up in my diet from once a week to once every 6 months. I eat good quality cheese and yogurt maybe twice per week but other then that I don’t have dairy. I try to just follow the rule of eating food as it is for all of my main meals and have a few treats around that. I always have dark chocolate a few times during the week with my hubby.

FITC Question: How do you like to move and keep fit? Is exercise an important part of your life?

Kara: I wouldn’t be who I am without exercise. I do CrossFit 5 days per week. I need to feel challenged, productive, sweaty, fit, and strong most days or my body and my mind doesn’t function at its optimum. I want to live the best life I can and when I exercise I do that. It brings a feeling of contentment and happiness that nothing can compare to.

FITC Question: Who or what has been the biggest influence on your health journey? These days we’re influenced by so many different sources – from friends, family, blogs, magazines and now even Instagram!!

Kara: A combination of my coach/friend/boss Brian being such a positive influence on my life and coming into my life at the right time was the best influence probably. The other influence would be the continued companionship and socialising with my husband and everyone who does CrossFit with us. It’s the most positive environment that its addictive. We all feed off each other. That’s why you have to surround yourself with positive like minded people. Being happy is my influence. If it makes me genuinely happy and content then I will continue doing it as long as I feel that way.

FITC Question: Currently loving:

Kara: Loving Chamomile tea so much at the moment. I starting drinking it at regionals to keep my nervous system in check at night because its so hard to sleep during competition and it made me feel so relaxed and helped so much. I drink it every night now.

Number 2 is Sudoku haha. I have always liked playing it but I started on the plane to regionals also and then downloaded the app for it and played that all weekend. I have found keeping keeping my mind active in a positive way distracted me from any negative over thinking and in turn makes my training so much easier. I have been playing it ever since.

Number 3 would probably have to be interior decorating. I absolutely love it. There is nothing more fun then moving everything around and making your own space beautiful. I love my home to be my zen place. I make the effort to keep it clean, functional and full of beautiful positive things that keep the energy flowing. I am addicted to Pinterest Home Décor and spend way too much time on it but when I get home at the end of a big day at the gym I literally feel so happy as soon as I walk in the door.

FITC Question: Fave local cafe or restaurant?

Kara: We have a little café/roasting house calles Elixir in Hayward street Stafford next to the gym. The people are amazing, the coffee is beautiful (decaf for me J) and the food is so yum (Have to order the potato Rosti). It helps that its so close to us too.

FITC Question: As your parting gift to us – what is your favourite health product/holiday destination/retreat/exercise/recipe/tip etc (choose one and provide some info)

Kara: Well my favourite treat actually is a chocolate cake I make probably at least once per week for my husband and I. Its so simple and gives me an excuse to use my kitchen aid, and tastes delicious even though its not full of junk (recipe from the Fast Paleo App)

Kara’s Favourite Chocolate Cake:

Paleo Chocolate Cake

Ingredients:

4 Eggs

¾ cup Honey

3 Table spoons coconut oil

2 Tea spoons vanilla essence or extract

½ tspn baking soda

¼ tspn salt

¼ tspn baking powder

1 cup cocoa

* thats right, no flour!

Method:

Beat all of the wet ingredients well. Slowly add the dry and beat gently. Cook in a cake tin on 180 degrees celcius for 20 minutes. Check with a tooth pick its all done and you have a super moist awesome chocolate cake in next to no time.

FITC note: I made this cake and it is amazing!! For extra luxe I added paleo chocolate icing

Paleo Chocolate Icing:

Paleo Chocolate Icing

Ingredients:

1 ripe avocado

1/3 cup of cocao powder

1/3 cups of honey

1-2 tbsp coconut oil

1 tsp vanilla extract

½ tsp salt

Blend in a food processor until smooth – done!

I love lululemon athletica

31 May

Last night the Bondi store Ambassadors, local yoga, fitness studio owners and I was lucky enough to be invited to lululemon athletica Bondi Junction for a sneak peak of their new store before it reopened (today) revealing a bigger and dare I say better space to inspire, shop and stretch us!

photo

After drooling over their current product (watch out credit card!!) we were asked to select a yoga outfit to wear for a 30 minute yoga class with Kelli Prieur (plus another outfit for casual wear), yep I died and went to yogi heaven!!

yoga

Did I mention we mingled to tunes spun by DJ Kid Kenobi and post yoga dined on delicious food and drinks from Brown Paper Bag Nutrition and Wellness – how is that for a fabulous Thursday night?!

brownpaperbag

Here are a couple of pieces I can’t wait to try out this weekend.

LOVE this Run – Rise – And – Shine jacket, warm, water resistant and cute.. what more could I want! Check it here  

Lululemon rise and shine jacket

Every winter wardrobe (whether it be for yoga or nights on the couch…) will need a pair of the True Bliss Pant, yes I may love just because they make me feel like a dancer. No judging.  Check them out here

yoga pantsI’m not going to lie, I have this Energy Bra in more than one colour… check out this and other styles here

bra

Thanks again to the lovely lululemon team for organizing a great night x

Ditch the coco pops – three healthy breakfast ideas

1 Mar

If you haven’t already.. it is time to retire your favourite sugary cereal and replace it with a real meal to kick start your day (ie using real food). Unless you want to continue to feel sluggish and tired, then by all means – keep on eating those pops!

First up I want to introduce you to homemade gluten free corn cakes (inspired by Bills).  Served with a side of bacon, asparagus and tomato, avocado and coriander salsa this meal of champions is simple delish!

The carbs you get from the corn, coconut flour and asparagus will gives you the extra energy you need to power you on to lunch (with a snack thrown in for good measure of course). Plus the good fats for the avocado and protein from the bacon is essential to making this a balanced meal. Ensure the bacon comes from a good source – I always aim for organic meat where possible.

Sweetcorn gluten free Fritters with Avocado Salsa

Gluten Free Sweetcorn cakes

Ingredients

Corncakes
• 500 g fresh corn kernels – either cut from 3 corn cobs or use frozen kernels for convenience (defrosted first!)
• 2 organic eggs
• 1 small red onion chopped
• 15 g chopped coriander leaves
• 125 g coconut flour
• 1 teaspoon baking powder
• Sea salt and ground pepper
• Coconut oil for frying

Avocado salsa
• 2 ripe avocados diced
• 10 g coriander leaves
• 2-3 tablespoons lemon juice
• 1 tomato finely sliced
• Sea salt and ground pepper
• Thinly sliced chilli if you want a bite to it or dash of Tabasco

Directions
In a food processor or blender add: 2 cups of the corn kernels, the onion, eggs, coriander, flour, baking powder, salt and pepper and blend until combined. Then add the remaining corn and contents in and stir though.
Heat 1 tablespoon of coconut oil in a frying pan over medium to high heat and add mixture into pan – keep each corn cake small in size so they are easy to flip. Cook 3 minutes per side.
Once you have cooked your desired number of corn cakes, serve with bacon, asparagus and avocado salsa.

On the run breakfast – yogurt, fresh figs, walnuts and LSA.

yogurt, walnut, figs & LSA

While I always prefer to have a hearty ‘meat + nuts’ breakfast, sometimes that just isn’t possible! When in a rush (or the fridge is empty..) I simply throw together in a bowl:

Ingredients:
• BioDynamic Organic Yoghurt (low GI, aBc probiotics, no artificial sweeteners or sugar like most yogurts)
• Fresh figs (Figs are naturally rich in much health benefiting phyto-nutrients, anti-oxidants and vitamins)
• Walnuts (high in omega-3 fats, manganese, vitamin E just to name a few)
• And a spoonful of LSA which is made from ground Linseed, Sunflower and Almonds into a meal. LSA is rich in protein and helps keep blood sugar levels balanced which is important when consuming fruit. It also provides a good dose of omega-3, zinc and calcium.

Meat and Nut breakfast

Meat & Nut breakfast

This no frills breakfast is a paleo favourite – the meat and nut breaky includes the 3 macronutrients (protein, carbs and good fats) and can have the following benefits:
• kick-start your metabolism for the day
• allowing you to burn more fat throughout the day
• decrease the insulin load in your body therefore increasing your ability to stay lean year round.
• increase your mental energy early morning and throughout the day;
• increase physical energy early morning and throughout the day;

Ingredients:
Lamb steaks cooked in coconut oil, herbs and spices.
Avocado garnished with ground cracked pepper and salt and a good squeeze of lemon
Raw asparagus
Basil leaves
5 macadamia nuts (you can have these instead of avocado)
Cook, serve and eat!

You can also check out what I eat for breakfast in Prevention Magazine online ‘What the experts eat for breakfast’ here

Lee Sutherland – Personal Trainer and Health Coach, Fitness In The City www.fitnessinthecity.com.au / www.facebook.com/fitnessinthecity / www.twitter.com/fitnessinthcity / http://instagram.com/fitnessinthecity_

How soon can you exercise post birth?

15 Feb

Post baby bodies

Thanks to glossy magazines and Hollywood stars (yes, YOU Jessica Alba and Miranda Kerr), we’re now all  brainwashed with unrealistic and unhealthy expectations of how our bodies should appear post birth.

The stories with glorified before and after pictures in magazines are forced upon us weekly, coupled with stories of an ‘easy birth’ followed by celebrities bouncing back to their pre-baby body within 48 hours. Um… no. Sorry, HELL NO.

First of all, does anyone have an ‘easy’ birth? And secondly, why oh why would anyone swap the early precious moments with their newborn for a 0 calorie diet and buckets of sweat?
‘No sane person’ is the answer, and certainly no one who is working within the safe guidelines of exercising post birth. So let’s discuss what is realistic, and more importantly safe.

The current medical guidelines regarding when it is safe to begin postpartum exercise have relaxed since the stricter 6-8 week “no exercise” mandate. As every woman is unique, so is the birth of her baby and recovery rate. It is always smart to talk to your doctor before starting any fitness program postpartum to make sure your body is ready to exercise, to know if your abs have separated and any incisions healed.

Ask yourself the following: did you exercise throughout your pregnancy and had a ‘normal’ delivery? If yes, then you can safely continue your pregnancy workout routine within a week of giving birth – just make sure it is light exercises such as walking and that you modify movements such push ups. As the weeks progress you can build on the duration to x3 moderate 30 minute walks a week.

If you had a c-section, expect to wait about six to eight weeks to exercise. However, walking at an easy pace is encouraged because it promotes healing and helps prevent complications such as blood clots.

Other important things to remember that due to your hormones (relaxin) your joints and ligament will still be extra stretchy so no crazy yoga moves please as you will be prone to injury!! Also, if you weren’t active during your pregnancy, or tapered off your fitness routine as the weeks went on, start slow and check with your doctor or midwife before you begin exercising.

Catherine Cram, M.S. advises that the following are exercises that can be done within 24 hours of delivery. These exercises help your muscles start functioning after a cesarean section or vaginal birth and are a great starting point within those first 6 weeks.

Try to do 10-20 repetitions of each exercise 2-3 times a day.

Diaphragmatic breathing (Abdominal tightening on outward breath): Lying on your back, place your hands over your abdomen. Inhale and allow your belly to rise as it fills with air. Exhale through your mouth as you tighten your abs, pulling them in towards your spine. Your stomach should flatten, not bulge, as you exhale.

Hut Exercise: Either sit in bed or a chair, or lie on your side in bed and place your hands over your tummy. Take a big breath in, and as you exhale say the word “hut” forcefully. You should feel your tummy tighten as you say “hut” and relax as you inhale. Ankle/foot movements help prevent blood clots after anesthesia.

Kegels (Pelvic floor contractions): Can be done in any position.

Opposite Hands And Knees: On all fours start with pushing your left arm in front of you until it is at eye level/in line with your head. Then bring it back to the ground. Do the same with your right leg, push it out behind you as if you are pushing the wall away with your foot. Once you have your balance down you want to do them both at the same time – right arm and left leg push out. Exhale as you push and keep you belly button to your spine. Do 10 on each side and repeat through out the day!

Is exercise still the LAST thing on your mind 7 weeks post birth (or 7 years post birth…)?

Well it is time to dust off those sneakers because regular exercise after pregnancy can:
• Promote weight loss
• Improve your cardiovascular fitness
• Restore muscle strength
• Condition your abdominal muscles
• Boost your energy level
• Improve your mood
• Relieve stress
• Help prevent and promote recovery from postpartum depression

Better yet, including physical activity in your daily routine helps you set a positive example for your child now and in the years to come – so what are you waiting for?!

Superfoods – fact or fiction?

1 Feb

superfoods2

 

Nearly every exotic fruit and vegetable these days are being touted by the media as the next ‘superfood’, and I have absolutely no problem with this.

In a time where obesity and disease are on the rise – I praise anything that draws attention to eating real food. The kind that only nature can create, that is full of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Why would I disapprove of a word that points to broccoli for its anti-cancer causing abilities and takes the spotlight away from the latest McDonalds meal deal?

I do believe that just as there are a handful of genetically blessed group of individuals in the world (I’m looking at you Elle, Cindy and Helena), there are also a group of superior superfoods (higher in nutrients, cancer fighting agents etc) that have the one up over the old potato – actually the potatoes are very high in potassium but moving on.

Below are a list of my favourites  that really pack a punch, and you may be surprised to learn that not all of them hail from far off corners in the world. There may even be one or two sitting in your fridge unbeknownst to you, holding super (health) powers.

Some of my ‘common’ favourite include:

Broccoli: this unfashionable cruciferous  vege needs to be resurrected as it is high in antioxidants, fibre, folate and is also well-known for its cancer-preventing powers.

Did you know veggies from the cruciferous family (cabbage, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, kale etc) contain compounds called glucosinolates, which convert into isothiocyanates (ITCs) when you chew them and break the cell walls. ITCs are compounds with proven anti-cancer activities. They remove carcinogens, kill cancer cells, and prevent tumours from growing? Amazing!!

Kale: Seems kale was on every superfood must have list in 2012 but with good reason. It is powered with essential vitamins and minerals and is fantastic for your skin and can slow premature ageing.. A recent Harvard study finds that cruciferous vegetables, like broccoli, may protect against bladder cancer. It’s one of the most common cancers in this country, and affects two to three times as many men as women. Scientists analyzed the diets of nearly 50,000 men and discovered that those who ate five servings or more per week of cruciferous veggies were half as likely to develop bladder cancer over a ten-year period as men who rarely ate them. And broccoli and cabbage were singled out as the most protective foods.

Berries: best known for their anti-aging effects and high in antioxidants. Also a great option when watching your weight as lower in sugar than most fruits.

Wild salmon: contains lots of vitamin D and selenium for healthy hair, skin, nails and bones and rich in omega 3 fatty acids.

Turmeric:  I predict turmeric will be the next big thing. It contains curcumin, a phytochemical that has been shown in laboratory studies to inhibit the proliferation of cancer cells and suppress tumor blood vessel growth (angiogenesis). Win!

Tomatoes: high in lycopene, full of micronutrients, vitamins and antioxidants that work together in a way that can ward off cancer, heart disease and other ailments. Scientific studies have shown that the more tomatoes you eat, the better. Cooking tomatoes is best of all because simmering them along with some heart-healthy oil, like olive oil, makes it even easier for the body to absorb all of the beneficial properties.

Basil: Holy Basil could be the latest weapon in the war against wrinkles, according to new research.
Containing anti-ageing antioxidants that help to protect against free radicals, cancer-causing chemicals that attack organs like the heart, liver and brain and damage nerve cells. According to the Telegraph, Dr Shinde said: ‘The study validates the traditional use of herb as a youth-promoting substance in the Ayurvedic system of medicine. It also helps describe how the herb acts at a cellular level.’

Other house hold staples which hold super properties include:

Green tea: high in antioxidants.

Brazil nuts: high in selenium.

Natural yoghurt: contains good bacteria to fight bad bacteria.

Eggs: are a compact package of nutrition that provides every vitamin except vitamin C.

And the more ‘exotic’ awards goes to…

Chia Seeds: rich is essential fatty acids, antioxidants, fibre, High source of protein with all the essential amino acids, Rich plant source of iron (3 times more than spinach, Rich source of calcium, and has higher bioavailability than milk, which means that you could be absorbing more calcium from a tablespoon of chia than you do from a glass of milk. Read my full post on it here

Acaí: This South American fruit has been gaining immense popularity across the world for some of its excellent health benefits. Scientists today are still discovering all the wonderful things that the Açaí berry can do such as makes the immune system stronger, slows down the aging process, regulates the levels of cholesterol in the body, improves circulation and functioning of the heart, reduces inflammation, detoxifies the body.

Maca – Maca is typically found in the Andes, at a high location where the land is barren and weather conditions extreme. These harsh conditions could probably be the reason why the maca root is chockfull of nutrients which makes it a highly valued superfood. It is said to increases stamina and libido, helps the endocrine system function properly, thereby eliminating hormonal imbalances, lowers anemia and alleviates menstrual discomfort and cramps, rich source of fatty acids and sterols (and many more).

For extra reading on some supplement ‘superfoods’ check out

Vital Greens  here

Chlorophyll  here .  Love love love.

For more posts on health, fitness and wellbeing from Lee @  Fitness In The City check out Facebook here , twitter here and Instagram: fitnessinthecity_

Living green & eating clean (& all the judging eyes out there..)

28 Jan

cococut time!

The thing that really gets under my skin is when people assume that because I ‘eat clean’ it automatically means I live on lettuce leaves, flavorless food and not much else. This couldn’t be further from the truth, but hey, I can get past this.

But what is really hurtful is when my awesome clients begin to let go of their unhealthy habits and replace them with good ones i.e. exercise and eat regular, nourishing meals, their friends and some family members judge them and make them uncomfortable for doing so!! This is outrageous and makes me extremely sad.

Time and time again people judge others who live differently to them. Whether people choose to live as a vegan, a paleo meat eater (like me) or just cut sugar from their diet, a stern look from the non believer and mini speech about how “wrong” they’re living is never too far off.

What happened to supporting one another?!

Does it not matter that my clients, who are now moving their bodies regularly and eating a colourful diet, feel amazing, energized and can handle stress a lot easier?

I must also point out that I NEVER feel deprived eating the way I do. I eat at least 5-6 meals a day (every 3 hours or I get low blood sugars level and get a tad crazy but that is another story). I still go out for breakfast, I still give in to my sweet tooth on occasion (hello raw desserts or Pana Chocolate!) and I still can go out a have a good time with my friends.

It is just about adding more of the ‘good stuff’ into your life – which in turn leaves less room for the ‘bad stuff’. The gorgeous Jess Ainscough, from The Wellness Warrior, has written a great post about healthy swaps and trading bad food for something much healthier – read it in full here.

Swapping dairy, which is difficult to digest, mucus/acid forming, to nut milk, high in calcium that you actually absorb, high in good fats, easier to digest and tastes amazing, is one great example.

Switching sports drinks (read sugar) for a real fresh coconut (high in electrolytes) and one of my favorite things in the world, is another.

Are you a pasta lover? Zucchini pasta with homemade sauces with meatballs have changed my life (and tummy). There are healthy alternatives for pretty much everything and therefore no shortage of great options next time the haters come around for dinner!

Are you someone who accidently judges others without knowing the full picture? Maybe it was the other way around and you were the one who received the disapproving looks at lunchtime? Maybe you were eating your homemade feast while they ate their mac ‘n’ cheese with a side of fries and coke…?

So what to do?

Smile my friends, just smile!

Talking of healthy food and healthy lives – if you’re in need some major inspiration check out Instagram – there’s a plethora of amazing people doing great things out there that can give you a friendly reminder everyday to get out and be awesome.

My faves at the moment are:

Thehealthytradie / or Facebook here

Sadhanakitchen /or Facebook here

FitnessInTheCity_ (of course) / Facebook here

Simplegreensmoothies / or Facebook here

Melissa_ambrosini / or Facebook here

Joshjohnson

_Sarahwilson_ / or Facebook here

ROXY (and any cool surf peep who get to travel the world and just be awesome!)

Aquabumps / or Facebook here 

 

Let me know your favorites!

Bikram Yoga

1 Nov

Oh Bikram Yoga, we’ve had a torrid love affair over the years (more hot than the cold for obvious reasons) but no matter how long I stray I always come back to you for more and swear never to leave again.

Why do I love and (gasp) sometime dislike Bikram Yoga in equal measures? Because 90 minutes in a hot, sweaty room, toe to toe with other sweaty hot bodies is a REAL commitment! (Bikram yoga consists of a series of 26 postures practiced in a studio heated to 38 degrees celsius with 40 per-cent humidity – not for the faint hearted.)

Unlike a strength session, cardio or bootcamp class where I can mentally check out and just ‘get it done’, (for me) in Bikram, I’ve got to be not only physically ready, but also emotionally prepared for the practise ahead. Emotional breakthroughs/breakdowns are common practise in yoga, and no one blinks twice at the site of someone sobbing on their mat halfway through class (most likely during some good ol’ hip opening exercises).

Now don’t be put off by the bucket loads of sweat that comes with Bikram, as there are many other amazing positives to add to the list. There are no egos in yoga, no competing against anyone, no rushing ahead, and no leaving the class early. You have to be present in more ways than one for the whole time, and working to your own capability. And that my friend, is why it’s so important to practice – you have to be present, so you have to check all your baggage at the door and work. The result – a great workout. Oh, and did I say you sweat?

So why the heated room?

A number of reasons actually – not only does the heat allow you to go into the postures deeper while reducing stress and tension, but it also stimulates circulation (thanks to many of the massaging/compression effort to the lymphatic system), encouraging detoxification, and restores health to the entire body – muscles, joints, organs – just to name a few.

Interested in giving it a go?

Most centres have a trial pack of at least 10 sessions, the reason the number is so high is because first time students can feel overwhelmed by the fairly rigorous workout or heat, so it usually takes a few sessions for the love to set in.

My wise words to you – don’t give up after 1 class!! Breathe and enjoy the new experience, rest in child’s pose as often as you need. Also keep in mind that each class will be different, as will the vibe, the teacher and the person next to you. Don’t strive for perfection, strive to be present and do what you can in that moment.

If you are in Sydney below are some great studios that do great beginner Bikram class deals (thanks Body & Soul for compiling – for more locations see here)

Bikram Yoga College of India, Darlinghurst
Studio owner Darren Ma has taken first, second and third places at the Australian Bikram Asana Championships. His two-level studio is hidden in a laneway near the busy intersection of Oxford and Crown Streets. It offers 10 classes each weekday from 6am, and six classes on Saturdays and Sundays.
Cost: Beginners $17 for 10 days, casual class $18, membership packages also available.
Contact: (02) 9356 4999 (02) 9356 4999, www.bikramyoga.net.au

Body Mind Life, Surry Hills
This studio offers approximately 36 classes for hot yoga fans each week. Owned by Nicole and Phil Goodwin, it has daily vinyasa-style yoga for all levels of experience. Classes are based on power and vinyasa principles. For those after a less dynamic workout, there are yin yoga classes (see glossary on page 34). Body Mind Life also has a studio in the inner-west suburb of Rozelle.
Cost: Beginners $25 for two weeks, casual $19, monthly unlimited $119, membership packages also available.
Contact: (02) 9211 4111 www.bodymindlife.com

Power Living, Bondi Junction
Open since May this year, Power Living Bondi is owned by Mandy Kopcho, osteopath Tim Hulbert and Power Living founder Duncan Peak. It offers 38 classes each week, including vinyasa flow at a temperature of 32 degrees Celsius, and restorative and alignment classes at temperatures reduced to about 20 degrees, suitable for all levels. Themed workshops are held every six to eight weeks focusing on postural foundations and breathing. Osteopathy and acupuncture treatments are available in the treatment room.
Cost: Beginners $20 for 10 days, casual class $19, membership packages also available.
Contact: (02) 8065 7315, www.powerliving.com.au

Pure Bikram Hot Yoga, Bondi Junction
This studio offers about 30 classes per week. Scott Valentine opened it after healing his own back injuries with the 26-posture practice. There is also a studio in Maroubra.
Cost: Beginners $20 for 10 days or $99 for a month, casual class $19, membership packages also available.
Contact: (02) 9388 9642 www.purebikram.com.au

It’s important to drink plenty of water before and after your practice and not to eat 2 hours before your session or digestion will be interrupted.

Enjoy, it is addictive!

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