Fitness Saigon: Become Fighting Fit & Confident

The Art of Fitness

Stay Motivated & Much More

We hear all the time how individuals lose motivation to exercise. It’s not really surprising, as most tend to do the same boring workouts! Run long distance, jump on a Crosstrainer, etc. YAWN!! For a regime to be more successful it needs to provide dynamic stimulation, variety of movements and involve social connection to maintain motivation and adherence.

Boxing or self-defence courses may be the single most effective way to increase your motivation and get fit. There are many psychological benefits in addition to the extremely well known physical benefits of improved coordination, balance, speed, strength, flexibility as well as overall health and wellness. The people who become involved in boxing and martial arts programme become more disciplined, respectful, develop greater self-control, become more confident and tend to develop a positive way of life. Here are 4 amazing reasons to get involved in a form of self-defence:

Learn and Practice Conflict Resolution Skills:

There are good ways to deal with conflict and there are bad ways. Self-Defence and martial arts courses teach how to deal with conflict among your peers, and also how to deal with it in a safe environment.

 Give Healthy Way to Release Stress & Energy:

One of the biggest problems that plagues modern day individuals is the inability to cope with stress and anxiety. Self-defence is a great way for people to learn how to cope with stress. Martial arts offer many benefits to our lives, physical, mental, and spiritual. It has the ability to improve multiple aspects of our capacity as human beings: it clears the mind and teaches you to be calm, it helps you learn how to deal with pressure, it gives you a fun outlet to relieve stress, and it improves your physical fitness, which releases endorphins and other beneficial chemicals that lower stress

 Teamwork & Positive Social Interaction:

Teamwork is necessary for anyone to develop. Modern day fitness, and in fact everyday life, people are becoming more isolated. Boxing and martial arts is an activity and teamwork-oriented environment that develops character and teaches that the more we work together in the class, at home and at work… the more we get accomplished

 Install Self-Confidence and Build Self-Esteem:

One of the biggest advantages to taking self-defence classes is that it develops inner strength. Cultivates control over your emotions, movement and actions in a challenging environment. Self-defence classes will build confidence in each participant by providing knowledge of how to better protect themselves.

When you are practicing your martial arts moves you will be practicing with a partner and hence have to look after that person as well as yourself. There needs to be mutual trust between the two participants, so to not hurt each other, but still practice well. If people do not respect themselves it is unlikely that others will respect them and have that mutual trust.

If you find it hard to stay motivated to workout and get fit then look to join a boxing or martial arts course. If you want more than just fitness results then boxing or martial arts courses are a fantastic options to consider adding to your routine to take you to the next level. The benefits of these courses far surpass the simple physical elements.


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Expert Fitness Tips: Best Way to Build Your Glutes

Posterior Performance:

Best Way to Build Your Glutes

What lies behind you is one of the most important muscles on your body. Strong glutes are the key to improving posture, enhancing balance, boosting athletic performance, and looking fantastic.

In fact the entire posterior chain musculature is very important to strengthen in the modern era of increased sitting and inactivity. Research shows that a strong posterior chain (the muscles on the back of your body that cause extension) enriches overall athletic performance and ease of movement, whether you’re walking the stairs, lifting weights, swinging a golf club, or simply getting out of a chair. Posterior chain exercises, in particular glute strengthening exercises, reduce the risk of injury. Americans spend a staggering $50 billion each year on lower back pain. It’s the most common cause of job-related disability and a major reason for missed work, according to the National Institutes of Health. In other words glute and back training is now widely recognized as one of the most important things you can do to move well and stay injury-free.

Strong glutes encourage hip movement over spinal movement, protecting the back. The technique required during these exercises teaches correct movement patterns promoting muscle unity that also greatly protects the back from injury.

Most of us need to work on the posterior chain. It’s an often forgotten set of muscles. The glutes are the biggest muscles in the human body and due to our mainly sedentary lifestyles have stopped working all together in a large percentage of people due to lack of use. Dr Eric Goodman, of Foundation Training states “many people are unable to fire their glutes; this “glute amnesia” occurs because the hip joint is externally rotated away from the femur, causing the glutes to sit in a shortened position. Over time they stop functioning as powerhouses and start functioning as cushions.”

If you do workout you might think: I do squats — isn’t that enough? The answer is NO; variety is essential. The glutes create a number of different movements at the hip and thus must be trained via a number of different ways. A good workout plan will include exercises incorporating different movement patterns. Patterns such as hinging, extension, unilateral & bilateral as well as rotational. These motions also need to be performed in different planes of movement with a focus on the fontal plane, as this is the most neglected and common cause of injury.

Below are my 3 go-to exercises that will build strong, functional and great looking glutes. Done properly these will also protect your back from injury and boost your performance in all aspects of movement:

1 – Bulgarian Split Squats

Hold a dumbbell in each hand and stand in front of a bench. Place the back leg up onto the bench. Hinge at the hip, sit back and lower your back knee toward the floor. The torso will lean slightly forward keeping the shoulder over the front foot. Press through your front heel to stand up.

2 – Single Leg Romanian Deadlifts

Hold a dumbbell in each hand and stand tall on one foot with one foot slightly behind you. Hinge forward at the hips, lifting the back leg up behind you until you feel a stretch in the hamstring of the standing leg or until you start to lose postural position. Extend the hips to return to standing.

3 – Barbell Hip Thrust

Sit with shoulders and head supported on the bench or stability ball. Rest a barbell over the front of the pelvis in the fold of the hip joint. Draw the abdominals in and posteriorally tilt the pelvis to engage glutes. Pushing with glutes lift your hips until your body forms a bridge. Do not flare the ribs, squeeze the glutes to ensure the lift is performed through the hips

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Ho Chi Minh Fitness: 5 unfamiliar benefits of lifting weights

Weighted Gains:

5 unfamiliar benefits of lifting weights

The potential benefits from performing resistance exercise, whether it is calisthenics or lifting weights are immense. These benefits are rather well known yet most still shy away from pushing themselves in the lifting area of the fitness arena.

Research shows that not only can resistance training improve your body composition and give you a toned appearance; it’s actually the best type of training to achieve these goals. Weight training is commonly thought of as workouts for men and women who simply want to body-build but there are a huge range of incredible benefits. Building lean tissue makes you stronger, decreases your risk of diabetes, fights osteoporosis, prevents back pain, makes your joints more stable, and even helps you fight depression. I want to talk about 5 less or unknown benefits of resistance training:

Be A Better Mover

Lifting weights should reinforce correct posture and movement patterns. It teachers you to control your body parts, movements and positions when under load. A great resistance programme balances strength ratios of muscles and counters poor posture. Resistance training also improves the strength of joint stabilisers protecting you from injury as well as improves dexterity, endurance and hand-eye coordination.

Lean Tissue Fights Fat

Resistance training develops type 2 muscles fibres. Research shows that type 2 muscle fibres improve whole-body metabolism and can reduce body fat without changes to diet! Want to eat that extra piece of cake without feeling guilty? Do some squats and push ups

Insulin Management

To achieve optimal health and body composition you must aim to be as insulin sensitive as possible. World leading strength and conditioning coach, Charles Poliquin, states “for every 10% increase in muscle mass you’ll get an 11% reduction in insulin resistance. Even when you’re not working out, muscle consumes the majority of glucose that is in the blood (70-90%)”. This means you’ll be less likely to store carbohydrates as fat when you have more muscle

Ladies; The Key Word Is Lean

Body tone means seeing the definition of muscles on the body. We must have enough muscle mass for that and in order to make them visible we must have lower percentage of body fat. The only thing “bulky” on a human body is fat. Therefore, don’t fear resistance training, as lifting weights is not going to turn you into a muscle-bound monster. Building huge muscles takes a huge amount of work. Resistance training will more likely build a fit and lean looking physique.

Strengthen the Mind & Will

Resistance training doesn’t just condition the body, it also strengthens the mind. Overcoming resistance is tough and therefore teaches you the skill of persistence and resilience, the ability to embrace discomfort and challenge yourself. Lifting weights requires focus and concentration in every move. The testing of your limits under load builds inner confidence that will crossover to help you deal with tough situations in our parts of your life.

The gains you can experience and develop from lifting weights are exceptional. Don’t shy away from lifting heavy things if you want optimum health and body composition.

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Saigon Fat Loss Experts: Is Your Fat Burning Switch Turned On?

The Fat Burning or Storing Switch – Insulin vs. Glucagon

When it comes to either burning fat or storing fat our bodies have a chemical switch that you can manipulate to get the result you want. There are two hormones that control your fat burning or storing result – Insulin & Glucagon

Insulin health is a complex process. Insulin management is considered one of the most important factors when striving for a lean physique, have sustained energy levels, preventing chronic disease and to feel better.

What is insulin?

Insulin is the hormone that regulates how the body uses and stores carbohydrates (glucose) and fats. Insulin’s job is to control blood sugar levels. When sugar in the blood is high insulin is released to signal our muscles (and liver) and fat cells to ‘take in’ the glucose from the blood. The first place it try’s to push sugar is into the liver and muscles for energy when we exert ourselves. We have very limited storage space in the liver and muscles for glucose and once these stores are full the glucose is transported to our fat cells. Think of insulin as the storage hormone – we store fat in the presence of insulin.

What is Glucagon?

Glucagon is insulin’s opposite. The two need to work together to keep blood sugar in balance. One of Glucagon’s main roles is to breakdown stored fat for use as fuel by cells. It serves to keep blood glucose levels high enough for the body to function well. When insulin isn’t around glucagon can work to ‘burn’ fat to fuel your bodily functions and activities.

Importance for fat loss?

The crux of the fat loss matter is that Insulin stores fat and Glucagon burns fat. Our body releases insulin in response to elevated blood sugar. If you keep your sugar and starch intake low then your insulin levels should also be low allowing the body to release glucagon into your system to utilize stored fat for fuel… equaling fat loss. The SWITCH for fat burning or fat storing is in your control. It is a matter of switching off insulin and switching on glucagon.

Two other key terms to understand are Insulin Sensitivity and Insulin Resistance. These are not absolute terms and operate as a continuum where you can shift how your cells respond on the continuum to be either more resistant or sensitive. However, if your body is on the resistant end of the continuum for too long you can ‘break’ the system, which is commonly how type 2 diabetes develops.

Maximizing insulin sensitivity (when your body only needs to use a small amount of insulin to get it’s job done = efficient) is extremely important for fat loss because when you are insulin resistant (when your cells are less affected by insulin, the receptors stop ‘listening’ and stop accepting insulin and sugar into the muscles) the body is much more likely to store the food you eat as fat. If you are more resistant to insulin your body needs to pump more insulin into the blood stream and high insulin increases fat storage, which is why insulin resistance is associated with obesity. For a normal (md-range) insulin sensitivity person about forty percent of dietary carbs are converted to fat. For a person who is higher on the insulin resistant continuum this percentage is much higher and results in their cells remaining hungry causing them to ‘signal’ for more food! Hence, creating a negative cycle for an insulin resistant person to eat more.

Insulin resistance also produces inflammation in the body, causing a whole lot of heath problems. By eating foods that are lower on the glycemic index, performing adequate physical activity and ensuring proper nutrient intake we can place ourselves on the sensitive end of the continuum for effortless and long-term fat loss.

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Get Back into Shape After Pregnancy - Part 3:

Get Back into Shape After Pregnancy – Part 3:

The final 3 tips of our Get Back To Shape After Pregnancy series are here. If you haven’t read the first Two Parts you can find them here:

We see so many new mothers struggle to regain their shape; doing the right things can exponentially speed recovery, return function, as well as improve wellbeing and appearance post pregnancy. Our final tips are:

3 – Correct Cardio

Once you’ve returned to moving regularly, restored the activation and function of your core muscles and without discomfort or contraindication you can begin to “pick up the pace”. After clearing the six-week check-up you should be ready to do 20 to 30 minutes of cardio 3 to 5 times a week.

Walking is extremely good for us and should be done every day. If you are going to run (for more than 30minutes) do so at an easy pace. This will not over stress your system and teach your body to utilize fat as a fuel. Once you are comfortable and built up your stamina to should include high intensity interval training (HIIT). You will burn more belly fat with sprint intervals; a large number of convincing studies show that high-intensity interval training is the best for losing belly fat.

4 – Get Strong

Resistance training not only strengthens muscles but ligaments, tendons and bones as well. Weight training is an essential element of correcting your posture and function, burning fat and also conditioning you to deal with life as a mother. The stronger you are the easier and more effortless it will be to carry your child plus all their essential equipment for the day and help you recover from stress.

Muscle is a metabolic tissue. The more muscle you have the more energy you burn throughout the day… the easier it is to lose fat. Muscle is also what gives your body shape. The word “toned” actually means the ability to see muscle. Resistance exercise will make you look better, perform better, prevent injuries and feel less tired.

You do not need to go to a gym to achieve these benefits. Instead of going to the gym you can complete bodyweight exercises at home as well as incorporate your baby into the routine. For example, lie on your back placing your baby on top of your stomach or hips and perform glute bridges, or hold them to your chest and complete a set of squats.

5 – Take Naps

Abnormal sleep cycles like those placed on you by a baby can upset your metabolism and make it harder for you to lose your pregnancy weight. Sleep helps with weight loss because it combats stress, keeps your energy up and you’re not compelled to binge on high-calorie, high-sugar foods for energy.

As I mentioned in tip 1; take a nap anytime the baby does. That way, you won’t end up with a long-term sleep deficit, and you’ll keep your energy levels and your potentially naughty cravings in check.

Whatever you do, don’t sacrifice sleep for exercise time in those early weeks. If you don’t sleep enough, you won’t have the ability to recover effectively from the workouts. All the benefits come in the recovery of exercise, not when actually exercising.

In conclusion, the only exercise you should be considering in the immediate postnatal period is pelvic floor and TVA exercises and some light walking. You can then progress to strengthening exercises ideally through bodyweight movements and exercises that develop the bond between parent and child. It is especially important to realise that the build up of fitness after pregnancy is a gradual process. Ensure you have enough rest and enjoy the wonders of being a mother.

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