Top 5 Reasons Every Athlete Should Practice Yoga

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  1.     Improves flexibility: practicing yoga will allow your over-worked muscles to lengthen and become more flexible. The yoga poses target muscles that are not used in conventional cardio routines
  2.     Points out faults: practicing yoga will help you to grasp a better understanding of your body and where you are strong and weak, over-stretched and under-stretched
  3.     Prevents injuries: the strengthening, lengthening, and stretching of muscles during your yoga practice will help you to prevent overuse injuries
  4.     Tones and strengthens your body: the unconventional poses in yoga enhance your overall physique through the endless strengthening poses
  5.     Increases muscle endurance: poses can be held for several seconds and are repeated throughout your practice. With a lot of focus on the core, muscles are strengthened to improve your form in your respective sport.

Still not convinced to practice yoga? Stanford’s director of football sports performance, Shannon Turley, has his players take yoga classes regularly to work on balance and flexibility. According to the New York Times, Turley used yoga to condition Stanford Football Players and reduce injuries by 87%. Combining strength training, flexibility and stretching is the perfect recipe for injury prevention among athletes.

For real trainer tips and to build your own yoga flow, visit GAIN Yoga and stay tuned for GAIN personal trainers in your area that specialize in yoga for athletes!

 

How often do you practice yoga?

 

Firecracker Workout

Ready to fire up your workout routine in preparation for 4th of July weekend? Try our GAIN Fitness Firecracker workout to start your holiday weekend off on the right foot, literally. We designed this quick, high intensity workout so that you can squeeze it in before the weekend festivities take over. (Plus, a sneak preview of what our new service has to offer…stay tuned for more!)

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1-leg, 1-arm Stiff Leg Deadlifts (15x each side)

Burpees (15 reps, push-up at bottom)

Ab Plank (hold for the amount of stars on the American Flag (in seconds, that’s 50!))

Bodyweight Jump Lunge (15x each side)

One push up for each of the original 13 colonies

(repeat five times)

 

Good luck! And have a happy and healthy 4th of July weekend!

How to Stay Fit On the Road

How to stay fit on the road
Business traveler? You can do one of two things: Give up on your fitness plan, or bring it with you across the globe. Don’t let your business plans and family vacations shatter your workout regimen, instead you can bring it with you.

Contrary to popular belief, barbells, dumbbells, and treadmills are not essential for an intense workout. You can still get a sweat-inducing, rigorous workout using just your bodyweight in your hotel room.

Many people are hung up on the fact that working out is all about the setting you are in and the accessible equipment; however, bodyweight exercises can be even more effective.

Bodyweight vs. Non-bodyweight exercise

Winner = Bodyweight!

There are two types of exercises: open kinetic chain exercises (OKC) and closed kinetic chain exercises (CKC). Both are effective in their own way.

Closed chain exercises involve one or more muscle groups moving simultaneously. Your hand (for upper-body exercises) or foot (for lower-body exercises) is fixed on the surface. These exercises are generally performed using only your bodyweight such as push-ups, lunges, and squats. Closely related to daily activities, CKC exercises are seen as more functional and safer than open kinetic chain exercises.

Open kinetic chain exercises, on the other hand, are generally isolation movements. Your hand or foot is free to move and does not have to be fixated on a surface. OKC exercises are seen as less functional and generally involve exercises such as lat pull-downs, bench press, and dumbbell bicep curls.

So, why are bodyweight exercises so great?

  • More efficient workouts: you aren’t running around the gym waiting for the next piece of equipment
  • Effective for everyone, from young athletes to professional bodybuilders
  • Easily modifiable: you can increase repetitions or vary speed from slow to fast to adjust the difficulty
  • Improves balance: since there is no weight added, you will automatically shift your focus to balancing for added resistance (one-leg squat, one-arm push-up, etc.)

With the busy traveler in mind, GAIN Fitness developed a series of self-guided workouts that focus on CKC exercises (Road Warrior App). These “hotel room” workouts require no equipment and challenge every muscle group and movement function. You’ll conquer computer posture, slay fat and sculpt a body your colleagues will envy, all while being in your hotel room.

What is your favorite exercise routine while traveling?

4 Post-Workout Mistakes That You Can Easily Avoid

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Learn how to reap the full benefits of your workout by avoiding these common post-workout mistakes

  1. Insufficient cool-down

Taking the extra 5-10 minutes to cool-down after an intense workout can make the difference between not being able to walk up the stairs the next day and being able to complete another intense workout. Getting your vitals back to their resting level is also essential in preventing injuries and cutting your chances of DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness).

  1. Choosing the wrong sports drink

Read your labels! All sports drinks are not created equal! Sure, your favorite Gatorade flavor may quench your thirst after a grueling workout, but be sure to check the label before you reach for it next time. Several sports drinks are packed with sugar that can defeat the purpose of working out—some contain up to 300 calories! It is best to stick to water or low-calorie/low-sugar options to replenish your electrolytes.

  1. Overcompensating with high-calorie food

Congratulations! You just finished an intense workout with your friends, so now it’s time to head to an all-you-can-eat boozy brunch. You may want to think twice about ordering your fifth mimosa and diving into your fried chicken and waffle. We tend to overestimate the calories we burn and overcompensate by eating more post-workout. Your favorite guilty pleasures are healthy sometimes, but don’t get into the habit of working out for the sake of indulging twice as much.

  1. Skipping your recovery snack

On the other hand, make sure you DO eat something post-workout! The first hour after your workout is crucial for refueling. It helps prevent your body from breaking down muscle. It is best to have a snack that is high in protein and carbohydrates (ie fruit and nuts, banana and peanut butter, etc.)

What Comes First: Resistance Training or Cardio?

Too often people hit the gym and head straight for the cardio machines, with the idea that jogging for 30 minutes and then heading to the weight room will give them the most benefits from their workout regimen. However, the science behind this proves that resistance training should be completed before any cardiovascular exercise takes place.

In order for your body to build muscle, it needs to use its stored fat as fuel. In order to do this, you must burn off your glycogen stores first (where carbohydrates are stored as energy). When you lift weights, you tap into your glycogen stores. From there you will burn more fat during your cardio exercise because you have already depleted your body of carbohydrates.

On the reverse side, if you decide to do cardio first, it may take the entire workout of 30 minutes, or however long you do your cardio routine, to burn off your glycogen stores. So then you are only burning fat for a very small percentage of time in addition to depleting your body of the necessary fuel from glycogen to do your resistance training. In this case, your body resorts to breaking down muscle tissue to use amino acids as fuel—thus leading to muscle loss rather than muscle gain.

To kick off your workout routine in a new light, try any of our resistance training workouts, and then you can begin your normal cardio routine or one of GAIN’s cardio-centered workouts.

Snapshot of GAIN Strength workout

Snapshot of GAIN Strength workout

 

 

Web Users Rejoice: 8 GAIN Trainers Now Available on the Web!

Users can now purchase GAIN’s “digital trainers”—ranging from Pilates to interval training to bodybuilding—on gainfitness.com; trainers purchased on the web will be auto-synced to mobile and can be used to train on either smartphone or desktop.

Previously, our amazing suite of GAIN trainer apps have only been available in mobile form (as iPhone apps).  Beginning today, eight of these fully customizable, content-driven programs and workout experiences are available for purchase or free download on our website, gainfitness.com. Prices range from $7-13 for digital trainers and $3-7 for content expansion packs, while some trainer downloads are completely free.

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We’re excited to launch digital trainers on the web for three main reasons:

  1. Not everyone has an iPhone
  2. It’s now easier to workout anywhere (home, hotel or office)
  3. “It just works”

Not everyone has an iPhone

We get that not everyone has an iPhone or iOS device. We hear from (sometimes angry, threatening) Android owners nearly every day. We feel your pain.

As a company, we obviously want to make our products available to as many people across as many devices as possible, but that’s often not possible for a small, scrappy startup with limited resources. We have to focus our development efforts, and hone our expertise, in order to survive and thrive.

Almost everyone has access the web at least some of the time. So we’re inviting all audiences with Internet access to try out and train with the unique and awesome workout experiences that are Method Yoga, COREwheels, Road Warrior and others.

The brains (customizable workout programs) and brawn (audio-visual instruction) for each of these digital trainers were created by our brilliant, multi-talented, real-life trainer partners, including:

  • Pattie Stafford
  • Nate Miyaki
  • Reed Taylor
  • Ari Akerstein
  • DH Kiefer

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Initially, two of our trainers are missing from the mix—Basketball Pro by Dr. Marcus Elliot, and WOD Unboxed, by CrossFit Coach Ranier Guadduang. There are some  additional technical difficulties in implementing those, but we’ll get them up and running on the web as soon as possible.

It’s easier to workout anywhere

Part of our mission as a company is to free fitness from constraints and roadblocks—you don’t need a full gym or fancy gadget to get a great workout in (although, if you have those, that’s great too!). Our users work out with their mobile devices in all kinds of places—at home, the office, hotel rooms, even outdoors.

In fact, only 40% of GAIN users workout at the gym, where the mobile form factor is ideal. That leaves the majority working out at home, an office or a hotel room, where access to Internet and a larger computer screen are common. When you have the luxury of more screen real estate and a steady web connection, we want to take full advantage. Now that is possible.

One caveat to note: not all of the audio guidance cues, which are an integral part of the mobile device experience, will be available on the web initially. We felt that, since the web is a much more visually guided experience, the audio component was not as important vis-à-vis the mobile device (which is often tucked away in your pocket during exercise). So let us know what you think, and rest assured that we’re planning to bring the full audio experience to the web ASAP.

“It just works”

We believe working out should fit seamlessly into your busy lifestyle. And that all the progress you track should be stored in a single, secure place, available anytime you want it, via any device. That’s why any item you purchase on either platform (web or mobile) will always, automatically synchronize with the cloud and be available on all other devices that run GAIN.

That’s a long way of saying, if you buy a digital trainer or expansion pack in one place, “it just works” in all other places.

GET HIGH-INTENSITY, HIGHLY VARIED, FUNCTIONAL TRAINING WITH NEW IPHONE APP

WOD Unboxed launches on GAIN Fitness; new Pocket Mode feature enables kinetic data input without removing phone from your pocket.

SAN FRANCISCO, CA—(April 12, 2013)—GAIN Fitness, the ultimate mobile personal trainer app platform, has announced the release of WOD Unboxed, an iPhone app created in partnership with certified CrossFit trainer Ranier Gadduang, to customize workouts and guide exercisers through interactive workout experiences.

This is a two part announcement highlighting a couple major launches expected to go live in App Store on Friday, April 12, 2013. One is a new app, WOD Unboxed; the other is a big new feature called “Pocket Mode” that makes tracking your training easier than ever.

All features and digital trainers are also accesible in our all-in-one app, GAIN Cross Trainer.

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Part I: “WOD Unboxed” – The New App

At GAIN, we strive to bring the most cutting-edge, fun and effective training programs to the hands (and pockets) of our exercisers. And the most groundbreaking thing in fitness right now is high-intensity, highly varied, functional exercise.

Then we tried it—the GAIN team got our hands dirty with a private class led by our friend and certified CrossFit trainer Ranier Gadduang. We loved it, and quickly came to understand that there is method to the madness, and that high-intensity, highly varied, functional exercise. can be adapted to make fitness both more fun and effective for almost anyone.

What Makes This App Awesome

At its heart, WOD Unboxed is a gamified approach to fitness—a fun, varied, efficient way to work out, a system of competitive social dynamics, and a collection of great exercises fused together with protocols that will push you beyond your comfort zones.

This style of training is guided by 3 key principles:

  1. Constantly Varied
  2. High Intensity
  3. Functional Movements

Squat Snatch

It employs exercises from traditional disciplines of Gymnastics, Powerlifting, Olympic Lifting and cardio conditioning, and combines them to prevent a sole focus on any one particular fitness quality. Power development, for example, might be mixed with cardio conditioning. Or strength may be mixed with balance and coordination. Some WOD Unboxed workouts mix everything together.

The movements used in WOD Unboxed are inherently safe and “functional” (although some exercises are technically complex and/or ballistic in nature, making them easy to get wrong without proper form development).

Each day, an exerciser is challenged with a new Workout of the Day—aka “WOD.” These diverse, seemingly randomized workouts very rarely present the same challenge. The sheer variety and challenge of WODs mean that your body will be constantly adapting. This results in a very intense fitness practice that elevates your well-rounded fitness to new heights.

Then there’s the scoring system, which forces a very public reporting of your WOD score on a whiteboard. Not for the faint of heart, this forces a competitive mechanic and builds a strong sense of community.

WOD Score

On the surface, high-intensity, highly varied, functional exercise. s not for everyone. The intimidation factor of reporting your score on the whiteboard is enough to scare many newcomers away.  Joining a gym also isn’t cheap, and even though some specialized gyms (referred to as “Boxes” for their gritty, bare bones feel) are sprouting up like weeds, there are still only a few thousand of these specialized training centers in the U.S.—not exactly in everyone’s backyard.

What Makes the App Awesome

Our new WOD Unboxed app solves both of these problems. Our software’s ability to custom-tailor workouts to your time, equipment, and fitness level means that newcomers can use  training methods with basic bodyweight exercises like push-ups, sit-ups and burpees, where risk of injury is low.

And with the app on your iPhone, you essentially get a digital  coach to carry along wherever you go, allowing you to do at your local Box, a standard gym or even at home.

The complex mechanics of this dynamic training style were what made WOD Unboxed such a fun challenge to develop. We dove in deep to understand high-intensity, highly varied, functional exercise, and worked closely with Coach Ranier to adapt the programming and competitive elements into the infrastructure and user experience of our app platform. We wanted the WOD Unboxed mobile app experience to mimic as closely as possible a trainer-led session.

Flow Mode 2

And we’re not done yet. We’re hard at work bringing more of the “coopetition” group dynamic that dedicated exercisers love to the app.  Stay tuned!

If you haven’t tried high-intensity, highly varied, functional exercise yet for any reason, now is the time to give it a go. And if you’re an experienced exerciser who has ever missed a class due to travel, schedule conflicts or whatever else, consider this app a way to double-down on your WOD consistency.

Part II: Weight Tracking Finds its Flow with “Pocket Mode” 

As part of the WOD Unboxed app launch, we’re unleashing a new feature called “Pocket Mode” that will change how GAINsters interact with their iPhones to track their training.

If you work out with your phone in pocket (the most common use case when tracking your training at the gym), you’re going to love Pocket Mode. When you finish an exercise, you can quickly “Double Pat” the phone (two light slaps in quick succession) to tell the app that you’re ready for the next exercise — without taking the phone out of your pocket!

This feature uses the iPhone’s motion-sensing capabilities, analyzing the motion patterns to determine whether the motion is a Double Pat and not just exercise motion. We spent weeks tweaking the variables of motion detection to get this feature to work just right. It’s already very good at distinguishing real Double Pats from false positives, but can likely still be improved. We’re looking forward to collecting user feedback once this feature out in the wild, so don’t hesitate to send us feedback: feedback@gainfitness.com.

Pocket Mode also gives you a second way to communicate with the app while it’s in your pocket: Vertical Swipe.  Just reach into your pocket and  swipe your finger upward on the screen’s surface to confirm exercise completion.

Pocket Mode Tutorial

At first, Pocket Mode will only be available for WOD Unboxed. Tackling the high-intensity, highly varied, functional exercise experience really drove the creation of Pocket Mode, since the time-driven nature pushes you to transition between exercises as fast as possible. But we plan to soon bring these two new features to other apps in the GAIN Fitness family in order to reduce tracking friction and bring a more continuous “flow state” to your various workout experiences!