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Dancers are the Athletes of God

You may have already stumbled or ball changed across this quote, credited to Albert Einstein. Any serious dancer understands this quote from their very core, in a nearly impossible verbal translation. How do you explain this knowing, understanding, being, to others who have not had the experience to live a dancer’s existence? To a dancer it is inherent, but it is also so broad and deep in the knowledge and wisdom it has to offer.

It may seem boastful, egotistical, bold, highbrow, and even sacrilegious, but it is also beautiful, deep, resounding, spiritual, and wise. It is one of my favourite quotes, for its many meanings and philosophies. And, yes, dancers are indeed the athletes of God.

At a foundational level, this quote highlights dance as underpinning athleticism. In the physical sense, dance training requires the use, development, and maintenance, of every muscle and bone in the body. From posture, to walking, to foot placement, to hip alignment, to flexibility, to strength and conditioning, to contortion, to shoulder movement, to arm and hand functionality, to head placement… The cardiovascular system is developed to a very high level. All of this development provides overall high fitness levels, strength and power, agility, flexibility, speed, focus, determination, spatial awareness, coordination, and stamina, not to mention the competitive drive required to succeed within the industry.

At the next level, dancers as athletes of god must draw on and deliver through an inner knowing, an inner feeling, an unspoken body language, an ability, desire, and inherent understanding of how to write, perform, embody, and deliver narrative, meaning, nuance, and emotion, through non verbal body performance. To see without eyes, hear without ears, feel without touch, taste without substance, smell without scent, communicate without sound…to sense.

Through the refinement of both inner and outer skills, a dancer’s artistry and athleticism are both physical and spiritual. By having such finely tuned physical and spiritual know how, dancers can become elite artistic athletes in any or all sporting, performance, and fitness areas. Every dancer I know is kick-arse at other sports and can take on a new challenge willingly, martial arts, swimming, rock-climbing… I do not see this same agility from other sports towards dance. There aren’t too many footballers who can pick up dance easily, but there are plenty of dancers who can easily adapt to football…and swimming, martial arts, CrossFit, acrobatics, tennis, skiing…

Looking to develop calves and legs, dance. Flexibility, dance. Stamina, focus, grit, determination, dance. Strength and power, dance. Agility and adaptability, dance. Mindset, dance. Flow, light and shade, dance. Muscular tone and development, dance. High pain threshold, dance. Performative ownership and delivery, dance. Intricate skills of hands and feet, dance. Balance, core strength, dance. Self awareness, dance. Inner dialogue, dance. Memory, dance. High level thinking, dance. Musicality, dance. Rhythm, dance. Discipline, tenacity, confidence, dance…

The cross skilling required in the training and development of dance, primes the body to easily adapt to any and all physical movement. Some sports target strength, others stamina, others flexibility, others hand eye coordination, others patience, some only certain muscles, some dynamic power, some paced endurance… Dance covers the lot, and some. Another sports code’s daily training is more often than not the equivalent of a dancer’s warm up.

If you’re looking to develop your overall fitness and physical skills, start dancing. If you’re a dancer, get out there and throw yourself into any other sport and increase your adaptable skill set. More dance, more fitness. More fitness, more dance. Dancers are the athletes of god, in person, in spirit, inherently.

Featured

Is Discipline Important in Group Fitness?

Having been a dancer, dance teacher, choreographer, creative director, athlete, and currently completing further group fitness/personal trainer study, I definitely feel qualified to open up this topic. Somewhere along the way in our pursuit of a variety of options to choose from to be physical and get fit, the notion of discipline seems to have lost its central role. Discipline now sits at two opposing ends of the spectrum, those being either, all work and no play, or all play and no work.

I find myself in many group fitness classes where I am not being corrected, and I look around and see the majority of the class performing exercises incorrectly, many are just a major injury waiting to happen at any minute, others are contributing to lifelong problems with posture, hips, knees, ankles… Not only is correct form and technique not being addressed, many instructors are so busy trying to use their multiple technologies, perform the exercises, stay connected to working microphones, while verbally instructing, motivating, and encouraging, they are not even observing their students in order to correct them. There may be slightly less of an obligation placed on a group fitness instructor over a personal trainer to correct form and technique, but any time an instructor notices incorrect form and technique, as part of good service and discipline, it should be corrected. During a small break, or even at the end of the class would be fine.

Add to this, a competitive market where we all want to feel included (and rightly so), in this respect, organisations seem to be backing off on correcting people, possibly in order not to upset people or lose clientele. I understand this from a business model perspective, I really do. I do not understand this from an ethical, safety, health, effective instruction, ‘discipline’ point of view.

If you are avoiding correcting people to save them from injury or illness and to improve their results, in order to keep clients coming no matter what, fitness might be the wrong business. If people didn’t need discipline, correction, encouragement, or motivation, it’s highly unlikely they would be seeking the services of a personal trainer or a group fitness class.

While I appreciate and understand many people come in social groups to a group fitness class, and this is a great way to motivate each other when managed effectively by the class leader, it seems that much of the required discipline to effectively participate in, learn from, and start seeing results from, is left on the side with the towel and water bottle. What I mean by this is, the ‘social group’ continues during the class with off-topic chatting, talking, giggling, and even time-out sitting down to discuss personal things in class time.

This makes learning and progress for yourself very difficult. This contributes to the whole class being affected by the ‘demotivated’ bug, once one person starts slacking off, it’s like a contagious wave, it spreads across the class. Everyone’s group fitness class becomes 10 times more difficult when dealing with a lack of discipline in class time. Further, it’s disrespectful to other class members and the instructor.

On the flip side, there are a few group fitness classes out there, so hard in their discipline (think army training level discipline – which I have absolutely no issue with, and think is critical for the formation, development, and maintenance of long term discipline, once a student has learned the ropes, so to speak) they scare off newbies in five minutes, never to be seen again.

It seems you can either choose a half-arsed effort as an uncorrected participant in a bodyweight group fitness class, or be hit over the head with 100kg worth of plates and 1000 burpees. Personally, if I’m paying for or investing in classes, I expect to be watched by an instructor periodically for the purposes of being corrected. I expect to be shown how to execute exercises. I expect to be given some quick one on one advice if I am obviously struggling with the move/exercise. I expect to develop my motivation and technique. I expect to see results. I expect if another person stops the class for selfish reasons (talking, checking phones etc.) that they are reminded to get back on track during class time. I expect consequences for my actions, good or bad. I expect each person in the class is spaced evenly to give each other the required space, and failing this, I expect the instructor to show people where to stand to achieve this, to avoid half the class being forced to exercise up the wall or in a corner.

12 SIGNS OF A GOOD GROUP FITNESS CLASS

1.Class is organised and set up to start on time, and the instructor provides a strong, positive, and informative welcome

2.The class is not overcrowded, and people are evenly spaced

3.Warm up

4.Exercises are explained, special attention is given to new starters

5.Incorrect form and technique is corrected to avoid injury and illness

6.The instructor glances over your performance several times during class

7.If music is involved, as it mostly is in indoor group fitness classes, the instructor must be able to count bars of music, and know where the bars start and end for changing combinations

8.Instructions are clear, understandable, and delivered with enough time to change the combination/exercise effectively

9.Options are given for differing fitness abilities and/or due to injury or rehabilitation

10.Lack of discipline (as mentioned in the above blog) is addressed, the instructor maintains control of the class

11.The instructor motivates and encourages

12.Cool down and stretch

In other words, I expect to be disciplined! And you should be too. Be open to learning and improving!! If your group fitness class is missing the above, find a new class. Let’s get on it team, balanced discipline is the name of the game here. We can still have fun, albeit discplined fun! And after awhile, you’ll be able to play with the 100kg weights and do 1000 burpees easy-peasy. Motvation and discipline equals progress and results.

Here is a great resource, at a great price for you: Discipline Equals Freedom: A Field Manual

Photo by Anthony Shkraba from Pexels

5 Most Common Mistakes In The Gym

  1. Not warming up
  2. Not cooling down
  3. Poor form and technique
  4. Not increasing your challenges
  5. Partial repetitions

Not Warming Up By hitting your exercise cold without limbering up your muscles you are setting yourself up for injury and poor results from your exercise time. Don’t cheat yourself, you’ve motivated yourself to attend, have enough respect for your body to treat it to a correct warm up. If you’re stuck for ideas, or don’t have a group fitness instructor or PT, try these; shoulder/ arm circles, lunges, jumping rope, jumping jacks, squats, walking, jogging, quad stretches, hamstring stretches, ankle/wrist rotations. There are SO many things to choose from, give yourself at least 3-5 minutes.

Not Cooling Down This is just as bad as not warming up, and sometimes does more damage! During exercise our heart pumps blood at an accelerated rate. When you stop exercising abruptly, your muscles will stop contracting suddenly. It is important to return your heart rate close to its resting rate to avoid dizziness or fainting. (To stop exercise abruptly without a cool down is like slamming your car brakes on and throwing your car in park at 70kms per hour, not too good for the car!) Lactic acid builds in your system during exercise, cooling down helps to remove it and avoid post-workout crashes. DOMS, delayed onset muslce soreness, can be reduced or eliminated by cooling down and stretching our muscles adequately.

Poor Form & Technique My absolute #1 pet peeve. We all have to start somewhere, and nobody is expecting beginners to have on point form and technique. That said, it is definitely about education and making sure you are perfoming exercises with the correct form and technique. If you are at a gym and are unsure about how to do a particular exercise, ASK! Please don’t be shy in this respect, nobody will look down on you for asking for the correct form and technique! Please listen to your instructors, as more often than not, the instructor is repeatedly telling a group class the correct form and technique and showing the class what not to do and many peope are not listening! Listen. Learn. It’s that easy. Group instructors and personal trainers have studied form and technique and should be able to help you out and give advice (or find an unknown answer for you). It is critical to your workout success, your long term goals, and your injury prevention strategy to ensure you learn and adapt to correct form and technique. I would argue that you are better off going for a walk, than performing any exercises with incorrect form and technique consistently. Talking about walking, this also comes with a correct form and technique!!

Not Increasing Your Challenges Attending a weight class consistently? Sticking with same low to medium weight range week after week? Why? Are you wanting to improve? Are you wanting to gain strength? Build muscle? Lose weight? Increase metabolism? Then… Increase your weight selection gradually each week. A regular in an aerobic based class? Repeatedly completing 10 burpees, 10 sit ups, 10 push ups as a set? Why? Why aren’t you increasing your goal? 15, then 20, then so on…Next thing, you’re a machine pumping out 100 of each, no sweat. Running 5 kms per week, week after week? Maybe try adding an extra kilometre per week or month etc. When we set goals and meet them, we need to challenge ourselves to the next goal, this is how we improve.

Partial Repetitons 10 half squats or 5 full squats? Choose 5 full squats. 10 half bicep curls of 5 full bicep curls? Choose 5 full bicep curls. 20 fast paced half depth push ups or 10 slower paced full depth push ups? Yep, 10 slower full depth push ups. This, again, is a very simple philosophy, quality over quantity. You will gain way more from doing half the amount of repetitions properly and to their full extension, than not.

Q: What do these 5 common mistakes in the gym have in common?

A: Trying to cut corners. Trying to make your workout easier. Trying to avoid maximum exertion. Trying to buy time. Trying to get it over with as quickly as possible. Trying to avoid pain. No pain. No gain. You have motivated yourself enough to get to the gym, it is so important not to let yourself down through these 5 common mistakes. Ironically, it takes no less time to cut corners than to apply yourself 100%.

Improve Fitness : Remove Toxicity in 5 Steps

1. Ditch the junk food. Bin the processed foods. Eliminate the chemicals, colours, and preservatives.

2. Remove non natural and non environmentally friendly cosmetics, toiletries, and cleaning products.

3. Detoxify your system of poisons such as caffeine, non essential medications, nicotine, illegal substances, alcohol, and sugar.

4. Remove negative people from your environment. Develop strong boundaries for those who disrespect you. People who cause your life misery and drama need not be part of your daily life.

5. Face any issues, problems, concerns, or life trauma and develop healthy coping strategies, such as therapy, and positive support. Seek out those who uplift you and care about your well-being.

Top 3 Booty Exercises

I am not an advocate for building up one particular body area, as I believe in training that incorporates the whole body, our muscles and bones are all connected and what you do to one particular area will either work for or against another area. In this respect, a balanced diet and exercise program is the ideal approach. If you have that in place and are wanting a go-to exercise combination to work your glutes and tone that booty, here are 3 failproof exercises.

SQUATS x 50

The old staple. Squats do work, but they must be done as part of a whole body training approach. If you don’t have a regular exercise plan in place, and you decide to randomly do 100 squats one day expecting a toned tush, sorry to be a party pooper (no pun intended), but it’s not going to happen. However, incorporate these booty exercises into your weekly plan 2-3 times per week and you’ll see results.

SIDE LUNGES x 50 (25 each side)

These will work your glutes, inner and outer thighs

PRISONER KNEEL TO STAND x 50

With hands behind your head, 50 of these will definitely challenge your glutes and quads!

Complete these 3 exercises as sets of 50, if you’re up for the challenge do 2 rounds. Add this in 2-3 times per week and expect a booty masterpiece in no time! Simple, uncomplicated, effective.

The 12 Astrological Signs At The Gym

MO2V8

ARIES

First to arrive, usually waiting outside the doors before the gym is open, or has found a 24/7 gym. Biggest Muscles? Pecs, Biceps, Quads, Calves, Ego. Great at initiating workouts and encouraging friends. Also great at encouraging strangers. Can be seen checking out everyone else to A) Scope out the competition and B) Add those checking them out to their mental fan base. Flexes dumbbells near the water station a lot. Typical Ram.

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TAURUS

Often found in the Gym Cafe, struggling to decide between coffee, pre-workout, protein balls, or a carb loaded meal. Works in short bursts alternating between power and naps. Likes HIIT, but needs 1 minute work 3 minutes rest. Best Asset? Shoulders. Slow to fire up, but once they have it’s probably best to get out of their way unless you want to be trampled. They don’t like taking advice…

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The 12 Astrological Signs At The Gym

ARIES

First to arrive, usually waiting outside the doors before the gym is open, or has found a 24/7 gym. Biggest Muscles? Pecs, Biceps, Quads, Calves, Ego. Great at initiating workouts and encouraging friends. Also great at encouraging strangers. Can be seen checking out everyone else to A) Scope out the competition and B) Add those checking them out to their mental fan base. Flexes dumbbells near the water station a lot. Typical Ram.

Photo by Nick Bondarev on Pexels.com

TAURUS

Often found in the Gym Cafe, struggling to decide between coffee, pre-workout, protein balls, or a carb loaded meal. Works in short bursts alternating between power and naps. Likes HIIT, but needs 1 minute work 3 minutes rest. Best Asset? Shoulders. Slow to fire up, but once they have it’s probably best to get out of their way unless you want to be trampled. They don’t like taking advice, therefore they learn the hard way, usually through trial and error. Stubborn as a… Bull.

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GEMINI

You’ll first encounter a Gemini holding up the queue at the entry as they swipe in, they’ll be having several fast paced conversations at once, with the receptionist, their gym buddy, the person in front of them, the person behind them, and the guy on the bench press on the other side of the gym. Their voice and hands always get the best workout. Biggest muscles? Tongue and forearms. Also likely to find them bouncing in a step class, running on the treadmill while talking hands free on the phone, or in an endless loop of push ups, jumping squats, and high knee runs.

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CANCER

Works in the Creche. Also, the First Aid attendant, and the on site counsellor. Occasionally floats in an Aqua Aerobics class. Biggest Muscle? Emotional depth.

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LEO

Designer threads. Can periodically be found at the mirror checking their hair and image. The king of the jungle saunters between group classes where they have no issues being front and centre, performing on any prominently placed machine where an audience may gather, stretching like a cat in Yoga, and strength and conditioning in the middle of the floor. Annoyingly toned. Biggest muscles? Hair, nails, pecs, glutes.

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VIRGO

The most organised and consistent gym goer. Gymwear? Spot on. Towel and water? Check. You’ll find them correcting others form and technique, showing others how it’s done, and reminding everyone of the importance of never skipping any muscle group. Their workouts are systematic and repetitive but always on point. Need pre-workout or supplement advice? Ask Virgo. Biggest Muscle? Brain.

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LIBRA

Always adorned in luxurious designer gear and accessories, often not appropriate for a gym. You won’t see sweat, but you will see lots of posing. Sometimes they squat, sometimes they chat, often they prance. If they are missing, check the stretch area mirrors where they will be found posing for selfies, and photoshopping pics for their socials. Biggest Muscle? Botox.

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SCORPIO

Never afraid of a challenge, they will finish each set perfectly, and then do one more with gusto. Floats like a butterfly, stings like a Scorpion. Not one to underestimate, not one to mess with. Treat with respect, honour their strength and intelligence, and they will love you. Cross them with bullshit or any other unfair shenanigans, and you may well have a very heavy plate dropped on your foot, accidentally on purpose. Biggest Muscle? Any muscle used in revenge, it changes swiftly.

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SAGITTARIUS

Meets the crew at the gym, always trying to be more adventurous. Consistently tries to organise a night out after the gym to keep the social life rolling. Wants their squad to mix it up by joining them running marathons, going hiking, swimming, or surfing. In the gym, loves a bike or rower, and will always be checking out the opposite sex. Biggest muscle? Eyes.

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CAPRICORN

Disciplined. Determined. Can be a bit moody if there are too many people, or too many numpties curling in the squat rack. You may find them being offended and muttering after running into a Libran posing on the stretch floor. Usually arrive at the gym in a suit, change into colour co-ordinated gymwear, and then shower and leave in pyjamas. Biggest Muscle? Serious life outlook.

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AQUARIUS

Eccentric. Innovative. Whack. This is the free spirit who arrives at gym in an Army camouflage outfit with rollerskates and a spiked helmet. They then head to a ski machine. Most others steer clear of them in alarmed fascination. They manage to put in an awesome effort on the skiier, on rollerskates, in uniform. They then seem confused by the perplexed crowd looking at them! So, they humbly apologise and explain they had to come straight from cadet training, but their car broke down, so they used the rollerskates they had in the car so they didn’t miss gym. They giggle as they recall last time they used rollerskates, magpies attacked them, so they wore the anti-magpie attack helmet they had in the car boot. They then inform you they accidentally left their gym bag and gear in the car, and they figured the camo gear would ensure they didn’t court attention. Biggest Muscle? Non conformity.

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PISCES

Not sure why they came to the gym. Not sure if they should stay. Not sure which muscle group they want to target. Considers swapping a gym workout for a few laps of the pool. Decides against it. Asks a floor attendant for advice on if they should do a yoga class or a weighlifting session. Listens but ignores advice given. Finally decides to lean on a treadmill for 5 minutes while watching The Sound Of Music on an overhead monitor. Cries. Leaves exhausted, declares their gym time a ‘big workout session’ to anyone who cares to listen. Biggest Muscle? Indecision.

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Sit Ups Suck: 5 Crunch Alternatives That Actually Work

If ever there was an overrated and underperforming exercise, I nominate the ‘crunch’ or ‘sit up’. It’s like a loaf of white bread, popular, always available, but offering very little substance or benefit. Add to that, they are cumbersome, uncomfortable, and generally awkward to perform. They have been the popular ‘go to’ abdominal exercise for decades, requiring many repetitions with little visible results.

According to Harvard Health publications, sit ups are not ideal for the spine, and can actually contribute to spinal injuries. They can also cause a twisted pelvis via the range of muscle movements engaged in a sit up. Further, they may contribute to bulging or slipped discs in your spine causing severe pain. The Army has being phasing out sit ups from their training for several years due to high numbers of injuries in soldiers. Not to mention, neck stiffness, shoulder pain, and just being plain… awkies. To add insult to injury, quite literally, they can actually make you look bigger by pushing your core outward creating a pot belly. Probably not anybody’s aim from a sit up.

In addition to the high risks of injuries, sit ups just don’t provide any real results when they are done for losing belly fat or trying to reduce waist size. No single exercise will target a specific area for fat loss. Exercise must be done on all areas, and a healthy diet followed, in order for fat loss to occur on your body overall. We can tone areas through specific exercises, but unfortunately fat loss just does not work that way. Why would you do 100 uncomfortable sit ups per day for no results? Craziness. White bread. Empty and dead.

I hear a collective “Hooray” from the masses. And rightly so. So, what can you do instead?

17 minute ab workout including rest time!

1.PLANK 1 Minute Plank: 30 Seconds Rest x 3

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2.MOUNTAIN CLIMBERS 1 Minute Fast Pace: 30 Seconds Rest x 3

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3.SIDE PLANKS 1 Minute Hold: 30 Second Rest – Left and Right Sides

Photo by Maksim Goncharenok on Pexels.com

4.V-HOLD Hold 10 Seconds x 3

5.BATTLE ROPES : ALTERNATING WAVES 1 Minute: 30 Seconds Rest x 3

Photo by Scott Webb on Pexels.com

Alternatively, try an ab-roller, my go-to at home ab exercise Vinsguir Ab Roller for Abs Workout, Ab Roller Wheel Exercise Equipment, Ab Wheel Roller for Home Gym, Ab Workout Equipment for Abdominal Exercise, Black & Red Tell those crunches to take a hike. Permanently.

MO2V8 Mini HIIT Workout

MO2V8 MINI HIIT

Here’s a mini workout designed to get you started on a full body workout. Ditch the excuses, pump up the motivation, throw on whatever workout gear and shoes make you feel like the bomb, grab your water bottle and a towel, find a local gym, park, or backyard, and fire up!

Start at 1 round 3-5 times per week, build up to 4 rounds 3-5 times per week as you improve your fitness level. This HIIT style workout will have you burning through massive calories both during and after your workout.

I use a fitbit to track calories and times, best investment ever! Get a bargain price with our code and 12 months FREE Fitbit Premium Membership here Fitbit Inspire 2 Fitness Tracker with 12 Months Free Fitbit Premium Membership, 24/7 Heart Rate, Activity & Sleep Tracking and up to 10 days battery – Black

4 minutes jog or run (Option: 4 minutes treadmill at 7-8km/ph) – Followed by 1 minute rest

25 Squats – 1 minute rest

50 Jumping Jacks – 1 minute rest

Plank 2 minutes – 1 minute rest

25 Push Ups – 1 minute rest

50 Mountain Climbers – 1 minute rest

Repeat up to 4 rounds.

5 Easy Tips To Lose Weight

  1. Drink lots of water. Aim for at least 2 litres, no less, but more if you can!

2. Breakfast: Oats and fruit with rice milk. Or 2 poached eggs on toast.
Lunch: Green salad and salmon. Or chicken and salad wrap.
Dinner: Any meat, chicken or fish with salad or vegetables.
Or pasta and vegetables. Use low fat or fat free sauces. (Choose vegetarian or vegan meals if desired, which are naturally lower fat)
Snacks: Fruit, small cup nuts, rye crackers with tomato….

3. No takeaway food or soft drinks.

4. 30-60 minutes exercise 3-5 times per week. Even walking will help.

5. Get enough sleep! 6-8 hours restful sleep.

Try this for 2 weeks and I guarantee you will notice a difference, then you can start to retain healthy habits to ensure you improve health and weight management. Once you detoxify your system, you’ll notice the benefits and improved wellbeing!

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