Why yoga may be the key to supercharging your fitness gains
If you've never given yoga a shot because you're under the impression that it's only for women, injury recovery, or people into New Age wellness, you're missing out.
The truth is, yoga provides many incredible benefits for people of all ages, fitness abilities, and weight. And with different types of yoga, from slow flow to power yoga, there truly is a type of workout no matter your preferred pace and difficulty level.
Regardless of your fitness goals, yoga is a great option to add in as an active recovery day activity or as a standalone workout (think power yoga to really get the blood flowing). Yoga helps stretch out muscles, improve flexibility and range of motion, while also enhancing your posture and balance. Engaging in yoga practice can reduce your chance of injury in everyday activities or when you're pushing yourself in the gym. The more gentle movements of yoga can also help your muscles repair and relax and provide a great mental and physical stress reliever, which can also translate to better sleep.
Want to know more about the many benefits of adding yoga into your routine? Keep reading and then grab a mat and meet us in downward dog.
Activities like stretching and yoga combined with resistance training help your body build more lean muscle while increasing their size and output capabilities. By moving through the long, fluid movements of yoga, you elongate your muscles and improve strength throughout the entire muscle, not just a targeted spot that often occurs during resistance training alone.
There is a wealth of research showing the incredible psychological and physical benefits of yoga. Yoga can give you an energy boost, improve your mood, and not tire you like other exercises. These positive effects are partly due to the increased flow of oxygen through the body while you hold various poses that open up the body. Research also shows that yoga can positively affect the mind and body, as holding challenging poses can positively translate to feelings of power, control, and energy.
Tight, painful muscles or injuries can put a damper on your gains in the gym. Yoga can help work out tightness and muscle pain and is even recommended by some physicians to help athletes come back from injury. For those struggling with acute or chronic pain, incorporating yoga may help you recover more quickly and effectively while also improving your quality of life in the meantime.
More focused workouts can help you take your progress to the next level. The good news is that yoga has proven benefits on the brain, making it a great option to add to your workout routine to boost brainpower and focus naturally. Twenty minutes of Hatha yoga can improve the speed and accuracy of the working memory. These are benefits that will help you in the gym, everyday life, and at work.
It's easy to start adding yoga into your routine. Many gyms may have yoga classes as part of their membership or as an add-on.
If you’re not quite ready to try your chaturanga in the studio surrounded by others, there are many great apps available to you so you can practice at home. Here’s a list of a few you might consider that are geared towards athletes and are tailored to all yoga experience levels:
In addition to adding yoga into your workout routine, incorporating the right supplements can help boost the effects of your yoga practice and maximize your physical and mental gains.
The Ultimate Strength & Lean Muscle Stack from BELDT Labs boosts endurance, increases strength, promotes focus, and improves recovery. This powerful stack is perfect for serious athletes wanting to boost their performance and recovery while having a well-rounded routine that includes practices like yoga.
Rest and recovery are necessary for achieving your goals, whether those goals are weight loss or increasing your lean muscle mass. Experiment a bit with heat and cold therapy to find what works best for your body and goals. And when you add other supportive recovery elements into your plan, like massage and supplementation, you'll eventually find the ideal routine that helps you maximize your body's potential.
 Michalsen, A., Traitteur, H., Lüdtke, R., Brunnhuber, S., Meier, L., Jeitler, M., Büssing, A., & Kessler, C. (2012). Yoga for chronic neck pain: a pilot randomized controlled clinical trial. The journal of pain, 13(11), 1122–1130. Link