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Why the right shoes are important for the right activity (like Zumba and Turbo Fire)

August 11, 2015 Leave a comment

Lately I’ve gotten back into taking Zumba classes. I originally started with them about 10 years ago when they were first offered at my local gym, along with other types of dance like Hip Hop and Bellydance. I had an amazing teacher who would teach them all, but then she moved away and I couldn’t get my dance fix anymore. Total bummer.

If you don’t know what Zumba is, it’s a mix of Latin styles along with a little hip hop thrown in here and there. Very fun, very energetic, but you have to be careful not to torque your knees with the constant shifting and turns. I’d been having some knee issues lately so this was something that was very much on my mind, not to mention the fact that my knees were 10 years older than my last sessions.

An example:

So let’s start with what I started with… running shoes. Obviously they’re great for doing any type of running, but I noticed that when I tried to shift suddenly on the hardwood class floor, it wasn’t very easy to move. And there’s good reason for that: running shoes are designed to propel you forward, not side to side. My knee wasn’t happy with me at all that time.

Then I tried cross trainers. They were better for sure than running shoes, but i still felt some resistance in certain moves. Knee was getting happier though.

I finally broke down and decided to try dance sneakers. Some are very similar to cross trainers, but the key difference is the inclusion of a pivot point on the ball of the sole. So I got a pair of Ryka Exertions online during a sale to try out.

I was not disappointed.

Wearing a dance sneaker takes getting used to, but I actually feel lighter on my feet and my knee hasn’t complained once since I started with the Rykas. I can jump, twist, slide, and get funky with no issues now. I also use them for Turbo Fire at home because even on carpet I can make sudden, explosive movements easier now with them. Even Les Mills Pump has a dance sneaker line out. Interesting how that works, yes?

The Ryka Exertion. Not a top of the line type of shoe, but a great starter.

The Ryka Exertion. Not a top of the line type of shoe, but a great starter.

All in all, a good find. Zumba has their own sneaker line out, but I read the reviews and a lot of customers weren’t happy with them for various reasons (low stability, not much cushioning, high price point). I opted not to get those, but that’s just a personal preference.

Inexpensive workout gear that will boost your fitness routine

August 9, 2013 Leave a comment

So here are three torture devices that I use on a regular basis:

Swiss Ball. One of my favorite exercises is shown here in fact… the Pike.

Followed by:

Resistance bands… perfect for working out while on vacation.

And finally:

Strength band. Tie the ends together and loop around your ankles, then try out some squats and leg lifts. Wow, the pain! But, the good sort, not the type that will lay you up for a week.

There are times when I can’t make it into the dojo because I’m working late, or I have a class or something else comes up. The above come in handy for home workouts; most of the time I use Turbo Jam and Turbo Fire, and those workouts in particular use the bands for strength and toning.

At about 10 bucks each, they’re cheap and so very effective.

It’s a good time to just be

December 15, 2011 Leave a comment

Final exams are over for me. Now I have to wait to find out what my grade is, hopefully in the next few days. On the upside, this is the start of a month long vacation from school until the Spring semester starts. I still have to work, but I’ll have a week and a day off for the holidays from that too. It’ll be time to tackle some home projects like cleaning out my workout room, putting up some stuff on the wall that we’ve been too lazy to get to, and work out lots. Our school will be out for two weeks, but I’m prepared with Turbo Jam, Turbo Fire, and hopefully Pump. Gotta keep the workouts going 🙂

Last night was a pretty impactful session of Krav Maga. For some reason keeping a knee raised so my partner can’t strike my thigh really seemed to work the oblique muscles. They certainly feel sore this morning. In Turbo Fire Chalene speaks of strengthening the core to get the most of your kicks and punches. She really speaks the truth on that, and last night was evidence of such. I’m glad my Core muscles are getting strong enough to take it, that’s for sure. I’m looking forward to tonight’s session most definitely.

Krav Maga is an interesting workout in that we spent quite a bit of time on strength and conditioning, but when you get down to the self defense moves, it proves educational as well. I fully advocate it as a cardio and strength workout, but also as a way for folks to learn how to defend themselves. You never know when you’ll need those skills to prevent something bad from happening.

Amazing workout: Turbo Fire Upper 20/ Lower 20/ Core 20

December 9, 2011 Leave a comment

Wow… just wow. I’m trying to alternate days where I do cardio on one day and resistance/ strength training the next. Last night was the first night I tried all three (Upper 20, Lower 20, and Core 20) on the same day. Holy Majoly, my abs are on fire today. Apropos, no?

I found a video on Youtube of someone demonstrating Core 20, if you’d like to see it in action:

And one for Lower 20 (also including Abs 10):

For martial arts, doing the types of exercises demonstrated in Lower 20 is a great way to get an increased range of motion when it comes to kicks and knee strikes. A stronger Core gives more power to those kicks as well as punches. I’m going to aim for doing this workout on the days that I’m not in martial arts class or doing an extended session of cardio at home. Burnout would not be a good thing.

The soreness will come tomorrow, I’m sure 🙂

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