Ask any legging-clad woman about her fitness routine, and it usually revolves around spinning, running, or anything cardio-based. Convinced that they burn more calories, and therefore can eat more salted caramel gelato, they ignore the weights. The immediate calorie burn from cardio might be higher, but if you’re not doing any strength training, you’re missing out on a slew of other benefits; which you won’t get from just spinning your wheels.
I train my clients to get the most bang for their workout time, so I rely on my Xen Strength method which includes yoga sculpt classes with weights.
The top five benefits of doing yoga sculpt classes:
1. Adding yoga sculpt to your exercise routine helps build muscle which helps you control your weight
A Penn State study found that subjects lost 21 pounds whether they performed cardio or strength training. But surprisingly the cardio group lost six pounds of muscle, while those who lifted weights lost almost pure fat and gained muscle. Added bonus? Muscle burns more calories than fat – even while binge-watching Netflix.
You’ll burn 2-4 calories less per minute lifting weights versus cardio; but once you stop the elliptical, the burn comes to a halt. On the flip-side, post-weights, your metabolism stays elevated for up to an hour; burning calories up to 25% faster even after you finish lifting.
Yoga sculpt can help you burn an extra 120 calories a day for every three pounds of muscle you gain, which is key for weight loss and long-term weight control. Those extra 120 calories a day can add up to about 10 pounds of fat loss per year.
2. Doing yoga with weights regularly increases bone density
Listen, I know that increasing your bone density might not sound sexy, but you’ll thank me when you don’t break your hip next time you slip on a sheet of ice or trip off the curb, because your bones are stronger.
The Journal of Internal Medicine found that elderly people who break their hip face nearly three times the danger of dying in the year afterwards; don’t wait until it’s too late!
Trust me, keeping those bones nice and dense matters, and regular old yoga isn’t nearly as effective as when you add weights to your yoga flow.
Most doctors recommend weight training as the No. 1 preventive measure against bone loss. As women age, they can lose up to 1-2% of their bone mass annually. The good news is it’s reversible. Women who participated in a study with McMaster University found that a yearlong strength-training program increased their spinal bone mass by 9%.
3. Yoga sculpt exercises makes your traditional yoga practice stronger
Adding weights to traditional poses pushes your body to engage even more muscles than you would in a regular yoga class, therefore creating a stronger body overall to not only prevent injury but to also take your regular practice to the next level.
Arms not strong enough for handstand and crow?
Working the entire set of muscles in your arms and back with added strength training moves will give you a more stable base when trying to hold yourself up with your own two hands- something that’s not only physically rewarding, but also a big mental boost as well!
Just wait until you get into your next crow pose and can straighten your arms completely- sweet success!
Plus, imagine how easy regular ol’ tree pose will feel after mastering the art of balancing in the same pose while doing bicep curls- easy peasy!
And if you’re a super-stretchy yogi and normally only focus on flexibility, then building a strong foundation of muscular strength will help you hold yourself safely in poses where you might normally tend to overstretch.
4. Regularly doing yoga sculpt improves your mood
Losing weight and getting fit as a result of strength training will boost your confidence and help you fit in your favorite jeans, but that’s not the only reason it makes you smile.
There’s an immediate rush of endorphins that let loose after a date with weights, and they play an important role in regulating your mood. Boosting endorphins is one of the best natural ways to decrease stress, and therefore increase happiness.
I know that on the days that I skip my practice I can get grouchy, short tempered, and feel like a sloth for not moving my butt. I swear it’s my daily Xen Strength practice that keeps me happy and calm- just ask my kids who tell me to get on my mat if I get grumpy with them.
All the meditation in the world, still doesn’t make us mothers perfect.
5. Yoga sculpt classes attracts yoga students who won’t do traditional yoga classes
If I could count the number of friends who still think regular yoga is a waste of time or not a good enough workout, I’d run out of hands.
Okay, so I used to be one of those people 20 years ago too!
Some people just don’t see the benefit of flowing on their mat, even in a tough vinyasa class, but the cool thing is, that it’s those people who I find coming to my Xen Strength classes. They come because they think the added weights will give them the “workout” that they need, but then they find that they actually love the savasana and closing meditation.
I’ve found that using the weights is a great “trojan horse” to getting those who would never do yoga onto the mat. And the funny thing is, eventually I’ve found that they wind up in my regular yoga classes learning about all eight limbs and secretly confessing to me in private that they love it and can’t believe how they poo-poo’d it for so many years.
If you’re looking to add a yoga with weights certification to your teaching tool-box or add some CEUs to your current certification, check out my online training.
BONUS – doing yoga with weights may help prevent chronic illness
Studies have shown that strength training helps control blood sugar, which helps prevent diabetes; plus it keeps cardiovascular disease at bay by melting away visceral fat and fat that builds up around the organs. Maintaining muscle strength surrounding arthritic joints helps reduce stiffness and pain in those suffering from arthritis.
Plus, when we increase strength in our abdominal and back muscles, we’re able to reduce the symptoms of back pain.
Still not convinced? By adding yoga sculpt to your exercise routine, you’ll gain better posture and experience fewer injuries, improve your sports performance and endurance, and greatly improve your balance and stability.
As all the muscles in your body collectively get stronger and more efficient, you’ll have more energy and no longer need that 4pm skinny latte.
Don’t fret. You don’t need to drop your beloved cycle membership, you’ll still benefit from doing cardio. Luckily, you’ll get results from adding just two sessions of strength-training per week; which leaves you plenty of time run, spin, and hip hop your heart out.
Get going, grab some weights, and hop on your mat, if you don’t know where to start grab one of my free 30 minute videos below.