Saturday, July 17, 2010

Head Standing - Ashtanga Yoga

•Step 1

Kneel on a mat, lacing your fingers together to create a semicircle with your palms, set your forearms on the floor, shoulder width apart

•Step 2

Draw your shoulders back to open your chest and feel strong through the arms. Exhaling, lengthen through the back of your neck and extend the back of your head into your palms, cupping your head. Lightly pressing your head on the mat, lift your shoulders up and away from your ears. Using your toes to raise your hips, begin to shift your weight evenly onto your forearms and clasped hands to form a base for your headstand.

•Step 3

Walk your feet in towards your face, lifting your hips, draw them directly over your shoulders. Next, press down through your arms and slide your shoulder blades up to release any tension in your neck, simultaneously aligning your pelvis with your shoulders.

•Step 4

Keeping your toes on the floor, sway your hips back. Inhaling, draw your kneecaps and thigh muscles up, floating your feet up off the floor. Transferring most of your weight to your arms and a little to your head, lift your legs to form a right angle.

•Step 5

Continuing to inhale, raise your legs together, stretching them upwards into a full headstand. While in the full headstand, look at your nose while focusing on the even support of the forearms. Beginners can opt to ease into the pose by bringing your feet up one at a time, gradually working towards bringing them up together.

•Step 6

Come down from the headstand. Lift your pelvis and lower your feet to the floor. Next, bend your knees and sit on your heels, rest your head on the floor and bring your arms back. Drop your elbows and rest in this position for at least two minutes. Inhaling, place your hands underneath your shoulder and lift your head and chest, slowly roll up into a standing position.

Benefits Of Head Stand (Salamba Sirshasana)

  • The Head Stand helps relieve stress and mild depression by calming the brain
  • It stimulates the pituitary and pineal glands\
  • The head stand also strengthens the arms, legs, chest, abdomen and spine
  • It helps to tone up the abdominal organs and improve digestion
  • The Head Stand helps alleviate symptoms of menopause
  • It is also very beneficial for asthmatics, insomniacs, and those suffering from sinusitis
  • Moreover, you relax all your muscles and build up power, structure, strength, and stability in your neck, upper back and arms.

  • The Head Stand should be avoided by people suffering from headaches, heart condition, low and high blood pressure, neck and back injury and during menstruation
  • Pregnant women can continue to practice it late into pregnancy only if they are experienced and comfortable with pose. Never, ever start practicing Sirshasana after getting pregnant.

  • Sirshasana is an advanced pose that should never be done without adequate prior experience or without the guidance of a trained and experienced tutor.

Friday, July 16, 2010

My First Competition - NPC Branch Warren 2010 July 10th

How Did I Prepare for the Competition?

WEEK 1 (April 19th-April 25th) - That's when I started working out for the competition. I didn't have a trainer and didn't really know what I should do, but I  knew about my body. I know what I like and what works for me. I started with total body weight training. Basically I spent about one hour and thirty min to work on total body. However, I didn't change any of my diet. I believe that what I eat is already healthy and clean- which is Korean food :)  I still did cardio not everyday, but often. I taught Cycle&Abs class every Thursday morning and went to yoga class two or three times a week. After one week of total body training, one of our awesome trainers, Dave told me I should separate my work out: upper and lower body.

WEEK 2 (April 26th-May 2nd) - Started lower/upper workout. One day I did lower body work out and then next day I did upper body. I still went to yoga and did cardio. Not everyday because I was busy with school and work but tried to do it every other day.

WEEK 3,4 (May 3rd-May 16th) - I checked my body fat % and it was 16.5%. I still did the same work out upper and lower and added cardio everyday with abs. Still my diet was the same like my normal diet.

WEEK 5,6, (May 17th-May 29th) - I forgot who that was but one of our trainers told me I should separate my work out. So I did two body part training. Ex. Shoulders and triceps; back and biceps; chest and shoulders, legs. Started about 40-50 min of morning cardio everyday. I knew what my weakness: shoulders and arms. So I did twice a week of shoulders and arms work out. My body fat was 15 %.

WEEK 7,8 (May 30st-June 10th) - Hardcore work out. I tried to do cardio twice a day. Morning and evening. Afternoon weight training. It was hard because I still had to work 10-5pm and had two summer classes. My diet? I had to say good-bye my favorite chocolate Ferraro Roche!! It was pretty big deal for me. And I tried super hard not to drink. Which means I still drank little bit... which is not allowed for those who compete. Body fat was 11.4% with 118 lbs.

WEEK 9,10 (June 11th-June23rd) - I went to Chile for almost two weeks and it was very harsh on my training because I couldn't eat right and couldn't work out regularly either. I had to try to eat whatever I could find and I still did cardio every morning while I was in Chile. I feel bad to tell you this but I cheated  A LOT while I was in Chile. I ate ice cream and sandwich burger, and drank pisco sour and wine!!

WEEK 11,12 (June 24th) - Came back to the states and Crystal, one of my friends who also compete for figure, told me if I have a trainer and posing coach. Of course I didn't. She highly recommend me to have a trainer/posing coach so I did. I met with my trainer once a week and I followed his work out plan which is basically focus on one body part: legs, shoulder and arms, back, and chest. I also watched YouTube to learn more about bikini posing. I only thing that I changed for my diet was breakfast. I usually ate cereal in the morning but I changed to one grape fruit and 3 white eggs. It was good because I liked them ALOT!! Worked out three times a day. Morning cardio, afternoon weight training, and short evening cardio. July 8th my body fat was 10.3% with 118 lbs.

July 10th - My first competition and I got 4th in my class Bikini A. I was very nervous when we did pre-judging, but I had so much fun doing it. After the competition, I got the critique and the judge said I need to work on my presentation part. I have three weeks to work on for my next show in August 7th in Austin. I'm still doing the same workout and cardio. I know what I expect now and I will be so much better. You are all invited to come support me!!!

Forgot to mention it. After the competition, I and couple of my awesome friends who helped me out with the competition went to Chewy(?) Mexican restaurant and I also ate my favorite ice cream Blue Bell Mint Chocolate Ice Cream on Sunday! It was HEAVEN!!!

Minsoo's Behind the Story

How I Got into Fitness:
I never knew about fitness when I was in Korea. I started with jazz dance after I graduated from high school. After two years of dancing, I wanted to be a dancer, but I decided to come to the states to learn English instead.
After three months staying at the dorm, I gained 20 lbs. Holly cow!! It was crazy so I started going to the gym and working out. I started going to the group exercise classes and after my first semester at UTA, I became a group exercise instructor. That was the beginning of me meeting with Fitness. I did not know anything about fitness before, but as I started the job, I learned more about fitness and started falling in love with it.
Like I mentioned before, many Koreans do not know about being fit. Girls want to be skinny and do not want to gain any muscle on their body. Because I was exposed and now I know how fitness is important for us, I want to educate them. I want to change the culture that girls starve themselves and being skinny. I set my goal: Let them know that being fit and healthy is important. But how?

Why I Competing:
Changing the mind set or culture is not easy. Nobody won't listen to me what I say unless I am the "important person" whom people would pay attention what I say. So I guess I have to be famous then. Right? That's when I decided that I wanted to be a fitness model. If I do, people would at least pay attention what I say. However, to be a model is not easy. I have to sell my self and you know there are so many dirty little secret in those industries..

How I Started Competing:
When I realized that to be a model is super hard, some of my friends told me about the bodybuilding competition. I've never thought that I would be the type to go into bodybuilding, but I found that there was Bikini division and I started thinking about doing it. It was April 19th, 2010.

I will talk more about my training and my first competition at the next post. Thanks for reading my story!

My First Competition

NPC Branch Warren 2010

Things To Remember When You Are Training?

Some of points that I thought they were important while I was training.
  • Don't starve your self.
When you are on a diet, you will be hungry 24/7. You workout hard, your body will need a source of energy-food. Make sure you don't starve your self. You know the rule: Eat small meals several times.
  • Eat what your BODY wants, NOT what YOU want.
There are difference between what YOU want and what your BODY wants. When your body asking for sugar, it's ok to take it. But probably eating 5 pieces of cake is not what your body wants. You have to control your desire.
  • Love your exercise
It's very hard for many of us to do cardio because cardio is hard and boring! I do cardio every morning pushing myself doing cardio that I like and enjoy. It doesn't matter what kind of cardio machine you use, make sure you love that work out then you are already 80% succeed.
  • Enjoy your food
Luckily, I didn't have to change whole lot of my diet because I believe that what I eat is healthy enough and most importantly, I LOVE MY FOOD!!! Find out food that has all the nutrition that you need, but also what you like. It will make 12 weeks on a diet so mush faster and easier.
  • Listen to your body
Having a good personal trainer is important when you train; however, I believe at the end, you are the one who can make the best decision for you. If the work out hurts you will know not your trainer. If you don't feel good after you take the protein shake? You know you can't take that anymore. Be the trainer of your training. Know your body and do what your body needs.
  • Rest your body
Again you will know when you need to rest your body. It's like a marathon. You can't finish the line if you sprint the first 500m. Same thing with the training. You push your self but don't forget to rest your body after your hardcore training.
  • Feel you are alive and appreciate it
I have a relationship with God and I communicate with God the most while I work out. Maybe that's why I like to work out so much.  I run and I feel my heart is beating. I push harder, and I feel my heart rate is increasing. I start sweating. It's getting hard to breath and I feel God. I feel that I'm alive as a human being and I appreciate what I have: my heart, my lung, my strong legs, and every single part of my body. God create our body to be used. So take care of your body!
  • Have FUN!
Nothing is more important than this... Have fun when you work out!!!

Good luck with your training and please feel free to share your thoughts with me :)