Why Practice Hot Yoga?

You have probably been curious about hot yoga for awhile but have not tried it yet. Now is the time to explore hot yoga and what it can do for you! Hot Yoga can benefit the body in many ways including:

  • Improved Circulation: Hot yoga allows your circulatory system to flow with greater ease and increases the blood flow to your limbs.
  • Increased Flexibility: The additional warmth in your muscles helps with movement allowing you to reach new levels in poses while increasing your internal organ massage. Your inner organs, ligaments and muscles will benefit by this increased flexibility.
  • An uptick in the elimination of toxins: An increased level of sweating permits your body to eliminate more toxins.
  • A challenge: While practicing yoga, we connect the mind, body and spirit. Adding the element of heat will challenge you while keeping connected. Therefore, hot yoga practice will help you improve your sense of focus not just on the mat but in overall life!
  • Cardio: Hot yoga is a great cardio workout and calorie burner!

We practiced Hot Yoga in a studio heated to 95 degrees F. We recommend bringing a towel to put over your yoga mat. We also recommend bringing a bottle of water.

Charity Races Are Losing Money… Gaining Popularity

Has the charity race craze—all those walks, runs, rides, and mud runs done to raise money for good causes—begun to fizzle? The numbers for 2014 aren’t in yet, but a survey of the top 30 programs showed a total drop of $44.5 million in 2013.

Make no mistake. Despite the declines, charity races and endurance events are still big business. In 2013, the top ten powerhouses affiliating with, or holding, such events raised more than $1 billion, led by the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life at $380 million, followed by the Susan G. Komen for the Cure’s Race for the Cure at almost $107 million, according to Peer-to-Peer Professional Forum. But six of those top ten events saw income declines, continuing a trend despite the improving economy.

Industry pros say the overall participation rates are flat or down only very slightly. So what accounts for the decline in total revenues? It may be that newer, jazzier events are cannibalizing participants from the older, established pioneers. Three day walks are out, mud runs are in.

“People don’t want to do a 5K,” says Tim Brockman, CEO and founder of Event 360, an event production company that works with charities, including Komen and the AIDS Healthcare Foundation. “They want to go to a neon disco blacklight 5K at night, and the vampire run, and an undie 500.” Events like the Komen three-day walk helped pioneer the business, Brockman says, but many younger people—the ones with extra income and the drive to do something active for charity—don’t want to spend that much time out on the course. “They want to do it on a Saturday morning. It’s more about instant gratification.”

Brockman’s company has seen growth in a new 5K mud run event it has operated with the Multiple Sclerosis Society called MuckFest MS. The MuckFests ran in ten cities and drew just over 30,000 participants in 2014. The company has added an eleventh city for 2015.

Events like MuckFest are contributing to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation’s declining participation numbers, says Amy Boulas, the JDRF’s National Walk Director. “We did not have that competition before,” she says. “And the younger generation says ‘A walk’s great. I’ll do it once. But it’s kinda boring and lame.’”

The silver lining for walks, however, is that walkers may be more dedicated to the actual cause, and be somewhat older and therefore have more money, and possibly time, to donate, Boulas says. Her retention rate, or the numbers of people who do a walk and then make the charity part of their life, is pretty good, though exact numbers were not given. “Anybody can do it,” she explained of the walks. “There are not a lot of barriers to entry. What I need to do as a fundraiser is ensure my organization has another way to engage you after you have done the walk for two or three years.”

Toward that end, Boulas is exploring so-called “customized” endurance adventures in which smaller groups of people can do many kinds of events, from kayaking to canal skating. “You’ve got to stay relevant the audience,” she said. “And yeah, it’s the younger generation. What do they want and expect? They say ‘What appeals to us?’”

Smile Train, a charity that funds cleft palate surgeries around the world, has taken a slightly different approach to fundraising innovation. Instead of focusing on a short, sweet event like a morning mud run, or an array of different adventures like JDRF, they’re making charity racing a VIP lifestyle.

Smile Train has aligned itself with Ironman Arizona, paying a fee to the race to be the exclusive charity beneficiary (except for the Ironman Foundation itself). According to Sarah Coulam, senior manager of athletics for Smile Train, in the three years since initiating the partnership, the gross dollar amount raised has grown. In 2013, Smile Train grossed $425,000. This past year, it grossed over $800,000 thanks to the charity’s unique customer service practice: treating donors like Vegas high rollers. “Your job as the charity is to give them that extra VIP experience,” she said. “That’s why some [charities] are successful and some struggle.”

Smile Train engages its Ironman racers for nearly a year before the event by hosting both race training seminars and fund raising plans on the website “so that every day they are thinking about your organization. They literally bike, swim, run, eat your organization.”

As the race approaches, Smile Train triathletes don’t just get shorts and a T-shirt. The charity hosts webinars with the race director, VIP tours of the course with Ironman staff—including racers’ family and friends, who are shown where the best spectator spots are located—an on-course training camp, and a post-race party. “We have to be ahead of the curve to figure out what motivates people and how to get people to sign up and believe in the program,” Coulam says. If that means being catered to like Kimye at a Vegas hotspot, so be it.


We all have busy lives whether you’re a student, a parent, a business associate, a doctor or what have you. It becomes much easier to grab the burger at the fast food restaurant nearby or make a quick trip to the vending machine for a mid day snack than to cook a healthy meal. When life gets busy, the first thing to go is a proper diet. Unfortunately, this can lead to a snowball effect of bad dietary habits.

Diet and mood are intrinsically linked, and it’s often hard to distinguish cause from effect. While a full schedule undoubtedly gets in the way of good eating, food itself actually alters mood too.

Serotonin, a chemical produced in the brain, affects mood by transmitting messages from one area of the brain to another — in particular, to the brain cells that regulate mood and well-being. To simplify the issue, the more serotonin present, the better your mood. Serotonin is created by the brain; it’s not an outside agent that can be injected into your bloodstream. But if you understand the production process, you can put your body in the right circumstances to produce it. For the most part, this comes down to diet.


Amongst the amino acids contained in protein is tryptophan. Eating foods like fish, game meat, poultry, and eggs fills your bloodstream with protein, which then breaks down into its many amino acids. Once the tryptophan reaches the brain, it’s processed into serotonin.

Ironically, though, a protein-heavy diet itself will actually slow serotonin production. When protein breaks down, it releases numerous amino acids, all of which are competing for space in the bloodstream. This creates a traffic jam of sorts, slowing tryptophan’s journey to the brain. To fix this, you need to…


Carbohydrates — found in grains, nuts, fruits/vegetables, and (of course) refined sugar — trigger the release of insulin, which causes amino acids to absorb into the bloodstream. Most amino acids, that is. Insulin doesn’t affect tryptophan. It does, though, clear the roadways for tryptophan’s trip to the brain.

But you can’t follow up protein with any carbohydrate — the trick is to eat the right carbs. Sugar and white breads certainly release insulin and spark serotonin production, but it’s too much too fast. The tryptophan gets used up abruptly, and serotonin levels fluctuate, resulting in mood swings.

Better carb options are wheat breads, fruits/vegetables, and nuts. These options will boost your mood and enable you maintain a healthy diet.


Food affects mood in a variety of ways. In addition to the serotonin cycle, there’s the placebo effect and sensory association. Sugar leads to a spike in carbs/energy, but that may not be why kids bounce off walls at a birthday party — it might just be they’re at a birthday party and feed off each other’s energy. Association works when your senses, a particular smell or taste, triggers a memory. The smell of peach cobbler may take you back to your grandmother’s house, triggering a good mood. Just because there is a positive feeling associated with a particular food does not mean you must give in to your senses. Being aware of the way your brain reacts to various stimuli can help you refrain from indulging in unhealthy foods and creating harmful dietary habits.


When your mood swings low or life gets stressful, what do you want? What’s your “comfort food?”

Most people crave sweet things — chocolate, candy, pie, etc. While the carb intake will increase serotonin, keep a close eye on how you respond to those cravings. Respond wisely, with good carbs, and you could get the energy you need to pull yourself up by your dietary bootstraps. Respond poorly, and you may just dig yourself deeper into the cycle of low mood, bad eating. This can lead to weight gain which plays a significant part of the detrimental cycle.

The Truth About the Post-Workout Beer

If you exercise, chances are you also drink. I know this because according to a new study from Northwestern Medicine, people tend to drink more alcohol on the days they’ve exercised. Especially beer. It could be because we reward ourselves with a post-run brewski, or because we’ve used up all of our willpower on exercise, so we have none left to deny ourselves that drink or two. Whatever the reason, if you’re drinking thinking that it’ll help you sleep, relax your muscles, numb the pain, or increase blood flow to help you recover faster, as they say in AA, that’s just stinkin’ thinkin’.

“It’s detrimental to drink alcohol after any type of exercise or workout,” says Professor Matthew Barnes of New Zealand’s Massey University School of Sport and Medicine. “I’ve never really seen anything that says it’s useful as far as recovery.”

He’s also never seen anything that says alcohol is useful for comptetion. Barnes’ most recent study on the impact of alcohol on sports performance and recovery in men concluded that “the consumption of even low doses of alcohol prior to athletic endeavour should be discouraged due to the ergolytic effects of alcohol on endurance performance.” Ergolytic meaning performance impairing. These effects, the study’s authors wrote, “are likely to inhibit recovery and adaptation to exercise.”

How does alcohol screw you up? Let us count the ways. Because it’s a diuretic, you’ll urinate more. “That leads to dehydration,” says Barnes, “and the result is detrimental effects on muscular contraction.” Every gram of alcohol you ingest increases urine flow by about two teaspoons. To put that in perspective, a 12-ounce can of beer contains about 14 grams of alcohol. That’s an extra half-cup of pee.

Alcohol also interferes with how your body produces energy. Pushing all that liquor into your liver leaves you with less glucose, the sugar needed to power your muscles. If an athlete runs out of it, they hit that proverbial wall “and most likely won’t finish the race,” Barnes says.

As for fixing your injuries, “if you consume alcohol, probably any amount, it’ll increase blood flow to [injured areas], because it’s a reasonably good vasodilator,” explains Barnes. But that’s not necessarily a good thing—it could make an injury bleed or swell even more, causing more pain. The body’s regulatory system functions quite well without the alcohol, Barnes says.

Alcohol can also poison muscle fibers. Beer, in particular, affects the fast-twitch anaerobic fibers by inhibiting an enzyme that helps fuel the muscle. When that happens, the fibers don’t adapt like they should for up to three days. The result: a longer recovery period.

As for that pain you say a glass of pinot erases? “Alcohol makes you feel less pain because of the effects on the nerve endings,” says Barnes. “So you can mask that pain with alcohol.” Which may not be as helpful as it sounds. “The pain’s there for a reason,” adds Barnes. “Ignoring it’s probably not a better approach.”

Athletes in particular seem to think that after a grueling game or an extreme workout, alcohol will help them relax and sleep better. “But it actually disrupts people’s sleep pattern,” says Barnes. “They don’t get a restful night’s sleep. And you need a restful sleep. That’s when growth hormones are released in your body, during the night.”

Finally, there’s the drunken food choices. One athlete Barnes studied had only three carrots the entire day after drinking, while another went through seven meat pies. “Athletes’ diets tend to go out the window,” Barnes says. “Alcohol throws them completely out of sync. They go for convenience.” That inadequate or improper fueling can lead to poor performance.

If you still think a post-race beer isn’t a bad idea, consider this: alcohol interferes with your muscles’ post-workout rebuilding process by reducing protein synthesis. “So not only does alcohol interfere with recovery of muscle damage and injury,” says Barnes, “it also reduces the processes responsible for building muscle.” There is a tiny silver lining: while not beneficial, a few glasses of alcohol comsumedafter a solid recovery meal and drink won’t necessarily cancel out all of the work you just did.

So opt for water or a sports drink right after a competition. “The key is to regain the weight loss, to get back to that pre-exercise weight,” says Barnes. As for a post-race meal, Barnes suggests something with about 20g of protein (enough to optimize protein synthesis post-exercise) and around 50g of carbs (usually high glycemic index, simple carbs to speed up glycogen synthesis), like a chicken sandwich or a baked potato and tuna. Then, if you must, you can have some alcohol.

“Other than the social side of it, I can’t see a benefit to alcohol at all, really,” Barnes says. “If you’re an athlete and you’re drinking alcohol, you’re just setting yourself up for failure.”

adidas Running Launches Ultra BOOST Performance Shoe

The running arm of sportswear leviathan adidas now reveals the latest in its line of performance-enhancing footwear. Dubbed Ultra BOOST, the running shoe picks up where its Pure BOOST predecessor left off, combining the sole unit’s high energy return with adidas’s patent Primeknit uppers for precision fit and stability. Designed to adapt to all surfaces and provide an enhanced running experience, the shoe is described by the brand’s press people as “the best running shoe ever” – find out for yourself when it drops worldwide February 11.

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Audio is a harsh mistress when it comes to workout headphones. Some companies make earbuds and headphones that can take a beating, but they sound like coins being thrown down an aluminum drainpipe, suffer from volume issues, and reduce your cardio-pumping bass beats down to something the little drummer boy would be ashamed of. On the other hand, you can get some incredible audio out of certain headphones which will short circuit at the first drop of sweat or suddenly slip off your head, slap you in the face, and not only ruin your workout but leave you brain damaged. Don’t let these poor imitators into your life.

Workout headphones need to walk a tougher line than your average noise-cancelling headphones in that they must be comfortable yet bombproof. You should get great sound quality that can pump you up and let Eye of the Tiger help get your knees high, but they also need to be something that doesn’t bloody well embarrass you whenever you take a run past the yoga studio just as class is letting out. To do all of this and more, we’ve found the 10 best workout headphones.



Pro: Affordable
Con: Awkward controls

Best Bargain: First off, these look badass. The Skullcandy skull logo either in silver on black, white, red, or chrome is as metal as a Slayer concert without being garish. Besides looking good, the sound quality is excellent compared with most workout headphones that bear a much heavier price tag. These are especially good for those who like to get their cardio with some drum and bass or EDM because they have a hidden bass port that thumps out those sweet beats without needing to be backed by a huge driver. Naturally, they won’t keep the die-hard audiophile happy, unless that same music lover loves having more money, but for the average bass lover who just needs something that works, this is it. The Fix doesn’t use a specially designed contour or exterior molding to keep their hold, rather they seem to just fit perfectly for staying in place even during more rigorous activity. Sounds distort if you crank them, but you shouldn’t be doing that anyhow. The in-line controls only truly work with iOS devices, so Android users won’t get the full range of operation. Ultimately, it is the controls that are the biggest downfall, since the remote hangs out of sight, and since all the buttons feel alike, expect to lower the volume rather than pausing or activate the phone when trying to play.



Pro: Neither an in-ear nor on-ear design
Con: Hard to find best placement

Ambiance: In-ear headphones can block out sound and many people find them uncomfortable. On-ear and over-ear headphones often can’t stay in place when you exercise. In an attempt to strike a balance between these two extremes, Aftershokz created an workout headphone that is neither an on-ear nor an earbud yet somehow the best of both. These hook around the top of your ear to a neckband that stays in place passably, though if you go over hill and dale rather than sticking to flat roads or gym workouts, then these will probably jitterbug away from their optimal placement. They rest on your cheek bones and project into your ear so they aren’t truly resting on your ear canal, stopping external noise from seeping in. The sound goes right to your inner ear which offers better clarity since it is passing through bone, rather than air in a new stereophonic technology that you’re likely to see much more of in the future. The biggest trouble here is finding the sweet spot on your face to get ideal sound clarity.



Pro: Very hard to damage
Con: No noise cancelling

Most for the Money: It’s tough to get true out-of-the-box use from workout headphones. Typically you need to adjust and tweak, trying different tips on the earbuds, moving the mount further around behind your ear, or just getting them to stay put without chafing. The Relays suffer from no such issues. They slide in perfectly on the first time and ensure that you’re not going to be spending half of your workout trying to get them to stop moving around. If you like to pump or do yoga with a little sound in your skull, the Bluetooth capability means you won’t be contending with a cord, yet still receiving near corded quality. The sound isn’t dazzling, but certainly keeps pace with most corded models, and the convenience is well worth the minor drop in true sound acuity. The larger backing dampens noise, but doesn’t truly cancel it. As to abuse, these do it all: water, sweat, impacts, and being yanked out of your gym bag over and over. Sol even replaces lost or damaged tips at no cost should they go rogue.



Pro: Takes over many fitness tracker roles
Con: Neither an impressive tracker, nor impressive headphones

The More You Know: Landing somewhere between interesting niche product and middle child of technology is the FR74 heart rate monitoring headphones from LG. These are one of the few devices that begin to bridge the gap between fitness trackers and workout headphones in that they provide accurate data at a glance without the need to add in extra weight or more wearable gadgets. The headphones monitor distance, calories burned, number of steps, direction, and pulse rate, all of which is sent to a small medallion-shaped box where it is processed and sent to your smartphone or other device. The headphones themselves are held in place by a flexible cord that goes over your ear and can be wrapped snugly for a tighter fit. The hi-fi sound that these produce is good, but given the limited space where large quantities of data is being parsed, the drivers don’t have the room to be amazing. Overall, if you want a hybrid fitness tracker and headphone set, this is an affordable innovation that is worth trying, even if only as an experiment.



Pro: Lifetime warranty
Con: Terrible microphone

The Immovable Object: We’re going to admit it right up front: These don’t sound the best. Good, but they won’t give you an eargasm. They aren’t the most comfortable. Again, very comfortable, but not like giving your ears a massage. What these accomplish better than anything else is sticking to their guns. They stay in place through your pop and lock routine. They don’t move when you cliff dive. They stick around as you throw your own private headbanger’s ball. The cords are kevlar that is tough and doesn’t catch or snag, but rather lays flat while the silicone tips dig in to the curve of your ear and never let go. Complemented by a 15.4mm dynamic driver, complete waterproofing, and a lifetime warranty against abuse, and you’ve got something to crow about. The directed tips channel sound deeper into your ear, which allows you to reduce the volume and keep more battery life in your mobile devices.



Pro: Highly visible in low light
Con: Cord length cannot be adjusted

City Slick: During a run, it should be just you and the road or the trail, but the world doesn’t work like that. Most people have to get their training in wherever they can, and that means dealing with traffic, with the city, with other runners, cyclists, and whatever other impediments crop up. To do this, you can’t have your ears completely blocked, plugged up by your workout headphones. The BackBeat Fit aims to give you high grade wireless audio quality without deafening you to the outside world. The silicone backer wraps around your ear to hold the headphones in place during strenuous activity, be it P90X, lifting, or tackling trails on your mountain bike. The cord can’t be adjusted, which can annoy distance runners as it feels a little sloppy, but the simple controls are responsive and work for anybody. Call quality is very clear, as is most music, though the open style will bleed sound in noisy environments. Especially impressive is the armband and included carrying case. A P2i coating keeps sweat and rain from bringing ruin to the Fit.



Pro: Very light
Con: Tricky remote

Immortal: Runners in the Century Club who like long marathons and lots of them will fall desperately in love with the BlueBuds X. Ordinarily Bluetooth wireless headphones are a mite touch and go, with a lot more touching than going, but these are exceptional. First off, they are only 4.5 ounces, making them very light. The battery lasts for 8 solid hours per charge, so there’s no need to lug around spares or have a wire slapping against you when you feel like taking a jog to check the weather 50 miles away. Nanotech waterproofing from Liquitech allows them to fight off both your macho sweat and whatever the sky decides to throw at you. USA Triathlon has adopted these as their official headphones, and you know the good people who sanction the Ironman wouldn’t tell you lies. The bass is very good, with fairly crisp and clean mids and highs to back it up. The behind the neck remote is a little touchy, and the over/under fit either works great or fails horribly.



Pro: Soft, ergonomic fit
Con: Unimpressive sound quality

Complete Comfort: Bose is universally known in the audio industry for their incredible sound. In this case, the sound is secondary to the shocking comfort that comes from the SIE2I. The silicone earpieces are buttery soft and fit in the ear canal comfortably for long-term wear. You might not fully forget you have them on, but you’ll come pretty close. They have the ability to let in some ambient noise, which is preferable for outdoor exercise, though if you use a noisy gym it could irritate you pretty quickly. The design is ergonomic, using additional soft holders to conform to the interior of your ear rather than sitting over the top of it or curling around the back, resulting in a more natural hold. Oddly enough, where the SIE2I falls short is on their sound quality. It isn’t bad per se, but for the price it isn’t up to Bose’s usual standards. They also lack a carrying case and the comfortable materials are subject to breaking if treated roughly. Thankfully, Bose backs them with an outstanding warranty.



Pro: Beautiful sound
Con: Sound bleed

Beautiful Noise: B&W ordinarily don’t get out of bed for trivial nonsense like workout headphones. They’re too busy making AirPlay speakers that can blow the doors off of brick buildings, but they decided to slum it, and the results are impressive. The C5s bear what B&W call a “Micro Porous Filter” system which projects outward more like a true speaker than a simple headphone. The result is much richer, deeper, more impressive audio quality that also tends to reach people around you. They’re held in place by a loop over your ear that is comfortable and fully pliable so you can adjust it to suit your very special needs. The loop and the sound blocking seal are a single piece that conforms to your whole ear similar to custom made pieces designed to give you a better hold and keep the sound going where it is supposed to. The sound that comes out is smooth and supple, so whatever poison you like to pour in your ear, it will sound amazing. Unfortunately, they are iOS dependent, leaving anyone not in the Apple camp with only the most basic controls.



Pro: Powerful Bluetooth reception
Con: Will cause some ear sweat

Big Noise: The entire Monster iSport line is, without exception, very good, so if you like the Strive or the Victory, by all means, buy them. What we liked about the Freedom should be clear just by looking at them: They are on-ear headphones for peaking your pump, rather than sticking with the pack and only making in-ear workout headphones. Inside are 40mm drivers that give you plenty of sound, though you’re going to be able to find plenty of similar styles with bigger, better, badder sounds, though none as rugged. The body is made of rubber and plastic that can practically be put through the dishwasher (don’t do that) while also allowing the headband to get completely squashed and still bounce back. Completely Bluetooth enabled, they work with any smartphone or mp3 player and have excellent reception, even outside. Using the tried-and-true control method of putting the remote on the outside of the earphone in a method reminiscent of Beats by Dre, they’re easy to control. The fit is snug against your head so even if you’re doing a bouncy stair-a-thon up the Freedom Tower, they’ll stick with you.

The Perfect Explanation to Why We Hate Crossfitters

Doing Crossfit is a giveaway that you are a huge douche-bag.

You guys want to know how to be able to tell if someone does Crossfit? Don’t worry, they’ll tell you.

In fact, they will make sure to tell you within seconds of meeting you, and then they’ll proceed to talk about Crossfit and nothing else. This just happened to me on my lunch break: I was going to ask for no onions on my sandwich but cool, you flip tires in your spare time; now I know. Thanks, and I’ll take my sandwich to go.

I don’t know when exactly it happened but Crossfit is a big thing now. Crossfit studios are popping up everywhere. Anywhere that fitness is remotely a thing, there’s a least three different Crossfit studios around. If you live in a big city or on a college campus, forget about it. Left and right, here and there, POP! POP! Nothing ruins a nice morning stroll than a group of girthy people running behind you carrying tires above their head while moaning and groaning with veins popping out of their necks. Like, I’m just trying to get myself a Skinny Vanilla Latte and you’re ruining it for me. (I wonder if Crossfitters order a Bulky Vanilla Latte, sub espresso, add protein.)

Crossfit is for sure a cult and nothing else. Here, I’ll prove it to you. Have you ever met someone who just dabbles in a little Crossfit? No. Everyone you meet that does Crossfit is a little something like this:

(while clenching fists, thrusting, bouncing and probably spitting)


(…just a mild preview for you.)

Look, I totally comprehend how it’s a ‘manly’ thing to do Crossfit and have that ridiculous body but if you’re showing up to a cookout primarily for the protein and not the cleavage and sundresses, you are not a real man. You’re just a random guy with aggressive veins eating too much chicken.

If you’re a girl who is really into Crossfit, then…my advice to you is to ditch the Crossfit studio and walk next door to the Yoga studio. Guys want to see you in tree pose, not literally picking up a tree.

I have a feeling that it’s a rule in the Crossfit community that once you leave Crossfit, you go and tell everyone you know that you went to Crossfit (either before or after you try to convince them to participate in the paleo diet.) Speaking of the paleo diet, um, please go away. It’s cool if you want to eat like a caveman, whatever, do you your thing. You want to know what would be even cooler? Not talking about it all the damn time. If you paleo people keep professing your obsessions for ‘caveman’ life, then I’m pretty sure you will end up living an actual caveman life and no one will want to be around you. Get back in your cave and shut the fuck up about your weighed out meat and nuts!