YIN Eastern-style AND YANG Western-style Fitness: Taking the best of both to achieve fat loss, build muscle and feel strong

Fitness, Fitness Tips & Workouts
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Holistic wellbeing doesn’t sound as sexy as lose weight, get fit quick and drop a dress size in 10 days.

We want fast, visible and overnight transformations.

But in order to achieve optimal results, to hit our ‘fat loss’ or ‘muscle building’ goals and most of all feel strong, we need to look at a holistic and intuitive look at health and fitness – as one entity, taking inspiration from Eastern philosophies that incorporate the mind and body as one, where exercise, nutrition and fulfilment is part of life.

Mindful focus on how we feel and what our body needs is much more than just ‘airy fairy’ talk, it is scientifically proven to help us eat, sleep and move in line with what we need daily rather than an ‘all or nothing’ short-term approach to diet and exercise.

Focusing on a gentle ‘yin’ and more forceful ‘yang’ style energy “chi” flow, in simple terms like interval or fartlek training. Plus, the key to the ultimate long-lasting mind and body transformation, losing fat or avoiding overtraining for example, is being in-tune with our whole selves which helps us to nourish ourselves so we not only look good but feel it too.

Even top athletes use a flow state in their daily lives to achieve their personal best, they tend to flow between rest- activity -pause- rest -activity-sleep. But how can we do it? Move and stretch within an hour of waking to get our blood flowing and accept that each day we will get 2-3 hours of pure work or focused flow. So, if we start to feel overwhelmed with a task, it’s better to have 20-minute deep breathing meditation first. If like me, you struggle with pausing, you can start simple with relaxing music such as “Solfeggio Frequencies” explains Abigayle Andre, founder of local holistic skincare brand Glam Aesthetics: “These frequencies affect how we feel. Sound healing dates back to ancient spiritual traditions and research shows it to have positive mental, emotional and physical effects.”

This then gives us the energy to exert more into a ‘yang style workout’ or save time on procrastinating on the task in hand as we have a new found laser focus. We also find that when we’re more relaxed we don’t tend to eat and drink as erratically either.

I know energy pacing is something I have incorporated in recent times to avoid burnout and to improve my performance rather than my initial 24/7 “go hard or go home” mindset.  It’s more important to maintain your form in exercise, work, family and life and most of all reap the rewards of total fitness, rather than go to failure.

Discover the right energy pace or ‘balance’ for your own lifestyle and if possible, always try to do some movement or stretching within the first hour of waking.

A way I love slowing down to incorporate mindfulness with movement is through Qi Gong as my instructor Mark Tum Whitmore, said: “By combining Qi Gong movements with breathing reduces stress and tension throughout the physical, mental, emotional and even the spiritual aspects of a human being, this provides a huge range of benefits for health and self-healing.”

In turn, adopting this mindful approach to life impacts how we eat, drink, exercise to achieve our ‘fat loss’ or ‘feel strong’ goals and most of all to sustain better habits as we evolve and adjust our ‘flow’ balance.

Mind Challenge

Practice different types of breathing techniques. Start simple by incorporating deep breathing into your day then you can try these techniques:

  • Belly or ‘Diaphragmatic’ breathing: This can help you use your diaphragm properly.
  • Pursed lip breathing to slow down your breathing and relax.
  • Alternate nostril breathing on an empty stomach.
Emotional intelligence expert Kul Mahay says:

“Getting out and about – close to home, of course – and inhaling that fresh air fills your lungs with more oxygen. This increased level of oxygen will see the amount of serotonin (the happy hormone) in your body increase, making you feel happier and energised.”


Did You Know?

Our skin is the body’s largest organ which acts as a barrier if it’s healthy. It protects our vital organs.

A good sleep, eating and exercise routine is vital but don’t neglect a skincare regime, explains skin specialist Abigayle Andre of Glam Aesthetics who recommends a good cream cleanser which includes:

“Skin Barrier loving Ingredients like Ceramides, Glycerin and Squalane. 

“But avoid micellar water and wipes.”


Life Hack

Eat. Sleep. Move. Repeat. Intuitively

“It’s easy to get stuck in the rut of life whether it be a high pace rat race or the slow monotony people experience in Lockdown. And as for our food and exercise.. well how often have we got trapped in the same bad habit cycle of exercise and nutrition?

Living intuitively isn’t just one for the Yoga lovers amongst us, it can help us feel more at one with ourselves at the world and achieve better results by noticing when we need a rest, eaten enough or when we need to drink more water.”

Sophie Mei Lan, @TheSparkleCoach @MamaMeiBlog

Body Workout

Workout 1

1.) Single leg hip bridge x10

2.) Wide squats x10

3.) Incline push ups x10

Repeat as many rounds as you can in 10 minutes.

Workout 2

1.) Prisoner squats  x10

2.) Plank builders x10

3.) Mountain climbers x10 (each leg)

Repeat as many rounds as you can in 10 minutes.


For more home workouts, go to bit.ly/squatsandsparkles or follow Sophie @MamaMeiBlog and Mike @GreenHealthPT

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