TUESDAY JULY 29, 2014
 
Blog HEALTH
TRISH STRATUS'S YOGA CHALLENGE
FirstYogaClass.jpg

What do you say when fitness icon and seven-time WWE women’s champion Trish Stratus throws down the gauntlet with a 30-day yoga challenge? Yes, of course.

I’m 25 years old, practice martial arts regularly and am highly competitive. Before this challenge I’ve never tried yoga in my life. And I know what you’re thinking guys: “Yoga? What can I get out of yoga?” That was my first thought as well, but after chatting with the very persuasive Stratus, I thought I’d give it a shot.

Today marks the one-week point of my 30-day challenge. I’ve definitely learned and improved a lot in a very short time. If you’re looking to try it out for yourself, here’s what you can expect from the first seven days.

THE CLEANSE


The first couple days kicked off with a cleanse intended to “give your guts a break.”  Basically all I ate was fresh, natural, whole foods, which meant having mostly salad, fruits, seeds and shakes — and a whole lot of water. This involved completely revamping my diet (bye bye bread and ice cream). I dropped nearly three pounds of water weight during the first two days of my cleanse which left me feeling lighter and energized, but I’ll admit that I was happy to introduce more lean meats and proteins on day 3. If you’re looking to try the cleanse, be sure to keep it to two to three days max and don’t do any heavy physical activity because you might not have the energy (I didn't). Keep it simple with walking or light yoga.

FOOD


Before I started, I feared that all I was going to be able to eat was shakes and salads but since beginning this journey my entire approach to food has changed. I find that I’m actually experimenting more with food than I ever have before, searching the aisles of the grocery store for healthy ingredients and a variety of flavours. No more boring fast-food routines (ie. Subway sandwiches), it’s all about stir fries, healthy shakes, chicken, fish and fresh veggies. I've had to plan and be more organized, cooking larger amounts at a single time to portion things out later in the week. The easier it is to choose a healthy option, the easier it is to stay on track. Here’s a few of Stratus's healthy recipes to start you out.

YOGA – THE WORKOUT

I’ll admit, I totally underestimated how hard Stratus's yoga workout was. After my first 50-minute DVD session I was left sweating on my mat, core burning from all the planks, shoulders and arms burning from the weighted gloves. My legs burned from the squats and lunges. My lower back problems became quickly evident in some of the exercise, proving my core needs some work.

FitTestPlank.jpgI visited Stratusphere in Vaughan to try out my first ever yoga class before subjecting myself to Stratus's fit test (video coming soon).  Since I had a couple days to get familiar with her Stratusphere Yoga DVD and had the martial arts training, I was dropped into the deep end with an advanced hot yoga class with instructor Jessie Migneault. What did I learn? It’s a LOT harder than you’d think! Crow, Eagle, and Tree pose require a great degree of balance, strength and flexibility. However, being around other people in an organized class is inspiring and motivating (did I mention I was competitive).  It not only gives you an instructor to correct you on your poses to get the most out of your stretch, but it also gives you perspective. I may not be as flexible as some, but I definitely held my own with others, which felt good. It also gave me goals to set for myself seeing some Stratuspherians effortlessly flow from one pose to another.

Another key? The importance of breathing. The more you breath and connect your breath with your movements, the more you’re able to sink into your poses, get a deeper stretch and flow from one movement to the other. Focusing on breathing is also a great way to mentally focus and help you forget about outside distractions, which leads me to my next yoga discovery, the mental break.

As Stratus hinted at in our initial interview, Yoga is a great mental break from life. As I sweated it out with the roughly 20 other individuals (half of them men) in that room, I found myself getting lost in my breathing and the collective movements of the class. It wasn’t until the end of the five-minute meditation at the end of the session when I remembered where I was and what I was doing.  For almost that entire hour I completely forgot about work and life’s myriad troubles.

Watch for next week's recap and follow my #stratusphereliving challenge each day on Twitter.
>> WATCH Trish Stratus' Fit Test
>> READ Tony's Week 4 Check-in and results

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