Top 10 fitness tips to keep you motivated

The carbs are calling and your best laid diet plans are going to pot. Even if you haven't fallen off the fitness wagon, getting to the gym is proving tough – but are you being too hard on yourself and does that extra Custard Cream really count if you're planning an exercise session later? We grilled AJ O'Neill, West End performer-cum-personal trainer, zumba instructor and fitness class teacher on how to relight your love for the gym and keep your motivation at the max…

1. Find your mojo before you strut your stuff

Without music I would get nothing done - in life, at the gym, anywhere. Music can be a fantastic motivator - you can work to the beat, you can sing along, you can set yourself a time limit for an exercise along with the song - it really varies a workout. Gyms tend to pump high energy dance music onto the gym floor because the beats are fast and it encourages you to work harder. My advice - find music that you love, that is energetic and sassy and let it do half th…

Over Training Syndrome (OTS) - Fact or Fiction?

Is it really possible to over-train? Yes indeed, over training can be just as negative to results as under training. It is a proven fact that too much can be just as detrimental to progress as too little.

You may immediately ask "well, how do giants such as Arnie get so big and train so hard? " This training business is not as simple as ABC, but famous athletes such as Arnie work under constant supervision, and most ( if not all ) take supplements, including hormone. We are not trying here to discourage good hard training, but rather just point out that there are limits and to be aware of them.

In the extreme, symptoms of OTS can include fatigue and lack of performance, abnormal hormone production and immune system depression. All this can be very detrimental to you health and well being.

So how do we avoid this? Firstly, always be aware to give your body sufficient time to recover. This time period will vary considerably depending on your condition, how hard you work out, and …

5 Organic Ways to Detoxify Your Body

Our modern life blesses us with the latest amenities and facilities to make our life easier. However, the stress and cost of achieving these have taken a toll on our health. It is not uncommon for young individuals to get afflicted with hypertension, high blood pressure, anxiety and all the ills associated with modern lifestyles. The human body gets filled with poisonous toxins that can produce long-term adverse effects. The only way to combat this situation is to detoxify your body naturally.

Five organic ways to distress and detoxify

1. Have a fiber rich diet

A healthy diet should always include a fiber rich menu. Fiber cleans up the toxic waste material from the body, helps absorb nutrients better, simulate body's natural stress fighting hormones and enhances metabolism. The symptoms of severe stress include bloating, constipation etc. A fiber rich diet helps to detoxify the body by keeping the body fluids at adequate levels.

2. Aromatherapy

Human senses are responsive to the pleasa…

The Science Of Stretching

At the Shaolin Temple we never stretch first, we always start with a gentle warm up and when the muscles feel warm and loose we stretch. We do two types of stretching: static and dynamic. The Shaolin dynamic stretching we do is the five basic kicks, and the five stances which open the hips and warm up the leg muscles. We believe that it's only by doing these stretches that we can get truly flexible. We've stretched this way and warmed up our muscles like this for thousands of years, and if you train with my DVDs then you'll be doing it this way. In fact, I didn't know there was another way until I came to the UK. 
Yesterday, a student showed me a book about the science of exercise, which has a chapter on stretching. Latest research shows that the way Shaolin Disciples warm up and stretch is the way to get maximum performance from our workout. There's a belief in the West that stretching before a warm up is good but research has shown that it has no benefit and doesn…

The Goalless Goal

Shaolin Training doesn't underestimate a person's strength of body and mind. The masters knew how much we could achieve and they wouldn't let us get away with anything less. The first goal young disciples have when they come to the Shaolin Temple is "Never Give Up." This means the thought of quitting is not a seed in our mind therefore it can never grow into a tree.

While holding this goal, we follow the philosophy of Zen, which is to train just to train. We're told the importance of aimlessness and letting go.
"The harder you try to grab something, the further away it goes," my master told me.

So how does aimlessness and the goal of Never Give Up sit comfortably together? Maybe the word goal should be changed to intention. "It's my intention to never give up." And once that statement is made then it's like sitting on a plane and knowing the destination is Beijing. We don't need to think anymore about where we're heading. Our…

Circuit Of Change

Some people call circuit training a shortcut to fitness. It burns up to 30% more fat than a typical workout, while rapidly elevating fitness levels. If you're a runner and you mix in circuit training, you'll find an improvement in your long distance times. 
Many people ask me if I do weight training. I don't. My Shaolin Circuit Training DVDs are the main workout I do on a daily basis. These DVDs are designed for fit busy people who want results fast. Combining push ups with punches while keeping the heart rate elevated means the muscle are being constantly challenged. If you're pushed for time then you'll achieve more from circuit training than any other type of exercise. 
Shaolin Circuit Training combines cardio and strength training into 9 tough interval circuits.The level of intensity depends on how hard you push yourself but you should be working at an uncomfortable level of exertion the entire time. How many punches can you do in round one? How many kicks can yo…

Shifu Yan Lei talks about his daily workout, diet, and meditation

What's your daily workout like?
My training day usually starts with either a 10 or 12k jog or interval running, sprinting 800 meters then resting for 800 meters and doing this 4 times or varying my runs like I show in my youtube video. I then do some circuit training, the same as on my DVD though I mix the punches and kicks together. I think it's important to sweat when you're training, only this is true training. In the afternoon I do bag work, and pad work if there's someone at the temple to hold pads. I finish off with Iron Shirt Qigong and combine Iron Shirt conditioning with Instant Health Massage using a metal brush.
Can the average person hack Shaolin training?
Shaolin is for everybody. Of course the average person doesn't have 4 hours a day to train but a lot can be accomplished in one hour five days a week. This is enough to be healthy and fit. If you're not close to a school and train from my DVDs then you need to make a program. The best DVDs for fitne…