Ways in Which Gymnastics Promotes Fitness

In the world that we live in today, people have become more aware of the importance of healthy living and keeping fit. This has led to them seeking different methods and techniques of attaining this commonly sought after fitness. One of the oldest and most effective ways of becoming fit is through gymnastics. It is a sport that requires a lot of discipline in terms of daily exercise which help to keep the build-up of fat at bay. One has to train hard so as to be able to pull off stunts and the reward is usually living a healthier and fit life. The following are the ways in which gymnastics helps people to achieve fitness.

Maintaining low body fat

One of the ways to ensure that you become a good gymnast is by ensuring that you exercise daily, this is to help the body get accustomed to performing the movements and to ensure that you are light enough to carry your own weight. By doing these daily exercises, it is almost impossible to continue building up fat in your body since they are usually moderately intense. By keeping your body fat low, you will be able to achieve fitness.

Muscle building

As a gymnast it is your responsibility to ensure that you are strong which is usually done by lifting weights. This helps in you being able to execute the gymnastic manoeuvres correctly. This leads to the burning of fat and building up muscles which basically show that you are fit. Muscles are important since they give you the stability to carry yourself elegantly and it will be obvious to you that you need to maintain them if you want to continue with gymnastics.

Healthy eating habits

It is often said ‘you are what you eat’ so if you consume a lot of junk food, then that is exactly what your body will look like. However, as gymnasts you cannot afford to have your body looking like junk, this is why you need to make sure that you eat healthy foods. It is recommended that you take plenty of fruits, protein, vegetables and water so that your body can get the nutrients it needs to build muscles and be healthy. This means that gymnastics will help you learn what your body needs and what it does not thus leading to fitness.



It goes without saying that for you to be good at gymnastics, you should be very flexible. This is necessary for the numerous stunts that you will be performing such as front and back flips. Flexibility also helps in reducing the risk of injuries since your body will be light and easy to move around in any direction. Increasing flexibility ensures body fitness since one needs to be very lean to be able to move their bodies as it is required, this is why gymnastics is a good way of ensuring that you stay fit.
Unlike popular belief that gymnastics is only for young children, adults too can train on being gymnasts and good ones at that. It may be a bit difficult at first, but with dedication you can attain fitness thanks to gymnastics.  If you are keen on gymnastics, it is also to obtain a good quality leotard.  Research on leotards is important and websites such as Gymnastics-Leotards.com provide useful information on the best clothing available.

Why you need a weight lifting belt

In the good old days, anyone who did an anything with weights would wear a weight lifting belt.  In fact, even Mr T would wear one pretty much permanently.  Nowadays, it’s quite rare to see someone with a belt on in the gym.A study in 2003 reported that about 27% of gym users were also belt users.  But in the last 10 years, that number seems to have vastly reduced.  Most likely, this is because there is confusion over whether a belt is useful or actually harmful.  Many of the so called experts have made incorrect claims that using a weight belt is wrong and can lead to a weak back and weak general core strength.  A lot of people believe that weight lifting belts act as a brace supporting the torso so that your core muscle don’t have to do the work.  This is also a false claim.

What is a lifting belt good for?

Lifting belts can in fact increase the use of abdominals and the lower back muscles.  Much research shows that using a belt while lifting has little effect on the erector spinae muscle group or it actually increases their usage by up to 25 percent.  Many studies on these powerlifting belts also shows an increase in the muscle use in the rectus abdominis.  When you are deadlifting or squatting a few hundred pounds of weight, trying to increase the stability of the spine is highly recommended.

Many studies have confirmed that wearing a belt when lifting weights increases the intra-abdominal pressure by around 40%.  Increasing this pressure is like inflating a balloon inside the body and this supports the spine by pushing it from the inside.  The core muscles such as those in the lower back, push it from the outside.  Both of these pressures acting simultaneously will support the spine and lower the stress that it receives when weights are being lifted.  This is exactly what belt does during the lifting process.


Research also shows that if you are lifting boxes, a belt will reduce the level of spinal flexion (the bend in the spine) along with also reducing spinal extension.  It will also increase the amount of movement done in the knees and hips.  So basically, a belt will force you to lift with your legs more than with your back.  This is the exact position that you want when you are lifting something from the ground such as when performing deadlifts.  You’ll want this support when doing squats too.

So the big question: Will using a belt actually increase muscle growth, strength and power?  The answer is yes!  According to research, using a belt will help with all of those, especially during exercises such as squatting.

How to use a weight belt

It is highly recommended that lifters utilise a belt for their deadlifts, squats, bent-over rows, snatches and cleans.  They can also be advantageous during other exercise such as overhead press but to get the most out of a belt, it has to be used correctly.  A belt should be fitted quite tightly but not so tight to the point where you cannot move or even breathe.  It also should not be extremely uncomfortable.  You should be able to press your abdomen up against it to increase your pressure and stability.

Once the belt is on, the correct breathing is key.  For example, during a squat, you should stand with the bar on your back and just before the decent, take a breath and hold it whilst pushing the abdominal against the belt.  Hold your breath until you reach the bottom and then attempt to exhale whilst still keeping your airway closed to push yourself out of the squat.

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You can eat what you want as long as it fits your macros

You may or may not have heard of If It Fits Your Macros as a more flexible alternative to clean dieting.

The old method of eating healthy foods for vitamins, minerals and antioxidants has gone out of the window.  They can help improve muscle tissue and provide a plenty of other health benefits proven through scientific research.  But many tight bodies fitness enthusiasts with huge quads and triceps use the new flexible IIFYM over clean dieting.

The basics of changing your weight is calories consumes VS calories expended.  If there is a difference between the two, a change in weight will occur.  Remember, just following that basic formula when trying to lose weight will result in overall weight loss (muscle and fat) and not just predominately fat loss.  As fitness fans, most of us will want to crush our fat levels and maintain (or increase) as much muscle as possible.  This can only be achieved by manipulating calories and macros.

IIFYM does basically mean that you can eat whatever you want as long as it fits you macros.  That means even ice cream or burgers.  It basically is calculation based on your weight of how much protein, carbohydrates and fat you should consume each day to hit your target weight.  And it works!!

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For example if a 25 year old female weighing 55 kiligrams and a height of 165cm entered their details into the IIFYM calculator, it would tell them that to maintain their current weight they need to consume 114g of carbs, 162g of protein and 22g of fat.  It would also provide calculations on what they need to consume to lose or gain weight at different rates.  Notice that the recommended macro intake values have a reasonably high protein level.  This is to maintain levels of muscle whilst the carbs are reduced to burn fat.  A reasonable amount of fat is also required to burn fat. Without this, the body holds onto it more.

Most fitness enthusiasts will calculate their calories and prepare their meals in advance for a day or week in advance. The meals will be based entirely on these macros. So if you ever see a fitness freak chowing down on some calorie filled cheat meal, remember that the rest of their diet is most likely very clean and healthy.


4 tips to stay motivated in the winter

Many of us lose our “get up and go” as the days get shorter.  Some people lose their early morning fitness mojo and others lose it in the evenings. Whichever it is, we’ve go some great tips to keep you going:


Go to bed early

If you exercise in the morning, you can guarantee that those cold and dark morning are going to put you off a little.  To maintain a reasonable level of energy in the morning, the solution is simple is to get to bed earlier.  It’s really amazing what a couple of hours of extra sleep will add to your energy levels and your overall health.  Even if you don’t need to get up early for a workout and do some sort of training in the afternoon, going to bed earlier will improve your performance later on.


Get yourself in a class

Another way to make yourself get out of bed even if you can’t be bothered is to be booked in a class, a group activity or even personal trainer session.  You can do also this in the evening too and if you want to get some additional motivation, pay for it in advance.


Buy new stuff

The first fun part is going out and buying some some new exercise clothes or some new fitness equipment e.g. those running shoes you always wanted.  Then once you have them, you won’t be able to wait to go and try them out.  Motivation regained!!


Do something new

When you are stuck in a rut, it’s nice to do something new.  The key is to find something that you like to do rather than what you feel that you have to do.  So for example, you could try something completely random such as skateboarding.  Even switching around your workout can make a big difference and rekindle your interest and excitement in getting fit again.