Movement Guide

The most important parts of this lifestyle are the food lists and your daily must-dos. However, including movement will truly support your efforts. The right type of exercise will get your blood flowing, strengthen your muscles, improve your body composition, improve your posture, benefit your digestive system, help with mental wellness, and lower your inflammation levels.

However, there is a trick here. The form of exercise has to be the right type.

What do I mean by that? Let me make it simple. How do performance athletes age? Do they outlive the general population? Do they have healthier organs and higher longevity? The answer is no, for a very simple reason: excessive and high-intensity exercise is inflammatory. Any form of pain is seen by the body as inflammation, and I often get requests from professional athletes to help them with a low-inflammation diet in order to offset the effects of their profession.

Yalda’s Exercise Story

During my years of trying to get my ulcerative colitis under control, I would have periods of being unwell. As soon as I felt slightly better, I was desperate to exercise again. I would book a session with a friend of mine who is a personal trainer. He would do what personal trainers usually do, i.e. “push me.” I have a high pain threshold and I can’t resist a challenge, so no matter how hard the exercises were, I would do them all. Every single time, without fail, my symptoms would return with a vengeance and I wouldn’t be able to work out again for a long time. What became a game-changer in the way I exercise is when I started focusing on lower-impact workouts, such as Pilates, yoga, and walking. I found that it worked well for me and allowed me to build muscle definition without increasing my inflammation levels. I started going to many more classes and what I faced then was like going back to square one.

Nowadays, it seems like anything extreme is fashionable. When I started yoga and Pilates around ten years ago, the movement was slow, controlled, and strong. Today, many of these classes are fast-paced, teachers rarely check your form, and the way those classes are conducted can lead to injury and inflammation. Unfortunately, that happened to me in March 2016. I was in an ashtanga class in Miami in one of my favorite studios there. As I was in a forward bend position, the teacher came behind me and pushed me on the back so I would go “deeper in the pose.” I suffered a disk bulge between the discs L3 and L4 and had to do months of rehabilitation work. It was utter agony and absolutely depressing to not be able to move my body freely.

I did most of that rehabilitation work myself, as I knew exactly what did hurt and what didn’t. I strengthened my core and improved my posture and did extensive research on the importance of a strong core for our overall health. I also looked further at the link between inflammation and high impact/high-intensity workouts. Many people ask me how I look this way age 40, after having had two children and so many health issues, and I can assure you that it isn’t by following what’s fashionable and going to the crazy classes I see everybody go to! I go to the gym or I work out at home, but I always stick to what I have shared with you here. When something feels wrong during a Pilates or yoga class, I simply do not participate. I basically stick to my guns and it pays off!

Thanks to that injury, I have devised amazingly effective and simple workouts which I share with you here. I like to use the word “thanks” here, as I always make the most of negative experiences and turn them into positives. These exercises will help you stand taller, improve your body composition, build lean muscle and a strong physique overall.

Extra Movement Tips

USE YOUR BREATH!

I have previously spoken about the importance of taking deep breaths to relax and energize your body! And if you’ve ever taken a yoga class, you know how essential connecting your body to your breath is. It builds self-awareness and helps you tap into your inner strength. Focusing on proper breathing techniques can help you stay energized, get a better workout, and also prevent injury!

Here are some breathing guidelines to keep in mind during your next workout:

  • Yoga. During yoga, focus on slow, deep, even breaths. Your inhales and exhales should be long, lasting an equal amount of time as you breathe in and out from your nose. For example, if you inhale for say, three seconds, focus on making your exhale last the same three seconds.
  • Pilates. With any toning or weight training exercises, you want to exhale on the exertion (when your body is performing the move). For example, if you’re working your abs on the reformer machine, exhale as you crunch and inhale as you lower. For lunges, inhale as you lower and exhale as you come up.

The Eat Burn Sleep lifestyle is focused on improving your gut health and lowering your inflammation. In my experience, high-intensity exercise is inflammatory and does not necessarily yield results in terms of body composition. I refer to all sorts of classes, not just the HIIT or spinning classes, but also some yoga classes or barre / Pilates classes which are conducted in a way that can be too intense for the body.

Health Fact

Strenuous exercise can be inflammatory as it leads to high levels of cytokines (Suzuki et al., 2002).

FREQUENCY AND INTENSITY OF YOUR MOVEMENT ROUTINE

All the movement videos I share on this platform are low intensity and low impact. They are safe to perform on a low inflammation lifestyle and will be beneficial for core strength, gut motility, lymphatic drainage, positive mood, bone and muscle mass preservation, and liver detoxification. The more you practice the Eat Burn Sleep movement routines, the more you will tune into your body, and the more you will be able to identify your needs. Including the right kind of movement in your lifestyle might not seem like a major thing but it actually has magical effects. Put the time in, it is worth it! 

You can do between 3 to 5 Eat Burn Sleep movement routines (Movement videos or the Grey, White or Pink series, 20 to 35 minutes).

You can also mix it up by doing the following classes/workouts (max. 3 times a week):

  • You can do 3 to 5 Eat Burn Sleep movement routines (Movement videos or the Grey, White or Pink series, 20 to 35 minutes).
  • You can also mix it up by doing the following classes/workouts (max. 3 times a week)
    • Traditional Pilates reformer class (not the mega reformers ones)
    • Gentle yoga classes (make the most of them by focusing on your breathing, as that’s super anti-inflammatory)
    • I recommend a maximum of 3 classes per week as they generally last up to an hour. If you want to end a class early because you have reached a point of pain, do not be shy and do so!
  • Always give your body a day of rest between workouts/classes
  • If during a class you feel that it gets too intense and the teacher is pushing you too much, don’t be afraid to just stop or slow down. Trainers have a tendency to do that sometimes.  I strongly recommend you do the modifications which suit your body in order to not overpush.
  • Make sure to breathe and exhale properly during your workout
  • Include a stretching or yoga movement routine once a week to release lactic acid, which can be inflammatory
  • If you are tired, hormonal, sleep-deprived, or if you just don’t feel like doing a full-blown movement routine, you can also choose a stretching routine or do some gentle yoga for 15 to 20 minutes.
  • Focus on your muscles while working out. Movements are more effective when you keep your attention on your muscles. For optimal results, it is important to focus on form and on the mind-muscle connection.

DO YOU NEED A PRE OR POST WORKOUT MEAL?

You don’t. Make sure to hydrate during exercise, and keep to your mealtimes. Only if you really need a snack, irrelevant of if you are exercising or not, you can then pick from the list of snacks allowed. I personally often workout before a meal, and if I don’t, I have a cup of herbal tea and an apple if I feel hungry after my movement routine.

Health Fact

The vagus nerve links the nervous system around our spine to our gastrointestinal tract. Very few people talk about this absolutely crucial link: a healthy back supports a healthy gut and vice versa.

It is crucial to keep a healthy gut for a healthy back, and a healthy posture for good digestion.

We spend a lot of time sitting down in front of our screens, computers, at our desks, or driving. This tightens our hips and creates a rounded upper back. In order to counter those bad habits, backbends, hip opening, stretching the Psoas muscles – which run from our lumbar region to the bottom of our pelvis- and strengthening our gluteus muscles are very important.

The movement videos I share with you on this platform are what I use to relieve back pain, improve posture, and body composition (increase muscle and reduce body fat).

It is very important to stick to anti-inflammatory movement to shed fat. When the body is pushed through hard workouts, it perceives that pain like inflammation, which in turn releases cortisol (the stress hormone). This increases blood sugar levels by releasing glucose into the bloodstream and causes fat accumulation in the body.

We are often at times overdeveloped at the front of our bodies whilst the back is not challenged enough. As this affects our posture, it is crucial to train our back muscles (particularly the lower back) as well as our shoulders and glutes. The movement videos I share with you on this platform are simple, easy yet extremely effective in correcting your posture.

Health Fact

60% of our neurotransmitters are located in our digestive system as well as 70% of our immune system (GALT- Gut Associated Lymphatic Tissue).

The gut-brain connection is a well-known and established one now. But few people talk and the gut-back connection. This means that a healthy back and posture supports our gut hence our mental wellness and our immune system function. The Eat Burn Sleep approach is all-encompassing because of this BRAIN – GUT – POSTURE – IMMUNE SYSTEM connection