Top five tips for the 2021 woman who craves for her mind, body and soul to be in full alignment, which truly is the cornerstone of achieving optimal health and fitness.
I have been in the fitness industry all my life, and the biggest shift I see now, collectively and amongst the South Asian community, is women returning home to their body. The conversations are evolving away from calories in vs. calories out, to how can I support my mind and body?
There is more conversation on topics such as sleep, energy, digestion, hormones, lifestyle and emotional health vs. just the archaic model of calories consumed and intensity of exercise.
Through my own challenges and witnessing my clients, I have learned that tuning in to your own body and taking ownership to educate yourself is the most powerful program to achieving your best health. Part of my work now is to educate women on how to build supreme trust with their body in order to live in a divine flow that the feminine body thrives in.
Here are my top five tips for the 2021 woman who craves for her mind, body and soul to be in full alignment, which truly is the cornerstone of achieving optimal health and fitness.
Remove energetic drains
One of the lessons I learned from my 20’s is that – I am not for everyone, and I cannot be there for everyone. People-pleasing is energetically draining and guess what – the energy that your body has to function, is limited. If we are not careful with where we utilize our energy we eventually go into an energetic deficit. The longer our body is in an energetic deficit, the more likely we are to be functioning in a burnout state. When you are in burnout, it is impossible to make true progress in your health and fitness. Being responsible with your time and energy is truly a skill of a successful, empowered woman!
Feel your way to your best diet
For many years I ate a bodybuilder diet. When I strengthened my body awareness I learned that this style of eating was a large cause of my digestive issues. I was eating hard-to-digest foods, at times I wasn’t even hungry but I thought I needed to eat every few hours to maintain the muscle I worked so hard for. This would lead to bloating and energy crashes. In order to build body trust, I advise to take note of how you feel before and after eating. Notice things like your hunger level, energy, stress, bloating, and nature; bowel movements can provide valuable information to notice what effect the food has on your body.
Track your menstrual cycle
In efforts to resolve my own challenges, as well as have a better understanding of how to support my clients, I spent all my spare time reading up on women’s fitness, natural nutrition, and hormones. Why is it so difficult for women to lose 5-10lbs yet men can lose it quickly? Also, why are so many women experiencing difficulty conceiving and carrying out full-term pregnancies? As I got farther away from mainstream fitness advice, and more into women specific science and ancient practices, I learned about the wisdom of our menstrual cycle. For example, high energy times vary over the course of the month, unlike men – whose biology functions more steadily throughout the month. I invite you to track your cycle and your energy peaks and dips. When fatigue is felt before or during menstruation, nourishing your mind and body with gentleness, perhaps a shorter, less intense workout, and highly nutritious foods can support your body during this drop in hormones. If this is a new practice for you, it will take time to find your flow, just remember that there is a cyclical flow, and when we can tap into it, we are one step close to keeping our weight, cravings, energy, skin, self-confidence and so much more in alignment.
Incorporate breathing techniques
I use to hear about meditation all the time, but I could never relate to “those” people. However, I realize the importance of oxygen; it is the body’s fuel. Taking in expansive breaths brings in fresh oxygen, and the body gets a burst of LIFE. When we shallow breathe, our cells and organs start to slow down as they don’t have LIFE to thrive. So here is the practice I give to clients: Nostril Breathing. Using your finger, close one of your nostrils. Take a big breath in through the open nostril. Hold at the top. Now let go of that nostril and close the other nostril. Breathe out steadily. Keep your mouth closed. Repeat this three to five times in a cyclical manner. Adjust the depth of the breaths to what feels best for you. I am also a big fan of good quality essential oils and candles as they make me breathe all day!
Maintain a regular movement practice
I am intentional in using the word movement and not exercise. There are many body weight, yoga, and dance-type movements that are excellent exercises that can be easily modified in intensity simply by varying the speed. We need to shift the mindset that more or faster equals better. On Workouts Wednesday I drop one exercise for the women in my program to try. Few weeks ago, it was to stand on tippy toes and descend down to a crouching position/squat. I later found out this is a popular move for dancers. After five my legs started burning and I continued to do 10 more while breathing. Felt amazing!
Above are some of the topics we don’t discuss in mainstream health and fitness, simply because personal trainers are not taught about biology and hormones. So we continue to train women like we train men, which can put women out of alignment with their biology leading to fitness plateaus and a lack of empowerment. It’s time to spread the word and truly start loving and living to our fullest feminine expression.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Asma Kassam, BHK, CSNA, CFST is a Kinesiologist, Fitness coach, Certified Sports Nutrition Advisor, Injury & Mobility coach, Fascial Stretch Therapist and Women’s health advocate. Visit: www.akfitnessandhealth.com