SUPER excited to share my concept “Tone & OM” with you! So what on Earth is it and why did I come up with it?!
What is Tone & OM?
First things first, what is it? This class carefully combines strength and conditioning training with yoga techniques to allow you to have the best of both worlds in just one 45 minute class. The program places a heavy emphasis on balancing the body with functional High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT).
Functional HIIT Training?
Simply put. HIIT training is any workout done in bouts (intervals) of high intensity exercise followed by short, sometimes active, recovery periods (intervals). The high intensity interval is enough to make you completely out of breath. The recovery helps you bring that back to more of a steady state. So what is functional training? Our bodies need to move through all three planes of motion in training to simulate what we do in our day-to-day lives, this is what is known as functional movement. Tone & OM combines the two taking you through a functional HIIT workout. This is then complemented with a balanced yoga flow.
Bringing Functional Training to HIIT
How many times have we gone to a “HIIT class” and actually known which body part we were meant to be working? How many of us have gone into such classes with the intention of doing good for our bodies, but actually ended up completely worn out or developing injuries in the process?
The concept of Tone & OM came from years of participating in HIIT classes as well as teaching them in multiple studios across London. Back when I was living in New York, going along to as many of these classes as you could in a week was the “thing” to do. Before studying to be a Personal Trainer I basically “HIIT” myself into oblivion and ended up with injuries as a result. I realise now that these injuries could have easily been avoided with some damage control. At the time I was none the wiser, why would I not go to 2 HIIT classes a day? Soon after, funnily enough my knee started to give me some trouble. I proceeded to learn all that I could about how to both rectify the damage and prevent it from happening again. In that process, my training has become far more balanced.
Luckily the industry is slowly moving away from the trend of more is more and more towards functionality and mobility in the body. Each Tone & OM classes ensures the relevant muscle groups are mobilised and activated pre workout . This means these same muscle groups are doing the work where they’re supposed to be during the HIIT training and thereafter yoga. Tone & OM also makes sure your muscles are better balanced by moving the body functionally in the HIIT training segment.
The Push Factor
All too often HIIT classes are too “push” focused, overworking the anterior body (front side) and neglecting the posterior chain (back side). Hello 1000 push ups and mountain climbers (insert eye roll here). There’s nothing wrong with these exercises but in order to ensure that we keep our bodies balanced and therefore free from injury we need to counter this with “pulling” exercises – much harder to work in a group training environment. These are exercises like pull ups, rows and “helicopters”.
Tone & OM ensures the correct muscle groups are focussed on in the warm up so that a mind muscle connection can be achieved throughout the workout (being able to to feel what’s going on, knowing that the right muscles are working). Tone & OM consciously factors the “pull element” into the HIIT part of the class in order to ensure balance in the body and that we are not overworking one set muscle group and neglecting others.
Generally we describe the body as moving in three planes of motion – the Frontal (side to side), Sagittal (forwards and backwards) and Transverse (rotating and twisting) planes. A lot of modern day workouts place a heavy focus on one or two of these planes of motion (usually the frontal or sagittal plane). To be functional we need to train all three planes of motion. In Tone & OM both the HIIT and yoga sections take the body through multiplanar directional movement to increase our range of motion throughout these planes of movement. We also perform exercises that are designed to improve our mobility.
High Impact – High Stress
In the current classes I teach I constantly remind my clients of the need to balance the body. More on the importance of muscular balance see my post – “Are You Balanced in Your Training”. Essentially balancing the muscles you work and allowing them to recover is as important as the training itself. High intensity training is great. It leans the body up a treat when done right. However, high intensity training is also often high impact on the body. Repeatedly impacting the body in such a way causes a build up of stress in the body. Without balancing this stress the adhesions that form in the muscles can eventually lead to injury. 20 minutes of HIIT training has been shown to be optimal for conditioning the body without over stressing it.
Calming the Body Post Workout
We’ve all gone to class on a mad hectic day, probably rolled into class at the last minute and then raced off the second it finishes. In these cases not only are we missing out on a key element of the class, stretching, but we’re also leaving our bodies in their “fight or flight” mode. Although HIIT is a great way of busting that stress built up from your hectic day on the run, you also need to give the body a chance to slowdown. Stress doesn’t just come in the form of training, its lack of sleep, work, social and family demands, to name a few. By not allowing yourself to slow down you run the risk of wreaking havoc on your body and obliterating your chances of meeting your fitness goals. Tone & OM allows you to stress bust through functional HIIT training but then calms the body down by taking you through a slower paced mindful flow; leaving you feeling relaxed and firmly “off” your fight or flight mode. Each Tone & OM class will start with 20 minutes of HIIT, followed by a calming 20 minutes of yoga to balance its high impact effects.
What Muscle Group Are We Working?
We spend a lot of our time sitting down, even if you’re not in a desk environment. We sit to eat, on the train, in meetings. As a result of the Western way of living, naturally the front of our bodies are likely to be much tighter than the back of our bodies (our posterior chain). Although everybody is different I constantly see clients with tight chests, upper backs and hips. These are likely to be a direct reflection of our society’s way of living; the “sit down culture”. throughout the training. A key element is core activation, by constantly reengaging the awareness of key muscle groupings this can translate into everyday life and supplement your other workouts. The balanced yoga flow then stretches muscles worked.
HIIT has some huge fitness benefits which is why we’ve seen such a rise in it’s popularity of late. Here’s just a few to refresh you…
By training in peaks and troughs a high intensity workout increases the body’s need for oxygen. It kicks into gear excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC). So even after you’ve finished your workout you’ll be burning calories and your body will be feeling the burn up to 24hours later – hello efficient workout.
The nature of the workout means that you’ll burn fat, build endurance and aerobic capacity all whilst saving time. It has also been shown to speed up your metabolism which helps you burn more calories throughout the day.
HIIT burns calories and builds muscle and won’t eat into muscle like some traditional steady state cardio mechanisms will. By increasing your VO2 Max you’ll decrease body fat and build lean muscle mass. Read lean mean machine.
You can do it anywhere, you don’t have to use equipment, some of the best exercises are those without equipment.
Its fun and varied, bye bye long boring runs.
It shocks the body. Too often we don’t push out of our comfort zones which is why we don’t see results. Push it….Push it reaaaal good!
What can yoga bring to your training?
I can honestly say the less yoga I do, the more injured I get! No coincidence if you ask me.
Although not a substitute to flexibility training, the benefits you receive from yoga will certainly help you on your flexibility quest. Yoga is so much more than a “stretch”. However it does make you move your body through its ranges of motion. It makes you slow down. It makes you listen to your body. Spending some quality time on your mat allows for huge benefits to your training. From a purely physical mindset yoga helps posture, imbalances, range of motion and flexibility. Here’s just a few benefits you can expect to reap…
Breath – The focus on breathing throughout the practice allows for breath to flow more freely throughout the body. This encourages better circulation of the blood around the body. In our day-to-day lives the circulation can become restricted in certain areas. The lubrication in our joints also drys up as a result of the ageing process. By breathing and taking the body through its full range of motions it can allow better blood flow throughout the body. With regular practice this will help with the range of motion too. During an exhalation the diaphragm pushes up against the heart, slowing down the heart rate. Blood pressure decreases, as does stress on the rib cage, abdominal walls, and intercostal muscles. Relaxation is present and thereafter your tolerance to stretching is enhanced.
Decreased risk of injury – Yoga allows the body to be more supple decreasing the risk of injury.
Healing the body – By stimulating blood flow around the body it can help promote healing in the body as a result of increased blood supply to injured areas.
Focus – Yoga allows us to listen and gaze inwardly towards our body. By listening to our body we can ascertain what areas feel stiff and tight and in need of some TLC.
Dynamic range of motion and enhanced mobility – These are both effected by healthy stimulation of fascia. Yoga allows for this stimulation. Stretching stimulates the production of tissue lubricants, allowing for full range of motion across all of the functional planes. Yoga focuses on all three planes of motion
Tone & OM
Will help you reach your fitness goals whilst keeping you moving functionally, allowing you longevity in your training – not just a short term fix. Each class is designed to leave your body feeling strong and mobile. HIIT just became functionally mindful.
Time to create your most mobile, lean, bad ass self! See you on the mat!
Sending health & happiness,