Center Yourself and Strengthen Your Core with Hard Core Flow
“Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will.” – Mahatma Gandhi
I originally designed this class – Hard Core Flow – for my clients who want a hard-core workout that keeps moving (hence the name). It is a challenging, full-body, equipment-free workout that can be done in the comfort of your own home or away on travel. While toning and sculpting the muscles is a nice bonus feature of this program, Hard Core Flow can provide much more than that. It will improve core strength, stability, posture, athletic performance, everyday function and well-being; build a strong mind-body connection; and help prevent lower back pain.
The word “core” has become something of a buzzword in the fitness industry. Therefore it is important to understand how your core relates to your everyday life. If you think of your core muscles as a sturdy, central link in a chain connecting your upper and lower body, you’ll understand that your arms and legs function best when core muscles are strong, stable, and resilient. The core determines your posture, power, alignment, balance, control, and circulation so that function is optimal. Core strength also improves stability and mobility of your spine and pelvis, so you can feel your best. In short, your core is your ‘powerhouse.’ It helps facilitate all movement, therefore it helps you do just about everything.
There is both an intellectual and physical aspect to the core’s function for purposeful action. In other words, any action or activity should be concrete as well as goal-oriented. While achieving a ‘summer body’ may be good motivation, there are certainly other reasons to get your torso in shape:
1. Prevent injury - It’s easy to presume that when we’re moving, our extremities do most of the work. However the opposite is true. Most movement starts at the center and moves outwards, so a rock-solid center will help ensure that your movements are strong and pain-free.
2. Protect your inner organs and central nervous system - Staying healthy also means protecting those vital systems below the surface. Your core is not only where your organs and central nervous system operate, it’s also where your body’s largest and most important veins and arteries are based. Strong core muscles will help ensure these vital systems stay protected as you move through your day.
3. Avoid back pain - Back pain is a common side effect of a weak core. Building core strength will help bring balance to the front and back of your body. Many people make the mistake of sitting for long periods – such as working at a desk all day. Not being mindful of how we’re sitting (not engaging our core), can lead to problems like compressed discs in our spine. Your spinal cord is incredibly important. If you have pressure on it because it isn’t well supported by your core muscles, your movement will be affected. This will eventually cause pain and affect the quality of your life.
4. Achieve a strong, confident posture - When someone has a strong and stable core, they generally carry themselves with confidence. A tall, upright posture exudes strength and gives the impression of self-assurance. On the other hand, a slumped posture could imply defeat or a lack of inspiration.
The Time Factor
“So busy!” has become the common answer to the question “How are you?” Our culture treats busyness as a status symbol. Likewise, “No time” is one of the most common excuses for not working out. Fortunately, Hard Core Flow is a great solution – it maximizes your workout, helping you accomplish more in less time.
This program utilizes bodyweight exercise – using your own body as resistance instead of machines or equipment – an often underestimated technique. Bodyweight-only exercises improve coordination, balance, and flexibility. They also strengthen your muscles and joints and establish a strong mind-body connection. Rather than focus on specific muscles, it is better to focus on specific movements. The exercises in Hard Core Flow are compound exercises – they recruit multiple muscle groups and two or more joints at once. That’s opposed to isolation exercises, which target one muscle (like bicep curls). By focusing on specific movements (not individual muscles), the exercises in this program facilitate a high-quality workout that’s great for burning calories and increasing overall muscle mass. These exercises are also a great way to get rid of imbalances by helping you learn how to move your body through space. This leads to an increased amount of muscle fibers used which promotes greater strength and muscular gains.
A quality workout should encourage good movement patterns rather than reinforce bad ones. Unfortunately, the ‘machine-based’ movements found in the gym environment do not strengthen for the way people actually move in daily life. We do not move by isolating a muscle. For example, sitting in a leg extension machine and building stronger quadriceps muscle will not help someone bend down and lift a heavy item off of the floor. Also, rarely would a person need to lean back in a chair and force their straight legs open and closed as they do on the inner and outer thigh machines. Not only are these exercises impractical for daily living, they do little to improve your coordination and balance. Hence, why I designed Hard Core Flow to incorporate Fully Body Integration (“F.B.I.”).
Everyone has the opportunity to live a better life if you transform more than just your surface. I offer these tools to give you the power to shape your life from the inside-out, starting at the core, and connecting your mind, body, and spirit. My mission is to help you harness and leverage your own power to feel better, function better, and live better.
If you want to maximize your workouts without spending hours at the gym, try this 30-minute video. As always, if something doesn’t feel right, leave it out. Never sacrifice the intuition of the body for the glory of the ego. And don’t forget to hydrate!
If you’re ready for Hard Core Flow… grab your mat and let’s go!