We’re all different - we’re girls, women, a lot of us are mums, we work, some of us study. We’re blonde, brunette, some of us are redheads with freckles, we have green, blue or brown eyes - soft or wild, with different expressions. Among us are slim and plus girls, with strong or petite builds. Some of us are just below 1,50 m in height and some are taller than their husbands or boyfriends. Some of us run every day and some try to fit two yoga session per week into their tight schedules.
We’re all different but we have similar desires - we want to live in harmony with our bodies, care for it and feel beautiful. Second You is a conscious choice for us, motivation to keep going and to take care of ourselves. We perceive physical activity as an act of respect and love for our bodies and as a consideration for good well-being and mental hygiene. Exercising is a chance to meet friends or on the contrary - to find a moment for yourself. During any training we challenge ourselves, we try to overcome our own boundaries - fear, discomfort, pain or determination. We may not always be successful but we’ll always be back to try again.
These are our passions - activities that inspire us, relieve us of our daily challenges and allow us to get some perspective on life and most importantly, ourselves.
Yoga doesn’t take time, it gives time
– Ganga White
Considering the popularity of yoga nowadays it’s hard to believe that it came to Western countries only in the past century. Yoga practice originated in India and today it plays a major part in many religions. For us, yoga is a combination of working on the body and soul, an attempt to calm the mind and sharpen focus. Are you thinking of starting practicing yoga but you know virtually nothing about it? Here’s a short guide to introduce you to the topic. There are three meanings ascribed to yoga - it depends on you which one you will choose to focus on and which one will be the most beneficial to you - here we go!
Firstly, yoga is used to tame the mind - you’ll learn to control your scattered thoughts, which will allow you to achieve a sense of calm and quiet, and in the end, relaxation. You’ll sleep better, read more attentively and life will simply be lighter. Yoga leads to better well-being which influences all aspects of your life: it affects the way you deal with minor issues and great adversity, it impacts your relationship with others - both loved ones and strangers, and it shapes your thoughts about yourself. It lets you get to know and love yourself.
Secondly - yoga is a journey, the goal, and reward in itself, you should strive to improve yourself continually, both physically and mentally. Practicing yoga is supposed to help you develop a sense of discipline and systematicity - a daily routine. We know you don’t have time to spend 40 minutes stretching on a mat every day - don’t worry. 10 minutes in the morning, just after waking up and again, shortly before going to bed, is enough to develop new skills, make your muscles more flexible and get yourself into a good mood. Working on discipline is beneficial for every area of your life - it’s easier to take on unpleasant duties, catch up at work and get unfinished matters done.
Thirdly, yoga leads to unification - bringing together the mind and body, spiritual development through working on the physical. This meaning of yoga is related to the eternal need of mankind to know itself, to discover its true nature. Yoga will help you to achieve inner harmony and to discover your fears, limitations and boundaries, and how to overcome the latter. Practicing yoga will help you discover the truth about yourself, to be honest with yourself. Only by knowing your strengths and weaknesses can you improve your positive qualities and work on your imperfections.
Yoga promises a lot of advantages but it requires effort, determination, and commitment. It's flexible - it suits everyone, depending on your mood it can be dynamic or sensual. Everyone will find something worthwhile for themselves.
The best thing about climbing is that while you’re doing it nothing else matters. You engage everything that you are...
– Caroline Ciavaldini
Thanks to climbing walls climbing have become a widely available sport - in bigger cities at least. It doesn’t require special equipment - at first, all you need are comfortable sports clothes. When you train regularly it’s worth investing inappropriate shoes and additional gear, depending on the kind of climbing that has stolen your heart… what’s there to choose from? Below are some of the most popular options.
Bouldering | You have to trust your own body - bouldering is a type of free climbing done without safety ropes. The only protection allowed is a special mat protecting from painful falls and… a supportive partner, who suggests the next steps to you. Bouldering is practiced on small rocks or even artificial rock walls. This technique allows for quickly strengthening your arm and leg muscles, improving your mobility and agility. It can also definitely help conquer your fear of heights!
Sports climbing | This is a technique allowing for special gear. This kind of free climbing is practiced on specifically prepared trails, equipped with anchors. Sports climbing can also be practiced indoors - on climbing walls - with top rope, meaning a rope that will secure you from above. Belaying from below is typical for outdoors climbing - then you’re responsible for clipping the rope into the runners yourself.
Traditional climbing | One level above sports climbing - also a form of free climbing, however on unprepared trails. You set the anchors yourself, so you need to have proficiency in using the equipment - or a patient and helpful friend. Traditional climbing is focused on self-reliance, it requires thinking ahead and plenty of humility.
Free solo | As the name suggests - you work alone, only climbing shoes and chalk are allowed. Outdoor climbing requires a lot of experience, considering the risk of falling. On a climbing wall, you can feel free to get wild even if you’re just starting (though we recommend starting with safety ropes anyway). Free solo guarantees an adrenaline rush and allows you to check how much of your childhood courage you still have left in you!
Workouts are like brushing my teeth; I don't think about them, I just do them. The decision has already been made.
– Patti Sue Plummer
A sport that needs no introduction or explanation. It may seem simple - each one of us can run, but it can be so complicated at the same time - putting on your shoes can often seem an insurmountable challenge. If you practice running you know exactly what that’s like. How is it that an activity, which some of us simply loathe, has turned into a lifestyle for so many?
Most truths concerning running can safely be applied to every other kind of physical activity, however, there is still something particular about it. You’re one on one with your body, your only equipment is running shoes. You decide whether you want to take a shortcut or go for another round. Those seemingly small decisions become increasingly complicated when your body and mind send you mixed messages… When running, like with any other sport, it’s important to form habits and to celebrate the feeling that comes with a successful workout. An important advantage of running is its flexible nature - you decide on the speed, distance, route, and soundtrack. Are you just starting? Run and walk in turns, increasing each turn by a few seconds. Do you want to release anger? Go for some intervals. If you want to enjoy an active chillout - go jogging with a friend.
No matter what your level of initiation into the art of running is there are two rules you need to follow - warm-up and stretching. Take the time to warm up your body before your workout - this way you’ll prepare your muscles for the exercise, you’ll reduce the risk of injury and you fall into the right rhythm more easily. Save the last few moments for stretching your muscles - you’ll speed up the recovery process and you’ll reduce the potential for sore muscles!
Everyone is the architect of their own happiness.
– Joseph Pilates
What does fitness mean to you? Its precursors would probably describe it as aerobics class in a gym but since then a lot has changed. Fitness has been given multiple definitions but we’re staying true to its original meaning: being fit means being in shape! Taking care of yourself - with regular exercise, a healthy diet, and relaxation. Below are the two most common types of exercises - it’ll help you choose the right kind of activity for you.
Aerobic exercises, meaning cardio | Unchallenged when you want to rid of adipose tissue and improve your overall physical condition. Typically cardio keeps your heart rate high (60-65%) during the entire workout - good examples of these activities are running, cycling and swimming. The intense oxygen exchange burns fat which - when you work out regularly - slims down the figure. Aerobic workouts should last at least 40 minutes because during the first 20-30 minutes carbohydrates are burned, only later does it start with fat. Remember this when you’re starting to think of skipping the last mile! Choose a wide variety of exercises to engage all different kinds of muscles - this way you’ll speed up your recovery and you’ll see your results faster.
Strength exercises | This type of activity allows you to get ripped and to keep your figure lean and firm. Apart from that it makes your body strong and increases your overall dexterity, which will also help you during cardio. You can practice strength training using special machines or use your own body weight - then all you need is a training mat. Strength workouts are a series of specific movements with or without weights done in a certain time frame, then a short break. Most exercises are done in sets, sometimes with increasing weight or levels of difficulty. We suggest you work on different muscles during one training session, e.g. legs, butt and stomach (which are probably the most common areas for female workouts). Arms, chest, and back can be exercised less often, e.g. once a week.
The key to success is choosing an appropriate set of exercises - containing both cardio and elements of strength training. The aerobic exercises will help you lose pounds but without strengthening your body you’ll achieve the so-called skinny-fit figure. Only doing strength exercises, however, may turn out to be not enough if your well-trained muscles are covered with a layer of adipose tissue. In the end, your training plan will depend on what your main goal is at the moment - burning fat or shaping your figure.