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5 Essential Oils
Wellness
Published Friday Mar 01, 2019 by Brittany Raine

5 Essential Oils to Elevate Your Fitness Routine

Sticking to an exercise program isn’t always easy. Do you ever feel like you are lacking motivation, especially first thing in the morning or after a hard day’s work? Before you skip your next fitness class or cardio blast, you may want to give essential oils a try.

Essential oils are naturally occurring aromatic compounds found in seeds, bark, roots, flowers and other parts of plants. These oils give plants their fragrance, and protect the plants from insects and other threats, too. They seem to be all the rage now, but these oils have long been used for their benefits to human emotions, physical well-being and nutrition.

Here are five essential oils that can help boost your mood and kick your workout into high gear:

Lemongrass

Lemongrass ignites the senses and can help give you the burst of energy you need to get from couch to class. This essential oil is also said to support healthy weight management and a process known as thermogenesis, which helps with the production of heat in the body.
Try this for: Hot yoga
Tip: Rub a few drops on your inner wrist before class for an extra energizing pick-me-up.

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Lemongrass

Lemongrass ignites the senses and can help give you the burst of energy you need to get from couch to class. This essential oil is also said to support healthy weight management and a process known as thermogenesis, which helps with the production of heat in the body.
Try this for: Hot yoga
Tip: Rub a few drops on your inner wrist before class for an extra energizing pick-me-up.

Peppermint

Peppermint can be the wake-up call you need for an early morning class. This essential oil will enliven you and can help boost your mood. It is also believed to support healthy breathing during exercise.
Try this for: Cycling
Tip: Inhale prior to your workout for extra energy, and try rubbing a few drops on your wrist before heading to an early morning class.

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Peppermint

Peppermint can be the wake-up call you need for an early morning class. This essential oil will enliven you and can help boost your mood. It is also believed to support healthy breathing during exercise.
Try this for: Cycling
Tip: Inhale prior to your workout for extra energy, and try rubbing a few drops on your wrist before heading to an early morning class.

Eucalyptus

This essential oil is widely known to be soothing. A whiff of eucalyptus can support a sustained positive mood and energy throughout the day. This oil is also said to aid with recovery and ward off illness. If you feel the sniffles coming on or don’t feel quite yourself, eucalyptus might help.
Try this for: Barre or on your rest day
Tip: Washing sweaty workout gear? Try adding a few drops to your dryer filter for added freshness and to sanitize before drying your load.  

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Eucalyptus

This essential oil is widely known to be soothing. A whiff of eucalyptus can support a sustained positive mood and energy throughout the day. This oil is also said to aid with recovery and ward off illness. If you feel the sniffles coming on or don’t feel quite yourself, eucalyptus might help.
Try this for: Barre or on your rest day
Tip: Washing sweaty workout gear? Try adding a few drops to your dryer filter for added freshness and to sanitize before drying your load.  

Lemon

Lemon essential oil can do many things, but did you know it can also quench your thirst? Add a drop or two to your water for a natural pre-exercise drink that will keep you hydrated throughout your workout. The burst of flavor and scent will drive you to drink more than you typically would—added bonus!
Try this for: That long afternoon at work before a trip to the gym
Tip: Fill your water bottle and stick it in the refrigerator overnight so you have a chilly, invigorating treat first thing in the morning.

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Lemon

Lemon essential oil can do many things, but did you know it can also quench your thirst? Add a drop or two to your water for a natural pre-exercise drink that will keep you hydrated throughout your workout. The burst of flavor and scent will drive you to drink more than you typically would—added bonus!
Try this for: That long afternoon at work before a trip to the gym
Tip: Fill your water bottle and stick it in the refrigerator overnight so you have a chilly, invigorating treat first thing in the morning.

Marjoram

Marjoram is a key essential oil to post-workout recovery. This oil has calming and relaxing properties, which can work wonders on sore and tired muscles. Typically, marjoram is used for massage or in a warm bath to aid muscle recovery and repair.
Try this for: After a race or workout-heavy week.
Tip: Looking for quick muscle pain relief? Massage a few drops onto the desired area before (or after) your workout. You can even add a few drops to a warm Epsom salt bath for maximum recovery benefits.

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Marjoram

Marjoram is a key essential oil to post-workout recovery. This oil has calming and relaxing properties, which can work wonders on sore and tired muscles. Typically, marjoram is used for massage or in a warm bath to aid muscle recovery and repair.
Try this for: After a race or workout-heavy week.
Tip: Looking for quick muscle pain relief? Massage a few drops onto the desired area before (or after) your workout. You can even add a few drops to a warm Epsom salt bath for maximum recovery benefits.

Brittany Raine MINDBODY
Written by
Brittany Raine
Consumer Content Program Manager
About the author
A free-spirited farmgirl from New York, Brittany traded her job as a journalist and newspaper editor for the San Diego sunshine. Brittany now leads the curation of all creative content. There are rumors she was Middle Earth's warrior elven queen in a past life.
Prenatal Fitness - MINDBODY
Fitness
Published Wednesday Sep 11, 2019 by Whitney English

The Do’s and Don’ts of Prenatal Fitness 

Yoga
Pilates
Barre
Strength Training
Cardio
Expert Advice

For many pregnant women, exercise can take a backseat. I get it. You’re exhausted and uncomfortable—slipping into a pair of tight leggings and sweating your booty off doesn’t exactly sound like a great way to reduce your discomfort.
 
While working out may sound like the last thing you want to do when you’re carrying another human inside of you, engaging in regular, low-impact activities during pregnancy is extremely beneficial to both you and your baby. In fact, some studies show that prenatal exercise may help to reduce aches and pains, improve sleep, and boost mood. But figuring out which exercises are safe for you and your baby can be confusing. If you Google prenatal exercise, you’ll find a wide range of conflicting opinions on what moms-to-be should and shouldn’t do.
 
As a dietitian, a Certified Personal Trainer, and a mom to a 16-month old, exercise has always been a priority for me. During my pregnancy, I was determined to continue my regular routine as long as possible, so I spent a ton of time researching and speaking to experts to learn the best practices for exercise during pregnancy. Here is my list of do’s and don’ts when it comes to prenatal fitness, no matter where you are when it comes to motherhood. 
 

Yoga

First up, yoga. You want to avoid any poses that cramp your baby’s space or put pressure on your stomach. It’s easy to modify most poses to make them safer and more comfortable for you and your baby. For example, instead of trying to do a regular forward fold, open up your legs for a wide leg forward fold, which gives your belly more space. 
 
Some poses can be fine during the first or second trimester, depending on your prior yoga experience, but may be less safe later in pregnancy. If you are comfortable doing full wheel, it can be fine early in your pregnancy. I did this pose until about 25 weeks, but everyone is different. Keep in mind that pregnancy is not the time to push yourself with new poses. Additionally, after the first trimester, it’s best to avoid lying face down. Instead, try doing certain poses on your knees rather than on your stomach—like substituting camel pose for bow pose.
 

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Yoga

First up, yoga. You want to avoid any poses that cramp your baby’s space or put pressure on your stomach. It’s easy to modify most poses to make them safer and more comfortable for you and your baby. For example, instead of trying to do a regular forward fold, open up your legs for a wide leg forward fold, which gives your belly more space. 
 
Some poses can be fine during the first or second trimester, depending on your prior yoga experience, but may be less safe later in pregnancy. If you are comfortable doing full wheel, it can be fine early in your pregnancy. I did this pose until about 25 weeks, but everyone is different. Keep in mind that pregnancy is not the time to push yourself with new poses. Additionally, after the first trimester, it’s best to avoid lying face down. Instead, try doing certain poses on your knees rather than on your stomach—like substituting camel pose for bow pose.
 

Pilates + Barre

Similarly, with both Pilates and barre, you want to avoid doing any stretches or poses that put pressure on or around your abdominal cavity. During the early stages of pregnancy, you may not need any modifications, but the most important thing is to listen to your body and not push the limits. As your pregnancy progresses, remember to ask the instructor for modifications, so the exercise feels good for both you and baby.

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Pilates + Barre

Similarly, with both Pilates and barre, you want to avoid doing any stretches or poses that put pressure on or around your abdominal cavity. During the early stages of pregnancy, you may not need any modifications, but the most important thing is to listen to your body and not push the limits. As your pregnancy progresses, remember to ask the instructor for modifications, so the exercise feels good for both you and baby.

Hot Exercise + Heated Classes

Another crucial thing to avoid during pregnancy is hot exercise. There is a lot of misinformation regarding hot exercise, but be wary of anyone that tells you that it is safe. Increasing your core body temperature is known as hyperthermia, and it can be extremely dangerous for pregnant women. It is especially dangerous in the first month just after contraception, but hot exercise and heated classes should be avoided at all stages of pregnancy.

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Hot Exercise + Heated Classes

Another crucial thing to avoid during pregnancy is hot exercise. There is a lot of misinformation regarding hot exercise, but be wary of anyone that tells you that it is safe. Increasing your core body temperature is known as hyperthermia, and it can be extremely dangerous for pregnant women. It is especially dangerous in the first month just after contraception, but hot exercise and heated classes should be avoided at all stages of pregnancy.

Strength Training

When it comes to strength and circuit training, exercises like lunges and jumping may put excessive pressure on your belly as you get farther along in your pregnancy. Trust your body and discontinue these if they feel unsafe. Any exercises that cause you to hold your breath or could result in trauma to your belly, (for example kettlebell swings or powerlifting) I would advise against.

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Strength Training

When it comes to strength and circuit training, exercises like lunges and jumping may put excessive pressure on your belly as you get farther along in your pregnancy. Trust your body and discontinue these if they feel unsafe. Any exercises that cause you to hold your breath or could result in trauma to your belly, (for example kettlebell swings or powerlifting) I would advise against.

Cardio

With cardio, the rule is that you should be able to continue to hold a steady conversation during exercise. For some, running may be fine up until the end of your pregnancy. Others may find this puts too much pressure on their pelvic floor. Some low-impact alternatives include walking (on both a flat surface and uphill), swimming, elliptical machine, rowing machine, and low-intensity aerobic exercise.
 

If you’re looking for exercise classes to take while pregnant, I recommend searching for something mellow on the MINDBODY app, such as restorative or gentle flow yoga, beginner Reformer Pilates, or any other light, introductory classes.
 
As a general rule, if you’re questioning whether or not something is safe to do during pregnancy, it probably isn’t. Remember that the most important thing is the safety of both you and your baby, and no form or intensity of exercise is worth sacrificing that!
 
For more information on a healthy pregnancy, including nutritious recipes and exercise ideas, check out my Predominantly Plant-Based Pregnancy Guide!

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Cardio

With cardio, the rule is that you should be able to continue to hold a steady conversation during exercise. For some, running may be fine up until the end of your pregnancy. Others may find this puts too much pressure on their pelvic floor. Some low-impact alternatives include walking (on both a flat surface and uphill), swimming, elliptical machine, rowing machine, and low-intensity aerobic exercise.
 

If you’re looking for exercise classes to take while pregnant, I recommend searching for something mellow on the MINDBODY app, such as restorative or gentle flow yoga, beginner Reformer Pilates, or any other light, introductory classes.
 
As a general rule, if you’re questioning whether or not something is safe to do during pregnancy, it probably isn’t. Remember that the most important thing is the safety of both you and your baby, and no form or intensity of exercise is worth sacrificing that!
 
For more information on a healthy pregnancy, including nutritious recipes and exercise ideas, check out my Predominantly Plant-Based Pregnancy Guide!

Whitney English - MINDBODY
Written by
Whitney English
Registered Dietitian Nutritionist
About the author
A former journalist and entertainment reporter in Los Angeles, Whitney English found her passion in wellness and nutrition. Tired of the quick fix promises she encountered in Hollywood, she became a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and Certified Personal Trainer, making it her mission to research health trends to help determine the best ways to eat, move, and live for long-lasting health.