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Does a dedicated Bikram Yoga practice = Endurance Training?

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  • Does a dedicated Bikram Yoga practice = Endurance Training?

    Hi FitGroks I am about six weeks into the Primal Blueprint eating plan and starting to have a ton of questions about how my fitness routine fits into the lifestyle.

    For the unfamiliar, this three minute video is a time lapse of a standard class. The classes are the same every time: 26 asanas and two breathing exercises in 90 minutes at 105 degrees. The average yogi burns 700-1000 calories per class. I have been practicing for over a year, and am looking to compete in the next couple of years. Yes, there are competitions. Here's last year's champion, Joseph Encinia, performing a demonstration at this year's championships.

    When I started eating PB I cut my classes from 4-5x/wk to 1-3x/wk to let my body get through the "carb flu". As I am feeling pretty fat-adapted I am starting to go more often and have been reading a lot about how "no training should last over an hour" and all kinds of dietary advice for endurance athletes. My main question or concern then, is, "Should I treat my Bikram training like an endurance training?"

    I never have been a runner. I do supplement with electrolytes and have started to question if I may be harming my insulin stability by adding more carbs during periods of extended activity. For instance, I've been averaging 70-90g carbs/day, but this past weekend I did two days in a row, with an active day of hiking with my kids and running errands in between. With the addition of my pre-class half-banana and post-class coconut water I jumped up to 120g carbs for the day. I hear that endurance athletes can go a bit higher on the carbs, but I'm not sure what this means for me.

    Any and all input is appreciated!

  • #2
    I would chalk it up to slow movement. The hot room is nice but other than tolerating the heat the bikram protocol is not to strenuous
    Integrity is what we do when nobody's watching.


    • #3
      I go 4-5 times a week. On 4 of those days I take a kettlebell, or TRX or a cross training class prior to yoga. I go in a fasted state. I've been totally fine through both classes. I eat maybe an hour later or when I get hungry. I do find Bikram much more than moving slowly. It uses a lot of body weight strength. I feel completely refreshed after this class. Nothing has ever made me feel this good afterwards, except that runner's high you get after a great run.

      I stopped worrying about what exercise I did counted towards "what" because I found myself at one point feeling like I shouldn't do much or that it could be too much and fall into etc, etc. I found myself sitting more than moving. I wasn't enjoying my days as much as had before. I know that Primal isn't about this, but at times it feels like one must stop doing things to fit into a set group of rules. I got so stress out over my exercise routine than I did about anything else in my life.

      I decided life is much more enjoyable doing the things in life I want than conforming to rules that do not fit my lifestyle.


      • #4
        It looks pretty reasonable to me. Definitely not chronic cardio.


        • #5
          It's all good.

          I wouldn't consider it endurance -- just general movement and it's good for you. Once you've acclimated to the heat, the heat has very minimal effect on anything. After a year, you're definitely acclimated.

          Competition is fun.


          • #6
            ^^ yes


            • #7
              I used to do Bikram and sometimes Moksha. it can definitely be exhausting and the fact that you do it that often I give credit to you. I had to give it up as i love weightlifting and running more. I had no energy after 1 or 2 sessions a week and I much prefer for the two things I loved the most. Yes I would add sweet potatoes. If youre more active it's okay to up the carbs on training days


              • #8

                I've done bikram and it's mildly taxing for a long period of time. You're not sweating just because of the heat and you are going to build up endurance. No doubt about it. Is it marathon endurance training? No. But will you benefit? Of course.
                "All I ask of food is that it doesn't harm me." ~Michael Palin


                • #9
                  Chronic cardio = chronic inflammation.

                  Yoga =/= inflammatory.


                  • #10
                    I've been doing Bikram for about 2 years, and personally found it to be the best exercise for me. That being said, I alternate my practice, never settling into too much of a routine with it. I used to go 5 days a week, almost religiously, but found after awhile that I was stressing my system too much. 3-4 days a week seems the perfect balance for me, and I'll regularly take a month off from all exercise just to give my body time for extended healing.

                    When it comes to Bikram and diet, I've gotten much more in tune with what my body needs, and feed it base on that. It's all about listening to yourself. Some days I'll need the extra carbs, others I'm fine without them. It just depends on my overall activity level between exercise, work, and all the other 'stuff of life' that we have to fuel ourselves for.


                    • #11
                      Thanks for all the feedback! I've found myself in a busy PNW summer (we decided to move, open a new restaurant, expand our menu, and still give 100% to the two preschoolers) and I'm just not sleeping enough to validate more than two classes a week.

                      It's great to get the feedback from others in the community with Bikram experience, as it's just such a unique workout Thanks Again!!!


                      • #12
                        Hmm the best way to tell would be to wear a heart rate monitor - I did Bikram exclusively for two years and there are times I'm sure you know that the heart really gets going, as long as it doesn't last throughout the whole class which my guess from my practice is that it doesn't, especially once you get to the floor series. I would also think that when you start doing Bikram that you might be in a chronic cardio phase but if you practice a lot the heart rate will go down and your endurance goes up - Bikram as well as all yoga is proven to be a very regulatory exercise when it comes to blood pressure - if you have high BP it goes down if you have low BP it goes up to normal. Plus I think there is enough rest and effort to make this a great interval exercise series, and you get all the detoxing benefits too! Try a heart rate monitor it could offer some really vital info for you and I'd love to hear the results!!