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Top bodybuilder's have even cited yoga and functional fitness training as pivotal changes that put them on the podium at competitions. Yoga is an excellent means of improving flexibility and reducing an athlete's risk of injury—which, for hard training bodybuilders lifting all the time, is significant. While adding flexibility and functional strength, yoga also alleviates much of the soreness caused by heavy lifting.

While yoga has applications for many lifestyles and health conditions, we'll explore specifically how yoga can help weight lifters, given the specific goals and demands that face these sorts of athletes. We'll go over a few of the key reasons to explore yoga and why so many people turn to this ancient practice as a means of improving their health, both physically and mentally.

# 1 Strength & Flexibility

Read more: How Yoga Will Help You Build Muscle Mass

Your body is a machine that constantly reinvents itself. Every minute of every day, it breaks down its own tissues and replaces them with new stuff it makes from a combination of the food you eat and recycled material it scavenges from other tissues.

No matter how old your Facebook profile says you are, your component parts are considerably younger. Even your bones replace themselves every 10 years. By that standard, your muscle cells, with an average age of 15 years old, are the adults at the party.

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Elite athletes know the importance of recovery nutrition. To replenish energy stores, repair and rebuild muscle, and rehydrate the body, it's crucial to get the appropriate balance of macronutrients and liquids. But elite athletes aren't the only ones who need to re-fuel properly after a hard workout. All athletes benefit from recovery nutrition. Unfortunately for some, it's an opportunity often missed.

Maybe it's lack of time or confusion about when or what to eat that prompts the detrimental decision to forgo post-workout nourishment. Enter the sports dietitian. Registered dietitians are experts in the field of sports nutrition who work hard to prepare athletes for competition. One meaningful lesson they teach their athletes is the importance of recovery nutrition. They know the value that recovery foods provide.

I asked several of my favorite sports dietitians to share their favorite recovery foods. They provided simple and delicious choices.

1. Nuts (preferably almonds and walnuts)

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We're huge fans of running. It allows you to get a stress-reducing, endurance-boosting workout with just a pair of shoes and an open road.

It also burns calories, of course. At a 10-minute per mile pace—roughly the average guy's marathon pace—you'll fry about 10 calories a minute.

That's a solid number, and if you run faster, you can burn even more.

But if running isn't your favorite activity, there are plenty of other modes of exercise that can help you torch calories at a lightning fast rate.

Related: 3 Exercises You Should Do Every Day

"In general, you burn more calories by doing high-intensity weight training than you do running," says Harold Gibbons, a trainer at Mark Fisher Fitness in New York City, and the New York State Director of the National Strength and Conditioning Association.

Read more: 10 Exercises That Burn More Calories Than Running

Most people believe that all exercises are good, safe and effective. After all it's exercise—and that has to count for something, doesn't it?

The truth is that some common exercises aren't safe at all (especially for people who have muscle, joint, and health problems). Certain exercises require a bit more know-how than the average person possesses. And other exercises are downright wastes of your time.

But before we examine some of the most controversial exercises, I want to make it clear that every exercise on this list isn't always unsafe or ineffective for everyone. What you should do—or avoid—depends on your goals, fitness level, health history, workout schedule, and other personal issues. An article like this can't replace your own efforts to identify your goals and needs. That requires you to do some research on your own, talk to your medical professional about any pain or physical limitations you have, and learn how to exercise with proper form and technique.

Read more: 5 Exercises You Should Never Do

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