Strength Training and Yoga Plus Pumpkin Fruit Low Fat Muffins

by Joanne on November 10, 2010

When we hear that strength training is an important component in any fitness program, the question comes up “Is Yoga considered strength training?” 

First of all, strength training is important to running because

  1. You need to be able to hold proper form when you begin to tire.
  2. It keeps muscles fit and bone mineral loss at a minimum (natural effects of aging).
  3. Improves VO2 max
  4. Improves running performance due to neuromuscular adaptation.
  5. Increases foot turnover speed (reduces ground contact time resulting in faster running). (source: Scott Murr co-author: Run Less, Run Faster)
  6. Strong muscles help prevent injury and aide in the recovery in the event of an injury. 

We can say that when you assume certain yoga poses you have to support your own body weight with your muscles.  Challenging arm balances come to mind or hand stands.   When you hold positions for extended periods of time such as warrior pose, this strengthens the leg muscles.  The result, using yoga, is strengthening of the muscle groups, increasing flexibility and balance, and building core fitness.

As with doing only one sport, your muscles will adapt.  Weaknesses develop as we age and in order to balance those weaknesses, building stronger muscles by changing the work load (and I don’t mean gain weight so you can assume yoga poses and have more weight to support!) is necessary. 

In order to build strength in a muscle (not the muscle group but focused on a specific muscle), it must repeatedly be overloaded. The best way to do this is through free weights to train for power and strength.  Using free weights forces the body to lift and control the weight.   You can work using the overload principle with weights: Increase the weight you are lifting, or change the speed of the exercise or increase the range of motion.  

I think both yoga AND using weight resistance training is important to overall improvement in muscle tone, strength, and overall fitness.  Obviously, when I was looking for an answer, Yogis say yes, yoga is all that is needed.  Fans of weight training say no, you must have weights so you can increase your work load and build, not just maintain, muscle strength.

Do you think yoga alone can achieve adequate muscle strength for specific sports endurance training?  

A Low Fat Muffin:

This recipe came about from a magazine insert coupon.  It was for Pompeian Olive oil although I ended up not using oil in my muffins.    A good, low fat seasonal muffin.  The fruit being crushed pineapple and banana. 


Makes 9 Large Muffins or about 12 medium sized muffins


  • Non Stick cooking spray to spray muffin tins
  • 1 TBS sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 2/3 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup low fat buttermilk
  • 1 egg, slightly beaten
  • 8 oz 100% pumpkin puree
  • 1 small banana, mashed
  • 8 oz crushed pineapple, drained
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract

In a small cup, mix the 1 TBS sugar with the teaspoon cinnamon and set aside. This is for your topping.

In a large bowl, blend the 1/2 cup sugar, flour, baking powder, and salt.

In a smaller bowl, mix together the buttermilk, egg, pumpkin, banana, pineapple and vanilla.

Mix JUST until blended the buttermilk mixture into the flour mix. 

Spoon into muffin tins, sprinkle on the topping and bake for about 25 – 35 minutes for large muffins or 20 minutes for medium sized muffins. Make sure your knife comes out clean to check for doneness.  *I baked the large muffins for about 35 minutes and they were still very moist on the inside but all agreed they were delicious and not undercooked. Give the muffin the benefit of the doubt and don’t over cook to the point of drying it out.


They aren’t the prettiest muffins but they sure did disappear fast. 



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  • At 2010.11.10 07:13, Heather said:

    Great post! I think yoga is a perfectly acceptable alternative to weight training and that it just depends on the person. Me, I prefer weight training, but I’ll do yoga once in awhile to switch things up! 🙂

    • At 2010.11.10 10:49, Gera@SweetsFoodsBlog said:

      You’ve done a class about running and strength training!

      Your body needs cardio, improvement in muscle tones and flexibility. Yoga can achieve the last ones but not the first.
      So for cardio we need to swim, bike and run – then to eat afterwards – several of those wonderful muffins! 🙂

      All the best,


      • At 2010.11.10 15:23, Amanda @ bakingwithoutabox said:

        Interesting concept that I’ve wondered myself. I’ve tried both. Alternately and at the same time. And I never got the exact same toning effects from one that I got from the other. So I still think both are necessary. Yoga/pilates for those long, lean, stretching long-held poses. Free weights for adding that extra, well, weight. So now that I’ve rambled, I agree with you! And love those moist-looking muffins.

        • At 2010.11.10 16:47, Monet said:

          I need to start doing more strength training and yoga! This muffin recipe looks delicious. I make a similar pumpkin muffin, but I’ve never thought to add pineapple. What a great idea. I hope you have a beautiful day tomorrow!

          • At 2010.11.10 20:02, Lori (Finding Radiance) said:

            Goodness those muffins look heavenly!

            I think yoga and strength training are 2 totally different animals. You just cannot get the strength with only body weight resistance. Not that you can’t get a good workout, but you won’t build the strength.

            I know all my hard leg work is what allows me to bike miles and miles and miles without getting tired.

            Yoga is great for the stretching and lengthening that you can’t get from strength training. So, both have their place.

            • […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Applecrumbles, Applecrumbles. Applecrumbles said: Yoga strength training?Comment here: […]

              • At 2010.11.11 08:36, Sophie said:

                Your low fat muffins look so delectable & special too,..festive also I think!

                MMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM,…fabulously food!

                • At 2010.11.13 09:58, Hannah said:

                  Pineapple in pumpkin muffins? What an unusual combination- I’d sure love to try it though!

                  • At 2011.02.28 06:51, cyndi said:

                    the lowfat pumpkin muffins look great but what is the nutritional content?

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