miscellaneous

Let's Talk About Foam Rolling

Do you know what foam rolling is? Better yet, have you ever used one? Foam rolling is a great way to loosen up tight muscles for a myofascial release. If you’re feeling aches and pains, most of the time if there is no traumatic injury, these can be attributed to tight muscles and adhesions or even some scar tissue. Foam rolling is the answer to all three of those! Why is foam rolling better than stretching? Imagine you have a piece of chicken breast that you’re going to cook for dinner. That filmy white stuff is the fascia, or connective tissue, that surrounds the muscle. Your body has the same stuff, and sometimes that fascia doesn’t move smoothly along the muscle. If you stretch the muscle, you’re releasing the muscle fibers but not necessarily getting to the fascia to release the adhesions. The other problem with just stretching instead of foam rolling is that if you have a spasm, or muscle kink, you will stretch above and below that spot, but you won’t actually get a good stretch in the spasm itself. These are only a few of the reasons why foam rolling is so important! Plus, it just feels GREAT!!!! Yes, it will hurt pretty bad in certain areas, but I promise you that the more often you do it and the more consistent you are, the less it will hurt each time! Happy rolling! =) Click HERE and HERE to download your Foam Rolling Guides!!

 

Kinesiotape

Have you ever heard of Kinesiotape? It’s the brightly colored tape you see on all the Olympic and Pro athletes on TV and in magazines! There are VERY specific ways of application to create desired results. It is important that you have a trained professional (like me!) apply this tape or teach you how… You don’t want to put it on wrong and end up having adverse effects! It can last for up to 2 weeks per application depending on how you care for it.

What does Kinesiotape do? Well, it is designed to facilitate the body’s natural healing process while allowing support and stability to muscles and joints without restricting the body’s range of motion. It can be used to treat a variety of orthopedic, neuromuscular, neurological, and medical conditions. Below is a basic list of what we can achieve when I put Kinesiotape on you:

*Re-educate the neuromuscular system

*Reduce pain

*Optimize performance

*Prevent injury

*Promote improved circulation and healing

*Reduce edema or joint effusion

Here are just a few of the Kinesiotape jobs I’ve done! K-tape is a GREAT way to activate or deactivate muscles, correct biomechanical patterns, or reduce swelling. Click HERE to learn more about K-Tape!

Ready to get started? Click HERE

 

Stretching: A How To Guide

Blessed are the flexible, for they shall not be bent out of shape
— Anonymous

 

Here are pictures and instructions on how to perform basic and commonly used stretches for your entire body! Remember to hold each stretch for a minimum of 30 seconds to 1 minute. Make sure that your stretches are gentle and not to the point of pain. Feel free to comment here or contact me with any questions or comments!

Adductors

Sit on the floor with the knees bent and the bottom of your feet together (in the butterfly position). Hold ankles with both hands and press your thighs down by using your elbows.

Hamstrings

Stand tall in front of a low curb or chair. Put 1 heel on chair and keep legs straight. Slowly bend forward at the hips to bend your trunk closer to the leg that is extended in front until you feel a stretch down the back of the front leg. Further this stretch by flexing your ankle or turning your toes in and out.

Hip flexors/Quads

Kneel down with one leg extended in front of the other at a 90 degree angle. Lean forward until you feel a stretch in the front of the back leg. Make sure that your stance is big enough that your front knee doesn’t extend past your toes. For a deeper stretch, make sure you aren’t extending your low back, and reach your arms slightly over the side that is in front while keeping the hips facing forward to open up the hip.

Hips/Glutes

Lie on the floor with both legs extended. Cross one leg so that the ankle is over the knee of the opposite leg, like a figure 4. Keep your back straight and bring the “straight” leg’s knee up to your chest until you feel a stretch in the buns on the side you’re not touching.

Calves

It is important to note that the calf is made up of 2 different muscles, your Gastrocs and your Soleus, so you must stretch BOTH! To stretch your gastrocs, stand in an exaggerated step forwards, leaning into a wall with your arms. Try to keep your back leg straight while your front let is around 90 degrees. Lean forwards until you feel a stretch in the back of your back leg. To hit your Soleus, try to bend your back knee while keeping the heel on the ground and still leaning forward. You’ll probably feel the stretch move a bit, which means you’re doing it correctly!

Neck

In a seated position, sit on one hand, palm up. Use your other hand to gently pull your head so that your ear travels towards your shoulder, opposite of the side that you’re sitting on your hand. Repeat this by angling your head toward your opposite armpit instead of shoulder to move the stretch to the Levator Scapulae instead of your upper Trapezius muscles.

Upper Back

Lie sideways on the floor in the fetal position. Knees should be bent as close to the chest as possible with arms out in front of you, arms stacked. Take one arm and try to open up the chest, with your head following the arm that is moving. Ideally you should be able to open your back all the way up so that your hips are still sideways on the ground but your back and head are flat on the ground with your arm extended and touching the ground on the other side of your body.

Low Back

Lie on your back with your knees bent and arms straight out to the side. Place both hands on top of one shin, just below the knee, and gently pull this leg up towards your chest. For a deeper stretch, extend the other leg completely out straight. Repeat this on the other leg, then bring both knees to chest.

Shoulders

Sit or stand with good posture. Cross one arm across the body and use the other arm to gently pull it farther across body. Keep the shoulder being stretched down and relaxed.

Biceps

With your arm completely extended in front of you palm up, gently use other hand to bend fingers towards floor, opening up forearm and biceps.

Chest

Stand in a doorway. Bend the arm closest to the doorway at 90 degrees with forearm against the doorway. Gently lean your body away from the arm to feel a stretch in the pecs. Play with the angles of the elbow; try below 90, at 90, and above 90 for a full pec stretch.

Triceps

Start either sitting or standing. Put one hand over the opposite shoulder between your shoulder blades. Make sure that hand is pointing downwards and the elbow is pointing upwards. Use your opposite hand to gently press down on the elbow until you feel a stretch in the triceps.

 

Outdoor Workout Options

If you live in San Diego, like I do, then you’re almost always reminded of how lucky we are to live here! It’s practically summer 80% of the year!! Just yesterday I was working out outside because I want to take full advantage of our great weather, plus, its fun to mix it up a bit! When it’s warm weather outside, what are your go to’s for exercise? I think that a lot of people forget that you can workout and be active without actually pumping iron in a gym… I personally love being outside doing things that don’t make me feel like I’m actually working out.

My top choices? Kayaking in our beautiful waters, standup paddleboarding in our bays, and bicycling throughout our wonderful city! Why are these three my top choices? They’re all full body (or compound) exercises where you work every part of your body, and they’re all fun hobbies that don’t even make you feel like you’re working out!

Kayaking is a GREAT way to work out your arms and your abs while experiencing some beautiful weather. Plus, kayaking is a great way to spend time with other people and you can always take a break and just drift if your arms need a break.

Next, there is stand up paddleboarding. Although there is a bit of a learning curve (just ask my knees the first time I went… they were completely purple the next day from falling so much), paddleboarding can be a great way to center yourself and calm yourself. I’ve seen people out on their boards doing workouts or yoga! Paddleboarding is a serious back and core workout, especially if you dig deep with each row and keep your abs tight. One of the reasons I love this so much? When I have a lot on my mind, there are few things that can match the beauty and serenity of sitting out on the water, just floating along with the waves and being alone with your thoughts.

Last, there’s bike riding! As some of you know, if you know me well, bikes have not always been at the top of my list. =) I may have had a minor run in with a car back when I was in high school and am still a bit scarred from that experience and the damage it did to my knee… However, we live in SUCH a great city for biking, so I’ve gotten back up on the horse and fallen in love with it again! Biking is a great way to tone your arms AND your legs. It burns lots of extra calories and frankly, parking around here sucks, so bicycling is a great alternative. Have you ever ridden your bike down the boardwalk along mission beach or PB? Both are fun rides, or even along Sunset cliffs for a more pretty bike ride! This whole city is filled with great bike routes so get out there and try a new one!

These may be just 3 new ways to workout outside and try something new, but there are TONS of things to do out there! Post below with your fave workout outside and we’ll compare! =) Have fun!

 

Overindulged during the holidays? How to get back on track!

Did you eat a little too much over the holidays? Perhaps a workout was missed? It is easy to fall off the fitness wagon once in awhile, especially during the holidays, with all of the extra family that might be in town or the incredibly yummy food being served, but that’s no reason to stress! You just have to get back on the wagon! Here are some simple ways to help you get back on track with your healthy lifestyle:

Stop feeling guilty Even the healthiest of us still don’t always stick 100% to our diet and exercise plan. Beating yourself up over it just makes you more unhealthy and more likely to head to the fridge to eat your feelings! Remember that weight loss is a process that happens over time and any weight gained can be lost! Get to the gym or make a healthy meal and let the guilt go!

Get away from the extra sugar and salt! Cutting out the extra sugar, refined carbs, and salt is the first step to getting back to your regular self! It’ll help you feel less bloated and more healthy in no time!

Revisit your goals. Remember last month when we talked about goal setting? Now is a great time to look back at those goals, see what worked or didn’t work, and make changes. Did you overindulge because you lost sight of your goals? Were your goals set too high or too low? Go back and figure out exactly what you want to accomplish, and I will help you get there!

Drink extra water! Drinking water is HUGE when it comes to detoxing after the holidays. Water helps to flush out toxins and helps your body eliminate waste. Don’t know how much you should be drinking? Divide your body weight in half, and drink that many ounces. For example, if I weighed 100 lbs, I should be drinking 50 oz of water a day. Grab that water bottle and get going!

Ignore the scale for a few days. Chances are that because of all the extra treats that you MAY have indulged in over the holidays, you had a lot of extra salt, sugar, and fat. This will translate to a few pounds heavier than normal on the scale. Instead of weighing yourself and feeling guilty about the number, hold off for a few days. If you start eating healthy and exercising regularly again, you’ll probably be back to your normal size in a week.

 

How to Stay Healthy During the Holidays

I have a HARD time during the holidays when I’m trying to stick to my healthy diet and workout regime and I’m surrounded by yummy, unhealthy foods for almost an entire month between Thanksgiving and Christmas! I know I can’t be the only one who suffers from this right?! Well, fear not, my friend! Here are some ways to help combat the craziness of the holidays without completely derailing your diet and fitness!

To begin, realize that your health comes from a few different areas. We need to touch on mental health (holidays are always a source of stress with all the extra people around =) ), physical health (like working out), and nutrition (what you’re eating).

Lets start by talking about your mental health… It is SO important to not stress during the holidays. I know this can be hard. For me, I’ll be driving almost 8 hours each way just to visit my family for a few days. All that extra driving and traffic plus spending a jam packed week visiting as many people as possible and trying to get quality time in wherever you can, can be overwhelming. This stress leads to sleep disturbances and deprivation as well as influxes of different hormones and even a decrease in your immune system so you’re more likely to get sick! The problem with these different hormones is that these stress hormones can actually cause your metabolism to slow down (read more about that HERE) and can cause you to gain a bit of weight! =(

So how can you stress less during this holiday season? There’s a few simple ways that I can think of right off the top of my head! The first one is to make a list of all the things that you need to do. This way you won’t be feeling overwhelmed or like you’ve forgotten something. It will help you rest a little easier when you feel organized. Be efficient. When you have tasks scheduled, you won’t feel like you’re running around from place to place. Anticipate your needs and plan for them. For me, as I start to get busy and stressed, little things can catch me off guard, so if I have to get up in the morning or have a busy day ahead of me, I’ll set out my clothes and my bag for work the next day, or pack my lunch and snacks the night before so I won’t have to be thinking about it at 4 in the morning when I’m getting up! Above all else, just try to keep everything in perspective. Remember that this holiday season is really no different than any other and even if there’s different things going on, it all still ends and everyone will go back to his or her regular routines in just a few weeks. Plus, use whatever you learn this year to help you even more next year! For example, if you’ve always put on Thanksgiving dinner and somehow this year, you forget to assign someone to make the Pumpkin Pie, I bet that next year, that will be the first thing you do! =) Lastly, make sure you get enough sleep! Get all of your packing and last minute preparations done ahead of time so you’re not stressing about it and losing out on some VERY important sleep. Research has shown that missing out on even just a few hours of sleep the night before can make you more susceptible to catching a cold the very next day and the last thing you want is to be sick over the holidays!

Now, how to stay healthy on the fitness front… Traveling, relatives staying on your couch, extra hours of work trying to get everything done before the holidays, shopping for presents, etc can all TOTALLY derail you from your regular fitness regime. Instead of doing what a lot of people do, which is essentially just take the entire month off from working out, just be more aware that you’ll be busy and plan a bit better or get creative!

If I know that I’ve got a jam packed week coming up, I’ll look at the schedule and actually schedule myself a workout or a class because if I have it down on paper, I’m less likely to bail on myself, plus, I’ve already allotted time for it so I won’t be missing out on something else. If I’m going shopping, I wear my running shoes and take an extra lap around the mall to do some window shopping while getting a little cardio in! If I’m going out of town, I get to look forward and get excited for a new running route around my neighborhood! You can even plan activities with family or friends that you intend to spend time with anyways, but make them fitness activities. Instead of chugging down a 500 calories drink from Starbucks with a girlfriend, grab some regular coffee and go on a walk in the park with her! I know I’ll be taking my nephews to the playground and probably running around in circles racing them! =) Lastly, I try to have fun with it. If I know that I have to clean the entire house or do the dishes or laundry, I’ll blast some loud music and dance around when I do it to burn just a few extra calories!

Last but definitely not least… how to eat right during the holidays! This can be the hardest one for most people because not only are you usually not in your regular routine, but you’re also surrounded by so many unhealthy options! Here are a few tips to keep you on track! Plan ahead! (Boy this one seems to come up a lot, huh?) If I know I’m going to the mall and will be gone all day, I’ll pack a few small, healthy snacks to take with me so I won’t be tempted to eat unhealthy mall foods or go hungry! I also make sure to eat a full, healthy meal before I leave so I don’t even get hungry while I’m there! Make sure to avoid the “Splurge/Starve” cycle! I hear this all the time from my clients. People are under the impression that if they overeat the night before, that they should skip breakfast and lunch to “make up” for the extra calories they consumed. That is a DOWNWARD SPIRAL and should be avoided at all costs! If you overeat, realize that you overate and be done with it. Don’t beat yourself up or punish yourself because it will only do more damage. Instead, start your morning with a quick walk, a light and nutrition breakfast, and fill up with a glass of water to help keep your metabolism up and burn more calories! I even tell my clients that although I don’t promote it, I’m ok with them eating a few small, unhealthy items. That way you still feel like you’ve enjoyed the holiday and aren’t holding yourself back. Just make sure you’re eating A LOT more healthy items like fruits and veggies prior to that unhealthy choice and chances are you won’t even want it or you’ll be full before you finish that slice of pie! Lastly, remember that most beverages contain calories as well! Alcoholic drinks, home-made punches, and coffee drinks often have a lot of unexpected calories in them, so make sure to consume them in moderation!

Finally, enjoy your holiday! The more active you are and the healthier you eat, the better you’ll feel overall and the more excited you’ll be coming out of this holiday season!

 

How to make healthy habits stick

Want to learn how to make healthy habits stick? Predict that you will eat better and work out more next week, and you probably will! This is according to a study in the Journal of Consumer Research. The reason is that once you turn wishful thinking into a plan of action, the goal feels more accessible and your behavior becomes more consistent with your ideal! So the next time you want to establish a healthy habit in your life, remember that self predictions can help reinforce good habits and disrupt bad ones!!

Fight hunger

As you dive into your day, do you notice that you start to get hungry right before lunch time? What about as you’re driving home, thinking about dinner? We all get this and there are ways that you can fight that feeling of hunger to help you stay on track with eating right!

So what causes this hunger? When your stomach is empty, your body actually releases a hormone called Ghrelin. Although an empty stomach is the main reason that levels of Ghrelin rise, there are multiple culprits that can also cause this hormone to be released. Ever notice that you are hungrier when you’re drinking alcohol? That’s because alcohol actually triggers more Ghrelin to be released; so does eating fatty foods, greasy foods, and eating too few calories. These are all things that we should stay away from right? =)

There are a few different things that are simple to help keep your Ghrelin levels low throughout the day, so that you never get hit with that crazy hunger that makes you rush to the nearest drive through! Some of these strategies include: eating more complex carbs and fiber, eating a more substantial breakfast, eating on a regular schedule, eating more protein, and choosing low calorie foods that still fill you up!

The first strategy is to eat more complex carbs and fiber. When you eat simple/refined carbs, like bagels or pasta, your blood sugar rises quickly. When your blood sugar increases, your Ghrelin decreases. You’d think this is a good thing, but the problem is that as a result of a high blood sugar, your body surges with Insulin, which regulates and lowers the blood sugar very quickly. When this happens, you get hungrier faster. Having these ups and downs in your blood sugar also affect your metabolism by slowing it down! It’s better to eat complex carbs and fiber because these take longer to break down, so the release of sugar is much slower into the blood stream. Because the sugar in the blood stream does not spike as quickly, Insulin levels are kept at bay, which keeps Ghrelin levels low, which means that you’ll feel full longer!

Next, it is imperative to make sure that you have a substantial breakfast! One study actually showed that participants eating a higher calorie breakfast produced 33% LESS Ghrelin throughout the entire day! These same people also felt satisfied for a longer period of time in the morning. Remember, if your stomach is empty because you ate too small or no breakfast, Ghrelin levels will rise and you’ll be hungry before you know it!

Next, you have to eat on a regular schedule. If we know that Ghrelin levels rise and fall with usual mealtimes and a set schedule, if you eat in a regular schedule, then you can prevent spikes of Ghrelin and that insatiable hunger! What should you do if you can’t stick to that schedule all the time? When I’m out and about, I carry small baggies of nuts in my car and purse to munch on so that my stomach feels like it has something in it, until I can get home and have a good meal.

Next, protein protein protein! Research has shown that protein rich foods actually suppress Ghrelin levels and create a long lasting feeling of fullness! Try to put a little peanut butter on whole wheat toast in the morning or have a protein shake!

Last, make sure that you eat a lot of low calorie but high volume foods! This basically means eat a lot of food, like salad, soup, green veggies, or foods with a high water content! These foods reduce Ghrelin levels by filling up your stomach long before you’ve overeaten, without filling you with unnecessary calories!

How to burn more calories with each workout!

Have you heard of the afterburn effect? It is one of the BEST ways to lose weight, even after you’re doing working out!

Basically, how you work out actually effects the amount of calories burned after your workout! Oxygen levels stay high post workout, to help bring your body back to it’s “resting state”, called EPOC, or excess post-oxygen consumption. Since your oxygen levels stay high, your metabolism is actually elevated as it tries to help your body restore oxygen and energy levels as well as clear waste through circulation. (ALL GOOD THINGS!)

So, the larger the EPOC effect, the more calories burned post workout! What does this mean for you? Intense and intermittent exercise (ie INTERVALS), will have a larger effect on weight loss than traditional cardio will! Not only will you burn more calories during the workout, but you’ll keep burning those high levels of calories way after you’re finished working out!

Examples of intervals? Any time you do short bursts of something really hard then you take some sort of a break will count! Generally with my clients, we’ll do a hard exercise like a running sprint, sprint on the bike, mountain climbers, or burpees, then something that’s easier, like a slow jog or walk. Alternate between these short, hard bursts of energy and easy segments and you’ll see that extra weight fly off in no time!

Check out our interval training programs , or contact us with any questions for how to make your workouts better!