My whole purpose with this blog post is to help shift your mindset from viewing health & fitness as this extreme program - workout every day, meal prep every meal, avoiding all indulgences, and meditate for an hour each day in a rose garden with an ocean view - to a more realistic view that it's a lifestyle, and the fact is that life is not perfect. The other fact is that what's healthy and working for one person may not be the right path or plan for someone else. We all have our own busy schedules, our own family situations, and our bodies are very different. READ MORE, click on title :)
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How many of you have ever felt like your body wasn’t good enough for some reason or another? Not because you didn’t feel healthy enough, but because you felt you didn’t meet some expectation for a certain look. Today I want to recognize the ugly reality of this body shaming nonsense. Before I start I just want to add a disclaimer that I’m not trying to turn this into a pitty party of any kind, I just had some feelings and experiences lately I’m sure we can all relate to, and I want to help as many of you as I can to avoid this trap. If anything I’m just excited to have a conversation with you all because I’m sure I’m not the only one who has had these thoughts and feelings.
This last year I got down to the smallest weight I’d ever been since I don’t know, pre highschool?? It was this summer after living in Europe where my food was cut down and I walked EVERYWHERE. And then I ended on the note of dengue fever in Thailand so I was in the hospital for a week barely being able to stomach any food. I came home feeling pretty weak, and not my healthiest. I gained back a little strength quickly, and kept with my smaller portions. I felt great about my body, but my fitness level had definitely taken a hit. Adjusting back into life in the US, I’ve let happen what I was afraid of happening. I’m not walking nearly as much, and food is very much more abundant. I’ve definitely gained back some meat on my bones. I’ve been getting stronger which I’m really happy about, and I think being strong builds confidence and is a beautiful thing for women. Then why was I crying last night looking at pictures from a photo shoot I did recently? I prepped for the photo shoot, felt pretty confident, knew I wasn’t looking my best, but still felt good going into it. Why was I beating myself up over body image? I found myself picking apart every picture. I was so bugged my skin rolled over my spandex a little, and that my back fat was showing from my bra line. For the first time since I’ve been out of college and in the fitness industry, I had gained some weight rather than lost weight. This past summer I felt what it was like for all my clothes to be big on me, and people to comment on how small I was. Note that I still got the negative comments like “you’re way too skinny, put some meat on your bones!”. And now just being slightly bigger, but at a totally normal and healthy weight for my body type, I find myself being so critical of my physique. I’ve let the comments and opinions of others effect me in a negative way, as if they know what I “should” look like. Comments like “wow you look….. muscly” or “You’ve really put on some muscle” have caused me to feel like I’ve done something wrong, like I’m not the right body type for my audience or the people paying attention. This week I let these comments make me feel bad about being “too” strong or “too” muscly. The pressure of having the perfect “personal trainer” physique, or whatever the “perfect body” is in your eyes can sometimes get the best of us.
But I wanted to address this, because I know a lot of us struggle with body image. What’s not ok is thinking there’s a perfect body mold that we all have to fit into. I think its totally ok and healthy to have goals of “getting lean” or “shedding some extra thickness” that we may not love. But the point I want to stress is loving and accepting yourself where you’re at, and have your main goal be HEALTH. I’ve been having so much fun training at the gym the past five months since we’ve been back from Europe, and I’ve been loving feeling stronger and more confident with lifting. I will be the first to admit that I have been eating slightly bigger meals than I probably need to be, and haven’t been too disciplined on my treat consumption. Being in my profession, I know what it takes to shed a few pounds & lean out. But what bugs me about this situation is that I’ve let the opinions of others and comparison of myself to others effect my body image. It’s so easy to compare ourselves in the social media world. We see images of perfect bodies without the whole story behind it all. I know we’re all guilty of comparing ourselves to filtered instagram perfection, and I want you to snap back in to reality like I made myself do. Realize that you truly are beautiful! There is no perfect body size. Weight is just a number that can drive us crazy if we let it. When we love ourselves, we can better send love out into the world. Never tell anyone that they are too skinny, too muscly, or too much of anything as far as their body goes. We don’t know how these words can effect someone negatively, and who’s to say what’s too skinny or too muscly anyways?
I’ve found that as we strive to be HEALTHY, the great body will follow! The best body type is the one you feel your healthiest in and that allows you to live your life to the fullest. For some of us that may mean shedding a few pounds that crept up over the holidays thats making us feel a bit sluggish, or for others of us that may be putting on a few pounds of muscle so that we feel like we can take on more of what life throws at us. This past week, while I was feeling so down about the way I looked in these dumb pictures, it just made my heart go out to all the beautiful women who have ever felt anything negative about how their body looks. I want you to know that you are beautiful. One of the main reasons I do what I do is to build up confidence in women and I found myself a victim of body shaming myself. It happens. Lets turn it around, build each other up, and find beauty in strength and health. One of the most rewarding parts of my job is seeing the joy and confidence in my clients after they’ve been working out, feeding their body right with healthy food, and they feel strong and confident. It radiates! Fuel your body with whole foods and stay active and watch the results come. End of the story, I went back and looked through my pictures that I was so critical of earlier and they actually looked great to me! I saw them through a much less critical eye, and noticed my strengths, rather than my flaws. Sometimes thats all it takes! Happy Wednesday everybody!
Alright some of you may still be wondering what the hype about foam rolling is. Is it just a trend? Does it actually do anything? Why does it hurt so bad? Well hopefully I can answer some of your questions and influence you to try it out and enjoy it like I have.
First of all, what is foam rolling? It is more scientifically known as SMR, or Self-Myfascial Release. It is a soft tissue therapy (muscles, tendons, fascia, connective tissue) that you apply to yourself with the goal to release tightness and soreness, also referred to as trigger points.
Some of the Benefits of foam rolling include:
- Increasing range of motion
- Increasing long term flexibility
- Decrease Muscle Soreness
- Decrease Muscle Pain long term
- Increase Neuromuscular efficiency
- Maintain normal muscle length
- Address muscle imbalances
- Aid with Injury prevention
Think of it as a little Therapeutic massage to yourself. Ok maybe a little more painful at times, but the more you do it the less painful it will be!
Alright first order of business, how to choose the right foam roller? You can order them for as cheap as $8 off amazon if you’d like. You want it firm. It needs to be hard enough so that it’s pressing into you, rather than you pressing into it. Personally, I like the firm, solid black classic.
Now lets talk Technique. You may have seen people just roll around up and down on these things. Thats not exactly right. You should roll around for about 30 seconds to break things up, but then start to feel where you have tension and target that spot to release that tension. You want to push through that spot, relax, and feel it release. You will feel pain, but try to stay on that point until it releases. Then move on to the next spot. This is a slower process that most people think.
When should you foam roll? Ideally every day, but you can start out with a few days a week. Before and after your workout is perfect. You will notice that your muscle soreness will decrease, and it’s a nice warm up before you get started.
What Muscles to target? Well most commonly tight on humans is our IT bands, or the outer thigh. Your IT band connects your hip down to the outside of your knee. Since so many of us sit, or bike, or run, we aren’t getting that lateral movement, so that naturally tightens up. This can cause a pull on your knee and you will feel pain. Roll through that IT band, break up that tightness. Other points that are my favorite to target are your quads, calves, glutes, and back. I find my glutes are often in knots, so I just sit on the foam roller and knead through the soreness. Along with the benefits above, you will start to notice a longer, leaner look to your muscles if combined with regular exercise and a healthy eating routine.
A common mistake? Most people always want to stretch their hamstrings, it feels good, but I suggest you stay away from it unless you are foam rolling them as well. Here’s the deal, our hamstrings are usually over lengthened. Think about it, hips are tight & short (sitting the majority of the day), hamstrings are over lengthened & being stretched through the day. Foam rolling breaks up the muscles, helps reduce the length of the muscles back to normal, and then you will feel stronger and better when you stretch them.
So there you have it, my quick 101 crash course on foam rolling. Have other questions? Let me know, comment below. Think someone else could benefit from this information? Share this blog post and spread the word, and let me know how your next foam roll session goes :)
ALSO ON THE BLOG......
After a summer of traveling, eating strange foods, and changing time zones, I thought I’d hit on the topic of constipation. Yes I know its not glamorous but its real life! There’s a lot of factors that go in to a healthy track system in our bodies and I wanted to share my findings. There are also a few misconceptions that are going around that I wanted to clear up. A regular schedule is a happy schedule ;)
Here are my top tips to keep your insides running regular
1. fiber PLUS water: We’ve all heard that fiber helps us poop right? Which is true, but the second and very important part to this point is that if you are increasing your fiber intake, you need to increase your water intake as well. Fiber increases the bulk of your stool so it can move along on its merry way, but water is crucial for it to move. So remember, if your increasing fiber, make sure your getting enough water as well.
Suggested Fibrous foods:
• prunes• green Veggies• ground flaxseed (can throw into smoothies, oatmeal, yogurt, etc) • Low sugar Fruits with fiber (kiwi, apple, avocado) • rolled oats
Suggested Water consumption:
• Adult Males: 12-14 Cups/day
• Adult Females: 8-10 Cups/day
2. Natural Laxatives (used the right way): You may have used over the counter laxatives in the past, but did you know that over time those products can cause more harm then good? They can inhibit your bodies natural process creating dependence on them. Here’s some healthy, natural laxatives:
• Chia Seeds - soak them in a liquid before consuming. This creates a gel like coating that can act as a lubricate in your system. (try my overnight oats recipe here)
• Aloe Vera - Aloe vera latex also has anti-inflammatory components that reduce swelling and and improve function of the digestive organs. It also actually helps increase the water content in your intestines.
• Probiotics - or “good bacteria” in your gut that makes your body able to balance various types of “bad bacteria.” They help create a healthy environment in your gut. Probiotic foods include things like kefir, kombucha, sauerkraut, kimchi and probiotic yogurt. If you can, try to buy dairy products that are organic, as they are easier on digestion, such as goat milk products, organic kefir, raw dairy products or dairy that doesn’t contain A1 casein. It’s possible that low-quality pasteurized/homogenized dairy, or too much dairy in general (especially if someone has symptoms of lactose intolerance), can cause inflammation and contribute to digestive dysfunction.
3. Regular Exercise: Last but definitely not least, exercise helps get those muscles moving that push your waste through your body. Not to mention it helps with other causes of constipation such as relieving stress! If you’re feeling a little backed up, try going for a run, but don’t go too far ;)
Well there you have it! Here’s to healthy and regular bowel systems, Cheers!
Whoever says that a great outfit doesn't make a difference at the gym is
mistaken... it can make a huge difference! Even if its just that
confidence factor, the right outfit helps ;) . I've been excited to post a
review about this amazing new company called Alo Yoga. They are a
Yoga apparel company based out of Los Angeles, California. In every
article of clothing I have tested from them I can back up their mission
statement that they have combined comfort, functionality, and fashion
into all of their products.
I have dubbed myself a fitness apparel snob because I'm wearing this
stuff everyday. From sweating in workouts, working behind a desk, to
commuting, I practically live in spandex so I won't give my stamp of
approval to just anybody. I love my Alo Yoga outfit! The fabric feels
like a second skin, moving and wicking sweat off your body during your
yoga practice or however you choose to sweat. The bra is supportive
without cutting off circulation, and provides great coverage to wear by
itself or under any top. I love their unique straps and fun
designs. The pants have some sheer and breathable details on the lower
legs that look both great and allow your legs to breath through a hot and
sweaty yoga class. They have so many great designs that are unique
from all the fitness apparel companies out there. Their designs are
both flattering and fitting for all body types. See for yourself at
www.aloyoga.com and experience the difference. Thank you Alo Yoga for
making such wonderful products for all of us yoga and fitness junkies!