Your house? Your core? Your upbringing or family and friends?
They all are correct answers, but in regards to our body our core… It would be our inner unit and muscles that help us stand tall and protect our spine and do every day activities … that would be our foundation.
What makes up our body’s foundation?
Our Inner Core Unit
TVA’s/ Internal Obliques/ Multifidi
Our pelvic floor
If you are asking yourself what the heck is all of that stuff and how does our pelvic floor relate…..then good I am writing this for you.
Lets start from the beginning :
When we are born our body is relaxed no tension in our shoulders or neck, were not stressed out to the level we are today. All we care about is eating, sleeping and pooping….. Look at any baby and beg to differ. Exactly.
As we get older we start taking on more stress, we carry it in our neck and shoulders, we take on all the things, stress over tests, over work, over home life, finances (isn’t adulting fun?). As this happens we lose our original relaxed breathing patterns and start implementing paradoxical breathing – meaning shallow. When we inhale we raise our chest and shoulders and traps and exhale they all go down. You might think this is ok- but over time it is not.
Those muscles become over active and cause aches and pains and imbalances. In turn our diaphragm (which is our primary breathing muscle with the lungs) becomes underactive and weak. When this happens we stop engaging the correct core muscles to aid with breathing and as a result our muscles can become weak and our outer core muscles become overactive (which = imbalances and pain). Our pelvic floor does the same- the wrong muscles become tight from clenching or being stressed and not being engaged to relax with breathing.
This equals one big mess of imbalances which can stem all throughout the body- not just those muscles I mentioned. Think about it- when those are weak and not doing their job, then other muscles will over compensate and can lead to the wrong muscles doing the wrong job which can lead to injury. Our body is one big kinetic chain yall- it will get done what it needs to using whatever it can…..
So to get fixed – we must relearn how to breathe and in turn build a strong foundation to go off of.
It is easier said than done.
But here is what we gotta do:
2- RELEARN TO DEEP 360 BREATHE
3- RELEASE TIGHT MUSCLES AND ACTIVATE WEAK ONES
THEN —— We feel BETTER!
So how do we relax?
Try to implement self care time daily (from reading to going for a walk to yoga to meditation to sleep)
Then learn to breathe right…..
First you gotta understand how breathing as we are suppose to works.
Think of our inner unit as a canister
You got the diaphragm and lungs and ribs at the top
This bad boy is our breathing muscle and it contracts and flattens to pull air into the lungs when you inhale and expands and pushes air out when you exhale.
The inner core unit in the middle
Transverse abdominals, internal obliques and multi fidi these should have the right amount of pressure applied during inhale and exhale to contract and release to provide support
The pelvic floor at the bottom
The PF provides a foundation you could think of us a bottom of a bucket or canister holding it all up
When you inhale you should feel your belly and ribs expand as you fill your lungs with air then when you exhale you are pushing air out and contracting within the core as the pelvic floor pushes the air out and up. Think of emptying it out from the bottom up in the exhale.
You should not raise your shoulders when you do this at all or feel anything in your neck.
You should feel your back expand to help relax tightness that may be within your ribs and spine and it is allowing your lungs to really be filled up
Your inhale should match the exhale
Think inhale for 2 or 3 then exhale for 2 or 3
The more you do this the better you will get. Breathing this way not only helps relax your body and overly tight muscles but it also helps strengthen your foundation and inner core which supports the spine. (essentially all of it supports your spine but you get what I mean).
The more relaxed you are the more efficient you will be day to day. The better your body will work, and the more you will feel a difference in your workouts.
I will be digging more into this in coming weeks but I hope this helped. I challenge you to try to do this for 5 minutes a day for the next 7 days. See if it does not become easier. See if you do not become stronger and feel better for it. I swear it is magic (our bodys know what to do!).
(Exhibit A … clearly I was working out here lol) 😂
Working out should help you.
Have you ever really stopped to think why you are doing a certain workout? Have you really looked at your progress in other areas than aesthetics (losing weight) over the past year or however long you have been working out?
You should be PROGRESSING!
Our world is stressed. We are stressed. We do all the things and try all the workouts and go hard. We may keep doing the same thing over and over and get frustrated when results stop or plateau or we get injured.
This is where progression can come into play. We progress in life and we should in workouts.
Have you followed a progression with your workouts? Or are you just starting out and not sure where to start? Jumping into a HIIT class or something intense is a sure fire way to start and either not stick with it or get hurt. If you have been working out then I hope you took time to work on imbalances or if you feel them or aches and pains in workouts you stop and try to assess and work on those things before pushing through even more.
Progression is a major factor in building a balanced healthy and fit pain free life.
When we workout so hard we hurt for days after or we are exhausted the rest of the day- your body is speaking to you, you went too hard and it is taking all its energy to repair the damage.
Stop and think about this.. were stressed.
If we go into a workout already in a heightened stress state….. meaning cortisol is high due to no sleep, mental stress at home or work, or not allowing our body to recover enough from the last workout, OR even certain autoimmune diseases or conditions…. Adding another stressor to our body like an intense workout is only going to increase that stress which in turn can increase inflammation and cause recovery not to happen properly.
This is why understanding progression and recovery is so important.
When we are starting a new workout plan or type of workout, we have to start slow and progress. Meaning if you have never lifted heavy weights you do not start with heavy weights, you start with body weight, get strong there then start adding lighter weights until that gets easy, then progress from there.
Same with cardio, you build endurance by starting with walking, then when it gets easier go into jogging, add in some intervals, then increase pace more and more as your body and cardiovascular system adapts.
With every scenario we have to allow recovery, without recovery our muscles cannot break down and rebuild. If we keep breaking them down without allowing them to build back up we will only hurt our progress in the long run. We will hurt too much, they wont grow, and in turn it could mess with your metabolic rate and recovery.
Have you ever heard the quote that your body is built overnight… well it is. Sleep is also vital in recovery.
A good rule of thumb to follow is to allow 48 hours between repeating training sessions if not 72. For example if you do a strength workout on Monday focusing on squatting, lunging, and pulling then do not repeat those exercises until atleast Wednesday, Thursday being best. In between that does not mean you cannot workout but it means maybe do cardio on Tuesday or Wednesday. Or do a yoga class or do a workout focusing on Pressing or pushing and rotational movements. Rotating focus of muscle groups and training can allow for recovery and results in toning and weightloss AND strength because you are allowing your body to repair itself.
Some things to consider-
If you are stuck in a workout rut, maybe progression is part of the problem. If you need some help find someone who can. Someone who will take time and figure out your strengths and weaknesses, things that may need to be changed up to help you, and be sure to help you with correcting imbalances. Imbalances WILL lead to pain down the road along with overcompensation patterns which could cause injury. Taking time to work on these WITH your workout program will only help you later on.
If you have pains when working out- find someone to help (reference above)
If you have no idea where to start- then focus on your foundation. Breathing first, mobility, then move into resistance once bodyweight stuff is easy. For cardio start slow and build up as it gets easier! Track this stuff. If you want a FREE workout guide with 5 exercises to help start that mobility focus then check this out – get your FREE guide here!
As always I am here to help! I have numerous ways I can and please do not hesitate to reach out I am taking on 1 on 1 virtual clients right now where we address these things. Let me know! Contact me!
Next up- focusing on breathing and building that foundation. Stay tuned 😉
Have you ever gotten injured doing something “dumb” or something so simple it doesn’t make sense??
Maybe for example, you threw your back out picking up your purse, hurt your knee walking up some stairs, hurt your hip sitting down, or twisted your lower back bending over??
It shouldn’t surprise us that this happens. Think of how quickly we move throughout life, how go go go our lifestyle is. Maybe you are seeing a trend here with our quick on the move lifestyles….. (that it causes more harm than good, maybe we should probably slow down?….) You can read more about that in both of these posts Over-training is a real thing and Stress and how it impacts your ENTIRE life . BUT that is for another day.
So how do we help ourselves from hurting ourselves with simple daily tasks?
Focus on intentional movements…. which means slowing down, and by understanding the Seven Functional Movement Patterns.
My video below goes through all of this, and be sure to watch all the way through as I give examples of how to perform each at the end!
It is important we understand these and how they can truly help us live a better life by feeling better, having more energy by not being sidelined and focus on OURSELVES. It is not selfish I promise.
Here is a free guide for you to see and understand them in simple form with examples of each too! Get it <HERE>
Interested in learning more?? Want to work 1 on 1 with me OR try one of my online programs??
What do you think of when thinking of ways to lower inflammation? Getting a massage? Eating less processed foods? Taking supplements? What about working out? Does working out help? The answer is yes. Many types of work outs are proven to lower the bodies overall stress response and in turn can lower inflammation levels. However not all workouts are created equal.
When we think workouts that can help us lower inflammation we want to think more moderate exercise. Like a long walk, or something to get you moving for 20- 30 minutes.
In fact one studyshowed that just 20 minutes a day of exercise can prove to be beneficial in lowering inflammation in the body (again this is moderate exercise not super high intense stuff). The reason being is it promotes our sympathetic nervous system, doing so can help fight off the overwhelming amount of TNF cells our body has. These guys aren’t necessarily bad, they help with our natural immune response when we are sick or get cut, etc. However due to chronic inflammation and us being exposed to so much they can be in overdrive and causing harm to us.
Why wouldn’t you want to do something more challenging??
The answer is because if you are already inflamed, if you already have too much stress in your life and in your body whether it is physical or mental, the last thing you want to do is add more stress to that. Intense workouts like crossfit, HIIT classes, really long runs, are just a few that can do more harm than good for some people. This is NOT to say no one should ever do them, but if you are working to lose weight and have not been able to for a while regardless of the work you are putting in, if you are stressed, not sleeping, etc, then you need to take a step back for a few and then you can rebuild yourself to be able to enjoy those more intense workouts again if that is your thing. You don’t want to add more stress to an already stressed out body!
So what types of workouts are recommended??
Walking – outside if you can – taking a decent pace can not only help those who are getting into working out moving but also those who work out hard can use a long walk as a reset to their taxed muscles. Walking promotes the lymphatic system to move and drain to help get rid of toxins and inflammation as well as blood circulation, and heart rate goes up!
Body weight or lighter resistance workouts – once you have a foundation built doing lighter weights or moderate resistance workouts can be great for helping the joints get more mobility and the muscles to get active and working properly. Always start slow and progress your way up. This is why I always start clients with a foundation building phase. It is something I learned over the years from some of the great people I work with at CYB Atlanta but it really does help in the long run to ensure you are moving and doing right for your body.
Yoga and/or mediation with deep breathing – deep breathing is my go to for everyone. Be it fitness professionals, every generation, pre and post natal women, I could go on. It promotes relaxation in the body by really turning on the right responses, It therefore decreases stress all over – hence inflammation decreases. Yoga incorporates this so you can do two things at once. If you are not into yoga then just simply practicing deep breathing 5-10 minutes a day can make a big difference, add in mediation if you can to get even more bang for you buck. See more on that here
Foam rolling and stretching may not be a “workout” for most but it should definitely be part of your workout program. Your muscles need to be loved and worked on. Foam rolling is great way to do just that and to not have to spend tons of money on massages every week.
Not sure what this is? I got you-
Overall working out is a benefit to us. No matter what our fitness level or goals. Moving a little bit each day can really go a long way. Putting ourselves as a priority and taking care of ourselves through working out, rest, and movement will pay off for not only ourselves but others around us too.
You can get a four week workout program and save $10 with code CHANGEUP by going here. – WORKOUT PROGRAM
Want a FREE mobility exercise guide along with tips and tricks to help get you feeling and moving better? Sign up below!
Our hips….. Lawd if I had a dollar for everytime someone told me they have tight hips. It is funny though because I feel like alot of us relate everything tight in the front of our legs as our hips even the inner thigh area. Not that it is necessarily wrong but most of us do not even know what are hips are, what they do, and why they are important. If I asked you would you know?
Here is an example of how our hips get slightly flexed when walking.
Well lets go a little deeper into it then. Our hips are really a MAJOR player in our mobility, our comfort and ability to workout properly, move properly and do everyday things. So to give you a clear understanding, our hips are not just one muscle, we tend to think of “hip flexors” which are but essentially there are 11 of those bad boys responsible for “flexing our hip”. To clarify, to “flex” our hip means to basically swing or raise our leg. Think of when you are stepping up (the knee is bent and leg is 90 degrees aka flexing the hip), when you are walking and swinging your leg forward or when running that is also a degree of hip flexion, when you sit at a desk (like I am right now)…. My hips are flexed. So they get into this position alot, more than they probably get extended…. So they can get tightened and shortened from being this way. That is why we want to not only work to get them less tight, but do so my strengthening the muscles that also work to extend the hip… ya follow??
For example – if we strengthen our glutes and hamstrings more and they can bear more of a load as they are intended then we can take some of the pressure off of our hip flexors. Our glutes and hamstrings are meant to be primary movers as they help extend the hip (think kick back when we walk or run or push off rather) and internally and externally rotate our legs. They also help balance everything out. When we sit alot and our hips shorten then naturally the bigger muscles on the front of our legs take over when we move (think quadriceps) this automatically causes weakness in our glutes and hamstrings because they dont get to do any work. This also can cause too much pressure on our knees and can lead to our pelvis tilting forward because the hips are pulling it down. Then lower back pain starts, we get overstretched and underworked hamstrings and a weak core. If we strengthen the core, hamstrings and glutes it can pull our pelvis into alignment so our posture improves and back pain can diminish.
I know that is alot of information but can you see why keeping our hips mobile and training from a total body approach is important?? If we can get everything balanced out in the front and the back so to speak then we can move and feel better. It is something that is often so overlooked. Do me a favor try stretching your hips out right now, or foam rolling them. If you are confused how then check out the video below.
Also if you are not staying up to date on everything I am releasing and all the free info I send out weekly, then what are you waiting for?? Sign up for my newsletter below I will even send you an exclusive video on foam rolling just for joining :).
Over-training, the phrase itself can be deceiving, often because it is taken the wrong way where it is automatically assumed someone is training too much or that training a lot is bad. Which is not necessarily true. What it actually means when someone is assumed or diagnosed as so, that they are training too much without adequate time to recover and/or not enough fuel for the body (meaning caloric intake) to support it.
In both situations it is essentially meaning the person is adding too much stress on the body through training and lack of recovery.
How does it happen?
I have mentioned the effects of stress before with working out and in other areas, if you missed those posts you can find them here and here.
When we keep the body in a constant elevated stressed state, whether from hard workouts and pressures of long bouts of training or bad food, mental stress, lack of sleep etc it will cause harm to the body in the long run. When it comes to workouts and working out without adequate time to recover, you are asking for disaster after too long. Athlete or not recovery is key, and if not taken seriously any person can be affected. The key is catching it in the early stages and symptoms to prevent it from happening all together.
Just think about this for a second…. working out is a type of stress the body endures, and it is healthy. It stresses our muscles, our cardiovascular system, our ligaments, our mindset and all of that has positive effects BUT if taken too far without time for those things to relax and repair that is where the problems can start to occur. It is essentially just like any other stress the body endures, it can lead to our immune system to over react, our body to be in a heightened state all the time which taxes our adrenals, hormones and in turn metabolism.
So what should you do to make sure it doesn’t happen to you?
First make sure to incorporate rest and recovery to your workout program, regardless of how hard or not hard it may seem to be. This is the time when your muscles and body repair itself and get stronger, which we want. If we do not allow that to happen stress hormones get elevated and different things can occur.
This doesn’t mean you should always workout light, never do HIIT style training or lift weights or run long distances. It means you need to be sure after a hard workout or when you are first getting into working out you allow a day or two in between before attacking the same area again. A good rule of thumb is not training the same body parts for 48 hours to allow for muscle repair to happen and glycogen and hormones to level out again.
Typically if you are starting to feel burnt out you need to take a day or two off. If you cannot recover even after that then you may need a little more than you think. If you are continuously sore, yet keep pushing yourself without a day off you are asking for hormonal and metabolism problems after a while,
Some signs to watch out for:
Inability to sleep (get my free guide to helping with this here!)
Workouts that shouldn’t be challenging now are
Elevated HR throughout the day
Plateauing weight loss and fat loss wise
Muscle and joint pain beyond typical “soreness”
Mindset is constantly negative and you “snap” on others for no reason (meaning you are out of character)
Stress seems increased
Wake up in the middle of the night and cannot fall back asleep.
If you notice any of these occurring and you have been working out hard, or not eating enough (or even if you are unsure) it is better to be safe than sorry. Make sure you get enough sleep, being sleep deprived and working through intense training sessions can lead to this. Sleep is a major part of when your body repairs itself, if that doesn’t happen cortisol can stay elevated and eventually it leads to this.
This is NOT to tell you to not work out, again I have to reiterate that! This is to preach the importance of rest and recovery. With our society’s popularity of doing all the HIIT things and constant overdrive of our culture with lack of sleep, OTS seems to be occurring more and more. If you are putting in the effort to workout, then make sure you are putting in the effort for your body to repair and thank you for it,
The best approach is to follow a structured plan that includes rest in it. Work with someone if you need to to find out the best plan for you, or choose one of mine to help you.
I know how hard it is sometimes to slow down once you start seeing results, but as long as you get adequate rest you won’t have to worry about the bad consequences. Make sure you keep that in mind with all of your training.