Move-Meant: the importance of recovery and meaningful movement

Happy Monday Morning!!!!!!

In my neck of the woods, we woke up to much cooler temperatures….which meant a much stiffer hip during rehab this morning :) But it was completed none the less.

quads on fire

Anyways…..

Today marks the first post in a short series about recovery. Now, don’t get me wrong, I do NOT get recovery right every single time…but I DO know the importance of recovery and how many body systems are involved in true recovery. So, let’s dive right in.

funny robben-dive-meme-2

Let’s get the layout and ground rules for recovery set up first:

  1. RECOVERY refers to recovering from a certain aspect of your lifestyle, preferably an active one. In other words, if you’re still on the couch about working out, skip to a different post :)
  2. You can utilize many things in RECOVERY, including foam rollers, bands, balls, yoga (the right kind) and even diet (oh yes!).
  3. RECOVERY involves more than just lazing about….I know, I am as shocked as you on this one. Most of my “recovery days” have always involved Netlfix binges…who knew????

The act of recovery is utilizing meaningful movement to de-stress and decompress the joints and soft tissue of the body. That’s a pretty broad explanation of true recovery. I like to take it a step further and implement mindful movement AND anti-inflammatory diet practices to rid the body, mind, and gut of the excess stress that can keep us feeling tight and pent up in our own bodies. Today, I’ll be listing some great forms of recovery, giving a comprehensive recovery schedule, and making sure you leave with some good resources.

TYPES OF RECOVERY:

  • Foam Rolling. When done correctly, foam rolling helps to manipulate soft tissue (aka, muscles and fascia) and alleviate pain, plus it’s cheaper than a massage. If you’re new to the roll, I suggest purchasing a soft roller and working your way up to the big boys. Here are videos for foam rolling the Upper Body, Lower Body, and an all over foam roll for active individuals. Consider foam rolling before and after activities OR in the evening when you are watching your favorite show.
  • Stretching. Stretching can help to elongate the soft tissues, tendons and ligaments surrounding the joints. The key is to not overstretch. So, pay attention to your body and go for a stretch in the belly of the muscle. I have an easy full body stretch here.
  • Yoga. Yoga is more than stretching and is requires ZERO flexibility to get started. Yoga puts your joint through their full range of motion and helps the skeletal system to realign for more efficient movement. If you have NEVER done yoga, I recommend seeking a qualified teacher/class to get you started. If you have a little knowledge, Morgan Day Cecil is my fave yoga girl of the moment.
  • Massage Therapy. Manual manipulation of soft tissues helps to decrease tension AND helps to force stress induced toxin build up out of the body. In order to keep massage more budget friendly, I suggest seeking a massage school close to you. New therapist need  hours and are often very attentive to your needs.
  • Ice baths and Epsom salt baths. Both of these help ease soreness. If joints or inflammation are your main concern, go for an ice bath (exactly what it sounds like). If soreness is your gig, a 20 minute soak in some warm (not too hot) water with about 1/4 cup Epsom salts should do the trick.
  • Diet. If you suffer from chronic soreness or inflammation, I would suggest checking your diet. If you’re unfamiliar with this process, feel free to contact me in the form below and get started with a diet profile review. Often times, many issues in the soft tissue and joints can be a reflection of what if going on in the gut (more on this in week 3).
  • Active Rest. respect active rest days by scheduling out actual active rest. You can take a walk, go for a light swim, enjoy some time at the beach, attend a yoga class, etc. Even if you’re sore, move with a mindfulness and the soreness will dissipate over time. The human body CRAVES motion.

I know it can be a lot to soak in, but recovery can be the missing link to fast tracking your results ;)

Weekly Recovery Schedules:

  1. Foam roll 1-2x per day, around workout.
  2. Stretch post workout for 5- 10 minutes, more in the evening if you are sore.
  3. Schedule a massage once a month.
  4. Use Epsom salt and ice baths as needed.
  5. Implement an anti-inflammatory diet for at least 3 weeks.
  6. Schedule at least 1 active rest day into each week.

Happy Recovery Trails!!!! And keep me posted on how you do these next 3 weeks.

Why am I not seeing results? Part 3

AND….we’re back!

If you need to catch up on why you may not be seeing results from all your hard work in the gym , check out part 1 and part 2 before you move on.

As I am getting ready for a BIG trip to Disney World (accompanied by a couple hundred high school band members and parents), I wanted to hone in on one particular downfall to many gym patrons. You may hit the gym every day and work far harder than the guy checking his Facebook status every set (HUGE pet peeve), but you aren’t seeing results. I’m going to enlighten you with a bit of science on the subject of results :)

Does this scenario sound familiar?

You grab your gear and head for the gym, possibly after getting the kids to school OR after a long days work. You mentally prepare, grab a locker, hook in the old headphones and head for your favorite cardio to warm up…..where you spend the next 30-60 minutes hoofing it out on the hardest setting cause you came to work! Take that Facebook guy!!!! After this, you head towards the weight machines OR maybe even some free weights. About 6 minutes into lifting you are feeling beat down. That’s the sign it’s working right? So you trudge on. You may even throw some plyometrics and jogging in place right into your workout. You are killing it today! That magazine article inspired you to get after this workout hard, but you seem to be lacking a little in strength. No worries, we can pick up lighter weight. After a beating like that, you grab your stuff from the locker room and head home or to the office where you are beat down…..but that’s how it’s supposed to feel right? When it comes time to eat, you may indulge in a slightly larger portion or maybe something a bit sweet….cause that workout was KILLER! The next day you wake to do it again and again and again.

Question: If your workouts are so epic, why do you look exactly the same?

gym tread

There are 2 MAJOR things working against you here.

#1. You’re wasting your energy on cardio. Don’t roll your eyes cardio queen, pay attention. Your body is an energy store house. Energy comes from the calories you eat. Calories come from food. If you’re cranking away at the cardio for 30-60 minutes BEFORE you ever hit weights, you’ve doomed your actual body shaping. Cardio CAN help with weight loss, but not jiggle loss. Don’t like your thighs? Get off the treadmill and head to the squat rack. You need to lift heavy in order to create the tight body you covet. You need a LOT of energy to lift heavy….stop wasting it on the cardio pieces!

Am I saying cardio is bad? Of course not. We do need cardio as an integral part of training, but it shouldn’t be the proverbial cart before the horse. Strengthen your horse first. Want faster results? For a full MONTH try this:

  • Warm up on cardio equipment for 5 minutes at a light pace. It’s your warm up, not your workout.
  • Either place cardio at the end of your workout OR at a separate time. OR….
  • Perform cardio on alternating days from weight lifting.

This will enable you to utilize the proper muscles while lifting and strengthen the mind/muscle connection. Give it try. What do you have to lose?

cupcakes and women

#2. You’re not fueling post-workout.

I always find it odd that I’m the only one at the bar in the locker room mixing my shakes….while others are doing their hair :)

Your body needs nutrition post-workout because unless you were taking selfies, texting, or Facebooking between sets, then you worked through your fuel. Try for a 3:1 ratio of carbs to protein and keep the fats out until about an hour or 2 post-workout. This has been shown to enhance recovery, slow down muscle loss and increase the loss of body fat. If you think eating post-workout will make you gain what you just lost……you really need to look up some scientific facts about how the body works. Fueling post-workout also keeps your immune system healthy so you can continue to workout regularly.

My preferred meal after a workout is a scoop of whey protein in water and an orange. This gives me the right ratio and a double whammy with vitamins and minerals from the orange. I usually eat a larger meal about an hour later to continue recovery.

What to try this month: pack some food with you! You can keep it in your car if needed. Have some fresh fruit ready to go at home. If you need protein, you can check out some of my faves HERE. If you prefer whole foods, opt for tuna or chicken breasts so the fat stays low (higher fat post-workout slows the assimilation and absorption of proteins).

Stay with it, try something new, and go get your results!

Why Am I NOT Seeing Results? Probably the MOST Important Reason Yet

Welcome back to the blog!

Hopefully, the first in this series served you well. IF you haven’t seen it, you can check it out HERE.

Now, another reason you may not be seeing results lies in who you surround yourself with, especially when working out. Read on to see what I mean…

Strong Camp 50 Photo by Paul Buceta

Every day when I’m at the gym I have a hard time tuning out everybody around me. It’s just a part of who I am. I’m not nosy, but I do like to be aware of my surroundings (safety and a bi-product of my ministry job). So, I notice things. One thing I have noticed lately is an overwhelming amount of people getting help….from completely under-qualified people. I see the slightly pudgy guy following the slightly (only slightly) more muscular guy around the weight. I see gaggles of girlfriends teaming up on each machine. I see ladies blindly following the advice of husbands or boyfriends. You know what I don’t see? Any change since August…..

Am I saying that it’s bad to workout with your BFF or love of you life? Of course not. Many people enjoy the company and some can use the spotter (correct spotting technique is a whole other blog post though….). A workout BUDDY can provide motivation and that last push through a hard set. They can also take photos at just the right time (which is why I have locker room ninja selfies….#lonerforlife), but they should not always dictate your workout. So, let’s read what to look out for and how you can get educated and get he help you need on the cheap.

Strong Camp 21 Photo by Paul Buceta

Her are a few people to be warned about:

  • The meat head boyfriend who like watching you do squats while he slings weights around for 50 sets of biceps. This guy is usually big on muscle and testosterone but knows NOTHING of training the female body OR fat loss….I mean, most of the time you can tell he doesn’t believe in fat loss and that bulking is a 24/7 job.
  • The BFF who gets ALL of his/her info from magazines. Don’t get me wrong, I love fitness mags. They can be super inspiring; however, they shouldn’t be considered the Bible of fitness and not everybody really needs the latest celebrity workout.
  • The Know It All. These men/women are usually in slightly better shape than their friends (BTW, they like it that way) and maybe they even studied to be a trainer, worked as one through college, or maybe even competed. They think they know more than you about everything gym and nutrition related, but they really don’t have the education to back it up. That doesn’t matter because to your naked eye their physique means they know more. FALSE.

Now that you have spotted the trouble makers in your life, how do you make sure they have YOUR best interest when they offer to “train” you? Simple steps:

  1. If your friend puts you on a piece of equipment (they love to use equipment man) ASK them exactly what this is to be used for. In other words, “Why am I doing this?” should be a common question. To grow muscle or tone up is not an answer. The equipment in the gym has a purpose and YOU need to know what it is. Are you widening or thickening the muscle? Is this working on pure mass or power too? Knowing the WHY of each exercise helps you retain the exercise better, recruit the correct muscles, see results and maybe even help somebody else one day.
  2. If your friend is doing the lifting for you, call them out. I saw this the other day with a group of ladies. The “leader” put one lady on a lat pull down weight she could NOT pull down….so, the leader pushed it to her chest and “helped”. This helps no one people, but it does make your friend feel better about their own abilities. Always lift with weight that is challenging, but that you can maintain good form.
  3. Ask if you can have some input in the next workout. Does your buddy ALWAYS have you on chest and arms? Dude, you don’t want chicken legs! If they don’t let you have some input, drop that time with them. You would be better off on your own.

What if you just realized you are getting the short end? Have no fear! There are plenty of ways to get the help you really need without spending all of your hard-earned cash (cause you’ll need that for clothes, shoes and that spray tan).

Strong Camp 48 Photo by Paul Buceta

Check out online resources. Bodybuilding.com is a GREAT website for all the FREE info you can handle. There are even free trainers and printable workouts. You can pick something for your goal and your current fitness level. Check out my page HERE to follow my workouts and see which trainers I have enjoyed in my years as a member there.

Also, there are plenty of trainer (myself included) who offer training plans online that are tailored to your goals. And guess what? They’re pretty cheap! For about the cost of that gym membership you can get 3 workouts a week.

Personal training isn’t as expensive as you might think, especially if you get some buddies to split the cost. I have small groups that pay $20 a session for face to face time with me in my private gym (no looky-lous here). This also comes with nutritional guidance for most cause I’m cool like that :) Gyms like Lifetime Fitness have trainers who specialize in groups as well. Don’t think you can’t afford a great trainer based on gym trainer prices.

Hopefully, these tips will help you see results a bit faster. Remember, YOUR goals matter, so go get ‘em!

Michelle

P.S. If your BFF is a GREAT trainer, hold on tight to them and value their input :) They are a rare breed.