Photo credit: Trevor Raab
Now that you invested in a foam roller, how do you take care of it so it continues to take care of you?
I recommend using a damp cloth with mildly soapy water to wipe your foam roller and let it air dry. Personally, I like to use Dr. Bronner’s castile soap and dilute it with water. Follow the diluting directions on the bottle. Personally, I put this solution in a squirt bottle and keep it on hand to use as a mild cleaning solution for fitness and household items. I’ve also used eco-friendly wipes (e.g., Seventh Generation) to wipe it down. I do not recommend cleaning your foam roller with any harsh chemicals, because it my alter the texture of the foam roller.
Avoid storage at extreme temperatures (above 90 degrees and below 32 degrees) and keep it out of direct sunlight. Store in a ventilated area so it can dry out from use and after cleaning.
For those of you with infants and pets, I recommend storing your foam roller in a location your child or pet cannot reach it. Disregard if you purposefully purchased a foam roller for your child or pet. (smile)
Related blog posts:
Join me October 30 – November 20, 2017
Good news! You and a friend can participate from anywhere! I encourage you to sign up with a buddy and help keep each other accountable.
All participants will receive a free MMM Daily Tracker. Check off what you complete each day. Tell somebody. Share a photo of your completed tracker to be eligible to enter drawing for an Amazon Gift Card!
Why should you do the 3MChallenge?
The better question is why NOT do it?
It’s a great way to start the holiday season! Invite friends and family!
P.S. Here’s a link to the 21-Day Meditation Challenge.
All program info and daily posts will be shared in our closed 3MChallenge Facebook group.
FIRST & LAST NAME
with your payment.
Photo credit: William Farlow
Of course it’s hard to get up early when you go to bed late. Early morning workouts are sooooo much better when you set yourself up for success.
3 Ways to Set Yourself Up for Success
- Eat a balanced meal the night before.
- Oh, and better yet, try setting out your gym clothes the night before.
- Begin your calm and peaceful evening routine earlier in the evening so you’re ready to go to bed at a decent hour.
- Bonus! Figure out what you’re going to eat for your early morning pre-workout snack the night before. (Try some of these overnight oats recipes.)
Life can be full of excuses…
Something came up. I’m tired. I’m hungry. Traffic is bad.
Good news! It doesn’t have to be! Many of us are busy with schedules that get more and more unpredictable as the day unfolds.
The number one excuse for lack of exercise and physical activity is time.
The trick is blocking time off for yourself every single day. Whether it’s 5 minutes or 50 minutes, make sure to protect this time with all your might. Purposefully identify it and protect it.
Not it’s time to ask you a very important question. Why NOT try early morning workouts? Please don’t say, “I’m not a morning person.” Wait. Have you tried working out in the morning at least 3 times?
Yes? How did it go?
No? When will you do it?
Did you know?
And on top of that…
A research team of a California-based biotechnology company 23andMe, attempted to uncover the genetic predisposition of morning and night people. (N=89,283)
“The researchers found that after taking into account the effect of age and sex, morning people were likely to have lower – and thus generally more healthy – BMI, or body-mass index, a measure of the ratio between height and weight.” (source: www.theguardian.com, 2017)
Personally, I despise BMI (Body Mass Index) as a number to focus on when it comes to your health and wellness. It’s merely a ratio between your height and body weight and can easily be off-set for muscular individuals who may not be very tall.
After probing a bit deeper, I came across a study that found exercising 30 minutes on 3 mornings per week caused people between the ages of 40 and 60 years old to experience a 10% drop in blood pressure throughout the day.
Now that’s what I’m talking about! Read more about the benefits of early morning (and evening) workouts here.
So go ahead. Set your alarm.Go to bed early and hit the gym in the morning!
DURATION: 7 weeks
START DATE: Monday, March 13, 2017
END DATE: Sunday, April 30, 2017
WHO SHOULD SIGN UP:
This Accountability Group is open to former Best Body Countdown participants and ANYONE who wants to learn, grow, and increase their daily fitness, nutrition, and wellness accountability. Our group is perfect for anyone who needs an extra nudge of accountability and support from a trustworthy, reliable, and knowledgeable certified fitness professional. You can participate from anywhere!
Our Accountability Group will help you stay committed to your health, fitness, nutrition, and healthy living goals. This is about building a health conscious community of like-minded people who are open to learning and filled with a desire to improve their fitness.
Interactive Group Texts & Check-ins (via GroupMe app)
Interactive Closed Facebook Group
Group Fitness Challenges
Goal Setting & Accountability Activities
Fitness, Nutrition, & Wellness Tips & Tools
Access to Certified Personal Trainer
We will heavily rely upon online and mobile technologies for communication, accountability, support, and motivation! (e.g., Facebook, GroupMe, MyFitnessPal, Endomondo, SuperTracker, Fitness Blender, SworkIt, and more!)
$12 per week
($84 total for 7 weeks)
Partial payments accepted. Ask me how to set this up.
DON’T THINK ABOUT IT. BE ABOUT IT!
Tie your shoes properly before exercising.
This should go without saying, right?
Are you guilty of what I do almost every day? Do you slide and wedge your foot into your pre-tied shoe when you put them on? Do you also use one foot to push down on the back of one shoe to take it back off?
If you’re like me, you have done this for years.
Technically, you should loosen your laces and gently place your foot into the shoe BEFORE lacing up. Likewise, you should loosen your laces and gently pull your foot out of your shoe when you are done.
Okay, that’s getting them on and off. Next, we need to learn more about how to lace them up!
Believe it or not, there are different techniques to tying your shoes based on your foot type!
The American Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Society (2017) recommends the following shoe tying techniques for various foot types.
Narrow Foot – Use the eyelets farthest from the tongue of the shoes. This will bring up the side of the shoe.
Wide Foot – Use the eyelets closest to the tongue of the shoe. This technique gives the foot more space.
Heel Problems – Use every eyelet, making sure that the area closest to the heel is tied tightly while less tension is used near the toes. When you have reached the next-to-last eyelet on each side, thread the lace through the top eyelet, making a small loop. Then, thread the opposite lace through each loop before tying it.
Narrow Heel & Wide Forefoot– Use two laces. Thread through the top half of the eyelets and the other lace through the bottom half of the eyelets. The lace closest to the heel (top eyelets) should be tied more tightly than the other lace closest to the toes (bottom eyelets).
So whether it’s your workout shoes or dress shoes, the same shoe lacing and tying strategies apply.
I don’t know about you, but all this business about shoe tying rocked my workout world. I hope it helps you, too!
Here’s an awesome infographic created by RunRepeat.
Want to geek out about athletic footwear? Read the Athletic Footwear and Orthoses in Sports Medicine.
In the spirit of Valentine’s and celebrating the power of individuals and complementary couples, we wanted to highlight two of the best exercise couples. These aren’t any type of couples–they are SUPER SET couples!
What’s a super set?
“The superset system uses two exercises performed in rapid succession of one another.”
Couple 1: Bench Press + Push Ups
This is an example of “performing two exercises for the same muscle group back to back.” Completing exercises in this format improves muscle endurance and size. If you want to kick it up a notch, try adding one or two more exercises targeting the same muscle. Using the example above, you could add a Dumbbell Chest Press and Resistance Band Chest Press.
Couple 2: Squats + Dead Lift
This is an example of “performing two exercises back to back that involve antagonist[, or opposing,] muscle groups.” Performing super sets in this manner allows you to place a higher load on target muscle(s) in each exercise. While one muscle group is working, the other is resting.
Want to learn how to integrate super sets into your workout routine? Contact us today!
Source: (National Academy of Sports Medicine, 2014)
There’s a fine line between making eye contact and giving a head nod–whether it’s to the music in your ears or to the person who caught you looking–and inappropriately staring at someone at the gym. Let’s face it. Everyone is at the gym for a different reasons and each person has different levels of experience, knowledge, and good ol’ fashioned home training–or the lack thereof.
So, the next time you’re at the gym, please keep a few things in mind as you get your workout on.
Do not step on someone’s exercise mat. That’s just plain out rude.
Speaking of exercise mats, when you’re done, clean it off and put it back where you found it. It is simply disgusting to put back a sweaty mat.
Unload and re-stack weight plates on exercise equipment. Everyone can’t lift a 5, 10, 20, 30+ pound weight. Plus, stop inconveniencing someone else’s gym flow by making them waste time unloading your weights.
Try your best not to walk in front of someone who is noticeably looking at a mirror to help improve their exercise form.
Do not take photos of yourself or your friends with other people you do not know in the background. Better yet. If you do need your phone, don’t use it to take photos at the gym. Go ahead and use it for music and other fitness apps, but please do your best to minimize taking photos. It’s an unnecessary distraction to others.
Clean equipment after use. See #2.
Respect everyone’s purpose at the gym. Do not judge fitness levels and motivation based on size, clothing and/or perceived ethnicity, gender, or ability. You do you. Let the person next to you do their thing. If anything, encourage and uplift one another. Oftentimes, it takes a tremendous amount of energy just getting to the gym.
If you see someone struggling with lifting a weight, please don’t ignore them. HELP them! Of course, it’s not your job to spot strangers, but come on… it’s just the right thing to do.
Share equipment. Don’t stay on the elliptical forever and don’t put your towel on the bench, your water bottle next to the rowing machine, and your notebook on the calf machine to “mark” your territory at the gym. Inform others about working into your set. It is possible to stay focused, be efficient, and share equipment.
Hygiene. Hygiene. Hygiene. Just let that marinate for a minute. Wash your hands. Don’t come to the gym sick and spread germs. Use deodorant. See #2 & #6.
Use your inside voice. Yelling can often times scare others and inadvertently make someone drop a weight and hurt themselves or trigger PTSD and other mental illnesses. Breathe, yes. Small grunts, sure. Yelling and blatantly dropping heavy weights, no. No bueno. If you love yelling and dropping heavy weights, find a gym that embraces that culture. Yes, there are gyms where yelling and dropping heavy weights are the norm.
Remember, group fitness classes are for the group. Don’t go to group fitness classes and insist on doing your own thing for the entire class. Trying to outshine others or up the instructor is not a good look.
Speaking of group fitness classes, arrive early if you’re new or have a recent injury. Let the instructor know so they can properly set you up on equipment and safely modify any exercises for you during class.
If you don’t know how to use a piece of equipment, ask a staff member. Why set yourself up for a potential injury? Grab a trainer and ask them to show you how to use it. Can’t find anyone? Don’t use it. Perhaps you can schedule a quick appointment with a trainer the next time you’re at them gym to show you how to use it.
Do not wear your street shoes and/or clothes in the sauna. Better yet, shower or rinse off prior to going in. It’s just plain out nasty to go in the sauna fully clothed, dirty shoes on the benches, and funky. The sauna is hot and a breeding site for bacteria to multiply. Why bring in extra cooties into this space? Also, the temperature in a sauna is 100+ degrees. It’s not safe to wear all of those clothes in such an environment. You could overheat. The heat will open your pores. If you don’t shower beforehand, any and all lotions, deodorants, fragrances, and germs will seep inside your skin. Nasty, huh? Read more about why and how to use a sauna.
What have you seen or experienced that needs to be added to this list? Let us know!
Are you thinking about purchasing a gift for an active person in your life? Does that active person happen to be you? Check out our top five fitness gift ideas for 2016.
Apple Watch Series 2 – Water resistant. GPS. Heart rate sensor. Activity tracker. Workout apps. Sync third party apps. Receive notifications. Ask Siri a question. Coaching. Wheel chair use feature. Breathe app. Customized bands and faces to dress up or down. Be careful. This little shiny gadget costs a pretty penny. Save up and invest in you! Be on the look out for the new wireless airpods to listen to your music! ($300-$1000)
Socks – Most of us do not replace our athletic socks often enough. Remember that soft, cushy feeling of brand spankin’ new socks freshly pulled out of the plastic bag at the store? Well, that’s the way your socks should feel. Believe it or not, good socks tend to be a bit expensive, too. Look for sales online or discounts at warehouse stores. Take care of your feet. They are the foundation of everything you do that uses them. ($10-$30)
Bluetooth Headphones – Confession. I’ve tried 6 or 7 brands. I honestly felt like Goldilocks and the 3 Bears during this process. Headphones were too tight. Ear buds were too small. Headphones were too big. Headphones were too small. No one could hear me on voice calls. And the list goes on and on. Needless to say, I ended up liking the Plantronics Backbeat Fit Bluetooth Headphones (they come with an arm band). They are over ear headphones and sound great! It looks they are on sale at Costco now. ($90-$150)
Underwear – Not trying to break the bank? Time and tested again and again by grandmother and mama gift-giving everywhere! Cotton underwear is best for breathability and comfort. You definitely need a pair that fits and isn’t too small. Talk about a workout buster…who likes underwear creeping up and in unwanted places while trying to do a burpee? You can find good deals at your local sports store, bulk item warehouse store, and outlet malls. Check out Men’s Health Magazine’s top 10 athletic underwear picks. Shape Magazine offers a similar list catering to women. ($10)
Foam Roller – These are excellent for muscle recovery and preparing for productive workout! They are so amazingn that I already schooled you about them way back in 2014. My favorite brand is TriggerPoint. Take a gander at their foam rollers, cold rollers, and guidebooks. CEbFit is a TriggerPoint affiliate and receives sales commissions from our client referrals. NOTE: You must access the TriggerPoint website from these hyperlinks in order to accurately track sales referred by CEbFit. Or you can copy and paste: http://shrsl.com/?~98l1 ($25-$65)
And there you have it! But before you rush and buy anything, ask yourself the following question.
“Have I paid all of my bills for this month and will I have enough money to pay my bills next month after I make this purchase?”
If not, give the gift of time and share a walk, run, sled ride, ice skating, or hike with your family member or friend.
Have you ever seen someone in the gym that looks a little bit like the Predator?
You know, wearing a breathing mask on their face? Curious about these masks and their use?
They are called “hypoxia masks.”
Hypoxia (also known as hypoxiation) is a condition in which the body or a region of the body is deprived of adequate oxygen supply. (Merriam-Webster, 2016)
A 2010 research study concluded that “hypoxia as a supplement to training is not consistently found to be advantageous for performance at sea level. Stronger evidence exists for benefits of hypoxic training on performance at altitude.”
In other words, if you’re going to compete or begin training in Denver (5,280 ft above sea level), hike in Tibet (14,000 ft above sea level), or compete on Mount Everest (29,035 ft above sea level) anytime soon, you might want to add hypoxia training to your fitness regimen. But before you do, PLEASE CONSULT A MEDICAL DOCTOR.
So, what’s the point of using a hypoxia mask if you are not a hard core athlete?
Another research study conducted back in 2007 concluded that “acute exposure of moderately trained subjects to normobaric hypoxia [i.e., a barometric pressure equivalent to pressure at sea level] during a short-term training program consisting of moderate- to high-intensity intermittent exercise has no enhanced effect on the degree of improvement in either aerobic or anaerobic performance.”
What does this mean? The average person who exercises to stay in shape and be healthy does not need to add hypoxia training to their workouts, because it doesn’t really have any benefits to your fitness performance. Why buy something that costs between $30-$100 if you simply don’t need it?
Another study (2001) concluded that when done correctly, intermittent hypoxia training has been shown to increases red blood cell count and aerobic capacity. Here, intermittent was defined as “5-7 minutes of steady or progressive hypoxia, interrupted by equal periods of recovery.”
So, wait. Who trains the trainer about how to effectively and safely conduct and supervise hypoxic training?
Close to nobody!
After conducting a preliminary web search, I only found a “Hypoxia and Hypoxic Training for High Performance” certification course conducted in Ireland.
Other than that, I found a few airlines that conduct employee training sessions about hypoxia altitude conditions for their flight staff–not the type of training we are talking about…
Your best bet is to read the user’s manual, consult your M.D., pray, and tell someone when you are using it (just in case you pass out from doing too much all at once).
One of the master trainers for the National Academy of Sports Medicine, Karl Sterling, provides some very helpful firsthand feedback about wearing and using a hypoxic training mask (HTM).
In a nutshell, here are the pros and cons of using HTMs.
- Add variation to your workouts
- Helps you focus on your breathing during exercise
- Become more efficient using oxygen and increase performance
- Look cool at the gym
- Cost ($30-$100)
- One more thing to carry in your gym bag
- Minimal experts available to teach you how to safely train with a hypoxic training mask
- Limited research
- Look creepy at the gym
Google scholar search results for “hypoxic training benefits.”
Hingerhofer-Szalkay H. (2010, Jan.). Intermittent hypoxic training risks versus benefits. European Journal of Applied Physiology, 108(2), 417. doi 10.1007/s00421-009-1274-4
Roberts, A. (n.d.) The truth about hypoxic training and oxygen reducing masks.
Walther, J. (2015). Can a hypoxic training mask improve performance? National Association of Sports Medicine.
Shi, B. Watanabe, T., Shin, S., Yabumoto, T., Takemura, M., & Matsuoka, T. (2014, Jan.) Effect of hypoxic training on inflammatory and metabolic risk factors: a crossover study in healthy subjects. doi 10.1002/phy2.198
Photo credit: womenshealthmagazine.com
Let’s face it. These are two areas that tend to be the hardest places to lose inches and see muscle definition. In our respective weight loss and muscle defining journeys, we often begin to see results, get excited, smile really big when no one is watching, and then BOOM!
Then it happens.
You look in the mirror feeling pretty good about yourself and BAM!
You see it. Or rather you see them–the infamous tummy pouch and fat back.
Wait. Not fat back. I meant back fat.
What should you do to lose those last extra rolls in unwanted places?
I recommend 6 things you can do to begin to say good-bye to the unwanted tummy pouch and back fat.
- Total body exercises – It’s simple. The more physical movement you add to any exercise uses more muscle groups. Moving more muscle groups burns more calories. Burning more calories, burns more fat!
- Hydration – Over two thirds of your body is water. Women should drink a minimum 2.2 L (9 cups) and men should drink a minimum of 3.0 L (13 cups) of water daily. There are several other factors to consider when determining what your daily water intake should be. For example, water lost during perspiration, consuming foods with a high water content, and duration of exercise. Check out this helpful American College of Sports Medicine brochure about Hydration for Fitness.
- Cardio. Cardio. Cardio. – Physical activity in a lower training zone (65-75% of your heart rate max) for an extended duration of time (over 30 minutes) sends signals to your body’s energy systems to use a higher percentage of FAT as a fueling source. This is what you want right? Without getting to scientific on you–your body becomes more and more efficient using oxygen and as a result, it oxidizes fat at a higher rate in your body–this is called beta oxidation. So go ahead, oxidize some fat! And of course, physical activity in a higher training zone (>76% of your heart rate max) is beneficial, too! A key difference is that the duration of your cardio can decrease and yield similar fat and calorie burning benefits. So, if you prefer higher intensity interval training, DO IT!
- Core Exercises – Similar to #1, don’t just do concentrated crunches or a plank on the floor. Jazz it up a bit and involve more of your body. Check out these plank variations you can do at home, work, or the gym!
- Portion Control – This is a no brainer. If you want to lose fat and see greater muscle definition, you must eat healthy and carefully monitor your food portions at every meal. Eat healthy. Eat slowly. Eat without distractions. Drink water. Eat breakfast. The ChooseMyPlate provides great visuals to help you with portion control.
- Rest – Without enough sleep, leptin (hormone) levels decrease and ghrelin (hormone) rises, leading to an increase in appetite. The added fatigue from lack of sleep may also lead you to skipping out on exercising, another set back for reaching weight loss goals.
(NASM, 2014)The National Sleep Foundation recommends adults sleep for 7-9 hours daily. Twenty minute naps are also helpful before the latter half of your day.
A short nap is usually recommended (20-30 minutes) for short-term alertness. This type of nap provides significant benefit for improved alertness and performance without leaving you feeling groggy or interfering with nighttime sleep. (NSF, 2016)
In summary, several research studies (NIH, 2008) have shown a positive correlation between midsection or abdominal circumference and risk for chronic disease. In other words, as your midsection increases in size, so does your risk for chronic diseases (e.g., high blood pressure, Type-2 diabetes, hypertension, obesity).
The last time I checked, no one wants a chronic disease that is preventable.
Set some new goals that fall within the parameters listed above and start losing that unwanted tummy pouch and back fat!
Contact us about specific exercise recommendations that target your core and back.