Health Tip

Scottby Scott Isley

Ace your next audition with a plank?

It’s a fact, a strong, tall posture exudes confidence, and confidence attracts success.

What’s one exercise you could be doing, should be doing, maybe currently doing incorrectly that could improve your posture?

The plank

plank_483x350_1

That’s right, you do it in yoga, at the gym, seen it done before, or never attempted.  Adding this stabilizer into your exercise routine two to four times a week can improve posture in as little as three weeks if done consistently.  I’ve seen it over and over with new clients and you can too.read more

Health Tip

Improving Shoulder Flexibility

We took a break last month with a couple ideas to beat the summer heat.

This month, we’re going to finish up our five-part mobility series and address improving shoulder flexibility

The shoulder joint has the largest range of motion in the body.  This ball-and-socket joint, when ignored, can get pulled out of a healthy position and present problems down the road when we try to use it for any general activity; painting the house, playing basketball on the weekends, pushups at home for a quick workout.

What I see is common in my line of work is the upper shoulders are generally tight, and the lats, mid-trapezius, and external shoulder rotator are weak.  This pulls on the scapula and can tilt it forward over time.  This forward tilt makes the upper shoulder tightness worse.  So we need to address what the scapula is doing during movement—especially during any pushing or pulling exercise.  Do the shoulders go up in your ears when you do any of these motions?read more

Health Tip

It’s Hot, Stay Hydrated

We are in the middle of summer.  You’re training hard and need variety in how you stay hydrated, so we’re going to pause our five-part mobility series and share a couple ideas on how to get creative with your hydration.

Coconut water

Nature’s sports beverage: tons of Potassium, electrolytes, and magnesium that will help keep the blood healthy and prevent cramps.  Coconut water is also low in sugar, it has about the same amount of potassium as a banana with less than 1/3 of the sugar (per serving).  This is a must-have after a workout–especially in hot weather.  If you don’t like the taste of coconut water, there are a couple recipes below that may change your mind

Add fruit to your waterread more

Health Tip

Squat like a baby

Over the past three months you’ve been:

  1. Making time to get to know the body and different ways to open up muscle tissue
  2. Going over different types of stretching: static + dynamic
  3. Adding self-tissue release to your routine to take your mobility to the next level

This month we’re going to focus on your one thing….Squat like a baby

baby-squat

One of the most functional movements your body was designed for is the squat.  You need to pick stuff up and YOU are going to do it with your legs, hips, and back.  Don’t be that guy/girl who “throws their back out” picking up something with just their upper body.  To help with being able to get in and use this position properly, we need to restore the flexibility you had as a child.  So….read more

Health Tip

Mobility Series – Part 3

Okay, so by now you have been:

1) Finding 10 minutes of time daily to devote to mobility

2) Adding new stretches into your routine + adding a new approach to your pre-exercise warm-ups.

Now we’re going to go over, in my opinion, one of the most important flexibility tools in your mobility tool kit:

Self Myofascial Release (SMR)

Myofascial release is; “a soft tissue therapy for the treatment of skeletal muscle immobility and pain…the therapy relaxes contracted muscles, improves blood and lymphatic circulation, and stimulates the stretch reflex in muscles”  (defined by Wikipedia)…essentially like a type of self-massage.read more

Health Tip

By Scott Isley

Mobility (Part 2)

So now that you’ve been doing your homework and made ten minutes a day a part of your mobility routine. We are going to add more “tools to your toolkit.”  Last month we focused on our seated muscles; hip flexors, hamstrings, and lower back.  This month we are going to go over the very basics of stretching.  We will briefly go over static stretching, ballistic, and more dynamic stretching.

Static Stretching

This is the most basic of stretches—probably what you are already doing already.  This is where you hold a muscle to a tension point for a duration of time.  For the developmental part of this stretch, we want to take our initial tension point anywhere from a 3-6 out of 10 (on a 1-10 scale; 10 being extremely painful) and hold constantly while breathing.  In 15-20 seconds that tension point should slowly decrease in tension, around 20-30 seconds when you feel it reduce in discomfort,  then you go a little deeper into the stretch bringing it back to the original 3-6 tension point you began with.  You can hold this stretch anywhere from 30 seconds to two minutes.  I would try and allow one to two minutes for any overly-tight area. read more

Health Tip

Mobility

Over the next few months we’re going to work on adopting one of the most important issues related to health today.  The issue of Mobility.  I feel that regarding overall health, lack of flexibility, and mobility leads to more; lower back issues, knee issues, shoulder problems and neck issues that I come across consistently with my clients, family, and friends.  Getting to know the body, and how to self-correct alignment issues is one of the more invaluable skills you can add to your wellness toolkit.  Because when it comes to the body, it’s not a matter of if we will go out of alignment but a matter of when.

If you are like most people who sit a lot, drive a lot, work a lot at your computer, your body is being held in a poor postural position, this leads to inflexibility in the front of your hips and back of your legs.  With tight hip flexors and hamstrings and a weak lower back it’s no wonder 70% of Americans suffer from lower back pain.  This is not the position your body was designed for.  Your body was meant to move, to be upright, mobile.  Remember this mantra:  “sitting is like sugar for the body’  the more you sit the worse it is for you, but for as much as one may sit, stretching the shortened muscles frequently is key to helping stay in better alignment.  read more

Health Tip

Katieby Katie Barnes

Pick the Right Plate

When it comes to food, most people find that changing eating habits is a greater challenge than sticking to any exercise routine. Start out by learning proper portion sizes and nutrition quality of foods. Then spread your meals over the day, choosing smaller nutrient-dense items rather than large plates of empty calories. It’s essential to eat every three to four hours in order to control your weight, and to keep your energy levels high for a great workout.

Also, know what to leave on your plate. Each meal should contain a lean protein as the base (e.g. chicken or fish), a simple carbohydrate (the simple sugars, fiber and nutrients in vegetables and fruit), and a small amount of good fat as found in avocados, olive oil, and almonds. The slow-burning complex carbohydrates like rice, beans, pasta, potatoes and bread are all fuels that the body likes to store rather than burn right away. Therefore choose one complex carbohydrate per meal, or skip this food group altogether if you can’t find a wholegrain, high-fiber option.read more

Health Tip

Katieby Katie Barnes

Time for a Trainer!

Working out regularly and not seeing results? That’s the best time to log some time with a trainer. Find out what you’re doing right in the gym and learn new ways to use your body most effectively while breaking the boredom of an old routine and boosting metabolism. Spend just two to three hours a week with an exercise specialist–it’ll get you past your blocks, make you lighter on the scale and turn you into a workout warrior!

THE TRAINER CHECKLIST

  1. Do they hold a national fitness certification?
  2. How much time does it takes to earn that qualification? Weekend-type courses are continuing education for fitness professionals and may not be considered a real qualification.
  3. How long have they worked professionally as a trainer or Pilates instructor?
  4. Do they earn their full-time living from teaching exercise?read more

Health Tip

Katieby Katie Barnes

Holiday Body Magic- It’s All in Your Mind!

With the holidays just around the corner, here are eight ways to de-stress and get ready for a bright New Year… The trick is to keep your body on track while keeping your mind in top shape!

  1. Stop what you are doing and take a deep breath. Notice your breathing and nothing else for one minute. Take another minute to focus on the simple objects around you, slowly noticing color, sound, light, and texture.
  2. Close your eyes and for another minute and focus your thoughts on something you love. Open your eyes and take another breath. Look around and notice if you are breathing more easily and naturally and without tension. Return to this exercise as needed throughout the day.
  3. Begin a food and exercise journal one month before your vacation begins, assigning three pages to one day. Write down complete meals, snacks and drinks on one page and all exercise and workouts performed on the other.
    Agree that you will journal these things for a minimum of one month from your starting date.
    Write down three things for which you are grateful on the third page and any comments about those.
    Read over and sign off on all pages each night before bed.
  4. Eat breakfast every day: make sure it contains some protein, fruit and whole-grains.
    Take the time to sit down while eating; being conscious of the flavors, textures and amounts you are taking in.
    Share a meal with friends or listen to your favorite music instead of watching television or being online and tuning out your senses.read more