Stretching: Is it worth the time?

We’ve all heard how important stretching is. It’s been preached about forever and a day. I remember high school gym teachers would run us through some static stretches and that was a loooong time ago! 😉

All joking aside, stretching truly IS all that it’s cracked up to be and yet not everyone does it.

Why? It seems that many people feel it’s not as important as the all powerful ‘workout’ and it is just a waste of valuable time when there is so much to do in a day. Or maybe, it’s viewed as a practice for people who like to do yoga and or need to relax?

Maybe. While these can definitely seem true, it’s still critical to our goals to stretch but not in the way we’ve learned a million years ago in high school! (disclaimer: if you are in high school today and reading this, you might still be doing static stretching as my son has said and he’s in high school today)

 

Anywho (this word cracks me up because it makes absolutely NO sense and yet so many people use it), let’s talk about adding in some dynamic stretching into your program to see how valuable this is to your training. Maybe you don’t know what this is? Totally okay, because I’m here to help 😉

Dynamic stretching is exactly what the name implies. You are actually moving and involving the muscles for the stretch to take place. Static stretching is where you hold a stretch and breath for a given amount of time. (yes, kind of like yoga but not really). Dynamic stretching is perfect for both athletes and weight lifters alike, because it not only stretches the muscles but also helps incorporate a warm-up at the same time due to the movement that is involved. Two for one! No more thinking it’s a time waster (which it isn’t). 😉

 

So let’s clarify why it’s important to incorporate dynamic stretches and how they can help our performance. This way of stretching and moving tells our body that something is coming in terms of a workload being placed upon our bodies and we are better able to prepare for the challenges. It helps get our blood pumping, raises our core temperature and helps to eliminate and reduce muscle stiffness that we may experience. The muscles get flooded with blood and oxygen to help them perform at a higher level in sports and a workout plan. It helps our muscle fibers and connective tissue to become more flexible and improve our overall range of motion.

Not only these, but dynamic stretching also increases our power. A very important aspect to an athlete who needs to utilize explosive movements in their game, or a powerlifter who needs to exert explosive forces against a weight in order to perform and complete an exercise or lift.

I’ve been incorporating this type of warm-up in my clients’ workouts; both online and in person. It’s important to correlate the stretching movements with the workload that will be done. It would be a waste of our valuable time if we focused on upper body stretches only when our training that day involves running and lower body movements. My son played football last year in high school and told me how they warmed up with dynamic stretches. For these athletes, it’s important to incorporate both upper and lower body in their dynamic stretches. Here are some excellent benefits to adding dynamic stretches into your routine:

  • it increases flexibility
  • it increases our range of motion
  • in increases blood flow and body temperature
  • it increases our power output capabilities
  • it helps increase our endurance
  • it improves neuromuscular activation
  • it helps to improve our balance
  • it improves our coordination
  • it decreases our risk of injury

All winning benefits in my book! 😉

So now that you know what it is and why it’s important, let’s talk about how you can add it into your routine. I’ll give you a 3-step process to follow for best results in your next workout:

  1. Warm-up first for about 5 minutes on a machine or you can go for a walk, jog or even light cycling.
  2. Incorporate some dynamic moves based on the work you are getting ready to perform.
  3. Start your workout.

Easy! Now, what the heck are some dynamic moves anyway, right? (thought you’d never ask!) Here is a great video that shows both upper and lower body dynamic stretches. It also gets you warmed up, as you’ll see!

Let’s get started! Need some help with your training and goals? Let’s see if we can work together on some goal setting and success. Just fill in this application and I’ll be in touch shortly!

Stretching: Is it worth the time?

We’ve all heard how important stretching is. It’s been preached about forever and a day. I remember high school gym teachers would run us through some static stretches and that was a loooong time ago! 😉

All joking aside, stretching truly IS all that it’s cracked up to be and yet not everyone does it.

Why? It seems that many people feel it’s not as important as the all powerful ‘workout’ and it is just a waste of valuable time when there is so much to do in a day. Or maybe, it’s viewed as a practice for people who like to do yoga and or need to relax?

Maybe. While these can definitely seem true, it’s still critical to our goals to stretch but not in the way we’ve learned a million years ago in high school! (disclaimer: if you are in high school today and reading this, you might still be doing static stretching as my son has said and he’s in high school today)

 

Anywho (this word cracks me up because it makes absolutely NO sense and yet so many people use it), let’s talk about adding in some dynamic stretching into your program to see how valuable this is to your training. Maybe you don’t know what this is? Totally okay, because I’m here to help 😉

Dynamic stretching is exactly what the name implies. You are actually moving and involving the muscles for the stretch to take place. Static stretching is where you hold a stretch and breath for a given amount of time. (yes, kind of like yoga but not really). Dynamic stretching is perfect for both athletes and weight lifters alike, because it not only stretches the muscles but also helps incorporate a warm-up at the same time due to the movement that is involved. Two for one! No more thinking it’s a time waster (which it isn’t). 😉

 

So let’s clarify why it’s important to incorporate dynamic stretches and how they can help our performance. This way of stretching and moving tells our body that something is coming in terms of a workload being placed upon our bodies and we are better able to prepare for the challenges. It helps get our blood pumping, raises our core temperature and helps to eliminate and reduce muscle stiffness that we may experience. The muscles get flooded with blood and oxygen to help them perform at a higher level in sports and a workout plan. It helps our muscle fibers and connective tissue to become more flexible and improve our overall range of motion.

Not only these, but dynamic stretching also increases our power. A very important aspect to an athlete who needs to utilize explosive movements in their game, or a powerlifter who needs to exert explosive forces against a weight in order to perform and complete an exercise or lift.

I’ve been incorporating this type of warm-up in my clients’ workouts; both online and in person. It’s important to correlate the stretching movements with the workload that will be done. It would be a waste of our valuable time if we focused on upper body stretches only when our training that day involves running and lower body movements. My son played football last year in high school and told me how they warmed up with dynamic stretches. For these athletes, it’s important to incorporate both upper and lower body in their dynamic stretches. Here are some excellent benefits to adding dynamic stretches into your routine:

  • it increases flexibility
  • it increases our range of motion
  • in increases blood flow and body temperature
  • it increases our power output capabilities
  • it helps increase our endurance
  • it improves neuromuscular activation
  • it helps to improve our balance
  • it improves our coordination
  • it decreases our risk of injury

All winning benefits in my book! 😉

So now that you know what it is and why it’s important, let’s talk about how you can add it into your routine. I’ll give you a 3-step process to follow for best results in your next workout:

  1. Warm-up first for about 5 minutes on a machine or you can go for a walk, jog or even light cycling.
  2. Incorporate some dynamic moves based on the work you are getting ready to perform.
  3. Start your workout.

Easy! Now, what the heck are some dynamic moves anyway, right? (thought you’d never ask!) Here is a great video that shows both upper and lower body dynamic stretches. It also gets you warmed up, as you’ll see!

Let’s get started! Need some help with your training and goals? Let’s see if we can work together on some goal setting and success. Just fill in this application and I’ll be in touch shortly!

Why you might not be hungry in the morning

I bet you have heard the saying, “breakfast is the most important meal of the day” more times than you can count, right? But so many of my clients tell me that they are just not hungry in the morning. It’s a common complaint and there are actually some ways you can change that if you’re one of the non-hungry types, first thing in the morning.

Let’s start some common issues as we are rushing out the door in the morning. First of all, it’s not uncommon for many people to actually feel nauseous first thing in the morning. How does this make any sense when you haven’t eaten for at least 6-8 hours but during the day you can barely make it past 3 hours between meals?

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Makes you go HMMMMMM??

Well first of all, our metabolism actually slows down when we sleep at night. It goes into it’s own slumber since we aren’t expending much energy while we sleep. When we wake up, it may take some time for our metabolism to get the memo that it’s time to GO! The reason to get breakfast in sooner than later is that it will help to kick-start the metabolism and curbs our appetite throughout the day. It’s not uncommon to struggle more later in the day when we skip breakfast because our bodies are playing catch up. So you’re not low on willpower when you are ravished later in the day..you may just need set up some earlier meal plans.

I recommend planning a nutritious breakfast within 1-2 hours of waking up for best results. Once you start this habit, your body will become accustomed and start to feel hungry when you wake up! (some days, my body WAKES me up from hunger!)

Another common issue that may cause our appetites to fail us in the morning is eating too much before sleep. While there are many arguments on how late to eat before bed, I would suggest eating your final meal of the night at least 2-3 hours before you retire. Eating a heavy meal too close to bedtime can also disrupt our sleep because the body is hard at work digesting that food. (remember point one on our metabolism slowing down to sleep? If it doesn’t, then we don’t sleep either!)

Another reason to refrain from eating that midnight snack is that it can sit in your tummy all night. You may not feel like eating breakfast first thing in the morning because you still have the food sitting in your belly from the night before. It sits and starts to rot. I know…ewwwwww! It may even cause you to feel a bit “hung-over” in the morning. Bottom line? Eat more in your awake hours and slow down a few hours before bedtime for best results overall.

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One more reason you don’t want food in the morning may also be blamed on your hormones. Hormones are responsible for so many strange behaviors in our bodies and can also be tied to the lack of appetite and morning nausea. When we wake up in the morning, the body secretes several different hormones in order to help us wake up and get moving after a night’s rest. Besides giving us the boost we need to get going with a burst of energy, the hormones also raise our blood sugar (kind of important after the ‘fast’ during the night).  This surge of hormones is another reason for that mild nausea when you wake up. An empty stomach can also trigger the morning sickness as it will secrete acids in anticipation of eating food again. Kind of a “catch 22” when the nausea happens as it’s a sign from the body to get some food in there for the acids to work.

So now that you know…what should you do?

I usually tell my clients to not eat when they’re not hungry (duh) but the morning is an exception to that rule. If you’re not hungry when you wake up, it’s tempting to skip eating until you do become hungry…but by then, you’ve already done some minor damage to your metabolism.

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I start the day with a glass of water that I squeeze some lemon juice into. This helps to alkalanize our bodies and rehydrate from the hours of sleep. Within about 10-15 minutes, I am hungry and ready for my breakfast. If you don’t feel hungry within that time, a quick 15 minute walk or fasted steady state cardio session usually does the trick.

So, are you ready to start with these tips today?

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How to beat the scale once and for all!

Let’s be real about the scale.

Do you wake up in the morning and immediately jump on the scale? If so, does that number you read on the scale determine how you feel about yourself for the day? For example, a lower number is a great day and a higher number is pure misery? I want to help you put an end to the insanity of those daily weigh-ins. Deal?

I always believed that weighing in daily would help me stay on track when I felt unhappy in my goals. I realized that this practice only kept me stuck at the same place and isn’t that the definition of insanity? I had to learn the hard way; by going through the ups and downs and emotional struggles of this phase many women seem to get stuck in so I want to help you NOT do what I did and get results sooner and keep them long term!

Why are daily weigh-ins a bad idea? First of all, our weight naturally fluctuates a couple of pounds every day- and even within the same day- depending on what food and drinks are inside of us and how much sodium we’ve consumed and whether we’ve used the restroom recently. ahem…

How about when you start drinking more water and you decide to chug down 16oz of water at one time? That’s a whole pound added to your weight right then and there. So does that mean you’ve gained weight if you were to jump on the scale cuz you feel fat? Of course not!! You cannnot gain actual pounds so simply and insantly. But think about it, if you decided to weigh yourself after any of the above takes place (which are actually quite common these days), wouldn’t you freak out and think, “o my goodness! I gained weight!! What did I do wrong? Maybe I won’t eat for the rest of the day!”

Right? Ya, you know I’m right! 😉

Let’s start with sodium. How is it that sodium has zero calories and yet makes our weight fluctuate so much? Sodium has the power to turn our curvy bodies into a bloated water balloon shape. Excess sodium makes our bodies retain water and this makes us weigh more because we are bloated. 

True story.

Now let’s talk about the monthly hormonal evilness; otherwise known as our “periods”. Many women actually gain a few pounds before and even during their periods. If you are drinking water, exercising, eating a healthy and clean food plan, getting plenty of sleep and limiting caffeine and sodium then it’s just some extra water weight that will simply go away after your period ends.

But what if you’re not doing any of the good habits above? What if you are not drinking water; exercising; eating healthy and clean foods; getting plenty of sleep; limiting your caffeine and sodium? What then? Then some of the weight that you see added to your body will be actual weight gain that is here for the longer haul. So the best tip I can share with you about your periods? Be healthy and do what you’re supposed to do to look and feel your best; both inside and out! And for goodness sake, do not EVER freaking weigh yourself right before your period or during your period unless you want to feel like crap and beat yourself up for no good reason.

Now, I know that weigh-ins can have a positive spin when we are following a plan that works and working to reach some goals; such as losing said weight, right? I’ve actually thrown my scale away and I measure my results by the measuring tape, picture progress and fitness gains. If I ever feel the desire to check my weight (which I just don’t like to do for obvious reasons), then I can drop in to a family or friends’ home and use theirs. Cuz everyone but ME has a scale, right?? lol

I suggest the best time to weigh yourself is right after your period ends. Once a month is enough time to see actual weight gains and weight losses if you are doing the weigh-ins at the same time of day and the same time of month. Some women prefer to do 2x a month weigh-ins and for the best plan in this scenario, I recommend right after your period ends and then exactly 2 weeks after. This system helps us not be swayed by the scale and finally get control of our real results instead of a “number” that is usually skewed.

I don’t own a scale for two reasons; 1) I noticed the pattern of how it made me crazy and actually had ruined my good efforts more times than I’d like to admit and 2) my body just weighs more because of muscle. You’ve most likely heard that “muscle weighs more than fat” but it’s really not technically true. A pound of muscle and a pound of fat weight exactly the same. It’s kind of like a pound of rocks and a pound of water both weigh the same – they weight one pound. The reality of what this popular saying means is that a pound of fat takes up more space than a pound of muscle. (think the rocks and water analogy again)

I know this is a confusing topic to understand so check out this photo. You can see that the pic on the far left is the same girl in the other two photos and yet her weight is the least on the left and looks like more than the photo on the right, RIGHT? 🙂  The picture on the left looks larger than the picture with more muscle tone. So when you step on the scale thinking that weight is relative, you are not taking into account how this picture tells a whole different story! a picture is worth a thousand words! 

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So my body in reality weighs more than what most women would call a “healthy” range and now that I know the real reason why, I am so much happier not owning a scale because it doesn’t tell the truth. It’s a lying liar that lies!! I know it’s a bit tough to think that your ideal body could actually weigh exactly what you weigh right now (give or take) – but with that muscle mass taking up more space and the fat lessening within your body, you will look like a lean and toned woman!

One more bonus to using weights and focusing on healthier results: women with more muscle mass burn more calories even when doing nothing than someone who has less muscle. (even if the scale says the woman with less muscle weighs less) Are you confused? Basically, it’s non-negotiable for us to use weights…and I dont’ mean those itty bitty 2-5 # dumbbells. Building lean muscle is a great “trick” to reaching your ultimate goals and staying there long term!

Let’s talk about my favorite ways to measure our progress as we are working on achieving better results long term:

  1. Use a measuring tape. Just be aware that with measuring our bodies and when gaining more muscle, it can change the shape of some of the areas of our bodies (in a great way) which may or may not be skewed in our progress. If you are working on your butt and it becomes lifted and more rounded, it may appear to take up more space than a flatter booty so be aware of the best areas to measure monthly. I like to measure the smallest part of our waist and the fullest part around the hips (standing, with feet touching), upper thigh areas, widest area around chest and upper arms (or bicep area).
  2. How our clothes fit. If your clothes feel looser than before and it’s not because you’ve stretched them out intentionally, then that is a good sign you are losing inches; aka: body fat!
  3. Taking pics and comparing. This is a game changer and I never really practiced it until I was training for a fitness competition and knew it would help me see all the changes happening on my journey. It truly was a jaw dropping transformation! The scale never truly moved but my pictures and measurements were off the charts in how much my body changed! Take your before and after pics in the same outfit, with the same background and the same poses for accurate changes.
My weight never changed in any of these phases but you can see my body was changing.
My weight never changed in any of these phases but you can see my body was changing.

Does that make more sense now on why the scale isn’t the best way to see our true results? I mean, if you want to see the numbers change based on how much water or sodium you’ve had in a given day; then go for it! But if you’re looking for real results and long term changes that make all the difference, then pay attention to the above results and ditch the evil scale! 🙂

Need more help with your training? Shoot me a message and let’s chat about your goals! http://www.spazzykay@gmail.com