Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Pinterest Fitness Series: Mini Ball 4 Week Routine

Welcome back for another round of my Pinterest Fitness four week routines! In this blog series I've taken all those pinned fitness ideas that I've been collecting to do "some day" and compiled them into a monthly challenge style routine where I've designated an entire routine for a specific day to be performed weekly for the duration of four weeks. Each month's routine will involve the same theme or piece of exercise equipment. 

To get started, I recommend choosing one day during the week where you can remain consistent for the course of the four weeks. These routines will be performed for four weeks consecutively. For this month's routine I have also included the frequency and how many rounds each exercise is performed.

This month I'm focusing on using the mini stability ball for my workouts.  I was first introduced to a mini ball in a ballet barre class.  I ended up purchasing my own ball from Pure Barre's online shop. You can also purchase a mini ball from Amazon. I'm really excited about this month's routines as I've been wanting to incorporate the mini ball into this series for quite awhile now. If you need to stay on track throughout this monthly routine, be sure to follow me on Facebook for my weekly reminder posts where I will feature the routine of the week. Also, feel free to tag me on Instagram so I can keep up with you progress. Let's get started!

Week 1
Booty Tone
Do 10 reps, 3 rounds
Week 2
Lower Abs
Do 10-20 reps, 3 rounds
Week 3
Inner Thigh
Do 12 reps, 4 rounds
Week 4
Booty Work
Do 10-15 reps, 3 rounds

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Correcting Your Yoga Form

I came across the Instagram account ActionJacquelyn that showcases comparisons of proper and improper form of many of the staple yoga poses. I absolutely love what Jacquelyn is doing with her Instagram and just had to share for all my readers.  I think back as a beginner yoga student and remember being very conscientious of how I was engaging for proper alignment in poses.  I've taken a lot of classes in yoga and have found that not every instructor is able to communicate the intended form of particular poses.  Depending on the class, you may move through each pose at a quick pace and find yourself overwhelmed with trying to master each and every movement.  This can be a normal part of learning yoga. Unfortunately, it can also leave the student frustrated and more willing to give up. That's why I think it's important that there is the level of educational information out there for the ordinary yoga student such as myself.  The student that is not a professional yoga instructor but one that takes a class on occasion or once a week.  So enjoy the following snippets by ActionJacquelyn below and be sure to check out her account further for more similar form comparisons. 

✨Half Forward Fold✨Ardha Uttanasana✨ We flow through this move dozens of times in yoga and rarely stop to break it down. This is one of my favorite poses, because I love opening my chest and front body as I get Stretchy in my legs. - Correct ✅: 1️⃣There should be a little baby back bend happening when you are doing this pose. The upper spine bones compress and the front body opens. You can place the hands where you need to - on the floor, on the shins, knees, blocks - whatever works for you. 2️⃣Shoulders open externally and roll down the back. There's even a slight compression of the shoulders into the lats and side body. This allows for the chest to open. 3️⃣Chest and sternum lifts up and out and radiates like a ray of sun ☀️. 4️⃣Lower abs pull up and in. Ribs soften. 5️⃣Weight stays Forward over the toes. To behonest my weight could be a bit more forward now that I'm looking at this pic 🙄 this will help fire 🔥 up the use of the hamstrings - Incorrect ❌: 1️⃣Hunching the back like this is usually caused from inflexibility, so instead raise the level of your arms up to something higher like your knees, and even bend your knees slightly to help lengthen the spine. 2️⃣Since the back is hunched, the shoulders are rolling forward, and the back is being stretched, not the front of the body. 3️⃣Chest and sternum is not radiating like the sun ☁️ and not being stretched or energized 4️⃣Abs are pushing out and slack 5️⃣Weight is back on the heels, meaning the hamstrings are not firing. - Outfit @aloyoga #aloyoga | @getstretchy #getstretchy

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✨FIGURE FOUR✨ This is the best stretch for opening your hips, and lower back. If you are right though then you can do more harm than good sometimes. So I'm showing you how you can use a strap if you are really tight and find yourself looking like the bottom picture. - Correct ✅: 1️⃣ Before getting into the stretch, start lying on your back, place your hands on your knees and pull both knees into your chest. Feel the lower spine on the floor, and feel your tailbone on the floor. 2️⃣ Then grab a strap, place your left foot (flexed) over the right knee, and loop the strap around your right foot. Pull the strap in towards you to wherever is comfortable. 3️⃣ Lengthen the back of the neck. It should feel as though someone has their hands under your head and is gently pulling your head away from your shoulders, stretching the back of your neck. - Incorrect ❌: 1️⃣ Tightness in hips is causing the entire body to strain, especially underneath the neck and spine. The energy should be lengthening, not shortening. 2️⃣ Grabbing over the knee is not an ideal place to grab for this stretch. Instead thread the left hand through the left knee, and the right hand goes around the right leg, and grab either over the knee/shin of the right knee, or grab under the right knee. - To Modify even more ⚠️: Do this stretch against a wall, so that you're facing a wall and your right foot is placed on the wall. It provides similar support as a yoga strap looped around the right foot, but you might find it more relaxing because the wall will do the work for you instead. - Outfit @aloyoga #aloyoga | @getstretchy #getstretchy

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✨HOW TO DO PIGEON POSE✨This is one of my favorite poses because it is one of the most effective hip openers. 🙌🏽 It also stretches the front body, abdomen, groin, and psoas. - Correct ✅😁: • Arch of foot is flat on the floor (not to the side). • Hips are square and level. This starts with your back foot. You can tuck your back toes under to help spiral your thigh down. • Thigh spirals down. This will position your hips to the correct level. Your knee should facing the floor, not the side. • Shoulders are level, because the hips are level. - Incorrect ❌😝: • Back foot is laying on it's side. This will throw off the entire pose. • Hips are not square or level. Since the back foot is laying on it's side, it is rolling the entire leg in the wrong direction. • Thigh is spiraling outwards, causing the knee to facing sideways, and this is also putting your knee at risk. • Shoulders are not level, because the hips are not level. - More on ActionJacquelyn.com ✨ Outfit @aloyoga #aloyoga @getstretchy #getstretchy #pigeonpose #hipopener

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Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Low Carb Diet: Spaghetti Squash

I'm taking all my readers along with me on my low carb diet adventures.  This time around I've discovered another pasta alternative- the spaghetti squash.  This vegetable had quite the intimidation factor so I avoided it for such a long time.  And I can now say I regret that decision for waiting far too long to take the plunge and figure out this amazing vegetable.  It was surprisingly easy to work with and the result was quite delicious. 

I made my spaghetti squash with my regular red sauce.  I always get the Ragu Super Chunky Mushroom red sauce in a jar. It does not have onions listed on the ingredients list therefore it is deemed safe for consumption in my onion allergy household.  I also add cooked and chopped hot Italian sausage (also available in a mild and sweet version by Jennie-O). If you're wanting to dress up your spaghetti with a little more vegetable goodness, you can also add spinach and sliced black olives to your sauce.  Depends on my mood and how much prep time or ingredients I have on hand which determines the results of my sauce for the evening.  I have found that with my vegetable noodle choices that a little bit of sauce goes a long way.  Spiciness is also intensified as there isn't any flour to pull in and dull flavors like with traditional noodles. 

To prepare the spaghetti squash, chop both ends off. Then very carefully half the squash, spoon out the seeds, brush inside with olive oil, season with salt and pepper (optional) and place both freshly cut and de-seeded halves of the squash cut side down on a baking sheet.  I baked in the oven at 400* for 35 minutes.  Remove the squash (carefully as it slides around easily on baking sheets) and flipped over with kitchen tongs and allowed to cool for 15 minutes.  Once the squash is cool enough, I used my tongs to grip one half and a large dinner fork to scrape the inside of the squash creating noodle pieces.  Using my tongs, I grabbed some noodles and added to my bowl then topped with my sauce.  One half of a medium to large squash served two adults. 

The spaghetti squash is perfect for spaghetti type pasta dishes.  I do not think it would be great for chili or a soup noodle.  I feel like the zucchini noodles is heartier and would stand better as a chili noodle.  I plan on experimenting more with this as the season changes and we head into Fall.  The consistency of the spaghetti squash reminded me of stringy hash browns and I thought about using the uneaten portion of the squash from one night's dinner in a breakfast casserole as a potato alternative.  I will also experiment with this theory and post about my results in a future blog. 

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Hello Physio Peanut!

Where has this little gem been all my life?  I recently online ordered a physio peanut from Amazon.com to participate in a mini Instagram challenge for circus athletes.  And...HELLO! I have fallen in love. The physio peanut doesn't look like much, but it certainly works wonders.  I have been using it pre-aerial work lately and have noticed a significant improvement in how I feel post training and teaching classes in the days following my workouts.  My biggest problem area was constant pain in my trapezius and neck muscles.  I've implemented specific exercises that target my lats and pec muscles and have found relief in my common problematic areas.  Below are a few go to exercises I have started to do pre and post workouts courtesy of Dr. Jen Crane of Cirque Physio. I can't believe I went all these years without a peanut.  I have started to recommend this essential tool to all my pole and aerial students. I've always used a foam roller and tennis ball however, the peanut gets into areas that both the foam roller and tennis ball never touch.  It's just not the same in my experience.  The peanut far surpasses the results I've ever been able to get with just a foam roller and tennis ball. While I still use the foam roller and tennis ball, my peanut has been essential for getting a more targeted release response.

Overhead shoulder mobility getting you down 😫?? Try this myofascial mobilization for lats and rotator cuff! 🥜 This is a great drill to do as part of your warm up- it fires up your lats and rotator cuff, and gets them neurologically ready to do WORK 💪 1. Place peanut as shown, over any combination of the x’s. 2. Lie halfway between your side and on your back, so that your weight is directly over the peanut. 3. With your shoulder elevated to 90 degrees, move your shoulder from internal to external rotation. 4. Then, trying to keep your forearm as close to parallel to the floor as possible, move your arm up overhead and back down. ✨ You should feel a “hurts so good” sensation in the muscles directly under the peanut. You should NOT feel numbless/tingling or pain- if you do, move the peanut and try a different spot. It sometimes takes a bit of finessing to find the right spot for your shoulders, so make sure to try all variations of peanut placement! 10-15 reps of each variation on each arm is a great way to decrease muscle tightness in lats and rotator cuff before your workout!
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DAY 1️⃣ of the #PhysioFlexShoulderChallenge: PEC MINOR! The pec minor is a sneaky little muscle that connects the *front* of your shoulder blade to ribs 3, 4, and 5. This guy gets TIGHT and ANGRY when we sit a lot, do tons of aerial, or generally do anything with our arms directly in front of us- pec minor is part of the reason for the classically bad “rounded/forward shoulders” posture we so often have! Additionally, a tight pec minor causes SERIOUS injury risk, if not addressed before stretching. When it gets tight, and we stretch our arms overhead, we are WAY more prone to rotator cuff impingement and tears, and in general, stretching sessions are LESS productive with a tight pec minor 🙅🏻 For this challenge, you will need a peanut 🥜, lacrosse ball, tennis ball 🎾, dog toy 🐶, or round piece of fruit 🍎 to help release your pecs. 1️⃣ Put the lacrosse ball/peanut in the divot just inside your shoulder and below your collarbone (the part thats extra tender when you poke it!) 2️⃣ Find a door frame. Push the lacrosse ball into the door frame with your body. 3️⃣ Maintaining pressure on the lacrosse ball, bring your arm out to the side and overhead slowly. You can try out a variety of arm movements and see which feels the most productive! You should feel a “hurts so good” sensation with this release 💆🏻 Do this BEFORE stretching your shoulders for a more effective stretching session! Do one set of 15 reps per side. 💪 YOUR TASK: In the next 24 hours, post a video of you doing this lovely pec release! Tag hosts, and use the hashtag #PhysioFlexShoulderChallenge! Then, tell us how you FEEL: did it make a difference in 1️⃣ your posture? And/or 2️⃣ your overhead mobility? Often, you will feel IMMEDIATE improvements in both of these aspects! BONUS points for involving friends, family members, and pets in the video 👯🐶 Want to join us for the #PhysioFlexShoulderChallenge?? It's not too late ⏳ Submit your entry post, and you're IN 🎉
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