WEEK OF WORKOUTS + OTHER STUFF!

Hey guys!!! How was everyone’s week? We made it to Friday! I want to write a blog about my week of workouts since they were pretty modified due to my shoulder issue…and talk more on that as well (what happened, how it happened, etc. etc.).

SO first I will go over my shoulder. It started the last Sunday in February after I did the Crossfit 17.1 workout which was a TON of DB snatches. I typically love DB snatches – great full body utilization and shoulder exercise, however, if you are doing tons of reps which this workout had 150 total (75 per arm), you are bound to get fatigued and let form slip. Which is probably what happened. It also had 15 burpee box jump overs in between the sets of snatches. I did regular burpees though (so again, you are going to get really tired with all of this). AND NOT TO MENTION before I even did this workout, I did ROW SPRINTS of 1000-800-600-400-200 meter rows – more shoulder work. So I just overdid it.

I did not feel the issue until about two days later (maybe one day) but it was super slight. Just a slight tightness in my rhomboid. So I did rest it a little for a few days…but not quite enough. Wednesday of last week I decided to try a higher rep back day (so lighter weight, essentially) and that’s when I really pulled it. I started with lat pulldowns – big mistake. Shortly into my set I could feel it pulling pretty badly…I pushed through (another mistake) so by the end of it I was not feeling good. I even did 2 more sets after that (am I dumb? YES lol). Needless to say, at this point it was hurting to breathe – LITERALLY COULDN’T BREATHE WELL WITHOUT PAIN – so that meant intercostal pulls too (muscles around ribcage which assist with breathing). I decided OK I am not going to let this ruin my workout…so I went and did the following and it worked fine for the time being:

  • 1/2 mile run
  • 50 air squats

I did that 5 times through nonstop. And then I tried to do pistol squats – managed to do about 15 per leg and then I tried to add a KB for some weight and I couldn’t even hold the 15# KB without pain in my back/shoulder/rhomboid/intercostals/etc. So at this point I stretched…did a set of clamshells and went home. Y’all it was hurting so bad I was crying. 10 out of 10 on a scale of 1-10. I couldn’t even dress myself…because of the pain. Severe pain. I took 3 aleve and had to pull myself together to go back to the gym to train because I had numerous clients that morning.

Got myself together and took it slow and made it to the gym. A fellow male trainer asked if I wanted him to roll out my back/shoulder using these AWESOME tempering rods invented and used by Donnie Thompson on athletes and powerlifters – it’s basically trigger point type therapy – uses really heavy steel rods to put pressure on the muscles and you feel amazing after. So my friend used that on my back and it was definitely painful during the experience but afterwards it was instant relief and I was able to make it through the rest of the day.

So, a week and a half later we are here. It’s Friday the 17th and next Wednesday will mark the 2 week point on my injury. Other good news is it’s feeling better but I still have that pain in my rhomboid. I have a massage appointment scheduled for 1:30 and the lady here that does the massages (at the gym) really knows her stuff and muscles…she’s good. So she will be able to help me for sure.

OTHER FUN NEWS is I was able to chat with an ortho surgeon this AM since he trains here and he checked out my shoulder. No issues with the joint at all – it’s just trigger points in my rhomboid that need to be worked out. He told me to keep using it and use lots of ice directly on the skin (which I am doing 2x a day or as often as I can). It was great to hear him say I should keep using it. So after spin class today I immediately went and did external rotation exercises and some light DB presses (which felt AMAZING – YAY).

What have I learned from this experience? I am not a fan of super high reps that involve any joint really, but specifically the shoulder. The shoulder is SO complex and has so many delicate muscles involved with the rotator cuff…so people have got to be careful and include accessory work like internal and external rotation exercises and mobility. I will not ever be doing that many snatches again. I want to be as fit and healthy as possible, but, SAFELY – and not causing strain on my joints. #lessonlearned

SO what did I do this week gymwise? Many people would just throw in the towel and not do anything, which is so stupid. I don’t ever want to get out of shape or lose any of the hard work I have put in thus far so I managed to mix it up great this week. Started going back to spin classes which I am obsessed with because they get your heart rate up so high and it’s no impact and a great workout for your legs, glutes and core.

SUNDAY: intense RPM class, 45 mins

MONDAY: walk incline for 30 mins – 8.5-11 incline at 3.9-4.1 speed including sets of 100 walking lunges and crab walks (get in deep squat and walk sideways on treadmill each leg, 20-25 reps)

TUESDAY: same as Monday – walk walk walking

WEDNESDAY: LOWER BODY AND 45 MIN RPM CLASS!

  • 9 sets leg press 10-15 reps, 4-6 plates
  • 4 sets walking lunges with the 30# DBs (lighter for me)
  • 5×12 sumo squats w lighter DB for me ~55#
  • jump squats- 3×12
  • Ham curls – 6 sets 8-12
  • Leg extensions – 6 sets 10-15
  • 4×12 butt blaster
  • 5×15 cable glute extension
  • 3×15 cable leg abduction angled diagonally back
  • 50# weighted frog pumps – 50+ reps
  • clamshells
  • seated band abduction
  • banded sumo walks

THURSDAY: Walk incline 9-10.0 at faster pace (3.8-4.1) 45 mins; 50# weighted frog pumps 2×50 reps; 1×30 seated band abduction; 1×30 each leg clamshells

FRIDAY: spin class, 45 mins; shoulder work: external rotation and light DB presses

SATURDAY: I will do lower body again and perhaps some upper body – light shoulder and arms..and probably walk incline for 30-40

SUNDAY: RPM class again – 45 mins 

SO I write all of this to say that if you have an injury, don’t stress. You can work around it. I wanted to run but realized that I could not hold my arm in the running position too long because it strained my rhomboid muscle. So I walked – a lot. Spin class pulled on it just a little but not bad enough for me not to go! I had to get some kind of killer workout in.

I HAVE been taking this very seriously and icing daily, which is crucial. Don’t ever work THROUGH pain. Muscle burning from being tired is different than pain – so be sure to distinguish the two. And take care of your shoulders. Don’t neglect doing mobility and external and internal rotation work with either bands or cable machine. Those are the accessory work – comparable to the clamshells and band work I do on my legs constantly! We have to include those exercises along with lifting weights in order to stay healthy.

SO that’s it for this week! I plan to ice and really recover this weekend and hopefully be back to everything full force by the end of next week! I SO miss lifting heavy! But I am going to take it slow at first…which is so hard for me to do.

 

Happy Weekend!

xoxo,

Kelly

PS – try out my recipes from this week! Lettuce wrap pulled pork tacos ! Pics below! Plus salmon, of course, which we have weekly. And if you haven’t yet, you have to try my overnight oat recipe. Try adding egg whites too! (you can eat those raw!)

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5 Reasons to Strength Train

RELIEVE OVERALL ACHES AND PAINS.

Did you know that the majority of lower back pain and neck pain are caused from being sedentary? Strength training teaches you to use your core and helps keep your posture in check – with the majority of Americans spending their days hunched over a computer screen. Adequate strength training teaches you to not only use your core as well as proper body placement, but also strengthens all the muscles to help support your spine. If you regularly work your muscles, they will get stronger and be able to support the daily activities. I, personally, notice that my body aches and hurts if I DON’T strength train – for example if I am sick for a few days or even if I take the day off and don’t move as much as I should – my body actually hurts. I hate it! Or if I am struck traveling in the car – my body hurts. I hate that feeling so I rarely take days off and my planned rest days always incorporate lots and lots of walking and yoga. It FEELS GOOD to be strong. I have no scoliosis issues also with my constant strength training. My muscles are strong so they support my spine and I do not experience pain.

BOOST YOUR METABOLISM, CONFIDENCE, BODY APPEARANCE.

This is obvious. When you have more muscle you burn more calories at rest. It’s proven research. Muscle requires much more energy than fat. The more muscle you have, the more calories you burn at rest and otherwise. The only way to get muscle is to STRENGTH TRAIN. Along with this metabolism boost you will also notice you are much more confident, and your body will be lookin’ GOOD! Trust me ladies, strength training will not make you bulky. It will cause you to gain muscle mass which is SMALLER AND MORE COMPACT than fat, therefore your clothes will fit better. You will have a tighter, smaller waist and sexy, feminine curves. You will not bulk up “like a man” as we simply do not have the testosterone to do so. You will ONLY get “manly” if you eat 3000 (of crappy food) calories a day (example/exaggeration) and take hormone supplements. So don’t be afraid to strength train and lift heavy because I sure do and I am still tiny. People come up to me all the time in the gym and ask how I lift so much weight being such a tiny girl. I laugh and say THANK YOU! #confidence

MAINTAIN MUSCLE MASS AS YOU AGE/DEFY AGING. 

As you age you lose bone mass and muscle mass. Each year women who do not regularly strength train lose 1/2 pound of muscle. So what does that mean? You have more fat and less muscle each year. In other words, the calories you do consume go straight to being stored as adipose (fat) tissue. If you strength train you keep your bones strong and healthy and you hang on to that loved and desired muscle mass. You will be able to get out and be more productive well into old age. You will be less likely to fall or break something as you age because you will have improved balance and stability and strength and coordination. Strength training lowers your blood pressure, boosts your libido, aids in getting rid of toxins in the body, and keeps your skin healthy through the natural process of sweating and detoxifying. You will also be happier, in general.

YOU WILL BE MORE PRODUCTIVE. 

I get it – people are busy in this country. Trust me because I STAY busy. However, being so busy and also still getting my 5-6 days of workouts in teaches me HOW TO MANAGE MY TIME. In other words, I am very productive. What may seem like not a lot of time to some people, is a lot of time to me because I have become excellent at time-management. I realize that if I only have 30-45 minutes for a workout one day, I can still get a lot done in that short amount of time. Working out doesn’t have to take 2 hours. Or even an hour and a half (although I love it so much I could be at the gym all day). If you learn how to be efficient you can get a killer cardio AND weight session in 30-40 minutes. Strength training teaches you to be efficient in the rest of your daily life and it also GIVES you the extra strength to do so. You will be better able to carry heavy items or groceries or pick up the kids etc.

BURN MORE FAT + BELLY FAT.

As previously stated, weight training increases your muscle mass which in turn reduces your overall body fat and makes you more efficient at burning calories at rest. It also helps burn belly fat. Cardio alone will not burn belly fat. You will simply burn calories all over and perhaps yes lose some weight, however, you will be losing BOTH fat and muscle. Per an article on active.com, Penn State researches did a study and found out of three groups of people : no exercise, cardio only, and cardio and strength training, those who included the weight training shed six more pounds of fat than those who did not. The lifters loss of weight was almost all PURE FAT and the others lost fat AND muscle. Who wants to burn away muscle mass? Not me. So I make strength training a priority out of everything I do. If you are strength training you are building muscle and using your muscles AND burning calories. It is so important to do both lifting and cardio. Or if you are like me, I make lifting sessions so intense they also count as cardio OR I finish my lifting sessions with 10-15 minutes of HIIT. That’s the way you torch your fat!

 

I hope these reasons may convince you to start strength training if you have not already. And if you are strength training, then yay! Keep it up!!!!! You will thank yourself when you are older. If you are feeling overwhelmed and not sure what workouts to do or if you workout at home and need advice or want help, please feel free to email me. I also want you guys to know you don’t have to do the workouts I do – I know I am really intense and kinda extreme but it’s because I am so passionate and just want to be as fit and strong as I can and I will strive for better every day. 30 minutes of working out a day will still help you and benefit you as you age and you can accomplish a ton in just 30 minutes. The main thing is to do something! I hope I inspire you all to be healthier every day!

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For more:

http://www.active.com/fitness/articles/12-reasons-you-should-lift-weights

Food Combining: Learn how coupling certain foods can wreak havoc on your digestive system!

I want to discuss food combining and inform you of some “rules” that could help you if you have digestive issues. Did you know that coupling certain foods together can actually cause major issues in your body? In other words, when you couple certain foods at one meal, such as yogurt and fruit (melons in particular), your stomach as a really hard time digesting them and can cause major acidity and inflammation in the body. I will go into more detail and list a few other food combining rules and link to some sites where you can get more information.

  1. Fruit on a full stomach. Fruit does not combine well with other foods at all because fruit is made up of simple sugars that require very little digestion (hence why you can eat a banana on an empty stomach and then go workout vigorously with no issue). Thus, if they are eaten with other foods they will sit in the stomach for a long time waiting on the other foods to digest. This will lead to fermentation of the fruit sugar which can cause digestion discomfort. I always eat fruit by itself or at most with spinach and water and protein powder. Something very fast digesting (NO milk!).
  2. Protein & protein. I don’t always follow this one to a T, but, everyone reacts differently. It is said that two or more different types of proteins are hard to digest and requires significant energy from the body. An example of this is pairing eggs with a meat – and definitely don’t add cheese to that as it further slows digestion.
  3. Beans and dairy. Both of these by themselves can cause bloating and gas. Beans are filled with fiber and are best eaten in very small quantities or by themselves. The combination with dairy is what wreaks havoc as humans do not digest dairy well at all. Try goat milk or goat-dairy products. But still, consume separate from beans.
  4. Milk and bananas (fruit in general). This is supposedly one of the most heavy and toxin-forming meals. Ayurveda (one of the world’s oldest holistic medicines) lists this as a highly incompatible meal combination. Food can be poison or medicine, as you know through my blog. And this is one not to be eaten together. This is why I make my protein shakes with water and water alone! No milk!
  5. Dairy and fruit. Milk is a laxative and fruit (MELONS in particular) are a diuretic. Milk and dairy take so long to digest and fruit does not, so, the fruit will sit in the stomach and curdle the milk, potentially creating lots of acidity in the body. 
  6. Protein and starch. Ok ok ok so I don’t follow this to a T because y’all KNOW I love sweet potatoes. BUT these are supposed to take so long to digest and cause issues. However, I don’t experience issues eating sweet potatoes with meat so in my body, I am good there. HOWEVER – this is the reason why I eliminated gluten/wheat/white bread/etc.etc. from my diet because of the major stomach issues it gave me and bloating, etc. This is also why I don’t eat brown rice as it’s much harder to digest than white rice. So many starches are detrimental to our bodies and cause inflammation. It’s why I stick to sweet potatoes, organic white potatoes in (extreme) moderation, and white rice. Oh and organic oats.
  7. Last but not least, cold drinks after a meal. Avoid consuming such during a meal also as this slows digestion and can cause allergies and colds. I prefer hot tea after my meals and I limit drinking water during a meal. If I do sip water, it is room temperature.

So, try some of these things out and let me know if they seem to help your digestion! I know I was shocked and excited to learn all of these things about food combining! I hope this helps you. This is one of the things I love about the mostly Paleo lifestyle as many foods are eliminated from the diet (most beans/legumes, brown rice, gluten, cheese/dairy). So, many of these food combinations would never happen in the Paleo diet lifestyle. Notice how problematic dairy is!!! This is why I just don’t consume it (or consume in very small quantities very rarely).

#primalforlife #paleoprinciples

XOXO,
Kelly

For more:

Favorite BOOTY BUILDING Exercises

I am not a curvy person and the curves that I have managed to acquire are due to my dedication in the gym as well as dedication to eating a lot of clean food. If you are naturally very thin and want to build some lean muscle mass and curves, you gotta work on your glutes! I will list a few of my favorite exercises. The main thing with this, though, is to stay patient and continue to work hard and eat clean on a daily basis. Be sure you are eating enough calories though or else you won’t be able to BUILD muscle!

The back squat should be one of the main leg exercises you do every single week – preferably twice a week. This compound movement utilizes so many muscle fibers and works so many muscles that it is imperative to include in your workouts so that you get stronger and recruit more muscle fibers.I recommend a wider stance, toes pointed out, and squat at least parallel. Stick to the 5-8 rep range as well as 10-12. Since the back squat is so crucial for getting stronger (and getting stronger means progressively adding more weight, building more muscle) I prefer to keep my rep ranges lower and keep the weight higher. My fifth rep is usually quite a struggle with back squat. I do higher reps on other glute building exercises like the hip thruster, which I discuss below. But it’s good to mix things up and often do lower rep ranges, higher weight, and vice versa. Do aim for maximum weight though – with proper form of course.

This is definitely where I feel the burn in my glutes and upper hamstrings. I recommend using a bench that is not able to move – usually at gyms they have a few benches that are secured to the ground. Take 2 dumbbells (or a kettlebell) and walk over to the bench and place one leg behind you on the bench. Be sure your knees do not pass over your toes when you squat down and do about 8-10 reps per leg. I like to do anywhere between 5-9 sets of this. You can also squat down and just hold the position (without weight) for 30 seconds (or as long as you can) to REALLY feel the burn. Do this exercise once per week. These are great for building glutes as well as stabilizers and core because you will find it’s challenging to maintain balance while doing this. That means it’s a killer workout so don’t give up. Lower the weight if you need to until you are comfortable doing them!

  • Weighted Walking lunges – wide steps

To work the glutes more in walking lunges simply take wider steps! You will work quads more if the steps are narrow. Take two heavy dumbbells (don’t be shy. this weight should scare you a little – I take 2 35# DBs and it’s killer). Start with a lighter set if needed and take about 16 alternating steps in one direction, take a 20 second break, then repeat coming back the other way. Do this 3-4 times. Increase the weight as needed. Walking lunges work your core and many parts of your legs and when you hold heavy enough dumbbells you work your grip strength and traps! I can’t express the importance of utilizing this exercise! Do it every week!

  • Single leg deadlifts with dumbbells

These work your glutes and upper hams great. So many different variations. I take two dumbbells, 25 to 30# and do these. You keep the standing/supporting leg slightly stiff/bent knee (but not too bent; google images of this). Hold 2 DBs (I find it easier to maintain balance with two DBs) and find a point in front of you to stare at so you don’t lose balance. Bend over and keep weight in heels (always keep weight in heels) and try to really feel the muscle activate. Do 8-10 reps per leg and do 4 sets total.

  • Hip thrusters 

These are great to add towards the  end of your workout. Take a 35-45# plate and load it up on your hips and lay on the ground with feet on a bench that does not move (place the plate on your lap – start with 25# if needed, that is still great). Squeeze your glutes and hamstrings and raise your butt up so that your legs create a 90 degree angle. Then lower. Repeat 20-25 times until your legs burn! Rest, then repeat this 4-5 times total.

The above is one version to try. The other version is to take a loaded barbell and sit against a bench and put the barbell across your hips with a pad if needed and press up.

YET ANOTHER version I just discovered – you can do these with the leg extension machine. Lean against the seat with your upper back and have your hips up – legs at 90 degree angle and feet flat on floor – hips are underneath the part where you’d normally press up with your quad – you can press your hips up to the ceiling and back down, using your glutes! Do sets of 10-15 with varying weight.

  • Butt blaster 

I am not sure if all gyms have this or not, but, if yours does you should try it out. You can also do a variation of this with the cable machine if needed and I will describe how in a second. With the butt blaster you are on all fours and you place one leg behind you and you essentially push the weight back and up at an angle so that you isolate and use your glute and upper hamstring (some quad, too). I recommend higher reps for this, lower weight, but 15 reps should be quite difficult.

You can also use the cable machine – place the cable at the floor level and wrap the strap/find the ankle strap and put it around your ankle. Keeping slight bend in left knee, kick your right leg back and straight, kicking up to almost 90 degree angle with the floor. Repeat 15-20 times. Switch legs and do this 3-4 times per leg. This exercise will comparably work your glutes.

  • PLYOMETRICS

I also recommend incorporating jumping into your weekly workouts -multiple times a week. These will build strength and power as well as burn fat which is essential to building muscular glutes. I love doing squat jumps with dumbbells – 4 sets of 10-15 reps with varying dumbbell weight – also lunge jumps are awesome too. You can make them harder by holding a 20# kettlebell at your chest (or 10 or 15#) and doing lunge jumps that way! I do at least 20 reps at a time -10 per leg. And do multiple sets. Jumping is so good to build strong bones so I recommend you incorporate some kind of jumping 3-4 times a week! Add them as finishers to your workouts!

IN SUM: The most important factor in building glutes is to squat. Focus on functional movements first and foremost. Do not shy away from going heavy, either. I am also a huge fan of squatting 2x per week. I do one heavy, hard leg day and then one lighter leg day later on in the week. Google youtube videos if you are unsure of proper form! Don’t be scared of the weight room – make yourself get out of your comfort zone. I was scared at first too but just ACT like you know just what you are doing (I promise no one is paying attention to you). LIFT HEAVY LADIES and build those glutes! Your legs and future curves will thank you! Be patient and work hard and you will get results.

Living with scoliosis

I have scoliosis. I was diagnosed with this many years ago, circa 7th grade or so. My spinal curve is now about 28 degrees – thank goodness it’s not any worse than that. I have tried so many different types of workouts for scoliosis and I have definitely found what works for me. I am going to discuss, in this blog, about the different events that have occurred in my life regarding scoliosis, as well as the most important workouts and stretches to do to maintain a healthy spine (along with a clean eating lifestyle).

As stated before, I was diagnosed in about 7th grade with slight curvature of the spine and I really did not do anything else about it (there was nothing to do at this point to be honest; scoliosis is what it is). I was a ballet dancer so I was constantly active and ballet helped me develop awesome (seriously, thank you ballet!) body awareness as well as a very strong core and overall excellent posture (lucky me). I never really followed up with doctors about my spine curvature until college – I just had periodic x-rays (circa 2007/2008). In September 2013 I was living back home in Mobile, Alabama and I decided it was time to go have a follow-up x-ray with supposedly one of (if not the best) the best doctors in Mobile. After that appointment I was told my spine was a 43 degree curve and that I should schedule surgery “right away”. My life fell to pieces. I left the doctor’s office IN TEARS – spine surgery is not an easy thing to endure nor are you the same person afterwards!!  Upset and distraught and not knowing what to do next (I was running and lifting (lighter) weights at the time 5 days a week) – I stopped lifting and running and started going to Bikram yoga a lot. I thought weightlifting might be bad for my spine – as well as running – so I went to hot yoga 4 days a week or so. My back pain got worse. I was advised by a close friend in Chicago to get a second opinion by a doctor up there, so, that is what I did.

November 2013 I met with Dr. Richard Fessler at Rush University in Chicago.  He is internationally recognized as an amazing spine surgeon – he has worked with teams creating the now widely used minimally invasive techniques. My doctor appointment with him was one of the best days of my life and just thinking about it makes me tear up. They did an x-ray and he, along with a colleague, came in to the room where I was waiting and told me I did not need surgery- AT ALL – and that my curve was 28 degrees – NOT 43. I started crying. WHAT A RELIEF! NO SURGERY! I am not making any of this up. Please, if you have scoliosis, always seek second opinions if someone says you need surgery right away. I am still not sure what the heck was going on with that first surgeon – or if all of that was a hoax to get money in their office or what – but I am so thankful that I was able to go get a second opinion by an EXPERT in Chicago. Go to the big cities, y’all, that’s where you will find the best of the best. My friend and I celebrated after that appointment with champagne (Pop’s for champagne)- what a fantastic day that was. I love Chicago.

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Oh I have my picture with Dr. Fessler too – too good of a day to not document! Messy straight hair-braid and all…

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MOVING ON….EXERCISES AND WHAT I DO NOW AND WHAT WORKS BEST FOR MY BACK…

I lift weights and I lift heavy and honestly this is the best thing for my back. Having done ballet for SO many years, and whilst doing so having one of the most flexible spines, too much hot yoga was awful for me. Hello flexible…

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It made my back hurt so much. I am one of those people that is crazy flexible (because of all the ballet and I still stretch) – my hips, ankles, spine, etc., everything is super flexible. I needed to work more on strengthening than flexibility so that is why I lift heavy. I do all the normal and regular lifting as you can see in my workouts, however, I have decided to cut out deadlifting. I also plan to focus more on unilateral work on my back days, i.e., single arm work: single arm dumbbell rows, single arm cable rows, kneeling cable rows, etc. I will likely cut out barbell rows as well as those really hit the lats (latissimus dorsi) and I don’t want anything (including deadlifts) to make the left side of my back work more than the right. My left side takes the brunt of the curve so it’s slightly larger than the right side which is why working one arm at a time will be helpful, in my opinion as well as personal trainers and people I have spoken with. I had no back issues/tightness whatsoever until recently – after I did a heavy deadlift session. So I am listening to my body – NO MORE DEADLIFTS. It’s sad to me because I love lifting and want to improve all of my big lifts, but, I have to accept that my body does not agree with deadlifts, specifically.

So keep lifting! Don’t be afraid to do lat pulldowns, LOTS OF PULLUPS, squats (front squats are great for core strength), single arm rows, burpees, etc. etc.! I would personally say to listen to your body and what feels good or not – I noticed after having done a heavy deadlift session that I had tightness and inflammation – so I have to acknowledge that and not do those anymore and tweak my training a little. One thing is for sure: never stop training. Staying active is one of the best things you can ALWAYS do for yourself – no matter what condition you have. Scoliosis especially. Do a lot of core work and core stabilizers, squats are great for working your core so don’t be afraid to do those as well as planks, weighted bicycle crunches, back extensions (I would suggest a lighter weight – under 25# or so – once again not wanting to stress muscular imbalance), etc. Stretch a lot – I love the cat/cow yoga pose, downward dog, side bends, lunges, backbends (in moderation), among others. You can google stretches for scoliosis or stretches in general and basically I recommend to just be sure you are stretching after you workout. Stay active and eat CLEAN. And listen to your body. Running is fine also – impact work is great for your joints – but I wouldn’t recommend running marathons constantly and neglecting to strength train. Strength training is where it’s AT!

As usual, questions please email me at kelly.fitness.21@gmail.com I am happy to answer questions or discuss anything further.

 

Oh don’t forget I was a gymnast too for a little while…another great way to build muscle and core strength as a child! I love gymnasts. They amaze me!

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MY TAKE ON TUNA AND CANNED FOODS

Eating clean not only means avoiding consumption of chemicals in food, but also includes avoiding cooking/heating foods in PLASTIC (chemical!) as well as avoiding canned foods because of BPA content. Tuna is another topic because while it’s technically “clean” because it’s simply tuna and nothing else, most conventional tuna is not good for you. Tuna is very high in mercury, which most of you probably know, and consumption of mercury leads to toxic mercury buildup in the body. That is why it’s important to purchase pole caught/line caught tuna (IF you must eat tuna)! I will tell you why, as well as why avoiding canned foods most of the time is ideal.

  • POLE CAUGHT TUNA IS SMALLER/YOUNGER, THEREFORE LESS MERCURY. Tuna is actually a HUGE fish! Pole/line catching gets the tuna when the fish is younger so it has had less time to build up toxic levels of mercury. (1)
  • Not only is pole caught tuna healthier, but it also helps save other species of fish. Most canned tuna is caught with “FAD’s” (fish aggregating device) which scoops up anything and everything in its path, often killing and harming turtles, sharks, and many other types of fish. Pole/line caught is much more selective. Better for you AND the environment. (2)
  • Regarding BPA and canned foods in general, it’s best to limit consumption of anything in a can. It’s hard to know exactly how much BPA you are ingesting, so I do recommend purchasing BPA free cans when possible as they are now making these more often. It can be difficult to find BPA free cans at most grocery stores, but, if you have a Whole Foods in your town it’s always a safe bet! BPA is a chemical used to harden plastics and just about all of us have BPA in our bodies right now. This is why I choose to only use glass containers for my food – at least the food that goes in the microwave. I NEVER heat plastic anymore nor do I use a plastic water bottle (Hydro Flask all the way). I recommend you reduce your exposure to BPA and purchase glass containers, which can be found at Target and Walmart. Reducing BPA exposure will reduce the overall toxin load in your body, which will reduce your risk of developing certain cancers. BPA can also act like a hormone in the body and disrupt your hormone levels. (3) I know they make BPA free plastic water bottles, but, I decided that because I carry a water bottle with me everywhere I go and because I am constantly (literally) drinking water on a daily basis, that I should put said water in a stainless steel, harmless water bottle (HYDRO FLASK!).

While I do consume canned tuna on occasion, it is ALWAYS pole/line caught and USUALLY BPA free. I am not going to say that I never consume a canned item (e.g., coconut milk) without BPA because that’s not true. I do, however, do my best to purchase canned items (when I need them) that are BPA free. (I also never purchase conventional tuna – ever – I will only eat pole/line caught.) We can’t be perfect 100% of the time and a little bit of canned foods with BPA won’t kill you, however, I avoid them as often as I can. If I am going on a vacation/trip and need to pack some clean food, sometimes I choose canned pole caught tuna because it’s high in protein, easy to grab and go, and packs well. I don’t eat tuna on a monthly basis so it’s probably OK if it’s not a BPA free can (canned tomatoes are actually the worst because of the acidity-causing the BPA to leach out more!), although I have seen BPA free pole/line caught tuna at Whole Foods (it’s about $1 more than the WF brand of pole caught tuna) and I do buy this brand often. At the end of the day, the choice is yours and it’s your body to put in it what you wish. I am only here to share information and thoughts, and hopefully inspire you to make healthier choices. All the way down to your BPA free canned items and water bottles 🙂

REFERENCES:

  1. http://www.rodalesorganiclife.com/food/healthy-fish
  2. http://www.greenpeace.org/australia/en/news/oceans/Top-6-reasons-to-choose-pole-and-line-tuna/
  3. http://www.webmd.com/children/environmental-exposure-head2toe/bpa?page=2

High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT): Why it’s superior

Steady state cardio is not only super boring and time-consuming, but also not nearly as beneficial (or efficient) as high intensity interval training. So what is high intensity interval training, or HIIT? Surely you’ve heard of it – or can guess by the name itself. This type of exercise ranges in length from as little as 10 minutes to as long as 30 minutes – and you are basically alternating between periods of very intense, breathless exercise, with recovery periods. Now, to each his own and if you are 100% happy with your body and love your steady state cardio then by all means, have at it. I, however, prefer the adrenaline rush I get from HIGH INTENSITY interval training (and lifting heavy weight) – so that is what I stick to in my regimen and that’s what works for me.

The types of HIIT you can do are endless! I love this type of workout because you get your heart rate elevated, get super sweaty, and then have a moment to breathe and recover, only to repeat the process! You will burn fat, improve your glucose metabolism and condition your heart better than any kind of steady state cardio. HIIT is also a lot more fun and exciting than steady state cardio. I never do steady state/conventional cardio. I keep my weight-lifting sessions fast-paced and heavy, so with limited rest these workouts double as cardio as well as resistance training. I also incorporate HIIT specific workouts ~3x per week – where I create a circuit for myself including rowing or running, plyometric exercises and weightlifting exercises (power cleans, clean and press, front squats, goblet squats, etc.).

If you are completely new to working out, I do recommend you start slow and work your way up to more HIIT sessions. Once prepared, HIIT is the best way to torch fat, speed up your metabolism, and allow you to eat more throughout the day since you’re burning more calories throughout the day. If you’ve been exercising now for a while, it’s time to ramp up the intensity and start to really push yourself – that is, if you want to improve your fitness levels and get a leaner body.

So why is HIIT better at burning fat than steady state? High intensity exercise increases your mitochondrial capacity – which increases your fat loss/fat burning capacity throughout the day as opposed to steady state – which only burns calories at that specific moment. Also, the body is very adaptive. And if you are only doing steady state cardio, over time you will have to continue to do more and more in order to continue to burn fat and/or lose weight. Essentially, when it comes to cardio, research shows that intensity matters more – not duration. Another benefit of HIIT is that it’s better at preserving lean muscle mass than steady state. We lose muscle mass as we age, so, I do everything that I can now to prevent this! Which includes HIIT and weightlifting. Excessive steady-state cardio actually reduces testosterone levels in men.

I am not here to tell you to stop all low intensity cardio and only do HIIT.  This is just what works for me and what I prefer. I am able to eat like a horse and still be tiny, thanks to high intensity exercise and heavy weightlifting. (Hello, who wouldn’t love that!?) So unless you are a distance runner or someone who loves to bike long, long miles, I suggest you incorporate HIIT as opposed to solely steady-state cardio.

For ideas on how to create HIIT workouts, check out my blog here and mix and match some of those exercises to create your own circuit for 15, 20, or even 30 mins. You can also include a circuit at the end of a weight training session, e.g., a 10 minute circuit! As usual, any questions at all please don’t hesitate to ask me!

 

References: