mobility

Your Hamstrings are Tighter Than You Think

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A Prayer for Yom KippurI am not super religious but take this day (Yom Kippur) to take stock of things and see where I can improve, and think about situations where I could have been kinder, could have helped more, could have been more understanding.  Yom Kippur means “Day of Atonement,” and it’s a day set aside to “afflict the soul,” to atone for the sins of the past year.  Some Jews fast and/or refrain from using technology.  So, as a way to atone for my sins, I hit up an afternoon class at Solidcore.  I struggle through each minute of the class and am generally uncomfortable, so I thought it wasn’t an inappropriate way to acknowledge Yom Kippur.

One of the moves we do during the class hammers the hamstrings. Not many people realize that tight hamstrings cause a lot of people’s lower back issues. And I have super tight hamstrings, so every time we do something that focuses on them – my back starts to feel uncomfortable. You know how to prevent that though? Specific stretching for the hamstrings!

Here are some great hamstring strengthening exercise resources:

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New Year: Time for a Healthy Reset

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12434686_10153377842913741_300310168_nWe decided to adopt a puppy. We have been thinking about it for a while – and the kids are at an age where they can help at least a little with him. So, without further ado – Meet StormTrooper aka Trooper. He’s a 5 month old White German Shepherd and full of energy. He calms down nicely though and seems to be scared of everything around him which is a bit of a bummer. I am hoping it’s the new surroundings and he needs time to warm up.  Almost everyone that has seen him, has shared that German Shepherds were their favorite dog growing up, and they make good family dogs. I’m going to enroll him in training in January which should help. He’s super smart and already sits and fetches – and we are training him to sit and wait at feeding time.  We figured with the kids out of school for a few weeks, it would be a good time to get used to him being a part of the family. It will be interesting to see how he’s going to be next week when we all go back to our regularly scheduled routine and he will be alone for a block of time during the day.

Trooper - 5 months

Post Holiday Reset

Let’s talk about the holidays shall we? I have been out of control eating. I consciously know that I shouldn’t be shoving 80 bazillion cookies in my body, but it doesn’t seem to matter. The past few days I have been getting back on track though – becoming more mindful of what I am choosing and my plan is to start eating according to the Whole 30 approach in January.

The Whole30 program is a good option for those looking for a way to do a healthy reset or discover what food sensitivities you may have. For those interested in learning more about it, here are some great Whole30-related resources, compliments of Melissa Joulwan, author of the Well Fed book series, including 4 weeks of food plans, no recipe required meal ideas, motivational tips, and more.

One of the great things about doing the 30 day program is you can break your sugar habit if you follow the program religiously. It’s not easy, but craving sugar is one of the biggest issues for most people. Once you break that, which makes the first 10 or so days of this program the most challenging, you will begin to feel completely amazing. Your skin, your hair will look healthier. You will sleep better, wake up feeling better. Food will taste better. The list of benefits goes on and on.

Mobility

In the coming year, I am going to spend more time working on my flexibility and mobility. I can feel the tightness in my shoulders and neck and have been having issues with my lower back. Nothing serious but I am smart enough to know it’s only takes an off balance move or a quick jerk and I could be feeling more than tightness. I started rolling out my shoulders and back with a Lacrosse ball after my boxing sessions. I have been introducing some friends to the painful joy of myofascial release after my sessions to. It’s amazing to me how many people don’t realize how important and effective it can be. I know many people use a foam roller, but I have found that using a Lacrosse Ball gives you a deeper roll out which is what my tired, tight muscles need.

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Solidcore: Pilates on Steroids

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I know I’ve been a bit behind in posting new updates for everyone. Real in person life has gotten busy – which is not necessarily a bad thing!

The next few posts will give you an idea of what I have been up to…

SolidCore in Ballston Saturday and Sunday, I did two a day workouts. Not because of any larger reason. I was given opportunities to step outside my comfort zone and try some new workouts.

Saturday

After my early boxing session, I tried [Solidcore] in Ballston.

What is it you ask?  Someone online described it as “Pilates on Steroids”. Ive never done Pilates, but I can tell you it was the kind of workout where I literally hated it while doing it but when it was over – i felt great and wanted to do it again to challenge myself to get the hang of it. You use a megaformer machine for the 50 minute class. It’s all slow, controlled movements focusing on core muscles. The classes are kept small so the instructor can give everyone the attention needed.  Depending on the movement, you would do a 4-6 count to ensure you are really working the muscle. Have you ever tried to go down in an lunge slowly to a 4-6 count on one of these machines? Talk about using core strength!

Megaformer at SolidcoreI’m in pretty good shape, and this was probably one of the hardest workouts I have done. I wanted to stop ten minutes into it. If you aren’t already in shape – this may not be the workout for you. They suggest that if you cant hold a solid plank for 1 minute or more, it will be too challenging.  I do not disagree with their suggestion. Almost from the start, I was sweating buckets even with no cardio and my muscles were twitching and I was shaking. As much as I didn’t like it – I loved it and that feeling. It meant that I was really challenging my body. Call me a glutton for punishment!

After SolidcoreMy friend, Mastaneh, who set up the class for us and who I was mad at the entire time (Just kidding!), felt the same way afterwards — we left with a love/hate feeling. A few days later, I am still feeling the burn. Not the “oh my gosh, i can’t sit down” type but the “that really works” type of soreness.

I would definitely go again if there were one closer to where I live. For now, It may have reignited my motivation to do yoga again and try a Pilates class.

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[Solidcore] Create the Strongest Version of Yourself

Shoulder Impingement Syndrome

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Haircut SelfieGetting your haircut is a great way to boost your mood – and today I did just that.  I also needed to get it done before I head out to San Fran to spend time with my brothers’ families and unwind. So much has happened since the last trip I have taken — it will be good to reset again.

I took a rest day today mainly because my shoulder is still bothering me. Yesterday’s yoga class was focused on shoulder strength and it seemed to aggravate whatever is going on. I was woken up around 330A with radiating shoulder pain on both sides. I got up and drank a big glass of water with Natural Calm added thinking it may be dehydration/low magnesium but I still couldn’t go back to sleep until around 5A – so I decided it was best to sleep in and really rest my shoulders today.

I will head to yoga tomorrow morning since what I am thinking is happening are shoulder impingement issues. “Shoulder impingement syndrome is a common cause of shoulder pain. It occurs when there is impingement of tendons or bursa in the shoulder from bones of the shoulder.  Overhead activity of the shoulder, especially repeated activity, is a risk factor for shoulder impingement syndrome. “

Shoulder ImpingementI am hoping that the combo of yoga and specific mobility exercises will help improve my overall flexibility because at this point I am having issues lifting my arms over head.  I may go and see a doctor as well when I get back from my SF trip –just to make sure that it is indeed what I think it is. The internet is a blessing and curse when it comes to looking up symptoms and making an inexperienced diagnosis. At least that’s the lecture my pal Wil gave me today…

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Giving Back To The Community

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flag footballI had one heck of a Yoga headache after yesterday’s class, so I looked it up and it’s a common malady after a hot yoga class when you are a beginner. I made sure to drink a lot of water afterwards but couldn’t seem to break it.  After a few sessions, it seems to not happen anymore so let’s hope that’s the case with me.  The yoga is working – my workout on Weds and today felt better. My body wasn’t as stiff and sore and I am starting to feel renewed once again! We also had a nice surprise this morning: we got to run outside. We have been cooped up for way too long this winter, so even though I am not a fan of running, it was nice to feel the cool breeze as I did the best I could.

Scotty and I are coaching Nate’s flag football team this season. I don’t know a ton about football but I know how to motivate kids (at least I think i do!). Last night was our first practice and although most of the kids are brand new to the sport, they are a good group of boys that really want to learn. There is something about being outside and spending time mentoring/coaching kids in the community that really makes you feel like you are making a difference. I am sure that the kids in  this league aren’t the average kid in America, since they live in one of the richest counties.  It’s our way of giving back and hopefully making an impact in their lives. Hopefully we can win some games too!

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In the Quiet Spaces Your Inner Light Shines

Kindness Matters

Honey Maid: Love We made a commercial about what makes families, family. And we received a lot of comments. See what we did with them.

Workout

Warmup
Bench @ 105#
WOD
3RFT

  • 400m run
  • 21 KB Swings
  • 12 Pull Ups (I did ring rows)

What A Crazy, Busy Wonderful Weekend We Had

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What a crazy, busy wonderful weekend I had. Friday evening, I met up with some of the awesome people from Highbar CrossFit for a social happy hour/dinner. It’s always fun to be able to talk and hang out outside of the gym because if our coaches had our way, we would always be laser focused on the workout. And I know, I know – it’s important but I also like chatting away.

Coach Takano Weightlifting Scott and I didn’t stay out too late because I had to get up early and go to the Bob Takano Weightlifting Clinic at Highbar. Bob Takano is a hall of fame lifting coach who has coached some really impressive athletes. He’s the kind of coach that based on his experience, he can just look at you and know instantly where your faults lie and how to advise to fix. Whether you can fix it or not, well that’s another issue. He’s also the kind of guy that is very blunt in his approach – doesn’t really sugar coat his message, so I am glad I have a thick skin in general. One of the points he talked through was the idea of an athlete and a more recreational athlete, who is just looking to get fit. That’s been the topic of debate in the CrossFit circles for a while. I got the impression that Coach Takano could give a crap about all of that controversy. He loves what he does and if there are new communities who want to learn more about weightlifting, he will be happy to oblige.

I learned quite about technique and I realized how long it has been since I have done any Oly Lifting. My form was totally off and some of my general faults prevent me from making some progress. For example, my posture sucks. I have Kyphosis – which is a curving of the spine that causes a bowing or rounding of the back, which leads to a hunchback or slouching posture. I have mentioned my posture issues before and they have been around since before kindergarten. I look at old pics and wish that someone had insisted I sit up properly! Just look at my Kindergarten school pic below. I know I was cute and had flair, but man, my shoulders were all hunched in even then. SIT UP STRAIGHT YOUNGER STEPHANIE!!!

Kindergarten School Pic

What do I need to do to address my back issue? Coach Takano told me to focus on doing a lot of Overhead Squats. So, I am going to start doing that and add in some mobility work to help combat any more effects that may arise down the line. It also looks horrible –when I see pics that I have not posed for, I look schlumpy and fat. And if I can do something to prevent me from looking frumpy, I am going to do it!  A quick Google search produced a bunch of results on how to heal the hunchback. Here are a few from some sites that I respect:

Scope it out 5K groupThere is always some work to do and I love it!  And I was super tired and sore from 6 hours of weightlifting and slept super well Saturday night.

Scope it Out 5K

A good night’s sleep was seriously welcome because I had to get up early and head into DC to run the Annual Scope it Out 5K for Colon Cancer Awareness! This is the 4th year I have run it and we always have a ton of fun. We run the race and then head out to eat brunch and partake in bloody marys and/or mimosas. Hannah Bea ran it again this year too – and I was so proud of her for finishing it along with her daddy! Five years cancer free is a serious reason to celebrate!

Scope it out 5K Finish Line

Here’s a link to the complete photo gallery: 2014 Scope it Out 5K. I finished in the top 25% which was suprising since I have been strugging with my running lately. It wasn’t an impressive performance – doing a 10 minute mile, but I finished alongside my pal Lani and didn’t have an asthma attack, so it was a win in my book! 

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Every Day We Should Read One Good Poem...

Workout

Rest Day!

Did You know? Certain Foods Create Mucus

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Although losing an hour in the spring is tough, I feel more energized and in the mood to organize. I have committed to going through closets in the next month and getting them situated. Let’s hope this energy is a sign that my winter blues are drifting away.

I am still having asthma fits during my workouts and it’s frustrating the heck out of me! Imagine being fit and having your lungs seize up every time you do something cardio based — so much that you have coughing fits and you can’t catch your breath but yet still have more to do. We did shuttle runs today and sure enough I was frustrated –I did complete them but it’s really frustrating to know I am working out as hard as I can but am still limited.

I did pretty well refocusing my nutrition yesterday and feel better already. I feel sorry for people who don’t realize how food affects them and just think it’s environmental allergies. A friend of mine told me yesterday that his wife has always had a runny nose and gave up dairy and guess what? No more runny nose! And funny timing to tell me that because I ran across this post from Holistic Dad:

Constant runny nose and sinus infection sufferers should find relief reducing these foods to elimination while adding more of the raw, nutrient packed foods that cut inflammation and mucus. 

And it included this graphic: If you are constantly stuffy or congested, try eliminating the foods listed below that create mucus for 7-12 days and I bet you will notice a marked improvement. Although I do realize that the foods on the “no” list are the foods that are ‘yummy’. Ice cream is one of my all time favorite things in the world — As my daughter says “I wish the bad foods were good for us, and the good foods were bad for us”, but that ain’t so…

Mucus Causing foods

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There is something really special about this short video that brought 20 people in and paired them up and asked that they kiss each other. Watch it and try not to smile…

First Kiss

Laugh

Workout

  • Mobility
  • Ring Rows – My hands hurt with my calluses so I opted to do ring rows instead of pull ups.
  • Push ups
  • Shuttle Runs
  • Rowing

Time to Feel Good Again

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It’s odd to say but Daylight Savings Time doesn’t really bother me. I woke up this morning in a pretty good mood and am not super tired. I wonder if that will last though…. hmmmm? I love getting an extra hour of sunlight to help lighten my mood. Let’s just hope that the whispers of snow aren’t true for this week. I have seriously HAD it with WINTER.

I am going to be super blunt here. I have totally fallen off the wagon with my eating and every time I snack or eat something that I know I shouldn’t, I feel bad about myself. Not bad enough to stop mind you. Over the weekend, I started being really honest with myself. I don’t feel good. Mentally and physically. And my hand eczema has returned with the re-introduction of eating too much dairy. My hands are an itchy, dry mess and they burn. I am also tired, my joints ache and when I see pics of myself, I think I look puffy. I have gained 10 pounds if not more since  being laid off from my job too. I am not happy with all of that. What’s interesting is I am not alone – I have talked with and read about others feeling the same way. Maybe it’s partly because of the long winter we have had and it’s also because it’s way too easy to fall into old habits…

Be Happy AgainMy friend Leah said it best:

I’ve learned it’s very easy to neglect your diet, and slip back into old habits. The more you pay attention to what you eat, the easier it is the feel good. I’ve really noticed how bad I feel lately and I know it’s all what I am eating. Time to feel good again!

A huge part of feeling good again is being around great people. This weekend, I went to my dear friend Liz’s baby shower. What a great friend she is to me – and I am so happy for her, her hubby and her daughter. I can’t wait to meet the newest member of her family in May!  It was also a great opportunity to be with some of the amazing ladies in my life who inspire me and make me feel loved – Caitlin and Lani.

Liz   Cait and Lani

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Get Closer to Your Goals

Kindness Matters

3-Year-Old Girl (and Her Disney Princess Dolly) Donate Hair to Help Children With Cancer

Workout

I am really struggling with my workouts and in my heart of hearts, i know it’s diet/nutrition related. I am going to get on the ball and straighten this shit out…

  • Mobility
  • Pull Up Test
  • Push Ups
  • 1P Cleans
  • Full Cleans

WOD
EMOTM 10 mins

  • HSC
  • Pull Ups
  • even min: Wall sits
  • odd min: Planks

Look your Best, Embrace the Experiences

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I was thinking about the Oscars and the mundane questions that celebs get asked at events like that.  I read that there was a push to ask more insightful, less looks focused questions called Ask Her More.  It was funny to hear Kevin Spacey get asked questions usually reserved for the lady celebs. He was so out of his element. I get that many women out there get excited to learn about the fashion and the styles that are worn, but in recent years, it seems to have gotten out of control. Women are being treated as if they are no longer people, just models and mannequins. I appreciate a good couture look myself – however I also realize the work and illusion that goes into it. Do young girls realize it though?

Kim KardashianThen it got me thinking about someone like Kim Kardashian. She is known and ‘famous’ because of the way she looks. It’s all tied to her beauty – what happens when that youthful beauty starts to fade? Does her entire self worth go down the drain? It’s kind of sad if you think about it – every outfit she wears, every pound she gains, every mistake she makes – gets documented good and/or bad. I don’t envy someone so tied up into their physical attributes.  Does anyone know if she actually makes any sort of valuable contribution to society? I am not saying she doesn’t, but no one sure as hell talks about that. Sure, she makes a ton of money from looking the way she does, but is it worth it? There are a ton of studies out there that prove money doesn’t buy happiness. Can you imagine the constant pressure she feels to look a certain way all the time? And how hard it is to constantly be the target for cruel jokes and criticism?

I bet she will be the type of celeb that constantly tries to keep her youthful appearance by trying the latest cosmetic procedure, and end up looking like she’s trying to hard. Embrace aging — a little help is one thing but so many of these aging stars just don’t know when to quit. Anyone notice Kim Novak at the Oscars? Oy vey….

Personally, I don’t have the time nor the desire to look like a beauty queen 24/7. There is so much more to life — look your best, embrace the experiences.

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Kindness Matters

Ohio boy turns found fortune into act of kindness

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Surround yourself with people that reflect who you want to be

Workout

Pushups/Pull Ups
Mobility Work
100m shuttle run for time
10m AMRAP
Wall Balls
Bear Crawls

 

Aging and the Distortion of Beauty

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I have had a rough morning and it’s not even 8A! We did some new super sets yesterday morning and my shoulders and deltoids are not appreciating it very much this morning. Then when I got into the gym, I noticed a strong odor of polyurethane which for any asthmatic, is not really welcome and it caused me a lot of issues with the endurance stuff we had to do. So many issues, that I had to stop a lot during my workout which pissed me off. I was hacking up a lung and had to run outside to clear my lungs.

no makeup dayI want to talk once again about how the media distorts our perception of what aging and beauty really looks like. If you watched the Golden Globes and saw Diane Keaton up on the stage – well I think she looked awesome. She isn’t the youngest woman but she looks age appropriate and I thought, beautiful. She is a spokeswoman for l’Oreal, which is awesome. However, they are not showing her how she really is, which is a shame. I get the lighting and makeup effects and am all for it – however, the digital airbrushing goes way too far.

“Diane Keaton at the Golden Globes compared to Diane Keaton in the L’Oreal commercial that aired during the Golden Globes.”

Yesterday, the Today show folks went without makeup and asked others to do the same to prove that we are all normal, regular people underneath all that gook. Here I am this AM, after my workout – no makeup. Who the heck has time to get all dolled up before a 6A exercise sesh? Not this girl…

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Do what you can with what you have.

Workout

Pull ups/Push Ups
Agility Drills (Dot drills, shuttle run)

WOD

  • Slam Balls
  • Lunge Walks
  • Broad Jumps
  • Shuttle Runs
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