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What is Self-Myofacial Release (SMR)

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Why is SMR So Important?

SMR is important for helping you remain flexible and injury free.  Utilizing a foam roll for self-myofascial release techniques can improve body composition, flexibility, function, performance, and reduce injuries. Use your own body weight to roll on the round foam roll, massaging away knots/adhesions that occur from exercise and activities of daily living (ADL).

SMR massage is an interactive soft tissue release technique. Once you find a tender spot, you’ll want to remain on the spot for approximately 30 seconds to 1 minute (or as long as you can take it).  Some spots may be very tender. Those are the spots that need the most work.  Be sure to keep your belly button pulled in back towards your spine and breathe naturally.

The main purpose for use includes:

  •  Joint stiffness
  •  Muscle tightness
  •  Identified tenderness (indicating poor circulation)

You can also use this technique for a warm-up before exercise and a cool-down after exercise, first thing in the morning as well as prior to going to bed.

Other tools you may use include tennis balls, softballs, golf balls, frozen water bottle, thumb pressure, Theracane or pressure knobs.

Do not perform under the following conditions:

  •  Feelings of nausea
  •  Dizziness
  •  Pain (more than tenderness)
  •  Acute rheumatoid arthritis
  •  Painful varicose veins
  • If you have osteoporosis or osteopenia

When choosing a foam roll, make sure the foam roll is hard and dense. If the foam is too soft, less than adequate tissue massage is applied. On the other hand, if the foam is too hard, bruising and more advanced soft-tissue trauma may occur.  In the video below (Exercise of The Week), I discuss a couple of different types of foam rolls and demonstrate some of the positions for SMR.

Nopalea Test

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As many of you may remember, I was giving Nopalea a try to see if it would help with my inflammation.  One bottle is supposed to last an entire month, but when you first start drinking it, you are supposed to drink 3 to 6 oz per day instead of the normal 1 oz per day for maintenance.  The bottle lasted a couple of weeks.

I have to say, its very delicious!  Who knew a cactus flower could taste so good.  Ok, so its sweetened with various other fruits, but it is definitely tasty and from what I can tell by the ingredients, its a healthy beverage.  Does it work?  I’m not sure.  You are supposed to drink it for 60 days before making a decision on whether it works or not.

Personally, I’m gaining benefits and relief from the chiropractor, massages, foam rolling and workouts that I am doing.  I don’t know that I want to spend $40 per month on a beverage that may or may not work.  However, it does come with a money back guarantee.  Not to mention it makes Tropical Strawberry Shakeology taste even better than it already does, and doesn’t add very many calories at all.

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30-Day, 60-Day, 90-Day Workout Programs

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I was just thinking this morning about all the workout DVD’s available today including the ones that I recommend.  So many of them are geared for a certain duration whether its 30 days, 60 days or 90 days.  They come with nutrition plans to match the workout.  At least Beachbody has its programs set up to include healthy nutrition plans.  You can even sign up to be a club member and utilize the meal plan wizard to design your meal plan for you.  Its a great tool for people who want the assistance, but cannot afford a nutritionist and/or personal trainer.

The one thing that really has me concerned about these programs that are set up for a specific number of days is, the misconception that all it takes is the duration of the workout program.  Take P90X for instance.  P90X is a 90-Day program and comes with a great meal plan.  If you are fit enough to use this program, and you follow the program the way it is designed, you can be in good shape or great shape in that 90 days.  What then?  What comes after those 90 days?

You absolutely MUST NOT go back to what you were doing prior to the 90-day program or you will end up right back where you started.  Do you then have to continually purchase new workout programs?  Maybe yes, maybe no.  After the 90-days or whatever the duration of the program you were using is over, you can mix and match the workouts that you want to do.  But what if you get bored with the DVD?  You can always purchase another program if that is the way you prefer to workout.

I’m not here trying to make it sound like working out to DVDs is a bad thing.  On the contrary, there are a lot of good programs out there, especially the ones from Beachbody.  Just be sure you choose the program that is suited for your fitness level.  If you are new to working out, you wouldn’t want to start with Insanity.  The emphasis I would like to place here today is the need to make lifestyle changes and continue on with your workouts and healthy nutrition well after your program ends.

I like to teach my clients how to workout properly so that after he or she reaches his or her goal, he or she can continue on his or her own.  However, in many cases, I have clients who continually move onto a new goal once they have reached the current goal.  They like to train with me because they know I will design the program best suited for their program, and will develop a nutrition plan unique to each person.  Its all a matter of preference.  But it MUST BE a lifestyle change/lifetime commitment to health and fitness, not just a 30-day, 60-day or 90-day temporary commitment.

What is your workout preference?

Taking Your Healthy Lifestyle On The Road

Do you have to travel for work frequently?  Do you travel with co-workers and feel like you have to eat your meals together?  Do you find it difficult to stick with your healthy eating when traveling with co-workers?  If you answered, “yes” to any or all of these questions, you are not alone.

Its amazing how often I’m told, “I have to travel a lot for work, and I have no choice when it comes to where we go eat.”  I too had to travel from time to time for business, and understand the limitations. However, even the worst of restaurants have “some” good choices.

One of the first things I recommend is to always have convenient, healthy snacks with you. Snack prior to going out with the group in order to control your appetite. If the group orders appetizers, you don’t have to skip them, but you also don’t want to follow it with a large meal.  Order a side of vegetables and maybe a baked potato or sweet potato as your main meal.  Don’t fall into the salad trap.  Salads can end up being just as many calories as a steak dinner.

Whenever possible, review the menu ahead of time so you know what you are going to order once you get to the restaurant.  This makes it much easier to make a good choice instead of trying to decide when you are already hungry and have the group peer pressure going against you.  Scan the menu for choices that are similar to what you would eat at home.  If you don’t eat a basket of bread at home, skip it at the restaurant too.

Drink lots of water, and when you place your order, ask for a box so that you can pack away half of what is on your plate before you even start eating.  If you don’t have a refrigerator in your room, one of your travel mates might.  And of course, you want to avoid alcohol.  Not only does it pack a lot of calories, but it also numbs the inhibitors that will aid in not overeating.

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