The Benefits of Foam Rolling

First off, what is foam rolling?  It is a therapeutic tool that can be used for promoting and maintaining optimal physical

Foam Roller

health.  Using your own body weight and agility, you roll specific muscle groups against a firm foam roller to mimic a deep gliding massage.   It is definitely a bit odd as you first try it and it may be uncomfortable, but it will make your muscles release tensions and recover quicker for the next workout.

With a foam roller, you can control how much pressure you apply to the tissues that you’re working on, and you can locate and focus on areas that are problematic.  Foam rolling is the perfect complement to massage and other therapies.  The beauty of a foam roller is you can use it anywhere, you can experience terrific health gains in a relatively short time.

Want to know the benefits?

  • Improved blood circulation throughout your skin, fascia, muscles, and even tendons and ligaments where you can access them with a foam roller.
  • Lengthening of short (tight) muscles, tendons, and ligaments.   Some muscles (like hip flexors) and ligaments (iliotibial band) are prone to shortening, and are difficult to effectively stretch and apply therapeutic pressure by using standard massage and trigger point therapy techniques. But with a foam roller, you can apply deep pressure massage to such areas and lengthen shortened tissues, thereby preventing physical imbalances that can predispose you to injury.
  • Promotion of optimal spinal range of motion. You can accomplish this by slowly rolling your spine against a foam roller and pausing whenever you feel restrictions to allow your joints and surrounding tissues to stretch.

Foam rolling can be done daily before and after workouts.  It will help your body recover quicker and help retain your flexiblity.  Give it a try!  It will help!  Watch the video I’ve attached to learn how to roll properly.

Here is a short video on how to foam roll:

Group Exercise, Give it a Try!

group exWhen I attended the National Personal Training Institute, I never thought I would one day teach group exercise.  I believed I would be a personal trainer in a gym leading people one on one to achieve their fitness goals.  Well, one never knows where their road may lead and I now also teach group exercise along with my personal training business.

My outlook is the same for group exercise as it is with personal training.  People come to class to reach their fitness goals and for whatever reason prefer that setting, could be cost, could be they prefer a group, could be less intimidating.   I try to teach with lively music, relatively easy movements with levels of difficulty for everyone in the class.   I have had extremely fit people in my class and seniors with knee replacements, it is all in adapting to your class.  Know your class, relate to your class… they will become fans!  I also do my best to educate my classes…why we do certain movements, what muscles are engaged, why we incorporate cardio, and anything else they might ask.  I am a teacher, not just someone who leads the exercise.   I ask all my students to learn, educate, and even if they never come back to me….pay it forward with the fitness education.  Everyone deserves a Beautiful Life, so why not encourage others to “Be Fit and Alive”!

I currently teach adult fitness classes at Bond Community Center Park:

Cardio-Combo (30 minutes of cardio, a balance track, then strength and conditioning followed lastly by a stretch track)

Offered Mon/Wed at Noon and Tue/Thur at 6pm

Total Body Conditioning (kick boxing, strength and conditioning, cardio, plyometrics) for a full body workout

Offered Tue/Thur at Noon and Tue/Thur at 7:15pm

All classes set to MUSIC!!!!  It’s fun and full of energy.  Give it a try… You can do so by acquiring a one-time fitness pass for $5.  If you are hooked, you can register for next session or buy a fitness pass in bulk.

Do something different, give Yoga a try…

I love group exercise classes.  I especially love the high intensity ones like spinning, kickboxing, or step classes.  I feel like I get a great cardio workout…I burn fat, right?  My trainer suggested trying a Yoga class.  Yoga?  Are you kidding?  Isn’t that for old people?  For those who can’t do the high intensity stuff?  It looks SO slow, I don’t think I’ll like it…

She did her best to explain the benefits and I agreed to give it a try.  I walked into a class and removed my shoes and socks.  I stood around looking at others wondering what to do.    The class began and we started doing Sun Salutations and some Warrior poses… I think they were called.  Hey, this is not easy?  Oh my, how long do I have to hold these poses?  After about 50 minutes, I did some stretching poses that were quite difficult.  At the end, we laid down on our mats, closed our eyes, and cleared our thoughts for the final 5 minutes.   After class was over, I did have to admit I felt refreshed.  Maybe, I needed to slow down more and hold my stretches more.  I went home and actually researched the benefits of Yoga.

What I found:  The series of yoga poses called asanas work by safely stretching your muscles. This releases the lactic acid that builds up with muscle use and causes stiffness, tension, pain, and fatigue. In addition, yoga increases the range of motion in joints. It may also increase lubrication in the joints. The outcome is a sense of ease and fluidity throughout your body.

Yoga stretches not only your muscles but all of the soft tissues of your body. That includes ligaments, tendons, and the fascia sheath that surrounds your muscles.

No wonder I felt good!  I have incorporated Yoga into my repertoire of high intensity workouts and group exercises.  It allows me to get the stretches I need SO desperately and find an “inner peace” that I didn’t think really existed.  Yoga is worth a try.  You may just fall in love with it, as I have….

Why choose a nutritionist?

Why should you choose a nutritionist, you ask?  Well, almost 5 years ago when I decided to make a lifestyle change I realized I probably didn’t have the best eating habits.  If I was REALLY going to change my lifestyle and not just words, I thought I needed a personal trainer for the right exercise regimen and a nutritionist to make sure I was eating properly.  I had tried both sides of the coin before, a diet with no exercise and exercise with no nutritional eating plan.  Well, suffice to say, neither worked very well.  I was going to make a lifestyle change and needed ACCOUNTABILITY.

The day that I found my new gym, I asked if they had nutritionists on staff.  Lo and behold, they had a nutritionist that contracted to the gym.  Woo-hoo!  I was in luck.  I met with her and we settled on a package that worked for me, an initial consult and 4 weeks of reviewing food plans.    I have to admit I was very nervous; however, she was SO gracious and helpful…making me feel comfortable about talking about my eating habits.  She didn’t judge me…”Ew…you eat what?”   She educated me on the right balance of foods and the myths out there.  You need to eat carbs, fats, and proteins in the right quantities she said.  Geez, I thought fats and carbs were bad for you.  She explained there are better choices for each macronutrient then maybe I was making.  After our first session, she asked me to keep a food journal of everything I put into my mouth.  Oh my, would I have the dedication to do so…or would I be afraid to admit what I’m eating?

I went home and set up a food journal in Excel for the next morning.  I began logging everything I put into my body, even a piece of gum I chewed.  She had said everything!  What did I find when I started my logging?  I realized some of my unhealthy choices…chips, sodas, bagels… I was hiding.  I didn’t want anyone to see I was eating unhealthy snacks.  I would eat them on the way to work and the way home and make sure the wrappers were thrown away.  I didn’t want any evidence.  I was ashamed of what I had been doing and wondered how long have I been doing this?   That evening, I took ownership of what I had been doing and was bound to learn how to eat right.  No more hiding, no more being ashamed.

I continued to see my nutritionist once a week with my food journal and we’d count the calories and make sure the balances were right.  Some weeks, not enough protein, other weeks not enough carbs…etc…  Finally, the last week I got it right.  I was eating a balanced diet.  I hugged her and thanked her, she was a saving grace for me.  I learned I could eat nutritously on my own.  When the diet and proper exercise came together, the weight began to shed.  Success was happening.  And, oh did I start to feel GREAT!!!!

So why choose a nutritionist?  Accountability, education, better choices, balance, and the help to make you feel you are capable of making the right choices.  The world of food can be difficult, lots of conflicting stories on foods good for you.  We also all know of all the temptations.   For me, choosing to hire a nutritionist was very valuable to my fitness success.  I hope if you are looking to be a fit individual you will consider a nutritionist.

A personal trainer? A gym? A lifestyle change?

Just One of the thousands of bouldersIt all began in Joshua Tree National Park, July 2006.  What happened do you ask?  Well, I had been an obese adult for the past 15 years.  I worked in an environment where I sat at a desk all day; however, I had always been somewhat active.  I played on a tennis league, went skiing every year, and loved to hike.  I wanted to hike the boulders at Joshua tree, so a friend and I drove to the park.  Yes, granted it was 115 degress…I began to climb the boulders.  I could NOT get up that boulder.  I struggled, pushed, and tried to use my body as leverage to pull myself up.  I couldn’t lift myself up that boulder.  I was very upset, I’ve always been able to climb even being heavy.  I was determined, but finally settled on a smaller boulder which I could get up.  My friend took pictures of me and I climbed down and we drove on to experience the beauty of the park.

Back at the hotel, my body was in a lot of pain.  I could barely move, my muscles were extremely sore.  Later that evening, we had a social event to go to…and I am a social butterfly…normally.  This evening,  I told my friend, I’ll meet you there.  I never went…I stayed in the room secluded and cried.  I didn’t want to be with anyone…just alone.

The next day I flew home…I just wasn’t myself.  I didn’t want to go to work…I just wanted to hide.  I couldn’t figure out what was wrong with me, I’m usually SO bubbly.   Over the next week, friends called me to go out, I turned them all down.  I sat in my house alone and depressed as I mulled over what could be wrong with me.   As I was brushing my teeth, I attempted to look in the mirror…”Yikes!”…I was scared what I saw.  All I could see was a blob and realized I needed to make a change.

The next few days, I explored gyms…I had requirements.  I wanted a gym that I could feel comfortable in, not on display.  I wanted a gym that had personal trainers that could relate to me.  I knew I didn’t have the dedication to stay to a workout regimen.  Finally, I needed a gym close by to my home.  I didn’t want distance detering me from going to the gym.  I finally found the perfect gym for me!  I walked in and it felt right….I found my personal trainer and my life was never the same.