Fearless Fitness Weekly Update 4/4: How Fit Are YOUR feet?

 

Fearless Fitness Tip Of the Week: How Fit Are Your FEET?

The foot has 26 bones, 33 joints, more than 100 ligaments and more than a dozen muscles. Do you give them the same attention as you give your OTHER fit parts?

Most exercisers are working up a sweat for one reason: to keep the body healthy and fit from head to toe. But if you’re fitness focus is constantly above the ankles, your entire body is missing out. The body is a linkage system (remember the KINETIC CHAIN?) and the FEET are the foundation of that system. If the muscles of the feet aren’t working properly to hold the feet and ankles in correct alignment, it’s a good chance that nothing above the feet is properly aligned either. This results in poor body mechanics and puts extra stress on the joints during movement. The feet can support three times your body weight when walking, seven times your body weight when running, and up to ten times your body weight when jumping. That’s a lot of impact on the feet! Over time, a foot misalignment or poor muscle use can result in foot, ankle, knee, hip, sacro-illiac joint, lower-mid-upper back, shoulder, and neck pain. Seventy-five percent of Americans experience foot health problems. Don’t become one of them. Make foot care a regular part of your routine and stride strong every time you hit the ground.

Before you develop a personal foot health care program, it’s important to get to know your feet first. Feet are a good indicator of overall health. How well do you know yours? Pay attention and notice the following:

  • How do you wear out your shoes?
  • Where do you typically carry the weight on your feet?
  • Where do you have calluses if any?
  • What direction do your toes face?
  • Are the bones of your feet are stacked correctly?
  • Do your shoes fit?
  • How old are your shoes?
  • Do you replace them at least every 6 months?
  • What does your footprint look like?
  • How often to your feet ache?
  • How often do you have foot cramps?
  • Do you have any recurring knee, hip, or back pain?
  • Can you move all the joints of your toes like you move your fingers—freely and easily?
  • When you exercise, do you ever do anything specifically for your toes and feet?

Everyone’s feet are unique and building an awareness of how your feet function will help you create personal foot care program. Your feet work hard everyday and sometimes they pay the consequences. The following is a list of common foot problems:

  • Plantar fasciitis (heel pain). Plantar Fasciitis is a painful condition caused by overuse of the plantar fascia or arch tendon of the foot. Plantar fasciitis commonly causes a sharp heel pain that usually occurs with the very first steps in the morning. Once the foot limbers up, the pain of plantar fasciitis normally decreases, but it may return after long periods of standing or after getting up from a seated position. Plantar  fasciitis is particularly common in runners, dancers, and sports that involve jumping. It is also found in people who are overweight, women who are pregnant and those who wear shoes with inadequate support. Treatment involves stretching, strengthening, and resting the feet, calves, and Achilles tendon.
  • Stress Fractures. Stress fractures are tiny cracks in a bone. Stress fractures are caused by the repetitive application of force, or overuse, such as repeatedly jumping or running long distances. Stress fractures are most common in the weight-bearing bones of the lower leg and foot. Track and field, basketball, dance, aerobics, and football athletes are particularly susceptible to stress fractures, but anyone can experience a stress fracture. If you’re starting a new exercise or running program you are at high risk if you do too much too soon. Treatment for stress fractures typically requires rest and time off from activity.
  • Calluses. Calluses are thick, hardened layers of skin that develop when your skin tries to protect itself against friction and pressure. Change footwear to avoid pressure or regularly file calluses down if they start to hurt.
  • Foot Cramps/Tingling/Numbness. Foot cramps can be caused by a weakness and lack of flexibility or mobility in the foot. Improper or poorly fit footwear can also cause foot cramps, tingling, or numbness.
  • Athlete’s Foot. The athlete’s foot fungus thrives in moist, dark places (like your shoes). Take wet socks off immediately after workouts and wear shower shoes in public showers. Always dry your feet thoroughly and see your doctor if you regularly experience itching or burning sensations in your feet.
  • Blisters. Blisters can become painful and affect your ability in all the sports you love. Make sure to wear moisture wicking socks (instead of cotton) and well fitting shoes to prevent blisters. If you do get blisters, cover them with gauze pads instead of bandages.

Fearless Fitness Challenge Of The Week: Give your Feet a WORKOUT!

A well-balanced workout program and proper hygiene can help you avoid the above conditions from derailing you from your fitness routine. But it also helps to make foot and ankle specific stretching and strengthening a regular part of your weekly regimen. I challenge you to take care of you’re toes with the following exercises. Aim for three times a week, before or after your workout.

  • Toe grip (to strengthen the foot muscles to improve balance): Drop a towel on the floor and use your toes to grip and move it towards you on the floor. Hold for 10 seconds, then release. Repeat five times with each foot.
  • Toe extension (to strengthen and support the muscles, which in turn will protect the bones of the feet): Wrap an elastic band around all five toes. Expand your toes and hold for five seconds; release. Repeat five times on each foot.
  • Toe Stretch: Put foam toe separators (easy to find at the drugstore in the nail polish isle) between your toes and squeeze for five seconds. Repeat 10 times.
  • Calf raise (to strengthen the feet and the calves and improve balance): Stand near a counter or a doorway and hold on lightly for balance. Balance on one foot and rise up onto your toes. Hold for 10 seconds, then lower. Repeat 10 times on each foot.
  • Calf stretch (to keep the Achilles tendons and the plantar fascia from getting tight): Sit with one leg stretched out in front of you and wrap a towel around the ball of the foot. Pull the towel back gently until you feel a stretch in the arch of the foot and the calf. Hold for 10 seconds; release. Repeat five times on each leg.
  • Plantar Fascia Stretch: With your knees on the floor, tuck your toes and sit back on your heels. Hold this position for 30-60 seconds multiple times a day.

Here are a few other tips to help your feet feel strong and fabulous:

  • As soon as you’re done with your workout, get out of your athletic shoes and into roomier shoes to accommodate the swelling that’s happened.
  • Soak you’re feet in cool water or an ice bath to bring down the inflammation or swelling from your workout.
  • Give your self a foot massage. Roll the plantar fascia muscle (arch of the foot) with a golf or tennis ball. Or sweet-talk your significant other to give your toes a quick rub.
  • Replace your workout shoes often. Get new trainers at least every six months. Mark the date of purchase on the heel and track your training. Be sure to watch the wear of the shoe, if the outer sole is worn all the way through, it’s time for a new pair.
  • Give you’re toes some fresh air. Take off your shoes to be barefoot whenever you can.
  • Train your balance. To prevent ankle sprains and to improve proprioception, make balance and stability exercises part of your regular routine.

Want happy feet for life? Get to know your feet and follow these simple stretching and strengthening exercises. Take good care of your ankles, arches, and toes. It can be done in a few minutes a day and just might make the difference in keeping your feet pain and injury free. Exercise specific to foot care can go a long way towards improving all aspects of a healthy lifestyle. Start from the ground up – work your feet for a maximum body benefit!

Want help keeping your feet in good shape? My “Muscles On the Mat” Classes at EQUINOX are designed to help you take care of your ankles, arches, and toes. The class involves  footwork, strengthening, and stretching exercises that focus on INJURY PREVENTION and LONGEVITY. Join us every Monday and Wednesday night from 6:50 – 7:30pm in the Main Studio at EQUINOX San Francisco.
My goal is to create a San Francisco fitness community of support and positive encouragement. Please let me know if there is anything I can do to help YOU reach your personal health and wellness goals. Thanks again for everything and Ill see you in class soon!!

Caroline

Fearless Fitness Weekly Update 3/28: Get Your Fitness Facts STRAIGHT!

SERIOUSLY? the SHAKE WEIGHT?! It might be time to get you're fitness facts STRAIGHT!

1.) Caroline Jordan Fitness Schedule and Special Events March 28 – April 2:

Monday 3/28: 5:30pm Competition Core and 6-645pm Chisel’d, 6:50-7:30pm Muscles On The Mat** EQUINOX

Tuesday 3/29: 12:30pm Cycling EQUINOX, 5pm Ball, 5:30pm BOSU, 6 pm Spin Circuit, and 7pm Sports Stretch Club One Citigroup

Wednesday 3/30: 5:30-6:00pm Competition Core, 6-645pm Chisel’d, 6:50-7:30pm Muscles On The Mat, 7:30-7:45pm Sports Stretch EQUINOX

Thursday 3/31: 12:30pm Cycling EQUINOX .

Friday 4/1 : 12pm Abs and 12:30pm Cycling EQUINOX

Saturday 4/2: 10 am Chisel’d and 11am Cycling EQUINOX

Fearless Fitness Tip Of the Week: Get Your Fitness Facts STRAIGHT!

When it comes to fitness, there’s a lot of advice out there that’s easy to write off, “Follow this program for a perfect body in just 7 minutes a day!” But somewhere between the crazy ideas and sound advice, there’s also stuff that sounds pretty believable. And in the multi-billion dollar moneymaking fitness industry people will tell you anything to get some of your money. When there is money to be made you’re guaranteed to find fraud, misinformation, dangerous supplements, false promises, and unsafe exercises. The best way to combat common misconceptions and myths is to educate yourself on the fitness facts.  It’s far less costly to learn the truth than to fall victim to ignorance and waste precious workout time following hazardous health advice.

Having a hard time figuring out the facts? Read below for the truth on some of the prevailing fitness myths that prevent you from getting healthy and feeling your best.

1.) “I want to loose weight… So I only exercise in the Fat Burning Zone”

This myth has been around for ages and has prevented many exercisers from reaching their weight loss goals. “The Fat Burning Zone” lies between 50 and 70 percent of your maximum hear rate. When you exercise at this low intensity, your body draws energy from fat. As your heart rate goes up, more energy (calories) comes from carbohydrates. It might seem “logical” that to loose fat you should keep your heart rate low. But that’s not the case.

Working out at a higher intensity might cause you to burn a lower percentage of calories from fat in favor of calories from carbohydrates. But the truth is, you still burn more total calories working out at a higher intensity. And that is the real key to slimming down. Plus since you use more total calories working at higher intensities, the total amount of fat burned increases too. In the end, it pays off to pick up the pace in your workouts.

2.) “Eating at night causes weight gain”

Religious about not eating after 7pm? Many fitness folks believe that their metabolism slows later in the day, which is when we often overeat nutritionally void foods. But a calorie is a calorie no matter when you eat it. As long as you don’t take in more calories than you burn in the day you won’t gain weight.  Overeating at 9pm is no worse than overeating at 9am. Watch your overall intake instead of the clock and you won’t risk gaining weight eating late.

3.) “Weight Lifting will bulk you up”

Despite all the evidence, people still tend to blow off weight training for cardio the “bigger calorie burner”. Disregard what you may have heard through the grapevine. If you want to loose weight, you need to lift it. Strength training increases your endurance, stamina, and your body’s lean muscle mass. Muscle is more metabolically active then fat. Therefore, increased muscle mass equals more calories burned at work and at rest. Not only that, but muscle is denser than fat. Weight training can help you shave inches off your body and maintain a leaner appearance.

4.) “Toning” workouts are done by lifting lighter weights for many reps and are best for women who are looking to gain definition.

Put the three-pound weights down. You need to lift heavier to see results. According to the American Council on Exercise (ACE), lifting lighter weights (less than 70 percent of your maximum effort) for 12 reps or more is simply going to produce muscular endurance without much muscle growth. Meaning you’ll be able to lift for a higher amount of repetitions but you won’t see much of a physical difference. What looks “toned” is more developed muscles and a low level of body fat. This is better achieved by lifting heavier weights (70-80 percent of maximum effort) for eight to 12 repetitions per set to fatigue or near fatigue. Don’t be fooled by the workouts that wave wimpy weights around all hour long in the promise that you’ll be “lean and long”. “Toning workouts” are one of the worst fitness myths; you’ll find your defined muscles with workouts that challenge your body to build them.

5.) “If you work out an hour a day you can maintain your weight”

Truth is, you can out eat your workouts. Even if you’re training an hour (or more) each day, if you consistently consume more than you burn, you may not lose weight at all and probably add a few pounds to the scale. To manage your weight the key is to keep a neutral energy balance by consuming the calories that you need without consuming extra, which will be stored as fat on the body. A registered dietitian can help make a program to get you at your correct energy balance (or deficit if weight loss is your goal) without sacrificing nutritional needs. Your physique is 80% diet and 20% training. Match your workout efforts with a clean eating plan to make real results happen in the gym.

6.) “You can spot reduce by targeting stubborn trouble spots with specific exercises. Get rid of your belly fat with endless crunches!”

A well-rounded exercise program that consists of training all muscle groups is the only way to a leaner, stronger you. Sorry, but buying the latest abs roller or toning shoes won’t do anything for you. Your “trouble spots” (abs muscles, thighs, triceps… whatever the case may be) can be strengthened, but weight loss comes from the body as a whole and not just the areas that are exercised. The only real way to minimize fat in one specific area is by tightening up your diet and dedicating yourself to a complete total-body program. There are no short cuts to get rid of “trouble spots”. Make sure your fitness regimen includes total body strength, challenging cardio workouts, and flexibility training to look and feel your best. With a little hard work and a well-rounded workout routine you can improve the overall look of your entire body.

7.)The more sweat, the better the workout.

Sweating is synonymous with working out, but it isn’t necessarily a measure of how effective your workout is. Yes, sweating is the body’s way of cooling off (and we can all attest to getting a little overheated during our workouts), but some people just sweat more than others. For the best indicator of workout intensity, measure your heart rate and calories burned during your sweat session.

8.) It’s hard to find time to exercise in my busy schedule. I need at least an hour to really get a workout.

It actually takes very little time and effort to improve your health significantly. And as the old saying goes, “why spend thousands on hospital bills later on in life when you can spend just a little bit of your time each day taking care of your health?” All it takes is a modest 30 minutes a day. If you can’t do anything more, recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say a brisk 30 minute walk a day can help maintain a healthy weight plus may reduce your risk for hypertension, cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome and certain types of cancers. You’ll also benefit from stronger muscles and bones, a reduced chance of injury, improved mood, increased energy, improved mental health, and a longer life.

Fearless Fitness Challenge Of The Week: Educate Yourself!!

Sadly the list of fitness misconceptions and myths is endless. If there’s an exercise question you’re not sure about, this week I challenge you to do your part and educate yourself! Talk to a professional and read up on a wellness topic that confuses you. Shake weights and toning shoes? Find out whats REAL and what will help you reach you’re health goals. Fitness myths shouldn’t hold you back from getting fit. I challenge you to arm yourself with the facts and you’ll live to be your healthiest.

Do you have a fitness or health question you want answered? Send ‘em my way! I love helping you on your way towards your healthiest and happiest self. Write to me at: carichic@pacbell.net . Keep up the great work and I’ll see you for class soon!

LOMBARDI SPORTS event Lineup!! Come spend your weekend with us – GIVE back to a great cause and SWEAT!

 

Spring Into Fitness at Lombardi Sports!

On March 26th and 27th, RAIN or SHINE, we will feature fitness classes taught by professional instructors to satisfy every athlete’s fancy. Every hour, on the hour, beginning at 9am on Saturday and 11am on Sunday, we will be giving away FREE classes to all Lombardi Sports patrons. Just remember if it’s sunny out, the event will take place on the rooftop. If it’s raining, it’ll be indoors on the first floor.
There will also be raffle prizes, free giveaways, and informational presentations from fitness experts of all disciplines. Sponsors include New Balance, Skimble, Polk St. Gym, Purusha Studio, J Bodyworks, GU, Jelly Belly, The Locals Only Card and more! Donations will be accepted for two local non-profits, Not for Sale and Lifting Up Lives. For more information regarding these charities, visit www.notforsalecampaign.org and www.liftinguplives.org.
Spaces are limited, so RSVP or if you have any questions, email Events@LombardiSports.com. We can’t wait to see you then!

FITNESS MYTH: Time Crunched.

Fitness Myth: It’s hard to find time to exercise in my busy schedule. I need at least an hour to really get a workout.

Truth: It actually takes very little time and effort to improve your health signigicantly. And as the old saying goes, “why spend thousands on hospital bills later on in life when you can spend just a little bit of your time each day taking care of your health?” ALL it takes is a modest 30 minutes a day. If you can’t do anything more, recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say a brisk 30 minute walk a day can help maintain a healthy weight plus may reduce your risk for hypertension, cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome and certain types of cancers. You’ll also benefit from stronger muscles and bones, a reduced chance of injury, improved mood, increased energy, improved mental health, and a longer life.

MAKE TIME – Every Little Bit Counts!

“People always say:

‘I’m too busy to exercise,’

‘I have to be there for the kids,’

‘I’ve got too much work.’

You know what? These are little lies you’re telling yourself, and the go against the laws of self-preservation, because the more WHOLE and HEALTHY you are, the more fully you can give to other people.”

– Oprah

Leave it to Oprah to remind us the importance of prioritizing personal health in our lives. How do you make time for wellness throughout your week?

Remember – EVERY little bit counts! You may not always eat the most nutritiously or sweat through hour long workouts daily – BUT what you DO commit to WORKS wonders for you. Each day, challenge yourself to make small changes towards living more healthfully. Each baby step you make will eventually add up to a happier you that FEELS great!

When your life has left you scrambling to find time to schedule in a workout or two, check out my free online fitness videos. While they may not be filmed professionally, they offer quick workouts you can enjoy anywhere in your city. You can piece together 10 minute segments for a complete workout – or squeeze in one when your tight on time. They can be downloaded to your Iphone, ipod, or computer for at home or on the road workouts to go!

My Fitness Channel on YouTube can be found  HERE .

I hope you have the opportunity to enjoy these videos and  find them useful in times your busy schedule challenges you.  I love feedback and  requests – so if you’d like to see another workout video or two,  leave me a note and let me know what you’d like to MOVE to! ENJOY!

CYCLE FOR SURVIVAL PHOTOS!!

Teaching at Cycle For Survival!!

Cycle for Survival 2011 was emotional, inspiring, and fun and we have the pictures to prove it! Check out a selection of pictures from our event in our San Francisco  Cycle 2011 photo gallery!

We can’t thank you enough for making Cycle 2011 the most successful ride to date! Cycle 2011 has surpassed $4.65 million and has raised more than all previous Cycles combined!

As a reminder, my fundraising page will remain open until April 1st.

The link below will bring you to my fundraising page, where you can make a tax-deductible online donation.

Click here to visit my personal page.

 

Every dollar truly makes a difference — so let’s keep up our momentum and finish strong, honoring all those touched by rare cancers.

Gratefully,

Caroline

Fitness Myth : Spot Reducing “Secrets”.

Fitness Myth: “You can spot reduce by targeting stubborn trouble spots with specific exercises. Get rid of your belly fat with endless crunches!”

THE TRUTH: A well-rounded exercise program that consists of training all muscle groups is the ONLY way to a leaner, stronger you. Sorry, but buying the latest abs roller or toning shoes isn’t going to do ANYTHING for you. Your “trouble spots” ( abs muscles, thighs, triceps… whatever the case may be) can be strengthened, but weight loss comes from the body as a whole and not just the areas that are exercised. The ONLY real way to minimize fat in one specific area is by tightening up your diet and dedicating yourself to a complete total-body program. There are no short cuts to get rid of “trouble spots”. Make sure your fitness regimen includes total body strength, challenging cardio workouts, and flexibility training to look and feel your best. With a little hard work and a well-rounded workout routine you can improve the overall look of your entire body.

 

It’s best to work with someone to create a well-rounded workout program that fits your needs and goals.Have any fitness questions you want answered? Write to me at: carichic@pacbell.net . Lets get you feeling and looking your best!

 

What’s YOUR personal favorite fitness myth or workout gimmick? Things like the shake weight and toning shoes make me laugh 🙂

Fitness Myths! Working Out = Weight Maintenance

FITNESS MYTH! “If you work out an hour a day you can maintain your weight”

TRUTH: You can OUT EAT your workouts. Even if you’re training an hour (or more) each day, if  you consistently consume more than you burn, you may not lose weight at all and probably add a few pounds to the scale. To manage your weight the key is to keep a neutral energy balance by consuming the calories that you need without consuming extra, which will be stored as fat on the body. A registered dietitian can help make a program to get you at your correct energy balance (or deficit if weight loss is your goal) without sacrificing  nutritional needs. Your physique is 80% DIET and 20% TRAINING. Match your workout efforts with a clean eating plan to make results HAPPEN in the gym!


Do you have a fitness or health question you want answered? Send ’em my way! I love helping you on your way towards your healthiest and happiest self. Write to me at: carichic@pacbell.net . Keep up the great work and I’ll see you for class soon!

 

Caroline

In a Winter Funk? Get more Vitamin D in your life!

Get healthy with Vitamin D!

You’re working hard to stay your fittest and healthiest year round. But the endless san francisco rainstorms have got you down. Want a little help getting your positive attitude and fitness motivation back on track? Start by adding a little more Vitamin D to your life!

For decades vitamin D was associated only with bone-building calcium and healthy strong teeth. Today, we are beginning to understand just how important vitamin D really is to our overall health and that many of us are not getting enough of it. This small and mighty vitamin is a fierce multitasker – and has been linked to everything from reduced cancer risk, improved mental health, and even a longer life. In recent studies, researchers have found that a lack of the vitamin may be the primary culprit in depression, heart disease, pregnancy problems, birth defects, skin and other cancers, and multiple sclerosis. Even more impressive is the vitamin’s fitness benefits. Several studies have drawn a connection between vitamin D levels and improved athletic performance, reduced belly fat, and improved muscle building.

So, are you getting enough? Having your vitamin D levels checked on a regular basis can help you reap all the wonderful benefits. Ask your doctor to have your levels checked every year during your physical. Have your blood levels measured, especially if you have a family history of heart disease, cancer, or depression. If you are extremely low, or you fit into any of the below categories, your doctor might want you to start monitoring your vitamin D levels regularly:

Vitamin D deficiency Risk Factors:

  • You live in a northern latitude where there isn’t enough sun to boost your vitamin D levels adequately.
  • You have a blood level that’s below 20 ng/ml.
  • You are lactose intolerant and unable to digest dairy products fortified with vitamin D.
  • You are obese. Greater amounts of fat under the skin change the way your body handles vitamin D. If you’ve had gastric bypass surgery, you are unable to use the part of the upper small intestine where vitamin D is absorbed.
  • You stay indoors covered up most of the time.
  • You have dark skin. More melanin in the skin prevents some vitamin D production from the sunlight.

Deficient or not, you need a lot of the vitamin to enjoy the incredible body benefits. The Harvard School of Public Health, recommends a daily amount of vitamin D for adults from 200 IU to at least 2,000 IU, possibly more. Unfortunately it’s a lot harder to actually get your recommended dose. According to a report in the Archives of Internal Medicine, experts believe that up to 77 percent of Americans are vitamin D deficient (defined as having blood levels of less than 30 nanograms per milliliter). With the growing global concern of vitamin D deficiency, it’s important to learn how to get more of this vital vitamin.

But how do we come up so short, especially since vitamin D is one of the few vitamins our bodies can actually make? Sunlight converts a cholesterol-like substance naturally found in the skin into D. Problem is, soaking up the sun does more harm than good. For your body to produce enough of the vitamin from the sunshine, you’d need direct sunlight on a huge portion of your body for at least 15 minutes a DAY. Soaking up those direct rays risks serious sun damage – and wouldn’t be much help in keeping you healthy.  Plus, as Harvard researchers have found if you live south of the line between San Francisco California and Richmond New York (what scientists call the 37th parallel), you’re skin can only make enough vitamin D during the summer – and even then production may be affected by clouds or other factors.

If you think you can eat your way out of vitamin D deficiency, think again. Vitamin D is naturally present in only a few foods and in small amounts. To reach the recommended 200-2000 IU, you’d have to chew 13 ounces of fish or 80 eggs EVERY DAY to meet your needs. Fortunately, there’s a simpler way to get your D up without baking in the sun or eating fish all day long: A vitamin D supplement. It’s not often that nutrition experts say it’s better to get a vitamin from a pill than from food, but D is an exception. Supplements are the easiest, cheapest, and safest way to make sure you’re getting enough. Can you get too much? It’s possible, but extremely unlikely. The safety margin on vitamin D supplements is huge. You’d have to ingest 10,000 IU every day for six months in order to overdose. It’s much more likely you’re not getting enough, and an even better reason to develop a healthy vitamin D habit.

Fearless Fitness Challenge Of The Week: Get MORE Vitamin D in your life!

This vital vitamin may be difficult to get, but follow these guidelines and you’ll be sure to benefit.

How to Get More Vitamin D in your life:

  • Take a daily multivitamin or a vitamin D supplement that provides at least 1,000 IU.
  • Seek out food sources of vitamin D. Try to eat foods that have been fortified with vitamin D during the manufacturing process and foods that contain vitamin D naturally. Read the nutrition labels to see if vitamin D has been added (make sure the label reads “D3.”) Some fortified foods include milk and breakfast cereals. Natural sources of vitamin D are found in fish: salmon, mackerel, tuna, and sardines are excellent sources. Egg yolks, margarine, cheese, and beef liver also have small amounts of vitamin D.
  • Get your blood levels measured, especially if you have a family history of heart disease, cancer, or depression. If you are extremely low, your doctor might recommend higher doses of D.
  • Improve your access to sunshine, with care. Make sure not to get too much, you do not want to burn or over-expose your skin. Try to go into the sun for 10 to 20 minutes twice a week with sunscreen on your face only. Or 2 to 3 minutes several times a week. Vitamin D is stored in your body, and careful, but systematic exposure should be beneficial.

Vitamin D is a tiny vitamin that packs a large punch when it comes to our health. Don’t miss out on all it’s wonderful benefits! This week you’re challenge is to use the tips above to develop a healthy Vitamin D habit and live a longer life!

I don’t know about you…. but I could always use a little more sunshine 😉 Hope to see you in class and at the Lombardi Sports Event this week!
Caroline

Fitness Myth! “Toning Workouts”

Dont want to look like this when you work out? Leave the light weights OUT!

We talk a lot about FITNESS MYTHS on the blog, and what not to believe when it comes to your health. Here’s another one of my personal favorites….. TONING WORKOUTS!

FITNESS MYTH: “Toning” workouts are done by lifting lighter weights for many reps and are best for women who are looking to gain definition.

TRUTH: Put the three pound weights DOWN. You need to lift heavier to see results. According to the American Council on Exercise (ACE), lifting lighter weights (less than 70 percent of your maximum effort) for 12 reps or more is simply going to produce muscular endurance withouth much muscle growth. Meaning you’ll be able to lift for a higher amount of reps but you WONT see much of a physical difference. What looks “toned” is more developed muscles and a low level of body fat. This is better achieved by lifting heavier weights (70-80 percent of maximum effort) for eight to 12 repetitions per set to fatigue or near fatigue.

Dont be fooled by the workouts that wave wimpy weights around all hour long in the promise that you’ll be “lean and long”. Sorry to break it to you, but “toning workouts” are one of the worst fitness myths out there. Those defined triceps you’ve always wanted? Find them through strength training. Step out of your comfort zone and into the weight room – your toned arms are waiting for you 😉

 

For more fun tips and information on strength training, check out these posts!

http://thecarolineinthecity.wordpress.com/2010/12/05/fearless-female-challenge-dont-be-afraid-of-the-weights-train-for-strength/

http://thecarolineinthecity.wordpress.com/2010/12/04/fearless-fitness-update-125-i-want-to-pump-you-up-strength-training-is-important/

 

 

Fearless Fitness Weekly Update 3/13: The Kinetic Chain – Whats Your Weakest Link?

Fearless Fitness Tip Of the Week: The Kinetic Chain – Whats Your Weakest Link?

The following includes some excerpts from Todd Durkin’s book, “The IMPACT Body Plan”. I HIGHLY recommend this book – it will change the way you  live and train :)

Did you know that your nagging knee pain could be caused by the tight muscles in your hips? Or that your neck pain and headaches could come from badly conditioned thoracic muscles?

You might wonder, “How can tight muscles in one part of my body make an unrelated part hurt?” The answer: Your entire body is related and compensates for imbalance, pain, or injury in order to protect itself. Every part is completely linked and dependent on every other part through a system called the Kinetic chain. We can’t understand sources of pain until we understand the important working relationship between all of the links within the kinetic chain.

What is the Kinetic Chain?  kinetic means movement. Your kinetic chain is the system that promotes movement – from feet to fingertips – and the muscles, fascia, and other connective tissues that tie it all together.  This collection of parts functions as one, each part depending on the others for optimal performance. If one area is weak, another part will compensate, and the whole system suffers. If one part is not mobile and is supposed to be, another part compensates, and the next link will suffer. That’s why you’re ONLY AS STRONG AS YOUR WEAKEST LINK in your kinetic chain.

Some of your joints need to be stable, and some need to be mobile.  They alternate with each other:

Ankle – Mobile

Knee – Stable

Hip – Mobile

Low Back – Stable

Upper Back – Mobile

Shoulder – Stable

If one component of the kinetic chain is broken or deficient, your body will compensate, and you will end up in pain. If your TIGHT hips can’t move, your spine will. If your foot is not stable, it can affect your knees, hips, back… your entire body.

The following are the everyday things you do that cause pain and throw your kinetic chain out of whack. You may not even know you’re doing them. Simply knowing these things can be a weapon against them, but for good measure I’ll also give you smart tips for addressing the most common things that wreck our bodies. What are they?

SIX MOST COMMON CAUSES OF CHRONIC DAILY PAIN AND WEAK LINKS IN THE KINETIC CHAIN

  • Elevated Stress. When you live in excessive distress, you feel anxiety, anger, irritability, and frustration. Emotions activate your body’s fight or flight system, releasing stress hormones like adrenaline and cortisol. This wreaks havoc on your body. Your blood pressure spikes. Your breathing becomes shallow. And BINGO: Your muscles from your neck down through your back tense up. Tightness. Discomfort. Headaches. Pain. What do YOU DO to keep your stress levels under control? How do you keep stress from HURTING you?
  • Too Much Sitting. Sitting for hours promotes lousy posture and forces you to stay in one position. Your hips, hamstrings, and quads have no way to move. Your chest muscles tighten, your shoulders pull forward, your back rounds, and your neck tightens. That’s a recipe for perpetual pain. What do you do to break up the sitting during your day? How do you address the tightness created throughout your work day?
  • TIGHT or weak hip muscles. Tight or weak hips could be KILLING your structural system and throwing your kinetic chain out of whack. Our hips play a critical role in how our bodies feel and function. Strength, mobility, and flexibility of the muscles surrounding the pelvis and hips are critical to keeping your body pain-free, performing well, and feeling great. Does your workout routine include hip strength, mobility, and flexibility exercises? How often do you take care of your HIP FITNESS?
  • Poorly designed Exercise Programs. Have you ever thought that you may be doing some movements in your workout routine that are exacerbating the conditions that cause you pain? Most traditional workout programs are linear based. They train in one plane of action. Running, cycling, and rowing are primary performed in a straight line. And most machines isolate muscles only in one fixed plane of motion. Yet your body typically moves in multiple planes and multiple dimensions. Shouldn’t your program mimic real life? How balanced is your weekly workout routine? Do you work your front side as much as your back side? Does it contain  joint integrity and stability exercises? If its been a long time since you’ve updated your weekly routine… it may be time to start re-programming!
  • Too little stretching.The average person (even the average active person) has serious flexibility issues, especially in the hips, hamstrings, and chest. The older you get – the worse it becomes. Failure to stretch properly leads to muscle tightness, discomfort, pain, and injury. MAKE TIME – work on your flexibility!!
  • Poor recovery and regeneration. You can’t fix your body with workouts alone. You need to rest and recover. Allow your body to reenergize. Nutrition, sleep, and flexibility all play a role in this process. You have t work hard in order to help your body cope with all the daily stresses of living. REST.RECOVER.REENERGIZE your body for maximum health.

Fearless Fitness Challenge Of The Week: Understand Your Body and DO THE WORK.

Your body may be a wreck and your kinetic chain is ALL out of whack. But your daily habits are largely too blame. The next time something is hurting, or you  realize that you have chronic pain that has been with you for more than a month, find out why. By pinpointing the issues in your body, you will better be able to figure out what is causing the problem  and hopefully work towards getting them fixed.This week I challenge you to find your weakest link and work on solutions to solve it. This will require CHANGE, knowledge, and effort. In other words, I challenge you to start to understand your body and do the work YOU need for maximum health.

Pay close attention to these tips that will help with kinetic chain health. Each will  promote balance in your kinetic chain and help banish pain from your life. I challenge you to invest time in each of these “pain free body” solutions:

  • When you spend long hours at a desk, get up occasionally and STRETCH. Get out of your chair and walk around or stretch for 10 minutes. Walk to the bathroom. MOVE your body. While your sitting? Be aware of your posture. Prevent slumping by keeping your shoulders back and your chest open – this allows full deep breaths. Proper sitting posture feels as if your shoulder blades are carrying the weight of your shoulders.
  • Follow a well designed exercise program. Exercise with movements that are forward and backward, left and right, up and down, diagonal, and rotational. Emphasize mobility, stability, flexibility, and core strength. All of this helps bring the kinetic chain back into balance. Now watch how your body improves. Not sure if your routine is balanced or where to start designing a program? Seek out someone to HELP YOU with it. Visit your local Physical Therapist, Athletic Trainer, Orthopedic doctor, or educated personal trainer or coach. These people should be able to give you the right information to get you back to where you belong, in good physical health.
  • Check out your HIPS. Make sure your workout program involves exercises that work on hip strength and flexibility. Take care of your hip health and fitness.
  • STRETCH. Remember, if you dont like it… you need it. One of the reasons stretching feels so unrewarding is because you see no visible result – muscles dont get any bigger and you dont get any thinner. But trust me, if you emphasize flexibility and improve stability and mobility in the correct joints, you are going to feel so much better and improve the way you perform in all areas of your life.
  • Foam Roll – get on the roller as often as you can and work on your fascia and it’s health. For more info on foam rollers and what you can do with them, check out this POST.
  • De-stress. Spend a few minutes each day to work on your mental health. Meditate, Read, Spend time with your family. Do the things that help YOU breathe easy. Your body will thank you for it.

Is there a weak link in your kinetic chain? This week, take the time to learn about your body, how it moves, and where its strengths and weaknesses are. I challenge you this week to find your WEAKEST link and start developing a program that keeps your kinetic chain Strong and BALANCED.

“You’re only as strong as your WEAKEST LINK.” This week, understand your body and DO.THE.WORK!

I know it was a LONG update – but it is such important and good information I HAD TO share it! Thanks again for everything  – cant wait to see you in class soon!

Caroline