STRETCH & REST CARE for the wellness warrior
Before you jump into your core workouts, try these moves to help turn on your core and maximize your results.
OPEN UP YOUR HIPS: tight hips can make it harder to contract the pelvic floor muscles (the base of your core). In fact, tight hips can pretty much turn off your pelvic floor. Stretch the front and back of your hips with a runner’s lunge and full squat to prep for a core workout.
WARM UP YOUR SPINE: The Baby Get Up is one of our favorites for warming up your spine and turning on your core before a workout.
CHECK YOUR FORM: Use this Head To Toe Posture Checklist to turn on your deep core stabilizer muscles and reset your posture during workouts. Be mindful of these spots for better form and check in frequently from head to toe that you’ve got yourself lined up during your core workouts.
Here is the Head To Toe Posture Checklist and posture cues to become familiar with and the video to walk you through the following spots.
HEAD TO TOE POSTURE CHECKLIST VIDEO
Becoming mindful of these key spots from head to toe during your core, Pilates or Yoga workouts will help you improve your posture overtime. Using good form during your workouts WILL carry over into your day.
You can take these posture cues out of the gym or off the mat to help reset your posture anytime during your day.
Better posture equals more confidence, better performance, and decreased risk for injury. You’ll walk, run, bike, row, and move better.
Prep, Reset, Reshape!
P.S. Download the Head To Toe Posture Checklist Video to reset your posture during your day.
It's time for more Kegel talk. A simple movement that can turn complicated quickly.
In Part 2 of this series, we’ll be troubleshooting some of the more common Kegel mistakes to help you have a strong, healthy pelvic floor for better core workouts, posture, and performance.
One of the most neglected areas of the body and least talked about until you’ve got an issue down there, is how to have a healthy pelvic floor (PF).
The pelvic floor muscles are important for all ages but can need more attention as you age. They form the base of your core and support all your organs.
The Kegel exercise is the basic way to strengthen them. We reviewed how to do a proper Kegel in this blog post.
Here’s the challenge of the Kegel...
A proper Kegel is done when you can contract the PF without the rest of your body tensing up.
Easier said than done, especially when you start moving your body while you Kegel.
Let’s do some troubleshooting on how to avoid the more common mistakes when you Kegel.
Do a check in while you Kegel. Are you?
Here are some tips to prep for the Kegel and take the tension out of your body:
OTHER AREAS TO ADDRESS FOR A HEALTHY PELVIC FLOOR
A few other issues you’ll want to pay attention to as you improve the overall health of your Pelvic Floor Muscles:
Pelvic Floor & Constipation
Constipation and doing the Valsalva maneuver (holding breath and bearing down when lifting or pooping) can over stretch the PF muscles. Improving the health of your gut can take pressure off your PF muscles that have the job of holding up your organs.
Do you have any GI issues? 1 in 4 Americans do. You could have up to 15 # of mucus from inflammation in your gut. Signs are painful joints, bulging belly, bloating. All that puts load on your PF muscles.
You can decrease inflammation through clean eating with lots of green veggies, eliminating foods that irritate (dairy, refined sugar, gluten), staying well hydrated, doing a quarterly detox/cleanse, taking probiotics and exercising regularly.
You might also want to check out The Squatty Potty™, a toilet stool that puts your body in the best posture for pooping to take pressure off your PF.
Pelvic Floor & Hormones
If you identify as female and still bleed monthly, you might notice that it’s easier to do Kegels during the middle of your cycle and more difficult at the beginning of it due to hormone changes. Just keep at it but be mindful of your cycle and plan your more intense workouts toward the middle of it when your pelvic floor muscles might be at their best.
Pelvic Floor & Fatigue
The pelvic floor muscles can fluctuate in endurance just like any muscle. Sometimes you can turn them on but not keep them on because of fatigue. Or you may notice you can turn them on with bladder empty but not with weight of full bladder (or when constipated). The weight of your organs may challenge the PF when tired. That’s OK – you just need to build your strength and endurance like you would any other muscle.
For strengthening, use the weight of gravity to challenge your PF. Example: going from laying down to sitting to standing to moving your body as you Kegel. Each position has to deal with more and more gravity.
For endurance, add reps throughout the day to challenge your PF. Once you can do a proper Kegel in sitting, you can practice anytime throughout the day to build endurance- while driving, watching TV, standing in line. The more complicated the activity you are doing, the more challenging it will be to hold the Kegel and breathe.
The more mindful you can be of your form while holding your Kegel, will help guide you on when to challenge yourself with more gravity or moving your body.
When you can’t hold the Kegel without tensing up in a position, you may have pushed too fast or done too many reps in that position. Listen to your body. It’ll guide you. You'll know when you need a rest break or it's time to slow down.
You've got this!
Can you believe there's only 5 days left in this wild ride of a year? Man, what a ride its been. Hoping you’ve been able to renew & refresh some before we ring in 2021.
Even though 2020 has been challenging, it’s important to take a moment and reflect before you move into the new year.
Here are 3 simple ways to prep for 2021:
Need help narrowing it down? Here’s the Mindful Athlete Goal Setting Worksheet to help you pick out your first fitness or wellness goal for 2021.
We know 2021 is going to be a BIG year of healing for all of us.
We look forward to sharing more about the healing power of rest & bodywork practices to help your body do its magic... to heal itself and get stronger so you feel, move, and perform better.
Wishing you more health, happiness, & healing in the new year!
Mollie & Ender
P.S. Ho. Ho. Ho. It’s time to Roll. Our favorite foam roller is 30% off this month. It’s like having a PT, Chiro, Massage Therapist in one and the closest we can get to sending our hands home with you. You can find it here*.
In our online program, HIP Camp™, we show you how to use the foam roller & more to help you reshape your body for better energy, mobility and posture. Learn more here.
*denotes affiliate link
Ready to have some fun? Dust off your mat. It’s time to try the Baby Get Up.
Baby Get Up is one of our favorites for warming up your spine and turning on your core before a workout.
To be honest, I stole this exercise from Ender. His athletes all love it. But I've spiced it up for you.
Besides being a great prep for your workouts, it’ll give you some feedback on which side of your body is tighter and which side is less coordinated.
Remember we all have a difference between the right and left side of our bodies because of which hand is dominate and what we do all day.
As you do the Baby Get Up, which side is more clunky or feels harder to do? That’s the side that needs more reps or attention.
Before you try it, please read through everything below so you get the most out of it and stay safe.
Watch the video one time before you try it (it’s only 1.5 minutes). You’ll find some more details below the video on how to do it safely.
If you can’t even attempt it safely due to pain or tightness, you need to get yourself into HIP Camp™ to unlock your tight & tender spots using our favorite bodywork tools. It’s never too late to improve your mobility and strength, but you probably need some tools to help you.
OK, let’s do it. Watch the video then test it out.
HOW TO DO THE BABY GET UP
TIPS TO MODIFY THE BABY GET UP
You can modify by holding your knees as you rock, using your elbow on the floor as you rock, or make the rocking motion smaller.
EXERCISES TO DO AFTER THE BABY GET UP
If you love Pilates Mat Work, you could add on the following exercises after your Baby Get Up’s:
If you love resistance training, do some band work that targets your shoulder, core and hips after the Baby Get Ups.
If you love Yoga, do some Warrior Poses after the Baby Get Ups.
Lastly, Baby Get Ups are an excellent warm up for the old school Turkish Get Up Exercise.
If you can’t decide, do them all in the order I wrote them for an awesome core workout that targets and balances both sides of your body.
A few reps with good form of each exercise will improve your mobility, strength, and overall posture.
And if you’ve got kiddos, it’s a good one to show them.
Have fun with it!
Mollie (& Ender)
P.S. Want to reshape your body and have better mobility, posture and energy? Check out HIP Camp™.
Disclaimer: We do not provide medical advice. Always consult with your physician before starting a new fitness or wellness program.
Would you agree that time is our most precious resource? One thing that can rob you of time is being in pain.
You only have so much energy (i.e. brain power) in a day and painful joints or muscle soreness takes up brain space.
If you’re in pain and not able to move well, what are you missing out on in life? Is it time with loved ones, your favorite sport or hobby, planning your dream trip?
What’s pain costing you? At work? At home?
It's never too late to learn simple strategies to help you get out of pain and calm things down.
So, let’s do an inflammation checkup.
Are you in pain? Does your body feel, sore, tight, or stiff?
Inflammation and soreness are signs of over-training or over-use.
Healthy tissue doesn’t hurt. It’s not tender to touch. It doesn’t hurt when you move.
Pain is telling you something is not right. It’s a protective mechanism. It’s locking up to guard.
Your body is like “Hey, over here. Pay attention to me. You better stop that. I need a break NOW!”
It’s talking to you all day. We get hunger signals. Thirst signals. Fatigue signals. All of them are like the warning lights on your car. Alerts before you break down.
Most of us wait until our body is screaming at us all day or we can’t move before we pay attention.
The good news is you can learn to calm it down if you missed the warning signals.
6 Strategies To Calm Down Inflammation
THE MORE YOU:
The more you'll benefit from supporting your body with daily practices to decrease inflammation.
Which one are you going to test out first?
It's never too late to feel, move, and perform better! Here's to taking it one day or one step at a time.
How's your summer going? It’s so easy to slide into the summer slump with your exercise routine. The heat, travel, changes in schedules, and now a pandemic can throw you off track before you know it.
It’s the perfect time to bust out our favorite summer workout hack, The 1 Minute Workout*.
Fast. Powerful. Can be done anywhere. Even barefoot depending on what exercises you pick.
One minute of hard exercise gives you the benefits of 50 minutes of training! Woo hoo!
Moving your body is also one of the best ways to combat “brain fog”, if you happen to be one of the many who are experiencing it during the Rona Ride. It’s even got a name, COVID Brain.
This FIT BLOG explains the 1 Minute Workout* in detail. You can do it with your cardio, body weight exercises, resistance bands, or a combo of them.
It’s basically warm up 2-3 minutes, do a cardio or strength exercise as fast or as many reps as you can for 20 seconds (intensity of 10 or make it burn), do 2-3 minutes of gentle cardio, repeat 2 more times. Cool down for a few minutes. Should be a total 10 minutes of actual exercise with 1 minute of hard exercise.
These FIT BLOGS have 9 different full body movements you can use to design a combo strength/cardio interval 1 Minute Workout:
You can do it! Go hard for 1 minute (with good form). Get creative. Mix it up and have fun. Always take a minimum of one day to rest between interval workouts so your body can fully recover.
Besides burning calories and boosting your heart health, all these moves will improve your energy and strength. Add them to your stretch care for longer lasting results in your mobility and posture. You can even squeeze this in during a work break if you have to. No excuses!
HOW TO MODIFY YOUR INTERVAL WORKOUT
How To Modify Your Interval Training: If you’re coming off a long gap in exercising or a break due to injury, you can modify the interval training by doing interval walking.
Research shows it improves blood sugar levels (glucose control) in those with Type 2 Diabetes better than just walking. And studies have shown that 34 minutes of interval walking has shown to improve blood pressure.
HOW TO INTERVAL WALK
OK, get up & get your body moving!
Mollie & Ender
P.S. Want to get stronger with less effort? Download this 3-minute Active Recovery Yoga Routine to help you train smarter, it's free!
*From the book: The One Minute Workout by Martin Gibala, Ph.D.
**For intensity guidance, refer to the Modified Borg RPE (Rating of Perceived Exertion) Scale from 1 (extremely easy) -10 (extremely hard or max effort).
If you’re worn out, burned out or in need of a time out, here’s my favorite tool to help you get re-energized.
I've used it daily for the past 2 years. It's been my #1 self-care practice as I continue to ride the emotional roller coaster of providing elder care for my dad.
I learned about it on a podcast that led me to a book that started me on a 40 day challenge with a simple rest tool called Yoga Nidra.
I was completely worn out from helping my dad through his 3rd cancer surgery in a year when the podcast caught my attention.
I'd heard the name many times from my Yoga Therapist colleagues, but didn’t really "hear" it until my body needed it the most.
My body was like “Yes, THAT is what you need to do when you get home.” Deep rest was exactly what my body was craving and I was the perfect candidate to test out the power of it.
I'll never forget my first yoga nidra nap and the way it refreshed and energized my worn-out body (and soul).
It’s the most relaxed I’ve gotten on my own without going to acupuncture or massage. I would even say it’s a deeper relaxation experience that energizes you versus having that post bodywork fog where you can barely drive home.
What is Yoga Nidra?
It’s basically meditation while you rest.
You lie down, listen to a guided meditation, and rest. It’s called “yogic sleep” and involves intense relaxation.
Doesn’t it sound fascinating and fun?
It’s my favorite rest tool for managing fatigue and stress.
If you’re a caregiver for little ones, old ones, even furry ones... it'll help you re-charge each day.
If you're in a healing profession... it's your burnout prevention tool.
If you’ve got a job that requires you to perform (athlete, speaker)… it’s your pre-game “find your flow” mindset tool.
A 15 minute yoga nidra nap will help you calm your nervous system so your body can repair and heal itself.
It has been such a powerful healing & recovery tool in my life. I know it can be in yours as well.
Getting Started With Yoga Nidra
BOOK AND CHALLENGE:
P.S. Check out your brain on Yoga Nidra. The research on brain scans during Yoga Nidra is remarkable. Your brain is asleep and awake at the same time. After you wake up, you're primed and ready to act: Brain scans
Have you gotten clear on your ONE fitness goal for January 2020?
Does it include having more energy and less inflammation in your body?
Is 2020 the year you become a joyful & well-rested Wellness Warrior?
If so, we’ve put together a few NEW YEARS deals on our online bodywork camps to help you get started without burning yourself out.
They’ll help you take the first step to having more energy, ease & flow each day… by giving your body the gift of stretching and massage to release your tight & tender spots with less than 10 minutes of daily self-care (or what we call "stretch-care").
Both camps begin on January 6th.
At this time of year when there’s a ton of pressure to speed things up and change everything about your workouts and diet, we want to show you the benefits of slowing things down.
Let’s set you up for success by breaking the habit of going too hard, too fast. It’s THE recipe for inflammation, injury and burnout.
Instead let's calm your body with daily fascial stretch-care and bodywork tools so it has time to work its magic...to heal itself and get stronger.
Your body gets stronger at rest.
You can train smarter by resting harder whether it's to support your workouts or your wellness.
Our bodywork camps show you how easy it is to do this.
They lay the ground work for you to stay active, agile, & pain-free at any age.
It’s like when the flight attendant says to “put on your oxygen mask first.” Our camps are the "oxygen" for a strong, well-rested body & mind.
Our online bodywork camps are on special until December 31st. Choose the one that is the best fit for your body's needs right now.
GETTING STARTED WITH YOUR STRETCH-CARE:
If you’re a newbie to fascial stretch-care, our online MINI Bodywork Camp™ (How to Foam Roll & Massage for More Freedom & Flow) will help you get started with a simple daily foam roller routine. You'll learn how to use our favorite flexibility hack, foam roller massage, to calm your body for better mobility & stretch results- it’s 50% off for a limited time. Learn more.
GOING PRO WITH YOUR STRETCH-CARE:
If you’re ready to take a deeper dive into improving your mobility for better posture & faster recovery from workouts, you’ll want to check out the special we’ve got on HIP Camp™ (Stretch Care & Recovery Tools for the Mindful Athlete). It includes an AWESOME bonus holiday offer: The Pelvic Floor 5 Day Strength Challenge.
HIP Camp™ is our 4 week online base training program that will help you build a strong core with a well-rested body & mind. We'll walk you through our simple system to find & treat ALL your spots- the tight, tender, weak (& tired) spots to make lasting changes in your mobility & performance. You can get $150 off when you pay in full or we have a new payment plan option available with this special offer. Learn more.
It’s time to renew & refresh yourself in 2020.
Let’s do this!
Mollie & Ender
P.S. All holiday deals and bonus offers expire Tuesday, December 31st at 5pm CST.
The Pelvic Floor 5 Day Strength Challenge is a BONUS offer when you purchase HIP Camp™ by December 31st. It includes a pop-up Facebook Group for coaching & support beginning February 3rd. We’ll have daily challenges + office hours for questions, prizes, and cover strength, cardio, & clean eating exercises to improve the health of your pelvic floor & more. It’s the perfect compliment to HIP Camp™ trainings. Learn more about camp here.
Real quick, let’s do a body check.
How well are you moving without pain or stiffness?
Mobility is your ability to move without pain or restrictions during your daily activities.
So how are you doing with that?
Before you throw the age card out, here me as I gently call B.S. to that.
It's NOT a sign of healthy aging to wake up or end the day with a lot of tightness or soreness.
Healthy tissue doesn’t hurt. It isn’t tender to touch. It isn’t stiff. It doesn’t hurt when you move.
Inflammation, soreness and stiffness are signs of inflammation and over-training (or over-doing).
I know you go, go, go and never take a time out to allow your body to rest.
I see you...
Seriously, you may not be giving your body enough rest and recovery time between your workouts and activities.
Stiff, sore muscles are signs you need to slow down and work on your mobility.
Most people think about stretching as the way to better mobility.
We’re asked all the time what's the best way to stretch for this or that.
Yes, gentle stretching is a great way to work on your tight spots and improving your flexibility.
Going after your tight spots is one piece of the mobility puzzle.
But there's a flexibility hack you can do to maximize your stretch results.
It's a way to make lasting changes to your mobility, posture, and performance.
Did you know you have a superpower? Yep, it's true. We all have it no matter our age or ability. It’s neuroplasticity! Your brains ability to rewire and grow when challenged.
It’s the reason I can confidently say it’s never too late and anything is possible. You can grow, learn new skills, be active & agile at any age.
But, there's a catch. It only happens when you challenge yourself outside your comfort zone and do lots (and lots) of repetition to cement in that new healthy habit or skill.
As a physical therapist working in brain injury rehab these past 20+ years, this was my job. Provide tons and tons of opportunities that challenged the patient who had injured their brain to use their weak side so they could walk and function better.
It's called a "forced use approach" to regaining muscle function (motor control). You're trying to turn on the weak muscles and create new pathways in the brain to help the body move better.
My patients all learned the easy way to move on their own using their strong side. Sometimes on day 1 of their injury. It wasn’t efficient and it limited their ability to reach their full potential functionally, but it was easy for them to pick up on their own.
That’s what your brain will do if you don’t challenge it. It’ll find the easiest way for you to function but most likely will keep you small and limited. And if you don't use it, you LOSE it. This is true whether it's a goal to improve your physical, mental, or emotional health.
Typically, every new habit or goal you want to achieve is outside your comfort zone. It's not something you are used to doing. You've got to learn some new skills to accomplish it. Turn on some new brain cells (neurons) and make new pathways.
And as soon as you decide you’ve got a new goal, whether it’s from fitness to finances, you brain is going to resist with fear and sabotaging behaviors. We all experience this. We always will no matter how healthy, successful or happy we are.
The research shows not even a life-threatening diagnosis of say cancer or heart disease will encourage most people to change their diet or behaviors like smoking. I can’t tell you how many patient’s I saw pushing their IV pole outside of MD Anderson Cancer Center for a cigarette during a chemo break when I worked in the Houston Medical Center.
Your brain is just trying to protect you. Keep you safe (in your comfort zone.)
That’s why I love a good brain hack. It might be from the support of a coach or therapist, a shift in mindset, or adding a new mantra to your bag of tricks. The more tools you have to deal with resistance and limiting beliefs, the better.
It takes practice and repetition, but the good news is that IT IS POSSIBLE to rewire your brain to accomplish any skill, goal or healthy habit you desire.
I've got 3 brain hacks to help you snap out of it when you start sabotaging. #3 is brand new so be sure to test it out.
3 BRAIN HACKS TO HELP YOU PLAY BIG & TAP INTO YOUR SUPERPOWER
Mollie Miller, PT