Do you know one of the most important muscles in your body?

Everyone needs to understand their diaphragms importance…..

The importance of this in Pre and Postnatal women is huge, but in reality EVERYONE can benefit from some knowledge of this muscle of MAJOR importance in their body….. The diaphragm. Is yours activated? Can you feel it? 9 out of 10 of us will probably say no. Most of us don’t breathe as we should. If you tend to have tension headaches, tight neck, shoulders, upper back, feel like you can’t catch or take deep breaths, etc more than likely you definitely don’t. The good news is we can learn how to, and if you are pregnant or trying to get there, or even just had a baby and want to work on restrengthening that core then this is  prime time for you to learn! But first lets understand it a little better.

What is the diaphragm?

Our diaphragm is basically one of our main if not the main respiratory muscle (with the external intercostals that help elevate ribs). It attaches at the bottom of the lungs and top of our core structure. It is vital in our breathing process because it acts to pull lungs down to allow the thoracic cavity to open up and fill with air.

The problem is most of us don’t fully engage it with our breathing. When we don’t do this other muscles can overcompensate (like our traps, chest, tva, etc) and cause imbalances/ tightness and make us feel like we cant catch our breath. This also weakens our diaphragm and over time it causes our overall core to be weaker since it acts to hold our core structure together. Without a strong core we can develop back aches, lordosis, poor respiratory and functional performance (breathing and moving with ease) it can also cause dreaded diasistis recti with pregnancy/ and or hernias. Our core is our FOUNDATION!

In pregnancy think of the extra weight you are holding onto, if you’re not able to breathe properly that tension in your chest is going to lead elsewhere. You basically have a weight vest on so learning to breathe to get optimal oxygen consumption can help ease your pregnancy substantially!

The good news is we can learn to activate and use it the right way, BUT understand it wont happen overnight. We have to learn to breathe through it, not hold our stomachs/ core in. We’re all good at sucking in, think about it, I am sure you can name a time or 100 that you have stared in the mirror and drawn your stomach in when you inhaled….. That does nothing for your diaphargm, it actually can make it weaker. We need to focus more on letting it expand when we inhale, then as we exhale our stomachs should look more flat as we push all the air out. Make sense?

So take a minute and breathe. Do you see it going in and out? Or do you see your chest go up and down. Most of us probably see our chest initially. Thats that overcompensating thing I mentioned before, those muscles taking over for the one that should be doing the work. This means we aren’t getting as much air in our lungs and we aren’t working our respiratory system to its potential and possibly causing stresses in other parts of our body (tight neck/ back pain/ hormonal imbalances, etc).

If you see that chest moving I want you to do this. Lay on your back and place one hand on your stomach with knees bent. Lay flat and breathe, lay there until you see that stomach rise with an inhale and flatten with an exhale. Go slow with it. Keep at it until its easy. Once you reach that point do it standing, keep repeating that over time until its easy or second nature rather. Once you get to that point progress to movement such as squats, bending over, running. Breathe through the movement, don’t just keep that core engaged, but breathe through it!

Do this for as long as it takes to get second nature to you. I promise it will benefit you in more ways than you can count. It will relieve stress that we carry in our shoulders, our functional and cardio performance will improve. It can help fix your core if you have diastisis recti, and if you’re pregnant help you sleep and move better along with potentially easier labor.

Stay consistent and just like with everything else the results will come if you do, and speak for themselves. 🙂

– C

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Food For Thought

We all get sick, we all have some health issues (none of us are perfect hate to break it to ya! ) I mean let’s be real I refer to myself as the unhealthiest healthy person there is! (RA, new digestive issues, Hypothyroidism to name a few) WIth that said, do you pay attention to what you eat and how it correlates to how you feel? No I am not talking about counting calories and macros so to speak but more so the actual FOOD.

 

Let’s backtrack a little bit, our ancestors how did they eat? They ate stuff that came from the ground, stuff that their bodies were MEANT to eat. Meaning their bodies used the food as fuel. It did not store excess “fake” food it could not use or get confused and cause inflammation and other troubles when processed stuff and additives were ingested.

 

Think on it —– Our bodies are machines —- nutrition is a MAJOR KEY to fitness, weight loss and HEALTH overall. They use certain foods as fuel, certain things defend infection and actually help prevent inflammation. Processed foods CAN CAUSE infection, inflammation, head aches, digestive issues (inflammation) etc. Granted our bodies HAVE evolved since our ancestors but not so much to make them function properly with fake stuff. I mean were not “fake” right?

 

Maybe you agree and you are one of those who have changed their diets, their lifestyles yet still have health problems, immune system issues, maybe something as severe as cancer…. There may not be a direct answer as to why, but many studies do lead to our early years, possibly even when we were in the womb. I for one definitely did not grow up eating grilled chicken and veggies and fish and asparagus every night. My childhood makes me honestly think of one thing—– Dairy Queen Blizzards…. They were my absolute favorite thing, and loaded with probably 96% unhealthy stuff! Now I am not saying that Blizzards caused my health issues today or that no one should ever have one. But a more than once a week thing (true story) definitely didn’t help! And that is just a glimpse to my growing up nutrition habits. Back to the point though —–

 

Sugar and Fatty foods signal our opioid response which stimulates the release of the feel good hormone dopamine. These foods make us feel good (before you crash from the sugar high) just like actual opioid drugs do. That is why you may hear people saying sugar can be and is just as addictive as cocaine. The more you eat of these things, the more your body will naturally crave them which leads to overeating and in turn weight gain. So many of our foods today are loaded with things that will trigger this response, and sadly most food manufacturing companies are well aware and sometimes are behind paying for research that will favor their products to downplay the real problems to consumers. Again these foods (being processed with additives) trigger the wrong things in our bodies leading to inflammation, possible illness, etc!

 

Pregnancy and Food — Another potential big influencer —- When a pregnant mother eats, the fetus is getting the nutrients from that food to help grow, if they’re eating large amounts of processed foods with additives, possibly taking medications or other human derived substances…. Would it be so out of reach to say that something could not stem from that? Tests have been done to show how not everything is left in the womb, some things are indeed embedded in the fetus for their lifetime. “Mothers who eat a lot of junk food while pregnant in a way set up their child to be possibly addicted to high fat, high sugar diets when they are weaned” University of Adelaide .

 

Now NO I am not saying go blame your mom, just a few years ago we had NO idea what we do now as far as food and processed food go, the after effects and long term effects certain additives can have. I am writing this to get you aware, if you have a child, if you want to one day, you can do what is best for not only your health but your child’s as well. Now eating a bad meal here and there is not going to necessarily hurt your immune system but start now and try to practice balance. READ NUTRITION LABELS. There are plenty of healthy options now that don’t taste like cardboard. You can get creative with spices, you can order healthier options when out to eat most of the time.

 

Its your life, your priorities just remember to choose wisely.

 

If you’re pregnant or thinking about becoming pregnant and would like help with nutrition, this book is great!      What to Eat When You are Pregnant 

If you would like help with training contact myself or Brady at http://www.Cybfitlab.com for Pre and Post Natal Fitness Help!

Candice@Cybfitlab.com

Brady@Cybfitlab.com

 

 

 

 

 

GOALS, and how to make them become reality

Welp, its almost February….. seriously, how did that happen?

I hate resolutions, I have said it before and I will say it again… I THINK THEY ARE STUPID! You need goals year round, not just in January. You need to always strive to be the best version of yourself, better than yesterday as cliche as that sounds. With goals though, what causes you to typically fall off track? Do you get side tracked? Do you have one road block and give up completely? How many times have you looked back and wished you had started something already? I know I have PLENTY OF TIMES! That is why we need to have goals with an end. Yes some may be far off in the distance but knowing there is an end will just drive you closer to that finish line by being consistent, even if you do fall off… knowing it is right around the corner will cause you to get back up and try again.

Why set an end date?

  • Deadlines = sense of urgency.
    • If you have a date staring at you in the back of your mind you are going to keep going verse giving up.
    • You are going to actually get started versus saying I will do it tomorrow…. and then repeating that again tomorrow… then repeating that again the next day and so on.

 

History tends to repeat itself

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  • Anyone who knows me, knows I LOVE my church, and our pastor Andy Stanley. His above quote goes hand in hand with the point here.
  • What is your main goal? What has caused you give up in the past? History does NOT have to repeat itself right anymore! That deadline can be the change up, the WISE thing for you to do.

Have a big goal, but have small ones set to get you there.

  • Set some smaller goals with end dates, to get you to the big one!
    • EXAMPLE: Have a goal to run a half marathon? – Big goal
      • Run 1 mile without stopping within 2 weeks- mini goal 1
        • achieve this by waking up and running/walking 2-3days a week to start (even minnier (not a word lol) goal)
        • Or use something like skyfit to motivate you 😉
      • Run 3 miles without stopping within 2 weeks – mini goal 2 (after goal 1 is achieved)
      • Run a 5k (within 6 weeks of starting all together) – mini goal 3
        • These are ALL stepping stones to the bigger picture!

 

So what is it that you want to achieve? Put it on paper!

  • Writing things out makes a difference. Seeing it right in front of you will help hold you accountable. Keep it in your vision, the big AND small goals.
  • Constant reminders will make you work.

Find someone to hold you accountable

  • This can be a group or a trainer or a friend
    • Have some coworkers join you on the 5k you want to run, and have them run with you to train for it.
    • Have a healthy eating challenge and come up with a prize at the end.
    • Work with your trainer to come up with a 30 day challenge and have them have a prize for you at the end. I have done this with my many of my clients and it works!

KEEP GOING!

  • Just remember no matter what life throws at you during the process you just have to keep moving towards that end result. Life is NEVER going to be perfect. You have to want the end result, you have to be willing to get back up and know one set back, two set backs, three, four, however many set backs will NOT keep you from achieving it. Just put one foot in front of the other, and remember MIND OVER MATTER, AND GO!

 

YOU CAN DO IT!

XO – C

And if you would like more information on how to train with me personally in Atlanta Click here!

10 Simple Swaps To Get Moving In The Right Direction

Weight loss, adapting a healthier lifestyle, etc is sometimes overwhelming. With so many diet choices and ideas out there what is the RIGHT one for you to do? Well here is some news for you (which most of you probably already know) ….most “diets” don’t work but that discussion is for another day. The TRUE key to really losing weight, getting healthy and staying that way is to make a lifestyle change. A sure fire way to fail at trying to change is to go ALL IN at the beginning. Why? Because if you restrict yourself from everything, and completely try to change who you are overnight you will fail at some point. When you do you will be that much more likely to give up or really really blow it and turn one failure into a multi day, week or month fail.

That is why  baby steps, adapting changes over a period of time and instilling them in your life for the long run is key. That way you can learn to realize that there will be days when you aren’t perfect, but if you are just focusing on small changes you can jump right back where you left off the next day.

Here are 10 easy steps to get you started going in the right direction:

1 – Start with Water…. DRINK IT

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  • Do you drink enough each day? Most of us don’t. But we NEED to, its imperative to weight loss and keeping our bodies functioning how they should.
  • Did you know simply increasing your water intake you can increase your metabolic rate by as much as 30%? Our bodies NEED to stay hydrated. We are made up of 70% water and we need it to ensure our systems function correctly. Start with just adding 1 more glass a day and work your way up to 8-10. Or do like I do and aim to get 3 1 liter bottles in a day. (ps. get over it you’re going to have to pee 😉 )
  • Read more here.

2 – Don’t go down inside aisles at the grocery store

  • Confused with this one? Well the inside aisles primarily contain PROCESSED foods. We all know what these contain… fake stuff. Fake stuff our bodies can’t process. The outside of the grocery store normally consists of whole foods. Think lean proteins, vegetables, fruits, etc. This is what our bodies need.

3 – Take your lunch atleast 4 days a week to work.

  • Something as simple as this can make a big difference not only on your waist line but in your bank account as well. Preparing lunch gives you control. You never know what is in the stuff you order at restaurants. They may have a grilled option of something but they may load it up with butter when they “grill” it…. And salads…. don’t even get me started on these “healthy” options. If they are doused in dressing… you are probably better off getting a burger.

4 – Buy a food scale and measure EVERYTHING

  • Yes everything. This goes in hand with taking your lunch or making any meal for that matter. Most of us don’t pay attention to portion sizes. That can WRECK your nutrition. Look at nutrition labels, most lean proteins servings are are 3-4 oz so that is what you should aim for each meal. Complex carbs, and even fats can be used with one as well.

5 – Drink a cup of lemon water when you first get up

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  • Research shows this helps get your metabolism going first thing in the morning. It also helps flush out toxins you may have in ya and gets you hydrated too. It can even help lubricate joints and increase liver function (for those of us who like a drink now and then this is a plus 😉 ).

6 – Download a tracker app

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  • My fitness pal or something of that nature to help you really see what you are eating each day. I love my fitness pal for the nutrition tracking,  I honestly don’t care for it in regards to the exercise component as its too generic in my opinion. But with nutrition being the biggest component of a weightloss journey, tracking what you eat (calories, carbs, fats, proteins) can make a big difference and be a BIG eye opener.

7- Do something for 10 minutes when you first get up.

  • This can be something as simple as running in place, or crunches or push ups. You can do intervals or whatever, even if it is only 5 minutes to start. It will get your mind right and moving in the right direction!

8 – Set a timer on your phone every 2 hours to remind yourself to walk around your office

  • If you sit all day this is HUGE! Sitting at a desk all day can really really impair your weight loss progress. Even if it is literally just to walk to bathroom or get some water or coffee, getting moving will help your metabolic rate stay up. Research on this subject show that sitting 8-12 hours a day can increase your risk of getting type 2 diabetes by 90%.

8 – Move your scale out of your direct eye site

  • Weighing yourself every day will only mess with your head. frustrationBelieve me I have been there. Our bodies can fluctuate day to day easily, even morning to night. Weigh yourself in the morning when you have no food in you, and then do it later in the day and it will ABSOLUTELY be different. Hello food that you ate.
  • ONLY weigh yourself once every few weeks and at the SAME TIME of day.  Remember muscle gain (which we need to burn fat) can cancel out weight on the scale because it is denser. How your clothes fit and how you feel is what matters not what the scale says.

9 – Cut back on alcohol.

  • Yes you read that right. Alcohol can deter progress because it is an “empty” calories. Meaning it does nothing for you, except slow your metabolism and dehydrate you. Two things you DONT want when trying to lose weight. If you are going to drink, choose mixers like soda water and add lime, or drink 1 glass of wine not a whole bottle :).

10 – GET SLEEP

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  • Again just like drinking water, fail on this step and it will only slow you down. Your body repairs itself at night, and resets cortisol levels which help regulate your body. Aim to get even 1 more hour a night than you do now if you struggle here. Start winding down earlier, shut down your phone and tablets. Focus on you! ( And if you need help in this area check these out )

Slap in the face……

Current situation…… Me, on the couch, ice pack on my shoulder, mad at myself for letting my shoulder get this bad. I’m also contemplating how exactly 1) my claustrophobic self is going to survive being put in a small space for an decent amount of time later this week without taking a large amount of medicine to calm myself…. or wine, lots of it… 2) Who is going to hold me down as they try to inject some junk in my shoulder before hand… I have had an MRI before of my head, and it was an “open” MRI…. (my a**), there was still stuff on all sides of me and I freaked out, this should be fun.

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As I am sitting here thinking all this, I also suddenly get a slap in the face thought of, “SHUT UP you still have your arm, you still have your health, you can walk, you just included in your weekly newsletter how working out is a blessing, AND you talked with one of your clients today about this very thing….” Ugh hi reality check.

Disclaimer **** This isn’t a normal fitness post, so if you are expecting that you’ll be disappointed, but if you are going to let that disappoint you then you should definitely keep reading.

I am human, I have good days and bad days. We all do! We each have issues we are going to face in life. It can get frustrating at times because it can feel like one thing after another. You think you are on the up…. and then you only get knocked down again. At earlier times in my life I would let these times get the best of me for way too long, then luckily I found new perspective. Now I typically catch myself when these things happen and attempt to look at them differently (key word attempt). I am now thankful for times like these even if I can’t see the reason right then and there. Yes I said thankful and I will tell you why…

First off like I said my perspective has changed. I relate it to my faith, but it can also just be from following people who look at things with a glass half full mentality. I have also surrounded myself with these type of people, and I promise not having negative Nancys in your life make a BIG difference! I then start to think back of all things that were “bad” in my past and how they helped me in some way. I try to actually write these things down when I think of them so I can actually look at them when frustrating times come. To be real the past month or so has definitely been on the down…. things I thought were going to come to pass didn’t or got put on the back burner and in turn have made me work on that whole patience thing I am not good at. Good news is I can sense and know it is about to change (perspective), and I know months like that are part of life!

I know this because I can look at my past with things like:

  • Rheumatoid Arthritis —– lead me to my career I have now.
  • Certain breakups —– saved me from settling. Opened my eyes to things I may need to change as well as red flags in new relationships.
  • Eating disorder ——- my love for nutrition and helping others with it.
  • Lonely nights—- Found faith in God.

I could keep going but you see what I mean. I consider all of those and many more to be blessings in disguise! Those things all lead to building me, to preparing me for good later down the road. Right now I know no matter if I have to have surgery, or not I will NEVER wait this long to go see a doctor as they predict it just made it that much worse. (I may or may not have been having pain in June….. It is almost November, trainer fail for sure).

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My reason for sharing all of this, is because I want you to realize life is never going to be perfect. We really need to try to appreciate each day as everything could change in a blink of an eye. I say all the time I am by NO MEANS perfect but I have the mentality now that I have to be thankful everyday for the good AND bad stuff life throws me. Some days are and will be harder than others but I know my attitude and my future depend on me making the best of each of them. Presently my shoulder may suck, but I have the ability to get it fixed if I have to, I have a car to take me there, friends and family to help me, and I have a job that allows me to afford health insurance… on my own :/. But regardless all these things are small but they make me appreciate the big (life).

So no matter what you may be going through you are not alone, we all have our own struggles in our lives. They may be different but that doesn’t discredit them from being hard. It is up to us alone to find the positive in each though, find the silver lining. If we can do that most days, life will be more about whats happening FOR us than TO us…. and we will be better people because of it.

C 🙂