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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No Bake Protein Packed Peanut Butter Cookie Dough

I know I am not the only one out there who has a sweet tooth. Even with as healthy as I try to be I am human and give in to cravings here and there…. and lets be honest most “healthy” cookies taste “healthy” meaning…. like they came from a forest or are hard as a rock, I could go on….

I love cookies, not ashamed to admit it, and everyone who knows me I have an obsession with peanut butter. So combining the two and knowing it’s truly not bad for me definitely keeps my attention (which can be hard to do)…

So wanted to share 🙂

What you need:

1 serving:

Mix peanut butter, water, stevia and salt together. Mix protein powder and flour together then add liquid to dry mixture. Stir until dough like consistency. DONE.

Seriosuly that simple. You can add cacao nibs or dark chocolate to it if you wish. You could do this with other flavors/brands I am sure as well but the consistency of the PB quest protein powder makes it super easy.

Macros/Nutrition Info:

Calories – 170, Protein – 25.5 g, Carbs – 5.5g, Fat- 5.5g and only 1.8g sugar!

Yes those calories may be high but they are GOOD calories…. meaning your body will use them right. Know the difference 😉

Get your spoon out and you can thank me later 😉

 

And if you need ANY help, or have questions please do NOT hesitate to contact me!

CandiceCFitness@gmail.com 🙂

What the heck is “skinny fat”?

Well I will start off by saying that I use to be a poster child for it. If you have never read my blog about my struggles…      Coming Clean….. Eating Disorders and Food…. From me   do so. I used to count calories like no other, but it did NOT matter what they were. Oh and I did cardio, ALOT of time on the elliptical. I was unhealthy, looked gross, and was 100% skinny fat…..

Unfortunately a lot of people are skinny fat. Just because someone looks thin on the outside does NOT mean they are healthy. They can carry just as much if not more visceral fat than those who are obese. Visceral fat is the most dangerous to have as it accumulates around organs such as the pancreas, heart and liver and then can begin to release hormones and other secretions into the bloodstream that can lead to disease.

Recent studies have concluded that,”Older adults with normal BMIs (well-known to be an imperfect measurement) but high levels of body fat are at greater risk for cardiovascular disease and death than previously realized, according to a 2013 study published in the American Journal of Cardiology. More recently, a 2014 report on people with “normal weight obesity”—normal BMI, high body fat—found that they have a significantly higher risk of metabolic problems and death from these diseases than any other group.” Time Magazine

If someone who is naturally thin is not utilizing resistance training into a workout routine, if they are just doing cardio and not watching what they eat, they are definitely a target of making skinny fat a reality.

So how can this be reversed? Or prevented? Add resistance to build lean muscle, women you will NOT get bulky by touching a weight. Work with someone to discover how you should eat, how you should train, etc. Feeding your body right will not only help your metabolism and body start working properly but it will help tone and rebuild those muscles you are breaking down during training. Which in turn will give you a more toned look! Winning 🙂

Bottom line is, take care of yourself. Don’t assume just because you are skinny that you are healthy. Watch what you eat, even if you can put away a pizza late at night and feel like you don’t gain a pound, it is NOT a smart idea to do…..

Lets make the best choices possible here on out 🙂 – C

 

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!

Getting Real About 2015…

So truth be told I’ve missed doing these things (blogs) ….. so naturally as my schedule starts to fill up with new year fitness craziness I have decided I am going to add atleast a bi weekly post to the mix. Just be busier right? Of course…. lol

So why not go ahead and start now?

As I am writing this it is Tuesday and almost the new year so why not talk about some transformation…. and one involving me personally. I pride myself on being real. Letting you all see that I struggle just like everyone else, that life is filled with ups and downs. This post is no different….

2015 was a pretty good year. As it closes I’m definitely proud of where I’m going. Happy with myself physically and for the most part spiritually. Work is good even though I still feel like I am trying to discover exactly who I am in this whole fitness and health world. I love helping people, love training my clients, love motivating a lot of you I’ve never even met… and love learning more and more every day on how to be better at what I do :). But what does that mean long term? I own my own business and I have been so lucky to been given multiple opportunities to grow within the past year. Always learning and growing is something that I never want to stop, each day being better than yesterday (or aiming to atleast) just like I preach.

I have also learned that one thing I don’t want is to own my own gym or anything of that nature besides my personal training business and ID Life. The whole being tied down thing (meaning one location lol) isn’t me. I’ve learned that this year too. I’m happy being a part of a variety of different things and learning. I mean I pretty much work 4 “jobs” right now all within fitness and health and I love each of them

Of course this year was not perfect, life isn’t perfect and never will be. Along with good there is normally some bad. No matter what though bad situations always bring us to a better place, we grow in tough times. This year was no surprise. One of the bad things this year was when I was pretty much asked to leave one job….. with no real explanation. Even though I cant say I was truly happy there and hadn’t thought of leaving, getting somewhat blindsided when you had never been told you had done anything wrong just plain sucks! It definitely does a number to your self esteem regardless of what the circumstance is. I can honestly say now I am happy it happened though as I have gotten even better opportunities since. So in yo in face place that will rename nameless. Bad —->>> Good :).

This year I also had some minor health stuff go on, a few scares, but luckily all panned out well. I still have some issues with my shoulder but it is minor in comparison to what I know some people endured. Had some family health scares too, but luckily all are well now. Other blah moments were having some people walk away from my life that I never thought would, and some that I am glad now did. Some financial stresses, some faith stresses, and some family stresses….. but reading all of that back these are MINOR as I have had multiple friends lose loved ones, friends have miscarriages, friends themselves or someone in their family get diagnosed with cancer, tumors, have strokes, etc.

So why am I taking the time to write all of this out?
Because as the year ends I think we all need to stop and reflect, think of things that we do have, what we may need to do next year and look at our abilities to do so. Even if we/you are in a bad place right now in some way look at the bigger picture. You know you can work to overcome whatever it may be, as you have overcome plenty in the past. IE—- A TRANSFORMATION OCCURS

For example… with me :

This year my confidence has definitely grown in many ways thanks to some harder times.  To my clients who motivate me just as much as I do them to be better, to my friends and family in the same way. One of the biggest ways though is seeing how this once super shy girl can now get in front of many and turn into a drill sergeant, how I can open up and be real with others. To the most current way at my new role at CYB FitLab getting to work with someone whom I didn’t even know 3 months ago except for him being my friends husband and already learning so much. Seeing how far he has come has given me so much motivation and confidence in myself and hope for 2016 and beyond and where I can go.

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I definitely believe my confidence has improved because I have gotten my faith back on the right path where I feel like I kind of veered from a few years ago. I have some of my closest friends to thank for that. I believe in myself because of the abilities I have been given, because of my purpose. I am now focused on living right and more to make a difference in people than anything else.

The transformation in my confidence in my body my body physically has improved as well, which is something I can honestly say has not been the case in years past. I had struggled for years with this issue and the issue of food… but thats for another day and if you are saying thats crazy please go back and read my blog  | Eating Disorders and Coming Clean |  because its the truth. I can honestly really say I have found a balance which has led me to want to really promote that within others, and I am happy.

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I still have a long way to go, but I am hopeful. Everyday is a new chance and seeing a new year is truly a blessing. Of course there are many things I wish I could change, or were different as do most, but I know that my life isn’t my plan. I am just trying to do my best at what I have been given. Going in each day focusing on what I should be and hopefully succeeding with the goals I have set for myself and to impact someone in a positive way each and every day no matter big or small.

When you stop and look at the good and the bad of everything it really is all relative. Everything really DOES happen for a reason, and knowing so makes life a lot easier no matter the circumstance. So are you with me to go into this new year with a new mentality not to set unrealistic resolutions but to appreciate what you do have, what you can do with it and really just push yourself each day to be better and see where you can go. Take the mindset that if something bad happens it is happening for you, versus to you, even if you can’t understand the why right now. I hope you will.

With all that said have a safe and happy new year and I will be seeing you in 2016! Who is ready !??!

C 🙂