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

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

 

 

 

 

 

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 🙂

Are you ready?!

Are you ready to take your fitness and health to the next level? To get it where you KNOW it SHOULD be!? I am taking NEW clients in the Buckhead/ Atlanta area for 1 on 1 and small group training … Continue reading

Sugar….. and what it actually does to your body

I have a sweet tooth, and I am not ashamed to admit it. Give me cookies, and I could probably eat a dozen easily if I lacked any will power. However, I do have will power that I have developed over time and part of the reason for that is knowing what sugar actually does to my body when I ingest it. Primarily added sugars, or manufactured sugars. Moderation, again as I state all the time is the key.

So what happens exactly when you eat sugar? And what is it?

Sugar when eaten is broken down by your digestive enzymes into glucose and fructose. Now glucose is a form of something our body uses for energy, but too much of it can cause harmful side effects.

  • Glucose
    • When absorbed causes our pancreas to release insulin which in turns takes the glucose to your cells to be used as energy. However too much insulin can cause the blocking of leptin (the hunger hormone) which makes you feel hungry even though you just ate… this can also cause your body to be tricked to storing glucose as belly fat because it thinks it is in starvation mode.
    • It can also cause serotonin to be released which causes sugar crashes (as it is your sleep regulating hormone)
    • Too much insulin can also cause your body to not release enough dopamine over time which makes you feel good…. this leads to cravings and can cause addiction like mentality. (btw this is also what happens by the brain when you do cocaine ).
    • Over time your bodies cells can become resistant to insulin which causes an overload of it in your blood stream which leads to different forms of diabetes.
  • Fructose
    • Acts and is absorbed in a similar manner to glucose but is metabolized in your liver
    • Your liver can easily be overwhelmed if you eat too much fructose containing foods and cause fat to grow within it…. aka fatty liver disease
    • It also can cause your “good” cholesterol to lower (HDL) which in turn increases triglyceride levels. And that fat can actually be carried to your arteries from your liver which leads to increased heart attack and stroke risk

 

The thing is SOOOO many of processed foods contain both forms of sugar. Natural food like fruit does too but we aren’t as prone to eat too much of that stuff and some sugar is not a bad thing (in its natural form) as it helps with energy. By taking measures to LOOK at food labels, and cut back on the stuff everyday that contains a lot of sugar you can really decrease your risk for so many diseases like diabetes. I am also a FIRM believer (as I have seen results first hand) that eliminating a lot of sugar from our diets improves our skin as well….. even CELLULITE. Yes cellulite.

In a nutshell, this country has a very large obesity problem, and its sad to say that much of it is caused by the FAKE stuff that many manufacturers (not all) make for us to eat. They know sugar causes cravings, so if they include it in their products they not only taste better but they will get many many repeat buyers who do not know any better. Not to mention processed forms of this stuff is a lot cheaper than the natural forms. But each one of us have to power to choose what we put in our bodies. Treat them as they should be treated. Our bodies are machines and fueled right they will look and perform right, fueled wrong and they will perform like crap and look like crap. Just like you wouldn’t put cheap gasoline in a Ferrari, you shouldn’t put cheap stuff in your body either ;).

Sources : http://www.andjrnl.org/article/S0002-8223(10)00644-9/abstract
womenshealthmag.com
http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/78/4/850S.full

Photo : Credit – Idea Fitness Journal