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

Coming clean….. Eating disorders and Food…. From me

In todays world the media puts so much emphasis on the latest “diet trends” or “fads”, the new workouts celebrities are doing, etc. While some of these are bad, some are not terrible and can work. You hear about those who have food addictions, those whose eating patterns have caused them to gain a substantial amount of weight. There is not as much focus on another type of food addiction, or lack there of, meaning those who are addicted to NOT eating enough, who let NOT eating control them, or even binging and purging. My guess is there is not as much focus because it is NOT pretty, an ugly side to “skinny”. In my opinion a whole lot uglier than those who are overweight just trying to lose. Reality is that both are JUST as dangerous. Obesity and NOT eating can BOTH kill you.

I personally think it is hard for a lot of women to admit they have an issue with food either way (and men for that matter). Why do I feel this way? Well for starters I used to be one of them, and it took me a while to even acknowledge that I was suffering from one of these diseases.

If you follow me at all/ really know me you probably know about my diagnosis with Rheumatoid Arthritis in college, and how I used that dark time as motivation and inspiration to hopefully help others. As well as lead me to the career I have now. Truth is there is an even darker time in my life that came before that most people (even some very close to me) do not know about…. For years I have all but blocked it from my brain as if it never happened because it hurts me to think back. Why? I am not completely sure but imagine because I am so much of a different person now than I was then. More often than not now I think the big man upstairs forces us to bring those pains back into our lives full surface, not for hurt but to use for good in some way. I am pretty confident God has been forcing me to face this for a while now so I have finally chosen to do so.

A little history ……

I graduated high school in 2004, was in a good relationship, seemed happy, was a typical teenager. I had always wanted to go The University of Alabama but decided to stay in state and go to Kennesaw….. for a guy (bad choice #1). I wasn’t fat by any means, but I was definitely thick, ate like crap, drank all the time and food meant nothing really to me. Growing up I can remember my mom getting me Dairy Queen Blizzards almost daily (and I still love those btw 😉 ). In 2005 I had surgery on my tonsils and was unable to eat solid food for a while, this caused me to drop weight which I had never really done before. My boyfriend made me feel like it was a good thing SO I figured I was continue to try to lose. I had a job I worked at part time while in school that allowed me to be on the internet a lot. I researched and found information on how if you restricted calories you would really lose weight. So I started counting, I wouldn’t eat over 1000 a day, and weight was falling off! I thought it was great….

I would only eat 100 calorie things most of the time, you can read how I feel about those more here . Long story short those things are filled with absolutely no nutrients a lot of sugar and just plain crap, so only eating 1000 calories a day of basically junk my body was depleted of all nutrients…bad. This continued for a while and I eventually started restricting myself more. Eating fewer and fewer calories. Although I never literally starved myself completely, I let food and calories consume me. If I were to eat 1 calorie over how ever many I was aiming for that day it would eat (no pun intended) me up inside.

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By 2006 I had gotten down to about 100 lbs (I am 5’8 btw (not ok)). I was also planning on transferring to the University of Alabama in the fall. I was still in the relationship but was miserable. Not necessarily because of him either, but because of me. I can remember the look on my moms face when she looked at me, she and other family members would say things but I just brushed them off. I can remember if I was to sit for a while and go to stand up I would see stars, but didn’t think anything of it. After all skinny was what every girl wanted right?

My mom was persistent for a while about me getting help. I finally went against my will but the information I was given changed me somehow. I really do not remember what was told to me unfortunately but I do remember I committed myself to change, and slowly but surely I did. One thing I remember I had to do was drink those nasty old people drinks like Boost or Ensure multiple times a day…. not exactly the protein shakes I like today ha. I also was not allowed to count calories AT ALL. If I was seen adding anything up I would get in trouble.

Luckily for me this worked. It did NOT happen overnight and when I started at Alabama I still had issues with watching what I ate, but thankfully (and this is the ONLY time I would say this) I drank a lot of beer which led to me eating bad late at night…. which led to weight gain. I would say by the time I was diagnosed with RA I was back to a healthy weight.

As a result of everything I screwed my metabolism and thyroid causing me to have hypothyroidism. My metabolism slowed down so much from lack of food when it did try to process what I ate it didn’t process it effectively. Thankfully that was it though and it can be corrected with medicine everyday (but not exactly fun).

Bottom line

We all have vices, no one is perfect. Everyone has gone through some sort of dark time in their life and if you haven’t you probably will…. but I personally think it is how you choose to deal with them that matters. Use them to inspire or help others by learning from your mistakes. It may have taken me about 10 years to open up about this particular time for me, but I have to say that I am extremely lucky to have only suffered for about a year or so with it. I never fully admitted it was anorexia until recently. Regardless I truly believe it helped form me into who I am today. I have come a LONG way and LOVE food now. I seriously do not know how I ever restricted myself in that way. I pride myself in how much I eat now ha…. I have learned to fuel my body with the right foods and how to work with others teaching them the same.

Treat your body right, you deserve it, it deserves it, and you will live a much more fulfilled life. 🙂

If you or anyone you know may be experiencing or going through an eating disorder, don’t hesitate, work with them to get help. It really could be the difference in life and death.

http://www.eatingdisorders.cc

Surround yourself with the right people

Does your inner circle include people who inspire you?

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Motivation and Inspiration in most peoples lives tend to come from seeing what others are doing and wishing we were doing something as grand…. Comparing ourselves, is it a good thing? Yes and no in my opinion. If it is making you work harder to be the best YOU possible than yes. As long as you understand that you are NOT the other person and you are on your OWN journey then that type of comparison is ok. What is not ok is when you are beating yourself up because you are NOT someone else.

Your inner circle:

It is smart to surround yourself with people that have the same values and beliefs as you. If they don’t you may want to distance yourself because they could in turn be doing the direct opposite in your life. People should build you up and support you, not bring you down!

Comparison to our advantage:

We are all human and I would be a hypocrite if I said I have never wished I was more like someone else. Most of my life growing up especially as a teenage girl I guarantee you I did. I still catch myself sometimes admiring something about someone, but now when I catch myself doing it I use it as motivation. If they are close to me I will talk to them about how they became so successful at whatever it is for example. You should always try and learn from others, just do not try to make your life a direct copy of theirs. If you do I promise, you will only end up frustrated and not where you intended to be.

You and I, you and your best friend, etc … are not the same person, accept it and be happy!

We are ALL made up of unique characteristics that God has given us to use to our advantage. Some of us are more outgoing than others, some of us are better on a computer, more artistic, creative or athletic.  I can assure you I am about a 1 on the creative scale. I see stuff on Pinterest that I think, “oh yea I can totally do that”, then I attempt it… and it lasts a total of 5 minutes either because I am bored or have screwed it up worse than a 5 year olds attempt. But my friends that are creative inspire the heck out of me, one can take old furniture and turn it into something beautiful, I don’t even want to think of what my attempt at something like that would be! I on the other hand am more athletic, and in turn motivate many of my friends in that way.

I have friends who are super witty and quick; Me…. I am sarcastic as they come but my quick wit, yea not so much.  The other night I was just talking to one of my friends about how great he is at being witty and being outgoing making people laugh every morning on air, but in real life struggles with certain communication things. Where as me, I am all about talking and communicating with my friends and family, but with people I do not know, I am normally super shy at first.

Another example, my mom, absolutely LOVES to clean, but exercising isn’t her forte. Where as for me, well clearly you know I LOVE working out, but cleaning…. I don’t like living in filth no, but I dread the thought of vacuuming or laundry… and I came from her!

My dad, he LOVES motorcycles and raced for years, and he can talk to a tree and keep it entertained. Me… although he wishes I did I do not ride motorcycles, and I already touched on the shy thing.

My point?

We ALL have strengths and weaknesses. It is our job to discover what those are and act to build on the right ones! Your inner circle should support you. Whether they are like you in a lot of ways or not. It is always good to surround yourself with like minded people, and there values should be similar to yours, BUT having different strengths and weakness is ok. Learn from each other, and support each other.

Life is all about making the most of the time you do have here. Learn your strengths, build upon them and accept your weaknesses as ok. Work on being the best you possible, and in turn inspire/motivate your friends and family to do the same!

Train with me from ANYWHERE :)

I am so excited to announce I have been given the opportunity to be teamed up with Sky Fit Sports to bring you training right to your smart phone!

So what is it? 

They are live cardio based classes that are streamed directly to you,  for CHEAP! They are starting in the next 2 weeks.

Interested?

Sign up for more information here ——– > signup.skyfitsports.com

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