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

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 🙂

Happiness Is…..

My pastor Andy Stanley just wrapped a great series about Happiness. I know I am SUPER guilty of always looking into the future in a way of thinking, “when this happens things will be better, or when that happens”, etc. Who else thinks like that often? I am sure many of us do.

One of the main points Andy made today was how helping others is the key to happiness, not money, not achieving some goal, but simply giving away your time. There is research to prove it as well apparently, decreased anxiety, increased immune function, patience, overall well being, I could go on and on.

Being someone who works with individuals to reach goals like weight loss I see a lot of people who get frustrated. They get so focused on the goal they will lose sight of everything else they already do have. Pushing other things away (like family, friends and other activities that used to make them happy) out of fear that it will jeopardize their progress. This right here is a one way ticket to failure…. why? Of course being focused on your goals is GREAT but you CANNOT make it your life. If you do you will NEVER EVER be satisfied.

Now you may be thinking, but you say all the time to work hard toward goals, and no excuses, etc. And yes you are right as I do say that, but it does NOT mean the healthy things you already have in your life need to be put on the back burner.

My point in all of this, if you are trying to gain a healthy lifestyle, lose weight, improve nutrition, your physique, etc you need to be sure as you are doing all the right things you are also not becoming so self involved you change mentally in a bad way. It is fantastic you are taking the initiative to be better, but you need to work on being better not only physically but mentally as well. THAT will entail you still being there for others, and seeing other things in life besides your goal. Make sure you are still making time for those you love, your church if you attend one, your friends and other things you enjoy too.

Happiness isn’t a “once I get there” type of thing, its an everyday thing, an everyday thing you have to choose. So choose how you live, how you approach and go after your goals wisely. 🙂

What do you see?

When you look into the mirror what do you see? Do you see someone you envisioned yourself being 5, 10, 20 years ago? Chances are probably not. We all try to plan out our lives and hope things work out the way WE want them too, but more often than not we end up somewhere completely different. Sometimes it is a good thing, sometimes not so much. I know I thought 10 years ago I would be working as an Investment Banker…. well that definitely turned out well. Truth is though, I wouldn’t be the person I am today if I had taken that path, I wouldn’t be writing this, chances are I wouldn’t care about my health this much and I probably wouldn’t be in the physical condition I am because of what typically accompanies that job. Am I saying I chose the wrong path? Nope, only God knows that but I sure know I feel like I am making more of a difference in others lives now than I ever would be doing that!

When you look at yourself are you happy with everything you have? And I mean truly happy? Do you like your job? Who are the people you hang around with? Do they push you to be better or are they just fine working doing the same thing everyday just to get by? Maybe you have had some unexpected health issues come into your life, have you let them get the best of you, made your attitude do a complete 180 about life because of them? I could go on and on, but my point is this… ALL of these things can be changed if you answered accordingly to any of them. But YOU have to want to make that change, YOUR attitude, YOUR life, YOUR choices.

We all end up at different places in life depending on the choices we make. God gives us opportunities and hardships but WE are responsible for choosing what our attitude is towards them and what direction we go. Taking the easy way out and settling is NOT what HE intends for us. Most of us still have plenty of years ahead, but its up to us to make the most of them. Make those changes deep down you know you need to. If you find yourself getting defensive when multiple people bring something up to you that is probably a sign that something needs to change whether you want to admit it or not. We can all be successful, it won’t happen overnight, there will be obstacles along the way but there is no reason you cannot change where you are now.

Take chances, trust in your Faith. As my Pastor Andy Stanley says, “Direction, not Intention, determines your destination.”

Think on it….. and make it a great week 🙂

If you would like to make changes working in the fitness and health and wellness industry, contact me healthyfitgirlcfitness@gmail.com .

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TOP 10 REASONS TO DRINK WATER

Do you drink enough water?  I find this is a big problem for many of my clients at the beginning of training with them…. and while some improve right away and see results, others struggle everyday. Just like any other habit if you are not accustomed to drinking water throughout your day you have to work at it. Think about it this way, do you drink soda everyday, or coffee? How long have you been doing that? It is a habit that was built after doing it a series of times. In the same way adding water into your daily “routine” will take time too! Just making small changes here and there can AND WILL make a difference in how you feel and your health!

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Here are the top 10 reasons (in my opinion) to start drinking that H20!

  1. It is vital to your survival. Yes, you read that right. If you did not EVER have water you would die. Our bodies are made up of 60% water, so without it our bodies internal systems (digestion, circulation, body temperature, absorption, etc) could not function——- so we would not be functioning (aka dead). I don’t sugar coat :).
  2. It is important for muscle performance during and after exercise. Chances are if you are reading this you are at least “thinking” about exercise and making a healthy lifestyle change. In order for your muscles to perform properly they must be hydrated or they and your performance will suffer. You also lose water during exercise (sweat) so it must be replaced, which is why it is recommended that you are drinking before, during, and after exercise.
  3. It helps your skin. Your skin requires water to maintain its suppleness, if you are dehydrated skin will look more wrinkled and dry. (no it will not erase wrinkles, but it can help prevent them in the first place).
  4. Help mood. Some researchers say dehydration can cause moodiness in some. Just like hunger ;). Drink up.
  5. Can prevent hunger. A lot of times when we experience what we think are food cravings, we are actually just thirsty. Rule of thumb, if you feel that way drink a big glass of water, then see if you still feel that way.
  6. Help with digestion and cleanse your body. Our digestive system just like all others require water to function. The more you drink the more efficient it is in cleaning ya out of toxins and other stuff built up inside ya.
  7. Kidney function booster! Our kidneys sift through waste and transport urine to our bladder to be excreted. They need water to function so just like with digestion their process can be improved the more they work.
  8. Fight fatigue. Dehydration can cause you to feel lethargic. Drinking a cold glass of water has been shown to wake you up during your mid afternoon slump. Skip the caffeine and try that instead!
  9. Hangover help! Alcohol acts as a diuretic, causing the body to urinate more than you consume in the amount you drink. Always make sure you are well hydrated before drinking alcohol and try and drink water in between drinks. When you are hungover you are essentially dehydrated and your body’s water needs to be restored to get balanced again.
  10. Health. Think of water as a way to flushing out all the bad toxins, etc we get from our environment and processed foods most people consume. Our bodies are not built to process these pollutants so drinking water can help restore them. Look at other countries where cancer and other major diseases are not as prevalent, they do not have as much processed stuff as we do in the US. But that topic is for another day, just know it relates to this in a way that water CAN HELP!

Hydration is imperative to proper bodily function. One way to help ensure you maintain these levels is not only drinking enough water but also by adding in Hydrate . I use it daily, it tastes great and is ALL natural no artificial crap just the right amounts of vitamins and minerals our bodies need to keep hydration in line.

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Remember our bodies need to be good on the inside to truly look good on the outside. Nutrition INCLUDING water consumption definitely gets them there.

Bottoms up! 😉

Questions about hydrate or any other ID Life products? Contact me or order directly through here! Remember we are ALL natural and offer one of the only customizable nutrition products out there. Love your body, its the only one you get!