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