Monday, February 06, 2017

Top 5 Exercises for Every Mom
Moms are constantly bending, twisting, and lifting to move kids and carry babies. As kids get heavier and more squirmy, the likelihood of getting a back injury from caring for them increases. To prevent injury and excess fatigue it is a great idea for moms to have a routine that is specific fitness for women. For all women with young kids strong core muscles are imperative to injury prevention. The core muscles include the rectus abdominus, external and internal obliques, transverse abdominus, quadratus lumborm, lumbar erector spinae, and gluteals... put simply, your tummy, back, and butt muscles.

Top 5 Exercises for Every Mom

#1: Planks

The BEST exercise to increase total core strength safely and effectively is a plank. Planks are a simple exercise for women and can be done virtually anywhere. They are a very safe, and can even be done during late pregnancy. Planks are done for time, so it is very easy to see increases in strength... and better yet, strength improves quickly! Once you can complete 3 sets of 1 minute planks in perfect form, there are countless ways to make them more challenging and fun.

Here is what to do...

Lay on the floor on your tummy, plant elbows firmly and directly below shoulders, plant toes firmly on the floor, contract your core muscles to lift your body off the floor- start your timer. You should be in a perfectly straight line from your ankles to your head, try to keep your neck relaxed, and draw your shoulder blades down your back. Hold this form as long as you can, the second your butt sags or raises STOP-- and stop your timer. Try to complete 3 sets of 30-60 second planks at least four days a week. Remember your goal is to reach 3 sets of 1 minute planks... You will improve very quickly with this exercise, so keep pushing your time up gradually!

#2: Rows

One of the best exercises for women to improve posture is rows. There are many variations of rows that can be done at home or at the gym including upright rows, compound rows, and bent-over rows. The rowing motion targets the rhomboid major and minor muscles that are responsible for keeping the shoulder blades (scapulae) retracted which keeps the upper back from rounding. Maintaining strength in these muscles is very important for moms, especially those with babies. Breastfeeding and cradling a baby both encourage shoulder rounding which can lead to back pain, shoulder pain, and neck pain. Rows are the best exercise to strengthen the back and combat shoulder rounding in a balanced way. All women's fitness routines, regardless of their 'mommy status', should include rows to maintain strength of important posture muscles, decrease the likelihood of neck pain, and prevent unsightly humps in the upper back.

Here is what to do...

Complete 3 sets of 12-18 reps of a row exercise, two or three days per week. To determine the appropriate weight for yourself remember that the last 3-5 reps should be difficult to complete in each set... start at a lower weight, and raise it until you find the right weight. (Many women underestimate their strength, make sure to push yourself a bit, you will not see any strength gains if the weight is too light!) If you are including upright rows, or compound rows here are a few very important tips for injury prevention: for perfect form- try to pull your shoulder blades down and back into your back pockets, do not lean back more than 15 degrees, and never strain to finish a set.

#3: Bicep Curl & Press

It's no surprise to many mamas out there, but you need very strong arms to be carting kids around all day. One of the best ways to ensure safety for yourself and your kids while lifting them is to make sure you are strong enough to do it! The motion of lifting babies or children up off the ground involves many muscle groups, a few that need to be strengthened in most women are the biceps and the deltoids. Combining the movement of a bicep curl with an overhead press is the best way to strengthen the arms for the motion of lifting kids. Combo moves are great to add to a women's fitness routine because they are more complicated movements for the body to complete and result in increased heart rate and calorie burn.

Here is what to do...

Complete 3 sets of 12-18 reps of biceps curl & press, two or three days per week. (To determine the appropriate weight for yourself remember that the last 3-5 reps should be difficult to complete in each set... start at a lower weight, and raise it until you find the right weight.)

Find a set of dumbbells that you can complete a few reps of overhead presses with. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart, hold dumbbells in both hands with palms facing forward, tighten your core, complete biceps curls by moving your forearm until your hands are near your shoulders, then rotate weights so that palms face forward again, and compete an overhead press by pushing weights up over your head until arms are straight, slowly lower weights to the starting position, and repeat.

#4: Squats

Toned buns are on the to-do list for many women and need to be moved to the top of the list for many mamas! Strong butt muscles are essential for performing daily tasks safely such as lifting kids, carrying groceries, climbing stairs, moving furniture, etc. Women's fitness routines should include lifts to target these muscles. Most people are familiar with the popular lifting mantra "lift with your legs", but many people have no idea how actually do it! The saying is a bit of a misnomer, in actuality, you lift with your butt and your legs. Think about the example of standing and lifting a child up on to your hip, there is a correct and an incorrect way to do it...

Incorrect: bend forward from the waist, grab the child, use your back to pull your upper body back to an upright position.

Correct: squat down so you are closer to the ground, grab the child, use your legs to push your body up to a standing position.

This simple mistake is the cause of countless at-home injuries everyday. The incorrect way uses mainly low back muscles and forces your low back into weighted extension that is very bad for your back (*remember this is a chiropractor writing this article! ) The correct way of lifting puts most of the weight on the butt and legs, for most women these are the strongest muscles of the body! Why not let them do all the work? Whether you are carrying kids, moving boxes or furniture, or hauling groceries it is imperative that you have correct lifting form EVERY TIME!

The best way to strengthen the lower body muscles used for lifting kids, etc. is squats. Squats mimic the movements of proper lifting form so they are a perfect choice to add to a women's exercise regimen. They target the gluteus maximus, but still work the smaller, deeper gluteal muscles too. Squats are easy fitness for women because they can be done anywhere!

Here is what to do...

Complete 3 sets of 20-25 squats two or three days per week. Add hand weights as your three sets get too easy.

Stand with your feet slightly wider than shoulder width (like 1-2"), point your toes forward, keep your chest up and find a point in front of you to focus on, begin squatting down by pushing your butt back and bending your knees at the same time, the goal is to get your thighs parallel to the ground, then use your muscles to push you back up to standing position.

INJURY PREVENTION TIPS: Visualization- think about sitting down in a chair that is a bit too far behind you, so you really have to stick your butt out to prevent falling. You should ALWAYS BE ABLE TO SEE YOUR TOES, if not you are doing it wrong! Keep all of your weight on your heels. Keep your core tight to protect your lower back.

#5: Intervals

Fitness for women gets complicated when those ladies are moms too. Moms are always running out of time to get things done, especially things for themselves. Mamas must remember that taking care of your body will directly benefit your children. They will model what you do, if you make exercise a priority for yourself, you are much more likely to raise healthy, active children. So, no Mommy Guilt OK? Even for avid gym mamas, getting more than 30 minutes in is challenging at times. Moms need a cardio workout that will maximize the time they have to dedicate. This is why we recommend interval training for every mom! Intervals provide an amazing workout in a short amount of time and can be modified for any fitness level. They consist of varying speeds to challenge your system, but also provide a recovery period so you don't burn out. Interval training challenges the cardiovascular system to increase lung capacity, improve the function of the heart, burn calories, and more. Not to mention give you some killer tone in your legs! You can complete an interval workout on a treadmill, on the trail, or just around your neighborhood. Perfect for beginners as well as those with fitness experience.


Here is what to do...

There are countless ways to do an interval workout, this is only one example... stay connected with us, there will be more to come!

If you are a beginner: Choose a walking pace that is comfortable, but pushing you a bit, complete a proper 5 minute warm up at this pace then some dynamic stretching. Start your timer and increase your speed to a slow jog for 2 minutes. Then slow to your walking pace for 1 minute to recover. Continue to repeat for 7-10 sets (21-30min.).

If you are experienced: Choose a jogging pace that is comfortable, but pushing you a bit, complete a proper 5 minute warm up at this pace then some dynamic stretching. Start your timer and increase your speed to a fast jog/slow sprint for 2 minutes (a pace that will push you). Then slow your run to a jog for 1 minute to recover. Continue to repeat for 10 sets (30 min.).

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Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Beginners Guide to Ab Planks
Now you have made the effort to start working out. You are ready to get in shape and transform your body. While you are lifting weights, running and doing everything possible to improve your physique you need to pay close attention to the foods that you are eating. You may not be aware that there are some foods that need to be avoided after a grueling workout.

Do Not Eat These 10 Foods After Your Next Workout

After you have put yourself through a strenuous training and exercise session your appetite could easily rev into overdrive. You might just find yourself craving salted snacks, sweet treats or one of your favorite sodas. These cravings can be very intense and many people give in to their "gourmet" desires because they figure that they have already burned off a number of calories. Surely just one little treat is not going to cause any problem.

Unfortunately it seems that the very foods that you tend to crave the most are the same ones that can kill that diet. You should also realize that you can quench those food cravings with a banana, carrot, raisins or a protein drink. Here is a primer that alerts you to the 10 worst foods to eat after you have been working out.

Do Not Eat These 10 Foods After Workout Sessions at The Gym!

Popcorn with Salt and Butter

1. Popcorn with Salt and Butter - This snack is still bad for your body, even if you omit the butter. When you are eating popcorn that has been seasoned with salt you are just overloading your system with sodium. When electrolytes are depleted you lose potassium as well as sodium, and need to take care when you are attempting to replace these essential nutrients.

2. Salted Nuts - Once again it is the salt that is going to be the problem if you choose this snack after a workout. Sure your body needs to have the electrolytes replaced but pure salt is not the best option. Try eating some fruit or drinking a sports drink to satisfy that craving. You could even select some unsalted nuts to eat if you are strongly drawn to eating sunflower seeds, walnuts, pecans or peanuts.

Yogurt Cooated Raisins

3. Yogurt Cooated Raisins - Are a popular snack item found at many gyms. This is a food which looks much healthier than it proves to be in reality. If you choose this product after a workout you are delivering a double dose of sugars and calories to your system. The plain truth is devastating. When you eat sugar you are going to slow your metabolism and stop that rapid weight loss that you are working so hard to achieve. Experts are still trying to raise consumer awareness about the health dangers posed by sugar. While sugary foods taste wonderful there can be long-term consequences for your body if you continue to indulge in foods that satisfy your wicked sweet tooth. (The raisins have natural fruit sugars and then there are processed sugars used to make that decadent yogurt coating.)

Peanut Butter and Jelly

4. Peanut Butter and Jelly - Is another of the food choices that you need to avoid after a workout. These seemingly harmless ingredients are often used to make snacks and sandwiches, so what is the problem? Isn't peanut butter a protein-packed food? That's true, but both of these items include concentrated sugars. Once again you are working out to lose weight and boost your metabolism. Eating sugars will only work against you by slowing down your weight loss results. When you eat sugar you are applying an internal braking system that will serve to slow down the speed at which your metabolism is burning calories.
5. Popular Sodas with Sugars and Caffeine - This should be a "no-brainer". You have to give up those sugary sodas if you want to lose weight and get healthy. Most sodas contain about 100-150 calories in an eight ounce serving. When you get thirsty after an intense workout you could easily down 2-3 servings while you are cooling off. Think of how many calories you could consume in just a few minutes. Think about all of the sugars and chemicals you will be drinking. Imagine how bloated you are going to feel even if you only consume a single serving of a carbonated drink? These reasons should be more than enough to make you give those popular sodas a pass, especially after a workout session.

Do Not Eat These 10 Foods After Your Next Workout - Hot Dog

6. Hot Dog - Is a food which should be avoided by any conscientious dieter. Let's face it. A hot dog contains fats, oils, chemicals and other compounds that your body just does not need. The aroma of a freshly cooked hot dog can be tantalizing but you should not give in to the temptation. If you eat hot dogs after a workout you will just be negating almost all of the positive benefits that your body has just achieved. It has also been shown that hot dogs can increase your cholesterol counts. This means that this food choice is a bad one for any individual who is serious about losing weight and improving their physical health.

7. Pizza - Contains fats and sugars. Your system has just been stripped due to that vigorous workout. Now you may be in that prime "fat-burning" zone. Do you really want to ruin your efforts by devouring calorie-laden slices of pizza? The bread dough alone will deliver high amounts of processed, refined carbohydrates that can easily overwhelm your metabolism. Those extra calories from the slices of pizza will simply be stored as excess fat.

8. Muffins - Are warm and aromatic pastry treats that deliver fantastic flavor. Some individuals choose a muffin to eat after a workout. Their reasoning is that they are going to be able to replace the carbs and glycogen that they burned when they were exercising. The trouble with this reasoning is that a muffin can contain an excessive amount of calories, refined carbs and empty nutrients. Your body does not need refined carbohydrates and empty nutrients. Avoid muffins and other pastry products if you have just completed a tiring workout at the gym.

Do Not Eat These 10 Foods After Your Next Workout - Doughnuts

9. Doughnuts - Are not approved for most healthy diets. The high number of calories in one of these glazed treats could exceed the number of calories that you have just burned during your workout. Let's not even discuss the sugar content of doughnuts.

10. Energy Bars - May not be the best food to choose immediately after a tiring workout. The problem is once again due to the sugars that are included in these popular nutrition products. An energy bar is basically designed to give you the energy that you need for running or exercising. If you eat some of these energy bars after a workout you will be slowing your metabolism and adding extra calories that will eventually be stored as unwanted fat.

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