It’s Beginning to Look A Lot Like…

It’s the season of savings and free goodies!  We’re no different here.

I was seeing Halloween decorations up in September. I was seeing Christmas decorations in the store in August. Which means…it’s almost time to stuff your face for 3 months straight! Before I do that I will definitely be doing another round of Advocare’s 24 day Challenge. Just to feel like I’m starting fresh and maybe help to deter me from a little bit of the bad eating that wouldn’t have said “no” to otherwise. If you have an interest in seeing what it’s all about, message me and I will absolutely get you a discount and a free gift!

24day

My 5 Favorite No Crunch Ab Moves

chocolate-2202083_640Ab workouts are horrible.  Some types of ab workouts do more harm to other areas just by the design of the movement (strain on the neck, weakened pelvic floor, overuse of hip-flexors etc. etc.).  And they’re horrible.  I will never have a “six pack”.   In fact, I usually just refer to my abs as “my ab”…singular.  A day or two after a workout that involves abs you can usually hear me whining like a two year old every so often about how “my AB is sooooooore“.  Because, have I mentioned?  AB WORKOUTS ARE HORRIBLE!  And crunches are the devil. Just saying.  So when I go to the gym or go play volleyball, I try to focus on movements that are multi-functional.

  1. Squats – If you’re not fully engaging your core here YOU’RE NOT DOING IT RIGHT.   Your core needs to be tight all the way from the top to bottom and back up in order to maintain balance and help prevent back strain.
  2. Standing Long Jumps and/or volleyball block/approach jumps – These are my favorite.   Most people think when you block/hit a volleyball your just jump straight up.  But in fact, your body makes more a C formation, just like when you land in a long jump.  In each of these movements your feet are behind you at one point, only to end up in front of you prior to completion.  It’s these movements that contract your abs/core.   And let me tell you, it doesn’t take many reps to start feeling sore if your ab has gotten a bit fluffy.
  3. Hanging Leg Lifts – Whether you do a full on toe to bar or just knee ups, these can engage the abs hard core.  You can overuse your hip-flexors here, so be careful. Arms, legs, abs…this one has it all.
  4. Planks – Oh, the variations of planks are seemingly endless!  This is another one that you KNOW if your core is not engaged the entire time then you’re just not doing the movement correctly.  Just to list a few…
    • Walking Plank
    • Side Plank
    • Reverse Plank
    • Planks with Shoulder Touches
    • Single Arm/Leg Plank
    • X Plank
  5. Medicine ball halo – These always attack the my obliques and different variations will help with balance!

Much like the rest of my chaotic life, most of the time what my workout will actually be is pretty tentative right up until I walk through the gym door. I know this is HORRIBLE, but I hate to plan. It stresses me out. I feel a sense of freedom with nothing is locked down or set in stone.  The one thing I do know is that I don’t do workouts specifically targeted to abs.  Maybe that’s wrong, but it beats the alternative of not working out at all!!

 

Why I Love Yin Yoga

Yin_YogaA couple days ago I posted about all the benefits yoga has brought in just a few short weeks.  However, there are many different types of yoga.  If you’re just entering the world of yoga it can be intimidating as there are so many different variations.  That being said, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to yoga, which is the problem with most conventional yoga classes.  Depending on what you want from your yoga practice, a mix of multiple types of yoga could be beneficial.

Yin yoga is a form of yoga that focuses more on passive stretching of the joints and includes postures that are mainly on the floor.  While some of the postures are similar to other forms of yoga, Yin Yoga is unique in that it is not a forced stretch or pose as much as a relaxation into the posture so that your body softens the muscles, moves closer to the bone and deeper in the stretch.  As such, the longer you practice it is not uncommon to see postures held for three to five minutes, even 20 minutes at a time. As a result of these long, deep relaxing stretches, Yin Yoga targets the deep connective tissues, bones, joints, fascia and ligaments in the body.    If you gently stretch connective tissue by holding a yin pose for a long time, the body will respond by making them a little longer and stronger.  For healthy range of motion, layers of connective tissue must allow muscles to glide over each other.  However these connective tissues can become bound together by injury, habitual posture in daily life, and aging, and restrict that movement between the sliding surfaces of the muscles.  The more we work our fascial system and deep tissues, the less dense and tight our bodies become as we age.  Often times you aren’t really concerned with flexibility until it’s gone!

I started noticing how inflexible I was when I started dabbling in Olympic-Style Weightlifting.  I was so restricted on the amount of weight I could lift and progress I could make because my body was not flexible enough and my joints were not open enough to perform the lifts properly with increased weight.  It was then that my coach introduced me to ROMWOD (Range of Motion Workout of the Day), which is a different video routine every day designed to open up and work on those connective tissues, joints, ligaments, fascia, and all those areas that get tight.  While I’m still not as flexible as the video demonstrators, I know this process works because my coaches have made comments about how my form and movements during my lifts have improved!  So while I may not be lifting as much anymore, I’m definitely still trying to continue to incorporate the practice of Yin Yoga as often as possible.  Not only do I enjoy the stress and anxiety relief and the balancing of the mind and  body that results, but (since I’m getting old) I’m trying desperately to increase my range of motion and present stiffness as well!