If you're a sports fan, you know that this is one of the best times of the year for collegiate athletics. The NCAA Division 1 Mens Basketball Championship is well underway. I'm married to a former Division 1 ball player, so needless to say, the tournament is always on in my home. Being residents of the Carolinas for 20 years before moving to Florida, we're big fans of North Carolina teams. As such, we tuned in early for the Duke vs. San Diego State game.
While broadcasters shared pre-game stats, cameras cut away to San Diego State players engaging in what happens to be one of my favorite pre- and post-workout activities: self myofascial release (SMR). Huh? What's that, you ask? Simply put, it's self massage using inexpensive props such as a small inflated ball (a tennis ball works in a pinch) or foam roller to release muscle tightness or trigger points.
An article on realsimple.com explains that myofascial release manipulates the fasciae, thin membranes that cover each muscle, which may alleviate knots and soreness better than massaging muscles alone does. To try it, place your prop of choice on the floor or against a wall and lean on it so it’s under the tender spot. It should feel slightly uncomfortable. Hold for 30 to 45 seconds. To increase the effect, gently roll the prop back and forth on the area.
“When it’s healthy, the fascia over a muscle is like a pillowcase that slides easily over a pillow,” says John R. Martinez, a doctor of physical therapy in New York City. “But when you have injuries or chronic inflammation, the fascia can bind onto the muscle and restrict its movement, which causes discomfort.” Myofascial release therapy helps “unstick” the fascia, he says.
So, what are the benefits of SMR exactly, when should I do it, and are there other guidelines I should follow? Consider these answers, courtesy of finishlinept.com:
Foam rolling BEFORE exercise is used to:
Foam rolling AFTER exercise is used to:
Guidelines for foam rolling:
Many health clubs now keep foam rollers on hand for members to use, but if you'd like to use one at home (which I highly recommend), just do a Google search for "foam rollers" and find the best deal. Keep in mind that rollers come in different lengths and densities. Longer ones are easier to use, but smaller ones travel easier. As for density, softer, less dense rollers are best to start with, then work your way up to firmer rollers as your muscles adapt and become more supple. Myo therapy balls are also useful for rolling your lower back, hamstrings, glutes and other areas requiring a more specific pressure point. They come in various circumferences, densities and textures. As mentioned above, a tennis ball will suffice. Give it a try!
That's a wrap! The Winter 2015 Fitness Is Freedom Results Club ended this week with a celebration lunch for participants. The nine-week fitness accountability program was created to help participants establish healthy, sustainable nutrition and exercise habits that would enable them to live more fulfilling lives. It is based on my years of experience coaching, facilitating and training women to become more empowered through better health.
Collectively, the 10 participants in this group lost 20.9% body fat, increased muscle mass by 11.5% and reduced their body age by 17 years through consistent mindful eating, effective exercise, good hydration, group support, and most importantly, the right mindset. With group support and weekly guidance, they developed the discipline to plan ahead for meals, to pre-schedule exercise sessions, to overcome barriers to their success, and to incorporate their families into the process.
To say that I am proud of these 10 amazing women is an understatement. I get as much out of these programs as they do, because I consider it my ministry to share my knowledge of fitness with those who desire it. Watching them transform physically, emotionally and psychologically is a privilege. The best part isn't even the composition changes they experienced. When they tell me how positive they feel about themselves, how their significant others have a renewed interest in them and how self-motivated they are--that's the good stuff.
One participant, who dropped a clothing size and finally feels comfortable wearing sleeveless shirts, expressed that her husband is noticeably more amorous, while another participant's spouse commented on her increased confidence. And that's the key. While they got stronger and leaner, none of these ladies received new bodies through the program. Parts weren't replaced and blemishes weren't erased. What developed, however, was confidence, which fits every shape and size, and is far more attractive than the most chiseled arms or flattest stomach.
I look forward to watching how they continue to blossom, and I'm excited to support another group of participants in the Spring 2015 Results Club (runs April-May, ending before school commences for summer). If you're in the Saint Johns, FL, area and want to experience the same kind of life-changing results, I have just a few spots left in the next session. Click on the Results Club tab at fitnessisfreedom.net to register and get more info.
What does being "fit" mean to you? For me, being fit grants me the freedom to do the things that are important to me--playing with my kids, keeping up with my husband, facilitating positive change in clients through exercise and nutrition, setting a healthy example for those around me, and serving others.
I recently had the opportunity to serve at a very special event called Night To Shine, sponsored by the Tim Tebow Foundation. It's a prom
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I am not a registered dietitian, nor a medical professional. My blog is a representation of my views and experiences, which are not intended as medical advice. While I am a certified personal trainer, descriptions of things I eat and exercises I perform may not be suitable for everyone. Please speak with a medical professional before making any changes to your current routine.