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How Foam Rolling Affects Your Body

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Foam rolling is a practice that’s becoming relatively mainstream in the fitness world, but not everyone understands what good it does your body. We’re breaking down the ins and outs of foam rolling to help you understand how your body (and muscles) will benefit!

Roll Out

Fascia, the biological fabric that holds us together, forms a sheath over our entire muscular system, a knot in one part of your body can eventually cause dysfunction in another area as your body tries to compensate at the site of the troubled area. When fascia binds up, the ability for glia to help transmit information to an area may be blocked, and pain is often redirected known as referred pain. Referred pain changes how coaches prescribe methods for recovery.

All of my client’s sessions end with at least 10 minutes of recovery via self-myofascial release using a foam roller. You can think of foam rolling like you think of brushing your hair. If you don’t brush your hair, it gets tangled. If we don’t roll out our muscles, they get adhesions.

Adhesions are just muscle fibers that get stuck together causing limited range of motion, improper muscle firing and aches and pains in the body. Our bodies are one big kinetic chain—we may have an adhesion in our calf that’s causing pain in our back. A balanced workout and recovery is key to creating a happy, healthy, mobile, pain free body.

Where to Find Foam Rollers

Hyperice uses vibration to stimulate the nervous system and provide relief in less time—and it actually feels good!

Get More Foam Rolling Info

Thomas W. Myers, the author of Anatomy Trains: Myofascial Meridians for Manual & Movement Therapists, is arguably the leading expert on fascia in America. Myers has studied directly with experts including Drs. Ida Rolf, Moshe Feldenkrais, and Buckminster Fuller. He has been practicing integrative manual therapy for 40 years, leading him to create the most in-depth education programming for movement professionals.

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Health

Are Pre-Workout Supplements a Must-Have or Just a Fitness Fad?

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You may think pre-workout is a relatively new trend, but you’d be surprised to find out athletes have been using supplements in some way, shape or form to enhance their workouts throughout history. While pre-workout has been popularized by career athletes, it can be a beneficial addition into your workout routine by kickstarting your energy levels. Don’t believe us? Read on and find out more about how pre-workout works and remember to talk to your physician before using dietary supplements. 

What Is Pre-Workout? 

Pre-workout is defined as any meal, snack or supplement consumed before working out to help energize and maximize your efforts. However, the pre-workout we’re dishing on is the supplemental variety. Pre-workout supplements are meant to enhance your workouts, but how do they work? For starters, many pre-workout options are formulated with caffeine. Caffeine, a stimulant, energizes by activating beta-endorphins in order to increase your alertness and your energy. That burst of energy comes in handy during a strenuous workout. While caffeine is used in some pre-workout varieties—it’s not found in all of them. If you’re sensitive to caffeine, there are plenty of other options. Some brands use an additive called beta-alanine which helps slow down muscle fatigue so you can push harder, longer during your workout. Some additional popular ingredients found in pre-workout are creatine, taurine and L-arginine.

When Should I Use Pre-Workout? 

The first thing you need to do if you’re interested in incorporating a pre-workout into your fitness journey is speak with your physician. A doctor should always be consulted before using dietary supplements and pre-workout supplements are no different! When you get the all-clear to use pre-workout, plan on taking it roughly 30 minutes prior to your workout. The pre-workout needs enough time to digest into your system and help energize your exercise sesh. 

How Do I Know If Pre-Workout Is Working? 

In short, you’ll know. That sudden burst of energy? It’s the pre-workout! You’ll also notice that your body isn’t as fatigued as it typically might be during your workout. 

Is Pre-Workout Worth the Hype? 

It’s a common question people ask when considering using pre-workouts, with good reason. With pre-workout, there’s often more caffeine in the formula than recommended for daily consumption. Some pre-workout supplements contain as much caffeine as the equivalent to FOUR cups of coffee in just one serving and many others contain caffeine levels that could present health problems. 

The occasional use of pre-workout can help with performance inside the gym. If you find yourself needing a boost or need to work out later or earlier than usual—it could be worth trying. However, it’s important to ask yourself why you’re feeling fatigued or looking for a boost. Do you need more sleep? Are you drinking enough water throughout the day? Are there more natural ways to boost your energy?  Pre-workout can be a great way to super-charge your time in the gym, but they aren’t your best bet for everyday use.  

Do you use pre-workout? Sound off in the comments and tell us your experience! 

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Diet

4 Outstanding Reasons–and Recipes–to Eat More Blueberries

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Heads up: It’s peak blueberry season. And no doubt you’ve heard that blueberries are totally beneficial super foods with almost magical health benefits. Well, it’s true. They’re considered “brain food,” with the ability to fight toxic proteins, and can harness their crazy-good antioxidants to fight harmful molecules and potential infections (so long, UTIs!). With all these benefits, and the United States’ role as the world’s largest supplier, there’s an entire month— July—dedicated to their greatness. Do you need more reasons to eat them? If so, here goes. Skip to the end for blueberry recipes, if you’re already convinced.

1. Digestive health. Blueberries have high fiber content. Enough said.

2. Weight loss support. That fiber also increases your general sense of fullness, and extends the sensation between meals, reducing overall appetite.

3. Better bone health. Bone structure, strength, and elasticity are all helped by the great combo of iron, zinc, vitamin K, magnesium, calcium, phosphorous, and manganese found in blueberries.

4. Smoother skin. Say so long to some extra wrinkles thanks to the vitamin C that helps collagen improve overall skin texture, and acts as an antioxidant to help prevent skin damage from the sun and pollution.

5. Lower blood pressure. Blueberries contain potassium, calcium, and magnesium, which naturally decrease blood pressure. They do not include sodium, the concerning element connected to a high BP.

Here are five tasty ways to add more blueberries into your diet:

Toss Them in Fresh

A handful can be added to a salad, smoothie, oatmeal, or any number of other meals that could use a boost.

Breakfast: Vanilla Blueberry Yogurt Parfait

Take an idea from above for your first meal of the day, or prepare these delicious single-serving breakfasts.

blueberry parfait

Baked Goods: Lemon Blueberry Yogurt Muffins

Lemon and blueberries are both beneficial for your health. Enjoy the combo in this gluten-free side.

recipes-lemon-blueberry-yogurt-muffins

Snacks: Frozen Red, White & Blue Yogurt Bites

Take a break from Fourth of July activities with these colorful, cool morsels.

blueberry yogurt bites

Dessert: Blueberry Mini Tarts

Enjoy a healthier dessert, and limit your sweets consumed— unless you pop too many!

miniblueberrytartheader

Note: Beware of food that’s blueberry-flavored. It often doesn’t include actual blueberries. We want the real deal! And remember to hold off on washing the “dusty” fruit until you’re ready to eat them (to make them longer-lasting), and watch their juice; blueberries are a natural dye.

Sources: Medical News Today, Health.com and WebMD

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Fitness

Reasons Why You’re Gaining Weight While Working Out Explained

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Gaining weight while working out

Let us set the scene: you’ve been working really hard at the gym and trying your best to stick to a healthy diet but when you step on the scale you see a higher number than you expected. Don’t panic! Lots of people have experienced gaining weight while working out, it’s actually pretty common and you’re not alone. There are lots of factors to consider when weight loss is concerned so before you let yourself get discouraged—check out five reasons you may not be seeing the weight loss you planned for. 

Water Retention

When you first start exercising your body will naturally go through many changes in the first few months. New exercises can lead to inflammation or small tears in your muscle fibers as you build muscle mass. Your body will respond to this inflammation by temporarily retaining water. Let your body heal! Drink plenty of water, eat well and get as much sleep as you can. As a rule of thumb, you should be drinking half your body weight in ounces of water. For example, if you weigh 140 pounds, you should be drinking no less than 70 ounces of water a day. 

Glycogen Conversion

Your body provides energy to your muscles by converting glycogen, or sugar, into glucose. When you begin exercising regularly your body stores more glycogen to fuel the extra movement. Glycogen has to bind with water in order fuel your muscles. As exercise becomes more routine over time, your muscles will become more efficient and need less glycogen to maintain your energy. As that happens, your muscles will retain less water and you will see that added weight come off! 

High-Calorie Diets

In order to shed the pounds, you must have a caloric deficit. It can be difficult to keep track of everything you eat but try logging your meals once a week to check in on how much you’re actuallyeating (and drinking!). If you’re taking in more calories than you are working off—you won’t see the weight loss you are working towards. However, don’t try and shave off too many calories from your diet, that won’t help either and it’s not sustainable or healthy. Make small adjustments. Eat fewer processed foods and more whole foods (think foods on the outer walls of the grocery store) to round out your diet.  

Time

Weight loss is not a linear process and you aren’t going to see immediate results—no matter how much work you put in. If you didn’t gain 30 pounds overnight, you can’t expect to lose it that quickly either. Our bodies are incredible machines and when you introduce something new: exercise or dietary changes, our bodies need to recalibrate and make adjustments. Depending on the person, it can take weeks and even months for your body to respond. Be patient.

Muscle Gains

Muscle mass weighs more than fat mass and you will undoubtedly gain weight from lean muscle gains. While your clothes may feel looser, the scale may tell you otherwise. This is a win! You’re working a well-rounded program that includes both strength and conditioning and now you’re reaping the reward. And, for the record, I’ve been a trainer for almost 15 years, and I’ve never owned a scale. It doesn’t tell your story but signals like inches down, a sense of wellness, and feeling stronger than you were before are what you should use to track progress moving forward.

Try not to get too discouraged by what the number on the scale says. What’s really important is making healthy happen and investing in your health. How much you weigh is not nearly as critical as how great you feel in and outside of the gym.

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