|Knees should technically be behind elbows when taking a crow pose. Braided tank & Capri c/o DA Active|
Today I want to talk about stretching. Stretching before and after workouts is so important for so many reasons. Most of you don't stretch at all, am I right? Or if you do, you stretch maybe just after a workout and not before... So let's talk about it.
When To Stretch
First, it can be confusing to know when exactly to stretch. You want your muscles warmed before you attempt any sort of flexibility exercise. Do 5-10 minutes of light cardio like a jog or hop on the elliptical to prepare your muscles. If you are running you should be sure to stretch your quad, hamstrings, shins (if you get shin splints), hip flexors and IT Band area (again, if that is a problem area for you!) From the doctor: The best type of stretching to perform before a workout is dynamic stretching. Dynamic stretching is any movement that involves the muscles and includes things like walking lunges (sans weight), arm circles, side bends, etc.
I stretch before and after every workout, no question. Having a PT for a husband helps, but I also stretch because I know that I need to, I want to prevent injury and I want to make the most out of my workout. Running 3-5 days a week can really stress the joints, and adding a practice of yoga at least once a week can improve performance for a runner, cyclist, swimmer OR weight lifter. Yoga isn't just weird chanting and speaking to the inner light inside everyone, it is also extreme mental focus-- moving your body in ways you probably didn't even think possible. When I was diagnosed with lupus running and weight lifting were out of the question for a while and yoga was a lifesaver. Yoga made me strong, mentally and physically. No workout I had ever done before gave me the definition in my back and shoulders. I feel energized after a session, stronger, and better prepared for my day. If you don't want to pay for a class, there are several youtube videos available although if you have never tried it, I recommend going to a studio. Nothing beats the low lighting, scent of tea tree oil and instructor who helps you make adjustments. From the doctor: Don't forget to perform the same stretches after exercise! If you sustain an injury you just lose that many days/weeks it takes to recover. Rather than take that chance, spend 5 minutes on stretching. Trust me.
|Jacket, tank & capri pants c/o DA Active (giveaway & review coming soon!)|
Why Should You Stretch?
Stretching is necessary to increase range of motion. Sudden forceful movements can cause serious injury to muscles and tendons. Stretching releases synovial fluid (which lubricates the joints protecting from friction) stored in the joints. When you stretch your are bringing blood to the soft tissues which increases endurance meaning a longer workout and more calories burned. Stretching also helps to elongate muscles, provide flexibility, promote healing and prevent future injury. Failure to stretch before your workout may result in decreased performance. Insufficient blood flow makes the muscles sluggish and decreases mobility.Your muscles may feel sore at the end of your workout because of the strong contractions gained from sudden, forceful movements. Soft tissue tears may occur in the muscles, tendons and ligaments as well as sprains and strains resulting from lack of flexibility and endurance. This is exactly how shin splint pain occurs, or any running injuries. Unless you are one of those crazy ultra marathoners, then you simply might be running too much (50 miles a day? That is pure insanity!)
|Headband c/o Chickbands :: Braided Tank & Capri c/o DA Active (giveaway coming soon!)|
Who Benefits From Stretching
Everyone, duh. Have you not been listening to me? Stretching=Flexibility=Improved Performance=A Slimmer/Stronger/Fitter/Happier YOU. So get to stretching!
|thanks husband for not fixing my shirt, and unfolding my fold-over pants...|
Ah, snacking. That is the part that usually gets us right? I mean, nothing makes the Bachelorette better than a brownie and a glass of wine right? Believe me, I know but snacking is one way to really drive weight loss with your diet. For the past 8 months my husband and I have committed to only bringing healthy, wholesome snacks and foods into our home. We leave our splurging for eating out, which is only a few times a month. It is much harder to go way off track when you don't have the sugary processed foods to eat when you get a craving. Sure, eating a tub of strawberries isn't the best but you aren't going to suffer the consequences of a scoop of ice cream every single night. One part of snacking is starting the day off right with breakfast, which we will talk about next week. But for now lets assume you have had a balanced breakfast.
I thought about listing specific items, but instead I am just going to mention a few things that have worked for us-- reading the labels while at the store will help you more than you think. (Did you know women who check labels at the grocery store to choose healthy options weigh 60% less. SIXTY PERCENT!)
About two hours after breakfast, and two hours before lunch it is important to have a snack. For one, you are going to prevent yourself from getting to the point of being so hungry that you will choose something not so healthy just to fill full. At this point in the morning I usually grab a handful of almonds, half an avocado (healthy fats!), a yogurt or some sort of fruit. Kashi has a great line of snack bars that are a great option too. Now that you have had a snack, you will be more likely to choose an appropriate lunch and not overeat. Allow yourself another afternoon snack, about two hours after lunch. Try apple slices with almond butter, cut up green and red peppers with just a dab of fat free ranch or pretzel crisps. Go for a snack under 200 calories or so. Enough to keep your metabolism going and to keep you on track for the day!
After dinner when you are sitting down and watching tv and feel that creeping hunger pang a great sweet treat is the new Greek Frozen Yogurt. You can also try grilled peaches with a small scoop of fat free vanilla ice cream. You should try not to eat after 7-8pm, but I always get hungry at that time. To curb my craving, I brew some green tea and drizzle a little agave nectar with lemon. Green tea is a natural appetite suppressant. It works like a charm for me, and after switching to green tea instead of a dessert of edible snack I lost an additional 4 pounds in a very short time. Obviously fruits and vegetables are great options that you can have a lot of, so go for it. Also check your labels on your yogurts, or anything that may have sugar in it. Remember last week we talked about fake sugar, so be sure you are eating something natural and the less sugar the better. Add some honey or agave nectar if you need that sweet taste in your mouth!
Snack smart and choose wholesome things that your body needs. I use MyFitnessPal sometimes to make sure I am getting enough calories/proteins and carbs during the day as well :)
Recipe Of The Week!
Pork Al Pastor
|sorry about this craptastic picture.|
2 pounds cubed pork shoulder
1 garlic clove
4 sprigs of thyme
2 bay leaves
1 cup milk
ancho chili powder
1/2 cup diced scallions
low-fat yogurt (no flavor)
Combine pork, garlic, citrus, thyme, bay leaves, milk, chili powder, 1/2 cup water & salt in a pot. (Remove rind from citrus, squeeze in the juice and throw the flesh into the pot as well). Cook over medium heat until meat browns and liquid evaporates, about 45 minutes to 1 hour. Shred the pork, serve in tortillas with chopped scallions and grilled pineapple. Garnish with a dollop of low fat sour cream or low fat yogurt (it tastes almost the exact same as sour cream). *optional, lime wedges for squeezing over tortilla. Side dish options: Black beans, grilled veggies, salsa and chips! Calories: About 410 per serving!
I received my handful sports bra several months ago, back when we were living in Myrtle Beach. I loved it style and shape (you can see me wearing it in the get fit series week 1 post!) but I really loved it even more because of the mission statement, company and real reason behind its design. I love that this sports bra is mastectomy approved. You can literally pull it up from the feet rather than over head which is essential during any surgery recovery. This bra is super comfortable and doesn't dig in anywhere. I wear it all the time, and it is my go-to bra for long runs.
Handful says it best so read this:
hand-ful (noun) – A strong, confident, determined, active, compassionate, and/or adventurous woman. Sense of humor REQUIRED.
handful was started by fitness enthusiast, Jennifer Feguson, in Portland Oregon. Positive energy has
fueled her 22-year career as a group exercise instructor, teaching cycling, strength, dance, step, aqua,
kick-boxin, rock climbing, yoga and running. Jennifer has also competed in numerous endurance events such as the Boston Marathon.
After years spent searching in vain for a good sports bra, Jennifer decided to channel her frustration creatively. She designed and manufactured what she (and a lot of other female athletes) had been waiting for...that one sports bra that does it all! It has become more than a sports bra for its admirers. The handful is an everyday bra that takes you from workout to weekend, looking great by itself or fantastic as a layering piece underneath.
We are proud to be an approved mastectomy bra, supporting breast caner survivors during treatment and their return to good health and fitness. The handful team thrives on activities of all kinds. We definitely work hard and play harder. If it's active, we are interested! But we also love traveling, eating and relaxing with family and friends!
The company prioritizes participation in race expos, fitness events, athletic competitions and charitable outreach.
“Look your best, feel your best, perform your best.”
And now, one lucky lady is going to win this sports bra! Follow the instructions below to enter!