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Thursday, March 31, 2016

Moms on the Run - How soon is too soon?

Very very important article for those moms who just gave birth. And no two mothers are the same. Never.

From fitnessnetwork

The media loves reporting on celebrity mothers exercising shortly after giving birth. Rosemary Marchese asks whether all new mums should wait before they start running.
To run or not to run? That is a big question asked by many clients to their personal trainers. While the industry has generally shifted a little from the ‘don’t overdo it’ approach embraced during the postnatal period of yesteryear, there is still a bit of a taboo associated with running too soon after having a baby. So how soon is ‘too soon’?
The answer depends on a lot of factors, and no two mothers should be treated the same. Assuming the mother has had an uncomplicated pregnancy and delivery (whether it was vaginal or caesarean section) the major issues to consider post-partum include:
  • breastfeeding
  • urinary incontinence
  • abdominal strength and posture.


One of the major reasons mums have tended to stay away from higher intensity exercise, such as running, is because of the fear of affecting milk supply and taste. A lot of this has come about due to anecdotal ‘evidence’ from mothers who have said that their babies do not ‘take well’ to breastfeeding after the mother has exercised strenuously. This has led to concerns that excessive or extreme exercise could alter the taste of the milk. However, there has been little research done in this area because you not many mums would agree to exercise strenuously post-birth for the sake of scientific research!
Some studies have looked at the level of lactic acid in mothers’ breast milk after exercise. While lactic acid can increase in breast milk following maximal exercise, it appears that mild to moderate exercise does not cause lactic acid to increase in breast milk and does not affect the baby’s acceptance of the milk1,2. Regardless, there is no evidence to suggest that breast milk with increased lactic acid levels will harm the baby in any way. Moderate exercise doesn’t affect milk supply3,4, important immune factors in breast milk5, major minerals in breast milk6 or major nutrients in breast milk or energy density4.
Most mums only want to do light to moderate exercise postpartum, so the potential effects of strenuous exercise on milk supply and taste is not usually an issue.
The question of whether running is considered a ‘moderate’ exercise for your client will depend on the workout regime she followed during pregnancy. If she has run during pregnancy, or through a good part of it, then going for a light jog or run at some point postpartum may in fact be ‘moderate’ intensity for her and might not affect her breast milk at all.
The biggest issue in regards to breastfeeding actually often pertains to the comfort of running while her breasts are enlarged (and when the size reduces varies between mums). She may find it more comfortable to run with an extra supportive bra (some mothers wear two) or running soon after nursing. If she nurses the baby immediately after running, and the baby starts to refuse the milk, the mum may want to try something as simple as having a shower to wash the salty sweat off her skin, which could be deterring baby from feeding. When to start running postpartum, however, will depend on other factors too, not just breast comfort and the uptake of the child. Even mums that are very fit during pregnancy should start slow and light postpartum.


Your client’s body has been designed to carry a baby through pregnancy and with that comes a big increase in hormone levels, especially oestrogen and relaxin. The ‘loosening’ of ligaments and joints that comes with pregnancy doesn’t just disappear after delivery. In fact, although a mother’s hormone levels drop significantly after giving birth, they don’t return to completely ‘normal’ levels for at least four months.
With these hormonal changes during pregnancy and childbirth come various postural and muscular changes, which may contribute to the weak pelvic floor and abdominal muscle weaknesses that most mothers experience post birth. These changes can cause pain in the lower back and pelvic floor regions as well as other problems such as incontinence. This is a key reason why most mums should not be running too soon after having a baby.
  • 0-3 weeks – walking, abdominal muscle bracing (not bearing down) and pelvic floor exercises7
  • 3-8 weeks – walking, swimming (after bleeding has stopped), light weights, abdominal muscle bracing and pelvic floor exercises7
  • 8-12 weeks – continue, but increase intensity and weights gradually7
  • 12-16 weeks – progress to more intense or high impact exercise after getting advice from a women’s health physiotherapist7.
To put a blanket suggested ‘time’ for when it is appropriate to run after giving birth is not feasible. Pelvic floor exercises, such as Kegal exercises, can be resumed straight after delivery and mums can start light exercise such as walking as soon as they feel comfortable to do so and their doctor says it’s OK. But rushing into running or exercises where the client is asked to ‘bear down’ or place excessive pressure on their pelvic floor is not OK. So, until the strength of the client’s pelvic floor has been checked by their doctor or women’s health physiotherapist, it’s best to avoid crunches, planking and high impact exercise.
While you can’t put a timeframe on this for everyone, you can easily assume that running any time before six weeks postpartum is not recommended for most mums, and most mums might expect this to be at least six months to a year to give their pelvic floor the time to recover. There are possible exceptions to this rule but they are just that, exceptions. Unfortunately, too many mums are not warned about the risks to the pelvic floor and run despite urinary ‘leaks’. These women should definitely not be running until this issue has been addressed.
  • When the pelvic floor is strong (no ‘leaks’ or pelvic pain and the treating health professional says so)
  • When there is no lower back or pelvic pain
  • When their fitness allows for it – start with walking, even for the experienced runner
  • Generally not before 3 to 4 months postpartum
  • Most mums should not expect to run before 6 to 12 mon ths postpartum.
The other problem with a weakened pelvic area (muscles and joints) is the impact that it has on the strength of the abdominal and back region. You cannot run efficiently and safely with a ‘loose’ pelvic floor and overall pelvic region or weak back. This is when mums start to report pelvic or back pain and personal trainers are at risk of missing the real cause because they aren’t trained to diagnose.


If a new mother has a long history of high fitness levels, including a strong pelvic floor and abdominal musculature, combined with great posture and running technique, then sure, it’s feasible that running will come a lot easier a lot earlier postpartum for her than for most.

But that doesn’t take away the fact that she has experienced childbirth, either vaginally or through caesarean delivery. The nature of that delivery still needs to be taken into account. Vaginal tears, for example, still need time to recover (even in the strongest set of muscles!), and clients that have had a caesarean delivery also need to understand that the pelvic floor can still be affected. The pressure on the pelvic alone from the pregnancy, combined with the stretch of abdominal muscles during pregnancy and the trauma or physical strain of the delivery, can all impact pelvic floor and abdominal muscle strength.
All of the above considerations must be taken into account before prescribing running to new mothers.

  1. Carey, GB. And Quinn TJ (2001). Exercise and lactation: are they compatible? Can J App Phys 26(1): 55-74.
  2. Wright, KS., Quinn, TJ. And Carey, GB. (2002). Infant acceptance of breast milk after maternal exercise. Pediatrics 109 (4): 585 – 589.
  3. Lovelady, C. (2011). Balancing exercise and food intake with lactation to promote post-partum weight loss (Review). Proc Nutr Soc70 (2): 191 – 4.
  4. Dewy, K. Lovelady, C., Nommsen-Rivers, L., McCrory, M. and Lonnerdal, B. (1994). A randomised study of the effects of aerobic exercise by lactating women on breast-milk volume and composition. New England Journal of Medicine 330: 449-453.
  5. Lovelady, CA., Hunger, CP. And Geigerman, C. 92003). Effect of exercise on immunologic factors in breast milk. Pediatrics 111(2): e148-e152.
  6. Fly, AD., Uhlin, KL., and Wallace, JP. (1998). Major mineral concentrations in human milk do not change after maximal exercise testing. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 68)2): 345-349.
  7. Pelvic Floor First, http://www.pelvicfloorfirst.org.au/, accessed 21 March, 2016.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

6 Ways to Boost Your Immune System

Thanks ACE (as always~!)

Winter is cold and flu season and it seems like everyone is getting sick. Do you have time to be out of commission with a nasty head cold or the aches and fever of the flu? Boost your immune system now so you can fight off the nasty viruses that are lurking on so many surfaces. And if you do happen to get sick, we’ve also included an immunity-boost recipe that will have you feeling better in no time.

1. Eat right.

A diet rich in fruits and vegetables (lots of immune-boosting antioxidants, vitamins and minerals) is essential. Every meal should have either one serving of fruit or two to three servings of vegetables (one serving = one piece or 1 cup fruit or ½ cup vegetables). Make sure to get a colorful array of produce to maximize your intake of virus-fighting nutrients.

2. Move it.

People who exercise every day have fewer sick days. How much is enough? Experts recommend getting at least 30 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous activity a day. Make sure to include a mix of cardio (walking, running, biking, hiking) strength training and flexibility training, like yoga and Pilates. Overtraining (working out more than 90 minutes a day with no rest days) will actually compromise your immune system.

3. Take a probiotic.

Your body is teeming with trillions of bacteria, both good and bad. The goal is to have to good bacteria outnumber the bad ones. You can eat or drink probiotic-containing foods (yogurt, kefir, miso, sauerkraut), but that’s not usually enough. Choose a probiotic supplement that contains both multiple strains of bacteria and a sufficiently sized dose (aim for at least 10 billion CFUs). Probiotics are best taken on an empty stomach, so take one as soon as you wake up.

4. Get enough vitamin D.

Did you know that most people, even in sunshine-rich states, are vitamin D deficient? We recommend that you get your blood level measured by asking your doctor to run a 25-OHD vitamin D test. The goal is to have your level over 50ng/dl. When it comes to supplementing, 2,000 IU is considered a maintenance dose for those with normal levels. If you are deficient, you probably need more. Please get the advice from a registered dietitian nutritionist or physician who is well-versed in supplements before taking anything.

5. Get more sleep.

Do you get at least seven-and-a-half to nine hours of sleep each night? Most people do not get the recommended amount of sleep, which results in a lowered immune system. Try to unplug from your electronics at least an hour before bed and create a more relaxing bedtime routine. If you think you go to bed too late, try moving your bedtime back by 15 minutes for one week and then another 15 minutes per week until you hit your optimal bedtime. The additional sleep should leave you feeling more energized.

6. Keep your home (and work) clean.

Rather than use store-bought chemical-filled products, make your own anti-bacterial and antiviral cleaning solution and use it to clean your house, car and work environments. Fill a spray bottle halfway with distilled white vinegar and then fill the remainder with water. Leave a small space at the top of the bottle and add a little rubbing alcohol and a few drops of an essential oil (such as lavender or orange). Spray on any surface and then wipe off.

Immunity-boosting Shot (Plus a Bonus Tip)

If you do get sick, this immunity-boosting shot will help you feel better must faster: Mix together 1 teaspoon grated ginger, 1 teaspoon turmeric, 1 tablespoon raw honey, 1 tablespoon unfiltered apple cider vinegar and a pinch of cayenne. Shake it up and shoot it down. It might sting a little from the vinegar and cayenne, but it will leave you feeling better. All of the ingredients have antiviral properties.
Do you own a neti pot or other nasal saline rinse contraption? If you don’t, go to your local drug store and buy one. Doing a nasal saline rinse twice a day when you are sick helps to remove the virus from your nasal passages, leaving fewer viruses around to replicate and keep you sick.
U Rock Girl!U ROCK GIRL!Contributor
Tiffani Bachus, R.D.N., and Erin Macdonald, R.D.N., are the co-founders of U Rock Girl!, a website designed to nourish the mind, body and spirit of women of all ages and stages of life. They have just authored the rockin' breakfast cookbook, No Excuses! 50 Healthy Ways to ROCK Breakfast! available at www.URockGirl.com
More Blogs by U Rock Girl! »

Thursday, March 17, 2016

3 Healthy Snack Swaps to Add Variety to Your Diet

Are you stuck in a nutritional rut, eating the same foods every day because it’s easy and efficient? Although this may not sound so bad if you eat a healthy diet, the downside is that you may be exposing yourself to the same nutrients, processing methods, pesticides (even in healthy, organic foods) every day, while also missing out on an array of nutrients.
If you’re trying to up your nutritional game without sacrificing efficiency when in a time crunch, making dietary swaps at snack time is a good place to start because these foods don’t require the investment of creating a whole new meal. The following three foods may be slightly off your radar, but they are fun, healthy and easy to add into your dietary repertoire.


Here’s why: You may order edamame at a Japanese restaurant, but it’s not likely one of your staple snack foods. Edamame is the young soybean that’s been harvested before the beans have a chance to harden. It makes a great snack because it contains fiber and protein, both of which are key for satiety. If you worry that green plant foods will leave you hungry, this one won’t.
Bonus: Research has linked soy foods like edamame to improved heart health, reduced risk of osteoporosis and cancer.
  • You can buy edamame shelled or in the pod, fresh or frozen.
  • Edamame comes in its own wrapper (the pod) so it isn’t processed like most snack foods and it may just have the crunch you’re looking for.
  • A serving is one-half cup shelled or a little more than one cup in its pod. You’ll get 120 calories, 11 grams of protein and 9 grams fiber.
  • Buy edamame and eat as a snack as is, or make these easy, satisfying edamame dishes to keep on hand for snacks:

Figs (or Dates) and Low-fat Cheese

Here’s why: You likely snack on a banana or apple, but aren’t going for sweet and delicious figs. Dried figs contain up to 50 times the polyphenol content of most other fruits. Phenolic antioxidants are powerful when it comes to defending the body from damage. Figs (and dates, too) make a great snack because they’re portable and can handle a hit to your bag without bruising. They’re also packed with fiber to keep you satiated and regular. Plus, figs are both sweet and fibrous, which means you can’t devour them quickly.  
  • Paired with protein-rich, savory cheese, figs make for a filling, phytonutrient-packed, indulgent treat.
  • Enjoy three small figs and one small, light 30- to 35-calorie cheese round (one-half cup of fresh figs contains about 74 calories, so this light snack has approximately 125 calories).
  • Figs are rich in potassium and contain very little sodium, so they help to keep your blood pressure levels low.
  • Dried figs can add up in calories quickly, so keep portions to about one-half cup and round them out with cheese for protein.
Grab a few figs and a low-fat organic string cheese, or try this delicious alternative: Goat Cheese Walnut Stuffed Dates (To increase the protein content, swap the goat cheese for low-fat feta and use more feta.)

Crunchy Cucumber Sandwiches and DIY Veggie Chips

Here’s why: We all know we need more veggies, but most people aren’t opting for crudité and dip to meet their quota at snack time. Give yourself some enticing flavors and textures (like the ones below) to motivate you to get the powerful phytonutrients that help to fend off chronic illnesses. What’s better than a crunchy sandwich that contains just 50 calories and more protein than most yogurts? If that doesn’t call your name, what about chips that just happen to offer the fiber and phytonutrients that you’d get in a salad?
Try any of the options below. You can take them to the office or with you in the car. Plus, they all contain plenty of protein. Eat the “chips” and “fries” with one-half cup of nonfat Greek yogurt, cottage cheese or with a hard-cooked egg, one-half cup edamame or with two tablespoons of hummus.
The Nutrition TwinsTHE NUTRITION TWINSContributor
Tammy Lakatos Shames and Elysse (“Lyssie”) Lakatos, The Nutrition Twins®, share a passion to teach people how to eat healthfully and exercise so they'll have energy to live happy lives. The twins have been featured as nutrition experts on Good Morning America, Discovery Health, Fox News, NBC, Bravo, CBS, The Learning Channel, FitTV, Oxygen Network, and Fox & Friends. They co-wrote The Nutrition Twins Veggie Cure: Expert Advice and Tantalizing Recipes for Health, Energy and Beauty, The Secret to Skinny: How Salt Makes You Fat and the 4-Week Plan to Drop A Size & Get Healthier with Simple Low Sodium Swaps. The twins are both ACE Certified Personal Trainers, and members of the American Dietetic Association and several Dietetic Practice Groups.
More Blogs by The Nutrition Twins »

Sunday, March 13, 2016

10 Strategies to Kick Food Cravings to the Curb

I so like no 3.! IT works instantly!

Awesome stuff myfitnesspal

No matter how obsessed you are with healthy eating, you probably get cravings for junk food every once in awhile. SelfEven though indulging is an essential part of being mentally and physically healthy, it’s all about moderation. That means sometimes you have to deal with your suddenly quasi-erotic feelings for ice cream without promptly inhaling a pint. Here, two registered dietitians explain 10 ways to stop food cravings in their tracks.

1. Always be prepared with healthy snacks.
The first step to handling cravings is stopping them before they start. “If you make sure to eat about every three to four hours throughout the day, you’re setting yourself up with a healthy foundation to fight cravings,” Brigitte Zeitlin, M.P.H., R.D., C.D.N., a dietitian at B Nutritious, tells SELF. “Cravings often creep in when you haven’t fueled your body properly, making you more inclined to give in to the moment instead of stopping yourself.”
A snack can’t maximize its satiating potential without two crucial nutrients. “Foods high in protein and fiber slow down digestion and help to keep you full for longer,” Alissa Rumsey, M.S., R.D., C.D.N., C.S.C.S., a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, tells SELF. “In contrast, foods high in sugar or refined starch digest quickly and can cause a blood-sugar rebound effect, causing you to crave even more sweets.” Not ideal. A snack should have at least five grams of protein, and you should take in at least 15 during meals, says Zeitlin. As for fiber, Rumsey recommends getting three to five grams from your snacks and between eight and 10 for meals. Here are six examples of healthy snacks that fit the bill, like a cup of sliced bell peppers with two tablespoons of hummus or a stick of string cheese with half a cup of grapes.

2. Set a timer for at least 20 minutes, then go do something fun until it rings.
“Distractions will separate your mind from the food and give you a chance to realize you aren’t actually hungry,” says Rumsey. The thing is that you’ve got to give time a fair shot to win out over your hankerings. While a craving might feel just as strong after five minutes of distraction, it may go away completely after 20.

3. Ask yourself if you’d eat an apple right now.
If you’re not a fan of apples, substitute any fruit or vegetable you love. This easy test helps you determine whether you’re tempted to eat for a reason beyond hunger. “If the answer is yes, then it’s physiological hunger—go get an apple to eat!” says Rumsey. “But if the thought of a fruit or vegetable is not appetizing, then it’s not real hunger.” In that case, she suggests taking a step back to figure out what you’re really after, like a cure for boredom or comfort after a rough day at work.

4. Move your body.
Hitting the gym works, as does having a solo dance party. Anything goes as long as it’s active. “Many crave-worthy foods have been found to release serotonin, a ‘feel-good’ hormone,” says Zeitlin. That explains why sometimes you wonder if doughnuts are literal portals to heaven because in the moment, nothing on earth seems as amazing as biting into that glazed goodness. Luckily, you can mimic junk food’s effect on your mood sans the sugar crash. “Exercise also releases feel-good hormones called endorphins,” says Zeitlin. Being good to your body via workoutscan also make you want to keep the momentum going by refueling in a healthy way.

5. Drink some water.
“Our bodies sometimes feel hungry when they’re actually thirsty,” says Zeitlin. If your stomach growls within 20 minutes of downing a glass, that’s a major clue you really are hungry. The good news is that even if you do need to eat, that brief water-induced fullness gives you time to consider the craving before going for it because your stomach is telling you to. And either way, staying hydrated is always a good thing. Try infusing yours with delicious fruit, or these other easy ways to drink more water.
6. Savor a hot mug of tea.
“Hot beverages can be filling, which can be helpful in decreasing your cravings,” says Rumsey. As a bonus, they can also give you a respite from feeling so cold that you think your insides might be frozen. Winter, you’re awful, and you can’t sit with us.

7. Turn to an all-natural gum.
The simple act of chewing something can be enough to satiate your mind when hunger isn’t the real issue, says Rumsey.

8. Substitute with comfort food swaps.
Sometimes you can indeed have the best of both worlds! There are often easy ways to health-ify anything junky but still reap the tasty rewards, like covering a frozen banana with toppings instead of having ice cream. Seriously, try it. It’s deliciously convincing.

9. Tell yourself you can fulfill the craving if you leave the house to buy it.
Zeitlin suggests keeping your most-craved items out of your house. Then if you really want them, you have to put in more effort than strolling into the kitchen. Sometimes the thought of having to go outside to grab food will be enough to make you realize you don’t want it badly enough in the first place.

10. Just have whatever you’re craving, guilt-free.
If you’ve tried various tactics and still can’t stop thinking about potato chips, let yourself have some, and remember that there’s no use beating yourself up for it. After all, tomorrow is a new day full of healthy-eating possibilities.

—By Zahra Barnes

Thursday, March 10, 2016

2 Science-Backed Strategies to Avoid Long-Term Weight Gain

This is an awesome article to know the science behind things. I didn't know that eggs and cheese are high glycemic food!

Courtesy from myfitnesspal's blog

With weight gain, slow and steady is the common pace—we often look back, wondering: “How did I get to this weight?” Long-term weight gain typically happens at a miniscule 1-2 pounds per year, which can snowball into something substantial as we age. Fad diets lure us with the promise of rapid weight loss, but researchers are looking at it from a different angle: Can changing what we eat stop long-term steady weight gain?

What the Science Says
Scientists from the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy did a studyusing data collected from 120,784 healthy, non-obese, middle-age participants in three well-established cohorts: Nurses’ Health Study, Nurses’ Health Study II, Health Professionals’ Follow-up Study. Data was collected at every four-year period for 16 to 24 years.
Researchers were interested in how participants’ diet quality affected their trend in weight gain. Without altering anyone’s food intake, the researchers looked at what participants consumed, with a focus on protein and the glycemic load (GL)—two measures of diet quality. Then, they examined how changes in participants’ weight corresponded to diet quality. Why?
High-protein foods (think meats, dairy, nuts, beans) are thought to help with weight loss because of their ability to promote satiety, spare lean muscle mass, and help offset the slow in metabolism. GL was used because it reveals both carbohydrate quality and quantity. The more popular “glycemic index” (GI) is used to assess how a food will increase your blood sugar, but this doesn’t account for the amount of the food that you eat. GL accounts for both the food’s GI and portion eaten. High GL foods (think refined carbs) are thought to make weight gain more likely because they make your blood sugar rise rapidly—leading to insulin release, which favors fat storage.

Weighty Findings
Once the data was collected, the researchers could then summarize “associations,” also known as data trends, between certain types of food and weight gain or loss. Here are some of their weightier findings:
  • Not all protein foods are created equal. Certain protein foods appeared to be better than others when it comes to preventing weight gain. Nuts, peanut butter, fish, yogurt and low-fat cheese were associated with weight loss while red meat and processed meat were associated with weight gain.
  • Eggs and cheese aren’t necessarily diet-busters. These foods were only associated with weight gain if the diet’s glycemic load was also high.
  • High glycemic load diets were worse for weight loss. Foods with a high glycemic load (think white bread, potatoes, soda) were associated with weight gain. A diet with a higher GL ranking is positively associated with weight gain. In fact, a 50-unit increase in daily glycemic load (about two bagels) resulted in a 1-pound weight gain every 4 years.
  • The type of protein consumed worked in combination with GL to affect weight. For example, someone who eats a high glycemic load diet plus a lot of red/processed meat would gain more weight than if he ate a low glycemic load diet with the same amount of red/processed meat.
Keep in mind that the results of this study are “associations” meant to show relationships between diet quality and weight gain or loss. This does not confirm that particular diet types cause weight gain or loss. Nonetheless, these relationships are still important, given that we’re looking at a large group of participants over the course of decades.

What’s the Takeaway?
This study confirms that the quality of your diet matters for keeping your weight in check over a long period of time. A balanced diet rich in whole grains, fruits and vegetables will help you maintain a low glycemic load. Choosing lean protein sources like chicken, fish, nut butter and low-fat cheese will reduce the amount of fat—particularly saturated fat—in your diet. Both glycemic load and protein type are indicators of your diet quality, and will affect your weight.
It’s apparent that a calorie is not a calorie in this case, so do calories still count when it comes to weight loss? The answer is a resounding Yes! Even though the study focused on diet quality, this is just one factor out of many that affect our weight. To be successful at maintaining a healthy weight, both the number of calories consumed and the quality of those calories matters.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Foam Rolling - What is it all about?

Have you seen people foam rolling in the gym before and wondered if this is just another fitness fad, or whether it's actually doing something?
But why is this so important?

Because your body's pain and limited range of motion could be preventing yourself from getting to the next level your training program

If you read my recent blog on how scars can leave lasting effects and cause chaos in the fascial network of the body, you'll understand how releasing scar tissue can stop the pain cycle and get to the next fitness level.

But, wait a minute…now you have to be wondering what releasing scar tissue has to do with anything, and where foam rolling fits into this equation?

Foam Rolling, also known as SELF Myofascial release can eliminate scar tissue and increase mobility through movements that require greater range of motion such as squats, or power cleans.
When you work on your MOBILITY,  you are in turn helping yourself to increase your strength, endurance and optimize your overall fitness performance.
If you aren’t convinced check out what the recent research has to say.
In a  recent study by Macdonald et al.,  the use of foam rollers was examined  as part of a warm up, maintenance and recovery technique to enhance muscular performance.  What they found will surprise you!
  • Timing: Results within this study showed an increase in knee joint range of motion after only TWO minutes of Foam Rolling.  A 12% increase in range of motion was noted in the quadriceps after only TEN minutes of foam rolling.
  • Density: Mechanical stress application was applied for only TWO minutes, but at very high intensity. The study found that with just an individual’s body mass and the density of the foam roller, the fascia was able to recreate its pliable structure.

This is great, right? Absolutely!  But you need to learn how you can implement this for yourself.  Here’s how:

1. Benefits of Foam Rolling

a. Promote flexibility around surrounding musculature
b. Dramatically increase mobility at, or around each joint
c. Improves force production through power moves such as squats and power cleans
d. Aids in muscular imbalances and repetitive stress on joints

2. Explain how beneficial Self Myofascial Release is for the body

This method helps increase mobility by breaking up scar tissue through the use of a foam roller for just several minutes.  Foam rolling directly after a training session promotes self-myofascial release, potentially improving flexibility and mobility!  The practice of foam rolling can be easily incorporated into your training sessions. Further, be sure to immediately foam rolling at cool down for 5 to 10 minutes to gain maximum benefits.   

3. Foam rolling exercise variations and recommend using various sized foam rollers, including the use of a high-density roller

This method helps increase mobility by breaking up scar tissue through the use of a foam roller for just several minutes.  Foam rolling directly after a training session promotes self-myofascial release, potentially improving flexibility and mobility!  The practice of foam rolling can be easily incorporated into your training sessions. Further, be sure to have immediately foam rolling at cool down for 5 to 10 minutes to gain maximum benefits.   
Below you can see just a few options for varying types of foam rollers. There is no doubt that foam rolling has benefits at any level within a training program. The illustrations below will give an idea on what foam rollers you should use at different training levels from beginner, intermediate and advanced foam rollers.  I would recommend a higher density roller when flexibility and pain are issues more than other things.
Foam rollers type differences

4. Foam Roller Technique Guide

The bottom line here is that foam rolling does have the potential to help your mobility, increase flexibility and minimize pain.  Don't hesitate any longer and get it rollin’ if you want to increase your strength and optimize upon your fitness performance.
Foam Roller Techniques

About Christina Klein

Christina is the owner of Locomotion Therapy and a master trainer with the ISSA. She has taught several courses with the ISSA for Personal Training, Strength and Conditioning, Youth Fitness, Senior Fitness and Exercise Therapy. She is also a certified massage practitioner specializing in Neurokinetic Therapy and Orthopedic Massage along with her Bachelor’s of Science in Kinesiology from Westmont College.
Christina has played at the collegiate tennis level for four years with Westmont College and enjoys integrating speed and agility into her training and tennis lessons. She understands the physical demands of being a competitive athlete and how important a consistent routine of conditioning, therapy and nutrition can help you achieve your goals and prevent reoccurring injury.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Is Stevia Safe?

I didn't actually know what Stevia was until Coke introduced it's green can.

Pick up any health magazine, and you’ll likely see an article about sugar in one form or another. From glucose and evaporated cane juice to pure maple syrup and honey, good ol’ added sugar goes by lots of fancy names these days! One of the newer players in the sugar game is stevia, a zero-calorie “natural” sweetener. There’s no debating that stevia has stolen the spotlight from its artificial cousins, Splenda (sucralose) and Sweet’N Low (saccharin). It may taste like sugar, but is it more natural? Better yet, is it healthier? The answer may surprise you.
What is stevia?
Stevia is a small shrub in the chrysanthemum family native to Paraguay and Brazil. It has been around since ancient times, used primarily as a low-calorie sweetener but also for medicinal purposes, such as increasing glucose tolerance (think: your tissues’ ability to absorb glucose, a sugar, from the bloodstream and use it for energy). It is nearly 200 times sweeter than table sugar, won’t raise your blood sugar, is widely available and doesn’t leave much of an aftertaste. Score! You may have seen stevia on store shelves under brand names like Truvia and Pure Via.
Is it natural? Is it healthy?
Yes and yes — but stevia and Truvia (or Pure Via) are not the same thing. Let’s break it down.
The stevia plant has two sweet compounds, stevioside and Rebaudioside A (Reb A or rebiana). While studies show that the former may help reduce blood sugar and blood pressure, there is limited evidence to date on the health benefits of Reb A. The patented refining process used to create highly purified Reb A involves extracting, isolating and combining Reb A with “natural flavors” and other sugar alcohols to create the powder you put in your coffee. In short, there is some serious processing from plant to packet!
Is it safe?
Likely. Let’s take a look at stevia’s recent history. First, understand that any products marketed as “stevia” are either whole-leaf stevia or extracts other than Reb A — none  of which has been evaluated by the FDA to be used as a sweetener.
The FDA banned stevia in 1991 due to preliminary studies suggesting that it may lead to cancer. This was revoked in 1995 when the FDA ruled it safe to be sold as a food supplement. They then granted GRAS (generally recognized as safe) status to Reb A in 2008 after the makers of Pure Via and Truvia submitted research supporting its safety. Whole-leaf stevia and stevia extracts, however, are still considered dietary supplements.
Final Verdict: Should I use stevia?
The short answer is yes. It’s a better alternative to artificial sweeteners and may help with glucose tolerance. Nonetheless, use it in moderation. The fact remains that similar to artificial sweeteners, stevia hasn’t been around long enough to conduct long-term studies evaluating its health effects in humans. It’s safe to say that when consumed in reasonable amounts, stevia is a good natural sugar substitute. Consider trying a little bit of the real stuff in moderation like pure maple syrup, raw honey or coconut sugar. Or better yet, sweeten your treats with fruit like ripe bananas and dates!

Alexis Joseph
Alexis Joseph
Alexis Joseph, MS, RD, LD is the whole foods enthusiast and registered dietitian behind the plant-based food blog Hummusapien. She believes that everyone deserves to look and feel fabulous! Connect with her via TwitterFacebook Instagram.