Your Hips Don’t Lie

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Many people are not aware of their tight hips. Do you know what it feels like to have tight hips? The answer is probably not. Many will correlate tight hips with low back pain. By opening up your hips, it will resolve much back pain and prevent injury in other areas of the body. Your hip-pelvic-back complex is the foundation of all ground base movements. Without a strong complex, you will find yourself practicing poor movement patterns as well as experience muscular pain.

Think about this way, your hip flexors move in two directions, either it will draw your femur upwards to a stationary position (sitting position) or tilt the pelvis forward and butt back (standing position). However, being in either positions for too long will tighten up the hips and eventually become glued together for a better lack of term. For example, someone who sits for multiple hours at a desk, their hip flexors are shorten for long period of time. This is not only for sedentary individuals but also, runners and cyclists who are in a shorten phase for a long period of time. Therefore, causing low back pain from tight hip flexors.

There are many ways to “unglued” your hip flexors. One of my favorite stretches is the Couch Stretch. Yep, you heard it right! On the contrary, the couch stretch is one of the most effective and manageable stretches anyone can do. You can do it on a chair, wall, or even the couch 🙂

First, you are going to come into a kneeling position in front the chair, have the opposite leg bent balancing on something to hold the foot up. Then your back knee should be completely flexed while contracting the opposite glute. The closer your heel is to your glutes, the more you will feel the stretch. In addition, it is important to keep your torso upright to prevent any hyperextension of the back as well as pressure on to the knee. Do this stretch for about 60 seconds on each side, repeat 3x.

Your hips do not lie, by having tight and weak hips it can put a damper on your training and quality of life.

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Balance

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According to the Webster dictionary, it defines balance is an even distribution of weight enabling someone or something to remain upright and steady. When life happens, we tend to be imbalanced. We give all of energy in one area and tend to neglect in others. We are all guilty of this, including myself. It has been over a month since I blogged. I wanted to invest more time reaching out to an unforeseen population. However, life happened…. & here I am. When life gives you lemons, you make lemonade. It has been a hectic year thus far. I accepted a new personal training position. With this new position, I had to re-learn my training methodology, programming, and how to train various populations differently. Despite my experiences in the fitness industry, it has taken a toll on me and I have neglected one of the main reasons why I created this blog. There is no right or wrong way to practice balance. As long as you reach the end goal, that’s all the matters. Balance is always a goal to reach for and if you feel imbalanced, you are not a failure. It is a learning process therefore; we have to make mistakes to learn from them.

Change

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The other day, I sat through service and Pastor Andy said something that resonated in my heart for not only myself but also how I can counsel my clients, friends, and family. He stated “you have to replace a bad habit with a good habit you want to start.” I pondered on it for a while and thought, how simple is that? If we want change a bad habit, we don’t cut out the problem but more so create a new habit that we want to start. By consuming a new hopefully good habit, we no longer rely on the bad habit. In doing so, bringing more positivity and change into your life. Creating good habits, it takes time and patience. It won’t happen over night but it will happen with perservance and faith. Nothing in life is easy, we have to work hard each day to better ourselves and the life we want. Every day will be struggle, you are not going to land your dream job, you are not going to be rich, you are not going to lose weight over night, you have to put in the effort. The payout will be greater because the work you have put in. What are some good habits you want to implement in your life?

IF IT FITS YOUR MACROS…

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What the heck does this mean? Macro nutrients is considered your proteins, carbohydrates, fiber, and fats in foods. Each individual has a specific macro nutrient number to gain weight, lose weight, performance, or to maintain weight. Every individual is different depending on their metabolism and how their body digests specific foods. There are also other contributing factors such as age, body fat, and physical activity.

I am a firm believer in “IIFYM”, in other words if it fits in your macro nutrients you can consume it within moderation, of course. People are caught up in “clean eating” however, they are not eating for their body types. Eventually, people who are “dieting” feel the repercussions of starving themselves which includes moodiness and feeling low energy all the time and eventually slowing their metabolism. I am not saying go out and eat a dozen donuts (which sounds delicious), but if you want a donut and it fits in your plan for the day.. then why not? Many individuals are  eating less than 1200 calories diets and deprived themselves from good whole foods such as rice, pasta, etc that later on they binge eat and eventually regress. This is a common yo-yo diet for many individuals who try to diet. But if you consume foods in moderation and eat within your macro nutrient limits, there is no reason to regress.

With flexible dieting, you will not feel deprived nor reaped the side effects of a low-calorie diet. Eating a well balanced diet, protein, carbohydrates, and fat will not only increase your energy, it will help you get to your goal whether it is to lose weight, gain weight, and/or perform better. Ironically, if a person wants to lose weight.. he/she should eat more and frequently. No need to starve yourself, it will decrease your metabolism and prevent you to lose the weight in the long term.

What people tend to forget is food is fuel. We eat to have energy, we eat to perform, we eat to live life. If we are consuming low-calorie diets, how are we substituting our energy? (This will be another blog, for sure). Eat real foods regularly, have a cheat meal here and there, and move more frequently. It is simple!

For more information about flexible dieting and macronutrients, feel free to email me!

My life-changing transformation.

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This is me through the years! In the first pic (feb ’07) I was about 145ish, unhappy, fighting through depression & obviously unhealthy. My days consist of studying, binge drinking and eating! In the second pic at 105# and 18% body fat (oct ’08) I was blessed to be sponsored by a supplement company who helped me lose 40lbs in less than 6 months. I did endless amounts of cardio and starved myself to lose the weight fast. In the third photo (nov 2010), I was 115# and an avid runner. If you couldn’t see in my legs.. & how small they were. I was running on average 35 miles a week, yoga and body pump classes occasionally. This is what I call “skinny fat”. Last pic is me now, about 3 years into CrossFit.. I am proud to say I am at 125# and 18% body fat. I finally learned that heavy functional strength training and metabolic conditioning is one of the best way to train the body. In the last 3 years, I have put on about 10lbs of muscle. I can squat over 200#, deadlift -250#, and do strict pullups. All of these things I would have never been able to do if I didnt start picking up heavy weights, believing in myself, and have the best coaches pushing me and inspiring me to do better! I can now say, I am happy with my body! I may not be as skinny as I used to be but I am sure as hell stronger, mentally and physically. I don’t starve myself, I eat real foods within my marcos, and if you know me, I still enjoy my French fries and vodka/sodas on occasion. No need to go on crash diets, do copious amounts of cardio. Just eat within your marcos and lift weights. It amazes me how lifting heavy weights can do to the body, mind, and soul! Thanks for reading 😘💪

Everyone has their own story to tell, we are not going to all have the same goals in life. But as long as we all strive to better ourselves daily, we can all support each other in this chaotic world.

❤️

Good Morning to you too!

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Ok, I lied to you. My first fitness-related blog is about “GOOD MORNINGS”. Probably one of the best neglected exercises any individual could do to help strengthen the low back but also, the glutes, hamstrings, and core. By performing this exercises regularly, it will make your glutes/hamstrings look fabulous while building a strong core foundation.

The Good Morning, there are many different variations to do this exercise. First and foremost, attempt this exercise with a PVC pipe or no weights prior to adding load. You do not need much weight in order to see the benefits of this movement. By perfecting this movement, it will also improve one’s deadlift tremendously. We all know deadlifts is another important movement to make your posterior chain look great.

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The breakdown:

Start with your feet under your hips. It should be hip width apart (Picture 1). Keep your back tight and shoulder blades pinched together, and knees slightly bent. Begin to hinge at the hips by moving them back as you bend over to near parallel (Picture 2). Keep your back arched, core tight, and spine properly aligned. Reverse the motion by extending through your hips with your glutes and hamstrings and follow through to stand up position. If you are doing this exercise without weight, you can put your handles behind your head into a prisoner stance. Slowly progress with an empty barbell and slowly add weight. Start with 4 sets of 10 repetitions. As shown above, my client has tight hamstrings and low back, therefore he was not able to bend near parallel. This is okay, keep stretching and strengthen the hamstrings and low-back! (Don’t you love his workout attire for the day, too.)

Why am I telling you this? We live in a very sedentary society where individuals are sitting for long hours, overweight/obese, and have terrible posture deviations. I noticed many of my clients have low-back pain for obvious reasons, tight hips, a weak core, and other contributing factors. This is one of the few exercises I make them do prior to their workout. It will help activate the hips, glutes, and core to be more efficient in their squat and deadlift exercises. I also recommend doing this exercise first thing in the morning, hence the good morning name. It will help wake up the body, jump-start your metabolism by activating your primary muscles.

On a superficial standpoint, this exercise will give your hamstrings and glutes more definition and help with the muffin top. 🙂

New Year, New Me!

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I never understood the phrase each year as people start their resolutions, “NEW YEAR, NEW ME.”  Looking through my news feed on Instagram, I noticed some of the people I follow posted something similar to this. How I wanted to respond is…. “Were you that unhappy in the past year that you waited a whole year to change?” One of my favorite lifetime quotes is “Be the change you want to see in the world.” It has resonate in my heart as long as I can remember. If there is something that I am unhappy or unsatisfied gabout, I immediately do something to fix it. Why wait 365 days to change yourself? I wake up every morning thinking… “How can I better myself today? …. What do I want to accomplished today?” These are two things I ask myself on a daily basis. I am not saying everyone is like me and should think this way. But why wait for the new year to change yourself. I have drilled into my clients about bettering themselves every day from exercising more, making healthy food choices, to expressing their feelings and emotions. It could be anything and everything.

People wait until the beginning of the year to make these changes, however after a few weeks, they fail and wait until Jan 1 to make the same resolutions over and over. This vicious cycle is common in our society. However, people continue to do it over and over again. People set big, unrealistic goals and set themselves up for failure. I guess what I am trying to say is everyday is a new day. No matter how terrible your day was or horrible you failed… you have a new start at the beginning of the next day. Don’t let guilt prevent you to better yourself. So, if your new years resolution is to start exercising, you have a brand new start each day.

Something to think about! Each person has 86,400 seconds in a day… how are you going to spend those seconds, hours, days, weeks, and months? Are you going to wait until Jan 1 to make changes or do something immediately to improve your life. Set small daily goals. Stay optimistic and be open-minded on achieving the goals. And if you fail, try, try again…..