• What does Vitalize You Wellness have to offer?

    Side plank

    Vitalize You is ready to help you take control of your life!

    If you are ready to make a commitment to your health, you have come to the right place.  The issues I had from autoimmune were extremely difficult to handle.  These issues included spawning new invisible diseases until I was UNABLE to move. That’s right. I could hardly move. My hips had gone out, and I was in the worst pain I had ever felt in my entire life. My skin was on fire from fibromyalgia and I could not sleep at all. It was a horrible way to try to live. Around that time I found research indicating that phytotherapy, or plant based supplements, could in fact help me balance my gut health.
    I believed that I had discovered the “root” of my health problems after many long years of research. I did not give up, and I made a plan. Let me assure you, there is NO such thing as a quick fix when you are dealing with intestinal issues that come from autoimmune diseases such as Hashimoto’s. It needed to be a lifestyle change for me, and the need to get well had to outweigh the temptation of bad food. So I made a hard decision, but it was the absolute best decision I could have made. I was getting well no matter what it took!! Are you there yet? Have you come to the point that you are ready to commit to your wellness? If the answer is YES, then I have some options for you.
    Option 1, free 20 minute Skype with me to see where you are with your health. Read more about that here  <<< it is my work with me tab, but includes a sign up option.
    Option 2, Vitalize You Wellness Profile Service  << Skip down to that and read about it, but the basics are that you really want to learn more about your condition. You need some help connecting the dots and making your own personalized plan. The plan will be a comprehensive ACTION plan on which to follow and you will have steps to take in which to feel better.

    Option 3, 4 Weeks to Wellness Online Coaching course. I created this program specifically for my long-distance clients who needed more! They needed step by step action steps that would really help them no matter where they were in their health and wellness journey. This course is truly about finding out who you are. We cover how to add movement into your life, why sugar might be sabotaging your health, how to create a healthy routine in your life, what journaling can do for you, and what self-care really means…plus so much more!!  You even get the bonus option and everything I add from the day you buy for life, is yours!  That means, if the price goes up because I add more material, you still get access for life without paying any more!
    Option 4, is my personal Journal Coaching and this is on an as-needed basis based off the topics described on my page.  I can even present a workshop to your team.
    Option 5, all-natural product support for your wellness journey.  See the shop tab!

  • Weight Training – Target the Big Ones

    You’re at the gym.  Now what?

    If you’re there for overall fitness benefits, don’t just find the cardio machines, hit the weights.

    Cardio machines can be great for increasing your cardiovascular endurance and burning calories, but if you’re there for overall fitness, you need to do a little weight training.

    No, I’m not suggesting you join Hans and Franz in ‘pumping up’, but, weight training is key to overall fitness. It helps continue to burn calories up to hours after you’ve finished working out and, more importantly, it will help prevent the loss of muscle mass that occurs naturally as we age…and getting stronger wouldn’t be a bad thing, right?

    Look for the Nautilus* equipment that targets your large muscle groups: your chest, back, glutes, quadriceps, and hamstrings.  Go for the pieces of equipment that work the equivalent of the chest press, the row, and the squat.  There are folks who swear by free weights, but if you’re new to working out or don’t have a partner, the machines will help you keep your form and you won’t need a spotter.

    If you can’t identify these machines, find a fitness center employee who should be able to point you to them, as well as make sure you’ve got the various settings right for your body size.  Just because these aren’t free weights, it doesn’t mean you can’t hurt yourself by being improperly aligned in the machine and/or using too much weight.

    If you’ve never done this type of exercise before or it’s been a while, go easy at first. Pick a light weight.  Do the reps in slow, controlled movements, and remember to breathe.  Try to get eight reps in and try for three sets.  If this weight is too light, you can increase it a bit next time.  Unless you’re aiming to bulk up, you’re better off with light-ish weight and more reps and sets.

    After you’ve finished your weight training, then find your favorite cardio machine and give it a good thirty minutes. My personal favorite cardio machine is the Precor Adaptive Motion Trainer (AMT) (shown right).  It allows me to get full range of motion, even a little bit of stretch on the hip flexors if I adjust my stride, which is great when I have a tight hip flexor.  My normal 30 minute workout on this has me spend about 15 minutes in full stride then hitting two minutes of fast, stair stepping/running in place motion, then back into the full stride.  I really love machines that allow me get multiple angles or types of work done in one workout.  Of course, this is the commercial grade machine which comes with a price tag of about $9K.  If you’re looking for a more affordable version for home, there’s the Precor 100i model which also claims to be commercial quality, but at a more reasonable $2000.

    This should put you at about an hour actually on the gym floor, not counting time in the locker room.  Most cardio machines will go into a cool down when they reach the end of the time you set for your workout.  You might want to consider a little stretching out and definitely drink plenty of water when you’re done.

    Try to do this at least three times a week and within two to three weeks, you should be seeing an improvement in your overall fitness level.  If you aren’t, it may be time to have a quick chat with one of the fitness center staff who’ll listen to what you’ve been doing and make suggestions about how to improve your workout.  Of course, there are lots of personal trainers out there, too.

    Please note, though, that if you add exercise (weight training and cardio) to your life, but then consume mass quantities of crappy food and alcohol, you’re counteracting the good work you’re doing at the gym.  I’m not saying to jump on a ‘magic diet’, but just think about what you’re putting in your body.

     

    *Nautilus is one of many brand names in the exercise equipment business.  Universal and Weider are other well-known brands, among the many out there.


  • 5 Reasons to Cleanse Your Body

    Healthy body

    5 Reasons to Cleanse Your Body

    What is the ultimate secret to health? It is keeping the INSIDE of your body clean. I have counseled many people over the years and they are just stuck at a weight loss plateau. They have tried every diet out there, except the one where they actually start from the ground up. What am I talking about? I am talking about eliminating things first, then only adding in what you need for your body!!
    If you suffer from autoimmune diseases like I do, you know this is necessary to start over. Once we have removed the bad we can begin to replace with the good.

    We are exposed to toxins every single day. The food that we eat, the beverages we drink, the old fillings in our mouth, the electromagnetic radiation around us, you name it, we are near it. Don’t forget the black mold around you as well, but the list really goes on and on. I honestly could go on and on as this has been the better part of my research for the last 5 years.

    So what does this mean for us? Our liver works overtime trying to keep up with our body by detoxifying and cleaning what we put in. I can’t stress enough to my clients how important it is to really think about your internal health…because guess what? Your doctor probably isn’t going to say anything to you. I know that in all my years, even checking my liver enzymes due to my hereditary hemochromatosis, which is iron overload disease, no one in 18 years has ever asked me what I am putting into my body. Period. I started thinking that was very strange.

    Top 5 Reasons to Use My System:

    1. Weight Loss. Yes, this is the one everyone notices immediately. What is going on in my body? WOW!! Did I really just lose that much after 2 days of a cleanse? How? The liver produces bile which is used by the digestive system in the breakdown of fat. Some of my clients are reporting anywhere from 5-9 pounds within the first week. This is not why I am telling you to do this though, but yes!! You literally have that much gunk built up that you are not processing things.
    2. Did you know that you can eliminate liver stones? These stone don’t need to be there. They develop from a build-up of excess cholesterol. They impair the liver’s ability to deliver nutrients back into the body. What if you already aren’t processing things correctly like me? I am going to be holding onto more salt and water than is necessary. Yup. Time to clean them out!
    3. Phase1 and phase 2 detoxification can begin. The liver will then be able to function better changing these toxins into harmless agents. They will then be able to be eliminated properly.
    4. Increase your energy!! Normal liver function had been impeded by the build-up of toxins so naturally removing them can help your energy level by as much as 25-50%. We need to get to the root cause as I always tell my clients. Now that the nutrients are being released back into your bloodstream, you will feel much better.
    5. Restore your health back to feeling 5 years younger. If your skin feels lack luster, think about what’s going on inside you? Take your before photo. Take your after 2 days later, then 5 days later. I bet you will really notice a difference in the way your body and skin feels. Your clothes will probably fit better!
    So what can I do now that I know all this?

    We have developed a system specifically to start you back at “reset”. We called it the Wrap, Remove, Reboot and the results have been astonishing!!

    Step 1. Wrap. You use our ultimate body applicator. The powerful, botanically based cream formula of the Ultimate Body Applicator™ gives you tightening, toning, and firming results that last! This has been my secret to unclogging my lymphatic system and making me feel better through my illnesses. When I found out about the power of the “wrap”, I started telling everyone how much better I felt.

    does_it_work

     

     

    Step 2. Remove. Not only do you use the cleanse, but you remove any processed food as well. It will help you feel so much better in the long run!!

    CleansewithBox_250w

    Step 3. Reboot. This step is important because you have just reset your body!! Reboot your metabolism every day for increased calorie burn and more energy! Greens™ Berry and Ultimate ThermoFit™ work together to fuel your body with the nutrition it needs to REBOOT and fire up your metabolism.

     
    So I did include the links in the post to buy them separately, but why waste time doing that. The entire system is available to you and you get everything you need to reset your body for optimum health. If you choose to buy it separately, check out the links above.

    $37 savings when items are bought as a package!
    Share on Pinterest for $10 in perk points

    🔴 Blender bottle is free ( holds greens, pills, and a snack)

    🔴 Free Shipping

    🔴 Receive $24 product credit to use on future orders (that’s Free Fat Fighters!! )

     

     
    Lastly, you get my private support group to help you along the way where we give each other tips and help each other on our journey to health. If you have ordered through my website, find me at Vitalize You Wellness on FB and PM me to get into the support group!

    P.S.S.  If you are a 4 Weeks to Wellness user, this system also compliments what you are doing and you can request access to the group as well!!  The products ARE Global!  You just have to see what is available in your country by using the drop down list on my shop and picking your country.


  • 3 Benefits of Using a Charcoal Sponge

    As many people know, I am a research “hacker”.  I find things that make my life easier and I share it with you.  In all things natural, this is my calling.  So some time ago, I told all my clients about my new discovery…which was on something that has been around for a while. Activated charcoal means the carbon is infused with oxygen and is prepared for human ingestion (in the case of poisoning or detox) and skincare products. This oxygenation creates a super porous surface, increasing its ability to absorb matter and toxins. Possibly the most absorbent cosmetic ingredient out there, activated charcoal is said to have the ability to absorb thousands of times its own weight.

    Say what???  Get out of town you neat thing you.  What does it do though?

    3 Benefits of Using a Charcoal Sponge:

    1. It removes impurities from your skin and improves the overall feeling and texture.  I love the way my charcoal sponge feels and it was weird at first…but I was so impressed with my skin texture.  It seemed so odd that it helped that fast!!
    2. It can aid in detoxing your body…which was why I looked it up in the first place.  I wanted to remove any build up of soap off my skin before using my products.  I like to put a wrap on fresh clean skin and this was the way to do it.
    3. It’s said to be anti-aging.  So activated charcoal is said to tighten pores and smooth the skin. It also reduces inflammation, which is significant in preventing premature aging.  All things i needed in my life.  So that was good enough for me to try a few of the products with charcoal.

    Here are a few things you can try and let me know what you think!

    The Sponge I used is this one:

    sponge_earth

    Apparently, this is The BEST Dead Sea Mask:

    mud

    And I want to try this face sponge as well:

    sponge_face

    Lastly, everyone knows I am a nut for some tea tree oil as well so oohh-ahh:

    pure_soap


  • What or Who Lifts You Up?

    inquire within

    For years now, 10 to be exact, I have had a group of close women friends.  Some of the women come and go as they move, but the core group remains the same.  I am going to be perfectly honest and crystal clear with you…there have been times when we did not like one another.  I know this.  They know this, but we don’t say it.  Why don’t we say it?  Because we have evolved.  We know that the times we did not like one another were the times that we actually were thinking things like “I can’t believe she did that…or said that.”  But we got past that and through it and realized that the reason we had such strong feelings was the underlying love.  It can be difficult in a group of women, as you well know, to get past those feelings.  I read recently that if you are able to do this, and really understand your friend past 7 years, the friendship will make it.  I am glad that even in the dark times, we hung on because what we are building is worth it.

    So I took the collective knowledge of this group of women and really explored the “self-esteem” issue we women have.  One night we were talking long into the evening about why we have self-esteem issues.  It was proposed it was a gift from our mothers.  If the women in our lives were always “dieting” and stressing out, then we too would take on that persona as an adult woman.  Now, I have two teenage, ACK, girls.  What message am I sending them right now?

    Thankfully I took the words “diet” out of my vocabulary.  I try not to let them see me weigh on the stupid scale.  Guess who gave me the scale?  Anyway, it was not my husband.  I want ALL women to feel loved and supported by their peers.  Where “we” as women maybe once thought “Oh my gosh, she shouldn’t be wearing that!”  I wish “we” as women would think,why shouldn’t she wear that if she feels great in it? I have long since been extremely self-conscious about my mid section.  Worried people would see signs of where the doctor saved my baby’s life, and signs of where my big beautiful girls grew in my belly.  And signs, heaven help us, that I AM A BUSTY yoga teacher.  THEY might see my cleavage.  I don’t know who they are…men I guess.  So I came up with my #fierceFebruary challenge on my sister blog theburnedhand.com.  And as soon as I put the first photo up on FB someone defriended me.  IT COULD be a coincidence.  I am going to hope so.  But if not, who cares.  Stop hiding.

    And I looked at the photo and I added filters.  What would people think of it?  Are my boobs too big?  Let me hide it behind some layers of filters.  And then I put it on Instagram for my challenge.  Don’t hide.  I am starting a new group of women who get in the 4 Weeks to Wellness program and we are going to be founding sisters as we work on building each other up.  Through Week 4 and beyond of the program, but week 4 is specifically self-care including what we do to lift ourselves up!!

    3 Tips to Find What Lifts You Up:

    1.  Think about a specific activity that makes you feel amazing.  Just think for a bit about that feeling you get of elation and happiness.  Where does it come from and how can you add more of that into your life?  I want you to pull out your trusty journal.  Remember the name exercise?  Well this is like that, but today we are writing the feelings we want to create for ourselves in the future.  Start journaling baby and don’t stop until you know all the things you want to feel!
    2. What do you want to change?  I admit to stalking some friend’s posts on FB so I can see what women are saying to each other, and man, this last week was hard for some people.  Why would a friend constantly word vomit on you?  Were they not thinking about you?  <<< likely cause or were they thinking about what they want for you?  Again, could be that as well.  If you get mad and don’t have the brave conversation, things will stay the same.  If you have repeatedly said that things they do make you feel uncomfortable, etc, it might be time for a change.  The people around you really and truly give off energy.  It’s not some voodoo fake stuff, there are lots of scientific folks researching this “energetic field” so people can literally suck the life out of you.  Change that.  Really.
    3. List things. Make lists of gratitude, lists of things you need to get done, and lists of feeling you want to create in your life.  List ways to be happy and repeatedly re-align yourself back to these lists.  Do not go into the past.  There is nothing for you back there.  Create new feelings and get it done like a check off list.  You can really change your thoughts this way.

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  • Benefits of Exercise

    benefits of exercise - endorphins [pic of a man smiling]
    Endorphins at work

    The benefits of exercise on Your Head.

    Exercise increases blood flow (see Your Heart below) which means more oxygen and nutrients for the brain. And while regular exercise won’t turn you into genius, it can make your more “mental” as a couple chemicals in the brain are increased:

    Serotonin, a neurotransmitter. As you exercise, levels of serotonin increase, helping improves mental clarity and focus. Serotonin is also responsible for elevating your mood, which helps battle stress and depression.

    Endorphins, the “happy” hormones. Another brain boost from exercise is the increase in endorphins, the hormones associated with positive feelings. And for those of you looking for a little pick-me-up during the day, these same endorphins that help make you happy can also provide you with more energy.

    In addition, researchers in Scotland conducted a study of 638 seventy-year olds. They took MRIs and had them answer questions about the activity levels and how often they played “brain games” typically associated with keeping the mind sharp. Three years later, they took another MRI and compared the amount of degeneration in the brain, in both size and white matter. They compared the results to the answers on the questionnaires and found that those engaging in regular physical activity had less age-related decline.

    The benefits of exercise on Your Heart.

    benefits of exercise - a healthy heart [image of heart with stethoscope on it]Increased cardiovascular endurance strengthens the heart and improves the circulatory system overall. This improvement reduces the chance/amount of plaque build-up while increasing the efficiency of the heart, meaning it pumps more blood with each beat, resulting in a lower heart rate. What does that mean? Basically, it means your heart doesn’t have to work as hard to do its job on a regular basis,, and when you ask it to ramp up the flow, during exercise, for instance, it is better prepared to do so.

    Exercise also boosts your high density lipoprotein (HDL) -a.k.a. “good cholesterol”- while decreasing your triglycerides. This not only benefits your heart, but also helps reduce your risk of stroke and type 2 diabetes.

    The benefits of exercise on Your Health.

    Aside from helping you get to or maintain a healthy weight, regular exercise can help in many other areas:

    • Weight bearing exercises have been shown to increase bone density, which helps prevent osteoporosis and broken bones due to falls.
    • Strength training, even resistance/body weight training, can help prevent the loss of muscle mass.
    • People who exercise regularly tend to fall asleep easier and have deeper sleep.
    • According to a CDC article* on the benefits of exercise, physical activity lowers your risk of colon and breast cancer.
    • Along with muscles and bones, joints also get stronger with exercise.

    So…whatever you choose to do…just get out there and exercise.

    benefits of exercise - increased health [image montage of icons doing various activities]

     

    *CDC Article: The Benefits of Physical Activity
    images courtesy of Pixabay

  • 3 Tips to Get You Moving Through Chronic Pain

    Down Dog

    But I moved yesterday.  I did.  I went to the store and walked around and it was tiring.  <<< Do you say that in your head?  I remember a time when I couldn’t move hardly at all.  My hips had given out almost and were uneven, and my shoulders were so tight it hurt to sleep on one side.  I was miserable and in PAIN every single day and night.  If this sounds like you, then listen to me for just a minute.  I am NOT a doctor, but I am a wellness coach who has been through 17 years of invisible diseases and has tried nearly everything to ease pain from autoimmune (Hashimotos) and fibromyalgia.

    The chronic pain and stiffness you feel with age or fibromyalgia does not get better with less movement.  No.  It feels like that because it hurts to breathe sometimes.  It hurts to even think about someone touching you, and I really get that.  But please make time for movement and you will gradually, grudgingly, see that I am not going to lead you in the wrong direction.

    3 Tips to Get You Moving Through Chronic Pain

    1. Walk your way healthy!  Oxygen is needed in your muscles to help them remain healthy as well as proper nutrition.  If you are doing one, but not the other, make sure you fuel up after a good walk or even Profit_Vanilla_125wbefore your walk. The movement helps rebuild stamina, boosts energy, and reduces stiffness and pain that otherwise would just be there.  You are pain sitting…so try something new to see what happens.  Research has shown that low-impact aerobics is most effective for improving the symptoms we face daily with FMS.  Make sure you start out with a small goal of maybe just 10 minutes a day to build up your strength.  Extra hint:  I personally use this protein powder (pictured right).  The reason why is because I get paid to order what I need…as a customer you get perks points that can be used on future orders for free items.  Also, this is the only powder that I have found that is readily available, has Maca powder which has healing superfood benefits, and promotes healthy digestion with seven different soluble and insoluble fibers.

    2. Chair, restorative or gentle YOGA!  Everyone knew this was coming.  In my 4 Weeks to Wellness Course, I created a new optional week just in case you wanted to start out slowly with chair yoga.  I was talking to my 83 year old neighbor last night who also has fibromyalgia, and just hurts like I do in the cold, she told me her doctor gave her the okay to have private lessons with me and she was super excited.  If you can’t make it into a studio, consider adding my online program with workbooks on ways to improve your health at home at your pace!  The weeks are chunked into 1 task a day.  That’s it!!  I know what it feels like to start something new.  Back to yoga…modify moves to reduce stress. If a particular position hurts, you can tweak it to still get the benefits with less pain, and I know this because I couldn’t do downward facing dog to start off with.  You can do dolphin down dog, which is forearms, or use a block under both hands.  I highly suggest always having at least 2 blocks near you for your practice and maybe even a bolster (basically a soft pillow). Do not worry about extending your knees fully if you are at the beginning of a pose.  It’s being there that matters.  Also, if you have sore knees, use a gardening pad under them or double up your mat where you rest your knees.  You really can do anything you want tomodify!!

    3. Relief_125wEveryday tasks can help you add movement. I built my plan around adding more movement into my day by doing things i had actually stopped doing.  I had almost given up going to the store because of how exhausted it made me feel.  Likewise, i had stopped mopping, dusting, and cleaning up around the house if it involved bending over.  But if you plan your day with 6 things you need to get done that day and work slowly and methodically to get through them, just cross off the things you get to, and then add whatever you didn’t do to the top of your list tomorrow.  You really can make it through chronic pain if you just keep trying, and don’t be afraid to say to yourself that you’ve done the best you could and you need a break.  Have a cup of tea, use your heating pads, and take your Relief if it gets to be too much for the day.  The word “relief” is also linked to a product that helped me out tremendously.

     


  • The 5 Steps I took to Beat Bloat

    Overview

    Hi friends!  I am so happy you are here, and researching ways to make your life easier and your health and wellness better.  I want to start off by telling you that I have literally been researching for over 17 years.  If you do not know me or my story, you can read more on my personal development blog called The Burned Hand.  <<< that is linked.  I started the blog as a way to handle all the thoughts that came with living with 7, yes SEVEN, invisible diseases.  My emotions were bad and my moods were a swinging, but at the time I had NO idea that it related to MY GUT health!!  Please read this in case you think I am crazy called New Year New Brain.  <<< linked

    I want to give you all the tools to help yourself based off my extensive research which literally took me years to compile all while using my body as the test ground.  I literally had NOTHING to lose.  So I tested every theory, every new lead, out on my body.  The first lead that really and truly helped me was my break-up with sugar and gluten.  <<< linked

    I have met many people who thought that I had some sort of willpower of STEEL.  What I learned specifically is how much we do not know about the food we are putting into our bodies.  I took out everything processed and learned how to live all while trying to regress my symptoms back to finding my first symptom.

    I want to show you what I did though…and the rest is outlined on the 4 Weeks to Wellness program.  <<< more info there

    1. Your pantry.  Get in there and look at things.  Is there anything you could throw out that has ingredients you don’t even know how to pronounce let alone know what they could be triggering in your body?  If the answer is yes, please throw some things away.  especially if any form of sugar is a first ingredient, which again, I talk about in my program.
    2. I started researching gut flora.  I am not going to lie, probiotics are a tricky little thing to get right and so is pH balance.  That’s why I knew I had to find JUST the right balance.  The system that was created by my company helped me tremendously because it included greens.  The greens are available in several countries, so you just have to use the drop down to find your country and see if they are shipped there.  Canada, USA, and Australia have them, but we do ship to other countries as well, so on this link here, use the drop down to find your country if you want to read more.
    3. I flushed my body using a process of the greens, the wraps, as well as something called dry brushing which can be found on my tip board for clients here.  << linked.
    4. I never ever gave up.  Not even when my research lead me to inconclusive results and thoughts of why am I doing this? Wait, i know the answer.  Because doctors gave up on me and I refuse to accept the alternative of prescriptions for life that could potentially damage my organs.  Yup.  That meant I said no to any and all drugs for fibromylagia.  You got it.  I went rogue!!!
    5. I knew that I needed to fight inflammation so I researched turmeric.  If you don’t know about the benefits, please read more on my healthy liquids board here.

    Again, I have done tons of research for you and looked up countless article and recipes.  I have included the links in my 4 Weeks to Wellness course as well as reading material for you that I created based off my research.  I created workbooks, journaling ideas and more!  If you have any questions, don’t forget you can PM our FB page here:  Vitalize You Wellness   <<< linked.

    4 Weeks


  • How to Exercise while Avoiding the New Year’s Crush at the Gym

    Ah, the beginning of the New Year brings LOTS of folks out to the gyms who make resolutions to exercise.  Some just to get into a little better shape, some to lose weight, some to get ripped, and others are dragged their as companions.  Within a month or two, the swell of people packing the gym will ebb and you’ll find you can again go at just about anytime and get on your favorite cardio machine, make your rounds on the strength training equipment, or find space in your favorite class.

    While most of us don’t have our own personal gyms at home, there are still plenty of ways to keep exercising if you’re avoiding the New Year’s Gym Crush.  You can still use body weight exercise to work your core, your chest, shoulders, and triceps, your glutes and legs, and get your cardio in…all without leaving your house.  No, you don’t need a large area or high ceiling either.

    Let’s start at the top and work our way down.

    The simplest and easiest way to work your chest, shoulders, and triceps is the PUSH-UP.  Yep.  You only need slightly more floor space than it takes you to lie on the floor.  Push-ups are as simple as putting your hands on the floor and pushing your body up until your arms are fully extended.  To do a more proper push-up, start with your arms fully extended, lower your body until your elbows are bent and your upper arm is parallel with the floor, then push back up until your arms are fully extended.  That’s one rep, or repetition.  You should raise and lower your body as a unit, keeping it in a generally straight line.  If you can’t do any, try doing them with your knees on the ground until you’ve worked up to doing them with your legs straight.

    pic of Rob planking at the gym
    Planking selfie at the gym

    Next we move to your core.  What’s the difference in your core and your abs?  The core includes your abs, obliques, and lower back.  Your core is your trunk, your torso, and it is vital to have a strong core for a variety of reasons.  An exercise that has become a big favorite for working the core over the last few years is the PLANK.  Planking can be done in the extended push-up position with the arms locked out or resting your body weight on your elbows.  This looks really easy, because in its simplest form, there’s no movement.  The key is to hold your body in a straight line.  There are many variations, including ones in which you lift your legs up behind you, side planking, planking on exercise balls, etc.  I sometimes add movement into mine by rocking up and back on my toes or left and right.

    Of course, you can do crunches, sit-ups, and leg lifts, as well, but those really only target your abs.  Be careful when doing crunches and sit-ups to not put your hands behind your head and use them to jerk yourself up.  You can hurt your neck.

    Moving a little lower, we have the glutes…the big muscles in your booty.  A simple exercise to work these, as well as a little on your core, is what I’ll call the HIP RAISE.  Lie on your back and bend your knees, bringing your feet up flat on the floor near your butt.  Put your arms out to the side for balance, then raise your hips off the floor until your body is in a generally straight line from your knees to your shoulder blades.  Like planking, you can just hold this position or you can add variation, such as alternately straightening one leg at a time.

    Another exercise that works the glutes while also working the quadriceps (front of the leg) and the hamstring (back of the leg), is the LUNGE.  Start with your feet together, then take a bigger than normal step forward , bending the stepping leg until it reaches a ninety degree angle, then push back up, returning to a standing position.  Do this again with the other leg and you’ve completed one rep.  Repeat this until you’ve reached the number of reps you’ve set as your goal for that set.  Be careful not to just flop forward.  The bend should be deliberate.  Focus on the movement, making sure your lead knee isn’t wobbling back and forth, and try not to bend that knee past ninety degrees.

    While the calves get a tiny bit of work from the lunge, you can specifically target them with the CALF RAISE/TOE RAISE.  Ideally, to get the full stretch and range of motion, you could do this on a step, but since not everyone has a step, we’ll do two different motions to work the front and back of calf muscles.  Start in a standing position with feet shoulder width apart (or slightly closer, but not right next to each other).  Stretch up onto your toes, then lower yourself back down until your heels are on the ground.  Rock back on your heels, pulling your toes back up toward your knee, and return to standing flat-footed.  That’s one rep.  If you need help balancing while doing this exercise, you can hold onto the back of a chair or a kitchen counter.

    FAMI cordless electronic jump ropeSo, now we’re up to getting your cardio in.  You can run in place or do jumping jacks/side straddle hops, but I prefer JUMPING ROPE…and you can even do it in a room with low ceilings and very little space.  How is that possible, you ask?  By using a cordless/ropeless Jump Rope.  These electronic jump ropes allow you to simulate jumping rope without having to worry about space…and without having to worry about getting tangled up in your rope.  Most of these will track, at the very least, the number of “jumps” or “skips”.  I use one made by FAMI (pictured left).  It tracks more than jump count and it comes with a “rope” that I could connect up if I wanted to go out side and actually jump over the rope.

    A huge benefit to not having to actually jump over a rope is that you’re free to do all sorts of different footwork that would be difficult to accomplish with an actual rope.  I suggest jumping for 15 to 20 minutes, taking a quick break to do a set of push-ups and crunches, then repeat this three or four times depending on how much time you have.  Because you don’t have to keep track of your own count, you can throw on a movie and watch it while jumping.

    Exercise mat by Athletic IntuitionMost of these exercises don’t require any extra equipment.  Some of these may be more comfortable done on a yoga/athletic mat to throw down beneath you.  Another suggested use for the mat is, whiled rolled up, to gently press down on your toes during the ‘toe raise’ portion of the calf raise exercise to provide a little resistance.  There are plenty available as thin as 3/16″ to 1/4″ thick, but I’d recommend one at least 1/3″ thick to help pad your elbows when planking.  The one pictured right by Athletic Intuition also comes with a carry strap and is available in many different colors.

     


  • 6 Tips on Living with Pain

    Originally published on theburnedhand.com.  

    Pain

     

    Oh great.  Here is yet another blog article trying to tell me how to live with pain.  What does this writer know?  This writer lives with 6 invisible diseases…and all of them have caused pain.  Hereditary Hemochromatosis (iron overload), Porphyria Cutanea Tarda (sensitivity to light, skin blisters), Hashimoto’s Thyroid (autoimmune…caused extreme stomach issues), Epstein-Barr Virus (felt entire vertebral column flare-up), Depression from pain, and Fribromyalgia (when anyone touched my skin, it felt like a slap).

    Over the last three years, the pain continued to get worse.  I opted not to be on the pharmaceutical drugs due to the fact that HH is a genetic condition and no doctor could tell me for sure if the drugs would make my liver worse.  So pain it was.  But I wasn’t going to stop there.  I continued my search for things to help me cope that were going to work with my body naturally.  What did I find?

    6 Tips for Living with Pain (This is a linked article):

    1. Turmeric milk.  Turmeric has been used in India for thousands of years for its anti-inflammatory properties…due to the active compound curcumin.
    2. Relief.  Building on that, I take this product because it has ingredients such as glucosamine and chondroitin, but even more than that it also includes turmeric root extract, as well as yucca root, which has long been used for osteoarthritis as well as inflammation of the intestine.  Ah-ha.  Hmm.  Remember my stomach pain before?  Better within weeks of getting on this.
    3. Restorative yoga.  Yoga has been shown to decrease the stress hormone cortisol.  Do you think I might have been stressed when I moved if my whole body felt like it was on fire?  Yes.  Just a little.  The difference in restorative though, is that you get to use comfy bolsters, blocks and blankets.  So we made little nests, and sat in that pose for 5-15 minutes depending on what it was.  I had a hard time at first, but learned to let go of my expectations of what my body used to be able to do.  The poses became second nature.
    4. Vinyasa yoga for back pain.  I graduated to Vinyasa…honestly, only because a friend pulled me in the direction my mind was afraid to go.  When she suggested restorative, I gave it a try.  When she said that I could do Vinyasa and possibly teach one day, my mind shut her down due to the pain.  “She has no idea how much moving hurts.”  Said the mind…but the heart wanted to get better.  Thankfully, it’s pretty strong, and said “Let’s do this thing!!!”  And so I did.  Almost 200 hours later…the girl on fire.  Literally.
    5. Meditation-like thoughts.  When I felt myself go into the dark place of pain, I would literally stop and say things to myself like “I am breathing in.  I am breathing out.”  I didn’t come up with this on my own.  I read part of a Thich Nhat Hanh’s You are Here, except at the time, I didn’t want to be there.  ha.  So I never finished it.  But it did teach me to focus my breathing.
    6. Friends checking in on you.  This part became difficult.  Not many people were in this category.  When you are in pain, people slip away.  They do.  It’s not their fault, but it is in the human nature to be uncomfortable when you don’t know what to do.  Most don’t climb down in the hole with you.  Watch this short video to get the full meaning of “The Power of Empathy”.  Rarely can a response make something better, says Dr. Brown, what makes something better is a connection.

    So my friends, I leave you with my connection to you.  I am in the hole with you.  I have climbed down there.  I will hug you.  I will give you that love and connection to your pain, but the next step is on you.  The best advice I have for you is to read more about my 4 Weeks to Wellness course and take that as your next step.  The program was created based off what I did to get my life back, and it truly and honestly saved me.