Fitness/Exercise

Following My Passion for Fitness, Health and Wellness

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Starting OverI’ve taken so much time off from blogging it’s as if I am starting again. Which is not necessarily a bad thing and timely because I am starting something new in my offline life as well centering around Fitness and Health.

For the past few years, I have been consulting with various small to medium sized companies, focused on social media, marketing strategy and content. I love figuring out ways to connect with people which is what marketing is all about.  However, i was having a hard time feeling truly  content.

Here’s where the new path begins…

I’ve decided to take on smaller scale marketing projects and follow another true passion – Fitness and Health.  If you’ve followed this blog for a  while, you may remember I coached CrossFit classes regularly. I loved it, but with the responsibilities of my family, a full time corporate job, along with a dash of gym drama, it became too much of a time suck for me. I walked away from coaching but never stopped thinking about it. Fast forward to today – I have enough time available to help others improve their lives through health and wellness properly and it’s my time to pursuing something that sets me on fire…

Stephanie Hoaglund - Personal TrainerStarting this month, I am personal training clients part time at BodybyWayne.

Making a jump into a new field and a new career path is scary, but it’s worse to feel like you are meant to do something and not do it. I know in my heart of hearts, I am meant to help others discover how being fit through exercise, and improving one’s  overall health can improve their lives in more ways than just physical. My first hand perspective goes a long way when training and motivating others.  I’ve been there, struggled, had wins, had set backs – and have learned through it all.  I’ve learned how to jump into the uncomfortable even though it’s terrifying. I’ve learned how to see myself  differently and talk to myself with a different voice.  I’ve learned how to dig deep and do the work. I’ve also learned how hard it can be to make a serious life change – and it sometimes takes more times than anyone can count to make it stick. And I know how important it is to get back up and try again.

And I know how important it is to help others discover who they are and what they are capable of doing.

If you are ready to jump into fitness and start living a healthier life, reach out to me and let’s get started together.

Relieve Muscle Soreness using a Lacrosse Ball

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Let’s talk about how to relieve muscle soreness and loosen up those tight musclesLAX Ball for Myofascial Release throught a technique called myofascial release.  What type of stretching is that you ask? According to Mayo clinic, “myofascial release is a manual therapy technique often used in massage. The technique focuses on pain believed to arise from myofascial tissues — the tough membranes that wrap, connect and support your muscles”.

Have you ever felt super sore and rubbed that particular area and it hurts like hell when you do, but afterwards it feels a little less tight and painful? You have done myofascial release therapy and you didn’t even know it. A foam roller would fall be considered a type of myofascial release as well as using my personal favorite tool, a lacrosse ball. Some people recommend using a tennis ball – and that may be great for rolling your foot out, but in my opinion, nothing works better than a lacrosse ball. It can really dig in and release the fascia.  (Say that in your best Austin Powers bad guy voice!)

Benefits of Myofascial Release

Before I share some information about how you can use a LAX ball, let’s talk about some of the benefits. Soft tissue work essentially involves giving yourself a massage. It will help loosen up any stiff areas and allow your muscles and tissues to move and contract more effectively, which helps reduce muscle soreness, increase blood flow, speed up recovery time, and relieve tension.

If you are new to this type of massage, let me be honest and tell you it’s probably going to hurt like hell while you are doing it. For some, it can be almost unbearable, but the thing is that with this type of  technique the more you do it, the less uncomfortable the pressure will be. And if it hurts that much, you really need to do more of it. Breaking up the fascia is the goal. You want your tight muscles and fascia to be brushed out like a knot in your hair.

Video Resources

Here’s an example of one for using it on your butt area:
  1. Lie on the ground and put ball underneath one side of your butt.
  2. Position your body so that the majority of your weight is on top of that area.
  3. Remember to keep breathing and try to relax.
  4. Hold the ball in the most painfully tight area for around 30 seconds.
  5. You can move the ball around as well but make sure you are holding it in those pain spots for longer periods to really break up the fascia.

Next time you feel super sore, or have a knot in  your back/neck/leg/body – try giving myofascial release a try to loosen up your muscles and get you back to moving normally again.

Open your Hips to Better Health

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One of the things I have noticed over the years of working out with and training others–people have super tight hip flexors and don’t stretch enough! Last week, I was boxing with a professional football player who is currently a free agent as he recovers from a pre-season game ankle injury. I’m always amazed at how many football players I’ve met who clearly only train for their particular position on the field. They aren’t encouraged to take care of themselves as a whole body athlete which can often times ends up hurting them as they get older. This particular player is a center – he’s huge. 6’4 and over 300 pounds. His job is to block – so why would flexibility be important? Well – in my opinion, he would be a better all around athlete with less injuries over time if he took a more holistic approach to his training.

We were stretching afterward the class and I mentioned to him how tight his hips were. He stopped for a sec and said that was what the team trainers told him to work on  while he recovers and they gave him a name of someone to call.  I kinda laughed and told him he doesn’t need to call anymore — and ended up showing him some general mobility movements he could work on to help open his hips and loosen his muscles.  I told him to work on his mobility for the next two weeks while he was watching TV or before he goes to bed every day.

It’s not only professional athletes who need to work on mobility either. One of my dear friends just had her first baby and I suggested these hip openers during her pregnancy – and she mentioned how much they helped during labor.

So my point?

Everyone should take time each day to work on mobility. The more you do it, the more progress you will see and the better you will feel. Promise.

As with any exercise or movement, remember to ALWAYS make the stretches work for your body.  Work within a range of motion that you can tolerate.

Here are a few hip mobility movements to get you started…

Spider Man Stretch
 
Spiderman for Hip Flexiblity
  • Assume the top of a Push-Up position or High Plank.
  • Step forward with one leg to outside of the same side hand.
  • Drive your hips forward into stretch and hold for a few seconds.
  • Maintain a braced core and squeeze your glute on the back leg while in the stretch.
  • Return to start position and repeat with your other leg.
  • Continue in alternating fashion for specified reps.
Pigeon Stretch
Pigeon Pose
Sit with one knee bent to 90-degrees in front of you, and one knee behind you, rotating your back hip forward and backward.
  • Start with your front knee bent to a 90-degree angle. The back knee can be as bent or extended as is comfortable for you.
  • Rotate the back hip toward the front heel, and then toward the back foot.
  • Keep the chest up tall, and only bear as much weight as you can comfortably.

Variation: Elevated Pidgeon Stretch

 

Elevated Pigeon Stretch

 

Long Adductors
(Stretching Exercise Guide)

Long Adductors - Hip Flexibility

Kneel onto your right leg and place your left foot in front of you to assume the lunge position.

  • Slide your left foot out to the side and place both hands on the floor in front of you.
  • Try to straighten the left knee and lean your body forward while relaxing your hips.
  • Rocking the hips forward and back will  change the pull slightly to get all muscles.

Fire Hydrant
(Chloe Ting)

Fire Hydrant for Hip Flexibility
  • Position yourself on your hands and knees on the ground. This will be your starting position.
  • Keeping the knee in a bent position, abduct the femur, moving your knee away from the midline of the body.
  • Pause at the top of the motion, and then slowly return to the starting position.
  • Perform this slowly for a number of repetitions, and repeat on the other side.

Don’t Believe the Hype or the Memes

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Dont Believe the HypeI came across this posting on FB the other day –and it came at the right time. I have been dealing with a deep tissue tear in my back and just feeling a general fatigue and lack of motivation for some of my workouts. So, after reading this – I gave myself a pep talk and said -take a break from the workouts that aren’t bringing me joy and do something else for a while. Read it and see if it helps you too…

 

Don’t believe the memes, don’t take the inspirational posts as gospel, don’t destroy your body to save face:

Take a rest day. Take a week off, or a month, or even half a year. Do something besides lifting, find a new hobby for a while, or volunteer somewhere to help the less fortunate. Do something to make the world a better place, and not just yourself.

Or:

Have fun for once! You don’t HAVE to go hard in the gym every day. Some of the most miserable people I’ve ever met are people who make lifting their entire life, and for what? A $10 trophy? A jug of protein and a shirt that doesn’t fit right? Is all that really worth neglecting your kids over, blowing out your knees, missing big life events or losing your job?

The reality is that most lifters will never make a liveable income solely off lifting, and to treat a hobby in a way that overtakes your life is just about the worst thing you can do for your livelihood. There is no pension at the end of your lifting career. Lifting should be FUN. If you aren’t having fun with it, why are you doing it? So your friend doesn’t send you a T-Nation article that says you’re a ween for not wanting to max every day? Who cares.

If you’re burnt out, spend a few weeks doing Bodybuilding work, or take up hiking for a few weeks. Experiment with new movements, or become a cardio bunny. Put on an extra 5-10lbs. Who. Freaking. Cares. It’s your money, your time, and your body. Do what you like with it.

I will tell you this: I bet that taking some time off will help you rekindle that fire under your butt that you had when you first got into all this. Lifting will be there when you’re ready to go again, and 200lbs will always be 200lbs.

~Brandon Morrison

Are You Being Selfish Enough When It Comes to Your Health?

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I believe that the greatest gift you can give your familyI came across this blog post today: Who’s Really the Selfish One? and had to share it because it really encapsulates my perspective on how important my own health and fitness is to me and it totally aligns with the reason I even have my blog.  Taking care of yourself is not selfish! I hear too many parents in my area say they are too busy to exercise, they put their children’s needs way ahead of their own health needs and put themselves at the very bottom of their very long/never ending priority list.

My blog, Live Fit and Sore, emphasizes the importance of taking care of yourself no matter your circumstances…

  1. Most of us go through life thinking It could never happen to us.  Whatever that It is — but guess what? It does and has happened to people all around you. Cancer is affecting younger people more and more. We all know a few people who have suffered heart attacks at an early age. Name an illness or disease – I’m almost positive you will find people your age who have had to face it.  Research shows people fare better against a whole host of illnesses if they are in shape and relatively healthy.  And it goes without saying, you can’t take care of others properly if you aren’t taking care of yourself.
  2. What message and lesson do you want your kids to learn? I love that my kids understand that my fitness and health is a priority to me. I want them to grown up understanding that no matter how busy and hectic our life gets, I find time to workout. They also see me meeting great people and how the experience enriches my life. I want the same for them. I want them to know that you don’t have to get ‘old’ and become just a ‘parent’. I’m very proud of being their mom, but I am still a viable, important person who deserves time to take care of myself. I want them to think leading an active and fit life is normal as they grow and have families of their own. You don’t lose your person status when you become a parent —

This was one of the closing paragraphs of the blog post that I think we all need to consider: “Picture yourself twenty or thirty years from now. Are you happily playing with your grandkids and enjoying your life independently, or are you stuck on the couch or scooter, too achy and out of shape to enjoy this beautiful world and those in it?”

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Random Things On My Mind

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What's On My Mind

Let’s Get Our Kids Outside More

As a follow up to my previous post, I came across this article: Why You Need More Dirt in Your Life. The very first paragraph tells a huge story: “It’s estimated that children now spend less time outside than the average prisoner. This could have devastating effects: Kids need to be exposed to the microbes in the soil to build up their defenses against diseases that may attack them later. But it’s not just children, Paul Bogard explains in his new book, The Ground Beneath Us. The EPA estimates that the average American adult now spends 93 percent of their life indoors. As we retreat indoors, more and more of the earth is disappearing, with an estimated quarter of a million acres paved or repaved in the United States each year.” 

Kids are spending less time outside than prisoners!! It’s not uncommon to read about how little recess time kids are getting during their school day, but with the amount of homework kids are being sent home with -many kids simply do not even have enough time after school either. And on top of that, add in the technology addiction so many families are dealing with now.  What a recipe for disaster in more ways than we even know about.  I’m not sure what the solution is —  but putting an emphasis and importance on getting your kiddos outside should be at the top of all parents’ lists. It starts at home.

Know When to Take a Knee

Even though I’m in damn good shape, I have to continually remind myself that it’s OK to scale. I’ve been taking [Solidcore] for some time now and it continually screws with my head. What happens is that when I do scale during the 50 minute class, I am hard on myself afterwards. As I was driving back from class this morning, I started to beat myself up about scaling a few moves. Then, I purposefully thought about how far I have come since I first tried this type of hard workout. And reminded myself, scaling isn’t necessarily a bad thing. I don’t have to compare myself to anyone else taking the class. They aren’t me. They aren’t built like me. They don’t have the same challenges. They have their own.  I’m sure it won’t be the last time thoughts like these creep up, but like any other skill – practice makes better. I have to make a conscious effort to switch the filter that I am using.

Why You Should Never Feel Bad About Modifying Your Workouts

Things Happen For a Reason

As a few of you know, I am currently enjoying downtime from working full time. I have a few clients that I am consulting with, but nothing that is taking up all my working hours. What you probably don’t know, because I don’t really talk about it, is that my son just hit his teen years and is having some challenges. I am told that the issues he’s dealing with are very common, but nonetheless are very challenging to handle as parents. We want to help him the best we can — but as I am finding out, there are some things he either needs to grow out of and will come as he matures and there are other things he needs guidance now more than ever. A dear friend told me yesterday that perhaps this break in my employment is the opportunity that is needed to help guide him and be there for him more. Her words “He needs you”. And now I have some time to be there for him –give him more structure, spend more time just being around him. This break happened because this is the time he needs someone there for him most.

I wish an instruction manual came with both my kids. Scotty and I are trying to do what we think is best – which I guess is all anyone can ask of us but I gotta tell you, parenting is hard.

What a Teenage Boy Needs Most from his Mom

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No Bullshit

 

 

Nature Can Help Put Things In Perspective

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My long term work contract ended about two weeks ago and this is the first time in a very long time, I’m not employed. It’s unfamiliar and strange to not have something to get up and go to each morning (even if that means working from home). People have been telling me to enjoy it — relax and just go with the flow. It’s amazing how hard that is for me. The first week was nice, but now that I’m heading into the third week, my mind is starting to go deep. Lot’s of thinking about what I am going to do next. More like – what do I want to do next. I’m lucky that I’m not dead broke (yet) and we have health insurance. I suppose that gives me a bit more breathing room and freedom, but at times I certainly don’t feel that way.

Never Have Enough NatureI grew up with a mom who worked all the time –and I mean ALL THE TIME. There was, and based on my Mom’s current schedule, still is NO DOWN TIME with her. Even entertaining the thought of being home for a bit is uncomfortable. So, I’ve been living in a state of being uncomfortable which is well, uncomfortable. To help, I’ve been exercising and walking Trooper. I have always been told when you are feeling stressed or out of sorts, head outdoors. There is something calming and grounding about surrounding yourself with Nature. So, it goes without saying I’ve been doing my fair share of visiting Mother Nature lately for sure.

And as an added benefit, spring in Virginia is absolutely gorgeous. I’m lucky to live within walking distance to a really cool park, the W&OD trail. It’s the perfect place to walk Trooper, and soak up all the signs of spring. Even the smells are amazing.

I’m not saying that my walks are solving my problems, but they are certainly helping put things in perspective and are making me just feel better. So, my advice is if you are feeling like there is a big weight on your shoulders or just stressed, take time to get outside. Take your shoes off and walk around in some fresh cut grass, head to a park and swing, or heck, just garden.

As Thoreau said, “We need the tonic of Wilderness. We can never have enough nature.

Here’s a taste of how gorgeous Virginia is in the spring…

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March is Colon Cancer Awareness Month Which Means I Run a 5K

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I’ve been taking some time off from blogging in case you haven’t noticed. I haven’t taken a planned break for years and wanted to reset. I’ve always blogged for the passion of it. To be able to share my own struggles, experiences, successes and hard work and have it help someone else – that’s my goal. That’s what inspires and motivates me. Learning about how others have succeeded has helped me throughout the years without a doubt. I don’t like to blog out of obligation and I guess that’s why I took a break.  I just didn’t feel like writing. But, here I am again…

A few updates from the past month or so to catch everyone up:

I’ve been living large all Fall and Winter long. Not really paying attention to what I’m eating and like so many of us – hearing my inner voice tell me I shouldn’t be eating with abandon. And I have noticed that my lack of attention has slowly started to show on my body. So, when Wayne, my trainer, mentioned that we needed to start weighing me in again – because Spring/Summer is coming – it hit me like a ton of bricks. Oh SHIT. What? Why? Why? Really? Ugh…

I’ve been getting back in the swing of things with making sure I am getting enough protein and limiting the crap I’m eating. Exercise isn’t my issue. It’s CARBS. I love CARBS and sugar! Sign..

March is Colon Cancer Awareness Month

March is Colon Cancer Awareness Month - Scope It OutAs many of you know, my silver fox of a husband, Scotty was diagnosed with colon cancer at the age 37, so it’s a cause that hits so close to home that it is my home!  March is Colon Cancer Awareness Month. Colon Cancer is survivable if it’s caught early, so know the signs and symptoms.

One again, Team Hoagie’s Heroes will be running the 2017 Washington DC Scope It Out 5K at Freedom Plaza in Washington, DC on March 19th,  We are celebrating Scotty’s 9th year colon cancer free. (He was diagnosed in July 2008).  If you can, join us or support our Hoagie’s Heroes Team in Scope It Out with a tax-deductible donation.

With that said, I am beyond touched by the kindness of so many people that I have met. I have received donations from some wonderful, awesome unexpected people. It blows me away and truly warms my heart that the people around me are the best people in the world. Not that I had any doubt. I appreciate all the donations from everyone but here is a story that totally made me cry.

Title Boxing started last month having a monthly campaign whereas for every check in on Facebook, they donate a dollar to a charity. The person with the most check-ins for the month gets to choose the charity.  I always check in as a matter of practice and I guess I was in the lead for a while.  I had no idea, but a fellow boxer Donna saw my post on Facebook about supporting Team Hoagie’s Heroes.  So, she set out to win the check in challenge and to surprise me, she picked my fundraising effort to donate to. When I sent her a note thanking her, she said,

I saw your post about the 5k a couple of weeks ago and then heard that you and I were in a close race for the check-ins. I felt it was the perfect way to honor you and your husband. I am honored to be supporting you in some small way.

How seriously kind and awesome was that? I’m blown away. I have met Donna a few times, maybe and yet – she did this. Now, that’s a stand-up person.

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Bone Conduction Headphones: Are they right for you?

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Aftershokz HeadphonesMy brother recently told me about these cool headphones that use bone conduction to transmit the sound, sending the vibrations straight into the top of your jaw and from there to your inner ear and brain. The company, Aftershokz, originally started making bone conduction headphones for the military and now they are offering them to the public. After hearing how much my brother loved them, I went to the website, checked them out and ordered the Trekz Titanium Wireless model. Here’s what the website has to say about this particular model…

“The lightweight and comfortable Trekz Titanium wireless stereo headphones are the safest alternative to traditional sport headphones and earbuds. Bone conduction technology, an open ear design and a suite of convenient features deliver premium music play and crystal clear calling without compromise. Designed with athletes in mind, Trekz Titanium are sweatproof, secure, and will allow you to hear your surroundings – no matter where life takes you.”

They arrived late last week and so far, I am loving them.  They don’t have crystal clear sound quality (you compete with outside noise after all)– and that’s ok with me. I love that I can wear them comfortably and still hear things around me. And they are comfortable. I have found that after a while with regular headphones that go in your ear, i have to move them around because they become uncomfortable. These fit nicely on the outside of the ear, and I haven’t really needed to readjust them that much as I move around. They are bluetooth and rechargeable. So far, I have gone 2-3 days without having to recharge them.

And you know what else? It uses cool new technology. THEY ARE COOL! 

Should You Try These Headphones?

If you run a lot outside with music and always leave one side of your headphones out so you can hear around you, these headphones are for you! Or the kind of active person who likes to hear what’s going on around you in general, go for these! If you are a audiophile and into really super crystal clear sound or are the type of person who puts your headphones on and zones out from the world around you – these are probably not going to be the right headphones for you right now. With technology constantly improving, that could change… so, keep your eye on the space because who knows, the next iteration could address those issues.

By the way: I was not asked to share info on these headphones. I just ordered them independently and really like them.  I will revisit my thoughts about them in a month to follow up on how well they have performed.

Want even more info? Here’s a good recap of these headphones from The Verge: Are bone conduction headphones good enough yet?

Aftershokz

Image by Aftershokz

 

Kindness Benefits the Mind and Body

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It should go without saying, but it’s more important than ever to look for ways to help each other out in our own neighborhoods and globally. Look for ways to lift each other up when possible -even if its simply a kind word and approach things with the best intentions. And, sometimes we need to remind ourselves that most people in our lives try to act with the best intentions even if they annoy us. And above all — BE KIND. Kindness Matters always. 

Health Benefits of Kindness

Kindness Benefits the Mind and BodyDid you know there is scientific research that proves being kind and generous is actually good for your health? When you do something that makes you feel good, your body makes Oxytocin, which then releases nitric oxide which dilates your blood vessels and reduces your blood pressure!

Research has also shown a link between being kind and your body releasing dopamine, which helps with your mood and aids in giving you a sense of euphoria and eases anxiety.

Here’s some good info on Why Being Kind is Good for your Health to drive the point home even more…

On a related note, I do not share much related to religion here, however, this was a story and a lesson about kindness and support that should resonate with us all, especially now as we are seeing an increase in hate crimes and mean spirited politics…

 

“Let me tell you the secret of Judaism. When you warm other people’s hearts, you remain warm yourself. When you seek to support, encourage and inspire others; then you discover support, encouragement and inspiration in your own life as well. That, my friends, is “Judaism 101”.”

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