Look what came in the mail yesterday…
My Fit Moms 4 Life materials!
I’m SO excited, even though I have a few months to wait before I’ll be kicking off my 6-week challenge.
It’s actually really nice to have everything so far in advance—this will give me a chance to try the workouts and get familiar with the materials before I start recruiting again. It’s kind of hard to sell people on a workout you’ve never actually done yourself, you know?
The main roadblock for the people who have expressed interest in the program so far is the money. It’s $99, which isn’t pocket change, I completely understand. But now that I’m seeing all the stuff they’ll get for that—along with the actual program, the meetings, and the community support—I think the price is more than fair.
This is the full spread I received as a leader, including the workout DVD, program DVD (with nutrition/goal-setting lessons, personal weight loss stories, etc.), a core workout DVD (bonus I guess?), Dustin’s Fit Moms for Life book, the leader and participant guides (since I’ll also be participating in the program myself), and some FM4L Livestrong-style bracelets.
Even the T-shirt is cute! (I guess I wasn’t expecting much.)
Oh, plus a fridge magnet listing the healthiest foods in the grocery store, which I just realized was already on the fridge when I took these pictures.
Here’s the spread that participants receive (everything but the leader DVD and guide):
I’m really impressed with what a nice job they did on all of this. I flipped through the participant guide and book yesterday, and the information is spot on. The mental exercises, specifically, are things I think everyone on the planet could benefit from, regardless of their fitness goals.
I’m honestly almost offended that people don’t see the value in this. Yes, $99, I get it…but a lot of people could scrounge around their houses for a few things to sell on eBay and come up with that, right? Or skip a few dinners out over the next few months?
I’m a firm believer that if you really want to make something happen, you’ll find a way. Which makes me think there must be a reason that the women I’ve talked to just don’t want this badly enough.
Sorry: I’m kind of venting here, but also leading up to asking for your help…
What do you think that reason is?? Do you think they’re not valuing themselves enough or thinking they don’t deserve this change? Do they doubt the program will actually make a change? Or are they just eager for an excuse to latch onto, to get them out of doing the work?
I’d love to hear your thoughts!
Anyway! Enough of that for now. What I really wanted to bring you today is another installment of the What I Learned in PT School series! (You can find Part I of the series here.)
The part I’m loving the most about this learning process is that the book takes facts I already technically knew—like, that you should stretch before and after working out—and explains the biological why behind it.
Not only does this added context help me remember things better but, well, I’m much much MUCH more likely to actually stretch in my own workouts if I understand why I’m doing it. (Wait, who skips stretching? Me? NEVER.)
So here are few things I found interesting in my PT studies lately…
- Shallow breathing patterns caused by stress and anxiety can have a huge impact on your body’s response to exercise. I used to struggle with this like crazy at my last job—my anxiety levels would be through the roof (even though I thought I had everything under control, and even appreciated the feeling for the way it “motivated” me). It was to the point where I felt like I couldn’t breathe sometimes, in a panicky way. This was because my breathing had become super shallow, happening almost entirely in my upper-chest—aka bad news!
Here are just a few of the potential impacts of this shallow “stress breathing”:
–It relies on the secondary respiratory muscles more than the diaphragm, causing overuse of those muscles and making the breathing pattern more and more habitual. In other words, poor breathing breeds more poor breathing. (Don’t you love that about life?)
–It interferes with posture, and too much activity and tension in the respiratory muscles can lead to headaches, lightheadedness, and dizziness.
–It can lead to altered carbon dioxide and oxygen blood content, which triggers more feelings of anxiety and further exacerbates the problem.
–It can lead to an inadequate oxygen supply in the body and unhealthy retention of metabolic waste, which will leave you with stiff, fatigued muscles for no apparent reason.
–Other problems: poor sleep patterns, poor circulation, and decreased functional capacity (aka crappy workouts).
So if you find yourself getting caught in a shallow breathing pattern, as I so so have before, you know it’s time to step back. Take a day off. Sleep more. Get some yoga in. Treat yo self. Whatever it takes.
- When yoga teachers talk about “lengthening” muscles, they’re not talking about making them longer, but returning them to their natural length.
When you work out, you’re contracting (tightening/”shortening”) your muscles. If you don’t stretch them back out to their proper length afterwards, you can end up with all kinds of bad stuff like knots ad muscle imbalances. (Everyday muscle use can result in the same thing, especially if you’re tense/stressed.)
The story of what’s going on biologically here is pretty interesting… (NERD ALERT)
When your body senses that a muscle is getting stretched, your muscle spindles kick in immediately to tighten it up in order to prevent it from stretching too far.
Then, there’s something in the body called the Golgi tendon organ, which overrides the muscle spindles and reminds muscles to relax when they start to approach a point of max stress (like a muscle therapist?), all in the name of preventing injury. But it takes the GT awhile to kick in—about 30 seconds.
So you know how you go into a deep stretch, and it feels tight at first, like your body’s really resisting it, but then you breathe into it a bit and your muscles start to relax? That’s the GT kicking in.
According to NASM, it’s important to wait out those 30 seconds in a stretch, to give your GT a chance to kick in and ensure that you’re fully lengthening that muscle back out as far as it can go.
- Bad posture leads to more bad posture thanks to something called remodeling.
Bone is constantly renewed through a process called remodeling, during which old bone tissue is broken down and new bone tissue is laid down in its place.
Remodeling tends to follow the lines of stress placed on the bone—understandably, your body’s going to send reinforcements to wherever you need them the most. Unfortunately, this also means that any incorrect exercise techniques or poor posture/alignment will lead to remodeling processes that just reinforce all those same poor habits.
So if you find that it’s more comfortable for you to do an exercise with poor form, it’s probably because your body has adjusted itself to embrace the new way—not because your body is “different.”
- Poor form or improper movement doesn’t just come from weak muscles being underactive—there are also usually some muscles that are being overactive to make up for it.
This makes perfect sense, but it’s easy to forget it.
When my lower back used to hurt like crazy during weighted squats in BodyPump class back in the day, I just assumed my core was weak. (Isn’t that always the problem?? Ugh.) What I didn’t think about was that I was making some other muscles work harder than they were supposed to to make up for my weak core. If I kept doing that long enough, without fixing the core problem and giving the other muscles a break, I’d create a real muscle imbalance that could actually affect my movement long term. (!!!)
Detecting and correcting muscle imbalances is a huuuge part of the NASM PT program. There are tables upon tables showing examples of movements that suggest a muscle imbalance, lists of the muscles that could be underactive and overactive in that scenario, and ways to fix the problem.
For example, if your knees move inward during a single-leg squat, it could be because your hip muscles are working too hard and your glutes aren’t pitching in as much as they should be.
Because life is such a joyful, easy thing, muscle imbalances can be caused by so much more than just bad form. They can also come from:
- postural stress (hello, desk jobs!)
- emotional duress
- repetitive movement
- cumulative trauma
- lack of core strength
- lack of neuromuscular efficiency
Oh, boy!! Right?
So your takeaway for the day is: go stretch. A lot. For at least 30 seconds per stretch.
OR DIE. Just kidding.
Happy Tuesday! :)