10 Benefits of Fascial Stretch Therapy

Stretching has become a much debated topic in recent times. For years it was touted as the key to restoring flexibility, improving athletic performance, and reducing injuries. Then stretching, particularly passive stretching, fell out of popularity in favor of more dynamic moves that were designed to prepare the body for sport. Passive stretching is reserved for after the workout, and even then its value is controversial.

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What is Fascial Stretch Therapy?

Enter Fascial Stretch Therapy (or FST), a type of stretching that targets not only the muscles, but the fascia, the connective tissue that surrounds muscles, bones, and joints. FST also targets the entire joint and joint capsule, using traction to remove restrictions from movement and to stimulate lubrication. A therapist will gently pull and move the arms, legs, spine, and neck in a smooth motion through varying planes of movement. There is no pain, not even discomfort. Instead, the gentle movement is stimulating and relaxing at the same time.

The problem with many standard stretching programs is, well, they are standard. An athlete will finish her workout, run through her “usual” stretches, maybe paying extra attention to tight hips, sometimes pushing through some pain to get that final stretch. Sadly, this type of stretching is not effective and may even be causing more tightness and inflexibility. When you cause pain with stretching, your muscles respond to protect themselves, tightening up in a rebound type effect.

By contrast, a Fascial Stretch Therapist will evaluate their client, looking for imbalances, as well as the source of those imbalances. Then using breath to help with movement, the therapist will first warm up the joints and muscles with undulating stretching to maximize blood flow. Then using techniques of slow undulating movement, as well as traction (gently pulling to create space in the joint) and modified PNF ( proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation), synchronized with the breath, the therapist will stretch the entire body, following a logical anatomical order, to lengthen muscle, increase range of motion, and improve flexibility.

10 Benefits of Fascial Stretch Therapy

  1. Increase Range of Motion
  2. Muscular Balance and Symmetry
  3. Improved Performance
  4. Reduced Pain
  5. Reduced Risk of Injury
  6. Improved Posture
  7. Improved Muscle Function
  8. Improved Circulation
  9. Decrease Compression and Impingement in the Joints.
  10. Improved Energy

The effects are cumulative. It took a while to develop the imbalances and stiffness in your body. It will take a while to reap the benefits of FST. But, that being said, you can feel immediate benefits, even after your first session.

Remember, I am not (yet) a certified Fascial Stretch Therapist. I will be studying and preparing for the class that I’m taking in August. My information comes from my experience as a client, as well as from the Stretch to Win website, and the book, Stretch to Win, which is written by Ann Frederick and Christopher Frederick, the developers of Fascial Stretch Therapy.

The above, by the way, is an affiliate link. I will make a few cents if you purchase that book through Amazon. Other than that I have received no compensation for this post. I have experienced FST first hand and I’m a believer in the benefits.

Linking up with Jill for Fitness Friday!

  
Have you heard of fascial stretch therapy? Have I piqued your interest? You can find a list of certified FST therapists on the website.

What’s Next? Running, Career, Personal Plans

As we approach summer my time opens up a lot. Our busy season will soon be over giving me a lot of time to plan, train, and generally think about what’s next in my life. And because it’s Thursday, I’m joining Amanda and thinking out loud about my plans for my running, career, and personal life.

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What’s Next: Running

It’s been three weeks since the marathon I did not run, so I think it’s time to give some thought to what event I’d like to do next.

At this point the only race I have on my schedule is the Honolulu Marathon in December. I’m really excited about going back to Hawaii for the first time in over 12 years. Honolulu was my very first marathon, and now, 19 years later, it will be my 37th.

Gump

December is a long way away (though I’m sure it will be here before I know it because time flies), so I want to do at least a few other races in the next six months. I know that having a plan and a goal will help inspire me to get out there and train. Here are a few thoughts about what’s next on my racing agenda.

America’s Finest City Half Marathon– August 16. The AFC Half was one of my first half marathons and I’ve probably done it seven or eight times. It’s been a while though, so it would be fun to go back. It’s a beautiful point to point course that’s mostly downhill. That is, until you get to downtown San Diego and mile 12 is a long uphill stretch to the finish.

Ragnar Trail Vail Lake – October 2-3. Several of my friends did this event last year and had a great time. I loved my Ragnar road relay and the trail version sounds pretty fun.

Malibu Half Marathon – November 15. Alan announces this race every year but I’ve never run it. They recently changed the course to an out and back, which will make it logistically easier. I used to have to try to hurry and pass the runners in the car to get Alan to the finish line ahead of them. Sounds easy until you realize that the race was held on the two lane Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu, known for its beauty and its traffic (and lack of detours).

I haven’t signed up for any of these races yet, but they are definitely on my radar. I have hesitated to pull the trigger because lately I have had commitment issues with racing. From the SLO Marathon, to the Palm Springs Half Marathon, and even the Women Running Wild 5k, I’ve had excuses reasons not to run.

Excuses

 What’s Next: Career

I consider personal training and coaching to be my “real” career. It’s my first love and I intend to keep on helping people get healthier as long as I can. Even my second career, my blog and my writing, is based on my love of health and fitness. I have a few career expanding things planned over the next few months. The summer is our slow time here in the desert, so I’m going to use the time to earn some CEUs, get some motivation, and add a couple new tools to my toolbox.

Money

Bloggy Boot Camp – This is put on by the SITS Girls and I was happy when they announced it would be in Temecula on May 30, just about an hour and a half from home. It’s a one day event and will be covering a multitude of bloggy topics including:

  • Building your Audience by Finding Your Voice
  • Work/Life “Balance”- Working Smarter, Not Harder
  • SEO {AKA: How to Make Google Love You.}
  • Working with Brands, Sponsored Opportunities and the Business of Blogging
  • Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram, Facebok
  • And More…

So you can see while they call it “boot camp!” I’ll be carpooling with a few local bloggers, which will be fun, plus I’ll get to see Melissa again and FINALLY meet Lisa! Anybody else going?

20140814 IDEA AnaheimCopyright 2014 Len  Spoden Photography.

Blogfest – This will be my second Blogfest and I can’t wait! Check here for the details but I’m mostly excited about meeting so many of the bloggers that I read everyday. Not only that but my registration includes the last two days of…

IDEA World – It’s like my fitness world and my blogging world colliding! Two days of the best blogging information followed by two days at the mother of all fitness conventions.

 

Exercise

Zumba! – Also included in my Blogfest registration is a Zumba instructor’s course. I’m taking it because I want to have the knowledge and experience, but I kind of doubt I’ll ever teach it. My hips just don’t move the way they’re supposed to.

Zumba

Fascial Stretch Therapy Certification – Of all my summer planned learning activities, this may be the one I’m most excited about because I know that FST is something that will change my fitness career for the better. Fascial Stretch Therapy is a different kind of assisted stretching that goes way beyond just stretching muscles. Stay tuned for more about the benefits in Friday’s post but in a nutshell, FST uses breath, multiple planes of motion, and traction to stretch the fascia as well as the muscle. It targets the entire joint and facilitates the body’s reflexes for optimal results. As a consequence it actually enhances performance, improves recovery, and reduces the risk of injury.

The FST course is a week-long hand-on course in Tempe, AZ at the end of August. I’m already starting to study, and one of the best things is that my boss, who is level three certified is “helping” me study by stretching me, talking me through it and explaining things as she goes. So, in addition to learning a new skill, my body, especially my back, is already feeling so much better. Actually, excited is an understatement.

Excited

Real Estate License – You may remember last year that Alan and I planned to get our real estate licenses, mostly as kind of a back up plan. That kind of got put aside but now we’ve decided to go for it again. I don’t foresee it becoming a full-time job. I love fitness too much, and now that I’m adding the FST I’ll be pretty busy with all of that. But, we have a friend who’s a broker, so we’d have the opportunity to work a little part time. It’s all good.

What’s Next: Personal

The number one excitement in my personal life right now is my new granddaughter due in early September. We love boys, don’t get me wrong, but after two sons, two stepsons, three grandsons, we’re ready for a little pink in the family. Emma Marie, due September 1.

We’re also planning some fixups around the house. New flooring, a little paint, some general repairs that need to be done. We’ve avoided making changes in the carpet for a while, knowing that as long as we have dogs we’ll have doggie messes. But, the time has come. We’re planning on wood or laminate floors in the front, office, and hall, plus new carpet in the bedrooms.

So, that’s a little bit (well, about 1,200 words worth!) of what’s going on in my life. What’s going on in yours? And do you know the pros/cons of laminate vs. wood floors? Have you ever heard of FST? Come to California after September 4 (FST graduation day) and I’ll be happy to practice on you! And who will I see at Blogfest or Bloggy Boot Camp?

Are You Confident Enough to #GoCommando?

 

GoCommando 5

Quick confession: I’ve been going commando for running, fitness, and yoga for years. And, since I work as a personal trainer, and wear spandex daily, I #GoCommando in my work clothes too. So there. Of course, I’m a longtime Cottonelle fan, so I’ve had clean confidence for a while.

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Of course, Cottonelle is not the only thing that gives me confidence. I work really hard to stay fit and strong. I start most days with a run, sometimes long, sometimes short, occasionally fast(ish), frequently slow. I work my muscles with some type of strength workout several days a week. Some days it’s yoga, others it Pilates. I also love weights, using the TRX, and once in a while an outdoor, body weight only workout.

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Meatless Monday: Quesadilla with Gardein Beefless Ground

Is it Monday again already?

These days Mondays make me happy because I’m linking up with Tina and Deborah for Meatless Monday! As promised I have a vegan quesadilla recipe made with Gardein Beefless Ground that will knock your socks off!

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Not only is Gardein Beefless Ground 100% plant based, it is also gluten free, so if you’re wanting some healthy deliciousness, simply make these quesadillas with gluten free tortillas.

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Quesadillas are one of my go-to dishes when I’m short of time. They are ready in less than a half hour, delicious, and really filling too. You can use prepared refried beans and salsa or make your own. The guacamole used in this recipe is very simple, just a mashed avocado with a little lemon or lime juice and salt and pepper. It works perfectly with the seasoned Beefless Ground and salsa.

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It’s All About the Bass: The Workout

It’s Fitness Friday and I’m excited to bring you a fun and challenging workout for your butt rear aspect. Actually, it will strengthen your entire lower body, improve your balance, and protect you against injury.

It’s All About the Bass: The Workout

The only equipment you need are dumbbells or kettlebells, and a stability ball, plus a slider disk or paper plate. Be sure to use a weight that challenges you and use good form for each exercise (they are explained below). Warm up for about 10 minutes before you begin.

All About the Bass

Squat: Holding two dumbbells at your side, begin by standing with your feet about hip width apart. Sit back, bending at the knees and hips, keeping your back neutral, your knees aligned and your chest up. Pause then return to your starting position.

Combo: Rear Lunge/One Leg Deadlift/Rear Leg Lift: Start by standing straight with a dumbbell in each hand. Shift your weight to your left leg then step back into a rear lunge, lowering until your back knee almost touches the ground, and your front knee is bent to about a 90 degree angle. Straighten up, then start to bend forward at the hip, keeping your right leg straight and your spine neutral. Extend your left leg behind you with the knee straight. It should stay in alignment with your body throughout the movement. Lower until you’re about parallel with the ground (see the photo below). Slowly return to your starting position, then keeping your right leg behind you and your spine neutral, squeeze your glutes and lift your leg behind you. Lower your leg. That is one repetition. Complete the reps with the right leg, then do the other side.

One Leg Deadlift

Wide Leg Squats: Stand with your legs wide apart and your toes pointed slightly out. Holding one dumbbell or a kettlebell in both hands, squat down, making sure that you keep your knees tracking over your toes and your spine neutral. Pause then return to your starting position.

Lateral Slide Lunges: Stand with your legs together and your right foot on a slider disk or paper plate (you can even use a towel). With your weight on your left leg, start to bend your knee and sit back while sliding the right leg to the right, keeping the knee straight. Press your right foot into the plate to contract your adductors and slide your foot back to your starting position. Complete the reps with the right leg, then do the other side.

Combo: Hip Lift/Ball Roll/Squeeze: Lie on your back with your feet on a stability ball. Lift your hips, then roll the ball in, keeping your hips elevated. Squeeze your glutes 5 times, then roll the ball out and lower your hips. That is one repetition.

There you go. Enjoy!

I’m linking up with Jill for Fitness Friday!

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Disclaimer: Although I am a certified Personal Trainer, I am not YOUR Personal Trainer. Always adapt workouts to suit your body and fitness level. Always consult your doctor before beginning a new exercise program.

No treble here!

Do you have a favorite butt lower body exercise?

We are the Restaurant Killers and other random stuff

I’m linking with Amanda today for Thinking Out Loud!

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Birthday!

Birthday

Wednesday was Alan’s birthday. And my gift to him was…a pair of socks! Actually, two pairs, which isn’t as boring as it sounds. Alan has been wearing the thick Thorlo running socks for years, and he mentioned the other day that his old socks were getting pretty ragged. So when I was shopping for a birthday present the other day, it just so happened that Sports Authority had a special, BOGO half off. I thought that they no longer made the super thick ones that Alan always liked, so I had a couple of pairs of their new, still pretty cushy, socks in my hand when I decided to wander around the sock section just to make sure. What do you know:

ThorloActually, I planned to buy him a swim suit too (is that what they’re called for men?). I didn’t realize though that they come in waist sizes as opposed to small-large and I wasn’t sure what to buy. I settled on 32 (yes, he’s that slim), but when I was checking out the cashier told me that suits weren’t returnable, so I backed off. Turns out I had the right size, but instead I bought a suit that he picked out from the Speedo website (with a discount!), so all was good.

suit

Restaurant Killers

We went out to eat a couple times this week. On Mother’s Day Alan took me to Native Foods in Palm Springs. Since I always say we live in the Palm Springs area, you may not realize that it is actually a 40 minute drive, so we don’t get there as often as we’d like. We enjoyed it very much, as usual. It’s so nice to be at a 100% vegan restaurant, so we can have anything on the menu, including desserts, without worrying.

Native FoodsWe decided that for his birthday we’d go to lunch at a Thai restaurant in La Quinta that we liked a lot. In fact, we were just there about a month ago.

Thai

So we were really surprised when we pulled up and it was gone! Well not gone, but cleared out. Moved, closed, whatever, it was no longer there. Another good restaurant with vegan options gone.

Legacy ThaiThat got us to talking about how many restaurants we’ve “killed.” It seems like every time we find a place that we enjoy, poof, it goes out of business. This list won’t mean anything to you, because, well, they’re all gone, but here’s a short list of our victims: Mrs. Bones, Pita House, Kacoon, Frankies, Cucina Pasta, Thai Smile La Quinta, Kokapelli’s, and a few others whose names I can’t remember because this has been happening for close on 20 years.

So, if you ever open a restaurant and you see Alan and me walk through the door you had better either 86 us immediately, burn our meal so we never come back, or just say goodbye to your restaurant. Sorry.

Bob and Peg

I finally heard from my two favorite clients who moved back to Northern California last year. Or rather, they chose to stay there year round and not, at age 83, put themselves through the stresses of traveling back and forth. We’d lost touch, but I finally spotted a Facebook message from their daughter (don’t forget to occasionally check your “other” folder!), and we spoke the other night on the phone. I’m happy to report that they are still exercising, though they feel they could use a little instruction and aren’t really impressed with the trainer at the gym they use. When you’ve had the best…(just kidding)! I may have to put something together for them that they can follow on their own.

Bob and Peg

Car in the Water

Last weekend we were in San Dimas where Alan announced a triathlon, I took a run, and it was really cold. Well, for us. It was in the 50s though, and we’ve grown used to 90s, so yes, it was cold. Anyway, the most interesting thing that happened was this:

Car in the Water

Yes, that is a car in the water. It floated (drove?) by towards the end of the triathlon, beeping its horn to get everyone’s attention. Of course, I took a picture and posted it on Instagram (<–follow me!) with the hashtag #carinthewater. I noticed when I posted it that there were about 80 other pictures with that hashtag. When I checked them out there were the usual cars under water, but interestingly (I thought), there were two other pictures of cars that looked just like mine, same color and everything (and not from California). That’s all, I just thought it was interesting.

Naked Nails

I actually did this last week but forgot to write about it (shocking, I know). I decided to take off my fake nails for the summer (at least), so now I’m dealing with the aftermath of that: weak, broken, chipping, splitting, ugly nails.

nailsMy strategy for nail repair is to keep them as short as possible for now, treat them with tea tree oil (suggested by a couple people) and a nail strengthener, and I’m trying some Biotin, because that’s what it says it does. I’d appreciate any suggestions that you may have because I hate how they feel. You know, like they’re going to bend backward all the time. Though I’ve got to say that typing is a lot easier.

My most popular post

Several years ago I had a breast cancer scare and had to have an excisional biopsy, which fortunately came back negative. I wrote about the whole experience and since that time, that post has become the most popular one I’ve ever written. It still gets 10-15 hits a day, and I’ve had so many women comment about their experience both before and after the operation. It warms my heart to hear that my words have comforted them and helped them prepare for their procedure. I’m reminded why I write sometimes about very personal topics. It’s on my mind because I had another comment today.

The Fitfluential Blog

And finally, in case you missed it, my article was featured on the Fitfluential blog this week. It’s a post about vegan protein sources and Everlast VP, Everlast Nutrition’s new vegan protein powder. Plus I created an outdoor HIIT workout especially for the post. You can get a free sample of Everlast VP and enter a contest to win a two month supply! Check it out!

Everlast VP

What’s on your mind this week? And what should I do about my nails?