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.

FST 2

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.

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.

Cottonelle 5

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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A Food Lovers Dream: The Orange Chef Countertop

This post is sponsored by Orange Chef and Fit Approach. All opinions are my own.

I’ve always been an early adapter. I had my first smart phone in the dark ages, when they were slow, clunky, and didn’t even have GPS. I get a new phone almost every year, I have tablets, computers, GPS watches, a fitness tracker, heart rate monitors and more. My charging station is so full that there is a line to get in to charge. I love techno everything and believe me, I’m not easily impressed anymore unless you can really WOW me.

Well, I’ve been wowed. The new Orange Chef Countertop, coming later this year, will not only weigh your food, which is quite helpful for keeping track of calories and nutrients, it will also suggest what food to eat, find recipes, learn what food you like (and don’t like), and keep an accurate log of what you eat.  The Wow Factor is that it works with your Vitamix, Crockpot, and fitness tracker to offer you meal recommendations, customize your own recipes, and track everything from your exercise to your nutritional intake and your sleep. Wow!

Orange Chef 2

I can’t wait! I am a data nerd by nature, and I love knowing exactly what I’m putting in my mouth. That smoothie with two bananas, frozen fruit, protein powder, etc? Now I’ll know exactly how many calories that healthy “snack” provides.

I also create recipes, for myself, then I like to share them right here. When the Orange Chef Countertop is released, I’ll have a better idea of the nutrients in each dish. I tend to throw things together, and I’m lucky enough that they taste good. Now I can throw together with a purpose, and keep track of important details while I’m doing it.

Currently the Orange Chef Countertop is designed to work with Vitamix and Crock Pot (an optional adapter is required), and the Jawbone fitness tracker. Other appliances and trackers will be added. The app requires an iPhone 5 or above, with iOS 8 or above, though an Android version is in the works. It will be released in late 2015, but you can get significant savings by pre-ordering now, including a $10 savings by using my affiliate link.

Orange Chef ButtonSeriously, if you’re a kitchen gadget lover like I am, this is perfect. It is functional, nice looking, and it has a low profile, so it doesn’t take up a lot of space in your kitchen. What’s not to love?

Are you a kitchen gadget lover? What is your favorite one?

So You Say You Hate Exercise

Time for a little tough love.

I didn’t become a personal trainer for the huge amount of money I could make. Not for the fame and glory that I could achieve. Nope, I became a personal trainer because I believe in fitness. How much better our lives are if we exercise.

Which is good because there hasn’t been a whole lot of money, fame, or glory involved. But I do know I’ve changed a few lives, so that’s a pretty good trade-off.

There is one thing I’ve grown pretty tired of hearing though, not just from (a few) of my clients, but from non-exercisers in general. The random people who come to the gym, friends of clients, even other bloggers (!). They will walk in, look disdainfully around at the equipment, the members sweating, the trainers demonstrating, and say, often haughtily (like this makes them special in some way), “I hate exercise.”

I used to consider this a challenge. I could take this person, create a program for them, find something that they do enjoy, and they would become lifelong exercisers. Barring that, I could at least make them like me enough to enjoy the time we spent together training.

The problem with the former goal is that it rarely happens. They stick to a program for a while, complain a lot, start to find excuses, then disappear from the face of the earth the gym forever. Or at least until next New Years.

The latter solution isn’t perfect either. There is a large segment of the population who won’t hire a personal trainer, so I’m missing a large part of the target audience. And while I do have a few clients who train with me because they enjoy my company, they would rather chat than work out, and they are terrible at adhering to the other parts of a fitness program normally done on one’s own, like cardio and proper nutrition.

I’m tired of sugarcoating exercise, of trying to make everyone happy, of spending my valuable time convincing you to enjoy doing something that will make you feel better, live longer, play stronger, and generally have a better life. So, to that end my new mantra is…

Buttercup

Suck it Up, Buttercup

Who ever said that everything that you do in life had to be fun? We, all of us, do many things daily that we don’t really enjoy. Do you like brushing your teeth? Cleaning the litter box? Scrubbing the toilet? Do you do it? Yes, because not to do it would leave you in a stinky place.

Even if you enjoy your job, you don’t always like it. But you do it because, you know, money. You clean your house, mow your lawn, help your kid with homework you may not understand yourself. Fun? Not really.

You do all of these things because, well, you have to, need to, are compelled to, whatever. For the most part, you don’t do them because you like them. You may even hate them.

If you spend a half hour three days a week lifting weights, or some other form of strength building exercise, and take a little time for a walk most days of the week, you can receive benefits way beyond having a clean litter box. You can lower your blood pressure and cholesterol. You can reduce your risk of heart disease, diabetes, obesity, cancer, and osteoporosis. You can avoid the pain of many joint diseases, improve your balance and posture, and general overall health. You will feel better. You will look better.

look better

All of this for only two or three hours a week. Many people spend that much time a night watching television.

So suck it up, buttercup. Just get out there and do it. It doesn’t matter if you don’t like it. You need it. It’s important. There are many resources available if you are new to exercise and need a little help getting started. You can contact me if you have question, either in the comments or from my contact page.

Who knows. You might even begin to like it. A little.

Love your health

 

To all my regular readers. You probably realize that I’m not speaking to you. I know that most of you either love to work out or have come to terms with its importance. But, you may have, as I do, friends, acquaintances, family, that sprinkle the “I hate exercise” line into your regular conversations. Now you have something to answer with.

2014: The Good, the Bad, the Ugly. The Year in Review

Giveaways are always a good thing. The winner of my last giveaway of 2014, a $100 Visa gift card that can be used to help her community, is Lisa B., who wrote: Haruko Sato would be my favorite story; she braved surgery to help to lessen the effects of her condition and keeps a very positive attitude. I give to my local food bank regularly and donate to charities that care for the elderly in hospices in our area and would use the card accordingly. (The winning comment was generated using Random.org. The giveaway was sponsored by Medtronic.)

2014 was an interesting year. The title of this post came to me because I’ve had so many good and bad things happen this year (and only one ugly, fortunately). I always find it useful to review the previous year before setting goals for the upcoming one. It gives me a chance to see where I am now, and make the plans that will get me where I want to be a year from now. So here is my year in review.

Year in Review

Running

The Good:

Ragnar So Cal was really the highlight of my running year. I was dragged talked into doing it by Melissa, but I am so happy that I said yes when she asked me to take her place due to an injury. And while the run itself was great, the best part was meeting 11 women who will be my friends for life.

Ragnarian

My Recaps:

I’m a Ragnarian!
The Culture of a Ragnar Relay
5 Essentials for Ragnar (and my Complete Packing List)

My return to the marathon, while having moments of both bad and ugly, was overall a great experience. Alan and I were both undertrained, which we really felt from about the halfway point on, but, who cares? Our return to the Rock and Roll Marathon (we both did the original, back in 1998) was definitely a good.

RnR1

My Recap:

Rock and Roll Marathon San Diego Recap

Blogging

The Good

I updated to a new theme for the blog back in March. I really love it, and I plan to tweak it a little in the coming months (2015 goal alert!).

I wrote a couple posts for the Fitfluential blog, which is also something I want to expand in the new year.

My Posts:

The Importance of Youth Sports: A Coaches Perspective
Training for Your 2nd 5k

I attended my first blogging conference, Blogfest, and it was amazing. I not only learned a lot about blogging as a business and a passion, I met so many of my favorite bloggers. I’ll be back, in Los Angeles, next July!

Blogfest

My Recaps:

Blogfest: It Starts with the People
5 Reasons You Need to Go to Blogfest 2015

The Bad

I always want to expand my readership, which was happening early in 2014. However, once summer hit my numbers took a hit too. They seem to be climbing again, but I’d really like to keep them going in one direction (and that would be up).

I feel like I’ve been a bad blog-friend during the second half of the year. Time challenged to be sure, but I did manage to keep posting regularly. What has suffered was my replying to commenters, reading other blogs and commenting there, and general blogging best practices. Again, something that I’ll be working on. Really, there is no excuse for bad manners.

Favorite Posts

Every now and then I write something that I’m very proud of. Here are a few from 2014.

Risi Salad

Favorite Recipe Post: Herbed Risi Salad with Creamy Tarragon Dressing
Favorite Workout Post: 3 Hill Workouts to Get Faster and Stronger
Favorite Running Post: Running Notes: 7 Key Points for Coaching Girls
Favorite Sponsored Post: Fit Fall Fashion: Fun at Lorna Jane
Favorite “General” Post: So You Want Me to Hire You: 5 Tips to Help You Get That Interview

Most Popular Posts

Stop the Negative Self Talk! 5 Tips to Turn it Around and Improve Performance
10 Questions Never to Ask a Runner This is my fifth all-time most popular post!
12 Running Myths You May Still Believe
From the Coach: 10 Life Lessons from Running

Notice a trend? Boy I sure do. All of my most popular posts this year are about running. You may just be seeing more of those in 2015.

Career

The Good

I started working in a new country club in November. I am really excited to be back to more personal training. I love what I’m doing, I’m working for the woman who hired me once before and we have a really good working relationship, my co-workers are nice, and I’m starting to fill up my training schedule.

I was fortunate to attend two fitness conferences in 2014. As part of Blogfest, I was able to attend the last two days of the IDEA World Fitness Convention last August. I also attended the IHRSA convention in March. I am so lucky that both of these respected conferences were held in Southern California! And that both will be in Los Angeles in 2015!

Sinek

photo credit IHRSA.org

My Recaps:

Fitness Education: What I Learned at IHRSA 2014
Inspired: Using the Lessons from IDEA World in the Real World

The Bad

I spent a lot of time unemployed in 2014, which in one way was wonderful since it was during the summer and I got to spend a lot of time with my husband. But being on unemployment is bad, mostly because they have no respect for the people to whom the money is vital. It is impossible to reach them by phone, they are late with payments, and overall, it just sucks.

The Ugly

The only ugly of 2014 happened when I was fired from my job of nine years with no notice, no severance, no nothing. Even uglier, you can’t read about it because I was encouraged to take down the post to avoid potential legal action. But, it did feel good to write about it, and if you happen to follow me on Bloglovin’ or Feedly, you might still have a chance to check out my post.

While the ugly almost overwhelmed the good stuff this year, I’m a pretty positive person, so I can even find the good side of losing my job. I wasn’t happy and it was time to move on. Getting back to the “real” part of personal training instead of managing has been wonderful.

With all that good stuff, there is still room for improvement (there always is!), so I am working on my 2015 goals for running, fitness, career, and blogging. Coming soon!

What would you say was your best accomplishment in 2014?

There But For the Grace of God

I’m not telling this story to brag, or to say how kind Alan and I are. I don’t want any praise or kudos for just acting as another human being should. No, I’m telling this story because it really made me appreciate how lucky I am.

Alan and I stopped at the grocery store this afternoon to pick up a few things for dinner. As we were walking out to our car, we noticed a woman, carrying a couple grocery bags, walking a little aimlessly through the parking lot. Her balance was bad, and she obviously couldn’t find her car. Frankly, by just watching her walk, we suspected she might be drunk. Very drunk.

Finally, Alan walked over to her and asked if she was alright. She said yes, but she couldn’t find her car. He asked if we could help, but she said no and started walking toward another part of the parking lot. Now, this was about 5:00 on a Saturday evening in August in the desert. There weren’t a lot of cars to choose from. We asked what kind of car and she said a Mercedes.

She walked wobbily away from us, so we got into our car and started out of the parking lot. I scanned the lot, but couldn’t see a Mercedes. As we passed the woman, she slowly sat down on the ground. Alan turned around, stopped, then finally noticed the Mercedes parked close to where she had been originally looking. I got out of the car, and we offered to drive her (it wasn’t that far away, but she was looking pretty bad). She said that she was fine and started toward her car again.

About halfway there, she again sank to the ground. This time we both got out of the car. Alan helped her up, and asked her again if she felt she was okay to drive. She said that she was fine. She was an attorney and a nurse, but she had received some bad news and was a little upset.

Alan said that since she was an attorney, she would know the consequences of getting a DUI. That seemed to sink in. We offered to drive her home and she agreed.

As I was driving her to her home just a few miles away, she started talking, somewhat confusedly, saying that as an attorney she worked with driving under the influence cases, that (referring to how we were helping her) she was usually the one that did this. She broke down a little and said that she had some really bad news, a bad diagnosis, but, because she was always the helper and the strong one, she didn’t expect that anyone would help her. She didn’t think that her kids could take the news.

I just listened and tried to tell her that hopefully, some of her friends could step up and listen, and help out if necessary. That maybe it was their turn to help her. She didn’t seem to think there was much hope of that, even though she said that she had friends.

I just felt so helpless, telling this lonely woman, who was probably around my age, that surely someone would step up and support her, she just had to ask. By the time I got to her house, she told me it was colon cancer. She said that she’d just got the diagnosis. I tried to offer some hope, that there were probably treatment options, but she repeated that she was a nurse, she worked in a hospital, like that meant she knew where she was heading.

I ended up giving her my card, and told her that if she needed someone to talk to she could call me. I have her card too, so we’ll check in on her tomorrow. She was very grateful that we helped her out. While I appreciate that, I am thankful that, when I think what could have happened with a woman who was not only distraught, but probably self medicating with drugs or alcohol, that we may have prevented an accident from happening.

As I got back in the car with Alan, I felt so sad for her. That after giving so much that she should be afraid to ask when she needs support. That she doesn’t think her children could handle the news. That she is really alone in the world, facing the most devastating news in her life. And I am so grateful, that, in spite of a few challenges in my life that seem so minor by comparison, not just that I have my health, but if I ever need to ask anyone for help, I don’t have to be afraid that there will be no one to be there for me to lean on.

Always remember that there, but for the grace of God, go I. Go we. And the awesomeness of being in the right place at the right time. A little reflection for this Sunday morning.

 

Comments closed today. Just some food for thought.