Cardio vs Weights

Pretty proud of the progress in these pics. The one on the left is from 2014. I did two hours of cardio a day (one in the gym and one walking the dog), little to no weights and was super restrictive with my diet. I weighed my food, counted calories and avoided oils, salts, sugar, etc.

The picture on the right is current. I do all weights, very little cardio (used as a cool down) and eat what I want (within reason.) Plus add in taking care of an infant and chasing around a toddler as my extra exercise. My diet consists of lots of protein, veggies, fruit, carbs, etc. I don’t avoid anything. I have something sweet maybe twice a week. I don’t drink sodas or juice like drinks, but honestly I’ve never been a fan of them so that makes it a bit easier.

My degree is in Sports Sciences. I took nutrition and biomechanics classes for years. I knew better than to do two hours of cardio and diet restrict. But I still did it. When I was in my 20’s I was impatient. I wanted quick results. Now at 34, I’ve learned when it comes to health and fitness you have to be patient. I’m finally taking my own advice. The advice I gave to people for years but ignored myself. Better late than never! Lol

TRX Map

My gym got this machine called a TRX map. I’d watched people use it every so often and they looked ridiculous. But it peaked my curiosity. So with a little push from my husband I tried it.

The machine has you stand in place and do three squats. While doing this it measures your balance, flexibility, etc. When I got my results I was shocked but things made sense.

The results literally told me I’m standing crooked. It’s not obvious to any person looking at me but the machine picked it up. My right shoulder sits higher than my left and my left hip is higher than my right. When I brought my results to the head trainer at my gym he explained them to me. The imbalance is likely due to how I carry my kids. I ALWAYS carry them on my left hip. Hence why my left hip is up more than my right. I’m constantly pushing it up and out. My right shoulder is higher than my left because my spine is out of alignment. This is due to the muscles on my left side being stronger than my right due to the way I hold my kids! So crazy but it makes sense!

The trainer recommended that I foam roll my hips, back, and glutes more regularly. He also recommended I try to use my right side more when carrying the kids and stretch after workouts.

I’ve been foam rolling daily and alternating sides when I carry the kids. I’m not the best about stretching but I’ve been trying to squeeze it in here and there. I could actually feel a difference in my hips within two days of making the change.

I’m going to retest myself on the machine in exactly a month and see if there’s much of a difference in my results. I’d assume there would be since I can already feel a difference but we shall see! 💪🏻

Coaching…..

I was reading an article the other day about a coach who got reprimanded for the way they treated an athlete. It’s crazy to me thinking about how far we have come. When I was younger, coaches could pretty much say and do whatever they wanted and little to no one called them out or reported them. So much went unsaid that should have been brought to others attention for the safety of the athlete/s. 🙌🏻

I had one coach who expected perfection every time we walked into the gym. If you weren’t perfectly tight while performing a skill you could expect to get slapped. And it was a hard slap. Normally it left a red mark where you got hit and sometimes a bruise. She typically hit in the arm or leg but on the occasion you could expect her to pop you under the chin.

When doing a beam routine if she didn’t like what she was seeing she would actually walk up to you mid skill and shove you off the beam. You could be upside down, in the middle of a turn, etc, it didn’t matter. She would shove you right off. We had to be alert at all times in case she did this. If we weren’t paying attention and she pushed us, we ran the risk of falling on to another beam that was close to the one we were on, rolling ankle when hitting the floor or landing some other way that could cause injury. 🤸‍♂️

Another coach would hit us upside the head if he felt we weren’t focused. As if hitting someone in the head is going to make them focus! Sometimes if he hit you just right you would see stars for a few seconds.

If he didn’t think our flexibility was where it needed to be, he would make us get into the splits, prop our front leg on a raised mat and sit on us forcing our legs to the ground while one was inclined. It was painful and dangerous. You run the risk of tearing a muscle or ligament doing this to an athlete. When working flexibility you should always ease an athlete into things.

I’ve had people ask me why I didn’t tell my parents this was going on. What was there to tell?? At the time I thought this was normal. I thought this was how coaches made their athletes better. I thought this is how everyone was coached. I didn’t know any different at the time!

Having been a coach for over 15 years now myself, I realize this is NOT a healthy or safe way to coach an athlete. It’s actually considered abusive. It’s not an extreme form but it definitely falls into that category.

While I think a lot of people are too overly sensitive about coaching styles, I do think there are some old school coaching “techniques” that need to be done away with. For example, you don’t need to “lay a hand” on an athlete to push them to be better. Nor should you have to verbally attack an athlete to “light a fire” under them. If you want to push an athlete, encourage them and work with them. An athlete should never fear their coach and you shouldn’t try to make an athlete fear you to respect you. If you want respect from your athlete, earn it. Same as you’d expect of them!👍🏻

Pregnancy and workouts

Recently I bumped into someone (not a close friend) who seemed shocked to find out I was still going to the gym while pregnant. They gave me this confused look then the awkward “good for you” comment. 🤦🏼‍♀️

I’m really confused. Do people just quit going to the gym when pregnant? Or is it just assumed that with pregnancy comes laziness? Because in all honesty none of my friends have quit working out when they got pregnant. Maybe I’m sheltered and live in a little fitness bubble or something. I have been an athlete my whole life and I do tend to associate with people who have similar healthy lifestyles. So perhaps the general population is different?

Doctors encourage workouts when pregnant, as long as there are no current or potential complications at hand. There have been studies done that prove exercise to have benefit for mom and baby while pregnant and after delivery. So do people just not listen to their doctors and decide to use pregnancy as an excuse to forget about health and be lazy? I don’t know.

Working out is the one thing that keeps me sane and helps me manage my pregnancy. It eases the aching muscles due to growth and stretching of the baby. It also gives me more energy so I can make it through the day and still be able to chase around my toddler. I tend to have an upset stomach often while pregnant and even a little light cardio seems to settle it. I’m not big on taking medications so I use workouts as my medication.

I guess I have to remind myself that everyone is different and not everyone chooses the same healthy paths. If I ever get that comment again I’ll just smile and nod and remind myself that I’m doing what’s best for me and my little one. 😊

Morning vs Evening Workout

Should you workout in the morning or in the evening? In all honesty it’s up to you.

There have been studies that show you burn more in the early morning before breakfast. This is because your body has to burn fat for fuel, as your glycogen stores will be depleted after a night of fasting.

With evening workouts, some studies have found that muscular function and strength peaks in the evening hours, in addition to oxygen uptake and utilization. This means you may be able to push harder, better, faster and stronger! Some people find it easier to sleep better at night after an evening workout.

I personally prefer morning workouts. If I get up and workout first thing in the morning, I feel like I have more energy throughout the day. I also feel more productive. With morning workouts I’ve started my day out “healthy” so I’m encouraged I stay on track better with my diet throughout the day.

If I try to do evening workouts I’m typically really exhausted by the end of the day and I’ve usually lost motivation. For me personally my workouts struggle a bit in the evening. It takes me longer to get through an evening workout than a morning one. I feel like I piddle around more at the gym in the evenings than I would in the morning.

Honestly it just comes down to what works best for you. Are you a morning or evening gym person?

Avoid a flat butt

This is probably going to be one of my weirdest blog posts. It’s about butts. Bear with me 😂

Have you ever seen someone’s butt that was flat, as if they sat on it too long? Did you know that sitting for too long can actually flatten out your butt? Now don’t freak out. This won’t happen over night. But hours of sitting, day after day, can change the shape of your butt over time.

When you sit for long periods of time with poor posture (which 90% of people are guilty of), your hip flexors tighten up and cause reciprocal inhibition (preventing activation) of the glutes. This weakens the muscle and “flattens” it out.

Bad posture when sitting can also cause an anterior pelvic tilt. This means your pelvis rotates backward causing your butt to appear flatter.

If you have a desk job where you are forced to sit every day for hours on end, make sure to move often. Set an alarm on your phone to remind yourself to get up every hour. Walk around the office or go up and down the stairs for a little bit. Get those muscles moving. Also be cautious of your posture while sitting. Make sure your spine is aligned and you aren’t hunching.

You can easily keep that butt of yours from getting the dreaded flattened look!

Shoulder Workout

(If viewing on FB, click the link to view video)

Shoulder workout time! Ryder is getting bigger by the day so I have to keep my upper body strong! That boy loves to be cuddled and held. 😉

These are a few exercises I’ve worked into my shoulder workouts for the next 6 weeks.

🔹Single arm cable pulldown

🔹Shoulder press

🔹Front press

🔹Lateral raise

None of these are too terribly difficult but they do require gym equipment.

Happy lifting!