Easing Low Back Pain with Exercise!

Happy Birthday to my Dad!! Love you, Daddy!

Hey loves! How’s the first half of your week shaping up? Mine’s been not too shabby!

I just finished a very circular breakfast:

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Ezekiel English muffin w/ Almond butter and organic blueberry jam, and 1 egg + 1 egg white with sea salt. Yum!

 

This came after a blood pumping weight sesh with the husband. We were supposed to hang out with Shaun T., but we both ditched him for some iron. We woke up a little late, and only had about 40 minutes for a workout. We rescheduled with Shaun for Friday 😉

Remember my NROLFW part 1 review?

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Well, I’m starting to incorporate some of the workouts into my strength training workouts. I’ll review it when I get through, but note that I won’t be following it to a T. I’m kinda going with my own plan with this one; pretty much like I do with everything else in life 😉 We’re only doing Insanity every other day, so I’ll either run, lift or both on the off days from that. If it proves too much for me, I’ll weed it down a bit. Today’s NROLFW workout 1A was pretty killer though.

The hubski’s doing a strength training plan that I created for him. He’s not going to join a new gym for a couple weeks, and the weights we have here at home only go up to 15 lbs., so the plan I created for him over the next two weeks involves mostly body-weight-based strength training. He uses 15 lb. dumbbells for the smaller muscles, like the anterior and posterior delts.

Yesterday I had a morning training session, was off to the office to work all day, and then had one more training session afterward.
But in between it all…I RAN! Yep, I ran for the first time since last Saturday’s half marathon. I had a good hour or so in between office work and my evening client, so I hopped on the treadmill for a glorious three miler. After a 5 minute walking warm up, I ran 3.3 miles in 30 minutes, followed by a 5 minute walking cool down. The owner of the gym got some new kettle bells so then I did some single leg deadlifts alternating with swiss ball crunches afterward.

When I got home, I wanted food NOW. There’s a lot of produce in our fridge right now, and raw food is fast food, so I told Shane I was making a salad for me, and unless he wanted the same he was on his own.

Pile o’ raw veggies in a Pyrex bowl:

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Spinach, romaine, edamame, sugar snap peas, cucumbers, cauliflower

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Topped with cooked veggies:

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grilled portabello mushrooms, vegan veggie burger, and a dressing combo of 1.5 T. hummus, 1 T. Tahini, 1 T. water, + 1 T. Bragg’s Amino Acids. I initially was going to use Susan’s idea of watered down hummus as a dressing, but then saw the other ingredients kickin’ it in the fridge and thought, "why not?"

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I still can’t think of a reason why not! This dressing will about knock your head off 😀

But I wanted MOAR.

Dessert:

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x’s two of some protein cookies

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Easing Low Back Pain

My dad’s pretty much amazing, everyone. He’s always been there for me and has been supportive of everything I do (minus those few years in high school – LOL) In fact, he’s so amazing that the article below is dedicated to him. My dad’s had low back issues ever since being side-swiped in a car accident in the town he lives in. Every once in a while it gets so bad that he needs to use a cane. Dad, readers with low back problems, and readers who want a stronger back, here are some exercises that can help strengthen and stretch that pain point at the center of your bod.

As always, I am not a doctor, just a personal trainer. Please check with your doctor before beginning this or any exercise regimen. If you question the form on any of these exercises, please ask a personal trainer to show you.

Did you know that 80% of the population will experience low back pain at some point in their life? It’s usually caused from overuse or strain. Back pain actually tends to get better if you stay active. That said, the below exercises have been shown to help ease back pain in both long and short term duration

Press Up Back Extensions This exercise will strengthen your erect

Knee to Chest This exercise is great for stretching your lower back

Knee to chest rotation: In a supine position, hug your knees to your chest and slowly rotate knees from side to side while keeping them together

Cat Pose to stretch your low back, begin on hands and knees, and arch your back up like a cat, hold, and return to neutral spine.

Hip Lift In a supine position, flatten your back against the floor by contracting your abs and slowly rotating your hips backward.

Ball squat or wall squat – squat down so your lower back in pressed against the wall or ball and move your feet out from the wall to bend your legs to a “half-squat” and hold. Gradually straighten legs out.

Additional activities to strengthen and stretch the core and surrounding muscles to protect the spine include side stretch, abdominal curls, modified push-ups, lateral leg raises, groin stretch, hamstring stretch, calf stretch and the quad stretch.

 

If you have any questions on the exercises above, please feel free to shoot me an email 🙂 This is just a snippet of the exercises that can ease lower back pain.

Back injuries and sprains are the number one disability for people under 45. It’s the most expensive benign health condition in America as it accounts for 10% of all chronic health problems, which results in lots of days off from work.

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Late, late, late! Gotta run!

 

Do you have to deal with lower back pain? Have you ever had lower back pain?

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Itchy Legs

Hiiiii there! How are you!? Sporadic Posting McGee here 😉

I’ve been going since 5:15 this morning (where my first client overslept!) to just now. Gotta say, it feels amazing to be kickin’ the ol’ feet up!

After my two one morning training appointments, I was off to the office work where it was day one of training my replacement. It was also where I enjoyed this lovely mess:

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Overnight Oats is perfect for on-the-go breakfasts. In this version was my usual – oats, maca, stevia, sea salt, carob powder, Jay Robb, almond milk, half a banana, and almond butter. Oh, and coconut butter drizzled on top. Phew! That’s a lot of ingredients.

It was around lunch time when my throat started getting soar. For a minute I thought I was getting sick. Then I realized I’d literally been talking and training someone since 6 this morning LOL. My last day at the office isn’t until next Friday, so I have a feeling these last two are going to be long ones! Kind of like a race…the end is near but those last two miles are the toughest!

Speaking of running, I’ve yet to run since my half marathon. My legs are itching to break out into a run on the pavement. However, I just haven’t made it out. Instead of running, I’ve been jumping around like a crazy person while working out to Insanity and lifting on off days. I’m not too worried about losing endurance though since my next race isn’t until June. It’s a 9 miler at a race called Steamboat Classic. I’m pretty excited for it 😀
I did get in a killer weight work out this morning though

Deadlift with bar and 10 lb weights on each side – 2 sets, 15 reps
Alternating sets:
Dumbbell shoulder press – 15 lbs – 2 sets, 15 reps
Wide grip lat pull down – 27.5 lbs – 2 sets 15 reps
Alternating sets:
Lunges w/ 10 lb dumbbells – 2 sets, 15 reps
Swiss ball crunch – 2 sets 10 reps

NROLFW, anyone?           

Lunch was lovely as well!

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Rabbit rabbit! Looks like rabbit food…it’s hummus + spinach + cucumber in a w.w. Flat Out wrap.
"Dessert" was protein pudding:

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1/2 scoops of Jay Robb, sea salt, 1 T. carob powder, stevia, almond butter, dash of almond milk. I needed something filling for lunch, because I didn’t want to snack away all afternoon like I usually do with my trainee sitting with me in my cube.

After it was quittin’ time at the office, I headed back to the gym to train two more clients, and work a little before closing up shop. ‘Twas a fun time! I haven’t seen one of the clients for a long time, so it was great catching back up with her. And the other I always have a good time training. Hard to call it work, in reality…

When I finally got home for the night, I was stah-ving. My girl Amy saved the night:

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Holy Mexican deliciousness. These enchiladas almost knocked my head off!

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They tasted so decadent and naughty! (Actually, no food is "naughty" but ya know what I mean.)

However, it didn’t put too much of a dent in the hunger department. When I saw chocolate Cheerios in the pantry I knew nothing else would satisfy:

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So good, but the ingredient list is a little long and leery so I’ll probably stick with something else next time…

 

The rest of the night entailed a load of laundry and teaching Niko to "shake." She already knows sit, lie down…

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stay, and rollover, but for shake, she just kinda flips out and jumps on your hand lol.

My parents’ dog, Buck knows the command, "poison." It’s so freakin’ cute. If you hold out a treat and say "poison," he’ll turn his head like he wants nothing to do with it until you say, "OK!" Poor guy’s 14 years old, though.

Well it’s time for me to call it a night.I have a pretty full day tomorrow as well with a client before and after work. I’m going to try reeaaally hard to squeeze in a run somewhere!

Have a great night and a beautiful Tuesday, everyone!

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Beautiful flowers from my mom’s garden 🙂

 

What’s the coolest dog trick you’ve seen a dog perform? Another one I’ve heard about is my parents’ friends’ dog freaks out and growls if someone flips him off! haha

New Rules of Lifting for Women Review: Part 1

Good morning and happy Friday! Wheee!

I told Shane about all of your birthday wishes, and he appreciated each one of them. Ya’ll are too kind 😀

So last night after class got out, I decided to be an extra good wifey and get the husband one more gift…a trip to our favorite ice cream shoppe! I got him the ushe – Island Treat Chunky. This is both of our faves, and includes pineapple, banana, coconut, strawberry, chocolate, plus who knows what else. AKA, it’s a foodgasm in an ice cream cup.

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I wasn’t feeling up to the island treatness, but still wanted dessert. So I emptied a plain Oikos cup into a bowl…

IMG_2075 Added agave nectar, unsweetened coconut flakes, cocoa nibs, and frozen strawberries…

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And had myself a decadent and healthy (!) dessert:

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And from here, we just turned it into family-dessert night. Any time there’s an empty Oikos cup, Niko’s at my heels for dessert, too. I guess you can relate to it like when you find the bottom of an almond jar. Except for Niko, I add “her peanut butter”

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LOL!! I love it. She looooves oikos and peanut butter. Sometimes I’ll mush up a piece of a banana and swirl it in the mix too. She gets SO funny when she’s eating her dessert – she’ll pretty much bite your arm off if you try and take her Oikos.    

New Rules of Lifting for Women

Review: Part 1

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If you remember, a while back when I signed up to start taking classes to become a personal trainer, I bought a weight lifting book I’d been wanting to read.

Well, I’ve been reading it slowly but surely, and New Rules of Lifting for Women has definitely both reinforced my method of weight lifting and has made me doubt some of its suggestions. I do, however, find it fascinating, and can’t wait to keep reading.

I wanted to do two reviews for this book, as it’s kind of split of into two parts. The first part is the back ground and informational section, and the second part is basically the workouts the book wants you to follow. Before I do that, just to be safe, is to reiterate that I am not a registered dietician or sports medicine doctor of any kind.

Today I want to review the first section.

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New Rules of Lifting for Women – Part 1 – the good, the bad, and the Not-for-Me

As far as working out goes, the book’s premise is basically that women need to be lifting heavier weights, doing fewer reps, and easing up on the cardio. It goes further into detail by listing and explaining rules for each tip/suggestion. Below are some of the rules I most agree with and support:

Rule: The purpose of lifting weights is to build muscle. I agree with this whole heartedly. I’ve discussed on the blog before how I hate the words “toning” and “shaping.” I hate that women are afraid to “bulk up” (another term I hate.) Women don’t have enough testosterone to bulk up like men do. Believe me, I actually try to build muscle and it’s hard! Do you know how long it takes to build one pound of muscle? It’s not easy peasy.

Rule: A muscle’s pump is not the same as a muscle’s growth – inflammation, swelling, temporary. I think my muscles make me seksay, so after I get done lifting, I’m usually super pumped (pun intended) at the sight of my muscle’s “pump.” Conversely, some women are afraid of this pump, again, thinking it’s “bulk” and will stop lifting. However, the size your muscles are after lifting won’t be the size they are tomorrow. The muscle pump is usually just inflammation and fluid surrounding the muscle and is only temporary.

Rule: More meals are better than fewer. I like this rule, and have followed it for ages. This one is more relative to the individual than the others, however, in my experience, it keeps me from eating everything in sight come meal time. If I have a mid-morning and mid-afternoon snack, it keeps my hunger in check and stable, and provides energy for me all day long.

I also like how the book emphasizes that intervals take you on the fast track to weight loss. I like to do intervals, or HIIT once or twice a week to really get my heart rate pumping, and to keep my body guessing.

Now for some of the rules I wasn’t so fond of.

Rule: Endurance exercise is an option, not a necessity for fatloss. The book explains that one doesn’t need to have any endurance exercise in their program for losing weight. Ok, fine. However, I know that I will always try to incorporate at least one day of endurance training into a client’s workout program. Intervals and HIIT are great as I said above, but anaerobic cardio is very hard on the body, and in my opinion, shouldn’t be done more than twice or three times (at most) a week. You have to throw in some endurance or “steady-state” cardio in there somewhere. Besides, especially for exercise noobs, if someone doesn’t like getting up to their anaerobic threshold (it can be scary being that breathless!!) does that mean they shouldn’t do any cardio at all? My answer would be no, and that steady state cardio, such as light jogging or brisk walking is great for weight loss. Calories in calories out (which this book doesn’t like either, but that’s another topic.)

Rule: Protein is the queen of macronutrients. Yes, protein is great for you, but do we really need 2 grams of protein for every 2.2 kg of body weight? Really?! The book even goes on to counteract the studies that show Americans are already getting more protein that even an elite athlete needs by comparing your need of protein to your need of income. It says something along the lines of saying… that since we need basic things to survive – food, clothes, water shelter, wouldn’t we be happier if we had more than that? It says that these things are necessary, but more and better things are even better! And then they’re comparing that to protein, saying if x amount is “necessary” wouldn’t we want to get as much of it as we can? At least to me, that seems like a very far-fetched comparison. They’re basically saying that more is better and much more is even better still. I’m not buying it.

The meal plans. If you’re a regular reader, you should know how I feel about processed food by now – I’m all for clean eating, and strive to have a mainly clean diet. First of all, the book is all about the protein powder. Whey to be exact (naturally, since protein is queen or something?) Don’t get me wrong; I’m not saying protein isn’t good for you after working out, but they recommend several shakes a day; pre-work out shake, post work-out shake, whenever you’re feeling hungry shake, slim fast shake, smoothie shake, and so on. Then they go on to give meal plans – all of which are very high in protein. Now, I don’t want to discredit the meal plans totally – they do give some examples of very nutritious foods, such as, steel cut oats, almonds, ricotta cheese, etc. However, it’s still extremely protein-laden. Protein is great – and necessary, but again, it’s a little excessive.

Overall, I really enjoy reading this book, and there are many more things that I like about it than what I don’t. I have learned some very beneficial factoids about strength-training so far, and I’m definitely excited to move on to the “workouts” portion of the book. I’ve heard great things about the NROLFW workouts. So far, I know the authors designed a workout catering to the more functional exercises of everyday life. I’m all for this! I love it!

For my review of the second half, I plan on doing all of the exercises, in the manner they suggest (though I probably won’t do them for the specified time, so I won’t necessarily be reviewing the results I got with their xx month plan or anything.)

 

Gotta go get ready for this Friday at work! Man, this work week went by fast! Did it for anyone else? I have a jam-packed weekend – shopping for shower presents, baking and bunco ensues today/tonight – good thing these are all super fun activities, eh? 😉 Have a great day!!

 

Have any of you followed the work out plan in this book?

Have you ever followed any workout plan and diet plan in a book? (think South Beach, You! on a diet, Atkins, etc…)

New Rules of Lifting for Women

 

Good morning! Thanks for being so supportive of my decision to become a vegetarian. I really do value and appreciate all your opinions, so it means a lot 🙂

 

So last night went by SO fast! I went to a purse party at my girl Theresa’s, (and didn’t leave empty handed.) Look at this CUTE scarf!

 

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Got home from there around 7:00 and got started on dinner. And when I say “got started on dinner” I mean I unwrapped this bad boy:

 

 

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…plopped him in the microwave, and then steamed some green beans for some extra veggies:

 

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OMG – this burrito was the shiznizzle! SO good. I need to stock up on these babies when there’s a sale.

 

So have you noticed something different in my dinners this week? Well, that’s because they’ve all either been fairly easy, out, or frozen. I know I said I’m doing the kitchen clearing challenge, but that’s not the only reason why. Remember on Monday when I was telling you about my bad morning and added that my face was all puffy to boot because I was crying? Well, I was crying on Sunday night because I missed a certain someone! Shane’s been in San Diego for a business conference since Sunday, so I’ve been fending for myself for dinner. He comes back this morning, but I didn’t want to announce to the world that I’d be alone all week. Call me paranoid, but you never know what creepers are reading your blog, ya know? Anyway, he gets back this morning!! YAY! We’ve missed each other a LOT. I’ve gone away for a week at a time, but Shane hasn’t yet since we’ve lived together. OK, moving on.

 

While watching Glee, I busted out my New Rules of Lifting For Women book and started reading it. With a glass of wine of course.

 

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The New Rules of Lifting for Women’>New Rules of Lifting for Women is based on the premise that women should be strength training in a more similar way that men are. We are too often told that we should lift heavy weights, because heavy lifting will make us bulky (ugh – hate this word.) However, heavy weights are what get results! If you look back at some of my posts on strength training, I’ve always been a fan of lifting heavy weights. The fact is women don’t have enough testosterone to get huge like guys can (and it takes guys a heck of a lot of work, too!) I definitely agree with this concept.

The book also goes into diet a little bit, which I haven’t formed a first impression of yet. It does, however, state that when we eat is more important than what we eat. Say whaaa?! I’m not sure I’ll agree with this concept, but I’ll bite, and keep reading. I finished chapter one, then got some bunnies and finished chapter two.

 

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LOVE Bunny friends 😀

 

Well, you know the story, I gotta go get ready for work, as I’m running late!

 

What are your general thoughts on strength training for women?