The Holidays can be a difficult time for anyone who struggles with diet and their own fitness goals. While it is important to enjoy some “R & R” you also don’t want to destroy all your hours of hard work in the gym! Quite the contrary, the influx of calories can actually lead to some great strength gains if used correctly. Follow these simple tips this holiday season to avoid metabolic melt-down.
1.) Don’t skip your workouts
Many people will find that they are “too busy to exercise” the 2 weeks surrounding Christmas and New Years. This is a big mistake for obvious reasons. The increase in often times empty calories and lack of exercise is a recipe for disaster. Do your best to stick to your normal routine, and don’t skip the cardio!
2.) Stick to your normal eating schedule
Many people will often times skip meals and get out of their normal routine in hopes to “save the calories” for the big feast or sweets. This is a mistake and will most likely lead you to eating yourself into a slumber. This is a perfect recipe for weight gain! Instead try this, If you are use to eating 3 meals and 3 snacks, skip 1 snack and 1 meal and replace it with your favorite holiday meal.
3.) Take smaller bites and chew your food
We all have that one uncle who is just ravenous at the dinner table and seems to inhale food. This is a mistake. It takes your body about 30 minutes to register your appetite after eating, so by taking smaller bites and chewing your food it will take longer to eat, allowing your body to digest and preventing you from over-eating.
4.) Drink plenty of water with each meal
Water is a necessary component for digestion. It also allows us to feel fuller and more satisfied by adding bulk to our food. Sure some wine is great, but don’t skip the water and be sure to sip throughout your meal.
5.) Catch some ZZZ’s
Between trying to wrap up work for the year, shopping, cooking, and prepping your house for guests there can be little time for sleep. It is no secret that sleep is very important for us on a cellular level. What’s more, when we don’t sleep enough we feel very lethargic which enables us to eat more in hopes up kicking up some energy.
Now that the snow is about to start falling many of us will be hitting the slopes. If this is your only sport and you have not done much physical activity since last year you will likely find that your feet and lower legs are pretty sore the first few times out!
Skiing is a very physical activity. It requires coordination and harmony particularly among the muscles of the legs and hips. If you are more of a “weekend warrior” you are at greater risk of injury since skiing requires both mobility and flexibility (both of which will likely be lacking if untrained). The following drills and stretches are aimed at correcting and coordinating the balance of the muscles of the leg and trunk. If done regularly they can prevent injury and even improve you skiing!
Since skiing requires first and foremost adequate length of the gastroc and soleus complex (calves) it should be made a point to begin stretching these daily (twice if you can). Hold each stretch about a minute.
1.) Hamstring stretch with towel- lying on your back and keeping your leg straight wrap a hand towel around your foot and pull up while maintaining full extension. Stop once you feel the stretch and hold.
2.) Seated Glute stretch- Sitting, cross one leg across the other creating a figure 4. Slowly bend at the waist, noting a stretch in your hip and glute. Stop once you feel the stretch and hold.
3.) Double knee to chest- Lying on your back, pull both knees into your chest. Stop once you feel the stretch in your lower back and hold.
Perform these drills daily or every workout day. Repeat each drill once for 25m. All should be done barefoot with the exception of walking on the heels which should be performed in shoes.
1.) Walk with feet in Inversion (Inside up)
2.) Walk with feet in Eversion (Outside up)
3.) Walk toes pointed in
4.) Walk with toes out
5.)Walk backwards on toes (Heels up, backwards)
6.) Walk on heels (toes up shoes on)
As always, if an injury does arise please call us or another provider for a professional evaluation before attempting to self treat.
Like most people interested in fitness I have tried many different diet methods from keto to carb cycling. The problem that I along with most people struggle with is finding balance and an eating schedule that is sustainable and not stressful!
Obviously, if you want to get shredded you have to suffer a bit; that’s part of the process. But what about the average person who just wants to look good and have a six-pack, but isn’t willing to risk their social life? Enter Intermittent Fasting (IF).
What’s The Science Behind It?
Though research is still in its infancy; what has been studied has shown great promise. The idea itself is not new. In fact, there is research dating back to 1930’s showing that mice who ate less often lived longer. Today, much has been discussed in the form of potential weight loss and benefits that occur from that. IF works because when we eat, much of what we eat eventually breaks down in to some form of sugar which raises blood glucose. In order to transport this sugar the pancreas releases insulin which acts as a shuttle to the liver which will produce glycogen for energy. Without insulin the glucose in the blood will continue to rise and one will develop symptoms of hyperglycemia eventually leading to diabetes. This process of metabolizing will continue to work to maintain stable blood sugar anywhere from 8-12 hours. After this period our body will switch to burning body fat, as glycogen has been depleted, for energy and equilibrium. Several benefits have been noted from fasting including:
Increasing insulin sensitivity
Decreasing systemic inflammation
Increased Growth Hormone (anti-aging hormone)
Stimulates production of Protein BDNF (brain-derived neurotropic factor) which is neuro-protective
Still, many are still weary of the effects of IF. Some studies have shown that long term fasting could actually increase inflammation. Majority of the studies have been promising however.
How Do You Do It?
This is my general recommendation, however there are many ways to structure your schedule.
First, IF is not a diet, it’s an eating schedule in which you establish a window of time you will consume all of your calories for that day ( from 4-8 hours), then when that time is up you will fast until that window of time the next day (anywhere from 16-24 hours). Since a 500 kcal/day deficit will yield a 1lb weight loss per week many people achieve consistent weight loss by simply cutting out breakfast.
I myself have been experimenting with fasting for about a year now, and I have helped several people using this method. I recommend starting at a 16 hour window of fasting simply by skipping breakfast. I personally follow a fasting schedule of 10pm-2pm daily. This can be increased over time pending progress.
I have noted the following:
Leaner body composition while eating more calories
IF is a simple and efficient way to eliminate calories (a lot of times empty calories!) from your day-to-day diet.
What you eat during your window matters! ( for recommendations Click Here.)
Exercising in a depleted state will aid in depleting glycogen
IF is an eating schedule, not a diet. Good eating habits must still be practiced or your results may suffer. It’s about making healthy choices you enjoy!
Consider hiring a professional to help you plan your schedule
IF is not for everyone. As always, please consult a professional before starting any dietary regimen.
A very common question that I get from many people is: “how do I increase the depth of my squat?” The squat is not only an extremely effective, full-body exercise (if done correctly) but also a valuable tool in determining dysfunction (tight muscles, imbalances, compensations, etc.)
In order to squat well ( and pain-free) several events need to occur:
On the descent (Lowering):
1.) Hips Flex
2.) Knees Flex
3.) Ankles Dorsiflex
On the Ascent (Standing back up):
1.) Hips Extend
2.) Knees Extend
3.) Ankles plantarflex
Obviously, the perfect squat is much more complicated than that. There are several muscles and muscle groups that can greatly affect your mobility in your squat. Some of the more common culprits are Tight hip flexors, hamstrings, and gastrocs.
For many of you reading this, you have likely already foam rolled and stretched your muscles into oblivion. Some of you may have noticed results while others are left scratching their head. It all starts at your feet. Your lack of ankle mobility could not only be the reason that your squat depth is lacking but also the reason that you have hamstring, calve, or lower back pain.
Your feet are your foundation in the squat, so it is necessary to address the mobility of the ankle, particularly dorsiflexion (think toes to shins.) Many of us have restrictions in mobility in our ankles (especially those who have suffered some serious sprains causing the ligaments to shorten.) Runners, swimmers, tennis players, gymnasts this is likely a problem!
Quick Test for Ankle mobility:
Shin to Toe Test:
-Place one foot about 4″ away from a wall.
-Assume a kneeling lunge position facing the wall
-With your front foot planted, lean forward trying to get your knee to touch the wall
Could you do this? If not you likely have ankle mobility issues!
Try This: This same test above can be used a drill to improve your mobility in your ankles. Simply lean forward bringing your knee to the wall until you feel a stretch, then back off. Perform 3 sets of 10 reps.
The most of effective solution to improving your ankle (and likely your hip mobility) is a combination of stretching, drills, and chiropractic.
If you are interested in improving your mobility give us a call or schedule online: (781) 460-0939
Nearly everyone that has participated in distance running, or functional training has likely experienced hip discomfort at some point either in training or competition. Many people are quick to blame their IT Band, and proceed to beat the tissue to a pulp via their foam roller, dog toys, spoons, baseballs.. I have heard it all.
While there is some benefit to rolling out the vastus lateralis (under the IT band), foam rolling is highly over rated. A bit about the anatomy: The IT Band, short for iliotibial band, is actually not a muscle but fascia. Actually, it’s one of the largest pieces of fascia in the body.The purpose of this fascial sling is to provide spring during gait , and it is also thought to help to stabilize the hip. The point is the IT band is not the enemy, in fact you may be abusing an already over worked piece of tissue.
What is the TFL? The TFL short for Tensor Fasciae Latae is a small triangular shaped muscle. If you have hip pain right now I would bet it is tender. To find the muscle, locate the pointy bone just anterior and lateral to your belt line, this is known as your ASIS. From this point work your way around your waist line and you may notice some tenderness between your hip flexors and glutes, this is where the TFL muscle lies. This muscle will insert on the IT band and serve to regulate length and tonus of the band. Along with aiding in hip flexion and internal rotation, the TFL muscle is also a hip stabilizer (think alignment on a car).
Why the TFL? If you follow along my blog you know that I believe many of our muscluloskeletal problems come from lifestyle, and poor or incorrect posture causing excessive wear and tear. The same can be true here, when we adapt to a sitting posture (if you commute an hour each way to work and then sit at a desk all day, this is you). The hip flexor’s become excessively tight as well as the lower back muscles. On the other end, the glutes and abs become neurologically inhibited due to the fact that they are not needed when you are sitting. The problem is, when you do run, or get active these muscles forget to do their job. Fortunately (and unfortunately) the TFL is already in a “hyperactive” state due to being shortened (contracted) all day. This means that this muscle is now doing all of the stabilizing work of the glutes. I like to use the analogy the TFL is like a VW trying to pull a an eighteen wheeler. It simply is not possible without harm.
So there you have it, now give that IT band a rest!
We have great success in resolving hip pain for many people. Call or Contact Us online and see how we can help you: (781) 460-0939
Chiropractic or Physical Therapy? This is a question that many people seem to have when they are experiencing either acute or chronic pain. I was actually amazed at how many people do not really understand what either do exactly. This makes it kind of difficult to make an educated decision, right?
Lets start with a brief breakdown of both professions: Physical Therapists (Physiotherapists or PT’s) focus on conservative treatment of musculoskeletal conditions mainly through exercises, stretching, and mobilizations. With a physical therapist the patient will be taking an active role. You can expect to exercise, stretch, and mobilize different muscles during your appointment’s. The end goal is to not only eliminate or reduce pain, but allow the patient to develop the strength necessary to return work, sport, etc.
Chiropractic is a profession that focuses on diagnosing and treating musculoskeletal condition’s related to joints and muscles of the spine and extremities. Chiropractic Physician’s often do more manual therapy in the form of soft-tissue manipulation, joint manipulation (adjustment), and passive modalities. Patients assume more of a passive role making chiropractic care ideal for patients in acute pain (sprain/strain, disc herniation, whiplash, muscle strain/tear, etc.) Chiropractic Physicians focus more on “foundation” or joint movement than physical therapists, which tend to focus more on the muscle movement.
So which is right for you? BOTH! Depending on your stage of healing, you should be seeing both a chiropractor and a physical therapist. Typically, I will see a patient first, then once the joints and muscles are moving well enough they will be referred to PT in order to strengthen the muscles. A good therapist will recommend both therapies, as addressing both the muscles and the joints is the only way to completely correct a musculoskeletal problem.
Our office routinely works with medical doctors and physical therapists for the better patient outcomes. Our mission is to provide the best in evidence based chiropractic care. This often means working with orthopedists, medical doctors, and physical therapists to accomplish better, more permanent results. Most importantly, keeping patients doing what they love to do, and out of surgery!
If you are experiencing muscle or joint pain we can help! Call or schedule online: (781) 460-0939
One common complaint in just about every Chiropractic clinic is that of the dreaded “Sciatica.” Contrary to many people’s beliefs “Sciatica” is not a diagnosis but rather a symptom. Sciatica simply means that someone is experiencing pain or discomfort in their back and leg. The question that the clinician must answer is always; “why is this happening?” Scatica can be the result of a few different diagnoses. It could be the result of a nerve being pinched by a disc herniation, it could be the result of arthritis, or quite commonly it is caused by tight muscles in the back, glutes and hips.
So what is “Piriformis Syndrome” and what does it have to do with sciatica? One common cause of sciatic nerve impingement is the piriformis muscle. This muscle lies deep to your glutes and works as and external rotator of the leg. In majority of people the sciatic nerve passes underneath the piriformis muscle, however in some the nerve passes through the muscle making it more susceptible to impingment. Most patients presenting with this condition complain mainly of deep, dull gluteal pain. This can also be experienced as burning and tingling in the leg which is noted by many people depending on position. One of the main causes of piriformis symdrome is poor biomechanics of the pelvis and spine. This could be due to muscle imbalances, poor posture, or simply an increase in training intensity or change in terrain. When the muscle becomes too tight, it spasms compressing the neve causing you pain!
Runners pay attention, this is one of the most common problems runners present with in my office! Why? Running is very linear, relying mostly on the glute maximus for hip extension and the quads for hip flexion. This means that the glute maximus will often develop trigger points causing spasms which will compress the prirformis muscle.
A few tips for prevention:
- Your body is like a high peformance car, it is very in-tune and even the smallest deviation can cause major problems. See a Chiropractic Physician! Poor biomechanics will always lead to issues.
- Warm-up before your work-out’s with light jogging or walking.
- Stretch your hamstrings, calves, and glutes
Think you may have Piriformis Sydrome ? We have successfully helped many runner’s and athletes with this condition. Give us a call! (781) 460-0939
It’s that time of the year again. Many kids and teens are gearing up to go back to school. For many people that will mean a decrease in activity compared to their summer schedule. This decrease in activity level and increase in time sitting can cause problems with the muscles and joints of the back and neck, throw in a back pack that is too heavy and not properly fitted and you will have one unhappy back! Follow these tips below and stay healthy and pain-free this school year.
1.) Do not buy a backpack that is too large. A medium sized back pack is recommended. This will help to avoid over-loading.
2.) Be sure that the your back pack is tight to the back. It should not hang more than a few inches below the waist line.
3.) Be sure to wear both shoulder straps. This will evenly distribute the weight throughout your body lessening the load on your back.
4.) Load the heaviest books into your backpack first, keeping them closest to your back.
5.) Have your posture checked by a Chiropractic Physician to ensure that your muscles and joints are functioning appropriately.
The bench press is a great way to build strength and power. The problem is, even when done correctly a serious injury is possible and some in some cases likely. Read below to find out why.
The shoulder is one of two ball and socket joints in your body (your hip being the other). This means that the joint is capable of going through 360 degrees of motion (think of a golf ball sitting on a golf tee, that’s your shoulder.) If you can picture that analogy, you can see how the shoulder is an inherently unstable joint.
What does all this have to do with the bench press? Theoretically, If you have balanced, symmetrical shoulders you are less likely to have a serious injury. This does not include the majority, however. If you look around the room right now you will likely see many people slumped over their phones, shoulders and head forward. This rounded shoulder posture unfortunately represents many of us to some degree. With the shoulders pulled forward there is insufficient room for the rotator cuff muscles to pass under the acromion, leading to an impingment, or possible tear. Bio-mechanically, the barbell bench press fails from the get go. In a barbell bench press your shoulders are fixed in one plane (due to the bar), this means that your body cannot even compensate to avoid impingement. That pain you feel in your shoulder during the movement, don’t ignore it!
If you love to bench here are a few recommendations that will help you avoid injury, and actually get stronger!
- Get adjusted! majority of us lack extension in our back, this motion is necessary to avoid shoulder impingement.
- Try starting out with some light, high repetition pectoral fly’s. This will allow for a more dynamic warm-up, stretching and activating the muscles.
- Stretch your pecs regularly
- Strengthen your back using exercises like the seated row.
- Avoid barbell shrugs
If you are experiencing shoulder pain don’t wait, call or schedule online now: (781) 460-0939
We have all been there, the previous months have some how slipped away and now you have only a few weeks before your beach vacation that you were hoping you would be 10 lbs lighter for. For many people this may mean a diet of chicken, lettuce, and water for the next few weeks in order to lean out. The problem is, the calories consumed in the aftermath will likely cause you to gain twice the weight back, not to mention wrecking your metabolism! This method is not sustainable and will lead to “yo-yo dieting.”
Looking to drop a few pounds fast, the healthy way? Try skipping breakfast. Yes, skip breakfast. For many years we have all been told that breakfast is the “most important meal of of the day”, however recent research has suggested skipping a meal such as breakfast could have many positive health benefits, including weight-loss! The idea is better known as “fasting.” Fasting is the idea that you do not consume any calories for a period of time. Research has indicated that fasting any where from 15-24 hours may actually jump start the metabolism, allowing your body to burn more body fat, naturally! Sounds good, right? If you are interested in learning more I have a more detailed post on intermittent fasting here.
If you are interested in learning more about Fasting, or would like to set-up a consultation to develop an eating plan that works for you, we can help. Click Here to schedule a consultation.