Monday, December 22, 2014

The “No Pain, No Gain” Massage

Remember the ridiculous mantra of “No pain. No gain” from Schwarzenegger wanna-be, gym-rats in the 90’s? It was always funny to me but I’ sure that you would agree there’s sometimes a ‘feel good hurt’ that we can get when a massage therapist works on just the right spot.

My massage teacher would call it the point of “exquisite pain.” And what’s wrong with that? Considering the price of good body work these days, you should expect to feel results, right? Unfortunately many people misconstrue pain as evidence that they are getting a “good” (if not great) deep tissue massage. Well – I think the whole thing is hogwash, and let me tell you why…

It’s my contention that holding your breath and gritting your teeth under the pressure of a too-rigorous kneading simply defeats the purpose of massage. And asking your masseuse to “go deeper cause I’m tough [guy/girl] and can take the pain” only adds to your body’s tension levels, making those muscles that desperately need to soften do the exact opposite.

Think about this: when has a muscle IN PAIN ever “relaxed?”

The answer is “never.”

Look at it this way; a masseuse aggressively digging into muscles is like performing one of those science experiments in elementary school where you combined cornstarch with water. Remember that weird concoction that was solid but not solid? The more you prodded the substance (or muscle), it hardened, yet when you stopped, it softened to a malleable goo.

This property is called thixotropy (talk about a tongue twister!).

Anyway, what I’m trying to say is that too much force will make muscle fibers clench together and almost harden. When you apply a firm but methodical amount of pressure, the fibers easily thread apart, thereby allowing your muscles to relax, release, and rejuvenate.

That said, I’m no wimp when it comes to doling out the pressure! There are some times when some discomfort is necessary to the overall treatment. However, this type of aggressive approach isn’t meant to irritate sore muscles even further, and it’s never intended to beat your muscle fibers into submission.

Instead, the goal is to apply just the right amount of pressure and firmness to kick-start that relaxation response, loosen and lengthen muscles, add to muscular balance & tone. It’s to release tension rather than add to it…

Now, if you are now reminded of a dull ache or a painful kink you need to get worked - that’s just your body telling you it’s time to come see me for a little “S & M” session (stretching and massage, that is..)

;-)

Listen to your body.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Holiday-Proof Fat Loss Hacks

It’s holiday fat gain season! After all, they don’t call it the “festive fifteen” for nothing! It’s a time when nearly everyone packs on a few pounds. But what if, instead of loosening your belt another notch this year, you use these 5 Holiday-Proof Fat Loss Hacks to avoid putting on a single pound?

Believe it or not, these hacks just might result in a few pounds lost before New Year’s…

Holiday-Proof Fat Loss Hack #1: Eat a sensible meal before the party.
It goes without saying that you should never arrive at parties in a ravenous hunger. I realize that this goes against the popular trend of starving yourself before a party, but that’s exactly why most people gain weight.

With your hunger in check, you’ll have the clarity to pick and choose the treats that you really want, rather than stuffing yourself with everything in sight.

Holiday-Proof Fat Loss Hack #2: Bring a healthy dish to share.
Even if the party that you’re going to isn’t a potluck—hostess gifts are thoughtful, and always appreciated. Plus, you’ll have brought a healthy option everyone can enjoy.

A roasted veggie salad, a hummus platter, or an arrangement of fresh fruit are all delicious, healthy dishes that are filled with fiber and would be a welcome addition to any holiday menu.

Holiday-Proof Fat Loss Hack #3: Never drink calories.
This one’s tough this time of year, but do you realize how quickly calories add up when you’re slurping them out of a cup? Alcoholic beverages and sweet holiday drinks are simply packed with calories. These calories don’t take up much room in your stomach so you’re left wide open for even more calories.

Your best strategy is to avoid these beverages altogether, but if you can’t, temper their effects by drinking sparkling (or plain) water. Aim to drink 1 glass of water immediately after every cocktail you consume at the party.

Holiday-Proof Fat Loss Hack #4: Fill your plate, but only once.
I’m certainly not going to tell you that you shouldn't eat anything at the party. By all means, It’s a party! By all means, go and fill up your plate - but only once.

That’s right, you heard me. No going back for seconds. Since you've already eaten a sensible meal before arriving, this rule is going to be easier to keep than you think.

Holiday-Proof Fat Loss Hack #5: Taste dessert, just a taste. 
The holidays are all about sweet treats, so go ahead and partake. But just a taste. Look at desserts as something to savor, not something to fill up on. And since you ate a sensible meal before you came, then you filled up your dinner plate once you’re probably going to be pretty full at this point anyway.

That’s it—all you need to know to not gain a single pound at holiday parties.

So… what about the rest of the year?

Wouldn't you love to make 2015 the year that you transform your body?

Wouldn't it feel great to throw out all of your fat clothes? To look forward to bathing suit season? To be given a clean bill of health from your doctor? And to be showered with compliments by family, friends and that special someone?

It’s all more possible than you think.

But you’ll need to take action now.

My Locomo-Programs are designed to quickly and efficiently get you into the best shape of your life.

Go on-line now to schedule your first body transforming “Let’s Talk Strategy” session before the New Year’s rush by clicking here.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Massage: More Than Just a Back Rub


Before you have your first massage, you may have already had a much idealized picture of what your session will be like. However, a massage delivered by a licensed professional should certainly differ from the occasional back rub you might have received from a friend or a loved one.


What a massage therapist targets during treatment includes:

  • Releasing the tension in the muscles
  • Promote the healing of soft tissue
  • Facilitate the flow of blood
  • Reducing emotional stress
  • Reducing pain and inflammation

Some studies also support the use of massage as a supplemental treatment for depression and anxiety, and has also shown promise in successfully alleviating symptoms associated with multi-dimensional illnesses such as fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.

More than one way to exercise muscles
However, even without secondary health issues, a massage can affect muscles much more vigorously than most people realize. As a massage therapist, I work diligently on knotted areas of muscle that result from the everyday buildup of anxiety and stress and either my clients’ lack of physical exercise or a tendency to over train certain areas. The act of massaging these muscles and stretching them out will improve blood to the area and stimulates optimum healing over the long term. However, this can sometimes place added stress for the muscles which can sometimes result in soreness, particularly if massage sessions are too intensive, too closely scheduled or scheduled too far apart.

Is it Good?
You see, a ‘good’ massage is very much like workout. If the muscles aren't used to it, they often respond with some soreness. Granted, the soreness should only last for a day or of two. However, if the soreness lasts any longer, or is accompanied with bruising, then the massage was more than likely too intense.

Getting the intensity level just right requires that you let your therapist know when the treatment is getting painful or uncomfortable for you. This allows the massage therapist to adjust the intensity level either during the session and make note of it for the next session. As the body adjusts to the manipulation, the intensity can gradually be increased for greater results.

What Can Be Done?
The human body is one highly complex machine, and while we are just beginning to understand the interplay between body and mind, this connection could explain why soreness can sometimes be experienced shortly after a massage.

While there are many ways one can minimize the unwanted side effects of a good massage, I've listed a few suggestions to consider:

  • Understand the need to properly care for your physical and mental health through exercise, diet and recuperation.
  • Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated
  • Be sure to communicate honestly with your therapist, particularly about your general health and mental well-being
  • Experiment with different massage techniques till you find what works best for you
  • Experiment with the length or intensity of your massage sessions 

In most cases, experiencing some muscle soreness after a massage is completely normal. However, if this lasts more than a couple of days, or incapacitates you in any way, then it needs to be addressed.

As I've mentioned, there can be many simple explanations for this phenomenon. All of them are easily remedied, but they must begin with an open, honest conversation with yourself, what you want to accomplish through this mode of therapy, and conclude with discussing your concerns with a licensed massage therapist.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Do 10-min Workouts Work?

Have you heard? The latest trends in fitness are leaning toward the ‘shorter is better’ philosophy! It’s true, but what everyone really wants to know is this; do dramatically shortened workouts really get the job done???

No one can deny that modern life is beyond busy. We simply don’t have the time to spend hours running, biking or doing any number of other slow, cardio-based exercise sessions. Besides that; long drawn-out workout sessions just don’t give us the best return on our time investment.

But is there true science behind the claims that 10 minute workouts deliver results?

Well, the fact is new research supports the very true benefits of short, intense bursts of exercise.

This is great news for all of us with hectic schedules, especially during these crazy holiday months. Short, intense workouts are manageable and I find them to actually be enjoyable.

So here are my top 3 reasons that 10-minute workouts are worth your time…

#1. It Burns Fat
Do I have you attention now? We all want to discover ways to burn more fat and now multiple studies have proven the fat melting effectiveness of both Tabata and HIIT (high intensity interval training) styled exercise programs. These techniques take short bursts of activity and create a heart-pounding workout in 10 minutes or less. The key to making these workouts as effective as possible is to crank up your intensity to the max.

#2. It Makes You Happy
I’ve said it before; exercise releases endorphins. Endorphins are those stress relieving hormones which makes us feel oh-so-good in the aftermath of a great workout. But don’t fret if you only have 10 minutes to exercise, studies have shown that an intense 10-minute burst of exercise is enough to get those feel-good juices flowing.

#3. It Protects Your Heart
According to researchers in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, people who get just 7 minutes of intense exercise each day are 45 percent less likely to die from heart disease. It’s also worth noting that people who maintained their exercise routine for six years or longer saw the greatest benefit.

So I hope that I’ve managed to shed a little truth on the value that an intense, 10-minute workout can have for you. In this busy holiday season it’s so crucial to our health and physiques that we make time to exercise – even if it’s just 10 minutes.