5 Fun Plank Variations​ To Challenge Your Core

Planks are one of my favorite exercises! 

I know you’re totally rolling your eyes right now, but it’s true. Planks are a great way to get a fullbody workout. They are perfect to help you build isometric muscles and can even improve your posture. Plus planks are so versatile that you won’t get bored. You can do planks on the floor, with weights, on a reformer, with a ball or even add in a little cardio. 😉 Just what you want right? I’m still kinda giggling from when I taught a circuit bootcamp class a few months ago and I taught an entire 7 minute circuit with all planks. I’m pretty sure everyone hated me during the circuit. 

Now even tho I’m obsessed with planks, I know not everyone is as in love or even knows how to properly plank. So I’m giving you a list of all my favorite plank variation to truly get a full-body workout within minutes. Before we get into some plank variations, I want to go over a few key tips for your form that you NEED to know. 

  1. Keep your shoulders right over your wrists or elbows if you’re in a forearm plank. This will activate those shoulders and help you get out of your wrists. 
  2. To protect your back by slightly tucking your tailbone, this will also help you from arching your back and dropping your belly down or deactivating your core.
  3. Keep your ears pulling up to the ceiling to help keep the back of your neck long

Now keeping those tips in mind, try these planks out! Attempt to do these for at least 30 seconds each, it should only take you 5 minutes. For the side plank 30 seconds each side.

Commandos:

Starting on your hands in a full plank, drop down to your right elbow then your left. Now you’re in a forearm plank, from their place your right hand back onto the floor then your left back into your full plank. Continues going down and up, but make sure you switch which arm is starting. The hard part is keeping your hips level and not moving then. The faster you go the more cardio this becomes. 

Carlie showing commandos.

Mountain Climbers

Most people know how to do these but they are such a great way to get a little cardio in while in a plank. While in a full plank you will draw one knee to your chest then step it back and switch legs. The faster you go the harder it is to do while keeping the correct form of your shoulders over wrist and your butt in line with your body. You can also add a little rotation to get into the obliques a little by drawing your knee to the opposite elbow. 

Side Plank:

Carlie holding a side plank. Wearing @Athleta pants and @ToeSox.

Start on your right side, you can either be on your right hand or on your forearm. The left hand can be on your hip or behind your head. Bring your top foot in front and lift your hips off the floor to get into your side plank. In this position you will hook your back toe under your front foot heel. You’re going to hold just a static plank for 30-60 seconds. 

If holding this plank is too challenging take your top leg and bend the knee to step your foot onto the floor in front of you. Now you can press down with your heel to help you keep your hips up. (I prefer this modification over going down onto your knees as I find it keeps your obliques more active.) If you need more of a challenge you can try stacking your legs giving you less stability and making your core work a little harder. Another option is to lift your top leg and hold it in the air. 😉 

Single leg balance:

While in your plank either on your hands or forearms you’re going to focus on keeping your upper body and hips completely still. Slowly start to lift your right leg off the floor about hip height and hold for 5 second then set your foot down and switch to your left leg. You can increase the challenge by reaching the opposite arm long in front of you as you lift your leg up.

Hip Dips Side-to-Side:

Holding a forearm or full plank, dip your right hip towards the floor then exhale and lift your hips back to center before dipping your left hip down. While doing this try to keep your shoulders stable and only move through the lower half really using your obliques to make the twist. 

Carlie doing hip dips side-to-side while in a forearm plank.

Planks are truly one of the best exercises for core conditioning, while also working your lower back, glutes, hamstrings and improving posture. All great reasons to hop into a plank right now. Try out these 5 planks and let me know how you feel. Can you do all of these plank variations for 30 seconds back to back without a break?

I Made The Leap

Carlie pictured at Crossroads Fitness, sporting @Athleta
and @ToeSox

I did it… I finally took the dive, signed my lease, and committed. If you haven’t heard me talk about this yet, I have officially started my own Personal Training/Pilates business. After training under and with some of the best and brightest in the Bay Area fitness community since 2010, I have decided to take the next step and become my own #bossbabe. 

This has been something I have thought about for a while, however never pursued. What started out as a random cold email to a studio owner (from Bryan actually), turned out to be a great opportunity at an amazing studio close to our home. Could it have been a fear of failure? I’m not entirely sure why I hesitated, but I’m sure glad I made the decision. I am now officially a member of the Crossroads Fitness community and working alongside a community of supportive and strong personal trainers in Burlingame . I have already felt a part of this inspiring family of fitness professionals.

Now that I’m officially my own boss, it’s essential I get my name out and start marketing my little butt off to find new clients to help train. Being a part of a communal studio and larger fitness network allows me the ability to leverage the extra resources and benefits to create a strong presence in the community. Different Pilates studios have different setups; some hire the instructors as direct employees of the studio, and others, the instructors are contractors. After working in a studio for several years, I’m excited to have the freedom to teach the preferred style that best suites my clientele and be able to make my own schedule. I am excited, albeit nervous, about the opportunity to market and position myself as an up and coming Pilates instructor down in my new home in Burlingame. 

I now have the ability to productize and monetize my own services based on the diverse fitness background I bring to the table. Thankfully, I have a strong foundation in marketing, some savvy social media skills and an already functional website. All those years of learning and perfecting this unique style of Pilates has finally paid off. My recent experience building my book of business within Rodan & Fields skincare network has also been very valuable. Over the last year, I have been able to grow my personal skincare business, create an auxiliary revenue string, and learn about how to run my own business and be my own boss. These useful skills will most definitely help grow my fitness business as well!

After I signed the lease, I thought to myself, where do I even begin. I took a look at my current website, did a content audit, and brainstormed all of the possible ways to build and optimize my new business. I accomplished some tasks I even knew nothing about, creating waivers, and Search Engine Optimization (SEO) for my website. It was very interesting learning about LLC formation and how to best set myself and business up for success. Some of my additional thoughts are: creating a new logo, use of different types of multimedia to promote myself and my workouts, as well as creating a newsletter. As you will probably see over the next few weeks, my website is transforming and will be more representative of me, my businesses and the hub for everything CaliforniaCarlie. This will be the go-to resource for questions, scheduling inquires, blog/lifestyle articles and other exciting news. As I continue to become a part of my local fitness community, I encourage you to do the same by staying in touch and connecting with me.

What would you like to see on my website? Feel free to comment below and share ideas on what content you would find useful. I would love to hear your thoughts on what would be of value to you!

Also, please look out for (and subscribe) to my inaugural newsletter to find out where and when I will be teaching, organizing a running club, or promoting other community and fitness-related events. This also allows me the ability to better manage my busy schedule, maintaining my day job working in operations at Amplify Partners, taking care of my pup, and working out on my own. Plus, I will also have some additional free workout content coming soon! 

If you are down in the peninsula area and looking to start adding a new routine to your schedule or want to see how Pilates can benefit your life, let’s chat and see if I can be your partner in helping you achieve your fitness goals.

How Le Tote Helped me Change to be a Business Professional

Over the past several months my wardrobe has been slowing transforming and I’m loving it. When I landed my first real ‘office job, I realized that I had been living in workout clothes for almost 4 years and hadn’t purchased any “real life” clothing. I didn’t even have enough professional clothes to get through my first week at my new job. EKKK!  

Octavia Flutter Sleeve Blouse and BCBGeneration Knit Midi Pencil Skirt

After doing a little research, I stumbled upon Le Tote. If you have no clue what it is, Le Tote is an online subscription-based clothing rental company. The idea is to be able to have clothes for any event, in real-time, sent to your door. LeTote stylists do their best to match outfits to your style. If you decide that a particular piece isn’t right for you, they provide a prepaid label so you can easily return at your convenience. Thankfully, I was able to purchase a few items that I knew I NEEDED in my everyday wardrobe.  

When I originally created my account, I filled out a questionnaire about my style, what I’m looking for, and my general size range. Based off my answers, LeTote puts together a few outfits that fit my style and body preferences. Once the recommended pieces are created, you can either choose to keep those options or look around for different things you might like to try. I chose a few of the options they picked out but selected a few others on my own that I wanted to try. Here are some of the items I was sent to try, to give you an idea of the clothes:

With working full-time, plus Pilates, my dog, and social life, I knew I wasn’t going to have time to go shopping for new clothes. This was such a great option for me, especially since I went straight from one job to the next, with no downtime in between. Another benefit is that once you’ve worn the items, you can place them back in the prepaid mailer to return without having to wash them. WHOHOOO! I don’t know about you but I already have enough laundry each week as it is, especially now that I live with my boyfriend. ugh #Adulting

Once I approve the box, it ships out and I typically receive my package within 2 days. I was shocked by how fast I was to get my new outfits. It made me happy realizing that time wasn’t being wasted just waiting around for the clothes since the subscription is monthly. Everything I see on their site always looks the same, if not very similar in person, and always feels of the very high quality. The large variety of clothing is very useful as well. I love that I can pick business casual or fancy outfits for when we nicer have events at work or for a night on the town.

Velvet Heart Tie Sleeve Chambray Dress

So far, I’ve loved all my items from LeTote! I think my favorite piece has been this Velvet Heart Tie Sleeve Chambray Dress. I had some much fun taking photos in it with Bryan at the beach. I think most of the items I’ve been absolutely in love with are from the brand Olive & Oak. The fun of getting surprised by clothing that I can wear if I want or not is definitely something I look forward to, even if I don’t necessarily always look forward to the photoshoots or going to work. Either way, I’m loving this whole Le Tote thing.

Thanks to Le Tote, I’m dressing like a boss babe and am feeling more confident in my new look more than ever. Le Tote has become my fashion go-to for keeping my wardrobe refreshed, and I can’t express enough how much peace-of-mind it has given me. I’m impressing everyone at the office and don’t have to waste time finding a style that suits me when my personal stylist (Le Tote) knows me so well!

If you’ve previously tried Le Tote, I would love to hear you opinion. Comment below!

**I haven’t been paid for this article. This is just my experience and opinion on Le Tote. If you would like to try it out enjoy a special discount from Le Tote, by clicking here.

Why Don’t More Men do Pilates?

Usually, I’m the one who is writing the blog posts on here about my experiences and knowledge but Bryan and I have been talking about him doing a post for a little on his personal experience with Pilates and how it has affected him. So now that he has been doing Pilates for over a year here is his opinion on Pilates and the benifits he has seen.

Until about a year ago, I never fathomed the possibility of ever taking a group fitness class. I was your typical former high-school athlete, way less limber and flexible than I was a decade ago in my glory days. My typical workout routine consisted of stationary weight lifting, with a few bouts of cardio throughout the week, occasionally mixing in a run or hike. This type of working out was a way for me to ‘maintain’ my muscle, stay fairly trim and still feel like I was putting in the time and work to my physical fitness.

Who knew that some of the best and most elite male athletes utilize Pilates as a way to master their craft? Steelers All-Pro receive Antonio Brown and Phillies pitcher Jake Arietta are two star-studded athletes just to name a few. Both of these athletes employ Pilates as a way to maintain both physical and mental well-being. Perhaps this can help remove the ‘stigmas’ that surround Pilates and its efficacy.

Fast forward to today… I am 10 years post back surgery. In 2009, I had a minimally invasive back surgery consisting of a lumbar discectomy, which in layman’s terms essentially meant I had two herniated disks in my lower back (L4, L5, S1) that were pressing on my sciatic nerve. I used to make excuses about not being able to run, my inflexibility and lack or core strength to support my back. Enter Pilates. I had never taken Pilates before, let alone even really understand the basic principles and concepts. Add in the fact that my workouts, like most, got stale over time. My body was used to the same movements, even if I switched up exercises, and I knew it was time for something new. I also had no need to keep the bulky upper body muscle that I once used in sports. What started out as a simple date idea with my current girlfriend, turned into a lifestyle alteration.

Over this past year, what I once thought was a workout meant for ‘woman’, has turned out to have more benefits than I could have imagined. Sure, the majority of my mat and reformer classes have been female-dominated, but I now have a new appreciation for the art of functional movements, flexibility, and core strength. I have developed a real affinity for the different types of Pilates I have been able to experience recently. Maybe Men just do not like being told what to do…

In my opinion, Mat Pilates is probably the most underrated form of Pilates. It requires balance, body awareness and the ability to utilize your own body weight. Most folks think you need a ‘machine’ in order to work out, but truth be told, I personally think Mat can be more of a balance challenge. The core principal relay on core strength (no pun intended), where basically every move requires some type of abdominal engagement. This engagement has been particularly useful to someone like myself, who would rather find different ways to work my core (to support my back) in ways other than your standard sit-up, which can cause back pain. The movements of Pilates are very mindful and the flows are meant to limit compromising positions and allow for modifications if need be. It isn’t just about having abs and a six-pack, but rather a strong core to support my upper body strength and back needs.

Mixing in one or two Pilates classes a week has really helped out in many aspects of my life, both mentally and physically. There are the obvious benefits, such as increased hamstring flexibility, a stronger core, as well as more toned legs. The intangible benefits for me have been less daily back pain, and the ability to run and sprint at places such as Barry’s Bootcamp (11.5! what what). Though, I still try and steer clear of intense jumping movements, I’m able to jump squat, do jumping jacks and jack squats no issue! I have been able to perform more HIIT-focused workouts, helping build more lean muscle and provide valuable fat loss.

The other major benefit for me has come in the form of snowboarding. Snowboarding has long been my favorite athletic activity. I began skiing when I was 3 years old and have been skiing/snowboarding consistently ever since, including living in Colorado for 5 years where I racked up over 100 days. The 2009 winter was the first and only winter I had missed due to injury. This was a major blow to me, as my surgery recovery spanned about 7 months from Sept- April of that year. Post-surgery. I was limited to only being able to go one day and not feeling up to going a second day in a row due to back pain. However, Pilates has changed that and allowed me to shred back to back days, without the effects I used to feel after a hard day.

Having a strong grasp of these basic Pilates principals allows me to practice flows anywhere I have a mat and some time, even without professional instruction or a studio. Hopefully, I have inspired some of the men out there or at least informed their significant others that there are amazing benefits for your male counterpart. Remember, it’s not just about the physical result, there is a strong mental component to Pilates. Whether working on your breathing, letting go of real-world stresses or just needing to ‘sweat it out’, exercising in general is a great release and way to keep you strong mentally. Pilates is a great form of exercise, something I will continue to do as I get older, plus it is a great way to get a couples workout in. You know what they say, “Couples who work out together, stay together”. My regular workouts now consist of gym workouts (3-4 times), with Pilates and HIIT workouts weaved in once a week, keeping things fun and interesting for myself.

My goal is to help break down stigmas and educate my male counterparts on this unique type of fitness platform. Young, old, short, or tall, there is some type of mindful movement for everyone.


I Made the Switch to Natura​​​l Deodorant

Natural deodorants have been a hot topic for a while, but I’ve always been a little skeptical of natural deodorants actually working. Especially for someone who is in the fitness industry and constantly moving. I was always so scared of smelling like B.O. and having a client have to hold their breath as I corrected form! NO JOKE these are the things I have nightmares about.

However, over the years I’ve also continued to worry about the aluminum in my regular antiperspirant deodorant along with the other chemicals in it that I put on my skin every day. Aluminum is the main and active ingredient in antiperspirant deodorants, it works by clogging your sweat glands and blocking sweat from getting to the surface of your skin.

Some research has been done showing a link of exposure to aluminum and increased risks of breast cancer, Alzheimer’s as well as disrupting the endocrine system(your hormones). Some evidence is inconclusive, but honestly, the existence of some evidence is enough for me. Here are a few other bad ingredients:

  • Parabens – Endocrine/hormone disruptors, found in 99% of breast cancer tissue sampled in this study
  • Phthalates – Helps ingredients stick to your skin. Several studies, like this one, have shown that phthalates could impact fetal development in pregnant women.
  • Triclosan – Helps kills bacteria. Some studies have linked it to unusual hormone activity. One study even suggests it could be messing with our microbiomes and day-to-day operations of our genes.
  • Fragrance – Almost every scented product has “fragrance” among its ingredients. Due to an FDA loophole, manufacturers are not required to disclose what that “fragrance” is. So it is impossible to know just what chemicals are being used.

Once you make the change to natural deodorant your body will start working towards getting back to normal. Basically, your armpits have to go through a chemical detox. Sounds fun right! (another reason I was scared to make the switch) Some friends have told me stories about unusual excessive sweating and extremely bad smelling underarms. Back when I was teaching 25 classes a week, it just didn’t seem like a good option for me. However, I started working in an office full-time I knew it would be a good time to make the switch.

I learned about Curie this all natural deodorant with quality ingredients, in 2018 when it first came out. I was blown away with Sarah the founder, her passion and product. Also, knowing their formula is good for people with sensitive skin, I just knew this would be the perfect deodorant for me and it smells AMAZING!

When I started using Curie I was prepared for the worst. I planned on carrying my deodorant and perfume with me all day in case I needed to freshen us, I also picked out clothes that wouldn’t show sweat or hold onto odors. Can you tell I was paranoid from my friend’s horror stories… However, my “detox” period was easy, I hardly noticed the switch. Every day I would take off my top and I was expecting to smell a little but all I could smell was the lovely Curie white tea scent and I never felt the need to re-apply throughout the day even when working out.

I’ve had a very positive experience with switching to Curie’s natural deodorant. It has been over a month of using Curie and I’m still obsessed. I’ve also noticed this deodorant isn’t staining my shirt, which is a HUGE plus for me. If you’re interested in making the switch I highly recommend using Curie, it’s perfect for sensitive skin, smells great, completely natural and it actually works. Did I mention it also only costs $12! So what are you waiting for? Say BYE BYE aluminum!

Since you stayed with me this whole time you get 20% off your first order with Curie, online!

Things to Know for all Barre Newbies

As someone who has been taking and teaching barre for years, it amazes me when I meet someone who has never taken a barre class. It seems like a lot of people are mainly just scared about trying something new, trust me I know that the unknown is scary. I’m someone who usually sticks to a routine and hates changes.

But the reason for this post is to give you some insight on what you can expect for your first barre class, so you can feel comfortable to get your booty into a class asap. I love barre classes especially at MNTSTUDIO, I always leave feeling like I got a full body and well-rounded workout. As someone who was a dancer from a young age, I love the aspect of using the music for the movement and staying on the beat. However don’t be intimated if you’ve never danced before, my boyfriend who has no rhythm(Sorry Bryan) loves these classes too.

Barre classes are focused on strength, balance, and flexibility making them great for cross-training. Within a few minutes of class, you will find yourself shaking and using muscles you’ve never used before. Generally, when we work out on our own we work on the things we’re good at and like to do. So these classes are great to work on those areas that you’re not focusing on otherwise and it will make you stronger overall and less prone to injuries.

Wear Appropriate Attire

You should wear tight-fitted clothing so your instructor can see your form, to ensure you’re doing the movement correctly and avoid injury. I recommend wearing full-length pants or capris because you might be doing some movements where you hold a ball with your leg so the bare skin would make it slippery. Also, wear grippy socks to your class, these will help you from slipping and give you traction when making sudden movements. Even if the studio you’re going to doesn’t require them I recommend having them. Think about all of the germs on the studio floor from people sweating and all the barefeet everywhere. For socks my favorite brand is ToeSox,  they are great for when you’re moving quickly during barre classes because with each individual toe separated they stay on your feet and don’t move around like other brands. 

Show Up Early

Usually, when you’re attending a studio for the first time, you should arrive at least 10 minutes early. They might need to have you sign a waiver and also may give you a tour of the studio. Showing up early is also a good idea so you can get set up with any props you may need for the class, or change into your workout clothes without feeling rushed. You should also try to get set up near the instructor, this will help when you need to see what movements you’re supposed to do. This is also very important if you have an injury. Your instructor needs to know what is going on with your body and how they can help keep you safe and get the best out of your workout.

Embrace Those Shakes

For your first class, you may not be the most graceful person, but this isn’t a dance class so don’t let that get to you. Everyone will be struggling just the same even if they come every week, so they won’t be paying attention even if you’re going the opposite direction. Most people in their first class see the weights and usually go for the heaviest ones. However, don’t be fooled! Those little 2 lbs and 3 lb weights get very heavy during class. A lot of exercises in barre are small isometric movements that work your muscles in a targeted area. So your muscles will burn and you might even be shaking uncontrollably during the class. However, always be sure to listen to your body and take breaks whenever needed. All instructors should be able to give you any modifications you may need to help with any injuries you have.

HAVE FUN!

Don’t get discouraged during your first few barre classes, it might take a few classes to get the moves down. No matter if it is your first or hundredth class, it’s going to be a great workout so just try to enjoy the class and music. Even as an instructor I still have to come out of some exercises during a class because my legs and butt are burning! I’m someone that is motivated by music so I like to sing the songs to myself a little while taking a class maybe do a little wiggly dance. 😉

I hope this helps to give you a little insight on how to prepare and feel ready for your first barre class. 

If you have any tips to share please comment below! I would love to hear from you.

New Product Launch: Radiant Defense

I have amazing news and just in time for our “Indian Summer” here in the Bay Area. Rodan and Fields just released a new product: Radiant Defense Perfecting Liquid with Broad Spectrum SPF 30. This tinted multitasker protects your complexion against a variety of environmental stressors and even improves skin’s overall appearance, delivering a radiant, healthy-looking complexion.  

This new product will be applied right after your skin care regimen.  This will help you create a flawless look and even out your skin town while nourishing your skin with peptides and antioxidants. Radiant Defense is oil-free, won’t clog pores, won’t cause breaks out, lasts all day, delivers immediate cosmetic benefits and dermatological benefits over time, improves the overall appearance and blurs imperfections.

Radiant Defense is available is six versatile shade and has been tested on a variety of consumers with diverse skin tones to help create a shade for most people. While Rodan and Fields is a skin-care company and not a makeup company this offers medium coverage to help create an even glowing complexion. You won’t even need to apply makeup for a natural daytime look. Check out these before and after images. 

I’ve already ordered mine in Beige, so once I get it I will show you some photos and share my opinion. I’m excited because I don’t wear face makeup, so it will be nice to have products that can give me a little coverage while making my skin glow. If you want to try this product, get on my waitlist by messaging me! We will officially launch the product for clients on October 1st, 2018.

5 Steps to Find your Happy

Who doesn’t want to be happy? Happiness is one quality most people strive to achieve throughout life, think about all of the books, podcasts, and workshops around this topic. However, I’ve noticed that a lot of people don’t realize how easy it can be attained on a daily basis.

As someone who always is asked, “How are you so happy all the time?” At first, this question confused me because I assumed being happy was just normal. Don’t get me wrong I’m definitely someone that knows life isn’t a walk in the park, nor am I happy every single day. But I’ve always done things in life to ensure I’m happy most days, living life with a smile makes it more enjoyable. But how do I and other “happy” people get through those rough days, I think is what really makes the difference!

So, I’m sharing a few things that “happy” people do to make life just a little more joyful and now you can too! Because you deserve to be happy!

Start Saying No

I’ve always struggled with telling others no. I’m a diehard people pleaser, so when telling people “No” I felt like I was letting them down or they would suddenly hate me. So I totally get that this is hard, especially when it comes to family and friends.

However, it’s your responsibility to make sure you’re taken care of, physically and emotionally! If you burn yourself out by always helping others, soon you won’t have the energy to even care for those people, let alone yourself.

At first, it’s challenging to know when you should say no. But it will become easier when you realize it’s taking time away from your overall wellness.

Stay Positive

This is something I learned at a very young age from my Mom. Throughout life I’ve always been asked how I’m so positive and smiling, to be honest, this question has always confused me. I see life as something that isn’t going to last forever and you might as well be happy and enjoy it as much as you can.

I understand that some days can feel like everything is going wrong in life. If you try looking for the positives in life and start appreciating them and you’ll soon notice your mindset changing and becoming happier.

Do Things You Love

This one seems so obvious! Right? When you’re actively doing things your life you will feel happier in general. Schedule “me-time” as often as you can during a week. Maybe it’s just 15 minutes a day to take a walk outside, or to watch the sunset on Sundays, take a bath once a week. Doing these small actions each week can make a big difference in helping you recharge your batteries mentally and physically.

Get Moving

Working out has been known to release endorphins, and boost your mood almost instantly. Staying active is an important part of living a happier life, however, it doesn’t mean you need to be running marathons! I know I certainly won’t be doing that again. But if you can find an activity that is easy for you to incorporate, you will also have something to look forward too.

Plan a Getaway

I’m sure I’m not the only person that likes to plan everything! But research has actually shown that planning a vacation and not the actual trip itself will increase your happiness! Having something to look forward to can help you smile as you’re leading up to your trip, probably more than the actual getaway.

I hope that you’re able to use some of these tricks to live a happier life. If you have any to share that work for you please comment below I would love to hear about them!

Feeling tight? 5 ways to help you recover faster.

Are your muscles sore, tight and tired? The is a common issue from pushing your body harder than normal during a workout or from a new exercise that challenged your muscles in a new way. Personally I always get a little giddy when I’m sore because I know I’m using new muscles and pushing myself, but it’s not something you should be trying to achieve every workout. My favorite is when my obliques or inner thighs are sore. (I know I’m weird!)

With training for my half-marathon and Spartan Race, I’ve been pushing my body in new ways, with running and also lifting weights. So I’ve been spending a little extra time giving my muscles some much needed recovery. Research has shown that your after workout routine is just as important as what you do during your workout in order to see the results you want. Here are my favorite ways of easing sore muscles post workout!

Stay Hydrated

I know this one seems like a no brainer. But honestly it’s so easy to forget to replenish your body especially during and after your workout. Staying hydrated can help you flush out toxins in your body that can cause muscle fatigue and cramps. It will also help you avoid dehydration which can cause muscles soreness to be more painful.

I recently got this bottle that helps me track how much water I’m drinking. In general, you should try to drink between half an ounce to an ounce of water for each pound you weight, every day! Within the first week of using this bottle I realized I was only drinking half that amount everyday. I was totally shocked, so this really helps to bring your awareness to the amount you’re drinking.

If you can find a bottle that is easy to carry around you will be more likely to drink more water since water will be close by.  Also, if it’s cute that helps me drink more water because I want to see it and show it off so I have it in my hands, but made sure it’s easy to close so it doesn’t leak all over.

Foam Roll

While a massage is a great way to ease sore muscles and help flush out toxins, it’s not always the most affordable. That is why having a foam roller is the best item to have at home. Foam Rolling has the same effect as a massage on your muscles, it’s a technique that’s called self-myofascial release. The pressure from rolling your muscles on the roller helps release tight muscles and fascia, plus is easy to target a specific area of your body that need a little TLC.

You should get in the habit of rolling out your muscles even when you’re not sore. Spending a few minutes with a foam roller could improve your range of motion, increase flexibility, and help alleviate any muscle tightness/soreness. A lot of people get really intimidated by rolling out or don’t know how to use it to target specific muscles so here is a recent post with some ideas.

Cupping

This is pretty much the first thing I did after my half marathon. Cupping can help loosen muscles, fascia and encourages blood flow. Cupping is a great tool to relieve back and neck pains, stiff muscles, anxiety, and migraines. The pressure from the cup pulls new blood to an area on your body to accelerate healing and is very effective at loosening tight fascia and muscles.

This is not a super common at home practice, however it’s totally doable. I purchased this at home cupping kit off amazon for $13 a year ago, and this has saved me so many times when my neck or back get knots and are stiff. You can get a kit with a hose and pump to be able to do it yourself.

I usually do 2-4 pumps depending on how it feels, and leave the cups on for about 10-15 minutes.  After it feels a little tight still but it starts to loosen up a few minutes after. Just be prepared to have weird purpleish circles on your body for a week or so. 

Stretch

Lengthening and stretching your muscles is just as important as flexing and contracting the muscles during your working to build strength, create toned muscles and avoid injuries. You should never finish a workout without stretching after. While stretching may not completely relieve the lingering pain of a intense workout it can help your muscle fibers become healthier and more elastic. Which will help your muscles bounce back faster, so you hopefully don’t have to walk funny for a week. 

Keep Moving

I know that when we’re sore the last thing we want to do it move anything, but that’s exactly what your body needs. Usually a light walk, Yoga class or swimming are great options to give your body a little break while working out some kinks and sore muscles. I always find that after a little movement my body feels so much better than if I just sit on the couch and watch a movies. Getting in some light cardio or stretching will help improve circulation and relieve your aches and pains.

 

So if you’ve done an intense workout, be sure to give your body a little time to recover but also try one or all of these little tricks to get your blood moving and body feeling like 100 bucks again!

3 Ways to Keep Rolling

By now foam rolling is something we’ve all seen or have heard of at least once, but not everyone knows how to use one. Foam rolling is such an amazing way to help ease muscle tensions, improve flexibility and range of motion in your entire body. This should only take 10 to 15 minutes — you could do it every day but I recommend at least once or twice a week. Ready? Let’s get rolling.

Glutes/Piriformis

Your glutes are such a big muscle but so many people forget to stretch them. Unfortunately, tight glutes and a piriformis can cause, back pain, runners knee, and IT band syndrome.

  • Sitting on the roller horizontally under your body
  • Cross left ankle over your right knee
  • Lean onto your left glute
  • Roll back and forth, and draw circles on your glute using the roller
  • Try a static hold on specific tight areas by holding still for five seconds
  • Roll out right glutes for 30 to 60 second, then switch to the other side

Lower Back

Lower back pain is very common especially with our culture of sitting at desks for long hours every day. Even active people find they have back pain or sensitive lower backs from running or lifting with poor form. Rolling out your back can even help with mobility and flexibility in your glutes.  

  • Sit on the ground, lift your hips up and place your lower back on the foam roller
  • With both feet firmly on the ground, lean over to the right side
  • Roll up and down the length of your lower back. Be mindful of your spine!
  • Roll out right glutes for 30 to 60 second, then switch to the other side

IT band

The IT band is a thick strand of fascia that runs the length of your thigh; when it gets tight, it can pull the knee out of alignment. This band is vital for stability in your knee especially during running, so, if you have a tight IT band you’re risking the knee to track out of alignment. 

  • Lying on your side, almost in a side plank, place your roller on the side of your thigh right below your hip
  • Roll the length of your thigh, and stopping just above the knee. Go slowly, and be sure to not roll over the knee joint.
  • Keep your top leg stacked, or place the foot onto the floor to give you less pressure
  • If you find an especially tender point, try rolling forward and back to release the spot
  • Roll for 30-60 seconds, then switch sides
  • This one might be painful, which means you really need to do this!

Good luck rolling out, be sure to move slowly at first as it can be painful! Have questions? Feel free to contact me. 🙂

xx, Carlie