I Yield!

I repeat I yield!  My once a year head cold has really taken me out today and I finally yield to it!

germs

No matter how healthy you are and how many good choices you make, germs are tricky little suckers and will outsmart you from time to time.  No need to worry though!  A healthy diet, getting your body moving and having a positive outlook will help you bounce back fast!

In the mean time it's important to listen to your body and know when to take a day off and rest.  It's hard to step away from work, without feeling like you let others down, or decreasing your workout may feel like your cheating yourself.

I'll let you in on a secret.....It's OK!  It's ok to take the time you need to bounce back and be better than before.  You aren't helping yourself or being a productive part of any team if you try to power through illness and not give your body what it needs.  When you happen to find yourself tricked buy some nasty cold germs make sure to take the time to heal and rest.  Here a are a few of my favorite ways to kick a cold.

Tea

tea

 

A warm soothing cup of tea feels fantastic on a sore throat.  Hold the warm cup on your face where your sinuses are located and you get a soothing relief from sinus pressure.  The problem I run into is I have yet to find a decaffeinated tea that I truly love.  I'm still exploring, but I have always been a fan of just warm water with lemon.  This may seem boring so I have spiced it up!

Warm Orange-Ginger and Honey Water

The spicy ginger works as an expectorant, helping loosen and expel mucous from the lungs. It can also stop the tickle at the back of throat.  The sweet orange essential oil has such a pleasant citrus smell.  It tends to wake me up in the morning so experiment with oils that mellow you out and wake you up so you know which ones to used in the morning and at night.

What you need:

  • Ginger - 1/2-1 inch piece of ginger, peel and grate
  • Sweet Orange essential oil - 1-2 drops
  • Natural Honey - 1 TBS
  • Hot water

In your favorite mug add all ingredients and mix.  No need to strain the ginger out, you can drink it down.  There isn't an caffeine with this beverage but it still tends to perk me up in the morning.

 

Veggies Veggies!

veggies

Even though you may not feel your best, getting in your veggies will keep your body healthy and help you kick your illness. Crunchy veggies may not sound that appealing with a sore throat, but there are ways!

On top of being yummy, vegetables and fruits with deep, dark colors (reds, oranges, blues, purples and greens) have carotenoids and bioflavonoids, which boost your immune system. WIN!

Cucumbers and Poppies

The coolness of the cucumbers feel great on a sore throat and when you peel them they are not rough and are easy to swallow.  I usually leave the skin on, but take it off to be easy on a sore throat.

What you need:

  • 1 cucumber peeled and diced
  • 1-2 TBS of your favorite dressing I use a homemade Poppy seed dressing

Sleep

We all know that good quality sleep is crucial to feeling better when sick.  According to the National Sleep Foundation the temperature of your bedroom is important.  The optimal temperature for a bedroom, backed by research, is 65 degrees.  You body temperature rises and falls throughout the night.  If you room is too warm is may  interfere with a restful sleep.  So open the window, turn on the AC or turn off the heat, put on some cozy PJs and snuggle into bed.

 

Take care of yourself and rest up!

Why Train Barefoot?

Once you set foot in our studio you may notice something a little odd and it's not the fact that one of the trainers may be walking around wearing a superhero cape.  Although, that is pretty odd, too, don't you think? You'll notice that many of our clients train barefoot for most of their session.  From the warm-up to deadlifts to kettlebell swings we encourage people to go sans shoes (especially running shoes) while they train.

Why should I train barefoot?

I'm sure at this point you want to know why and it's actually a question we get quite a bit so I'm going to break it down for you in this article.  Get ready to have your mind blown and your socks er... shoes knocked off!

My first question to you is, 'Why do you train'?  I'm going to go out on a limb and assume that it is to improve your health, fitness, to look good naked, or a combination of the aforementioned.  Am I right?  You surely spend a lot of time training your butt, your arms, your chest, your butt (yes, I mentioned butt twice...now 3 times and yes, it is related to your feet.  Stay tuned!), and your legs but how often do you think about training your feet?

When you think about it, your feet are the only body part that consistently touches the ground when you move, walk, run and train.  It is the ONE body part connects you to the ground and helps you transmit force to the rest of your body.  And yet we rarely spend any time training them.  Think about that.

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Leonardo da Vinci stated that the human foot is a masterpiece of engineering and a work of art.  Almost 30% of all of the joints in our body are located in our feet.  Not only that but there are over 100,000 nerve endings in the foot which are the first sensory input to the brain for movement.  What do you suppose happens when you cover your foot in the wrong footwear?

Most shoes are designed mainly for fashion do little more than protect your feet from the elements and take up space in your closet.  When it comes to strength training wearing the wrong footwear may hinder progress and even f your s up!

Shoes we like for training:

  • None.  That's not a brand, take your shoes off.
  • Newbalance Minimus
  • Chuck Taylors
  • Vibram 5 Fingers

Shoes we DON'T like for training:

  • Running shoes

The benefits of training barefoot!

Now that you understand WHY training barefoot is important we can go over some of the benefits when it comes to results.  The important part! ;-)

1. Creates better stability Your balance starts from the ground up which means your feet are the connection...well, unless you are doing a handstand.  So it makes sense that a good solid base will help improve balance and control and most shoes are designed with a cushion which does just the opposite.  Just an FYI, if you can't balance you can't be a ninja.  And it will be harder lift heavy weights of course!

2. Strengthens the ankles and calves Cramming your poor foot in a tight shoe may seem like a good idea to perform better but it can become problematic down the road.  For one, your ankle is supposed to have a good amount of mobility.  Also, by artificially stabilizing your foot and ankle you are not allowing the muscles in your feet, ankles, and calves to do their job.  Don't get lazy calves, get sexy ones!

3. Improves alignment Our feet, more specifically our heels, are meant to be flat to the ground.  Elevating our heels, much like throwing a pebble in a pond, has a ripple effect and changes the alignment of joints from your ankles all the way up to your neck!  It shifts your weight forward which may put more stress on certain joints like your knees, low back, shoulders and neck.  This can have a negative effect on muscle balance and may contribute to some chronic pain syndromes.  Just saying.

4. Encourages 'weight on the heels' Putting your weight on your heels allows you to shift your weight back to your posterior musculature (e.g. your calves, back and butt...see, your feet DO effect your booty!).  For exercises like deadlifts, swings, squats, and RDLs which primarily focus on these posterior chain it becomes increasingly important to get your hips back to train the right muscles.

5. Better sensory input We now know that there are over 100,000 nerve endings in your feet.  This means that your body picks up information right from the ground through your feet.  This is called 'proprioception'.  This is EXTREMELY important whether you are looking to improve your posture or balance, swing a kettlebell with good form, or deadlift 500lbs.

Important Notes:

Barefoot training is NOT for everyone ALL the time.  Make sure you check with a fitness professional, specialist or your doctor before engage in any training program, barefoot or otherwise.

If you are new to training OR barefoot training it is important to start slow and see what feels good.  You can start with some of the shoes I mentioned before going straight barefoot style.  Start with exercises where your feet are planted like deadlifts, kettlebell swings, squats, and RDLs.

Running shoes are designed for running, not training.  That said, I am NOT an advocate of barefoot running.  For most people, years of bad posture and poor footwear have taken away that ability and running barefoot for long distances may actually increase the risk of injury.

Remember, always train smart!