Friday, March 25, 2011

Week 4: In-A-Pinch!

So, I have  this amazing app on my iTouch called In-A-Pinch. This app tells you what exercises you need to do for a certain area of the body if you are stiff or sore!


For those that don't use smartphones, iPods, or any other app-friendly device, and do not know what an app is ... I'm not going to explain myself.

For those that don't use smartphones, iPods, or any other app-friendly device, but you know what an app is, this is for you!

And finally, for those with smartphones, you stopped reading this two sentences ago and have already bought the Free version of In-A-Pinch.

Which brings me to my next point. In-A-Pinch has a free version! This is why I feel comfortable sharing it's secrets to the blogging world. I wouldn't be sharing any of this information if it wasn't the free version.

But I understand that smartphones are expensive, apps can be difficult, and if you don't know what you are doing, very confusing! So I will be sharing some information from one of my favorite apps ever. Remember, it's free! And this post will not include everything, so if you do have a smartphone, go snatch this app!

It starts out telling you to tell them "where it hurts". This will be my non-interactive, 2D version.
Each section has several different things you can do in order to make it feel better. I will only give one exercise per area to conserve room and, do remember, this is the free free version. Also, these are nearly all stretches. Hold each for 15 seconds, or sets of 15 seconds, for best results.

Head-(light blue): Stressed: Breathe!!! Take slow, deep rhythmic breaths.
Neck-(red): Head tilts and turns. Straight back, and just tilt the head slowly front, back, left, right.
Chest-(light green):Seated Wings. Sit crossed legged and have someone grab your wrists behind you and gently pull.
Abs-(blue): Fish Pose. Lay flat on your back with hands palm down by hips. Press elbows into the ground as you left your ribs to the sky. Tuck your head under and rest.
Shoulders-(yellow): Yoga Mudra behind back. Stand with tall spine, clasp hands behind your back, lift up trying to squeeze the shoulder blades together, keep spine straight.
Upper arms- (dark blue)-  Tricept Stretch: Reach your arm all the way up then bend the right elbow and reach down your spine. Use left arm to grab the outside of right elbow. Keep your neck relaxed.
Forearms-(orange)- Flexion: Extend your arm out, palm forward, bend wrist and use other hand to increase the stretch.
Wrists-(red): Wrist Roll: Clech your fist, the tighter, the deeper the stretch, and roll it in a circle one way, then the other.
Hands- (fuschia): Gorilla Hands: Start on hands and knees. With hands under the shoulders and knees under the hips, curl the tips of your fingers under. *Deep stretch!*
Hips -(pink): Come to hands and knees and spread knees as wide as you can. Lower forearms under  your shoulders. Take your heels as wide as your knees and start to press your hips back. Keep relaxed! Using padding under knees and elbows as necessary.
Thighs-(brown): Standing squad stretch: While standing, grab your foot behind you and hold it to your rear. If you need something to help you balance, no need to feel ashamed! Grab a hold of the sucker! It can be a wall, workout buddy, table, chair, child in time-out forced to be your prop, whatever you need. ;)
Knees-(purple): Lower Leg Lateral-rotation: Sit on a chair and lift one foot off the ground. Rotate the leg so the foot points out, then rotate it so it points in. Don't forget to switch to the other side!
Ankles-(green): Flutter Foot: Sitting in chair, extend one leg. Point the foot and toe, then draw it back.Repeat several times. Sidenote: When the toe is pointed, it's called Plantarflexion, and when the toes are pulled back, it's called Dorsiflextion. A little Anatomy and Physiology for ya!
Feet-(yellow): Arch massage. Sit and use your thumbs to press into the arch of your foot. Feel for tight or sore spots. Squeeze heels or bottom of foot, whatever feels good!

Head-(light blue): Same as FRONT.
Upper back-(purple): Protract/Retract: Sit nice and tall, hands on knees, taking deep breaths. Exhale, tuck chin under and round spine. Inhald, lift chin and chest,pull with hands. Repeat!!
Shoulders-(blue): Same as FRONT.
Upper arms-(light green): Same as FRONT
Elbows-(orange): Supination and Pronation:This is basically just rotating your arm/forearm one way, then the other, as much as you can. (Twisting).
Forearms-(red): Same as FRONT
Wrists-(fuschia) and Hands-(yellow): Same as Front
Mid-back-(pink): CatDog: This is also now as Cat and Cow in yoga. Kneel on all fours, knees under hips, hands under shoulders. Press tailbone to the sky, bellybutton into the ground and hold. Then press your hips forward, your spine stretching to the sky. (one of my absolutely favorite stretches).
Lower back-(green): Pigeon: Another favorite yoga move. Start with hands on knees on floor. Move your knee forward and your ankle under your hip. Lean into this stretch. This is kind of hard to describe so please click here to see what it looks like. Then lean over your front knee for a deeper stretch.
Hips-(light blue): Same as Front.
Hamstrings-(light green): I don't agree with In-A-Pinch here, not comletely, so bear with me. I just like throwing my leg up onto a table or chair, and leaning forward to (try to) grab the toe. The V-sit stretch does this too. (So many good hamstring stretches in the world!)
Calves-(purple): Dog Down Runners Stretch: Another yoga pose, also known as Downward Dog. Place your hands and knees on the floor. Tuck your toes under and straighten your legs. Try to place your heels on the ground. You should look like an upside down V. Then spread your legs shoulder width apart, straighten one so the heel is on the ground and bend the other knee. Keep as relaxed as you can.
Ankles-(brown): Same as FRONT.

And that's all I have for you today!


Saturday, March 19, 2011

Week 3: Spring Break

So this week was super busy!!

Short and sweet:

It's important not to over-work yourself!! There IS such a thing as exercising too much!! Train smart and don't forget to take well earned breaks!!!


Thursday, March 10, 2011

Week 2: Meditation

Meditation? What does that have to do with being fit and healthy?

Pretty much everything!

This is Samm Speculation, so don't quote me, but your body and mind work together in perfect unison. If you're mind is not healthy, if you are not happy, your mind translates into your body, and your body won't work right for you! Not just in the normal ways of "Oh I'm happy, so I don't have tension in my shoulders", but in others ways. For example, if you are working out, not because you want to or are motivated to, but as a chore "Oh, I have to work out today, but I don't have time! *stress stress stress*", then chances are, you won't gain your goal! You won't lose any weight, in fact chances are, you may gain weight. If your mind isn't happy and healthy, your body won't respond in a happy or healthy way and all you're miles and hard work will not pay off nearly as much as the alternative.

Now the Science of it all. I have a list! (Those that know me on a personal level know I live for lists!) We'll make it a lovely Tens List. This information is about the benefits of meditation:
1. It increases the blood flow and slows the heart rate. In this fast paced world, we could all use some of that!
2. Reduces PMS. Yep! Ladies, who knew that meditation would help with PMS? Relaxation and meditation will make these 'symptoms' less severe! (Also, pickle juice *wink*)
3. Leads to a deeper level of relaxation. Those who have meditated before know what I mean by this. It's such a blissful place between conscious and subconscious, between being close to sleep, but fully awake.
4. It builds self confidence! (Most exercises do!)
5. Reduces activity of viruses and emotional distress.
6. It increases serotonin production which influences mood and behaviour. Low levels of serotonin are associated with depression, obesity, insomnia and headaches.
7. It can restore blood pressure to normal for those with high blood pressure.
8. Enhances the immune system. Research has revealed that meditation increases activity of 'natural-killer cells', which kill bacteria and cancer cells.
9. Helps in post-operative healing.
10. Reduces anxiety attacks by lowering the levels of blood lactate.

For more, visit healthandyoga.

We are constantly worrying about exercising to help the outside of our body, but what about the inside? Meditation is one of the ways to achieve a "toned" inside. Here's what I like to do:

I like to Passively Meditate

Step One: Find a quiet place where You are comfortable. No physically, but a place where you feel at home or at peace. Bedroom's are a great place.

Step Two: Be alone! Kick the hubby out for a while, or invest in a "Do Not Disturb" sign on the door. Or maybe you can find time by taking a bubble bath. We all know that's our Me time.

Step Three: Set the mood. When you study, you turn the lights on, the lamp on, maybe throw ear plugs in to block out extra noise. It's the same with meditation, set the tone. I like to turn all the lights off, light some candles, and play some very relaxing music on in the background a at a low volume.

Step Four: Get comfy! Generally, I like to sit on the floor. You can sit on a couch or a chair, but remember you are moving into a state of relaxation and what I'm going to call sublaxation. It's okay if you fall asleep, but save the sleeping for bedtime! Maybe set a blanket down, or a couple of pillows.

Step Five: Meditate! There are many ways you can meditate, so if you don't like the way I do it, maybe these will be more beneficial to you! Remember, this is about You! I'm no teacher, just a suggester! Listen to your body, pay attention to it! It'll tell you what it needs and what it likes! If your body likes to lay down while meditation, listen to it! If you fall asleep that way, maybe you just need to reclin against a pile of pillows. When your mind and body work together is when you yield the best benefits and results!

I like to go on what I call Yoga-cations! First, I'll completely clear my mind and relax. If I'm laying down, I will relax one body part at a time starting with my big toe until I reach my eyes. Sitting up, I will concentrate on my breathing in and out. Once all stresses and cares of my everyday life leave, my subconscious will kick on and send me where I want to go. It's usually on the beach somewhere. I will lividly try to imagine the sand between my toes, the wind on my face, the water around my ankles. This helps me relax and feel like I'm getting a much needed vacation in my very own bedroom.

Another thing you can do is 'soul searching'. You can learn a lot about yourself through meditation! For example, after  completely clearing your mind and reaching Your sublaxation level, you can think "fear" and find out what is scaring you at this moment in time. Or you can think the word "happy" and find out what, in the real world, can give you the most happiness. It's almost an out of body experience when you are living solely in your mind. It's almost like getting an outsider's perspective from your innermost Inside.

Now yes, I am what the world calls Mormon. There are amazing ways to meditate through religion. Instead of reaching the Innermost You, try to reach the connection between You and Him. Instead of you communicating with yourself, doing self-reflections, communicate in prayer with Him. Instead of relaxing to sublaxation, use that time to clear your pride and humble yourself in order to truly listen. The communication of prayer is limitless and priceless.

I hope this helps you become the best You! Enjoy!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Week 1: Kickboxing

What a great way to officially start this marathon!! This is such a great workout in every aspect; you get your cardio in, your all-around strength training, coordination, and even self defense! Now ladies of the blogging world, tell me that doesn't sound amazing! It's also a lot of fun and boosts your self esteem, not only because you are whipping that butt-er cream into shape, but you'll feel more confident and get to feeling sorry for any loser who would dare mess with you!
My shameless plug of the day, my two teachers of this subject were 1) Silk Manning, and his '80s/$6 DVD that I got off of ebay, and 2) Vanessa Moffett who teaches at South Plains College, and who I really do want to be when I grow up! So this beginner's guide I've come up with comes from both of these people and thank you for your time and instruction!

IMPORTANT: 1) It's always important to warm up and cool-down in any exercise regimen. I will either devote a week to warm-ups and cool-downs or they may come up as a Bonus Post! 2) 90% of kickboxing is kicking and punching, so make sure you take care of, not only your arms and legs, but the power behind them! 3) Have fun! Exercise is always more productive and beneficial when you have fun doing it! A good way to ensure this is to set each workout to music!

WARM UP: Make sure you do an even amount on the left and the right side, and do about 3 or 4 sets of each!
Since I will have a warm-up post, I won't take the room here. Just make sure you focus on stretching out your arms and your legs, and loosening up those shoulders before kickboxing! Since this is a cardio workout, try to do standing stretches, and get moving! Jog in place or jumprope, you're body will thank you later for it.

WORKOUT: I will just give you the basic moves. You can do them in this order, or you can take this and combine them into a You-Specialized workout!! The punches will work your arms, the kicks will work the legs, but for those out for ab crunchers, I'd recommend the Side push kick, Kneestrike, and the Roundhouse kick for your obliques!

For self defense practice, keep your arms up in a guard! This just means your arms are bent and in a guard position, protecting your face, and ready to move into any block/attack you need.

Get that heart rate up!  This is a cardio exercise, so make sure you are moving.  I like to do the boxer's shuffle throughout a lot of this exercise. This just means you are bouncing on the balls of your feet, shifting your weight from one foot to the other. Use this when you mix your punches together, or transitioning into your next move.

Punches: With doing just one kind of punch, make sure one foot is always slightly forward. Use your hips to drive your punch!

*Jab: With your left foot forward, punch in front of you with your left arm. This one is hard to use your hips, but lean slightly into the punch for a greater effect. Switch to the right, right foot forward, punch with right.
*Cross: Left foot foward, punch forward with your right arm. You will be crossing your body. Rotate the back foot so that you use your hips to energize this punch! Right foot foward, punch with right.
*Hook: Left foot foward, bring your left arm around as if you are punching someone in the side of the face. Rotate your front leg to power this punch with your hips. Right foot foward, punch with right.
*Uppercut: Left foot forward, bring your right arm up, as if punching the attacker in the chin. Rotate the back foot slightly to bring power with your hips. Right foot foward, punch with left.

Kicks: Do your best and forget the rest! Don't worry if your kick isn't as high or as straight as you want. Don't worry if you keep falling out of form! It's not a big deal, just make sure you keep going with your head held high and have fun with it!  With any kick, it helps your balance to lean the opposite way you are kicking! (lean back with a front push, lean to the right when side pushing to the left)

*Front push: This is basically a front kick. Act as if you are kicking them in the stomach or chest, or maybe kicking down a door.  Knee up, push out foward with your foot, back in, knee down. Keep your foot flexed. (Toes are pulled back/Flat foot)
*Back push: This is the same as the front only instead of kicking foward, you're kicking back, kind of like a mule kick. Foot is flexed.
*Side push: Just as it sounds. Bring your knee up, push out to the side, back in, knee down. Foot is flexed
*Roundhouse: No, you will not be doing a full roundhouse like Chuck Norris if you are a beginner! So this is the modified roundhouse. The foot is not flexed! Point your toes! Bring your foot behind you, and whip your leg around to the side. Your leg will look a lot like you are doing the side push, but your toes will be pointed and your shoelaces should be pointing to the front. Ideally, that is where your attacker would be when using this move.
*Kneestrike: Plant your left foot and bring your right knee across your body, and use your arms to meet your knee. Pretend like you are grabbing your attacker's head and bringing it to your knee. Do the same on the other side.

COOL-DOWN Don't forget it! It's just as important as the warm-up!
Just stretch everything that you used!

Remember, this is a very simple, beginner's guide! To describe a complete workout and routine would be entirely too long for a blog. I hope to eventually get to the point where I can teach kickboxing, along with personal training and other exercises! I wish I had time and space to go into more detail and come up with a routine! But you know You better than anyone, so anything I came up with would still just be a guide.

Until next week, Enjoy!