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A healthier lifestyle in 5 simple steps

A JOURNEY OF A THOUSAND MILES BEGINS WITH A SINGLE STEP – CONFUCIUS

To some people the thought of being healthy, active, and ‘fit’ is so distant from their current reality that it seems nothing more than an abstract idea.

Fitness and healthy lifestyles are becoming more and more popular.  Everyone is getting involved; it’s awesome.  With the increased use of social media, along with typical advertising, the idea of being ‘fit’ can seem extreme.  Some of these ‘fitness fanatics’ take it to a new level and can be intimidating to someone fresh to the scene.  A healthy lifestyle can be frightening to someone new when they assume ‘healthy’ means giving up all of the things they like, drinking kale juice daily, grinding up flax and chia seeds, vegan diets, iron man races, rooms packed to the brim at fly wheel, and expensive daily personal training sessions. It doesn’t need to be that drastic, I promise.

I’m here to tell you it does not take extreme measures to introduce fitness and health into your lifestyle.  You can take small simple steps that will drastically change your life.

“Success is a journey, not a destination”

I’m going to outline some basic steps that ANYONE can take to introduce fitness into their life.  These steps are for the people just getting started; the ones who are hesitant to take the first step and unsure where to start.  Once you can adopt these things into your life you have the power to make the decision to continue your journey and keep improving, striving for more.  Maybe you will end up hiring a trainer, joining some group fitness, or even signing up for a charity 5k. But right now I just want to give you a push start to a healthier lifestyle.

Amelia’s Simple Steps to a Healthier Lifestyle

  1. Become Active
    1. This can mean a number of things
      1. Walk daily
      2. Cleaning your house burns about 150-170 an hour
      3. play with your kids or pets outside
      4. group fitness class
      5. workout video in the privacy of your own home
      6. exercise with a friend
  2. Make Healthier Food Choices
    1. Cut out the obvious things from everyday (but still have them as a treat, or you won’t stick to healthy eating)
      1. Candy
      2. Soda
      3. Fried Foods
      4. Desserts
      5. excess alcohol
  3. Eat when you are hungry
    1. Don’t starve yourself, you are only slowing down your metabolism
      1. Chose healthy snacks high in protein, or almonds and raw vegetables if you crave the crunchiness
  4. Sleep
    1.  This is when our body repairs itself and rejuvenates all of the systems in our body
    2. Lack of sleep is linked with obesity along with increased stress and cortisol
      1. consistent sleep and wake times can help create a successful sleep schedule
  5. Drink lots of water!
    1.  Try to drink 8-10 8oz glasses of water daily.  (Coffee and Tea don’t count!!)
    2. As an adult your body is made up of 65% water
    3. Water flushes your system, keeps you hydrated, allows for efficient cellular reactions
    4. Hydration is necessary normal body functions

After adopting these habits into your lifestyle, I know you will feel better and be on your way to reaching your goals. The hardest part is getting started!

*If you are on medication or have a cardiac history always consult your doctor before starting an exercise program.

Last quote, I swear..

“The only impossible journey is the one you never begin” – Tony Robins

Amelia Sofis, M.S., ATC/L, PES, CSCSIMG_4987.JPG

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7 benefits of Self Myofascial Release

Intro

Fascia is a dense connective tissue covering muscles, bones, ligaments, tendons, and other tissues and organs within the body. It is made up of collagen fibers and can be wavy and densely packed in certain areas. Fascia is continuous throughout the entire body, deep to our skin, intertwining with all of our tissues and connecting muscles to bones and bones to bones much like tendons and ligaments.  Fascia also gives our soft tissues structure and support.

When you statically stretch a muscle and feel a pull, it is the fascia stretching that you feel the most. Fascia has more sensory nerve endings than our muscle and even skin! It is a huge proprioceptor. Meaning, fascia orchestrates the movements of the body and is aware of your bodies placement in space. (IE Standing on one foot.. besides your inner ear, the proprioceptors on the bottom of your foot send signals to the rest of your body about where it is in space, enabling you to balance. This is why rehab should be done in bare feet, Turn on those Proprioceptors!!!)   A lot of sensory nerve endings, also means you feel everything that goes on in your fascia tissue layer. Many times injuries (slight sprain or strain) are injuries to our fascia because it is dehydrated, brittle, and immobile.  Keeping Fascia hydrated and supple is key!  Stretching, massaging, and working on any part of our Fascia can have a positive effect on other areas of the body since it is continuous.

Overview

Fascia

– dense connective tissue layer deep to the skin

– covers all muscles, tendons, ligaments, and organs

– full of sensory nerve endings.. sensitive to stretch, pressure, and injury

– allows tendons, muscles, and ligaments to slide smoothly against eachother

– support system in soft tissues

– it is primarily responsible for muscle elasticity and recoil

– healthy fascia can help lessen muscle fatigue and increase explosiveness

 

Q: How do we keep our Fascia Healthy?
A: Self Myofascial Release!

I suggest using Gush Balls for SMFR versus a foam roller because they are smaller and are multidirectional.  Our Fascia moves in every direction and so should our SMFR modalities.  Gush Balls are better than harder lacrosse type balls because they give and move with your tissue and body shape instead of pushing tissue away. They also travel easily in a small mesh bag.

To pick up a pair of these AMAZING Self Myofascial Release Modalities go to http://www.Gushballs.com and enter code AMELIA at checkout for 10% off!

Here’s how they can help you..

1. SMR rehydrates your tissue!

Fascia needs to be hydrated!  It can become brittle and immobile without regular movement.

– plenty of water along with self myofascial release using Gush balls

– stretch, exercise and move in multiple planes of motion

2. Break up Adhesions

– Fascia get get very sticky and get ‘stuck’

– SMFR can break up these adhesions by working out the kinks in the wavy collagen fibers

3. Suppleness

– Much like rehydration, SMFR can fluff your tissues and loosen up the collagen in densely packed immobile areas making your muscle and soft tissue more supple, springy, and mobile.

4.  Pain Relief

– Since fascia is our largest sensory organ: when SMFR allows it to glide more smoothly among other tissues, break up adhesions, and stretch the tightly knit connective tissue, you will have relief of many aches and pains. (most likely they are related to fascia)

– Most muscle or body aches are due to an injury or disruption of the continuous fascial layer!

– Working on one part of the fascia can even lead to relief in other areas of the body because it is one continuous tissue throughout the entire body!

5.  Elasticity

– Supple and hydrated fascia can assist with the stretch shortening cycle of muscle during explosive movement.  Think of it like an extra rubber band, if it is dried out and brittle; it will not help with elasticity, but if it is hydrated and highly elastic it will recoil quickly after a stretch.

6. Prevent Injuries

– Hydrated elastic fascia can prevent injuries.  The natural “springiness” of fascia along with its proprioceptive abilities can help us avoid muscle sprains and joint strains.

– Using SMFR can increase our proprioceptive abilities by waking up those nerve endings and making us more aware of fascia and our bodies movement.

7. Down Regulation after a vigorous workout

– The rhythmic movement of Gush Balls along with proper breathing techniques are a great way to finish up a workout.  It can allow your nervous system to calm down while working and stretching the tight fascial layers of your tissue leaving you relaxed and relieved.


 

Self Myofascial release does much more than what is written here.  These are some of the basic concepts and an introduction to the vast information we now have on fascial tissue layers.  Try them out for your self, I promise you will have muscle pain relief and improved mobility in no time!

To pick up a pair of these AMAZING Self Myofascial Release Modalities go to http://www.Gushballs.com and enter code AMELIA at checkout for 10% off!

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Don’t Diet; Make Better Choices

With so many diets out there; it’s easy to get caught up.  Diets are a temporary solution to a lifelong problem of poor eating habits.  Diets can help clients temporarily lose weight, but you can’t be on a diet your entire life.  It’s more beneficial long term to make better choices and adopt a healthy lifestyle. When you are aware of the options out there, it is easy to make the right decisions!

Keep in mind; Eating is a way for our bodies to get vitamins and minerals, along with macronutients: carbohydrates, proteins, and fats to fuel our body.

There are many ways to make better choices concerning eating habits.

Obvious

It’s pretty clear that staying away from the obvious disaster foods is a good idea.

  • Always choose baked, broiled, or grilled over fried.
  • Get the sauce or dressing on the side
  • Skip dessert or have fruit*

*(I’m not going to say you can never have dessert; watch the portion size; save it for a special occasion, or add a few extra minutes onto your run in the morning :-P)

Watch your portion size!

  • Most meals from restaurants are 2-3 servings
  • A serving of meat is 3-4oz (a deck of cards)
  • 1 slice of bread is an entire serving
  • A serving of pasta is only 1/2 cup cooked

Use the Glycemic Index

The glycemic index can be confusing, so forget the numbers…just remember which foods are good choices, and which ones aren’t the best.

Foods that are low on the glycemic index are broken down slowly and release glucose at a steady rate into our blood stream, keeping us “full” longer.   Foods that are high on the glycemic index tend to spike blood sugar by releasing a large amount of glucose into our bloodstream at once.  These foods can also leave us feeling hungry after eating.

Low Glyecmic Index Options (Good choices)

  • Stone ground whole wheat bread
  • Broccoli
  • Peas
  • Spinach
  • Asparagus
  • Corn
  • Sweet potato or Yam
  • Hummus
  • Beans and Lentils (Black, kidney, chickpea, lima beans)
  • Nuts (Walnuts, Peanuts, Almonds)
  • Seeds (pumpkin, sun flower, flax, poppy, sesame)
  • Most Fruits (because even though they are high in sugar, fructose must be processed through the liver)

High Glycemic Index (spikes blood sugar, leaves you hungry, not the best choice)

  • White Bread
  • White Rice
  • Rice Cakes
  • Popcorn
  • Cornflakes, Cheerios
  • croissant
  • Pineapple, Watermelon
  • Candy

Drinks

Most people don’t consider all of the calories they get from beverages!

Coca Cola – 12oz: 143 calories

Orange Juice – 10oz: 137 calories

Sweetened Iced Tea – 12oz 107 calories

Better Choice:

When choosing a beverage… try water, sparking water, or unsweetened tea with a lemon or lime wedge.

*(If you must have soda, try diet or zero calorie brands… but please don’t drink it every day!!!)

And Drink LOTS OF WATER! Minimum of 8 glasses a day please!

  -Lets not forget about alcohol …

White Wine – 5oz: 121 calories

Red Wine – 5oz: 127 calories

Avg Beer – 120z 155 calories

Tequila shot(avg) – 1.5oz 95 calories

Vodka Shot(avg) – 1.5oz 95 calories

Cranberry juice – 8oz 137 calories

Tonic water – 8oz 83 calories

Better Choice:

Beers and Wines are high in calories.  Hard liquor paired with a mixer (juice or tonic) is even worse!! Try to limit your alcohol consumption. When you must have a drink; pair your favorite liquor with soda water and a lime wedge.

(Avoid hangovers and lower caloric intake by drinking less (duh), and having a glass of water between each alcoholic beverage)

Variety 

A lot of people might tell you to “prep your meals” AKA make 3 lbs of chicken, quinoa, and asparagus on Sunday night, then pack exact portions in separate tupperware containers for the remainder of the week.

Not only does eating old re-heated chicken for lunch everyday sound super unappetizing; but you are depriving your body of so many nutrients.  By eating a variety of protein, vegetables, and fruits, we ingest a plethera of vitamins and minerals.  Even if you take the most amazing multivitamin on the market, getting nutrients from your diet is always the best choice!


 

I’m sure most of this is not new or a surprise, but its amazing how many people make the wrong choices and take drastic measures to get back on track.  By adopting a healthier lifestyle, one small decision at a time, you can improve your eating habits drastically and still enjoy the foods you love. You do not have to be on a strict diet to lose weight or be healthy.  Make the right choices when eating. Watch your portion size, avoid unnecessary calories in desserts or sugary drinks, limit alcohol consumption, eat a variety of fruits and vegetables, and don’t ever starve yourself!!

Thanks

Amelia Sofis, M.S., ATC/L, CSCS, PES


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Juicing: Behind the Hype

Why do I choose to Juice?  Easy.. it’s good for me.

Is it a quick way to lose weight, detox your body, clean out your kidneys and liver?

Not exactly..  those are all highly exaggerated and mostly false claims. Many clients ask me to explain this; so here are my personal beliefs and understanding about juicing..

 What exactly is juicing??  It seems everyones idea is a little different..

There are many ways to “juice”

  • Adding green juice everyday to your regular diet
  • Juice only Diet 24-48hours
  • Juice only Diet 48hrs +

This blog focuses on  24-48 hour juice only diet.  During this timeframe you refrain from eating and only drink water, juice, and possibly other herbal teas or supplements if you choose to do so.  Adding juice to your regular eating habits can also be considered “juicing” and it is a very effective and efficient way to add extra vitamins, minerals, and hydration into your diet.)

I’d like you to think of the body as a machine.  Your body has many working parts, multiple working systems, and filters.  One of those important systems is the digestive system.  When working properly; this system breaks down food, extracts nutrients, extracts water, and creates waste.  This is part of the parasympathetic system (resting and digesting)… so it is working pretty constantly if you are eating a standard diet.  I would like to think of the kidneys and liver as our filters (they also aid in metabolism,  digestion, acid base balance, and redblood cell production and breakdown,.. but lets keep this simple)… without them we wouldn’t survive, they filter everything that goes through our digestive system, or if you’re in the hospital on an IV; through your bloodstream. Every medicine, food, drink, or supplement you take is somehow filtered by the liver and kidneys.  Thats a lot of work going on just to break down a bite of chicken.

The myths…

Will juicing help me lose 10lbs in a week?  No Not exactly.  Drinking Juice AND water is great, but not for more than a day or so…one of the reasons some people lose weight is because of muscle loss.  They stop eating and go into a starvation phase. Yea, your body will start breaking down your own muscle for energy, use stored up glycogen in your liver, then possibly go into ketosis which causes major kidney issues.. It’s just a huge mess that you should avoid. (Side Note.. this happens a lot with no/low carb diets.. stay away from them!)

 

Will it detox my body?  Yes and no.  If you call it a detox because you aren’t putting the usual fried foods, processed meats, and high amounts of sugar and alcohol into your body then yes…  But it isn’t because of the high intake of juice.  Our liver and Kidneys filter everything; they “detox’ our body on a daily basis, no juice or magical herb in the world can do that.  Our body is a highly efficient machine!  that leads me to the next question…..

 

Will it clean out my liver and kidneys?  Simply put… No.  But giving your liver and kidneys a break from all of the garbage we usually put in our bodies can be beneficial.  There are herbs and supplements that claim to help detox by enhancing liver and kidney function.  I’m pretty skeptical about most, but I have seen people benefit from Milk Thistle.

Why I juice..

Usually after a weekend of overeating, drinking, or being sick, I like to give my body a break.  Our body is constantly working to digest and filter all the stuff we put into it. By refraining from solid foods and only drinking water and juice (mostly from dark leafy greens), we allow our system to have a break, absorb the nutrients more efficiently, and stop clogging up our natural filters with alcohol and unnatural chemicals.  This isn’t going to detox your body, or ‘cleanse’ your system, but I would like to think of it as rinsing the clogged filters and giving your digestion engine a minute to cool down 😛  Also, I never do it for more than 48 hours because I do not want to lose muscle or weight.

Ultimately, the best way to keep your digestion and filtering system working well is to maintain a healthy diet, drink lots of water, get plenty of exercise, and refrain from drugs and alcohol.  

 

My 24-48 hrs

– Green juice that I make at home (3x a day)

– Water (Lots of it)

-Milk thistle

-licorice root tea

-Omega 3 6 9

If you read my earlier blogs, I created a diet I called “detoxx’ that involved eating raw foods and juicing in order to cleanse our systems.  Please note, this diet is different. I will post ‘detoxx’ again soon.

 

This is my own personal view on juicing, take it or leave it 🙂 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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