Fitness

Health and Purpose

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I know that not everyone has the privilege to consider their nutrition, exercise, sleep, work and play habits when it comes to quality of life. There is cancer and disease and extremists groups and refugees fighting for their lives, we’re in huge amounts of debt and work long weeks putting in extra hours just to afford health insurance.

But for most of us these exceptions don’t apply. Most of us have the capacity to take care of our health and well being. I personally don’t believe perfect health or perfect abs is the end goal but I am becoming more and more convinced that such lifestyle commitments will make us more effective in everything we do in our lives as business owners, accountants, health care professionals, musicians, teachers, spouses, parents, students, friends and neighbors. 

The bodies we’re given are mysterious wonders and it’s our job and privilege to take care of them because they are a visible expression of who we are. 

3 Essentials For Looking Like a Pro While On-The-Go

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I discovered toner for the first time back in January. For a girl who sweats a little here and there (or a lot) and usually does some type of movement everyday this toner is the bomb. Herbivore Rose Hibiscus toner is organic, plant based and free of fillers and preservatives. In the winter it helps add a little moisture back into the skin while reducing inflammation and redness. 
PLUS Herbivore is a local Seattle company and can now be found in all Sephora stores nation wide! Check em out! 

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Bumble and bumble salt spray is amazing! I don't wash my hair daily and I have naturally oily hair which can make for a very, very sad hair do. Salt spray helps give my hair texture and volume throughout the day and after day two of wearing (along with some dry shampoo) it just gets better. 

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I live on a boat so there are many reasons why I don't want to take a shower every day. If I had to wash my hair every night that'd be an ordeal. I've tried many dry shampoos over the last couple years and in general it's been a game changer for me. This is definitely a middle of the road dry shampoo. $8.99 at Walgreens to be exact and it's good stuff. If you're like me and not wanting to spend $30 on a bottle of dry shampoo smaller than this because you'll go through it so quickly then give this product a try. Bonus: smells like a warm, sunny Hawaii beach with palm trees blowing in the wind! 

We Believe That When A Person Aligns Their Behaviors With Their Deeper Values True Lasting Change Occurs

OUR BELIEFS

A healthy mind and body are essential to living a full and purposeful life. Wellness By Little provides qualified knowledge, personalized fitness plans, and engaging training experiences that will motivate you to stay on top of your health so you don't ever lose it. There are 7 principles that guide our method for developing fitness and nutrition plans specifically for your needs. You can read about them and our beliefs in this article.

OUR APPROACH

Intentional Listening. Your health needs are unique. Whether you're recovering from injury, trying to lose weight, or planning for a triathlon, we take the time to hear your needs, ask qualifying questions, and build a comprehensive understanding of your story.

Customized Planning. We are certified and educated in numerous fitness and nutritional methods that will be catered to develop a unique plan to achieve your specific health goals, ensuring that it is timely and attainable so that you're being set up for success.

Thoughtful Implementation.  This is the part where we take action and do the hard work. Your custom plan will be consistent, thorough, and focused. Every session starts on time and in an environment where you feel safe and comfortable. We work alongside you to demonstrate techniques, ensure excellent form, and challenge you to push to your full potential.  

Devoted Coaching. During our sessions together we'll be discussing underlying motivators, methods for accountability, and working through any barriers that may be hindering progress. We want to foster a relationship built on trust, where we can go beyond the exercise and develop lifelong healthy habits together. 

Engaged Community. Your achievements are our joy! We want to celebrate your successes, as we take this journey together. While your coaching is a personal one-on-one relationship, we've developed a community that is excited to hear your story and wants to encourage one another to stay active and motivated. 

Give the Gift of Health This Holiday Season

Looking for a meaningful gift idea for someone this holiday season? Wellness By Little is offering personal training single session and package deals for new clients. We offer private and group training sessions for people of all ages and exercise backgrounds. In addition to personal training we also offer health coaching. Give the gift of health this season. Contact info@wellnessbylittle.com for pricing info.

May you have a joy-filled, healthy and meaningful holiday season! 

- Wellness By Little

A New Approach to Fitness: Aligning Behavior Change Around Fitness to Your Personal Values

Have you ever set a New Years resolution to get in shape or trained for an event like a triathlon or wedding? Did you succeed in accomplishing your goals because you devised a plan and maintained a routine schedule?

In the world of fitness, there is more information at our fingertips then ever. There are fitness experts, Instagram Fitness Guru’s, ample Crossfit gyms, yoga studios and a variety of classes taught at athletic clubs. While all of this seems to make exercising incredibly convenient for us, we still have difficulty reaching and maintaining our goals.

Rather than sharing a list of exercises you should do to get in shape or posting a photo of some abs you someday hope to have, we believe that when you align your behaviors with your deeper values, true lasting change can occur. This requires a more personal, introspective approach to your health:

1.) List out 3 goals you’re currently working on in order of importance (These can be any health goals. For example: smoking cessation, lose 15lbs, gain 15lbs muscle mass, prepping meals, etc). After each goal, reflect on what has worked in the past and what made it harder to achieve that goal.

2.) Visioning. If you could create a vision statement centered around the ideal person you’d like to be someday, what would it be? Vision statements are intended to be long term being statements that start with “I am.” When you’re done writing your vision give yourself a % of completion for today’s date. 0%= not this person at all 100%= I am this person
Sample Vision Statement: I am a person who stewards my body well by eating in moderation and exercising regularly45% completion on 07/30/15

3.) In the next 7 days what are 3 baby steps you can take to work towards your vision/goals? These goals need to be specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-oriented (or SMART). If I were to take the vision statement from above, a few goals might be:
- I will do in-home strength training workouts on M/W/S for 60 minutes with my trainer.
- On Sunday afternoon I will look at 4 recipes that I can make for dinner M-Th this upcoming week. 
- I will go grocery shopping on Sunday evening for M-Th dinners.  

4.) Lastly, rate your goals on % confidence and % of importance. 
- I will do in home strength training workouts on M/W/S for 60 minutes with my trainer.
            85% confidence / 100% importance 

- On Sunday afternoon I will look at 4 recipes that I can make for dinner M-Th this upcoming week. 
           90% confidence / 80% importance 
- I will go grocery shopping on Sunday evening for M-Th dinners. 
          95% confidence / 100% importance  


If you’re below a 70% confidence, how might you alter that goal to raise your confidence? These goals are designed to be SMART so that you experience small weekly successes that empower you to move closer towards your vision.

Our professional recommendation is to track your progress for 6 weeks. Every week, reflect on your previous weeks goals and reset new weekly goals. At the end of week 6, rate your overall % of completion towards your vision statement. Have you made progress? If so, how does that feel? If not, what were the barriers to change?

Creating your own pathway to success has proven to work for many of our clients. It’s often easier to look at a magazine or the internet and hear how someone else was successful but we are not all the same people, with the same circumstances, with the same goals. Embrace your uniqueness by doing what you know will lead you to personal success when you dig a little deeper!  

The Importance of Switching Up Your Workout Routine

Tired of doing the same boring workout at the gym?

Switching up your workout and doing as many different types of activities is an effective way to increase overall fitness. Let’s take a look at a generic workout for example using the elliptical for 30 minutes 3 times a week. This routine is better than certainly none and if you are elderly, have joint pain or an injury/disease disabling you from higher intensity exercise, sustaining a low impact activity such as the elliptical is the right choice. Otherwise after about a month the body recognizes this routine as a baseline and the heart is not being challenged through interval training.
A healthy heart rate (HR) is anywhere between 60-80bpm at rest. During exercise the HR needs to increase and decrease multiple times. First off, ask yourself am I pushing myself hard enough (most likely you’ll know the answer to this question) and secondly are you bringing your HR up and then back down continuously through the workout?

Practical Application

Here’s an easy calculation to figure out if you’re pushing yourself enough and reaching a HR that will give you the best results for your time spent exercising. To find an approximate estimate of your maximum HR take 220 minus your age. For example: 220- 40 years old= 180bpm. That number is an average of the maximum number of times your heart can beat per minute.

From here we can look at the different levels of intensity. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that a moderate level intensity ranges from 50-70% of max HR whereas 70-85% is considered high intensity. Let’s try a calculation for moderate level intensity at 65% of max HR. To work at 65% of your maximum capacity take your max HR and times it by .65%. Ex: 180bpm X .65%= 117bpm. Now lets do the same but at 85% intensity. 180bpm X .85%= 127.5bpm. To be working at 65%-85% of you max HR, a person of 40 years must keep the HR in between 117-127.5bpm. Maintaining a moderate to high intensity pace regardless of what type of exercise will give you the best results and now you know why! Next time you’re at the gym take note of your HR whether it be manually using your carotid/radial artery (count for 15 seconds, times by 4 to give you your beats per minute) or with a HR monitor. Workout smart so you don’t waste precious time at the gym!
 

 

Yoga & Stretch Reflex

Yoga is a beautiful and highly effective practice of mental focus and physical stamina but you don’t have to do yoga or be good at it to reap the benefits to be had by stretching. One of the valuable reasons to participating in 60-90 minutes of stretching a couple times a week is that it forces you to stretch for longer then the quick and infamous post workout quad, pectoral and touch your toes stretches that really don’t do much for creating flexibility. 

There are a series of events that happen during a stretch. When a muscle is stretched, something called muscle spindles are also stretched. Muscle spindles record the change in length (and how fast) and sends signals to the spine that will convey this information. This triggers the stretch reflex, which essentially tries to resist the change in muscle length by causing a stretched muscle to contract. 

To put it into perspective, the stretch reflex occurs when performing a plyometric exercise like jumping. The muscle spindle senses that a muscle is lengthening and tries to protect the body from injury as if you were to pull a muscle, by contracting the muscle even more. The more sudden the change in muscle length, the stronger the contractions will be. Yoga is all about slow and purposeful stretches. In layman’s terms, this allows for the muscles to realize “oh this is ok, I’m stretching and don’t need to protect the muscle by contracting it even more.” One of the reasons for holding a stretch for a prolonged period of time is that as you hold the muscle in a stretched position, the muscle spindle habituates (becomes accustomed to the new length) and reduces its signaling. Gradually, you can train your stretch receptors to allow greater lengthening of the muscles.

The next time you’re in a yoga class or stretching elsewhere, think about your breath and how that relates to muscle relaxation. An exhale is when you find room to deepen into a stretch. An inhale is designed to realign and lengthen the entire body. It may not be until a series of deep breaths that your muscles are ready to release from a contracted state. With practice, muscles can be controlled so that there is little to no reflex contraction in response to a stretch. This type of control provides the opportunity for the greatest gains in flexibility.

Yoga for Runners

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Yoga and running are considered two very different activities but when practiced together they can power the ultimate human machine to achieve optimum performance. If you want pain free running, you must have increased strength and flexibility. If you want to prevent injuries you need good posture and body awareness.

For many, running equates to meditation in motion. The body is set on a repetitive cycle that allows the mind to tune into the present moment through the senses. The warm air brushing up against the skin, the visual of sunlight peaking through the trees, the smells of new life, or even the sound of silence. As our senses are heightened, our awareness begins to shift from the head and into the body. We start to become embodied. This expression of embodiment can be a key component in calming anxiety, reducing stress and capturing a moment in the present. 

The use of yoga has recently gained popularity in preparing athletes for competition. Yoga is an important and often times missing piece in many individuals workout routine but especially a runner’s world. Research shows that yoga positively effects flexibility, ventilation, breathing regulation and relaxation. 

The Problem With Short Duration Stretching 

The reason a quick stretch session after a run isn’t enough is because the muscles need to learn how to lengthen and that isn’t possible when you hold a stretch for only 20 seconds. When a muscle is lengthened, nerve signals increase to the brain. The brain sends a signal back, causing muscle fibers to contract and resist the stretch. This is a protective mechanism to prevent a muscle from being pulled. When holding a pose for 3-5 minutes the brain understands that the stretch is intentional and safe. The muscles can then relax and the body can deepen into a pose.

Below are a few yoga poses that strengthen and lengthen specific muscles that attain to runners. One hour of yoga a week can improve the quality of your runs significantly (but the more the better!)

Extended Triangle

While Standing, slide right foot 3-4 feet back. Turn right foot 30-90 degrees right. 
Place left hand on shin or the ground. Keep thighs firm, buttocks relaxed and knees soft. 
Reach right arm forwards, then up.
Extend spine on inhales, rotate spine on exhales
Take 6-10 breaths, then switch sides. 

Standing Forward Fold

Place feet 6-12 inches apart, keep feet parallel and knees slightly bent. Hang over the legs. 
Extend hands for the ground and relax the neck by tucking the chin.
Inhale the chest away from the belly towards the knees. Extend the spine.
Exhale and hang. Keep big toes, pinky toes and heels down. 
Hand for 6-10 slow, long breaths. 

Pigeon

From Downward Dog or plank move left knee to left wrist and right leg back as far as possible.
Move left heel towards right hip. Rest left shin on floor then lower hip.
Place forearms on the ground with elbows under the shoulders. Move hips gently left and right to release hips and rear end.
Raise upper body by pressing down through palms. Relax the elbows and settle hands and shoulders. 
Maintain for 6-10 breaths, then switch sides. 

Knee Pain? How To Train Smart

Do you or someone you know suffer from knee pain? A common knee issue for many American's is patellar tracking of the knee. Patellar tracking can be fixed through proper activation, strengthening and lengthening of specific muscles that will help realign the knee. Whether you are training for a marathon, triathlon, bike race or just wanting to move more pain free throughout the day this discussion will include the skeletal anatomy of the knee joint associated with patellar tracking, the muscles involved and how to train smart for an effective and productive workout.    

The anatomy of the knee joint is very sophisticated. The patella is located between the femur and the tibia and fibula. The kneecap is held in place in the front of the knee joint by tendons on the top and bottom and by ligaments on the sides. A layer of cartilage also lines the underside of the kneecap. The muscles and tendons related to a patellar tracking problem include the iliotibial band (IT Band), the hamstring tendon, quadriceps muscles and tendon, the lateral patellar retinaculum and the patellar tendon. 

The quadriceps muscles are hugely related to patellar tracking disorder because they stabilize the kneecap. Patellar tracking disorder is usually caused by a combination of things. The shape of the patella, too loose or too tight of muscles and tendons in the leg and overuse are typical causes of a patellar tracking problem. 

There are a few exercises to perform to help build knee stabilization to correct a tracking problem. One option is to strengthen the quadricep muscles by doing leg extensions, slow squats and single leg exercises. If the patella shifted towards the inside of the leg, performing wall sits with a small ball placed in between the knees will help strengthen the inside of the thigh (vastus medialis) muscle which in return will help externally rotate the knee for realignment. 

Bad Posture? Here's How To Correct It.

List of Corrective Exercises For The Above Postures: 

Sway Back

Goals: 
-Increase mobility at the hips, specifically hip flexion.
-Increase strength of the gluteus maximus.
-Decrease length of the external obliques and reduce dominance of the rectus abdominis.
-Strengthen the short hip flexors (psoas).

Exercises: 
-Side Plank Hip Ups
-Bridge 
-Single Leg March in Bridge

Lumbar Lordosis

Goals: 
-Increase hip flexor flexibility
-Increase core strength.
-Increase lower back flexibility. 

Exercises: 
-Quad Stretch
-On back, bring knees into chest 
-Bridge
-Abdominal Crunch
-Oblique Crunch 

Thoracic Kyphosis

Goals: 
-Strengthening of the thoracic vertebral column extensors.
-Stretching of vertebral column flexors. 
-Increase core strength.
-Improve trunk mobility.

Exercises: 
- Supermans
-Seated Row
-Torso Rotation 
-Side Plank Hip Ups
-Abdominal Crunches 

Forward Head

Goals: 
-Stretching of the anterior neck muscles. 
-Stretching of the pectoralis muscles. 
-Strengthening back muscles including erector spinae, latissimus dorsi, rhomboids and posterior deltoids.  

Exercises: 
- Pectoralis Stretch on Wall
- Chin Retractions
-Seated Row
-Dumbell Fly's 
-Arm Circles
-Head Nodding yes, no, up & down
-Head Tilts Side to Side