12 Gifts from Rise Nutrition and Wellness!


Hey Vantage! Exciting news!!! Our in house NTP has 12 Gifts for you this Holiday Season to survive the upcoming Holidays! Don’t miss out on these  Nutrition Tips and tricks for the Holidays!  Here are the first few – download the pdf for more!

The 12 days of Christmas, 8 days of Hanukkah and the 40 days this year that exist between Thanksgiving and New Years Day are always filled. They are packed with hustle and bustle. Jammed with traditions, customs and holiday parties. And if we are honest most of them are filled with excess, indulgence and every excuse in the book to do and have whatever we want: grandma’s epic sugar cookies, mom’s Chex mix, the holiday cocktail and one more glass of wine ”it is the holidays”!

While they can be merry and bright, we can wind up feeling and looking more like Santa than we would prefer. We work hard for so much of the year. Times of feast and celebration are needed. But with the excess we can end up loosing ground, moving backwards and just feeling pretty awful. Ideally, we all want to learn how to not just survive in the holiday season. 40 days is a long time! Small incremental choices we makes can set us up to not just survive but thrive this season.

These first three are staples of my world. They have been instrumental to my own food journey and food freedom. They come from the one and only Melissa Hartwig’s book, Food Freedom Forever. It is a mini- dialogue you can run in your head every time you are faced with something outside your normal healthy habits and decisions.

Here are my 12 little gifts to you this holiday season. I’ll call them the 12 gifts of giving! They are tips and tricks that I have picked up from fellow nutritionists, life lessons and habit junkies. I have found them extremely helpful in my own journey!

12 Gifts to Survive the Holidays

1. Do I want it?

No like seriously DO YOU ACTUALLY WANT IT? When faced with that drink, grandma’s fruitcake or the 7th serving of stuffing, the limited edition peppermint Oreos your coworkers brought in, ask yourself: “Do I actually want it?” Is tradition, obligation or laziness running the show? During this season a thousand treats and holiday traditions are shoved in our faces. Take a moment. Pause. As yourself a simple question: “Do I want it?” If the answer is no! There you go! Move along. If yes, ask a follow up question.

2. Is it worth it?

So you have determined you want something. Great! That isn’t enough for you to have it. The next question on its heels should be: “Is it worth it?” Whatever the outcome you may face for having it: the raging hangover with 3 kids needing you tomorrow? A return of a teenage breakout? Mild bloating? The dreadful feeling of punishment that you will have tomorrow to work yourself overboard at the gym? We all have reactions to the decisions we make. Some of them are fine. Some are not. We get to be the ones to decide if the result of a decision is one we are willing to take. You say, “I want it, but it’s not worth it” then move on and find something that fits both want it and worth it! You could say, “Yep, I want it! Yep, totally worth it.” Then you move onto the third component to this triad!

3. One bite rule.

You have decided YOU WANT IT (Oh heck yes, I want my moms Chex mix). IT IS WORTH IT (Sure, I’ll take the sluggish morning and annoying bloating that happens after I eat that kind of processed food). What comes next? You have one bite, one drink. Just one. And reassess. After one bite, “do I still actually want it? Did one bite satisfy? Is it really worth it?” I can’t tell you how many scones and ice cream scoops I have left behind because of this third step. Just because you have one bite doesn’t mean you have to have it all. If you still answer the questions “yep I still want it! Yep, it’s still worth it” Then commit! You are a grown up! You get to decide what you do and don’t eat! Don’t wallow in guilt and shame about what you should or shouldn’t have eaten. If you have regret after you have made your big girl decision, put that info in your toolbox for the next time you are faced with the decision. Maybe next time you will decide, “I actually don’t want it cuz I know it’s not worth it!”

4. Plan ahead.

Plan ahead.

Failing to plan is planning to fail. This is not the time of year to fly by the seat of your pants. Planning will go a long way to help you maintain your health and fitness during the season. There are many nutritional roadblocks to plan for, here are some examples:

Plan your Meals to be Balanced- What should they look like? Always be able to answer: “Where is the Protein? Where are my Veggies? Where are my Fats?”

Plan your days- Literally, plan out your days, hour by hour, starting with a Healthy balanced breakfast, your To-Do’s and your Meals! This helps tremendously, so you don’t get caught in an Emergency situation!

Plan for the occasion-

Are you heading to the mall to hammer out your holiday gifts? Don’t go empty handed, wind up starving and having to cram down Panda Express? Pack snacks! Think ahead! Know where you can find food that serves you!

12gifts Document! 

 

Do your joints hurt?


Check out the latest content from  our in house NTP from the Rise Up Nutrition challenge!

Did you know that your aching joints could be due to lack of hydration- it turns out drinking water ins’t always enough!

Water is the most important nutrient the body needs.We can go 8 weeks without food, but only a few days without water.Water makes up 55-60% of our body mass.Water plays a crucial role in countless bodily functions. Just to name a few:

  • Transports nutrients
  • Enables cellular hydration
  • Cushions bones and joints
  • Absorbs shocks to joints and organs
  • Regulates body temperature
  • Removes waste and flushes toxins
  • Maintains normal electrical properties of cells

Read more here: RUNCweek6handout

Vantage BirthFit


Dear Vantage Family and Local community- we are so excited to announce our new Partnership Vantage Movement and BirthFit South Denver are collaborating to bring you Vantage BirthFit.  

If you’ve spent anytime around the gym or in the local area you would notice all of our Moms and Mom’s to be! With all the baby’s and kids around and the baby’s to be we saw a need in our community which is to better serve moms and in general women through health and fitness. As we searched for how to best serve these amazing women we found BirthFit.

So, you might wondering what is BirthFit? I’ll let the founders take this one- right from their website;

BIRTHFIT is a movement. It’s about expecting and postpartum moms taking charge of their bodies and their decisions, and supporting one another’s journeys—together and apart.

BIRTHFIT is an approach to birth. We challenge the status quo and ask the questions no one else asks. We read, research, experiment & consolidate all the common sense, time-honored wisdom & recent studies we can find and present that information to you through various education models. Our pillars are fitness, nutrition, connection & mindset. We unconditionally support YOU—the birth mom & birth partner—to make the best decision for you and Baby.

BIRTHFIT is a state of readiness. Childbirth is perhaps the most physical, mental & spiritual experience of a woman’s life. We want you to be ready in body, mind & spirit for the experience of birth and the lifelong journey that follows.

BIRTHFIT is your support team. We are a team of practitioners, educators, chiropractors, coaches, nutritionists, fellow mamas, men & women who are involved in our local communities and we are all rooting for YOU.

Who is Vantage BirthFit for? It is for women who are expecting or postpartum. Postpartum is forever- so if you had a baby 6 weeks ago or 6 years ago, this program might be for you.

What we will be offering at Vantage Movement:

Vantage BirthFit will be a combo program for both expecting and 6 weeks and beyond postpartum. We will be teaching the 4 pillars of BirthFit, teach proper breathing techniques to help strengthen and heal the core, the BirthFit Functional Progressions and include a full training session of warm up, strength, conditioning and accessory work. Each session will have options for wherever you are in your journey.

We can’t wait to share this program with the community- will you help us spread the word to all the mama’s in your life!

Program Details and Registration can be found here– it is open to any and all levels, members and non-members alike! If your not sure if it’s for you or have questions- please email us or schedule a consult here.

 

Neurotransmitters, Recovery, And Your Training


Neurotransmitters, Recovery, And Your Training

Do you ever have days when you feel like all you could do is sleep no matter how much coffee you drink?

Or maybe you’ve been on a new strength program for the past 8 weeks and feel weaker than when you started?

Maybe you find yourself walking around the gym in a daze not wanting to get started?

If you said “Yes” to any of these you may have experienced a deficiency or imbalance of your neurotransmitters. Neurotransmitter are chemical messengers that get released in our body. They allow our cells to communicate and work together. There are 4 primary neurotransmitters: Dopamine, Acetylcholine, Serotonin, and GABA. They are both excitatory (speed our cells up) and inhibitory (slow are cells down).

All the neurotransmitters are constantly in fluxuation and balance with one another. This can have a huge effect on our mood, energy, and ability to focus. Some activities like lifting a heavy weight or taking a challenging test use up the neurotransmitters we have on hand.

Strength coach Charles Poliquin is a huge proponent of specific program design built around the athlete. Knowing which of the neurotransmitter types you are dominant in can help you adjust loading parameters, frequency and intensity of training, and plan rest days. Even having a basic understanding of which neurotransmitter type you are dominant in will give you a framework for decision making around your training goals.

Now lets learn a little about each neurotransmitter type.

Dopamine
Dopamine is an excitatory neurotransmitter making it a huge factor behind your motivation towards training and activity levels. Individuals who are dopamine dominant tend to be the ones who are always fired up to exercise. They handle high volume and intensity well but tend to adapt quickly to a stimulus which can cause them to overtrain quickly if their workouts are not constantly varied.

Dopamine synthesis can be promoted by eating foods such as almonds, peanuts, soybeans, avocados, bananas, watermelon, yogurt, beef, tuna, chicken, chocolate, eggs, coffee, and green tea.

Acetylcholine
Acetylcholine is the neurotransmitter responsible for intercellular communication between the muscles in the nervous system. Acetylcholine levels can make a huge difference in our ability to recruit the maximal number of muscle fibers. On days where you might not “feel strong” could be because your cells are having a hard time communicating to coordinate on a lift.

Meats, dairy, poultry and fish contain high levels of choline, with the highest levels coming from liver. One 3-ounce serving of meat contains approximately 70 milligrams of choline. Chocolate, peanut butter, brussels sprouts and broccoli also contain significant levels of choline.

GABA
GABA is an inhibitory neurotransmitter and is responsible for shutting the body down for rest and recovery. You may be experiencing low GABA levels if you find your mind racing or have trouble sleeping at night.

GABA levels can be promoted through probiotic rich foods like yogurt that improve gut health. Foods that increase GABA levels include berries, bananas, and Pu-erh tea.

Serotonin
Serotonin is another inhibitory neurotransmitter and really a jack of all trades. It helps regulate mood and social behavior, appetite and digestion, sleep, memory, and sexual desire and function. Low levels of serotonin have been linked to fatigue and depression.

Foods like chicken, turkey, salmon, beef, nut butter, eggs, and green peas all contain high levels of Tryptophan a precursor to serotonin production. One other way to boost serotonin production? You guessed it…exercise!

Want to talk more about training and recovery? Get in touch with a Vantage coach today.

Where’s your cape…


Most of us have an area in our life we wish we were performing better in. That part of us that doesn’t quite fit into our own skin. It could be a touchy subject that our spouse and friends know to steer clear of, the elephant in the room. It could be the promotion you still haven’t received, the credit card you haven’t paid off, or the weight you were supposed to lose by the beginning of summer… in 2012.

And because you’re wearing this very uncomfortable skin that’s not quite your size I am happy to tell you that you are exactly where you chose to be today.

I can already hear the objections rising up so let me explain why.

You see I totally understand your story. I understand because it’s yours, mine, and everyone else’s. Sometimes having a new baby, a busy time at work, or the worst timing for a medical emergency/broken down car/economic depression can happen. There are a million and one events in life that can derail us. They are not always fair and can seem impossible to overcome when they show up knocking at our door.

“Strength does not come from winning. Your struggles develop your strengths.”
-Arnold Schwarzenegger

At that point we do an admirable thing. We give up on our dream. We set it aside to go fix the problem. We change our identity and become the superhero who knows exactly how to work overtime and take care of a sick parent. We do it because we want to make sure the story has a happy ending. We do it out of love.

And life goes on.

And sometimes the situation gets better. And sometimes it doesn’t. Either way, the situation that called for a superhero 6 months ago no longer needs a hero to save it. But there you stand in cape and tights committed to action. Except now it’s time to go home. Time to write a new story.

Where you stand today is a result of many choices. Some of your hero moments were the big decisions that shaped your trajectory. Like I said, I’m proud of you for doing that. But now it’s time to get back on the path. Your path. The one you stopped telling yourself that you wanted because it hurt too bad to think that it may never come true.

You might think it’s too late (it’s not).

You might want to try, but feel that you strayed too far (you haven’t).

You have to remember you have the power of choice. And it’s a good thing that you do. It gives you the power to turn your greatest adversity into your greatest strength. You always have the option to shy away or to stand and fight.

It’s time for a new story. You’re the hero and you’re at the turning point in the movie of your life. So what are you going to do next?You’ve endured hardship, learned tough lessons, and fallen time and time again. Wouldn’t this be a great time for everything to turn around?

Maybe you can recruit someone to help you get there, a long lost friend or a wise old mentor. Maybe you need to crank up “Eye of the Tiger” and experience the training it will take to achieve your success.

The time to act is now. Don’t slip back into your old story. You are the hero. The power of choice brought you here. Your choice decides what happens next.

So what are you going to do?

How Strength Training helps with Weight Loss


How strength training helps with weight loss..

Strength training and weight loss are a match made in heaven. The benefits of applying a resistance training routine are complimentary to all the physical changes that help a person lose weight. You might want to feel more energy and confidence, be harder to kill, or simply look good naked. Regardless of your goals every person on planet earth can benefit from a strength training routine. That’s right, if you are a human you need this. So if you are ready for your hard work to translate into results it’s time to start pumping some iron!

Let’s explore why strength training works, how it needs to be approached, and how you can get started today.

Why it works
Strength training is so effective at helping individuals lose weight because it has a tremendous increase on your body’s metabolism. You can think of this as building a bigger engine. Just to keep a large truck running requires a lot more fuel than to drive a moped at top speed. Remember when Harry and Lloyd got 70 mpg on their way up to Aspen!

The reason you need to build a bigger engine boils down to some simple math surrounding your Resting Metabolic rate or “RMR”. RMR generally accounts for about 60% of daily energy expenditure. This means that you have way more opportunity to change your body by focusing on long term metabolic adaptations rather than burning yourself with activity in a short time frame. Many individuals try to put in endless hours of cardio to “burn fat”. The problem is that their routine lacks any sort of intensity that builds muscle. This leads to the dreaded “skinny fat” body. These individuals utilize long slow distance efforts and their results can disappear rapidly if they reduce their training volume.

Individuals who practice a regular strength training routine also develop confidence and discipline that they then apply to other areas of their life. An individual who is training hard will be more likely to make better dietary decisions or avoid alcohol. It will help you sort out your priorities and make decisions that align with your goals.

How to do it
When it comes to strength training there are a few major guidelines to be observed. The most important aspect to consider in a strength training routine is that compound functional movements are the foundation for growth, progress, and adaptation. Movements that recruit multiple muscle groups and replicate real world movements like squats, deadlifts, and overhead pressing provide the most “bang for your buck.”

Walk into most health clubs and you will see the general population performing isolation exercises that are simply less effective and have low transfer to their everyday life. By “majoring in the minors” they are missing out on a huge opportunity. The question is…why?

Learning the proper form associated with compound movements can be intimidating if you’re new to training. The benefit of hiring an experienced trainer or coach is essential. In fact it’s arguably one of the best investments in your health and in your life that you could ever make. A great coach will teach you proper form, common faults, and give you the proper progressions to make you better and better over time. They will also help you select a training program that has the right volume of work and intensity levels to safely achieve your goals.

Once you have learned the foundational movements needed to improve your fitness there is no shortage of exercises and routines you can apply to meet your goals.

5 Easy Ways to Add Fitness To Your Day!


We all lead busy lives and summer can get crazy. If we are not careful, our fitness is sometimes the first thing to go and before you know it, we are feeling left with less energy. Here are five ways you can add fitness to your day:

Increase Physical “Work”

Technology has caused a major shift in the way humans live and made physical activity an optional daily occurrence. Luckily with a creative mindset we can still take advantage of many events in our days that are ripe for the picking with good old fashioned labor. Try some of these challenges to increase your work capacity throughout the day:

  • At the grocery store steer clear of the shopping cart.  Try to only use a basket (or two) to carry your food. As you navigate the aisles you’ll be improving your grip and building core strength with a bonus deadlift thrown in any time you set your basket down. By choosing to carry the items you will also develop awareness around what you’re purchasing. The bottom line, you get more fit and only the essentials make it home. Your inner hunter-gatherer will be proud!
  • Park far away in the parking lot. It’s just as fast as driving up and down the lanes to get as close as possible.
  • Take the Stairs. Every step counts and if you’re really motivated try throwing in some lunges.
  • Leave the car in the garage.Take a new approach to your daily travel and try to walk or bike to work.

Stretch It Out (Every Chance You Get)

A terrific habit to build is to practice full range of motion and proper biomechanics in the daily activities you already do. How many times a day do you catch yourself hunched over, chin to chest with your neck craning to look into a screen. Ouch! Focus on good posture with shoulders back and eyes gazing straight ahead. See how it affects your mood, confidence and energy levels!

  • While grabbing items off of a bottom shelf or cabinet, hold the bottom position of a squat and drive your knees out to the sides. Spending 10 minutes a day in the bottom of a squat can be life changing for your spine, hips, and knees!
  • If you’re talking on the phone or typing at your computer incorporate ankle rolls at the same time. Rotate your foot at the ankle as if you were at the beach writing your name in the sand with your toes. Make sure to practice each letter of the alphabet.
  • Driving to and from work? This is a great time to work on externally rotating your shoulders while sitting up tall with a proud chest.

Equalize The Sedentary Activities

Take advantage of time that doesn’t require movement to work postural muscles or build in fitness breaks. Alternating work and rest periods will increase metabolism and improve circulation. This can even be a great opportunity to develop your strength. By practicing strength daily you can make remarkable improvements in a short amount of time. Strength is a skill and the majority of initial gains in strength are due to neuromuscular adaptations to training.

  • For office work or writing try a standing desk or treadmill desk.
  • If you’re at home watching television try to practice push-ups, squats, or core exercises  during the commercial breaks. One popular method technique is called “grease the groove. The premise is simple, pick a movement you want to improve at and perform a set of the exercise with half of your maximal reps (eg. if your max number of pullups is 10, you will want to perform sets of 5). Rest at least 15 minutes between sets. Repeat as often as possible throughout your day.

Get Outside Every Day

Getting outdoors is the perfect chance to reset and reconnect with your body. Whether it’s a park you swing by on the way home from your work or stepping out on the back porch with your morning coffee making time for the outdoors is an essential. Moving outside requires us to apply our bodies to move in new and challenging ways. Some recommendations:

  • Climb a tree, seriously when was the last time you did? Go now, you can thank me later…
  • Walk or run barefoot. Connecting your feet with the dirt, grass, or sand feels great, allows full range of motion, and strengthens the feet.
  • Find a rock, log, or another odd object to be your new “pet rock”. Take your new found pet on a walk and enjoy this new test of fitness.

Find A Community

One of the best ways to add fitness to your day is to surround yourself with people who care about their health. Positive social support has been proven to improve adherence to exercise and dietary habits. If you feel like you need help in achieving your health and fitness goals maybe joining a tribe of people on the same journey is the best way to add fitness to your day!

 

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3 Steps to starting and keeping routines


3 Key Steps To Starting An Effective Daily Routine

“I’ve been thinking about taking up a meditation practice.”

“I really need to drink more water…”

“I feel so good when I exercise, I want to go to the gym more often, but can’t find the time!”

If you’re like most people you probably have considered starting a new daily routine to optimize one or more aspects of your life. In a world where time has become more and more valuable, distractions are at an all time high, and to-do lists are as long as ever – people are looking for ways to better themselves. One of the most common ways that folks use to make a change is by adopting a new routine.

Routines are actions or a combination of actions that yield a specific outcome or result.

They are the surest way to make an impactful change in our lives. By the end of this article you will be familiar with the 3 key steps to consider if you want to start an effective daily routine!

“Routine, in an intelligent man, is a sign of ambition.”

-W.H. Auden

Step 1: Keep the end result in mind.

As humans we have hundreds of little routines we practice each day. Most of these we don’t care to or need to focus on, they simply happen. Adopting a new routine is usually in pursuit of something new that we wish to attain. The benefit of successfully completing the routines could improve us physically, mentally, or emotionally.

Make sure to keep the end result in mind as you select your routine.This life changing benefit will keep you motivated and excited to stick with your routine!

Some common results people shoot for with their routine include:

  • Decreased stress
  • Increased energy
  • Better sleep
  • Improved mental clarity
  • More time
  • Better performance at school/work/sport

Routines to achieve these outcomes might look like:

  • Take 10 deep breaths before beginning a new project at work.
  • Exercise at least three times each week.
  • Turn my phone to airplane mode 1 hour before bed.
  • Make a list dividing each job into its constituent parts.
  • Plan out my daily schedule every morning while I drink my coffee.
  • Visualize what a successful outcome would look like for my upcoming event.

 

rou·tine

ro͞oˈtēn/

noun

  • a sequence of actions regularly followed; a fixed program.

 

 

Routines are most effective when practiced daily. Sometimes we need to focus extra hard on following through with a new routine until it becomes a habit. This is an important factor to consider in both the selection and implementation of your new routine.

Dr. BJ Fogg, a behavioral scientist from Stanford, has a basic behavioral model he uses to describe the steps to change. He claims that in order for a behavior change to happen you need to have the right mix of motivation, ability, and a trigger.

If we are highly motivated to complete a task then the odds are that when a trigger occurs we will produce a successful outcome. Likewise we tend to be successful at tasks that are easy to complete even if we are not so motivated to get them done.

Makes sense right?

The challenge many of us face is that we fail to set up routines that take into account the motivation required to complete a task requiring a higher level of ability. We shoot for the stars and quickly burn out after our initial gusto wears off.

Does this mean that we shouldn’t aim to make big dramatic change with our new routine?

Kind of…not exactly…but yes.

At least Dr. Fogg would advise against it. Instead he suggest focusing on the smallest possible change available to you in your new routine. Consistency wins the long term change game so you should pick a routine that you know you you can complete every single try. This will generate momentum and a new skill that you can apply later to more challenging target areas.

Action Step: Get out a pen and paper and spend 5 minutes brainstorming some ideas of areas you would like to implement a routine. Think about the end result you would like to achieve and make note of the top 2 or 3 new routines that would be a first step on the path. Then let’s move on to step 2!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              

Step 2: Determine the lay of the land

This is a chance to take inventory of your assets and keep an eye out for potential pitfalls. Implementing a new behavior is challenging because it requires knocking our brain off of autopilot. Rather than coast through our day following the usual agenda we are throwing a strategic interruption to our thought pattern that lets us try something new. This step can be split into two categories:

Supporting Factors, things that can help you implement your routine. Some examples could be:

  • A supportive partner or best friend
  • A commute to work that offers some alone time
  • Sticky note reminders you place all over your house
  • A trainer, coach, or mentor who wants you to succeed

And

Distracting Factors, barriers, or common faults that would get in the way of you completing your daily routine. This might look like:

  • Social settings where you may feel awkward practicing your new routine.
  • People who interrupt you and take up your time (EVEN IF YOU YOU LOVE THEM)
  • Physical struggles with things like exercise or waking up early.
  • Bad influences on your diet, behaviors, or actions.

Action Step: List the top 3 assets you have that could help you start your routine and then the top 3 distractions that may keep you from succeeding. For the distractions, find a solution for how you could overcome it (eg. Coordinate workout schedules with a friend, sIgn up for a class the night before, or prep healthy lunches for the week on Sunday afternoon)

Step 3: Track Your Progress

Benjamin Franklin, perhaps the founding father of using routines for personal development knew the importance of tracking and measuring his daily practices. Each morning Franklin asked himself, “What good shall I do today? And in the evening, “What good did I do today?” Taking the time twice each day to check in on his progress created more opportunities for growth and self-improvement.

Not only that but Ben cycled through a list of 13 virtues he chose to improve his morality. He would focus on one for a week at a time and document any infractions to the redeeming quality. He noticed significant improvement in his adherence cycling through each virtue four times a year.

As you prepare to start your new routine you want to keep track of your progress. Having clear defined parameters will make you more likely to succeed and recreate the process again for future habits.

Action Step: Make a plan to track your progress. What is the the key aspect of the routine are you measuring. What time of day will you log your results? Are you writing it in Zenplanner, a notebook or on your phone or laptop? What will you write on days when you forget to adhere to your routine?

“We don’t rise to the level of our expectations, we fall to the level of our training.”Archilochos

So now that you have the 3 key steps to starting an effective daily routine how are you going to implement them?

 

Take a Breathe


How Focusing On Your Breathing Can Improve Your Fitness..

Breathing is a unique process in the human body. It can occur voluntarily or involuntarily, be a conscious or unconscious decision, and is constantly responding to feedback from sensors in your body. Oftentimes are breathe is being stifled by our emotional state, body position, or

Posture and breath
When you inhale your diaphragm contracts and moves downward expanding the chest cavity and giving the lungs space to expand. This simultaneously lifts the ribs and sternum. When you exhale the diaphragm relaxes and expands into the chest cavity as the ribs and sternum lower.

The key muscles or primary movers in this process are the diaphragm, intercostal muscles, and abdominal muscles. Secondary mover muscles include upper trapezius, scalenes, sternocleidomastoid, levator scapulae, and pectoralis minor.

Poor posture categorized by rounded shoulders and a forward head position can cause these secondary movers to become tight and overworked. This leads to a decline in respiratory function which can further exacerbate the breathing muscles and contribute to even worse posture.

To jump start your muscles involved in breathing try out this stretching and breath practice from Jill Miller at Yoga Tune Up: The Abdominal Vacuum.

So you might be wondering why you should worry about your breath when it’s so easy you can literally do it in your sleep?

Let’s start with the the one we all care about
Improved performance. A study at the University of Portsmouth showed that runners who performed inspiratory muscle warm-ups and training experienced a whopping 15% increase in performance after just 6 weeks.

2. Energy
Bringing a mindful focus to breath can also help improve energy. Individuals who practice deep breathing exercises report more energy, improved mental acuity, and getting a better night’s sleep.

3. Digestion
An improvement in breath capacity will lead to a healthier digestive tract. The body has more energy to allocate towards digestion and is more efficient at eliminating toxins.

4. Decrease Stress
Breathing techniques that are designed to bring increased awareness the breath can carry over to other areas of life. It trains the mind to be less emotionally reactive while simultaneously reducing cortisol levels.

5. Heart Rate
Breathing practice has been shown to lower resting heart rate and blood pressure. Try deep belly breaths where the stomach fully expands and holding in at the full exhalation and inhalation points.

Many breathing techniques are geared towards unwinding, shutting down, and moving away from the flight or fight response we are used to feeling. Breath work also has many powerful applications to get us fired up and improve our u

When lifting heavy weights, a full belly breath can be held inside the abdomen throughout the lift. This Valsalva Maneuver provides internal pressure that supports the spine and braces the skeletal muscle throughout the lift. Limit this maneuver for maximal exertion efforts (eg. greater than 80% of your 1rm and 5 reps or less in your working set).

Breathing can also be used to prime your body into a peak state. Using rapid forced inhales and exhales through the nostrils will stimulate the immune system, increase circulation, and leave you feeling alive, alert, and awake.

Now that you know a little about how breathing affects your daily life and the systems of your body what areas do you want to incorporate a breathing practice into? Whether its for our health, relaxation purposes, or to improve our athletic performance we could all benefit from taking a deep breath now and then!

Drink Yo Water


Drink up…

It’s Memorial Day weekend let’s drink up- water that is.  This weekend is a much awaited , the  first Holiday weekend of summer and the start of summer  break for many and it’s gonna be a toasty one- which means for many – throwing down a few at some social activities followed by coming in on Monday to do Murph- so here’s some tips for staying hydrated and performing at your best by taking care of your body!

What’s all the hype about water anyway?

Studies suggest that dehydration is the #1 cause of daytime fatigue. Dehydration is also linked to headaches, grumpiness, loss of focus, bad breath, dry skin and muscle cramps and can affect your ability to fall asleep and stay asleep and much much more.

Tips and Tricks to staying hydrated during your Weekend Festivities:

  • Drink a large glass of water before your first drink
  • Stick to a 1-1 ratio- 1 drink – 1 glass of water
  • Infuse some it with your favorite fruit, lime, lemon, etc.
  • Opt for Soda water with lime instead of alcohol- it’s refreshing!
  • Minimize your Caffeine and Alcohol intake
  • Don’t wait until your thirsty
  • Try drinking coconut water like CoCo Libre or adding Electrolyte Tablets like NUUN to your water before bed and the next day!
  • Take some fish oil to help with inflammation and eat some healthy foods and veggies to nourish your body

Cheers! Down the hatch with some water and listen to your body on Monday- be safe, be smart and have fun!