Move Well – Be Well

The fountain of youth is in the warm-up

March, 6, 2018

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Part 1

How well do you move?


Could someone guess your age by the way you walk, or how you get off the couch? As we age we get stiff, a little creaky, and have a little less spring in our step. We might have pain and shift things in our movement patterns to compensate, sometimes without even realizing. Maybe we are limping slightly, or dropping one shoulder, or losing our posture, even just slightly, but just enough to be problematic. Do you ever think - oh its just age? Well that’s partly true but the adage “use it or lose it” applies to your movement!

“ Use it or lose it! ”


When we are born we can easily touch our toes. When we learn to sit up we do so with perfect posture; babies don’t round their backs forward when they sit, or when they stand, or reach for a toy. Then as we age, we begin the gradual loss of our perfect posture, our natural born flexibility, and with it our mobility. We actually exchange mobility for stability and become more stable in the form of protective stiffness.


Wolf’s law indicates that our form is a direct representation of how we function. For most of us, our function changes as we age from being constantly active to being less and less active. There are of course, actual physical changes that come with aging; we lose muscle mass, power, bone mineral density, and we do literally become stiffer in our joints, our muscles, and our fascia. Once we lose muscle strength and power, and experience muscle atrophy, our bones aren’t being pulled on in the same fashion and they respond by remodeling with less density, resulting in tendons, muscles, and fascia that stiffen to reduce range of motion in order to protect the joint. This is another one of the bodies amazing abilities to compensate.


Form follows function


Since our joints are less pliable it takes more work to overcome the stiffness and get our bodies moving properly. But it can be done and needs to be done; the more you move, the less you lose. Along with maintaining proper movement patterns we can also maintain and build muscle and power as we age, and maintain and build our bone mineral density as we age as well. When I say maintain, keep in mind that our bodies are in a gradual decline in adulthood and without work we don’t maintain, we literally physically decline. So maintaining through work can be good if we are talking about maintaining the muscle strength and movement capacity you have in your 40’s well into your 80’s. With proper training, these factors and our movement patterns can be maintained and even improved. The fountain of youth is in the warm-up and application of mobility work. If you think this sounds too simplistic think of it this way, the better you move and the more comfortable you are moving, the more you can do, which means not only more exercise, but more activity throughout the day and less stiffness due to inactivity to overcome, at any age.

The more you move the less you lose!


If you want to maintain movement, and not just maintain but build strength, move throughout your range of motion in your warm-ups.  When we move throughout our range of motion we bring actual fluidity to our joints (literally fluid) and to our movements and allow our muscles to fire fully and efficiently. As you warm-up your body becomes accustom to the movements and resists less, not only due to the fluidity but also in force capacity. The more you work, the harder you can work because your muscles will recruit more muscle fibers to perform the movements.


More muscle fibers means:

• More force capacity

• More strength gains
• Improved metabolism
• Better movement
• More reward


Stay tuned for Part 2 or contact me for your own personal Fountain Of Youth Training Program.  

Blog

Hydration for optimizing health


In my work as a cycling coach and now as a health coach, every one of my clients has said, “I should drink more water.” from my endurance athletes to desk jockeys, every one of them has said that. It sounds so easy! But we all know the day can fly by, coffee cup in hand, maybe a drink at lunch, maybe another coffee, a drink while you workout, and then its wine o’clock! Am I right? In my quest to encourage myself as well as my clients, I devised a system to be the guide to get the job done and finally become, and stay, well hydrated!


Like any good training, we must have a plan. With a plan we know not only what is expected of us, but also how to make it happen! Frankly in this day-and-age as we are biohacking and monitoring every one of our steps, our exercise exertion, our sleep, and our calorie intake: Why in heaven are most of us leaving water intake out of loop? We’ve been told to drink 8 glasses of water per day, or an ounce for every pound of our own body weight, or lately it seems I keep hearing we should let thirst be out guide. Well the thirst mechanism is famous for being an underachiever. It is designed to let us know when we are in trouble, i.e. dehydrated. It’s not designed to keep us in a hydrated state. Worse yet, the thirst mechanism is often mistaken for hunger. So I would argue that letting thirst be your guide is a recipe for overeating.


Now I know this is a controversial subject – we don’t want people going crazy and causing themselves to become hyponatremic. But that is rare and what is more, much more common is being slightly dehydrated. As long as you are eating a balanced diet, or even just eating though out the day, rather than fasting, there shouldn't be any risk of hyponatremia.  


Nancy Clark author of Nancy Clark’s Sports Nutrition Guidebook says, “You should be drinking enough so that you urinate every two to four hours, and that the urine is a light color.” I agree, and that is why I made this plan!

My plan includes drinking about 5 quarts of water, a quart every 3 hours. Which is easy, as long as you give yourself the time.


Water Table

1st Wake up – 8am

2nd 8am – 11am

3rd 11am-2pm

4th 2pm – 5pm (or dinnertime)

5th 5pm-8pm (or dinnertime – bedtime)


To do this I start first thing in the morning before eating anything, and even before drinking my coffee. I start chugging a quart of water that has been prepped the night before and is waiting in the fridge. By doing this I am not only re-hydrating the water lost during sleep, but also I am revving my metabolism with cold water. It does cause some chills and requires a sweatshirt and my fuzzy slippers because I drink this one relatively quickly – something that I am now adapted to - while I am getting ready and making breakfast, coffee, and my daughter’s lunch. I call this, my before 8am water. Even if I have an early morning it get’s consumed either before I leave the house or before I eat. Then I eat my breakfast and have my coffee, which is now a huge reward for drinking the cold water, and right away I fill my next quart of water. This is my 8am-11am water. This is the one I take my after-breakfast vitamins with and then sip during the morning, usually while I am working out. Next is my 11-2pm water, part of this one is used to make my green drink and then what I drink during and after lunch. Then my before dinner quart of water the 2pm-5pm, in winter this one is often used to make hot herbal tea. Even if I have an hour or 2 of no drinking, I find I am always able to drink all or most of this before dinner. After dinner, in my final quart of water, I add a scoop of calm magnesium and I drink this before bed. The magnesium is slightly sweetened with stevia so it is yummy and goes down easy. Once you get used to drinking on a regular basis you will crave it, and going for your refills will become as automatic as a reflex.


There you have it! A lot of water, consumed throughout the day, not too much during any meal and not, definitely not, chugging a gallon of water in one sitting. Now I am not saying you need to be drinking a gallon of water a day, but I do think we all should be cognizant of how we are hydrating throughout the day and making it a priority. I find it helps me feel better, I rarely get chapped lips, even in the harshest of New England winters, and I digest meals better.


If you decide to take on water consumption as a part of your regular routine I suggest starting slowly, maybe committing to consuming a large glass of water or a pint of water in the suggested intervals – just to be sure you are drinking throughout the day and consistently staying in a hydrated state. We know proper hydration impacts health, enhances exercise performance, metabolism and blood pressure, so why leave that to chance?


Here’s to health! Drink up!

Hydration for Optimizing Health

February, 8, 2018

In my work as a cycling coach and now as a health coach, every one of my clients has said, “I should drink more water.” from my endurance athletes to desk jockeys, every one of them has said that. It sounds so easy! But we all know the day can fly by, coffee cup in hand, maybe a drink at lunch, maybe another coffee, a drink while you workout, and then its wine o’clock! Am I right? In my quest to encourage myself as well as my clients, I devised a system to be the guide to get the job done and finally become, and stay, well hydrated!


Like any good training, we must have a plan. With a plan we know not only what is expected of us, but also how to make it happen! Frankly in this day-and-age as we are biohacking and monitoring every one of our steps, our exercise exertion, our sleep, and our calorie intake: Why in heaven are most of us leaving water intake out of loop? We’ve been told to drink 8 glasses of water per day, or an ounce for every pound of our own body weight, or lately it seems I keep hearing we should let thirst be out guide. Well the thirst mechanism is famous for being an underachiever. It is designed to let us know when we are in trouble, i.e. dehydrated. It’s not designed to keep us in a hydrated state. Worse yet, the thirst mechanism is often mistaken for hunger. So I would argue that letting thirst be your guide is a recipe for overeating.


Now I know this is a controversial subject – we don’t want people going crazy and causing themselves to become hyponatremic. But that is rare and what is more, much more common is being slightly dehydrated. As long as you are eating a balanced diet, or even just eating though out the day, rather than fasting, there shouldn't be any risk of hyponatremia.

Nancy Clark author of Nancy Clark’s Sports Nutrition Guidebook says, “You should be drinking enough so that you urinate every two to four hours, and that the urine is a light color.” I agree, and that is why I made this plan!

My plan includes drinking about 5 quarts of water, a quart every 3 hours. Which is easy, as long as you give yourself the time.


Water Table

  • 1st Wake up – 8am
  • 2nd 8am – 11am
  • 3rd 11am-2pm
  • 4th 2pm – 5pm (or dinnertime)
  • 5th 5pm-8pm (or dinnertime – bedtime)

To do this I start first thing in the morning before eating anything, and even before drinking my coffee. I start chugging a quart of water that has been prepped the night before and is waiting in the fridge. By doing this I am not only re-hydrating the water lost during sleep, but also I am revving my metabolism with cold water. It does cause some chills and requires a sweatshirt and my fuzzy slippers because I drink this one relatively quickly – something that I am now adapted to - while I am getting ready and making breakfast, coffee, and my daughter’s lunch. I call this, my before 8am water. Even if I have an early morning it get’s consumed either before I leave the house or before I eat. Then I eat my breakfast and have my coffee, which is now a huge reward for drinking the cold water, and right away I fill my next quart of water. This is my 8am-11am water. This is the one I take my after-breakfast vitamins with and then sip during the morning, usually while I am working out. Next is my 11-2pm water, part of this one is used to make my green drink and then what I drink during and after lunch. Then my before dinner quart of water the 2pm-5pm, in winter this one is often used to make hot herbal tea. Even if I have an hour or 2 of no drinking, I find I am always able to drink all or most of this before dinner. After dinner, in my final quart of water, I add a scoop of calm magnesium and I drink this before bed. The magnesium is slightly sweetened with stevia so it is yummy and goes down easy. Once you get used to drinking on a regular basis you will crave it, and going for your refills will become as automatic as a reflex.


There you have it! A lot of water, consumed throughout the day, not too much during any meal and not, definitely not, chugging a gallon of water in one sitting. Now I am not saying you need to be drinking a gallon of water a day, but I do think we all should be cognizant of how we are hydrating throughout the day and making it a priority. I find it helps me feel better, I rarely get chapped lips, even in the harshest of New England winters, and I digest meals better.


If you decide to take on water consumption as a part of your regular routine I suggest starting slowly, maybe committing to consuming a large glass of water or a pint of water in the suggested intervals – just to be sure you are drinking throughout the day and consistently staying in a hydrated state. We know proper hydration impacts health, enhances exercise performance, metabolism and blood pressure, so why leave that to chance?


Here’s to health! Drink up!

Sexism in Cycling Isn't Dead Yet

February, 15, 2018

The cycling industry is rampant with sexism and it starts with the kid’s bikes!


Last August my husband and I went to purchase our daughter her first new Trek bike for her 7th birthday. She loves the Trek brand more so than your average little girl. It harkens back to when she was 3 years old and we took a nearly worldwide, year long sabbatical. We spent a month with friends of ours in Luxembourg where they were managing the Trek cycling team. These are friends we had known during our time at UW – Madison where we all raced for the cycling club. They were working for Trek and had been stationed in Luxembourg for a couple of years where the team trains and races all the big cycling races from the spring classics to the tours. Yes, like the Tour de France. There we got to check out the races, the bikes, the team RV (wow, wow, wow), as well as be driven around in an official Trek van. It was spectacular and memorable even for our little daughter. After our travels when my daughter turned 4 she was gifted a cute little generic bike with Hello Kitty, at the same time our neighbors handed over their daughters used Trek kids bike. Well you can guess that the Trek was the favorite and the brand new girly bike was cast aside. A year or so later my husband bought a Trek Fatty and we were all wowed by its beastly magnificence. My daughter kept comparing his bike with her little Trek bike with its slightly knobby tires and we knew that for her 7th birthday she needed a bike, and it had to be Trek. So off we went to our neighborhood Trek dealer where we were greeted by a very kind salesman who immediately brought us to see what he told us were “the girl bikes”. I immediately shuttered in shock. Had we gone back in time? Now he doesn’t know us from Adam. He doesn’t know that we both have competitive cycling backgrounds, that I coached cyclists for over a decade, that I have bike fitting certification along with a bike mechanic certification, or that my 3 competition bikes were built for me by my kind and generous sponsor DeSalvo, a bike builder who never said “oh I’ll build you a girls bike”. Instead he took my measurements and built the bikes to fit me, a person.


So there we are looking at pink bikes, and purple bikes, and the salesman is assuring us that girl bike are made to “fit” girls. What??? The other important piece of information here is that our daughter was just beginning her “I hate pink” phase and was fully into black – this is her new color of choice. So I ventured over to the black bikes and was told that these are boy bikes. Again, what???? I did push the guy a little and asked why there were girl bikes versus boy bikes instead of just different color bikes? He stammered. I’m not saying this was his fault specifically, but I for one am ready for the cycling industry to change its vernacular. This guy told me his stock answer that women’s hips are wider than men’s hips. Well not only are my daughters hips no bigger than a boys hips her age, but this guy’s hip girth had about 3 times on my hip girth and on average I am a smaller rider than most females and way smaller than most males. So - where is this really coming from? Why the sexist labels? Can’t we just have sizes? When I raced I used bikes fit for me along with unisex, split-fit bike saddles. Nothing on the bike was for a “girl” though the saddle could have been female specific – I will concede to that. But if I entered a bike shop where I wasn’t known I would be approached like I was a little girl lost in Home Depot and it was met with a bit of shock when I asked for the specific bike part that I was searching for. Now I have nothing wrong with the color pink for me or for my daughter (she would disagree), and my husband has a favorite story of him riding a pink steel road bike on which he would school unsuspecting competitors with his speed and power. There is something delicate and innocent about the color pink and for that reason alone he embraced it as a tactic, a label he fully knew he could defy and crush you with.


Bottom line there is nothing wrong with pink, nothing wrong with having flowers painted on bikes, nothing wrong with looking feminine. My daughter currently disagrees with me on this because even at her young age she is very aware of the label it puts on her, that she is delicate, that she is maybe less capable than a boy – I assure you she is not! And I respect her refusal towards pink and hope for the day that she can embrace every color as just a color, not a label. I also fully support a boy deciding he wants a pink bike or a black bike with flowers or whatever! Cycling industry get on board! Keep the cuteness but obliterate the labels. Obviously our society needs a lot more adjustment along these lines, but I understand even Target is getting on board adjusting the way it organizes its toys from boy areas and girls areas to more unisex friendly arrangements. So I think it’s high time for the bike shops to eliminate the labels and stop assuming someone is uninformed due to their gender.


You better believe that my daughter got a fancy new black, Trek, mountain bike for her 7th birthday. She was thrilled!!! And since she is also utilitarian, she moved her light up basket (with a couple flowers on it) to this bike – it’s useful, and spectacular, and 100% her!