How Stress is Destroying Your Goals

How Stress is Destroying Your Goals

“Remove this.”  “Add that.”  “Do only this.”  “Never do that.”

In our constant pursuit of the perfect body, misplaced focus has become the name of the game.  The fitness

industry (that I both love and loathe) is infamous for placing more emphasis than needed on the things that matter the least, and not enough on those that matter most (more on this in my next post: Understanding Best Practices).  One area that stands out lately — when talking with trainers and clients — is brushing off the stress factor, and not truly realizing how big of a deal it is.

(This broadcast goes into more detail on this)

The cost of ignoring the stress factor.

We often hear (and say!) phrases like “I know that I've been a little stressed lately…but I should still be seeing some results…”

While nutrition and exercise both play a huge part in fat loss, we tend to overlook stress. The reality check is this: when it comes down to dealing with excess stress, you can’t out-eat or out-exercise it.  And those who attempt to, discover a rude awakening.  What begins as a small issue can quickly lead to a downward spiral. Seemingly insignificant stress can lead to water retention.  Concern over the temporary water retention (“weight gain”) often causes a panic of more restrictive dieting/intense exercise. Worry + diet + exercise = stress overkill.  This increase in stress leads to even greater sodium retention/cortisol release (more weight gain) – insert slippery slope here. It's very easy to look up from what could have been a weekend relaxation-fix (temporary) and find yourself facing an additional 6-12 months on your fat loss journey (true fat gain).

IMG_3429Do we even recognize stress anymore? 

As we age — and have more on our plate; kids, aging parents, and work — we don’t realize how much stress has piled up.  As women, especially, we tend to feel like we can handle everything that’s thrown at us.  We even take a certain level of pride in it, bragging (aka complaining with no intention of changing/getting help) about how much we have to do every chance we get. One of the sneakiest things about stress is that while we can typically recognize the big stressful events (death, sickness, work projects), there are some stress factors in our life that we don’t even recognize or categorize as such. For example, working out creates stress on the body. While it may feel therapeutic, exercise can actually exacerbate stress levels.

Not being able to recognize stress in it's various forms often leads to fighting fire with fire, and introduces a host of other issues.

Address the root, not the fruit.

Stress is a master of disguise, and the enemy of the modern woman's health.  We first give it all the room it needs to work (take root) by disregarding it's presence.  Once in, it can do all the damage it needs, by keeping us busy attacking “symptoms” (the fruit it bears).

Stress-related symptoms can translate to thyroid issues, weight gain, and overall fatigue. Additionally, your digestive system can react as well (think IBS, food allergies, etc.). Instead of directly addressing the stressors in life, people often try to eliminate foods to try to resolve digestive issues.  Same goes with exercise.  Intense, or long duration exercise puts the body under stress. This is the reason why we will typically lose weight/fat under proper circumstances (the body's first, natural reaction to stress in a healthy body).  However, when panicked about weight loss (read: stressing over how long its taking), we tend to turn the very modes of exercise that causes the most stress.  If you’re exercising intensely on top of living a stressful life, your body is likely to go into shut-down mode (read: fat gain/retention).

If you’re experiencing any of the following, you may be exhibiting this severe-stress response:

Blood Sugar Swings

Hypothyroid Symptoms

Weight Gain (especially prominent in the belly)

Fatigue

Decreased Immunity

IBD

IBS

Food Allergies

9707590766_6db09ca5e5_zHow to eat/exercise/supplement/live when over-stressed

During very stressful times, sometimes the best thing to do is to change up the type of exercises you’re doing or to do your normal routine at a lesser frequency. There are types of exercise that will heal you/help you maintain, and those that will cause harm. Stress-friendly exercises include walks (not a power walk, run or jog), gentle yoga (not power yoga) or a leisure bike ride (key word: leisure). Endurance-style weight training and circuit training are not the types of weight lifting you should partake in while stressed. Instead, incorporate heavier-style lifting, which requires longer periods of rest in between (think 5/6-10 reps).

Even simple, everyday things that we don’t think twice about increase our stress levels. For example, if you watch an action-packed movie and are already stressed, your stress levels will actually increase! In place of an action movie, watch something more light-hearted, such as a comedy, or take a bubble bath.  Additionally, make sure to supplement with omegas, magnesium, Vitamin A & D and probiotics.  Make an effort to sleep more (training less if that’s what it takes to find that extra hour!) to best respond to stress.

As mentioned above, intense exercise/dieting during stressful times will actually lead to increased stress, which leads to more weight gain. Don't compound the problem.  If you’re experiencing weight gain, don’t try to diet. Cut back on steady state cardio, and do more leisure/slower-paced types of cardio (walking, yoga).  An occasional HIIT session or two can sub for your cardio until you are in a less stressful state. (One exception to this is if you are facing extreme adrenal fatigue symptoms, in this case, even HIIT may be too much in the early healing stage).

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Try to simply savor the moment from time to time. Don't wait for the weekend. Have a midday ritual: sneak a nap. Or…take a tea, coffee (or breathing!) break – no screens allowed!

Now keep in mind, not exercising at all isn’t what we’re recommending here.  The point is to train yourself throughout the day to have downtime (nap, walk, daydream, meditate, no-screen-time, etc.) so that your workouts are helping you rather than hurting you.  Regular exercise has been proven to help with stress management. In a healthy body, exercise is intended to be “good stressor.”  The key is understanding what helps and what harms in an overly-stressed, or metabolically damaged scenario.

Weight fluctuations during stressful times are bound to happen, but the key is not letting these fluctuations create more stress. If you’re someone who likes to weigh, you can continue to do so, but take the number on the scale with a grain of salt.  The key to mastering life, and fitness, is balance. If you can find a way to manage stress levels, and balance your responsibilities with staying active, you’ll have a much better chance of keeping your weight under control and your happiness high.

On that note, I need to take a break from this screen, and go spend some quiet time with my foam roller.

 

Have a great week, Fam!

~Kiki :)

 

PS. Got questions? I’m on Periscope M-F, to answer your FAQs. So make sure you’re following @EM2WL to get notifications the second I start the next broadcast!

 

 

Photo cred: Flickr

The hierarchy of fat loss – How much cardio do I need?

The hierarchy of fat loss – How much cardio do I need?

IMG_7937Most of us are blown away when we learn the shocking truth that cardio is not the be-all-end-all of fat loss.  It can take some time to fully wrap our heads around the concept (especially if you're the type who actually ENJOYS it and can't imagine life without it).   Not surprisingly, one of the questions we receive most often in the early stages of discovering EM2WL is: “OK. So, where exactly does cardio fit? How much cardio can/should I do?

“The hierarchy of fat loss.”

The Hierarchy of Fat Loss (a concept coined by Alwyn Cosgrove several years ago) is simple way to self-regulate and decide for  yourself if/when its time to add cardio into your fat loss protocol. It will also help those that can't imagine a cardio-less existence to work in their love of endurance in a way that does not contradict their physique goals.

The hierarchy outlines the top five factors you must nail down in order to achieve fat loss. The five levels are listed in order of importance, as is the nature of any hierarchy.  This means that if you're looking to do/add/focus on items that are NOT listed here, they are being given far too much importance in your journey.  Let’s take a look at each of the five and why they’re so important in the fat loss equation.

IMG_8755

The perfect lifting and cardio routine mean nothing without proper eats. So check them TWICE before assuming any workout “is not working” for you. ;)

Level 1- Nutrition: Here’s the reality. No matter how hard you work out, run or lift, you can’t out work a bad diet. Period. If your nutrition is not on point, yet everything else is, you will not optimally achieve results or reach your fat loss goals. Main changes to make in your diet are to eat more protein, more fiber, and more food. Oftentimes, people aren’t eating enough food for fat loss- less isn’t always better. If you’ve spend periods of time eating low calorie diets (1200-1500 calories), then you may want to consider a metabolism reset. Before you can expect to lose weight, you must fix your metabolism so it is in proper working order.

Level 2- Nutrition: Nope, that’s not a typo. Level 2 is the same as level 1- nutrition! Why? It’s that important! If you have time for one thing and one thing only with regard to fat loss, nail your nutrition. Make sure you’re hitting your fiber, protein and calorie goals, and that you’re eating enough to sustain the type of workouts you’ll be doing.

Level 3- Activities that Burn Calories, Promote/Maintain Muscle Mass and Elevate Metabolism: This means lift! Lifting promotes muscle mass growth. The more muscle mass you have, the more calories you’ll burn at rest due to an increased metabolic rate. Not only is muscle good for boosting your metabolism, but it has great cosmetic benefits as well- it looks good! If you’re not comfortable with lifting on your own, consider seeking out guidance from a personal trainer.

IMG_3925

A snippet from Martha Stewart's book on “Living the Good Long Life” – at 74 years young, she KNOWS that lifting is the key!! What are YOU waiting for?

Level 4- Activities that Burn Calories and Elevate Metabolism with EPOC (after burn effect): If you find yourself having an extra day to workout or time leftover at the end of your lift, add in HIIT/Tabata/Interval/Metabolic Resistance style training. If you are short on time but still wanting to burn fat, these types of workouts are crucial for you. While this type of exercise may not promote muscle mass growth, it certainly can help maintain the muscle mass you already have.

Level 5- Activities that Burn Calories but Don’t Necessarily Maintain Muscle or Elevate Metabolism: Cardio is considered the icing on the cake, and in the puzzle of fat loss, is considered the least effective. This lines up with what we here at EM2WL always preach- cardio for fun, weight to transform.” Cardio works best when it’s not done frequently, because it shocks the body. If you do cardio all the time, your body adapts. If you continue to do the same amount of cardio and burn less calories, or don’t see an elevation in heart rate, that may be a good sign you’re doing too much, too often.

Putting it all together:  What the hierarchy means to you

If you’re short on time (let’s face it, who isn’t!?) and can’t get to the gym, focus on your nutrition. When you do find yourself having some time, get a lift in. If you can commit to 1-2 days of exercise a week, lift weights those days. If you have 3-4 days, lift and do some HIIT (Level 4) training. If you have more than 4 days a week, then have the icing on the cake and do some cardio and fun aerobic activities you enjoy- Zumba, Body Pump, etc.

IMG_5627

Remembering the motto “cardio for fun, weights to transform” will help you to fit in the activities you LOVE without having to use them as punishment.

For my cardio loving followers reading this, don’t freak out. Oftentimes people connect a regular cardio routine to results. If you go from doing nothing to doing just cardio, of course you’re going to see results. But once those results stop, the enjoyment of your workout(s) may stop also. When your cardio workout comes to an end, so does the calorie burn. On the other hand, with lifting, you may not burn as many calories initially during your workout but you’ll continue to burn calories up to 36 hours after your workout is over (called the after burn/EPOC). This is more beneficial for you compared to just burning calories while you’re on a piece of cardio equipment and not a minute more thereafter. If you’re looking to elevate your metabolism, then going for that after burn is what you want and need.

Especially if you’re a newbie to the world of proper nutrition, it’s important to take baby steps into your new healthy eating journey.  Adequate consumption of protein, fiber and water are key. Focus on adding in or improving upon each (of the three listed above) into your daily intake until you nail it. For example, if you’re currently not drinking enough water, make it a goal to drink at least a gallon a day. Once you can consistently do so for several weeks/at least a month, next tackle eating more protein. Continue this process until you’ve aced all facets of a proper nutrition plan. In order to ensure adherence, eat the types of foods you enjoy while hitting your macronutrient totals. Keep in mind that the foods you consume have to work for your lifestyle and fit your taste preferences in order to be most successful and stay on track.

Not sure where to start? The Beginner Strength Training Manual answers all your lifting Q&A and comes with a full 12-week periodized workout plan with video demonstrations.

If you don’t have much time to lift, that’s okay. Do more compound movements and work multiple muscle groups (not isolated movements like bicep curls). Make sure you’re regularly alternating rest periods, sets, and rep ranges. This is important because if you don’t change these variables, your body will adapt and not respond as desired. Rest periods are especially important because they are needed in order for the body replenish its energy stores. Over a period of time, rotate through the following rep/set/rest schemes (also known as periodization). A sample 12-week rotation could be:

4 weeks: 30 seconds rest, higher reps (12+), lower weight

4 weeks: 45-60 seconds rest, lower reps (8-12), higher weight

4 weeks: 60+ seconds rest, low (5-8) reps, heavy weight

The problem with fat loss is most people approach the process in the opposite order, doing cardio first, then HIIT, then deciding to lift, and then tackling nutrition – no wonder the process can be so frustrating.  When you turn the hierarchy on its head, you’re not going to see the results that you want. If you follow the fat loss hierarchy in order, you’ll see better and faster results. Work smart, not hard, and you’ll be more than impressed with the results awaiting you.

Go kill it this week, Fam!

 

~Kiki :)

 

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Newbie Gains: Why Your Workout Isn’t Working Anymore {LIVE Broadcast}

Newbie Gains: Why Your Workout Isn’t Working Anymore {LIVE Broadcast}

Tracy

Long after the newbie gains had faded, Tracy realized that her low calorie, high cardio lifestyle would never give her the look she wanted. So she took action, moved on, and got the results she was after.

Your go-to “this always works” workout isn't working anymore? uh-oh. Say goodbye to newbie gains…

Newbie gains are what I like to call the “Teenager Phase” of Fat Loss.  This is a period of time, that you can pretty much “rebel” against the basic rules of fat loss, and quite possible still see results.  Put simply, in the beginning of your journey, you can literally do ANYTHING (even if it's the wrong thing) and still get “results.”  Because of this brief period, we can often be led astray and down a longggg path of rebellion.  We tend to shrug off recommendations of not making drastic changes that are unsustainable, or that certain styles of workouts are not the best choice for our goals.  We think “Hey, I'm getting results…I don't know what they're talking about!”

I recount my own embarrassing rebellious phase here. 

During the newbie phase, even the impossible…is possible. Muscles grow super fast, fat melts off, everyone notices all your hard work and praises you for it. You're pretty much floating on cloud nine, feeling invincible, and telling everyone that you know that you've found “the secret” to weight loss (pretty much associating that secret to whatever the random thing is that you're doing.)

Side note…Buyers Beware: I can't even begin to tell you how many weight loss books would remain on the shelves if we removed all those that were written strictly on the basis of one person's newbie gains results.  It's really not the author's fault though…the results are so addicting that they truly believe they've found the cure.

Back to the newbie gains process.  The first six months can be ridiculously blissful, the results are insane and you think that you will FINALLY have the body you've always wanted with just a bit more work.  Right around the six month mark, muscle gains/fat loss progress begins to slow down (though most of us are in the early stages of denial, and push harder).  By month 12, many find that they are actually regaining the fat that they lost in the first six months and any semblance of muscle begins to fade.  What do you do when you realize that your “free pass” has expired? What are the next steps?

If you've been getting phenomenal results for months, then suddenly notice your go-to workout isn't working like it used to…it may be time to follow the “rules” now.

Main points covered in today's broadcast:

~Newbie Gains: The Teenager Phase of Fat Loss

~How to identify when your newbie gains phase is over

~What works now will not work forever. Accept this, don't ignore it.

~Plateaus WILL come, don't get too comfortable/cocky and think that because you're seeing amazing results quickly, that the rules don't apply to you.

~Have a plan (even if tentative/flexible) for what to do at each plateau (again…they WILL come).

~There is no perfect plan.  Once newbie gains fade, your plan must include a variety of phases (discussed in the broadcast)

~True newbie gains may last 1-2 years for some, with the best progress happening after the first few months of acclimation/neural adaptation. When “results” seem to come for this long, many can become easily deceived/convinced that a certain style of working out is the only thing that “works” for them.  Avoid this extreme thinking, and move on when the time calls for it.

 

BOTTOM LINE: Newbie gains will stop.  Enjoy it while it lasts, but be prepared to execute plan B. 

 

 

Hope you enjoy the replay, Fam!

~Kiki

 

PS. Got questions? I'm on Periscope and Facebook M-F, to answer your FAQs. So make sure you're following @EM2WL and click “live subscribe” to get notifications the second I start the next broadcast!

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How to look like a fitness model? Deciphering “fitspo” {LIVE BROADCAST}

How to look like a fitness model? Deciphering “fitspo” {LIVE BROADCAST}

Fitspo – Fitness Inspiration. Typically found in motivational quips, pics, or tips on how to look like a fitness model that are often found on the internet, magazines, books, DVD covers, Instagram, Pinterest, etc. 

Dani Shugart

“Fighting against yourself…makes it much harder to reach your goals…” EM2WL interview with fitness model and author Dani Shugart

Many of us are holding ourselves, and our physiques, to completely unrealistic expectations.  The obvious “self-love” response is that we honestly shouldn't be comparing in the first place, because everyone's situation is unique to them, and we should be happy with what WE have.  However, for reasons beyond simply coveting, we often feel the need to visualize what is actually possible for us before striving for it.  It's only human nature to want to have a vision of the “end product.”  While it's often really hard to even know what our body is capable of (and it's typically so much more than we could ever imagine), it's also important to keep ourselves grounded in the search of our “goal body.”

In yesterday's live broadcast we discussed 6 tips for deciphering fitspo, and finding a physique “goal” that is actually attainable for you.  These tips will help you to wade through the various well-meaning motivational quips, and workout plans and actually get REAL results that you can maintain.

Genetics

Obvious, but let's keep it real.  When looking at an image, or person that you “want to look like” consider their genetics.  When looking at your own physique and comparing it, consistently ask yourself: what are your genetics capable (or not) of? What can/can't be changed about your physique? Although some things can be changed through lifting and proper eating, some things are non negotiable (bone structure, height, torso length, etc).  While I don't subscribe to using genetics as a cop out, I do believe in keeping it real and moving on vs pining for what you can't have, while disregarding all else.

Background/Dieting History

How many times did they diet before achieving the results that you see? Are they in an over dieted/overtrained state (common in fitness DVDs/photo shoots)? How long did the current results take? How long have they maintained their results? How do they look on NON photoshoot days? Could it possibly be newbie gains? Are you comparing your 12th diet to their first diet (it's like crack…never as good as the first time)? Have they ever been big?

Compound Effect

Understand that the physique that you see before you was not the result of just one 4, 8, or 12 week cycle.  How long have they actually been working out? How long have their results been compounding compared to yours? How long should you expect to work before achieving similar results? This is especially crucial to understand when looking at the current workout that a person is doing, and assuming that it gave them the current results.  Bodybuilders and other elite athletes tend to move into “maintenance” style workouts after decades of working out a certain way.  You may suddenly see this person doing more circuit style workouts, or CrossFit, or bodyweight stuff.  If you've done your “background” homework on the person, you should be able to easily understand that they did NOT get the body they have from doing the program that they are promoting.  If a person looked a certain way before creating the program, do not be disappointed with yourself that you don't look like them after just 90 days. Keep putting in your time, and allow your own results to compound.

Lifestyle

IMG_7218

Balancing Work, Family, and a Figure Competition Diet? – FitNix Interview

Are they married? Divorced? Did they get the body they have after the divorce? Do they have kids? Are their kids young, older? Have they ever been pregnant? Had a c-section? Do they eat foods that you actually relate to and could see eating for.like.ever? If you're going to find a “physique mentor” they'd have better have something in common with you, or else you'r setting yourself up for failure by trying to literally be someone that neither you nor your family will recognize. If you have a family, husband, job, etc., don't get caught up trying to live the life of someone who is single, with no kids…or gets PAID to deprive themselves of life as we know it. #fail

Surgeries

Have they had any lifts/nip/tucks? Liposuction? Implants? Skin removal surgery? When it comes to the fitness industry, and especially the fitness model industry, there's is a certain level of understanding. Often in order to have the lowered level of body fat that is required, yet still maintain “symmetry” of the physique some type of enhancement is needed.  If a person in the spotlight loses a drastic amount of weight, it's quite possible that they also had to get some skin removal surgery to stay within industry standards/expectations. There is also a whole host of other fixes that obviously go into prepping the model for the shoot, or the star of the DVD, but keep those thoughts at the forefront of your mind when getting “inspired” by them.

Age

This goes without saying that a 55 year old woman who compares her body to that of a 25 year old is bound to feel depressed at the reality of gravity ;). But as we mature, we must also take time to remember that certain styles of eating and workouts are MUCH more forgiving in our youth.  We could ignore the basics guidelines of lifting, eating enough protein and fiber, and despite the odds look pretty dang (deceivingly) good. But not so once we creep into our late 20s, 30s and beyond. So getting uber inspired by the 23 year old who eats whatever the heck she wants, doing tons of circuits, and seemingly loving life…is a huge mistake for mature, over-dieted population.

We simply do not know what really went into getting (or at least portraying) the images that you see strewn before you on every magazine, billboard, Pinterest, or Instagram post.  One commenter mentioned regarding finding the ideal fitspo, “Sooo don't compare yourself to others. Too hard to find one.”

Exactly… ;)

Hope you enjoy this replay, fam!

~Kiki

PS. I'd love to chat with you!! Wanna catch me LIVE next time to ask your questions? Make sure you’re following @EM2WL on Periscope and Facebook to get notifications the second I start the next broadcast!

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Working Out with Injuries (VIDEO)

Working Out with Injuries (VIDEO)

Ugh.  Injuries suck.  Plain and simple.

Those of you who have been around for a while, know that I've had my fair share of injuries in the last 5 years or so.  The worst of which where the awful “Achilles Fiasco of 2012” and the more recent shoulder monstrosity that I spent the better part of the last two years recovering from.  Ummm.  Yay.

During that time, I took it upon myself to dive in to ALL things injury (causes, prehab, rehab) to not only give myself the edge, but my clients as well.

In this broadcast, I went over some of my top tips for dealing with injuries.  What to eat, how to supplement, what to expect, and what experts to seek out. (Broadcast was recorded live, so you may want to fast forward to around 3:25 ish where the wind/mic situation gets under control. Aaaah the joys of live recording. LOL)

Excel your strength, build better balance, improve mobility, AND overcome challenges such as pain, injury, and improper mechanics with this limited time BOGO offer!

Click here to learn more.

 

Topics covered in this discussion:

Don't let it get you down.
It's easy to be discouraged and feel like the world is collapsing when you are in a groove with your workouts and get sidelined by a new/familiar pain.  Know from the gate that not EVERY injury is avoidable.  Of course beginner (and some intermediate/advanced) injuries are caused by ego and poor form, but a greater ratio of injuries are just part of the fitness process. Learn proper form, adjust your intensity levels slowly, and listen to your body. If you feel a twinge or like something isn't right, back off the move and try again.  If it still feels wrong, reevaluate whether you are using proper form, or if the pain is a sign that there is an imbalance/you are overcompensating with the *opposing* or surrounding muscles.  Often the injury has nothing to do with the actual area that you feel the pain in, but rather is a referred pain due to an imbalance.  Thank your body for pointing out this imbalance and do everything you can to bring up the lagging part.

Again, don't allow it to discourage you or tempt you to throw in the towel on your fitness journey.  Working out is your sport.  You are an athlete.  All athletes deal with injury at some point in their career.  And the number one time they experience the injury? While performing their sport.

Eat at maintenance
Once you KNOW that you are sidelined for a period of time for healing, or that a body part will require more than just “an extra rest day” to recuperate, take your cals up to maintenance. Just as with the metabolic reset, healing requires proper fuel.  Do not attempt to slash cals in effort to reach your goal anyway, or continue to eat in a deficit while rehabbing. This puts your body on a budget and it has to try to accomplish several feats at once…while doing none of them particularly well.  Don't make the healing process take longer than necessary, eat at full TDEE, and be sure to get in sufficient levels of protein to ward off muscle loss. (Not sure how much to eat? Check here)

Take into consideration your new activity level
With that being said, understand that your new activity level may be slightly lower than it was pre-injury.  If you suddenly find that you can't use your lower body (like I did when I injured my Achilles) you will likely be burning a LOT less cals than you used to. Either adjust your workouts so that you are still getting a similar style of workout WITHOUT putting the injured part at risk, or recalculate your TDEE using the new activity level and eat at THAT maintenance level.

Understand (and accept) the changes that your body may go through
Atrophy is for real.  If you've ever had a limb in a cast, then you know that the adage “use it or lose it” is true.  The less you use the injured part, the more it will atrophy.  This means that even if you maintain your actual weight, your body composition may begin to change in a way that would not like. This is all a reality of the healing process. Although it's not fun to see your hard work seemingly go down the drain – muscle memory is a beautiful thing and will aid you in getting back to your “pre-injury” shape quicker than you think.

Attempting to beat your body into submission with a deficit or more cardio, etc at this point will cause more harm than it's worth.  The deficit/excess cardio will not help and will actually encourage MORE muscle loss.  You need to be doing everything in your power at this time to hold on to any and all muscle for as long as you possibly can.  (Refer to the “eat at maintenance” tip.)

Supplement mentioned in the vid to slow down muscle loss: HMB, BCAAs

Be careful with NSAIDs

Though they can be a great help when you are in constant pain while simply relaxing (or trying to!), be careful of using them before working out.  A common mistake is to take a pain killer and then proceed to workout as usual, pain-free.  This can lead to further injury/tweaking of a muscle or joint because the pain indicator (that lets you know when you've pushed too hard)  has been subdued.  Pain is a natural indicator that the problem still exists, so whenever possible – allow it to guide you in your workouts, so that you do no further harm.  If the pain is so great that you cannot workout at all, then DON'T.  See a doctor immediately.

See a SPORTS-specific doctor

When the pain is so severe, or recurring that you must seek treatment, do so with a sports physician.  A sports doc understands that you are an athlete whose greatest desire is to “get off the bench and back in the game.” This is typically not the case with your family practitioner.  They want to help you stop the pain…by any means necessary.  The diagnosis is often (not always) to simply stop doing the style of exercise that appears to be causing the pain.  It is very disheartening to hear the words “stop squatting/dead-lifting/running” or  worse (IMO), “quit lifting” when you KNOW that its the very thing that gives you life (or the physique you want).  With a sports doc, you can say straight up “help me to fill-in-the-blank again,” and they totally get it.  They will typically do everything in their power — or help you find someone who can — to get you back in the game.

Stay consistent with rehab (and pre-hab!) by having a few go- to sources on tap

Injury prevention/rehab resources mentioned

Kelly Starrett on YouTube
Becoming a Supple Leopard
Jill Miller – Yoga Tuneup

 

Hope you enjoy this replay, fam!

~Kiki

 

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