Working out while pregnant and shortened labor times

As a first time Mom.. Labor is scary to me. I know people who had labors lasting as long as 36 or over 40 hours. The idea of doing anything for two days straight sounds awful, especially when there’s a lot of pain and uncomfortable actions involved. So once I found out I was pregnant,…

Working out while pregnant and shortened labor times was originally published on Self Evolve

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As a first time Mom..

Labor is scary to me. I know people who had labors lasting as long as 36 or over 40 hours. The idea of doing anything for two days straight sounds awful, especially when there’s a lot of pain and uncomfortable actions involved. So once I found out I was pregnant, I started researching what could I do to hopefully have a shortened labor time. And I was pleased with what I found. So happy that I just had to share with you all.

Exercise during pregnancy

For a long time, it was frowned upon for expectant mothers to do much more than lay around all day. Many women were told to just not workout once they were pregnant. This stemmed from the belief that exercise could somehow affect the fetus in a negative way. Doctors were concerned for early deliveries or perhaps fetus deformities from the increased activity. Thankfully, research actually shows quite the opposite. 

A study done in Spain found that women who exercise just three times per week during pregnancy have a shorter labor. The women who exercised had a total labor time that was an average of 57 minutes shorter than the women not led in exercise. Not just labor time affected, the women in the exercise group were also less likely to get an epidural. Another notable difference, the women who didn’t exercise reported higher weight gain during pregnancy. 

Shortened labor time

So how much exercise is enough? Pregnant women should get at least 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity according to the CDC. In addition to the shortened labor benefit found in the study, exercising during pregnancy may also help decrease the risk of gestational diabetespreeclampsia and cesarean delivery, reduce back pain, strengthen heart and blood vessels, and give other benefits, notes the ACOG. With all these benefits, exercise should be a no-brainer, right?

It is important to note that before starting any exercise program you should talk to your doctor. With your doctor’s approval, the intensity of your workouts depends on your level of physical fitness before becoming pregnant. Women who are very active before pregnancy can maintain the same intensity of workouts with their healthcare professional’s approval. Women who are just getting started should ease into the exercises. I’m currently working on workout programs geared towards both beginners and more active expectant Mothers. Stay tuned to learn more about the safe way to a shortened labor time.

Working out while pregnant and shortened labor times was originally published on Self Evolve

Why and how to do a proper lunge

Do you lunge, tho? Most clients tell me they hate lunges, which is exactly why I make them do them. But the reason behind lunging can be misunderstood. Also, form is everything in order to avoid injury. Lunges are one of the hardest single-leg exercises out there but they are important for endurance athletes, from…

Why and how to do a proper lunge was originally published on Self Evolve

Do you lunge, tho?

Most clients tell me they hate lunges, which is exactly why I make them do them. But the reason behind lunging can be misunderstood. Also, form is everything in order to avoid injury. Lunges are one of the hardest single-leg exercises out there but they are important for endurance athletes, from runners and hikers to cyclists and climbers. Lunges improve unilateral leg strength which is critical for navigating trails, maximizing agility, and preventing muscular imbalances. Also, doing that lunge uses the body’s stabilizer muscles from the leg all the way up to the core.

Sore knees

A lot of athletes and people in general struggle with lunges due to sore knees. The traditional upright lunge is a quad-dominant exercise, meaning you’re putting more stress on the front of your thighs-knees included- than on anything else. But by taking a bigger step with each rep and allowing your torso to angle forward as much as 45 degrees, you can transfer some of the stress from your quads to your glutes, alleviating joint pressure. “Strength in the posterior chain, specifically the glutes, is important for pristine running mechanics and horsepower to make you faster for a race” according to Erica Suter, a Baltimore-based strength and conditioning coach.

Here are the five best lunge variations:

  1. Deficit Lunge: Stand tall with feet hip-width apart on a low box or step, holding a dumbbell in each hand down at your sides. From here, take an exaggerated step back with one foot and lower your body until your front thigh is parallel to the floor. Then push through your front heel to raise your back foot to the starting position.
  2. Lateral Lunge and Pulse: Stand tall with your feet hip-width apart, holding a dumbbell by both ends against your chest. Take an exaggerated step to the side with one leg, and allow your torso to hinge forward slightly at the hips. Bend the knee of your stepped-out leg to lower your body until that thigh is parallel to the floor (or as deep as you comfortably can). Extend your arms straight out in front of you, then immediately return the weight to your chest. Push through the heel of your bent leg to raise back to start.
  3. Cursey Lunge: Best one yet! This lunge engages every glute muscle! Stand tall with feet hip-width apart, holding a dumbbell in each hand down at your sides. From here, take an exaggerated step back with one leg and cross it behind your opposite leg. Allowing your torso to hinge forward slightly at the hips, lower your body until your front thigh is parallel to the floor. Then push through your front heel to raise your back foot to start.
  4. Offset Reverse Lunge: Stand tall with your feet hip-width apart, holding a kettlebell in one hand down at your side. From here, take an exaggerated step back with the opposite foot and, allowing your torso to hinge forward slightly at the hips, lower your body until your front thigh is parallel to the floor. Then push through your front heel to raise your back foot to start.
  5. Reverse-Forward Lunge: Stand tall with your feet hip-width apart, holding a kettlebell by the horns with both hands against your chest. From here, take an exaggerated step back with one foot, and allowing your torso to hinge forward slightly at the hips, lower your body until your front thigh is parallel with the floor. Then push through your front heel to raise your back foot, swinging it all the way through into an exaggerated step forward. Lower once more into a lunge, then push through both feet and straighten your back leg to return to start.

What’s your favorite lunge variation?

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Why and how to do a proper lunge was originally published on Self Evolve

Should you workout twice a day?

Do you workout twice a day? Normally, I don’t workout twice a day since I end up working out 5 to 7 times a week on average. But recently I got distracted and busy between work and birthday celebrations that I somehow skipped a few days at the gym (I mean workout wise not just…

Should you workout twice a day? was originally published on Self Evolve

Do you workout twice a day?

Normally, I don’t workout twice a day since I end up working out 5 to 7 times a week on average. But recently I got distracted and busy between work and birthday celebrations that I somehow skipped a few days at the gym (I mean workout wise not just working). In order to make up for lost time, I decided to workout twice a day for a few days. After noticing major gains and my pants feeling a lot looser, I decided to do some research on working out more than once a day. This is what I found.

Major gains ahead

Splitting your workout into two has major benefits as long as you’re doing it correctly. Ideally, you should workout once in the morning and then again in the afternoon/evening. Due to my crazy work hours, I end up working out at 7am and then again around 9pm. This allows my body to rest for just about 12 hours between workouts. But you have to be smart about your workouts as well. Splitting them up into two 30 minute sessions is ideal. For me, I am trying to achieve next-level superhero status so my workouts may look a little different than most.

As you’re raising your heart rate, boosting circulation and blood flow to the muscles, and getting a sweat on, your body undergoes stress and those muscles begin to get tired. But once you finish that first workout, getting a few hours of rest allows your body to recover and bring it back to homeostasis levels. In this time, you’re able to reboot for another workout, especially if you eat a post-workout meal.

Be smart about it

While working out twice a day is a great idea, it’s best to have a plan of action for both workouts. It might seem like a great idea to lift heavy twice a day, but this is not ideal for those looking to gain muscle or tone up. Instead, it’s best to focus one workout on strength and the other be more cardio based. Yes, you can definitely do two strength training workouts, but if you do make sure you’re focusing on different muscle groups. For me, I like to combine a body-weight TABATA workout with a solid strength-training workout. I find the cardio session helps round out my lifting session, so I end up lifting in the morning and burning calories at night.

If you’re new to working out and dive into two-a-days, that could be rough and lead to you feeling sluggish. I recommend talking to a personal trainer as they can help guide you towards the right workouts and exercises to do in order to avoid that sluggish feeling. Feel free to reach out to me with any questions or concerns.

How often do you workout? And are you seeing the results you want?

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Dumbbell Pullovers and why you should do them

Back in the classic era of bodybuilding, before steroids were a thing, the “squats and milk” routine was the number one method for getting ectomorphs jacked. What most people forget though is the third piece to this routine: pullovers. Squats for testosterone boost and whole-body muscle growth, and pullovers for the wide and thick barrel-chest,…

Dumbbell Pullovers and why you should do them was originally published on Self Evolve

Back in the classic era of bodybuilding, before steroids were a thing, the “squats and milk” routine was the number one method for getting ectomorphs jacked. What most people forget though is the third piece to this routine: pullovers. Squats for testosterone boost and whole-body muscle growth, and pullovers for the wide and thick barrel-chest, and great back development. Bodybuilding greats swore that the dumbbell pullover played a huge role in their upper body development.

Arnold believed this exercise was responsible for expanding his rib cage. Though nobody knows for sure whether this is true, one thing is for certain: it’s an excellent exercise for the upper chest. For those of you out there wondering why you’d even want a thick upper chest, read on.

Benefits of a thick upper chest

pulloversNowadays, there’s too much focus on the flat bench press, which overdevelops the mid and lower pecs. As a result, you could end up looking like you have ‘man boobs’, even if you don’t. And for guys who have man boobs, this exercise can make them look worse by making them stick out more. A nice, thick upper-chest can really give your chest that stone-slab-like appearance. Also, if you have man boobs, a thick upper chest can help improve your appearance. The trouble is that isolating those upper chest fibers is no easy feat. Most people think the incline bench press is the only solution. However, the trouble with incline presses is the greater the incline, the more stress is placed on the anterior deltoid muscles of the shoulders.

Why pullovers?

To really grow a muscle to its maximum potential, you have to attack it from multiple different angles. Your chest muscles control the movement of your upper arm at the shoulder joint. Any movement where your upper arm is moving in toward the front of the body, will involve the pecs. Most people make the mistake that the only way to work the chest is to push something away from you or in a bear-hugging motion. This type of movement is called ‘horizontal adduction’ of the upper arms. But this is only one type of movement, which will limit your gains if you don’t change it up.

Dumbbell pullovers involve using upper arm extension. By doing this exercise, you work the upper chest from a whole different plane than if you were to do the incline dumbbell press. You stimulate different muscle fibers in a new way, leading to awesome gains.

How do you do pullovers?

Be sure to start out with a light weight and gradually increase over time. Lie on a bench with your head hanging over the end. Grasp the dumbbell from the side or from behind. Position the dumbbell over your chest with elbows slightly bent. Slowly lower the dumbbell over and beyond your head until your upper arms are in-line with your torso. Breathe in deeply while doing this. Slowly pull the dumbbell up and over the chest, back to the starting position. Breathe out while doing this. Repeat.

Do you incorporate pullovers in your chest routine?

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Dumbbell Pullovers and why you should do them was originally published on Self Evolve

Smiling can impact your running

Training your facial muscles can affect your results Last year, Eliud Kipchoge ran 26.2 miles in just two hours and 25 seconds in Monza, Italy, as part of Nike’s Breaking2 Project. His time, although not record-eligible, is the fastest marathon time ever recorded, and the effort required to clock it was undoubtedly grueling. Yet Kipchoge…

Smiling can impact your running was originally published on Self Evolve

Training your facial muscles can affect your results

Last year, Eliud Kipchoge ran 26.2 miles in just two hours and 25 seconds in Monza, Italy, as part of Nike’s Breaking2 Project. His time, although not record-eligible, is the fastest marathon time ever recorded, and the effort required to clock it was undoubtedly grueling. Yet Kipchoge never let it show on his face. In fact, it appeared as if he was actually grinning at times. He later told reporters that he was smiling in order to relax and work through the pain. While it may seem silly, science backs up the fact that smiling does have an effect on our performance.

Smile to run further

Studies have shown that when we enrich our workout with a smile, we feel that the effort we put out is far less than the effort we exert when we frown while exercising. But no research had seriously looked into the effects of manipulating our facial expressions by smiling or frowning on our running economy until now. Researchers at Ulster University in Northern Ireland and Swansea University in Wales asked a group of 24 runners to wear a breathing mask to measure oxygen consumption and then complete four six-minute running blocks on a treadmill while smiling and while frowning. The study found that runners who smiled used less oxygen, ran more economically, and had a lowered perceived rate of exertion than those who frowned and those in the control group.

“They were 2.8 percent more economical when smiling than when frowning,” says Noel Brick, Ph. D., lecturer in sport and exercise physiology at the University of Ulster and coauthor of the study. The reason has to do with facial feedback. This little trick becomes especially useful for runners who need to conserve energy over the course of a long-distance run. When talking marathon distance, you can easily shave 5 minutes off your finish time just by smiling. And that smile doesn’t even have to be genuine. Fake it till you make it!

Throw your brain an endorphins party

A smile instantly boosts positivity, relaxes the body, and in turn, makes you more self-aware. When it comes to running, mentality and self-awareness will take you a long way – literally. In the end, mustering up a smile even when you don’t feel like it is just a matter of training, like any other habit. Besides, there’s not much to lose by giving grinning a shot. If nothing else, at least you’ll end up with better race photos.

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Smiling can impact your running was originally published on Self Evolve

How to hone your hydration

Now that it’s getting hotter.. As a runner, it’s easy to think just drink more water to stay hydrated when it gets hot outside. But, it’s a little more complicated than just drinking more water. Even pro runners who have a team of experts dialing in their every need struggle with hydration. You have to…

How to hone your hydration was originally published on Self Evolve

Now that it’s getting hotter..

As a runner, it’s easy to think just drink more water to stay hydrated when it gets hot outside. But, it’s a little more complicated than just drinking more water. Even pro runners who have a team of experts dialing in their every need struggle with hydration. You have to factor in heat, humidity, acclimation, altitude, intensity level, and how much you drank before you ran, in addition to your individual sweat rate. Everyone’s needs are different.

Hydration status

Sweat reduces your blood volume, which means your heart is working harder. Becoming dehydrated by 2 to 3 percent will slow you down, and anything over 4 percent could land you in a medical tent. The easiest way to determine whether you’re dehydrated is with a pee test,. Pale yellow is where you want to be. This test should be done before you run. But if you’re training for a half marathon or longer, an additional step is required. You should calculate your sweat rate by doing the following: weigh yourself before and after an easy hour-long run in which you don’t drink any fluids. Every pound you lose is equivalent to 16 ounces of liquid you need to replace. So if you lose two pounds during an hour-long run, drink 32 to 48 ounces of liquids in the two to four hours after to replenish. 

Don’t rely on thirst

Thirst isn’t a good indication of your fluid loss because as soon as you drink, nerve endings in your tongue and throat send sensory signals to your brain to reduce your thirst before your body has absorbed enough water. It’s best to plan your hydration ahead of time.

  • Running up to 60 minutes: drink water. Aim to drink 3 to 6 ounces of water every 15 to 20 minutes.
  • Running 60 to 90 minutes in hot and humid conditions: drink water and electrolytes. It’s recommended to start with 750 mg of sodium per one liter (32 ounces). 
  • Running 90 to 120+ minutes: drink water, electrolytes and eat carbs. For workouts up to 150 minutes (2.5 hours) it’s recommended to take up to 60 grams of carbs per hour. For long runs over 2.5 hours, up it to 90 grams of carbs.

Keep in mind electrolytes become even more important for performance in three to four hours of continuous exercise. Also, pay attention to the heat and humidity index as that will affect your hydration levels as well.

 

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How to hone your hydration was originally published on Self Evolve

Should you work out until you puke?

Have you ever worked out so hard you puked? After a recent extra-tough training session, the topic of vomit came up at the gym. Some people think it’s not the worse thing to push yourself until you puke, especially if you’re out of shape. These people see puking as a side effect to working out,…

Should you work out until you puke? was originally published on Self Evolve

Have you ever worked out so hard you puked?

After a recent extra-tough training session, the topic of vomit came up at the gym. Some people think it’s not the worse thing to push yourself until you puke, especially if you’re out of shape. These people see puking as a side effect to working out, similar to calluses and popped eye blood vessels after reaching your squat PR. But most people find it disturbing to puke during or after working out. And from a personal trainer who manages trainers and handles hundreds of clients, I’m here to share my opinion on the matter of puking before, during or after a workout.

To puke or not to puke?

First of all, if you’re eating the right foods and performing the right exercises for your fitness level, you shouldn’t be puking ever. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve worked out to the point of feeling nauseous but have never puked before during or after working out. I think there’s a fine line between puking and feeling nauseous. When I do feel nauseous, I tend to pull back a little bit while working out. Whether that means taking a short break or slowing down (cardio) for a minute, I allow my body just enough slack in order to not actually vomit. This is best both for me and those around me.

Ideally, instead of pushing yourself into nausea, monitor your heart rate and make sure it’s between 65 to 85% of your maximum during your workout. It’s good to sweat, but not good to vomit. Next time you’re at the gym, keep these pointers in mind: watch your heart rate, drink lots of water, and push yourself in relation to that heart rate and not until you’re dizzy.

How do you push yourself to workout hard?

 

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Should you work out until you puke? was originally published on Self Evolve