Stretch It Out

Here is a great little stretch routine to help open your body and keep those hard working muscles happy.

You can perform these moves straight after a workout, a hot shower or a foam rolling session.

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Kneeling Lunge- Hip Flexor Stretch

Lunge forward with knee on padded mat. Position foot beyond forward knee. Lift up from the pelvis and push the hips forward. Hold the stretch for 20 seconds and repeat on the other side.

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Upper Hamstrings- Kneeling Extension

Maintain first position. This time lift up from the pelvis and push your hips back. Keep a slight bend in the front leg to target the upper hamstrings. Hold for 20 seconds then proceed to straighten the front leg until you feel a stretch behind the knee. Hold for 20 seconds.

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Seated Spinal Twist- Glutes, Lats and Spinal opener

Sit with your legs straight out in front of you. Slowly lift one leg and place it over the opposite. Rest your foot so that it is flat against the mat. If you have enough space in your hips, slowly lift up from your pelvis  twist around to place the opposite elbow on the outside of the bent knee. Hold for 20 seconds. Repeat on the other side.

 

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Hip Rotators – Lying Glute Stretch

Lie flat on the mat with your bent upwards in front of you. Slowly twist one leg so that the ankle is resting on the opposite legs knee. Using your hands slowly draw the bent knee towards your chest. Hold for 20 seconds and repeat on the other side.

 

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Cobra- Spinal Opener

Lie prone on the floor. Stretch your legs back, tops of the feet on the floor. Spread your hands on the floor under your shoulders. Hug the elbows back into your body. Press the tops of the feet and thighs and the pubic bone firmly into the floor. Slowly Straighten your arms and lift your chest up off the mat whilst maintaining a strong lower body, hold for 10 seconds and repeat.

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Childs Pose- Lower Back Opener

Start by kneeling on your hands and knees. Slowly lower your bottom towards your heels feeling the tailbone lengthen away from the back of your pelvis. As your torso folds over your thighs, lengthen the back of your neck before your forehead rests on the floor. Place your hands above your head and stretch out your arms. (In this picture my knees are together for a deeper lower back stretch, widen your knees to get a deeper shoulder stretch).

Helpful Hints

  • Remember to breathe! Exhale when moving into the stretch to take it deeper and increase your range of motion.
  • Stretch should be uncomfortable but never painful. Take it to a point that works for your body and current flexibility.

 

Happy Stretching 🙂

Hormonal Balance and Weight loss

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Hormones play a big role in the way our body functions and affectively have a huge impact on your overall health. This includes weight loss, weight gain and fat storage.

Yes a lot of it does have to do with genetics but our hormones (and in effect our lifestyle) can also influence the way we store fat, where it is distributed around the body and issues such as cellulite.

But it’s not just about weight!

Hormones are chemical messengers that play stimulus to all the main bodily processes; Growth and development, Metabolism, Sexual function, Reproduction, and Mood.

If you have symptoms like fatigue, skin issues, weight gain, weight around the middle, trouble sleeping, always sleeping, PMS, endometriosis, infertility, PCOS or other issues, chances are you have hormone imbalance.

In saying this, If you suffer from any of these symptoms I recommend referring to your GP in order to get an accurate diagnosis.


Tips For Achieving Hormonal Balance

The good news is that you can naturally improve hormonal balance just by making a few simple lifestyle changes.

Below are some tips on how you can improve hormonal balance:

  • Swap long cardio sessions for short sprint or HIIT sessions

Exercising for long, extended periods can place a lot of stress on the body, (metabolic functions/ energy systems and fat burning) putting your hormones into overdrive. In contrast sprint training and HIIT will get you into that fat burning zone without placing prolonged stress on your body.

  • Include weights and body weight training in regime

While extended cardio can be bad, short bursts of heavy lifting and body weight training can be beneficial since they trigger a cascade of beneficial hormone reactions. There are many examples of this type of training on my Instagram page

  • Eat your Healthy fats (avocado, coconut, chia seeds)

Your healthy fats/ Omega 3 fatty acids are one of the best ways to boost testosterone or female hormones. Cholesterol is needed for formation of healthy cell membranes and is a stimulant for all steroid hormones (progesterone, estrogen, FSH, ect). We cannot have proper hormonal balance without adequate amounts of saturated fats. Yep! Saturated fats aren’t always evil…

  • Avoid man made fats (margarine, vegetable oil, canola oil)

Your body needs natural (omega 3 fatty acids- healthy fats mentioned above) in order to produce hormones and rebuild cells. When we give it these unstable man made fat (Omega 6 polyunsaturated) it is forced to use them instead, which not only impedes the process but may also lead to cell mutation.

  • SLEEP

Now this one it so important! Getting your recommended daily amount of shut eye (8 hours) can do so much in regards to balancing out your hormones and just makes you feel so much better!

  • Stress less

Physical, mental and emotional stress -all cause major spikes in cortisol, one of the main attributors to fat storage. Have some down time and be present…. So much easier said than done I know but even a simple meditation or stretch video on Youtube can do wonderful things for lightening your mood.

  • Try adding natural hormone enhancers such as Maca root and Cacao to your diet.

Maca- Is a root vegetable with a history of boosting hormone production and libido. Maca is also high in minerals and essential fatty acids, making it great for hormones. It is also great for PMS, increasing fertility, and improving skin.

Cacao- The magnesium levels found in cacao means that it supports hundreds of reactions in the body and often contributes to better sleep (which is great for hormones!). You can also just use magnesium supplements in your diet (found in both tablet and liquid form).

  • Limit your ‘white foods’ (white flours, sugars, etc.)

White flours, simple carbs reek havoc on your insulin levels, a hormonal spike that nobody wants.

  • Avoid toxins

BPA, Parabens, Pesticides found in everyday items such as plastics, teflon, household chemicals and even unwashed fruit can totally mess with your hormones. Check the label for BPA free when purchasing water (or do not leave your plastic bottles exposed to heat or light), replace teflon cookware that is peeling and wash your fruit and vegetables with vinegar (sounds strange but it is the most effective way of washing the wax off).

  • Fix Your Leptin

Leptin is a hormone that regulates hunger and metabolism. We can create a deficiency and resistance in our leptin levels by consuming too much sugar or processed foods, skipping meals or by skimping on sleep—which can result in more food cravings and a slower metabolism. The fix? Eat whole foods, steer clear of sugar, don’t over-exercise, under-eat and get some sleep.

Leptin is such an interesting topic! I really recommend reading up on it if you are interested in metabolism and weight loss.

Remember if you have any queries feel free to comment on here or contact me via email.