Chronic Pain, Posture, Wellness

Headache Hacks

With spring in full swing I’m hearing and seeing a lot of you complain about headaches. Just like everything else regarding pain and dysfunction in our society- headaches are something that we’ve come to normalize.

Not only do I hear routine complaints about headaches and migraines- I’ve also had people get defensive as if it’s a negative thing that I”m telling them headaches are often very relievable.

I get it. Whenever someone who has been in pain for years, especially suffering from something like a migraine, is told that that suffering isn’t necessary- it seems like their pain is being minimized. Humans don’t love when they feel that way.

However- I’m going to say this again and again… pain of any kind, even something as normalized as a headache, IS NOT NORMAL nor is there any need for it to be a routine part of your life!

Here are some of the “hacks” I hand out for clients dealing with headaches.

Hydrate

Our lymphatic system holds about 15L of fluid (YEP), and our circulatory system is another 6L of fluid.. our entire body relies on so much water to stay functioning and healthy.

Most people who walk in our doors at Integrative Movement are drinking under 4 glasses of water a day. That fact along makes many of their complaints make sense. Muscle pain, joint pain, chronic pain, headaches, energy troubles…. if we aren’t lubricating our body how can we blame it for complaining?

A optimally functioning adult should be drinking 2-3L of water/day at a minimum. If you have pain, headaches, or other stuff going on… check in with your hydration.

Breathing

Yes, that thing I talk about so much… that we all do. Another basic life process that is highly underrated when it comes to how we function.

Let’s pause on the word “function” for a hot minute. Unfortunately, these days, “normal function” is another term for “not very functional”. Everyday people are constantly in some sort of discomfort or dysfunction when it comes to their health (which includes mind, body, and emotions).

I’ve written and spoke about breathing a lot. The nitty gritty is that if we are breathing in correctly (aka using large postural muscles in our upper body) we will see an increase in tension around the neck and fascial changes in the body perpetuating tension. Tension around the neck leads to trigger points being activated and headaches all over the place. Think “tension” headaches at the base of the skull, forehead, and behind the eyes. Often migraine symptoms are caused by this as well- auras, trouble focusing, nausea, pain in standing or moving positions, dizziness.

Migraines can be classified in a few ways, one of them being ischemic (code for restricted circulation).. meaning something is causing a decrease in circulation to the brain or soft tissue around the skull. One of these causes can and often is connective and soft tissue tension in the upper body closing in on arteries and lymphatic vessels in the area.

Working on breathing mechanism and the “simple” act of taking some time to lay on your back or stomach with your head resting in your palms and doing some deep diaphragmatic breathing can make a GINORMOUS difference in symptoms of headaches and migraines.

Check this post and podcast out on the hows of breathing…

https://anchor.fm/kathlyn-mary-hossack/embed/episodes/Apr-6–2018-e19orh/a-a2ve4i

MOVEMENT (duh)

I mean, this isn’t news.. right?

None of us move enough and even those who do move enough don’t get enough variety in their movements.

Repetitive movements will just perpetuate the issues listed above. You get 10,000 steps in? Awesome… but how much did you bend over, twist, roll around, squat, wiggle your toes, etc?

Movement helps circulate lymphatic fluid which is a huge factor in inflammation and pain (if it isn’t moved around). Movement also increases circulation to those tense muscles and helps to relieve undue tension.

This post by Dr. Perry Nicholson sums it up some excellent ideas for adding variety in.

Pain in movement?! Pain will stop you from moving.. and that is not okay. Find a professional who knows how to get you moving painfree again…

Nutrition (also kinda duh?)

Nobody knows what is going on with healthy eating anymore. Why? Because everywhere you turn there is a new diet fad. Run away from anything telling you its the new best way to get healthy. Whether it does have benefits or not isn’t the issue… the issue is that health shouldn’t need anything more then common sense to figure out.

We are designed to eat a variable diet of whole foods. Does that mean there isn’t a place for certain styles of eating? Nope.. actually certain ways of eating can be very beneficial to help alleviate symptoms of many complaints. Including headaches and body pain.. as both these can connect back into general inflammation somewhere in the system. That’s where finding the help of someone who understands health as a whole and using food as medicine can be hugely beneficial.

I recommend looking into different options of Registered Dieticians, Holistic Nutritionists, or Functional Medicine practitioners and do your own research. Try things. Experiment with the types of foods you eat, and don’t be afraid of experimenting. As questions of yourself and others. We are ever-changing creatures and no diet should be a forever solution.

Take homes?

Headaches OFTEN come from neck tension, postural dysfunction, lack of hydration, and sometimes inflammatory conditions in other ares of the body causing a chain effect.

Don’t get stuck in a negative pain loop around your pain/headaches. Never stop looking for a solution. Do stop sourcing quick fixes. Believe that there are ways to break the pain cycle- there always is!

Free Workouts, health, nutrition, Self-Development, Weight Loss, Wellness

5 Simple Health Hacks for 2018

Resolutions are overrated. Building habits and setting smart goals are what its really all about.

Sorry if I’m killing your #newyearnewme vibes. The truth is that resolutions made this time of year are generally not accomplished by 80% of us lowly humans.

The problem with habits is that they take time and effort, and that is something us humans don’t naturally drift to. Setting a fiery resolution as of Jan 1, 2018 does not come close to guarantee that you wont’ be saying the same thing next year at this time. Health is an ongoing series of habits and decisions you make EVERY SINGLE DAY. And every day is a new adventure, so the decisions will change DAILY. The best solution is forming a solid line up of habits to help you along the decision making trail.

One of the biggest barriers clients tell me about is not having enough time to include new healthy habits into their life, or being too busy to commit to a coaching schedule, complete daily tasks to support their long term health, or to take time for themselves. A lot of this involves choosing to remove the inconvenience of health from our lives (and ironically thereby making health more convenient– making it the obvious choice).

We’ll talk more about sustainable habit practices soon. In this post I am going to outline 5 SIMPLE things you can add to your day to day routine that don’t require more then 5min.

1. Get Down (on the ground)

The simple act of spending time on the ground, and getting back up again is an amazingly simple way to get the whole body moving. Most of us spend the majority of our days in a seated position. It’s well known by now that our conventional chair based positions are absolute crap for our bodies. Evolutionarily we were designed to spend majority of our time in transit (walking, crouching, etc), or in ground based positions (deep squats, kneeling positions, cross legged or other variations of sitting on the ground.).

We have seen a slow creep of convenient ways to bring different positions back into our lives- from ball chairs to standing desks, however, the majority of us still plunk down and stay for way too long.

So here’s the deal. Take a minute, get off your duff, and get on the ground. Sit however is comfortable, kneel, or even lay down and do some rolling around. Then… get up!

That’s it.

Do that 20-50times a day for the best results. Start with what you can handle, and build from there.

If you have joint pain or other health conditions preventing you from doing this simple movement, you need to get yourself to a practitioner who knows what’s up and deal with that. Or, comment/email us with questions and we can send you some personalized advice.

Consults are always free at IM, and having someone chat with you about where you’re at and how to get you where you want to go is never a poor investment.

One of the best tests of longevity is this simple (and yes, it should be SIMPLE), act of moving your body weight from the ground level to a up right position unassisted. No matter what your age or ability, I am confident you can get there with the right tools- and that you’ll feel much healthier for this addition to your day.

2. Hydrate

Okay, seriously, let’s talk about this.

Majority of people are not drinking nearly enough water. Especially those of us who live in the sub zero temperatures on this planet.

I can tell the minute I look at someone, and work on their tissues, what their hydration is like.

Why is hydrating so important? Well why is gas and oil necessary for your car?

Water does many things for our body. Our brain function relies on proper hydration and will use majority of what we get into ourselves immediately just for baseline functioning. All our tissues all the way down to a cell level require water to be healthy. If our cells aren’t healthy, our tissues don’t function at their full levels, and we pay the toll. Joint stiffness, muscle soreness, fatigue, headaches, bloating, water retention, arthritis, sleep issues, low mood quality, you name it I can probably relate it back to your poor hydration habits.

For those of you with existing health conditions or looking to lose weight. This should be of extra importance for you!

How much do you need to drink? You should have a water bottle with you throughout your day, and be taking sips routinely. Generally, I would say 2-3L/day for a healthy adult is adequate. Bet thats a lot more then you’re currently drinking!

For those of you raising protest about more frequent trips to the bathroom, your kidneys thank you in advance. This won’t be a long term inconvenience, but like anything allow for an adjustment period. Try adding herb or fruit (lemon is popular!) infusions! Tea counts as intake as well, but coffee and other sugary drinks not so much.

Want to make this easy? Get yourself a water bottle you’ll love to carry around with you, and keep it full! Just the simple act of having it near you through your day will remind you to take sips from it.

3. The 80% Rule

Coming off of the holiday season and rolling into our new diet plans is always easy when we start… but forming the right habits now will make that February crash and burn easier to prevent.

When it comes to nutrition, there are a lot of things I could throw at you in terms of the latest trends in dieting and why they are probably bulls*** and why you should stick to whole foods and a variable diet full of the things we all know that are good for us… but instead I’m going to leave you with the simplest guideline.

Eat SLOWLY and MINDFULLY, and stop putting things in your mouth when you feel 80% full.

Get the DISTRACTIONS (aka, your phone) away from your eating area, and enjoy what you’re eating. Finding 80% full for most of us is pretty difficult at first, but having minimal distractions and eating slower will help the process. 80% full to me feels.. satisfied. Not hungry, not stuffed. Not empty, but not bloated or brimming. Pay attention to what your literal gut is telling you, and then LISTEN TO IT.

Doing this now while you’re high on resolution plans will make the habit before you hit the Valentine’s day chocolate sales . Trust me.

Feel like you need a little more help building your nutrition habits? Check out our membership page or book a consult to learn more about our coaching programs. (The consult is free 😉 )

4. Learn How to Breathe

We posted on our instagram a few days ago about the Alligator Breathing exercise. If you missed it, find it here and the video here!

We’ve talked about breathing before. The mechanics of it are something a lot of us get wrong a lot of the time, and switching back to diaphragm breathing or alligator style breathing not only benefits the rest of our movement, but also our nervous system and therefore our entire being.

No matter where you’re at, a high performance athlete, runner, weekend warrior with aches and pains, office worker, retiree, everyday human with average health, working on getting yourself to a healthier place, or still stuck where you are, changing your breathing can literally change your life. From mood improvement, sleep enhancement, pain reliever, stress reliever, and focus enhancer- this could be your first step towards something better.

Was that cheesy? #sorrynotsorry

As an added bonus it ties into our next step…

5. Take Five

I don’t care who you are you have time to take 5minutes for yourself.

This isn’t about making sure you hit the gym everyday, or only eat the perfect meals, or even about adding a dedicated meditation practice to your day.

I want you to take 5 minutes to do whatever the heck you want to do.

Some suggestions I could make would be:

  • spending 5 minutes practicing your breathing
  • going for a stroll outside your office (even better, in the actual outdoors)
  • taking 5minutes to get up and down off the floor, or do any other combination of movements that you want to do– check our instagram for ideas here!!!
  • 5min letting your mind clear while sipping your favourite drink (OR THAT WATER YOU SHOULD BE DRINKING ANYWAY)
  • Writing out your intentions for the day, week, month and the goals that will help those intentions come to fruition.
  • 5 technology free moments to meditate on all the things your grateful for today (write these down for added benefit!)

You get the point. The minutes are yours, use them wisely and in a forward thinking way with your health goals in mind.

Those are all simple things right? How many of you will actually add them in? I’m curious!

As I mentioned above, consults with IM coaches and therapists are always free. Our drive is to help you with your drive towards health. Whatever level you are at. Click here to book your consult with us. We’ll even include some goal setting tricks to get you started!

Let’s make 2018 all it can be!

Athletic Therapy, Biomechanics, Chronic Pain, Conditioning, Equestrian, Free Workouts, Motor Learning, strength training, Weight Loss, Wellness

At your age…

Here’s a fun tidbit I hear OFTEN second hand from clients after their friends/family/peers find out what their training and therapy plans consist of…

“At your age, should you really be lifting weights?”

“Isn’t weight training dangerous for your joints? Does that really help you feel better?”

“Aren’t you worried about getting injured again?”

“I heard that weight training is bad for you- doesn’t it cause arthritis”

First off.. I’m honestly not sure where people are finding that last bit of information from, at this point in our history. Secondly I’m also endlessly grateful that I’ve stopped frequently hearing that weight training will make women bulky- at last that myth has been put out of it’s misery. Third off- weight training is highly effective for arthritis rehabilitation and management- WHEN IT IS DONE CORRECTLY. The only time it’s going to cause arthritis is if you don’t do it in good form. This is why having the guidance of a trained professional is imperative when starting any new program. At the very least get a movement assessment and see where you need to work!

Would I tell someone of ANY age to just go and start lifting weights (no matter how much)? NOPE.

Do I prescribe and coach programs for ALL ages (yes, all the way up to 90-somethings- seriously) that involve various amounts of loaded movements, functional movements, dynamic movements, and stability training? You bet I do!

Here’s the neat things about the body.. it works on an adaptation based system. Which means- invariably- to IMPROVE our systems we have to STRESS our systems.

Here’s the feedback I get from my dedicated clients:

“I don’t wake up at 3am anymore with back pain”

“I sleep through the night and don’t wake up stiff in the mornings anymore”

“I don’t get tired during the day”

“My joints aren’t bugging me as much since I started training”

“I’m making healthier choices elsewhere in my life since starting this training routine.”

“I FEEL GOOD”

When we apply GOOD, healthy stress to our system- things change for the better. We also develop a higher tolerance for negative stressors, which means we function just overall more kick ass.

It no longer new information that the mind and the body are one coordinating unit.

Exercise, movement- of any kind- is the BEST and most EFFECTIVE medicine. The stats support it. Check these out.

According to the Conference Board of Canada, if we were to decrease the number of inactive Canadians by even 10%, we’d see a 30% reduction in all-cause mortality and major savings in health care. It is in fact estimated that more than $2.4 billion, or 3.7 per cent of all healthcare costs, were attributed to the direct cost of treating illness and disease due to physical inactivity1. The financial impact of poor health amounts to a loss of more than $4.3 billion to the Canadian economy, and the negative repercussions of inactivity cost the healthcare system $89 billion per year in Canada2. According to several studies, properly structured and supported exercise program, designed and delivered by a kinesiologist can, among other benefits:

  • Reduce the risk of high blood pressure and heart disease by 40%;
  • Reduce the incidence of type 2 diabetes by 50% and be twice as effective as standard insulin in treating the condition;
  • Help the function of muscles for people affected by Parkinson’s disease and Multiple Sclerosis;
  • Decrease depression as effectively as pharmacological or behavioural therapy;5
  • Reduce the risk of stroke by 27%;
  • Reduce the risk of colon cancer by 60%;
  • Reduce mortality and risk of recurrent cancer by 50%;

(Based on year 2009. Jansen et al., 2012 2 Based on year 2013. 3 Cardiorespiratory fitness is an independent predictor of hypertension incidence among initially normotensive healthy women.
Barlow CE et al. Am J Epidemiol 2006; 163:142-50. 4 Reduction in the incidence of type 2 diabetes with lifestyle intervention or metformin. DPP Research Group. New England Journal of Medicine 2002; 346:393-403. 5 Exercise treatment for depression: efficacy and dose response.
Dunn A et al. American Journal of Preventive Medicine 2005. 6 Physical activity and colon cancer: confounding or interaction? Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise:
June 2002 – Volume 34 – Issue 6 – pp 913-919)

Weight training- when done intelligently for each individual- is just as effective as other types of exercise in improving health. It has it’s own set of extra benefits and of course risk factors. Just like that Tylenol you like to pop for your back pain.

There is no one way to utilize the benefits of movement. Some people to pick things up and put them down.. others like to yoga.. some like to do step classes, and others just like to go for regular walks and stretch. IT’S ALL GOOD.

The biggest emphasis I am trying to make is that adding weight to your routine when you’re doing it correctly for YOUR SYSTEM (this is where the help of a trained professional often comes in), you’re looking at more resilience throughout your body and mind.

Don’t knock it til you try it 😉

(With the correct prescription and educated advice, of course!)

Athletic Therapy, Biomechanics, Chronic Pain, Conditioning, Equestrian, Motor Learning, Posture, Weight Loss, Wellness

If it ain’t broke.. The right way to move

Is there a correct way to move?

This is a question that has plagued therapists, trainers, and clients since the age of time.

Actually.. probably not that long.

The evolution of health and movement is one to be admired- in that, we’ve gone from quadruped beings, to walking, running, bipedal masterpieces, to what we are now.

We’re at an interesting point in movement science. We’ve somewhat regressed in our movement ability. While yes, we are still bipedal, upright beings- we no longer spend much of our time moving around in a variety of ways.

Now we move from point a-b-c-d in condensed timeframes, spending majority of our time between 3 positions (or variations of..): standing, seated, and laying down.

The author of Sapiens, Yuval Noah Harari, points out that the Agricultural and Industrial Revolutions not only may have ended our movement ability, but also may have birthed the beginnings of the various chronic illnesses and pain that affects us today.

Modern Day practitioners have been preaching alignment for decades already, and certainly our posture and ability to move has a huge impact on our overall wellbeing.. but is there such a thing as the “perfect” posture or alignment? Is there one optimal way to move?

The truth is yes, but also.. no.

There is certainly a most efficient way to move- in that, we will put minimal stressors on our structure and expend the least amount of energy to create that movement. There is a general textbook answer to this optimal alignment.

As an aside- it’s common to hear practitioners saying that one of your legs is longer then the other, or your pelvis is out of alignment.. when often the truth is some asymmetries are NORMAL to a certain degree.

We all have one shoulder that will be slightly depressed based on our hand dominance. We all have slight differences in how our rib cage sits, because of our anatomy (the left side has less lung in it to account for the heart- causing a shift between left and right), and where the rib cage goes the hips follow. Our body works in a chain like system- one link compensates for the next.. and while many compensations cause other problems, not all asymmetries are bad or abnormal. This will also change based on the mental health and perception an individual holds on pain, stress, and their systemic health. The debates on these fuel many research articles and books already. Stay tuned for more discussion on those topics and how movement relates to them.

When it really comes down to it, our movement is as unique as we are- and what is the best way to move for one person may not always mirror the best way to move for another person. We’re designed to be adaptable beings, and our postures should be just as adaptable.

Wait.. haven’t you been preaching posture and biomechanics your whole career?

Yes.. and while there may be differences across our spectrum of movement- majority of us inherit similar postural dysfunctions.. it’s very rare to find someone who moves well, even though there is no set checklist for what exactly moving well means.

Moving poorly in relation to your body can create a vicious cycle of degeneration, causing pain, causing less movement, causing more negative health outcomes. You can get enough movement, but if you don’t move well- you can actually do harm to your body which results in less movement.

For that reason *usually the first step with clients is to assess and correct how they move. From there we build a foundation of efficient movement, and build their movement habits on top of that foundation.

While I can’t say there is one right way to move, I can say that it is very rare to find someone with obviously inefficient movement without some sort of history of pain. The thing about pain is that it may not even present as physical pain.. it may be present in the form of gastrointestinal issues, or undue mental states. Our structure represents our internal framework too- and that can be a chicken or the egg scenario.

Many movement based practitioners will offer within their consult with you a movement screen. If you’re looking for an assist with your health, this is one of the things you should look to your professional to do. Cookie-cutter exercise programs, apps, and group fitness classes are convenient and cost effective- but the grain of salt there is if you get injured or develop pain because you’re movement wasn’t properly screened before starting a program- they cost you more in the long term.

We routinely see clients at their wits end come into our care. They’ve tried everything and nothing works- they are even hesitant to try anything else. They can’t move enough because of pain, or- they’ve never been taught healthy habits around their lifestyle (including movement and nutritional practices). This is what plagues our healthcare system today, and the message I keep putting out there to clients and peers is that none of this is a difficult fix- it just requires a shift from expecting a quick, cheap fix, to some quality time spent investing in our own health and getting educated guidance.

If you have questions about your movement today- send us an email and we’d be happy to help. Consults are always free.

Athletic Therapy, Chronic Pain, Wellness

5 Reasons Why Integrative Movement is Different

1. Accessibility

We pride ourselves in providing a simple, affordable solution to health and lifestyle services. We also offer services out of four satellite locations covering South Winnipeg, the Pembina Valley, Charleswood, and Selkirk region. All our locations are partnerships with other likeminded health facilities. From full functioning gyms to yoga studios – we do the groundwork to develop a health focused community feel wherever we go. We also offer online services and training for those at a distance or on a budget! 

2. Investment

How many of us have bought into a health program, rehab, or gym membership only to under utilize it and later feel like we’ve just wasted the money? Our job is to support you in whatever your health goals require. Whether it’s developing healthy habits in the gym or at home, recovering from an injury, or pushing yourself to a new level of health and fitness, we work hard to provide highly skilled and knowledgable support. As a bonus, new members at our Selkirk and Charleswood locations automatically get 6 weeks of coaching alongside their memberships. No longer will you be stuck not knowing what to do with your gym membership! Your health is an investment, and we believe that navigating those investments is best with accessible, individualized support.

3. Individuality

It’s all about YOU- At IM we are different then your average rehabilitation facility or personal training sales pitch. We take the time to figure out what makes you tick. From consult to regular sessions, you can expect to spend 45min-1hr with us in either dedicated one on one therapy, consult, or training sessions or in a small group of likeminded individuals working at a common goal. Keeping things personal allows us to make sure you’re getting all the resources YOU need to reach your full health potential.

4. Diverse Experience

We are a team of Kinesiologists and Athletic Therapists with years of education and a growing experience base. Each of us enters our practice with our own personalities, history, and interests. For that reason, we pride ourselves in working as a team to meet our clients where they are at- and when appropriate work as a team with other professionals you deem valuable to your healthcare team.

5. We get it.

Life happens. Injuries are tough. Pain messes with our heads. Taking the steps towards lifestyle change seems impossible some days. We have been there, and we understand. Even on the days where you think it’s never going to change, the pain will never leave, or you’ll never get your old energy back.. we’ve got you. We won’t give up even when you don’t know where you stand. As the therapists and coaches we are, we hold out hope even when all hope seems lost. We’re all in the same boat, us humans, and we approach your care on your side every single day.

Want to learn more about how we can fit seamlessly into your journey towards optimal movement and health? Book your FREE consult here or drop by any of our locations to learn more. Looking forward to meeting you!

Athletic Therapy, Chronic Pain, Wellness

5 Reasons Why Integrative Movement is Different

1. Accessibility

We pride ourselves in providing a simple, affordable solution to health and lifestyle services. We also offer services out of four satellite locations covering South Winnipeg, the Pembina Valley, Charleswood, and Selkirk region. All our locations are partnerships with other likeminded health facilities. From full functioning gyms to yoga studios – we do the groundwork to develop a health focused community feel wherever we go.

2. Investment

How many of us have bought into a health program, rehab, or gym membership only to under utilize it and later feel like we’ve just wasted the money? Our job is to support you in whatever your health goals require. Whether it’s developing healthy habits in the gym or at home, recovering from an injury, or pushing yourself to a new level of health and fitness, we work hard to provide highly skilled and knowledgable support. As a bonus, new members at our Selkirk and Charleswood locations automatically get 6 weeks of coaching alongside their memberships. No longer will you be stuck not knowing what to do with your gym membership! Your health is an investment, and we believe that navigating those investments is best with accessible, individualized support.

3. Individuality

It’s all about YOU- At IM we are different then your average rehabilitation facility or personal training sales pitch. We take the time to figure out what makes you tick. From consult to regular sessions, you can expect to spend 45min-1hr with us in either dedicated one on one therapy, consult, or training sessions or in a small group of likeminded individuals working at a common goal. Keeping things personal allows us to make sure you’re getting all the resources YOU need to reach your full health potential.

4. Diverse Experience

We are a team of Kinesiologists and Athletic Therapists with years of education and a growing experience base. Each of us enters our practice with our own personalities, history, and interests. For that reason, we pride ourselves in working as a team to meet our clients where they are at- and when appropriate work as a team with other professionals you deem valuable to your healthcare team.

5. We get it.

Life happens. Injuries are tough. Pain messes with our heads. Taking the steps towards lifestyle change seems impossible some days. We have been there, and we understand. Even on the days where you think it’s never going to change, the pain will never leave, or you’ll never get your old energy back.. we’ve got you. We won’t give up even when you don’t know where you stand. As the therapists and coaches we are, we hold out hope even when all hope seems lost. We’re all in the same boat, us humans, and we approach your care on your side every single day.

Want to learn more about how we can fit seamlessly into your journey towards optimal movement and health? Book your FREE consult here or drop by any of our locations to learn more. Looking forward to meeting you!

Athletic Therapy, Chronic Pain, Conditioning, nutrition, Weight Loss, Wellness

Baby Steps

Health shifts are HARD.

I often warn clients that it’s going to seem like the tiniest baby steps forward, and progress won’t always be blatantly obvious.. until it is.

I’ve had the perfect example of one of those “until it is” situations the last little bit. A long time training client decided to join me in using ProCoach, a new nutrition and habit coaching software that allows me to get at some of the whys of why progress requires daily change.

This client works hard in every workout, and admittedly needed to make some other health shifts to really get the progress in their health they were looking for.

We’d already used the power of exercise to help them lose some weight, and decrease the medications they were on due to a chronic health condition. They were now ready to add in some dedicated nutrition and lifestyle change.

It’s be 10weeks on this new program. This program requires them to think daily and reflect on their habits, choices, and diet. They started asking questions about what they were eating and how their choices every day could be affecting their progress and health. They got daily workouts and maintained their 2x/week sessions in the gym with their trainer.

They started the new program hesitant, but determined. Knowing they wanted to make change. They committed to doing the work- and that, my friends, is the hardest part of change.

Small baby steps, every day, every week. In their first 2 weeks they dropped 5lbs.

By 6 weeks they had dropped inches off their body composition and another 5lbs.

Now at 10weeks? They’ve dropped even more inches and are down a total of 16lbs. They’re feeling and looking different… better different.

This is a year long course/program for the client… I can’t wait to see what happens in the next 10 weeks!

All these growing improvements and positive changes for a workout and 5min a day of reflection, and small habitual diet and lifestyle change.

Seems like nothing- but it takes huge mental effort to make that commitment.

Daily effort. It’s not as easy as a miracle pill to manage symptoms. Even if that pill has negative side effects.

The rewards though of that daily effort to shift? Much, much greater- and- the only side effect is improved health and happiness!

headstand

Equestrian, nutrition, Wellness

Fix It Fridays: Sweet Tooth

 

My name is Kathlyn and I am a sugar addict.

I don’t think I’m alone, either. 

In today’s world of processed, readily available snacks, shakes, and grab and go meals.. it’s hard not to be. Unfortunately, as I’m sure you’ve heard, sugar isn’t so great for us.

It’s well known that increased sugar intake is linked to higher rates of obesity, metabolic disorders, fatigue, anxiety/depression symptoms, attention problems, chronic pain, cardiac conditions, thyroid conditions, and diabetes. To put together a brief list.

Yes, sugar is what our body runs on.. sugar being glucose which we derive from carbohydrates in our diet. However, there is a big differently between the useful kinds of sugars, and the processed/refined versions that are usually found in our snacky foods, coffees, and drinks.

I’m not going to lecture on why sugar is bad- instead I’m just going to give you some tips on how to stave off that sweet tooth and start getting that addiction under control.

Related to last week’s breakfast article, eating a good meal first thing will help keep the munchies away and your energy up throughout the day.

Having healthy snacks on hand (fruit, pre-cut veggies, nuts, yogurt (unsweetened), dried fruits) will make it easier to grab something nutritionally preferable then to head to that vending machine and grab a kit kat or a soda.

For all you energy drinkers out there… the above tip will do you wonders as well. Weaning yourself off high sugar content drinks does take effort, but combined with well timed nutrition packed snacks such as veggies and fruit and the next tip (hint: hydration) will do wonders for your energy levels and your overall health. Red Bull may give you wings, but it doesn’t do you much health wise.

HYDRATION HYDRATION HYDRATION! I find that adding some lemon juice, making iced tea (not Nestle, rather literally iced tea of any variety brewed over night or brewed hot and adding ice to your fav. tea, infusing water with fruit, cucumber and herbs… all make getting that daily water intake in much more flavourable.

Lastly- MOVE AROUND DARNIT. I find I get the worst snack attacks when I spend extended amounts of time immobile. My recommendation for anyone spending long hours working at a desk, driving, or sitting is to take movement breaks every 20-30minutes, and at the very least every hour. Stand up, walk about, jump up and down, do some planks, do some stretches, just move! Taking breaks like this throughout your day will not only keep your energy levels from crashing, it will also distract you, keep the blood flowing, and keep your brain off it’s sugar fix.

That’s it for this week. What’s your guilty pleasure snack… and how do you keep yourself from over doing it on the sugar?

 

 

Equestrian, nutrition, Wellness

Fix it Fridays: How do you break your fast?

Over and over again I have clients telling me how they struggle with a morning routine when it comes to their nutrition.

I know you’ve all heard the lecture on how breakfast is a must and how important it is for your daily health and long term health goals. If you haven’t, the gist of it is that eating a balanced, healthy breakfast ensures that you’ll kickstart your metabolism for the day ahead, be less apt to choose sugary, starchy snacks throughout the day, have improved energy, mental capacity, and generally be less of a grump. Hanger is real.

I give this lecture to clients a lot. Most often, the response I get in return is the “but I don’t have timmeeee” statement.

You’re talking to the Queen of morning procrastination, and yet I still manage to get something into my digestive system before my first commitment of the day. It’s possible, all you need are the tools!

There are a few basic recommendations for what to include in your morning or start of the day meal. To achieve balance, we want to have a dose of protein, some fats, and perhaps some unprocessed form of carbohydrates as well. Variations off of this depend on the person, their dietary needs and desires.

Sources of protein for the breakfast time include eggs (these also have some hella good fats and other important micronutrients in them!!), meat, legumes, whey powders or other protein powders, yogurt, nuts, nut butters, etc.

Sources of fats include: eggs, yogurt (go Greek here), nuts, meats.

Sources of choice carbohydrates include: breads (choose the least processed and most whole grain you can.. the more seeds you see the better!), oats and other grains (think muesli or oatmeal).

For myself I know I do best with more protein and carbs in the morning.. my go to’s are scrambled eggs with cheese, fried eggs on toast (with jam cause I’m a jam fiend), whole-grain toast with peanut butter, or a tortilla with peanut butter, chia seeds, and jam. I also often do smoothies, which we’ll talk about in a second. As I mentioned before, I don’t like getting out of bed  until I absolutely have to.. so all these go to breakfasts I just listed take about 5 min to make. 10 min Maximum.

Another thing I loooooove to do on the mornings I just don’t feel like eating much is make smoothies. Smoothies are excellent because you can make whatever flavour suits you, get your important nutrients in, and take them to go. Seriously, they rule!

Here’s a starter smoothie recipe for you, since it’s strawberry season 🙂

  • 1-2 cup ice
  • 1 cup fresh strawberries (or frozen)
  • 1 banana
  • 1-3tbs of peanut butter
  • 1 scoop protein powder (vanilla is best with this mix)
  • 3/4c-1cup greek yogurt (unflavoured/no sugar added)
  • 1-3 cups liquid (water, milk, nut milk, coconut milk)

For those of you out there reading this thinking “but I don’t get hungry in the mornings..”, I hear ya. Finding something light, or packing yourself healthy snacks to have on hand are two good options for these people. One of my personal favourites is watermelon and a big glass of lemon water for those mornings when my system is just not wanting anything much first thing. Hydration is another very important consideration for the mornings, and fruit like watermelon is packed full of water and good things to boost energy in the mornings. Lemon water helps staunch sugar cravings, and is great for our gut. Along with this, having various fruits, veggies, and nuts packed to munch on through the day will help prevent ongoing sugar cravings, or not so great snacking, while keeping energy levels even.

Let me know in the comments what your favorite way to break your morning fast is!

 

Equestrian

Wide Eyes at #WEF

If you have me on social media (instagram, facebook, twitter) then you’ll know that I’ve been frequenting the Winter Equestrian Festival, and Global Dressage Festival in Wellington, Fla this week. If you don’t have me on social media- go follow me and then finish reading this post (katmah1- instagram, Katmah Training & Performance on Fbook, and Katbee13 on Twitter).

With two days left in Wellington, my eyes are finally returning to their normal size. For a prairie girl who’s only really see horse shows in Manitoba (they aren’t that exciting) and New Zealand (much higher quality.. but not WEF), getting to live every rider’s dream for a week here in Florida has been pretty epic.
Why am I here?

Again, you’ll know the answer to this if you watch my media accounts. I’m here in coordination with Stable & Spice, and Heels Down Magazine as we launch the new fitness and nutrition series. Throughout the week we’ve been filming myself working with high level, big name riders here at WEF who frequent the dressage, hunter, and jumper rings. Why are we doing this? For only the most obvious of reasons.. there is a HUGE gap in rider education when it comes to injury prevention, fitness, and nutrition. As many riders will know first hand… it’s not uncommon to see a rider of any level living off coffee or redbull, and even smoking while walking courses. Why is this an issue? We’re athletes- but we aren’t acting like it. Many of us, anyway. This new series is meant to bring awareness to this issue, as well as begin educating young riders (and not young) about keeping themselves healthy and fit. This has been my personal vendetta for a while- and now with the help of these two media powerhouses, we’re making it a thing.


This has been an awesome first stint here in Florida, even if it took me a few days to get my bearings. I pretty much felt like I was walking into a movie the first day I was at the show. Seriously. Even driving around to different barns I was awestruck. This is where all the people with money and horses go. Being the nerd I am I’ve been grabbing all the real estate books on the properties here, so I can continue to dream about my $16mill farm one day. After those few day of either staring out the windows awe-struck, or wandering around with wide eyes at the shows- I slowly adjusted to my surroundings. The first day we filmed with Schuyler Riley, a grand prix show jumper based here in Wellington. The oldest, and wisest of our subjects. It was my first day on camera, so I did a lot of learning on the fly. “Talk to Wisconsin” aka, talk LOUD was my first reminder to put my teaching voice on, even though I was technically working with only one person. First we did fitness, without getting specific (you’ll have to watch the videos when they launch 😉 ), I taught Schuyler some exercises she hadn’t seen before (she’s a huge advocate for rider fitness and nutrition already!) and we got some great shots of her dog napping during the session. After the fitness we moved to her kitchen where we shot a cooking show. She didn’t need much help, a near professional cook herself, and this being my first time ever hosting a cooking show- I kinda let her take over.

If that wasn’t exhausting enough, day 2 of work here we shot two riders in one day. The first, Mary Lauritsen of Millenium Dressage, and then Brittni Raflowitz- another grand-prix rider/trainer. Both these riders were closer to my own age, the first with minimal experience in either cooking or fitness, and the second with a long exercise history and absolutely no cooking experience. A couple days off, exploring food trucks, swimming the hotels awesome pool, and avoiding potential tornadoes (the shows got evacuated on day 4 because of a storm and a tornado watch), grocery shopping in a power outage (I still found peanut butter oreos.. I love shopping in the USA!) – brought us to today- my second last day here in my first week.


  
Today was awesome! I spent the first few hours wandering WEF, watching and drooling over the hunters and perusing the shops. Then we met up with Tori Colvin.. The Tori Colvin, to film. I’d never met Tori before, and until this week I honestly didn’t know who she was. When we heard she had signed up I did my obligatory internet creeping and found out she’s a pretty big deal.


 Here I should mention that the fitness portions of these videos are all based on my own evaluation of rider’s equitation and posture. True to my style I made a unique intro program for them each and taught it to them on camera. A totally new experience for me (the on camera part, anyway), but thankfully by the time we got to Tori I was getting more comfortable. The highlight of this session was naming an exercise after her, one I developed and basically made up specifically for her.. so keep an eye out for “The Tori” in upcoming video releases through Stable & Spice and Heels Down!

Tonight, as I write this, I’m watching the Freestyle Dressage at Global Dressage Fest from the media lounge. My first time watching this level of dressage live and in person! Tomorrow we film one last rider in this stint and spend some more time in hunter/jumper land. I’m still a little star struck from my session with Tori, to be honest.


 With a day and a half left here.. I’m not exactly looking forward to returning to my -30C hometown right now… but I’m resting assured that I’ll be back later in the season for more sun and film experience.. and making even more connections! I already feel so blessed to have my business make it here in the first place!

Stay tuned for a post on the common rider mechanics issues I’ve seen here this week!