Rest days do more than just let your muscles recover

Krav Maga Worldwide Training at Santa Monica Beach

Recovery: Rest

The KMW community has fostered a wonderfully competitive gym atmosphere that allows members to really express their full potential.  However, when that atmosphere encourages two-a-day workouts and 7 days a week at the gym, we need to be careful to not burn out.  Please do not skip your rest days!!  So many of us just rest from one workout by doing another.  While variety is wonderful, you need to take actual days off.  Doing a Krav class on your day off from bag doesn’t count.  You need to let your muscles rest to fully recover.

Rest days do more than just let your muscles recover; rest days let your nervous system recover.  Our nervous system is split into two branches: sympathetic (fight or flight) and parasympathetic (rest and digest).  Combine the demands of the competitive LA lifestyle with the demands of our competitive gym atmosphere and we have a recipe for sympathetic dominance. When we are living in only the sympathetic state, we are always on high alert, taxing mental and adrenal function, and preventing the rest and digest actions from taking place.  This means that when you are stressed, you are not capable of digesting food or recovering from workouts or injuries. We need to keep the two branches of the nervous system in balance to maintain healthy bodies and minds.

Rest days give your body a healthy dose of the parasympathetic nervous system, but we must also take time out of our stressful workday to reactivate the parasympathetic branch.   The following are a few ideas to help your body activate the parasympathetic nervous system to encourage proper digestion and recovery.  Pick at least one of these to do during the busiest time of your day, and make sure you have activated the parasympathetic nervous system before you eat!

  • Grounding:  put your bare feet in some sand, soil or grass if you can, but just sitting on the ground is also helpful
  • Cross midline: hug yourself or sit cross-legged
  • Exhale deeply
  • Include nurturing foods like raw milk, cream and eggs in your diet

Example:  Take your lunch break outside and sit barefoot and cross-legged in the grass.  Enjoy your meal with a glass of raw milk.

Example:  Ask to have your calls held for 15 minutes during the busiest hour of your day, lay down on the floor on your back and hug your knees into your chest.  Focus on making your exhale longer than your inhale.

Incorporate these techniques into your daily routine for better digestion, an increased ability to handle stress, improved injury healing and more complete muscle recovery between workouts.  Now go take a rest day!

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Lindsea Burns
Nutritional Therapy Practitioner (NTP)
Clinical Nutritionist
Email: lindsea@atlashealthcarecenter.com

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The views and opinions presented in this blog are those of the author
and do not necessarily represent the views or opinions of KMW.
________________________________________________

 

Two great ways to detox and prevent muscle pain

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Recovery: Muscle Soreness

All members at KMW are athletes.  Whether the sport is KM Bag, Krav Maga, Fighting or CrossFit, as some point in your athletic career you will be tested and pushed to your limit.  This may come as an exceptionally hard WOD, a belt test, or KHo’s special version of torture.  While I mentioned in a previous blog that muscle soreness is not caused by lactic acid, there is still a potential for other waste products to build up in muscles that were pushed to or passed their limit.

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These toxins contribute to the type of soreness that is more pain than ache, which is what we want to avoid, as it renders muscles useless for much longer than your average soreness.  So today we will focus on two techniques to rid the body of unnecessary toxins in order to prevent debilitating muscle pain (they also work on everything from PMS cramps to headaches to the cold and flu!)

Epsom Salt Bath

Epsom salts create a solution in bathwater that attracts toxins from your tissues and encourages their release through the skin.  Make sure to submerge the muscle groups that were taxed the most.

Draw a bath with the hottest water you can stand comfortably and add one cup of Epsom salt. Lie in the bath for 20‐30 minutes, until the bath cools. Do not re-heat the water. Rinse with plain water when finished soaking to prevent the salt from drying your skin. Sit in an Epsom salt bath as soon as possible after a hard workout.

Castor Oil Compress

Castor oil also helps draw out toxins from the body, and is best when applied directly to the area of pain, or the sorest muscle.

Before bed, apply the oil directly to the skin over the liver or areas of pain, cover with an old shirt or rag (castor oil does stain), and place a heating pad or warm water bottle over the area.  The castor oil should be left on all night, and will be absorbed in the morning.  Castor oil can be applied as often as needed for relief.

Castor oil and Epsom salts can be found at most grocery, health food stores, and pharmacies.

These detoxification techniques are crucial to helping your body clear metabolic waste products of heavy exercise, so add them to your workout regiment!

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Lindsea Burns
Nutritional Therapy Practitioner (NTP)
Clinical Nutritionist
Email: lindsea@atlashealthcarecenter.com

________________________________________________

The views and opinions presented in this blog are those of the author
and do not necessarily represent the views or opinions of KMW.
________________________________________________

How your workout impacts your body’s response to food, part 3: Metabolic Rate

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How your workout impacts your body’s response to food, part 3: Metabolic Rate.

Follow up to part 2: insulin: Remember that your muscles are the primary targets for insulin and the primary consumers of glucose.  The more muscle you use in your workout, the greater increase in insulin action and glucose uptake.  Workouts using whole body movements at near maximum effort require the recruitment of more muscle mass throughout the body, and more muscle fibers in each muscle group.  Keep up the good work at Krav Maga, KM Bag and CrossFit, all of which employ this type of training!

This is the third and final installment in my series about how the physiological changes that occur in response to exercise alter the body’s absorption and utilization of food.  This week will focus on metabolic rate.

Metabolism is loosely defined as the sum of all the processes in the body.  Metabolic rate is the speed at which these processes occur.  Someone with a higher metabolic rate requires more energy to just live their daily life than someone with a lower metabolic rate.   A high metabolism has been the subject of many fitness and weight-loss articles because of the idea that weight-loss can be magically achieved if we increase the metabolism and thus burn more calories just sitting! (This sounds great, but please refer to my post on the calorie math myth.) While it may not be the mystical key to weight-loss, a high metabolism is beneficial for more efficient protein turnover as in muscle growth and repair.  People with high metabolisms generally utilize food more quickly and efficiently, and thus need to eat more often throughout the day.

Exercise training increases metabolism both short term and long term.  During exercise, the body demands more fuel and all body processes to occur at a higher rate.  Hormones like epinephrine are secreted during this time to increase metabolic rate to meet the demands of exercise.  Epinephrine isn’t eliminated from the blood completely when you stop exercise, so metabolic rate is increased during and for about 30 minutes after exercise.  But the benefits of exercise training extend beyond just 30 minutes.  As you train and build muscle, the new muscle requires fuel, nutrients and enzymes for growth and repair.  The metabolic rate must increase in order to meet the current demands as well as the new demands of the new tissue.  Thus, exercise training increases metabolic rate acutely, during and immediately post exercise, and chronically, in response to new muscle growth.

 

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Lindsea Burns
Nutritional Therapy Practitioner (NTP)
Clinical Nutritionist
Email: lindsea@atlashealthcarecenter.com

________________________________________________

The views and opinions presented in this blog are those of the author
and do not necessarily represent the views or opinions of KMW.
________________________________________________

The 21 Day Challenge Starts January 11!

Screen shot 2014-01-02 at 4.25.24 PM“It takes 21 days to form a habit.”

This is what we’ve been told every New Years and by every dentist, trainer and teacher wanting us to floss, train, and study more. However, recent research has backed the more realistic idea that habits are not formed within a set timeline, but are formed daily. While 21 days is an ideal amount of time to commit to a change, whether that change becomes a habit is up to much more than the number of days. One needs to identify and overcome barriers to change, and to understand what lifelong habit formation really looks like.

Common barriers to change come from four different aspects of ones life: intrapersonal, interpersonal, community and policy. Intrapersonal barriers to change come from the individual and include knowledge, motivation and self-confidence. Interpersonal barriers come from the individual’s immediate relationships include social support, time constraints, and cultural patterns. Community barriers to change come from institutions and include workplace environment, community structure and access to transportation. Policy barriers come from government public policy and media and include local, state, and federal policies and media advertisement campaigns.

To initiate sustainable lifestyle change, I would recommend committing to a realistic 21 day program that addresses all of these barriers to change. Education should be a large part of any program, as increasing knowledge can improve motivation by enhancing the understanding of why the change is necessary, as well as improving confidence. The ideal program should offer significant social support and encourage the involvement of participants’ friends, family, and coworkers. The program should help participants manage the adjustments to time allocation and social interactions that may accompany change. The program should include strategies to handle change despite an unchanging work environment, and to better utilize community resources. While the program you are looking for will most likely not address governmental policy change, it should improve your understanding of the policies that pertain to individual change.

Once the initial change has been made, the next step is to create a habit. Identify that there will be a honeymoon period accompanying this change, and recognize that the period of “this is easy” will pass. Once it has passed, take every challenge one at a time. If your resolution is to get in shape, celebrate small victories like getting to your KMW class after a long day of work. If your resolution is to eat healthier, celebrate small victories like skipping dessert after dinner. It is the collection of these small victories that create a habit that is second nature. One must also recognize that the accumulation of small loses may reverse even a well established habit, and that lifelong habits are created and maintained by daily choices.

I encourage you to make fitness and nutrition part of your New Year’s resolution, and I am pleased to announce that I will be working with KMW to provide you with a 21 DAY CHALLENGE that addresses all the aforementioned barriers to change, and encourages the the formation of lifelong habits. Stay tuned for more details, and Happy New Years!

STAY TUNED FOR DETAILS!

-Lindsea

1383687_10151806960333141_356348950_nLindsea Burns
Nutritional Therapy Practitioner (NTP)
Clinical Nutritionist
Email: lindsea@atlashealthcarecenter.com

 

 

 

 

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The views and opinions presented in this blog are those of the author 
and do not necessarily represent the views or opinions of KMW.
________________________________________________