I <3 my foam roller!

Seriously tho…does any else foam roll? A foam roller is an amazing little tool that I have just started using over the past year.

foamroll

Some of you may be thinking…what is foam rolling?

It’s a form of stretching used by athletes or anyone needing relief from tight muscles. It’s technically referred to as self myofascial release, and it’s a little bit like giving yourself a deep tissue massage to release knots and ease tight areas.

Releasing tight muscles is essential, not only because you’ll feel awesome afterwards, but also because it helps prevent injuries, improves posture and increases range of motion.

How do you roll?

It’s best to foam roll after a workout when your muscles are warmed up. Place the roller behind soft tissue like your calves or thighs, avoiding joints, and slowly start rolling. When you find a tight spot, hold it for 30 – 60 seconds until it releases. It might feel a little uncomfortable or tender, but go at your own pace and follow your comfort level.

Some Tips from Tone it up:

  • Foam rolling is great for anyone, but it’s especially important if you’re active to help with muscle recovery, circulation and even performance. Tightness can occur from regular workouts – or even from sitting at the computer for long periods of time.
  • Always listen to your body! Foam rolling may hurt, but it should also feel good, like a deep tissue massage. Never force or continue to foam roll in an area where there’s sharp pain.
  • We love to foam roll a few times a week! Start with shorter sessions and work your way up to longer ones.
  • Remember to always stretch after foam rolling and just like with a massage, to drink PLENTY of water afterwards!

I used to run half marathons and a lot of 10k’s and 5k’s and always had really tight hip flexors and hips as well as my IT band. If you are unsure where you IT band is here is quick breakdown:

Your IT bands mediacal name is: The Iliotibial Band (ITB). It is a thick band of fibrous tissue that runs down the outside of your leg from your pelvis to your knee. Some of the buttock and hip muscles attach to it, and the ITB co-ordinates how these muscles work and stabilises the leg.
Iliotibial Band Syndrome (ITBS) is one of the leading causes of pain on the outer (lateral) side of the knee, which can radiate up the thigh.
Iliotibial Band Syndrome is when the ITB gets irritated and inflamed due to friction. This most commonly happens on the outer side of the knee. As the leg bends and straightens, the Iliotibial Band glides over a bony lump on the side of the knee that sticks out slightly, the lateral epicondyle.

Ok….so enough about the IT Band…this post is really about Foam Rolling!! So, here are some of the benefits, streches and types of foam rollers in a nifty little diagram I found:

foamroll2So, if you don’t have a foam roller I suggest you invest if you are a runner or active at all…it can dramatically increase your performance, decrease injury, and relieve tension!

If you are looking for a great foam rolling video I suggest this one by my favourite tone it up girls: http://toneitup.com/2014/09/frisky-fall-foam-roller/

Dessert for Breakfast

There are not many things that make me more happy than eating and chocolate. I literally crave chocolate all the time and if I can find a way to have dessert in healthy form I will! I feel this showcases my life pretty well:

run

If you are like me, then you are constantly searching to satisfy your sweet-tooth without consuming 10,000 calories! As I have mentioned before I follow the Tone it up girls quite closely with my fitness instagram account (follow me – thefitchocoholic). Other followers have posted pictures of a healthified banana split and I just had to try!

I devoured this pretty quickly and it filled me for hours since it is rich is so many healthy foods!

BANANA SPLIT BOWL RECIPE ♥

bananasplitIngredients:

1 Cup greek yogurt
1 medium banana
1 Cup blueberries
2 Tablespoons walnuts (or any nut you prefer)
1 Tablespoon Chia seeds (if you don’t have these in your diet you should add them! See the benefits below)
1 Tablespoon dark chocolate chips (must have in my opinion)
1 Teaspoon large unsweetened coconut flakes

Directions:

Cut your banana in half length ways and line in the bottom of the bowl. Scoop greek yogurt on top of banana and add chia seeds (sometimes I wait a few minutes for them to swell). Then add everything else and try to make it look pretty before indulging for breakfast!!

Benefits:

There are so many its hard to narrow it down! Since I have a lot of ingredients I will just focus on 3 today…

Blueberries: This bowl is packed with antioxidants from the beautiful blueberries (Antioxidants are essential to optimizing health by helping to combat the free radicals that can damage cellular structures as well as DNA). Blueberries also have a low GI (glycemic index) which means that they won’t spike your blood sugar levels so you don’t experience the crash afterwards.

Chia Seeds: Fibre! You know that most of us do not get enough so if you are able to get some fibre this easily – why not!? Chia sees are also stocked with Omega-3 fatty acids (important for brain health). Calcium (bone health) and Manganese (good for bones and helps your body use other essential nutrients like biotin and thiamin). Chia seeds expand in water or liquid so when you eat them they swell in your stomach and make you feel fuller longer which is great for people trying to lose weight. They also flight belly fat since they have a stabilizing effect on blood sugar and fights insulin resistance which can be tied to an increase in belly fat. Lastly, these little seeds are packed with protein!

*If you can’t tell I really love Chia seeds!! I usually buy mine at bulk barn 🙂

Greek Yogurt: Great for your digestive health because of the probiotics (healthy bacteria help promote a healthy gut). Greek Yogurt is also a great source of calcium, magnesium and potassian which is thought to help lower high blood pressure. Protein!! Almost double the amount as compared with regular yogurt  and since protein takes your body longer to digest, it can help make you feel and stay full for longer.

I really recommend trying a banana split bowl when you want something sweet, but don’t want to throw your diet out the window…oh and don’t forget to add some chia seeds!! 🙂

Abs on fire!

Morning!IMG_2417

Each morning I start my day by walking my fur-baby Monty….here he is:
I normally know its time to get up when he jumps up on my bed and starts pawing me in the face – no joke. So, this morning I was thinking I should get some cardio in before I work my abs.

We live 1 street away from the waterfront in Barrie so its always really nice to run along the water in the morning – most of the time it isn’t overly busy and I can let Monty run wild off leash as well which is amazing! I ran 4 km this morning, but I was feeling very sluggish – my legs were heavy like sand bags, but I kept pushing through anyways.

When I got home I was thinking of doing Day 6 of my 30 day challenge I mentioned here, but I figured I would save that for my pm work-out after I walk. Does anyone else do an am and pm workout? I feel like its good to break it up and work-out throughout the day. Normally I will walk or run the dog in the morning and do some toning and then at night I like to do a walk, hiit (high intensity interval training – I will post about this soon), or barre before doing some stretching or yoga. 

This morning I did one of the Tone it Up workouts of bikini abs, and let me tell you – this is a burner! It feels like 20 minutes even though its really only about 12! It gives you a serious burn all over your mid-section….I challenge you to do it today!! You can do the follow along video here. OR you can print out the workout below:

 

bikini abs