Can food intolerance endanger my cruciate ligament?

Not a question that you were expecting I would imagine?!

This may seem like a totally unrelated subject but in this article I aim to give a small but vital insight into this subject; specifically when considering the optimal conditioning for winter sports. To begin with it is paramount to understand two things;
  1. The first is that whenever an organ experiences inflammation or pain there is a reflex inhibition of an associated muscle due to innervation by the same nerve.
  2. The second point leads on from the first in that the human body is a system of interlinked systems and to treat organs, joints and muscles in isolation misses a vital point, meaning that we won't get to the root cause of dysfunction and injury.

Please consider this, when we eat a food that we cannot digest properly, this will create inflammation in the gut. This starts to become relevant when we realise that the intestines are at the associated muscular level of the lower region of the Transversus Abdominus, a vitally important stabilisor of the pelvis and the low back. When there is inflammation in the intestines this lower portion of the Transversus Abdominus will become inhibited. When this is the case the pelvis becomes unstable. Luckily, our body is very clever and when this happens other muscles will lend a hand to help maintain the pelvis in a more neutral position. The helpful muscles in question here are the hamstrings. The proximal end of the hamstring group has the function of assisting the lower portion of the Transversus Abdominus in stabilising the pelvis. However, in this instance the hamstrings become over taxed due to them being asked to be primary stabilisers, which they are not designed to do.

"What's the big deal and what has this to do with my knee"

  You may ask. Well here's the problem for the skier. Another very important function of the hamstring is to assist in the integrity of the knee joint at the distal end due to the fact that the hamstrings cross the knee and attach to the Tibia and Fibula; having the mechanical effect of pulling the Femur and the Tibia and Fibula together. When the hamstring is over working to stabilise the pelvis the whole muscle becomes fatigued leaving the knee joint relatively unstable. This is where the cruciate ligament finally comes into play. When the hamstrings have become fatigued the cruciate ligament now has very little help in its role to stabilise the knee. So picture the end of your day on the slopes; you've been on your skis all day, you're tired, the snow is rough and rutted; you hit a rut, catch an edge or have a collision with another skier and an anterior sheer force is placed upon your knee; your overly working and fatigued hamstrings don't fire as quickly or effectively as they should and suddenly BANG you feel an intense pain in your knee; the next thing you know you're being airlifted off the mountain! The sad end to this tragic tale is that your poor cruciate ligament couldn't cope with the extra strain it had to deal with as its synergistic hamstrings become too fatigued to do their job.

Many people never recover fully from this type of injury

  As they receive suboptimal rehabilitation, and they may never ski again. I feel that's a huge sacrifice to make when we consider that small dietary changes could make all the difference to the function of the Transversus Abdominus; the primary muscle in this chain of events. So let's go back to the inflammation in the gut, which is the underlying cause of this injury. Put simply, when we are regularly consuming foods that we have an inability to digest properly, this creates constant inflammation in the intestines due to the secretory (IgA) antibodies in the mucus membranes being triggered to attack these undigested food particles. This sets up a battle ground in the intestines, which, given time, can lead to leaky gut syndrome, causing an even more serious, chronic immune response, which we needn't go into here. Two of the main culprits, in most modern diets, are gluten and diary, both of which the adult human body was never really designed to digest.
Think about your diet and ask yourself how often you're consuming foods containing gluten and diary?
  Is it everyday? For many it is nearly every meal! That croissant and cappuccino for breakfast; that sandwich for lunch; that cereal based "energy" bar, with a cup of tea (with milk), in the afternoon, and that pasta dish for dinner, with a nice bowl of ice cream for desert. If this is the case then you will almost certainly be creating constant inflammation in your intestines and the subsequent chain of events, mentioned previously, will be quietly waiting for that rut, edge catch or collision! When we consider food intolerance, let me ask you this, do you suffer with that troublesome "paunch" belly that won't go away no matter how many crunches you do? Do you often feel bloated after eating? Do you suffer with trapped wind or digestive discomfort? If so the chances are this is your body sending you a message that I really hope you're listening to! Many times my clients have cut out dairy and gluten in order to activate that vital Transversus Abdominus in the clinical environment, and on the slopes.  
I suggest try cutting out gluten and dairy for 3 weeks and see if you notice any differences. You may be surprised at an improvement in your energy levels, digestion and body composition in this short time, let alone the function of your vital stabilisation system. After 3 weeks you can then reintroduce gluten and dairy one at a time and see if you notice any difference. If you do then you are seeing the results of a food intolerance at work and you may wish to cut out that foodstuff on a more regular basis. So, see if you notice any differences in how you feel. If you do, you can be confident that your body has the potential to function more effectively and keep you safe when you're enjoying those precious days on the slopes.  
By Mark Zawadski - Chek practitioner @ BodyWorksWest for more information on injury prevention contact

3 Key Weight Lifting exercises to include in your training


Kate Neudecker - Personal trainer BWW

  In this post I am going to share with you why weight training is so important for fat loss and functional fitness.In my opinion when it comes to functional fitness and aesthetic goals, nailing some of the main lifting techniques is key. These movements will not only help with the functionality of your day to day life (picking up heavy objects, children, having more energy) but will also help you build more muscle and have a leaner appearance. Often people tend to be scared of lifting weights for fear of getting bulky however to put on weight when resistance training you must be in a calorie surplus (consume more calories than you burn). Lifting weights will in fact increase your metabolism resulting in more muscle definition, fat loss and generally feeling awesome. I am not under rating cardio here for one second. Cardio should play a large part in your fitness regime as well. Your heart is a muscle too and cardiovascular health is incredibly important. However I find when it comes to the gym, a lot of us already have the cross trainer technique down! Compound movements are very important to include in your training (exercises that use multiple muscle groups). This is because they can get your heart rate up and stimulate muscle growth hormone. The more muscle we build the more calories we burn at rest equalling in a leaner appearance. Besides aesthetic goals the vast majority of research supports weight training as a very effective means to increase bone density.                

The Squat

1. Stand with feet a little wider than shoulder-width apart, hips stacked over knees, and knees over ankles.
2. Roll the shoulders back and down away from the ears. Note: Allowing the back to round will cause unnecessary stress on the lower back. It’s important to maintain a neutral spine throughout the movement.
3. Initiate the movement by inhaling and unlocking the hips, slightly bringing them back. Keep sending hips backward as the knees begin to bend.
4. While your bum starts to stick out, make sure the chest and shoulders stay upright, and the back stays straight. Keep the head facing forward with eyes straight ahead for a neutral spine. Once you are happy with the technique I highly recommend adding a light kettlebell held by the handle as the next step. After this use a high bar in the squat rack to perform a back bar squat.

The Deadlift


When starting this technique just use the bar to begin and no weight.
1. Place your shins close to the bar, but not right on the bar. Keep your shins around an inch from the bar and perform a hip hinge until your hands are around the barbell.
2. Make sure your chin is tucked, this will ensure you maintain a neutral spine.
3. Force your knees out against your arms, this will create torque at the hips.
4. Stand up straight holding the bar, do not over arch and overextend your back.

The Bench Press

1. Lie on the flat bench with your eyes under the bar. Lift your chest and squeeze your shoulder-blades. Feet flat on the floor.
2. Hold the bar in the base of your palm with a full grip and straight wrists.
3. Take a big breath and rack the bar by straightening your arms. Move the bar over your shoulders with your elbows locked.
4. Lower the bar. Lower it to your mid-chest while tucking your elbows 75°. Keep your forearms vertical.
5. Press the bar from your mid-chest to above your shoulders. Keep your butt on the bench. Lock your elbows at the top.
With all of these techniques start with your weight low to begin and work your way up.
 Feel free to contact me with how to use these in your workout or any questions.
                  by Kate Neudecker - Personal Trainer BWW 

Bench press

Hannah Moodie AMN Practitioner

Do you suffer from pain - a bad back perhaps, sciatica, aching neck and shoulders, or recovering from injury? Do you find it difficult to strengthen your core no matter how much you try? Do you suffer from scoliosis? Do you have a bad posture or issues with your gait? Do you struggle with insomnia, or travel so much your body clock is out of sync? These are some of the things that I treat as an AMN practitioner. What is Applied Movement Neurology? The AMN system incorporates functional neurology, functional biomechanics, functional and integrative medicine and quantum physics. The human body is a bioelectrical signalling system with the intra and extra cellular matrices being the structure and medium of body wide cell to cell communication, and our brain and nervous system reads and responds to this information. When we suffer, for example, an injury, the current travelling through the damaged tissues is increased in comparison to non-damaged tissues. This positive voltage triggers metabolic and neurological activity to heal the injury. Where this increased charge fails to normalise, the brain can struggle to read the signals correctly and dysfunction can occur.

What is pain ?

Pain is a complex topic and one that is still being extensively researched. It is experienced differently by everyone because ultimately it is the interpretation of sensory stimuli. The brain contains approximately 86 billion neurons, meaning the possible combination of connections between these neurons is almost infinite.

What exactly, from a neurobiological perspective, is pain?

Nociceptive Pain: the pain that is an early-warning physiological protective system, essential to detect and minimize contact with damaging or noxious stimuli. This is the pain we feel when touching something too hot, cold, or sharp for example. The neurobiological apparatus that generates nociceptive pain evolved from the capacity of even the most primitive of nervous systems to signal impending or actual tissue damage from environmental stimuli. Its protective role demands immediate attention and action, which occur by the withdrawal reflex it activates, the intrinsic unpleasantness of the sensation elicited, and the emotional anguish it engages. Nociceptive pain presents itself as something to avoid now, and when engaged, the system overrules most other neural functions. Inflammatory Pain: This pain is caused by activation of the immune system by tissue injury or infection - indeed, pain is one of the cardinal features of inflammation. It is also adaptive and protective. By heightening sensory sensitivity after unavoidable tissue damage, this pain assists in the healing of the injured body part by creating a situation that discourages physical contact and movement. Pain hypersensitivity, or tenderness, reduces further risk of damage and promotes recovery, as after a surgical wound or in an inflamed joint, where normally innocuous stimuli now elicit pain. Pathological Pain: Pain that is not protective, but maladaptive, resulting from abnormal functioning of the nervous system. This is not a symptom of some disorder but rather a disease state of the nervous system, it can occur after damage to the nervous system (neuropathic pain), but also in conditions in which there is no such damage or inflammation (dysfunctional pain). Conditions that evoke dysfunctional pain include fibromyalgia, irritable bowel syndrome, tension type headache, temporomandibular joint disease, and other syndromes in which there exists substantial pain but no noxious stimulus and no, or minimal, peripheral inflammatory pathology.

By analogy, if pain were a fire alarm, the nociceptive type would be activated appropriately only by the presence of intense heat, the inflammatory pain would be activated by warm temperatures, and pathological pain would be a false alarm caused by malfunction of the system itself. The net effect in all three cases is the sensation we call pain.

One thing that is true across the entire human race is that pain is a conscious experience. There can be an abundance of noxious stimuli within the system with no pain, but there can be no pain without conscious awareness. When someone wakes up with pain that wasn’t there the day before, they naturally look for rational reasons as to ‘what they did’ to create it. They don’t remember any impact, a particular injury or action so assume they must have slept funny! Truth be told, the day pain decides to make itself present may have more to do with what you haven’t dealt with, rather than anything you’ve done. If we fall over and hurt ourselves, pain is an acceptable outcome of apparent damage to the tissues. “My knee hurts because I tripped and slammed it onto the pavement.” The wound heals, your movement gradually returns to normal and that’s the end of the story. Pain that seemingly comes out of nowhere could possibly be linked to an old injury but has never actually cleared, or it recurs and perhaps has even become chronic and this type of pain is not so easily rationalised. At AMN, we currently believe that any pain complaint not related to impact injury or tissue damage can be classified as an effect of altered homeostasis. It is the conscious perception of sub-conscious, autonomic imbalances. Just as the proliferation of illness or disease can be gradual and develop in stages; strange, unexplained and often persistent pain complaints are the culmination of several systems miss-communicating. This kind of faulty communication can occur between any or all of the layers of the somatic nervous system (movement system), the visuomotor and vestibular (balance) systems, the enteric nervous system (gut and other viscera), endocrine system (hormones), immune (host defence system) and limbic system (emotional brain). No system in the entire brain and body works in isolation.

2 Steps To Six Pack Abs

First off, I want to mention that, for most people, getting six pack abs is not an easy task. It requires dedication, but it is possible! Below is a general 2-step guide that, if followed religiously for 3 months, will produce results.

Step 1: Nutrition

This is the single most important part of the puzzle, hands down. You can have the most impressive set of abs, but if they're covered with a layer of fat, you won't see them! Break up your day with 5 or 6 mini-meals because this jump starts your metabolism. And stop eating the food that is preventing results: white bread, loads of pasta, soda, candy, fast food, hydrogenated oils, sugars and fructose corn syrup.\n\nInstead, replace them with foods that will help you reach your goal: oatmeal, olive oil, whole grain breads, fruits, vegetables, nuts, eggs, natural peanut butter, chicken, fish, protein and water. Be realistic- you'll slip here and there, but make a conscious effort to radically improve your eating habits because getting a six pack will be impossible if you don't.\n\nIncluded in every BodyWorksWest Membership is a monthly session with a fitness professional which consists of a Boditrax consultation (a medical grade body composition scale) to hold you accountable and track your progress. This is the single most important part of the puzzle, hands down. You can have the most impressive set of abs, but if they're covered with a layer of fat, you won't see them! Break up your day with 5 or 6 mini-meals because this jump starts your metabolism. And stop eating the food that is preventing results: white bread, loads of pasta, soda, candy, fast food, hydrogenated oils, sugars and fructose corn syrup. Instead, replace them with foods that will help you reach your goal: oatmeal, olive oil, whole grain breads, fruits, vegetables, nuts, eggs, natural peanut butter, chicken, fish, protein and water. Be realistic- you'll slip here and there, but make a conscious effort to radically improve your eating habits because getting a six pack will be impossible if you don't. Included in every BodyWorksWest Membership is a monthly session with a fitness professional which consists of a Boditrax consultation (a medical grade body composition scale) to hold you accountable and track your progress.

Step 2: Exercise

You need to concern yourself with 3 different exercises: cardio, weight lifting and ab exercises. And aim to workout 3- 4 times a week. The cardio you do can be anything: walking, running, biking, swimming.... whichever cardio you don't mind doing so that you'll stick with it. Aim for 30-45 minutes, a minimum of 2 times a week. Weightlifting is important because 3 pounds of added muscle burns as many calories as a 1-mile jog...and this is while you're just sitting around! Aim for 30-45 minutes, a minimum of 2 times a week. If you're confused as to what exercises to do for each body part the BodyWorksWest fitness professionals have extensive knowledge and will happily share their top tips.   The last exercise you need to incorporate into your workout is ab exercises. Aim to work your abs a minimum of 3 times a week. There are a ton of different ab exercises you can do so try to find 3 or so that you enjoy doing so you can mix it up. A good database of different ab exercises is: Tip: mix up your workout routine every 2 weeks to keep your body guessing and changing. Add or take away different weight or ab exercises, or at the very least, vary the weight, reps or form of cardio you do. Well, there you have it. Follow the above for 3 months religiously, and while results will vary from person to person, you will experience improvement. It will take dedication on your part, but imagine the feeling you'll get when you look in the mirror and like what you see.

Top Three Exercises For Stress Relief

Whether coming from our jobs, personal life, incompetent drivers, or the soaring gas prices, stress seems to be all around us, bombarding us with an overload that has us overworked, cranky, and restless. The effects of prolonged stress on the human body can be devastating to our health resulting in migraines, muscle aches, insomnia, digestive problems, high blood pressure, diabetes, weight gain, asthma, and heart disease along with a wide range of other health problems. Learning to effectively manage stress and adding regular exercise to your routine is a valuable part of stress relief which is vital to good health. But do not worry, you do not have to make time to go to the gym or worry if your fitness level is not up for that aerobic workout, here are three of the best exercises for stress relief than can be done by just about anyone at any fitness level, of course as always, before beginning any new exercise program you want to be sure that your health care provider has cleared you for exercise if you have any recent injuries or health care concerns. Tai Chi: Tai Chi is an ancient martial art form. This Chinese art has been practised for centuries and is a perfect exercise for stress relief. Tai Chi uses very fluid and graceful movements that are slow and precise, focusing the mind and strengthening the body. It can be done just about anywhere by people of all ages and is fairly simple to learn. People who practice Tai Chi experience a better sense of balance, over all improvement in health, sleep better, and feel a sense of clarity and improved mental focus along with the stress relief. Pilates: Pilates was originally developed as a method of rehabilitation for injured dancers and soldiers. Incorporating simple moves similar to yoga in parts, pilates stretches and lengthens your muscles, improves the strength and stability of your core (the torso), and is also very calming and soothing making it a great choice for stress relief. Stress relief is not the only benefit of pilates, you also get a longer, stronger spine, better posture, more graceful muscle tone, and stronger abs. And because a large portion of pilates can be done as a mat work out, it is great for people with special needs to consider that may make traditional exercise more difficult. BodyWorksWest offers over 20 Pilates classes a week allowing you to pick a class that suits your schedule. Water Aerobics: If you would like something to get your heart beat going and improve your overall tone and health, along with giving you stress relief, water aerobics is another great choice. Unlike traditional aerobic classes, being in the water lessens the impact of the movements on your joints, legs, and spine. Being in the water makes your motions effortless, yet the resistance of the water provides a better, stronger work out. The calming sensation of being in the water offers great stress relief and gives you a wonderful workout for your muscles, weight loss, and cardio building along with the stress relief. A water aerobics class that is becoming very popular now is Aqua Barre. BodyWorksWest, in the heart of Notting Hill, is the only London Health Club that offers Aqua Barre. It's takes all the flowing, ballet-inspired movements to the water, reducing the harsh weight-bearing movements but adding the resistance of the water to create a great workout for all fitness levels. Whichever routine you choose, or perhaps some combination of the three, you will find great stress relief from starting a regular routine and the stress relief will only enhance the other great health benefits you will obtain. To find out when the classes are on at BodyWorksWest check out the class timetable on their website.

Motivation during the winter period

You’ve probably heard that exercising outdoors makes us happier and relieves anxiety, but most of us can’t exercise outside all year round because of the weather. So the unappealing notion of getting out from under your blanket seems impossible, but what if there were a few tips and tricks we could reveal to you? We want your flame to burn bright during this cold season.

Focus On Activities Rather Than Workouts

While conventional workouts are great and certainly shouldn’t be abandoned altogether, there is something to be said for getting your exercise as a side-effect of fun activities. In winter, when all chores and routines are going to seem dull and irritating, this is even more meaningful. To give yourself that extra incentive for working out, consider setting up a regular sporting event with your friends, or else signing up for a fun class BodyWorksWest.

Focus On Group Training

Even if you’re a lone ranger, there are certain benefits to training in a group which can really make a difference when motivation is running low. If you’re a solo trainee and skip a planned workout, you’ll likely feel a bit guilty about it, but you won’t have to deal with the judgment of others. If you’re in a training group, however, you’re going to get an earful when you don’t turn up – and that’s generally for the best.

Do Shorter, More Intense Workouts

Summoning up the motivation to go for a half-hour jog isn’t so difficult on a mild summer morning, all things considered. It’s an entirely different story on a gusty winter day, with icy rain falling in buckets. One good way of keeping your time outdoors to a minimum, while still getting an effective workout, is to trade your longer bouts of steady-state cardio for shorter high-intensity sprint sessions. Instead of spending 30 minutes exposed to the elements, you can dedicate 10 minutes to really working up a sweat on the treadmill. Not only will this shorten your workout times and help you stay warm in the cold, but research also suggests that HIIT sessions may amplify the health and fitness benefits of traditional steady-state cardio. BodyWorksWest have developed 30 minute HIIT classes and run two times a day.

One to One Pilates with Carmela at BodyWorksWest

There are so many benefits to pilates from rehabilitation to increased body strength and the most beneficial way to experience these is with one-on-one Personal Pilates Training.  Our private studio is spacious and light with a variety of equipment to help you reach your goals with the help of our highly qualified Pilates Specialists. Introducing Carmela...  Carmela Besso is a Pilates teacher practising from West London. She is trained and certified by the Alan Herdman school of Pilates. She also has over 30 years experience as a professional dancer and choreographer. Carmela's Pilates classes are designed to make clients look taller and slimmer, increase strength and reform the body.  She specialises in clinical Pilates, injury prevention and rehabilitation. She has extensive experience in joint injuries/ stabilisation and back conditions, often working alongside physiotherapists. Carmela’s previous clients range from post- operative patients, mothers and actresses to professional sportsmen. Her one-to-one sessions are tailored to each individual’s needs and desires. A combination of Reformer, Mat work, Tower and Wunda Chair etc will be used. If you are interested in finding out more about one to one Pilates with Carmela, please contact her directly.. Mobile: 07816896678 Email: Web: “Movement, when done correctly, restores the body.”- Joseph Pilates  

5 Helpful Things to Do to Start Your Personal Fitness Program

The most common challenge that people I talk to face is how to incorporate fitness into their lives. They know they have to do something to get in shape but they really don’t know how. It can be discouraging because of the abundance of information out there. So much that you may not know where to begin. Our society has so many food choices that it is easy to pack on the extra pounds. Also our day to day jobs are less physical as they where 100 years ago so we have more sedentary life styles. We know there are benefits involved when we exercise and cleaning up or diet. However, most of us know don’t know how or where to start. So where do we begin? Or is the question: How do we begin? The very first thing you need do is go to your doctor and get the approval to start exercising. Your doctor may also provide some helpful tips as well. After you get the “OK” from your doctor, try these 5 things to help you get started: Make the Choice to Start Exercising and Eating Right Making the decision to do something provides a form of commitment you made to your self. Deciding that you need to change behaviour creates new possibilities. When you say to your self “I need to get in shape”, it means something. You should be answering these questions in your mind: When can I work out? What exercises do I need to do? What foods should I be eating? Make your self think about the commitment you just made. Only then you can let go of the past and take steps to move forward. Write Down What You Do You need a reference that is realistic towards your weekly activity. Write down everything you do during the week. This should include work hours, commuting hours, nights spent with your spouse, your child’s activities and anything else you can think of that you do. You should also include what you do on weekends. You should make a list for each day of the week. Here’s why….. Some people set lofty goals like working out for 2 hours a day. This can be due to an old saying, “More is Better”. However, this is not the case. Knowing your schedule will help you set realistic goals and help you find a few hours a week to start exercising. You’ll have a visual perspective on what you can and can’t do with your routine. Research and Get Information Most people do not have enough information before they start a work out program. So how do we get the information we need? The good news is we live in the information age. Take advantage of your favourite search engine and learn a little bit about fitness and nutrition. However, do not go overboard and lose focus. Find a source of information you like and take notes. Find the simplest and easiest workouts and nutrition tips. Don’t over load yourself with information. If you have the money, hire a personal trainer for a few sessions to help you get started. Hiring a personal trainer is a great way to get started because you have made a commitment to meet someone to workout. Your goal is to have the trainer show you the basics on exercise and eating healthier. It may also be safer to learn how to perform the exercises (especially if you have not exercised for a while). Create a Simple Plan and Set Realistic Goals Keep it Simple! Following a simple plan while on a hectic schedule is much easier than following an elaborate plan. You should have a plan of which days you want to work out and one goal to change your eating habits for the next few weeks. For example, “I will work out for a half an hour for 3 days this week. I will eat a little less each meal.” Simple is success. Execute Your Plan Now that you have a plan, all you need to do is follow it. This is another big step. You should look at your plan every day upon waking. You need be mentally prepared for the great day ahead of you. Having your daily schedule in hand will help you achieve your goals for the day. When you complete your workout for the day, highlight it or cross it off your list. It will show you that you accomplished something for yourself. No matter what you must execute. This will be the hardest (and most rewarding) step. I hope these things help you get started on a new life of physical fitness. Life is filled with making decisions, knowing your commitments, getting information, planning and execution. Try these approaches for yourself and you will see that having your own workout and nutrition program is not as far fetched or complicated as you think.

10 Things You Should Know About Stretching

Before fitness training, one must give importance to doing warm-up or stretching exercises to prevent accidents or to enhance the output during the training. There are also a number of precautionary measures and tips to serve as guidelines when doing fitness exercises. Here are some of them.

1. To increase your flexibility and to avoid injuries, stretch before and after workout. Almost everyone knows that stretching before workout prevents injuries during the exercises, but only few people know that stretching after workout, when muscles are still warm, can increase flexibility. 2. Hold your stretching position for more than 60 seconds to increase flexibility. While holding your position for 20 seconds is enough for warm ups, holding each position for at least 60 seconds will develop the body's flexibility. 3. Do not go into a stretching position then immediately return to the relaxed position, and do it repeatedly. This is more appropriately termed as bouncing while in a position. When stretching, hold that position for several seconds, and then slowly relax. You may do this exercise repeatedly this way. Bouncing or forcing yourself into a position during stretching can strain or damage some joints or muscles. 4. Work slowly in increments instead of immediately proceeding to doing the hardest exercise or position. 5. Make sure that you have stretched or warmed up all muscle groups. For some people, even if they have strong bodies, they tend to neglect the neck when working out of stretching. Stretching the neck muscles can be as simple as placing the palm of one's hand against the front of the head and pushing it. Then, do the same to the sides and the back of the head. 6. Stretch regularly to continually increase your range of movements and your level of flexibility and strength. 7. Workout considering only your capabilities and not of others. Do not force yourself to do exercises that you are not yet capable of just because there are people who can do it. Increase your limits slowly. Listen to your body. There are days when your body may be too tired that you may have to consider reducing your range of motion. 8. Learn to rest. Rest in between sets and stations to make sure that the body has enough time to recover its energy. Also, it is advisable that you don't work the same muscle groups consecutively for two days. The muscles grow during the period when you rest and not when you are working out. 9. Do aerobic exercises to strengthen your heart. Aerobic exercises are those physical activities that much oxygen for fuel. This includes cardiovascular exercises such as skipping rope, running or swimming. 10. Music may help you when you want to train for longer periods or to increase your intensity. You can use mp3 players, CD players or lightweight am radio receivers for this. Just make sure that you brought your headset with you so you wouldn't disturb people who don't prefer music while exercising. Apart from preventing injuries and increasing one's limit, it is also said that stretching is good for a tired body and also for a stressed mind and spirit.

3 Blunders To Avoid on Your Weight Loss Journey

There are times on your weight loss journey when progress can come to a halt. Days or weeks can go by without you seeing movement on the scale, and it can get downright frustrating. After working with thousands of clients, I’ve noticed certain patterns that can cause this weight loss stoppage. Here are 3 of those patterns.

1) Eating more than you think you are.

Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, Zone Delivery Service, and other diet systems have one undeniable benefit to them – they define for the average person how large an actual “serving” is. Most of us underestimate the volume of food we eat (and consequently, underestimate the number of calories we consume in a day). By fixing in your head what a serving size or “portion” of food looks like, we can better estimate (and consequently, evaluate and calibrate) the amount of food we eat at each meal. Keep in mind, when it comes to weight loss, you need to take in less calories than you burn each day. Two good rules of thumb: A portion of meat (3 oz.) is the size of a deck of cards. A portion of carbohydrates (1 cup) is the size of a tennis ball. Please remember to fill up on non-starchy vegetables – they are full of nutrients, have very little impact on blood sugar, and contain little in the way of calories.

2) Not eating frequently enough.

It is a social custom to eat “three square meals” a day. While this may do for social purposes, for weight loss, you will want to aim for more frequent feedings. It is recommended that you consume a minimum of 5-6 small meals each day. By doing so, your body gets the signal that food is abundant, and there is no need to conserve energy. Additionally, frequent feedings maximize your metabolism, as your body is constantly busy, burning calories by digesting your meals. By not letting too much time pass between meals, you stabilize blood sugar levels since they never really get the chance to drop. By keeping your blood sugar stable, your hunger levels are minimized, decreasing the chances that you will be tempted to overeat at your next meal.

3) Choosing to drink your calories instead of eating them.

This is a very common problem among those attempting weight loss, due to the abundance of “healthy” diet smoothies, protein concoctions, and weight loss shakes. There are 2 factors to keep in mind when relying on these liquid meal replacements. First, many of the liquid diet shakes on the market and all fruit smoothies have an abundance of sugar in them. This causes an immediate surge in energy followed by a huge crash due to the release of insulin to control the blood sugar rise. This dramatic shift in blood hormone levels (particularly insulin levels) is something you want to avoid, both for health reasons and for weight loss. Secondly, most weight loss shakes are devoid of fiber. Fiber is one of your most precious allies when you are dieting. It helps you feel full and blunts the rise in insulin levels when all that sugar hits your bloodstream. While fruit smoothies do contain some of the fiber from the pulp of the fruit, a better strategy would be to eat the actual fruits contained in the smoothie. Lastly, the amount of calories that can be concentrated into a shake or smoothie is far greater than the equivalent volume of actual food.  A 16 oz fruit smoothie may contain as many as 600 calories, and will not fill you up all that much! On the other hand, eating 600 calories of fruit will prove to be much more than the typical person can manage in a single sitting (at least, I personally don’t know anyone that can eat more than 2 pounds of bananas at a single sitting!). Think about it- when making major dietary changes, you want to get the most out of your calories. Wouldn’t you rather fill up, rather than drink something and be hungry again soon after?