Why you should become a Fit Chick!

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This blog post will be different than most you will see from me and not what I promised for this next post from Body In Harmony. With that said I felt this message of thanks and gratitude needed to be expressed. This post is about what it means to be a Fit Chick and why it is important that places like Fit Chick Express exist.

I joined Fit Chicks a year and a half ago after attending the annual Love Your Body Event. My intention when joining the gym was to meet people since I was relatively new to Longmont.  I didn’t join because of weight loss goals or because I needed a place to work out. I tell you this because being a Fit Chick isn’t just about the workouts. At Fit Chick you gain a community, a support system, and fun place to get strong! The community feel isn’t just in the gym but taken outside the daily classes in the form of group challenges, mud runs, parties and fun events just to have a night out!

Angie Schumacher, owner of Fit Chick Express, has create a welcoming atmosphere where women of all walks of life can come together and feel confident, strong, and supported as they work towards their goal to live a healthy lifestyle! Angie goes above and beyond to ensure that all the Fit Chicks get more than your average workout by creating each workout to be different.  In addition to the workouts you can also get a variety of other classes like yoga, zumba and kickboxing with great instructors. Many of the instructors started as clients and were so inspired by being a Fit Chick that they went on to train to be part of the Fit Chick team! That in itself speaks volumes for what an amazing and inspirational place Fit Chicks is.

There is also an understanding that fitness isn’t the whole thing that makes us healthy. Resources are made available for self care and Nutrition. Bobbie Covert with RU Nourished is there to help everyone get the most out of their workouts from the nutritional stand point. How we fuel our bodies greatly impacts our daily lives and our ability to get stronger. Bobbie helps you know what the right fuel is!

On a personal level, joining Fit Chick Express was a big step for me. Prior to becoming a member I had back surgery along with being sick for four years and up to that point had just done physical therapy and Rolfing ® Structural Integration to assist my body in recovering.  This made the idea of starting out in the boot camp classes very intimidating since there were many exercises that I couldn’t do because I was too weak. I am also hyper mobile; stabilizing during certain workouts is very challenging for me.  I decide that is was time to be brave and see how it went.

Angie was amazing and helped me alter every workout that didn’t work for me so that I could be in the class and feel comfortable and confident.  Even though I still struggled with health issues at times, I was becoming more resilient everyday and I owe that to Fit Chicks and Angie. Workouts became easier and I was able to take on more in each class. As I mentioned in the beginning, I didn’t join to lose weight, my time at Fit Chicks still altered my body to be leaner and stronger. This transferred into my daily life because things that had been challenging after back surgery were now afterthoughts.

About a year after joining Fit Chicks I got married. I took on the challenge of private sessions with Angie because I wanted to look great in my dress for the big day! Angie stepped up and helped me achieve my goals and then some! I was able to walk down the aisle feeling confident and beautiful and very proud of the way I looked in my backless and strapless dress. Without her help I don’t think I would have felt the same way!

If you are looking for a place to achieve your health and wellness goals and to find a sense of community, then Fit Chick Express is the place for you.  It has been a year and a half since I started at Fit Chicks and I look forward to many more years with these awesome women!

 Lauren Harmon Certified Rolfer™

Certified Equine Structural Integration Practitioner

Rolfing ® Structural Integration Longmont and Fort Collins Colorado

Visit us as www.FitChickExpress.com for more information about our fitness program for women!

Body Awareness: How it applies to you

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What is body awareness and why is it important?

Body awareness can mean many things depending on the context but in this instance it is being used to describe how we move through our daily lives. For example the way we pick something up off the ground, sit in a chair (see previous post here) or do squats at the gym. It can even be something as small as how we move our eyes or turn our head. Bringing awareness to simple movements or sensations can enhance these movements so that they are done with ease and efficiency as well as in way to prevent damage to our bodies!

So why is this important?

When we are less aware of how we move then we are more likely to get injured doing the repetitive motions that fill our day or the random movements like picking up something heavy without thinking about it or how we sit at our desk on a daily basis.

What this means for your workouts?

When doing a workout there is a tendency to do repetitive motions. Those repetitive motions work through the same joints over and over again. Now imagine that this movement was a squat and that it was done without awareness and one knee is twisting each time. Even if it is just a tiny movement of the knee out of alignment it could be causing other compensation in the body.

Through becoming more aware of where your body is in space and how to feel when things are moving well it enhances the workouts by making them more efficient and less likely to produce injury.

Starting to develop more awareness in ourselves!

To start to develop awareness in our bodies there are some simple movements you can start with. You will need a tennis ball and a small bouncy ball (like the ones you get out of a gumball machine, there are 8 packs sold for $1.99 at King Soopers).

The feet!

The tennis ball is to start bringing awareness to your feet which in turn will loosen the body up all the way into the hips and low back.

  • Start off by taking a walk and get a baseline for how your feet feel when you walk and what your knees, hips, back and shoulders feel like as you move.
  • Then standing or sitting with bare feet roll the tennis ball under one foot very slowly and gently. It isn’t about putting a lot of pressure through the tennis ball but about feeling the sensation of the tennis ball on the bottom of the foot. In fact if you are standing most of your weight should be on the foot that isn’t on the tennis ball. You want to do this slowly and be conscious of what you feel. This sense of sensation work to repattern the nervous system and teaching it where your foot is. That is why it is important to get the whole foot including all the toes! Do this for a minute.
  • When finished take a walk before doing the other foot so you can feel what has shifted then do the other side! This can be done throughout your day and even while sitting at your desk to keep you back loose during the day!

Increasing awareness of our feet gives us a better sense of grounding and support from our lower body allowing our upper body to be able to rest and not try to hold us up so much! When we can connect to our feet we can also access more power from out lower body which is important when doing your workouts. Think about the way you do squats and notice next time if you are using your whole foot to do the movement! If not then you lose some of the power. Try doing to the tennis ball exercise before doing squats and see if you notice a difference in the way you do them! For more information on Squats be on the lookout for my next post!

The Hands!

Next use the bouncy ball to do the same thing for your hands! This is best done if you can use a table to rest your hand on!

1. Once again take a walk and just notice how your neck and shoulders feel.

2. Take a bouncy ball and place it under the palm of your hand and then rest your hand on the table.

3. Roll the bouncy ball under your hand for a minute like you rolled the tennis ball under your foot. You want to feel each finger with the bouncy ball and the whole surface of the hand. Remember it is the sensation of the slow conscious movement that creates there patterning of the nervous system so that your body is more aware of where your hand and arm are.

4. While doing this be aware of what the ball feels like on your hand and make sure to take deep breaths. Also watch that you’re allowing your shoulders to rest and your armpits to relax!

5. Be careful to be very light near where your hand and wrist meet as this is where there are nerves.

6. Do one side and then take a walk. See what the whole arm, shoulder and neck feel like then do the other side!

This is a great way to warm of the shoulders especially before/after an arm workout!

Do you want to learn more about how to be aware in your body especially in your workouts?

Watch for more information and a follow up post in April!

We will be going over Pushups, Squats and other exercises to help with biomechanics and form with the intention to reduce injury!

 

Lauren Harmon Certified Rolfer™

Certified Equine Structural Integration Practitioner

Rolfing ® Structural Integration Longmont and Fort Collins Colorado

www.Bodyinharmonysi.com

What is Rolfing® Structural Integration?

My name is Lauren Harmon and I am the owner of Body in Harmony located within Fit Chick Express. I offer Rolfing® Structural Integration sessions. The goal of Rolfing® Structural Integration is to bring a person back to their natural balance and alignment through body awareness education and manual manipulation of the connective tissue (fascia). Each session has a set of goals to systematically change the stress patterns within the person’s body so that they are able to move easier and have an overall increased level of well being.

 Rolfing® Structural Integration has the ability to help problems like Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, TMJ syndrome, neck pain, headaches, back pain, posture, athletic performance and overall well being.  This type of bodywork creates lasting results and helps people be able to fully express the being that they are inside.

As a member of Fit Chicks I am always looking for ways to help the ladies with body mechanics and self maintenance for their workouts and daily lives. Since most people spend a lot of their day sitting this article will be focused on how to sit in a supported way which protects the back maintaining a lumbar curve in your lower back and helps maintain range of motion in the hips.

Find a chair or bench to sit on! You want to find one that has enough height to have a slight downward angle in your thigh.

Step One: Find your seat bones!

What are your seat bones you ask? Sit on your chair and let your body rock side to side as well as forward and back gently and feel the bony part of your pelvis on the chair. These are your ischial tuberosities.  If you are not feeling two bony points then tilt your pelvis back and forth gently until you can feel connection with the chair.

Once you find the seat bones continue to rock back and forth until you find a happy medium between leaning backward and forward. This should be a place that feels comfortable and easy in the body.

Step Two: Thigh angle

While sitting on your chair you want a slight downward angle in your thigh. This means that your knees should be slightly lower than your hips. If the chair you are on is too short to do this and can’t be changed add a folded towel or blanket to raise the seat. If the chair is too high for your feet to touch the ground then use the towel or blanket for under your feet (phone books work too for under the feet)

Step Three: Foot Position

Once you have the right angle in your leg the next alignment to look at is your foot position. You want to line your ankle bones up under your knees. This means that the leg will be in a little bit bigger than a 90 degree angle. You want your foot to lay flat on the floor. What I mean by this is you want weight through the whole foot. For example you wouldn’t want to put weight just in your toes but feel your heels as well.

When your feet are in a good position, gently press your feet into the floor. You will feel a slight lift in your body activating your core and decompression in the low back. This connection into the feet helps create support for the upper body and takes the load off the low back. You do not have to push hard with your feet at all times just keep an awareness of the bottoms or your feet.

Side Notes:

  • If pushing into your feet creates tension in your body imagine that the floor is coming up to support your feet instead of pushing into the floor.
  • If you are having trouble finding the lift, have a friend gently put their hand on your lower back then press into your feet slowly. This will help you feel the lift as you connect with their hand.
  • If you want to deepen that connection from your feet to your core put a pillow between your knees and bring the knees towards one another slightly as you press into your feet

 

If you have any questions about supported sitting or Rolfing® Structural Integration please send an email to Body_in_harmony@yahoo.com or check out bodyinharmonysi.com

 

Lauren Harmon Certified Rolfer™

Certified Equine Structural Integration Practitioner

Rolfing ® Structural Integration Longmont and Fort Collins Colorado