Fitness

  • Ever feel like you have no motivation to exercise?

    I use this exact technique when I have no motivation to workout, which contrary to popular belief does happen even to fitness coaches!

    Hit play!

    I honestly use this technique ALL THE TIME and it has worked 100% of the time. Even if you do a workout and decide at the end you don’t want to continue , you have already moved your body for 10 minutes! How awesome is that!

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  • The Use of Magnesium Spray During Pregnancy and for Exercise Recovery

    Magnesium is an essential mineral that is used by the body for regulation of muscular contraction, insulin metabolism, blood pressure regulation, cardiac excitability, nerve transmission and neuromuscular conduction. The use of magnesium compounds have been widely used as medicinal and dietary supplementation, and its positive effects have been well documented. Along with being essential for many physiological processes it also plays a role in sleep, relieving muscle cramping, improving mood and reducing anxiety and depression. It can help relieve restless leg syndrome and is important for pregnancy and lactation. Talk about a super mineral!

    Magnesium During Pregnancy and for exercise recovery

    Magnesium helps contribute to a healthy pregnancy and has been shown to decrease the occurrence of certain complications like preventing pre-eclampsia (high blood pressure) and low birth weight. Its need during pregnancy is increased therefore many women don’t receive enough magnesium during this time.  One of the most common signs of magnesium deficiency is leg cramping which is experienced by 30- 45% of women, mostly at night and often becomes more prevalent from the second trimester onwards.  Using magnesium during pregnancy can help to decrease muscle cramps and can also help give relief from the muscular pain that persists days after a cramp.

    With magnesium helping to assist in muscle recovery its use after training can be an excellent way to gain relief from the pain and discomforts when DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) sets in. During exercise, magnesium levels are depleted with loss through sweat, urine and alterations in blood magnesium levels. This makes magnesium supplementation important for athletes or those who work out regularly as they will have a higher magnesium needs than the sedentary population. Many studies have shown that loss of magnesium affects performance however they haven’t yet been able to show that supplementation with magnesium will increase performance!

    So apart from oral supplement which most of us would receive from a basic multivitamin how else can you ensure you’re getting enough magnesium?

    Ever heard of Transdermal magnesium application? Transdermal magnesium is applied directly to and absorbed by the skin. This may sound like a new fad but transdermal application itself isn’t a new way to administer products with certain medications like pain relief and smoking cessation patches having been used for some time. The difference is magnesium isn’t a drug it’s an essential mineral to the body and its delivered in a natural form. Applying it transdermally ensures it doesn’t have to pass the gastrointestinal tract and can be delivered straight to the body’s cells and tissues. This is a quick and easy way to reap the benefits of this product particularly, if taking magnesium orally gives you gastrointestinal upsets.

    What happened when I started using magnesium spray?

    It wasn’t until I was about 19 weeks pregnant that I started getting muscle cramps during the middle of the night partially in my calves. My sleep also started being affected by more restlessness and frequent waking which meant feeling more fatigued throughout the day.  Wanting to improve my sleep and ease the cramping I went on the hunt for a magnesium spray to use and came across base recovery spray.  A lovely small business based in Geelong who sources their magnesium chloride (the main ingredient in magnesium spray) naturally from the dead sea. One thing I liked about the products that set them apart from other brands is the addition of essential oils. The sleep recovery spray has a hint of lavender to assist with sleep, relieving tension and calming the mind. Whereas the recovery spray has a touch of peppermint oil which assists in clearing the airways, boosting digestion and enhancing energy levels. I hate deciding on one product and felt these products had different purposes, so I decided to try both! The sleep spray to help with my leg cramps and restless sleep and the recovery spray to assist with muscle soreness from my workouts.

    I first used the magnesium sleep spray before bed with a spray on the sole of each foot and one on my abdomen.  It smelt amazing, not too much lavender which meant it was not overpowering to my sensitive pregnancy nose. The spray left a cool tingly sensation on my tummy and feet and I jumped into bed. I felt the soles of my feet become more relaxed and it didn’t take too long to drift off to sleep. I still had a few night waking’s that night and a small foot cramp which I would take over a leg cramp any day! Night two of using the spray I applied the spray to my feet and tummy and again got a slight tingly feeling. I also decided to spray the sleep spray on the bottom of my toddler’s feet to see if it helped him with his night waking also. I have now been using the sleep spray on us both daily, and it’s become one of his favourite bedtime routines. I am happy to say our sleep has improved and I’m not waking in pain from muscle cramps (insert happy dance)!

    The recovery spray I use for muscle soreness after my training and have been carrying in my handbag to use whilst at work. I reentered the workforce at 24 weeks pregnant as an oral health therapist after having almost 2 years off staying at home to raise my son. Dentistry is a demanding job both physically and mentally and although you sit down for a lot of the procedure the use of your arms, head and neck in sometimes awkward positioning can cause pain and strain. My first day back was exhausting and the next morning my upper back muscles felt practically sore, just like I’d done a workout. So before work the next day I sprayed the recovery spray on my back, neck and upper traps. Again, I felt a tingly sensation, but it felt like it took the edge off my discomfort and relaxed these areas. I had read that the tingling feeling was a sign that you are deficient in magnesium, however, I wasn’t able to find any evidence to support this claim so did a small experiment on myself. From personal experience, I have found the tingling sensation to decrease even when applying the spray to different areas (testing to see if the skin somehow got used to the feeling when applying in the same spot). So perhaps as I have increased my magnesium levels with regular use the sensation has gone away.

    How to use magnesium spray

    Magnesium sprays are incredibly easy to use. Simply spray the magnesium oil onto your skin and massage in. Or, for harder to reach areas, spray into your hands first before rubbing in.  If you don’t enjoy the tingly sensation you can dilute the spray with some water or coconut oil or rinse off after 20 minutes. I have been using the sleep spray about half an hour before bed with a spray on the sole of each foot and one on my tummy and the recovery spray I spray directly to sore muscles after work or exercising. Since using base recovery magnesium spray I am no longer getting muscle cramps at night, which is, in turn, improving my sleep and the muscle pain is eased after training and work.

    If you’re looking for an inexpensive, easy to use product to help relieve cramping, aches and pains and improve your mood and most importantly your sleep. Then you need to get yourself some magnesium spray!

    My top picks on where to buy magnesium spray

    Note: base recovery no longer supply their amazing product so a few other recommendations are 

    salt lab 

    hermosa and co

    References:

    KASS, L., Skinner, P. and Poeira, F. (2013). A pilot study on the effects of magnesium supplementation with high and low habitual dietary magnesium intake on resting and recovery from aerobic and resistance exercise and systolic blood pressure. J Sports Sci Med, 12(1), pp.144-50.

    Ragnar, R. (2015). Treatment with Magnesium in Pregnancy. AIMS Public Health, 2(4), pp.804–809.

    Tarjan, A. and Zarean, E. (2017). Effect of Magnesium Supplement on Pregnancy Outcomes: A Randomized Control Trial. Advanced Biomedical Research, 6(1), p.109.

    Tarleton, E., Littenberg, B., MacLean, C., Kennedy, A. and Daley, C. (2017). Role of magnesium supplementation in the treatment of depression: A randomized clinical trial. PLOS ONE, 12(6), p.e0180067

    Supakatisant, C. and Phupong, V. (2012). Oral magnesium for relief in pregnancy-induced leg cramps: a randomised controlled trial. Maternal & Child Nutrition, 11(2), pp.139-145

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  • Exercising while pregnant and return to exercise postpartum

    Pregnancy was once considered a time for rest when women were advised to refrain from physical activity and exercise. I’m sure you have heard the old wives’ tale

    “Pregnant women should not work out if they have not worked out prior to pregnancy” or ” A pregnant woman’s heart rate should not go above 140 BPM (beat per minute) while exercising”.

    This misinformation is not only confusing for a new mum-to-be but saddening because it can impact the positive health benefits both mum and baby get from exercising during pregnancy.

    Exercising while Pregnant

    Before I was pregnant I spent 45-60 minutes exercising at the gym at least 4 or 5 times a week. It consisted of a little cardio warm up and a split gym weight lifting program (meaning I would train one muscle group a day, followed by a rest day). I now reflect on those days of uninterrupted, non-sleep deprived, somewhat relaxing gym sessions and realise how my training style has changed and adapted to suit my new life as a mum.

    My pregnancy was relatively easy and uncomplicated having only suffered from some slight nausea and food aversions in the early weeks and some lower back pain in the final months. At 15 weeks pregnant I even took myself to see my Doctor because I felt “too good” as I was convinced that this meant there was something wrong! Everything was perfect and ironically my partner and I felt the baby kick for the first time that night!

    I made a few adjustments to my training whilst pregnant like reducing the weight I was lifting and modifying any exercises that just didn’t feel right. One of my favourite exercises are barbell hip thrusts and barbell glute bridges. Traditionally, the barbell sits low across the top of the hip bones so once my belly started to grow it wasn’t possible nor did I feel comfortable to do this exercise anymore. So, I switched to using bodyweight and a loop band around the knees for extra resistance.

    Now here is where the wives’ tales get it wrong!

    MOST exercises are considered safe and present minimal risk to mother and child however, modifications are required along the way to accommodate the physiological and anatomical changes that occur during pregnancy. There are always simplifications, modifications or a different exercise altogether that will target the same muscle group. If you feel uncomfortable, are in pain or feel unsafe whilst exercising please seek advice from a reputable trainer.

    The current guidelines for exercise during pregnancy as per sport medicine Australia are:

    For Women who were not active prior to pregnancy; 150 minutes per week or 30 minutes per day commencing at low intensity and working towards a moderate intensity on most days of the week. This might include activates like walking or swimming. To measure and monitor intensity it’s recommended to use the Borg scale Rate of perceived exertion scale (RPE). The scale allows individuals to subjectively rate their level of exertion during exercise or exercise testing. An appropriate scale would be working at around 12-14 which means the exercise is somewhat hard, but you are still able to maintain talking throughout. To view the whole chart and gain further understanding of how exertion is measured please see the following link (https://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/basics/measuring/exertion.htm)

    For women who were previously active prior to pregnancy; and are experiencing an uncomplicated pregnancy physical activity 150- 300 minutes per week and 30-60 minutes per of moderate to vigorous activity day most days of the week. Exercise is encouraged to be continued until it becomes uncomfortable to do so or unless advised by your healthcare practitioner.

    Medical Clearance

    It’s important that all pregnant women consult with their healthcare providers (GP, obstetricians, midwife, physiotherapist or exercise physiologist) regarding physical activity and exercise during and after pregnancy as your medical team are the ones that know you best and therefore will provide you with the best care and advice for YOU and your unborn baby.

    I continued modified resistance training until 36 weeks pregnant. After having an early labour scare I was advised by health professionals to reduce my training to light walking and spend the next few weeks resting and preparing for the birth and arrival of our baby. At 39 weeks, plus 3 days we welcomed a little boy after a short 4-hour natural labour. I remember feeling so amazed and proud of what my body achieved and honestly believe staying fit and healthy during my pregnancy made a huge impact on my pregnancy, delivery and postpartum recovery.

    I was cleared like most women at my 6-week postpartum check up with the obstetrician, and started exercises that helped to restore the pelvic floor and heal any abdominal separation (diastasis recti). My somewhat “regular” training style didn’t resume until 16 weeks postpartum. Ladies, if you are going to do one thing for yourself postpartum, please see a women’s health physiotherapist prior to resuming exercise!

    You may have been CLEARED to exercise but you have not been properly assessed without an internal examination or ultrasound to determine if it’s SAFE for you to exercise.

    It’s irrelevant what type of birth you had, caesarean, complicated, uncomplicated if you trained your entire pregnancy or even if you’re an elite athlete. You still carried a baby for nine months, birthed a baby and it’s very important to assess how your pelvic floor and core are functioning even if you feel like you have no problems post-birth.

    Return to exercise postpartum – what are the benefits?

    There are so many health benefits to exercising pre and post-natal. Not just physical benefits such as improving physical conditioning and helping to reduce postpartum weight but also the mental benefits like improving emotional wellbeing, reducing anxiety and depression. It can be challenging making time to exercise as a new mum. You’re tired. No, you’re exhausted, there are a million jobs to do around the house, your baby is cluster feeding and you can’t put them down! The list goes on but, there is always likely to be a barrier or challenge that SEEMS to prevent you from exercising. The trick is to get creative, break up your workout in smaller sections throughout the day. Exercise with your baby so you can still rest during nap time if you need to and find a way to incorporate exercise into your new daily grind.

    Some days it’s challenging, it doesn’t always go to plan and you don’t always get to finish what you’re doing, but it’s still exercise, it’s still worth it, and it sets such an important example for the little eyes that look up to you. We can be hard on ourselves about EVERYTHING as a parent so, even if exercise looks different than it used, accept the change, embrace the change and don’t put so much pressure on yourself to do what you used to or look like you used to. You are different, your body is different and guess what that’s ok! When it comes to postpartum fitness the recipe for success will be different for each of us but it all comes down to a few key elements. Staying positive, loving your post baby self, eating the right foods to nourish and heal your body and most importantly listening to your body and doing what you can, where you can.

    Blog post feature written for the lovely Chelsea. The Creator of the AHHMAZING breastfeeding friendly adjustable sports bra from(www.mamamay.com.au). 

     

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  • tips for exercising when you have kids

     

    Exercising when you have kids certainly doesn’t look like it did before I had kids. Some days I find myself seriously lacking motivation due to sleep deprivation or what seems like the never-ending job list to get through. The sleep deprivation is real, I haven’t slept longer than three hours straight since my son was born (15 months ago). We are still breastfeeding and mothering through the night and I’m ok with this. That doesn’t change the fact that some days I feel like some kind of zombie from the walking dead fuelled by coffee and on the odd occasion wine.

    There are times when the last thing I feel like doing is exercising (yes, I am human!) and to overcome this I set myself a small goal. I will exercise for 5 minutes and if by the end of that time, I still don’t feel like exercising I will stop. More often than not I continue my workout and feel refreshed, energized and much better than I did before I started. Just one of the many benefits of working out!

    So, here are my top tips to help you exercise when you have kids (and next to no time).

    Be adaptable.

    You might have an idea of how you want to work out, where you want to work out, or how long it should take but be prepared it might just not happen the way you want it too. Adapt your work out to make it work for you, your baby, your lifestyle. If you had of told me one-day pre-baby that I’d be working out at home and stopping to read to my toddler at the same time, I would certainly not have believed you.

    Get your kids involved.

    My sons face lights up like a Christmas tree when we workout together. Make it fun, use your baby as resistance weight, get on the ground and make your “workout” seem like fun and play to your babe.

    Break your workout up into smaller sections. 

    Instead of trying to complete your workout in one go, break it up throughout the day. Some days it takes me all day to complete a workout that would normally take 45 minutes if I was at the gym and child free (those were the days). It’s completely fine to work out like this, any exercise is better than no exercise

    Incorporate exercise into your daily tasks.

    Exercise in between or whilst doing those daily #mumlife chores. While you hang the washing, cook dinner, clean the house or chasing after playing with your child. Don’t be afraid to get creative.

    Don’t try and find time, MAKE time.

    One of the biggest barriers to exercise for most people is, themselves! It’s so common to hear a client say “I don’t have enough time”….. Well, guess what? No one has enough time! You have to make time, get up half an hour earlier, sacrifice a little TV, or technology, say no to that social activity if you have too! If you’re serious about your health then sometimes you need to sacrifice or prioritize things that can wait.

    Need help getting started?

    Happy Exercising!

    Coach Jess

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