Category Archives: self care

Why Slimming World is Flawed…

Recently I’ve been working in an office environment, so it’s swarming with women who are all on some diet or another, but one seems to be more popular than any of the others & it’s SLIMMING WORLD.

Slimming World is the land of syns, some foods are “free” – this means you can eat as MUCH as you want, others have syns – these are the ones that you should only eat a certain amount of in order to keep losing weight.  Sound ideal?  Where’s the issue?

So, what’s in a syn?

You have a total  daily allowance of syns, 15 to be exact. That 15 syns equates to 300 calories per day.  Um, come again?  How many?  I eat more than that for breakfast! No, no! I hear you cry from you syn thrones – there are syn free foods too!  Mate, I don’t care.  This working things out in fake points is insane!  (it’s like Reddit, but for food in the real world!)

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So, I give you the flaws in this insane system*

I’ve googled free foods/syns in foods to create a daily plan & will be adding actual macros/calories as well.  All the food listed below is from the SW website & SW Survival website.

Breakfast:

Baked oats or a full English

Oats are:

35g oats, 3tsp sweetener, 1 egg, 1 pot of yoghurt & some fruit.  Bake it.  Job done.  ONE WHOLE SYN.  (343 cal, 22g carb, 6g fat, 11g protein)

Full English:

2 sausages, 2 rashers of bacon (fat removed), mushrooms, 1 whole onion, 1 whole tomato, 1 boiled potato, 1/2 tin of beans, 2 eggs.  ZERO SYNS!  (ok….this is free food, so why stop at two sausages, why not have eight? They’re no syns!!)  (942 cal, 59g carb, 48g fat, 59g protein)  This bad boy also benefits from 1,852mg of sodium!!!  FTR, 8 sausage is 1600 calories.

Lunch:

125g Cheese, Leek & Ham pasta.  100g Chicken breast, & a 500g tub of fat free yoghurt – SYNFREEAGAIN (936 cal, 84g carb, 9g fat, 63g protein)

Dinner:

Lamb shank with mint sauce, 100g oven chips, side of veggies & a Curly Wurly brownie, fuck it….I’m on one syn, so let’s have 4 brownies. 4 SYNS  (857 cal, 50g carb, 43g fat, 67g protein)

Total Syn count: FOUR or FIVE depending on breakfast

Some fruits are free too, so we’ll have 2 mandarins, 100g peas & 100g carrots as snacks for the day.  (163 cal, 38 carb, 6g protein)

Because we have around 9 syns left, we’ll have a 14% glass of red wine with dinner. (175ml)  (175 cal, 3g carb)

Don’t worry about being peckish…..carbs are FREE – go eat that bowl of pasta & sauce,  or super noodles.  (pasta is 522 cal, noodles are 264 cal)

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So, that gives you a total (excluding MOAR pasta snacks) of:

2474 cal for the day if you have the oats

3586 if you have the full English.

Remind me, this diet is supposed to help you LOSE weight, right?

Macro-wise, it’s a little more promising;

196g carb, 58g fat, 147g protein OR 233g carb, 100g fat, 195g protein  sort of,  I suppose.  It depends on a multitude of things: height, weight, age, gender & activity levels.

I can burn through over 3000 calories a day, however that is only IF I cycle a good 10 miles, as well as go & lift weights for an hour.

Look at it this way, most women in the UK  on average, are 5 foot 5 (169cm) & weigh anywhere from 7st 12 to 10st 10 (50-64kg)  If we take the middle of that weight range, around 58kg & work out that they’re a 40 year old office worker that drives everywhere & walks the dog a mile a day.

That gives you a TDEE of 1477 NOT 3586. Broken into macros, as per MFP:

1477 cal,  50% carb – 185g, 20% fat – 33g & 30% protein – 111g which is WAY off the food i selected at random from the lists of free foods that I could.

I’m aware my examples are probably extreme & SW will hopefully teach people portion control & so on, I also know that many people have lost weight using SW – that doesn’t make it right!  Eating at a calorie deficit will help you lose weight, you don’t need points, coloured days, or whatever else some diet guru is trying to tout you with.

Plus, without knowing what a macro is, you’d never be able to work out your daily needs.  That & there’s no paid support group for macro counters…….

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Diagnosis of Slimming World:  NO.

 

*I know people who have lost a lot of weight with SW, those people have added exercise to their lives as well as watching what they eat. I 100% believe that following a standard macro/TDEE would have yielded the same results & forgone some potentially, dangerous eating habits.  This post is to show those flaws & how open to interpretation this “diet” is

Serotonin, Dopamine & Endorphins

Serotonin is a mood booster

Dopamine is a pleasure hormone

Endorphins block pain

Mine are broken.  My mood is apathetic & my dopamine and endorphins have gone on holiday I think, or my remaining serotonin killed them before killing itself.

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I’ve spent days trying to convince myself that talking about mental health is ok, and not a  glorified excuse for attention (thanks, brain!) It feels almost wrong to discuss it freely, like it’s still a taboo & when people ask how you are, they don’t actually want to know; they’re just being polite – this is my current perception of people in general at the minute.

I have depression – a chemical imbalance in my brain that has essentially switched me off.  You seen Inside Out? Where her core memories switch off?  It’s kind like that….sort of. but not really.  Everyone’s experience will vary & this is probably why I put off seeking help for as long as I did – if you read old posts on here, there’s definitely a few that have underlying tones of something not being *quite right* for me.

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Sadness is too sad to walk

However, my blog is not a mental health blog – it’s about my journey through fitness/strength.  I’m aware that you mindset has a lot to do with how you progress, which is the main point of this post……here comes the part that some may not agree with, however the perk of one’s own perceptions; amirite?

A while ago I wrote about how fitness quotes/memes for the most part irritate the living daylights out of me, I thought I’d gotten past that but I now know that I haven’t.  They seem to trigger something in my brain that makes me irrationally anti-motivation.  The buzz words that surround those whose lives are engulfed by the process of becoming stronger and leaner fill me with something that I cannot coherently explain.  I want to scream and shout that not all people think that way & just by saying something doesn’t mean it’ll happen – regardless on what some “fitspo” instagrammer has told you, it simply isn’t the case.

  • The difference between where you are & where you want to be is you!
  • You can be it, if you believe it- you can achieve it
  • Tell yourself you can & you will
  • Focus on being positive

When I started my blog a little over a year ago I hated the above sentiments. However, my personal drive to improve myself meant I chose to ignore them, or sometimes I might have even possibly believed a few – there’s plenty of motivational posts on my blog. That doesn’t mean I’ve aimed them at anyone in particular, that’s just how I felt at that specific time….all the while there was a belligerent part of my brain screaming, silently into a pillow. NO. NO. NO.

No one ever seems to want to talk about what happens when the above sentiments are interpreted as hostile. I’ve been to the gym three times in three weeks.  Do I care? No.  Do I feel bad about it? No. Will reading positivity garbage on line help me get back into my gym routine? No.

I believe that I should be able to teleport to wherever I want to go…..Does that mean I can? No.  What if I focus that I positively believe that it should be achievable, will that make it happen? No.  SO WHY SPOUT THIS STUFF ONLINE?!

That seems a little extreme doesn’t it? Well, what about those who want to do something fitness related, who have tried in the past but given up for whatever reason.  Is reading the positivity going to help someone who is in a dark place go back? I don’t think so.

I have a huge, huge vexation with telling people to be positive – you’re essentially forcing your discomfort of someone else’s unhappiness/numbness/apathy away & life doesn’t work like that.  Ever told a boy that he shouldn’t cry? You’re forcing them to hide their emotions, to block the negativity that they feel instead of talking about it, or allowing them that moment to be vulnerable & at one with how they feel.

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It’s ok to break.

It’s ok to not be happy.

It’s ok to not smile.

It’s ok.

I’ve been hiding my mental state for probably longer than I’d like to admit. I’ve put my woes to a backburner & chose to forget about them, I’ve not acknowledged the spiral in my head & how lost I have felt at times & how I felt like I was drowning in a swathe of emotions that no one wanted to talk about.

I know the gym* & personal trainers are not a place for therapy or qualified to help you in dire times of distress – that’s what counsellors & shrinks are for.  I’m also not saying that you should expect this kind of service from your fitness professionals, what I am saying is that “sucking it up” helps no one.  The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over & over again expecting different results – so even if you train enough to keep your dopamine & serotonin levels high, don’t neglect your feelings on an intimate, almost subconscious level.  Showing the world you feel ok & actually being ok are two completely different things.

Also, if you ever tell someone that you feel sad/empty/upset and they tell you to smile, be positive & to get over it, take a hint from Bronson:

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*The gym is a great place to destress & exercising can increase your dopamine levels but it’s not going to fix the issues inside your mind

 


I Don’t Like It…

I don’t like when something isn’t right

I don’t like when it feels out of sorts

I don’t like not having a “hold” on things

I don’t like the swell of frustration in my head

I don’t like it.

My head is awash with so much running through it at the minute, it’s hard to string a concise sentence together. Even now, I’ve been sat staring at this page for longer than I care to admit; trying to find the words & not just FFAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!  When I’m occupied to a level that I can only think on what it is I’m doing at that very minute; I am fine.  It’s when I have a moment, I used to enjoy the peace, the solitude, the “alone time” and now it feels like a constant buzzing of white noise whirling around.

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I used to be of the belief that if you can change something, to change it & if you can’t; to forget it & move on. You’ll waste too much energy dwelling on things that you have no control over.  I probably still think that way, but at the minute I am stuck & I hate it more than I’ve hated anything for a very long time.  My previous post was about frustration & I guess this is a follow-up (after a conversation with Andy on Friday) as I kinda have a clearer idea; a new perspective on how to look at it.

You can either let the frustration take over you & allow it to consume you or you can look at it as a driving force to become greater than you thought you could be.

So, in a nutshell.  I’m pissed off.  There’s so much that annoys me at the minute it’s hard to see the light, however being as annoyed as I am with many aspect of my life, shows that I’m not happy with my current situation -which is a GOOD thing.  It means I don’t want to settle, I don’t want to just “be”

It’s given me the vigour I’ve desperately missed for the last few weeks, if not months.  I got complacent, then got irritated.  The irritation is my driving force.  Not happy?  Use it! Channel it into something that will make you happy.

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Phillipe wants to go down the safer looking route

Since Friday, I’ve had some of the best training sessions I’ve had for a long time.  I deadlifted more on my own than I’ve done since about February, I gave myself some of the most heinous DOMS that the cycle to the gym today felt like I was cycling through thick glue & it was never going to end.

Today, my session was incredible. I felt so content leaving the gym, there’s something to be said about hormone releases during exercise.  It’d have been interesting to see my dopamine levels as I was cycling home – interesting fact, there’s a blog post about dopamine & it’s effect on your motivation levels, not just it being the “reward hormone” It made a lot of sense to me, this feeling I have now is one that a few years ago was with me permanently, I was driven to be better, I strived to become greater than I was, I wasn’t going to be beaten or have someone be more recognised than I was (this was in a work environment where I excelled)

It was an eye opener.  That time in my life is gone, I miss it everyday & the void it left inside me was getting bigger.  I *think* I’ve finally found the solution.  Training has taught me so much about myself.  This last year has seen me do so much more than I ever thought possible, it’s given back to me more than I could have ever imagined.  I’m not the physically strongest, but fuck me; I’ve had some pretty epic hurdles to jump over since I started this blog.  My self doubt, my struggles with food, overcoming the desire to quit – more than once.

How I feel now, was the feeling I had when the year started – before everything started to go wrong.  I still wonder where I’d be now if everything had gone smoothly this year, but what would I have learned?

Side note:  Having an AMAZING support structure has helped me overcome the darkness that was trying to swallow me.  Thank you, Burton.  Thank you Gem & everyone else that has messaged me recently.  you’ll never know how much your kindness has helped me.  ❤

I leave you with an image of the cheesecake I made when I got home from the gym:

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Week 1 – 6 of Intermittent Fasting

So, do you guys remember through the past few posts of mine I’ve mentioned a change in my diet?  Yeah.  I’ve been fasting for the past 11 weeks, however my blog post was getting quite long so I decided to break it up.

This is part one

I’ve been looking at changes to my diet, not faddy changes or “Do this for xx weeks & drop x dress size”, no.  Something that is right for me. For life. Probably….hopefully.  I did Dukan a few years ago,but it wasn’t feasible to do something like that long term; even though everything I read about it said that you could – I personally felt that it wasn’t.  I looked in to IIFYM (If It Fits Your Macros) but, still being a n00b to all things macro it sounded epically complicated.  A colleague of mine told me about Lean Gains, so I looked in to it….It also didn’t feel 100% right, but I pursued this path & finally (after discussing it with Andy) settled on Intermittent Fasting.  I chose to eat between 2pm & 10pm – meaning my 7:30am gym sessions would be fasted.

May the fourth.  Day 1 of IF.

I have my BCAA, prepped 4 days worth of food stuffs & Omega 3 supplements.  I’ve read countless articles on-line about it & have sought the advice of Andy, my PT as well as a colleague who has been on an IFplan for some time.

I. AM. READY.

Well, sort of.  I’ve read that IF can whack female hormones out of balance & if you’re completely ravenous you SHOULD eat because that’s your body’s way of alerting you to something being really wrong. (something to do with the instinct to be able to carry life & whathaveyou) also, I’ve decided to learn my macros as I go. I know what they should be, but I don’t have that kind of relationship with food that I instantly know whether I need more protein or more carbs, etc.

I got a little peckish around 11am, but didn’t give in. I got myself a huge cup of water & chugged those til it got to 2pm…..the start of my eating window!!  I easily blasted through 1,000 calories at lunch & felt quite, quite stuffed.  Returned home after work & ate some Greek yoghurt with nuts/seeds/oats and had my dinner an hour later.

I’m below my calorie intake for the day, but not by much.  I could quite easily only eat 1,000 calories in a day before, so being at 2,000+ today is a pretty big deal.  I still feel full.

Measurements:

  • Underbust: 29
  • Waist 32.5
  • high hip 37
  • hip 41
  • thigh 20.5
  • calf 15
  • bicep 10.5

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Day 2 – quick update.  Still felt full when I went to bed, woke up & wasn’t hungry.  However, slept longer than I’d have liked to. Not sure if I was too tired or whether it was a weird side effect of LG.

Day 6 -weighed myself in the gym yesterday, showing a 3kg (6lb) loss.

Week 2:

Hunger still kicking in at around the 11:30am, however most days I have stayed strong – only nibbling on a smidge of protein if I felt like my stomach was gonna eat itself.

I’ve not used My Fitness Pal this week to track macros, I’ve not used anything & I know I need to rectify this.  MFP has been too inaccurate due to needing different levels of calories on training and non-training days.

I did go to the gym one morning without previously having BCAA’s – which I will never do again!  I had to admit defeat and stop training because everything just felt too heavy.

Eating seems to be falling in to a slight pattern:

Training:

2pm Breakfast

4pm Lunch

6:30pm Snack

8pm Dinner

Non Training:

2pm: Lunch

5pm: Snack

7pm: Dinner

Week 3:

My hunger pangs have gradually started to take longer to appear, ranging to mostly after 12pm now.  Tiredness subsiding & training getting back to normal in the gym.

ended up ravenous one morning, so ate when I woke & then didn’t touch food for about 9 hours.

Week 4:

Towards the end of the week I’ve started to get tired again, I’ve not tracked my macros this week (oops) which I know I should have, however I know the tiredness is due to not eating properly, so from tomorrow (start of week 5) I’ll be on more structure (hopefully)

Week 5:

The weeks seem to be flying though. This week – tracking macros a little better than I have been, I’ve lost about 10lb since I started too!  Strength training is starting to normalise as well – not back up to weights on a few moves but not as bad as it has been, sought advice from a different PT as I wondered if it was psychosomatic but he said it’s most likely to be the lack of calories on a morning; which I guess makes sense.

Week 6:

Macro counting religiously didn’t last long, I still check it from time to time, but I tend to focus on what I’m eating – I weigh my foods out when portioning for work & ensure to include good carbs in every meal.

Weight training is/was getting back to normal – I seem to be balancing out now my body is getting used to training fasted….mostly.  i have a new programme as well.  This week has not been good for training though, I’ve not had as much training time as I’d have liked, but it’s almost a new week!

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I told a few people what I was doing & I got some really, really mixed reactions.  Some were supportive but a lot were confused as to why I was doing it.  I don’t need to justify my eating habits to anyone, & I definitely do not need the opinions of others thrust down my throat about why I shouldn’t do it, cos “I don’t need to lose weight” it’s not about weight loss & it never has been.  I struggled to get up early enough to eat a decent breakfast prior to going to the gym on a morning.  This way I can grab an extra half hour’s sleep, drink my BCAA while I cycle & then drink my bodyweight in coffee/water until my feeding window.

The science behind IF is just:

 Fasting can accelerate fat loss by creating a favourable metabolic environment for the mobilisation and burning of fatty acids. Such environment is characterised by lower insulin (the “storage” hormone) and higher growth hormone levels. In addition, exercising in a fasted state can further enhance the fat-burning effect.  A favourable metabolic environment means you have the potential to burn fat. The degree to which you actually do depends on a number of factors, including your body’s ability to run on fat rather that “sugar” (or glucose, the preferred source of energy).

**Weeks 7-12 will be published in early August, due to having minor spinal surgery next week.**

A mild image spam for you with special thanks to Andy for the deadlift pic (taken between May 5th & end of June)

*I’m aware most images are of my back – however, that’s been my main focus for strength, so shut up!*

If you would like to know more about IF,  http://www.precisionnutrition.com/intermittent-fasting is a great start


How Much Food Is Enough?

There have been multitudes of various different recommendations from WHO, the FDA & governments from around the world about “how much” food you should eat; the food guide pyramid, using your fist & hand as a portion guide, or even Michelle Obama teaching people about the “food plate”, to name but a few.  Obesity in the US started in the 70’s when food needed to be cheaper, so it was bulked out with lots of processed things – which made it taste awful so sugar was added in vast quantities, a seemingly fine idea at the time that people are paying with their lives for now.

As someone who has struggled with food for many years, knowing how much to eat has been a constant battle for me.  However, if training has taught me anything it’s that you really need to pay attention to what you eat; as well as how much of it you eat.  I’ve tweaked my food intake vastly since I began training & my current food relationship is a mostly healthy one. I seem to have adapted a high fat/high protein & low-ish carb kind of thing.  However, a more in-depth post about my current “diet” will be forthcoming in a few weeks.

Mmmmm, bacon. *homer drool*

So, that being said…..with all the vast choices of diets & faddy “lose weight FAST” kind of advertising about, it’s no wonder people often find themselves slipping from one diet to another; losing weight only to put it back on due to restricting certain foods & finally, admit defeat on the “contraband” and gorge until you feel sick & full of guilt.  Usual pattern, no?

I did Dukan 2 years ago, & while I did lose about 2 stone doing it, it didn’t stay off.  As soon as we stopped the crazy restrictiveness (my hubby did it with me) the looseness in my clothes that I’d began to notice started to lessen.  After that I just kinda went back to the “old” way I ate; skipping breakfast, grabbing something sugary/processed for lunch along with crisps or whatever & then devour a whole tub of Ben & Jerry’s every few weeks because well, why not?!  It was only when I started going to the gym & Andy asked me for a food diary of a few days that I found out that what I was eating was mostly awful.

I was given a guide on foods to stick too, if it wasn’t on the list I didn’t eat it.  I experimented and managed to get a decent diet sorted & lost a few pound in the process.  By this time, I was cycling & was advised to recalculate what I was eating as that level of cardio meant I needed to refuel more than what I was used to; or risk going catabolic – a process that essentially uses your muscle to refuel, meaning muscle loss & fat gain NOT something I was aiming for.

I started looking at calculating what I needed, there’s a few TDEE (Total Daily Energy Expenditure) calculators on-line, I used a few then took an average & used that on My Fitness Pal….it wasn’t working though.  I was cycling through my calories….literally. I had MFP paired with a cycling app & the results were, less than promising.  I needed to eat.  This was disconcerting.  Especially as everything in the media tells us to eat less not more, we’re surrounded by people pushing low fat garbage at us; “guaranteeing” to help weight loss….ummm, no. Stop that. My issue was that I felt full,but how? I was eating about 500 calories less than my original TDEE calculation had said, there was no way I could fit more in…..was there?  I heard about macros through xxfitness (an amazing subreddit for ladies) and looked in to that side, instead of calories.

Recently, I learned how to calculate macros myself. they need tweaking from time to time, however this is the formula:

Calculate the calories you need:

Calculating for cutting (Fat loss)

Bodyweight in lbs x 11, 12, 13, or 14

11 if you’re sedentary with little exercise

12 if you’re sedentary & train 2-3 times a week

13 if you’re active & train 3-4 times a week

14 if you’re active & train 4-6 times a week, or more.

Then, from that you can work out your own macros:

Protein:

Take your weight in lb & that’s how many grams you should eat

Fat:

Ideally, you should aim for 0.3 to 0.6 grams of fat per pound of weight.

Carbohydrates:

Take your daily protein & multiply by 4. This is because there are 4 calories per gram of protein. Then multiply fat by 9, as there are 9 calories of fat per gram.

Add the numbers together & minus your calorie intake to get total carbs.

 Using this helped me work out how much of each macro I needed, so now when I prep for the week I can gauge how much of each macro I need per meal.  They’re not hard & fast rules though & you require a “delicate balance” so you don’t begin to panic if you’re over or under on a macro.

Since starting training & being more aware of food I’ve lost 17kg (2st 6lb, or 37lb) however have gained strength.  My total inch loss is around 12″, oh & my body fat percentage has gone from 35% to around 20%. It has taken me months of trying various different eating plans to find something that I’m happy with & what works for me – everyone is different & what is working for me, may not necessarily work for you, however a good place to start is knowing how many macros you need!


Dear You……

I know you see me a lot in gym gear, or zooming past you on my bike.  You sometimes see a status from me on social media talking about what I’ve been up to in the gym, or maybe you’ve seen photos on instagram of food I’ve made. You smile when you see me, tell me I’m getting smaller and in the next breath; tell me I’m obsessed with training.  You may look at me like I’m crazy when I tell you what time I get up to go & train, you sometimes tell me that I’m mad, or it will damage my health doing this.

You are not helping me.

You may think that your remarks, looks and comments are in jest or perhaps, somewhere deep down inside your heart that you are, in fact helping.  You are wrong.  You cannot seem to comprehend how damaging what you’re saying actually is.

Do I tell you you’re “obsessed” with whatever passion you’re pursuing? Do I just look at you & shake my head when you tell me something that you’re really excited about? Even if I don’t understand why your passion burns so brightly?  Why would I do that? You’re clearly extremely happy with where you’re going & what you’re doing, so why am I received with groans, looks of shock/disbelief when I tell you I did a 70kg deadlift?

My passion burns just as brightly as yours, even if you cannot see it or even attempt to understand it.  You admire how much I’ve changed, but then offer me chocolates & sweets; saying “it’s only one.  Go on, treat yourself” Do you know that I have issues with food? No.  Because I don’t talk about it.

A few months ago, your comments would have caused me worry. Worry if I was doing the right thing, worry that I’d develop Orthorexia, worry that I’d hurt myself, worry about whether it was all going to be worth it.  I don’t worry about your words now, but you should think more before you speak, even if you *think* you’re helping, reverse the situation:  If I said that to you, about something you love; how would you feel?

My own personal pursuit of aesthetics as well as being able to do general day-to-day tasks (that you may take for granted) have no impact on you & your life.  The way I choose to live mine; has no impact on you.  Doing what I do gives me joy & inner calm that I’ve not experienced for years – so maybe, yes I am obsessed.  I’m obsessed with being happier than I’ve felt, I’m obsessed with eating to fuel my body, not to gorge on garbage, obsessed with making an active decision to stop needing painkillers, obsessed with seeing if I can lift more, push more, cycle faster or cook something that tastes incredible, but doesn’t also want to kill you. Obsessed with being better & feeling better.

It is a lot of effort, but that doesn’t mean my choices can be something for you to poke fun at.  I get you don’t understand, I do. I get that.  I know you’re not interested enough for me to be able to eloquently explain why I do what I do & that’s fine.  I don’t want to bore you, however please, please, please don’t interpret your not wanting to know as an excuse for telling me that I’m “obsessed”.

Regards,

Passionate, not obsessed.

Train-Eat-Sleep-Repeat-Gym-Hoodie


Foam Rollers – The Modern Day Torture Device You Should Be Using

Foam rolling is a fairly new thing for me, before I moved to LSF Gym I’d never heard of them.  Andy suggested using it to help release any muscle knots from my cycling.  Sweet baby jeebus!!  It was gooooooooooooooooood but it also hurt; adding additional hand pressure just amplifies the pain/pleasure that emanates from these little rolls of plastic.  I now own my own little torture roll & have combined breakfast eating with rolling before.

GridFoamRollerMediumFirmOrange

There are many types of foam rollers, some are harder than others – these hurt more & some have grid/nodule patterns on them.  When I started foam rolling I’d opt for the softer version, however the one I purchased was a medium density foam, because I’d used the harder ones in the gym and they’re evil – good evil but not something I’d want to use all the time.  The one in the image is identical to mine.

Foam rolling has a posh name; SMR meaning Self Myofascial Release.  Essentially, it’s like having a massage without paying for a therapist every day to help get blood flowing through your muscles, relieves soreness as well as stiffness.  It’s good to do as part of your warm up, however I tend to use mine if I have epic DOMS, or if my back/hips are more angry than usual.  I usually stick to IT band, glutes & have recently started doing my quads.  I need to do my lats after doing some heinous dumbbell moves yesterday.

Apparently you can use them for more than just rolling to help ease muscles – however I’m not going to comment on that as, aside from using mine as a little seat from time to time, I’ve used it for its original purpose…..sort of.  I don’t do full body rolls with mine, but I have seen people do them in the gym.  I might reach the stage where I feel a full roll is necessary before training, however for now it’s my DOMS helper.

I found this pretty helpful video on Livestrong Women for a full roll:

As she says in the video:

  • It will hurt
  • Pause if you find a knot
  • Hold your form
  • Never roll over a joint

They really are evil little devices & will probably be the most “ouchy” part of your training, but you feel so much better afterwards!  I’ll be honest, I wondered what the point of them was when they were introduced to me, but I’ve never needed to question Andy’s methods; I’ll tell him he’s mean – but he always has the clients well-being in the forefront of his mind, so I do as I’m told.  I’m glad I was introduced to the evilness of foam rolling.  It’s helped SO much!

I bought mine locally from TK Maxx, but I know places like Argos, John Lewis & sports stores sell them – you could get one on-line but I prodded and poked all the rollers in store til I found one that was a good density.