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Healing With Barre: Lauren's Journey

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This guest blog post was written by Lauren Chow.

“Reject the sense of injury, and injury itself disappears” (Marcus Aurelius). If you let an injury define you, your sense of self can be lost. This is my story on how barre has allowed me to become stronger and above my injury so that I don’t have to let it define me.

I think the worst part about my injury is that I had no control over the situation and it was now something that was a part of me. Six years ago back home in Saskatoon on April 12, 2012 (at I kid you not, the stroke of midnight making it Friday the 13th), I was the passenger in a car accident where the vehicle was rear ended, and totalled. I can remember the spinning and thinking we were going to roll. The velocity of the collision went through my body to the point where my tied up sneakers were no longer on my feet. I remember the injuries from hitting my head and knee, and not being able to sit up on my own for days after. I sought out continual care for months following the accident of weekly physiotherapy and massage, but the injury still had such control over my life. While my continual care helped relieve any immediate strain, I still didn’t feel like I was getting any better.

Fast forward a few months, I had just moved to Edmonton and had to figure out how to continue my care in a new city. A co-worker had recommended a massage therapist at a facility near the UofA that specializes in chiropractic care and massage therapy. After a few treatments with her, I trusted her recommendation to begin chiropractic care. I saw immediate benefits from this type of therapy. Combined with massage and the exercises they had given me, I was feeling like I was in control of my injury and my body once again! Although, some activities were still limited for me. I’ve always loved the game of golf, but the twisting nature of that sport would leave me injured, and I’d have to seek out immediate care after a game, and limited how much I played.

I’ve always been interested in physical activity and knew the benefits to staying active, especially for body maintenance and to help reduce the effects of any injury. In terms of workout classes and programs, the closest thing I found enjoyable was Zumba, but sometimes the movements would cause my muscles to pinch and I’d be away from any activity for weeks. I would stay away from things like pilates and yoga because the movements were sometimes too hard on me, and I didn’t feel strong enough to participate in those classes. I was taking a few kinesiology courses at the time and was able to build my own workout program for the gym. Well… I can certainly tell you that I did not have the motivation or the confidence to be there. I saw the benefits of going continually, but I would always get bored of the exercises and would spend more time curating workout playlists than actually working out.

 

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I was in this constant cycle of trying to work out here and there, seeking care when things flared up, and believed this was how I was to take care of myself now. I had been introduced to barre by my sister, Kendra who by this time had begun working the front desk at the studio. My first barre class had my legs feeling like jelly. It made me realize I did not have much body awareness, and I knew I had to take modifications and breaks. While I very much enjoyed the atmosphere of the studio, I mistakenly felt I wasn’t strong enough to participate in this type of exercise. Still in my cycle of ups and downs, Holland Plaza had just opened their doors, and Kendra had told me the studio was looking to hire someone for the front desk. I knew of the amazing community that existed at Barre Body Studio and knew I shouldn’t pass up an opportunity to be a part of it. Soon after being inspired by listening to classes happening while working the front, taking my first few classes with Erin and Lindsey, I was hooked. I saw the strength my body could have, I saw the empowerment of being in a group fitness setting, and I saw my own improvement. I was more in tune with what my body was capable of instead of what my limitations might be.  After a few months of barre, I didn’t have to limit my movements as much, I didn’t have to book a chiro appointment the day after a round of golf. I was strong, I was empowered, and I no longer had to think about my injury before saying yes to a certain activity. The one class I must make note of is the Bangin’ Backside class. I knew the class had a higher intensity than the Fit class, so I always opted for the Fit classes until I felt I could increase intensity. My injuries mainly exist in my lower and upper back muscles, so when I finally signed up for a Backside class, I saw huge improvements in my practice and in my body. This class allowed me to focus on the supporting muscles I needed to work to help maintain my strength. It was in this class that I was able to strengthen my mind-body connection and become so aware of what my body was doing external to my core. This is why Bangin’ Backside is my favourite class to teach. It is where I became in tune with barre, found my strength, and am able to reject the sense of my injuries. Yes, there are still days when my back flares up, but I no longer let that defeat me. I engage in the proper self care of either treatment, rest, maybe a stretch and core class, or taking the modifications in class. I don’t know where I’d be without Barre Body Studio, but because of barre, I am not limited or defined by any injury that may befall me.


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styling@mariezydek.com

Love Yourself: The Art of Practising Self-Care by Kendra

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   “Self-care” has become a trending topic as of late, especially in how it relates to mental health. But do we really understand what self-care is, and what exactly does it look like?

   The term self-care describes actions one can take to achieve their ideal mental and physical health. Methods of self-care are as unique as the person who practices them. It could be a massage, a meal at a favourite restaurant, or a killer barre class (this is one of the ways I achieve my re-centering). But most importantly, practicing self-care essentially means being attuned to your inner needs, listening to them, and acting on them. Blocking out all of the world’s noise and listening to what your self has to say can be challenging—but the rewards are resplendent.

   Understanding the concept and importance of self-care has been a hard fought lesson for me. My role in my relationships is often to be the ‘listener’; I care very deeply about the people in my life, and want to be the best friend/sister/daughter/partner I can be for them. When we discuss the adventures that life has taken us on (for better or for worse), I listen intently and offer my thoughts on how best the other person could take care of their situation, and encourage them to be kind to themselves. However, it wasn’t until recently that I recognized I always forgot to turn my listening ear inwards. While always wanting to do the best I could for others, I consistently forgot the person I should always be the kindest to first: myself.

   Once I started listening to my inner voice, I realized she had a lot to say about guiding me towards a happier sense of self. I also learned that I was able to become a much more positive influence for others around me, because I had taken the time necessary to take care of myself. And this lesson alone clarifies that self-care is not selfish. Taking the steps necessary to center, listen, and be kind to yourself actually enables you to show up and be even more present for the people in your life, in a real and impactful way. Use the practice of self-care to create the space and time for you to become more generous and kind to yourself, and others.

   The practice of self-care will look and feel different for everyone. And it can be a big, or small action. For example, one of my favourite ‘small-ways’ to practice self-care is to accept a compliment I am happy to receive: instead of deflecting or brushing it off, choose instead to pause, absorb the words, feel them, and know your worth in that moment.

   And so, I hope this collection of thoughts has inspired you to want to learn/start/continue to practice the art of self-care. At the end of every barre class that I teach, I ask you to pause and thank yourself for your hard work and your sweat—for honouring your body and mind, for taking time for the important person that is you, because you are so deserving of it. I want for you to take on that same practice in your daily life: to pause, to listen, and to thank yourself for all that you do. Your voice is worth listening to: turn up the volume, and listen to what you have to say—you might be surprised by what you hear.

    I want you to start this practice by taking this moment to stop and give yourself a hug—mentally or physically. Give yourself a loving squeeze, because darling: you are so deserving of so much kindness, love, and magic. You are enough. Love your pals, and love yourself.

 

 

 

 


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styling@mariezydek.com

Bell Let's Talk Day: Emily's Story

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It's Bell Let's Talk Day and today Emily, one of our lovely Barre Instructors, is bravely sharing her struggle with anxiety and depression to help end the stigma associated with mental illness. Read her inspiring story of how the BBS community helped her heal and how she copes day to day.

   “Who in the world am I? Ah, that’s the great puzzle.”

   This quote from "Alice in Wonderland" when Alice fell down the rabbit hole and couldn’t find her sense of self. I am Alice and the rabbit hole is my depression. Yet, instead of being in a fantasy world, I am a happy young woman who at one point could not recognize a single piece of me that I admire anymore.

   Early 2017 came at me like a brick falling from the sky. With no reasonable explanation my brain shut down. I felt empty and held in limbo because my brain was telling me that a place for me in this world is something that was not created. Come to think of it, I may have been the only one in my inner circle that didn’t see the approach of my ultimate mental demise, but we can get to that later.

   If you were to go through my history, you would see that mental illness isn’t a new concept in my life. Panic attacks and anxiety have been a forefront of my personality since middle school. Vivid memories of crying till my head hurt and patches of hair falling out from stress framed my high school experience. This was all because I “needed” to get straight A’s.

   I have used almost every coping mechanism you can think of, none of them healthy. I would purge my food, over exercise, drink and then drink some more. Oh and after my last drink I’d finish it off with a bottle of wine. Like many other 20 something year old women I would rid my thoughts from my body to forget how terrified they made me. As a future Registered Dietitian with no other passion than to promote health, I was the ultimate fraud. Who in the hell should ever listen to me?

   I didn’t take my first stab at reaching out for help until Fall of 2014 in my third year of University. I was so down that I realized if I have to live another 80+ years with the thoughts that I was having, that I’d rather not live at all. To save you from boredom let’s say that my journey to wellness has been a bit of a roller coaster. Not staying consistent with my medication, reaching high points and then chasing lows with a shot of tequila. Fast forward to 2017 I had finished University with distinction, had several great jobs and amazing friends. But my dark past left me feeling like the real life Jekyll and Hyde.

   It wasn’t until March of 2017 that I took a step forward and never looked back. I’m not going to tell you what to do because there’s professionals for that, but I will share with you some things that have helped me start to move forward.

   The first thing I realized is that I surround myself with a group of cheerleaders who know me better than I know myself. Many of these women with astounding character I have found through the Barrebody community. By being open about my struggles with depression a few close friends were there to support me and immediately recognized that I was not okay. Through seeking help this time I realized that I didn’t have to go through my struggles alone and used my community as support. I went back to therapy, became stable on my medication, ate healthy, exercised, drank my water, ate my veggies, played my favorite music, appreciated nature and counted my blessings. I always thought that because of my privilege, I wasn’t allowed to not be okay. But depression shows no bias in selection. Never apologize for what goes on in your brain. Even the scary thoughts make you great.

   I wrote the above words in the summer of 2017. I found revisiting these experiences difficult, likely due to the rawness of the emotions that I was writing and how they made me feel. Facing your feelings can be difficult. Facing your feelings can be heavy. Yet, one thing that is true is that you need to suffer in the darkness before light can shine through.

   As I was writing this post, the universe proved its nature of working in mysterious ways. I was driving home from work and listening to Chris Falconer’s podcast “Open up and Om”. While I was listening I got a reminder that I needed. He was interviewing YEG yoga teacher Amanda Bell-Tardif and she said something that stuck with me:

   "A lot of people don’t want to feel the movement of emotion… And I see so much beauty in the ability to feel pain and suffering. Suffering is essential because then you can start to feel the beauty… I was driving here and the wind was flowing through my car and I was playing my favorite music and those little simplicities. And you can’t appreciate that if you haven’t been taken away from being able to enjoy anything. There’s a numbness that starts to surface and when you start to chip away at that numbness then the intensity of the feeling starts to surface and it’s not pretty and it’s not fun. But then through the darkness you can come into the light. And the stars are only bright in the darkness. So your light shines through and that will always happen. If you put the work in, it will come."

   Because I’ve let myself work through my suffering and face my thoughts, my darkness has become my triumph. My bad days are now when I am able to learn the most about myself. I don’t self medicate anymore. I choose to experience my feelings. And through experiencing my feelings I grow. I used to always think that if I got over my depression, the final piece of my puzzle would be complete. I saw depression as something that I had to fix, because I felt so broken. But mental health is dynamic and my depression is chronic. My experience with depression relates to my ability to feel. My ability to feel is one of the greatest parts of me. I’ll never apologize for feeling too much.

   By letting my puzzle fall apart last year I was able to pick up only the pieces that I wanted to keep. I was also able to let the pieces fall away that did not serve me. Who I am, is no longer a puzzle. It's something that changes, grows and will likely never be complete. This is something I’m okay with because this is life, and now I am living.

   If you or a loved one are experiencing symptoms of depression, anxiety or are having suicidal thoughts please call the Alberta Health Services Mental Health Help Line. To find out how you can help raise money for mental health initiatives on #BellLetsTalk Day click here.

 

 


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katarina@barrebodystudio.com

Athlete Strength. Dancer Grace. - The Importance of Flexibility & Strength

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Build muscle - Evolve resilient bodies - Induce strength
 
Lengthen muscles – Stretch to capacity - Bend without breaking

 

These are the goals that drive our barre classes, each with a coinciding theme: strength and flexibility. We find strength in the burn of each small movement and we find flexibility in the release. Strength is the quality of being strong, flexibility is the quality of being limber. While they may sound dissimilar, barre is the art of fusing these two abilities together to encourage the most able bodies. In fact, we highly value the fact that they work best in partnership.

 S T R O N G – Each pulse, plié, and contraction that causes the muscles to shake is pushing muscle fibers to the point of total exertion. By fatiguing not only the large muscle groups but also their supporting accessory muscles, our prime motive is strength. Strength is crucial to a healthy body because it supports life functions, maintains general health, and fosters overall wellness.

 F L E X I B I L E – You most likely recognize this as the stretching component of class – the warm up, the barre stretch after a series, the final stretch on the mats - you certainly are not wrong. After peak exertion, we deliver a stretch to release the muscles that were previously pushed to their limit. However, what you might not know, it that anytime we are working an exercise in extension, this is also promoting flexibility. Flexibility is crucial to a healthy body because it a key player in injury prevention, reducing stress in fatigued muscles, and promoting a greater range of motion to take your workout to the next level.

 
So how do they work together?

 

The relationship between strength and flexibility is significant for a variety of reasons. Flexibility affects strength because a limited range of motion is going to hinder your best strength gains. Think about the mobility required in a squat … when you get deeper into the movement, you can push the muscles further. Having the flexibility to put your body in the proper position and alignment for an exercise is a vital part of fitness. But with that said, the stronger you get, the more flexibility you lose. It is crucial to continue to stretch before, after, and during resistance training to keep the body limber but also to maintain this desired flexibility.

Likewise, strength affects flexibility because flexibility without the corresponding strength to support it can result in joint instability. This is when tissues weaken and are no longer able to hold the bones of the joints in proper place. Lets break this down further – Joints allow movement throughout the body. Ligaments hold the bones of the joints in place while your body is at rest; muscles hold the bones of the joints in place while your body while moving. It is absolutely essential that muscle strength is developed to support the body in motion.

In conclusion, the body must be both supple and strong. We consider this these two qualities fundamental in each barre class that we lead. And encourage you to find a balance between the two to cultivate the most functional, healthy, and best body possible! 

 

XO,

 
Barre Body Studio – Edmonton

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katarina@barrebodystudio.com

Mummy Tummy: Postnatal Barre and Diastasis Recti

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If you are searching for a safe and effective workout regime to get you back to that pre-baby bod, we’ve got what you need! As a workout catered specifically to women, barre can be mindfully modified to be the absolute best prenatal and postnatal exercise for all of the hot mommas out there. Because of the low impact nature and small, isolated nature of the movements, barre offers a safe and fun option for expecting mothers and new moms to keep up with their fitness routine.

Today on the blog we are going to focus specifically on barre as both, postnatal fitness and rehabilitation for diastasis rectus. At BBS we value fitness as a lifestyle, which mean ensuring the flexibility to support you through all stages of life, including the creation of new life! Once baby is born, your body has gone through all sorts of structural and hormonal changes and we understand that reintroducing exercise back into your routine can be extremely intimidating. We encourage you to start off slow, always do what you are comfortable with and speak with a professional before working out. (Your doctor and your instructor should be your go to!) Our Barre Body Fit classes can easily be adapted to accommodate any client that is postnatal!

Okay, so all is well and good … but what if I have Diastasis Recti? What effect does this have on my fitness routine?

Diastasis recti, or abdominal separation, is common among postpartum women. This is typically defined as a separation (approximately 2.7cm or greater) between the two sides of the rectus abdominis muscle, less scientifically known as your abs. This is typical in postpartum and pregnant women because as your uterus grows during pregnancy, the rectus abominis stretches (and even more so when you are expecting more than one!) Also note that this condition can be stimulated by pregnancy because it is ultimately a build up of pressure. It is not necessarily caused by pregnancy, diastasis recti can occur in men, children, and women who are not pregnant as well.

Now that you know what it is and how it’s caused, we will get into how to check for it. You can check for ab separation right at home.

1)   Lie on your back on a flat, hard surface and place your feet flat on the floor. Take a few deep breaths to settle your abdominal muscles.
2)   Place your fingers right above your belly button and push deep into the abdomen.
3)   Gently lift your head and shoulders to contract the abdominal muscles.
4)   If you can physically feel a gap, that is your abdominals separated. From there you can test the width of separation based on how many fingers can fit into that gap.
5)   Repeat this process with your fingers just below the belly button, as separation can take place here as well. 

First and foremost, if you do discover any separation between the abdominal muscles consult a doctor. In some cases, minor separation can be resolved simply at home but for more sever cases, physiotherapy may be a better option. However, if your diastasis recti is not surgical, it will typically be repaired through movement and core strengthening. Remember that your abdominal muscles are in a vulnerable state postpartum, so it is important to start slow and take small steps towards recovery. Here are some tips that we have as you begin to repair separation:

· Use breathing techniques to engage and strengthen the transverse abdominals.
· Focus on improving your overall posture, sitting and standing. Always think about lifting tall through the top of your head and maintain a neutral spine and pelvis. Barre does fantastic work for your posture, take the alignment tips from your BBS class and apply those to everyday things!
· Perform all movements in your barre class with deep core activation. Zip up through the lower belly, breath into the side body and back of the rib cage.
· Exercises such as bird-dog, pelvic tucks, cat-cow, glute bridge, and fold overs are all safe and effective ways to brace and strengthen the core.

 With the list of YES exercises, we’ve also got some no-no’s as well! Stay away from crunches and sit-ups to avoid overworking the muscle and worsening the separation. Crunching from flat back or with the ball behind your shoulder blades should be avoided. In a barre class, you can replace any crunch exercises with level 1 abs (the ball underneath the tailbone). Remember that if at anytime you are looking for an alternative exercise to do in class, your instructor will be more than happy to help you out!

(Note: Plank is an exercise that may be okay near the end of your healing process. Listen to your body because it will be a little bit different for everyone in this position.)

In closing, we would like to remind all of our barre mommas, that ab separation is not permanent and it is SO common. Mummy tummy is one of the joys (yup, we called it a joy) that comes along with that sweet little babe! With the glorification and praise of the dad bod, we’re going to let you in on a secret … the real victory here is the mom bod: strong, powerful, and you look damn good too!

XO, 

Barre Body Studio - Edmonton

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katarina@barrebodystudio.com

Sleep Like a Champ

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Okay so ... you love, you need, but you probably just don't get enough … sleep! The average adult requires 7-9 hours of sleep per day (HA, wouldn't that be nice) but they usually only actually get 5-7 hours. But want to know something that is going to blow your mind? You fitties actually require even more sleep than the average adult to promote rest and recovery from your rigorous daily workouts. To put it into perspective, a pro athlete requires 10-12 hours of sleep per day, that's double what the average adult actually gets!

At this point, you probably know the various benefits that come from getting a full night of sleep and you probably also have experience of the negative effects that come with pulling an all-nighter or sleep deprivation. So we are going to skip over the basic benefits and instead talk about what is actually going down during each sleep stage of a full cycle:

Stage 1 is a light sleep. It is that period that you are easy to wake and doesn't necessarily hold much value other than preface for the good stuff that is coming your way.

Stage 2 is the onset of sleep. This is the stage in which your muscles begin to relax, your internal temperature drops, and your heart rate & breathing rate slows down.

Stage 3 is your restorative sleep, this is where the magic happens!
Blood pressure decrease
Your circulatory system repairs and recovers
Blood flows to muscles increase
Growth hormones release and repair muscles, bones, and internal systems
Nervous system repairs and recovers
New memories and information is processed
Energy is restored

Stage 4 is REM sleep. This is where your heart rate picks back up, your brain is very active and you start to dream.

Need help falling asleep? Try controlling and slowing your breathing, scent your bedroom with lavender, or listen to calming/relaxing music right before you begin to doze off. 


As you can tell from the brief description of each stage, a full sleep cycle is absolutely crucial for maintaining good health. Aim for 8-10 hours to help your body recover, keep a fixed sleep schedule, maintain a restorative sleep environment and remember that quick naps throughout the day are always recommended!

Big thanks to Casper Mattress for sharing knowledge and giving us tips to sleep like a champ! Check out their mattress here

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XO,

Barre Body Studio – Edmonton

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katarina@barrebodystudio.com

The Importance of Rest and Recovery

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So when you’re up in the gym (k, or the barre) just working on your fitness, do you know what is actually happening? You are damaging your muscle fibers. We know what you’re thinking, sounds scary … but its not, it is good! When your muscle fibers are damaged, they recover. When they reconstruct, they actually grow back stronger and increase in size. So this means that you are actually making those gains during your periods of rest, not while you are actually working out. This concept especially applies to resistance training, which is exactly what we do at the barre!

Now here is the tricky part: just how much time should I allow my body to recover and rebuild after resistance training? Some experts recommend 24 hours, some recommend two days (we all know optimal soreness hits hard on day 2), and some research says a whole three days. With so many mixed messages, it is hard to give an exact amount of time required for proper restoration. However, there is one thing that we can tell you for sure: some amount of rest and recovery is required within your fitness routine to enhance muscle growth, prevent injury, avoid over training and promote overall health. The research all agrees that 15 minutes is not enough time to recover, 2 hours is not enough time to recover, even 12 hours is not enough time to recover. An extended period of time (24-72 hours) is required to properly restore your muscles after training them. With that said, the extended period of time will vary from person to person.  

So what does this mean for us @ BBS? It actually means that taking multiple classes in one day may not be the most efficient means of exercising. By damaging muscle fibers, not allowing a recovery period, then damaging them again, you are actually causing more harm than good. Our advice to you would be to go as hard as you can in class, push your limits, sink a little deeper, squeeze a little tighter, and then allow your body time after to recover and reset. Plus, we all know that if you’re planning on busting out a double barre sesh … you’re going to pace yourself throughout. It is far more effective to train properly for one hour than it is to cheat and hold back for two!

Now that we have determined that rest days are super important, we want to share with you a few of our favorite things to do on rest days to keep pushing towards fitness goals and promote overall wellness. First off, and probably the most important, STRETCH. Muscle restoration requires stretching! Take a few minutes at home, put on the latest episode of your favourite TV show, and get a good stretch session in to speed up the recovery process. Some other beneficial ways to speed up the recovery process includes foam-rolling, heating/cooling, and massage therapy. If you are a mover and shaker like us, an entire 48 hours without exercise just feels wrong. In this is the case, we really promote active rest days. Take part in light, low impact exercises that do not add any additional strain to the muscles that are currently undergoing recovery. Some ideas for active rest days include going for a light walk, swimming laps, yoga, or low-intensity cycling. In comparison to passive recovery (taking a complete break from exercising), active recovery actually helps prime the body’s metabolic pathways of recovery.

XO

Barre Body Studio - Edmonton

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katarina@barrebodystudio.com

Hey @bbsyegtribe, need more #BBSYEG in your life?

Are you on Instagram? If you are and haven’t yet followed our BBS tribe page, I’m going need you to stop, drop everything for a hot minute and get on it! Here is what you’re going to do: check out @bbsyegtribe on insta aaaaand press follow! BOOM, you can now go back to binge watching Gilmore Girls on Netflix.

We have created a space, through social media, to bring the barrestars of our fierce tribe together to share in all things BBS. How is it different than our Barre Body Studio Instagram? Well this one is all about you! We repost and share everything that is going on in the studio from the perspective of both our instructors and our barrestars. Have a milestone that you want to share? Putting your barre skills to good use half way across the world? Take a selfie with your barre bestie? We want in on it! Tag us or use the hashtag #BBSYEG to stay connected to the tribe and also follow along with what your fellow barre addicts are getting up to! Here are a few of our studio shots that can be found on the BBS tribe page.
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If you want more of these silly studio selfies and even more connection to the incredible community that is the BBS tribe, throw @bbsyegtribe a follow!

XO,

Barre Body Studio – Edmonton

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katarina@barrebodystudio.com

What is Isometric Exercise?

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If you have been to class, you probably recognize Isometric Exercise as, "... and hold."

Isometric Exercise occurs when the joint angle and muscle length don't change. Basically, hold, don't move and feel the burn! At Barre Body Studio we have developed our classes around the principles of isometric exercise.

Isometrics and "pulses" allow the muscles of our body to contract to their deepest point. Research has shown that because of the reduced blood flow during prolonged muscle tension, numerous growth factors remain in the muscle tissue longer and actually stimulate muscle growth. When you work in isometric motions you not only blast calories but also build strength. By focusing on "teeny-tiny movements," you rev up those smaller muscles, (which act to support the larger muscle groups).

At Barre Body Studio we pulse and hold because it works to exhaust and engage both the accessory muscles as well as the larger muscles. We credit the "Pulse and Hold" for the barre results we love. You know: defining that long, lean and more toned look.

Oh, and the shaking? Well, that's your larger muscles being pushed to their limits! The shake is where change happens; the smaller muscles kick in to help the larger muscles balance. So the next time you hear "... and hold," know that you are sculpting a stronger, leaner you!


www.drdavidwilliams.com/isometric-exercises

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katarina@barrebodystudio.com

What To Do When Summer Running Season Wraps Up

Dr. Jamieson is a Chiropractor located in Edmonton, Alberta. His emphasis is on sports Chiropractic and is a certified Active Release Technique provider.

What to do when running season wraps up and the vast majority of running events have concluded, it’s common for most runners to pull back on their mileage. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as quite often our bodies can use a bit of a break from the past 4-6 months of repetitive beating they take from running. That being said you also don’t want to lose all of the gains that you achieved throughout the running season by just stopping all activity.

I see countless runners in the spring that have emerging aches, pains and injuries from trying to start running at the levels they ended at the year prior. So the question becomes, what can you do to keep the gains that you’ve worked so hard for?

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A big part of the offseason should be cross training. It should actually be a big part of the running season as well, but with a finite amount of free time cross training often gets pushed to the back burner in favour of a good run. Cross training consists of strengthening accessory muscle groups to help support the primary muscles you use for your primary activity (in this case running). Running is a very linear sport, which can lead to some significant muscle imbalances. It’s quite common to see knee, ankle and hip issues arise due to lack of strength or even a simple lack of activation, of the muscles that control our lateral/side-to-side movements. As these muscles become more balanced, it can actually improve running performance as you remove the rate limiting step that’s stopping you from going further, faster. A big emphasis of cross training for runners is working the gluteus medius and minimus muscles that are responsible for the lateral control of the hip and leg. These can be achieved with exercises such as glute bridges, single leg squats, side lunges, etc. The problem is a lot of people, especially runners, can find these exercises to be a little boring and monotonous, and not give the same sweat and stress reduction that a good run does.

A great way to still get the benefits of cross training in a more active and fun environment is Barre classes. The small isolated motions that these classes combine with some sweat producing anaerobic cardio can help strengthen the lateral hip muscles while aiding in maintaining some of the cardio gains you’ve achieved during the summer months. A portion of the class is done standing on one leg, which is one of the best ways to train running as you are always supported by only one leg on a run. This helps build endurance and proper joint biomechanics that have a huge benefit on running. I have talked with a number of runners who have simply worked Barre classes into their weekly run schedule and have had improvements in run time with less injury issues. Another benefit of these classes is they work the whole body, including the arms and shoulders, areas that really don’t get any work with running. That being said it is still important to keep up some of the aerobic cardio that you worked on all running season. This typically involves hitting the treadmill, indoor running track, or bundling up and facing the cold outdoor run. Mixing the cross training with some intermittent runs can go a long way towards keeping your fitness up so that come spring it takes no time at all to get back to the levels you’re at right now, and allows you to keep increasing your running performance to new heights.

lanny  Dr Lanny Jamieson D.C
  All Sport Health

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