What is Online or Virtual Personal Trainer?

What is an online/virtual personal trainer?

What is Online or Virtual Personal Trainer?

 

A fast growing trend for both consumers and fitness trainers is to add some form of online training element to the mix to achieve fitness goals. Today, personal trainers are using social media and mobile technology to become more available and affordable than ever.
 

 

So what is an online personal trainer actually.  In the simplest definition it is someone that designs a safe, effective fitness training program for your unique goals, experiences and equipment, delivers this program along with any follow up digitally with no physical interactions.

How an Online Coach Works


Maybe you’ll have an initial consultation on the phone or via Skype to talk about your goals, or maybe you’ll communicate over email or an online system. However you and your coach decide to communicate, you’ll go to the gym on your own with the workouts they’ve created and report back on your progress.

 

This definition must be unpacked to insure you understand the huge variations each element can have and how it will affect your training experience and results.

 

How Do You Become an Online/Virtual trainer?

Currently there isn’t any regulation or oversite about who can and cannot be an online personal trainer.

There are a couple of certifications available but these are more geared towards how to market your training rather than how to be an effective trainer.

A quick google search shows many more how to become a six figure online trainer than how to become an effective trainer for your client.

 

When it comes to certification and qualification of online trainers. If a personal trainer has been hired at a gym, they’re at minimum certified through a major institution like National Academy of Sports Medicine, American Council on Exercise, or International Sports Sciences Association, follow a safe and established protocol, and have a basic understanding of how personal training should work

This doesn’t guarantee they’ll be good at what they do or that you’ll see results, but it’s a start.

 

With an online coach, the potential for a bad experience, is increased

 

How to Find out if your Online/Virtual trainer is Certified and Qualified.

Check the qualifications of the staff that will be training you. Sites should provide background information about their staff. Make sure the personal trainers have a college degree in an exercise-related field and/or are certified by a well-respected organization such as the American Council on Exercise (ACE) or another NCCA-accredited fitness certification organization (www.noca.org/NCCAAccreditation/AccreditedCertificationPrograms/tabid/120/Default.aspx

How Did They Become A Trainer Anyway? (It’s actually really easy)

Here’s something you may not about becoming a trainer. The only requirements for most personal certifications is that you are over 18 and are cpr certified. The educational requirements are also pretty low- literally none in many cases.

 

Anyone over the age of 18 can become a personal trainer and there is no shortage of organizations that offer a weekend course, a simple test, and an official certification paper.

 

Over the course of my career I've set through many many weekend certification programs. I slowly begin to learn that many of these are cases are more of a get started as a fitness professional rather than the ultimate source of all knowing all seeing fitness knowledge. the education then threw the azzam the experience The professionalism widely from person to person some people were awesome and some people were complete musclehead buffoons.


 

After all that gloom and doom, you will be happy to know that  there are many good qualified and caring trainers out there and they can be a huge asset to helping you achieve your fitness goals.

 

Minimum Standards to Be a Personal Trainer

 

According to the American Council on Exercise the minimum standards are as follows.

Minimum Standards.


A personal trainer should hold a current certification accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA) to give you the assurance that you are working with a professional who has the knowledge and skills to provide you with a safe and effective workout. An initiative launched in 2003 called for all fitness organizations offering personal trainer certifications to seek accreditation of their certification exams to raise the standard of personal training to better serve and protect consumers.
Never be afraid to ask to see a copy of the certification to ensure that it is still current. Most recertification periods run between two and four years. You can always contact the certification agency to verify a trainer’s status. After checking the certification, there are a few other criteria you should consider when selecting a personal trainer.

 

Five of the most popular certifications are:

  1. NSCA, National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA)
  2. ACSM  ACSM | The American College of Sports Medicine 
  3. NASM:  NASM: Personal Trainer Certification
  4. ACE: ACE | Certified Personal Trainer | ACE Personal Trainer
  5. Crossfit: CrossFit: Forging Elite Fitness: Tuesday 180814


Liability Insurance and Business Policies


Many personal trainers operate as independent contractors and are not employees of a fitness facility. You should find out if the trainer you want to hire carries professional liability insurance.

Explain Billing and Cancellation Policy
A reputable personal trainer should also make sure that you understand the cancellation policy and billing procedure. The best way to avoid confusion and protect your rights is to have those policies in writing.

But let me be clear on one thing  I know plenty of trainers who have NO certification that are incredible, and I know other trainers who have the most elite certifications who are terrible at dealing with an actual real live person.  

A certification can be a starting point, but don’t let it be the determining factor.

Beyond the Certification

Here are some other things to think about when working with an online/virtual personal trainer.

  • What is the Online trainer’s experience with your age group or with your particular needs or health challenges.

 

  • Be wary of sites created by Instagram models,  celebrity trainers or professional athletes to sell their services. It’s important to find out who will actually be designing your workouts, and always avoid sites that make exaggerated claims or guarantee fitness results.

 

  • Look for a sample workout plan. Make sure the plans are thorough and detailed (weight, sets, repetitions, intensity) and not simply a list of exercises. Better sites offer pictures and videos to demonstrate proper form and technique.

 

  • Make sure the website  and app are easy to navigate. If it’s too complicated, you probably won’t stick with it. There should be a way to see a sample before signing up.

 

  • There should easy means of contacting your trainer for questions or concerns. Most sites provide email contact, but also look for sites that have a toll-free number so you can actually speak to a trainer. They should answers your question in a reasonable time.

  • Look for a trainer with an online  group support that you can use to communicate with other exercisers with similar goals,  private Facebook Groups, Slack and Mobilize groups are a great resource.

  • .Make sure the site requires you to complete a detailed health-history questionnaire. This evaluation should address, your goals, present level of fitness and health concerns.

  • How good is the intake assessment? This is the key to establishing base of your training experience. How is it conducted. Is it a questionnaire. It is a phone call. Is it via video chat? Each of these has unique advantages and disadvantages

  • Your trainer will need this to customize a program to fit your needs. Be brutally honest when filling out your forms. In other words, don’t lie about your age, weight or experience level, as it may reduce the how well your program will work and possibly lead to injury.

  • Is your program truly custom. It should be made just for you and not a boilerplate program ripped from bodybuilding.com.  

  • Is your program updated regularly. You can your trainer track your progress and give you feedback easily and regularly?

  • If you aren’t comfortable with your trainer please don’t hesitate to ask for a refund.

One last thing. I know that going to a gym is intimidating, especially if you’re starting out. And not knowing the difference between a bad trainer and a good trainer (who will prioritize your needs and get you results) can result in months of lost effort and money. It’s why we created our own experience for our community.

If you are in a location where there aren’t any great trainers, you don’t have access to a gym, or you’re just not ready to work with somebody in person, consider checking out my popular 1-on-1 Online Coaching Program.

 

We build a workout program specific to YOUR goals, we help you make better food choices (which is 90% of the battle), and we help keep you accountable.

 

No guesswork. No confusion about what to do next. Just a coach you can text with questions, that builds a program for you, and can even check your form via video!

 

Schedule a free call to learn more by clicking on the image below:


 

If you have questions about what you need to look for when it comes to training with a coach in person or even questions about working with an online trainer, email me or reach out to me on social media.

 

Love, Peace and Less Chicken Grease

Alton Skinner

Are There Personal Trainers that Specialize in Obese, Morbidly Obese, or Plus-Sized Clients?

Are There Personal Trainers that Specialize in Obese, Morbidly Obese, or Plus-Sized Clients_.png

Are There Personal Trainers that Specialize in Obese, Morbidly Obese, or Plus-Sized Clients?

 

Everyone in my family knows me as the “fitness guy” so whenever any of my relatives have a question about food, supplements or workouts. I get the call.

Like many people in the South, a lot of my relatives are on the bigger side and don’t always have the healthiest habits. Recently, one of my family members decides to get healthier and start a workout program. Thanks to the interwebs I am able to help them with pretty easily via my training apps. But in conversation, they asked, “ Are There Personal Trainers that Specialize in Obese, Morbidly Obese, or Plus-Sized Clients?”

This relatively straightforward question actually has a fairly complicated answer. The short answer is yes.  The longer answer is yes but most are poorly trained at coaching very overweight clients. The trainer-client relationship is an intimate one, so finding the right fit is absolutely essential for success

So if you are very overweight but aren’t related to a sexy, super smart personal trainer with slight delusions of grandeur, how do you find a good size, friendly personal trainer?

 The key is getting the trainer that works best for you, for instance, you may be wondering are there personal trainers that specialize in obese or plus size clients.

Working with a trainer that is specially trained or well versed in training obese clients and has a size friendly training mindset can make a huge difference in your training experience.

The Longer Answer. The idea of specializing in obese clients is a recent creation of the fitness industry. So you may get a fresh new inexperienced trainer just starting out or a seasoned trainer more accustomed to training fitter more athletic clients that is trying to diversify their business.

I’ve been around the fitness business since 1983( got the leg warmers and Flashdance sweatshirt scars to prove it)  and the industry as a whole is still pretty bad at training the obese, very overweight and plus-sized after all these years.

There really is a weight bias against the very overweight. A lot of equipment doesn’t fit you (pun discovered in editing but left in to show how adorably dorky I am), training programs often aren’t easily modifiable for size or joint restrictions and most training certifications only offer a few pages of information about how to train a plus-sized person.

So how do you find a place where you fit in, literally and figuratively.

How to Pick a Size-Friendly Fitness Trainer.

A size-friendly trainer won’t be focused on weight reduction and won’t measure performance and success solely by a scale. He or she will be more focused on strength and fitness performance and will use other markers for success.

In my two decades of being in the fitness, it has been my experience that many trainers think obese clients are fat, dumb and lazy. Fitness culture isn’t always welcoming. That needs to change.

“Can’t they just stop eating too much, get off their butts and workout.” is a pretty common sentiment among a large portion of the fitness industry. Gyms and trainers, for the most part, are setup for the fit and the almost very fit. Most really don’t do a good job of being welcoming or understanding the journey to fitter. If you’re reading this you may be the first one but clearly not the last two.

To be completely honest there are a lot of dumb lazy fit people in the gym.

You don’t have to train under people who believe that health and fitness can look only a certain way. It has been my experience that a key to success with a trainer, isn’t a credential or certification, but real experience and an enthusiasm for helping you reach your goals.

I think finding a trainer with proven experience and a track record of helping obese, very overweight people is the most valuable step you can take help find a quality trainer. The credential is only a starting point.

Picking The Right Trainer for you Starts with You.

  • Before you pick your trainer you need to pick your training goals:  If you want to eventually run a 5k or a marathon picking a trainer that specializes in basketball players may not be a great fit.

  • Make sure your trainer has expertise in the area you want to train: Expertise in one area does not necessarily make them a good fit in another!

  • Think about what you need: Are you just looking for a coach to show you the basics and put together a program then I’d recommend, a few sessions up front and a few later on to check your progress and may sure your still on the right track. Or Are you new to working out or looking to kick-start your first 2 months of training with 2 sessions per week hold you accountable?

  • So what’s your deal? What type of person are you?  Do you need lots of time and attention to stay on track or do you prefer a more hands-off approach to doing things? Do you want you a cheerleader that is uber supportive or do you need someone to challenge you and your B.S. excuses? Most people need a mix of hugs and butt-kicking but you need to know which style you lean towards liking/needing in your mind.

When you are clear about what you want and how long you need a trainer for, then you can move on to find one that will help you get fit and enjoy the process.

Steps to Picking a Size-Friendly Personal Trainer.

  1. Observe Them: The real secret to getting a good trainer is to actually observe them before deciding which one to interview.

If you know what gym you will be training at good watch trainers for a few days. Just observe from a distance. This way you can see what they are really like without them being on their best behavior and full salesperson mode.

  • Are they distracted? Do they pay attention to clients or are they distracted?

  • Are they engaging or dull?  You are going to spend a lot of time with your trainer. It helps if you would actually like them if you weren’t at the gym. Even in the most intense workouts, there’s a lot of downtime between exercises.

  • Are they creepy or cool? #metoo it’s a real thing in fitness. Still, touch much touchy-feely stretching and spotting going on in lots of places.

  • Are they are gossips? After a while you will find yourself telling your train things that would make a bartender or hairdresser blush. It’s a thing that happens just a heads up.

  • Random but important recommendation.  Don’t try to turn your trainer into a therapist it ends up being not very fun for either of you.

2. Interview Them: You’ve done your homework. You know your goals, you understand your training style, you have observed your potential trainer in their natural habitat with clients, now it’s time to set up an interview/training session.

Ask these questions:

  1. What are your credentials? What certifications/ education background do you have? Ask if you can see them.

  2. What kind of (and how much) experience do you have?

  3. What is your strategy for preventing and dealing with injuries?

  4. Do you specialize in any training styles?

  5. How much does this cost?

  6. When are you available?

  7. What are your cancellation and refund policies?

  8. What is your coaching style?

  9. How do you design programs and track progress?

3. Schedule a trial training session. This won’t be the workout of a lifetime. It should be more of chance for you to interact with your each other. You will get to see how they coach you and they get to see if you can be coached by them.

4. Buy a small package of training sessions:  One workout will not actually help you very much but I also don’t want you on the hook for tons of cash if you find out your trainer and you aren’t actually  a good fit over time. I recommend at least 5 sessions but no more a months commitment to start your journey together. You should get a really get a good feel for how working with a personal train in this time frame.

Here are some things to look for during your training sessions together when looking for a size friendly personal trainer.

10 Things the Best Size Friendly Trainers Do that Help Clients of All Shapes and Sizes Reach Their Goals Faster

  1. They listen. They fully and actively listen to you in order to understand your story up to this meeting before making any suggestions. Trainers can be conditioned by fitness culture to assume everyone is at the gym to lose weight. A size-friendly trainer will never assume and will take the time to listen to your goals and help you achieve them. If you have a trainer who decides your goals for you, you need a different trainer.

  2. They observe.  They look for visual cues in the physical strain a client is experiencing. They manage the load put on clients. A size-friendly trainer will understand that doing a workout as a heavier person is harder than the same routine with a lighter trainee. They base the signs of fatigue on your fitness level not theirs.

  3. They are welcoming.  Getting started is very hard regardless of size or shape. They are compassionate and understanding that fitness culture isn’t always the most welcoming to some people.

  4. They have experience working with people of different sizes. They think about workouts prior to your session and design it from the knowledge and experience with how larger bodied clients move. They pick exercises that work with your size and shape.
    Size-friendly trainers know it in advance and have many modifications ready so that your workout will be enjoyable and effective.

  5. They ask about any prior injuries or experience with exercise. If they know about limitations physically and what level of experience, how you felt about your prior exercise experiences(likes/dislike/prior results) they will design a program that works for you that you will enjoy.

  6. They ask you about your nutrition but don’t push restrictive eating.  A size-friendly trainer won’t be focused on weight reduction and won’t measure performance and success solely by a scale. He or she will be more focused on strength and fitness performance and will use other markers for success.

  7. They practice what they preach. It isn’t a requirement to be built like a Greek god, the speed of a cheetah, the grace of a dancer and the strength of a thousand angry mountain monkeys to be a good trainer. But your trainer should authentically embrace a healthy lifestyle.

  8. They have a teacher’s heart. They can share their expertise and prior clients success in a way that helps clients become informed, inspired and healthy for the long term.

  9. They manage expectations.  They give realistic time frames, they explain how hard you need to work, they set up milestones along the way to track and show your progress

  10. They are body positive. Motivation never comes from shame, pain, or strain. Your body, at every size, is amazing and the fact you’re in the gym giving everything you’ve got deserves nothing but positivity.

5 Things All Bad Personal Trainers Do

Here’s what I have seen bad trainers do that damage a client and the industry.

  1. They are overly complex. They use needlessly complex terms and exercises that look and sound smart but doesn’t really share really useful knowledge with their clients.

  2. They use the same workouts for everyone. They put clients on the same identical program regardless of size, shape, goal, experience or needs. This is sometimes from laziness and other times from ego so that the trainer looks smarter than they actually are.

  3. They train clients way to hard way too soon. It’s easy to make someone sore, it’s really, really impressive to help someone consistently improve time after time. You can get tired and sore at home for free. Why are you paying this joker if they aren’t moving you towards your goal instead of theirs? Which leads me too this.

  4. They are money driven not client-centered. They are focused on scheduling the next session and keeping you paying instead of focusing on your goals. Are they putting in the time so they can see you get results? Or are they putting in the time so they can check the box and collect your money?
  5. They fail to keep up with current information. They rely of broscience/ conventional wisdom over the latest training information. Extensive fitness knowledge and expertise is the main reason why people want to work with personal trainers. Your trainer should be able to speak about a variety of training styles and the advantages and drawbacks of each. Most trainers have their own opinion about what gets results, but the best ones aren't so married to one particular modality that they won’t be versatile in their programming.

As my first training mentor said. Some people train good, some people are good trainers. It’s rare to find someone that’s good at both. Try to be one of those trainers and help people know how to find them. That’s why I wrote this for you.

One last thing. I know that going to a gym is intimidating, especially if you’re starting out. And not knowing the difference between a bad trainer and a good trainer (who will prioritize your needs and get you results) can result in months of lost effort and money
It’s why we created our own experience for our community.

If you are in a location where there aren’t any great trainers, you don’t have access to a gym, or you’re just not ready to work with somebody in person, consider checking out my popular 1-on-1 Online Coaching Program.

We build a workout program specific to YOUR goals, we help you make better food choices (which is 90% of the battle), and we help keep you accountable.

No guesswork. No confusion about what to do next. Just a coach you can text with questions, that builds a program for you, and can even check your form via video!

Schedule a free call to learn more by clicking on the image below:



If you have questions about what you need to look for when it comes to training with a coach in person or even questions about working with an online trainer, email me or reach out to me on social media.

 

Love, Peace and Less Chicken Grease

Alton Skinner

How much weight can an obese, morbidly obese or plus-sized person lose in one month?

How much weight can an obese, morbidly obese or plus-sized person lose in one month_.png

Ever since I saw how losing 100 pounds transformed my mother’s life, health and body I’ve been helping people lose weight, develop healthy habits and thrive. I have seen first hand the power of tiny decisions to create big changes.

I’ve been a fitness trainer for a long time, the two most popular questions I receive are:

1. How much weight can I lose in a week, month, six weeks, 3 months, 6 months or insert time frame year.

2. Can I still drink alcohol and lose weight?

To protect the innocent and guilty, I won’t share which is the most common. But the answer is yes you can, but it makes it more difficult.

If you are obese, morbidly obese or plus sized you can lose around 1-2 percent of your body weight per week. In the beginning, you may lose up to 10 pounds in a week but that’s rare and it’s not really fat. So expect 4-7 pounds for a couple of weeks and it will taper down to the more traditional 1-2 pounds of fat per week.

So let’s give you some examples using a 300 lb person.

How much weight can a morbidly obese person lose in one week?

So in one week will lose between 3 and 6 lbs per week.

How much weight can a morbidly obese person lose in one month?

In a month you will lose between 12 and 24 pounds.

How much weight can a morbidly obese person lose in six weeks?

In six weeks you will lose between 18 and 36 pounds.

How much weight can a morbidly obese person lose in two months?

In 2 months you will lose between 24 and 48 pounds.

How much weight can a morbidly obese person lose in three months?

In 3 months you will lose between 36 and 72 pounds.

 

How much weight can a morbidly obese person lose in six months?

In 6 months you will lose between 72 and 144 pounds.

What affects the amount of weight an obese person has in one month?

 

1. Your current weight.

Here’s an exciting fact. When you first start a weight loss plan you will lose more weight per week in the beginning days.

Cool thing is the heavier you are the quicker you'll lose weight.

As a heavier person, you will lose weight FASTER than your lighter friend because you have a higher metabolism. This means you require more calories/energy to maintain your current body weight.

That’s right you have a fast metabolism. Say what?


On average it takes about 10 calories per pound to maintain your current weight.

Let’s say you weigh 300  pounds and follow a 1500 calorie diet

Since you burn  3000 calories per day you would lose weight faster than your 150-pound friend that burns only 2000 calories a day.

Your metabolism would burn off 1500 calories of body fat per day to make up for the other 1500 calories you are not eating instead of the 500 calories the 150-pound person's metabolism would use.
Every 2 days you will lose almost a pound of fat on a 1500 calorie diet (lose 1 pound of fat = burning 3500 calories).

Your 150 pound friend will lose only 1 pound of fat every 7 days (500 calories x 7 days = 3500 calories) on a 1500 calorie diet.

 

2. How Active You Are

News flash this just in, the more active you are the faster you'll lose weight. Trainers use the FITT principle to design and track workout programs

Frequency: How often you workout during a training period. Workout 3 times per week you will burn more calories if you increase the frequency to 4 or 5 times per week

Intensity: The more difficult the workout is the more calories you will burn in the same time period. You will burn more calories walking at 4 miles per hour uphill is harder than walking at 4 miles per hour on flat ground or walking 4.5 mph instead of 4 mph on the same slope.

Time: The longer your work out the more weight you can lose. You burn more calories walking for 15 minutes than for 10 minutes.

Type: The harder the type of activity you use the more weight you will lose. You will burn more calories in a 30-minute High-Intensity Training session using weights than you would in 30 minutes of walking around the block.

If you're a heavier person you will lose weight quicker than a lighter person doing the same weight loss activity for the same amount of time simply because more calories are burned (takes more energy) to move a heavier person.


Since you weigh 300 pounds you may burn up 1000 calories per hour doing any of these HIIT Workouts while your 150-pound person may only burn 500 calories per hour.


This is why you'll lose weight faster or burn more calories when working out with a weight vest


So depending on how extra weight you currently have it's not only safe to lose more than 2 pounds a week… It's pretty near impossible not to lose more than 2 pounds per week but as you get lighter( yeah !!) your weight loss rate will slow down (Boo!!).

The more active you are while not working out = the faster you'll lose weight.

Also please do not eat more despite your increased hunger from all this activity. If you burn 400 calories and then eat 400 extra calories the net calorie difference is ZERO

Your ability to recover & how much rest you get will all affect the quality, quantity, and type of workouts you can do and still lose weight.

3. How Much You Eat

The more you eat below the number of calories you need to maintain your weight, the faster you'll lose weight. I know. Why did I even bother typing this sentence? Hello Captain Obvious.

If you need 3000 calories per day to maintain your weight then you'll lose weight faster eating 1500 calories per day vs. 2000 calories per day.
Eating under 800-to-1200 calories is not recommended due to increased cravings and/or hunger and you may gain back all the weight you lost.
 

4. How Much “Luggage” floating around your system.
 

If your diet before starting any weight loss plan was mainly carbs, high in salt and/or you drank very little water then you've more than likely gained a lot of water weight.

You can quickly lose excess water weight or lose 5-to-20+ pounds in your first week on any weight loss plan depending on how much luggage you gained from bad food habits and low water intake


5. How Much Protein You Eat

Multiple studies show that when protein is at least 30% of your diet you'll lose weight faster.
The studies show that you can burn an extra 260 calories each day. It keeps you feeling full so you will eat about 500 fewer calories per day.

The net result is that you can lose nearly 11 pounds in 12 weeks by increasing the amount of protein in your diet.

6. What You Eat

It really doesn’t matter what you eat as long as you eat less than your body requires to maintain its current weight.

However, nutrient dense, water-rich foods will make you feel better, keep you fuller longer and offer a myriad of other positive health benefits

If you will eat higher quality foods you will lose weight faster and easier, have fewer cravings and hunger that'll cause you to eat more decreasing your weekly weight loss.

So as a reminder...

If you are obese, morbidly obese or plus sized you can lose around 1-2 percent of your body weight per week. In the beginning, you may lose up to 10 lbs in a week but that’s rare and it’s not really fat. So expect 4-7 lbs for a couple of weeks and it will taper down to the more traditional 1-2 pounds of fat per week.

If you use this information you can increase the amount of weight you can lose over a week, month, six months or a year if you are morbidly obese or plus sized. Take advantage and push your weekly loss closer 2 percent of body weight each week and keep it there consistently. This will help you reach your goal quicker and easier.

If you need help email me or reach on social media. Give me a couple of days but I’ll get back to you.

As always…

Love, peace and less chicken grease,

Alton

Best Piriformis Stretches If You Are Obese, Plus Size or Very Overweight

Best Piriformis Stretches If You Are Obese, Plus Size or Very Overweight.png

I was working with one of my plus-sized clients a few days ago when she asked what are some stretches to help with her tight piriformis muscle.

Many of the common stretches recommended to her didn’t really stretch her piriformis or honestly, she said at her present size she couldn’t even get into position to stretch.

I hope our struggles can save you some of the time and heartache we experienced trying to solve this plus-sized piriformis stretching challenge.

I thought I would share with you some of the best stretches we discovered if you’re overweight, plus-sized or obese and want to stretch your piriformis muscle.

 

Any effective piriformis stretching program should contain:

  1. Brief dynamic warmup for the area

  2. A foam rolling/ soft ball rolling

  3. Seated/lying static stretch most commonly called figure 4 stretch( I will share multiple modifications.  Sometimes your stomach can get in the way,  your legs can get in the way or your hips,knees and ankles may not be in the mood just yet.)

 

Helpful Items to Make Stretching Your Piriformis Easier

Items you may want to have on hand but not required to stretch your piriformis when you are very overweight:

  1. Stretching mat

  2. Yoga strap, rope or bath towel for stretching

  3. Good stable chair or exercise bench

  4. Foam Roller

Best Dynamic Warm-up For Piriformis If Obese

Dynamic Tabletop to Cow/Cat to Tail Wagging

How to do Cat/Cow Pose

  • Come to all fours. Plant your palms firmly to your mat and spread your fingers wide.
  • Feel your shoulders on top of your wrist and hips on top of your knees. Keep your knees separated hip width distance apart.
  • Engage your belly muscles and create a flat surface with the spine by pressing your palms into the floor.
  • INHALE – dip your belly down, chin reaches up, think about arching your back.
  • EXHALE- Press palms into your mat, tuck your chin, feel the belly and pelvic floor lift.

Beginners Tip: If you experience discomfort or pain by kneeling, use a blanket under your knees to help release pressure.

 How to do Tail Wagging Pose

  • Come back to a neutral tabletop position. Look over your left shoulder and bring your left hip towards your left shoulder. Stay for 3 breaths. Repeat on right side ONLY if it feels okay (maybe hold for less time).
  • From tabletop inhale in your neutral position.
  • Exhale to gaze over your LEFT shoulder toward the LEFT hip, move from the rib cage.
  • Inhale back to center.
  • Exhale, switch sides.

Do this 3 more times each side.

  • From tabletop begin to shift your hips from side to side starting slowly moving with the breath and then moving your torso and head so that you are looking at each hip as it turns
  • Inhale with head and tail at center
  • Exhale to look right shoulder and swing tail to the right
  • Inhale back to center
  • Exhale to repeat to other side
  • From tabletop inhale in your neutral position.
  • Exhale to gaze over your right shoulder toward the right hip, move from the rib cage.
  • Inhale back to center.
  • Exhale, switch sides.

Do this 3 more times each side.

Tail wagging pose

  • Sway the hips to the left and look towards the right foot as you exhale then inhale and sway the hips to the right and look towards the left foot do this a couple of times to free up the back maybe even circle the bottom a few times if that feels good.

The next step in your program is to complete a brief foam rolling session.

Benefits of Foam Roll Your Piriformis

If you are sitting or driving all day, your glutes (butt) muscles get tensed and tend to develop knots over time.

The easiest way to give your butt some release is a technique called self-myofascial release (SMR).

It’s a soft tissue therapy that uses a foam roller to roll out your soreness and tenderness in your muscles.
 

How to Foam Roll Your Piriformis/Glutes (Butt) If You Are Obese

  • Sit on top of a foam roller with only the right side of your butt on the roller. Cross the right foot over the left knee, and place your left hand on your right knee.
  • Slowly let your roller roll underneath the butt to the back of your hip bone until you find a tender spot. Hold it for 20-30 seconds until the tension is released.
  • Switch legs and repeat.
  • Only your right side of buttocks should be on the foam roller and has your bodyweight on.  
  • Your left hand should be on the floor to balance yourself while rolling.
  • keep your torso straight, chest up, and shoulders back and down.
  • Support your body weight on your hands.
  • 20-30 secs hold
     

Figure 4 Stretch and Modifications to Stretch Your Piriformis If You Are Obese, Plus Size or Very Overweight

The seated figure four is a modification of the figure four yoga pose, typically done while standing. This pose can be done anywhere and is a good stretch to help open your hips, particularly if you have a job that involves sitting at a desk for extended periods of time. To do a seated figure four, find a stable chair where you can place both feet on the floor. Once you've perfected the seated figure four, you may want to try other hip-opening poses


How to Do a Seated Figure Four for Your Piriformis

  • Sit properly. To do any seated yoga variation, you must be sitting in a solid, stable chair that allows you to place both of your feet firmly on the floor. Chairs with wheels or with a lot of cushioning in the seat typically aren't the best choices.
  • Sit forward on the edge of your chair and make sure your back is neutral, not arched. You should be sitting on your "sit bones" – two points you'll be able to feel on your buttocks – not on your tailbone. Center your ribcage over your hips.
  • Roll your shoulders back so that your shoulder blades are tucked in and flowing straight down your back alongside your spine.
  • Loosen your neck and spine. Before you get started with the seated figure four, it's a good idea to do some neck stretches and twists to gently open up your neck and back. These are especially important if you're stiff from sitting hunched over a computer for an extended period of time
  • Simple neck and shoulder rolls will help loosen you up and improve your mobility. While not technically yoga poses or exercises, they can help warm you up for the seated figure four as well as other seated yoga poses.
  • Do neck and shoulder roll both clockwise and counter-clockwise. Then come to a seat at the edge of your chair with your feet firmly on the floor and twist to the left and right to loosen your spine. Keep your hips squared forward, and only twist as far as you can without pain or discomfort.
  • Cross your right leg. To move into the seated figure four, plant your left foot solidly on the floor, then lift your right leg and bend it at the knee so it's crossed over your left leg. You want to place your right ankle on your left thigh, just above your knee.
  • Flex your right foot and try to keep your knee and leg as flat as possible. You should feel a slight stretch in the muscles of your outer hip.
  • Press your palms together in front of your chest to complete the pose. To take the pose deeper, gently press down on your right knee with your right hand.
  • Breathe deeply. Breathing is at the center of yoga practice. Turn your focus to your breath and inhale deeply through your nose, expanding your belly. Think of filling your lungs with air from the bottom up.
  • When your lungs are completely full, pause for a moment before exhaling slowly out of your mouth. Open your throat so you are making a whispered "ha" sound in the back of your throat as you exhale. With practice, you'll be able to make this sound while exhaling through your nose.
  • Exhaling can help ease tension and stress as it stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system, particularly if you lengthen your exhalation.
  • When you've completely exhaled, pause before inhaling again. These pauses between inhaling and exhaling help your breathing become more intentional.
  • Hold the pose for 10 to 20 breaths, or as long as you can do so comfortably. Since this is a gentle pose, you can hold it as long as you want – just keep in mind that you need to switch and do the other side.
  • Fold forward. If you want to intensify the stretch in your glutes and outer thighs, you can do so by hinging your torso forward from the waist. Try to keep your back as flat and neutral as possible, and lower your shoulders away from your ears. This will help open your throat and allow you to maintain your breathing practice.
  • Think about folding your chest or heart toward your thighs. You can rest your torso on your thighs if it's comfortable for you to fold that deeply. Don't go lean so far forward that you feel pain, however. Or, if you’re sitting at a desk, you can lean onto the desk.
  • Repeat with the other leg. Lower your right foot to the floor, then lift your left foot and repeat the same movements.

If you find it difficult to get a good stretch or find comfortable position try a standing piriformis stretch

 How to Perform Standing Piriformis Stretch if you are obese, overweight or plus-sized

  • For this exercise, you need to stand up. Put your right leg above the knee of the left leg. Then, at an angle of 45 degrees, lower your hip. Bend your torso forward while you keep your spine straight
  • Stay in this position for 30 to 60 seconds and then, do the same with the other leg.

 

Another alternative and a good stretch to include to stretch your piriformis is the Supine Piriformis Stretch if you feel comfortable lying on the floor

How to Perform the Supine Piriformis Stretch

  • For this exercise, you need to lie down on your back and bend your knees to a 45-degree angle.
  • You cross your right leg, over your left up toward your chest. With one hand your ankle, and with the other hand, hold your knee. Then, draw up towards your shoulder in the same line with your ankle.
  • You should keep this position for about 30-60 seconds until you feel your bottom and glutes relax and release some tension
  • Repeat for your other side.

Since you are on the floor already you may wish to include the Outer Hip Piriformis Stretch

Outer Hip Piriformis Stretch

  • For this exercise, you need to lie down, bend your right leg, and keep your foot close to the knee of your left leg. Then, slowly pull your leg to the opposite side while you try to touch the floor with your knee.
  • When you extend the left leg, you should put your right hand on your knee, while you raise the left hand. While you are attempting to touch the floor with your shoulder, you should lower your arm in the opposite direction of the knee.
  • Stay in this position for about twenty seconds, and do the same with your other leg.

 

I think this is a very helpful program to use stretch your piriformis if you are obese, plus-sized or very overweight.

If I can be of help please reach out to me via email, or on social media give me a day or so and I will respond.

 

Love, peace and less chicken grease,

Alton

Lighter Key Lime Pie

Lighter Key Lime Pie.png

Nothing beats a good key lime pie, It's a lighter version due to the fat-free sweetened condensed milk and frozen reduced-calorie whipped topping, but it tastes just as rich and fresh. You'll never know the difference.

Ingredients

  • 2 large eggs 
  • 2 large egg whites 
  • 1/2 cup Key lime juice (such as Nellie and Joe's Famous Key West Lime Juice) 
  • 1 teaspoon grated lime rind 
  • 1 (14-ounce) can fat-free sweetened condensed milk 
  • 1 (6-ounce) reduced-fat graham cracker crust 
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen reduced-calorie whipped topping, thawed

How to Make It

  • Preheat oven to 350°.
  • Beat eggs and egg whites at medium speed of a mixer until well-blended. 
  • Gradually add juice, rind, and milk to egg mixture, beating until well-blended. 
  • Spoon mixture into crust, and bake at 350° for 20 minutes or until almost set (the center will not be firm but will set up as it chills). 
  • Cool pie on a wire rack. 
  • Cover loosely, and chill 4 hours. 
  • Spread whipped topping evenly over filling

5 Reasons You Bloat More After Age 45

bellybloatimage.jpeg

5 Reasons You Bloat More After Age 45
 

Bloating is generally the result of not being able to properly digest foods.  These not-so-digested foods feel like they're just sitting around causing discomfort and a general feeling of being stuffed and “gassy”.

 

It can happen at any age but if it seems to be more frequent as you're getting older it can very well be because of your stomach's reduced ability to produce enough acid for proper digestion. 

 

Normally, when we eat cells in our stomach release more acid which is important for so many digestive processes like breaking down foods and activating enzymes.  As we age this process can become less efficient and the result can feel like it's wreaking havoc on the rest of the digestive system.

 

Unfortunately, this can have wide-ranging effects on all of our digestion abilities “downstream” and that can result in bloating.

 

Bloating Reason #1:

 

Sometimes our bodies are (or become more as we age) sensitive to the fiber in certain fruits or veggies.  This can also occur when we introduce new ones into our diet as it may take a while for our body to get used to them.

 

Pro Tip:  Try chewing your vegetables more thoroughly, or lightly cooking or steaming raw ones.  If a fruit or veggie seems to be consistently related to bloating try eliminating it for a few weeks and monitor your symptoms.

 

Bloating Reason #2:

 

Decreased stomach acid can reduce the activation of a key protein-digesting enzyme “pepsin”.  This means that the proteins you eat aren't broken down as much and they can pass through your system somewhat “undigested”.

 

Pro Tip:  You may consider reducing the amount of animal-based foods you eat and see if that helps you out.

 

Bloating Reason #3:

 

One thing that can seriously cause bloating is when your digestive system slows down.  Then things seem to be a bit stagnant, just hanging around in there a bit (a lot?) longer than you'd like.

 

Ginger has been found to help with digestion and reduce nausea for certain people.  And peppermint is thought to help your digestive muscles keep pushing food through, so it doesn't stay in one spot for too long.

 

Pro Tip:  Consider drinking a digestive tea like peppermint or ginger.  See my recipe below.

 

Bloating Reason #4:

 

All this lack of digesting in your stomach and small intestine puts extra stress on the large intestine.  The large intestine is the home of all of your wonderful gut microbes that have SO many functions in the body.  The problem is when undigested food enters the large intestine it can feed the not-so-great microbes.  These “unfriendly” bacteria produce waste material and gas as a part of their natural metabolism.  The more of these microbes you have in your system (they will multiply if they are constantly being fed by undigested food in the large intestine) the more gas that will be produced in the large intestine.

 

Pro Tip:  Try eating more fermented foods.  Fermented foods contain probiotics which will feed the good bacteria and microbes in your system to keep the bad guys at bayThis includes things like yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, and kimchi (as long as these don't cause bloating for you!).  Make sure they're unpasteurized and contain live cultures.  If you cannot tolerate dairy based yogurt and kefir dairy free options are available or you could make your own dairy free versions.

 

You can also consider taking a probiotic supplement. Just check the label first to make sure it's right for you.

 

Bloating Reason #5:

 

With reduced stomach acid you also have a reduction of the “activation” of several of your digestive enzymes (protein-digesting pepsin being one of them).  In order for certain enzymes to go to work digesting your food they need to be activated.  This usually happens with the assistance of stomach acid.

 

Pro Tip:  You may consider trying an enzyme supplement to assist your body in digesting food while you work on reestablishing your own production of stomach acid (a healthy diet and lifestyle can do this!).  But before you do make sure you read the labels because some of them interact with other supplements, medications, or conditions, and may not be safe for long-term use.

 

Conclusion:

 

You can try the “pro tips” I've given you in this post.  Maybe you'd prefer working with a practitioner on an elimination diet to get to the bottom of which foods you may be sensitive to?  If bloating is a serious problem you should see your doctor or alternative health care practitioner.

 

 

References:

 

http://www.precisionnutrition.com/all-about-menopause

 

https://authoritynutrition.com/11-proven-ways-to-reduce-bloating/

 

http://www.dietvsdisease.org/how-to-get-rid-of-bloating/

 

http://summertomato.com/too-many-vegetables-how-to-prevent-gas-and-digestive-problems-caused-by-healthy-eating

 

http://www.precisionnutrition.com/elimination-diet

 

https://nccih.nih.gov/health/peppermintoil

 

https://nccih.nih.gov/health/ginger

Ginger Tea

Lemon-Ginger-Tea-3.jpg

Recipe (Tummy Soothing Tea): Ginger Tea

Serves 1

Fresh ginger root (about 2”)

Hot water

Lemon slices (optional)

Honey (optional)

Pour the water into a saucepan and heat it on the stove.

Grate the ginger root into the saucepan.  Let it come to a boil, and then simmer for 3-5 minutes.

Strain the tea into a cup with a fine mesh strainer and add lemon and/or honey as desired.

Serve & Enjoy!

Tip:  If you don't want to use a grater and strainer then you can peel the ginger and thinly slice it into your cup before adding boiling water.  The pieces should be big enough that they will sink to the bottom.

Haven't Changed Anything in Your Diet But Getting Fatter?

Haven't Changed Anything in Your Diet But Getting Fatter?
 

You are positive that you're not eating more food or “junkier” food but you're still gaining weight.

 

Is this possible?

 

Yes!  You are NOT crazy!

 

And here's why.

 

We both know that the whole “calories in, calories out” argument is an overly simplistic view of weight.

 

There's definitely more to the story than just what you're eating, right?

 

A lot of this comes right down to your metabolic rate which is affected by things like your activity level, history of dieting, body composition, and even what you eat.

 

But, let's go beyond the “eat less and exercise more” advice and dive into some of the less obvious underlying reasons why you may be gaining weight even though you're eating the same.

 

Things like:

●      Aging;

●      Hormones;

●      Sleep;

●      Stress.

 

 

 

Aging

 

Funny things happen the older we get.  People commonly experience lower energy levels, more digestive discomfort, weight gain, as well as aches and pains.

 

Aging can result in hormonal changes for both men and women.  And these can contribute to loss of some lean muscle mass, as well as increases and changes in fat storage on our bodies.

 

The good thing is that, this is very common and not your fault one bit.

 

Hormones

 

Your thyroid is the master controller of your metabolism and can be a massive contributor to your weight gain.  There are several things that can affect it and throw it off course.

 

When your thyroid gets off course and produces fewer hormones your metabolism slows down.  And when your metabolism slows down you can gain weight.  Even though you're eating the same way you always have.

 

Pro Tip: Talk with your doctor about having your hormones tested.  Oh, and try the thyroid-friendly recipe that I created for you at the end of this post.

 

Sleep

 

There is plenty of research that shows the influence that sleep has on your metabolic rate. 

 

And as we age it can become harder and harder to get a good night's sleep.

 

The general consensus is to get 7-9 hours of sleep every night to help avoid weight gain.

 

It's true!  Lack of sleep is linked with weight gain.

 

Who ever thought you can sleep off your weight?

 

Pro Tip: Try to get at least 7 hours of sleep every night.  The first place to start is by implementing a calming before bedtime routine.

 

Stress

 

It seems to be everywhere!  So many things that can cause stress responses in your body.

 

And you know that stress hormones are not going to help you sustain healthy habits or maintain a healthy weight, right?

 

While you can't necessarily change your stressors you can try to adjust your stress response to them.

 

Pro Tip:  Try meditation or yoga.  Or even mindful eating.  What about those new adult colouring books that are all the rage now?

 

Conclusion:

 

There are lots of factors that can affect your weight, even if you're eating the same way you always have.  Aging, hormones, stress, and sleep are all interconnected to each other and can all contribute to weight gain, even if you're eating the same way you always have.

 

Recipe (Thyroid friendly iodine): Seaweed Sushi Bowl

 

Serves 2

 

1 cup cooked rice

1 avocado (thinly sliced)

½ cucumber (diced)

½ red pepper (thinly sliced)

1 green onion (chopped)

2 tablespoons dried seaweed (arame, wakame, or crumbled nori sheets)

2 tablespoons sesame seeds

3 tablespoons rice vinegar

3 tablespoons gluten-free tamari sauce

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 tablespoon sesame oil

½ garlic clove

dash salt and pepper

 

Split the first seven ingredients into two bowls.

 

Mix the rest of the ingredients together to make the dressing.

 

Pour the dressing over the sushi bowls.

 

Serve & Enjoy!

 

Tip:  This is a great lunch to take on the go.  Keep dressing in a separate container so you can give it a shake before adding it onto the sushi bowl.

 

References:

 

https://authoritynutrition.com/lose-weight-in-menopause/

 

http://www.precisionnutrition.com/sleep-stress-and-fat-loss