Saturday, July 27, 2013

Self Myofascial Release, IT Band and the Rumble Roller

I have had a number of friends and family (mainly runners) who in the past had mentioned or talked about having problems with their IT Bands.  I really had no clue what they were talking about.  I have never been a distance runner and until I started using Beachbody workout programs I had never pushed very hard to improve my aerobic level.  Honestly, I've always been more of a weightlifter and use to really hate cardio.  But, after completing P90X, thirty days of Insanity: The Asylum Vol. 1 and twenty days of The Asylum Vol. 2, I went to perform the Championship workout (an hour long full body workout and fitness test).  I had done this particular workout twice before and was really looking forward to improving on the fitness test.  However, as I began I noticed pain in(on the outside of) my left knee.

Not only did this pain not go away, but I also had very little to no power to push off with that leg.  I was really worried that there was something seriously wrong with me.  I have had knee pain in the past and had surgery on my right knee many years ago, but the seemly sudden lose of power was very new and puzzling to me.  After looking into my symptoms online, I chuckled a little having finally learned what the Iliotibial or IT Band was and why it was causing me so many issues.  I began researching what I needed to do in order to rehab and overcome my new condition.  Over and over again Rest and Myofascial Release were recommended as being the best treatments.  Due to the fact that I was three-quarters of the way through my workout program, I really didn't want to stop my workouts and rest.  But, I am very glad that I listened to what I had read and the advice of good friends.  I performed only upper body workouts for about 10 days, during which time I also started performing Self Myofascial Release (Foam Rolling).

Luckily for me we had a foam roller in our house that I didn't even know about (thanks Kris), it was a smooth model similar to the one pictured on the left.  After reading up on the subject and watching a few videos I began to work the Vastus Lateralis (outer thigh), the Glutes and also the Tensor Fascia Latae (which includes the IT Band).  After I was done foam rolling, I would then spend time stretching out my posterior chain (calves, hamstrings and glutes).  After just 3-4 days I really felt so much better and wanted to get make to my normal workout program, but I knew that in doing so I would be putting myself at greater risk for further strains or injury.  Since then I've learned the importance of beginning treatment all the way down the kinetic chain and when I now work on loosening up my legs I start with the fascia of the foot and slowly work my way up spending a good amount of time on the Soleus/Gastrocnemius (Calves).  Another change that I have made over time is moving from the smooth foam roller to the Rumble Roller (pictured to the right).  The nubs on this roller act much in the same way as the thumbs of a message therapist/acupressurist, getting deep into the muscle tissue and aiding in the release of any trigger points.  There are many good videos and instruction out there on Myofascial Release, but some of my favorites are from Dr. Mark Cheng.  These videos can be found on his YouTube channel or on the BeachbodyVideo channel as well.

I hope that you will find this information useful and that you'll begin to set time aside for Self Myofascial Release!  Please let me know if you have any questions or would like any more information on anything covered above, including techniques or products.  

Friday, July 26, 2013

Confessions of a Workout Junkie...Part 1! Love the Sweat...Hate the Smell

I will be the first person to admit that I have a problem.  I am honestly a Workout Junkie, who just can't seem to get enough.  I'm addicted to the natural high that comes with an intense workout, as the result of your body producing Endorphins, Dopamine and Norepinephrine.  I feel most confident, self assured and at times even unstoppable when I am completely covered in sweat.  In fact not only do I not look forward to my rest days or days off...most of the time I don't take them.  Don't get me wrong if I feel worn out and feel that my body is starting to experience the symptoms of overtraining I make sure to rest and allow my body time to heal.  But, we'll save that discussion for another day. :-)

Being totally drenched, when working out, is like a badge of honor!  You wear it with pride and everyone around knows that you earned every last bead of sweat.  They understand the determination and the effort that you put forth to become more physically fit, and to change the way that you look/feel.  Most people can appreciate what you're doing and some are even inspired by your actions.  However, for some of us, there are unpleasant side-effects from working out that last long after we are done.  Believe it or not, sweat itself is actually colorless and odorless.  But when it mixes with bacteria found on the skin, that is when it gains its offensive smell.  After a while our workout clothes seem to have a permanent odor that we are unable to get rid of.

I have tired any number of products to help eliminate or reduce these odors, but have only had mixed results thus far.  Some of the products that I have used in the past are: Tide with Febreze, a number of different fabric softeners, various dryer sheets and oxyclean laundry additive/stain remover.  Most of these products seem to help a little, but none really ever made my clothes smell fresh for very long.

The latest product that we've begun to use is Downy's UNstopables in-wash scent booster.  To be honest with you, I lead a busy lifestyle and very rarely watch TV or even keep up with the news or current events.  On top of that, when out shopping I'm usually the type that goes in with a list and plans on getting done as quickly as possible.  So I had not seen or heard about these until my brother had brought them home.  After using these for the last three weeks, I would have to say that this product has been the most effective at removing/covering up the unpleasant odor of my workout clothes.

But, really all of this got me thinking and made me very curious to know...What tips and tricks do all of you have when it comes to fighting stubborn gym clothes odors?  I would really love your feedback and to be able to learn what works for you!