Tag Archives: muscles

Finding Flexibility

42-16033090This weekend I was in the Sandy Springs area of Atlanta, Georgia, visiting a girlfriend of mine for her baby shower. One morning I went for a short 2-mile run around the neighborhood we were staying in which was filled with hills of all kind, a stark contrast to my own neighborhood. I started out on a sharp decline, flattened out for a bit, pushed through a gradual but not too long incline, flattened out, then had a long gradual incline, and finally a steep but not too long incline to finish the run. Needless to say, my legs were not used to the number of hills and the variety of inclines I experienced in Atlanta.

Sitting with my pregnant friend who is also an apprentice in the TAP pilates instructor program I started to pepper her with pilates questions while stretching. I’ve always struggled with the single leg stretch because I can’t seem to straighten my legs the whole way which frustrates me and also means I’m not benefiting from the exercise as much. As I lay on the ground she stood above me holding one leg up straight and pushed it toward my head. It was the straightest my leg had ever been and I instantly felt the stretch run through my hamstrings. She then asked me to relax my quad muscles. After several tries at what I thought was relaxing, my quads were still fully flexed. I couldn’t relax! Continue reading

Finding The Knots

42-15622239There are several names that came to mind for this post: “That’s the Spot!” “Ouch!” “Digging Deep,” “Seven,” and plenty of others, some of which sounded totally inappropriate and others that could be misleading. So as not to leave you wondering what all these possible post names relate to, they are tied to the deep tissue sports massage I had over the weekend.

I have had one other true massage in my life and it was the most amazing, relaxing, comforting, soothing experience ever. My sports massage was the absolute opposite. After talking to some personal trainers and reading plenty of articles and forum posts about various ways to “treat” IT band pain, I was convinced that I needed to see a massage therapist. It made sense to me that if the masseuse could not find anything wrong with the muscles in my leg then I would have a much larger problem at hand. So I dug out a gift card waiting to be used and made an appointment for a 60-minute deep tissue sports massage at a local spa and salon.

I was shown into a cozy room with candles lit, calming melodic music playing, and I snuggled under wonderfully heated sheets thinking how nice it would be to doze off while the massage therapist fixed all my IT band problems. Continue reading

Slow it Down

j0438725Lately it feels like life has been moving full speed ahead; this is definitely true for me and many of my friends and people I come in contact with on a regular basis. We cram as much as possible into each day, we start early, end late, we say “yes” to everything, and end up rushing from one thing to the next.

I recently had an epiphany that this same fast pace has made it’s way into exercise as well. There are two pilates classes with different instructors that I take pretty regularly at my gym. The two instructors have very different styles: one is more traditional following the “basic 10” movements with steady transitions from one movement to the next and the other instructor combines traditional pilates movements with additional strength exercises using a bar, weight, and lightweight, small medicine ball. With both of these instructors I feel like I get in a great work-out and I’m always impressed with how much they fit into one hour.

At pilates this week, I set my mat down with the others in the class and stretched while waiting for the instructor. A couple minutes before start time, a woman walked in, put her mat at the front of the room, and I quickly realized we had a substitute. She was the woman who teaches the third pilates class at my gym which happens to be at times I can never attend. This instructor (and I don’t mean to stereotype here) had the personality of a step aerobics instructor; she was high energy, loud, and conversational. At first I missed the calm, quiet of the other instructors, but it didn’t take long for me to truly appreciate following someone new. Continue reading