Tag Archive | fitness

Workout overload!

It’s easy to forget that we can overdo it when working out. You get in the gym groove, put your headphones on, and go crazy lifting weights or doing cardio. Many people will reach a plateau when it comes to gym progress. This is a good sign, that you may be overdoing it.

So how do you know if you are overdoing it? A good indicator may be that you seem to be getting sick more often. Or, as I said before, you have hit a progress plateau. Or you seem to be retaining a layer of fat on your abdomen.

When you work out excessively, the body will continuing releasing cortisol and will not be able to clear it properly. Excess cortisol will result in getting sick more often and fat gain. You may also notice that you are waking up in the middle of the night. It may express itself differently in different people. Cortisol is inflammatory and taxing on the immune system.

Now what constitutes working out excessively? Lifting weights, getting sore and then not waiting until you are not sore to lift again. When you tear your muscle apart during a heavy lifting workout, cortisol is produced. Waiting until the soreness goes away is your indicator that you are ready to lift again. (People do this and can still look great, but it may catch up with you after time because it is taxing on your insides.) Another huge problem, especially with females, is too much cardio. The longer your cardio session, the more muscle destroying cortisol you will produce. Exercise is NOT about calories in versus calories out. We are trying to be efficient at our exercise, so the less exercise to be the healthiest is the goal. Running for an hour on the treadmill every day is going to increase cortisol levels. Keep cardio down to under 30 minutes per session. This can be done every single day if you wish, however it doesn’t hurt to take a day off!

If you’re not at this gym obsessive point yet, remember that your body does need rest and honor that. It’s ok to not be the person who cannot skip a day of working out. It’s in your hormonal interest to be efficient. For more info check out Abs After 30 !

My love,

Dr. Kristin

Horsetail

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I decided yesterday that I need to honor nature around me and my connection with it. The way I am going to do this is to learn about 1 new herb every day/every other day. And then of course share it with you!

My herbal adventure begins with Horsetail, which is found in North America, Europe, and Asia. Some of you may have heard about this plant, which is often used to increase hair strength through its high content of silica (about 35%). The plant itself is hard and hollow, only being edible in a young state. These characteristics give it an affinity to hard structures throughout the body, making it beneficial for bones, cartilage, arteries, connective tissues, and skin.

This plant is especially useful for people with silica deficiency. This can be observed through several characteristics including hair becoming thin and splitting, weak nails, hangnails, and infections around the nails. Mucus membranes also become weak, leading way to allergies, particularly in the sinuses and chronic bladder issues.

Horsetail can aid in rebuilding joints, where bone and cartilage have weakened. It also helps to strengthen vessels to avoid varicosities.

This herb also has anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties making it beneficial for old inflammations, abscesses, or other breakouts of the skin. It is known as the “herbal scalpel” because of its ability to draw out old infections.

Typical ways to utilize this plant includes capsule form of the dried herb, alcohol tinctures, and/or tea. The best way to decide if an herb is for you is to see a health care practitioner who prescribes herbs.

To sum up a list of things this herb is excellent for;
-silica deficiency/malabsorption
-chronic bladder infections
-joint degeneration
-varicose veins
-chronic allergies

My love,

Dr. Kristin

Have you hugged someone today?

Did you know that hugging someone releases a powerful hormone in your body that increases the feelings of love, trust and generosity.  It’s called oxytocin!  Oxytocin is released from the pituitary gland in your brain, most often known when a pregnant woman goes into labor and when breastfeeding.  The release of this hormone increases uterine contractions and milk supply in lactation.  Less known, it also increases the feelings of bonding between two people.  Hugging is one of the easiest ways to release this incredible hormone and help you feel happier and loved.  The release of oxytocin is also associated with decreased levels of the hormone cortisol, which is a stress hormone (we don’t want this).

So if you’re feeling down, find someone you care about and give them a hug!  A warm, fuzzy hug!

My love,

Dr. Kristin

I had to share this…

Hi everyone ❤

I decided to do week 1 in my Abs After 30 program.  If you are wondering week 1 is a carbohydrate purge week, meant to purge your liver of carbohydrates so that you can optimize your hormones.  (It is explained thoroughly in the ebook.)  But I just wanted to check in and say how GREAT I feel!  Week 1 is always very difficult because of the hormonal cravings you experience.  Since your body is used to insulin rising and falling in such a large swing, your body tricks you into thinking you are hungry (even after a meal).  But my will is strong as I know my health is all the better for it.  And now that I am here, I feel fantastic!  Most notably, my brain function clears and feels more crisp, sugar cravings are gone, and energy levels are at a high.

I also had a great leg workout at the gym today!  I performed squats, hack squats, and kettle bell swings to fatigue, finishing off the workout with 3 sets of pistol squats on a bosu ball with no shoes for balance.  Top it off with 10 minutes on vibration therapy, 10 minutes in the sauna, and a stretching session.

What a great week!  Hope you had a great, healthy, energetic week as well!

My love,

Dr. Kristin

You don’t want a ‘Grain Brain’!

If you have not seen or heard of neurologist Dr. Perlmutter’s new book “Grain Brain,” you need to check it out! Very educational and useful information for your health! This information supports eating right for your hormones!

http://www.grainbrainbook.com

Knowledge is power!  Take control of your life!

My love,

Dr. Kristin

Stretching. The what, where, when, and how to…

I thought I’d give a run down on the most effective and satisfying way to stretch, since most times I go to the gym I see no one doing it.  First off, there are a couple reasons to stretch your muscles.  First, as many people are involved in daily repetitive postures and movements, certain muscles will adaptively shorten.  This means that if you sit all day long (for example), your hamstrings and hip flexors are in a shortened position for most of the day.   Since our body is always trying to be as efficient as possible, this sends a signal to the brain saying that these muscles only needs to be ‘this long’.  Hence the muscles adapt to the new demand.  Second, this shortening leads to altered biomechanics in the way our body functions.  The body will always try to compensate for losses by activating other muscles to pick up the slack.  But eventually the system breaks down further and further, especially when compounded with injury.  Sooner or later you will experience pain, the warning signal.  Many times the pain will vanish without a trace, but this does not mean the underlying issue is gone.  Stretching can help to re-establish the proper muscular balance in the body.  Unfortunately, it needs to be a routine to be effective.

There are a couple rules to follow when deciding to take up a stretching routine.

1. Always stretch after your muscles are warm.  This means no pre-workout static stretching.  It has been shown that this can lead to a higher susceptibility of injury during the workout.  It has also been shown that your muscles will not function as optimally.  This means you should not statically stretch before you need to run a race or play a game (something that you need to be at your best).  If you are doing a gym or home workout, the best time to stretch is at the end.  If you are just stretching without working out, it is best to take a short walk or jog first, just to warm up your muscles.  I personally love a sauna session before a good stretch.

2.  If you choose to stretch before a workout, the best way to do so is to dynamically stretch.  (Notice in #1 I said no STATIC stretching.  Static means being still, or for example touching your toes and holding that position.)  Dynamic stretching increases muscle blood flow and helps to loosen the muscle.  This would include a movement such as swinging your leg forward and backward repeatedly.

3.   Through my research, I’ve seen that the most optimal way to lengthen a muscle is to perform eccentric muscular contractions with weight.  This approach will actually build muscle fibers in a lengthening fashion.  So you will get stronger, plus added length and mobility.  This would be performed by holding weight in a contracted position, and continue to hold in that position while another person tries to pull you out.  (This can be done with the other persons strength or by standing on the weights – on a machine assisted lift.)  I have done this style of stretching/lifting most with pec flys on a pec deck machine (machine where your forearms are resting on pads and you squeeze in until your forearms are touching).   I have seen great improvements in my posture (since my shoulders were rolled forward from sitting in class during chiropractic school).

4.  Last, when stretching statically it should never be painful, only uncomfortable.  The stretch should be held for at least 30 seconds for optimal results.  And please, always listen to your body.  If it feels you have gone too far, back off.  If it feels you could go further, ease into it.

I’ve seen with many patients (and myself) how much stretching can actually help alleviate pain and assist in optimizing biomechanical function.  In this article, (http://drkristinsfitnessrx.com/2013/04/30/a-little-something-to-help-you-enjoy-your-summer-pain-free/) I talked about different stretches for low back pain.  It can be beneficial for most people, so why not start a routine today?  The only thing you have to lose is pain or dysfunction!

My love,

Dr. Kristin

Female Hormonal Imbalances

‘Female hormonal imbalances are often related to stress response. The more stress you’re under, the more it unbalances your cortisol levels. Not only is cortisol your primary stress hormone, it is a primary hormone in general, helping your body convert food into energy, normalize blood sugar, respond to stress and maintain your immune system’s inflammatory response.

When your cortisol levels become unbalanced due to chronic stress, this in turn deregulates your female hormones as well.

So what types of “stress responses” will interfere with your hormonal balance?

Emotional stress

Dietary stress

Pain and/or inflammatory stress

Really, any type of stress on your lifestyle can negatively impact the way your body’s hormones function, and that includes:

Too much work

Job loss

Financial trouble

Relationship or family problems

Eating a highly processed diet, too much junk food or fast food

Hidden inflammation from exposure to chemicals and toxins in your environment

Depletion of antioxidants or not consuming enough from your diet’

Dr. Joseph Mercola

A little something to help you enjoy your summer, pain free…

Do you have low back pain?  Who doesn’t, right?  Does the pain not respond to treatments to your low back?  Big surprise…  the pain might not be coming from your back.  Research shows that health care practitioners should be looking to your hips.

In order for your low back to function properly, the hip joints need to have adequate mobility.  Internal rotation (moving the thigh inward) and external rotation (moving the thigh outward) should be equal on each leg and from side to side.  The musculature around the hips, also needs to be balanced and strong.

Unfortunately, with the way our society functions, most of us sit at a desk for 8 hours a day and then go home to sit on the couch.  Whatever happened to running around and enjoying the great outdoors?  In case you need some help, I’ve put together some dynamic (movement) stretches to help increase mobility in your hips.  So go outside, enjoy the sun (get your 15 minutes worth) and stretch out your hips twice a day.  The best time to stretch is after cardiovascular exercise, when your muscles are pumped full of blood.  However, if you stretch dynamically, there is less chance of injury if done before exercise.  Plus dynamic stretching is more fun!  Please remember, if you feel pain at any time, (or were instructed not to perform any of these moves) stop what you are doing and see your health care practitioner.

  1. Leg swings – swing your leg from front to back, toes pointed forward.  Keep your back straight, shoulder blades down and back, and pelvis still.  If you lack mobility, keep your swings small.
  2. Side-side Leg swings – swing your leg from side to side, toes pointed forward.  Keep your back straight, shoulder blades back and down, and pelvis still.  Do not rotate your torso.
  3. Split squats – assume a wide split stance with toes pointed forward.  Keep your back straight, shoulder blades back and down, and don’t let the knees buckle in.  Keep your hands behind your head and squat one knee toward the floor.
  4. Lateral squats – assume a wide stance with toes pointed forward.  Keep your back straight, shoulder blades back and down, knees out, and squat to the side with hands behind your head.
  5. Rotational squats – assume a wide stance, with one leg toes pointed forward and the other leg toes pointed out 90 degrees.  Keep your back straight, shoulder blades back and down, knees out, and squat to the side with toes pointed forward.
  6. Reverse lunge with twist – step back with one leg as far as you can and rotate to the opposite side.  Keep your back straight, shoulder blades back and down, and knees out.  Squeeze your glute (butt) muscle on the back leg while you rotate and stand up.
  7. Crossover reverse lunge – step back with one leg and to across your other leg.  Keep your back straight and shoulder blades back and down.

My love,

Dr. Kristin