Hello there!! HAPPY Fridayyyyy :D
How are you doing?! I hope you had a productive week!! I'm sooooo ready for the weekend, what about you?! Do you have any FABULOUS Labor Day plans?! My husband actually has to work on Labor Day, and that's a bummer, but I'm planning to chill at the beach with my AWESOME kids! WOOO WHOOO!!
Today's post is on BREATHING. Something as simple as the way we inhale and exhale can give us more energy every day and fuel up our workout! Keep reading and find out how!! Also, it's Friday, so don't forget to check out the JUICE recipe at the bottom of this post :D
Breathing happens automatically (about 20,160 times a day), so you don't need to think about it. But if you do, you can unlock stores of energy and unload stress 24/7, plus be stronger, speedier, and more centered during your workouts.
To start, here's a quick refresher: Your diaphragm is supposed to act as the main "breathing muscle," but this below-the-lungs powerhouse tends to sit somewhat idle in most people. "In fact, it's partially paralyzed," says Belisa Vranich, a clinical psychologist and the founder of the Breathing Class, a series of workshops designed to reset healthy breathing patterns.
To tell if yours is on duty, lie face up on the floor and place your left hand on your chest and your right hand on your belly. Breathe. "If only your right hand rises and falls, you're breathing from the diaphragm," says conditioning specialist Tony Mikla, the performance physical therapy manager for the Exos training center in Phoenix. That's good, it signals that your diaphragm is contracting, thereby pulling away from the ribs to make space for your lungs to fully expand and fill with air. "But if your left hand moves as much as or more than your right, you're a chest breather."
The problem with chest breathing is that you expand the chest rather than the belly, which limits the amount of air moving in and out. This type of shallow, rapid breathing is associated with stress and tension, explains Cedric X. Bryant, Ph.D., the chief science officer for the American Council on Exercise. In contrast, diaphragmatic, or belly, breathing is associated with relaxation.
As for the effect this has on your workouts, "your ability to maximize exercise results is largely determined by how well you recover," says Pat Davidson, Ph.D., the director of training methodology for the Peak Performance gym in New York City. Being able to engage in that relaxed breathing when you're not exercising allows your body to devote its resources to repair. Which is why it's important to shift your breath back to your diaphragm if you're a chest breather. "Retraining breathing at rest is a powerful tool to help you reenergize and bounce back from a tough workout sooner," Davidson says.
The following are breathing techniques you can use to get the most out of whatever routine you're doing! U GOT THIS!!
DURING HEAVY LIFTING
Inhale (through your nose, as with all general exercise) before you lift. Then, as you hoist the weight, briefly close your airway (almost as if holding your breath) so that no air escapes as you forcefully attempt to exhale, specialist Tony Mikla says. This braces your core and protects your spine by decreasing the space between your diaphragm and pelvic floor.
ON LIGHTER STRENGTH DAYS
Inhale before the lift, then exhale as you're hoisting the weight, Mikla says. Inhale again as you lower the weight back to start. "Keep your rib cage aligned over your pelvis so that the diaphragm and pelvic floor are facing each other, like the top and bottom of a can," Mikla says. If your pelvis is tilted or your rib cage is off kilter, "it's like having a hole in the can and leads to a loss of air," Mikla explains. "That causes wasted energy."
FOR STEADY RUNS
Use an even ratio of respiration to steps, Mikla says. For example, breathe in for 2 to 4 strides, then out for an equal number. You need a balanced amount of oxygen coming in and CO2 going out in order to facilitate muscle contraction, he says. This makes for an ideal exchange.
During the acceleration phase, take a deep breath, then consistently exhale for 4 seconds; this will help to increase your power, Mikla says. You can also try doing the exhale forcefully through pursed lips to increase your trunk stability.
Breathe in and out through your nose with equal-length inhales and exhales. "This calms the central nervous system," says Tanya Boulton, a yoga teacher for Pure Yoga in New York City.
The above tips are sure to squeeze more out of every rep, step, or stretch! BRING IT ON!!
KEEP SCROLLING and get Friday's recipe! It's a JUICE and very refreshing :D
GRAPE APE JUICE
1 bunch of red grapes
1 nectarine (or peach)
- You'll need to use a juice extractor.
- This recipe makes 2 portions.
- This juice is GREAT for ENERGY and GOOD for SKIN.
Nutrients: Beta-carotene, folic acid, vitamin C, vitamin E; calcium, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, sulphur.
Have a FITastic weekend!
SEE YOU back here on Labor Day!!
Pamela Stewart, NASM Certified Personal Trainer and Weight Loss Specialist