One inspiring cue:
Spinal balance is a key posture in yoga and happens to be ideal for not only building core stability, but also back strength. With this week’s cue, I’m going to show you a way to make it even more of a strength building pose.
SPINAL BALANCE WITH WEIGHTS
Practice spinal balance with no weights first and hold for 30 seconds each side. Then, take your elbow towards your knee 5 times. Progress this by adding a 1 pound weight in your extended hand and eventually work up to 5 pounds as you draw elbow to knee 5 times. Your spine should stay fairly long the entire time, especially if you have osteoporosis.
As we age, we tend to round forward in our spine for many reasons. Spinal balance targets our posture muscles and to continue to get stronger, we need to challenge our muscles. Adding weights accomplishes this!
Note: You do not need as heavy of weights for your back that you do for, let’s say, your legs. Start slow, listen to your body, and work progressively to the 5 pound weight.
One inspiring tip:
If taking your arm in front of you feels like it’s too much, hold a weight in your hand and bring your arm out to the side with your elbow bent. This may be the position you want to begin with to see how a weight feels.
One inspiring song:
One inspiring quote:
“Nature is the purest portal to inner peace.” – Angie Weiland Crosby
FOODS THAT KEEP YOUR MUSCLES STRONG!
Last week I covered good protein sources, so this week I will cover good carbohydrate sources. If you missed last week’s protein sources, check them out here.
Medical News Today says, “Protein and carbohydrates work together to keep your body healthy and functioning. The carbs you eat give you energy, while the protein builds muscles, skin, and hair. Both are needed in order to stabilize blood sugar and are best when eaten together. If your muscles are a house, protein is the bricks. The amino acids that make up protein are the building blocks of muscle. Your body can manufacture many of those amino acids, but nine are known as essential amino acids (EAA) because they can’t be made in the body. Instead, you have to consume EAA’s from food sources like meat, beans, nuts, and soy. A diet containing mixed amino acids can help maximize muscle protein synthesis.”
If you’d like to read more about the importance of protein and complex carbohydrates, you can read the same article I shared last week.
As I mentioned last week, we want to consume complex carbohydrates and protein to build and keep our muscles strong. I know Keto diets are all the rage right now, and while keeping our blood sugar stable by not eating too many carbs is important, a combination of complex carbs and protein is the best way to build and keep strength for most people. The Keto way of eating is a much bigger conversation, and it does have benefits for some people. If you follow me regularly, you know I am all about balance. I also believe in keeping net carbs between 35-100 grams/day, depending on your goals. I am always happy to do a private session to help you figure out the best plan for your personal goals.
The key to eating carbohydrates for strength is to eat complex carbohydrates. As bodybuilding.com states, “Complex carbs digest much more slowly than simple carbs due to their longer-chain molecular structure. Complex carbs are also made of sugars, but they do not spike blood insulin, they keep your blood glucose stable and provide a sustained energy release. These types of carbohydrates work best for prolonged training, improving endurance, building more muscle, and optimizing body composition. Complex carbs slow the absorption of sugar, slowing digestion, which keeps you feeling fuller for longer. There’s no blood sugar roller coaster with complex carbs.”
Here are high quality sources of complex carbohydrates:
Quinoa: a good source of not only complex carbs, but also is considered a complete protein.
Sweet potatoes: be sure to eat the skin!
Fruits and vegetables: “Fruits and vegetables (which are classified as carbs) contain vital nutrients your body needs during the muscle-building process. For instance, Vitamin C – found in bell peppers, broccoli, strawberries, and citrus fruits – is fundamental for the growth and repair of body tissues, per the USDA. Plus, piling your plate with plants is linked to lower rates of developing many diseases including heart disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity, and some cancers, according to the USDA.”- Livestrong.com
Dairy: “Dairy is a great option post-workout as it has carbs, protein, vitamin D, calcium, and magnesium…Together, these nutrients support muscle building as well as bone health.” – Livestrong.com. Remember, raw dairy is easier on the stomach and believed to have a higher density of nutrients. I have my favorite clean cottage cheese on my SHOP page.
Let’s keep getting stronger together! Eat plenty of protein and complex carbohydrates, while adding weights slowly into your workout routine. And, even in the midst of winter, use your inner strength to find the light.