Monday, June 23, 2014

Why Try Airrosti? {Part One}

     I was plagued with chronic and sometimes debilitating neck pain for most of my adult years.  There were times that I could not lift myself out of bed and each step I took resulted in a painful shock throughout my entire body. I saw chiropractors, doctors, Emergency Rooms...I was treated with neck braces, electric pulses, and neck braces. These treatments would temporarily ease the pain, but the pain always returned as soon as any stress entered my life. I was sick of it. Sick of the pain. Sick of missing work. Sick of the feeling that the pain killers gave me. Sick of not being able to play with my kids or work out.  Sick of it all.
     Since I was part of a large fitness community, I had heard over and over again about Airrosti.  Friends kept telling me how it helped them.  I was doubtful.  Like most of you, I am a pretty simple girl. Airrosti sounded like a fancy schmancy new gimmick to me. I don't do fancy schmancy. I was also doubtful that my insurance would cover it since it covered so little of my chiropractic care. I filed the idea of Airrosti away in the back of my mind.
     One morning, during my husbands deployment, I woke up and found that I couldn't move.  I could not get out of bed. Just breathing hurt my neck and upper back. Once I had my children help me out of bed, I made my way to the chiropractor where I learned that I would need to come for 5 visits a week, for 6 weeks, at $70 per visit....with my 3 children in tow!!! That was not going to work for me.
     I called Airrosti Rehab Centers and was able to get in that same day.  After getting my info, the very helpful service person on the phone told me that most people in my same situation felt better after just 3 visits.  Better yet, my insurance covered it and all I had to pay was my regular co-pay.
    The appointments are broken up into two parts. For the first 30 minutes, the patient meets with the doctor. S/he will discuss the  issue and then a soft tissue/skeletal muscle manipulation is applied.  I compare it to a deep tissue massage, but with a lot more pressure. After the doctor is seen, the patient works with the physical therapist to perform easy exercises to manage and prevent pain. Finally, they might apply the kinesiology tape that has quickly become my best friend when I have a sports related injury.  It is a huge help!

Both the doctor and the therapist try their best to make sure they educate their patient.  After my visits for my neck, I went home with tools and exercises to prevent that pain from happening again.  I can happily say that I have not had that type of neck pain in years. When I feel twinges of it start to creep up on me, I use what I was taught during my treatment and it goes away.  I feel that the doctors there honestly want to help you with your issues and do their best to treat your issue and not just temporarily cover up your symptoms.
     So...now that I went through all of that, you might still be wondering: What the heck is Airrosti???
In my words it is a way to fix and heal skeletal muscles and connective tissue using deep tissue manipulation followed by a short and easy physical therapy.

"But I'm not an athlete! I don't work out.  Isn't Airrosti only for athletes?"

No way.  Airrosti is helpful with many issues people face daily. I have been for neck pain (that had nothing to do with my workouts), tennis elbow, and a sprained ankle.

" Is it expensive? "

 Airrost has saved me tons of money.  I only pay a regular co-pay per visit compared to all the money I was spending on my neck pain in the past. It may possibly help you avoid any unnecessary surgery that might be recommended by other types of interventions.

 
If you are suffering with physical pain, I would recommend Airrosti a thousand times.  If they can't fix you, they work hard to find someone who can.  Tomorrow I will post about my visit to the very cool Airrosti headquarters and the exercises that I learned to help with lower back pain that plagues many people.   

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Healthy Traveling Snacks



It's that time of year again...time to hit the road.  That time of year when families  travel to great destinations to spend some quality time together. The beach, the forest, the mountains, campfires,  Disney, "Are we there yet", "I have to go potty", "You're stuff is on MY side", "QUIT looking at me" and the never ending "Mom, I'm hungry" (insert whine).

Most gas stations carry things like pork rinds, chips, cookies, and candy.  That's fun, at first, but after awhile my stomach starts to rumble with queasiness and I can feel the pimples growing on my face.

Here is a list of some of my favorite foods for the car:

Proteins:
beef/turkey jerky
cheese cubes
pumpkin seeds
almonds
nut butter on crackers
hummus
protein bars
turkey and cheese roll ups
hard boiled eggs (but they make the car smell...gross)
trail mix

Fruits/Veggies:
grapes
apple slices with peanut butter
berries
bananas
cherry tomatoes
baby carrots
sliced cucumbers
sliced bell peppers
sugar snap peas
sliced zucchini
orange slices

Grains:
mini-bagles
whole grain crackers
banana or zucchini bread
any of those rolled, no bake energy balls

Most importantly,  stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water!

Have fun on you vacations and stay safe.  I'll be back in a few days with workouts you can do on the road using just your body weight.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

It's time to get DIRRRTY...(Dirty Girl Mud Run)

I LOVE all kinds of races and physical events...endurance races, road races, mud runs, yoga workshops, zumba marathons...I love them all. One of my favorite non-competitive events is the DIRTY GIRL Mud Run. I am happy to announce that I am one of the many blog ambassadors for the Dirty Girl this year! Yay!!!! Not only does the Dirty Girl support women with cancer, but it is a fun an fulfilling event. There is no competition..just fun, sisterhood and support.  I wrote about my experience with my team last year.


I highly encourage every woman to participate.  All of the women there are encouraging and help each other through the obstacles.  If you don't want to do a certain obstacle, no problem...go around it. If you can't run, walk and enjoy it with your friends.  You will leave feeling accomplished, empowered, and loved.

I know you want to do it. What's stopping you??? To sweeten your temptation to join in the fun, I have a discount code for you!!! Sign up here and use the code: DGSANANTONIO  I really hope I see you there.  If you see me, come introduce yourself to me and give me a hug! Can't wait to meet you!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Pre-Workout Energy





A big question for many people is "What do I eat before I workout"?  Each person is different...some people can barely stomach a sip of water before a workout and some people need a larger amount of food before a workout.  I fall into the latter category most of the time.

I have complied a list of pre-workout snacks and meals to fuel your workout.

One of my favorites is a slice of whole wheat toast with peanut butter and sliced banana. This is a great mix of simple and complex carbs that will release steady energy to your body during your workout. The bananas and the toast are easy to digest so you don't get that sick feeling.

If I only need a small snack before a workout, I will mix greek yogurt, walnuts, berries, honey, and a few chia seeds. The yogurt is easy on your digestive system while the chia seeds and and berries give you that nice steady energy. The nuts provide essential fats and keep your blood sugar levels steady while you train.

If I'm in a big hurry, I'll blend up a quick smoothie.  My favorite: spinach, berries, almond milk, a handful of uncooked oats, and a scoop of protein powder.  This typically isn't enough for a long, hard workout, but holds me through a shorter less intense training session.

A delicious treat before workout is a small sweet potato. I microwave it until soft and mix in a bit of almond butter and cinnamon.  It's almost like a sweet potato pie.  So good!

For a more savory pre-workout meal, I will make a quick egg white scramble.  Sometimes I add veggies and a tiny bit of cheese.  Other times I will add black beans, avocado, and salsa.  You really can't mess this up.  I'll have a piece of whole wheat toast with this to be sure I get enough carbs.  This meals gets me through the days I have a longer workout or heavier lifting.

Of course, you can't go wrong with the old standards like oatmeal, apple slices with almond butter,  sliced chicken breast with rice, or a turkey sandwich.  There are so many good combinations for pre-workout fuel.

A good rule of thumb is to remember that:
1) A pre-workout meal should be eaten about 2 hours before your workout.
2) A pre-workout snack can be eaten 30-60 minutes before you train.
3)You want a 5 to 1.6 gram carb to protein ratio.  That basically means eat a tiny bit more carbs than protein.
4) Hydrate

The carb thing is always controversial ...some people think that you should avoid carbs before a workout, but I think they are essential.  I'll be back soon with post-workout nutrition tips and a give away! 


Thursday, October 10, 2013

Got Granny Flaps?






Granny Flaps. Bat Wings. English Teacher Arms. Water Wings. Whatever you want to call them, nobody wants jiggly triceps, yet they seem to be one of the most neglected body parts for many women.  I get it...they are boring to work. A tricep workout  can be difficult and painful. It's easy to skip the tricep in your workout routine because it seems like a small and unimportant muscle and tend to focus more on the bicep.
 Guess what? The tricep is made up of 3 muscles and makes up 2/3rds of your arm. 

What do you use the tricep muscles for? The triceps are 3 muscles that connect at the elbow.  They extend your elbow and also stabilize your elbow when using your hand and forearm.  Strong triceps aid in pushing. As a woman, being able to push with your arms is important. We push shopping carts, baby strollers, kids on swings, wheelbarrows. Strong triceps can help you fend off an assailant if you need to push him away. Strong triceps are important...and also sexy.

Here are some tricep exercises you can do with a link to each one:

One of my favorites is Chaturanga or Yoga Push up.

I also love Bench Dips.  You can do these at home with your heels on the floor using the bottom step, a stool, or a sturdy coffee table.  Just keep your butt close to the bench and make sure you are moving your body up and down using your triceps and not your thighs. For added resistance, you can put a weight in your lap.

Skull Crushers are a favorite of mine. You don't have to go too heavy on the weight until you get used to the movement.  You can use dumbbells or a barbell.  I prefer a barbell because I can get my hands closer together.  Remember to not let your elbows flare out to the side and don't drop the weight on your head. Ouch.

Overhead tricep extensions and tricep kickbacks are also very effective. I like to go heavy with these.

Exercise alone won't get those arms toned.  Balanced and healthy nutrition plays a huge role in being fit.  I know I say it all the time, but you can't exercise your way out of bad nutrition.

These are some of my favorite tricep exercises that you can do at home. Now go get yourself some strong, sexy arms!


Monday, August 26, 2013

The "Packing a School Lunch" Conundrum

For 7 years, packing school lunches was daily source of stress for me.  I know #suburbanmomproblems ...whaaa!  It was taking forever, there was always a fight, and nobody would know what they wanted.  There was also the issue of running out of things for school lunches and they would end up with things like "trail mix" made up from the bits of cereal left in the bottom of each cereal bag,  the protein bars from my gym bag, or even Halloween candy. Last year I finally got smart and came up with a way that made everyone happy, gave the kids choices, and made me feel better that they had at least one healthy item in their lunch box.

For their "main course" I have them make their own sandwich.  I lay out the bread, meats, veggies, and condiments before they wake up, and they make the sandwich to their liking.  I also make a big batch of a pasta salad filled with a protein and vegetables that they can choose instead of a sandwich.

For their snacks I fill three rubbermaid type bins with lids. I fill one bin for salty foods, one for sweets, and one for fruits.  I try to make it a mix between healthy and what the kids would consider 'fun' foods. I trust them to make good choices, and they always seem to balance healthy and fun in the same lunch. I can live with that. They pick one item from each bin and put it into their lunch box.  Easy.
  Sometimes, I make a big trip to Costco and fill it with pre-packaged foods and other times I will put large containers of foods and have them fill their reusable lunchbox each morning.  Other times I have foods like popcorn, muffins, and protein bars that I made at home...but that's only when I'm feeling super motivated.  It does not happen often.


These 3 bins are only for school and only get taken out in the mornings while they pack their lunch.  They have other snacks to choose from in the pantry.  This keeps us from realizing we are out of snacks during the morning rush and prevents me from adding cereal, Halloween candy, or a candy cane for their snack...not that they would mind.  Each bin lasts about 4 weeks between my three kids.

Here is what is in the bins this month:

Fruit bin: Go-go Squeeze Apple Sauce, Crunchy Pak Organic Apple slices from Costco (the fresh fruit changes weekly), and Clif Kid Z Fruit Rope.


Salty Bin: Quaker Popped Rice Crackers (in 3 flavors), Annie's Cheddar Bunnies, and Pringles

Sweet Bin:  Annie's Chocolate Bunnies,  Annie's Graham Bunnies, , Nature Valley Trail Mix bar,  Rice Krispie Treat, Fudge Stripes.

The bins vary depending what is on sale at Costco or what is on sale in bulk at our local grocery store HEB.  It also depends on my schedule and what I have time to make.

Since starting this way of packing lunches, the kids and I are much happier in the mornings.  They get choices that they like, they learn the responsibility of packing their own lunches,  we don't run out of snacks last minute because they ate them for an after school snack, and I'm not putting random crap in their lunches anymore.  If you do something like this, I'd love to see a link to your ideas! Please post your ideas here on on my FB page : https://www.facebook.com/BloodSweatandMinivans



Friday, July 12, 2013

My Home Gym {San Antonio Personal Trainer}

Hey Everyone! This year we finally had enough equipment in my home gym so that I could quit the gym.   I loved going to the gym to workout, but there were so many times that I only had time to workout from home.  I found myself working out from home more often than going to the big gym, that I decided to stop paying for the membership. Between the equipment I have at home, great running trails, and a nearby HS track I feel like I have everything I need to work out from home.  There are still things I want to add, but what we have is good enough for us.


This space is supposed to be our dining room, but our kitchen is big enough to fit a large table, so we decided to turn the dining room space into a gym instead.  It's pretty small and often I have to spill out into the hall to complete workouts, but it's great! We didn't get all of this at once. It took years to build up.
We have our elliptical, weight bench, weights, Olympic bar, EZ Bar, dumbells from 5-45 lbs (we'll add on later), plates, Bosu ball, Med balls, stability ball, and pull up bar.  The weight bench also acts as a squat rack, leg curl, and leg extension 'machine'.


Oh. Since we are friends, I left the dog hair in the photo for you.


The picture walls might be my favorite part of my gym. One wall includes photos of Josh and I in our first races, our race numbers, and some of our medals.  The other wall has pictures of our family having fun. It's motivating to me to see these while I work out.

Like I said, it has taken us years to build up our equipment. If you want to start your own home gym, the most important and useful equipment that will get you started are a heavy and light set of dumbbells , a stability ball, a jump rope, and a resistance band. With those you can work every body part and modify any gym exercise to work with that equipment.  Please feel free to share links to pictures of your home gym.  I'd love to see where you work out! You can post them on my FB page : https://www.facebook.com/BloodSweatandMinivans