Tag Archives: Exercise

From Office to Trail – Brooks Anyday

I don’t know about you, but I am always in a hurry after work to hit the road, trail or track. Even more so now when daylight savings has ended and we are limited with the amount of daylight left to guide the way. So I really hate wasting precious sunlight getting changed once the clock hits 5!

anydayblackfront_clipped_rev_1.jpegI don’t usually like wearing my sports bra to work. But the Anyday bra by Brooks is the perfect everyday bra to serve the purpose of work to workout.

A great soft fit with light padding, giving a nice shape- it looks like a normal bra but it will give you a higher level of support, combining encapsulation and compression.

The bra is quite low cut, and you have the option of wearing the straps in traditional or cross back. This enables a wide range of outfit choices.

This bra does not come in a size 8, but I found that it was a small fit and hence I was able to fit well into a 10.

Overall a great compromise between different functions.

 

Kellie Marceau Photography

2016 Australian Trail Champion, Kellie Emmerson is a She Science Ambassador and serial ultra-marathon podium finisher.  Kellie professionally works as an Occupational Therapist, Running Coach and Body Pump Instructor. You can follow Kellie on facebook and on Instagram @kelemmo. 

 

 

 

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First Time Fit Top Five

Do you remember your first bra fitting? For most of us it was an awkward, embarrassing 10 minutes of our life in front of a total stranger. For others our first bra might have arrived wrapped in a plastic bag and been sat subtly on the end of our bed!

They call it puberty blues for a reason!

But it doesn’t have to be that awkward.

A sports bra is a great option for a first bra for developing girls and often it’s during their sporting or school physical education activities that students first start to feel like they need a bra.

Getting fitted for a sports bra rather than for an everyday bra can help eliminate some of the angst from a situation. This is because you’re purchasing a technical sports product for a noticeable need that will make them focus on feeling more comfortable rather than being focussed on being uncomfortable in some new clothing contraption!

But here are our Top Five Reasons a Sports Bra is a great first time fitting option:

  1. Comfort: They are more likely to be a crop/compression style of product. This can, in some cases, assist not only to support but to minimise the appearance of breasts and provide coverage that feels similar to a bathing suit.

 

  1. Adjustable: There is some great product on the market which will include the straps being adjustable at the front which can allow for breast tissue growth, while still being as supportive as possible.

 

  1. Wire Free: There are often very supportive options that do not have underwire. Underwire is in Sports Bras and everyday bras simply to enhance shape – and there is nothing wrong with wearing it. But for first time bra wearers they can often take some getting used to. Starting in a bra without an underwire can be a great first step.

 

  1. Adaptable: They fit with a student’s lifestyle. Often around the age of a first bra young people are sitting at their desk one minute and running around the next. Sports Bras can be comfortable enough to wear all day, whilst providing support when it’s demanded.

 

  1. Fashion: They come in a great range of colours, and let’s face it, that matters!

 

Most importantly a well-fitting and comfortable bra – whether everyday or Sports – can have a big impact on confidence. Starting out with the right fit and right knowledge can change what can be an awkward experience into an empowering one.

 

Bra Banding Might Fix Your Chafing Woes

It’s all about the banding when it comes to Sports Bras – but even more so for Sports Bras for distance runners.

Almost every runner has experience dreaded chafing somewhere at some point – ooh and the nasty sting in the shower post run!

But avoiding chafing is usually down to a few simple steps.

  1. Make sure your Sports Bra banding is firm.

You don’t want your bra to be rib-crushingly-too-tight-to-breath firm but you do want it firm enough that the band cannot move.

Having a firm band around the rib cage is the number one rule for getting a Sports Bra or any bra fit right. If the band is firm the majority of support will come from the band and it will apply less pressure to the straps on the shoulders. The bra will be more comfortable and more effective at holding breast tissue in place.

If the band is too loose you immediately lose support for breast tissue, place greater pressure on the straps AND increase your risk of chafing – because the band will move around the rib cage. This is especially true of distance runners as they deplete fluids and grams to kilograms of physical weight as they run.

  1. Make sure the Cup is snug.

For all the same reasons as above – if there is any room in the cup you lose support and invite chafing. You want it tight – compressive – but not so much that breast tissue is spilling out the top or that you feel crushed.

  1. Make sure the bra doesn’t sit too high.

As Sports Bras are often ‘’crop’’ style another common chafe point is if the bra sits too high and digs into the tissue above the breasts and slightly in from the arm pits. This is a potential friction point due to arm movement during running. As runners seek higher coverage from a Sports Bra to close vertical escape routes for breast tissue – which we love – sometimes they can sit too high and cause issues.

  1. Wear a breathable, moisture/sweat wicking material.

It might sound simple but the wrong fabric close to the skin can increase the risk of chafing. Cotton based materials for example will become saturated with sweat and lose most of their breathability.

  1. Arm yourself with an anti-chafe product

Sometimes everything you try will not be good enough. Be sure you are well hydrated and arm yourself with an anti-chafe product like Body Glide. It needs to be something that is water based and NOT petroleum based. And if you already have chafing protect it from getting worse with a film dressing.

 

There are some schools of thought that you shouldn’t wear underwire for distance running. In fact this is an entirely individual decision. If a wire is sitting well in the right place and on the right person some runners will find they prefer this as it will assist to encapsulate the breast tissue reducing sweat pooling between the breasts. Others will find the wire will not sit correctly on their sternum and this can cause irritation as they progress into their run and deplete in fluids. Unfortunately, as our bodies have so many variables, this is one thing that can only be determined when tested on the track.

Getting your Sports Bra professionally fitted can help to ensure you’ve ticked as many of the right boxes as you can before you head out to hit the pavement.

 

Regaining Core Strength After Pregnancy

 

By Libby Nuttall, Personal Trainer and She Science Ambassador

So you’ve had your baby, congratulations! Now it’s time to smash a few ab workouts and flatten that mummy tummy, right?! Wrong. On so many levels, wrong.

Pregnancy puts huge strain on your core and pelvic floor and now is the time for rehabilitation, not waist training, ab workouts, or thrashing our bodies at the gym.

Let’s talk a little bit about the core, because there’s lots of misconceptions. Picture a cylinder. The core is like a cylinder, with the diaphragm at the top, pelvic floor at the bottom, the muscles surrounding your spine known as the multifudus, and your deep abdominal muscles, known as your transverse abdominis. Your glutes are a really important piece of the puzzle as well.

What’s not so important right now are your outer abdominals, you know, your six pack muscles. Unlike your transverse abdominis, they have little impact on your general health or strength. So forget about crunches for a while.

So why does pregnancy put pressure on this region? Well imagine a hammock. Now imagine bouncing a bowling ball on the hammock. That’s what pregnancy is like for your pelvic floor. The extra weight and size puts pressure on all of the internal organs, changing the centre of gravity and the muscles we use to walk, stand and move. The stretching of all these muscles during pregnancy leaves them weakened and at risk of injury.

After childbirth is a crucial time for rehabilitation, and looking after your body in this phase will stand you in good stead for future pregnancies and general health and wellbeing, including minimising aches and pains, preventing pelvic organ prolapse or hernia and healing diastisis recti.

Diastisis Recti

The first thing we should identify is whether we have experienced abdominal separation, and how severe it is. Many women experience diastisis recti, so it’s nothing you should worry about and shouldn’t cause you any pain. It’s important to know which exercises to avoid, to help heal the separation or cause further damage. Undiagnosed ab separation can lead to hernia, posture issues, low back pain and incontinence issues.

lib picYou can determine whether you are affected by visiting a physiotherapist or performing this simple test on yourself (I would always recommend a physio after birth anyway!)

Once this is done, it’s time to start thinking about the best ways to regain core strength, and let me tell you right now, it ain’t situps.

In the first few of months after pregnancy we want to avoid exercises which put too much pressure on the outer abdominals such as situps, double leg raises and crunches. It’s also time to back away from the front loading exercises such as planks and push ups.

It seems like you’re not allowed to do anything, right? Don’t worry, this is a short phase in the scheme of things and there is still plenty you can do to regain core strength without those particular exercises. Trust me, your body will thank you down the track.

Here are my top tips for post partum core work. Remember to always focus on controlled, smooth movements, continuous breathing and good posture.

  1. Breathing and engaging exercises. Start your post partum workouts by learning to re-engage your pelvic floor and core. Identify whether you can, in fact, feel your core and floor being turned on and off. Deep breathing exercises are also key in the early stages. Simply lie down and allow your stomach to expand and contract as much as possible while taking deep breaths.
  1. Basic floor work. There’s several ways to activate your core simply by lying down. Before each of these, actively engage your core and continue to breathe normally.

Single leg heel slides – With knees bent and heels close to hips, slide one leg out to straight and return, swap legs

Single leg extensions – With knees bent and heels close to hips, raise one foot upwards and return, swap legs

Pelvic tilt – lying down and place feet up on a chair or fitball. Engage your core and tilt your pelvic back by pressing your lower back into the floor. Hold for five seconds then repeat 10 times.

libpic3

  1. Plank variations. As we talked about above, front loading exercises are best avoided in the early days, but there are still other options for you. Reverse plank and side plank are great. Over a series of weeks and months, progress at your own pace toward regular plank by starting leaning against a wall, then lower onto a chair or fitball. Next, move on to plank on your knees, then do short bursts on your toes.libpic2
  1. Resistance bands – When you’re ready to add some resistance to your training, resistance bands are a fantastic place to start. They provide a low-impact core workout that you can work up to in the post partum phase, just make sure you’ve really mastered points one and two first. There’s dozens of exercises to do with resistance bands, from rows, to posture work and dedicated core work. The bands allow you to work at an appropriate resistance level and gently regain core strength.

By Libby Nuttall, Miracle Months 

libby nuttalLibby is a women’s personal trainer in the Macedon Ranges. When she’s not hanging with her two sons, husband and Weimaraner (a.k.a; the boys), she is running high intensity fitness classes, volunteering as the president of the local playgroup, or working on her range of pre and post natal wellness programs, Miracle Months. Libby had her second son in December 2015 and is loving sharing the journey back to fitness and strength post baby with her social media following. This year she is looking forward to competing in a number of runs and obstacle races. Follow Libby via Miracle Months facebookinstagram. www.miraclemonths.com

How to avoid injury when training CrossFit

5 tips to help prevent injury during exercise and in your CrossFit gym

By Hannah Briggs

 

CrossFit – simply put – is a strength and conditioning program that uses weighted and bodyweight exercises including Olympic Lifting and Gymnastics skills. It targets various aspects to deliver a fitness that is broad, general and inclusive. This way the program is designed to be scaled in any way, making it suitable for any individual regardless of fitness level or exercise experience.

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I have been a dedicated CrossFit Athlete for a couple of years now, and for the most part I have been injury free. I became a CrossFit Level 1 Trainer and Personal Trainer over a year ago, and started entering local CrossFit competitions early into my training.

A common issue or concern I hear most from people when it comes to CrossFit is “I’m not fit enough’, ‘ Isn’t CrossFit dangerous’, or ‘CrossFit is only for the elite’. These statements couldn’t be further from the truth.

Almost every other sport has the potential for injury, and CrossFit is no different. How many football players do you hear of each weekend that have done the ACL in their knee? How many Netballers roll their ankles or destroy their knees due to the high intensity of the game, and the twisting/turning required.

CrossFit, performed under the watchful eye of a qualified PT and Coach, is no more dangerous than Football and Netball.

Here are my 5 tips to help you remain injury free, but also get the most out of your CrossFit experience.

1. Leave your ego at the door and listen to your coach.

Your coach is there to help you, so ask questions when you’re unsure or feel like you need some assistance. You’re not supposed to know everything about CrossFit – that’s what your qualified trainer is for!

2. Warm up and cool down appropriately

This is fairly common sense, but you would be surprised at how many people warm up incorrectly or not at all. You should warm up for 10-15 minutes, during which time you slowly build intensity as you focus on the large muscle groups. This is designed to raise your heart rate and prepare your body for the workout.

3. Scale the WOD (Workout of the Day). Don’t be a hero.

If you feel like you’re sacrificing your form by trying to do a weight that is too heavy, just scale it back a little. You’re coach will help pick a weight that is suitable for you if you aren’t sure – it’s more important to lift correctly and safely and perform at a higher intensity, than to take 40 minutes to complete what should take 20 minutes just to say you did the weight Rx (as prescribed).

4. Rest Days

Listen to your body. Everyone needs rest days. You might be able to physically turn up every day, and get through another workout, but you won’t be able to give 100% effort. It is recommended to take a rest day every 3-4 days, and your body will thank you for it.

5. Mobility and Massage

Massage Therapy can help to alleviate pain, stiffness and improve flexibility. It can help reduce inflammation in joints and soft tissue, and also reduce stress and anxiety. When you exercise often and at high intensity, regular massage can also assist in preventing injury.

 

Hannah B headshot profile

 

Hannah is a She Science Ambassador, a Personal Trainer/CrossFit Level 1 trainer, and a CrossFit Athlete. Hannah competes at local CrossFit competitions both individually and as a team competitor, and made the finals event in her last 2 major competitions. Hannah is passionate about helping other people achieve their health/fitness goals through her PT and coaching, and motivating others to become passionate about their own fitness. Follow Hannah on instagram @_mindovermatter_13 and facebook Factory 3 Cross Fit.

 

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How to avoid breast bounce when exercising

For those who have been put off being active due to embarrassing bouncing breasts or worse painful bouncing breasts then this post is for you.

Of course there are a host of impractical ways to avoid your boobs giving you are black eye. One that comes to mind is a move made famous by a teenage Christina Richie in the movie Now & then, she taped her breasts down with masking tape in an attempt to pretend they didn’t exist.

But lucky for us there are plenty of genuine ways to reduce your breasts from bouncing so that you can remain active.

1. Wear a supportive, functionally appropriate Sports Bra

A bra that both separates (aka encapsulates) each breast and compresses your chest will work best for boobs that bounce excessively. There are plenty of fraudulent Sports Bras being sold in stores and online so if you aren’t getting any relief from a Sports Bra then keep looking… with the recent advances in the product there are some brilliant options for women of all cup sizes on the market these days.

2. Wear an additional support layer

This could include a singlet with a built in shelf bra, or a basic crop-top-type-bra that will give you that extra little bit of support and feeling of security.

3. Alter your activity profile

Choose low impact activities like walking, cycling and using the rowing machine at the gym. Remembering that low IMPACT does not always mean low INTENSITY, so you can still get a great workout with this sort of activity.

4. Try water running

Studies show that running in deep water reduces Exercise Induced Breast Discomfort to an insignificant level. It does not necessarily reduce the amount of breast displacement (bounce), but the reduction in displacement velocity will have you feeling much more comfortable running in water when compared to running on land.

As a big busted female, who has in the past opted out of activity due to Exercise Induced Breast Discomfort it’s frustrating to see so many other women fall in to that trap when there really is no reason to these days. In recent times their have major developments to the design and materials used in Sports Bras which has resulted in huge advancements for the product.

Of course there is no one ‘best style’ so it comes down to being fitted correctly, by someone who is able to take in to account your activity profile, body shape and personal style preferences. Here are some reviews I have done in the past, along with a list of top Sports Bras for bigger busted women.

Good luck, don’t give up!

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Sports Medicine Australia ‘Be Active’ conference, Deirdre McGhee

This weekend saw me trek to Sydney for Sports Medicine Australia’s annual conference. SMA has recently funded a project led by Breast Health Researcher Deirdre McGhee to increase the awareness of Breast health in sport. They have recently put out a brochure titled ‘Exercise & Breast Support’ that is available to download via their website, the link to this is listed below.

Deidre spent the hour detailing mistakes that women commonly make in both bra selection and fit. I’ll be blogging on all of this in greater detail in the coming months. It was also interesting to meet and chat with many physiotherapists, exercise physiologists and general practitioners about the implications that poor bra fit can have on women’s health. Most of this centred around neural impingement (generally from tight straps digging in to the trapezius muscles) and thoracic kyphosis.

It’s great to see Sports Medicine Australia acknowledging the need for greater education on breast health in the community.


http://sma.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/1082-SMA-BRABrochure_FA_Web.pdf

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