Rebecca Babcock: IBD Warrior

“Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.” – Anais NinDueing

December 1-7 is Crohn’s and Colitis Awareness week,

and as an IBD Warrior, it is an important to take a pause and look at REAL life with a silent, incurable illness. There is no question that is hard, but it is also what WE choose to make of it. As I often say, each of us can do hard things.

rebecca-babcock-ibd-crohns

Having a chronic illnesses can understandably leave you living in fear of the next flair up… like becomes an insane game of “illness athematic”: trying to time the onslaught of debilitating symptoms with work or personal commitments (as if we have an ounce of control over any of it!), lying in wait of medication’s terrible side effects, or perhaps planning around the anticipation of potentially embarrassing social encounters. Aka: life can get very small… if you let it.

Last weekend I experienced a beautiful reminder that I can live a full life even during the hard times when I don’t feel well, or I am not sure I am up to it, I don’t look my best or can’t give it 100%. I went to a baby shower for a very best friend and then a “Friendsgiving” celebration, and while I could not partake in either of the beautiful and likely delicious cakes, I was reminded that showing up is most of the battle.

rebecca-babcock-life-ibd-crohns

The bottom line is my disease doesn’t define me and it doesn’t need to define you. It certainly takes courage and more than a fair amount of humility and honesty to show up to life, maybe not at my best, but on life’s terms. It is a lot better than not showing up at all.

#nocolonstillrollin,

Rebecca

How to Turn Your LYFE on in 2018

The holiday season is the best time of the year, filled with family, food, and laughter! As much as everyone loves gingerbread cookies, pumpkin bread, and all of the holiday drinks, too much of a good thing can take a toll on our health goals. Here are some recommendations on how to start the new year off strong, and stick to your goals!

  1. Make sure your health and fitness goals are attainable! Setting goals that are challenging, but reachable, is key. An example of this could be, going for a 30-minute walk or run everyday, cutting refined sugar out the diet, consuming less meat (especially red).  For Type 1’s, having a lower A1C, eating less carbohydrates, or food logging daily could be great goals!
  2. Don’t forget about your mental health.  This time of year drives motivation to get healthy and “fit”, but often, we forget to take care of our mental health. The holidays can be a stressful time, and it is important to recharge mental so you can start 2018 fresh! Yoga, meditation, reading, journaling–  anything that brings you joy and releases stress should be a priority, just as much as a hard workout!
  3. Find a friend! Whether it is a workout buddy, an “Instagram friend”, or just a close friend who you share your goals with– it is important to have someone to share the journey with, and keep you accountable!

Remember to give yourself some credit! Celebrate the victories along the way, big or small.  

If You Want A Stronger Core, Fix Your Shoulders & Hips!

Everyone wants a “stronger core”. In fact, I want a stronger core! But the core is a contentious topic. So I will try to keep it simple. The core is not just your abdominal muscles. Your core is a dynamic complex of all muscles that work to stabilize your body during movement. So when you think about it this way, your shoulders, your back muscles, your hip flexors, and your glutes are all a part of your core. Even your feet!

In fact, when I tell someone during a session that they should “feel it in their core”, what I really am saying is, “You should feel all your muscles working together as one unit right now to stabilize you, beginning from your center and radiating outward”. I don’t mean that they should be “squeezing their abs in”.

You can flex & squeeze your abs all you want, but there are other more effective ways to ensure that you are actually strengthening your “core”. Plus, this excessive tensing can actually be counterproductive and trick your body into thinking you are in danger, which actually results in the creation of pain, particularly when dealing with back pain.

A strong core is a powerful asset because it keeps us balanced, enables us to produce force & control it, it prevents injury, and so on. I’d like to think the core is really just a concise way of referring to the entirety of your body, working as one efficient machine. If you have a strong core, you have a well-rounded, balanced body. And this is what gets rid of and prevents back pain!

It has nothing to do with abs or six-packs. In fact, when i had my most well-defined abs, my body was actually beginning to fall apart on me – because I wasn’t taking care of my hips or shoulders!

So, in order to strengthen this innocuous complex of our body, we have to fix the primary issues we tend to see in our bodies today. We tend to see similar issues, because most people tend to live a similar, sedentary lifestyle, lacking certain, critical movements. fortunately, there are some really simple ways to resolve these issues!

Let’s first examine what’s going on in our bodies, and then introduce 4 fundamental exercises which will help to restore balance in your body. [Please note – there are of course deviations from this, but these are the most commonly seen issues]

THE ISSUES:

Tight hips, underactive glutes, shifted pelvis, excessive arching in low back, rounded shoulders.

Let’s break it down further.

Most of us have extremely tight hip flexor muscles, as a result of sitting. These muscles become stuck in a shortened position, which makes them tight.

Then, this shortened position of the hip flexors causes an anterior pelvic shift (think of sticking your butt out – that’s what this looks like).

This shortened position of the hip flexors also makes it difficult for us to activate our glutes (this is because the primary function of the major glute muscle is hip extension, which is the opposite of hip flexion. so too much hip flexion = too little hip extension = sleepy, underactive glutes). I know, that was a mouthful.

The anterior pelvic shift then typically correlates with an excessively arched low back.

And on top of all of this, our shoulders become stuck in a forward, rounded position due to all this sitting.

This may not always be the sequence of events, but once you have acquired one of these issues, the others will naturally occur. This is because the body is one kinetic chain, so if one thing is out of place, something else will naturally shift out of place as well. When this happens, our “core” is definitely not working optimally to keep us stable, balanced & powerful! Everything is out of alignment and out of whack, which makes any movement much more difficult.

The good news is, there are really simple, really powerful exercises you can do for about 3-5 minutes a day that will enable you to maintain a strong core, and a balanced body for the rest of your life!

The exercises are below – they are links to YouTube videos and under the video in the “Description” there are specific instructions on how to perform each exercise.

EXERCISES TO FIX HIPS & SHOULDERS FOR A STRONGER CORE:

THE MORAL OF THE STORY:

The moment I stopped excessively doing sit-ups and other “core exercises”, and started actually taking a look at what was going on in the entirety of my body, at the joint level, my “core” began to regain it’s strength. I felt so much more enabled to do any movement I wanted with ease. We must take care of every part of our body. Again, because everything is connected, we must take care of everything in order to have a truly strong, functioning core. The good news is, all it takes are a couple of well-executed, simple movements to begin to restore your strength!

Give these a try and let me know if you start feeling more balanced, more powerful & more capable of doing any crazy movement/exercise/activity you want! I would love to hear from you!


To learn more about Melanie Daly and her personal training, please visit her website: http://www.backpainpersonaltrainer.com/

5 Fundamental Kettlebell Exercises

If you’re as much of a kettlebell enthusiast as I am, then you’ll love what I’ll share with you today.

Here are 5 of the most fundamental kettlebell exercises that will work out your full body. Best of all, these exercises are so effective (since they work out the full body and not just smaller, isolated muscle groups) that you don’t need to do many repetitions to achieve a great workout.

In other words, you can fit a quick workout based on these kettlebell exercises right into a busy day.

Are you excited? If yes, then let’s get started!

 

Read more: if you’d like to see a list of over 100 of the best kettlebell exercises, check out this post.

 

1. Kettlebell Deadlift

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B0yspkANWVY

The kettlebell deadlift is probably the most popular kettlebell exercise and for good reason. It’s a full body exercise, which means it will help you work out your entire body and burn a ton of calories at the same time.

Here’s how you can do it:

Stand in a stance that is slightly wider than your hips, and hold the kettlebell in both hands. Bend down until you can place the kettlebell in between your ankles. Take a small breath at the bottom position, then flex your abs and stand up to your starting position.

 

2. Kettlebell Swing

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YSxHifyI6s8

The swing is a beginner-intermediate level exercise that will work you’re your lower body and your core.

Here’s how to do it:

Stand in a stance wider than your hips, let your feet stand outwards a bit and hold the kettlebell in both hands in front of you. While bending slightly at the knee, let the kettlebell fall down and through between your knees, and then stand back up into the starting position, once again holding the bell in front of you.

 

3. Turkish Get Up

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SK-L2P56zjU

The Turkish get up is an intermediate level compound exercise that will target mainly your legs, shoulders and core.

It’s a quite complex exercise, so I won’t even try to describe how to do it, you’ll end up watching this tutorial video either way:

 

4. Kettlebell Clean

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cPYfiwpUeSE

The point of the kettlebell clean is to take the bell from a low hanging position close to the floor up to your chest. It’s an important basic exercise to master, because from this position you’ll be able to do a host of other exercise variations like press, lunge or squat.

Instructions:

The kettlebell clean is a very simple looking exercise: all you have to do is take the kettlebell from a lying position on the floor up to a racked position onto your chest. However, the devil is in the details, so I suggest you watch this training video to learn what you need to pay closer attention to when performing this exercise.

 

5. Kettlebell Two Handed Squat and Press

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Li4g5p6s2eM

This is personally one of my favorite kettlebell exercises. Despite its simplicity, it’s one of the best exercises for working out all major muscles of your lower and upper body at the same time.

Here’s how easy it is to do it:

Squat in a hip width stance and hold the kettlebell close to your chest. While keeping your back straight, stand up and when you reach the top position raise the kettlebell up over your head (while still keeping it in both hands). Then go back to your squatting position and start another repetition.

 

Conclusion

So there you have it: five simple but very effective kettlebell exercises that will help you work out your entire body and burn a ton of calories at the same time. If you’d like to see how you can fit these exercises (and many others) into a full-blown workout, I suggest you check out this comprehensive workout guide by KettlebellsWorkouts.com

 

Balance Training

Balance has to do with our ability to stay in one position for a given period of time without moving. It sounds silly because how often do any of us actually do this? Balance training is more important than just teaching us how to stand still with our eyes closed.

yoga on the beach, healthy lifestyle concept

However when we practice standing on one foot, eyes open or closed, we learn how to use gravity, environmental feedback, cues from our feet, and what we see to train the muscles in our body. Balance training also involves strengthening core muscles and muscles around joints. By learning where our bodies are in space and improving joint stability, we are better able to sense which muscles are needed to activate or deactivate to keep joints in proper alignment when moving. This improves coordination, athletic skill, and posture, which prevent falls and muscle strains, decreasing the likelihood of injuries.  

Wonder where to start? First, test your balance. Stand close enough to a wall that you can use it for support. Stare at a spot on a static object in front of you and slowly shift your weight onto one foot while lifting the other off of the ground. If you feel yourself falling, place your foot back on the ground or your hand on the wall. If this is challenging, continue to practice this on both sides.

If you feel comfortable doing this, try walking heel to toe in a straight line. You can slowly progress to walking lunges and using props to help improve your balance. Simply sitting on an Indo Board, Physioball, or BOSU balance trainer will strengthen your core muscles by challenging your balance. Once you develop greater balance, you can begin to stand on an Indo Board and BOSU trainer, then take that one step further and use these props for dynamic exercises, for example doing squats on a BOSU trainer.

Getting into exercise for the first time or after a long hiatus? This is the place to start. Balance training is the best way to get to know your body and become conscious of where it is in space.

If you are currently active, return your focus to balance training. Combine balance exercises with flexibility, endurance, and strength training to improve overall physical fitness. But first, consult with a doctor, physical therapist, or a well-educated personal trainer to make sure your body is up for the challenge.

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