Fix it Fridays: How do you break your fast?

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Katmah Training & Performance

Over and over again I have clients telling me how they struggle with a morning routine when it comes to their nutrition.

I know you’ve all heard the lecture on how breakfast is a must and how important it is for your daily health and long term health goals. If you haven’t, the gist of it is that eating a balanced, healthy breakfast ensures that you’ll kickstart your metabolism for the day ahead, be less apt to choose sugary, starchy snacks throughout the day, have improved energy, mental capacity, and generally be less of a grump. Hanger is real.

I give this lecture to clients a lot. Most often, the response I get in return is the “but I don’t have timmeeee” statement.

You’re talking to the Queen of morning procrastination, and yet I still manage to get something into my digestive system before my first commitment of the day. It’s…

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Fix It Friday’s: How Stable Are You? 

Katmah Training & Performance

No, I’m not talking about how much time you spend in the barn, or how you handle stress…. I’m strictly asking about your physical stability.

There’s a few tests I do for this when assessing a new client, one of which I’m going to share with you today. I truly believe that education is the key to getting every client and athlete to their next level, whatever their goals may be. So sit tight, and get ready to test your core ability in a few simple steps!

I write lots about the core. The core is basically the area between the base of your skull/and chin to your hips. Common misconception is that it’s your abdominals, but it is so much more!

The core is important for everything we do. In various athletic endeavours it does one of two main jobs- either stabilizes our trunk so our limbs can move…

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Wake Up!

Katmah Training & Performance

It’s Monday morning, and if any of you are like me… you’re wishing you could stay under the covers just a bit longer.

However, once you hop out of bed- there’s lots to be done! Nobody can deny the busyness of a new week- except your body and your energy levels, of course.

So here, a special treat for your monday (or any day, really) to help you wake up and get rid of any stiffness. Do this right as you crawl out of bed to really get your day off to a good start.. Or, integrate it into your day at work. On a break, or after your lunch to stave off those afternoon nap cravings.

CLICK HERE FOR THE VIDEO! 

We’re starting with a wide knee child’s pose. Get those hips loosened and ready to move. Wake up your breathing. Centre your mind. Stay here for minimum for…

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Keep Looking Ahead: Life Lately

I’ve wanted to write for awhile, but as usual- time and energy to sit down and type, regardless of inspiration, elude me.

It’s been several months since I’ve written last. The last several month have been full of changes. It seems like if not daily, definitely weekly, things change drastically for me- and I am just settling into a steady forward pace now. The winter was a drawn out phase of what felt like being blocked at every corner. I know that I am not the only one who felt.. stuck.. this winter. Emotionally more then professionally or otherwise.

Professionally, the winter was fairly positive. After Florida, I began really bumping up my bookings here at home and found myself in a phase of saying yes to everything I could career wise. This lead to great opportunities, and set me up for where I am at now. There were many stressors, and this all contributed to the steady, slow motion crawl to where inevitably I was supposed to end up.

For reasons I won’t get into online, I am re-doing my nationals this summer. Unfortunately not because of any issue in my original performance. Reasons aside, this experience taught me that the certification does not define me as an individual, or a professional- and hasn’t hindered me in any way. This was a great lesson to learn. This, of course, took me through a barrage of emotions. I won’t say I’m completely over the bitterness, but I can say that I know myself better as a professional and yet again adversity has taught me some valuable lift lessons… and almost empowered me in a way.

By the end of winter things that were jammed up and stuck began giving way. Emotions and intuitions I’d suppressed in order to stay comfortable came to the surface; making staying comfortable impossible. This manifested into huge energy issues and started to affect my work and motivation. Physically and mentally I shut down- which began the spring cleaning phase after the dark winter months.

With all this moving and shaking going on for me mentally, things started to change and break free. By the end of March, I found myself viewing the perfect apartment, getting it, and beginning to move out on my own.  The decision to do this alone seemed to be a catalyst for so many other positive changes. My business flourished, to a point where it is now close to being my main focus- which means beginning to cut down on part time supplements.I signed up for Precision Nutrition’s Level 1 Nutrition Coaching certification, giving me another thing to delve into. I was granted Professional Membership with the Canadian Kinesiology Alliance. I began a new partnership in my home town, which has already filled the days I wanted filled out there- within days of beginning marketing. I get offers weekly for other opportunities around the province. My energy came back, as did my motivation. My clients and friends noted this almost immediately. I started to feel a little more like myself.

It’s funny how everything happens in exactly the timeframe it does. Looking back, I wasn’t at all ready to make any of these changes before I did. To the moment, almost, nothing happened until it needed to. Any earlier wouldn’t have been as developmentally useful- and any later would have lead to more negative emotional connotations (I think, anyway). The way things happened- I was able to change, but keep important relationships in tact. Stepping away from someone I thought I wanted to know in one context, to gain them in another. Letting go of the things I’d been holding onto, and seeing things in a new light. I got to be mindful about all the things I’d felt in the last few months, and was feeling at the time, and grow from each and every one. I still am doing that.. the emotional cleaning process is ongoing. That is life, I’m learning.

The only thing I’m waiting on now is my MSc. application results. That will be the next change, if there is meant to be one right now. Tomorrow I start officially seeing clients out of Empower Fitness in my hometown, in my own treatment room! The rest of the week I split my time between city clients, riding clients, dealing with medical retail and brace fittings at Liberty, studying Nutrition, and exam review. I’ve also begun riding again.. and that has been huge! I even jumped a course for the first time in 2 years this past weekend (I won’t mention in detail how sore I was the next day). It amazes me how my instinct came back so quickly- but I won’t quite compare it to riding a bike. Lessons with C have not gotten easier- but she still says the most random inspirational things out of nowhere.. Like “Just stay positive- keep looking ahead to the next thing!”. I think she meant keep my freakin’ eyes up and look ahead- but that statement could really be applied to most aspects of life.

As always- the learning continues! Until next time..


 

 

A letter to the girl who wants it all..

Katmah Training & Performance

We all know them.

The girl(s) on the team who are constantly pushing. Pushing themselves and the rest of their teammates to be better.

The one’s who take pride in their fatigue, and yet never appear to be out of energy.

The one’s who manage it all, under pressure, and make it look seamless.

They may be a friend, a sister, a mother, a colleague, a teammate.

We all know them.

We may be one ourselves.

Some may think that they make everything look easy because “everything just comes easily for them”. Others may say they’ve never had hardships.

They know those are false accusations. But will likely still take them to heart.

I’d like to send a message to all those achievers.. one I wish I had listened to years ago.

There will come a day where you learn the hard way what it means to take on too…

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Finding the Right Client: Monday Musing

Katmah Training & Performance

If you’re reading this, I want you to get up and do 10 squats (if you can’t squat, do 10 push-ups (from your knees or even on the wall)) before you continue reading.

Done? Good- now don’t you feel better?

I run into a economical issue every once in a while. My business is young, and I’m selling lifestyle change. Those things combined mean that I sometimes get clientele that aren’t ready for what I’m selling yet. Being ready to commit to changing your habits isn’t a place everyone is at, and while my services would benefit pretty much anyone- not just anyone will do the work to get the benefits.

The health and fitness industry is fraught with “quick fix” pitches. Everyone wants to find that cure-all for their aches and pains, medical conditions, or extra pounds. They’ll buy into anything- from fad diet programs, fitness dvds and equipment…

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The One- Say Happy Valentine’s Day to Your Body.

Katmah Training & Performance

Who says V-Day has to be about your significant other? Make it about you! You only get one body. What are you doing to appreciate it?

Before you hunker down for your chocolate binge and netflix (it’s allowed, I’ll be doing it too), make sure you do a little something for your one and only body. It doesn’t have to be a huge thing, our body appreciates the simple things. Movement. Total body movement. We don’t move much anymore. A great quote from Katy Bowman’s book Alignment Matters sums this fact up:

“Our culture’s use of chairs and toilets, our beliefs in what our posture means to others, and even our clothing (rigid shoes, narrow skirts for women, etc) have all resulted in self-induced joint rigidity. All the movements you have never done are movements that would have toned muscle, kept connective tissues moist and supple, and kept blood oxygen flowing…

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A Plank a Day…

Katmah Training & Performance

A plank a day keeps the doctor away!

Planks are probably one of my favourite exercises. Not only to they work our core, they can teach us how to move with an active, stable core. Not to mention they also are great for our shoulders, hips, legs, and posture.

Another great thing about them? You can pretty much do them anywhere, anytime.

In honour of this fantastic exercise, here are my top 10 favourite variations. Add in at least one a day and see what happens!

  1. Plank Step-Outs– These no only work the core, but they work in the hip stabilizers as well. Super important for postural stability, no matter what activity you enjoy best! Important things to remember, don’t let the hips move as you step each leg out. Activate the core and only move the legs!
  2. Chatarunga Planks/Sun Salutations– A HUGE favourite of mine! With variations…

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The Slump and the Rise

I argued with a friend the other day over how much harder life after school was. They were arguing that life as a student was much more difficult. This friend has returned to University after a few years away in the real world with a steady career. I’ve just exited University after a long, arduous degree- but yet a fairly stable relationship with student life. My relationship with the real world has yet to enter the honeymoon phase- right now it’s still in the “wtf am I doing” phase.

I like plans. I like knowing the next step and setting goals around that. I like constant forward motion.

The universe likes to hand me chances to reflect a ruminate on those qualities on a regular basis by turning me around and confusing my definition of “constant forward motion”.

This has been what I’ve felt like for most of the new year. Either unmotivated, depressed, slightly angry, or serenely peaceful and in the moment. It’s kinda like being a teenager again. The last feeling is great when it happens- and as usual it’s a constant goal for me to be in that state more and more. I’m somewhat successful.

Spinning my tires doesn’t do much- so slowing things down and working on patience is always a project. But then there’s weeks like the last few where nothing goes according to plan, and I feel like I’m not accomplishing anything and the stress sets in. When I say nothing goes according to plan, I mean NOTHING goes according to plan. In this scenario I’ve spent a lot of time stewing, and until the last week or so have just been stumped. The sun is starting to peak through as I come to terms with changing the plan (why does it always take so long to come to that point?), and as usual- as soon as I refocus myself the Universe throws me a small bone (and then almost at the same time causes me to be up in the night cleaning up dog vomit after the dog ate too much of a bone…).

A constant stream of redirecting from the Universe, no structure.. just either a yes- choose this door it’s wide open, or nope- this door is slamming shut in your face. Try again later, or just move on. Or even better, peak into this door- it’s open just a crack.. but you can’t open it yet. It’s confidence shaking. Until you recognise it as a “I’m a twenty-something living a first world lifestyle with relatively minimal student debt and am being given a chance to learn and grow.. even if it involves some growing pains” moment.

Who am I kidding. It’s still confidence shaking and annoying. Regardless of how much you learn from it. But, I suppose that is the nature of learning.. isn’t it.

Right after I returned from Florida (which was amazing, btw), I decided one day to go and chat with one of my profs. It’s only been a few months since I’d seen him last, but when you’ve been seeing someone almost every day for 5 years a few months seems like a while. Two hours of ranting (from us both) and counselling from him- I felt a little better. The biggest issue on hand, regarding a major career step that’s been on put unexpectedly on hold, wasn’t solved- but it was given new light for me. While the unexpected turn for me had been mostly depressive, after this chat it entered the more productive anger stage- in which I got some serious letter writing done. The biggest thing I walked away from that chat with was how much I liked being in that environment, and how much I really did want to continue my education in the form of a MSc. as soon as I could. It reminded me that people won’t judge me for what letters I necessarily have behind my name- not at my alma mater anyway. The welcome I got from my former professors as I walked by their offices or they came into the one I was sitting in reminded me that unexpected turns in the road do not have to determine how I perceive myself as a person. Or how I perceive my abilities as a professional. Very important things for me to remember!

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The above graph is perfect.

It’s so easy to get into the pattern of humming along as if the plan is always going to be the plan.. until it’s no longer the plan. Unfortunately my tendency is to completely melt down instead of accepting the change in direction like a sane person.

I have great mentors and influencers in my life- and fairly supportive peers, friends and family. I have much to be grateful for. My twenty-something female brain doesn’t always cooperate with those realities, but that’s something I can’t always control to my best ability. As I’m reminded constantly.. I’m only a human twenty something!

On a more positive note- I begin a new job in the next couple weeks as a personal trainer at another gym, after leaving one gym this week. I’m very excited to start this new opportunity, which will hopefully offer more hours/clients then previous places and work in tandem with Katmah Training, so I can continue to grow my own business as well. My own business I’ve began marketing as a more general practice (with specialised services to equestrians still, but more advertising into the general population) with the hopes of broadening my practice to different chronic pain and injury conditions and movement correction services. If the Universe is going to tempt me with doors I can’t open  yet, I might as well keep trying other ones!

Every day a new learning experience.

 

 

You’re Doing It Wrong: Core Activation

Katmah Training & Performance

“Tuck your ribs”
“Suck in your tummy”
“Squeeze your abs”
“..belly button to spine”
You’ve probably heard one, if not all of those, at some point in your fitness endeavours. Whether it’s yoga, physiotherapy, pilates, a bootcamp, or just from a trainer or article… those are all common ways for people to describe core “activation”.
Unfortunately, it’s now known that that isn’t the most effective way to activate the core.
In this post I’ll detail some of the latest research on the core, why it’s important to re-educate your core and learn how to activate it the right way, and what it’ll change for your health.
When it comes to spine research, the leader is Dr. Stuart McGill. Why do we care about spine research and biomechanics in an article about the core, you ask? Well- the core has a lot to do with how our spine functions… and how…

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