Tight Hip Flexors and What To Do About it

Did you know that your psoas (pronounced so-az) is one of the longest and strongest muscles in your body?  It enables us to sit or stand.  To be able to walk, reach, bend or twist.

In this post, I”m not going to bog you down with all the biomechanics of the human body, but one thing you need to know when it comes to your psoas, is that like other muscles in your body, there are other muscles that work with it to allow you to move in all different ways and muscles that must relax when the psoas contracts if everything is going to work well.

I often have people contact me that are complaining of tight hip flexors, lower back pain or that have what is referred to as hyper-lordotic posture – that is a really ‘arched’ lower back with belly and butt both ‘sticking’ out as in the image above.

This can even give the illusion of a ‘fat’ stomach on individuals that are quite lean and can definitely cause pain in the hips, lower back and in the front of the upper thigh (feeling light tight quads especially).   Some of the issues that contribute to this posture can also end up causing knee and shoulder pain as well because our whole body functions as one unit – not as a series of individual parts.

You can see in the image, that the psoas originates in at the bottom of your thoracic spine and your entire lumbar spine (lower back) and inserts at the top of your femur (thigh bone).

If your psoas is tight or conversely, is too weak, this can cause lower back pain.  I’m going to concentrate in this article on a tight psoas muscle, with a combo of stretches and releases and some strengthening (or activation) as well.  One important thing to remember is that you will also need to make sure you are activating your glute (butt) muscles as well if you want to improve your hip flexor pain or tightness.  I’ll also discuss this below

There are also lots of other muscles that can be causing the pain described above, but everyone can benefit from doing the following rehab and prehab exercises.

Firstly you’ll need one of the balls at right and a foam roller The ball must be small and quite firm – not at all squishy.  

You’re going to find 3 spots in your abdomen.  The first is about 2-3cm outside your belly button, the second is a few cm above that and the third is 2-3 cm below that first point.  Actually you’ll find 6 spots, because you’ll find the same spots on the other side of your belly button.

Once you’ve found those 6 spots, you’ll lay face-down on your ball and roll those spots out.  The key is to relax into it. Deep breaths – especially out.  You can hold in sorer spots, roll gently back and forth over them and try to get as deep as you can.    Experience massage therapists can also do this for you, but if you’re on your own, the ball is your best plan of attack as you won’t be able to palpate deep enough with your own hands.

With the foam roller, you’ll again lay face-down on the roller and roll out the whole front of your hip and top of quadricep (thigh). Right around the area you commonly refer to as your hip flexors.

I’d recommend doing both of these massage/releases several times per day if you have pain and continue daily for as long as you can – as a preventative option.

 

         

It can be really hard to stretch your hip area simply because your anatomy doesn’t allow you too much movement in the directions required.  And whether static stretching actually helps that much is controversial.  But to stretch the area, the best option is as above.   

If you’re on your own, lay on a bench that is high enough that your foot can hang down without touching the ground.  Pull your other leg in tight and let your leg hang while relaxing and breathing out slowly.

Slowly raise your stretched leg between stretches and hold up for 10-20 seconds before relaxing into the stretch again.

If you have a partner, which is best, have them apply downward pressure to your hanging leg while you try to lift it. Hold for about 10 seconds then relax and stretch again.  Keep pulling your other leg into your chest at the same time.  Repeat for 5-10 reps on each leg.  Alternating between holding the effort and relaxing into the stretch.

As I mentioned at the start of this post, its also important to strengthen your glutes.  I’ll discuss that in my next article, but exercises like Romanian Deadlifts, KB swings, single leg RDL’s, hip thrusters and hip bridges should be undertaken.

If you’d like help with any of this, please contact me at jo@fitterfaster.net.au 


FitterFaster TransForm Together 6 week Challenge

I’m very excited to announce the TransForm Together Challenge which will commence on September 10th 2018

If you have tried to lose weight before, started diets or exercise programs, purchased shakes, bars or other supplements and failed to achieve long lasting results, this challenge is for you.

At FitterFaster, we believe in life changing results.  We promise to help you to achieve your desired weight loss, get fitter, have more energy and to teach you how to keep doing this for the rest of you life.  Not just for a few weeks or a month or two

This is not a quick fix.   You will learn how to cook and prepare healthy meals and snacks and exactly what foods you should and shouldn’t eat on a regular basis.  

It doesn’t mean you can never have treats again, but you will see how to fit these foods and drinks into your daily plan and still see great results.  And I’ll be with you every step of the way to make sure this works for you

Why the Transform Together Project?

  • You want to feel energetic and healthy again
  • You’re an action taker and you’re going to do something about your current physical and mental state
  • You’re ready to have some ‘me’ time to get your mojo back for everyone else
  • You’re sick of how you look in the mirror and want to be happy when you do
  • You feel flat and tired most of the time and want to change that so you have more energy for all the things you and your family love to do
  • Your clothing size is starting to depress you.  You don’t need to keep putting weight on, I can teach you how to lose it and then stop putting it on for good
  • You have a birthday, holiday or other special occasion coming up and you want to look and feel fabulous for it
  • You suffer almost daily from headaches and you seem to catch every bug going around – it’s time to end that
  • You just want to feel proud of yourself again and find YOU

To see more before and afters and read what other FitterFaster have to say about my programs click here: http://fitterfaster.net.au/befores-and-afters/

This is what some participants had to say about our challenges

“Not only did I lose nearly 20kg , but I feel amazing. I sleep great, I’m full of energy and I’m happier and more confident in myself. And because of all this I can do my job well, like I have more patience with the kids as I’m not feeling crap and tired etc.”

“All my clothes are baggy now, down 2 sizes. I feel a million dollars and motivated for my next goals 🙂 and I have been educated to be able to make the right food choices. It’s a lifestyle change not a diet.”

“I have done a few programs with Jo at FitterFaster over the last six years. All have given good results with lots of kgs and cms lost, but I have found this latest program to be the best and most positive. Before I started at FitterFaster I had followed other programs, and I found that over time I failed to maintain my weight loss due to falling back into the regular bad eating habits once the program had finished and from there the motivation to continue with the training diminished. Jo’s programs have taught me that healthy food can be delicious and easy to prepare through the meal program and the Fitterfaster recipe book. My family also enjoyed the food and I found that being organised and knowing what was to be prepared ahead of time actually made for a more relaxed atmosphere at home and actually saved time! The training was enjoyable throughout the programs as Jo has added different training options and times (from when I previously attended) which suited me and my family better. I found that I enjoyed going to training when it was at a time that fitted into our family/work routine.”

“Everyone involved in the program was supportive. Jo was always prepared to answer any queries and armed us with all the information we required. I met new people and reconnected with people I hadn’t seen in a long time and received encouragement from a lot of Jo’s clients, some who I didn’t even know. The trainers, Leigh, Caitlin, Amanda, Trish and Jo, were very encouraging which was helpful in getting through the tough moments.
To anyone who has weight to lose, wants to improve their fitness and get off the merry-go-round of ‘dieting’ and bad eating habits, all with down to earth, honest, yet professional support and advice, I would say give FitterFaster and this challenge a go.”

You’ll have the support of your own team

This time we will be running the Challenge as a team event. You’ll be working in a 3-person team throughout the 6 week Challenge to achieve the biggest percentage weight loss and earn the most team points by following along with the challenge.  

Feedback from my last team challenge said that that working with others made their results so much better and easier to stick with.

You can find your own team members, or I can help to match up those that are unable to do so. For 6 weeks, you’ll be following the FitterFaster Nutrition Program, training regularly (minimum 3 times per week), undertaking physical and written challenges and all the time, earning points towards other prizes.

In our last Transform Together Challenge in mid 2017, participants collectively lost over 80kg. That’s why I’m modelling this challenge on that one

If you are training at another facility and wish to continue doing so, there is an option for you to join the ‘online’ part of this challenge as well. Keep reading.

I also have an option for those who do not wish to train at FitterFaster

IF you’ would prefer to continue training at your current facility (and it’s okay with them that you do our challenge) I am totally happy for you to do that.    Please contact me to get further details about that option before you sign up. Don’t worry, I won’t try to convince you to leave where you are now

In the past I have had many people like you join in with the nutrition and lifestyle changes in our challenges, while continuing to train where they currently are.  While of course I’d prefer you to train with us for more individual support and feedback, it’s okay if that’s not going to work for you

For those that wish to train at home, please also contact me prior to joining to get details about how that will work.

You can reach me by email at jo@fitterfaster.net.au or can text/phone me on  0429 612975

The reason why I insist on training (either with us, somewhere else or at home) as part of this program is because that is how you’ll get the best results.  So you can train with us (my preferred option so I can fully support you), you can continue at your current facility, or you can get my online training program to complete workouts at home.

So what do you get?

  • Unlimited training at FitterFaster – unless you choose to continue your current training regime (please contact me about that first). Our training program is guaranteed to get you results.   Without training, your transformation will not be complete. An effective training program will reshape your body and prevent that ‘skinny-fat’ look that you sometimes see in people that simply diet.
  • Menus and recipes – you’ll know exactly what to eat and when with my program.  And if you don’t like certain foods, simple – there are options to substitute and alternative recipes as well.
  • Easy and fast to prepare meals – who has time for hours in the kitchen?  Not me.  All of the meals and snack are not just delicious, but are super easy to prepare and don’t take much time either.
  • Daily emails and instructions – all of my challenge programs include support 7 days per week.  And as well as that, you’ll get daily emails that educate you so you know why you’re making the changes I’m asking you to make and so that you’ll be able to continue beyond the 6 week challenge.
  • Guaranteed results.  If you don’t see results, I will refund your money
  • Support and accountability – I know its easy to promise these, but we really do provide this at FitterFaster.  All of our coaches will individually help you at all training sessions and be able to answer your questions.  You can contact me almost 24/7 via text or email or can catch up with me at your training sessions.  And on top of that, because you’ll be part of a 3 person team, you’ll have each other to keep accountable to.  Accountability is what has stopped you from succeeding in the past.   You’ll love the way we do this at FitterFaster.
  • A chance to win prizes along the way and the grand prize at the end.  All prizes are awarded on effort – that’s where our points system comes in.  The prizes include ongoing training because we all know this is a journey that doesn’t have an end destination.  It is a journey that needs to continue forever because like a slippery upward track, it is ever so easy to slip backwards without support and. a long enough time to develop habits for life.

How much is the 6 week challenge?

The Transform Together Challenge is just $349 including 6 weeks unlimited training at FitterFaster.

For those training elsewhere, or would like the option to train at home, the cost is $179 (please contact me first for details)

For existing FitterFaster clients, the cost is just $59

Payment will be made after you register – so please wait for the thank you page to load

This is a brand new challenge with DAILY support, educational and accountability emails as well as a private Facebook group.  I’ve taken the best from all the challenges and programs I’ve previously run and made this one even more awesome. 

If you have any questions at all about this challenge, please contact me asap.  Registrations close strictly on September 2nd and I am unable to accept any late entries.

By reading this far, I know you’re a bit like me – you’re the sort of person who takes action.  Unfortunately you’ve missed this round of the TTP.

If you’d like me to let you know when the next challenge begins please follow this link to join my newsletter 


How To Habit Stack To Transform Your Fitness and Your Body

I have many, many articles and posts about how to get lean, get healthy, get fit and so on.

It’s not hard to have enough information about what to do.  In fact, you probably have plenty of information right now.

But, the hard part is actually putting it into place.

Anyone can write down great SMART goals, promise to start Monday, tell someone about it and then wait for the magic.

What?!?!  There’s no magic?

Sadly no 😬

It is easy to think that some people are just good at this and others, perhaps you, are not.

The problem is, that creating new habits can be very, very hard.  And I get that.  Making lasting changes to what you probably do every day is not easy for most people.

What usually happens when someone decides to lose some excess body fat or improve their health is that they decide to do the following (or similar);

  • exercise every day
  • get to bed earlier
  • get up earlier
  • pack your lunch
  • stop drinking crap
  • cook at home more
  • give up alcohol (yes the other drinking crap)
  • track your steps
  • get some sunlight
  • don’t snack
  • stop eating junk food
  • start eating 10 cups of vegetables per day
  • count calories
  • do some more exercise
  • sign up for some expensive program, supplements or meal replacements
  • decide you need to be hungry
  • etc

Depending on where you are exactly, some of the above may come easy to you, at least at first.

But for most, the list above is just totally overwhelming and even with best intentions and a buddy to do it with you, more often than not, it lasts 1-5 days at most and you give up again.

Changing your behaviours is not easy because lets face it.  Most of what you do every day is on auto pilot.

You aren’t even making conscious decisions about what you’re doing most of the time.  That’s why they’re called HABITS.  Because you just do them by habit.

If I haven’t said this at least 1000 times – the key to long term change is to change those habits.

You need to change what you’re doing on a regular basis, because what you’re currently doing is NOT WORKING FOR YOU

As humans, we love to stay still. We are programmed to keep doing what we are doing – its safety mechanism at its best.

 

If you try to change all of this at once, there is a very, very, very high chance of failure.  Even if you do manage to hang in there for a short time, most people who completely overhaul at once do not sustain it.  They simply fall back into their behaviours either one at a time or even all at once.  (commonly known as falling off the wagon)

What then is the solution?

Using the example above, you need to pick just one or two of those things to work on at once.  I’d suggest exercise because it has many other benefits as well.  And once you start to see changes from doing just that, it will motivate you to make more changes.

So no matter what, you’d commit to doing something active every day.

Why every day?  Because doing something at least daily is key to making it a new habit.  If you try to just do it 3 times per week, it won’t be ingrained as a habit.

 

You don’t need to do a mad crazy workout every day.  No, you’d decide on your frequency of workouts – say 3-5 times per week and on the other days you’ll walk, or play your sport, or do something really active with your kids.

Just commit to being active every single day.

Using another example such as pack your lunch.

This is not going to become a habit if you just decide to do it 2-3 days per week.  To really become a new behaviour (or habit) you need to do it daily.

Once you have that habit in place – which can take 1-4 weeks or more of DAILY practice, then you add another related habit.

It might be getting to bed earlier, drinking more water or not drinking your calories.

With just one thing to focus on, it  will be so much easier to make this a new thing you do.

To help make each habit a success, I like to practice what I call PUTTING SUCCESS IN MY WAY

This means that I think about what is going to perhaps prevent me from keeping my promise to myself to complete this habit every day.

I actually list them in my diary when I set new habit goals.

Example; something comes up with the kids, alarm doesn’t go off, appointments change, coaches cancel, bad weather (if its something I was doing outside) and so on.

Then next to each one, I write down how I can ensure this doesn’t happen, or what I’m going to do if it does.

Example: have a home workout ready that I can do anywhere, set 2 alarms or get someone else to wake me, home workouts, immediately book another session to replace the one I missed, go walking/running instead while I wait for kids ………

It’s a 3-5 step process:

  1. Set your main goal or goals and write down what steps or habits you need to put into place to make them happen. (that’s like the list above)
  2. Pick just 1 or 2 of those habits to work on.  Just them.  All you do is focus on them.  PUT SUCCESS IN YOUR WAY with just these 1-2 habits.
  3. Once that new habit is in place, add another.   This is called Habit Stacking

You will most likely find that if you follow this plan, you will achieve success.  It may not be really rapid, although you will be surprised how quickly you can achieve results when you keep moving forward like this instead of going 2 steps forward and 1 step backward all the time.

If however you are find this process isn’t enough, there are a further 2 steps you can follow.  I’ve written a separate article for these additional 2 steps because this article is getting rather long.

You can find the rest of the article here

 

 


Do You Know Enough To Get Results?

A super short post today;

I’m guessing you know at least a bit about healthy eating.  Sure, you may be confused at times – after all it seems in this industry, we contradict ourselves all the time.

Drink coffee – coffee is bad

Exercise hard – gentle exercise is better

Fat is bad – eat more fat

No wonder you’re confused.

My aim is not just to educate you be cutting thought the crap and keeping it simple, but to help you to put all of this into action.

THE COST OF INACTION

You’ve visited my blog for a reason.

Maybe you want to feel better, have more energy?

Maybe you want to get rid of some excess body fat?

Maybe you want to be fitter – just for your everyday, busy life. Or for some special goal you have in mind such as a fun run or obstacle course?

Maybe you have gut issues and are sick of feeling like crap?

The reason you landed here is because what you’re doing is not working!

Whatever your reasons, you’re not totally happy with what you’ve got going on.  You have. a vision for something better.

To get the most out of any health and fitness advice or program (not just mine) you have to take action.  You have to put into place what you learn.

How many programs have your followed?  Maybe purchased or joined?

How many of them have you taken action on?

I mentioned above that this would be a super short post. And it is.  I’m going to redirect you to some previous posts that already give you tips, tricks and strategies about what to do to improve your results.

What you need to do is read them and take action.

7 Steps To Great Results

Stuck for Results? 3 things you can do about it

3 Things you have to do today to get results

There you go.  You’re busy and so am I.  So saving time on repeating myself today, Click the links above and more importantly,………

MAKE SOME CHANGES

IF YOU’D LIKE TO SEE EXACTLY WHAT WE DO AT FITTERFASTER, COMPLETE YOUR DETAILS BELOW AND THEN CHECK YOUR INBOX FOR FURTHER INFORMATION


A Customised Plan For Perfect Results

A customised training and nutrition program is the holy grail to get results.

This statement is similar to many I read on the internet lately.  And it’s true, sort of.

For most people that are starting out or are fairly new (less than a couple of years) into their training and/or nutrition program, a fully customised program is really not needed.

Yep, you heard correctly.  And this especially applies to fat loss and improved general fitness and body shaping or toning as you may refer to it.

What is most important are what I refer to as THE BIG ROCKS.

The big rocks are:

  • Follow your training program regularly and consistently
  • Eat a healthy diet that is in line with your goals – whether that’s fat loss, improved performance, better health or muscle gain
  • Prioritise your sleep and recovery while keeping stress levels to a minimum
And that’s it.  Yep, there’s your customised program right there.  That’s as customised as you need to get

The things that have the least impact are the things I refer to as THE SMALL ROCKS and the list for these could be endless, but include:

  • Special supplements
  • Counting calories or grams of protein, carbs and/or fats
  • Special meal timing
  • A complicated, periodised, rotating training program

There is absolutely no need for any of the above until you have the BIG ROCKS in place and you’ve been consistently following them for at least 6-12 months or even longer.

“But I’m not making progress” is something I hear all the time especially from those that contact me initially for information.

And I can pretty much tell you that is because you’re not being consistent.

Yes, you may be training regularly, but are you still bingeing or partying on weekends?

Yes, you may be carefully measuring your food (not necessary for most by the way) but when was the last time you trained 4-5 times per week for more than one-two weeks in a row?

Yes, you may be hitting the pavement or gym consistently, but how’s your sleep quality?

Yes, you may have given up alcohol and rarely eat treats, but are you recovering properly?  Are your hormones out of whack?

A real fat loss plateau occurs when you are choosing the right foods in pretty much the correct quantities consistently over time – like for 6 weeks or even months, not just days.

When was the last time you went an entire fortnight without eating or drinking anything that you weren’t supposed to while you supposedly followed your program perfectly?

A real training plateau occurs when despite following your training program without skipping workouts for 6 weeks or even months, you find you’re not getting stronger, faster or are feeling and looking fitter

When was the last time you went 6 weeks without skipping a training session?

When did you last string together 6-12 weeks of consistent 3 plus times per week training?

Somewhere along the line you’re getting stuck.

Whether it’s due to your schedule mucking up your training consistency

Your lack of planning and preparation means making last minute meal choices

Maybe you don’t enjoy your training so you just don’t do it often enough

Maybe your meal plan is too complicated and its hard to follow while in the throws of a hectic schedule

Maybe you’ve committed to too much and you just can’t maintain it so then you give up

Maybe you just haven’t figured out the real reason you want to change, so any temptation that comes along (such as a night out with friends) finds you derailing in a bigger way than you planned

CONSISTENCY IS THE ABSOLUTE NUMBER ONE INDICATOR OF SUCCESS BAR NONE.

Without consistency you will not achieve great results.  Sure, if you have lots of weight to lose, just changing a few things here and there may produce some results, but for consistent results, you need to be consistent.

At FitterFaster, we use realistic training and nutrition programs that produce results with minimal time outlay.

Without having to commit to massive amounts of training time (although you do have to train regularly) you can attend our training sessions and use home workouts to fill the gaps meaning less time out from your family, less travel time to the gym and better results in less time.

My nutrition programs use real food. Yep, no expensive supplements, no special shakes, pills or bars.  You still get to eat with your family and meal prep is kept to a minimum meaning less time in the kitchen and less last minute poor food decisions.   Treats are factored in so you can still enjoy those pleasures but in a way that still keeps you on track for results.

Complete your details below to find out more about our trial package, JumpStart To A New You.

Results are guaranteed in less than 4 weeks with no long term commitments or crazy workout schedules and expensive food replacements.

 

 


Willpower. Needed or Not?

Wow, poor old Mr Willpower has a bad reputation

He’s renowned for not hanging around long, if at all and most people  claim not to know him very well at all

In fact, his cousin, Mr Habit gets all the fame and fortune these days.

And I agree.  You cannot rely on Willpower to be consistent with your body composition goals over the long haul.  Developing new habits is key to long term success.

However, willpower definitely plays a huge part, especially in the beginning.

When you first decide you’re going to make changes, whether that’s starting a totally new fitness regime or or overhauling something you’re already doing, you will need to rely on your willpower till your new habits start to develop.

But, there are steps you can take to help that willpower have more ‘power’ and to ensure that habits do start to take hold before Mr Willpower leaves the room.  Which happens to everyone no matter how ‘motivated’ other people may seem to you

MAKE A PLAN

This involves more than just a casual thought about what you might do.  Actually get out your calendar or diary and schedule your new workouts into the next couple of weeks.   Treat those workouts like any other appointment.  Make sure you’ve allowed ample time for travel, showering, picking up the kids or whatever else you’ll need to allow for to actually get that workout in.

An extra tip from me is to get your workout in early in the day.

First thing is the best even if you’re not a morning person.

And there is no excuse if you’re a single parent or your partner is not home to look after the kids. There are plenty of things you can do right in your own home without leaving anyone unattended. This is another excuse I hear all the time.

JUST TAKE ACTION

What the heck does that mean?  It means, just get up or just get changed and just start.

  •  If you’ve set your alarm, DO NOT HIT SNOOZE.  Just get up, put the clothes straight on that you got out ready the night before and head out the door.
  • If you’re training after school drop off, be in your clothes ready.  Do not go home first (unless that’s where you’re working out).
  • If you are going to workout after work or school, take the change of clothes with you and head straight to your workout venue.  Going home highly increases the chances of you finding a reason to not attend your scheduled training session.
  • Organise to meet a friend or even pick them up on the way.  Its ever so easy to make up excuses to yourself, but if you have to tell a friend as well, it lessens the likelihood of that excuse sounding so important.   Even better, if you’re attending a fitness facility like FitterFaster, make sure you’ve booked your session in.  Then you’ll have to tell me why you can’t make it as well.
If you can just use your willpower and determination for the first week or two, it really does get easier.

But only if you’re consistent and are self disciplined.

I know you can do this.  You can make changes and see the real you emerge.

The reality is that no one is motivated all the time.  Successful people know the secret is in creating habit and taking action.

You too can become one of those successful people that makes it look easy.

In as little as 2 weeks of effort, YOU can start to create habits that will allow you to get the body of your dreams.

Starting on April 16th, I’m running the 14 Day Fat Furnace program that includes all the step you need to be successful.  You only have to take action for 2 weeks to start seeing results.  And it gets easier and easier after that.

Check out all the details about Fat Furnace here