Categories
Exercise

Foam Rolling and Myofascial Release

Rolling Glutes

Ever suffer from tight muscles, dull achy pains in places of overuse, or just general stiffness in the morning? You are not alone! This is common for the majority of people regardless of our age. We are never generally taught to roll and stretch and if we are it’s only because we have learned it through a physical activity. Truth is not everyone is physically active but everyone should have information on how to treat their bodies.

The way you can loosen up tight muscles and get back to feeling young and spry is through foam rolling. I will bring this therapeutic exercise into perspective for you. This can be aimed at anyone. Whether you lift weights, run marathons, swim, do cross fit, do group fitness classes, or even just walk! Foam rolling is something you need to be doing. Read below to find out why.

Rolling upper back hitting – rhomboids and latissimus dorsi

Tissue adhesions what are they and why are they bad?

Commonly called trigger points, adhesions are a result of collagen binding between layers of muscle fascia. In an ideal muscle the attaching fibers slide past each other with ease as you move. When adhesions build up these fibers get sticky causing friction in the movement of your muscle fibers when they slide past each other. The fibers lose elasticity and form tight bands of tissue that can cause pain and tightness.

What causes tissue adhesions?

Long periods of inactivity. Sedentary type jobs. Overuse from repetitive motions (common with runners). Muscle injury, disease, inflammation, or trauma. 

Rolling Lateral Quad or Vastus laterallis

What exactly is foam rolling?

Foam rolling is a form of myofascial release that you can do on your own body. It works by massaging or releasing muscle and fascial tightness. The roller applies pressure, helping to break up ‘knots’ or ‘tissue adhesions’ that can form in your muscles and tissue. You can also use a tennis ball against a wall.

Ball against a wall with pressure
Sides of the lower back avoiding spine

What is Myofascia?

It is the thin layers that wrap first around every muscle fiber or cell. Then it wraps around bundles of muscle fibers. Then it wraps around the entire muscle body. The layers of fascia then attach to tendons and bones to help you move and mobilize. On its own myofascia is solid and non pliable which can limit your range of motion and cause tightness if not “released” or massaged regularly. 

Rolling just beside IT band

What is Myofascial release? 

It is the application of low-intensity forces to soft tissues over a long period of time to help relax a contracted muscle. Myofascial release via foam rolling can stretch and loosen your muscles. By applying this small force over muscles and connective tissue over time, blood is squeezed out and replaced by fresh blood. This is important because blood carries vital nutrients such as oxygen and glycogen. Myofascial release also helps separate sticky muscle fibers to re-establish the integrity of your tissue. Causing a smoother easier motion for your joints.

Rolling Latissimus Dorsi

Benefits:

1.Prevents injury as looser muscles move past each other with less friction. This makes movements smoother with less chance of pulling or tugging on tight muscles.

2.Helps recovery by again bringing blood flow and nutrients back to your muscles after being under tension. This also removes lactic acid reducing muscle soreness.

3.Helps break up scar tissue releasing trigger points and easing potential pain or discomfort.

4.Improves mobility and flexibility along with regular stretching can help lengthen your muscles.

5.Reduces tightness and increase joint range of motion.

6.Reduce pain and muscle soreness.

7.Helps you to manage stress and sleep better. Stress-related tight spots can lead to discomfort, which can impact on your sleep. Releasing or rolling after workouts can also cause a sense of relaxation in the body post workout which is good for your mental health as well.

8.Produce faster results as muscles and connective tissue are more healthy and less sore ultimately letting you train longer or more frequently while remaining injury free.

Rolling Hamstrings
Rolling Calves

Important to Note: 

You can also use a tennis ball against a wall which essentially does the same thing. Always stick to rolling your muscles rather than ligaments like your IT band or joints like your knees or elbows. You should skip your lower back for foam rolling but can use a tennis ball on the sides of your lower back avoiding the spine. For foam rolling stick to your glutes, quads, hamstrings, calves, traps, and lats. You can lightly roll the meat of your shoulders, but should avoid the actual joint. Same with your arms and elbows.

Rolling the lower traps against wall

Now get rollin!!

Frecklefit

Categories
Recipes

Black Bean Quinoa Salad

It’s meatless Monday!! I started doing meatless Monday about a year ago as a way to save money, and a way to experiment with more plant based proteins. Here is a dish that is filled with super foods! Also a great vegetarian dish that has a significant amount of protein in it. If you scrap the cheese it can be vegan as well.

I really like this idea for bringing to a potluck at work or for a nice summer picnic.

I’ve been cooking a lot with quinoa lately and I find it’s so versatile as it always ends up being just the perfect texture. I’ve never had it go mushy and even if it’s a little overcooked it gets a nice crunch to it. You really can’t screw it up. Plus it’s great warm or cold!

This dish is very easy to make and good for beginner chefs or people who don’t feel totally comfortable in the kitchen. Now it doesn’t have to be an entire meal, it can go great as a healthy side of grains rather than plain old rice or potatoes.

Superfoods included in this dish include: Quinoa, black beans and cayenne.

Serves 4 as a meal. Serves about 8 as a side.

Cals per serving if eating as a meal 342

Carbs 57g

Fat 7g

Protein 16g

1 cup uncooked quinoa

1 tsp oxo chicken broth powder

1 tsp extra virgin olive oil

1 small onion diced

3 cloves garlic minced

1 can (540mls) black beans drained and rinsed

1 cup frozen corn thawed

1 ½ oz crumbly cheese (feta or goat cheese)

1 salt

1 tsp cumin

½ tsp cayenne pepper

Cook quinoa in 1 ½ cups water and oxo powder. Meanwhile, brown onion and garlic in olive oil in a pan. Once softened add drained black beans and corn. Toss this all with salt. Let quinoa and black bean mixture cool. Mix all together with cumin, cayenne, and cheese. Let marinate in the fridge for an hour.

Enjoy!!

Categories
Recipes

Dijon Chicken Quinoa Skillet

This is one of the very first recipes I ever had in my little cook book. I started this little cook book about six years ago. I filled it with recipes I didn’t want to forget or wanted to make again. It has escalated since then and has inspired me to write out a hand written cook book for my mom for Christmas a couple years ago.

It has also inspired me to work on my own official cook book! It is in the making and I know will take some time because well, all good things take time.

So in a way I feel as though this recipe has inspired a lot! I’ve cook it for my in-laws and they loved it. Even my boyfriends little nephew loved it and he didn’t even like quinoa before so I was flattered that he enjoyed it.

Great and easy meal to make for a crowd or just to have for family dinner. Also works great as leftovers. It has a ton of protein in it and great micronutrients as well.

Serves 4

Cals per serving 406

Carbs 44g

Fat 8g

Protein 42g

16 ounces of raw chicken breast (2 breasts)

1 cup quinoa

5 cups spinach

3 tbsp dijon mustard

2 tbsp maple syrup or honey

1 tbsp lemon juice

1 tbsp Extra virgin olive oil

Salt and Pepper

Dice chicken and brown in a large skillet pan with a drizzle of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle in quinoa and add 1 and ½ cups water mixing well. Turn heat up and cover bringing to a boil. Then simmer until quinoa cooked. While cooking mix mustard, syrup, lemon juice, and oil together. Add spinach and let wilt. Pour dressing in, mix, and serve.

Optional: add dried cranberries and or sunflower seeds on top!

Categories
Recipes

Coconut Crusted Chicken Fingers

Calling all coconut lovers!

These little fingers are packed with a serious amount of protein… If your looking for extra protein kicks in your day definitely prep some of these and enjoy as a little snack. They can be transportable. They can also be made as a great fun dinner.

These chicken fingers pair well with BBQ sauce as a dip. Whatever your favourite BBQ sauce may be! Even a good homemade BBQ sauce would do.

Did I mention they are also low carb? Perfect for a keto diet or carb cycling. They could satisfy any craving. They come out super crispy with a little bit of sweet from the coconut.

They are ALSO very easy to make so definitely give these chicken fingers a try!

Makes 10 fingers

Cals per one chicken finger 108

Carbs 3g

Fat 4g

Protein 17g

16 ounces of raw chicken

⅓ cup coconut flour

¾ cup unsweetened coconut flakes

2 medium sized eggs

2 tsp pink Himalayan salt

Cut chicken breasts into 10 long strips. Place flour in a dish with salt and mix. Whisk eggs in a dish. Then place coconut in another dish. Dredge each strip in flour. Then dredge in egg. Then coat with coconut. Place on baking sheet and bake @400 for fifteen minutes then flip and bake for another ten. Enjoy!

Categories
Recipes

Gluten and Dairy Free Chicken Alfredo

There has recently been a new movement as people are starting to discover a lot of their ailments and physical bodily symptoms are caused from food intolerances. In the past people haven’t jumped straight to what their eating but straight to how can I fix this.

Last January I did a elimination diet as I had developed pretty severe dishydrotic eczema. I always had eczema somewhat but it had just gotten so bad and I had done everything to try and get rid of it topically. So I decided to turn to my diet.

I got a whole slew of things from my diet which I will blog more on this process. But part of these things I had to cut were gluten and dairy. Very hard thing to do both at the same time… or so I thought. Once I got into it it wasn’t so bad and the only times it became hard were social outings.

I did a lot of food experimentation in order to find things that I enjoyed. It was a time in my life that I really got to get creative and I embraced the challenge. One meal that I always really enjoyed that I was craving was chicken Alfredo. So sure enough I found a way to create with WITHOUT gluten AND without dairy and it turned out spectacular!

I will still turn to this recipe even though I’ve introduced gluten and dairy back in because it was THAT good. I’d love to share the recipe here with you all. Hope you enjoy!

Serves 2

Cals per serving 497

Carbs 52g

Fat 20g

Protein 42g

½ baked spaghetti squash

2 oz dry brown rice pasta

8 oz raw chicken breast

Garlic powder

Onion powder 

Paprika

Thyme

2-3 cups chopped spinach

Fresh parsley for on top

For the Sauce:

8 oz full fat coconut milk

1 tbsp cornstarch 

½ cup water

2 tsp garlic powder

2 tsp dried parsley

1 tsp salt

(To bake spaghetti squash (can be done ahead of time): Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut ends off spaghetti squash and place so flat and steady on cutting board. Cut squash down the middle. Scoop out seeds and “guts”. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place face down on cookie sheet with parchment paper. Bake for 30 minutes. Let cool once finished then scoop out insides. Use only half for this recipe. Refrigerate other half, good for up to a week in the fridge.)

The Dish:

Cook pasta in heavily salted boiling water until desired texture achieved. Rinse well. Toss cooked noodles and half the spaghetti squash in a baking dish.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Dice up chicken and brown in a pan with a little oil salt and pepper. Season with garlic powder, paprika, onion powder, parsley, and thyme. Once chicken is cooked through, throw into pasta along with chopped spinach and toss until spinach starts to wilt.

For the sauce:

Heat coconut milk slowly over medium low heat. Once it starts to bubble turn heat up. Whisk water and cornstarch together and stir into coconut milk, whisking until it starts to thicken. Add seasonings and stir well. Take off heat and let sit a little while longer to thicken even more.

Stir sauce into casserole dish mixing everything together well. Throw dish into preheated oven for about ten minutes until warmed through and slightly browned on top.

Top with fresh parsley, salt, and pepper!

Dig in!