Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Fight the Pain

I'm not a wuss. Sometimes I just hurt. Running on hard pavement, weight lifting, yoga practicing, yard-tending, etc. etc. etc... causes aches and pains all over. "Then stop!" says my insightful mother. My vigor for life and adventure laughs in the faces of such Debby Doubters!
Knee surgeries, meniscus tears, ankle sprains, wrist hairline fracture, pulled/ knotty muscles, plantar fasciites, toe blisters, and lower back pain. Yep, that's a pretty good start to what I've dealt with in the past 10 years and chances are, your list looks like mine (or longer!) So what do YOU do about it? Ibuprofen, acetaminophen, hydrocodone, percoset, naproxen, aspirin? Or are you among the small yet growing group of individuals purging the pills for more natural forms of pain/inflammation relief? I've recently been informed of one particular nutritional supplement "prescribed" to athletes as well as average Joe's like us. Read on...
DLPA "nonessential micro nutrient" aka DL- phenylalanine
According to the website for Supplement Data, DLPA "appears to help increase and prolong the body's natural ability to kill pain because it produces and activates hormones called endorphins, which have almost "morphine-like" effect." That makes sense, right? DLPA is recommended for long term use (unlike most OTC pain-relievers) because it does not affect our body's main functioning mechanisms. In fact, it can become more effective over time. Yep, that's what several sources claimed. So instead of having to up your dose of ibuprofen in order to feel better, keep taking the same amount of DLPA and you're good to go. Want some other good news? DLPA elevates your mood due to the types of amino acids delivered to the nervous system. Amino acids, L-Tyrosine and L-Phenylalanine are involved in conversions to positive mood, libido, and stress relief. Imagine: Less pain, happier thoughts. Score.
According the the sources I found, no real drug interactions exist. However, please consult your physician before beginning any fitness or health regimen. Supplementation data gets updated by the minute, so keep him informed so that he may do the same for you.
THE BIG CHALLENGE: Here's what I'm thinking: Beginning July 1, I'm going to kick the OTC pain relievers and begin my DLPA experiment. I'll report back weekly of my findings. In order to keep you readers abreast of my current aches, I'll provide info below with a pain rating (1-10). Stay tuned!
Lower back ache, R & L sides (3)
Upper central glute pain, L side (2 when resting, 5 when running)
Central trap/ rhomboid pain, R side (3)


Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Armpit Flab

Yep, I said it. And we're going to talk about it. (Well, actually, I'm going to talk and you're going to listen... or read. My idea of a perfect relationship!)
Got that uber-cute strapless summer dress in mind? That one hanging in your closet, mocking you? No more cardigans and cover ups, ladies, I have the perfect moves to get rid of that unsightly chub.

1. Prone Pec Fly
- Begin by lying on your back (prone) on a flat bench w/ a barbell in each hand. Start out with lighter dumbbells so you can get the form down.
- Extend arms out to each side, bend elbows slightly in order to take pressure off the wrists. (see photo)
- Bring arms up and together to meet above your chest. Go slowly in order to control movement and stability. Try 10 reps, rest, and continue with 3 sets.
- Want to kick it up a notch? Try this flab- blaster on a stability ball rather than a bench. Instant core- action!

2. Single Arm Dumbbell Row
- Start with a fitness bench and a dumbbell. Place left hand on bench and dumbbell in your right. Hinge at your hips and face your body down looking toward the bench below you. Keep a slight arch in your back by drawing your core in tightly.
- Begin with the dumbbell extended straight down, right arm straight. Bring it up by bending your elbow straight up towards the ceiling. Make sure to keep it tracking at your side rather than out like a chicken wing.
- Do 10 reps, then switch to the other side for 10 reps. Alternate for a total of 3 sets.
- Reps should keep a tempo of 2 seconds up, hold for 2 seconds, then 2 seconds down. (2-2-2)

3. Narrow Push Up (aka Triceps or Military Push up)
- Let's get back to the basics, shall we?
- Remember to keep your hips at the same height as your shoulders. No slopping lower back, ouch!
- Instead of placing your hands out from your shoulders, place them just under your shoulders. When you lower yourself down, keep your elbows in tight by your sides.
- Try 10 reps. If you're having trouble keeping your hips up, drop from your toes down to your knees. I'd rather have you complete more reps on your knees with proper form than less reps on your toes with crappy form. Agree? (just nod your head, yes)

* One small note: While doing repetitive exercise in order to combat "strapless dress armpit flab" please consider the fit of this specific dress. Are the "girls" a bit too snug? Did you wear this dress a few years ago, before putting on a few lbs or changing up a workout routine? We all carry weight and muscle differently, so keep in mind the option of shopping for a new dress or getting in touch with a good seamstress.