Three Simple Stretches to Relieve Neck Pain

 Three Simple Stretches to Reduce Neck Pain

 

Like most common chronic pains, a muscular imbalance somewhere in the body is or was the root cause of the pain or discomfort you are feeling. As you have probably heard, low back and knee pain are usually the most common pains people experience through day-to-day life, but neck pain is a very close runner-up on the percentage of the population who lives life with a stiff and painful neck.

The Science

Almost everyone has experienced some sort of neck tightness or pain in their life, but what is it caused from? As we are evolving or not… evolving, the average persons posture is taking a beating due to a large percentage of the population living a sedentary lifestyle, and a small percentage of the population not moving correctly. Static posture is the way we stand and hold ourselves when not in motion. This is the main contributor to the pains we feel in our muscles and joints, without even doing vigorous activity!

With that being said, the most common problems when it comes to a painful neck, are the rounding of your shoulders. If you live everyday hunched over at your desk and car for hours at a time, you most likely have some rounding going on, called internal rotation. Internal rotation is normally caused by tightness in the anterior (front side) of the body, and weakness of the back side. Everybody’s root cause may be different, for example; client A has rounded shoulders due to an after effect of weak Glutes, versus client B has rounded shoulders due to weakness in the upper back/rhomboids. Note: these are just examples.

What You Need To Do

Along with the stretches I am about to show you, you also need to strength the posterior chain. See a specialist to determine the root cause of your pain, and allow him/her to correct it. You’re most important area’s to stretch is going to be your Pecs (Chest muscles) and Anterior Deltoid (Front of the shoulder), along with the muscles surrounding these areas.

Until you see a specialist to determine what the root cause of your pain is, focus on strengthening your Rhomboids, Rear Deltoids, Lats, and the Posterior Chain of your lower body.

1. Forearm/Chest Wall Stretch

Grab onto the side of a hallway opening or anything similar, about shoulder height. Fully extend your elbow and slowly rotate away from your palm, you should feel a stretch down the front shoulder, biceps, and forearm. Potentially in the side of your neck as well.

 

2. Scalene’s

Scalene’s run from your jaw line, down towards your collar bones. Place 3 or 4 fingers right below the collar bone, rotate your head and look up in the opposite direction. If you are really tight here, you may even feel your jaw get pulled down, forcing your mouth to open a little bit.

 

3. Levator Scapulae

Arguably the spot most people complain about with neck pain, is the Levator Scapulae. Running down the back of your skull, and along each of your shoulder blades, this muscle is actually commonly lengthened from the tightness in the front side of your upper body. Depending on your situation, stretching this muscle can either make a permanent difference in pain, or only relieve it for a short amount of time before the ache starts coming back. Most people will benefit from stretching this muscle, so thats why it is on the list.

In Summary

Here are the top three stretches you should be doing daily to reduce neck pain. Hold each stretch anywhere from 2 minutes, or until you feel an actual change has occurred (reduced pain, or tension). Remember, these are just stretches and will most likely not get rid of your painful neck in most cases, you will need to compliment these stretches with corrective exercises to balance yourself back out. As stated in the beginning of this article, strengthen the posterior side of your body, and pay attention to static posture throughout the day.

Feel free to contact Innovative Health and Fitness with any questions regarding further information on fixing your pain, corrective exercise, and personal training! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Your Group Class is Doing More Harm, Than Good

 

Group classes can be fun, motivating, and easier to commit to than a routine designed specifically for you, but there are many reasons why they can actually have a negative impact on your long-term results. Not only physically, most classes can further worsen joint/muscular pain, worsen body mechanics, and even cause the client to develop an injury.

Keep in mind, this article is not intended to offend anyone, or instructor, we are just here to share information that may help clients realize the negative impact classes may be having on them.

Exercise is possibly the best thing someone can do for their body and mind, but exercise not specifically individualized can cause a list of problems for gym goers.

We won’t bore you to death with the science of the human body, but we will explain what you need to know before diving into reasons why group classes can being doing more harm, than good. The nervous system in the human body is very adaptive to what you do throughout the day, this means muscles and movement patterns will change based on the repetitive activities you do throughout the day, whether it be a sedentary lifestyle or an active one. Muscles will shorten and get tight if we stay stationary for long periods time, and muscles will tighten or lengthen depending on what type of exercise we do. That being said, exercise is a very high stimuli for the human body and nervous system, causing the body to respond quickly to repetitive exercise routines, so the wrong routine, can defiantly cause you some issues.

Like I said, most group classes can be great for people who have years of training experience, and little to no muscular imbalances. For the average person, I would not recommend the average group class, boot camp, or High Intensity Interval class. Given the information stated above, exercise can have a great impact on how the body develops its movement patterns, and without a routine specifically for you, you can develop low back pain, knee pain, shoulder pain, and an un-attractive physique.

There are different “phases” of exercise that someone should go through in order to be ready to take one of these group classes, assuring that they are ready for high intensity, and high impact workouts. Just because a workout feels challenging, doesn’t mean its good for you. A lot of these classes create workouts based on a variety of exercises that make you jump around, keep your heart up, and some strength training, without form correction.

This is where the main issue comes into play, without form correction, and proper progression leading up to these physically demanding exercises, your body will adapt in a negative way creating faulty movement patterns, and unnecessary stress on the joints, leading to a challenging future of reversing, and correcting these movement issues.

I recommend, investing in a Personal Trainer that can progress you properly by teaching you proper movement mechanics, correcting muscular imbalances, and education on the human body. Without proper progression, these classes will not work as well for you. Once you have gone through individualized training and can perform advanced exercises (plyometrics, and barbell movements) it may be a good time to start in-corporating group classes into your routine.

Keep in mind, classes claiming to burn calories for 36 hours the class is over, or making everyone keep their heart rate very close to their max HR for the majority of the class, are most likely not good for the average individual who has taken years off of the gym. In order to burn calories outside of activity, you need to build muscle mass, and eat the correct amount of calories/macronutrients to ensure to a fast and healthy metabolism.

Once you have progressed to advanced exercises, it may be time to start introducing group classes, but definitely not necessary for results.

Contact Us Today for some more information regarding personal training, corrective exercise, nutrition, and anything fitness!

 

5 Truth’s About Gaining Muscle

 

Gaining muscle is the most challenging fitness goal there is, but a lot of people assume that it’s actually quite simple. If you lift weights, you just build muscle right? Obviously that has a lot to do with it, but there is much more to it than you’d think. Whether your goal is strictly weight loss, building muscle, or both, you should give this a read.

I like to relate building muscle to building a brick house; very time consuming, and the only way to build it is brick by brick. Whether your goal is to look like a house, or just to get some nice “toned” muscles, it’s still the same process, just on different levels.

You may want to look like someone in the fitness industry who has a great physique, and envy why you can’t have the physique they have, but the truth is, you can never have the same body as them. We are all born with different muscle insertions, origins, shapes, and different genetics in general. You’re body may not be built to look like a huge bodybuilder, and if that is your goal, unfortunately you may have a hard time getting to that point. Same goes for someone who wants to look like a runner, but does not have the genetics to run long distances efficiently.

The first step to building muscle, whether the goal is to get ripped out of your mind, or just look in shape, is to accept the fact that this is your body, you were given a certain make-up of genetics that determine how you’re body will shape. You also need to accept the amount of years it takes to achieve a high level of muscle mass, fast metabolism, and strength that most the people you look up to currently have. Without acceptance, you will not be able to commit to lifting weights, due to the frustration of never being where you want to be.

The second step is to realize how many years it actually takes to build a great physique. If you’re not in the small top 5% of the world that has been blessed with genetics to maintain a sculpted physique year around, you will have to accept that face that its going to be a journey, and you should enjoy this journey. You will gain more knowledge about the human body than you can ever be taught in school, while going through the process of building muscle.

Now that we have your mental state in a better place, let’s get into some actual facts about what it takes to build muscle. Again, I’m not targeting just people who want to gain a lot of muscle and be a gym rat, I’m also targeting average people who just want to have a nice physique and stay in shape.

1. You need to be in a caloric surplus: When it comes to building muscle, you need to be eating more calories than it takes to maintain your weight. The amount over your maintenance number of calories can vary depending on age, years of training, and metabolic health issues. This can vary anywhere from as little as 250cal surplus, up to 1,000 calorie surplus. If you need help setting your calories up, feel free to contact us at the form below. This is the biggest contributor to muscle gain, you cannot lose weight and gain muscle at the same time (with the exception of a brand new gym-goer- 0-1 years experience)

2. Progressive Overload: A very under-used and under-valued term. Progressive Overload means to add weight, intensity, time under-tension, reps, sets, or frequency over time, throughout your years of training. In shorter terms, you need to add more and more volume as you get more advanced and experienced with your workouts. Example: If I am still doing barbell squats with 185lbs for 3 sets of 10 reps for 2 years, I have not shown progressive overload in my workouts. This does not only mean to add weight, you can add intensity in other ways such as changing the amount of reps your doing from high to low, doing slow reps, pause reps, more exercises, better lifting mechanics/technique, and many other ways that contribute to more total volume during your workouts. Another example would be that every back workout you do for 3 years straight is a total of 100 reps per week. 100 reps may have been enough for the first year, but not in your second or third year to continue progress. You need more and more time in the gym the more advanced you get.

3. Correct amount of macronutrients: This ties into the calorie subject, you need the correct amount of protein, fats, and most importantly, carbohydrates. Yeah, you heard me, CARBS. I won’t go into full detail, but you need carbohydrates to give your muscles sufficient energy to keep going muscle and strength during your workouts. Without enough carbs, you will never have the ability to gain significant amounts of muscle to help you get the physique you want, the amount of carbs needed varies depending on the client. Again, if you need help, contact us.

4. Learning Barbell Movements: I’m not saying you have to become some strong powerlifter. Barbell movements are the best strength building exercises you can do in the gym, and the best bang for your buck. The majority of your workouts should actually revolve around 4 barbell movements, 1) Barbell Squat 2) Deadlift 3) Bench Press 4) Overhead Barbell Press. Followed by some accessory work of course. The reason being is that all these movements demonstrate the basic movements we as humans are suppose to be able to naturally, literally we are born with the ability to do these movements. Lift something up, go to the bathroom, and push something over our heads. If you do not have the functionality to do these four exercises, please get someone to correct you, and work your way up to being able to do them.

5. Patience: Besides being in a caloric surplus, this is the most important part to building your new body. Understand that the people you look up to in the fitness industry, most likely have 10-20 years of weight training under their belt, to look the way they do. And if they don’t… they’re not telling you about their help coming from some non-over the counter drugs… if ya know what I’m saying. I mean it when I say brick by brick, Achieving a great body requires years of dedication to eating right, lifting correctly, and intelligently, as well as learning from your mistakes in the gym. You’re not going to get into great shape in a few months. Change your lifestyle, make it your daily routine, and you will see yourself evolve into a body that you never imagined possible.

 

Stay patient, hungry, and innovative.

 

 

 

 

Diets don’t work, DO THIS instead.

 

In today’s fitness industry, there are thousands of different types of workouts, diet plans, meal plans, and methods of nutrition thrown at you in every direction. It’s nearly impossible to dig through the pile of misleading diet ads, claiming they are the next big thing, when all we really want is the correct way to eat, so we can get the body we desire.

Innovative Health and Fitness is here to clear the air, and shine a new light on nutrition. We don’t preach or push certain diets or fads on our clients, we speak the truth, backed up by science. We believe in a flexible way of eating, not diets. Diets are short term solutions that lead to metabolic damage, and do not sustain long term results.

Let’s introduce you to tracking your calories and macronutrients. There is only one scientifically proven way to lose weight, and that is consuming less calories than you are burning throughout each day. Whatever diet has you on a non-individualized meal plan, is lying to you and ruining your metabolism. “Dieting” needs to be very individualized and specific to each individual, as many people have different metabolisms, lifestyles, and health issues that require different amounts of calories and macro’s.

What is a calorie? A calorie is the amount of energy found within the food you are consuming.

What is a macronutrient? A “macro” is the nutrients that make up calories, proteins, fats, and carbs.

1gram of protein = 4 calories

1gram of carbohydrates = 4 calories

1g of fat = 9 calories

With that information I just provided you, you will be able to achieve any goal you desire, and change your body composition into something you have always dreamed of. Whether the goal is to lose body fat, gain muscle, or maintain your current physique, you can achieve this without going on a “diet”, by just restricting calories, maintain calories, or adding more calories to your daily intake.

Here’s what I want you to do, I want you to download a free app called MyFitnessPal. MyFitnessPal will set up your calories based on your age, activity level, and goals. Ditch your old habits of going on a diet for the summer, losing a lot of weight fast, and gaining it all back by the time the New Year hits. This summer, do it right. Maintain your health and physique year round, and improve on it each year.

Track your weight weekly (if this doesn’t bother you, of course), and decrease, increase, or keep calories the same depending on what your weight is doing.

I can’t promise you that the app will give you the most accurate form of calories, as it is a computer, and does not know your actual metabolic rate. If you need help, don’t hesitate to reach out to Jake via the contact form below, and he will set up your calories for you. 

Get off the diet, change your life, and be flexible with what you eat!

 

 

 

 

Personal Training at Your Door Step

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to have a Personal Trainer? Better yet, how about a trainer that will bring the workout to you?

If you have a full time job, have kids to take care of, or have a busy lifestyle in general, finding time for the gym isn’t a very appealing thought. The 15 minute car ride to the gym, 10 minutes to change, 10 minute warm up, 60 minute workout, and 10 minute cool down, all sound impossible to fit into your schedule.

When you work with Jake from Innovative Health and Fitness, you will not only get to throw away the thought of spending three + hours at the gym, you will get a great workout in the convenience of your own home. Jake specialized in Corrective Exercise, which means we can correct any muscular imbalances you may have that can be causing you pain, all while working towards your goal of losing weight or building muscle.

Get rid of low back pain, knee pain, or shoulder pain, all while working towards your fitness goals before summer starts and the vacations begin!

We are offering a limited time offer for this May, 4 sessions for $99Don’t miss out on this great deal, and definitely don’t wait any longer to get that summer body back.

GET STARTED TODAY

Your Job is Causing You Pain… Literally.

 

 

Did you know your daily routine is the cause of the pain you may be experiencing? Yes, every step you take and every move you make is all leading up to an injury waiting to happen.

Our bodies were designed a specific way in order to keep proper functionality of joints and muscle activation, today’s society has been slowly reversing the functionality of our bodies for decades. As technology is growing quickly and the demand for more desk jobs and hours of sitting in the classroom increases, our bodies are taking a hit.

The human body is a very adaptive creature. It has abilities to change the alignment of bones and joints, as well as changing the length of muscles. This all happens because of the way we move and sit throughout our day. The body will adapt to the most frequent movement patterns and positions that we create throughout our day. I bet you can guess what the human body is turning into as we progress as a society. Shoulders rounded forward, head posture pushed forward, spine curved, belly out, pelvis rotated, knees and feet caved in. These are the positions that we create for ourselves through years of poor movement and long periods of sitting.

Most people blame their old age, or those darn four years of lifting heavy during high school football. Although those two might be contributing factors to your low back or knee pain, but there is a much more to story than just that.

At a young age, we are put into a desk for school, college, and most of the careers offered today. Since we are exposed to poor positions and bad movement patterns at a young age, it is easy to understand why A LOT of people are experiencing similar pains in certain areas of the body. The common denominator in our society is the fact that we all sit for long periods of time. Being in a seated position for hours will re-shape our postures and will have a roll-over into how we move. Not only that, we also lose the ability to fire essential muscle groups that need to stay active in oder to keep tension off joints and tendons.

I could just say, “stand more” and leave it at that. But in most cases that will not be enough. Unfortunately, most people are to far gone for that to work. After years of movement issues, the nervous system has years to reverse and the body needs to re-learn proper posture and correct movement patterns.

If you are someone who experiences low back pain, knee pain, shoulder pain, or muscle aches… it’s not an easy fix. There’s a very high chance that you will need a professional to help you get your body moving right again and correct muscular imbalances you have. In the mean time, try including these tips in your daily routine to stop the pain:

  1. Stand up and walk around for 1 minute for every hour of sitting.
  2. Stretch 3x per day for 10 minutes each time. (Morning, Afternoon, and Evening)
  3. Invest in a stand up desk.
  4. Start foam rolling.
  5. Exercise more- focusing on posterior chain (backside of body)
  6. Most importantly- BE AWARE OF YOUR POSTURE AND HOW YOU’RE MOVING.