Archive | May, 2012

An Indirect Path To A Smaller Bum!

21 May

By Jenny Burrell BSc (Hons), Founder of Burrell Education, Specialist For Pregnancy and Post Natal Fitness & Therapy Education, London, UK. 

www.burrelleducation.com

I’ve just spent 2 days teaching my Pregnancy and Post Natal Massage course at NLSSM and it proved to be a timely intervention.   It is without a doubt, extremely high on the list of my favourite things to do IN THE WHOLE WORLD!  No kidding.  You see, there was not a single person in that room (12 amazing women – below) who didn’t instinctively know that, to truly walk the path of  ‘showing up’ for your own life you’ve got to do AN INSIDE OUT JOB not visa versa! And that’s OK.

You see, I work mostly with fitness people and in my younger days, I too did my part to fortify the myth that looking good on the outside was a key to happiness.  Oh the folly of youth! I now consider this to be high class BS if your internal landscape looks like a bombsite, literally or spiritually.  Without a doubt, spending time in this awesome environment, got me ‘plugged back in’  to some key fundamentals of our human journey and the guiding principle that cultivating an awesome heart/head-space and a compassionate outlook for others and yourself is KING because it is actually a high self-regard that means you treat yourself well, slay your addiction and personality monsters (food, booze, co-dependence etc) and generally do no harm to others.  A high self- regard means that you instinctively steer clear of people, places and things that don’t keep you ‘in the light’.  A high self-regard means you can smell a rat at a hundred paces and head for the hills 🙂

If you’re not familiar with how much of this type of educatin is delivered, here’s a snapshot…..

  • During practically all of your education (in some cases, over the course of years) and on CPD’s you spend a lot of time undressed and physically exposed!
  • You make friends with a complete stranger, undress infront of them and the rest of the room without fear of judgement and allow them to get skin-to-skin with you.
  • You allow a perfect stranger to touch you intimatelyand to perform an  exchange of energy with you.
  • You allow someone you’ve never met before to to help you, to heal you, to perform an act caring and compassion for you and most of all, you instantly TRUST this complete stranger to do you no harm.

It’s only in this style of hands-on education that I ever truly see egalitarian interaction.  Everyone brings their take on the situation to the table and we all openly learn from and observe each other working, we’re happy to receive praise for great work and equally open to have someone guide us to a better solution.  In this environment,  interaction occurs without the GAME-FACE because we know that our bodies can’t lie to anyone, and what the ‘client and the therapist’ both feel as the treatment progresses is THE SIMPLE TRUTH.  So people get real, say real stuff, share rarely-voiced thoughts, ask questions easily and are happy when the answer is a shrug of the shoulders or some other ineffable or simply accept that ‘feeling a shift in energy or awareness’ IS the answer.  Love it!  But the hugest bonus is when the treatment is finished, your partner is up and dressed and you look each other in the eyes with gratitude and sincerity and you know that you JUST GOT RECONNECTED TO ANOTHER HUMAN SOUL AND TO THE BEST VERSION OF YOURSELF !  And isn’t that actually what we came here for?

Passionate About Pregnancy & Post Natal Health & Fitness Education FOREVER! 

Connect With Me on FACEBOOK and Twitter

www.burrelleducation.com

Advertisements

How ‘Good Fats’ Aid Fat Loss For The Post Natal Client

19 May

By Jenny Burrell BSc (Hons), Founder of Burrell Education, Specialist For Pregnancy and Post Natal Fitness& Therapy Education, London, UK. 

www.burrelleducation.com


Ironically, after years of demonising FAT in general, the diet, health, fitness and food industry is having to re-communicate to the general public that not ALL fat is bad for us and indeed some fats are not only vital to optimum health but also aid fat loss.  One of the hottest Essential Fatty Acids (good stuff)  for female health and fat loss is Gamma Linolenic Acid (GLA).

Along with a ‘considered’ diet and daily exercise at an optimum intensity to effect the utilization of fat as energy, GLA supplementation has shown to be a highly effective component of fat loss programmes alongside its already well know effect on easing many of the negative symptoms associated with the female menstrual cycle such as breast tenderness, moodiness, depression, irritability and swelling and bloating from fluid retention.  All in all, GLA has a valuable role to play in times of ‘endocrine turbulence’ such as the early Post Natal period and when women are seeking to lose ‘baby fat’.

Why Does GLA Work?

  • In textbook terms, GLA can be synthesized from Linoleic acid, which is found in certain oils, grains, and seeds. But due to a number of common dietary and lifestyle factors in today’s society, most of our bodies don’t make that conversion.
  • The main metabolic roadblocks are trans fats (man-made fats found in crisps, biscuits, cakes, processed foods), sugar, smoking, alcohol, aging, and illnesses such as diabetes.
  • All of these factors affect the body’s ability to convert Linoleic acid into GLA and efficiently burn fat.
  • GLA has a key role in activating under-active fat in overweight people known as brown adipose tissue (BAT) to burn calories.
  • GLA is found (in the largest quantities) naturally in seed oils like Starflower oil (20-24% GLA) and Evening Primrose oil (18-20%).
  • Supplementing with either of these oils will assist the mechanism that will allow the body to get down to the business of burning excess fat.
  • Simply put, GLA has a key role in activating under-active fat burn calories.
  • Many researchers now believe that many overweight people are actually metabolically impaired when it comes to their ability to use energy from their fat stores.  Of course, the other modern factors such as a lack of exercise, a toxic environment, consumption of toxic processed foods etc., etc., just doesn’t help either!

A diet that includes supplementation with a high quality multivitamin, minerals and EFA’s (Evening Primrose Oil or Starflower Oil included) to ensure optimum nutrition is obtained daily is a great place to start for anyone seeking to embark upon a healthy lifestyle and fat loss . In my experience, Post Natal clients who commence and stick to an optimum supplementation programme especially after a period of depletion such as during Pregnancy  often experience  a marked decrease in food cravings, an improvement in general mood and mental well-being and an increase in energy, vitality and ability to rest.  And we all know just how priceless posessing those qualities in daily life are, especially for a new mom.

NB: Always seek the advice of a specialist HCP when providing nutrition and supplementation advice for a Pregnant or breastfeeding Post Natal client if you are not certified to do so yourself.

Passionate About Pregnancy & Post Natal Health & Fitness Education FOREVER! 

Connect With Me on FACEBOOK and Twitter

www.burrelleducation.com

Sleep Deprivation, Stress and Fat Loss for the Post Natal Client

18 May

By Jenny Burrell BSc (Hons), Founder of Burrell Education, Specialist For Pregnancy and Post Natal Fitness& Therapy Education, London, UK. 

For all of you out there with Post Natal clients (6 weeks to 6 years ;-)….Here are a few thoughts on a few important components to fat loss that are rarely considered when dealing with this special population.
  • During Pregnancy and the early Post Natal period, Cortisol is  NATURALLY ELEVATED!  In the Post Natal period the thought is that the elevated Cortisol and other stress hormones have the effect of keeping the mother alert and aware of any possible dangers to the infant and may have a role in the attachment process.
  • The physical stress of labour and birthing, alongside the stresses of adjusting to early motherhood and poor sleeping patterns/lack of sleep means that Cortisol levels may remain high well into the Post Natal period making it difficult for mothers to lose weight post birth.
  • During pregnancy, the hormonal signals have been set to ensure fat is stored in preparation for feeding the baby – theoretically, a mother may need somewhere in the region of an extra 650 calories each day to produce quality breast milk.
  • Being an older mother is also a factor in holding fat as sadly, by the mid to late 30’s the body is preparing for menopause.  And the ultimate paradox……..as women head towards menopause the body will automatically be reluctant to let go of fat around the middle as this is where Oestrogen is manufactured.  This happens because the body knows that Oestrogen will help protect our bones from Osteoporosis so the body tries to hold onto the fat to hold onto the Oestrogen to prevent Osteoporosis which it obviously deems to be a greater threat than having a fat belly!
  • The ULTIMATE blow comes in the fact that…….abdominal fat cells have four times as many receptors for Cortisol than anywhere else in your body so if you’re continually too stressed, your abdominal fat cells will be calling out for Cortisol and encouraging the body to store fat around the abdominals!
  • Adrenaline & Cortisol are the two main stress hormones produced by the Adrenal glands.  Totally useful when we need to get out of danger, not so great when our modern life and stress levels  keeps us chronically in a state of over-production.
  • Both hormones circulating in the system increase appetite and then drive the stressed individual to consume – guess what? More carbohydrate and fat!
  • Fat is stored around the middle simply because there, it’s closer to the liver where it can be quickly accessed to be converted back into energy if needed.
  • Natural Cortisol levels that we need to wake us up and go about our business in the daytime can remain elevated by STRESS!  They can also be elevated by a house too brightly lit in the evening time, and overstimulation via watching TV and working late.
  • Excessive production of Cortisol leads to adrenal fatigue which presents itself as chronic fatigue syndrome, infections, musculoskeletal aches and pains and headaches.
  • Obeying our natural rhythms of sleep and rest – our CIRCADIAN RHYTHM allows the adrenals to rest.
  • Caffeine, sugar, tobacco and LOW BLOOD SUGAR create EMERGENCY situations within our systems and signal STRESS.

What Can You As A Health & Fitness Professional Do About This?

In my early days of a Trainer, I was simply in a life phase where I could go all day and night without really considering the vital importance of rest and restorative activity.  Now, in my 40’s I really get it! And I ensure that rest and restorative activity is included in every session with every client.  I keep the training element of the session short and sweet, 20-30 mins  and ensure we have time for some foam roller work, a bit of remedial therapy on any niggles they have, a 10 minute meditation on the breath or a Power Plate massage for the the non-pregnant clients….either way, they walk away feeling and KNOWING the value of STILLNESS AS WELL AS MOVEMENT.

Passionate About Pregnancy & Post Natal Health & Fitness Education FOREVER! 

Connect With Me on FACEBOOK and Twitter

www.burrelleducation.com

Fat Smashing Cauliflower?!

18 May

By Jenny Burrell BSc (Hons), Founder of Burrell Education, Specialist For Pregnancy and Post Natal Fitness & Therapy, London, UK.

www.burrelleducation.com

Ok, so I think we are all agreed that if you ever want to have a decent looking belly again especially over the age of 35-40, AND ESPECIALLY IF YOU ARE TRYING TO LOSE HORMONALLY INDUCED POST NATAL BELLY FAT, you have to ‘revise’ your eating strategy!

One of areas that a lot people get stuck on is how the hell do they get their clients to reduce their starchy carbs and still feel good? I think a new phrase needs to be coined…..‘CARB ANXIOUS’ – A CLIENT WHO GOES INTO A COLD SWEAT WHEN YOU TELL THEM THEY’VE GOT TO REDUCE THEIR STARCHY CARBS!!

In a nutshell, eat more protein, less sugar and processed foods, increase the volume of fibrous vegetable and eat more good fats – blah, blah, blah!  Just one problem, it’s our eyes!!!! We just look at our plates and it just doesn’t seem right.  Enter the humble cauliflower!!!!!! Thanks to John Beradi and the Precion Nutrition Team (www.precisionnutrition.com) and closer to home, UK fat smashers such as Paul Mort (www.bootcampking.com), and the Dukan Diet Cookbook (thanks Pippa & Kate), we now have the most brilliant solution – CAULIFLOWER MASH!!!!!!!!!  My God this works! Even my husband, a marathon running, carb-adoring, ecotomorph is fooled by this one and it’s possitively delicious too, not to mention the nutritional benefits of cauliflower being a cruciferous veggie.

My simple version goes like this:

1.  Steam 2 heads of cauliflower.

2.  When tender, I put in a bowl and add 1/4 teacup of coconut milk, Himalayan sea salt (thanks Amanda & Andrea!) and freshly ground black pepper and apply a potatoe masher until I get a consistency that looks like mashed potatoe.

3.  That’s it!!!  I then put in a Tupperware and keep in the fridge ready to replace the rice, potatoes, pasta that was previously on my plate.

AWESOME AND IT WORKS!  The eyes are fooled, the nerves are calm and the body is nourished!

For more attractive low starchy carb eating ideas my two top tips are anything by these two young men:


Both make great food look sexy!  Stick with these two guys and, guess what?  You might look even more sexy too :-)).

Remember, keep it passionate…………mediocrity is a sin!

Passionate About Pregnancy & Post Natal Health & Fitness Education FOREVER! 

Connect With Me on FACEBOOK and Twitter

 

The No-Diet Fat Loss Ten Commandments

17 May

By Jenny Burrell BSc (Hons), Founder of Burrell Education, Specialist For Pregnancy and Post Natal Fitness & Therapy, London, UK.

www.burrelleducation.com

Image1.       INSULIN IS ONE OF OUR MASTER HORMONES IN TERMS OF FAT LOSS  – TO PREVENT FAT BEING STORED WE NEED TO GOOD CONTROL OVER IT.  For most people this means 3 things, reduce/moderating their intake of STARCHY CARBS, CUTTING BACK ON ALCOHOL AND AVOIDING SUGAR – YOUR OVERALL DAILY INTAKE SHOULD LOOK LIKE THE PLATE ABOVE.

2.       Eat more protein especially in the morning (first meal of the day), it sets the scene for your intake for the remainder of the day ie., you will crave less carbs.

3.       Focus on avoiding C.R.A.P – Excess starchy carbs, Refined Sugar, Alcohol and Packaged/Processed Foods.

4.       Keep well hydrated – aim for 2 litres of water a day – add a little Himalayan mountain salt and  the juice of ½ a lemon to ‘supersize’. Water is VITAL TO FAT LOSS.

5.       Supplement – Omega 3 and a High Quality Multi-Vitamin & Mineral – GOOD FATS ARE VITAL TO FAT LOSS.

6.       Perform 20 mins of High Intensity  Interval Training 3-4 times per week that involves whole body movements – THIS PUSHES YOUR BODY TO BURN MORE FAT. You need to get HOT, SWEATY, OUT OF BREATH AND YOUR MUSCLES NEED TO BURN.  Intensity and brevity are king.  Forget about hours on the treadmill.  Get going, work hard, go home!

7.       Increase your general level of walking and lower level activity on the days when you are not performing HIIT.

8.       Perform some kind of stretching daily & prioritize rest/quiet time – INACTIVITY IS JUST AS VITAL AS ACTIVITY.

9.       Identify your stressors and start work to eradicate or minimize them – STRESS MAKES YOU FAT!

10.   Base your daily intake and actions on the fact that: YOU ONLY GET 1 BODY, WE ARE NOTHING WITHOUT OUR HEALTH AND VITALITY. Movement and great nutrition are your way of showing daily gratitude for the body and health you have been gifted 🙂

Passionate About Pregnancy & Post Natal Health & Fitness Education FOREVER! 

Connect With Me on FACEBOOK and Twitter


FitPro’s: Questions to Consider When You Find Post Natal Rectus Diastasis

17 May
By Jenny Burrell BSc (Hons), Founder of Burrell Education, Specialist For Pregnancy and Post Natal Fitness & Therapy, London, UK. www.burrelleducation.com

As a health and fitness professional serving Post Natal clients, there are (in my opinion) 5 major confounding issues that the client presents with when employing the service of a specialist fitpro….in no particular order:
1.  A wobbly stomach with stretched skin and poor muscular tension/tone and a general feeling of disconnect to the abdominals.
2.  How to get rid of a C-Section tummy that overhangs her scar.
3.  A malfunctioning pelvic floor leading to at best urinary leakage, at worst faecal incontinence.
4.  A palpable gap at the midline of the abdominals, technical term: Rectus Diastasis or Distension and when/if it will close.
5.  How to get rid of ‘baby fat’!
This post relates to a few other factors to bear in mind when a client presents with a Distension (Diastasis) beyond simply measuring the gap and deciding what type of programming is suitable for her present state.
1.  How old is the clients’ ‘baby’?  – The older the Distension, the less likely that it will close completely ie., a 6 month PN client is in a much likelier position than a 2 year PN client.
2.  How old is the client?  – A younger mother (under 30) is generally in a better position regarding Collagen and Elastin production compared to an older mom (sorry!).
3.  What is the condition of the midline?  Papery/slack and offering very little resistance or can gap be felt but midline has good tension that can withstand pressure?  – Having a distension (gap between the bellies of the Rectus Abdominis) doesn’t necessarily mean that you are doomed to a life of poor core strength, incontinence and back pain.  For example, many fitness professionals who returned to work early to teach classes and exercised inappropriately often have fantastic looking midsections and fully-functioning core’s with a a Distension.  Their Rectus bellies can be separated but their midline is strong on palpation and more than able to do its job of withstanding intra-abdominal pressure when required to.
3.  If the client had a previous birth, what were the conditions of the abdominals before and after the previous baby?Previously separated abdominals are less like to return to a fully closed position after a second and third pregnancy and birth.
4.  Was there a short space of time between two pregnancies? – Connective tissue needs time to heal, short time-frames between pregnancies is less ideal and mothers with short gaps between pregnancies are more likely to experience poorer tissue resoration post birth compared to those who have had a longer ‘healing period’ between births.
5.  What kind of abdominal work/sport has the client been performing post birth and prior to coming to see you the Trainer.  What’s her occupation and daily activity levels? – I once assessed a fitness professional with a Distension to find that she taught 2 Spin Classes, 4 Body Pumps and led a running club.  She had a two year old distension that probably would remain as her work activities and full schedule did not allow for modification to the quantity of stress placed on her abdominal muscles – incidentally, she had a firm midline and didn’t experience any back pain or incontinence!

6.  Does the client experience any back pain or pain during her activities of daily life (ADL’s)? Especially in the case of a longstanding Distension with a firm mid-line, if the client has good continence and no back pain and is happy with her tummy…..who are we try to ‘fix’ her.
 
Answers to all of the above questions will give you a much fuller picture of your clients’ true core strength and capabilities and help you create a more realistic core strength programme suitable for the demands of her life.

www.burrelleducation.com – Passionate About Pregnancy & Post Natal Health & Fitness Education FOREVER! 

Visit the SITE and FACEBOOK PAGE for BRILLIANT CPD COURSES IN THE UK


Why You Need to MOVE to Work Your Pelvic Floor!

16 May

By Jenny Burrell BSc (Hons), Founder of Burrell Education (www.burrelleducation.com)
Specialist Pregnancy and Post Natal Fitness & Therapy Education

BIG NEWS! The pelvic floor musculature does not exist and function in isolation! So……when we consider restoring it’s function and strength,  especially after birthing, MOVEMENT (the right amount at the right time) has to be part of our exercise prescription.  Eventually our prescription for the PF needs to be INTEGRATED, WHOLE BODY AND CHALLENGE THE ENTIRE MYOFASCIAL AND CONNECTIVE TISSUE SYSTEM.

First up….The Abdominal Aponeuroses

The Abdominal Aponeuroses are sheets of tendon that cover and connect the abdominal muscles to the pelvic girdle.  In terms of it’s relationship to the pelvic floor muscles (especially the anterior musculature), concentric and eccentric movement of not only the abdominal muscles but connecting aponeuroses and fascia ALL HAVE A SYNERGISTIC AND POSITIVE EFFECT ON THE PELVIC FLOOR ie., lift both of your arms into the air at the same time so they end  up just past your ears and ‘listen’ to what your pelvic floor has to say…..can you feel a change in its tension and a tightening?  Yes?  That’s the relationship between the muscles, fascia and tendons stretching from your pubis to your sternum talking to you!

Next up, the Anterior Longditudinal Ligament (ALL) and Posterior Longditudinal Ligaments (PLL).  When I first discovered these two ligaments, it was a major lightbulb moment, gee whizz! So to keep this simple,  I’ll focus on the ALL, this continuum of ligament runs alongside the spinal column from the cervical region to the sacrum where there are fascial links to…..guess where?  THE PELVIC FLOOR MUSCLES.  So what does that mean in exercise terms?  Flex and extend the spine ie., BEND OVER AND RETURN and you also work your Pelvic Floor!

Now onto the adductors of the femur.  Just take a look at where the proximal attachments fasten – extremely close to the PF!  And guess what?  Thanks to fascia, everytime your adductors are fired the PF muscles are too!

The deep lateral rotators of the femur, namely the Gemellus and Obturator muscles facilitate abduction of the femur.  They are all intimately posititioned within the pelvic basis proximal to the PF muscles and thanks to the fascia factor, firing these muscles also fire the PF  muscles.

Ok, so now onto the rest of your ‘CORE’

In the most basic terms, the components of the  ‘CORE’ can be defined as the pelvic floor muscles, the TVA, the diaphragm and the lumbar muscles and fascia.  These 4 components all work reciprocally and are synergized by respiration.  Point in case:

  • Breathe out throught pursed lips and simultaneously pull your belly button in towards your spine, can you eventually feel your pelvic floor muscles lifting and tightening?  That’s the synergistic relationship between your PF, diaphragm and your TVA.
  • Do this again and this time take your attention toward the muscles of your low back this time, now can you also feel these muscles tensioning too?

So, in summary…..

  • Squat or take your legs apart (abduction) – the pelvic floor is active.
  • Squeeze your knees together especially against resistance (a pilates ball or ring) – the pelvic floor is active.
  • Perform flexion to extension (bend over) – the pelvic floor is active.
  • Breathe in and out – the pelvic floor is active.
  • Move into throacic extension – the pelvic floor is active.

The pelvic floor also loves…..

  • Whole Body Vibration – yes, the vibration works on those muscles too!  From a Powerplate to a Flexibar, it’s all good.
  • Working against gravity, and snappy movement – from hopping foot to foot to full blown plomentric jumping
  • A neutral pelvis and beautifully aligned posture
  • A global myofascial system free of tension and restriction

I hope that’s helped you to reconsider what you consider to be PELVIC FLOOR EXERCISE and if you liked this blog, and would like to know more about my modern, inspiring education, check out the Burrell Education website: www.burrelleducation.com.

My June 15th Modern Post Natal Assesment  & Exercise Prescription CPD has SOLD OUT! So I’ve decided to add another date on Friday 22nd June.  If you’d like to attend, please book sharpish as 4 places have already gone.

Visit the website for more details and booking: www.burrelleducation.com

Passionate About Pregnancy & Post Natal Health & Fitness Education FOREVER! 

Connect With Me on FACEBOOK and Twitter

%d bloggers like this: