My Fifteen Minute Foam Rolling Routine

My Fifteen Minute Foam Rolling Routine

Hey Everyone! Happy Friday!! Hope you all have had a productive and good week. I’m on my fourth week of grad school and so far so good, but is quite the challenge. I’m definitely being pushed out of my comfort zone with studying since it really is a whole new level of knowledge. I’m more then half way through my course, then I’ll have about a week and half or so off then return to my next six week course after the forth of July.

First off, what is foam rolling? Foam rolling is a recovery mechanism that releases adhesions, or knots in the muscle from repeated stress. It promotes blood flow to the affected area through rolling the muscle. Scientifically, this is called myofasical release, meaning ‘myo-‘ for muscle, ‘fasical-‘ referring to fascia meaning connective tissue, and ‘release’ from releasing tension on muscle.

With that being said, I figured I share my foam rolling routine and talk recovery since that is equally important too. I’m always go-g0-go. Constantly having a plan of action is my jam. For me, each week (even if its not set to a tee) has some kind of workout in it. It’s either just one workout of cardio, usually running or weights, either body weight or some kind of resistance. Twice a week I work out twice a day, usually in the morning then in the afternoon either a run then weights or weights then speed work.  Then I have a rest day or two. One thing that is weak in my own program is recovery. YEP, I said it. In fact, it’s probably my biggest weakness. Yep, I said it again. It really takes a lot out of me to focus on this. But I’ve learned over time that it is equally important in order to bounce back well from workouts. That doesn’t mean I get massages every week. I’m on a student on a budget, so that’s not happening! BUT I can do my own job of recovery instead and it starts with a foam roller.

Way back when I started running I was hurting a lot because of a lot of things like not strength training, stretching, and eating well (I ate Bud’s Chicken– a “nice” local fast food drive through post cross country and track meets). One big culprit (although all of them are significant), was foam rolling. I got to college and I had terrible IT Band Syndrome. It was so bad I could hardly walk AND on top of it I was training for my second half marathon. How I did that feeling like sh*t I don’t know but I ran it. Dealing with severe tightness, I learned from a professor I took a class with what foam rolling was. Thank you Exercise Science degree!! 😉 I was so tight and uncomfortable I hated it, but is showed me how much I really needed it and how it important it is to do regularly.

To this day, I’m not great at it, but I do it often enough now that I have my tightness under control and my IT Band Syndrome at bay. I’m still tight there from time to time, but it was WAY more manageable then when I wasn’t doing it at all! I was seriously like a grandma looking back now. How I went that far without rolling was my bad BIG TIME. Sometimes it takes a hard lesson to be reminded how important it is.

Okay, so fast forward to TODAY and I probably roll out two to three times per week. I could more, but I don’t always. I know. I can be better. It is something I struggle with and realize it is something to work on so I try to make it part of my routine somehow. So, I do it before bed as part of my bedtime routine. It takes about fifteen minutes, but it is well worth it. I especially love rolling while watching The Bachelorette or American Ninja Warrior. Roll and watch, it’s a good combination.

If you don’t have a roller and you workout, run, or train multiple days a week rolling is especially beneficial and definitely worth the investment. They come in all different kinds of firmness, treds vs. no treds, brand, etc. However, they are on the pricy side depending on what you’re looking for. I suggest starting with a softer roller (like a pool noodle type softness) and go from there. My favorite is Trigger Point brand recovery tools. They have a great variety for all types of recovery needs! Although I focus on legs, foam rolling can be for all over. If I roll out my whole body, it usually takes a half hour to forty five minutes. I find I have the most amount of time for this on the weekends. During the week I stick with  rolling for about fifteen minutes.

For my routine, this what I do two to three times each week. Starting easy from the bottom and working up or vice versa. Roll a little bit at time, about an inch more in one direction before go back to your starting point. If you feel a particularly tight or tender spot, hold there and breath. I broke it down here, but feel free to check out my video for a visual on Instagram to help get a better idea!

-Starting at the bottom of foot roll five to ten times up and down

-Foam roller under ankle, foot is resting on top, achilles tendon side down:

  • dorsiflex and plantar flex five times
  • circle the ankle in one direction and reverse
  • turn inside then outside ankle to roller and circle one direction and reverse

-Roll up shin to calf until back on knee (it’s safe with light pressure)

-Roll from bottom to top of hamstring up to the glutes

~Switch legs and repeat!~

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Love Your Body: Reasons & Benefits of Rest

Love Your Body: Reasons & Benefits of Rest

So marathon training is in full swing…I completed week three of training! However, it came with a couple setbacks. No one said marathon training was going to be easy. I signed up knowing setbacks could be part of training. Knowing I teach group fitness, I didn’t completely account for rest. I do the workout with my Barre class since form and equipment are involved and generally instruct with demos for my H.E.A.T class. I’m not generally sore or feel completely wiped after teaching so I figured to take it as an active recovery day. This past weekend I did a nine mile run at Upper Tampa Bay Trail and LOVED IT!! Beautiful scenery and I was feeling great. However, my hamstrings and feet felt otherwise. I taught barre and H.E.A.T no problem, but realized I never actually RESTED aka was lazy and didn’t do anything physical. I’m naturally on feet most of the day since I work in fitness, and since when do we ever sit??!! NEVER!! We constantly GO! Which is great, the reason why I love what I do, but rest is equally important. After the two “active recovery” days, I felt good to get my six mile long run out of the way during the week. Again, felt great! Post run I felt extra tight, sore, and just overall achey. My hamstring and feet felt tight and over-used. I literally hurt all over. I then felt equally bad and was hardcore kicking myself because I knew I should have listened to my body. I also know a reason why I felt I over did it was because I had neglected leg day/strength training (I know what you’re thinking…”Ali how could you?!”) just because I wanted to hit my milage each week. I’m also focused on my client’s and group fitness and along the way, neglected my own. Muscle-wise there was a lot of imbalances that contributed as well.

SO LESSON LEARNED: Listen to your body and give it the TLC it needs! Its okay to say give an extra day to relax and be a couch potato, it won’t kill you. As runners or anything else you might be passionate about, you want to constantly strive to be the best you can. That might mean doing it regularly to take advantage of continued improvement. NOT SO FAST! (lol pun intended) giving your body time to recover from your hard work is equally important too.

Below are reasons and benefits why REST is important and to not be afraid to add it to your program:

-Time off from activity allows your body to heal and rebuild without added activity

Gives your mind a mental break

-Prevents injury

-Restores glycogen stores

*Other benefits of rest ;)*

-Sleep in (set NO alarms)

-Focus on foam rolling, icing, or soft tissue work 

-Get other things done…either personal, work, school, etc (that closet that needs cleaning out…)

-Focus on other hobbies, friends, or activities that don’t take the same demand…a cooking class/meal prep, yoga

-You get to be (somewhat) lazy :P…GO AHEAD! curl up with a movie, a cup of tea/glass of wine/ice cream…[you know where I’m going with this], and take care of yourself, you deserve to relax!

Instead of using your setbacks as ways to wreck your motivation, use it as a way to IMPROVE and learn from your mistakes!

Happy Running & Resting!!

-Ali