I frequently get asked how I gain muscle strength but maintain hyper flexibility. The truth is, I am extremely sore a lot of the time and I honestly don’t wake up in a chest stand!! The sound of me waking up is more like a creaking door in an echoing room but I do take steps to help maintain my strength and flexibility evenly because it is true that too much muscle restricts movement and long stretched muscles can often be weak.
2 things I must say before you read on….
- EVERYONE IS DIFFERENT! What works for me, may not work for you. Our bodies are all born with different structures, different reactions to food and different benefits from training and stretching techniques.
- This is my personal experience so take what you will from it and please remember I am not a nutritionist nor am I a qualified doctor!
With that being said, here are my 6 steps….
- Eat Clean
- Train Mean
- Stretch Deep
- Invest in Recovery
- Water is HOLY and always available, so use it to your advantage! Not only is it the foundation of the human body but helps to keep your muscles and fascia hydrated, joints lubricated and flush toxins from the body!
Your fascia (The cling wrap type of tissue around your muscles) when dehydrated cannot slide around your muscles.
Muscles are up to 75% water, and can cramp, spasm or feel tight when dehydrated.
Synovial fluid that acts as the WD-40 for your joints is predominantly water that when dehydrated can cause stiffness!
When you sweat, eat sugar/salt, drink coffee/alcohol – you are dehydrating your body!!
Always remember – Your intake from the day or even up to 2 days before will impact your performance at present.
- Nourish your body with foods that are going to keep your muscles and joints loving you!!
The key is Anti-Inflammatory Foods!!!
– Oily Fish – Omega 3 – These fatty acids enhance endurance, recovery, fat metabolism, circulation and flexibility!
– Whole Grains – Fiber reduces the levels of C-reactive proteins which is a protein the liver creates in response to inflammation or infection.
– Dark Green Leafy Vegies – This should always be in your diet! Unexplainable amounts of health benefits!
– Nuts – Antioxidants that help repair the damage caused from inflammation
– Spices! Ginger and Turmeric are great for anti-inflammatory purposes, cinnamon and cayenne/chilli’s are also great for speeding your metabolism, garlic is a great immune boosting and works similar to pain meds such as ibuprofen.
And My FAVOURITE!- Pineapple – The stem and juice contain a repairing enzyme bromelain to help reduce inflammations, sprains, strains, arthritis, burns, wounds, infections and more!Secondly, Ensure you are having enough protein to restore those muscles from your training!
– Whatever protein you feel fits to your diet whether it be Fish, Turkey, Kangaroo, Chicken, Nuts, Beans, Whole Grains, Whey or Plant based Protein Powders.
Ensure to find Lean varieties of meats, Fresh wholegrains, raw nuts and Protein powders with no added sugar or artificial sweeteners. Added Magnesium or BCAA’s (Branched-chain Amino Acids great to support lean muscle and recovery) can be great for muscle recovery.
And remember a balanced diet is a balanced mind and a happy head!!
As you may have read in my first blog (Recipe from thinspo to fitspo) food restrictions can lead to a war with yourself.
I try to eat a balanced meal/snack/shake every 2-3 hours having a very large breakfast and making meals smaller as the day goes on.
- Train in a variety of different ways! Keeping it different helps to not plateau in your training and keeps your world exciting! My week usually consists of a combination of these:
– Pole Conditioning
– New Pole Tricks/Combos
– Hand Balancing
– Weight Lifting
When you want a full body smashing – Train as if you have a drill Sargent by your side! Hold positions for 10 seconds at a time or more if you can! Do combos 5-10 times in a row. Do a trick until you get it 5 – 10 times without fail. Run drills for a minute straight.
If you find this extremely hard, write it out and get a friend to do it with you! Don’t forget to BLAST your music to get you in the zone.For flowing smooth movement, try some yoga to some old school beats like Suga Suga or even some Nelly! While doing some down dog to Snoop Dog, you will be aligning your spine and gaining balance working all those little muscles you need to master your hand balancing/straddles and pole twists! Namaste!
If you’re feeling super sore, Drink some water and just go for a walk/light jog followed by some light stretching! You don’t need to push yourself ALL the time!!! Listen to your body.
- Stretching is painful, so make sure you are both mentally and physically prepared.
Stretch to how your body feels on the day whether this be light yoga style twists and bends, extreme contortion hyper stretching or holding splits and hanging of chairs whilst watching tv!
Personally, some days I wake up and the last thing I can even think about doing is touching my toes, where as other days I wake up and I want to put my butt on my head! Listen to your body and push it to its limits only when it feels ready, only you know your body best so be sure to distinguish between good pain and bad pain.
– Training all your hyper extensions (Contortion Training) is a work out in itself. Make sure you get super warm (refer to previous blog ‘9 different ways to warm up’) then start your stretching. Over stretching can be much more beneficial and safer with a partner so try to get your friend to assist you with your stretches. The key is to be TOTALLY relaxed. Be sure to do some conditioning afterwards. (Back swans, Leg raises etc)
– Holding positions (2-3 mins) like all split positions or arching over a chair is a great way to release the fascia tissues surrounding the muscles and allows for lengthening of the muscles! Always be careful doing any fast movements such as running etc immediately afterwards as your muscles will be very loose. Again a totally relaxed approach to this one.
– Flow stretching (vinyasa yoga style) is a great way to build strength in flexibility as holding postures and balances engages all the little stability muscles and core strength. It can warm you up, align your spine and help actively stretch your muscles.
- Recovery is the MOST important step and one of the biggest investments made to become fit and flexy. I have so many different methods of recovery!
– Epson Salts (Warm Salt Baths)
– Magnesium Concentrate Oil (applied on the skin) / Supplements (tablet form)
– Foam Rollers/Beastie Balls (Physio Supplies Australia (66 Fit))
– Elmore Oil (natural blend of Vanilla, Eucalyptus, Olive and Tea Tree)- Repair Enzymes (YOR Repair Ultra containing concentrate of Bromelain plus many more tissue repairing enzymes)
– Dry Needling (A Form of Acupuncture)
– Deep Heat/Physio Creams
– Anti-Inflammatory’s (Foods and Supplements)
Invest in your recovery and it could save you medical bills in the future when that shoulder reconstruction bill appears!
- Sleep! – So under-rated! A great night sleep to allow your body to comprehend Steps 1-5 is ESSENTIAL!! Fatigue can have just the same symptoms as being dehydrated. Not only do you want to eat more than usual but you will feel tight, sore and weak! If your mind can’t stop creating that routine or if your constantly thinking of the jobs you need to do, get a notebook next to your bed and wrote it down so you can do it in the morning!
Try to really relax your mind at night and spend some good quality time with your bed! Wake up refreshed/hydrated and nourished to start your day!