Importance of sleep after BootCampSF wakes those muscles up!

BootCampSF utilizes a wide variety of exercises resulting in a satisfying total body workout. This means you will need to take special care in training-recovery which includes getting a good night’s rest. Sleeping well after you exercise makes your muscles and tissues stronger and helps prevent fatigue and injury. Your muscles learn to adapt to training, but rest is actually when those adaptations are taking place. Plus, with adequate sleep, you’ll perform better as an athlete. And on the flip side, there is solid evidence that exercise helps you fall asleep more quickly and improves sleep quality.

To get more out of your sleep, try these tips:

Power Down the Electronics
The glow from electronics pass through your eyes and delay the release of melatonin which is the sleep inducing hormone.

Turn In a Little Earlier
Get as many hours of sleep before midnight as you can (there’s an empirical belief that an hour of sleep before midnight is worth two hours of sleep after midnight).

Stretch Those Muscles
In addition to relaxing you, stretching releases built-up tension which is great before trying to get some shuteye. Stretching can help you fall asleep fast, as well as help prevent sore muscles in the morning.

Enjoy a Hot Shower
Taking a hot shower 90 minutes before bed can help you sleep better reports Men’s Fitness. After you’ve been in the hot water, your body temperature then cools down which is a signal to sleep.

Create a Sleep Routine
Get in a regular sleep-wake cycle. In other words, go to bed and wake up the same time every day. Then keep to it! When you change this pattern, even if you actually get more sleep, it can negatively affect the impact on recovery.

In Conclusion
World renowned sleep expert, Dr. Mark Rosekind, says, “There are lab studies that show that if you’re an eight-hour sleeper and you get six hours of sleep, that two-hour difference can impact your [athletic] performance so that it equates to how you would perform if you had a 0.05 blood-alcohol level.”

To get the most out of your BootCampSF workouts, the proper amount of recovery and sleep is imperative. Along with a balanced diet and our intense exercise program, getting the right amount of sleep may be the last ingredient to help you decrease body fat or increase muscle mass and strength. We suggest you strive for seven to eight hours of sleep a night.

3 Core Moves to Relieve Lower Back Pain

Did you know that lower back pain is quite common? According to a study conducted by the UNC School of Medicine, more than 80% of Americans will suffer an episode of low back pain in some time in their lives. However, there’s no need for alarm – lower back pain can be relieved and prevented by strengthening the core muscles.

Core muscles are the support system for your spine and lower back, and if the muscles are weak, your posture may be misaligned causing too much pressure to be placed on the lower back. If there is weakness in the core, hops, gluten and/or hamstrings, the body is thrown off balance and the lower back may be forced to pick up the slack.

Generally speaking, three types of lower back pain may be experienced, and may be temporary or ongoing. The first is a muscle spasm, which appears as pain that comes on suddenly. The muscles will feel ‘locked up’ so to speak, and it may be hard to move. Second is a shooting pain in the lower back and down one or both legs, indicating sciatica. There are no spasms associated with this type of pain, as a pinched nerve is normally to blame. Finally, a general aching across the entire lower back may be caused by arthritis, which is a form of inflammation, or weak muscles from a lack of activity.

One of the best low impact core strengthening exercises that can be practiced is the plank. There are many variations of the exercise, including a forearm plank, a plank done on the hands with the arms extended straight and a side plank variation. If you are new to the exercise, start with a :20 second hold and gradually increase by at least :5 seconds with each practice.

Back extensions are also an excellent way to target the core – specifically the lower back portion. The exercise may be completed on a back extension machine, but, if you’re like us, you prefer to work outside in the sunshine! We recommend lying on the ground on a mat or towel (or the grass, if you prefer) and reaching the arms and legs out as far as you can stretch. Slowly lift the arms and legs up and away from the body simultaneously and then lower back down. You’ll feel the entire back side activate to complete the exercise. These may also be referred to as the “superman” exercise.

Our third choice is the bridge, or hip raises. Lie on your back on the floor with knees bend and feet flat on the floor. Engaging the glutes and hamstrings, raise the hips up toward the sky, pausing for a few seconds before lowering back down. If you have tight hip flexors, this is an excellent stretch to practice.

And as always, keep moving! Getting a workout in at least a few times per week will help you easily increase your core strength and ease any lower back pain you may experience. Sign up for one of our classes and join the fun!

Foods to Fight Muscle Soreness and Fatigue

Have you ever noticed that some days you feel full of energy during your workout, like you could do your regular BCSF class and stay for the next class too? But other days a push up feels like the hardest thing you’ve ever done?

While there are lot’s of factors that can contribute to this swing of energy (sleep, hormones, amount of carbohydrates, food timing, stress levels, ect.) there is a chance that it could be that you’re low on one of these specific nutrients.

We believe that with a well rounded diet, you can get most of the nutrients you need. Make sure you’re incorporating these nutrient rich foods to fight muscle soreness and fatigue.

IRON

Iron is an important nutrient for energy levels. (This is because iron is a key component of blood which helps carry oxygen to our muscles) Without enough iron we can feel tired, sore and fatigued. Including some iron rich foods in your diet can help prevent fatigue.

Heme sources:  Heme sources of iron are the most absorbable and include animal products such as red meat, fish, poultry and eggs. The best source of iron is actually liver and muscle meats! (Try purchasing a high quality organic liver and mixing it in with your next meatloaf or stir fry. It’s hardly noticeable and will make for an iron rich treat)

Non heme sources: Iron can also be found in many plants, nuts and seeds. Leafy greens like spinach and chard are high in iron as well as many seeds such as pumpkin and sunflower seeds. The herbs parsley and thyme also contain a surprising amount of iron.  However, non heme sources of iron are not as absorbable for our bodies.

TIP: A great post workout snack would be a leafy green smoothie or a hard boiled egg and handful of pumpkin seeds. 

MAGNESIUM

Magnesium is what is known as the “relaxing” mineral. It’s a natural muscle relaxant and pain killer. This makes it a great nutrient for those sore muscles (Ever heard of Epsom salt baths to relax? Epsom salts are rich in magnesium and we absorb this through our skin in the hot bath!) Many people are deficient in magnesium because we lose magnesium in our sweat.

If you are struggling with muscle cramps or any mild ache or pain, try including more magnesium rich foods in your diet.

Sea vegetables are the single food richest in magnesium. Try snacking on nori sheets or adding dulse flakes to your salad dressings or soups. Many nuts and seeds also contain magnesium.

TIP: Try a homemade magnesium rich trail mix of cashews, brazil nuts, almonds and coconut flakes (all rich in magnesium). 

EPA & DHA OMEGA 3’s

Omega 3’s are a type of fat that are especially important for active people as this type of fat actually reduces inflammation. When we are very active, our body has to do a lot of work to repair and recover. If we are not able to repair and recover quick enough, we can show signs of inflammation. Anything from muscle soreness to slow recovery can be a sign of inflammation.

The best  kind Omega 3’s to reduce inflammation are EPA & DHA found in fatty fish such as salmon and sardines. Walnuts, chia seeds, hemp seeds and flax also contain Omega 3’s but a different variety (called ALA).

TIP: Add salmon into your dinner rotation on a weekly basis. Try canned salmon or sardines for a quick and budget-friendly lunch.

 

Try some of these tips during your weeks 3-6 of bootcamp when you might be a little (extra) sore. And see if you can notice a difference (we think you will!).

Insights from Jaw Surgery: Or How Recovery Is a Little Like a Fitness Journey

Hi BCSF Family!

Catherine (Cat), BootCampSF co-owner, here. We’ve likely emailed in the past, chatted on the phone or maybe I’ve even taught you a thing or two about kettlebells? I hope so! Well, I am currently on the couch with some chipmunk-esque cheeks because on Thursday May 8th I underwent a double jaw surgery and I wanted to share some insights with you.

I wanted to tell you all about this transformative life experience of mine because as I’ve waxed philosophical in the days leading up to surgery and as I’ve been recovering, I’ve had lot of time think about how this process has had striking similarities to the struggles we all go through with fitness and overcoming all the hurdles that get in our way. Seem like a stretch? Well, admittedly, since fitness is my life’s work, the parallels do come easier for me. But stick with me and maybe you’ll be surprised too!

You see, I’ve known that I needed this surgery for years. Since I was in my late teens, actually, but I put it off for so many reasons. Because it sounded painful. Because it’s expensive. Because who wants braces as an adult? And I’d thought that the only reasons to have the surgery were aesthetic: to be prettier, to fix my crooked jaw and look more “normal”. To be honest I thought that was shallow and I was better than that! I was a progressive San Francisco lady. But as the years wore on it became apparent to me that there were other reasons to do it: I had increasing pain in my left joint; my teeth were wearing unevenly; clicking and slipping of my jaw was just getting worse and worse. I had trouble eating sushi — I had reached a tipping point, because a life without sushi is no life at all, am I right?!

And call me crazy, but I know that most of us have gone through this with fitness and with weight loss. We know we need to start. And maybe sometimes we are angered by the shallow aesthetic-driven fitness culture that exists. And you? You are better than that. We live in open-minded San Francisco, right? But just as my jaw surgery was for far more serious reasons than the aesthetic, we hope that you know that there are more reasons to exercise than looking better for bikini season. For the health of your body and mind. For the health of your soul.

It’s always hard to start a new routine and we know it won’t be easy. The road to jaw surgery and the recovery is similar. It has been an emotional journey and the past week the physical aspects have been tough. Feeling weak enough waking up from the anesthesia to need help walking to the bathroom is not a feeling I am used to. But I know that I, too, have been down this road before. Workouts are not always comfortable. When I first started attending BCSF after college, I thought I’d need a wheelchair after experiencing the soreness of a lifetime! We’ve all been through it. We know that running is hard, that burpees are awful and that sometimes squats feel impossible.

But, getting over that hump is what it’s all about, right?

It’s that feeling you get a few months are starting your workout routine that everything seems…easier. Or maybe, just, not easier, but not impossible. I was looking for that moment in my recovery process and it’s been happening every day. I am just six days post-op and my swelling has receded amazingly well. I’m not taking any more painkillers. I am walking my dog, I am getting back to my BCSF admin work.

(Day after surgery on left, today on right! I can even smile a little bit!)

You see, here is the part where I feel fitness is not a metaphor and simply a direct player. My recovery is going swiftly. Despite having a particularly complicated jaw surgery (5 hours under the knife!) I seem to be hitting recovery benchmarks days and weeks ahead of many of the hundreds of people I have connected with online that also have had similar procedures. I can’t help but see a connection between my commitment to fitness and healthy nutrition in my everyday life as playing a major role in an easier recovery process. I am certainly no doctor, but it’s clear that I am ahead of the game for which I am very grateful!

This proces isn’t something I could have done alone. I have an amazing community of people helping me. My orthodontic team, Dr. Good and Sears, have been amazing (Dr. Sears has done many sessions of BCSF!). And while I was in the hospital my pup, Stella, was at Didgeridog – her favorite place in the world besides the dog park. My sister helped me throughout my hospital journey and the first few days at home (there is nothing better than your big sister rubbing eye cream on your face the morning after jaw surgery!). And my brother, Keith (BCSF founder!) left his adorable kids for a few days to stay with me and make sure I was fortified with enough smoothies.

Friends and BootCampers have and will be swinging by with smoothies and soups. Neighbors have come by to take Stella to the park. And knowing that our amazing team of trainers would take care of you guys and put you through your workouts was such a relief. Of course, I owe a special shout-out to Trainer Katy who continues to support my admin work and will be taking our phone calls for weeks to come as I am wearing a splint and am unable to speak clearly.

The thing is, is you don’t need to go your fitness-journey alone, either. Whether it’s BCSF you lean on (and you should!), your friends, spouses/partners, or co-workers, you absolutely need SOMEONE in your corner. Because change is scary. Being uncomfortable sucks. And being able to lean on someone when the going gets tough can often be the tipping point to success. Because to be honest, without my best friend, Lindsey, giving me the push last year to finally get that surgical consult I would have kept putting it off. Her simple words of advice ring true for so many things: “What’s the worst that could happen?”

I’m glad I didn’t have to go through surgery alone. And please don’t force yourself to go through your fitness journey alone, either, just because you think you “should” or because you’re “independent”. We are definitely greater together.

Thanks for reading and I cannot say enough thanks for having you be a part of our BCSF community. I am truly lucky to have the best members a company could ever ask for. My life is so much richer for having you all in it. Thanks for being a part of the ride!

See you outside,

-Catherine

Quiet Saturday + Weekend Recovery Tips!

Saturday Class @ Golden Gate Park!
If you missed class this week, or just need a weekend boost, be sure to head out to class at 9am sharp tomorrow!  At Golden Gate ParkRyan Conlon will be leading the way. We meet at our usual weekday location, the Sharon Meadows parking lot, which is near the Koret Children’s Playground, the old wooden carousel and the Lawn Bowling Greens.
Please note:  we are beginning to ramp down Saturday classes at Crissy Field due to America’s Cup activities through the end of September. As such, this Saturday we’ll only be offering class at Golden Gate Park.
Rest and Recovery Weekend!
Ideas on how to get some delicious R& R in this weekend:
1. Stretch it out and restore yourself at a yoga class. Bernal YogaUrban Flow and Yoga Tree are a few of our favorites.
2. Get cozy with a foam rollerHere’s a pretty comprehensive tutorial on how to do just that!
3. Spend some time walking around your local Farmer’s Market and grab some delicious greens for a hearty salad, juice or however you like to get your veggies in!
4. Challenge yourself to drink all the water that you missed during your busy work week!
5. If you want to indulge yourself, look into a massage! If you don’t want to spend a ton of cash, check out the San Francisco School of Massage. Awesome students will work out your kinks for $30!