Viewing entries tagged
wellness

#HowIPerformForLife : Meilin

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#HowIPerformForLife : Meilin

When did health and wellness become an important part of your life?

I think a little over a year ago. I realized that I had to put more emphasis on my health and just like me for my well-being.

How do you feel about it now?

I struggle with it a lot still. I grew up focusing on weight as a sign of health and so I still have to come to terms with the fact that the number on the scale doesn’t equate to healthy or fit.

Have you had any proud moments here?

Yeah when I was still seeing Amber twice a week, I had a lot of proud moments. I didn’t have any weight training prior to this. One day would just be squats and deadlifts. Every time I set a personal record, I was so proud of myself. And I eat breakfast now! I never did [before]. I’m not usually a big breakfast person. I wake up so early for work, I don’t usually have time to make breakfast the morning of.

How do the things you do in the gym translate to your life?

I think most of all it provides me with a more positive outlook. Working out is a way of treating myself better, and so that helps me be more positive and have a better perspective on myself in general.


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Bodywork to Make Your Body Work

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Bodywork to Make Your Body Work

Almost everyone in San Francisco leads a very active lifestyle. From working the 9-5 to working out (hopefully), running errands, being outdoors to get fresh air and sun, and enjoying all the fun activities that the city constantly has to offer, San Franciscans are extremely social and busy people. We’re great at doing our work, being in school, and going out to do the things we love. Sometimes, though, we’re not so great at taking a step back to slow our lives down and take care of ourselves. We work hard and play hard, but we don’t always do enough for our “rest and digest” - our down time, our sleep, our nutrition: our recovery.

In previous posts, we’ve talked a lot about nutrition, sleep, and mindset, and these are all great and necessary elements to improve our general well-being and aid in recovery so that we can do what we do best: be active. So this time, I want to talk about another great way to recover, rest, and relax. I want to talk about massage.

As many of you know, massage is a great tool for relieving tension and tightness in the body, but people still have many misconceptions of what massage is.

Some people are afraid of massage because of a bad experience and say things like, “It was so painful! I think my body is just too sensitive to receive massage.”

Or, on the other end of the spectrum, some people say “I don’t feel like anything happened. They just rubbed lotion on me and that was it.” Many people don’t know that massage has the potential to reduce or even completely relieve pain. I think that it’s really unfortunate that not all people know how great it can be, so I want to break down a few different styles of massage and bodywork so that everyone can understand how this healing modality can play a vital role in your rest and recovery.


(Swedish) Relaxation Massage

The most prevalent form of massage for relaxation and enjoyment is Swedish Relaxation Massage. Swedish Massage is characterized by long, flowing, strokes that are firm, yet gentle. The massage therapist typically uses the palm and “heel” of his or her hands to glide across the skin over muscles and joints to lengthen and soften the tissues. Some type of lotion or oil is usually used and sessions can last from 30-90 minutes in a relaxing and soothing environment. This type of massage, or bodywork, is not as targeted as other modalities, but is effective in integrating multiple body parts in flowing moves to relax the patient and improve circulation and blood flow. Studies have even shown that Swedish Massage can help to reduce fatigue, depression, and anxiety - very relevant for the busy and often stressed-out San Franciscan.

p4l-massage

Deep Tissue Massage

Deep tissue massage is characterized by its concentration on the deeper layers of muscles and fascia. For deep tissue massage, the therapist typically uses knuckles, fist, or elbow. Typically, deep tissue massage requires little to no oil or lotion compared to Swedish, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be relaxing as well. This is the style of massage that some people might say is really painful, but proper deep tissue massage should sink slowly into muscle and fascia so as to not cause the body to tense up and “fight back”. This modality is great for breaking up adhesions and to really get noticeable softening of dense or knotted tissue.

p4l-massage-room

Clinical Bodywork

The last form of massage or bodywork I want to tell you about is clinical bodywork. Clinical bodywork is, as the name suggests, more clinical in its style and is a bit different from other types of massage, especially relaxation. Clinical bodywork is typically much more targeted, like deep tissue, and the emphasis is not on relaxation, but on helping the patient come out of pain from some type of injury or disease. During a clinical session, there is more communication between the patient and therapist to problem solve, and the practitioner will use a variety of tools to address the pain. These tools can include different massage modalities such as deep tissue, pin and stretch, myofascial release, and even Swedish relaxation strokes if appropriate. But, the practitioner might not be limited to just massage techniques and may incorporate other elements such as lymphatic drainage, cupping, special assessments, stretching, rehabilitation exercises and neuro-techniques to name a few. 

p4l-bob

Conclusion

Here at Perform for Life, we’re all about our training, education, and community, but we also really love to show our care for our athletes by providing clinical bodywork. We see and care for so many of our athletes going through pain from injury, disease, stress, and overwork and we want to make sure that everyone takes care of their bodies. We might do a great job at being active and working out hard, but it’s important to know when to let our bodies rest, relax and recover, and massage is a great way to do so.

From Swedish relaxation to clinical bodywork, there’s a type of massage for everyone to help with relaxation and even pain. Keep in mind that I’ve only gotten to talk about a few modalities of bodywork and that there is so much more out there. So, if these don’t work, don’t stop searching. Stay active but listen to your body and take great care of it - it’s the only one you’ve got.



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Get Your Daily Dose of Vitamin Z

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Get Your Daily Dose of Vitamin Z

Sleep is positively correlated with everything  - mental clarity, hormonal balance, fat loss, muscle gain, and more.  It is free and, barring some unfortunate living and medical conditions, universally available to all.  Yet it is often a low priority for many athletes.  And they suffer for it.

City living can be a challenge to reasonable bed times.  Late night events such as concerts and dinners might keep us out late.  Living in an urban area often means traffic late into the evening. And in our homes, we have our TVs, tablets, and smartphones buzzing late into the evening with business and social notifications.

Optimally, we want our sleep pattern to mirror the sun.  As the sun goes down, we wind down. Sun comes up, we get up!  Not too difficult.  If you have to wake up exceptionally early, then guess what?  You get to go to bed early!

Optimum sleep times for most individuals is 9/10pm sleep time and 5:30/6:30 am wake time. This is going to vary from individual to individual.  Some people do great on 6 hours of sleep per night.  Others need 10-11.  Most people thrive on 8.5 hours.  You are going to have to find out what works for you.  But generally, if you (1) wake up and completely hate life and want NOTHING but to go back to bed or (2) feel tired ALL THE TIME you need to sleep more.  If you wake up every day, kill it all day and feeling great, you’re probably sleeping right for you.

So what can we do to help normalize our sleep patterns?

Photo Credit : www.unsplash.com

Photo Credit : www.unsplash.com

1. First thing is first – you need to prioritize your sleep!  

If you were working out to improve your physique, would you go down the street and eat a big fat ice cream sundae after each training session?  Probably not.  So WHY ON EARTH WOULD YOU STAY UP UNTIL 1 AM BROWSING Facebook/Reddit/NYTimes/whatever.  Staying up late is going to increase your stress hormones, and make it literally harder to do EVERYTHING.  Do you want to negatively impact your sex drive? Your ability to lose fat and retain muscle?  Do you want less patience and reduced mental clarity?  Prioritize a better you.

Photo Credit : www.unsplash.com

Photo Credit : www.unsplash.com

2. Put down the smartphone!

Many of our athletes claim they cannot sleep, but they are on their electronic devices literally up until the minute they close their eyes.  This is not optimal.  You can put it on silent and set your alarm 15 minutes before you intend to sleep, and the world won’t explode.  The first thing tomorrow morning, you will be able to resume the rat race.  Give yourself 15 minutes.  After you graduate from the 15-minute program, try 30.  I promise you will thank yourself!

Photo Credit : www.unsplash.com

Photo Credit : www.unsplash.com

3. Minimize light exposure.

As the evening begins, try to reduce the lighting accordingly.  There are really awesome features built into Android and Apple iOS that allow you to reduce the brightness of the phones and tablets in the evening.  For the computer, you can download f.lux.  It will reduce the brightness of your laptop screen in the evening.  As for house lighting – less is more!  Try using a lower watt light bulbs in a lamp that gives more indirect light (versus using an overhead light).  Personally, I use a Himalayan salt lamp by my bed.  They are about $25 online and they give off a soothing warm light that is much less rich in the blue light that our body associates with day time.  You can read more on the dangers of blue light in this Harvard Health letter

Photo Cr

Photo Cr

4. It takes time, but it's worth it.

Don’t try to start going to bed tonight at 10 pm if you go to bed at 1 am.  I wouldn’t expect someone eating Twinkies for breakfast to immediately start cooking for themselves – I’d probably switch them from Twinkies to Pop Tarts, Pop Tarts to Lucky Charms, and maybe Lucky Charms to actual food.  Likewise, we do not do interval training on our first day out of knee surgery.  What time do you go to bed, on average?  Write that time down!  Good job!  Is that time 10 pm?  If not, then proceed to next step: take that time and subtract 30 minutes.  Congrats!  You have your new sleeping assignment!  Go get em!


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#HowIPerformForLife : Brendan

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#HowIPerformForLife : Brendan

What motivates you or what helps you get up in the morning?

I think love and fear are the two basic underlying motivations behind literally everything I do! I am motivated to exercise because I’m learning to love myself more every day.


When did you start performing for life and what are some milestones since then?

I started at P4L a few weeks after it opened! The biggest milestone for me was when I finally opened up and started making friends at the gym. It was, in the past, a very intimidating environment for me and so I’d try to sneak out as quickly as possible afterward!

What’s your go-to work-out song?

Whatever Anthony’s got on his playlist!

Tell us how you came back from the setbacks you've experienced. How did you get through it? 

In the past, I would encounter a setback and throw in the towel. Now I see them as gifts, ways to make the story a bit more interesting. I understand now that challenges shape me and I discover more about who I am through them and how I choose to react to them. When I face a challenge or obstacle, I just find one thing I can do that feels like progress. Then I do that. Then I do the next thing, and then the next.

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