Back when I first began ballet, I hurt my hip by seeing how high I could lift my leg. I had the flexibility for it but clearly not the strength. For the next few days I was limping, but I brushed it off as the pain eventually died down. Around this time, I began experiencing symptoms of fibromyalgia, which took half a year to get diagnosed; thus, whenever my hip flared up I mistook it as a symptom of fibromyalgia. After all, it was doing otherwise fine, and I was back to performing ballet to the fullest extent I could.
However, the flares could sometimes be so bad that I would have to let my boss know I had to sit at work and sometimes I would have to use a cane.
Flash forward a few years later and a newer, more intense ballet school, and I began to realize my hip problem was entirely separate from my fibromyalgia. I took physical therapy and wasn't really given a diagnosis. It helped, although it didn't get rid of the tightness I still experienced; however, I just accepted that the tightness would always be there.
Flash forward another year, a new job, a new fitness routine that incorporated squats and deadlifts, and my hip was back to bothering me again. Time to visit a sports medicine doctor, who sent me to a physical therapist that actually specialized in the hip. The diagnosis? A hip impingement. The prognosis? Fair.
From the 21-Day Fix to Weight Watchers to the Atkins Diet, there is no end to the seemingly limitless amount of diet programs people can choose from that will help them be successful in losing weight. However, none of these programs, to my knowledge, teaches intuitive eating, wherein you do not need to count calories, obsessively portion out your food, label foods as 'good' or 'bad,' or follow a strict meal plan that tells you exactly what to eat and when to eat.
A diet is not a program. It's a lifestyle. Unless you're doing competition prep, there is no reason to spend the rest of your life measuring food into colorful containers while obsessing about your macros.
I love grocery shopping because I love food and I have a habit of browsing for new food products so that way I don't get trapped in constantly getting the same old, same old. That's how I felt with my last grocery trip, which is when I finally decided to make a grocery list containing ingredients of foods that are quick to make (quesadillas) and foods I can take on the go. I came out feeling satisfied about our purchases.
However, I know there are people who really struggle with grocery shopping. I've had to have whole sessions with some of my clients based solely on how to grocery shop, so I'm going to share those tips here.
Let's forget about the sugars found in vegetables and fruits--I'm not in the business of discussing those. I'm in the business of discussing the wellness community's fervent obsession with finding a "healthy" sugar substitute by opting to use honey over white sugar or using coconut sugar or whatever the latest fad sweetner is. Even I was momentarily swept up in the idea that honey is a more healthful alternative than processed sugar, or anything unprocessed and/or raw. Granted, honey has a little bit more nutritional value than sugar; however, that's negligible.
The literature on building muscle has come quite a long way since I was first certified at the end of 2015. During my studies, I was taught that in order to build muscle, you had to lift moderate to heavy weights within 8-12 reps and anywhere from 3-5 sets. This seemed to be the magical number at which your muscles would suddenly grow. Anything other rep and set range would promote either muscular endurance or strength.
I also learned all of the various hormonal mechanisms at play that helped to contribute to increased muscle growth, which served to make sense of why you needed this magical rep and set range. Even so, conflicting evidence abounds. What about body builders? According to some literature, they don't even necessarily follow the above rep and set ranges, yet they still manage to build muscle.
Turns out the science behind muscle building doesn't have to be so complicated.
Normally I would not recommend any dietary supplements. After all, I'm not a registered dietitian and so have no experience with how a supplement may interfere with one's personal biochemistry--or any medications they could be taking. I'm only recommending these supplements based on ones I personally use that are also backed up with solid research; however, it's up to you to determine whether or not you think these supplements will be effective for you and to do the research or even talk to your doctor about how you may react to these supplements.
ACE Certified Personal Trainer, NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, nutrition coach, young adult author, moody ballerina.
I help people perform without pain.
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The views expressed on this blog are entirely my own. Any advice I offer is not to be taken as medical advice. If you think you have contraindications to exercise, please see your physician before implementing any sample workout plans I present on this blog.
All images are either my own, from Canva, or Creative Commons