Your First Stretching Routine

Your First Stretching Routine

The goal of this blog is to help you learn to follow a regular program. A regular stretching program can bring tremendous value to your workouts & your life. You are currently living with imbalances that are creating pain and stress in your body.

It’s fair to say that if you aren’t tight in your neck, upper back & shoulders then you are painfully stiff in your legs, lower back, & hips.

Here is a simple stretching routine that will open all these areas up, figure out which ones are a problem so you can begin to heal them.

Like I said earlier building a routine is the name of the game with this post so I suggest scheduling and performing this routine nightly or after workouts. I do mean schedule, put it on your calendar, datebook, refrigerator or whatever and keep the appointment you made with yourself.

Stretching Rules:

  1. Breathe deeper & slower each breath. Your body’s natural reaction is to tense up and resist the muscle being lengthened. Send your central nervous system a calming message by increasing the duration of your inhalation & exhalation on each progressive breath.
  2. Stretch for 15-30 seconds. Anything less than 15 seconds will be interpreted by the body as a reflex reaction, not an intentional lengthening of the muscle. If your following rule one you should be able to get 15 seconds in 4-5 breaths. Shoot for 30 seconds as you get better.
Start with a focus on loosening up the major muscles of your legs.

From a seated position with one leg forward, you can stretch the back of the legs (hamstrings) by leaning forward or the front of the legs (Quads) by leaning back.

The upper back is where most people carry most of their tension and stress.

Relieve that stress with the arms up the wall stretch.

Pay attention to where you are most tight, at the top of the range of motion or at the bottom.

The Iron Cross is really going to open up your lower back, hips, and back of the legs.

This move will stretch out most of your major muscle groups.

Legs up the wall is a perfect stretch for cooling down after a workout or relaxing your body to get ready to go to bed.

Use the wall & gravity to your advantage to make it as easy.

That’s it! 4 stretches that hit all of your major muscles & joints. Repeat 3 times per week & learn new stretches on our YouTube series – Stretching 101 to add into your routine!

Breaking Through Plateaus

Breaking Through Plateaus

Plateaus and setbacks are a fact of life.

It has been a week of plateaus and setbacks for me.  I hit 191 lbs (106 lost) back on November 30, and I haven’t been able to go lower since.  I’ve gone up a pound or two, then back down, based on what I’d eaten the night before, but I expect that to happen.  It’s why I continue to weigh myself every day…so that I understand why my weight fluctuates when it does.  I’ve never gone 11 days without losing anything though, so I’d say this is my first real plateau.  To make it worse, when I got on the scale this morning, I was up to 194.9…up 3 pounds from yesterday.  I had expected to be up a little (I had dinner at TGI Fridays last night, and there are just no good choices there, but the potstickers are worth it!) and Goobers at the movies (saw The Night Before…very funny and worth seeing if you want a laugh before Christmas).  I expected to be up a pound, not 3.  Logically, I know it’s mostly water, and going low carb today will flush it out.  But the Goobers may have to go next time…the box is 2 ½ servings, and you can’t just eat a few of those.  I can make a better chocolate choice going forward.  So while I was surprised to be up 3 lbs, I’m not concerned about it because I know it will come back down in a day or so.

The plateau creates more of a challenge for me.  During my workout with my favorite Evil Trainer, Andrew, yesterday, we talked a bit about the plateau…when I could breathe well enough to talk that is!  I told him I wanted to get through the holidays without gaining weight.  If I ended the year at 191, that would be ok.  The problem with that is that I have a personal goal I set a couple months ago (on October 1st to be exact), that I haven’t told anyone about, that conflicts with that.  That goal is a promise I made to myself, and I don’t make promises, to myself or others, lightly so I don’t break them.  Plateaus and setbacks aren’t going to stop me.  I am going to share that goal with all of you and give it even more power by having you know it and hold me accountable for it.  So here it is…

By the end of 2015, I will weigh less than 190lbs.

That means I have to hit 189 lbs by 12/31.  I’d like to hit 187 to make it 110 lbs lost in 2015, but 189 is the goal I set and that I intend to hit, regardless of plateaus and setbacks!  Coming into December, I thought it was a sure thing.  After all, I had a month to lose just over 2 lbs…then came an 11 day plateau capped off by gaining 3 pounds.  So now, I have 20 days to lose almost 6 pounds.  Losing 2 lbs a week is much tougher now than it was 6 months ago…but I will do it.  Running will help along with killer strength training workouts and tightening up my nutrition a bit more.

The plateaus and setbacks have also left me feeling less successful than usual on this journey.  So, I decided a little “retail therapy” might be in order.  I didn’t necessarily have to buy anything, but I needed to at least try some things on and see where I stood.  Off to Kohl’s I went.  What an eye-opener!  While I haven’t lost weight in the past 11 days, the running and strength training I’ve been doing have definitely changed my shape!

plateaus and setbacksThey say every woman needs a little black dress (LBD).  I never had one, because let’s face it, it wouldn’t have been little, but today I decided to try some on.  I liked this one so much, I had to buy it.  Now I just need a place to wear it…and better shoes for it!


So even though it has been a week of plateaus and setbacks, it has been an awesome day in Spot Jan world.  I will start fresh tomorrow, and I will be at 189 lbs by end of month…

I love this journey!