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THE SOLUTION TO BACK & KNEE PAIN

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recommend-fpr

A few years ago, after many months of intense exercise, I developed a serious back and neck pain problem.  At first I wanted to blame the program I was doing, which was P90X, the famous Beachbody Home Fitness program that I loved, but I soon started to realize that the issue was a lot more complex than that.  At 5’10” I unfortunately had years of poor posture, including making the common mistake of overworking the muscles in the front of my body ie. chest, abs, quads, and not focusing nearly enough on the muscles in the back of my body including upper back, glutes and hamstrings.  This is a common cause of creating an imbalance in the muscles, with the body constantly trying to re-align itself to better posture, while fighting against the contracted muscles of the front of the body.  It seems really simple to understand but I, like most people, tend to enjoy working more of what we can actually see in the mirror and I was guilty of not looking at my body objectively the way I always do when I train a client.

Because of this imbalance, my lower and middle back, as well as my neck*, hurt constantly.  To make matters worse, I was told after an MRI that the pain was not caused by a muscular imbalance, but rather by herniated discs and arthritis.  It’s too long to explain here why I later came to the conclusion that this idea is not valid, but you can learn more by reading [easyazon_link asin=”0446557684″ locale=”US” new_window=”default” nofollow=”default” tag=”reaheafit-20″ add_to_cart=”default” cloaking=”default” localization=”default” popups=”default”]Healing Back Pain: The Mind-Body Connection[/easyazon_link], by Dr. Sarno.  (At first, I was completely opposed to the ideas in this book, but the more I read, the more I was convinced at the validity of the content).

Anyhow, after the MRI, it was recommended that I go to physiotherapy and stop exercising; I was also told I would probably never be able to workout that intensely again, which caused a great deal of psychological stress and worry (again, see Dr. Sarno’s book, above, which explains how this creates a cycle of increasingly more pain).  I ended up going to numerous physiotherapists and chiropractors, as well as specialists in acupuncture and nothing, I mean NOTHING helped – in many cases I just felt worse, with pain that extended into my head, behind my eyes, down my left arm and into my knees – even into my right foot.  At this point I was really frightened and depressed so I contemplated paying thousands of dollars for spinal decompression, which may work for some people but (a) I couldn’t afford it and (b) frankly it scared the hell out of me after reading some patient reviews.  I also want to note that, as a Holistic Nutritionist, I was taking all the “right” supplements such as Curcumin, EFA’s and following an anti-inflammatory diet, but it simply wasn’t enough to correct the problem.  Although they certainly helped decrease my level of pain and I would recommend it, when the cause of the problem is structural, those imbalances must be corrected.  Unfortunately, the particular “specialists” I went to were as clueless as I was and gave me ineffective treatments and exercises that only made the issue worse.

After about a year of suffering, interestingly through an upgrading course I was taking online, I finally found someone who was able to help me in ways I never thought possible – a chiropractor named Dr. Nick Tsaggarelis, who specializes in Active Release Technique. In this technique, according to the description of the method, “the provider uses his or her hands to evaluate the texture, tightness and mobility of the soft tissue. Using hand pressure, the practitioner works to remove or break up the fibrous adhesions, with the stretching motions generally in the direction of venous and lymphatic flow, although the opposite direction may occasionally be used.”

Well, here’s MY description:

It hurts like hell!  No really, it does. I’m pretty sure I cried the first time and cursed out Dr. Nick like a trucker. surprise   Apparently this is not an uncommon reaction since he merely smiled and continued torturing me.  Obviously, it was well worth it, because after a few sessions, along with the back pain home exercise program he helped to create called the FPR Program, I was finally pain free.  You can’t imagine the relief I felt at knowing that I could continue to do the things I love, with only a few minor modifications to prevent that type of pain again.  The knowledge I gained regarding muscular imbalance was invaluable as well and has helped me work with my clients more effectively.

So what is the FPR Program?

FPR – or the “Feeling Pretty Remarkable” Program, is a series of straightforward, easy to follow exercise programs created by leading medical professionals that you can do in the privacy of your own home for 15 minutes a day.  It does not require fancy equipment or a lot of space; they were to designed to be simple and effective by re-training the muscles of the body that are out of balance and, in turn, make you pain-free. There are 4 levels t each program, so you start off easy and progress every 3 weeks over a 12 week period, at which point you will be amazed at how much better your back feels.  The FPR knee pain relief program is equally as effective if your pain is focused in or around your knee joint.

Please note that I would never endorse these products if I didn’t use them myself and recommend them to many of my clients, all of whom have experienced excellent results.  I’m happy to report that, even after several years, I am still able to do high intensity exercise programs and I am mostly pain-free, except when I overwork certain muscle groups.  When this happens, I simply take a break for a few days, and do the exercises I learned in the FPR programs.  Occasionally,  I will re-visit my chiropractor and have some torture – I mean, active release technique winking – done on me in order to maintain my active lifestyle.

To purchase the FPR Back Program, click HERE.

To purchase the FPR Knee Program, click HERE.

If you have any questions regarding either of the above programs, please ask in the comments below and I will be happy to help you as best as I can.

*Although the low back pain program was not specifically designed for neck pain, in my particular case it helped for neck pain as well as low back pain. Please consult with your Doctor, Chiropractor or other specialist if you have neck pain before doing the FPR low-back program.

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PRELIMINARY REVIEW OF P90X3

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weight, Rebecca Lazar - PRELIMINARY REVIEW OF P90X3

As some of you know (in other words, friends, family and the 5 people who read this blog tongue ), I did P90X in 2009 and had great results….and also got pretty injured after the second round through the program. You can read more about that sob story HERE. This time, I’m back doing P90X3  – with some modifications and a lot more knowledge on how to protect myself from injury, thanks in part to my chiropractor/muscle pain guru (more about him and his back pain program in an upcoming post) – and definitely back to loving all that is Tony Horton.

For those of you who have never heard of P90X or the new P90X3 (this is for a friend of mine; let’s not embarrass her and just post her initials. In bold: K.G.), here is the official trailer:

The hubby and I started the program a week ago and we thought 30 minutes a day HAD to be easier than the one-hour-plus daily workouts of the original.  Said hubby actually never finished P90X because it simply took too much of his time, so this seemed like a good option.  What we both discovered though, is that less time does not mean less intense.   So today, on my 9th day since starting the program, I give you my preliminary review of P90X3 with a list of pros and cons:

PROS:

  • Shorter workouts: Seriously, who doesn’t have 30 minutes a day to workout?
  • Modifications: Anyone can do these workouts; with all the modifications that are provided you can work at your own pace up to the maximum intensity.
  • Minimal equipment required: A few dumbbells, a [easyazon_link asin=”B002YQUP7Q” locale=”CA” new_window=”default” tag=”reaheafit0c-20″ add_to_cart=”default” cloaking=”default” localization=”default” nofollow=”default” popups=”default”]Chin-Up/Pull-Up Bar[/easyazon_link] or [easyazon_link asin=”7245456313″ locale=”CA” new_window=”default” tag=”reaheafit0c-20″ add_to_cart=”default” cloaking=”default” localization=”default” nofollow=”default” popups=”default”]Resistance Bands[/easyazon_link], good crosstrainer shoes, a plyo and/or [easyazon_link asin=”B0007O1O68″ locale=”CA” new_window=”default” tag=”reaheafit0c-20″ add_to_cart=”default” cloaking=”default” localization=”default” nofollow=”default” popups=”default”]Yoga Mat[/easyazon_link] and some tape for Agility X.  Note: many of these items are available directly from Beachbody – simply click the picture at the top of this post.
  • No more 90 minute Yoga X torture, P90X3 Yoga is actually enjoyable:  Coming from someone who is bored to tears by Yoga – sorry, yoga-lovers!
  • Tony and his corny sense of humor:  This may be a PRO or a CON, depending whether or not you like Tony Horton, but I do, and his silliness makes me laugh and keeps me working hard.
  • Easier nutrition guide and program: As a Nutritionist, I have to say I am very impressed with the time and effort that was put in to this program; it is similar to the way I teach my clients to eat and it is laid out in a simple, easy to understand format.  I’m happy to see,  unlike other so-called Nutrition programs, that absolutely NO artificial crap is allowed!

CONS:

  • Too many pushups for my liking:  Yes, pushups are a terrific overall body exercise.  However, for people with rounded shoulders/bad posture (ahem, that would me moi), pushups simply make this problem worse.   It shortens the muscles of the pec wall, thereby further rounding the shoulders, unless a LOT of stretching to counteract this issue is done on a daily basis.  I’ve personally had to swap out a lot of the pushups for my own upper body strengthening moves using the TRX or free weights.  For most people, however, this shouldn’t be an issue.  If you are 5’10”  with a giraffe-like neck like I am, then I feel your pain.  Literally.
  • Not enough stretching at the end of the workouts: You definitely need more recovery time to prevent injury and I find myself stretching for a good 10-15 minutes more after the workouts are done.
  • 2 minute warning at the start of EACH workout DVD:  This may not seem like a big deal, but when you can’t click on the menu button or fast forward the warning EVERY single day, it gets kind of annoying.  I mean, we get it, this program is not for people who just got off their couch yesterday and it may kill you and beachbody is not responsible, bla bla bla.  But every workout?

OVERALL:

Although I have had to modify some of the exercises in the program to make it safer for my personal neck/upper back issues, I still highly recommend this program…..so far.  Whether or not I continue to feel that way in the upcoming weeks remains to be seen, but I am pretty dedicated, as is my brother and sister-in-law who started the program the same time we did.  It’s nice to have a What’sApp group text going where we all bitch and complain about how hard a workout is or how much we crave a pizza.   As I write this, my forearms hurt, my lats hurt, my glutes hurt….but all in a good way, thank G-d.

I’ve also become a Beachbody Coach to help others who are doing any of the Beachbody fitness programs. Of course, I’m still available as a Personal Trainer if these type of home workouts are not your thing!

By the way, there is a P90X2 (in case you were wondering), but since I haven’t done it, I figured for the purpose of this blog post we can just pretend it doesn’t exist. winking

Wishing everyone a happy, Healthy and Fit New Year! happy

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BENEFITS & HOW TO: THE CASTOR OIL PACK

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castor oil packThe castor bean, also known as the Palma Christi due to its shape and healing properties, is a strong laxative if taken internally.  However, a more gentle use for the castor oil is in the form of a pack placed externally on the abdomen. The oil is absorbed into lymphatic circulation providing a soothing, cleansing, and nutritive treatment which aids the body’s detoxification and elimination functions, enhances liver metabolism, balances the immune system, and improves lymphatic circulation.

The castor oil pack can be used for numerous symptoms and disease states. It can be used for almost all digestive disorders (such as irritable bowel syndrome, constipation, liver diseases, and gallstones), male and female pelvic complaints (such as uterine fibroids, ovarian cysts, premenstrual syndrome, and conditions of the prostate), conditions related to hormonal imbalance (such as infertility and menstrual disorders), almost all inflammatory conditions, stress management, and most importantly general detoxification.  Because of all these benefits, in addition to using it myself quite often, I recommend it to many of my clients as well. happy

Here’s what you will need:

  • Organic castor oil  – it is important to use organic castor oil which will not contain pesticide residues
  • Cotton or wool flannel large enough to cover your abdomen
  • Old towel or plastic wrap
  • [easyazon_link asin=”B000BHDLQM” locale=”CA” new_window=”default” tag=”reaheafit0c-20″ add_to_cart=”default” cloaking=”default” localization=”default” nofollow=”default” popups=”default”]Hot water bottle[/easyazon_link]

How to make the pack:

  1. Drizzle approximately 1/4 cup of castor oil onto the flannel, and then fold it in half to saturate it.  (Some people recommend boiling the flannel first to remove any impurities).  During the first several weeks you will have to apply a tablespoon of oil about every 3-4 days. Eventually the pack will be saturated enough that reapplication of oil should only be needed every couple of weeks. The pack should not be dripping with oil. As an example, it should have just enough oil tomake a slight oil mark on furniture as if you were going to polish it.
  2. Lie on your back and place the saturated flannel onto your abdomen.
  3. Cover the flannel with an old towel or plastic wrap (saran wrap works well), as castor oil can stain other fabrics.
  4. Place a hot water bottle filled with hot water over the castor oil pack to aid the penetration of oil into the skin.
  5. Relax for 45-60 minutes.  This is an excellent time to practice visualization or meditation, do deep breathing exercises, listen to relaxing music or sleep. You can also wear the pack all night long, using an ace bandage to keep it in place.
  6. Afterwards, you can remove the oil with warm water and soap in the shower or you can allow any remaining oil to absorb into your skin.
  7. Store the pack in a large zip lock bag. Reuse it many times, adding more oil as needed to keep the pack saturated. Replace the pack after it begins to change color (usually several months). Do not wash the flannel.
  8. For maximum effectiveness it is necessary to apply the pack as often as possible. Try using the pack for at least 4 consecutive days per week. The more often you use it, the more beneficial the results.

Caution:

Do not use during pregancy.  May be used during menstruation if desired but only without heat.

If you have used the castor oil pack or would like to try it, I would love to hear your feedback!  If you have any questions on how to use the castor oil pack, feel free to post them here and I will be happy to reply.

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THE BEST RICE COOKER

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[easyazon_image add_to_cart=”default” align=”right” asin=”B000I5UEQM” cloaking=”default” height=”202″ localization=”default” locale=”CA” nofollow=”default” new_window=”default” src=”http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/21f8LN%2BMHYL.jpg” popups=”default” tag=”reaheafit0c-20″ width=”250″] I’ve had a few rice cookers over the years and all have worked reasonably well. There was the [easyazon_link asin=”B002RWJN7A” locale=”CA” new_window=”default” tag=”reaheafit0c-20″ add_to_cart=”default” cloaking=”default” localization=”default” nofollow=”default” popups=”default”]Cuisinart 7-Cup Rice Cooker[/easyazon_link], the [easyazon_link asin=”B007WQ9YNO” locale=”CA” new_window=”default” tag=”reaheafit0c-20″ add_to_cart=”default” cloaking=”default” localization=”default” nofollow=”default” popups=”default”]Aroma 8-Cup Digital Rice Cooker and Food Steamer[/easyazon_link] and the [easyazon_link asin=”B0048BPWQO” locale=”CA” new_window=”default” tag=”reaheafit0c-20″ add_to_cart=”default” cloaking=”default” localization=”default” nofollow=”default” popups=”default”]Sunbeam 16 Cup Rice Cooker[/easyazon_link]. The problem I found with the Aroma digital rice cooker is that you have to set it for the type of rice you are cooking and it doesn’t always turn out the way you want it to, especially if you add any other ingredients besides rice, as I often do. The Cuisinart and Sunbeam models have a button that you push down to cook and when the water is absorbed and the rice is done, the button pops up and automatically sets the rice cooker into warming mode.  I find the button style much easier to use because it doesn’t matter what type of rice or quinoa you are using and you can stir-fry onions or other vegetables directly in the rice cooker before adding the rice and water to the pot.

The issue with the above rice cookers and most other ones on the market today is that they are Teflon coated in order to make them non-stick. Whether or not you agree that heating Teflon can be hazardous to your health as well as the environment, the fact is that after some time the Teflon will flake off and bits of it will be going into your food. Do you really want to be ingesting that? Using Teflon coated pans at low heat temperatures with an exhaust fan and not using it at all once it begins to flake off is generally accepted as “proper use” by the manufacturers; however, rice cookers are boiling your rice so the temperature cannot be considered at a low setting.

Because of this I began searching for a rice cooker that was non-digital such as the Sunbeam and the Cuisinart, but not coated with Teflon. I also wanted the ability to steam vegetables in a basket on top, which most rice cookers have, but many are made of plastic and I didn’t want that leaching into my food either.

What I found is the [easyazon_link asin=”B000I5UEQM” locale=”CA” new_window=”default” tag=”reaheafit0c-20″ add_to_cart=”default” cloaking=”default” localization=”default” nofollow=”default” popups=”default”]Stainless Steel Rice Cooker by Miracle Exclusives[/easyazon_link] which has all the components I was looking for – push button, stainless steel, no Teflon, and a large stainless steel steaming basket (not shown in the picture). I’ve had it for several months now and I am extremely happy with it. The only negatives I have to say is that I wish it came in black or silver in addition to white. That being said it actually looks a lot nicer in person than it does online. The other slight negative, depending on your expectations, is that because it is stainless steel it is not 100% non-stick. Sometimes rice does stick to the bottom a bit, but you just soak it for a few minutes and it comes off quite easily without any harsh scrubbing.

I’ve made quinoa, brown rice, white rice, sushi rice, and even steel cut oats in there and they all come out fluffy and delicious. For some recipes I’ve used my rice cooker with, check out:

COLORFUL QUINOA

STICKY SWEET BROWN RICE

MISO BROWN RICE

DELICIOUSLY SIMPLE RICE

I have used the steamer basket for all types of vegetables and even put raw eggs in the basket when cooking brown rice to make perfect “hard-boiled” eggs.

If you have this rice cooker or plan on buying one, I’d love to hear your comments below!

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CPR CERTIFICATION CLASS

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cpr

I’m happy to bring to you this important upcoming class taught by a terrific instructor! See below for details.

DATE:  TUESDAY, JANUARY 7, 2014

TIME:  7:00 PM – 11:00 PM

COST: $58 CND EACH TO CERTIFY FOR THE FIRST TIME; $48 CND EACH TO RE-CERTIFY A valid Red Cross certification card must be brought to the class in order to qualify for re-certification.

If you always wanted to learn CPR but haven’t had the time OR you are in a field that requires you to re-certify your CPR training, this course is for you!

Taught by Valerie Wood, an experienced instructor from an authorized Canadian Red Cross provider (www.ert-cpr.com), this course will give you certification in CPR- level C/AED at the completion of the program.

IMPORTANT NOTES:

***THIS EVENT IS FOR WOMEN ONLY AND MUST BE RESERVED AHEAD OF TIME***

Space is limited so reserve your spot early!

In order to reserve your spot, please click the PayPal link below.  Alternatively, you may email info@realhealthfit.com with a valid credit card number and expiry date (it will not be billed if you cancel by Dec. 26 at the latest).

Thank you for your co-operation and we look forward to having you join us!


Certification Types



weight, Rebecca Lazar - CPR CERTIFICATION CLASS

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