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Core Cardio–in a Chair?!

 

Ever have an issue arise that sidelines your standing workouts? Whether adrenal fatigue, knee or hip issues, ankle or foot injuries–most of us have had something come up that messed up our well-planned workouts.

 

Chair workouts to the rescue!  But can a seated workout really be that effective?

 

YES!

My own experience as well as that of many T-Tappers has been that chair workouts can be just as effective–even for the lower body!

What?!

That’s right!  You can maintain and even lose inches off the lower body doing mostly seated workouts!  But keeping the T-Tapp principles of alignment and muscle activation are key to getting results all over.

Let’s start with the stance–er–sittance?  Alignment! 😉  You want a supportive chair, sit towards the edge, and if your feet can’t be flat on the floor, try a different chair or grab a book or box or low footstool so your feet can be flat.  Sometimes just putting on my Skechers makes the difference of being able to keep my feet flat or not!

 

Lower body alignment is as follows:

  • Knees straight out from hips
  • Ankles directly under knees
  • Feet flat on floor (or book, box or footstool)
  • Feet straight forward (no ducks, not even when sitting!)

 

Once you have the lower body aligned, it’s time to work on upper body:

  • Curl the core–pull that tummy UP and in (more on that in bit!)
  • Ribs UP! Think of a string pulling your head nice and tall to the ceiling
  • Shift back–don’t lean forward. Shift weight back onto sit-bones
  • No turtles!  It’s so common to jut our chin forward without realizing it.  Center the ears over the shoulders.  Weight shitted back should help this!

 

Curling the core–it’s not just tightening the glutes (buns) for all you’re worth! And while pushing the feet in can help, neither do you want to do all the work with your feet–or you will have sore knees!

Place one hand on your tummy, one on lower back.  You won’t “tuck” much because, well, you are sitting in a chair and there’s not much room to tuck!  Think to bring belly button up, then back to your spine.  Keep hands there as you lift ribs so you don’t lean back or lose your tummy.  This may be difficult because the fascia in the lower back and lower belly may be tight and need to s-t-r-e-t-c-h.  Do your best and reset often!

Once you have your core activated and ribs up, shift weight of upper body back a bit onto the sit bones.  You will feel your body “fall into alignment” and it will be a bit easier to keep that core activated along with the lats to help keep your ribs up! Get those ears centered over shoulders (if the shift back didn’t already do that) and now–BREATHE!  BIG inhale–exhale BIGGER!

One last tip–while it is fine to push in with the toes, shift to push in with the foot weight more in the heels.  Try both ways–feel the difference?  Shifting to the heels helps activate more of thighs as well as across the knee in a way to help not make the knees sore and eliminate knee knocker pudge, especially when you also shift weight off of big toe. But push lightly–remember, your core is supposed to do the work, not your feet!

Go ahead and do a set of Butterflies, Tricep Curls–you can even do Jumping Jacks (or V’s and W’s) from Plies in a chair!  To “kick out”, wiggle toes and shake out knees and hands and relax the intensity of your tuck a bit.  Whew!  I get warm just setting up!

 

Here’s a great series of moves to do in a chair– Get Fit and Fabulous in Fifteen Minutes!

 

Just remember your alignment tips above!

 

(And pssst!  Heads up!  I will be offering my Fabulous Form Tips in a few weeks as a Cyber Weekend special!  I’m repackaging them into an e-course format to help reduce overwhelm so you can get fit and FABULOUS with tips like these!  I’ll share more about that soon!)

Favorite Deep Discount Tuesday

 

Deep Discount Tuesday is here–and it’s everybody’s favorite!

20% off your ENTIRE order!  Now’s the time to get that wish list out and start filling it! 😉  Discounted prices are already in place–no code necessary.

(Discount does not apply to trainer events, digital products, Nerium or Magnesium Oil.)

You can shop until 11:59 p.m. Eastern tonight (October 17).  Are you going to try a new workout? Try Digest Plus?  Stock up on Alfalfa?  I’d love to hear what’s on your list!

Check out the sale HERE!

Happy shopping!

Last Day for Defeating Diastasis!

 

Today is the last day to register for the fall course of Defeating Diastasis!

If you’ve been struggling with losing inches off the tummy area, with activating your core muscles, with closing a diastasis recti gap or with pelvic floor issues, I’d love to have you join me!

I’ll offer the course again in early March, but wouldn’t it be great to get a stronger core in preparation for the holidays? And before the next 60 Day Challenge?

Be sure to forward your confirmation e-mail to me tonight so I can get you added to the sequence right away!

You can register here —> Defeating Diastasis Program

Let the gap-closing, core-strengthening adventure begin! 😉

To Tuck or Not to Tuck?

To tuck or not to tuck–that is the question!

 

As I did research for Defeating Diastasis, my online course to help close the tummy gap (diastasis recti) and improve and pelvic floor strength, the controversy over tucking vs neutral spine came up repeatedly.  And it’s totally understandable! After all, we don’t want to do something to exacerbate the very problem we’re trying to heal.

 

Before I share my own conclusions, I want to take a moment to go back in time.

 

20 years ago, “core” was not a buzzword.  Many of us when we start exercising don’t know much about one muscle group over another. I knew a little, but I sure wasn’t up on all the ab muscle groups, lats, quads, etc.  Teresa wanted her workout to be for everyone and chose terminology the average person could connect with.  Fast forward 20 years–terminology has changed and Teresa has also continued to learn and grow and develop the moves to be even more effective.  Now, instead of “tuck butt” she says “curl the core” or “curl/tuck”.

 

In all honesty, what she is focusing on now was what she always wanted us to do.

 

Since the gluteal muscles (buns/derriere) are stronger they often will take over when “tucking the tailbone under”.  But it is the abs that are to initiate and drive this, not the backside!   I often tell my clients, “If the buns and abs are going together for a gift, the buns only give 30-35% while the abs give 65-70%!”

Now that we’ve had a little history lesson (and a little anatomy! 😉 ) we’ll go on to my conclusions and advice about tucking.

 

When you “tuck” your pelvis, you can end up pushing down more on the pelvic floor and actually end up widening a diastasis recti or tummy gap.  NOT what we want, right?!  So does T-Tapp make a prolapse or pelvic floor dysfunction worse?  Does it widen the tummy gap?

It could.  But it shouldn’t.

If you are using mainly the gluteal muscles or backside to drive the tuck, you will be bearing down on your pelvic floor.  We want to lift that area and do all we can to facilitate core strength which helps the pelvic floor as well.  How to do that?  Learn to curl the core and tuck properly.

Whenever I have a new webcam client, new in-person session or teach a new class or clinic, the first thing we will do is go over curling the core against a wall and sometimes on the floor.  It is imperative to get this right for many reasons.  First of all, it is the “core” of T-Tapp!  Secondly, it will actually help lift the pelvic floor and will engage more abdominal muscles and help heal a diastasis recti vs make it worse.

 

First you want to think “belly button UP”.

 

More than your belly button will go up, but it is a visual and familiar area that we can connect with. Adding touching that area with your hands will help even more in strengthening the brain-to-body connections. Pressing down just below the bladder area and wiggling in, then literally pressing up toward the rib cage, will help engage those lower ab muscles (transverse abs) and give a little lift to the pelvic floor area.

Next think “belly button BACK”.

 

Often I’m asked “like sucking in your gut?” Well, not quite.  You want that “up” motion before you go back as this will engage more muscles.  You engaged the transverse abdominal muscle (or TVA) and now we want to move up to engage more core muscles.  Pressing your hands against your abdomen (lightly!) engage the muscles up to and around your belly button to help flatten your back against a wall or the floor, losing the airspace between your back and the flat surface.  Yes, your pelvis just tucked a bit. However, you don’t want the “tucking” to be the main focus but the abs pressing the back flat.

Side note–in the newer First Step series workouts Teresa is joined by her sidekick, 90 year old Berei.  Between the ages or 85-87 Berei gained 18% bone density in her lower lumbar alone! She improved from osteoporosis to osteopenia–which is an amazing feat for anyone, but especially someone in her 80s!  All the “press/tuck/curl” that Teresa cues in First Step is what she gives credit for the improvement.  But it’s not about tucking the tailbone hard as you can–it’s about engaging those ab muscles, some of which are attached to your lower back fascia. So as you curl that core to tuck the pelvis under, and especially as you think belly button UP before belly button back, you are engaging muscles to lift the pelvic floor, help strengthen the back as well as strengthen the core and, yes–close a tummy gap!

 

Is there ever a time to have a neutral spine in T-Tapp workouts?

 

Yes, but not until you have the foundation of the “tuck/curl”.  Once you have that core activation, you can lift the ribs and in recent workouts, such as First Step 1&2, First Step 3&4 and First Step Fascia Fitness, Teresa often cues a neutral spine after the foundation is laid.  But you don’t let your core go to achieve neutral spine!

 

Is this effective? Is it safe?

 

YES!  This fall starts the third course of Defeating Diastasis. I have amazing testimonials from women who have not only closed or made significant progress on closing their tummy gaps, but also increased their ab awareness and core strength as well as improved their pelvic floor function.  One of the most amazing testimonials is from Emiko H. who had several issues with pelvic floor dysfunction due to 3rd degree tearing during the birth of one of her children.  After going through the course last spring, all her issues are GONE!  And she didn’t get all the way through the course–in fact, she mainly focused on ONE technique!

You don’t have to enroll in Defeating Diastasis–just follow the tips in this post to help.  But if you want a more structured program with video demonstrations of many of the techniques and slow instructionals of many of the T-Tapp moves that are good for improving core strength, you can still join me for the fall course.  Check out details at the T-Tapp Digital store–Defeating Diastasis Program.

If you have any questions, please comment below or contact me–I’d love to help YOU improve your core activation!

 

Deep Discount Tuesday–Sculpt and Tone While Balancing Hormones!

The 2017 T-Tapp Retreat was AWESOME as usual!  I typically don’t lose much during the week of the Retreat and certifications-and sometimes not a lot when I come home, either. But I measured today to find 6 inches gone–one off my waist! I think everyone lost an inch at least off their waist and many lost more! All that fascia stretching from rib to hip paid off!

Today’s Deep Discount Tuesday is a part of the Vibrant for Life packages that Public Broadcasting filmed at one of the retreats. It has only been available through PBS but today YOU can get Posture Power Sculpt and the Vibrant for Life documentary for less than half price!

I consider Posture Power Sculpt is a fusion of Senior Fit and Healthy Hormones, adding Balance, Posture Power sequence (great for arms!) and a newer move that works upper and lower body AND balance! Not having as many water breaks as Senior Fit makes it a bit more aerobic. The dvd has Broom 2 Live on the dvd, too! Lots of options to lose inches and sculpt your body!

The Vibrant for Life Documentary is chock full of information from Teresa, Mary Shomon and Dr. Sara Gottfried, plus interviews with many T-Tappers–information that will help you get those hormones in balance!

Regularly $65 you can get this set for $35 for Deep Discount Tuesday!

You can have your very own “mini Retreat” with this set! Grab some magnesium oil and soak your feet while watching parts of the documentary for a real treat!

Self Care in Chaos (Part 3)

 

I want to talk about movement during a chaotic and stressful time. Notice I did not say workouts!

 

Some of you may find working out during stressful times helpful, but when total chaos hits, you may find it impossible to keep consistent with any kind of routine.

 

That’s certainly what I found during the days leading up to my husband’s surgery as well as afterward. The first thing I noticed was my lower back and legs aching from standing next to and over hospital beds. As much as I’d like to say I was able to keep my core and lats engaged, that was the farthest thing from my mind!

 

I did realize, though, that I needed to find some relief, and doing a workout wasn’t going to happen anytime soon. So what did I do?

 

 

Sneaky Fit to the Rescue!

 

I often will curl my core against a wall when my lower back is sore, especially from a long day of standing or walking. Of course, it’s not always easy to find a suitable wall in a hospital room! I would lean against the bathroom door after closing it and more than once I leaned against the elevator wall as I went down a few floors. I used to do it only when I was alone—after awhile I just didn’t care! 🙂

 

If you have never curled your core against a wall, here is the short version (I share a longer version in my online programs):

  • Stand against a wall, feet out about 4-5 inches
  • Bring belly button up towards the rib cage (it won’t really go up that high, it’s the activation you are after)
  • Now use the tummy muscles to flatten the lower back against the wall, tucking to accommodate as needed
  • Keeping the core activated to flatten back against the wall, lift the ribs without arching away from the wall
  • Shift knees out, weight off big toe
  • Big inhale, exhale BIGGER! (Note: It WILL be tough to inhale big, do your best!)
  • Step away and kick out

 

{The following paragraphs contain affiliate links.  If you choose to purchase through these links, I will receive a small compensation which helps me keep this website running smoothly so I can continue to bring you helpful tips and encouragement! There are also links to specific moves mentioned–which are not affiliate links. }

 

Curling the Core alone went a long way to keep my sanity! Of course you could do Hoedowns in the bathroom, but to be honest? I just didn’t have the mental energy or motivation. I didn’t mind doing Butterflies (don’t imitate the gal behind Teresa! 😉 ), or even Flick Kicks (the more activated kickouts Teresa does in the newer workouts). Find a few moves that are “no-brainers” for you—you don’t need a lot of mental energy, just enough to focus on that move without taxing you. Scarecrow Ski is a fun move that is easy to memorize (found in Senior Fit and First Step as well as Turn Back Time). It might be a seated move. I did some of the push, press and pull Teresa does in this video clip How to Get Fit and Fabulous in 15 Minutes. Now with the T-Tapp Tuesday moves from Great Day Tampa Bay (WTSP Studio 10 Live), you could pick a few moves that click for you to do in odd moments when there is no one around (or maybe do it with the nurses coming in and out and advertise for T-Tapp!).

 

Even sitting and doing Butterflies or other moves can be helpful. Even just curling down in a chair, hanging onto your knees, then pulling to come upright can help!  A few workouts that have these and other great seated stretches are MORE Chair,  TappCore 2  and MORE 3 Chair streaming workout.

 

Here’s another great move from Studio 10 Live that I love—T-Tapp Tuesday Sit-Down Arm Exercise.

 

Even shifting your weight into your heels and doing several shoulder rolls can do wonders!

 

Pick one or two of these that stand out to you and learn them well so you don’t have to have the videos or dvds—and you’ll be well-prepared with moves for any crazy times that you can’t workout. No need to let chaos and stress create muscle tension and tightness! Sneaky Fit to the Rescue!

 

This is part 3 in a series on Self Care in Chaos. If you’ve missed the first two you can find them here:

Self Care in Chaos, part 1
Self Care in Chaos, part 2

Self-Care in Chaos 2

 

Are you in a season of stress or chaos?  I’ll continue sharing what I did for self-care during an extreme time of stress.

 

I shared in my first post on Self-Care in Chaos how I made the decision to eat something vs stressing over it being balanced or “healthy” or “clean”. Sometimes I was able to eat a quick breakfast before I left, but obviously the day of the surgery that wasn’t going to happen as my husband had to be there at 6:30 a.m. and the hospital was an hour away! I was able to bring some fruit and snacks with me, but I did go down to the hospital cafeteria to get a little bit from the yogurt bar. Each day would find me looking around and just gravitating toward what sounded good. Thankfully I didn’t have a whole lot of choices to confuse me and stress me even more! Some days that salad bar was amazing and I really piled it on. Other days I walked by– couldn’t even look at it! :p

 

There were days that I had Subway for lunch and pizza for supper, and other days I had salad bar for one and the yogurt bar for the other. I would buy some snacks but tried to also take fruit from home. I definitely was eating more sugar between the snacks, fruit and yes, the ice cream at Culver’s that I indulged in sometimes on the way home. 🙂 but the fruit was more portable and easy to keep without any refrigeration.

 

 

Make plans ahead if you can to help you navigate a chaotic time.

 

It’s important to fuel your body well so that your body can deal with the stress. Your adrenals will be taxed, and by not eating or eating all junk you’re not going to help them out. Neither is stressing over every bite you put in your mouth as not being healthy and berating yourself for it. In fact, that can be even worse!

 

If you’re going through a chaotic time, give yourself permission to just make sure you eat. Then if you can, try to make better choices wherever you may find yourself. It may be a hospital cafeteria, it might mean having to catch some fast food on the way home as you’re dealing with whatever stresses life has thrown at you. But make sure you make time to eat! If you are the type that just doesn’t eat for long periods of time when stressed, have a trusted friend or relative be your buddy that will make sure that you are eating. Tell them they have your permission to make sure that you are eating, whether that means asking you, bringing you something, or taking you someplace to eat. Be grateful for whatever you’re eating versus thinking “Oh, I shouldn’t be eating this.”

 

 

Be sure to stay hydrated!

 

This is another area where it can be easy to let go because we don’t read our body’s cues for hunger or thirst very well during a stressful time. Hydration is crucial for your body to continue functioning well. For myself, I made sure I had bottles of water in my backpack and I bought bottled water even though yes, it was usually more expensive. I knew it was important and crucial for me to stay hydrated during this time as much if not more so than when life was “normal”.

 

 

Start Small

 

It is hard to be intentional during these time! If you can pick just a few things to help you make sure that you are fueling your body well by at least eating something, and stay hydrated to help your body function optimally, that can go a long way towards taking care of yourself during the chaos.

Self-Care in Chaos

Self Care in Chaos

Life can be full of ups and downs. One thing is for sure, you can’t plan for life surprises!

 

A year ago the surprise was my husband’s open heart surgery. In May he had a significant change in his heart valve function that necessitated a trip to a larger hospital for testing. It was determined that he needed a valve replacement and it was going to be done in June. This was not a part of our summer plans! In every other way my husband was extremely healthy but a congenital defect in the aortic heart valve was declaring that it needed attention– and quickly!

 

I am no stranger to chaotic moments. Having a large family does that all by itself! 🙂 I have been through my husband’s major accident (resulting in a serious head injury), a child falling from our barn loft, another child’s autoimmune disorder… The struggle is to make sure that we are taking care of ourselves in the midst of the chaos. It’s easy to think “I’ll take care of myself when this settles down”. Exercise, eat better, drink more water, make sure I get enough rest–it’s difficult to keep everything going when chaos hits. Even the most disciplined of us can struggle when life’s routines are completely overturned.

 

I knew that I needed to be making sure that at least a few things for happening. Whether your chaos is something as unexpected and serious as heart surgery or a changing job or a cross country move, or a “happy stress” such as a wedding, birth of a child or big anniversary celebration, it’s still a stressful time that changes the normal daily today routines. It can throw us off of all of our good habits we work so hard to instill. It especially will toss out the ones that we’ve been struggling to make a part of our routine already!

 

 

The first area I want to address is eating.

 

I’m not talking about dieting. I don’t like the word diet anyway! 🙂 I’m talking about fueling your body well so that you can handle the stresses of a chaotic time. The hospital where my husband was at had a really good cafeteria but unfortunately I was always missing the hours when they were open. There was also a Subway, a wonderful salad bar, a yogurt bar and a place that sold pizza by the slice.

 

Chaotic times are not the times to be a purist about eating. At least not in my book! Obviously if you have food allergies and sensitivities that’s going to make things a bit more stressful for you. But even then you may be able to find some options. For example the salad bar that I mentioned had plenty of options that even those with some food sensitivities could have gotten something to eat. But the flip side is, sometimes we just don’t want to see another salad!

 

If you are an emotional eater, as I am, it can be very difficult because it takes planning ahead and intentionality as well as a bit of determination when things are on an even keel. When things go totally haywire then it’s much more difficult! Intentionality and determination go out the window because your energy needs to be channeled into a different direction so that you can deal with the stresses at hand. Survival is truly the name of the game! Planning ahead is certainly not easy when life hit you upside the head out of nowhere. If it hap

pens to hit you before you’ve had a chance to refill restock your refrigerator and cupboards, that can definitely make things challenging!

 

Have a plan for when chaos hits!

 

Going into this time I knew I needed to have a plan. When we came home from the hospital after my husband’s testing and diagnosis, while working on scheduling the surgery, I knew I needed to be thinking ahead about what I was going to do about eating. I’m blessed to have older daughters at home who do all the cooking. We eat a lot of home cooked meals, but I couldn’t take those with me. I had no way to keep them cold and no guarantee of a way to heat them up.

 

My mental energy was needed to be funneled into making preparations so that I could be fully there for my husband. I needed to get things squared away with my business. I needed to take care of some financial things so that I didn’t have to worry about those during the time of the surgery and immediately following. My husband also was making preparations to make my job easier for afterward when he would be somewhat out of commission. I did not have the mental or emotional strength to be planning ahead for my food as well.

 

My plan of attack was was to make sure that I ate something 3 times per day. I had been working on backing off of gluten and making some other changes, including slowly working on eating less sugar. During this time, however, it was not the time to be that strict with myself. Also, I obviously didn’t have as many choices. While I loved the salad bar, there were some days that the salad bar didn’t appeal. If it doesn’t appeal, guess what? I won’t eat it! Or I won’t eat enough of it to sustain me. So I gave myself permission first of all to just eat. Sometimes that meant catching something at a fast food place on the way home. I tried to make better choices but I just gave myself permission because I needed to eat. I knew that if I didn’t, once I got home I would be rummaging around for ice cream, bread, cookies, anything and everything that was not going to be a healthy choice to fuel my body and strengthen me during this stressful time!

 

 

In the next post I’ll share more of what I did to make sure I was eating and things I wish I would have done in preparation.

 

Are you dealing with a stressful or chaotic time right now? What is your plan of attack to make sure you are fueling your body well?

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Getting Started with T-Tapp

 

Are you ready to get started with T-Tapp, but not sure which starter workout is best for you?

Or have you already been T-Tapping for awhile and would like to try out one of the other starter workouts, but aren’t sure which one to get next?

Introducing—-

I created this fun quiz to help you narrow down your choices between the main 4 starter workouts–Basic Workout Plus, MORE, Healthy Hormones (also called Mindful Movement) and Senior Fit.

You can also opt in on the sidebar of the quiz to find out ALL the answers (because you’re curious, right?! 😉 ) as well as receive tips to help you get started.  There are links to video reviews of each workout (shared in a recent Facebook Live series) as well as highlights you can download to compare to help you make the best choice for YOU!

If you still aren’t sure after going through the reviews, please feel free to contact me–I can ask even more questions to help you find the best fit!

Ready to find out?!  Click on the graphic above or here—>  Which T-Tapper Are YOU?!

And I’d love to hear which answer YOU get!  Comment below with your quiz results!

 

 

Hit the Floor for Deep Discount Tuesday!

Looking for a great series of workouts to work your abs? There are TWO great deals for Deep Discount Tuesday this month!

First set– Hit the Floor Combo, Hit the Floor Tempo and Hit the Floor Harder for only $40 ($90 if purchased separately).

Hit the Floor Combo has Hit the Floor Softer (created for use with weighted shoes, but you don’t have to use weighted shoes–or any shoes! 🙂 ) and the original Hit the Floor (a little more challenging than Hit the Floor Softer).

Hit the Floor Tempo is a variation of Hit the Floor that includes the fascia stretch sequence that is in the newer Brain-Body Fitness Floor and Core Floor workouts. The workout has no instruction and less form reminders and is a little more challenging than the original Hit the Floor. (See a progression here?!)

Hit the Floor Harder is just what it says! This is the most advanced of the Hit the Floor series and definitely more challenging! It also includes the first 10 minutes of Total Workout as a warm-up.

The second set includes Hit the Floor Tempo and Hit the Floor Harder at the great price of $25 ($60 if purchased separately). You could call this the next step set if you already own the Hit the Floor Combo.

Are these effective? Yes! I’ve featured all three workouts in my Beautiful YOU online classes. While Hit the Floor Harder is truly challenging, it’s also very effective if you have the core strength and want to take it up a notch!

Progression of these workouts would be:

Hit the Floor Softer (with the Combo)
Hit the Floor (with the Combo)
Hit the Floor Tempo
Hit the Floor Harder

{Disclosure: The sentence below contains an affiliate link. If you purchase through this link I will receive a commission that helps keep my website running so I can continue to bring you great tips and support!}

Ready to work on your abs and focus on core strength and losing inches off your tummy?! Check out this month’s deals HERE!

Just an additional note–I’ve had a few questions about whether these workouts are okay to do with a diastasis recti.  I don’t recommend much floorwork until you have gained core strength and your gap is closing.  If you want to ask questions specific to you, please contact me and I will help you choose the best path for you!

 

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