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3 Simple Tips to Activate Your Inner Core

3 Simple Tips to Activate Your Inner Core

Ever hear of your “inner core muscles”? As I continue to learn better activation techniques and applying them to T-Tapp, I get excited and just have to share with YOU! How about tips to improve core activation and pelvic floor function?!

Yes, PLEASE!

Your inner girdle (or inner “Spanx” as Teresa used to call it) is made up of various muscles—transverse abdominis, external and internal obliques and rectus abdominis that form the abdominal core muscles that most of us are familiar with. When we want to lose inches off the abs or strengthen our core, these are the muscles we target with traditional sit-ups, crunches and planks. Yet often these exercises don’t result in the core and spinal stability needed to protect from injury or result in the much-coveted inch loss.

Even with T-Tapp moves such as Organs in Place and Half Frogs, you can miss the key component to maximize results such as core strength and inch loss. So what’s a girl to do?!

Getting to the CORE of the Core!

Even deeper are the lumbar multifidus (deepest layer of back muscles), pelvic floor and diaphragm, which along with the transverse abdominis muscle form the “inner core” of the core—often referred to as the core stability muscles. Physical therapist Julie Wiebe calls it “the anticipatory core” because these inner core muscles have the ability to turn on to stabilize the body before you even take a step (or move your arms). It’s important to engage and activate the “inner core” or the “outer core” (obliques and rectus abdominis) can’t function to its fullest, which decreases performance (aka inch loss and strength) and increases potential for injury, due to the lack of stability.

So how DO you engage that inner core?

First–BREATHE!

The simplest and easiest way is breathing. Yes, breathing! When you inhale deeply, expanding the ribs, not only are you stretching the fascia between the ribs and expanding the diaphragm, but you are also relaxing and lengthening the pelvic floor and transverse abdominis. When you exhale, there’s an automatic tightening or “recoil” that creates activation that exercises the pelvic floor muscles gently and naturally. It also exercises the diaphragm fully, where “chest breathing” keeps it shallow with not much activation happening. As you fully exhale, “pulling ribs together” as Teresa says, you get the dead air out, and it really works the fascia around your rib cage as well as your core—inner and outer!

Second–ZIP It UP!

Zipping up the abs can also be super helpful to get that deep inner core activation. Doing this slowly while lying on the floor (knees bent, feet on floor), zipping from pubic bone to rib cage will help you activate more deeply. You can take your finger and thumb, as if you were holding a zipper pull, and slowly zip up—all the way to the ribs. Slowly unzip, too—it’s not easy, but VERY effective!

Third–CURL That CORE!

Curling core on floor is another way to reach that deep inner core. Similar to zipping up the abs, you are activating the abs to slowly lift toward belly button (creating an inner core pelvic lift), curl the tailbone under—using mainly core to do so. This will flatten your lower back against the floor. You can then refocus lifting pelvic floor to stabilize for elevating ribs—but don’t let that lower back arch!

Curling the core standing, not fully tucking but keeping a more neutral spine, also really works the inner core.

It’s a GROUP effort!

The lat muscles in the back and obliques and rectus abdominis in front form the “outer core”. I like to cue thinking of being between 2 panes of glass, or between the door and storm door as my kids used to do, shutting each other in! That way you are not tilting ribcage to get ribs up, not arching the back—because you’ll hit the door if you do! Outer core and inner core all work together for posture, pelvic floor function, ease of movement– and yes—inch-loss results!

Want to follow along with a demonstration of how you can work that inner core—in a chair?! Check it out on my YouTube channel HERE!

Want even MORE? Sign up below and get access to a standing technique and move to help you work that inner core for optimal stability and results! (You’ll also receive e-mails 3-5 times per month where I share blog updates, subscriber-only form tips and first notice AND previews on new classes! Unsubscribe at any time—but I hope you’ll stick around!)

My two popular chair workout packages are back! Chair Champions and Chair Cruisers—and a bundle option of BOTH! These are short, doable classes to help you get max activation in a chair!

3-in-10 Classes are also available—3 moves in 10 minutes or less from 3 popular standing workouts! Choose from Basic, MORE and Healthy Hormones— or get all THREE in a discounted BUNDLE!

You can even try a few classes before you buy! Look for “preview” next to a class to check it out!

Your In-Home Personal Trainer

Alignment and form are key to results in any exercise. They optimize lymphatic pumping and drainage as well as muscle activation. They also protect joints and prevent injury. Alignment especially helps re-calibrate your posture and carries into daily life and activities, too.

But what if you don’t live near a trainer? Or maybe you do, or can access one online, but you can’t afford to hire her to come every day!

Use the built-in, in-house trainer you already have!

Introducing–The Wall!

(Or, in this case, the door!)

If you don’t have a wall clear of pictures (or chair rail), you can use a closed door. The goal is being able to lean against it to focus on muscle activation and alignment.

By using the wall to help support your body, you free up your brain a bit as well as your hands. Leaning against the wall takes off some of the pressure of holding yourself up against gravity, allowing you to focus more on what your muscles are (or should be) feeling and less on standing upright in the T-Tapp stance.

But just because you’re using the wall doesn’t mean you’re not focusing on points of perfection when it comes to form!

How It Works

The key points to using a wall or door to help with alignment and form:

  • Heels of feet out 4-6 inches from the wall (enough room to tuck under)

  • Toes forward
  • Knees softly bent
  • Start with natural airspace between lower back and wall
  • Upper back can be touching the wall but doesn’t need to to start
You don’t need to put your hand behind your back!
I’m showing how there is the natural space there.

Once you find your wall or door, get set up as in the above tips. You are leaning against the wall, but don’t get slouchy—you still are focusing on proper form, after all!

Curing the Core Against the Wall

First– Place your hands low on the belly, below any fluff 🙂 and just above the pubic bone. Wiggle in gently and after a big inhale, on the exhale push everything up as you think/say “belly button up”. You will tuck under ever-so-slightly, but you are NOT focusing on the glutes yet. You are using the core muscles–the hands touching and pushing up a bit are helping the brain-body connection.

Wiggle in gently just inside hip bones
Then just below the tummy, gently press up
“Belly button UP”

Second– You will again inhale, and on the exhale, use your core muscles to flatten the lower back against the wall as best you can. You will bend the knees more as well as tuck under and use the gluteal muscles, but the core muscles are doing the larger portion of the work. Flatten your hands against your tummy when doing this part and think/say “belly button back”. (Yes, I want you to say it—it helps with the brain-body connection, too!)

Flatten hands against belly, then belly helps
flatten back against the wall
“Belly button BACK”

Next– Work one hand a bit higher, at the belly button or slightly above, inhale, and on the exhale press both hands against the tummy. Think of an elevator, with your core being the ground floor and then elevate your spine to lift ribs. You may notice the shoulders going back a bit, but they don’t need to touch the wall. The back of your head should be touching the wall but you should not have neck tension. You can slowly shake your head “no” to release any tension, or you can lightly press the back of the head against the wall. Refocus the top hand pressing against the upper tummy, refocus the lower tummy to press the lower back against the wall.

I raised my left arm to get it out of the way–normally
that hand would be pressing at or just above the belly button.
There’s only a slight difference–picture on the right I focused on RIBS UP!

Finally– Shift weight in feet off of big toe. Then inhale big—exhale bigger! It will be difficult, depending upon how tight the fascia around your rib cage is. Do your best without losing form or alignment!

Left is before pushing knees out, right after.
You can tell a slight difference in the distance
between my knees and thighs.

You will feel slightly restricted trying to inhale deeply—think of East/West breathing, expanding the rib cage laterally. Then exhale all the way, as if pulling the ribs together. This is good for stretching the fascia around and between the ribs!

After a few deep breaths, step away from the wall and shake/kick out.

How About a Few Moves Against the Wall?

Oh yes you CAN!

Here are moves you can do against the wall:

  • Plies (from Basic Workout, Health Hormones workout, Senior Fit, MORE)
  • Reach Scoops
  • T-Tapp Twist
  • Hoedowns

There are more moves from other workouts that can be done against the wall, but these are great for starters!

I’ll go more in depth on how to use the wall with these moves in future posts, but if you want to go ahead and try one or all of them, remember to keep the feet out 4-6 inches, and press the lower back while executing the move.

I’d love to hear how you felt curling the core against the wall! And if you decide to try one of the moves listed above, let me know!

Stay tuned for more “Built-In Personal Wall Trainer Tips”! 😉

Thanks to my son Noah for being my photographer! ♥

Goal Setting for REAL Life!

Goal Setting for REAL Life!

A new year. A fitness challenge. A special occasion.

All motivators to set goals to look and feel our best!

You have a nice workout planner, a new set of workout clothes and matching shoes, you’ve cleared the perfect spot to do your workouts. After filling out that workout plan, you’re excited to get started!

Then—life happens!

The baby kept you up in the night and you can hardly drag yourself out of bed, let alone change, push play and work out!

Or one of your kids (or YOU) got sick and you just aren’t up to it.

Or the washer broke and now the repair man is on his way, so no workout today.

Maybe it isn’t life’s interruptions, but overwhelm. You’re having a hard time getting 5-6 workouts in each week, feeling more tired, not sure if you’re doing the right workout….

When too many of life’s curve balls come your way, it’s easy to feel guilty about your plans—or push them aside altogether.

Are we doomed to just stay at this size, this level of health and stamina? Is there no hope?

The Real Problem

When anything is fresh and new—whether a new year or a new motivation—it’s easy to plan big! We’re excited, motivated, and we are going to conquer our goals this time! But that could be the very thing that is sabotaging our success.

Unrealistic goals.

Working out every day at 6 a.m. seems like a good idea. Get it done first thing! Unless you’re not a morning person. Or have adrenal or thyroid issues. Or you have young children.

Upping the cardio to burn fat faster seems like the most streamlined and quickest way to drop those few sizes to fit into that special outfit. Unless it wears you out so much you can’t get anything else done! Or your focus just isn’t there and you can’t keep good form or activation.

What sounds great in the moment of motivation when you set the goal becomes the source of your discouragement when you can’t keep up.

Do we just throw in the towel, defeated yet again by situations beyond our control or over-ambitious goal setting?

A NEW Way to Set Realistic Goals

Instead of giving into defeat, let’s look at a different way to set goals that are doable, even when the craziness of life hits!

1. Make your outcome truly achievable

We’ve all heard of SMART goals. But distilling that acronym down into truly achievable goals in fitness and wellness isn’t so cut and dried.

Most of us set a size loss goal for ourselves We want to be 2 sizes smaller by our anniversary. Or on January 1 we set a goal to lose 4 sizes by December 31. (I know some set goals to lose pounds, but if you’ve been around me for very long, you know I don’t put stock in losing weight as a measure of success! That’s a topic for another post!)

While you can certainly have a goal to lose X number of sizes, it should not be your only motivational goal. Why?

Because you can’t dictate to your body where to lose so you’ll fit into smaller clothes!

There are so many variables on this journey, not the least of which are health issues. Adrenal or thyroid issues, blood sugar issues or other metabolic issues will affect your ability to lose inches in all the right places.

Okay, Trisch, so what am I to do? Don’t set a size loss goal at all?”

Absolutely set your goal! I personally want to lose 2 sizes for my daughter’s wedding in 4 months. It’s technically doable. But I also know there are variables I have no control over. So while that is my “size loss goal”, my greater goals are to be in the best health I can be at that time on my journey and feel comfortable in my skin.

I’m not setting a “I should look 10 years younger and be 2 sizes smaller in 4 months” goal. I’m setting a goal of “I want to continue my health journey and be vibrant and able to enjoy the day, and hopefully be a few sizes smaller. But if not, I will know I am still on my journey and I CHOOSE to feel comfortable in my own skin!”

Go ahead and set a goal to fit into a specific outfit or lose a certain amount by a reasonable date (losing 4 sizes in 4 months is NOT reasonable, just saying!). But also have a GREATER goal that you can control!

2. Log non-scale and non-inch loss measurements

Closely related to the last point, we need to have measurements of success that don’t involve numbers! In my example above, one of my greater goals is to be in the best health I can be at that time. Again, there are variables, but I can choose to focus on victories that aren’t tied to numbers. If I need less naps, have more energy, more brain clarity (especially as we get to the last few weeks before the wedding!), less stiffness—those are all validations that I am improving my overall health!

Maybe you would like to see your blood sugar or blood pressure improve. While that involves numbers, you can still focus on overall lowering of those numbers vs “be below ____ by this date”. Otherwise your blood pressure will go UP because you’re not getting where you want to be!

Set a specific goal, but not so specific that if you don’t reach it, you’ll be devastated. Finding that balance will help you celebrate small wins along the way to the greater goal!

3. You have powerful choices

I have control over how I choose to feel about myself. For example, I want to be focused on my daughter and soon-to-be son-in-law on their special day. Not worrying about how I look in pictures. What if I smile and radiate my joy at this happy occasion vs worrying I “look fat” in pictures?

Let me say this again: I get to choose how I see myself that day. .And if I am radiating joy, I can assure you no one is going to be focused on my size!

If I am choosing to enjoy a special day, confident that I am at the best I can be at that point in my life, AND if I am focusing on others, I am free to enjoy a special day instead of beating myself up that I didn’t “try harder” at my workout/eating/health plan.

Choose to be your own best friend. How would you encourage your best friend in her goals? You’d gently challenge her when you know she’s procrastinating, encourage her to give herself grace when life hits her with unexpected challenges, cheer her on every time she got back on track—and you would–

4. CELEBRATE every small win along the way!

So why not be your OWN best friend?! Celebrate those small wins! Success breeds success! If you have other goals than inch/size loss, you will be looking for those improvements that would go unnoticed if you were only focusing on how many inches you are losing. There are so many things that you can’t measure, but that are more important than getting into a specific size!

Your formula for REALISTIC goal setting!

  1. Set a truly achievable goal
  2. Be sure to log the things that you can’t measure
  3. CHOOSE to be encouraged and cheer yourself on
  4. CELEBRATE wins along the way!

I’d love to hear what your goals are for 2020!

Would you like a little more help? Sign up below and receive my Goal Setting for REAL Life guide!

Photos by Alexa Williams, Preslie Hirsch and Jamie Street on Unsplash

Celebrate Success with a Flash Sale!

Who knew, nearly 13 years ago, when an overweight homeschooling mama from the cornfields of northern Indiana started working out with T-Tapp, that she would:

  • Lose 8 sizes
  • Gain energy (and 3/4″ in height!)
  • Learn to like exercise
  • Become a Master Trainer!
  • LOVE helping other women feel better inside and out
  • AND—be featured in a national magazine!!!!

YES! First for Women has featured my story of overcoming fatigue (well, the cliff notes version!) in the November 18, 2019 issue that is out NOW!

I was floored, excited and a little apprehensive….

Apprehensive? Why?

Can I be really real with you here?

Menopause plus transitions at home (hubby’s open heart surgery 3 years ago, older girls moving out and spreading their wings) have caused hormonal ups and downs, especially with my body. I’m not where I would like to be. Not just “oh look I lost X sizes and kept them off” for my own ego, but to represent T-Tapp well. Now let me say right away Teresa NEVER made me feel badly–in fact she reassured me that it’s okay to be a real woman in a real body–with real hormones!

Most of the time I am okay with where I am–I encourage you to be comfortable in your own skin, where you are right NOW, and I want to walk that path with you. But, of course, like anyone else, I wanted to look my level BEST when an opportunity like this came along.

The first and biggest hurdle was to be okay with that. And I mostly am! 😉

Then I thought of each of you.

Oh I know I don’t “know” you all, but I want to make you feel like we’re sitting at my table or on my porch swing enjoying tea or lemonade (depending on the weather!), chatting together. I want to encourage you to be your best self RIGHT NOW, not “when I lose this much” or “when I’m feeling better”, or anything else that is putting a condition on you being able to shine out your best YOU right NOW.

I remember the mindset shift when I thought about a lady just like I was 13 years ago–overweight, nothing is helping, exercise is actually making her more tired and she’s not losing a thing…

And I decided I would do this for HER.

Or the woman who is struggling to keep her head above water, brain fog and fatigue making it a chore to just take a shower.

Yeah, I would do this for HER, too.

For the one who is smaller than she used to be, but hormonal changes and stress have caused her to gain a bit, and while she’s not as big as she started, she’s a bit discouraged to be hanging out a few sizes larger than she would like.

I definitely would do this for HER as well.

And..I would do it for ME. To affirm to myself and my body that it is an amazing wonder and marvel, and this is about a lifetime journey, not a spring for a short term goal. This is LIFE!

This became less and less about me and more about US. Because we’re all in the trenches of life together. I don’t know anyone who gets a personal chef, live-in personal trainer, personal health provider and has a stress-free life.

We’re all in the boat of life together.

While initially I was a bit apprehensive, thinking this isn’t the time—I realized that what better time?!

Sooooo…in celebration of REAL women who need a REAL hope and a REAL workout, we’re having a FLASH SALE!

Since MORE workout was my go-to during those fatigue-challenged years, T-Tapp is taking 25% off the MORE package! All THREE workouts (MORE 1, 2 & 3), regularly $49.95, now $37.63! THAT is an AMAZING deal! Check it out HERE!

AND T-Tapp is also offering 25% off the MORE 3 Chair “streaming” workout–regularly $19.95–AND it will be downloadable! YES!

AND–there’s MORE! I have created a seated workout package called Chair Cruisers and it is on sale ALSO for 25% off!

I have thoroughly enjoyed putting this together–

  • 15 stretch classes
  • 29 individual move instructionals
  • 15 classes of 3 moves each
  • 2 stepping classes–YES! in a CHAIR!

61 classes in ALL! And NONE are over 10 minutes! (Most are 5-8 minutes long!) LIFETIME ACCESS–Regularly $87–$65.25 for the FLASH SALE! Click HERE for the sale price!

FLASH SALE is on from now through midnight Sunday, October 27, 2019.

If you’ve struggled with consistency due to fatigue, joint issues, needing more instruction, needing to stretch, can’t do standing workouts, not much time–NOW is YOUR time! You can purchase the MORE set (each level has a chair workout as well as 2 other shorter “10 minutes or less” workouts!), MORE Chair 3 Streaming or Chair Cruisers–or ALL THREE with this amazing sale!

Let’s celebrate TOGETHER! Yes we CAN!

Back on the Healthy Eating Wagon {part two}

 

(Missed Part 1?  Check it out HERE)

 

Ready for the nitty-gritty details of how I “jumped back on the wagon”?

 

For the week of our county fair, every day I brought:

  • Rainbow Salad with cubed roasted chicken 
  • 2 quart jars of water with sliced strawberries, lemons and limes
  • Apples, clementines and watermelon

 

I ate a good breakfast, ate the salad for lunch and used the fruit for snacks (between the elephant ears and ice cream! 😉 )   I filled my water bottle with “fruit water” from home and my goal was to drink it (22 oz) plus both quarts of water by the time I came home. And most days I did!

 

The goal here is to make a plan.  And prepare to execute the plan! I would refill the jars of water (I could reuse the fruit once so only had to chop fruit every other night), wash the fruit I was taking and put the salad and chicken in a plastic container to take.  I would put a few plastic forks and napkins in a plastic plastic baggie to keep clean in my cooler. I made the salad and chicken the weekend before the fair. Preparation makes all the difference!

Then–enjoy your time!  Don’t stress over the treats–focus on the GOOD choices you prepared and brought with you!

Now, I’ll be real here–there have been times, even though I told myself I’ll get back on track after a detour, I didn’t.  I’ve had some emotional healing this spring that has really helped me in many areas, including eating. But by giving myself grace to enjoy the journey, making plans to offset the junk a bit, and also making plans to get back on track after the detour–it was truly not a struggle to “get back on the healthy eating wagon”!

NO judgment here!  If you just don’t feel you can do that yet, it’s okay.  But please don’t beat yourself up. I have dealt with emotional eating for as long as I can remember.  It doesn’t just go away overnight! But we also can’t just make ourselves eat healthy if we don’t deal with the whole person.  It all truly is interconnected!

A resource that has helped me tremendously, as well as made me EXCITED about cooking, is Cassy Joy Garcia’s Cook Once Eat All Week.  You can also check out some of her recipes for FREE at her website, Fed and Fit!

 

 

I have to double (and sometimes triple!) the recipes, but they are sooo flavorful! Gluten free and leaning towards paleo (but not 100%), she gives you the shopping list, prep day instructions and then 3 main dishes with a starchy vegetable and usually a green vegetable to put together or reheat on the day you need them.  She also gives 2 other menu ideas with different meats so if you don’t want to have chicken every night, for example, you have options. And having a meal plan takes the “I’m-too-tired-to-think-about-what-to-have-with-this” brain fog AWAY!

I started this for me, then decided my whole family would eat this food,too!  And they LOVE it when it’s “my” night to cook! 😉 (I have a few children who have nights to cook, so we all give each other a break!)

(Do yourself a favor and get the spiral bound version!)

 

I also love that there are so many varieties of veggie ideas! And I LOVE LOVE LOVE roasted veggies!

This was tonight’s asparagus and cherry tomatoes before going into the oven–they were yummilicious!

 

 

Have you ever roasted veggies? It’s SUPER easy!

  • Choose veggies (I’ve used parsnips, asparagus, brussels sprouts, cherry tomatoes, summer squash, zucchini, peppers) and slice or dice into cubes
  • Toss with olive oil, salt, pepper and seasonings of choice
  • Spread on large parchment lined cookie sheets
  • Bake at 375° – 400° for 30-50 minutes (longer for denser veggies)
  • Enjoy!

 

There are SO many possibilities with roasted veggies! And roasting brings out the flavors for a tasty way to get those veggies in!

 

Here’s the AMAZINGLY yummy Rainbow Salad before mixing:

 

 

Would you like a quick checklist of my tips PLUS recipes for Rainbow Salad and my favorite roasted veggie combos?  (Including my “secret” ingredient! 😉 )  Drop your name and email below!

 

Getting back on the healthy eating wagon doesn’t have to be something we dread.  Following these three easy tips can make it easy–and FUN!

  • Add ONE good choice
  • Prepare ahead of time when you can
  • Have GRACE for yourself!

Oh!  ONE more tip:

  • ENJOY the process!

 

I’d love to hear any steps YOU have taken to get back to healthy eating!  Have you added roasted veggies to your menu? What are your favorite combos?  Please share below!

Back on the Healthy Eating Wagon {part one}

Ever have your day delayed by a detour?!

Detours are hardly ever fun.  We don’t usually cheer, “Hurray! A detour! Now we’ll get to see some great countryside and maybe find a great Mom & Pop restaurant along the way!”

No, usually we inwardly groan, chafing a bit at the delay this will cause.  We’re not really interested in an unplanned “road trip” when we’re focused on a destination.  Unless, of course, you have a tv show that highlights out-of-the-way diners and small towns!

If you know the detour is coming, you can plan accordingly.  Whether using your GPS to find a way around it or figuring out how to get through it as quickly as possible, or even mentally preparing yourself that the trip is going to take longer, knowing ahead of time is definitely preferred!

But whether you get a heads up or not, you don’t have to let a detour in healthy habits derail you!

Last spring I started making small changes to my eating. I knew it had to be baby steps in this area to work for me and for my family. By June I was doing better than I expected to be at that point!  But then—
(more…)

Kickouts — NOT for Sissies!

In the beginning of T-Tapp, there were only the Instuctionals.  In other words, they WERE the workout! Teresa periodically kicked out between moves, between sets of Plies, and between sides of moves.  Sometimes between parts of moves!

 

Then she filmed the “straight through” Total and Basic Workouts.  We tend to be glad since they go “faster” and “not soooo agonizingly slow”!

 

Yet, if you are having issues with gains, a plateau, not feeling much during a move or slowing progress, guess what trainers will ask you?  “How long has it been since you did the Instructional(s)?”  

 

(Yes, I hear you groaning! 🙂 ) 

 

The slower pace of the Instructionals (and yes, all that standing in position while Teresa talks and talks (and talks and talks!) help your body establish and strengthen brain-body connections.  And that translates into better muscle activation and form, which in turn bring better results!

 

Sooo….what does that have to do with kickouts?!

 

If you think getting through Basic Workout without kicking out is a good thing, you might want to read on.

 

The keys to success with T-Tapp are alignment and activation.  You can expend a lot of energy but not be activating the proper muscles, and you won’t see results.  You can also go through the workout but not be optimally aligned, and that can affect your results. Please don’t feel you have to do it “perfectly”–no one does! But if you get sloppy in these two areas, you might start getting discouraged at lack of progress.

 

Kicking out between sides of moves, sets of Plies, between each move helps reduce lactic acid build-up (meaning less soreness) as well as helps reduce inflammation.  It gives the muscles a quick break so they don’t get over-fatigued, unable to activate optimally. It also gives you an opportunity to reset your stance, which improves alignment.  

 

Kickouts = better alignment + better activation for each move which in turn = better form and progress!  (Both health-wise and inch-loss-wise!)

 

“Okay, Trisch, sure seems like a simple little thing–I mean, anyone can do this.  And isn’t interrupting my cardio?”

 

Glad you asked! 😉

 

Are you really sacrificing cardio?  It may seem like it, but let me share a little secret with you:

 

Muscle activation = cardio!

 

What?!  

 

Seriously!  By activating your muscles optimally you can raise your heart rate!  I can get my heartrate up just getting into and holding the T-Tapp stance!!!

 

So what you “lose” in continuous cardio you make up for in muscle activation and–yes–alignment, optimizing each move and raising heart rate through activation vs mindlessly moving!

 

And about that “sure seems easy” stuff….

 

Don’t just “flop” through kickouts.  Let’s ramp it up a bit:

 

  • Keep knees softly bent
  • Belly up and back to spine (not fully “tucked”)
  • Ribs up (think of a string pulling your head tall to the ceiling)
  • Shift weight into heels
  • Keep supportive knee bent while kicking out the opposite leg
  • Keep core activated–don’t bobble like a penguin!
  • Keep those ribs UP! (I see you!)
  • Shake head no to keep neck from tensing up
  • BREATHE!

 

Whew!  That’s a WORKOUT all in itself, isn’t it?!

 

Ready for a bit more?!

 

  • Reach out with the arms in an inverted V, reaching through from the core to straighten elbows vs locking them
  • Don’t have the hands too close to the body, but not too high, either. You want to feel this in the lats!
  • Jazz those hands–stretch the fingers apart as much as you can
  • Be sure arms are in alignment with the shoulders–not drifting forward (or back)
  • Keep that tummy up and in while reaching through the arms!
  • Kick out with the previous tips!

 

NOW you know why kickouts are NOT for sissies! 😉

 

So go ahead–add kickouts to any and every workout you do, do them as a stand alone move, use them in place of Hoedowns if you struggle with adrenal issues or Hoedowns are harder to “sneak” in because you don’t want other to hear you tap-tap-tapping! 😉  

 

And wear your “I’m not a sissy–I kick OUT!” badge with pride!

 

Would you like a demonstration of Activated Kickouts? (AKA “No Sissy Kickouts”!) Or how to get more out of “regular” kickouts?  Check out my video HERE!

 

Deep Discount Tuesday—NEW Workout and B12 Complete!

 

 

It’s Deep Discount Tuesday time again!

 

I’m so excited to share that T-Tapp has released the NEW Pregnancy Fit workout!  This digital streaming workout has 4 workouts, an excellent instructional, bonus moves—even a guide for T-Tapping by trimester!  Pregnancy Fit was developed by Master Trainer Margaret Barry with Teresa Tapp when Margaret was expecting her first baby—she knows about all the stages of pregnancy and beyond!  You can celebrate and save $10 off the workout by using the code PREGOFIT (please type it in vs copy/paste).  Teresa was excited to produce and release this workout—it’s a beautiful legacy of a beautiful woman who loved to help women through ALL the stages of life!

 

My Defeating Diastasis program is also open for registration—and I recently split it into 3 levels:

Level 1:  The first 13 lessons of the original 36-lesson program, paced a bit more slowly over 6 weeks.  If you like a slower pace and tend to get overwhelmed looking at the “unfinished” lessons, this is the level for you!

Level 2:  Short review of Level 1 (does not include all lessons) then picking up where Level 1 left off and easing you into standing moves and techniques.  30 lessons over 12 weeks.  I strongly advise you do Level 1 first, as it lays an excellent foundation.

Level 3: The entire program, 36 lessons released over 13 weeks.  The first 13 lessons are released over 5 weeks, then the remaining lessons are released more quickly so you can go through at your own pace.  If you like to have the entire picture and want flexibility in how you approach the program, this is your level!

All levels have an additional 6 weeks access after the last lesson, so you have plenty of time to go back over the video lessons.  You can download all written material, including schedules to rotate through the techniques as well as easing back into workouts.

 

I ran a free 14 day challenge in April and after just 2 weeks doing ONE technique, ladies saw some gap closure, some lost inches (one lost 3 inches off her waist!) and many reported more core awareness! They were also surprised how sore their abs were after doing this simple technique just a few times!

 

You can also save $10 off any level of Defeating Diastasis by using the code PREGOFIT!

 

NEW B12 COMPLETE!

I’m also super excited to try the new B12 Complete! 

 

It has two forms of B12 and folate that are more easily absorbed, especially for those with the MTHFR mutation.  Deep Discount Tuesday price is $8 off–I can’t wait to try it!

 

Adrenal Health

Gaia Herbs for Adrenal health are on sale, too!  You can start with Adrenal Health Jump Start for 6-8 weeks to help strengthen your adrenals, then transition to the Adrenal Health Liquid Phyto Caps.  You can also use the Adrenal Health Nightly Restore to help your body in its healing process.  I plan to add the Nightly Restore to my protocol to help nourish my adrenals even more—while I sleep!

 

Also, Gaia Herbs Turmeric Supreme is also on sale!  Turmeric is a great herb to help the body reduce inflammation.  I haven’t used Gaia Herbs turmeric yet, but I do know even adding turmeric to my daily broth makes a big difference!

 

All these Gaia Herbs products are $5 off for Deep Discount Tuesday!

 

Grapefruit Essential Oil is also on sale for only $10! (Normally $15)  I love this in my water, and I add it to my lotion to help as a lymphatic stimulant (and yes, I notice a slight reduction of cellulite when I use it faithfully with dead sea mineral salt!).

 

I’m also having a Birthday Bash Bundle”, which includes 4 of my recorded class packages!  I am also having a SALE on my e-book, Fatigued to FABULOUS $17 off the regular price of $27!  YES! Only $10 for the month of June!

 

Whew! This is one JAM packed Deep Discount Tuesday!

 

 

One last VERY important thing—

The final Safety Harbor T-Tapp Retreat will be August 1-4, 2019. Now, this is only the final retreat at this location—not the final retreat ever!  It will be a beautiful tribute to Teresa, there will be workouts taught by various amazing trainers (including me!) and it culminates in a visit to Teresa’s favorite place that she called “Heaven on Earth”, their ranch outside Tampa.  Check out the details—there are lots of options to help make it doable to attend.

 

If you can’t make the Safety Harbor Retreat, I am holding another Fully Fit & Free Weekend Retreat on Lake Michigan near New Buffalo, MI, October 3-6, 2019.  It’s smaller and more intimate, mixing fun, fitness, good food, new friendships and faith-based encouragement in one amazing weekend of pampering and connection!

 

I hope to see you at one of the retreats!

 

P.S. Check out my YouTube channel for some helpful T-Tapp tips and tricks!

 

Depression & Anxiety–Can Movement Help? (part two)

{missed part one? click here to read it!}

I knew all the “right” things to do.  But in all honesty, I needed someone to bring me the glasses of water, fix healthy meals, help me not pig out on chocolate and other treats (remember, my youngest daughter is a self-taught pastry chef–and a good one, too!), get me moving. I needed a live-in helper!  But I didn’t even have enough umph to ask.

One thing I DID do well–I walked a LOT through the fall.  Mostly to process and pray, but it kept me moving, too! So did my regular webcam clients (THANK YOU!).  But once the weather got colder and harder to walk, I didn’t replace it with any extra movement.  By Christmas-time I lost my stamina. Going upstairs to tuck the boys in made me winded.  That plus my massage therapist encouraging me to take better care of myself (she could tell I had LOTS of inflammation going on) finally “woke me up”.  I had a spiritual breakthrough right before New Year’s, and then got a little more proactive to move more. Not workouts, but Holiday Hoedowns here, stretching moves there (from Teresa’s Favorite Fascia Stretch Workout on the Floor), and a Holiday Workout here and there.  Not much, but enough to help me regain some stamina (quickly, I might add!) AND to help my mental ability.  When I finished the Holiday Hoedowns the first time, I was breathing hard and heart was pounding–but I felt a HUGE black cloud lift! YAY!!!!!

I know the power of T-Tapp–January was my 12 year anniversary of starting this amazing workout!  Seven years ago on January 16 I certified for Total (and for MORE on the 17th).  I became a Master Trainer the fall of 2013.  So I know.

But now I really know.  What I experienced that day took my knowledge to a new level because I felt the shift in a way I never had before. I could literally feel my brain fog lift and could think more clearly.  And in that moment I realized what a beautiful gift Teresa has given us in her method of movement.  Not only is it great for shaving off inches and reshaping our bodies, but it is powerful to improve mood and help our bodies find balance–even in the hardest of situations.

This article by the Mayo Clinic talks of how Exercise Eases Symptoms of depression and anxiety.  And I love how it includes physical activity, not just planned exercise sessions.

There are also many articles and testimonials on the effects of walking on depression and anxiety symptoms:

“They say when you’re moving, you go into full-brain thinking, which engages both sides of your brain. I often think of solutions to problems I’ve been grappling with when I’m out walking. I notice my brain seems to work differently and the ideas flow much better.

“Another aspect of walking is it connects me to nature. I find it incredibly calming. When I’m out walking, I’m less stressed and take more notice of what’s around me.

~I Walked My Way Out of Depression, Brian Johnston

Walking may also promote feelings of pleasure, tranquility, and well-being and help relieve the pain of depression by encouraging the production of the body’s natural opiates, called endorphins. These chemical cousins of morphine are responsible for the feeling of euphoria called “runner’s high.”

~Benefits of Walking–Walking and Depression

This article, Exercise for Stress and Anxiety, shares fitness tips, even cold weather exercise tips!

You can add just two T-Tapp techniques, to keep it simple, and get even more balancing effect from walking!  Shift weight into heels more (vs shifting forward with weight more on the ball joints/toes) and ribs up. Often when we are struggling, we pull in and the shoulders slump forward. It’s a protective posture, but not truly helpful.  Think of a string pulling your head nice and tall to the sky.

Just those two tips while you walk can help you feel better!  As I walked last fall and processed grief and transitions in my life, those were the only two techniques I focused on.  I’m grateful to have been walking–if I hadn’t been moving at all, I can only imagine how much worse my depression might have been!

One thing that became clear after that season, was that I was still who I always was, that all these things seeming to be holding me down didn’t change my reality.  It’s only our perception during a tough time that seems to make reality unreal and the dark thoughts real.  Of course that’s easy after the fact!

Because of going through that time and realizing once I got moving again what truth in the tough situation was, I knew I needed to keep moving. I decided to at least do a series of stretches from Teresa’s Favorite Fascia Stretch on the Floor, even if I got nothing else in.  I also decided to write truths about who I am on a post-it note and put it on my mirror.  Of course I still have to believe it–but at least it’s now in front of my eyes, to remind me daily of who I truly am.  And I read it out loud because that helps it get more deeply into my mind and soul to read it, speak it and hear it.

Movement and Truth–two powerful weapons in our battle with anxiety and depression!

I still have days where my heart hurts when it hits again that I will not see Teresa again in this life.  But I also have excitement and motivation to step into the “new normal” to carry  her legacy forward and continue to help others find the power–and the beauty–of the method of movement she was passionate to share with the world to help everyone feel and look their best.

I am a T-Tapper for life and I’m privileged to carry my part of her torch forward as a Master Trainer.

And part of that is being raw and real. I’m in the trenches with you, and I’m offering you a hand-up where I’ve found a spot, so together we can become stronger and be all that we were created to be!

Here are a few more articles about walking/exercise and anxiety/depression:

Half an Hour of Walking a Day Can Ease Symptoms of Depression

Walking May Ease Depression

Conquer Depression with Walking

Walk Away the Blues

Depression & Anxiety–Can Movement Help? (part one)

 

 

Nearly everyone deals with anxiety and down times at some point in their lives.  Or many times!   And depression shows up in a variety of ways–sometimes so subtly that you don’t even realize you’re depressed until you’re coming out of it. How do you begin to ask for help when you don’t realize you need it?

Before I continue, I want to give a disclaimer–I am NOT licensed to diagnose depression nor treat it.  But I can share from my experience.  What you’re about to read is real and raw, from my heart.

The last half of 2018 had several events that threw me off my “groove”.  In late May/early June I had a shift in my hormones that affected me differently over a short period of time:

  • Week 1–I was mad at EVERYONE and EVERYTHING!  I mean like, “get-out-of my-way-or-I-WILL-bite-your-head-off” mad!
  • Week 2– “I could care less” about EVERYONE and EVERYTHING. Just existing.
  • Week 3–“I think I need to get my hormones tested…”
  • Week 4– Progesterone dosage reduced by half.  Cried at least twice daily and 5 times one day. Called pharmacist and together we agreed to put me back on my regular dosage!

That was NOT a fun time!  In addition to all the emotional upheaval, brain fog set in thick and heavy. And it HAD been lifted.  GAH!  Menopause! :p  It was sooo frustrating because I was feeling better, inches were finally coming off, I felt like doing more than the bare minimum in life.  Then I felt like I was set back.  REALLY set back.

My adrenals were “stealing” the progesterone because they are so tanked.  2016 marked the beginning of an incredibly stressful time with my husband’s unplanned open heart surgery and recovery, the financial ramifications from that, changes in household responsibilities with older children getting jobs and going to school, etc.  My goal was to wait until we got past the busy time of 4-H and fair season and then really work on my adrenals.  Then a daughter who usually helps me get everyone where they need to be couldn’t help during the busiest of the 4-H season!  Another daughter couldn’t help with a family reunion that we are responsible for.  Then my youngest daughter won in her category for Fashion Revue and we went to the State Fair. Which was FUN!  And I did love spending more time with my youngest 4 children (since I was the only driver!).  But these things together made for a busy whirlwind summer.  And there were more family transitions.

I finally started getting into the more normal routine at the beginning of September, preparing for a weekend retreat at the end of the month.

Then came September 20.

Can I be honest?  Teresa’s passing hit me as hard–if not harder–than my mom’s sudden death.

I was grateful to have that retreat–it kept me from just crawling under the covers and giving up.  The best thing I could have done was to teach the method of movement I believe in so much in honor of the woman who inspired me and believed in me.  I loved her like a sister.  She had such a way to make each and every one of us feel special, didn’t she?  Whether in person, through an e-mail, Facebook comment or through the dvd/digital workout–you felt like you knew her and that you were special to her. Because you ARE!

I was able to attend both celebrations of life in honor of Teresa, and that really helped.  But it was harder and harder to get back to my work. Hard to “promote” programs and classes…I needed time, and yet I needed to show up for the beautiful women whom I serve.

More family transitions, hormones still not balanced and add stress eating to grief and lack of motivation–it was the perfect storm about to happen.  I was never suicidal (thank the Lord!) and my faith did help, but there were some dark moments when I was really at rock bottom.

But it was hard to say something.  Why? I don’t know.  Who does know when you’re in the pit? What makes sense outside of it doesn’t compute when we’re in it.

I was able to share with a few people a little more honestly, but I really didn’t tell anyone how bad it got.  That’s scary!  I have a good husband and family, friends–any one of them would have said in an instant that they were there for me.  But I still felt so alone.

I had to come to grips with a lot of things during this time.  My faith has been a HUGE part of what pulled me through, but there were even times there I felt God was so far away.  Of course He never is, He’s right here with me all the time.  But when you’re in that pit, feelings trump truth, unfortunately.

I had a few breakthrough moments, where the sun would peek through, and was feeling a bit better during the holidays. Right before Christmas I received a few unexpected gifts and they made me SO happy and giggly (one had a “Do not open until December 25” sign on it, too!) like a little girl!

THAT’S when I realized just how depressed and bottomed out I had been.

I’m so thankful to those who took the time to get me a gift, wrap and package them to send to me. Others sent me cards and e-mail notes. T-Tappers are just the BESTEST! ♥

 

 {to be continued…}

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