If you’ve ever experienced a blackout, you’ve also probably done what we all have and slowly navigated your way to the candles, bumping into nearly everything in your path.
A possible reason for your hesitancy is that your brain was not getting enough information about its surroundings, and chances are you need to better utilize your proprioceptive awareness. Without vision and sound as your guide, you rely mostly on something called proprioception to gather that information. It’s not something we tend to consciously use often, so many of us become accustomed to depending on our vision instead. Developing proprioceptive awareness will not only help you become less klutzy, but it will also aid in sports performance and help you avoid injuries.
When it comes to the subject of pain, our focus in today’s society is seemingly purely centered on finding instant relief. And in response, the medical industry is very quick to prescribe a painkiller, muscle relaxer or even surgery to provide you with that relief. Rarely do we search for the culprit for our discomfort, and hardly do we ever look towards routine actions as a possible underlying cause.
The main cause for myofascial discomfort, such as knots, tension pain, or upper/lower back pain is primarily either repetitive movement or prolonged immobility with poor posture. If a muscle, or a group of muscles, are held in an active state for too long, it eventually creates tension and the muscles continue to remain tight even in a relaxed posture. The daily routines alone are not necessarily harmful to our postural health, however the poor body mechanics we commonly use are. For this reason, most people may be surprised to learn that everyday routines in our lives may explain the overall state of our bad posture and the symptoms of pain that come along with them. Read more
Postural Dysfunction: 7 Common Routines In Modern Society That May Be Causing You Pain March 20th, 2017Zak Kwiker
Nearly 80% of my clients, throughout my career as a massage therapist, come to me with the same area of concern. They usually say, “I’ve got this pain in my neck and upper back, right between my shoulder blades.”, but few of them ask, “what is that and how do I get rid of it?”. I could simply give them a massage addressing the area and provide relief, but how much would that really help? I want to make sure each of my clients leaves with the ability and means to eliminate their own muscular tension and melt their own knots. But before you can do that effectively, you may want to begin by gaining an understanding of what that knot is made of.
You may be thinking, “the knot is in the muscle, so the muscles, isn’t it obvious?”, but the answer has more levels to it than just that. Contrary to popular belief, the body isn’t only composed of muscles, bones, and organs. The commonly neglected stuff in between these elements is the truer source of tension. Most people have never heard of it, but it’s called “fascia”.
What is Fascia?
Fascia serves as an inter-connective web of tissue that surrounds, connects, and simultaneously separates every tissue in the body. It’s the part of chicken referred to as gristle, that connects the meat to the chicken bone. A fine sheet of this tissue, continues from that connection in both directions. In one direction, it continues to wrap around the bone, and in the other, surrounds the whole muscle belly and every individual one of it’s muscle fibers. Again, it moves on to fill the rest of the internal body like a series of spider webs.
When properly hydrated, it serves as a slippery surface that separates muscle muscle bellies, organs, and bones from each other. If an area remains activated (due mainly to poor posture, sitting frequently, repetitive movement, stress, and improper body mechanics), it can eventually become inefficiently hydrated and the fascia reverts to it’s sticky, less mobile quality. The deep and superficial layers of muscles surrounded in fascia become stuck together resulting in knots and tension.
Well if that’s the case, then why don’t we all have tension everywhere all the time, especially considering the amount of time we spend sitting in today’s electronic era or sacrificing our bodies to perform at our profession? The reason why, can be explained by the brain.
How Does the Brain Play a Role in Tension?
Along with a couple other factors, there’s another factor in the tension equation – Proprioceptive awareness. Proprioception means “sense of self.” There are proprioceptors in the brain as well as throughout the body congruent with muscle fibers. Together, they create a person’s sense of 3-dimensional and internal awareness, giving us muscle memory and sense of movement. Over time, older tension patterns in areas of prolonged tension are usually eventually forgotten along with proprioceptive awareness of that area. The tension we feel today (mostly in the neck, shoulders, and back) is likely the final link in the chain of interconnective dysfunction.
Why Does this Effect Me?
Sitting over prolonged periods of time results in tightness of the hips. That tightness can translate to tension in the lower back and possibly continue to your upper back and shoulders. Not moving eventually results in stiffness. Your inner monologue may be saying its your back or neck that’s killing you, but it probably likely the fascia in your hips and chest that needs loosening.
When looked at as a whole, fascia is sort of like an internal wet-suit connecting and separating your tissues from head to toe. If one area becomes stuck, it can effect surrounding areas over time throughout your body. So that pain in your neck could be the way you slept that night, or it could be stemming from your shoulder, abdomen, hips, legs, feet, anywhere depending on who you are and what your body dictates. This explains how knots can reoccur, even when worked on directly with adequate movement and stretching. It took years for your fascia to become what it is today, it’s not going to go away by itself or through neurological integration alone. It requires a manual touch to eliminate dense physical adhesions and scar tissue as well.
How Do Find Relief?
Everyone is different. Releasing a knot can happen with just a few deep breaths, or take a while depending on your individual tension patterns among other factors. How long it lasts however, will depend on your neurological connectedness, and how in command you are of the tissues surrounding that knot. So, if you want that stiffness in your neck, or annoying knot in your upper back to go away, think about addressing the entire wet-suit of fascia, at least in that general area, rather than just addressing the one nagging spot repeatedly to no avail.
At Fitsom Studios, we combat muscle pain and tightness with Self Myofascial Release techniques. Check out our videos on how you can roll out your knots and address your internal wet-suit:
What Most People Don’t Know About Knots and Muscle Pain December 29th, 2015Zak Kwiker
A lot of times we ask too much of ourselves and wind up getting overwhelmed. I’ve seen many people give up because they feel like it’s too hard, or nothing is going to change, or they don’t even know where to begin. For me, I always have many goals for myself whether that involves my education, health, fitness, work, habits, or relationships; I always have something on my mind that I need to work on. Goals can be big or small and often, we have more than one that we really want to focus on.
A few things I’ve learned in my twenty years of life are that everything takes time and you really can’t do things until you’re ready. Often, we ask so much of ourselves and we want the results now, we want things to happen now, now, now, especially with the new age we’re in where you can get things right now. More and more things happen instantaneously. If you want to buy a cool shirt or some new shoes you can just go on the internet and buy them as soon as you want without dealing with all the fuss of going to the store and they can be at your door within a few days. You instantly feel good and you know that Santa is on his way with the newest pair of New Balance minimalist running shoes. You go on Instagram or Facebook to post a picture that you want other people to see and from that you get instant gratification. You hold all the answers to the world in the palm of your hand and can reach them within a few seconds.
All those things are fine however, they are products of technology and last time I checked, none of us have a circuit board strapped to the back of our heads that can simply be rewired to do whatever it is we want. Human beings are dynamic creatures who require time for growth and development. So one thing I want to remind you all of is to be patient with yourself, be patient with your goals, be patient with your own evolution. Beautiful things happen with time and patience, that might mean a week, two months, a year or even more, just keep going and you will see the changes you need.
You Must Be the One to Initiate Change
From personal experience, I have changed a lot especially since I moved out here from my home town of Fresno. If you knew me back then you know that I’m a completely different person from who I use to be and that was just three years ago. I remember when I first came up with those goals of losing weight, getting into shape, eating better, focusing on my education, and figuring out what I wanted to do for the rest of my life, all those things seemed so far out of reach. But I was determined to get there and I believed that all of those things would happen for me and you know what, they did. Some of them are still works in progress but I am definitely a long way from home.
Patience Young Grasshopper
So what I want you all to take from this is that you need to be patient with yourself. Understand that you will have setbacks here and there, you will fill like nothing is working and you should just give up, you may feel like a goal is too far out of reach for you but I am telling you, you’ve got to just go for it! Nothing is going to change unless you initiate change. Your life is in your hands and I believe that absolutely anyone can do whatever they set out to do. I hope you all have things you’re working on, we’ve all got something to polish up, big or small, just go for it and don’t be afraid that you aren’t seeing a difference right away. Make sure you come to our Fitsom Flex classes to get in some positive reinforcement and meditation. I hope you all have a wonderful day!
Patiently Awaiting Your Goals April 26th, 2015Fitsom Studios
The human body is about 65% water. It only makes sense that it is absolutely vital to stay properly hydrated. For some of us, it’s hard to drink the recommended 8oz per day and some of us even ignore our thirst signals all together! Well I’m going to tell you 5 signs that you aren’t drinking enough water and why you should consider increasing your intake.
You haven’t peed yet today
If you aren’t giving your body enough water to carry out all normal metabolic and cellular functions throughout the day, it will extract and hold onto the water from your food. This can be an issue especially if you’re trying to lose weight as it results in constipation and water retention.
When you pee, it looks more like concentrated orange juice than light to clear lemonade
This one is kind of a sub category of the former point, but also remember that even if you are excreting fluid, the color will tell you a lot about your current water content. Dark urine is a sign of major dehydration and could be caused in part by excess consumption of soda, coffee, alcohol, and fruit juices.
You have constant headaches and mood swings
Our brains, made of 80% water, are one of the first major organs that suffer greatly from dehydration. In fact, some research shows that being dehydrated actually shrinks your brain! When we fail to replace fluids lost through sweating and urinating, our body pulls water from the plump cells in the brain and uses them for other essential processes. This shriveling or shrinking of the brain pulls on its surrounding structures causing a headache.
You feel easily tired
Drinking water is a great way to elevate your heart rate and get blood pumping throughout your body making you feel ready to take on the day. Blood is about 53% water by volume. Improper hydration will lead to an increase in the viscosity of your blood which in turn decreased blood flow. This will immediately make you feel easily fatigued. In a chronic state of dehydration, high blood viscosity will cause your heart to work harder to increase blood pressure to insure proper circulation of blood throughout the body. This stresses out the heart and blood vessels. In other words, you feel tired because the heart is having trouble meeting the demands of the body.
You’re often unreasonably hungry
We often mistake our body’s signal of thirst as hunger. Well let’s think about that one for a second, your body is saying it needs something, it needs you to put something in its mouth right away.. Hmm garden veggie burger with extra tomatoes or a boring ol’ glass of water?… Uhm, yeah. Well, research shows that this common mistake often leads to over-eating! Before you stuff that meal in your face, try drinking a glass of water first and then have a small meal if you’re still hungry.
“OK, ok I get it”
I have a couple easy tricks to insure you stay hydrated. The first is always carrying a water bottle with you! This one is easy and you can pick up a cute, trendy BPA-free bottle at your local grocery store for a reasonable price (I recommend Sacramento Natural Foods Co-op). This not only helps to reduce waste but then you will be sure to keep water with you on the go. The second trick is to try infused water. There are lots of fun recipes online but my favorite is to just through a couple frozen berries, cucumber slices, or lemon in my water before I head out for the day. This keeps things interesting and takes the place of those calorie dense juices and drinks.
No, but seriously
I recommend drinking a tall glass of morning every morning as soon as you wake up. This will help get the blood flowing more freely and help you feel more alert. As for daily intake, 8oz is a bare minimum. Author of The Plan, Lyn-Genet Recitas, recommends drinking at least half your body weight in ounces per day. This means, if you weigh 150lbs you should drink 75oz of water per day or about nine and a half 8oz glasses per day. If you’re exercising, you should have one or two more glasses depending on how much you sweat. I know it sounds like a hard task but drinking enough water and staying properly hydrated will help you stay fit, healthy, energetic, bright, and it’s easy on your wallet too! I hope you guys enjoyed this article and remember to pay attention to these signs of dehydration, we’ve gotta keep the body movin’!
5 Signs You Aren’t Drinking Enough Water February 18th, 2016Fitsom Studios
Here at Fitsom Studios we offer the best personal training in Sacramento. Our trainers Jeremy, Katelyn, and Pablo are all very knowledgeable about human body movement and are constantly learning to find new ways to help you meet and exceed your goals! We specialize in identifying and addressing skeletal muscle dysfunction. One of the first things we do when you come in is take a body assessment which gives us an idea about where you are and what we can do to help you improve your quality of life. If you won’t take my word for it, come in and meet the trainers yourself!
High Energy Group Classes
At Fitsom Studios we have classes throughout the day and they are usually filled with 6 to 12 clients. The classes are broken down into smaller groups and those groups rotate around stations depending on the workout for the day. Our group classes facilitate a friendly environment for our clients to create stronger relationships by helping and motivating one another. Every person has their own set of goals in mind but we all work together to achieve those goals. The group classes offer a place for motivation, guidance, and a little friendly competition.
Did someone say free massage?? Yes! Every client gets one free hour long massage with our specialized massage therapist Zak Kwiker. Zak can give you one on one attention in addressing the dysfunctions of your body. He gives deep tissue massages that can be tough to do on your own, especially when you’re just being introduced to self-myofascial release. Getting a massage from Zak is definitely a great way to relief in your body without having to do much of the work yourself. Come in today for a free consultation!
We Want You to Become a Better You
Whether you’re a couch potato who wants to be able to tie your shoes without getting red in the face or a self-proclaimed fitness expert who’s looking for a unique style of training, we all have something to improve upon. The great thing about Fitsom Studios is that we will take anyone at any level of fitness. We modify and personalize workouts for each client to make sure that everyone is getting exactly what they need. Oh, you better believe that everyone is sweating their butts off during the workouts! Our trainers work side by side each group during class to make sure you’re doing the activity right and making sure it’s appropriate for your body. If you’re really struggling, they may have you take it down a notch. If you’re beasting through every exercise, Jeremy will show you some muscle shredding version to make you push yourself beyond belief! No matter where you are, we want you to improve on all areas including body awareness, balance and stability, self-myofascial release, posture, power and strength.
If you’re looking for the best personal training in Sacramento, Ca, that offers high energy group classes, massage therapy, and a well-rounded environment that pushes you to become a better version of yourself, then you have to come in to Fitsom Studios located at 2512 Franklin Blvd. Come in and see for yourself what we’re all about!
Why Fitsom Studios is the right gym for you April 26th, 2015Fitsom Studios
With all the greatness happening here at Fitsom Studios, it only makes sense that we would have a talented massage therapist join the team! Zak Kwiker helps our clients understand the dysfunctions of their body and just how to fix them. He starts by having you stand relaxed as you normally would and then begins to examine how your hips line up over your feet and how your ears rest over your shoulders. After a few other evaluations and listening to your own input, he will tell you what he believes to be the cause of your less than perfect posture.
A couple days ago I had an appointment with Zak for a much needed massage. I think it gets to a point where everything in my body is just so bound up that doing myofascial release on myself can be overwhelming. Sometimes it’s better to just have someone else give you some relief. This is not like any regular massage, it can be a bit painful but it is the kind of pain that actually ends up feeling really good! Meeting with Zak is also a nice way to ‘check in’ with how my body is doing and learning what things I need to work on. As a runner, I have always struggled with knee pain. Going in to the appointment, I already knew that was one thing I wanted to focus on. Zak helped me by releasing my calves, hamstrings, and adductors. He also got into my tensor fasciae latae (TFL) and piriformis muscles. Oh man, I was starting to feel right again. He also made sure to give me some homework on which muscles I need to continue working on if I want to maintain my renewed self.
My favorite part about the massage therapy at Fitsom Studios was just how knowledgeable Zak is about human body anatomy and how he uses that to give you a thorough explanation about what is really going on. He provides visualizations with his own hand drawn anatomical figures to help you get a sense of credibility and understanding. Most people have a general understanding of the structure of the human body; calves refer to the lower leg, biceps refer to the upper arm, but did you know that the gastrocnemius (a large calf muscle) has two heads? Or that the biceps on your arms aren’t the only biceps in your body? It may seem trivial, but knowing a few tidbits about anatomy can really help you better understand where your aches and pains are coming from and what you need to be working on. I recommend every one make an appointment with Zak Kwiker. He’s a great massage therapist who really knows his stuff!
Paying attention to your body is something you really can’t spend enough time on. If you are interested in getting some help with release and realigning your body, you can set up an appointment with Zak at (916) 712-5235 or come check us out at the studio at 2512 Franklin Blvd, Sacramento, CA 95823. We’d love to see you!
– Summer Arrellano
Massage Therapy with Zak Kwiker April 23rd, 2015Fitsom Studios
I see this statement plastered above the backdoor at the gym and it got me to realize how much truth there really is behind it. I can pretty much gauge how well my workout is going to go just by thinking about all the food I ate that day. On the same token, I purposefully structure my diet to complement my workouts. All workouts aside, having proper nutritional knowledge is important in all facets of life, whether that be choosing what foods to feed your children, making healthy decisions while eating out for dinner with friends and family, or just knowing when to say no to a food that doesn’t fit into your diet.
If you feel like crap, you probably ate like crap. If you have low energy, it may be because the food you put into your body wasn’t sufficient enough to satisfy what you want to put out into your workouts. This goes for everybody, even if you think you are eating healthy, if you are not getting the results you want, you may need to examine your eating habits.
We’re here to help
Do you find yourself wearing out fast in the middle of a workout? Do you constantly find yourself exhausted and unable to push yourself one step further? Have you been stuck lifting the same weights for the past 4 months? You may lack the nutritional knowledge it takes to become a truly healthy individual, however, don’t be intimidated! We are here to guide you.
Do whats right for you
One quick search on the internet will lead you to thousands of diet plans and ideas about how to portion food and break down macronutrients. Well the fact is that everybody responds to food differently; everybody runs more efficiently off of different fuel. Here are twelve general principles that you could implement right now to get you off to a better start.
1. Do drink plenty of water: replace sweetened beverages with water, tea, or black coffee
2. Always eat a good breakfast: I cannot stress that enough
3. Eat a little bit often: have a snack before and after lunch, have a snack before your workout
4. Do eat a variety of veggies and a respectable amount of fruits on a daily basis
5. Do choose whole grains over refined or enriched grains whenever possible
6. Do incorporate plant based fats into the diet such as olive oil, coconut oil, palm oil, sesame seed oil, and fish oil
7. Limit saturated animal fats especially those found in red meats
8. Always read food labels!: If you can’t read it, don’t eat it!
9. Don’t eat sweetened or packaged foods: this includes but is not limited to chips, soda, candy, frozen pizza, frozen burritos, cupcakes, cookies, donuts, anything that came from a gas station; the goal here is to limit the amount of saturated fat, trans fat, sodium, and refined sugars in your diet
10. Don’t eat fast food: Not only does it taste bad and pack a ton of calories, but you could make something way better at home
11. Moderate your alcohol intake to 1 or 2 drinks per day: one drink is defined as 12 fluid ounces of beer, 5 fluid ounces of wine, or 1.5 fluid ounces of liquor
12. Get a good night’s rest: if you’re unable to sleep, take a 20 minute nap during the day whenever possible
In future articles I will be going more in detail about the importance of these principles as well as offering various ways to structure your day and the foods you eat. If you have any questions regarding your own personal goals with fitness and nutrition, please, I encourage you to talk to me or one of the trainers here at Fitsom Studios. We are here for you!
You cannot out-train a bad diet! September 19th, 2015Fitsom Studios