It’s time for more Meet Your Muscle!
I’d like to introduce the Iliopsoas muscle, a key hip flexor (bringing your knee towards your chest) and a common source of lower back pain. First note that the Iliopsoas is actually made up of the Iliacus and the Psoas Major and Minor. In the lower back, they are separate muscles but once they cross the pelvis into the thigh they merge as one and are usually just referred to as the Iliopsoas, or inner hip muscle.
One of the most important features of the Iliopsoas is that it originates from either side of the spine in the back on the sides of the lumbar vertebrae and reaches across the body to attach in the front at the top of the inner thigh. Specifically, the psoas muscle is starting at the lateral surface of T12 and L1-5 vertebrae, merging with the iliacus in the concave surface of the pelvis and ending at the lesser trochanter of the femur. These landmarks aren’t as important to know as the fact that this muscle reaches from the spine in the back to the leg in the front and that abdominal work or hip flexion can lead to pain the lower back region even if you feel that you haven’t been working your lower back. For example, I tried the P90X Ab Ripper X program for the first time a few years back and was confused when the next day I couldn’t stand up from pain in my back above my sacrum (tailbone area). Critics have suggested that this P90X workout works hip flexors more than abdominals, but it certainly showed me that they definitely can work together even when you don’t realize it.
In Western culture, we spend a lot of time seated, be it in the car, at our desks or on the couch, keeping our hips in a flexed position (versus the extended position of standing). This and the fact that like most posture muscles, the iliopsoas is predominantly slow twitch fibres, makes the muscle susceptible to pathological shortening and contracture. Bodyworkers often candidly refer to this muscle as the Ilio-So’-Ass, and for good reason :) (NB - There are two types of muscles - slow and fast twitch - slow twitch fibers contract for long periods of time but with little force while fast twitch fibers contract quickly and powerfully but fatigue very rapidly - long periods of contracture lead to chronic shortening.)
So what do you do with your tight Iliopsoas muscle pulling on your lower back and upper thigh? How do you correct the contracture that is tilting your pelvis, compromising your posture and causing you pain? Good news! This is a very treatable condition with Massage Therapy. Put as much of a priority on recovery as you do exercise and book yourself an appointment with a competent therapist.
All of Massage Therapy is complimented by a consistent stretching routine, but if you cannot get a massage right now, be sure to add the “fencer’s stretch” to your recovery routine. Refer to the picture for the proper form, but what you want to do is rest on one knee and one foot, each bent at 90 degrees. Keeping your body upright, track your front knee forward until you feel a stretch in the opposite side of the hips. Breathe deeply and hold the stretch for at least 90 seconds per side, letting each exhale take tension away. Coax the muscle into it’s original length with the stretch’s duration, which is always more important than intensity when it comes to stretching.
This pose in yoga is often used to open the ‘front gate’ of the hips, a key step in developing freedom of motion in the joints this muscle crosses (i.e. the lumbosacral joint and the hip joint). Many people will place their opposite elbow on the leading knee to create a torso rotation, but it is well enough to stretch out the Iliopsoas by gently moving your knee forward and simply breathing deeply into the stretch. It is called the ‘fencer’s stretch’ because it resembles the lunging stance a fencer makes when he strikes.
If you want to address other muscles that attach to the lower spine, look up the Quadratus Lumborum, another usual suspect in low back pain and easily treated/stretched back to it’s healthy length.
I hope you have enjoyed getting to know the Iliopsoas and creating a greater understanding and awareness of what is going on inside your body. Please feel free to make any requests of areas of the body you’d like to meet!
What you do in the gym and in the refrigerator depends on clarity of thought. These are common distortions our mental muscle creates for us to often lead us astray. Developing an awareness of how you fool yourself is a critical step to being in control of your life.
Complex Vs. Simple
Complex: Search for the perfect weight-loss plan to suit your body type, blood-type, personality, mood, career, situation, budget, hair colour, star sign.
Simple: Eat less, move more.
Complex: Start a new ‘breakthrough’ program every month.
Simple: Stop stopping.
Complex: Track your spending with spreadsheets, graphs and algorithms to see why you’re in debt.
Simple: Stop buying shit you don’t need.
Complex: Save for the expensive fitness machine with the built-in TV, radio, heart-rate monitor and energy-expenditure calculator.
Complex: Keep making shit up but don’t forget your lies or who you told them to.
Simple: Be honest.
Complex: See another doctor, dietician, trainer, psychologist. financial advisor, life coach.
Simple: Apply what you already know.
Complex: Keep planning, talking, researching, waiting, wanting, wishing and hoping.
Simple: Start doing
From Australian life coach and motivational speaker Craig Harper www.craigharper.au.com
The Alison McWeeny Story
She lost a leg in a boating accident on a July 4th vacation trip with friends. Her leg was amputated below the knee. That’s bad enough, but before the accident she was a competitive powerlifter.
Most people will try to find any reason to stop pursuing their goals. They have the case of the “I don’t wannas” or “There’s not enough time” or even “It’s too hard”.
Do you think Alison ever gives those kind of excuses?
Don’t let any obstacle stop you from doing what you love or achieving your goals. You have to break down those barriers and overcome the adversity placed before you. You are as tough as you allow yourself to be.
This is motivation. This is Alison McWeeny’s story.
Watch this. Then get to it.
Food can be your best friend when you’re trying to lose weight if you learn to chose the right foods. Here are some great choices to boost your body’s fat-burning potential and give you good nutrition throughout the day:
Wait a minute; aren’t oats a carb? Yes and no. Oats are a whole grain, and they’re high on what nutritionists call the “satiety index,” meaning oats have tremendous power to make you feel full. Not only that, they’re also high in soluble fiber, so they cut cholesterol and blood fat. Oats digest slowly, so they don’t raise your blood sugar, and they keep you feeling filled up well into the late morning. Old-fashioned steel-cut and rolled oats, with up to 5 grams of fiber per serving, are best, add some flax and cinnamon and you have a very well rounded breakfast that keeps you satisfied all morning.
Nutritionists have been trying for some years to restore the reputation of the lowly egg. No longer thought to be a cholesterol-booster (eggs contain a different type of cholesterol than that in humans), eggs are a concentrated form of animal protein without the added fat that comes with meat. Dietary studies have repeatedly found that when people eat an egg every morning in addition to (or instead of) toast or cereal, they lose twice as much weight as those who eat a breakfast that’s dominated by carbs. I encourage patients to add in vegetables to have a more filling breakfast so my preference is a vegetable omelet for good protein and fiber and a filling breakfast.
To keep the pounds at bay, eat an apple–or two–a day. Numerous studies have found that eating an apple a half hour to an hour before a meal has the result of cutting the calories of the meal. Why? The fiber in the apple makes you feel full, so you eat less. Recent research suggests eating apples has other benefits, too; the antioxidants in apples appear to prevent metabolic syndrome, the combination of high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and prediabetes that tends to accompany thickening around the waist. Also, apples are high in pectin, which binds with water and limits the amount of fat your cells can absorb.
This simple spice appears to have the power to help your body metabolize sugar, according to surprising data that came out of a USDA study involving diabetics. Eating as little as 1/4 to 2 teaspoons of cinnamon a day was found to reduce blood sugar levels and cut cholesterol from 10 to 25 percent. So add cinnamon to smoothies, sprinkle it on your oatmeal, or flavor your tea or coffee with it.
Almonds and Almond Butter
Another counterintuitive choice; aren’t nuts and nut butters supposed to be incredibly fattening? Well, almonds are calorie-dense, but they also pack a huge nutritional punch–and they’re particularly effective in counteracting cholesterol and triglycerides. One study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that eating almonds was as effective as taking a statin. Spreading almond butter on your morning toast gives you a nice protein boost while preventing the carbs in the toast from spiking your blood sugar
All the best for amazing health – Dr. Stephanie M King
“I’m not in this world to live up to your expectations and you’re not in this world to live up to mine.”
It’s simple, not easy. Good Morning!
-HMH Fit tip #7-
Got a goal? Get a plant.
Let it be a metaphor for your growth. See how it responds to the conditions you create for it. See how getting enough water and light makes it grow and give off a healthy and vibrant energy. Watch when you forget to maintain those conditions how it slows into dormancy or even drops leaves or browns at the edges.
“How am I like this plant?”
“What conditions must I maintain to opitimize my growth?”
“Who is the caretaker responsible for providing these conditions for me?” (Psst. It’s you.)
Make your daily visit to your plant a reminder to maintain the conditions that are carrying you to your goal. What is your “water and light”? Hopefully it includes actual water, but what else? Supportive family and friends? Maybe it’s getting enough sleep. Maybe it’s preparing your meals ahead of time, not letting yourself get hungry, going to the gym on your way home, going for a run when you wake up, journalling, or a combination of factors working in concert to create your fit, vibrant, healthy self.
Let your plant teach you how to pay attention to what works and what doesn’t. Let it teach you the necessity of patience and persistence as it stands strong but grows slowly.
Celebrate new leaves on your plant and let it draw your attention to new growth and strength you see in yourself.
Allow your plant to teach you hope and resilience. Maybe you’ll neglect it a while and come to it in a sorry state all withered and tired. Watch as you reintroduce the conditions that it favours for it’s health and see it spring back to it’s best.
When you reach that big, lush, green, happy-plant goal, roots all crowding the pot and leaves reaching and spreading like you can’t stop it, that is definitely not the time to remove the conditions that brought you there. It may seem as if the work is over. You’ve arrived. All happy and beautiful. Remember, you’re still growing. Remove your “light and water” and slowly you’ll return to a softer, shrunken you. That, in fact, is the time to give yourself a bigger pot. A bigger goal. More room for you to expand past what you thought was your end point. Make your point B your new point A and forget all about where you started before.
Let your plant be your partner in change and growth. Inhale it’s oxygen and exhale your carbon dioxide and feel free to say out loud, “I can take care of you just like I can take care of me.” Plants love to be talked to. You’re in it together :)
(this is a spider plant that started small from my grandmother. pretty sure it needs a name - suggestions?)
Principles Of Getting Shredded: 20 Nutritional Tips For A Leaner You
Fit man of the day 15/04