Archive | April, 2014

Eating for Two!

10 Apr

chocolatebelly

“I’m pregnant now so I am eating for two!”

This is true, you are now eating for two but what people get confused with, is that you are not eating for two adults! You do not need to eat double your normal amount. Don’t forget, the baby starts off smaller than the size of a pea and only grows to around 6-10lbs before they are born so really don’t need much at all.

During the first and second trimester pregnant women are advised to eat no more than that of a non-pregnant woman. In the third trimester an extra 200 calories per day is all you need to support your growing baby. This is the equivalent of a small bowl of cereal, a banana or a pot of yogurt. The extra weight gain is not only a bore when you are trying to get back into your jeans, but it can cause all sorts of complications throughout your pregnancy and birth.

You will naturally gain weight throughout pregnancy due to your growing baby and your body accommodating him or her. The amount of weight you should gain depends on the weight you were before you became pregnant but an average weight gain is between 10kg – 12.5kg with the most weight being gained from 20 weeks onwards.

You do need to remember that whatever you eat goes to the baby too, so this is where you DO need to be “eating for two” and trying to keep your diet as healthy as possible for both of you. Keep your diet as fresh as you can with lots of fruit, vegetables and water to keep you hydrated at all times.

Enjoy your pregnancy, but just not too much!! Keep those treats as treats and fuel your body with things that will benefit you and the baby.

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Tight Hip Flexors

1 Apr

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Many runners will be aware of their hip flexors and either already know the importance of looking after them, or should know it! The weather is getting nicer now, marathons and half marathons are getting closer and lots of you are running and exercising more now. I have received a few queries about how to get rid of hip flexor pain so I thought I would explain about the hip flexors in a very simple way, without any scientific jargon.

Hip flexors are mainly responsible for bringing the thigh up towards the stomach area. When the hip flexors are tight, it can cause an exaggerated anterior pelvic tilt which sees a person sticking their bottom out and therefore changing their posture. As you can probably guess, this will put a lot more pressure on the lower back and can cause great pain if left alone.

One of the most common contributing factors to hip flexor tightness is that the gluteal muscles are not strong enough. Many people find that their ‘glutes’ do not activate when needed to and as a result, the quadriceps, hamstrings and calves are called upon to help. Doing exercises that isolate the glutes before starting your exercise can activate them so that they are awake and ready to work with you throughout the session. Some examples could be hip bridges, lateral band walks, lateral leg lifts, superman holds. (please contact me if you need any of these explaining)

Stretching the tight hip flexors is a must as well and will quickly reduce the pain you are experiencing. There are so many you could do but the 3 below are the ones I believe to be the most effective and I also incorporate these into every single exercise session I do. Be patient to start with as they can be quite painful due to your tightness, but as they start to loosen up they will become easier and you will notice the difference in mobility and flexibility. Stick with them, they became tight over time so it may take time for you to be getting no pain at all but leave enough time before and after your run to work on activating the glutes and stretching the hip flexors and you will thank yourself later.

 

MY TOP 3 HIP FLEXOR STRETCHES

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Lie on the edge of a surface high enough that it allows the leg to hang off it. Relax the hanging leg whilst bring the opposite knee tight into your chest. Hold it for 10 seconds before changing legs. Repeat this 4 times on each leg.

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Hold onto something for balance if you need to with this one. Grab your foot and pull it towards your body, whilst leaning forward over your front foot. Hold it for 20 seconds on each leg.

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Place your knee further behind you than in the previous exercise. Lean your body over the front knee and place your hands on your hips, giving them the extra pressure to really feel the stretch. Do not bounce, stay as still as you can and hold for 20 seconds on each leg.