San Francisco-based Meghan Litchfield is a former e-commerce executive turned entrepreneur who was fed up with clothes that didn’t fit. After having two kids, her proportions had naturally changed — as had those of most of her friends. Rather than blame her body, she asked the radical question, “WTF is wrong with clothes?” First, Meghan grilled designers and manufacturers to figure out how sizing really works and why it fails women. Then, she threw herself into a year of R+D to re-imagine the traditional supply chain. The result was RedThread: the first apparel company that creates custom-fit garments to each…

The post The Mompreneur Calling B.S. on Clothing Sizes appeared first on Fit Bottomed Girls.

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You are strong, but are you strong enough to make it in the military?

When I joined the military right out of college, I knew basic training would be tough. But I never imagined just how physically demanding it would be. Only a few weeks after I put on my Army uniform, my body felt broken from endless amounts of push-ups, sit-ups, running and ruck marches. I neglected the physical preparation needed to be at my best, but I was thankful I had the mental strength to push past the fatigue and discomfort and not give up.

Military training is physically and mentally demanding. There is no time to rest when you’re faced with the pressure to perform. Upper-body, lower-body and core strength are central requirements needed to perform daily tasks as a soldier — like climbing up hills and carrying oversized equipment that weighs almost as much as you do. If I had to do it all over again, I would have prepared much differently with training similar to this military-inspired workout that I’m excited to share with you.

Complete four rounds of the following circuit for a total time of 20 minutes!

Kettlebell Suitcase Deadlift

Kettlebell Suitcase Deadlift

Set two kettlebells at the midpoint outside of each foot. Hinge at your hips and start in a conventional deadlift position while keeping your chest high and neck neutral with your spine.

Grab the handles of each kettlebell and stand up in one fluid motion, making sure to keep all your weight pressed into your heels. Once fully erect, slowly return to the starting position.

Push-Up

Push-Up

Get down on all fours and place your hands just outside your shoulders. Raise your knees off the ground and assume an upright plank position. Your elbows should be slightly flared out at a 45-degree angle. Lower your body down until your chest nearly touches the floor while maintaining a flat back and tight core. Once complete, pause and raise your body back up.

Goblet Squat

Goblet Squat

Start with your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart with a zero- to 30-degree foot flare. Keep the kettlebell close to the upper portion of your chest and your elbows tucked in.

Sink down into the squat, keeping your chest high and core tight. Make sure to push your knees out and keep your weight in your heels. Once you hit parallel or just below, stand back up and squeeze your glutes at the top.

If possible, use a 35-pound kettlebell, which is the load required to carry in a standard 12-mile ruck march.

Push Press

Push Press

Stand holding a pair of dumbbells just outside your shoulders, with your arms bent and palms facing each other. Slightly dip your knees and then explosively push up with your legs as you press the weights straight over your shoulders. Lower the dumbbells back to the starting position.

Sandbag Walking Lunge

Sandbag Walking Lunge

Start by hoisting the sandbag on your back and wrap each arm around either side to hold it in place on your shoulders and behind your neck.

Take a large step forward, dropping your hips down and creating a 90-degree angle. Your back leg should slightly hover above the ground. Then push up with your front leg and bring your back leg forward to the next lunge position. 

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Strengthen the muscles surrounding your knee and hip joints to train harder, run better and lift more efficiently.

No matter where you land on the fitness spectrum, there is always risk of a knee injury that will derail your progress. Unfortunately, knee injuries can plague just about anyone — from beginners to seasoned gym-goers and elite runners.

Physically active people are at risk for knee injuries mainly resulting from overuse and improper running or lifting techniques, as well as direct trauma to the joint.

Overuse injuries are often seen in runners who fail to cross-train or who have biomechanical problems. Improper lifting techniques can put uneven forces on your knees, making you susceptible to injuries. And direct trauma to the joint is most likely the result of a work-related incident, a vehicular collision or an accident while playing a sport that requires quick and sudden changes in direction, like basketball, football or hockey.

Although sporting accidents causing trauma to the knee joint can be unavoidable, overuse injuries are preventable. At the very least, there are exercises you can do that will mitigate your risk. The longer you can remain injury-free, the better results you will achieve.

Strengthening your glutes, hamstrings and quadriceps will help prevent knee injuries. The gluteus medius plays a very important role in stabilizing your hips and preventing unnecessary internal rotation of the knee, especially during weight-bearing activities. And if your hamstrings are too weak relative to your quads, you are also more likely to get injured because this causes imbalanced forces to act upon your knee.

The good news: There are five simple moves that will help strengthen the muscles surrounding your knee and hip joints, allowing you to train harder, run better and lift more efficiently.

Clamshell.

1. Clamshell

The clamshell helps strengthen your gluteus medius.

To perform the clamshell, lie down on your side. Then bend both your legs at the knees. While keeping your legs bent and your feet together, activate your gluteus medius as you lift up your top leg. It’s important to do the same number of repetitions on each side. In order to make the move more challenging, add an elastic band around your knees.

Side leg lift.

2. Side Leg Lift

This move is performed almost like the clamshell, except your top leg is straight while your bottom leg is slightly bent. Lie down on your side and make sure that both your hips and both shoulders are directly underneath each other. While engaging your gluteus medius, lift your top leg up toward the sky. Lift it high enough to be able to engage your glutes while maintaining proper form. However, there is no need to lift it super high.

If you would like to challenge yourself, hold your top leg for three to five seconds in the “up” position before bringing it down to start your next repetition. Again, you should do the same number of repetitions on each side.

Glute bridge. 

3. Glute Bridge

The glute bridge works your glutes, hamstrings and core.

Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet shoulder-width apart. Place your feet firmly on the floor. Engage your glutes and core as you lift your hips up off the floor. Hold the “up” position for a few seconds before bringing your hips back down to start another repetition. If you would like to further challenge yourself, place a barbell on top of your hips to add resistance.

Resistance-band squat

4. Resistance-Band Squat

Resistance-band squats primarily target your glutes, as well as your quads.

Place a band around both your legs, just above your knees. You should feel resistance from the elastic band as you stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Descend into a squat position while pushing your legs outward to keep your knees from going inward as you squat. As you come down, make sure that your knees don’t go too far forward over your toes.

Ball hamstring curl.

5. Ball Hamstring Curl

Ball hamstring curls target your hamstrings, core and glutes.

Lie on your back with your heels on an exercise ball. Using your arms at your sides for balance, engage your core and glutes as you lift your hips off the floor. While your hips are in the air, contract your hamstrings as you pull the ball toward you with your feet. In order to make this exercise more challenging, try doing single-legged ball hamstring curls. If you are doing single-legged repetitions, be sure to do the same number for each leg.

The number of repetitions you perform for each of the above exercises will depend on your fitness level. Beginners should attempt to do three sets of 10 repetitions. As you get more advanced, you will be able to do more repetitions as well as gradually increase the difficulty of each exercise.

When you strengthen your posterior chain, you will decrease your risk for injury, which will make you a better lifter and runner. The longer you remain injury-free, the better your results will be.

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Learn how your gut health impacts your hormones and your waistline — and what you can do about it.

As women, it’s important that we ensure our hormones and gut health are in check.

I’m sure many of you have heard the buzz about “gut health” and its impact on our health and fitness success. As women, we all want our efforts in and out of the gym to be optimized. I don’t know about you, but my main reason for spending time in the gym and kitchen is to ultimately feel my best and be as healthy as possible.

Piqued interest surrounding the importance of “gut health” has many talking about its role in chronic diseases. Modern medicine has finally begun to recognize the digestive system as a core component to the overall good health puzzle. Recent studies have shown a cause-and-effect relationship between the gut and many of our other systems (immune, neurological, endocrine, cardiovascular, etc.).

Could this be the missing piece of information surrounding the rise in hormone-related disease and obesity? The reality is our hormones play a large part in our ability to gain and lose body fat. Elevated estrogen has specifically been linked to increased body fat and hormone-related disease. Only in recent years have hormones and the gut been linked.

One of the most common causes of weight gain and estrogen-dominate diseases could be a condition called leaky gut. Despite the forthcoming research, nutritionists and physicians often overlook the link between unsuccessful fat loss, imbalanced hormones and gut health. Read between the lines: We end up having to do our own research!

For the 411 on leaky gut syndrome, check out this article.

Leaky Gut and Estrobolome

Now, hang with me as I get a little nerdy! When the gut is stressed or damaged, it’s no longer able to function efficiently. The lining of the gut becomes porous and is unable to act as a “micro-filter.” Large particles begin to seep back into the bloodstream, creating chaos and inflammation.

An important part of our gut function is dependent on the health of our microbiome. This is our own unique “ecosystem” of bacteria that is much like our genetic fingerprint. When the good bacteria are disrupted, it creates a dysbiosis (bacteria imbalance) and is a major cause of leaky gut. All the bacteria within the digestive tract play an important role to keep the body functioning properly.

If leaky gut is present, it can negatively impact the hormone balance, specifically estrogen levels. When discussing estrogen dominance, there is a specific subset of bacteria to consider called estrobolome. This group of microbes are responsible for metabolizing estrogen. When dysbiosis occurs among these microbes, it may affect the body’s ability to excrete excess estrogen, which is then reabsorbed into the bloodstream, therefore, increasing circulating estrogen levels.

When balanced, estrogen plays an important role in fat deposition, bone cell turnover, glucose and lipid metabolism. On the flip side, elevated levels of estrogen in the body can be an increased risk of endometriosis, cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, cancer and obesity.

What Can Alter Estrobolome?

The gut microbiome and estrobolome can be affected by many factors, both internal and external. It’s important to keep a happy gut to have a healthy body. Here are a few specific items that can trigger dysbiosis and leaky gut.

  • Antibiotics
  • Excess processed foods
  • Artificial sweeteners
  • Excess sugar Stress
  • Alcohol

Is This Me?

If you’re now wondering about your own estrogen, here are 10 common signs you could be experiencing elevated levels. If you’re saying “yes” to any of the symptoms below, you may want to see a licensed medical practitioner to have your estrogen checked.

10 Signs and Symptoms of Estrogen Dominance

  • Irregular or abnormal periods
  • Abdominal bloating or generalized water retention 
  • Mood swings
  • Exaggerated premenstrual symptoms 
  • Swollen or tender breasts outside of PMS
  • Headaches
  • Hair loss
  • Trouble sleeping and fatigue
  • Decreased sex drive
  • Weight gain

Tips to Balance Estrogen Levels Naturally

If you’re suffering from hormonal imbalances specific to estrogen, there are ways you can help yourself come back to balance naturally. It’s recommended that you first consult a physician, but the following are complementary approaches to ensure the body is functioning optimally.

  • Keep the gut healthy and balanced.
  • Partake in regular exercise 20 to 30 minutes four times per week.
  • Consume healthy fats (avocado, nuts, coconut oil, salmon, etc.).
  • Increase daily fiber to 25 to 30 grams per day.
  • Limit processed sugars.
  • Manage stress.
  • Consume a balanced diet for lifestyle (no overeating or undereating).

For foods that feed the healthy bacteria in your gut, check out this article.

Making lifestyle changes beyond your regular food and exercise routine can be scary and frustrating — no matter how you look, how much you can lift or how many times you hit the gym per week. If you’re suffering from estrogen dominance symptoms, the journey can be even more difficult. But taking charge of your health is always worth it.

As women, it’s important that we ensure our hormones and gut health are in check. Remember the value of balancing and nourishing your body, mind and gut to live your healthiest life possible.

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Dr. Rhonda Patrick is a scientist who has done extensive research on aging, cancer and nutrition. She has a Ph.D. in biomedical science from the University of Tennessee Health Science Center and St. Jude’s children’s Research
Hospital in Memphis TN, a bachelor’s of science degree in biochemistry/chemistry from the University of California San Diego and has trained as a postdoc at the Children’s Hospital Oakland Research Institute with Dr. Bruce Ames. Her research on the role of insulin signaling in protein misfolding commonly found in neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease, was conducted at the prestigious Salk Institute for Biological Sciences.

Rhonda’s podcast and website, both called Found My Fitness, discuss topics such as the role of micronutrient deficiencies in diseases of aging, the benefits of exposing the body to hormetic stressors such as exercise, fasting, sauna use or various forms of cold exposure, and the importance of mindfulness, stress reduction and sleep on health.

In this episode we discuss Rhonda’s new publication on the role of the APOE4 gene in Alzheimer’s Disease, and why eating fish but not taking fish oil DHA supplements help slow the progression of the disease for carriers. We also touch on how we both approach healthy pregnancies and Rhonda’s personal nutrition strategies.

 

Related Links:

iWi Algae-based omega-3 phospholipids  – fact sheet

 

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Show details (links don’t work on mobile devices): 

3:21 – How Rhonda helped Darya get pregnant the first time.

6:55 – Apparently, daily sauna use is not a good form of birth control.

9:21 – The APOE-4 gene––what it is and why it matters.

18:42 – Why getting good sleep is crucial for lowering an APOE-4 gene carrier’s risk for developing Alzheimer’s.

21:30 – Rhonda’s new publication explains how omega-3 DHA is transmitted to the brain differently in people who carry this gene.

24:08 – Eating fish versus taking fish oil DHA supplements.

27:26 – Why caviar isn’t just for special occasions.

31:07 – Why supplement companies have to distill fish oil, the downside of purified fish oil and what Rhonda suggests instead.

34:30 – It’s OK to eat fish roe when you are pregnant, just find a trusted source.

36:57 – How much fish should I be consuming on a weekly basis?

38:07 – An alternative source of omega-3 DHA for vegetarians.

41:35 – How to find out if you are a APOE-4 gene carrier.

45:27 – Engage in this type of exercise to lower your risk of Alzheimer’s, improve deep sleep and keep your brain healthy.

46:43 – How accurate is the Oura Ring for tracking sleep? + The difference between REM sleep and deep sleep.

49:26 – Rhonda’s nutrition strategy.

53:23 – Why she chooses Vital Choice Salmon….

54:15 – and focuses on certain nutrients more than others.

57:30 – Why Darya is skeptical of functional foods.

58:59 – Things to avoid during pregnancy.

1:03:21 – Is it safe to consume detoxifying foods when you are pregnant?

1:06:13 – Find Dr. Rhonda Patrick on the Found My Fitness podcast, www.foundmyfitness.com and @foundmyfitness on social media.

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