Stretching oneself too thin is the disease of modern life—
letting oneself get too thick, the other.
Apologies for the radio silence this week… two weekends in a row away (with a Monday off to boot) and the way days off are chased by catching up on work… not so good for the blogging schedule. Or sleeping schedule. Or, you know, sanity.
I do want to keep my fitness updates contained within the Fitness Friday category until I can move them over to another website I’ve been working on (meaning I can keep this site more focused on the eco). So here’s an 11th hour update!
My routine hasn’t changed a whole lot. I still do my pushups and pullups as my phone dictates. I run when I have time (which is to say, not a whole lot lately, but summer vacation should make my schedule a bit more flexible). I do yoga when my muscles feel tight.
I’ve incorporated two new elements in the past two weeks that have made a visible difference in the results I’m getting.
The first is another drink from GNC, and I’ll write that up in a separate post. It basically fuels my runs.
The second is called the Body Wrench.
Body Wrench strength movements are some of the most targeted and efficient ever devised. Higher-end exercises can take even the hardest of bodybuilders to their knees in seconds. Most amazing? The same tool with which muscles can be safely pushed to their limits is used to help those same muscles recover, with deep-tissue self massage as penetrating and effective as a professional trainer’s or physical therapist’s.
I freaking love this thing.
The Body Wrench doesn’t look like much. It’s a bar with holes in it (makes me reminisce about my old metal roller skates that could be adjusted to size and were worn on the bottom of your shoes… anyone else remember those?). It comes with 4 balls, 2 large and 2 smaller, that can be connected into numerous configurations via pins pushed through the holes.
Simple doesn’t mean bad (a common theme here on SGOH). Sometimes simple + thoughtful innovativation + quality is all you need.
The roller balls are awesome at getting deep into sore muscles and loosening up tight spots. With my intermittent exercise regimen and days spent hunched over a laptop, this is a lifesaving quality all by itself. At any given moment I can Body Wrench out tension.
Crunches and pushups hit a whole new level. I can feel muscles being used that aren’t normally called into action. I was hitting that point where I was having to do more and more pushups to feel like I was making a difference, which admittedly made me feel pretty badass but took up time I hated to give up. With the Body Wrench I can do less pushups, but there’s no question I’m achieving more.
And I can already see the difference. I had pretty much assumed that a certain degree of love handle and kangaroo pouch was going to be a permanent feature on my midsection: I did, after all, birth three children. But after just 2 weeks of Body Wrench-assisted core work I’m seeing more tightness and a general leaning out.
Given that it’s bathing suit season, that was a welcome surprise.
I co-hosted a Twitter chat with the good folks at TheBodyWrench.com yesterday, and when doing my research I unearthed some interesting factoids:
- 55% of the average American’s time awake (or 7.7 hours per day) is spent in sedentary behaviors like sitting. Sitting 6 hrs+ a day raises your risk of death; that risk increases if you don’t regularly exercise.
- Prolonged sitting can lead to tight muscles, decreased flexibility & over time, permanent changes in posture & muscle function. Exercising with poor posture can work the wrong muscles and build your body disproportionately.
- Improving flexibility improves muscle balance, reduces chance of injury and increases blood flow & nutrient delivery to muscles, reducing soreness.
- To increase muscle mass, right after training a specific body part you should then stretch it: to optimize muscle fiber growth potential & improve definition. You’re expanding the connective tissue, essentially pulling the muscles further apart so they have room for growth and this enhances the definition.
Good to know, right?
I love that yoga has become such a commonplace thing, a way to stretch and center. The Body Wrench performs in a slightly different way for me. It’s about strength and defining muscle, yes, I will freely admit that. But it’s also a readily available, portable way to stretch daily in a way that really gets in there and hurts so good.
We understand that when we put strain on our muscles— pushups, pullups— our bodies compensate by building stronger muscles to answer the call of the demands we’ve put on them.
We don’t think about how sitting all day, and the poor posture that follows, also puts strain on our muscles. Our bodies respond accordingly… and the result is not attractive. We’re talking hunched-over shoulders, perhaps permanent posture issues. And just sitting up straight when you think about it isn’t enough. We’ve been working our poor posture muscles a long time (for me, pretty much a lifetime). We’ve got to strengthen different muscles to counterbalance the forward pull.
Using the Body Wrench, I actively work out the kinks and stresses I’ve put on my system each day. And in so doing, I’m taking the time to notice where the hurt is in my body, where I need to take it easy, where I need to stop holding my stress.
Wrenching after a run or workout, I’m appreciative of what muscles I’ve taxed, and I massage them out so they can recover more quickly.
It’s a versatile little thing. You use it to push a little beyond wherever you are. Indefinitely.
I’m a fan of free-range fitness. I have a gym membership, but I don’t think one is necessary. Most of my exercise uses my own body weight hanging out in my own home.
The Body Wrench is a great tool to add to your at-home workout, though. It totally takes core moves to the next level of ouch… and then you can work out the ouch with the same tool. I love that.
I also love that it travels so well: I can take with me into hotels and to the beach house without looking like a tool toting around my foam roller or yoga mat.
Even if you’re not a hardcore athlete (heck, even if you are), taking time daily to relieve pressure points, stretch out muscles and just tune in to your body’s pains is something you should really make a priority. As we grow older we grow less flexible (glory, in more ways than one). You only get one body. Perform regular maintenance before something gives.
And that’s all I’m gonna say about that 🙂
Disclosure: I work for FitFluential LLC and the Body Wrench is a client; therefore I received a free pair of Body Wrenches to try out for review and Twitter-chat-preparing purposes. All opinions are my own and spring, like Athena from the forehead of Zeus, from my own brain, whole and fully-formed.
Thanks Jake for being a (semi) willing model.