How Undereating Can Sabotage Our Health

Are you wondering why you’re working so hard at the gym but you’re not getting the results that you want? Did you ever think that you may be undereating and how that is sabotaging your health?

Today, we will talk about four ways you could be sabotaging your health and fitness goals by not eating enough.

I see patients day in and day out, and I look at their nutrient intake and see that so often, people aren’t eating enough to fuel their bodies. They’re not eating enough macronutrients for energy; they’re not eating enough micronutrients for overall health and well-being. This can be a big factor for improving your performance in your fitness or life or sport and your overall health.

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4 ways you could be sabotaging your health (by not eating enough)

1. You need enough calories to meet your metabolic rate

When considering our resting basal metabolic rate, think of it as the energy required for basic bodily functions such as digestion, excretion, breathing, and blood circulation. For most people, this amounts to a minimum of 1200 calories per day, factoring in age, gender, and activity level. Prolonged periods of calorie deficit or restrictive eating can cause your basal metabolic rate—essential for survival—to decrease. Ideally, we want our metabolism to improve over time, especially through exercise, so that we can consume more calories, including carbohydrates.

Continuing in a chronic diet cycle, whether intentional or unintentional and obsessively focusing on restrictive eating can unfortunately lower our set point, leading to inadequate fueling and hindering any changes in body composition.

2. Your brain and your body need energy to thrive

Every cell in your body requires energy. When discussing metabolism, we’re referring to mitochondria, the powerhouse of our cells, and much more. We should consider consuming nutrients as fuel to truly optimize every aspect of our well-being, including immune system function, gut regulation, hormone balance, nervous system health, and providing glucose for our brain’s energy needs. 

If we deprive ourselves of carbohydrates, for instance, we can expect to experience symptoms such as brain fog, memory issues, and difficulty concentrating.

3. You’re not getting the results that you want in the gym

I see this over and over again,  and it not only impacts your metabolic rate, as we discussed earlier, but it is often associated with inadequate protein intake. Muscle protein synthesis requires an optimal amount of protein. This typically means around 30 to 40 grams of amino acids per meal, ideally approaching one gram of protein per pound of body weight as a general recommendation. Of course, this can vary based on your starting point and the type of physical activity you engage in. Instead of merely aiming for survival, as the current Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) suggests, we should focus on protein to promote thriving.

To truly build muscle, you need to be in a calorie surplus, not a deficit. Achieving this may take time, but if we genuinely want to alter our body composition, particularly when it comes to weight training and increasing muscle mass, we must prioritize providing our bodies with the necessary fuel.

4. You’re undereating or lacking in macronutrient and micronutrient content

Think of our macronutrients as our proteins, our carbs, and our fats, and our micronutrients as our vitamins and minerals. 

All of these essential components are derived from the food we consume. In my approach with patients, as well as for my own well-being, I prioritize finding ways to increase nutrient intake throughout the day. It is important to replenish our bodies with what they may be lacking and ensure that we optimize all these functions before considering supplementation or medications. It’s crucial to first evaluate what our bodies require from food in terms of health and well-being before considering any other interventions.

Key takeaway

Try to ensure that you have a healthy protein amount in every meal, a healthy fat, and a fiber source. 

Second, have a variety of nutrients, focusing on diversity.

Now, if you are starting from a low caloric intake, you’ve either been intentionally chronic dieting for years and years, you’ve been yo-yo dieting, or you’re unintentionally just not eating a lot, but your weight has not changed, then reverse dieting may be necessary

In this case, you have to go very slowly. A reverse diet is where you’re increasing your calories very slowly, approximately 250 calories. Also, having a focus on some aerobic activity can help to make you more metabolically efficient. Activities such as biking can be a suitable starting point. This approach can positively impact our mitochondria, thereby influencing our metabolism.

You want to think initially of having a lower carbohydrate diet as you’re transitioning. And then, as you get more metabolically efficient, especially if you can begin to add in weight training, then you can start to slowly add more carbohydrates in. 

The ultimate goal is that we don’t have to count calories. We can eat a higher calorie plan, enjoy food, and enjoy all of the nutrients that food provides us to feel our best.

If you found this information helpful, please like, share, and subscribe to our YouTube channel, The Movement Paradigm®, for weekly tips on mindset, nutrition, and movement. If you want to join our app and join our community, please make sure to check out the Movement Paradigm app on Google or Apple. Get a 7-day FREE trial!

If you’d like to learn more about how we can assist you on your journey, please don’t hesitate to reach out for a discovery session. We look forward to helping you on your path to wellness.

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3 Stages of Stress

Ever wondered why stress affects us the way it does? Dive into the intriguing world of the three stages of stress, where we unravel the science of your body’s HPA Axis and sympathetic nervous system activation. Discover these stages, learn how to identify them, and equip yourself with the tools to treat stress effectively.

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How Stress Affects Our Body

Let’s start by discussing how stress affects our body. Stress can be categorized as both good and bad. Good stress, known as eustress, can be related to physical exercise or the excitement of an upcoming event, for example. Eustress plays a vital role in our performance, but today, we will focus on the three stages of stress and how acute stress can transform into chronic stress, impacting our bodies.

The HPA axis, short for the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis, is the body’s stress pathway. When we encounter a psychological or physical stressor, our limbic system, the brain’s emotional center, detects a potential threat. This sets off a series of events, with signals sent from the limbic system to the pituitary gland in the brain, which, in turn, signals the hypothalamus. The hypothalamus then prompts the pituitary gland to communicate with the adrenal glands.

The adrenal glands respond by releasing cortisol. If this stress continues for an extended period, it can lead to a persistent activation of the HPA axis. It’s crucial to understand that when the HPA axis is activated, it triggers the sympathetic nervous system, putting us in a fight-or-flight mode for survival.

When the sympathetic nervous system is upregulated, or the parasympathetic nervous system is downregulated, it’s like having the gas pedal pressed down continuously. The longer the HPA axis remains activated, the more our sympathetic nervous system stays in overdrive.

In 1963, Hans Selye pioneered understanding physiological responses to stress, a concept known as General Adaptation Syndrome.

Stages of Stress

Stage 1 – Arousal

Let’s examine a typical cortisol rhythm. Around 6 a.m. to 8 a.m., we experience the highest peak of cortisol, which gradually decreases as the day progresses, particularly as bedtime approaches when melatonin takes over.

In a stage one arousal state of stress, both cortisol and DHEA levels are elevated. DHEA is a crucial hormone associated with vitality, often called the “anti-aging hormone.” Initially, this response is entirely normal, resulting in episodic increases in both hormones followed by a return to baseline. Typically, in this state, you may not experience any symptoms, but you are stimulated, and there is a rapid release of catecholamines. This is essentially a natural and expected response.

This scenario applies when we encounter episodic stress throughout our day or life. The HPA axis and sympathetic nervous system become activated temporarily, but we ultimately return to our resilient baseline state. Everything remains well within the normal range.

Stage 2 – Adaptation

Now, this is where we are adapting to a higher cortisol point. This can manifest as elevated cortisol points at various times throughout the day or even persistently high cortisol levels, particularly in the morning. It’s not uncommon to wake up at two or three o’clock in the morning due to cortisol peaking prematurely.

In this situation, cortisol remains chronically elevated while DHEA levels start to decrease. This is when you might experience stress-related symptoms such as panic attacks, anxiety, depression, or feeling both tired and wired simultaneously. Instead of winding down for sleep at night, you find yourself with the energy to keep reading, cleaning, or tackling various tasks despite feeling tired.

Stage 3 – Exhaustion

So, think of it this way: if your adrenals have been pumping out cortisol for so long, then at some point, your body’s natural homeostasis is affected. At this point, cortisol is now low, and DHEA is low.

Various things typically occur in this stage, but you are likely to experience significant chronic fatigue. You’ll also notice more depression than anxiety, although anxiety can still be a significant part of it. Low blood sugar and glucose dysregulation are common patterns here.

When looking at a cortisol graph, there will be at least two to four points that are low on the cortisol rhythm. Normally, it starts up around 6:00 a.m. and gradually decreases throughout the day. However, in this case, multiple points are low. This can lead to symptoms such as fibromyalgia, dizziness, brain fog, inflammation, allergies, and even early menopause, which is another sign of stage three stress.

Other common symptoms are cravings for salty food, dizziness, and easy bruising.

Understanding the Stage of Stress You Are In

So, as you can see, each stage is very unique in its presentation. Some individuals may present with signs of stage two or stage three, which is common. However, I believe the first step I recommend is to try to better understand where you are. Simply identifying your stage is an excellent starting point for healing your body, and knowing that you can do it is important.

Your body is designed to heal itself, so when you start providing it with the things it needs and desires, you can significantly impact your health.

Tips for Overcoming Stress

Here are a few important tips, regardless of your stage. What stage are you in right now? Simply identifying it and understanding stress a little more is a great starting point. 

Tip #1 – Focus on Your Nutrition

Focus on your nutrition! Especially if you are in stage three of stress, where you’re experiencing a lot of blood sugar dysregulation and low blood sugar in general, this is an area that you can really begin to eat every three to four hours. I would not recommend fasting in this situation. Instead, concentrate on balanced meals that include protein, healthy fats, and fiber sources, and consistently consume whole foods throughout the day. 

Even if you find yourself in a slight caloric surplus, it’s important to note that most people I encounter are actually in a caloric deficit, which can contribute to more stress on the body.

So, keep in mind that the focus here is on whole foods and consistently eating high-quality nutrients. This approach aligns with my next suggestion: to ensure you’re replenishing nutrients. If you’re consuming very few calories or fasting, all of these practices can deplete your body with the essential nutrients needed for a healthy nervous system and stress mitigation, making you more resilient.

Therefore, emphasizing the intake of optimal nutrients and whole meals is a crucial step in managing stress.

Tip #2 – Nervous System Regulation

If you’ve read any of my blogs, you can see lots of different examples of this, but this can start with simply moving your body. This can be any type of breath work, movement, authentic movement, somatics, and vagus nerve exercises I have provided you. It could be anything to consistently regulate your nervous system in a healthy way. What are your triggers, and what things really are fulfilling you?

Tip #3 – Optimizing Sleep

I’ve written a few blogs on sleep, but here are some ideas: First, you want to think about down-regulating your nervous system to be able to go to sleep. Have a ritual before you go to bed. Wear blue light blockers if you’re using your phone, TV, or tablet because, in this case, it’s actually signaling to the receptors in your retina that it is morning time. 

When you wake up, your ritual is even more important. You want to ideally try to get morning sunlight within the first 20 minutes of waking up. If that’s not possible, you can use a SAD light. It’s not as good as the sun, but it is a good backup plan so that there’s at least something in place that will help to increase your natural cortisol in the morning, and it will also help with the evening melatonin production. 

So, consider everything you can do to optimize sleep.

Tip #4 – Supplementation

With this, the biggest take-home that I want to give you here is within each stage of stress, there are many different options. This will depend on your medical history, the stage of stress you’re in, and the types of things you are sensitive to—have you tried herbs, botanicals, or adaptogens? Have you had an issue with them in the past? There are so many variables. The first step is nutraceuticals, i.e., getting the nutrients that you are not getting through food.

Beyond that, you can get more specific in looking at different adaptogens that might be appropriate for your level of stress. For example, Ashwagandha is appropriate for all three levels of stress. That may not necessarily be the right thing for you, however. You do want to check with your doctor, functional medicine provider, or dietitian to ensure it is. 

There are so many things you can do to begin to pave the way for a more resilient nervous system, a healthy body, and a healthy mind.

If you found this information helpful, please like, share, and subscribe to our YouTube channel, The Movement Paradigm®, for weekly tips on mindset, nutrition, and movement. If you want to join our app and join our community, please make sure to check out the Movement Paradigm app on Google or Apple.

To learn more about how we can assist you on your journey, please don’t hesitate to reach out for a discovery session. We look forward to helping you on your path to wellness.

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3 Reasons You Have Tight Hamstrings

Today, we are going to discuss three different reasons why you might have tight hamstrings. Whether it’s you or someone you know, tight hamstrings are a common issue. I’ve worked with many patients and clients over the decades, and it’s essential to understand the underlying causes.

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At this point, I’ve encountered numerous cases of tight hamstrings. However, the reasons behind tight hamstrings can vary significantly from one person to another. The three key factors we’ll explore are:

3 Reasons You Might Have Tight Hamstrings

1. Mechanical Tension

When we think of mechanical tension, imagine our body’s tissues as elastic, like a spring. 

Our fascial tissue, which envelops our muscles and organs, is responsible for maintaining elasticity and tension. However, various factors such as muscle imbalances, compensations, injuries, or conditions like torn hamstrings and tendinopathies can disrupt this tissue’s integrity. This disruption can lead to mechanical tension, including fibrosis, where the tissue loses its elasticity due to change. Emotional trauma can also have its impact on this over time. 

To address this, consider techniques like self-myofascial release, using balls or foam rolls to enhance tissue elasticity.

2. Neurological Tightness

Neurological tightness involves an increased neural drive to the hamstrings or the body’s posterior chain, back of the body. This can manifest as shaking when attempting movements like touching your toes or pulling your hamstring back. In such cases, the neural “volume” is dialed up, and we need to focus on inhibiting it, essentially turning down the volume. 

Neurological tightness can also be related to nerve tension, often stemming from conditions like sciatica. Reprogramming this requires specific exercises, such as leg lifts against a wall, gradually reducing the feeling of increased pulling behind the knee while promoting a comfortable stretch. Then, engaging the core and creating tension in the body further aids in reprogramming the nervous system while actively pulling the leg away from the wall. 

3. Stability Motor Control Dysfunction

Stability motor control dysfunction occurs when there’s a lack of coordination, timing, or sequencing in the core and pelvis, making it challenging to perform certain movements, like touching your toes. Even if there’s no significant tissue tightness, this dysfunction can mimic the symptoms of neurological tightness or even mechanical tension.

An effective remedy is to introduce stability and improved sequencing. For instance, try placing a block between your knees and elevating or lowering your toes while reaching down to touch them. This simple adjustment changes weight distribution and core activation, often leading to quick improvements.

Key Takeaways

It may be challenging to self-assess these issues, but consider your history, any past injuries or trauma to your legs, and how your hamstring tissue feels overall. Additionally, assess how quickly you can change your movement pattern when activating your core, as this might indicate a stability motor control issue. If you experience increased shaking and poor control, it could be related to neurological tightness.

In conclusion, not all tight toe touches are the same. Each case should be addressed uniquely, as optimizing this fundamental movement pattern is crucial for overall function and performance in daily life.

If you found this information helpful, please like, share, and subscribe to our YouTube channel, The Movement Paradigm®, for weekly tips on mindset, nutrition, and movement. Explore our other resources for in-depth insights into core function, hip mobility, pelvic floor health, and more to better understand your body and how to optimize it.

If you’d like to learn more about how we can assist you on your journey, please don’t hesitate to reach out for a discovery session. We look forward to helping you on your path to wellness.

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Recipe for success: 7 ways to improve your gut and mental well being

Are you ready to embark on a transformative journey towards optimal well-being? If you’re eager to feel your absolute best, you’re in the right place! In this blog post, we’re about to unveil seven incredibly effective strategies to improve your gut and mental well-being.

From dietary advice to physical activities, consider this your comprehensive guide to achieving a healthier, happier you! So, let’s dive right in and explore the recipe for success when it comes to nurturing your gut and your mind.

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The gut-brain connection

Now, many of you have heard me speak about this before, which is how powerful the gut-brain connection really is. What we are fueling our body with, what we’re putting in day in and day out, is directly affecting our brain, thoughts, emotions, and the ability to regulate our nervous system. It is directly affecting our gut. 

This beautiful relationship is something that we can optimize through some of our daily habits, our choices, and recognizing what are the things that are going to help our overall emotional, mental, and physical well-being.

7 ways to improve your gut and mental well being

1. Optimizing digestion

Consider taking three diaphragmatic breaths right before you eat. This is because when we bring blood flow to the autonomic nervous system and the digestive tract during our meals, we optimize our digestive capabilities.

If you’re multitasking, like looking at your computer, checking our phone, or while eating, this increases cortisol levels and diverts blood flow away from the digestive tract, slowing down our digestive process. So, if we can take at least three breaths before we eat, or even more, we bring ourselves to a parasympathetic state, promoting ‘rest and digest.’

In addition to that, chewing your food 20 to 30 times can significantly help with the mechanical breakdown of food. This process begins in our mouth, where our saliva releases enzymes to break down the food. 

Chewing also signals the body to prepare for digestion, optimizing the production of bile, pancreatic enzymes, and hydrochloric acid. This way, we can break down the food into very fine particles before it reaches the small intestine. 

2. Balancing your nervous system

There are so many ways to balance your nervous system, and if you follow any of our videos and our content, you’ll realize that there are endless possibilities. So much of it is about finding what most resonates with you. It could be anything from diaphragmatic breathing, walking, getting out into nature, doing specific vagus nerve exercises, dancing, engaging in authentic movement, or somatic movement where you can freely express your emotions. It could even be as simple as talking to a friend.

There are lots of ways to balance your nervous system, but it starts with recognizing which nervous system state you’re in. Are you in a state of safety and connection, are you in fight or flight, or are you in a freeze state? Once you can identify your current state, you can then choose what you can do to become more resilient and bring yourself back to that state of safety and connection, allowing you to better navigate life’s challenges.

3. Movement and exercise 

This can actually help with the diversity in our microbiome, which can ultimately be very protective against conditions like colon cancer and gastrointestinal diseases. Making movement a priority in your life is crucial. This could mean walking, lifting, or running, but it’s important to think about exercise and movement in a specific way.

In my world, they’re a little different because we want to think about moving all day long. Our bodies crave movement, and that’s what we need for a healthy nervous system and a healthy gut. If we can view movement as a gift that we’re nourishing and appreciating, and exercise as a way to push our bodies outside of their comfort zones, taking them a bit past what they’re used to so they can adapt, change, grow, and evolve.

4. Probiotic and prebiotic-rich foods

The way to think of this is that if you are relatively healthy, without any obvious digestive issues, it’s likely easy for you to incorporate probiotic-rich foods. These include items like kefir, kimchi, sauerkraut, and foods with active live cultures, and perhaps even a probiotic supplement.

Now, if you have gut issues and you’re not sure what they are, it can be especially beneficial to consider a stool test to identify the specific issues. Many people with gut problems find that probiotics are not well tolerated, especially if there’s something going on in the small intestine like SIBO (Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth). In such cases, probiotics might not be the first step to take.

However, when we think about general health and well-being, including mental health, probiotic-rich foods are great. When considering psychobiotics, which are specific strains related to mental health, lactobacillus and bifidobacterium are the two most common strains you’ll find in a probiotic supplement. These strains can be particularly beneficial for mental health, and there has been a lot of promising research on them.

Additionally, we want to think about prebiotic foods, such as bananas, garlic, and onions. These foods can be thought of as the fiber sources that probiotics feed on.

5. Anti-inflammatory foods

We should also consider factors like Omega-3s, increasing our intake through fatty fish, as well as foods like walnuts and flax seeds. Simultaneously, it might be beneficial to decrease some of our Omega-6s, which can be found in higher-fat foods, such as seed oils that are often present in packaged foods. The goal here is to optimize our intake of anti-inflammatory nutrients.

Anti-inflammatory nutrients can be thought of as Omega-3s, but also include phytonutrient-rich foods. A great way to approach this is to incorporate a variety of colorful foods into your diet. Think of all the different colors – reds, blues, yellows, etc. Each color provides different nutrients that can help support our biochemistry and promote overall health.

6. Fiber-rich environment

Fiber is incredibly important for maintaining a healthy microbiome. We should aim for at least 25 to 35 grams of fiber per day, although the specific amount can depend on your diet and individual needs. What’s crucial is obtaining fiber from various sources. In this context, diversity in fiber sources is more important than simply meeting a daily fiber goal. It’s this diversity that helps beneficial bacteria thrive in your gut.

7. Specific nutrients

To get a bit more specific about certain nutrients, we can aim for foods rich in tryptophan, which is a precursor for serotonin, often referred to as our “happiness hormone.” These foods can include items like turkey and eggs.

Additionally, we can focus on tyrosine, a precursor for dopamine, which can be found in foods like meat or almonds. It’s important to recognize that specific nutrients like these play essential roles in neurotransmitter production, including serotonin, dopamine, and GABA. Proteins serve as the building blocks for these neurotransmitters, making a protein-rich diet a crucial aspect of maintaining their balance and functionality.

The Bottom Line

These are just seven of many strategies, but I hope they give you a good sense of the various possibilities we have to optimize the relationship between the gut and the brain.

If you found this information helpful, please like, share, and subscribe to our YouTube channel, The Movement Paradigm, for weekly tips on mindset, nutrition, and movement. If you’d like to learn more about how we can assist you on your journey, please don’t hesitate to reach out for a discovery session. We look forward to helping you on your path to wellness.

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3 Somatic Exercises to Get You Out of Your Head Into Your Body

Discover a transformative journey as we guide you through three powerful somatic exercises designed to help you break free from mental chatter and reconnect with your body’s wisdom. Whether you’re seeking stress relief, mindfulness, or simply a deeper sense of presence, these exercises are your gateway. 

Join us as we explore gentle movements, breath awareness, and mindful stretches that will anchor you to the present moment.

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What You Need To Know About Somatic Experiencing

As you may have observed in some of my other videos, when we talk about somatic experiencing or somatic therapy, we’re considering a bodily approach to emotional and mental health. In the realm of mental health, we often tend to think of a top-down approach, such as cognitive-based methods that involve trying to rationalize or talk ourselves out of our emotions. However, what our bodies are very accustomed to evolutionarily is non-verbal communication – about 93% of our communication is non-verbal. Therefore, using movement to address mental health can be incredibly potent. Today, I want to discuss three of my personal favorites.

3 Somatic Exercises

1. Butterfly Hug

If you’re experiencing sadness or feeling down and you’re seeking comfort or soothing, this technique is perfect for you. Begin by interlacing your thumbs, then bring your hands across your chest and let your fingers reach toward your shoulders. Remember, there’s no definitive right or wrong way to do this. Start by allowing yourself to settle in, feeling the comfort and soothing sensation in your arms. When you’re prepared, gently alternate tapping your hands in a rhythmic motion that feels comfortable for you. Do this for as long as you desire.

It’s important to note that this practice can lead to a significant emotional release. If you find yourself becoming emotional or on the verge of tears, that’s perfectly okay and welcome. Allow yourself to embrace those feelings and offer yourself some grace. On the other hand, if the technique simply feels soothing without evoking strong emotions, continue for as long as you find it beneficial.

2. Wipe Away

If you’re feeling a little frustrated and annoyed and just need to vent some emotions, there are a couple of options to consider. One option is to find a comfortable position that suits your body and then imagine wiping away the frustrations. Bend over and ensure your posture is comfortable. As you wipe away, allow any frustrations you’re experiencing to flow through your body. You can increase the intensity of this movement as you become more at ease.


Simultaneously, another technique you can try is a simple activity called “shaking.” This idea is reminiscent of how animals in the wild deal with fight-or-flight responses. They literally shake off the stress and return to a state of homeostasis swiftly.

So, if you’re feeling frustrated and want to release some pent-up energy, try shaking your body. Shake as needed, and then give yourself a moment to settle down. Take a moment to connect with yourself and observe the sensations in your body.

3. Goddess

The third one, which is one of my favorites, is the goddess. If you’re male, you can refer to this as something different, but it can be very empowering. Turn your feet out and bring your hands – let’s say, to heart center if you’re into yoga. Inhale as you come down, letting your knees go out, and then exhale, letting your arms go up to the ceiling. Do this at a pace that feels good for you. This is a great technique if you feel like you want to evoke a sense of happiness and empowerment.

We hope you can appreciate these three simple strategies. They show how we can shift our emotions and thoughts by moving and getting into our body physically, feeling our body. 

These are just a few examples out of many of how to do that. If you’d like to learn more, please make sure to reach out to us. We would love to help, and as always, thank you so much for joining. Make sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel, The Movement Paradigm, for weekly tips on mindset, nutrition, and movement.

Check out our app, the Movement Paradigm app, for lots of programs and really creating a community of people that want to enhance their lives in all ways and make it accessible to you.

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How to improve your ankle mobility

Have you ever felt like your ankles are holding you back from reaching your full potential? Whether you’re an avid athlete, a fitness enthusiast, or just someone struggling with foot and knee issues, we’ve all been there. Ankle mobility might not be the most glamorous topic, but trust us, it’s the unsung hero of your body’s movement mechanics.

Today, we’re diving deep into the world of ankle mobility, unlocking its secrets, and discovering how it can be a game-changer in your physical performance.

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Ankle Mobility Restrictions and Factors 

Ankle mobility restrictions can happen for various reasons, such as surgery, scars, or foot type. So, if you have a pes cavus foot type (i.e., a higher arch foot type), it means that you have a higher declination angle. This is going to contribute to a structurally-limited ankle mobility, which is very important to understand.

You could also have a flat foot, meaning you might have a structural or a functional flat foot. This, too, will contribute to limited ankle mobility, just as limited ankle mobility will contribute to a flatter foot type.

You want to factor in all of these different things because there are different reasons why someone might have an issue, and it might present differently in one person than in another. 

Additionally, ankle sprains and unstable feet are some of the most common causes of limited ankle mobility.

We want to respect and appreciate all of these different factors that go into it because you never want to force the ankle into a position where it simply isn’t going. You want to be very intentional with how you’re assessing and looking at the ankle.

General Ankle Mobility Assessment

For a general ankle mobility assessment, follow these steps: Start by positioning your foot on the floor in a half kneeling position or a stool from a standing position. Ensure your foot is in a neutral position by finding where the tripod (underneath the first toe, little toe, and heel) is located. 

Once you have even pressure on these contact points, shift your knee directly over your toe. For most individuals, the midline of the foot will align with the second toe. Measure approximately how many inches over the toe you reached with your knee. Four inches over the toe is considered adequate ankle mobility, but consider the foot type as this may vary, especially for those with higher-arched feet. Make sure there is no pain associated with the movement. 

It’s crucial to maintain a neutral foot position throughout the assessment, as limited ankle mobility may cause the foot and knee to collapse inward. By optimizing the stable foot foundation and addressing ankle mobility, you can improve overall mobility and prevent potential issues.

Six Ways to Improve Ankle Mobility 

1. Myofascial release

Using a ball for this exercise can be very beneficial. You can use various tools such as rad balls, neuro balls from Naboso, or other soft tissue release tools. Being intentional about your soft tissue release is important.

For individuals with a flatter foot type, you can start by working on the outside of the calf and the back part of the calf, specifically targeting the peroneal muscles and the lateral gastrocnemius. Hold each spot for 20 to 30 seconds and then move to the next spot. This pin-and-hold technique can help decrease about 70 to 75 percent of the pain in each spot. By doing this, you create inhibition, quieting down the area and setting yourself up for better foot strength and improved mobility from the ground up.

2. Ankle mobilization

During the ankle mobilization exercise with the band, place the band right on the talus bone, in front of the ankle, avoiding it being too high. The band’s tension should pull back and down, which can be achieved by hooking it to a machine or having someone hold it. 

While performing the movement, gently bring the knee forward over the toes while keeping the foot neutral, being mindful to prevent it from collapsing inward. Ensure the heel remains down throughout the exercise and returns to the neutral position after each repetition. Repeat this ankle mobilization for several repetitions to improve ankle mobility.

3. Inversion and eversion

Think about finding the tripod of your foot, which is underneath the first, the fifth, and the heel. Rotate all the way in (eversion) and all the way out (inversion) without bending your knees. These movements target the spiraling pattern of both the ankle and the foot, promoting a healthy foot-to-core movement.

4. Isometric dorsiflexion

After mobilizing, move into the position of adequate dorsiflexion. From there, challenge yourself to bring your toes towards your shin, even if the range of motion is limited. Hold that position for five seconds, and then lower your foot back down. Load the joint in that range by lifting your foot three to five times. 

Alternatively, you can add some resistance by placing a little weight on the knee and guiding it into dorsiflexion. Remember to be mindful of your foot type and its specific needs. This loading technique can be a powerful way to work on that particular pattern and enhance dorsiflexion mobility.

5. Short foot

Find a neutral position with a staggered stance. Root the tip of your toes into the ground. Notice the natural arch of your foot lifting, creating stability and a strong base. Practice this while integrating your breath, inhaling when your foot is relaxed, and exhaling while rooting the digits into the ground. This exercise aims to improve foot stability, which is imperative for optimal ankle mobility.

6. Elasticity

An effective method for achieving this is through mini jumps. You don’t necessarily have to leave the ground, but you can load, and then come up to your toes. By doing these mini jumps, you’re effectively loading the tendons and the elasticity of the movement, making it a powerful way to integrate and improve your mobility.

The Bottom Line

I hope you found this information beneficial. Ankle mobility comes in various forms, and it’s crucial to consider factors like your foot type, past injuries, and medical history. Ankle sprains are a major cause of limited ankle mobility, a common issue that can have far-reaching effects on the entire kinetic chain. It may contribute to discomfort in the hips, back, feet, and more. The exercises provided offer a glimpse of how to start re-patterning ankle mobility and seamlessly integrate it into dynamic movements such as lunging and jumping.

If this was helpful, give it a like, give it a share, and make sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel, The Movement Paradigm, for weekly tips on mindset, nutrition, movement, and make sure to check out our app, the Movement Paradigm app, for lots of programs and really creating a community of people that want to enhance their lives in all ways and make it accessible to you.

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The Mighty Magnesium: Unveiling Its Role in Over 700 Body Reactions

Ever wondered about a mineral that plays a pivotal role in over 700 different reactions within your body? Well, today, we’re unleashing the secrets of magnesium—a truly mighty mineral. 

Join us on this journey as we explore its various forms, uncover the reasons behind our widespread magnesium deficiency, and, most importantly, understand why this unsung hero is so vital to your well-being. Get ready to dive into the fascinating world of magnesium and discover how it impacts your body in countless ways! Let’s get started!

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Different Forms of Magnesium

It is absolutely amazing to think that magnesium is involved in over 700 reactions in the body. Understanding the different forms allows you to appreciate the different benefits in the body.

Magnesium is available in different forms, each with its unique characteristics. The most common forms of magnesium are oxide, citrate, threonate, and glycinate. These forms will differ in absorption rate, bioavailability, and their specific role in the body.

For example, if you are having bowel irregularities and tend towards constipation, magnesium citrate is very valuable in bowel regularity. For someone experiencing constipation, I often recommend titrating up from 150 mg every three days until they are having bowel regularity. 

Comparing magnesium oxide and citrate, the former may not have as strong an effect on bowels as the latter, but it can still be utilized as an antacid.

Now, let’s talk about magnesium glycinate—a real game-changer when it comes to improving sleep and enhancing overall nervous system function. It’s incredibly beneficial for many of us! And that’s not all; we also have magnesium threonate, which holds tremendous promise. The beauty of this one is that it can cross the blood-brain barrier, meaning it has the potential to positively impact brain function, cognitive health, and more.  This can also be used along with glycinate and malate for migraines. 

Understanding Magnesium Deficiency

One of the key reasons for this is the deficiency in our soil because of modernized farming practices over the past few decades. 

In addition to this, stress is a really big factor in magnesium excretion. When we have an increase in our stress hormones, such as cortisol, we can have increased magnesium excretion through our urine. Whether that is physical stress or emotional stress, both of which can contribute to deficiencies of our electrolytes.

If, for example, you are under more stress, trying to address a specific condition, or you want to thrive, supplementation may be beneficial.  

Importance of Magnesium For Your Health

Why is magnesium so important? 

One of the main reasons is that it supports energy metabolism. It plays a huge role in converting food into energy. It promotes muscle relaxation, alleviates cramps, is crucial for maintaining a normal heart rhythm, and contributes to normal blood pressure and blood vessel function. It’s important for bowel regularity, and it’s also important for bone health and healthy glucose metabolism. It’s even important for immune health. So, from energy production to heart health, magnesium plays a critical role in everything that we do.

Incorporating Magnesium-Rich Foods Into Your Diet

Some of the higher sources of magnesium include nuts and seeds, spinach, oats, and barley.

With that said, you still may need to supplement, so although I named a few of the primary forms of magnesium, we want to recognize at least seven different forms of magnesium.

When looking at supplementation, we can be very specific, especially when it relates to the specific goal you want to achieve with magnesium. For those seeking an excellent magnesium supplement, I recommend trying ‘Magnesium’ by 1st Phorm, as it offers a comprehensive blend of different forms of magnesium. You can find more information and purchase it from the link I provided.

However, it’s crucial to remember that before you start any supplementation, you must consult with a healthcare professional. They can ensure that the supplement is appropriate for you based on your health history and individual needs. In the meantime, you can begin by incorporating magnesium-rich food sources into your diet.

I hope you can appreciate the profound effect that magnesium has on your body and your health. If you found this helpful, please like, share, and subscribe to our YouTube channel, The Movement Paradigm, for weekly tips on mindset, nutrition, and movement. If you need assistance with your overall health, please reach out to us. We would love to help you.

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The Body’s Emotional Landscape: Exploring Fascia, Interoception, and Trauma

Have you ever wondered how emotions and traumas are stored in your body? Join us as we explore the fascinating connection between fascia, emotions, and healing. Discover the role of fascia in our physical and emotional well-being, the impact of trauma on interoceptive awareness (internal awareness of self), and effective ways to release emotions and facilitate healing.

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The Body’s Emotional Landscape

We know all too well how emotions have such an impact on our thoughts. But we also want to recognize how emotions have such a profound effect on our physical body. You may have heard that emotions and traumas are stored in our bodies. We will talk briefly about the science behind it and exactly what that means.

Our focus will be on the role of fascia in emotions and trauma, as well as interoceptive awareness, which connects to our internal self-awareness. Additionally, we’ll examine how trauma stored in the body can lead to various physical and emotional responses. Most importantly, we’ll learn how to heal and restore our body’s balance.

The Role of Fascia in Emotions

Let’s talk about the role of fascia in emotions. Our fascia is our three-dimensional network that surrounds everything in our body, from our muscles, joints, and bones to our nerves, lymph, and organs; it’s our connective tissue, the glue that holds everything together. Therefore, it is perhaps one of the most powerful systems in our body.

Trauma and stress can lead to a lot of physical changes in our bodies. Think about when we’re stressed; we might hold the tension in our neck and shoulders. If you’ve ever had jaw issues, such as TMJ, you may have noticed clenching and grinding due to ongoing stress.

In our bodies, chronic tension patterns can arise due to various factors. To better understand this, consider the concept of fascia, which should ideally possess both elasticity and the ability to generate tension, known as tensegrity. However, when we experience altered patterns over time, these changes can affect our fascial tissue.

Our tissue is meant to have elasticity, allowing free movement while also providing tension and structure. Imagine a scenario where our tissue undergoes an altered pattern for an extended period. Think of a rubber band with a knot in it. Even if we keep stretching the rubber band, the knot remains. In fascial tissue, we can develop patterns of restrictions, leading to potential issues like pain, dysfunction, and impaired movement.

Lastly, as it relates to fascia, fascia is our force transmission system, so when this system is altered through surgery, some type of adverse event, or injury, it can change how we move through the world. This can change our ability to move efficiently; it can affect our ability to move freely, and ultimately, this can greatly influence our emotions.

Interoceptive Awareness

Interoception is our internal awareness of self. It gives our brain information about things like pain and temperature. Our interoceptors are mechanoreceptors located in the fascial tissue and primarily in the viscera. These interoceptors provide input to the insular cortex of our brain,  where we can process emotional information.

It is estimated that we have up to seven times more interoceptors in our fascia than proprioceptors, which detect joint position and movement. Therefore, we can see the impact this will have on our emotions and our physical being.

Trauma’s Imprints on the Body

When we have experienced trauma in our lives—and that could be unique to each of us and how we perceive what is traumatic—this can interrupt the interoceptive processing between our body and our brain.

We could become more hyper-vigilant. This could lead to becoming hyper-aware of your sensations. For example, in the case of chronic pain, which is associated with trauma, our brain is sensitized. It detects and senses pain, even when there is no tissue damage.  

On the other hand, it can contribute to a hyperarousal state. In this state, we may feel numb, depressed, or stuck. Consequently, we can have a different interpretation of our bodily signals, where we might intentionally tune them out. For example, initiating signaling and repressing emotions can become the norm.

This signaling is influenced and can cause a different reaction for each person because we’re all unique. And so, in essence, this interruption can cause dysregulation in our nervous system, and it can cause us to be disconnected from our body in some way.

Facilitating Healing and Releasing Emotions

How do we release emotions and facilitate healing?

Your body is designed to heal itself, and please remember that you have this innate capacity to heal. When you are able to give your body what it needs and what it deserves, you can work through a very safe, gentle, and healing process.

As it relates to addressing the mind and the body—we often refer to that as mind-body because they are connected. Somatic therapy, which is a mind-body approach, can be very helpful.

What does that mean exactly?

The easiest way to think of it is to think about movement because we, as beings, are mostly non-verbal. Only seven percent of our communication is verbal, and the rest of it is non-verbal. This means that moving our bodies safely and gently is crucial for emotional health.

How we move can look different for every person, such as walking outside mindfully or doing specific vagus nerve exercises. I recommend checking out all of my vagus nerve exercises, as there are many options to choose from. You can also explore various somatic practices like trauma release therapy and pendulation to understand what’s happening in our body with a gentle curiosity.

For instance, if you are experiencing pain during meditation, you can consider being curious about the pain and how it feels. Can you dial the pain down or change it? If your hip feels tight in a position, can you manage it or explore it? It’s essential to address this mind-body approach gently and safely.

By understanding these bodily sensations, we can grasp the significance of our fascia. Our fascia plays a huge role in our emotional being. Therefore, moving our body in an authentic way that suits each individual, like dancing, animal flow, or walking, can be very effective in managing emotions. It’s important to note that somatic therapy is very different from talk therapy, but it’s not a matter of one being better than the other; they’re simply different approaches.

As we think about how our nervous system influences our emotions, movement emerges as a great way to address these influences.

If you found this helpful, please like, share, and subscribe to our YouTube channel, The Movement Paradigm, for weekly tips on mindset, nutrition, and movement.

If you need assistance with your movement, barefoot training, or overall health, please reach out to us. We would love to help you.

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5 Tips to Improve Your Balance

Have you ever wondered how to achieve a better balance in your daily life? Whether you’re an aspiring athlete aiming for peak performance or someone seeking to navigate life’s challenges with grace, balance is the key to unlocking your full potential.

In this article, we’re going to explore five invaluable tips that can revolutionize your sense of stability. So, join us on this enlightening journey as we uncover the secrets to improving your balance and empowering your every move.

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What You Need to Know About Balance

As we break down balance a little bit further, we want to think about three essential aspects of balance. We have our visual system, vestibular system, and our somatosensory system.

All of these are essential in being able to train this as an integrated system to improve performance in life or in sport, or prevent falls and improve movement longevity.

Let’s talk about five ways that you can improve your balance.

Ways You Can Improve Your Balance

1. Create a Safe Environment

Optimal stability requires us to feel safe within our nervous system. For instance, imagine standing on one leg and feeling shaky and unable to maintain that position. In such a case, your nervous system might not feel secure in that particular stance.

To create a safe environment, consider modifying the exercise by using a kickstand. This involves kicking the leg down at the back while primarily focusing on balancing on the front leg. By doing so, you’ll feel safe and optimize your stability and balance in that specific position.

It’s crucial to breathe diaphragmatically while maintaining a comfortable posture throughout the movement. If you feel unsafe, your ability to breathe diaphragmatically will be hindered due to a fight-or-flight response triggered by a survival mechanism.

2. Incorporate the “Short Foot” Exercise

The “short foot” exercise is more than just a foot exercise; it’s a foot-to-core sequencing exercise that enables us to connect our foot to our pelvis and the rest of our body in a highly integrated manner.

To perform the short foot exercise, start by rooting the tips of your toes into the ground. This action will gently lift the arch of your foot. Remember, the exercise extends beyond the foot itself; it’s about connecting the foot to the entire body.

Begin by taking a breath in, exhaling gently, and rooting the tips of your toes into the ground. This activates deep stabilization in the foot and activates the deep front fascial line. This fascial line connects the foot to the pelvic floor, diaphragm, and even extends up to the tongue and neck. The short foot exercise is one of the best ways to improve balance over time.

Start with basic progressions of the kickstand position, and as we’ll discuss later, gradually move into more dynamic positions involving lunging and other everyday movements.

3. Utilize Multi-Sensory Integration

For this purpose, you can incorporate tools such as a Naboso mat, a textured surface that stimulates specific mechanoreceptors in the bottom of your feet. Increasing sensory input from the environment enhances your movement quality, balance, and stability.

Additionally, consider holding a Naboso ball or sensory stick, another textured surface that can stack sensory information. Begin by standing on a Naboso mat or a textured surface or a wood floor, as it provides excellent balance training compared to a yoga mat or carpet, which decreases balance.

Optimal sensory integration is achieved on hard surfaces like wood or textured flooring. To further enhance integration, you can introduce visual cues by focusing on a specific object while standing on one leg on the sensory surface. You can even incorporate your hands to add an additional layer of sensory integration.

Remember, our human body relies on sensory information to move efficiently. Gradually adding these elements at a comfortable pace during your balance training can significantly improve your balance.

4. Progression for Effective Training

It’s essential to follow a progression plan that suits your current abilities. Training on a hard surface, preferably a sensory surface that provides additional information to your nervous system, is crucial. Avoid the common mistake of training on unstable surfaces where you don’t feel safe and rely more on your large nerves rather than the small ones that contribute to balance.

Also, focus on progressing from static positions to dynamic positions. Begin with slow movements before gradually increasing speed. By following the principles of progression and progressive overload, you can steadily advance your balance training. Start with the basics, creating a safe environment, and then progress to higher-level exercises.

5. Integration of Movements

We’ve already discussed the importance of the short foot exercise, suitable surfaces, and progressions in balance training. Now, let’s focus on integrated movement patterns.

The short foot exercise works on fascial tensioning throughout the body, emphasizing tension and elasticity, which are crucial in our movement patterns. When performing balance-challenging exercises such as reaching or changing positions, we promote fascial integration, maintain control, stay in a safe environment, and breathe diaphragmatically.

By combining all these steps, we can significantly enhance our balance. However, relying solely on unstable surfaces like Bosu balls or foam pads might not be the most efficient way to train.

Key Takeaway

Today, we have discussed some basic principles of balance. Please note that there are many other layers and exercises related to balance, but I wanted to provide you with a good understanding of how to gradually and safely improve your balance.

Remember that as we age, our feet require more stimulation to achieve the same response, and stimulating the skin on the bottom of our feet through barefoot training can positively impact balance.

If you found this helpful, please like, share, and subscribe to our YouTube channel, The Movement Paradigm, for weekly tips on mindset, nutrition, and movement.

If you need assistance with your movement, barefoot training, or overall health, please reach out to us. We would love to help you.

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Heal your mitochondria

Feeling sluggish and drained of energy? We’ve all been there. But what if I told you there’s a way to revitalize your body from within? Welcome to the world of the mitochondrial food plan, a game-changing approach that harnesses the incredible potential of a healthy ketogenic diet to combat mitochondrial dysfunction.

In this article, we’ll embark on a journey to uncover the secrets of this revolutionary method that can supercharge your body’s energy levels and transform your overall well-being. Get ready to say goodbye to fatigue and embrace a new lease on life!

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The Powerhouse of the Cell: Mitochondria

You may have heard in third grade that the mitochondria are the powerhouse of the cell and that couldn’t be more true. Essentially, it is providing us with 90 percent of our energy and it is affecting everything in our body—ultimately is driving how our cells are getting the energy they need to thrive.

Symptoms of Mitochondrial Dysfunction

Symtoms that can be associated with this include:

  • headaches and migraines
  • chronic fatigue
  • chronic pain
  • neurodegenerative disease
  • cancer
  • digestive issues
  • sleep disturbances
  • And much more!

The Role of Diet in Improving Mitochondria

Although there are a lot of ways to improve your mitochondria, especially through exercise, today’s focus will be on the role of diet and nutrition. The mitochondria food plan, as mentioned, is essentially a healthy ketogenic diet. It is based on the biochemistry of ketosis, which is the generation and accumulation of ketones from the breakdown of fat when carbohydrates are absent. Typically, this refers to consuming under 50 grams of carbohydrates a day or less.

By reducing carbohydrate intake, we can improve our mitochondrial efficiency and how we utilize different fuel sources. Ketosis can be achieved in as little as three days and has various benefits. In addition to addressing issues like chronic pain, headaches, and migraines, it can also aid in weight loss.

Components of the Mitochondria Food Plan

When it comes to the breakdown of our carbohydrates, fats, and protein, this particular diet emphasizes a higher percentage of fats, a low percentage of protein, and a very low amount of carbohydrates, ranging from under 20 to 50 grams per day.

To delve deeper into the breakdown of fats, it is important to consider the distinction between saturated fats and unsaturated fats.

Saturated fats can be found in meats and, potentially, dairy products. On the other hand, unsaturated fats can be obtained from sources such as olive oil, avocado, and walnuts, among others. It is crucial to avoid consuming trans fats, which can be found in vegetable oils, margarine, and similar products.

Measuring Ketones for a True Ketogenic Diet

One of the most important aspects of a true ketogenic diet is measuring ketones in your blood. There are several ways to test your ketones: urine, breath, and blood. The most accurate method is testing your blood.

It’s crucial to recognize that within three days of starting a true ketogenic diet, you should be in ketosis. However, various factors may prevent this from happening. One common factor is consuming too much protein, which is generally considered normal outside of a mitochondrial plan. However, on a mitochondrial plan, excessive protein intake can interfere with ketosis by triggering a process called gluconeogenesis, where protein can be converted into carbohydrates as a fuel source.

In addition to protein, consuming too many carbohydrates can also hinder achieving ketosis. Therefore, it’s important to monitor your ketone levels to ensure you are on track with your ketogenic diet.

Key Takeaway

In summary, my goal today was to give you a small taste of what a mitochondrial plan is and how it can affect you if you are experiencing some kind of mitochondrial dysfunction.

This can be such a powerful tool in your toolbox. When I typically prescribe this for someone, I suggest doing it for 30 days. This duration helps to assess how they’re feeling, ensuring ketosis and determining if this can positively influence them.

There’s a lot of great research on the ketogenic diet, especially as it relates to epilepsy and other neurodegenerative diseases. So please feel free to check those out and dive a little bit deeper into the mitochondrial plan.

Source: Institute of Functional Medicine

If this was helpful, give it a like, give it a share, and make sure to subscribe to our youtube channel, The Movement Paradigm, for weekly tips on mindset, nutrition, and movement. Of course, if you need help on your journey, we would love to hear from you, so please reach out, send us a message, and set up a discovery session, and we will help you on your journey.

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