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Galaxy says it's ok to take a week off! Your body can really use the recovery every few weeks.

Week of June 23rd – DAOFitLife Meal and Exercise update (neck pain, pre-workouts, and salad ideas)

Every week, I post a weekly roundup of new finds – recipes, shows, videos. Be sure to check out the DAOFitLife Youtube Playlist for a curateed list of fitness-related videos you can watch while doing cardio.


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DAOFitLife Exercise Update – how to handle neck pain

You will see my exercise is VERY sparse, because last week I had to go to PT for pain in my neck and upper traps! If you are in the DC area, you definitely need to look up Release Physical Therapy as they are the very best and give the VIP treatment. I plan to wait until Saturday to do any actual lifting, so that’s all that is on the schedule. Other than that it will be spontaneous NEAT and zoom walks! In tandem, I have also planned my next week of workouts to motivate me and reward me for the time I took off to heal. You can download the template and create your own workout schedule.The key is to block a non-negotiable time on your calendar to go, and just stick to it no matter what. Your mental health and your body need it.

My minor neck injury led me to interest in researching exercises to keep the neck and upper traps from getting out of whack. The reason this can happen, besides stress and sleeping wrong, is that you may not be strengthening your upper back muscles enough. Surely, one of the biggest weight training mistakes women especially make is only focusing on what they can see in the mirror. Not only can other people see your back, but it’s important to incorporate back strengthening exercises like Supermans to balance out working your shoulders and chest. It becomes imperative in our digital age to learn how to pull those back muscles literally back as they have a tendency (no matter what your profession!) to be hunched over a device. A lot of times, a back injury does not necessarily come out of nowhere and the pain caused by it can set one back in so, so many ways! 

Zoom neck fatigue

Even if you don’t spend any time at the gym, it’s the “zoom posture” plus the added work stress that is pulling your shoulders forward and can cause that neck pain. Using a massage ball to do your own trigger point therapy. For neck pain, you will want to place the ball where I have indicated in the arrow below. It’s basically right on the razor’s edge of your scapula, in that little “dip” so it can dig underneath and reach the muscles. Usually what is causing the pain is a strain in the levator scapulae muscle. As you can see, this goes really far down, so doing the trigger point on that edge of your mid upper back will ease the muscles in your neck. You should of course go to a PT and get these exercises taught to you, but this is great technique for at home even when you just feel tense because inevitably, you will tense muscles in your neck and that can be a culprit for headaches. Having a massage ball on hand to do some of these exercises while on calls will be a lifesaver. I have been doing these every day. You just need a PT ball, which you can order here, or you can even use a tennis or golf ball.

And if you want to read more about technique regarding form and what you can do in the gym to balance out push and pull, you will definitely want to read this article from Roman systems, which recommends incorporating more “pulling” movements in your lifting workout to strengthen your back.

This article also summarizes 17 exercises and stretches for a tight neck, a lot of which you can do while on calls. Note especially the doorway pec stretch. You’d be surprised that a tight chest muscle can actually cause a tight neck and upper back.

I used to do this in my office with the door closed, but now I have privacy to trigger and talk! Do each side for about 2-3 minutes. It’s intense, so you really can’t do it for long.

Pre-workout supp alert!!!!

Do you like a little something-something to charge your workout? Me too, but I cannot handle the pre-workout supps with heaps of caffeine and other stimulants that make me a nervous wreck. So I have been taking this workout supplement from Legion, which is the product company associated with Mike Matthews, a trainer who wrote one of my favorite books on diet and workout, Thinner Leaner Stronger.

Go to the Legion athletics site to order this stim free pre-workout

Meal plan – summertime salad

You can read up on my technique on how to pimp your salad in this post. One thing that is often missing from salad is crunch. Without it you may just feel like you are chewing on a bunch of lettuce and that’s not as fun. So I would suggest the following to add –

vegetable salad in gray bowl
The hotter the salad, the hotter you’ll look this summer. Did you know chili peppers boost metabolism? Photo by Yoav Aziz

Another part of my meal planning is allowing flexibility for quick snacking, especially if my blood sugar drops. If I don’t have fresh fruit on hands, I always have a fresh supply of goji berries. These are really for you, with a lot of fiber and antioxidants (it’s even a rumored fertility boosting food, if you are interested in that). I really like the brand from Terrasoul and will have these with a couple of almonds to slow the digestion. I don’t know about you, but my summer is getting absolutely crazy at work and if you only have time to stuff something down between calls, you gotta have reserves.

See you guys next week for my update!

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