Function and Fitness Blog
Function and Fitness Blog
Coach Jess
5:00 AM

Glutes! Activate!

We talk about it a lot. In fact, you’ve probably heard us cue it a lot. “Let’s activate those glutes!” But like much of cues, if you don’t know how to actually activate your glutes, then the cue doesn’t really matter. So, let’s talk about what we’re talking about.

Butt Why?

As we spend more and more time sitting on our butts, it’s causing them to become super inactive. This is a problem because your glutes are the control center for a lot of the movements our lower body does. When your glutes are “shut off” that means other muscles are taking on the extra load. So many times you’ll do a ton of squats, etc… to just wake up the next day with sore quads and hamstrings, when really your butt should be the sore one. This can cause posture issues, muscle pain, and can also increase your chance of injury.

So what can we do abutt (sorry, last one) it?

We can activate those glutes with glute activation exercises! Complicated, eh? Actually, not really. Truth be told, we always build in a few glute activation exercises into our RAMPs (warm-up exercises). For example, glute bridges are something we always throw in. You can also do clamshells, as well as resistance band lateral walks. All of these exercises warm up the glutes so that when you’re moving onto deadlifts and squats, the glutes are like “Hey, I’m here! And I’m working!”

We also have to make sure that “mind-body” connection is working so you’ll need to actively think about where you should be feeling the movement. Ding! Ding! You guess it, you should be feeling it in your butt.  Sometimes even just thinking, “my butt should be doing the work” can help those glutes turn on and start working. You should feel an active tightening in your booty area.

Once we get your glutes firing working, your glute muscles should be handling a lot of the movement and load. This can help save your quads, hamstrings, and lower back – something we’re all looking to keep out of the equation. So just think “Glutes! Activate!”

As always, we’re here to help! So if you ever hear a cue or something that just doesn’t make sense or leaves you wondering, “Okay, so how exactly does that translate to my body?” never hesitate to ask. We’re here to help you make that mind-booty (okay, seriously, last one) connection.







Coach Jess
5:00 AM

Strategies for Eating with Friends and Family

One of the things I hear the most is how hard it is to “stay good” when out with friends and family. How are you supposed to reach for carrots when everyone else is reaching for chips and salsa? What ends of happening to me is I go with the carrots at first and then end up reaching for the chips in the end anyway… thus resulting in me being wayyyyy fuller than I should be.

Knowing how hard it is, I thought it might be helpful to do a blog about strategies you can tap into when you know you’re going to be a social butterfly.

Order first. Studies have proven that a group of people will base their food choices off of what the first person orders. Consider it a form of peer pressure. If you’re out at a restaurant try to be the first one to order so that 1, you set the tone for everyone around you, and 2, so that you’re not swayed by the person that orders the extra cheese family portion sized lasagna.

Here’s my caveat to the point above: you’re going to get pressure from people. They’re going to say, “What? You’re ordering a salad?” You know what your goals are. Stay firm with them. Yeah, you did order a salad! And Yeah, you’re going to enjoy that salad and not feeling over-stuffed two hours later.

Be a part of the conversation. It’s a running joke in my family that we always know food has arrived because we all get so quiet. The food gets to the table and we all shut up because we’re stuffing our faces. Chances are when you’re out with friends or family, it’s because you’re visiting with them. So visit. That means listening instead of chomping down on your food.

Try to be the slowest one.

Put your fork down in between bites.

Order salad first so you stock up on a little bit of healthy.

Have a snack before you leave the house. Be careful with this one, because, for me, it always seems to backfire.

Split your meal with a friend.

Choose your dish beforehand by scoping out the menu online.

Dessert OR Drinks. Not both.

Ask for butter/dressing/etc… on the side. That way you can monitor how much you’re adding to your food.

Choose a healthy dining spot.

Plan an outing that DOESN’T involve food. Like a hike. Or shopping trip, which often means splurging in a different way, but we won’t go down that alley.

The truth is, you’re going to feel like a party-pooper. It’s inevitable. For some reason, going out to eat has become code word for “free-for-all” but it doesn’t have to be that way. Remember what your goals are. And know that if you’re friends and family are really rooting for your success, they’ll eventually give you a pass for being “the healthy one” at the table.




Coach Jess
5:00 AM

Let's Listen

True story: I set up to write this blog and immediately fell back into bed and took a nap. And afterward, I was proud I did. I'm trying this new thing out it's called, "listening to my body". I think it's something we often forget to do.

For example, you might be familiar with these instances:

"My shoulder really hurts but I'm going to go to my workout anyway and see if I can work through the pain."

"Wow, I haven't eaten in like 8 hours."

Now, it's a given that a nap is not always an option. In my case, I was lucky enough that the baby had also passed out and the husband was working on something in the shed. So I took advantage of the time I had.

In many ways, having a baby has taught me to listen. During pregnancy, I napped when I could. I'm doing the same thing now, but mostly because I'm in survival mode. But in typing that I realize we do most things because we are in survival mode. We forget to eat because we're rushing around doing everything or because we got stuck in back-to-back meetings at work. We grab Burger King because we need food quickly. We work through pain because how else are we going to burn off that Burger King?

Pregnancy/ labor/ post-partum has put me on a forced time out to listen to my body. I actually can't NOT take a nap during the day because I won't be able to do the midnight feeding... or the 4 am feeding... or the crying in between. Before I might have pushed through the nap or worked through it, but there's no option for me now.

I actually can't walk the 15,000 steps I used to. Right now I'm averaging about 3-4,000... and that's on a good day. Because the rest of the day, my body is telling me "rest."

Obviously, this is a very special and different time for me than for most people's daily lives, but I encourage you to try and listen - maybe even set aside a minute where you close your eyes and really, truly check-in with yourself. Is your body saying "I need to rest" or "I need to eat" or "wow, I need some water"?

See what it says, and then, if you can, shut off the computer and take that nap.

Coach Jess
5:00 AM

Yes, There’s an App for Mindful Eating!

Our lives are filled with running - and usually not the kind you do on a treadmill. Most people ping-pong from here to there, picking up kids, dropping off kids, heading to the gym, grocery shopping, and then, of course, we have to schedule in time to eat a socialize. It’s a lot. And somewhere along the way, we forgot what it means to sit down and really enjoy our food. What that’s led to is a lot of “what can I grab and eat quickly?” rather than slowing down and eating our food mindfully.

Luckily, there’s an app to remind us to slow down - well, at least slow down when we eat.

As the “Eat Slowly” app boasts: 

“Slow Down, Slim Down. Eat Slowly for the iPhone was created for those of us that eat too quickly. Scientific studies state it can take 20 minutes for our brains to acknowledge the food we eat to give us that full feeling. Eating too quickly can result in overeating. Eat Slowly has been created as a training tool to help you slow down, enjoy the taste of your food, and support a healthy lifestyle.”

Slowing down is just one part of eating mindfully…

There’s also that whole “mindful part.” Mindful eating means that you also try to give your food full attention. What that means is:

  • Noticing colors, smells, sounds, textures, and tastes
  • Feeling for physical hunger cues, distinguishing between actual hunger and non-hunger triggers and eating only until you're full
  • Eating to maintain overall health and well-being
  • Noticing the effects food has on your emotions
  • Appreciating your food
Eating mindfully, when practiced often leads to control of your eating habits which in turn can lead to weight loss, ditching the binge eating pattern, and feeling better. Now that's a concept (and an app) I can get behind!