Three Foam Roller Exercises You Should Do Every Day

By now you’ve heard about foam rolling, if not from me then from someone else. And if you somehow have made it this far without ever hearing about it, here is a super quick crash course.

We all experience tension in our bodies whether it be from working at a desk, on an assembly line, exercise, sitting a certain way, from previous injuries, etc. When we experience chronic tension or tightness, adhesions form on muscles, tendons and ligaments which can cause circulatory issues, pain, limit range of motion and cause inflammation. Stretching cannot break up these adhesions, you need deep tissue work to break them up.

Most of us don’t have the funds or the time to go for daily deep tissue massages. At least I don’t! That’s why a foam roller can be your best friend. For a one-time investment that is less than one trip to the masseuse, you can buy a foam roller that will be able to start breaking up those adhesions and return circulation the affected areas right from the comfort of your home.

Now I won’t lie to you, deep tissue massage whether from a set of skilled hands or a foam roller is not a relaxing zen-like experience. It flipping hurts. Especially at first when those areas are so inflamed and sore to the touch. But the goods news is that like with the foot relfexology which I wrote about last week, it takes only a few sessions for the pain to begin to lesson.

In a perfect world we would all have time to spend a good half an hour or so foam rolling each day after a nice walk or workout to help break up those adhesions and prevent new ones from forming while providing the rest of our muscles with a nice relaxing message – but in case you hadn’t noticed, we don’t live in a perfect world. That is why today I want to show you the three foam roller exercises you can should be doing everyday, and they will take a total of about 10 minutes to do – so you can easily fit this in during commercial breaks of a 30-minute TV show.

The three foam roller exercises you should be doing every day.

(click the image from your desktop to pin for later)

I’ve chosen these three exercises based on my experience both personally and as a trainer as the foam roller exercises that are the most needed for the majority of the people I’ve coached.

In case you are wondering why you should listen to me, I completed a self-myofascial release programming course a few years ago so I do have professional training on this subject. 

Those three areas are the back, the ITB and the glutes.

Does it matter what kind of foam roller you use? Yes and no. If you are just starting out and have never foam rolled before, grabbing one of the less expensive foam rollers is a good place to start. The problem with those, is they are made of a lower density foam so over time will start to warp. My first foam roller now is compressed in the middle making look more like an hour glass than a cylinder.

The three foam roller exercises you should be doing every day.

My first foam roller and I having some quality time after a long run

What’s more, those less expensive rollers tend to be perfectly flat on the surface. You might wonder why that matters, well when you are foam rolling, remember you are working adhesions to improve blood flow. Yet when foam rolling with a roller that is flat on the surface, you are actually slowing blood flow even more as you “mush” (a very technical term there, haha) the foam roller into your muscles. When you use a foam roller with grooves and channels like the Trigger Point GRID, there are always areas where the blood can continue to flow and circulate while you are working. That makes it more effective, and the grooves and channels on the GRID are strategically placed to better mimic an actual massage.

The three foam roller exercises you should be doing every day.

The long narrow sections are there to mimic fingers, the wider section the palm, and in small squares you cannot see in the above photo mimic fingertips.

At this point is should come as no surprise that I highly recommend Trigger Point’s GRID Foam Rollers. I’ve had the original GRID for quite a while and love it so much. I had learned about the GRID at a fitness conference years ago, but never had the opportunity to try – and feel the difference – until I bought my own. The difference between it and my old foam roller is like the difference between night and day. It is so far superior I cannot even believe it.

And then last month Trigger Point sent me the new GRID X (pictured above) which is twice as firm as the original. Oh my gosh, once again – the difference is unbelievable. The GRID X is definitely a much firmer roller, and for that reason I would suggest starting out with the original GRID before upping the intensity.

Starting out you are going to find foam rolling painful to begin with as you first start to break up those adhesions, so you’ll want to do it with a less dense roller. Once you’ve worked out those initial areas and are starting to feel a bit better when rolling, then I would recommend moving up to the GRID X if you want to increase the intensity level.

In today’s video I’m going to be using the GRID X to demonstrate the three exercises, but the exercises will be the same regardless of which roller you choose to use.

It’s really important to remember to breathe while on your foam roller – resist the urge to hold your breathe! And if you find a spot that is really, really sore, only stay there for a couple seconds. Each time you roll it will get a little bit less sore and you’ll be able to stay there longer. And finally, make sure you can recognize the difference between muscular pain and mechanical pain. When using your foam roller you should expect muscular pain, but if the pain feels like it might be mechanical, stop what you are doing and be sure to consult a health care professional before returning to foam rolling!

In the coming months I am going to be releasing an “At-Home Fascia Release E-Course” which will provide a much more in-depth explanation on foam rolling, different exercises you can do with the foam roller and other fascia release tools. If you are interested in being kept in the loop about that e-course, be sure to sign up for my e-mail list!

Amazon.ca links:

Amazon.com links:

Disclosure: Trigger Point sent me with the GRID X foam roller free of charge, but I purchased the GRID with my own money and truly recommend Trigger Point rollers over others on the market. This post contains affiliate links, if you make a purchase through one of these links you are helping to support this site – thank you!

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Reflexology Made Easy With FootFixx

Did I ever tell you that back in my days as an office dweller, when my fibromyalgia was at it’s worst and I could barely make it through the day I took a course on reflexology? It was one of the first things I did on my journey to living a happier, healthier life. Was it life changing? I’m not sure about that, but I did learn a lot about my body and how I can help take better care of it through my feet. Anyway, reflexology is something that I realize I have stopped practising over the past 5 or 6 years, and it wasn’t until last month that I began bringing it back into my life. It all started when FlexFixx contacted me about checking out their FootFixx Massage Therapy tools.

FootFixx is a set of myo-fascial release and reflexology tools that allows you to easily release tension built up in your feet while at the same time reflexing the nerve endings in your feet that correspond with different parts of your body - all at once!

Because I am a huge fan of fascia release tools (especially ones made by Canadians!) I quickly said I would love to check out FootFixx. When it arrived they sent me their user guide along with the product, and it was inside the user guide I became re-invested in the idea of reflexology.

You see, the thing about practising reflexology on yourself is that it is pretty exhausting. I find it hard on the fingers and while my feet felt better afterwards, my hands were often left feeling sore and painful – definitely not the result you ultimately want. So while my initial interest in FootFixx was for fascia release, the idea that these tools could also provide reflexology treatments at the same time was a definite bonus! The very first night with FootFixx, I got out my reflexology manual so I could pin point all the super sore spots on my feet.  When I did I was amazed  that the spots on my feet that hurt the most, related to the parts of my body that had been giving me the most problems as of late. Those places being my back (spine) and stomach/intestines. I say I was surprised – and I was, but the more I thought about it, the more sense it made.

The first few times I used the FootFixx balls I could barely put any pressure on probably 50% of my feet because they were sore and tender. I knew going into this that I had one area on my left foot that had “something” wrong with it, but I wasn’t sure if it was a pressure fracture or a fascia issue from wearing worn out sneakers. After only two or three sessions with the FootFixx balls that pain was gone. And as any fitness instructor can tell you, having a pain you fear is a fracture disappear is in itself a huge stress reliever!

FootFixx is a set of myo-fascial release and reflexology tools that allows you to easily release tension built up in your feet while at the same time reflexing the nerve endings in your feet that correspond with different parts of your body - all at once!

Now after a few weeks of using the system almost daily, I’m down to just a couple spots on each foot that are still really tender. These three balls have made a huge difference in my life and how my feet – and body feel in just a few short week. And those spots that are still tender are now primarily focused in my intestines, which makes a lot of sense as I typically have an IBS flair-up in the spring time.

But reflexology aside, FootFixx is wonderful for massaging tired, achy feet and helping to release that bunched up fasica. Not only does it provide three different options for relaxing and rejuvenating your feet, but it also is wonderful for people suffering from Plantar Fasciitis, and other foot related ailments.

When the fascia in your feet are tight and bunched up, it can throw off your entire body. Envision an elastic that runs from your foot, up your leg, up your torso and down your arm. What happens when you pull at the elastic and tie it in a knot down at the bottom? It pulls everything else slightly out of place. That’s why sometimes you can have a pain in your hip and think there is something wrong with it, only to find out the problem is actually with your opposite knee. Or your hamstring is off because your pectoral is too tight. It’s all interconnected!

And while this is promoted as primarily for your feet, you can use them elsewhere for fasica release as well. Later this spring/early summer I am going to be releasing a fascia release & foam rolling e-course, in which I will teach you how to use these balls as well a couple other tools to help release full body tension and fascia! Be sure to sign up for my e-mail list if you want to be kept in the loop for that an other upcoming e-courses!

I’ve also found it to be really beneficial for my fibromyalgia. I can certainly tell the nights I use it from the night when I don’t. Last night I was feeling lazy and didn’t bother rolling out my feet before bed, and I spent all night tossing and turning because my arms and legs hurt so much. I can’t say for certain that had I used FootFixx that I would have slept better, but I know that on the nights I do use it, I tend to have a more restful sleep. Even if it’s a placebo effect, I’m quite content as long as I sleep!

As far as these types of massage and myo-fascia release tools go, FootFixx is definitely one of the more affordable and easy to purchase since it is sold on Amazon. For my US readers here is the direct link to their listing and for my fellow Canadians, you can order from Amazon.ca by clicking here.

But wait! The lovely folks at FlexFixx want to give my readers an even better deal so they are offering you all a coupon code for an additional 15% off your order! Simply enter the coupon code SUZIBLOG at checkout.

I hope you’ll consider checking out FootFixx, if you are active or spend a lot of time on your feet, you really owe it to yourself to take the time to take care of them. You never know, you might find that rolling your feet can cure some of those other body

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post for FootFixx Massage Therapy. All opinions expressed above are 100% honest and entirely my own.

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Soothing Your Skin With Natural Skin Care Products

It seems like with each passing year my skin gets more and more sensitive, often leaving me feeling itchy, frustrated and uncomfortable. I’ve gone from using most anything that struck my fancy as far as body and skin care products go, to being really quite choosey about what I will and won’t use. That lovely scented body lotion just isn’t worth it if I spend the next 24 hours clawing my skin off because it’s so red and itchy.

It can be downright frustrating especially during the winter months when everything is so dry and my skin is dying for some extra care. I try to choose products that have fewer chemicals and fragrance added to prevent irritated skin, but it can be so hard. Even companies like LUSH who pride themselves on their natural ingredients often use more chemicals than you’d think. :/ Which leaves me buying items from hypo-allergenic lines which are effective, but I can’t deny I miss having more fun scented products to use.

Fortunately (I think) spring is here – though we had a bit of snowfall overnight so I’m starting to feel the relief from that dry winter skin. Not only because of the change in seasons, but also because I’ve been enjoying using some products from Duckish these past few weeks.

Soothing skin with natural skin care products from Duckish - a local Nova Scotian company

Duckish Natural Skin Care is a local Nova Scotian company operating out of Halifax which hand makes all of it’s products. From diaper rash cream (their first product), to body butter, lip balm and lotion sticks, Duckish has a wonderful product line-up that not only soothe your skin, but also come in both scented and unscented options.

They were kind enough to send me one of their Best Kind Bundles which allows you to choose what scent you want for each product so you can customize it to meet your needs.

Soothing skin with natural skin care products from Duckish - a local Nova Scotian company

I was excited to try everything, but I was most excited about the bath bombs and the lotion sticks. Back in the day I use to make and sell bath bombs! And it’s been a long time since I had one to use myself so I was really excited about being having four of them, haha. It’s the simple things!

As for the lotion sticks, I was really excited about those because I chose the tea tree mini lotion stick and the lavender lotion stick. Tea tree is my go-to whenever I have a bug bite or something that needs to be disinfected or something like that so I thought having it in a mini lotion stick form would be super handy – and it is. I’ve used it countless times over these past couple weeks on different things. I can only imagine how useful it’ll be once the bugs are out in the summer!

Lavender is another essential oil I use constantly, so again I’ve found it super useful to have it in a stick form that is easy to apply. If they added a peppermint lotion stick to their line up – well then I would be in total heaven!

My beloved bath bombs and the bath salts are both long gone, and thoroughly enjoyed,

Soothing skin with natural skin care products from Duckish - a local Nova Scotian company

I’ve taken to using the body butter every night before bed, and the lip balm has moved into my bag so I basically am taking it everywhere I go.

Using natural products really makes a be difference both in how your skin feels, and how your body feels as well. With so many xenoestrogens out there, it’s nice to know that these products are made without those chemicals that so easily mess us our sensitive hormone balance (usually without us even knowing!). And supporting local businesses is not only important to the business, but to the local economy as a whole. The more we can support local people, the better off we will all be. That’s why I’m thrilled to be telling you all about Duckish today, and I really hope you will check them out!

P.S. Over on their website you can enter to win one of their Mother’s Day Giveaway which ends on April 24th. It’s open to Canadians only and would be a great way to check out some of these fab products for yourself!

Disclosure: I was provided with my Best Kind Bundle free of charge en exchange for this review. All opinions expressed are my own.

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Lick Your Plate Cookbook

I’m a book girl. I love to read, I love looking at books, organizing books, collecting books, and using books. And since I’m a food and fitness blogger it should come as no surprise that I love me a good cookbook.

A few weeks ago I received a copy of the new cookbook “Lick Your Plate” by Julie Albert & Lisa Gnat which is a visual delight just based on it’s photography alone!

lick your plate is a cookbook made for every home cook and is filled with recipes sure to delight the whole family!

One of my biggest beefs with cookbooks is when they don’t have good photos, or even worse – any photos. As I am always looking to improve my own photography skills, I find myself paying more attention to food photographs in the cookbooks I have, and Lick Your Plate is visually stunning. Every photo in the book is beautiful and showcases the recipes to perfection!

But I know you’re not here to hear about the photos! Lick Your Plate is touted as “A Lip Smackin’ Book Tor Every Home Cook” and I think that is pretty accurate description. The recipes are simple but impressive, any are perfect for any busy at-home cook looking to feed their family fast, healthy, and delicious food.

lick your plate is a cookbook made for every home cook and is filled with recipes sure to delight the whole family!

The first time I looked through it I saw so many recipes to try I had to go get a pad of sticky tabs, and now it’s a rainbow of marked pages.

Some of the recipes I am really looking forward to trying include the:

But believe me, I have about 20 other recipes marked to try as well. It’s going to take me a while to work my way through this one! Which is great because I normally only find a handful of recipes that interest me in any one cookbook. To find so many right off the top was really exciting!

The cookbook is broken up into 10 chapters which cover everything from No Fork Required Appetizers, to Rule the Roost Chicken & Turkey, to Rise & Shine Brunch and everything in between!

The past few weeks have been pretty crazy over here so I sadly haven’t had a chance to test out the recipes, but based on what I’ve seen, I’ll be very surprised if I don’t love them. They use fresh whole ingredients, are straight forward and easy to follow, and sound downright amazing!

This would make an amazing Mother’s Day gift for any ladies in your life who enjoy cooking, or for anyone who likes to spend time in the kitchen.

Lick Your Plate was released on March 29th and is available to purchase on Amazon (affiliate link).

Disclosure: I was provided with a copy of Lick Your Plate free of charge.

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Volume 62

Hey there! I’m going to start off today’s post by explaining why I almost didn’t publish this playlist at all. Last month shortly after publishing my monthly Zumba song list post I got an email from the Zumba Police (AKA Legal Compliance), telling me I was in violation of my agreement by sharing my music.

Now this has happened before, and I explained to them then that I am not giving any of the music away, just listing the names of the songs and at that time they told me that was totally fine (as did the ZES I spoke to about it way back in 2011 before I ever started posting them -unfortunately it was at convention and I don’t recall who I asked as the trip was a bit of a whirlwind). Anyway, the last time I was reported I was told it was fine for me to list song names as long nobody could download anything – which they can’t.

So when I got the email in March, I immediately replied (as I have zero interest in violating my license) and they took over a week to reply. They said they had no record of my previous conversation, so I forwarded it to them and expressed once again that I would remove everything if I was in violation, but needed confirmation that what I was doing was not allowed.

Cue the crickets. I remember my first dealing with the legal dept. ended in them saying, “It’s fine,” and when I asked a follow-up question they never replied, so I can only assume that upon receipt of my forwarded message showing I was told what I was doing was NOT in violation that they closed the case and moved on, because it’s now been over 3 weeks and I haven’t heard anything else.

So I assume everything is ok?

I can’t see how it would be a violation of anything, I mean if not we shouldn’t be allowed to tell anyone any of the songs we use in class either. All I’m doing is letting participants who want to find a song the ability to do so!

The way I look at it (unless they come back and tell me otherwise) is, if I took my Taylor Swift CD and wrote a blog post naming all the songs on the CD and linking to videos for any she had released as a single, I wouldn’t be violating her copyright in any way. I know Zumba is strict on these things, but I guess until they tell me, “Yes, you are violating your license by telling people the names of songs on your CD’s” I will keep doing it. And if that day comes, well – I’ll take everything down, but I don’t feel I should have to do that until they actually reply and say, “We’ve changed our minds, you can no longer do that.” You know?

Anyway, let’s move along to the actual reason you are reading this shall we? The songs found on ZIN 62.

Sexy by BIP {Merengue}

Tarzan Boy by Zumba (Cover) {Salsa}

Shut Up and Dance by Max Pizzolante {Dembow|Lambada}

Bailame by Alex Sensation feat. Yandel & Shaggy {Latin Urban}

Soy Para Tí (Remix) by Marcelo Cezán {Raspa|Cumbia}

Dile by Zumba (Cover) {Batacuda|Samba}

Pinta Mi Corazón (Zumba Remix) by Fonseca {Cumbia Remix}

Quién Quiere Bailar by Max Pizzolante feat. Papayo{Reggaeton|Timba}

Footloose by Zumba (Cover) {Pop}

Bonus Song: Turn it Up by Liana Veda & Dexter Hamilton {Latin}
Now let’s all collectively cross our fingers that Zumba has decided this is a-ok so I don’t have to take them all down!!

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