The Skinny Confidential talks diet, fitness, and health.

The Foam Roller Diaries <3

by
LAURYN

The Skinny Confidential talks diet, fitness, and health.

Back in the day I was a serious foam-rolling-teenager.

I discovered this random blue foam roller at the local LA Fitness ( all of us high school girls would go after 5th period to flirt with older guys— we’d roll our cheerleader-esque, black tiny shorts up way too high & ‘pretend’ to sweat on the Elliptical while drinking lemon flavored Propel ). The foam roller would sadly sit in the corner, un-touched. One day I asked a trainer about it.

He answer was simple: it releases pain.

Wait, what?

Seriously? OMG, so needed. I always have had the worst neck pain.

Long story short Mr. Foam Roller & I became fast friends.

Fast forward to about a month ago: I had forgotten about my old high school crush/foam roller…that is until Kayla Itsines mentioned it on Instagram.

Let’s just say we picked up right where we left off: I now use my foam roller all day, every day.

Well, not really all day but you get my drift.

Basically I’m obsessed ( like, OBSESSED ) with how powerful this therapeutic tool can be when it comes to overall physical health.

When you foam roll, you use your own body weight to roll against specific muscle groups ( it kind of feels like a deep tissue massage…YUMMM, right?! ).

This article says that “when we experience physical health challenges like pain & stiffness around weight-bearing joints ( hips, knees, and spinal joints ), for many of us, the instinct is to get some sort of treatment – if not a conventional pain killer or some invasive surgical procedure, then at least some alternative therapy like acupuncture, chiropractic adjustments, ultrasound, laser, or electrical stimulation.

A less obvious and often times more effective approach is to work at improving blood circulation around the problematic area through deep pressure work and dedicating oneself to stretching the muscles and ligaments around the affected joints.”

Hmmmm…so basically: before popping a pill or trying a quick fix, address the issue & give it some TLC with soft tissue work & stretching. This is work you’ll have to do multiple times a day on.your.own.

A lot of people want pain to go away but they don’t want to put the work in…

Foam rolling requires a bit of daily dedication but comes with some amazing, life-changing results.

Before you roll on the sensitive area, roll on an indirect spot first & then roll on the direct spot of pain. Then you want to foam roll on the sensitive area for 20 to 30 seconds ( or until the muscle starts to relax ).

Sometimes it can be uncomfortable so experts say to use your breath.

Not only do foam rollers help with pain, apparently they also really, seriously works for reducing cellulite appearances. Fitness expert Kayla Itsines says: “cellulite does not only affect people who are overweight. In fact, these annoying fatty deposits also affect people who are underweight, or even people at a healthy weight. So what exactly is cellulite? It’s when fat cells congregate under the skin, thus creating the dimple-like appearance above the skin. One of the main causes is poor circulation. This can be caused by a high stress lifestyle, as well as poor nutrition and of course not enough time put into stretching and recovery after workouts. Foam rollings helps to improve cell recovery and circulation plus feels great. Around 10-15 minutes per day will really help. I recommend The Grid by Trigger Point Performance.”

Some other benefits? Dr. Ben Kim from Experience Your Best Health raves about foam rolling. He witnessed:

 Improved blood circulation throughout your skin, fascia, muscles, and even tendons, and ligaments where you can access them with a foam roller.

 Through improved blood circulation, more efficient exchange of nutrients and waste products at a cellular level, leading to better overall cellular function and inter-cellular communication.

 Lengthening of short ( tight ) muscles, tendons, & ligaments.

 Some muscles ( such as hip flexors) & ligaments are prone to shortening, and are difficult to effectively stretch and apply therapeutic pressure to using standard massage and trigger point therapy techniques. But with a foam roller, you can apply deep pressure massage to such areas and lengthen shortened tissues, thereby preventing physical imbalances that can predispose you to injury.

♡ Promotion of optimal spinal range of motion. You can accomplish this by slowly rolling your spine against a foam roller and pausing whenever you feel restrictions to allow your joints and surrounding tissues to stretch.

I mean……………

Sheesh— is there anything foam rolling doesn’t do?!

Before you hop right in to FR, read this article on foam rolling mistakes to avoid ( AKA: don’t roll too fast, don’t roll too long, & NEVER use it on your lower back ). Listen: if you’re going to take time out of your schedule each day, make sure you’re doing it right! Don’t waste any time! Life’s busy enough already.

I spend a total of five minutes, twice a day foam rolling. Easy.

And remember…for foam rolling to show its sexy magic, you gotta show up & put in the work for best results. You get what you give!!

Have you tried foam rolling before? Thoughts? Do tell.

xx, L

{ For more in depth info, check out this book }

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  1. Aimee Belle

    This sounds amazing! How have I never heard of this before. My knees and hips don’t half hurt after running, this could solve my problems! I’m definitely trying this. Thank you 🙂

    Reply
  2. Denna

    I have been interested in foam rollers since I saw them online. I saw the most cute pink cameo one. But then I wondered how to use them, I can see myself using it in a wrong way or just forgetting about it, so I did not buy one. But now I am debating if it might be a good idea to order one.
    Denna recently posted..#DennaMy Profile

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  3. Eleanor

    YES! I got into foam rolling when I started training for the London marathon back in 2011 and I swear by it. After a long day on my feet or a serious gym sesh, the foam roller is my best friend. I struggle with tightness in my glutes and my IT band (all runners will understand that one) and I have never had an injury or any kind of muscular trouble since I started using my foam roller 3 years ago. Great post! With you 100%!
    Eleanor recently posted..Weekly read WednesdayMy Profile

    Reply
    1. Mariah Secrest-Comer

      I echo this, Eleanor! I am a personal trainer and yoga instructor, and foam rolling helped me preserve my super tight IT bands and glutes MUCH better for my second marathon training compared with my first. While I’m a huge lover of stretching, I think you need both. And of course, the occasional deep tissue massage doesn’t hurt either!

  4. Laura

    Normally I only foam roll the days after my long runs to really relax my muscles, but now that I know it reduces cellulite, it’s definitely going into my everyday routine!

    xo, Laura
    laurasbestlife.com
    Laura recently posted..Fall Bucket List!My Profile

    Reply
  5. Ashley @ A Lady Goes West

    Truth! I’m an avid foam roller. I have one at home, and I use it daily – before and after a workout. If you foam roll before, it can be part of your warm up as it helps get blood flowing to the muscles, as well as release tightness to make sure you have better alignment and proper range of motion in your muscles. If you use it at the end, it helps soothe the tightness and can greatly reduce soreness. I’m a trainer and teach all this to my clients, who are shocked at how much it helps them. I’ve also branched out into rolling on lacrosse balls for the hard to reach spots. Have you tried that??

    Reply
  6. Abby Schock

    LOVE foam rolling! I really like to do it for a few minutes before my workout to loosen everything up. It works wonders. Thanks for the tips!

    Reply
  7. Hattie

    Totally trying this for my neck pain! Never even thought to use a foam roller! Do you still dry brush everyday??? Does that help with cellulite as well? Thanks for such an awesome blog!! ❤❤❤

    Reply
  8. Holly Kleinfall

    Hi Lauryn!

    I am SO happy to see that you dedicated a post to one of the best kept secrets — I’m hoping that it won’t be such a secret anymore! I live up in Sacramento and am training with Fleet Feet to run the Nike Women’s 1/2 Marathon in SF next month — needless to say, putting in those long 11,12,13-mile runs makes your muscles UNIMAGINABLY tight. I have “The Grid” roller, like you mentioned, and it has become a staple in my workout routine. I used to only use it after running, but I have come to include it in ALL of my workouts because of its tremendous benefits. My foam roller, mixed with power vinyasa several times a week, is the best way to keep my muscles feeling ready-to-go any day and every day without stiffness and soreness. Not to mention — a therapeutic, good-for-you product that reduces cellulite and has many OTHER benefits as well — sign me up!

    I was first introduced to the miracle that is the foam roller by one of my coaches at Fleet Feet. If you, or any one else reading this post, train with them or purchase running shoes, workout clothes, fueling products, etc., then you are aware that Fleet Feet is a running girl’s paradise. Needless to say, even if you are unfamiliar with the company but are interested in learning more about foam rolling and adopting it into your daily life, they sell a multitude of Trigger Point, Addaday (which I also use and LOVE), and other beneficial recovery products. Not to mention, the host Trigger Point seminars ALL the time to help you learn more about the benefits and how to use to properly use the products.

    Again, thank you SO much, Lauryn, for shedding some light on the foam roller!

    Reply
  9. Annie

    Foam rolling was all I did while I was a volleyball player. I had knee issues and my quads would get too tight so naturally I was hitting my IT bands all the time. Worst/best pain of my life. I would also lay vertically on top of it to pop my sacro-iliac joints back in place in my lower back. In fact my foam roller is laying on my bedroom floor as I type haha.

    Reply
  10. Amber

    Love, love, love this post! The foam roller has been my magic tool for years. I always sleep better when I take the time to roll my back and neck out. I’m also an advocate for using it for an ab workout. It forces your transverse abdominal muscles to engage to stabilize your body while you work the larger muscles groups. This means stronger/sexier abs faster. Who doesn’t want that?

    Reply
  11. AnnCates

    We actually have to use a foam roller for gym class it is amazing. One thing though…..THE QUADS so painful I honestly didn’t realize how tight my muscles actually were until using it. Thank you foam roller.
    AnnCates xx
    anncates.blogspot.com

    Reply
  12. Monica

    You’re so right – foam rolling is like giving yourself a deep tissue massage. I foam roll every time I go to the gym, but you’ve inspired me to get one for home too. I had no idea that you aren’t supposed to use it on your lower back so thank you for sharing that very important tip!!

    Reply
  13. Beppi

    Hi, thanks for sharing that. I’m investigating myself about foam rollers to alleviate some pain in the legs.
    I have found that avoid any pain when “rolling” is the way to go. Personally when I feel a bit of pain I contract muscles, and that doesn’t help to release trigger points.

    Just one question, what do you mean when you say: “Sometimes it can be uncomfortable so experts say to use your breath.”.

    thanks again
    cheers,

    Beppi

    Reply
  14. Hieu Pham

    Using a foam roller before and after exercise is the best way of ensuring you achieve quicker muscle relaxation and less pain in the muscles.This flexibility program, however, takes time just like any other fitness routine for one to experience its benefits and gains.

    SO WHEN TO USE AND WHEN NOT TO USE A FOAM ROLLER FOR MYOFASCIAL RELEASE?

    Reply
  15. Pingback: Week 4 – lost 1 lb (= 15 total) – Forty Shades of Slim

  16. Pingback: How to use Foam Roller for cellulite – Cellulite House SHOP

  17. Tanya

    Hey, great post! We recommend Fitlyzer 2in1 foam roller. It is the best for muscle massage. It’s texture allows you to control the pressure points. Package includes soft inner roller, instructions (with photos) and carry-on bag. You can get it from Amazon – http://bit.ly/fitlyzer

    Reply