Z Life: Work It Out

Some are soft, some pretty firm, and a few vibrate on demand. They come in varying colors and according to the experts, you should use one every day. Once accustomed to the sensation, you’ll want more. Personally, I just can’t get enough.

Oh Yes! foam rollers are the best! I’ve been rolling it out for years and recently hooked up with an athletic trainer (clean vibes only) to learn more about the art of foam rolling and why everyone should be doing it.

Carlos Lopez, speed and performance trainer with Infinity Fitness AZ, rolls with athletes (pun intended) all day long. pic2Lopez told me regardless of fitness level or exercise of choice, foam rolling is a must—prior to and definitely post workout.

Foam rolling is a self-myofascial release technique that can relieve tension in overworked muscles; somewhat similar to deep tissue massage. Rollers are cylinder in shape, made of durable material (typically polyethylene foam), and vary in firmness and size. Step foot inside any health club and you will undoubtedly find people rolling back and forth over the therapeutic tool. It’s a sight to see and frankly, sometimes it’s just impossible to look away, right? Don’t get me wrong, I admire the “pro-rollers” going at it on the floor of my gym. No shame in their game—rolling out hard to reach body parts; particularly the inner-thigh. Now, that’s some skill! But I digress.pic3

You might be hitting it hard right now to justify overindulging in upcoming holiday eats? (it really doesn’t work that way but seriously, no judgement). If you’re feeling it all over, I suggest you get down with Adele and give “rolling in the deep” a try.
foam rolling

Foam rollers range in price from approximately $10 and up on amazon and can be found in various sporting goods stores. If you are new to the self-myofascial release tool, use a softer/less dense roller. Why? Because at first, it hurts. Bad. Ease into this new love/hate relationship so you stick with it—just promise me to always roll your inner-thighs at home, K?

According to Lopez, foam rolling benefits are plentiful:
• Increase blood flow to release muscle tension
• Prevent injury; keeps muscles limber
• Improve muscle imbalance and/or atrophy
• Break down knots (tightness) that limit range of motion
• Improve range of motion
Lopez showed me how to roll out the most common areas; quads, hamstring, IT band, calves, and upper back. Check my Insta for more.

While researching this feel-good subject matter, I came across some with differing opinions regarding the necessity of foam rolling for recovery. According to Dr. John Rusin, rolling is only a “Band-Aid” for underlying muscular issues and does not improve range of motion. Lopez disagrees and continues to strongly encourage his clients—including young athletes, to roll prior to and post training. He stresses that rolling does not replace stretching; the two complement each other. Proper form and alignment are critical when rolling to prevent injury so seek out an expert before beginning. As with any exercise, it is recommended to consult with your physician before jumping in.

My take: once you start rolling regularly, you’ll feel the difference. I notice I recover quicker when I roll it out after a strenuous workout. And, on second thought, if you feel the urge to roll out your inner-thighs in public, I salute you! I will try my best to not stare at the gym. In fact, you could be the inspiration I seek to work in some sweet moves from the privacy of my bedroom (of course)— that’s how I roll.