All posts by Deborah

Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist, Certified Pilates instructor, Registered Dietitian wife & mom of 2.

March Workout Challenge- Let’s Do This

I’m challenging everyone to accomplish one new exercise , move or pose this month.   Choose something that you were never able to do before.  It doesn’t matter what it is…it can be standing on one leg for 30 seconds;  if you were not able to do it before,  it counts.

Here are a few examples of exercises or new moves to challenge your body and challenge you to believe that you can achieve more than you ever thought!

Here are some ideas for exercises:

Crow Pose/Crane Pose-

This is my personal challenge for the month because I’ve never been able to do this pose  (pictured above).  I will also choose one exercise challenge.

  • 1. Bending the knees slightly, bring your palms flat on the floor about shoulder distance apart.
  • 2. Place the knees on the back of the upper arms.
  • 3. Start to come forward, lifting the head as you go.
  • 4. Take feet off the floor, one at a time, so you come to balance with both feet up.

Looking up  YouTube videos will also be helpful.

Pike Push-up-

  • 1. Begin in push-up position with hands in a wide diamond (fingers pointing toward each other).
  • 2. Bend at waist, lifting hips up and coming onto toes (walk them in a bit if needed) so body forms upside-down “V”. Bend elbows to lower head toward hands.


  • 1. Sit on floor or mat. Lie supine with hands on floor over head.
  • 2. Simultaneously raise straight legs and torso. Reach toward raised feet. Return to starting position. Repeat.

The Contest

*Comment on what exercise  you choose to challenge yourself with this month. Remember choose anything, not just what is outlined here.

*Then subscribe to my blog 

*Then share my blog on your Facebook page and your name will be submitted into a drawing.  I will be giving a $50 G.C. to Sports Authority or if you are one of my clients you can choose to apply it to your training package. Drawing will take place on March 15th, 2014 at noon. 


Please consult a physician before attempting any exercise and always listen to your body.  If something doesn’t feel right, DON’T DO IT!

O.K.  Let’s Go!!

To Stretch or Not to Stretch: That is the Question

Should we stretch or not?  There is a lot of debate among experts if stretching helps or hinders performance.  One, a study  published  in The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research (2010; 24 [9], 2274–79),  “concluded that if you stretch before you lift weights, you may find yourself feeling weaker and wobblier than you expect during your workout. Those findings join those of another new study from Croatia, a comprehensive re-analysis of data from earlier experiments that were published  in The Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports. Together, the studies augment a growing scientific consensus that pre-exercise stretching is generally unnecessary and likely counterproductive.”

A Few Key Terms:

Flexibility is mobility or range of motion around a joint.  You probably know some “double jointed” people, which is really a joint that is hypermobile.  There are many reasons, that I won’t get into now, for hypermobility but it can lead to painful injuries such as dislocation, fractures, disc prolapse, ligament sprains, muscle strains, pulled tendons and so on.

On the other hand, there are those that can barely reach behind them, or those that can’t touch their toes- Inflexible   

Stretching is the movement or exercise we do to try and improve our range of motion.  According to, “Biomechanic experts and physical therapists generally use the norms for normal range of motion around a joint as the basis for determining muscle imbalances.”

Does Stretching Hamper Performance

Most of the studies, I read, conclude that static stretching hampers performance in strength and explosive power, more so than endurance.   However, many studies conclude that  , for endurance events: “performance was significantly greater in the non-stretching vs. the stretching condition, for an endurance event with significantly greater energy expenditure during the stretching compared with the non-stretching condition.”

What should athletes do to Improve Performance

Warm-up dynamically, by moving the muscles that will be called upon in your workout.  Dynamic stretching  combine the stretch and warm-up.  Examples of this would be :

  • walking lunge
  • high-knee running
  • butt kickers
  • carioca
  • side shuffle

 Everyone is Different

 There are a variety of reasons for increased or decreased Range of Motion (ROM).  After years of training a variety of different clients, I’ve come to understand that everyone is different, their genetics, their injuries, their muscle imbalances.  I start to get concerned when limited ROM prevents my clients from doing normal activities.  Also, I’m concerned for athletes doing repetitive movement and training for a sport, resulting in muscle imbalances.

Experts still debating on the stretching issue. Always consult your physician if you are going to start an exercise program or perform any at home testing.


Important Questions to Ask


 Have you ever had more flexibility?

Has your flexibility changed recently? 

Is your flexibility or lack of preventing you from doing normal activities?

Do you do anything repetitive (work or sport)? 

 There may be many reasons why you may not perform the following flexibility tests optimally. But that is for another post. Remember; never overstretch a muscle to get a better score. Always know your limits and don’t push it.

Here are a couple of common tests that can be performed to see if you are at the optimal ROM for a joint. 

Groin Flexibility Test–  (Sometime called Butterfly)  Sit on the floor with your knees bent, and your feet flat on the floor and legs together. Let your knees drop sideways as far as possible keeping your feet together. The soles of your feet should be together and facing each other. Hold on to your feet with both hands, and pull you ankles as close to your body as possible. Measure the distance from your heels to your groin.

Use the table below to convert the score measurement to a rating.

Ratings           Score

Excellent         5 cm

Good              10 cm

Very Good     15 cm

Fair                 20 cm

Poor                25 cm

Trunk Rotation Test–  Mark a vertical line on the wall. Stand with your back to the wall directly in front of the line, with your feet shoulder width apart. You should be about arms length away from the wall, though you may need to adjust the distance from the wall once you start the test. Extend your arms out directly in front of you so they are parallel to the floor. Twist your trunk to your right and the touch the wall behind you with your fingertips, keeping your arms extended and parallel to the floor. You are allowed to turn your shoulders, hips and knees as long as your feet don’t move. Mark the position where your fingertips touched the wall, and measure the distance from the line. A point before the line is a negative score and a point after the line is a positive score. Repeat for the left side with your feet in the same position.

Take the average of the 2 scores (left and right sides). Use the table below to convert the score measurement to a rating.

Ratings         Score

Excellent         20 cm

Good              15 cm

Very Good     10 cm

Fair                 5 cm

Poor                0 cm

My Favorite Stretch   (tight glutes and back)

Sit in a chair with your leg crossed (Like a man sits). Sit up nice and tall.  Keep your back flat.(.do not round it) then lean forward. You will immediately feel it in your glute area.  You can also try this stretch lying down.

What are your favorite stretches for tight muscles that are causing you pain or limiting you?


I am not a doctor, please consult your physician when attempting any new exercise or stretch.

The Show Down- Oil of Oregano vs Cinnamon Oil

Essential Oil King

Essential Oil KingWow, when I went on this investigative journey, I had no idea that I was going to “get into the weeds” with this.

I have always loved the idea of “Green” cleaning but I was probably like a lot of people thinking that if it didn’t make me feel like passing out, from the fumes, then it probably wasn’t doing a lot of good.  O.k., maybe that’s just me, but after going through the research I’ve learned that Essential Oils (EO) can be as good as or better than antibiotics and the most potent cleaner on the market.

My purpose for the journey was to find an EO that was best for a disinfectant cleaner and to find out if it is equal in results.  Let’s recap: In Parts 1 & 2, I explored many studies that showed Oil of Oregano and Cinnamon Oil to have antimicrobial, antibacterial, antifungal and antiseptic properties. But which one is “the king” of EO’s?

  Oil of Oregano vs Cinnamon Oil

Food Borne Bacteria

In International Journal of Pharmaceutical & Biological Archives 2012; 3(5):1106-1109  Cinnamon, Clove, Oil of Oregano, Rosemary and Thyme were tested against the food borne bacteria of Campylobacter., Listeria., Yersinia., Salmonella.and Pseudomonas.  You’ve probably heard some of these in the news…basically; it’s bacteria that cause food poisoning.  These results surprised me because it concluded that clove and cinnamon were “tops” when it came to inhibiting the food borne bacteria with thyme and oregano coming in 4th and 5th place.

 Antifungal Study

In a PubMed journal 2012 2008 Nov;54(11):950-6. doi: 10.1139/w08-097

Oil of Oregano tested # 1 for its antifungal properties with Cinnamon coming in second.

My personal Conclusion

After all of my research, I have concluded that my Disinfectant spray will have to have at the least 3 ingredients in it…Cinnamon, Clove and Oil of Oregano.

Not only were the claims substantiated but it actually surpassed many of my expectations.

Remember, when buying essential oils, they need to be at highest quality for them to be therapeutic. If it is low-cost, most likely it will be low quality.  Please don’t hesitate to ask, which companies are good because I’ve researched that, as well and will cover that at another time. I use both Young Living and Native American Nutritionals (merged with Rocky Mountain Oils) Please check them out at my online store

You can also buy this   North American Herb and Spice, Oregaspray, 4-Ounces  that has both Oil of Oregano and clove or follow this  DIY recipe I found that includes the three EO’s mentioned; other ingredients in this recipe have also been found effective and blend nicely. 

 Antibacterial Essential Oil Blend

Makes 250 drops. About enough to fill 1- 15ml bottle: You can cut in “half”


80 drops clove bud oil
70 drops lemon oil
40 drops cinnamon oil
20 drops rosemary oil
20 – 40 drops of Oil of Oregano


1.  Add oils, one by one, to your container of choice.

2. Shake bottle and use as desired.

3. From this blend you can use about 16 drops to 16oz distilled water in a spray bottle.


1.  This recipe is specifically for an All Purpose spray, not to be ingested.

2.  This oil blend is hot. It can burn sensitive skin, or throat lining, etc. Use with caution and dilute appropriately.  I encourage you to do your own research to find out what dilution works best for you.

3.  Experiment with the blend that works for you. Some recipes call for 30 drops of Eucalyptus which includes  the traditional “Thieves” recipe and you can buy that here Thieves Essential Oil by Young Living Essential Oils – 15 ml
But if you are going to make it yourself use Eucalyptus Citriodora and not Eucalyptus globulus or Eucalyptus radiata oils. There is a component in those oils that according to
 some articles that is poisonous, however, you would need to ingest 3.5 ml (approx 87.5 drops) of it to be fatal. This recipe doesn’t even call for that amount and in the dilution for your disinfectant spray it’s even less. But to be on the safe side, you can use Eucalyptus Citriodora which is the milder form. Make sure to read the labels on your essential oils bottles carefully before using. You really could skip this oil if you wanted to.


Please do your homework and don’t use any oil you aren’t sure is sourced correctly. Essential oils are highly concentrated, strong, and powerful liquids that can be harmful if not used carefully and properly.  This is an especially potent blend of essential oils which could cause irritation when applied to the skin, even in diluted amounts. We advocate caution when using them, and do not recommend using essential oils internally.  Please keep essential oils out of reach of children. Not recommended for use on babies, toddlers, or children.

I am not a doctor, and you should always consult your doctor before taking any herbs or beginning any health routine.