The Benefits of Spiky Massage Balls

By Andrew DeVito, Co-Founder at Webb Compression

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Muscle tension is something that almost everyone suffers from at some point in their lives. Personally, I fall victim due my cubicle lifestyle that has me sitting in a chair for 8-9 hours a day.

Although it may seem like only a minor annoyance, if left untreated, painful trigger points can arise causing problems throughout your entire body. I learned this the hard way by ignoring pain in my upper back for months. Eventually it lead to my entire neck freezing up for 4 days. The pain was excruciating. Every time I moved my neck even slightly, I would get shooting pains throughout my entire body.

The worst part was learning afterwards how easily I could have avoided this by just taking a few minutes to roll out my muscles with a spiky massage ball or lacrosse ball.

They work by stimulated the myofascia, which is the connective tissue network that runs throughout your entire body. It surrounds all of your internal organs and muscles to help keep everything in place. I spend at least 5-10 minutes most nights rolling our my sore spots before hopping into bed.

Here are some of the main benefits you gain from adding this to your weekly regimen.

  1. Increase Blood Flow: Removing knots and muscle tension that is restricting blood flow is key to maintaining hydration in your muscles and connective tissue. The increased blood flow also means you will recover faster from your workouts and heal faster from injuries.
  2. Improved range of motion: Studies have shown that rolling out your muscles can help increase their range of motion. By removing the adhesions in the fascia, your muscles and surrounding tissue can move more freely. This is extremely valuable especially when performing strengthening exercises, which many times can have the opposite effects on your muscles.
  3. Reduced Muscle Soreness: As discussed earlier one of the main benefits you will receive is being less sore. With the increase in circulation, your muscles are able to receive the maximum amount of nutrients allowing for optimal recovery.

At the end of the day, proper use of massage balls will allow you to decrease recovery time, increase performance and be pain free, allowing you to live a more active life.

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9 Expert Tips: What to Eat Before, During, and After a Run

By Traci DeVito, Co-Founder at Webb Compression

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You curl up in bed early on a Friday night, proud of yourself for getting to sleep at a decent hour so you can feel rested for your early morning training run. Your favorite running gear is rounded up and sitting on your dresser so you can grab it and set out sailing as soon as your alarm goes off bright and early at 6AM. You’re all set to run 10 miles—right?

Not so fast. What will you eat before your run? How about during and after? Experts have a lot to say about running fuel, and the general consensus is that heavy training (meaning long runs!) requires some fuel to improve your performance and keep your stomach from growling mile to mile.

I personally try to eat some protein before my own workouts because I know it will keep me full and focused on the task at hand, rather than wishing I was digging into a jar of peanut butter instead. For example, I like to keep cashews and easy to grab bars on hand, but is that really best?

To find out, I rounded up the best tips from runners and running experts around the web. Keep reading to find out what they had to say about the best foods to eat both before and after your run.

Before a Run

  • Familiar foods that are easy on your system, low in fat and fiber, and high in carbs will boost your energy without upsetting your stomach.” –Runner’s World
  • “Go for something easily digestible, like a banana with peanut butter and a high-calorie sports drink.” –Men’s Fitness
  • “For normal easy run days, a small snack 30-90 minutes before your run is all you need to stave off hunger and provide a small boost to your blood sugar levels.” For long runs and harder workouts: “A medium sized snack or small meal 30-120 minutes before your run is optimal.” –Runners Connect

During a Run

  • “Try to take in between 150 and 300 calories per hour during extra-long bouts—with gels, sports drinks, or whatever snack that you can carry and your body can handle.” –Men’s Fitness
  • Bananas and raisins are two options that tend to work well for many endurance athletes and have been proven as effective as sports nutrition products in research. One banana or ¼ cup raisins both provide about 30 grams of carbohydrate—falling in the lower end of our 30-60 grams/hour range.” –Women’s Running
  • “I personally don’t want to use gels, chews, etc and am looking to supplement my marathon training runs with real food (ie, raisin, pretzels, bananas, muesli bars, etc). –Run Eat Repeat blog

After a Run

  • Eating within 30 minutes after a hard run is critical to recovery. It refuels your body, helps your muscles rebuild and recover and can prevent wild runger (aka running hunger) later.” –Run Eat Repeat blog
  • “Reach for a meal with a 3-to-1 ratio of carbs to protein. Why? Carbs are more important, as they replenish the glycogen stores (i.e., the go-to energy source) in your muscles. Already know the power of chugging chocolate milk post-workout? Other options with the right ratio: a banana or apple with peanut butter, a berry and a banana smoothie with a scoop of protein powder or an oat bar with an almond, hazelnut, or peanut butter center” –Health
  • “The best combination for quality recovery fuel is that of carbohydrates and protein. Carbohydrates are the body’s main fuel source, and are stored as glycogen in the muscles and liver. Since the body can only store a limited amount, it’s important to replenish those depleted during exercise. Protein is crucial for growth and repair of the broken-down muscle tissue.” –Run Away Shoes

Workout Recovery Part 2: Methods That Work Best

By Andrew DeVito, Co-Founder at Webb Compression

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In my first article, I spoke about the importance of giving yourself enough time to recover after a tough workout. Now I’m going to take you through some of the recovery methods that have worked best for me.

Balance Your Diet

Not only is this the most important aspect of workout recovery, but it is also arguably the most important aspect of living a healthy life in general. Here are a few of the ways I fuel up after working out:

  • Carbs immediately post workout: The human body is primed to consume carbs directly following a workout. So get in all the carbs you’re craving now, and avoid the midnight snacks.
  • Plenty of high quality protein: Whey protein isolate is my favorite because of its high absorption rate and fast uptake.
  • Healthy fats: Monounsaturated fats have personally given me an insane energy boost and this claim is backed by plenty of scientific studies. Try avocados, coconut oil, olive oil, eggs, and fatty fish.
  • Hydrate: Drinking adequate amounts of water can help to flush toxins out of your body and help keep your joints lubricated.
  • Multi-vitamins: It is always best to get your required nutrients from whole food sources, but this can be quite the challenge in today’s busy world. Try supplementing with a quality multi-vitamin or green drink cocktail.

Foam Rolling – Massage

  • Foam Rolling: This is great to break up small muscle adhesions that can cause imbalances in your muscles. Foam rolling before a workout can help you to stay limber and avoid injury, while doing so post-workout improves blood flow and flushes out lactic acid that has built up.
  • Spiky Massage Balls/Lacrosse Balls: These work just as well as foam rollers and are great for lazer-targeting small knots that the foam roller may not be able to reach. These balls can increase blood flow and improve range of motion and flexibility.

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Deloading Period

  • Working out at 100% week after week may seem like the best way to improve your fitness, but you’ll find that you will make even greater improvements by taking time off.
  • I’ve found that taking a week off every 6 or so weeks works extremely well for me.
  • Another very common method is to train at 50% one week a month to allow your body to recover while still feeling good about getting in your weekly workouts.

Sleep

  • An often overlooked aspect of workout recovery is just getting enough sleep.
  • Try for earlier bed times, as the quality of sleep increases if you are in bed before midnight. Everyone is different, but the sleep schedule that works best for me is between 10pm – 7:00am.
  • Make sure you aren’t drinking alcohol or coffee before you fall asleep, as this will ruin the quality of sleep you get and severely reduce the recovery you would normally receive.

Following these simple tips is a great jumping off point to make sure you are optimizing your recovery periods.

Workout Recovery: How Important is it?

By Andrew DeVito, Co-Founder at Webb Compression

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I know the feeling. You get sick, something unexpected pops up, or maybe you’re just taking a vacation and in the back of your head you’re thinking: This 2 weeks is going to ruin all the amazing progress I’ve made. 

But before you know it, you’re back at it and somehow you feel stronger than ever. This is one of the most common feelings every fitness enthusiast has and it’s because the recovery phase of your fitness regimen is so often overlooked.

The fact of the matter is, if you aren’t taking the proper time to recover after your workouts, you will be increasing the likelihood of injury, which will limit your long-term fitness goals.

What happens to my body after a tough workout?

Working out is hard on the human body. It’s not a matter of being tougher than the next guy, and this stereotype is only perpetuated by the “no pain, no gain” philosophy that may be doing you more harm than good.

Let’s take a quick look at some of the things that happen to your body after a workout.

Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness

This is the most common and obvious symptom of a tough workout. You wake up the next morning and it feels like someone was using your legs as a punching bag all night. Maybe you go to take a shower after a tough shoulder workout and realize shampooing your hair is suddenly the most challenging part of your day.

When I was in college, my friends and I would consistently push ourselves through this pain and would hardly ever take a rest day. 10 years and multiple injuries later, I look back and realize how much progress I lost simply by refusing to listen to my body.

While being sore after a workout is a healthy and natural part of being human, pushing yourself through the pain is not. Your body is telling you that you need rest, so listen to it and make sure you give your muscles enough time to recover.

Immune System Damage

In the long run, a strong fitness regimen will help strengthen your immune system, but for a short period after a tough workout your immune system can be severely compromised. Continuing to train during this period will result in decreased performance and an increased risk of contracting a cold or flu.

During exercise, the body produces two hormones, cortisol and adrenaline, that raise blood pressure, elevate cholesterol levels, and temporarily weaken the immune system. Heavy, long-term exercise could increase the presence of these stress-related hormones along with the amount of white blood cells. Marathon and triathlon athletes are particularly vulnerable to increased susceptibility to infection.

I know it may seem counterintuitive to take time off if you are trying to achieve new fitness goals, but in the end a good balance of intensity and rest is the optimal way to improve performance and your overall health.

Remember, being healthy is a lifestyle and pushing yourself too hard too fast won’t help you achieve your goals any sooner. Patience is a virtue, and I can tell you from personal experience that taking time off will really pay off in the end.

Check out part 2 of this series (coming soon) to see what I do to recover after a tough workout.

Anti-Inflammatory Spiced Dark Chocolate Cherry Smoothie

Did you know that the root cause of plantar fasciitis pain is inflammation? When you overwork the plantar fascia, the tendon becomes inflamed, causing pain in the area around your heel.

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Inflammation is a completely normal response: it means your immune system is working. In fact, it triggers your body to send extra blood and immune cells to the site of the injury that will get the healing process started.

That said, too much of a good thing is never great. When inflammation occurs over a long period of time, this prolonged immune response can cause damage to your body.

One of the best ways to fight off inflammation in through a healthy diet. Certain foods are loaded with anti-inflammatory properties, such as:

  • Green leafy vegetables (kale, spinach, etc)
  • Nuts (walnuts, almonds, cashews, etc)
  • Chia seeds
  • Berries (strawberries, blueberries, cherries, etc)
  • Fatty fish (salmon)
  • Olive oil
  • Spices (ginger, turmeric, cinnamon, etc)
  • Tomatoes

This is my personal favorite smoothie that incorporates some of the best anti-inflammatory ingredients out there (plus, it’s super refreshing!).

Spiced Dark Chocolate Cherry Smoothie

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Ingredients

1 1/2 cups unsweetened vanilla almond milk
1/2 cup frozen cherries
1 frozen banana
2 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon chia seeds
1 tablespoon almond butter (optional)

Directions

Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Add ice cubes if desired, but the frozen fruit usually does the trick. Adjust cinnamon to taste.

Enjoy!

The #1 Exercise to Relieve Plantar Fasciitis Pain (+ Free E-Book Download)

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You finally found it—the best exercise for plantar fasciitis that will provide immediate relief from the stabbing foot pain you’ve been experiencing. It’s simple, effective, and can even be done from the comfort of your own home with minimal equipment.

Plantar fasciitis can be a huge downer: not only do you feel intense discomfort, but that uncomfortable feeling can limit your daily activities and even your quality of life. You likely know the drill: when flare-ups occur, you run and walk less and even avoid your favorite activities that now put too much stress on your foot. That’s no way to live.

“You likely know the drill: when flare-ups occur, you run and walk less and even avoid your favorite activities. That’s no way to live.”

First let’s take a quick look at what causes plantar fasciitis.

Quick Summary: What is Plantar Fasciitis?

  • Occurs when the thick band of tissue that runs across the bottom of the foot, called the plantar fascia, becomes inflamed due to overstretching or overuse
  • Pain commonly occurs at the bottom of the foot near the heel
  • Discomfort gets better as the day goes on but may worsen after sitting down or standing up for a long time
  • Most people can recover in just a few months with minimal treatments

The #1 Exercise to Relieve Plantar Fasciitis Pain

As we touched on in bullet #4 above, plantar fasciitis can be successfully treated in just a few months or less using simple and effective strategies. There’s one particular exercise that experts and individuals just like you recommend over and over again, and here it is!

“Plantar fasciitis can be successfully treated in just a few months or less using simple and effective strategies.”

Foot Rolling With Ice

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What You’ll Need

  • Plastic water bottle or golf ball
  • Water

Seriously, that’s it! Now here’s what to do:

Directions

  1. Fill a plastic wattle bottle (use a single-serve one such as from the grocery store) three-quarters full with water (do not fill it to the top so there’s room for the water to expand as it freezes). Place it in the freezer with the cap off (but save the cap for later) for a few hours or until frozen. If using a golf ball, simply place the golf ball in the freezer for a few hours.
  2. Remove the golf ball or water bottle from the freezer. Place the cap back on the water bottle if using one. Sit in a chair and lay the water bottle/golf ball on the floor slightly in front of you.
  3. Slowly roll your painful foot over the water bottle/golf ball. Gently press your foot into the water bottle/golf ball to massage the plantar fascia.
  4. Repeat for 10-15 minutes several times per day, storing the water bottle/golf ball in the freezer between each use.

Bonus: FREE Plantar Fasciitis E-Book

Interested in learning a few more quick and easy strategies to relieve your plantar fasciitis pain? Download a copy of our FREE Plantar Fasciitis Recovery Guide here to learn:

  • 5 easy to perform techniques that will provide immediate relief for your foot pain.
  • Step by step explanations complete with pictures demonstrating each exercise.
  • Proven techniques used by thousands of people worldwide to help speed up the healing process.

Plus, download and save a copy for later!

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Happy healing!