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Foam Roller Love

Last Saturday I ran my favorite trail — 3 miles up and 3 down — knowing my legs would be sore afterward because I hadn’t run in two months. Too many other activities and adventures competing for my attention!

When I got home, I used a foam roller to massage my quads, hamstrings, calves and glutes. Once the muscles loosened up, I stretched. Though still sore, my legs weren’t as sore (or for as long) as if I’d done nothing.

I learned the benefits of foam rolling about 12 years ago during a fitness conference and wanted to pass on my wisdom, after which you can return the favor by letting me know about your experience.

Foam rolling:

  1. is used for massage as opposed to stretching, which elongates muscles
  2. can be performed before a workout to warm up muscle by increasing blood flow and afterward to relax muscle that’s tight from exertion
  3. doesn’t work on bone, so only roll the soft tissue

The best way to make foam rolling a habit is to place your foam roller where you change out of your workout clothes.

© Kate L Photography | http://www.kateLphotography.com

And in terms of the glute, which is the muscular hub of the body and the region most in need of relaxation, I like to use a yoga ball/lacrosse ball while standing against a wall. The smaller point of pressure digs deeper into the muscle group.

Do you regularly foam roll?

For more information, as well as visual demos, here’s a healthline.com article, 8 Foam Rolling That’ll Remove Every Bit of Stress in Your Body.


Now available via all online booksellers.

If you love Mary, review her story on Goodreads, Amazon and BookBub.

For a full list of reading and workshops, visit my website.

Giveaway For Three YA Ebooks!

Confessions of a YA blog blogger Kristi Houseman is hosting a giveaway of my book, Winter Light, and those of my fellow authors, Carolyn R. Russell and Annalisa Crawford.

Visit and enter to win by Dec. 4, 2020, to win.

Giveaway for Winter Light and 2 other YA ebooks!

Martha’s Birthday Pushup Challenge 2020!

I love doing birthday pushups! Since I don’t currently have any weekly classes, please help me celebrate my 56th birthday with a 15-min. Birthday Workout to Earn Birthday Cake mini-workout at 8 a.m. Pacific/10 Central/11 EST on Thurs., Oct. 22 via Facebook Live. If you can’t or don’t want to join at that time, I’ll post the video on my timeline and this blog and you can do the workout on your own.

If you do the workout, feel free to let me know!

According to my birthday birthday pushup formula, I’ll be doing twice my age, or 112 pushups.

Don’t panic! I want as many workout buddies as possible, so I’ve listed two options below. Choose the one that works for you. If you don’t finish, no worries. The trying is what counts.

The pushups can be (from most intense to less so):

  1. on your toes
  2. in a tabletop
  3. on your knees
  4. against a wall.

You can start in one position and move to another position if/when that feels appropriate. Whatever position you choose, keep your core tight enough that you can see your knees or feet at all times.

PETITE PIECE OF BIRTHDAY CAKE WORKOUT

(5 pushups + 5 crunches) x 11

— 60 pushups
— 60 crunches

BIG PIECE OF BIRTHDAY CAKE WORKOUT

(10 pushups + 10 crunches) x 11

— 112 pushups
— 110 crunches

I hope to see you there!

_____

Order Winter Light

If you enjoy the book, please leave a review on Amazon, Goodreads and/or your blog. I’m available for interviews and Book Club chats.

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How to Breathe Correctly When Working Out

Do you feel you don’t “breathe right” when working out, either because you feel that’s true or been told so by a trainer, coach or instructor?

When I was a kid, I knew I didn’t breathe right because in gym class, whenever I ran, my lungs would burn and I’d end up with a stitch in my side. That’s why I hated running. And no, the gym teacher never talked about how to breathe correctly.

Nor did I breathe correctly when I was first learning the freestyle stroke. I unintentionally drank a lot of water and rarely had enough oxygen to do more than a lap before stopping.

Then when yoga acquired a mass audience, I breathing in accordance with the instructor’s timing — usually a slow count down from 10 — and would end up out of breath and dizzy.

The question is, how do we breathe correctly when doing a variety of activities?

Here are the tricks I’ve learned:

— Don’t breathe according to someone else’s cues unless they match what feels right for you.

Lung capacity differs according to the size of people’s lungs and people’s age weight, height, ethnicity and conditioning. Some people may be able to take in enough oxygen for a slow 10-count exhalation, while others may run out of breath before then. Similarly, some people may breath every 4 strokes while swimming, while others may be more comfortable breathing with every other.

— During vigorous breathing, exhale on the exertion, which is what I call E to E breathing.

When you lower yourself into a squat to pick up a load, you exhale when rising under that load. An exhalation requires you to concentrically contract your abs (as in a crunch), which tightens the core when you need that protection most.

— Breathe from the bellybutton.

To understand this, stand and put a hand over your bellybutton. When exhaling, your bellybutton should move inward, back toward the spine, while inhaling pushes the bellybutton outward. That deep breathing fully inflates the lungs and stretches out the diaphragm, the muscle we need to breathe.

If you find yourself lifting your shoulders when you breathe, that’s a sign of shallow breathing, in which you only inflate part of your lungs. When shallow breathing, the diaphragm never fully stretches out between contractions, which causes the muscle to spasm and create that pain in the side; a pain that can also present in the neck, shoulder or back.

— Listen to the tone of your breathing.

When vigorously bellybutton breathing, the tone of your exhalation should be deep. Conversely, the higher the tone, the shallower your breath.

— Count aloud when you breathe.

We often get distracted by our physical activity and then forget to breath, which causes us to shallow breath, run out of breath and end up feeling dizzy, nauseous, out of breath, or all three.

A great way to keep track of your breath is to count in cadence with your movement. For example, count “1, 2, 3…” to match every stride, every other stride, or whatever you feel is right. That system guarantees you:

  • breath at regular intervals
  • hear your tone so you can catch any changes that indicate you’re beginning to shallow breath
  • and consistently use your core.

Regarding the last, every time you talk, you exhale. As mentioned above, exhaling causes your abdominals to concentrically contract, which ultimately helps you maintain form while doing the movement.

Do you have trouble breathing during certain activities? Did you learn how to breathe better, and if so, how?

If you’d like extra reading, here are a few extra resources:

Breathing During Exercise, military.com

Here’s Why the Way You Breathe During a Workout Matters, Self

Your Lungs and Exercise, National Center for Biotechnology Information, US National Library of Medicine


If you love Mary, review her story on Goodreads, Amazon and BookBub.

For a full list of this week’s book launch events, including my Facebook Book Launch Party, visit my website.

October Pushup Challenge!

To take part in the daily live broadcast, head to Martha Engber’s Creatives

My book, Winter Light, will be published Oct. 6. Woohoo!

Traditionally authors do a countdown to the publication of their books. But when I looked at various time/date widgets, none seemed to reflect my personality.

So I came up with the above pushup challenge. But of course!

Please pass on the graphic and this post to friends! The more people who get involved, the more fun it’ll be! And note that I’m giving away a free copy of Winter Light to the first person who sends me a video of them completing all 60 pushups on Tues., Oct. 6 (email me).

The idea is simple: we start with 10 pushups on Oct. 1 and add 10 more every day until Oct. 6. Yes, that adds up to 60 pushups, but you don’t have to do them all. That and you can choose to do them on your toes, knees, against a wall or a combination of those.

I’ll be doing them live at 7 a.m. Pacific/9 a.m. Central/10 a.m. EST every morning via Facebook Live from my Facebook page. Or you can do them with me via the recorded version that will be posted after the live broadcast.

If you can, comment below to let me know you’re in.

I’ll be there right with you!

___

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You can now preorder my next novel, Winter Light (due out Oct. 6, 2020)! For updates, sign up for my newsletter via my author website.

Taking a Break From CardioCore!

My fitness friends!

Here’s a quick note that after five months of teaching the 35-min. CardioCore class twice a week, I’m signing off!

By now I assume everyone has found their favorite online (or in some places, in-person) workouts. That and I could never find a great solution for the audio problem. At least I’ve left you with a lot of great ideas regarding home equipment as well as a slew of recorded workouts I’ve posted on this blog.

If you want to arrange a private Zoom class for you and your buddies, let me know. Otherwise…

Happy working out!

___

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You can now preorder my next novel, Winter Light (due out Oct. 6, 2020)! For updates, sign up for my newsletter via my author website.

CardioCore + Resistance Tube (Low Anchor)

Hey all!

Today we used a resistance tube/bike tire anchored low (as in the photo below) for the 35-min. CardioCore workout at 12 p.m. PT Tues., Sept. 15, via Facebook Live.

REMINDER: All of the props are optional. The drills can be performed using only body weight.

Resistance Tube and Anchor

Remember to run your hand down the tube to check for rough areas or cuts in the rubber. If you find any, don’t use the tube because those weaknesses may cause the tube to snap, which is very unpleasant!

Also, if you don’t have a resistance tube, you can use a bike tire.

Notice in the above photo that I anchored the tube under my couch. The couch may move a bit, but not enough to be a problem. You can also use a low railing or other anchor that’s stable. Try out the anchoring beforehand to make sure all is well.

I hope you enjoy the workout!

___

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You can now preorder my next novel, Winter Light (due out Oct. 6, 2020)! For updates, sign up for my newsletter via my author website.

  • Document

Prep for CardioCore + Resistance Tube (Anchored low)

Hey all!

Tomorrow we’ll be using a resistance tube/bike tire anchored low (as in the above photo) for the 35-min. CardioCore workout at 12 p.m. PT Tues., Sept. 15, via Facebook Live.

REMINDER: All of the props are optional. The drills can be performed using only body weight. If you miss the live version, I’ll post the recorded class on this blog.

Resistance Tube and Anchor

Remember to run your hand down the tube to check for rough areas or cuts in the rubber. If you find any, don’t use the tube because those weaknesses may cause the tube to snap, which is very unpleasant!

Also, if you don’t have a resistance tube, you can use a bike tire.

Notice in the above photo that I anchored the tube under my couch. The couch may move a bit, but not enough to be a problem. You can also use a low railing or other anchor that’s stable. Try out the anchoring beforehand to make sure all is well.

I hope to see you there!

___

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You can now preorder my next novel, Winter Light (due out Oct. 6, 2020)! For updates, sign up for my newsletter via my author website.

CardioCore + Weighted Bag Workout

Hey all!

While this workout was great, the sound was terrible. Sorry!

REMINDER: All of the props are optional. The drills can be performed using only body weight.

Details:

Bag

I used a sturdy grocery bag that included well-sewn straps. Inside, I placed two gallon jugs of water (8 pounds each). You can also use magazines or books. If you choose hard cover books, wrap them in a towel to soften and protect the edges.

Be sure to lift the bag in both hands, then one hand. If you can do so without releasing your shoulder blades, and feel confident the weight is manageable, you’re good to go. If you’re not sure, take weight out. You can always do that during the workout, too.

___

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You can now preorder my next novel, Winter Light (due out Oct. 6, 2020)! For updates, sign up for my newsletter via my author website.

Prep for CardioCore + Weighted Bag

Hey all!

Tomorrow we’ll be using 1 weighted bag during the 35-min. CardioCore + Weights workout at 12 p.m. PT Thurs., Sept. 10, via Facebook Live.

REMINDER: All of the props are optional. The drills can be performed using only body weight. If you miss the live version, I’ll post the recorded class on this blog.

Bag

I’ll be using a sturdy grocery bag that includes well-sewn straps. Inside, I’m placing two gallon jugs of water (8 pounds each). You can also use magazines or books. If you choose hard cover books, wrap them in a towel to soften and protect the edges.

Be sure to lift the bag in both hands, then one hand. If you can do so without releasing your shoulder blades, and feel confident the weight is manageable, you’re good to go. If you’re not sure, take weight out. You can always do that during the workout, too.

___

perf5.500x8.500.indd

You can now preorder my next novel, Winter Light (due out Oct. 6, 2020)! For updates, sign up for my newsletter via my author website.