Monthly Archives: July 2014

4 Reasons You Need a Foam Roller

Foam rolling is one of most runners’ favorite post-run activities and Team FitNice can’t get enough.  Almost every gym is home to at least one or two and it’s no surprise why.  Foam rollings uses the technique of self myofascial release, or self massage, to relax overactive muscles.  Almost every major muscle in the body can be foam rolled, making it a wonderful activity to include in your daily fitness routine.  Here are five reasons you need to start using a foam roller today:

Foam rolling will help prevent injuries.  By limiting the amount of fascia that can build up in muscles and make them tight, you’ll find fewer knots.  Muscle knots can quickly turn into injury trigger points and that’s bad news.  Foam roll every day to keep muscles from knotting up and stay injury free.foam roller

You can improve circulation with a foam roller.  The pressure put on blood vessels and veins during the process of foam rolling physically pushes blood through the body.  This temporary increase in blood flow returns to normal when pressure is released, but has already provided the benefit of cleaning out debris while bringing much needed nutrients to strained muscles.  Stimulating circulation can have a refreshing effect and means happier muscles.

Foam rolling can ease back pain.  Sitting in an office chair all day puts a surprising amount of stress on the body.  Hamstrings can tighten, hip flexors can get short and low back pain can crop up.  Stretching and foam rolling the hamstrings, IT Band and hip flexors every day will help alleviate current low back pain while keeping future low back pain at bay.

Use a foam roller to aid with flexibility.  Loose connective tissue helps prevent injuries by increasing range of motion and lessening stiffness.  Put those two things together and they add up to a more flexible body, especially in muscles that are foam rolled on a daily basis.  Increased flexibility and mobility mean your can body move through the range of motion required for exercises with less difficulty and that leads to fewer injuries.

Doesn’t that sound appealing?  There is a wide variety of foam rollers out there, some are hard while others are soft, certain models have bumps and grooves but others are completely smooth.  It’s always a great idea to try a few different models before you settle on one to take home, and when you do, remember that it’s most effective when used regularly, not only when you’re feeling extra sore or tight.

Stay tuned for next week’s post:  Foam Rolling Mistakes to Avoid and check out this video for help getting started with your new foam roller.

Have questions about your post workout routine or how to add foam rolling into your program?  Ask us!  Send an email to or fill out the form below.

10 Running Terms You Need to Know

Running has a language of its own.  There are tons of fitness terms out there, and they don’t all apply to every kind of exercise.  Phrases that get your yoga practice going likely won’t have the same benefit in a spin class.  Learn these 10 running terms to make sense of all the crazy things your running buddies say.

LSD:  Unfortunately this doesn’t refer to the narcotic because runners get high all on their own.  LSD is a running specific acronym for Long Slow Distance.  This usually references the training week’s longest run, but when you start really racking up the miles, you might have one LSD and one LLSD on your schedule.

Anaerobic or Lactate Threshold:  This is the point at which lactic acid begins to accumulate in the bloodstream.  Reaching this point is usually felt as fatigue in muscles but it’s possible to train your body to use this lactic acid as fuel through interval training and tempo runs.

Tempo/Tempo Run:  A tempo run is a sustained effort at lactate threshold level.  It includes both warm-up and cool down portions with running at a comfortably hard pace for an extended period of time in the middle.  Depending on the runner, this can be as short as 20 minutes of 90% maximal heart rate effort or as long as one hour.

Fartlek Run:  Meaning ‘speed play’ in Swedish, there are lots of fartlek variations.  fartleks are medium to long distance runs of at least 45 minutes interspersed with surges at increased speeds.  A few fun examples include picking up the pace as you pass one mailbox, slowing down when you reach the next and repeating for a few miles or doing a pyramid of one minute easy, one minute hard, two minutes easy, two minutes hard, etc. for a predetermined distance or time.  You can find more here.

Taper:  A taper is the reduction of exercise in preparation for a big event, in this case a running race at any given distance.  Tapering for a marathon is usually a three process while for a half marathon it might only be two weeks.  There are many important components of a well done taper and to make sure you have the right plan in place for your next race, ask a coach.

Negative Splits:  Splits are the times it takes you run a given portion of a race distance, most often in miles.  Running the same time for the first half and second half of a race is known as an even split and while better than slowing down towards the end, a negative split, running the second half faster than the first, is often the goal of experienced runners.

PR (PB):  Personal Record or Personal Best is a runner’s best finish time at a given racing distance.  It’s possible to PR in any sport but it’s always nice to have a few thousand other runners to celebrate with when you cross the line.  Bonus:  Run a new distance, automatically achieve a new PR!

Runner’s Knee:  Adding mileage too quickly can lead to a condition known medically as Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome and most commonly referred to as runner’s knee.  Creating a feeling that the knee is ‘giving out’, it’s one of the most common overuse injuries runners see.  For more information on causes, symptoms and treatments, click here.

ITBS:  Illiotibial Band (IT Band) Syndrome is another common running injury associated with knee pain.  The IT Bands run from the outside of each hip to just below the corresponding knee and plays an important role in stabilizing the knee during physical activities.  Overuse can lead to inflammation and thickening of the IT Band, knee pain and pain along the outside of the thigh.  For more information, click here.

Plantar fasciitis:  A common cause of heel pain, Plantar fasciitis is inflammation of the tissues that connect your heel bone to your toes.  Most often seen in runners who strain the plantar fascia by adding mileage or changing surfaces too quickly, it can happen to those who have high arches and don’t wear properly fitting shoes or if your shoes are worn out and not giving you enough support.  Rest, ice and stretching are a good fix and you can learn more here.

Now that you’re comfortable with these ten running terms, you sound like you’ve been running for years, even if you haven’t.

Want help with your running?  Advice on injury prevention?  Email us!

Farrah’s Dressed Up Salsa

Chips and dip are a staple at any backyard, campground or beach summer event.  FitNicePT pal Farrah at Fairy Burger loves this Dressed Up Salsa for several reasons.  With lots of studying to do and a busy schedule on top of it, this quick, healthy and cost effective recipe is one of her favorite go to dishes.  Farrah also loves that it’s simple, with only four ingredients, incredibly versatile and packs a good post-workout protein punch.

Dressed Up Salsa

Servings:  4
Cook Time:  5 minutes
Difficulty:  1

1 – 5 ounce can of chunk tuna in water
1/3 cup passion fruit mango salsa (or another favorite that bursts with flavor)
3 ounces of Greek yogurt (Farrah recommends 0% Fage Greek Yogurt)
5 ounces tortilla or sweet potato chips

1.  Mix ingredients together in large mixing bowl
2.  Serve with chips, warmed is desired

dressed up salsaGive this tasty Dressed Up Salsa a try today.  It’s perfect for snack time or to accompany a larger meal and be sure to check out Farrah’s blog for more delicious recipes at Fairy Burger.

Have questions?  Want more good for you recipes or help with your meal plan?  Send us an email at or fill out the form below.

Food Allergies in the Real World: Restaurants

Food allergies are a condition that can, if not taken seriously, result in severe reactions.  Tackling restaurant menus and navigating supermarket aisles can be difficult.  Even professional athletes can face this problem and Team FitNice is no exception.  In this educational series of posts we’ll cover some good ways to prevent coming in contact with allergens in restaurants, at school, in the grocery store and when you travel.

Food allergies don’t have to stop you from enjoying meals at restaurants with friends.  Here are 5 Tips for Avoiding Allergens in Restaurants:food allergies in restaurants

1)  Check out restaurants before you go.  Asian cuisine features peanuts and staffers in outlets with pre-made meals might not know what’s inside the package.  Buffets typically offer lots of choices for eats who have to be choosy.  Ask friends, family and doctors to recommend food allergy friendly establishments then research menus and read reviews.

2)  Call ahead.  Call during off-peak hours and ask if the restaurant is willing to take care of your needs.  If so, ask if the staff is trained to deal with a food allergen free diner and if any specialty meals are available.  Give them as much information as you can and make sure the person you spoke to will be there when you plan on visiting.

3)  Communicate with staff.  Your server might not know everything about how the food they serve is prepared.  Speak with a manager or, ideally, the chef to make your dietary needs and restrictions clear.

4)  Keep meals simple.  Restaurants can offer up complicated dishes with lots of ingredients.  Ordering simple, not plain or boring, plates can help ensure your food doesn’t come into contact with any unwanted allergens.  Avoid fried food, which is a hot bed for cross-contamination, and know that dessert is often a source of hidden allergens.

5)  Ask for your plate to be delivered separately.  If simply touching an allergen can induce a reaction, stacked plates can be trouble.  Make sure your servers knows that your food shouldn’t come in contact with any other food or china.  When your meal arrives at the table, double check your instructions were followed and the food was prepared properly.

Remember that the best medicine is prevention.  Always be ready to treat an allergic reaction should contact occur.  Having a bronchodilator or epinephrine pen (if prescribed) within reach at all times is a sure fire way to make sure you’re safe from a severe reaction.  Use these tips and be prepared to a great night out the next time you walk into a restaurant.

Have questions about managing your food allergies when you dine in a restaurant?  Ask your doctor or send us an email at