The Flexibility Formula
“Will I ever be flexible?”
Second only to “where do you get your protein?” some variation of this question of flexibility is the most common query I hear. And why shouldn’t we ask it? We want to know if we should even bother to try! When we’re so tight we can’t touch our toes, should we even waste our time with yoga? And if it is possible to improve our flexibility, how long will it take? An exact time table and formula would be preferred thank you very much 🙂
All kidding aside, I think you know I’m not going to give you an exact time table. There are simply too many variables for me to even guess at a time table. While the skeletal structure of each individual is more or less the same, our bodies natural capacity for flexibility and joint mobility varies immensely. And of course there are other factors such as age, sex, amount of time spent training, recovery rates, diet, ect. Which come into play further complicating the matter. With all of that said, I can tell you this...Your flexibility CAN improve, and probably more than you think possible.
Now here’s where I could insert loads of testimonials from Thriving Plant Based via the comments section from our Epic Split Challenge in which many many members experienced progress in their splits they never imagined they’d see. However, I’m just going to share with you what I believe to be the most important pillars of flexibility training.
No surprise here! If we want to increase our mobility, we have to stretch and we have to do so often. It’s what we do everyday that creates our reality. Just like eating whole plant foods only one day a week isn’t going to give us the results we want, stretching once a week won’t either. This doesn’t mean that rest days don’t exist, but it does mean there will be more training days than rest days.
In order for our training to be productive and safe, we have to be warm. How warm? Warm enough to have broken a sweat.
This one is a bit tricky. We have to find our flexibility edge. This is a sweet spot in which the physical sensations are intense enough that we must be fully present mentally, yet we don’t push past this point into injury. I could talk for days about working at your edge (and I do on the site), but for now just know that unless we are challenged in our practice, we won’t see much change.
When we stretch intensely, we tear the muscle similar to when we build muscle with resistance training. Because this is a delicate process, we want to create space for recovery. This includes taking rest days and days in which we stretch lightly in order to rest the muscles but keep the blood flowing.
Along with staying properly hydrated, eating a low inflammation diet of whole plant foods is essential for speedy and efficient recovery. This is not news these days! We are seeing more and more professional athletes make the switch to plant based for this reason. Forget those nasty whey protein shakes and load up on fruit and fruit smoothies with greens post workout to maximize your recovery process. The quicker you recover, the more you can train and the more progress you’ll see.
This is by no means a comprehensive guide to flexibility training, rather a brief outline of some key elements. If you’re interested in learning more, sign up for ThrivingPlantBased to immerse yourself in our library of private videos discussing my best tips and tricks to faster, safer flexibility and our plethora of tutorials designed to increase your range of motion while creating those yummy yoga vibes. I’m here for you on your yoga journey! Just hit me up in the forum and I’m happy to answer all of your questions!
Want to start a home yoga practice? Our website can help! We have over 100 yoga tutorials for all levels at www.bananablondieyoga.com We can also help you make the transition to a plant based diet! We share our daily food journals to show you exactly what we eat, have a forum to answer all of your questions and also have a library of over 100 private videos discussing various wellness topics. You can also purchase our newly released a meal plan bundle! We've teamed up with our favorite plant based recipe creator Caitlin Shoemaker (@frommybowl) to bring you her recipe ebook, a 4 Week Meal Plan, and access to ThrivingPlantBased.com for 2 months! Sign up today! http://bananablondieyoga.com/4-week-plant-based-meal-plan/