Best Skincare Line for Women who Sweat

At the end of last year, I was contacted by FRÉ Skincare to try their 123FRÉ skincare resilience set that was created specifically for women who sweat. I was a bit hesitant as I’ve had some skin sensitivities over the past couple of years causing several trips to my dermatologist. After reading about the products which are hypoallergenic, dermatologically tested, while at the same time vegan & cruelty free, I found they use a specialized Argania Active Complex. The amazing benefits of Argan Oil include combatting skin damage and signs of aging while strengthening the skin to work against extreme climatic conditions. Plus, the company gives back to the environment by planting an Argan Tree at the end of each year for each 123FRÉ set sold to empower the women workforce of Morocco. I decided I had to give it a test run myself.



My typical routine used to include store bought cleansing creams, toners, and moisturizer, not necessarily for any specific skin type, match of brand, or price tag. Most of the time I have clear skin, but this would ebb and flow depending on workout training schedules, hormones, or what I ate. I was never 100% confident my skin would be clear with my old skincare routine. That led to a lack of self-confidence because I wanted my outer appearance to appear healthy, equally to my effort in improving my fitness. I realized I probably wasn’t making the same effort for my skin by just using random products that were on sale that month.

In December, I began the switch and started daily using the baseline products from the 123FRÉ skincare line. This would be a good test too as I had begun my training for the Paris Half Marathon, so I would be running 4 times a week, strength training 2 times a week, and having an active recovery rest day including yoga. 7 days of sweat to see if FRÉ lived up to it’s mission to provide healthy, glowing, blemish free skin for women who sweat.



The first line of defense is the Purify Me cleanser. It’s lightly beaded formula makes me feel refreshed after a long day by gently clearing toxins. Next is the Revive Me Serum. This is like an illuminating light with a little clean up crew in a cream form. I can see my face glowing and my fine lines becoming finer. Lastly, the Protect Me moisturizer with SPF built in. It’s like an armour shield for my face. It hydrates my skin while creating a natural protection barrier from harsh elements.



After 2 and half months of use, I’m thrilled with my skincare routine. I’m glowing and my confidence has escalated! I’ve even had the amazing opportunity to become an ambassador for Fré Skincare because I’ve loved what the line has has done for me personally and can’t help but share it’s incredible benefits onto you!


Left: Before, Right: After using 123FRÉ


I completely recommend 123FRÉ skincare if you’re looking for a simple solution to keep your skin hydrated, protected from the signs of aging and environmental damage, and you want CLEAR COMPLEXION with an awesome natural glow. An added bonus, the 123FRÉ set will last over 3 months, which means you can enjoy luxurious natural skincare for a cost of less than a dollar a day!!

So, don’t miss the unique opportunity to start 2018 with healthy, strong skin, that reflects your healthy, strong lifestyle! And as an added bonus FRÉ skincare is having a unique opportunity to enjoy a special 1+1 for Valentine’s Day. Order a 123FRÉ set for yourself and get a second one FREE for someone you love!

Head to Freskincare.com and order 2 sets and pay for only 1 using my code WANDER. Offer valid for the next 48 hours (February 7-9th, 2018)

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How’s Your Pelvic Floor?

Hi there! I took a little time off around the holidays. I hope everyone enjoyed theirs! I bet some of you have even set up some new year resolutions to help motivate you to put a healthy lifestyle in the forefront of 2018. Maybe you’ve decided to start practicing some self love by journaling or meditating, or have an urge to run a 5 or 10k while also regaining some strength and flexibility. I couldn’t agree more that bettering your mind and body are of utmost importance, but I bet a majority of you don’t think about the full concept of your “whole” body. So I want to ask…how’s your pelvic floor?

Are you experiencing urinary leakage? Bowel problems? Pain with sexual intercourse? Maybe you just assumed this was a normal part of going through post-partum or simply due to aging. Well, my friend, it’s not. And guess what…athletes are at an increased risk of pelvic floor dysfunction due to higher impact forces placed on them. Whether you’re a trained athlete or not, pelvic floor dysfunction is commonly under diagnosed or misdiagnosed, therefore leaving you thinking you just have to suffer and put up with it. I’m here to tell you, that’s not the case and oftentimes can be treated conservatively!!

First most, as a physical therapist who formally worked at Marathon Physical Therapy and Sports Medicine in Massachusetts with some of the finest women’s health therapists in the state, I highly recommend seeing a specialized PT to correctly determine your individual dysfunction and therapy regime. Some issues can be more complex and require a professional team of doctors, therapists and psychologists. Therefore, it’s always best to consult with specialized professionals before beginning any new routine.

Secondly, for adult women suffering from involuntary loss of urine while either coughing, laughing, sneezing or exercising (aka stress incontinence) or those of us who also suffer from symptoms of urgency or frequency there is a device that can help within the comfort of your own home.

InControl Medical has reached out to me, as a physical therapist and athlete, to use and provide an unbiased review of their product ApexM. ApexM is a hand-held powered muscle stimulator to help assist pelvic floor strengthening, along with an exercise program from their app. The patented muscle stimulation delivers a rhythmic contraction to your pelvic floor muscles and at same time provides resistance to help simultaneously activate and strengthen your pelvic floor.

ApexM is simple to use because it is accompanied with an app for your smart phone that provides step-by-step, easy to understand terminology and, additionally, a professional and all-women run customer support team. The design of the product is comfortable and requires a suggested use of 5-10 minutes a day for 2-4 weeks, with each session slightly increasing the stimulation as your pelvic floor strengthens. Once symptoms reduce the product can used just 1-2 weekly for maintenance. The best part?! No prescription needed. I’m amazed at the ease and efficiency of this product.

This topic does not have to be embarrassing or taboo. I’m proud to work on keeping my entire body healthy and hope to do that for as long as I can, and if I can use a product like ApexM to help simplify the process, I’m all for it! Conveniently enough, they are having a sale of $125 off with the code: Cure125

Please go to ApexM website to learn if this device is a right fit for you as it is not intended for everyone.

Close Out the Year with Self Love

As the holidays approach, media and marketing will sell you on thinking it’s the most wonderful time of the year (and hoping you spend that pretty penny too). While I hope nothing but good cheer for all, sometimes this time of year brings forth heartbreaking reminders of those we’ve lost, failed resolutions, being stuck in careers, relationships, or unsatisfied life choices, or just simply feeling lonely. I’m here to remind you that even though these times may play havoc on your emotions, you’re still amazing and now, not just January 1, is the perfect time to practice some self-love.

I’ve come up with some practical ways for you to bring back that lovin’ feelin’, woah that lovin’ feelin’:

De-stress Monday’s

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There’s an account on Instagram I follow called @destressmonday and they also have a webpage here. Stereotypically, Monday’s are the “worst” but the account gives you little reminders to breathe, smile and think positively, not just on Mondays but for everyday of the week.

 

Start Saving Weekly to Give Yourself a Present/Trip

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Chanel Boutique in Paris

It may seem ironic to put away money when you know you probably should spend it towards the gifts for others this holiday, but how can you be your best for them if you don’t take care of yourself once in a while? Practicing some budgeting and rewarding yourself for making the means to grab something you really love or a getaway you’ve been craving for is not selfish, it’s making a goal, being diligent, and taking pride in your work. That’s an achievement!

 

Pay it Forward

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Be Kind from Momentum Jewelry

If you are feeling slightly guilty for thinking about yourself, which you SHOULDN’T, you can always give back to those in need or just do random acts of kindness. Smile and hold a door open for someone, buy the person’s coffee behind you, volunteer at the local food pantry, give to charity. There are literally millions of ways to help and be kind and in the long run, you’ll feel better because you brightened someone’s day!

 

Listen to Inspiring and Interesting Podcasts

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This American Life Podcast

I might get a little heavy here. Personally, losing 3 family members over the past 5 years actually makes the holidays suck, to be brutally honest. My mom was the champion of Christmas with the decorations, several little ceramic villages, lights, dinners, pies, and presents. She made the holidays feel lively, animated, and she made everyone around feel loved. This will be my 4th Christmas without her. It doesn’t get easier, but I know that by holding everything in could be disastrous. When I’m out on long runs, I like to listen to podcasts to pass the time, like This American Life with one episode in particular talking about a way to speak to loved ones who have passed and reconciling with others who are still here. The first act is discusses a documentary in Japan about the Wind Phone. It’s a non-working, old, rotary phone in a white phone booth box on a man’s garden that over 10,000 people have visited or used. It’s popularity began following the 2011 Tsunami and became a way for friends and family members, of those lost or taken from the disaster, to find a way to speak to their loved ones and grieve peacefully. I did end up watching the documentary here at this link, but be forewarned if you’re human, you’ll probably cry. The second act is about two elderly brothers, in their 80’s, who held a somewhat unknowingly grudge and hadn’t really spoken in about 20 years. The son of one helped to reconcile them, knowing time was not on their side and helped guide them to have an adult conversation about their grievances which helped to take some ‘weight’ off their shoulders. Both stories are healthy reminders to allow for time to think about your loved ones who are no longer here and to not wait to reach out to those who still matter to you while they are still here.

 

#12days12ways

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Brady the Cat, named after the GOAT Tom Brady

On a lighter note, because there are only 12 days left until Christmas there’s a hashtag going around called #12days12ways. It’s a reminder to reflect back and document, however you wish, 12 ways your life has changed positively over the past year.

Here are mine:

January: Got to celebrate the new year with my friend Liz, who visited us in France from NYC

February: Watching the Patriots win the SuperBowl

March: Spending a week in the Swiss Alps snowboarding

April: Completing my 9th Marathon in Rome, Italy and during that same week watch Julien crush his PR in the Paris Marathon

May: Completing the Luxembourg night half marathon, the hottest race I’ve ever done in my life

June: Growing my influence in the running, fitness and wellness community on Instagram and having my hard work, “little hobby”, get recognized with sponsorships and ambassadorships from companies like Under Armour and Nordstrom

July: Getting a new kitten and fur baby, Brady

August: Visiting my one of my oldest friends Dorothy, in Rotterdam, Netherlands while at the same time being lucky enough to have her on this side of the pond with me

September: Twofer, sneaking home on a super discount flight for Labor Day weekend to go on, one of my best friend’s, Katie’s sailboat and completing my 10th marathon and 3rd World Major in Berlin

October: Having my Dad visit for a couple weeks and then all of us flying back to the US for 3 weeks, 2 weddings and an east coast adventure

November: My birthday in Budapest, Hungary with my American bestie here in Metz, Carmen

December: Having Julien’s family embrace and welcome me into their home for Christmas this year

Here’s to ending the year on a positive note and feeling optimistic for what is to come!

 

I broke my Rib. Should I run?

Some of you may know that I suffered a fractured rib while snowboarding a week and a half ago, if you follow my Instagram page @thefitwanderluster or my Facebook page. And if not, get on that! Unfortunately, not much can be done and bones takes 6-8 weeks to heal.  As a physical therapist, my advice to myself is to listen to my pain levels and not push through. As an athlete training for a marathon in April, I counter my professional advice with no pain no gain. But how do we know what pain won’t produce more damage and when should we rest?

What are signs of good pain?

Most people beginning a new workout regime or those in training will experience some sort of discomfort. For muscular improvement, the muscle has to endure increased stress resulting in the perceived burn during activity. This is otherwise known as good pain that should be temporary and resolved upon completion of activity.

Fatigue is also a sign of good pain when demonstrating you are exerting tissues beyond rest. However, this should also be short lived following exercise. Fatigue that lasts for days may be a sign that the energy supplies are taxed and that one might be overtraining.

There are times, especially for those who are under conditioned, to experience delayed onset muscle soreness for 24-48 hours following activity. This is a result of microtears to the muscle but not necessarily a bad thing. However, this should not go beyond the 2 days and you may need to seek medical advice if the soreness accompanies bad pain symptoms as mentioned below.

What are the signs of bad pain?

There are several other structures surrounding joints which include: muscles, tendons, ligaments, cartilage and bones. They respond to stress gradually and if the process is too rapid or excessive in a short amount of time, the tissue may fail. Bad pain can objectively be defined with edema (swelling), loss of motion, tenderness to palpation, pain with functional movement outside of exercise (like climbing stairs or getting up from a chair). To prevent failure, it is recommended when starting an exercise program that you begin slowly and build gradually. As a general rule: Take the amount of exercise you think you can do and cut it by one third the first few times you do it.

A side note that is more apparent to the naked eye in regards to bad pain is, of course, injury from trauma which can create tears, fractures, hematomas (bruising), weakness, numbness and tingling, etc. Seek medical advice immediately.

How can this pain be treated?

Rest or decrease the activity that is causing the problem and try low impact cardiovascular training like walking, swimming or biking. Ice the painful area for 10-20 minutes at a time or until skin gets pink and repeat a couple times of day. Maintain range of motion with light stretches and pain-free motion and consider over-the-counter medicines, with the advice of pharmacist or physician, to treat pain and inflammation.

When should I be concerned?

Pain should be short lived following exercise. Pain that alters performance, does not go away with rest, affects function or sleep, does not improve with treatment, or the pain increases over time is not normal and you should consider seeking medical advice.

 

My injury, in particular, produces intermittent pain. It was really bad in the 8 hour bus trip 2 days after the injury but on the 3rd day of the injury I was able to run my long run of 14 miles with mild discomfort (on a scale of 0-10 where 10 is the worst pain, I was experiencing 3-4/10). I thought, “No problem, I can still run”. I was able to do my interval training but found sprinting definitely felt worse then a steady pace (6/10). I continued my cross training but I found pushing weight through my left arm and trunk rotation to the right increased my symptoms (back to 7/10). As soon as I stopped the motion I felt fine. Besides these two motions, sneezing and sleeping were the only times I felt bad pain. I felt my activity didn’t create any hinderance in my rehab.

Regardless to the fact that I have a post doctoral degree in healthcare, I’m stupid. I know injuries are in the acute phase for 14 days, which means lots of swelling and edema, probably resulting in some lack of range of motion which probably changed my gait. So when I attempted my long run of 15 miles this past weekend (8 days after the injury) my body finally told me to give it a break after 9 miles. I had seering, sharp pain into my left breast that was a 9/10. I couldn’t take one more pounding step without feeling like a knife stabbing me. Breathing was difficult, crying began, and frustration and fear creeped in. “What if I can’t train?” my brain screamed! After this 5 minute anxiety attack of realizing I wouldn’t finish my run, I came to realization the “bad pain” was no longer “good pain”. I came back to my senses that I have a week and half old injury, STILL in the acute phase, not even the remodeling phase yet which is really when healing begins. No wonder I am STILL in pain and will be probably for the next 2 weeks. DUH!

So by finally seeing the light on this injury, yes it hurts, but I don’t have to stop everything. I can find ways to stay low impact, wear compressive clothing to help support the swelling and pressure, and just give myself a break the next week or two. Will I still attempt running? Yes, because I’m crazy. Will I let my pain get over a 5/10? No, because I’m a health professional and I experienced the worst of it so far and I don’t want that to happen again.

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Knots and Trigger Points oh my!

Have you ever received a massage and been told you have knots? And they hurt when they are pressed? Or you have a vague pain in your arm, leg, or face but can’t pinpoint the source? What is the Deal?!!

You’re more then likely suffering from muscluloskeletal pain referred to as a trigger point (often interchangeable with knots). As a physical therapist and masseuse I hear these complaints, a lot, from every single human I tell what I do for a living. Amiright fellow PTer’s?

What is a trigger point? 
A motor (movement) dysfunction within muscle in which there is increased density in the muscle belly. Usually a localized tender spot but can be associated with referred and, sometimes, persistent pain. It is said they can be found anywhere on the body, differing between people and in intensity.

There are different types:
Active: current triggering of pain locally and/or referred
Latent: point that is only tender with compression which may or may not be associated with referred pain
Secondary/Satellite: cascading trigger points created in referral zone from primary trigger point

How are they formed? 
No definitive cause is attributed to trigger points however over exertion, overuse, repetitive wear and tear, posture, trauma, flexibility or structural issues, and nutritional deficiencies are said to play a part.

Treatment
There are many methods from conservative to invasive techniques (dry needling, injections, etc). As a physical therapist and masseuse, I opt for the conservative approach always as a primary option, like coming to see me!

Often massage (manual or tool assisted, such as Graston), stretching incluiding active release or muscle energy techniques may be done by a professional (like myself) along with alignment, postural, and functional restoration exercises individualized for patient to correct dysfunctions that cause repetitions of trigger points. And be forewarned that these trigger points may require some pain for gain in particularly with the manual focus.

My first recommendation is to talk to your PCP to get a referral for PT to be sure your source of pain is indeed muscular and not myocafascial or neurological and to get individualized education on your specific pain. Or seek out a specialized deep tissue massage therapist, like myself. Have you noticed a direct correlation to my shameless self promotion yet? 😂

For my Luxembourgish community come visit me at LuxChiro: Luxembourg Chiropractic and Wellness Centre 239, Val des Bons Malades, Kirchberg, L-2121 Luxembourg
You can book your appointments with me directly online by clicking this link LuxChiro

What can you do?
Come see me, of course, but if logistics make this difficult there are self help tools you can use to try to manage your symptoms on your own at home.

Here are just a sample of therapeutic tools you can have on hand at home to begin with self-massage but, again, I highly recommend seeking out the advice of a specialist prior to starting.

Foam roll
 

Theracane
 

Tennis/lacrosse Ball