Hurts so good {giveaway}

You know the dad in My Big Fat Greek Wedding and his Windex?

That’s me and the foam roller. It helps with everything, from sore hamstrings to a broken heart.

I tell everyone that it “hurts so good” – that is, if you like a little pain.

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So I wouldn’t recommend it in every possible situation, but for me, it’s helped with the chronic IT band pain I used to have, word on the street is that it reduces the appearance of cellulite (I’m a believer!) and it’s like a free massage. So when I ask the Pilot for a back rub and he pretends to not hear me, I can foam roll instead 😉

Here are some benefits of using a foam roller:

-Self myofascial release —> fancy way of saying “self massage” and enables soft tissue work. Many athletes accredit their fitness gains to soft tissue work. While using the foam roller, you use your body weight to apply pressure to sore spots and the eventual release can help restore or maintain full range of motion. When you have full range of motion, you aren’t forced to compensate by changing your normal movement patterns (which can cause muscular imbalance). This way, you’re less likely to become injured.

-Foam rolling helps to reduce fascia buildup, which makes us stiff. To read more about the benefits of thinning out fascia, this is a fantastic and thorough article.

-It’s easier to roll certain tight areas that are difficult to stretch in a static manner (like psoas and IT band). Static stretches also do not provide the compression that occurs while foam rolling- it’s similar to the release of a massage. This has worked WONDERS for my IT band, which can give us some issues if we do repetitive exercise (like running, spinning, walking/hiking, etc). It’s a difficult area to stretch and constant IT band rolling has helped reduce the knee pain I’ve experienced. One of my friends suffered from intense plantar fasciitis and foam rolling her calves helped immensely.

-It can help you de-stress and relax. If anything, it feels good! Of course the sore spots will be a little painful, but to me, always feel better after a foam rolling session. After a long day, I love rolling out my back, too.

*Heads up: if you’re currently injured or experiencing pain, check with a doc, Physical Therapist or Exercise Physiologist in your area before starting a foam rolling routine.

Here are some of my favorite ways to foam roll:

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Tips:

Start to roll very slowly in long, sweeping motions.

When you find a tight spot, hold the foam roller on the spot for 30 seconds – 1 minute.

Continue to roll until you find the next tight spot, hold (30 seconds – 1 minute) and release.

Use your arms to support your body. If it’s too much, transfer more weight to your arms. If you want more, try lifting one leg (or one arm) to transfer more of your body weight to the roller.

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See the blue Thera Roll in the above pics? It has ridges which helps penetrate the muscle a little deeper. It’s like the original foam roller’s angry cousin- and I love it.

OpenSky generously offered to send one to a lucky reader 🙂

Here’s how to enter:

Follow me on OpenSky and leave a comment with your favorite way to sweat and/or any sore spots you’d like to foam roll

-Already follow me on OpenSky? Just leave a comment with your favorite way to sweat and/or any sore spots you’d like to foam roll

I’ll pick a winner from the comments tonight (5/23) at midnight EST.

Have a great day!

xoxo

Gina

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486 Comments

  1. Crystal on May 23, 2012 at 11:36 pm

    I don’t roll with the foam roller just yet but you make it look so enticing! My muscles would love to start- especially my glutes.

  2. Tami on May 23, 2012 at 11:37 pm

    I love the eliptical, but I haven’t worked out in a while because I hurt my foot 🙁

  3. China on May 23, 2012 at 11:38 pm

    Lately, my fave cardio activity is firing up the zumba game for the wii. It’s all the fun of a class, and I never have to leave my living room!

  4. Colette on May 23, 2012 at 11:39 pm

    Hamstrings! For some reason I can never quite stretch them enough, so foam rolling seems like the way to go!

  5. Claudia Mann on May 23, 2012 at 11:49 pm

    I already follow on OpenSky and my fav way to sweat is by doing ZUMBA!

    I love, love, love your hair in the pics. Would I follow your Hot Curler How To, curling away from the face? If it is done differently a how to video for that would be awesome. 🙂

    • Fitnessista on May 23, 2012 at 11:50 pm

      thank you! yes, i’ll post a how-to video soon. hopefully my favorite camera guy can take it this weekend 🙂

  6. Morgan on May 24, 2012 at 12:03 am

    I would love to use the foam roller to focus on my shoulders and upper back. I recently had a conversation with a physical therapist who was explaining that we spend so much of our time hunched over with the front side of our body (sitting at a desk, eating, gardening, etc) that the muscles like our pectorals get increasingly stronger while the scapular muscles and others muscles of the upper back get stretched out and weaker. Therefore it is so important to focus on strengthing those muscles in order to keep them strong and healthy.

  7. Kristin on May 24, 2012 at 12:04 am

    Right now I am in LOVE with a combination of group fitness classes and my own weight/cardio workouts. The combination allows me to spice things up and discover new and exciting ways to sweat. As for the foam roller, I have been using the one at my gym to help deal with some upper back issues from a car accident. It has helped SO MUCH!!!

  8. Megan Schmidgall on May 24, 2012 at 12:10 am

    I love running and boot camp style classes.

  9. Kacie on May 24, 2012 at 12:52 am

    I’m DYING to use a foam roller on my janky back.

  10. Alyssa on May 24, 2012 at 12:57 am

    Using a foam roller made a huge difference for me in how my legs and knee held up while training for my second half marathon compared to my first. I love it for stretching my IT bands!

  11. Michelle on May 24, 2012 at 1:18 am

    I’m an architecture major, so my back always gets knots in it from drawing or working on the computer for 8-12 hours a day. I loooove working out the knots in my back with a foam roller. It is so great, especially since I haven’t had a special someone in my life for a couple of years now to help massage my back out.

  12. Cassie on May 24, 2012 at 3:06 am

    Hi Gina- I’m a fairly new reader and love your blog! I’m also a fitness instructor, so it’s great that your meal ideas are always nutrition-packed instead of just low-calorie. My all-time favorite way to sweat is Turbo Kickboxing, the group fitness class I teach (from Chalene Johnson!). I am usually sweating hard-core by the end of the first section and by the end of the class, I look like I ran through a sprinkler 🙂 Chalene loves her plyo lunges, so I’d love to foam roll my hamstrings!

  13. marinka on May 24, 2012 at 5:49 am

    My favorite way to sweat now is zumba! totally addicted! I can already see the foam roller would be soo good, my back is often sore after carrying my baby boy around:)

  14. Lara on May 24, 2012 at 6:52 am

    Oooh it does hurt so good. I use one at my gym but should really look into getting one so I can use it more. Thanks

  15. michele on May 24, 2012 at 9:33 am

    I love to sweat with a good yoga workout. I too have sore IT bands and would love to foam roll my tight calves.

  16. Amanda H on May 24, 2012 at 9:35 am

    I already follow you on OpenSky – I would love to try this, I need it for my IT band – I’ve just been avoiding running in the meantime = (

    I love sweating with the HIIT workouts, especially with Zuzanna or Bodyrock!

  17. Rachel M on May 24, 2012 at 10:45 am

    Just started crossfit and I’m loving it! I’m always foam rolling my hip flexors. They get so tight!

  18. April on May 24, 2012 at 2:50 pm

    i love sweating by running outside =)

  19. megan on May 24, 2012 at 2:59 pm

    I pulled my piriformis so that is currently my sore spot. That foam roler looks like it juuuust might get the job done!

  20. sarah on May 24, 2012 at 4:40 pm

    I’m following you now on opensky! Favorite way to sweat– that’s easy- running!

  21. K Brady on May 24, 2012 at 6:08 pm

    I LOVE to foam roll my calves! They are always sore, and this is the only thing that helps!

  22. Sarah on May 24, 2012 at 7:21 pm

    I’ve been wanting a foam roller forever but haven’t purchased one yet. I’d love to ‘hurts so good’!

  23. Kim on May 24, 2012 at 8:12 pm

    I love foam rolling my it band…it always hurts…so good :). I also like to massage my quads just because I think it’s fun to roll that way to give my arms a pretty good work out.

  24. kelsey on May 24, 2012 at 8:28 pm

    My favorite way to sweat is running 🙂 I lurveeee foam rolling

  25. Mac on May 24, 2012 at 8:37 pm

    I follow you…IT band is my favorite and most needed spot!

  26. MMiller on May 24, 2012 at 9:43 pm

    Can’t believe I missed this giveaway! I almost bought one through Open sky…but it was more than I wanted to spend at the time!

  27. Kaylin on May 24, 2012 at 9:55 pm

    I love foam rolling my hamstrings and back after a good strength training workout and HIIT. After foam rolling I feel like I just did an hour of yoga! Sometimes I just roll while catching up on my fav blogs on my phone.

  28. Paula on May 28, 2012 at 5:25 pm

    Hamstrings: I whine about how tight they get but I often forget to use the roller, which does indeed help! Great article and link to fascia article. Thanks!

  29. ashley on June 5, 2012 at 9:51 am

    have you picked a winner yet? maybe i just missed it! 🙂

  30. Jess on June 22, 2012 at 9:19 am

    My hips, quads and calves are always super sore/tight!

  31. Dr. Bill Sukala on January 18, 2013 at 7:53 am

    Can’t argue with you there! Foam rollers/self-myofascial release are where it’s at! Though I’ve grown a bit desensitized to the rollers and have moved into the heavy artillery: Golf balls! I use them (in combination with stretching) to dig into my mid traps and glutes, particularly after a long surf session! Absolute bliss in a hurts-so-good kinda way!

  32. Eliza on September 19, 2013 at 1:40 pm

    Great post! I love foam rolling! and by love I mean kind of a love/hate relationship…It just hurts so good! I usually foam roll if I have been doing way more cardio or spin and have neglected my yoga practice.

  33. Eliza on September 19, 2013 at 1:40 pm

    Great post! I love foam rolling! and by love I mean kind of a love/hate relationship…It just hurts so good! I usually foam roll if I have been doing way more cardio or spin and have neglected my yoga practice.

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