Ok it’s not actually “belly dancing” haha but it’s my attempted version at a super fun stand up AB, CORE, OBLIQUE, CARDIO workout!
I had a rough last year with TWO unrelated injuries/accidents so I was on a mission to figure out what I could do to keep a strong CORE without my favorite moves! Challenged myself to find stand up moves and did it!
As I shared on stories so many of you reached out wanting more so here is a fun combo!
Over the first few days (up to two weeks) of eating low-carb, you may run into some frustration. Where is all of this energy I’m supposed to have? Why do I want to mow through that bag of chips right now? Am I coming down with a cold? For some people, the transition from burning glucose to burning fat comes with unwanted symptoms that range from slightly uncomfortable to miserable. This transition period is known as keto flu, or low-carb flu. It’s real, and it can be pretty terrible.
But, it’s temporary.
What is Low Carb Flu?
Low carb flu, or keto flu, is a set of symptoms that you may feel over the first few days of limiting carbohydrates. Low carb flu isn’t a flu or infection at all, and it’s not a medical term. It got its name because some of the symptoms of carb restriction can feel like you’re sick with the flu.
Low carb flu has dissuaded millions of people from pursuing and sticking to a healthy diet. You can laugh now that you’re fat-adapted and humming along on stored body fat, but you’ve forgotten just how terrible the transition from sugar-burning to fat-burning can be.
Symptoms of Keto Flu, or Low Carb Flu
It shows up differently for everyone. Some people, likely the ones who are metabolically flexible to a degree before even starting, won’t notice much trouble. That’s somewhat rare. More often, people new to carb restriction will experience some degree of:
Malaise, fatigue, listlessness, and other synonyms for “exhaustion”
Feeling lightheaded or dizzy
Lack of motivation
Feelings of anxiousness
At some point, you’ll just have to accept the reality of the situation: you’re shifting from a sugar-burning metabolism to a fat-burning metabolism. You’re building the metabolic machinery necessary to burn fat. You’re updating your body’s firmware, and it’s a big update. That takes time.
How Long Does Keto Flu Last?
Generally, you can expect keto flu to last 4-7 days.
Most commonly, people who have symptoms with low-carb will experience symptoms If the results of one study are representative, it takes about five days on a low-carb, high-fat diet to increase AMPK and start building new fat-burning mitochondria.https://www.thieme-connect.com/products/ejournals/abstract/10.1055/s-0032-1312656‘>2 And sure enough, most people report that the low-carb flu lasts from four to seven days—right on target.
But that doesn’t mean we have to like it. So, what can you do to speed up the transition and reduce the pain and suffering?
Here are a few strategies to help you cross the rocky terrain of keto flu more quickly.
11 Keto Flu Remedies to Make Low Carb Easier
Eat fatty fish or take fish oil
Support your stress systems
Don’t skimp on salt
Eat enough potassium
Eat more fat
Include medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs)
Consider ketone supplements
Move around at a slow pace
Reduce carbs gradually
1. Eat fatty fish or take fish oil
One theory is that low-carb flu is caused by the release of stored arachidonic acid from adipose tissue. Since AA is the precursor to inflammatory molecules implicated in headaches,http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1901193‘>4 If this is true, taking extra fish oil or eating fatty fish like sardines or salmon should counter the omega-6-induced inflammatory response triggering the headaches. If this isn’t true, eating fish is still a good idea.
2. Support your stress systems
There’s a good chance you have been fueled by glucose for most of your life. So, when glucose suddenly isn’t available, your body might think you’re in danger – that you’re in a time of scarcity or famine. That triggers your stress response, and your adrenal glands release cortisol, which makes you store body fat.
An easy way to combat this is with adaptogens – supplements that act directly on your body’s stress mechanisms. Adaptogens help to modulate the stress response so that the physical effects of stress are less pronounced.
3. Don’t skimp on salt
Going low-carb increases salt requirements on multiple levels. First, when your body dumps glycogen, it doesn’t just dump the water that accompanies it. You’re also losing tons of sodium. Second, a byproduct of low insulin is reduced sodium retention,http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7332312‘>6 To replenish your stores, Use Lite-Salt (a potassium salt) along with your regular salt, and eat lots of non-starchy green vegetation, like spinach. Other great potassium sources include avocados and yogurt (if you get real yogurt, the bacteria have consumed most of the sugar).
5. Take magnesium
Notice a theme here? Electrolytes matter when you’re going keto.
Although losing water doesn’t really flush out magnesium like it does other electrolytes, we do need extra magnesium to regulate sodium and potassium levels in the body.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4939568/‘>1 It’s one of the leading causes of “Years Lived with Disability” (YLD), is responsible for over 7 million ER room visits each year, and costs us both time (hard to do much of anything when our lower back is hurting) and money (people with lower back pain end up spending thousands of dollars a year on average to treat it). I can’t think of anything that degrades overall quality of life more than persistent lower back pain.
And as is so often the case, our attempts to treat the condition often make it worse. What does the average person do when their back hurts?
They avoid using their back altogether. They tiptoe around and craft a cocoon of comfort for their lumbar spine. Chairs that recline. Slouching. Leaning on their arms. It’s only natural to avoid the pain, but it is also our undoing. In order to reduce low back pain, we must make our backs stronger by training it.
But that’s not how the average person trains.
They’re doing pushups and bench presses. They’re curling (sometimes in the squat rack). They’re doing leg presses and squats. They want strong chest, biceps, quads, and they have them, but they also have the rounded shoulders of the bench press addict, the “folded in hulk” look. Those are the parts that pop in the mirror. They’re the easiest to monitor and see grow before your eyes. They’re what you see when you flex.
And don’t get me wrong. Those exercises and those muscles are incredibly important for health and performance (and aesthetics). But they neglect perhaps the most vital musculoskeletal complex in the human body: the posterior chain.
Think of your posterior chain muscles as the muscles that hold up your back, starting at your waistline. Posterior chain muscles include:
The butt, including the gluteus minimus, gluteus medius, gluteus maximus
The lower back muscles (erector spinae)
Some sources include the calves or latissimus dorsi (aka lats, or side back muscles) in the posterior chain, but the primary ones are lower back, glutes, and hamstrings.
How Can Posterior Chain Training Reduce Lower Back Pain?
In movement, the posterior chain controls hip extension—the hip hinge we perform to lift heavy objects, jump great distances and heights, make explosive movements like throwing punches or fastballs, and run sprints. When you swing a golf club or baseball bat, most of the power comes from the hip extension performed by the posterior chain.
In everyday life, the posterior chain maintains posture. It’s the foundation upon which the torso rests, moves, and stabilizes. It provides safety and security for smaller upper body movements and power for larger lower body movements.
When we neglect the posterior chain, our lower back suffers. It bears the brunt of the work. Its primary role is to resist motion, to provide stability as the rest of the body moves, to be a lever. But when the hips aren’t moving and the posterior chain isn’t engaged, the lower back must move—for which it is ill suited.
Can’t hinge at the hips to pick up that Lego or move that bag of mulch? You’ll hinge with the lower back. Easy way to tweak it.
Can’t engage your glutes to hold up your torso? Your lower back will cover for them. Easy way to develop an overuse injury.
When you’re working at a laptop or scrolling your phone, hunched over, head jutting forward, your lower back bears the brunt of the weight. It’s not a lot of weight. You may not even feel the pain or strain in your lower back muscles. But it’s a low level chronic stress applied to your lower back that reduces its overall work capacity. So when you go from your desk job to the gym and try to deadlift, your lower back can’t tolerate as much resistance. It’s more likely to fail.
When we sit, the posterior chain is “turned off.” The glutes are inactivated, the hamstrings are slack, and the lower back muscles assume the role of posture stabilizer.
When we’re inactive, the posterior chain atrophies. If you’re not throwing balls, lifting barbells, jumping, sprinting, or heck, dancing and playing, you are not using your posterior chain.
Worse still, lower back pain often dissuades people from training the posterior chain. So many of the most effective posterior chain exercises require the lower back to resist forces acting on it that it scares people — and the medical professionals treating them. The last thing the average doctor will tell his or her patient with low back pain to do is swing a kettlebell or do Romanian deadlifts. This is understandable—you can hurt yourself and make the problem worse — but it’s also unfortunate because proper posterior chain training is one of the best allies we have in the fight against low back pain.
Do involve your doctor, though. You’ll want to rule out any small injuries that could become significant or debilitating injuries before you jump into posterior chain exercises.
Deadlifts for Lower Pack Pain
Wait a minute, Sisson: are you saying that deadlifts can actually improve lower back pain?
In a 2015 study, 39 men and women with chronic low back pain underwent a 16 week free weight training course.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25641309‘>3 Both the deadlifting group and the group who did more traditional back pain exercises saw major improvements in pain and functionality.
The key with the deadlift is it’s very safe and indeed beneficial for the lower back as long as you maintain proper form. In the two studies I mentioned, researchers didn’t just tell the patients to start deadlifting their 6 rep max. They coached proper technique. If a subject couldn’t maintain a flat (neutral) spine, they raised the barbell until they could.
Neutral spine is everything. You’re not bending your lower back to move the weight. It must stay flat.
Hinge at the hips. Lift with your hips (glutes and hamstrings), not your back.
Barbell deadlifts are the gold standard, but they aren’t required. You can do trap bar deadlifts, kettlebell deadlifts, Romanian deadlifts, or sumo deadlifts. What matters is that you hinge at the hips and maintain a neutral spine using proper technique.
It’s important to not max out. In fact, if you’re deadlifting to address back issues, start light. Going for a PR with back pain is not the ticket. Stick to 6-10 rep sets—enough to provide resistance and build strength gradually.
Planks for Lower Back Pain
The plank is about as simple and accessible as it gets. You don’t need any equipment but the ground. You can modify them to be as easy or as hard as you like.
Do ’em on the knees if you can’t manage the toes. Do them on your hands if the elbows are too much.
Get in the pushup position, only put your forearms on the ground instead of your hands. Your elbows should line up directly underneath your shoulders. Toes on the ground.
Squeeze your glutes and tighten your abdominals.
Keep a neutral neck and spine.
Create a straight, strong line from head to toes – a plank, if you will.
Hold that position.
Tips and cues for best results:
Don’t let your hips sag down to the ground. Sagging hips makes the exercise initially easier, but it takes your posterior chain out of it and defeats the purpose of the exercise.
Look down at the ground. This is a good prompt for maintaining a neutral neck and thus spine position.
When your form begins to suffer, pull the plug. You’re only benefiting from the plank by actually doing the plank.
Does it work? In subjects with chronic lower back pain, 8 weeks of planks improved lower back pain and improved low back strength.