Running With Forks

DAILY TRAINING IN HEALTHY LIVING DAILY TRAINING IN HEALTHY LIVING. Running With Forks is a lifestyle management company with a highly customized approach to empowering individuals to live their healthiest life possible through movement, nutrition and life balance.

Kirsten McCormick – Movement and Performance Specialist, Yoga Teacher, Nutrition Coach and Personal Chef – educated and inspires individuals to enhance their health and wellbeing while creating dramatic improvements in their quality of life through a means of constant balance. With over 12 years in the fitness industry, Kirsten's coaching has evolved into a very mindful and science-based approach that reflects her love of movement, focus on alignment, appreciation for food, and desire to teach the balance between strength and openness.

Mission: Empowering you to EAT, MOVE and BREATHE a healthy and well-balanced life.

Operating as usual

Not all health care practitioners are created equal. Do your research. Get the third opinion. Find professionals that prioritize your health over their own profit and set you up for success. Find specialists that strengthen and empower you and help you navigate your health without having to rely on them. 
Earlier this week, I reached out to a new client’s chiropractor to align on our programming - I was extremely disappointed to hear his “diagnosis” and follow-up recommendations and frustrated in our health care system.
This doctor diagnosed my client as having hyperlordosis - an excessive curvature of his lumbar spine (*note: this is the opposite of my assessment)
His treatment recommendation:
-come in for spinal adjustments 3x per week for at least a few months
-“tuck the pelvis" and “avoid arching the back”
-"crunches, glute bridges, and leg extensions"
Wuttttttttt. Run client, do not walk.
Any professional who instills fear in movement and doesn't focus on empowering you to strengthen and control your body through active inputs is NOT helping you correct any underlying issues. And recommendations like this may actually be causing you more harm.
Sure, adjustments can relieve pressure, shift your body into a more optimal position, and create clearer communication between your central nervous system and the rest of your body. BUT, changes from adjustments are short-lived and it’s important they are coupled with active work to make those changes stick. Ever wonder why a day or so later you feel like you neeeeed to go back?
Your brain, nervous system, and musculoskeletal system need active and consistent input to change and hold strength and control in any newly acquired position.

**Please, if you need a recommendation for a health professional in your area, I am happy to do some research for you. Your health and longevity depend on it. Don’t settle for anything less than the best.

Brain + Body Communication.⁠⠀
Question : are you someone that consistently feels tight in one particular area of your body? Or many areas for that matter? Let’s take the hip flexors for example. If your hip flexors tend to feel particularly tight you might think “man, I really need to stretch my hip flexors”. On the contrary, while passive stretching can be very beneficial in gaining flexibility (as it’s the prerequisite to mobility and controlled movement), you most likely need to also be spend time gaining control and strength in this area. How do we do that? Create a stronger communication path between your brain and your “tight spots”.
Your movement restrictions are caused by the organ that allows you to produce movement in the first place: your BRAIN.⁠⠀
When your brain isn't comfortable with a particular movement or range of motion (ie: you can't control it), it will limit your access to it by creating tension in your tissues in order to create stability. In other words, you'll feel tight in a particular area because your brain doesn't trust your movement there.
Wherever you are on the spectrum, teach your body to control your movements through consistent and ACTIVE inputs which start a feedback loop between your tissues, nervous system, and brain.⁠⠀
• Learn to breathe properly with diaphragmatic breathing (see video on youtube channel) to signal to your brain that you are safe and calm as you move as well as to shift from a sympathetic to parasympathetic state.⁠⠀
• Use controlled breathing during your passive stretching if you’re needing to gain more range of motion.
• Provide that new range of motion with active and controlled inputs at a similar intensity and approach to strength training (reps, sets, time under tension, rest)
• Consistency is key to training the brain

Ever wonder why some people are able to get their bodies into positions like this and yet, it feels physically impossible for you?
I’ll be honest … while this is me, I can't even come close to this shape anymore, nor do I have the desire to. At this particular time in my life I was pushing to create more and more space in my body. Space and range of motion that is beyond what is considered “functional”.
Additionally, there were so many factors at play that allowed me to do this pose in the first place. I was practicing for 90 minutes a day 7 days a week, I had just finished a teacher training and thought that being able to do the fancy poses made me a good teacher so I always pushed for more, I grew up forcing my hips, pelvis, and spine into splits and scorpions as a competitive cheerleader, I have a long torso, and I'm genetically hypermobile.
Working to create shapes like this with my body without coupling them with the strength and control I needed led to numerous injuries that are now showing up a decade later.
Point being, it feels really good to stretch and move your body in ways you didn’t think it was capable of and to create really fun shapes in the moment. BUT, it’s EQUALLY important to gain the strength and control to accompany any and all ranges of motion so you can be full functional for the long haul. And if you can’t or won't do that, is doing a pose like this really worth it? Ego check.
Grateful for all the yoga teachers out there that are jumping on the @functional_range_conditioning train and teaching students how to #controlyourself. It's only weird until it's not.

Always grateful for really great conversations with other coaches. Sat down with @paul_clingan recently, who has a deep understanding and appreciation for connecting the body and mind for peak performance.
A few of my favorite highlights:
•structured variability and how to change up your routine
•mitigating injury, creating longevity in joints, and how to ride a Peloton properly
•”Cautious Carl’s” and “Logical Linda’s”
•my involuntary reaction to the name Running With Forks 🤣 and which gun I’m going to use on my first hunt
Tune in to hear more (link in bio) and check out Paul’s other incredible podcast conversations @downdogathletics ✌🏻

The best posture is the one that changes - frequently. How long have you been in the position you’re in right now?⁠
Staying in any one position for extended periods of time forces our muscles, ligaments, and nervous system to experience abnormal loading and stress by overworking to sustain tension in order to maintain the position. Over time, this has the potential lead to structural changes, pain, tightness, weakness, and degeneration.⁠
Every time we move (or don't move) we’re sending signals to our nervous system and brain on what we need and don't need and are creating new motor skill memories, further etching specific patterns into our tissues with each repetition. You know that old adage "use it or lose it"? This is the process of neuroplasticity (the brain’s ability to be molded), and can work for you, or against you. This is also true if you avoid certain postures or positions. Fear of slouching, twisting, or picking something up with anything other than a "neutral spine"? Your brain will begin to recognize that it doesn’t need that movement anymore and signal the body to respond accordingly. Remember, there are no bad postures, only prolonged positions.⁠
Unfortunately, we live in a world where many people are required to stay in one position for their jobs which is why we see so many “tight" hip flexors and hamstrings, back pain, and poor breathing mechanics. ⁠
If this is you, the best thing you can do is to perform stretches that move in the opposite direction of any prolonged position and stay as active as you can outside of work to keep your muscles strong and joints mobile.⁠
Have you struggled with changing your habits lately? Send me a DM I'd love to offer support.

a very special and favorite spot of mine is permanently closing their doors on sept 20th. so many of my weekday lunches were spent plopped down at the community table downing a turmeric green juice and a quinoa greens salad in between appointments. creature of habit here. i have record of more snaps than i can count of a quinoa greens salad riding in my lap while driving to my next appt.
not only did this sweet little cafe provide the most delicious, high-quality, and nutritious bites when i needed them most, but they catered our wedding with the most unbelievable and memorable food that our friends and family still talk about. @karibrunson you created magic with @juicebox_cafe and your incredible team of witches. i’m going to miss this special place so much (what on earth am i going to eat now?!) but i can only imagine what you’ve got brewing for
just a friendly reminder to continuously (if you can) support those small businesses you love so much. we have to keep holding each other’s hands. xx

Long post alert 🚨

If you know me well, you know that I’m a quiet one by nature. More of a listener that a speaker. My heart and emotions have always been bigger than my spoken voice and because of that I have always naively assumed that others would lead the fight against the many unjust policies, thoughts, and behaviors in our society. I would be the listener and supporter, and the more powerful voices would be the charge for change. I’m aware that this way of being is not the answer.

For the past 6 weeks, I’ve quieted my voice even further to take a deeper look into where I personally need to do/be better. Better at helping shift the unconscious biases and racism that I know exists within myself as well as how to be a better human being to others (on so many levels). I’ve been achingly moved by the urges of others to dig deep and question the truths of my own privilege. I have sat with immense feelings of shame, fear, and sadness and had uncomfortable conversations with others in which I’m forced to recognize my own faults and ignorances and the reality of who I think I am versus how others actually see me - hello, ego.

I’ve gone back and forth on when/how it is right to be present here, not wanting to say or do the wrong thing — speak too soon, be too quiet, wait too long..who even knows anymore? Maybe some of you do, but I still don’t and am still afraid. I recognize the work I’ve been doing is primarily passive and is not enough. I understand that by being quiet, I am silencing the trauma, pain, fear, exhaustion, and beyond of BIPOC to my own heart. And this goes against all that I stand for and who I believe myself to be as a human. Oh hi again, ego. I’m trying to break through my own way of being and hope you stay with me in the process.

The work that I do daily with others is a physical and mindful practice to prove to ourselves that we are capable of doing really hard things in order to create change. Of sitting in discomfort to create change within our bodies, minds, hearts, and communities. Just as I encourage my clients, I am committed to growth and healing of myself and our society as a whole. Moving forward, I’ll begin to share, but with a new, more inclusive lens. ❤️

Rapha Seattle

If you missed Yoga For Cyclists with Running With Forks last week, don't fear. Kirsten has posted the recording for this cycling specific yoga routine for you to practice on your own time. Follow the routine to unlock the tightness our bikes can sometimes cause, and keep an eye out for more RCC Yoga classes with Kirsten.

15 Min Mindful Movement Practice

Focus on actions, not outcomes. Let's keep our bodies right. Here's a 15 minute (ok, 19...) Mindful Movement Session. No equipment, space, money, or ezperience required. Let me know how it goes!

BREATHWORK FOR ANXIOUS THOUGHTS: using breath to purposefully change your state of being. (Full guided practice on my YouTube channel below)
Anxiety is a normal reaction when there is an air of uncertainty or a threat of potential danger (aka our current environment). And when our physical body responds over and over again with an increase in stress hormones we are left in a continuous sympathetic state of fight or flight, ready to protect ourselves at any given moment. But these physical sensations of tense muscles — so tense you might be shivering, a racing heart, and an intense and fluttering mind, can become anxiety provoking themselves and create what feels like a never ending cycle.
One of the best tools we have to gain control of our systems and physiological responses is controlled and conscious breathing. It may sound intimidating, but it actually can be quite simple. By attempting to soften into and deepen our breath, we’re speaking directly to our nervous system, letting our mind and body know we are safe, which promotes a shift into the parasympathetic branch of the nervous system, eliciting feelings of calm and allowing our body to rest, digest, and release tension.

(Full 10 minute guided breath practice here)

CALM IN THE CHAOS // are you finding your calm in the throes of this global pandemic?
my work often involves diving in deep with others and these last few weeks i’ve been carefully listening, supporting, guiding, and watching my clients navigate and create a new norm for themselves. i’ve witnessed both the unwelcome and welcome shifts in routines and the emotional highs and lows that accompany those shifts. there are healthy and positive shifts of slower mornings to have coffee with the wife and breakfast as a family, the new ability to take a self care movement break midday rather than cranking it out at 5am, extra facetime with family from afar, virtual birthday parties with best friends, and so much more intention with everything they do. i’ve also been watching the challenging balance of home schooling kids, remembering to get out of sweatpants and drink water rather than frenchpress after frenchpress, the attempt to keep children’s fears at bay while trying to maintain a normal work schedule of conference calls and presentations while little johnny taps their shoulder in the middle and asks what he should do next, all while trying to keep the energy positive and loving with their spouse who’s giving a presentation in the next room with the dog begging for attention. i’ve listened to a newborn coo and cry while mom is doing her best to keep calm while putting in the needed work to regain her sense of body and self while dad is quarantined in the next room unable to lend a hand, and have held space for those saddened and unsure of what the future really holds for them. but amidst all of this, i’ve seen the outpouring of love and support for others and most importantly, themselves, all while navigating all this uncertainty and the uncertainty to come. watching them figure out a new routine for themselves – one that includes more self care, more breathing, more sleep, more self love, more time with loved ones, more time to s l o w d o w n has been incredible. they’re finding their calm amidst the chaos and i hope you are too.

hi 👋🏻. still here, i swear. while i’ve been real quiet on here this summer (*excuse me...completely absent), i’ve been busy hustling hard doing what i love working one-on-one with my favorite clients and in my free time, giving myself the space and room to b r e a t h e. shifting into this fall with all sorts of new perspective 🍁
my schedule is currently waitlisted until november, but you can find me teaching every tuesday night @metierseattle from 5:45 pm - 6:45 pm. come join us!
📸 @mollymoormeier

Flexibility might look cool but serves little to no benefit if your tissues can’t actually function in that range. Come join this crew on Tuesday nights for a blend of yoga + mobility and learn how to be mobile AND have optimal joint function.
WHERE: @metierseattle 1017 E Union
WHEN: every Tuesday 5:45pm – 6:45pm
WHO: you.

FUNCTIONING CORE | a strong and fully functioning core is waaaay more than laying on a mat and doing crunches and sit-ups. And I can’t even tell you the last time I did ‘crunches’.
Your core consists of the diaphragm and pelvic floor muscles, transversus abdominis, multifidus, internal and external obliques, erector spinae, and rectus abdominis and is supported by your lats and hips.
To optimally strengthen your core while protecting and strengthening the spinal stabilizers and reducing the common back pain from sitting at a computer all day, incorporate these 5 types of movement into your training, and in this order.
1. Breathing // Breathwork is the FOUNDATION of your core training and core stabilization starts with proper functioning of the diaphragm (link in bio for full article) image 2

2. Bracing // holding a stable position while isometrically creating tension (ex: planks) image 3

3. Anti-rotation // another form of bracing and creating internal tension, but using external resistance to force us out of that position (ex: Pallof press and asymmetrical loading exercises) image 4

4. Loaded Carries // holding an external load and moving it from one point to another while stabilizing your spine and avoiding any unwanted turning, torque, or bending (Ex: farmer walk, racked carry) image 5

5. Spinal Flexion // active flexing of the spine by engaging the rectus abdominis and lengthening the spinal erectors. (Ex: crunches and sit ups) image 6
Start with your foundation and build up. 💪🏻 @ Métier


DAILY TRAINING IN HEALTHY LIVING. Running With Forks is a coaching and lifestyle management company with a highly customized approach to empowering individuals to live their healthiest life possible through movement, nutrition and life balance. Kirsten McCormick – Movement and Performance Specialist, Yoga Teacher, Nutrition Coach and Personal Chef – educates and inspires individuals to enhance their health and wellbeing while creating dramatic improvements in their quality of life through a means of constant balance. With over 15 years in the fitness industry, Kirsten's coaching has evolved into a very mindful and science-based approach that reflects her love of movement, focus on alignment, appreciation for food, and desire to teach the balance between strength and openness.

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