Fresh Leaf Forever

Endurance, Athletic Sustenance: Keys to Wellness, Injury Prevention

November 08, 2023 Vai Kumar interviews Maria Angelova Season 3 Episode 13
Endurance, Athletic Sustenance: Keys to Wellness, Injury Prevention
Fresh Leaf Forever
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Fresh Leaf Forever
Endurance, Athletic Sustenance: Keys to Wellness, Injury Prevention
Nov 08, 2023 Season 3 Episode 13
Vai Kumar interviews Maria Angelova

Ever wondered what it takes  for sustenance in athletics ?

Unlock secrets to endurance and peak performance with wellness enthusiast, Pilates instructor and book author Maria Angelova, a returning guest.

With a career inspired by early experiences in sports and academia, Maria emphasizes the body-mind connection, the need for personalized workout regimes, and the importance of considering variables such as diet, hydration, and stress levels.

Maria and I delve deep into the world of athletes, shedding light on the importance of body balance, and injury prevention. 

She shares valuable insights on the necessity of a balanced workout regime, the need for strength, flexibility, and control, and the crucial role correct coaching plays, in sustaining an athlete's performance. 
We also touch upon the significance of recovery time, discussing the benefits of various recovery methods and the need to take a disciplined approach toward that.

Chapter Highlights from this conversation:

- Power of Pilates and Body-Mind Connection 
- Balance and Sport specific Injury Prevention for Athletes
- Athlete's Routine and Specifics on Recovery Importance
-Nutrition and Posture for Athletes, Tech use and impact
-Expectations, Psychological support and Athletes' Well-Being

Maria breaks down the process of creating a meal plan that aligns with individual schedules, body needs, and workout types. She stresses the need for athletes to listen to their bodies and understand how diet and sleep impact mobility. 
Providing actionable insights on managing expectations and maintaining a positive mindset, Maria's wisdom is sure to inspire you to embrace a healthier and more balanced, endurance packed lifestyle. 
Tune in and get motivated to make that change, so your athletic journey is more meaningful and sustained!

DISCLAIMER: This podcast episode is for informational purposes only. This is not medical advice, nor coaching; nor is it a substitute for personalized coaching or medical attention. For case to case individual needs, consult and follow your physician's guidelines.

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Videos available on YouTube channel.
Follow host Vai on socials - Instagram , YouTube, LinkedIn for thought leadership content.
Head to my website for enlightening blogs & service offerings.
This podcast comes to you from Listen Ponder Change LLC, founded by Vai Kumar.
Every support the show contribution is much appreciated !!
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Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Ever wondered what it takes  for sustenance in athletics ?

Unlock secrets to endurance and peak performance with wellness enthusiast, Pilates instructor and book author Maria Angelova, a returning guest.

With a career inspired by early experiences in sports and academia, Maria emphasizes the body-mind connection, the need for personalized workout regimes, and the importance of considering variables such as diet, hydration, and stress levels.

Maria and I delve deep into the world of athletes, shedding light on the importance of body balance, and injury prevention. 

She shares valuable insights on the necessity of a balanced workout regime, the need for strength, flexibility, and control, and the crucial role correct coaching plays, in sustaining an athlete's performance. 
We also touch upon the significance of recovery time, discussing the benefits of various recovery methods and the need to take a disciplined approach toward that.

Chapter Highlights from this conversation:

- Power of Pilates and Body-Mind Connection 
- Balance and Sport specific Injury Prevention for Athletes
- Athlete's Routine and Specifics on Recovery Importance
-Nutrition and Posture for Athletes, Tech use and impact
-Expectations, Psychological support and Athletes' Well-Being

Maria breaks down the process of creating a meal plan that aligns with individual schedules, body needs, and workout types. She stresses the need for athletes to listen to their bodies and understand how diet and sleep impact mobility. 
Providing actionable insights on managing expectations and maintaining a positive mindset, Maria's wisdom is sure to inspire you to embrace a healthier and more balanced, endurance packed lifestyle. 
Tune in and get motivated to make that change, so your athletic journey is more meaningful and sustained!

DISCLAIMER: This podcast episode is for informational purposes only. This is not medical advice, nor coaching; nor is it a substitute for personalized coaching or medical attention. For case to case individual needs, consult and follow your physician's guidelines.

Send us a Text Message.

Buzzsprout Get your podcast launched!
Start for FREE

Instacart Grocery delivery
Free delivery on your first order over $35.

Enjoy PIOR Living products
Enjoy PIOR Living products at a 20% discount and free shipping on orders over $75 Code FLF20

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase, I may receive a commission at no extra cost to you.

Support the Show.

Videos available on YouTube channel.
Follow host Vai on socials - Instagram , YouTube, LinkedIn for thought leadership content.
Head to my website for enlightening blogs & service offerings.
This podcast comes to you from Listen Ponder Change LLC, founded by Vai Kumar.
Every support the show contribution is much appreciated !!
Subscribe https://www.buzzsprout.com/1436179/support and help us amplify our voice and reach!

Vai Kumar:

Welcome to Freshleaf Forever, a podcast that gives you fascinating insights week after week. Here's your host, vaikumar. Hey folks, welcome back to Podcast Freshleaf Forever. And welcome back Maria to Podcast Freshleaf Forever. We had her on very recently on another episode just published a few days ago. And Maria Angelova, just for everyone to brush up about her profile as a thought leader, disruptor, speaker, podcast host. Like me, she's an author, pilates teacher, mindset coach and founder CEO of Rebellious International. And, maria, you are very passionate about the wellness industry, reshaping it, redefining fitness, and so welcome back to the show. How are you today?

Maria Angelova:

I am wonderful. I'm grateful to you for inviting me back, Vai. Thank you.

Vai Kumar:

Oh, absolutely. I think focusing on sports, and sports injury prevention most importantly, is like a passion project for me, if you will. So I just thought there's no better person than Maria Angeloua to talk about this, because she has started her journey, like in her younger years, as a swimmer, and maybe for a short while, but now on to Pilates and much more. So you're, in a way, better spot to guide people on what they should and they shouldn't be ideally doing. So let's delve deep. Are you ready? Let's dive in. Let's jump in.

Vai Kumar:

Okay, perfect. So what led you to become a Pilates instructor? Again, let's just do a quick recap for listeners of this episode. Have you played sports before and if so, can you tell us more about it?

Maria Angelova:

So I started getting into sports in elementary school. I'm originally from Bulgaria, which is in Eastern Europe, and one of my first sports was swimming and I was actually a really good swimmer. I had a Russian coach at the time and she would call me Mashenka and she would be like Mashenka, we will train you for the Olympics. I grew up in a family of academia and at my time if you were living in Eastern Europe and part of academia, sports were really not an option as a career, Even though I was great in swimming. Actually, they would put me to compete with the boys because I was good on backstroke. My swimming career didn't last for so long because private lessons and studying and academics had to take precedence. So that was short lived. And then I played some basketball in school. I got hit in the eye and that was the end of that. Whatever sports I would start, it seemed like when I would get a little bit more serious it would stop. That was okay. I was a very active kid and back in the day you can probably relate to that we did a lot of exercising, just playing outside. It's not like today. I was a very active kid. I got to the gym at age 12 because my curves started developing and the kids would make fun of me that I had a big butt. So that's how I started going to the gym and then we moved to the United States in 92.

Maria Angelova:

In 1996, I started teaching group exercise classes at the local gym in Athens, Georgia, and that was the beginning of, so to say, my love affair of teaching fitness. And that lasted till about, I thought, in the gym, I would say till about 2014, maybe somewhere there. When I discovered Pilates in 2012, I was very unimpressed by Pilates. I was like it's slow, I'm not sweating, my heart rate is not up. I was like what kind of fitness is this? Because I was used to the group exercise classes and more the hip type of classes what is your target Heart zone and how many calories did you lose and did you sweat and how long was it? And all of that and Pilates intrigued me in some way and Pilates truly turned out to be transformational for my life.

Vai Kumar:

A great journey right there, from how you started with swimming to getting hit in the eye. That would not have been fun at all. I'm sorry to even hear about it several years down the line, but that's not fun. I know about sports injuries and how gruesome that can be, and we are all immersed in this achievement culture, maria, and results now, or even yesterday, right. We all just wish things would happen in a Jiffy and it would just happen right away. So, rather than embracing development as a process, so how do you think this impacts athletes?

Maria Angelova:

I think we have forgotten how to connect to our bodies and I think for many, even athletes, the body-mind connection is not there. And I will tell you I'm speaking to you from somebody who taught has a very strong body connection, and I'm talking to you also as somebody who works with athletes or athletic people, and it is amazing how we're taught push, push go and not to listen to our body. So a big part of my mission is and the way I educate my clients is you have to learn to listen to your body. What does that mean?

Maria Angelova:

Every day, your workout will likely be very different. So one day you might feel great. You have eaten well, you have slept well, you have hydrated well. That is a day when it's okay to have a hardcore workout. But other days, maybe you went to bed too late, maybe you ate crappy foods, maybe you drank too much because you went to a party, whatever, maybe you had a super stressful day. Right, there are different variables that play into how we feel and into our being, and that is a big part of how I reframe my clients' thinking. Every time. The first thing when we start, the first question is how is your body doing today?

Maria Angelova:

And in the beginning the answer is fine. And then, as they deepen their practice, I start getting a lot of details by. They start telling me this is how I ate, this is how I hydrated, this is what my stress level is. I said too long I travel. They start making the correlation of all of these things impact the state of my being, the state of my body, and then I also have to train them. Okay, so you haven't eaten well, you haven't drank water, you haven't slept, you're highly stressed, you've been running around all day and you think you need to have a hardcore workout. And sometimes the beginning people are confused and they're like well, what do you think I should do? So I repeat to them so this is what you told me. You're telling me your body is under a lot of stress. You think you should stress it more with the workout. Then I go wow, yeah, you're ready. Yeah, maybe some lighter workout and stretching.

Maria Angelova:

And my goal is when a client comes and a client lives. My goal is when they live, for them to feel amazing. I want their neck to feel looser back, to feel looser shoulder, not to her knee, to her, whatever it's like tight or achy or painful. I want them to live going. Oh, I feel good, I feel empowered, I feel taller, I feel more confident, I feel more connected to myself, and that is a very different experience than beating your body, abusing it, because you know what. Then you break up that relationship. I call it the trust relationship with your body and I teach my clients is establish a trust relationship with your body to where your body trusts that you do for it what it needs for today, to nurture it, rejuvenate it, make it feel good.

Vai Kumar:

So you're having to bring your clients back in the moment right In terms of realizing what is it that I can do today? What is it that I can't do today? Not push myself when it's impractical.

Maria Angelova:

That's exactly, and you know what. And it's not going to serve you well because, first of all, if your sympathetic system is running on overdrive, your core is open, pumping, and then you do a hardcore workout, that is actually not serving your body well. That is going to get your adrenals to get even more exhausted, which is you do not want that. What you want to do is you want to go from sympathetic to parasympathetic and quiet your body Instead of it being into that fight or flight or freeze response. You want to get that nervous system to calm down.

Maria Angelova:

Now I want to emphasize is that doesn't mean just lie down and breathe. You can still do a lot and you can get a lot of depth into your workout. I actually don't even like to go to workout. I like to go with movement and you will still get stronger and you still stretch and you still do balancing work and control work. So it doesn't mean you're not going to work out. And I think that's very key because people think, moment, you're just going to lie down and breathe. No, you're just going to be a lot more intentional and get a lot more depth. And yeah, it's a transformative experience.

Vai Kumar:

And a lot of times people think only if they lift physical weights in the gym that they are doing strength training. Even with your own body weight you can do so much right. There comes yoga right. There comes extensive yoga or Pilates even. There's so much. You don't have to be on machines to be doing Pilates. You can do so much with your own body weight and physically and mentally. How do you think athletes can achieve this peak performance?

Maria Angelova:

So unlocking the secrets to peak performance, if you will, maria, so I have a little pyramid that I have created, that kind of outlines the different layers that I believe are foundational for building our fitness or physical performance. And, to be honest with you, it doesn't just go to the physical, it goes to our mental and emotional performance and its peak performance for life really.

Maria Angelova:

They intertwined right the physical element and the baseline of that is awareness, Awareness, mind-body connection, knowing your fundamentals. That leads into you having control over your body, you having balance, maintaining alignment, into your body having stability when you move. Once you have that, then you go into strength, flexibility, increasing the load, increasing the reps and all that. Where are the most traditional programs that they start here? What about the baseline? You don't have the foundational stuff. If you cannot maintain alignment as you move, if you go into compensations because, let's say, you're going through an injury, what is that going to do? It's going to throw you out of alignment and now you're going to be making the stronger side stronger. You're going to be making the weaker side weaker and over time that's going to cause wear and tear in your body.

Maria Angelova:

Being aware most people are not even aware or know what being in alignment means. Second, most people don't know how to move properly biomechanically. And once again, I'm telling you, I'm working with very athletic people and athletes and why do most of them come to me for pain? Because our body is brilliant in the way it adapts. So, let's say you hurt, let's say your knee, your body will adjust so that you can continue walking and doing your functional daily movement. However, if you don't correct that, over time that will start transferring to your hip, to your spine, to your back, to your neck, to your shoulder and so forth. So it is very important to correct and bring the body back to homoestasis.

Maria Angelova:

So when we talk about peak performance is we have to start with the fundamentals, and that's awareness and alignment. And also a big thing that I do is core how to use your core. Most people do not know how to engage their core. The core protects the spine and if you're doing, let's say, heavyweight lifting, for example, or if you're doing anything with power, such as like tennis or golf or anything like that, and you don't have core awareness or know how to engage your core, that can get you in trouble, especially if you're doing repetitive type of movements which, if you're an athlete in a certain sport, you'll likely do that you might be one-sided right.

Maria Angelova:

If you think of like golfers or tennis players, or take that to outside of athletics, take that to dentists, take that to GI physicians who scoop.

Vai Kumar:

The same way, if you are reinforcing a pattern in your body and you have to unwind that pattern so that there is balance, so you're always, in other words, compensating with your dominant side, perhaps, and you're just under utilizing your other side, whereas you have to be, for you to be in homeostasis.

Vai Kumar:

You just engage everything properly or make use of both sides properly, which are beautifully brought out there. Your recommendations, then, for a solid routine to enhance athletic endurance and improve performance, because only with sustenance comes improved performance right. You can unlock your peak potential only if you can sustain.

Maria Angelova:

So you listen. If you're an elite athlete and athlete that's going to compete into the Olympics, your workout routine will be very different than somebody who is a casual walker. Right, you both move. However, when you're at that elite level, there is a lot that you have to do to preserve your body, especially if that's the way that later on, you're perhaps going to make your money, and you have to sustain your body. Right? If you're an athlete, why are professional athletes? When they get dirty, they're considered old because they wear their body so much, because they do so much physical work.

Maria Angelova:

Even college players, oh yeah, even college athletes. And how many think about that? Think about how many college athletes do we see with injuries, with serious injuries. Because, once again, if you're not properly moving, if you're doing 70 degree pedagogy, there is no balance. Wear and tear on the body would be a lot faster. Now, in a regular person, that's not an athlete, I would say. So far we used to see the aches come like 40, 45, right. That's when the aches and pains come. Unfortunately, nowadays they come a lot easier because of technology and slouchy posture. But if you're an athlete, those aches and pains, if you're not moving properly, they'll come a lot earlier.

Maria Angelova:

And what are some things that athletes can do to once again one perform better but also sustain that performance for longer period of time, sustain their careers, is they have to have balance into their workout regime. What does that mean? You have to have your muscles, have to be strong, flexible, you have to be able to demonstrate control. So if you have a muscle that's, let's say, super buff and strong but lacks flexibility, you do once split, let's say that's out of control. You rip that muscle a lot easier. If you're somebody who has a lot of hyper mobility, let's say it into the joints and it may look impressive. Wow, that person can do everything. But you lack control. That predisposes you to injury because you don't have control over your body. So you have to maintain that beautiful balance between all of them.

Maria Angelova:

You also have to know how to use your core. Why? Because your core, I tell my clients, it is like a cylinder. The spine is in the center and you better protect that spine, because what's in the spine, it's your nervous system. So you do not want to compress the spine, you don't want to put pressure on the nerves that are going in between. So core no matter, I don't care what you do. And actually core, even for us regular folks, is super key and that is the secret for me, getting people out of pain is I decompress the spine, right, I get them to sit taller, I get them to decompress the hips and then all of a sudden they're like oh, wow, my sciatica doesn't hurt anymore. Because if I slouch like this, think what's happening to my spine. Those are a couple of things that athletes have to think. And yes, depending on what you do, you will do repetition.

Maria Angelova:

Some sports require more strength training. If you're into something that's more endurance type of athlete, you'll do a little bit more cardio, but you have to find the balance between all three Strength, flexibility and control. And just to clarify if you're an athlete, you do know what control is. Control it means you're intentionally moving your body in a way that is purposeful and not just if I toss a ball and I don't have control. I can throw off my shoulder. Versus if I twist and the power comes from my powerhouse and from my core, you're going to have a lot more power, a lot more speed, but you also protect your body, which is key, because if you throw your shoulder and that's your job guess what? You'll lose the power if there's pain into the shoulder and you wear until it's quicker.

Vai Kumar:

So the form is very important in terms of how they have been trained to do it, hopefully trained the right way to do it right. So that's where, repetitively, when you do it right, it makes a lot of meaningful difference, whereas if you do it wrong, that is when, unfortunately, you fall prey to injuries that you really don't want to see as an impediment. What about injury prevention, then? What should athletes and, most importantly, maria, the support system, do?

Maria Angelova:

You know what? I think it goes exactly to the same points that I made, because if your body is moving properly and if you have proper engagement and you maintain alignment, guess what that will dramatically reduce your chance of injury. Now you could have an injury because you slip, trip, somebody trips you, kicks you right, you fall. That's a very different thing that, let's say, a wear and tear injury, because let's use that same example because of the way you're throwing the ball. And I'll tell you this is something I take very seriously If you're an athlete, please make sure that you have the right coaches with you, right? I can't tell you how many examples. People are like I heard Pilates is great, so I watched some YouTube videos and I started doing these exercises and then I'm like show me the exercise. And I'm like oh, that is magnifying your pain because you're not doing it properly. So if you don't understand, and especially if you're an athlete for everybody else, but especially if you're an athlete who counts on their body for performance and for a living, do yourself a favor and save your body, because it will pay off. Like I said, maintain balance, maintain alignment.

Maria Angelova:

Core engagement is key and I would say you brought it up in the beginning. Recovery is very key. We are very prone to you. You brought up the culture of overachievement. We are very much a culture of overachievement when it gets to sports, and the body does need time to recover. Now there is a lot of research out there on how much recovery you should do. There is a lot of research on how long you should hold a stretch, and what I tell people is you have to develop that relationship with your body. When you tune in with your body, and today is going to be a hard running day. Tomorrow I'm going to go for a walk. Okay, I have competition coming up. I'm an athlete, right? So what do I need to do to make sure that I'm performing optimally? Guess what? The basic pillars of health have to be there. You have to eat right, you have to hydrate right, you have to manage your stress. It's all encompassing. Instead of I'm going to kill myself to prepare for this thing and then it's not there.

Vai Kumar:

Yeah, you don't want too much strength training when you know tomorrow day after you're going to be competing hard like playing six hours or whatnot. So I guess, right there you beautifully said surround yourself with the right support system in terms of even who you play for, what you do and things like that. I guess, unfortunately, with the achievement culture, no one wants bad intentions. But again, when they are immersed in the moment, all that they care for is their bottom line, their answerability to their management in terms of how much success they have brought as a coach to a team, and so sometimes things just tend to get out of control and that's where one has to find the right set of balance in terms of doing things meaningfully. That we recovery is emphasized.

Vai Kumar:

I don't mean to say by any means that coaches are bad. No, not at all. There are wonderful coaches that exist everywhere. It's just that finding and, as an athlete, having that self-discipline to be able to take care of that recovery as well, because at a point where you are like past your junior stage, where you are transitioning out of recreational sports, if you are on a path to being a professional athlete or whatsoever, you have to have that discipline inculcated in yourself to be able to take care of your body, because, as an adult, no matter how good a support system you have, people can't be hand holding you on that front. So that's where it becomes very important. So specific set.

Maria Angelova:

Jumping with something that is a very important point. Another big piece of the whole equation is mindset, and If you're an athlete, you'll likely have a competitive nature, especially if you're an. Most athletes compete right. So it is very important to know how to stay grounded in the moment, to be able to tune out, let's say, what's happening in the stadium and just stay grounded into your performance, into your body, into how you do.

Maria Angelova:

And I also think, as coaches, I think there are different ways to coach. I think if you coach somebody with the intent of we have to win, we have to win, we have to win at the sacrifice of that person's well-being and the health of their body, is that really doing you a favor as a coach, the team a favor and, of course, that person Versus? If we go from the perspective of we're going to win as a team because each and every one of you performs at a high level and takes care of your body, and we go from that standpoint, it's the same goal, but it's two very different ways to get to that goal. And that's what I think. Mindset coaching is also huge in the context of performance Again, any kind of performance, but athletic performance as well.

Vai Kumar:

Oh, different perspective, right, and I was watching something in fact Nick Saban interviewer, something on LinkedIn In fact, one of the highly decorated coaches in football, so he was saying exactly the same thing he says with every sports psychology session. He's there sitting in the front taking notes, and one of my other guests on this show very recently, kirsten Jones. She has written a beautiful book, racing Empowered Athletes, and she was talking about the UCLA coach from way back when he was instrumental in the team winning several national titles and whatnot, but he would focus on player development. So I guess, right there, it's a mindset that, overall, each one has and, like we said, there are some fantastic coaches out there. In fact, the most successful teams turns out they have the most wonderful support system, starting from the coach. Yeah, it goes hand in hand and you know what that?

Maria Angelova:

goes right to leadership. That is the coach or the leader, that's our corporate team or a community team or the family team, right? It's when we approach life from that perspective of I'm rooting for you, I want you to do your best, I want you to grow and be the best that you can, and because you're the best that you can, all of us are going to grow. That's a very different perspective than we have to win. It doesn't matter what the cost is.

Vai Kumar:

It's a growth mindset and, like you said, it's a leadership skill. And it's role modeling too as well. Right, even as parents, you and I have to role model for our child, if not our children, whatever the case may be in every family, otherwise there's no point. Right there, it's again, in every sense, it's a leadership skill that you're demonstrating, be it home, be it workplace, whatever.

Maria Angelova:

Maybe all this Doesn't matter what you're trying to do it's coach, mom, dad, parent, manager. Whatever your role is your leader.

Vai Kumar:

So if we were to say, okay, focus on the specific set of exercises or routine for you to be able to nurture your body, say Pilates, mindfulness, recovery, what would Maria Angelova propagate in this forum to our listeners globally?

Maria Angelova:

So, I will tell you I'm subjective on my choices of what I do and, once again, I am picking. If I have a general routine that I do and it's not every day that it happens, but every day I do something to move and when I'm stranded for time, I have a little routine. I basically do the basic Pilates routine, but there are a couple of exercises from there that I absolutely love. Why? Because they awaken my core, they get me to stretch, they get me to articulate my spine, which means move my spine one vertebra at a time. They get me to stretch my spine, my hips, and I can do it in like 10 to 15 minutes and be like all right, I got this, let's go and move forward. And those exercises, you guys can look them up. But the hundreds, I'll give you the whole basic routine and people can look them up the hundreds, the roll up, the leg circles rolling like a ball single leg circle, double leg circle, spine stretch forward. And if you even that's too long, do the hundreds and the roll up and that's a great start. Just do I do higher ups on the roll up and, like I said, they're all encompassing of waking up my body, of getting the circulation to move, of getting my mind and body to connect, waking up my core, establishing that strength, flexibility and control. Oh, you know what, when I said balance before, I forgot endurance. But that's the fourth component. But we want to make sure that we have all of that into our routine.

Maria Angelova:

Now, depending on what you do, your daily routine will probably be different. I would say meditation or something that's meditative. I think there are, I don't know why. If you think that I think a lot of people have meditation you have to sit a certain way, hold your fingers for a certain way and do that. I think it's more something to ground you into your body. To where I start every class stay, connect your body, get in tune with your body, figure out, are you in alignment? So that's a great start. And as you go through the movement, every single exercise, are you maintaining proper engagement? And then, another tip I give my clients is I tell them after each and every exercise you should feel better than the one before. So if you came with back pain, let's say on a level of one to 10, at a three, the next exercise should be a two, the next one might be maybe 1.9 or again around two, but it should never go back to three. As you're moving, each and every exercise should make you feel better and better.

Vai Kumar:

And whatever routine you suggested, maria, it wakes up the core, you said so is it? When we specifically look at sports injury prevention? And for athletes, would you say do this before you go out play? Yes, and if so, then what should be there at the Paris minimum, their basic routine of recovery once they finish playing? Because a lot of parents even junior sports aspiring to become collegiate athletes or pro. I have seen several parents right when practice finishes, they get the kid in the car and they leave. Right after they finish playing a match, they get the kid in the car and they leave, and the kids are probably the same way. I've seen there are some very meticulous kids that would do their recovery routine stretches, or they would do their preparatory routine before and all of that. So what would you say to that?

Maria Angelova:

So, I would say, let's use tennis as an example. Right, if you're playing and you're playing mostly right handed right, and if your body has been doing this for an hour or however long you have practiced and played.

Vai Kumar:

You have now the forehand.

Maria Angelova:

You might do some hits like that, but you're using this side, right. So what do you need to do? You want to unwind the body, right? So you want to do some light stretching once again. So when you lie down, for example I'll give you an example I have a client who plays golf and sometimes, when he hasn't done stretching, he comes and he lies down and he's I don't know if you can see it on camera, but he's. I'm exaggerating, but he's like that because he has been twisting his body this way.

Vai Kumar:

So what we have to do is we have to onto his body this way, so he's almost like a 15, 20 degree angle shift and you just have to restore homeostasis, so you have to bring him back to zero.

Maria Angelova:

And now 20s. I'm doing this so you guys can see on the screen. It's a small like, it's a small rotation, but it's enough that if you don't correct it over time it will start causing problems.

Vai Kumar:

So we have, oh, maybe the shoulder because of the swing Shoulder, and uh-huh.

Maria Angelova:

And then that side is tired right, we have to unwind him to get him back to homeostasis, Depending on what you're doing. Or let's use tennis again, if you're always playing right side, I tell my clients, take the racket in the left, even though you might not have the same control. Just start hitting the ball left, just to create some evenness into your body. Because if you're always doing this side, you want this side is like how about me? You want to give it some love too. And then, yes, so you want to make sure.

Maria Angelova:

I'll tell you, a lot of the injuries that I see are tight hip flexors. So for a lot of, especially athletes, I would say stretch those hip flexors. A lot of them have very tight quads. More than likely you have tight quads. I would stretch your quads, but do a stretching routine that covers your entire body. I'm a huge fan of foam rolling, so do you know? It can be 10 minutes of foam rolling. It doesn't have to be two hours of foam rolling. You could also do epsom salt baths. I recommend that to a lot of my athletes.

Maria Angelova:

We integrate sometimes essential oils, but stretching and balancing out again, especially if you're doing something that's one sided, which a lot of sports is, you want to make sure that the other side is working and you want to make sure that and this is where being aware of your lima disquee Because if you're here, let me show this so that and you're like, yeah, I'm straight, that's lack of awareness and a lot of people in front of the mirror so that they can look and see, can you see this? Oh, yeah, okay. So let's push this here. Feel this, how does this feel different than when you're here? So that they can start making that connection of, oh, I feel this. So she told me I'm tight, so I need to right. And then you can be intentional about it, Because if you're not aware, let's continue with this example that you're twisted, You're not going to correct it because you don't know you're twisted and that can result in ever so many things like muscle pull, whatever maybe, and especially over time injuries and kids, kids via resilient right Because they're young.

Maria Angelova:

So when you're seven, when you're eight, when you're 12, you can get away with things. But if you have something like that from childhood years and you don't correct it into your adulthood, I have so many people who come and they'll be like mid-wage people and I'll be like any injuries. They're like no, they're like when I was 15, I had this one injury, but that was such a long time ago. Let's see if we can see the residuals of that injury into your body and most of the time we can.

Vai Kumar:

Yeah. So I guess intentional movement, like you've said, engaging, making sure of the right form, the right posture, engaging the right set of muscles, engaging your core all that becomes very important, right? What about the role of nutrition and other aspects relating to rest and recovery?

Maria Angelova:

And I guess it is critical and I will tell you from somebody who used to be a night owl and not sleep, and I'm actually one of those people who can function with not much sleep, but it is not good for you.

Maria Angelova:

Your body restores when you sleep and the quality of your sleep and when you go to bed it is super key, especially if you're exercising it's some of them exercise for hours and hours in a day. You have to rest, you have to get quality sleep. You have to have the right sleeping environment. Also, remember that the quality of sleep if you go to bed at 2 am is not the same as when you go to bed at 10 pm, and especially for a lot of young athletes, that's a thing, right, because once again they can get away with it. But it is super important to give a chance to your body and your organs to recoup and rejuvenate and rest so that you can be at your peak performance and you're both hand in hand with that. You once again, when you're younger, you can get away with more things. Is it good for you? No, because it wears and tears your body more.

Vai Kumar:

But not at the professional level or not at the highest competing level. Even collegiate is so demanding that you really cannot get away with it.

Maria Angelova:

Because, really, nutrition is playing such a key factor, once again, of sustaining your performance and recovery from performance. And that's when I say you have to have the right support system and I know for parents it can get expensive, right. Oh, I need a nutrition coach. Oh, I need somebody to help stretching, oh, I need somebody to do functional movement. But that's what it takes, because your body, that's your job, right, and I'll tell you, as somebody who teaches, my job is very physically and mentally demanding. I have to make sure I stay strong, or otherwise my back starts talking to me. I'm like okay, because I spot a lot, I squat, lift up and stuff like that. So I have to make sure I stay strong. So I'm speaking also as a user of all of this advice.

Vai Kumar:

Absolutely, so definitely focus on nutrition and again I guess I've emphasized it using so many guests on this program do not eat the junkie stuff. That's just for maybe once in a while indulgence. I guess you and I are not sitting out here trying to deprive people of whatever is cool stuff.

Maria Angelova:

I love ice cream and I love chocolate, but moderation, right. I'm not saying never have ice cream. I'm not saying never because what kind of life is that? Enjoy it, but especially if you're training for competition, if you're having more practice, you have to be more intentional in the context of athletes.

Vai Kumar:

You have to be more. What would Maria Angelova eat if she were to compete?

Maria Angelova:

Oh gosh, you know what. That's also very subjective, right? It depends on what kind of sport you're doing, what kind of calorie expenditure you're doing. You need to feed a lot of muscle, like.

Maria Angelova:

A bodybuilder would have a very different meal plan than, let's say, like a marathon runner. Right, you would want to have different kind of food sources into their diet. So I would tell you, I personally start, and usually my workout routine is a run and then pilates session. That is my workout routine, and what I eat is I usually have a smoothie in the morning, a protein shake in the morning with a lot of fruits, and then at lunch I will have a full meal, and it's usually home cooked, with vegetables and some kind of lean meat. Then I'll take a treat, like a piece of candy or something like that, just to make my sweet tooth happy, and then at night I usually have a salad.

Maria Angelova:

That's what I do and I'm in my I'm 46. I also have to take into account the age, because our metabolism changes and I will tell you that this is a very different way than I used to eat in my 20s, when I was also very athletic and doing the heat type of workouts, but my metabolism was also very different and I am not an athlete. Right now I'm very active, but I'm not an athlete, so that's important to note.

Vai Kumar:

And it's a great thing that you underscore there it's very subjective. So make a meal plan that is very relevant to your schedule, to your body needs, because each one of us. There may be hundreds of diet programs out there, but nothing is tailor made for you as a person or me as a person. We just have to be in tune with our body, listen to our body and make sure that we feed ourselves right. Make sure we bring in a lot of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and protein. That is right for our body type and for our nature of workout. And also a lot of kids don't seem to fuel themselves right after their workout. The timing becomes important also, correct?

Maria Angelova:

Yeah, when you workout, you want to replenish and feed those muscles. Yes, with quality stuff, right? Because it's so easy to go have a candy bar after you have just finished your workout, because you feel like maybe you deserve it, because you've lost all those calories and you make a great point. And I wanted to quickly revert back to what you said about being aware of your body, because if you really tune into yourself and that's not just athletes, that's every one of us you can have a meal and ask yourself how do I feel? Do I feel like I have more energy and I'm awake, or do I feel like I'm going to fall down because I need a nap? Do I feel bloated? How is my workout?

Maria Angelova:

Because you know what else is very interesting, alvine, depending on the state of your body, the way you move will be different and that is fascinating.

Maria Angelova:

And I'll tell you, if a client, let's say, their body is sensitive to milk, let's say, and they have milk and they come into a workout, they feel stiffness and limited mobility. So it is what you eat and what you put in your body and the way you sleep, and all that A hundred percent, I will tell you that plays into how you move and don't have optimal mobility, because the balance that we talked about, the body, it's all about mobility. You want to have a strong and mobile body and balanced body. So if you don't have mobility, let's say throwing that bow, you will not be able to throw it again with full force and full range of motion because I don't know, your neck might feel stiff, your shoulder might feel stiff or something like that. That body awareness is so key and even if you can have a nutrition, it's create a nutritional program for you that might work for the exact same athlete, same age, doing the same sport, but that there might be something in that diet that doesn't work for you specifically.

Vai Kumar:

So that's why listening to one's body and seeing how you react to a certain type of food becomes very important. Yes, of course it may be hard initially, it may be challenging, but over time, if you just just watch, you can be in tune with yourself. So that is doable and I guess I speak from personal experience. Moderation in technology, use for better posture and wellness how do you think we know this is impacting the world? But how do you think it's impacting the athletes and in terms of their performance, their physical and mental well-being? Not good.

Maria Angelova:

This applies to everybody, not just athletes. But again, athletes are somebody who depend on their bodies even more than the regular person. So if you think of somebody who is hunched over, somebody whose shoulders are up, because that's what a lot of what we see right there, and then that's limited mobility for you, if I were to swing, if I don't have mobility, if I'm hunched over and my chest is tight, I can open that chest much. So right there, that will impact you a hundred percent. So poor posture Again goes against mobility and when your mobility is limited you cannot perform your best.

Maria Angelova:

Yeah, it's not serving anybody, but especially athletes, especially the young people today because they're getting hunched over at such an early age. And then the other thing is if you think, if I slouch forward, what happens to all the organs which are here, to the heart, to the lungs, which to the digestive system? All of these organs are super key for you performing your best if you can't breathe efficiently, if your heart is not breathing beating efficiently, if you're not digesting properly, how do you think that's going to reflect into athletic performance? So that is posture. I say is the new epidemic and it's a sad thing for people like me is we're going to be busy Because we're seeing now kids as young as 19 years old. They're growing ships on their cervical spine because of the phone usage.

Vai Kumar:

Yeah, that's really like a rude awakening moment and, like you said, yeah, from a business standpoint, it's good for you to be busy, but from yeah from a social standpoint. You're like alarmed at this and right there you have brought out a great point and thank you for doing that, maria. The role of psychological support and the need to focus long-term on an athlete's welfare versus just near-term, and Whatever you and I talked about earlier.

Vai Kumar:

The wind mindset yeah, I Think, not just for the coaches or anyone alone, even for parents even in juniors, when you stand on the sidelines, and like any ball game for that matter, it's almost like the parents are competing and it's like such a nasty atmosphere out there Massive, it's okay. It's like a yeah, whatever, there is diamond crown out there, that's pop for grabs. I.

Maria Angelova:

Think it's very important to remember once again. We noted that before that athletes, usually most competitive athletes, are type A personalities. Right, they have the competitive gene inside them. They already put enough pressure on themselves. So now imagine putting extra pressure and expectations, whether you're a coach or a family. Not to say that there shouldn't be expectation, but I think there is a balance of expectations and when that balance and when that expectation is too high, when it goes into the point of Perfectionism, too much control, too much demand on a body that's not doing well, that is actually having the opposite effect onto the athlete and it's having the opposite effect onto the relationship. Right, then the relationship doesn't try because you start feeling that resentment and I don't want to hear what you have to say, I don't want to listen to you, and it starts creating tension.

Maria Angelova:

So you mentioned about trust and so, right there, you break that trust, you break that trust and I think that's something very important to To remember, because, as parents, of course you want to see your kid do well. Which parents? Who is the parent who doesn't want that? Of course you want to see that. I do think we have to think of the, because these things have long-term implications. They're not just for the moment, right, these things impact your relationship with your child long term. So we have to weigh in what is my relationship with my child versus the expectations that I have. This is the exact same thing that goes in with academic expectations. As parents, of course we want our kids to do academically, but at what expense? And we're seeing very disturbing trends in kids. We're seeing a lot of isolation, we're seeing lack of sociability, we're seeing the poor posture. We're seeing a lot of things which are alarming and right now, our kids, more than ever Our kids, don't want to go outside, like for me, my parents was a pain to get me inside the house, my daughter outside the house. So when you think of those all, and then social media pressure, that's there for the kids, right, kids nowadays have so much pressure than our, our generation and they really need that support to tell them you know what?

Maria Angelova:

Okay, you didn't do so well on this game. You're not the failure, because we need to stop identifying ourselves with our perceived failures. What is the lesson? Okay, your swing was not good, so what can you do to do your swing? Oh, maybe you went to bed really late last night. Maybe this way this week you ate crappy foods, so what can we do so that next time you play you can have better performance? That is a very different perspective and support than you did. Crappy, you're punished. I'm gonna take your phone, or whatever the situation is.

Vai Kumar:

Oh, those conversations in the car. Tell me about it, right, probably I have been a culprit as well quite a few times. You hardly can limit yourself from doing it, but on the same token you just have to again. It's very intentional approach. It's a conscious thing to have to tell yourself as much as you want that Success for your child. I guess fulfillment is also important. They need to just be able to kindle their passion to have to walk out one more time the next time, to be able to even do it Right. You just don't want them to be doing it out of pressure. You just don't want them to be doing it out of somewhat of a yeah, expectation, so that's really important.

Vai Kumar:

This program is all about offering actionable insights to our listeners, and if you were to offer some tool kits tool kit for athletes, say, respond versus react what would be your go-to message, maria?

Maria Angelova:

You nailed it by it all starts with awareness. You said it. You have to be intentional and aware. Everything that we do in life is a choice, whether it is a conscious choice or an unconscious choice. It is a choice. So when we lack the awareness, we cannot make a conscious choice right, because we just don't know. So when you think about being aware, when you're aware of how you can respond to a situation, you can understand oh, these, let's say, made me upset, or oh, I didn't perform as well as I wanted to. Okay, take a nice deep breath. This does not lead to my identity. I did my best. What can I do to perform better next time?

Maria Angelova:

You pause and once again be kind and loving and supportive to yourself versus react, beat yourself down, make yourself feel like crap, go down the rabbit hole, and then that's going to take you a lot longer to recover to than if you respond. And I always tell people meet your body where it is and meet it from a point of love and support and growth and creating a relationship with it. That is a very different way of mingling with your body than abusing it and reacting to it, insulting it, giving it workouts that do not feel good, the whole thing. Pain for gain. I don't stand by that.

Vai Kumar:

You just gave us a fascinating closing statement, maria, because I guess what you're suggesting is going to serve people long term. Right, because you have to again be very intentional and do it as a practice, as part of your recovery. Just maybe take a few minutes to pause and see, reflect on your day, right, how your practice was Okay, what was it that I liked about it, what was it that probably was like not so great? Reflect on it, so that way you can respond better rather than thinking of yourself, because there's no such thing as failure. There's only learning and improving. So does this methodology, then, augur well for athletes when they have to just respond in the moment when they are in the field playing? How does this translate to whatever they can do when they really have to make right choices over there? Because this respond versus react ideology, if they keep practicing it off the pitch, it should augur well for them on the field as well, right?

Maria Angelova:

Absolutely these choices. Am I going to have pizza for dinner or a salad with grilled chicken? That's a choice. And sometimes I tell you, I feel we're all human, we all have to make those choices. Sometimes I'm so hungry that I'm like, whatever is on my way, that's what's going to get and what's the easiest stuff to reach out to cookies, like crap. But then is that going to nurture my body? So these are the respond versus react.

Maria Angelova:

That applies to all of us. We don't have to be an athlete, it applies to every single one of us and understanding that our life is a sum of our choices. So when we can be intentional about our choices, then things are very different than we're just going on the hamster wheel because that's what we should do. We told us that's how we should do. Check in with yourself, like, okay, the way the state of my life is, does that feel good? Does that feel good into my body? And if the answer is no, then do some evaluation. Don't beat yourself that's what I would say with the client. Don't go into judgment. Just meet yourself where you are so that you can make changes to make things better.

Vai Kumar:

And for any odd reason, even if you reacted on the pitch on a given day, or on a tennis court or on the field, then don't beat yourself up, but just come and do that self-interest inspections eight out of 10 times. That won't happen again. And then it can become nine out of 10 and then 10 out of 10. Hopefully is that a fair assessment.

Maria Angelova:

We have to be realistic. We're human, right. So if I tell you I never lose my cool, I will lie to you, but I'm a lot more aware and the awareness kicks in a lot faster. Sometimes, as a mom, I tell my daughter do this, like, how long can you be patient? I lose it. Then I'm like, oh no, and I'll go and I'll apologize to her Exactly and you know, go for a conversation. But that is how we're building our relationship and you're human. So also give yourself grace when you react to something, because that's part of us being human. But the more centered and grounded and in tune with yourself you are, I tell clients, instead of doing this, you'll be more like a smooth roller coaster rather than up and down.

Vai Kumar:

Oh, what a fascinating message, maria. I think you couldn't have enunciated better on the need for stability, the need for all the balancing, being intentional about matters and not go through roller coaster when you don't have to and focus on your recovery, focus on all the right things to do, to be happy doing what you do. And would you like to put out your Pilates studio information? And I'll be sure to include your book, include your other websites and the show notes, but if you would like to talk a moment about how you are helping athletes with your Pilates the form of yours- Everything that we spoke about is what I do and what I teach.

Maria Angelova:

Like I said, most people come to me because of aches and pains, but if you want better performance and if you want to preserve your body injury prevention and if you want to know how to utilize your core better, I tell my clients I will make you the strongest you have ever been and the most flexible you have ever been, and I will help you quiet your mind, and these are all key things that we're looking for as we grow, and not just athletes, but really anybody, and my website is rebellious-studio. com, so that's R-E-B-E-L-L-I-O-U-S-DashStudiocom.

Vai Kumar:

Okay, fantastic. Thank you so much, maria, for taking the time once again to talk to our listeners here. And listeners, as always, follow the podcast. Rate the podcast, leave a review from your podcast app of choice. Follow me on Instagram and the new YouTube channel @vaipkumar for all things digital media and lifestyle. Until next time with yet another interesting guest and yet another interesting topic. It's Vai and Maria saying bye-bye for now.

Power of Pilates and Body-Mind Connection
Balance and Injury Prevention for Athletes
Athlete's Routine and Recovery Importance
Nutrition and Posture for Athletes
Expectations and Athletes' Well-Being