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With extended periods of working from home, new social distancing measures for nearly every brick and mortar type, and seemingly little certainty as to when “normal” may return to our daily lives, a new age of fitness is upon us. From a dramatic rise (out of necessity) for virtual workouts, to people taking up running, cycling, powerwalking, and more like never before, we’re all diving headlong into new modalities of staying fit. In fact, in a recent survey, Mindbody found that roughly 33% of people have been exercising more since COVID-19 hit. (Insert “gaining the COVID-19" joke here...)
So, with increased exercise and all this running around, it’s safe to say that we’re also going to be experiencing some chinks in the armor, as it were. Some aches and pains in places we didn’t know existed. A lovely dull sensation here and there. Or a sharp and stabbing assault on a hip flexor... (speaking from very personal experience.)
This is precisely why we are so excited that our friends at RAD Roller have been helping us out. We recently used a few of their products to relieve pressure from sitting all day in our uncomfortable chairs, recover from our first 10-mile run, and align our bodies, so we’re able to work out tomorrow—and the day after, and so on, and so on, and so on...
Here are our experiences live and direct from the Mindbody HQ (AKA: our own homes):
Oh, the pressure of working from home. It’s definitely getting to all of us. Since I started working remotely, I’ve felt more pressure than EVER... in my back and neck.
When I worked in the office, I had a perfectly ergonomic desk setup. But now, I find myself hunched over my laptop on the couch most mornings—and at the end of the day, my neck and back feel it.
Pre-COVID, I had been to some yoga classes that involved roller balls (shout-out MELT at Yoga Branch Studio in North County, San Diego). I remember noticing such a difference in overall pain and tightness from the start of class to the final Savasana, just from rolling some magic little balls on a few points on my body.
So... when I saw RAD Roller’s Point Release Kit, I knew I had to try it. I read the reviews—most notably, one that mentions an ex-girlfriend's cold, dead heart—and was sold even further. I ordered it right away, and it was on my doorstep in days—a beautifully packaged block, three rounds, and a RAD Roller.
My first thought was, “WOW.” And my second thought, “What the hell do I do with this?” I started unfolding large posters with drawings of people using the product. Not gonna lie, I was a little overwhelmed. Don’t get me wrong, these drawings were super informative and easy to follow, but I just didn’t know where to start. So, I did what any sane person would do—I went to the internet.
After one quick Youtube search, I found a whole library of videos on RAD Roller’s channel. Because my goal (for now) was to focus on my back and neck, I chose this one and this one—and it hurt, so good. After following those videos just one time, I already noticed a huge difference in the tightness and mobility of my spine. I started doing these exercises, along with more I found on their channel, nightly to relieve my back pain and loosen up sore muscles after working out.
I cannot tell you how much of a difference this made.
I started incorporating the Point Release Kit into my at-home yoga practice. I typically flow every night before bed to wind down at the end of my day and stretch out my sore muscles. And often, I’ve felt like I needed a little extra help—especially since I’ve been feeling that extra pressure lately.
After just a couple weeks of using this kit in my practice, I already feel so much better. The biggest difference I notice is I’m sitting a lot more comfortably. I knew I was tense, but I didn’t realize just how tense everything was when I was just sitting or lying down. I feel more relaxed overall, settling comfortably into my makeshift WFH couch desk.
Magic little balls to the rescue.
Getting back into in-studio fitness is a hard thing to do post-COVID lockdowns. The classes and studio procedures are unfamiliar, and the workouts are hard. Like most people, I have been doing at-home classes, and it’s not quite the same. It’s easy to skip out on a cardio blast or come out of that plank early because no one is holding you accountable.
After getting back into in-person classes, my body felt really sore (my back and neck, especially, since I wasn’t used to working out this intensely). Enter: RAD Roller. It completely helped my body get back to feeling great again.
The RAD tools designed for the back all have a unique feature in common, the spinal recess. It’s a groove that allows you to avoid contact with the delicate bones of your spine and keep the release where you want it—in the muscles. It comes in all the right intensities, so you can pick the right level for you.
After using the RAD Roller, I did not expect my body to feel so good. I use it almost every day now and cannot live without it.
“Please remember to stretch, Will.” This is my wife after every single run I take. Roughly 50% of the time, I totally adhere to her advice (which I also read now as a plea). I’ve been running for years, but actively take time off when a new modality strikes my fancy—yoga and mountain biking, really.
But when COVID-19 hit, I decided I was going to finally start my training for a marathon. Starting small, I logged 4-5 miles a day with times ranging from 6:45/mi to 7:45/mi depending on my rum intake from the night prior. This blossomed into 8-10 miles/day at the same paces. And THIS quickly resulted in aches, pains, sprains, and tightness in areas I didn’t even know I had.
Luckily, around this time, and with having enough time on my hands to actually care about recovery and making sure I can sustain my running (and not injure myself), I got into rolling. I came back from a quick 10-miler (shut up, Will), to find an All-In Kit waiting for me courtesy of my friends at RAD Roller. TO say I was stoked would be a semi-understatement. Not even waiting for the sweat to dry, I ripped into the kit, grabbed the RAD Rod, and went to town on my quads. “It’s OK to cry, Will...” I kept telling myself.
After a few rounds with the rod, my quads were feeling, well, flushed and refreshed. So I decided to keep going and broke out the various rounds in the All-In Kit. I started with the Green massage ball and, proceeded to dig that bad boy into my hip socket (a recent pain point from my extended runs.) After more tears welled in my already-red eyes (it’s a good hurt, remember), I treated myself to quite literally a little pleasure. See, there’s this little black ball in the kit that, when you rub it in your hands or cheeks in just the right way, feels like what I imagine wellness heaven feels like.
I don’t go a day without using RAD in some way. From bored on Zooms to actually getting down and dirty on the floor, my body is in a constant state of alignment and refreshment.
From hyperextending my glutes while a collegiate athlete to tearing my calf last year in the middle of a workout class, if it’s a weird fitness-related injury that makes hilarious cocktail hour talk, I’ve done it. Suffice to say, I (and my legions of physical therapists) know the value of soft tissue recovery.
My current dilemma is related to my core. I’m a Pilates instructor, and teaching virtually means you work out while talking the whole time, which is extremely taxing on the abdominals. (It’s seriously tough, so thank your favorite instructors for being there for you!) It’s not uncommon for me to hit my weekend rest days with extremely sore abs and obliques. Unsurprisingly, I was stoked to try out the Centre, Rad Roller’s inflatable massage ball designed for the abdomen.
I’m not gonna lie and say my first use was pleasant, since it turned out that my abs needed A LOT of TLC. I started by just doing a few passes over the most tender parts of my core, spending just a few seconds in each spot while wiggling my body to keep the ball in motion. Over a few days, I was able to stay in each spot a bit longer and began exploring other parts of my body that could benefit from a soft-touch release.
The best spot? My wrists, hands, and forearms. I’m a writer by trade, which means they get a lot of abuse from typing, and don’t get a lot of recovery love. The Centre is soft enough that I can passively roll back and forth throughout my workday, and help loosen up some tight spots in my hands. Added bonus? It's a great way to use excess energy during your umpteenth Zoom meeting of the day.
I was not designed for the work-from-home life. My extrovert self misses my team, lunchtime walks, the ability to be in the same room for epic brainstorming, and most of all—our onsite massage therapist, Rob Chang.
At the beginning of shelter-in-place, I wasn’t ready to admit that I could be working from home for a while. I refused to set up a home office and instead hunkered down 8 hours a day at my dimly lit dining room table on a hard wooden chair. The weeks went by, and the work was stressful. I wasn’t prioritizing self-care, and it started to catch up with me. I gradually started to pain in my back where I’ve never felt it before, so much so it felt numb at times. My resistance to adjust to working from home was coming back to bite me—Rob Chang would not approve.
I finally gave in and got myself a desk, some monitors, an ergonomic chair, and even a footstool, but nothing helped to fix the damage I had already done—until I found the RAD Roller. Working with this little wonder after work each day has been a game-changer. A quick roll on my back and shoulders, followed by some pressure point work in the sweet spots is all I need to feel better at the end of a long day at the “office.”
Want to see what the hype's about? Shop online at radroller.com
Things are weird. Times are changing. It seems like just when we’re starting to get a grip, there’s another surprise. When it comes to beauty, we've had to adapt on our own due to salon closures, keep an eye on preparations and protocol changes during those closures, try to know what we’re doing before booking an appointment once they reopened, and maybe even brave the journey back to the salon. Whether you live in a place where salons are open, you’ve experienced a second shutdown, or you straight up haven’t had a haircut since March, we can all probably agree that we’re expecting some differences in the salon and spa world thanks to COVID.
We wanted to gauge how everyone is thinking and feeling about all this, so we put out a poll on our Instagram, asking you all what you expect from beauty salons right now.
Here’s what you had to say...
53% of you have returned to the hair salon by now, while 47% of you have not. This makes sense, because every area of the country is different when it comes to cases, closures, and mandates, and every person is different when it comes to risk and safety.
While many hair salons have begun operating outdoors due to government regulations, 58% of you said you’re fine with getting your haircut indoors, while the other 42% are more comfortable keeping it outside.
58% of you said you’d rather go to your hair salon than have your stylist come to you. I get it, home is a safe space, probably shouldn’t let any outsiders in.
69% of you said you’re “totally!” going to tip more for services once you start receiving them again. During this time without our stylists and aestheticians, I think we all realized how much we need them and appreciate them, and many of us are willing to show them a little extra gratitude to make up for the time we spent apart.
But, most of you aren’t. 56% of you said you have not cut or colored your own or a friend’s hair, because it was too risky, while the other 44% just “had to!”
Only 29% of you have returned to nail salons, while the rest are sticking to at-home manicures. Maybe we’re all just getting really good at it? But probably, it’s because a lot of them are still closed down, or because it’s a little more difficult to get a pedicure outdoors (we need our massage chairs!).
Our last poll question asked about what differences you’ve all noticed when heading back to the salon, and you all had a lot to say...
It’s a beautiful thing to see how the salon and spa community has come together, taken precautions, and adjustments, all so they can continue to help us look and feel our best. If you haven’t spoken to your stylist lately (or even if you have), don’t forget to shoot them a thank you and let them know you appreciate them.