[00:00] About Katy Bowman
[03:28] Importance of Alignment
[11:00] What is the Psoas?
[18:00] Why High Heels Are Bad
[25:03] Why Katy Dislikes Furniture
[34:45] Why Katy Dislikes Kegel Exercises
[41:57] Disadvantages of Sucking the Stomach Inward
[46:55] Breasts As A Biofeedback Device
[48:57] The Physics of Earwax
[53:49] Significance of Chewing Food
[56:43] The Best Stretch & Sleeping Position
[1:01:15] Katy's Best Lesson to Teach Children
[1:06:42] End of the Podcast
Ben: Hey folks, it's Ben Greenfield. I'm in my office right now, and I'm staring at this dog-eared copy of a book that I've been reading for the past month, and this book has me super excited about something that I actually studied in college and that's biomechanics, but this book actually makes biomechanics fun. It teaches you how to fix your body, how to align your posture, how to literally look like a million bucks from your head to your toe, and feel like a million bucks, and it's written by Katy Bowman. I might be pronouncing her last name wrong, but we'll let her pipe in here in a second and let me know.
Katy blogs over at katysays.com, and she is really like one of the smartest people that I know of when it comes to all things related to human movement and posture and biomechanics, and she's got some kind of out there ideas. She doesn't use furniture very much, and she has some kind of controversial opinions on things like Kegel exercises. She's really in love with something called the psoas, which I'm sure we'll talk about today, and she really, really seems to hate high heels.
So she reminds me really of Kelly Starrett, I don't know if any of you out there ever read “Becoming A Supple Leopard” but she's almost like the female version of Kelly Starrett, and the stuff that we're going to dig into today with Katy is going to kind of blow your mind. Like things that drastically affect your health, like wax in your ears, the way that you look at your computer screen and, of course, high heels too, and I will link to everything in the show notes, but Katy's got a really cool bio. She gets hundreds of thousands of visitors to her blog, she wrote the book “Alignment Matters”, which is the book I was just referring to that I've been reading for the past month and I highly recommend you go get. Everybody should own it, it is super easy to read and you do not need a degree in biomechanics to check it out. She's also written “Every Woman's Guide to Foot Pain Relief”, which I actually have my wife reading right now, and she directs the Restorative Exercise Institute in Ventura, California. She has an aligned and well DVD line, and I'll be sure to link to that in the show notes for you over at bengreenfieldfitness.com, and she is also a consultant for Gaia's Restorative Exercise Series. So she is just a wealth of knowledge, we are super privileged to have her on the call today, and in today's podcast, you are going to discover a lot of new things when it comes to biomechanics. So Katy, thank you for coming on the call today.
Katy: Thank you for having me, wow what a great introduction. Thank you for that.
Ben: No worries, I practiced in front of the mirror for hours on that one. So you name your book “Alignment Matters”, why'd you choose that name? What is it about alignment that matters so much?
Katy: Well the reason I named it Alignment Matters, I think it's because alignment to me, and of course, I have a huge biased because I'm a biomechanist. So I think in terms of loads and position, but I believe that alignment is probably the most unconsidered element to people's wellness. We've got diet down, and I think in the training world, people understand form, right? You know you're working on your form because you know that you're either taking too much energy to do something or the way you're doing something might lead to more or less performance or injury or whatever. But the alignment is really, the more you can understand alignment and how loads work, you'll realize that it's less what you're doing during your “exercise” or “training” time and more of what you're doing all of the time that your body is underload which is one hundred percent of your life. That is creating these outcomes of health that we're dealing with, and so we could fix our exercise, we could fix our diet, but kind of my platform is what about when you're not thinking about it, when you're not thinking about health, what do you do when you plop down on the couch after you've already eaten well and did your workout for the day? Things that you would just never think about, and because the sum total of time that you spend not doing your health stuff, you don't even think of the loads that you're creating during those times, and those are really kind of the makers of the diseases of affluence that we talk about, or what I like the diseases of captivity because we are animals, they don't move around very much. In the bigger picture, even your greatest athlete is still, for the most part, sedentary because we still got to spend all of these hours in front of the computer, we still drive quite a bit of the time. So that's what I'm talking about with alignment, and I want to clarify a couple of things. One, alignment is not posture, it's not like a fancier or smarter word for posture.
Ben: That's actually what I was just going to asked you 'cause I'm curious like how you would differentiate alignment with posture.
Katy: Well posture, you don't take your car into the mechanic to fix your car posture, right? You're not trying to find an optimal position to drive your car in. That would make driving very difficult, right? If your car wheels didn't move. What your mechanic is doing is the mechanic is finding the best orientation on an axes, and making sure that the ranges of motion that the wheels use are the same right to left so that you don't have low variants from right to left sides. So that the way that you drive your car doesn't wear out any one part before it wears out any other part, you're trying to get the machine at the end of the day to all wear out about the same time. And with the machines, I mean it's a little bit different because all of your property, material properties are fixed. You know like your rubber is going to wear out and your brake pads are designed to wear out. They're not indefinite properties, but with the human body, the human body regenerates based on load.
So when you have loads that are imbalanced. You might get a tissue that regenerates too much, and then that case would be like a bone spur, right? A bone spur is when you have more mass, you've changed the rate at a very specific load point which is great for that bone. If you've got a tendon because of the weight, you use your body position-wise that creates more friction than the bone will grow in response to that friction to protect itself, but unfortunately what the bone does to protect itself now becomes a liability for the tendon that slides over it. So you end up fraying for, let's say a bicep tendon if you spend a lot of time in your shoulders internally rotated, and it's all because your body is responding to these loads that are placed upon it. So that's the first thing I like people to understand as I'm not talking about the way that something looks, I'm taking about the way something works, so that's the easiest way I like to separate the two. Posture is just like what's the geometrical position? Is it good or bad? Which is very subjective. You know, what's good to one culture or one group of people. You now ballerinas have a very specific aesthetic.
If you spend time in sports, if you're on the field, there's an aesthetic that you learn that primes your body for doing that particular thing, but I'm talking more about the positions and the frequencies of positions so that the end loads that you get don't really cut into one particular tissue. The platform is trying to take all of your cells and let them regenerate in a what that lets you do something now and as long in the future as possible, including these basic things like living, like I'm not always taking about performance, because performance is often times trading, the help of a tissue now.
Ben: Right. Now does this kind of relate to what you’re say in your book is you talk about stacking, does alignment kind of relate to the way that you stack your body?
Katy: It can, it's a way you create loads. So a load is, imagine when you step on a scale, you're creating a load. So anytime that you change the position of one part relative to another part, you're changing essentially the weight that's felt on the scale just below. In the big picture your whole body gets on the scale, and it's like hey, my body weight is this, and the load to my scale is my body weight and that's real easy. It's an easy way to think about it, but it becomes more difficult when you realized that the load to your body is felt on the cellular level. If I'm holding a bowling ball, let's say I go bowling and I got a bowling ball in one hand, I had placed, what's a girl bowling ball. Eight pounds?
Ben: Yeah, six to eight pounds depending on the size of your guns.
Katy: Right, so somewhat around, just to make myself feel better, let's say I take like a fifteen pound bowling ball. That fifteen-pound bowling ball, that fifteen pounds is not loading my body equally. I've got the hand that's holding it, is taking a greater brunch. I have axes, and so the weight that I'm holding in my hand tend to torque my body to one side so I have to fire and oblique on the opposite side of the balls. So it's not about symmetrical use, but it's about understanding that things that you do. If I looked at every single, every trillion cell, the multiple trillions of cells, every cell would be experiencing every load uniquely, and it's about making sure that all the loads that I experience, the frequency ranges, so that I can participate with all my cells in my movement.
Ben: Right, gotcha. So I mean like one think that I've been thinking about since I read your book is, for example, I stand. I'm standing right now, I use a standing workstation, and this whole concept of stacking and the way that my feet are aligned underneath my hips are aligned underneath my shoulders is something that I've been way more cognizant of since I read your book. Just because of, and you explained this really, really well in your book, how the way that you kind of have your body stacked throughout the day affects the different loads that are placed on different tissues, and you can literally just kind of paint yourself into this corner when it comes to setting yourself up for injuries, just based off the way that you kind of stack your body, whether you're sitting or standing. I know later on, we'll talk a little bit more about how you're not the biggest fan necessarily of standing if it's done the wrong way, but that being said, I'd like to jump in some of the specifics of some of the stuff that you talk about in your book. You talk a ton about the psoas. Now why is it that this muscle called the psoas, first of all, remind the listeners where the psoas is and then explain to me why that muscle is so important when it comes to the stuff that you talk about?
Katy: Well the psoas is a monster. I mean basically in terms, and not mass. I mean it's not the biggest of your muscles, it doesn't have the greatest cross sectional area. It's not the largest, but it crosses over the most joints. So if our listeners, and I'll even do this myself, if you reach behind you and feel with your thumbs the bottom of your ribs, you can kind of feel down to that last rib. Closer to the spine but at that altitude of your lowest rib is where it begins, and then the psoas then goes from that point behind you, and it ends up attaching if you bring your hand around to the front of your leg or the femur, it attaches to the top of the femur in front of you.
So what it ends up crossing over are the lowest thoracic vertebrae, all of your lumbar vertebrae passes over your pelvis, and it attaches over on the other side of your hip. So as it moves, it single-handedly has the ability to deform your knee, your hip, your pelvis, your sacrum, all of your lumbar vertebrae. It also attaches to your inter-vertebral discs, so it attaches directly to the discs. When people have bulging discs, a lot of times, they don't really think about that it's something that they're creating through the way they load their discs and the psoas when it has a lot of tension, can pull on them and pull them to get them to bulge to the right or out in front of you. It can take your entire rib cage and distort your rib cage so that when you're talking about stacking, when you're trying to stack your torso and your psoas has adapted heavily to sitting, unfortunately it's not only a monster in terms of what it covers, but it really single-handedly has to adapt to the sitting position. Sitting-in-a-chair position or cycling, when you cycle a lot. It's the muscle that when you're done with your triathlon, you're trying to transfer from your bike to the run while your legs just won't go, you know? Because you've spent all this time curled up in a ball, and it just shortens.
It's why those first few thousand steps, you don't get the stride because it's adapted to what you do, and it's adapted to what you did for one to three hours. Imagine how many hours you've been sitting your entire life that adaptation is. Semi-permanent, you can change it, but it's not something that as soon as you're done sitting, it just goes back to its original length. So it really wreaks havoc on anything from the knees to the ribs, and the muscle itself houses the lumbar plexus. So your nerve supply for everything from your ribs to your knees also runs through there, so it's just the pain and everything.
Ben: Yeah, so if somebody say has a psoas issue, like if their psoas is tight, if somebody's listening right now and they want to just palpate and see hey, is my psoas tight or they wanted to kind of test and see if it's tight? Or even if they wanted to say stretch it to see if it's tight? Is there some simple way that you could kind of figure that out?
Katy: Not super easy because there's a lot of joints that pass over, but what have people do, I'm going to spell it for your listeners because I don't think it's most intuitive spelling if they want to go look it up afterwards, and it's P-S-O-A-S.
Ben: Yeah, somebody already shot for that one.
Katy: Yeah, and well there's a whole other grammatical issue associated with it which you probably read about it which we won't get into, but anyway. If you sit on the floor and you put your legs out in front of you, your hamstrings should touch the floor, so I'm doing it right now. If you could hear, I just changed position. I'm putting hands underneath my thighs, my thighs rest on the ground, but when you go to lay back on the floor, you shouldn't have to change your leg position, right? You lay back on the floor. If the backs of your hamstrings come off of the floor, so that they're no longer making contact when you lie all the way back. That's a good indication that your psoas isn't long enough to allow you to have your legs and your back on the floor. But because of the complex way that it works, sometimes you will be able to have your legs on the floor. So I'm going to give you a second modified approach which is your hamstrings are back on the floor, you're sitting back up, you lay back down. Maybe your hamstring stayed down, but your rib cage is now up. Especially the bottom ribs, you could fit your hands underneath the bottom of your ribs because those have lifted away from the floor. So that's the primary test to see if your psoas is essentially carrying so what I call chair baggage.
Ben: Now what about if you just get into a lunging position and you reach overhead and like the front of your leg that's extended out behind you, when you're in that lunging position. If that feels really, really tight, can that kind of be a sign of a tight psoas?
Katy: It can, it can be a sign of other things too, but yeah. A psoas will be a limiting factor in a lunge, so if you get into a lunge and you feel like you're unable to move your pelvis forward. So when a lot of people lunge, they tend to tip their pelvis interiorly. So you can do a lunge and bypass the psoas by being pretty sneaky about it. I think in the book though, there's some clarifying points. So if you watch these two points when you do a lunge, it'll be more psoas specific than if you do it another way.
Ben: Yeah, and you know the other thing that I noticed is I used a foam roller a couple of times a week, and if I had been on airplane and travelling a lot and I get on the foam roller and kind of roll around like the upper front of my legs, it's almost like so tight and spasmy that it almost like tickles rolling right around the front of the leg and I know if it's just teeth grittingly uncomfortable right around in there, that usually is because I have a tight psoas, and like I can feel it in my low back and everything.
Katy: Well, and yeah, you got your psoas. Your psoas attaches pretty high, you also have your illiacus, and then you got your quads, and you can't really separate them. Like when you're foam rolling on your thighs, your psoas is a lot higher up closer to the point.
Ben: Yeah, no like my crotchal region is like rubbing up against the foam roller, and I'm like up on the side of it. So yeah, playing with fire, foam rolling up that high for a dude, especially. But yeah, I definitely think that everybody should go out and especially check out the psoas section of your book or go over to Katy's website katysays.com and just do a search for psoas and read what she talks about there. Incredibly important muscle and especially like with the cyclists and the runners I train, I would say a tight psoas is like one of the number one issues that either reduces power in the bike, reduces stride length or like ground force production on the run, or else just causes them to have a little back pain when they're exercising, for sure.
So kind of related to this is the whole shoe issue, and there's a specific type of shoe that you really, really don't like 'cause I know that you talk about it in the book a lot, and that's high heels. And guys, before you tune out, I know that some guys out there wear cowboy boots, some of you wear big, built-up heels with huge drops for running and stuff like that. Some of this stuff going to apply to you too. But Katy, why aren't you a fan of high heels?
Katy: Oh, I don't know. I mean I'm a fan of fashion. It's not that I hate fashion, I'm not a fan of doing anything to any machine where you pivot it 30 degrees off its axis and expect it to run well. I mean that's essentially what a heel is, and a high heel is just another way of saying a positive heeled shoe. Thanks for telling your non-high-heeled-wearing population, I'm really talking about what's called positive heel. So anytime when you put on a shoe where your heel rises above the ball of your foot, it does the same thing. It's like what's one or two inches? Well when you're five-foot-eight to six-foot-three, it's a huge deviance of platforms, so it's like taking a huge wedge. And if you create torque, you create quite a bit of forward torque, and then your body has to create what's called counter-torque. So again, it's a huge effector of the load, there's a lot of literature that's showing how it's affecting the bones and the tissues of the foot and the ankle and the knee and the hip and the pelvis tilt and all these things, just because of what you kind of slap unconsciously onto your foot, and as a parent right now, I'm actually more concerned with I can't find a kid's shoe. It's really hard to find a kid's shoe that automatically doesn't have that little tiny heel put on. I was just like, why?
I can't even find rain boots here in the Pacific, Northwest for my one and two-year-olds, they don't have. You know a half-inch heel, and it seem like it's a totally benign thing, but as I like to say, you know it's not rocket science. It's tenth-grade geometry. It's really simple and really not good for you.
Ben: Yeah, so explain to me this whole 30 degrees thing. How exactly does that tilt affect the body higher up?
Katy: Well, do you have a bookshelf in your house? Like if you have a bookshelf your house, the taller something goes up, if you elevated two or three inches at the base of it on one side. So let's say you have a bookshelf, it's against the wall, and you under one side of it put three or four inches of arise, you would see that your whole bookshelf would tilt, more than just three or four inches. It's just trigonometry, right? So it ends up tilting, so that the top of the bookshelf can be displaced a couple of feet from where it's supposed to be. So that two inches because the lever or your height is so long, the leverage of that is pretty great, and I have a video demonstration of it on one of mine, I think maybe on the YouTube site.
So people can see, I actually do a demonstration where I take six-foot foam rollers and then just put a one-inch heel on top of a foam roller, and you could see the forward pitch. You don't really see it as an extreme in our body, right? Because I can counter that forward displacement at my ankle or my knee or my pelvis, so I can make subtle adjustments so that visually, you don't see how far forward projection there is going on, but the damage is in that backwards rotation of all my joints to cope and that it's continuous and that it's chronic.
Ben: Yeah, I can tell you right off the bat, I used to wear cowboy boots like all the time 'cause I just thought they look kind of bad ass and I have some really cool cowboy boots. I would wear them to conferences and jut be destroyed at the end of the day and didn't really… I'm a freaking biomechanist, you know? And I just never really drew that corollary until I started either wearing my Vibrams or I wear another minimalist shoe called a Skora and started spending the day on those, and it wasn't just the difference that I felt in my back and the tightness of my hip flexors but also my overall energy at the end of the day was higher after not wearing the shoes with the higher drop. Have you noticed any effect on physiology or on thought patterns or on anything that kind of goes above and beyond just biomechanics when you're looking at a day in high-heeled shoes versus a day in a shoe that's with a lower drop?
Ken: Well 'cause the most interesting research I've seen on high heels is the link to schizophrenia, I kid you not.
Katy: Seriously, and I believed I linked to the source in the “Alignment Matters” book. It's about high heels and science because I think it's a European source where they can track back that behavioral thing, but even physiologically, you're looking at it. When you start playing with your lever systems chronically, there's a difference between what you do every now and then and what you do chronically because you affect things more on the micro-level for long term. Like for example, women who had worn high heels for, I believe it was over twenty years, they had a permanent shortening of their calf muscles, 13%. Okay, so you actually remove muscle mass because what happens is if you put a wedge underneath your heel, it's basically planar flexion, right? You're planar flexing, so you put a shortening load to the calves. So at first, there's just a sarcomere overlap. At first, there's just a passive rearrangement that happens, but when you stay in that position for a long period of time, your body no longer manages or it doesn't maintain the number of sarcomeres anymore, what's the point? If you've been in planar flexion for the last 30 years, you don't need that full length of calf because you've never dorsiflexed to the point where you need it. So your body just absorbs those, in the same way when you don't do a lot of cardiovascular exercise, you just absorb your capillary beds. You don't maintain tissues that you never use, so you're actually removing energy expending lean mass from your body simply by the geometrical positions that you have it most frequently.
Ben: Yeah, and by the way, I looked at that study while you were explaining that, and sure enough, it says that you get decreased, synchronized stimuli when you are wearing high heel shoes from mechanoreceptors in your foot, and this actually decreases activity in, get ready for this, their cerebello-thalamo-cortico-cerebellar loops in the brain which decreases dopamine activity in the brain. Very interesting stuff.
Katy: Think about that next time you get dressed.
Ben: There you go, yeah. Alright well cool, let's move on. For any listeners who are left after that mouthful. You mentioned bookshelves which I think was a great segue because you talk about how you kind of have this unique perspective on furniture, especially like couches and chairs and stuff like that. Tell me about why you don't necessarily use furniture all the time.
Katy: Well furniture is basically comfort, and I have no problem with comfort. But again, it comes back to geometry. When you look at outside of your exercise time, when you look at the geometry of your body, you would find that probably eight to ten hours is only the exact same configuration, and that's a huge problem for the body because it means that the load cycle that you're varying through the strain and stress and strain rates that you're pushing on your tissues, the metabolic activity in your body is extremely low because the movement is just a repetition of the same pattern, more and more and more and more.
So it's not just about not moving, it's about adaptation to that geometry that you frequent the most. So I have two kids, I have a one-year-old and a two-year-old. I don't have a lot of time to do things beyond my regular life. You know I can fit extra movement in here and there, but when I looked at how much I wasn't moving, it totally trumped the amount of time that I was. And so I was like, well what can I do? I don't have time to go to a yoga class for an hour, I don't have time to do a bunch of squats, but I can just sit down on the floor, and every time I sit down on the floor, I'm essentially doing what I would have gone to an “exercise class to do”. I get the lows if I have a squat toilet too, so it allows me to get a lot more…
Ben: You mean like a Squatty Potty?
Katy: It's a Squatty Potty, yeah? This kind of thing goes around, so it means that I don't have to think about exercise as something I do outside of my regular life. I just move more in my regular life, and I find that I don't have the time crunch, that stress, and it's good for my kids too. My kids don't sit in chairs, we don't have chairs in our home. We've got pillows, maybe bolsters. We also have a giant monkey bar rack with rings inside our house, we're really trying to create an environment that's more like the natural movement environment that we would have found before we had everything that we have here, and it's the same reason I don't keep ice cream in the house. If there's ice cream in the house, it's so hard not to eat it. It's so hard against your humanness.
Ben: Oh even healthy, you know my wife makes coconut ice cream, and that stuff disappears fast.
Katy: Yeah, it's good. Just flopping down the couch when you're tired is good, but it's only good that part of your brain that is searching for energy conservation, so I just made it so I don't have to keep deciding. It's just my house sculpts me into a better or a more well-shaped, and it's about time.
Ben: Since I read your book, I've been doing things like just setting my laptop down on the floor, and kind of getting into weird positions. I've eaten a few times, just dinner with the family. We've been eating on the floor instead of at the table, and you used different muscles. You kind of get into these different positions, you find areas that you're not flexible in and even just the process of going all the way down to the floor and then standing up versus sitting down on a chair, and then standing up is more metabolically demanding, and this is actually one of the workouts that I have my kids do is I just have them sit down on the floor and then stand up and then sit down and then stand up, and we see who can do the most times in 60 seconds just doing that. So yeah, I think it's kind of a cool perspective once you start to look at your furniture and your house through different eyes and use the floor as almost like this tool for retaining mobility and elevated metabolism, all that good stuff, so I love that section of your good book.
Now speaking of standing, and I'm standing right now, there's all this talk about standing workstations and how standing is good for you and sitting could be killing you, but when can standing be bad?
Katy: Well standing is just like sitting, it's a single fixed position. So over time, the reason we went to so much sitting in the work place was because of all the standing in the factory injuries, right? That's the history of ergonomics, and so we want to really make sure that we keep a really big eye turned to the bigger problem. The problem wasn't sitting, the problem was that sitting equals not moving, right? It's the repetitive use of a single position, so to stop using that single position like i.e. to stand up, that's awesome because you start loading your bones more and you're more metabolically active by doing so. But if we all just only make the transition to standing workstations, then in 20 years from now, we'll be all the literature saying it's standing that's killing you, and now we are going to lay down. It's kind of like all car accidents happen within fifteen miles of your house, so you just move. You know, it's like that kind of over-simplified. It's logical, but it's not very valid of a statement.
So with standing, standing is great, but like you said, thinking outside the standing workstation to well how about a sitting-on-the-floor workstation. How about just sitting on the floor cross-legged versus widening your legs out, nice and wide. So in that way, you can be cycling through loads, and if you are going to stand at your standing workstation, we like to pair it with the things like the calf stretch. We have here, for some of our standing workstations, you could put a cobble stone mat out in front of it, and you can kind of fidget or move around. It's about movement, right? You're spending your whole entire career saying you have to move, and so I don't want people to focus on the correct “posture” to go oh, this is how I stand. It's like you're only doing that so that once you start moving, your loads are better. We all have to just move more, the end. You know, that's just it.
Ben: Yeah, and that's certainly something I've been kind of focusing on is I've got this little stool. It's like this log stool that's right next to my standing workstation. I'll put one foot up and one foot down, and then switch the other foot up and the other foot down and then set my laptop down to the floor and sit down on the floor and then stand up, and pretty much every hour I've been changing positions. And when I read your book, it just reminded me that just because we hear you're supposed to stand, stand, stand, a lot of people stand with just crappy posture, shoulders hunched over and their butt just kind of sagging there in space. You know it's bad, so I love that you point out the idea that standing is not necessarily a good thing so that's something I think a lot of our listeners, who I know are using standing workstations, need to be aware of that you got to bear it in mind.
Katy: And all standing is not equal, like all running is not equal, all walking is not equal. You can't scientifically just say she stood or he stood, you have to point it out on a graph and go wow, look at those two people doing “the same activity in an entirely different way”, and it's the way that we're interested in on a cellular, physiological level. The way you do something is more important than what it is that you're doing, as far as outcomes are concerned.
Ben: Right, now going to totally change directions here, you have these special socks that you wear. Tell me about these special socks that you wear when you go to bed.
Katy: Those are alignment socks, and so they are the socks that you put on that have holes for your toes to poke through, so it's basically like having someone spread your toes for you but for eight hours at a time, and I don't recommend that people wear them to bed. When you first start wearing them, I recommend that you maybe put them on for 10 or 15 minutes, you know while you're watching TV or walking around the house because it's just these little, tiny, fuzzy, benign socks.
Ben: What are they called again?
Katy: The brand is called My Happy Feet.
Ben: My Happy Feet?
Katy: Yeah, alignment socks.
Ben: Why would somebody even need to do that?
Katy: Well, look at how much time you've spent with your toes being pressed together by a passive environment of your shoe. You don't think of it as you haven't had time to to stretch your toes away from each other. You're like they've just been in shoes, but they've been actively being presed together and your tissues have atrophy to match your footwear. Feel like you had worn mittens your whole entire life, you would have lost the ability to abduct or spread your fingers away from you. You've lost that for your toes too. Their natural resting position is not natural right now.
Ben: Gotcha, now if someone is making a transition, say to minimalist footwear from having worn like big, built-up footwear or high heels or cowboy boots or whatever, would these actually help them make that transition?
Katy: Yeah, that's part of it. Everyone jumped into minimal which was great, but they kind of lost their mind when it came to basic principles of exercise science and the laws of specificity. It's like you just took your shoe, your foot that's been in shoes for 30, 40, 50 or 60 years. It's like taking your arm out of a cast, and then they started running on it and the loads were just too high and then they started having fractures, and people developed coping gate mechanisms to load their foot as little as possible. It's like you have to restore, you have to go back to what are all these muscles are supposed to do? How can I un-atrophy, not just the muscles, but the connective tissue, the bone densities are very low on people's feet, and so there's a safe progression. And socks you wear, it’s part of it.
Ben: Yeah, cool. I love it, and I'll be sure and put a link to those socks in the show notes for those of you listening in who want to check them out.
Okay, so tell me about Kegel exercises. We've talked about Kegel exercises on this show before where you're contracting and whatever, contracting the muscles that stop the flow of urine, and you know, this is really popular among like women who want to stop incontinence or pregnant women trying to strengthen their pelvis muscles, but you kind of aren't the biggest fan of Kegel exercises per say. Why not?
Katy: I guess my problems with Kegels come from my time, that was my graduate research focus was pelvic floor disorder for women. So I understood, I believed the mechanism of why pelvic floor disorders come about more so than I think people prescribing the exercise of a Kegel understand. And when I talk about prescribing, I'm talking about like you can't read anything or listen to a women's health show that doesn't just automatically tell every women that she should be doing like a hundred to two hundred Kegels a day. No matter who you are, no matter what situation you're in, you just need to be doing them. So right off the bat, as a personal trainer.
Ben: And for the record, I actually do Kegels as well. We're going to be getting a guy named Jordan Gray on the podcast in a couple of weeks to talk about sexual fitness. That's why I do them, but go ahead 'cause I know you've got a unique perspective on them.
Katy: Well, my perspective is the reason you would need a Kegel would be some sort of pelvic floor issues. Like if you're talking about sexual function, your basic functions aren't there. Like your basic functions, you're unable to like actually have sex, or the enjoyment factor isn't there, like you're unable to have an orgasm. That would be like your non-clinical reasons for pelvic floor strength, but if you're looking at someone who has an issue, it would be like incontinence like you said. Prolapse, among some athletes, is very high, which is when the organs in women actually move down and begin to fall out of the vagina. It's not awesome, not cool at all.
Ben: Not a pleasant thought.
Katy: No, sacroiliac pain, tailbone pain and then there's just like general burning pain for men and women, just in the vulva or in the penis in general. So there's a ton of stuff that goes into that pelvic floor issue, but most of the time, especially in this kind of healthy, young population that we're having now, the issues have to do with hyper, too much tension, too much, and so the Kegel was an exercise that was designed specifically for women just after they had given birth. Like within 10 weeks of giving birth, after they had a sarcomere orientation where when you give birth vaginally, your pelvic floor stretches out. You know, four to five times its resting length, so you definitely have a very long sarcomere position that you would want to contract back up. And since we don't have the movement frequencies that we would have, like if you had given birth to a baby when there was no bed to lie down, you would just get back up and move on with your day. So you would get back to movement, and so the loads, the pelvic floor would kind of take care of that natural, restoration process. Well now you have a baby, and you just kind of lie down for a long period of time. You take it easy, and so this atrophy persists.
So the Kegel was that thought process of well, since we don't move, let's kind of fake contract. Let's simulate a load, but now, we've got all these people who have excessively high loads on their pelvic floor. There's a lot of running, you know the high-frequency, or if you're a cyclist, that's a lot of pressure and a lot of unnaturally high pressure which is linked to the pelvic floor disorder and the hypertension because as soon as your pelvic floor is resting on a seat, you naturally tend to reduce the load to it, and so there's already so much tension that the prescription for Kegel really needs to be modified because it's an indicator of a greater problem of the psoas and the gluteus and these high loads, and so to me, it's just a misunderstanding of a Band Aid that came from a long time ago that now has become the blanket that, in most cases, can be contraindicated. So it's just bad exercise prescription is what it is. It's unspecific, poor exercise prescription that all time makes the problem worse.
Ben: What's the best exercise that someone could be doing instead of a Kegel?
Katy: Well I don't know if there's a single exercise. What I try to focus on, on the corrective, is understanding that your pelvis is this really dynamic part of you that's involved in every motion that you do, specifically your gate. So I like some corrective stretches to help people get out of that tucked, flexed position, especially like you got psoas stuff. So it's like work on your psoas to get it, so it can release. You should be working on squats, your squats should be brought back into your kind of daily movement, nutrition, profile, right? If you have to eat vegetables every day, squatting is something that you also kind of get every day. It doesn't have to be big, extreme, athletic squatting, it could be just like I said propping your feet up on some folded. Turn over waste paper cans, and you'll go in the bathroom. You don't need any special equipment to do it, squatting down on the floor.
So it's more about increasing the range of motion of your hips and your pelvis in general, and then walking around with your pelvis a lot more. People don't do that much walking anymore, and there's a specific phase. You know like in a stance, extension phase of a leg, as you're walking, kind of when you push off. That's kind of the natural balancer, the pelvic floor, and it can help undo some of that tension. And then just noticing how kind of stressed and tense you carry your pelvic floor and working on that, and then you know, there's professionals who can help do internal work for both men and women, if it' a problem. If anyone's listing and going I have a hypertonic pelvic floor, there are people who you can work with directly to help you get rid of some of that tension.
Ben: Gotcha, cool. Have you ever heard of the book “Foundation” by Eric Goodman?
Ben: It's like a book, yeah I think it's called “Foundation”. It's either called foundation or core foundation, but it's a series of exercises that puts you into isometric contractions for your adductors and your posterior chain. I'm a huge fan of the book, I actually went down to Santa Barbara and did like a one-hour class with a personal trainer who taught these foundation exercises. Man, if I could make one suggestion as an alternative to Kegels, it would probably be to do those exercises. Those are the ones that I've really found to be just like they light up your entire pelvic floor, your posterior chain, everything. So those are really cool, that book's called “Foundation”. I had him on my podcast like two years ago, but really interesting stuff.
Katy: Yeah, the adductors. You know so much of the stretches that I recommend again, its adductors. Anything between your knee and your pelvis that's sitting again, it just gets short in the atrophy, and they don't innervate very well. There's not a lot of force and flow going through there, and that gets right up to the groin. So part of the research that I did was on adductors as well.
Ben: Yeah, for sure. Alright, well cool. Some other stuff I want to go over with you 'cause I know there's just like a boat-load of information, but we're going to plow through it a little bit more here just 'cause this is so cool. Okay, let's talk about sucking in your stomach. Like we always hear that we should suck in our stomach and make our abs tight and focus on, when we're standing up during the day to suck, suck. Suck the stomach. Why don't you think that's such a great idea?
Katy: Well I don't actually think that anyone has recommended that you should suck your stomach in, and I think that's the problem right there. I think if you're a literature reviewer or if you've been to a clinician, the recommendation is to fire your TVA or to get your TVA, your transverse abdominals, to innervate which moves…
Ben: Yeah, but that's not what you read about magazines and stuff, right? It's just like sucking your stomach?
Katy: That's why I stopped reading magazines. So there's a difference, everyone out there between having an innervated core and sucking your stomach in. Sucking your stomach in is an action of changing the pressure gradients and actually uses none of your core muscle whatsoever, except maybe your diaphragm. You might create a little hypertonicity in your diaphragm, so if you ripped your shirt up right now and it's like okay, I'm going to take your picture and this picture's going to be your Facebook profile, whatever your abs look like when I take your picture. You're going to suck in, and if you do it, you can feel that you intake air. You're moving air around and you're creating this kind of vacuum that pulls from the inside. It pulls any mass that you have on your belly towards your spine and up, so basically where your organs are supposed to be, so then your organs get shoved up against your diaphragm, and if you do it long enough and with a lot of intensity, then it is part of the pressure gradients that become a hiatal hernia, right? That's when your organs end up in your lungs, so no. Stop sucking it in, let all hang out and learn how to contract those muscles properly right now.
Ben: What should it feel like if you're contracting the muscles properly?
Katy: You know what? It's very subtle, it's extremely subtle. There is, I believe, an exercise on how to do it. If you get on your hand and knees, it's the best place to do it because then that place is the muscle against gravity, right?
Ben: Like a crawl position?
Katy: Yes, quadruped, get on your hands and knees and let your belly hang out all the way down. I say you get bonus points if you can get your belly button to touch the floor. Like all the way out because what you're really doing is we're needing to relax the diaphragm, and if you can't let your guts down and out, the diaphragm cannot be put back in its regular place, where it goes, and for those of you who have breathing difficulties, I strongly suggest that you check in with your stomach sucking in habit. You may not even know that you have it, but it affects everything, it affects the distance your lungs can inflate. I mean it's ridiculous what it affects.
Ben: Yeah, and that crawl position, you basically like get into a crawl position on your hand and your knees, and it's kind of similar to that cat-cow move in yoga, right?
Katy: Except your pelvis should not move. So when you get on your hands and knees and you let your belly all the way down, if I said okay, now fire your TVA. What most people will do is suck their stomach in, and their pelvis will actually rotate backwards, it'll displace. So that's a good sign that you're confusing pelvic tucking with firing your transverse abdominus, because your transverse abdominus should not move your pelvis.
Katy: And it's a good visual. Do it in front of a mirror, you know when people can go “Oh, all this time I thought that tucking my bottom under slightly and pulling my pubic bone up towards my head was my TVA.” Well a TVA doesn't work in that up to down plane, it's a right to left, kind of like the belt that you would wear on your pants. That's the direction of it, so people will mistake shortening the rectus abdominus all the time for it, and over time by sucking it in or using your rectus abdominus in lieu of your actual transversalis which, I'll do a side note, should fire like a dozen kids automatically. You know your kids aren't busy sucking their stomachs in, they just use their core a lot more. Their hanging from monkey bars, their applying such greater loads to their trunk at such greater frequency. Your TVA should be firing naturally based on what you do. The problem is you don't do very much, so the TVA just gets kind of lazy.
Katy: But when you do sucking it in and rectus abdominus, firing in lieu of the TVA, you actually, in the long term, weaken your trunk. So just over time, you get more fat mass. Weaker, more back pain because you've changed the geometry, again back to the geometry, to the point where the TVA really can't innervate when the skeletal bones are displaced just so.
Ben: Got it, okay. So don't suck your stomach in, earn how to keep your abdominals tight without making that sucking motion basically?
Ben: Okay, cool. Let's talk about a few other things. You talk about boobs and using the boobs as a biofeedback device. What in the heck are you referring to when you talk about using the boobs as a biofeedback device? And by the way, I've mentioned a few times that there is information relevant to guys here. Guys I'm keeping my fingers crossed that most of you don't have boobs per say. If you do, go back and listen to the Johnny [47:22] ______ podcast, but especially the women out there, Katy, what do you mean when you say boobs is a biofeedback device?
Katy: You know the book is just a series of shorter articles that I've written off for five years on a blog, all kind of edited together and organized in the book, but this was based on research that they did on, specifically running boobs. So boobs as women, and probably a whole lot of men realize during running, move in lots of different ways, so they can move right to left, they can move up and down and then my most favorite is the punching bag motion where they can move forward and back. And so just like if you've ever been to a conference, you wear like a key tag, like a name tag around your neck when you're walking, the way that tag attached to your body moves tells you a lot about your gate, right? Like if it's swinging really heavy or if you've ever worn keys and you've heard them really loud, anything that is not attached to you tells you about the forces you create when you are moving.
So boobs, they're attached to you at one end, but they're not really attached to you on the other end, so the way that your boobs move, especially boobs that wouldn't be contained in a bra, let you know if you favor one leg more heavily than the other, right? If you're running and you kind of land on one side, then the swing, they found in research, isn't going to be symmetrical either.
Ben: Right, gotcha.
Katy: So that's what I mean by that, it's just like the world's cheapest…
Ben: So it's just like a total way that you could put your finger on the pulse of your asymmetry?
Katy: It is, or your finger on your boob, if you will.
Ben: Yeah, finger on your boob, there we go. Okay, now how about let's jump straight from boobs to ear wax, a segue that I have not yet had on this podcast. You talk about the physics of ear wax, which kind of blew my mind. What on earth were you kind of talking about in the book?
Katy: Well you know, I think I talk a lot about just weird things, your orifices. The things coming out of your orifices, your nose hair, all these, movement transcends exercise. My big point including things like booger physics and earwax physics in the book is to help us hone into the fact that more of you moves than you realize. It's not just these 14 major muscle groups that we think about when we're training, movement is a phenomenon that's happening all the time. So how does wax get out of your ear? That is also movement, there's forces that are being created all the time, and when you can really tune into understanding that, solving health issues and improving your level of wellness. This gets so much easier because you realize that you are just a hundred-percent moving being. You know, it's like having bed bugs, and this is a total weird segue.
You're an organism, but all over you are a bunch of other teeny tiny other organisms, and the more you can see or break down what you are into smaller bits like the parts of you that undulates and peristaltic activity and microvili and all these things that are moving. It's easy to make movement a priority, I find. You know, you're trying to help motivate people to find fitness and health levels, and I think that when they understand there's all of this cool motion going on all over their body, it only makes our job easier.
Ben: So what would happen if someone has like earwax built up in your ears, and are there simple things that you can do to keep your ears kind of healthy and keep wax from building up in them?
Katy: Well you know, my dad is an air traffic controller, or he was an air traffic controller and a crop duster, and so he's taken a lot of ear trauma. Even putting headphones on and having sounds pushed directly into your ear, that's high in mechanotransduction for those ears, and so a lot of times your earwax is a build up to frequency of loads and a good indicator on how well the micro-movements are happening within the smaller muscles that we don't really associate with fitness. But all of the small facial muscles, the jaw muscles, and so it's just a good indicator for you to pay more attention to like how tight is your jaw? How tight are the muscles of your temple? All of these are muscles that can improve their mobility in the same way we want to stretch our calves and hamstrings. You probably didn't think very much about the fine motor muscles of the face.
A lot of people, that's what processes like acupuncture and massage. They help you get into those fine movements of muscle that should be there, that lead up to something as innocuous as “Oh, I got a lot of earwax.” Like what kind of ear trauma are you placing? You know we've all got these earbuds in our ears how many hours a day now, and that is something that we haven't really looked at. It's like what is the impact of taking those sound waves and pushing them up against the eardrums at greater frequencies and greater decibels than we're used to. It's going to be a really interesting time in biomechanics, you know on all different plains over the next 20 years.
Ben: Yeah, absolutely, and I like your tip in the book too, and this is something I've been doing just when I'm sitting around. I'm doing like massage, like pulling on your ear in all different directions and kind of opening it up and opening and closing your jaw, and I actually noticed a difference in my balance and the way that I'm tuned into the world and just kind of like the way that my vestibular system, to be a complete nerd. It feels when I'm doing that, and you know just simple self-ear massage. It's crazy, I never thought about doing that before, but it was a very cool tip.
Katy: Well, mechanotransduction is going to be the health of the future, and it's the process of applying loads to cells and outcomes that you get, and everyone, I just did my genetic testing. Have you done the 23andMe genetic testing?
Ben: Yeah, 23andMe, yeah.
Katy: And so people have different genetic-types of earwax. You know it could be more runny and more prone to clustering, but again, it's about what are these micro-movements that we are or are not getting? Like what is the outcome? And one of them can be, your balance can be off because of the tension around your ear canal, so it's like just drop your ear to one side. Just start working at least on that level, and then you can start just massaging your face, its super easy.
Ben: Yeah, it's super cool stuff. Okay, just a few more questions. You talk about chewing our food and how chewing our food goes above and beyond what we all hear about it just being the process of like helping your food to pre-digest in your mouth. Why is chewing your food so much more than just that, and I know it's kind of related to what we just talked about, right?
Katy: It is, it'smicro loads to your jaw, and if you want to go run a marathon, then you have to train for it, and training is essentially applying the loads necessary at a rate where the tissues can adapt so that you're able to perform whatever athletic performance you're after. Well, chewing your food also prepares your jaw and all the structures in your jaw like the teeth and the connective tissue that holds your teeth in where they're supposed to go. All of those loads are essential, so if you drink all of your food or if you only consumed pureed food, you would notice an atrophy in the connective tissue between the teeth and within the jaw itself. All those densities would go down, all of your bone densities and connective tissue strings fluctuate based on the loads that you place.
So we eat food 'cause we want the nutritive quality of the food, but what I like again, 'cause I'm a biomechanist, is people to understand that food serves a role of health beyond just eating it. The biggest picture of gathering it yourself and then breaking it down into smaller stuff. I mean there's a big difference between putting stuff into a blender to get it small and then you using a mortar and pestle to get it small, like the physiological action of those two all serve a role in human health, and so food, I think I did a post kind of like not really the Paleo diet is like here's an apple and then here's apple sauce, and you could say that the nutritional profile of the two would be equal, but the experience to the jaw would be different, and so how are you supposed to keep the connective tissues in your teeth and in your jaw, regenerating without the loads of chewing is my point.
Ben: Yeah, that's why even like when I make a smoothie, I make it super thick, and I put like coconut flakes and cacao nibs and stuff like that in it, and I never really drink my calories. Like I really make sure to chew them, and you know for me, it was always about just like giving the digestive enzymes a little bit more activity to work on that food, but what you say also makes sense. It's about blood flow and jaw and the health of your ears and just like working all these facial muscles that we have kind of lost the ability to use in a sense, you know? Just from eating quickly or not chewing enough.
Alright, I'm going to rapid fire just a few quick questions at you. So first question, if there was one stretch that someone could do everyday, if it was just going to hit most of the key muscles that tend to be tied on people, if it was going to be like one stretch that somebody could do when they're sitting at their desk during the day and they want to stand up and just like get the most bang for their buck and they've only got one minute, what would the best stretch be, in your opinion?
Katy: If everyone only did on stretch, it would be the calf stretch, and it's not because it's a stretch that gets most of the body in terms of stretching, and it's a very specific calf stretch that I have. It's in the book explained, you know? Multiple times, I believe, because it's how important that I think that it is. It's a stretch that undoes any positive heel-wearing shoe effects that you have lingering in your foot, Achilles' tendon, calf. It's a gas-struck stretch, so it would affect everything from the knee down to the toes, but really why it's most important, if you're only going to do one, is because the tighter your calf is, the more that your upper body, specifically the cervical vertebrae and your head are accelerated when you take a step.
So when the wave comes into the shore, you know how it curls over at the top, the reason it's curling over at the top is because the lower part is moving slower than the upper part. So when you've got a real significant calf tension problem, and most of us do, it means that every step that you take accelerates the tissues up to your head. So chronic neck tension, headaches, middle back pain, low back pain are all worsened by this calf tension thing that we've got going on. So before you spend a lot of money, try and have someone adjust your spine or massage therapy. Like the calf stretch just helps anything you're doing for your health stick, so it's my number one go-to.
Ben: And is that the one where you just lean with your foot against your wall?
Katy: No, you put your foot up on a dome or a rolled towel. There is no forward leaning because, right we want to stop the forward leaning. So we don't want to put it into our stretch either, so you can find it for free on my blog at any time. You can just go see an example of it, but you put your foot up on something and take a step forward. It's real specific you how the lower leg works in gate. So I'll let the video explain it.
Ben: Okay, cool. And I'll put a link in the show notes to that too, by the way, for everybody to Katy's blog and everything else that we talk about. Okay, rapid fire question number two. What do you think is the best sleeping position? ‘Cause you talk about this a little bit in your book.
Katy: Well I think, if you're kind of dealing with chronic pain right now, I mean it depends on that, but at least being able to lay flat on your back is a really good indicator of it's helpful for you to recognize what you need to work on. So if everyone can at least attempt to start sleeping flat on their back, you'll find really quickly if you're able to or not, so again, it's kind of like a biofeedback device. But I've kind of updated since the book on understanding that varying the way that you sleep is also pretty good as well as varying the surface that you sleep in. Like always sleeping on the same pillow in the same mattress isn't necessarily the best thing for your body because you adapt to it, and then if you're camping or you go over to someone else's house, and all of a sudden, your back and your neck are killing you because you don't have the sleeping profile that you've become accustomed to. So we don't want to get ourselves so weak that we're unable to sleep or take the pressures of lots of different surfaces, so it's a cross fitting for sleepers.
Ben: Gotcha, I'm definitely a side sleeper, and I kind of switch sides throughout the night. I’m from my left side to my right side, and I'm kind of a side-sleeper with one leg up a little bit and a pillow tucked under my side just slightly, it's kind of a weird thing, but ever since I started sleeping like that, my back feels like a million bucks and my hip flexors are open when I get out of bed, and that works really well for me is the one leg back and one leg slightly up, a little bit of a pillow tucked under one side.
Katy: Yeah, bolstering your sleep. Bolstering your sleep with pillows if you're in pain is a real easy way. If you're waking up in pain, the first step is wake up not in pain, so bolster yourself however you need to, and then you can start working on your mobility when you're awake.
Ben: Yeah, so remember folks. You've got your Happy Feet and you've got your bolstering. Okay, so last question, Katy. All the stuff that we talked about is really important, but it's also kind of outside the box. And whenever I talk about things that kind of defy the status quo, when it comes to nutrition or movement or exercise, something that's really important to mention is that none of us are going to be able to change the world unless we start with the next generation, with the kids who we're all raising, and I know a lot of listeners have kids or maybe there are aunts or uncles or grandparents or whatever, but they've got the ability to influence kids. Now I know that you have kids too, how many kids do you have?
Katy: I have two. A one and a two-and-a-half year old.
Ben: That's right, I know you just recently had a kid, so you've got a one-year-old and two-and-a-half year old. I've got five-year-old twins, and I'm trying to get them exposed to these kind of concepts at an early age. Everything from you know, they wear minimalist footwear and they eat a high-fat diet and not a lot of starches and sugars, and we get lots of kind of like mid-afternoon sun exposure. You know, I'm trying to drive this stuff into them, but for you, what would you say, especially when it comes to either getting stronger or improving posture or improving alignment, what would you say when it comes to something, like one thing that people could give to their kids? A gift they could give to their kids, in terms of teaching them something or making a change in what we've accepted as the status quo for kids, what do you think would be the most important thing to do?
Katy: Well gosh, it's such a tough question, but I think that it's less of what to do and more about a way of really looking at our relationship with movement and how without even realizing it, we as parents, we kind of as a society, really breed movement out of our kids’ right at the beginning. We're trying to breed exercise. You know, be still in your chair, be still at school and be quiet. We're tucked into cars and we're fixed. I think if we could just start, all starting to see that at the same time 'cause we're all also trying to deal with the childhood obesity thing at the same time, right? We're like why aren't our kids moving more? But if we can start talking about why is it that we're spending millions of dollars of research on like a loss of bone density in children, but at the same time, not recognizing that they sit down for eight hours a day as part of the way that our society works? Is there a way where we can work in our schools and say you know what? I think that our kids can sit on the floor instead of always in a chair. Who's in charge?
I made a poster called think outside the chair, and there's some great work by Gordon Hughes from the early 1900s. He was a researcher, anthropologist who went all over the world and calculated all of the resting positions used by all the cultures that weren't ours, and he has a poster of 80 different ways that you can sit but not be in a chair. And so it’s just a poster that I have that I recommend that all schools get and say you know, how about in kindergarten or in circle time or in your home that just beyond your refrigerators. Because kids do less what they're told and more what they see. If you sit down on the floor, your child is going to sit down on the floor.
Ben: Yeah, I think that's awesome. I mean a lot of the stuff that you talk about for adults in your book, you know there are just things that you can start doing with kids, I love it. We could go on and on and on, but folks, I would just recommend you go grab this book. It's not super dense, you don't have to be a biomechanist. It's called “Alignment Matters”, one of the best books that I've read so far this year, and I read a lot of books. So that's saying something, and I think that it's going to make a big difference in your life if you go check this out and read it. So I will put a link to that in the show notes, I'll put a link over to Katy's other websites, I'll put a link to your Happy Feet socks that you can check out, and then finally I, of course, need to mention that this podcast is brought to you by audiblepodcast.com/ben.
Let me make one more, quick book recommendation to you for Audible Podcasts, Malcolm Gladwell, one of my favorite authors just came out with a new book over at audiblepodcasts.com/ben. You can download it for free, it's called “David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits and the Art of Battling Giants”, and if you've ever kind of been interested in how you can tackle the world, perhaps you think of yourself as an underdog or you're somebody who needs to overcome obstacles or disadvantages, this book sheds a whole new light on things. I highly recommend you go check it out. So again, it's called “David and Goliath”. It's written by a really cool dude, Malcolm Gladwell, and we have a really cool gal on the call today with us. We've taken an hour of her time, so Katy, thank you so much for your time and for coming on the call today.
Katy: Thanks for having me, Ben. I really appreciate talking with you.
Allow me to introduce you to Katy Bowman from KatySays.com – one of the smartest cookies I know when it comes to all things related to human movement, posture and biomechanics.
She rarely uses furniture.
She has a very controversial opinion on Kegel exercises.
She is in love with something called the “psoas”.
And she really, really hates high heels.
She’s kind of like a female version of the Supple Leopard guy (Kelly Starrett), and her book Alignment Matters is – in my opinion – a must-read for anyone who wants to learn how to troubleshoot the human machine and resolve the deeper alignment issues affecting your health. You’re going to be floored at the kind of things that can drastically affect your health – such as wax in your ears, looking at a computer screen for too long, and of course, high heels.
Through her blog, Katy Says, Katy has been educating hundreds of thousands of people about optimal alignment and natural movement since 2007. She has written several excellent and easy-to-understand books on biomechanics, including the one I just mentioned “Alignment Matters“, and also “Every Woman’s Guide To Foot Pain Relief“. In addition to directing the Restorative Exercise Institute in Ventura, California, Katy is also the producer and talent of the Aligned and Well DVD line, a consultant for Gaiam’s Restorative Exercise series, and sits on the science advisory board for various product lines.
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I personally just finished Katy’s newest book “Alignment Matters“. It starts with the feet and works all the way up to the head in a clear, engaging writing style that lays out a veritable user’s manual for the human body, including stretches, habit modifications, spiritual insights, and enough laughs to soften even the tightest psoas.
In today’s podcast, you’re going to discover:
-Why your alignment matters…
-The extreme importance of your “psoas”…
-Why high heels are destroying you…
-Why Katy doesn’t use furniture…
-Why standing can sometimes be a bad thing…
-Special socks you can wear at night to fix your feet…
-Why Kegel exercises may not be all that good after all…
-Why you shouldn’t suck in your stomach…
-How your boobs can be a biofeedback device (yes, I said boobs)…
-Why you should care about your earwax…
-What the best stretching and sleeping positions are…
-How we can get our kids stronger…
-And much more!
Whether you’re a couch potato or a professional athlete, you need to read “Alignment Matters“. If you have questions, comments or feedback about how to fix your body, align your posture and look and feel like a million bucks from head to toe. And by the way, here’s a link to The Happy Feet socks that Katy talks about!