S3 Ep 38 Erica Ziel Wants Your Movement to be Free, Easy, and Intentional

In this episode, Erica joins us as we discuss physical fitness, pregnancy, and the interconnected nature of our entire wellness.
S3 Ep 38 Erica Ziel


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Show Notes

Today, Erica joins us as we discuss physical fitness, pregnancy, and the interconnected nature of our entire wellness. We talk about the power of visualization and intention, and how even your day-to-day activities can be opportunities for improvement with the right mindset. Erica shares a little of her backstory and how she got interested in helping others with their well-being and physical fitness, and we also talk about her experience managing pain through physical training and fitness. 

Erica tells us about the difference between fascial strength and muscular strength, and how having too much muscular strength can lead to other issues. Fascial strength supports our regular muscles and forms how our bodies move, and we talk about some simple ways you can improve your stability. Lastly, we discuss the effects of technology on our posture and daily form, specifically phone use. Erica gives us some tips for managing our screen time, improving posture, and building strength and balance.

In this episode, you will hear: 

  • Staying fit and healthy before, during, and after pregnancy
  • Turning everyday movements into moments of intention
  • Managing chronic pain through intentional movement and physical training
  • What exactly is your pelvic floor?
  • The importance of maintaining a balance in types of strength
  • How phone use impacts our posture and causes muscle strain

Erica Ziel, mom of three, received her Health and Human Performance degree from Iowa State University, is a Functional Diagnostic Nutrition Practitioner, Board-Certified Holistic Health Coach, personal trainer and Pilates instructor, deep core and pre/postnatal exercise specialist whose mission is to help women live a healthier, active life and heal their body through movement, breathwork, and gut health. Erica is the founder and creator of Core Athletica®, The Core Rehab Program, Knocked-Up Fitness® brand, Pre/Postnatal Exercise Specialist Course, and host of The Core Connections Podcast. She believes that anything you want to improve about your health and life, you can!

Core Rehab:


Free Pelvic Floor Guide:


Connect with Erica:

Website: www.ericaziel.com

Email: [email protected]

Instagram: instagram.com/ericaziel

KUF Instagram: instagram.com/KnockedUpFitness

Facebook: facebook.com/EricaZielFitnessYoutube: youtube.com/channel/UCsViUoGDSJj6NH89KjmXC5Q

Connect with R Blank and Stephanie Warner: 

For more Healthier Tech Podcast episodes and to download our Healthier Tech Quick Start Guide, visit https://www.healthiertech.co and follow https://instagram.com/healthiertech

Additional Links:


Erica Ziel 0:00
I love to open up women’s minds that look, there’s so much more to your life and your health. And when we start to learn to put the pieces together, it not only can change how you feel physically, but how you feel energetically and emotionally and it all ties in together.

Announcer 0:18
Welcome to the healthier tech podcast, the show about building a healthier relationship with modern technology. Now, here are your hosts R blank and Stephanie Warner.

Stephanie Warner 0:30
Wow, our that was a really amazing interview. I can’t wait for our listeners to hear it. And are Did you learn something new today?

R Blank 0:39
Yes, yes, I did. i i Well, I guess I’m a little embarrassed to admit it. But I did not even know that men had pelvic floors. And because every time I’ve heard that talked about, I’ve heard it talked about in terms of women’s health. And I also learned how phone usage ties directly into pelvic floor health and back pain and posture. We really covered so much ground that I didn’t expect. I think the listeners are really going to like this one.

Stephanie Warner 1:08
Yeah, I absolutely agree and I cannot wait for everyone to hear it. Let’s get into it.

R Blank 1:16
Eric zeal is a Functional Diagnostic Nutrition practitioner, board certified holistic health coach, personal trainer and pilates instructor, deep core and pre postnatal exercise specialist and a mom of three. Eric is the founder and creator of core Athletica, the core rehab programme knocked up fitness brand, pre postnatal exercise specialist course. And host of the core connections podcast, which is an amazing podcast, Erica mortar education with her constant research and a hands on approach to teaching female clients. Erica is passionate about education surrounding wellness and taking a holistic approach to healing our bodies. She believes that anything you want to improve about your health and life, you can. So let’s welcome Erica to the healthier tech podcast. Hi, Erica.

Erica Ziel 2:07
Hi, R. Thanks for having me on you guys.

R Blank 2:10
It’s great to see you again. Yeah, I was I was just listening earlier today to the episode of core connections, where we chatted and was brought back a lot of nice memories. So it’s great to see you again. Yeah, you too. So I’m sorry. I have questions I want to ask you. But I love the name that knocked up fitness brand and

Erica Ziel 2:35
how that became.

R Blank 2:37
That’s bold. Oh, yeah.

Erica Ziel 2:39
So oh my gosh, it’s brings me back a couple of years. So the idea actually came about when my son who is now 13, almost 14, he was a baby. And I was in this stage of my life where I was really wanting to specialise working with, you know, a certain niche, right. And I had always always loved working with pregnant moms, I even worked back work with pregnant moms back when I was in college way before I was even planning to be a mom myself. And I did a tonne of research extra actually about like exercise, you know, during pregnancy, and things like that, you know, 20 years ago in college, and was just always fascinated by it. And so I don’t know, as I was in a small entrepreneur group, and we were kind of kicking around ideas and the whole idea of like, knocked up like kind of kept coming up. We’re like, why don’t we just go with like, knocked up fitness. And so it actually started like as a blog, and I didn’t know actually what I was going to do with it or where I was going with it. I just I’ve always been that person. Even when I was training clients when I was teaching small groups, stuff like that. I’ve always had that something else I’m always working on. I just said like, Hey, why can you just chill out? Right? But I just can’t I just said like, I’m like, I know, I’ve always got more to offer. And then when I got pregnant with my youngest, I was like, You know what, let’s create DVDs. You know, because I really saw a need for especially for training, the way that women were teaching were taught how to do core training during pregnancy and they were still doing, you know, crunches on the big exercise balls. And I was like, Oh my gosh, it was like nails on a chalkboard to me because all I could think about is how bad it was for her pelvic floor and her back and her her you know abdominals potentially creating diastasis recti type, things like that. So that was the kind of like the next piece that then kind of like just bled from that DVD when I was pregnant with my third to then creating more DVDs writing a book all about prenatal exercise and then eventually creating a membership, which now we do I do coaching on and kind of do a bigger, a bigger aspect of pregnancy not just fitness, but it’s really a wellness brand is how I look at it with a big focus on movement because there’s so much that so much healing and teaching that a woman can do for her body help her prepare for motherhood help her prepare for birth for postpartum recovery by doing the right techniques During pregnancy, I talk a lot about pelvic floor and helping helping women and moms just not have to suffer from all the aches and pains and dysfunction that so many women do. And they don’t even realise that there’s like, Oh, I could do something about it. I’m like, Yes, you can

R Blank 5:16
do that. So, there’s a lot, there’s a lot to unpack there. And I want to ask you, a lot of it, but you described it as a, as a wellness brand. And, you know, I was, I was clicking through your website, and I saw some really interesting content that I want to ask you about, which, you know, if you’re going to call it a wellness brand, what what does wellness actually, you know, what does it mean?

Erica Ziel 5:40
So I, because I’m always talking about, especially with movement, let’s start with that, like how everything in the body is connected. So we can talk about, you know, for example, back pain, right? A lot of pregnant women and moms are just like, oh, well back pain, just a part of pregnancy are a part of being a mom, right? And I’m like, Nope, it doesn’t need to be because I don’t have back pain. My clients don’t have back pain. I teach people how to not have back pain. And I’m always teaching, teaching women like look like it’s not your back. It’s necessarily the way you have back pain. We have to look at your entire bodies. So we look at all these different facets movement, breathing, pelvic floor function, how what’s what’s your pelvis doing when you squat? Like, are you still drawing your belly to spine, right? So when I when I then kind of branch out even bigger and talk about wellness, while you’re what you eat matters, right? Digestion matters a lot, especially with pain with inflammation, as we all know, your sleep matters, we’ve been telling everybody like, look like you cannot out diet or out supplement sleep, I’m sorry, you just cannot do that. And then our mindset, I am a huge, huge components are a fan of always telling my, all my clients, all my students, like look like you can go through and do the movements. And that’s great, and you’re gonna get results. But I encourage you to go through it with a bigger aspirations, like really visualising what you want for your body what you want for your life, and visualising your body getting stronger and healthier. Because we even know through research, right, that just the power of visualisation, you can get stronger. And then if you’re actually doing the right movement techniques, like it can transform your life. So that to me is is wellness. Because it’s it’s a lifestyle, it’s not, you know, it’s not just movement, and I do work with a lot of women that find me and they’re all they want to do. They’re like, Eric, I just want to strengthen my abs. And I’m like, That’s great and all but you can’t really do that, like, you know, they’ll be like, I don’t care, I don’t want to learn any of this stuff you talk about with my pelvic floor, my pelvic floor is fine. And I’m like, but you can’t properly strengthen your quote ABS without understanding what’s going on with your pelvic floor. And honestly, that goes for men too. But we don’t talk about that. That’s a whole other conversation. But you know, so it’s, it’s really starting, I love to open up women’s minds that look, there’s so much more to your life and your health. And when we start to learn to put the pieces together, it not only can change how you feel physically, but how you feel energetically and emotionally. And it all ties in together. You can’t just piecemeal just like, you know, you can’t just strengthen one part of your body. It’s it’s that way with your entire life

R Blank 8:20
really right? Do you find that the work that you do with your clients on on movement, that they trying to figure out how to ask ask this, but that it’s just something that they do when they’re exercising? Or is it something that sort of permeates the rest of them? Because you’re you’re supposed to be moving? Like all the time? The hour, you’re at the gym, right? So yes, does the movement work kind of change the way they move through life?

Erica Ziel 8:47
That is my goal. Yes. And I always, always open up with that, especially with my core rehab students, as I say, which is what I work with women before pregnancy, or after having babies or women who don’t have any kids. But they’re like, maybe I’ve got back pain or the pelvic floor, things like that. And I’m always telling them like, look like, I want you to do your movement practice as many days of the week as you can, even if it’s only 10 or 15 minutes, we know that’s beneficial. And I’ve seen that because I’ve worked with 1000s of women. But I also them and telling them, Look, you’re standing, you’re sitting, you’re wrangling little children or you’re carrying different things, right, whatever it is, throughout the rest of your day. And those movements matter. And you will get better results when you take the education that I’m teaching and you apply it to the rest of your days. And that’s also where like the visualisation piece. I was saying, you know, because I get a lot of women that are like, I just want to do my movement, practice, check it off my list and move on with my day. And I’m like, you could do that and you can get results but I’m here to help you get even better results. So let’s take what we’re learning in our movement, practice or exercise, and let’s apply it to the rest of our Life because ultimately, like you said, we’re moving, even just sitting here, I can choose to sit here and sit tall and be open through my chest and be able to breathe or I can be like super. Like, that’s not good for my energy, my nervous system, my bag or my pelvic floor, right?

Stephanie Warner 10:19
So I love the work that you’re doing. And I absolutely love your focus on helping women during pregnancy and getting ready for pregnant or getting ready for birth and having children. I feel like any credit touched on this a little bit. A lot of women, you know, we just kind of, you know, accepted and x, sorry, expect and accept that you’re going to have all of these different things, uncomfortable situations as you’re pregnant. And I love that you, you know, you’ve really honed in to this, this niche, and are helping so many women. And I wonder what kind of triggered that passion and in broadly, even your passion for health and fitness.

Erica Ziel 11:01
So actually, it goes way back to when I was a kid because I actually had I had knee pain that started when I was five. And wow, by the time I was 17. Yeah, I grew up taking way too much Motrin, which is something I strive for my own family and myself now, you know, like, Yo, take that stuff and less like it is absolutely necessary

R Blank 11:21
this knee pain at such a young age. So they kept saying

Erica Ziel 11:25
it was growing pains, right. And I was done growing for like 14. I mean, I grew up in the Midwest, small town, right. And, you know, mom would take me to the doctor, my parents tried for sure. But again, it’s you only don’t know what you don’t know, right. And finally at 17 when I was still having knee pain, and I was like, I wanted to be an athlete, and I was just injured every season. And in pain, right? Just had just, I was worth a little tendinitis strap around my knee, which never did anything, always got adjustments, you know, it was just like managing it. And we go to the Mayo Clinic, which is just, you know, north of where I grew up, you know, a couple hours. And it was the most, like, I don’t know, it’s almost like dumb, right? Like, so I meet with this physical therapist there. And they’re like, Well, yeah, you need to strengthen your legs. I was like, You’re kidding me, right? Like, I just need to go in the weight room and start strengthening my lights. Okay, I can do that. So that’s what I started doing. So I started doing Olympic lifting when I was 17. In high school. Luckily for me, we had an amazing strength and conditioning coach at the time, so he was really big on form. And so I started with an awesome foundation of strengthening my body. And that’s what got me interested in lifting weights. Worked. And yeah, so yeah, so then I studied exercise science. So it took me till I was 21, to be pain free, but I got to experience that movement is can be really healing for your body. And so that for me, like right out the gate with movement and exercise was, wow, there’s a lot you can do to heal the body prevent injury, right, all that kind of stuff. So that was my mindset right out the gate. And I’ve not had pain in my knees sense. And so that for me, I’ve always had that perspective, a little bit different, I think from you know, I didn’t necessarily go the route of, you know, how you can just, you know, all the periodization and all that stuff with exercise that I learned and all, you know, my training, which was great and everything, and there’s a time and a place for that. But I have always looked at movement, how can this prevent injury for someone? How can this help someone who has back pain or knee pain or pain, and I really prided myself in getting my clients, my students out of pain. And I notorious for doing that. And then I found Pilates. The end of college moved to California, dove and deep it was like a whole other degree. And you know, and then of course along the way, right was working with pregnant women, and just really started, you know, doing the same with them and being like, look like when we understand how to strengthen the deep core, which was an evolution over the years because obviously what I was doing 20 years ago, was a little bit more old school training, you know, but I also still had a different perspective because I was going about it as like, you know, getting rid of pain, pain prevention, but then I started discovering more about the pelvic floor, and fascia, which are two things that did not learn about at university. And once I started understanding really about the pelvic floor, the deep core like looking outside the box of fitness is actually what taught me the most about fitness. And so then, you know, that just started transforming, you know, just one thing after the other and then working with clients experimenting with movement, experimenting with breath work, and really started to see like, my ladies that I would work with, you know, for pregnancy, whether I worked with her before or she came to me during that her recoveries were so amazing. She had very little pain during pregnancy. I had so many women that had massive back pain before she got pregnant. Then she’d find me when she was pregnant. We get rid of the back pain during Pregnancy, which is like unheard of right that you just don’t hear of women who have crazy back pain for most of their life. And all of a sudden it goes away with pregnancy. No, but it’s because of how she’s moving and how she’s breathing. And, you know, we can really combat a lot of the common postural shifts that take place during pregnancy. And the thing is, if we don’t do that, that’s where a lot of dysfunction starts for moms, even if she can suck it up and push it through till she’s in her 50s or 60s, a lot of it actually goes back to those years of having babies, because of all those shifts that’s taking place in, in her body, but we can, we can really minimise that. And then when she knows how to breathe, and how to move and how to strengthen her core correctly, and she gets back to doing that soon postpartum, and really recover we, I would say, like rehabilitates her body, which is really what we need to do postpartum mom, women need to stop being like, I want my body back. I mean, you can have that’s fine to a point. But I’m always always like, last night, we just had a coaching call that I always do coaching calls in my programmes, because it’s so they’re so beneficial, right? And I’m always telling my postpartum moms, and they’re like, Okay, I’m itching to go running again. And I’m like, 12 weeks postpartum. And I’m like, that’s great. And I know you want to, but I’m going to tell you, please, keep following the programme, keep doing your doing your assignments every day, because that’s going to get you there. And we’re going to prevent injury, we’re going to prevent pelvic floor dysfunction, prevent your organs sliding out, right, like, all these things that happen, that women don’t realise can really happen to them until it does happen to them, or they don’t realise, like, you know, oh, I shouldn’t, I don’t have to have all this back pain. And I’m not saying we can provide it 100% Because sometimes, sometimes some of my pregnant moms, we are just managing minutes, because we because the other piece of this is that no one holds a baby perfectly square in their baby in their body in their pelvis. So sometimes, the way baby is positioned can cause twisting of the pelvis. And we sometimes can’t untwist the pelvis during pregnancy, because for baby to be say, especially if mom’s like 39 weeks pregnant, and baby’s down in the birth canal, and she’s ready to go into labour any day. If we’re to adjust that pelvis, it could actually pop baby up out of the birth canal, which I actually had that experience with my third because my pelvis twisted, and I’d have this annoying si thing and I was doing everything to manage it. It was it was manageable, it was fine. And I remember going for acupuncture. And because she was late, she was very late, my third child must have heard all the chaos, and she didn’t want to come into the world. And so I went for acupuncture, right to help stimulate labour. And she was also a chiropractor. So she was like, hey, I can help you with that SI pain. And of course, at the time, I was like, right? Well, I go back to my doctor a couple days later, she’s like, where’s your baby? Go? What do you mean, she’s still in there? She doesn’t come out. Like, Well, when I saw you a week ago, she was where she needed to be in your birth canal. And I was like, Oh, she must have popped her up. So anyway, I did all the stuff that I teach today to help moms still

R Blank 18:05
a super disturbing question.

Erica Ziel 18:08
That was what I was. Saying was is so I did all the stuff that I teach to, like, you know, encourage baby back down in birth canal. And I felt her shift because I felt my pelvis go, right. And I was like, sit back up. And there was my si stuff again, and I was like, Okay, well, it was a good learning lesson for me to then you know, we all learn from our own experiences I learned from a lot of my clients experiences and to be like, Look, I always tell my moms like don’t go get an adjustment in those last couple of weeks is especially with babies where we want baby to be because we don’t want to have a caesarean unless we absolutely have to. Unless that’s a plan. Right. Do you really mean, right? Oh, anyway, that’s a whole other kind of, I may have gone

Stephanie Warner 18:51
yeah, I am actually. I’m really curious. I think we all kind of know what what the pelvic floor is? And of course, women who have babies, you know, we you know, hear about it, of course, but what does that mean? In your work? Like, what, what exactly are you doing? And what are you referring to and a little more and a little more detail?

Erica Ziel 19:10
Yeah, no, it’s a great question, because I realised a lot of women don’t really even understand what their pelvic floor

Stephanie Warner 19:16
is. Right? You hear the word?

R Blank 19:18
What does that actually men don’t understand that. Okay,

Erica Ziel 19:21
well, I’ll explain it to Pharaoh. In the world of women, we many times think of our pelvic floor as doing cables to strengthen our pelvic floor, right? Actually don’t like women doing giggles just side No, because it causes to I see that it causes an imbalance in strength in the pelvic floor. Here’s why. So the pelvic floor like if you’re sitting right now, men can do this too. So you’re sitting right up on your pelvis, and we think from our pubic bone on the front of our pelvis, to our tailbone, and then our six bones to our sits bones. So if you’re kind of rocking on your pelvis, all of that is part of your pelvic floor. There’s All these different muscles that make up your pelvic floor, it is the base of your pelvis. It is the, your butt underneath your glute muscles. Okay? Yeah. And here’s the thing, too, if if you go to strength to activate your pelvic floor, and you’re trying to just strengthen your pelvic floor and you squeeze your glutes, you’re cheating. And it’s very common, I see that a lot. So we actually need to learn how to, one of the easiest ways to start to find your pelvic floor is to release and relax through your pelvis and your pelvic floor. And that’s actually really hard for a lot of people to do. But when we can let go, because we hold a lot of tension, women in particular, hold a tonne of tension in our pelvis. And if you’ve had a traumatic birth, even if it wasn’t a really traumatic birth, but maybe it didn’t go as planned, I find women hold on to that stuff. And we can hold on to other things too. But that’s just an example. And so sometimes even just learning to let go through the pelvis, the pelvic floor or the lower belly can actually help us to discover our pelvic floor, and it will just tell you, what,

R Blank 21:04
oh, I was just what? I’m just wondering why, why, why is what I’m trying to figure out the right way to ask this without sounding so out of it. But why is the pelvic floor seem to be a concept only relating in practice, to women’s health? And not to universal? Really

Erica Ziel 21:25
good questions are and I don’t have the answer for you. Other than it is becoming it is finally coming up in conversation more for postpartum health. I am hearing it I’m hearing more of that. I mean, I’ve been talking about the pelvic floor for 15 years, and smiling the last couple I’m hearing a lot more about from other avenues, right. You know, why is it not talked about for men? I don’t know, because it does matter. Okay. So like, for women in particular, it matters more in the sense, right? Because we can have more dysfunction, you know, we can have prolapsing, that happens, right? You get the incontinence, right, the leaking of the pain your pants, right? You can even get faecal incontinence, which is that that is actually what men contend to have a problem with. But usually it’s later on in life, that that can happen. And honestly, men should care and should know about this as well, because for optimal core function, we need to understand what’s going on with our pelvic floor. And so I’ll see with men not to get too off topic here. But with men in particular, right? They’ve done a lot of crunches over the years, and men can get like inguinal hernias and other hernias of their belly. And if, if we aren’t connected to our entire core, well, we’re not as fashionably strong as we really should be. Which, if we’re more fashionably strong, we’re preventing those hernias. Versus if we’re just muscularly, strong, we can have a lot of tension in the tissue. And we’re not as like fluid with our movement and our connections. If that makes a little sense. Yeah,

R Blank 23:05
yeah. So I know that a lot of your messaging is based in the idea that that back pain is not always or is actually possibly even rarely caused by the back itself. And I’m wondering if this this, this pelvic floor information that you’re sharing is directly tied to your approach to back pain?

Erica Ziel 23:24
It is? Yes. So absolutely. Whether I’m working with a woman or a man, it’s the same idea because here’s the deal, why does our back, why does our back hurts many times, it’s because it starts to spasm, or it takes it’s taking over, because it it doesn’t have enough support in other areas of the body, right, or someone’s tucking their pelvis a lot, or doing too many crunches and they’re just putting so much pressure in the back. And the way the body starts to compensate, if it starts to feel pain, is it starts to grab and get grippy. And the more we get grabby grippy muscles of our back, well, that can cause back pain, it can cause twisting of the spine. And then before you know it, you’re like my, the pelvic floor is not even working. hip flexors are taking over you’re really tighten your neck, it’s like all the wrong areas are taking over. And all the right areas like our hamstrings, the underside of our glutes, our pelvic floor, our lower belly, our mid back, are not doing the work. It’s like the zigzags of the body.

R Blank 24:30
Motor effect. Yes, certain muscles you will choose.

Erica Ziel 24:33
Yeah. And we have to teach the body how not to cheat. And so if you don’t have the right amount of string, that it’s not just having a strong abs people can have too tight of ABS and that can cause other issues too. And that’s where the world of talking about fascia and wheezing. I teach a lot of fascial strengthening and when I say that what I mean by that is because fascia wraps around all of our organs. It wraps around all the Our muscles every single muscle, muscle spindle, our nerves, all of that, right? So it really connects everything in our body together. So if we are approaching our movement with a more fascial fascial, the fluid strengthening perspective, we will then also become more muscularly strong. But if we’re just focused on strengthening our muscles, yeah, we’re going to become a little more fashionably strong, but it’s, but because the the fascia that kind of is overarching of all of our muscles. Does that make a little sense? So

Stephanie Warner 25:32
I’m a little I’m a little confused of what what fashion is exact. So I’m imagining like a connective tissue, but you’re saying it’s something that wraps are?

Erica Ziel 25:41
Yeah, it is. It is your connective tissue. Absolutely. But it does, it wraps around everything in your body, essentially, right. And so it really is what connects and so example like the back pain, for example. So say you’ve got, you know, your right SI is really tight. While some were opposite, likely that left hip flexor is going to take over and be tight too. So we’ve got these counter poles that are causing them pain. And so many people want to stretch, stretch, stretch all the time. But the problem is, if we just stretch our tissue, it doesn’t feel supported. This is why strengthening the body in the right ways. And always focus on creating space. fascial likes to be active, and lengthened. And then what you’re doing is you’re telling that fascia to become stronger, in a lengthened position. Does that make a little sense?

Stephanie Warner 26:35
Yeah, yeah, it does. It makes me wonder, too, with, you know, are you seeing? So how do I want to ask this? Are you seeing an impact on, you know, on the clients that you’re working with, based on their use of their posture and use of technology? So I’m sitting here thinking about, you know, sitting in front of my computer, when I’m looking down at my phone, you know, and how that affects my posture. And I’m wondering, is that have you seen that impact and posture? And how does that affect the pelvic floor? Also?

Erica Ziel 27:14
Wait, how much more time do we have?

R Blank 27:17
This is great. This is the beat. Yeah,

Erica Ziel 27:19
this? So yeah, no, absolutely. Oh, my gosh, I talked about this a lot, actually. Because I’m always telling people, like look like get a standing desk or like right now I’m sitting on a flat stool. So many times, I think we got to have the comfy chair or whatever. And it’s like no, no, do not use chairs with backs because people cheat and lean into them. Right. And then we get the rounded posture. The standing desks are great. I also am not a fan of like standing all day, because your body will cheat, you want to change up your position. So we sit for a while we’re sitting tall, opening our chests, right lightly lifting up through our bodies. So again, our fascial system is on a little bit. So we are training our body to be stronger in a lengthened position. But if we are sitting and rounded forward a lot on our phones. So the deal is fascia forms the way that our body moves. So when we’re so when you see people as they get older, they’re kyphotic, they’re rounded forward, they’re tight in that way, we can undo a lot of that by just simply working on improving their movement habits during their day. We can talk about that at the beginning, right, the movement we’re doing, how is that relating to the rest of your day? Well, all the work we’re doing on the computers being on our phones, it matters, and it’s starting younger and younger and younger. Like I get on my kids, because they started with computers so young, and I have to remind them, like, look, they don’t have teachers anymore, say and sit up straight, like we used to get told that they do not say that anymore in school. So those of you parents who are listening, even if your kids are really little, or even if you don’t have kids yet, when you do when they’re in that grade school age or older are starting to be on computers. And so you gotta be on him and be like, Look, you have to have top posture. I see girls at such middle school age starting to have horrible posture, and all I can think is oh my gosh, if their back does not already hurt, and their neck doesn’t already hurt, which a lot of them it already does. I’m like they’re gonna have some massive pain in

R Blank 29:21
you’re gonna have a steady stream of clients. I’m gonna have you, when you’re working with your clients, do you try to get them to be a little more, perhaps cotton conscious of their use of tech in particular, like, protect it, maybe it’s more than this, but I’m thinking particularly, you know, phones because of what that type of behaviours, but that encourages.

Erica Ziel 29:46
Yeah, I mean, I think I mean, I’m always so funny because I know some people will find me, you know, by being on technology or on Instagram or whatever, which is awesome. And everything happens for a reason. And then sometimes I’m the person that has to teach them and remind them Like, look, what are you doing? Like when you’re on social media, when you’re on your phone? Is it purposeful? And then we need to get off, right? Because I mean, I work with a lot of moms who are really busy, don’t have a lot of time. And I’m like, Okay, if you’re telling me you don’t even have 1015 20 minutes to move your body every day, how much time are you on your phone that is always on like trade your, your scrolling time, that is getting you nowhere and actually moving you backwards. Sometimes in life, maybe getting you worked up, like put it away, or spin, put a five minute alarm, whatever it is, search, look up what you need to look up, because I know I got my groups on Facebook, I want to, you know, check things out and stuff like that, too. And I imagined myself look like get off of it now, like you’re done. Go on and be productive with your day. Yeah, it really like there can be really good tech out there. But at the end of the day, I think it comes down to us, we have to be so aware of it. Because otherwise it sucks us in and then before you know it, you’re like, wow, I didn’t get my actual things on my list that I needed to get done today that’s making me healthier and making me a better human being.

Stephanie Warner 31:06
And then you have Sorry, sorry. And then you have the the pain, you know, and the neck problems and the you know, the back problems as well. So

R Blank 31:16
yeah, what so other than putting down your phone? What would be you know, one, two or three tips that people our listeners could could work on right now to to to improve their?

Erica Ziel 31:28
Yeah, sure. So some postural tips are, when you’re standing, don’t lock your knees. Because if you lock your knees, you’re going all into your back and your muscles are not getting stronger. I see Stephanie, like the women lock their knees. And if you do it and you’re standing, just try it, lock your knees, and then just soften them, you’re not like bending them, they’re just not locked. All of a sudden, you’ll be able to feel your pelvic floor a little bit more in time and your low back, the pressure goes out of the low back. And next one is stop clenching your glutes and tucking your butt because all that does is create too much pressure for the pelvic floor. Sidenote, most women have too tight of a pelvic floor. And that causes actually the pelvic floor dysfunction and back pain. So we need to let go of those glutes. Another one is to lengthen tall in my mind, this is a probably a favourite cue of my clients. Everyone’s like, Oh, I love that one. Just like if you can just remember to just lengthen up all the way through the top of your head, you just like throw a little bit taller, you turn your deep core on a little bit, you can activate your pelvic floor to get its light. And that’s the thing people think is like, Oh, I got to feel my core working like I’m doing 1000 crunches. And I’m like, no, no, no, when you’re actually properly activating your deep core, it’s so gentle, it’s so light. And so when we can just do that light little lift all the way through the top of our head through our day while we’re whether we’re sitting standing, walking doesn’t matter, doing squats doesn’t matter. We’re going to start to have more space between our bones, which our body loves, our nerves love. And we can start to get stronger and our posture can start to improve. And the last one I would say is stop jamming your shoulders back and down. Oh, I know. Everyone’s like, wait. I tried everything

R Blank 33:13
you’re saying is making me so sad, not just during this interview.

Erica Ziel 33:17
Oh, here’s the reason. Here’s the reason. And it’s not about having perfect posture all the time. It’s just trying to continue to improve and bring more awareness and you can’t improve it if you’re not even aware of it, right? The thing with the jamming the shoulders down and back is if I’ll show it on video here quick, guys, I’ll just come turn to the side with a neck. So a lot of people but I’ll try to explain it to a lot of people have a forward head, right because I’m kind of down and we’re like locked down in our chest, because we’re on our phones or computers a lot, right. So if our we already have a little forward head and we’re tight in the front of our neck and our pecs, and then we’re constantly all day long, like shoulders back, shoulders back when our head is still going forward. All it’s doing is creating more tension in our neck. Right? So what you actually should do instead is just let your shoulders hang out. Just let your shoulders be and just lift through your through your left your sternum left at the top of your head, your mid back will start to work more and your shoulders and your neck and time will start to relax. We are way too tense in those traps and in the big muscle here that’s in the front of your neck.

R Blank 34:29
So yeah, for everyone listening check out our YouTube channel to watch that video. It was it was pretty enlightening to actually see that act it out. Appreciate

Erica Ziel 34:38
Yeah, so the rolling the shoulders. I know it’s a hard habit blog pool to start. It’s like if you do it once a while fine, but I just see when people do it on a regular basis. It actually makes things tighter. I know sounds sounds crazy. But I will tell you today I always am telling people when they find me when they start with my programmes and like just you’re coming you need to come in with a mindset of like you are learning all sorts of new things about your body and about movement, because I am going to teach you the 180 of so much of what you’ve learned. And here’s the thing are, is that why it is? So I remember years ago when I was I was switching my personal training certification. I was taking one of the top ones, I won’t name it, but it was one of the it’s one of the top personal training certifications out there. And I was like, Oh, do I need to review this? The guy was like, Yeah, you should just review like our style. So you can you know, for our training, I was like, Okay, great. So it was going through their core section, and I just had this lightbulb moment. And I was like, This is why there’s so much dysfunction coming out of fitness, because they are teaching the exact opposite of core training of what I’m teaching. So we’re actually creating a lot of the core dysfunction. And again, it happens a lot of it, a lot of moms and during pregnancy and all that it shows up, because they don’t know how to strengthen their core because the techniques we’ve been teaching in fitness, they don’t work, especially for pregnancy or for anybody in my opinion, but they really, really can do a lot of damage during pregnancy.

R Blank 36:04
So that Yeah, and I want to so you’re talking about the core. And I know you have a lot of programmes i Anyone who just listened to the intro that I read for creative I like you have a tonne of content. But I was hoping you could. And I think this is a good segue for it. Right. Tell me a little bit about the core rehab programme in particular. What is it? Why did you create it? It sounds like it approaches this topic from a pretty unique perspective.

Erica Ziel 36:34
It does. Yeah, so it is all about movement. But there’s a lot of education in there as well. And of course, some other wellness topics we kind of talked about at the very beginning. But core we have is my signature programme. I created it because when I moved back here to the Midwest, let’s seven almost eight years ago now, I obviously got a whole new influx of new clients. And I was working with so many moms, like pretty young, like late 20s, early 30s coming to me with pelvic floor problems, the dialysis, the pain, all this stuff. And I’m like, and they’re being told in the medical world surgery, or you have to suck it up and just deal with it. And I’m like, what I was just blown away. And so in one session of working with her, I not only had her feeling a little bit better, but I had her seen that Oh, wow, there is so much more possibility for her body than anyone else she had ever been to ever gave her. They just left her in tears. And so I started right. I was like, Well, I teach this stuff all the time been teaching this stuff for years. I was like I need to teach this to women. So that was when I got on and I was like I created this programme. We have over 100 videos, and they’re crazy. I am a creative. I love teaching, like I said, so it really takes women it’s in like I kind of already said it really you gotta go in it with, Hey, I’m gonna learn so much new about my body and about movement. And when you go about it that way, it is amazing. What transforms like it not only helps women get rid of pain, but it literally can treat change their life like it is just it makes me so excited. So that is my main signature programme. It’s for, you know, moms, you know, whether you’re six weeks postpartum, or six years postpartum, or you’re in your 60s like I have, I have moms that take it and they’re like, hey, my mom needs this programme. I’m like, yes, absolutely. You know, it’s also for women who are planning to get pregnant one day, and they can get a jumpstart on learning so much about their body, even if you don’t have pain, I love when women can get in and do it as a prevention, because it just can amplify all their other workouts that they’re doing. So yeah, that’s my main one. And then I have my knocked up fitness programme, which is obviously when she’s pregnant, so

R Blank 38:45
so we’ll have a link to the core rehab programme in the show notes as well as your free pelvic floor guide. Beyond those, are there other platforms where you’d like our listeners to connect with you?

Erica Ziel 38:58
Well, I have my core connections, podcasts where it’s we talk about a lot of things, a lot of movement, pelvic floor, a lot of pelvic floor conversations over there. A lot of digestion conversations, kind of, you know, a lot of wellness topics or women’s so and EMF, it’s Yeah, conversation. Well, it’s a wellness topic.

R Blank 39:17
It ya know, super.

Erica Ziel 39:20
Yeah, you’re doing some great work. So I appreciate it.

R Blank 39:23
Well, Eric, I learned I’m actually a little bit embarrassed to admit how much I learned on today’s podcast with this interview. But this was really fantastic. And I want to thank you for taking the time to come join us here at healthier tech.

Stephanie Warner 39:36
Yeah, absolutely. This was wonderful. I learned a great deal about my my body and I know our listeners are gonna love it. So thank you so much for coming on today.

Erica Ziel 39:46
Thank you both so much, R and Stephanie. This was so great to chat with both of you.

Announcer 39:52
Thank you so much for listening to this episode of the healthier tech podcast. Remember to check the show notes for all the links and read Sources mentioned in the show, please like and subscribe to the healthier tech podcast on Apple, Spotify or your podcast platform of choice. Get your free quickstart guide to building a healthy relationship with technology and our latest information at healthier tech.co

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

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R Blank

R Blank

R Blank is the founder of Healthier Tech and the host of “The Healthier Tech Podcast”, available iTunes, Spotify and all major podcasting platforms.

R has a long background in technology. Previously, R ran a software engineering firm in Los Angeles, producing enterprise-level solutions for blue chip clients including Medtronic, Apple, NBC, Toyota, Disney, Microsoft, the NFL, Ford, IKEA and Mattel.

In the past, he served on the faculty at the University of Southern California Viterbi School of Engineering where he taught software engineering, as well as the University of California, Santa Cruz.

He has spoken at technology conferences around the world, including in the US, Canada, New Zealand and the Netherlands, and he is the co-author of “AdvancED Flex Development” from Apress.

He has an MBA from the UCLA Anderson School of Management and received his bachelor’s degree, with honors, from Columbia University. He has also studied at Cambridge University in the UK; the University of Salamanca in Spain; and the Institute of Foreign Languages in Nizhny Novgorod, Russia.

Connect with R on LinkedIn.

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