The TSY 21-Day Program
How and Why It Works
Let’s talk about what it means to be taller, slimmer, and younger (or, as I like to call it, TSY). A TSY body is not an obsessive, starved, overworked, or superficial body. It’s not the type of body that you torture yourself to obtain only to find that if you do achieve the results you’re looking for in the first place, they’re logistically impossible to maintain over time. Our body naturally wants to thrive, and indeed it does when it is loved by the person who is inhabiting it.
We’ve been told for so long that in order to look and feel good, we have to burn calories, push ourselves to the limit, and restrict our diets to the point where there’s no real pleasure in eating. I am delighted to tell you that this is simply not true! My years of experience working with clients from all walks of life have proven this time and time again.
Over the next twenty-one days, you will essentially be using the foam roller to regenerate soft tissue and elongate and sculpt the right muscles in the most balanced and healthy way, as well as relaxing the ones that need a break. I’ll also teach you how to work smarter, not harder, and give you tips to employ while you are moving through your normal day, walking from Point A to Point B. I’ll show you simple things you can do daily to take better care of yourself mentally and emotionally, and to transform yourself from the inside out.
To accomplish this, you’ll learn how to use the roller for a couple of different purposes. Each day of rolling includes two different movement categories: Smooth-out and Reshape. You will begin each day focusing on a particular section of the body and using the roller to melt down and hydrate the fascia and connective tissue, thus releasing toxins, inflammation, thickness, stiffness, and density; getting rid of scar tissue; and generally clearing out blockages in your body. Essentially, throughout the program you’ll be giving yourself a full-scale bodywork session and waking up all the muscles that make you long, lean, and glowing. Those of you who experience chronic tension and pain will be astounded at what a release these movements offer. Once we’ve created that “fresh slate,” we’ll move on to the Reshape movements. This is where we will tone and elongate muscles with Pilates-based core exercises that incorporate the roller.
Just as important as working fascia and muscle, this program also incorporates methods for breathing, decreasing stress, and calming the nervous system. When we’re nervous and stressed, among other things, we tend not to breathe. Deep, full breathing is so important to optimal health. Even though oxygen is a basic necessity of life, we all breathe shallowly and/or hold our breath. And we especially do it when we’re stressed out. I had a client lose ten pounds over the course of a few weeks just by learning to slow down and breathe more deeply. Breathing calms you down, draws you into the present moment, and makes you far more aware of yourself and the world around you. When you’re present and aware, everything changes—the stress eating goes away (especially the sugar cravings), you feel less pressed for time, and you make better choices. You’ll be amazed at how much a calmer and more balanced demeanor curbs emotional eating and naturally shifts your diet and overall lifestyle into a healthier state. The cumulative result of all of these changes is that you’ll look and feel TSY—taller, slimmer, and younger.
Roll Your Way Taller
Lots of fitness regimens claim that they can make you slimmer and more fit, but I bet you’ve never heard of one that can make you taller, right? Well, this one can. Believe it or not, I can help you grow an inch to inch and a half—I’ve seen it happen, both with myself and with my clients. But perhaps not in the way you’re thinking. The rolling sequences in this book naturally lead you toward proper posture—an increasingly foreign state in this world where we’re constantly hunching over our desks or tapping away on e-devices.
Despite what your grandmother may have told you, good posture isn’t about balancing a book on your head. It’s about increasing your core strength, and joint decompression which supports the spine and improves its alignment. This is accomplished through a series of exercises that improve posture while decompressing the spine and other joints, thus not only increasing height but also enhancing body awareness. Essentially, being taller is about improving your body’s relationship with gravity and the manner in which you present yourself to the world.
Most likely, you are not utilizing all of the space you have available in your body; the exercises in this book will ensure that the full amount of space available in the vertebrae and joints is activated, thus increasing height. Even if that increase is measured in millimeters, the effect is huge. It allows you to tap into your body’s maximum height and provides a level of freedom that gives the impression of length and confidence. While there’s nothing you can do to lengthen bones, these weight-bearing exercises can help strengthen them. Even better, they can help prevent osteoporosis, joint compression, spinal shrinkage, and all of the postural problems that come with these conditions.
You’ll walk away from this 21-day program with your head (literally) held higher, your heart open, and the new confidence that comes from standing up tall, claiming your space, and facing the world.
Roll Your Way Slimmer
When I ask my clients what their primary goal is, most of them tell me that they want to slim down. Some people strive for more svelte bellies, while others want to zero in on toning their thighs, arms, or butt. You’ll find solutions for all of those areas that we most want to see leaned out and elongated within this program.
Being slim is about so much more than just being skinny—it’s about being strong. That requires toning and elongating the intrinsic and core muscles (or, as I like to call them, the “ballerina muscles”). It’s about accessing and connecting to the specific muscles that help pull in the waist, which combats the thickening we all experience as we age. Being slimmer also requires exercises that stimulate the lymphatic system, hydrate the tissues, align and lengthen the body, and flush out toxins. Not only does this aid in weight loss, but it also decreases stress and calms the nervous system, which often results in eating more consciously and less emotionally. Being slimmer is about creating a more toned, calmer, healthier version of you. All of that may sound like a tall order, but you’ll be shocked at what a cinch it really is with the pragmatic and consistent application of my program and use of the foam roller.
Unfair as it is, some of us have a body type that seems to get broader and bulkier the more we exercise the way we’re told we should (cardio, weight lifting, spinning boot camp, etc.). I certainly know that was the case for me! The beauty of the foam rolling exercises is that, when done consistently, they will repattern your musculature to adopt that elongated, leaned-out, sculpted look that many of us have given up on as unachievable. Moreover, as you work your fascia with the roller, stored-up toxins will be released, removing bulk and density from your muscles and clearing the way for nice, lean muscle mass. Believe it or not, I’ve seen people completely thin out certain parts of their body just by rolling out whatever toxins are stuck and activate the proper muscles.
As you roll out the bad stuff, you will also build aesthetically beautiful and equally functional. De-bulk aesthetically beautiful and equally functional muscles that are overworked and overdeveloped will better allow you to turn on and connect to the intrinsic stabilizing muscles—the core, the inner thighs, the triceps, and the obliques. Not coincidentally, these are the muscles that tend to fall by the wayside as we age. It’s a “use ’em or lose ’em” type of situation; the TSY muscles turn into hanging or lazy muscles when they’re not put to use. You’ll roll these muscles back into action, rebuilding your connection to and awareness of them. Just ten minutes a day will wake up those neuromuscular connections so that during the many other hours of the day when you’re not on the roller—when you’re bringing in the groceries, picking the kids up from school, or sitting at your desk—you’ll still be aware of your core. Through this awareness, you can keep these core muscles firing and feel more connected to your body. The crazy thing is, after a while you probably won’t even be aware that you’re doing this. It’s all about building healthy new habits.
Roll Your Way Younger
Unfortunately, I can’t direct you to the Fountain of Youth. But I can actually share with you something even better: proven tools for living life in such a way that the aging process slows drastically. Combating the effects of aging has everything to do with decreasing stress, releasing tension, and smoothing out scar tissue in order to move more freely. Sounds familiar by this point, right? I will teach you how to do all of this, as well as how to properly hydrate your tissue and lubricate your joints with synovial fluid, thus increasing circulation and reducing tension and rigidity. This will in turn tune you into your body, allowing you to get to the root of any imbalance, pain, and blockages that may result in premature aging. It may not be the Fountain of Youth . . . but it sure as heck is the next best thing!
What You’ll Need to Get Started
I’m a firm believer that everyone deserves access to the information necessary to keep them healthy, so when I developed this program, it was important to me that it not be cost prohibitive. This is yet another reason I’m such a fan of the foam roller. This one relatively inexpensive piece of equipment replaces the need for expensive workout equipment, gym or studio membership fees, and costly bodywork sessions.
If you don’t already have a foam roller on hand, take a look at the box below to help find the option that works best for you. The only additional piece of equipment I recommend is an exercise or yoga mat—whatever you have on hand will do. Essentially, you want to have a surface to work on that simultaneously provides traction and allows you to roll smoothly.
Tips for Purchasing the Right Foam Roller
If you haven’t yet armed yourself with a foam roller, now’s the time to do so. Foam rollers range from 12 to 35 inches (30 to 90 centimeters) in length. For the purposes of this book, you’ll want to use a 35-by-5.75-inch roller. This longer size will allow you to use your roller as a toning tool and will ensure that you can place it perpendicular to your spine for full support and proper alignment.
Foam rollers come in a range of densities. The type of roller you want to use for this program is very specific. Think of yourself as Goldilocks when it comes to selecting the right one: A roller that is too soft won’t effectively sculpt and tone fascia and muscle; a roller that is too dense will be too aggressive for the restorative and calming sequences in this program. You want a versatile roller that will give you just the right balance between shaping and restoring. You also want a roller that is durable and that won’t break down with regular use. Rollers aren’t particularly expensive, but spending an extra ten dollars to begin with will ensure that you’re investing in a roller that will last, as opposed to purchasing one that will need to be replaced in a few months’ time.
I’ve spent the past few years testing out rollers of all densities, compositions, sizes, and brands. After failing to identify a roller that served all of my and my clients’ needs, I decided to take matters into my own hands and develop a line of multifunctional rollers designed to cater to the goals of this program. My line is called Lauren Roxburgh Rollers and can be found on my website at laurenroxburgh.com. These rollers are that perfect medium density that works both for sculpting and for restoration. It’s highly durable without being too aggressive, and the textured surface has been specially designed for the multifunctional use of clearing blockages and stimulating the lymphatic system. In simple terms, this means it will help reduce cellulite and bloating, not to mention bolstering immunity.
In a perfect world, I would recommend that everyone have two foam rollers of different sizes. A travel one (12 by 6 inches) to throw in your carry-on bag and use when you’re on the fly in your hotel room to help maintain alignment and a 35-by-5.75-inch roller when doing your daily program.
The 10 Series
The path we’ll follow to get to this TSY body is the 10 Series. Over the course of the next twenty-one days, we’ll thoroughly target ten different areas of the body. These target areas are based on the systematic “recipe” of the 10 Series of Structural Integration (more about this on page 15), with additional Pilates-based movements incorporated to create and enhance muscle tone, strength, and alignment. The ten areas we’ll focus on are:
1. Chest and Shoulders
2. Feet, Ankles, and Lower Legs
7. Pelvis and Inner Thighs
8. Deep Core and Psoas
9. Back of the Core
10. Collarbone, Neck, and Jaw
Over the course of the next twenty-one days, you’ll run through the 10 Series twice, leaving a Restorative Day for rest and self-care in the middle. Although all of these exercises inherently merge together mind and body, we’ll focus a bit more on the physicality of our work during the first ten days and then draw our attention to the emotional component of it all for the second series of ten. I should also mention here that although we’ll focus on certain areas of the body each day, in actuality, all of these exercises target the entire body and result in a full-body workout. It all boils down to a matter of emphasis.
The time frame and breakdown of this program are not incidental. Ancient wisdom from many cultures holds that it takes approximately twenty-one days to break old habits and create new ones. Also, I’ve found that after three weeks of doing these exercises every day my clients start seeing real results and experiencing huge physical breakthroughs that keep them motivated, inspired, and rededicated to making foam rolling a mainstay of their daily routine.