Spoil Me Sunday: Roll With It

Hey, y’all!

I’ve been thinking about it, and my blog is called “Balanced Life Beauty,” but it’s been pretty slanted towards the “beauty” part lately. I absolutely love beauty products, skincare, and all that fun stuff, but I need to work on incorporating more of the “balance” part into my posts. You and I are both so much more than the products we’re trying, the techniques we’re using, or the overall outward appearance we’re presenting to the world. What are we doing for fun? What are we reading? What are we doing for our bodies, minds, and spirits? I’m going to work on sharing more of that with you, and I hope you’ll do the same so that we can feed off of each other. Beauty treatments and home spa days are a fun way to spoil yourself, but there are so many other ways out there. Let me know if that’s something you’re interested in me writing more about! Don’t worry, you’ll still be seeing plenty of beauty-related posts from me, but I’m eager to expand topics a bit.

In the spirit of changing things up, this week’s Spoil Me Sunday had absolutely nothing to do with skincare or beauty products in any way. Instead, I gave myself some quality time on my foam roller while I watched a movie. Between Silks, Barré, Flexibility, and Aerial Yoga this week, my quads and hip flexors were killing me. Foam rolling is my jam for a few reasons:

  1. I’m a pretty high-stress individual (always have been), and I carry a lot of tension in certain muscle groups.
  2. I do aerial arts as my workout 5 days a week, Zumba 1 day, and rest on the 7th to give my muscles some recovery time. (I’m planning to post more about my workout regimen in the future.)
  3. I can do it as part of my stretching routine while I’m doing something else, like reading a book, watching TV, talking on the phone, etc.

The Equipment

Photo of GRID 2.0 Foam Roller from Trigger Point Therapy
Grid 2.0 Foam Roller, $64.99; Trigger Point Therapy

A foam roller is a cylindrically shaped piece of high-density foam that is used for self-myofascial release, aka self-massage. I first learned about foam rolling after I was in a car accident in college. The nature of the impact slightly twisted my spine because of how flexible it is, so through physical therapy I worked to realign it and then strengthen the supporting muscles. The therapist recommended foam rolling as a way to massage my back myself, increasing blood flow, and minimizing muscular scar tissue. I bought one that looked kind of like this, and I enjoyed using it regularly.

When I moved from Texas to Florida, I drove, and I only brought what could fit in my car; my foam roller didn’t make the cut, so I left it at my parents’ house, and my dad still uses it regularly. A few years later, a college friend of mine had become a physical therapist and recommended the Grid foam roller from Trigger Point Therapy. The hard, hollow core is wrapped with dense EVA foam, which makes it harder than the type I’d had before. Because of the hollow core, it also uses less foam, which makes it more environmentally friendly. What really sets it apart, though, is the three dimensional surface, which my old roller didn’t have. It promotes oxygen and blood flow, which gives your muscles what they need to repair themselves. The multiples surfaces are meant to simulate the effects of a massage therapist’s hands, and the firmness means it can target deeper muscle pain than traditional softer foam rollers.

Trigger Point Therapy has several different models of foam rollers to choose from. Here’s a quick chart I made for easy comparison:

GRID 2.0
Tested Weight Capacity (Static Load)
500 lbs
500 lbs
550 lbs
250 lbs
400 lbs
Roller Weight
1.5 lbs
3 lbs
1.5 lbs
.5 lbs
2.15 lbs
Defining Characteristic
The original
Twice as long as GRID
Twice as dense as GRID
Compact size makes it ideal for travel.
Note: due to small size, not recommended for use on your back.
Vibrates to further increase blood flow and loosen muscle tension.

Their website recommends using the 2.0 if you’re new to foam rolling because its larger size provides you with more stability that the original. I chose the 2.0 because with it being so long, I can also lay on it lengthwise to help release tension in my chest . You can also find some of these foam rollers on Amazon, sometimes for a lower price.

How to Use It

Part of what I love about foam rolling is how simple it is to do because you just let gravity do the work. Put whatever part of your body needs it onto the roller and slowly roll over it, stopping occasionally on the parts that hurt the most. Generally, it’s recommended to let it sit on a sore spot for about 30-45 seconds to give the muscle time to adjust and relax, but you can do it up to a minute, if you want. If you’re still not noticing a difference, move on to another area, and come back to that one later. Some of my favorite areas to foam roll are my back, my lats, my IT bands, my quads, and my front hip flexors. Disclaimer: I’m not a doctor, and more importantly, I’m not your doctor. It’s always a good idea to consult your doctor or physical therapist for sharp pain and receive approval before starting self-myofascial release.

The Benefits

It’s pretty difficult to overdo it with foam rolling. 3-5 times a week is sufficient, and with regular use, you can experience several benefits:

  • Facilitating the muscle healing and recovery process through increased oxygen and blood flow to your muscles
  • Releasing trigger points to help reestablish correct movement patterns and enhance performance, especially when done in conjunction with regular stretching
  • Breaking up adhesions between muscle layers

The beauty of self-myofascial release is that you control the pressure. It’s uncomfortable just like any other massage, but if it’s done correctly, it’s not outright painful. You can perform self-myofascial release with a tennis ball, massage stick, or any other similar tool, including your hands. I prefer the roam roller because it’s easier to cover a wider surface area, and its larger diameter helps me to pop some of my joints, like my back and sternum.

How do you like to recover from working out? Do you want to see more posts like this? I’d love to hear from you!

Have a great week!


Sarah xoxo

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