I have to admit that I see people using the foam rollers and other self massage techniques more than ever before, but it still surprises me how many people still don't know the benefits.

 

Whether it's new clients or the regular gym members that consult me on how to get out of pain, I have to tell you self-massage has got to be one of the most underrated "get out of pain and speed healing" techniques I know.

 

It doesn't matter if you spend your day sitting at a desk, are a weekend warrior with some nagging aches and pains, or a competitive athlete looking to decrease soreness and improve performance, self-myofascial release (self-massage) works.

 

As the old saying goes, “sometimes you can’t see the forest for the trees”?  This morning I was reminded of just “how deep in the trees” I am.


I was approached by a woman that I see regularly at the gym who asked me how to get rid of her knee pain she's had for the past 4 weeks.  She stated that she enjoyed Spinning, long bike rides on the weekends, but spend most of her day at her desk at work. In addition, after sitting for long periods of time, standing up is quite painful, though the pain decreases after moving around for a bit. I asked had she had any falls or other impact to her knee and she stated, "No".

 

She also said that she had begun stretching, but that only made a minor difference in the pain. It’s gotten to the point now where she is unable to enjoy her usual cycling and it's beginning to make her depressed.

 

I asked, “Do you do any self-myofascial release or self-massage”?  She said, “What’s that”?  I then proceeded to demonstrate some techniques using my Energy F/X Tube.

 

While I was demonstrating the techniques it hit me...

 

I take for granted that many people don’t know about the benefits of self-myofascial release.  In a nutshell, self-myofascial release is a type of self-massage using a hard roller, tube or ball.  It helps break up scar tissue and increases blood flow to the affected area.  Not to mention it can increase your range of motion and improve performance.

Many weekend warriors and sedentary people end up feeling stiff and hurting, and mistakenly believe there is something wrong with their joints that might require surgery.  In fact, most of the time all they need to do is regular self-myofascial release.

 

Before you give up hope and think the only alternative to being in pain is surgery, check out the videos below where I demonstrate how to use self-myofascial release techniques to get out of pain.  It's simple to do, and literally doesn't take more than a few minutes a day.  







 

 

As always, let me know how these techniques worked for you.  And if you need to buy the Energy F/X tube, go to http://energyfxfitness.com/_product_78512/Energy_FX_Tube to order it. 

Jan
31
2012
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I'm not sure how many of you get a chance to read Competitor Magazine, but I just wanted to make a quick post to share an article I did for them in December of 2011.

 

If you spend your day at a desk, here's a great reminder on how to get out of pain, or to keep yourself from having pain.

 

Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

And of course if you're interested in reading the original article --

 

The 7 Most Important Stretches If You Spend Your Day At A Desk

 

What you focus on is what you create.  That being said, be aware of challenges, but focus on the success!

I try to be a bit intuitive when it comes to writing my posts.  So after being asked for the fourth time this week about ankle pain, knee pain, and the benefits of Orthotics; I figured that was my hint to provide you with some sound information so that you can make the decision.

 

Do you have ankle pain, heel pain, or knee pain?  Have you been told that Orthotics was the only solution to your problem?

 

Well I have a surprise for you.

 

The first thing I want to share with you quickly is that the ankle is an unbelievably complex joint.  It can affect everything from having proper posture, to whether or not you experience shoulder pain, believe it or not.

 

Often orthotics are suggested as a way to address ankle issues or poor bio-mechanics in walking or running.  And without a doubt, in many cases the pain issue is addressed -- at least in the short term.

 

You see orthotics are like any other brace, splint or crutch, they provide support to a weak area.  So if certain muscles are not working properly, the orthotics provide the necessary support to relieve the overworked muscles that are creating the pain.  However, like any support mechanism, it is only meant to be used for a short period of time. During this "assistance phase" you should also be working to both strengthen and increase the range of motion (mobility) of the area -- in this case the ankle.

 

Think of it this way.  Let's say your legs are sore and tired. To deal with this issue you decide to use a wheel chair in order to relieve the discomfort.  After several months you get rid of the wheel chair and go back to your normal routine.  Would your legs be any better prepared to deal with your routine?

 

Probably not!

 

You see unless you've done some specific work to strengthen the weak areas that were leaving your legs feeling sore and tired, the problem will just re-surface.  And in some cases even get worse or cause other problems.

 

Now this is not to say that some people do not sincerely need orthotics, for example, those with significant differences in leg length, or other structural issues, etc.  What I am saying is that many times people use orthotics as a quick fix to a much larger problem -- that of weak and stiff ankles and/or hips.

 

Below I've included one excellent article and 3 basic videos that I believe are very helpful when it comes to both alleviating ankle pain, and/or strengthening the area before problems begin. 

 

So before you decide on committing to orthotics indefinitely, give these movements (stretches and exercises) a try.  I think you'll be pleasantly surprised.


Plantar Fasciitis Exercises (great overall article for ankle health)

 

The Alphabet Exercise for Ankle Pain (video below)

 






 

This is obviously not the last word on improving the function of your ankle or eliminating pain, but these videos should provide you with an excellent start.

 

Remember, don't let your commitment to comfort stop you from being healthy!

It's been a while since I've had a chance to share with you some Tips, Tricks, and Info to keep you on Track and making progress. I had quite a few major changes going on on this end over the past couple of months, that literally demanded my attention.

 

But that aside, let's get to it shall we.

 

This past week it has become painfully apparent to me that your Comfort Zone Can Kill You.  I know, you think I'm probably overstating the problem for shock effect, right?  

 

Wrong!

 

I presently have a client, a former triathlon competitor, that originally came to me with concerns about his increasing cholesterol, as well as nagging hip and knee pain. As you would expect it was the usual suspects, tight quads and hip flexors, rounded shoulders from way too many hours in front of the computer, weak glutes from little to no activity since he stopped competing, and of course a weak core.  He regularly attended sessions twice per week.  In addition to those sessions, he was given homework to do so that we could rid him of pain as quickly as possible.

 

Then life happened.  His job began to require him to travel 2 weeks out of the month and POW, the progress we had made slipped backwards.

 

As you might have guessed, the homework he had been doing went out the window, the amount of sitting he was doing had almost doubled, thanks to plane travel, and on top of it all he was not able to keep his regular sessions.  So in essence he had gone back to the comfort zone that had originally created the pain and increasing cholesterol.

 

After reviewing what had transpired we agreed that taking care of himself couldn't be something he would find time for, taking care of himself would something he would have to make time for.

 

You see we all have crazy busy schedules.  I completely respect that.  But what I also know without a doubt, is that if you don't make time for wellness, you will be forced to make time for illness.  Whether it's in the form of physical pain and discomfort or other more serious issues of health.

 

Our plan was simple.  I created a program for him that would take no longer than 15-30 minutes to complete.  We agreed that while it was important to make his scheduled appointments, equally important was that he follow through on his homework each and every day.  That he make time to take care of himself -- whether he was traveling or not.

 

And honestly, I believe that is the difference between getting to your goal or just taking 3 steps forward and 2 steps back.  You've got to make time each and every day to do something for your health. Because just keeping with your same old comfortable routine, could kill you.

 

Need a quick and easy stretch program to make sure you keep on track?

 

Try this one on for size. (Stretches to Keep You Out Of Pain).

 

No more reasons, only results!

 

Let me first say a big Thank You to all of you that wrote in wanting more information on target heart rate.  I very much appreciate the opportunity to answer your questions so that you can get the results you deserve.

No one goes through their workout for the fun of it.  If you put the time, energy, and sweat into it you expect results, right?

What's that old saying -- Time is the currency of the 21st century.  So none of us has any time to waste doing things that don't get results.

Here's the answers to the questions I received this past week.

  • What's the big deal about the amount of time spent doing steady state cardio for weight loss?

Did you know that there is a 50-90% injury rate in the first 6 weeks for those just starting a serious exercise program?

Why?

Because most people just starting out are not prepared physically for what most programs suggest as the best way to lose body fat.  And yes, you guessed it, most programs suggest hours and hours of steady state cardio.  All those hours and miles do serious damage to the lower back, hip joints, and knees.  That's what makes interval training so effective -- it challenges you more as you get better.

  • In my previous blog I mentioned the inaccuracy of the standard 220 - age to determine your heart rate zones.  The variance of 10-12 beats for 70% of the population versus 20-24 beats for 30% of the population is important because it means the difference between not training intensely enough to get results versus risking too much intensity. 

Plain and simple it's dangerous to not wear your own heart rate monitor and not know the range that works for you. Rather than spend hours beating your lower body into oblivion, use cardio intervals to decrease your overall hours doing cardio, and increase your results.  One of the few cases where less will equal more.  Sounds like a good deal to me.

  • Why are weight lifting circuits more effective in burning fat and maintaining lean muscle?

Just doing steady state cardio does not tell your body to preserve your valuable muscle tissue.  In fact, in some cases steady state cardio will have you lose lean muscle tissue. The more lean muscle tissue you have the higher your resting metabolism (remember when you burn fat as the primary fuel source), so you want to keep as much as possible.  Weight lifting circuits tell your body to maintain the lean tissue because it needs it to lift weights, but get rid of the body fat because it decreases your efficiency.  Remember, your body's goal is go get efficient at whatever you tell it to do. So you want to maintain lean tissue and get rid of unhealthy body fat.

So there you have it.  Even more reasons to stop the useless hours of doing steady state cardio and start doing cardio intervals and/or weight lifting circuits.  You'll lose body fat quicker, look better, have more energy, and decrease your risk of injury compared to hours of steady state cardio.

Get On Track and Stay On Track!
Just this morning I was approached by a regular I know from the gym asking how to get rid of shoulder and elbow pain.  He was complaining of numbness running down his arm and just an overall ache. He admitted having the habit of sleeping on his shoulders, and leaning to that same side while watching TV in his favorite chair. And of course still insists on doing heavy bench press with a barbell. 

I helped him understand that it was quite possible that the elbow pain he was experiencing was likely due the the lack of alignment in his shoulder.  And it may be possible that merely stretching and aligning his shoulder could allow his elbow to reset itself.  If not, I had an excellent sports chiropractor I could refer.

Knowing him, I realized I was not likely going to talk him out of doing heavy bench press with a barbell.  At least not yet anyway. 

So I gave him a little taste of what I've been sharing you all this past month. We first went through some specific rotator cuff movements to warm the shoulder capsule.  Then I showed him some general stretches to open up the chest and shoulder area.  Followed by the movements from my previous posts this month, as well as the one below.

Whether it's to get rid of pain or avoid having it in the first place, don't neglect your shoulder -- rotator cuff work. 

Here's this week's shoulder saver.


Without a doubt, physical pain questions are by far the one's I get most often.  It doesn't matter if you sit at a desk all day long, run every morning, or workout at the gym 3x/week.  If you're not doing some sort of well thought out stretching program in addition to self-massage, it's just a matter of when you'll have pain, not if.

So for all the parts that tend to hurt, here's a little cheat sheet to get you out of pain fast and keep you that way.

Cheat Sheet


Of course, I'm sure you've already guessed that the second most popular questions I receive are those concerning nutrition.  With all of the misinformation out there in the media, it can truly be a chore to figure out what works and what doesn't.  It's really not that difficult believe it or not.

It boils down to a very basic principle when it comes to nutrition -- portion control.  Meaning having a template of what each and every meal should look like on your plate.  That's the easiest way by far to keep you on track with your nutrition.  Realistically I understand most people are not going to measure out their food.  It's much more accurate, but it's not realistic for the majority of the population.  Here's a simple trick/template to help you stay on track with your nutrition so you can see results by the time warm weather arrives.

Cheat Sheet 2

So there you have it. 

Whether it's some sort of pain you're in that you're ready to be rid of, or if you need a little help getting started with an easy to use nutrition guide, the above two references should get you on track quickly and effectively. 

There's no need to be in pain, life is too short. 

And there's no reason to be confused about what works when it comes to nutrition.  Don't be mislead by slick media.

Get On Track and Stay On Track!

Welcome to December! Not only are we in the midst of the holiday rush season for Christmas, it also happens to be ski season, or snow boarding as the case may be.

For many of my clients it's the time of year they've been looking forward to all year long.  We've ramped up their training over the past few months to make sure they are in proper condition (think climbing a long flight of stairs and not being out of breath), have great balance and a strong, stable core.  Remember, when it comes to winter sports or activities you are dealing with the added factor of instability because of the ice and snow.  So your program has to be well rounded to avoid possible injury.

You'd be surprised how many times I've watch gym regulars come in on crutches from late December to early February talking about a fall they've taken; some on the slopes, and some actually in the parking lot on the way to the slopes. 

I don't want that for you.  So this month I want to make sure that each of you is ready for your winter activities, whether it's skiing, snow boarding or ice skating.  Each of these activities deals with significant balance issues, having a strong and stable core, as well has having strong, yet flexible hips.  So each week of the month I will share with you warm-up techniques,  stretches, and exercises to make this season your best yet.

Funny thing about me, while I do largely focus on getting people out of pain through the use of self-massage and exercises, I happen to have also gotten really good at helping people avoid pain.  Once you've figured out how to fix a certain problem, it's not long before it becomes clear on what to do to avoid that painful experience all together.

 


For those of you that have been following my posts for any length of time, you know I believe in a proper warm-up.  And a proper warm-up is comprised of two specific elements: 1) self-massage of all the important areas, and 2) a flexibility routine to get your body fully warmed up.


I want to make an important note here regarding warming up.  I know how much I despised it when I first started over 20 years ago.  I really didn't see the value in it and quite honestly felt it was a waste of time.  Well now after years in the business of helping people get out of pain and doing research, I can tell you warming up is worth every minute.  In fact, in most cases injuries occur (minus of course impact injuries like being tackled or falling) due to a poor warm-up routine or no warm-up routine at all.  The muscles have not been adequately prepared for activity (think of trying to stretch a rubber band you've had in the refrigerator all night and then pull it out of the refrigerator and start stretching it vigorously).


So today I will share with you some techniques you may or may not be familiar with regarding self-massage.  Next week I will share with you some stretches to complete your warm-up phase. The following week will move into various exercises to make sure you are seriously ready to tackle the winter festivities.





It's Mid Week Motivation Day.

It continues to both amaze and concern me how many people confuse doing an exercise correctly with just moving around.  Just because a person has low body fat that allows you to see their abs, doesn't mean that person knows how to train their core muscles.  It just means they have low body fat.  It could be from having a great nutrition program or it could be that the person is blessed with a high metabolism and hence low body fat.  One doesn't necessarily have anything to do with the other.

I want all of you to get the right information so that you can avoid injury and get results fast.  Results that will last and you can be proud of.

Check out today's video blog post for more on how to train the right way.

It's a new month.  And we are on the cusp of another holiday season.  What's your commitment to, comfort or success? So many people say they want success, but seem to miss this one point that would literally change their efforts from frustration to success.

Check out today's video blog and start being a success.