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!

 

Well it's Monday again.  I do hope you had a great weekend.  Today I won't waste your time with a lot of verbiage and build up.  Let's just get right into it.

The first article I want to share with you is about how the American past time has gotten completely out of control.  What past time am I referring to. . . . . snacking.  One of the main causes it seems, is that so many of us eat on the go. These days, it seems there are not as many of the old family dinners many of us grew up with. In fact in my household for many years it was required that we all make time to sit down and have a meal as a family.  It was an excellent opportunity to not only assure a good meal was being consumed, but it was also a good time to be a "family".  We are all so busy much of the time we don't make time to actually sit down and eat as often as we used to, whether it's by ourselves, with family or friends.

Believe me this is rather eye-opening. The American Diet Then and Now


The second article was just too outrageous to not include today.  It's basically a review of how ridiculously high in calories some of the foods are at your local dinner and fast food joint.  There is actually a shake that is listed, from a rather popular food establishment, that is over 2,000 calories and contains more than 3 days worth of Saturated fat, in just one 24 oz. serving.  OUCH!

Definitely worth the read, if for no other reason than to see if any of your own favorites are on the list.  Top 8 Calorie Heavy Meals


Okay.

So let's say the above 2 articles don't really apply to you.  But at the same time you're really not where you want to be physically. Maybe you want to be a bit leaner.  Perhaps you have just have a few pounds left to get you to your goal.  I think this next one will do just the trick to get you over that little hump and seeing the results you want.  Getting Lean -- Fine Tuned, Raw, and Real

So now you have the info:

Get On Track and Stay On Track!
For quite some time now I've been asked to create a group training class that uses all of the techniques of re-alignment, core strengthening, and yes, good old fashioned weight loss.  But I have to be honest, when we start talking about large numbers of members, I was concerned that everyone have a positive experience and in fact -- get results.  Getting each member to perform the exercises correctly in a large group can be more than a challenge.  I don't want to create just any old boot camp experience, I've heard too many horror stories of injured backs, shoulders, and knees.

Besides, just jumping around and breaking a sweat anyone can do.  I want to create an experience where losing weight is the least of what you get from my class.  I want you to not only feel better, but function better.

If I'm going to create a class, I decided it would have to be with the same attention to detail and intensity that the Energy F/X Fitness brand is known for. 

So here comes DYNAMIC X.  All of the unique exercises you need to function better, the appropriate fitness level for each member, and the good old fashioned intensity that creates serious change.

Want to know more?

Check out the flyer below--

We made it to the end of another productive week.

Since it's Friday I wanted to make sure to share with you another exercise to add to your locker of exercises to keep your routines fun, fresh, and challenging.

I've received a few questions asking for alternatives to jumping rope during circuit training.  Not everyone likes, nor can handle the impact of rope jumping.  You're in luck.  I have just the movement to help keep your hips flexible, your core working and your heart rate moving.

When I was a kid the movement was called squat thrusts and part of the Presidents Fitness Council protocol that we all had to do as part of Physical Education class.  Well times are a changing for sure, but this exercise is still one of the most challenging cardio movements I know.  The beauty of the movement is that no matter what your fitness level almost anyone can do it in modified form. 

It's a great movement to use between 3-5 resistance (weight lifting) movements to keep your heart rate elevated and give that "sprint" feeling (think interval training) between the lower heart rate of weight lifting.  In addition, because we tend to sit so much as a society, it allows you an opportunity to keep your hips flexible and functional so you can decrease your chances of back pain from stiff, inflexible hips.

In the video below I share with you 4 different versions that should meet just about any fitness level. 

So now you have no more excuses for not including a cardio component in your circuits.

And as a side note, always remember to engage your core as your perform this movement.

Happy July 4th.  As promised here you go!

I feel like it's time for this post.  Whether it's in person at the gym, or through email, people often ask me, "what are the things I absolutely have to do to get my body to change quickly".  Now 9 times out of 10 I usually try to avoid this question because if I give you the 5 things that absolutely need to be done, most people do 3.  And then they wonder why they aren't getting results. 

But, I figure I've been asked enough at this point that it's about time to give you the secrets to getting the body you want in as short a period of time as possible.

Ready?

There are literally 5 things that you absolutely have to do to get your body to change quickly.  You follow these 5 rules and I can virtually guarantee you will get the body you want in as short a period of time as possible.  This isn't based on theory, these are the techniques I use with my clients that get results fast!

1.) Warm-up:
Take the time to do a good 10-15 minute warm-up. And I don't mean going to jump on some piece of cardio equipment. Research shows that's a waste of 10-15 minutes.  Instead, do some self massage.  It will serve the same purpose of getting your body ready for exercise, and even better, it helps to alleviate the knots and tight muscles that come from sitting or standing all day long.  Truth be known, it will also decrease your chances of injury dramatically.  Need a little reminder (self-massage warm-up)

Follow this warm-up with some good old fashioned stretching.  Yes, the jury is still deliberating as to whether stretching is beneficial, but my experience has been it works wonders to prepare your muscles for the workout ahead. Here's a quick reminder on the stretches (warm-up stretches)

2.) Core:
From what I can tell too many people leave training their midsection to last, when they are tired from their workout.  And then if they do actually train their abs/core, it's half-hearted at best, usually only doing some kind of crunches, and thus get little to no benefit.  Training your core is as important, if not more important, than any other body part. Here's couple to get you started (core exercise examples)

3.) Resistance:
If I haven't done a good job of it before, let me clarify now, if you want to change your body and get lean, resistance exercise is the absolutely the best way to do this.  And to the women out there who think lifting weights will make you bulky, not so. Women typically do not produce enough testosterone to even come close to creating the bulky physique they worry about.

That being said, resistance training doesn't have to be lifting weights.  You can use bands, suspension straps, or traditional weights if you prefer.

Circuit                                                                                 Circuit   
Squats (with flavor -- see my you tube channel)                Squats (with flavor --you tube channel)
Lateral Raises                                                                     Chest Press (dumbbell)
Split Squats                                                                        Rear Deltoids
Push ups                                                                             Lunge (back) to Bicep Curls
Deadlifts                                                                             Deadlifts
Back (seated row)                                                               Triceps
Step up to balance and shoulder press                                  Pull-ups
Bicep Curls (dumbbell)                                                         Lunge (back) to Shoulder Press
Tricep Push-downs                                                               Breast Stroke (see you tube channel)
Jump Rope --- 70-100 times                                                 Jump Rope -- 70-100 times
                                                                                        
Circuit_3_Cheat_Sheet.pdf                                            Circuit_3a_Cheat_Sheet.pdf

4.) Cardio:
If you've been following my blogs for any length of time you know I'm big on doing intervals for cardio.  Because it gets the job done quickly with minimal damage to the knees, hips, and lower back.

Equally effective and a big favorite of mine is kettle bells.  With some proper instruction, this activity is the absolute best for burning calories, strengthening your core, as well as building some solid muscle in the hips and glutes (butt).

Follow this program with a good cool down stretch (the same movements you did to warm-up) and you should be on your way to a transformed body in a few weeks.

5.) Nutrition:
I'll keep this short, as this is becoming a bit long.  Whether you call it the Paleo diet, Mediterranean diet or anything else, staying with lean meats, minimal starchy carbs such as breads and pastas, plenty of veggies, and some nuts is the best way to go.  Need a little more clarification?  Here you go (nutrition made easy).

Get on Track and Stay on Track!
Jun
24
2011
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I think summer is finally here.  Feels good to have the sun out again. 

That being said, how's your body transformation going?  Still feeling motivated and getting it all done?

Or could you use a little variety to your same old routine?

Honestly, that's why I change my workout routine every 4 weeks or less.  I need the variety to help keep me motivated and challenged to reaching new levels of fitness and conditioning.

Today I want to share with you a push up version using the suspension straps -- 1- Arm Push-ups. It's a great body weight exercise that I promise will challenge you.  Even if you typically do chest press as part of your overall routine, this movement will not only activate your chest, but challenge your core as well.

  TGIF!

Hope you've had a great week.  I thought it was time to get back to some good old fashioned exercise examples.  Remember, part of staying motivated and part of breaking through plateaus quickly, is exercise variety.  The more you can challenge your body effectively, the more you will continue to progress and transform. 

So since the warmer weather is upon us, it's time to kick it up a notch.  I'm sure you're familiar with the all too common lunge.  Great exercise for shaping the butt, building hip and glute strength, and it's one of the basic movements the human body is supposed to be able to do effectively.

Well, here's little a twist to add to it.  I think you'll find it's a heck of a lot harder than it looks.  Provides a great core challenge as well as good kick in the butt!

Check back with me in two weeks for another exercise to put in your own training locker.  The more movements you have, the more you stay motivated and making progress.

I know you thought I forgot about you, but I didn't.  Putting the finishing touches on my packing as I am headed out for a much needed week of relaxation.  But I didn't want to leave you hanging without some more fuel for your arsenal.

Since this post is for Friday, that means it's time to share some solid exercises with you to make sure you're ready for the summer weather and lots of activity.

Way too often people believe they have to go to a gym to get a good workout.  The two movements I share with you today prove you don't have to have a gym membership to transform your body.

Try them out and as usual, let me know what you think.

May
13
2011
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Last week I shared with you two starter circuits to get you up and running.  How did it go?  If you had a chance to try them out, I'm sure you found they were a bit more challenging than they looked.  But oh, what a great calorie burn.  Putting you one step closer to being ready for summer.

Well this week I want to share with you some intermediate level circuits.  Don't let the length of the circuit or the movements chosen fool you.  I promise they are a great deal more difficult than they appear.  Especially if you're doing them as prescribed.

Except for Jump Rope, each of the movements should be done for 12-15 reps.  Figure 3-4 times through the entire circuit.

Circuit 3

Squats (with flavor)
Lateral Raises
Split Squats
Push ups
Deadlifts
Back (seated row)
Step up to balance and shoulder press
Bicep Curls (dumbbell)
Tricep Push-downs
Jump Rope --- 70-100 times

Circuit_3_Cheat_Sheet.pdf

Circuit 4
Flat Dumbbell Press
Lat Pull-downs
Step-ups
Lateral Raises
Bicep Curls (barbell)
Breast Stroke
Lunges (forward and backward)
Deadlifts
Jump Rope
Tricep (face down on bench -- kick backs)
Split Squat



What you'll notice is that the circuits I have shared with you thus far are largely focused on the primary 6 movements that the human body performs each day.  The goal is to get you very efficient at performing these movement patterns before we take to more complicated movements -- for instance using suspension straps.

My whole concern is that I provide you with foundational movements so you can become solid in them first, and then provide you with more challenging movements in your circuits.

I'm a big believer in progressions -- meaning starting with the basics first and then progressing to more difficult moves.  As I said in last weeks post, all too often people want to do the most visually appealing movements/exercises right off.  That is a recipe for injury.  And when you're injured you can't train.  So let's do this the right way and make sure you get the job done right.