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!

With the New Year upon us, so many people are making an effort to get into better shape.  And that's a good thing for sure.

 

For some that means just finally getting off the couch and doing something -- anything to get the body moving.  For others it means joining a gym, a group fitness class, a yoga studio, or some other structured group.

 

But beware, just joining a group doesn't always mean you will get fit, sometimes it can mean you'll open yourself up to getting hurt.

 

Check this out!

 

How Yoga Can Wreck Your Body

 

Now at first glance you might think I'm advocating that Yoga is bad!

 

WRONG!

 

If you read the article carefully you'll find in many cases you could replace the references and word "yoga" with group exercise, weightlifting, or any host of other fitness choices.

 

Not all instruction is good instruction.  And just because an instructor is popular doesn't necessarily mean that they are good.

 

There is a difference!

 

So the the next time you go shopping for a way to get in shape be sure of 3 things:

 

1.)  Start off slow regardless of your chosen interest; at a level you're capable of doing!

 

2.)  Don't confuse popular with good. Make sure the instructor caters the class to the abilities of the various students. Not the other way around.

 

3.)  No matter what you choose, remember your body needs a bit of variety -- stretching, resistance exercise, some type of challenging cardio, and yes, some time to recuperate.

 

And as the old saying goes, Those that don't make time for health will eventually have to make time for illness.

 

 

Choose wisely and Have Some Fun!

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!

 

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!
Dec
10
2010
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This month I want to make sure to have those of you who enjoy winter sports activities like skiing, snowboarding and ice skating to be prepared to enjoy your season.  I can't tell you how many times I watch "regular" members come in on crutches after a weekend away of enjoying their sport.  If it's something you truly enjoy, then let's make sure you can do and not get injured. The whole idea of working out and keeping healthy is so you can participate and enjoy the activities that make the daily grind all worth it -- right?

Well, last week I shared with you the first part of an effective warm-up -- self-massage.  We all know you cannot effectively stretch a cold rubber band fresh out of the refrigerator (which would represent your muscles).  You have to first warm it up properly, before engaging in stretching.  That way you can avoid injuring yourself during stretching, and definitely decrease the chances of injury while engaged in your favorite activity.

This week I want to share with you the second part of an effective warm up -- stretching.  I want you to do this after you have completed the self-massage.

When considering winter sports we want to be sure we have your body ready to handle the pounding of the slopes.  Balance is a big factor considering the instability of ice and snow.  So ankle, knee, and hip flexibility and stability are very important. We want to prepare your entire body, for sure, but we will give extra attention to the lower body because you will be using it so much more.

Since we all know time is of the essence please find below the stretches I've found most important in preparing for a safe and fun winter season of activities on the slopes or ice.

Be sure to check back next week as I will share with you the important exercises that will get your body strong and help you avoid injury.

This is Stretch#1 (1/3).
This stretch is often called Child's Pose. From a kneeling position, toes pointed straight back, sit backwards so that you are sitting on the heels of your shoes. Reach forward with both arms, far enough to feel a stretch in the lower back and shoulders. 
Hold for 7-10 seconds


This is Stretch #1 (2/3)

Keeping your legs where they are at, engage your abs and move both arms to the right until a stretch is felt on the left side of the body. Think of making your body into a half circle. Be sure to remain seated on your heels.  Hold for 7-10 seconds.


 
This is Stretch #1 (3/3).
Now do the same process you did for the above picture for the left side. 
Hold for 7-10 seconds
 

This is Stretch #2
From a seated position place your hands behind you, approximately shoulder width, with your fingers pointing away from your body. Slowly slide your body forward, away from your hands, until a stretch is felt. Be sure to keep your chest up and gently squeeze your shoulder blades together as you lift your chest. Hold this position for 7-10 seconds.  Repeat 2-3 times.


 

This is Stretch#3.

(face down image) Position your body with your right leg bent at a 45 degree angle. Straighten your back leg with the toe facing the floor. Position your upper body so that your knee is in line with your sternum (chest bone). Hips should be parallel to the floor.  You should feel no pain in the knee. If you do stop immediately. This pose is also know as Pigeon.  Hold position for 7 breaths.



(face up image)

This is a slightly less aggressive form of pigeon from the lying position. Lay flat on your back.  Bring your right leg towards your chest. Grasping your knee and ankle gently, pulling the leg towards the left side of your chest (so you are moving the leg across the body) until you feel a stretch in your glutes. You will create a very gentle stretch in the hip. You should feel no pain in the knee. Repeat this process 3-7 times on both sides.



 

This is Stretch #4

Begin on your knees, with your knees out wide, resting on forearms. Then straighten one leg out to the side. Be sure that the toe of the straight leg is in line with the knee of the kneeling leg. If possible, reach out to touch toe of straight leg with same side hand.  Repeat movement 3 times on both sides.



This is Stretch #5.
I call this Windshield Wipers. Lay flat on your back, arms out wide, knees bent 45-90 degrees, feet flat on the ground. Take your left ankle and place it on your right knee. Drop both legs to the left side to feel a stretch in the right hip. The goal is for the stretch to come from the hip and NOT the lower back.
Hold for 5-7 breaths. Repeat on other side.


This is Stretch #6.
With your calves against the supporting surface take a medium to large step forward. Place one foot, shoe strings down, on the stable support surface behind you. Kneeling down bring the back leg knee to the floor. Now if you're just beginning you may need to place a pillow under your knee for cushion and to decrease the intensity of the stretch. Be sure that the front leg knee is bent at a 90 degree angle and the shin is perpendicular to the floor.


Well there you go.  So self massage first, followed by the stretches above and you'll be ready to tackle the exercises I will show you next week.  Remember, each part of the warm-up is important.  Do not skip steps, you'll only pay for it in the long run. 

Let's be sure this season you can enjoy your chosen winter activity for all it's worth.  See you next week.



I was just painfully reminded of how important it is to keep things simple in life. Had an unbelievable workout on Saturday, only to awake on Sunday feeling as though I had been run over by a truck -- repeatedly.  Yes, I do typically feel my workouts a few days later; but this soreness was far beyond that "typical" feeling.  So I traced my steps back to see what was different.  What I realized is that I had tried out some new "exotic" movements in my warm-up to replace some of my usual movements.  Doing my usual research, I came across some stretches and warm-up movements that were said to replace several other movements I was already doing.  So I figured, hey, that sounds like a good idea, if I can save time and accomplish the same amount of quality work, why not do it.  What I quickly realized is that these new (exotic) movements in fact did not work as well.  They did not warm my body up properly nor effectively prepare me for my workout.

And of course being me, I started thinking about how this example of using the "new and improved" happens in not only when it comes to staying healthy, but in life. 

Check out today's video blog post to see what I mean:

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.





Oct
20
2010
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Welcome back to another Mid-Week Motivation Post. 

I don't know if you're familiar with the term, but it seems that many people have been using this type of approach to fitness in order to achieve their results.  I must admit I have not heard any credible or lasting results from the process, but for some reason it hasn't stopped many from continuing on this path of frustration and angst.

If you're looking for a clear and to the point way to get out of pain, or make changes to your body, then I encourage you to check out today's video blog post.

If you'll remember last week I shared with you 7 of The Most Important Stretches if you spend your day at a desk.  Well as promised here's the other half of the equation.  Stretching is only half of the solution to getting out of pain.  The other half is Massage. And if you can't get to a massage therapist as often as you'd like, self-massage is the next best thing.  It provides many of the same benefits, loosening tight muscles and breaking up scar tissue that accumulates from either working out or from poor posture for long periods of time (think sitting over a desk working).

Truth be known, it only takes 7 minutes to feel the relief of self-massage.  But if you really want to get all of the "bugs" out, and really break-up that tight tissue, try 15-30 minutes of the techniques I demonstrate in the videos below.  Whether it's 7 minutes, or 15-30 minutes, it's a small price to pay to get out of pain and stay that way.  And for those of you that are really serious about kicking pain out on it's ear, do your self-massage followed by your stretching and watch how fast you get results.

And if you don't have your own tube, please visit my store and pick up your Energy F/X Tube. I promise it will last much longer than you're average tube or roller. I use my Energy F/X Tube 8-10 hours a day, 6 days a week with clients and it's still going strong over 1yr later!