Thursday, June 26, 2014

Functional Movement Screening!

This week, I became a level 1 FMS certified professional. This is a screening system for movements. In addition to the regular initial assessment that my clients go through, I will be utilizing this system for information gathering.


      A few months back, I was experiencing an extraordinary amount of pain, stiffness and discomfort in muscles in my back, neck and shoulder. I went to a chiropractor and she put me through this screening. I've known about this for some time, but had never looked into it until after being run through the system.
      I decided a few weeks ago to learn more and get certified. The information in this course and in this system is very interesting. If you are active or want to be active, doing this screen will inevitably help you to be able to train better. It's a handful of simple tests that show how well your body moves. That's a simple way of putting it, but essentially we're just gathering information in an unbiased way.
      Up until now, the process of assessments for my training has been simple and effective but lacking in sufficient information. In other words, things like asymmetries, compensatory movement patterns, imbalances or pain associated with movement would not always be evident until later on making the initial training programming much more general. With this screen, those things will more evident right away so I'll be able to design a clients training program more specifically to them.
      We'll be able to focus right away on areas of imbalance or compensation and instead of unknowingly exacerbating any potential problem areas, we can train appropriately to move better.
      Check out the FMS website for more information on how it works. www.functionalmovement.com

                                                    Train today to Move Tomorrow!



Tuesday, May 20, 2014

My commitment to you and to myself

      As you may know, if you're a client of mine, I do my best to encourage and inspire you to do something active everyday. I don't always follow my own advice, so in the desire to live with integrity, I have committed myself to do something active everyday. And as much as I love what I do for you as your trainer, and am passionate about it for you, I don't always feel the same about creating workouts for myself.  Motivating myself to stay active or getting some sort of activity or workout in is always much more challenging.

      I get more from doing workouts along side you during my 360 classes or the times when you allow me to join you in your workouts. So, my solution has been to do short, fast paced and high intensity workouts that will make me sweat and burn and that are over quick. Other options are going for a long walk or hitting the climbing gym for an hour or so, and of course joining you for the 360 workouts. I'm also adding in to my weeks one or two corrective exercise sessions to help keep my body in good working order.


      Here are a few examples of what I've been doing to get in my 'something everyday'. I've been doing this, not only to stay healthy, strong and feeling good, but to help to show you that even something done in a short amount of time is much better than nothing and that it really all does count and matter. We'll always have days where we feel that rest is best or days that we're sick, but I'd venture to say that on most days we are capable of giving at least 15 minutes to moving our bodies, getting our muscles to burn and having a little sweat-fest. 

      In addition to this commitment that I've made to myself, the commitment that I make to you everyday is to continue to support and guide you to your better health. I will do this with honesty and integrity. I make no effort to hide the fact that I am flawed. I have good days and I have bad days, sometimes it's a challenge for me to come out of a bad mood or a bad day but with that I'd rather be honest and open than hide or pretend that that is not a part of who I am. I believe that those of you who have gotten to know me, know this about me and I'm very grateful that you allow me to be me. My honest self, even when training, is loud and blunt, not always too talkative. But, get me going about 'Game of Thrones', and you may not get me to shut up. I often get much more excited about your fitness gains and successes than you do, and I'm totally OK with that. 
     
       I hope that I can keep on challenging you and inspiring you to get into something active everyday, with no excuses. Good day, bad day, long or busy day, make some time just for you and I promise you will feel better in the long run for it. I have to admit that though I've been doing this only for a short time, I'm already feeling much more motivated. I even was up early the other day, and instead of taking my sweet time with my morning coffee and breakfast, I went to a friend's studio and did one of her awesome bootcamp workouts. And, it was great.

      So, come with me and stay active! We'll feel great, we'll look great and we'll know that nothing can stop us! 



                 Train Today to Move Tomorrow!




















Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Proper Form. So, what's the big deal about it anyway?

      I'm a stickler. That is a fact that if you train with me you know very well.
      Learning and using correct form when strength training is, in my opinion, the most important part of your fitness routine. Taking the time to learn can be an agonizing process, but one that's well worth it in the end.
I'm still learning and working on it and I'll most likely keep on learning and working on it for as long as I strength train. That is also a fact as I see it.
      So, why do I bother so much about proper and correct form?
      Because, that's why.
      Just kidding. I do it because in order for us, all of us, to build the true strength, endurance, capacity, efficiency, and longevity we must train correctly. All of our parts are connected and work together in a synchronized way to illicit the movement that we want. That includes all the things that we don't think about, like sitting, standing and walking. Our bodies sometimes forget what to do in order to maintain posture and gait. This can happen for many reasons. From injury or surgery, from inactivity, from sitting at the computer for too long, slouching, shuffling or dragging your feet when you walk. That's all besides the point because I want to talk about strength training. Though our everyday habits do have an effect, when it comes to strength training, we should all be starting at the beginning. Learning correct positioning and form.
      This should be the standard for all training. For me and for my clients, it is.
      There are a handful of positions and moves that are the foundations.
      Planks. Squats. Hinging. Pushing. Pulling and I'll include rotating (though that usually comes after all the rest). Learning how to do these things correctly, and by correctly I mean, aligning the joints and activating the muscles correctly to maximize effort and minimize injury. Minimize Injury. That, athletes, is the key.
      If you neglect the foundations of strength training, you will at some point get injured. Now, that's not to say that no injury will occur even if you do all the right things, but we can absolutely minimize injury when we spend time and focused energy on learning the foundations.
 For the plank, everything stems from this position, you want to maintain a straight line from your ears, shoulders, hips, knees and ankles. Elbows and wrists (if you're on your hands) should be directly underneath your shoulders. All core muscles, glutes, quads, triceps, pretty much all muscles, are activated to hold this position. Work up to holding for 60 seconds for a solid strength building exercise.
 The squat and hinge work together, though can and will be trained separately. Start with your feet about hip width apart, toes facing forward, and core muscles active. Then push your hips back keeping the weight through your heels and drop down until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Going deeper into your squat is great once you've got the foundation down. Keeping your torso upright aids in core strengthening. In the correct position, your back/torso, and shins should make parallel lines.
Pushing, like a push up, starts with that Plank. Even if I were doing a pushing move elevated like on a bar, bench or TRX, I would start by finding my plank position before initiating the movement. Maintaining that position through the entire movement.

Pulling exercises are the same. With pushing and pulling exercises, we get into shoulder strength and stability, which can take a lot of time to build. Especially, if you spend most of your day at a computer or find yourself hunching forward or slouching. PS--building your core strength a foundational exercise like a plank can also help with the shoulder strength and stability. It's all connected!


















      Rotational exercises also will stem from our building strength from the other foundation exercises. Knowing how to control and move together will make your rotating exercises feel good and these are fun ways to work on power. In this last photo, I'm doing a split squat with a cross-body chop. Using my squat techniques, stabilizing my hips and driving the medicine ball diagonally from my shoulder to my opposite hip without falling over. All the foundational exercises are being utilized to perform this one exercise.
      So, one of my main objectives as a trainer and coach is to teach and make sure that you understand and can perform these standards correctly. Once that happens, the fun can begin!

                                                  Train today to Move Tomorrow!




Friday, April 11, 2014

What's the real spice of life?

      Balance Training!!
      Well, that's how I see it anyway.
      I like to train in many different ways with many different tools and I like to introduce all the various aspects of fitness and strength training to my clients. One aspect of training is balance. Balance training is critical for overall strength. It's not just about if you can stand on one foot with your eyes closed and not fall over, it's more about total body awareness. What do your muscles have to do to continue supporting your joints when your center of gravity and/or base of support is changed or challenged? Well, they have do a lot and most of us never notice or realize this until it's pointed out, or until we lose our ability to maintain our balance.
      So, we train. For me, balance training is the most difficult and most challenging part of my routine. My brain and my body go into overdrive, the focus and attention that balance training demands can be overwhelming at times. But, one amazing thing about balance training is that gains and improvements can happen really quickly. Usually, after just one or two tries with a new balance challenge you'll start to feel it changing and getting a little bit easier to handle and control.

video
      And, it can be really fun! BOSU balls are a good tool for challenging your balance. Whether your focus is on joint stability or deceleration like in this video clip. Training balance can be slow, or quick, it can be done with or without external loads like a ViPR or kettlebells, it can be done as it's own thing or integrated in with a strength workout. If you've ever worked with me then you know that I like to include balance training in my workouts as often as I can.


At Be Fit Personal Training studio where I train, we have a COR Bench. It's just a bench, except that it's filled with air. So, every exercise you do on it challenges your core and your ability to balance.
      It's another tool that we can have some fun with!
      Here's me trying a split squat jump, or lunge jump on the COR bench. As you can see in both these videos, I'm not doing a great job on keeping balanced, but it was fun and now I know I can do things like this.
      So, don't neglect balance work in your fitness routines. It does and will aid in overall strength gains.

       Happy Balancing!
video
                         
                                                         Train Today to Move Tomorrow!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

How do you know?

      When talking about exercise, healthy eating, fitness programs or routines, there is so much information out there it's a wonder how any of us can figure it out. How do you know what's right for you? How do you know what's bullshit and what's legitimate? How do you know where to start?
      None of us truly knows. It's a matter of trial and error. And, yes that's it.
      It means trying lots of different things until you find what you like and what works for you. If you like something, do it. If not, don't. Although when changing habits, we sometimes do have to grit through things that can be uncomfortable for a while. But, that's not to say that you have to suffer to lose weight or be in pain to think you're making gains in the weight room, you don't and you shouldn't. It all comes down to finding what you like and what works for you. I like seeing if I can do push ups while balancing on four medicine balls, or seeing if I can jump onto the COR bench and land in a squat without face-planting.

      I'll give you some examples of my progress. It's taken me about 3 years to get to where I am now with the way that I eat. I started by gradually cutting down, then out all together adding sugar to my coffee. I started drinking a ton of water. I started including healthier snacks like fruit instead of crackers or chips. I started cooking more for myself and eating less processed foods and more whole foods. Now, I feel much more in control, I feel much less bloated and run down, I know what I'm eating and will quickly notice if a food makes me feel gross. So, even though it's taken a long time and a lot of trials, I'm confident now that what I eat will fuel my body in the way that I need.
      It's taken me much longer than that to get to where I am now physically and with my workouts. When I first started working out regularly I thought that how my body moved was just how it moved. That I couldn't change that. I was wrong. The prime example of this for me was how I performed squats. I would see other people getting deep into their squats while keeping an upright posture and all the right parts were doing all the right things and I knew I wouldn't be able to do that. I was too stiff, I was not strong enough, I just wasn't made to do that, are all the things I would think. But, now years later and thousands of squats later, I continue to get better. In this photo, I'm using the BOSU ball as my
guide point for my depth. Who would've thought that I'd be able to maintain my position like that? Not me. But, there it is. Not only have my squats improved, but everything has improved. And, that's with problems like tendonitis in my elbows and other minor injuries that are fairly regular for me. Even with set backs, I've improved and I continue to improve and continue to get stronger.
      My point is that things take time and they take a lot of work. I know that no one wants to hear that, but it's the only reality for any lifestyle change. I encourage my clients to just take things one at a time and before you know it, all the goals are met and it's time to start making new ones. So, we may not know what to do or where to start, but I don't think that matters if you try. I know that if you try, you'll find the best way for you.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

these changing times........

      Things move too quickly for me sometimes.
      In my business, you'll get left behind if you don't keep up with the changing times. Today's technologies, the ever increasing desire for instant gratification, the ever increasing pressure to have an impact and a strong presence online and on social medias. I fear that I am behind the times. I'm a self proclaimed computer and technology dunce. I spend as little time on the computer as possible. However, in order for me to generate an online presence, I need to utilize these technologies and I need to utilize them well. I'll keep working on all that.
      But, let's slow down for a minute. Let's remember what we're doing here. Life moves quickly and if we don't slow down, if we don't have patience, we're gonna miss everything. Let me relate this idea to health and fitness practices. We are inundated daily with the latest and greatest diet or exercise plans, all of which leave out what I consider to be the most important aspect of change which is: you can't undo a lifetime's worth of bad habits in 10 days (or whatever the latest gimmicky product claims). So, what does that mean for the individual looking to make a healthy change? Well, it means patience and understanding are the first steps to making long lasting changes.
      Have patience with the process and take the time to understand how to make the process of making a lasting change can work best for you. We're all different, our needs are all different and our processes are all different.
      My goal is to aid you in that process, to help you understand that it might take a year, it might take longer ,it might take a lot of trial and error, and that is absolutely OK. In my experience, it's the time and the work that must go into making a change that can be the most difficult part of it all. And, as much as we'd rather not admit it, no matter how fast the world changes, that won't. It will continue to take time and work to make lifestyle changes that will last.
      As much as I need to catch up with the technologies, I will always be a bigger proponent of a 'slow and steady, wins the race' approach to health and fitness goals. Don't miss out on experiencing making a healthy change that will stay with you forever by opting for a quick fix that will most likely not last.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

New Year?

      Ok, so I missed the mark by about a month, but Happy New Year!

      I've been thinking about the new year and things that commonly come with that, and though I've never been one to make resolutions or really think about my future all that much, this year I've been thinking.
What's all the fuss about? How does making a resolution or goal really affect our choices or our lives? I don't know if it does or not, but I've been thinking.
      In my thinking, I've decided to make some changes. Not necessarily resolutions or goals for this year, but small changes for now and for the day to day. The first being my mental attitude. Will approaching each day with a positive mental attitude toward things really make any difference in how I feel or how I handle things? I don't know. What I do know so far with practicing keeping a positive mental attitude is that I actually do feel pretty good. I feel confident in what I'm doing and saying, I feel less aggravated for less amount of time by all the super annoying things like bad drivers, slow cashiers in stores, etc. For me, that's something. So, I resolve to continue to approach my days with a more positive attitude and maybe some of that will rub off on my clients during their workouts.
      The second thing is to do more things for myself. So, I started a new workout program for myself and unfortunately I've been sidelined by a hurt back muscle that requires resting. I'll get back to that when I'm all healed up.  I'm also making more time to do things that I care about, like snowboarding. I haven't gotten up to ride in a couple of seasons, so this year, I'm off to Colorado for a few days!
      I'm not sure if resolutions are the way to go to make changes in your life, but making changes is a necessary part of growing and becoming a better person. Whether it be small seeming inconsequential changes or big changes, I don't think it matters as long as we are willing to do it from time to time.