Every year, we spend approximately a bazillion dollars on all manner of treatments for pain in our necks, backs, feet, shoulders, etc.
Sadly, most of that pain is due to inactivity, poor posture, sitting too long in front of tvs & computer screens, poor training form, etc.
If only there was a way to quickly and inexpensively eliminate those aches and pains?
VooDoo Floss Bands
Way back in 2011, I saw the following Youtube video (with Dr. Kelly Starrett and uber-strong man Donny Thompson) highlighting the use of DISTRACTION and COMPRESSION to help repair shoulder dysfunction…which I happened to be suffering from at the time.
The very next day, I…
Ordered a pair of compression bands, and
Started rehabbing my bad shoulder with the distraction technique.
After 6 days…
My shoulder felt a LOT more stable and was noticeably less painful. I had also resumed resistance training with my focus on rehab.
The compression bands arrived in the mail.
After 2 days of compression & distraction rehab…I was able to press an 80 lb dumbbell overhead with ZERO pain in my formerly-bad shoulder.
In another week, my shoulder felt better than it had in a long, long, long time.
In the 5 years since then…Crossfit exploded in popularity…helping Dr. Starrett become THE mobility & athletic performance guru…and compression bands became very popular amongst weightlifters, crossfitters, powerlifters AND physiotherapists.
Fast forward to today…and it’s just about time for compression bands (and associated rehabilitation techniques like Donnie Thompson’s distraction technique) to enter the mainstream.
Instead of spending big bucks on massage, chiropractic, physiotherapy, acupuncture, etc, it’s time for “normal” people to take advantage of this amazing rehab technique and…
For $65, you will be getting the knowledge and the gear required to keep your joints healthy, strong and pain-free.
And if you don’t want to drop the extra $$$ on Kelly’s book, I have sourced the best “how-to-use-compression bands-to-fix-my-busted-up-body” videos from the Youtubes. They are organized by joint/bodypart.
Note: If you follow the above links (and make a purchase), Rogue fitness will give me 5% of the purchase price as a finder’s fee. It won’t cost you any extra and the dough will go straight into my daughter’s education fund.
If you have any questions about the rehab techniques, feel free to hit me up on Twitter or Facebook
In that article, I introduced you to oscillation training and how you can use this training method to:
improve muscle imbalances,
thereby increasing strength,
Since then, I have read numerous studies looking at the effectiveness of weightlifting with:
Stable loads on unstable surfaces – ie Barbell squats on Bosu, foam mats, Swiss ball, etc
Unstable loads on stable surfaces – ie Dumbbells, kettlebells on floor, benches
My unofficial meta-analysis of these studies shows that:
Stable loads on stable surfaces allows for maximum force production of the prime mover muscles.
Unstable loads (DBs, KBs) on stable surfaces reduces force production in the prime movers (agonists) by a negligible amount while producing a similarly tiny increase in synergists & core muscles.
Unstable loads on unstable surfaces (Bosu, Swiss ball, foam mat) further reduces force production in the prime movers while ever so slightly increasing force production of synergists & core muscles.
There have also been numerous studies which postulate that training with unstable loads on stable & unstable surfaces will eventually lead to increases in muscular strength & power as muscle imbalances are corrected, core strength improves and all muscles involved in athletic movements – agonists, antagonists & synergists – are trained to work together more effectively.
And now for the new research:
In this latest study, researchers tested the effectiveness of oscillation training via a series of parallelbacksquats with an unstableload (weights suspended from the bar by an elastic band)
Fifteen resistance-trained males completed ten repetitions of the backsquat with 60% of their one repetition maximum in both stable and unstable conditions.
Peak vertical ground reaction force and the integrated muscle activity of the rectus femoris, vastus lateralis, vastus medius, biceps femoris, soleus, rectus abdominis, external oblique, and erector spinae muscles on the right side of the body were determined.
The unstableload resulted in a small (3.9%), but significant decrease in peak vertical ground reaction force. This makes sense considering the previous research on unstable loads.
The unstableload also produced noticeably greater muscleactivation in the rectus abdominus, external oblique, and soleus.
This may turn out to be highly significant – where previous studies on trained individuals found that DBs or KBs or vibration platforms or Bosus or Swiss balls produced small increases in muscle activation in these “helper” muscles, the use of oscillation training was much more powerful.
Oscillation training may actually turn out to be a really useful tool for athletes and wanna-be athletes.
What does this mean to you?
If you are one of the following trainees, systemic use of oscillation training may be just what you need:
Someone stuck at a strength/size/power/speed plateau
Someone with sore shoulders or knees or back or…
Someone who plays a sport
Someone who finds their body is feeling “older”
Someone who has poor posture
Someone who wants the health benefits of yoga and/or pilates bust hates yoga and/or pilates
Someone who want to be as fit as they can possibly be
Someone who just started doing Crossfit and doesn’t want to destroy their shoulders
Someone with a big gut
Someone who wants to maximize the health benefits of weightlifting without getting “too big” or spending too much time.
How to incorporate Oscillation Training into your program?
Start small. This is supplemental work, meant to make the rest of your program work better.
Don’t do oscillate before doing big compound lifts using the same muscle groups/movements. You don’t want to wear out your assistance muscles prior to needing their help on a big compound lift.
You can do oscillation work after doing big compound work, or
Do oscillation work on off-days – rest days or days where other movements / muscle groups are being worked.
Dr. Ray McClanahan (podiatric physician) believes that the best way to treat most foot problems is by allowing the foot to function exactly as nature intended. Unfortunately, the shoes you are wearing right probably don’t do that. This realization is why so many people are giving barefoot / minimalist shoes a try. Unfortunately, if you have been wearing “normal” shoes for most of your life, switching to a barefoot shoe isn’t going to fix your feet.
This is where the Correct Toes spacer can help. They are designed to spread your toes into their natural and correct position…improving “proprioception, which then allows the brain to better promote balance and optimal muscle function”.
Paired with a quality pair of barefoot / minimalist shoes, Correct Toes returns your foot to its natural state, treating most foot problems, and by extension, many musculoskeletal problems.
There is no point in buying the Correct Toes spacer and fixing your gnarly old feet if you’re going to keep shoving them into a pair of “normal” shoes and scrunching them together like some masochistic Chinese foot binding experiment. What you need to do is buy a pair (or two) of barefoot / minimalist shoes that allow your feet to move as they were originally intended.
And that’s one of the reasons why I have been wearing a pair of Sanuk Chibas all summer long.
Some of the other reasons are…
they are comfortable as heck,
can be worn on the beach AND with casual clothes,
they look pretty darn good
and they come with an antimicrobial additive…meaning they won’t stink after hours and hours of barefoot wear.
A few months back, I started working with two different 40+ year old clients who wanted to add some muscle to their “slender” physiques. In addition to a complete restructuring of their diets and an introduction to a truly nasty training program, I put them both on Gaspari Nutrition’s SizeOn product.
Instead of taking a bunch of different products, I wanted one supplement that would service their workout endurance demands as well as help them pack some meat on their hardgainer bodies. And SizeOn turned out to work perfectly.
Both clients had already started gaining muscle with SizeOn, but when we added it into the mix, things really took off.
Both gained significant muscle mass
Subject #1 gained 14 lbs of muscles while losing 7 lbs of fat
Subject #2 gained 11 lbs of muscle while losing 22 lbs of fat.
Pretty significant transformations…especially when you consider that both of these guys were both ectomorphs and lifelong hard-gainers.
I can’t say enough about this product – Great Stuff!!! – Here are the ingredients if you want to check it out.
In spite of two major knee reconstructions, I love running long distances.
Even though I am built like an hypermuscled Clydesdale, I still love throwing on a pair of shoes, hitting the trails and watching the world slow down as I ground out the miles. Aside from the numerous health & fitness benefits, I love how I “feel” when I run.
So, I can understand why a LOT of runners:
Focus exclusively on running
Ignore the other components of physical fitness
Allow muscle mass to waste away
And end up with a Skinny-Fat body
But…it doesn’t have to be that way.
It is possible for long distance runners to hold onto a decent amount of muscle mass and avoid looking like a anorexic Hollywood actress
The Paleo Diet should form the base of your eating plan. The high nutritient : calorie ratio makes it the best choice for repairing muscular damage brought on by your workouts.
Fish oil and a quality green food are two base supplements that I recommend to all clients – runners or not.
While Paleo is your best choice throughout the day, when it comes to your pre & peri-workout nutrition, Paleo carbs (except for fruit juice) aren’t going to work. Too much fiber, slow digestion, full belly. Not good when you’re running for miles & miles.
What you need is Sugar and BCAAs before, during & after each work – cardio & resistance.
Buying tip – My favorite BCCA supplements are Scivation XTEND and Biotest Surge Workout Fuel.
Supplement daily with Creatine. Improved ATP storage. Improved muscle cell hydration. Better looking muscles. What else do you want?
Buying tip – Choose a micronized creatine powder from a reputable brand
Here’s where we stimulate muscle growth.
And we’re going to use either of these two programs to do that.
New research from John Hopkins University has found that fibromyalgia patients who engaged in 30 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity 5 to 7 days per week were able to:
improve their mobility, while
reducing their levels of perceived pain and disability
And as anyone who suffers with fibro surely knows, that is huge.
Never-ending pain throughout your body
Lack of sleep
Complete and utter exhaustion
That’s what it’s like to live with fibromyalgia.
Researchers asked the participants to increase their activity levels by increasing the intensity of regular everyday activities such as
taking the stairs instead of using an elevator,
Their goal was to push themselves hard enough to cause heavy breathing, but not hard enough that they couldn’t hold a conversation.
By the end of the study, the participants had increased their average daily steps by 54%.
More significantly, the exercisers reported “significantly less perceived functional deficits and less pain.”
Speaking about these results, researcher Kevin Fontaine said, “The nature of fibromyalgia’s symptoms, the body pain and fatigue, make it hard for people with this malady to participate in traditional exercise. We’ve shown that LPA can help them to get at least a little more physically active, and that this seems to help improve their symptoms.”
In my experience, working with fibromyalgia patients has been one of my most rewarding experiences as a personal trainer. While it can be frustrating at times to see your client struggling with a new level of pain (that I caused), it is an incredible feeling when the situation starts to improve.
As they get accustomed to the exercise and the pain levels start to drop, the workouts take on a whole different light.
They stop thinking of themselves as fibromyalgia patients and start thinking of themselves as just another athlete suffering through another brutal workout avec moi.
[box type=”important”]So, if you know anyone with fibromyalgia, pass this post on to them…and encourage them to get active.[/box]
Alternate between 30 seconds of cold water and two minutes of hot water. Perform this shrinkage inducing protocol three or four times.
While most of the claims about this recovery technique are anecdotal, there is some research showing that alternating hot/cold showers post-exercise is effective in lowering both heart rate and the levels of lactate in your blood. Anecdotally, contrast showers have been said to improve athletic recovery via increased blood flow and possible nutrient and waste product elimination (lactate). There may also be a psychological benefit and an increased feeling of alertness and fatigue reduction.
In my personal experience, contrast showers help reduce my post-workout DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) as well as perk me up for the rest of my day.
Localized inflammation in joints and muscles. Systemic inflammation throughout your body. Fish oils are a great, natural, anti-inflammatory. Add some to your post-workout shake. If you already have issues with chronic inflammation, you may want to consider adding some Turmeric/Curcumin or Zyflamend into the mix.
And while there are lots of supplements (natural adaptogens & pharmaceutical agents) out there that claim to help repair & restore the CNS, I don’t feel comfortable recommending any of them. However, I am willing to push meditation & sleep as the two best CNS treatments ever invented.
Sleep – You probably don’t sleep enough already. Add in a tough workout routine and you’re looking for trouble. Get your 7-8 hrs.
Meditation – There are lots of ways to meditate. There are crunchy-granola yoga meditative techniques. There are medical based mindfulness meditation programs. Praying is a form of meditation. There are even mp3s you can buy that claim to help sync your brainwaves into the pattern best suited for meditation. But the simplest method may be to just sit or lie down, put your hands on your belly and focus as your breath flows in and out.
Epsom Salt Baths
Epsom Salts (magnesium sulfate) are another anti-inflammatory agent.
When added to a nice hot bath, they are absorbed through the skin and helps reduce muscular pain and general “achiness”. It also helps increase your levels of magnesium and may help reduce water retention.
The benefits of ice massage are questionable at best. But, I know a lot of athletes who swear by it, so I figured it best to include it in this review.
Most of the pro-Ice Massage evidence isanecdotal. The main claim is that ice massage is an effective method for reducing localized inflammation and reducing the symptoms of DOMS. However, the clinical research doesn’t agree. In fact, some researchers feel that ice massage should be contraindicated when it comes to preventing post-exercise DOMS.
So, I leave the decision up to you.
Personally, I will skip the post-workout ice massage. If you need more info, click here.
Medical research has shown that the benefits of massage include pain relief, reduced levels of anxiety and depression, and temporarily reduced blood pressure, heart rate, and state anxiety.
Plus, it just feels gooooood.
Get a massage every month or so. Your body will thank you.
TENS is a non-invasive, medically tested, safe nerve stimulation intended to reduce pain, both acute and chronic.
It’s also the subject of cheesy late night infomercials.
And that’s too bad. Because, in my experience, TENS is a great little tool for reducing muscular pain. I bought a unit two years ago after a car accident screwed up my neck, back, shoulder & knee. It wasn’t my only treatment modality, but it was convenient, effective and relatively cheap.
For post-workout pain, a TENS unit is probably overkill. But, for those older trainees who have a few chronic aches and pains, a TENS unit might be worth it’s weight in gold.
Chiropractic / Acupuncture
I group these two treatment modalities together because my chiropractor is also an acupuncturist and soft-tissue therapist. I don’t get one without the other.
I go every two months and Sheldon works out the kinks that I have managed to create. When I over-do the chin-ups and my bad shoulder acts up a little, Sheldon breaks out the acupuncture needles, re-adjusts the bones and does a little (excruciating) muscle stripping.
According to a study being presented today at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America, “Middle-aged men and women who engage in high levels of physical activity may be unknowingly causing damage to their knees and increasing their risk for osteoarthritis”.
“Our data suggest that people with higher physical activity levels may be at greater risk for developing knee abnormalities and, thus, at higher risk for developing osteoarthritis.”
And in case you didn’t know…Osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint disease that causes pain, swelling and stiffness. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis and affects approximately 10% of the American population.
The study involved 236 asymptomatic participants who had not reported previous knee pain – (136 women and 100 men, age 45 to 55, all within a healthy weight range.)
The participants were separated into low-, middle-, and high-activity groups based on their responses to the Physical Activity Scale for the Elderly (PASE) questionnaire. PASE is a standard test that scores an older individual’s physical activity level, based on the type of activity and the time spent doing it.
Then came the MRIs.
Radiologists scanned the knees of the test subjects and compared their findings to the levels of physical activity as determined by the PASE questionnaire.
Sadly, the MRI analysis indicated a relationship between physical activity levels and frequency and severity of knee damage.
Specific knee abnormalities identified included meniscal lesions, cartilage lesions, bone marrow edema and ligament lesions. Abnormalities were associated solely with activity levels and were not age or gender specific.
The prevalence of the knee abnormalities increased with the level of physical activity.
In addition, cartilage defects diagnosed in active people were more severe.
The findings also indicated that some activities carry a greater risk of knee damage over time.
“This study and previous studies by our group suggest that high-impact, weight-bearing physical activity, such as running and jumping, may be worse for cartilage health.”
“Conversely, low-impact activities, such as swimming and cycling, may protect diseased cartilage and prevent healthy cartilage from developing disease.”
The researchers concluded that there is a need for prospective studies to evaluate the influence of low-impact versus high-impact physical activity on disease progression.
Our bodies wear down with use. This should not come as a surprise to anyone 40+ years of age. Odds are there are lots of things that you can’t do that you could do in your teens or twenties. (see Viagra)
With age comes wisdom. Or at least it’s supposed to. As a kid, I never included a warm-up into my workout. Nothing hurt, so why would I warm-up? Today, if I skip the warm-up, things hurt.
Additionally, since I have become a slightly-older, slightly wiser version of myself, I have eliminated or modified the types of exercise that cause me pain – long distance running, 1 leg pistol squats, football, various weightlifting exercises, high intensity plyometric jumps, etc…
And with these modifications, I eliminated the nagging knee & shoulder pains that had begun to crop up.
My Other Conclusion(s)
No exercise is perfect for every person. Swimmers often suffer with shoulder pain. Cyclists often develop muscle imbalances due to their posture while cycling. Yoginis suffer joint injuries.
The body you have today is different from the body you had 20 years ago. Treat it as such.
Your body is different from my body. What works for me might not work as well for you.
Your body will tell you what is best for it. If your knees swell up after going for a long jog…maybe you shouldn’t go for a long jog. If your shoulders hurt after a set of overhead presses, maybe you should find a way to modify or replace that exercise.
There is a difference between high intensity exercises performed properly & high intensity exercises performed improperly.
Before giving up on “high intensity” exercises that require running & jumping, see if you can find a better way to do them. Try to modify before you eliminate.
Look at correcting postural imbalances that may lead to injuries
Consider purchasing rehabilitation equipment designed to prevent injuries
To be completely honest, I had never heard of the Wellness Belt until this morning when I heard a commercial for this product while listening to a radio station marketed towards Zoomers.
I could not believe what I was hearing.
According to the commercial, the Wellness Belt is the health breakthrough that every soon to be senior citizen has been waiting for.
Simply by wearing the ultra-fashionable Wellness Belt throughout your day to day activities, you will experience:
Effortless Weight Loss
The Elimination of Back Pain
A Reversal of Osteoporosis
Improved cardio-vascular fitness, a reduction in cholesterol, high blood pressure and a lowered risk of heart attack
Improved posture, reduced back pain, less intense headaches and migraines, increased neck range of motion and elimination of menstrual cramping. People with scoliosis have reported reduced tightness in the spine.
Increased free time as you never have to exercise ever again
How do I get one?
Well, I’ll tell you.
For a limited time, you can save $30 off the regular price!!!
That’s right. For just $167.97 +s/h & applicable taxes, you too can own your very own Wellness Belt.
OR for less money, I can buy a set of 6 indestructible exercise bands and a single kettlebell.
With this equipment, I can expect to experience:
Actual Fat Loss
Increased Muscle Mass
Increased Anaerobic Endurance
Improved Body Image
Improved Sex Appeal
An Improvement in many types of Pain (back, head, neck) caused by Muscular Imbalances
A Potential Improvement in Osteoporosis due to increased Osteoblast production caused by longitudinal loading of the long bones of the body.
Improved Cardio-Vascular Fitness
Increased pride as I know that I earned my new and improved body.
What to do, what to do?
On one hand, I have a product that requires no effort, is unlikely to do anything useful and is only being purchased by the self-deluded and extremely dim-witted.
On the other hand, I have a set of products that are going to require time, effort and buckets of sweat. But in return, I am pretty sure to transform my body into something I can be proud of.
Today, it’s Resistance Stretching….made famous by 40-something Olympic and World champion Dara Torres.
In 2008, Resistance Stretching was Dara’s secret weapon at the Olympic Games in Beijing where she won three silver medals, broke her own personal best time in the 50m freestyle (trailing the gold medalist by 1/100th of a second) and became the oldest Olympic swimming medalist in history.
Dara’s success as an older athlete is what got me interested in Resistance Stretching (RS).
Resistance Stretching is based on the theories that:
The stretching effect occurs during the entire movement of the muscle while it is being contracted, not just at the end point of the stretch…unlike traditional static stretching.
A muscle must contract while elongating for a true stretch. Stretching a muscle without contracting produces a false range of motion known as substitution, and ultimately results in over-stretching and injury.
Repetitions are necessary for gains in flexibility, just as repetitions are necessary for gains in strength during strength training.
How do I do it?
Resistance Stretching can be performed alone using self-stretches or with other person(s) using assisted stretching techniques.
Dara relied on assisted stretching to prepare her body for the Olympics.
And what I found most unique about her new weight loss plan was her focus on how our emotions and thoughts impact our relationship with food.
While I and others have written about this before, somehow I think that Oprah’s opinion carries just a little bit more weight with America’s obese.
In fact, because of Oprah’s influence, I predict that the next big wave of popular diet books/programs will all include some form of psychological/emotional/spiritual philosophy.
And this could be a good thing…or it could be just another gimmick to sell books and supplements and pills and gym memberships and…..well, you get my point.
We all know, that for most of us, losing weight is not as simple as reducing our intake by 500 calories and increasing our output by 500 calories. If it was, all of us would be lean and fit and earning extra money posing as swimsuit models.
While weight loss is easier for some of us and incredibly hard for others, we all know that it isn’t simple. There are many factors at play.
And, as a personal trainer who relies on word of mouth to earn an income, I need to figure out which of those factors are keeping my new clients from being as fit and healthy as they want to be.
If they don’t see results, my bills don’t get paid.
But, seeing as none of you are my clients and, in the spirit of everything being free on the internet, I hereby present to you, mymulti-faceted, mind, body and spirit, guaranteed to work, new and improved for 2009 Health Habits Weight Loss Plan.
And if you are reading this prior to January 16, could you please click here and throw me a vote for Wellsphere’s Health Blogger Award. As of today, I am sitting at #16 and I could use a little charity.
When it comes to losing weight, it always comes down to lifestyle.
I can give you the most effective diet and exercise plan known to man (just send $19.99 to…), but unless you are willing to address your negative lifestyle influences, you and I are wasting our time.
You might as well join a fat acceptance group and learn to embrace your inner fatty.
Your Formerly Fat Lifestyle
To begin, I am going to break your Formerly Fat Lifestyle into 3 parts:
Mental / Emotional / Spiritual
Let’s start with the physical:
This may sound strange, but thanks to our Western Diet, most overweight people are actually undernourished. Overfed, but undernourished.
What do I mean by this?
I mean that the food that most of us eat doesn’t even deserve to be called food. Sure, it provides calories, but it doesn’t actually provide the nutrients that our bodies need to perform at their best.
As a result, even though our bellies may be full, our cells are screaming for more. And in their quest for more nutrients, they call on a whole bunch of hormones and brain chemicals and food-related memories to MAKE YOU EAT MORE AND MORE AND MORE.
So, one of the first things I do is to change the types of food my clients are eating. We don’t even discuss calories. For most people, improving the quality of their diet drastically reduces appetite.
Note – I will go into much more detail in future posts, but if you can’t wait, check out these archives:
This may sound strange coming from a personal trainer, but up until fairly recently, human beings had no need for “exercise”. Our ancestors stayed fit through their daily activities.
But, unless you are planning to quit your desk job and take up a life of hunting and gathering, you NEED to exercise. You will never get enough exercise in your day to day life.
And when it comes to weight loss, not all exercise is created equal. Oprah was on the right track when she decided to cut back a little on the cardio training and replacing it with more resistance training. While cardio is vital for the health of your heart and lungs, it is a poor choice for weight loss.
Now if only we could get her to quit the bodybuilding-type program Bob has put her on. Considering her goals and her schedule, she needs to find a program that maximizes fat loss and strength and minimizes bulk and wasted time. And her current program…is at least 5 years out of date.
For most of my clients, we are trying to:
Build strength without bulk
Focus on functional strength that improves “real life” activities
Improve balance and coordination
Increase short term and long term metabolism
Improve joint mobility and muscular flexibility
Increase speed, quickness and agility, and oh yeah…
Burn a lot of calories
And like I said before, I will be going into more detail. Here are some links for the impatient:
At first, this topic may not seem to have much to do with a weight loss program.
But when your knee is killing you because a tight IT band has caused your patella to track laterally and grind away causing pain, inflammation and swelling, you may see the benefit of including some pre-hab / re-hab training in your weight loss program.
We are all getting older. As kids, we could abuse our bodies and count on them bouncing right back. As adults, we need to use some of that wisdom we are supposed to have been accumulating to avoid the problems before they happen.
The Mental/Emotional/Spiritual aspects of weight loss:
This is the part of Oprah’s new program that I found the most interesting.
Whether or not it proves to be effective, Oprah’s search for the mental/emotional/spiritual reasons behind her eating disorder is a big step forward.
And while the psychological community debates whether or not disordered eating patterns (like Oprah’s) constitute an actual psychological condition, it is obvious to those of us who struggle with obesity, that obesity and emotion go hand in hand.
So, as part of Oprah’s new weight loss program, she asked herself 5 not so simple questions:
Why are you overweight?
What are you really hungry for?
Why have you been unable to maintain weight loss in the past?
What in your life is not working?
Why do you want to lose weight?
And assuming, that she/you/me answer those questions on a deep & meaningful level, we may be able to understand or even release some of the emotional “stuff” that has been contributing to our weight gain.
Or maybe not.
While I think these 5 questions may be psychologically enlightening and a source of motivation at the start of your program, I question whether they will have any staying power. What happens in 3 months when the initial “aha” moment has worn off? How is knowing the “truth” about your weight gain going to keep you from falling off the wagon?
You need some tools to take you from enlightenment to realization.
And one of those tools could be the Cognitive Behavior Therapy for Weight Loss Program by Dr. Judith Beck.
In fact, it’s likely that some of you may already have seen this book. It’s been one of the big sellers at my local bookstore. And with good reason.
If people are excited about Oprah’s new psychological/emotional approach to weight loss, they should be overjoyed to find Dr. Beck’s program.
Next week, I will post a review of the book.
But for now, I will let Dr. Beck provide a brief description of her plan:
Most people struggle with losing weight and keeping it off because no one ever taught them how. It’s not just a matter of willpower and a healthy eating plan. To be successful, you have to learn a set of cognitive (thinking) and behavioral skills. Other weight-loss programs assume that dieters know how to keep themselves from cheating. Dr. Beck respects that dieters are human; she expects mistakes and her unique program teach dieters exactly what to do immediately following mistakes, and how to solve and prevent them in the future.
By following the Cognitive Therapy techniques dieters learn to:
think differently and overcome common dieting pitfalls and sabotaging thoughts
eat favorite foods while steadily losing weight
feel in control in the most challenging situations
feel confident in their ability to follow a healthy diet and exercise plan
remain motivated to maintain weight loss for life
Sounds pretty good, doesn’t it?
But, to be fair, I am a little biased. While I don’t agree with every part of Dr. Beck’s program, I have, in the past few years, weaved aspects of Dr. Beck’s program into my own pseudo-psychological mind control program. And it has been very successful.
In fact, one of my clients is following Dr. Beck’s program. In the coming weeks and months, I will be reporting on his progress.
The External Stuff
So, you have the perfect nutrition plan and the perfect workout plan and your thoughts and emotions are all pointed in the perfect “let’s get ready to burn off some body-fat” direction, but…… you are swamped at work and the kids need to go to soccer practice and you just don’t have time to make it to the gym and you “had” to stop at the Golden Arches and pick up one of those new McCoronary meals.
And the next thing you know, you have gained another 10 pounds.
Let’s face it.
Your regular day to day schedule does not have any available space to add in daily exercise and meal prep and meditation and sports massage and all of those other things that you should be doing to get your body in tip top shape.
Something is going to have to go.
You need to prioritize.
You need to exercise. Cancel something else.
You need to eat real food, not grab take-out on the way home from work. Cancel something else.
You need to calm your mind…be it meditation, prayer or even a good foot massage. Cancel something else.
If Oprah can do it, so can you.
It won’t be easy.
But you need to make this commitment to your health.
And it doesn’t stop there.
There will be other roadblocks in your road to physical fitness.
Each January, like lemmings, hordes of people trudge down to their neighborhood health club and fulfill their new Year’s Resolution by purchasing a brand new 1 year membership.
And 60 days later, 80% of those people are never heard from again.
But wait, it gets weirder.
In the past 10-15 years, the biggest money maker in the fitness industry hasn’t been those wonderful people who overestimate their desire for fitness.
It has been the personal trainer.
And boy, have they made a lot of money for the health clubs.
And boy, can they cost you a lot of money.
But, if you find a good trainer, who has a good reputation and is willing to stand behind his work, the benefit can outweigh the cost hundreds of times over.
Remember, if you are going to pay for fitness, make sure that you are paying for results…not promises.
Will you be able to stick to your diet as your husband shovels another slice of greasy pizza into his pie-hole?
Will you stick to your workout schedule when your kids demand a ride over to their friends’ house?
Will you go to bed at a decent hour when your posse has just fired up the dvd player for a Quentin Tarantino movie marathon?
Or will your family support your decisions to re-gain your health?, and
Will your friends join you at the gym in a show of support?
Unless you have some sort of unshakable iron will, your friends and family will impact your weight loss success or failure.
So, you need to sit down and discuss your plans with those people in your life who might just throw a monkey wrench into your weight loss plans. Let them know that you need their help. Let them know that your health is at stake. Let them know that you love them and appreciate them and…..
Get them on board. You know them better than I do. Figure out what buttons need to be pushed and get pushing.
Okay, that’s all for now.
In the next few weeks, I will be fleshing out the bones of this “better than Oprah’s” Your Best Life weight loss plan.
In the mean time, if you have any questions, please comment at the end of this post
Okay, technically they are the two best core exercises, but the Roll-out
and the Stability Ball Pike/Knee-In
are, in my opinion, the most complete core exercise combination. Period.
They address the two primary functions of the core musculature unlike any other movement.
They are infinitely scalable. Beginners can modify the movements to protect their lower backs while advanced athletes can perform variations that completely tax their strength, balance and co-ordination.
This is the part of the post where I discuss the science behind the exercise, so if that is not your thing, please skip ahead to the videos.
Core Function and the Roll-Out
The two main functions of the core are:
The stabilization of the spine via abdominal compression
Movement – spinal flexion, extension, rotation, tilting the pelvis
Physiologists often use the analogy of the human spine being like the mast of a sailing ship.
The core muscles – Transverse abdominus, Rectus abdominus, External and Internal obliques, Multifidus, Quadratus lumborum, Iliopsoas, and the Erector spinae all work together as a group to support your spine from your pelvis to your rib cage. While they all work as a team, the Transverse abdominus is the key player.
While there is great debate about the best way to train the Transverse Abdominis (T.A.), there is a general consensus that any movement where you are forced to tighten you core against the demands of gravity or an outside source WILL be effective to develop the T.A.
One of the most popular T.A. dominant exercises is the bridge or plank.
The Roll-out and the Stability Ball Pike/Knee-In provide the same benefit as the bridge, but with the added benefit of being a dynamic, rather than static movement.
Spinal Flexion is controlled mainly by the Rectus abdominus and the Iliopsoas. The most popular Spinal Flexion exercises are the crunch and reverse crunch.
The Roll-out produces the same movement as the crunch with the added benefit of spinal stabilization.
The Stability Ball Pike/Knee-In gives you the same benefits as the reverse crunch with the added stabilization.
Spinal Extension is controlled mainly by the Erector spinae and the Multifidus muscles. Spinal extension training is generally addressed by posterior chain movements like deadlifts, good mornings and bodyweight hip extension movements. As such, this section of the “core” will be omitted from this post.
Lateral Flexion is controlled mainly by the External and Internal obliques. Lateral flexion is usually trained by some form of side bends.
Rotation is controlled mainly by the Obliques, Multifidus and the Erector spinae. Spinal rotation exercises have been the flavor of the month for a little while now. One of the most popular is the wood chop.
You will have to forgive my lack of video (my digital recorder was stolen, hence the youtube videos), but if you can imagine, performing the Roll-out moving at various angles will give you an intense lateral flexion movement combined with forward flexion and stabilization.
With the Stability Ball Pike/Knee-In, you can combine spinal flexion and stabilization with lateral flexion and rotation by rotating and twisting the hips as you move the stability ball back and forth.
As you have seen in the accompanying videos, there are various ways to perform the Roll-out and the Stability Ball Pike/Knee-In.
With the Roll-outs:
beginners could start on their knees with a stability balls,
increasing the difficulty by moving their arms further away from their body.
graduating to the ab wheel,
then a loaded barbell.
The variations are as endless as your imagination. For example, stretch tubing can be attached to the ab wheel in order to increase or decrease exercise intensity.
As I said at the outset, the Roll-out and the Stability Ball Pike/Knee-In are the best core exercises. I hope that I may have converted a few of the ab crunchers out there.
A study by researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the US has recently estimated that each physically-active person saves the health care system over $300 annually relative to an inactive person.
With the current U.S. population at 303,980,933, that would work out to a potential savings of $91,194,279,900
A study done in 1995 for the Ontario Government called The Relationship between Physical Fitness and the Cost of Health Care, estimated that OHIP medical claim costs could be reduced by $31 million a year if all Ontario adults (aged 20-69) had at least an average level of fitness.
Based on CDC study mentioned above, the 63% of Canadians who are still inactive cost the health system $5.7B more than if they were active.
In the Economic Burden of Illness in Canada, Health Canada reports that the total direct cost (drugs, physicians, hospitals, research) of illness in 1993 was $44 billion out of an overall cost for health care in Canada of $70 billion.Moreover, the indirect costs such as time lost due to long-term and short-term disabilities, and the present value of future productivity lost due to premature mortality and illness in Canada represents an estimated economic value of $129 billion — nearly 21% of the GDP. Reducing the number of inactive Canadians by a further 10% would result in an additional saving of $5 billion.
But at the end of the day, all government can do is try to coax us, bribe us or threaten us into adopting a healthier lifestyle. Ultimately, it is up to the individual to make the conscious decision. Isn’t the benefit of living an active and healthy life worth the cost?
In today’s post, I will investigate in further detail one of those components: Proper Body Alignment
As I said in the previous article, proper body alignment involves the relative position and interplay of your skeleton, skeletal muscles, ligaments, tendons & fascia. For example, are your hamstrings too tight? Is your pelvis in proper alignment? Is the fascia covering your diaphram too tight?
If your body is out of alignment in one place, there will be adaptations elsewhere. Whether those adaptations will result in pain and injury depends on factors that are largely out of your control.
Luckily for us, if things do get out of alignment, it’s not too hard to find a good physical therapist or an osteopath to help with analysis and/or re-balancing your out of balance body.
If seeing a specialist is out of your price range or you’re just a DIY kind of person, there are a lot of body alignment gurus willing to post a ton of free info online:
Each of these individuals have a unique approach to putting your body into balance. If it is possible to meet with one of them for an assessment, I would highly recommend it. If not, read some of their articles, decide which of their styles makes the most sense to you and apply ONE concept. Don’t try to do everything at once.
If you do decide to DIY, start by taking a few digital photos of your posture – standing & sitting, from the front, rear and both sides. Lift your arms overhead, squat, etc… You would be surprised how easy it is to see your own flaws in a photo.
Client exhibits classic exaggeration of the double S-curve posture.
Forward head posture and chin protraction are evident.
Rounded shoulders combined with an exaggerated kyphosis are apparent in the upper thoracic region.
Significant anterior pelvic tilt with a concomitant increase in lumbar lordosis is also evident in the lumbo-pelvic region.
Anterior weight bearing is difficult to determine due to the cropping of the photo, but still seems to be an issue of concern.
This all too common grouping of postural misalignment is depicted very nicely in the following image that I borrowed from part 2 in Cressey & Robertsons’s Neanderthal No More series.
While posture #1 is the ideal, #4 is all too common.
Primarily caused by hours of sitting and staring at television and computer screens, posture #4 has become all too familiar.
Think about it, an hour sitting in the car driving to work, sitting for most of your 8+ hours at work, driving back home and then finally dropping down onto the couch to watch some ‘must-see” tv. All this adds up to poor posture, misalignment, and eventually pain and disfunction.
Okay, enough doom & gloom.
This can all be corrected. Start with the links listed above. Take it slow. Your poor posture wasn’t created in a day and it won’t be corrected in a day.
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