Chronicles of Rehab – “Fun Police -the Sequel”

Unknown“For my entire life, I have been a “pusher.” Someone who puts my head down, shoulder into things and doubles my efforts when obstacles arise.  But I reached the point where I physically broke from this way of life.  And now I am discovering as Deepak Chopra says, “The Law of Least Effort.”  If I am more still, gentle and calm with myself I can discover better my true strengths and my own inner voice.  That does not mean that I am not strong.  As an athlete, I look forward to my body being able to be agile and powerful again.  But I don’t have to make up for anything I feel insecure about in this present moment.”

That was a paragraph I wrote while beginning my physical therapy to learn to walk again following a complete tear of my hamstring muscle off the bone.  I’m closing in on the first anniversary of my surgery and with the exception of some minor, stubborn, remnant bruising in my lower calf I am 100% recovered.  And like many, now that I am healthy again, I am tempted to fall right back in to my old habits of driving my body beyond reasonable limits.

View from the sofa

View from the sofa

After having the best New Year’s Eve of my life, I came down January 3rd with the flu, that turned into bronchitis.  So two weeks later, as the penned up squirrels in my brain are starting to gnaw and bite at the confines of bed rest I hear myself say to someone, “Sure I can teach four combo Spin/TRX classes Monday.”  I hang up the phone and then proceed to cough for a full 5 minutes.  The wise grey squirrel who is the voice of my inner buddha gets the others voices to settle down.  And I think, “Did I go through that whole process last winter, only to ignore the lessons I learned?  Do I want to repeat this grade?”  As much as I want to go outside and play, my denial disappears and my over-eager confidence has a reality check.  Wheezing as I walk up the stairs, I envision trying to motivate twenty people over blaring music, the hum of exercise equipment without a microphone.  Honestly, how inspiring is it to be on a bike while your coach is hacking up a lung?  So in the best interest of the paying customers and in acknowledgement of what is truly best for myself, I pass on teaching the classes.

In the past I would have felt disappointed in myself that I didn’t just suck it up and muscle 8648876146_3df3e20120_nthrough.  I would have put pressure on myself and felt guilty about not being able to lead the exercising troops, like I had missed out on my duty and on having fun.  But the lessons of last year stuck; I feel no reluctance to care properly for myself.  Instead, I feel joy that I passed this test with flying colors.

So what this has re-taught me is to find my “victory” today.  If you’ve just worked a 60 hour work week and stayed up late with a sick child, and every minute of your day has been scheduled, why are you taking a kickboxing class?!  Take 1 minute out of each day and really check in with yourself and see HOW AM I?  And make better choices for yourself off of that answer.  Be your own Fun Police and feel blessed in every minute of your day, even in the face of challenge!cropped-vflogo-wing.jpg

Holidays, Stress and Food

Unknown-1Raise your hand if you have ever been guilty of saying to yourself, “Oh screw it! I’m just going to eat whatever I want and worry about my diet after the new year, when all the parties and stress of the holidays are over!”  If you could see me – both of my hands would be raised along with yours.

We have all had days where family, events, work and general life crises make us feel like sitting on the couch all day and stuffing our faces with only cookies!  And I would argue that we are all entitled to the occasional day of “Anti-Stress Protest Eating.”

BUT here’s the part that I want you to consider: EATING BEAUTIFULLY COMBATS IMG_0001STRESS FROM THE INSIDE OUT! As my friend, Simon, (owner of The Fit Kitchen) is fond of saying, “Food is Fuel; Make Good Choices.”  Food can heal us from the inside out.  Nutrient dense foods combat illness.  Stress hormones like adrenaline and cortisol are supposed to be experienced in short doses, like you’re running from a Saber-Toothed tiger.  But in our modern world our stress hormones often run around the clock for days on end.  And under those circumstances the immune system takes a beating.

In addition to weakening your immune function, cortisol increases fat tissue storage, especially in sites around the tummy.  Maintaining nutrient rich, good portion sizes will not only help you feel more satiated it will also curb bing eating at holiday gatherings.  That way if you’re having a cookie…or two, or a drink…or two, you’re adding it to a balanced diet rather than using it as a nutrient source.

images-3Lastly, many people experience mood swings and depression over the holidays, whether it’s from loneliness, exhaustion or family arguments maintaining great eating habits will aid against seasonal blues. First, a colorful, nutrient rich plate visually stimulates happy mood-enhancing hormones in the brain.  Second, steady intake (3-4 appropriately portioned meals/day) help keep insulin and glucose digestion in even streams.  Therefore, you avoid blood sugar spikes and valleys, which are known for wrecking havoc on emotions – especially anger and sadness!

Again, I like to use the simile of “your body is like a sports-car” because it makes simple sense.  If you have an Audi or BMW – note I did not say Porsche/Lamborghini; we’re not pro-athletes – and you fill the gas tank with maple syrup…let’s just say you will wreak havoc on the insides of your lovely car and it’s definitely NOT going to run well!

images-4So if you need a snow day’s indulgence in front of the TV with a pint of ice cream…so be it.  But let’s keep it to a day.  Let’s revolutionize your thinking: NUTRIENT RICH FOODS ARE YOUR ALLY AGAINST STRESS.  FOOD IS YOUR FRIEND!

Happy Holidays From Victory Fitness

Christmas Gift Ideas

images-1Still shopping?  Let’s face it, when shopping for loved ones year after year the situation can be daunting to try to find something they will really enjoy and isn’t a pair of socks or a tie.

Maybe you have parents who are retired but whose knees ache when playing with grandchildren?  Maybe you and your hubby keep talking about getting in better shape but never do?  Maybe you have a friend that needs some extra support to make needed lifestyle changes?  Maybe you’re done shopping and it’s time to get a goody for yourself?!images-2

Victory Fitness Online Personal Training is the gift that keeps on giving!  It’s affordable and if you get two people to train at the same time it’s half the price!  No membership, no hidden costs – just a great personal trainer wherever you need them to be!

Christmas_socks_in_stock_Christmas_sock_stocklotsHappy Holidays Everyone!

Party Pounds Got You Down?

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Party Season has arrived! No need to feel guilty! Try Victory Fitness Online Training TODAY! – Eat, Drink and Be Fit!

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Full Body Weight Exercise

images-2 The trend right now in fitness is for trainers to advocate “Total Body Weight Exercise” as being the magical cure for every person wanting to lean up and get buff.  But what’s not being openly talked about is the casualties that line this path.  I want more fitness professionals and their clients to be mindful about what “total body weight exercise” really means.

It is true that the more muscles you get working at any given time the more calories you burn. That makes intrinsic sense.  It is also true that your body moves on it’s own without you thinking about it, all day, every day in a multiplicity of complex multi-movement patterns.  All of that is good stuff.

Now, what most athletes, many turned fitness professionals fail to take in to consideration is the different types of learning and their effect on motor co-ordination and the ability to perform an exercise correctly.  There are varied learning types that people can be generally classified under, like visual or auditory.  Visual learning style, means you see someone do it and you can then do it.  Auditory learning style means you hear a list of directions and you can then sequence them back correctly.  Most athletes are kinesthetic learners, that means they learn by physically doing a task.  That is not to say that a visual learner cannot learn to perform the same task as a kinesthetic learner, but it means that there will be a higher learning curve for them on a task of physical nature.  So trainers, just because you can do 100 picture perfect burpees in a row at speed, does not mean that your client should or can even if they want to.

Full body weight exercise requires a base level of strength.  The building block structure should be first: 1) establish stability – the means by which the body can maintain the integrity of its joint structure under most forms of stress.  Stress itself can be constituted in training terms by speed (how fast or slow is the pace), load (how much weight you’re lifting) and duration (how long are you lifting each load.)images-1

Everyone has helped a friend move; imagine you lift a heavy box and you have to stand still and hold it until your friend gets his car. It would make a difference to your back and shoulders if that car were right out front or parked two blocks away.  Now imagine you and your friend have to lift a really heavy box – but you only have to move it ten steps in a straight line.  Chances are – you will both move as quickly as possible.  Lastly, imagine you are carrying a heavy box that requires you to move down several flights of stairs – you are under load and the duration will be long and the pace will be slow.  All of these scenarios are slightly different from one another in the demands they make on the body.  And everyone can relate to feeling stiff and sore after a move.  Proper training can get you to where none of those scenarios would be painful.  You would be stable in maintaining your joint integrity.

UnknownThe next phase of training should be symmetry. Is each individual joint and side equal to the tasks demanded on the body?  Anyone ever tried to carry a toddler in one arm and lifted a bag of groceries from the back of a car simultaneously?Unknown-1

The last phase is dynamic performance.  The ability to do intense, full-body, full-ROM exercises under various forms of stress.  Yes, FBW exercises develop dense muscle mass more efficiently and effectively than any other form of exercise.  But is it appropriate for everyone to go straight to the hardest, most bad-ass place first?  An athlete has been doing crazy compound loaded movements for a lifetime – the brain actually functions differently (this is another topic for a future blog in and of itself!) To expect a client to perform like that before proper foundations are put down is a recipe for disaster.  Anyone remember Tae Bo?  Yes, great results are achieved but at what cost? My goals are not for people to feel good for the one year they did Cross-Fit.  I want people to be equal to the physical challenges in their daily lives and to feel good and look great for the duration of their years!images

Personal Training Too Expensive?

Willow's victory was getting a treat after posing for this shot.

Willow’s victory was getting a treat after posing for this shot.

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