I recently return from Negril, Jamaica, where I taught group fitness classes for a week.  Some classes were Aquacize, Beach Power Walk, Core Lower Body, and Body Sculpting.  It was a great experience meeting new people and touching more lives. While in Jamaica I took two things away from the experience.

1. What happen to saying, “Hello” when passing anyone.  Everyone is Jamaica including the people visiting from other countries, said hello when passing each other.  It made for a more relaxing and care free trip.  It has become the norm not to say anything to anyone, then to say one word, “Hi”.  Try saying “Hi” to at least 5 strangers a day and see what happens.  You’ll put yourself in a better spirit even if it is not reciprocated.

2.  If your a fitness enthusiast or new to fitness, you should take a spa/fitness vacation and a complete “shut down” vacation.  On this trip I saw many people who were overweight and out of shape.  You can tend to over eat on these kind of vacations.  While its good to completely “shut down”,  you can also do you body an injustice.  If you can go on a spa/fitness vacation(3-4 days) to detox and rejuvenate your body, you can return more energized then the “shut down” vacation.

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Over the last few weeks, I have been re-energized.  Going through a NASM-Corrective Exercise workshop and putting a system together to make sure clients reach their goals.  Regardless of the system, clients still need a system or game plan to reach their goals.  I have seen huge changes in all my clients when implementing some sort of system.  A big eye opener or reminder was, not always training clients how I think they should be but what their body needs.  I feel a lot of trainers out their train clients “randomly” and we are all guilty of it as trainers.  Make sure your trainer is communicating with you as a client about how you’re going to reach your goal and the system behind it.

How do you know if you’re progressing?  I mentioned earlier that I saw huge changes in my clients over the past few weeks.  I saw pain free joints, increase flexibility, a total 8lbs and 12 inches lost, lowered blood pressure and resting heart rate.  How do I know? Assessing!  “You can’t know where you’re going, unless you know where you been.”  As a client or trainer, make sure you know where you are physically before you start a training system or program.  Whether it is a movement screen, body fat analysis, girth measurements, or blood pressure, you should have some type of hard data in the beginning.  Now progress is not always facts and figures.  It can be a way of feeling.  Sometimes your self esteem will increase or you don’t feel as fatigued throughout the day.  Either way, make sure that you as the client or trainer recognize the non-tangibles.

At the end of the day, having a progressing system can only lead to a positive result.

 

(Credit: Galia Slayen)

While flipping through the channels I cam across an episode of Dr. Phil, “Teen Beauty”.  The show was about teen girls who wanted body augmentations.  The biggest eye opener in the show was the Barbie Doll real life measurements.  Barbie’s measurements are 6 feet, 110 lbs, 36-18-33, and a BMI of 16.24.  Her measurements are pretty crazy and almost impossible to duplicate.  She would also have a hard time conceiving due to her menstrual cycle disorder.  While most girls are not trying to look like Barbie any more,  it is important for girls and GUYS to be happy with their body.  Don’t let some of the media images distort your self worth.

Make sure you have a healthy lifestyle.

1.  Workout 4-5 times  a week. 20 minutes of cardio, weight training, and STRETCHING!!

2.  Proper nutrition.  Eat every 3-4 hours(protein, complex carbohydrates, healthy fats[avocados/olive oil]).

3.  Drink plenty of water

4.  Take you time.  Take time to meditate, read a book, or take a walk.

5.  Rejuvenate your body.  Get a massage, stretching, take a yoga, or pilates class.

6.  Get plenty of sleep for your body.  Everyone is different, you know how much sleep your body needs to function properly.

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Recently we have seen two major injuries to two professional athletes, Baltimore Raven Terrell Suggs and New York Yankee Mariano Rivera.  Immediately I asked, “Whats up with all these injuries!!??” 

Lets remember that injuries can be a result of muscle imbalances.  Obviously, there is a relationship between the hip, knee, and ankle joints when it comes to sports conditioning.  Training all three joints in different planes of motion, incorporating balance training, and individual leg strength is key to prevent injury.

Training the hip, knee, and ankle in different planes of motion-such as a transverse lunge with dumbbells, will help strengthen and teach stability through all three joints.  These are more dynamic movements that simulate real life movements in sports.  This also helps proprioception or body awareness when accelerating and decelerating from a common plane of motion in sports where you have to pivot and rotate.   This would be great exercise for Mariano Rivera who suffered a ACL and Meniscus tear by pivoting and the thigh and lower leg rotate in opposing directions.

Balance training is great to help with proprioception or body awareness through the ankle, knee, and hip joint.  Balance training should be done using both legs and individual legs.   Examples of using both legs for balance training is using the BOSU ball while doing squats or medicine ball toss.  Example of using a single leg exercise would be standing on one foot doing a medicine ball toss and single leg four square hops.  Some of these exercise will be used when Terrell Suggs is going through his rehabilitation process.

Individual leg strength is training both legs individually to help prevent injury.  First you have to determine which leg is stronger and which leg has better balance.  Example,  you maybe right foot dominant, but have better balance on your left side.  So you may do your individual leg strength training on your left and balance training on your right.  Examples of individual strength training is single leg press, single hamstring curl and single leg squats.

 

They key take away is that all three of these training methods all coincide.  As you can tell some of the exercise will over lap with training in all three planes of motion, using balance, while training on an individual leg.  Terrell Suggs and Mariano Rivera and all athletes should be training specifically to help prevent these types of injuries.

 

 

 

I was in the office yesterday, when a member comes in asking one of the fitness specialist, if they had seen Jason Williams.   She politely said, “Sure, he’s right here.”  The member introduced himself and said, “Hi, my name is Lee and I was reading your personal training profile and I wanted to work on my flexibility and range of motion.”  I said, “No problem, we can help you with that.”  I continued to ask him some questions about his goals and injuries and scheduled to meet him the next day for a complimentary session. 

About 10 minutes later, one of the membership representatives came in and said, “I heard your working with one of my prospect’s, Lee.”  I said, “Yes, what is his last name?”  She said, “Evans”  I made a joke, “Lee Evans from the Ravens.”  She replied, “THERE IS A LEE EVANS ON THE RAVENS??”  I said, “Yes”  not thinking anything of it.  She leaves the office and comes back five minutes later, “THAT’S HIM!!!”

Moral of the story: It pays to be nice to everyone, no matter who they are, because you never know who you are engaging with.

I was training with a client last week and she returned experiencing “airplane legs”(she actually coined the phrased).  Anyone who travels frequently knows the feeling of tight hips, hip flexors, lower back and even neck.  “Airplane legs” can be a very compromising issue when traveling and can effect your activities of daily living and overall fitness training.  Remember in the kinetic chain of the entire body, one tight muscle can effect the rest of the body.  For instance, while traveling on an airplane, hip flexors can become tight which can cause lower back pain, then trickle to the upper trapezius and neck.

How to avoid “Airplane Legs”?

Before and After flying, be sure to stretch your hip flexors, quadriceps, hamstrings, IT Bands and lower back.  Using a foam roller in combination will help even more.

I just wanted to write and say thank you to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. His dream and courage is an inspiration to my life. Without him I would not be able to write this blog, do what I love for a living and be with the love of my life.

I really appreciate everything he did and could never forget him and hope to teach my children some day about him and his dream.

2011 saw the growth and decline of some health and fitness trends.  While fitness DVDs such as P90X and Insanity stayed relevant.  Crossfit made a big impact with larger group training and TRX is becoming more of a fad.  I will give my 2012 Health and Fitness trends and would love to hear your prediction for 2012.  Lets get started…

YOGA – Yoga remains a strong trend with studio and gym classes staying full and the many different types of yoga rising, such as Air yoga and karaoke yoga.

SPIN CLASSES – Spin class remain a popular class at gyms and even individual studios are opening.  Spinning has become ol’faithful.

RUN Training –  5K, half marathons, and marathons are big hits in cities and small towns.  Anyone can do this and it usually supports a great cause.  The feel of accomplishment keeps the motivation of running high.

Corporate Fitness –  Employers love healthy employees.  Employers are paying for programs and even partial gym memberships. Studies show that fit employees are more confident, focused, and produce more at work.  Also, healthy employees can cut insurance cost as well.

Physical Therapy/Corrective Exercise – Have a nagging injury, go see a Physical Therapist.  Don’t let your ailments hinder your fitness goals.  Physical Therapist offer therapeutic modalities and corrective exercises to help and prevent injuries.

Personal Training – My personal favorite! Personal Trainers don’t allow you to short-change yourself at the gym and no progression in your individual fitness to help you reach your goals faster and more efficient.

BARRE Classes – A combination of ballet, pilates, and yoga.  Barre classes are a big request and Barre studios are opening in big cities and small towns.

 

Here are some more health and fitness trends that need more attention.

Child Obesity – One of the biggest epidemics in America, child obesity programs are not as prevalent in gym, studios, and fitness centers.  Schools are implementing programs but parents need to be more aware and educated to help their children.

MASSAGE – While thought as a luxury.  Massage offers stress relief, flexibility, and overall mind/body balance.

Wellness Coaching – Wellness coaching is on the rise but not as popular.  Achieve your fitness goals is just not a physical thing, it can be mental as well.  Wellness coaching can offer a answer why your not reaching your fitness goals, nutrition goals, and stress management goals.

PILATES – Trend or fad.  Pilates is great alternative to Yoga and stretch programs.  Pilates offers mat and apparatus training.  Great for core, flexibility and rehab training.

 

Other health and fitness trends: Zumba, Acupuncture, Swim/Water programs, Boxing, Kettle Bells, VipR

 

Something to think about and if your body position can affect your memory, think about all the other things that your body can do. The mind body connection is a powerful thing. Read below….

Credit: Relativity Media
Can’t remember your anniversary, hubby? Try getting down on one knee. Memories are highly embodied in our senses. A scent or sound may evoke a distant episode from one’s childhood. The connections can be obvious (a bicycle bell makes you remember your old paper route) or inscrutable. A recent study helps decipher some of this embodiment. An article in the January 2007 issue of Cognition reports that episodes from your past are remembered faster and better while in a body position similar to the pose struck during the event.

Its that time of year and everyone loves giving gifts and eating sweets. One thing that puzzles me; Why do people bring sweets into the gym as gifts? Its the biggest oxymoron I have ever seen. I have no choice but to laugh when someone brings cookies or brownies to the gym. That’s like bringing alcohol to an AA meeting as refreshments. While I appreciate the gesture, but No Sweets Please! :0)