Monthly Archives: February 2017
As modern technology continues to evolve it seems that people are sitting more and more. With smart phones and tablets such a big part of everyday life many of the activities that used to be physical are now played out without having to move much at all. It’s not uncommon for someone to get out of bed, sit in a car on the way to work, sit all day at a desk, sit in the car on the way home, and then sit all evening watching television or playing with their smart phone.
The Sitting Epidemic
Now clearly starting a crusade against sitting is not the correct answer. Even in my profession where I’m up and moving around while working with patients, I still have the same 40 minute commute to work, and I still have to sit at the computer to get things done such as notes and ranting about how bad sitting is for you. The answer is not as simple as refusing to sit, as for some people it is an inevitable part of their lives, and to be honest, those who stand all day have many just as many issues as those who sit. Many visits in my office relate to back pain in which work place stresses are the main cause. Although there are many different causes of work related back pain, sitting is by far the most common cause and risk factor.
Even if your chair feels comfortable and has been deemed “ergonomically sound”, it is still a bad idea to maintain a prolonged static posture. Even the most advanced office chairs can’t reverse the force of gravity. Aside from back pain, prolonged sitting can tighten your hip flexors and hamstrings, leaving you prone to injury when you exercise.
What to Do If You Have a Sedentary Job
The reason sitting so much is damaging to the spine is because sitting places almost twice the stress on your spine as it does when simply standing. This is because instead of forces moving through the hips and down to the feet to make contact with the ground, these forces stop at the pelvis which is contacting the ground through your chair. Furthermore, If you’re the are hunched forward in your chair, let’s say because you are tired or can’t read the screen, the problem gets even worse. When the shoulders round forward the spine makes a “C” shape, removing the natural curve in the lower back. This causes added stress and forces on the intervertebral discs of the low back, and can wear down this joint and lead to early degeneration. Does this sound like you? If so, here are some tips to help you combat the stresses of work and ward off future ailments associated with sitting.
1) Sit more forward on your chair and keep a slight arch in your back to remove that “C” posture. You can also retract the shoulders and maintain better upright posture by first shrugging the shoulders, rolling them back by pinching the shoulder blades together, and then letting the shoulders drop from the shrugged position.
2) Force yourself to get up and get out of your chair at least once every 30 minutes. Take 2 minutes to walk around the office, do some light stretches or just stand, but make sure you get up. If you have access to a standing desk use it for a portion of each day. The key is to take short movement breaks everyday so your muscles, tendons, and ligaments stay loose and flexible.
3) Make sure to keep a healthy and consistent wellness visit scheduled with your chiropractor. If you are asymptomatic and free from any significant ailments, typically a standing visit every 4-6 weeks is all you need to keep your body from tightening up and breaking down from your workplace stresses. All too often, we see patients who wait months, even years to until their pain is so bad that they cannot function before coming into the office to seek help. By keeping a regularly scheduled maintenance visit, these scenarios are very often avoided. On top of that, it just makes sense to get a maintenance visit in to ensure your body is working properly. You wouldn’t hold of 12,000 miles to change the oil in your car until it overheats and fuses a cylinder would you?
For more information on workplace related stresses, or have your workplace evaluated, schedule a visit with Dr. Detweiler.
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How many of you walk up to the tee, grab your club, take a few swings and then just let it rip? I’d bet a fair amount of money that the majority of you reading this are guilty. I know I am. But, why is it important we warm up properly? As I have mentioned in previous articles, golf is a rotary ballistic sport and puts a tremendous amount of force on the body. After reading this statement, hopefully, the majority of you do not need any further explanation. However, I’m sure a few of you will. Just like warming up before we train, it is important to warm up and prepare our body for the physical demands of golf. Not warming up properly will not only hurt our performance, but there is a good chance it could lead to injury. Just arrive a few minutes earlier than normal and do some light stretching and see how much it benefits you. Early next month, I will be writing the second part of this blog, which will contain a short warm-up that will benefit every golfer.
The exercise of the month for February is Dead Bugs. For those of you that have been following my recent articles, hopefully you can see by now how important posture is. Dead Bugs are a great exercise to help strength your core and help you in creating a more neutral posture. It is also a great exercise for working on your motor control and coordination.
How do you perform a proper dead bug? First, start off lying on your back with your legs and arms up in the air as the picture shows.
Second, pull your rib cage down and allow your lower back to be in contact with the floor. Then, you’re going to move your opposite arm and leg away from your body as the picture shows.
Try and do two to three sets of fifteen to twenty reps.
Last weekend, the entire NBS team and I, had an amazing opportunity to attend the Elitefts Sports Performance Summit at Ohio State University. It was a once in the lifetime opportunity to have all of those brilliant minds together in one place. At the summit, we were lucky enough to learn from some of the best strength coaches, nutritionists and chiropractors in the country. We learned about everything from strength training, nutrition and movement evaluation. All the information learned will benefit my clients, as well as me as a coach. On the ride home, I had some time to reflect on what I learned and how I am going to apply that knowledge to my training style and philosophies.
What did I learn?
- Never stop learning. It is important that you never stop learning or trying to improve. You must continue to seek knowledge and experience. This not only benefits you as a professional, but also benefits your athletes and clients.
- Not everything goes according to plan. As a strength coach, it is your job to have an organized plan for every client, no matter his or hers goals. We plan out stretching, mobility, weight training, nutrition, etc. However, it is important to understand that not everything goes as planned. No matter what the reason is, it’s important that we are able to adapt to our athlete’s training at a moments notice. There is no reason to stick to the plan if it’s not benefiting your athlete.
- There is no quick fix. You’ve heard of the saying, “slow and steady wins the race?” The same holds true when training an athlete. It is our job as strength coaches to ensure that our athletes understand and perform basic movement patterns properly and efficiently before jumping into anything complex. If we move to quickly and do not ensure that the athlete has proper mechanics, all we will be doing is promoting bad movement patterns that could lead to an injury.
- Take what you learn and learn how to apply it. It is important to take information you learn and apply it to your clients. Sometimes this requires you to think outside of the box. Not every training program is going to work for every client. Sometimes, you may not agree with the entire training program, but want to use only some of the program. Other times, you may like the basic ideas and principles of a program, but not the specific exercises. These types of situations and thinking are what enable you to teach as a coach and then in turn help you to grow.
Hopefully, this article gave some insight into what I learned this past weekend. To me, this information can help any career, not just mine. Just remember, it’s important that you never stop learning, go with the flow, realize there is no quick fix, and learn how to apply the new knowledge you’ve learned. If you do those four things, you’re started on the right path!
HOLY CRAP THOSE BEFORE PICTURES!! (top row is October 2016 , bottom row is February 2017)
This week ends an offseason phase of dieting that has been focused on slowly achieving a better body composition year round. This isn’t to say I was fat in the recent years, but eventually you realize you aren’t doing all you can for yourself. When I came to that realization, it was a punch to the gut. I talk about nutrition daily. I harp on the importance of consistency and not eating like an asshole. While I would eat fairly clean through the day, I would often get home and get lazy and order a pizza. Too often. I can sit there and say that I was in some kind of strength/mass development stage of my diet, but I wasn’t. Truthfully, I was just being lazy.
I don’t like lazy. I am not lazy. So I changed it. I hired Justin Harris of Troponin Nutrition and we set out to play the long game. There was no crash diet, there was no extreme restriction, there was no deadline. However, there was structure and there was consistency, something terribly lacking previously.
Results: I lost a hair under 20lbs. For those of you in strength sports, that’s kind of HUGE. That’s several weight classes. I switched my training over so I could play around with some hypertrophy planning I had been thinking about, but kept squatting, benching, and occasionally deadlifting. A few things I learned along the way:
You choose who you listen to, and you tune everything else out: I hired Justin to handle the nutritional component of my diet and consulted in two or three people when it came to hypertrophy training. Everyone elses opinion had to go. I am a firm believer in experimenting with one variable at a time and deciding if it is effective before compiling things. However, damn if people don’t want to tell you their ideas anyway. And that’s fine. However, I decided that for this period of time, I was going to listen to Justin and only Justin pertaining to diet, and pre-plan my own hypertrophy ahead of time without influence of others. This worked out nicely as I have a pretty clear idea now on what principles worked for me and which ones did not. Did this hurt feelings? Yeah, a couple. People like to have their super grand ideas heard. Do I care? Not especially. That’s the casualty of focus.
Weight Loss IS NOT LINEAR: Say those capitalized works out loud. Now say them again. I had weeks where my weight went up, I just had more weeks that my weight went down. I had weeks where I was stagnant. I had weeks where I suddenly lost a huge chunk of weight. Weight loss is a process of adaptation, and its timeframe is uncertain.
My training got better: My training changed pretty drastically and I decided that I would use minimal assistance gear unless my joints were cranky. This means on squats, I wore a belt and maybe some knee sleeves, but typically not. I also put a lot more emphasis on time under tension. I kept my frequency the same, but the overall volume went up. I expected to feel draggy in a slight deficit and having higher volume, but it wasn’t the case. We were able to do some carb manipulation peri-workout that seemed to weather the volume storm pretty well.
Work on building habits through discipline: this is by far the most important aspects of the past five months. In the early stages, I was very diligent in meal timing, appropriating my macros at the right time, and being organized. I will be honest, for about a month I didn’t feel like eating a structured diet was feasible. However, the more I just put my head down and DID IT, the easier it became. I have now spent five months getting very comfortable at eating when appropriate and shutting it down when its time to quit. I don’t mosey around the kitchen looking for snacks when I am bored because the habit it just gone. This is something I had been missing going into contest preps in previous years: I would embark on these pretty serious prep diets with no appreciable habits and I would get overwhelmed and my life would fall to shit. I would be so focused on making these enormous lifestyle habits, and the importance of doing so was so dire because there was a deadline ( a show) that nothing else could exist. It was a nightmare. I feel a lot more confident going into the next phase of nutritional manipulation as I have the incredible power of habit on my side now.
The before pictures are never easy to look at, but at least I wont be back there again. Now we are onward to bigger things 😉
Well, I’ve slacked off for long enough! It’s that time again. Time for another movie review. I think I’ve got a good one for you all this go round. This movie isn’t old, but it isn’t new. the title of this film is There Will be Blood, and it was released in December of 2007. It received an academy award, as well as a Golden Globe, and is based off of Upton Sinclair’s novel Oil! Published in 1927.
The main character of this movie is Daniel Plainview, who is played by none other that Daniel Day-Lewis, along with a couple of other familiar faces. The movie tells of a silver miner, turned oil-man on a never ending search for wealth during the oil boom i southern California in the late 19th and early 20th century. During the movie one of Planview’s workers is in a fatal accident, and Daniel adopts the man’s orphaned son, which allows him to present himself to potential investors as “a family man”. However, this couldn’t be any further from the truth.
If you are looking for a film with a bit of suspense and some twists and turns, then I would definitely suggest giving this a watch. Personally, I feel that most of the roles that Daniel Day-Lewis takes, never disappoint. There Will be Blood is now widely accepted as one of the greatest films of the 2000’s, and was among the highest ranking 21st century films in the British Film institute’s 2012 Sight and Sound polls. Give it a try.
In the financial world, there is a big difference between true wealth and the outward appearance of wealth. We can define true wealth as the financial cushion to handle predictable and some non predictable negative financial circumstances (loss of income, medical expenses, etc) as well as the financial position to comfortably live the lifestyle you desire with the potential to grow your wealth. We see this play out with the example of many Americans with nice cars, big TV’s, big houses, and lots of toys who still live pay check to pay check without any insurance, retirement, or investments. This is true for all income brackets. People living in poverty make foolish financial decisions just as millionaire sports stars go bankrupt from doing the same. Likewise, intelligent financial decisions including insuring oneself from catastrophe and investing in the future are made by people of all income levels as well.
This same principle applies to the training world. There are many things you can do that are geared more towards the outward appearance as opposed to things that truly build lasting value. Where you put your resources will play a big roll in the over all outcome. While intelligent investments may not bring the same short term joy, they can bring lasting value. Here are two examples of what I am referring to:
Time is our most valuable resource because it is truly non renewable. Time spent can never be earned back so it’s important that you use it wisely. Spending time trolling others on social media sites can bring short term enjoyment but has little long term value for the lifter. If we’re going to look at the true ROI (with return being characterized as improved health, performance, and/or physique) for time spent on social media, it is very very low. Interacting with other humans is great but social media platforms are not the best for exchanging quality information. Instead, a more intelligent investment decision would be to spend time reading and learning from people who have established themselves as credible in the areas you are interested in.
Energy is a renewable resource but it is not infinite. Like a savings account, you have a limited amount of energy that you can expend before you need to spend some time replenishing it. Therefore, intelligent energy usage is ideal for long term success. Many people waste their energy making their work a show for others in the gym to experience. Now, there are times when exuding a lot of outward energy is beneficial like when you are attempting a max set on a major lift. Getting yourself hyped up, however you may do it, can be necessary for certain situations. The issue is when it is used in all situations. Cable crossovers? Scream at the top of your lungs so everyone watches. Warm up set on dumbbell bench? Shot put the dumbbells out of your hands and hope no body’s feet are in the way (also who cares if you destroy the equipment). Getting ready to squat? Pour chalk on your back instead of putting your shirt on. These are the things that bring no benefit to the lifter but are instead a waste of time and potentially a nuisance to other people.
The only reason I can reflect on these things is because I have been guilty of them. As a younger lifter I made a lot of mistakes and was often time confused on what true success looks like. Now with some time under my belt in the weight room, I can look back and realize my mistakes. I used to toss dummbells on the floor until I realized that it was hurting my shoulder and causing the dumbbells to bend. I used to scream during my sets till I realized focusing on my breathing would help me perform better. I used to put chalk on everything until I realized perfecting my setup and technique made it so I didn’t really need it. If you’re newer in the fitness game, take my advice: invest your resources wisely and focus on long term success instead of trying to give the outside perception of it.
Who are you seeking advice from when it comes to your training? This is a pretty serious question, and one that you should be asking yourself if you are serious about training. Working in a gym you tend to notice many things from time to time, and eventually they start to get to you. There is a reoccurring theme that I see over and over in the gym setting and that is people listening to others just because they are bigger and stronger than them. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for surrounding yourself with people that are better than you. That’s exactly how I progressed from where I used to be, to where I am now. The question you really have to ask yourself is do these people actually know what they’re talking about, or have they been getting by on good genetics, luck, or maybe even a great work ethic. Lucky for me, the people I was taught by actually knew what they were talking about.
This idea came to me when I was in the gym the other night and noticed two people I have never seen before that were following around another gym goer that was much bigger and stronger than themselves. I couldn’t help but overhear some training advice that this person was giving out to these less experienced lifters. Of course it’s pretty common for us as humans to want to help others out, especially when they are open to learn and absorb new knowledge. However, just because you’ve got some biceps, and a 315+ bench, doesn’t mean you’re qualified to give out quality training advice to others. I’m not talking about something that can be left up to debate, such as training methodologies, program structuring, or a particular cue that is given in many different ways by different coaches. In this situation the advice that was being given was just flat out wrong! It’s just like the scene from the movie Pumping Iron when Arnold Schwarzenegger tells the story of how he mislead a fellow bodybuilding competitor into thinking that he was supposed to be screaming while he was doing his poses on stage. Now, that guy should’ve had enough common sense to think to himself, “wait, what the hell is this guy talking about? I’m not going to scream onstage while I run through my poses!” However, since Arnold was bigger and better than everyone else he thought is was sound, and solid advice, which only got him kicked out of the competition. Now, don’t get this twisted as me bashing Arnold, Arnold is numero uno, but you can see just how easy it is for someone to give out the wrong information and anyone follow it.
I felt bad for the two individuals that were being given this information because now they are probably going to be doing this particular movement wrong for quite some time, and this may eventually lead to an injury. As a trainer, you feel obligated to step in and tell the ones that are being given the wrong information, the right information. This can sometimes be difficult because you don’t want to insult the intelligence of the individual giving out the wrong advice, that usually only makes matters worse. In other cases, sometimes you do, sometimes these people need to know that they are wrong, and that they are leading people in the wrong direction. It isn’t necessarily they’re fault, somewhere along the line they we’re given false information and they are just repeating what they think is right. This isn’t all that bad though because this is an opportunity for this individual to be educated on what is right, and why it is right. When this happens, there is only opportunity for quality information to be passed on and everyone wins. Let’s all be winners.
At Mid-South Spine and Sports Performance, we are always looking for ways to adapt and improve the experience of all our patients. Since officially opening in mid-April of last year, Mid-South SSP has grown from just a table in the middle of a gym. to a true office. We have gone from word of mouth referrals between NBS Fitness members to an open provider for all athletes and active individuals looking to capitalize on the performance gains of chiropractic, including the official chiropractic provider for the University of Memphis. It is my goal to consistently improve bring new and engaging ways for our patients at Mid-South Spine and Sports Performance to interact and improve their health. Because of this, we are rolling out some new features and services for you, the patient, that are geared to create better and more convenient options for care. This begins with the completion of our new website, www.drtyreldetweiler.com. It allows for a central hub for the patient to keep you informed on the latest and greatest at Mid-South Spine and Sports Performance. Although, we will introduce and explain each new feature individually, here are the highlights of the new face of Mid-South SSP:
- Online scheduling for new and existing patients
- NEW! – Chiropractic Home Visit scheduling
- Information on all services available at Mid-South Spine and Sports Performance
- Links to our social media outlets so you can keep up to date on the latest news and article write-ups .
New style of training will always offer new experiences, this particular program has dynamic work aka “Speed work” which is suppose to be done explosively, this is known as working speed strength. The fun stuff comes when after the initial sets there are “up sets” programmed where the numbers jump up drastically and you are prescribed to still move the weight “fast” not explosively. Now we are in the realm of working something called strength speed. I really like how these are set up, I enjoy wrapping on squats because I have learned to use them very well. Moving heavy weight fast is also a good feeling so here is how the dynamic effort day with up sets went down for me.
How to Be A Great Swinger!
Kettlebell swings are personally one of my favorite exercises. No matter your fitness level, you can learn to swing properly and efficiently.
Swing Stance and Set Up
Start with placing your feet slightly outside hip width. Your stance should be more narrow than a squat stance, with toes pointing forward. From this position, you will “hinge” your hips back, and allow a slight bend in the knee or “soft” knees. If you are unfamiliar with a hip hinge, (in its simplest form) visualize this. You’ve got both arms full of groceries and you need to shut your car door. Without thought, you abruptly press your butt towards your car door and shut it. You’ve probably done that a thousand times. This is ‘hinging your hip’. Read more about hip hinging in Bobby Scott’s article: https://www.nbsfitness.net/hip-hinging-important/
Your shoulders should be above the hips, and the hips above the knees. Your spine maintains a neutral position. I often see people make the mistake of setting up their swing with their legs in more of a squat like position or allowing the knees to travel forward. This is incorrect. Setting up this way inadvertently puts pressure on the knees and loads the quadriceps. Over time this can create a sheering on the knees and that would be unpleasant. Furthermore, we want the hamstrings, glutes and adductors involved in the work, not the quads. Additionally, the shins should be as vertical as possible.
Upper Body Set Up
As stated above, your spine will be in a neutral position and it will maintain this neutral position throughout your swings. You will press your lats back and down. This is a very important step but sometimes its hard for us to figure out how to contract our lats, so try squeezing your spine with your shoulder blades. Creating tension here will keep your low back safe and out of trouble. Keep a ‘proud chest’, head up, and eyes fixed straight ahead.
You will start the swing with the kettlbell on the floor about one foot in front of you. Starting the kettlbell here will help to create momentum before you start swinging. With your body positioned as stated above, reach forward for the kettlebell and grab by the ‘horn’. You will ‘hike’ the kettlebell. The inner part of the forearms will be hitting very high near the groin and the bottom of the kettlebell will be pointing behind you, not towards the ground. You will now press your heels into the floor and quickly bring your legs and hip to full extension, making sure to contract the glutes. The kettlebell should swing to about eye level. As gravity brings your kettlebell back down, hinge your hip back to start position so you’re ready to re-engage for another swing. The arms really have little power. The force that you are creating be pressing into the floor with your feet, transferring that force with the quick extension of the hip will allow the arms to rise on their own, thus allowing the kettlbell to rise.
Let’s talk briefly about breathing. Creating a rhythmic breathing pattern will allow you to perform more swings in a given set, as it will allow you to have a bit of control over your heart rate. Inhale when the kettlebell is at the bottom in the ‘loaded’ position. Exhale as you come into full extension. It will take time to learn the breathing pattern but with practice, you’ll get it with no problem!
Some of the benefits to learning kettlebell swings and incorporating them in your weekly routine include an increase in your aerobic capacity, your anaerobic capacity, as well as your muscular endurance. To increase your aerobic capacity, use a light kettlebell and perform high rep sets of 50 or more to give your heart and lungs a good workout. A good goal would be to get to 500 – 1000 reps. For an increase in your anaerobic capacity, use a heavier kettlbell. Swing for 30 – 90 seconds, with an equivalent work/rest ratio. Your heart rate will increase dramatically! Muscular endurance is your ability to generate max muscular contractions for extended periods of time. Perform moderate to high reps using a moderate weight, combined with short rests. Your glutes, hamstrings, quads, lower back, shoulders and arms all work together effectively and efficiently during kettlebell swings so over time you will strengthen each of these.
Despite all my efforts, I often find myself underestimating how weirded out the general public gets by acts of health. This weeks case in point is courtesy of a client of mine, who mentioned casually that she was using a meal prep service. Almost immediately, someone pointed out how obsessive tracking food was and how unreasonable prepping your meals ahead of time was. When countered about how its not really that hard, she was diagnosed as orthorexic. (It went zero to a hunnid, real quick)
Im going to gloss over the fact that diagnosing people with eating disorders based on prepping food is a dick move. Planning your meals ahead of time and preparing them is pretty far from obsessive behavior. You wouldn’t criticize someone for organizing their week in their planner prior to the week beginning. You don’t demonize making appointments and scheduling your days activities around productivity. So why organizing your meals suddenly crossing the line?
The truth is, I feel like spending each day on the prowl for your next meal takes more energy than just having it all figured out in one lump in the beginning of the week. Meal prep isn’t really the worst thing in the world. Do you have to cook for a couple hours? Sure. I estimate that the 4 hours I used to spend cooking on my off day saved me 10 hours I truly don’t have during the week. Even easier is ordering from a meal prep company, having them deliver it to my fridge, and letting professionals handle the cooking/weighing/packaging/labeling.
So let me lay out exactly what occurs when I order my food, and you tell me if this sounds like an eating disorder…
1.) Amplified Meal Prep sends their menu to each client on Monday of every week
2.) Sometime between Monday and Thursday, I decide what/how much I want to eat, and I send that to Amp.
3.) On Sunday, Amplified Meal Prep delivers my food to my fridge and I give them money. I put the food in my fridge and I cook almost nothing the rest of the week. It is properly weighed, cooked, packaged and labeled. I then eat appropriately the entire week.
THAT IS NOT AN EATING DISORDER. That is getting your shit together and utilizing professional services to make it easier.
Now let me lay out A SINGLE DAY of “reactive eating,” or eating with no sort of plan.
1.) Wake up. Stare aimlessly into the fridge. Grab nothing. Mosey over to cabinets. Grab nothing. Repeat several times.
2.) Finally decide to drink a protein shake and some kind of bagel.
3.) Get to work, get caught up in work. Forget to eat until hunger wrestles me from my day. Ravenously decide to make my way over to Panera.
4.) Google healthy options at Panera. Find that the internet result was a seasonal offering and re-google. Find something close to what I need. Am now STARVING. Get the option of chips or an apple as my side. Obviously go with the chips because I am PRETTY SURE I am withering away and need all the calories I can get. (spend about 12.00-15.00 here)
5.) Eat a protein bar from Kroger that I picked up WHO KNOWS WHEN. Protein bar, yanno. No way its just loaded with sugar. (it is, btw)
6.) Realize that a protein bar is childs play, and im actually hungry. Start looking at the clock and planning my next move. If there’s more than two hours left of work, I am going to have to venture out again or risk eating one of Christians meals. If I choose the former option, I have to brave Germantown Parkway and its traffic. In the latter, I have upset Christian and am left no choice but to blame Bobby. Also, I have overconsumed, as Christians caloric requirements are waaay inappropriate for me.
7.) I AM MISERABLE. I have blown my diet and spent like 50 bucks. I go back to work.
8.) From the corner of my eye, I notice David has left a box of rice crispie treats unattended. Though I am NOT hungry, I’m taking some of those for the road. Once again, I blame Bobby. Bobby gets written up. I feel terrible, but hey, that’s life.
9.) I do a check in with my coach, and have to list all my deviations. He is painfully disappointed and lets me know.
10.) I increase my fat mass, and effectively end my stream of Instagram material as its currently just selfie city over there (@anniegunshow)
In the past few years, countless great strength athletes have began incorporating hypertrophy components into their programming. While the cited reasons vary quite a bit, there’s no debating that there is clearly a case for hypertrophy work for the strength athlete. Some of the more sophisticated reasons would be to create a frame that can sustain heavy load, further create favorable leverages, and to fill out a weight class. There are also less-sophisticated reasons: muscles are sexy. Whatever the reason, most will note that incorporating hypertrophy is a worthwhile pursuit.
Making the transition can be tricky. While powerlifting and strength sports do provide enough stress for some hypertrophic symptoms, there are components of bodybuilding training that are counter to what is taught in traditional strength training. A few considerations are outlined below.
Stimulus is King: Granted, in a perfect world, all lifts would be taxing on the intended musculature and forgiving on the joints. We live far far far from a perfect world. The end goal of powerlifting is pretty simple: lift heavy shit. This requires an understanding that sometimes, grinding out a PR may find you out of position and using every ounce of your being to complete the lift. However, the successful lift is where your victory is. In bodybuilding, the very opposite is true: the king of bodybuilding is properly applied stimulus. This means actively loading the desired muscle group and maintain tension and stress for every single rep, every single set. Common ways of increasing stimuli include
A.) Increased reps per set
B.) Increased sets per exercise
C.) Increased time under tension (tempo work/isolation work)
D.) Increased number of exercises per training day
E.) Increased training frequency
Range of Motion Varies: As noted above, stimulus is king. As such, your reps actually may morph into something unfamiliar from your powerlifting history. I have no qualms with bodybuilders doing quarter reps, as this may actually be a tool for ensuring that stress is kept on the quads. In fact, partial ROM movements are extremely common in bodybuilding. One of my absolute favorite delt exercises involves chest supported quarter rep rear delt flys. I find these extremely effective in targeting my rear delts without pulling my traps and rhomboids into the movement. There are also movements that bodybuilders will nix from a pure risk:benefit stance. Strict overhead pressing is something I have heard many bodybuilders opting out of as the lower 1/3 (chest to chin) of the movement hosts a tendency to just anteriorly rotate enough to incur shoulder impingements. A common substitution is a fixed-movement shoulder press machine or Arnold press.
Common ROM variations of a standard squat, applied to hypertrophy:
A.) Quarter to half rep squats
B.) 1.5 rep squats (squat to depth, come half way up, squat to depth)
C.) Constant tension squats ( no lockout at the top, no pause at the bottom)
D.) Pause Squat (pausing in a position of the squat for a set amount of time with tension maintained)
E.) Close stance/ Wide stance Squats
**note: Please consider the principles above when you are considering calling a bodybuilder out for their range of motion. To be frank, they don’t care and you sound ridiculous to them. While I do think full ROM movements are worthwhile, without knowing their entire intent, its hard to predict what they are looking for and if they are achieving it. Instructing an advanced bodybuilder to change his ROM is liked telling a powerlifter not to arch during bench press. Just shut up.**
Diluted effort: Strength athletes are PHENOMINAL at executing the crap out of 1 rep. Hell, they may even be able to be very, very good for 5 reps. However, The most common way to ensure you are getting more time under tension, thus more stimulus for hypertrophy, is to extend your sets into the double digits. This is where a lot of powerlifters will falter. Out of sheer habit, I often see powerlifters setting up even their lighter squats and over-exerting for the first 5ish reps, and then are unable to complete sets of 10-15. As sets that are intended to be 15 reps each, the weight will be significantly lighter and the extreme effort is, while admirable, wasted on low-return sets. The time under tension needed for hypertrophy just is not there, and the load for strength benefits is absent as well.
Rest Intervals: Perhaps the hardest part of transitioning from powerlifting to hypertrophy for me is being mindful of my rests between sets. In powerlifting, rest intervals are usually quite long. This allows for full phosphagen recovery which in turn allows for greater force development. However, absolute max force is NOT the name of the game in hypertrophy. As mentioned, when stimulus is king, taking three-five minute breaks between each sets limits the amount of work you are able to get done in a reasonable time. However, you don’t want the rest intervals to be so short that you are unable to perform for the desired time under tension. Minding the middle ground for mechanical recovery seems to behoove each athlete. I have found that 60-90 seconds is my sweet spot when it comes to rest between sets, though this increases/decreases as general fitness increases/decreases.
Understanding these execution differences will help ensure that your hypertrophy block aids in your development as both a human and as a strength athlete. Failing to adjust your paradigm can take what would be a helpful programming block and turn it into nothing more than a side-street waste of time.
Anyone who has listed to me talk or has worked with me on nutrition knows that I am not a big fan of spending a ton of money on supplements. In order for me to justify taking a supplement myself or for recommending it to any of my clients, it not only has to have a noticeable impact on health, physique, and/or performance but it also has to be reasonably priced. We’ve recently added two supplements to our in-store stock that fit both of these categories.
1st Phorm Creatine Monohydrate
Creatine is one of the most highly researched supplements on the market and the results are simple: it works. Supplementing with creatine will help lifters store more creatine within the muscle, allowing them to continue to produce ATP (the energy substrate for muscle contraction) as fast and efficiently as possible through the phosphagen energy system. This in turn will allow lifters to build more strength and have more strength endurance which in turn can lead to increase muscle growth. The best part, it’s super cheap. Pick up 3 month supply for just $17 at NBS Fitness.
1st Phorm Night T
The second product we’ve added is a sleep aid with all my favorite ingredients. It has melatonin to help get you ready for sleep, ZMA to help with your circadian rhythms, valerian root to help you get a deep full sleep, and GABA and 5-HTP to help with brain function. I have been taking these ingredients separately for years and now 1st Phorm has put them all in one supplement, perfect! This is something I tell all my clients to take. Quality sleep is a must have for proper function and to get the results you want out of the gym. You can get a month supply for only $45 at NBS Fitness.
Don’t you just love a catchy title. Catchy, effective, and truthful. If we’re going to define “fat” as having more body fat than the ideal amount for health (ie overweight/obese) then at least 2/3 of the population falls into that category. That number is also on the rise, by the way, which means there is a pretty high probability that if you’re reading this you’re probably either overweight or obese or will likely be one day down the road. But why is that? Why is that at a time when more people are exercising than ever before, more people have access to healthy nutrition choices than ever before, and more people are making more health concious decisions than ever before that we still see the weight and body fat levels of our nation continue to increase? Lucky for you I am going to reveal the reasons why in this month’s article. Read on…
As complicated as we tend to make nutrition sound with all the different dietary methods and strategies, the truth is that weight loss and gain comes down to simple math. If you consume more calories than you burn you will gain weight. If you burn more calories than you consume, you will lose weight. Pretty simple. The complexity comes in two different forms. First, the amount that you consume can effect the amount that you burn (metabolism) and the form in which that weight gain or loss occurs (muscle, glycogen, or fat). We’ll discuss how to affect these later, for now, let’s focus on the simple math.
The Caloric Roller Coaster
One of the common mistakes people make with thinking about the calories they consume is only looking at it through one time frame, ie total calories in a day. Your body is constantly going through metabolic reactions, building and breaking down tissue, and thus we need to look at energy consumed over multiple time frames (meal, day, week, month, etc). The truth is that the average American isn’t in a constant state of energy surplus and isn’t overweight because they eat cheesy puffs and drink cokes all day everyday. The ones who do are easy to point out. They’re 400 pounds and ride scooters through Walmart. Most Americans find themselves gaining weight because they have a roller coaster of calories over multiple time frames. They have a protein bar for breakfast, a chicken salad for lunch, but after a long ass day at work they have a couple glasses of wine to relax and a bowl of ice cream. On the weekends they have a night where they go out for Mexican and margaritas. Over the holidays they enjoy the pot lucks at work and different parties.
These time frames of consuming excess calories are short: a meal a couple times a week and a few extra over the holidays. But each time they come from foods high in fat, high in sugar, or alcohol. All of which are very easily converted into excess body fat. They’re not gaining a pound of fat a day but just a little bit each week. Maybe a 1/8 to a 1/4 of a lb. Just two to three pounds over the holidays. But week after week, year after year these add up and 20 years down the road they’ve gained 30 plus pounds of body fat. Sounds familiar? I’ve heard this story a thousand times. So are you just supposed to never enjoy food or drink again? Of course not! You just have to do 2 things:
1. Consume plenty of calories to sustain you throughout the day from quality food choices and in sufficient amounts of each macronutrient. You need calories and nutrients to function. If you provide yourself with that, you are less likely to cheat in between meals or when you get home because you will have remained satiated and sustained throughout the day. Doing this will allow you to eat more food, more calories, and gain less body fat.
2. Give your body a reason to need more calories. Life isn’t meant to be lived in a state of constant calorie deprivation. You’re going to have times where you want to enjoy the flavors of this world, have a beer with some friends, and celebrate the holidays. You can do all that without the excess fat gain that comes with it, you just have to give your body something to do with those calories. Here is how:
Your Workouts are Weak
Your body is made to adapt to stress which allows it to do really cool things like lift heavy weights, build muscle, run fast, etc. Besides poor nutritional choices, the second reason that most people are fat is that they just never train hard enough to warrant the extra calories they consume. Two hundred years ago when people had to do a lot more physical work just to get by day to day, you could get away with splurging on some calorically dense food from time to time without any weight gain. With modern times, you have to create that physical work through the form of exercise. Unfortunately, the average American’s workout is….WEAK!!! I recognize that getting people moving is better than nothing and that not every person wants to push themselves till they puke. However, if you think going for a walk a couple times a week is going to drop 50 pounds of body fat you’re in for a rude awakening. That is a good place to start but not the ideal place to finish. If you want to give your body a reason to not get fat, you’ll need to strive for three things in your training:
- Muscle. Adding more lean mass to your frame will increase your metabolic needs. Think of the amount of muscle you have like the size of an engine. The bigger the engine the more fuel it will consume. It will also improve your physique as well as allow you get stronger.
- Strength. Increasing your strength level increases the total amount of work that you can do and therefore the total amount of calories you can burn. It takes twice as many calories to move 20 kg 1 meter in one second as it takes to move 10 kg 1 meter in one second. As your strength improves, so will your ability to output.
- Output. This final training quality you should strive for encompasses both the physical and mental sides of training. It is the ability to mentally push yourself to take on greater and greater physical demands. Output is building your strength up to a double body weight squat and then building it up to doing double bodyweight for 20 reps. It’s going from being able to do a pull up to being able to do Fran Rx (95 lb thrusters, pull ups: 21,15,9). It’s going from completing a 5K to running a 5k with a 7 minute mile split time. Output is pushing yourself to be more badass.
The cool thing is I’ve seen people of all ages, genders, and backgrounds achieve all three of the qualities above so there really aren’t any limitations. It’s going to be hard, you’re going to hurt but you’re going to grow and adapt and become a better person. You’ll amaze yourself with what your body can do and what you can accomplish. And you can have that margarita and not stress because you know over the next week you’re gonna burn it off. So now you know why you’re fat (or will be) and what to do if you want to change it. Either way the decision and power lies within you. What are you going to do?
We love our members at NBS. We have a ton of people, from all walks of life, that train their asses off on a regular basis. But every so often, someone takes it to the next level.
John Canter is a great example.
In November, John experienced an aneurysm and subarachnoid hemorrhage. He was diagnosed with Moyamoya Disease and underwent brain surgery in January. Three weeks later, he was back training at NBS.
It’s a pretty amazing story that pretty much invalidates anyone’s excuses for not getting out and being active. Here’s the whole story, in his own words:
“So my training before all of this varied, but was pretty cardio intensive. I have run track and cross country since 8th grade. Being a police officer, I’ve tried to stay in the best shape I can.
“I spent some time trying to work on my strength, and met up with Bobby a few times to teach me the proper technique to squat and deadlift. I really enjoyed the deadlifts, and was seeing improvement. I was training for an upcoming school for work, and needed to get back into more body weight exercises, so I was back doing my regular routine, with four to five mile runs every other day or so.
“On November 4th, around 9:30pm, I popped my neck (I’ve popped my neck and back since 3rd grade) and instantly got a bad headache. Within a matter of seconds, it went from a headache to a buzzing sort of pain inside my head, specifically around the base of my skull, that was excruciating. After about a minute, I told my wife I needed to go the hospital. I thought I broke my neck or something. We went to Methodist Germantown, where I was given something for the pain. About four hours went by, with a ct scan, and we were informed that I had ruptured some blood vessels in my head, and they were flying me to Methodist University. Once I got there, all I remember is waking up in the cath lab, meeting my neurologist for the first time, who told me that I had ruptured an aneurysm, and suffered a subarachnoid hemorrhage. I was also told that I had moyamoya disease, which is a carotid artery disease, where the inner carotid arteries shrink to the point they are no longer functional.
“She told me that they would perform an angiogram, where they run a micro catheter up an artery in my groin, and of the aneurysm is the right shape, they’d repair it by filling it with titanium coils. Luckily, it was the right shape, and they repaired it then. I spent the next ten days in the neuro ICU, where I would learn more about the Moyamoya. When my carotid arteries started to shrink, my brain developed what is called collateral circulation, and re routed blood flow through the blood vessels in the back of my head. They had been supplying the front of my brain with blood. I believe my physical fitness level had a lot to do with how efficiently that circulation developed. Those blood vessels were too small for the amount of blood, though, and the aneurysm developed. It could have been back there for 20 years, and it could have popped up in he last two months, there was no way of knowing. I had not had any symptoms of the disease, which are typically strokes, or mini strokes. After talking with the doctors, we determined that a chronic numbness in my right hand, had in fact been a symptom of the left side of my brain being starved for blood. It had been so infrequent though, that I never got it looked at
“A huge concern for me was how was I going to be able to be active and workout again. I was told that if I get a headache or get dizzy, I was to stop. I was worried, because I was given a line not to cross, but where that line was wasn’t clearly defined. When I finally came back to the gym for a few times, I took it really easy. I was curling ten pound dumb bells just because I was scared to turn it up even a little.
“I ended up meeting with a neurosurgeon, who said I needed to have a bypass surgery for my brain, which would correct for the moyamoya disease. Some moyamoya patients only have one side done, and some have both. He said he wanted to do the left side first, since I had an issue with numbness in my right side. So on Jan. 9, I went back to Methodist University, and had my surgery. They took a piece of my skull out, and laid my temporal artery onto my brain, and put the piece of skull back in. The brain will recognize the artery, and should cause it to grow and revascularize that part of my brain, taking the load of the overworked blood vessels in the back of my head. That surgery went great, and as very easy for me to recover from. I was out in three day, would’ve been two, but I had a fever one night. I’ll meet with him in March and find out if and when the right side will be done. My surgeon told me to listen to my body, and take it easy at first exercising. I am afraid to get my heart rate up a lot, so I won’t be able to train like I had been. I big concern for me is that I don’t get dehydrated. I am a greater risk for stroke now, so it’s important I don’t stress anything up there with dehydration. I ran about a quarter of a mile three weeks after surgery, but got a headache and walked the rest. I was at NBS all that week though, and seemed to have good workouts. I just rest a lot in between sets. I decided to push myself a little this past Saturday though, and really had a good workout, and ran a mile. It took me 13 plus minutes for the mile, which would’ve taken me about 6.5 before all this, but I was glad to have that hurdle out of the way. I am not suppose to lift very heavy either, so if I’m going to improve on things like squats or deadlifts, it will probably take me forever to work up to now.
“Everyone at NBS has been great. I enjoyed being a part of the gym beforehand, and had even mentioned it to Bobby that I believe us as members owe it to David and the rest of the staff to be the best we can. We also owe it to ourselves. If we are going to be a part of Memphis’ best gym, it’s important that we continue to improve because we represent NBS even when we’re not there.”
Just a quick update on how training is rolling currently. I will be participating in the NBS Fitness powerlifting meet April 8th, prior to that I will be attending the 2017 Arnold Sports Festival in Columbus Ohio to aid NBS Teammate Garret Blatnik and the rest of my EliteFTS teammates as well. My training right now is slightly rocky as I am training around two adductor strains that have been troubling me for, going on three weeks now. Here is some of my latest training!
Meal Prep is Key!
Since starting with a nutrition coach nearly 9 months ago, one thing quickly became abundantly clear….I had to plan if I was going to be successful. Meal prep has been the absolute key to me successfully losing 22 pounds and leaning out all over.
Like many of you, I have a pretty busy schedule. My feet hit the floor at 4:30a.m. and they come off the floor at 8:45p.m. The hours in between are spent on coaching adult classes, training individual clients, coaching CrossFit Kids, programming, getting my own workouts in, among other things. I do not have time to worry daily with what I’m going to eat for any of my meals, so I get it all done on Sunday afternoons.
We had our grandson over this past weekend, and not wanting to take any time away from him, I waited until later in the day to get our meals done. Steve left to take him home at 3p.m. so I started then. Wanting to make sure I finished in time to watch the Super Bowl, I had 2 hours to work with.
Make Your Meal Prep Flow
I get a little better each week I prep, but it’s like anything else, it takes time to learn what works and what doesn’t. To keep it simple, I typically have the same thing for lunch each week, changing it up weekly. This week’s lunch menu consisted of, ground turkey, rice, green beans and mushrooms. We have a rice cooker that takes about 30 minutes to cook just about any amount. While the ground turkey is cooking, I load my vegetables and rice in my containers.
Since I’m tracking my macro intake, my container goes on the scale and I use the tare function after adding each ingredient, making sure each day is the same. I track using My Fitness Pal so I enter the data one time and then copy it for each day of the week. This makes it so easy!
In next is the cooked ground turkey and thats it, in the fridge they go and my lunches are ready for the next 5 days!
Breakfast is pretty simple for me also. Typically I will have 5oz of egg whites every morning, either 3 slices of turkey bacon or 4 pieces of Canadian Bacon. On heavy training days, I’ll have pancakes. On lighter training days, I’ll have a few slices of Pepperidge Farms thin sliced toast. I cook the egg whites and pancakes ahead of time as well. I’ll pop the pancakes in the toaster to heat them and that works perfectly.
I’ll add a little shredded cheese to my egg whites or hot sauce depending on what my taste buds are up for. Enter in MFP, copy for the week and I’m all set!
The last thing to prep is our dinners. Often we get both of our crock pots going with chicken (seasoned differently). This week we decided buffalo chicken strips would be delicious! This particular recipe called for the strips to be skillet cooked. That took about 20 minutes.
Most of my meal prep was done by the time Steve got back from taking Jackson home. He wanted sweet potato skins for the Super Bowl so I had also preheated the oven and had the sweet potatoes washed and ready. He finished off that project and the leftover sweet potato we had for a couple of our dinners this week. We also added another vegetable each night.
At 5p.m. I was finished and sat down to watch the Super Bowl….well, until 8:45 anyway! 🙂
Keep it simple
My advice for starting out is to keep it as simple as possible. I’m personally not interested in complex recipes or casseroles as they’re too hard to track in MFP. I like shopping and cooking in macros: carbs, fats, proteins. This allows me to be able to weight my food and keep it accurate. Depending on what your personal goals are, you may not need to go to the extent that I do, but this is what works for me!
Share your meal prep ideas in the comments below!
After weeks of social media post’s about resolutions and new physique / strength athletes wanting to make a name for themselves. Then hearing a bunch of goals being talked about in the gym I began to pay attention and take note, we are now four weeks past this initial observation and, well this is what I think.
What is the Abyss? The abyss is the dark, lonely, and isolated existence that a people find themselves in when they suddenly stop training. People stop training for many different reasons. Maybe they got injured, maybe they were a competitive athlete and they couldn’t perform as well as they used to, maybe they got burned out, or maybe they had some life events occur that made getting training in more difficult. Whatever the reason, the abyss is not a place you want to be. Let’s look at how you can avoid it:
Something is better than nothing
Recently a member of our gym had a child and, understandably, had to put training on the back burner for a bit. But he still gets up early in the morning before anyone else and gets some cardio in and comes in on the weekends to train. While he may not be getting four full training days in like he was before, he’s getting in what he can so that it’s a much easier transition once life settles back down. When crazy life stuff happens, it’s not forever. Make the best with what you can and remember that something is better than nothing.
Focus on what you can do, not what you can’t
Many times lifters get frustrated when an injury occurs or their body just won’t perform like it used to. They focus on the negative and get in their head that if they can’t do it the way they want or use to they just won’t do it at all. This is a terrible way to view things. There is always something you can improve on, something you can work towards, something that you can do to push yourself. There are countless examples of veteran amputees who find ways to work around their injuries. You have to focus on the positive and find ways to get it done, work through your problem and figure out a solution. If one side is hurt, work the other side. If both arms are messed up, train your legs. If your legs and arms are destroyed, train your core. There is something you CAN do so focus on that, not what you can’t.
Turn the volume down
Many of the folks that train at NBS Fitness are people who compete in different strength and fitness sports, they are people who push themselves mentally and physically and in doing so place a lot of stress on themselves, mentally as well as physically. This can lead to a period of “burn out” where they just don’t feel like pushing themselves to that level any more. When this happens, it’s important to take step back and allow your body some time to recover and rejuvenate. Unfortunately, more often than not lifters will just take time off completely. If too much time is taken off, a lifter can find themselves in a place where they have lost their training habits and much of their fitness levels. Then getting back into the swing of things is even more difficult because they haven’t trained in a couple weeks, month, or years. Exercise has many positive effects on the brain including neurogenesis, mood enhancement, and endorphin release. This helps improve cognitive function and elevates your mood. That is why I call the state of non training the Abyss. Not only does it have negative consequences on you physically but it also has negative consequences on you mentally and emotionally. I wouldn’t recommend more than a week off of exercise for the majority of people suffering from burn out. Instead just turn it down a bit. Drop down a training day, drop your volume, drop your intensity or try a new form of exercise. All of these are better options than falling into the abyss.
It’s been a month since you made your New Year’s Resolution. How are you doing with it?
I hope that you’ve made it a full month. I hope that you’re holding steadfast to your resolutions and your commitment and I hope you continue to be successful every day! On the other hand, if you’re reading this and you’re slowly sinking into your chair because you gave up after 2 weeks, take heart. You can turn things back around for yourself!
People say you should take one step at a time, that you should be here – now, because this is all we can handle. I don’t always subscribe to that belief. I think we should always be thinking one step ahead, and in this particular case, one year ahead.
Before moving ahead, lets look back.
Where were you one year ago? Were you grappling with the same weight/fitness issues you’re grappling with now? Did you make the same resolutions this year as last year? Or did you decide you didn’t want to make a resolution (since it didn’t work out for you last year)? You’re looking back now and you’re where you were then. You quit 2 weeks into your commitment to make your life better, how unfair to your future you. Now what?
It doesn’t matter where you’ve been, what matters is where you’re going.
So often when I have prospective CrossFit clients, they are typically mentally stuck in one of two places: “I was a high school super-athlete” or “I haven’t lost the baby weight (he’s 10 now) and I just want to get toned.” My response to both is the same, “it doesn’t matter where you’ve been, it matters where you’re going.”
While my response is the same, coaching each of these types of individuals is very different. A HS super athlete wants to go 100% and they still view themselves as having the ability to move a house, not taking into consideration the last 15 years of the sedentary lifestyle he/she has lived. It’s my job to help them slow down, learn how to move properly, and find in them a new super-athlete.
The other individual is much different. She’s tried everything from Zumba to Billy Blank’s Tae bo. When she and her friends joined a local gym together, they all eventually fell away. Motivation has left her and she has all but given up. She wants to do something but “nothing works”.
Here’s where I come in. “Do you want to look back one year from today and see how much time you wasted because you couldn’t check your ego? or because you weren’t willing to let go of the past and dig in? or because you were afraid of being a bit uncomfortable?
Fitness is not for the faint of heart.
I’m not sure who coined the phrase, “Life is hard, but it’s even harder if you’re stupid.” While it definitely has it’s place in our society, I think this does too. “Life is hard, but it’s even harder when you’re not fit.”
If at the end of 2017 you want to look back upon it with a smile on your face and as a major achievement to your new fitness, then let nothing hold you back. Make change now and let’s see where you can be in one year!
Are you a runner who needs help getting back up to speed? Running injuries are seen in everyone from the recreational runner to the most advanced ironman athletes. As a provider for all athletics at the University of Memphis, one of the most challenging sports to tackle is track and field. It is a well acknowledged fact that track and field is the quintessential environment for keeping a sports doctor’s skills sharpened, as conditions seen in this sport span the entire length of the injury spectrum. From shoulder impingement and labrum tears all the way down to shin splints and stress fractures of the foot, track and field is an every day challenge.
Very often, running injuries are a result of a wear-and-tear like breakdown in the body. Over time, these micro-traumas accumulate until reaching a point where the body can no longer adapt and heal fast enough. This is when pain is finally experienced. Common causes of this running trauma include improper running surface, poor running shoes, inadequate training or preparation, joint immobility or fixation, and muscular imbalances or compensations. Importance must be placed in these factors in order to properly address these injuries.
Running produces added and abnormal stress to many joints in the body including; the feet, knees, hips, and back. It has been found through numerous studies and surveys that approximately 72% of people involved in running will incur some sort of injury throughout their career. To emphasize how important proper joint biomechanics are, Mid-South Spine and Sports Performance would like to educate you on some of the most common injuries in running athletes, their association to improper biomechanics, and the best line of treatment for these injuries. Each of these following six injuries are also some of the most common running injuries that we have had great success with at Mid-South Spine and Sports Performance.
1. Stress Fractures:
Stress fractures are a common cause of pain in running and typically occur in the foot and lower leg. In fact, it is estimated that stress fractures are responsible for up to as much as 15% of pain in runners. Stress fractures typically begin from either over-use or imbalances in muscles or both. In an over-use instance, added intensity or distance without proper acclimation can lead to muscles that are unable to handle the added stress causing the bony structures in the involved joints to absorb most of these forces. On the other hand, a muscle may be overworking and cause excess stress on the same bony tissues with the same result. This could be due to an imbalance in particular muscles during the athlete’s stride or a malposition in the foot or ankle leading to changes in joint mechanics causing added stress the bone. These changes in biomechanics could also be due to a chronic or acute compensation in the body, which causes the nervous system to produce alterations in muscle contraction. Proper treatment must result in either case as both the athlete’s volume and intensity need to be reduced. Proper evaluation and treatment of the causes must be addressed as well in order to ensure the athlete is able to handle these stresses once they are back to full participation.
2. Achilles Tendonitis:
To understand achilles tendonitis, it is first important to understand what the achilles tendon is. The achilles tendon is one of the strongest structures in the body, connecting the calf musculature to the calcaneus or heel of the foot. Through this design, a person is able to lift and move the foot during activities such as running. Tendonitis is a term that means inflammation, but inflammation really only identifies a symptom. What we are concerned about is the cause of that inflammation. If the calf muscles are weakened or not functioning properly, activities such as jogging and running can cause stresses that normally spread across the muscle to localize in the tendon resulting in overuse, pain, and swelling. When this occurs, people typically experience pain near the heel, swelling around the ankle, and limited flexibility of the joint. Typically, the pain is worse at the beginning of exercise and lessens throughout the workout. Achilles tendinitis has many of the same causes as stress fractures. This is why proper evaluation is needed to identify not only the correct diagnosis and cause, but to also identify predispositions to other injuries which have similar risk factors.
3. Shin Splints:
If you are experiencing pain throughout your lower leg, specifically the shin region, and have just begun an intense workout following a long period of rest, there’s a good chance your suffering from shin splints. Shin splints typically begin at any age and are most commonly associated with individuals who overdo it during their initial training phase. Shin splints are better explained as over-use stress in the muscles of the lower leg. Typically, shin splints are first noticed as a dull/achy sensation throughout the front of the lower leg. Overtime, swelling and tenderness below the knee and into the shin will occur. Large increases in exercise volume or intensity, poor shoes, and flat feet can contribute to its development, as can imbalance in the neuromusculoskeletal system. If not properly treated, shin splints can quickly develop into stress fractures, which is why proper treatment is required. This could range from biomechanical assessment of the foot, ankle, or surrounding muscles that control these joints to supporting the foot with Foot Levelers orthotics, to incorporating proper training and peaking methods in running. Dr. Detweiler’s “track record” with running athletes will ensure you are moving down the right path to return to activity.
4. Runners Knee:
As the name implies, runners knee is most common to runners. However, the term is more general than you would think and the condition can develop in anyone who overworks the knee joint. The most common initial symptom of runners knee is a dull/achy sensation that develops around the knee. Typically, pain is most severe during activities that require stabilization or bending of the knee. There are many causes that contribute to its development in runners, but direct trauma, overuse, improper function of the thigh musculature, and improper biomechanics of the knee joint are the most common. There is a widely held misconception that chiropractors only deal with treating the spine. The spine becomes a primary focus by nature, because not only are there more joints in the spine than any other region in the body, but the spine has the biggest impact on biomechanical function. Proper treatment of conditions in the knee joint are heavily reliant on an understanding of both neurology and biomechanics in order to properly diagnose and treat this condition. Because of this, Reflexive Performance Reset offers the best solution to assessing and fixing compensations in the body. RPR is a methodology that deals with evaluating and resetting the motor patterns of the nervous system. RPR has been shown to significantly reduce return to play times and prevent future injury, and is a prime choice for any performance based athlete.
5. Plantar Fasciitis:
Plantar fasciitis is one of the most common conditions of the foot for all patients, runners or not. In order to better understand this condition, it is important to review what the plantar fascia is. The plantar fascia is one of the strongest structures in the body and is fastened from the heel to the pads of your feet. This structure adds stability to your foot and helps you maintain the proper arch. Because of this, people who commonly have been described as having “flat feet” are more predisposed to this condition, as a flattening of the feet further stretches and stresses the plantar fascia. Running produces an increased stress to the plantar fascia, and if it is subject to EXCESSIVE forces or stress, can produce the pain that is attributed to plantar fasciitis. Overuse injury is the most common causes of plantar fasciitis. This includes sudden increases in activity, such as increasing running volume over too short a period of time, wearing poor running shoes, running on particularly hard surfaces, and misalignments or biomechanical changes in the joints of the foot. The pain associated with plantar fasciitis is often described as sharp and intense and is often the worst during the first few steps after awakening in the morning. It’s important to understand that the sooner proper treatment is obtained, the better. Anti-inflammatories, cortisone shots, and braces have been found to be effective for short-term symptomatic relief. However, long term success is highly dependent on proper analysis and treatment of the biomechanics and function of the lower extremity. This may include physiotherapy such as ice massages or stretching, chiropractic therapy such as adjustments of the foot and myofascial release of the plantar fascia itself.
6. Ilio-Tibial Band Syndrome:
Ilio-tibial band syndrome or IT band syndrome for short, is a common condition that arises as a result from imbalances in the hip and knee during running. The IT band is a long connective tissue structure that extends from the hip to the knee. Therefore, pain and other related symptoms can present anywhere along its path. The IT band is extremely important for the stabilization of the knee joint, and abnormalities of this structure along other supporting structures of the knee have been known to contribute to knee injuries. The most common symptoms of ilio-tibial band syndrome are pain and inflammation along the outside of the leg. These symptoms may be felt during and even after running, and usually affects more experience runners, as it is a result of a long accrual of forces at the IT band and knee. Since this structure involves everything from the hip to the knee, a complete study and examination of the leg is necessary. An IT band injury can also be the result of overworking the IT band due to a compensation in a runner’s motor patterns that cause the glutes to shut down. This scenario is typically observed in runners with poor glute and low back stability. Proper care involves a full spectrum of services including kinesiotaping, adjustments of the spine, hips, and feet, active rehabilitation and Reflexive Performance Reset.
Clearly, many injures and their resulting symptoms are associated with underlying causes that require a proper evaluation and set of tools to. A sports chiropractor is uniquely positioned to provide a great mix of conservative and effective treatment options for common non-surgical conditions such as these. Since running places additional mechanical stress on the body’s structure, it is also important for an athlete to see a chiropractor before these conditions occur as part of a preventative-wellness approach. A rule of thumb in many sports such as running is its not a matter of if, but when you get hurt. But this neglects a proactive approach to healthcare in which attention to alterations in mechanics and structure can identify and help prevent these common wear and tear injuries.
If you believe you are developing any of the previously stated conditions contact Dr. Detweiler and Mid-South Spine and Sports Performance at (901)-573-2526 or firstname.lastname@example.org for a complete evaluation. For more information how you can reduce your risks of injury, check out our website at www.drtyreldetweiler.com
Pouring into Broken Glasses (1)
Back to School
An education in Exercise Sports Science is largely comprised of memorizing muscles, understanding movements, and practicing tests to apply to subjects in a lab setting. You learn the scientific theories behind testing as well as the protocols themselves, which test for specific values. Most of this information is straightforward, similar to the medical field: If the test results are outside of the normal, “something is wrong.” This information is a wonderful foundation for students to begin constructing their own theories and putting into practice what they have learned. Once you leave the school setting and start to navigate your way through the fitness industry, it can be very interesting to see where you settle in this business. These are a few things I have learned to accept in the fitness industry that may help coaches, trainers, and clients progress a little more smoothly.
What Do Clients Really Need?
Attempting to apply the black-and-white guidelines set in school into the private sector industry for strength and conditioning is a challenge when fancy lab equipment is not available. Clients don’t want VO2 Max values anyway. They want to get healthier through weight training. Programming for athletes is one thing, but what about a client who has never played sports in their entire life and can barely move properly? You revert to your education. You remember Kinesiology, how the body moves. You remember flexion and extension, and how every limb moves properly with individual muscle contractions. So we just place an external load on the client and start training, right? Nope. Back to square one.
Start with bodyweight squats. Squatting the load of one’s own body is drastically different than squatting with an external load (barbell). While one’s education in Exercise Sports Science is helpful in many ways, teaching these progressions takes a good eye and understanding of how the body needs to stabilize a load properly. Just like a good squat, this skill requires its own progression, perfected over countless repetitions. So what would a progression like this look like? It would start with the understanding of basic body position from the floor all the way up the chain of the body: feet, knees, hips, torso, chest, shoulders, and head. We have clients complete reps of the movement, focusing on keeping proper positioning and correcting when these positions become compromised. Understanding why a movement and position becomes compromised takes hours and hours of training, seeing hundreds and thousands of people doing the same movement. Repetition, repetition, repetition. This is how an aspiring strength coach and trainer develops his craft as a mechanic of movement to aid people in becoming better. As coaches we also rely on continuing education from mentors and other professionals in the industry that share our passion for making people better versions of themselves. This is the first phase of pouring into glasses. If the young coaches stand the test through the trenches, they will be glasses half full and ready to hold more information.
As we transition (just like progression in movement) from school to practical strength training, we will see how to maneuver through the basics of working with a client and breaking down some barriers of movement like we talked about earlier. We must then move forward to attack the barrier of knowledge and (mis)understanding from fads in the fitness industry that ultimately keep people further from their goals. This will basically be debunking toxic information previously poured into clients that erode their “glasses” and could potentially cause them to break. Knowledge in the fitness world is a powerful thing, but so are people who know just the right amount of “buzz words” to make themselves sound knowledgeable. “A little knowledge is a dangerous thing,” as they say.