Strength Training

Middle Age Woman Pleads Guilty - Part 2

In my last post, you heard about getting called out by a young PT, my epic fail with years of unhealthy living, and how an unforeseen injury prompted my turn around. You can read Part 1 here.

Today I will talk about some of the challenges, and how we need to listen to good advice when it’s given to us!

You can have your cake and eat it too… just not every single day.

Holidays, vacations, and trying to follow a healthy lifestyle in a household where others aren’t exactly on board with what you are doing can be challenging. I was six months in, and still had trouble allowing myself certain foods because I was afraid I would fall off the wagon again. I eventually started letting things back into my diet in small increments. I mean…. come on….you should be able to have birthday cake at a birthday party without completely falling apart! Healthy foods became the majority of my diet, and planning and preparing were a key factor.  I made a lot of modifications, learned new ways to cook, and just bypassed a lot of great looking junk food! I planned my workouts and had to get creative with this when not at home. I had to disregard other people’s opinions, negativity, and unhealthy choices, and just keep doing what was good for me regardless of where I was or whom I was with. I had to stick with this ALL the time……not just SOME of the time.

A rough patch came when I had some unexpected health circumstances that took away my ability to workout at a high intensity for several months. All I would be able to do was walk at a slow pace. I was upset… to say the least. I had done all this work, and now it was all going to go down the drain!  How could I maintain what I had done if I couldn’t run or strength train? Oh……I had quite a pity party for myself, thought about giving up and throwing it all way.  In the past, it would have been easy for me to quit…... “Hello TV and Doritos, here I come”!  I would need to make additional diet modifications, and also adjust my attitude. The last thing I needed was an attitude problem getting in my way…… and boy did I have one…..

However, something was different this time.  Yes, I was mad at the circumstance, but I had busted my butt, reached goals that I never thought possible, and wasn’t about to let all this hard work go to waste. I had changed my mindset so much so, that I didn’t feel like giving in so easily this time. In a sense, I had “retrained my brain”. This turned out to be a very beneficial experience, because it forced me back into working on my mindset and dealing with issues when things don’t go perfectly. I am one of those people that want everything to go as planned, but life doesn’t always work that way. Sometimes you have to “adjust” your path… not just give up. I did what I could, and eventually started working my way back to up to running and lifting weights again.

Funny…. I didn’t gain any weight back during that time.  I really worked myself up into a frenzy worrying about that. Apparently, all the work I had done prior to that had been enough to keep my fitness level stable with just the light walking and diet modifications. If I had a dime for every time I got worked up about something, and then it all worked out…… I’d be a wealthy woman!

This was the point in which I realized that I was truly ready to keep this up for good. I didn’t let emotions or circumstances run my decisions, kept pressing on…… and everything was fine.

Regardless of what the bad habit is, changing something you have been doing the same way for 25 years is tough, and when you have your heels dug in… it can be hard to pull them out. I just had to find a good balance and stay focused. It has been two years since I started, and the way I live now feels normal to me. My brain and body crave the good foods and exercise now… but I still allow myself some junk food from time to time…. just not “every” time.

If you don’t use it… you lose it! 

Now I don’t know about you, but if I am lucky enough to get those additional 40 years, I plan on feeling the best that I can during them. I want to be able to walk up and down the stairs, travel, play with and lift up grandkids when I get them, and do all the activities I love to do. Cardio, strength training, and a healthy diet boosts your immune system, can help relieve stress and anxiety, improves mood, and gives you the strength and energy that is needed to live life well.

I’m not going to lie… it is hard work getting started. The thing is though…. it’s absolutely, unequivocally, entirely up to YOU to do it. Nobody else…. and I mean nobody else……can do this for you. You have to want it for yourself and do it for yourself.  You are worth it…. and you deserve it.

Think of it this way…. We take our cars in for oil changes, tune-ups, and new tires to keep them running properly. Our body is like our “vehicle for life” and we can’t trade it in for a new one. We need to treat our body well and keep it maintained or it’s not going to run right.……or maybe not at all!

Yup, the physical therapist was right. There is nothing that will stop us from aging, but there are proactive steps we can take to help ourselves. It is inevitable that we are going to sometimes have aches and pains, possibly get an illness, or maybe need a surgical procedure. Who do you think will recover better and more quickly from a knee replacement?  Who do you think has a better chance of fighting off a serious illness or preventing injury?  Well… the polls are in and the individual who has a healthy diet, exercises, and strength trains has a clear advantage. I want to be prepared for battle, not just fall down and surrender to getting old!

No matter your age, ability, or current fitness level, there are always things you can do to improve your overall health. In addition, getting PT first can help address any pain or movement issues that you may feel are preventing you from starting a fitness program, and would definitely be a great first step!  If you want to move more, feel better, and stay active then find a physical therapist, personal trainer, or other trusted healthcare professional to help you get started. I guarantee you won’t be sorry that you did.  The only regret I have about changing my lifestyle, is not doing it sooner.

It may serve us well to listen to the advice of this younger generation of healthcare professionals, as I happen to have met one that just may know what he’s talking about!

 

Middle Aged Woman Pleads Guilty - Part 1

The verdict is in. I am a middle age woman guilty of over 25 years of eating poorly, yo-yo dieting, not exercising, and not treating the ONE body I have the way it deserved to be treated.  The way I felt all those years was definitely “all my fault” and I will be the first one to admit it. I had a mile long list of excuses for the choices that kept me overweight, sluggish, stressed out,  on the couch…... and just feeling overall yucky. Physically I was out of shape, and that transferred into how I felt mentally and emotionally at times…. because one can affect the other. 

Entering your 40’s makes you re-evaluate your life. You never know how much time you really have left, but now at age 45, I am kind of hoping I get another 40 years! When I was younger, I thought I would always be healthy, able to move around, and do anything I wanted for the rest of my life with no problems. It’s hard to imagine being old…… when you are young. It seems like one day you look in the mirror and 25 years have gone by and you’re not sure what happened!

I would love to say I woke up one day and had an “epiphany” to jump on the fitness bandwagon, but I stood on the curb and watched it drive by me several times. Oh, I made “attempts” in the past to lead a healthy lifestyle, but it was short-lived, and I always had a specific reason like losing weight for summer or a special event. Once that was over, I’d get lazy again; go back to being overweight, and always complaining and whining about how I looked and felt. It was only about the number on the scale, not the actual long-term benefits of living healthy. I never truly “committed” to changing. I wanted someone or something else to do it for me. My mindset was clearly the issue…… but I just didn’t realize it.

A few years ago, I was given an unforeseen “opportunity” to think about my mindset and lifestyle.  I was injured unexpectedly, in a lot of pain, couldn’t work, sleep, or do normal daily activities. This scared the daylights out of me because I wasn’t sure if I would get better or how long it would take. For two months, I had time to really think and ask myself “So how is what I’m doing working for me”?  I always had the “choice” of sitting and not moving, or getting up and being active. The injury took away that choice for a while, and forced me to ponder life without the option to choose. That situation prompted me to become “future-oriented” very quickly.

During my recovery, I went to physical therapy and learned quite a bit about how my body is supposed to work.  In addition, I was able to catch a glimpse of what life could be like if I didn’t change my ways. I saw other patients at the PT clinic who were struggling to recover from injuries or illnesses, a lot of times mostly due to the fact that they were so out of shape and unhealthy to begin with. Some of them were not that much older than I was. I did not want that to be me in a few years, and so it was time to get off my butt!

My physical therapist had helped me recover and played a key role in my decision to pursue fitness as part of my lifestyle. I was worried about injuring myself again and concerned about my inexperience, but he reassured me that these would not stop me from reaching my goals. 

At this point, I felt like I was given a “get out of jail free card” and I wasn’t about to blow that opportunity doing my own thing.  Low and behold…. this PT was also certified in strength and conditioning, and so I enlisted him to help me get started. It was perfect, because he knew the in’s and out’s of my injury, ability, and goals.   I really wanted to do this at home, as I did have some exercise equipment. He said it was doable and recommended I also purchase a 20# and 30# kettlebell, and I’d be all set. I thought to myself “Um… he’s crazy if he thinks I will ever be able to lift that”. (I had only ever lifted up to 8#). He seemed pretty confident, but I assumed he was trying to kill me! I purchased those kettlebells that I KNEW I would NEVER use……but kept the receipt for the time being.

 You don't have to be like Arnold to be strong

You don't have to be like Arnold to be strong

Strength training was a big part of the program he designed for me, and for good reason.  I met with him numerous times for instruction, and remember joking about how easy some of the strength training exercises seemed. However, I wasn’t laughing so much a few weeks later when trying to walk up and down the stairs after a few days of squats! I kept at it, changed my eating habits, and also began training for a 5k, which gave me a good goal to reach three months down the road.  Weight lifting was making me stronger both physically and mentally. Running was a great stress reliever, endurance builder, and really kept me feeling motivated. I now looked at food more as fuel for my body instead of just a pleasure activity.

Fast forward six months later……I had lost 50 pounds, had significantly increased strength and energy, and felt amazing. I was running 3 miles at a stretch and was now lifting those 20# and 30# kettlebells…….and I had to suck it up and tell the PT he was right! I was able to do more now than even in my 20’s.  My goal was much less about the number on the scale, and more about changing my behaviors, mindset, and attitude for the long-term. The benefits of this lifestyle change were starting to sink in…..

The question now was “Could I really keep this up for good”? I certainly didn’t trust myself yet.  I was feeling great and had developed a lot of confidence, but was still very nervous about going back to my old habits. It’s really easy to keep doing something when you don’t have any roadblocks, but what about when you are presented with challenges or triggers?  That’s when the real work starts, when you have to toughen up that mindset even when the chips are down, and push on through regardless of the circumstances. 

Stay tuned for Part 2!

On Track Physical Therapy Featured on STACK.com

Recently had the opportunity to publish some content over at STACK

The article discusses a common mistake athletes and coaches make when first programming pullups into an athletes program. Be sure to check the article out HERE.

If your an athlete that is struggling with injuries or wants to take there performance to the next level. Contact On Track Physical Therapy to see how we can help!

Youth and High School Athlete Training Program

Long term athletic development and youth athlete training programs are hot topics right now to discuss. During this webinar we will discuss:

  • How youth sports ended up in this short term goal oriented mindset
  • The importance of skill in sport
  • Variability of movement
  • Creating a long term athletic development plan
  • General Physical Preparedness
  • Letting the movement teach the lift
  • Prerequisite/Progressions
  • Are Olympic Lifts needed?
  • Sets and Reps
  • Growth Spurts
  • Deceleration Training
  • Why youth athletes don't warm up?

To pick up your copy of the "Reign Superior Athletics" Training System, head on over HERE

WHAT YOU GET

FIFTEEN Different Programs For The Price of One - As previously mentioned, there are 5 different levels the athlete will progress through. The training system includes multiple workouts per level. Workouts in the weight room to make you stronger and more powerful! As well as workouts on the field/court to make you faster and more explosive!

Step By Step Training Programs - Every rep, of every set, of every exercise is included for you here in the training program. Quite simply, we left nothing left to chance! All you have to do is show up and follow the program. That's it! Most importantly, every aspect of your training is accounted for. That includes your mobility/flexibility training, power training, strength training, speed training, and conditioning training. All the work is done for you, all you have to do is show up and put in the work!

Video Demonstration/Exercise Database - How much better would your training be if I could coach you through every single exercise? In person training can be expensive, upwards of $100 per training session. This option is not feasible for everyone. This program gets you access to high quality training for the fraction of the cost. Every single exercise in each workout has a video linked to show you exactly how to perform every movement with cues to make sure you're doing them with perfect form!

Warmup/Mobility Routines - The mobility warmups programmed into every workout will assure you that you can perform all the exercises programmed in each workout. It also makes you a much more resilient athlete, allowing you to stay on the field or court competing! I always tell my athletes that the fastest way to lose athleticism is to get injured. Unfortunately some injuries happen, this is the nature of sports. However, having a background in physical therapy allows me to program exercises in a way that will reduce the risk for injury! Keeping you in the game longer so you can continually improve your game.

Nutrition - Quite simply, nutrition is the fuel for your body to grow and recover. Without a solid nutrition plan, a lot of your efforts in the gym can go to waste. The problem with most nutrition programs is they make it extremely hard and time consuming to follow without breaking the bank. We give simple, cost and time friendly suggestions for high school athletes that make nutrition planing a breeze.

Modification to the Assisted Pullup

The assisted pullup is often utilized for clients or athletes that do not have the strength to perform enough body weight pullups to include in their programming. I like to perform this exercise with a slight twist then what you may have commonly seen before in the weight room.

Stretching the band across the squat rack as opposed to hanging it from the pull up bar allows the athlete or client to maintain a more vertical posture. Thus removing the potential learning curve/awkwardness of the legs swinging out in front of the body.

Another variation I like for beginners is the Assisted Pullup Isometric Hold. This gives assist during the concentric and eccentric portions of the lifts. However at the top, the assist is minimal and the athlete can really focus on recruitment and tension under the lats. The other added benefit is increasing time under tension with this exercise, as with your typical rep schemes a beginner who lacks general strength will tend to fatigue to quick. It also is a great accessory exercise for advance lifters because it keeps time under tension high while decreasing total reps, thus eliminating some of the repetitive joint strain.

Click the picture below for you FREE report on how to improve athleticsm and dominate the competition!

How To Avoid Physical Therapy – Old Geezer Medication

This really does not have to be complicated. Most injuries are from a sudden increase in activity that your body was not prepared to handle or a repetitive physical stress without ample rest. The way you avoid Physical Therapy or Injury is become resilient to stress. 

News flash! You don’t build resiliency to stress by standing on a BOSU ball and thinking you are working on balance. 

In order to become resistant to injury your body has to be able to withstand stress. If you have ever seen someone who was bed ridden for any period of time, you can almost see the person becoming more fragile right before your eyes.

Strength training is on the opposite end of the spectrum because it signals for survival and GROWTH. This forces the body to grow stronger muscles, tendon, ligaments, and bones. It also impacts the endocrine and central nervous system as well!  All these qualities you would think that strength training would be more mainstream in the public health sector. Essentially it could be considered the anti-old geezer medication or maybe the fountain of youth.....

Working as a physical therapist (and being young, will be 27 next month) I hear patients tell me every day that "getting old sucks!" or "whatever you do, don't get old!".  Does it really take an almost 27 year old health professional to tell you point blank that aging is normal? It’s going to happen folks! Cardiovascular disease, muscle atrophy, hypertension, Type II diabetes, shortness of breath, chronic fatigue, obesity are all preventable. Yet they are the majority contributors to death and healthcare dollars. So what are you going to do about it?

The McDondalds drive through, watching your favorite tv season on Netflix for the 3rd time, and going to your Doctor so they can prescribe you some meds isn’t exactly a recipe to age well.

Side note: If you are still reading this, I think you may realize how much the title of this article actually pains me. Did I really have to catch your attention by saying how to avoid physical activity (physical therapy) by taking a medication?

Enough ranting, let’s go back to the topic at hand which is strength training. I fully realize that everybody’s goals are different. For the athlete, strength is important for performance and resisting injury. To be clear, you do not have to be big/bulky to be strong (so lady’s, that’s a poor excuse). The average Joe or the aging population, strength training has a multitude of benefits that keeps your mood and body strong and resistant to injury. A study in 2008 by Ruiz and colleagues titled “Association between muscular strength and mortality in men” found that of the 9000 men followed over 20 years, muscular strength was inversely related to death from any cause. This still held true when the stats were adjusted to take into consideration fitness and cardiovascular health.

Boom! Strength wins!

Now for the elephant in the room. Guess what? Strength training is going to take some work. It’s not easy. However, a 2016 study by Giessing and colleges showed that training just 2x per week, 8 exercises, just 1 set to failure actually increased strength. If you are still in the boat of not having enough time. Then I really don’t have the sympathy when you say “getting old sucks.”

If you have never strength trained before, and are intimidated, then it would be a great time to find a trusted trainer or healthcare practitioner who believes in these same concepts which are backed by science and research. Being intimidated is perfectly fine and normal. Most anything of value is going to be intimidating the first time you do it. That’s why when you were a kid, your parents forced you to do things you didn’t necessarily want to do. Find a trainer or healthcare provider that knows what he/she is doing and will take things in stride because you’re going to be in this for the long haul. It’s an investment in your health that can benefit you both mentally and physically, but also financially by avoiding frequent doctor visits and medication bottle refills.

Listen, I get it. I was a collegiate athlete just 5 short years ago. I can’t do some of the things now that I could then. Life happens. Priorities shift. Time doesn’t stop. But how to stay strong doesn’t change!