Viewing entries tagged
recovery

How "Why Not Now" Started

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How "Why Not Now" Started

When it comes to making fitness a priority, we've told ourselves, "We'll start on Monday," or "It'll be my New Year's resolution."  Well, why not now?  Empower yourself in the present and make it your lifestyle!

Movement

How many of us are in love with fitness, training, rehabilitation, or anything related to the word I try to avoid using: exercise? Okay, I like to call any of the previous terms “movement” because it’s more intentional and it’s something we all need to do not only to survive, but thrive. You don’t need to love to move, but you do need to commit to movement in one form or another. For some of us, it’s because we’re training to perform our best at something. For others, movement may be used to recover from injuries. For most of us, exercise is not natural or enjoyable but we know we need to do it in order to look, feel, and be the best versions of ourselves. Believe it or not, I don’t personally enjoy fitness unless I’m training for a sport or an event. There are a few unique specimens who are passionate and sometimes obsessed with resistance training, running, plyometrics, etc. because it’s fun for them and allows them to reach a state of flow. Flow, aka “the zone”, is the mental state of operation in which a person performing an activity is fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and enjoyment in the process of the activity. We can discuss that next time as it’s a subject that I’m particularly interested in. For now, let’s stay on task - I’m here to talk about: commitment.

Commitment

“A commitment is falling in love with something and then building a structure of behavior around it for those moments when love falters” - David Brooks’ lecture “The Next Big Challenge In Your Life”

I’m currently falling in love with the idea that I will be a parent soon, but I refuse to have a “dad bod”. My love and commitment has evolved, changed, and failed me several times - and that’s fine. I don’t have sporting events to train for, and I have no interest in training for a recreational event at the moment. In 2016, my commitment was to avoid having surgery to repair my ACL (yes, not having the surgery is an option). My focus was training hard to build the strength and body awareness necessary to have a fully functioning knee without a fully functioning ACL. Life is full of twists and turns and you don’t always have time to prepare for them, and that’s where motivation comes in. Your motivation is dictated by the current challenges you face. Motivation will keep you committed, and most importantly, keep you disciplined enough to keep you moving forward.

A Winning Mindset

Prior to the 2013 season, Russell Wilson inspired the the Seattle Seahawks with the phase “why not us”. In February of 2014, they won their first Super Bowl. Inspired by Russell Wilson, Justine and I came up with P4L’s slogan of “Why Not Now?” Why wait until tomorrow, next week, next month, or next year to focus on your fitness? Or better yet, why wait to commit to something you love? We all have a love for something, and that love will motivate us to stay committed to reaching our goals.


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4 Tips for Rehabilitation

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4 Tips for Rehabilitation

Many people who have pain from injuries, accidents, disease or just the activities of everyday life seek help to solve their problems. Often times, they’re able to see a physical therapist or another health practitioner who will diagnose what’s causing the pain, perform appropriate treatment, and give directions on how to proceed with rehabilitation. The practitioner may guide the patient in person through his or her rehab or may assign exercises for the individual to do at home at a certain frequency or for a specific length of time.

Physical therapy and rehabilitation are fantastic and help many people in pain, but they can at times be very monotonous and frustrating because being in pain is hard. Tasks and movements that were simple and taken for granted before now cause suffering and may even be impossible to do. Additionally, the rehabilitation process can be quite lengthy, especially if there is severe damage from injury or disease. Patients with pain often go through many emotional battles not just from the physical pain itself, but from the impact it can have on their lives.

But with diligence in rehabilitation, a strategic approach to the body, and the right mindset, most people can come out of pain. If you’re in pain, seek help from a health practitioner for guidance on what to do. And if you’re in the thick of recovery, hopefully, these tips can help you on your way.

1. Celebrate every victory, no matter how small.

If you were bedridden yesterday, be grateful that you can now get up. If you could barely stand yesterday, be excited about the fact that you can now jump. If you could slowly walk yesterday, be proud that you can now run. Even if you get up slow, or you don’t jump as high, or you don’t run as fast, progress is progress. Okay, we don’t usually heal overnight, but my point is that celebrating victories is about appreciating the details - maybe it hurts less when you try to touch your toes, maybe it used to hurt as soon as you lifted your arm and now it only hurts when you reach above your head. Manage your expectations and set realistic goals so that you won’t be disappointed and will stay motivated to keep pushing forward.

2. Don’t fight through the pain.

We’ve all heard the phrase, “no pain, no gain.” Maybe in the past, we’ve been pushed and pushed by coaches while we work out to “Fight through the pain!” Understand that (hopefully) these are references to pushing through challenge and muscle “burn” and not the literal pain that we feel as sharpness, numbness, or tingling. If an exercise is causing pain, stop doing it. Pain is our body’s way of communicating that we’re putting ourselves at risk of harm, so if an exercise is causing pain, don’t do it, or regress the exercise. Do an easier version that doesn’t trigger symptoms and master that movement before attempting a harder progression. If an exercise is challenging and you feel your muscles working hard, then that’s great - you should practice that, and make sure that you’re getting plenty of rest and recovery as well.

3. Balance the injured and uninjured.

Lots of patients, very commonly, have an injury on only one side. For example, you might have sprained your ankle and then seen a practitioner. He or she recommends that you allow for some rest for healing and so that inflammation can go down and when that’s better, to do mobilization and strengthening exercises, then maybe some balance, stability and even plyometric work. This is all great and it helps with recovery, but what often happens is the formerly injured side heals and becomes better - stronger, more mobile, and more stable - than the uninjured side. While you do your rehab exercises, give both sides, including the healthy side, some love so as to ensure balance and symmetry.

4. Consistency, consistency, and consistency.

At the end of the day, successful rehab comes down to consistency. As with working out, you don’t get results with one good workout. You have to work out consistently, eat nutritious and healthy food consistently, and sleep well consistently to see results over time. You have to do rehab exercises daily because often times you’re trying to break strong compensation patterns, rebuild atrophied muscle, restore stability to important joints, and generally fix biomechanics. It takes great treatment, smart rehab prescription, careful but effective integration and a lot of diligence and commitment to healing and movement to get a worthwhile, long-term result.


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3 Signs You're Overtraining

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3 Signs You're Overtraining

Overtaining is defined as “…a maladapted response to excessive exercise without adequate rest, resulting in perturbations of multiple body systems (neurologic, endocrinologic, immunologic) coupled with mood changes.” 

Simply put, overtraining occurs as a result of exercise without adequate recovery. This can cause, among other things, increases in body fat, a plateau or reduction of lean (muscle) mass, an elevated resting heart rate, increased levels of stress, increased likelihood of injuries, decreased performance, and a weakened immune system.       

It’s necessary to be clear on one thing: overtraining will NOT occur in a vast majority of the population. Most busy professionals simply don’t have the time to put into the gym that would cause them to fall into a state of overtraining - it is much more likely to occur in athletes. However, it is also necessary to note that when a person reaches a state of overtraining is largely dictated by their recovery time outside of training.

At the cellular level, exercise is stress on the body. From a strength training perspective, hypertrophy (muscle growth) occurs only after muscle fibers have been torn and subsequently repaired. When performed in the correct dosages and with adequate recovery, the net result will be a positive bodily adaptation (increased aerobic capacity, increased muscle mass, etc). However, if too much is performed, or the recovery period is inadequate, and this pattern remains consistent, then overtraining may occur. High-stress levels from everyday life could also increase the risk of overtraining. Your recovery may be inadequate if:

  • you sleep less than 7-9 hours
  • you don’t eat enough/your body doesn’t get the micro- and macronutrients required for proper recovery
  • if you don’t allow enough time between workouts.

Intensity is also a player in overtraining: the higher the intensity of the workout, the more time should be given to allow for proper recovery. So, a person performing HIIT workouts (high-intensity interval training) should ideally allow more time between sessions than someone performing a brisk walk or moderate intensity resistance training. Like I said, exercise is stress at the cellular level, so if you lead a high-stress lifestyle, HIIT is most likely not for you: the last thing someone who deals with high levels of stress needs is an exercise that will put much more stress on the body. High-stress individuals will often respond better to low or moderate intensity workouts.

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As a trainer, I realize time and time again that less is more. People believe that they need to be pushed to their limits during each workout to achieve their goals, and that this is essentially the only way to do so. However, the body will only respond positively to a certain amount of stimulus, and after a certain point, this excess stimulus could potentially push you further away from your goals rather than closer to them. The point at which overtraining is reached is different for everyone, and depends on multiple factors. If you aren’t seeing results, or even seeing the inverse of your desired results, consider what you’re doing to recover outside of the gym, and consider whether or not your workouts are complimentary to your stress levels and lifestyle.

Source: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3435910/


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Bodywork to Make Your Body Work

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Bodywork to Make Your Body Work

Almost everyone in San Francisco leads a very active lifestyle. From working the 9-5 to working out (hopefully), running errands, being outdoors to get fresh air and sun, and enjoying all the fun activities that the city constantly has to offer, San Franciscans are extremely social and busy people. We’re great at doing our work, being in school, and going out to do the things we love. Sometimes, though, we’re not so great at taking a step back to slow our lives down and take care of ourselves. We work hard and play hard, but we don’t always do enough for our “rest and digest” - our down time, our sleep, our nutrition: our recovery.

In previous posts, we’ve talked a lot about nutrition, sleep, and mindset, and these are all great and necessary elements to improve our general well-being and aid in recovery so that we can do what we do best: be active. So this time, I want to talk about another great way to recover, rest, and relax. I want to talk about massage.

As many of you know, massage is a great tool for relieving tension and tightness in the body, but people still have many misconceptions of what massage is.

Some people are afraid of massage because of a bad experience and say things like, “It was so painful! I think my body is just too sensitive to receive massage.”

Or, on the other end of the spectrum, some people say “I don’t feel like anything happened. They just rubbed lotion on me and that was it.” Many people don’t know that massage has the potential to reduce or even completely relieve pain. I think that it’s really unfortunate that not all people know how great it can be, so I want to break down a few different styles of massage and bodywork so that everyone can understand how this healing modality can play a vital role in your rest and recovery.


(Swedish) Relaxation Massage

The most prevalent form of massage for relaxation and enjoyment is Swedish Relaxation Massage. Swedish Massage is characterized by long, flowing, strokes that are firm, yet gentle. The massage therapist typically uses the palm and “heel” of his or her hands to glide across the skin over muscles and joints to lengthen and soften the tissues. Some type of lotion or oil is usually used and sessions can last from 30-90 minutes in a relaxing and soothing environment. This type of massage, or bodywork, is not as targeted as other modalities, but is effective in integrating multiple body parts in flowing moves to relax the patient and improve circulation and blood flow. Studies have even shown that Swedish Massage can help to reduce fatigue, depression, and anxiety - very relevant for the busy and often stressed-out San Franciscan.

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Deep Tissue Massage

Deep tissue massage is characterized by its concentration on the deeper layers of muscles and fascia. For deep tissue massage, the therapist typically uses knuckles, fist, or elbow. Typically, deep tissue massage requires little to no oil or lotion compared to Swedish, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be relaxing as well. This is the style of massage that some people might say is really painful, but proper deep tissue massage should sink slowly into muscle and fascia so as to not cause the body to tense up and “fight back”. This modality is great for breaking up adhesions and to really get noticeable softening of dense or knotted tissue.

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Clinical Bodywork

The last form of massage or bodywork I want to tell you about is clinical bodywork. Clinical bodywork is, as the name suggests, more clinical in its style and is a bit different from other types of massage, especially relaxation. Clinical bodywork is typically much more targeted, like deep tissue, and the emphasis is not on relaxation, but on helping the patient come out of pain from some type of injury or disease. During a clinical session, there is more communication between the patient and therapist to problem solve, and the practitioner will use a variety of tools to address the pain. These tools can include different massage modalities such as deep tissue, pin and stretch, myofascial release, and even Swedish relaxation strokes if appropriate. But, the practitioner might not be limited to just massage techniques and may incorporate other elements such as lymphatic drainage, cupping, special assessments, stretching, rehabilitation exercises and neuro-techniques to name a few. 

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Conclusion

Here at Perform for Life, we’re all about our training, education, and community, but we also really love to show our care for our athletes by providing clinical bodywork. We see and care for so many of our athletes going through pain from injury, disease, stress, and overwork and we want to make sure that everyone takes care of their bodies. We might do a great job at being active and working out hard, but it’s important to know when to let our bodies rest, relax and recover, and massage is a great way to do so.

From Swedish relaxation to clinical bodywork, there’s a type of massage for everyone to help with relaxation and even pain. Keep in mind that I’ve only gotten to talk about a few modalities of bodywork and that there is so much more out there. So, if these don’t work, don’t stop searching. Stay active but listen to your body and take great care of it - it’s the only one you’ve got.



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