Thursday, October 27, 2011

Intermittent Fasting 101

As much as I can, I try to pass on the newest and best information to my friends, family and clients as possible.  From books to videos, lectures to seminars, and observations and networking events, I pride myself on keeping up to date with the best fitness info out there. 
As I am writing this, I'm out in Phoenix, Arizona for a Perform Better Seminar, the Meeting of the Minds.  This seminar includes the nation's (and quite possibly the world's) leading fitness minds. 
One of these leaders, Dr. John Berardi, is the BEST nutritional mind, period.  He works with current Olympians, NFL stars, NBA, NHL and MMA superstars.  But that's not all...
Dr. Berardi has taken the time to research a sub-topic within fat loss that has gained MUCH momentum over the past few years in the research and application community, and that topic is simply known as Intermittent  Fasting.  
Yup.  As in fasting.  I'm not talking about the once a year, holiday time, or pre-competition for bodybuilding, making weight, athletics, etc.  
I'm referring to the once a week, regimented schedule of how to decrease STUBBORN bodyfat.  Sound good to you?  It did for me, and I've seen IMMEDIATE results.  Dr. Berardi was nice enough to release a FREE PDF that goes over the details. 
This is a MUST read for anyone looking to drop stubborn bodyfat.  Takes 10 minutes of your time.  10 minutes!!  Just read the brief description and outline, I have the products he recommends and we'll go from there.  
Trainers, clients, friends, family: this is a great opportunity to do something that you will actually a) save money doing, b) look better because of it, c) feel better because of it, and d) look forward to the challenge that lies beyond Intermittent Fasting.  
Once you're done reading this free PDF, expect more information from me, as the Meeting of the Minds Seminars begin tonight at 6pm, and run until Sunday at 12:30pm.  
12 world-class presenters, including Dr. John Berardi, will definitely overload my brain with more information than I can handle.  However, I will be quick to summarize and pass on this world-class information.  
In extraordinary health and fitness,
Coach Kev

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

A New Look at Treating Injuries

During Hurricane Irene, over 6 inches of water fell in Central Park in just over 24 hours.

For the most part, NYC was spared the worst of the storm, but certain low-lying areas in NJ, CT, and other Northeastern states certainly received more rain and wind damage.

I certainly remember the storm, because it played quite well into a simple analogy that I've used to explain movement to clients and friends alike.  

You see, my ceiling leaked.  Quite a bit, actually. Had to place a bucket underneath it in order to catch the water.  Such a mess!

Afterwards, with the sun shining and Irene on her way North, I was tempted to patch the hole with some spackling, mop up the water and drywall chips, and call it a day.  

Looking at it from the outside, that would certainly make it look better.  

Looking at it from the inside, however, is a different story.  Because two weeks later, during another thunderstorm, the ceiling leaked again. 

My awareness of this, and why I chose not to patch the ceiling (and instead placed a call to my Landlord to fix the actual problem) is actually due to a strength coach and physical therapist's recommendation (Mike Boyle and Gray Cook), who famously said not to fix the 'ceiling' before you fix the 'roof'. 

If you were keeping track, the analogy is simple: when pain strikes, most people, including some physical therapists and doctors, will aim to fix the 'ceiling'. 

They'll prescribe an anti-inflammatory (spackling), recommend physical therapy, with electrical stimulation, ice and ultrasound (mopping up the water), and treat the 'ceiling'.  If it gets worse, cortisone will soon follow. 

However, a movement specialist knows better; because eliminating pain, which is a clue to a bigger problem, is the same thing as patching the hole in the ceiling, mopping up the water, and painting over the spackling.

But the movement specialist attacks the root of the problem, fixes the roof (dysfunction in movement or alignment), and takes the client or patient to new levels of of pain-free function.  They can now enjoy movement without pain (or a ceiling that doesn't leak).  

As a Personal Trainer with an extensive background in Sports Medicine (1200 clinical hours in 3 years working with Division I athletes), I usually start training new clients around an injury of some sort (most common are back, knee and shoulder pain).  As a result, I can't emphasize enough the difference in these two approaches, and how they have helped make a significant impact upon my clientele.  

If you have pain, make sure to fix the roof.  Not just the ceiling.  That way, the next time you have a big workout, are stressed, lift something wrong, or overdo your weekend warrior activities, the ceiling won't leak.  

Your neighborhood roof specialist,

Coach Kev
P.S. For specific movements designed to mobilize the ankle, hip and thoracic spine, be sure to check out My Youtube Page.

Monday, October 3, 2011

When Running Hurts

A few weeks back, I was rather motivated to respond to a New York Times Article by Gina Kolata on the benefits of cross-training for runners (my article HERE).  According to her 'research', there wasn't any.  And the only way to stay injury-free while running was to avoid running. 

My goodness!  What a revelation. 

Moreover, according to the 'experts', running is a repetitive stress injury (RSI) waiting to happen.  In fact, it takes roughly 1500 steps (750 per foot) to complete just one mile.  That's 750 hops, in a nutshell, on one foot, in order to complete one mile.

While I agree with some of the injury potential, I have a few things to add: 

1) Steady state running (without intervals) is not the most efficient way to lose weight or burn fat and stay injury free.  Why not?  Most people who use running as a method to lose fat do not take the time to train for running and instead, run as a their only form of training.  This, combined with the fact that they are typically overweight, only adds to the stress placed on joints because the runner is inefficient and not strong enough to absorb 1500 reps per mile correctly.

2) Any sport, such as running, that has repetitive stress injury potential should be prepared for.  Ignoring the fact that running is a demanding sport and the pounding your joints can take can have dire consequences: stress fractures, tendonitis, runner's knee, shin splints, Achilles ruptures and low back pain can all wreck havoc on a runner's training program and future in the sport.  Adopting the phrase Train to Run, as opposed to Run to train, can have a huge impact on your running, your physique, and your decreased injury risk.

3) Understanding what injuries happen to runners can help you prevent them: Oddly enough, I believe you can actually prevent chronic injuries such as the ones that befall many a runner.  Think about it: a football player who separates a shoulder when another player falls on has little he can do to prevent that injury (other than avoid the sport).  But in truth, a runner who adequately prepares for the sport can definitely learn about the trouble areas and the requirements that can help a runner stay healthy.  Let's look at one of the main causes of those injuries. 

Range of Motion/Stiffness/Stability

In his book Movement: Functional Movement Systems—Screening, Assessment and Corrective Strategies
physical therapist and author Gray Cook discusses some patterns we find in the human body.  For runners, these patterns are key to understanding the true prevention of injury.

Here is an excerpt stating how different joints have specific requirements:

1. The foot has a tendency toward sloppiness and therefore could benefit from greater amounts of stability and motor control. We can blame poor footwear, weak feet and exercises that neglect the foot, but the point is that the majority of our feet could be more stable.

2. The ankle has a tendency toward stiffness and therefore could benefit from greater amounts of mobility and flexibility. This is particularly evident in the common tendency toward dorsiflexion limitation.

3. The knee has a tendency toward sloppiness and therefore could benefit from greater amounts of stability and motor control. This tendency usually predates knee injuries and degeneration that actually make it become stiff.

4. The hip has a tendency toward stiffness and therefore could benefit from greater amounts of mobility and flexibility. This is particularly evident on range-­of-­motion testing for extension, medial and lateral rotation.
5. The lumbar and sacral region has a tendency toward sloppiness and therefore could benefit from greater amounts of stability and motor control. This region sits at the crossroads of mechanical stress, and lack of motor control is often replaced with generalized stiffness as a survival strategy.

So what does this mean for runners?  

A) A joint requires one of two things: stiffness (stability), or mobility and flexibility.
B) If said joint does not have the required quality mentioned above, it places undue stress upon the neighboring joint and muscles around it.
C) If the issue is not resolved with exercises and training for the proper requirements of the joint, it is only a matter of time before the overstressed joint cries out for help (usually in the form of some sort of pain).

A few basic examples:

Someone who does not have adequate ankle range-of-motion (mobility) will force the knee and Achilles to overcompensate for this lack of range of motion. Commonly affects women who wear heels to work and  men who wear poor fitting running shoes (Nike Shox).  

Someone who does not have adequate hip range-of-motion will force the knee, the pelvis and the lower back to compensate, placing a large amount of stress on an area that is usually stressed too much as it is.  Commonly found in those who sit all day and those who only participate in aerobic cardio (knee-dominant movements become even more knee-dominant because hip cannot contribute due to lack of recruitment and range-of-motion). 

"Corrective" Exercises to enhance Mobility


Hip #1
Hip #2

Adding these to your warmup, whether before running or lower-body movements, will definitely enable the right joints and muscles to absorb and apply force.  No equipment needed, just some space to move.

Until next time,

Coach Kev