Keep Moving!!

Yeah, keep moving. It sounds so simple, doesn’t it. Sometimes various items of the body just don’t work, you get sick, you are busy…blah, blah, blah Sooo, let’s get real, here. What’s really holding you back from exercising, even a little? I’ve had clients in boots, neck braces, slings, with MS, Parkinson’s, two broken hips (same one twice), screwed up discs, and on and on.

The fact is that it doesn’t take a lot to start. If you talk with someone who is in the fitness industry and they say you need to lift heavy, run, get your heart rate up, or other such things, I’m telling you right now, just walk away. Do you need to do all these things? Well, yeah, eventually, but you don’t start there. You start first by finding out if you have overactive or underactive muscles. Then you find out what your balance and core strength are like. That’s what you start with. If you can’t stand on one foot while lifting your arms up in a V, then you have some basic work to do. *This* is moving, folks. Shoot, I’ve had more than a few clients that I had sitting down, then standing up, having them pay attention to basic muscles they should be using. It wore them out…and it will if you’re not used to it

That said, if you’re used to doing more advanced work, then do it…sensibly. Don’t go great guns when you haven’t been doing it for a while. That’s setting yourself up for failure. Your brain doesn’t comprehend that you’re out of condition and need to get back up to speed. Take it easy, avoid injury and frustration, and you’ll get back before you know it.

My point is that you’re trying to set up habits of moving just like you eat, drink, sleep and other potentially healthy habits to keep you going for a while. If you’re changing your diet, I usually don’t recommend making drastic changes at first, but cutting out the nasty habits first. The same with exercise. First determine your goals, how bad you want them, why you want them, then start working on a plan on how to get there. If you need help, give me a shout!

In the meantime, read back on my previous blog posts. They’re old and I have been bad about keeping them current, but they all have good information.

See you again soon.


Use SPEED to Biohack Your Metabolism – no, this is not a 60’s throwback

I messed up and have missed the last couple of blog posts. I spent 4 days in Arizona at a conference listening to talks on exercise of all kinds, nutrition, social media, etc. I learned a LOT and have been trying to collate and process everything…not to mention catch up on everything I missed while I was gone. I’m going to use some of the information I learned here in the next few weeks.

I’ve written about diet in a previous post. Here I’m going to take a step further. Diet is only one element in the metabolic health of your body. Like a diet, you have to pay attention of other elements other than caloric intake and output in order to see results – quality of nutrients, when you eat, etc. Which brings me to the word of the day:


Now when I walked into the session and heard this, I may have mentioned that I grew up with the slogan “speed kills”. I assure you , this has absolutely nothing to do with amphetamines or their cousins.

Sleep, Psychological Stress, Environment, Exercise, Diet

Notice what’s at the end. Yep. Lets look at the first three which may make all the difference in the world in reaching your fitness goals. I’m going to try to keep it as simple as I can. You can look some of this stuff up yourself or write me.

I don’t know if you’ll be ready for this, but poor sleep “hygiene” increases the risk of obesity and diabetes via insulin resistance and altered neuroendocrine control of appetites. It’s a mouthful and sounds impressive, doesn’t it. What does it mean? Basically, when you don’t get enough sleep, the mechanisms in the body that regulate appetite and insulin resistance go whonky (a technical term). The result: excessive food intake and decreased energy expenditure.

There are things you can do to help your sleep: stimulus control (decrease light, don’t do electronics 1 hour before sleep, etc); relaxation techniques; carbs at dinner, but don’t go crazy (they contain seratonin); acupuncture; supplements – 1-3 mg melatonin or 450 mg valerian root.

There are three basic reactions to psychological stress: 1) Alarm reaction (flight or fight), 2) Resistance/Adaption, 3) Exhaustion. Cortisol, the stress hormone released under these conditions (among others), is public health enemy number one. Scientists have known for years that elevated cortisol levels: interfere with learning and memory, lower immune function and bone density, increase weight gain, blood pressure, cholesterol, heart disease… The list goes on and on. If you read more about cortisol, you’ll find it a little confusing, but the basic information I’ve read is that you should try to keep cortisol levels even rather than high and low.

Our environment also plays a part in metabolic health. We are constantly exposed to toxins: plastics, pesticides, cleaning agents, and many others actually affects obesity, metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, and cancer. Some things we have a hard time avoiding and many we have just started taking for granted. You can save money and cut down on toxins by getting your own water bottle and refilling it rather than buying water. Try to eat foods grown locally and naturally to avoid pesticides. Be careful with cleaning agents and pay attention to what you’re using. Often you can substitute caustic, toxic substances with baking soda and vinegar…among other safer products.

Now to exercise. You don’t have to kill yourself with exercise. More isn’t always better. Pay attention to your body, learning when and how much to work and when to rest. I’ve already had some posts on this subject and plan more, so do some reading, start paying attention to what you’re body is saying about the work load.

Diet. The big, scary “D” word. As I wrote in my last blog post, don’t freak out over diet. Be smart and know that one diet doesn’t fit all. Again, pay attention to how your body reacts to certain foods. There’s something called HEC that you need to pay attention to: Hunger Energy/Emotions Cravings. One of the best articles I’ve read lately about a fat loss diet can be found here:  It promotes common sense. Read and see if you can buy into at least some of it.

That’s it for now. Be good to yourselves. Start taking your lives back.

Bears Hibernate in the Winter

It occurred to me as the weather started getting cooler that poor bears were starting to eat and put on fat getting ready to hibernate for the winter….and so do we. Have you noticed that all our good eating holidays are in the winter, when the air gets colder, nights get longer, and we have the urge to eat? Think “turkey”. And I’m in there with the best of ’em.

It’s hard to get motivated to work out in the winter. I mean, who wants to get out into the cold and go at it?  Well, I can give you a few reasons how working out in the winter can really help you as well as some reasons why we tend to put on some pounds during this season.

First, the seemingly looong periods of dark can get oppressive. Exercise releases endorphins the help elevate your mood and it really improves your outlook. I know that there are times I *really* don’t want to work out. I know intellectually that I always feel great when I’m finished, so I hang on to that to get me moving…and am always glad I did, even if it’s a light workout.

Second, watch out for the warm, comfort foods that come with winter. Pasta, bread, warm sticky-buns, and hot cocoa or chocolate are so wonderfully good when it’s cold out. They’re also very high in carbohydrates and certain fats that aren’t good for you. We don’t get the good, fresh-from-the-garden vegetables we do in the summer months, but we can still get fresh vegetables . Vegetables are higher in fiber and can fill you up more than some of those high fat/carb comfort foods — especially empty ones. Don’t get me wrong, carbohydrates can be good for you, but if you eat more than you burn, the extra will become fat. Eating the fresh vegetables makes you feel less lethargic as well and helps you get to whatever movement program you have on the agenda.

You may have heard that working out in the cold will burn extra calories and it’s true…to a degree. Shivering burns quite a few extra calories, but you don’t want to dress inappropriately for the cold just to burn a few extra. Now, that said, if you do hiking, running, walking, or skiing in the snow, you’re working pretty hard to maneuver through that extra substance, which will require more calorie burn. If it’s snowy or icy outside, running can be dicey. I have some friends, though, that told me about Yaktrax Ice Grips that just slip over your shoes and stay there during a run, walk, or hike in ice and snow. Check them out online. I wouldn’t try to use them skiing, though.

Another thing that works against you in the winter is wearing bulky clothes. I LOVE big sweaters. However, we tend to hide behind those big, bulky clothes and let our bodies languish. Wear something a little more fitting, even if its camisole or fitted undershirt so that you’re aware of your body under all those clothes.

Enjoy your winter! Since you don’t have the heat to make you lethargic and difficult to work out, take advantage of the cooler temps to work hard and look great when spring arrives!! Don’t wait until New Year’s Day. Work out now and you don’t feel so guilty about that holiday eating!!!

The activity you love to hate (if you know what it is)

Foam Rolling.

Those two words can make the strongest person whimper. Well, I’m here to tell you that foam rolling, or self-myofascial release (SMR), has had a bad rap. I’m a new, enthusiastic convert. When you go to a massage therapist, you know it can really hurt when they hit a specific spot – and it usually feels much better when they’re finished, right? Well, the same goes for SMR, and you control the pressure.

I’m going to back up a bit for those of you who haven’t a clue as to what I’m talking about. SMR refers to the use of a variety of tools to relieve tight and overused muscles by applying pressure to specific points. SMR mimics massage techniques, which is a bonus since you can do when you have time wherever you want.

Everyone can benefit from SMR, just as anyone can benefit from a massage. In fact, everyone *should* use SMR.

My mantra is “Just Move!” Movement is healthy – but overuse and imbalances of tightness/weakness of certain muscle groups inhibit our ability to move with ease. SMR helps to re-establish proper movement patterns which have been altered by lifestyle factors – such as poor posture, intense workouts, poor hydration/nutrition, lack of sleep, etc. When muscles behave with more flexibility, you can prevent injury and obtain better balance, as well as increase strength, performance, and the ability to move without pain.

Think about it, when you sit at your desk or in a car all day, how do you feel? Pretty lousy and stiff, right? You keep working muscles that are tired and stressed, you’re going to end up with problems. This is a time when you can use SMR. When you roll with a grid, roller, or balls, etc., you’re increasing blood flow and flexibility just as a massage does.

Although the pressure applied by the tools may be uncomfortable, it should never be unbearable. It is valuable in repairing the body to prevent and/or alleviate greater pain. When muscles become tight, they pull at joints and can cause greater problems. For example, when your quadriceps tighten, they pull at the tendon running behind your kneecap and can cause pain during even the least bit of activity. Using a foam roller or ball applies pressure to the muscle. This compression helps to relax the overactive and strained muscle while breaking down adhesions that have formed in the tissue.

When do you use SMR? Well, besides “when it hurts” (don’t wait that long!}, it’s best to perform SMR in the morning, no matter what is ahead of you – whether you’re going to work-out or go to the office. Using SMR in the morning warms up your body and relieves any tension created overnight. Preparing for movement of any kind by releasing tightness and elongating the muscles will decrease the chances of injury, shorten the amount of time needed to warm up, and create better range of motion to put the body in better alignment.

Perform SMR before a workout. Your body will move more freely and can reduce the opportunity for soreness post workout.

You can do a little experiment. Do a few pushups, paying attention to your how your chest and back feel. Now roll your triceps really good, then do a few more pushups. The movement should feel smoother and easier. Imagine your body feeling lighter and easier to move. Well, you don’t have to imagine it, you can make it happen.

Performing SMR after any activity, whether it’s the end of a workday or after a workout, you can reduce stiffness and soreness, preventing future injury by catching tightness before it settles in. Be proactive.

Now that I’ve written all this, the question may be, “how do I learn how to do this?” Many people have both therapy balls and foam rollers or grids…and most don’t know how to use them properly. Both my business partner, Elizabeth (massage therapist), and I have been certified to teach techniques of foam rolling. You can go to and schedule an appointment or look for classes that will be offered. Check our schedule for upcoming dates.

You can also write me and let me know if you want to receive our monthly newsletter and keep up with all workshops and classes we offer.

We are also offering workshops for sports teams, both adult and high school, so if you may be interested in those, please contact me at 502.939.1757 and I will be glad to provide more information.

Personal Trainer Dilemma

I have a problem. I keep seeing people come in here who want to train, work hard with a goal in mind….and they are totally jacked up physically (that’s a technical term, of course). What I mean by that is that from years of working, they have developed compensations that are preventing them from moving effectively — and many of them have recurrent pain or injuries.

Many want to work their “core”. Unfortunately, what they think is the core is the rectus abdominus….that six-pack muscle that we want to see “ripple and rip”. While I have to admit that looks pretty darn good, it’s not the core. The core of the body is lumbo-pelvic-hip complex (LPHC) — lower back, pelvic, hips, butt. There are between 29 and 35 muscles that attach to the lumbar spine or pelvis. That’s a LOT! Since the LPHC is in the center of our bodies, it’s directly associated with both upper and lower extremities…so, dysfunction in the LPHC can directly *affect* lower and upper extremities and vice versa.

Okay, now that I’ve gotten a little technical, what does all that mean? Here’s an example: You chronically have low back pain. So you take anti-inflammatories, some pain killers, and lay on a heating pad. That may take it away for a while, but you haven’t really addressed the problem. You probably have weak gluteus maximus and minimus muscles (as most do) and have a pelvis that tilts so that you have a great curve in your lumbar spine. What do we do to help? We activate those glutes and build the muscles that help keep that pelvis tilted more to the rear, while also relaxing those that keep it pulled to the front. That’s a simplified, short version of what to do, but you get the idea.

Now back to the dilemma. How do I put together a class to meet the expectations of clients yet not continue to exacerbate existing problems?

  1. Put together a program which works on chronically weak muscle groups and systems in the general population
    • most people have certain muscles that are already overworked. Implement exercises that strengthen those that are generally weaker while also inhibit and stretch those that are over active in warm-up.
  2. Stress the *correct* way to perform an exercise
    • doing a great number of squats incorrectly just to get the numbers in doesn’t do a lot of good. Slow down, make sure the back is straight, butt is tucked, knees don’t go over toes, knees don’t turn in or out (they should be in line with the second toe), and push up through the heels. It will burn more….and is harder to do.
  3. Watch individual clients to check for compensations
    • pay attention to individuals in the class to see if and how they are compensating. If they are, understand why it’s happening and offer an alternative exercise, if necessary, until the imbalance can be corrected.
  4. Work at intervals for greater cardio training and fat burning
    • pairing exercises that alternate bursts of intense activity with intervals of lighter activity in the tabata protocol (20 sec work, 10 sec off, 4 sets each) will help improve cardio performance, burn more fat, and is less boring than a traditional workout. It also allows for you to work at your own level rather than that of others.

Now those are my own solutions, which writing this has helped me work through. Your trainer may have different goals, but remember, your class should help you, not hurt you. Pay attention to your own body and talk to your instructor if you are having pain in any part of your body (other than burn). You should be able to make changes when you need them to help you.

Get moving and have fun!!!