Aches and Pains – What to look out for

iStock_000009735766XSmallThis last Tuesday, I wrote a bit about why you get aches and pains after a hard day at the gym. If you worked out the right way, those aches and pains are a good thing! It’s the way  your body tells you that you exerted yourself more than you usually do, and your muscles will start to show results.

But sometimes, our body aches for the wrong reasons, and those aches and pains might not be telling you such good things. But how can we tell a good ache from a bad ache?

There are many, many bad aches and pains you need to look out for. Many more than can be outlined in a single blog. But I have three big sources of aches and pains that you need to look out for when going to the gym, and are completely preventable.

Pain from Bad Posture

Bad posture is something I have seen throughout gyms, even among professional bodybuilders. We might start off a workout session with the best form possible. But by the end of the session, you might be tempted to lift with your back, instead of your legs.

As we get tired, our body naturally tries to take shortcuts to make it easier for ourselves. Like I have said before, think about your body as a river. Instead of moving the boulder, a river will simply flow around it.

Thats why when your arms start to get tired from doing push-ups, you might start arching your back. Your body isn’t trying to hurt you – it just doesn’t want to change.

When I’m working with a client and I see that their posture starts to slack, I stop that particular workout set immediately. Working out with bad posture is asking for injury, and can be extremely damaging if done over long periods of time. Instead of pushing yourself toward injury, it’s best to stop the exercise and move on to another set of muscles.

Localized Pain

If you’re working out correctly, you’re going to feel a burn across a wide spectrum of muscles in your body. Every muscle is interconnected and work together to give you your range of motion. So if you’re doing bench presses, you’re going to feel a burn in your arms and your chest.

Thats why you should not ignore aches that are in a localized, specific part of your body. For example, if your knees really seem to ache after doing squats, you might need to readjust how you perform the exercise.

If you are experiencing pain like this during a workout, stop immediately! You are here to work out your body, not hurt your body. We will readjust your posture, or we will find other ways to work out that set of muscles.

Connected Aches

Dedication is great, but do not allow yourself to ignore an injury when you go to the gym. Working out on an injured ankle will not only make the ankle worse; you’re going to start feeling pain in your knees, thighs, lower back, and beyond.

Because your muscles are interconnected, pain in one part of your body is going to radiate outwards to other parts of your body. Think about it this way: If you injure your big toe, you might think it’s no big deal. It’s just a toe, right?

But when you spend some time on a treadmill, you’re going to walk on your foot a bit differently to avoid putting pressure on your toe. That’s going to cause your ankle to roll a bit more, which will add some more pressure to your knee. After 10 minutes, that slight issue of a stubbed toe isn’t going to be that slight any longer.

Don’t ignore pain. Recognize it, and treat it before it can get worse. Missing one day at the gym and resting an injury is better than spending 2 bad days at the gym and making it worse.

Feeling the burn at the gym is great, but only if it’s the right kind of burn. Make sure you recognize the difference between good aches which are caused by a good workout, and bad aches which are caused by other problems. Make sure you talk to our team of personal trainers so you know how to recognize the difference.

Step Into My Office – David’s Story, Part II

1381512_10201671228855595_437638211_n

If you haven’t yet read part one of David’s story you can find it here . David had to take off for surgery, but I advised him to meet with his physical therapist after his surgery. This way he could find out about the strengthening exercises he could do, that he could still do some cardio, and he could also focus on great nutrition.

David had the surgery and met with his therapist, as well as getting good nutrition advice from Andrea. Now with the surgery behind him, a great diet to follow, and exercises from his therapist, he took action. David went on to drop another 15 pounds after his surgery. Over the next three months he became a gym rat! It was working for him because he was working it. And don’t think that he just worked out all day. David also had a busy career that included travel and high-level executive commitments, as well as family time. He made sure that working out was at the top of his to-do list each day.

He was thrown yet another curveball when he was at the point of making some real progress. A knee doctor told him that at some point his knee would need to be replaced. The pain became too much and he ended up going in for full knee replacement surgery. Following the surgery he again had to meet with doctors and physical therapists, and he made a plan to keep the progress going to strengthen his knee. He continued his mobility exercises and cardio. In fact, he could be seen riding his bike daily with what he called his racing tights (compression pants to keep blood clots form forming and to keep swelling down). He had his headset on listening to the Beatles, eyes were closed, and he was visualizing himself riding in the mountains.

Seven months after surgery and he was down to 230 pounds, which was over a 100-pound weight loss! That was such a great day for David and it hit him with a lot of emotions of happiness, gratitude, and fun. He didn’t think it was possible to do, and at first he was just going to hunt and hike better, but the results were even better than he had imagined.

David had lowered his blood pressure, reduced his cholesterol, and his doctor was blown away by his results. He had to get new workout clothing, and he would flex his biceps. He liked the tight feeling in his muscles. Plus, when he came back from hiking he showed me a video of him moving effortlessly through the mountains. I can see why he wanted to lose the weight, as the views he saw hiking were beautiful!

David often gives me credit for his results, because I was the personal trainer who worked with him. He feels that I have done the most good for him with all of the training he has ever gotten. But I have to remind him that it worked because he worked it, and it was a honor to play a role in helping him with that journey.

Currently, David is 223 pounds and is at 17 percent body fat, and he still isn’t done. His target is 213 pounds and 13 percent body fat. He’s even looking to remove some of the excess skin as a result of his successful efforts. The best part is that he is in the best shape of his life and with his view of life and physical vitality he views 60 as just the start to life.

“Work, play, and life have never been better,” says David.” I look forward to the many years ahead with all of the things I love versus where I started from, dreading to hold a plan. I now own the planks, close grip bench presses, and dead lifts.”

David’s results may not be typical, but they go to show that transformations like this are possible. Ultimately, you are responsible for your workout effort, eating the right foods, and you should always meet with your doctor before starting a new exercise plan and diet plan. Also, consider working with a personal trainer, such as myself. It may be just the extra motivation you need to help get it all to work this time around!

 

Step Into My Office – David’s Story, Part I

1381512_10201671228855595_437638211_n

In this two-part series I want to share with you one of my client’s stories. His name is David, and his story is not only inspirational, but one that you may also relate to. As a personal trainer in the Vancouver, Washington area, who specializes in working with baby boomers and seniors, I get to work with a lot of different people. I’m happy that I got the opportunity to work with David!

One day as I was finishing my work day and about to head out of the gym I saw a gentleman who I always say “hi” to on my way out. This day, however, was different as I was leaving. When I greeted him today he stopped me and told me to step into his office, which happened to be two chairs side by side in the gym. I took a seat and we began to chat.

The man, who I came to learn to was David, was covered in sweat and started telling me about how he just finished his “death march” on the treadmill. His voice was deep and as he laughed I knew that he had a great heart, he was just missing something. He began to share with me how he had been doing the treadmill on a daily basis, as well as when he used to train in the past. He trained in the past and had a personal trainer who had given him a great workout, but he couldn’t put it all together. He couldn’t keep the workouts consistent and couldn’t seem to get the weight off.

He told me that he wanted a workout that wouldn’t kill him, or leave him feeling like that’s what was happening. He needed a workout that would help him become consistent. While his desire wasn’t to have 6-pack abs, he would still be happy if he had them. His desire was really to go hunting and hiking with his uncles, cousins, niece, and nephew. I explained to him the time commitment working out would take in order to get to where he wanted to be. He needed to commit to getting at least 5 hours of exercise per week, and that we would work up to that, so the 5 hours wouldn’t kill him, but it would provide a nice mix of mobility work, cardio, and weight training. I also said he would need to keep a food log.

David asked if I’d be available in the morning, because he’d like to give it a test drive for a month. I told him that there were no test drives; he had to be 100 percent committed for a full month. I told him he would be happy with his results, and if he wasn’t then he could quit and just give up on life. As a personal trainer I knew that if he stuck to the commitment that he would be happy. He said he’d meet me at his office (the two chairs in the gym) at 5:50 the next morning.

David showed up and we took his weight and measurements and got to work. David weighed in that morning at 327 pounds. Would he remain at that? Only time would tell!

He loved the mobility work that we did and after finishing the first session he said he felt amazing and could get used to doing it. I gave him a copy of my Boomer Fitness workbook, which features all the stretches and exercises. I told him it was his job to show up 10 minutes before his session to do the stretches. The next day I smiled as I walked in and saw David warming up with his stretches. When I saw that, I knew he was committed!

We then started in on the weight and I noticed hi was doing a lot of clock watching. When I asked him was going on he replied, “Kid, I love you, but I hate you and I’m counting down the minutes.”

Day after day and week after week went by. At the end of the first month David had dropped 10 pounds. Then a curveball hit him. He had a degenerative disk in his neck that was pinching a nerve and giving him horrible pain. He went to the doctor and found out he would need surgery, as well as a two-month break from working out. David was fearful that he would take a step back, but how long would that step back be?

READ PART 2 HERE

Facebook FAQ Part III – Continuing with Mobility Work

Picking up where we left off from the last two blog posts, we will look more at mobility workouts. Many people are unclear about what mobility work is and why it’s important. Whether you are a personal training client of mine in the Vancouver, Washington area, or you follow me on Facebook, there are benefits to mobility workouts that everyone needs. It is especially important for seniors and baby boomers to make mobility work part of their weekly routine.

Mobility, by definition, is the ability to move. As they age, many people complain to me that it seems more difficult for them to move. They don’t have the mobility they once had. Well, that’s because they are no longer doing the things they once did. As many people age they become more sedentary. When that happens, they will begin to lose their mobility. Doing mobility work each week is not only going to keep you more mobile, but it’s going to make it easier. The best way to have mobility that is free and easy is to do the work to help your body get there and stay there. It doesn’t matter how old you are, either, because mobility is something you can work on and achieve at any age.

When it comes to mobility work, follow this workout plan:

Monday – Mobility/Workout 1

Tuesday – Mobility/Cardio

Wednesday – Mobility/Workout 2

Thursday – Mobility/Cardio of choice

Friday – Mobility/Workout 3/Cardio of choice

Saturday – Cardio of choice

Again, when we are discussing cardio as we have in prior posts, it is important for you to do activities that will get your heart going. This can include walking, jogging, biking, hiking, row machines, or any other activities that will get your heart rate up more. Here are some specific mobility work examples:

1)    Piriformis stretch

2)    Glute stretch

3)    Spiderman stretch

4)    RDL

5)    DB Row

6)    Step-up

7)    Push-ups

8)    Lateral lunge

9)    Leg Raise

10) Bird dog

11)Side plank

You will want to do all of your mobility work in 2-4 sets, with 8-10 reps, or if you are doing  static hold go for 20-40 seconds. Be sure to add in the day one mobility work, as well as the day two mobility work. For the resistance training, you will want to do:

1 round week one 15-20 reps

2 rounds week two and three 15-20 reps

3 rounds week four and five 15-20 reps

During week 6-8 do three rounds, bringing the rep range down to 10-15 reps. Also, focus on bringing up the intensity. You can do that by increasing the weight you are using, but always keep form in mind, as it is priority. If you can’t control the weight or maintain form, then do not increase the weight.

Following this three part series will help keep your mobility in a range that will have you feeling great and doing things with ease. It’s never too late to get started with mobility work, so make it part of your workout plan today!

IF YOU MISSED PART 2 CLICK HERE TO READ MORE

TO GET YOUR COMPLETE BOOMER FITNESS PROGRAM CLICK HERE

Think it’s ever too late to get fit? Think again!

What age is too old to start getting in shape? Would you think that someone who is a grandpa is far beyond his prime years for doing so? What if I told you that you were wrong? Completely wrong! Well that’s exactly what I’m saying. It is never too late to get fit. Baby boomers are doing it, senior citizens are doing it, and so are grandparents!

A great example of it never being too late to get in shape and reach fitness goals is Robert Durbin. He’s a 64 year old grandfather who lives in Louisville, Ky. Just seven years ago this grandfather was overweight, had health problems, and needed a cane or walker to get around. But he decided to take control of the situation and become fit. While it may seem it was a feat against all odds, the results are impressive!

Durbin spends about four hours every day working out. He’s retired, so he can put in that kind of time at the gym. It’s a bonus – it gives him something to do and is good for his health. He works out seven days a week. He also maintains a healthy diet. He follows a clean eating diet, which includes eating 5-6 small meals per day, and avoiding fried foods.

Following this diet and fitness plan he was able to lose 70 pounds! He also become healthy, fit, and rock hard. He has strength and fitness that many people in their 20s never see. So how did he do it? By making the commitment to get fit and take control over his health, first and foremost. To do that, he worked with a workout team, learning what types of exercises would benefit him. He also never gave up. For seven years he has plugged away, making his health and fitness a high priority. And it shows!

You can get fit, too. It doesn’t matter how old you are or what type of health/physical condition you are in. What’s important is believing you can do it and then making it happen. If you want to be the next Durbin here’s what you can do:

  1. Make the commitment to get fit and live a healthier lifestyle. You will be glad you did it and so will your family.
  2. Work with a personal trainer. As a personal trainer in Vancouver, Washington, I specialize in working with baby boomers, senior citizens, and grandparents.
  3. Never give up. Make it a priority to take care of your health, get fit, and put you at the top of your list.

Robert Durbin showed everyone that he could go from being an overweight grandparent with health problems to a ripped grandparent who is fit and healthy. He is a great example for his kids and grandkids of not only a healthy lifestyle but a healthy life attitude. You can do it, too! I’ve helped many people in the Vancouver area with their personal training goals, and I can help you as well. It’s never too late and you are never too old. If you are breathing, and I think you are, then you can achieve new fitness levels!

Staying Successful While Traveling During the Holidays

If you are like millions of others around the nation you will end up doing some type of traveling this holiday seasons. Most people seem to, whether it’s in the same state or around the country. We live in times when families are spread across the nation, prompting holiday travel from sea to shining sea. Whatever you do, don’t let your holiday travel become an excuse for not staying on track with your fitness goals and routine!

Pushing your fitness plans aside while you are traveling will only leave you with regrets when you turn home, if not beforehand. Like many of you, I will do some traveling this month as well. I plan to head back to Wisconsin for a visit, attend a fitness seminar, and I’m always involved in travel away from home for my National Guard duties. Also like some of you, I could make a lot of excuses for not keeping up with my fitness routine during the travel. But I will not do that and for many good reasons.

Staying the course and keeping up with your fitness routine will keep you feeling good, help you avoid weight gain, and help you lose weight if that is your goal. It’s going to help keep you fit, trim, and energetic. Keeping up with it during travel may require being proactive and creative, but it is something you can do and be successful at. Here are some tips for doing just that:

  • Locate a gym. Look ahead at where it is you will be going and locate a gym before you ever arrive. Most will allow you purchase a day or week pass to work out there. If you are staying at a hotel they may also have a gym right there on the premises. Know ahead of time where you will be working out.
  • Go with friends. If you are visiting friends or family find out where they work out and hook up with them. This will give you a chance to try something new and will make locating a place even easier.
  • Plan ahead. Know ahead of time what you will be eating so you can maintain a healthy diet. If you will be going to restaurants take a look at the menu online and plan ahead so you will know what healthy dishes you can order. Locate grocery stores where you can pick up healthy food options. The more you can map out ahead of time, the better off you will be.
  • Block out time. If you really want to maintain your fitness routine while traveling you will need to schedule the workout time. Literally put it on the calendar and block out the time to get it done. Do whatever it takes to keep it a priority and on your schedule.

Always remind yourself while you are traveling of the importance of staying on track. Write your goals and successes down if you need to. Carry them with you, so you can always pull them out each day and be reminded of all are working for, and have put in time for thus far. Whether you are one of my personal training clients here in the Vancouver, Washington area, or you are a reader from around the country, you can maintain a successful fitness routine while traveling. Just keep these tips in mind, make it a priority, and never look back!

 

 

Avoid the Slippery Slope During the Holidays

Have you ever heard of the slippery slope that takes place during the holidays each year? Maybe you haven’t heard of it, but you may have lived it. The slippery slope takes place when people get out of their usual routine this month, do more sitting on the couch, and next thing they know their fitness level has declined and they have gained weight. It’s a slope you don’t want to be on, and for good reason!

I tell my personal training clients here in Vancouver, Washington that the slippery slope is no place to be during the holidays (or any time for that matter). It will leave you with a lot of regrets come January. Forget passing up on those workouts and sitting on the couch. Yes, life may be a bit busier this month, but if you stay the course you are much happier as a result. Here are a few tips for avoiding the slippery slope during the holidays:

Continue on. Determine when will be the best time to get your workout in all month. Mornings are typically best because you get it out of the way. You will avoid excuses that can come up later in the day. Set a goal to get your workouts in all month, regardless of what time you have to get them done.

  • Burn more. Find additional ways to burn more calories. This may include taking a parking space farther from the store, or taking the stairs at work. All of these additional calories burned will add up and help keep you on track.
  • No excuses. You are going to have parties, more stress, and other commitments this month. But decide that they will not become excuses for not getting your workouts in. Take on a “no excuses” mentality and find a way around ever challenge and excuse that comes up along the way.
  • Stay the course. It’s a month, you can do this. Before you know it you will be back into January, when everyone is on board wanting to lose weight and get in shape. If you don’t stay the course and keep your health and fitness first you will have regrets come next month.

Forget going down that slippery slope that will leave you feeling bad. Keeping up with your fitness routines this month will keep you feeling better, avoiding weight gain, looking great at those parties, having more energy, and avoiding feel bad next month. Whether you are in Vancouver, Washington and want to work with me, a personal trainer, to help keep you on track, or you want to go it alone, stay the course. You will be glad you did!

 

Reaching For Your Dreams – Age No Barrier

This past week there was something really inspirational that was on the news. You may have been one of the millions that saw it as I did. I’m talking about Diana Nyad and how she accomplished a goal at the age of 64. For those who feel that you reach a point where it is too late to reach for your dreams, she serves as an example that it is never too late!

Nyad was big news this past week because she did something that nobody else has done before. She swam the 110 miles from Cuba to Florida without a shark cage. Did you get that? At the age of 64, she swam 110 miles in order to set a record. She’s the first person to do this and yet she’s a baby boomer. No protection from the elements, bitten numerous times by jellyfish, and hungry, she finished the goal she set out to do.

Her message to people is that they should never give up. She didn’t, and neither should anyone else. She also demonstrated that you are never too old to chase your dreams. You only have one life to live, making it crucial that you go after that which you dream of. She had a dream of making that swim and she did not let her age become a barrier to her achieving her goal. Another one of her messages is that many things in life, such as what she accomplished, is not a solitary act. While she gets the credit for the swim, she actually had a team of people who were providing her the support in order to make it possible.

While Nyad had a team of 35 people, some people need merely to work with a personal trainer or coach in order to reach their goals. Many people don’t realize it, but we are often the biggest obstacles we face when wanting to achieve something. We have a goal in mind, but we talk ourselves out even going for it with piles of excuses. We place limits on ourselves that don’t need to be there.

The negative self talk that floats around in the heads of most people, including my personal training clients, has probably stopped you from achieving many goals. You have to believe in yourself and in your ability to accomplish things in order for it to become a reality.

Perhaps you are reading this and your own dream comes to mind. Maybe it has nothing to do with fitness, but rather with finances or business. Your dream may have been something more related to personal issues, spirituality, or romance.

It’s never too late. Whatever your dream was is still waiting for you. You may think that at your age you have lost the ability to achieve that dream. You may think you are too old now. But let me remind you that a 64 year old woman just swam 110 miles in shark and jellyfish infested waters in order to make her dreams a reality. She did it in 53 hours, after she had failed at attempting it on three other prior occasions.

So what is your dream? What’s stopping you from going after it?

Forget the excuses. Instead, put a plan into action and make it happen. You can do it. I believe in you and you will achieve your goals!

 

Dig Into Strength: How Baby Boomers Can Improve Strength

Do you have difficulty walking up the steps? What about making dinner? If you find these things a lot more difficult than you used to it is time to take action. Believe it or not, you can get your strength back, even as a baby boomer. You do not have to take a loss of strength sitting down. Now is the time to stand up and fight… now is the time to dig in!

As a personal trainer in Vancouver, Washington who helps numerous baby boomers I address the strength issue on a regular basis. Yes, it’s true that if you do not work at it you will lose strength as you age. In fact, you will lose about 30 percent of your strength in the years that follow turning 50 years old. But it doesn’t have to be that way. You can get that strength back, but it takes you being proactive in making it happen.

Many people think that you only hit the gym and lift weights if you want to be a body builder. Not so! The strength training that you will do in the gym will help you be able to climb those stairs better, or make it easier to tackle making dinner. You can use free weights, elastic bands, or exercise machines. The key is to have some resistance, because that resistance is going to help you build and maintain your muscle mass.

Here are a few things to keep in mind when it comes to increasing your strength:

  • Make sure you start with mobility. Without first focusing on improving your mobility you will find it difficult to take on the next step of strength training. Once you have addressed the mobility issue you are ready to move on.

 

  • Get a program to help you increase your strength level. The key here is that you have to make sure it is focusing on your weak areas. If you cannot identify them work with a personal trainer so you get the results you are after.
  •  

    Use a progressive overload approach, which will keep your body from bulking up or getting bigger. Instead, you will set goals of getting stronger and focus on meeting them.

 

  • Take action. This is the most important part. You can talk all day long about what needs to be done and why, but it will be worthless if it is not put into action. If you want to see results you must get a program and put it into action.

Getting older does not have to mean getting weaker. You can stop the loss of muscle and gain some strength back again. But you have to be proactive in making it happen. Whether you work with me, through my Vancouver, Washington personal training for baby boomers, or you do it with someone else, your strength training goals can be achieved. They also make a big difference in your quality of life, making them a goal worth fighting for!

What Baby Boomer’s Should Focus on When it Comes to Fitness

As a personal trainer who works with a group of baby boomers in the Vancouver, Washington area I get asked a lot of questions. One of the most common questions I hear from people is that they are a baby boomer and they want to know what the most important thing is that they should be focusing on when it comes to having a fitness plan. It’s a question that I love to answer, because it let’s me know you are headed in the right direction!

First of all, let me say congratulations! If you are asking that question it means you are interested in improving your level of fitness. It is never too late to take control of your fitness, whether you are a baby boomer or not. There are so many benefits to being active in exercising and trying to be healthy. By being physically active you can help to prevent or delay the onset of disease, help to maintain your independence as you age, improve your strength and balance, and much more. In fact, research shows that those who are active reduce their chances of developing heart disease.

Now you that you know the benefits of a baby boomer getting fit, here are my personal recommendations for getting started:

  • See the doctor. You have probably heard this before, but it’s true and has to be said. Before you begin taking on an exercise or fitness program it is important to make an appointment with your doctor. You want to make sure you are physically well enough to take on getting fit at this time. Your doctor may want to do a few tests, including for bone density, as well as do a fitness assessment. This is an important step and should not be ignored.
  • Focus on mobility. Focusing on mobility is important in so many areas of your life as a baby boomer. You will want to have quality movements, including engaging in daily activities that involve pain free things you love to do. This will help you prevent injury strains, tears, and pulls.
  • Seek strength. Feel like you aren’t quite as strong as you used to be? You are right! It is estimated that people lose around 30 percent of their strength between 50 and 70 years old. This makes it that much more important that you engage in strength training. The loss of strength will impact your life in many ways, including in doing the things you enjoy and in being independent.
  • Build balance. As people age many of them experience balance issues. Many of them are related to problems such as vertigo, disturbances of the inner ear, and falls and injuries. Having balance issues can keep you from enjoying doing a lot of things, but it can also make life more dangerous, as you will be more prone to falls. You can help improve balance by getting off the machines, do more standing movements, and engage in something like Tai Chi.
  • Consider body composition. It is important to know what healthy is and what it looks like. It is equally important to have a healthy lifestyle, rather than just focusing on your diet. It’s about changing your mindset and personal identity to one that focuses on wellness and fitness.

So there are the top things that I think every baby boomer who is getting started with fitness should focus on. Once you do that, you will be well on your way to becoming fit. Whether you are in the Vancouver, Washington area, or beyond!