If you are anything like me, it’s your goal to stay in the best shape possible and find ways to challenge yourself year after year. When we start out in our twenties, avoiding injury for the sake of acheiving a goal barely crossed our minds…Even jumping off a roof was somehow seemed doable with minimal risk involved…almost nothing hurts us! All we had to do was figure out some type of creative dive roll landing and most likely we would walk away without getting hurt or injured!
If you’ve said goodbye to 20, 30, 40, 50, 60…etc you’ve probably learned through trial and error that the days of physical invincibility bordering on recklessness are over. Now, implementing strategies that help you remain flexible, mobile & injury free so you can continue to compete, challenge yourself & stay active is just as important as the workouts themselves.
The foam roller is a great tool for improving mobility & reducing risk of injury and it’s something you can easily learn to use on your own. In the following article I’ll give you a glimpse of what it is, why it’s helpful, and how to use it. Never heard of a foam roller? No problem, I’ll explain everything in the following paragraphs and give you a series of photo demonstrations on how to use the roller at the end of this article!
What is a foam roller
The foam roller is a foam cylinder (think pool noodle, but shorter and more dense) that allows you to use your own bodyweight to apply pressure to trigger points and sore, knotted muscles. It’s inexpensive, versatile and portable. The roller comes in a variety of forms, long, short, bumpy, soft, hard, and super hard.
This sounds odd I know, but determining which roller is right for you is often based on the amount of pain you feel during use. If the pain is excruciating, you need a softer and possibly smaller roller. If you feel nothing at all, then you should choose a roller that is more dense and firm.
Why use a foam roller
The foam roller allows the individual to perform SMR (self myofascial release). The (myo)facia is a thin sheath of fibrous connective tissue that encloses the muscles (picture tightly wrapped plastic wrap surrounding the muscle) and plays an important role in flexibility and mobility.
Do you ever wonder why you can’t stay away from junk food? I mean…what is it that makes it so irresistible? It’s definitely not the nutritional value I can tell you that. In fact, the more junk food you eat, the more likely you are to feel lethargic and unmotivated. Even though most of us know what the ramifications of junk food overload are, we still eat the stuff! WHY? What is the allure with these foods and how do you get it under control?
First, there is something you need to know. Junk food is addictive. When I say addictive I mean that we can develop “dependency-like” behaviors towards food based on how their chemical make up impacts the receptors and hormonal responses in the brain and body.
The main content in most junk food can be divided into three main groups: salt, sugar and fat which can all be “addictive” especially when artificial versions of these are used in the right combinations. In addition to these three main ingredients, food additives such as preservatives, food coloring, and artificial flavorings can also have negative influences on your health.
If you are reading this testimonial you should hire Jessica Reynolds. She is a phenomenal trainer who pulls from her vast amount of knowledge to customize a workout routine that delivers results. She consistently tailors exercises that align with your goals and will target improvement in strength and flexibility.
It always amazes me that the morning after each workout I still feel sore in all the right places.You would think that after training with Jes for so many years that effect would have diminished. Not a chance! I still have to carefully roll out of bed. Say a few choice words. And smile that my workout has yet again taken me to another level.
With Jessica’s guidance I have run six half-marathons, completed a 30-mile bike ride, survived a downhill mountain biking experience, hiked in some of the most beautiful places in the U.S., and — most importantly — created a healthy, active lifestyle that allows for endless possibilities.
Jes keeps me focused. She motivates me. She keeps me striving for more. I am proud to have Jessica as my trainer and my friend.
As I mentioned in my previous post, I was recently fortunate enough to have a fitness done with M-Healthy personal trainer Eric B. During the assessment I was tested for standard health & fitness indicators such as weight, body fat, flexibility, cardiovascular and strength. It was a lot of fun, especially when I learned that I am in pretty good shape (phew!).
My post motivated one of my long time clients, Cliff Douglas to do an assessment of his own. (His first assessment, done in 2008 was performed by moi!) Cliff completed his assessment last Tuesday and was kind enough to share his results with me. I found that both he and I gained a lot from seeing the results, so much so that I plan to offer an assessment as part of my training services in the near future.
I think Cliff also benefited from the follow-up assessment because he was able to see how fit he was and the progress he had made. I decided to share Cliff’s results with you here both as a motivator to stay committed to a regular fitness routine, to show the value of working with a qualified trainer and to encourage you to measure your own progress, especially over longer periods of time (like 1, 3, 5 years) to see where your habitual health and fitness behaviors are taking you. (more…)
I had been active in baseball and basketball from childhood until my late 30’s and have been a golfer my entire life (starting when I was a teenager), so physical fitness was always an unstated goal/strategy of my life. I began strength training about 20 years ago when my employer provided a free membership at a local health club. However, I never thought of a personal trainer until one Christmas I decided to give my wife an introductory three-session personal training package with Jes as a gift…which she loved and has continued since. The following Christmas she gave me the same gift which I also loved and have continued since.
I have never been goal oriented (I have trajectories) so when Jes asked me what my goals were, all I could think of was a phrase that Lestor Holt of the “Today” show used to describe a man as “a chiseled piece of man candy”. Fortunately, Jes’s ability to assess her client’s personal training needs quickly resulted in goals popping up like popcorn. For example, I was never big on stretching, so increasing my range of motion was an immediate goal. Also, when I found out that Jes has a focused interest in golf fitness training, the goal of eliminating a bad golf swing habit took center stage. Below is an example of an implementation of a goal with Jes.
Are you someone who works out regularly and wonders how well you rank against others in your age group? Having a fitness assessment done by a medically based fitness program can show you exactly where you stand and in what areas of fitness you could improve.
Recently, I had the opportunity of visiting my former place of work M-Healthy (formerly MFit) to find out how I measured up against others in my age group. The assessment took place at the Ann Arbor Ice Cube and was conducted by my former boss Eric and one of his new trainers John. During the assessment Eric and John conducted the following tests:
- Height & Weight
- Blood pressure & Resting heart rate
- Girth Measurements
- Skin folds (Body Fat)
- Upper & Lower Body Flexibility Tests
- Upper & Lower Body Strength Tests
- SubMax VO2 test
It took about 1 1/2 hours to complete the testing and review the results. Eric and John did a great job and I personally feel Eric is one of the most knowledgable and educated personal trainers in the Ann Arbor area. If you are interested in exercise science, research and data, Eric is the “go-to” guy. Personally, I found the testing and results both helpful and fun! It’s a great way to get a baseline if you are just starting an exercise program. Learn more about the M-Healthy fitness assessment by visiting their website today!
Sometimes simple and concise information is the easiest to remember and put into practice. Here a some quick tips for reducing your daily fat intake and choose healthy carbohydrates.
Daily Nutrient Recommendations:
- Fat: 20-30%
- Carbohydrate : 40-60%
- Protein: 30-40%
These recommendations are for those who participate in regular exercise strength training and cardiovascular activities. These guidelines are a healthy starting point from which you can see some results and make any necessary tweaks based on what YOU respond to (genetics), the types of physical activity you participate in (mostly aerobic vs mostly strength training) and your compliance level (do you struggle with food addiction, stress eating, binge/purge…etc)
Reduce daily fat by:
- Replace a four egg omelet with one full egg & three whites
- Cut out kielbasa, bacon and sausage
- Measure quantities when snacking on nuts, butter and nut butter
- Choose lean red meats (sirloin), cold water fish & poultry
- Regulate dairy & cheese intake
- Monitor your use of dressing, olive oil and cheese on salads (some is ok, but keep the portion small)
Healthy carbohydrate sources:
- brown and wild rice
- legumes, chickpeas & quinoa
- sweet, yellow & red skin potatoes
When I look back over this menu, it seems pretty limiting…but let me assure you, just like anything new it takes time and strategic planning to adopt new long term habits. I encourage you to be creative and try new recipes that utilize these strategies…you’ll love how you look and feel!