Thursday, February 25, 2010

When Injury Strikes

Suffering an injury can be frustrating for many people. Some think that when you have an injury you should stop working out all together. However, with most injuries, you can keep working just have to do it the right way. The first step should be to consult a physical therapist. If you have been active, working with a good physical therapist that understands your needs is extremely important. Through a referral, you might try to find a physical therapist that works independently from the larger chain physical therapy clinics. It can be beneficial because often times that therapist is more likely to spend more one on one time with you rather than juggling multiple patients as you see often in the larger clinics. This PT will not only provide you with exercises to get you back into your routine, but can also give you guidelines on how to continue working out without further injury. Most therapists want to see people continue activity safely, so they can provide parameters as to what you should and should not do during your recovery process.

If you are working with a trainer, it is important for communication to occur with the physical therapist so both routines are on the same page and/or working in the same direction. When I have clients that are working with me for Muscle Activation Techniques in addition to their therapy routine, I am in constant communication with their therapist. Working with a trainer that has rehabilition knowledge can be very helpful because it may shorten your recovery time. If you don't use a trainer, many physical therapists have trainers that they refer people to work with post rehab so that they can continue working out.

And remember, some injuries take more recovery time, so be patient and try stay positive! Staying active through your rehabilition can often help!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Quick Cardio Tip

I was working out yesterday on the stepmill and I couln't help but notice that everyone around me on the other stepmills were holding themselves up as they worked out. I could not believe that every single person around me was doing it! This is really one of my pet peeves. Many people get on a machine and turn it up to such a high level that they need to lean over the machine or grasp onto it for dear life. They don't realize they are doing themselves a disservice by holding on. Not that I am saying you can't hold on for balance, but holding on because you can't keep up with the level you are on is not good. I should also mention that so many people get hurt (for example: shoulder and back injuries) by holding on in front of them while on the stepmill and the treadmill. So what point am I trying to make? If you are doing cardio at such a high level that you need to hold onto the machine, then back off on your level and take it down. It's more beneficial to workout at a lower level and not hold on. You will also find it easier to increase your aerobic fitness!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Travel Workouts

Working out while on the road can be a challenge. Many people have jobs that require a heavy travel schedule and often times that gets in the way of maintaining a healthy lifestyle. I can't tell you how many times I have heard clients say, "I was travelling so I couldn't workout." Yes, it is true that it's more difficult, and sometimes you are booked back to back with client meetings. All perfectly legitimate excuses, but the bottom line is that if you want to, you will workout.

But, alas, there is a way out...resistance bands! They easily fit in your bag for travel and can be just as effective as weights. You can pick up a set of 3 bands (yellow, green, and red). Most stores like Target or even Chicago Home Fitness have a set that even comes with a DVD to show you what to do. All you need to do is have a travel routine and you are good to go!

Here is something to get started:

1) Seated Row (back and biceps)- Sit with your legs extended straight in front of you and the band looped around your feet, pull back and squeeze your shoulder blades together.

2) Push-ups (chest, triceps, and core)- These can either be done as full push-ups or modified on your knees.

3) Lateral Raise (shoulders)- Stand holding a lighter band in your hands with one foot underneath the band and raise arms out to side up to shoulder height. For more resistance, put both of your feet under the band.

4) Lunges (quads, hamstrings, and gluts)- Any kind of lunge can be done travelling. You can choose from forward, side, reverse, or even a cross back lunge. The lunge is a terrific exercise that can be done anywhere!

5) Bicep Curl (biceps)- Stand with the band either underneath one or both feet. Elbows stay in and pull the band up into almost full flexion.

6) Tricep Extension (Triceps)- The bands come with a door loop to secure the bands in a closed door. Use this piece and loop the band through at about your height. Stand facing the door, with your elbows in, extend your arms until they are straight and then come back to 90 elbow flexion.

7) Crunches (core)- You can do any type of crunch on the floor. Obliques, planks, lower abs, anything!

8) Single Leg Squats (quads, hamstrings, and gluts)- Just doing single leg squats touching the ground with your opposite hand is a great exercise. It strengthens your legs and works on your balance.

One last thing...cardio! Sometimes travel isn't always ideal for getting that cardio in, so check with your hotel to see if they have a workout room. If not, try to get outside and go for a brisk walk or run to get something in. Something is always better than nothing!