fitness

200 Days: Recovering from ACL Repair

Being a personal trainer who specializes in sports performance and injury-prevention, it almost seems ironic that I would come away with an ACL Tear. The truth is, I tore my ACL, at least partially, 10 years ago. The summer before entering the Exercise Science program at CSU Long Beach I sprained my knee playing soccer, then 2 weeks later thinking I was okay, I played basketball and had an atrocious injury. At the time I was 20 years old, dumb, and broke, so I opted not to have an MRI. I knew had I torn anything that surgery would be necessary to continue my lifestyle, without risk of further injury. It was during this time that I began learning about injury prevention techniques. While in school I was able to use what I learned in the classroom on myself. I did well to strengthen the muscles that move and protect the joints of the lower body. These exercises paid off and allowed me to engage in many activities but not with the occasional buckling and movement in the knee joint. It was these incidents that would cause regression in my training and ultimately push me towards learning more about injury-prevention, and eventually becoming a professional in the field.

I often tell people that corrective exercises are as important as explosive exercises when training for sports-performance because if you are injured you can’t improve. Therefore, the healthier you can keep your body, the more your performance can improve.

I decided to journal my recovery from my day 1 of my surgery until I reach my full recovery. I will share experiences, emotions, and stories about my rehab. I’ll list tips for those who are looking to have ACL surgery. Hopefully my story of recovery will encourage any one who reads this to practice injury-prevention techniques so they don’t have to go through this long, arduous experience.

5 Reasons why couples who train together, stay together

It doesn’t take a doctor telling you how go exercise is for your health for you to realize the many benefits, but one that doesn’t show up on any medical exams is how exercise improves your life socially. This list will focus on the ways that exercise, specifically with your significant other, will improve your relationships with said loved one.

  1. Sex Drive

    Testosterone helps males both in the weight room and in the bed room. HIIT workouts and heavy weight lifting has been shown to increase testosterone levels in males. Increase in “T” means an increase in sex drive. Now introduce your wife or girlfriend into the gym where you can put your muscles on display while she strokes your ego with the occasional glance at your biceps. Sexual tension will be so high that the car ride home might be too much to handle.

  2. Confidence

    This is a benefit to anyone who practices regular exercise but couples who workout together are not only confident in themself but will walk confidently together knowing they are proud of themselves as a whole. We are arrogant creatures by nature, and while it may be annoying to have other guys look at your girl, there is always a bit of satisfaction knowing you have something they can’t have.

  3. Accountability

    The days when you don’t feel like doing anything, lethargic, tight and sluggish are the days you need to be sure together your workouts in. Even if you just stretch or perform corrective exercises, just doing something productive when you don’t feel like it will make the biggest difference in your training. Having a training partner like your significant other can be the motivator you need to get up off the couch and just do something. Sometimes just watching your partner get ready for the gym is enough to change your mind.

  4. Endorphins

    Exercise has been shown to help curb stress and increase the release of endorphins. Simply put, move around and you’ll be happy. Even if you and your boo just go on a walk around the neighborhood, the circulation of blood through your body and slight increase in heart rate will fire some endorphins and put you both into. a positive mood. Hell, you might even find this sparks good, constructive conversation. Instead of going to happy hour, try a new fitness class at a boutique training studio.

  5. Security

    No, not the strength to protect each other, which I guess could be benefit number 6. What I mean is learning to be secure with your strengths and weaknesses. You and your mate will most definitely have different strengths just as you do in personality, work ethic, etc. Training together can teach you to be secure with him or her being better than you at something. Being a highly competitive person myself, I actually love when Lisa is better than me at something. It motivates me to get better while being proud of her for being such a bad ass.

If you want to lift more weight, learn to use your glutes!

The biggest muscles in your body are the Gluteus Maximus and the Quadriceps Femoris. Most people have no problems using and developing their quads but struggle to increase maximal strength in both the squat and deadlift. A common reason for this plateau is both weakness and inability to engage the Gluteal muscles. For this reason, I recommend practicing neuromuscular exercises to learn how to engage your gluteals on demand.

Many people will use machines and bridges to target the butt and increase muscle cell size. While this is helpful in gaining muscle tissue in the butt, practices such as barre and Pilates are highly effective at learning control of the gluteal muscles.

The muscles of your butt don’t only perform extension of the thigh, which is the main function during a hip drive, or bridge. Your gluteals will also perform external rotation and abduction of the thigh. Learning to isolate these movements, which are commonly practiced in Pilates and Barre will help you to engage the muscles of your butt during many exercises.

Whether you are performing lunges, split squats, deadlifts or squats, your gluteal muscles should be pulling in your femur into extension, this driving your hips forward. To truly increase strength you mustn’t only build cell size, but also the ability to engage your butt muscles on command.

Diversify your training to maximize results

If you wish to improve range of motion one might think to start doing yoga. If your goal is to increase core strength you might think Pilates, and if you want to improve your strength you might wanna do CrossFit 7 days/week. If your goal is to improve your overall fitness you are doing yourself a disservice by doing the same workouts day in and day out.

The truth is most people should be diversifying their training disciplines on a weekly and/or daily basis. Finding time to squeeze in classes or workouts of multiple training styles will increase your overall fitness while also helping avoid over-usage injuries. Diversification will also help you stay stimulated and goal oriented. You can more easily see where adjustments need to be made to improve muscular balance, both antero-posterior and bilaterally.

Changing out your normal routine is as simple as signing up for a multi-discipline training facility, joining ClassPass, or making it a point to try a new workout style every month.

TRX exercises every golfer should be doing

Whether you’re a scratch or your just trying to get through a round without losing a ball, these 3 exercises will help create stability and consistency in your game.

  1. Russian Twist

    A combination of dynamic abdominal rotation and stabilization of the spine and hips is exactly what a golfer desires. This exercises accomplishes both. To increase difficulty, keeps your elbows locked and the hands as far away from your chest as possible. Add a squat and truly make this an explosive total body exercise.

  2. Pistol Squats

    While anyone can benefit from this well-known and well-hated exercise, golfers are especially the beneficiary of this single-leg exercise. Build stability in your hips by using your gluteus mediums tonmaintain square hips while balancing your bi-lateral leg strength. Increase difficulty by standing over your foot rather than leaning back, and use your handles for balance over leverage when possible.

    Add a stork-dive between repetitions to increase the need for stability

  3. Body Saw

    This is one of those exercises that looks so simple you know it’s gotta burn. Only a short range of motion is needed to feel the effectiveness of this plank variation. Be sure to keep your tail-bone tucked and pulling your belly button to your spine as you push and pull your body like a saw.

Shred your legs with this forgotten training tool

It seems that only elite athletes and exercise masechists use this tool regularly and enjoy it. The benefits are numerous and include being cheap, accessible, and efficient. What more could you want out of a training device. What’s great about them is you can actually find many of them for free so while owning one is great, owning multiple is awesome. What is this great tool?

Hills!

They come in all shapes and sizes. They are found in most neighborhoods around the world. If you ask any Kenyan or Ethiopian runner they will most definitely speak with both respect and admiration for their favorite training hill. Hills aren’t just for runners though. We use hills all the time to straight lateral speed and explosiveness in young athletes. We also use the incline to challenge our members to build their gluts and hamstrings doing lunges and broad jumps up the iconic Laurel St Hill that our studio resides on. No other tool is will force your heart to beat faster, legs to shake with exhaustion, get results as quick as finding a big steep hill and owning it!

The Podium: My top 3 beers that won’t fizzle your training

For as long as I can remember, sports and beer have always been loyal friends. It seems as though every competition uses alcohol as a reward. Whether that be the champagne shower after team-sports championships or the “free” beer at the end of just about every endurance race. Heck, the beer mile doesn’t even make you wait to finish to chug down a beer (or 4). We all know beer isn’t “good” for you, but sometimes the frothy, slightly bitter bite of a tasty west coast IPA is exactly what the body needs. This isn’t to say a beer a day keeps the doctor away, but if you’re one of those who likes to wind-down at the end of a long work day or you busted out a 15 mile trail run with 1500 feet of climbing, then these 3 beers are what I suggest.

  1. Sierra Nevada Pale Ale

    A classic and a staple in a independent beer lovers repertoire. Not only does this beer have a full bodied flavor you come to expect from a California-based craft brewery, this golden delicious has a relatively low calorie count (180). It is hard to beat the drinkability of Sierra Nevada Pale Ale because it has only 10g of carbs per 12 oz, half the amount of a comparable, and probably my favorite beer, the .394 by AleSmith Brewing. Still, keep your Sierra drinking to a minimum as it can be easy to rack up the calories consuming 3 or more at a time.

  2. Corona Premier

    What better way to cool off after a long day than to take a mental vacation with a corona. The Premier version allows you to do this without the guilt. I personally prefer this version to the classic Corona Extra. Corona Premier is far less filling which can be attributed to the fact it has 12 less carbs and 60 less calories than Corona Extra. This is my go to mid-week beer.

  3. Half-pour of something tasty

    This is a tough option but when I really want a juicy, hazy, New England style I.P.A. or a sticky and dank IIPA coming in at 8.0% or more, I’ll go to my local bar, Bottlecraft, where they rotate taps regularly. I’ll order a half-pour or if I see a couple options I want to try I’ll get two 4 oz pours. Using this strategy allows me to enjoy the type of beer I truly like while keeping my diet and hangover in check.

Cheers!

How to tackle your diet on Super Bowl Sunday

It’s late January. You have been hitting the gym 5 days a week and while you are feeling stronger and more energized, the visual results haven’t been what you expected when you decided to never eat a carb again. Monday workouts are no longer something you look at as a “great way to start the week.” Your somehow skinny friend has been enjoying beer and nachos during the NFL playoffs while you have been avoiding a social setting where you might break your dry January streak and ruin all the hard work you have been putting in. Still, your pant size hasn’t dropped a singe-digit to the odd-number scale. Super Bowl Sunday is this weekend and along with a hopefully great game comes an equally as great spread. Dry January will be over and your no-carb diet is hanging on for dear life. Is it time to give up and indulge as any true American should, or do you stay the course and pray this all pays off come Memorial Day?

I’m here to tell you, enjoy yourself!

Goals are not reached in a linear manner. Weight-loss, strength gains, and flexibility don’t improve on a daily basis over the long-term. Not all aspects of your training will increase at the same rate so we can’t expect one day of indulging (or over-indulging) will ruin your progress. If anything, this might be exactly what your body and mind need. Like a mini vacation from the routine of eat healthy, workout hard, drink protein, sleep 8 hours. Much like returning from a vacation and feeling motivated to kick-ass at work, sometimes a vacation from your fitness and diet program motivates you to get back in the gym and doing an extra set of everything.

Come Super Bowl Sunday, start your day with a long run (60+ minutes) with some hill sprints thrown in or a dynamic METCON workout at your local fitness studio (i.e. Fast as F*ck | @glidetrainingco) to establish an increased metabolic rate for the rest of the day. Then show up to the party with a 6 pack of your favorite beer, enjoy some wings, and hope you win some money in a super bowl pool. Then Monday morning do a workout to get the week started off great.