performance

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.

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.

Why training for performance works

Most people develop fitness goals that revolve around image, measurements, or to "feel good." Specifically, after people are past their glory days of athletic competition, the desire to train tends to go by the wayside and is replaced with social eating, drinking, or binge-watching the newest Netflix show. Don't get me wrong, I have watched The Office in its entirety too many times, and everyone knows how much I enjoy a good Sunday brunch with friends. I won't try to pretend that exercise is my life and nothing matters more than how much I can deadlift . I do love fitness, but I to go through ruts where I simply can't convince myself that doing a workout to maintain a healthy weight or that avoiding IPAs to fight off a beer belly, are actually worth the effort. 

Goals dependent on a scale, mirror, or an arbitrary feeling of "goodness" lack something that fuels most people, a deadline. Deadlines help keep people focused. Whether you are in college and you have a research paper due or you work in sales and meeting a required quota based on a specific timeline with the possibility of reward or punishment will help to motivate individuals. When weight-loss is a goal we tend to see people struggle to maintain motivation because of the constant swings in weight from day to day, the length of time it takes to reach said goal, and the ability to so easily to return to the initial weight after achieving that target weight. 

Goals based on image can be very dangerous because many develop or already have issues seeing their positive traits. These people can slip into a state of body dysmorphia where they never think they "look good" or can never be thin enough. What you look like shouldn't be a goal, but a positive bi-product of your healthy habits. Eating healthy, fresh foods that aren't only following your proper caloric intake but are full of vitamins and minerals will yield a healthier-looking you. Not only will your body composition improve but your skin, hair, and overall aura will resemble your efforts. All these changes come with time and you will come as a result of consistency over time.

Having performance based goals doesn't mean you have to train for some crazy event like the CrossFit Games or an ultra-marathon. What performance training relates to is training with the intent to improve. For some, improvement might be to set a PR in their 1600m.  For others it means they want to do be able to do their first pull up before the end of summer. Targeting a performance-based goal has value in the mind and heart of the trainee. The great thing about these goals is they can increase in value. The longer you train for a specific performance-goal the more invested you become and the more likely you are are to make decisions revolving around achieving your goal. Unlike weight related goals, performance goals aren't complete until the day of competition or you have achieved what it is you set out to do. When we start feeling better about the way we look or we get near our goal-weight it is common to see a relapse and a false sense of achievement. 

Having a goal with a deadline like a competition or a specific date with a reward at the end will help maintain focus until the end. There is less chance of rewarding yourself prematurely. It would make me feel really dumb if I decided to have my post-race beer the night before a race then didn't finish my race the next morning. Performance training not only keeps me accountable, it also drives me to get up early on Sundays, fueling my competitive spirit. 

Performance is all about competition. Whether it is intrinsic, climbing your first 5.11 rock wall, or  social, scoring the winning goal for your vavi league, competition will drive you much more, and more sustainably than other motivators. Performance goals tend to have a reward that we are proud of beyond others. Achieving a feat breeds confidence in one's self. People tend to brag to friends and family as well as social media when they accomplish something new. It is an amazing feeling to say to yourself your hard work paid off, and even better to tell others.

Stay focused. Work hard. Train efficiently. Eat for Performance.

To The Top

Motivation Month

It's summer time in beautiful San Diego and we have reached my favorite month of the year. July is filled with so many exciting events, parties, and experiences it feels like if you blink you've missed an entire weekend. July, for many is a time to show off everything you've got. Pool parties on July 4th weekend beckons bikinis and six-packs of both the aluminum and flesh variety in droves. The MLB All-Star game and Home Run Derby are stopping by Petco Park to play America's past-time in an exhibition game that is basically a chance for the games best to flex the muscles at the enjoyment of the fans. Anyone and everyone will be attending parties and Fan Festivities in hopes of meeting stars from the field and from the Silver Screen of Hollywood just up the road from us. Pride weekend will allow our fantastically enthusiastic LGBT community to celebrate freedom to be who they are, and the party is enjoyed by community members and non-members arm in arm. The "nerds" and "geeks" of the comic, movie, action-hero, video game world will then descend on to the streets of our downtown and enjoy with pretty much everyone and at the envy of the rest of the world Comic Con. No other event has grown like Comic Con over the past few decades. Lastly, and my favorite part of July, my own birthday. A time in which I can pay tribute to everyone who has helped mold me into who I am. Friends, family, and mentors are all just as important as myself on this day because I see myself as a reflection of all that they are.

"Motivation isn't one specific object, idea, or emotion. Motivation takes on many forms"

Like I said earlier, this month is a time to show off. This month is a symbolism of motivation. We can see that every weekend of July there is something happening that has been used a motivational device. Motivation isn't one specific object, idea, or emotion. Motivation takes on many forms. One person may be motivated by a pool party on top the Andaz hotel to lose 10 pounds and get rid of that little pooch in their belly. Another might be a Major League Baseball player like Will Myers playing out of his mind in the month of June so that he can hopefully be voted into the All-Star game to play in front of his hometown crowd. My own motivation, that I want to show my growth every year on my birthday and show my appreciation for those who have helped me to become my best me, because the pride of my family and friends is what drives me most. 

Our forefathers were motivated to create this great and wonderful country so that we as their successors could practice the life we each chose for ourselves. Independence and freedom motivated the originators of this nation to take giant risks in leaving the security of Great Britain. These same feelings have fueled the LGBT community to fight for rights to live the life they choose. Their intrinsic motivation bleeds into the community and motivates members of all communities to stand up for what they feel, love, and believe. Comic Con, what was originally thought of as a "nerd" convention has developed into the biggest pop culture event of the year. If anything, Comic Con has brought to the realization of everyone that we are all "nerds" in our own respect; whether that be me nerd-ing out on fantasy football or Lisa getting excited to show me her latest meal plan she wrote for a client, with the same excitement you see out of Star Wars fans dressed head to toe as a storm trooper. Comic Con is a motivational destination for people to be the absolutely true form of themselves.

"Changing a body is easy, but changing a mind can be nearly impossible" 

Now how do I relate this all back to fitness, health, and everything this blog is really supposed to be about? I don't know. My motivation for writing this entry wasn't to shed light on my favorite things to do, places to go, or how to run fast. The message I want to send is that not everyone has the same motivation and as personal and performance trainer it can be difficult to find what truly motivates my client. I believe this to be the most difficult part of my job. Some people step through my door and do everything I tell them plus more and get the amazing results we see on infomercials. But the truth is that most people are not motivated and thats the whole reason they come to Lisa and I. They usually hate sweat, breathing heavy, and limiting themselves to chicken and veggies. It becomes my job to determine the quickest and most effective way for my clients to see the value making healthy changes to their lifestyle. Even after I figure out a good strategy to motivate Client X, I must them continue to stimulate them. Eventually that motivation will be gone. Either a goal will be achieved or the long grind of reaching that goal will cause the motivation to wain. Then I must develop another strategy. Changing a body is easy, but changing a mind can be nearly impossible. 

During the month of July, remember that we are only half way through the year. Most people made New Year's Resolutions and goals for 2016 back in January. I would like for anyone reading this to come up with a Half-Year Resolution and/or a goal(s) to achieve. Come up with something that truly motivates you and write it in our comments. My Half-Year resolution is to be persistent and timely in reaching out to my clients and followers through social-media and our Eat, Train, Perform Blog. My Half-Year Goals are: to 3 rep max dead lift 300 Lbs. and set a new PR by running a sub 1:35:00 half-marathon.