running

Summer is over, now get your fitness back on track!

Fitness and health are often compared to that of a roller coaster or set of stairs rather than a slope or straight line as we all wish it could be. What this metaphor refers to is a regression or plateaus that occur during a plan to achieve a goal. Many things can get in our way as we attempt to lose 10 lbs. or make strength gains, some of which completely derail your program, such as an injury or surgery, while some are expected but can be avoided like a training plateau. During the summer months, our biggest obstacles are distractions and libations.

There aren’t many things I like better than a cold maragarita on a hot summer day, but when I decide to drink alcohol, I’m putting my training and diet on the back burner, at least for a short period of time. Now that the summer months are over we can easily start making excuses for not working out or following our nutrition plan because, hey it’s Oktoberfest or football Sunday, or the crush, etc. Instead what we should be doing is making new commitments and goals to get back on track, first starting with a plan.

The best thing to do is identify what your fitness and/or health goals are at the moment. From here you make a S.M.A.R.T. Goal and create a timeline of which you would like to achieve said goal. Restarting is always difficult though, so my advice is to find or create a support group to help each other stay on track and motivate one another to do your best.

If you want to run more, join a track club. If you want to lose weight, join a boutique gym. Many gym and training facilities do weight-loss programs in the fall to help prepare for the holiday season and restart their current member who let things go a bit during the summer.

The most important thing to remember when getting back on track is that consistency is key. No matter if your workout is 15 minutes or 50, the important thing is that you are creating a habit. As I always say, it’s easy to workout when you want to, the days you don’t want to are what make the biggest gains. Going from thinking about to doing something every day is the important step every one must make personal progress, so stop reading about how to restart and go for a run!

200 Days: Recovering from ACL Repair

The morning of my surgery was surprisingly calm. I slept soundly. The dogs went into their crates easily. Signing in was quick. Considering that my leg was being cut open and parts of my knee would be missing and/or replaced when I woke up, the whole energy of the waiting area was mellow. When it was my turn to head back for prep, I felt excitement. The thought of being able to move and play sports without fear of buckling my knee was the only thing on my mind. After changing into my surgical outfit everything really slowed down. It felt like every couple minutes someone new would ask me a few questions, always preceded with, “who are you and what are we doing today?” I actually really appreciate the attention to detail. After receiving two signatures on my knee, repeating the answer, “Josh Kober. Left ACL Reconstruction” about 25 times, and about 60 minutes later I was being walked to the operation room. Being greeted by 5 or 6 people, some washing hands, some sticking things on my body, and the anaesthesiologist letting me know he gave me “something to take the edge off.” The room is as white a room you’ll ever see. Everyone is moving and talking; I was very impressed by how much work was going into my well-being. It was impressive how deliberate every movement and word said accomplished a task. As I lay there looking up at bright round lamps, I can hear the slight sound of music coming out of a small speaker in the ceiling. I think to ask what would be on the sound track, but before I could utter a word, I’m waking up.


It truly did feel like I went to bed and awoke the next morning. I remember dreaming or at least felt as if I had been dreaming that I was late for work. Feeling my eyes opening wide then blinking and trying to organize my thoughts and senses all at the same time. My nurse was reassuring me that everything was fine and the operation was successful. I couldn’t believe it was over so quickly even though it took almost an hour longer than expected. As I became more aware, the nurse offered another dose of dilaudid and warned that the numbing would fade and pain would start to show itself. He wasn’t lying. The car ride home was comfortable and climbing two flights of stairs up to my bedroom proved easier than expected, probably because I couldn’t feel a thing. I made my way to bed assuming my position that I would be in for the next 4-6 days.

My first week of recovery was underway. Lots of Percocets, sleep, and ice would be the next week or so. Lucky for me the Masters was starting the next day so I would be thoroughly entertained watching Tiger win in what will be remembered as one of the best Masters of all time. This was the perfect distraction from the fact I wouldn’t be touching a golf club for at least another 3-4 months.

Preparation was crucial for week 1. Know that you will have trouble getting up and down. Have a clear path from the bed to the restroom. Stay ahead of the pain with your painkillers, and do yourself a favor and buy some still softeners!

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.

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!