Gaining Strength After an Injury

 

Most of you know me as a personal trainer but during my more than 10 years of training, I have had many clients come to me immediately after an injury after their physical therapy has been discontinued.  They need help to return to pre-injury strength, and unfortunately physical therapy can end with no bridge between physical therapy and sport strengthening exercises. So what is the best approach to bridging the gap? Here are some tips on strengthening to pre-injury strength without risking re-injury.

Train Unilaterally

Bilateral exercises force the stronger side to work harder to protect the weaker side, creating a muscle imbalance.

Weak Side Rule

The injured side being weaker, should dictate the amount of weight reps etc. Complete your first set on the injured side and then perform the same exercise on the other side even if it feels easy.

Emphasize the Eccentric Phase of the Exercise

The eccentric phase of the exercise not only yields the biggest gains but also focuses on building up strength in the tendons and ligaments.

Emphasize Compound Body Weight Exercises

Isolation exercises will help strengthen a specific area but the body also needs to learn how to coordinate that area with surrounding muscles. Compound body weight movements teach the body how to move using all the muscles.

Micro Progressions

Micro progressions are necessary to prevent re-injury. The biggest mistake made is progressing to quickly resulting in a re-injury. Just because it  feels good doesn’t mean you should force it into pre-injury exercises just yet.

 

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Alkaline Foods and Acid Foods

I was asked today about alkaline and acidic foods and how they can affect our health.

Acidity and alkalinity are measured in pH (potential of hydrogen). The pH scale goes from 0 to 14, with 0 the most acidic, and 14 the most alkaline. Ideally, our pH should stay on the alkaline side 7.

The pH of stomach acid is 1 (acidic), wine is 3.5, water is 7 (neutral),  sea water is 8.5, and baking soda is 12 (alkaline).

Often, an acidic-tasting food can be alkalizing. Citric fruits are a great example. Lemons are acidic, but they actually cause an alkalizing effect on the body because the minerals they leave behind after digestion help remove hydrogen ions, decreasing the acidity of the body. At times the term “residue” or “ash” are used to explain the effect of a food on the body. A food with an acid ash after digestion contributes hydrogen ions, making the body more acidic. A food with an alkaline ash after digestion removes hydrogen ions, making the body more alkaline.

Acidosis, or over-acidity in the body, is one of the basic causes systemic inflammation related diseases such as arthritis and rheumatic diseases.  The basic western diet consisting of high-fat, high-sugar diet,  promotes acidosis which destroys bones, because the body has to steal alkalizing minerals such as calcium to keep the blood pH from dropping into the acid range.

ALKALINE FOODS:

Most raw fruits and vegetables (except nightshades), mineral water, pumpkin seed, lentils, seaweed, sea vegetables, sweet potato, lime, lemons, nectarine, persimmon, raspberry, watermelon, tangerine, and pineapple, apricots, spices, kambucha, cashews, chestnuts, pepper, kohlrabi, parsnip, garlic, asparagus, kale, parsley, endive, arugula, mustard green, ginger root, broccoli, grapefruit, cantaloupe, honeydew, citrus, olive, dewberry, carrots, loganberry, and mango.

ACIDIC FOODS:

Tabletop sweeteners like (NutraSweet, Spoonful, Sweet ‘N Low, Equal or Aspartame), pudding, jam, jelly, table salt, beer, yeast, hops, malt, sugar, cocoa, white vinegar, processed cheese, ice cream, beef, lobster, pheasant, barley, wheat, hazelnuts, walnuts, brazil nuts, fried foods, soybean, and soft drinks, especially the cola type.

To neutralize a glass of cola with a pH of 2.5, it would take 32 glasses of alkaline water with a pH of 10.

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Benefits of Senior Exercise

Physical health benefits …

Exercise helps maintain or lose weight. As metabolism slows with age, maintaining a healthy weight is a challenge. Preventing a sedentary lifestyle with exercise helps increase metabolism and builds muscle, burning more calories. With a healthy body weight, overall wellness improves.

Exercise reduces illness and chronic disease. Seniors who exercise  have a lowered risk of chronic diseases including Alzheimer’s, diabetes, obesity, heart disease, osteoporosis, and colon cancer. Benefits of exercise for seniors also include improved immune function, better heart health, blood pressure, bone density, and digestive functioning.

Exercise enhances mobility, flexibility, and balance in seniors. Exercise improves your strength, flexibility and posture, which help with balance, coordination, and reduce the risk of falling. Strength training also helps alleviate the symptoms of chronic conditions such as arthritis.

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Mental health benefits of senior exercise …

Exercise improves your sleep.  Exercise improves sleep, and helps you fall asleep more quickly and sleep more deeply.

Exercise boosts mood and self-confidence. Endorphins produced by exercise can help you feel better and reduce feelings of sadness or depression. Being active and feeling strong help you feel more self-confident.

Exercise is good for the brain. Exercise benefits regular brain function and can help keep the brain active, which prevents memory loss, cognitive decline, and dementia.

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Getting started safely…

Start slow. If you haven’t been active in a while, it can be harmful to do “too much, too fast”, build up your exercise program slowly. Try spacing strength workouts twice a week, and one senior cardio fitness class each week.

Exercise should never hurt. Stop exercising immediately and call your doctor if you feel dizzy or short of breath, develop chest pain or pressure, break out in a cold sweat, or experience pain. Stop if a joint is red, swollen, or tender to touch. Consult an expert senior fitness trainer for advice on how to exercise properly.

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Preventing Knee Pain

As a personal trainer, I have been training clients of all ages for over 8 years and have helped them eliminate knee pain by teaching them how to move properly. Here is a list of common everyday exercises, when done properly can help you eliminate knee pain.

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How to Get Up from a Seated Position:

Place feet in front of you with knees bent at a 90 degree angle. Press into the heels of your feet, pushing up from your glutes.

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How to Walk Up Stairs:

Step up, pressing into the heel of the foot, pushing up from your glutes.

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How to Get out of the Car:

Turn to your side placing both feet on the ground with a 90 degree angle at the knee. Press through the heels of your feet, pushing up from your glutes.

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Moving properly will help keep stress off your knee joints and strengthen your leg muscles simultaneously.

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Nutrition Watchdog Groups to Follow

I was guest speaker at a 29 Days of Health, Lunch and Learn in the city of Chicago recently. We were discussing food labeling and how the FDA allows the food industry to be manipulative to sell a product.

One example is the labeling of trans fats. The new laws established by the FDA state the packaging can advertise  0 trans fats, if the food contains less than .5 grams per serving of trans fats or hydrogenated oils. Even though the food contains trans fats, the front of the packaging says it does not, so you have to read the official nutrition labels on the back of the packaging to check the ingredients. With .5 grams per serving you can still consume a harmful amount of trans fats.

My guests were shocked and someone from the audience asked me how I stay informed and what watchdog organizations I follow for advice. These are the watchdog organizations who keep me updated on new rules and regulations and keep an eye on food companies more interested in selling food than your well being. Here is my list…

ENVIRONMENTAL WORKING GROUP

CENTER FOR SCIENCE in the PUBLIC INTEREST
(The Nutrition Action Newsletter they write is a great resource too!!)

EARTHSAVE INTERNATIONAL

CREDO ACTION

NATURAL NEWS

Be sure to like these organizations on FACEBOOK or TWITTER so you can stay updated as well.

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The Egg McMuffin, a Healthy Breakfast?

I always advise my clients to eat a healthy breakfast to start their day. So one of my clients tells me he had an Egg Mc Muffin for breakfast “How bad  can an egg mc muffin be?” he asks, “it’s an egg, Canadian bacon cheese and an English muffin?” My thinking is, its fast food and that’s what it appears to be but is that what it really is?

So I did some research on the Egg Mc Muffin and this is what I found:

Here are the nutritional facts for one Egg McMuffin:

300 calories, 12g fat, 30g carbohydrates, 18g protein, 2g fiber, 820 mg sodium (almost a days worth!)

 

Ingredients

Egg:
USDA Grade A eggs, soy lecithin (release agent). Prepared with Liquid Margarine*.

In fact the egg and soy lecithin parts are almost equal.

Pasteurized Process American Cheese:
Milk, water, milkfat, cheese culture, sodium citrate, salt, citric acid, sorbic acid (preservative), sodium phosphate, artificial color, lactic acid, acetic acid, enzymes, soy lecithin (added for slice separation).

Canadian Style Bacon:
Pork, water, sugar, salt, sodium lactate, sodium phosphate, natural flavor (vegetable), sodium diacetate and sodium nitrite (preservatives).

*Liquid Margarine:
Liquid soybean oil, water, partially hydrogenated soybean oil, salt, hydrogenated cottonseed oil, soy lecithin, mono-and diglycerides, sodium benzoate and potassium sorbate (preservatives), artificial flavor, citric acid, vitamin A palmitate, beta carotene (color).

Over 50 ingredients! Yummy!!

Not a healthy way to start the day. 300 calories of a lot of preservatives, artificial colors and sodium with very little nutrients.

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Gluten Free Chocolate Cupcakes with Coffee Frosting

So I decided to make gluten free Chocolate Cupcakes with Coffee Frosting. I heard someone once say that gluten cooking is a real science, but I had no idea what I was getting myself into…

I found a couple of recipes online and headed out to my friend Sam’s house who is a novice vegan baker, figuring she could help me because I consider myself more of a cook and not a baker.  With unappetizing ingredients like xanthan gum and sorghum flour, I decided to pick the easy Chocolate Cupcakes recipe which called for familiar ingredients like almond flour and eggs. The recipe called for half a cup of almond flour and 6 eggs (with other usual cupcake ingredients but I can no longer find the recipe online). Sam said that it seemed like a lot of eggs, but the curious baker in me says let’s go with it and see what happens.  My cupcakes cooked just fine and they looked and smelled great when we took them out of the oven. Although the recipe said gluten free cupcakes do not rise much during the cooking process my cupcakes seemed to react like normal cupcakes, so we started to make the coffee frosting.

Everything seemed to be working just fine and then it started, my cupcakes started to implode. We are not talking about the kind of sinking you get from a chocolate soufflé, no my cupcakes slowly imploded to half the size they were when they came out of the oven, even pulling away from the cupcake liners.  So I decided to investigate further, and it seemed the inside of my cupcakes were a plastic rubbery mess. Sam then decided to state the obvious saying I told you it seemed like a lot of eggs. Well we decided to start over using one of the different recipes which used not so familiar but recognizable baking ingredients, such as rice flour, potato starch and tapioca starch, and our second batch of cupcakes came out of the oven and remained the same shape until we ate them.

In the mean time I have made cupcakes using the unrecognizable ingredients such as garbanzo bean and sorghum flour and the cupcakes were fantastic! I have found using the flour blends such as Bobs Red Mill or Gluten Free Pantry make it a lot easier. As for pictures of my plastic cupcake experience, unfortunately I lost my Canon point and shoot that weekend out at the Fermilab when I went to see my weather hero Tom Skilling and the Tornado and Severe Weather Seminar. (I’m also a weather enthusiast). After losing my camera, I did what any other amateur photographer would do, I bought myself a new and improved Canon point and shoot.

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