Category Archives: exercise

IF THE SHOE FITS…DOESN’T MEAN YOU SHOULD WEAR IT!

By: Ann Corwin Marix, ACE-CPT, LMT

When shopping for athletic shoes, most people are more concerned with the color, the brand, or whatever the latest trendy shoe is at time.  Albeit, there is nothing wrong with wanting to look good at the gym, or on the track or field, as long as it’s the right shoe for what you are doing!

Ill fitting or improper shoes can cause numerous issues with your feet, knees, hips, and even posture.  The physical fitness world offers a multitude of activities so there is a need for a multitude of proper shoes to go with those activities.  As the saying goes “You wouldn’t bring a knife to a gun fight, would you?”

Here are a few tips to get you into the right pair of shoes:

  • Do Your Research. With today’s technology, information on shoes is just a hop, skip, and Google search away! Research your activity and the apparatus needed.  With a little web surfing, you can find articles, blogs, and reviews on any and all shoes.  Be selective and objective when surfing the net, as you want to get the most helpful and credible information you can.  Once you have an idea of what to look for….
  • What’s your specialty? Seek out stores that specialize in your activity of interest.  Their staff is usually comprised of people who partake in the same activity and are very knowledgeable.  They can fit you properly and suggest the correct type and brand of shoe that would fit your needs.
  • What’s your history? If you have or had prior foot, ankle, or knee issues, take your search one step (no pun intended) further.  Make an appointment with a podiatrist or an orthopedic specialist.  Depending on the level of your injury/issue, they may run diagnostic test, x-rays, etc.  And from the information they gather, can determine the correct type of shoe and, if needed, any orthotics or other apparatus needed.

For more in depth information, The AOFAS (American Orthopedic Foot & Ankle Society) printed an article “How to Select the Right Athletic Shoes” http://www.aofas.org/footcaremd/how-to/footwear/pages/selecting-athletic-shoes.aspx

Following these helpful hints will increase your enjoyment of whatever activity you choose, and offer injury prevention and safety!

About the Author – Ann Corwin Marix

annAnn’s start in health and wellness was (and still is) as a masseuse after, believe or not, hiring a personal trainer.  See athletics, exercise and activity have always been a major part of my life; but over time life seemed to take over – work; raising a child; keeping a household took its toll and my “Me-time” seemed to disappear.  Long story short, what was going to be a time to make myself feel better (by getting a massage after some a personal training session) became an eye opening experience and drove me to obtain my massage license and help others in relieving pain from injuries, trauma, or simply everyday life. Wanting to get back into exercise, I became a Jazzercise instructor and then wanting a closer relationship with clients, followed that experience by becoming an ACE Certified Personal Trainer and Certified TRX Instructor.  I love providing my clients with a unique and fun approach to help motivate and drive to obtain the results they want.

Barefoot Running – Running Like Our Ancestors

By: Larry Gruber, CSCS, MES

As we all know from the heat and humidity, summer is upon New Orleans.  And, summertime means OUTDOOR RUNNING.  Since 2009, a new training dimension for runners has soared—the phenomenon of barefoot running.  Now let’s be clear—barefoot running in the city is dangerous due to potential debris on the ground.  So for the sake of this article, we are going to discuss minimalist running wear, which are those shoes that simulate barefoot running.   Does this type of running help improve foot strength and running mechanics, thereby making one a more competitive runner?    How does one go about implementing minimalist shoes into their training?  And, what are the drawbacks to running in these shoes?

According to the National Sporting Goods Association, 32.2 million people participated in running and jogging in 2013, with a great number of these people competing in races of all distances.  So, as participation increases, so does competitiveness.  A study by Divert and colleagues (2008) has shown that there are benefits to barefoot and minimalist running, such as an increase in running economy.  Wearing a minimalist shoe causes certain modifications of the body that allow the exerciser to do more work with less demand on the body, such as more efficient stride lengths and frequency.    And, it’s less fatiguing than running in traditional shoes because it leads to lower energy consumption, thereby delaying the onset of fatigue.  Another benefit is that is helps to improve proprioception (the body’s ability to sense stimuli).  When a runner isn’t encased in all that running shoe technology, the little sensors in his/her feet can actually feel the surface beneath and then allow the foot to react appropriately—thereby reducing injury and improving balance.  And, it helps strengthen all those muscles in the feet and ankles because they are recruited more for support.  Finally, most traditional running shoes have a heel lift.  By removing this, it helps the Achilles tendon and calves stretch and lengthen, thereby reducing injuries such as calf pulls caused by short, tight tissues.

Now that you have decided to make the switch, transition slowly to running in this footwear because so much more ankle and footwork is required, and those muscles and tendons are not accustomed to the stress.  Begin by doing various activities of daily life in these shoes, such as gardening or cleaning the house.  Then, begin to adopt a progressive overload approach.  For example, wear them for 10 minutes at the beginning of exercise and another 10 minutes at the end.  Slowly, add in another 10-minute bout.    For the first 2 weeks, keep the total training time to no more than 30 minutes per session.  Be mindful of how your feet and ankles feel after wearing the shoes, and slowly progress the amount of time exercising in them as long as you are pain-free.

Beware, however, that there are cons associated with this type of running.  As I stated earlier, minimalist shoes don’t offer a lot of sole-support, so one has to be very mindful of the surface upon which they run and be on the lookout for glass, rocks and other sharp objects.   And, because one’s calves and Achilles tendons are accustomed to a more supportive shoe, minimalist running may over-stress them in the beginning.  So, follow the progressive overload protocol I outlined above.  Finally, this type of running may be contraindicated for those with diabetes because peripheral neuropathy (a common complication of diabetes) can lead to a loss of protective sensations in the feet.

Armed with the pros and cons of minimalist shoes and how to incorporate them into your training, you can make an educated decision about joining this running trend.  I recommend you go to a running store, like Southern Runner, where a professional can assist you in making the right decision for your foot.  Now get out there on that levee and enjoy your run!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR – LARRY GRUBER – CSCS, MES, ACE-CPT

larrygruber-headshot2Physical fitness used to be just a pastime for me, until more and more friends began asking for my opinion concerning their fitness regimen.  In 1999, after a successful restaurant management career in some of Chicago’s finest restaurants, I became a certified personal trainer through the American Council on Exercise and the National Academy of Sports Medicine. I’m also a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist through the National Strength and Conditioning Association.

As a personal trainer, I strongly feel that exercise should be an enjoyable and rewarding experience.  I structure the workouts so they are fun, combining traditional weight training with functional training, cardio-respiratory training and flexibility training, all aimed at helping you look, feel and move better.  In order for the sessions to be successful, the personal trainer/client relationship must be a very interactive one, requiring constant feedback from both parties.  I want and need your opinions and suggestions.

After training for 13 years in Chicago, I made the move south in search of warmer weather.  I’m so excited to be part of such a vibrant city, and I can’t wait to try its world famous restaurants.  Thanks so much for welcoming me to New Orleans!!

 

Staying Fit During Pregnancy

By: Brittany Claverie, TRX Certified Instructor

In case you didn’t know, I am now in my 27th week of pregnancy and our baby boy is expected to arrive in July!  It really is incredible to think of how fast time is going lately.  It feels like I just found out I was pregnant and now I am counting down the days!  While I can’t say I’ve had an easy pregnancy, it has been one thing after another.  I started experiencing morning sickness at roughly 8 weeks, and it continued until about 20 weeks, and nothing could ease the nausea.  Believe me, I tried everything.  The nausea turned into acid reflux which kept me up for hours every night.  Thank goodness this has subsided, and I only suffer occasionally. For the past four weeks I have been nursing my right foot, which the podiatrist believes is a stress fracture due to my “weight gain” and the hyper mobility I have in that foot. With all of these pregnancy symptoms and obstacles, I take each day as it comes, I live minute by minute, and I thank God for blessing us with this miracle.

I have always been told this is the time to eat whatever you want, and over indulge in as much sweet and salty goodies as you possibly can. Well, I beg to differ.  Thus far, I have only gained 15 pounds.  Since finding out back in November, I told myself I did not want to “let myself go” and just eat anything and everything in sight. You are told you only need 300 extra calories per day during pregnancy, which is roughly an orange and a low fat yogurt. Or you can choose to spend those calories on a piece of chocolate cake.  Which would I choose?  The fruit and yogurt, of course!  From the beginning, I have been making my own smoothies filled with spinach and fruits, to provide nutrients for both me and the baby.  During the day I try to make healthy choices by snacking on fresh fruit (frozen green grapes are my favorite!), a protein or granola bar, Greek yogurt, rice cakes with peanut butter, veggies and hummus, unsweetened applesauce, or whatever catches my eye in the grocery!  For my meals, I do not over-indulge, but eat a sensible portion. I have to honestly say I have not had any strange cravings yet, but I do not deprive myself if I want a snowball or a shrimp po-boy!  Another thing that I have found to help tremendously is keeping up with taking some of my Genesis pure products. I take the Daily Build which is a multi vitamin, and I also take the superfruit juice, Go Yin (a hormone balancing juice).  I truly believe these products have my body in the best shape, keeping both me and the baby in good health, and I feel the Go Yin has helped suppress the cravings.

Overall, I am very pleased with my body and physical condition at this point.  I am very thankful I was in shape and extremely active before getting pregnant, and I look forward to the challenge of getting back in shape after the baby arrives.  Stay tuned.

About the Author – Brittany Claverie

brit 2Let me take you back to about 10 years ago at the age of 18 when I was at my heaviest and was battling self-image issues. I don’t recall precisely what ignited my determination to get fit, but at that point it became a priority and I decided to take control and started exercising. Over the process of consistently exercising and watching my nutrition, I lost 40 pounds and 5 dress sizes! It was amazing to me how good I felt, and how my self-confidence improved.

After losing the weight, I decided that I would never go back to that place of feeling so low, and I realized my lifestyle needed to change for good. That decision drove me to become an aerobics fitness instructor and a certified TRX instructor. My passion is to help others feel good about themselves, help them stay true to their fitness journey and most importantly have fun working out!

 

To Diet or Not To Diet? That Is The Question.

By: Larry Gruber, CSCS, MES

It’s now April.  A time when rain showers bring way to flowers.  A season that strikes fear in all Americans when we realize just how much we owe the government on April 15.  It’s the month of French Quarter Fest, Patriot’s Day, and the much-celebrated Boston Marathon.  And, it’s the month that we put our winter clothes in the back of the closet and bring those summer clothes front and center.  That simple act of pulling our bathing suits out of winter storage can be scarier than writing those checks to the state and federal governments.

This is the month when many of us begin scouring the web in search of that perfect diet to get us in shape for the summer.  However, does dieting really work?  I’ve had many clients who have told me about this year’s great, revolutionary diet or about a diet in Europe that is all the rage and how people are losing a lot of weight on these plans.  Let’s analyze for a moment why any diet actually causes people to lose weight.  Basically, a diet restricts caloric intake because diets, by their nature, limit the items we eat.  When there is a caloric deficit (less calories taken in versus calories expended in normal activity plus exercise), we lose weight.  Even the man who ate nothing but McDonald’s for two months lost weight because the foods he was permitted to eat was limited, so he ate less.  A plan like the Atkins Diet takes an entire macronutrient (carbohydrates) out of the picture.  So, your food choices become less and less.  When this happens, people will eat less and lose weight.

Now, let me ask you a question.  How many times have you been on a diet and then gained all the weight back?  The purpose of this question isn’t about bringing up past failures, but to show you that dieting itself doesn’t get us the end result for which we are searching.  When you lose weight on a diet, you lose both body fat and muscle.  Then, when you have achieved your goal, you go back on a regular eating plan and most of us end up gaining that weight back.  Realize, when this happens, we gain back fat, not muscle, which skews our body fat percentage even more so that we are, in reality, fatter than when we actually began the diet.  To prevent this from happening, we need to learn how to eat healthy on a day-to-day basis, and dieting doesn’t teach us this.  When we re-introduce the entire Whole Foods or Rouse’s grocery store back into our life, panic ensues because now our food options are unlimited again and most of us go back to our pre-diet habits.  Don’t diet.  Break those bad habits.

I know I’ve painted a fairly bleak picture.  However, allow me to clear away those cloudy skies for a sunnier view.  Think about what your ideal weight should be–the weight that, through proper diet and exercise, you can maintain without extreme measures for years to come.  Unfortunately, this means the size we were when we were 18 is probably not a realistic weight for us in middle-age (did I just call myself middle-aged?).  The next thing I always have my clients do is keep a food diary so that together, we can analyze what they are eating, how much they are eating, and when they are eating it.  Then, I like to introduce one or two changes at a time so that my clients may acclimate to those.  By slowly integrating change into their day-to-day diet, they gradually become healthier and slowly lose body fat.  A one to two pound weekly loss is what is recommended for healthy weight loss, and to keep that weight off.  Also, exercising, especially resistance training, will help maintain the integrity of your skin and muscle mass as you lose weight.

When analyzing a client’s food diary, I look for a myriad things.  To begin with, are you having a sensible breakfast to begin your day?  Are you eating periodically throughout the day–approximately every three to four hours?  Both of these will actually help to speed up your metabolism and help you burn more calories.  Are you limiting your intake of sodas, fried foods, cheeses, mayo, and fatty spreads and sauces?  Do you substitute cakes, cookies, and ice cream with yummy alternatives such as fresh fruit, yogurt, and crunchy vegetables?  Are you drinking plenty of water throughout the day?  And, are you giving yourself the pleasure of one “free day” per week?

Dieting (the verb), doesn’t work.  A healthy diet does.  I urge you to think of exercise and a proper diet as a welcomed life-style change.  Just as we have to brush our teeth every day to prevent cavities, we have to be consistent with working out and eating well in order to lose body fat and to keep it off.  So bring on those warm, sunny, humid southern days.  Unpack those bathing suits and book that Destin hotel room.  This Chicago boy is excited about summer.  And, if you need a little assistance in getting excited, just call me and let’s work together to get you looking great, feeling awesome, and moving like you’ve never moved before.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR – LARRY GRUBER – CSCS, MES, ACE-CPT

larrygruber-headshot2Physical fitness used to be just a pastime for me, until more and more friends began asking for my opinion concerning their fitness regimen.  In 1999, after a successful restaurant management career in some of Chicago’s finest restaurants, I became a certified personal trainer through the American Council on Exercise and the National Academy of Sports Medicine. I’m also a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist through the National Strength and Conditioning Association.

As a personal trainer, I strongly feel that exercise should be an enjoyable and rewarding experience.  I structure the workouts so they are fun, combining traditional weight training with functional training, cardio-respiratory training and flexibility training, all aimed at helping you look, feel and move better.  In order for the sessions to be successful, the personal trainer/client relationship must be a very interactive one, requiring constant feedback from both parties.  I want and need your opinions and suggestions.

After training for 13 years in Chicago, I made the move south in search of warmer weather.  I’m so excited to be part of such a vibrant city, and I can’t wait to try its world famous restaurants.  Thanks so much for welcoming me to New Orleans!!

Help, I’m Injured, and I Can’t Workout!

By: Ann Corwin Marix, ACE-CPT, LMT

In the midst of your workout, you feel it…a grind, a sharp pain, a pop…uh oh.  After you realize you’ve incurred an injury, your first thought is “UGH…I will need surgery…, there go my workouts for the next 6-8 weeks.”  That does not have to be the case!  I can say this as I speak, first hand, from my own experience.  My parents endowed me with bad knees as a trade off for a great personality.  I incurred a complete acl and partial meniscus tear in my right knee almost a decade ago and most recently suffered the exact injuries in my left knee.  The cliché holds true, if I only knew then what I know now, I would have had a better recovery because I would have continued to exercise.  A few modifications to your existing regimen is all you need to stay healthy and strong before, during, and after surgery.

First and foremost, do not ignore the injury as that will not make it go away and it will definitely make the injury worse.  Learn how to redefine your workout to create a ‘pre-hab’ game plan!  In the past, people have followed the rule of surgery first, physical rehabilitation second.  Research has shown the more we do prior to surgery in regard to maintaining our physical health and strength, the rate of recovery improves and, in some cases, surgery may be avoided.

Most injuries are isolated to a specific area, so injuring your knee will not affect you pumping out a chest press or some bicep curls, unless your knee is connected to your arm and if that is the case…well, there is no workout that can fix that! In fact, in the case of a knee injury, it is recommended to continue performing lower body exercises.  This will strengthen the musculature surrounding the knee, offering protection as well as prepare for better post surgery recovery.  It is important to know what exercises to do to assist in healing and which ones to avoid that could worsen the injury. So here are a few exercises to do and not to do with common injuries:

BACK PAIN:

Avoid: Running, overhead lifting, leg press machine

Try:  Walking, stretching, protected ab exercises, recumbent bike, yoga, Pilates

SHOULDER PAIN:

Avoid: Repetitive overhead exercises or lifts with free weights

Try: Front shoulder raises, lateral raises

SHIN SPLINTS:

Avoid: Running frequently

Try: Cross training combined with cardio such as swimming or biking

TWISTED ANKLE:

Avoid: Repetitive impact such as running, jogging, and cardio dance

Try:  Upper body exercises, stationary bike, swimming, drawing letters of the alphabet with your toes

SWOLLEN KNEE:

Avoid: Any exercise that recreates the pain, running, weighted lower extremity exercises

Try: Swimming, yoga, Pilates, hip/thigh/knee strengthening exercises.

NECK PAIN:

Avoid: Yoga positions that put pressure on the neck, running

Try: Walking, cycling, Pilates, yoga

PLANTAR FASCIATIS:

Avoid: Running, any lower body impact moves

Try: Elliptical trainer, bicycling

If you do have an injury it is important to talk to your doctor, personal trainer, or a physical therapist as they can recommend specific modifications, exercises, and stretches that allow you to continue your training regimen.  As always, you should consult a doctor prior to adding to or changing your workouts.

Injuries happen, but when they do, don’t let them keep you down. Instead, let them be the reason you educate yourself on how to work with them and how to avoid them in the future!

About the Author – Ann Corwin Marix

annAnn’s start in health and wellness was (and still is) as a masseuse after, believe or not, hiring a personal trainer.  See athletics, exercise and activity have always been a major part of my life; but over time life seemed to take over – work; raising a child; keeping a household took its toll and my “Me-time” seemed to disappear.  Long story short, what was going to be a time to make myself feel better (by getting a massage after some a personal training session) became an eye opening experience and drove me to obtain my massage license and help others in relieving pain from injuries, trauma, or simply everyday life. Wanting to get back into exercise, I became a Jazzercise instructor and then wanting a closer relationship with clients, followed that experience by becoming an ACE Certified Personal Trainer and Certified TRX Instructor.  I love providing my clients with a unique and fun approach to help motivate and drive to obtain the results they want.

 

Do you Fit in a Box?

By: Jennifer Lormand B.S. Exercise Physiology ACE-CPT

In January of each year I often get the same question from prospective clients.  “What kind of training do y’all do?”  My answer is, “Whatever it takes to get you to where you want to be.”  I get some strange looks when I say this.  People have become accustomed to fitness being a franchise like Curves, Jazzercise, Crossfit, and Pure Barre to name a few.  I have to explain how we actually personalize a fitness program to each person, based on their wants and needs, and some folks still don’t understand what I mean.  That is why I’m writing this article today.  I want to help people understand what we do and why we are different.

First let me say that I’m not suggesting that all of these franchises are bad.  I am suggesting that in my 19 years experience, I have found that most of the population doesn’t fit into a box.  What I mean is, each person’s body is different. When I started training and teaching in 1995, I had a dream to take a little bit of each of the things that I love about fitness and put it into one workout.  I started putting boxing, lifting weights, spinning, running, TRX, foam rolling and more into my personal training sessions with clients and they all loved it.  I would get people coming up to me saying, “You are the only trainer that I have seen doing cardio in your sessions, I love that!” This began to light a fire in my belly that I couldn’t put out.  I was going against the norm of what the typical personal training session was, and I loved it.  I began personalizing everything that I did in those sessions based on the wants and needs of my clients and we continue to do that today.  I truly believe that it is the highest honor, when people trust me with their most precious commodity- their body.  And my philosophy has always been simply the golden rule- Treat others the way that YOU want to be treated.

What I mean by that is much deeper than giving them what they want in training sessions.  It’s much more than that.  It’s about realizing that every person that walks through our door is special.  It means never saying, “I’m sorry we can’t help you.”  I can’t stand that when I’m desperate for help and I go see a professional and they say, “Well, that’s not what we do.”  I always want to be able to lead people in the right direction for the next action step they can take to create their BEST LIFE!  That means that over the last 19 years I’ve developed relationships with other trusted professionals that I refer people to and I know will take great care of them.  People like Physical Therapists, Chiropractors, Massage Therapists, Orthopedic Surgeons, Internists, ENT Physicians, Cardiologists, Social Workers, Psychologists, Nutritionists, Advanced Rolfers and more.

This is what makes us different.  We Care.  We want for each person that walks through our door, the same that we want for ourselves and our families.  We want to give them a challenging workout that is safe and effective for their goals, and what their body needs.  This is our SECRET SAUCE.  We LISTEN to the clients goals, evaluate what their body needs, and then we use all of the tools we have to attain it!  Whether it’s sprint intervals, dancing on a step or BOSU, lifting heavy weight to get stronger, doing plyometric training to burn fat, doing TRX to get a stronger CORE and improve the body’s movement patterns,  helping someone recover from a injury or limitation, or helping moms get their body back after having a baby.  We DO what they NEED.  We make it Fun. We make it Challenging.  But most importantly, we do it because it’s what feeds our soul!

So here’s what I know.  I know that there are many great places that people can go to accomplish their goals, but nowhere like Ascension Fitness.  The Passion that we have to transform people from the inside out, separates us from any other place you will go.  I have been so incredibly blessed to find amazing like-minded people to be a part of my team.    I know that my calling in life is to help people feel amazing in the skin they are in, and I know that I will give my all to continue to make that happen.  I believe that everyone deserves to be happy when they look in the mirror.   I feel grateful and blessed for all of those who have trusted me and my team to help them along their life’s journey.  I look forward to helping many more become THEIR BEST SELF.

About the Author – Jennifer Lormand ACE- CPT, BS. Exercise Physiology, Author of mommymovement: new baby. new body. new life.

jenn blogMy love for fitness started at an early age. Growing up with asthma, I was driven to fight through those challenges. Exercise and fitness was my avenue to diminishing my reliance on asthma medications and treatments. Fueled by my passion to help people succeed and as a graduate in Exercise Physiology with a focus on Kinesiology, I am applying my love for fitness with these sciences to develop leading-edge one-on-one and group training programs to meet the specific needs of our clients, designed to push each other physically and support emotionally the needs of clients.

 

 

Preventing Injuries in Young Athletes

 

By: Jamie McIntyre, B.S. Exercise Science, ACE-CPT

There are an estimated 60 million children ages 6-18 that participate in some form of organized athletics, with 44 million participating in more than one sport. In a society where many children are addicted to technology such as cell phones, video games, TVs, etc., it is great to hear that athletics are still a way of life for millions of kids. Not only do sports teach physical skills, they also teach skills such as teamwork, leadership, and strategic thinking.

Despite the many benefits of playing sports, there are some risks. Estimates show 3.5 million children aged 14 and under receive medical treatment for sport-related injuries, while high-school athletes account for another 2 million a year. According to the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases the most common sport injuries are due to accidents, poor training practices (such as overtraining) or using the wrong gear or equipment. The good news is that many of these injuries can be prevented. Below are seven tips to help prevent injuries in your young athlete:

  1. Play Safe – probably the most obvious one is to teach your young athlete how to play a sport safely. This includes teaching proper technique (such as diving for a ball) and wearing proper equipment.
  2. Allow time for recovery – make sure your young athlete has a rest day so that their muscles can repair, rebuild and strengthen. Rest days can also help maintain a better balance between home, school and sports.
  3. Take breaks – along the same lines of taking a rest day, make sure your young athlete gets rest during practice and play. Taking breaks will reduce the likelihood of both injury and heat illness.
  4. Don’t “push through the pain” – If a young athlete is complaining of pain it is best to have them sit out a game or practice instead of letting them play and making it worse. Parents also need to be watching their young athlete for any signs of pain because they may not tell you about it. Watch for a change in their movement (limping), or wincing when making certain movements.
  5. Build Strength –Resistance training has been shown to increase both muscular strength and bone strength which will in turn decrease their chances of injury.
  6. Increase Flexibility – The International Youth Conditioning Association (IYCA) defines flexibility as: “the ability to produce and reproduce efficient static and dynamic movements at speed over an optimal pain-free range of motion.” In basic terms, flexibility is the “freedom to move.” If a young athlete’s ability to move freely is compromised, the likely outcome will be inefficient movement, decreased athletic performance and injury.
  7. Enforce an “off-season” – Young athletes who play sports year-round are more likely than others to experience overuse injuries because they aren’t giving their bodies a chance to rest and recover. Encourage your athletes to take at least three months off of a particular sport each year. Have them mix it up and play different sports during the year so that the same muscle groups are not being used continuously, leading to overuse injuries.

Overtraining is one of the most common causes of sports-related injuries. According to sports medicine researchers at the Loyola University Medical Center young athletes should not spend more hours than their age in training during a given week. Those who did not follow this recommendation were 70% more likely to incur serious overuse injuries than other types of injuries. If an athlete does experience pain or other symptoms that might indicate an injury, seek medical attention immediately.

At Ascension Fitness our philosophy is simple: Provide our athletes with the most effective, up-to-date education and training techniques to improve performance and prevent injuries. We are dedicated to changing the lives of young athletes in a positive environment.  Call us at 504-304-6205, email jamie@ascensionfitnessnola.com, or click here: http://ascensionfitnessnola.com/sportscamp.html to learn more about our Sports Performance Camp!

Jamie McIntyre, B.S. Exercise Science, ACE-CPT

meJamie McIntyre is the Marketing Coordinator and a personal trainer at Ascension Fitness. She came from San Diego, California where she recently completed a Master’s degree in Business Administration at San Diego State University. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Exercise Science from Dickinson State University. Jamie received a softball scholarship to play at Dickinson State University. During her time at Dickinson State she completed an internship as a student athletic trainer which led to her passion of fitness.  Jamie loves training, softball, ringette, and watching movies.

References

mygroupfit. (2008, February 6). Flexibility Development in Young Athletes.

Stop Sports Injuries. (2010). Teaching Kids Safe Ways to Participate in Sports.

 

A Different Resolve!

By: Erica Dammon, NASM- CPT

Yep, it’s here again, the start of a new year.  The fireworks go off, kisses are given, and promises are made.   Promises that begin with sincere conviction and declarations of “It will be different this year”, yet soon becomes overshadowed by the overwhelming demands of a busy life.  Next comes despair that the goal is unattainable and finally the big ‘I Give Up!’   Well, how about we actually make this year different!  What if we actually get all the way on board!  How, you ask?  Simple, by going about things in a whole different way.

Most of us have a very negative outlook on “getting in shape”.  The diet is going to be hard to stick to, exercise stinks, and do I really have time for this?  Well there is the first problem!  Negativity can sink even the biggest ship.  You need to practice breathing positive winds into your sails if you are going to get this boat moving.  A perceived lack of time is the other problem most of us find.  I get it!   There are a lot of us out there juggling jobs, kids, and yes even spouses that require a portion of our time.  Where do you squeeze in the lifestyle change?  I say it starts with a change of mind.  We have to learn to look at the journey differently.

Starting back up is hard, especially if you are walking back down a road you have bailed on before.  So let’s start this year’s trip in a different way. If you start your New Year’s resolution with the same group classes or elliptical workout plan, or even the same crazy diet, you are setting yourself up for failure.   Research tells us that switching up your routine brings a ton of benefits both mental and physical.  Changing a workout prevents the body from adapting too much, keeping that plateau away.  The more we do a specific movement the more effective muscles become at performing the movement and fewer calories are being burned.   Routine switches can help build new muscle and prevent the overuse of others, as well as creating new muscle memory.  And there is the simple ability that something new decreases boredom and allows you to get excited about exercising again.  Kick off this New Year with a new kind of workout!

So something different and new, oh and let’s not forget the time management aspect.  Remember the new fun plan still has to find a place amongst work agendas, after school activities, and functions for your spouse’s job.   Well I have a suggestion.  I am willing to bet that a lot of you have not tried Kettlebells.  It’s true they can be intimidating, but the benefits they provide make them worth a second thought. Henry Marshall, a NSCA certified trainer as well as an AOS and IKFF certified Kettlebell instructor says that they are “the most efficient fitness tool.”  Efficiency is one of the big necessities on our list!  Marshall says that Kettlebells train our body to work as “one synergistic unit linked strongly together.”  So what exactly does that mean?  It means that a kettlebell exercise is a full body conditioning exercise working multiple muscle groups at the same time causing the amount of calories we burn to sky rocket.  With each kettlebell exercise you create the momentum and work to control it and change direction.  On average a kettlebell workout burns 20 calories a minute.  That means in a short 20 minutes you can burn up to 400 calories, and if you last the whole hour you could burn up to 1,200 calories.  How’s that for efficient?

Kettlebells are considered a functional workout because the movement’s in each exercise is based on every day functional movement.  This means that as you get used to swinging that kettlebell around, you are going to start noticing how everyday activities start becoming easier, which has to make your life easier, right?   Your posture will improve, because the importance of form in each exercise will train your body to be aware of correct posture.  You will see a greater range of motion in your joints and muscles because kettlebell exercises are performed in a range of motion and not an isolated movement.   This range of motion action will build strength in the form of more lean toned muscle, which is what we are all looking for.

Hopefully I have caught your interest and you are thinking that these kettlebells are at least worth checking out.  But even if kettlebells aren’t the answer, there are so many ways to produce the same results.  Maybe Pilates or yoga are more your style, you won’t know until you try.  You don’t want a repeat of the failed resolutions of the past, and who knows you may find yourself excited about working out.  I always find that trying new things motivates me by presenting a challenge.  Attacking a challenge and moving forward with it can also instill confidence which has the ability to chase away negative outlooks and replace them with positive “can do” thinking.  At the end of the day it’s that “can do” attitude that is going to keep you accountable to yourself and make time in that crazy schedule of yours.   Taking a new outlook, making a different plan, and trying new things can breathe a much needed fresh breath in an old resolution.  Whether its kettlebells, yoga, or some other new thing, keep the ball rolling, and don’t let yourself get bored!

 

ericaAbout the Author – Erica Dammon, NASM Certified Personal Trainer

I was born overseas but hail the great city of New Orleans as my home town. My husband Mike and I have been married for 12 years and we have three amazing boys, Nicholas, Cody, and Benjamin. They have been the biggest adventure yet!

Training is a huge passion for me and I embrace core fitness values in both my training programs and my lifestyle choices.  I believe that food should be chosen for what it can do for you, not just for the flavor you crave at the moment. I believe in pushing yourself in all aspects of life because how else will you know what you are capable of accomplishing?  Pushups should never be done on your knees and core is where it all begins!

I am a huge football fan and a big part of the Who Dat Nation!!  I look forward to meeting and helping you achieve any and all fitness goals you bring in to Ascension Fitness!

What is ITBS and how can you prevent it?

By Jamie McIntyre

ITBS, or Iliotibial Band Syndrome, is one of the most common overuse injuries that many active people (mostly runners and cyclists) suffer from. Those suffering from ITBS will complain about pain on the outside of their knee. The pain will typically come on at a certain point in their workout and then worsen as time passes. This pain usually goes away at rest. In its later stages, the same pain may begin with other, less stressful activities, such as stair climbing or even walking.

Now some of you may be wondering what exactly is the iliotibial (IT) band and how can you prevent ITBS? Your IT Band is a tough group of fibers that run along the outside of the thigh. It begins at the hip and extends to the outer side of the shin bone just below the knee joint. The IT band serves as both a shock absorber and a lateral stabilizer for the knee and hip.

ITBS is usually caused from tight IT Bands, so the best thing you can do to prevent ITBS is to stretch. To stretch your IT Band (shown in the picture below) stand tall with your right leg crossed over left. Lean to the right (towards front leg) until you feel a stretch along the side of left leg. Hold the stretch for 20-30 seconds and then repeat on the other side.

itbs stretch

The other thing you can do is foam roll for self-myofascial release (to learn more about why you should foam roll click here). To foam roll your IT Band (pictured below) lie on your side with a foam roller positioned horizontally under your hip. Put your forearm on the ground and lift your legs up if you can. Then slowly roll down the outside of your leg to just above the knee and back. Repeat this motion 4-5 times.

itbs roll

 

Stretching and foam rolling will definitely help prevent ITBS but if you do develop IT band syndrome, rest, ice and anti-inflammatory are the best treatments.

Stay Trim this Holiday Season

By: Jamie McIntyre, B.S. Exercise Science, ACE-CPT

Once again the holidays are fast approaching. Every year it seems like time flies and we’re back to the holiday season! We all know that this is usually not the season to get your bikini body, it is the season to eat, drink, and be merry. Even I have a tendency to over-indulge a little bit during the holidays (just like everyone else, I too think my mom’s apple pie is the best!). Every year, knowing that I may over-indulge, I devise a plan to staying trim during the holidays. I put together a list of my best tips and try to stick to them the best that I can. Instead of being selfish and keeping these tips to myself I thought I would share them so that we can fight the holiday bulge together! Here are my five tips to staying trim:

slim santa

  1. Promise yourself 15 minutes. When we’re busy with family, friends, and holiday parties our workouts can sometimes be pushed to the bottom of our priority list. To get my workouts in I promise myself that I will work out for 15 minutes. It is a small time commitment that will burn some extra calories before a big meal. Plus, most of the time I will start to feel good during the workout and push past that 15 minute mark.
  2. Catch up with friends and family. When you are at a party make conversation with people. It is much more difficult to overindulge in food if you are talking to people the entire time.
  3. Keep a food journal and be honest with it. Keeping a food journal is a great tool for staying trim all of the time but could be even more important during the holiday season. The trick is to be honest with yourself about what and how much you are eating. It is easy to underestimate how much you had at a party so I try to overestimate what I take in.
  4. Don’t beat yourself up. One of the worst things we can do is beat ourselves up about something we ate. Most of us (including myself) are guilty of this: “well I ruined my diet with (insert bad food here) so I might as well keep it going.” This does not make any sense, you know it, and I know it, so let’s all agree to stop thinking it. If you eat something bad that’s ok just try to make healthy choices the rest of the day. Remember to follow the 90/10 rule. Eat healthy 90 percent of the time and indulge the other 10%.
  5. Maintain, don’t gain. My goal during the holiday season is to maintain my weight. I know that I will probably not lose much body fat during this time so I set a realistic goal of maintaining my current weight.  This way I don’t get disappointed when I don’t reach a goal I knew I probably wouldn’t reach in the first place.

But most importantly, enjoy the time you spend with friends and family because that’s really what the holiday season is about. Happy Holidays!