Sunday, March 28, 2010

True Health Reform

Whether you are for or against the recent Health Care Reform Bill, there are many things you can do to help control health care costs where they hit hardest -- in your own checkbook. Instead of letting Congress and the rest of the government decide what is best for you, take a few steps of your own to keep your own costs down.
1. Stay healthy. Sure there are things we cannot control. But there are many more things we can control. Obviously exercise is my main area of focus. Getting off your butt and moving does more to help maintain your health than most doctor visits. A few extra pounds taxes your heart, joints and muscles. Extra exertion can also raise blood pressure. Moving is the easiest way to keep weight in check.
2. Stay away from the drive through. Take the time to cook. Get the family involved. At our house, I make the salads, while my wife cooks. And my salads are not boring! Try new recipes. I recommend the Eating Clean series by Tosca Reno. She has some amazing recipes that taste great, and are good for you.
3. Play with your kids. This gets back to movement. But by adding play to the mix, you are staying involved with the family. Kids don't always need organized sports to keep them active. Playtime with mom and/or dad is often enough.
4. Join a fitness class. This is a great way to meet new people and stay active. Try boot camps, kettlebells, or other things new to you. Exercise doesn't have to be boring and painful to be effective.
5. Walk. Take a half-hour walk with your spouse. Reconnect. Step away from the TV and walk. The fresh air and the movement will do you and your waistline good. Remember, while you are walking, you are not snacking in front of the television.
6. Moderation. Like wine? Have a glass. Not a bottle. Like ice cream? Treat yourself occasionally. Don't deprive yourself, and that leads to resentment. Life is too short to give up the things we enjoy. But moderation goes a long way to keeping us healthier. And the longer we live, the longer we can enjoy the things we love.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

A break...sort of

This weekend I took a break from training to man a booth for State of Fitness at the Arnold Fitness Expo, here in Columbus. For those of you not familiar with the Arnold, it is the largest annual multi-sport event in the world. It has everything from fencing to bodybuilding to gymnastics to arm wrestling and much much more.

Our booth was at the Olympic Weightlifting Championship competition -- fitting since we have three USAWeightlifting coaches on staff. In fact, the plates and bars for the warm-up area came from our gym.

I say I took a break from training. But realistically, it was a different sort of workout. I was on my feet Friday from 8 am to 9 pm, Saturday from 8 am to 5 pm, and Sunday from 8 am to 5 pm. No amount of training can prepare you for trade show duty.

For us the show was a success. We made some new friends, brought in some people to train with us, and solidified our status as a serious weightlifting gym (no machines here!) Arnold himself passed through our booth, and Rick Adams, executive director of USAWeightlifting spent some quality time with us discussing the future of the sport.

And in a pleasant surprise to Cat and myself, Rick came out to our gym Monday morning before catching his flight out of Columbus. It was an honor to have him visit, and we look forward to working closely with USAWeightlifting in the future.

Now, back to reality...Monday's workout: 3 mile run, followed by 20 minutes of tire flips, kettlebell swings, sledgehammer swings and box jumps. Exhausting, but fun.

Today, I shortened up the run a bit -- just two miles, followed by a 500 meter row. Nice sprint to cap off the first real warm day of the year.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

A little quick fun...

My friend Scott stopped by today for a quick workout. Scott is one of the trainers I respect because he cares, he thinks, and is not caught up in himself. So naturally, I had to do a workout with him. Here is our day...

Warmup...10 minutes of 15 kettlebell swings on the minute. Total of 150 swings, basic, but effective in getting the heart moving and maintaining the basics.

We then did a short circuit:
Kettlebell swings
Pull ups
Bodyweight squats
Battling ropes

30 seconds on, 15 seconds to move to the next exercise. 5 total rounds, 15 total minutes.

Short and sweet, 25 total minutes of work, and an additional 10 minutes of social BS.

Not bad for an impromptu workout.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Learning from the best

One of my favorite (annoying) sayings is: "If you want to learn physics, and Einstein is available, go see him." Well, I don't need to learn physics, but in my never-ending quest to be the best trainer I can be, I always seek out the best instructors and trainers in the business.

Brett Jones, Master RKC is one of those.

Brett lives and works three hours away from me in Pittsburgh, an irony not lost on a Browns fan. So I have begun making the trek once a month to his studio, to have him improve my physical performance, which in turn will help me help my clients.

Brett, along with Gray Cook and Lee Burton are the have developed a movement screen that addresses weaknesses and imbalances in a person's body. I have used the screen to assess clients, but have never had been screened myself. Boy was I in for a shock.

I knew shoulder mobility would be an issue, but I didn't know how imbalanced I was in other areas. Could this be the reason for so many nagging injuries? Studies have shown that low scores on the movement screen correlate to lost-game injuries in the NFL, so there is a case to be made for this.

The good news is that correcting these imbalances is relatively simple -- if you are willing to go back to basics, and stay with exercises that are not, "sexy" like a kettlebell snatch. In fact, my protocol includes breathing exercises, rolling over from back to front and vice versa, and partial Turkish Getups.

The better news is that two weeks after my first session with Brett my injuries are subsiding. The back pain that laid me up for several months is gone, and I actually feel like I have more energy. And, despite shoveling my driveway this weekend, I don't hurt, except for soreness in my glutes -- which means I was moving properly.

The screen is easy, and painless. The stepping back into basic exercises means checking my ego for a bit. But the results are well worth it.

For more information on the Functional Movement Screen, check out .

Monday, January 11, 2010

Smart rest

Short post today...

Good news: no surgery for now.

Bad news: still have a week to rest and recover.

Smart news: I will take that week, and not push back too soon.

Too often we push back when we fell a little better, and we never fully heal. The problems resurface and we end up reinjured -- many times worse -- and frustrated.

So instead of spending time in the gym, I am spending time reading, studying, and watching. In short, learning more about training, both myself and others. My improvements will not be physical, but mental.

It's my way of looking more at the positive in 2010.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

As bad as it seems to be...

Yesterday I spent four hours in the hospital with my daughter having some tests done. She spent three days in the hospital in December and we are trying to figure out what is wrong.

Tomorrow I meet with a surgeon to see if I need surgery of my own -- again.

My grandson has spent more nights in the hospital in his four months than many people spend their entire lives. And my daughter spent two weeks in the hospital -- after 14 weeks of bed rest during her pregnancy.

Don't pity us. We have it easy. There are others who have it far worse

I met a parent while at the hospital who was finishing up his fourth month visiting his sick child. There are others, battling diseases that we wouldn't wish upon our worst enemies, that fight day in and day out to live another day, week or month.

And we, the healthy ones, are the ones that complain.

I asked the nurse who took care of my daughter yesterday if she wouldn't mind running a blood pressure check on me. Guess what, it was elevated. Too much traffic, paperwork, and other trivial matters are getting to me.

Why? Things that don't really matter, matter too much. And that has to stop.

Think about ridding yourselves of the worry over trivial things. I know I am.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

First step toward positives...

If you read my resolutions, I am trying to be more positive this year. I've seen way too much whining and bitching and if I can do my own small part to change, it will be a better world, at least that world around me.

I hate the term "star" being used for a celebrity. Star insinuates that that person is better than the rest of us, and it doesn't seem to me that because someone can carry a tune or memorize a few lines, he is better than someone who risks his life for the betterment of others. A true star to me is someone who puts others needs first and makes sacrifices to make this a better world.

Saying that, I want to introduce a true star in my mind. My friend Nicole is on her way to Buffalo, New York right now to donate a kidney for a friend. This is not simple surgery, as she will be putting off her training, and setting many of her own personal goals aside to help a friend truly in need, including waiting an entire six months before pursuing her RKC certification. Nicole is a star in my book.

Think about that sacrifice the next time someone asks you for a favor.