injury prevention

From tragedy to triumph: Michelle's story

When Michelle Kong-Rosario finally emerged from all the surgeries and complications following a motorcycle crash, fitness was the last thing on her mind.

Before she could focus on herself, Michelle had to deal with the enormous emotional toll of losing her boyfriend in the accident. She also had to learn how to walk again on her prosthetic leg.

“There were complications that led to me losing my leg,” she said. “The process was very long. After two months in the hospital, I was in in-patient rehabilitation for another two or three months to learn how to walk again with a prosthesis. Then it was out-patient rehabilitation. It took me about a year.”

This past year marked 20 years since the accident, and it was only recently when Michelle, a 42-year-old mom, started focusing on herself again — her fitness, her strength and her body. Unfortunately, that only led to more frustration.

“I’ve been through so many different gyms that left me in pain or injured, and that would put me out of commission,” she said. “I would be out for two or three months.

“I’ve worked out on my own, I’ve hired personal trainers, I’ve been to classes,” she said. “And each one of them, when I talked to them about my leg, they said they could help me and I always ended up injuring myself more. By the time I came to Max [Velocity], I was pretty frustrated, pretty tired. Everybody tells me they can help me, that they’re going to create this whole program for me, but nobody really does. But when I came here, things changed.”

MKR-21-Day.png

This past November, Michelle finished second in Max Velocity’s Fall Fitness Challenge. Contestants were scored on attendance, consistency with their nutrition habits and check-ins and performance in their baseline workouts. Michelle recorded the second-highest rep total in her initial workout and the fifth-highest improvement in her retests. She was also 80 percent compliant with her nutrition habits and 100 percent compliant with her weekly check-ins with her coaches.

“It took me by surprise,” she said. “… That challenge was a great way to measure that I am improving, I am doing better taking all these classes.”

Michelle has even bigger goals for this year, as she is now training for a mini-triathlon, a bike tour and a full triathlon in 2019. After seeing her amazing results, Michelle’s husband is thinking about joining her at Max Velocity.

“He wants to get himself onto my level,” she said.

Would you like information about our next fitness challenge starting Jan. 28? To learn more, follow this link.

Injury prevention for female athletes

Injury prevention for female athletes

Female athletes age 15-19 have the highest rate of ACL injuries of any population. Any well-designed training program for female athletes must address this risk.

Why no pain, no gain is no good

The old adage "no pain, no gain" has been around as long as fitness has. The idea being, if you're not getting the results you want from your fitness program, there can only be one reason: You're not training hard enough.

First of all, the notion that there's only one variable that affects physical adaptation is pure folly. The human body is complex. There are too many variables that contribute to fat loss, muscle growth and overall health and fitness to enumerate in a single blog post.

That would require a book.

Suffice it to say, this is where the vast majority of fitness enthusiasts and athletes go wrong. They fail to account for the dozens of factors that contribute to how their bodies adapt and respond to training. This thorough post from Joel Jamieson explores some of the more common obstacles: stress, overtraining and what is known as a "recovery debt."

In short: Your body's No. 1 priority is to keep you alive. It is not going to divert precious energy and resources away from vital functions like breathing and circulating blood in order to make your biceps bigger. Its No. 2 priority is to respond to stress. This is exactly where most fitness programs go off the rails.

Take a moment to think about your life. Job, career, kids, school, bills, sleep depravation and various emergencies that invoke a stress response and require substantial amounts of energy and nutrients to be mobilized. Now, how do you suppose your body will respond if you then trudge into the gym determined to kick your own ass and completely destroy yourself in the name of "stress relief?" If you're piling more stress upon all the stress you already have, and then wondering why you're not losing weight or building muscle, then you are probably stuck in the vicious cycle known as recovery debt.

Rather than forever seeking to max out your intensity and effort in your workouts, you would be better off learning and practicing some stress-management skills, moderating the intensity of your training sessions and incorporating some type of recovery activity into your fitness routine. If you need help with us, let us know in the comments or fill out one of the forms on our website and we'll be in touch right away.

And one more thing. Forget about the saying "no pain, no gain." Exercise and training should NEVER involve pain. Discomfort, yes. Muscle soreness, of course. But if your workout has you collapsing on the floor in a state of utter physical and mental destruction -- or worse, spending the rest of the day icing your joints -- you are most certainly doing more harm than good.

 

What's the point of fitness?

The whole point of lifting weights is to get stronger, right? Perpetually lift heavier weights, more reps, at higher intensity.

Right?

Wrong.

The whole point of working out is to constantly push yourself past your limits and walk out of the gym feeling like you got hit by a truck, right? That's how you know you got a great workout. As you collapse in a pool of sweat, unable to construct a sentence or muster a coherent thought, your trainer smiles and says, "You crushed it today."

Did YOU crush IT, or did the TRAINER crush YOU?

This is where a lot of people go wrong with fitness. The whole Spartan, Tough Mudder and American Ninja Warrior mentality has permeated the fitness industry, to the point where people who are just trying to be healthier and look/feel a little better have been duped into thinking the only path to those goals is pain.

What's old is new again, and the "no pain, no gain" mantra from the '80s has infiltrated the fitness world and people are buying into it all over again.

Don't be duped.

Remember this: The first priority of a fitness program is to prevent pain and injury so you can continue exercising as long as you want to -- in theory, for the rest of your life. That's it. Period. Dr. John Rusin covers this topic thoroughly in this post, "How to Lift Forever: The Best Movements for Long-Term, Pain-Free Gains."

If your fitness program doesn't include the following components, it's time to look for a new fitness program:

-- Corrective Exercise: How does it make sense to load hundreds of pounds on your back if you have hip impingement, a collapsed arch or weak external hip rotators? Fix the movement pattern first before loading it.

-- Shoulder Care: It puzzles me why people think it's a good idea to throw and catch heavy weights overhead without taking the time to strengthen and stabilize the shoulder girdle. Maybe Wall Slides or Face Pulls don't get a lot of views on Instagram, but they will help keep you in the gym training instead of inside an MRI tube.

-- Unilateral Exercises: If you have right-left imbalances (which most people do), what do you think the outcome will be if you only push, pull, squat or hinge bilaterally? (Hint: Repeating a dysfunctional movement pattern will only lead to more dysfunction, and ultimately, pain and injury.) Improve and reprogram movement patterns in a single-leg, single-arm fashion before going for that next PR. Here's one of our favorites, the Rear-Leg Elevated or Bulgarian Split Squat (which we're doing in our Small-Group Training sessions today, actually.)

-- Core Exercises: And by this, I don't mean hundreds of sit-ups, v-ups and side-bends. I mean real core exercises that train the anti-rotation and anti-flexion functions of the core pillar. One of the most underrated core and hip stability exercises is as old and simple as it gets: the Glute Bridge. (Note: Only attempt a loaded glute bridge after you've mastered and progressed the unloaded version, including the Banded Glute Bridge.)

-- Loaded Carries: Speaking of old, underrated core exercises, it doesn't get much better than loaded carries. They're essential to developing neuromuscular stability, core stiffness and pure strength. Omit them from your training program at your own peril.

-- Squats and Deadlifts: But bear in mind, these two foundational lifting patterns should not be executed with a barbell if the athlete lacks the joint mobility and core strength to perform them properly. And they need not be executed with a barbell to get a training effect. Here's one of my favorite squat variations, the Landmine Goblet Squat.

Try some of these mandatory exercises in your training program and let us know in the comments how they work for you. And if your training program doesn't include these fundamental components, find one that does. This way, you can accomplish the No. 1 goal of fitness: to stay pain- and injury-free so you can keep doing everything you enjoy for the rest of your life.