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My Journey

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Today was a great workout day. I ran 7mph and 8mph sprints on the treadmill with no knee pain. This might not sound like a big deal but it is coming from where I have been. Over the last two years I have torn my ACL, strained my MCL, torn my meniscus and been diagnosed with bone marrow edema, all in my right knee. My ortho doctor straight up told me that I will eventually need a knee replacement. Hearing that is extremely humbling to a 30 year old who has been active his whole life. I am happy to say that due to the great physical therapist at my job and some experimentation I have recovered from all injuries without needing any surgery. Along the way I have learned quite a bit about the body and the human psyche. Here are the five most important things I have learned about recovering from injury and working out in general:

1. Cross training is super important. If our body gets accustomed to going in one direction you will be weak in the others. Instead of always running on the treadmill go for a swim or a hike.

2. Muscle balance is key. If an opposing muscle is stronger than the other that imbalance can throw your body all out of wack. Twice a week I concentrate on hips, butt, low back and hamstrings using bands, bosu’s and single leg exercises

3. Don’t be stupid. I have compromised knees so i know high impact workouts and sports need to be limited. I run or play ball 1-2 times/wk.

4. Listen to your body. Forget that whole “no pain no gain”. If your body hurts, REST. Pain is your body’s way of saying pump the breaks. Light stretching and light cardio in place of a hardcore workout can help heal your body.

5. Proper nutrition is key. Your body needs the right mix of vitamins, minerals, carbs, protein and good fats in order to grow stronger. A poor diet filled with nutrient poor foods will not give your body the tools to recover.

I am hopeful that my experience can help someone else on their fitness and health journey. The road to recovery and better health can be bumpy but every set back is a set up for a comeback!!!!!!!!

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Super Soups

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Since August I have tried to incorporate more fruits and vegetables into my diet. With the weather getting nastier and nastier its easy for us to eat our comfort foods, slip under a comforter and watch tv. Soups are a great way to get your vegetables in while giving you that warm and comforting feeling. Here is a great recipe one of my clients tried and believe me it is delicious. The only thing I added were extra carrots.

Recipe:

1. Two cans low sodium and fat free chicken broth

2. One can Rotel tomatoes with green chilies

3. One can corn not drained

4. Three fresh yellow squash

5. Three fresh zucchini 

6. Several fresh carrots sliced or diced 
Package of fresh sliced portabella mushrooms

7. Small yellow potatoes sliced

8. One half cup hot salsa

9. Garlic powder and pepper to season

If you need more fluid just add water. Bring to boil and then simmer on low for a couple of hours. 

Hotel Workouts

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Vacations and business trips use to be consistent excuses to slack off on  workouts. These days most if not all major hotels offer some sort of fitness center. The fitness center pictured is in a Marriott Fairfield Inn and Suites and as you can see its stocked with what you need for a great workout. The equipment will vary from hotel to hotel, even in the same chain so your best bet is to call ahead to see what they have and plan accordingly. Here are a few more tips to ensure that you will have a great workout in your hotel:

1. Pack a resistance band. Some facilities may not have weights to minimize liability. Bands help mimic what dumbbells do.

2. PLAN. If you know you are going to be gone on business, schedule your workout just like your meetings. On vacation plan to get up an hour before your family gets up.

3. Have your trainer write out a workout based on the hotel equipment and go over it a couple of times before you leave. This will help limit how much time is wasted.

Whether you are away on business or vacation there are no excuses for  missing a workout. Exercise is what I like to call a magnet behavior. You tend to eat better, sleep better, and practice healthier habits when you exercise.  Not working out for an extended period of time coupled with typical vacation eating can set you back weeks.

Empty or Full

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One of the easiest things we can do to be healthier is to eat more fruits and vegetables. I challenge you to eat 7-10 combined servings of fruits and vegetables per day. Because fruits and vegetables are so nutrient dense you can eat more of them for the same calories as junk foods. Filling the stomach up with more good foods decreases the space available for bad foods which helps maintain and lose weight.

Vegetarian Post Workout Meal Idea

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I know a lot of people who think the only way to get their necessary protein is to eat animal products. This is simply incorrect thinking. There are many other sources that you can get protein from. There is nothing wrong with getting  your protein from animal sources but people who choose not to need options. The post workout meal i had was lentils, sweet potatoes and greek yogurt. One cup of Lentils plus the greek yogurt gives me 30 grams of protein to aid in muscle repair. Sweet potatoes are full of vitamins and minerals that also aid in recovery.

Fruit and Vegetable Challenge

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One of the easiest ways to get healthier is to eat fruits and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables have vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals, and antioxidants that reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, cancer and many other diseases. A new study that came out this reported up to a 42% decrease in death if you eat seven or more servings of fruits and vegetables per day. With the average american only eating 2-3 servings of fruits and vegetables per day it is no surprise we are not getting healthier. Besides helping us get healthier fruits and vegetables can help us lose weight. They are high volume and low calorie foods so we get fuller faster eating them (one apples vs ten chips) which means we are eating less calories per day. 

I challenge YOU to start eating seven to ten servings of fruits and vegetables per day. A serving of fruit is equal to one cup of fruit or 1/2 cup of dried fruit. A serving of vegetables is equal to one cup of raw or cooked vegetables or two cups of leafy greens. This challenge does not have an end date because it is something you should do for the rest of your life. I know those numbers look big especially to those who do not any so here are some tips to eat more fruits and vegetables:

1. Eat 2-3 servings each meal.

2. Eat 1-2 servings each snack.

3. Add variety so you won’t get bored.

4. Mix in with other foods. You can easily add 2-3 cups of vegetables to an omelet to make it more filling and nutritious.

5. Plan out your meals and snacks in advance.

 

Workplace Wellness

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Our workplace environment can either help keep us healthy or lead us down the path of unhealthiness. If you are like me you spend quite a bit of time at work. In our zeal to either move up the corporate ladder or finish a big project our health gets pushed to the back burner. Lunch is either something quick out of the vending machine or some type of fast food delivery. When you throw in the fact that our jobs are more and more sedentary you have recipe for disaster. Many of my clients attribute a lot of their weight gain to sitting down all day at their jobs. I know that it may seem like there is not anything you can do about it but taking a few small steps can make a huge difference. Here are five ways you can workplace a healthier environment:

1. Keep healthy foods at your job. Having Greek yogurt, apples, bananas, mixed nuts, carrots, etc around the office makes the cake in the break room less tempting.  

2. Get up and move. Moving around and doing some basic office exercises can help fight fatigue, increase productivity and boost job satisfaction. Here is an entire office exercise program that does not require a lot of time or sweat to do (https://howardpower.wordpress.com/2013/10/16/office-exercise/)

3. Water water and more water. Over half of our body is made up of water and if we do not get enough headaches, fatigue, weight gain, etc start to happen. The more water we drink the less bad stuff we put in our bodies. 

4. Take a breather. Jobs are stressful but if we do not sit back and take a breath the stress can consume us. Stress is linked to high blood pressure, heart disease, and other disease. Take a few minutes every hour to either walk around, lay your head down, laugh, etc. 

5. Manage your time better. A lot of times we stress about things not because they are so hard but because we are rushing to finish them. If we manage our time better we tend to not rush or have so much work left to do at the end of the day which in turn stress us out. Make a schedule of your daily events on either a big office calendar or an app on your phone or tablet. The minutes you save throughout the day add up big time.