With the change of seasons and only 3 months left in the year, comes an opportunity to reflect on what's working for us and what we may need to change. This concept will apply to our workouts as well as our lives in general. Try to let go of the negative or unimportant things and concentrate on the positive. For example, we all have something good to share with others... it may be attitude, knowledge, happiness, or encouragement. Why not focus on this for a little while? Wait and see where it takes you. After all, it always feels better to give than to receive!
Do we ever really appreciate our good health? Maybe not until we experience an injury, sickness, illness or some type of condition that sets us back. In reality, most of us are striving every day to either maintain our good health, or to get it back! Either way, I believe that it is super important to keep a strong mental attitude (think positive) and to listen to how our bodies are responding. The mental game is just as important as the physical aspect. I see it all the time in athletes, as well as non-athletes when they share their stories of miraculous recoveries. It's awesome to see people using their 'brain-power' in a healing way!
What does pain mean during a workout? Sometimes pain is a sign to pull back. Sometimes pain means you need to make adjustments in your posture, amount of weight you're lifting, form, technique, alignment, or timing. Sometimes a little pain leads to great improvements... And I love the saying that sometimes pain is just weakness leaving your body! So know your body, know your pain threshold and know when the "No Pain, No Gain" saying is acceptable and when it is not.
How soon after I workout should I eat? And what should I eat? These are some questions that come up frequently with my clients. In short, we should eat as soon after the workout as possible... within 30 minutes, if possible. This meal should consist of both carbohydrate and protein. We need to replenish our protein stores as well as the carbohydrates in order to restore the depleted muscle glycogen. An example of a good post-workout meal would be a whey-protein drink with fruit and/or fruit juice. This type of protein will be digested by your body much faster than any solid food or other type of protein. Remember to stay away from fats after the workout because they will slow down the digestive process.
If you are working to improve your balance and coordination, Congratulations! Research tells us that falls are the leading cause of injuries in adults over the age of 65. I can agree with this 100% based on many years experience in working with this population. Furthermore, the fear of falling can actually cause people to fall. I have witnessed this as well. Yet, there are so many ways to improve balance in and out of the gym. Using balls, balance boards, rocking boards, a bosu are all great, but you do not need any equipment at all! Talk to a trainer about a program, but practicing standing on one leg, or doing some exercises barefoot are two great ways to work on your balance and prevent falls. Many yoga poses are designed to improve balance as well. I encourage you to consult with a qualified fitness professional before deciding on a balance routine, just as you would with any new physical regimen.
Although my golf clients have seen great results with their golf conditioning, I still sense a bit of caution among many golfers when it comes to their workouts. What are you guys afraid of? All of the top golf pros are training in the gym with golf-specific exercises. The results are usually seen within weeks during your golf game. Whether you need to improve stability, mobility, balance or your mental game, a golf fitness routine is beneficial. I highly suggest a TPI-based assessment. You will not regret putting the time and energy into this, as it will pay off in your game almost immediately!
If you are trying to control your weight or lose weight, should you skip meals? NO!! And that goes especially for breakfast! Not only do we need this meal for energy, but breakfast also jump-starts our metabolism for the day and helps to get us on the right track for successful choices later. I always encourage my clients to eat 5-6 smaller meals throughout the day to maintain sugar and energy levels and stabilize their mood. If we allow ourselves to become famished, we may lose all control and eat whatever we can find quickly, and chances are this won't be something healthy! So remember to eat a healthy breakfast every morning, and you set yourself up for success.
Most of my clients need to improve their balance, core strength, and alignment. All of these issues can be addressed with functional exercises. Although the machines are useful for strength gains, I suggest using a variety of tools instead if you are trying to make functional gains. Medicine balls, TRX straps, stability balls, the bosu, rocking boards, foam rollers...the list goes on and on. There are many ways to change up the routine and have some fun during your workouts if you are trying to gain functional strength.
Tendonitis, arthritis, bursitis... I have so many clients with the "itis" issues. I talk to people every day who are suffering from these and other inflammatory conditions. Although we do what we can during the workouts to maintain range of motion and functionality, I also believe that some people can actually improve these conditions with a modified diet. There is now a lot of information available about an anti-inflammatory diet. I believe that if we were to make even 3 basic dietary changes, we could improve our bodies ability to control inflammation. 3 helpful ideas are listed below:
1) Increase your omega fish oils and foods high in this product (such as salmon, mackerel, tuna, olive oils, nuts, avocodo, etc).
2) Add fruits and vegetables which are strong antioxidants and therefore helpful in strengthening our immune system.
3) Reduce the amount of dairy in your diet (which may actually lead to inflammation in our bodies).
Consulting a dietician is always a great way to get started as well.