Category Archives for "Training"

Injury is a Teacher

I am reminded often that getting older is not for sissies. For those of us who live in New England, I think that is why it is so fascinating to see an athlete like Tom Brady maintain a high level of performance in a very demanding game for so long. He said this morning on WEEI he wants to keep playing for a few more years, although he only negotiated with Gisele for another year. I bet that's getting as difficult as winning another Super Bowl!

I have been training off and on with weights since I was a teenager. (Unfortunately for a number of years I was a lot more "off" than "on"). I have never had a severe training accident in the gym which caused me to miss a bunch of time. But there are times I have done something unwise which put me out of commission for a few days.

If there is one thing injuries have taught me over the years is this:

Avoid Them At All Costs!

Now you may be thinking "no duh", but don't dismiss the obvious. Getting injured is not only about accidental slips and falls. Sometimes the "come out of nowhere" aches and pains are the cumulative effect of ignoring the seemingly minor. 

Here are three things you shouldn't ignore:

1) Attention To Properly Warming Up.

I didn't write just "warming up" for a reason. Being present and going through the motions is not the same as giving attention to it. Focus on each and every movement, work to complete the full range of motion, and spend the time getting focused for your session.

2) Pain.

There IS a difference between pain, tightness, and soreness. I designed this poster with the input of Dr. Brett Coapland at Performance Health a number of years ago. The take home on this? Your coach needs to know! 

2) The Stress of Daily Life.

I want you to train has hard as you should, every day you are supposed to be here. And yes, I said "should" not "can" purposely. None of us our at our best 100% of the time. The teacher of experience has taught me when to go full bore and when to back off a little. Technologies like HRV monitoring keep me honest about it. Learning this has also kept me from making the mistake so many of us do - not training when we don't "feel" like it. I don't feel like it more often than you may think, which is why I have training partners and why training with a coach and group that will keep you accountable is vital to long term success.

Injury is not something I want any of you to experience. The good news is - being proactive and paying attention to the "Big 3" outlined above can go a long way to preventing it. 

Remember. You can't train if you have a serious enough injury. If you are tight, sore, or in pain, let us know. That way we can help you or refer to someone who can. Eat like an adult. Sleep like a baby. Train like your best life depends on it.

Because it does.

Coach Dean

P.S. Please share this post by clicking the buttons below or to the left. Facebook is our friend! 🙂

Stability Breeds Strength

Are you stable?

If you ask most people that question about me, the answer is a resounding no, but I digress.

The American Council on Exercise defines fitness related stability as: the ability to maintain or control joint movement or position. Stability is achieved by the coordinating actions of surrounding tissues and the neuromuscular system.

Before you start yawning, let me tell you why this is all about you. The more appropriate stability you can demonstrate and achieve, the more of a rock star you will be in the gym. Seriously, I am not even kidding a little! 🙂

In fact, you will never reach your full potential until you have developed your personal optimal stability (and mobility, but that's for another day).

The practical ramifications of stability include being able to control your joints on uneven or unstable surfaces and staying off your butt. Icy driveway in a NH winter anybody? 

Postural stability is critical in the controlled environment of the gym as well. Heavy lifts (relative to your current strength, skill and ability) is crucial for proper performance and injury prevention. 

In my own training, as well as my programming, working on stability has become a "big rock". In other words it's a consistent focal point. Now that doesn't mean I don't still lift heavy things off the floor, but I am lot more careful to address left to right imbalances and instability on a consistent basis. I know that is what is going to help you and me train hard for the rest of our lives. I learned the hard way that ignoring unilateral instability not only stunted my gains, but it put me in a world of hurt. 

For this kind of work I like to program training tools that create a requirement to stabilize through the core and fire the myriads of little muscle we don't even think about.

Let's take the Turkish Getup for example; I can perform them with a 12kg Kettlebell very easily, but a 25 pound sandbag, with it's shifting contents, requires significantly more effort to perform. If you have been training here lately, you know what I am talking about.

We are also starting to implement tools such as Leverbells into our training programs, which are a whole new way to promote and enhance stability. Far from being the latest "fad" tool, these bad boys have been around in some form for a gazillion years (at least). They were introduced to me by Josh Henkin of DVRT fame, and after getting some instruction and training with them, we decided to share the joy with you.  You're welcome. 🙂

Here's an easy way to test your stability (and strength), and also to identify left to right imbalances.

In Case You're Wondering, This Is Cheating.

Stand on one foot, bring your thigh parallel to the floor and your lower leg perpendicular to the floor. How long can you stand there? Now try the other leg.  A baseline time to achieve is 60 seconds per leg. If you can stand for significantly more time on one rather than the other, you have a left to right imbalance, for some reason. Could be mobility, stability, or strength. 

Remember strength is relative, no matter if you ever want to lift heavy weights or not. You must have ENOUGH strength to stabilize, so don't ignore strength training. This stuff helps with cardio too. Your joints must be healthy and have the stability required to take the repetitive forces cardio produces. It applies to everyone, so if you are an "everyone", it applies to you!

Let's get stable!

Coach Dean

Get Your Zen On and Track Your Training

In December 2018 we moved switched our client software to ZenPlanner from MindBody online. Now before you give me a "So What?", hang with me as I share what that means for you!

Besides being a lot easier for us to use and manage, ZenPlanner has some really cool features for you, specifically the ability to track benchmark workouts and things like personal best on your lifts. 

The first thing you need to do is head on over to the Apple app store or Google Play and download the Member App. The links are included below.

Apple iOS: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/zen-planner-member-app/id1065000091?mt=8

Android: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.zenplanner.memberapp&hl=en_US

After you have the app all loaded up on your device, login with your email address (the one provided us when you signed up as a training client) and your password. Those passwords were sent to you either in December when we did the transition, or when you become a client. If you need to reset your password, click this link and then the "forget your password" link on that page.

Once you are logged into your app, you are good to go! Below are a couple videos I shot showing how easy it is to use the app. 

Note: We will not be programming all our workouts into the app. We will from time to time have specific metrics that we will want you to track, and we'll let you know on those days. But as you can see below, you can record a ton of different lifts and personal best on any day you want. Give it a try, you might just find out how motivating tracking your progress really is!

Make It Happen!

Coach Dean




Recover, Rest and Regenerate. Here’s What To Do (and not to do) Next Week

Three Steps for Successful Recovery

Here's what happens during a successful training phase. 
And Here's what happens when we are not getting enough recovery:

You don't have to understand all the science behind these charts to understand that we want the "Performance" line going up, not down. Healthy eating habits, enough restful sleep, and stress management play a role in the successful day-to-day, workout-to-workout recovery cycle.

Recovery weeks take the concept one step further by taking an extended time of recovery physically, physiologically, and psychologically. Here's what we are accomplishing:

1.) Physical Rest and Regeneration

  • Our bodies must rest and recover to prevent over-training (or under-recovering) issues so that we can come back 100% healthy and energized for the next phase of the program. Recovery is a planned part of your training program, and the CHRISTMAS recovery week is especially important, as we are just coming off a long training phase. My body is feeling it, so I know it's time to take a break.
  • Focus on maintaining and/or increasing flexibility and tissue health by stretching and foam rolling daily. 10-15 minutes two or three times this week will keep you in the flow.
  • Daily restorative walks are beneficial during this week. 30 minutes briskly walking (not jogging/running) will keep your body refreshed and active, without negating the purpose of this week. Relax and unwind.

2.) Physiological and Psychological Rest and Regeneration

  • Recovery weeks allow us to normalize key anabolic hormones, refill muscle glycogen, increase caloric intake, and prevent any diet induced catabolism (losses of lean body mass) so that we can enjoy greater fat loss for the next phase of the program
  • For this week, take a break from stressing about food (I do it too). Don't make it a free for all, and staying away from your “trigger foods” (junk foods and sweets) might still be wise. On the other hand don't get worked up about office parties and family gatherings. Be aware, and do your best.
  • Plan (key word) and enjoy 2 or 3 controlled free meals over the next couple of weeks, but don't overdo it. No Santa Bellies! 🙂
  • Stay tuned, as the end of this week we have some exciting news!

3.) Celebrate the Fruits of Your Labor

Take some time to reflect on how far you have come since you joined Cr8 Fitness. You have worked hard to improve your overall health, body composition, and performance. Some of y'all have been here a short time, some a long time. The cool thing is that we can still keep getting better every day.

Enjoy your holidays. They CAN be stressful, but how we respond to that stress goes a long way toward a better quality of life, and better health.

As this training phase and training year comes to a close, on behalf of Nancy and myself I want to say thank-you. It has been a year of change, like most are. Since we sold Concord in July much has happened. I am grateful for our continued relationship with Get Fit NH. I am grateful for those who have embraced the change in Epsom and Cr8 Fitness. I look forward to the new year with a confident expectation that the best is yet to come, and I am grateful you are here with us!

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

Coach Dean

Are You Ready TO Fall? (Bonus Video)

Sitting here writing this at 11:30 in the morning, after having shoveled the driveway and parking lot TWICE already today, with the snow still coming down, it's really hard to believe it's not officially winter yet.

Who made THAT rule?

Anyway, as I was pondering the fact it is still fall, I was reminded of a startling statistic shared by Coach Dan John.

28,000 Americans die from falls and fall-related injuries - every year.

That is pretty crazy. But check out what else he has to say...

"As I’m talking today, the Ebola virus is in the news. The chances of any of you picking up Ebola are pretty rare, but the chances of one of you having a fall and getting hurt are pretty high. Here’s an interesting thing: At my age, if I was told today by my doctor that I have cancer and my friend, who is also 57, was to fall today and hurt himself, statistically in two years, my chances of survival in the United States are greater."

Is that sinking in? Have you ever heard of this? Is anybody really talking about it and taking it seriously? Why is there no "Society for the prevention of falls and fall related injury"? And I am only half-joking.

We all tend to laugh at the "I've fallen and I can't get back up" commercials. But I wouldn't want to be in that position.

You may have noticed that as you get older, you don't bounce, or bounce back, quite like you used to - I know I have. The good news is there is something you can do about, Get strong, Stay Strong. Build in some "margin" in your joints, tendons and ligaments with mobility and flexibility work. Practice balancing on one foot - now add weight. Drop to the ground and get back up. At Cr8 Fitness, we do all of that for a reason. So WHEN you fall, you CAN get back up.

And that's no joke.

To your best health, for a long time.

Coach Dean

P.S. Took the family to the trampoline park in Concord the other day. I fell, a lot, but I had a blast. Most parents were standing on the sidelines, watching the kids have all the fun. BOO! Train to stay in the game!


How Your Training is like Thanksgiving

Every year on Thanksgiving we load up our plate with all the wonderful foods we love. Next time you hit the gym load up your training plate in much the same way. 

Here's what I mean. At Cr8 Fitness we've designed your training program so that your body can get strong all over. 

What if you come in one day and your shoulders are tender from all the leaf raking you did over the weekend. Maybe your knee is bit swollen from a spill you took when you tripped on a small rut in the parking lot while grocery shopping last week. Since many of us at Cr8 Fitness are not spring chickens we tend to have stuff going on. 

That stuff doesn't have to stop us from training and training hard. We want to train smart. That is where Thanksgiving comes into the picture. Imagine for a moment that you come in on Tuesday with a slight "ick' in your shoulder. Everything else about you feels great. You just have a little something something and want to take it easy. Taking it easy is that 'polite portion' we usually take to please the hostess. Your polite portion of training might be stretching, foam rolling, or going without heavy weights for that day. BUT that polite portion doesn't apply to all of your training. As your coach I can help you determine which exercise is your polite portion while the rest of your 'Thanksgiving' Training plate can be loaded right up. 

Next time you train, use your 'Thanksgiving' Training plate. Load up your plate on everything that your body is ready for you and work with me to know what needs to just have a polite portion. 

Here is to enjoying Thanksgiving and always enjoying Thanksgiving at Cr8 Fitness's training. 

To your best Health,

Coach Nancy



PROActive Aging: The Foundation

Why I Wrote This Article Series

When I first started coaching, I didn’t think all that much about “Active Aging”. But as a 52-year old on the front side of Generation X, it comes up a bit more in my mind now. And as a coach and personal trainer, I see more and more clients in their 40’s, 50’s 60’s and even 70’s walk through our doors.

No doubt about it. Our clients (and I) still want to look good, but more often than not we want to feel good, and we don’t want to give up doing the active things we like doing. Who says you can’t keep hiking, biking, skiing and snowboarding just because you added another number to your age? I want to keep throwing the football as far as I used too, and I am working hard to stay ahead of my 15-year old in the weight room. 

At my last birthday I found myself pondering this thought:

"I know I am a year older, but I really don't FEEL any different than 10 years ago, in fact in a lot of ways I feel better. Do I really have to accept that getting older comes with unavoidable aches, pains and weight gain?"

Now don't get me wrong. I have noticed some physical changes that have come with the passing years. But they have more to do with recovery than they do with ability.

I have continued to get stronger in the gym, but he fact of the matter is I just don't bounce back from training or injury as fast as I used to. I spend more time on mobility work than I used to, and I can't pound quite as many calories as I used to and stay lean. When something gets tweaked, I am careful about addressing it, not ignoring it, confident it will eventually "go away". Part of that has to do with a little wisdom gained over the years from doing stupid things. 

Many of us are at the stage of life when we see our parents starting to struggle with the aging process too, and we want to help them as well. The fact of the matter is the more proactive we are with our physical fitness and healthy eating habits now, the far better off we will be in the next 10, 20, 30 years and beyond.

I read an article recently on this subject, and this sentence caught my eye;

"It's not the number of years you live; it's how you live them." – Jennifer Broxterman


The author then wrote something that really drove the point home. It's not about lifespan - it's about healthspan. It's not how long you live - it's how well you live. That’s our goal.


The Gap In Our Thinking

What is “Active Aging” anyway? In 2015 the World Health Organization actually replaced that term with “Healthy Aging”, and they define it this way:

“The process of developing and maintaining the functional ability that enables wellbeing in older age”. That’s a pretty solid definition. It’s what I like to call PROactive Aging.

No matter what you call it; Active Aging, Healthy Aging, Successful Aging, or Functional Aging the premise is the same to me; I want to live as actively and productively as possible, for as long as possible.

I wrote this guide because too often I see a gap in the way public policy addresses the issue.

The following were the topics at a recent Active Aging Conference in my local area:


Overview of Retirement and Social Security; What You Need to Know

The Basics of Memory Loss

Aging At Home

Proper Nutrition



Now to be sure those are all relevant topics in the discussion, and I was thrilled to see nutrition included.

But there are some glaring omissions I just couldn’t ignore.

It’s a conference on active aging that has absolutely no speakers on the subject of staying active – in other words keeping that body moving!

I am all for having an maintaining an active mind, but that head functions best when it’s sitting on a heathy body. And that requires physical activity. You don’t have to run marathons (actually please don’t), but you do need regular exercise and movement.


There are other strategies we need to consider and adopt as we work toward our best healthspan too

  • Stress Management 
  • Good Sleep Habits 
  • Having A Positive Outlook On Life
  • Surrounding Ourselves With Positive People
  • Finding Meaningful Work

And many others…

The bottom line is that good nutrition and lifestyle habits - regular appropriate exercise, healthy amounts of sleep, and stress management strategies, are the best tools to improve healthspan.

The good news? Those things are in your control. While we can't always change what happens to us, we do have a choice on how we are going to deal with the mess that life throws our way.

One of my favorite words is "resilience". One definition is; "the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties, toughness."

We hit the gym to build resilience in our bodies. A strong, flexible (dare I say "pliable", TB12 fans?) body is less prone to injury and recovers more quickly from injury than a detrained body.

We nourish our body with healthy foods to support that training, to promote healthy cell function, and to build a rock-solid immune system that fends of the ravages of illnesses and the stress of life.

We practice stress management, have good sleep habits, and having some fun as part of enjoying a happy, healthy life.

Resilience doesn't happen by accident. There is daily effort and struggle involved. But it is worth it.

The focus of this article series (I know, finally!) is to show you how to turn your happy and healthy on by learning to Eat Well, Exercise Smart, and Enjoy Your Best Life.

Next Article Focus: 

Strategy 1: Eat Well

Don't want to wait for the next article to be published? Just enter your name and email below, and I'll send you the entire article series!

Tips For Better Sleep

1. TV, Cell Phone, PC - all artificial light interferes with melatonin production - not cool. 30 minutes before bed, flip the off switch.

2. Warm water is relaxing, helps us de-stress, and just plain feels good.

3. About 67 degrees is the sweet spot.

4. ANY light interferes with the sleep process. Check under the bed and turn off the lights. 🙂

Sleep makes a body good!

- DC

Prepare Your Sleep

1. Hitting the "snooze" bar just once never seems to happen. The longer you stay in the bed, the harder to get up. Sit Up. Feet On The Floor. Stand Up.

2. Immediate natural light exposure regulates your melatonin. This helps us be awake fully in the day, ready to sleep at night.

3. Regulate your inner clock, reduce your stress, optimize your hormones. Plus you look and feel better!

4. Too much food makes it harder to sleep. Enough said.

5. Clear your mind; writing things down gets them out of your head. Planning the next day at night helps you not think about them when your trying to get some shut eye.

---

Which one of these things are you going to put into action TONIGHT?

- DC

Signs Your Sleep Stinks

Even adults need 7-9 hours of sleep a night.

1. Dependence on stimulants is a losing game, as your body needs more to get the same effect. There's no medals for drinking 8 cups of coffee a day.

2. An occasional cold happens. But if it seems like you are ALWAYS sick, it's a sign your immune system is compromised and your inflammatory response is on high alert.

3. When you don't get enough shut-eye, neurotransmitters production and hormone regulation suffer. Voila! Cranky Pants

4. Highly studied and highly underrated. Sleep better - lose weight faster (or at all). There seems to be something magical about 9 hours a night.

Don't Despair. Better sleep takes practice! What would happen if you added just one more minute of sleep per night, every night for the next two months?

- DC

>