We have some exciting stuff for you this week!  If everything falls into place we will be on Chanel 2 at 8:30am this week on Wednesday morning.  We will be talking about the miraculous stories of two of our beloved Lab Rats Michael Marker (lost total of 133lbs) and Voy Andrews (lost 117lbs and counting).  Both of who lost over 100lbs in under 1 year, with only 1hr of exercise per day, starting at the ripe age of 50!  The exciting part is not only how fast they did it, but HOW.   Not your conventional cardio bunny rat race, and not with restrictive 1200 calorie diets. NONE of that, they eat all day, and TONS of weights have been lifted!  Voy does 30 minutes of cardio a week TOTAL!

BUT the other exciting part is the fact that they are REAL people.  No HOLLYWOOD biggest loser situations with 6 hrs of exercise per day, weight loss ranches, hundreds of thousands in prize money, and crazy sadistic trainers.  Wait, maybe they did have a crazy sadistic trainer.  BUT, the point is they put into 1 week what those BIG LOSERS put in 1 day!!! Please check it out on Wednesday morning!

Next, I am very excited to introduce to you, a ‘partner in pain production’: Dr. Gina Lamonica, DPT!

Gina is a member of our insane Bootcamp, however she is also a marvelous physical therapist, who loves to run, attend bootcamp, and all around, “make it hurt!”  Gina has the gift if gab and one thing you might really appreciate in her article below is her ability to GET TO THE POINT (As opposed to someone else you know who tends to get a bit windy;).  Her clever, witty, and straight forward points will knock you out of your chair and kneeling on the ground begging for more!  Give it to us Gina!

Below Gina talks about something that so many people abuse and misuse.  The first thing ANY of our clients at The Lab learn about is POSTURE.  We teach the optimal positions to support your structure of bones, joints, muscles, tendons, and ligaments so that we may build on top of a strong foundation.  Our clients then hold these postures as we go through progressively difficult exercise movements and maintaining these postures under weight loads is what makes you more athletic, able, and less injury prone!  And, once mastered, more advanced movements are introduced.  BUT, if posture is inadequate, we can’t progress.  Likewise,  if you are further exacerbating an imbalance you are setting yourself for injury and the wrong kinds of pain, or worse under the knife in the ortho’s office.  Gina, shares my philosophy that we will do everything we can FIRST to keep someone from undergoing the knife or resorting to a pill. The human body is miraculous if you know how to work with it.

You know who you are, you may finally take the plunge to get to the gym and throw down, but do you perform the CORRECT amount of stretches. or perform them at all?  Failing to do so can leads to many problems as you will find out below. This is not your normal stretch article, Gina talks about the finer points below to keep your body in BALANCE!

PS:  Many of you may opt to try yoga in order to improve your ‘flexibility.’  While I have no problems with yoga in general.  This is not exactly the answer.  If you take away the message of Gina’s report, you will find that specific and focused stretching is what you need.  Not, generalized, aggressive stretching for an hour forcing EXTREME unstable postures (especially not in heated rooms God forbid!).  My point is that many times I have heard complaints of injuries from people jumping into yoga with the right intentions and leaving with a tweaked back….enough already…read below.
Enjoy this Majuscule!

Muscle Imbalance: The root of all orthopedic evils.

By: Dr. Gina LaMonica, DPT

The Guilty Position (aka: the OPPOSITE of the posture hold): “I Like to smell my own farts too, but this is RIDICULOUS!  And if I ever see you doing it, I promise I will light that fart on fire.”

But I digress…

Muscle balance is achieved by a combination of strengthening and stretching various muscle groups.  We depend on this (sometimes delicate) balance to maintain proper body mechanics and delegate appropriate stresses through our joints.

I myself am guilty of stretch-dodging.  In my mind, nothing beats a good sweat and a racing heart when it comes to my workouts.  Chasing the adrenaline rush or ‘runners high’ frequently leaves me with inadequate stretching time.  For more than a few years now, I have suffered the consequences of my foolishness in the form of occasional back pain.

Stiff hip musculature and laxity in my core (or “lazy abs”) is the ultimate mother of my pain.  In my experience, this particular muscle imbalance is at the root of many incidents of chronic, recurring back pain.  The theory is simple: the stiff muscles in my hips pull on my pelvis and spine with greater force than the muscles in my torso winning the battle of the back (hips = 1, core = 0) This results in inappropriate forces through many of the tiny joints between the vertebrae in my spine (‘facet joints’).  My spine responds to the abuse by sending pain signals to my brain, essentially begging me to take the time to correct the situation.

When my back cries loud enough; I stop, apologize, swallow my pride, and take the time to nurture my muscle imbalance.  Usually, this means stretching the hell out of my hamstrings, gluts, and lateral rotators.  I also spend some quality time re-visiting my ‘lower’ abdominal muscles.  Suddenly, it becomes easier to maintain that ‘posture-hold-position’ Justin is always harping over and (bonus!) I feel less like an 85-year-old.

The beloved posture hold: “Pull arms back tight, shoulders pulled back and down, chest pushed up and out, head and eyes forward, low back tight and arched/con-caved, draw in the abs to the spine (without losing that arch;), flex the knees slightly, weight in the heels, curl your toes up, now hold tight and don’t let me push you over.”  The posture hold according to Justin Thacker This may not reflect everyone views on posture).

Finding your personal muscle imbalance ultimately takes the expertise of a trained professional.  Still, let my personal pain story be a warning to those of you who may be heavy on strength training and light on flexibility.

Tips on smart stretching:

1)      Achieve a “gentle” pulling sensation in the desired muscle.  Aggressive overstretching may lead to injury! (I’ve seen it, not pretty)

2)      Hold static stretches for a full 20-30 seconds.  This does NOT mean speed-count to twenty.  Toss in those ‘Mississippi’s or ‘one-thousands’ or (gasp) use a watch with a second-hand!  Studies show that 30 seconds (and no longer) is ideal to gain flexibility.1

3)      Resist the urge to bounce.  A good prolonged, STATIC stretch will better achieve desired lengthening results.  Bounding or “ballistic’ stretches may actually trigger a reflexive muscle contraction and the desired benefits will be lost.

4)      Don’t overstretch already long muscles!  Unless you’re planning to run off with the circus as the ‘marvelous human pretzel’ stick to ‘normal’ range of motion in all joints.  Stability and flexibility is key to overall health

5)      Stretch after a warm up or workout when muscles are ‘warm’.  Think of stretching a piece of taffy cold verses warm (sticky!) taffy.  Muscles are a lot like taffy, just not as tasty.

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