How to Avoid the New Year's Resolution Injuries

Tis the season for New Year’s Resolutions. Now for most people this time of year means a new beginning, trying new things, and sometimes even inching out of our comfort zone. When it comes to exercise this can be a great thing! Variety in training helps keep things fun, exciting, and challenging. The problem is due to lack of experience and knowledge, these new endeavors can sometimes lead to serious injuries that can ruin your year.

 

Here is a list of tips that can help you avoid those unwanted injuries and help get your New Year started off right.

 

1. Proper Technique- Always remember to use proper form and technique during any exercises program. Ask a professional to assess your form, or use a mirror to make sure your performing your exercises correctly. 

 

2. Warming Up- Always make sure to warm-up for 5 minutes before each exercise routine. Some great dynamic warm-up exercises are windmills, torso twists, sky arm reaches, wrist circles, neck circles, lunges, lateral leg swings, and toe touches. 

 

3. Hire a Pro- One of the best ways to avoid injury is to take a few lessons with a certified trainer. This will help ensure your body is in proper alignment while you’re working out, which can go a long way toward protecting you from exercise injuries.

 

4. Act Your Age- Unfortunately as we get older it takes our body longer to recover and injures happen more easily. When approaching any new exercise program remember to be smart and take it slow. Water aerobics, indoor biking, and walking on the treadmill are all great ways to start working out. You can check your local communities for Senior programs, or even try free classes at local gyms. Leave your ego at home. Too many people try to act like their twenty again and the end result is that you do too much too quickly for too long with too much intensity and injury is often the end result. 

 

5. Don’t Overdo It- Repetitive movements can lead to shin splints, tendinitis, and chronic muscle soreness. Athletes fall prey to this mentality more than any other demographic. Most of the time I see this happening to new gym goers, because they are scared of variety and want to stick with what has worked for them in the past. While doing one exercise over and over will certainly help you perfect it, it can also set you up for a  variety of workout related injuries. Try varying your workout every couple weeks. For example, instead of running everyday try biking, swimming, tennis, Zumba, or HIIT cardio classes. If you’re an avid weight lifter, then instead of lifting single muscle group (arms, chest, back, legs), try performing total body workout routines with lighter weight.

Always remember the principle F.I.T.T., which stands for Frequency, Intensity, Time, and Type. Switching up anyone of these in your routine will help prevent injury and keep things fun. Plus varying your workouts will keep your body guessing, which means faster results! 

 

6. Remember your Sex- Both men and women have specific gender-related physiologic issues that can set them up for injuries when they do specific types of workouts. Now I'm not saying certain genders should avoid certain types of workouts, but it does mean precautions should be take when performing some exercises. For example, women have more flexibility in their joints, especially the knees. This makes them more prone to ACL injuries, so they should take greater care when participating in activities that require quick "twist and turn" leg motions, such as skiing, basketball, and racquet sports. Men are better at rigid movements like Olympic weight lifting, push-ups, and machines, but because of their lack of flexibility activities requiring multiple or diagonal planes of motion, like Pilates, yoga, Zumba, stair steppers, or cycling, can cause greater risk of injury.

 

*The most important tip of all is always listen to your body. You're the best judge of how you feel during, or after a workout and always ask a professional before starting any new workout routine. 

Why don't Resolutions work?

Every year we start with the best intentions of achieving all of our goals. The New Year often breathes new life into our workout routines. Often it’s a chance to start over where we have failed many times before. For many of us it's like turning a new page in our life. According to the Journal of Clinical Psychology, approximately 50 percent of the population makes resolutions each New Year. Among the top resolutions are weight loss, exercise, stopping smoking, better money management, and debt reduction.

Some people say resolutions are a form of "cultural procrastination" using them as a way to reinvent oneself.  They can often be useful in motivating us to get our butts in gear for the New Year. The problem is people aren't willing to change their bad habits, which is why there is such a high failure rate in actual reaching our resolutions. Maybe one reason we don't change our bad habits is because as human begins we would rather continue doing something that doesn't work, than try something new that could work, but could also fail. We are creatures of habit and routine, so we keep telling ourselves this will be the year it works. Unfortunately, year after year this failure created distrust within ourselves. "Why keep doing the same thing if I keep failing at it?" This  distrust in ourselves leads people to quit all together. 

What's the solution then?   Well often goals are unrealistic, not specific enough, and based on willpower, not systems. You can't rely on willpower alone to succeed. If you try and build a house without nails it's only a matter of time before the house falls, right? The same goes for your mindset. Think of the systems you build as your nails and the willpower as the wood.  For example, if you want to lose 10 pounds, then start a food diary, or pre-make your food for the week. You can't simply "will" the weight off, but you can create a system of planning and logging your food. Now let's say you have a goal of walking more this year. Again "willing" yourself to walk more isn't enough, but you can create a system of parking further away from work, taking the stairs more, or walking the dog an extra 10 minutes every day.

The point is your system is the structured habits you bring into your daily routine. This structure will help you achieve your goals much more easily.Creating your own system can be easy. I often create a system using the familiar acronym.

S.M.A.R.T. 

Specific

Measurable

Attainable

Relevant

Time-bound

If your resolutions match up with all of these areas, then you’re well on your way to achieving all of your fitness goals. 

Another big technique that can help is having someone to hold you accountable to your goals. Maybe a family member, workout partner, or even your best friend can help. Personal trainers are a great way to make sure you reach your goals. It's there job to keep you on track, implement a system in your daily routine, and keep records of your progress, so you can see your results over time. 

like using mini goals as another technique to help me reach my resolution for the year. These are simple, shot term goals that you can achieve within 6-30days. For example, walk 1 mile, or no sugar for 30 days.  Once you start meeting these goals the positive momentum will carry over and help you achieve the even bigger goals you have for the year. 

Well hopefully some of these techniques can help guide you in the right direction this New Year. Just remember be specific, be realistic, and use a system and you just might achieve that resolution you have failed in achieving so many times before. 

Is 10 minutes of working out, better than none?

In this blog I want to cover a topic that i have discussed with many of many clients of the years. How can I workout on my own if I just don't have the time?  Over the years I have had this discussion many times with clients and the response is usually the same. I would say "Did you find time to workout this week? They would say, " Kevin I just don't have the time to workout with my crazy schedule." I would then tell them the usually response, " You have to make time for your health.", or " "A little bit of fitness goes along way."  But a lot of them still just couldn't find the time. I started to ask myself, "Why is this lack of free time so common among most of my people I meet? Then I started to notice this commonalty of Americans in general, regardless of their occupation,  everyone seem to be working more and focusing on their health even less.  In fact in a recent study by the Bureau of Labor Statistics says,  "over 20 percent of the total work force reported working over 49 hours a week." "Eleven million of those said they worked more than 59 hours a week."  This can be seen by the increasing demand of after care school activities, and the rise in number of children in day care.

Now you can probably blame it on our extreme work ethic, increasing stress to provide for our family, or the pressure just to keep our jobs.  Either way Americans just can't seem to stop working more then they should. 

After thinking of a solution to this problem I came up with little experiment to try. I would try working out for just 10 minutes a day for 2 weeks and see if I could get any results. Now at first I hypothesized that I wouldn't see any results, because I have been an active athlete all my life and I'm used to working out 1-2 hours a day. But to my surprise after the 2 weeks were up I did a notice a couple things had changed. I had more energy and my mood had changed as well. I believed the positive mood was do to having more time to get my work, family obligations, and daily errands done. Now this means I was working more, so I don't think that was an overall good thing, but the added energy I got from the shorter workout periods helped me stay more focused mentality and physically through out the week. Now I'm not saying 10 minutes workouts are the only thing you need to stay fit, but for the workalcholics, busy parents, or entrepreneurs out there it's better than doing nothing at all.  Now most of you have heard about HIIT or High Intensity Cardio, but few of you actually have try it out. The objective is to perform a  certain group of exercises (5-10) with little to no rest for 10 minutes straight. It seems simple enough, but it actually is pretty challenging. The best part is that you decided how hard to push yourself. The goal is to do 90-100% intensity, but I would recommend starting slow for the first couple weeks, then increase the intensity accordingly. Below are some sample workouts to try.

HIIT Sample Workouts

Workout #1

  • Squats
  • Lunges
  • Burpees
  • Mountain Climbers
  • Push-ups
  • Planks
  • Jumping jacks

Workout #2

  • Squat Jumps
  • Ice Skaters
  • Dips
  • Mountain Climbers
  • Sit-ups
  • Planks
  • Lunge Jumps

Workout #3

  • Burpees
  • Box Jumps
  • Crunches
  • Wall Sits
  • High Knees (Running in Place)
  • Shoulder Presses

 (20 sec on,10 sec rest)- Perform these exercises in a row until the 10 minutes are up.

So my observations with my clients were correct. People are working more and working out even less. It's no wonder the rising number of overweight and obese people in America is reaching over 70%. Now I know some of you are thinking, "This HIIT thing is just too intense for me." Which for a lot of people could be true.But don't start giving up on staying fit just yet.  If you have 10 minutes, then you have time to be fit no matter what you do, so just do something! It may not seem like much, but here is a list of some other things you can do in 10 minute, or less. 

  • Take the Stairs
  • Get Up and Move Around-Sit Less and Move more!
  • Mediate
  • Yoga
  • Jump Rope
  • Run Sprints
  • Dance
  • Roughhousing with your kids
  • Line Time Workout-The next time that you're standing in line at the grocery store–or anywhere, for that matter–use the time for a little fitness. Try some calf raises, lifting up onto the balls of your feet, then returning to flat feet. Contract your abdominals by gently drawing your navel towards your spine.

The list of exercises is endless and there are so many resources on the web today to help give you some ideas of what to do for a great 10 minute workout. Just remember like I always tell my clients,  "you get out of it, what you put in". So work smart and hard for those 10 minutes and you'll see the benefits.

So in conclusion the question remains is 10 minutes better than none? The answer is yes.  You bet your soon to be skinny ass it is! 

Trainer of the Month-Sam Hoops

TB.S. Exercise Science University of Texas at Arlington

STOTT PILATES® trained in Mat, Reformer, Cadillac

TRX Suspension Trainer, Group Suspension Trainer

My passion for movement began many years ago with a Pilates Reformer class taken at the local gym in Dallas, Texas. I was hooked from the moment I pressed the carriage out for footwork, so much so that I began to explore other types of movement, specifically ballet. Pilates reinforced many grueling hours of dance training by allowing me to move freely from an impeccably stabilized core. Not only did Pilates improve my dance, it also helped me discover how to use my new found core strength in everyday movement. While searching for other types of core fitness, I stumbled upon a TRX Group Suspension Trainer class which sparked my interest. This simplistic design of anchored heavy duty straps exposed the imbalances in my body. With my keen eye for movement and a strong background in functional fitness (i.e. Pilates, TRX Suspension Trainer), movement of any kind can be fluid, efficient, and intentional.

Extreme Workout of the Week

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Ok here is another great High Intensity Workout to try this week.

Caution: This workout is for advanced athletes, and lifters only. 

1. Suicide Runs- Make sure you have at least 25 yards, or the length of a basketball court. Mark 5 spots each at least 5 yards apart. Sprint at 90% intensity to each line then sprint back to the beginning. Repeat this until you hit all lines. Then immediately perform exercise 2.

2.Weighted Sled Pushes- Recommended weight-45-100 pounds. Space-50 yards. Push the sled running as fast as you can for 50 yards. 

3. Burpee to Push-up Arm Curl- Recommended weight 10-25 pounds- Perform a Burpee followed by 2 full push-ups (knees, or toes), then stand up and perform an 1 arm curl. Repeat this for 15 reps total. 

4. Kettle bell Power Swings- Recommended weight 10-40lbs. Stand with feet little more than should width apart. Grab the kettle bell and squat down swinging the weight between your legs and back up explosively to eye level. Use the momentum and repeat this motion for 20 reps. 

5. Kettle bell Single Leg Deadlift to Row- Recommend weight 10-40lbs-Stand on 1 foot with the weight in the opposite hand. Begin by bending over at the waist, keeping both knees straight, until you torso is parallel to the floor. Row the weight up to the torso then back down. Stand back up and repeat for 12 reps each leg. 

6. Planks- Hold a plank position for 90 seconds. Make sure your core stays tight and hips are neutral. You can do the plank on your knees, or toes. 

7 .Finish this round with another Suicide Run

*Only allow 15 seconds of rest in between each exercises if necessary. Rest 1 minute after each complete round. Perform 3 rounds of this routine. 

7 Great Balance Exercises To Start Your Day

Perform each exercise for 1 minute on each side, or 2minutes total

1 . Single Leg Nose Touches- Stand on 1 foot with both arms extending out in a T formation. Begin by bringing 1 arm in bending at the elbow to touch the front of your noise. Repeat this motion for the other side.  Do this for 2 minutes, alternating arms.

*Try closing your eyes to make this exercise harder. 

2. Toe Raises-Stand on your feet with your body straight. Begin by lifting your toes up, balancing on your heels, then drop them back to the floor. Repeat this motion for 2 minutes

3. Toe Curls- Stand on your feet with your body straight. Begin by curling your toes in, without lifting your foot. Repeat this motion for 2 minutes.

4. Single Leg Balance or (Heel/Toe)- Stand on 1 foot for 1 minute each side. Make sure to keep your core tight. If this is too difficult, then you may try standing heel to toe for 1 minute each position. 

5. Single Leg Balance to Overhead Arm Raises- Stand on 1 foot. Raise arms all the way up above your head then back down to your sides. Repeat this motion for 1 minute each leg.

6. Single Leg Balance with Leg Kickbacks- Stand on 1 foot and extend your opposite leg behind your, squeezing the hamstrings and glute. Repeat this motion for 1 minute each side.

7. Single Leg Knee Raises- Stand on 1 foot while raising the opposite knee up and down. Repeat this motion for 1 minute each leg. 

*You may use a wall for added support if necessary