Big Time Deal!

Hey, all you OTS Fitness Fans! Yours truly is now participating in a groupon deal. Look for it under personal training at Titan Fitness Studios. It’s a great deal, available in 2, 4, or 6 packs. Things have been very crazy the past month with life events but we are getting back on track here at OTS and would love to train YOU! When the internet gets up and running full time, there will be more informational posts – periodization, squat technique, nutrition, etc, etc. I am also working on hands-on educational group seminars, so keep your eyes and ears open!

The Absentee Client (an enlightening rant in the key of @#!!&*#@!)

Dear YOU,

“You can do it!”

There’s an important word in that sentence – YOU. Where are you? Why aren’t you here, at our appointment? I set up the weights ahead of time and that helped make ME a little stronger, but the bar sitting on the rack isn’t making YOU any stronger. For us to achieve the goals you stated you would like to achieve, YOU need to be doing SOMETHING!

Let me be a little more clear: I’m not saying that you must use my weights, or my gym, or even any “gym” at all for certain goals. We may develop a fitness plan that involves bodyweight and outdoor activities. It is irrelevant to my point. Regardless of what the activities, exercises, or therapies are, YOU have to DO them at some point. Knowing the plan and doing the plan do not get the same results.

How do we know this? Because I enjoy teaching, here’s a simplified definition for you:

SUPERCOMPENSATION = your body’s ability to attain a post-workout fitness level greater than the previous fitness level, in order to be ready for the next workout.

Supercompensation sets in after the workout’s recovery period. That higher level will be sustained for a certain amount of time, depending on the individual, and is usually a few days. If you train again within the supercompensation period, you will again improve your fitness level, and so on up to peak genetic potential. If you do not train again within the supercompensation period (wait too many days before another workout), your body will say “use it or lose it” and you will regress back to your initial fitness level.

Stimulus, recovery, supercompensation, return to baseline

This is a long-winded way of saying GET GOING! For results to happen, you have to put the time in. And then you have to put the time in AGAIN, probably a few days later, sometimes even the next day and the next day after that depending on whether you are a novice or advanced athlete. Corrective exercises and rehab should be done every day or every other day. (There will be more information on this in a future follow-up post on periodization. I haven’t forgotten!).

Where is this all coming from? The recent slew of people telling me they exercise once a week and their goals are to lose 40 pounds, have ripped arms, have a six-pack stomach, and get back to playing a full-contact collision sport on the weekends. I’ve had people say they need to lose 30 pounds and want to train with me, but they only want to see me 2x A MONTH. They’ll “just go do stuff on their own”, like walk around the park on the weekends (if they aren’t too hung over), and check in with the plan twice a month for more advice. “Starting next month, because I don’t want to start this month, what with work and all.”

Let me know how that works for you….

Some people come to me with financial difficulty in affording a trainer. I understand. It’s your money to spend how you will. If you can afford it, investing in your health, pride, and happiness is a pretty good start, I’m just saying. (Despite the unfortunate realities of income vs the cost of better quality food choices and gym memberships, etc, the ability to improve your life via exercise should not be the sole realm of those who can afford a personal trainer. There are less expensive options.) Regardless, walking in the park on weekends is not enough stimulation to cause your body to improve. You are not 80 years old. Up the intensity, grandpa! Running 2 minutes to catch your train is not sufficient activity for the day. There is no magic pill for your goals. I repeat, THERE IS NO MAGIC PILL FOR YOUR GOALS. Whether or not you see me, whether or not you join a gym or an exercise class, you have to BE THERE. Show up and put in the time!

Despite my personal feelings towards group fitness classes and the gimmicks they use, they at least work at getting a lot of people off the couch and moving. I’m not going to tell you that you have to enjoy lifting weights. Many people find it tedious and boring (not anyone who experiences my witty banter, of course) and have no motivation to stick to a plan like that. That’s fine. If it makes you show up and participate, I’ll accept it for now. We can slowly wean you off that nonsense by explaining exactly what going to spin 2 nights a week and “rock hard abs 8 minute video” are NOT doing for progressing you towards your particular goals and ARE doing for progressing your physical therapist’s and orthopedic surgeon’s bank accounts (that’s a whole other post). And most people find they DO really enjoy lifting weights when they see the actual results that happen over time and the confidence that comes with being stronger and fitter.

Stop making excuses. Stop saying work got in the way. Don’t say you can’t find the time. Make the time. It may require a lifestyle modification. If the desire is really there, you will find a way. You might need to make a way. If you haven’t, you don’t really have the desire, you just like to pretend you do. I won’t program for someone who plans to exercise twice a month. These are YOUR goals, not mine. To summarize: GET YOUR A** IN HERE.

Only The Strong

ACTIVE REST – Dr. Crystal Joseph, D.C

Welcome to ACTIVE REST, the latest addition to Only The Strong Fitness!  This is a new section consisting of interviews with intelligent and experienced members of the health and fitness community.  This section may eventually be turned into a podcast, when I figure out how to do that, but until then my humble paraphrasing and editorial skills will have to suffice.  For the first installment of ACTIVE REST I sat down and spoke with Dr. Crystal A. Joseph, D.C.  Dr. Joseph is a Certified Chiropractic Sports Practitioner and a Certified Applied Kinesiologist.  She has a background as an All-American high jumper, and is also a dancer.   She was kind enough to answer my questions during some time on the stationary bike!


OTS: To be honest, I usually refer to you guys as “chiro-quack-tors”, no offense.  Can you flesh out your background for us and what makes you different?  What the heck is an Applied Kinesiologist??

DCJ: People don’t necessarily know what a “chiropractor” is or can be.  They may only be familiar with the stereotype of “cracking backs” and having to endlessly return for more appointments without a foreseeable resolution of the problem.  There are some old school doctors still stuck in this approach who do things by rote and are not actively continuing their education or digging deeper for the root of an issue.  I believe in taking an integrative approach, which is what applied kinesiology is about.  It’s not just about the spine – I take into account all body systems.  In addition to a physical evaluation or adjustment that will include posture/gait analysis, breath assessment, full body neurological tests, deep tendon reflexes, blood pressure, and muscle testing, you will be asked to fill out a nutritional questionnaire and we will delve into the level of stress in your life, your level of activity, and so on.  This is all to determine which system or systems should be addressed in your treatment for a total body resolution of the problem.

OTS: Yes, too often it seems like practitioners are just treating symptoms, not the underlying causes.  I like the comprehensive approach and try to apply it when dealing with clients.  Is there any body system you don’t touch on?

DCJ: Often patients come in for a musculoskeletal problem and I find other issues in the evaluation, especially in the case of athletes.  They tend to feel everything is just physically based, but stress can put other body systems “out of whack”.  I also frequently have patients referred for non-musculoskeletal problems, like PMS or indigestion, and I am able to help them because of my training in applied kinesiology and in naturopathic medicine.  In kinesiology there is a belief that the body speaks a language and thus the relationship of the muscles to the functionality of systems and organs have been mapped out.  For instance, during lingual testing of supplemental vitamins and through the nutritional questionnaire, I may find that a patient is lacking in a certain nutritional need and that is causing a body system to malfunction, which is then causing a musculoskeletal discomfort that can cascade through the body.

OTS: Example?

DCJ: Let’s look at a patient that comes in with a complaint of neck pain.  A visual exam shows they have a forward head posture with rounded shoulders and need to stand up straighter and spend less time hunched over their computer.

OTS: Shocking…

DCJ: I know, I know…  So, upon further physical exam, I find that they have very tight quadricep muscles, pulling their pelvis into anterior tilt and causing hyperlordosis and hyperkyphosis (increased curves) in the spine – the end result of those being forward head posture and neck pain.  Without the addition of information from other biological systems, I might just have them work on their muscle flexibility.  But tight quads may not just be a stretching issue.  Your quadricep muscles are also affected by the level of absorption of minerals in the small intestine.  Delving into their eating habits and stress levels may determine they are not getting what they need nutritionally.  For instance, as our age increases, our level of stomach acid production decreases, meaning we break our food down less and have less opportunity to get the vitamins and minerals needed.  This patient may need to supplement their diet with probiotics or HCL (hydrochloric acid supplement to help break down food in the stomach) to better absorb the minerals they were missing.  There is then less effect on their quadricep muscles, which will have increased flexibility, allowing their pelvis to realign correctly, ridding them of hyperlordosis in their lower back and hyperkyphosis in their upper back.  That makes it easier and more effective to use corrective exercises or manual adjustment to realign the forward head posture and relieves them of their neck pain!

With that said, I do refer patients to outside sources if necessary.  Besides biological systems, I find it very useful to stay in touch with those who can help the patient deal with mental and emotional issues that may be causing a physical complaint.  In the case of an athlete, that will be the athletic trainer, the coaches, a personal trainer, or possibly a school counselor.  These people are in constant contact with the patient, know them very well and may be close with them, and can assist in reducing or removing the cause of the stress.  It’s often a team effort.

OTS: Agreed.  As an athletic trainer I am in constant contact with PCPs, orthopedists, and other specialists, including school counselors.  Athletes especially tend to ignore the effect mental and emotional stress can have physically.  As a personal trainer, I need to pay close attention to a client’s work and home balance and it is often difficult to convince them to re-balance.

DCJ: For me, that’s what it is all about: knowing what a person does or is trying to do and breaking down what they are saying into what their hindrance is.  Then, it’s up to us guide them and get them to BALANCE themselves, whatever that may mean and by whatever means necessary.  I like to impart to them some wisdom that was given to me by my mentor, Dr. Eugene Charles, which was that “health is a process, not an event”.

OTS: Very true.  In fact, I think I’m going to steal that quote for future use!  Too many people are under the influence of commercial media, where everything has a quick fix and problems are solved in 30 minutes or less.  10 minutes for abs, etc.  I spend a good deal of time helping clients and athletes understand the process and why we may be starting our route in an unexpected or seemingly unrelated body area.  It’s good to have another voice in the mix passing on the same idea.

DCJ: It’s great to have personal trainers to refer patients to that “get it”.  It’s also great to have you guys on the team as extra guidance for myself.  I’ve had Personal Trainers help me planning my own workouts, targeting the real roots of an issue and adding functionality, and that is a large part of what has helped me continue as a competitive runner.  I transfer those ideas to my patients, especially the functionality of an exercise.  I have worked with personal trainers to have a new mother exercise with off-centered weight loads to help her get better at handling the shifting weight of a baby.  It’s not just “crunches”; it’s a real, useful, and safe core/trunk exercise that will really translate for her.  You guys keep up-to-date on all of that stuff and are a good conduit of that information for me.  It’s key as a professional to sometimes have outside guidance and be integrated as a team with professionals in related fields.  We each add a layer of expertise for the patient/client to be able to achieve a higher level of accomplishment that he or she can’t do alone.  It may be a nutritional aide, a stretching technique, an agility drill, or a balance and proprioceptive technique that will assist them in accomplishing an activity of daily living.

OTS: Absolutely true.  When I saw you for my hamstring issues and was handed a nutritional questionnaire, it was rather eye-opening, and now it seems pretty silly that I hadn’t thought much about that stuff before.  So thank you for that.  And thank you for your time answering my questions and helping OTSFitness Readers get more familiar with the ideas behind good chiropractic medicine and Applied Kinesiology.  I’ll let you get on with your workout now.  Thanks so much!

DCJ: You’re very welcome!

Dr. Joseph is located at 200 West 54th St, between Broadway and 7th Aves, in NYC.  She can be reached at 917-828-6733 or for appointments.


Demystifying calorie math

FACT: Weight loss or gain is dependent on calories in vs. calories out.

Let’s elaborate on that statement.  If you want to lose weight, you need to expend more calories than you take in, and vice versa to gain weight.  It is all just math.

So, how to determine whether your calories are net positive or negative?  The easiest way over the long term is to keep a consistent intake and simply see if you gain, lose, or maintain your weight.  However, if you want to be more exact and be able to track calories on a daily or weekly basis to make the change more manageable, you could use one of the following formulas to get a decent estimate of what you burn in a day.

The information about yourself you will need consists of: body weight (in kg), height (in cm), and age (in yrs).  Plug those numbers into this formula for your basal metabolic rate (how much energy you expend at rest).  Because the formula is sex specific the letter “S” means add 5 to the total if you are male or subtract 161 from the total if you are female.

Calories Burned = [(10.0*weight)+(6.25*height)-(5.0*age)] + S

As an example, I am 69kg, 168cm, 30yrs old, and female.  My basal metabolic rate would be 1,429 kcal burned at rest per day.

If you happen to have had your body fat measurements taken and know your amount of lean mass, you would be able to plug that number into a different formula to calculate your resting metabolic rate.  Resting and basal metabolic rates, for everyday purposes, are the same basic concept.  Use this formula with your lean body mass:

Calories Burned = 500 + (22*lean body mass in kg)

These numbers are useful because they give you an approximate starting point for the number of calories you burn each day.  The number only accounts for when you are at rest, so you would need to add in more calories for any activities throughout the day (walking, reading, lifting weights, driving, shopping, swimming, carrying your 9 month old, etc).  There is a method for figuring out estimates for all daily activities, but it is rather tedious.  With these baseline numbers you can at least start figuring by trial and error how many more calories beyond the baseline are appropriate to help you achieve your specific weight goal (to gain or to lose).  Remember, a pound is worth 3500 calories, so a difference (plus or minus) of 500 calories a day would equal a pound a week.

Later on we will talk about figuring out how the calories for the day should be divided for specific goals!