Sometimes it’s Good to be Rigid

Sometimes it’s Good to be Rigid
03 Oct

What Does Rigid Mean?

If you call someone rigid it means they are severe and inflexible in their thinking in some way. Like a high school teacher that sends you to detention even if you were late because you saved an old lady walking across the street from being run over.

 

When it Comes to the Human Body is Being Rigid or Flexible Better ?

When it comes to the human body we think of rigidity as a bad thing too. Or is it? Recent trends in fitness and health would lead you to think so. With a new yoga class opening up every week it seems like attaining flexibility is all the rage. How much flexibility is too much though?

While gaining mobility and being able to move your joints comfortably in their normal range of motion is good; it is actually possible to be too flexible. This is where a good strength program to supplement your mobility work comes in.

Having flexible joints but no strength in the muscles that surrounds them is not a good thing. You need to be able to use those muscles within your newly gained range of motion. Adding resistance training strengthens those muscles and can even increase bone density and strengthen connective tissue.

So Why Do I Need to be Rigid?

Lastly a good strength trainer will teach you to keep your body rigid in the right way while lifting to protect your spine and joints. Eventually you’ll learn to use this strength and rigidity every day while standing or sitting and when you ask your body to work hard it will respond properly preventing possible injury. So you see, being rigid isn’t always a bad thing!

Happy strength training,
Jesse

Your Body Is A Temple Not A Garbage Truck

Your Body Is A Temple Not A Garbage Truck
19 Jul

We have all heard the phrase your body is a temple, it also happens to be a bible verse. “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the holy Spirit within you… Therefore, glorify God in your body.” (1 Cor. 6:19-20) Whether you believe this or not the fact is the human body is truly unique in the animal world. In other words your body is a gift and you only get one, so you should probably treat it right. This is a lesson that took me a long time to learn. In my youth I used my body for many things, a garbage disposal, alcohol storage, chimney, battering ram, you name it, whether I knew I was possibly causing permanent damage to myself or not, I didn’t care.

 

When I’m not training people at the gym, I drive a garbage truck for a living. There are some truly nasty things that go into that truck but that is what it is designed for. Yet even a garbage truck gets regular maintenance, oil changes, repairs and even gets washed when it’s dirty. I am willing to bet for many people their cars get regular check ups more than they do.

 

The problem I had in my youth is that I didn’t think my body was worth caring for more than a garbage truck. Deep down maybe I didn’t think I was worth being taken care of. I never thought I would live much father past my thirties. Now the thought of being 80 or older some day makes me realize if I don’t take care of what I have now, I won’t have much to work with then. Have you ever wondered why there are some 80 year olds that can barely walk and yet there are others that run marathons and power lift? There truly is a secret to a longer healthier life and that secret is maintaining your strength and endurance now so you can enjoy better health later. There is even scientific evidence that you can maintain and even build muscle and bone mass into your golden years.

 

You may think you are too far gone and you’ve taken on too much garbage but your body truly is a temple. The human body is highly adaptable, it’s up to you if you want your temple to be a frumpy little wooden hut with a pile of trash hidden in the basement or a grand, beautiful, well built cathedral.

Get Outside and Play

Get Outside and Play
28 Jun

Winter Was Rough

Unless you are one of the lucky few snow bird types who spend your winters in the south you know how long, cold, and snowy this past winter was.  It seems like it was only a month ago and we were having blizzards! Oh yea that’s because we were having blizzards in May! Here we are today and the forecast is calling for 90 degree temps. That’s South Dakota weather for ya!

Attitude Adjustment

The one nice thing about those long winters, at least this is what I kept telling myself as I drove through feet of snow every day at work, was that it will all be worth it this summer because we may have the worst winters but our summers are gloriously beautiful! With four rambunctious little boys in the house believe me, it was a looooong winter. We waited for the days when the temps rose above arctic levels so we could bundle them up and send them outside to play in the snow. Now it’s finally summer and if they even show the slightest signs of boredom or attitude all we have to say is “Get Outside and Play” and miraculously their attitudes are usually different after some time outside.

We Were Made to Be Outside!

There is something magical and even spiritual about spending time outside. Scientific studies have even been done on the effects of spending time in nature on a persons psychological well being. It’s almost like we were made to be outside. Go figure eh? Even top corporations have learned about the healing nature of nature… and built outdoor workspaces for their employees to recharge, focus, and increase productivity. If you don’t believe me just give it a try if you haven’t already. We all live busy lives but it’s important to spend that time to unwind.

 

Just Get Outside and Play~

As a fitness expert, I know some of the best forms of exercise are those that are fun and don’t feel like exercise. So find something you enjoy like hiking, biking, bird watching, fishing, maybe even something crazier like rock climbing or hang gliding! I don’t care what you do, as long as you set some time aside and Get Outside and PLAY!

 

Don’t Take Anything For Granted

Don’t Take Anything For Granted
14 Jun

If you were to only have one piece of sage advice to give someone what would you say? My advice would be: “Don’t take anything for granted.”

You have been given one life, one chance to influence the world and the people you meet. One life to spread the gospel, lead others to health, save another person’s life, raise a family, you name it there are many of the big reasons you were put on this earth, you may have one big mission to complete or many small ones.

 

 What I have learned is that we should never take anything for granted.

This goes especially for how we take care of our bodies. In my youth I didn’t understand this. At times I practically used my body as a battering ram. To me my body was just a tool to use. I never thought of the long term effects some of my bad habits and activities would have.

Realize the Truth…

Whether it was poor posture, dangerous activities, or poor diet, I did more harm to myself than I knew by taking my body and my youth for granted. It was only as I got older and lost some of my youthfulness that I realized I needed to take better care of myself. By then I had a few nagging old injuries and pains that I used as excuses not to exercise. Only after training a variety of other people each from different backgrounds with different strengths and weaknesses did I realize that all of us are broken in some way or another. The lesson to be learned is that we should never take what we have for granted.

 

I believe one of my missions in life is to help people heal.

Maybe you have bad knees, but your arms are still good. Maybe you have a bad heart but your lungs are in top shape. Maybe its your back or shoulders that ache but your legs are as strong as ever. Whatever your physical condition, I’m betting you still have something that works! So take what you have and work with it, and never take it for granted or you might just loose that too!

Why You NEED to Lift!

Why You NEED to Lift!
05 Apr

Believe it or not,

there was a time not too long ago in human history when nearly every person had to lift heavy things on a daily basis in order to survive. Think about it for a minute you will realize it is true. We live in a society where we have made everything as easy on ourselves as humanly possible. Short of each of us having our very own robot at our every beck and call ( which isn’t too far away), we hardly have to lift a finger anymore. If you still don’t believe me just watch and old western or read an old book.

The farther back in time you go the more manual labor our ancestors had to do. Yet the closer you get to our present time in history the more you see problems with obesity, frailty, and heart disease. Fifty years ago, your grandma had a vacuum cleaner that weighed three times as much as your plastic one today. Grandma probably made most of her food from scratch, had a garden and did most of her pruning and weeding by hand, she had some sort of washing machine but she still had to put the clothes out to dry on the line. She did all of this by herself while grandpa was at work in the field, pasture or at the factory. Go back another generation and many people still plowed with teams of horses; forget about tractors or fork lifts to load and carry bales of hay or 100 lb. bags of grain, it was all done with bare human hands and muscle.

While our ancestors were no muscle bound body builders, they were still likely very strong and likely quite lean. Pound for pound they would have given any modern day CrossFit find a run for their money! They were wiry and strong people with true grit. So why else can I say that you NEED to lift? Because modern science says so!

Here are just a few simple formulas for you to think about:

+ Lifting heavy things on a regular basis = increases muscle mass

+ More muscle mass = less body fat %

+ More muscle = faster metabolism

+Faster metabolism = more fat burned or a more efficient calorie burning body

+ An increased load on your bones and joints = more dense bones and stronger connective tissues

I feel like I’ve said this many times before but I can never say enough about the importance of resistance training. When I say this of course I’m not saying everyone needs to be as strong as a power-lifter. I also understand there are some people out there that hate lifting as much as I hate running. But the truth is that all of us need both resistance and cardio training. If my training is lifting focused I still try to get in at least two days of cardio along with my lifting. If you’re a runner, great then run! You still NEED to get at least two days of some sort of resistance training for the reasons stated above. But don’t just take my word for it, the scientific and historical evidence speaks volumes, the truth is you NEED to lift if you want to live a long healthy life!

Stop Trying to be Perfect!

Stop Trying to be Perfect!
22 Feb

Sometimes it seems like the world is full of perfect people.

There’s perfect family photos on social media, perfect bodies on magazine covers, or the perfect lives of the people within them. Most days I feel far from perfect myself, just like I’m sure you do as well. What we often forget is that some people only share the perfect moments and those pictures of perfect people in the magazines are more often than not heavily edited and staged. 

 

Trying to Attain Perfection Leads to Despair

You fill in these blanks yourself, some of these may sound familiar. “I want hair like___, I wish I had (insert body part here) like____, I wish I had as much money as____” We often think if we had those things we wished for our lives would be perfect. In reality, those people whose lives we wish we had are just as imperfect as we are. 

The Perfection Phenomenon is Most Evident is the Fitness World

 We are surrounded by perfect bodies on TV and magazines. Those perfect bodies you often see are the result of people whose job is to look that way, and what bits they have that are still imperfect are easily covered up with makeup and edits. Rather than trying to be them or be as perfect as them, why not be the best you, that you can be.

You only get one body and the better you treat it, the better it will treat you. The more fit you are the more energy you will have. Your fit body will also be more mentally healthy, mobile, stronger bones, and many more beneficial effects.
You might not be able to be perfect but you can be the best version of you!

Blessings,
Jesse 

Move it or Lose It!

Move it or Lose It!
01 Feb

I know it’s freezing outside and believe me, some days I just want to curl up in a blanket, get warm, and take a nap on days like these. But I know if I don’t want my joints to freeze up too, I have to get up and move. Did you know your body is a move it or lose it system? It’s true!

 

IMPROVE E EVERY PART OF YOUR BODY THROUGH MOVEMENT


Your muscles, as you probably already know, get stronger with resistance training (lifting weights). Even your bones increase in density with resistance training. Your joints are actually lubricated when you move them! Your fascia (the connective tissue that connects and surrounds every muscle) gains more flexibility and mobility the more you move and stretch. Even your brain functions better the more you exercise.

 

EXPERIENCE HEALING POWER OF MOVEMENT FOR YOURSELF

There are of course many scientific studies that prove all of these points about the human body. As they say the proof is in the pudding! You can experience this phenomenon of the healing power of movement for yourself. Have you ever felt lethargic and stiff after a long day of sitting at work or a lazy winter day warming up on the couch? I know I have! Often times when I feel this way I find I feel much better after a good warm-up, a sweaty workout and a great cool down. The older I get the more I learn the warm-up and cool down are just as important as the workout.

 

NOTICE EACH PART REQUIRES MOVEMENT

You have to warm your body up and prepare it to move intensely. The intense movements of the workout improve your future movements by building strength or cardiovascular fitness. The cool down often stretching or slower movements helps maintain mobility and healthy movement. If we chose to move less or not at all which is our human nature, over time we will build up inflammation, scar tissue, tense muscles, which lead to pain and dysfunction and even injury. It is almost paradoxical how our bodies work. Yes you can get injured working out hard or playing hard but the chances for injury and some diseases like heart disease, diabetes, osteoporosis, and many others are much greater if you chose not to move at all. So what are you waiting for get out there and move!

-Jesse

Baby Steps

Baby Steps
11 Jan

IT IS CRAZY HOW FAST 2018 WENT BY! 

I didn’t even take the time to think of a New Years Resolution. If you made a resolution this year I hope a little advice will help you on your way. If you haven’t made one yet, it’s not too late! My wife and I have been on a big Dave Ramsey kick lately. If you don’t know who Dave is, he is a millionaire finance expert that gives seminars and even has his own radio show teaching people how to become debt free. Dave always talks about baby steps. He teaches there are multiple baby steps to take on your path to financial freedom. As a trainer, when I hear great advice like taking baby steps, it only comes natural for me to put the same logic towards a fitness goal.

HOW BIG IS YOUR GOAL?

In my opinion one of the biggest reasons people fail to keep their resolution is that they make too lofty of a goal and then they fail to make a plan to take steps towards that goal. For example, if your goal was to lose 40 pounds, how would you do it? Maybe read up on the latest fad diets and run to the nearest gym to start clocking miles and miles on a treadmill to burn it all off. Next thing you know you’re sore, tired, worn out, and you might even get injured.

BABY STEPS!

Instead, I suggest the baby steps approach to any health or fitness goal. With a weight loss goal still in mind, instead of the fad diets , try abstaining from a few of those foods that you already know are bad for you. Maybe stop buying fast food at lunch and pack a healthy salad or trade the sodas & other sugary caffeine laden drinks for a cup of tea or black coffee for just one week. If you handle that fine keep it going then change a new thing that week.

DO YOU NEED HELP?

How about instead of torturing yourself on that treadmill you hire a great personal trainer to help you make those smaller steps? Okay, shameless self promotions aside, if that treadmill really is your thing you can easily take smaller steps towards a long distance run. Try running for just thirty seconds at a time with rests in between, slowly building up your endurance each day until you can run the time or distance you desire.

Achieving your goals doesn’t have to be complicated or even all that difficult. All you need to do to achieve anything is to make a plan, take small steps towards it and never get discouraged if you have a bad day. We all have our slip ups, those who succeed are the ones who don’t give up; they just keep going the next day and take that next small step.

Good luck and God bless this year!
~Jesse~

Are You Strong Enough?

Are You Strong Enough?
14 Dec

Strength is a relative term. What is considered strong for one person might not be strong enough for someone else. But you can never be too strong, even the strongest man in the world probably wishes he were just a bit stronger from time to time. But how do you know if you’re not strong enough? Is there some sort of list, chart, graph or spreadsheet for the average person to study and find out just exactly what is expected of them? No, there is no such list. The reason is because strength is relative.

How strong you need to be depends on what your daily physical demands are that you put your body through. The problem with many of us is that sometimes we ask more of our bodies than we were prepared for. Have you ever had one of those weekends when you were feeling extra adventurous? After a day of walking, skiing, hiking, biking, lifting, moving, climbing, you name it. Then the next day or two afterwards you could barely move or even worse had to miss work just to recuperate. I have experienced this situation far to many times in my life.

 

Some things to think about might be what are the daily tasks you have to perform. If you have a day job like mine, you might have to lift 50 pounds or more on a frequent basis. If you can lift 200 pounds that 50 would be easy.

My challenge you you is to think hard about what you want your body to do each day and week. Are you strong enough to do those things? So if you want your body to be able to do all those fun things you dream about everyday, don’t just dream about it, get up, get stronger, and do it!

Jesse

Collect Yourself!

Collect Yourself!
09 Nov

Here in the Center of the Nation most people either own a horse or two of their own or for sure know someone who does. We are a horse and cattle community after all! My wife is a talented horse trainer and the other day I had an interesting realization after a discussion we had about equine posture. One very common postural dysfunction in horses is a sway back. This is when a horses back ends up with a more pronounced curve than it should and often causes pain and discomfort for the horse and sometimes means they can no longer be ridden.

Being a Personal Trainer and Human Movement Specialist, I have a great interest in helping people correct their posture. So my question to her was, “Can you fix a sway back horses posture if you somehow exercised the right muscles somehow?” Her answer was “Yes, definitely! You just have to work with the horse and over time teach them to collect their head and engage the right muscles in their back and hips, until eventually the right muscles get stronger and their sway back improves.”

That process is extremely similar to how I help people with their posture and back pain. Ironically even humans can have a “sway back” posture! What I teach my clients and group fitness class attendees every day is the same thing we do for the horse. If you have ever been to one of our classes or had a personal trainer instruct you before you will hear us constantly reminding you of things like this: “Engage your core!, Neutral spine, Head down!, Neck straight!, Straight back!, Don’t let your back sag!, Engage your Glutes!, Use your hips!” Sounding familiar yet?

All those cues a trainer gives are essentially the same you do for a horse. If you let your horse be loose and you ride like a sack of potatoes in the saddle you are going to have a bumpy ride and eventually contribute to the horse ending up with a sway back by bouncing with all your weight right on their spine! But if you collect their head and use cues to make them move their hips and you ride with the horse with good form and both of you with good posture, you both get a better ride. Now think about yourself, maybe you drive a big heavy commercial truck like me, or you drive a bouncy tractor all day, even if you sit at a desk most of your work day. If you sit like a weak and limp sack of potatoes and let your body weight compress your spine and then bounce around on that compressed spine, you WILL end up with a sore back and eventually some postural dysfunction and chronic back pain. With the right coaching and cues and proper release, stretching, mobility, and strengthening techniques your posture, pain, strength, even your mood will improve.

So think about your posture during your daily activities. Draw your belly in, sit up straight, keep your shoulders back, your chin down and your neck straight, even think about engaging your Gluteus muscles while sitting, standing or driving for a long period of time. In other words, Collect Yourself!

Happy Friday,

Jesse