I believe in a holistic approach to fitness and wellness. When we meet for the first time, I try to understand more than just your muscular imbalances but also the imbalances in your life. We are often torn between responsibilities for work and family, and special medical conditions can mandate extra considerations. Time constraints are a reality and need to be respected.
My wellness programs for you will look at all those factors, and I will make sure that the approach works for you and your life. The components of the program will draw on any modality that ‘gets the job done’, taking into considerations your likes and dislikes.
A typical workout will contain several components of the following exercise approaches:
- Strength Training
- Flexibility Training
- Prehab and Post-Rehab
- Adaptive Training
- Cardiovascular Training
- Corrective Exercise
- Balance and Neuromuscular Training
The most often named goal is to be stronger. My philosophy on strength training is to first strengthen the stabilizing muscles of the core, shoulder and hip girdle to lay a foundation for safe and effective strength improvements. Where we start here depends on where you are. This may be a light resistance band for one person or a 20 lbs. dumbbell for another. It may draw on MELT or TBMM or use equipment similar to the one typically found in gyms.
My preferred approach to flexibility training is to use the MELT and/or RTR method in conjunction with some stretching to restore the proper length-tension relationships between muscles. I do not believe in stretching for stretch sake. Mobility without stability is detrimental to joint integrity and health. A school of thought on stretching is that the body reacts with tightness when it senses instability. In that case, restoring stability through corrective exercises will be the initial training goal.
A unique training goal is strengthening preparation for a scheduled surgery. This is often the case with knee replacement surgeries where a successful outcome and rehabilitation can be facilitated when the muscles are as strong as they possibly can be prior to the procedure.
More common is training after a surgery when physical therapy has been completed. Regrettably, the mandates of insurance companies often shorten the length of physical therapy, and further strengthening is necessary for a complete recovery. I will work with your physician and/or physical therapist to ensure a seamless continuation from the healthcare setting to a fitness program.
I often have clients who come to me with a diagnosis or conditions which require adaptations to the current situation. Exercise can do almost wonders but it cannot grow a limb, and it cannot change certain conditions like MS or Parkinson’s. Having said that, despite those seeming limitations, it is always possible to find ways to strengthen even though it may require creativity and thinking out of the box.
From observation over many years, I have found that particularly with neurological disorders, surprising strength gains are possible once the assumption is suspended that lack of strength in certain areas is the result of the disorder. My working assumption is that every body has imbalances and can get stronger. Only after having exhausted my arsenal of techniques may I yield to the disorder.
The goal of cardiovascular training is to make the body more efficient for endurance tasks. It is one of the cornerstones of a fitness training program.
However, there are circumstances when it has to be introduced very carefully. If you are quite a bit out of shape or have a metabolic, cardiovascular or pulmonary disorder, then the approach will be slow and systematic to ensure your safety.
As a trainer, it is not in my scope of practice to diagnose any medical conditions. However, as part of my musculoskeletal evaluation, I often discover muscular imbalances which may be contributing factors to aches and pains.
Improving my skills at identifying those imbalances has been my focus over the course of my career as a personal trainer. Most of my specialty trainings and certifications are in that field, most notably NKT (NeuroKinetic Therapy), AiM (Anatomy in Motion), the entire MELT (Myofascial Energetic Length Technique) training, my Corrective Exercise Specialist certifications from TBMM (The BioMechanics Method) and NASM (National Academy of Sports Medicine) and an Orthopedic Exercised Certification from ACE (American Council on Exercise).
The general approach to correcting imbalances is through a combination of connective tissue techniques such as MELT, RTR, myofascial release or similar modalities and also the use of the Rapid Release Technology device. There will be stretching and specific strengthening, typically with low resistance. The goal of corrective exercise is to strengthen the weak link and then to integrate it into the functioning of the entire body.
I believe that a body cannot be strong without a sense of balance and neuromuscular efficiency. A person must be able to control his or her body against the “evil force of gravity”, and have an accurate sense of its place in space (proprioception).
The techniques employed here may be as simple as standing with both feet close together or as complex as standing on a Bosu Ball while performing another task. I love to use balance boards, soft pads, rollers, balls of any size, dyna discs.