How Exercise Ruined My Body

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I can’t tell you how many times my muscles and joints have sprained, torn, dislocated, stiffened and ached — all in the name of exercise.  Sure, I know many of my injuries are part of the risks of contact sports like wrestling, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and Muay Thai, but many of them weren’t.  Most of them were actually injuries that wrecked my body after routine runs and lifting sessions at the gym. In the past I would take a week or two off, heal up and jump back into training, but I noticed that a couple months down the line, I would fall into the same types of injuries. This is when I realized, there was something seriously wrong with the way I was approaching my health and fitness.

I’ve seen and heard it several times (myself included) where the injured client says “I hurt myself while [XYZ] training and so I’ll have to take a break before I can go back at it.” The problem with this statement is that often times, this is exactly where the train of thought ends. You get injured while training or exercising and that’s life. Rest up, heal up, tough it out and then get back to training. Simple right? Sadly, no. What if instead of that simple injured, rest, heal and back to training formula, people took it a step further and asked “is there something wrong with my training that led to my injury?” Or how about “is the way I’ve learned to exercise and move ruining my body?”

Many people associate their injuries with some uncontrollable bad event that happened with their training, but not many enough associate their injuries with consistent and improper form that has been occurring throughout their training and day to day movements.

Do your knees hurt after long runs? Does your lower back ache after deadlifts and squats? Do you have neck pain after shoulder exercises? All of these issues can be prevented with learning and relearning  proper fundamentals in biomechanics and exercise form.

What to do next?

(1) Think about the last time you had an injury or pain after exercise and reevaluate whether it was caused by a random unfortunate event, or if it could have been prevented with better exercise form and training

(2) Continue reading future movemo posts along better mobility and injury prevention training

(3) Check out Kelly Starrett’s new book, Becoming a Supple Leopard

Tips for the next blog installation on better mobility and injury prevention during exercise: Midline Stabilization

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Fit For Foster Care – A Movemo Fundraiser For New Yorkers For Children

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Two years ago, movemo was founded to help others move more and stay healthy so they can continue to move the world.  We’re still working our butts off to make sure that happens, one small victory at a time .

From February to March, Movemo Fitness partnered with New Yorkers for Children. Can you imagine growing up without a parent or guardian’s love or guidance? The majority of us are fortunate  to have that support, but a small percentage of the nation’s children don’t even have one parent or guardian to guide them. That percentage translates to thousands of homeless and uncared for children. Thanks to child advocate communities like New Yorkers for Children they provide the care and even the resources for these children to be able citizens. It is also ensured that kids get a nice little present and lots of wishes on their birthday.

Through our partnership, we offered fitness classes at JKM Fitness Studio and gave our friends, family and community a great reason to stay fit and make an impact in the lives of New York’s foster children.  The proceeds we collected from our fitness classes went to programs implemented by New Yorker’s for Children.  These programs open the door for foster children to have the opportunities that any other child would have access to.  After teaching eight fitness classes and helping 70+ friends and family become a little fitter, we fund raised nearly $600 for New Yorkers for Children.

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Partner Core Exercises

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These days I find myself frequently working out with a friend or two at the gym.  Not only does it make it more fun but working out with a partner can open your workout to more challenging exercises, especially your core.  Here are a few different core exercises that you can do with a partner.

Partner Leg Lift Pushes

Lie on the ground with arms and legs fully extended.  Using a dumbbell weight overhead as an anchor, grab on as you lift your legs straight up.  At the top of the leg lift the partner that’s standing will catch the top of your feet or ankles and push them back down.  Resist to keep your feet from touching the ground and lift back up to repeat.

Leg Lift Hip Ups

 

Similar to the leg lift pushes, grab onto the dumbbell weight as an anchor and raise your legs straight up.  At the end of the leg lift, concentrate on lifting up your hips a couple inches off the ground as your shoes

Catch and Throw Sit-Ups


Sitting on the ground in a sit-up position, anchor your feet underneath a weight or set of dumbbells.  Your other partner sits 3-4 feet away and tosses a medicine ball at you.  Catch the ball and sit back and up resisting the momentum of the medicine ball.  Once you’ve sat back up push throw the ball back to your partner and repeat.

Medicine Ball Side to Side Sit-ups

Again in a sit-up position, perform side to side sit-ups as your partner hands off to you a medicine ball.  Alternate between body weight sit-ups and weighted sit-ups to add some extra pressure on your rotary core.

Those are a few for now.  Try them out with a friend and let us know what you think.  And thanks to Mansour Jammal for being such a great training partner!

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My Love Affair…With Fitness

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(Photo above: P.S. We’ve been bicep kissing WAY before Kaepernicking…)

Your eyes meet. They flash that smile. You feel your heart race.

Remember your first crush? Remember the spark of adrenaline when you were with them? Remember the way you wanted to know everything about them? The way you couldn’t wait to talk to them? The way you wanted to spend everyday with them? Yeah, you do.

There is this ingrained formula we tend to follow when creating relationships. The initial introduction. The excitement of meeting someone new. The general enjoyment of being in their presence. The continual involvement to be in their presence. Finally, you get to the point where they begin to be part of your everyday life.

When we like someone, it’s human nature to want to know everything and anything about them. When we enjoy our time with someone we try to incorporate them in all that we do. The relationship then becomes hard to hide and the want to share how awesome they are and how awesome you feel when you’re with them becomes the hot topic in every conversation.

I found this same formula apparent in my “relationship” with fitness.

Yeah, you can say it. I had a fitness love affair.

I met fitness during an enlightening part of my life. I was rediscovering myself and exploring different avenues to channel my energy. Fitness was there to comfort me. The more I involved myself with fitness the more I realized small changes in the way I perceived and lived my life. I was happier, more energetic and motivated to take on challenges.

However,  most people enter their fitness relationship skipping the general enjoyment part. They often associate fitness as this obligation they have to do in order to live a certain life or look a certain way. We read magazines and blogs about how fitness is a lifestyle. And in order for fitness to become part of our “lifestyle”, we need to incorporate it into our everyday routine. I guess this is the part where fitness becomes a little daunting. Just like any other, commitment is often the telling factor of a relationship’s endurance. And to most, the thought of measuring our commitment is a bit scary. Will I be good enough? Can I actually do this? Will I be really happy? Am I doing this for the right reasons?

For me, my commitment to fitness was found through the discovery of self worth. I realized that when my body was healthy I was healthy. So making the commitment to fitness came naturally. Now I realize that’s not the case for everyone. But if we take a step back and truely ask ourselves what commitment to fitness means to us, what it stands for in our lives, then we can begin aligning our fitness goals to our lifestyle.

Guest Post Submitted by Michelle Dela Cru

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The 2-Minute Movemo Circuit Challenge

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Here’s a quick 2 minute circuit for all you amazing people on the go and working hard to move the world.  Cycle through the circuit 4-5 times with 1 minutes rest.  Couple it with a quick 10-20 minute run and you got yourself a short 30 minute workout.  Enjoy!

The 2-Minute Movemo Circuit Challenge

1)      10 Bunny Hops – Short and quick.  Squat down to the ground and make some quick hops to stretch and work out your calves.

2)      10 Jump Squats – Immediately progress from the bunny hops to the jump squats.  Try to jump as high as you can while lowering yourself down to where your knee joint just breaks a 90 degree angle.  Don’t forget to keep a neutral back (don’t flex or over extend your spine!) and tight stomach. (Muscle group: glutes and quadriceps)

3)      10 Front Plate Lifts – If you have a dumbbell or weighted plates, grab them and pull them straight up.  Keep your back neutral and arms straight.  Try not to use your hips and legs for momentum to swing the weight up.  (Muscle group: anterior deltoid, biceps)

4)      10 Overhead Presses – With the same weight immediately progress to an overhead press by pushing the weight straight over head ten times.  Again try not to use your hips and legs for momentum – this one should really start getting your arms tired.  (Muscle group: deltoids and biceps)

5)      10 Weighted Leg Lifts – Using the same weight, transition to a lying position on the floor or a flat bench.  Keep the weight posted above your chest while you pull your legs up for straight leg lifts.  At the end of each lift, try lifting your hips a couple inches off the ground for some extra flexion (Muscle group: quadriceps and abdominals)

6)      10 Planking Side Knee Highs – Place the weight to the side and get into a planking position.  Remember to keep you back and neck neutral (the back of your heads and your back should form a straight line).  Switch off from side to side as you lift one knee sideways to your torso as high as you can get.  (Muscle group: external obliques)

 

This is a complex circuit so each exercise should transition immediately after one another.  Try this out and let us know what you think!

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Finding Fitness Enlightenment In Mud In New Jersey

I know right? Fitness, enlightenment, mud and New Jersey – who would have thought those words would ever go together in a sentence!

In the past year I’ve participated in two mud races, the Warrior’s Dash in Northern California and the Tri-State Tough Mudder in New Jersey.  Honestly, I didn’t really know what I was getting into.  The idea of them sounded fun and living in NYC, I rarely get to do exercise training in the outdoors. And this last Tough Mudder was definitely fun and crazy!  Climbing up 20 feet mud hills, holding on for dear life swinging on slippery monkey bars above pools of freezing water, even crawling through swamps of mud as electrical wires are dangling above you?!  I learned a couple life lessons through this past race: the first being that your body is always stronger than you think it is and most importantly, that mud races build community and a pathway to fitness enlightenment.

So here I was hanging out with 6 co-workers running 13 miles through mud while toughing through 20 plus obstacles.  Little did I know that after 4 hours of grueling exercise, I would have a new handful of friends I could call brothers and have my faith restored in humanity.

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(Team Gee Whiz .. with Hand of Saruman Faces)

I’ll be honest, part of me thought that I could rely on my individual skills and training to get through the obstacles, but I was quickly proven wrong.  I can’t tell you how many mud hills I tried climbing on my own, just to slip and fall back down or the number of walls that were too high for me to climb.  However, any doubts of failing these obstacles were quickly put aside when I realized my friends were there to help lift me up, lay down and create a chain of bodies to climb a mud hill or even carry me on their back for 50 yards.  So many times I climbed up walls and mud hills only to find that there was a random stranger waiting at the other side cheering me on, helping me back down or grabbing my arm to support me before I fell.

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(I was serious, my friend Charlie literally carried me on his back for 50 yards!)

And then I thought, what if exercise and fitness could always be this way.  Some folks have found free, creative and consistent ways to work out and stay healthy with friends and loved ones.  However, for most folks this just isn’t a reality.  Instead many, including myself, have accepted the reality of paying $100-200 for elite gym/training memberships or paying for a gym whose lackluster services do nothing to motivate you into better health.  I’ve got to believe that there is a better solution out there that can get the majority of people invested in building communities and a society of better health, fitness and wellness.  When we figure it out it’ll truly be a day of enlightening fitness.

Look out for our next post: Moving the World with Fitness.

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Can Exercise Boost Your Satisfaction With Life?

What: Penn State researchers recruited two groups of college students and set out to examine the influence of physical activity on satisfaction with life among emerging adults ages 18 to 25 years. The study consisted of a total of 253 individuals, with the first group of 190 students entering information into a diary for eight days and the second group of 63 students entering information into a website for 14 days.  Both groups answered questions aimed at determining participants’ satisfaction with life, physical activity and self-esteem.

Results: According to Jaclyn Maher of Penn State the study “found that people’s satisfaction with life was directly impacted by their daily physical activity,” “The findings reinforce the idea that physical activity is a health behavior with important consequences for daily well-being and should be considered when developing national policies to enhance satisfaction with life.”

So What: In previous studies exercise has been proven to boost and improve mood making the subjects response less surprising.  If you find yourself in a state of constant anxiety and stress then exercising more than usual, or beginning an exercise program, can be helpful.  According to David Conroy, professor of kinesiology. “Based on these findings, we recommend that people exercise a little longer or a little harder than usual as a way to boost satisfaction with life.”

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