Archive for November, 2011

I thought I’d start the day off and write about some common courtesies and proper gym etiquette.  Being a trainer and a fitness studio owner, I believe I have some knowledge on the subject.  Last night, while I was working out at one of the Urban Active fitness clubs here in the Cincy/Nky area I came really close to blowing out my knee.  Here I am doing step ups on a bench with a fair amount of weight.  Behold, as I begin to step down I feel was what clearly not the ground but a big stability ball below me.  Fortunately, I have enough core strength and balance to overcome this situation and safely step to side without injury.  So, Mr Moron who left the ball to roll over my way, I thought I’d give some tips and standard procedures to use at the club.  For others, take note and use these to better your gym experience for yourself and other co-members as well.  Not only will your workout be more effective but the chances of injury will be limited.

1) Please return your weights and/or equipment to the proper location when finished.  This will allow others to find them appropriately and reduce the clutter on the floor and limit the chance for injury.

2) Don’t hog the machines, benches, and/or equipment.  First of all, the majority of you shouldn’t be using machines.  Unless you’re elderly, in a knee brace, or recently out of surgery you shouldn’t be using machines.  The body was designed to be functional with muscles working in a movement pattern.  If you’re trying to lose weight, get stronger, and better your fitness level, get away from the machines and starting using dumbbells, bodyweight exercises, and other functional types of equipment.

3) Wipe down equipment after usage.  With the cold season approaching there are many germs looking for a  place to hang out and invade.  Sanitizing your equipment will reduce the risk for spreading and will keep everyone healthy allowing them to continue their consistency going to the gym.   Can you imagine walking to a machine and finding it covered with the previous guy’s sweat?  You want to avoid being that guy.  If you happen to drip all over a piece of equipment, wipe it down using the disinfectant provided by the gym. Also, use a towel to separate yourself from the machine while you make use of it.

4) Talk sparingly.  Leave your cell phone in the car.  Not only are you taking up space and time for others, how hard of a workout can you perform if your texting every 2-3 minutes.  If you want to socialize, go to a bar or join a coffee group.  A gym isn’t a social club; you’re not there to shoot the breeze with its members.  Conversations should be kept brief and limited to resting periods in between sets.  These short discussions must be held out of the way so people can train without interruption. In addition, don’t initiate conversations with people wearing headphones; they obviously don’t feel chatty.  Finally, while you’re taking a break, don’t sit on a machine — others may want to use it.

5) Smell good. No body odor.  Exercising makes you sweat and perspiration causes body odor. Can you see in your mind’s eye how badly it would stink if no one at the gym did something about it?  Arm yourself with an effective deodorant and use it adequately. However, don’t douse yourself with cologne or perfume; overcompensation can be just as unpleasant for fellow members.

6) Dress appropriately.  Don’t wear torn clothing, but don’t wear a tuxedo either.  Go for a T-shirt instead of a tank top as to circumvent sweat overtly running onto the machine.  Stay away from jeans; shorts or sweat pants are a much better choice.  And please cover yourself.  If you have a big tire around your waistline, do not wear a cutoff shirt with your belly protruding out for everyone to see.

7) Be considerate at the water fountain.  Bring in a big water bottle filled beforehand.  If you run out, be courteous at the fountain and let others have a drink before refilling. 

8) Limit yourself on the cardio machines.  People are expected to use about 20-30 minutes.  If the gym isn’t very crowded and you want to go longer, make sure no one is waiting.  Honestly, unless you are training for a marathon, you shouldn’t be doing more than 30 minutes of cardio anyway.  Excessive cardio and why I can’t lose my belly fat is a whole other topic we can discuss in a later post.

So, hopefully these tips were helpful.  Use them to better everyone’s experience and be courteous to all those around you.


RIP John!

Posted: November 15, 2011 by Louie Brockhoeft in uncategorized

It’s been a sad week for us here at Fitness For Function. One of our clients passed away on Friday. John Sinclair worked with me for over 5 years after he had a stroke back in 2005-06.  He lost total motor function of his right arm, his right leg was about 60%, a G-tube for feeding, and wheelchair bound for most of the day. But, this didn’t stop John from giving it all he had to try to better himself.  At times the past few years, I had him up walking around with his cane.  And, for awhile there one of his favorite exercises were squats. Not too bad for a person with his limitations and in his late 70’s. He will truly be missed as he was a big inspiration in my life and to many others.  The determination and commitment he showed was unprecendented.  So, when you are having a bad day and don’t feel like getting up and going to the gym, think about John’s struggles and limitations, then make your choice.  You only have one body and one life to live, take care of it as it will not last forever. RIP John Sinclair!

Last week I discussed the reason for most joint pain.  The post entailed the Cumulative Injury Cycle with regard to the body’s reaction to pain management. To view this previous post, click on this link .  This post explained that the body creates imbalances from a previous injury or a repetitive series of improper postures.  Through this, the biomechanics of the body is altered causing the Injury cycle.  Over time, the muscles neuromuscularly are not responding correctly causing defaults within the joint.  Then, as months and years progress, the joint itself wears and degenerates which causes more and more trips to the doctor.

One way to prevent this is to perform joint stabilization exercises to balance out the imbalances so that all muscles and joints are performing optimally. But first, one must figure out the imbalance and fix the problem.  A simple way that I use with my clients is the standard squat test.  In the pics you will see a weight shift to the right. I’ve used a dowel rod for a focal  point on the floor.  As I begin to squat you will see my body’s center line fall to the right.  This tells me that my glute on the right side is not firing to stabilize me. If not corrected, one or multiple joints surrounding could be altered and pain will soon arise.  Now you could go on for months with no pain.  Then, all of sudden, you may experience knee pain, back pain, shoulder pain, etc. There is a dysfunction and your body tries to compensate with other joints causing excessive use and more wear and tear.  You can do this simple test at home.  All you need is a stick, a golf club or even place some tape on the ground.  Have a friend or family member look at the results or take a picture.  Typically, if one shifts their body either way, the glute on that particular side is not working correctly.  Now, at times, the ankle joint could be the problem.  In this case,  I would also test the squat with the heels elevated with a small block.  This will take the ankle joint out of the equation and you will get a true reading.  I’ve had clients shift without the lift and then not shift with the lift.  This tells me the problem is with the flexibility in the calves.  Either way, this test should help you figure out at least one or possibly the main dysfunction.  If the problem is in the glute area, I recommend doing clam exercises with a mini-band, penguin walks, and/or side plank with the bottom knee bent focusing on the weakened glute muscle.  If you find the ankle joint to be the problem proper calf stretching and strengthening of the front compartment of the shin (anterior tibialis).  For now, I’d go to Youtube and locate the exercises.  In a later post, I will show you these exercises.  Check out the following pic and see if you can see the weight shift. Click on the pic to enhance the size.

With this next pic, the heels are lifted and you see that I am fairly balanced in my squat with more range of motion.  In the previous pics, my bodyweight shifted to right, plus I had limited flexibility and range of motion.  This tells me the problem begins with the ankle joint and the lack of flexibility in the calves.  Being that I stand all day long training clients, this would be a reasonable assumption.