Welcome to a New Year! 2013 is off to a great start and I'm as eager as ever to help as many people as possible. I feel pumped up and ready for great things this year. As many of you know, I work daily one on one with clients doing corrective exercise, rehab, performance training,etc. This brings me in constant interaction with varying population demographics. I've been hearing things lately like, "I'm just sick of carrying around all this extra weight all these years", or "I'm seriously going to crush it this year, for real", or even worse, "I'm dying to get over this knee pain so I can get back on my bike and resume training." I've heard statements like this from women and men in age ranges from 25-65. It isn't just once in a while either. People are very impatient when it comes to anything that causes them discomfort. That's relatively understandable. Where many folks are getting jammed up is in the knowledge that what they're often trying to return to is quite often the cause for the dysfunction.
For example, the middle-aged woman who is disgusted with her weight after having a few children. The yo-yo dieting and failed attempts at squeezing back into her prom dress have brought more opportunities to compare herself to her co-workers in their mid twenties. The result of this is she then needs her "comfort foods" to deal with the self-induced rejection. All of this together creates the cycle that will continue to drive her farther away from happiness and true peace. Then there is the aging male who's always been a highly competitive athlete and now enjoys "killing it on the bike." He rides year round, competing against his buddies, trying to beat last year's time in the Mt. Evans hill climb, or just emulating the pros who ripped through Boulder last August in the US Pro Cycle tour stop. Then out of nowhere some knee pain shows up and forces this dude off his rig. Oh no! What to do now? The prospect of not riding and actually interacting with your family isn't an option for this warrior. He comes to see me, telling me how he heard from some other guys that I can take his knee pain away. Of course I can, I tell him, but for what? So you can get back on your bike and re-injure yourself? That just puts him further along on the road to a major surgery or perhaps worse. Yet another example would be the gentleman who is about a decade or so out of college and has been consumed by a sit down desk job and hasn't kept up with his fitness or his nutrition over the years. He's been saying for years how this is the year he's going to "get it back." Referring of course to his college physique, this enthusiastic individual hits the local Crossfit gym, or worse yet, purchases the at home Insanity or P 90 whatever workouts and starts hammering away. The obvious outcome for this man is exercise-related injuries ranging from rotator cuff impingements, to pinched nerves in the head/neck region, to knee/hip pain from poor alignment patterns. All of this frustrates the man to the point where he just gives up and never completes his quest.
What all of these examples have in common is that they are all focusing on the "small picture" and are losing the ability to gameplan for long term solutions. Now this certainly isn't the fault of the individuals themselves. In fact, just about everywhere we look we see things that advertise "quick relief" or "fast results." This is problematic because it allows people to seek the quickest method for the immediate pay off. The woman with the weight issue needs an emotionally supportive environment and short term goals to tackle the lingering issue of excess weight. The turbo biker dude needs a wider range of hobbies and needs to respect his body rather than constantly push and punish himself for gratification. The post-college, ex-frat boy needs to take it slow and steady and nourish his body to create the change that will last a lifetime.
Basically, if we are looking for relief rather than seeking a solution to a particular problem or goal, we most likely won't be pleased with the outcome. There's a reason why Americans are falling apart faster than ever before and are positioning themselves further away from good health. I believe the reason for this is we are constantly expecting the quick results, or relief, and not putting in the long term commitment to make fundamental change. This change will often times fix the initial discomfort once and for all. What's even worse about all of these examples is that if the woman reached her weight goal quickly, she probably wouldn't have made the necessary adjustments to her nutrition, and learned to love herself no matter how she looks to carry those results through the remainder of her life. If the weekend warrior alleviated his pain quickly, he'd probably get back out there and start going hard again increasing his propensity for more (and worse) injuries. If the desk jockey gets his college body back in 90 days or less, he most likely won't construct a system of exercises/stretches/practices that will keep him healthy for the next 30-50 years being locked behind that desk at work.
The only remedy, as I see it, is to accept that most change that is good and long lasting doesn't come quickly and shouldn't be expected to. We must be intelligent when determining what to eat, how to exercise, how much is too much, etc. Research is very available these days that supports the claim that high intensity exercise for too long will create long term irreversible damage to the internal organs. We must ask ourselves, "how much am I willing to risk?"
The only logical move is to seek out the assistance of TRUE professionals that can safely and supportively direct you to the most appropriate and realistic end. At Functional Fitness and Wellness Centers in Boulder, Colorado we utilize a system of analysis that identifies movement pattern imbalances, muscular asymmetry, postural deviations, etc. Once this information is received, the fitness professional then customizes a program for correcting dysfunctions and alleviating pain in the manner that supports the clients needs and wants. It isn't always glamorous, it very rarely is the "quick fix" we're all looking for, and often the changes are subtle and require intense neurological reinforcement. However, the other side of the equation is far too risky. Pushing and punishing yourself for fast results will only lead to continued break down and enhanced risk for injury. All I can continue to do is provide people with the best possible source for achieving long lasting change in their lives. Those that are looking for solutions will find me and benefit from my work. Those looking for relief will also eventually find me, but it will probably be after something has happened that is very preventable. Be smart and be healthy. For more information, follow @rich1ill. Thank you.