Chronic Pain, Posture, Wellness

Headache Hacks

With spring in full swing I’m hearing and seeing a lot of you complain about headaches. Just like everything else regarding pain and dysfunction in our society- headaches are something that we’ve come to normalize.

Not only do I hear routine complaints about headaches and migraines- I’ve also had people get defensive as if it’s a negative thing that I”m telling them headaches are often very relievable.

I get it. Whenever someone who has been in pain for years, especially suffering from something like a migraine, is told that that suffering isn’t necessary- it seems like their pain is being minimized. Humans don’t love when they feel that way.

However- I’m going to say this again and again… pain of any kind, even something as normalized as a headache, IS NOT NORMAL nor is there any need for it to be a routine part of your life!

Here are some of the “hacks” I hand out for clients dealing with headaches.

Hydrate

Our lymphatic system holds about 15L of fluid (YEP), and our circulatory system is another 6L of fluid.. our entire body relies on so much water to stay functioning and healthy.

Most people who walk in our doors at Integrative Movement are drinking under 4 glasses of water a day. That fact along makes many of their complaints make sense. Muscle pain, joint pain, chronic pain, headaches, energy troubles…. if we aren’t lubricating our body how can we blame it for complaining?

A optimally functioning adult should be drinking 2-3L of water/day at a minimum. If you have pain, headaches, or other stuff going on… check in with your hydration.

Breathing

Yes, that thing I talk about so much… that we all do. Another basic life process that is highly underrated when it comes to how we function.

Let’s pause on the word “function” for a hot minute. Unfortunately, these days, “normal function” is another term for “not very functional”. Everyday people are constantly in some sort of discomfort or dysfunction when it comes to their health (which includes mind, body, and emotions).

I’ve written and spoke about breathing a lot. The nitty gritty is that if we are breathing in correctly (aka using large postural muscles in our upper body) we will see an increase in tension around the neck and fascial changes in the body perpetuating tension. Tension around the neck leads to trigger points being activated and headaches all over the place. Think “tension” headaches at the base of the skull, forehead, and behind the eyes. Often migraine symptoms are caused by this as well- auras, trouble focusing, nausea, pain in standing or moving positions, dizziness.

Migraines can be classified in a few ways, one of them being ischemic (code for restricted circulation).. meaning something is causing a decrease in circulation to the brain or soft tissue around the skull. One of these causes can and often is connective and soft tissue tension in the upper body closing in on arteries and lymphatic vessels in the area.

Working on breathing mechanism and the “simple” act of taking some time to lay on your back or stomach with your head resting in your palms and doing some deep diaphragmatic breathing can make a GINORMOUS difference in symptoms of headaches and migraines.

Check this post and podcast out on the hows of breathing…

https://anchor.fm/kathlyn-mary-hossack/embed/episodes/Apr-6–2018-e19orh/a-a2ve4i

MOVEMENT (duh)

I mean, this isn’t news.. right?

None of us move enough and even those who do move enough don’t get enough variety in their movements.

Repetitive movements will just perpetuate the issues listed above. You get 10,000 steps in? Awesome… but how much did you bend over, twist, roll around, squat, wiggle your toes, etc?

Movement helps circulate lymphatic fluid which is a huge factor in inflammation and pain (if it isn’t moved around). Movement also increases circulation to those tense muscles and helps to relieve undue tension.

This post by Dr. Perry Nicholson sums it up some excellent ideas for adding variety in.

Pain in movement?! Pain will stop you from moving.. and that is not okay. Find a professional who knows how to get you moving painfree again…

Nutrition (also kinda duh?)

Nobody knows what is going on with healthy eating anymore. Why? Because everywhere you turn there is a new diet fad. Run away from anything telling you its the new best way to get healthy. Whether it does have benefits or not isn’t the issue… the issue is that health shouldn’t need anything more then common sense to figure out.

We are designed to eat a variable diet of whole foods. Does that mean there isn’t a place for certain styles of eating? Nope.. actually certain ways of eating can be very beneficial to help alleviate symptoms of many complaints. Including headaches and body pain.. as both these can connect back into general inflammation somewhere in the system. That’s where finding the help of someone who understands health as a whole and using food as medicine can be hugely beneficial.

I recommend looking into different options of Registered Dieticians, Holistic Nutritionists, or Functional Medicine practitioners and do your own research. Try things. Experiment with the types of foods you eat, and don’t be afraid of experimenting. As questions of yourself and others. We are ever-changing creatures and no diet should be a forever solution.

Take homes?

Headaches OFTEN come from neck tension, postural dysfunction, lack of hydration, and sometimes inflammatory conditions in other ares of the body causing a chain effect.

Don’t get stuck in a negative pain loop around your pain/headaches. Never stop looking for a solution. Do stop sourcing quick fixes. Believe that there are ways to break the pain cycle- there always is!

Athletic Therapy, Biomechanics, Chronic Pain, Conditioning, Equestrian, Free Workouts, Motor Learning, strength training, Weight Loss, Wellness

At your age…

Here’s a fun tidbit I hear OFTEN second hand from clients after their friends/family/peers find out what their training and therapy plans consist of…

“At your age, should you really be lifting weights?”

“Isn’t weight training dangerous for your joints? Does that really help you feel better?”

“Aren’t you worried about getting injured again?”

“I heard that weight training is bad for you- doesn’t it cause arthritis”

First off.. I’m honestly not sure where people are finding that last bit of information from, at this point in our history. Secondly I’m also endlessly grateful that I’ve stopped frequently hearing that weight training will make women bulky- at last that myth has been put out of it’s misery. Third off- weight training is highly effective for arthritis rehabilitation and management- WHEN IT IS DONE CORRECTLY. The only time it’s going to cause arthritis is if you don’t do it in good form. This is why having the guidance of a trained professional is imperative when starting any new program. At the very least get a movement assessment and see where you need to work!

Would I tell someone of ANY age to just go and start lifting weights (no matter how much)? NOPE.

Do I prescribe and coach programs for ALL ages (yes, all the way up to 90-somethings- seriously) that involve various amounts of loaded movements, functional movements, dynamic movements, and stability training? You bet I do!

Here’s the neat things about the body.. it works on an adaptation based system. Which means- invariably- to IMPROVE our systems we have to STRESS our systems.

Here’s the feedback I get from my dedicated clients:

“I don’t wake up at 3am anymore with back pain”

“I sleep through the night and don’t wake up stiff in the mornings anymore”

“I don’t get tired during the day”

“My joints aren’t bugging me as much since I started training”

“I’m making healthier choices elsewhere in my life since starting this training routine.”

“I FEEL GOOD”

When we apply GOOD, healthy stress to our system- things change for the better. We also develop a higher tolerance for negative stressors, which means we function just overall more kick ass.

It no longer new information that the mind and the body are one coordinating unit.

Exercise, movement- of any kind- is the BEST and most EFFECTIVE medicine. The stats support it. Check these out.

According to the Conference Board of Canada, if we were to decrease the number of inactive Canadians by even 10%, we’d see a 30% reduction in all-cause mortality and major savings in health care. It is in fact estimated that more than $2.4 billion, or 3.7 per cent of all healthcare costs, were attributed to the direct cost of treating illness and disease due to physical inactivity1. The financial impact of poor health amounts to a loss of more than $4.3 billion to the Canadian economy, and the negative repercussions of inactivity cost the healthcare system $89 billion per year in Canada2. According to several studies, properly structured and supported exercise program, designed and delivered by a kinesiologist can, among other benefits:

  • Reduce the risk of high blood pressure and heart disease by 40%;
  • Reduce the incidence of type 2 diabetes by 50% and be twice as effective as standard insulin in treating the condition;
  • Help the function of muscles for people affected by Parkinson’s disease and Multiple Sclerosis;
  • Decrease depression as effectively as pharmacological or behavioural therapy;5
  • Reduce the risk of stroke by 27%;
  • Reduce the risk of colon cancer by 60%;
  • Reduce mortality and risk of recurrent cancer by 50%;

(Based on year 2009. Jansen et al., 2012 2 Based on year 2013. 3 Cardiorespiratory fitness is an independent predictor of hypertension incidence among initially normotensive healthy women.
Barlow CE et al. Am J Epidemiol 2006; 163:142-50. 4 Reduction in the incidence of type 2 diabetes with lifestyle intervention or metformin. DPP Research Group. New England Journal of Medicine 2002; 346:393-403. 5 Exercise treatment for depression: efficacy and dose response.
Dunn A et al. American Journal of Preventive Medicine 2005. 6 Physical activity and colon cancer: confounding or interaction? Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise:
June 2002 – Volume 34 – Issue 6 – pp 913-919)

Weight training- when done intelligently for each individual- is just as effective as other types of exercise in improving health. It has it’s own set of extra benefits and of course risk factors. Just like that Tylenol you like to pop for your back pain.

There is no one way to utilize the benefits of movement. Some people to pick things up and put them down.. others like to yoga.. some like to do step classes, and others just like to go for regular walks and stretch. IT’S ALL GOOD.

The biggest emphasis I am trying to make is that adding weight to your routine when you’re doing it correctly for YOUR SYSTEM (this is where the help of a trained professional often comes in), you’re looking at more resilience throughout your body and mind.

Don’t knock it til you try it 😉

(With the correct prescription and educated advice, of course!)

Athletic Therapy, Biomechanics, Chronic Pain, Conditioning, Equestrian, Motor Learning, Posture, Weight Loss, Wellness

If it ain’t broke.. The right way to move

Is there a correct way to move?

This is a question that has plagued therapists, trainers, and clients since the age of time.

Actually.. probably not that long.

The evolution of health and movement is one to be admired- in that, we’ve gone from quadruped beings, to walking, running, bipedal masterpieces, to what we are now.

We’re at an interesting point in movement science. We’ve somewhat regressed in our movement ability. While yes, we are still bipedal, upright beings- we no longer spend much of our time moving around in a variety of ways.

Now we move from point a-b-c-d in condensed timeframes, spending majority of our time between 3 positions (or variations of..): standing, seated, and laying down.

The author of Sapiens, Yuval Noah Harari, points out that the Agricultural and Industrial Revolutions not only may have ended our movement ability, but also may have birthed the beginnings of the various chronic illnesses and pain that affects us today.

Modern Day practitioners have been preaching alignment for decades already, and certainly our posture and ability to move has a huge impact on our overall wellbeing.. but is there such a thing as the “perfect” posture or alignment? Is there one optimal way to move?

The truth is yes, but also.. no.

There is certainly a most efficient way to move- in that, we will put minimal stressors on our structure and expend the least amount of energy to create that movement. There is a general textbook answer to this optimal alignment.

As an aside- it’s common to hear practitioners saying that one of your legs is longer then the other, or your pelvis is out of alignment.. when often the truth is some asymmetries are NORMAL to a certain degree.

We all have one shoulder that will be slightly depressed based on our hand dominance. We all have slight differences in how our rib cage sits, because of our anatomy (the left side has less lung in it to account for the heart- causing a shift between left and right), and where the rib cage goes the hips follow. Our body works in a chain like system- one link compensates for the next.. and while many compensations cause other problems, not all asymmetries are bad or abnormal. This will also change based on the mental health and perception an individual holds on pain, stress, and their systemic health. The debates on these fuel many research articles and books already. Stay tuned for more discussion on those topics and how movement relates to them.

When it really comes down to it, our movement is as unique as we are- and what is the best way to move for one person may not always mirror the best way to move for another person. We’re designed to be adaptable beings, and our postures should be just as adaptable.

Wait.. haven’t you been preaching posture and biomechanics your whole career?

Yes.. and while there may be differences across our spectrum of movement- majority of us inherit similar postural dysfunctions.. it’s very rare to find someone who moves well, even though there is no set checklist for what exactly moving well means.

Moving poorly in relation to your body can create a vicious cycle of degeneration, causing pain, causing less movement, causing more negative health outcomes. You can get enough movement, but if you don’t move well- you can actually do harm to your body which results in less movement.

For that reason *usually the first step with clients is to assess and correct how they move. From there we build a foundation of efficient movement, and build their movement habits on top of that foundation.

While I can’t say there is one right way to move, I can say that it is very rare to find someone with obviously inefficient movement without some sort of history of pain. The thing about pain is that it may not even present as physical pain.. it may be present in the form of gastrointestinal issues, or undue mental states. Our structure represents our internal framework too- and that can be a chicken or the egg scenario.

Many movement based practitioners will offer within their consult with you a movement screen. If you’re looking for an assist with your health, this is one of the things you should look to your professional to do. Cookie-cutter exercise programs, apps, and group fitness classes are convenient and cost effective- but the grain of salt there is if you get injured or develop pain because you’re movement wasn’t properly screened before starting a program- they cost you more in the long term.

We routinely see clients at their wits end come into our care. They’ve tried everything and nothing works- they are even hesitant to try anything else. They can’t move enough because of pain, or- they’ve never been taught healthy habits around their lifestyle (including movement and nutritional practices). This is what plagues our healthcare system today, and the message I keep putting out there to clients and peers is that none of this is a difficult fix- it just requires a shift from expecting a quick, cheap fix, to some quality time spent investing in our own health and getting educated guidance.

If you have questions about your movement today- send us an email and we’d be happy to help. Consults are always free.

Athletic Therapy, Chronic Pain, Wellness

5 Reasons Why Integrative Movement is Different

1. Accessibility

We pride ourselves in providing a simple, affordable solution to health and lifestyle services. We also offer services out of four satellite locations covering South Winnipeg, the Pembina Valley, Charleswood, and Selkirk region. All our locations are partnerships with other likeminded health facilities. From full functioning gyms to yoga studios – we do the groundwork to develop a health focused community feel wherever we go.

2. Investment

How many of us have bought into a health program, rehab, or gym membership only to under utilize it and later feel like we’ve just wasted the money? Our job is to support you in whatever your health goals require. Whether it’s developing healthy habits in the gym or at home, recovering from an injury, or pushing yourself to a new level of health and fitness, we work hard to provide highly skilled and knowledgable support. As a bonus, new members at our Selkirk and Charleswood locations automatically get 6 weeks of coaching alongside their memberships. No longer will you be stuck not knowing what to do with your gym membership! Your health is an investment, and we believe that navigating those investments is best with accessible, individualized support.

3. Individuality

It’s all about YOU- At IM we are different then your average rehabilitation facility or personal training sales pitch. We take the time to figure out what makes you tick. From consult to regular sessions, you can expect to spend 45min-1hr with us in either dedicated one on one therapy, consult, or training sessions or in a small group of likeminded individuals working at a common goal. Keeping things personal allows us to make sure you’re getting all the resources YOU need to reach your full health potential.

4. Diverse Experience

We are a team of Kinesiologists and Athletic Therapists with years of education and a growing experience base. Each of us enters our practice with our own personalities, history, and interests. For that reason, we pride ourselves in working as a team to meet our clients where they are at- and when appropriate work as a team with other professionals you deem valuable to your healthcare team.

5. We get it.

Life happens. Injuries are tough. Pain messes with our heads. Taking the steps towards lifestyle change seems impossible some days. We have been there, and we understand. Even on the days where you think it’s never going to change, the pain will never leave, or you’ll never get your old energy back.. we’ve got you. We won’t give up even when you don’t know where you stand. As the therapists and coaches we are, we hold out hope even when all hope seems lost. We’re all in the same boat, us humans, and we approach your care on your side every single day.

Want to learn more about how we can fit seamlessly into your journey towards optimal movement and health? Book your FREE consult here or drop by any of our locations to learn more. Looking forward to meeting you!

Athletic Therapy, Chronic Pain, Wellness

5 Reasons Why Integrative Movement is Different

1. Accessibility

We pride ourselves in providing a simple, affordable solution to health and lifestyle services. We also offer services out of four satellite locations covering South Winnipeg, the Pembina Valley, Charleswood, and Selkirk region. All our locations are partnerships with other likeminded health facilities. From full functioning gyms to yoga studios – we do the groundwork to develop a health focused community feel wherever we go. We also offer online services and training for those at a distance or on a budget! 

2. Investment

How many of us have bought into a health program, rehab, or gym membership only to under utilize it and later feel like we’ve just wasted the money? Our job is to support you in whatever your health goals require. Whether it’s developing healthy habits in the gym or at home, recovering from an injury, or pushing yourself to a new level of health and fitness, we work hard to provide highly skilled and knowledgable support. As a bonus, new members at our Selkirk and Charleswood locations automatically get 6 weeks of coaching alongside their memberships. No longer will you be stuck not knowing what to do with your gym membership! Your health is an investment, and we believe that navigating those investments is best with accessible, individualized support.

3. Individuality

It’s all about YOU- At IM we are different then your average rehabilitation facility or personal training sales pitch. We take the time to figure out what makes you tick. From consult to regular sessions, you can expect to spend 45min-1hr with us in either dedicated one on one therapy, consult, or training sessions or in a small group of likeminded individuals working at a common goal. Keeping things personal allows us to make sure you’re getting all the resources YOU need to reach your full health potential.

4. Diverse Experience

We are a team of Kinesiologists and Athletic Therapists with years of education and a growing experience base. Each of us enters our practice with our own personalities, history, and interests. For that reason, we pride ourselves in working as a team to meet our clients where they are at- and when appropriate work as a team with other professionals you deem valuable to your healthcare team.

5. We get it.

Life happens. Injuries are tough. Pain messes with our heads. Taking the steps towards lifestyle change seems impossible some days. We have been there, and we understand. Even on the days where you think it’s never going to change, the pain will never leave, or you’ll never get your old energy back.. we’ve got you. We won’t give up even when you don’t know where you stand. As the therapists and coaches we are, we hold out hope even when all hope seems lost. We’re all in the same boat, us humans, and we approach your care on your side every single day.

Want to learn more about how we can fit seamlessly into your journey towards optimal movement and health? Book your FREE consult here or drop by any of our locations to learn more. Looking forward to meeting you!

Athletic Therapy, Biomechanics, Chronic Pain, Motor Learning, Self-Development, Wellness

The Golden Rule

I have this rule when I train clients- which many of them are bittersweet about.

"If it's easy then you're probably not doing it correctly"

This is in respect to their position and mechanics during different exercises.

This isn't meant as a "no pain no gain" type rule- but more of a "you're body likes to cheat so if it feels easy, you probably aren't in the right position".

Our form is our function. Yes, efficiency is something we all desire- including our brain- but efficiency out of laziness (on the nervous system's part) only leads to injury and illness down the road.

I talk a lot about form, motor control, and movement patterning with my clients because, frankly, them knowing how to move and having an internal guideline of the correct way to move means that they will have long-term health success.

What is health success?

That may mean something different to each individual. To me it means having the ability to resist major health issue and injury (baring uncontrollable trauma), and the ability to maintain regular, healthy movement.

To not wake up full of aches and pains, and go to bed feeling the same.

To not worry about falling, throwing your back out, or degenerative osteoarthritis.

To know that if you do catch a cold or flu, your system is primed to recover. And that if you do experience a physical mishap/injury- you know what to do to get back on track.

I strive to create independence in my clients- not dependence. Them knowing that "oh, this feels like it isn't working the right things" feeling means that they will either ask a question to find out, or self- analyze and adjust the exercise appropriately. It means that they are thinking and investing constantly in their health and wellbeing. That means I've done my job.

Our bodies will always move us. By nature, they're always moving in some capacity. Whether they move us correctly depends on our awareness, and to build that awareness is what my purpose as a movement professional is. Certainly, clients remain on as clients because they find value in training with a professional consistently- and I myself hire another trainer to do just that for me- but by teaching a client how to move and how to understand their movement through building their internal awareness- they will be healthier in every aspect of their lives.

As the famous Grey Cook says, "move WELL, and move often".

Athletic Therapy, Biomechanics, Chronic Pain, Conditioning, Equestrian, Motor Learning, Posture, Self-Development, Wellness

What’s Up at IM- Winter Update

Hey everyone!

As usual I’m falling behind on my posting. I just wanted to pop in and give a quick update on Integrative Movement and Katmah Training, as things are happening!

As many of you know, Integrative settled into it’s very own location in the South End of Winnipeg this fall. While we still travel for some clients, we cut down our mobile services to only a few days a week. This hasn’t stopped us, however, as we still travel to Portage and MacGregor, and St. Agathe for clientele. Kathlyn also works out of Carman at Empower Fitness a few days a week. Accessibility for all our clients is a must!

In January Integrative was happy to welcome Lisa to the team as another Athletic Therapist. She is at the studio 3-4 days a week and is taking on new patients! She offers both therapy and training services!

Katmah has been on the go as well, recently having done a workshop for riders on the topic of Mind Body in coordination with the Manitoba Horse Council, and Scott Erickson Performance Consulting. It was a great afternoon, focused on equestrian sport psychology- dealing with adversity, preparing for competition, and common issues faced in our sport’s culture around mental preparation. Katmah followed with a discussion on what the equestrian requires from their body and movement, and of course there was exercises involved! Kat will next be speaking at Pine Ridge on April 23 in a full day clinic. This clinic includes both a lecture and riding sessions and is still open to auditors and a few riding spots are waiting to be booked!

Most recently Kathlyn was honored with making the top 25 shortlist for Athena Leadership’s Leaders of Tomorrow scholarship for her work and goals in healthcare. It was an exciting and enlightening evening networking with some of Winnipeg’s leading women business owners!

Through the fall and winter, Integrative Movement has been working to provide rural communities with access to movement education, exercise instruction and therapy. Integrative Movement was titled as such because we believe in making movement a part of everyday life, and that movement is integral in an integrated approach to health care and prevention medicine. We’ve also been working on building bridges with local senior’s centres to offer exercise instruction for their well being.

So what’s coming next?

IM is proud to be returning to Murdoch McKay Clansmen as the medical supervision for the 2017 season.

IM will also be returning to the MHJA circuit as medical coverage, and will be offering Athletic Therapy Services on competition weekends.

Weekly classes are being offered on Tuesday evenings at 5:45pm in Winnipeg, as well as 10:30am on Thursday mornings. These classes are all about fitness and mobility- and are open to all ages and fitness levels. As pre-season kicks into gear, IM is offering a discount on training services and therapy services (unless you have insurance coverage 😉 for the next few months. Contact us to find out more about this if you’re an MHJA, or MHC member.

We are also hoping to reach out to physicians in the city and rural communities to talk about movement, athletic therapy, and kinesiology. So if you think you’re GP would be interested- please let us know!

That’s about all the news for now- stay tuned to our social media for exercise ideas, handy tips about your health, and other updates!

Facebook: Integrative Movement

Instagram: @integrative_movement

Booking site: http://integrativemovement.janeapp.com

 

 

 

Equestrian

Wide Eyes at #WEF

If you have me on social media (instagram, facebook, twitter) then you’ll know that I’ve been frequenting the Winter Equestrian Festival, and Global Dressage Festival in Wellington, Fla this week. If you don’t have me on social media- go follow me and then finish reading this post (katmah1- instagram, Katmah Training & Performance on Fbook, and Katbee13 on Twitter).

With two days left in Wellington, my eyes are finally returning to their normal size. For a prairie girl who’s only really see horse shows in Manitoba (they aren’t that exciting) and New Zealand (much higher quality.. but not WEF), getting to live every rider’s dream for a week here in Florida has been pretty epic.
Why am I here?

Again, you’ll know the answer to this if you watch my media accounts. I’m here in coordination with Stable & Spice, and Heels Down Magazine as we launch the new fitness and nutrition series. Throughout the week we’ve been filming myself working with high level, big name riders here at WEF who frequent the dressage, hunter, and jumper rings. Why are we doing this? For only the most obvious of reasons.. there is a HUGE gap in rider education when it comes to injury prevention, fitness, and nutrition. As many riders will know first hand… it’s not uncommon to see a rider of any level living off coffee or redbull, and even smoking while walking courses. Why is this an issue? We’re athletes- but we aren’t acting like it. Many of us, anyway. This new series is meant to bring awareness to this issue, as well as begin educating young riders (and not young) about keeping themselves healthy and fit. This has been my personal vendetta for a while- and now with the help of these two media powerhouses, we’re making it a thing.


This has been an awesome first stint here in Florida, even if it took me a few days to get my bearings. I pretty much felt like I was walking into a movie the first day I was at the show. Seriously. Even driving around to different barns I was awestruck. This is where all the people with money and horses go. Being the nerd I am I’ve been grabbing all the real estate books on the properties here, so I can continue to dream about my $16mill farm one day. After those few day of either staring out the windows awe-struck, or wandering around with wide eyes at the shows- I slowly adjusted to my surroundings. The first day we filmed with Schuyler Riley, a grand prix show jumper based here in Wellington. The oldest, and wisest of our subjects. It was my first day on camera, so I did a lot of learning on the fly. “Talk to Wisconsin” aka, talk LOUD was my first reminder to put my teaching voice on, even though I was technically working with only one person. First we did fitness, without getting specific (you’ll have to watch the videos when they launch 😉 ), I taught Schuyler some exercises she hadn’t seen before (she’s a huge advocate for rider fitness and nutrition already!) and we got some great shots of her dog napping during the session. After the fitness we moved to her kitchen where we shot a cooking show. She didn’t need much help, a near professional cook herself, and this being my first time ever hosting a cooking show- I kinda let her take over.

If that wasn’t exhausting enough, day 2 of work here we shot two riders in one day. The first, Mary Lauritsen of Millenium Dressage, and then Brittni Raflowitz- another grand-prix rider/trainer. Both these riders were closer to my own age, the first with minimal experience in either cooking or fitness, and the second with a long exercise history and absolutely no cooking experience. A couple days off, exploring food trucks, swimming the hotels awesome pool, and avoiding potential tornadoes (the shows got evacuated on day 4 because of a storm and a tornado watch), grocery shopping in a power outage (I still found peanut butter oreos.. I love shopping in the USA!) – brought us to today- my second last day here in my first week.


  
Today was awesome! I spent the first few hours wandering WEF, watching and drooling over the hunters and perusing the shops. Then we met up with Tori Colvin.. The Tori Colvin, to film. I’d never met Tori before, and until this week I honestly didn’t know who she was. When we heard she had signed up I did my obligatory internet creeping and found out she’s a pretty big deal.


 Here I should mention that the fitness portions of these videos are all based on my own evaluation of rider’s equitation and posture. True to my style I made a unique intro program for them each and taught it to them on camera. A totally new experience for me (the on camera part, anyway), but thankfully by the time we got to Tori I was getting more comfortable. The highlight of this session was naming an exercise after her, one I developed and basically made up specifically for her.. so keep an eye out for “The Tori” in upcoming video releases through Stable & Spice and Heels Down!

Tonight, as I write this, I’m watching the Freestyle Dressage at Global Dressage Fest from the media lounge. My first time watching this level of dressage live and in person! Tomorrow we film one last rider in this stint and spend some more time in hunter/jumper land. I’m still a little star struck from my session with Tori, to be honest.


 With a day and a half left here.. I’m not exactly looking forward to returning to my -30C hometown right now… but I’m resting assured that I’ll be back later in the season for more sun and film experience.. and making even more connections! I already feel so blessed to have my business make it here in the first place!

Stay tuned for a post on the common rider mechanics issues I’ve seen here this week!

Athletic Therapy, Conditioning

Picking your gym/trainer- tips for your health resolutions

 

I’ve worked in a few different settings within the health industry already- even having just begun my career. From small, local focused gyms to the big box franchises I’ve seen how the health and fitness industry is simultaneously on the verge of regulation and positive science, but also becoming ridden with fads and poorly educated “professionals”. With a largely unaware population, fitness and health professionals become the go to source for guidance when it comes to improving fitness, weight loss, and health benefits… When those professionals don’t have much education themselves, things can get dangerous. The fitness industry, like any industry, has many who see the potential to earn money. Everyone wants to be their best selves, however many look for the “easiest” route possible- so those who can market and sell fad diets and quick fixes find opportunity, and the client falls into a cycle of quick improvements followed by relapses.

The truth is.. long lasting results take long lasting lifestyle changes. Accomplishing lifestyle changes takes rebuilding habits, and that often takes the guidance of a trained, certified, and educated professional dedicated to their own furthering education, and their client’s needs. Each client is different, and will respond differently to different things. A proper assessment and plan is needed to identify what is going to best suit them, both in the nutrition and movement realms.

Where many big box gyms excel in accessibility (24/7 hours, huge spaces and many locations) and seemingly low cost memberships/training contracts- they fail the client in other ways. Often staff working in the gym are not required to hold professional certifications (those that require a degree in a relevant field), and training staff (often only holding a weekend course in a science that should have years dedicated to understanding) are encouraged to make sales instead of better their clients. There also is a trend to underpay those responsible for the client’s results and wellbeing.  For instance, in a facility I work in I was told in my interview that there would be no pay difference based on my amount of training, – I am one of few training staff hired that holds a degree in kinesiology/exercise science (most only hold a weekend course or less), plus a international strength and conditioning certification (CSCS through the NSCA). Many of the clients I took on upon beginning at this facility had never worked with a certified or degreed trainer, and expressed how big a difference they noticed almost immediately in program design, and my ability to give educated advice, and if I didn’t have an answer immediately- to research it for them.

While there are good trainers and consultants out there who don’t have formal education, it is a system to be wary of and make sure you investigate and interview appropriately.

Whether we intend it or not, we are a catalyst of change for our clients. If they have chosen to start working with a trainer- they should be expecting someone who has the knowledge and ability to help them make a change. Health is dynamic, and it takes time, experience, and lots of education to  understand fully.

All of this being said.. if you’re looking for some guidance in the new year, here’s a few top things you need to look out for on your search:

  • Background check your trainers and consultants. I’m not talking criminally, but hey- I guess that’s not a bad idea too.. I’m talking how much knowledge of the profession do they have. What are their certifications? Do their certifying organizations require a degree within the field? If they don’t, be wary.. they may only be able to offer a minimal amount of education for you.
  • Know what you’re buying into. Whether it’s a gym membership, a training package, or a consult- what exactly are you getting and what are you locked into. Many gyms require a sign up fee, as well as a contract that locks you in for the duration of the membership. If you’re new to the scene, do they offer an intro session to get you started? Some smaller gyms won’t require a contract, and have more flexible options. Trainers or gyms often offer a free session to make sure it’s for you. Talk to your potential trainer and see what their policies are on missing sessions, cancellation policies, and what bang you’re getting for your buck. I always give my clients a full breakdown of what their paying for, because nobody likes surprises.
  • Build a team. One person doesn’t always have all the answers. If you know you need more guidance in one area, seek the advice of a few professionals. Talk to your trainer- see if they recommend other professionals in other areas, staff at your gym, or look online for blogs or articles (and always do some research of your own). Knowledge is power, especially when it comes to your health- and having a good network surrounding you helps in building that knowledge.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask questions. That’s what staff and consultants are there for. If they don’t have educated answers, or don’t have the time to help you.. you’re in the wrong place. Facilities that don’t have time to properly educate their clients, or hire the appropriate professionals to do so, aren’t worth your money (or time). Research those who work at your new facility (preferably before you buy in), and make sure they can help you when you need it.
  • Commit to yourself. Hiring a trainer, nutritionist, or buying into a gym membership or fitness classes is a big step.. but now it’s up to you to commit. The professionals around you are there to support you, but you also have to be willing to put in the work. All good trainers are good enablers, and should guide you in the right direction- but it’s your duty to keep your feet moving on that path. Involving a motivated friend can be helpful, but be wary if that friend starts to suggest wine nights or movie nights instead of gym dates (we’ve all been there).
  • Be aware of the “fads”. Unfortunately there is a lot of pseudo-science in the health industry. There is a lot of self-made gurus too. Some of it is on the cusp of legitamized research, and some of it comes from personal experience that’s “trending”. Fad diets don’t work long term. Know that. They may be a starting point to kick your butt into gear, but don’t expect the results to last. Lasting results take serious lifestyle modifications. In the gym,  it takes at least 4-6weeks to notice physical/visual changes in how you look. It also takes about 3-4 weeks to build a habit… so getting into the workout habit won’t be immediate.. that’s sometimes the biggest benefit of having a trainer. Now you’re accountable to show up to meet another person. It’s easier to commit when someone is expecting you, isn’t it?
  • Don’t get discouraged, good things take time. There isn’t a immediate weight loss trick that will last long term, and the number on the scale isn’t a be all end all. In the end, it’s how you feel. And how you feel will be determined by the habits you build with the appropriate education and guidance. Also- just cause I’m sick of the request- there is no such thing as “toning” one particular part of the body. AND, ladies, you will not get huge and bulky if you start lifting more then 2 pound weights. You just won’t. That’s not how the body works. So stop worrying about it.. your bone density will thank you.

I hope some of these tid-bits help you in the season of resolutions. If you’re interested in some guidance that’s affordable, mobile, and easy to access (oh, and very educated), check out my membership options. Let’s make a plan that works for you. What’re you waiting for?

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