Same Path Traveled Different Journey Part 6: #whyIswing

As a trainer and coach, I always want to know my clients’ why, the what for, . . . the deeper reason why they are working with me. At first, it can be as simple if dropping some weight or fitting into a pair of jeans, but I usually find there are deeper reasons why behind their goals, even through their goals are GOOD!

It wasn’t till Strength Matters posted the question “why do you swing” wanting to know the reason behind many people’s swing. Right away I thought, I swing to help with my sport. I posted this picture at the beginning of the water ski season, now with it is the end of the season I find I am asking myself do I have a deeper reason behind my swing then just for off-season training? If I am asking my clients to discover their “why” or “what for” I thought I would share my reasons.

whyiswing

I swing for my mom; she has been the one who has always believed in my dreams and my wild hippie-gypsy spirit. Without her I would not be the woman I am today! She has taught me there is a powerful source living within me! It is through the power of believing I will be able to unleash this source.  This power has lead me to have a passion for exercise, health, movement, nutrition etc!  But it is only a result of my mother leading me to discover my passions and most importantly this power that is bigger than life.  She has taught me how trusting and having faith in this power leads us to your passions and the process of discovering your true strength. She has taught me so much about power strength, and living life with passion,  but most importantly she has taught me to stand for my beliefs and for those who I love.

It is now my turn to demonstrate to her all she has given to me! And this is the reason I swing for my mom.

A year ago, my mother went into brain surgery to remove a tumor.  Leading up this event was her neck and back pain.  After two different MRIs, it was confirmed she had a herniated disk at C6- C7. For those who may be wondering what do those letters mean if you were to bend your head down toward your chest it is the main vertebra you feel at the base of her neck.

To the doctors and my parents surprise there a tumor trying to make itself a home in my mother’s brain.  This was a blessing in disguised!  The surgery was an easy success! Yes it was a huge success, but that was the easy part.  Recovery has been a different story.  My mom was not only recovery from a major surgery but she was and is still trying to heal her neck.  She decided one surgery was enough and she was going to heal her neck with the holistic approach.  Because of where the herniated disk is located it has caused her shoulder and hand tremendous pain.  She continues to fight this through chiropractor, massage therapy, acupuncture, and pulse therapy.

The cost of the surgery and the fact she has maxed out her insurance coverage, I am asking for your donation to help my mother fight this battle of regaining her health without another surgery.

Knowing she gave me this amazing gift of life, I cherish this gift through my health.

I will be doing a kettlebell swing for every dollar donated to help my mother to be the best she can be pain free! Clink here to see how you can be apart of this! https://www.gofundme.com/iswingformamabitz

Most importantly, I am committed not just my health and my mother’s but to your life’s health. I swing for you to know life is amazing wonderful life and we are to enjoy this gift through this complex amazing bodies of ours.

I SWING for my MOM

#iswingformamabitz

My mom is my why S- She is my

Passionate, strong, W-warrior

Who continues to I- inspires me to live life to the fullest

And lets N-nothing get in the way of

The G-Greatness she continues to see in me.

HOPE. DREAM. BELIEVE.

Almost a year ago, I was started to suffer from a hip/back injury.  It was two years to the date from my first back injury.  I did not want to admit I was hurt again. I did not want to look weak again and was afraid to admit I needed help.  But the pain increased quickly and soon I could not walk without discomfort.

“How could this happen to me? ” I thought to myself.  I felt I learned my lesson from my first injury to prevent this to happen again! I learned the importance of owning my movement and became smarter with my exercise program.  The question of why or how I became injured was an unknown. The severity of the pain resulted in three weeks of rest and again I found myself without work.  At first I was devastated with this reality, then the memory of how it was a blessing in disguised to the first time I was out of work two-year prior.  I learned so much from my experience from being injured (see letting go letting God post in July) and I knew there was a reason for this darkness of being injured and without work.

It was during this dark period I was able to see the light! There where numerous other events that intensified the darkness but I continued to see the light shine brighter and brighter.  I saw this light through my clients, family, co-workers, and Ultimate Coach. Through this time, I was able to quiet my soul and find peace with darkness as I kept my eyes on the light.

It was only then I was able to rest in peace and hear a small still voice.

Everything in my life came to a complete stop; work, co-workers, workouts, planning, family, friends everything, which allowed me to clearly hear this voice.  The voice that speaks without words can only be heard through peace of mind body and spirit creating harmony within one being.

The voice soon turned into a calling a calling that created a pull in my heart.  This pull started a tug of war on my heart for I knew I was about to leave everything to obey the voice.  I was devastated with the action I needed to take, for I love life here in Seattle. Seattle you have given me amazing clients, co-works, and friends creating my Seattle family.  The calling burns deeply inside me and I cannot ignore this pull. I have a duty to respond by doing.

As I finish this blog, I am finishing my last day at PRO Sport Club.  It is a bitter sweet but I am excited for the unknown as I continue to trust in my Ultimate Coach as he continues to speak to me and through me.  He is the one who has given my passion for water skiing and for exercise / health.  It is through these passions I will shine my Light of Love giving others a hope, a dream, and the courage to believe.

"I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlighten in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people"  Ephesians 1:18
“I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlighten in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people” Ephesians 1:18

Women Who Work Together  

With  it being International  Women Day, I wanted to share a special women Liz Malatesta! She has been the Physical Therapist I have seen personally and who I have sent my clients to when injured.  She has helped me stay healthy and strong for water skiing, but more importantly she has healed my clients.   At first,  our working relationship was based on my injuries. When she was able to help me return to my regular activity level, I realized  how my clients could benefit from her knowledge and healing hands. Ever since then we have been able to share clients working together for the greater good.  

Working as a personal trainer my number one goal is to keep client injury free.  Yet life happens and there are events that does cause us to become injured.  With working together,  Liz and I are able to create the best for our clients.  Enjoy the interview I was able to have with Liz explaining her philosophy how movement is medicine. 

What made you want to become PT? 

I have always had an interest in the medical field, when in undergrad I had the opportunity to shadow a physical therapist, right away I knew that PT was the right career path for me. I get to help people recover from injuries and get them back in the game.

 

What have been the benefits working together with a trainer in regards to sharing a client? 

There are many benefits from getting to share a client between PT and personal training, it is a great way to transition someone from the rehab phase back into real life.  Working with a trainer gives the client the opportunity to apply things learned in PT and have them integrated into a long term sustainable workout plan.  This allows the client to not only reach their rehab goals but ultimately stay healthy and prevent future injury.

 

Can you tells us a little bit about PRI?  

Postural Restoration Institute or PRI is method for integrating whole body systems into rehab, with the main emphasis on proper breathing.  If we don’t breath well we cannot perform optimally.

 

What are some the benefits using PRI over other techniques for corrective exercises?  

PRI is a way to manage our normal asymmetries (internally we are asymmetrical, with the liver sitting under the right diaphragm and heart sitting above the left diaphragm – we need to balance this asymmetry otherwise injury will eventually happen), when done correctly they allow the person to live, move and perform at their optimal level.

 

Why treat asymmetric ?  

We have all sorts of micro-habits that create asymmetries in our body, our body is an excellent compensater but eventually those compensated areas will give out an injury will occur.  If can identify the asymmetries, we can target them with corrective exercises and prevent injury from occurring.

 

Would you recommend train asymmetrically and why or why not? 

Yes, we first need to identify the persons asymmetry.  Once we have identified what muscle is weak on what side we can target that muscle to create a balance.

 

Why treat the whole body as one verses the injured site itself? 

It goes back to the “arm bone is connected to the…” our body works as a beautifully designed machine, and all parts need to be in the correct position to perform normally.  If we only treat the injured site, we are doing the client/patient an injustice because their injury will likely return, if we do not fix the mechanics behind what cause the injury in the first.

 

Thank you Liz!  I have enjoyed all the knowledge exchange we have been able to create!  I will miss learning from you as my days come close to an end at PRO Sport Club.

photo-10

3 benefits working out with a WEAK training partner

Summer bliss, Fun in the sun, Sun out Guns out, are some popular sayings during the summer. One phrase you would hear if you went to a local swim pool or lake is “do you have your swim buddy? ” we had a swim buddy keeping us safe and accountable for not drowning. While at the same we were able to share the joys of summer together.

 

Today we still use the buddy system, yet this may look very different compared to our swim buddy. It may be grabbing coffee with a co-worker and bouncing ideas off each other, it may be a girl friend to go shopping with. Buddies help each other to be our best, best businessman or finding the best outfit. The buddy system is designed to help each other to be the best we are meant to be.

 

In the gym world we have our workout buddies. Working out with a buddy can help keep you accountable for getting your workout in and helping you stay on track with your goals. Training with a partner can be so much more than just these good aspects. Here are the benefits of training with a weak partner.

 

  1. Stronger Mind
  2. Stronger You
  3. Stronger Community

 

For these benefits to accrue we  need to be open and honest. First, we need to be open with our self, admitting our weakness. This takes mental strength. We all have our strength and weakness, as much we don’t want to admit we have weakness, (speaking for my self here) we do.

 

Before we can learn we have to admit our starting point, our weakness. This takes guts to admit where we are not strong! It can be scary because it means we have to be vulnerable with each other to gain strength. Being honest with each other invites coaching, learning and progressing. Your buddy  may be stronger in an area you are weak. This allows you to lean how to improve your weakness and transform it into your strength. At the same time you may be strong in an area your partner is weak. You are now challenging each other to learn through strength to improve weakness.

 

We must be open to weakness, open to learn, open to transform. Only then are we able to convert our weakness as strength. This is when you will have developed a stronger mind.

 

You will start complementing (verses competing against each other, another blog post on this to come) each other with your strengths and your weakness. Working with each other you will use your strength to transform what could have been your Achilles heel into a powerful force.  Together you will become mighty warriors by working through different limitations. When we recognize we each have different strengths to offer one another, it balancing out our own weakness, creating a stronger you. Once you have developed a stronger you, we start building stronger community.

 

A strong community is working together and bringing out the best in you, a stronger you. Let us thrive together through this “buddy system” enjoying each other’s strengths. For without our buddy we might be drowning through life.

 

 

Pink n Powerful

Sue-5202A year and half ago, I started working with Sue McConnaha training one on one three times a week.  When she started working with me she was 60 years old weighed 195 lb with 49.3 % body fat.  Sue soon became every trainers dream.  She had the determination and the dedication to reach her goal.  She had many set back throughout our time working together but she did not let these life events set her off track.  Now I am happy to report Sue is now 61 years old and feels ten years younger weighing 125 lbs with  21.1 % body fat.

It wasn’t always fun and games.  It was a struggle at first for Sue.  For someone one who has not exercised on a regular basis since ever. Sue learned the art of  struggling well.  Every kind if exercise program there is going to be a struggle.  This struggle I like to describe a processes of shedding the old self in hopes for a new. This “new” can be a new strength, a new weight lost, a new body.

Through her struggle of continuous exercising, she rediscover her  new body as a magnificent machine.  She now loves to dead lift (PR 95 lbs) and kettlebell swing.  She now finds joy through movement and exercise.  Instead of working one on one, Sue has been able to join a Kettlebell class and do partner training improving her technique of working with the kettlebell.

As a her trainer, it has been amazing to watch her transformation. This transformation didn’t just happen through her body but her mind.  One of the reasons why she has been able to keep the weight of is simply her mind set.  She has told me “I know that this time, the weight loss is for life.  Making this mental decision, her action will follow.  Having this mind set is the game changer.

Sue’s story has been such an inspiration to so many. Her life testimony of health reaches many more people than those with weight lost goals. Knowing she had to overcome many challenges, she inspires me to maintain my health as I recover from my foot surgery.  I understand how easy it is to give up when facing challenges, let Sue’s story be an inspiration to not give up and chase your fitness goals.  Below is an interview I had with Sue discussing her story about her transformation.

 

What is your history with trying different diet and exercise routine been?
I started out as a chubby kid….there in lies the problem!
My first diet success was when I was in high school…lost 30 lbs the
summer before my senior year. What a difference that made for me that
last year. So good memory of what the hard work and focus yielded…I
always remembered that.
Got married right out of high school and pregnant…gaining 50 lbs.
The next 40 years has been taking the weight off and gaining it back.
Have done Weight Watcher, LA weight loss, Bellevue weight loss clinic
using a diet pill and their specific liquids. Have been on 7 day a
week 75 minute work outs. Gave up red meat…then did the Atkins heavy
protein….brown rice diet, grapefruit diet…body flushes…I could
go on and on. Any and all of these were not sustainable for me because
it was so far from normal for me.

What made this program so different?
This program has been able to figure out a plan in the current
lifestyle that I have.

Was you mind set different from the rest attempts?
I honestly didn’t think I could or wanted to do it again. But I always
remember how good it would feel when I would be loosing and feeling
better about myself.

How much weight total did you lose? Start weight? Goal weight? Current Weight
I started last April 22nd at 193lbs with a goal of 150lb. That is
about the same start and goal I have had on all of my various diets.
Sometimes I got there and other times not. Seemed like the decision
point was when I would be close to the 200lbs on the scale..
I am happy to say I surpassed my goal and I weigh 120lbs and have been
at that weight for the last 3 months. I haven’t weigh’d 120 since I
was in the 6th grade.

What were some challenges?
Challenges were not as evident this go around because the formula was
working. My husband and I go out often so menu items were a struggle
at first. Then I figured out any restaurant would prepare it how ever I
would ask. I just wish there was a diet wine…as that is one of my
vices.

Can you describe you job responsibilities and how this was a challenge?
So I am in charge of Bakery and Food Courts….all food related. WeSMcConnaha3
have cuttings all the time…it is not that appealing when I am trying
to spit out the sample in front of 12 people….but they are used to
it now. Even have 2 or 3 of them doing the same thing!

What about your work travel schedule?
Travel is always interesting….nothing nutritional offered on
commercial flights so I just get a salad to go before I get on and
don’t use the dressing. When on the company plane there is plenty to
pick from I am so lucky.

Was there anything hard to give up like certain foods, habits, etc
Limiting/eliminating wine big challenge?

I still think about it and work at it.SMcConnaha2

Since you have reached your goal weight what keeps you motivated now?
My motivation has been that  it keeps working…that never happened
with any diet because it wasn’t sustainable.

What motivated to lose so much weight?

The attention from the quality people at the pro club….You, Julie,
Ali, Dr Upton…the people at the desk’s…everyone. My husband has played a huge support role as he does most of the cooking .Also everyone’s
comments are very motivating puts a smile on my face every time.

Explain the need for back surgery during the program and how it could have created a set back, but you did not allow for it.  How did you not fall back into your past unhealthy routines?
When I found out that I had to surgery I thought this would be a
stopping point not knowing how it would set me back. Well it didn’t!I
It took about a week to get back to a soft routine and that was it. I
stayed the course with the nutritional part recording
everything….sometimes over estimation the amounts to keep in check.

What advice do you have for other who struggle with weight loss?
You have to keep trying…it took me until 60 years old to find the
program that fits my lifestyle.
I believe I have discovered the formula that works good for me.
Everything I do I feel is sustainable.

What advice do you have for people your age being active and exercising?
You must get up and move…5 minutes then 10 minutes…and more. Never
push yourself to make it hurt just feel good. If it hurts you won’t
want to continue.

Is there anything else you would like to add?
The most satisfying thing to me is setting a good example with my
family, friends and people at work. I have explained my process to so
many people that it keeps me even more motivated.
My grandson is constantly inspecting what I have on my plate and
comparing to his…now he always orders a salad instead of french
fries…how can you beat that.

 

Coming out of the Closet on CrossFit

Many have asked if I am straight, bi, and/or lesbian. This post is not to answer these types of questions. But I am coming out of the closest to set the record straight about my opinion about CrossFit.

 

When I first entered exercise as a professional, I was eager to become part of the CrossFit movement. Yet over a year of doing CrossFit style workouts my body became very broken. As a result of this, I was totally turned off from the Crossfit community. Like a high school student feels being benched the entire season, I felt I was the outcast for physically not being able to keep up with my teammates. Jealous I was not part of the team, I banded CrossFit. Then I find out the gym I am working at is opening a CrossFit “box.”

 

As CrossFit continues to grow, I have been challenged professionally about this growth. Like any type of exercise whether it be CrossFit, Zumba, Martial Arts etc, without the proper coaching there is always going the be the risk of injuries.

 

There is a lot contrast about if CrossFit is healthy or not. When the real question is how are the participants being coached. If you want to perfect a skill through Crossfitt, or kettlebells, it will take time and diligence. We can’t just jump into these classes knowing exactly how to do all the lifts and expect no injuries. It takes time and proper coaching. Even as a coach, I still seek coaching to perfect my kettlebell swings and the water skiing abilities.

 

I have the privilege to work with an amazing team of experts these past three years. They have challenge themselves to continue to expand their knowledge and coaching skills, while at the same time pushes each other to new physical limits. I have learned so much working with them both with coaching and reaching my personal physical goals.

 

With the new CrossFit Bel-Red opening up, I trust all the coaches will take the correct safety precautions. I know this team of CrossFit Coaches will make a huge difference in this community and will start changing the poor reputation CrossFit has to a safe and effect type of exercise. They have changed my opinion of it and I am excited to see the impact this “Box” will have through our community.

 

CrossFit has an amazing community, let this community grow to support all types of movement, exercise, and sports. Even though the high school student may not have the chance to play on the court they are still supporting their team by being there. We all can support one another. Not everyone can physically do CrossFit, more power to you if you can, I may be little jealous. Let us support our differences and remember the main goal: improving each other life through health and exercise.

 

CrossFitt may not be for everyone but movement is for everyone. Find something you enjoy and go “live with passion!”

I will leave you with one last comment. I am not a cross-fitter but I am open to learn from them. I am not bi and/or lesbian but open to dating not a boy but a man.

Skier’s Shoulder Mobility Warm Up

 

I know for myself I have developed many different shoulder problems and the more I talk to other skier many have suffered rotator-cuff surgeries and/or bicep tears. This sport demands us to have incredible range of motion and strong shoulders at the same time. The amount of torque that our bodies go through while holding not the most natural position.  We start to develop a lot of asymmetries and a lock up T-spine (mid-back). Resulting in a hypo-mobile lower back and causing chronic back pain.  Here are some exercises I have discovered from working with my Physical Therapist Christopher Johnson to help address these issues.

 

Most of these exercises are performed in a ½ kneeling position but all can be performed in full kneeling position (aka tall kneeling) standing or split stance. I recommend working from the ground up with ½ kneel or full kneel then to standing positions.  Click on the link below for the video.

 

Egyptian

  • Reach the same arm as leg that is down, palm up, back arm palm facing down
  • Looking at your palm, rotate and look at back while hand switching positions
  • If you were to think of doing the splits with your upper body this would be it
  • Repeat 5 “ish”reps and 1-2 sets

 

Benefits: Shoulder stretch,  and T-spine rotation, (increase your reach for the going around the buoys)

 

Halo

  • Using a small Kettlebell, grab on the horns (side handles) have it bottom up
  • Lift your left hand to the right side of your head, then to the back of your head so that the kettlebell is bottoms down. Let the right hand follow “naturally”
  • Allow the Kettlebell to trace a Halo around your head; trace it one direction then the opposite direction right after.
  • Repeat 3 “ish” reps 1-2 set; one direction then the opposite equals one rep

 

Benefits: T-spine mobility, Core activation, corrects any asymmetries

 

Bottom Up Single Arm Rotation

  • Start with Kettlebell in the same hand as leg that is down. Make sure you have a good balance of the bell first
  • Rotate and reach as far as you can without loosing balance while opening up shoulder
  • Repeat 3 “ish” reps 1-2 set

 

Benefits: T-spine rotation, Core activation, grip strength, shoulder mobility and strength 

 

 

Enjoy and let me know how it helps with your skiing

Ski you later

 

 

 

Off Season Training Begins

This past weekend I was able to compete in my fist tactical strength competition.  It consisted of max dead lift, max pull ups and the 5 min snatch test.  Those who are not familiar with the snatch text, it is completing as many kettle snatches you can within the 5 mins.  I accomplished a 205 lb dead lift, 14 pull ups and 105 snatches.  However, I could not have completed any of this without the amazing encouragement that was surrounding me from all the other competitors.

The best part of the day was seeing how strength brought strangers to friends, friends to encourages and  encourages to competitors within minutes.  The atmosphere was filled with motivation and inspiration, like a forest set on fire the motivation and inspiration started burning inside each of us in hopes to do our best.  As a result, many people had personal record  PR (in water skiing we call this personal best PB).  It was amazing to see and be a part of the determination, the strength and the encouragement from everyone wanting to improve their physical abilities.

As any competitor, we want a t-shirt to wear for bragging rights.  This was the shirt rewarded to all the competitors.

tshirtTSCfall13

I love the quote on the back of the shirt.  As a personal trainer, I believe strength does have a greater meaning.  For some, strength is losing weight, others may be a fight against cancer,  or it might be like my case a back injury and being able to walk pain free is strength. For me,  strength is a tool, a hope to use as inspiration for others.  Many of you know my story (and if you don’t you can read previous post about my back injury) and from this story of healing I hope I am able to inspire others to never give up on their dreams.  It is people and their stories that motivate me to continue to strive for my best, yet there is still a greater meaning to strength for me.

Snatch Test 105

As a competitor I am constantly reminded where my strength comes from:

  Be strong and courageous.  Do not be afraid; do not discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go ~Joshua 1:9

He is my strength and power.

Strong First

God First

Boys of BOW Lake

Bow Lake Water Sports
Bow Lake Water Sports

Bow Lake was my practice site last year.  Spending as much time as I could up at the lake last summer,  I was stoked to make my return this last Friday for their first $5 Fridays.  This time I was able to bring up some of other Performance Coaches/Personal Trainers I work with at PRO Sport Club. Being surrounded by former footballs players has become the norm for me. I did not realize this till one of the skiers asked me who are my body guards?

Working with such strong guys, they are always encouraging and challenging me to new physical limits, but this time it was my turn to show them why I work so hard in the gym.  Having them ride in the boat and getting a perfect view of the intensity of water skiing, made them realize the intensity of  my workouts. Asking if they wanted to give it a try. They did not want to get into the water. Even though it was abnormally warm for Seattle area this time of year (high 70’s close to 80 degrees) the water temp was still about 50 degrees (I am still wearing my dry suit).  But they did get the bug because the next day they were asking when would be the next time to go up.  Even those who weren’t able to make it where asking too.  So until next time Bow Lake offer their $5 Fridays and the water warms up I will be bringing the boys to Bow for fun in the sun.

“Fish out of Water”

With a full week of rest and surviving time off from work, exercising and  . . .  and  . . . .and well besides water skiing  (which I am already taking time off from) I really don’t do anything else. Even though this week was a good rest period, it does not mean this is the end of my recovery phase. NO it is just the beginning. . . . .

This is how my car usually looks like when I am heading to the lake or a tournament, yet I did not drive to either one today.  Knowing my body needs to more time to completely heal, I have decided to not ski at all this season.  At first I thought I could get away with just skiing and not competing, but as the symptoms in my back started to increase verses decrease, I knew this would not be the case.

To make sure I won’t water ski this summer, I  drove my ski with all my gear to the only one person I would trust to take good care of the my equipment , Margie Metzger, a great friend and an amazing Physical Therapist.

Now you have to understand I am that type of skier who does not like other people touching my ski!  I cringed of the thought of people even asking if they can look at it.  I will go out of my way to make sure when entering and exiting the boat that I am the one holding my ski, no one else, not even my coach.  So letting Margie keep my ski and all my gear for the entire summer is a big deal, and a big step of faith.

Never thinking that I would need time off from this sport to improve, I know with this time it will  allow my body to fully heal.  From this recovery phase I hope to be a stronger and smarter skier for the next session.  So Summer 2013 Look Out I am coming for yah.