Postural Restoration

Health and Fitness Specialist, Michael McCarthy

We’ve all heard it before – sit up straight, don’t slouch, keep your head up. We’ve been having our posture coached and corrected since we were kids but chances are it didn’t stick (I know I ignored a few of my cues as I sat on the couch watching the Super Bowl for a few hours.) Our professions have become more desk bound and we’re finding our height shrinking, upper backs rounding, shoulders more forward, and lower backs aching as we commute to work or hang over the computer.

Sitting for extended periods can have negative effects in general, but sitting with poor posture will amplify problems. It doesn’t take long for the body to adapt to the position it is being put in. In as little as 30 minutes the muscles will “creep” into the posture that they are put in. Certain muscles will become over active while their counterparts become underactive. Let’s take the example of rounded shoulders:  Sitting in a hunched position for extended periods will cause the pectoral muscles to stay in an internally rotated position, effectively making them overactive. Because they are in a constant state of being active, the scapula muscles adapt and become underactive, leaving the shoulders in a forward position. Without intervention, this posture can lead to kyphosis (rounding) in the spine and the shoulders are at a much higher risk for injury.

Being mindful of how you sit or stand is a great way to stay on top of your posture. However being mindful alone will not repeal the adaption that has taken place. A recipe for success, in addition to being mindful, is releasing the overactive muscles and strengthening the underactive muscles by means of soft tissue work and strength training. Having a massage or myofascial therapist is a great way to help release that tension. Another option is to use a tool like a foam roller or lacrosse ball on the soft tissues. Not only is it an affordable and effective way to relieve tension on the overactive muscles – it also helps introduce additional blood flow to the underactive muscles to help get them moving.

When choosing an exercise to target a specific element of posture, choose an exercise that is opposite of the action that is taking place. Staying with the example of rounded shoulders, I would choose an exercise that externally rotates my shoulder, such as a cable row, because it is the opposite of the internal rotation that is caused by the pectorals. Start small and progress slowly. The underactive muscles need to relearn their job and doing too much too soon can result in an injury. Combing deliberate and consistent strength training with consistent and deliberate soft tissue work, over time, will work wonders for your posture.

I like the way you move it…

As I get deeper and deeper into the realm of assessments, I am increasingly becoming aware of the ways in which muscle imbalances affect our overall fitness and health. Many of you are working hard in the gym: spinning, TRX, Targeted, Tabata, Cardio Kick, etc! But, do you take the time to think about how you are moving (or in some cases not moving) when you are not inside the walls of 50/50? Our posture and movement patterns carry through our day to day life, and for most of us, there are 23 hours a day that we are not at the gym.

One of my mentors, Dr. Brent Brookbush, has a lot to say (and write) about postural dysfunction. Much of his research is based on creating exercises and techniques that improve posture, and thus movement and performance, to reduce injury and pain (both chronic and acute). We spend a lot of time thinking about improving our cardiovascular capacity, strength, and maybe even balance and flexibility, but most of us spend little time and energy on improving our daily posture and movement patterns.

This week I encourage all of you to actively think about your posture and movement when you are not at the gym. Are you slumped over the computer? Do you spend too many hours sitting? If I were to look at your foot-steps in the sand would they be straight or would one side toe-out or in? The first step to correcting these postural dysfunctions is awareness. Many of you will be able to correct some of these patterns once you are mindful of them. If the dysfunction is deeply ingrained in our muscle memory, maybe it is a good time to think about personal training Beyond providing you with a butt-kicking workout, our personal trainers specialize in providing corrective exercises to address muscle imbalances, postural dysfunction, and issues with movement patterns.  Also, we now offer Functional Movement Screening (FMS), an objective screening tool that measures seven movements that are key to daily life, and determines if those movements are optimal, acceptable, or dysfunctional. Ask us about this cool new service.

I know you’ve heard me say it in spin class, but this week I want your motto all day to be: “Proud chest, shoulders back, breathe!”

More on Outdoor Fit Camp

Director of Strength & Conditioning, Jay McWilliams

We are so excited about the new facility, we have developed a whole new program to fit the space! Outdoor Fit Camp incorporates the best of Metabolic Bootcamp, and builds on it with a focus on strength and an all-inclusive design for all fitness levels. We have a huge new space, and we plan to make the most of it! I have already designed and built some permanent fitness stations so we can all develop our skills on push-ups, pull-ups, and triceps dips. The new stations allow progression for all levels, so even if you are far away from doing an unassisted pull-up or a full push-up we can get you there safely!
Outdoor Fit Camp differentiates itself from Spin and Strength, Tabata, and Cardio-Sport by being more focused on strength training, while still reaping metabolic benefits from interval training, agility drills, sled pulls, and our new favorite, medicine ball wall-slams! These are incorporated with dumbbell and body-weight moves to create a full body work-out that is guaranteed to engage your muscles. The great part about this kind of training is you also benefit from a killer after-burn effect, and your metabolic rate stays amped for the next 24 hours. Outdoor Fit Camp is a great way to begin to incorporate strength training into your workout routine in a fun group exercise environment!
For our members who are looking for a highly effective, structured program to safely build strength and improve lean muscle mass, Targeted Strength and Conditioning is a great fit! In this small group format you will work your way through structured strength progressions. There is a greater emphasis on form and more individualized coaching that allows you to progress to much heavier weights for greater benefit. Some of our female members are regularly deadlifting over 150 pounds now! Also, many of our Targeted participants can now complete unassisted chin-ups. The progress made in this program is so much fun to watch and be a part of! If you can commit to two sessions a week, you will get stronger and fitter!

70 Classes?!

With 70 group exercise classes on the schedule, and 9 amazing health and fitness specialists, we have everything you need to reach your true potential. Need some added attention, accountability, and a structured plan inside the gym and out? Give personal training or small group training a try! With so many options, so many avenues, and decisions to make each and every day – why not set up a complimentary consultation? Katie, Jay, Jamie, and Justin are available to meet and mentor you on all of those little decisions you’re forced to come by. They do matter and we’re here to help!

So take advantage and sign-up for your consultation today!

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Eliminating the Confusion – Everyday fitness definitions for beginners

Metabolism – The sum of all physiological processes in which matter is produced, maintained, and destroyed. The ability to burn and utilize energy (calories) is a factor of metabolism.

Calorie Deficit – The difference between the amount of calories you take in and the amount of calories you burn. If you create a daily deficit of 500 calories, you are on track to lose one pound of body fat per week.

Body Mass Index – A comparison of weight to height used to estimate body fatness. It does not, however, distinguish between fat and fat free mass (muscle). Thus, someone with lots of muscle may be falsely represented as ‘overweight’ or ‘obese’.

Basal or Resting Metabolic Rate – The amount of energy you expend just functioning from day-to-day. This number does not reflect any type of physical activity whatsoever. It is generally represented in calories.

Strength Training – Using an external load while isolating different areas of the body, to evoke a muscle response and adaptation over time.

Interval Training – Strength and conditioning using intervals of time rather than a set number of repetitions. A great way to mix in cardio with your strength training!

Repetitions – A rep is a single isolated movement from start to finish. Generally, any given number of repetitions forms a set.

Compound Set – Performing two exercises within the same muscle group with little or no rest in between.

Superset – Performing two exercises of opposing muscle groups with little or no rest in between.