FIT JOINTS Series #2:

by Dr. Theresa Dobson.

PART TWO OF THE “FIT JOINTS” SERIES

Introduction: Take Me to the River.

You wouldn’t typically think of your body as a river, though you probably should!

Your human vessel is composed of 70-80% water.

Every cellular function awaits the arrival of this liquid gold to perform the alchemy of generating life, energy and repairs that you body requires to stay alive.

Millions of chemical reactions occur every minute that require water. The joints of your body depend on water so blood can deliver much needed nutrients and escort ugly toxins and waste away.

Decreased water supply to your body is particularly vicious to your joints due to the fact that if toxins are milling around your organ system and there is not enough water to transport them to your bladder via the kidney, your body will use your joints as a garbage can for these toxins, thus detouring them away from your vital organs. This trade-off seems such a logical and smart compromise, but comes at a high cost.

Toxins stored in joints cause early degeneration with pain and breakdown close behind. Your luscious clear river has now become a swamp… Yikes!!

Hydration is one of the easiest economical ways to acquire healthy joints and a happy body overall. Grab that liquid gold and hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!

Each of you require different amounts of water based on how many cells you have, so here is an easy formula to know the right daily amount for you:

Take your body weight in kilos and multiply by .033, this is your personal perfect water intake amount.

Joint of the Month: Your Precious Knees

The largest joint in your body is the knee.

Classified as a hinge joint, your knee is the meeting point for your shin (tibia and fibula) and your upper leg (femur) which are all joined together via a barrage of ligaments to secure this precious joint.

Without this joint we could be walking on stilt legs (very unattractive), and most sports as we know them would be impossible!

The function and health of this joint is dependent on the balance of the pulleys and levers (muscles/tendons) that attach to it.

For instance, weak hamstrings and strong quads create excessive load to the ACL (anterior cruciate ligament): the most commonly injured ligament in the knee.

Balanced muscles, healthy ligaments and good posture are critical to this joint. So get yourself assessed via a length / tension assessment by a qualified professional, physiotherapist or CHEK practitioner.

Fact:

The knee is also the most complicated joint in your body! As it is a pivotal hinge joint that allows flexion (bending), extension (straightening) and small amounts of rotation, it is a ligament-filled joint. Those of you who have endured knee injuries and surgeries know these three lettered ligaments well: ACL, PCL, MCL and LCL. Injury to this joint is the reason most people visit orthopaedic physicians. It is also the joint most vulnerable to acute injury and osteoarthritis with the ACL is the most commonly injured ligament.

On Bended Knee

Most of our available leg movements and virtually all sports activities are dependent on your knees. They also support the whole upper body – so many thanks required!

Because your knees are in such high demand, they are also subject to a variety of injuries. In fact, knees keep most orthopaedic surgeons as busy as bees. Unfortunately many knee pre- or post-injuries are not rehabilitated properly and leave many people with the inability to fully extend (straighten) or flex (bend) your knees. This can not only be very frustrating but also compromises the rest of the body which has to compensate for your weakened knee.

Bless rather than curse your knees and prepare them for the demands you ask of them!

Because your knees are composed of ligaments not muscles, you must train and prepare them quite differently. The flat surfaces of our contemporary lifestyles provide no challenge to these ligaments and they become weak and prone to injury.

The knee should be trained in multiple movement patterns with slow held motions to excite and engage the ligaments, otherwise they can become unstable.

This joint is seriously challenged if your sport involves quick stopping or starting, changing directions or repetitive impact such as running, rugby, soccer netball, basketball, skiing, tennis or squash to name a few.

Individuals with flexible joints and hyperextension tendencies are especially vulnerable to knee problems so seek professional advise before engaging in a sporting activity.

Key Points to Remember:

  • Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate.
  • Train and rehabilitate to address the ligaments not just the muscles.
  • Seek professional advise and have a length tension assessment.
  • Get your spine checked to ensure postural imbalances are addressed.
  • Visit my webpage for more information or inquiries: http://www.activecare.co.nz

Fusion:

Create your perfect sporting moment…where your body, mind and soul smile. Breath into that moment and feel the magic. Then do it again… and again!

Next month’s FIT JOINT Series article will focus on the Foot-Ankle.

Dr. Theresa Dobson

Doctor of Chiropractric, Neck Specialist, Neuromuscular Therapist, Biokinetics Practitioner, CHEK Holistic Lifestyle Coach Level II, Sports-Specific Practitioner and Seminar Presenter, Dr. Theresa Dobson has a long-standing rep utation as a highly experienced and knowledgeable practitioner. With two clinics located in Auckland and on the North Shore, Theresa works with a wide spectrum of patients such as professional rugby players, boxers, surfers, yachtsmen, cyclists, motor racers, soccer players, as well as recreational sportsmen and women of all age groups. Theresa is currently setting up a new business, guiding people through the “Dos and Don’ts” of surgery, offering programs and seminars to advise patients how to manage their pain effectively.
www.activecare.co.nz         www.stitchedup.co.nz
Theresa Dobson welcomes your emails at info@activecare.co.nz

Advertisements

It’s Not About the Weight

By Josh Smith.

It’s not about the weight. It never has been.

And frankly, I’m sick and tired of the poor education that gets peddled in the media, in the stores, and by other so-called ‘health professionals’ (Yes thats YOU – dieticians, nutritionists, personal trainers, exercise physiologists, doctors, physiotherapists and anybody else peddling ‘weight loss’). It’s not about the weight.

Yes, some people must lose ‘a percentage of their body mass’ and sometimes a LOT of their body mass, before we can consider them healthy. But lets take a look at this for a second…

What are these people actually doing?

If they are doing things correctly, achieving ‘health’ how health should be achieved – they are bringing their body back towards homeostasis*.

They are taking their body from a toxic, stressed state to a size and shape that is normal for them, through the application of correct nutrition, training and lifestyle modifications.

This ‘normal size‘ is different for each and every person.

It is geneticially imprinted into each of your cells upon birth, and is innately linked to the ‘primal being’ inside you, and not some misinformed, misguided and mistaken pseudo-YOU that you develop through other people’s perceptions and beliefs.

Sometimes you must gain ‘weight’ to be healthy, but this does not mean you are fat. Quite the opposite.

If you are healthy, your muscles are dense. Your blood flows correctly. Your body is quite literally a fat burning machine, using that fat as fuel to feed your ever-thirsty, lean muscle mass.

So what is it we should be focusing on?

  • Body fat loss
  • Energy levels
  • Digestive ability
  • Taste sensation
  • Lean muscle mass
  • Bone density

All of these things can be measured, whether qualitatively or quantitatively, and give us a much better definition of whether we are ‘healthy’ than weight loss alone could ever give us.

So what is a healthy look?

In my own personal opinion, health looks like muscle mass. Health looks like clean skin. Health means sparkling eyes, reduced body odour, and a positively energised aura.

This doesn’t come with ‘weight loss’. This comes with a complete transition of your thinking, and comes from an understanding that a fading person is not necessarily a healthy person.

Healthy people can lift things.

Healthy people can move in all three planes of motion, under unstable loading parameters (gravity, instability), WITHOUT restriction.

Healthy people have ENERGY. They GLOW. They can digest GOOD FOOD.

Healthy people don’t look for energy drinks, protein supplements, schmancy machines or substandard training regimes.

Healthy people understand their BODY, know what their body WANTS, and then GIVE IN TO IT.

So don’t think ‘weight loss’. Think ENERGY. Think MINIMISE BODY FAT. Think FUNCTION.

Think HEALTH.

And for goodness sake – DON’T sit around moping when your Lite ‘n’ Easy diet, machine-based training regime and energy drink consuming lifestyle makes you THIN and SICK.

*Homeostasis is a state whereby the bodies’ systems are working in synergy, Yin and Yang, and that the balance of the sympathetic and parasympathetic branches of the nervous system are functioning optimally. What this means is that body fat loss is maximised, circadian rhythms flow naturally, and all muscles, organs and body systems are supplied with the right amounts of blood at the right times for repair and function, amongst other things.

It is within you.

Josh Smith
Josh is the Director of Mitise Health & Fitness, offering Personal Training, Nutritional Guidance, Lifestyle Coaching, Personal Development, Corporate Seminars, BootCamps and Boxing Groups. Josh is a qualified CHEK Exercise Coach, CHEK Holistic Lifestyle Coach Level 1 and GRAVITYPersonalTrainer, along with various other qualifications and trainings, and is a very inspirational individual. Mitise (pronounced my-ties) is a word invented by Josh and actually stands for “It is within/in Me“. Check out the spelling of Mitise and you’ll see the connection. Clever huh!

www.mitisehealth.com
twitter.com/MitiseHealth

Surfing Your Way To Success With Total Gym

Inspired by summer creeping up around the corner and a couple of fantastic surfing videos on the new-look Total Gym website, this month I decided to write an article for our Total Gym owners – how to use Total Gym to train surfers. Many of the exercises came from GRAVITY Master Trainer Jeff Groh, which you can view on the Total Gym website.
Click here to view videos (note: these are alphabetical – click the right arrow twice to get to ‘S’). The models in the pictures below are Nicole Decker, Rob Glick and Jeff Groh.

Total Gym and Surfing

Surfing is so much more than just “getting up on the board.” And when it comes to competitive surfing – that is a whole other playing field. A very specific functional strength is required to replicate the movement patterns of surfing. The primary ones being:

  • Paddling
  • Duck Diving
  • Popping Up
  • Manoeuvres on the Board (requires a strong core for stability / balance)

To achieve functional strength, the muscles of the upper body, lower body and core have to be trained in a way that translates directly over to the sport in a synergistic manner. While isolation in some cases is necessary (core, beginner, rehab, etc.), primarily the athlete should be trained using exercises that challenge a combination of muscles – to replicate how they are challenged while surfing. This is necessary to improve or get the edge on a competitor…and is what separates the winners from all others.

Space/Time Saving Solution

As a personal trainer you want to give your client the most effective workout possible. However the time spent changing machines and moving to different areas within a room eats up time and disrupts what should be a time-efficient yet still challenging experience – particularly with professional athletes.

Total Gym ticks all the boxes because it enables you to work within a small area (a “pod”), maximising both your time and your client’s. In regards to the surfer it offers stability challenges, has core integration in most exercises, offers seamless strength transitions and near-unlimited advancements to ensure continued progression. Total Gym has incredible functional applications to almost any sport, and when it comes to surfing it is ideal for replicating many of the real-life actions of the sport.

And you don’t need to be an expert at surfing – you just need to understand the movement patterns and functional strength required to develop in the sport. Not sure what functional strength is exactly? Click on this link to read a great article by friend and colleague Dean QuirkeUnderstanding the Principles of Functional Training.

The added benefit of Total Gym is it is the perfect training tool not only for able-body surfers, but also surfers who have some kind of limitation or disability and are restricted by the equipment they can use.

Examples of Exercises to Benefit Surfers using Total Gym

Following are some functional exercises for the surfer using Total Gym. As we lead into summer there are loads of opportunities to start developing programs and promoting to attract novices who are ready to get back on the board or professionals who want a leading edge.

PADDLING – Surfer Lat Pull.


This popular exercise is a great way to challenge the lats/back while integrating the core, increasing the strength and endurance required for paddling out, or just prior to catching a wave (modification-high kneeling).

__________________________________________________________________________

PADDLING – Swimmer.

Strengthen the back musculature and arms in a swimming motion for muscle endurance. The unique thing about Total Gym is the glideboard – allowing the surfer to replicate the movement with resistance.

__________________________________________________________________________

PADDLING – Prone Reverse Fly with Back Extension.

Again, strengthen the back musculature with another great exercise. This position has more focus on scapula retraction and shoulders. Incorporate as little or as much back extension as the client needs.

__________________________________________________________________________

DUCK DIVING – Dive Bomber.

This exercise replicates duck diving under a wave or popping up on a surfboard. It could be likened to a pike, however it is quite different. The starting position has the heels raised and a neutral core position. The client ducks down towards the board, and moves into back extension. This translates into functional strength for surfers ducking under waves.

__________________________________________________________________________

POPPING UP – Prone to Quadraped.

While it is not safe to pop up to a standing position on the glideboard, you can pop up to a Quadraped position which is still a great stability challenge. Direction comes from the trainer (call out “pop up!”). A great method is to have the athlete performing a swimming motion on the glideboard lying prone (left), then the trainer calls and the athlete moves into the quadraped position (right).

__________________________________________________________________________

POPPING UP – Drop Squat.

While there are a number of squat variations that can be performed on Total Gym, all ideal for lower body functional strength for a surfer, the drop squat in particular is unique as it mimics the concept of popping up and landing in a flexed position. It also protects the knees while still providing the necessary challenge required. This is different to a normal squat in that the knees pop up, then land in a neutral position as the feet land on the squat stand. Holding additional weights at the upper body increases the challenge.

__________________________________________________________________________

CORE – Jack Knife.

With the SCRUNCH® accessory, you can achieve an incredible core-targeted workout. SCRUNCH® elevates core training by allowing the athlete to stretch, strengthen and stabilise the entire core and trunk for a targeted abdominal workout. This is of great benefit to the surfer who needs to acheive optimal core strength to effectively manoeuvre the surfboard.

__________________________________________________________________________

STRETCHES – Hip Flexor

There is a lot of shortening of the abdominals and hip flexors with the SCRUNCH exercise, so Total Gym allows the athlete to round out again by assisting an incredibly effective and deep hip flexor stretch. The glideboard allows for a dynamic stretch option so the athlete can move deeper and deeper into the stretch as required.

__________________________________________________________________________

STRETCHES – Hip Flexor with Reach


The Hip Flexor stretch can be modified into a 3-dimensional stretch by adding arm drivers in the sagittal plane, frontal plane and transverse plane. This offers an incredible variation with the movements, opening up the entire body and rounding everything out again.

__________________________________________________________________________

MOBILISATION – Foam Roller (Vertical and Horizontal)

A surfer is often in a flexed position and the spine will relish a release. Horizontal and vertical mobilisation is incredibly effective for this using the correct sized foam roller (100mm diameter). Click here to download a Foam Roller article for more about this.

MODIFICATIONS

Total Gym is an exciting piece of equipment due to the diversity and endless possibilities. Not only can this single piece of equipment achieve well over 200 exercises, you can add other training tools to enhance an exercise or further increase the exercise possibilities.

  • For enhanced strength incorporate Dumbbells, Kettlebells, Medicine Balls, Weight Bar, Plates, and more.
  • For increased functional stability incorporate a Suspension Training tool or Cable Machine.
  • For stability challenges incorporate BOSU, DuraDisc, or any other unstable platform to use with Total Gym.

The glideboard is also adjustable – it be positioned from an incline to a horizontal position to act as a bench and it can be positioned at the ground level for evolved Pilates work.

The possibilities are endless. The rest I will leave up to your imagination!

SUMMARY

The exercise prescription for surfers to achieve their goals needs to be functional, compound movements that challenge the entire body to achieve the necessary levels of strength, mobility and flexibility. And, most importantly, these need to translate directly over to the movement patterns of surfing. If you’re a Total Gym owner – then you’ve got a great way to achieve this.

Click here to download this article in PDF format and view a breakdown of each exercise including more images and progression options.

Shara Curlett
Shara began her career in the fitness industry at Les Mills Dunedin in 2005 and from there combined her passion for fitness with her strength in business to create a niche role for herself specialising in “the business of fitness”. Shara has consulted for gyms and small studios, developed an indoor cycling program, and continues to work one on one with fitness business owners as a sideline passion. As business development and marketing manager for HQH Fitness, Shara is focused on business development, company strategy and marketing.

Understanding the Principles of Functional Training

‘Functional Training’ is a term that has been used dare I say it “loosely” within our industry over the last few years.

So what does the term ‘Functional Training’ really mean?

What I will aim to do in this article is to give you an overview of some of the principles of functional training and how you can apply those principles to improve client performance through exercise prescription.

Let’s first take a look at some of the definitions of functional movement:

  • An exercise continuum involving balance and proprioception, performed with the feet on the ground and without machine assistance, such that strength is displayed in unstable conditions and body weight is managed in all movement planes.
  • Multi-joint, multi-planar, proprioceptively enriched activity that involves deceleration (force reduction), acceleration (force production) and stabilisation; controlled ammounts of instability; and management of gravity, ground reaction forces and momentum.
  • A spectrum of activities that condition the body consistent with its integrated movement/use.

All of these definitons authentically state what functional movement is, but with the growth of new trends within the health and fitness industry we tend to lose site of the application of some of these principles.

To keep things simple, I propose an alternative definition:

Functional Training involves movements which are specific to the task or purpose within a person/s activities of daily living.

Conditioned Athlete vs. Non-Conditioned Athlete

There seems to be a belief that sports activities differ from active daily living and that we should train our conditioned athletes one way and our non-conditioned athletes another way. While this is typically true in terms of power and performance, both activities share some basic features:

  • They involve skillful application of ground reaction forces.
  • Forces are transmitted through the body through a chain reaction.
  • Tasks are performed in 3 dimensional planes of motion.
  • In order to achieve balance and skills needed to perform these tasks, we regularly get into certain postions. As these tasks are performed more reguarly, motor programs and functional adaptions are reinforced.

For these reasons it’s helpful to re-think the traditional distinction between athletic and non-athlethic activities.

Therefore when designing a program we can look at the fundamentals of the type of activity which is being performed by either the conditioned athlete or the non-conditioned athlete. Then we can then determine the role ‘functional training’ will play in either the enhancement of performance or is helpful in improving the overhall quality of life.

Principles of Function

Principle 1 

Function is 3 Dimensional and includes all three planes of movement:

  • Sagittal: Front to Back
  • Frontal: side to side
  • Transverse: Rotational

Principle 2

The physical forces that the body has to contend with are:

  • Gravity
  • Ground Reaction Forces
  • Momentum

Principle 3

Movement is Driven

  • Drivers of the body

Note: For example we would classify the foot as the driver during an anterior balance reach with the foot reaching towards the specified target.

Principle 4

  • Chain Reaction

As 3D movement includes the whole body and involves multiple joints, we must therefore assume that there will be a chain reaction created throughout the body as we deal with the physical forces.

Applying these Principles of Functional Training

As trainers we all have an understanding of exercise prescription and an abundance of different exercises to choose from in our forever expanding tool bag.

However we must understand that it is not the exercise that will determine the success of the movement – it is the movement that will determine the success of our exercise prescription.

I often see clients that have come to me for post-rehabilitation after several weeks of working with a health professional during the acute phase of injury. These clients have mostly had a reduction in pain and are therefore ready to engage in a post-rehabilitative exercise program.

After an initial subjective summary we start to build a picture of the client’s functional health and activity history. An example of this would be a client who sprained their left ankle 6 months ago and received no treatment for that injury. A great one to remember for later on, whilst performing the client’s functional assessment.

A typical functional assessment would include:

  • Gait evaluation
  • Balance Reach
  • Lunge
  • Excursion Tests
  • Other Tests

Staying within our principles of function, let’s take a look at the balance reach assessment.

For example:

Observing the Sagittal Plane Balance Reach

We direct our client to reach their right leg anteriorly and posteriorly at a verticality of ground and at a distance of mid range.

Results

Interestingly during our observation our client shows a limitation in dorsi-flexion through the left ankle complex when reaching the right leg anteriorly.

Exercise Prescription

On completion of our functional evaluation we can review our subjective summary and observation of functional movement before we determine our exercise prescription. The great thing about a functional assessment is that some of the exercises that we use to assess our clients may be also prescribed in our exercise selection.

For example

Balance Reach Observation

Our observation in the sagital plane showed a degree of limitation in dorsiflexion in the left ankle on a anterior reach with the foot as the driver.

Corrective Exercise selection

Balance Reach – Frontal Plane

Frontal plane reach with foot driver working within the ‘threshold of success’ – same exercise selection but alternative plane selected to work on improving the mobility of the ankle complex.

Conclusion

Observing our client’s movement in all three planes of motion may help us to identify a series of limitations in their functional capabilities.

Clients learn new skills in stages so it is important to work with our clients within the ‘threshold of success’. It is important to recognise these stages and to prescribe your exercises accordingly.

Mistakes play an important role in how we learn, as long as we are adhering to the main principles of function and our mistakes are minimal. The trainer must be able to identify those mistakes and be able to provide a solution to enhance our client’s functional capabilities.

References:

  • Mentoring Workshop 2011 Dirk Crafford Orthopaedic Rehab and Performance Consultant and Founder of Functional Health Fitness
  • Santanaj.c. (2000) Functional Training Boca Raton FL: Optimal performance systems

Dean Quirke
Master Dip. Fitness Testing & Sports Therapy, Dip. Exercise Science, BWLA Weight Lifting Coach, Advanced Strength Training AGSHSS Corrective Exercise Level 2, AGSHSS Pre & Post Natal Exercise, AGSHSS Myofascial Trigger Point Release Therapy, CHEK Exercise Coach,NLP & Transformational Coach, GRAVITYPost-rehab Trainer. Dean specialises in corrective exercise, injury prevention, weight management and special populations. Based out of Sydney, Dean’s passions lie within movement and rehabilitation. This has led him on an incredible journey of self discovery and education. Dean believes there is a great need and a requirement to be open-minded and adaptable in order to be successful in this field.
www.holistichealthconcepts.com
Ph: 04 3144 1213  or   Mob: 0431 441 213
“We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.” – George Bernard Shaw


Posture and Pain

By Michelle Owen.

The Impact of Forward Head Posture.

Other than acute injury or trauma, most of the mild discomfort or chronic pain felt in the neck, shoulders and back are contributed by adopting poor posture. This adoption of poor posture can start in our early childhood years and progressively develop over time into pain, discomfort and for some, debilitating illness.

In Fig 1 (right) we see on the left good posture – where the line running through the ear, middle of the shoulder (as well as the hip and ankle if they were in view).

On the right however, we see that the head has migrated forward and the ear lobe does not line up.

Every inch your head is forward in posture, you are adding the additional weight of your head.

If your head posture is 3 inches forward from the correct position you will have added 3 times the normal weight, which is an additional 10 to 15 kg of load on the spinal column where the head and neck joins the back (Fig 1 No 1 & 2).

The effects are never felt immediately as neck and back problems develop over time and can start from a very early age, for example from poor sitting posture at school or carrying heavy back packs.

As a result of having a forward head posture and rounded shoulders, (Fig 1 No 3) the angle of the first rib gets depressed. The result of this is that major organs in your body will become compressed and not be able to sit in their proper location and position. This restricts them from proper healthy function and adds additional and unnecessary stress to your body. It will also affect your overall wellness, vitality and quality of life.

Quite often people will develop a fatty tissue deposit called a Dowager’s Hump located where the neck meets the upper spine, as the body attempts to stabilise the additional head weight. There is also a huge pressure exerted on the spinal cord (Fig 1 No 2). Its ability to carry messages and feelings is restricted and impaired to the point where we suffer severe problems.

Other examples of areas affected by poor posture are poor lymphatic drainage and poor circulation throughout your body – the pump system including the heart, diaphragm etc.

The spine also houses the spinal cord, which is an intricate sensory network that runs through the vertebrae to transmit feeling and movement commands from the brain throughout the entire body.

When posture is poor we are putting pressure on the whole nervous system and this is extremely draining to our daily energy and vitality.

Correcting Poor Posture

If you have forward head posture you will most likely have other related issues that also need to be addressed. The only way to correct poor posture is to treat the body as a whole.

As a C.H.E.K. Practitioner Level 3, I will begin with a comprehensive in-depth Postural and Orthopedic Analysis. From this assessment I can determine which muscles are tight, weak or long.

Once a program has been designed to correct the imbalances in the body that are causing the discomfort or pain, the client begins to learn a specific stretching plan to stretch “the tight muscles only”. Upon mastering this we would move along to stabilise the spine and the weak muscles throughout the body that we found during the assessment.

From there we move into functional movement patterns that we do on a daily basis, to strengthen the body as a whole. This becomes the base of the strength and conditioning program to move the client into other goals that they may want to achieve. These may include things such as body fat loss, muscle shape/tone, and strength for home, work or sports.

Our body is just like a car. We can be a vintage in great condition or a new model all beaten up and not running well. Age does not have to determine our condition.

If you have mild discomfort now, it will not correct itself, it will only amplify as time goes on.

Remember, prevention is always better than cure!

Footnote

If you have imbalance in your body and you do a balanced fitness programme you will have no chance to correct the imbalance. Fixing muscle imbalance is very individualised. Your body needs to be coached out of imbalance through specific exercise as well as a re-education process that addresses every other area of your life, e.g. sitting, walking, lifting, working positions etc. This is done at a neural, (brain) level. We have to re-educate the way that we think about our posture.

Also, you could have the best exercise program in the world but if you did not apply the six foundation principles you may not have the ability to recover and repair. Using the 6 Life Principles we can support the postural correction with improvements in our overall wellness. For more on the 6 Life Principles visit www.michelleowen.co.nz

A Note from Michelle.

In this article you have read about the impact of poor head posture and the effect this has on our whole body. It is
imperative to point out that any poor posture in any part of our bodies impacts on the rest of our body. I am using Forward Head Posture as an example and it is only one common postural dysfunction that isrequired to be treated in many people.

Information resourced from “C.H.E.K Practitioner Level 3 manual” from Paul Chek and the C.H.E.K Institute.

Michelle Owen
Michelle is a C.H.E.K Practitioner Level 3 and CHEK Holistic Lifestyle Coach Level 3. With a successful studio in Auckland, New Zealand, Michelle works as a Postural and Wellness Specialist, Lifestyle Coach and Practitioner. She also offers onsite Corporate Wellness Seminars and has spoken for a number of corporate companies including Hyatt Regency, Kensington Swan and ANZ Bank. As a Key Note Speaker, Michelle is passionate about bringing the CHEK principles to people everywhere.

www.michelleowen.co.nz

What Role Does ROI Play In Your Business?

We are in a time when now more than ever, setting up a business is not as easy as 1, 2, 3.

We need to consider a multitude of factors and are often restricted by a limited budget and strict timeframe.

So how do you start up a business – maximise your return – and most importantly survive the statistics of failing as a small business within 2 – 5 years?

Possibly one of the most important factors that is often overlooked – is your ROI.

So what is “ROI”?

ROI stands for Return on Investment (also known as “rate of return”, “rate of profit”, or simply “return”). Basically it is the ratio of money coming in (cash flow / income / profit), relative to the total amount invested (capital / asset / expense).

Now if you start getting into this it can get quite complicated, however for the purpose of this article we’ll simplify it right down.

In regards to your fitness business, the key factors you want to look at in regards to your ROI is:

  • How long will it take you to recover the money you have invested?
  • Will you still be paying the equipment off in 6 months? 12 months? 2 years? Longer?

Key ROI tips when Setting Up Your Business…

Tip #1 – Avoid Unhealthy Debt

You don’t need to purchase everything outright when you first start out! Always consider your budget. If you have savings and can purchase outright – fantastic! If however you need finance, then that’s another story.

Do you already have debt? If so – will more finance add extra pressure and stress to you and your business before you even start?

If you have no existing debt but do need finance – then the next step is to consider what you need vs. what you simply want. Wants and needs are two very different things!

Unhealthy debt creates a stranglehold on your business. It generates stress and creates unnecessary pressure as you build your business.

Positive debt (if it can be called this…!) is based on your projected rate of return or ROI realistically being achieved within a minimal timeframe; from 6 to 12 months.

In regards to your fitness equipment selection, always choose equipment that is within your means (budget) and not excessive to needs. Therefore you will maximise your ROI and ensure you will pay it off within a reasonable time frame.

From here you can make the choice to gradually invest in more equipment. A positive method is to save as you go, and only invest in more equipment that you can purchase outright. Then you can safely do so with the knowledge that you’re not adding extra pressure to yourself or your business.

And…you can make a big deal about new equipment coming in via newsletter and social media so your clients start getting excited about these new toys!

Tip #2 – Set Up the Smart Way

Setting up the smart way” begins from Day 1 of planning your business. The questions you need to keep asking yourself are

What is the most cost-effective way to do this?”

And “Does this fit within my budget or is this excess to needs?

Now some things can’t be helped – accountant, insurance, design work, business cards. However some of these things can be helped with a little know-how, or thinking outside the square.

  • Can you do a contra with a professional you know (contra personal training for work)?
  • Are you social-media savvy enough to start up your presence via social media to save on initial website costs?
  • Can you get free publicity?
  • Can you work out a deal on space i.e. utilising the room of another business until you have enough money to move into your own space?
  • Can you get in someone else to help cover the costs?

Maximising your ROI means cutting down your expenses – which is a matter of thinking outside the square!

Tip # 3 – Select the Right Equipment for your Business Model

The key investment for your start-up business should be fitness equipment, second only to upgrading a room or area as your working space (if you have the money to do so).

In deciding what equipment you’re going to purchase, it’s important to think about the following:

  • What will your point of difference be?
  • What space do you have available?
  • What is your primary training model? (personal training/multi-client/group/team)
  • And most importantly – what is the minimal equipment that will achieve all of this for you to start out with?

It is for these reasons and more that fitness professionals are now opting for a functional training studio over purchasing static, single-plane machines.

Functional fitness equipment often offers a multitude of exercise options that can be performed and tailored to the clients’ individual needs.

Most static machines on the other hand have limited use and simply take up space.

Functional = diversity + maximum use of space.

Other factors to consider when selecting your initial and ongoing fitness equipment:

  • Does the product present longevity? – i.e. they won’t present dated training methods in 2, 5 or 10 years.
  • Does the product offer diversity? – i.e. they offer a number of different exercise options with the one product
  • Can the product work for you? – i.e. is there a product that can be used by your clients unsupervised and offer extra income to your business?

In addition, it’s never a bad idea to consider products that will either create an added point of difference, such as:

  • Foam Rollers (for after-session use)

Or in some cases invest in higher priced items that can pay for itself unsupervised, and is based on a booking system. Examples include:

  • Inversion Table
  • InfraRed Sauna
  • InfraRed Light

By considering an added point of difference you can maximise your profits, and set yourself apart!

Solutions!

In summary, when planning your business:

  1. Avoid Unhealthy Debt
  2. Set Up the Smart Way
  3. Select the Right Equipment for Your Business Model

Always consider your ROI…take the time to research all the options available to you…and make the smartest decision that meets your needs, in the most affordable way.

Final Note – from HQH Fitness

Why Total Gym is great for ROI.

HQH Fitness truly believe in and back Total Gym as a product. This is not only because it’s such a high quality product, but also because of the ROI Factor.

Total Gym offers great rewards.

As a product it is unique and diverse – it not only has personal training and multi-client personal training applications, but also group, Pilates and Post-rehab programming to work within any fitness or wellness business model. It works amazingly well as a centrepiece for Circuits and Small Group Training or Team Training.

The diversity alone means you can increase what you offer, position yourself apart, and have minimal space working for you 24/7.

With complete education support, free online marketing tools, and for such a minimal investment, it’s just like a franchise model – without any of the on-going fees.

Many HQH Fitness customers simply choose Total Gym and a few accessories to begin with, pay off their equipment within the first 6 months, and after that…it’s pure profit.

From there, they will gradually add other tools and equipment – and build up their business as they go, doing so in a way that means they aren’t suffering financially as they go.

HQH Fitness even offer a free interactive Business Planner where you can work out your own ROI with Total Gym!

If you’re interested in setting up a studio, click here to learn more about different models and options.

Shara Curlett
Shara began her career in the fitness industry at Les Mills Dunedin in 2005 and from there combined her passion for fitness with her strength in business to create a niche role for herself specialising in “the business of fitness”. Shara has consulted for gyms and small studios, developed an indoor cycling program, and continues to work one on one with fitness business owners as a sideline passion. As business development and marketing manager for HQH Fitness, Shara is focused on business development, company strategy and marketing and is passionate about helping business owners achieve their goals.

3D Functional Strategies for Improving Movement

By Dean Quirke

As a trainer your aim is to fulfil the needs of your client through correct exercise perscription and guidance, that will help you to enhance their movement and overall function.

This article is designed to help you to identify some of the movement challenges presented to you by your clients and to give you some creative tools and strategies for developing a correct and safe training plan.

Identifying Movement Limitations through Screening

Prior to starting a personal training session with a client, it is important to observe and assess any movement limitations that they may have.

Developing a systematic approach to screening clients through movement and determining the limitations that a specific joint complex may have in relation to the acceptable ranges, will help to create a corective strategy and training plan.

Understanding How We Move

Interestingly we may refer to a client’s movement goals, exercise history and biomechanical abilities before we make the assumption of how an individual moves.

To get a greater understanding of human beings, we must be aware of how the body moves in a three dimensional space.

Triangulation is a concept patented by Physical Therapist Gary Gray.

This refers to movement within a three dimensional space which creates three aspects of motion – Tri – and the angulations which are:

  • Direction. Refers to the Plane of Motion i.e. Sagittal (forward and back), Frontal (side to side) and Transverse (rotational).
  • Height. Refers to the movement created either from the ground, the base of an object or from directly above. For example when a client is performing a balance reach with the arm as the driver, we can give the instruction of reaching “knee height”, chest height”, shoulder height”, or “above head height”.
  • Distance. Refers to how far away from the base the movement is.

How to Identify A Client’s “Real” Movement

During my ealier days as a personal trainer I was so focused on emphasising correct posture, alignment and learned cueing, that I sometimes missed what the “Real” movement was.

Real movements are typically movements that we don’t think about, we just do them. Examples of Real movements could be:

  • Bending down to tie a shoelace
  • Opening a door

So in relating this to your session, the way to identify a client’s Real movement is to do this subconciously.

How to Achieve A Desired Movement Subconsciously

To achieve a desired movement subconciously with a client, we can employ the use of an external objective.

Example 1 – The Lunge

While asking a client to perform a lunge you may notice that the client is showing limited right hip adduction. This may draw you to ‘consciously’ cue more hip adduction.

However beware – this strategy could potentially lead to more compensatory patterns developing. Why? Because the focus of performing a lunge is drawn solely on adducting the hip, the surrounding joints and movement may be affected when intense focus is placed on correcting the imbalance.

Instead, you could invite the client to perform the same anterior lunge however this time – rather than mentioning the adduction of the right hip – instead give them an external objective to focus on.

For example instruct them to drive the right hand, left and laterally over the head to address the right hip imbalance.

Other objectives could also be employed if your client presented a multitude of imbalances.

Example 2 – The Squat

Another example we could look at is the Squat, possibly the most talked about and written about exercise in the industry.

Initially when you ask a client to perform a squat, observation takes place with the client’s range of motion and execution of the exercise.

The client may present limitations in the range of movement in the ankle and hip complex. Commonly these may be represented by a heel lift and excessive forward lean. Naturally “conscious” cueing is considered to address these imbalances by asking the client to “maintain a lift through the chest”, or by reducing the depth of the squat, just to name a couple.

Another option to consider is to employ an external objective for the client to focus on.

For example when the client is performing the squat, ask them to reach with two hands anteriorly at a verticality of chest height with a distance of full range.

The client initiates the squat with their arms in this position, lowering into the squat until their arms come in contact with a dowel rod that will be holding below their outstretched arms. This way you can control the quality, depth and success of the squat executed.

Summary

There are many reasons why a subconcious strategy is of benefit when screening and training your client, but for me I have found that the carry-over from a subconscious level into normal movement has been instant and long lasting.

Clients have shown improvements in decreasing pain, functional limitations and sporting performance. Interestingly enough, it also provides the trainer with a blank canvas on which to become creative with their program design.

So good luck and have fun getting creative!

References

  1. Gary G & Tiberio Fuctional Video Digest
  2. Myers T.(2004) Anatomy Trains Churchill Livingstone

Dean Quirke
Dean is a NLP & Transformational Coach, CHEK Exercise Coach, GRAVITYPost-rehab Trainer and specialises in corrective exercise, injury prevention, weight management and special populations. Based out of Sydney, Dean’s passions lie within Movement and Rehabilitation, which has led him on an incredible journey of self discovery and education. Having sought out some of the foreward thinkers and innovative educators of our time, he has discovered that there is great need and a requirement to be open-minded and adaptable in order to be successful in this field. Dean likes to work with people that want to improve their lives on all levels but are just missing the one thing to make it happen…the tools! Getting results in a structured progressive manner is the key to his success.

“We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.” – George Bernard Shaw