Archive for the ‘Golf’ Category

Lets Stay Cool This August

Posted: August 9, 2014 in Articles, Golf

August has arrived and usually accompanying August is more heat, more humidity and as a result more health related problems associated with the heat. Hopefully, you are reading this because you are active and I also hope you are spending some time outside. I also hope you are taking the necessary precautions to prevent and heed the warning signs of heat stroke and dehydration. Here is some information about these topics.
Dehydration is one factor that can cause a heat stroke and is characterized by extreme thirst, dizziness, loss of elasticity of the skin, and extremely low blood pressure. In addition to dehydration, heavy perspiration, extreme heat, decreased salt intake, and increased physical activity can cause a person to develop heat exhaustion. Symptoms of heat exhaustion, a precursor to heat stroke, include nausea, vomiting, fatigue, muscle weakness, headaches, dizziness and muscle cramps. If these symptoms intensify or the individual stops sweating, has a rapid pulse, difficulty breathing, extreme confusion, hallucination, agitation or disorientation the individual may be experiencing a heat stroke.
Obviously, one of the most important things in preventing dehydration and heat stroke is staying hydrated. Often times we forget to drink fluids because we are not thirsty, we are too caught up in what we are doing, or we are just too busy. However, by the time we feel thirsty it is too late, our body is already parched and we may be putting our bodies at risk of serious health issues. Thus, it is imperative to drink fluids continuously throughout the day, each day. The general recommendation on daily fluid intake is 64 ounces. However, when it is hot outside and you’ve been participating in physical activity or have been drinking alcoholic beverages, more than the average 64 ounces should be consumed.
If you are in a situation where you think someone is suffering from dehydration, heat exhaustion or heat stroke it is important that you have that person stop any physical activity they may be doing. Also, it is important for the individual to drink cool fluids (unless the individual is in shock), find a cool spot to sit or lie down to rest, and apply cold compresses to the forehead, groin and armpits so the body can cool down quickly. If you think an individual is suffering from the symptoms of a heat stroke, emergency services need to be contacted immediately. So whether you’re on the golf course, tennis court, running sprints on the football field or in your yard gardening, please stay hydrated, stay in the shade and stay cool!

Identifying the Weakest Link

Posted: August 9, 2014 in Articles, Golf

Often times when clients come in for their first personal training session, they have many fitness goals that they want to work on. Usually, I agree with the changes someone may be trying to make, but other times the efforts we spend towards a client’s goal may be better served in other areas. Either way, I am happy to help someone meet whatever fitness goals they may have. After all, it is their body on which we are working and from the client’s perspective progress towards those goals are paramount.
However, a big problem that often times can thwart ones efforts in achieving fitness goals is the presence of too many goals. When someone tries to tackle numerous goals at one time it can be very difficult for the body to make the changes a client wishes to see. Also, there is only so much time in the day and in a session for a client to work on the goals they have set. If someone sets too many goals, it takes more time than it should to meet their goals or even more frequently the goal may not be met. Professional athletes rarely try to work on more than one fitness goal within an offseason and I don’t feel you should either.
Another problem that often foils an individual’s fitness goal is the frequent changing of those goals. In order to accomplish a goal, consistency is the most important factor, regardless of how well planned one’s workout may be. An individual cannot expect to see any progress when they only spend two days per week for a few weeks working on their goal. Improving fitness takes time! More importantly it takes focus.
One of the fastest ways to meet your fitness goals, is to identify the weakest link in one’s body and then to focus your fitness goals on improving that link. The weakest link in the chain is always the one that breaks and a chain is only is strong as its weakest link…These are all cliché sayings we have heard. In regards to fitness, a person’s weak link may include but not be limited to a limitation in mobility, stability, balance, strength, a specific part of the body or diet. Assessing and addressing one’s weakest link can be the difference in walking with or without pain, hitting a shot in the woods or in the fairway, or life and death.
Interestingly, when someone addresses the weakest link it is not uncommon to see other subsequent fitness goals improve. For example, when someone with severe balance issues addresses their issue, not only does their walking improve, but their golf game may improve as well as the strength in their legs. Someone who improves their core stability may not only relieve their back pain, but may also find that their shoulder range of motion improves and their general fatigue levels decrease. However, if an individual cannot focus their goals and identify which goals are best for them, progress towards the goals they set will be slow, if any progress is made at all.

Here is a sneak peak of an article I just wrote for my new job in Palm Beach!

As golfers, each time we go out on the course we want to improve upon the performance of our previous round. Many of us will practice the various aspects of our game for hours in hopes of improving our score one or two strokes. Also, to assure that we are playing our best golf we research, experiment with and analyze the equipment we use to find the optimal clubs, balls and other golf paraphernalia that will put us in the best position to play well.

While practice and equipment are certainly very important parts of a good golf game, an investment in the performance of one’s own body may be the most important aspect of golf. Unfortunately this is often times overlooked. In order to play elite golf, simply having an able body is not enough. If focused practice and good equipment was all a golfer needed to be great, we would all be great at golf. The biggest difference between a professional golfer on the tour and the guy who cannot get on the tour is the difference in what they can do with their body. They both have access to top equipment, and spend hours practicing their golf game, however one achieves success and the other does not. Therefore, the golfer needs to have their body functioning in its top condition to really have an advantage.

The good news is scientific research and lots of experience is showing us what forms of exercise work best for golfers. Programs such as the Titleist Performance Institute and the National Academy of Sports Medicine are giving us great information as to how to screen golfers for weaknesses and mobility restrictions which directly impact golf game. This year we have comprised a golf fitness team here at Lost Tree which is more than qualified to help maximize your body’s potential, so you can get the most out of your golf swing. We will be offering group exercise classes, special one on one personal training sessions for pre golf warm ups, golf movement screens and much more. Please contact the Lost Tree Spa and Fitness Center for more information and keep an eye out for informational sessions about golf fitness.

Non training physical activity…..? Sounds like a contradicting statement doesn’t it? However, many people who workout both regularly and intensely have a hard time meeting their fitness goals because they are not physically active throughout the rest of their day. Sure, getting to the gym for a full body resistance training session, walking a brisk 3 miles at a high incline on the treadmill or sweating profusely on the elliptical for thirty minutes are great activities that you should be doing. But you need to be active the other 14-16 hours you are awake as well.

Many of you work very hard at during your bouts of exercise, unfortunately the amount of calories we think we burn is much higher than what we actually expend during a workout. Often times after finishing a workout I feel like I have burned thousands of calories to discover I have only burned 600. Furthermore, most of us (myself included) eat more calories in a day than we should. So, when we return home from our morning workout and fulfill the rest of our day sitting at our computer, our desk, watching TV or various other sedentary activities, we still end up at a calorie surplus. Also, when we sit for long periods of times throughout the day we totally turn off our muscles in our core and legs negating that tough weight lifting session or abs class.

Our body is not meant to do physical activity for 30 minutes or an hour, four to five days a week. It is meant to do some sort of physical activity for numerous hours just about every day. Sure, we are not designed to be able to lift heavy weights from dawn until dusk, but we are capable of doing 30 minutes of resistance training, taking a mid-day walk and a little afternoon gardening. Your body is also capable of doing some other physical activities in between these events. Granted, we all need a little rest, but we need to move more than we rest. There are numerous things we can do to boost the amount of non-training physical activity throughout the day. Work around the house is a good calorie burner and strength builder. Shopping can help boost your activity if you choose to walk from shop to shop. Golf is always a good physical activity to do throughout your day…..Of course, carrying your bags and not using a cart is a better way to add to that non training physical activity! There are plenty of opportunities to be active throughout the day and if you are really committed to meeting your health and fitness goals, you will find ways to keep moving.

The industry of health, fitness and exercise is a rapidly growing field, both in knowledge and in demand. New equipment, workout schemes, online workouts and video workouts are being produced, refined and used. Group exercise instructors and trainers are needed everywhere from Los Angeles to Highlands. Scientists discover new evidence of the importance of exercise seemingly every day and also find new ways to maximize exercise modalities for various groups of people.

There is a plethora of information available to anyone with access to a computer or a personal trainer regarding this industry. This is a blessing and a curse. The information in regards to fitness and exercise can be misunderstood, misused or inappropriate for some individuals. Or, the information can make positive life changes for individuals. Needless to say, information regarding this industry can be both conflicting and confusing even to a fitness professional such as me. The information regarding exercise, in addition to all of the gadgets and gismos one can buy to use during workouts, can make a person feel unsure how to go about choosing, designing and implementing the best workout for them.

Throughout my first four years here at HCC I have enjoyed answering many questions about fitness, usually which regard some sort of comparison. Questions like, “should I walk or ride the bike?” Or, “is yoga better than Pilates?” Or, “Do I need a trainer, or is it better if I exercise on my own?” All of which are valid questions. In the past (and probably I will continue to in the future) I have given lengthy explanations on the positives and negatives of both things in question. Truth be told, there are not many negatives to most movement forms. However, there may be things that are better for certain individuals, or certain situations, but as long as someone is moving I feel they are doing something right!

Eventually, I reach a point in my explanations where I discuss how one’s effort towards the exercise is of most importance….and it is! This could be physical effort, such as pushing oneself to increase the intensity of an exercise or mental effort like when someone commits to modifying one’s daily schedule to allow for a workout. Over the years I have used a lot of words to try to get the point across that the significance of what you do for exercise is not as important as to how you exercise.

Over this past winter I realized that the best way I could sum up the point I’ve been trying to get across the past few year is to say that exercise doesn’t work unless you do. You can put as much time, money and hope into improving your fitness, but if you are not willing to go outside of your comfort level and work for the changes you wish to see, your improvement will be minimal at best. There are lots of fitness toys and great ideas about exercise available to people, but these things do not exercise the person; the person must exercise the equipment.

Another Deceiving Product….
So, let’s review: Nutella is not good for you, in any way shape or form (see previous article on Nutella). Ok, now we can move on. I want to mention another tasty product like Nutella, but maybe a bit more deceiving in terms of nutrition. The reason it is deceiving is that it is yogurt, which is supposed to be healthy. For the most part, yogurt is healthy.

However, last July I was introduced to Greek God’s yogurt by one of the many culinary experts at Highlands Country Club. I was floored at how amazing it tasted. The word “heavenly” comes to mind, but does not do this delicious food the justice it deserves. It was so good that I commented I liked it better than ice cream. It was that good…plain. Once I added some pineapple or strawberries to it with a spot of peanut butter and some granola it was a snack that could literally knock your socks off. I made plans to substitute Greek God’s yogurt for my ice cream cravings. This yogurt, such a healthy treat was so tasty it was better than finding the fountain of youth, scoring a perfect score on an SAT or hitting the lottery, it was mind blowing. Peace had been restored throughout the galaxy!

But, thanks to the wonderful educators I have had throughout life who have made me a critical thinker in every situation I experience, I knew this yogurt was too good to be true. I knew that this yogurt had to be a Trojan horse so to speak, carrying unhealthy agents into my body hiding beneath its amazing taste and healthy name. While this product was yogurt, and was Greek, it only took a glance at the ingredient list to realize it was not healthy. The first item on this list (which is also the most concentrated ingredient) stated that this savory dairy treat was made with heavy whipping cream! Next, I looked to the nutrition label to see if by any chance it would reveal something healthy about this breakfast and midnight snack to be. Again, I was disappointed as I learned that Greek God’s yogurt had more fat, more sugar and more total calories than the Breyer’s Ice Cream in my freezer.

On one hand I was devastated, shocked and confused. How could yogurt be less healthy than ice cream!? On the other hand, I felt lucky that I had actually checked the nutrition facts before I began to down this decadent food as a replacement to ice cream! The disappointment I felt from this discovery did and still does out weight the good fortunes from this same unearthing. However, it taught me a lesson and this lesson should be passed on to all of you….READ NUTRITION LABELS! READ INGREDIENT LISTS! The labels on the front are not as important as the labels on the back! Know your foods in comparisons to other foods. Know your foods well!

Functional movement is a term in the fitness world that frequently gets misused. Many people look at a full body exercise that mimics a movement similar to something they do in everyday life (such as a golf swing or chopping wood) and label that exercise as functional. Sometimes that exercise may be functional. However, a truly functional exercise is one which improves the function of joints either by making the joint more stable or mobile depending on the needs of those specific joints. By improving the functionality of joints, the body is allowed to work as a whole to transfer forces and create movement.

In order to create proper movement, some joints need to be stable such as the foot, knee, low back and elbow. On the other hand other joints need to be mobile; like the ankle, hip, thoracic spine and shoulder. Interestingly, the body follows an alternating pattern of stable and mobile joints. The feet are stable, the ankles are mobile, the knees are stable, the hips are mobile and so on…. This follows true up to the joints of the skull and down your arms to your fingers. However, because of things such as injury, lack of physical activity or the fear of falling, it is not uncommon for this alternating pattern of mobile and stable joints to become reversed. When this occurs, a person’s movement becomes dysfunctional thus forcing a person to compensate in order to create movement. For example, a person who develops very tight hips (a mobile joint) must then transfer mobility to the lower back and knees in order to move their body through space. As a result painful, injurious, inaccurate and powerless movement occurs.

Similar issues may occur with similar dysfunctions in different joints throughout the body. For example, let’s examine the effect of tight ankles on a golfer. A golfer with tight, dysfunctional ankles will run into numerous performance and orthopedic issues while playing golf. Since the golfer’s ankle is tight the mobility that is needed to be created through the ankle during the golf swing must now be transferred to the knees and low back. As a result, the golfer may lose their posture in their downswing causing the ball to fly in undesired directions away from the fairway and possibly towards a pond or the woods. Also, this same golfer may complain about sore knees or a sore low back at the end of playing 18 holes because the mobility they are supposed to create from their ankles may be transferring to their knees or low back where mobility is supposed to be limited.

Unfortunately these dysfunctional patterns cannot be fixed by simply swinging your club harder, more often or practicing things such as “getting your shoulders back.” If your body cannot properly create stability or mobility where it is supposed to, doing things like forcing “your shoulders back,” will only cause more compensation in other joints. As a result you may experience more pain, or a higher number on your score card after a day on the course. There is good news, you can restore joint function and subsequently fix your golf swing through either stretching or strengthening that joint. As a Titleist Performance Institute Golf Fitness Instructor, I am happy to help you find and improve the dysfunctions in your body that are affecting your golf swing. It is up to you to get in the LEC and put forth the work!

Yesterday was the first round (ok, the second round) of the NCAA Men’s basketball tournament, which just happens to be my favorite time of year. I enjoy the tournament more than Christmas and I usually spend the entire first two days watching games. Yesterday, was no different except I noticed there were quite a few games where the play was stopped by the referees to review plays in order to see if a foul was too excessive. This morning, there were explanations by the NCAA for the fouls as the NCAA is trying to make the game safer. This is a common theme throughout sports. The NFL is under a great deal of scrutiny over concussion issues as they scramble to make rule changes to make the game safer. The NHL, NBA and now the NCAA are all doing the same things. There are many people who agree with these rule changes and just as many who do not. I personally fall somewhere in the middle of these opinions. I think the games need to be safe, but I also feel there is an inherent risk of being involved in a sport or physical activity and each sport has different inherent risks and by changing the game too much you drastically take away from the things that make these games special.

However, I feel the current rules that were suddenly being enforced in the NCAA tournament yesterday went a little too far in protecting players. One flagrant foul involved a player ripping the ball through with his elbows, not swinging the elbows. A technique used to protect the ball. For those of you who understand basketball, this is not a dirty play, this is a basketball play. Unfortunately, an intent defender got hit by this elbow. The second flagrant foul involved a very athletic player who was fouled on a fast break. This player was moving very quickly down the floor and jumped very high in the air on a layup. The defender, trying to make a play on the ball missed the ball and caught the offensive player either on the face or on the shoulder, making very little contact. However, because this player was so high in the air and moving so quickly this contact resulted in a very dangerous fall. I do not want anyone to get hurt, I want that to be clear, but remember there is an inherent risk when participating in physical activity. When you play tight defense, I feel there is an inherent risk that you might get an elbow to the mouth. If you do not want an elbow to the mouth, do not play tight defense. When you jump four feet into the air on a layup against a defender, I feel there is an inherent risk that you will not come down to the ground in the safest possible fashion. If you do not want to fall out of the air while shooting a layup, do not jump as high.

While the rules I am complaining about are about basketball, I think it is important for people to realize that this super safe trend we see in sports is happening in many facets of life. I feel that often times some of the measures we are taking to make us safer might actually be putting our health and quality of life at risk. I think a lot of measures we take put us in a bubble, a smaller bubble, which can drastically limit us. Physically, bubbles may cause us to move less, or move in fewer ways. Spiritually, bubbles limit the experiences we have. A good example is hiking alone or in treacherous weather. Most people choose not to do this because of the inherent risks involved such as falling, getting bit by a snake, freezing to death or attacked by a bear. Meanwhile, these people sit on the couch for hours a day, in a “safe spot.” I can’t quote the statistics, but I know physical inactivity causes a lot more deaths than snake bites and bear attacks. At the same time, those that choose to abstain from something like a hike in the snow miss out on some amazing experiences, experiences the TV and couch cannot give you.

The point I am trying to make here is, as humans, we are trying to make ourselves invincible and avoid all injury. Unfortunately life carries many inherent risks. Furthermore, I don’t think we are putting the proper thought into how our protections may actually be harming us, making us more vulnerable to poor health or taking away the excitement of life, thus harming our quality of life. I am supportive of most rule changes in sports which are implemented to make us safer because the end result will be better health. However, by protecting our athletes too much I feel we may be preventing them from using their bodies in the ways the body is supposed to be used. More so, when rule changes drastically affect a sport it can take some of the enthusiasm and spirit away from the sport; keeping people from participating in the sport. I guess losing all of these great things about life and sport are the inherent risks of being safe but I will take my risks in choosing to be active.

Have you heard of minimalist or barefoot running? Have those “toe shoes” caught your eyes? Over the past few years, there has been new exercise trend which calls for humans to revert back to our natural form of locomotion by taking a barefoot approach to our footwear. Often times this is referred to as minimalist exercise. Often times minimalists get reactions along these lines: “Has that person lost their mind?” “But, they are not wearing any shoes?” or, “Those shoes are hideous!”
Minimalist foot wear is revolutionary, shocking and socially deviant in part because the designs of shoes have changed little over the past few houndred years. Also our culture teaches that to exercise we need shoes with tight laces, toe protection, ankle support a thick sole and an elevated heel. While many might hope that minimalist footwear will soon fade like an exercise craze or a bad teen fashion statement, many top fitness professionals think it is here to stay.
Minimalist foot wear is not a fashion statement. In my opinion minimalist footwear is quite ugly. One man in his early eighties commented that my shoes were “very attractive.” I think he was just trying to be nice. True barefoot runners develop calluses and scars. However, feet are supposed to be ugly and the minimalist idea behind this “trendy” movement is to keep the orthopedics of our bodies healthy.
Minimalists feel that the human body was not born to wear the typical 20th century shoe. The general theory is that the typical shoe prevents the muscles, ligaments, tendons and bones of the lower leg from functioning properly. It is the minimalist belief that the shoe acts as a cast similar to the one which gets placed on a broken arm. After six or eight weeks in a cast, the hand and wrist loses flexibility and strength. Studies have shown that when a shoe is placed on the foot of an individual from a culture that does not wear restrictive shoes for six to eight weeks, their feet lose a great deal of their dynamic abilities. Furthermore, minimalists feel that when you add in a heel to a shoe, it disrupts proper body alignment. Also, a thick sole makes the ankle more unstable in addition to the unnatural ankle support provided by the shoe preventing ankle support from being developed by the ankles muscles, ligaments and tendons.
Unfortunately, most evidence concerning minimalist movement is anecdotal, but it is noteworthy that the leading professionals in the fitness industry are wearing “bare wear” and researching the benefits of minimalist exercise. None the less, those who begin an exercise routine minimalist in nature should understand that thus far, little research has been devoted to this style of exercise. New minimalist exercisers should understand that the transition to minimalist running takes a very long time (6 months for me) and those who are senior citizens, diabetic, obese, have poor blood circulation, or have Plantar Fasciitis should avoid switching to a minimalist shoe.

Here is a basic tutorial on how to use a foam roller. If you need to buy a foam roller click the second link below and search foam roller!