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The Care And Maintenance Of Lifters

Isn’t it just the best feeling when you find out your doctor lifts?



Isn’t it just the best feeling when you find out your doctor lifts? Doctors who lift say things like, “Let’s keep you working out.” I get a fuzzy feeling when this happens.

Recently, this happened when I went to a hand doctor for a sore thumb (no, really). A lifter himself, he said something else that resonated: “When something starts hurting, I know it’s just a matter of time til something else comes up.” He shrugged and smiled.

If you’re frustrated by aches and pains from lifting, let this soak in: Those of us who train consistently are hard on our bodies. It’s the same with runners and anyone else who trains repetitively. Repetitive stress injuries are common and don’t just come from sports – playing an instrument, using the computer, texting, playing video games, and cashiering are all repetitive motions.

When this kind of stress occurs repeatedly over time, the body’s joints can’t recover. As a result, the joints and surrounding tendons and muscles become irritated and inflamed. Muscle and joint dysfunction happen, along with chronic pain.

We lifters try very hard not to have flat-out injuries. We practice pristine form, add variation to our workouts, and give ourselves time to recover. We know the rules of lifting: Use your core, don’t arch your back, keep your shoulders down.

But what most of us experience more often than an acute injury is nagging pain or tightness in a muscle, ligament, or joint. Tendonitis, muscle spasms, and inflammation are language of repetitive use. The benefits of lifting outweigh these aches and pains, but we’d rather not have them because they interfere with lifting!

Ignorance Is Not Bliss; Lifting Is Bliss

While visiting my family in Dallas recently, we hopped in their minivan for an overnight trip about 85 miles away. My husband and I were startled when the van let out a loud, whining sound, but once the van warmed up the shrieking noise faded away. Apparently, this had gone on for some time, and everyone forgot about it. But sure enough, as we were getting ready to come back the next day, the minivan choked and refused to start. My dad looked under the hood and pulled out a belt that was completely tattered.

I’m sure you know what I’m getting at here. Over time, we accumulate wear and tear from lifting. If you ignore your body’s signals, it’s eventually going to break down.

Methodically addressing each ache, pain, and tweak helps you avoid bigger issues down the road. A side benefit of “ongoing maintenance” is that over time, you’ll have fewer aches and pains from lifting as you learn how to train smarter. Actively engaging in prehab is simple maintenance with a big payoff.

Treating Tweaks Like Training

In theory, the perfect training program will help you avoid injury. And it will help. But in practice, human factors like overconfidence, impatience, distraction, and inexperience can interfere. Take my thumb issue, for example. I probably strained it when did cleans as a warm up. Heck, it seemed like a fine idea at the time; I was feeling strong and limber and needed the challenge. Looking back, though, I can see that it was a lame idea, particularly with my degenerative wrists. I knew it probably wasn’t injured, but I wanted an X-ray to make sure.

Here’s the reality: When you train day in and day out (i.e., consistently), you’ve got to care for your occasional aches and pains as if they’re part of your training. I view this as the “care and maintenance” of lifters – you.

When an ache or pain crops up, you can learn from it. Eventually, you’ll understand what you should always do and what you should never do. Your tweaks become less frequent, injuries non-existent, and you’ll be able to do what you love – train.

We’re Jacked Up Before We Even Lift

Pretty much everyone is at risk for aches and pains from lifting, simply because we’re jacked up before we even walk into the gym.

Your 30-minute commute, hours of hunching at the computer, your 30-minute commute home, and the fanfuckingtastic evening couch time all cause tightness in your body and weak, inactive glutes.

The result? When you lift weights, your body tries to “move around” tightness and underfunctioning muscles, causing smaller muscles to take up the slack. Over time, your body’s compensations cause overuse of support muscles and dysfunctional movement patterns.

In the end, those tight hips from sitting might cause you to favor your quads during squats, thus knee pain. Those tight upper traps might cause you to unconsciously shrug during overhead presses, causing rotator cuff irritation or muscle spasms. All this noise hurts, as you most likely already know.

Some of these problems do originate in the weight room due to improper form, lack of knowledge, or bad decisions. We typically know it when we make a mistake that causes a tweak or injury.

A System For Lifting Longevity

If you listen to your body’s signals, tweaks usually won’t turn into full-fledged injuries. Incorporating preventative measures into your training and your life will help you move from constantly tweaked to that blissful place of being (mostly) strong and injury-free.

Prehab – Your Best Friend

I don’t really care what the current buzzword is for prehab. Just do it. Your routine should also be individual to your aches and pains, workout, and history. Most importantly, it should be systematic. Here’s what I do, and what I recommend for my clients.

Before Every Workout

Foam roll tight, overactive muscles and adhesions acquired while sitting and doing other repetitive motions.

Foam roll whatever feels tight or painful that day (adductors, hip flexors, quads, glutes, calves, lats, rhomboids, etc.).

Most people do not foam roll correctly. The proper technique is to find a tender spot and stay on it until it releases (20-60 seconds). Simply rolling back and forth might increase blood flow a bit, but it won’t work out adhesions.

By the way, if your low back hurts, please don’t foam roll your low back. Instead, foam roll your glutes, adductors, and tensor fascia latae (TFL), as these muscles tie into the lumbar spine. It’s also not a good idea to foam roll your anterior delts in most cases, but give your rear delts, pectorals, and lats extra love as needed.

There are endless foam rolling instruments of pleasure you can use! I posted this quick list of my favorite tools on Instagram:

Do a 10-minute dynamic warm up consisting of 6-8 exercises

Each time I arrive in the gym, I deliberately avoid looking at the squat rack. That’s because if I see that the squat rack is empty, I have an insane temptation to run over there without warming up. By now, I’ve suffered the consequences of skipping my dynamic warm up enough times that I rarely skip it. I’m not a fan of needlessly pulled muscles.

Dynamic warm ups are simple, bodyweight exercises that take your joints and muscles gently and safely through the same movements as your workout. Dynamic warm ups can result in increased flexibility and range of motion. In effect, that means your warm up is your best tool for lifting longevity.

A few of my favorite dynamic warm-up exercises are:

  • Single-leg glute bridge
  • Glute bridge with leg whip
  • Split-stance adductor mobilization
  • Quad/hip flexor stretch
  • Band pull apart
  • Shoulder dislocate

The lunge with thoracic rotation is another one of my favorites for upper-body mobility.


♦ Do five minutes of static stretching. Your muscles actually get tight while you’re lifting, too. It’s a good idea to loosen things up with static stretching after your sessions. I personally spend five minutes stretching my hips, quads, calves, lats, and pectorals.

Foam roll any known problem areas.

Daily and As Needed

Posture. Sitting is a major source of aches and pains for many folks. Stand or walk as much as possible during the day. At the computer, keep your shoulders down and relaxed and your chin tucked. Don’t look up at the computer screen and don’t hunch down over the keyboard. Always be conscious of your posture, whether you’re cooking, standing, driving, or sitting.

Soft tissue work. I often use a la crosse ball on the bottoms of my feet during the day (stand and roll the ball under your foot with gentle pressure). I’ll also sit on a foam roller on non-workout days or use the Beastie Ball on my rear delt. I have muscle spasms that act up now and then and I always address it the same day.

Rest and recovery. We all love to go hard and wish we could train every day. But smart lifters know that recovery is just as important as training. Leave 48 hours between training the same muscles, and give yourself days off.

When Something’s Wrong

There’s aches and pains from lifting, and then there are injuries. This is basic stuff – don’t ignore the loud whining sound or you risk being down for the count for a long time. (Also, use your discretion on how to proceed. I am NOT a doctor, so please do not assume that my advice will replace one.)

  • If you feel a twinge, tweak, pull, or pain, STOP what you’re doing. It might be a good idea to grab a foam roller and try to work out the area right then and there. But I still recommend stopping the exercise until you can tell how bad it is. Just trying to “finish the set” is bullshit, so don’t do that.
  • Take standard precautions, like icing, compression, and rest.
  • For god’s sake, do not train that area again until it’s pain free!
  • Get a diagnosis and tests done to help you determine what’s up.

As far as my sore thumb goes, the hand doctor says it’s probably a strained ligament from months ago. It will heal eventually. When I tape it, it doesn’t hurt. So I tape it.

Those of us who lift consistently for years may face aches and pains from lifting from time to time. We may not be right off the lot, but if well cared for, we’ve got miles to go.

This article originally appeared on

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Health & Fitness

Zuzka Light Full Body Workout



Photos via IG @zuzkalight

Here’s a couple Zuzka Light‘s easy pace Stretch & Tone workout for Summer Shreds. Zuzka is one of the top influencers in fitness today and has one of the most gorgeous bodies in the world.

It’s nice to take your body through gentle exercise and give your muscles chance to recover and become even stronger.

Also: The Fitness Gurls Podcast: Christmas Abbott

I’ve been already getting great responses about my Keto Meal Plan from ZGYM members who have been following it – this plan is full of veggies, and healthy fats. Not too heavy in meat or dairy products like other keto meal plans out there so you’re getting real nutrition in while getting all the health and fat burning benefits of Ketogenic diet. Check out my Keto Meal Plan for supercharged fat loss at or just click on the link in my bio 🔝 . . #zuzkalight #zgym #zshredmealplan #workout #workoutmotivation #fitness #fitgirls #fitwomen #fitchicks #fitnessmotivation #coretraining #bodyweighttraining #abs #fatloss #weightloss #fatburn #stretching #stretchandtone #flexibility #bodyweight #ketodiet #ketomealplan #ketofatloss

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Health & Fitness

Eight Amazing Benefits of Teaching Yoga



Every challenging occupation yields some sort of satisfaction, but the fitness professionals industry had an amazing 85% job satisfaction rate according to an Idea Health & Fitness survey.

Job Satisfaction
In the same survey, 98% of those interviewed felt that “My work gives me a feeling of personal accomplishment.” Lack of personal satisfaction is the most frequent reason why people leave a job. These statistics make it obvious that this is an extremely harmonious atmosphere to work in.

Also, check out: Danica Patrick has a strong Yoga game

For many of us who worked in the corporate world and shifted into the health and fitness industry, the energy felt in a health club, ashram, or wellness center is similar to being on vacation.

There’s always something to do, but the job itself is very gratifying.

Rewards of Helping Family, Friends, Students, and Co-workers

Your self-esteem improves as you find solutions for the pain management of others, ailments, fitness, stress management, positive thinking, etc.

The list goes on, as you continue your own journey of self-improvement, but the feeling of gratification you get from helping someone find the right path is beyond words.

You will always remember: That student who reaches their ideal body weight, the physically impaired student who finds that they, too, can live a better quality life, and the student who leaves your class without a headache or a backache they came in with.

Your Own Health
As a practitioner of Yoga, you have become more aware of your daily ups and downs. You monitor your breath, posture, moods, diet, and exercise on a daily basis.

As a Yoga teacher, you are setting an example to your students and teaching them to live a quality life. This path will enable you to live longer and live better.

There is no Shortage of Work
When the working world is in the “9 to 5” mode, you have many opportunities with Corporate Accounts, The Fitness Industry, Senior Centers, Medical Centers, Referrals, etc. This is when you to teach them, with any free time you have.

Once I became totally self-employed, there were more daytime off-site Yoga teaching opportunities than I had time for in a geographic area that has many active Yoga teachers and studios. One of my best students, who became a
Yoga teacher through our on-site program, inherited an area that I could no longer service due to time restraints.

The object is to contact them. This is where your post cards come in handy, if you don’t have a personal referral.

Continuing Education
Yes, learning new things keeps your mind stimulated and healthy. You will never tire of subjects to study, explore, and investigate. There are so many facets of Yoga, that one life span, is just not enough time to learn it all.

It’s not a race, but it is a journey. You will find friends, colleagues, and students who are on the same path. This makes giving, receiving, and sharing a wonderful thing along the way.

You will have time to stop, think, breathe, relax, or meditate. You can always fill your plate beyond its limits, but you no longer have to.

You can determine whether or not you will be stuck in traffic during rush hour. You decide what hours you will work and what days you have off. You will come to the realization that your time is your own.

Everyone wants control of their own life, but very few achieve it. Being in business for yourself, can help you control your own destiny and that of your family.

Sure there are limits to what one person can accomplish, but it is better to try than to have never tried.

No matter what you want, if you write down your short-term and long-term goals, you will make great progress toward them.

You should keep these goals in a place where you can see them daily and visualize yourself accomplishing your goals. You should be specific about time frames and ethical methods used to meet them. You can even use them in meditation.

Review your long-term goals at least once every season and every year.
Review your short-term goals daily. You will see yourself make rapid success in this way.

Lastly, goals do not have to be material at all. For example: You may want to start teaching Yoga in a year, and the following year, get a part-time Yoga teaching position. This type of goal setting is realistic and beneficial to mankind.

That is the key ñ If you choose a goal that will benefit others, you will surely achieve it.

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Health & Fitness

Stay Healthy – Learn To Meditate



Wondering how people who live to be 100 with a great quality of life do it? In his book, “Aging Well,” Harvard researcher, George Vaillant, M.D., found out just what centurions do. They cultivate a sense of peace, well-being and maintain a positive attitude. How? Here’s one of their biggest secrets: meditation. What’s ironic about meditation is, it has just become known in the West as a healing technique, but it has been practiced for ages in the East. So in my quest to give you easy sensible ways to purify your energy, I’ll begin by defining meditation, then I’ll show you how easy it is to apply to your daily routine.

Also, check out: Effective Gain From Yoga

Meditation Defined
Meditational exercises primarily use the experience of the body and thought as a means to reconnect with the environment and its healing power. Meditation, when practiced frequently, has been proven to promote inner peace and wellness. Meditation is also a mental practice in which the mind is directed to one area, often the breath. It draws its energy from the human connection to nature and creates a sense of unity or one-ness with it.

This unit has been shown to increase communication with the spirit of the body. It has also been known to allow positive thoughts in and to stimulate positive physiological and psychological effects. Meditation techniques are easy to learn and can easily be incorporated into any lifestyle. If practiced regularly, meditation will bring balance to your body and mind.

General benefits of meditation and breathing exercises include:
– Deep inner peace
– Improved self-esteem
– Increased creativity
– Physical health/healing
– Reduced medical care
– Slowing/reversal of aging
– Reversing of heart disease
– Stimulation of the body’s immune system
– Reduced stress

I have found there is really no one right ways to meditate. Here are a couple of my favorite meditational exercises that will get you started. Remember, there is no wrong path here. Try these, or simply sit in silence for 20 minutes, daily. You’ll be glad you did.

Meditative Grounding Exercise
– Sit with your legs crossed in a comfortable (Indian-style) position with your hands relaxed on you lap. Close your eyes and imagine a beam of light dropping from the base of your spine through the earth and connecting you to its center.

– Allow this beam of light to expand in width until it is wider than your own body and envelopes it. This is your personal space.

This exercise places you totally in your body and reminds you that you are anchored to the earth. Remember, the more grounded you are, the more aware you are. Sense the presence of your higher self: listen to its voice.

Energy Cleaning Exercise
Now that you are grounded, it’s important that you cleanse this personal space. Often we collect other people’s energies and are not aware of it. We do this both through interaction with others and basic activities of daily living.

– To remove all foreign energies from your space, imagine holding a brush and sweeping away the debris.

– Allow the debris to fall to the ground and become washed away. Let the light from the previous exercise envelop your body and spread its healing energy to the edge of your space, forming a protective force field around you.

Cleaning out the area surrounding your body will keep you grounded, define your personal boundaries and declare your space. Then choose who and what you wish to enter you space, keeping disease and illness out.

Breathing Exercise
– Follow your breath as you slowly inhale through your nose and exhale through your mouth. Count with each exhale until you reach 10 then begin again at one.

– If you find yourself past 10, acknowledge this and begin again at one from wherever you are.

– Imagine your body’s cells being replaced with fresh, pure oxygen and positive healing energy from this power source. Picture yourself exhaling old cells, stress, illness and worries.

– Let your thoughts pass through your mind like drifting clouds. Let them in and gently let them pass through. If the mind should harbor a negative thought, refocus on the breath.

– Thank any persistent negative thoughts for coming into your mind then gently let them go.

– Listen only for the positive, pronounced voice; the voice of your body.

Retrieve Your Energy Exercise
Since foreign energy often resides in your space, let’s also assume that you leave energy in other places. After completing the preceding exercises it is necessary to re-energize and call energy back.

– Imagine you have an energy magnet used to attract your energy back to you. Visualize energy flowing back to you, filling your body with light, health and empowerment.

– Allow a few minutes for the process.

Journal Questions:
1. Record in your journal any problem or trouble you may be having ñ emotional, physical or otherwise. Let problems go and give them over to your meditation.

2. Do you notice solutions coming to you throughout the day? Do you notice with regular meditation that your body and mind are becoming calmer and clearer?

Ideas To Consider:

1. Make time for your spirit daily. Exhibit behaviors and self talk that show your reverence for yourself.

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