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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

Effortlessly Maintain Your Ideal Weight With Ketogenic Eating



Perhaps the most immediate and dramatic benefit of ketogenic eating is the opportunity for quick and efficient reduction of excess body fat. This also means easy, long-term maintenance of your ideal body composition. Ketogenic eating can make you an efficient fat-burning machine. When you are in full-blown keto, you enjoy complete dietary satisfaction, rarely feel hungry (even if you skip meals!), and never have to struggle, suffer, restrict calories, or force strenuous workouts in order to burn extra calories. Instead, you allow your body to naturally calibrate you to a healthy composition and weight.reset, you’ll learn the best way to ditch grains, sugars, and refined vegetable oils, and you’ll also discover the nutrient-dense, high-fat, low-carb primal foods with which to replace them. During the second week, you’ll focus on the supportive lifestyle behaviors that are essential to succeed with dietary transformation. These include optimizing your exercise patterns, dialing in your sleep, and implementing effective stress-management techniques. In your final approach to the 21-day mark, you’ll put it all together—thereby escaping carbohydrate dependency once and for all and plunging headlong into the world of fat adaptation.

Adopting a long-term ketogenic lifestyle is easier than you think.

You will likely notice immediate weight loss, largely due to a reduction in inflammation (and the ensuing fluid retention in cells throughout the body) and also because you will unlock stored body fat to burn for energy around the clock. It’s not uncommon for devoted enthusiasts to drop 10 to 15 pounds total, including 3 to 6 pounds of excess body fat, during a 21-Day Metabolism Reset.

Then, you’ll go keto, dropping your carb consumption to less than 50 grams a day and also likely lowering your protein to less than you typically consume, while also emphasizing nutritious, natural fats as your main calorie source. Your journey into nutritional ketosis should last for at least six weeks. Then, with your newly minted degree in fat- and keto-adaptation, you can consider and experiment with assorted long-term options, including going back into nutritional ketosis any time in the future to shed excess fat, protect against disease, and enhance cognitive and athletic performance.

Being fat- and keto-adapted means that you can veer off the plan now and then and not tailspin into a monthlong sugar binge. When you have this esteemed metabolic flexibility, you can wake up the day after eating cake by the ocean, or even a bunch more stuff on a weeklong cruise, and get right back into the groove—whether through fasting, a string of keto-aligned meals, or even strategic use of ketone supplements. Adopting this lifestyle means freedom from sugar cravings, fatigue, and overstimulation of the fight-or-flight response from excess carbohydrates. What could be better than that?

1. Masino, Susan (ed.). Ketogenic Diet and Metabolic Therapies: Expanded Roles in Health and Disease. Oxford University Press, 2017.

2. Cahill, G.F. (2006). Fuel metabolism in starvation. Annual Review of Nutrition, 26: 1-22.

3. Rattan, S.I.S. (2006). Theories of biological aging: Genes, proteins, and free radicals. Free Radical Research, 40: 1230–1238.

4. Sohal, R.S., & Weindruch, R. (1996). Oxidative Stress, Caloric Restriction, and Aging. Science (New York, N.Y.), 273 (5,271), 59–63.


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Health & Fitness

Intermittent Fasting, Is Right For You?



Almost everyone can benefit from intermittent fasting (IF), which—as its name implies—means alternating between periods of eating and not eating for various amounts of time. “Fasting is the oldest dietary intervention in the world,” writes Dr. Jason Fung in The Complete Guide to Fasting. “Because it differs from conventional dieting in so many important ways, fasting carries many distinct advantages.”

Among them, fasting is simple, free, convenient, effective, and allows you to enjoy life’s occasional indulgences. You can do IF on almost any plan, whether you’re vegan or paleo, and it gives your overworked digestive system a much-needed break.

IF challenges conventional health theories: Many practitioners skip breakfast, don’t count calories and go long hours—sometimes days—without eating. They think when you eat may be just as important as what you eat. And it gets results. Intermittent fasting’s numerous benefits include weight loss and chronic disease management.

At the same time, no one plan works for everyone, and that includes IF. Even Fung notes certain people shouldn’t do IF, including pregnant or breastfeeding women, underage people, and malnourished folks. He advises others like people with type 1 diabetes to proceed cautiously with fasting. While you can usually work with a credentialed health care expert and modify fasting to your condition, I’ve found people with these five issues should think twice about, and—in one case—absolutely avoid intermittent fasting:

1. You have gallstone disease.

When you fast, your gallbladder doesn’t release bile. As your liver continues to deliver bile, it becomes concentrated. Breaking you’re fast means your gallbladder could forcefully release sludge or small stones from that buildup that could get stuck in the bile duct. If you have gallbladder issues, proceed cautiously with IF. One study showed that among people with gallstone disease, a long overnight fast increased hospitalization risk.

2. You have an eating disorder.

Here’s my one big thumbs-down for fasting. A systematic review of IF’s potential harms mentioned eating disorders, and writer Emily T. Troscianko asked whether IF is “A Fast Route to Disordered Eating?” in an intriguing Psychology Today essay. If you have bulimia or otherwise struggle with other psychological eating disorders IF could exacerbate those problems. An eating disorder is one condition with which you absolutely should not do fasting. Rather, always work with your doctor when struggling with any sort of disorder.

3. You have adrenal fatigue.

Fasting can keep your stress hormone cortisol ramped up, stressing your already-overworked adrenals. One study with 16 young, healthy female volunteers who fasted for 48 hours had elevated cortisol levels, suggesting fasting could create additional stress. You’re probably not going to fast that long, but beware if you have adrenal fatigue or your adrenals are already overworked from chronic stress—fasting could make your condition worse.

4. Your thyroid is shot.

Your thyroid performs many functions, including balancing energy, body temperature, and emotions. When this tiny gland isn’t working correctly, numerous problems can result. Triiodothyronine (T3) is your active thyroid hormone. Studies show fasting decreases T3, so if you have mild to moderate hypothyroidism, you might want to reconsider intermittent fasting.

5. You’re sick.

Your body needs a steady supply of nutrients if you’re ill, and if you’re not eating you can’t get them. IF could also create physiological or metabolic stress: the last things you want to create when you’ve got a cold, flu, or another virus. At the very least, I recommend bone broth and a nutrient-dense protein shake or green drink to meet those nutrient requirements.

If you don’t fall into those conditions and want to try IF, start out slowly. Have a big dinner, close up the kitchen for the night, and then have breakfast as late as possible the following morning. That creates about a 12-hour or longer fasting window—most of it while you’re sleeping—that helps your body dip into those fat stores. Gradually increase that fasting time, but if you feel nauseous or otherwise unwell, please eat something. Don’t risk your health!


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Health & Fitness

Yoga Nidra and Consciousness: Chakras in Yoga Nidra

The awakening of consciousness through Nyasa releases tensions and lethargy, thereby healing illnesses



According to Paramahansa Satyananda, Yoga Nidra actually begins with the experiencing of these chakras. The chakras are also known in other cultures, as we have seen with the Hopis in the USA, but also by the alchemists in Europe and the Inuits of Greenland and Canada, to mention but a few of the more evident examples.

Also: Yoga Positions for Beginners – 2 Things You Need To Know

In the deep Yoga Nidra, we use eight of the major chakras to contact the various planes of consciousness.
On my album, “Experience Yoga Nidra” (previously on cassette tape) I use the mantras (certain sound syllables) connected to each chakra. I also use visual symbols in accordance with the traditions of India and Europe.

When I started to produce “Experience Yoga Nidra” while teaching in the USA, the Indian musician Roop Verma was inspired to record the ancient musical symbols of the chakras. He was the first ever to do this. This special music has been merged with my text and guidance during the deep Yoga Nidra.

Chakras are often spoken of in connection with Kundalini Yoga, a set of methods and meditations that can be used to harmonize and awaken the psychic energy. (The name Kundalini Yoga, however, is also used as the trade mark of a contemporary movement – although they only teach standard yoga).

Kriya Yoga is probably the most profound and effective form of Kundalini Yoga. In an awesome way, it can strengthen the body’s energy field, remove depressions, increase creativity and open you up to a first-hand knowledge of the genuine mystical or spiritual aspects of life.

The chakras have corresponding areas in the brain. When they are relaxed and harmonized during Yoga Nidra, the release of unwanted states such as confusion and lack of concentration begins. People who awaken their chakras through yoga and meditation, open up to a previously unknown capacity for communication, insight, and creativity.

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