“Running, Stopping, & Changing Direction Are All Learned Skills”
by Andrew DiOrio
Many athletes are putting in work before the season and practicing hard each week in an effort to perform at their best come game day. Yet, most athletes aren’t performing at the level they are fully capable of. This is due to varying degrees of muscular tightness, imbalance and joint instability that leads to unnecessary torque on joints, decreases range of motion, limiting power output making it almost impossible for them to perform at their highest potential. Most aren’t aware of the limitations .......
“Swinging For Singles Wins The Game”
by Andrew DiOrio
I was sent a link to the program "Wake Up Warrior" by Garrett White. Upon signing up for his program I was able to watch some of his videos on personal development. An idea I pulled from one of his videos that was identical to what I teach clients here at EBSC through our training program and our habits-based nutrition coaching program is........
“Are Your Daily Habits Keeping The Fat On”
by Andrew DiOrio
Have you ever noticed how people are always going on a diet to lose weight? I frequently hear people saying, “It’s time to get back on my diet.” Most people don’t really lose any weight, yet they are always dieting. The ones that do end up losing weight put it back on plus several extra pounds. They’re always hungry and never satisfied with the meals and snacks they eat. Eventually this wears on them and they give up.......
“Function First, Performance Second”
by Andrew DiOrio
Most people jump right into exercise and sport without ever assessing their ability to perform foundational movements. In many cases, they’re bringing dysfunctional movement patterns into the activity and then loading it. This is never a good thing to do. Regardless of age, you should be able to perform basic functional movements like squatting, lunging, stepping, pressing and pulling under control and pain free before increasing demands. This is important to avoid injury and get the most out of training. If you have muscular tightness, weakness, imbalance or lack motor control in an area of your body, basic functional movements will become difficult and you will have to compensate in some way to perform them. Compensation creates overload, sheer force and torque, which becomes greater with increased repetition or resistance, such as those found in exercise and athletics, causing pain and often leads to injury. Most people are unaware of how they compensate; without ever comparing your ability to move versus a baseline you wouldn’t know if you had issues until alerted by some form of trauma to the body. There are established baselines for movement that you can be screened against to determine if you are ready for exercise or increased physical activity. At EBSC we take a proactive approach by having all of our clients go through the Functional Movement Screen (FMS). This is a series of graded movements to rule out and identify any movement restriction that could impede performance and indicate potential for injury down the road. Based on the results of the FMS, we then use a system of corrective exercises to improve movement quality and function before beginning exercise or progressing to higher intensity physical activity. We believe screening movement patterns is crucial to ensure someone is functioning optimally through baseline movements before increasing performance levels.
I like to use this car analogy with my clients. People have to take their car to an auto mechanic to be inspected before it hits the road. This is to make sure it is operating correctly and is safe for driving. This is essentially what a movement screen is; an inspection. Instead of going to see the auto mechanic you’re going to see a movement specialist. Continuing with the analogy, if you take the car for a test drive and you notice that the check engine light is on, you know you have a problem. You can think of tight muscles and areas of discomfort as your check engine light. Now if the steering wheel keeps pulling the vehicle to the right or left, something needs to be fixed, and it’s time to see the mechanic. You can relate this to your known muscular imbalances and restrictions effecting movement; you’re aware of them, but you may not know how to address them. This is where a movement specialist can save you a lot of time and frustration, and in many cases keep you from ever experiencing any pain or discomfort, by identifying compensation and restoring functional movement patterns through corrective exercise.
If you’re thinking of starting a fitness program or competing in athletics, see a movement specialist first to go through a Functional Movement Screen. Make sure you are functioning optimally through foundational movement patterns before “hitting the road” to increased performance levels.
“Posture Up, Break The Turtle Shell”
by Andrew DiOrio
Everyone remembers their mother and father telling them to stand tall and sit up straight. You may even find yourself saying the same thing to your son or daughter, for good reason. With the advances in technology that have us glued to our seats and staring down at a phone, tablet, or computer, more and more people are suffering from pain due to long periods of sitting that lead to poor posture. At EBSC we are seeing posture-related issues starting at an earlier and earlier age. We work with developing athletes ages 12 to 16 and fitness clients ages 50 to 75 years old. Some of the 6th – 8th graders have the same aches and pains in their neck, back, and shoulders with similar movement restrictions as the aging population. Seeing clients coming in with poor posture and movement restrictions at such a young age is alarming.
We are continually seeing clients coming in with a weak core, poor balance, and poor functional movement, stuck in what we have coined the “Turtle Shell” position. Their head and shoulders are rolled forward to a degree putting them in a slouched position even while standing. It looks like they have a turtle shell on their back. When you are in this position, your body starts to compensate to stabilize joints, produce movement and produce force. The muscles in the neck and upper back get over-worked because they are doing more than they should to hold you up, leading to decreased range of motion in the overhead reach, and decreased back extension and trunk rotation. With increased sitting times, the muscles of the abdomen become weakened, your hip flexors get tight, and the glutes or buttocks become inhibited. Then your hamstrings get tight due to excessive strain with the limited glute involvement for hip extension (straightening your body out from a bend). Performing activity in these positions leads to increased muscular fatigue and an increased risk of injuring overused muscles or joints that are in a less than optimal position for function. In other words, poor posture makes it hard to get into squatting, lunging, bending, stepping, and reaching positions that are needed to perform exercise and to practice sound movement skills. Instead of fighting outside forces like gravity, obstacles, and other opponents, you are fighting your own muscular imbalance and tightness performing more work than needed to produce any movement or force.
Posture can be easily corrected if addressed. Sound training that emphasizes stretching the tight muscles and strengthening the weaker muscles will work to stabilize joints, correct posture, eliminate pain, and improve performance output. Simply being aware of your body positioning can have an impact on your posture. Remember, stand tall and sit up straight. A saying you will hear frequently at EBSC is “Break the Turtle Shell”; stand or sit as tall as possible keeping the shoulders broad, chin slightly tucked with head slightly back to feel more confident and to start moving more freely almost immediately. Your muscles and joints will thank you later!
“Goals, More Than Just Words On a Piece of Paper”
by Andrew DiOrio
When was the last time you wrote down a goal for your life?
We all get caught up in the moment, focused on the daily grind, spending little time planning and thinking about what will make life more fulfilling. Finding your passions and discovering what really excites you takes effort. Where you will be in 1, 5, 10 years? What do you want to accomplish? What will your life be like? It’s time to stop running on autopilot going with the flow letting the day-to-day own you as life passes on by. There is a better way to operate; make the effort to plan for a more enjoyable and fulfilling life.
Start with your “why”. A common mistake with goal setting is not spending enough time figuring out your reason or purpose for setting the goal in the first place. Many people blindly set goals to lose weight, build strength, excel in sports, etc., without ever doing the necessary work to establish a purpose for change. What specifically are you sick and tired of? What do you absolutely need? What will life look like and how will you feel once you have achieved your goal? Keep asking yourself why you wrote down a specific goal until you get to what you are truly seeking. Gaining clarity on what you’re after with a strong emotional attachment will keep you on track when the road gets bumpy. Your purpose for change is what will get you out of bed early. It is what will have you staying up late to finish work, putting in the extra set, sticking to the nutrition plan, etc.
Determining goals to tackle can be a life-changing process that anyone can start on any given day of their choosing. There are two types of goals to be aware of when beginning the process: outcome goals and behavior goals. Outcome goals are the main objectives that you are seeking to accomplish. Some examples are losing 20lbs, making the varsity team, getting a promotion at work. When setting outcome goals keep the acronym S.M.A.R.T. in mind. Goals should be specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and have an attached timeline. The more specific you are in setting a goal the more emotion and meaning will be attached to them. For example, dig deep into why you want to lose the 20lbs and attach that to the goal. Then develop a way to measure your progress, making sure the goal is attainable within a realistic timeframe.
Behavior goals are the action steps you take to work towards outcomes. An example would be practicing a specific skill five nights a week to increase your chances of making the varsity squad. You are in complete control of your choices and actions (behaviors), day in and day out. Make identifying the behaviors that lead to desired outcomes a priority, and consistently practice those behaviors. This is where the magic happens.
We all make daily choices that either brings us closer to where we want to be or further from it. Review your behavior goals often to see that you are taking action and making progress. If you’re not getting closer to where you want to be, make some adjustments and continue pressing forward. Remember to celebrate and reward yourself each time you hit an outcome goal.
Today is a great day to set goals and begin chasing your dreams!
Here at EBSC we emphasize foam rolling, stretching and properly warming up before training. We are always talking with our clients about how they should make recovery work (stretching and rolling) part of their daily lives. Most injuries and pain can be avoided by simply following a daily routine addressing tight and sore muscles.
Here is another perspective that may be helpful to understand why it is so important to address our muscles daily. Most of us have no problem brushing our teeth regularly. You have built this into your daily routine morning and night to prevent dental issues. No one is going to debate that if you do not brush your teeth regularly you will get plaque build up, cavities, tooth decay and possibly gum disease. Eventually you may need a root canal or tooth extraction. No one is going to say they do not have time to brush their teeth.
Many are suffering with muscular and joint pain. This could lead to injuries that eventually need surgery to correct. In some instances, you may need to have your hip, knee, or shoulder replaced. Most of the aches and pains you experience can be prevented with daily maintenance of your muscles, no different than how regularly brushing your teeth prevents dental issues.
When you walk around with poor posture, over use muscles or avoid addressing problem areas, muscles become chronically tight and others weakened. They pull your joints out of alignment and you start to move differently. The excessive use, tightness or lack of stability starts causing aches and pains.
Daily maintenance can prevent minor aches and pains, the need for physical therapy as those get worse, and in many cases the need for surgery down the line.
Loading dysfunction and expecting pain to just go away on its own is not the approach to take. This will further exacerbate the issue leading to greater problems. Just like routine maintenance keeps your teeth and gums healthy, the same applies to the muscles in your body. Get in the habit of rolling and stretching out daily!
“The Complete Training Program”
by Andrew DiOrio
Cutting corners in any area of the training process leads to poor results, wasted time, and in many cases does more harm than good. You should pay attention to how you structure your training sessions and programming. You don’t want to just get moving and hope for the best. If you’re putting in the effort, you want to maximize your return. Training includes several components that are often overlooked, yet are necessary to improve fitness levels and keep you healthy.
Flexibility and mobility training are often the most neglected part of the process. You should have a proper warm up before starting exercise and a cool down when finishing up. This includes dynamic stretching, static stretching, foam rolling or some from of soft tissue work. These are needed to restore motion, prevent injury and promote recovery. Many people get hurt starting out with exercise because they don’t pay attention to tight muscles and joints with restricted range of motion. Regular soft tissue work, mobility exercises and stretching can combat most tightness and movement restriction that eventually lead to injury.
Strength training is one of the most important pieces of the puzzle. It’s needed to increase muscle mass that boosts your metabolism. It is also needed as the foundation for power. Without it, getting stronger or transforming your body will be next to impossible. Multi-joint exercises like squats, deadlifts, single leg work, pull downs, rows, presses, and pushups should make up the base of your program. Strength training also includes core and joint stability exercises. These are lower level strength exercises targeting muscle groups that support the trunk and promote joint stability. Some examples are planks, hip bridges, band walks, and weighted carries.
Once you have established core control and a baseline of strength, power training should be included in your program. Power training is not just for athletes and should be included regardless of age. Training power can be thought of as just adding speed to strength movements. As we age, our power output drops and we start to move slower. Working power exercises into your program increases force production. With increased power you will feel like you’re moving with less effort and expending less energy. Power training includes higher-level exercises like Olympic lifting and lower-level exercises like jumps, jumping rope, agility ladder, medicine ball tosses/slams, or moving explosively through basic strength movements with body weight or light resistance.
A complete program should include conditioning into the program to optimize fat burning and increase cardiovascular fitness levels. Long steady cardio sessions are not always the answer. Interval training is proven to be more effective for decreasing weight and body fat. It works the muscular system along with the cardiovascular system making it a more efficient use of time. Plus it’s more fun for those who get bored with mundane steady state runs, walks, or machines. As with strength training, your intensity levels should be progressive. A combination of interval training and steady state training works well to mix up intensity levels.
Take a look at your current training program and see what is missing. If your training can use an overhaul consider professional guidance from someone who understands how you feel, meets you at the level that is appropriate for you, and who can customize a complete training program to increase progress and help you reach your goals. Addressing all components of training with safe progressions, structured sessions, and accountability is needed for a comprehensive approach to long-term success and maximal results.
“Flipping The Switch”
by Andrew DiOrio
Sticking with behavior changes and adopting new habits can be very challenging. I am sure many of you who have set New Year’s resolutions are experiencing that right now. People usually don’t tend to give up because they are lazy or don’t want what they originally set out for. They just started out taking on more than they can handle with their current lifestyle, trying to go from unhealthy and sedentary to active while following the perfect meal plan. That is what I refer to as “flipping the switch”, which is unrealistic and unsustainable. Don’t think of living a healthy lifestyle as either being “On” or “Off”. You don’t have to be doing everything perfect. From my experience working with clients for over a decade I have found that small, steady, manageable change gets results and works best for long-term sustainable success.
As a trainer, I miss workouts, eat poorly, don’t get enough sleep, don’t drink enough water, etc. The difference for me is that I always look at every day as a chance to start back on track to living a healthy lifestyle. That way I don’t get discouraged and give up. There is always something you can do to get back on track. A small step you can take. If you over did it at lunch, eat a much healthier dinner. If you missed a workout, go for a walk. The worst thing you can do is get fixated on what you didn’t do or what you regret doing. Instead, shift your focus to what you can do and what small improvement you can make.
If you fall off the wagon try not to think of it as failure. Think of it as learning what doesn’t work for you. You may need to set aside some time and come up with a new strategy or start off a little slower with less of a challenge. For example, if you’re not exercising, try to start off by introducing one workout a week. Gradually build up to two times as you become consistent with one day. If you’re trying to eat healthier pick one meal (breakfast is the best place to start) to make improvements. Once you are consistent with eating a healthier breakfast, move onto improving your morning snack or next meal.
Around this time of year getting started on the path to living healthier is usually the easy part. Staying committed is what takes all the effort. Avoid the “flipping the switch” mentality that leads to burnout and has failed you in the past. Instead commit to taking small, steady, manageable action steps that will improve your health and fitness without leaving you feeling like your whole life is changing. You will find it much easier to stay committed and will be surprised at how much progress you can make with less of an overhaul.
I work with a lot of people. In coaching them to become their absolute best I am constantly hearing that they do not get enough sleep. With school, work, practice, kids, their schedule, etc. it is just not possible. This may be the case for some, but for most it is just an excuse. Get to bed 10-15 minutes early and see how you feel. This small change can make a difference. In time increase that if possible. For those of you who believe this is never going to happen. Here is another solution: try taking a cat nap for about 10 minutes during the middle of the day. Set a timer to make sure not to fall into a deep sleep. Personally I use the Address Stress app to meditate for 10-20 minutes everyday. Download the app to your phone and grab a set of headphones. There are so many known benefits to meditating. It can be just what you need to relax, get more rest, improve your mood and come up with new ideas. What ever the solution is, take action to make your life more enjoyable. Do not accept the mentality that “this is just how it is” because it doesn’t have to be. Go get some rest!
East Bay Strength and Conditioning, LLC.
10 Vineyard Lane, Barrington RI 02806
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