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The Pulse - July 2013

In this issue:Toggle Table of Content

July 9th at 6:00 pm

Amber and Mike will be at the Galloway Running Group kick-off event hosted at All About Running and Walking in the Rancho Vistoso Shopping Center. They will be conducting Functional Movement Screenings at 6:00, July 9th. If running a half marathon is on your to-do list we encourage you to attend this meeting.

Cavemen Were on to Something

By: Chris Litten

Visit any health club, fitness studio, chiropractic office or physical therapy outfit with any appreciation for being current in approach and you will find devices dedicated to addressing soft tissue. Things like “The Stick”, “The Tigertail”, and cylinders of compressed foam referred to as “Foam Rollers” are routinely used by individuals to self-administer massage strategies specifically to address muscle tension with favorable results. If you have been introduced to any of these self-massage tools, you know what I am talking about. And, if you are a part of the minority at this point who hasn’t, keep reading. You just may go out and buy one today!

Cavemen were onto something. Have you ever thought about how they possibly found comfort on a less that heavenly hard cave floor? Just assemble the perfect balance of dirt and rock. Voila! Eight hours of uninterrupted slumber. Hardly, I know, but think about it. We know cavemen had their lives at risk quite often. We also know they ate and slept in much less appealing circumstances than we would ever tolerate. Did they cramp at night and wake up stiff in the morning? Was their posture less than desirable due to environment like we so often observe in society today? I’m going to argue “No!” Why? Because of those rocks they were most likely sleeping on and because of their constant struggle to survive, they sat idle far less than we do today. Our cave floors have been replaced with comfortable pillows, beds, chairs, and our lifestyle is far less arduous due to a modern technology. We spend way more time sitting than our ancestors. Sitting leads to slouching. Poor posture leads to movement dysfunction which in turn results in pain.

No one is advocating that we return to the Stone Age but there are things we can do to mitigate the stresses to our bodies that modern living brings about. Although the science is still unclear as to why foam rolling helps, the results are remarkable. Foam rolling, done properly, can improve joint function, restore your ability to fully engage weakened muscles, and bring such calm to you after a session that you may literally feel the stress leave you. Ask those who believe in self-administered massage why they do and two words will most likely sum it up. “It works”.

As a personal trainer I can share testimony, both personally and professionally. Personally, I have all but rid myself of any low back, knee, shoulder, neck, or arch aches I have experienced in my day. Professionally, I have made believers out of numbers of clients after demonstrating to them how various techniques can bring relief for any number of joint and/or muscle aches. Just yesterday and today I showed two separate clients, one 17 years of age and the other 73, how to employ soft tissue strategies along the thigh that decreased their knee discomfort for them in less than 2 minutes! I don’t need to wait for science to tell me whether or not these techniques are effective. There is the proof!

So what can you do and how do you do it? First, find a reputable health professional that can act as your coach for at least your first trial. Yes, there are YouTube videos, DVDs, books, and the like. Hands-on real time coaching trumps all of those mediums; though so only go there if all attempts to find a health pro fail.

Tissue is sensitive. If it has not moved or been pressed on in a while, your first ½ dozen attempts will be uncomfortable. Take it slow opting for consistency over duration of application. Start with 10-20 seconds of 1”-2” circular rolls over a sensitive area and then leave it alone. Move on to another spot.

For best results I feel it important to suggest that you learn some basic human anatomy. You will gain a better appreciation for where various muscles are located and how they are related to other structures. This will aid you in locating where you want to focus your attention in order for it to be most effective. Knowing some anatomy can more astutely guide your soft tissue exploration toward revealing the cause of that ache.

We actually may have been better off with those hard cave floors! However, if living like a caveman won’t fly in your cave, uh I mean home, it just means you will need to give some much deserved attention to your body. Find a health professional who can teach you self-massage techniques with “The Stick”, “The Tigertail”, and foam rollers. You will feel better, move better, and live better.

Foam Rolling the Iliotibial Band

Client Spotlight

Eileen Evans

Eileen Evans was actually one of our original clients, having previously trained with Cecile way back in 2004. During the 8 years Eileen was away from us, she had experienced several different training methods, some good, but unfortunately many were very damaging. When she started training at BodyBasics again in October, 2012, her lower back and neck pain were really impacting her quality of life. Even after spending time in physical therapy and seeking the expertise of different health professionals many exercises would still result in pain. During her initial evaluation, Eileen was asked about her goals. It was clear that Eileen wanted ways to manage her pain and be able to continue working out. She began working with Chris on core stability and modified strength exercises. All of which were geared toward a pain free workout. Exercises that had no direct neck involvement would cause flare ups due to extensive guarding in order to protect against excruciating pain.

Eileen found few answers and no sustainable plans for pain free living even after numerous visits to medical specialists. Eileen then took control and devised her own approach toward her health and well-being. From massages and chiropractic adjustments to hip mobility routines and breathing exercises, Eileen was willing to do anything that would help. Many of her efforts paid off at first but after a week or two the beneficial effects would diminish. Soft tissue work was then introduced to her training sessions. She started to realize just how integrated the human body really is. A big “ah ha” moment was when she noticed that by maximizing her hip mobility, she was minimizing her neck pain. She was convinced but still wasn’t comfortable integrating the soft tissue strategies at home. Soft tissue work became more accessible after her current trainer, Amber, taught her to use a foam roller.

Eileen we all admire your attitude and hard work keep it up. We thank you for being an inspiration to not only other clients but to we trainers as well.Eileen’s regimen now includes foam rolling and yoga in the morning and evenings. She is also seeing a reflexologist and is still working out twice a week with Amber to keep building strength. Eileen is always patient and positive while Amber devises modifications that are tailored to fit her needs and goals. We applaud Eileen for the inner strength to work with and through pain in order to find that which keeps her feeling her best. It is because of her dedication to homework and her drive to get out of pain that she has been able to make great progress. Eileen is now able to recognize postures that will affect her negatively. Most importantly, she now has the tools to help herself out of pain or prevent it all together.

Recipe:  Black Bean Salad


  • 2 cans black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 or 2 cans or cups of frozen corn
  • 1 can hearts of palm, drained and cut into 1/3 inch rounds
  • 2 large tomatoes, seeded and diced
  • 1/2 red onion, minced
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup low fat Italian dressing
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
Simply mix all the ingredients in a bowl.  Cover and refrigerate.  Best if prepared a day ahead.  Serves 6+

Shout Out to Eve Shapiro!

for coming to workout despite a fractured fibula incurred just 2 days prior. We modified the workout of course and she had a boot on to get around. We appreciate her dedication to keep on keeping on!  She will now serve as our official excuse taker as to why people can’t work-out!  Your excuses are invalid!

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