Sunday, February 2, 2014

This is not a New Year's Resolution post.

I recently got serious about taking off the baby weight.  


When my wife and I got pregnant last year, we stopped exercising almost entirely.  My priorities shifted and I completely let myself go to focus on taking care of my wife, my business, my house, my pets, anything other than my physical health.  I made sure to cook healthy meals, but I also followed those meals with huge helpings of ice cream and cookies and cakes and...  you get the idea.

When my daughter arrived, my excuses rapidly disappeared. It was time for me to look at what I could do to reverse the damage done.

"Dad, there is no easy way to tell you this: you're fat."
Starting this new year I am about 25 lbs. heavier than last year.  I still have my gym membership, because we kept paying for it, like tithing to assuage guilt.  That only leaves the matter of what to do and how to get started.  For me, that answer came from trading massage sessions for personal training sessions from a certified trainer/massage therapist friend of mine.  I'm about 3 weeks in, so wish me luck.  By this time next year, I hope to be writing a victory blog.

What does this have to do with massage?


The universe is full of irony, it should come as no surprise that as I'm starting to get back in the saddle (trotting toward physical fitness) that I should start to encounter a huge uptick in avid athletic types.  CrossFit competing, marathon running, workout slaying types have helped to illustrate two very key things about my journey back.
  1. I have a long way to go.  Determination, discipline, and motivation will be necessary.
  2.  Injuries can quickly derail even the most motivated, disciplined, and determined.
There are a million different ways of staying mentally committed to your goals, and thousands of books and websites to help you along the way.  Find one, and if it doesn't work, just move on to the next.  Contrary to all the claims, there is no perfect program, routine, or diet.  You will need something to keep you on track though.  People fail far more often than they succeed when it comes to weight and health goals.

The same may be true for injury prevention, but that is needlessly complicated.  My one piece of advice?  Listen to your body.  If you have to "work through the pain" or ignore injuries to keep up with your goals, you are hurting your goals in the long run.  Injuries are avoidable, but one probably will happen.  You have to have a plan to deal with that injury.  Chronic pain may also happen, especially if you do insist on working through the pain.  Ignore any pain that has lingered longer than 3 months at your own peril.  Pain is a messenger, but it doesn't have to be a harbinger.

Massage can help maintain, even improve your performance.


There is plenty of science out there showing massage to be helpful within active and athletic populations.  It is certainly more beneficial than the supplements these folks often take, especially since one-third of supplements tested contained none of the plant extracts indicated on the product label.  Even when the right product is in the bottle, is there any evidence that it works as it claims?  Probably not.  One,  Two,  Three,  Four,  Five...  You get the idea.

It is no accident that my personal trainer is also a licensed massage therapist.  If your trainer isn't, find a licensed massage therapist that works with athletes.  A large number of NBA, NHL, MLB, as well as Olympic teams, have massage therapists on staff; along with the very best in physical therapists, trainers, and orthopedic surgeons on call.  It just makes sense to have that base covered.

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