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What To Do When You Can’t Do Anything

This week, I had the fortune of having reconstructive ACL and meniscus surgery. I say fortune because what they say is true – “what doesn’t kill you makes you ww v2stronger”. Let me summarize this as best I can… It’s like telling Wonder Woman she no longer has superhuman powers and battle skills and can no longer use her Lasso of Truth, indestructible bracelets and invisible airplane. Not to mention her rockin’ tiara (that’s clean, washed hair in my scenario). And yes, for all intents and purposes of this blog, I am “Wonder Woman” in this scenario.

What have I learned when I can’t do anything?

  1. Patience. Patience to rest and recover and know that every day will get a little bit easier. Appreciating the love and patience of my family, particularly my husband, who stood by my side 24/7.
  1. Life goes on. A little set-back does not determine my future. In fact, it probably helps me get there faster as I become introspective about where I’ve been and what’s to come.
  1. I will become superhuman again, but in the meantime, appreciate others stepping up to the plate. Friends and family make the world go round and without them, you can easily fall.
  1. Battle skills. Oh, mark my words…I will be able to battle again, and battle stronger than ever before. Watch out future Tabata clients, I am gonna kick-your-ass when I return.
  1. Lasso of truth. It’s hard to take someone out of their complete comfort zone and submerse them in a helpless situation. Sitting still…not my forte. But definitely my moment of truth. I have two choices – let the situation bring me down or conquer it and push myself to get stronger every day. Guess which I chose?
  1. Indestructible bracelets. Let’s call this my need for control. Yep, no secret I like to control my situation. Although I prefer to call it ambition and organization. It mostly pertains to my ability to get a million things done in a mere 15 minutes. Let’s bring that down a notch. I can now drink a Starbucks, read a magazine and have my leg in a stretching machine…all at the same time! Go me. Maybe lack of control is not such a bad thing.
  1. Invisible airplane. Humm…if only I had one I would fly my broken ass to the fastest PT facility in the world and cut the recovery time in half. Hell, maybe I don’t need a plane after all since we all know I will break records in that department.

So, here’s my summary. Things get broken and plans get changed. It does not have to change your ambition or spirit. In fact, if you take it all in, there is probably a message hidden in there somewhere. My message is to slow down and look around me at the amazing friends and loving family whose support I am eternally grateful. And, of course, get excited for my future superpowers with my new bionic leg.

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  • Nancy Francischetti

    Hi Deb- so glad your surgery is in the past & your recovery is progressing nicely. I am inspired by your thoughtful insights penned in this post . Your positive outlook is the best coping mechanism and your ability to inspire others to do the same , no matter what one is facing, is a gift . Thank you for sharing your thoughts and friendship! Peace to your day &I wish you a speedy recovery!!

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Back To Basics

Back To The Basics

In my role as a fitness instructor/trainer, one of the first questions I am asked is “How do I get fitter? My body is not changing and I work out all the time.”

There are several things that lead to optimal training: how many times you exercise per week, how intense you exercise and what types of exercise you perform (and of course, your diet – but we’ll cover that in another blog entry).

The Principle of Overload says that to reach a desired training improvement, you have to perform at a level higher than what you are currently doing.  Often, we get so comfortable in our fitness routine, we are no longer challenging ourselves or getting out of our comfort zone (note our recent blog entry: Mind Over Matter).

By performing at a higher level (ie. heavier weights, different type of workout, anaerobic workout), your body responds to this new stress by adapting to the increase in capacity. Fitness programs that lack overload or variation will help you maintain your current level, but not improve it.

The Principle of Progression states that for continued improvement in your fitness level, you have to continually challenge yourself over time. This means gradual increases in the frequency, intensity and type of exercise you perform without increasing your risk of injury. The length of improvement will vary depending on age, current fitness level and physical limitations.

Principle of Specificity is the key to progression! It says that your body will adapt to the demands put on it. For example, you want to run your first marathon, but you’ve never run more than 3 miles. The more you train – the longer you can run, the more miles you cover, the more your body adapts to what you are asking of it (over a gradual period of time). The changes you are making are specific to that activity. So, focus on one new activity at a time to maximize your results.

So let’s recap. To see different results, you have to challenge yourself. Pick a new workout routine…or try a different fitness program. Stay consistent in your gradual increases and push yourself. Don’t just go through the movements – get out of your comfort zone. You will start to see results.

Should You Rest?
Short answer – YES! Your body needs time to recover and your musculoskeletal system needs to rebuild from vigorous exercise (note our blog entry “Give It A Rest“). You can cause more damage than good if you do not let your body rest. Overtraining can also occur when you try to increase your intensity too quickly. In both scenarios, you are more prone to injury and will not optimize the increase in your fitness level.

I always try to incorporate at least 2 days of rest into my week (no high-intensity workouts – more leisure activities).

What If I Stop Exercising?
So, now that you know how to progress your fitness level, on the other end of the spectrum, what happens if you stop for a designated length of time?  If your training is discontinued or decreased, de-training occurs. Cardio-respiratory fitness levels decrease after only 2-3 weeks without training. Muscular fitness (strength/endurance) will decrease in 2-3 months without training. Note to self: don’t stop by choice. Objects in rest tend to stay in rest. Objects in motion, stay in motion.

Have specific questions for your fitness training? Email us. We are here to help: info@heelstolaces.com

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Foam Rolling – Why It’s So Beneficial!

There are many different stretching exercises out there and all have similar goals: increase flexibility, improve performance and reduce muscle soreness.  One of the more recent and effective additions to the world of stretching is foam rolling.  Due to a recent injury, I have spent a lot of time rolling and learning first hand about its benefits and I have been amazed at the results.












What is Foam Rolling?

Foam rollers are cylinders about 6 inches in diameter and usually about 36 inches long that you lie on and roll over your muscles to help to loosen tight muscles. Foam rolling actually increases circulation so the connective tissue and muscles receive more oxygen and water than stretching alone.  In addition, foam rolling is a form of self-myofascial release that acts similarly to massage. Meaning not only do you get the benefits of working out muscle knots and tightness, but you also get the same reduction in stress releasing hormones and improved mood and relaxation that you get from a massage.  Some call it the ‘poor man’s massage’.

A recent study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research documented the benefits of foam rolling before a workout.  The study tracked 2 groups of active people: one group used a foam roller before working out and the other group did not.  The group that used the rollers not only felt less sore after their workouts, they also felt that the workouts were not as difficult.

Foam rolling is not only beneficial for those who work out, it is also great for anyone who sits for long periods of time.  Long bouts of sitting are not good for our bodies (that is a whole other blog topic!) but for most of us, it can’t be avoided.  Foam rolling is also an excellent way to reverse the harmful effects of long-term sitting.

Tips of How and When to Roll:

  • How to roll.  Either find a trigger point (painful spot) and apply pressure, or roll along the muscle (like a massage). A combination of both usually works best.
  • Roll before and after a workout. 
  • Hydrate before you roll.  In general, hydrated tissue is resilient and more susceptible to the benefits of rolling while pliable dehydrated tissue is glued-down and sticky.
  • Do it slowly.  You want slow and purposeful movements.  When you hit a painful area, stay on it – that is where you need to focus.
  • Move in multiple directions. It’s not just up-and-down; muscles and fascia attach at different angles and even in spirals, so roll in different directions.
  • Make it a daily habit.  Even if you aren’t at the gym, make a point of rolling those muscles.  Think of it like flossing – it is daily maintenance.
  • Don’t foam roll on joints.

Personally, foam rolling is the single best thing I have done to combat my injuries.  The benefit is immediate; with each rolling session, I feel noticeable improvement.  I plan to make foam rolling a permanent part of my daily routine in hopes of not only speeding up my recovery, but reducing my chance for future injuries.

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