Theodore Roosevelt is far and away my favorite president. I might even say he is my favorite historical figure . I respect Theodore Roosevelt because not only was he a smart, capable politician in addition he lived as a true American. He was well known for his "cowboy" persona. But above all I respect this man because of the manner in which he conducted himself in the face of adversity which he routinely faced throughout both his personal and public life. When I am feeling down I like to turn to those who have come before me and led successful lives for inspiration and encouragement. One of these individuals is Theodore Roosevelt and the quote I want to share with you today is one I draw motivation from on a regular basis. I hope it does for you what it does for me,


 
Today's post is inspired by the recent three three-day food logs I spent the past couple nights evaluating. I try to evaluate each individuals diet differently taking into account their daily schedule, if they have kids, and so many other factors, but in addition whenever I get to evaluate multiple logs at once it allows to gain a larger perspective of the average Americans daily diet. In these three food logs the reoccurring pattern I picked up on immediately was the severe lack of vegetables. I am not saying this is the only problem I saw in the diets because I did see an over reliance on starchy carbohydrates or sugars, and a lack of protein at every feeding, but by far an large the biggest gap was in the amount of veggies being consumed. For those of you who are removed in your relationship with veggies, they are they leafy odd color food you pass on you way to the frozen food asile. Anyway I'd rather take a positive approach to helping fix this problem, so rather than blaming the individuals themselves for not eating more vegetables  because they just don't want to I'd like to assume that people aren't eating more veggies because they simply aren't for sure how to go about incorporating more veggies in their diet other than eating straight-up raw vegetables (not my favorite either just for the record). In response to my assumption I tried to develop a list of strategies that will allow you to incorporate more veggies using simple and convient methods.

 
Todays world is one of information overload. Anywhere you turn you can read a thousand different opinions on a single topic all pulling you in opposing directions. Its no mystery why  no one in my generation can make a decision about what they want to be, where they want to work, or if they want kids. They are constantly being a fed a steady stream of opposing ideas, values, and beliefs never really solidifying their own or evaluating themselves as individuals. Instead most waste their time sifting through the endless amounts of differing information never to reach a conclusion on what to do.

 
1. Although this blog focus on mostly physical wellness and health in light of some recent reading outside of the health and fitness realm I want to share with everyone a reminder that physical wellness is just one-third of complete wellness. Remember that your mental and emotional well-being are as much a part of becoming the healthiest individual you can be. Challenge yourself mentally by exposing yourself to knew concepts and ideas. Evaluate these new concepts and ideas using critical thinking. Protect your emotional health by developing a great support system formed with people who love, nurture, and respect you.

 
Well its true I have been a bit of a slacker when it comes to getting this weekly segment out in a timely manner. I would like to apologize for this I believed I have developed a new strategy for improving my consistency of posting. With that being said though all this time away from this particular segment has given me a lot of time to consider what exercise I wanted to share with everyone.

 
The purpose of this post is not to bully anyone or make anyone feel inferior, but rather to raise everyone's awareness about a cognitive process that takes place on a daily basis, almost in a routine manner for most of the population.
Self-Rationalization (SR) refers to the psychological defense mechanism that plays, formost, a subconscious role in the decision making process. SR is the process by which perceived controversial behaviors or decisions are locally justified and explained in a logical manner in order to avoid recognizing a true explanation that might might be unacceptable to the individual or their peers. It is a powerful defense mechanism and one I see employed all to frequently in the training profession from my own clients. Check the video below for some examples of self-rationalizing talk and a few good laughs especially if you yourself our a trainer.

 
The purpose of exercise is to place stress upon the body in order to create a physiological adaptation. This adaptation is specific to the type of stress used and the particular system being stressed. While this is a simple concept to understand, what is not well understood is the fact that the stress is only the catalyst for the adaptation. The key to insuring that the adaption fully takes place is rest and recovery. So one way of thinking about this process is as a reaction which would look something like the following:

system + stress + rest -> result (adaptation)

 
I have been doing some brainstorming lately regarding why Crossfit has gained so much popularity in the last year or so and why its participants often achieve awesome strength and physique results. My hypothesis is this: Methodologies such as Crossfit results when put into practice by individuals is because their methodologies are rigid in their guiding practices and their guidelines are in place to insure that the training sessions are difficult and unrelentlessly brutal. See I am of the belief that the worst program done with the greatest effort will produce incredible results, and that the most well designed program performed with little effort will fail time and time again to produce results. I am believe that intensity is one of the most important factors that determine the effect of a program. Having a high level of intensity during any training is going to yield the greatest results. This is something that Crossfit definitely has, a high level of intensity and effort, no one can argue that point (though form I think is often sacrificed in their training for intensity). If you add Crossfit's level of intensity to what I call the Novice Effect you get incredible strength gains and physique changes. When I say the Novice Effect I am referring to the phenomenon that takes place when you take a somewhat in shape individual and introduce them to their first training methodology that is designed to be purposefully difficult and this individual experiences crazy strength increases, body fat loss, and increased metabolic conditioning. This happens simply because the individuals training intensity is immediately forced to a whole new level then what their previous training took place at.

I think this effect is what allows certain methodologies, such as Crossfit to claim their training methods a success unrightfully so without taking into considerations that perhaps it isn't the way crossfit designs sand programs training sessions that makes the difference but simply that your training protocols are more difficult than what the individual has previously experienced. This results in the individuals body making large adaptions to handle this new increased stressed that is being placed on it on a more frequent basis.

Perhaps I am wrong in this hypothesis, but it is a possible explanation for why when Crossfit is applied to general population individuals that are some what trained it yields awesome results. These awesome results cause a mass increase in popularity for Crossfit because a lot of others desire such results. My idea to test my hypothesis is to take two groups, one group consisting of untrained individuals and one group consisting of trained athletes. You then place both groups on identical training programs designed specifically based on Crossfit methodology. You then compare the two groups progress using a three test one being body composition, one on absolute strength, and one testing V
 
The Acromioclavicular Joint (AC) is often a problem area for many individuals, both in athletic and general populations. The AC joint is located at the top of the shoulder formed by the junction between the acromion and the clavicle. This joint is very much responsible for giving us the ability to raise our arms above the head. The AC joint is a gliding synovial joint which is important because by acting like a strut it aids the movement of the scapula leading to a greater range of arm motion. Unlike the glenohumeral joint which has the benefit of being stabilized by a combination of ligaments and muscles (rotator cuff), the AC joint must solely rely upon ligaments to prevent any kind of extraordinary mobility this is due to the fact that there is no muscle that crosses directly over the joint. The AC Joint relies on three ligaments specifically to maintain proper stability within the joint these are the Coracoclavicular ligament, Coracoacromial ligament, and the Acromioclavicular Ligament. To the left is a model picture of the Acromioclavicular Joint. Due to this reliance on ligaments alone to stabilize the joint one can safely assume that it would take very little to cause the joint to become excessively mobile.

The most often onset of AC Joint issues is correlated with a traumatic injury involving some kind of high force impact. Occurrences of this nature are most commonly seen in physical contact athletes such as Mixed Martial Artist, Hockey, Football, and Lacrosse. Ligaments are the most elastic tissue in the body and once they have been pulled on by externally applied forces the ligament becomes permanently stretched leading to the increased mobility we observe. More common though and probably more relevant to the general population is the onset of AC Joint issues in a gradual manner. In general this onset slowly develops as an individual loses scapular stability in addition to experiencing shortness in the pectoral muscle primarily the minor pec this leads to an anteriorly tilted scapula that is slightly winged out. This dysfunction leads to some major issues between the acromion and the clavicle most commonly presenting in increased separation between the two. Individuals suffering from AC Joint pain may also be lacking in thoracic mobility causing them to compensate and gain back their lack of ROM by overusing the scapula.

When trying to correct such issues you must take into account all possible dysfunction and focus on slowing improving upon each issue. It is not relevant though what has brought about the issues it is only important that you focus your attention on improving scapular stability, increasing lower trapezius strength and anterior serratus strength in order to pull the acromion back in working order with the clavicle. One should also employ foam rolling and stretching in the pectoral muscles to decrease anterior forces.


Now that we have discuss what the AC Joint is, what are some of the dysfunction and causes of this joint, and how they should be addressed it is time to offer some considerations to be taken into account when training to train around such an injury. Typically there are a lot of variable factors to be taken into account when training an individual with AC dysfunction, but three good rules I’d start with is avoid adduction of the arm especially in a horizontal path, do not apply any kind of direct contact or force onto the joint as most individuals experience pain to the touch, and lastly avoid any kind of full extension with the humerus. These are simple guidelines one can use to train around issues involving the acromioclavicular joint.


Well now that you have had your crash course in AC Joint dysfunctions and possible ways to both improve them and train around them you are ready to head off to the gym and keep a close watch on the all important AC Joint.

 
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The number of individuals performing the Farmer’s Walk in average gyms is slowly increasing and as I see the number of users increase I see a slow, but steady watering down of proper form. The same decline that has been seen with other classic lifts, such as the bench press and squat. I am in no means saying that the Farmer’s Walk is not for the everyday average gym goer because in my opinion any body from any population can and should work the Farmer’s Walk into their training program. The benefits it offers are enormous. From the challenges it places on grip strength to the demand it creates on the upper back, hips, legs, and especially trunk not one is left unscathed. Renowned Canadian spine researcher Stuart McGill even called the farmer’s walk and it’s many other variations a “moving plank” which gives you an idea to the huge amounts of benefits this lift contains.

But, the biggest problem with such a simple lift that offers loads of benefits is that many try to imitate the movement, but fail miserably because they have not been properly coached through the movement. A few very common mistakes I see with the average performer are exaggerated forward head and rounded shoulder, shortened gait length, limited hip mobility, and way to much time spend in a unilateral stance.

To begin we must fix our posture especially are excessive cervical anterior tilt and thoracic rounding. This improper position of the head places to much stress on the intervertebral discs. Placing a load held in the hands with the cervical spine in this position just adds to this stress. In addition the rounded thoracic positioning is the giving way of weak scapular retractors which further rounds the upper back. Doing all this poor posture under load just re-ingrains lousy postureThe fix for this problem is simply done in a two step process. First the correct cervical and thoracic spine mobility must be established. Second, you must also progress from restored thoracic spine mobility to proper thoracic extension

The second most crucial point when performing this exercise is to watch time spent in a unilateral stance as well as the length of gait. This unilateral stance is marked with a shuffling gait often associated with increases in weight. This shuffling is a combination concurrent hip adduction and internal rotation which negates a lot of glute activity going on during the carry. This gait also robs the carrier of the incredible core challenge this lift elicits because the more amount of time spent in a unilateral stance places more emphasis on the oblique, quadratus lumborum, and hip abductors while trying to maintain the pelvis and trunk in a correct position.To insure you avoid such a gait be sure to focus on equal steps of length and picking up each foot when taking a stride.

To close I hope you have a better understanding of the proper farmer’s walk technique to be used. This lift is a staple when it comes to metabolic work and overall general preparedness, but with a few tweaks and technical proficiency it can allow for a vast number of benefits.