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Specializing in athletic health care.

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10 Reasons To Lift Weights

Posted on May 31, 2018 at 10:35 PM Comments comments (0)

1. Improve your muscles. This is probably the same reason most people choose not to lift weights. However, this does not include bodybuilding, unless of course that is your goal. Strength training is the best way to keep and gain strength to pursue your desired activities and maintain proper muscle balance.


2. Improve your posture. Our muscles are connected to our bones to hold us upright to perform daily tasks and activities. Proper posture prevents injury as well as being aesthetic. It holds our confidence and our presence.


3. Improve your cardio. Most people do not think about lifting weights to improve their cardiovascular system. Running is not the only way to improve your cardio endurance. Change up your variables with your weight lifting program and you will see improvement.

 

4. Improve your flexibility. When weight training is done properly, it will move through your full range of motion, with a slight stretch at the end point. I almost always have better motion after a good workout and you should too.


5. Decrease pain. That is right! Who does not want decreased pain? Many people with pain have dysfunction due to weak muscles causing joints, muscles and other soft tissue to compensate. By increasing your strength and returning proper motion, your pain will be a thing of the past.


6. Increase bone health. Our bones need stimulation to regenerate faster than they break down. Weight training is an excellent way to do this. Weight training has been known to stop osteoporosis and in some cases even reverse it.


7. Goal setting. Having goals provides accomplishments and productive feedback. It does not matter if your are weight training for the olympics or so that you can climb the stairs without falling. Forward progress is always good. Plus if your goals are not reached on time you will know what to change, which is also positive.


8. Happy endorphins. Exercise, including weight training, can stimulate the natural chemicals in our brains that make us feel good. When you get in a funk, make time for the gym and get those happy endorphins working for you to reduce anxiety, depression and stress.


9. Happy body. When your body feels good, so do you. Things move along easier, you are less afraid of activities causing you pain or that you are unable. Feeling able and less stress lets you feel better on the inside and out.


10. Look great. While managing your nutrition is one of the best ways to manage your weight, weight training is what makes you look good. When you shed those pounds you want the muscle underneath to be strong and defined. Losing fat will create a smaller you, but losing fat and increasing your lean mass will give you that fit look you have desired.


Fit Body Shop ~~Specializing in Athletic Health Care

Posted on October 9, 2017 at 2:10 PM Comments comments (2)

Fit Body Shop promotes mechanics, fuel and sport performance.  Athletic health care can really mean a variety of things, as I have worked in several different platforms of sport.  When I work with youth, I love to teach.  Kids are learning what it feels like to be competitive.  Differences between bumps and bruises and actually having an injury.  Most importantly I hope they are learning to take care of their body.  Address those bumps and bruises before they become tendonitis, strains, spurs, calcifications etc.  It may also mean to rest from full participation to heal.  At the youth level they are not paying their bills or earning their next job, but need to maintain their health so that they can pay their bills and find thier next job. 

I have found that the higher the level of competition the higher the break down of the body.  I know that sounds intense, but its true.  Working harder with less recovery time results in dyfunction occuring more frequently.  However, always remember that exercise and sport are supposed to keep you healthy and feeling your best.  So always make sure you focus on mechanics, fuel and sport performance to minimize your chance of injury and keep you performing at your optimal potential.  Here is a breakdown of how I treat the body as a whole unit to make sure you can compete at high levels, while keeping away from the dreaded dysfunction.

Mechanics is top on the list.  How your body moves is highly important to improve and maintain strength, speed and agility.  Most importantly, having good biomechanics is what prevents us from having pain and keeps us injury free.  While movement assessments are a great place to start, treatment and maintenance with bodywork to nervous, fascial and muscular systems is essential!

Fuel.  Always fuel for success!  There is nothing more important to properly recover, rebuild, maintain bodyweight,  and to stay focused and energized.  Always choose a wide variety of whole fresh foods.  While I don't like to ever cut out specific food groups or macronutrients, I do believe that the more specific the goal, the more specific the program.  To fill in any gaps, make sure you find supplements that are third party tested such as dotFIT NSF Certified For Sport products.  These products are tested to be free of both contaminants as well as banned substances, as stated by the world anti doping agency, NFL, NHL, MLB and the NCAA.

Sport Performance is everyone's favorite, right?  Who doesn't want that extra edge over their competitor?  My sport performance not only covers sport specific aspects but also cardio for sport.  This is specialized training designed just for you.  We take your goals and events and add in training that will have you peak at the right time for your goals and events.   I also provide athletic training and injury recovery to bring you back safely and quickly to full participation status.  Always making sure that you are performing at your optimal potential!

Fit Body Shop ~Your one stop, head to toe, body shop.  Specializing in athletic health care.

Fit Body Shop~~ We are all connected

Posted on September 20, 2017 at 8:50 PM Comments comments (1)

It is the official possition of Fit Body Shop that we are all one unit, one body, one person.  Our body functions as one being and for a while I have known this but had trouble putting it into words.  I could tell you why if you stubbed your toe, your back hurt, but not always why when I'm working on your shoulder, you can feel down to your toes.


Often I would remind my client that we are all connected.  You cannot seperate any body part and give it to me for the afternoon.  Its not like dropping off your car at the shop.  Well, our body is very well connected.  Not only do muscles and joints directly affect other muscles and joints, but we also have an extremely amazing fascial system.  The fascial system is very detailed connective tissue holding together every cell and system of our body.   It is quickly becoming known as the largest sensory system of the body.  Because it directly touches each system and it is one seamless piece of tissue, it has drastic effects on the body when damaged, traumatized or over stressed.  It can restrict motion, cause nerve pain, stiffness, weakness and muscle imbalance.  This system needs to be treated with myofascial release, a slow, easing treatment that will restore proper tension in all tissues.  I integrate this with other techniques for full recovery.


Just because you hurt in one spot, doesn't mean another area isn't causing the pain or isn't being stressed.  Treat the whole body as it all has to work together.  Mechanics, Fuel & Perform at your optimal potential!

Do Powerlifters Need Massage Therapy & Bodywork

Posted on July 9, 2017 at 9:00 PM Comments comments (0)

Do powerlifters need massage and bodywork?  This is a question that does not get visited often and definitely has many view points. I have worked with a large variety of competitive athletes. Some seem to like it and could never go without, while some just don’t seem to prefer it. So here are my personal thoughts on how massage and bodywork affect powerlifting performance.


Every person, everybody needs a starting point. Most people can agree that a healthy point would be that of neutral posture. We should be able to stack our kinetic chain as building blocks, in this case, knees over toes, hips over knees, shoulders over hips, and ears over shoulders in the sagittal plane. While in the coronal and transverse planes making sure the knees track between the 2nd and 3rd toes and shoulders are rotated to turn the thumb out. So while static posture is all great and wonderful we (especially competitive athletes) are very dynamic in nature. Not only that, but everything we do all day long is in front of us. We can ergonomically make things better, but we cannot change this. Take into account that some powerlifters have jobs and may be lifting when they are working too. Now we are combating activities of daily living and the possibility of sitting for long periods possibly being at a computer, life stress and followed by the trauma of a workout. Poor posture and myofascial considerations will lead to the cumulative injury cycle. This cycle needs to be broken to keep all points of the kinetic chain working in harmony (joints, muscles & nervous systems).



There are many techniques that can be used by your practitioner. These techniques are designed to restore fascia, inhibit overactive muscles, stimulate underactive muscles, restore muscle balance, improve circulation, decrease pain and improve recovery. Overall leading to improved performance. I could probably tell you massage is good for everything. So why would someone not utilize this precious tool?


First time trial and error. Unfortunately, I don’t know a great way around this but you have to find someone you trust and can have great communication with. They need to understand your goals for each session. Also, a first session is a starting point for the therapist to just find where the deep issues are and how you respond. So first times are kind of a learning curve for everyone.

Timing. Massage and bodywork needs to be scheduled around workouts and competition. Never get a deep massage right before heavy lifting or competition. This will break down tissues as well as make receptors less responsive, possibly leading to a feeling of weakness or even increased chance of injury. You can still get in a session, just make sure that you both are on the same page so that proper techniques can be used. A pre-event massage can be very helpful,effective and keep you focused, but it won’t be deep.

Touch. Some people do not like to be touched for so many reasons from sensitivity, trauma, vulnerability, to being apprehensive of a healing injury. Always communicate with your practitioner what your goals and concerns are and treatment will be adjusted. Consider options like reiki or strain-counter strain, as they are very non-aggressive and work even if you do not like to be touched. If things cannot be adjusted to your level, try a foam roller.



So think of your body as an important tool. This tool is what wins competitions. It needs to be properly used and taken care of. Proper exercise, nutrition, sleep & rest and bodywork are needed to maintain optimum performance. Just as you need the right exercise prescription, healthy nutrients and the proper balance of rest, you also need bodywork that will promote performance in your phase of training. This is why so many athletes take advantage of the massage therapy at the OTC. Because they need it:)


Mallet Finger

Posted on May 10, 2017 at 3:25 PM Comments comments (1)

Mallet finger is a common finger deformity, that I just happened to recently experience. I have injured my fingers when I was younger and playing ball, but usually I experienced some pretty intense bruising and swelling without loss of function. That did not happen this time, so needless to say I was in a bit of denial at first.



Mallet finger is a disruption of the extensor tendon (back side of the hand) over the distal interphalangeal joint. When the extensor tendon is disrupted there is no structure left to extend the joint, resulting in a fingertip that does not straighten and remains in a flexed position. This occurs when the joint experiences trauma, forcing the joint into a flexed position and tearing the tendon. This is seen in athletics when a ball hits the ends of the finger tips (a kickball in my case). It can also be common for the tendon to remain intact, but instead to pull away at the bone resulting in an avulsion fracture. If this injury is left untreated, it will heal in the flexed position and cause difficulty with certain activities such as putting on gloves or putting your hand in your pocket.



In general, the treatment process consists of splinting in neutral or hyperextension for 4-8 weeks. Splints can vary depending on your provider. However, if there is an open injury (such as a cut or laceration), the structures may need stitches. Regardless if there is a fracture or dislocation, treatment will start with splinting and if the injury is deemed unstable or splinting options have failed, surgery may be an option.


Now I am not down and out for 4 to 8 weeks. I am not sitting around and hoping for the best. As long as the injury is properly splinted activity can resume as tolerated. Things like my grip strength have decreased because I am now gripping with two fingers and my thumb versus my whole hand which is not an issue until I try to pour from a gallon of milk or swing kettlebells around my waist. I am still working out and only have to modify a few exercises (but there are so many to choose from anyway that there is just not a reason to quit!). Always make sure your healthcare provider and you are on the same page. While many activities can still be maintained, proper modifications will be made based on how many structures were injured and how much grip the activity requires.


So the injury site is splinted, should it be massaged? Well, yes and no. The injured site right at the joint should not be massaged during the early stages of healing, as we need the scar tissue to be the natural glue to hold everything together. In the early stages of healing with the splint on, motion is restricted causing other joints and muscles to compensate. While I do not recommend the finger to be massaged, I very much recommend the hand ( with modification), wrist and upper extremity ( at least up to the shoulder) to be massaged. This will help bring in healing nutrients and keep the muscles balanced from both the trauma and compensation.

 

After initial splinting has ended, then your healthcare provider will help you to ween out of the splint. It will be determined which activities are ok and not ok out of the splint. Exercises will be given to regain normal motion. If everything goes well, you will avoid surgery. Always ask questions and understand where you are in your healing process. This is what your healthcare provider is for and your fingers are important. Take care!

How to improve agility

Posted on February 6, 2017 at 6:20 PM Comments comments (0)

Many sports require impressive agility. “Agility is the ability to accelerate, decelerate, stabilize and change direction quickly while maintaining proper posture.” Some of the top agile sports include American football, handball, gymnastics & boxing just to name a few. I love watching sports that require high levels of agility. The NFL tests agility during their combine to determine explosive power and ability to change direction with 3 cone drill and shuttle run (5-10-5). This is what allows football receivers to catch a football anywhere along the average distance of a two car garage, a gymnast to hurl through space with twists, turns and back again.


 

So how do you begin to make your agility noteworthy? This is going to start in exactly the same place as all my other posts--- posture and great muscle balance. Great motion and movement patterns always come from posture and core. When starting a warm up program always include a foam roller plan. Some athletes feel this is a tedious process. Foam rolling large muscle groups, especially those that sit in a short position for long periods of time restores neuromuscular activity to normal. In order to be your best, keep those muscles balanced. If you find a tender spot while using the foam roller hold that spot on the roller for at least 30 seconds or until the tender spot releases. By doing this before your workout you will be able to train with your muscles in better, proper balance, creating healthy movement patterns. Now you are ready to stand tall. Use good posture pulling your head toward the ceiling and pulling your belly button gently toward your spine.


 

Now that you have properly prepared your body, we are well on our way! Exercises that will enhance agility will include cone drills and ladder drills. Drills like this will begin to provide repetition and body awareness. When starting these drills it can be easy to watch your feet and make sure you are not tripping on the ladder. However, as you gain awareness of your feet, as well as the ladder you can look ahead to where you are going, just as you would in actual competition. It’s not as much about watching the foot placement as it is having the confidence of knowing where you are going before you get there. Foot placement is important, making sure you are not crossing (and tripping over) your own feet. All motion needs to come from the core. This means keeping the core engaged and directing the body with the lumbopelvic hip complex. By guiding your body with the core, your extremities will become much more explosive.


 

For those who keep their feet on the ground with running type sports, drills such as: LEFT Drill, M-Drill, 5-10-5 Drill and the 4 cone drill.  Adding in ladder combinations will be helpful as well including in/in/out/out, side shuffle and backwards in/in/out.  


 

However, some sports don’t keep their feet firmly planted such as swimming, gymnastics or pole vaulting. Other drills may need to be included such as tumbling or suspended trampoline tasks that safely reproduce the required movement.


 

When acquiring improved agility for sport, nothing reproduces the movements you need like playing your sport. However, a few drills can help progress you from beginner to more advanced work. If you are not sure what drills to start with always work on posture and core. Without posture and core your body will not be working at its fullest potential and eventually slow you down.


 

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Why Should I Get A Sports Massage Consistantly

Posted on December 12, 2016 at 3:25 PM Comments comments (0)

One of the best parts of my job is sports massage. Most days athletes are happier to see me as a massage therapist than an athletic trainer. I don’t think it has much to do with how uncomfortable treatment can be as much as their mental expectation. Plus, I’m not determining the amount of their participation time with their coach.


I see a large variety of athletes from weekend warriors, runners, high school athletes, college athletes, hockey, rugby, weight & power lifters. The techniques I use are varied and integrated based on client injury, goal and sport. Some injuries are more repetitive in nature and some are just due to contact and direct trauma. I firmly believe that each athlete is one body, one unit, one person and therefore treat the body as a whole. By ensuring that all movement patterns are functional and eliminating even small dysfunctional patterns, injury can heal more quickly or even be prevented.

 

Massage therapy is a great way to keep your body in check. By providing movement assessments, we can see right away which muscles need to be activated, lengthened, inhibited and integrated. This keeps your body working at its optimal potential.

 

Don’t feel that sports massage will make you soft, even if you are feeling good. Really, you should want to maintain that “feeling good”. While maintenance to support your body’s health is imperative, it does not mean that your treatment will be specifically relaxing or super comfy. It can still be uncomfortable to release those knots, regain joint motion and strength. It does depend on what the goal of the session is and where you are at in your training program. So talk with your sports massage therapist about movement assessments, past and present injuries, workouts and competitions so that proper techniques can be used at the right time.

 

By consistently utilizing sports massage, you will be able to maintain health, strength, speed, agility, and dodge potential injury at the same time. Perform at your optimal potential!


https://www.sharecare.com/health/massage-therapy/what-is-sports-massage" target="_blank">Sharecare: Massage therapy

 

Movement Series #1 Posture

Posted on August 11, 2016 at 4:25 PM Comments comments (0)

I have already had a few blog posts regarding posture. But with this new movement series, I strongly feel that it's the best place to start. Everything begins and ends with posture resulting in overall strength, range of motion, joint mechanics and possible injury (or injury prevention). Initially when thinking about posture, think of being stacked like blocks. Head held high, ear over shoulder, shoulder over hip, hip over knee, knee over ankle. Basically one big straight line. At rest this allows even tension on each joint as well as the muscles firing synergistically and working well together.

 

 

So this is all well and good, but what happens when you add in life? Sitting at the computer, fixing vehicles, washing dishes, caring for children and even sports all put people in a position of repetition in the same motions causing some muscles to over time become over stimulated while others are under stimulated. In addition, our bodies are created for motion. So if our day does not require much motion such as sitting at a desk all day, driving for long periods, etc. trigger points (and other tender points) set into the muscles causing pain and dysfunction.

 

 

Try to create an awareness in your environment. Place things further away in your office space so that you have to get up to get supplies /throw away trash or adjust your rear view mirror in your vehicle so that you can only see out of it when you are sitting in good posture. When starting a walking program, make sure you add in posture walking. Pull your head up high, stack your major joints and do not forget to engage your core. This is always the best starting place and I don’t think that everyone realizes how much our everyday lives factor into our posture and that in a domino effect poor posture can result in dysfunction, pain and injury. How are you stacking up?

Providing Event Massage Therapy

Posted on March 23, 2016 at 3:30 PM Comments comments (0)

For a few years, I was an active member of the American Massage Therapy Association’s sports massage team. I loved it! We traveled all over Minnesota and provided post event massages to athletes of all levels (and health conditions). We met so many wonderful people who traveled the country to stay active and support their cause. I learned so much from that team. At the time, I was young and had all the pieces I needed to be a good event therapist, but really didn’t know how to put all those pieces together to create what the athlete needed. So I thought I’d pass on some of the helpful tips they gave me and provide ahttps://www.facebook.com/notes/soost-outdoor-fit-biz/event-massage-therapy-check-list/1013499542070154" target="_blank"> printable checklist of things you need to bring with you. This way it will be easy to find and you can print one out for every event.

 

Event massage is very different from clinical massage that you practice in your office. Most often these massages are provided outdoors, post event. The athletes are dressed, sweaty and usually dirty depending on both the event and the weather conditions. I always bring my massage cream, but never use it. Long, slow strokes are not used at this time. If the athletes would like to make an appointment with you at your place of business at a later time for something more relaxing that is fine. However, at this time it does not work to accomplish what we need. Short, rhythmic strokes, petrissage, tapotement, wringing and stretching will be focused on.

 

Time is an issue. Last year at Grandma’s Marathon there were 6077 finishers. That is why they need a lot of volunteers! Your line gets long. Make sure you give each athlete the attention they need, but they are not going to get an hour and half clinic setting session. Approximately 10-15 minutes per person. Also, this means you have to pay attention to yourself. It is very easy to get caught up in what you are doing, seeing all those athletes and keep on a goin’. Many of these events are during the summer when it is hot and sunny. You need to take a break. Eat. Rest. Drink plenty of water (and of course take a potty break). I know it sounds silly, but we are not the ones they want to see in the medical tent!

 

We may not be the medical tent, but often we may be seeing the athletes first, who should be in the medical tent instead. Many of the events that need massage therapists are those trying to raise money for a medical group. MS Bikathon in Sundance is a good example. But there are also many “race for the cure” type events as well. These are passionate people. They literally travel around the country raising money and awareness for their cause. Always ask about prior/current injury. But also ask about their health status. Do they have cancer? Do they have MS? What are their symptoms today? Is that new? These are strong people that do amazing things and can often push their bodies to do amazing things. When you consider they have a medical condition, are performing in wind, heat, cold or rain--they DO NOT tell their family and friends that they lost feeling in an extremity or most of their vision hours ago. They just keep going. The other thing I came across working at Grandma’s Marathon that is a little more difficult to detect is, are they coherent? There was a man who had just finished the race and wanted a nice massage after. He didn’t appear dizzy or out of place. He was very friendly and full of conversation. However, he was talking about his children. Once his wife heard him, she immediately spoke up and they rushed him to the medical tent, as they had no children.

 

Always check with the event you are volunteering at about their expectations. Many of these events are fundraisers for a cause. Most of the time the massage services are free to all competitors. A tip jar can be put out for donations. Some events are just happy you showed up, so if you don’t donate it back that is your choice. Some events want a percentage of what is donated and sometimes it is expected that you donate all of it since it was a fundraiser. I think it is most common to donate at least 50% back to the event, but each event is different.

 

I have attached a printable list of things to bring with you to your sport event. These are things probably not normally found in your clinic unless you regularly provide massage at a sport event. You will need a plastic fitted sheet. In the past I was always able to get them at Walmart or Kmart without issue, but I have not found them in stores recently.  You may need to buy a plastic sheet online.  You need to have a plastic sheet on your table to protect it from grease, grime, sweat, chalk and actual dirt. You will need something on your table that is easy to clean and sanitize between each athlete. Remember the athletes are dressed so you don’t have to worry about draping. Also, with hundreds of athletes, even at the smaller events you are not going to have enough sheets or time to change them.

 

Next you need 4 wood blocks. About 4x4 square to put under each table leg. This will prevent your table from sinking into the ground and leaving you wondering how your table got so short without an adjustment. You don’t want that dirt getting into your table.

 

Bring lots of cleaner! You need hand sanitizer for your hands between each athlete. You will also need cleaner for your table. I have used clorox wipes but you can also order hospital grade Cavicide wipes if you prefer. Paper towels are useful if you are using a spray cleaner or need disposable face cradle covers.

 

Bring a tip jar. A sturdy one that can handle Wyoming type weather. Sometimes people forget that part and end up using a paper or plastic bag---they blow away in the wind and are generally not a good choice.

 

Please volunteer to work a sporting event in your area. The athletes not only need it, but really appreciate it. The people you will meet will be remarkable. It is so worth your time.  If you have any trouble accessing the printable link I provided, please message me and I can email it to you.


 

What tools are in your toolbox?

Posted on March 14, 2016 at 11:10 PM Comments comments (0)

It has come to my attention that when we need medical help or advice there are not always enough options.  If you have questions about something in an area that is not your expertise, where do you go?  And how do you weed out fact from fiction?

Going through school we were always taught (regardless if it was AT school, massage therapy school or grad school) to have a full tool box.  This meant that if I only had a hammer in my tool box I would only have the hammer to, yes, pound nails, but also to tighten screws, lug nuts and allen bolts.  A hammer might be useful for those nails, but perhaps a few other tools might come in handy for those other jobs.  We were always eager to learn and become effecient at new techniques!

Now, as excited as we are to learn new things there are a couple of things to keep in mind.  There is no one person that has every tool in their tool box.  There are just too many.  Most health care providers find their nitch and stick with it.  So if you ask a surgeon, he will provide you a surgical solution.  If you see a nutritionist, he will provide you a nutritional solution.  If you seek advice from a chiropractor, he will provide a chiropractic solution.  You get the idea.  That is what we study and what we promote.  Not to mention that per profession, we need to stay within our own circles due to scope of practice laws.  As an athletic trainer I can diagnose and treat athletic injuries, but I cannot provide chiropractic care, prescribe medications or provide accupuncture, just to name a few.  However, it is my job to understand how other providers and services or even techniques that I am not certified in, can enhance my athletes' health and recovery.  I do provide massage therapy services in a variety of settings.  It has been found to enhance chiropractic treatment, accupuncture treatments, physical therapy treatments, as well as improve recovery time from injury including surgical procedures.

 


When looking for a provider, look for:
  • Experience
  • Open mindedness
  • Possibly certified in other areas
  • Don't ever be afraid to ask for a second opinion
As a professional:
  • Learn to network with other providers
  • Stay up to date on several treatment types in order to provide healthy options for patients, clients and athletes
  • Remember you provide your service well.  Referring to another provider will enhance your service and only make you look better.
We are many parts, but only one body.  We need to be treated as a whole person.  It may take one provider, it may take a team who can work together.  Always know all of your options and don't be afraid to speak up and ask questions.  If your provider only has a hammer in his tool box and its not getting the job done, it does not mean you are untreatable.  It means you have not found the right tool yet.