Archives for March 2018

Fitness Starter Pack: Posture and Pain

Every day at Castro Valley Fitness we talk to our members and many times the conversations are about the same types of things. We have certain foundational beliefs at our gym and we’ve seen the truths of those things play out time and again over the years and with hundreds of our members.

I thought I’d do a series on these things so that maybe we can help you understand what our foundational beliefs are when it comes to fitness and nutrition.

We’ll start with Posture and Pain.

Many of our members come to us with different kinds of pain. Shoulder pain is the most common and back pain is number 2. Here is what we’ve found:

  • Age itself has little to do with the prevelance of pain.
  • People with back pain tend to exhibit excess movement through the low back.
  • People with shoulder pain tend to exhibit excess movement through the trapezius (the muscles in between your shoulders and your neck) and neck muscles.
  • People with back pain tend to exhibit a lack of movement through the hips.
  • People with shoulder pain tend to exhibit a lack of movement through the scapula (shoulder blades).
  • People with both shoulder and back pain almost always exhibit general postural problems.
  • People with both shoulder and back pain ALWAYS show general movement patterns that contribute directly to their pain.

Did you notice that I didn’t even mention any kind of imaging tests? Studies have shown that a high percentage of people with no pain still show disk issues and rotator cuff issues on imaging tests:

Spinal Degeneration in Asymptomatic Populations

Ultrsound of the Shoulder: Asymptomatic Findings in Men

What does that mean? It means the majority of people with no pain at all, STILL SHOW PROBLEMS ON IMAGING TESTS!! 

Shape The Path

What does that mean?

It seems like it means that disk and rotator cuff issues MAY NOT BE THE PRIMARY CONTRIBUTORS TO BACK AND SHOULDER PAIN!

Well, the next logical question to ask is then:

What is causing pain if it’s not necessarily rotator cuff or disk issues? 

See my list of findings above, particularly the last one:

  • People with both shoulder and back pain ALWAYS show general movement patterns that contribute directly to their pain.

Let’s put it simply:

If you have shoulder or back pain, it is your every day

movement patterns that are likely the cause!

By the way, this isn’t just me talking here. Stuart McGill is probably the world’s foremost authority on back pain and spine health. Here is a quote taken directly from one of his seminars:

“Most times, people’s habitual movement patterns reveal why they have back pain.” – Stuart McGill

Now, I know it can be weird to hear that many of those expensive tests your doctor is ordering for you don’t mean much, but I do believe that to be true much of the time, and even in cases that did require more serious medical intervention, I don’t think I’ve ever had a client in pain who didn’t benefit from improving their basic movement patterns.

Obviously in a blog post it would be impossible to cover the entirety of what “good movement” is but I do want to give you some kind of idea.

In the video below I show you a few things we do to help people discover good hip and shoulder movement.

Let me emphasize one thing, however:

You have to apply these movements to your life




And here’s where it gets hard.

You have to do that when it’s the most difficult. When things are stressful. When you aren’t normally thinking about something as small as how your hips are moving. When you’re brushing your teeth and leaning over the sink. When you’re driving. When you’re typing.


Because that’s when things are falling apart. You can practice good movement all you want, but it’s when you are distracted that your movement goes awry. Once you can step back, breathe, and adjust that is when this will start coming together. It’s not an overnight process and it’s not easy, but it works.


Again, what I’ve shown you here is just the start. Everyone is different and the specific movement patterns you need to work on may not be the same as someone else, but the fundamentals of good movement apply to everyone.

Let me know if you need help putting your movement together.

Mitch Rothbardt, CPT, PN Level 2 Lean Eating Coach, FMS
Castro Valley Fitness
2861 Grove Way
Let’s Help Clear the Confusion in Fitness and Nutrition









March 2018 – Andrea Vinson

Castro Valley Fitness Member Of The Month

March 2018 – Andrea Vinson

It is our pleasure to recognize Andrea Vinson as our Member of the Month! Andrea has been a member of CV Fitness for almost 5 years.

Andrea has never been so physically strong since joining CV Fitness. If it hadn’t been for Mitch, she would not have embraced it or be so excited about being strong. She sees it most often when she walks up a flight of stairs and isn’t winded. She also hasn’t hit a golf ball as far as she does now.

She feels she can’t find a better place to focus on strength, endurance and posture as CV Fitness. She appreciates the strong community where a new person will immediately feel the encouragement to do the best you can do.

She recommends that you keep pushing, keep showing up and find ways to do a little bit more at each workout. You will find that the end result is amazing.

The three ways Andrea describes her experience at CV Fitness are “supportive environment, strong community and many new meaningful friendships.”


The Real Deal About Fat Loss

What’s healthier, an apple or a snickers bar?

What’s healthier, grilled chicken or fried chicken?

Should you eat vegetables and drink water?

I’ll bet you know the answers to these questions. They’re not hard, after all. Here’s the thing you might not know, however:

If you do know these answers you pretty much know what you need to know about the nutritional part of weight loss.

strength training

I’m not kidding. This is really pretty simple, for the most part. What makes that even better is that it should be! Think about it. The more complicated something is, the harder it is to maintain.

In 2014 a Journal of American Medicine study showed that it really doesn’t matter what kind of diet someone is on. Low fat, low carb, high fat, an even mix of everything. It doesn’t matter. The most important thing when it comes to weight loss is to find a diet that you can stick to.

Here’s the real not-so-secret secret. Weight loss usually doesn’t have all that much to do with the food, or at least it’s not the biggest issue that people face.

What I’ve found is that the biggest issues are the various things that get in the way of people doing what they know they should be doing in the first place.

That can be related to stress, schedule, habits, an unrealistic expectation of the process and many other things. As many things as there are people, really. Everyone is different.

If I’ve heard the phrase, “I know what to do I just have trouble doing it,” one time, I’ve heard it a million.

I think the main point of what I’m trying to say here is that the most important thing you can do to lose weight is spend some time trying to figure out the things that are getting in the way of you doing what you know to do.

This may sound simple, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy. In fact, sometimes it can be very hard.

Here are a few quick things you can do to start yourself on that path.

  1. Keep a food journal. An accurate journal forces you to really engage with what you’re doing. You can’t just slip that bag of chips in and then forget about it!
  2. Slow down when you eat. This one can really be a game-changer. Did you know that your stomach can be full for 10-15 minutes before your brain realizes it. Think of how much food you can eat in 10-15 minutes!

There are obviously many more things you can do but these two things should give you a good start.

If you want a few more ideas I’m giving a talk at the Castro Valley Adult School this Thursday night, March 8th at 7pm. It’s called “5 Things You Should Know About Fat Loss, But Don’t.” You can call the school at 510-886-1000 to sign up.

Mitch Rothbardt, CPT, PN Level 2 Lean Eating Coach, FMS
Castro Valley Fitness
2861 Grove Way