May Member of the Month – Kathy Viera

It is our pleasure to recognize Kathy Vieira as the CV Fitness Member of the month for May 2019.  Kathy was one of the “dance Moms” and saw CVF as she was waiting for her daughter’s dance class to end (FYI: she’s no longer a “dance mom”).  She decided to join about 2 ½ years ago with a goal to get stronger.  She wanted to fight the genetics and be stronger than her parents.

Kathy is not only a mother, spouse, and teacher; but also helps manage estate sales.  This requires her to lift furniture and boxes.  Achieving a 150lb deadlift assures she can handle that job just fine. She has found her added strength to be very empowering. On a recent plane trip she surprised a fellow passenger by being able to put her suitcase in the overhead compartment without help. You Go Girl!

Kathy has been dealing with some pretty tough family health issues.  This has caused significant stress in her life.  Throughout it all, she rarely misses a workout.  She is always positive with a smile on her face.  She finds CVF as a place where she can concentrate on herself and de-stress.  The very positive and family oriented environment is where she knows she’ll find support.

The three words she uses to describe her experience at CVF are “positive”, “inspirational” and “fun”.  Kathy, you are an inspiration to all of us at CVF!

4 Diet Red Flags Diet To Avoid

I talk to a lot of people about losing weight. Not only our members at Castro Valley Fitness, but other people as well. There are a lot of aspects to it, and after talking with hundreds of people about this I’ve learned many things but I think the most important thing I’ve learned is how crucial the things we say to ourselves really are. I don’t think I’m overstating it when I say that for most people it’s much more important than the food itself.

Much More

What I want to do today is let you know some things I hear from people that are a red flag to me and why. I will also give you some suggestions so that you can make your self-talk help you reach what you are trying to achieve instead of impeding it.

One thing I need to mention before I go into all this is that, technically speaking, some of the things that we tell ourselves we should do to lose weight may actually work. The problem is when these things don’t work for the reasons we believe, put us in an unnecessarily bad frame of mind or aren’t thought about with the long-term in mind.

Let’s start with the biggest one.

Statement: I want to lose weight.

Why is this a problem? I’ve said this many times but it bears repeating:

NO ONE WANTS TO LOSE WEIGHT!

People want what they feel losing weight will get them. They want to be healthier, look better, not be in pain, feel better about themselves, etc. They just think that losing weight will help them reach those goals.

How do I improve this thinking? This is going to take some work, but you need to think about what you really want and why. Not just surface level but go deep with yourself. The people that do this succeed in their goals. The people that don’t, by and large, do not. That is because there is nothing at all inspiring or empowering about looking at a number on a scale. It’s quite the opposite, in fact.

On the other hand, getting off a medication or fitting into something you’ve been wanting to wear or being able to finish a hike or lift a weight you weren’t able to before? That really means something.

Statement: I’m just going to cut out carbs.

Why is this a problem? While it’s true that cutting out carbs may help people lose weight, it’s not because there is something evil about carbs. It’s just a way to cut calories. The problem with cutting out carbs is that for most people it’s just not sustainable. It’s not sustainable because it makes people feel like garbage and the worst thing you can do for your long-term success is force yourself to do something that makes you feel like garbage. Besides, some carbs taste good!

How do I improve this thinking? Understand that demonizing one particular food group isn’t necessarily a healthy approach. There are a lot of approaches that work but the key is to figure out something that works for you and will work for a long time.

Statement: I’m going to do this (enter name of extreme diet here). 

Why is this a problem? This one is a minefield. There are a lot of diets out there that use extreme methods to cause weight loss. What do I consider an extreme method? Anything you can’t see yourself doing some version of for the next 5 years. Also, let’s get serious. You know what an extreme diet is. Stop kidding yourself.

How do I improve this thinking? Ask yourself if you want to eat only 800 calories a day for the next five years. Do you want to drink 2-3 shakes every day for the next five years? I get it. You see the ads and they’re filled with amazing before and after pictures.

This Could Be You!!!

What you don’t see is the after-after pictures which look pretty much exactly like the original before pictures. Because all of these diets focus only on crazy methods, you will lose a good amount of weight right away, but as soon as the diet is over (and it will be because you CANNOT sustain these approaches) you will very quickly gain all of the weight you lost back and probably more. Focus more on sustainability and a slow-steady approach and you will thank yourself in the long run when you are reaching your goals and everyone who was on the other diet is worse off than when they started.

Statement: I need to do more cardio.

Why is this a problem? There are a lot of problems with this statement but let’s keep it simple and talk about the biggest one. (In case you haven’t noticed I really like simple.) When it comes to losing weight, diet is 85-90% of it. I know you see all these ads and posts about fat-burning belly-flattening exercises and 1000 calorie burning workouts, etc. It’s garbage. You can do all the cardio you want and if you don’t work on your diet it won’t mean anything. Despite what a lot of people say, you just don’t burn all that many calories exercising. Especially if most of what you do is cardio. In the long-run, the type of exercise that really gets you the most bang for your buck is strength training anyway. Yes, you should do some cardio, but for general health reasons, not for weight loss.

How do I improve this thinking? First of all, understand what really matters for weight loss. Diet. Next. Stop trying to take the easy way out. You know what I mean. Put in the work. With your nutrition and with your real motivation. No one said that was going to be easy, but I promise that once you get going and put in that initial work, you’d be surprised at how it starts to flow.

I hope this helps. Please let me know if you have any questions or have any self-talk issues you need help turning around. It’s not easy, but I promise that if this is an issue for you, it’s going to be incredibly hard to make progress until it’s addressed.

Have a great day!

Mitch Rothbardt, CPT, PN Level 2 Lean Eating Coach, PAS
Castro Valley Fitness
2861 Grove Way
510-755-9191
Mitch@CastroValleyFitness.com

4 Ways to Improve Your Workouts at Castro Valley Fitness (Or Anywhere Else)

Today I want to talk about something a little different. A little more nitty-gritty. A little more nit-picky, if you know what I mean.

You don’t?

Well, I guess I should explain myself. We get a lot of questions from our members at Castro Valley Fitness about their exercise programs and as I was answering one of them this week I thought it would be a good idea to write an article answering some of the questions about exercising we get on a somewhat regular basis.

Let’s get to it!

How do I know when to add weight to an exercise?

Assuming your form is good (if it isn’t, you shouldn’t add weight until it is) you should add weight when you feel like you are able to get several reps more than your program calls for. In other words, if your program says 8 reps and you know you can pump out 11 or 12, ADD WEIGHT. If you don’t, you’re wasting your time.

How long should I rest between sets?

It depends. Most (this is, of course, member dependant as all of our programs are written for the individual member) of our programs at Castro Valley Fitness are set up with a main strength exercise first, a 2-4 accessory exercise circuit next, and another 2-3 accessory exercise circuit after that.

Generally speaking I would say to rest somewhere between 1-2 minutes in between the initial strength exercise sets (maybe a little bit longer between truly heavy sets) and about 1 minute or so between the accessory exercise sets. There is definitely more leeway between the strength sets but that doesn’t mean you should get lazy!!

Pullups and Bench Press are hard! Why?

You got that right! They are hard. The short answer as to why is because these exercsies use smaller muscles than deadlifts and squats. Therefore they are harder to make stronger. No it’s not just you. Everyone goes through this. Just keep working hard and you’ll improve.

What should I eat before working out?

This is a pretty individual thing. Usually I recommend something light about an hour before. Some fruit, yogurt, cottage cheese, nuts. Something like that. Try some things out and see how it feels. Whatever you eat or don’t eat, keep in mind that you want to make sure whatever you’re eating gets you through your workout.

I hope these suggestions help you get more out of your workouts. If you have any other questions please drop me a line and let me know.

Have a great day!

Mitch Rothbardt, CPT, PN Level 2 Lean Eating Coach, Egoscue PAS
Castro Valley Fitness
2861 Grove Way
510-755-9191
Mitch@CastroValleyFitness.com

 

April Member of the Month – Eric Nelson

It is our pleasure to recognize Eric Nelson as the CV Fitness Member of the month for April 2019.

Eric joined CVF a little over a year ago after listening to one of Mitch’s presentations.  He had back pain and a hurt ankle that were restricting him from doing the things he loved – playing baseball, golf, and hiking.  He thought he would have to give these things up because they had become too painful, but his performance has actually improved.

CVF has helped him gain confidence to do physical things without being afraid of immediate pain.  He is no longer tentative and he doesn’t think about his back every time he moves.  He has experienced gradual and steady improvement and is confident there is more to come.  His improvement is so much more than he expected.

He is consistent with his workouts as he wants to stay healthy and feel better — and there is no disputing the results.

He enjoys the CVF community.  His three words that describe his experience are “steady, positive and satisfying.”

A Fitness Challenge To Help Your Back, Hips and Knees

You can’t go on social media without seeing all sorts of ridiculous fitness challenges. Plank challenges. Burpee Challenges. Abs challenges. Personally I’d rather eat glass than do a 5 minute plank. The kicker is that you know that most of the people doing these challenges are planking with somewhat less than good form.

I saw an Instagram posted fitness challenge the other day that wanted you to work out twice a day for 45 minutes each time and have no cheat meals for 75 days, along with about 4 other demands. Sure. Let me put my entire life on hold for the next 75 days to show the buff guy in the picture how awesome I am.

NOT!

Listen, if you want to try some of these things then please be my guest. You get to push yourself a little and maybe if you do it with a group it can turn into a fun thing. I’m the last person to tell someone to stop doing any kind of exercise they actually enjoy.

That being said, I thought I’d propose a fitness challenge that can actually help you and that you can even do while watching TV!

OK. Here it is. For the next seven days I want you to spend 30 minutes doing this:

Egoscue Supine Groin Stretch – Do 15 minutes each leg

It doesn’t look like much, but this simple stretch is the best thing I’ve found to loosen up your hips, back and shoulders and help improve your posture from the hips outward and you know my that your entire posture is set from the hips outward.

What does the Egoscue Supine Groin Stretch do?

This stretch focuses mainly on a muscle called the Psoas (pronounced SO-az). This is a long muscle that runs from from your lumbar spine on either side, down to just below your hips. See in this picture.

The Psoas is one of the muscles that are responsible for allowing you to move your thigh toward your torso as in this picture.

As a group, these muscle are called the Hip Flexors and the Psoas is the biggest and strongest of them.

The problem with the Psoas is that due to modern society’s tendency towards sitting, it can get pretty tight, and due to it’s attachment position at the lumbar spine, that tightness can cause postural problems which result in back, hip, knee and possibly even shoulder pain.

What the Egoscue Supine Groin Stretch does is help regain length and function in the Psoas. This helps put your body in better posture and helps reduce back pain, hip pain, knee pain and also possibly shoulder pain.

How do I do it?

Let’s refer to this picture one more time.

Egoscue Supine Groin Stretch

It really is pretty simple, but there a couple of important things to be aware of. Let’s go over it.

  1. Lie flat on your back with one leg straight and the other hip and knee bent to about 90 degrees and resting on a box or chair.
  2. The foot on the straight leg needs to be propped against something so your toes point straight up.

Keeping your toes pointing straight up on the straight leg is what allows the psoas to release and stretch. It’s also very important to have an object holding the foot straight up, not just you holding it. If you are keeping tension on the leg to hold it up under your own power,  the psoas will not relax.

If you experience back pain in this position it is likely because your psoas is a little extra tight. In this case, you need to elevate the straight leg like in this picture.

When you start the stretch, contract your thigh for a few seconds. You will likely feel the contraction close to your knee. Repeat this every 5 minutes or so. As you hold this position over time you will feel the contraction higher up your leg. When you feel that change, drop your leg a little lower.

I like to do this while watching TV at night. I’ve been through several seasons of Homeland and The Walking Dead this way. Half the show on one side and half on the other. I’ve been doing it long enough that I get a nice release from 10-15 minutes on each side although I still like to do 15-20. If you haven’t done this before it might take a bit longer. I remember the first time I did it, it felt like nothing was happening for a while and then all of a sudden my leg just started vibrating and relaxing like crazy. It was quite an experience.

What’s the challenge?

My challenge to you is simply this:

Do this stretch for 30 minutes per day (15 minutes on each leg) for the next seven days. That’s it. I’m pretty confident that you will feel some pretty powerful results. What’s most important is that you will start to realize the importance of your overall posture in how you feel and move every day.

I have found this stretch to have a massive impact on back pain, hip pain and knee pain. It very well may be the best thing I’ve found to help with these things and no, I’m not exaggerating. If you need more convincing just do a quick Google search for “Egoscue Supine Groin Stretch” and look at what comes up.

Also, if you want to have a little more fun with this challenge please post a picture on Facebook or Instagram or both. Tag me in it (Facebook or @mitchrfitness on Instagram) and use the hashtag #CVFitnessSupineGroinChallenge. Write how you feel in your post. I’ll be doing it, too.

Good luck and have fun!

Mitch Rothbardt, CPT, Egoscue PAS
Castro Valley Fitness
2861 Grove Way
Mitch@CastroValleyFitness.com
510-755-9191

 

5 Ways to Measure Progress Other Than The Scale

One of the more frustrating things we experience as trainers is when someone can’t see the proverbial forest through the trees.

What do I mean? It’s when someone has been making progress but can’t see it because the number on the scale hasn’t changed enough for them. I’ve actually had people tell me they feel better, are fitting in their clothes better, are moving better and feeling stronger, but aren’t happy because of what their scale says.

I’ve said this many times and I’ll say it again.

No one’s goal is to lose weight.

Their goal is what they think losing weight will get them.

In other words, the deeper you think about your actual reasons for wanting to lose weight, the better you are able to achieve what is really driving you. I know this may not be easy, but seeing as doing this work is putting you in a much better position to actually get you what you want, don’t you think it’s worth it?

What I’m going to give you today are some ways to measure your progress other than just looking at a number.

1. How is your strength? Are you getting stronger? Simply put, there isn’t a goal you can have that getting stronger won’t help you with.

2. How do your clothes fit? Especially when you’re first starting to exercise it’s not uncommon for you to lose some inches even though the scale isn’t moving.

3. How is your energy and mood? Many studies show that exercise is just as good, if not better, than medications for certain kinds of depression and exercise also helps you even out

4. How is your pain? Are you moving with less pain? Good movement can be the medicine for joint pain and general creakiness.

5. How are your workouts? Are you able to do more work in the same or less time? Are you able to do more challenging exercises? That means your overall condition is improving!

Really there are a ton of ways to measure progress that are probably a lot better than some number that can fluctuate 3-5 pounds over the course of an average day. Figure out what is really important to you (it’s not the scale) and measure your progress in a way that relates to that. Let me know if I can help with that. It’s very important, but not necessarily easy.

Mitch Rothbardt, CPT, PN Level 2 Lean Eating Coach, ​Egoscue PAS​
Castro Valley Fitness at 2861 Grove Way
Castro Valley’s Premier Fitness Facility
We Help People Discover Their Strength

 

 

March 2019 Member of the Month – Jen Petroelje

It is our pleasure, and with the enthusiasm of her workout peeps, to recognize Jen Petroelje as the CV Fitness Member of the month for March 2019.

She joined CVF four years ago because she wanted to start exercising before menopause.  Her personal training sessions three times a week allow her time to pay attention and focus on herself which is an unexpected benefit.

She has lifted far more weight than she ever thought she could and she credits that to her gym cheerleaders who give her lots of encouragement.

She set a goal last year to hike to the bottom to the Grand Canyon and then back up – a 27 mile trek.  She trained for six months and after a lot of hard work and many, many lunges and step ups, she made that goal!

Exercise has become a habit.  She finds it nice to feel strong and building strength came as a surprise. It’s not unusual to see her and April 2018 Member of the Month Nick Chavez ending their workouts with a rope and medicine ball slam relay that makes you feel tired just watching them.

She says the people make CVF fun and her advice is to follow the 5 Keys to Success.

Your Five Keys to Success

Today we are going back to basics. I can talk (or write) your ear off about all sorts of different fitness or nutrition topics. At Castro Valley Fitness we have conversations about all sorts of things along those lines but none of that really means much without the basics.

As you can see from this picture:

5 Keys to Success

we have what we feel are the 5 Keys To Success written on our wall. I can pretty much guarantee that if you aren’t achieving results then you aren’t doing one or more of these things.

Let’s get into it.

  1. Be consistent.

Simply put, nothing works without consistency. Any kind of real lasting improvement must be done intentionally, and that doesn’t happen without consistency. Very few meaningful things in life are accomplished all at once. It’s usually the end product of a lot of hard work.

  1. Work hard.

If consistency is number one, then hard work is 1A. There is no substitute for simple hard work. There are no secrets to anything, whether it’s losing weight, moving better, getting more flexible or stronger or anything else. When you exercise, work to the best of your ability and push yourself appropriately. Remember this: without consistency and hard work, nothing else matters. You won’t get anywhere.

  1. Be engaged.

If you have a coach, do your best to listen to their cues so that you get the most from your efforts. Pay attention to how the proper form and posture feel. Don’t just go through the motions. What are the things you’re doing supposed to be helping you with? If you can’t answer that question than how are you supposed to know what is working and what isn’t? If you don’t know that, then you are basically just throwing things against the wall and probably wasting your time.

  1. Ask questions.

Believe it or not, there are reasons behind a good exercise program. If you have any questions at all about your program ask your coach if you have one. If you don’t, then do some research and find out.  We love it when our members ask us about their program because we love to talk about this stuff! The more you know about why you’re doing what you’re doing, the more you can get out of it. By the way, if your coach can’t tell you why you’re doing something, that may be a red flag.

  1. Follow your program.

Any good program is written with your goals in mind, and there should be a reason behind everything. From the exercises themselves to the number of sets, reps, the order of the exercises, the rest periods and everything else, you and your goals should be taken into account. If you simply follow the program, you are giving yourself the best chance at success. By the way, if you don’t have a program you need to get one! There’s a million books out there and I also know a very good gym that could help!

Do you know a good gym?

I feel pretty confident that these keys can really help you out. If you feel like you’re having trouble with any of these things, please drop me a line and let me know. We’ll figure it out together!

Mitch Rothbardt, CPT, PN Level 2 Lean Eating Coach, Egoscue PAS, FMS
Castro Valley Fitness
2861 Grove Way in Castro Valley
510-755-9191
Mitch@CastroValleyFitness.com

February Member Of The Month – Helen DeLisser

It is our pleasure to recognize Helen deLisser as the CV Fitness Member of the Month for February 2019.  She has been a member for three years.

Helen is a Chiropractor with her own practice in San Leandro.  She was referred to CVF by neighbors.  She joined with the goal of improving her core strength and also needed the commitment of a workout schedule that had some flexibility. She was experiencing some knee issues at the start and wanted to stabilize her knee to improve her ability to walk and run.  She regularly walks her dog in areas with uneven sidewalks and wanted to protect her knee and reduce the chance of falling.  She also doesn’t want to lose the ability to run with her dog.

CVF has helped Helen find a balance between being available to her clients and time for her workouts.  She always has a smile on her face and a great sense of humor.  She finds the most improvement is in her strength – not only can she lift more, she can lift things more easily and straighter.  She feels her overall movement is better and more stable.

Her advice to the CVF community is to still watch your diet even if you are coming into the gym two to three times a week.  Also, be committed – just come in when you are scheduled regardless of how you are feeling. You will always feel better after.

January Member of the Month – Matt Lim

It is our pleasure to recognize Matt Lim as the CV Fitness Member of the month for January 2019.

Matt has been a member for a little over a year.  He found CVF through Yelp after “gym hopping” looking for the right gym close to home.  He was doing mostly HIIT workouts, but wanted to build his strength.  His goal was to gain muscle and look and feel good.  He works hard at every workout and it has paid off because you can see his progress.

He likes the quality of the programming and the variety of a new workout each month. He likes how the workouts can be adjusted to accommodate how he feels on any particular day. He feels it is well worth the investment in his health.  His workouts are also a stress reliever for him.  He likes the CVF community and felt “the love” as soon as he came through the door especially from familiar faces.

Matt is always in a good mood with a smile on his face.

His goals for this year are to continue building his strength and improve his body definition.

He finds CVF challenging, supportive and fun.