Your Feet, Pain and Posture

So much of the time the feet are the missing link for people when it comes to pain and performance. Think about it. Your feet are the thing that connects you with the ground and lets your body know where you are, how to move and what to feel!

If you have knee, hip or back pain I’m betting that you have some issues there that need to be addressed and if you just want to perform better in the gym getting your feet working better can be a HUGE improvement.

In this video I’ll show you a simple test that will let you see what is going on with your feet, knees and how it relates to your hips and back.

Let’s talk feet!

 

Mitch Rothbardt
Castro Valley Fitness
Mitch@CastroValleyFitness.com
510-755-9191

The Danger Zone!!

We’re heading towards the Danger Zone! No, I’m not talking about Top Gun. I’m talking about the holiday season.

Every year I see people fall into the same traps. I know it’s not easy, but I also know that there are ways around it that can help you actually enjoy this time with your family and friends instead of stress over it.

Take a look and let me know what you think.

What’s More Important, Losing Weight or Adding Muscle?

I overheard a question the other day.

“What’s more important, losing weight or adding muscle?”

HMMM…

If I know one thing, it’s that there is a ton of information out there. Some of it good and helpful, but much of it pretty crummy and confusing. This question is an opportunity to hopefully sort some of that out.

Obviously this question is very general, so I’m going to put some parameters on it. We’re going to assume the following:

  • The person’s overall goal is weight loss for general reasons such as overall health and appearance
  • The person is generally healthy, meaning no serious injuries or illnesses
  • The person does not have a long history with intense resistance training

Also, it’s important to understand that when we say adding muscle, we are NOT talking about becoming a huge bodybuilder. We are talking about adding some lean body, and if you want more definition to your body YOU MUST ADD LEAN BODY!! The assumption with someone with these goals is that as you add lean body you are also decreasing body fat, thereby making you smaller. Take a look at this picture if you need a little clarification on that.

Muscle is denser than fat making the same weight much smaller!

OK. Let’s start with this.

Adding muscle and losing fat are done mostly with two different processes. Losing fat is done largely with diet and adding muscle is done largely in the gym. Now this doesn’t mean that the gym and diet aren’t involved with both to varying degrees, but for the most part losing fat is done with diet and adding muscle is done in the gym.

What does that mean? Well, it means that these things are not necessarily mutually exclusive. You can do both, to some extent. Note that the person we’re talking about does not have a long history with intense resistance training.

At home you can work on your diet and in the gym you can exercise with purpose and intensity and try hard to get stronger. Both of these things should be done if you’re trying to lose weight.

As to which is more important this is a tougher question. Here’s the thing, when you are trying to lose weight it would still be very helpful to include resistance training in your routine. Although you might not have a goal to build muscle per se, this can be a big help in a couple of different ways:

  1. More muscle means a higher metabolism. This means that instead of our metabolism slowing down as we lose weight (which it will) the muscle allows it to stay as high as possible which makes it easier and more manageable to either continue with weight loss or maintain it.
  2. More muscle gives us better nutrient partitioning. This is the process where your body decides what to do with the food you’re eating. The more muscle you have and the more resistance training you do, the more your body will take that food and use it to maintain and build muscle as opposed to adding fat.

What does this all mean when it comes to the original question?

“What’s more important, losing weight or adding muscle?”

Well, here is my answer:

I think that whatever your goal is, that is what’s most important. If you want to lose weight, then that is most important (by the way, figuring out WHY you want to lose weight is a huge key to this whole thing). Having said that, adding muscle would be a huge advantage to this whole process, especially in the long term.

I hope this gets you thinking a little differently about what you’re doing. Please let me know if you have any questions about how to make this all work for you.

Thanks!

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

 

What Can Age Do For You?

I got a great question yesterday from one of our members, Sandy Laines. Here it is:

“Should I think at age 70….75…. I can still lift the same weight I can at 60? Are there factors that will limit my ability no matter how much I try the older I get?”

Now, essentially she is talking about performance. Can you do the same things as you get older?

I think this is a great question and I’m actually very happy that Sandy, in particular, asked it. Let me tell you why.

Sandy is one of our powerlifters at Castro Valley Fitness. She’s getting ready for a meet in about 5 weeks. In the past month she’s deadlifted 290 lbs, squatted 240 lbs and benched 140 lbs. By the way, Sandy is 63. I would hazard a guess and say that Sandy is stronger than the vast majority of people, men or women, of any age out there.

I tell you this because, to answer her question, of course age does things to us. It would be silly for me to deny that. However, Sandy started with us 7 years ago at 56 years old. If I were to tell you that someone in her mid-50s would be significantly stronger in her early 60s you probably wouldn’t have believed me if all you thought about was age.

Yes age matters, but in my opinion it’s incredibly over-rated as a factor in people’s health. I’ve trained people of all ages and I’ve heard people in their 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s, 70s and 80s all complain about their age. The biggest line through all of this is this: the ones who use age as an excuse most often are also the ones who get the worst results.

Posture, strength, mobility, activity level, diet and overall mentality ALL have a MUCH BIGGER EFFECT on your condition than age.

It may surprise you but I put absolutely no thought into someones age when I write a program for them.

I think about their goals, injury history, exercise history, posture, mobility, mentality, likes and dislikes and age doesn’t enter into it at all. What kind of service would I give someone like Sandy if I just gave her some stock “Age 63” workout program?

Well, this is a pretty long answer to a question I’m not 100% sure Sandy even asked, so let me answer her question quickly and directly.

Age certainly changes things in our body that we can’t control, but many of those changes can be mitigated partially or even completely through diet and exercise. How this will affect individuals is very difficult to say as there are many factors that vary from person to person.

Whether you will be able to lift more weight later in life may have as much to do with your overall talent level, dedication, and general health than age itself, although age will  certainly be a factor. I guess what I’m trying to say is that it’s really impossible to say exactly. There are things working against you but everyone is different in this regard. The one thing I can tell you from my own experience, as I am a powerlifter who has probably maxed out his talent level to a large extent, is to try not attach so much significance to sheer numbers. I know how hard this is because this is what we powerlifters judge ourselves by, but do your best to just enjoy the process of lifting.

After all, we don’t HAVE to lift. We GET to lift. It is a privilege to be able to do that. I wish more people could understand that. If they did then I really believe that age would cease to be such an easy excuse.

Anyway, that’s what I have to say about it. What questions do you have about age?

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

 

 

 

 

 

Do Carbs Make You Fat?

I help one of our members who runs a preschool with the wellness program for her employees. I received a question from one of them that, I think, is a common source of confusion for many people. Here it is, along with my answer.

If you’re trying to lose weight as an older woman should you eat carbs at dinner or only have protein and vegetables? Also, is whole wheat making us fat? Should we avoid it to be slim?

This is a very common question and one that creates a lot of confusion for many people.

First I want to go over some basic facts.

  1. Weight loss is determined by calories. In other words, to lose weight you must eat fewer calories than you burn.
  2. Many studies have shown that the macronutrient (carbs, proteins and fats) makeup of someone’s diet doesn’t really matter for weight loss.
  3. It really doesn’t matter when you eat  for weight loss. The only thing that matters is calorie intake. In other words having carbs at breakfast or dinner makes no difference.

In other words eating carbs at dinner is perfectly fine as long as the overall amount of calories you are taking in is less than what you are burning.

Having said that, cutting down on carbs can be a perfectly legitimate and simple way to achieve the caloric deficit necessary for weight loss. The main issue with this, however, is that a low carb approach can be difficult to sustain for people. In fact, many studies have shown that people who resort to low carb diets don’t stay on them for very long, even if they have success with the diet!

My opinion is always that the most important thing to consider when dieting is sustainability. Simply put, you should not go on any diet that you can’t see yourself on for a long time. That is the only way to truly achieve and sustain weight loss.

Lastly, whole wheat is not making us fat unless it’s eaten at a caloric surplus. Really, any food eaten at a surplus will make us gain weight.

Mitch Rothbardt, PN Level 2 Lean Eating Coach
Castro Valley Fitness
2861 Grove Way in Castro Valley
510-755-9191

2 Things You Might Not Realize About Weight Loss

Hello! I hope you’re having a great day. I’m going to make this one pretty short today so let ‘s get started.

When it comes to losing weight I’ve found that there are a few things that typically get people’s way. Let’s talk about two of them.

1 – It’s not about the food. I can feel your eyes glazing over right now. “What do you mean?” you’re asking. “Aren’t you the one who’s always saying that losing weight is all about the nutrition?” Well yes, but let me explain. You don’t need me to tell you to eat your vegetables, right? You don’t need me to tell you that an apple is healthier than a candy bar, right? At least 5 times a week I hear some version of “I know what to do but I just can’t do it.” We all know what we need to know about nutrition. It’s really very simple. The issue is what is getting in our way of doing it.

Creating Healthy Lives

You don’t need me to tell you to eat this

2 – The most important skill for weight loss is emotional regulation. The truth is that the real reason most people can’t do what they know they should do has to do with emotions. When we’re emotional that’s when we have trouble making the decisions we know, deep down, that we should make.

I hope this helps clear some things up for you. I know this is tough. If it does help, I want to let you know about a program we are starting up. It’s a nutrition program that we’ve put together that we believe covers what REALLY MATTERS about weight loss. (remember it’s not about the food!) Its starts up on the 24th and you can get all the information right here:

Creating Healthy Nutrition 

Please let me know if you have any questions. Have a great day!

Mitch Rothbardt

 

 

Why Do I Have Back/Shoulder Pain?

So many people have back and shoulder pain. The problem is that many of those people don’t really understand what is causing it.

Hint: It’s probably not your discs and rotator cuff irregularities.

In this video I talk about some easy steps you can take to discover what may be really causing your pain and how to get started in fixing it.

This video is not meant to diagnose your specific issue but I do cover the most common things I see on a daily basis and the causes.

Take a look and let me know what you think.

I Know What To Do But I Just Can’t Do It

I heard it again today. “I know what to do but I just can’t do it.”

If I’ve heard this once I’ve heard it a thousand (million) times.

I know what to do but I just can’t do it.

At Castro Valley Fitness we believe that, for the most part, people know just about everything they need to know about nutrition. You don’t need me to tell you that an apple is healthier than a candy bar and that you should eat your vegetables, right?

You may be asking yourself, if people know all they need to know, then what’s the problem?

Well, that’s the million dollar question, isn’t it? If we answer that, we can pretty much solve everyone’s food issues, right? The problem is that this isn’t as easy as it sounds.

It requires work that really has very little to do with food itself.

It requires an approach that is both honest and unemotional. Both of these qualities tend to get lost when we think about how and why we eat.

Let me give you a few things that have worked for some of our members when they’ve been tying to figure some things out.

  • Slow down. Sometimes I’ll ask someone how fast they eat. Usually they just laugh. Slowing down allows your stomach to let your brain know it’s full. That can take 10-15 minutes. How much food can you eat in that time? It also gets you out of GO-GO-GO-GO mode which is when so many of us wind up eating whatever is easy and fast. That’s not usually conducive to making good decisions.
  • Keep a journal. Just reading that might have given you a chill.
    Holiday Season

    An actual person when asked to keep a food journal.

    If it did frighten you, you should ask yourself why. You just might figure out something that’s been holding you back. Journaling keeps us honest and accountable. It also can reveal things that we didn’t know. You might not have realized how much you actually snack in a given day, for instance.

  • Aim for progress not perfection. One of the biggest problems I see is all-or-nothing thinking. This is when people think that one slight slip counteracts all the good they’ve done or they feel like they the “perfect” plan to get started. The truth is that there is no such thing as perfect. No perfect diet or perfect workout. The closest thing we have to perfection is in this picture right here.

    The Closest Thing To Perfection

                      All we need to aim for is progress in whatever form it takes.

Listen, we all have crazy lives. Kids, work, family. We sit in traffic for hours each week. The more we can figure out the REAL issues behind our diet the better off we will be.

Let me know what you think. Have a great day!

Mitch Rothbardt, CPT, PN Level 2 Lean Eating Coach, FMS
Castro Valley Fitness
2861 Grove Way in Castro Valley
510-755-9191

Brushing Your Teeth and Back Pain: The Connection

One of the most important things we try to do as personal trainers is get people to understand the connection between what we teach as far as movement in the gym and the connection to movement outside of it. This is especially important for people who have some sort of pain. Back and shoulder pain especially.

We don’t teach people to deadlift so they can deadlift. We teach them so they can pick up groceries, laundry, kids etc, safely!

People don’t realize that it is their everyday movement performing menial tasks that really determines how their backs and shoulders feel.

In this video I explain why and show you some examples.

IF YOU HAVE PAIN PLEASE WATCH THIS!

Use Your Head For Healthy Shoulders

It seems like everyone has problem shoulders these days. We sit at our desks, in our cars, at home and that creates issues. So many of us just don’t realize how important your head is in making your shoulders feel and move well.

Let me show you why that is and I’ll also show you a drill you can do TODAY to start things feeling better.

Let me know if you need any help or have any questions.


Mitch Rothbardt
Castro Valley Fitness
2861 Grove Way
510-755-9191