Skip to main content

Month: May 2023

A Fresh Start

A while ago I came to the sad realization that there are more personal trainers and health clubs in the world than ever before. And yet there are more people who are overweight, obese, sedentary, and suffer from diseases brought on by lifestyle choices than ever before. The approach we are taking as a nation to combat the effects of a technologically advanced way of life needs to change. It is not working. The majority of Americans do not go to gyms. The majority struggle to find reasons to move. It is been going on for several decades and has gotten to the point that the incoming generations are starting life from a worse position than their parents and grandparents before them.

Many people do not know how to exercise. Many are intimidated. Many know they need to do something but do not know where to begin. Many are just simply embarrassed because of how media has told them they should look.

All the more reason to have a gentle approach to encourage a dynamic lifestyle; one with purpose and self-preservation. That is why we developed the Fresh Start Program. It is not a workout or an exercise plan. It is a way of encouraging good things to happen. We gather people together who are experiencing similar issues in their life, and together they support and encourage change.

Over the course of six weeks we guide the group through small bit-sized amounts of movement. Not too much to be overwhelming. Not too much to be intimidating. Just enough to try and repeat a couple of times through the week. Each week a little more is added. People can stay with what works for them or what they are comfortable with. There is no judgement. Only encouragement.

So if you happen to fall into this category or have a loved one who does, please let us know. There is hope and support. Being born and dying are the only two things we do alone. What happens in between those two events we do together.

A True California Biathlon

On May 7th, I got to check one more thing off of my bucket list. For many years I have wanted to snowboard and surf all in one day. This winter has been one for the record books. The Central Coast received the most rainfall in decades and the reservoirs that were alarmingly low last year are now filled to the top. The total seasonal snowfall amount in the Sierras was in the neighborhood of 750 inches! That is over 60 feet of snow. A telephone pole is about 30 feet high. So just imagine snow on the ground two times that height. It is just staggering to consider. What is even more amazing is the fact that just the day before we achieved our goal, the Sierras experienced another snow storm that left six to twelve more inches of snow in the mountains…in May!

Very early Sunday morning, May 7th, I left Santa Cruz with three others for Dodge Ridge Ski Resort. It is the closest resort to Santa Cruz; a 3 ½ hour drive. When we arrived we found fresh, untouched snow waiting for us. The temperatures would be in the forties and rising. No heavy winter gear required. This was the last day of operations for the season and what a way to end it. Very small lift lines and plenty of places to go through powder. We snowboarded until lunch time. Part one was complete. Now it was time to get back in the car and make it home for a surf session.

As luck would have it a south swell had appeared the night before and surf was up. We got back to Santa Cruz well before sunset. Exchanged snowboards for surfboards and slid into our wetsuits. The wind had picked up a bit so the waves were a bit bumpy but that did not dampen our spirits. We surfed for a bit and finished the day with wide smiles all around.

Here is a short clip of our day. BUCKET LIST. Go ahead and find something to check off of your bucket list. I’m sure you got one or two in mind.

The Best 10K Race Around

On the fourth Sunday of July tens of thousands of runners and walkers participate in the annual Wharf to Wharf race in Santa Cruz. The race begins near the Santa Cruz Municipal Wharf out in front of the Beach Boardwalk and Coconut Grove and finishes in Capitola Village. The course is a wonderfully scenic coastal tour of the Central Coast. 

For many, it is the only race they participate in all year. And for many of those people they spend little time preparing their bodies to endure the 6.2 miles of repetitive action. It is no wonder there are first aid stations strewn along the course.

If you happen to fall into this category of weekend warrior runners, perhaps this year can be different with a little help from RFC? We have created an 8-week conditioning program to help you better prepare for your summer fun day. You can have it displayed on your phone or laptop every day and it explains what you need to do for your workout. It is a blend of running or walking, strength training, posture realignment, and flexibility. There are rest days too, so don’t think we don’t care.

The cost of the program is only $49 (after all we are in the Golden State) and that is less than the copay to your primary care doctor you usually see after the race. It is easy enough to purchase. Just go to www.rfcsantacruz.com and check out “programs.” 

Let this year be the year you really did get ready to enjoy the event rather than waking up on that fourth Sunday and realize you are going to be hurting on Monday.

More is not Always Better

I am often reminded of a poster that was on the wall of my grade school classroom. It was an illustration of two hippopotamuses sitting in a small boat with a third hippo falling out of the sky about to land in the boat. The caption below was “More is not always better.” 

A young, female, long distance runner came in to see me because she was complaining about lower leg and lower back pain. The pain had progressed over the course of her competitive season. She was receiving a mixed bag of advice. Her coach was strongly encouraging her to run through the pain in the hopes of it working itself out. Her parents were encouraging her to go easy or take a break from running in the hopes of alleviating the pain. She was feeling pressure from her teammates and coach to keep her weekly mileage up as if pain was just part of the process of being a high level runner.

Although I have received my certification as a USA Track & Field Coach, it has been many years since I coached at the track. These days I mostly attempt to be a pattern disrupter. We all have patterns in our life. The way we walk or talk or go about our normal day all have patterns. These patterns can be quite positive but what if they are not? What if you are a long distance runner and the way you run is causing areas of the body to overwork to compensate other areas not working hard enough? What if that compensatory motion is performed for thousands of repetitions every time you practice? Will running more take care of the problem? Will it help create a positive outcome of pain-free competition?

 In this situation disrupting her pattern was something to explore. She had already tried to run through the pain and that did not work. What she was doing and the amount she was running needed to be disrupted. We discovered some areas that were not participating, areas of restriction. We gave them an experience or opportunity to join the party, and things instantly felt better. These movements became her homework. I also asked her to go play for a week and a half. Go do anything she wanted to do except run. Go for a bike ride, surf, swim, anything but run. 

This athlete was at the end of her season and she had a big track meet coming up in a few weeks. The coach had her running the same volume as any other time during the season; but this was the post-season. This is the time when all of your hard work through the season gets you to the championships (regional, state, national, etc.). Having her maintain a high volume of running this close to the post-season is like having NFL players, about to play in the Super Bowl, practice like they were in the first week of summer camp. It is not a wise thing to do. Ask any NFL strength coach and they will tell you they back off of intensity when they hit the playoffs.

Unfortunately the running coach holds on to an archaic thought process. It was probably what he was taught and he has carried the torch on to today. Most coaches only know what they know and when it comes to strength & conditioning they default to how they were coached. The real good coaches are those who break away from how they were coached and become inquisitive. They go outside of their experience to learn more. Just food for thought.

Sunday Surf Series

I have been surfing for four decades and have been bodysurfing most of my life without many physical issues. And when those issues do arise I have the tools to fix them. What’s in your toolbox? 

For several months I have been posting helpful hints to surfers every Sunday. They are short and sweet. I focus on various aspects of performance as it relates to surfers. What do you need to do to be better at paddling, or popping up on your board? What types of strength moves will improve turning to be more powerful? How do you reduce neck and low back from hours of paddling for waves? These are just some of the issues in the tissues that are addressed. If you surf or have a surfer in your life you may want to spend a few minutes checking the videos out.