Client Feedback: LF

Client Feedback Questionnaire

What’s your name (initials are fine)? A:  LJ

What is your age? A: 45

What is your gender? A: female

What was your reason for coming into our program on day one?

A:recommendation from my (healthcare practitioner) for conditioning to help my multiple sclerosis

What was your condition on day one (both health and fitness)?  Did you have a health condition?  If so, please describe.

A:I have MS and I have some trouble walking

Can you describe what your experience has been?  What are your results (health and performance)?

A:I am able to walk a bit better and stand on my feet a bit longer than before I began training with Jason

How have things changed for you since you started the program?  Do you look different?  Do you feel different?

A: I have more energy which makes all the difference in the world.

How has your body functioned differently?  How are is your health different?  Were there any landmarks you’d like to share?

A: for the first time in 3 years I have enough energy and leg strength to walk my son to preschool.  It’s not a long walk for most people but for me, it is.  I have never done it but instead choose to drive.  But two weeks ago I did it for the first time and it was a wonderful feeling! I couldn’t wait to see Jason and tell him my good news.  And when I told my husbnad and my kids that I walked their baby brother to preschool they couldn’t believe it.  They were so happy for me.

How has the process been for you?  Is it difficult, easy, fun, etc?

A: Sometimes it is difficult but I like that.  I have worked with a traditional physical therapist for over 5 years and they are always so afraif of me falling or losing my balance they don’t challenge me enough.  They also don’t watch me and pay attention to my every move the way Jason does.  Jason pushed me from the first session and had me doing things I never thought I could do.  It was wonderful!

What advice would you give to someone beginning this program?

A:I would say trust Jason.  He goes about training with a holistic approach and it really makes a difference.  He is very present during the sessions and really pushes you to your max without being so aggressive that you never want to return.  He also does assisted stretching during my sessions which I absolutely love!  He is the best stretcher I’ve ever worked with and that has helped with my mobility as well.

The Best Location to Train for Your Conditioning Goals in 2017

Hey folks, happy Tues!

Today’s topic is training location and resource management in your conditioning program.  I know what you’re thinking: “Training location?  Don’t you train at the gym?”  The answer may surprise you.  For my clients, the answer is……. “Some of the time.”  My clients will actually utilize several different locations during a week/month/year depending on their programming and lifestyle needs.

So, if not the gym, where do I train?  Well, the fact is that you can train practically anywhere.  Each location has advantages and disadvantages.  The considerations for each location are: the resources needed (equipment, space, support services) for your conditioning program, the resources needed for the location (time/money/mental energy/etc), what the location gives back to us and simply what we like most.

First, let’s take a look at each resource and what it means for us.

  1. Time/Proximity: if it takes more time to get to a location, change, train, shower, etc than we have to allocate, the location is moot as we will not be training at all for lack of time.
  2. Money: Some locations cost more than others.  Some gyms cost quite a bit and, if more than our monthly budget will not be able to be used.
  3. Needs of a program: If one is participating in a specific type of training (for example: Olympic lifting), then one needs certain equipment.  If a location does not provide this, then we cannot train here.
  4. Discipline and Environment: The more we enjoy a location, the less mental work it will take for us to do our conditioning.
  5. Space:  Our time to condition our bodies is, for most, a time to focus on ourselves.  If we are crowded, our attention will be drawn toward the crowd negating the benefit of internal focus we are trying to cultivate.
  6. Social:  To some, one benefit of a particular space is the interaction with a specific group of people.

Now, let’s take a look at each type of location and analyze the costs and benefits for each.

  1. Commercial Gyms:  These gyms can take time to get in and out of.  For space, especially with the 9-5 crowd, they can get crowded during certain times of day.  The expense can vary greatly.  The higher end luxury facilities can go for up to $200/mo and the lower end facilities $20/mo. For general programming needs, the equipment is usually pretty standard but is new and shiny.  For specific programming needs, you will need to shop around.  These can offer a mix of people for social interaction.  There is a variety of support services that some may like.  There commonly exists a sales culture in most of these that may turn some people off.
  2. Studios:  Great for social interaction.  The team mentality of some of the circuit based gyms and programs is great.  They are usually very specific toward training process, so are not very dynamic with respect to individual programming.  Even ‘personal training’ studios can lack variety for the standards of the equipment and personnel.  They are the most expensive option.  Time is dependent on the proximity to the user and the facility itself.   They can be spacious or not depending on the setup.  For discipline, they take the mental part down a bit as they usually provide an individualized or general program (again, depending on the focus of the facility) to the user.
  3. Neighborhood gyms.  These are usually great for social interaction (as they are in the community), easy on the wallet, have a somewhat of a team aspect, and take little time to get to.  They usually have a perfunctory, general, but usable set of equipment.  I find them less crowded and less sales/minded than large commercial facilities.  The drawback is the basic non-specific equipment for different styles of training.
  4. Home Training.  Can be expensive to set up.  But, after the upfront costs, will have only upkeep costs.  For time/proximity, these have obvious advantages.  Space is great as it is up to you and what you have available.  Most back yards, basements, garages, and extra rooms are adaptable.  Programming is up the the user, their equipment budget, and their needs vs. space available.  You won’t have very much in the way of strength machines for space concerns.  The drawbacks can be lack of social interaction and separation of ‘gym time and space’ from other life aspect such as working from home, kids, and household duties.
  5. Outdoor parks and facilities.  These are great for specific types of training (body weight, athleticism, functional training), fresh air, a connection with the outdoors, free space, and little to no expense.  However, it can be a challenge to create/develop a program and only fits with specific types of programs (no Olympic lifting here).  It can take a bit of discipline, could lack social interaction, and is weather dependent.

So, there you have it, folks.  Those are the considerations when looking at locations for your conditioning needs.  If you do an in-depth analysis in the very first stages of beginning a program of development, then you can avoid the location specific pitfalls and hurdles that will keep you from attaining your conditioning goals this year.

Have a great year and meet your health, function, and performance goals!

Jason Root, CSCS


The Six Nutrients and a Sample Meal Program

Hey everyone!

For those of you who work directly with me, you’ve gone through our five rules of nutrition and how to follow them.  But, I want to give a slightly different perspective on this.   I want you all to look at nutrition strictly from the point of view of the six nutrients while giving you an example of a meal menu that optimizes these nutrients with easy to make choices at home.

The 6 nutrient categories are divided as such along with their main functions:

Macronutrients (1-3)

  1. Protein:  development and support of body tissues
  2. Fat:  Long term and stored energy
  3. Carbohydrates: Short to medium term energy

Micronutrients (4-5)

  1. Vitamins: Organic molecules supporting multiple body functions
  2. Minerals:  Inorganic molecules supporting multiple body funtions

Water (6)

Sample meal program totaling 4-6 meals/day

Snacks (pick 2-3/day and drink a glass of water)

  1. Apple w/ mixed nuts or almonds
  2. Banana w/ peanut butter
  3. Carrots w/ string cheese
  4. Yogurt (organic from grass fed cows and plain…..NO ADDED SUGAR OR FLAVORS) w/ berries
  5. Micro-nutrient shake
    1. w/ (greens) spinach, kale, etc plus (fruit) banana, berries, etc plus (some protein/fat)  protein powder or peanut butter
  6. Oatmeal w/ almond butter
  7. Tuna on a romaine lettuce leaf for wraps w/ carrots

Meals (pick 2-3/day and drink a glass of water)

  1. Egg/Veggie scramble
    1. Eggs
    2. Veggies and stuff
      1. peppers, mushrooms, tomatoes, spinach, etc
  2. Salad
    1. greens
      1. spinach, kale, mixed greens
    2. protein
      1. beans, turkey,  chicken, fish, cheese
    3. fruit
      1. raisins, tomotoes, avocado, etc
    4. Vinaigrette or vinegar and oil
  3. Meat and Veggies
    1. Meat
      1. Fish, chicken, turkey, beef, lamb
    2. Veggies
      1. mixed, broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts
    3. Root veggie or grain (optional and more seldom)
      1. pototoes, rice, quinoa, very small amount of pasta
  4. Eggs w/ a piece of fruit
    1. Quick prep, especially if you hard boil and peal the eggs beforehand
  5. Sandwich (seldom)
    1. Bread of choice (light on this…get a small sandwich)
    2. Meat
    3. Veggie
    4. light on the condiments
  6. Poke**

Hope this is some good, quick info that helps you stick to a plan that is easy to execute, folks.  To track your calories and nutrients, use myfitnesspal.  Report on my page on the ‘client portal’.

Don’t forget to have a beer and a burger or slice of pizza on the weekend (These are the sanity nutrients!).

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**This really is under the salad category (Hawaiian) with rice optional.  But my girlfriend makes it AWESOME.  I thought I’d include it as a separate option as it uses fish as a base more than green leafy veggies.

Thanks for reading!

Jason Root, CSCS

Laird and Breathing

Hey everyone!

Today’s post is a reference to a fantastic video I came across on YouTube with Laird Hamilton.  For those who don’t know who this guy is, Laird is one of the best surfers in the world (arguably ‘the best’).  He invented tow in surfing to ride waves 80 to 120 feet high!  When it comes to development, no one is better to follow than Laird.

Here he is talking about a breathing program from another intense dude named Wim Hof.  To learn about him, search his name and interview with Joe Rogan after this video.

Before you watch, keep in mind these questions about the training:  What is the importance of breath control? How can different techniques of breathing be used for different purposes?  Is our current paradigm/mindset of training in the community the most healthy one?  How can focused stimuli beat ‘hard’ work?  What is your mindset on development….practical, scientific or otherwise?  What are some different ways to create mental focus (presence) in training?

Ask these about sports psychology:  What is the nature of competitiveness in sport and training (is it the most effective method for growth)?  How can comradery help growth?  Think about the nature of courage along with knowing boundaries.

Lastly, there is a lot that is good ‘food for thought’ philosophiess that lie just a bit outside the scope of the subject matter that we teach.  But, it is great to think about and consider, never the less.

Have fun!

Jason Root, CSCS

Talk Nerdy to Me!!!

Hello there, ladies and gents!

If you’ve read this blog before, you know how much I respect great research.  Great research is what backs the reasoning for the actions we take in performance and lifestyle.  One of my favorite researchers is Dr. Rhonda Patrick.  Instead of giving you a summary on this video as I usually do, I want you to ask the following questions as you watch:

1)  What is the importance of Vit D and other micronutrients and how do I get the proper amount?

2)  What diagnostic/testing tools/methods should I use for baseline biomarkers?

3)  How does fasting effect my body for longevity?

4)  What is the value of heat therapy?

5)  What is the value of exercise?

6)  I don’t lift heavy things in my normal life.  Why work to maintain muscle mass?

7)  What is the value of sleep?

8)  What is the value of meditation?

9)  How would a coach help in guiding me through each of these?

Pay attention to the mechanism for each of these.  “It feels good.” Or “It helps me live longer.” are not the answers you want.

Don’t try and understand every little thing she says.  She’s a biologist.  You’re likely not.  Just get the gist.  Also, if you don’t have a full hour to listen in the car/while making dinner/etc or view at home, at least listen to the summary and question/answer portion starting at minute 44.

Have fun!

Jason Root, CSCS

Hardiness and Exercise

Hello everyone,

When going through my classes in sport and exercise psychology, there was a topic in which I was extraordinarily interested.  The topic is “hardiness”.  Hardiness is defined as “the ability to endure difficult conditions”.  What is exercise and training if not making us better mentally by applying a difficult physical condition?

However, I’d like to go back through this topic with you and explore the ways in which hardiness can be increased through exercise and sport.

In exercise, we make the body uncomfortable for the knowledge of physical/health gains.  Usually greater gains are made with slight increases in discomfort over time.  But, sometimes, we must push to the limit even if it is just to see how far we can go mentally.  This is why it helps to have some sort of goal in mind so that there is a end to our means.

In sport, hardiness is increased in a variety of ways.  One of the most evident is how we deal with winning and losing.  Being humble in winning and utilizing losses as a means for improvement is a mental dynamic sports offer.  Also, remembering that sport and game is not life but is analogous to the other challenges we may face.

Like exercise we have to train for our sport.  In sports, as opposed to exercise, sometimes the gains we are looking can be more ambiguous.  They may be disguised as setbacks.  This tests our resiliency, emotional intelligence, and our belief in our abilities to find an answer to a problem.

In sport, we deal with injury.  Injury can feel like a huge loss when we have endured difficult training to reach a goal and had a setback like an injury.  A serious injury that threatens our ability to play the sport again is even a bigger challenge.  How we react and recover is one of the biggest mechanisms for building hardiness.


So, work hard! Play hard! Then grab a beer to celebrate your growth this 4th of July weekend!


Jason Root, CSCS


Pelvic Floor/Diaphragm: After Pregnancy, Rehab, Athletics

Hello all!

I had a client the other day look at me a little doubtful when I asked her to jump rope.  I said, “Jane” (we’ll call her “Jane”)….”Jane, what’s up?”

She explained it to me.  Well, we hadn’t jumped rope in a while.  She had a baby about 6 mos prior.   We had trained through her pregnancy.  We had done a bit of core training based on the principles that we had started out with before her pregnancy.  The basics of which are the subject of this article.  She felt less than confident in her ability to avoid urinary leakage as she bounced up and down.

Ahhhh, I said.  We need to get back to the basics.  In order to properly create spinal stability for athletics and rehab, one must first learn to ‘engage the core’.  This means neuromuscularly integrating the deep stabilizers of your pelvis and lumbar spine.  The muscles that we are focusing on today are the ones on the bottom (the muscles of the pelvic floor) and on the top (the diaphragm) of what we refer to as our “core box”.

There is a combination of three different techniques that my clients learn as they first begin training so that they may avoid back and hip pain later on.  They have can have an immediate effect on incontinence for women in Jane’s situation (or otherwise), strength in lifting, speed for running, and power in punching (one of these is a martial arts technique).

1)  Our first exercise is the Kegel.  Many of you ladies have heard of this one.

First, lie on the floor like the skeleton below. Then, think of needing to go to the bathroom pretty bad…both #1 and 2.  Then think of the muscles used to hold this off.  Squeeze those as hard as you can along with your glutes.  Push into a posterior pelvic tilt as the top pic shows.  Go for 5-10 squeezes.  Go into the advanced bridge from the second pic to advance.

2)  Our next exercise I like to call Jagermeisters.  Have you ever had a bit too much Jager and ended up spending a little time worshiping the porcelain king?  How did your core feel the next day?  This mimics that muscular contraction.

Look at the top pic of the two below.  Inhale into this position as much air as possible.  Breath into your belly button.

Look at the bottom pic.  As you are moving from the top pic position to the bottom pic position, exhale forcing every last bit of breath you have out at the top.  When you reach the position in the bottom pic, feel beneath your belly button squeezing.  Do 5-10 of these.

3)  This is our martial arts technique.

Stand.  Put your tongue at the roof of your mouth in back of your teeth.  Force your breath out while squeezing the muscles from the other two exercises.  This should make a sound like tttzzzz!  Squeeze your fists as well.  This will increase the integration of all muscles involved.  Do 10-20.

Now you may start a regular “core” training routine, deadlifts, squats, or fight training.  Training the above way is a great start and will help safety and foundational strength later on.  After a few weeks the squeeze should be automatic in all your exercise.  See even how your running feels more efficient.

For Jane, we did 5 sets of 100 jumps jumping rope with 1 set of this circuit in between each set of jumps.  She was extremely pleased when soon she was very confident in jumping rope….or laughing, sneezing, coughing, etc.

For you nerds, here’s some research, anatomy, and other fun.

EFFECTIVE Program Design: Variation vs. Consistency in Physical Development

Hi folks!

Just an FYI…this one’s for the nerds (kind of a Kinesiology 101).

Last week I had a client who asked me a great question:  “Why we do so few “exercises” in a training bout vs. other trainers who have their clients moving all over the room?”  Actually, I told him, “I used to do just that.  I had the belief that being efficient and getting as much done as possible was the way.”  I did used to train like that for a while.   But, it was tiring and I didn’t seem to get a lot out of it.  For clients whose only respite from the cubicle was our workouts it worked.  Although, it seemed to take more discipline and energy than they really had left in their tank on a consistent basis.

Then, I read a book concerning business efficiencies and inefficiencies and they talked a bit about the concept of effectiveness vs. efficiency.  Efficiency gets a lot of tasks done.  Effectiveness gets specific tasks done that produce results!

So, I returned to the way that I had trained in college…careful, methodical, focused, attentive….with a few new tweeks and tools in my tool belt, of course.  This brings us to today’s topic…. the balancing of variation in a program vs. consistency.  In other words, “How to be EFFECTIVE!”

How do we balance variation versus consistency of movement?  We know that the body needs variation to adapt.  However, how is one to tell truly gauge progress when all variables are constantly changing?  Was the program effective and, if it was, what was effective element within it?

Here are some of the possible variables in a training program:  Resistance (weight), repetitions (volume), sets (volume), time under tension, body position, range of motion, direction of force or movement, unilateral vs bilateral movements, rest periods, speed of contraction, exercise order, stability, complexity of movement, change of direction of force, joint angle, heart rate, distance, acceleration/deceleration

Exercise science is just that…a science.  One of the main rules of the scientific method is that when doing an experiment, only one variable may be changed at one time while all others stay constant.  Otherwise the experiment cannot prove cause and effect as more than one possible cause has been changed.  Therefore, consistency must be kept in order to gather quantitative results.  And our clients’/athletes’ programs are nothing if not each an experiment in human adaptation.

However, the body is an amazing thing. It adapts to specific imposed demands.  Therefore, the more different types of demands we put on it, the more it may adapt.

With so many variables, how does one know which to keep constant and which to change?  Well, first we have to look at the client.  What are the needs of that specific person?  What will get them from where they are to where they need to be?  The only way to know this is through very thorough testing and evaluation.

Certain parts of a program need constant components while others need variable ones.  One needs to, based upon the results of testing, put together a set of exercises that need to keep consistent while only changing one progressive variable at a time over the course of a program. This is the “Core” **portion of the workout.  Most of the time, the basic compound movements will serve this purpose in the case of pure ‘strength’ training.  Jumping, sprinting, and other basic movements will serve in other conditioning aspects.

**not to be confused with “core” as in the center of the body

After determining the core portion, the variable exercise component should be added in a precise manner according to the testing in order to balance the body and meet any secondary needs.

For example, in the strength portion of a workout, the trainee may have ‘the deadlift’ as core exercise.  The weight and/or repetitions (intensity and volume) change from bout to bout.  But deadlift remains as the basic exercise in that portion of the workout.  The supporting strengthening exercises may change, such as lunges instead of step ups.  In parts of the workout for warmup, flexibility, athleticism, or correction, more variety still may be present based upon how the client feels and other day to day factors.

Jason Root, CSCS