Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Mia And The Moon

In a colorful sunshine dress, ponytail pulled tight, I watched my daughter bound down a moonlit grassy fairway yelling, 'c'mon Daddy let's go.' A crescent moon was directly over us. It illuminated the fairway so we could see our strides. The hills and bunkers of the golf course appeared as dark mounds to the left and right. The moon marked a silvery path on the ocean that was also to the right of us.

What a moment.

Mia was a few strides in front of me. She surprised me by taking off down the fairway, so I was only now catching up. She heard me coming. I could tell by her giggle. She giggles when I'm chasing her. As she ran, she kept stealing glances back to see me. She scares me when she does that because she's running without watching where she's going. But since we're on a grassy fairway, she'll land softly - or disappear into a sandy bunker. So I think its safe. Sure enough, her toe catches a nob of grass and she tumbles forward, falls to the ground and rolls on her back. Giggling.

I plop down next to her faking a fall myself, adding to her rolling crescendo of giggles.

What a moment - we're staring up at the crescent moon. Its brightness created a silvery lining on the topside of the clouds. The clouds were moving fast, the same speed as the breeze coming off of the ocean. Mia says to me, 'Look at the clouds Daddy!'

I was acutely aware of this moment as it was happening. The significance of it and the memory it would create was not lost on me as it was unfolding. For once, I was living in the moment.

I'm fortunate to have that moment. I'm fortunate to have been able to keep up with her and move with the ease that she moves. She has a spring in her stride that is gone from mine. I am still fast and agile, but it is a 'trained fast and agile.' Mia's speed and agility is effortless, untrained and inconsequential.

There are many points to this small story, but the one relevant to this blog and my service to you is this: keep moving. Don't go dormant. Exercise not to look great, exercise so that you can move through your life more effortlessly, whether that's hopping a puddle on the sidewalk, or running after your giggling daughter on vacation.

Friday, April 06, 2007

The Downside of Motivational Blah Blah

The guilt factor. When I reach out to others about if there is anything I can do to help them with exercise, I feel that they feel guilty. As if I might be saying, "are you doing what you are supposed to?!"

Please know this:

I understand the ups and downs in life. I understand time is scarce. I understand the feeling of exercise feeling like a chore.

I understand that you may just not want to go. Period.

Personal Trainers burn out fast because they feel compelled to motivate their clients upfront. What happens when the trainer pushes a client, fills them with emotionally charged motivational blah blah? The client buys into it. But the moment the client fails to live up to trainers expectations, the client feels they not only failed themselves, but they've failed the trainer. For those of us that are not serious athletes, this is not good. It is counter-productive.

At first, you'll love the trainers kick-in-the-butt. But it is almost always short-lived, because everyday life events will naturally derail 'the plan'. Its not sustainable to be perfect. Who wants to feel the guilt of not being perfect? I certainly wouldn't.

The motivation to train/exercise must come from within you. My role is to be there for you when you feel the time is right.

The key for you is to learn different ways of making healthy lifestyle decisions (exercise) more often. Not permanently or all the time. Just more often.

When we're aligned and jiving - welcome! How can I help?

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Supartz Injection #1 - Ouch!

I have a secret. I own a fitness company, but my body is in many ways a total wreck.

I am 34 years old, but my knees are much older. You wouldn't know it by seeing my legs, but as my physical therapist said after she read my MRI reports, "They're not so pretty on the inside." Grade 4 Osteoarthritis (read: severe) over the femoral condyles of my right knee.

October 1989 - I severely strained my Posterior Cruciate Ligament (PCL) while playing soccer - apparently very difficult to do without tearing your ACL. In 1991, I finished off my right knee in a Pole Vaulting accident. I tore my ACL, medial collateral (MCL), and medial meniscus. An injury called the 'Terrible Triad'. Indeed it was terrible. That ranks as the most pain I have ever experienced in my life. When I landed from 15 feet high, my right knee buckled inward and snapped loudly. I was competing in a collegiate indoor invitational track meet. The entire University of Delaware Field House stopped when they heard that snap and heard me scream, or so my parents tell me.

I had reconstructive surgery a month later and in the 15 years that followed, I all but forgot my knee was more artificial than organic. I had a 3-4 inch stainless steel screw drilled through my femur to anchor my new ACL tendon, which was made with my iliotibial band tendon and stranded with graphite. This tendon was, and still is, stapled on the other side of my knee to my tibia.

I never pole vaulted again, but I did go on to compete at top levels in two sports, rowing and cycling - non-weight bearing sports that only strengthened the muscles acting on and around my knee joint. I had turned my strongest weakness into an outright strength above all others. My nickname in college (kind of ridiculous) was 'quads.' (At first it was cool to have the nickname, until I realized the girls I was dating didn't actually know my real name).

I stopped racing bikes 3 years ago when we had our first child. I turned to Squash for my competitive outlet, and that is when I was reminded that I actually was not superhuman. At some point in that 3 year span I tore my lateral meniscus.

So I schedule a surgery last April to have a tune-up. Makes sense after 15 years, right? Bring the machine in and get the wheels changed.

Didn't work. It's been a year now since that surgery. A year of being in a world of pain. I own a company called 'agile' and funny thing is that I've become the least agile I've ever been! 3 blocks of walking and I'm limping. Playing with my 3.5 year old daughter? I get creative. 3 year olds like that so it works for now.

Today was Synvisc Injection #1 of 5. A highly viscous lubrication (she put some on my finger - it's like really thick KY Jelly that never goes away). This stuff should lubricate my joint and ease my pain for a couple more years until I need total reconstructive knee surgery. The reason to wait to have this surgery is because it is currently more of a Frankenstein procedure than a Bionic Man procedure.

I'll hold out for the Bionic Man option. So that's what I'm after - I want my superhero identity back. The guy that could leap a ten foot wall in a split second, run a mile in 5 minutes (okay, 5:20) and never let a ball drop on the squash court.

Or, just give me my agility back so I can play with my children Mia and Max. That is far and away enough for me.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Fall Out of Your Routine?

Do things have to be perfect for you? Maybe you feel you need to mentally prep yourself for the challenge of getting back into an exercise routine?

I was like that with homework as a teenager. My room had to be clean first. Somehow cleaning my room translated in a clear mind to concentrate.

Or procrastinate.

There's no right time to start exercising again. Tomorrow morning is as good as any. And you don't need to formulate a big plan. Just show up. Start doing your favorite lifts. Or, pick up on the last program you started.

The most successful people are the ones that show up everyday and get their job done the best they can on that day. They notch each day under their belt. No one day is a herculean effort. It's weeks, months and years of effort.

Focus on establishing the routine again. Don't be a hero about it and go really hard; you'll get sick that way, especially this time of year. Ease into it.

Think of how good you will feel later this summer when you can move your body as if you were ten years younger. Think of how good and vibrant you can look. Think of how healthy you can be.

About Me

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NY, New York, United States
I'm 34 years old, the proud father of 2 beautiful children and husband to Jennifer, a beautiful, smart, and very caring woman. I'm an athlete - someone that was blessed with the ability to move fast and fluidly past, around, up and over my opponents. But, my body now reminds me that those days are numbered. I'm the Founder of Agile Fitness, a company dedicated to helping others achieve their fitness goals. Resume: - Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist ('96). - Bachelor of Arts & Science, University of Delaware, ('95) - Masters in Business Administration, Baruch College Zicklin School of Business ('01)