Conviction Client of the Month – June 2016

Have you seen that lady cycling around Regina with a HUGE smile on her face?

Ara taking off on her final lap at the Mountain of Hope Half-Marathon.
Ara taking off on her final lap at the Mountain of Hope Half-Marathon.
That’s Ara Steininger.

No matter what we throw at her, she just never stops smiling. And it’s fantastic.

Ara, who started training with us this past January, is one of the most uplifting people you’ll ever meet.

She’s an extremely hard worker and dedicated to the point where she’ll do pull-ups off of scaffolding in downtown Toronto, just so she doesn’t miss out on one of our challenges.

It never ceases to amaze me how Ara rides her bike everywhere. After our workouts, when most of us are stumbling back to our cars to drive home, Ara just hops and her bike and rides the 45 minutes home like it’s a walk in the park.

Impressive stuff.

After competing in the Mountain of Hope Half-Marathon Trail Race a few weeks ago, Ara is set to take on her first Spartan Races this July in Grunthal, Manitoba. She will be running both the Super (8+ miles and 25+ obstacles) and a Sprint (3+ miles and 20+ obstacles) in just two days – a difficult task for anyone.

Ara is up for the challenge, however, as she has been working extremely hard both in and outside of our workouts.

Watch out for this one, everybody. You may just see her on the podium.

When is the Best Time For Mobility Work?

By now, most of us know we should be investing time in mobility work.

Stretching, soft tissue work, and moving our joints through their full ranges of motion not only helps to prevent injury but also lead to improved performance.

It’s important, but we struggle to make time for it.

We don’t get a “runner’s high” or a “pump” from foam rolling, so we tend to put it off and “get it in when we can”. In my experience, however, “getting it in when you can” usually means never.

I say I’ll stretch when I watch TV. But I rarely watch anything.

I tell myself I’ll do some soft tissue work throughout the day. But it’s hard to remember.

I plan to spend 15 minutes at the end of a workout stretching and mobilizing. LOL.

Plan’s ‘A’ through ‘C’ clearly don’t work. So how can we make sure we get quality mobility work in on a regular basis?

When is the best time for mobility work?

You’ve got a few options.

In his latest book, Deskbound, Dr. Kelly Starrett discusses several methods, tools, and exercises to help improve mobility. He also lays out the following five times to focus on mobility work:

Upon Waking Up

  • First thing in the morning is a good time to get your body moving through its full ranges of motion. Deep squats, hip hinges, or extending your arms overhead would fit the bill.

Throughout the Day

  • Sneaking mobility work in throughout the day is another great option – as long as you commit to it. Staring at the lacrosse ball on your desk isn’t going to change anything. You need to actually use it. Set a timer, or spend a couple of minutes hitting your hot spots every time you come back from the washroom.

Warming up Before a Workout

  • Stretching and intense foam rolling or ball work are not ideal before a workout. Doing so will compromise your mechanics and may increase the potential for an injury. Dynamic movements such as air squats, jump rope, or push-ups, are good ways to warm-up and increase mobility pre-workout.

Cooling Down Post-Workout

  • Post-workout is when you can make the most change in your mobility. Your body is hot and prepped for quality work. Now is the time to stretch through end range of motion and get some foam rolling in.

Before Bed

  • When trying to wind down before bed, foam rolling and ball work can be your best friend. These kinds of mobility exercises are great ways to relax and “turn on your off-switch”.

If you can fit the above recommendations in and stick to them you’d be feeling fantastic in no time. But if they seem like too much and you just can’t do it, then what?

World famous strength coach Dan John provides another, easier to follow option.

In his Intervention video seminar, Dan John suggests sneaking mobility work right into the middle of a workout. He does this by adding corrective work between sets of your best/favorite lift in the gym.

Intervention-cover-300pxFor example, if you love to bench press (and are good at it) but currently suffer from tight quads, it makes sense for you to foam roll your quads between sets on the bench.

While maybe not ideal, the logic here is pretty straightforward.

You are more likely to do the things that are uncomfortable and boring, such as rolling your tight quads, when interspersed with things that you enjoy and are comfortable with. Instead of lying to yourself and saying, “I’ll spend ten minutes rolling after my workout,” you force yourself to do it during the workout when you’d usually just be sitting around.

Doing intervals on the track or hill repeats? The same thing can apply. Bring a ball or roller with you and hit your hot spots between sets. Just don’t go too crazy.

While less structured than the Deskbound prescription, a less than ideal mobility program you actually follow is better than the perfect program you avoid.

Note: If you’re doing a circuit type program like Predator, stopping for mobility work between sets isn’t exactly an option. What I would do in this situation is sneak some mobility work in between circuits or supersets.

It’s becoming more and more evident that mobility work is a big part of the sports performance puzzle. You can’t train if you’re injured and you can’t perform to your full potential if your body doesn’t move right.

Stop waiting until an injury motivates you to focus on mobility work.

Experiment and try some of these suggestions. After spending some time seeing what you like and what you don’t, commit to something that works for you.

Conviction Client of the Month – May 2016

AKMaybe it’s just his sweet new shoes, but Adnan Khandoker has been on fire lately.

Unable to complete a set of monkey bars a few short weeks ago, he is now flying through them with ease. And after a bit of a slow start, his running has improved tremendously. Adnan now crushes the hills every Tuesday.

It’s no surprise to any of us, though, as Adnan has shown he is committed to becoming the best he can be. He regularly shows up to workouts and trains like an animal.

His focus and ability to push himself is nothing short of remarkable.

After seeing his friend Clay bring back medals, t-shirts, and memories from his races, Adnan wanted in on the fun. Even though he’d never run a Spartan Race before, he jumped right in and purchased a season pass. This pass allows him to compete in any of the nine Western Canada races this year.

With his first race right around the corner (Edmonton Spartan Sprint – June 25), we’re very excited to see what he can do!

Adnan started training with us just this past March. He is the perfect example of how much, and how quickly, we can improve when we commit. He is a huge asset to our team and we couldn’t be happier he chose to #TrainWithConviction!