Three Tips to Stay Injury Free

At the start of a new workout plan you’re eager to see results.  You bust your butt and everything is going well until it suddenly comes to a screeching halt and you become sidelined with an injury.  In that instant all momentum is lost and it’s easy to spiral into regression. At Bodymass, our primary focus, in order to keep all members reaching their goals, is to avoid injury.  

Checkout these three tips to reduce your risk of injury, keep your fitness routine progressing forward, and ultimately maximize your results.  At Bodymass we’ve implemented all three of guidelines into our programming, so without you even knowing it you are already proactively avoiding injury.  To reduce your risk even more, be sure you adhere to these three beyond the walls of Bodymass.

1. MOBILIZE

As children we are naturally mobile.  We’re on our feet moving, changing position, and adapting to the world around us.  As adults these abilities naturally decrease due to our new, generally sedentary, environment.  In fitness, mobility is the ability for our joints to move through a full range of motion. While our bodies are designed to do this, our lifestyle becomes inhibiting.  Increased stress that brings our body into a forward flexed position, being hunched over a phone or computer and sitting all day are all culprits for becoming less mobile.  While we can’t always get out of these positions in our daily life, we can minimize the negative effect by increasing our mobility thus giving our joints the ability to adapt to extended ranges of motion in our workouts. The easiest way to do this is by adding mobility drills into your daily routine.  Checkout this instagram video to watch a mobility routine in superspeed. The goal is to get all major joints to go through a slow controlled, but maximal range of motion. We apply mobility drills from our in-house Physical Therapists to all Bodymass warm-ups and workouts.

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2. MOVE WELL

Perhaps the most obvious tip to avoid injury is to make sure you’re doing exercises correctly.  Most people can’t see themselves workout, or don’t know what it feels like to do an exercise correctly, so this often becomes a challenge .  Having a coach provide a watchful eye during your workouts is imperative, but even more important we want you to create the body awareness to be able to feel the change in movement.  At Bodymass we keep our group training small so that our coaches can see everyone perform each exercise. If someone isn’t doing a movement properly, we can quickly step in to correct form.  Over time, with continued repetition and understanding of that exercise, you are able to feel what it’s like to do a movement correctly. For those who are still having a difficult time learning to move well, we recommend either 1-on-1 Private Training, or scheduling a consult with one of our in-house Physical Therapists at Performance Care Clinics.

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3. RECOVER

When pursuing a serious goal, it becomes very easy to overexert and not listen to your body.  Oftentimes in fitness we think that “more is better” when in actuality “better is better.” One easy way to give your body a chance to be “better” is to make sure you’re not working out every single day - give yourself a day of rest.  This is imperative to allow your body and nervous system a chance to recover and improve. Control the intensity and duration of your workouts - you don’t need to do multiple workouts a day, or work until you’re on the brink of passing out.  When your brain and body are tired you’re more likely to injure yourself. We schedule our workouts at Bodymass so that our members are only lifting heavy 4 days per week, and are only participating in high intensity workouts no more than 3 days per week.  We encourage our members to do heavier lifting days 3-4 days per week, and supplemental conditioning days 1-2 times per week.

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By following these three tips, you will be on an expedited path to results by decreasing your chance of injury.  Try implementing them into your routine. Your body will thank you!

Written By: Virginia Kinkel






The Importance of Incorporating Rest & Recovery Into Your Bodymass Routine

No matter what type of strength training or exercise routine you are involved in, getting adequate rest and recovery should be a part of that plan for both physical and psychological reasons. Rest and recovery allow the body the time it needs in order to repair and strengthen itself between workouts. Fatigue hinders skill development. Pushing the limit when your body isn't at its best can cause you to overtrain.

Overtraining can occur as a result of not allowing your body to adapt to the changes caused by the stress of exercise. It can cause an individual to feel tired and depressed, have decreased athletic performance, or an increased risk of injury. Ultimately, it can actually weaken even the strongest individual.

There are recommendations for the amount of time you should rest between working certain muscle groups (24-28 hours), but it is important to realize that everyone adapts to exercise differently. As a general rule, the higher intensity of your workout, the more rest you should allow. Same goes for rest intervals among and between exercises and drills.

At Bodymass, we recommend incorporating these rest and recovery techniques into your training plan to avoid fatigue, overtraining, or injury:

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Incorporate Active Recovery. Rather than overdoing it, incorporate active recovery days into your workout plan. If you are a heavy lifter, have a day of training that incorporates body-weight exercises only. If you are a runner, have a day where you lower the intensity of your run, or cross-train. Take a yoga class, swim laps, get on the elliptical or bike, go for a walk, keep your muscles working at a lower intensity to allow your body to flush out the lactic acid build-up from intense exercise.

Get Plenty of Sleep. When your body is at rest, you are able to recover more quickly. You will not be able to perform your next day of exercise at your best if you are tired. Aim for at least 7-8 hours of sleep per day.

Avoid Lifting Heavy on High Stress Days. When you are having a stressful day, avoid squatting or deadlifting to avoid back injury. Exercise can help with the release of stress, but overtraining (intensity, duration, frequency) can actually worsen stress.

Take a Day Off. For some, this isn't even in your vocabulary (but it should be). Everyone needs it! A lot of what we do during exercise is "mind over matter." We push ourselves to do one more rep, run one more sprint, or run one more mile. A day off not only allows your body to recovery physically, but mentally as well.

Written By: Megan Osysko

Five Reasons You Should Strength Train

Focus on physical fitness has ballooned in popularity over the last decade with gyms of all types popping up. At Bodymass, we’re ecstatic to see so many people breaking out of their comfort zone, connecting with community, and seeking healthier outlets. The benefits of exercise are well documented.

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Strength training is critically important to any exercise regimen. More than just a good sweat or a quick burn, a proper strength training program puts a very different stimulus on the body. Forced by a new stimulus, the body adapts to the strength training program in several ways which are beneficial in the near term and the long term. Here are the top 5 reasons you should take up a strength training program:  

Builds lean muscle mass and increases metabolism

A proper strength training program focuses on increasing an individual’s ability to move more weight over time. This means the body adapts to the new stimulus by creating lean muscle. This new muscle not only makes you look good and feel great, it also helps you maintain a higher metabolism. Lean muscle mass requires more energy and uses more energy throughout the day, where as fatty mass takes less energy to maintain. The more lean muscle mass one has on their body, the more calories they burn throughout the day. This can be measured by a diagnostic tool called Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR). Our trainers are trained in implementing this tool and you can watch your metabolism get stronger as you do as well.

Builds stronger bones

Putting a barbell on your back, over your head, or in your hands literally gives you stronger bones. A lack of bone density can create serious problems in life: if an accident were to occur, say falling off a ladder while doing work on your row house or you hit a pothole on your scooter on your way to work, having strong bones helps absorb the fall and prevents breaking an arm or a leg. Later in life, having greater bone density helps prevent hips from breaking when an elderly person falls. Statistics show an elderly person who breaks their hip is up to 60% more likely to die within a year of the accident. A recent study showed a 12 week back squat regimen negated bone loss in middle-aged women with osteopenia and osteosclerosis. BodyMass has a great tool called a DEXA scan. Beyond measuring lean mass and fat mass, it analyzes bone density and you can see your bones get heavier as you do strength training.

Builds confidence

Strength training is a perfect way to have tangible results in a world that rewards accomplishment yet is increasingly digital and ephemeral. Emails, tweets, Instagram posts, database scanning all disappears when the computer or phone is off. A strength training program is tangible; you can feel it: the barbell’s knurl, the sweat dripping down your nose, the increase in your back squat. The feeling of strength sticks with you long after you leave the weight room and is transmitted to your peers through your shoulders and head held high, knowing you are taking on the challenge of a strength program literally meant to push you beyond your current physical limits. 

Builds a better, stronger range of motion

Having a full range of motion and strength in that range of motion is crucial to vibrant living. A strength training program puts you in positions your body would not naturally seek out -- the bottom of a back squat, having a barbell overhead, or hip hinging for a deadlift. These movements teach the body how to move well and stretch areas that otherwise wouldn’t get movement. Think about a heavy back squat. It stretches and strengthens your ankles, knees, groin, hips, all of your back, and your shoulders. While you may not back squat or deadlift in your daily living, you use those muscles for everything -- standing up from your desk, picking up groceries, putting away tools in your garage. Have you ever noticed how your out of shape aunt or uncle sits in their chair? They hover over it and then let gravity do the rest. Likewise, when they get up, it’s more likely they’re pushing themselves up with their arms than they are standing with their legs. Their range of motion is gone and the strength in that range went with it. A solid strength training program would help them immensely. 

Builds smaller, crucial muscles

There are lots of small muscles throughout the body that help support strong joints and healthy movement. Your arms and legs are strong not only because of your biceps or hamstrings, but because the joints they’re connected to are strong. The shoulder, for instance, is primarily supported by the muscles around your shoulder blade connected to your spine and rib cage. But, because people are image conscious, they tend to focus on lifts that look good in a mirror, creating an imbalance toward the front of the shoulder versus the more important back shoulder muscles. Serious injury can occur if these tiny muscles aren’t properly developed -- you can tear a labrum, a rotator cuff, or dislocate your shoulder. A smart strength training program will help build those small muscles to help the body move more efficiently during lifts and help prevent injury in and out of the weightroom. 

At Bodymass, our main strength training program is called Build because we believe it will build a stronger, more flexible, and more resilient you. Our Build program runs in four week cycles to help your body master movements instead of doing something different every time you’re in. This helps achieve results and minimizes the risk of injury. The program is developed based on over a decade of experience and in conjunction with our in-house physical therapists. Our team of professional coaches and small class setting ensures you can get individual attention to make sure your form is correct and your questions are answered.

Looking to build lean muscle and increase metabolism? Looking to build a stronger range of motion? Looking to be more resilient and prevent injury throughout your life? Looking to reach new goals and build confidence? Bodymass is ready to help you get there.

Written by: Sam Pfister