Thursday, September 3, 2015

My Birthright Israel Yael Adventures Hi-Gear Experience!

I was able to meet 48 awesome people in Israel for a 10 day trip of hiking, climbing, snorkeling, and rafting!  Here's how it went.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Iceman 2014!

I took 13th out of 88 in the 19-24 age group.  I'm impressed with my performance considering the difficulties I had with my broken shoulder this year.  I'm super pumped for next season and ready to train hard!

Saturday, February 15, 2014

How I COMPLETELY got rid of my knee pain (PFPS, Knee tendinitis, lateral patellar tracking), oh yeah forgot to mention... and BACK PAIN!

Athletes love to abuse their bodies until damage occurs.  Then comes the way of fixing what we broke...

What I've done for my knee and back pain in the past:

  • Medical doctor for steroids
  • Chiropractor treatments
  • Massage therapy
  • Physical Therapy (on multiple occasions with the wrong goals)
  • stretching
  • foam rolling
  • strengthening surrounding muscles
  • running
  • corework
  • biking...not biking
  • resting
  • icing and heating.....
....and the list goes on..

I would have flare ups of severe knee pain when I was riding my bike and have residual symptoms throughout the day, akin to a chronic condition of knee pain.  The problem is that each of these treatments addressed a little piece of the puzzle.  Think of it like adding a red solo cup full of water to a blazing camp fire.  Is it going to stop it?  No..but, it will calm it down a little.

Lets get this straight, there are bad physical therapists, doctors, and accountants.  There are those people you should probably not ever ask for advice.  That's life.. you learn, move on, and educate yourself. 

Here's how I fixed it and how I'm maintaining:

After starting PT school, I began my studies of the PT world and a DPT by the name of Kelly Starrett started popping up every once in a while.  Soon I began to watch his YouTube videos of his MWOD's where each day he shows you a way to help increase your mobility.  His philosophy is that if you have complete joint range of motion for your body without any muscle restriction, while maintaining good posture, you can be pain free.

Its that easy so let me explain.  Your body is connected, right?  That means if you have a tight ankle, this can cause you back pain.  If you have tight hip flexors, you can have ankle and knee pain.  Crazy to think about, I know!  The philosophy of going through your entire kinetic chain and looking for restriction is crucial.  

We're not born like this!  We just don't know how to upkeep our bodies.  I bet you wouldn't and couldn't last 10, 15, 20 years of driving your car without maintenance.  Your body is the same way.  This is a young boy squatting down without any restriction.  Notice how his heels are on the ground.  Why are they on the ground?  Because he has proper hip and knee flexion, and ankle dorsiflexion given to him at birth (like the rest of us).  I bet he doesn't have back pain or any other chronic pains.  

So you may be asking yourself, don't all people bend over like this?

Nope.  They sure don't.

People lift with their back, never activate their gluteus muscles, and somehow magically think they get pain.  The stress of daily life and activities lock your joints and muscles.  Unless you're proactive about undoing the damage every day, you have a long road ahead of you. 

Here's how average people squat down:

Notice something similar about these people?  They all have short heel cords!  This means that the flexibility of their gastrocnemius (calf) is poor.   The calf is a two joint muscle meaning, it has impact on the knee and ankle.  This now means you compensate at the hip which will in turn affect your back and spine.  Most likely these people will develop some kind of pain up their kinetic chain in time.  If they are an athlete, the injury time will be expedited.

Lets say you work at a desk all day. You're slowly putting yourself in a hip flexed position where stabilizers get weak and muscles become extremely tight.

Now its your turn to try a 10 minute squat test and see how long you can last with both feet planted firmly on the ground:

You probably have some work to do...

Do I sound convincing yet?

Becoming pain free is simple.  Have good posture (learn how to bend over and squat properly), a tennis or lacrosse ball, a stretchy band, a foam roller, neuromuscular re-training (have someone teach you how to reprogram your muscle groups to activate them at the proper time), and internet stalk this guy named Dr. Kelly Starrett on YouTube.

If you don't recognize the terms of smash, tack and floss, test /re-test, or mobilize, you have some work to do.

First:  Start by educating yourself with Dr. Starrett's Channel

Second: Here's his book, BUY IT NOW!

I will make a video of my specific routine I do to prevent injury for the demands I put on my body through cycling.

I can't wait to have a full season of mountain bike racing as I go back to the Expert class to battle while being pain free!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

PT School Has Changed My Life and I've Just Started

Eight months ago was the start of my patellofemoral pain from an overtraining injury preparing for the upcoming mountain bike season.  I have been struggling with knee pain ever since and I will say if it wasn't for the knowledge I've been getting in PT school, I would not be on the road for recovery.  After only learning just a little bit about proper biomechanics and speaking with one of my professors about my specific issue, I am healing for the first time in eight months. (I have seen other physical therapists but they did not address the real cause of the issue, only the symptoms).

All it took was learning how to properly engage the gluteus muscles.  Having weak posterior chain muscles significantly increases injury in cyclists.  Having such a strong anterior group of muscles created during cycling training is bound to create some sort of problem down the lower limb.  In me, this manifested itself as knee pain.

Honestly, I am feeling stronger just by bending over properly EVERY SINGLE TIME and really paying attention to how my body is positioned in space.

The main thing that I did to change my power on the bike was to use my glute muscles to initiate, continue, and finish the stroke.  This takes pressure off of the knees, thereby allowing your body to limit its tension on the knee, which often causes tracking issues of the patella.

Proper biomechanics along with intensive foam rolling of my muscle groups has truly impacted my quality of life.

I just completed back to back rides on my Hardtail on singletrack without any pain afterwards in 40 degree temperature.  This was not possible before the PT school intervention!  AND....A lingering Piriformis issue involving my Sciatic Nerve from my back injury of 3 years ago, has drastically changed for the best.

I cannot wait to get back to racing my bike for next season..  I will be even stronger with all this knowledge of injury prevention.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Say Hello to Seth Rogen, My Athletic Trainer!

Say hello to Seth Rogen, My Athletic Trainer!

It has been a solid 4 months since I injured my knee.  This means there are occasional short rides, intense physical therapy, and a strong control for me not to overeat. This also means that I have had a ton of time to sit and reflect about life in general.

So...I have been waiting for the movie Elysium nearly the whole summer.  Its about a hero who tries to even out the inequality between two societies set in a futuristic setting.  Tonight, I went with my stepbrother to see the show.  Needless to say, I was disappointed.  Not exactly about the quality of the movie but, of my experience.

The whole summer I was amp'd for the show and to be honest, I was bored.  There was no "prep" for the movie.  There wasn't countless hours of training and earning my seat there.  The whole night was just too easy.  We sat there for 2 hours looking at a screen and even though I've done this many times before, I was just BORED.  I wanted to head out for a night ride and have the moon cast a shadow on the trail with nature in full roar.  I wanted to feel the pain of a maxed out heart rate and gasping for oxygen.  Instead I found myself sitting still, living vicariously through the characters.  Life isn't meant to be lived vicariously through other people.  (This is completely okay when you are physically exhausted but not when you have a ton of glycogen stores ready to be burned)

Over these past 4 months, I haven't been involved in the bike scene as much as other years due to this injury. When your life revolves around something so meaningful and you aren't able to do even the easiest things that you were able to do, it takes a toll.  It's as if other activities just become mundane.

This post isn't meant to be a "I'm complaining, feel sorry for me" story!  It's meant to get you off your butt and do something with your life.  Stop wasting time because you don't have a lot of it.  Stop making excuses.  Do what makes you happy.  But most importantly do things that make OTHER people happy. You just wasted 2 minutes reading this blurb, whats wrong with you?!

I am working in therapy very hard to come back to the activity I enjoy the most, to be in nature for hours on end, without a care in the world.  If I'm able to race cross season and Iceman, you all can enjoy whooping my out of shape, PT school studying butt!  So enjoy! ;)

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Unexpected Turn of Events at the Start of the Season

This season has been off to a rocky start to say the least.  I was pumped to jump start a long process of climbing the ranks in the Pro class after a tough winter training schedule.  Unfortunately, not everything really goes to plan.

Ever since I crashed hard at Barry-Roubaix, my body has not been the "same".  I've been putting a ton of strain on an already injured body and didn't let it fully recover.  One weekend I put in 9 hours back to back and my knee had enough.  The next day that I went for a ride, I couldn't even put pressure on pedals.  Fast forward 1.5 months and 2 races later and I'm sitting here today with a nice case of tendinitis in the knee.
I met a cool guy (Dan Bannink) on the Tour de Lake Orion MTB ride who is also a Physical Therapist.  He had me in the clinic for a little evaluation and gave me some great advice and treatment.  Its amazing who you can meet on a typical day out on the dirt!  I'm taking his advice and getting completely off the bike for a week and letting this injury heal up.  I will be missing a race or two but there's no reason to injure myself further.

This may not have been the ideal start to the season but I can take some time to relearn why I love riding my bike so much and not focus on the next race.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Living an Amazing Life

This is why mountain bikers are so happy.  Enjoy this video compilation I made!