Second Update On the Knees…

Feb 14, 2018 Eric Toussaint 6 Comments

So here we are a week and a day later after my synvisc one injections in each knee (http://www.synviscone.com). I have gone from barely being able to walk to light leg training yesterday. The first couple of days I really had trouble walking, my knees felt tight and inflexible and I could not kneel.

By the weekend it was starting to get better and again yesterday I trained light legs – front squats, leg extensions and leg curls.

I will start back to my martial arts training this Friday and that will be the true test.

The ultimate benefit may yet to be revealed, but as long as I’m not having surgery I’m happy!!

Train Hard, Train Safe!!

Oh Those Knees!!

Feb 7, 2018 Eric Toussaint 6 Comments

Quick update on my knees, I just had two injections in each knee of Synviscone http://www.synviscone.com, it is an attempt to prolong the life of my knees. It basically cushions and lubricants the knee(s).

The injections aren’t the most pleasant of experiences but it was tolerable. I had the injections done yesterday (Tuesday – 2/06/18) and I admit I had trouble walking out of the Doctor’s office, but I am feeling much better today. I have been icing and they prescribed a steroidal anti-inflammatory.

I am hoping to start my martial arts training this Friday and will be squatting again next Tuesday., basically back to full activity by next week. Ironically I hit a 315lb. squat the day I had my injections.

That being said, why did I get the injections if I was able to squat 315lb.? I have had meniscus repairs in each knee and my right meniscus is currently frayed/fraying. I really don’t want to deal with another surgery so I am taking a preemptive strike.

I’ll let you know how the lube job went ASAP…

Train Hard, Train Safe!!

The State of the Union

Jan 30, 2018 Eric Toussaint 6 Comments

Here is the “physical” state of the union for Mr. JETT aka – Eric Toussaint

Height: 6’0

Weight: 172

Age: 47

Bench press: 225lb.

Squat 315lb.

Weight lifting 3-4x/week

Kung Fu training 3-4x/week

Stretching and rolling 2-3x/week

Goals for 2018

More cardio – has to be elliptical, right knee meniscus issues

Restart my ground fighting training

What are your stats and goals, I would love to hear them…

Train Hard, Train Safe!!

Do you always need to have surgery?

Jan 12, 2018 Eric Toussaint 6 Comments

First and foremost, here is my disclaimer – I am not a Doctor and this is purely anecdotal.

I have had multiple surgeries for various sports/aggro life style issues over the years. Meniscus repairs on both of my knees and nerves removed from my both of my feet due to Morton’s neuromas. All of these surgeries have gone very well and were most certainly needed.

Here are the surgeries I have not had:

I have a 10mm tear in my supraspinatus in my right shoulder that my Doctor insisted I needed surgery on and told me after I mentioned a second opinion that all I would hear was I would need the surgery. I even went so far as to schedule a rotator cuff repair surgery and at the last second I cancelled.

I went on to rehab my shoulder on my own, I recommend if you are in this situation that you get the help of a good Physical Therapist (I can make recommendations). I won’t get into the particulars of my rehab but again get help from a PT, not everyone has twenty years in the health and fitness industry and I started my fitness career as a Physical Therapy aide and still to this day rely heavily upon my knowledge gained from that work experience.

That being said, I eventually went on to benching 255lb., I would also not recommend the bench press to anyone with shoulder issues, but thats just me being stubborn. Either way my point is that I didn’t get the surgery and I seem to be doing pretty well.

Another issue I am dealing with currently is another meniscus tear in my right knee. Often times a popliteal cyst develops with this condition. Extra synovial fluid in the knee generated due to the irritation in the knee becomes encapsulated by a coating that comes off the tendons and forms a cyst in the back of the knee. When that cyst gets big enough it starts to become uncomfortable. I went to see my Doctor about the issue and of course he recommended if it continued to have a meniscal repair.

I decided to hold off. I got a cortisone shot, I had the cyst drained by another Doctor, modified my workouts, rehabbed the knee on my own (again go to a Physical Therapist for your rehab), and the issue has calmed down. I will also be getting Synvisc One shots in both knees in the very near future as preemptive strike (http://bit.ly/2DlEpLH). I am back to my martial arts training and hope to be squatting 315lb. by Spring.

Is my path the right way or the wrong way, it’s neither it’s just my path. All I am suggesting in this anecdote is that you seek second opinions when facing surgery, not just from an Othopedic Doctor but a good Physical Therapist as well.

When all you have is a hammer, everything look like a nail. In my experience I didn’t always go with the hammer.

I hope this helps and please feel free to ask me questions about my experience and also feel free to ignore everything I have said as well.

Train Hard, Train Safe!!

The Current Status (Hope for the Injured)

Nov 15, 2017 Eric Toussaint 6 Comments

It’s been a while since I have blogged, so I thought I’d give you a quick update.This will hopefully give some hope to those recovering from injuries.

So if you follow my ramblings you’ll know that I recently had a couple of foot surgeries, two in each foot in November 2016 and January 2017. The feet are doing well all things considered and I have entered into my first race since the “incident” The Turkey chase http://turkeychase.com on November the 23rd (come and run with me!!).

This is the first running I’ve done since the surgeries and the comeback has been a little trying but I’m confident that I’ll be ready for the event. It may not be my fastest 10k, but surely I will cross he finish line.

I have also started back at martial arts training and have also started teaching again. I will teaching the kids class on Fridays at 5PM which I love!! Bring your kids www.taiyimkungfu.com !!

With this uptick in my movement based training (I have been lifting weights steadily after stopping everything when I had the surgeries since March) my right knee has been a little unhappy. I have had meniscus repairs in each knee and in both knees developed popliteal cysts (very common with meniscus tears). My surgeon removed the cyst in the left knee but not in the right knee, and at times the cyst in my right knee will fill again, causing a tightness, general discomfort some pain.

It’s a simple fix, all that is needed is to drain the cyst. Recently I started training a very gifted orthopedic doctor – Dr. Gobind Sahi http://advancedorthopc.com/specialists/dr-sahi.php , (go see him if you have any orthopedic issues, he is amazing!!). I let him know about my issue and he was able to see me and take care of my cyst issue with great care and speed. I was in and out of his office in less than a half hour.

I need to rest for two days and will be back to full speed by this Friday, thank you Dr. Sahi!!

If there is a will, there is a way, don’t let injuries stop you from moving forward. With the right doctors, the right care, and the willingness it can be done.

I hope if you are injured that you get back up to speed ASAP. If you are having trouble navigating these waters please contact me. I specialize in post-rehab, and for what I can’t do for you, I will refer you to the experts I have met and made relationships with over the years.

Stay in the fight, good luck and Godspeed

The Manhattanization of the Independent Personal Training Industry

Aug 13, 2017 Eric Toussaint 6 Comments

There has been a change taking place within the industry and it has come to my hometown or should I say the hometown of my business JETT Training llc. For as many years as I can remember I have run JETT Training within the walls of Fitness First in Bethesda, MD while paying a fair and actually quite modest “trainer fee”.

This pass month – June 2017 with very short notice Fitness First was forced to close. Seeing the change in the winds I always kept my foot in the door at a gym a few miles north of Bethesda, Team Eckenrode Gym and Fitness. This is currently my new venue and I am very happy with the owner and the management.

Now to my point, as the rapacious development efforts in Bethesda are coming to fruition, Fitness First was squeezed out. When development of this type takes place the only types of gyms that can afford the new high rent are corporate gyms. Corporate gyms as rule do not allow independent trainers.

So where do the independent trainers go to practice their trade. I am extremely fortunate to have found a home at Team Eckenrode http://teameckenrode.com, however there are those of my colleagues that are still undecided, and others that have decided to become trainers at corporate gyms. I really don’t recommend the corporate gym option for several reasons. Your clients will no longer be yours, they will belong to the corporate gym and if you leave you can’t take them with you as there will be a non-compete and a proximity clause. You will also be working twice as much for half the pay (best case scenario if you are lucky).

That being said independent trainers as in most big cities are forced to exist in the nooks and crannies of the industry. Small boutiques studios, friends and or colleagues that own Yoga and Pilates studios, martial arts studios etc. There is no formula here and most of these relationships/studios are hard to find and tend not to be as well equipped as actual gyms. But if there is a will there is a way, and there are many a trainer that have had great success with this approach. The other option is to do strictly in-home training, which works quite well but many training hours are lost in transit.

On the client side of this equation, it can be a tough transition if the new venue of choice doesn’t offer all the amenities that they were used to in a gym. There may be no classes, no childcare, no towels etc. There can also be geographical challenges, I personally stand to lose five to six clients as a result of my change of venues. However this phenomenon is nothing new and many clients are already used to not having everything under one roof and are already taking an a la carte approach to their fitness needs or as I call it the “Manhattanization” effect on the fitness industry. What does Manhatanization mean, well to the gym industry it is what happens in all the larger cities, as mentioned earlier the independents exist in the nooks and crannies and clients have their fitness needs met in an a la carte fashion.

I think at the end of the day, independent trainers need to always be on the look out for places to train their clients because nothing is forever and your base of operations could change at anytime. If possible try to find a gym that is independent friendly and tell every trainer you know to join ASAP, there is strength in numbers. That is the situation I am in now and if the owner decides to close up shop the 50-60 independent trainers have a strong chance of rallying together to finance a new gym/base operations. Don’t wait until you have no options, always have a back up plan and talk with your colleagues about how you would handle a forced change of venue.

I will also add in this bit of advice always treat everyone in this manner – “I may work for you one day, and you may work for me one day”. You never know what the future holds and the more friends you have in the industry the more options you will have.

Good luck and God bless to all you independent trainers out there!!

What is in your gym kit?

Jun 12, 2017 Eric Toussaint 6 Comments

I’m curious what is in your gym kit? I’ll go first…

Ok so of course I have weight belt, it’s a wide back valeo belt. I have a set up straps for heavy pull days, knee wraps for heavy squats and leg presses and I also keep a pair of minimalist shoes in my bag for squat days. I have chalk but rarely use it, it’s just too messy.

Another necessity is music, I have an arm band for my iPhone and a set of wireless earphones.

This has been my standard kit for years and it has carried through many a workout.

So I ask you…

What do you bring to the gym to get your lift on?!

What are you up to?

May 18, 2017 Eric Toussaint 6 Comments

It seems an age since I have written a blog post, so I thought I’d check in with the JETT Nation and see what you’re up to.

I personally have been trudging along with my recovery from multiple foot surgeries (two neuroma surgeries on each foot). My last surgery was January the 13th, 2017 and my current rehab routine consists of trying to walk barefoot when I can and slowly testing the waters with my martial arts training. I have been able to resume weight lifting an am making good progress, and the elliptical doesn’t seem to bother me as far as my cardio is concerned.

It’s nice to be back in the game even if not at 100%, I am trying to remain as active as I can while convalescing but I truly think it will take a full year to get back to where I was before all the issues with my feet started.

Enough about me…what is the JETT Nation up to these days? Are you running, lifting, riding, swimming, becoming a yogi etc., let me know I would be interested to hear as I am very much living vicariously through the physical experiences of my clients these days.

Even if your not following a fitness routine I’d love to hear from your and maybe I can help change that. Especially if you are dealing with injuries, not only because that is one of fortes but because I have lived through many injuries in my day an my own issues have led me to better help my clients over the years.

I hope your Spring is going well and that you are Happy and Healthy!!

How much do you stretch? Part I Lower Body

Mar 21, 2017 Eric Toussaint 6 Comments

By far I would have to say that stretching is the most overlooked part of most exercise enthusiasts programs. There just never seems to be enough time. Personally I have to stretch to keep up with my martial arts training, but am just a challenged when it comes to time available.

Here are some simple lower body stretches that I try to perform two to three times a week.

Perform each stretch 2-3 times, hold for 60-90 seconds.

Kneeling Hip flexor stretch:

Piriformis stretch:

Lotus stretch:
I would recommend a progressions with the lotus, I struggle with this one

Hamstring stretch on raise object:

Quad Stretch:

Straddle Split:
I recommend a progression as well

Do You Need to Train to Destruction?

Mar 4, 2017 Eric Toussaint 6 Comments

Just how hard do we really need to train? Is more always better? How much is enough? These are tough questions to answer. Especially considering that we all come in various shapes, sizes, ages and fitness levels.

First and foremost anyone starting an exercise program should be healthy and medically cleared. I will of course tell you the easiest and safest way is to workout is with a qualified personal trainer or fitness coach.

Here is the approach I take with my clients:

Believe it or not most of my clients, whether they are athletes or stay-at-home-moms, follow a rather similar program. My programming is heavily focused on proper function and functional movements.

Function – meaning are you are moving properly – focuses on avoiding a situation where we are building fitness on top of dysfunction. Functional movements are exercises that provide strength building that has crossover into to the real world, or real strength as I like to call it.

The previous section is based on specific programming that may be above the average person’s base of knowledge. Again a trainer is a good idea – to be safe in your training you either need to know what you’re doing or train with someone that does and have good function.

All that is left in the scheme of safe and effective training is intensity. Here is where the largest variance lies with my clients. Each age cohort, and level of physical fitness, requires a different level of exercise intensity and is also the area of most potential risk and injury (assuming all conditions of function and proficiency are met).

Your level of intensity should be age and population appropriate and geared towards your current level of fitness. Someone beginning a training program that has been sedentary for a long period of time cannot be expected to train with the same intensity as an elite athlete. However it seems that some feel the need to always push beyond and this is a sure path to injury. Whatever your level of fitness, the intensity of training should match it and not exceed. Even an elite level athlete has his/her limits.

There are times when the general population or the athlete can push hard, but it must still be at measured pace. Most training programs are progressive. Even the most elite level athletes don’t take this fact lightly; a professional fighter doesn’t have a fight every day, and a runner doesn’t run a marathon every day. Many athletes actual taper their training programs as they are approaching a max physical output.

There is nothing wrong with maximal efforts when you are prepared, and I regularly encourage my clients to get involved in some type of competitive event to give them a goal and help them become more fit. But as I’ve said many times the output must be measured and prepared for.

Train hard but don’t train to destruction and watch how many maximal outputs you are performing. Then you will be one large step closer to training injury free.