My New Shoes – Hoka Vanquish Two

Apr 29, 2016 Eric Toussaint 6 Comments

I just had to take a moment and talk about how much I love this shoe. I have have arthritis in my right big toe from an old martial arts injury that I incurred thirty years ago. It has significantly effected my running. I chose not to run the Cherry Blossom ten-miler this year because last year my toe hurt for months after the race.

I had all but given up running, when I decided to try out my first pair of Hokas. I recently purchased the Hoka Vanquish Two. Maximum cushioning to say the least and a rocker sole. I decided to give running one more try. My distance has only been up to five kilometers but I have had no pain at all!!

I can only guess that it is due to the maximum cushioning and the rocker sole that causes me to bend my big toe less than I would normally. Whatever it is, I am elated to be able to run pain free again. I hoping to up my mileage soon and will keep you posted.

Overall this is a super comfortable, stylish shoe and I think I have become a fan for life.

Thanks Hoka!!

Bone Density Training – (not for the feint of heart)

Apr 18, 2016 Eric Toussaint 6 Comments

What is the best way to increase your bone density? Well that can very much depend on your physical pursuits. The general recommendations are weight bearing exercises, adequate calcium and sometimes, prescribed supplements such a Fosamax, Boniva and Actonel.

I would like to talk about a much more visceral approach – Impact Conditioning. Impact conditioning has been used for years by marital artists. Repeated hard impact forces a biological response to the high pressure that causes greater bone density from microscopic fractures – this is also know as Wolff’s Law. There can be a downside to this rigorous approach – stress to tendons, ligaments and muscles.  Often in taking this traditional approach lineaments will be prescribed by your coach/instructor/Grand Master to help you heal after this type of intense training. One good example of this is Dit Dow Jow (

I have been training in this manner for years at my martial arts school more specifically with a Southern Shaolin approach. Here are five basic techniques I have used over the years. To help the reader who is not familiar with martial arts training when I refer to strike points, these are the areas on the leg or the arm that come in contact with opponents.

The first is an exercise called Sam Sin and is a series of forearm clashes with another student that helps to toughen all the striking areas of the forearm.

The second is a similar approach but the technique is performed (also with the forearms) on a Wing Chun Dummy (, this drill also strengthens all the striking area of the forearms.

The next two techniques are for the legs and are very similar to the afore mentioned approaches for the forearm.

The third approach requires a partner, you perform a series of leg clashes on all the contact points of the leg.

The fourth approach requires a whole bunch of chops sticks and some duct tape. You tape them together (lengthwise) about forty or so. Now you use your new toy to tap on all the contact points of the leg.

The fifth approach is for the body itself and requires a partner. Its quite simple you take turns giving round house kicks to the body.

In just the past month I have also found one more technique/tool that can be used on almost any part of the body but is best used for the legs and arms. It is called the Iron Arm ( Same approach you strike all the contact points of the legs and forearms. I’ll let you know how it works out with the Iron Arm soon!!

Now a little due diligence; I have been using these techniques for years but your must have guidance by a good coach or Grand Master. I would also check with your doctor. You can expect abrasions, cuts, possible skin infections, possible tendon and ligament damage as well as possible stress fractures. With these considerations in mind again make sure to seek expert guidance if you are going to engage in this type of conditioning. There are some risks but you will reap the benefits if done properly.

I have also attached a few links to articles, books and videos of this type of training.

Train Hard, Train Safe!!

Equestrian Vs. Motocross Rider

Mar 17, 2016 Eric Toussaint 6 Comments

I delve into the esoteric in this blog post, but the comparison must be made for those that know and follow or participate in these equally epic sports.  When I was much younger, I was a motocross racer, and in days more recent I train a few equestrians.  Despite the two very different cultures, the physical activity involved in these two sports are surprisingly similar.  The test of core and adductor muscles, as well as all other muscles imaginable caused me to take pause and compare the two.

In motocross you are part of the suspension – you must flex and move with all of the terrain availed, as well as with the monster machine underneath you!  My clients describe equestrian riding in much the same way.  Your overall fitness must be at peak levels in both pursuits due to the full body involvement required.  So what is the ultimate comparison?!

I found these two articles:

I suspect if you can do one, I bet you could do the other (with practice of course).  If you ride motocross bikes and can handle whoop-de-doos, then I bet you could learn to gallop and jump with a horse and vice versa. See comparison below.

Happy riding and I hope you get to experience both in your life time.  I still need to tackle the equestrian angle!

Back to School!!

Jan 18, 2016 Eric Toussaint 6 Comments

I have been promising myself that I would go back to my martial arts school for sometime now and  finally this past Saturday I made my triumphant return!! I have been going to Tai Yim Kung Fu ( off and on for the past twenty years. There are times when I have taken up to five years off, but it always seems to call me back.

The reasons I always return are that I love the training, the curriculum, the friends I have made and Sifu. Sifu means teacher/Father and he is just that. Sifu Tai Yim started the school in 1975, and just recently celebrated his 40th year anniversary. I have great respect for this man and consider him one of my mentors.

I started going in the late eighties, when I thought I could become the next Bruce Lee. At the time I was still in my teens and it was very hard for me to understand the amount of time and practice it required. I remember expressing this concern to one of my instructors and saying to her “I would give anything to become more flexible” (I could barely touch my toes at the time). She simply answered…”Just give your time”. It was so simple, yet so profound, I should also point out that this instructor was younger than I was, but obviously much wiser.

The Tai Yim Kung style is call Hung Fut. This Southern Kung Fu style it is a blend to two systems – Hung Gar (the basis of modern Karate and very hard) and Fut Gar (a soft style that emphasizes palm strikes). This unique incorporation of linear, circular, and angular techniques is powerful and explosive, yet precise, flowing, and without rigidity. Essentially it’s very martial while at the same time very esthetically pleasing.

So what brought me back this time, as if all the reasons above weren’t enough? My twin boys will be five next November and that is when they will join the school. Just as I practice what I preach when it comes to my clients, I need to do the same in this situation.

My return was fun, as it always is and I remembered more of my forms that I thought I would. I was of course very tired but very much at piece. For anyone that practices martial arts, you will understand this feeling. It is like moving mediation, and brings you to a peaceful centered state of being.

Happy to be back!!!

New Year’s Resolutions

Dec 27, 2015 Eric Toussaint 6 Comments

Only 8% of people keep their New Year’s resolutions. How can we change this?! This advice of course will be dealing with health and wellness.

First and foremost come up with your plan, what do you want to achieve and how will achieve it. Don’t make your fitness goals unrealistic, don’t keep you real self and your ideal self to far from each other.

If you want to exercise more:

  1. Join a gym
  2. Get a personal trainer
  3. Invest in some exercise DVDs
  4. Join a running club
  5. Join a martial arts studio
  6. Start taking spinning classes
  7. Try Zoomba

If you want to lose weight:

  1. Pick a diet that works for you – Paleo, South Beach, Bullet Proof diet etc. All diets work if you stick to them
  2. Get an app on your phone to help track your meals and calories
  3. Make an appointment with a nutritionist
  4. Stop drinking alcohol or greatly reduce your drinks per week
  5. Cut out the sugar…you’re sweet enough

I would also use your phone or calendar to schedule all of your exercise and nutrition goals, make it a part of your life. The built in reminders on your calendar will help greatly in keeping you honest.

If this isn’t enough check our website or contact me directly and I’ll try and help.

Make your New Year’s resolutions a reality with proper planning and execution.

Happy New Year!!

A Time For Reflection

Dec 9, 2015 Eric Toussaint 6 Comments

This is the time of year that life can get very busy, with our own health and wellness potentially falling to the wayside. Make sure to take time for yourself and stay focused.

Hopefully you have had a year of physical success to look back on, and now it’s time to evaluate, reflect and start putting together your plan for next year. If this year was good, next year can be even better.

If this year has been one that has fallen short, fear not and start putting together a plan that works for you. Don’t put your real self and ideal self to far from each other. Choose a fitness plan that works for you.

True health and wellness is lifetime journey and it is never to late to start, and always a good idea to continue.

I will leave you with two thoughts for the new year:

Don’t exercise just to look good, do it for your health and wellness. We may not all be fitness models, but we can all be healthy and live longer.

The only bad work out is the one you didn’t do!!

Train Hard!! Train Safe!!

What is your Winter plan?!?!

Nov 5, 2015 Eric Toussaint 6 Comments

If you are in the Washington Metropolitan Area, you know that we are having amazingly warm weather for November. However this will not last forever!!

Do you have your winter fitness plan ready to go?!?! I’ll tell you mine and you tell me yours!! For starters I am heading back to my martial arts school , and have increased my lifting – nothing like doing some bodybuilding split routines in the winter when you can’t show it off 🙂

I have also stared taking my cardio indoors, not today of course it’s currently 73 degrees. I don’t run quite as much these days due to some arthritis in my right big toe (old martial arts war wounds), so I have been fairly religions with the AMT elliptical.

This should carry me through the winter months, now the question remains – what will you do?

Here are some suggestions:

  1. Do what I am doing 🙂
  2. Yoga
  3. Zoomba
  4. Spinning
  5. Pilates
  6. Indoor tennis
  7. Your pick of cardio machines
  8. Join a gym and start lifting weights
  9. Get a trainer – yes we are available –
  10. Swimming
  11. Crossfit
  12. Start a diet

What ever you do, just do something. If you don’t have your health, you don’t have anything!!

Be Happy Be Healthy!!

Day Lights Savings Time is Coming…Be Ready!!

Oct 13, 2015 Eric Toussaint 6 Comments

Day lights savings time and increasingly cold weather is right around the corner, are you ready?! Many of us like to do our cardio outdoors and it can be a tough transition bringing it inside.

Start planning now, here are some suggestions.

1. Join a gym if possible, its the cheapest way to have access to many cardio options.

2. Try Spinning, many gyms will have spin classes or you can find boutique spin studios.

3. Try Zoomba, Step, bootcamp or the many other fitness classes offered at your local gym.

4. You could also try a martial arts school, it’s usually always indoors.

5. If you are really lucky, you may find an indoor track in your area.

6. Indoor tennis is an option.

7. Yoga and Pilates are excellent

Try any of these suggestions and it should be a start to keep you fit while dealing with the cold and waning daylight.

If you do decide to tough it out and continue your outdoor cardio/running make sure to get the right winter gear as well as the necessary reflective gear and or lights.

Train Hard, Train Safe!!

Have you been running??

Sep 22, 2015 Eric Toussaint 6 Comments

This the best time of year to get out and run!! The cooler weather and lower humidity allow you to push hard, and run further.

This is the season, there are more races than you can shake a stick at stick at. I would suggest that you sing up for a race and go for it. Check out this website for a list of races

Check out Hal Gideon’s training programs they are great or you could if you are local join Montgomery County Road Runners

Both options provide great training plans.

I plan to sign up for a 10K before the season out…I’ll keep you posted.

Now go out and get it done!!