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!!

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.

How Much Should You Exercise?

Feb 6, 2017 Eric Toussaint 6 Comments

This is a question that has been much debated over the years and does not come with an easy answer. I can tell you what has worked with my clients over my twenty years of training.

I cater to the general population, which let’s face it, thats most of us. I like to see two days of lifting a week, three to four days of cardio and a sound diet. Let me now elaborate on my three tiered approach.

With weight-lifting or negative resistance training I like full body workouts set up in a push/pull fashion, with a heavy emphasis on functional movements. I also like to focus on corrective movements based on the Functional Movement Screen (http://www.functionalmovement.com/fms) that I give to all my clients.

The cardiovascular approach we take is very low risk. Two days of elliptical and two days of spinning. Both are no impact cardiovascular options which is key to safety and continuance of regular cardiovascular training. Elliptical training should be done at 55-65% of maximal heart rate to help build a strong cardiovascular base. Spinning covers the need for interval training which is essential. See link for good explanation: http://www.sparkpeople.com/blog/blog.asp?post=7_good_reasons_to_try_interval_training.

As far as diet is concerned, we have a very specific approach that combines a detox cleanse and simple to follow five meal a day approach. It is very much based on being able to fit into the busy schedules that everyone seems to have these days. For more details see link: http://jettllc.biz/services/nutrition/.

I hope this helps and if you are interested in further explanations or just general FAQs please feel free to peruse our website www.jettllc.biz.

Light at the End of the tunnel

Jan 18, 2017 Eric Toussaint 6 Comments

I am nearing the end of the story of my feet. I just had had my second surgery last Friday and and will be convalescing for about ten days. The surgery was a success and both neuromas were removed. If you have following my tale of woe then you know that I have been dealing with Morton’s neuromas (two in each foot). Only being able to remove one at a time from each foot, I needed two surgeries.

I am hoping to be back to 100% by June, but will start this coming Tuesday with the upper body cycle, then the recumbent elliptical and then swimming. I will also try some light calisthenics as well. That regimen should hold for about two and half months and then I will try the regular elliptical and the zero runner with an eventual transition to running.

The ultimate goal is to get back to my kung fu training with an additional focus on intense cardio, stretching and less focus on weightlifting only as cross-training.

I am excited for a pain free future and my new focus; before my surgery I was to focused on weightlifting, and my martial arts training was left wanting. I am also going to stick to my New Years resolution of learning some ground fighting.

If you too are struggling with and injury I hope this provides some inspiration. Keep your chin up and focus on the can, not the can’t and you will rise above.

The New Year

Jan 1, 2017 Eric Toussaint 6 Comments

What will you be thinking about when Auld Lang Syne is playing? I should frame this a little more particularly, I am referring to your health and fitness in the past year…this is not me trying to be Tony Robbins.

I myself have had ups and downs in 2016. I was able to focus for better or worse on a lot of weight lifting à la bodybuilding. To the point that I was contemplating entering a contest/show. This style of lifting however does come with a cost. It is all consuming, very painstaking and the rewards comes slowly. You cardio suffers, your flexibility and speed as well. But boy do you love looking in the mirror, it becomes very narcissistic.

That being said my martial arts training very much fell by the wayside, but not only due to bodybuilding. I have been having foot issues, more specifically – Morton’s Neuromas. This led to surgeries in each of my feet. The second round of surgeries will be January the 13, 2017 (yes I need two surgeries in each foot). This for all intents and purposes has brought me to a complete halt. I have only recently gone from using the upper body cycle (UBC) to recumbent elliptical and I swim when I can.

The last time I lifted was Thursday November the 17, 2016. For those that bodybuild you know thats enough to put you into absolute freakout mode. Fortunately I have vacillated from aerobic to anaerobic training so many times over the years it doesn’t really bother me and it actually sets me up for the New Year.

My plan for the New Year, although due to my next surgery really won’t go fully into effect until Spring will be focused on cardio, flexibility, speed and martial arts. I will also try my hand at grappling as well to compliment my Kung Fu training. My strength training will be greatly reduced most likely two days a week.

I am looking forward to this change of pace and programming, and pushing the limit with my new focus for 2017.

Staying Focused On Your Physical Fitness While Injured

Dec 20, 2016 Eric Toussaint 6 Comments

How do you keep your focus on physical fitness while you are injured? It is an issue I am wrestling with currently. I am preparing for my second round of surgeries on my feet (yes both feet) in January.

I have been literally trying to keep my steps to a minimum to heal as fast as possible and avoid possible scar tissue and nerve damage (a possibility if I don’t ease back into my everyday routine). I keep a fold up tripod stool with me that I sit on whenever possible while at work and recently got a temporary handicap placard for my car. The handicap placard is somewhat helpful; but his humbling experience has also led me to the sad conclusion that the Bethesda area is really not very accommodating for those with disabilities, especially for longterm parking.

Some much energy is spent trying to not move and taking extra time for every task because of my naturally slower approach to everything that it’s hard to get motivated to workout. I started with using an upper body cycle and in just the past ten days or so I have started using a recumbent elliptical. It feels pretty good but of course it is harder to burn calories in a recumbent position.

I have been trying to eat less to not gain weight, my muscle mass due to not lifting weights is being affected, which is a little bit of vanity hit but there is a upside. I will be going back into martial arts full force once this is all over (hopefully April, 2017) and being lighter is a good thing for speed and agility. I will also be focusing on a lot of stretching and I have promised my self to try my hand at some grappling training.

All that being said, as mention it is a struggle to stay motivated and it is a little depressing to be so immobilized. However I am enjoying reading more and catching up on some Netflix viewing. I am doing my best to stay upbeat and have also been doing research for how I want to structure my eventual return to the physical.

Keep me in your thoughts and if you can move do it…you may not alway be able to one day!!

What are your Summer Goals?

Jun 15, 2016 Eric Toussaint 6 Comments

If you have been keeping up with my blog posts, you’ll have hopefully picked your Summer Plan by now, if not quickly read the last post – http://jettllc.biz/summer-plan/

So now that you have picked your Summer Plan; what are your summer goals? What do I mean by this exactly? Let’s say you picked rock climbing, do you have a spot picked out to practice be it indoors or outdoors? Do you have a schedule and routine to keep you on track? Is there any equipment that you need to purchase? Is there a book or magazine that may help hone your skills? Are there lessons or coaching that you can take?

I’m a fan of immersing myself in my activities and learning as much about them as possible, and to practice them as much as possible to get results and achieve success. If you take this approach you certainly will move forward in your pursuits. You will also find that you have built in “mandatory” leisure time, which we all need in our desperately busy world while becoming more healthy all at the same time.

I have two goals for this Summer:

1. Bench – 225lb.
Squat – 3151b.

2. Pass another belt test at my martial arts school – www.taiyimkungfu.com

Please let me know what your goals are and if I can help you to achieve them.

eric@jettllc.biz

Summer Plan

Jun 9, 2016 Eric Toussaint 6 Comments

Do you have your summer exercise plan together?!

Here are some outdoor and indoor activities for you to consider and links to further your potential pursuits (it’s always a good idea to have indoor options available with the heat, humidity and air quality of the Washington Metropolitan Area).

Outdoors:

Tennis – No Limits Tennis email – henryhollowell@yahoo.com

Horseback Riding – http://candylaneacres.com

Running – https://www.mcrrc.org

Cycling – http://www.freshbikescycling.com

Swimming – http://www.ancientmariners.org

Hiking – http://www.montgomeryparks.org/PPSD/ParkTrails/

Kayaking – http://www.boatingindc.com

Rock Climbing – http://bit.ly/28l2cFr

Indoors:

Spinning – http://www.pureryde.com/#!bethesda-md/cfbd

Yoga – http://balancestudio.com/page/

Pilates – http://balancestudio.com/page/

Rock Climbing – https://www.earthtreksclimbing.com/md-va/

Martial Arts – www.taiyimkungfu.com

Crossfit – http://toughtemplecrossfit.com

Please feel free to let me know what you’re up to…

eric@jettllc.biz

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 (http://amzn.to/1RTLV2R).

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 (http://amzn.to/1Xv6WBv), 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 (http://amzn.to/1VlLQri). 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.

http://bit.ly/1S6wroV

http://bit.ly/23Eqw1S

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aH_TJvcNVBs

http://amzn.to/1VlOopa

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rlKZ6_EhI5o

Train Hard, Train Safe!!