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!!

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:

http://stretchcoach.com/articles/stretches-for-motocross/

http://www.classicaldressage.co.uk/Muscle-Use-In-Riding/muscle-use-in-riding.html

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.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HCKV8PoO958

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ROzIv-GuyZs

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

Do you stretch enough?

Feb 6, 2016 Eric Toussaint 6 Comments

I know personally I could stretch more, and need to even more so now that I have started going back to my martial arts school.

So the question is how much is enough to affect change? Studies show that stretching four times a week for thirty seconds per body part will yield flexibility improvements. it is not conclusive as to whether more that four days if helpful.

That being said my personal mission will be to shoot for four days a week. I do tend to focus more on the lower body due to the extreme flexibility needed for my martial arts pursuits. My toughest/tightest area are my hips, more specifically the lotus position/stretch. The flexibility of my legs is actually fairly good and I have no problems with high kicks, but the lotus position is the bane of my existence.

Here is the lower body stretch routine that I am currently following:

Day 1: Holding all for at least 30 seconds

Standing piriformis stretch on a raise platform – 3x each side

Lotus stretch – 3x each side

Front Split – 3x each direction

Straddle Split – 5x

Day 2: Holding all for at least 30 seconds

Standing piriformis stretch on a raise platform – 3x each side

Lotus stretch – 3x each side

Hamstring stretch on bar (I like to use the smith machine and raise the bar each time)
From this position I roll into a side kick/round house kick position – both positions 3x each side

Leg stretch machine – 5x

Here also is a link for a very thorough full body stretch routine, you may not need all listed but all body parts are covered.

http://jettllc.biz/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/stretch_routine.pdf

Good luck stretching!!

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 www.taiyimkungfu.com , 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 – www.jettllc.biz
  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!!

How to Stay Functional and Fit!!

Oct 21, 2015 Eric Toussaint 6 Comments

I have been personal training for nearly twenty years, and it has be a pleasure to watch the field evolve. The training methodologies that are currently available for trainers and exercise enthusiasts are amazing.

The way I trained “then” and “now” are radically different. I won’t bore you with all the comparisons, but will outline what I think currently is the best approach.

There are three levels that need to be addressed:

  1. Structure – You need to make sure that you actual structure is in good order. I currently like the Chiropractic Biophysics approach to address this issue. Check out http://www.gotyourbacktotalhealth.com
  1. Function – Once you get your structure where it should be, you need to make sure that you are functional and have no asymmetries. I recommend an FMS Screen (http://www.functionalmovement.com) – we provide that www.jettllc.biz
  1. Training – Find a trainer that espouses the the first two “levels of need” and that focuses on training in a way that provides real strength gains that have real world applications. There should be a good blend of FMS corrective movements, functional movements, and work on flexibility and balance.

Now once you find all this, yes it’s a tall order but doable, it comes down to one thing – compliance. The ball is now in your court…

Be happy be healthy