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!!

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!!

The Aging Me….

Jul 31, 2016 Eric Toussaint 6 Comments

So here we are a few weeks later with new reports on my ailing knees…

Thankfully all the news is good!! No arthritis and no new tears to the meniscus in the right knee.

Furthermore my new doctor has recommended a preventative treatment for both of my knees (they have both have meniscus repairs). Its called Synvisc-One (http://www.synviscone.com/what-is-synvisc-one.aspx) and its kind of like putting a coat of wax onto your hardwood floors but for your knees; it basically helps to lubricate and cushion the joint(s).

Since I don’t plan on slowing down anytime soon, I am thrilled at the prospect of taking a preventative measure.

I should get the injection in two or three weeks…I’ll keep you posted!!

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!!

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!!

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 (www.taiyimkungfu.com) 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!!!

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!!