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!!

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!!

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!!!

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 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

What was it like to wear Armor?

Sep 30, 2015 Eric Toussaint 6 Comments

I am always looking for new workouts and ways to challenge my body physically. Last weekend I went to our local Renaissance Festival https://www.rennfest.com and I went in costume. My costume was basically leather body armor, leather greaves, and leather vambraces.

What it reminded me of was wearing a weight vest; I was actually sore the next day from tramping around all day with my “costume” on.

I got to thinking, what it must have been like to wear armor while in battle and how much energy the average night in shinning armor would spend to move and fight. I did a little research and I came across this study http://bit.ly/1KRglMc . Long story short the average knight burned upwards of 2.3 times more energy just to move. I was just wearing leather armor and I felt the effects, it must have been tough going and those knight in shinning armor must have been in great shape.

I am not suggesting that we all go out and get ourselves plate armor to enhance our workouts but I think I’ll break out my weight vest this week http://amzn.to/1OG0TZi and add it to some of my workouts.

Ok I’m done with my historical exercise update…everybody have a nice day.