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.

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.

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!!

Training With Injuries

Dec 5, 2016 Eric Toussaint 6 Comments

If you have been in the game as long as I have you are invariably going to sustain some type of injury, be it from life, training, age, wear and tear or all of the above.

So what to do when injured, the last thing would be to do nothing. There is always a way to exercise and stay in shape. Figure out your do’s and don’ts and plan accordingly.

Recently I had surgery on my feet and my exercise regimen has been pretty severely curtailed. However as I said there is always a way; I have been using the upper body cycle (UBC), swimming and of course abdominal/midsection work.

You would be amazed at what just the UBC, swimming and ab work can do. I am getting great workouts while being completely off my feet.

Generally for the UBC I’ll go for forty-five minutes to and hour alternating between going forwards and backward. At the pool I alternate between distance and sprint work. As to my ab work, any type of crunch or sit up you can think of in positions that keep all weight off my feet.

My mission is to lose ten pounds with these work outs and push hard to up my cardiovascular fitness. I want to be as lean and mean as possible when I return to my martial arts training.

Thats the current plan, I’ll let you know how it works out

Oh Those Feet!!

Nov 23, 2016 Eric Toussaint 6 Comments

Well I finally got two of the four neuromas removed (one in each foot)!! Next surgery will be January the 13th. I am recovering quickly with minimal swelling. The key apparently is to really not move at all for the first three days and to ice and elevate.

Once past the extremely crucial three day no movement period (can’t stress no movement enough), it’s just a matter of pain management and minimal movement. I got off pain killers after twenty four hours and am just taking Tylenol on a PRN basis.

I can get around OK but am still really staying pretty sedentary. I will have my stitches taken out on Monday the 28th and return to work Tuesday the 29th.

I will most likely where Crocs and keep a portable stool with me so I can sit down when needed. I will also make sure to elevate my feet a few times a day.

So was it a success you might ask…still don’t know have to wait for all the pain of the surgery to die down first.

I’ll keep you posted!!

More Surgery!!

Nov 8, 2016 Eric Toussaint 6 Comments

The neuroma saga continues…

I am in the process of scheduling my second surgery to have the other two neuromas excised. I will have one removed from the left foot and one from right foot on November the 18th and am hoping to have the next surgery to remove the other two in each foot respectively on December the 21st.

I previously thought that I had to wait three months before my next surgery, but it turns out that I can move forward in as little as three weeks.

For folks like myself that literally need to get back on their feet as soon as possible (if I don’t work I don’t get paid) this is great news. My recovery time will be less in the long run and I have timed the surgeries to coincide with the holidays when I would be taking time off anyway.

I really hope some of these blog posts have helped anyone out there with neuroma issues, I have been dealing with these for about three years, I am at the breaking point and can’t wait it over and one with.

I’ll let you know how my recovery goes and would be happy to answer questions for anyone with similar issues.

Wish me luck!!

How Do You Deal With Your Injuries?

Oct 3, 2016 Eric Toussaint 6 Comments

I feel sadly that as of late all of my blog posts have been dealing with injuries. So the question is how do you deal with your injuries?

Well here is how I do it:

First and foremost I try to figure out what is causing the injury.

Is it overuse?
Is a pull or a strain? If so can I pinpoint when it happened (during a movement or exercise)
What bothers the injury?
How can I effectively treat and recover from the injury?
When can I get back to training at 100% without fear of further injury/re-injury?

So lets use the issue I am having with my feet. I have been suffering from neuromas (see link for definition (http://www.apma.org/Learn/FootHealth.cfm?ItemNumber=987) in both of my feet for almost three years and have come to the end of my road and will have surgery November the 18th to have them removed.

Here is how I answered my five questions:

Overuse is potentially part of my situation, I have high mileage on these feet – martial arts, running, thousands of calf-raises, mountain biking and road cycling (the cleats put pressure on that area of the foot), and I am also on my feet most of the day with clients.
Can I pinpoint what caused the injury – not really but overuse, genetics (my Mother had the same issue), and age (I am now 45) are contributing factors.
What bothers the injury – at this point I feel it all day everyday. The more I move the more it hurts. So basically any continuous movement really feel uncomfortable. I can last about an hour doing marital arts and thats it.
Recovering from the injury – I have tried alcohol injections, taking trace minerals, epsom salt baths and modifying my activities and activity levels (none of which have worked). So hence the need for surgery (which is always the last option!!)
How will I recover from the surgery and get back to full speed? I will probably be back up to speed within 3 months. Hopefully I won’t need physical therapy and will just need to keep off my feet for a few weeks, then ease back into work on light duty. Unfortunately I will have to repeat the process as soon as I am able. I have two neuromas in each foot and it is recommended to only take out one at a time. So in total I may be out for six months, kind of a bummer but I will work around it find ways to maintain my physical fitness.

I’ll keep you posted…

Tune Up For My Knees!!

Sep 13, 2016 Eric Toussaint 6 Comments

Today I finally got my Synvisc One injections!! I love my new Othopedic surgeon, Dr. James Gilbert (http://mostsportsmedicine.com/therapist/dr-james-gilbert/). I went to see Dr. Gilbert a few months back to get my aging knees checked out and found out thankfully that I had no new meniscus tears and no arthritis (I have had meniscus repairs on both knees). All good news, but my mileage is high and there is no sign of me slowing down anytime soon.

So it was time to take a preemptive strike…enter Synvisc One (http://www.synviscone.com/what-is-synvisc-one.aspx) . Synvisc One is like adding some lubrication to your knees to help lessen the wear and tear. Especially fitting considering my aggro lifestyle.

After wrangling with my insurance company for two months, I finally had my Synvisc One delivered to Dr. Gilbert’s office (they really went the extra mile to help me in dealing with the ineptitudes of my insurance company) and today I got the injections (one in each knee).

I need to lay low for 48 hours and then can resume normal activity and could notice “relief” within a month. My knees don’t hurt daily, but when I really push hard they ache. I hope this extends my martial arts career, skiing, lifting etc.

I’ll check back with you in a month…

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!!