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    Outdoor Conditioning Coach/owner
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Courtenay's Achievements


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  1. Don't forget the effect that excess adrenaline can have as well -- after any tough climb that is either really sketchy, exposed, or otherwise leaves you on edge for many hours, your nervous system (in addition to the musculoskeletal system) is going to be shot and will require anywhere from 2-5 days of "active recovery" that is not the specific sport you were engaged in to cause the adrenaline boost.
  2. I second the poster who said Pringles. I also like Thai food the night before and morning of. I'm serious. Chocolate is also good, in trail mix or as those mini bars/bite sized so you can eat exactly the amount you want at any one time. I also like Gu for anything over 12K feet. My preference for bars (quick energy, more sugar than they should have but yummy) are the Balance Gold or Balance Plus chocolate mint or Snickers-like bars -- they have a new line of crunchy cookie bars that are pretty darn tasty as well. Short of it is: whatever YOU MOST LIKE and will get you eating regularly. Some folks swear Thai food is too heavy to tote -- but man, do those leftovers fuel me well!
  3. Well, I must admit I have never done or had anyone do that particular one. Nor, in fact, have I ever seen anyone do it! So that must be a good sign.
  4. Long and short of it is this: if your rotator cuff muscles are weak, you're going to need to do rotator cuff exercises. If you are unbalanced (read: more vertical pulling -- from climbing -- than anything else) you're setting yourself up for shoulder injuries that may or may not be helped by rotator cuff exercises. Lateral raises with straight arms (locked elbows) are going to be painful for most people, but the suggestion to bend the elbows slightly, only lift to shoulder level, and keep hands slightly in front of the body should help (more like "L-raises"). A "bad" shoulder exercise FOR YOU is one that makes you feel pain -- simply changing something about it (range of motion, hand position, body position" may be enough to make it feasible to complete that very same exercise that used to cause you trouble. And if you DO have shoulder issues, I'd suggest avoiding lat pull downs BEHIND the head as those also seem to be troublesome for many painful shoulder conditions -- then again, for others it is not contraindicated at all.
  5. As to adjustable ramps stressing the Achilles, the main consideration you need to make is whether you'll be using the highest setting or not -- Some of the models I've tried DO stress the Achilles, BUT then again if you're a climber going up steep hills or training for cramponing and WANT the occasional stress on those muscles so they adapt, then it's not necessarily a BAD thing...
  6. Actually, Robert, I'll side with you and say I disagree with the "outside only" recommendations. I LOVE my Elliptical Precor 544, which we got refurbished 5 years ago for about $2K. The newer 546's are double the price and wonderfully smooth, with a higher ramp (about 10 degrees greater). I personally don't really like the ones with the arms, I find those get in my way. Since I'm admittedly more of a fair-weather climber, I'll take step aerobics or ellipticizing over getting drenched hands down, BUT everyone is different. I suggest before buying one that you try as many models as you can to compare strides, smoothness, features, programs, bells and whistles and then get the one that best suits you. Size/footprint may be as much an issue in a home gym as cost. Performance, too. I see EFX's as one of the more versatile non-impact training options, easier on people's knees than traditional stair climbers, and perfect as an alternative to biking (as they allow you to load the spine as in climbing) and as a cross-training option for runners. You can go forward, backward (to target different muscles) high ramp or low, and for those clients I see coming back from lower extremity injury, the EFX seems to be a wonderful option (I used mine during a spell with plantar fasciitis and in rehabbing a broken foot). Anyway, my $.02. Bottom line: I love 'em!
  7. Just one addition to Glassgowkiss's fine spiel: every body is different, so what works for one person in terms of a suitable stretch probably WON'T for someone else. Best to meet with someone qualified to assess range of motion, tight and weak areas and then get a specially designed stretching or yoga program that meets your own body's needs. While some of the stretches in Anderson's Stretching book are classics and still applicable, I'm with GGK that active stretching is the way to go -- Pavel Tsatsouline has a great book out called Super Joints (available through a Google search or at Dragondoor.com) if you're interested in a new resource that might help with education. Use it or lose it -- as we age (and get increasingly busy), flexibility is one of the first things that goes out the door and should be mandatory at least 3 times a week for 10 minutes to keep you where you are or help you increase gradually.
  8. Rest it, ice, anti-inflammatories, e-stim, strength and stretch the opposing muscles... And if it doesn't start getting better in a few weeks, you may want to see a PT for specific exercises to get you moving in the right direction. I've even had good success with clients using different grips (i.e. PVC piping or washcloths around handles) just to give the gripping muscles a break. Works for me every time. Work around it in pain-free movement patterns as much as possible. Worst thing sometimes is not doing ANYTHING, as the limbs need blood flow and added nutrients to help heal. Anytime I stop doing something entirely is when things keep getting worse. Hope that makes sense. Good luck.
  9. Another point: stress levels! Case in point: when I was working in DC before grad school, I had a nice healthy number; 2 years later, in the midst of a stressful grad program, it had skyrocketed higher than I care to admit; as soon as I got out of the grad school program, reducing my total stress levels significantly (no real changes in intake or exercise, mind you, primarily rise and fall in stress) it came back down. Might not be the case for EVERYONE, but if high cholesterol runs in the family AND you are in a particularly stressful career/job, it can be contributing as much as foods and exercise.
  10. Here's the link to the article I wrote last year after making it through my own bout: http://www.bodyresults.com/E2plantarf.asp. Key is 1) switching activity to stop aggravating it (i.e. you may find that biking or swimming vs. running/hiking may help give it a rest); 2) gentle massage of the bottoms of the feet first thing in the morning (to warm up the tissue) before you take your first steps, and 3) splint the foot in a right-angle position while you sleep so the fascia can't tighten up while the foot is totally relaxed. E-stim and deep tissue work on the calves (active release techniques) can also be very helpful. Good luck.
  11. The hot-cold method is known as contrast bathing and IS remarkably helpful for restoration. However, any method is only so effective, it's better to have an arsenal of tricks up your sleeve. For more on this, see the article at http://www.bodyresults.com/E2restoration.asp that includes heat-cold, massage, active recovery, rest tips etc.
  12. I would agree with the recommendations to 1) see a qualified trainer, 2) see a massage therapist, or 3) visit a physical therapist. Nearly every chiropractor I have heard about subscribes to the "rack and crack," even the one I go to. I happen to see him perhaps once every 3-6 months as the need comes up (I know when I need an adjustment as a specific pain crops up every so often meaning I've slipped out of alignment) but regardless of his message to come back in 3 days, I do what my body needs. If he's saying it will take 12-15 more visits, and you haven't seen major improvement or relief, try something else. Better yet, pull a fast one on him and ask point blank what's causing the problem and what exercises (stretches or strength) you can do to prevent recurrence. IF his answer is more adjustments, rather than preventative care you can do yourself, turn away and never go back.
  13. And don't forget to add some strength endurance in the opposing muscle groups (rhomboids from horizontal pulls, triceps for manteling, core strength, and reverse curls/Thor hammer wrist exercises) in order to balance out the body, enabling you to climb harder and longer because you're able to prevent injuries from instabilities. In my experience, high 5.11-5.12 seems to be the threshold where strength becomes of higher importance, BUT you need a good base of general full body strength, whoever you are, to get tendons, ligaments and joints (not to mention muscles) ready for added strain of climbing. Depends on what your goals are and your definition of strength, but there are MANY advantages to having a good solid base, whoever you are and whatever your goals.
  14. <<Nutrition experts concede that a high-protein diet may be useful for individuals choosing a starvation diet as a way to get rid of excess body fat over the short term, since the high protein intake will minimize muscle tissue loss during the given period of restricted calorie intake. Over the long term, optimal body fat levels are maintained after a period of weight loss only when followed by exercise habits that elevate the metabolic rate. Commands from the brain prove indomitable when compelling subjects to consume a given quota of calories. That calorie quota is roughly equal to that amount required to maintain given body weight when sedentary. Resistance to hunger proves futile for reducing percent body fat. Individuals eat as commanded by the brain, and the brain normally responds to weight loss achieved by calorie restriction by requiring a compensatory period of over-indulgence that results in a net increase of body fat. Thus, subjects that attempt to lose weight by restricting calorie intake alone invariably experience a net increase in percent body fat in the long term. Food consumption is driven by hunger, which is a command issued by the brain. Calorie intake alone provides for the satiation of hunger. Satiation is proven completely independent from the source of calories, be it protein, fat, or carbohydrate. Metabolic rate is the primary variable affecting body fat content that a healthy individual can control to obtain favorable long-term results. As a case in point, the protein diet is completely ineffective as a way for a sedentary individual to achieve a net reduction of body fat. Moreover, to the extent that body fat is dependent only on calories consumed and calories used, all fad diets are irrelevant. The relevant factor is physical exercise. Fat people that are fit suffer far less mortality from cardiovascular disease than do thin people that are sedentary! ---- Sources: Physiology lectures and UW Med Center Hall Health Clinic lectures currently broadcasted regularly on uw2.tv cable channel ----
  15. I have a recent, detailed article on preventing recurrence and a whole slew of exercises for strengthening the hamstrings at: http://www.bodyresults.com/E2HamstringStrains.asp
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