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The Injury Monster

The Injury Monster
Strength. Anyone who walks into a fitness facility is looking for some form of strength. If you are in it for the right reasons, you are trying to get better. Part of this process will provide increased strength, maybe. In today’s world, everything is at our fingertips. An answer can be found to almost any question that you have. Ask and you shall receive. However, evolution has not quite caught up to the information superhighway. Instead of a search engine, think of your body as a very strict parent. If there is something that you want that is out of the range of food and shelter, it is going to take some effort and dedication to be successful in getting that new car. Sacrifices and guarantees will have to be made. If you try too hard, too fast you will blow it. Get mouthy, and you will be grounded. Your body works in the same manner. When you walk into the gym as a new student understand that the people that are moving major weight with grace and power are the ones who followed the process. Sometimes, though, it happens. You show up after two weeks of private or semi-private classes and you think that you are going to add some weight without your coach clearing you to do so. You may think, “my form is fine, I can add another twenty pounds.” POW!! You tore a muscle, dropped the weight on your foot, broke your wrist due to holding the load improperly, whatever happened, you are now grounded. There is a way to stop this from happening. It is not lifting light weight and not pushing yourself; it’s called train SMARTER so that you can train HARDER.
One of your coach’s main jobs is to keep you from becoming injured during the process of bettering yourself. This does not mean that you will not be pushed during your sessions, only that you will not be pushed into over training. Over training is the slow road to injury that can set you back for longer periods of time than acute injury. If you break your toe from dropping a weight you have a couple of weeks and you are back at it. If you over train and get tendonitis, you may never lift the same again. There is a price for impatience. Trust the plan that your coach has created for you. This will include progressions with load advice from your coach after he/she has accessed your movement capability and current level of strength. This being said, if your movement is limited due to misuse or disuse, then your mobility has to be reclaimed, first and foremost. If you movement is broken, adding weight is the absolute worst thing that you can do. Earn your movement to a point where your coach tells you that you are ready to add weight. Your body will thank you for it in the long run. “No pain, no gain,” is not the mantra anymore. Listen to your body when it speaks or it will start to scream. With this understanding, there is a level of practice that does push practitioners to , and sometimes a little past their limits. This is called over reaching.
Once in a while your coach is going to help you break through a plateau. This method is not done every time that you come in for a session. This will be a special training session where your coach has had the experience to know that you have the form and the strength to move to another level. Understand that this may simply mean that you will be asked to break parallel while squatting only your body weight. This may be over reaching for some. Your coach will show you that your body can do what your mind still thinks it cannot do. Do not do this without the consultation of a professional. If you do, you may get grounded. Trust your coach. He/She has your back. Treat the Injury Monster like a prison shower, always be vigilant and never let yourself be vulnerable. Mindfulness is the key. Sorry, nothing makes the point quite like the last two statements. Now, take this information and get your you-know-what to work and keep getting better!

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How To Choose a Gym


We’ve all been there.  We walk past the magazine rack in a grocery store and see all of the beautiful people air-brushed to show perfect lines and muscle tone.  Then the insecurity starts to set in.  Hmmm, how can I be more attractive to the opposite sex, to my partner, to myself?!  I know, I will join a gym and all my prayers will be answered and my dreams will come true!  Right?!  Sorry buttercup, that may be the worst thing that you can do.  Spending money on a card that gives you 24/7 access to a Nautilus show room floor will not make you a cover model.   So what do I do, you ask?  What you are searching for is a way to make changes that you probably do not have the knowledge to make on your own.  Sure, you could fail your way to success, but what happens to most is that they purchase a gym membership after the New Year’s food and booze binge only to find that they have no clue what they are doing.  Then starts the monotonous cardio training, running miles at a slow pace thinking that goals are being reached and the three sets of curls and 200 crunches are going to make a quarter bounce off your tight ass and you will have abs that could be mistaken for a half –dozen carton of eggs.  Nope.  You will probably stay the same, or maybe even LOSE muscle.  You don’t need a gym. You need a coach, and not just any coach, a well educated professional.

Gyms are nothing but boxes full of equipment that you need instructions for in order for them to work to your benefit.  The best thing that you can do for yourself is to write out a set of goals, reachable goals- SMART goals- Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-Bound goals with a professional who knows how to help you achieve them.  You will have a conversation with your prospective coach.  This conversation will contain information about your medical history regarding injury and if there are any stipulations regarding your cardiovascular health that would be pertinent (i.e. will the prescribed exercise regimen kill you).  Your coach will probably want to know what your current lifestyle consists of regarding eating, level of exercise, and sleep quantity/quality.  If these questions are not being asked of you, then you need to go somewhere else.  A good coach will be honest with you about progress that can be made in a specified time frame.  The best coaches will tell you ”no” if what you are asking them to do will be detrimental to your health.   The best coaches will lead you down a path that will make you better.  This is what achieving a higher degree of fitness will provide for you.  It really does change your life, so do yourself a favor and find the right coach.  Once you find the right coach, the surroundings are inconsequential.

Stay tuned for the next blog post regarding what proper coaching looks like and how to steer clear of the injury monster.

Olympic Lifts. Should we do them?

Olympic Lifts. Should you be doing them?

Interesting question.


These are movements that strike fear into many people. They look dangerous to the naked eye.

Are they?

We have all seen some youtube video where a lift goes bad, recently there was a chap in a crossfit competition who had a freak accident and is now paralyzed.

Does this mean we should avoid these movements all together? My answer is not so simple.

What is the purpose for doing this exercise?

(This question should be asked with EVERY exercise.)

What is the goal?

The goal of Olympic Lifts in a lifting program (clean and jerk &/or snatch) is to increase power production. Or at least this SHOULD be the goal. The problem has become that people now want to do them to make themselves really tired REALLY fast. Yes, they will make you really tired REALLY fast. Olympic lifts are extremely technical and takes years to master for many. The snatch is a particular booger because it takes fantastic mobility to correctly pull off. With a snatch, you need to be able to easily pull off an overhead squat. This requires a combination of coordination, mobility, and strength. The problem occurs when we do not have these traits and try to do an exercise that we basically have not earned the RIGHT to do. There are many steps that must be mastered before we even THINK about doing these movements. They will have tremendous benefit if we have earned the right to do them. These movements will help you become a more explosive individual. Training for POWER will have enormous benefits BUT, appropriate steps must be taken FIRST.