Shanta recently completed her first 60 days at CrossFit Jungle Gym and sat down with Coach James to discuss her progress over the last few months.
“Hi everyone, I’m Shanta.”
What brought you to CrossFit Jungle Gym?
“Well I started out about a year go, but then I ended up getting cancer and went through treatment. Then I was like, you know what, instead of going to the gym or going into boxing I really enjoyed CrossFit and the atmosphere, everyone was so welcoming. I was just like I need to get back, it feels like a real community and everyone supports you.”
Tell us about your success over the last 60 days?
“I did gain a little bit of skeletal muscle and I did shaved some time(2 minutes!) off the first workout that I came in and did. “
What would you say was your first sign of progress?
“My first sign of progress was when I was able to squat with some weight.”
What would you say was the biggest obstacle we helped you overcome over the first 60 days?
“I guess you could say the upper body. When I first came, I couldn’t do a push up, I had to do it with the box. When it came to doing the toes to bar, I didn’t know if I could hold myself up. So I realized that I can hold myself up – I did the 15 second hold and the knees(to elbows).”
There is another Shanta at home, watching this video, she’s in the same shoes you were in before you signed up, what do you say to her?
“I would say come on in, its probably going to be the best decision you will every make. If you want to get fit everyone here is welcoming, judgement free and they support you – it doesn’t matter, wherever you are at.”
I’ve been thinking about it since early November. Not getting to see my family back in Wisconsin, not being with Vanessa’s family for Thanksgiving maybe not for Christmas either. Was last year the last time I’ll celebrate the Holidays with them? Will COVID or another medical ailment get to them? Will old age? Will a freak accident take someone from the family? Maybe even some of my relatives would miss seeing me around for the next holiday gathering?
There’s only so much in life that one can control but what I do know as time ticks by every person past their prime is inching ever closer towards the end. Mortality is very motivating to me. That motivation drives me to improve my health and to inspire those I love to do the same. I care about you… so you’ve been invited to workout or taught to squat at least once during a family gathering. In my family we’ve many entire holiday dinner’s talking about the mathematics behind fitness and why we must all strive to become more fit. The answer… To enjoy more of these holidays together. Simply, fitness is the buffer between us and a poor quality of life or death.
I don’t want to be the person who will be missing at the holiday gatherings next year (or the next 50 years). I hope all my loved family members feel the same, being motivated to take care of themselves. The only thing I fear is that they don’t have the tools to build the fitness buffer themselves, so… I encourage them at every opportunity to take action on their fitness.
What is your mental age? What is your physical age? What is your actual age?
I think we could all agree there is some “peak” age physically and mentally we’d love to operate at. If we consider professional sports as the testing ground for physical and mental acuity then the peak age is somewhere between 24-30, that 100% open for debate. I’m sure you already know that you can change how your body and mind feels by taking care of it. What might be of contention by some is that EVERYONE’S peak age is in their 20’s. That purely depends on what age you decided to TRY and what methods you used.
Your janky, achy joints that talk to you…
If your right knee is “janky”, your back “aches” and your shoulder “talks to you”… you are not at peak physical condition. It’s also not time to throw in the towel or chalk it up to “getting old”. It’s time to put in some work… you don’t get rid of “janky” by just hoping it’ll go away. “Janky” happens from improper movement repeated over time. “Achy” happens from not training appropriate capacity. When your joint “talks to you” it’s usually a simple flexibility fix.
Reaching peak physical condition
Starts with gaining function of all your joints. 100% joints don’t feel like crap. The have full range of motion, they have strength and all ranges of motion and they have endurance. Do you know what full flexibility of the shoulder looks like? Full strength? Full endurance? If you want your joints to match the mental age you feel, let’s get your joints moving, get them moving properly, get them strong and capable. Functional movements will help, a coach can teach you. Intensity of training will help, a coach will guide you the your appropriate intensity level.
Turn back the clock on your joints…
If you want some help making your joints feel the age they are book an intro with a coach today.
How often do you think about what makes you truly happy?
I take about 1 hour a week to recall what is going well in my life… as an athlete, as a husband/father, as a business owner, as a coach (Bright Spots Friday is my favorite day of the week!). Acknowledging progress is about becoming happy and realizing how capable I am. I find myself every night thinking about either how happy am I or what changes I’d like to make to improve my happiness.
My happiness generally comes from my capability to do most physical tasks… with ease, pain free and without having to wonder aka feeling capable. Yet even more happiness comes from a conscious decision to challenge my physical and mental capabilities. It’s probably pretty easy to connect the dots why I enjoy training so much…
You may not enjoy challenges like I do but I’ve never met a person who didn’t want to feel capable or confident. Not only do I want you to feel capable I want you to BE capable. When and where is the time to find your capabilities? In the gym… you need to test the limits to find the limits.
You have to…
You have to squat because it tells you about the function of your lower body. Long workouts where you run out of breathe are important so you know if you have cardiovascular endurance. You need to lift heavy weights. You have to practice coordinated skills. Why? Because you need to do literally all of those things in your daily life.
If you improve your squat it turns into better function of the hips, knees and ankles. What does that function mean to you? Now you can get down on your hands and knees and do some of the handy stuff you used to do. Does that mean you can chase your toddler around without your knee hurting? I hope so. You won’t need someone to help you off of the ground if you fall down, if you’re capable. Being capable might mean you can lift more 2×4’s than anyone else on the job. You tell me what it is to you, but you need the function of all of your body parts… not just your hips, knees and ankles.
Who is in the nursing home?
Think about literally every person who is in a nursing home right now. Why are they there?Loss of physical capability. It’s very hard to become happy if your aren’t capable. We pair the two… with well rounded training programs. Good programs don’t just maintain capacity but build it no matter your age. Every time you step in the gym for a well rounded training program you put yourself another step further from being in the nursing home yourself.
At some point, at some age your ability to build capacity slows down don’t wait too long to get started, you’re the one who will pay the price for it. Just remember you need shoulder range of motion to wipe, and you need hip strength and range to squat down to and stand up from the toilet. Wiping your butt and squatting to the toilet by themselves do not train your improvement, challenging the boundaries of your range of motion and strength does. You should squat with weight, you should squat low, you should squat fast… at the very minimum by contrast your daily functions will feel easier.
Being capable makes me happy… helping other become more capable is my life’s purpose!
I want to just give you guys a demo today. I just got a little set up here you just a makeshift set up in my garage that will show you what a joint looks like with a simple analogy.
What makes up up joint?
We’ve got bone, tendon and muscles.
Bone, it’s rigid doesn’t bend it’s moved by muscle which is attached to the bone by a tendon.
Muscle is something (like this bungee cord) that’s stretchy pliable it’s supposed to move and contract. Both shorten and lengthen… just like this bungee cord.
Here I’ve got some sort of strap. It’s not stretchy okay, just like your tendons in in your joints… not stretchy. Tendons attach muscle to bone. Now tendons happen to be sensitive, they’re not very stretchy or pliable, they are more like cables the bend in many directions but they don’t lengthen.
Movement and Tension
To move, muscles contract and relax they pull on tendons which then move the bones. Simple right… exercise, daily activities etc. Now what happens when they move a lot more than normal or move a weight for example that they’re not accustomed to they get sore and tight. They knot up, what happens is they get knots or get stuck in this short position. This end is normally attached to another bone (by another tendon). When the muscle is tight and short it pulls on this little sensitive piece of tendon. It’s right here, that’s what’s getting yanked on. I can put tension on the bone (my example bone doesn’t move, okay) but the tendon is the thing that’s getting stretched on. If you have ever heard of tendonitis (of basically any joint) it ends up being is where “this sensitive tendon is being pulled on by a tight or stretched muscle”itis.
If we want to relieve some of that discomfort it’s not it’s not going to come in the way of stretching, right? Pulling more tension on that tendon that is already sensitive to being stretched is not going to make it feel any better. We need to loosen this muscle up without stretching it. We’ll loosen it up so that we take some of the tension off of that tendon. We’ll use a technique called smashing and flossing (kelly starrett) or you could consider it self massage.
Relieving Muscle Tension
If you look at the bungee cord in my example… it’s like you can see is like how who’s have this muscle or like this this bungee cord for example you can see that my little setup is starting to slide down okay there’s no longer being pulled on and what happens is that this tendon is injured okay we may not fix the problem by loosening the muscle but what we will do is relieve some of that pain because we’re not constantly pulling on it so if I have a bunch of tension on a sensitive tendon pain okay if we can loosen that up so there’s not as much it doesn’t necessarily heal feel any damages happen to have the tenant but it gives it some slack so that it’s not feeling discomfort so two things you can do is you can do smashing and flossing so like that’s you know I’ll cover that another in other videos
Cooling in a short position…
Flossing gets those sliding services that are in the muscle to loosen back up and feed slack to the joint, more specifically to the tendon. Usually people feel comfortable after a warm up or during their workout. It’s before a workout or after the body has cooled down that they’re feeling sore like they’re feeling sensitive. What ends up happening after a workout is your muscles are nice and loose, they’re being stretched and then all of a sudden they stop being moved and they started to tighten up, now they just kind of get cooled down… then they end in the state of tension. What you need to do is, some of that smashing and flossing or just a continued warm up to keep those muscles loose and long. While they’re warm get them long. When they start to tighten up do a smash and a floss or warm back up again and stretch it.
Generally speaking muscles are very adaptable and are used to being moved and tightened and shortened and they’re cool with being stretched. Okay, you may think otherwise because it can be painful to stretch. But muscles are meant to move, bones not meant to bend and are not very sensitive. If you break one… you’ll feel the sensitivity but for the most part like there you’re not feeling with them a whole lot. The tendon’s are the ones that cause you the most grief though. The best way to alleviate tendon pain is to relieve muscle tension so that they have plenty of slack to chill out while you’re at a resting state!
Questions? Reach out we’d love to help!
If you have any more questions about this one let me know and I’d love to cover them for you.