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Prehab Athlete Spotlight Series – Sharon Armstrong

Posted 5 April 2019 by prehab

At Prehab, our passion is working with runners and athletes to help them achieve their goals and stay injury-free doing it. Today, we’re shining our spotlight on Sharon Armstrong, aka The Pineapple Yogi.

Sharon and her fiance, running coach Kai Ng, joined the Prehab family of runners last fall. She’s been working with our team to improve her performance and prevent injury as she kicks up for her Boston Marathon training. With the race coming up on April 15th, we’re helping Sharon through our Running Analysis, Air Recovery Boots, targeted strength training, and more so that she can bring her best to Boston.

Between yoga retreats and training runs, Sharon took the time to share more about herself as this month’s athlete in our Spotlight:

Annie: Where are you from, and how did you wind up in New York City?

Sharon: I’m from upstate – Albany, NY. I spent a phase of my life living in the Caribbean in St. John US Virgin Islands, and after living on a remote island with a 4,000 person population, I realized I was ready for something different. That led to my desire to immerse myself in the polar opposite of remote – moving to the Big Apple! I moved here to focus on growing my health and fitness career.

Annie: Did you always want to be an athlete?

Running 45 or so miles per week!

Sharon: No, but I always cared about my health and fitness, and I started to really focus on it about 10 years ago. I used it as a way to be productive and do something good for myself while also releasing stress. I never actually truly considered myself an athlete, more so just someone who worked hard and therefore was able to see rewarding results.

Annie: What’s the next big goal you’re chasing in your sport?

Sharon: For running, it is running the Boston Marathon this April and PR’ing. I’m aiming for a 3:20 marathon. After that, my goal is to do a Tri, which I’ll absolutely have to get into a swimming regimen for, as living in NYC it isn’t as easy to just swim. And doing a press handstand/holding a handstand for 1 minute or longer can be considered a goal…I never really time mine but…that’s definitely a goal!

Annie: Who are your inspirations and role models?

Sharon: So many – it depends on the sport. Instagram is always feeding my soul with inspirations and motivation. For running I find constant inspiration from Stephanie Bruce, Olymian Brenda Martinez, Karina Elle, Bethany Myers. For yoga: Erin Kelly Art, Tamar Levi, and Morgan Tyler. Also my fiancé, Kai (Coach Kai) is a running master. He is always inspiring me and showing me how to believe in myself. Sounds biased (it is) but it’s still true!

Annie: What are the biggest obstacles you’ve had to overcome on your journey to peak performance?

Sharon: Mental strength. Learning the power of my mind and mindset has been the biggest thing for my all around.
And as of recently, leaning that my body isn’t perfect and that it, too, will fatigue, causing troubled areas in my hips and aches and pains that I didn’t have until just recently. This is an eye opening, humbling experience. Overcoming those challenges when my body physically has aches and pains, pushing through and doing so safely are the things I am working on today!

Annie: What does an average week of training look like for you?

Sharon: As of right now? Training for the Boston Marathon looks like this right now—:)

Mondays- Rest Day
Tuesdays- Speed work (or hill repeats) + Yoga
Wednesdays- Recovery Run
Thursdays-Rest Day
Friday-Speed work #2 with higher mileage
Saturday-Rest Day + Yoga
Sunday- Long Run (14-22 miles

Physical Therapy 1x per week and on my own once or twice (if i’m really disciplined!)

Because I am in peak training times here, my strength training and yoga has taken a backseat to accommodate for all of the running and time needed for that!
When not training for a marathon, my focus is strength training, aka lifting heavy! Yes – heavy! Getting strong(er). And focusing on yoga, which is my passion and first love (sorry to my fiancé).

Annie: Where is your favorite place to run?

Sharon: In nature or parks! Brooklyn Bridge Pier is a favorite also, due to proximity and views/terrain!

Annie: What are your most important off-the-track habits, and have you added any new ones since working with Prehab?

Sharon: SLEEP, fueling with proper nutrition (and enough of it!!), staying hydrated, and giving myself true proper rest. Meditation really helps me stay focused and build mental clarity and strength. Also taking time and creating more patience by incorporating the tools Prehab has given me to maintain my health!

Annie: What is the most helpful tip or insight you’ve learned by working with Prehab?

Sharon: I think it’s all about creating habits. I really have enjoyed how Prehab focuses on runner specific things. Their knowledge is beyond helpful and I am grateful to have them as my PT’s!

Annie: How would you describe the Prehab team?

Sharon: Amazing! Professional yet personal, knowledgeable and super helpful for athletes.

Annie: What are your favorite pre and post race meals?

Sharon: Pre race-usually races are super early. I am a breakfast person and need a full meal before racing. Classic American breakfast if I could pick it! (doesn’t typically happen BUT!)
Post race – Smoothies! I devour them every time, my body craves the hydration!

Annie: What’s your favorite movie?

Sharon: I don’t really watch TV or movies….if I had to pick one it’s likely Wedding Crashers?

Annie: Who is singer or band?

Sharon: This is always changing every few years – right now I’m digging R3hab in any song!

Annie: What’s your favorite sports team?

Sharon: Don’t have one!

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Prehab Athlete Spotlight Series – Ce’Aira Brown

Posted 13 March 2019 by prehab

At Prehab, our passion is working with runners and athletes to help them achieve their goals and stay injury-free doing it.  Today, we’re shining our spotlight on a runner who has been exciting and inspiring us as she busts through impressive PR’s and sets her sights on competing in the IAAF World Championships.

 

Ce’Aira Brown first came to Prehab last month and underwent a full Running Analysis with Dr. Arsen Virobyan.  Through a detailed gait analysis and evaluation of whole-body strength, flexibility, and range of motion, we helped her gain more information about her strengths, weaknesses, and what to do to increase her already powerful athletic performance.  Ce’Aira recently ran her fastest mile in a mind-blowing 4:28:12 in Boston (that’s less than a minute away from the current world record of 3:43:13!).

 

Ce’Aira slowed down long enough to be featured in the first of our Prehab Athlete Spotlight Series.  We’re excited to see more of her in our clinic and on the tracks!

Annie:  Where are you from, and how did you wind up in New York City?

Ce’Aira:  I’m from Philadelphia, PA! I came to New York to train with Frank Gagliano and the NJNY Track club.

Annie: Did you always want to be an athlete?

Ce’Aira:  Growing up in west Philadelphia, we would always race kids down the street in the neighborhood. I would race my brother’s friends and would always win, and from there I knew I wanted to be an athlete.

Annie:  What’s the next big goal you’re chasing in your sport?

Ce’Aira:  The next big goal I am chasing in my sport is making the world team in July.

Annie:  Who are your inspirations and role models?

Ce’Aira:  My inspirations and role models are my family, my father, Coach Gags and my former coach Krystle Hemby.

Annie:  What are the biggest obstacles you’ve had to overcome on your journey to peak performance?

Ce’Aira:  My biggest obstacle I’ve had to overcome was getting used to Coach Gag’s strength workouts!

Annie:  What does an average week of training look like for you?

Ce’Aira:  I average about 55-60 miles a week + speed on Fridays.

Annie: Where is your favorite place to run?

Ce’Aira:  My favorite place to run is the Aqueduct trail in Tarrytown, NY

Annie:  What are your most important off-the-track habits, and have you added any new ones since working with Prehab?

Ce’Aira:  My most important off-the-track habits are strengthening my hamstrings. Since I’ve been working with Prehab I been working on single leg balance!

Annie:  What is the most helpful tip or insight you’ve learned by working with Prehab?

Ce’Aira:  The most helpful tip I’ve learned while working with Prehab is to work on the consistency of my stride, especially for last 100m of my race!

Annie: How would you describe the Prehab team?

Ce’Aira:  I would describe the Prehab team as driven, motivated, caring and hardworking!

Annie:  What are your favorite pre and post race meals?

Ce’Aira:   My favorite pre and post race meal is pasta! I’m a big pasta lover.

Annie:  What’s your favorite movie?

Ce’Aira:  My Favorite movie is Step Brothers

Annie:  Who is singer or band?

Ce’Aira:  My Favorite singer is Summer Walker

Annie:  What’s your favorite sports team?

Ce’Aira:  My favorite sports team is the Philadelphia EAGLES!

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Resting Your Way to Recovery

Posted 25 January 2019 by prehab

pexels-photo-1727717Rest should be accounted for in any training program.


Sleep: A Necessary Reset

On its face, sleep should be the easiest way to recover. One study found that lack of sleep can lead to muscle degradation. 1 But many find it difficult to get the ideal seven-to-nine hours per night.

Sleep improves other facets of health that tangentially affect muscle recovery; the central nervous system (CNS) also recuperates during sleep, which is important for muscles, because the CNS triggers muscle contractions and reaction time. Hormones like cortisol and testosterone, which produce protein synthesis, are also working while we sleep.

-To help optimize sleep, it’s important to set a routine.

Our screens can negatively impact sleep, 2 so 60 – 90 minutes of screenless time before bed can do wonders. The blue light emitted from our devices tricks the brain into thinking it’s daytime and we need to be awake, decreasing our natural melatonin.

It’s also important to create an optimal environment for sleep. Things like blackout curtains, a cooler temperature setting in the bedroom, or a quality mattress can all encourage better, more restful sleep.

Rest Days: Muscles Don’t Take Breaks, But You Should

On a much smaller scale, what’s happening during sleep is also happening on rest days. Work rest days into your training program because they give the body time to repair tissues that have been broken down. 3

Depleted muscle energy stores, micro-tears, fluid loss–all the things that happen during a workout need time to recuperate and grow stronger.

Recovery time depends on your specific routine. Runners can have an especially difficult time doing this. For highly active runners who log miles six days per week, they should also incorporate recovery runs. About half of these runs should be at recovery pace, a slower less-strenuous pace that allows the body to recycle lactate as it’s produced. By increasing blood flow, recovery runs may actually accelerate the recovery process.

Also try to avoid intense workouts or hard runs on back-to-back days. Complete rest days vary by person, but a good goal is one or two rest days every week or ten days. Injury-prone athletes may increase the number of complete rest days during this period.

 


This article was originally published at HVMN.

1. Dattilo M, Antunes H K M, Medeiros A, Mônico Neto M, Souza H S, Tufika S, de Mello M T. Sleep and muscle recovery: Endocrinological and molecular basis for a new and promising hypothesis. Medical HypoCussotheses Volume 77, Issue 2, August 2011, Pages 220-222.
2. Exelmans L, Van den Bulck J .Bedtime mobile phone use and sleep in adults. Soc Sci Med. 2016 Jan;148:93-101.
3. Parra J, Cadefau J A, Rodas G, Amigo N,  R. The distribution of rest periods affects performance and adaptations of energy metabolism induced by high‐intensity training in human muscle. Acta Physiologica Scandinavica, 169: 157-165.
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Women, How Are Your Hips Feeling?

Posted 9 October 2018 by prehab

pexels-photo-1435532

 

 

In our practice, we do see trends in injuries or “trouble areas” in our patients. One trend we notice is hip tightness in physically active females, especially runners. Hip tightness is more than just uncomfortable—it can sometimes alter your stride. In fact, a lot of runners have slight imbalances in their gait, stemming from the hips. We see females with one hip slightly higher than the other, or tightness that causes more strain on one side of the body than the other. What may seem like a minor imbal

ance right now can escalate to injury over time, and it’s very important for active females to be aware of any hip imbalances they have. We see these conditions not only in runners, but also in women who take high intensity interval classes or have other regular exercise routines. There are a plethora of awesome classes out there that provide full body workouts and these classes can be super good for you. However, if you are unaware of your own personal imbalances, especially in your stabilizing joints like the hips, you may easily injure yourself, trying out new, high intensity moves. At Prehab, we help women (and men!) identify their imbalances through Photoelectric Gait Analysis, which takes incredibly accurate data to pinpoint the part of the body these imbalances originate from. After that, we take it one step further, designing a training program to teach you to strengthen the muscles that will support you. For example, women working on hip tightness may need to strengthen their glutes and core for extra support. We also teach people how to stretch properly, as over-stretching can be an issue in the hips for some people as well.

The bottom line is that hip imbalances and tightness can lead to major injuries. It’s important, especially for active individuals to be aware of their bodies and to learn how to strengthen for injury prevention. There are many fun and interesting ways to be active and we don’t want you to miss out!

For more information on female hip pain, check out this fantastic article by Amanda McCracken from Runner’s World Magazine Online: Here 

By: Caitlin Goldie, Holistic Health Coach

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Curcumin: The Miracle Anti-Inflammatory

Posted 10 September 2018 by prehab

pexels-photo-1340116Chances are, you are familiar with Turmeric, that vibrant yellow spice that is now having a big moment in the wellness world. The benefits of Turmeric are long-celebrated but it is just now making its way into mainstream wellness products. The active ingredient in Turmeric, called Curcumin, gives the spice it’s yellow hue and its powerful anti-inflammatory properties. Inflammation plays a key role in chronic diseases, as well as physical injuries and brain health, so upping your turmeric intake has potential to help treat and prevent a large number of different conditions! Dr. Gometz recommends Curcumin for our concussion patients as well, to reduce inflammation of the brain. Additionally, studies show the spice has powerful potential to protect against different forms of neurodegeneration. We highly recommend cooking with turmeric (add some black pepper to help absorption) or taking a Curcumin supplement. In fact, one of our patients came in recently just to tell us that taking a Curcumin supplement greatly reduced her inflammation better than the over the counter anti-inflammatories she had been trying! What a wonderful, natural supplement to add to your diet! For more information on the benefits of Turmeric/Curcumin, check out this wonderful article from MindBodyGreen

By Caitlin Goldie, Holistic Health Coach

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Food For Athletes

Posted 27 August 2018 by prehab

veggies

Knowing how to fuel your muscles properly before and after exercising is paramount when you’re active, especially if you are an athlete.  There are a lot of mixed messages out there about what you should be eating and when. The bottom line is that everyone has their own nutritional needs.  When it comes to making the right choices for our bodies, we must be willing to try new things and to cultivate a true practice of listening to how we feel after different eating choices.  Whether you are working toward muscle building, weight loss, cardiovascular health, hormone balancing, physical toning, or anything else, what you eat is truly a game-changer.

The best, universal tip for fueling and nourishing our bodies is to eat unprocessed foods and to avoid added ingredients that we don’t understand (or can’t even pronounce).  However, beyond eating fresh whole foods, we must also look at nutrient value to support an active lifestyle and to reduce inflammation. Who doesn’t want to maximize their energy?  What you put into your body is what you get to burn! With the right foods in, you’ll have an influx of energy! Some of the best pre-workout foods include: Beets, cordyceps (a type of mushroom, often available as a supplement in powder form), coconut oil, antioxidant-rich berries, quality (and organic) protein, chia seeds, spinach, and other green leafy vegetables.  Consider adding some coconut water to fuel your workouts as well for electrolytes and a great boost of quick energy. Note that for all foods, organic is better. You could still get nutrients from non-organic foods. However, our body’s natural filtration system will be working extra hard to filter out chemicals from non-organic food. These chemicals can slow us down and build up in our bodies over time.  If you’re serious about your health, start to incorporate more organic foods into your diet. Your body will thank you in the long run!

For a breakdown on the nutritional benefits of the foods listed above, check out this great article from Dr. Axe, written by Rachael Link by Clicking Here

By Caitlin Goldie, Certified Holistic Health Coach

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Hydration For Runners

Posted 9 August 2018 by prehab

water photo      1. Start Your Day With H2O 

Do you drink a big glass of filtered water every morning to start your system? If not, make that part of your morning routine. Try squeezing some fresh lemon in it to stimulate the liver and keep detoxification pathways going strong.

      2. Filter Your Water

Invest in a high quality water filter (and not the kind that just sits in your fridge). Even if the tap water in your area doesn’t make you sick, there are always many extra particles in tap water. Whether it’s residue from your piping or other bits of inevitable pollution, you don’t want to ingest it.

      3. Use A Glass Bottle

Get yourself a glass water bottle. Yes, glass. There are many glass bottles out there with rubber cases (so they don’t break). Many studies show that when we drink from plastic water bottles, especially if they’ve been in the heat, we are ingesting estrogen-mimicking components that throw off our hormonal balance.  Thiscan cause a laundry list of health complications that none of us want to face. So, to give your body a well-deserved break, drink from a glass bottle whenever you can. If you’re going on a run with a water bottle, look for metal bottles that are touted as being safe from dangerous metals. Glass is better for everyday use but, of course, can be heavy.

        4) Add In Electrolytes

Ok, now think about adding electrolytes to your water.  Sports drinks tend to be super high in sugar, so we recommend staying away. However, there are other electrolyte supplements out there! We recommend electrolyte drops that you can add to water. Also, adding some Himalayan Pink salt to a glass or two of your water each day will actually help your body retain hydration throughout the day.

         5) Listen To Your Body

The best way to determine if you are drinking enough water is to listen to your body’s natural signs.  Isyour mouth dry? Are you light-headed? Have you been sweating today? Do you have headaches? Are you having regular bowel movements? If you’re fighting some sort of infection you will also need to up your water intake.  There are lots of signs our body needs more water and we often ignorethem. If you’re training for a marathon, or upping your running routine, be aware of how much you’re sweating. If all of a sudden, you notice you’re sweating less, you could actually be dehydrated.

For more information about Hydration, specifically for runners, check out this great article by Holly Martin at:  https://draxe.com/hydration-tips-for-runners-including-race-day-prep/

By Caitlin Goldie, Certified Holistic Health Coach

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High Stress? Here’s How to Exercise

Posted 30 July 2018 by prehab

exercise-jog-jogging-1199590In this day and age, many of us experience a high level of stress. Short-term stress can help us achieve goals and stay motivated. However, our society is seeing a large increase in chronic stress levels, which play a negative role in our personal health.  When we experience chronic stress, our sympathetic nervous system is consistently activated and we go into “fight or flight” mode. Cortisol pumps through our bodies in order to better prepare us to run. Our nutrient absorption is compromised, as blood flow goes from our digestive organs to our muscles, literally preparing us to run from danger.  Of course this is not our brain’s intent, but our bodies don’t know the difference between active, physical danger and mental and emotional stress.

Cortisol abundance is actually one of the biggest challenges for people who are trying to lose weight. Do you exercise regularly and still have “stubborn” belly fat?  Oftentimes, we see patients who are active, love doing cardio multiple times a week, have high-stress jobs, eat healthily, and still have weight to lose around the middle. These same people often have some level of inflammation throughout their bodies.  For these patients, a fast-paced life often feels right–it is how they feel they are wired and they are often reaching amazing goals in their lives. However, we must all remember that constant stimulation (both physical and mental) increases cortisol surges which play a key role in weight and inflammation.  Phew! How do we balance out without compromising our obligations and achievements?

The answer is multifaceted. However, changing your exercise routine is a wonderful place to start. We like this article from The Poliquin Group, highlighting possibilities for some weight bearing and light cardio, plus the addition of yoga, acupuncture, meditation, or other practices that slow down the sympathetic nervous system.  If you are struggling with stress management and weight issues, feel free to reach out to us too. We have a full team of wellness practitioners at Prehab who specialize in creating health and lifestyle plans that meet you where you are, to elevate you to the optimal health we know you can achieve.

 

By Caitlin Goldie, Certified Holistic Health Coach

 

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Foam Rolling

Posted 2 July 2018 by prehab

foamroller-itb-1000x636-1505324162

If you’ve been to our wellness clinic on the Upper East Side, you’ve probably seen our foam rollers—(you know, those long cylindrical pieces of foam that somewhat resemble rolling-pins for baking). Well, they actually serve a similar function for our bodies….ok, hear me out: when you put your weight on them and roll them along your muscles, they serve a variety of purposes, including a sort of self-massage that can be highly relaxing. So what exactly is this foam rolling-pin doing to our bodies? A big component is myofascial release. Fascia is a system of collagen fibers that surround our muscles, nerves, and organs. When we exercise or if we have old injuries, the fascia can become sore and restricted, causing discomfort and increasing our risk for injury. Foam rolling over tight areas can help release the fascia and helps allow it to repair. Think swifter recovery and heightened detoxification abilities. Be careful not to push it too hard, as foam rolling can be painful depending on how tight you are. Test the waters a bit and don’t dwell for too long on painful spots. You may need to work your way up to certain areas that are too tight. If you have an injury, ask your physical therapist if foam rolling is right for you. Feel free to ask us any questions you may have regarding foam rolling. We’d love to help clear up any confusion and demonstrate proper technique!

Here are some other great benefits of foam rolling:

  • Reduction of cellulite
  • Stimulation of lymphatic system/better immune system
  • Stimulation of circulation
  • Stress reduction/lower cortisol levels
  • Increased flexibility and range of motion
  • Faster recovery from exercise
  • Injury prevention

Check out this article from Dr. Axe to read more in-depth about the benefits and techniques of foam rolling:  https://draxe.com/foam-roller-exercises/

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Meditation? Yes, It’s Good For Almost Everything!

Posted 11 June 2018 by prehab

What do you think of when you hear the word: “meditation?”blog post

Until recently, I thought of meditation as sitting, legs crossed on a pillow on the ground and staring calmly at a wall for 30 minutes or more. My image of meditation was boring and frankly, seemed impossible to get into. However, with all the recent hype about meditation within the wellness community, I decided to give it a try. I now use an app on my phone called “Headspace”…. and I love it. You can download this or other apps (there are so many!) and test it out free of charge. The apps provide what is called a “guided meditation,” meaning a calm voice explains the principles of meditation and reminds you to pay attention to your breath. You can select the level of meditation you are comfortable with from Beginner to Advanced. Rest assured that you will not be overwhelmed as a beginner—it’s easy to start for a handful of minutes! What I’m learning is that the key to meditation is not necessarily the amount of time you spend, rather it’s your consistency with it. I started with a daily 3-minute session and gradually worked my way up to 5 minutes a day. Personally, I change the time of day based on my schedule, but some people find a consistent meditation schedule to be helpful in holding them accountable. I promise you, you can carve out 3 minutes a day to help your body and mind. And with all the AMAZING, scientifically-proven benefits listed in the article from “Live and Dare” below, why not give it a try? Check this article out!

https://liveanddare.com/benefits-of-meditation/

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