Failed At Reaching Your Fitness Goals Last Year? Try Another Approach!

Theralution New Years Resolution Pic

I know, I know, it’s another year and the last thing you want to be reminded about are the fitness goals you’ve failed to accomplish last year. Like many of us, it’s a recurrent problem and year after year we all say the same thing “This year I’m really going to change and stick to my goals!” when In fact, we are less likely to be successful. A study conducted by Harris Interactive cites that as many as 73% of people who set fitness goals as New Year’s resolutions actually fail to complete them.

So how do we break this continuous cycle in order to achieve our fitness goals? The answer? If something is not working then change your approach.

1.     Understand your motivation.

Defining your motivation and understanding the reason for improving your fitness is the most important step. For every decision or choice that we make, there is always a reason behind everything that we do. By identifying your motivation this allows you to establish concrete goals and have direction in pursuit of accomplishing them. For example: Are you motivated to lose weight this year for an upcoming wedding or class reunion? Trying to get in shape for an annual physical? Have you recently recovered from an injury and trying to prepare for an upcoming marathon? Remember, this can be an ongoing process that may start with a specific objective, but can eventually blossom into multiple goals.

 

2.     Set obtainable fitness goals.

If you blindly attempt to start a fitness routine by going to the gym without setting your goals, you’ve already failed before you’ve begun. Set concrete obtainable fitness goals by setting a goal that has a purpose, is measurable, and has an expected completion date. Doing this, means you’re more likely to stick with your goal, as you realize there is an end in sight.

 

3.     Set goals socially, but don't count on them!

You are more likely to accomplish your fitness goals if you are held responsible for them. A good way to stay committed to your goals is to let others know what you are doing and trying to accomplish them with friends. In fact, 44% of those who make a New Year’s resolution find it easier to make resolutions between friends and family according to a study by FeelUnique.com. Whether sharing your fitness goals with friends, family members, or social media followers, this helps to keep you focused and is also great for accountability. However, if you choose to achieve a fitness goal with someone (e.g. loosing weight) realize that self-motivation plays an important factor here. Understand that there will be times when you may be working alone towards your goals and you must remain motivated and disciplined to stay the course.

 

4.     Time, time, time plays a factor.

We are a busy culture. You’re probably saying to yourself right now “There isn’t enough time in the day”. We’re continuously filling our schedule with so many obligations that we have little time to attend to ourselves. Avoid the pitfall of limited time and achieve your fitness goals this year by carving out a designated time in order to accomplish your resolution. Try this. Sacrifice an hour to get an hour. Add time to your schedule by going to bed an hour early, therefore allowing you to wake up earlier in order to work out at the gym.

 

5.     Have patience it takes 21 days.

In order to form new habits and break old patterns it takes at least 21 solid days of change. Understand that in a culture of instant gratification, nothing is instant as it pertains to fitness. I continuously warn my clients that the first 21 days are going to be the hardest. You will be tested and encouraged to break your newly formed routine, but you must remain disciplined and hang in there. Yes, you will be frustrated because you don’t see results fast enough, but a good rule of thumb for guidance is to remember that an ideal goal weight loss is two pounds per week and 6 weeks for noticeable physical change.

 

6.     Keep it fresh avoid boredom.

Change it up and try something new every week. Keep it fun and interesting by trying a new fitness class, rotating between cardio, interval and strength training or try the rock-climbing wall at your gym. Keep it fresh by utilizing the technology you already have to help guide you through the process. Social fitness apps such as Fitocracy or gadgets like the Fitbit help to track your performance, tailor workouts, and track your progress. Changing your routine often and keeping things interesting means you’re more likely to stick to your fitness goals and avoid boredom.

 

7.     Dedicate yourself to learning.

You can complete 100 squats 500 burpies and 10,000 clamshells, but if you’re not practicing the correct technique you’re not going to get the result you are looking for. Take time to learn the correct technique, reps, sets, and proper form for various exercises. Understand the importance of flexibility, strength training and improving cardio toward accomplishing your goals.

 

8.     If there is one thing to take from this post, think about nutrition.

If there is one thing you need to change, it’s your nutrition. I can’t emphasize enough how nutrition plays and important role in transforming your body. And no, you don’t have to only eat salads. Who wants to do that? That’s boring anyway. Change it up a bit by supplementing your hard work with good healthy eating habits. I follow fitmencook.com, which offers a variety of interesting, innovative menu choices such as superhero sweet potato sliders, and Mediterranean chicken wraps. All the recipes are carb friendly, protein boosters, and break down the macronutrients to help you reach your fitness goals while improving your eating habits.

 

9.     The most important phase of changing your approach: The Maintenance phase. 

You’ve accomplished your personal fitness goals. It took you 3 months 5 days and 23 hours and now you’re the proudest person on the face of the earth. What do you do now? Beware; it’s very easy to fall back into your old habits without good structure. The maintenance phase is one of the most important phases in fulfilling your new years resolution. Remember, this is an ongoing process. Keep up with your new habits. Never let your hard work go to waste. Even though you’ve accomplished your current fitness goals continue your progress and challenge yourself by setting new ones. This helps you to maintain your current gains while striving for new goals.

 

I'm taking my own advice. I truly believe in order to be successful you have to lead by example. It wouldn’t be right for me to give advice and not take it myself. So I would like to lead by example and share my fitness goals socially. This year I’m motivated to compete in the 2015 Tough Mudder on June 13th in Dowswell Virginia, and in the process I would like to improve my lean body mass by losing 30 pounds. With proper nutrition, keeping it fun and my readers keeping me accountable I believe I will be successful in fulfilling my fitness goals. Follow me through my journey as I bring in the New Year with a bang.

Refuse to be another statistic. Fulfill your New Year's Fitness goals by identifying your motivation, remaining disciplined and staying the course. I would love to hear about one of your fitness goals for 2015. Feel free to share it in the comment section below. Happy New Year!

Posted on January 2, 2015 .

11 Last Minute Gifts for Physical Therapist

Theralution Christmas

So time is counting down and you just remembered that you forgot to grab a gift for your physical therapist. Trying to figure out the perfect gift and what’s appropriate can be very hectic and confusing. The last thing you want to do is waste money on a gift that is going to spend some time in the back closet or better yet be regift to someone else later.

Below, I’ve listed 11 last minute gifts any therapist would love. Why do I call them last minute gifts? I call them last minute gifts because these are gifts you can pick up in a store or order online at least 3 days in advanced prior to the holidays. Any date beyond that point, good riddance to you. Before you check out the list, just remember the ABCD’s of gift giving so your gift will avoid the back closet-dating shuffle.

·      Avoid being insensitive and offending your therapist with your gift.

·      Be sure to include gift receipts.

·      Can you truly say that you put thought into your gift?

·      Does your gift make sense?

1.    A Fit Bit. 'Tis the season for cool gizmos and gadgets. Help your physical therapist keep track of their performance with upgraded style. With the all in one fitness app included, this is a great gift for the therapist with a little techie in them.

2.    Happy Socks. Figuratively, these socks can speak for themselves. Nothing starts a conversation like some happy socks. Check out the holiday gift guide for more inspiration.

3.    Race Entry. For the therapist who is a runner and hangs their medals in the clinic like badges of honor, this is the gift for them. Physical therapists tend to be competitive by nature. I’m pretty sure that likely you’ve heard them speak about their preparation for an upcoming race, all while they’re strategically digging into your trigger points.  Feed their competitive spirit with a gift that not only test their physical endurance but also supports a great cause like Team In Training.

4.    Baked Goods/Food. Please, Please, Please, no fruit baskets. Save your money. These items always seem to have the same fate; someone will sample a piece of fruit, then the rest will sit in the back office until its time to meet its maker. Better items to consider are baked goods or a party platter for the office. Here is one of my favorites. I call this the holy grail of all party platters; the Chick Fil A party platter.

5.    Groupon/Living Social Deal. Tried a new salsa class or visited a delicious Indian restaurant lately? Did you find these deals on Groupon or Living social? You can share these and many more unique experiences by purchasing a Living Social or a Groupon deal for your therapist. Remember the ABCD’s of gift giving; especially D. Does your gift make sense? Avoid purchasing skydiving lessons for a therapist who is afraid of heights! That doesn’t come across so well.

6.     Fitness Band w/ iTunes Gift Card.  With the new iterations of the iPhone coming out every year, I have yet to see someone carrying their iPhone 6/plus (Is it just me or does the device look like a small TV?) while working out. Gift your therapist a fitness band and surprise them with purchasing power by including an iTunes gift card inside.

7.    Pets Mart Gift Card. (My dog Buxton would love this one). You’ve probably heard your therapist mention or have seen photos of their furry companion. This is a great gift for the pet loving therapist. Nothing warms the heart and eases the pockets than a gift for more dog food and pet toys during the holidays.

8.    Scented Lotions. Physical therapists are constantly using their hands. It’s through their hands they’re able to change lives and help clients reach their goals.  Because of the constant washing after clients, their hands tend to crack and become dry very easy. Give the gift that keeps giving by supplying your therapist with scented hand care so their hands can continue to change the world one client at a time.

9.    Cold Weather Running Gear. Shopping for the active physical therapist? These are great gift especially for the cold winter months. Don’t forget the gift receipt just in case they may have to exchange it for a different size, fit or color.

10. Gift Card to Their Favorite Restaurant. Everyone loves to eat! Enough said. Just remember to include a decent amount for their significant other; no one wants to eat alone.

11.  Movie Tickets. One of the best gifts that I’ve ever received from a client was a pair of movie tickets. I recently went to the movies to see an IMAX film and tickets where $19 bucks a piece. Can you believe that? Not including the popcorn and soda combo, which was $13 bucks. Help offset the cost by including movie tickets in your Christmas card. They will surely come in handy for a quick date night.

There you have it! 11 last minute gifts for your physical therapist. Good luck and hopefully next year you wont be in the same predicament. Do you have any other suggestions? Feel free to comment below.

Posted on December 20, 2014 .

For Physical Therapy Clients, 5 Things to Be Aware of When Updating Your Current Insurance Benefits For The Coming Year

Theralution; Updating Insurance Benefits

If you are currently a client undergoing physical therapy or likely will require physical therapy in the future, I would be willing to bet that you have likely been reminded by your job or insurance provider about electing coverage for your health needs. Often forgotten, many physical therapy clients focus on their in-network benefits but seemingly forget about their out-of-network benefits.

Current and prospective physical therapy clients tend to underestimate their needs and often continue with their current benefits for the upcoming year. I pose these questions. What happens if you need additional care given outside the allotted physical therapy visits? Or what if you choose to go to an out of network provider because a close friend referred them?

Here are some things to look for when electing your new coverage and ensure complete coverage for you and your family’s needs.

1.     Out of Network Deductible

Typically higher than your in-network deductible, your deductible is the amount that you pay for eligible out of pocket medical expenses in a calendar year before the insurance pays their portion. After the deductible is met, you either pay nothing or you share the cost with your company up to a certain limit. The maximum out-of-pocket limit for any individual marketplace plan for 2015 can be no more than $6,600 for an individual plan and $13,200 for a family plan.  Ideally, you want a plan that has a very low out-of-network deductible so you can seek care out of network if necessary.

For example, let’s say that in January you tear your ACL, complete surgery and start physical therapy. You expect anywhere from 6-8 months of rehab. You first choose to use your in-network benefits to cover your medical expenses.

·      After 10 visits you’ve paid $1000

·      Your insurance paid $0

·      Your in-network deductible is met

You continue with therapy through February and March and are limited to a total of 20 visits for rehab.

·      During the 10 visits, you’re paying your copay/coinsurance

·      Your insurance picks up the rest of the bill

However in April, you need to continue with rehab to get back to running marathons and your insurance informs you that you’ve reached your visit maximum and your therapy will no longer be covered. What do you do?

·      Either you choose to pay all expenses out of pocket, or now choose to continue with therapy out-of-network, using your out-of-network benefits.

The key here is if you have a lower out-of-network deductible, the less you will have to pay towards your new deductible and the more likely you will continue with rehab to full recovery.

2.     Reimbursement

After reaching your deductible, you participate in cost sharing/coinsurance. Cost sharing is the part of the covered service that you pay for. (E.g. you pay 20% of physical therapy charges while your plan pays 80%). Typically, a rate of 80% or greater is on the higher end of reimbursement while 50-60% is on the lower end. Ensure you will be reimbursed as much as possible by shopping around for plans where its customary to reimburse for rates on the higher end of the spectrum. Another option; prior to initiating physical therapy always contact your insurance provider and find out about your plans reimbursement policy.

3.     Be familiar with your visit limit

Contrary to most beliefs physical therapy is not unlimited in the insurance world. Most insurance companies limit the amount of time your able to receive treatment. You can appeal to get more treatment, but it’s an arduous process at best, and there’s no guarantee that you’ll win. At times if they do approve more visits they likely will only allow 5 additional visits at most. The Idea here is to shop around seeking plans with higher visit limits but also looking for a physical therapy practice with good patient outcomes that can maximize your visits. Such a practice like Theralution, which focuses on direct one on one care and has total treatment times no less than 1.5 hours. This helps to maximize patient visits by increasing client treatment times therefore decreasing the length of therapy and avoiding reaching visit maximums set forth by the insurance companies.

4.     Pre-authorization

Be aware! Only a few insurance companies currently require this but this can easily foil your plans for reimbursement. This sometimes can stand between clients and the care that they require. Essentially, pre-authorization is prior approval required for certain services before you receive them. This can delay necessary care ultimately prolonging the healing process. Here is a good rule of thumb. Do not choose a plan, which requires pre-authorization! It’s that easy.

5.     Filing claims

Whether you’re using in-network or out-of-network benefits, some companies are known to make you jump through hoops in order to get an appropriate reimbursement. A good company understands your needs and will attempt to reimburse you in an appropriate time frame. Typically you should expect reimbursement between 15 to 30 days from the initial date of care. Submitting your claims on a weekly basis saves time and helps to keep track of your reimbursements as well.

Now that you’ve learned about these important aspects of your benefits, the key is to find the perfect combination that suits your families needs. Being knowledgeable and acting now helps you maximize your benefits while avoiding disappointment in the long run. Be an intelligent consumer and get complete and great care on your terms. Have additional questions? Feel free to visit us and ASK A PT .

Posted on November 28, 2014 .

Be flexible, Adapt Quickly, or Fail Miserably

Most times in life we fail to look at the bigger picture. If you want to become a better runner, weightlifter or competitive athlete, you need to be flexible and continually work at it. As a physical therapist, I am always tailoring exercises towards my clients goals of returning them to their specific sport. Consider that most athletes are missing an important aspect of their training; Flexibility. It is very important to include flexibility as a part of your regular fitness routine.  What's the use of having huge muscle bulk if you can't use it functionally. You will be characterized as large, with increased muscle definition but also slow as a snail and rigid with movement. Flexibility is lost rather quickly during inactivity and has been proposed to increase an athletes susceptibility to serious injury. I see it a lot with clients with hamstring strains. In all, it must be worked on constantly.

Improved flexibility may enhance performance in aerobic training, muscular conditioning as well as in specific sports. You can go a long way towards reducing the risk for injury by doing some simple flexibility exercises prior to but particularly after a workout. Here are just a few that I recommend.

You have questions? We have answers! Just click the link "Ask a PT"

Posted on September 30, 2014 .

‘How Do I Quickly Recover From My Injury So I Can Return To My Life?’ The Answer: Proper Nutrition

I’m a huge proponent of proper nutrition as an integral part of the rehab process. If you’ve ever experienced an injury, you’re familiar with doing anything to recover faster. Often times you will beg, plead, and use every little recommendation or remedy you can think of. True story- I had a client who once told me that she was given a recommendation to take cow, pig and chicken bones, chop them into fine pieces, and then boil them in a pot with a dash of salt. OK, it doesn’t sound so bad. It sounds like you’re making a pot of meatless soup. Until she was told to take some chicken feed, yes I said CHICKEN FEED, add it to the mixture and drink it up.  She wanted to know if this was plausible in order to promote healing. First, where do you even purchase chicken feed? The things we will do all in the name of healing, but I digress.

Good nutrition is necessary for faster healing. During the healing process, the body needs increased amounts of calories through protein, vitamins A and C, and sometimes the mineral zinc. Here is a quick run down about each of these.

Protein

  • This is the major structural component of body cells.
  • It is used for growth, repair, and maintenance of body tissues.

Vitamins A

  • Is crucial for normal growth and development because it plays an integral role in bone  development.

Vitamin C

  • Is important for the formation and maintenance of collagen, a crucial protein found in connective tissue.
  • Is essential for healthy bones, ligaments, and blood vessels.

Zinc

  • This mineral is necessary for protein metabolism.

With all that said, here are basic “power” foods you may choose in order to promote healing.  

Protein:  Meats, fish, poultry, eggs, beans, milk and yogurt (particularly Greek yogurt).

Vitamins A: Dark green, leafy vegetables, orange or yellow vegetables, cantaloupe, fortified dairy products, liver, and fortified cereals.

Vitamins C: Citrus fruits and juices, strawberries, tomatoes, tomato juice, peppers, baked potatoes, spinach, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts and cabbage.

Zinc: Fortified cereals, red meats, and seafood.

Ensure that you are getting at least the daily-recommended values for each in order to promote optimal healing. Here is a great link for the recommended suggested values for the basic food groups. I really like this table because it divides the daily-recommended value by age and sex.

http://www.eatforhealth.gov.au/food-essentials/how-much-do-we-need-each-day/recommended-number-serves-adults

Posted on September 21, 2014 .

A New Direction

First, the fact that you are taking your time to read this shows that you care about real issues other than yourself.

Recently, I realized discernment through my life. I believe very much that we are shaped and directed through our experiences to what we are suppose to do while on this earth. Very deeply, I believe we are placed on this earth to do something that is bigger than ourselves. I am very passionate about helping others. Whether helping others through physical therapy and fitness, or through sharing my personal experiences with someone in need. This is why Theralution is now going to focus much of its efforts on humanitarian causes. Causes that call for change and to bring about functional resolutions in people's lives. We should all be a part of building something bigger than ourselves. Isn't that why we are placed on this earth?

 As our first order of action, we want to raise awareness about the current crisis occurring in West Africa, specifically Liberia. Currently, there is an outbreak of Ebola which is affecting thousands of people in Liberia and its surrounding areas. You can learn more by clicking on http://www.cdc.gov/vhf/ebola/outbreaks/guinea/ . In an effort to help, Theralution is teaming with Marylanders For Progress, a non profit charity to raise money, donate supplies, and provide preventative education to those in need. You can learn more about this organization at http://marylandersforprogress.org/ .

Please support our efforts by visiting our Indiegogo campaign at http://igg.me/at/theralution to help support a great cause and help others.

 

Posted on August 30, 2014 .

Slow Your Role! A Physical Therapist Does What?

Let’s be blunt for a moment. Most people don’t understand what a physical therapist can offer. The typical response when we tell individuals what our profession is, their response is, “You must give great massages!” Most people will never know what a physical therapist is until they need one. After which, they always say the same thing, you guys, (not to forget about the ladies), are a vital part of society. How did we get confused with a different specialty like massage therapy?

Let’s set the record straight. Massage therapy today, is most popular for relaxation. Most individuals envision an environment where you go to a professional, and have a sixty to ninety-minute massage full of therapeutic bliss. This usually entails relaxing music, one-on-one attention, and a serene environment.  A therapeutic massage from a therapist may be a different story. Imagine this, cringing as your physical therapist rubs down your IT band (that’s along the thigh), while jumping off the therapy table and thinking in your head “why did I ever choose to go through this? I never signed up for this!” After twenty minutes of agonizing manual therapy, all you can wait for is your physical therapist to say those magic words, “we’re done!” In your head you’ve already made up your mind, “I AM NEVER COMING BACK!” That’s when, on your way out, you notice that the pain that has been limiting you for months, from walking pain free has disappeared.

How the heck is this possible? That’s because physical therapists are masters of musculoskeletal injuries. Of course you’ve heard this, but what does this really mean? Physical therapists are trained to spot and correct musculoskeletal deformities from the rigorous educational program, and years of experience of treating hundreds (100’s) even thousands (1000’s) of clients we see on a yearly basis. It’s truly a science, one that we hold in the highest regard. The next time you see your physical therapist, bite your tongue and tell him/her these words, “I appreciate everything that you do for me, even if its not therapeutic bliss. I’m sure you mean well, and you’re doing the best to get me back to normal living. Oh yeah, and Happy National Physical Therapy Month!"

 

Posted on October 7, 2013 .