The Trainer, Session 5, Part II

9 Oct

Do you love getting a good massage? When was the last time you had one? What if I told you that for the around $20 you can have a deep tissue massage everyday for a long, long time? Yes, friends it’s true… no gimmick. Don’t believe me?

No Pain, No Gain

It ain’t gonna be no picnic. The masseuse I use breaks you down near to tears and gets all over every knot you’ve got. I moaned involuntarily a few times, which was a little embarrassing considering that I was in the open air of the YMCA.

Strange place for a massage you say? Well I elected to keep all my clothes on so don’t worry about that. I may wear gratuitously short shorts to the Y, but that’s as far as I go. They do have a dress code after all.

No, as you might have guessed by now, there is a little catch to this post.

The Inanimate Masseuse

This highly effective massage is performed by a foam roller 3′ long and 6″ in diameter. Well, really it’s performed by you as you lean on and roll over this long cylinder of foam. So I guess it’s probably not quite what you’d consider a massage, but the results were the same, if not much better. What I’m going to tell you next though will blow your mind. It did mine. In fact, there are still globs of brain matter sliding down the walls of the YMCA as I type this.

FASCIA… it’s not just for Houses Anymore…

If you’re a runner, you’ve probably heard of or suffered from plantar faciitis. If not, to put it simply, it’s connective tissue damage on the bottom of your foot along the plantar fascia.

Okay, let’s try that again. To put it simply, the arch of your feet hurt, especially in the morning. This condition is bringing to light something you’ve probably never heard of of before: FASCIA. No, Mr. General Contractor, you don’t know what I’m talking about. Neither do I really.

The Most Amazing Discovery of My Adult Life

…next to the fact that I’m not the center of the universe and the world doesn’t care about, let alone revolve around me. (though I still think it should)

I had never heard of fascia, the connective tissue that coats every muscle, bone, and organ in our bodies, until this morning. I was busy doing my homework about the benefits of foam roller exercises when I came across this story from Running Times magazine. I highly recommend you read it. It may just change your life. It’s the first thing that’s blown my hair back in a long, long time. Wait, I don’t have hair. Okay, well my 2mm stubble is crackling and sizzling with excitement as I feel like I’ve just fallen down the rabbit hole.

Think that I’m being melodramatic? Well, historically I tend toward it, but I defy you to read the article and then accuse me of theatrics. I still can’t believe I’ve never heard of fascia and its role in our body.

Tangential Truth

I honestly didn’t mean for this post to become a lesson in exercise physiology, but the if you dig into the “why” of anything related to running it’s unavoidable. All the theories and studies in the world aren’t enough to convince us though, so I urge you to give foam rolling a try.

One session and I was a believer. I was skeptical. I’m cynical. Good luck convincing me of anything without me first trying it for myself. Soooo, now I find myself, a skeptical cynic like yourself, telling you that it’s phenomenal.

Try it and see. Find a trainer that specializes in foam rolling techniques. I am purposely not linking to any sites that teach you how to do it, because a trainer helps you do it right and get all the nuances of body angles that are hard to master on your own.

This post was supposed to be the grand finale in my time with personal training at my local YMCA. I was going to talk about the session itself, but thankfully for you, this post took a different direction and for once I have something truly new and useful to write about! I guess this series is going out with a bang after all.

Training Conclusions

If you’re serious about taking your fitness to a higher level, you NEED to find a good trainer. Purchase a series of 3 to ??? sessions. It can be expensive, but shop around and get referrals. Go with a friend and split the fees. I purchased 5, 1 hour long sessions at the YMCA for $150. It was worth every penny. I probably won’t do it again for a while, but when I start wandering and waffling in my fitness goals again, I’ll know where to learn.

Now if you’ll excuse me I’m going to scour the internet for every site that contains the word “fascia.” Hopefully I’ll learn tons about how my body moves and holds together and if I can learn to build a house in the process, bonus!

22 Responses to “The Trainer, Session 5, Part II”

  1. Wanetta Kienzle May 5, 2013 at 7:07 am #

    A foam roller is cylindrical device constructed from dense foam. Originally, athletes used foam rollers to compress and massage very specific areas of muscle tension and pain. These areas, called trigger points (or more commonly known as a knot) develop over time and must be untangled to recover muscle to its original length. A muscular knot is a muscle that’s tangled-up in the fascia of our skin. Regular massage of trigger points sends signals to the brain to start a process called myofascial release, which frees your muscle from your surrounding fascia…*

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