Fit Pros, What Do You Know About Back Pain?

Alex Kraszewski is a Physiotherapist working in Essex, United Kingdom, who also holds a triple bodyweight Deadlift to his name. He’s here to talk about how to better understand back pain as a fitness professional.

Back pain sucks. If you’re a human being or you work with human beings, chances are you or your clients have experienced back pain that varied from either a mild backache to being disabled by pain. Despite the huge advances in medicine, the number of people suffering with back pain is spiralling out of control, and we don’t seem to be much better at dealing with it.

In most cases of back pain (nearly 90%), there isn’t a single source of pain. Scans and investigations might show disc bulges and dehydration, arthritis and compressed nerves, but there are no guarantees these cause pain. Relating pain purely to structure, without appreciating the bigger picture, is probably what got us in this mess with back pain in the first place.

Pain is influenced by almost everything in our lives, and the biopsychosocial model helps us appreciate how all these inputs can interact when it comes to pain. Stress, sleep, education and beliefs about pain, how we move and exercise and many other things, all influence pain. No one single thing causes pain, and if you make this assertion nowadays, the internet will strike down upon you with more vengeance and furious anger than Jules Winnfield.

Back Pain often has a mechanical component

But just because pain is influenced by more than how we move in the gym,  that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t value how we move in the gym, and under load. What’re we’re doing at any one time (context) dictates what movement strategies would be appropriate. To that end, we need to consider how motions, postures and loads  influence the load an exercise exposes us to.

Take a 100kg/225lb Deadlift. The things that will influence how, and where, that 100kg is applied to the body depends on;

  • Type of Deadlift used (Conventional, Sumo, Trap-Bar, etc) – Load
  • Positions used (neutral spine, more flexed or more extended) – Posture
  • The shape and size of the lifter (limb and torso length) – Posture
  • Movements used (interaction of the spine, hips and knees) – Motion
  • Volume of lifting (Sets & Reps, sessions per week/month?) – Load

And the result of these things include;

  • A more horizontal torso position (conventional deadlift) will increase spine load compared to a more vertical torso position (sumo or trap bar)
  • A more flexed or rounded spine position will load the passive structures of the spine and increase spinal shear forces compared to a more mid-range or ‘neutral’ position
  • More spine flexion for the longer-legged lifter with a conventional deadlift, compared to a trap bar deadlift.
  • Using more spine motion and less hip motion will load the spine more than the hips
  • More volume will increase spine load, regardless of form.

Exercise execution influences load, but we can’t use this as the only way to decide if something is ‘good’ or ‘bad’. Konstantin Konstantovs made a reputation for himself by pulling over 400kg with a round back and no belt

I’ll say that again. Over 900lbs with no belt and a round back. Go back 10 years and the thought of spine flexion under this much load would’ve broken the internet. Thankfully – we’ve moved on a bit since then.

Most of our clients aren’t mutants, so alongside thinking about the way we lift, and how it influences spine load, we also have to take into account the other ‘stuff’ too;

  • What does the rest of the training session and overall program look like?
  • How much rest and recovery is occurring outside of the gym (think stress, sleep, hydration, nutrition).
  • What does the rest of the week look like for motions, postures and loads (office ninja, manual labourer, or crime-fighting superhero?)
  • How adapted to one particular strategy of lifting is the client (is it a brand new way of doing things, or have they done it for years without a problem?)

If there is a balance between the way in which exercises are performed and what goes on in the rest of our lives (load), and our ability to recover from these things (capacity), we will adapt positively and get fitter and stronger. Injury risk increases when there is an imbalance between the load applied and our ability to recover;

The first priority as a fitness professional if pain or injury is reported is to have a healthcare professional check it’s nothing serious. After that, the fitness professional is well placed to identify the motions, postures and loads associated with back pain. We don’t say causing back pain, because this starts to move into a diagnostic and healthcare arena.

Back pain won’t have a clear medical diagnosis a lot of the time, but a ‘movement diagnosis’ can be an important factor to consider with a client’s pain. A movement diagnosis allows us to consider the motions, postures and loads associated with pain, without getting hung up on a structural source of pain.

Flexion and Extension Based Back Pain – A ‘Movement Diagnosis’ for Trainers

One way of broadly categorising back pain within resistance training is as flexion- or extension-based. As far as the mechanical component of back pain goes, we are looking for whether a client’s back pain relates to a flexion or extension motion, posture, and/or load.  

This doesn’t mean we ignore the non-mechanical factors for pain, but it can identify exercise selections or executions that may be part of the painful picture to make changes accordingly. If we can do that, we stand a great chance of helping our clients reduce their pain, and get back to crushing it in the gym, and in life.

Let’s say someone is performing a roundbacked deadlift with a hip hinge that could do with better execution and is reporting back pain, we can lean towards that person reporting flexion-based back pain. The reasons for this might include;

  • The motion of spine flexion to extension to complete the lift
  • The posture of spine flexion under load
  • The load requiring control and resistance of spinal flexion

These factors are based on the way the exercise is being performed, but don’t forget to consider how much the exercise is being performed. Perfect technique doesn’t mean you’re invincible to unlimited volume and intensity, or that your recovery outside of the gym doesn’t matter.

If and when pain is present in this scenario,  we have a couple of options of what to change;

  • Coach the exercise in a way that changes the posture (round back towards more neutral spine) or motion (more hip hinge, less spine motion) – The Way
  • Reduce the load – either the weight on the bar, or the volume of the exercise – How much
  • Change the exercise (conventional block deadlifts, trap bar deadlifts or sumo deadlifts) – The Way

We can apply this any exercise. Understanding what could be contributing to back pain, and working around this, is developing the ‘trainable menu’. This is way better than just resting and waiting for pain to go away.

In the Complete Trainer’s Toolbox, I take a deep dive into the variety of factors within exercise that can influence spine loading, how to both modify exercise in the presence of back pain, and how to help rebuild the client who is struggling with back pain to get them back to their most loved and enjoyed activities.

The Complete Trainers Toolbox is available for a launch sale pricing for $100 off the regular price until Sunday February 17th at midnight. Get Alex’s presentations, as well as an additional 15+ hours of digital video content and 1.7 continuing education credits

How Coaches Can Create The Future of Healthcare: Interview with Dr Terry Wahls

When people find out I don’t want kids, my fitness industry friends seem to understand more than others. A lot of them even share the same feelings than me about reproducing.

That might be because we see the world in a similar way. If you make a living on helping people be healthy, it’s hard to not look around and feel completely hopeless for our society’s future. We are one brainwashed, overstressed, underslept, overworked, disconnected world, and it’s only getting worse.

Having kids in a world that keeps getting sicker, and the fight to be healthy gets harder and harder makes reproducing seem like an uphill battle.

Trying to advocate for your own health is a tough job, especially if it’s your actual career of choice. The health and fitness industry has enemies that constantly make it hard. They promote unhealthy behavior, they make candy cheaper than vegetables, and they pump misleading information that keeps the public in the dark.

It wasn’t until 2016, the year I got into politics, that I found out those same enemies I’d been dealing with for years in the fitness industry, were the ones funding politicians to push policies and bills that are leaving us with horrible health consequences.

And if you’re not dealing with corruption and greed, you’re dealing with uneducated politicians that don’t know what it takes to have a healthy society. Their view on health doesn’t go beyond conventional medicine, insurance companies, and misguided information. So even though their intentions are nothing but the best, like Bernie and Alexandria Cortez, their plan to keep people healthy, falls short.

Hoping to get the health and fitness industry involved in politics due to their level of education on the topic, I started talking about the need to get everyone politically involved, especially people like us (coaches) who connect the public to information they can trust.

I had a few people who supported my idea, but for the most part, I got reminded that getting political wasn’t a good idea for my business, and/or for my online presence.

Being as stubborn as I am, I kept at it.

I kept pushing, kept digging deeper, and I kept seeking out people who could help me figuring things out. I was part of two worlds I felt needed to be desperately combined. I felt so strongly about this, I was convinced that 5+ years from now I was going to leave the industry and get into politics because someone in the political system needed to advocate for our health.

Corrupt and uneducated politicians were not cutting it for me.

But first, I had to figure out what I needed to fight for once I got in. Even though my beliefs strongly align with the progressive side of things, some of their policies like health care for all, didn’t sit well with me and I had no one I trusted to talk to about it.

The people I looked up to in the health world were conservatives or “not into politics”, and the people I looked up in the political world like The Young Turks, knew nothing about health.

The amount of money spent on preventable disease is outrageous. If we give people free “healthcare” with no system in place that focuses on patient education and health ownership, the amount of money we spend on disease will keep raising. Healthcare will just be a system that doesn’t let people die, while simultaneously keeping them sick.

Which is why it’s no surprise health advocates align with the conservative side when it comes to healthcare. They know Medicaid for all won’t save us when we live in a society that relies on the person in the white coat and insurance companies to dictate their health. But I can’t bring myself to support a system that lets people die because they couldn’t afford surgery, or a doctor’s appointment after their cut on their foot got infected.

Even though I don’t want the person relying on insulin to die by taking away their medication, I want the system to change that got the person relying on medication in the first place.

Over the last year I’ve felt quite alone with my views on things, until one lazy day where I was scrolling through social media and I noticed someone I truly admired in the health industry post something political on facebook.

Dr. Terry Wahls shared something about her son running for state senate. Terry Wahls is one of the pioneers of the paleo and functional medicine world. When I saw a post about her support for Stacey Abrams and researched her Son’s political background, I immediately felt a rush of hope. I had found someone who seemed to have the same political views and someone who would be way more educated on the topic than me.

I wondered “What kind of policies does someone like Wahls believe in? What is her son going to fight for? What do they think of healthcare?! Is her son influenced by her knowledge in health!?”

Really eager to know some of these answers, I emailed her. 2 minutes later I got an automatic response saying she got an overwhelming amount of emails….etc etc basically, not getting a response.

HOWEVER, a couple days later, she accepted my interview! I was finally going to get the answers to the questions I had from someone who I trusted and seemed to have the same views as mine.

I was excited to find out how we can bring positive change into the political system that advocates for our health. I wanted to know more about the policies I should be fighting for. And most importantly, I was hoping to find out what my future role in politics was going to be, because I wanted to bring massive change at the highest branches of government.

I got all those answers…..

And halfway through the interview, I found out what my future role was.

It’s not in politics.

It’s as coach, a connector.

Someone who connects people to the right information and show them how much control they truly have over their health.

Terry Wahls shifted my perspective and gave me the direction I’d been searching for.

Now I’m calling on all fitness and rehab professionals to join me and be the CONNECTORS we have the opportunity of being.

During this interview we go over: 

  • How much should the government be involved in our lives 
  • Is a federal solution the answer to getting our society healthy?
  • Will we ever have healthcare that isn’t influenced by corruption and uneducated politicians? 
  • What policies should we be fighting for? 
  • Why we should study the attributes of health and happiness? 
  • Should the fitness and health industry get politically involved? 
  • How to get your tribe involved to create affordability around being healthy
  • How coaches and health advocates can start creating change at the local level
  • How coaches could be the future of healthcare

Dr. Terry Wahls is a clinical professor of medicine at the University of Iowa. She is the author of The Wahls Protocol: How I Beat Progressive MS Using Paleo Principles and Functional Medicine and the cookbook The Wahls Protocol Cooking for Life: The Revolutionary Modern Paleo Plan to Treat All Chronic Autoimmune Conditions. You can learn more about her work from her website, www.terrywahls.com. She hosts the Wahls Protocol Seminar every August where anyone can learn how to implement the Protocol with ease and success. Follow her on Facebook (Terry Wahls MD), on Instagram drterrywahls and on Twitter at @TerryWahls. Learn more about her MS clinical trials by reaching out to her team via this email: MSDietStudy@healthcare.uiowa.edu

If you want to learn more about being a coach who takes a multi-factorial approach: Check this blog out, sign up for my newsletter, and/or learn from me in person!

 

I hope you enjoyed this.

Until next time 🙂

 

Lucy

 

The Breathing Strategy Hierarchy

A couple of years ago Bill Hartman opened my mind to a new way of assessing someone’s movement needs. Since then, Through Bill and Zac’s work, I’ve developed a movement assessment that helps my clients move better. When clients move well, progressing them to lifting comes with little to no problems.

This morning while running on 5ish hours of sleep, jet lagged, and after too much coffee, I decided to take the students through my thought process when picking breathing activities for my clients. I will be refining this and adding the lower extremities, but in the meantime, learn what breathing and arm position a client needs when picking activities.

Also, sorry for the gum chewing :O

ENJOY! and let me know if it helps, or if it didn’t and you’re still confused. If this doesn’t make sense, I will find a better way of explaining it.

Before you watch this, if you’re new to this whole breathing thing, watch this video, and check out my article on it, first!

 

The End of Dieting – Interview with Kelsey Flanagan

Are 30 day challenges where you cut out certain foods or follow a certain diet a thing that we should stop encouraging? If we’re wanting our clients to get results they can sustain, are we better off helping our clients change their relationship with food vs encouraging another diet?

In this interview, Kelsey shares her nutrition approach she takes with clients. The results say it all:

Learn about Kelsey’s approach, start implementing a few things she talks about with your clients, or find someone like her to work with your clients if things are out of your skill set.

Where to find Kelsey:

Her website: https://kelseyflanagannutrition.com/

Instagram account: @kelseyflanagannutrition

Facebook Account: https://www.facebook.com/kelsey.flanagan.180

Courses/businesses mentioned if you want to take the route she took:

Precision Nutrition

Hormone Specialist Training 

 

 

 

 

 

Fixing Upper-Body Lifts with Breathing

I want my clients’ upper-body lifts to look good. When they look good we can really add load and increase their strength. If they fall apart and complain that it hurts, we can’t really progress.

During this webinar, I go over the mistakes I made early on that left me with little to no results. I go over what I do now to get my client’s shoulder mobility to increase and their pushing and pulling to look good 🙂

If you struggle understanding all this crazy breathing stuff, this webinar is PERFECT for you.

Enjoy!

Resources mentioned in the webinar:

(let me know if I forgot one)

A Safe Training Environment for Scared Rehab Clients

Do you work with the post rehab/chronic pain population? I’m sure you get a few who are scared of strength training, who think their body is fragile and only capable of low level activities like yoga and pilates.

How do you gain their trust and progress them through a program without them feeling like your training is going to hurt them?

Below is a video of my protocol for these types of clients. How I take them from scared fragile clients to regular gym-goers 🙂

 

If you’re interested in learning more about pain, I’ve written about it here and here.

If you want to know more about studying your target market check out this post.

Until next time 🙂

Lucy

 

Connection of the Week- Aline Thompson

Every single profession you’ll find people who are exceptional, average, and below average. In the physical therapy world, it has been a double edge sword to be introduced to countless exceptional physical therapists who are providing a service that is not seen with most PTs. It has made the standard that I hold people in this profession, very high.

As a trainer of the post rehab population, I want nothing but the best for them. I care about my clients just as much as I care about my family. If my family had to see a physical therapist, I wouldn’t want them seeing a below average one.

I don’t like seeing my clients dependent on a PTs hands to put their body back together every 5 weeks for the last 2-5 years. It makes me sad seeing my clients scared of moving because of the maladaptive beliefs they developed from the PT’s lack of proper communication. It disappoints me that PTs haven’t educated my clients on how the amount of pain they’re experiencing doesn’t equal to amount of tissue damage.

When I voice my frustrations on this field, it gets confused with frustration and disrespect towards all PTs. Which is not the case. It’s frustration towards the PTs who don’t know how to communicate with people in pain, keep patients on a reoccurring schedule that last for YEARS, and those who scare patients from living because they believe they’re one sneeze away from blowing out a disc.

My frustration comes from witnessing the ones that I care about go through unnecessary suffering, and knowing there’s better treatment out there

To expect below average therapists to change what they’ve been doing their whole career is unrealistic. The chances are very low for a whole industry to change. But what CAN happen is the younger crowd going into this profession knowing and being influenced by exceptional PTs.

Which brings me to my Connection of the Week, Aline Thompson.

She’s one who meets my high standard and if you’re in the rehab and fitness industry, you’ll definitely want to start following her.

She recently put together a blog post filled with resources if you’re wanting to learn and understand Pain Science.

I’ve barely scratched the surface on this topic but it didn’t take long for me to acknowledged most professionals don’t know how to communicate with people in pain. I’m not just talking about physical therapists. I’m talking medical doctors, coaches, massage therapists, chiros, the list could go on and on.

Most our clients will experience pain as some point in their life, and the lack of this knowledge could seriously hurt them….in more ways than one.

If you’re interested in making the health, fitness, and rehab industry better, Aline’s guide is the perfect place to start 🙂

Until next time 🙂

Lucy

 

 

 

Three Ways to Build Breathing Buy-in

The #1 question I get is “How do you get people to buy into the breathing?” 

Coaches REALLY struggle getting people to buy into breathing but to be honest, It’s not a hard sale….IF you’re working with the right people, you understand your target market, and you’re a good coach.

In the following video, I go over three reason why you’re struggling getting people to buy into it and how to start getting better at it. 🙂

Until next time 🙂

Lucy

Connection of the Week- Programming for the Newbie

I work with future personal trainers. Which means they know nothing, have zero experience, and they’ve been exposed to internet famous fitness pros who look great but actually suck at training.

They’ll often ask my opinion about certain exercises they’ve done in the past or ones they’ve seen at the gym.  Sometimes it’s exercises that I think should never be done like bosu ball squats. But most of the time they’re asking about exercises that are targeting a specific area like abs, glutes, and the upper back. All things they’ve heard are important.

It’s taken me a while to figure out a good answer because these exercises are not technically “bad”, they just don’t make it on my top list to pick from.

Are you putting something like a Russian Twist into someone’s training program and deprioritizing things like squats, deadlifts, upper body pushing or pulling? What are you trying to accomplish with that exercise? Are there other activities that would give you what you’re trying to achieve and them some?

My programing (the strength training component) is only composed of three things. These three things are big priorities.

1) Lower body bilateral and unilateral lifts: Squats, deadlifts, split squats, step ups…etc

2) Upper body Pushing and Pulling: Horizontal and Vertical

3) Accessory/Core: Activities that most likely have a breathing component to it that drive things like rib cage retraction, trunk rotation, hip rotation, anti-extension, anti-lateral flexion…etc

1 and 2 help my clients build muscle, gets them stronger, loads their system, improves their fitness, and most importantly, makes them anti-fragile.

3 allows my clients to do 1 and 2 without having many setbacks due to movement limitations, pain, or injuries.

Realistically speaking, clients will only train twice a week. So that gives you about 6-8 exercises per program. That’s not a lot. The 6-8 exercises should be ones that give you your biggest bang for your buck. There’s no room for fluff. Every single exercise should have a good reason to be on there.

When adding an exercise to a program, ask yourself: what do I need to deprioritize to put this exercise in my client’s program?

Like the Russian Twist. Does it take the place of any of your client’s main lifts? Then I’m not interested.

Then ask yourself what are you trying to achieve with the Russian Twist? Abs? because I have other activities like Low Bear that also target abs….AND helps with rib cage retraction, drives air into the posterior thorax, gives the shoulder blades a rib cage to glide on, opens the ISA, helps shut off an overactive low back, opens the pelvic outlet, makes walking effortless, helps restore ROM in the extremities, and most importantly it carries over to other things that I’m trying to achieve on the training floor.

And that’s why I wouldn’t do the Russian Twist. When students ask about these kind of exercises, I feel bad that I keep saying I wouldn’t do them. But as you can see, for me to use something in a client’s program, the exercise really needs to deliver. It needs to give me more than the ones I’m currently using.

That’s the kind of training I like to provide to my clients and honestly, it’s the kind of training I want the students to develop.

It’s rare for students to come in with great mentors. These students usually have only been exposed to big box trainers that have personal training as a part time job while they’re waiting for their real job to begin, and the famous internet trainers. What a horrible influence. The quality of training is just not the same. They haven’t been introduced to people like Mike Robertson, Pat Davidson, Justin Moore, and Michelle Boland.

and I feel like it’s my job to help bias them towards my bubble of the industry. Even though they probably feel like I’m forcing it on them, but that’s neither here nor there.

The world desperately needs better coaches.  

So to help guide them in a better direction, I went on my facebook and asked my circle in the industry where they would send brand new personal trainers who wanted to learn about programming.

Key word: BRAND NEW.

Because let’s be honest, if I send a brand new trainer to Pat Davidson’s seminar, It will ALL go over their head. The terminology, anatomy, coaching, implementation….everything. It takes experience to be able to do what Pat is teaching. Which is why I love him but I can’t expect a brand new personal trainer to implement what he is doing with his programming.

I want resources/mentors that have made things simple and digestible. A philosophy that will make them biased to progressive strength training. Resources that will guide them in the right direction so one day they can read Pat and Michelle’s work and they’ll be able to take it in.

I’m with brand new personal trainers 5 days a week. I see the look on their faces when I start talking about hip adduction with an acetabulum moving on a fixed femur. I notice the inability to subconsciously know what to do when the client is not doing things correctly.

I see the lack of experience 5 days a week.

I’ve had to look back and figure out how I got to where I am at now. That way I can appropriately progress them through without overwhelming them, but at the same time letting them learn from all of my personal mistakes and experience. I don’t want them wasting their time doing lateral band walks to “target glutes” as part of a triset when they could be deadlifting.

With my efforts to set them up for success, I’m doing exactly what two people on facebook said

 

100% agree with what Elsbeth and Kris said there. Learning how to train themselves and then mastering their coaching skills should be two big priorities for newbies. When a trainer lacks experience they only have their own body that has gone through it, which is a huge advantage because you can actually demo the activities that you’re trying to get your clients to perform. Have you ever seen a trainer who can’t squat trying to get a client to squat? I have. It’s not pretty.

You can have the best programming in the world but if you can’t demo or coach someone into a simple squat or hinge, the programming will never work.

Multiple people brought up Mike Robertson which I was pretty happy about. Mike makes everything digestible. He is my #1 blog for new trainers. It’s how I got started in this industry and I was in the same place these students are at now. His product Physical Preparation is the perfect product for beginners! If it were up to me, all the students would go through it. .

A couple people mentioned Pavel and Dan John. I’ve never seen their work so I have nothing good or bad to say about them. I do plan on checking them out for the students though!

If YOU have an resources for new trainers leave it in the comments below!

 

Until next time 🙂

Lucy

Connection of the Week- Start Respecting Sleep

I went rock climbing in Reno for the first time since 2016 and it felt amazing to be back.

It made me wonder why I quit in the first place. And then I remembered…

I quit because I got fired from my job, I lost most of my community/clients, had a headache every single day, had problems with my vision, a yeast infection that lasted months, fell into a deep depression, felt extremely fatigued, and had my anxiety at an all-time high that I was almost certain Xanax was the only way out.

So I quit rock climbing.

2016 was a rough year and my physical and mental health was breaking down.

I had also just finished a 14-month long Massage Therapy School where I went to class from 6-10pm. Even though I never worked on my quality of my sleep, I had always been one to go to bed early and wake up with the sun. Through massage school I was sitting under florescent lights until 10pm and didn’t go to sleep until 12-1am.

(if you’re a little confused on why I’m telling you about my sleep schedule through massage school, keep reading, it’ll make sense at the end)

Looking back made me really realize how far I’ve made it since 2016. Day by day I still feel like an emotional wreck with anxiety to travel. But compared to the actual wreck I was back then, I’ve come a long way.

I hadn’t realized how much of my mental health had improved.

I don’t cry every day. The people I care about can go on trips without me feeling like I’m never going to see them again. I’m able to get in the car and take myself to the airport. I’m not having nightmares every night that are making it hard to go to sleep.

I’m also no longer a victim. The anxiety that I have I know is under my control. If I would just sit down and fucking meditate every day and organize my life, I know I would be a much calmer person.

That’s a world of difference than how I felt when I thought medication would be the only way I’d stop feeling the way I was feeling.

Looking back also makes me wonder if I would have handled everything I went through differently if I hadn’t attended massage school and my sleep hadn’t taken a huge hit.

Our bodies are meant to endure stress and be resilient to it, and mine was breaking the fuck down. Was my health going down hill because of my stressful situation or was I not able to handle a stressful situation because of the quality of my sleep?

The more depressed I got, the less time I spent outside. There were days that I’d sit on the couch all day with the curtains shut because my eyes were so sensitive to light. I wasn’t training due to being so fatigue, and every time I’d stand up from a sitting position the room would go black. All my energy was going to train my clients (which was the only thing keeping me sane).

With my health deteriorating, and wanting what was best for our clients, we signed up for a Functional Medicine Retreat in Costa Rica, hosted by Dr. Ben House. Before the retreat, we were required to take multiple tests and watch videos on topics like, sleep, blood sugar, autoimmunity, blood chemistry…etc

The information in his online mentoring and his retreat ended up changing my life and the life of my clients.

At one point he said something along the lines of “I don’t even want to see someone if they don’t have some of these things in order” Which were things like a regulated circadian rhythm, eating the right amount of veggies, and having their blood sugar under control.

Which meant if they didn’t have a few of these things in check, he wasn’t going to waste his and their time trying to run a bunch of test when their problem could possibly be fixed if they worked on things like regulating their sleep.

So I started eating more vegetables and respecting my sleep. I started blocking light at night, getting sun in the morning, and within two months my periods started being lighter, I was getting less cramps, and my breast were no longer swelling a week before my cycle.

My body got leaner without much training. I was able eat more carbs on my off days without it affecting the amount of body fat I carried, which was something I was never able to do before. In the past, I’d quickly notice if I overdid it on carbs on the days I didn’t train.

My mind was blown. Had I just created a hormonal change without expensive spit tests, 50 different supplements, and $300 functional med visits? Was my body actually not that fragile? Could it endure huge amounts of stress without negatively affecting my health?

That’s when I realized, giving your body good quality sleep is extremely downplayed.

I can’t help but wonder if some clients are a “regulated circadian rhythm” away from reaching results they can sustain for a lifetime. A lot of them say they’ve tried everything and nothing seems to work, but they’re not willing to work on their sleep

So for the last year or so, Dave and I tried to figure out how we can get our clients to care about their circadian rhythm. How could we convince them that it might be more important to get sunlight in the morning and wear glasses at night, than trying to follow another whole30 at the beginning of the year.

We’ve failed miserably. No one believed us, and no one wants to work on their sleep.

Which is not their fault, it’s our society’s fault. Our society doesn’t respect sleep and it’s time for that to stop. Not getting good quality sleep could be the answer to someone’s health problems but it’s one of the hardest sales. Getting a client to appreciate sleep is actually much harder than getting them to buy into all the breathing.

After failing many times, we are finally making some progress and I’m here to share that with you today.

First it starts with educating yourself. You need to know the what, why, and how. You need to be able to answer questions from the skeptical clients. You need to be able to take on their hesitations and share information with them they can trust.

After you educate yourself, you need to start educating your clients.

We started out with a sleep seminar. Where I gifted free semi-private sessions if they attended. That was my way of forcing them to come. But you don’t have to do that.

Before the workshop I heard a lot of comments on how they weren’t willing to change much but they decided to attend anyways. After the seminar, multiple clients reached out and told me they were getting blue blocking glasses and changing the lighting around their house, so that was a pretty big win for us at Enhancing Life.

But that was only some of our clients. We were missing everyone else who didn’t attend. On top of that, people need to constantly hear the information because the more education they get, the easier it is to make changes.

That’s when we bought books and started a library.

A few clients checked out Why We Sleep and Sleep Smarter, but who has times to read books? Especially super busy parents and professionals.

A couple months later we had a chalk board painted on the wall where we would highlight client’s successes. Not just highlighting people’s personal records but also their lifestyle changes like getting better sleep, eating more veggies, and meditating. If clients saw other clients working on all the lifestyle components, they’d be more willing to give it a try.

This week we started something new and it’s only Wednesday and I think we’re onto something!

We started a weekly challenge that we would encourage all clients to do and once they completed it, they’d go on the board. This week’s challenge was to listen to Joe Rogan interviewing Mathew Walker, the author of Why We sleep.

By Tuesday we already had multiple clients come in talking about it. Everyone was so willing to do the challenge. By the end of this week, I have a feeling we will have more clients convinced they need to work on sleep which will be a HUGE WIN for Enhancing life.

Next week the challenge will also have to do with sleep, and the goal will be to get enough people interested that we can finally start making some changes as a community 🙂

So how do you educate your clients on sleep? I would LOVE to hear what you do at your gym.

Have you not dug into any sleep information as a personal trainer? If not, I’ll attach a few things below to help you get started because if your trying to help people be healthy, you can’t ignore someone’s sleep quality.

Blue Light and Sleep

Why You Need Sun Exposure

Sleep Scientist Warns Against Walking Through Life ‘In an Underslept State

Sleep Problems? Here’s 21 Tips to Get Better Sleep

Until next time 🙂

Lucy