Hello AFM! We are back to showcase more within Austin’s mecca of fitness and recovery options by highlighting a couple of local businesses that are going above and beyond to safely bring to you services and keep you on track to crush your training and recovery goals.
This month’s edition of Ambassador’s corner is continuing efforts to support the Central Texas Food Bank and their mission to respond to the ongoing presence of food insecurity in Austin. We are grateful for your generous donations which are aiding the work of keeping Austin fed, and every cent counts as we work to increase food access to those who are in need.
If you ever wanted to feel more confident in your ability to protect yourself against a real-world threat, or maybe seek a new skill that compliments your determination to fitness, we visited a gem of a gym for you and yours. Fit & Fearless is where all are welcomed to come and learn Krav Maga — a discipline designed to teach women and men of all ages and skill levels the most efficient and effective combat strategies offered in a fighting system.
This woman-owned and operated studio provides programs for Austinites to feel safer, stronger and more confident in the world — and they are getting people seriously fit!
I want to thank Owners/Instructors Amie Cantello, Ana Timmis and Amelia Eisenhart for inviting us to their 6:40 p.m. Krav Maga class. The instructors and class provided constant encouragement and support as we worked for 45 minutes through some fighting strategies that enable us to turn into the fight, eliminate the threat and go home safely. In my Krav Maga class experience, I quickly recognized the training and programming is every bit as much mental as it is physical — and I appreciate this mentality the community embraces.
What I liked: The instructor demonstrations! Holy moly, the instructors call it a demonstration, but it grabs your attention and, in an instant, you know the instructors are going as near to a real-world scenario as possible. The demonstrations conveyed the intensity we were expected to bring — I know my adrenaline spiked each time Amie and Timmis gave a live demonstration to introduce the self-defense maneuver we would later practice as a class. I appreciated seeing the demonstration from a few different angles. Next, the instructors slowed down the example; they literally did the same demonstration in slow motion while talking us through what we should feel as we positioned ourselves. Then, we performed dry work which is mimicking the instructor’s movements but on our own without a partner or equipment. Think of dry work as something like a mix of shadowboxing and visualization. Finally, the class would drill the maneuver, or practice with a partner (see COVID-19 considerations).
What I learned: Some of the drills were designed to train your fighting spirit or your “motor” and we would deliver as many max power strikes for a short interval — try it! In rounds of 20, throw as many max power/speed palm-heel strikes as you can into the air or a mattress and get a feel for the sensations (exhaustion) that you experience. Other drills were designed to train your composure and ability to execute the training in a fight or flight situation. We were asked to stand completely relaxed while our partner circled us and bumped us with a kick shield. We had to identify where the threat was coming from, deliver the strikes until the threat was eliminated and escape. Sounds intense, right?! Now, take that exact drill except, in addition to standing relaxed, we were asked to close our eyes. Temporarily, the music was cranked up even louder, and now, as your partner bumped you, they shouted “Hey!” My Spidey senses went off full tilt when I was bumped while my eyes were shut, and it was unbelievable how real the situation felt. My heart raced, adrenaline pumped and my fight or flight response still initiated in a training environment. It was awesomely exhausting.
Hammer fists were my favorite combative. However, delivering hammer fists from the floor with my partner mounted on top of me, and having to inch my way to the opposite side of the room was an insanely challenging full-body drill. My favorite drill was toward the end when we were asked to put everything we learned together, but we had to start with our eyes shut — never back down or give up, always keep fighting with all you have, adapt and adjust, and keep moving forward!
o Group classes are scalable for all fitness levels
Fit and Fearless COVID-19 Considerations:
Next, I scheduled treatment and recovery with WellSport Austin, and I vouch for this practice and their commitment to applying science to keep you moving. These doctors are wholeheartedly focused on marrying your treatment needs with your wants by applying a systematic approach to help patients eliminate or reduce pain and get them back to optimum performance. So, who is this for?
If you have an injury or pain that prevents you from enjoying the physical activities that bring you joy, if you are interested in injury prevention, or if you are interested in optimizing your physical performance from youth to elite skill level athletes then listen up — get over to Wellsport for a visit sooner rather than later!
Shout out to all members of the WellSport team for your services to our community and the measures you are implementing to prioritize our safety and well-being during a pandemic, and to Jordan Pellien, D.C., Kyler Brown, D.C., Ashley Fox, D.C., and Declan Geraghty, DPT, for explaining the process in meaningful chunks and increasing my understanding of how the science works.
To start my session, Pellien asked for my input on where I was experiencing soreness, pain and about any injuries sustained if any. Then, they tailored a treatment plan specific to my circumstances: which I shared my primary goal was resetting my body after an intense training session, specifically addressing the tightness throughout my lats and a noticeable lack of overhead mobility within my shoulders.
Challenge accepted — they didn’t say that but that was the vibe in the room and I was fan of it!
During BFR, a cuff is placed over the working extremities while performing exercises or rehabilitation. My plan called for the cuffs to be wrapped around each of my biceps while I performed repeated arm raises with a steel mace for a 90-second interval followed by 30 seconds of rest, then followed by two additional 30-second intervals performing the same exercise.
BFR allows the patient to achieve greater strength gains while lifting a lighter load. The benefit to a patient is achieving gains while experiencing less stress on the body. Oh, but there’s more. The technology WellSport utilizes not only restricts your blood flow, but the pressure exerted by the cuffs can be set to remain at a constant tension regardless of how much or how little force you exert during your exercise. The benefit of using responsive cuffs is a reduction in the risk of over-exertion. To further illustrate the effect of using lightweights to achieve all of the positive strength and hormone changes induced by heavy lifting, when I was asked how much I thought the steel mace weighed, I was confident in my reply: “20 to 25lbs,” — false! Pellien was kind enough to inform me that I was hulking out with a whopping 8-pound steel mace. During the exercise, while wearing the cuffs, the fire I felt within my arms was a sensation you might experience during a max repetition bodyweight push-up — with slightly more than 8 pounds. Oh, but when the cuffs were taken off it was sweet relief and it felt like my arms were floating. Talk about an upgrade for future leg days!
Dry needling uses filament needles similar to those used within the form of Chinese medicine known as acupuncture. Dry needling is specifically for treating the body’s symptoms of pain through targeting trigger points, muscle fibers and applying knowledge based on the musculoskeletal system. Whereas, acupuncture is about changing the balance and flow of energy throughout the body, and may be applied to treat conditions such as anxiety and high blood pressure, to name a few.
Going into dry needling, you can expect it to feel uncomfortable than it is painful, but everyone responds differently. The science: induce an inflammatory response that brings oxygen-rich and nutrient-rich blood cells to the targeted muscle to stimulate and enhance the recovery process. Every now and then, I experienced an involuntary muscle twitch as the needles were placed in their specific areas (I thought it was so cool). It’s not uncommon to experience minor soreness and/or bruising in the day following dry needling. I experienced minor soreness one day after, but two days after I was feeling refreshed and game day ready.
I rounded my recovery experience with a massage flush (thanks Lauren Howell!). I appreciated learning about the flush as she explained her process of applying a deeper, slower pressure to compliment the dry needling and blood flow restriction therapy. She checked-in with me about how the pressure felt and I truly thought it was insightful how she applied the notes from her teammates who treated me prior to her observation of my body’s response. Following the fifteen-minute massage flush, Howell tested my range of motion and viola! Just like that I was able to raise my arms above my head without a hitch, ache or limited range of motion. At WellSport, you have a whole team working in your corner.
WellSport COVID-19 Considerations:
Masks are worn throughout the duration of your treatment