An Interview with Jill

Jon: Let’s get started. Tell me about your experience with back pain.
Jill: When I was 14 I didn’t have a bedroom and I slept on a pull-out sofa in my parent’s living room (life in Jersey City). This was when I first experienced back pain.
When I was in my 30s and 40s I would be crippled with back pain for weeks at a time. One day, my daughter asked if we could join the Atlantic Club (a health club). One of the perks of being a new member is you are given a free personal training session, and the trainer I got was you!
You told me I had back pain because my core muscles where weak. This was confusing because I thought I had strong abdominal muscles because I did sit-ups. You told me the most important core muscle is the butt muscle and you were very blunt about how weak mine was!
You wrote me a detailed exercise plan, and I’ll never forget bracing and bridging while on my lunch break in my office trying to get my butt muscles to “turn on”.

Jon: I feel like your story is very common; people suffer with pain (back pain, knee pain, shoulder pain, etc.) and don’t know what to do about it.
Jill: So true! I went to countless doctors, physical therapists, chiropractors, and personal trainers. No one ever told me my butt muscles where weak. Often times, I would get varying diagnoses and treatments and I would feel better for a day or two, but the pain and tightness would always return.
It can be very confusing, and the amount of information we are privy to is overwhelming. What I’ve found works best is to keep it simple and not over think things, which is really difficult when you deal with pain everyday. I guess what I am saying is just do core exercises, and that’s it! It so simple!

Jon: I am a big fan of keeping it simple!
Jill: When I first came to you I wanted to address my L4-L5 herniation and my spondylolisthesis and this and that, and you had to reign me in. Just do core exercises is all you told me.

Jon: What tips would you have for someone who suffers with back pain?
Jill: Do core exercises until your butt muscles are sore. If you have trouble with commitment, come to Core Fitness. Core Fitness is so much fun, and the environment is extremely motivating!

Jon: Is there anything else you would like to ad?
Jill: I talk to people all the time about their exercise routines and they are all injured! It drives me up a wall!
I work without pain. I stand long hours without pain. I sit long hours without pain. I play tennis three times a week without pain. If you stick with a consistent core exercise routine, you can cure yourself. I know because I did!

Jon: Thanks for taking the time to sit down with me!
Jill: You’re welcome!

3 Tips to Guarantee Exercise and Weight Loss Success

Do you make excuses why you can’t get to the gym?
Do you have difficulty losing weight?
Core Fitness has been helping individuals
just like you accomplish their exercise and weight loss goals for ten years, and guarantees that if you follow these three simple steps, you will accomplish your goals!

1. Write it Down Everyday
The most successful individuals are focussed and disciplined, and daily goal setting helps refine that focus and discipline. Writing your goals everyday cements in your mind where you need to be tomorrow, and it helps you make better decisions throughout the course of the day that supports those goals.

2. Tell Other People
Sticking to an exercise and weight loss regiment requires focus and discipline… but a little peer pressure never hurt either! By telling other people about your goals, you create accountability. After all, you don’t want to disappoint your Facebook friends! Or mom!

3. Hire a Personal Trainer
Hiring a personal trainer can improve your odds of success by as much as 65%. When you hire a personal trainer, you ask someone else to hold you accountable. Core Fitness personal trainers have more than 40,000 hours helping people just like you reach their exercise and weight loss goals, and they will help you too!

3 Easy Neck Stretches

There is nothing worse than a stiff neck. Having to move your entire body to turn your head is not only uncomfortable, but embarrassing! Stretching and adjusting the neck may help temporarily, but often times the discomfort returns. Fortunately for you, we have more than 40,000 hours helping people with chronic neck pain and neck stiffness find a permanent cure!

1. Adjustable Height Work Surface
Based on our experience, neck pain and neck tightness is largely caused by poor posture, and standing a little bit more throughout the day may help. Enter the adjustable height work surface!
If you can imagine someone sitting hunched over their computer with really terrible posture, it’s as if the head is pulling the neck downward. The head weighs about 10 pounds, and if it is not perfectly positioned above the neck, then it causes
shearing forces on the cervical (neck) spine. With the help of an adjustable height work surface, standing more will help re-position the head “on top” of the neck.

2. Seated Row
Learning to row with perfect technique can quickly fix poor posture. Strengthening the muscles of the upper back (which are notoriously weak in those with neck pain) will go a long way in helping restore posture. A word of caution; this should only be done with an experienced personal trainer. Anything less than perfect technique can result in pain elsewhere.

3. Self Massage
Often times, poor posture causes damage to muscles and ligaments in the upper and middle back, which will effect the neck. It can be a vicious cycle; the neck hurts or feels tight, posture degrades, stress is placed on the muscles of the upper back, the neck hurts even more or feels even tighter, and the process repeats over again and over again. Addressing trigger points in these sensitive areas can help improve posture and relieve neck pain and neck tightness.

3 Secrets to Running Your Fastest 10K

With more than 40,000 hours coaching we have developed a systematized approach to training for a 10k. These tips are just as important if you are an elite runner trying to get a shoe contract or a beginner training for your first 10k.

Tip #1: Food Is Important
The food you eat can make or break your training. Grains, breads, pastas, sugary-food, and salty-food are all poison for runners. These foods weaken the immune system and many individuals constantly run a low-grade fever because of their poor food choices. Ask yourself this; How many people do you know who are constantly run down? How many people do you know who are always blowing their noses? How many people do you know who always have stomach issues?
Meat protein and vegetables are a runner’s best friend. These types of “real food” (foods with ONE ingredient) promote muscular hypertrophy, which aids in recovery from training. These foods also boost the immune system, which is critical when training for a 10k.

Tip #2: Core Training Will Help You Recover Faster
Core training is training to increase the strength of your gluteal (butt) muscles. Atrophied (weak) gluteal muscles cause shearing forces on the hip, which can lead to hip pain, back pain, or knee pain. Strong gluteal muscles will help protect your muscles and your joints so that you can train longer, and the longer you are able to train the faster you will be able to run. A good place to start is with bracing and bridging before every run. The trick is to make your gluteal muscles sore prior to running!

Tip #3: A Solid Training Program Is Key
A good 10k training program is based in intervals, not weekly mileage. All training programs should be 12-weeks, and each week should have a slight increase in “volume”. For example, a beginner in week 1 on Monday will run six, 20-second sprints. Week 2 might be seven, 20-seconds sprints. Week 3 might be seven, 25-second sprints. Gradual, common-sense progressions will produce the fastest 10k time. Keep in mind, the training programs below are only a framework, and it is your job to fill in the weeks in between “week 1” and “week 11”. Only you know how you feel, and the best person to make changes to the training program is you. Are you a little more tired this week? Then maybe you need to alter your Thursday workout. Are you feeling great this week? Then maybe it is time to run a little more on Saturday. The training program should steer you in the general direction of higher and higher fitness, and the program should be in constant flux because of the unpredictable ways in which the human body reacts to training stress.

Example Beginner Week 1
Monday: 6x 20-second sprints with 2-minute walking recovery
Tuesday: 10x 10-second sprints with 1-minute walking recovery
Wednesday: Rest
Thursday: 6x 20-second sprints with 2-minute walking recovery
Friday: 10x 10-second sprints with 1-minute walking recovery
Saturday: 10x 40-second run with 40-second recovery
Sunday: Rest

Example Beginner Week 11
Monday: 8x 45-second sprints with 3-minute walking recovery
Tuesday: 10x 10-second sprints with 1-minute walking recovery
Wednesday: Rest
Thursday: 8x 45-second sprints with 3-minute walking recovery
Friday: 10x 10-second sprints with 1-minute walking recovery
Saturday: 35x 40-second run with 40-second recovery
Sunday: Rest

Example Elite Week 1
Monday: 8x 45-second sprints with 3-minute walking recovery
Tuesday: 10x 10-second sprints with 1-minute walking recovery
Wednesday: 10x 800-meters with 2.5 to 3-minute walking recovery
Thursday: Rest
Friday: 8x 45-second sprints with 3-minute walking recovery
Saturday: 25x 40-second run with 40-second recovery
Sunday: 30-minute jog

Example Elite Week 11
Monday: 10x 60-second sprints with 4-minute walking recovery
Tuesday: 14x 10-second sprints with 1-minute walking recovery
Wednesday: 8x 1000-meters with 3 to 4-minute walking recovery
Thursday: Rest
Friday: 10x 60-second sprints with 4-minute walking recovery
Saturday: 45x 40-second run with 40-second recovery
Sunday: 75-minute jog

Do This One Stretch to Cure Back Pain

Just kidding! There is no “one stretch” to alleviate back pain!
Sitting long periods of time and exercising
incorrectly causes back pain. An individual’s back pain can be decades in the making, and to think that a quick fix exists will only prolong the healing process.
At Core Fitness, we have more than 40,000 hours working with individuals with back pain, and we have developed a time tested solution for curing back pain. Provided below is an abbreviated version of that system.

Step 1: Adjustable Height Work Surface
Back pain may be caused by several different things (poor diet that leads to a large gut, poor exercise choices, too much sitting) all of which adversely effect posture. Poor posture can contribute to (or cause) back pain and investing in an
adjustable height work surface is the perfect solution for those who find themselves sitting hunched over for long periods of time.

Step 2: Trigger Point Therapy
Poor posture weakens the butt (gluteal) muscles which can strain the low back. Coincidentally, most back pain sufferers we have tested at Core Fitness have nonexistent butt muscles. Massaging the butt muscles daily can help release tension on the low back.

Step 3: Learn to Brace
Learning to contract the abdominals and the gluteals at the same time without flattening the back is the single most important exercise in curing back pain. This exercise should not be rushed, and like trigger point therapy, should be done every day. A good place to start is with three sets of five repetitions with five-second holds.

Easily Run Your Fastest 5k

Millions of Americans compete in road races every year. Racing is alluring and addicting, and registering for a 5k may motivate someone to change their diet and adopt a healthier lifestyle.

The Secret
The secret to running your fastest 5k is sprinting. Sprint training for a 5k may seem counterintuitive, but it’s not! Think of it this way: if you train fast, then you will race fast! A Lamborghini’s engine does less work at 50 m.p.h than a Prius’s engine at 50 m.p.h. Why? Because the Lamborghini has a stronger engine and higher top speed! By training fast you will be able to maintain that 8-minute mile pace longer because you have a higher top speed. Speed work has other benefits too!

Time Saver
We are busy! We have work. We have family. We have obligations. Running short sprints does not take a lot of time. Running six (yes, only six), 15-seconds sprints, with a 2-minute walking recovery takes about twenty minutes. That’s less than 2% of your day, and if you run three times a week, that is less than 1% of your week!

Fat Burner
Speed work puts the body in “caloric-debt”. Caloric debt is when the body continues to burn fat after the workout is over. So, even in the evening, long after your morning speed session, your body will still be churning through fat. It’s as if you hired someone else to workout for you! Not only is speed work super-time efficient, it continues to work for you while you are getting on with your life!

Running a 5k is challenging. For the first-timer, running is an extremely daunting and rewarding task. For a veteran, the challenge may come from trying to set a personal record (PR). Speed work is the key, and not only will you run faster, you will save time and burn more fat in the process!

5 Exercise Tips from Drew Seaver

1. Food is More Important Than Exercise
“I can’t tell you how often someone wants to hire me because they want to lose weight. I find it ironic because they are willing to spend a lot of money on personal training but quite often are unwilling to give up bread, pasta, and alcohol. With that being said, I have had clients decide after they hired me to make dietary changes. I guess what I am trying to say is either give up grains and alcohol or start exercising, but don’t do both at the same time.”

2. Simple Exercise are Better
“Members at my health club injure themselves doing the latest, craziest exercises. The best exercises are the simple ones; bracing, bridging, etc. These exercises work the core muscles without stressing problem areas such as the shoulders, low back, and knees.”

3. Walking is Great Cardio
“I don’t know why people are so fixated on jogging long slow distance or sitting on the recumbent bike for an hour. Not only would that bore me, I would probably get hurt! Many of my clients walk for cardio, and they never have any issues. Personally, I enjoy hiking with my girlfriend on the weekends. We have a lot of amazing parks in the area and I feel energized afterward!”

4. Everyone Has Back Pain
“Most everyone I have met at the health club has some kind of back issue; tightness, L4-L5 herniation, spondylosis, etc. Flexion exercise such as sit-ups and crunches seem to make back pain worse. Exercises that stiffen the low back muscles such as bracing and bridging can help quite a bit.”

5. Client’s Who Pay for Personal Training are More Consistent
“This is going to sound like a plug for personal training, but whatever. Client’s who pay for personal training are more consistent than those who don’t pay for personal training. Yes, there are some individuals who are intrinsically motivated who don’t need a trainer, but the vast majority of the members at my health club are inconsistent. Not only are my clients consistent with training, they seem to listen to my advice more than someone who doesn’t pay for my services.”

Drew is a personal trainer at a Robert Wood Johnson Fitness & Wellness.

How To Effortlessly Get Rid of Shoulder Pain in Less than 30 Days

Shoulder pain can be a daily struggle. Even slight changes in body position can cause discomfort. Working on the computer, getting dressed, and even sleeping can be very challenging.
But fear not because we are here to help! We have hundreds of hours working on painful shoulders and will walk you through the necessary steps so you can return to your old self.

Adjustable Height Work Surface
Slouching for long periods shortens the chest muscles (the pectorals) and over-stretches the upper back muscles (the trapezius), which are major contributors to shoulder weakness and shoulder pain. Standing upright just a little bit more can help the shoulder muscles recover that much faster. Also, standing with good posture looks better!

Often times, shoulder pain is only the symptom of an injury elsewhere. An example of this phenomenon is back pain; most back pain sufferers have a hip injury that causes them to feel pain in the low back.
Even though the shoulder may hurt, the actual cause of the pain is usually in the chest muscles and upper back muscles, and a good massage therapist will focus on trigger points in these areas. If hiring a massage therapist is cost prohibitive, a great alternative is using a foam roller. There is always a solution!

Master the Seated Row
The seated row is our go-to exercise for shoulder strength. Rowing with perfect technique strengthens the muscles of the shoulder while improving posture at the same time! It’s like a magic trick! A good place to start is with three sets of five reps, performed slowly (with a 5-second count).

Shoulder pain can be crippling, but the good news is we have a tried and tested solution! We have used these three steps repeatedly with great effect, and most individuals feel better within one month.

4 Essential Exercises for Knee Pain

A large percentage of Americans suffer with knee pain. Knee pain, unlike other types of pain (back pain, shoulder pain, etc.) largely afflicts those who are active (joggers, cyclists, etc.)
The first step in knee rehabilitation is rest from the activity that is the catalyst for the pain. What this means; if you are a jogger, then you should stop jogging until the pain subsides. If you are a cyclist, then you should stop cycling until the pain subsides. The flip side is continuing to exercise despite the pain which will eventually end in surgery, at which point rest will be mandatory anyway.
Knee pain is caused by overactive quadriceps muscles (thigh muscles) which result in weak gluteal muscles (butt muscles), and weak gluteal muscles result in weak abdominal muscles (stomach muscles). Trigger points therapy can go a long way in helping to reduce symptoms.
The primary goal of knee rehabilitation is the creation of soreness in the stomach muscles and butt muscles. Strengthening the stomach muscles and the butt muscles will relieve stress on the patellar tendon (knee joint).

Gluteal Massage

Supine Brace


Quadruped Hip Extension

Knee pain can be debilitating whether getting up out of bed, going up and down stairs, or going for a walk. The trainers at Core Fitness have more than 20,000 hours working with individuals in pain and have developed a time-tested system for curing knee pain.

4 Secrets to Curing Low Back Pain Forever

Back pain sufferers struggle everyday. Simple tasks such as getting up out of a chair and sleeping can be very challenging to those in pain.

At Core Fitness, we have more than 100,000 hours helping chronic low back pain sufferers. Experience has taught us that addressing low back pain must be multi-factorial. If our recommendations are followed, in six months there is a 90% chance the individual’s symptoms will subside.

Adjustable Height Work Surface
Sitting prolonged periods of time deforms the spine and weakens the hip muscles. Our bodies were not designed to sit hunched over! Humans were meant to hunt and gather. Humans were meant to be active! Removing the act of sitting, at least partially during the course of the day, can help remove stress on the lumbar facets. Furthermore, adjustable height work surfaces are great conversation starters!

A lot of people roll their eyes when food is mentioned as a potential aggravate of low back pain. The hard truth is that sugary foods and salty foods cause inflammation of the joints (and the digestive tract, which is another conversation). You can do all the right things (exercise, use an adjustable height work surface, etc.), but if your joints are constantly inflamed, then symptoms may persist. A good place to start is by cutting out bread and pasta, which are large sources of inflammation in the Western diet. More info and good eating habits can be found here.

Walking (even more specifically, hiking with a backpack) is great for the core musculature. Walking is gentle on the hips and helps loosen the muscles of the low back that are in spasm. Walking two to four times a week for twenty to thirty minutes is also great for the cardiovascular system, the musculoskeletal system, and the digestive system. Walking can also be relaxing and enjoyable with friends and family.

Exercise can be a game changer in an individual’s health, and a great exercise routine will make the body feel better physically! The spine will feel looser after exercising. The knees will feel more nimble after exercising. The neck will feel more mobile after exercising. You should feel like you walk better after exercising! A great core exercise routine is one that strengthens the abdominal muscles, the para-spinal muscles, the deep abdominal muscles, the obliques, and the hip muscles, which will help take pressure off the lower spinal region, upper hip area, and sacroiliac joint.