How is ATG helping so many?

How is ATG helping so many?

> Quality of Life < Consider your pain, what you want to be doing, and how you feel right now. Can you stand up and run a quarter mile immediately? Can you get down on the floor to play with your grandkid? Can you get back up? Does it hurt to go down stairs? This is grand scheme…and should weigh heavily into how we consider being fit for life.

> Range of Motion < Full range, partial, and everything in between. Would it be wise to be strong in one particular part of the range but not others? Also, moving our joints through a full range brings synovial fluid in, signaling repair and restore. As most of us can acknowledge with age, our joints work under an approach of ‘use it or lose it’.

> Connective Tissues < Yes we can develop our tendons, ligaments, cartilage etc.! They take longer to adapt, but we must put effort here. If we simply add muscle to the upper body for an athlete, but we don’t focus on joint development in the lower body…we’re basically manufacturing knee surgeries! Another way to think of this is that if we’re carrying around extra weight, but we haven’t built joints and tissues from the ground up, we’re asking for problems.

>Structural Balance< This is about being as strong forward as backward. It’s about being strong in acceleration AND deceleration. ATG considers ‘overuse’, and builds strength in reverse of that action. A baseball pitcher for example, with all of that forward throwing must create structural balance by building strength in reverse with something like an external rotation exercise. Mimi and Grampa who have taken millions of steps forward? They can use backward walking to reverse out damage and build strength into the future.

>Old & New< Tried and true methods are important. The squat. Ideas from successful coaches from the past like Charles Poliquin or Louie Simmons. They gave us methods that will stand forever. In another way, we must continue to push innovation, try new movements, and consider radical ideas. Not to accept every one of them…but to stay relevant and accessible to each individual. Success leaves clues, whether in history, or in your own knee today.

Good Things,

Desk worker? These 4 movements will help

We clearly hold our bodies in some interesting positions at the workplace…and consequently throw our bodies waaaay out of structural balance. It’s no wonder we have tight backs, hips, shoulders, etc.

I believe that our bodies will balance out on it’s own. But modern day desk sitting is NOT natural. Therefore, we must move in particular ways to remedy this.

Here are some movements to do while sitting at the desk. I’d do these 3 or 4 times throughout an 8 hour shift:

  1. 25 reps Seated Tibialis Raise (shoes off if possible) — By staying seated, this exercise becomes easier than standing. Start with your feet flat on the floor, then lift your toes to the sky keeping your heels down. Aim for a 45 degree angle with the foot. Hold in the top position for 1 second . This works the front of the shin, and the tibialis muscle is the ‘decelerator’ muscle of the legs. If weak here, the rest of the body takes more impact than it should.
  2. 25 reps Seated Calf Raise (shoes off for this too!) — Bring your feet back a little bit under your chair so that there’s a slight stretch on the heel. Then simply stand up on the toes while staying seated. This focuses on the soleus (one of the calf muscles), which is connected to the achilles tendon. Often overlooked, this is a great way to strengthen that tendon, which has the strongest pull of any in the body. Also huge with this movement is strengthening the feet which we neglect. By focusing on going up on that big toe, we do wonderful things for those dogs that carry us around all day.
  3. 15 reps Seated Cat Cow — Similar to the yoga movement performed on your hands and knees, but stay seated in the chair. Start by simply hunching forward slowly, curling your back and getting to that posture that looks poor. It helps to exhale while moving into this. Roll the shoulders forward when going here. Then, roll the shoulders back and slowly move that stretched and arched position. Sit up tall. Chest out, and proud as hell! Inhale during this movement. Smile and hold for a second. Repeat 14 more times!
  4. 20 reps External Rotations — Still seated at the desk and pretending to work…lift elbows out so that upper arms are parallel to the floor. Forearms are hanging directly down toward the floor with palms facing behind you. Keeping those upper arms stable and parallel to floor, roll the shoulders back so that fingers point in front of you and eventually all the way so that fingers are pointed to ceiling. Then roll shoulders and arms back to original position. Repeat 19 more times! This does incredible things for reversing out shoulder pain (ROSP), and creates that ‘opening up’ effect of the upper body. This paired with the Cat Cow can help to balance out our poor posture from the desk sitting all day.

Best,

Pain in my knees!

Dear friends, Let’s talk about knee pain. For the past five years or so I’d say my knees felt uncomfortable. But last winter, I started experiencing acute pain in my right knee…in the patellar tendon directly below the knee cap. It got to the point where the first thought I would have upon waking would be worrisome… Because I knew the first squat up out of bed… And then the first step down the stairs in the morning would be excruciating. I didn’t enjoy that as my very first thought! What a way to start the day.

I figured that this is just something that happens for those of us that play a sport, and begin aging. I see many of my friends and family members dealing with joint pain so I accepted that this is just something that comes with getting older.

When I found Kneesovertoesguy and the ATG system at the beginning of 2022 I was intrigued and caught off-guard. Here was a guy proving that training with our ‘knees over our toes’ was actually beneficial, and perhaps the route to recovery. I’ve been around sports and gyms all my life… And one of the phrases I heard ad nauseam was “don’t let your knees go over your toes”…meaning don’t allow your knee to go forward in exercises like squats, lunges, etc. so the ATG system was radical, different, and against many of the accepted literature. I love that.

The mainstream caution stems from a research study done in 1978 at Duke University concluding that when the knees go over the toes it creates more pressure in the knee. And then word was exaggerated over time to just avoid that position. Ok, that movement DOES create more pressure, but the conclusion COULD have been that we should carefully and strategically strengthen that area…not fricken avoid it!

Look at how we move in life. Look at how athletes move in sport. Start the first movement down a stair, and look at how far your back knee goes over your toes. Look at how far my right knee is over my toes in the picture (also see my dad and family worried about my knees going over my toes). We are in this position all the time! Doesn’t it make sense that we should strengthen our bodies in that position? Throughout my entire basketball career, I never strengthened myself in that position. However, within my sport I consistently drove my body into that position and put the harshest of demands on it. It’s no wonder my knees suffered!

The more ancestral cultures, look at China in particular, inherently use the deep squatting position often whereas most of us in the West stop at 90 degrees after a certain age. Range of motion then suffers for us. And 1 knee surgery in China for every 19 here!

When we don’t express a joint throughout its full range, our body stops sending synovial fluid to the area. Consequently, we miss out on the nourishment and lubrication there. Then the pain sets in! After all of my knee surgeries, I used a ton of painkillers and anti-inflammatories (which actually break down cartilage!), and of course I limited the range of motion of my knee, compounding the issue. Anything at or past 90° felt too tight and too painful.

One of the great things about the ATG system is that it meets you wherever you are. Instead of trying to work through pain or avoiding an area (we see how that works!), we can be grateful for whatever pain-free ability you have now and slowly and consistently build on that. Remember though… I’ve been strengthening muscles WITHOUT full range of motion… And WITHOUT letting my knees go over my toes for about 27 years (since I was 15). I can’t expect to achieve structural balance and undo all of that within a couple of workouts. As I’ve said, I am making good progress and I feel like I’m on the right track. It’s just good for us to understand that this is going to take time.

Since making my first Facebook post on this and asking for feedback… I’ve already received so many stories that make me more passionate about wanting to help. Some of us have to move in a particular way throughout our day to avoid pain on one side… Then when that used side gets too painful, we have to find other ways to navigate. Some of us have knee replacements, hip replacements, multiple surgeries attempting to repair the same issue… Then further surgeries recommended, then replacements. It’s just not a path that looks promising. ATG at least provides another option to consider.

I want to close in saying how grateful for, and how much I respect the doctors that are doing this work. A lot of my current feelings will sound like I’m anti-surgery. But actually, doctors and surgery are what stitched me up and put me back together to get back out there and live my life. These folks are way more educated than me, and they have the courage and skill to look at pictures, then actually open up a knee and correct the issue they see. I am certainly not an expert, and by no means want to put these people down. I’ve just been introduced to another method… A different option… And I want to share that with anyone who may be interested.

Do me a favor and share your story with me! I’ve heard a bunch but I haven’t heard yours yet… And I want to connect. This is completely free for now…And simply want to learn and help as much as I can rolling into 2023 with knees a little better than 2022. ‘When spider webs unite, they can tie up a lion.’ You can start adding tiny webs and fibers to your knees tonight.

Please message me!

Love, jimmy

Reasons I try to Be Cold

‘Yeah, he is somewhat of a ‘cold’ character,’ you may be thinking after reading that title.  No…no….don’t read into that.  Don’t follow that feeling.  It’s not true!  The truth is, as much as I do try to be a warm-hearted individual, an emotionally warm person…there are many benefits to being physically cold.  And as our seasons are changing, introducing colder weather (it’s mid November 2022 as I’m writing) I’ll be more easily able to find those cold temperatures.

In the heart of winter in the Northeast, it’s simple enough to take the dog outside simply wearing shorts and shoes.  Within minutes, the cold has been made it’s mark.  In winter, water out of the faucet can get really cold, so my cold showers were able to become almost unbearable at times…where as in the summer, I can’t achieve that ‘desperation to escape’ type of feeling in the shower. An ice bath needs to be used for that.

Interestingly enough, most of the research shows that just a little cold is good for you.  Even splashing cold water on your face in the morning, or alternating your shower from cold to hot back to cold, or turning down your thermostat a few degrees…all have a positive cold exposure effect on you.  But similar to fasting (intermittent, prolonged, etc.), calorie restriction in general, as well as sauna use…it seems that more is better.  Well, to be safe, please contact your physician before trying any of these exposures…and ‘more is better’ doesn’t mean hypothermia followed by a long term bake in the sauna on zero calories is the way to ultimate health.  It does mean though, that the earlier these exposures are introduced, and the consistency and depth to which they are practiced in a safe way, have an extraordinary compounding effect on the health of individuals.  Exercise, sauna use, cold exposure, and calorie restriction have many benefits on their own.  When they are all practiced together, the benefits seem to multiply.

As I’ve mentioned in other posts like Go FAST, most of the research for these practices has been done on mice.  Some on humans, but mostly on mice in a lab.  I take full stock of that, and urge readers to consider that before implementing any of this.  You are not a mouse!  Even considering that fact myself, the evidence is too strong to stay away…the sway is intriguing for me.  And, I simply love the experimentation process anyway.  The journey of exploration is exciting and educational.  Even if a particular piece doesn’t work in the small sample of a given experiment, the doing…the actions…the practicing gives feedback, and bigger and better lessons can be obtained.  It’s so easy for me to sit and say, ‘that probably won’t work’ or ‘that could be a waste of time’ or ‘being cold is uncomfortable…so nah not interested’.  But sitting, judging, and making excuses is probably one of the worst behaviors I can do.  Being ‘comfortable’ in fact, is one of the worst ideas health-wise that we all ironically strive for.  Our society’s idea of success is all wrapped up in comfort and security.  Ewww.  Is that really something worth striving for?  Well, Ok. Yes, we obviously want to have that in our lives. Ironically, getting uncomfortable is what will bring you comfort. Discipline equals freedom.

Scientifically, we can call this ‘hormesis’…or the beneficial effects of dealing with increasing amounts of mild stress put on the body. It’s obvious how exercise does this. But let’s talk about cold exposure! Most of us take hot hot showers…almost as hot as we can take it. If you’ll notice, because we take this scorching shower…especially in the colder months…we don’t want to get out of the shower because we have then come into contact with the air that feels much too cold in comparison.  This is all about contrast. This can then feed into feeling cold for the rest of the day. Everything feels cold compared to that hot shower. Try this experiment:  Only use the coldest of water during your entire shower. If you haven’t done this, it’s going to be very hard. You can of course ease your way into this by starting warm and moving eventually to full cold. But I like the challenging stuff! Get into that shower even before the water is turned on, then only turn on the cold water. It’s going to suck, and you’ll hate it for the 5 minutes you have to deal with it.  BUT…everything after the cold shower in contrast feels so so good. It’s short term suffering for long term comfort. When you get out of the shower, your body will turn red all over and it will actually begin to heat itself back up. It’s awesome to feel that your body can do this on it’s own. When you get out of the ice bath…this effect is even stronger! I’ve been so surprised, thinking that I’d have to run inside to dry off and then put clothes and blankets, and get close to the wood stove…but I can get out of the ice bath, and my body will again…turn red and heat itself back up to an acceptable level.  Now obviously it’s not easy to sit and let that happen. It’s friggen cold! I guess what I’m saying is that there is a mental toughness component going on here. A mindfulness. And a self-reliant confidence in allowing your body to do this on it’s own. You’ll feel like a beast going through this process. It could take 10 minutes in the morning, and just think of how this mental strength can then roll into other parts of the day!

In addition to just feeling good physically after the cold, as well as earning a mental strength encouraged by the process, there are some positive effects to the body going on that are based in empirical literature. Here are some pros. Cold exposure can:

  • reduce fasting glycemia
  • improve fatty acid handling
  • heighten immune system
  • increase circulation
  • give basic relief of muscle soreness
  • help brain function
  • help alleviate depression
  • activate brown fat (increases energy expenditure, assisting in weight loss, etc.)
  • Longevity?  There isn’t empirical evidence here YET…but all signs show that there probably will be

There is definitely a risk involved with cold exposure. So you must take that into consideration. Consult your doctor before trying this. I like to think of the risk on the other side of doing these types of things though. There is risk in NOT doing this. And there is risk in sitting on my ass all day. Not many folks talk about the risk involved with a Standard American Diet (SAD!) and a sedentary lifestyle. There is a ton of risk with just staying comfortable as much as possible. I’d say much more than that involved with trying a cold shower. I guess it’s worth considering that we’re all at different levels, and there’s no need to judge ourselves too harshly on where we are starting. But we must take a step!

By the way, my current set up is a chest style freezer filled with water in the garage. In the warmer months, it needs power on a timer…in order to keep the water cold. You can set it to come on for a few hours every night in order to maintain the temperature that you want. In the colder months here in NH, no power is needed. It stays plenty cold! I actually have to use salt to prevent it from freezing. Pretty simple set up. Again, the entry-level is right in the shower, where you already go once a day!

Hope this was valuable to you. Please give me some feedback…questions or comments!

All love!

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Me and My Knees

Dear friends,

when I was 16, I tweaked my right knee at a basketball practice. Doc said meniscus was torn, and could be repaired or removed. Removal was a quicker recovery, but worse for long term. I went under the knife and had it repaired. Light PT was the recovery.

2nd surgery on same knee was a couple of years later (I believe mid 20’s but can’t even remember!) after some men’s league basketball. Same doctor, same recovery. I was told that it’s probably time to give up the sport.

After this, I began suffering these weird dislocations in my knee. It’s something called tibiofibular dislocation. Scared the crap out of me, and obviously caused the weirdest, stomach dropping feeling. There wasn’t much pain at all. Just anxiety. I’d have to work my lower leg back into a straight position with my hands, and move it around until it fell back into position. Happened at work…happened once while swimming in a pool! It was the worst.

Overall my knee just always felt really weak. Looking back, it WAS sooo weak, and I didn’t do close to enough to recover from those injuries and surgeries.

Mid 30’s, after dinner I crossed my right leg on top of my left as once does while sitting and chatting…and boom. Another dislocation, but this time couldn’t put it back into place. Doctor had to manually force it down straight and brace it until 3rd surgery…bucket handle meniscus tear. Repaired the meniscus again…3rd times a charm? New doctor. Recovery was to ‘get a stationary bike’. And recommendation was definitely no more basketball at this point.

I eventually did get a little stronger, and did play some more. Fortunately no more tears, and no more dislocations. But now the pain started. I’ll continue that story in another post!

Knee surgeries in the US are at an epidemic level. And the path is to continue having a couple of surgeries, then some cortizone shots, then get a knee replacement. That’s certainly where I was headed.

However, I don’t want that! I want to be able to work and play with no pain, and I want to be able to bend my knee all the way, how it was meant to bend. And I want to be able to squat down ass to grass into my 80’s!

In the beginning of this year, I found the ATG system, and now feel that I’m headed down a path that will allow me to do these things. I have a long way to go on my knee journey, but early progress looks good! I’m now endorsed by ATG as a coach, and want to help all of you that I see hobbling around with knees like mine…or other pesky joints.

Please tell me a story about your knees, or ask me a question about ATG or my journey. I’m looking to learn and help…no cost for now. I want to help you bulletproof your knees for life!

love,

jimmy

emailsig