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Client Corner - Arlene Greenfield

What brought you to Health and Wholeness? My workouts were not up to what I knew they should be, nor what I knew I needed and wanted to focus on, which was strength training. In the years prior to Health and Wholeness I was working out on my own – lots of walking, some jogging, and some yoga, with occasional trips to the gym. How many days a week do you train? I train at Health and Wholeness three days a week focusing on strength and cardio.  Just recently I started working in some Muscular Activation Technique (MAT) training with Jeremy. On the days I'm not at Health and Wholeness, I get my walks in – usually three to five miles. This month I'll also be back doing yoga at least once a week. What are your biggest motivators? Knowing that I'm improving my overall health, bone density, and muscle tone. I had been diagnosed with osteopenia and want to do all that I can to prevent osteoporosis. What is the most significant change you have noticed since you started at Health and Wholeness? Having an overall sense and feeling of knowing I'm doing what I should be for my health, body and overall well-being.  I have had some weight loss and toning/firming up – visible by the way clothes fit – always a good indicator! And quantitatively, seeing an increase in the number of reps I do and/or weights I'm able to lift. What have you learned about yourself since you started working with us? Working with a trainer "works" for me! I always knew I should focus on strength training, but had no "self" interest in wanting to figure out all the equipment, how much weight for each piece of equipment, what exercises to do on/with the equipment, etc. etc.  I've been working with Nina, and training with her has reinforced for me that I work best with a trainer. Nina and I have also had many discussions on diet and nutrition. While I knew I was making more healthy choices than not, her advice on the right types and amounts of fat and protein has been invaluable in making positive changes to my diet. What advice would you have for others just starting their own health journey? Don't put it off!  I had been considering working with a personal trainer for a very long time.  In hindsight, it would have been great to have started when I first thought about it; However, I'm glad I started even when I did and took the steps to commit to an ongoing program. What would you want others to know about Health and Wholeness? Check it out!  If you've even thought about finding a place to work out but you’re not sure where to go (given the number of gyms and facilities in this area) it's definitely worth calling and making an appointment to talk with Christian, Nina, or any of the other trainers. Visiting the studio and talking with a trainer is a great way to see if the personnel and studio is the right fit for you.  For me it was and is.  While I primarily have trained with Nina, I have worked with a number of the other trainers and have been extremely pleased with the workouts. You'll work hard in a very positive and friendly environment. Arlene trains at Health and Wholeness – a multifaceted fitness and wellness business serving Arlington and Alexandria, Virginia featuring: Private and Semi-Private Personal Training as well as Pilates, Muscle Activation Techniques, Fitness Boot Camps, Nutrition Consultations, Acupuncture, Massage, Wellness Coaching, Infrared Sauna, Ionic Foot Soaks and more.

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Client Corner - Talita Lapitz

A look into the life of Talita Lapitz – a successful Muscle Activation Technique client and active Boot Camp participant who loves how Health and Wholeness has changed her body and mind for the better… What brought you to Health and Wholeness? My health had deteriorated drastically since I had long moved here from Brazil in 2004. I had gained 40 pounds, although I tried to exercise 3 times a week, and tried to find healthy foods to eat. I also developed allergy-induced asthma and had no energy. I felt like I had lost my identity as a former healthy, bubbly, energetic surfer… In addition, back pain from an old injury brought me to MAT with Jeremy Rucker. I felt alive and happy again with much less pain! How many days a week do you train? 4 days a week. I attend boot camp with Nina 3 days a week and have one day of MAT with Jeremy. What are your biggest motivators? My love for surfing and my goal of getting back in the water and having a blast! What is the most significant change you have noticed since you started at Health and Wholeness? My energy levels and moods…I became happier, more relaxed, and a better teacher, wife, biker and surfer. What have you learned about yourself since you started working with us? You should never give up! Also learn to recognize a bad pain and seek help versus pushing harder and getting frustrated. What advice would you have for others just starting their own health journey? Come check it out for yourself! What would you want others to know about Health and Wholeness? They are amazing at what they do best – both Nina and Jeremy have helped me achieve my goals, which were not modest ones, so I’m sure they can help anyone! Talita trains at Health and Wholeness – a multifaceted fitness and wellness business in Arlington, Virginia featuring: Private and Semi-Private Personal Training as well as Pilates, Muscle Activation Techniques, Fitness Boot Camps, Nutrition Consultations, Acupuncture, Massage, Wellness Coaching, Infrared Sauna, Ionic Foot Soaks and more.

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Look to Health and Wholeness for all your Massage Needs!

"In addition to regularly using the personal training and MAT resources at Health and Wholeness, I've immensely enjoyed the massage services that they offer.  Whether I'm just looking for a relaxing break or relief from sore muscles or a pinched nerve, the massage therapists always hit the ball out of the park." "From hot stone to deep tissue to Swedish, every massage I've had at Health and Wholeness has been a great experience. Recently, I was struggling with some right shoulder and neck pain -- most likely caused by sitting at a computer all day long. I spoke with Dave about the problems I was experiencing, and he suggested an approach to relieve the pain...about one hour later I felt like an entirely new person!" "Furthermore, the massage pricing at Health and Wholeness is very reasonable and the staff is spectacular. I highly recommend Health and Wholeness for all your massage needs!" - Susan C, Health & Wholeness client Health and Wholeness is a multifaceted fitness and wellness business in Arlington, Virginia featuring: Private and Semi-Private Personal Training as well as Pilates, Muscle Activation Techniques, Fitness Boot Camps, Nutrition Consultations, Acupuncture, Massage, Wellness Coaching, Infrared Sauna, Ionic Foot Soaks and more.

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Pilates – The Missing Link in My Lower Back Rehab

This past summer I found myself with some pretty awful low back pain, the kind where you worry that if you bend over too far you might just keep going to the floor, or get stuck in the bent over position.  I hurt it, like a lot of guys do, by trying to lift too much weight and for about 3 months it would start to feel better and then one vigorous workout would send it back to being very, shall we say…delicate.  At times I moved around like I was 80 years old.  Being a trainer and a generally fit person it was weird to see myself move like some of my elderly clients.  But boy could I relate to what they must feel as they move through space. After emptying my bag of tricks with the exercises I knew to do for my core, plus rehabilitative measures like acupuncture, massage, chiropractic, proper sleeping position, ice, etc., I was starting to wonder if I had damaged something structurally.  I had Jeremy Rucker (our Muscle Activation Techniques specialist) go to work on me trying to figure out what muscles might be letting me down.  Turns out my back actually tested quite strong.  What he found however was that various abdominal muscles, as well as my hip flexors couldn’t even resist against light pressure.  It was like they were on a dimmer switch set to the lowest output.  They could move but had a tremendously low threshold.  Anything stressful basically turned them off.  In short my back was hurting because my abs and hip flexors were not strong enough to handle what my back was capable of.  Yet it was my back felt the brunt of their dysfunction. Armed with that knowledge I knew there was nothing better at strengthening the core than Pilates.  Now, I’m a guy who loves a good sweat, I like lifting toward the heavy (not too heavy) side.  I like getting somewhat out of breath, to really out of breath.  I like leaving a workout feeling the pump in the muscles and the clear mind that comes with a strong exertion level.  There is not much about Pilates that fits that description but nevertheless so many people swear by it that I knew it likely was what my body needed.  Besides, I was running out of health measures I knew of to help my back heal.  I had to try it. I had Heather Paris work with me for just 2 sessions and at the end of the first I could already feel the difference!  When I started my first session I could barely bend over far enough to touch my hands to my knees.  By the end of the hour I could reach down around my ankles.  The difference was amazing!  By the end of the second session I actually felt athletic again.  That was all it took.  I was hooked.  Since then I’ve made many of those exercises a part of my standard workouts.  I regularly “sneak” into the Pilates studio to practice what she taught me.  I’ve learned the cues my body is giving me that tell me when my body needs some Pilates. I cannot say how grateful I am to have such quality of life enhancing knowledge in my “hip pocket”.  If you’re core needs some help you’ve gotta try Pilates.  Do it well, precisely and often and you can’t help but feel the difference!   Here’s to moving like a kid again.  Thank you Heather! To your health, Christian Elliot – Personal Trainer, and owner Health and Wholeness LLC, Arlington VA

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Fitness: A Visit to the Muscle Mechanic

Fitness: A Visit to the Muscle Mechanic Just like our cars, sometimes our bodies need a tune-up. If you live with chronically tight muscles or achy joints, perhaps a muscle tune-up is just what you need. Muscle Activation Techniques is a non-invasive approach to addressing the stresses placed on our joints and muscles. It is a discipline like no other. Just as one would go to car mechanic to fix various problems with their car, we also have need of specific 'mechanics' for our bodies from time to time.  When our bodies begin to break down, we have a long list of modalities and treatments available to us: chiropractic care, orthopedic care, neurology, acupuncture and many more.  When we have problems with our muscular system we also have many different techniques that deal with muscle issues.  One that distinguishes itself by understanding the mechanical influences of each muscle and the necessity of their interdependence on each other is Greg Roskopf's “Muscle Activation Techniques.” Muscle Activation Techniques (MAT) uses an in-depth understanding of mechanical principles of the muscular system to be able to address muscular imbalances in the human body.  It is these imbalances that lead to chronic and repetitive stress injuries.  The human body is by far the most complicated machine ever created; with over 700 muscles, and without specific training, it would be very difficult to know where to begin in assessing the cause of these imbalances. Starting With a Question: Why Are Your Muscles Tight in the First Place? When muscles become chronically tight or even painful, MAT asks the question, “Why is it tight in the first place?”  Mechanically, it would not make sense that a tight muscle is a “weak” muscle.  Why?  Tightness in a muscle is a sign that that muscle is doing the work of some other muscle(s).  Muscles don’t tighten out of boredom.  They do so at the behest of the brain because of specific commands.  Rather than see tightness as an indicator of weakness, think of it as a symptom that a particular muscle is being overworked—carrying out the duty of protecting the body from going into a vulnerable range of motion.  In other words, a tight muscle is working harder because someone else is not able to pull its own share of the load. But My Hamstrings Are Tight…Shouldn’t I Stretch Them? A typical treatment for muscle tightness is to stretch or even massage out the tight tissue.  In light of the above, it would be important for one ask if it made sense to loosen the body’s protective mechanism.  Or maybe a better question would be “Have you noticed your hamstrings seem as tight as the last time you stretched them?”  If so, maybe they are tightening back up for a reason.  Perhaps it would help to think of it this way: Would you expect a mechanic to loosen the nuts and bolts to balance your cars alignment?  Or course not.  Doing so would lead to more dysfunction when you take our car back out on the road.  The same thought should exist with our bodies. If the tight muscles are not the problem, the question can then shift to “where does the problem exist?”  That is a difficult question that is not easily answered.  There are many scenarios for why one area of the muscular system is tight and overworked.  An MAT specialist will be able to zoom in on these issues with precision through a very specific mechanical process and evaluation. How Does an MAT Specialist Zoom in On the Problem? Most people's bodies are born structurally symmetrical.  That is to say the vast majority of the time our bones are shaped the same on each side of the body.  So when people move in asymmetrical patterns (as all of us do in some way) if it were not the bones that create asymmetries, the culprit we are left must be the tissue that moves the bones—the muscles.  A muscles job is to produce motion and control and stabilize joints.  If one or more muscles are tight, based on whatever stress exists, it follows logically that certain ranges of motion from one side to another will not be symmetrical when tested.  MAT uses specific range of motion evaluations of each joint to determine where these weak muscles exist.   Limitations in symmetry lead a MAT specialist to certain muscles that could be weak and causing the tightness in other areas.  Once the weak muscles are discovered and treated, the tight muscles are able to relax and perform their specific responsibility.  With the proper progression— treating muscles through MAT, and strengthening those same muscles, a joint can truly be functional when performance is required. So, if you have ever experienced shoulder, back, hip, neck, leg, foot tightness, etc. from your workouts or day-to-day responsibilities it is important to start finding out where the cause of the problem exists.  The symptom of pain and tightness often exists simply because some muscle(s) have not done their job.  If symptoms are the only priority in treatment, the true root cause of the problem will never be addressed and the same chronic problems will occur and become amplified with age.  Just as one would not go to an ear, nose and throat doctor to perform surgery on the foot, it is important to go to a muscle specialist when there is a muscular issue in need of addressing.  An MAT specialist is a "Muscle Mechanic" capable of addressing the muscular imbalances that lead to your muscular dysfunctions. If you’ve never tried it out, come see what you’re missing!  Call us to schedule a free consultation today. By Jeremy Rucker

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Client Corner: Tara Jones

What brought you to Health and Wholeness? I've known the Elliots for quite a few years and always enjoyed hanging out with them; especially playing volleyball. I knew how dedicated they were to healthy living and I've always loved their positive outlook. After my mom was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, I decided that I would make my health a much higher priority. When Nina included me on the email distribution list for her first Boot Camp session, I decided to try it. I've been hooked ever since. I have also taken advantage of the Nutrition Consultation with Nina, as well as having Jeremy "torture" me with Muscle Activation Techniques to get me ready for my first marathon last year. I would not have been able to do it without their help! How many days a week do you train? I do Boot Camp three days a week. When I'm training for a race or a marathon, I do short-ish runs two days a week and then a long run on Sundays. I also try to do yoga twice a week. When I'm not training for a run, I have time to return to the water for swimming workouts, which are still my favorite! What is/are your biggest motivator(s)? Nina's guns! Have you seen her muscles? What could be more motivating than those?!? I am also motivated by the fact that my parents are working hard now to live a healthy lifestyle and my mom is in remission. We have essentially decided to be on this health journey together. We share information and motivate each other. They now have a trainer and they workout together. I am so proud of them and they motivate me to keep it up! What is the most significant change you have made/noticed since coming to Health and Wholeness? I'm sore all the time -- but it's a good sore; the kind where I feel like I've earned it! Once I had my nutrition consultation with Nina, I have a seen a huge difference in the way I feel overall. I don't wake up with a sour stomach anymore (previously an almost daily occurrence) and I don't need coffee to wake up in the morning (who does when you've started your day at Boot Camp?). I feel great. I feel strong. I feel healthy - and that's the most important thing to me. What advice would you give someone starting on his or her own health journey? There is nothing you can't accomplish. Set good goals and maintain a positive attitude (which is impossible not to have if you're working out with Health and Wholeness!). I had a good friend in college who was a serious cyclist. When people would ask him for advice on how to get as good as he was, he would always say, "Find a coach that you trust, and do everything he says." You have to put in the work, trust your coaches to push you to the limit, and then reap the rewards. You will not regret a single minute spent on improving your health!

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Client Corner: Darlene

Current Fitness Goal(s): One Arm Push-up How many days a week do you train? 5 hours of Personal Training What is/are your biggest motivator(s)? Not to long ago her mother was going through serious health complications.  Living in a different state from her mother, who needed round the clock assistance, took not only a financial toll, but was also physically and emotionally draining on Darlene and her family. It was then that Darlene decided she would dedicate whatever resources she had into preserving her own health in order to avoid her family the heartache of caring for her as she aged.  Thankfully her mother is better, and Darlene is setting the bar higher and higher for herself every year. What is the most significant change you have made/noticed since coming to Health and Wholeness? There have been many changes over the last three years.  I am paying more attention to nutrition, have become a huge fan of the benefits of muscle activation therapy (thank you, Jeremy), and learned to like sweating.  Perhaps the most significant change I've noticed since coming to H&W is that now matter how far I think I can push my body, it can always give a little more (with the possible exception of being able to bench press my weight)! What advice would you give someone starting on his or her own health journey? “Trust your trainers. They will set a strong foundation of fitness in order to enable you to do things you never thought possible.”

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