National Posture Institute’s 2015 State of Industry Survey

Hi everyone,

I had the privilege of working on the National Posture Institute’s 2015 State of the Industry survey. For all the fit professionals who want to see the review, I’ve posted the link and the information below.

National Posture Institute (NPI) Survey Report

2015 State of the Industry Survey:  Posture, Health, and Fitness Report

The National Posture Institute (NPI) believes that posture, exercise performance, injury prevention, and education surrounding body alignment and exercise selection are important areas of concern for fitness and allied-health/medical professionals. NPI created its 2015 State of the Industry Survey to determine whether professionals were prepared to work with clients on posture correction/exercises and to review the current state of the industry and upcoming trends. This report will review NPI’s State of the Industry’s 2015 Survey results.

NPI surveyed personal trainers, physical therapists, physiotherapists, group exercise instructors, athletic/sports performance specialists, P.E. teachers, chiropractors and other allied-health, medical and fitness based professionals for this study. The majority of our respondents work as personal trainers/exercise professionals in settings such as health clubs/fitness facilities, home-based training, private practice training, corporate offices/fitness centers and college/universities. An additional group of respondents work as physical therapists, chiropractors, ergonomic specialists, athletic trainers and other allied health/medical professional in hospitals, medically-based fitness sites, sports performance sites and private clinics.

Respondents indicated that they work with a diverse client age group from young children (29%) to (80+) older adults (51%). Respondents stated their client base includes children/adolescents, stay at home moms/dads, corporate executives, office workers, athletes, academics, retirees and health/medical professionals.

As indicated on the survey, clients/patients “sometimes” inquire about posture and body alignment and 78% of professionals are actively educating them on the subject. Professionals also indicated that they generally conduct assessments on their clients. When asked about conducting posture assessments, 75% say they conduct posture assessments on a regular basis. Balance/agility skills, muscular strength and endurance assessments are also predominantly being used by professionals. When asked about corrective exercise programs, 53% say they use them. However, when asked whether corrective exercises for posture related injuries are being administered the responses were almost tied.

The survey shows that 69% of respondents have received training on how to conduct and create programs that focus on posture and body alignment. While some received little training from personal training organizations, others note that they learned some information about posture through books and/or magazine articles. The majority of respondents received educational training from the National Posture Institute (NPI); It was listed as the primary organization to learn about posture education, assessments and exercise movements.

Professionals indicated that they prefer using free weights, suspension and body weight training as opposed to commercial strength training/circuit training equipment when working with their clients/patients. The most popular exercises mentioned were: squats, lunges, step-ups, bicep and triceps curls, back rows, push-up variations, frontal/lateral raises and planks. It should come as no surprise then that exercise tubing, stability balls, body weight exercises and free weights/dumbbells took top spots when asked about the modalities being used while training.

Professionals believe that the most prevalent postural deviations seen in their clients are “forward head posture,” “rounded shoulders,” and “muscular imbalances”. They also indicated that the most common injury sites are the “lower back,” “rotator cuff,” and the “knees”. Respondents believe that the programs that could most likely cause an injury are power lifting, heavy lifting, Olympic style lifting, Crossfit and plyometrics.

Summary

The results show that fitness, health and allied-health/medical professionals are becoming more aware of posture, body alignment and exercise selection. They are actively developing programs for their clients/patients with posture and body alignment in mind. Professionals are predominantly working with clients/patients that range from ages as young as 5 (five) to 80+ years old. Respondents stated their client base includes children/adolescents, stay at home moms/dads, corporate executives, office workers, athletes, academics and health/medical professionals.

Professionals are conducting fitness and posture assessments; many of the respondents have learned to perform postural assessments and corrective exercises from the National Posture Institute. Clients/patients “sometimes” inquire about posture, but professionals that responded to this survey are actively educating them on the subject.

Fitness, health and medical professionals must continue to learn about posture and body alignment. As professionals, being aware of these areas allow for greater vigilance when selecting programs, methods and exercises for clients/patients. Professionals must continue taking the initiative and actively discussing the subject of posture with their clients/patients. Though their current responsibilities are great, professionals must not overlook the negative effects of poor posture and body alignment. Lastly, professionals must take an active role in becoming strong role models that can educate the public about proper posture, alignment and exercise performance.

http://www.npionline.org/survey/2015 (For more information on posture, certifications related to fitness/nutrition/posture and more, check out the rest of their website.)

Why sitting for too long is killing you

Well, by now you’ve heard of this…right? If not, this brief video is a must watch on the reasons why sitting too much is a killer.

 

Accountability: Even the Fitness Industry Needs It

Hi everyone, hope your 2015 is turning out well. If not, hang in there and work for what you need to happen. Here’s a good one for you. How do you when the fitness pro is performing the technique correctly? Generally, you won’t. So even the fitness industry and its professionals need to be held accountable. I discuss this in my first article this year, published on the National Posture Institute website here, but you can read it below also:

Accountability: Even the Fitness Industry Needs It

by Nick A. Titley, M.S., NPI-Certified Posture Specialist

It’s the start of a new year and many of the old year’s habits need to be left behind. How do you know when a fitness professional is performing an exercise in good form and body alignment? You don’t; If you’re not exercise savvy then the likelihood of being misled is high. Fitness organizations and professionals need to be more aware of form and body alignment when posting exercises.

Last year, after opening a monthly newsletter from a major fitness organization I noticed the model’s posture and body alignment was off. Her head and neck were lurching forward as she sat up, frozen in place. The fitness model from the newsletter was trying to work her abdominals while simultaneously putting her neck and spine at risk. It wasn’t the first time I saw something like this; I’ve seen professionals performing techniques with improper form and body alignment. It’s time that organizations and professionals in the fitness industry take account for these problems. The public will emulate these techniques.

According to an article by Nikitow Chiropractic, one of the most common posture problems is forward head posture (FHP). Repetitive computer, TV, video game, phone and backpack usage, alongside poor exercise form can force our bodies to adopt this problem. Repetitively lurching the head and neck forward can strengthen nerve and muscle pathways to move that way more readily. In short, repetition of forward head movements combined with poor ergonomic postures can lead to FHP. Was the professional, and the organization, aware of FHP when they posted that image?

Incorrect Correct

Dimitri Onyskow and I spoke about the problem. As the Educational Fitness Solution’s Director of Academic Relations, he deals with these issues: “I think most organizations do not want to acknowledge the fact that they have been promoting poor technique,” he says, “If they did, they would be admitting they were wrong. Instead, they choose to ignore it in hopes that no one else will notice.”

Dimitri says that the problem exists in major fitness organizations that offer corrective exercise programs: “What most don’t understand is if a client is doing a ‘corrective exercise’ movement in poor alignment, all they are doing is adding strength to an already imbalanced frame. And this will lead to injury down the road. It is imperative that proper technique is taught throughout.”

Michele, a fitness club manager, also had a similar experience and shared her utter distaste for some major fitness brands. She says that people are quick to follow these teachings even if they are dangerous. She believes that one of the major problems with these brands is the bad form of their followers: “They often have people doing pointless motions with incorrect form and at ridiculous weights.”

Michele believes that many of the people following routines from these brands have no clue what they’re doing and they think their form is correct. Many are closer to a hospital visit than achieving their results and refuse help when approached about their form.

So can you tell when you’re being misled? It’s difficult to tell, so sometimes you need to seek a second opinion. Keep in mind that every trainer and fitness organization isn’t trying to mislead you, but even the experts get it wrong sometimes. If you’re unsure about a technique, don’t feel it working, or you’re concerned about the danger level then by all means ask questions. Always ask questions, research the topic and pay attention to who is providing the advice.

Good form and proper body alignment should be the goal of every exercise. Organizations and professionals in the fitness industry need to be aware of their form and body alignment while performing exercises. The public won’t know the difference between right and wrong. It’s up to the fitness industry to teach the public the correct methods and to be accountable for their actions.

References:

  • Nikitow, D. (2014). Damaging effects of forward head posture. Retrieved from denvertechchiro/files/fhp_revised.pdf
  • Michele. Personal interview. 7 January 2015
  • Onyskow, Dimitri. Personal Interview. 6 January 2015

Happy New Year!

Wishing you all a fantastic 2015! May you continue to rise and grind through the good and the bad. Take with you all that you’ve learned from 2014 and make it into something beautiful in 2015. All the best!

Fitness Gurus and Self-Proclaimed Experts: Why You Should Avoid Them

Fitness Gurus and Self-Proclaimed Experts: Why You Should Avoid Them

by Nick A. Titley, M.S., NPI-Certified Posture Specialist

After having a conversation with a client I couldn’t believe what someone told her about nutrition and fitness. After speaking with a self-proclaimed fitness expert she felt more drained than enlightened. The conversation stuck with me; the last straw came when I saw an “expert” incorrectly instructing someone on how to perform an exercise. After reading this article I hope you’ll understand why you need to avoid these kinds of people.

 Fitness gurus and self-proclaimed experts are everywhere. Many believe that whatever works for them will work for you and they are often the first to offer advice. They flex muscles, revealing what’s under their shirts, eagerly showcasing what they’ve attained as the proof that their advice is legitimate. You’ll be so convinced that they are experts after an interaction that you might be open toward the diet plans and exercise programs they’re willing to prescribe you even when they lack the qualifications or research to substantiate their claims.

I sat down with Akilah to discuss her experience with one of these experts. Akilah explained that she’s been on a weight loss journey and in a recent conversation she was offered nutritional counseling when she never asked for any. She explained to the guru that she added plums to her diet and he told her that she shouldn’t eat them. “He told me at my weight, my body won’t break down the sugar.” He also told her to completely cut fruits from her diet.

Akilah wasn’t satisfied with the response so she questioned it. She mentioned the difference between natural and processed sugars and reasoned that a single plum, with low sugar but full of vitamins, wouldn’t have adverse effects on her body. After her response, the expert told her to eat whatever she wanted because she “knows it all.”

If you’re a fitness guru or self-proclaimed expert that’s offering advice without any real background or training, please stop it. If you’ve encountered people like this, be careful and have no fear in challenging them. If you receive a negative rebuttal or the answers seem far-fetched then do your own research. Always ask a trained professional; it won’t hurt and most times they will confirm, or deny, the information you’re receiving.

It doesn’t stop here; unprofessional behavior also exists in the fitness industry and unqualified fitness gurus are rampant. I interviewed Thomas Johnson, Certified Trainer and owner of GetupNGetFit, and Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, Brett Willmott, about the subject. Thomas explained that he’d seen his fair share of these “experts” and, like Brett, voiced traits that he felt make for “bad trainers.”

Lack of attentiveness, disregard for safety, improper technique, and a lack of qualifications, knowledge and experience were on the “bad trainer” lists for both Brett and Thomas. These problems are also seen in gurus and self-proclaimed fitness experts, but the main problem with these people is the advice they’re offering. The information, while sometimes correct, might not work for you and could be detrimental to your overall goals.

While the idea of this might make you cringe, Brett ended by offering some direction. He suggested that anyone seeking help from a fitness expert should research them first. Ensure they’re qualified in the area of their instruction and always be prepared to ask questions. “With a well thought out plan, you will be on your way to an educational encounter,” he said.

For qualified fitness trainers and self-proclaimed experts, this is a wake-up call for some and a reminder for others. Even if you don’t fit the category it’s always good to think twice about what you’re discussing with someone. For anyone else, this isn’t a call to dump your trainer or question every detail, but ask yourself if you at least feel comfortable discussing questions with them. They don’t know everything, but they should at least be professional in putting that point across.

Be careful when taking advice from people who aren’t qualified in the area they’re discussing. Self-proclaimed fitness experts are easy to find, but can impart misinformation. Seek a professional and ensure that you’re comfortable asking questions.

 References:

  • Johnson, Thomas. Personal interview. 7 November 2014.
  • Willmott, Brett. Personal interview. 7 November 2014
  • Akilah. Personal interview. 4 November 2014

Why Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS) Doesn’t Equate to Physical Success

Here’s another one of my articles that’s posted on the National Posture Institute. It deals with the idea that some people equate being sore to overall goal success. It’s a false belief folks. Not every workout will make you sore, and you shouldn’t focus on being sore as the measure of a good workout. Focus on goal attainment, focus on performance, focus on a better body and a sound mind, and you’ll be much closer to your goal.

Why Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS) Doesn’t Equate to Physical Success

by Nick A. Titley, M.S., NPI-Certified Posture Specialist

I recently read an article about muscle soreness as a new workout goal. It seems being sore after a workout is more important than the effectiveness of the workout in helping one achieve their overall goal. Muscle soreness doesn’t equate to an effective workout and it’s not something you should use to gauge your workout, or to strive to achieve in every training session.

When was the last time you performed an exercise or activity and woke up sore the following day? Did the soreness remain even after a few more days? Did your muscles feel achy and was it difficult to move? That sore, uncomfortable feeling when you move is called delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS). The soreness you feel doesn’t hit you until the day after a strenuous workout and that’s why it’s considered “delayed onset.”

An article written by John David Maes and Len Kravitz mentions that DOMS is typically experienced by all individuals regardless of fitness level; it’s a normal physiological response to increased exertion. Delayed soreness typically begins to develop 12-24 hours after you exercise and may produce the greatest pain between 24-72 hours

If you’re doing physical activities that are unfamiliar or more intense than your usual routine or you are just starting to exercise; then there’s a higher chance of experiencing DOMs. Alongside soreness you may also experience muscle stiffness, swelling, tenderness to the touch, temporary reductions in strength and in movement, and decreased joint range of motion.

The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) states that the exact cause of DOMS is complex; it’s commonly associated with lactic acid accumulation in the muscle, but it appears to be a side effect of the repair process that develops in response to microscopic muscle damage. In case you were worried about the microscopic muscle damage allow me to put your mind at ease, the micro trauma that happens in muscles after a workout isn’t dangerous and it’s actually a part of the process for building them.

So how did DOMS and feeling achy become the gauge for a workout’s effectiveness? There are many fitness professionals, trends, fads and programs that advocate for higher intensity routines. These programs boast phrases like: “gut busting,” “fat torching,” “muscle building,” “hardcore” and “high intensity” in their descriptions. These programs can make you so sore you’re unable to walk or move properly the next day, but is that really the goal and is it helping the general exerciser achieve their goals?

Muscle soreness isn’t a gauge for success, but it’s common to hear people chatting about their soreness and discussing how they felt days after. While some programs encourage working till you’re sore and try to instill a “no pain, no gain,” mentality, they miss the point of why you’re training in the first place.

While constantly pushing yourself to the limit sounds ambitious, it’s dangerous if you push yourself too hard, too often; you may incur a serious injury in which case you won’t be training any time soon. Muscle soreness is just that; it doesn’t mean that your workout was effective toward achieving your personal goals. Think about the program you’re on and examine if it’s helping you achieve your results.

The American Council on Exercise (ACE) website says that training more aggressively doesn’t equate to faster results. While the body does require a certain degree of overload to improve its fitness, training too much and too hard can cause lack of motivation, overuse injuries and overtraining syndrome.

So what should you focus on and how do you deal with it? You need to complete both a fitness and goal assessment first. Think about the reasons you’re doing your program and be open about your current fitness level. Make sure you warm-up before your workouts and seek to progress steadily through your program. If you do become sore, rest is your best option.

The ACSM website explains that you could use ice packs, massage and oral pain relievers while sore. Please understand that these methods reduce pain, but your body still needs to recover; don’t be afraid to take a day or two off if the soreness is too much.

Muscle soreness should never be the goal of a workout and doesn’t equate to an effective exercise session. Remember the reason you’ve started exercising and proceed at your own pace. If you do become sore, rest is your best option. Be honest and open about your capabilities and with patience you’ll be on your way toward goal achievement.

References:

  • Sforzo, Gary, and William Braun. “Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS).” American College of Sports Medicine. American College of Sports Medicine, 1 Jan. 2011. Web. 3 Nov. 2014.  delayed-onset-muscle-soreness-(doms).pdf>.
  • Maes, Johndavid, and Len Kravitz. “Treating and Preventing DOMS.” DOMS. University of New Mexico, 1 Jan. 2003. Web. 3 Nov. 2014. <unm.edu/~lkravitz/Article folder/domos.html>.
  • McGrath, Christopher. “Myths and Misconceptions: Muscle Soreness.” ACE Fit. American Council on Exercise, 9 Dec. 2013. Web. 3 Nov. 2014. <acefitness/acefit/healthy-living-article/59/3654/myths-and-misconceptions-muscle-soreness/>.

Hip Bursitis

Hey everyone,

Here’s an article I wrote and was posted this month on Hip Bursitis. If you’re afraid of it; have it and want to avoid, then give it a read. It’s great to know more about these issues and what you can do to get better. It’s posted on The National Posture Institute’s website.


 

Hip Bursitis: The Most Common Hip Problem

by Nick A. Titley, M.S., NPI-Certified Posture Specialist

As an NPI Certified Posture Specialist, clients have expressed concern about developing hip pain. The most common hip related problem is hip bursitis. If you’re suffering from hip bursitis then moving around will be painful; you may require medication, rehab sessions, or surgery if symptoms become unbearable.

According to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons (AAOS) website, bursae are small, jelly-like sacs that contain small amounts of liquid that are located throughout your body. They are positioned between bones and soft tissue and act like cushions to help reduce friction. Your shoulders, elbows, hips, knees and heels have bursae. When any of your bursae suffer from inflammation, it’s known as “Bursitis.”

The AAOS explains that there are two major bursae in the hip that typically become irritated and inflamed. One bursa covers the bony point of the hip bone called the greater trochanter. Inflammation of this area is called tronchanteric bursitis. The other bursa is located at the illopsoas (groin area) of the hip. Tronchanteric bursitis is seen more frequently, but both are treated in a similar manner.

Every hip pain is not related to bursitis; the Mayo Clinic website offers some pointers on how you can identify symptoms of bursitis. If you currently have bursitis your hip joints may experience achiness and stiffness. It may look swollen and red, and may hurt when you move or press on it.

Mayo Clinic advises you see your physician when the joint pain is disabling, if it remains for more than one to two weeks and if there is excessive swelling, redness, bruising or a rash in the affected area. If you experience a fever and sharp, shooting pains especially while exercising, or exerting yourself then please see a physician,

Hip bursitis can affect anyone, but is more common in women and middle-aged or elderly people. The AAOS mentions factors that could lead to hip bursitis. If you have an overuse injury, pelvis alignment issues, a spine disease (including scoliosis and arthritis), leg-length inequality, a current hip injury, rheumatoid arthritis, previous surgery and calcium deposits then you may develop hip bursitis.

While all this information is overwhelming and can seem terrifying, treatment begins with trying to reduce the inflammation. The National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS) website, explains that you’ll need lots of rest, ice, compression and elevation if you’re experiencing basic symptoms. You may also require anti-inflammatory medicines, but if conditions worsen, or the bursa become infected then your physician may prescribe special antibiotics.

So how do you prevent hip bursitis? According to NIAMS, to help prevent inflammation, or reduce the likelihood of its occurrence, consider exercising regularly, stop sitting for long periods, strengthen the muscles around the joint and stop activities that might be causing you pain. Consider using a stand-up desk if your job requires long days using a computer. If you have a physically demanding job that requires heavy lifting and repetitive motions you’ll need to take breaks, and practice good posture and body alignment.

It’s all about behavior and lifestyle modification.  The National Posture Institute’s (NPI) certified professionals can educate you on those lifestyle modifications and design exercise programs that center around making things easier. A professional will assess your posture while you engage in different activities and will make you aware if you’re harming yourself. It may be as simple as adjusting the way you walk — especially for those who shuffle their feet — and you may need to opt for shoes with better cushioning. If you’ve already started exercising after a hip related issue then consult an NPI professional to ensure your posture and body alignment aren’t safe.

Hip bursitis is the most common hip related problem and can seem scary. Your best move is to modify the way you perform activities, add cushioning where possible, and perform exercises in the correct position for your hip as part of your regular daily routine. Hip bursitis can get worse so please see a physician if you’re worried about any pain or show symptoms.

 

References:

  • “Hip Bursitis.” Ortho Info. American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, 1 Mar. 2014. Web. 27 Sept. 2014. <orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=a00409>.
  • “Bursitis.” Mayo Clinic. Mayo Clinic, 20 Aug. 2014. Web. 27 Sept. 2014. bursitis/basics/definition/con-20015102>.
  • “Bursitis and Tendinitis.” National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. National Institutes of Health, 1 June 2014. Web. 27 Sept. 2014. Bursitis/>.

I shall fear no Evil- Les Brown motivation

I remember listening to this last week and I really felt a positive shift in my demeanor. If you haven’t heard Les Brown speak, and if you’re on a journey toward becoming more than you are now, then take the time to listen to this video. It’s purely audio so you don’t need to sit and stare; turn it on, go clean or exercise and listen to it as Les Brown takes you there.