Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Forget New Year's Resolutions!

Focus on the positive for this New Year!

It seem as though when January 1st rolls around, too many Americans have a tendency to focus on the negative - what we need to change in our lives . . . what we should do less often . . . what types of foods and drinks we should eliminate . . . at RU, we recommend "addition by addition."

For this New Year, try setting GOALS instead of resolutions.

For example, Rather than not eating junk food during January, determine new tasks, new attributes your life lacks and find ways to incorporate them; Read more books, cook your own food, call friends and family on the phone, exercise more, relax more, sleep more . . . we guarantee that if you make time in your life for those, you will have far less time for junk food, alcohol, television, kitten videos on YouTube, facebook and those likes.

Whether you are saying "sayonara" to disappointing 2012 or toasting to the best year of your life . . . make it a memorable, productive and POSITIVE 2013!

-Rehab United Physical Therapy and Sports Performance Center

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Strengthening the Glutes

Each month Rehab United Physical Therapy and Sports Performance Center will highlight a different topic for our RU Fit? blog. We will post training tips on our Facebook Page each week and summarize them at the end of each month. This August, we discussed "the glutes" and created handouts and a video for proper strengthening of the legs to help rehabilitate from prevent common injuries such as low-back and knee pain.  Read below for more!

Strengthening the Glutes To Prevent Low-Back and Knee Pain
The glutes (a number of muscles in the hip area, including the gluteus maximus, gluteus minimum and gluteus medius) are an extremely important muscle group. When functioning properly, the glutes assist almost every movement in life, aid in rehabilitation of other joints (such as the knees) and can also prevent injuries, like low-back pain.

Exercise Example - Sit-to-Stand Progression: Squats are a widely-accepted glute-strengthening exercise; however, after an injury some patients may lack the coordination, strength, or balance to complete a standard squat. The “sit to stand” is a great fundamental exercise to safely build lower-body strength.
  • Sit-to-Stand Progression - Video
  • Sit-to-Stand Progression - Handout (see below)
Exercise Example - Balance Reach. Balance is equally important as strength – the balance reach (and its variations) is an excellent exercise to build balance and strength.
  • Balance Reach - Handout (see below)
Exercise Example - Piriformis Stretch. Hip flexibility (i.e. joint mobility) is equal, if not more important, than strength and balance.  The piriformis stretch, named after the piriformis (Latin for "pear-shaped") muscle located in the backside of the hips, stretches many of the glute muscles when performed with rotation (reaching left and right).
  • Piriformis Stretch - Handout (see below)

Rehab United Physical Therapy

Monday, August 6, 2012

Nutrient-Dense Foods

Each month Rehab United Physical Therapy and Sports Performance Center will highlight a different topic for our RU Fit? blog.  We will post training tips on our Facebook Page each week and summarize them at the end of each month.  For July, we discussed nutrition, specifically nutrient-dense foods and drinks.  Read below for more!

Nutrient density refers to the amount of quality nutrients a food or beverage has for its volume.  Nutrient-dense foods have high amounts of vitamins, minerals and fiber with relatively few calories.  Examples include non-starchy vegetables, fruits, lean meats, and fat-free dairy.  Focus on nutrient-dense foods if weight loss is your goal.

Calorie-dense foods, on the other hand, have high amounts of calories for their volume.  Fried foods are an example of calorie-dense foods as they contain calories from the food itself (such as potatoes) plus the extra calories from the oil (and potentially the breading, which acts like a sponge for the oil).  Other examples include candy bars, regular soda, fruit juice, chips, cheese, most salad dressings and smoothies.  If weight gain is your goal, focus on calorie-dense foods that are also nutrient dense (nuts, seeds, dried fruits, nut butters, avocado, whole grains).

A few suggestions to increase the nutrient density of your meals and snacks:

Cut the Calories, keep the taste!
Breakfast: Use half whole eggs, half egg whites; Lunch: Have meat OR cheese on your sandwich; Dinner: Mix half of your pasta with cooked vegetables.

Sweeten drinks & snacks yourself:
1-2 teaspoons of sugar or honey in your tea will provide significantly less Calories than a bottled tea or soda. Likewise, a few teaspoons of honey, agave nectar or berries in plain yogurt will be less calories than "fruit on the bottom" yogurt and healthier than artificially-sweetened products.

Veggie taco shell:
Try butter leaf lettuce leaves instead of taco shells or tortillas to save around 100 Calories per taco!

Justin Robinson, MA,RD,CSSD,CSCS,FAFS
Registered Dietitian

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Ground-Up Stretching

Each month Rehab United Physical Therapy and Sports Performance Center will highlight a different topic for our RU Fit? blog.  We will post training tips on our Facebook Page each week and summarize them at the end of each month.  For June, we covered how to use a "ground up" approach for stretching.  Read below for more!

We refer to the body as a chain - i.e. muscles, tendons, ligaments, bones and other connective tissue are a series of links from our big toe to our forehead.  How each link moves is highly dependent on other links - both those close in proximity and those at the opposite end of the chain (thus, tight calves can contribute to low back pain, shoulder pain, and headaches).

Based on this, a recommended approach to stretching involves starting at the ground and working your way up the chain (stretch the calves, then the hamstrings, then hips, etc).  We have included three handouts for the calves, hamstrings and hips.  Enjoy!

Monday, April 23, 2012

San Diego - Birthplace of Triathlon

In addition to its amazing year-round weather, beautiful scenery, and countless outdoor activities, San Diego can also boast that it is the birthplace of triathlon!

On September 25, 1974, The San Diego Track Club, led by Jack Johnstone and Don Shanahan, hosted the first-ever triathlon on Fiesta Island in San Diego, CA. The “Mission Bay Triathlon” consisted of over 5 miles of running, 5 miles of cycling and 600 yards of swimming in a run-bike-swim-run format (compared to the standard swim-bike-run format of today).  The San Diego Track club hosted such events on summer evenings, which originally served merely as an unconventional break from the grind of marathon training.

An athlete named John Collins, a U.S. Naval Officer who raced in the first Mission Bay Triathlon, further played a crucial role in the development of the sport.  Collins took the triathlon concept to Oahu, Hawaii years later to combine three endurance events – the Waikiki Rough Water Swim, Around Oahu Bike Ride, and Honolulu Marathon.  He claimed that anyone who finished could truly call himself an “Iron Man”.

Evolution: Forty-six athletes competed in the first triathlon in 1974 . . . 12 competed the first Ironman® in 1978 . . . the first woman finished Ironman® one year later . . . Sydney, Australia hosted the first Olympic Triathlon race in 2000 . . . today hundreds of thousands of athletes compete annually in triathlons around the world.  The Ironman® triathlon in Kona, Hawaii, is arguable the most recognizable triathlon; however, the Olympic (aka International) distance of 1.5 km swim, 40 km bike and 10 km, is the sport’s most popular and the format used at the ITU Triathlon World Championship, Pan American and Olympic Games.

Coming Home: On May 12th, 2012 San Diego will host an ITU World Triathlon Series race.  The elite race will serve as the final qualifier to determine the 2012 U.S. Olympic men's and women's triathlon squad.  One-hundred and forty of the world's fastest triathletes (70 elite men and 70 elite women) will compete in the draft-legal, Olympic-distance race in Mission Bay (Bonita Cove – a few thousand meters from where the sport was pioneered 38 years ago).
In conjunction with the elite race, age-group athletes will participate in Olympic and sprint distance races in the same venue (albeit a non-draft legal race on a different course).

Schedule of Events:
Friday, May 11th:
-2:00pm – Elite Women’s Race

Saturday, May 12th:
-6:30am – Age Group Olympic Distance and Relay Races
-9:30am – Age Group Sprint Distance Race
-2:30pm – Elite Men’s Race

ITU World Triathlon San Diego Promo Video

Volunteer Opportunities (be part of history):

Wednesday, April 11, 2012


It's no longer a secret that Chia seeds (yes, the same ones from your Homer Simpson Chia pet) have multiple health benefits.

Chia seeds are actually a more concentrated source of ω-3's (omega-3) fatty acids than flax seed.  Chia seeds can be ground and used similar to flax seed (added to smoothies, cereal, yogurt, etc.) or soaked in water or fruit juice to make chia fresca (mix with an 8:1 liquid:chia ratio). These soaked seeds are gelatinous in texture and can be used as a substitute for butter or cream cheese in recipes and a nutrient-dense additive to salad dressings, sauces, jams, cereals, dips, puddings, soups, or smoothies.  It will not affect flavor and will absolutely increase the nutritional value.

Look for Chia seeds in the bulk section of health foods stores (next to the teas and/or spices).

Justin Robinson, MA,RD,CSSD,FAFS,CSCS
Registered Sports Dietitian
Director of Strength & Conditioning - RU Sports Performance Center

Ditch Your Crunches!

At Rehab United Physical Therapy and Sports Performance Center, we utilize a functional training philosophy based on the science of human movement.  In short, that means whether you visit our facility for injury rehabilitation, injury prevention, or sports performance training we train the body the way it was intended to move.  The therapists and coaches at RU train movement patterns, not just individual muscles.

When it comes to core training, traditional exercises often come to mind: crunches, bicycles, planks, among a few others.  Jene Shaw, Senior Editor at Triathlete Magazine, summarizes how RU tweaks traditional exercises to make them more functional and effective for rehab, training, or conditioning.

Download a copy of "Ditch Your Crunches"