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Fitness case study: Michael Stewart straightens out and strengthens up

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February 11, 2011

I recently had the fun experience of working with Mike, a CPA from Los Angeles. It was fun because the experience truly illustrates the standard operating procedures that define my organization and its approach toward clients that enter our doors. In essence, Mike was guided through a fitness journey that began with rehab and ended with peak performance.

Mike and I first met as staff accountants at a prominent regional accounting firm. Mike was always in good shape, so when he contacted me several years later for help with his fitness goals, I was somewhat surprised. After our initial assessments, I finally understood his motivations for coming to me. It turns out even the ones in the best possible shape don’t stand a chance against the rigors of multiple busy seasons spent at a desk.

It was plainly obvious that posture needed to be addressed before any attention was placed on Mike’s stated performance goals. Due to the thousands of hours spent at his computer, symptomatic pain was presenting itself in Mike’s shoulders, neck and back. He had spent so much time leaning onto his right arm to operate his computer’s mouse that his entire body was actually shifted slightly to the right when he stood up. Rather simply, Mike needed a new foundation before the thought of maximizing strength could even be mentioned.

Despite wanting to jump into intense workouts, Mike instead focused on the basics of self-massage techniques (foam rolling), stretching, muscle activation, and movement patterns. Soon his painful symptoms had disappeared, his posture realigned itself, and Mike was finally ready to build upon his new foundation. His strength, cardiovascular conditioning, and fitness level exponentially improved within a time frame of three months. Without his preliminary focuses on postural alignment, Mike would have certainly ended up with injuries instead of personal records for all of his exercises.

The moral of the story is that jumping into an exercise program could create more harm than benefit for an individual. It is important to understand that certain lifestyles—like those of busy accountants—require special attention to ensure a safe training environment. Rigorous workouts are not the answer. It is best to build from the ground up, establishing flexibility and correct movement patterns while progressing into optimal performance.

Watch Mike's client spotlight video below:

 

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