Eight Tips on How to Fix Knee Pain

How to fix knee pain naturally.

If you feel knee pain when you are running, walking, and exercising, try these free tips.

  1. Focus on excellent posture. Get taller – even when sitting. You don’t want to be leaning over your knees.
  2. Engage your core. It will help stabilize your upper body so you can have better posture.
  3. Align your feet and legs forward. Practice this. It may feel odd at first, but if you walk and run with splayed feet, that can affect your knees and hips.
  4. Align your arms parallel. Put them at a 90 degree angle when walking and running. Think “elbows back.” The key is to not cross your center line.
  5. Run, walk and exercise with purpose. Focus on your form. Always. When running, walking, doing strength training, yoga, golf, tennis and all other exercise, focus on your form and how your body is moving in space. Engage your core and put mind to muscle.
  6. Strengthen your quads (front of your legs). Squats, leg lifts, lunges and planks all great. Make sure your hips are back when doing squats. And, knees are aligned and over your ankles when doing lunges. If forward lunges hurt, try reverse lunges.
  7. Check your shoes. If your running shoes are super built up in the heel, that can encourage heel striking, which affects your knees, shins and back. Try a more neutral shoe.
  8. Lose that extra belly weight that is hanging over your knees. See my posts: https://virtualathlete.com/get-lean/ https://virtualathlete.com/weight-loss/

How to Shred It and Get Back to Fit.

IMG_1210Got Covid belly?
Want to look better in that bathing suit?
Here is my 4 point strengthcardio and clean eating plan to help us all #Shred it and get back to fit.
1. Sculpt Thy Body Perfect
I recommend a total body strength workout using dumbbells two or three times a week. It tones all major muscle groups to create a balanced body and saves time. Strength training is excellent for burning calories (muscle burns more calories than fat) and getting lean. Plus, life is easier when we are stronger.
Your challenge: Add 2 -3 25 minute strength training sessions a week.
This plan works for beginner and advanced athletes.
Remember to focus on your form (This is easy if you work out in front of a mirror).
Start with 5-15 lbs dumbbells.
Challenge yourself to lift heavier weights as you get stronger.
Put your mind to your muscles as you work out and keep abdominals and booty engaged.
Jam out to your favorite music during your workout to boost endorphins.
Upper Body: 5X5
Five exercises, ten reps, five sets.
Bicep Curls, Shoulder Press, Triceps Kickback, Chest Press (or Push Up), Reverse Fly or Row. Pick a weight that, by rep 10 of each exercise, it should challenge you.
Lower body and core: 5 x5
Five exercises, ten reps, five sets:
Squats, Lunges, Deadlift, Standing Calf Raise, Russian Twist.
Pick a weight that, by rep 10 of each exercise, it should challenge you.
2. Boost Calorie Burn with Interval Training:
Want to burn more calories? Interval training rocks. There is so much research on the benefits I will spare you from putting it all here. Just trust me and the science.
Short 20-25 minute sessions on a machine, biking, walking, or running outside is all it takes – as long as you push it during the high of your intervals.
Your challenge: Add 3 20-25 minute sessions of heart-pumping interval training sessions per week. Shred-it tip: Add music to go faster.
5×5 25 minute cardio examples.
2 Minutes Walking, 2 Minutes Running, 1 Minute Sprinting. Repeat 5x.
Or, try this 20 minute interval plan from the Body For Life challenge that is fast and efficient.
For perceived exertion (intensity level), think 1-10.
Level 1: You are sitting on couch or taking a slow walk.
Level 5: You are walking/jogging.
Level 6: You are running.
Level 10: You are in an all out sprint.
1. Warm up for 2 minutes at level 5.
2. Minutes 2-3 move from intensity level 5 to 6. Note: Level 6 is your recovery spot.
3. Minutes 4-5, 6-10 and 11-14  build up from level 6 to level 9, maintaining each level for one minute, then recover at level 6.
4. Minutes 14-19 build up from level 6 to level 10 (the high point), maintaining each level for one minute,
then recover at level 6.
5. Minute 20-25 cool down.
3. Sit Less
Reading this while sitting down? Stand up.
Are you sitting at your desk all day? Then drive, fly or Uber it home and sit more? Sitting all day and inactivity increases your risk of atrophy, weight gain, and many diseases like diabetes, slowing down your metabolism.
Research suggests that even shorts bursts of activity during the day make a difference.
Ideas: Set a timer to get up every 25 minutes to take a lap around the home or the office, go up and downstairs, or make tea and fetch a glass of water.
Walk the dog -don’t just let him outback. Walk or run at lunch and after dinner. Conduct walking meetings. Play Twister, dance, or play ball with your spouse or kids after work. Do jumping jacks and squats while binge-watching. Whatever. Just move more.
4. Eat Dinner Earlier:
Heard the buzz on Intermittent Fasting (IE)? Research shows it is an effective eating pattern to boost weight loss. And has a load of bonus benefits. We can’t ignore the diet. As we trainers say and know, you cannot our train a poor diet, so let’s hone in on what, when, and how much we eat.
To make it easy, eat cleaner and within a smaller window of time a few days a week.
I consulted my talented friend Barret Butler, RD, LD, MPH, for her professional advice on IE. She tested a bunch of diets on her friends and clients a few years ago. Out of ALL the diets, the most sustained weight loss was with her plan, a version of IE, which she has kindly provided for us below.
1. Eat three real food meals a day and one afternoon snack.
2. Avoid alcohol during Monday-Friday.
3. Two nights a week, prep dinner early (think slow cooker) and finish eating by 5 pm.
Example Day:
Eat Breakfast (protein size of your palm, healthy fat, fruit, or toast)
Eat lunch (protein size of your palm, healthy fat, big salad)
Eat Snack (handful nuts and kombucha or green tea)
Eat dinner (protein size of your palm), steamed or grilled veggies, or big salad).
  • Add 2-3 25 minutes of strength training a week.
  • Add 3 25 mins interval training a week.
  • Move more during the day and evening.
  • Commit to Barret’s simple eating pattern.
That’s it!
I know. Fit this #Shredit challenge into your busy life? Yes! If you want to get fitter, leaner, and stronger, it’s a simple plan and 30 mins or less a day. This plan can make you feel fitter and leaner within a week!
Get up earlier to get it done.
Commit to #JustDoIt for a two-week test.
Then, assess the data.
Do you feel leaner, stronger, happier? Are you sleeping better?
Add another two weeks. You got this. 🙂

10 Ways to Burn More Calories Every Day

Photo by Alesia Kozik on Pexels.com

Here are proven ways to torch extra calories throughout the day brought to you by Dr. Len Kravitz, a fitness and health researcher who teaches at University of New Mexico. I met Dr. Kravitz at a conference and he has a passion for evidenced based research and sharing the knowledge. I recently took his course on weight-loss and fat metabolism for continuing education, and here is just some of what I learned.

Dr. Kravitz’s 10 tips to burn more calories daily.

  1. For every 30 minutes you are awake during day and evening -if you are seated or lying down, get up and move for 5 minutes.
  2. Walk more briskly. So, if you tend to stroll, pick up the pace. (See bonus longevity benefits for this increase in pace in Dr. Mirkin’s article below).
  3. Try 30/60 second interval walking, running, biking and swimming. Warm up 5-10 minutes, then speed up for 30 seconds to a challenging pace, then recover for 60 seconds. Repeat for 10 rounds, then cool down for 5 minutes. As you get fitter, try 30/30 intervals.
  4. Move a little after you hydrate. I know, sounds odd. But he says there is proof it works!
  5. Track your steps. In one study it boosted activity by 26.9%.
  6. At the gym use a multimode approach within a session. Example: 10 minutes on treadmill, 10 minutes cycling, 10 minutes on the rowing machine.
  7. Use a weighted vest of 10% of bodyweight when walking. Make sure weight in vest is evenly distibuted so you dont impair posture.
  8. Workout for 30 continuous minutes M, W, and F using different modes of exercise at a challenging pace.
  9. Circuit train with weights, body weight, or moving station to station. The key for bonus calorie burn is moving from upper to lower body in each circuit, with little to no rest per circuit. Example with bodyweight: 12 reps of push ups, lunges, plank pike, squats and dips, repeat 5 times.
  10. Do high intensity interval training (HIIT) three times a week.

This workout below can be used on any fit machine, outside walking or running, biking, swimming, paddling, even in a hand powered wheelchair! Try it.

5-10 minute warm up. Alternate four minute bouts of high effort (RPE 16-17, hard) with three minutes of recovery (RPE 11-12, light). Repeat 9-10 times. 5-10 minute cool down.

To sum it? We have to shake things up to keep our bodies guessing. Mix up variables, intensities and sequences weekly challenges the body, and also limits boredom so we we can have more fun.

If you have any questions about these tips, let me know. Of course, if you have been inactive or recovering from an injury, start slowly and/or check with your doctor.

Sculpt Your Body Perfect

What are the benefits of strength training and lifting weights?

Oh let me count the ways.

To help you be the best version of you at any age. This goes for men AND women.

You can also sculpt your body naturally, challenge atrophy and build bone density. Win-win-win!

The more muscle you have, the more calories are burned at rest = less fat.

Like cardio, it reduces depression.

Stronger muscles helps with sports and activities of daily living.

Reduces diabetes risk by regulating blood sugar.

Decreases blood pressure.

Improves balance.

Strengthens core.

Builds confidence and endurance.

Enhances posture.

Boosts mitochondria and longevity.

Clothes fit better and you look better in the right places.

You will look and feel bettering a bathing suit or naked.

Ready to get started lifting?

There is a simple plan under the Get Lean tab you can use.

Let me know if you need help on getting started safely.

“How to Do Sit-Ups the Right Way”

Somehow I got away from doing the plain ‘ole sit up. Did you too?
It’s the planks, side planks, plank jacks and pikes that wooed me over the past few years. Time to get back to the basics with sit ups and push ups to shake things up.
Done correctly and sloooooowly, the sit up is a super effective way to activate and streghthen the abdominal muscles.
Here is advice on how to do them properly from the Godfather of Sports Medicine, Dr. Gabe Mirkin:*

Sit-ups the Right Way

Sit-ups the Right Way
Sit-ups can strengthen your belly muscles, but doing them incorrectly can hurt your back. Sit-ups should be done while you lie on your back with your knees bent enough for the soles of your feet to touch the floor.
Place both hands on your chest and slowly raise your head off the ground. Raise your shoulders about one foot and then lower them to the ground. Do this slowly ten times, rest a few seconds and then do two more sets of ten. After a week or two this exercise will feel easy, so add a light weight held behind your neck or on your chest. As you become stronger, you can use heavier weights.
There’s no need to do more than 30 sit-ups in one workout. To strengthen your belly muscles, you increase the resistance, not the number of repetitions. Keep your knees bent to protect your back.
If you do a sit-up with your legs straight, you place a great force on the iliopsoas muscles that increase the arch in your back, which can damage the ligaments and joints. If your belly muscles are weak, you are likely to arch your back excessively when you sit up and increase the chances of injury. If you are doing sit-ups to flatten your stomach, you need to raise your head only about one foot because going higher than that uses the quadriceps muscles in the front of your upper legs, not your belly muscles.
Give Dr. Mirkins advice a try!  Join me for 3 sets of 10 every day?
*Psst. Dr. Mirkin kindly allows me to post his content as long as I give him credit. He has a fantastic email newsletter with the latest health and fitness studies from the medical world. As a VirtualAthlete, focused on health and prevention, you will enjoy his yummy content. Grab a free e-book of healthy recipes while there!  Dr. Gabe Mirkin Website