Accessibility Tools

Four Years at Gallagher Performance

April 2017 marks four years since Gallagher Performance opened and with another anniversary passing, I thought it was time to start reflecting back on our fourth year in business.

All our services from chiropractic to massage to personal training to sports performance training continue to experience steady, consistent growth since we first opened. Growth that led us into our own facility in December 2016. The move has been a very positive and necessary one for our continual business development.

On January 2, 2017, Gallagher Performance opened in our new location. After long hours and lots of work we ended up looking like this:



The new facility has enabled us to widen our reach, both within the community and online. Being a community resource is tremendously important to us. We are now able to hold classes, lectures and have been asked to speak to area sports teams and organizations. We are also now able to provide more educational videos on our social media and YouTube channels.

Even with the transition to a new facility, we remain loyal to providing quality of service over quantity. Gallagher Performance is about individualized attention in all our services. This is why our chiropractic and rehab patients are with their doctor every minute of every office visit. This is why Gallagher Performance isn't a gym; it's a training facility. We don't offer an open gym membership, but rather different levels of training services to meet the needs of our clients and athletes. The reason why we set it up this way is because we want people to experience how supervised training by qualified professionals yields amazing results. And our clients are achieving remarkable results in private and semi-private settings that enable individual considerations to be made appropriately.

In regards to our services, it has been another great year. GP’s chiropractic and rehab therapy was recognized as one of the best in the Pittsburgh area for a third consecutive year. The results we achieve through our chiropractic, manual therapy and functional rehabilitation have helped people get out of pain and return to the activities they enjoy. There have been literally dozens of patients who have come to us after a doctor has told them they needed surgery, but we’ve helped them avoid these procedures. We've helped them understand the importance of not only getting out of pain, but why changing the function of their body is the key to a successful outcome and long-term recovery.

Our personal and performance training services continue to generate tremendous results for our clients and athletes. The results keep our clients loyal and the referrals coming in. We have truly cared about delivering quality in all services since we opened. It’s a great feeling to see how much our clients appreciate the attention, know-how, and confidence they receive while working with us. When you focus on quality of service and improving the consumer experience, only good things can happen.

During our four years, we have seen tremendous growth in our distance/online training services as we have gone international. Now while we are growing and our reach may not be that impressive by some industry standards, it is humbling to see how our distance services are being sought after by people beyond the state of Pennsylvania. We have seen the reach grow to 12 states (AZ, CT, GA, IA, IL, MT, NJ, NY, NC, OH, TX, WI), into Canada (Alberta, Ontario), and into Portugal, Italy, and Japan.



The reason for our growth isn't a big marketing budget. Rather, we work hard to set up everyone we work with for success in any way possible – trusting that those efforts will lead to referrals and retention. At Gallagher Performance, we don’t try to just “factory line” our clients/athletes through the same program with a "cookie cutter" approach. This is because we understand training and rehabilitation is a very individual experience and everyone we work with needs very individual considerations made for them. That's what it takes to produce lasting, meaningful results.

Our sports performance training services continue to be utilized by a variety of athletes from a growing list of amateur/club organizations, high schools, and colleges. In addition, GP continues to direct the Strength & Conditioning program for the Franklin Regional Hockey Club as we move into our fourth year.

During the past year, we've seen new names join of list of athletes who have reached the collegiate level. This is tremendous accomplishment on their behalf and we are privileged to work with such determined and hard working athletes. Here's the list we have worked with, from sports performance to chiropractic and rehabilitation, and where they are coming from:

Collegiate Athletes

  • Wes Ashley, University of Wisconsin - Stevens Point (NCAA DIII) - Hockey
  • Andrew Brncic, Alderson Broaddus University (NCAA DII) - Football
  • Colin Childs, California University of Pennsylvania (NCAA DII) - Football
  • Ben Dipko, Slippery Rock University (NCAA DII) - Football
  • Noah Dipko, Indiana University of Pennsylvania (NCAA DII) - Football
  • Justin Gismondi, Robert Morris University (ACHA DI) - Hockey
  • Ryan Grieco, Seton Hill University (NCAA DII) - Baseball
  • Carter Henderson, Duquesne University (NCAA DI) - Football
  • Evan James, Penn State University Greater Allegheny (NCAA III) - Baseball
  • Colin Jonov, Bucknell University (NCAA DI) - Football
  • Katie Kimmich, Seton Hill University (NCAA DII) - Soccer
  • Dante Luther, Washington & Jefferson University (NCAA DII) - Football
  • Jake Roberge, Northwestern University (NCAA DI) - Soccer
  • Mike Roberge, Northwestern University (NCAA DI) - Soccer
  • Charan Singh, University of Massachusetts (NCAA DI) – Football
  • Todd Summers, Villinova University (NCAA DI) - Football
  • Ryan Watson, Lake Erie College (NCAA DII) - Soccer
  • Christian Wilson, Mount St. Mary’s (NCAA DI) - Track & Field
We could continue on about each of these individual athletes and the people we have had the pleasure of working with during our short time in business, but suffice it to say that we are very proud of each of each person we work with and what they’ve accomplished.

The same goes for our general fitness and weight loss clients. The fat loss and strength gains they experience are awesome and measurable. They consistently prove to be hard working and determined, month after month. But beyond that, we love knowing that they’re training pain-free and will be able to reap the benefits of regular exercise for a long time.

Another Year in the Books
In wrapping up, we acknowledge that Gallagher Performance would not be what it is without the consistent support we receive. A sincere thank you goes out to all you – clients/athletes, parents, family, friends, and professional colleagues – for your continual support over the past four years. Special thanks to our marketing firm, 4C Technologies, for their continual support and expertise. Without you all, Gallagher Performance would not be what it is today, and we look forward to many more years to come.

A Solution to Headaches

Headaches are among the most frustrating and debilitating conditions seen by healthcare practitioners, from primary care physicians to chiropractors. When severe enough, headaches may interfere or prevent even the most basic daily activities that we take for granted, such as thinking, talking, and reading.

While a logical assumption would be that the origin of headaches is in the head itself, science suggests many of the most common headaches are generated from the joints, muscles, and nerves of the neck.

The head and neck is an inherently unstable system that requires a complex neuromuscular system to surround the spinal column for control of movement and protection from injury. 

Many daily activities, such as prolonged sitting and poor posture, can affect the function and health of the joints, muscles, and nerves of the neck. Poor posture or prolonged postures common to students and the majority of the working class can lead to muscular imbalances, restricted joint motion, and unnecessary strain on the neck and upper back often responsible for headaches.

Referred pain and micro-trauma explain how this strain often results in headaches. Referred pain is a neurological phenomenon which is responsible for the perception of pain at a location other than where the problem exists. Using the headache as our example, the problem exists in your neck or upper back, yet your symptoms and perception of pain exists in your head. Micro-trauma is cumulative, small scale damage that occurs in and between soft tissues (muscles, tendons, joint capsules, ligaments and nerves) in response to strain. The bodies response to this strain is to lay down small amounts of repair tissue. Over time, a build up of repair tissue can form adhesions or scar within the soft tissue altering function. Left untreated, these adhesions often lead to pain, tightness, stiffness, restricted motion, and diminished blood flow. The result is a negative feedback cycle, the cumulative injury cycle.



So how do we stop the cycle?

Massage therapy, myofascial release, and IASTM (instrument assisted soft tissue mobilization) techniques are just some of the tools utilized at Gallagher Performance to address scar tissue adhesions and neurological dysfunction in soft tissue. Along with these tools, we often utilize chiropractic manipulative therapy (adjustments), sensory motor stimulation, and Dynamic Neuromuscular Stabilization (DNS) to improve posture, positional awareness, and help restore muscular balance. The combination of these therapies have helped numerous patients find a solution to chronic headaches or migraines.

The next time your dealing with a headache, consider Gallagher Performance. There is a solution to headaches that doesn't involve taking medication. Call our office at (724) 519-2833 to schedule your appointment.

More related reading:

https://gallagherperformance.com/fascia_muscular-adhesions_how_they_relate-_to_pain_and_overuse_injuries/

https://gallagherperformance.com/powerful-innovative-approach-improving-body-functions/

https://gallagherperformance.com/why-stretching-wont-solve-your-tight-muscles/

Prevent Re-Injury with Integrated Training and Rehabilitation

The majority of us will not get through life without sustaining some degree of injury. The joints of the back, shoulder, hips, knees and ankles are all very common injury sites for not just athletes, but the general fitness population as well.

Most injuries that develop over time tend to have one thing in common, a breakdown in the human movement system. Meaning it could be that you are performing specific movements with sub-optimal technique or perhaps muscle imbalances are responsible for your symptom presentation. Regardless of the reason for injury, the goal is the same; to make movement more efficient to ensure that once training or competition resumes, the chance of re-injury is minimal.

Efficiency of movement is rarely a goal achieved in therapy. Incomplete rehabilitation in athletes and the general fitness population has lead to a re-injury epidemic. The problem is rooted in either the push to return athletes to the field as quickly as possible or rushing patients through the rehabilitative process.

With the ever changing landscaped of health insurance, the overwhelming majority of athletes and patients deal with increasing out-of-pocket expenses and limited number of therapy visits. Ultimately, many patients never complete their rehabilitation process.

This may be for a number of reasons, but in most cases athletes or patients are discharged once specific objective and ADL (activities of daily living) measures are satisfied. Sure you may have minimal to no pain, full range of motion and seemingly adequate strength resorted, and basic activities are easy to perform, but this does not ensure you are ready to resume training and competition.

And this is exactly where most get stuck.

They are lead to believe they are ready to resume sport training or their exercise program, but soon after resuming they realize they aren't as ready as they thought they were.

The transitional period between rehabilitation and performance-based training is the most critical period to ensure complete rehabilitation and that the transition back into training and competition carries minimal risk of re-injury.
Sadly, due to points made previously about the state of healthcare, many personal trainers and strength coaches are finishing off the rehab process.

Why do I say sadly?

Frankly, the majority of personal trainers aren’t educated enough to be overseeing such a delicate process, yet many position themselves as psedo-therapists. I’ve lost count of how many personal trainers I’ve seen giving “massage” or performing “joint mobilization” during their training sessions. They have no training or qualifications to perform such work and ultimately the person at most risk is the individual they are working on. Word to the wise: if your personal trainer is performing such work on you and has no license to perform such work, run the other way and seek out a qualified professional.
Within the fitness industry, there has been a large growth in facilities that blend rehabilitation with prevention strategies within strength and performance based training programs. Done well and overseen by qualified professionals, this is a great way to manage what is seen both in a rehab and training setting. This process should not be handled improperly. Implementing “corrective” or therapeutic exercises strategies into a performance-based training program should be lead by qualified professional(s). There used to be a gap between the professionals in the therapy and strength & performance world. Progressively though, that gap is slowly closing as more therapists crossover into the world of strength & conditioning.

Returning from injury isn’t and shouldn’t be a quick process. It’s far better to train smarter through the process. Improving on the function of the body while adding qualities such as endurance, strength, reactivity, power, etc. will help ensure successful outcomes. It’s less about isolation and more about training systematically to re-groove movement patterns. For anyone who has suffered an injury, they all want to get back to their previous level of function while also building the confidence they will not re-injure themselves. It can and will be a detailed process that involves rest, manual therapy directed at specific joints and soft tissues, as well proper exercise progressions. And yes, this means regressing, substituting, and even just slowing down exercises until they are owned.

Once movement and exercises are owned, it opens the door to further progressions in a performance-based setting to help ensure a more complete rehabilitation resulting in reduced risk of re-injury. This has become a huge part of what we do at Gallagher Performance as we successfully help our athletes and patients resume an active, pain-free lifestyle.

More related reading:

https://gallagherperformance.com/technique_and_performance/

Low Back Pain: Causes and Treatment Recommendations

Low back pain is not an uncommon condition among the American population. Several studies have supported data that demonstrates up to 85% of the population will experience at least one episode of low back pain during their lifetime. Low back pain is responsible for millions of dollars in healthcare costs every year.

In most cases, low back pain is relatively self-limiting condition, meaning it reduces naturally over a period of a few days. That said, it is not uncommon for many to experience severe pain. For this reason, it is important to begin treating low back pain conservatively with interventions such as chiropractic, manual therapy, therapeutic massage, and/or proper exercise prescription. All these conservative interventions have demonstrated their ability to successfully treat low back pain and its causes.

Some common back pain causes that respond well to a combination of chiropractic, manual therapy, massage, and/or exercise include:

Sprain/Strains: Injury to muscle and/or connective tissue, such as tendons or ligaments, suffered during activity, accidents, or lifting with poor form. Sprain/strains are extremely common and most range from mild to moderate (little to no tearing of tissue) and respond well to conservative treatment such as chiropractic, manual therapy, and progressive rehabilitation. Severe sprain/strains are characterized complete tears of ligaments or tendon ruptures. These may require surgical intervention.

Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction: These pelvic joints usually produce pain as a result of alter joint mechanics from lifting or straightening up from a stooped position. The pain is usually relieved with sitting or lying down. Muscular tightness in the low back and hips is common.

Facet Syndrome: Pain in the low back that is localized, sharp and provoked with either extension (arching of the low back) or a combination of extension and rotation of the spine.

Sciatica: Radiating pain into the lower extremity on the posterior thigh/calf/foot. Sciatica can be caused by central issues (disc herniations) or peripheral issues (piriformis syndrome, nerve entrapment).

Disc Herniations: Low back pain which may also radiate pain into the hips or legs. Typically worse in the morning; worse with bending forward; usually better standing than sitting. Because of the disc injury, muscle spasms are not uncommon. These muscle spasms serve to limit movement in order to protect the disc from further injury.

Piriformis Syndrome/Nerve entrapment: Radiating pain on the posterior thigh and leg caused by tightness in the piriformis muscle. This muscle is deep within the hip lays underneath the glutes. Tightness in the piriformis can create irritation by entrapping the sciatic nerve, thus creating the radiation of pain. The sciatic nerve can be entrapped within the hamstring and calf musculature as well. Low back pain may also accompany hip pain.

Myofascial Pain Syndrome: This is a chronic form of muscle pain caused by trigger points. These trigger points are often present within muscles of the low back and hips due to any combination of joint dysfunction, postural imbalances, and/or poor stabilization/support function of the core musculature.

Spondylolishthesis: A fracture of the vertebrae resulting in pain with extension. Similar to sprain/strains, spondylolishthesis is graded in severity. Mild forms for spondylos can respond well to chiropractic manipulative therapy (CMT) and rehabilitation programs. This condition is frequent in athletic populations who perform repeated extension movements, such as gymnasts, football players, wrestlers, and weightlifters.

In many cases, several studies support that low back pain responds exceptionally well to the combination of chiropractic care, manual therapy, massage, and proper exercise instruction. If you are suffering from low back pain, whatever the cause, consider Gallagher Performance for your evaluation and treatment. Our goal is to relieve your pain while teaching you what you can do to keep the pain from returning. Please contact us as we have every expectation that our chiropractic and rehabilitation programs will help you Experience the Difference.
 
This blog post was written by Dr. Sean Gallagher.

Gallagher Performance offers customized treatment plans. Visit our website for complete contact information.
To schedule your appointment, call (724) 519-2833.
 
More related reading:

https://gallagherperformance.com/why-stretching-wont-solve-your-tight-muscles/

Fascia & Muscular Adhesions: How they relate to pain and overuse injuries

What is Fascia?
The soft connective tissue, located just under the skin, is a white membrane that wraps and connects muscles, bones, nerves, organs, blood vessels of the body.

This soft tissue is known as fascia. Think of fascia like the white fuzz inside an orange peel connecting and wrapping around the orange and the individual sections or slices.

At times, muscles and fascia are can become stuck or tear, resulting in soft tissue injuries or adhesions. Adhesions restrict movement and the quality of muscular contractions resulting in either soreness, pain, and/or reduced flexibility.

For a quirky take on fascia or "the fuzz", watch this video by Gil Hedley, PhD. The video provides great visuals as to what fascia looks like, how our muscles have to slide while we move, and what muscular adhesions look like and how they limit movement.

[embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_FtSP-tkSug[/embed]

How do you treat Fascial/Muscular Adhesions?
Treatment of fascial/muscular adhesions through manual or instrument assisted techniques have clinically proven to achieve successful outcomes in many acute and chronic conditions. Gallagher Performance offers a number of soft tissue approaches to treat painful or tight muscles, tendons, and ligaments. We have extensive training in identifying and treating muscular adhesions that compromise quality of motion and contribute to pain symptoms or reduced sports performance. Many overuse or repetitive use conditions respond well to treatment of soft-tissue structures through myofascial release, including back pain, shoulder pain, shin splints, runner’s knee (IT band syndrome), and plantar fasciitis.

Myofascial release is a manual or instrument assisted therapy targeting soft-tissue structures to reduce the presence of adhesive/scar tissue. Adhesive muscular tissue is arguably the most common yet most underdiagnosed condition in the entire human body. Muscular adhesions act like glue among muscles, fascia, tendons, ligaments, and even nerves. As a result, this reduces flexibility, strength, and stability to the body by altering movement control patterns. Adhesive tissue along nerves can cause numbness, aching, tension, tingling, and in some cases weakness. This is condition is called nerve entrapment and can happen in an estimated 150+ locations throughout the body.

How does adhesive tissue develop within the body?
Often adhesive tissue develops in result to acute injury or from overuse/repetitive trauma injury. Overuse injuries are caused by repetitive stress on the muscle and skeletal system without enough rest to allow the body to adapt. Studies show these overuse injuries account for more than half of pediatric sports injuries and often happen due to intensive focus on a single sport with an intensive practice and competition schedule. Unrecognized and untreated, they can sideline athletes from play and lead to more serious injuries.

Who is qualified to diagnose and treat fascial/muscular adhesions?
Sports medicine experts are advocating a greater role for therapists who can help athletes or active individuals recover without incurring lasting damage or hampering their activities. Specialists such as chiropractors, physical therapists, and massage therapists who specialize in sports-related injury and rehabilitation are often the first line of defense in managing and treating overuse injuries. These licensed professional are best for identifying muscular or fascial adhesions as they related to overuse injuries and movement disorders. With specialized training, these professionals are able to detect and treat muscular adhesions, expediting the healing process and minimizing downtime due to overuse injuries.

This is exactly why at Gallagher Performance we have a team which includes a massage therapist and a board certified chiropractic rehabilitation specialist. We strive to offer our athletes and patients the latest treatments and evidence-based soft tissue and rehabilitation techniques. Helping our athletes and patients achieve and sustain their best level of health and performance is our goal.

More related reading:

https://gallagherperformance.com/tendinitis-changing-treatment-and-improving-recovery/

https://gallagherperformance.com/why-stretching-wont-solve-your-tight-muscles/

https://gallagherperformance.com/3-benefits-of-integrated-training-and-therapy/

VBlog: Overtraining a Myth?

This short video discusses the reality of overtraining as it relates to human performance when it matters most. Overtraining is not a myth. Learn more here.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tyYQEVO7QOI

Gallagher Performance - Staff Bios

For many of our readers, you may not be aware of the specialized background that Gallagher Performance has in personal training, athletic development, chiropractic rehabilitation, manual therapies, and sports-injury care.

Whether you are pursuing professional services for personal/performance-based training or you’re thinking of seeing a health professional about a sports injury, Gallagher Performance has two board-certified specialists who are capable of addressing your goals and needs.

Meet the Staff

Ryan Gallagher LMT, NASM-CES: Head Performance Coach
Ryan Gallagher is the Head Performance Coach and a Licensed Massage Therapist at Gallagher Performance. Ryan has quickly established himself as a highly sought after coach for athletic development, helping athletes achieve new performance bests while implementing specialized strategies along with manual therapy to keep his athlete’s healthy during their competitive and off-seasons.

Ryan has been involved in the fitness and sports performance industry since 2007. During that time, he has worked extensively with youth, high school, collegiate, and professional athletes. He has also worked with competitive strength athletes in powerlifting and Strongman, as well as physique athletes (bodybuilding, figure, and bikini).

Ryan is certified as a Corrective Exercise Specialist (CES) through the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) and is also a Nationally Certified Licensed Massage Therapist (LMT) through the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork. Ryan holds a bachelor’s degree in Sports Management with a concentration in Wellness and Fitness from California University of Pennsylvania.

To compliment his educational background, Ryan is an accomplished athlete in the sports of ice hockey, bodybuilding, powerlifting, and Strongman. HIs diverse athletic and educational background provide Ryan with an highly extensive and unique skill set that allows him to efficiently and effectively help his clients achieve their goals while staying healthy in the process.

Sean Gallagher DC, DACRB, NASM-PES: Director of Sports Therapy, Performance Coach
Dr. Sean Gallagher is the Director of Sports Therapy and also serves as a Performance Coach at Gallagher Performance. In 2009, Sean earned his Doctor of Chiropractic degree from Palmer College of Chiropractic in Davenport, IA. Prior to attending Palmer, he earned a bachelor’s degree in Exercise & Sports Science from Ohio University.

After graduating from Palmer, Sean entered a residency program in Palmer College of Chiropractic’s Sports Injury & Rehabilitation Department. The residency is the only one of its kind within a chiropractic college in the United States. Under the direction of former Olympian, Dave Juehring DC, DACRB, CSCS and Ranier Pavlicek DC, ATC, DACRB, CSCS, the residency provided Sean the opportunity to further the development of clinical skills in the realm of diagnosis, treatment and management of sport-related injuries. During this time, he received extensive training in manual therapies and developmental stabilization methods influenced by the German and Czech rehabilitation schools.

Sean graduated from his residency and completed his board certification in 2012, making him one of a select few chiropractors in the country that have successfully completed a rehabilitation and sports-injury residency. He is a board certified rehabilitation specialist through the American Chiropractic Rehabilitation Board (ACRB) that abides by the standards set out by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies.

To compliment his clinical training and experience, Sean also serves as a Performance Coach with years of experience working with athletes of all abilities and is a certified Performance Enhancement Specialist (PES) through NASM. He is an accomplished athlete in the sports of ice hockey and Strongman. During his time at Ohio University, he was part of the 2004 ACHA D1 National Championship team. In 2001, he was named to the NHL’s Central Scouting Service “Top 10” High School players in the US and was ranked among the top players in North America (US and Canada). As a competitive amateur Strongman, he has won or placed in several NAS sanctioned competitions since 2010 and was a National qualifier in 2010, 2011 and 2012.

Our staff welcomes the opportunity to get you back to 100% and help you reach your fitness or performance-related goals. When you think of sports performance training and chiropractic rehabilitative care in the Pittsburgh area, remember the team of experts at Gallagher Performance.

 

Q&A with Head Performance Coach Ryan Gallagher LMT, CES

GP: Please introduce yourself and give our readers some information on your professional, educational, and athletic background and achievements.
To all the readers out there, my name is Ryan Gallagher and I’m the Head Performance Coach at Gallagher Performance. Along with that I’m a licensed massage therapist, corrective exercise specialist, and nutritional consultant. My undergrad education was in Sports Management with a concentration in Wellness and Fitness and was completed at California University of Pennsylvania. I attended Hocking College in Ohio for massage.

Most of my childhood was spent participating in almost every sport imaginable. Around my mid-teen years, I decided to fully commit to ice-hockey. I was fortunate enough to play at the junior level, but through high school and after, I had a number of different injuries that derailed my playing career. Once I was done with hockey, I committed myself to strength athletics and I have since been competitive in powerlifting, strongman and bodybuilding. While I have competed with success, my eyes are on bigger goals that I have set for myself. My plans are to continue to compete for as long as I can. As far as competing goes, I have some plans but will keep that quiet for now.

GP: When and how did you become interested in sports performance, fitness, and nutrition? What have you found to be the most rewarding?
It all started with the influence of my parents and older brothers. Growing up, hockey was an expensive sport to play. My parents were willing to sacrifice a lot of their time and money in order to let me play a sport I deeply loved (and still do). I can clearly recall hearing both of them say, “If you want to play normal, club hockey you can. You can just have fun and take it easy. But, if you want to play juniors, if you want to travel and get exposure, then you need to meet us half way. You will need to work for it.” Essentially what I was committing myself to was a part-time job of training for hockey. Three-a-day training sessions in the summer were the norm and hitting the gym throughout the season was standard. My parents were willing to support me, so I wanted to push myself to say thank you. Once the training and sports performance aspect began, training became more than just a “thank you”. For me, it became an immediate love. Having brothers that came before me and were highly successful didn’t hurt at all either. They provided a great influence and had years of know-how under their belts to help direct me from the get-go.

The most rewarding part of it all is the process. Everyone wants the outcomes, and they want them immediately. But, the process of working towards your specific goal will tell you more about yourself than anything. Those who can grind and stick with something for an extended period of time will often realize far more significant results than others. Notice I said significant, not necessarily successful. There is a major difference.

GP: As a trainer and performance coach, you have had the opportunity to work with a wide range of clients. You have worked extensively with youth athletes, as well as high school, collegiate, and professional athletes. You have worked with competitive strength athletes in powerlifting and Strongman, and physique athletes (bodybuilding, figure, and bikini). And you have done so with tremendous success. It’s uncommon to meet a trainer who is competent in handling such a diverse client base while providing them with the guidance needed for successful outcomes. What allows you to handle such a diverse client base with success?
This answer could be long winded and boring, so I will try to keep it short and sweet (kind of like me!). The obvious component is the understanding and education on how to properly address each individual and their specific needs. Despite all the accolades, degrees, or certifications one may have, it is my opinion that an incredibly invaluable skill set is the ability to read your client. To know when to push them, when to back off and how various external and internal stressors may be at play. These are lessons that no textbook can teach you. You either have that x-factor or you don’t.

GP: With the extensive amount of information available today, nutrition and nutritional advice can become extremely frustrating and confusing. What is your philosophy when it comes to nutrition?
Perhaps it’s because I’m only familiar with the fitness industry, but there is a strong correlation with confusion and the fitness industry. I don’t think there’s an industry out there that is more confusing and frustrating. People love to create confusion because confusion creates dependency. So he or she that yells the loudest will more than likely make the most money. Especially if it goes against the grain of what is traditionally applied.

When it comes to nutrition and my “philosophy”, I guess you could say I don’t really have one. My end goal with clients is to establish a plan that is sustainable for them. If any one client can’t stick with a plan that is set forth, the success rate of that plan is drastically reduced. The approach is similar to the quote, “The person who goes 90% for years will go much further than the person who goes 110%, burns out, and quits.” That essentially sums up the approach I take with my clients.

Most clients just need direction. Whether that is a set plan to give them absolute direction or whether it is step-by-step process of educating them on healthy habits for long-term success. At the end of the day it comes back to knowing your client and how you need to tailor their program(s) to their needs at any given moment.

GP: As a massage therapist and corrective exercise specialist, you have integrated recovery and corrective strategies for your clients and athletes. What are your thoughts on the importance of movement quality and recovery strategies in client progress?
Pushing the limits of the human body and sport performance doesn’t necessarily come without paying a price. Our goal is to keep our athletes and general clients healthy through the process, but aches and pains inevitably settle in. Some people may be baffled by that, but take your squat from 500 lbs to 600 lbs or your 40-yard dash time from 4.50 down to 4.40 and, trust me, your body is going to be feeling it. Wanting to minimize the effects of hard training, most of our athletes partake in an in-season care plan that is set forth to include weekly treatments to injured areas or general recovery work to help them stay fresh. These guys and girls are getting the snot kicked out of them sometimes during their athletic events. Once they feel the difference in how taking care of their body helps their performance and overall well-being, they’re hooked. Some of them come in anticipating an hour massage on their low back because their low back is sore, but we may do an hour of extensive hip and abdominal exercises instead. That is a judgement call. That client will end up leaving with no low back pain and in a much better place both physically and mentally. Some will need more focused soft tissue work, others there may be other factors at play. Again, it comes back to knowing what your client needs and what will truly benefit them.

Establishing proper movement is critical and the foundational element in determining long-term development of the client you’re working with. If they don’t move well for them, then really, it’s all for not. I emphasize moving well for them because it’s different for everyone based on individual physical traits and characteristics. There is not a textbook way of performing any movement. Yes, there are obvious technicalities to each movement, but how it’s applied to everyone is different, and often not textbook.

I could go on about how the whole fitness industry can be it’s own worst enemy, but that would be more of a rant than anything. People need to get off their high horses and realize that because a movement isn’t done to their personal specifics, it is not necessarily wrong for that individual and the goals that they have.

So proper movement for the individual has to be established first. Once that is established you would be surprised at how many issues are removed. Especially once that client becomes stronger. Strength never hurt anybody.

GP: You have become sought after by both athletes and coaches for your ability to develop speed. If anyone would doubt it, your results speak for themselves. You have had the ability to further develop athletes who have either plateaued or failed to achieve results in other training programs. What do you attribute this ability to?
You won’t get anywhere without a substantial amount of knowledge and experience backing up your intentions. I was fortunate enough to start training and working with athletes at a very young age. So even at my age, I’ve been able to put in close to 10 years of professional experience working with clients from various demographics with an array of end-goals. The good trainers eventually make it to the top while, unfortunately, some really poor trainers are there too. The education, and arguably experience, only take you so far. It goes back to my earlier answers. Understanding your client, knowing them almost better than they know themselves, and being aware of how to direct them will set the framework for continual development.

More related reading:

https://gallagherperformance.com/3-simple-steps-to-reduce-your-risk-of-sports-injuries/

https://gallagherperformance.com/3-benefits-of-integrated-training-and-therapy/

https://gallagherperformance.com/faqs-frequency-avoided-questions-of-strength-conditioning/

Tips on Recovery and Restoration

Training Hard vs Training SmartThere are many components to consider when looking to promote proper recovery and restoration from training, be it from sport training or simply the goal of personal fitness. Similar to the considerations made in program design, one must be smart about the tools or tricks they use when it comes to nutrition, rest, and restoration techniques. In my personal experience, the overwhelming majority of individuals who train and compete on a regular basis commonly lack an understanding of recovery methods that are only going to help them optimize their training outcomes. They focus so much attention on their actual training, but fail to bring the same level of focus and attention to detail when it comes to nutrition or even proper sleep habits. When this occurs, training results are typically limited. There becomes a greater resistance to progress, leaving many in this situation feeling frustrated and confused. This is exactly why the understanding of rest and restoration must be passed on to the client or athlete. Yes, there is a difference between rest and restoration.

Basically, rest implies sleep or doing something restful, such as a nap or relaxing while watching the game. However, rest does not guarantee restoration, or the recovery and renewal of the body’s systems (i.e. cardiorespiratory, neuromuscular, endocrine, immune, etc.) from training demands. Not all systems recover in the same time frame and their restoration needs will be dictated by training volume and/or intensity. For the purposes of this article, we are going to discuss the application of recovery and restoration methods as they apply to recovery of the nervous system, specifically the autonomic nervous system.

Keep in mind, it is the current state of the autonomic nervous system that should dictate both training load and restoration methods. Meaning, it should be determined whether an individual is in a state of sympathetic or parasympathetic dominance. The ability to recognize this is crucial in decision making and avoiding inappropriate training loads or restoration methods, as these can push you down the wrong path. Ideally, restoration methods should be as individualized as the training process if your goal is optimal results. But, in general, here are some guidelines that will help you identify where you may fall on the sympathetic-parasympathetic spectrum and how to apply restoration methods to bring you back into an optimal state of recovery.

A) Parasympathetic Dominance (most typically experienced by endurance athletes)

  • Signs and Symptoms: chronic tiredness or heavy fatigue, low motivation to train, low resting heart rate, low blood pressure, low libido.
Restoration Methods: use SYMPATHETIC based recovery protocols
  1. Active Recovery Training: The goal is to increase blood flow to the peripheral musculature, speeding up processes of aerobic metabolism inherent in recovery. These activities should ideally be of low muscular and metabolic load, such as an easy bike, swim, or circuits of body-weight exercises. Avoid high CNS demands, keeping active recovery sessions within 20-30 minutes.
  2. Intensive Deep Tissue Massage: Deep tissue massage will up-regulate the sympathetic nervous system through increased proprioceptive input to CNS, which will influence changes in the state of the autonomic nervous system as well as the myofascial system.
  3. Cold Water Immersion: May reduce perception of fatigue and soreness after training sessions by up regulating the sympathetic nervous system. Repeat 2-5 minutes in cold water for 3-5 rounds.
  4. Sauna: Increased core temperature results in increased sympathetic response and speed of metabolic processes. It should be noted that the parasympathetic response increases following sauna use. In general, when looking at recommendations for the use of the sauna to promote recovery, the sauna should be between 180-200 degrees for an optimal response. There are a number of various sauna protocols to aid in recovery. In general, repeat 2-4 rounds of 5-10 minutes in the sauna, followed by a cool shower rinse.
B) Sympathetic Dominance (
most typically experience by power-speed athletes)
  • Signs and Symptoms: elevated resting heart rate, elevated blood pressure, poor sleep, mood changes such as being more irritable, suppressed appetite, restlessness, poor or declining performance, low libido.
Restoration Methods: use PARASYMPATHETIC based recovery protocols
  1. Active Recovery Training: Yes, this has similar application and can be used in either parasympathetic or sympathetic dominance. Follow the guidelines as previously mentioned.
  2. Relaxation-based Massage: Soft, gentle touch can generate a powerful parasympathetic response. Massage with the targeted goal of promoting relaxation will down-regulated the sympathetic nervous system. Again, this is achieved through proprioceptive input to CNS.
  3. Hot Tub: Hot water immersion promotes relaxation and increased parasympathetic response. Greatest benefit is achieved when water temperature is around 102 for 10-20 minutes.
  4. Deep Water Floating and/or Swimming: Not as commonly known or utilized as other restoration methods, this method is exactly what it sounds like, floating in deep water. Deep Water Floating’s benefits come from the proprioceptive changes due to the body being unloaded from gravity. A common recommendation is to alternate between 5-10 minutes of swimming and 5-10 minutes of floating while using a floatation device to ensure complete relaxation.
Concluding Thoughts
This is by no means a comprehensive discussion on recovery and restoration methods. Other methods such as naps, meditation, relaxation techniques, EMS (electro-muscular stimulation), and reduction of training volume and/or intensity can be implemented with great success as well. Remember to be strategic in the selection of your recovery methods, keeping in mind how they impact the various systems of the body. These techniques will not overcome poor training, nutritional, and sleep habits. They are intended to be an adjunct to already properly structured training and rest schedule, allowing you to optimize your readiness to train and compete.

More related reading:

https://gallagherperformance.com/why-poor-recovery-will-make-you-sick-sad-and-weak/

https://gallagherperformance.com/the-2-most-common-reasons-why-results-suffer/

https://gallagherperformance.com/resetting-bodys-function-post-injury/

We love to hear your input. Tell us about your experience on Google.

Connect with Us

Contact

  • 4484 William Penn Highway

  • Murrysville, PA 15668

Hours of Operation

  • CHIROPRACTIC
    Monday-Thursday: 9am-1pm, 3pm-6pm
    Friday: 9am-1pm, 3pm-5pm
    Saturday: by appointment only
  • MASSAGE & TRAINING
    Hours are by appointment only