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The Site of Pain Is Rarely The Source of Pain

A testimonial worth sharing:

When I first visited Gallagher Performance 6 months ago, I went for a nagging discomfort around my shoulder on the right side of my back that had stuck with me for the past 7 years. Not only was this uncomfortable, but it was also a major limiting factor in my physical performance. For years on my own, I tried various types of stretches, mobility exercises, and strengthening exercises, all to no avail. Due to its chronic nature, I continued to research the potential issue, and was convinced it was fascial adhesions in that area causing the discomfort and limited mobility. From there, I went to a number of deep tissue massages from various professionals, but those only resulted in short-term relief, not the long-term fix I was looking for. I continued my journey by going to various physical therapists in the area. I would tell them I thought facial adhesions were causing this issue. They would listen, target that area with facial release methods, give me various stretches and mobility exercises, but still no results.

Finally, I found Gallagher Performance one day as I searched for a fix for my shoulder and decided to give them a shot. Since I was still convinced that fascial adhesions were my issue, I went for a deep tissue massage for my first session with Ryan. Ryan listened attentively as I told him about my symptoms and the fascial adhesions that I believed were causing my discomfort and limited mobility in that area. Once the session started, he went to work on those fascial adhesions that I so strongly believed were the culprit. But this is where Gallagher Performance separated themselves from all of the other practitioners that I visited. Even though Ryan started on the facial adhesions, through his extensive knowledge and expertise, he quickly identified that fascial adhesions were not the issue. In fact, I unknowingly had issues in other areas in my body that were the root causes of my discomfort in that area. From there, through Ryan’s genuine desire to help his clients, he introduced me to Sean in order to work through the multitude of issues that caused this chronic discomfort and limited mobility for the past 7 years. Since that first visit, I’ve continuously worked with Sean and have practically eliminated the issue that had limited me for so many years.

Ryan and Sean were the first professionals to take an honest and objective approach to my issue. Instead of allowing my unprofessional diagnosis of my issue dictate their actions and approach, they independently applied their experience and knowledge to diagnose my issue and set me on the correct path for a long-term fix. Sean’s expertise in his field, specifically his knowledge of DNS (Dynamic Neuromuscular Stabilization), gave me the tools I needed to fix the root causes of my issue. His unique knowledge of DNS was imperative to my early success, but as we continued to work together on my path to maximizing functionality and physical performance, his experience and expertise in every area physical therapy allowed him to effectively diagnosis and treat any issue that would arise. Even though my discomfort has subsided greatly, I continue to work with Sean on correcting other problem areas that are limiting the full functionality of my body that I require to perform at a high level as an ice hockey goaltender. Only when I began my work with Sean was I not only able correct a lingering issue, but was also able to (and continue to) maximize my physical performance and functionality in ways I’ve never experienced before.

In addition to my periodic visits with Sean, I have been working with Ryan on the nutrition and training side for three months now, and as with my work with Sean, experiencing results that I have never experienced in those areas. For years, I have tried various exercise and nutrition programs, but the results that I experienced (if any) were short-term. I was never able to stick to a nutrition plan for very long or have a training program that was designed specifically to my needs. Ryan met those needs by developing a nutrition and training program built on a very simple yet powerful concept – sustainability. No longer was I burning out of my nutrition program because it was to strict and unsustainable, nor was I giving up on my training program because I wasn’t seeing any progress. Through the scope of sustainability, Ryan develops programs that not only brings incredible results, but also have the ability to be adhered to for the long-term. In addition, since Ryan and Sean work closely together, Ryan is able to take the feedback from my work with Sean and adjust my nutrition and training plans accordingly. I never had success in the past using various cookie-cutter nutrition and training programs. But once I started working with Ryan, I began to see great results on a consistent basic through the plans that he developed specifically for me.

My experience with Ryan and Sean has been, and continues to be, exceptional. Not only is their knowledge and expertise high-level, but they are truly tremendous people. They genuinely want their clients to succeed and will do whatever it takes to make that happen. The level of support and professional expertise that I have received from both Sean and Ryan is unparalleled, and I can’t thank them enough for success they helped bring into my life.

I would not hesitate to recommend anyone to see Sean and Ryan. Whether you are an athlete or non-athlete, young or old, I have no doubt in my mind that Ryan and Sean will be able to provide the level of support you are looking for. Gallagher Performance is much more than just a chiropractor, a personal trainer, or a massage therapist – they offer a multitude of services that restore health, functionality, and maximize physical performance. If you are looking for a high level of expertise and support in any of these areas, I urge you to give Gallagher Performance a try. They are hand-down some of the best in the business.

-Zaid Alzaid

 
For more related reading:

https://gallagherperformance.com/dns-solves-pain-improves-performance/

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

https://gallagherperformance.com/before-you-go-to-a-chiropractor-read-this-first/

Are You Receiving Value in Your Treatment or Training?

The combination of chiropractic/manual therapy and massage therapy paired with smart training can make a profound impact on any musculoskeletal condition you may be dealing with. There's tremendous value in care and training that focuses on the goals and outcomes you care about. You place a value on your health or performance and you should receive services that deliver value.

The challenge is finding a chiropractor, therapist, or trainer who aligns with your values and the value that you place on your body and health. There's a spectrum on which these providers exist and it becomes your responsibility to do your homework. To make sure you find someone that can deliver the care, quality, results, and value that you're looking for.



You can go to 10 chiropractors and have 10 totally different experiences. You could see 10 personal trainers and have 10 totally different experiences. Yet all those experiences fall under the broad categories of 'chiropractic' or 'personal training'.

You don't know what you're getting into until you do some research and understand how someone practices or how they are going to approach your specific exercise program.

Some may argue one way may not be better than another way, but there are certainly more affective means of treatment and training that get better results.

There is a responsibility on the individual to find someone who will deliver that value. People often go through detailed vetting processes when it comes to a mechanic, electrician, plumber, doctor, etc. When it comes to your health, are you vetting the people you work with?

A big reason why we get a lot of athletes and individuals that prioritize their health is they do their homework. They want to understand how the body works and they are driven to optimize it. They search out the right person for the job. They want someone to deliver value in the care and the training that they are receiving because they realize they only have one body and they want to take care of it to the best of their ability.

Are you placing value on your health, fitness, or sport goals? Or are you just looking for the best price?

 
More related reading:

https://gallagherperformance.com/the-best-exercise/

https://gallagherperformance.com/essentials-of-keeping-athletes-healthy/

 
https://gallagherperformance.com/options-dont-take-insurance/

https://gallagherperformance.com/the-benefits-of-performance-therapy/

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

The Best Exercise

Often I am asked, "What is the best exercise?" or "What is the best type of exercise?"

To answer that question, let's set the stage of what exercise really is - movement.

Teaching patients not only about chiropractic but how to move better all comes back to function and understanding how all the intricate parts of our body make up a highly complex movement system. But here are some key points to understand:

1) Function determines movement. Chiropractic and rehabilitation seek to restore proper movement function. Functional examinations determine WHY movement is painful or problematic. Utilizing the functional model of movement helps to determine who is at risk for injury, which movement patterns or body regions are dysfunctional, and what treatment or exercise strategy is needed to address those issues in combination with chiropractic/manual therapy methods.

2) Function is critical to movement and movement is critical to our health. Our bodies are designed to move. The growing list of chronic diseases and immense burden on the healthcare system associated with an overly sedentary society clearly demonstrates one conclusion – we need to move more.

3) Movement is exercise and exercise is medicine. The medicinal benefits of exercise are numerous. There is a reason why exercise and proper nutrition is being labeled as "lifestyle medicine".

For those who wish to start an exercise program, the public is told to “see your doctor” before starting an exercise program. Most patients are cleared to exercise after history and vitals are considered “normal”. Sure your organ system may be healthy enough for exercise, but nothing is mentioned about seeing a doctor to determine how well you move or how well your muscles and joints are functioning. Why wouldn’t this be considered? Why wouldn’t seeing a “movement specialist” before considering an exercise program be equally advocated?

So, in typical fashion, most of us embark on an exercise program believing we will be healthier for it. We are told to exercise and practice sound nutritional habits, but what do most of us do for exercise? How about go to the gym, sit on a machine and pull or push weights while hunched over with lousy posture. Or, after sitting for 40-60 hours per week, let’s go out and put staggering amounts of stress on our bodies through recreational activities like weekend skiing, Thursday night softball league, rec league hockey, golf, or basketball.

There's nothing wrong with those activity choices, yet what happens when pain or injury come into the picture? Most of blame the exercise or blame the activity when, in most cases, we should be blaming our own body.

When it comes to pain and injury, the reality is what our body is capable of performing cannot meet the demands we are placing upon it. The overall function of our body must be ready to handle a specific task or movement otherwise problems will eventually arise. Problems that may range from mild (muscular tightness/stiffness, joint aches) to more severe (pain and/or injury).

The beauty of the functional model is that those regions that have mechanical sensitivity (pain) and/or abnormal motor control can be identified and solutions are discovered. Exposing these compensations and correcting them plays a huge role in not only getting patients out of pain, but improving how their body functions.

Why is changing how our body functions so important?
While pain is why most people seek care, the reality is if we only change pain and fail to change how a patient’s body functions, we have our reason why so many patients relapse. But if we get them out of pain and improve how their body functions then we are doing what we need to do to keep the pain from returning.

Whether we need mobility (improved range of motion) or stability (motor control), that can be addressed with a proper functional examination through movement. After a functional examination, it just makes sense to reinforce functional movement patterns with specialized exercise to build a foundation of proper movement coordination, strength and skill. Now we are beginning to get somewhere to build form, function and fitness. Now we are getting people to move better through better exercise!

Correct movement is the best exercise
Once people learn better movement, how to project their joints and what exercises they should be performing, their bodies are much healthier for it. There is less risk of injury and most will ultimately start feeling better instantly. Rather than beating their bodies up due to poor movement, movement becomes healing. Correct exercise is the answer. Correct movement is what we need to get out of pain, feel capable and feel healthy.

That’s the essence of the functional model. It’s about promoting health and healing through therapy, movement, and patient-centered education. That’s what we pride ourselves on at Gallagher Performance as our model is truly unique in the services we provide and the results we achieve.

More related reading:

https://gallagherperformance.com/prevent-re-injury-integrated-training-rehabilitation/

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

https://gallagherperformance.com/do-you-really-need-more-mobility/

https://gallagherperformance.com/the-truth-about-functional-exercise/

Obesity in America

Obesity is a problem. It's a real problem.

Today, 34% of the US adult population is obese and roughly 18% of US youth aged 2-19 years are obese. It is well established that children who are obese are more likely to be obese as adults, putting them more at risk for health problems such as heart disease, hypertension, type 2 diabetes, stroke, cancer, asthma, and osteoarthritis. The burden of obesity on the healthcare system is tremendous as billions of dollars are spent annually on prescription drug, emergency room and outpatient visit healthcare costs.

The Framingham study has demonstrated data that obesity rates have gone up 2% per year and they project that by the year 2050, 42% of the US population could be obese. And that’s the best-case scenario.

Possible Theories for Climbing Obesity Rates
There are several theories that attempt to explain obesity and it's rise to "epidemic" status. Theories can range from obesity being the result of food purposefully manufactured to be addictive, to nutrient imbalances, to environmental, psychological, and genetic factors to name a few.

There has even been research done to investigate whether obesity is “contagious” or something that we can “catch”, similar to the flu or other infectious diseases. This research was centered on studies that have demonstrated those who have social connections to obese individuals are more likely to be obese themselves.

The reality is the cause of obesity is multi-factorial and there are likely many reasons for obesity with very individual considerations. While there are many factors that will raise one’s risk for obesity, it’s important to recognize one key factor in the prevention of obesity - the body is programmed to regulate body weight.

So how can Americans - who continue to get fat even with the increased prevalence of dieting – regain control over body weight regulation?

Get Moving!
Low energy expenditure and sedentary lifestyles are the cause of body weight dysregulation. Meaning, lack of exercise or low energy expenditure is the MAJOR limiting factor in the ability to properly control body weight.
Yes, nutrition makes a difference but we see athletes who eat poorly all the time without becoming obese. Why?

Their high activity level keeps body weight regulation tighter. Nutrition is important for energy balance and is responsible for physical change. However, no amount of calorie control will help until the genetic switch is turned “on” by appropriate levels of physical activity.
But who has time for all that exercise, right?

The most recent National Human Activity Pattern Survey and American Time Use Survey have found people watch, on average, 30-35 hours of TV per week or almost 5 hours a day! This is a drastic increase from 2007, as these surveys reported American’s watched 19.5-21 hours of TV per week or almost 3 hours a day on average.

Most Americans move too little! Period.

Put a Plan into Action
Here are some steps and strategies you can use to better regulate your bodyweight, fight the battle of the bulge, and reduce your risk of obesity:

  • Build muscle with properly designed strength training and conditioning program. Incorporate regular, proper progression to encourage new stimuli and promote muscular and metabolic adaptations to fuel post-workout energy expenditure.
  • Increase “non-exercise” physical activity. Simply put, sit less and move more. Get out for a walk, do some yard work, or ride a bike. Pick something you enjoy that gets you up and moving.
  • Stay consistent with your nutrition and eating habits. Developing unhealthy or unsustainable nutritional habits can have disastrous consequences on your body’s body weight regulation. Avoid the tendency to "hop around" with your eating habits and change them based on what some celebrity or your friend is doing. Avoid extreme diets as these come with the risk of long-term overcompensations that can be challenging to change.
  • Nutritional habits must be sustainable or they will not be successful. Sustainable actions produce optimum results. Your eating habits should be developed around practical application and science, not cookie-cutter planning or gimmicks. This is where individual considerations must be made and working with a professional has tremendous value.
  • Sleep 7-9 hours each night. Sleep is an incredibly powerful tool in promoting an optimal hormonal environment for proper bodyweight regulation.
  • Develop strong social support networks. Surround yourself with people who are like-minded and will support your health, fitness, and wellness goals.
  • Realize you are responsible for you. Despite having the best training program or the best nutritional program or the best support network possible, you are ultimately in the driver’s seat and results will not come unless you put those plans into action. Commitment to consistent, sustainable action is the key. This is not an 20-day or 12-week fix. These are habits that are meant to last a lifetime. Recognize your responsibility and commit to it.
Bottom Line
We must eat, move, and live better if we are going to prevent unwanted weight gain and control our bodyweight. The health and fitness world can sometimes be a confusing place, but it doesn’t have to be. Let us help you make sense of it all and achieve the goals you desire. Gallagher Performance is here to develop the best eating, exercise, and lifestyle strategies — unique and personal — for you.

More related reading:

https://gallagherperformance.com/dietary-fat-is-not-the-bad-guy/

Cold Season: Are You Winning the Battle for Your Immune System?

“It’s cold season."

How many times have we heard that saying? Yes, we are approaching the time of year when most of us are more susceptible to coming down with a cold or the flu. But, I’ll let you in on a little secret – there is no “cold season”.

Rather than figuring out a strategy to keep our immune system working at it's peak potential, it's as if some of us just throw in the towel and accept that we will be sick, as if there is nothing we can do to prevent it.

Reality is we are constantly under attack by pathogens, viruses or bacteria that want to infect us. We are constantly exposed to pathogens and we are either winning or losing the battle. What is likely to blame for the “cold season” has more to do with what our body’s internal environment lacks than what is attacking us.

There's the saying, "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure." I'm not saying cold season is completely preventable, but what I am trying to communicate is that we all can take steps to reduce our likelihood of getting sick and possibly prevent it.

Aside from proper exercise, nutrition, and lifestyle choices, what are some simple prevention steps you can take (any time of the year) to keep your immune system firing on all cylinders and help it win the battle against the "cold season"?

1) Sleep. The most powerful tool that you have to keep your immune system running high is sleep. Research demonstrates that lack of sleep compromises the immune system, thus predisposing you to sickness. There’s a reason why you sleep a lot when you are sick. Don't underestimate what proper sleep habits can do for your health. Are you getting enough sleep? Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do my eyelids feel heavy in the afternoon?
  • Do I use caffeine as a “pick me up”?
  • Do I sleep extra hours on the weekend?
  • Do I fall asleep the minute my head hits the pillow?
To promote deep, restful sleep try to keep your room as dark and cool as possible. Ideal room temperature appears to be 65-68 degrees. Calming agents like magnesium, valerian root, chamomile tea, or a warm bath used before bed can also promote more restful sleep. Avoid alcohol, caffeine, nicotine, and exercise before bed as these can interfere with our normal sleep rhythms or make it more difficult to settle.

Shoot for 7-8 hours of sleep per night. Athletes may need as much as 9-10 hours per night.

2) Vitamin D. Vitamin D deficiency is a global issue, which is disturbing as poor vitamin D status is linked to cardiovascular disease, diabetes, hypertension, certain cancers, and many other chronic conditions. Not only does Vitamin D have a critical role in immune system support, it also has also been shown to have anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial, and anti-viral effects.

According to James Cannell, MD, of the vitamin D council, most of us will need to take in 5000 IU per day to obtain healthy vitamin D blood levels and avid exercisers should shoot for as high as 10,000 IU per day. In comparison, the current RDA is set at 600 IU for individuals 1-70 years of age and 800 IU for those 71 years of age and older. Clearly there is a large gap between what is considered adequate and what is considered necessary for optimal health.

In determining appropriate vitamin D intake, it's important to know your vitamin D levels first. A simple test can be run by your doctor with blood work. Be sure to consult your healthcare provider.

3) Vitamin C. Vitamin C's role in immune system support is well established and less of a discussion is needed here. To maximize vitamin C's immune system boosting effects, It's best to consume a vitamin C supplement or vitamin C rich foods every 2-3 hours when sick as blood levels take 2-3 hours to peak, thus you will ensure blood levels remain high.

4) Zinc. For as much evidence as there is to back vitamin C’s ability to support the immune system, there is stronger evidence for zinc. However, zinc's role in immune system support is not as widely known. Zinc plays a central role in the immune response and zinc-deficient individuals are more susceptible to a variety of pathogens. While consuming whole foods rich in zinc should be standard dietary practice, directed use of products like Zicam, zinc lozenges, or highly bio-available zinc supplements at the early signs or symptoms of a cold has proven to be beneficial.

5) Glutamine. Glutamine is the most abundant amino acid in skeletal muscle, making it critical to the health and function of our muscular system. However, glutamine is also integral to the function of our digestive and immune systems. The health of our digestive system is critical to the health of our immune system as the GI tract uses a tremendous amount of glutamine to feed the mucosal cells. When needed, glutamine supplementation is a great way to support the immune system. Aim for 5-15g grams, three times a day. Make sure a dose is taken upon rising, mid day, and before bed. The dose before bed is important as the immune system is highly active during sleep.

6) Probiotics. Probiotics are healthy bacteria for our gut and they also have the ability to support the immune system. Simply stated, a healthy digestive system feeds a healthy immune system. Research has supported the ability of probiotics to reduce the occurrence of colds and gastrointestinal infections. Be sure to consume more probiotic foods or take a quality probiotic supplement. Foods such as yogurt, raw cheese, raw apple cider vinegar, and kombucha tea are just a few examples of foods rich in probiotics.

Wrap Up
Prevention is the key when it comes to staying healthy. We either make time for prevention or we make time for illness. Take the steps to support your immune system and win the fight during cold season.

More related reading:

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

Summer Grind, Summer Blast

Lately it’s hard to find time to keep up with our blog. Life and business have a way of keeping you busy. Ignoring our social platforms may happen for a period of time, but we always revisit them. If there is one thing I’ve always hoped is that our blog would be informative, educational, and entertaining (at times).

The summer months bring on increased work load. Once May rolls around, we take it up a notch or two at Gallagher Performance. Summer is a grind, but it’s also a blast. We love the grind, love the process. With the volume of high school and collegiate athletes training for strength and performance, along with the patients we see ranging from acute care to rehabilitation to return to play, summer provides tremendous learning opportunities.

Reflecting back on the past several weeks, there are some friendly reminders and lessons learned or re-learn that I wanted to share:

  • Power-speed athletes thrive on power-speed drills and exercises. Just because one can squat or deadlift 500+ doesn’t mean they are explosive and fast. Yes athletes need strength and for many they will need a primary focus on strength training. However, those newly acquired strength levels must also be displayed in more power-speed dominant means such as sprints, jumps, throws as they have greater specificity to athletics than anything barbell related.
  • Athletes need to rapidly absorb force and rapidly generate force and do it on a level of unconscious activation. That brings me to another point of muscle activation. Muscle activation is a craze nowadays and rightly so. The overwhelming majority of the population will benefit tremendously from learning how to activate and integrate muscles such as their tibialis anterior, glutes, and scapular stabilizers to name a few. A lost art in muscle activation seems to be the use of isometrics. There is always an isometric contraction during the amortization phase of movement. Even during the most explosive movements, there is an isometric contraction. Isometrics are also awesome for reprogramming and generating a powerful mind-muscle connection, making isometrics a great tool for performance as well as rehabilitation. We have been utilizing a select few isometric drills for uprighting, motor control, and priming for improved force/strength generation. In a relatively short period of time, they have more than demonstrated significant value.
  • There is a right way to go about training and a wrong way. The right way will always be dependent on the needs of individual and their specific goals. Don't get caught up in hype, trends, and empty promises. Trust the tradition. There is magic in the basics of the barbell, free weights, sprints, jumps, and bodyweight drills. They have stood the test of time. Fads and trends come and go, the basics remain. Using these exercises is one thing, understanding how to structure them in a training plan is another animal in itself. Find a trainer/coach that understands training specificity or else you are simply wasting your time and money.
  • We are problem solvers. Either as a clinician or trainer/coach, the heart of what we do is problem solving. Maybe it’s a matter of ability or effort, but clinicians or trainers either have the ability or they don’t. The ability to problem solve comes from knowledge and experience and even instinct. When it comes to effort, frankly some are just lazy and don’t care to think hard as it complicates their job. Whether it is listening to what a patient/athlete is telling you or just simply watching, you’ve got to process the source of the problem and how you’re going to solve it. When it comes to performance or rehabilitation, everything makes sense. If it is happening there is good reason for it. If we don’t understand it, it doesn’t make sense to us, but it always makes sense. Never dismiss a client or patient as not making sense. Make the effort to make a change. Change your perspective. Learn more.
  • We all need a coach. No one gets through life all on their own. We all have needed mentors and coaches at some point in our life. These may have been parents, family members, close friends, teacher, professors, bosses, etc. If we pursue something of significance, chances are someone helped us along the way. We need the help of others than have more knowledge, more experience, more accomplishments. I have had a number of mentors and coaches. For everything they did for me, I hope I can pass that on to those that I work with in the role as a coach.
  • Take time to get to know your clients and athletes. Show you care about them. We do more than just simply get kids bigger, stronger, or faster. We have an opportunity everyday to connect with our clients and athletes and hopefully make a positive impact. The reward goes far beyond cash flow. It’s about making a difference for the better.
That’s all for now. Thanks for reading and enjoy the grind!

More related reading:

https://gallagherperformance.com/do-you-really-need-more-mobility/

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

Welcome to Gallagher Performance

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Hi. I’m Dr. Sean Gallagher. Welcome to Gallagher Performance. I’d like to tell you about what we have to offer and why it might be a right fit for you to come check us out.

We offer chiropractic, functional rehabilitation, massage therapy, nutritional programs, as well as sports performance and personal training programs.

To begin with, my approach to chiropractic is different from what most have come to expect or have experienced in the past. As a chiropractor, my focus is on returning you to proper function and teaching you what you can do to keep pain from returning. Rather than spending 5 minutes with my patients, I usually spend 30 -60 minutes.

New patient evaluations are an hour long, as this allows me the opportunity to listen and understand their history as well as their desired goals and outcomes from treatment. All new patients receive a neurological and functional-based evaluation as this serves to create a working diagnosis and treatment plan recommendations.

Our functional-based evaluation and treatment plans are focused on looking at how you move so I can figure out strategies to help you move better and ultimately help you understand what could be causing your pain and what you can do to keep it from returning. The process is truly focused on you as the patient and your desired outcomes.

In addition to chiropractic adjustments or manipulations, I perform soft tissue treatments to improve the integrity and function of the muscular system. Massage therapy is offered here as well as it is extremely effective in treating painful or tight muscles and assisting in the healing process. Additional rehabilitation work focuses on improving movement qualities such as endurance, strength, stability, balance, agility, coordination, and body awareness.

When it comes to training, Gallagher Performance is all about individualizing the training process. That’s because we understand each person responds differently to training due to a multitude of factors that must be accounted for. We take time to understand your injury history, training experience, primary sport(s) played, and several other factors. Regardless of whether training occurs in a private or semi-private setting, clients are all closely coached through the entirety of their program to maximize results. This is what separates us and makes us unique from area competitors.

So if you’re looking to improve your performance, whether in sports, the achievement of your health and fitness pursuits, or you just need a tune-up to get your body feeling better, whatever the reason, come see us at Gallagher Performance. We are committed to you achieving your health and fitness goals and would love to be of service to you. Thank you.

Assumptions, Accusations, and PEDs

The controversial subject of individuals assuming and accusing other individuals of using PEDs has been brought up once again.

It's comical to me because I always here about these assumptions or accusations from a second hand source. I never hear it directly from the source. But, that's another story.

At this point in my life, I’ve heard it since I was in college. Not just me, my brothers as well.

Let me make something perfectly clear: I am a natural athlete. Ryan is a natural athlete. My brothers are natural athletes. Always have been, always will be.

Why I am writing this post is to ask the question, "Why do people assume someone is using PEDs or anabolics in the first place?"

Is it because they believe something is not possible?

Do they have this belief because they are not capable of the same achievement? Or do they believe that because they can’t do it, then no one can?

Do they somehow believe that they are the strongest natural athlete alive and if someone is stronger than them, that person is a cheat?

Looking deeper in the matter, I consider the attitude of the individual making the assumptions or accusations. They start with the attitude that they believe what others are achieving is not possible, all based on the belief that it is not possible for them. And the impossible will always be their reality, never achieving what they are truly capable of because a driven, motivated person will make it possible. They will always find a way and won’t quit. They will never allow themselves to believe something is not possible.

Want to know the secret of the strong?

It all starts will their mentality.

A stronger person will never question the abilities of a weaker person. It’s always the weak questioning the strong. Weak in mind and character will always equal weak in strength. The strong simply want it more. Strength begins with a change in attitude. Put your mind to it. Change your attitude. Put forth some real focus and thought to achieving your goals and forget what others say is or isn’t possible.

Besides, who sets the limit of natural strength and athletic ability?

Why do people feel the need to define what someone else is capable of or tell them what their limitations are and if they have been reached. The strong of mind and the driven athlete are made to push boundaries and create new limits. Ignore the haters and detractors. It’s up to us to impose the stressors needed for adaptation and elevated performance. Put in the work and the time. Remember, nothing worthwhile ever came from quick and easy. Strength is no different.

Don't fall victim to the poorly educated and allow them to shape your views on the limits of human potential and what is or what is not possible. You’ll be amazed at what can be achieved without the excuses and with plenty commitment, consistency, time, failure and above all hard work.

More related reading:

https://gallagherperformance.com/training-take-it-seriously/

https://gallagherperformance.com/advanced-training-for-elite-athletes/

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.

 

GP Client Testimonial - Shaun Davis

I first started working with Sean, at Gallagher Performance, due to an injury to my back/SI Joint in 2014. The injury occurred December of 2013 and I went through almost a year of physical therapy and other doctor appointments before coming to Sean to fix the problem. Sean realized what the problem was and started giving me a combination of chiropractic adjustments and specific exercises to strengthen the area and eliminate the problem.

Over the time when I was injured, I was unable to do anything overly physical. The worst thing that can ever happen to a former athlete is to realize that they can no longer be athletic. I needed to do something more, so I came back to Sean immediately and had him write me up a plan and provide one on one guidance to help me achieve my fitness goals. Sean prescribed a rigorous training program that challenged me day in and day out. I noticed results very quickly and within 12 weeks, I felt better than I had felt in the past 10 years!

I am still going strong with Sean's plans and I look forward to seeing what the future brings using the PROVEN Gallagher Performance methods. Sean single handedly took me from a stale couch potato and he has given me back my manhood! Thanks to Sean I feel like an athlete again. I would recommend Gallagher Performance to ANYBODY looking to get in better shape! They are the best around, hands down!

-Shaun Davis

Two Years at Gallagher Performance

April 2015 marks two years since Gallagher Performance opened and with the anniversary on the horizon, I thought it was time to start reflecting back on our second year in business.

All our services from chiropractic to massage to personal training to sports performance training continue to experience steady, consistent success. Sure we do not operate at the volume of more established businesses, but our business model places a greater focus on individualized instruction over pure numbers. To us, business success is not simply measured in terms of client volume or monetary gain. For us, success is also measured by identifying how others have been positively impacted by their experience at GP. This could be in the form of clients experiencing improved self-image and confidence that extends beyond the weight room, improved markers of health, improved ability to perform activities without pain or limitation, avoided surgeries, or learning how you inspired a young athlete to pursue a career in chiropractic or fitness. This is exciting to us and it is humbling to learn how you are making a difference.

In regards to our services, it has been another great year. GP’s chiropractic and rehab therapy has been recognized as one of the best in the Pittsburgh area. 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.

Of all our services, this is most easily observed with our sports performance training. In only two years, we have seen our sports performance training services 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 Organization.

Here is a glimpse into what types of athletes we have worked with and where they are coming from:

Sports/Events

  • Baseball
  • Basketball
  • Cross Country
  • Football
  • Golf
  • Hockey
  • Lacrosse
  • Physique (Bodybuilding, Bikini, Figure)
  • Powerlifting
  • Soccer
  • Strongman
  • Track and Field (sprint event focus)
High Schools
  • Franklin Regional
  • Greensburg Central Catholic
  • Hempfield
  • Penn Hills
  • Plum
  • Seneca Valley
College Athletes
  • Andrew Brncic, Alderson Broaddus University (NCAA DII) - Football
  • Colin Jonov, Bucknell University (NCAA DI) - Football
  • Colin Childs, California University of Pennsylvania (NCAA DII) - Football
  • Jake Roberge, Northwestern University (NCAA DI) - Soccer
  • Ben Dipko, Slippery Rock University (NCAA DII) - Football
  • Christian Wilson, Mount St. Mary’s (ACHA DIII) - Hockey
  • Ryan Grieco, Lake Erie College (NCAA DII) - Baseball
  • Evan James, Penn State University Greater Allegheny (NCAA III) - Baseball
  • Dante Luther, Washington & Jefferson University (NCAA DII) - Football
  • Charan Singh, University of Massachusetts (NCAA DI) – Football
We could continue on about each of these athletes, but suffice it to say that we are very proud of each of them, their work ethic, their character, and what they’ve accomplished.

Another Year in the Books
In wrapping up, we acknowledge that GP 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, social media followers, and professional colleagues – for your continual support over the past two years. Special thanks to our marketing firm, 4C Technologies, for their continual support and expertise. We also want to extend a huge thank you to Diamond Athletic Club for being second to none and providing us the venue to operate as a business. Without you all, GP would not be what is today, and we look forward to many more years to come.

More related reading:

https://gallagherperformance.com/four-years-gallagher-performance/

Learn How to Spot the Fitness Frauds

Health and fitness is a service-based industry and, like all service-based industries, the Internet has dramatically changed how people are reached with marketing and sales strategies. Among many factors, a huge player is the rise in popularity of social media and the entertainment it provides. From Facebook to Twitter to YouTube to Instagram, one has the opportunity to reach people with greater ease than ever before.

Certainly, there are many positives that can result from this; however, there is the other side. The side where the opportunists, the con-artists, and the shameless self-promoters thrive. They have more interest in deception than education. Sure they can entertain and fascinate, but are they providing something of substance? Social media has opened the door to anyone who wants to push health and fitness information before anyone can scrutinize the quality, making sure it holds up to the science of human and exercise physiology.

So how do you identify the frauds? The con-artists? The over-night sensations who compete in one event (show, competition, race) and are now parading themselves online as some go-to fitness expert before anyone has realized they are only serving one giant cup of nonsense, likely peddling other's work and intellectual property as their own?

My brother and I ponder this subject quiet often. We discuss it with close friends and colleagues in the health and fitness industry. So here is a short list of items that should make you question both what you are reading and the person associated with it.

1) Lack of qualifications for what they claim to do.
Honest members of the industry will come straight out and tell you what they’re trained to do and more importantly, what they are not trained to do. In the fitness industry, some jobs don’t require much of a formal education, while other jobs require quite the opposite. A run-of-the-mill personal trainer only requires a basic certification before gaining hands-on experience. Those who work in high-performance settings, with specialized clients, or integrate therapeutic or corrective measures into their programs will require considerably more education as they are held to higher standards of competency. Naturally, the higher you climb, the greater your earning potential. The problem arises when trainers mislead and misrepresent themselves, acting as if they are qualified in areas they are not, all in the name of earning the almighty buck. They are usually the ones who are also trying to convince you that education is not importance and "only experience matters". This is just wrong. Stop it. This is a classic con-man scheme.

2) They Suffer from Selfie-Hashtag-Buzzword Syndrome.
Social media has created a monster known as the selfie. Those trying their best to break into the fitness industry want to make as much noise as possible. What better avenue than selfies, right? They use their endless stream of selfies as if they are pushing a business card in your face. As if somehow we should buy into what they are doing and come along for the ride. Then to top it all off, they bombard us with hashtags, buzzwords, and trendy phrases intended to connect, motivate, and inspire. Ultimately, they want you to buy into them. They want your attention and your business. Most in the fitness industry are guilty of this, and I must admit we play the game as well. But if you sift through all the selfies and hashtags and find only more selfies and hashtags with nothing of real substance, red flags should go up. There is a point at which those that you follow online must stop existing in the virtual world and provide a physical form of interaction. Who have they worked with? What results have they produced? If their body of work is mostly selfies and hashtags, they're a fraud.

3) What they say doesn’t line up with how they look.
This builds off my earlier point. Sure there are plenty of trainers and coaches and fitness experts who look great and seem to have the body of your desires (attention ladies). The are usually the one posting selfies, using their body as their business card. They want you to know how great they look on a constant basis. There are thousands in the health and fitness industry that look great. So what? Does that necessarily mean they know what they are doing or that they possess the knowledge on how to help you reach your goals. I agree that people in the health and fitness industry should “look the part”. They should exemplify health and fitness because it's their passion, not because they are trying to sell you on themselves or their products. Looking the part is important, but if you are going to base who you decide to work with solely on how they look, you could be in for a rude surprise. Talk to them. Ask them questions. They should be knowledgeable. They should be educated on the subjects of anatomy, physiology, nutrition, human movement, and how these topics relate to your goals. People get into these industries all the time because it looks easy on paper. It’s not easy. If they are clueless, they are in the wrong business.

4) They always have something to say, always trying to sell.
If someone is really good – meaning they know what they’re talking about and consistently get quality results – you never hear from them. Rather you hear about them – from their clients, colleagues, and their competition. But, you never hear from them directly.

What about the imitators? They are all about making noise. All about getting as much attention as possible. They will not only hustle to get your attention. No, hustling is not enough. They are going to overwhelm you, wave after wave after wave of their propaganda.

Trust your gut the next time some health or fitness “expert” pops up on your social media and your reaction is, “Not them again.” Your gut instinct is usually an honest one.

Final Words
There are plenty of honest individuals and organizations in the health and fitness industry that operate themselves with integrity. Seek them out. They desire to properly educate and help others achieve their goals, doing so with tremendous success. These are the trainers and coaches you need to find and receive guidance from when you are unsure of how to pursue your goals. But with all the noise and distractions, they can be hard to find because they aren't out there shamelessly promoting themselves. Unfortunately, there are far too many frauds and con-artists who end up getting more business than they should because of the noise they generate. Noise does not equal results. Hopefully this article allows you to best identify who you should be trusting with your health and fitness pursuits. And hopefully it helps you to ignore the noise.

More related reading:

https://gallagherperformance.com/the-truth-about-functional-exercise/

https://gallagherperformance.com/training-tip/

https://gallagherperformance.com/how-to-develop-physical-fitness/

A Few Words on Athletic Development

We get asked quite often about our training philosophy when it comes to athletes. Many parents want to know if the training their child will receive at GP is going to be sport-specific. While specificity in training matters, many of our athletes and their parents are surprised to learn how general or fundamental their training must be in the early phases. What needs to be clarified is understanding how much training experience the athlete has and the physical traits that must be developed. The vast majority of athletes we work with are involved in the sports of football, hockey, baseball, and basketball. Success in these sports are highly dependent upon power-speed qualities. We must train these athletes to develop the abilities that allow them to jump, sprint, cut, and dominate their opponents with brute strength. It's our job to make them bigger, faster, stronger, and more durable. It's our job to physical prepare them for the demands of their sport.

Aspiring young athletes are in need of building a broad foundation rooted in movements that will develop strength, speed, flexibility, and body awareness. For the evidence-based fans out there, we use movements and exercises that all have been proven through research to work. But more importantly, the exercises used have stood the test of time and have served as the backbone to athletic development programs for decades. Sprints, jumps, throws, compound strength exercises, Olympic weightlifting movements when appropriate, and general calisthenics have all play a role in the training of some of the greatest athletes in the world.

But the exercises are not simply enough. Almost every single one of our athletes must be exposed to a high volume of training without a high degree of variation. It's important to respect the neural adaptations young athletes or novice trainees undergo during the training process. High volumes of training will help ensure motor learning and skill acquisition while developing the connective tissue strength needed for more intensive training down the road.

This template serves to lay the foundation for the neuromuscular qualities required to meet the increasing needs for speed and power development. It's simple math really. If an athlete improves relative strength, that athlete will be faster and more explosive. Keep in mind that that other factors can be at play too. For instance, that same athlete must also maintain or improve movement quality to improve speed and explosiveness.

However, these are only portions of what goes into a quality athletic development program. It's much more than simple "strength and speed". This is why we feel the value of a qualified strength and conditioning coach or athletic development coach is severely under appreciated. Unfortunately, far too many people have been misinformed by either poorly educated trainers or by the internet. They haven't experienced the difference guided athletic development can make in their performance. Having a coach to guide young athletes not only in their development, but also in areas such as nutrition and cultivating the mind set needed to achieve their goals can give them a huge advantage over their competition.

That's why we love what we do at GP. Not only do we get to work with clients and athletes that have big dreams and big goals, but we also help them develop habits that create a healthier lifestyle. When we have them giving us their best, they deserve nothing less than our best!

More related reading:

https://gallagherperformance.com/understanding-the-benefits-and-concerns-of-youth-strength-training-programs/

https://gallagherperformance.com/periodization-keep-athletes-track-fo-success/

https://gallagherperformance.com/the-essentials-of-speed-training/

Get to Know GP Athlete Evan James

Evan James has had quite a journey during his baseball career.

Evan is a 2009 graduate of Penn Trafford HS. During his time at Penn Trafford, he was a standout pitcher on the baseball team. After his high school career, James moved on to play junior college baseball, receiving All-American honors in 2010 and a scholarship to play at Northwestern Oklahoma State University. During his time at Northwestern Oklahoma State, Evan developed shoulder impingement in his throwing arm and took a medical redshirt in the process. Desiring to receive therapy back in Pittsburgh, Evan transferred to Penn State Greater Allegheny (PSGA) in the summer of 2012. He returned to health and his pitching form quickly, quickly, receiving All-American honors at PSGA in 2013.

On February 16, 2014, Evan was pitching in a live pre-season pitching/hitting session at PSGA with scouts present from the Tampa Bay Rays organization. During that live session, Evan was struck in the head by a line drive. The trauma he sustained was serious and life-threatening. Later that day he underwent emergency brain surgery and reconstructive repair of fractured skull and jawbones. Surgery left Evan with 4 plates and over 190 staples in head. He was told he would have a minimum 6-month recovery process and that he would never play baseball again.

Evan had different ideas. To his doctor’s surprise, Evan flew through his speech and physical therapy. He progressed so quickly that last month he received full clearance to resume physical training. He hopes to return to the mound at PSGA either this fall or spring of 2015. Beyond his collegiate career, Evan still has the potential to sign with the Tampa Bay Rays as the organization will continue to watch him.

Evan is currently training with GP to bring his physical preparation for baseball to new levels and he has immediately impressed us with his discipline in training, nutrition, and recovery. Special considerations will be made in his training, accounting for his injury history and needs as a pitcher. Without question, with his determination and work ethic, he will return to play.

Evan, welcome to GP and we look forward to working with you!

 
 
 

Year One at Gallagher Performance

After completing my Sports Injury and Rehabilitation residency in September 2012, making the decision to start up this business with my brother, Ryan, was one of the most daunting tasks I have ever encountered, including all the efforts to get it started and keep it growing. Considering I had offers for some well paying jobs all over the country, why would I possibly want to take the risk of launching a business? As a sports chiropractor with a specialization in rehabilitation, I had job offers to perform patient rehab in established offices, working as little as 20 hours per week. I could do that along with writing, consulting, and putting on seminars – all while enjoying plenty of free time. However, I saw a huge problem. That wasn’t me. As much as I enjoy what I do as a sports chiropractor, I equally enjoy assessing and evaluating athletes, designing training programs, coaching, being in the gym, training, and helping athletes achieve their goals. There was no way I could find personal fulfillment in my job unless I could be directly involved with both the training and therapy of athletes. More money or less hours didn’t matter to me.

About the time I was wrapping up my residency at Palmer College, Ryan was finishing his massage therapy schooling and working full time as a trainer while residing in Ohio with his wife, TIffany. For years, we had dreamed and talked about starting our own business that integrated not only our services, but our educational and professional backgrounds. We knew we had a unique approach and the desire to provide quality in our sports performance training, chiropractic, massage, and nutritional services. We believed that if we did things for reasons that were in line with our values, the business would grow to provide fulfillment beyond just money. We wanted to measure our success by delivering great results to our clients and athletes.

GP opened in April 2013 and has experienced steady growth every month since our opening. Our sports performance training services have become increasingly popular. With the summer upon us, athletes are coming in looking to capitalize on their off-season by improving their abilities (speed, strength, power, agility, etc). Each athlete we have worked with has seen tremendous results, which speaks to our business model, the individualized approach we use with each athlete, and the character of our athletes. We are receiving large amounts of referrals, which, to us, is the greatest compliment our business can receive. Slowly, GP is gaining the reputation for having an approach that is unlike any athletic development program in the area.

We have seen our sports performance training services utilized by athletes who participate in soccer, cross country, basketball, baseball, lacrosse, hockey, and football. We even have a client who is preparing for military special operations in hopes of becoming a Navy SEAL. With that said, our training services have especially become popular among football and hockey players (high school, college, amateur, and junior level).

Reflecting back on the past year, there have been lessons learned and constant reminders of why we do what we do at GP. To begin with, we are consistently reminded that regardless of sport or competitive endeavor, the primary goal of any physical preparation program is to prepare the athlete for the demands of the competitive season and/or higher levels of competition. This sounds simple in nature, but is incredibly complex at times as an overwhelming majority of our young athletes need to master the fundamentals of general calisthenics and body weight exercises before introducing the execution of movements with either increasing resistance using external loads or at increasing velocities. Some of our programs may not seem “advanced” and it’s for a good reason. Too many young athletes, and sometimes their parents, have bought into the idea that they should be training “like the pros”. Kids need the basics, and a lot of them, before more advanced training can be introduced.

Another lesson we continually learn at GP is the importance of promoting structural balance and recovery for our athletes. At any age or level of competition, it’s imperative to recognize the stress an athlete’s body experiences during their competitive season(s). Often a number of precautions and considerations must be made from the onset of training and throughout the duration of the off-season to restore balance to an athlete’s body and facilitate recovery. This becomes increasingly important as an athlete ages and progresses through higher levels of competition, as they accumulate greater amounts of wear and tear. The recovery and regeneration protocols used at GP have been a welcomed addition to our athletes’ programs, since many of them have never been introduced to approaches that keep them healthy and their performance levels more consistent. We do whatever it takes to keep our athletes healthy and injury-free as they seek to improve specific performance markers.

Something else we have come to appreciate more and more is how valuable the education our athletes receive is to them. In talking with our athletes, we have consistently discovered that they do not understand how or why an athlete must train according to the demands of their sport. This is a foreign concept to many of them. The educational process provides our athletes with the knowledge they need to understand how an athletic development model is applied to their sport. This has proven to be invaluable because our athletes truly appreciate understanding the mistakes they have made and understanding they are receiving guidance that has their best interest in mind, based solely on their needs.

The educational process and witnessing the development/results each of our clients and athletes achieve, to me, has been the most fulfilling part about what we do at GP. The smile a young kid gets when they step on the scale and see that they are 10 pounds heavier or the high-five and genuine enthusiasm shared when they set a new personal best in strength, jumping, or speed makes it all worth it. And as for our clients who are training to lose fat and/or improve general fitness levels, we love to get feedback that their body feels great, they are training pain-free, and are able to enjoy the training process while maximizing the benefits of their efforts.

The vision for GP was an easy one to establish. Ryan and I made the choice to build a business that was fulfilling both personally and professionally. The process has not been an easy one, but it has been rewarding and we are enjoying it.

We also acknowledge that GP 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, social media followers, and professional colleagues – for your continual support over the past year. Without you, GP would not be what is today, and we look forward to many more years to come.

More related reading:

https://gallagherperformance.com/why-we-arent-popular/

https://gallagherperformance.com/two-years-at-gallagher-performance/

 
 

Stress Overload and Injury

In the world of athletics and pursuit of elite level performance, injuries are a given. However, the prevention of sports injuries is never as simple as identifying movements or exercises that should be avoided. It would be nice if it was that simple and if we could solve all the injury problems for athletes across the globe by eliminating one particular movement. Unfortunately, the human body is too complex to be solved by one solution that can be applied to everyone.

Rather than debate the role of specific exercises in a training or rehabilitation program, loading parameters and progressions, or whether certain exercises pose greater risk than reward, the purpose of this article is to discuss a much deeper concept that is at the heart of injury prevention and management, the balance between stress and adaptation.

Hello, My Name is Stress
Stress is something each and every one of us is all too familiar with. Whether it’s related to financial struggles, work-related problems, academic pressures, athletic expectations, family or relationship issues, stress is a common theme of the human existence. Now while these forms of mental stress are responsible for many reactions within the human body, for the purposes of this article this is not the kind of stress I am talking about. Rather, we will be discussing what is known as biological stress and how it relates to injury.

What is Biological Stress?

Biological stress accounts for all the physical demands (stress) placed on our bodies, both mechanical stress and metabolic stress.

Mechanical stress is a measure of the force produced and absorbed by the entire neuromusculoskeletal (NMS) system, including components such as nerves, muscle fibers, tendons, ligaments, fascia, and bone.

Metabolic stress is a measure of the demand placed on all the systems responsible for energy production/recovery and involves every major organ system in the body, such as the cardiovascular, nervous, muscular, endocrine, and immune systems.

As you can tell, both mechanical and metabolic stress are highly interrelated. The greater the degree of mechanical stress, the greater the degree of metabolic stress.

Balancing Stress & Adaptation
Training is best defined as, the targeted application of stress designed to disrupt homeostasis and put the body’s defense mechanisms at work; remodeling, strengthening and improving the efficiency of many different systems throughout the body.”
Factors that Influence Biological Stress:

  • Training Volume
  • Training Intensity
  • Training Frequency
  • Exercise Selection
These simple variables are what define individual training sessions and the training block/phase. They will dictate the amount of biological (mechanical and metabolic) stress, its application to the human body, and how much stress is applied. The training goal becomes to apply the correct type of stress in the appropriate dose/amount while targeted to the appropriate areas necessary to improve performance.

Training and biological stress is one side of the coin. The other side takes into consideration factors that influence adaptation. What makes the training process enormously more complex than it appears is what happens in between sessions as our body responds to the stress of the training session or adapts. The complexity stems from how many variables are involved in how we adapt to the stress imposed by training.

Factors that Influence Adaptation:
  • Genetics
  • Training History
  • Nutritional Habits
  • Sleep Quality
  • Mental Stress
Our genetics, nutritional habits, level of mental stress, training history, and sleep play a critical role in how quickly our body’s systems and tissues are able to rebuild and adapt from the stress of the training process. Get enough sleep, eat well, have better genetics and a long history of training, you will adapt much faster and respond quicker to the same level of training/stress than someone who is experiencing higher levels of mental stress, has poor sleeping habits, a poor diet, and lesser genetics. Even minor differences in any one of these factors can have a major impact on the ability to adapt to your current training.

Out of Balance, Out with Injury
By now, it should be clear that looking at sports injuries solely from the standpoint of the use or misuse of particular exercises or protocols doesn’t paint a very complete picture of why they happen. Even when discussions of injuries extend into the realm of assessing various movement patterns and joint function while trying to predict or minimize risk of injuries purely through improving quality of movement, often times these discussions fail to consider the fundamental concepts of the stress-adaptation balance.

The truth that is rarely discussed is that every athlete and individual is truly different and no two people will ever respond to a given training program or level of stress in the same manner. Recently, the days of individualized training have been replaced with current fitness trends of bootcamps, CrossFit, P90x and other such programs that irrationally encourage anyone and everyone to do the same thing.

Not only do such approaches always fail to consider a person’s individual ability to adapt to stress, they often preach that results are a direct result of nothing more than lots of effort with lots of intensity. The classic American attitude of “more is always better” approach has spilled over into training, training with high intensities at increasingly higher volumes. Now combine that with no individualized considerations and what you have is a recipe for injury. Current fitness trends seem to place a greater importance on the business model rather than having an appreciation and understanding of the complex function of the human body as it relates to developing a quality training program for the individual.

When you consider the stress-adaptation balance, it's not surprising why the injury rates are continually rising in youth sports. Young athletes today are under incredible pressures to specialize in one sport, be it from coaches or parents, and this is why it’s become sadly common to see athletes as young as 12-14 suffering from chronic stress injuries like tendinitis, or the more correct diagnosis of tendinosis. The ‘multi-sport’ athlete has been replaced with the ‘single-sport, all year long’ athlete. A year round competitive schedule, lack of properly constructed sport practice, and lack of time dedicated to physical preparation and athletic development is largely to blame for the huge increase in youth sports injuries in recent years.

I just happened to catch a recent interview with Tommy John on Dan Patrick’s radio show. For those of you who may be familiar with his name, Tommy John is a former MLB pitcher and the “Tommy John” surgery is named after him since he was the first individual to have the medical procedure of ulnar collateral ligament reconstruction. When asked about his thoughts as to why the surgery is so common now, Tommy John has this to say,
“I really believe….that sports, high school sports, little league sports, have become year round. And they force these kids at a very young age to pick a sport and that’s the only sport that they play, they train at. And you have these….pitching academies and your kid comes in and pays $2000-$3000 and you go in every Saturday and work on pitching. And I tell parents this, “If the best pitchers in the world don’t pitch year round, then why should your kid pitch year round?”….You have to get all these great surgeons that do Tommy John surgery, or did Tommy John surgery, they cringe when you say ‘year round pitching’ because you must let the arm rest.”
Without knowing exactly why, Tommy John nailed the central issue when it comes to several sports injuries, the lack of appropriate rest to allow the body the chance to recover and adapt to the stress placed upon it. Despite his example of baseball and pitching, the truth is each sport has it own unique injury rates. It truly all comes back to stress and the inability of most coaches and trainers to respect the stress and adaptation process. While some athletes are capable of adapting to stress far more efficiently than others, no one is immune from the effects of a poorly designed training or sport preparation program. Such programs are run by coaches or trainers that chronically stress athletes with little understanding of how to facilitate recovery and adaption, ultimately leading to injury.

Final Words
Regardless of whether you are a doctor, therapist, coach, athlete or simply just train to be healthy and stay in shape, this article was to present you with a more complete view of the role stress and adaptation play in the injury process. There is certainly value in assessing the degree of stress specific exercises may place on particular joints/tissues and whether or not they are appropriate for an individual given their needs or limitations. Failure to consider the role of stress tends to lead to an approach to injury prevention based purely on exercise selection/avoidance rather than one than also places consideration on biological stress and adaptation management.

More related reading:

https://gallagherperformance.com/ultimate-runners-guide-to-injury-prevention/

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

https://gallagherperformance.com/prevent-re-injury-integrated-training-rehabilitation/

https://gallagherperformance.com/magnesium-for-better-health-athletic-performance/

What's the Deal with the Tape?

Similar to the current trend of marketing driving training (discussed in this article), marketing appears to have a similar and undeniable impact on services provided in the world of physical medicine. From the latest and greatest in modalities such as laser therapy and electrical muscle stimulation to musculoskeletal injury interventions such as kinesio tape (KT), the colorful tape that gained popularity from the Olympics.

Earlier this week, a GP client was speaking of someone they know who recently got “taped” because they were having knee pain while running. This client went on to explain that a few days after getting taped, the very same person went out for a run and felt a “tearing and pop” in the same knee that had been taped and is now in worse pain than before.

Our client wanted to know, “What's the deal with the tape? Is it effective or is it a cheap trick?”

Kinesio Tape: Legit or Hype?
What seems to be at the center of any benefit from the application of KT is something known as novel sensory input. Basically, this means when you tape someone, they feel it. Sensory input changes “output” – in this case – motor control and perception of pain.

In the case of the painful knee (or any joint/muscle), stick some tape on it and odds are in your favor that the patient will feel slightly better for a brief period of time.
But is this really “therapy”, getting at the root of the problem, or simply masking pain symptoms?

First, we must start with an understanding of pain. Pain is your body’s way a telling you something is wrong. Pain with movement indicates a movement problem and no amount of tape will ever solve a movement/biomechanical problem. However, taping is very effective at altering proprioceptive/sensory feedback. Sensory input will dampen pain perception, thus making it easier for your brain to ignore pain signals and you are now feeling “less pain”. This is known as “sensory gating”.

You feel less pain and you are happy, so what’s the problem?

You have disrupted the injured tissue’s ability to tell the truth, now you are more likely to continually overload a compromised structure and worsen the condition. To illustrate this phenomenon, one only needs to recall Manteo Mitchell, the sprinter who sustained a fracture of his fibula – wearing KT – while running the 400m in 2012 Olympics. The applied KT allowed the athlete to distribute more load on a painful and compromised ankle. The tape did its job. It blocked pain and allowed the athlete to feel capable of competing, but unfortunately the result was a worse condition than before the tape was applied. Keep in mind, this isn’t always the outcome of taping but it certainly is a risk one must understand.

Not only are companies claiming the pain relieving benefits of KT, now some are stating how their tape prevents injury or enhances performance. Just go to their websites and read for yourself. Spider Tech’s website has the tag line: “Recovery, Performance, Prevention” and Rock Tape (on their About Us page) has this to say:

“I discovered that the tape can be used to ENHANCE PERFORMANCE. I found that taping in advance of exercise promotes increased blood flow to the muscles, thereby reducing fatigue.”
Marketing with fancy words and convenient KT placement on some elite athletes does wonders for a product’s popularity. But are the claims substantiated?

There are few high-quality studies on taping, but a recent systematic review of the research literature revealed that KT had insufficient evidence to support its use for musculoskeletal injury. Studies have shown that benefits from KT are generally minor, brief and inconsistent in nature. The value of taping is unclear, with several experts dismissing the effectiveness of taping as placebo only. The systematic review conclude that KT did provide short-term pain relief and even range of motion (ROM) improvement, but failed to offer any long-term results to patients.

In Closing
For the most part, taping is a lot of marketing hype. At best, taping is mostly a minor and imprecise method of pain control. The amount of tape being used by athletes lately is silly and, in my opinion, its popularity has more to do with marketing than results. Sure taping may make someone feel better and in a “results now” society this can go a long way to keep patients satisfied. However, there is no long-term solution to be found with any amount of tape.

Where does one turn for a long-term solution?

At GP, we consider ourselves part of a growing body of providers who strive to identify the repetitive movements and postural abnormalities that cause pain and discomfort by performing thorough and detailed examinations. Assessments and individualized treatment plans aim to identify the underlying cause of your condition rather than merely alleviating symptoms.

The more accurate the assessment, the more accurately treatment will target a patient's pain generators. At GP, we stress a collective and active approach on the part of each of our patients through education. By clearly educating each patient on their condition and why they are performing prescribed exercises, the focus becomes about patient empowerment and providing them with a sense of what they can do for themselves. This typically results in great patient compliance and shorter treatment plans, with the average patient realizing fully recovery in 4-8 treatments. Many patients quickly improve in as little as 2-3 treatments.

Reference:
Mostafavifar M, Wertz J, Borchers J. A systematic review of the effectiveness of kinesio taping for musculoskeletal injury. Phys Sportsmed. 2012 Nov;40(4):33-40.

 
More related reading:

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

https://gallagherperformance.com/technique_and_performance/

https://gallagherperformance.com/why-therapists-should-understand-strength/

6 Tips for Hockey Training

When it comes to athleticism, there is a sad misconception among far too many individuals that athletes are "born not made". People that believe this will often say, “You can’t teach speed” or “That’s just a gifted athlete”. While genetics can play a role in athleticism, arguably the greatest impact on an athlete’s development (or lack thereof) is the training system that is implemented. This would include all elements from its organization to exercise selection and other variables.

While all sports have their own unique considerations, ice hockey demands high levels of athleticism. The transfer of training from off-ice preparation to on-ice performance presents a host of challenges. With the nature of today’s game, proper off-ice training can provide youth and elite level hockey players with the advantage they need to elevate their game.

Here are some tips:
1. WARM-UP PROPERLY
In preparation for exercise, the body should be moved through large ranges in all three planes of motion (sagittal, frontal and transverse). Movement prepares the brain and body for exercise by activating the nervous system, warming tissues such as muscles and tendons, and lubricates joints. Movements performed in all planes of motion on a consistent basis will improve stabilization patterns, mobility, coordination, balance, and movement efficiency. Making the time to properly warm-up with allow you to get more out of your training. Simply put, it makes training more productive and will reduce the risk of injury.

2. TRAIN MOVEMENTS, NOT MUSCLES
The human body operates as an integrated system. Joints and muscles are all coordinated by the central nervous system to produce movement. Muscles never work in isolation, meaning that there is always a pattern of muscle recruitment that occurs with every movement we make. Depending on how we recruit muscles, movement will occur in efficient or inefficient ways. Athletes require mastery of movement. Unlike those who train to for basic fitness or simply to ‘look better’, athletic development and performance-based training programs aim to improve how an athlete moves. Goals focus on strength, stability, mobility, speed, and skill execution with a high degree of movement efficiency. Sure many athletes look good, but this is often a by-product of their training, not the primary goal.

There can be a mistake in young athletes simply go to the gym and “working out”, either by themselves or with their friends. Especially when they have no plan. If most young athletes are honest, they don’t know what to do during the off-season. Even some trainers have no idea what they are doing with athletes and just “make-up” a training session as they go or select a random workout off the Internet. As the saying goes, “One program on a dry erase board for your group of clients/athletes isn’t training, it’s babysitting.” Higher quality strength and athletic development programs are becoming more available to young athletes; those athletes not involved in those programs will be left behind.

This concept was detailed in our article on Training for Elite Athletes.

3. GET IN TOUCH WITH THE GROUND
This point builds off the previous one. The majority of sport movements and skill execution are initiated by applying force to the ground with the feet/legs. As with land-based sports, the more force a hockey player applies to the ice, the greater acceleration and speed they generate. Strength and power development exercises should be selected based on their ability to enhance ground-force reaction. The same can be said for both speed and conditioning drills.

Utilizing squat and deadlift variations, Olympic lifts, medicine ball throws, jumps, plyometrics, sprints, and hockey-specific agility/change of direction drills would be the most beneficial in developing ground-force reaction. Unilateral movements such as single-leg squats and jumps, lateral bounds, split squats, and lunge variations will also help to develop the movement proficiency need for a powerful skating stride.

4. TRAIN THE CORE FOR FUNCTION, NOT LOOKS
The core is the body’s center of force transfer and movement control. The core is not simply your abs. It includes almost 30 muscles that attach to the spine, shoulders and hips, which function to stabilize the areas during movement. When the function of the core is compromised, inefficient movement results and risk of injury is increased. Hockey and its movement skills require high levels of core stabilization, endurance, strength and power transfer. The demands of athletics on the core will never be met by performing thousands of crunches. Your core training needs a more specific, specialized focus.

Stabilization exercises should focus on things such as maintaining proper lumbo-pelvic posture and the ability to resist or control movement in all planes of motion. Once proper stabilization is achieved, greater attention can be given to rotational power and force generation exercises for increased transfer of training into sport.

5. BE SMART ABOUT YOUR CONDITIONING
The sport of ice hockey places demands on both the anaerobic (alactic and lactic) and aerobic energy systems of the body. For the most part, hockey is an anaerobic game, characterized by intense bursts followed by periods of rest. The anaerobic system is challenged during these intense bursts while the aerobic system is utilized during the recovery period between shifts. This illustrates the need for both systems to be well developed for optimal performance.

Thus conditioning for hockey should focus on an interval-based approach to meet the energy system demand of the sport. Place a priority on developing the capacity and power of the anaerobic-alactic system along with the use of tempo runs/bike sessions to develop the aerobic system. Anaerobic-lactic training is extremely taxing on the body and difficult to recover from. This form of exhaustive conditioning should be used less frequently in the training program.

Remember, conditioning does not mean the same thing as speed training. For more information of developing hockey speed, read this article.

6. RECOVER, RECOVER, RECOVER
Recovery from exercise can be accelerated with proper attention to flexibility, mobility, massage, chiropractic treatment, nutrition and sleep. These approaches facilitate the body’s ability to recover from exercise. Nutritionally, ingesting the proper amounts of whole foods and supplements at the appropriate times during the day can prove to be a huge part of the recovery process. Replenishing energy stores (i.e. muscle glycogen) and providing the building blocks (i.e. protein, fats, vitamins, minerals) for tissue repair and regeneration are just some of the primary goals of proper nutrition. Self-management strategies such as foam rolling and stretching/flexibility work are valuable components in the recovery process. Maintaining proper muscle function and joint range of motion is critically important to minimize injury risk and ensure that you get the most out of your training.

Conclusion
Keep in mind the above tips serve as guidelines. Individual considerations cannot be met in an article of this nature. However, if applied correctly, these guidelines can serve to provide aspiring hockey players with a better understanding of how to go about their off-ice training. For those interested, GP specializes in the training and preparation of hockey players. Contact us for more information.

Health and Sport Performance Improved in 5 Simple Steps

An interesting dynamic has been developing in youth sports. The dynamic has been generated by the current nature of greater focus placed upon competition rather than athlete development. This is evident by the increasing number of games played at the youth level, commonly seen within travel or club organizations. Now, while this trend is not a favorable one and can actually be detrimental to youth athletic development, it has seemed to be the driving force for another trend.

The trend being the greater awareness and proactive nature some parents and young athletes are taking to become more educated on proper nutrition and training. The reality is, at the youth, club, and high school levels of sport, there is a competitive advantage to athletes who not only improve their athletic qualities (strength, speed, power, stamina, etc.), but also become healthier by making better food choices or finding ways to improve recovery.

When it comes to athletic development and preparation, there is no such thing as a “one size fits all” approach. There are far too many individual differences to account for. However, there are some basic principles or guidelines that most any aspiring athlete can implement and see results.

That said, here are five tips that can put you on track to experience better health and more consistent sport performance:

1. STRATEGIC FOOD SHOPPING
 When shopping for food, stay on the perimeter of the store. This is where you’ll find the best in whole food selection such as beef, chicken, fresh produce, and other food that should be the foundation of quality nutrition. The middle aisles mostly consist of processed foods. Sure they may taste awesome, but they do little to support the nutritional demands of young athletes.

2. READ FOOD LABELS
 The importance of reading food or ingredient lists cannot be stated enough. It's important that you know what you are consuming. Food labels can be misleading. For example, items can read “Low Fat” or “Non Fat” in an attempt to appear as a ‘healthier’ choice. However, if you read the label closely, you will find that these foods often have added sugar and/or artificial flavors. As we discussed in this article, fats, such as saturated fat are not the bad guy. Sure, you should avoid foods with trans fat, but the over-consumption of sugar and other processed foods will do more harm to your body than quality, healthy fat ever will.

Focus on selecting foods with a short ingredient list. Food manufactures appear to be taking notice, as they are producing a greater selection of foods with few and familiar ingredients to appeal to the consumer demand for healthier, natural foods.

3. EAT RIGHT, ALL DAY LONG
 When it comes to meals, you can find plenty of people who will advocate breakfast as the most important meal of the day. Others will say dinner. Some may even say lunch. Regardless of opinion, it’s more important to be consistent with your nutritional intake during the ENTIRE day. As a growing and developing athlete, simply focusing on nailing one meal won’t cut it.

It’s important to consume food at adequate levels throughout the day to replenish energy stores and promote an environment within your body that is essential for growth and repair.

4. IN-SEASON MAINTENANCE
 Strength and weight gains occur during the offseason. During the season, athletes need to focus on maintaining what they have built during their offseason.

Why?

With the abundance of practices and games during the season, athletes do not have the energy reserves and time to make strength or weight gains and recover in time for competition. Plus, many athletes can be banged up during the year, thus limiting what you can do with their training. This makes having a trainer or coach who understands how to work around minor injuries of tremendous value.

Establishing an in-season maintenance program can keep athletes healthier and performing at more consistent levels during the season. It also allows them to step into offseason training with greater ease and ahead of the game.

5. TRAIN SMARTER, NOT HARDER
 This is contrary to what almost every athlete hears at some point in their career. Athletes are told to train hard, work hard, etc. While hard work is necessary and valuable, there comes a point when being smart about your training is even more valuable.

Training should produce results. You should be getting something out of it rather than just being exhausted. It’s not difficult to make someone tired. Anyone can make you tired. Those trainers and coaches are a dime-a-dozen. What athletes need is someone that will produce results. There should be measurable gains in strength, speed, and power. If you are not seeing gains and simply becoming more and more tired, you need to start training smarter.

For additional reading on the difference between training smart vs. training hard, check out this article.

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