Thursday, July 16, 2020

Safety in the Workplace

Describe different jobs you have worked in, the safety risks associated with them, and design a step-by-step guide for the employers with ideas on how to make them, safer.

My first job was when I was 14 years old and I worked at the Heritage Festival in Marymoor Park in Redmond, Washington. My first regular job was at the Veterinary Hospital when I was 16. Through high school, I worked at Target, Cold Stone and Rite Aid. In college, I mainly worked at the on-campus child care center. After college, I worked various office jobs and also spent some time in event management, which also involved a lot of office work. Then in 2010, I entered the fitness industry. Perhaps, this is when things got a little more complex in terms of potential risks. 

When it comes to safety in the workplace, I believe heavy equipment or machinery and dealing with the public are two factors that elevate risk. Fitness training combines both of these risk factors. We are dealing with heavy equipment, clients, gym members and drop in guests. Weights can drop on clients or employees while spotting or handing off weights, fingers can get caught in machines and people can pass out or pull a muscle. 

When creating a step-by-step guide to keeping the gym safer for employees and clients, I would first start with what every individual brings in the gym. As typical protocol goes, if there are any pre-existing conditions it is suggested that if you have any health conditions that may affect your workout that you obtain medical clearance before starting. Additionally, appropriate workout attire and footwear is required. Excessively loose clothing should be restricted to avoid tripping or getting it caught in equipment. If a client or employee is prone to asthma attacks, their inhalers should be handy at all times. Bags and other items should be kept off the floor as they can be fall hazards. Even necessary items, like water bottles should be kept on or in available cubbies or shelves. 

A couple years ago, I was placing a plate on a leg press. The plate was 45 lbs and I gripped the edges of the plate. I was loading up the leg press for my client who was finishing up another exercise. I attempted to watch the client and guide him through the exercise when the plate slipped from my hands and fell on my big toe. Nothing broke and I only suffered severe swelling and bruising, but it could have been much worse. Surely, the fault was on me for not paying attention. However, it was a plate that had ridges at the edges, but no openings to be used as handles. These are “old school” plates that you rarely see anymore. They should be retired entirely to avoid safety hazards. Additionally, dumbbells should ideally be curved or have a design conducive to gripping. Towels should also be readily available to dry off sweaty hands and increase the ability to hold onto equipment.
As gyms begin to open while COVID-19 continues to be a threat, more pressing safety issues come into play. The first step in this new scenario will include attempting to make sure every person who enters the gym is safe. Now, this isn’t a complete fail safe, however, the best attempts can be made to at least minimize the risk. Temperature checks, wiping down of shoes and other items with disinfectant wipes and hand washing prior to entering the facility must be required. At the front desk, plastic shields should be up to separate desk personnel from members. Upon entering, face masks must be worn when not actively participating in exercise. This shall include, but may not be limited to, walking to and from the locker room, in the locker room, moving from one machine to another, leaving a fitness class or going from one part of the gym to the other. All gym employees should wear face masks at all times and may only be permitted to work out during off peak times. Hand sanitizer should be available throughout the facility along with disinfectant wipes. Any and all equipment should be wiped down upon completion of use. Sharing equipment prior to completing use or “working in” should not be permitted. Additionally, plastic shields should be installed around workout areas where practical. For example, plastic shields should be used to enclose all cardio equipment, all weight machines and should be up to enclose different workout spaces. If plastic shields are impractical in certain areas, equipment should be spaced to keep members and employees at least six feet apart. Signage around the gym, employees and management should be utilized to enforce all of these measures are strictly enforced in order to keep everyone safe. 

At the end of the day, accidents occur, but if we do everything to prevent such accidents we can surely minimize the incidence rate. Furthermore, even if accidents happen we can potentially lessen the damages. If we want enjoyment, productivity and fulfillment, we have to start with health and safety without any exceptions. 

Additional Resources:

Monday, November 23, 2015

Sunday, November 15, 2015

PSA-Eat Right, Stress Less and Move!

When you lose someone young in your life it reminds you or teaches you how precious and fragile life truly is. For me it has been new territory. It's a pain like nothing else I have felt. However, it has put me on a new mission and it has intensified my passion for health and fitness. 

We talk about the dangers of drugs, alcohol abuse and violence as Life and Death issues. However, these are not the only factors that are taking so many young lives. 

We may not know decisively what are all the causes of cancer and other diseases, but we know the risk factors.
  • Poor diet
  • Lack of exercise
  • Stress
  • Environmental toxins

Nothing may be promised, but we give ourselves a better shot if we take care of our bodies.

Good schools and extracurricular programming don’t ensure children won’t grow up to live lives filled with drugs and violence, but it helps. It helps A LOT.

Eating whole foods. Shopping the perimeter of the grocery store. Staying away from processed foods. Buying foods in their natural forms---real chicken, eggs, fruits, vegetables, whole grains---make a difference. Hitting the gym a few times a week instead of happy hour makes a difference.
IT IS about Life and Death.

For the record, I am not a perfect role model of fitness and nutrition. Just earlier today a gym member caught me stuffing my face with ½ price Halloween candy! I’m quite normal. However, 90% of the time I keep bread, sweets, cheese and processed foods out of my house. If it’s there I will eat it and I will eat it fast. For me, moderation is key and keeping junk out of my house and only eating it occasionally and as a treat, is essential.

I don’t owe these habits to my own strong will. As a child, my parents told me when I had enough and NO when I tried to sneak junk into the grocery cart. My parents are an example of why it is so important to instill healthy habits in our youth. These habits are hard to break.

It is my belief that good health is at the core of every strong community.  With good health we have the potential to be good teachers, parents, activists and leaders. With good health we can be here to move mountains, build bridges and break ground. 

#longevity #rememberingthosewehavelost #gonetosoon #health #fitness #fight2bfitdc #fitdc #blacklivesmatter

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Affordable and Maybe Even Trendy Workout Clothes!

Somewhere between middle school gym socks that went up to your knees, throwing whatever you could find on in college IF you even worked out and saving your money for cool clothes for your first REAL job, having cool clothes to go SWEAT in somehow became the THING. With Lululemon's $100 pants, $70 tops from Lucy, and $100 Nike sneakers, you can have an outfit to stink up that will run you more than a fresh suit for that important interview.

If you care more about something comfortable and effective, here are some tips for purchasing workout clothes that are affordable and may even have you looking like one of the cool kids in the gym!

1. First of all, there are few things that are worth splurging on.

  • Shoes! You may not have to spend $100. I think the most I have spent is somewhere between $70-$90. However, you do want good shoes to avoid injuries and enhance performance. Check out New Balance and Asics. My favorite running shoes are the New Balance 1010s. Still trying to figure out what my favorite training shoes are. Right now I am wearing the Asics Gel-Fortius that I'll give a B+. A little stiff, but they do the job! You may also consider getting fitted for shoes at a place like Pacers. (I have bought shoes from Amazon, Foot Locker and even EBay)
  • Workout gear to run in the cold in. Check out my previous blog for more on this. And check out Marshall's!

2. Check out large discount stores that carry name brands. I will often head to the local Marshall's where I can find Under Armour and Nike gear for half the price or even less! Other stores to check out include Ross and TJMaxx.

3. Fabletics! Kate Hudson started a company making women's workout gear that is advertised as "Quality You Know for Half the Price." Become a member for free, first outfit is only $25, earn reward points for all purchasing, referring friends, and writing reviews! Your points WILL add up quickly and result in a free item! Click here to check it out!

4. Shop the sale and clearance racks at Macy's and other department stores. You should be able to score some deals that are 50% off on high quality brands.

5. Check out Modell's, City Sports, EastBay (I do not recommend the EastBay brand pants or Compression Shorts), Ebay, and Amazon that have discount rates and regular sales online and in store. And I almost forgot, Old Navy! While a lot of their clothing is of lesser quality, they do have some great workout tops that I own!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Foam Rolling-Relief for Sore Muscles!!

In this morning's Fight 2B Fit DC Beginner Level boot camp we broke out the tennis balls and took part in self-myofacial release better known as foam rolling.

Foam rolling can be done before and after a workout. The main purposes of foam rolling include:

  • Improved circulation
  • Injury prevention
  • Breaking up of "knots"
  • Muscle tightness
  • Identified soreness (which is a sign of poor circulation)
When foam rolling you can use an actual foam roller, tennis ball or lacrosse ball. I would recommend using a combination of both. Foam rollers generally come in 3 different colors to represent 3 different densities white being low density, blue being of medium density and black being of high density. Tennis balls and lacrosse balls will dig in a little deeper and help break up knots that cannot be reached with foam roller. When first starting a tennis ball, that has more "give" than a lacrosse ball, is a good place to start. If you are willing to make the investment, you can also look into a Rumble Roller which is AMAZING! The rumble roller is a foam roller with little nubs all over it, so it's like getting a lacrosse ball and foam roller in one!

So without further adieu, here is how you perform self-myofacial release:

1. Start by searching the tissues for tenderness. If tenderness is identified, hold foam roll on the "hot-spot" for 10-12 sec. Repeat by coming back to area 3-5 times or until tenderness has subsided.

2. If tenderness is too much to handle you can stop, use a lower density device or if you are able, put less body weight on the device

3. If no tenderness is identified while SLOW rolling, continue in a smooth rhythmical manner. Be sure to roll the entire length of the muscle when using a foam roller.

4. Maintain a tight stomach by pulling the belly button back towards the spine. 

5. Do not perform under the following conditions:
  •  Feelings of nausea
  •  Dizziness
  •  Pain
  •  Acute rheumatoid arthritis
  •  Painful varicose veins

6. You can perform SMR massage 1-2 x daily.

Here are some pictures on foam rolling your different muscles. However, the picture showing the piriformis rolling, should have you leaning to the side of the leg up i.e since the pictured man has his left leg up he should be leaning to his left side. Also, remember that rolling your hamstrings with a ball will be much more effective than with rolling with a foam roller.

Foam Rolling Exercises

Enjoy the massage!

Monday, August 4, 2014

Eating Healthy

For me, food has always been one of the great joys of life. I love to eat. Each day my schedule is built around my meals. I look forward to eating. I can recall the textures, smell and taste of foods I had over 20 years ago. With this being said, I have done my research and have educated myself on the chemistry of foods and how they affect the body. I am NOT a dietician, but from my experience, research and education this is what I will tell you.

Here are a lists of food items and meal ideas for each meal of the day.

Early morning Pre-Workout
Small piece of fruit
Small bowl of plain oatmeal w/raw nuts and fruit

2-3 Boiled eggs with a bowl of mixed fruit
Veggie Omelet
A bowl of plain oatmeal w/raw nuts and fruit
Plain greek yogurt w/added fruit and raw almonds
Mini quiches w/no crust made in a muffin pan
Jay Robb Egg White Protein Shake w/water, fruit and veggies

Mid-Morning Snack
Mixed fruit and almonds
Apple Slices or Baby Carrots w/small amount of peanut butter
Baby carrots or Cucumber w/hummus

Salad w/at least kinds of vegetables and baked/broiled chicken slices
Pork Chop with spinach and a sweet potato
Salmon with black ancient rice and garlicky kale

Veggie and fruit smoothie (with no yogurt or juice, just water or coconut water)
Side salad
Mixed dried fruit (unsweetened) and raw nuts

Salmon, asparagus, red potatoes
Cooked mixed veggies and seasoned chicken
Ground Turkey Balls w/kale salad (kale, olive oil, crushed garlic, radishes, carrots, scallions, low sodium black olives, lime juice & cucumber)

Additionally, here is a list of foods to stay away from
White rice
Cold Cuts
Russett Potatoes
White flour
Juice and soda

Perhaps, choose 2 items to cut out each week until you complete the list. Remember it is about moderation. This doesn't mean that you can never eat these foods again, but you have to limit them. However, cutting these foods out completely (at least 80-90% of the time) at the beginning of your health and fitness journey can help create long lasting habits. Get your body and your mind use to eating healthy and adjust your taste buds to crave healthier foods. It takes time and discipline, but here are some tips to make it a little easier on yourself.

1. Plan your meals. If you know what you are going to eat in advance you are less likely to more poor, convenient choices.

2. Don't bring junk into your home. If there is no ice cream in your freezer, you are going to have to go out of your way to get it.

3. Drink plenty of water. Sometimes you aren't actually hungry, but you are slightly dehydrated. Especially in the summer and when you are engaging in increased activity this is extremely important. You should be drinking enough water for your urine to run clear.

4. Focus on eating lean meats and vegetables. This should be the large majority of your diet!

5. Check out recipes and enjoy what you eat. You should enjoy what you eat. There may be things you have to just get use to eating. However, you should also find healthy recipes that you can truly enjoy. When you find things you enjoy, you'll want to do them more often and make them a habit!