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How To Reduce Injuries and Enjoy Aging

Updated: Apr 8


I have a story to tell you. You see I conducted an experiment way back in 2012. I honestly thought it was over with years ago. However, I've come full circle after 12 years. It's only recently that I put everything together. A little background and information is helpful for you here, so you can fully understand my point of view on what I learned. These discoveries are impacting my life and career in the most positive ways. I'm excited to share these revelations with you. Skip to the end, you say?? Here you go!


My interest in health and wellness goes back to my childhood. I may be dating myself here haha but I gotta share where I'm coming from with these things. Growing up I became obsessed with Richard Simons, Jane Fonda, The 20 Minute Workout and Callan Pinckney and her "Callanetics" brand. Of course any fitness crazed girl in the late 80's had every Buns of Steel VHS tape and well also Legs of Steel, Abs of Steel, Arms of Steel, you get the picture, ALL THE STEELS. I dreamed of teaching aerobics, excitedly motivating students to sweat and workout with me. In my daydream after class, we all laughed and high five'd each other for all our efforts. We walked out of the aerobics room all shiny and fit in our leotards, complete with matching headbands, leg warmers and high top Reebok's. We were rad and totally tubular. If you know, you know. If you don't know, refer to the cult classic, Valley Girl.


When I ran with the cross country team for a season Coach McKee took us to the football and guys weight room one day. The gym and guys locker room was downstairs in the basketball building. He warned us that it would be smelly and to be careful walking around down there with all the heavy equipment. He said we needed to lift weights to make our legs stronger for running.


I will never forget my 1st time in the guys weight room. It REALLY DID smell bad. Old sweat mixed with new sweat, moldy, musty smell all mixed with B.O. that just seemed to linger in the air forevermore. There was the smell of iron and lots of metal mixed with grease and oil as well. There was a big rack with a big barbell and various weight plates hanging on the side of the stand. Rows of dumbbells lined a wall and the carpet, what was left, was barren and worn down to the concrete floor.


The entire atmosphere intimidated and intrigued me all at once. It was ALL new to me. I knew this was a place to get strong, to work hard and sweat. I figured the guys grunted down there and threw weights around being manly. I wasn't sure what the girls cross country team would be doing. I felt a little nervous about being in the guys area. I was fairly girly and skinny. I just wanted to be strong enough to lift the weights. We mostly did squats, hamstring curls and lunges. The worst were donkey lifts for our calves. We put our toes on a 2 X 4 and with a teammate on our back we did toe raises until we wanted to vomit. I loved all the progress we made working out. It was fun to get stronger together.


I was hooked on fitness but also drugs and alcohol. At 17 I landed in rehab. I was often invited to lead the exercise part of the day by my peers. I loved teaching the workouts I came up with on the spot. After rehab I had a few extra pounds to lose. Everyday I played music really loud in front of my mirror and pretended to teach aerobics. I lost 20 pounds dancing around my room! Around the same time I called into the radio station and won a Gold's gym membership. I stuck to the standard machines at the gym, feeling intimidated again and not being very sure of what to do with all the weights and equipment.


I went to the gym every night except Friday and Sunday. It was my favorite place. I became a regular for the 1st time in my life at 19 years old. The gym kept me sober and out of trouble. The power lifters and an aspiring personal trainer took me under their wings and trained me. They taught me how to lift with the dumbbells and barbells. I read magazines and books about lifting weights. I became a full on "gym rat". My favorite book for many years was called, A Woman's Book of Strength by Karen Andes. She was Cher's trainer many years ago. Her book inspired and taught me so much. As the years rolled by I tried many ways of eating and training in my pursuit of health and fitness. I fell in love with step aerobics and Spinning classes. I tried every class at the gym. I worked the front desk at gyms so I could be there more and workout for free. I finally got certified to teach aerobics in the 90's. I also taught Cycle Reebok and core classes at Ladies Workout Express.


At 25 years old, I gave birth via cesarean section. I was unprepared for the drastic effect this surgery and childbirth would have on my abdominal muscles. I had massive back pains until one day I bent over to pick up a small wastebasket with my 3 month old in the crook of my arm. In a slow and agonizing 30 seconds I was dropped to my knees in debilitating pain. My lower back was locked up in spasm. This was my 1st injury. I was new to the world of chronic pain as well. At 28 I had another cesarean birth. Finally I saw a physical therapist who told me my abdominals and core were weak and unable to support my lower back. I was told to go to Pilates or yoga to strengthen my core. Yoga not only strengthen my body, it healed my lower back pain at that time.


It was 1999 when I found a yoga studio down in the cross roads in Kansas City, MO. The studio was on the top floor of an artist building by the old OPIE Brush Co Building. I loved everthing about the place. It smelled slightly musty mixed with earthy essential oils. Plants lined the edge of the room and big plastic sheets hung around the walls, dividing the large space and helped insulate the room. I went for a month until my husband at the time told me it was a cult and I was forbidden to return. Yoga IS NOT a cult, by the way. Regardless, I was super fascinated with Ashtanga Yoga. I bought David Swenson videos in hopes of continuing my journey at home. The practice of Ashtanga Yoga is vigorous and challenging in a studio, let alone on my own with two small children at home. Needless to say the seed had been planted, I fell away from yoga and continued on with my gym rat life.


At the age of 37, dealing with the aftermath of a 6 or 7 year relapse and a divorce. As usual, I was still going to the gym. Newly sober for the 2nd time, I just wanted peace. I remembered how good I always felt leaving the yoga studio 10 years prior. I knew I had to find the nearest studio to me. I practiced Yoga at this lovely studio for about 3 years before I decided I wanted to get certified to teach. I was still going to the gym and having a tough time fitting both lifting weights and yoga into my schedule. I had gotten my personal training certification and was working at 24Hour fitness.


Lessons come in all kinds of surprising ways in life. Here's where my experiment begins. I started visiting other studios in Kansas City to explore different styles of yoga. In no time I was practicing Ashtanga Yoga again, this time at a studio downtown. I became obsessed with the DOING of yoga and lost my focus of peace for some years. I decided after talking with a yoga teacher that I should stop lifting weights and running so I could DO the splits and put my leg behind my head. In 2012 after 25 years and a lifetime in the fitness world I quit the gym to pursue not only the teaching of yoga but also the impressive DO-ing of yoga. I told myself if I got out of shape I could just return to the gym. No big, right?


Still having my focus in yoga on the postures and acrobatics that is Ashtanga I practiced 6 days a week, for hours and hours. I taught yoga all over Kansas City. Yes I finally got my leg behind my head and it was all very impressive. That's great until you can't walk! I created hyper mobility in my joints through all my intense yoga practice. What good is it to be so flexible and look good on the outside but the inside is becoming a war zone of pain and agony?? The thing was my body was becoming imbalanced. It was a slow process. My chronic back pain had returned and with it hip pain. I spent hundreds of dollars trying to become pain free. From the age of 42 until around 48, 6 years, I dealt with debilitating hip and back pain on a daily basis. I hid my pain and suffering as much as possible from my yoga students. Yoga heals they'd say, I just felt so lost and confused with my body. Why had my body turned on me? I regularly left yoga feeling worse than when I arrived to class. I saw 8 chiropractors in 6 years. No one seemed to be able to help for very long.


My psoas, a deep muscle in the body that attaches the torso to the legs and runs through the body and attaches to the spine, was to blame for my issues. In Ashtanga I continually tried to stretch my tight psoas only to actually pull my spine out of place and the muscle just resisted all the more. I was also diagnosed with "an abnormal amount of arthritis for my age" in my joints at 46. I tried everything to release that crazy muscle, it didn't budge until 2017 when I attended a 10 day Vipassana Silent Meditation Retreat. The body will get your attention in numerous ways. I believe after my personal experiences, emotions can get trapped in the body and cause illness and disfunction. This was one surprising lesson I learned during this time in my life. Meditation released my psoas and my chronic back pain healed in a matter of months.


I still deal with a tighter psoas on my right but I'm finally clear about my issues. No longer am I plagued with chronic back pain. I share all of this with you because well, I AM a story teller. More importantly, I want you to understand things are not always as they seem. People look fit and put together but there may be things happening beneath the surface that add up to imbalances and injury down the road. I understand so much now on the other side of my experiment. There are a few different lessons that all come together here in the end. Hang in there with me for just a few more moments.


As I transitioned from perimenopause and blindly entered full on menopause, injuries continued to happen throughout my body. I had a shoulder issue for a bit. My elbow crease in my arm was seriously inflamed to the point that I couldn't use my left arm at times. I injured my left MCL on my inner knee. I tore a ligament in my left wrist some years back. I continued to practice Yoga and not go to the gym. I looked great and yoga was all mind body related so I felt it was all I needed. I had abandoned Ashtanga and adopted a very slow and mindful vinyasa practice. Meanwhile, and completely unprepared, menopause depleted what little muscle tone I had left. In 2022 I seriously injured my MCL on my right knee coming out of a deep squat while goofing around with friends on the dance floor. When I pushed back up to stand the force went to my knee. I felt a pop as I stood up. I healed my knee but it took over a year.


THIS IS WHEN I PUT ALL THE DOTS TOGETHER!


A friend mentioned a site called Knees Over Toes. I was schooled on a LONG time belief that was drilled into my head ever since I entered the fitness industry, DO NOT PUT your knee over your toes. This is just not true. Try walking up or down stairs or sitting down without putting your knees over your toes. This is a daily function of the body. This is another topic I will share about at another time. I started to do these simple exercises that put my knee over my toe. Every time I did these movements my knee felt better.


12 years after I quit the gym, I understood yoga was not enough.


Lessons learned!! I realized probably ALL my injuries were caused by the effects of perimenopause, some over use patterns, eating too much sugar and processed foods, weak muscles and imbalances in my body. I learned in that moment that I in fact needed to build strength in my body through weights and other functional exercises. For years my psoas did the work of my quadriceps because my quads and glutes were weak. I had unresolved emotions that surfaced and released at a meditation retreat after my body was in a deep state of relaxation. My body was able to heal as a result. I pushed too hard in my yoga practice focusing on DO-ing instead of BE-ing and caused hyper mobility in my joints. I ate copious amounts of sugar and flour which caused inflammation in my joints. I over did many things and put too much strain on an imbalanced and weak body. Your body will do it's best to execute whatever you tell it to do and will find the path of least resistance to do so. The body's job is to conserve energy and it will even at your expense.


I have come FULL CIRCLE on my health and fitness journey. I became VERY excited and decided I needed and wanted to help other women age gracefully by being healthy and strong in all areas of the mind-body connection. I am reinstating my National Academy of Sports Medicine Personal Training certification. I test this month! Later this summer/fall I will add Corrective Exercise Specialist to my NASM certifications. More on Corrective Exercise later this year! In the meantime, I put together a total body approach to personal training women entering into perimenopause, menopause and post menopause. I AM SO EXCITED! We need strength, flexibility, healthy foods, and mindfulness/meditation to live a healthy long injury free beautiful life!


Introducing...


Kristina Long Fitness ~ A Mind Body Approach to Wellness


I am excited to offer personal training at Synergy Fitness in West Plaza, a private gym on Belleview Ave. Sessions are one hour and include:


~a brief introduction of exercises for the session (3-5ish minutes)

~ a dynamic warm up (5-10 minutes)

~a HITT workout which combines body weight/functional exercises/weights ( 20-30 minutes)

~a cool down with yoga/stretching/foam rolling (15-20 minutes)

~a brief guided mindfulness/meditation (5-10 minutes)


Each section can and will be adapted (shortened/lengthened) for your personal goals, issues and interests. I will meet you where you're at on your journey. Each session will build on the previous session but different from the last workout and always tailored to your needs. My focus is on helping you become strong AND flexible in your body AND mind, which translates to confidence and ease in your body, creating a balanced body and life to reduce the chance of injury and embrace aging with grace. Health and wellness is an inside job. I'm hear to help anyway possible. This program connects all the dots. Please do not feel intimidated about anything. I am also starting over with YOU! I am working out again and slowly getting stronger. These things take time! I'm your biggest fan and cheerleader. We will have FUN in the midst of our struggle together to grow stronger to find freedom of pain and disfunction.


Things I will not be doing with you but you are welcome to do on your own:


I will not throw you on the treadmill for a warm up or cool down.

I will not weigh you.

I will not measure you.

I will not measure your body fat.

I am NOT a registered dietitian. Although we will discuss basic, healthy ways to improve your food choices I can not and will not tell you how or what to eat.


It's ok to have goals for weight and measurements however, I really want to focus on the strength and endurance aspects of exercise. The primary focus to be on the inside vs the outside. When we take care of the inside the outside follows suit.


Introductory special for the month of April!

Enjoy 15% off any package


Rates/Packages:


Single Sessions $75


3 sessions $195

$65 a session, 15% off~$55.25 a session

Expires 2 months from purchase

You save~$29.25 and pay $165.75


6 sessions $360

$60 a session, 15% off ~ $51 a session

Expires 2.5 months from purchase

You save~$54. and pay $306.


9 sessions $495

$55 a session, 15% off ~ $46.75 a session

Expires 3 months from purchase

You save~$74.25 and pay $420.75


TAX NOT INCLUDED


Disclaimer: Unfortunately, I am having two surgeries May 2nd and May 9th to resolve a Basal Cell Carcinoma on my face. As a result I will be unable to work for a week or so while I recover. Package expirations may be extended as a result.


Payment Options:


Cash, Venmo, PayPal, Cash App and Zelle transfers. No payment plans at the moment, this may become available at a later date.


Additional offerings down the road...


Free/donation based pop up group classes outdoors

Mastering Menopause; Mindfulness Mentoring Groups via Zoom.

Retreats


Other Offerings you can find on my website:


Thank you for hanging in here to the end if you're reading this sentence! I love you!!


Wishing you much peace and love on your journey,


Kristina Long


P.S. Please reach out:

Call/text: 913-207-3548






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