On Active Duty: The value of a proper warmup

This is the latest in a series of stories about two Sioux Falls men – both husbands and fathers – aiming to reach their personal fitness goals while on active duty with the military. Sanford POWER and Profile Perform have developed personalized programs for them.

By Nathan Peterson

I have a new appreciation for warming up.

As part of my new regiment, I had a chance to meet with my POWER trainers on a couple of occasions before leaving on deployment.  They walked through my workout plan and made sure that I knew how to perform the exercises.  One of the first things they emphasized was the importance of an appropriate warmup and had recommended a variety of stretches, foam rolling and other activity.

054004-00106P Bismarck POWER facility 07-18-2016_RGBBefore this I worked out sporadically – usually some sort of cardio at a hotel gym while traveling for work or a P90X3 workout in my basement at home.  Admittedly, in both cases, I neglected to warm up properly.  In a few short weeks, I can already notice the difference.  My mobility and range of motion have improved.  The common strains and sore ligaments that plagued me before are gone.  I am less stiff immediately following a workout and into the following day.

In hindsight, I should have recognized the need for this type of activity preceding a workout well before my deployment.  But having experienced the benefits warming up before strength training and cardio alike, it is now an indispensable part of my workout routine.

Also, my knee pain has vanished.

I’ve struggled with knee pain since elementary school.  In 5th grade, I dislocated my right kneecap and spent months in an immobilizer.  In Junior High, I was diagnosed with Osgood-Schlatter disease.  Later on into adulthood, it transformed into good old fashioned tendonitis.  Doctors told me it may get better with physical therapy, but I never followed-up on that advice.  It had become an acceptable reality that I would have to grin and bear the inevitable shooting pain in my knees during long walks, jogging, squatting, lunging, etc.  It never prevented me from engaging in those activities entirely, but definitely made them less enjoyable.  Until recently, I did enough each year to pass my annual fitness test for the Air National Guard and made feeble attempts at improving my cardiovascular fitness.

When the POWER team asked about my limiting factors (i.e. old injuries, surgeries, recurring pain, etc.), I was quick to describe this challenge.  They outlined their knee injury prevention program for me and incorporated exercises to strengthen my knees, hips and leg muscles into my routine.

What a difference three weeks has made.  My knees have been pain free for more than a week know.  I no longer dread long walks – even with heavy gear.  And as part of my cardio workouts, I’m completing 20 second springs at 10mph without wincing or worrying about how bad I’ll limp the following day.  Setting aside the fitness goals I am working toward, resolving my knee pain is a huge quality of life improvement.  I’m forever grateful to the trainers who made it possible.

The Perform products are making a difference, too.

As I started a new workout regimen in earnest on the deployment, it has been great to have access to the Profile Perform products.

Some days, it can be difficult to muster the energy to head to the gym after a 12 hour shift – but the activate formula gives me the perfect energy boost to carry through the workout.  I’ve tried a number of other pre-workout supplements before.  Some had no discerable affect.  Others were so intense that I got the shakes, my skin tingled and/or my heart felt like it might explode.  Profile’s activate formula seems to have hit the sweet spot between both extremes.

The Restore shakes have also been very fulfilling after a workout.  Helping to replenish energy and nutrients, while preventing the craving for a post-workout binge on high calorie foods.  It still feels early in this process, but I’m excited to track how Perform helps me progress toward my fitness goals.