One Year Ago

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It was one year ago..

… that two brothers decided to terrorize the city of Boston.

… that one of America’s most revered traditions was changed forever, in the blink of an eye.

… that we said goodbye to Martin Richard, Lu Lingzi, Krystle Campbell, and Sean Collier.

… that courageous police, firefighters, first responders and civilians rushed to the aide of those in need, because the need to help far outweighed the fear of the unknown.

… that the people of Boston pulled together in the face of crisis to prove that we will not be defeated.

… that Papi told the world what all Bostonians were thinking — “This is OUR F*cking city!”

… that Boston went from celebrating, to grieving and healing all in the course of one day.

… that we learned once again, that the world is not always a safe place, but there are good people and heroes everywhere who will help at a moments notice.

that we learned that BPD is not just a police force, it’s a superior collection of heroes and legends.

… that Boston became more than just a city. It became an example of hope, resiliency and strength. We became Boston Strong.

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Throughout the past year, wounds have healed, losses have been grieved, and for most, life has continued on. But not without change. Not without an acute awareness and a love for this city and it’s people. There is nothing that can make that day go away, it has changed some things forever. While buildings have been repaired, restaurants have re-opened, and the hustle and bustle of the city continues, April 15th will always be in our hearts. I will never forget the feeling as a spectator, when we first got word of the explosions at the finish line (we were about a mile out). I will never forget the shear panic, as I realized that a number of my friends would be down there at that moment, cheering on family members and running themselves. I will never forget the relief when I knew that everyone in my life was safe.

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The city has changed. We have moved on, but the memory of April 15, 2013 still hovers over us every day. No, it hasn’t stopped Boston from being an amazing city, full of strong and wonderful people, but it has made us all a little more aware, a little more cautious, and maybe even a little more loving towards one another.

One year later, and the city is still healing, still growing. But one week from today, on April 21st, Boston will run again.  Because Marathon Monday is our day. It is our tradition. It is our pride.

Because this is our F*cking city. 

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Homemade Almond Milk

When Will told me recently that he wanted to try making our own almond milk, I kind of rolled my eyes (in the nicest way possible). All I could picture was us turning into a couple of hippies who live off the land (is there land to live off of in Boston?) and who buy nothing that has been touched by a factory or processing plant. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but the image made me giggle a little bit.

I have heard of people making their own almond milk, mostly through my friends who have done Whole 30 because most store bought brands contain a bunch of, well, preservatives. Not quite what you’re looking for when trying to get back to whole, natural foods. Anyway, I always figured that it would be a difficult, time consuming process — that and the fact that I’m just plain lazy when it comes to anything involving the kitchen. Can I buy it? Ok then.

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But when I came home the other day to some almonds soaking in the fridge, and then later watched Will going through the process, I realized two things: 1. It’s actually pretty darn easy. 2. It takes about five minutes of your time. So I had no excuses left.

After doing a little research and realizing that it’s not as ambitious an undertaking as I originally thought, I came around to the idea. See, most store bought brands of almond milk contain, among other preservatives, Carageenans, which have been shown in some studies to cause intestinal inflammation, and has also been shown, in high doses, to possibly be a carcinogen. So I guess  it could be a good idea to make our own, no?

If there are any drawbacks to making your own almond milk, they are not many. I’m not lying when I say that it only takes a few minutes of your time — 5 -10 minutes every few days really isn’t that bad, right? I guess the only other thing I can think of is that when you make your own, it doesn’t last very long (those darn preservatives are there for a reason when you buy it!). If you use a lot of almond milk, you will have to make it a couple of times per week, as it will only last for 3-5 days in the fridge. That’s not a problem in this household, as we go through it like wildfire, but if you only use it once every few days, I wouldn’t go making a big batch that will just go bad before you can use it. That just defeats the purpose, no?

Anyway, on to the recipe!

We watched this video and then altered the recipe a tiny bit to suit our taste.

Homemade Almond Milk - adapted from this recipe from Clean and Delicious with Dani Spies 

Equipment needed:

1 large bowl

1 large mason jar — or something to hold the final product

Cheese cloth or a paint strainer bag (see picture below recipe)

1 Fine mesh strainer — if using cheese cloth

Ingredients

1 cup almonds – soaked overnight in water (or at least 8 hours, up to 2 days)

3-4 cups water – depending on consistency desired

1 Medjool Date – pitted

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Instructions

Strain the liquid from the soaked almonds and rinse them. In a high powered blender, add the almonds, water (desired amount), date, and vanilla extract. Blend at high speed for about two minutes, until it forms a white, frothy liquid.  If using a paint strainer bag (what we used), spread the bag open over the large bowl. Slowly pour the almond mixture through the bag so that the liquid can drain into the bowl. After all of the liquid mixture has been poured, you will have the ground almond meal remaining in the bag. Close the bag around the almond meal, and lightly squeeze to extract remaining liquid into the bowl.

If using cheese cloth and a strainer, line the strainer with cheese cloth over the large bowl. Follow the same process as above, slowly pouring almond mixture over cheese cloth, and carefully squeezing out remaining liquid at the end.

Pour your almond milk from the bowl into your mason jar or other sealable container, and refrigerate for up to 3-5 days. Enjoy!

almondmilk4Almond milk in action. 

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Notes:

  • Don’t throw out the leftover almond meal after straining the liquid! This can be used in smoothies, in oatmeal, or even in delicious paleo recipes like almond flour pancakes. Think outside the box here! Just store it in the fridge, and try to use it within a few days I’d say.
  • We did a first run using the cheese cloth/strainer method, and found it to be far too messy for our liking. Will found the paint strainer bags for a great price (something like $1.99 per bag), after finding out it’s the same material that people use to make “nut bags” (tee hee– get your mind out of the gutter!) that are sold for $10 for this exact purpose.  It was a clean and easy process using that and there was no need to dirty our strainer, making clean up even easier. Not to mention that the bag is easily washed out can be reused again and again.

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don’t you call me a nut bag.. why I oughtta… 

  • We made our second batch with 1 C almonds and 4 C water. I thought it was fine, but Will found it a little watery, so we will probably do the next batch with about 3 C water instead. Play around with it a bit to find your desired consistency.

So there you have it, I think I’m converted. All aboard the hippy train! ;)

Readers: Have you ever tried making your own almond milk? What’s your favorite recipe to use almond meal/almond flour? 

 

 

 

Blog Tour 2014

Good Monday Morning everyone!

I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend with lots of rest and lots of delicious foods — I know I did! For some reason this was one of those weekends that just seems to go on forever, maybe because I packed so much into it. But anyway, I don’t even mind that it’s Monday right now, and that’s saying something!

Today I’m doing something a little bit different on the blog. I was nominated by Laura DeAngelis of Laura Loves Fitness to participate in my first Blog Tour. (As a side note, please take some time to read Laura’s blog if you don’t already. She is extremely motivational, inspirational, and her kind heart comes through very clearly in her posts.) This “tour” is essentially a set of questions that is rolling out across three blogs each week, where we discuss our writing style and writing process. It’s interesting to me, because I have only very recently started considering myself a writer — despite writing this blog for two years now. So to read about other’s processes helps me to define my own a little bit better, if that even makes any sense.

1. What am I working on? 

Right now I’m not working on anything in particular besides my normal blog posts. I’ve had an idea in my head for a while about a new series I want to start, but I really just need to sit down and really hash out how I want to do it. My goal is to start a “Strength Is…” series, where I highlight and feature different people who are all strong in their own way. I have a few ideas about directions I want to take it, but haven’t done anything concrete yet as far as writing goes. So I guess that’s not really what I’m working on, but more what I’m thinking about, but hopefully I’ll actually start working on it soon. :)

2. How does my work differ from others of it’s genre?

Lately I’ve actually been fortunate to hear from some of my readers about why they enjoy my blog. It always makes my day when someone tells me that they read my blog, let alone that they enjoy specific things about my particular corner of the internet! I was actually told by a couple of people this weekend that they really appreciate that I tend to highlight strength and health over skinniness and/or aesthetics. I think that is the biggest thing that sets me apart from a lot of health/fitness bloggers — of course we all want to look good, but I think that there are far more important things to focus most of your attention on. I don’t ever want this to turn into a blog that’s just about telling people how to look good, rather I want my focus to be about making my readers feel good in the body that they have now. I Train Therefore I Eat isn’t just about macronutrients and calories burned, it’s also about enjoying the life that we have, and doing whatever we can to make ourselves the best that we can be.

3. Why do I write what I do? 

I think that there are so many blogs, websites, and other media that focus on how we look, how many pounds we can lose, or just how skinny we can get. Especially as a woman, we are bombarded with programs and “specialists” telling us how to “get rid of that belly fat before summer!” or “lose that winter weight!”, that it becomes completely overwhelming. I write my blog so that I can hopefully be a refreshing respite from all of that — yes, as I said before, we all want to look good, but that’s not the only important thing. I see my blog as a place where people can hopefully become motivated to move a little more, eat a little better, and enjoy the whole process of it. I also have such a passion for strength training, especially when it comes to females, that I want to be able to show those who may be afraid of the weights that building strength really is an amazing thing, and that it’s not just “for the boys”. Ladies can lift too, darn it!

4. How does my writing process work? 

Honestly, I find inspiration everywhere. I see things in the gym, on the train, in the grocery store, at work, and anywhere else you can think of. Sometimes my inspiration comes out of rage (rant posts can be fun!), and sometimes it comes out of curiosity (hello, rock climbing!), and sometimes it’s just pure old science (I’m most definitely a nerd). The funny thing that I’ve noticed lately though, is that I tend to do my best writing away from my computer. Lately I’ve been carrying around a tiny little notebook everywhere I go –because blog ideas really do come to me at the most random times– and I jot ideas down as they come to me.  Sometimes I’ll start just writing a few ideas down, and before I know it I basically have my next two blog posts scribbled over the pages. I can sit in front of a blank computer screen for hours and not have anything to say, but put a pen and paper in front of me and the ideas start streaming out. It’s kind of ironic, since my writing platform exists because of computers, but oh well!

Who’s next..

Unfortunately, many bloggers that I reached out to let me know that they just have too much on their plate right now — and I totally understand that feeling!  No judgement here, as my schedule has left me feeling less than sane lately.  But hey, that’s ok! I do have one amazing blogger for you who will continue the tour next week, and that blogger is…

Athena! Athena blogs over at Fitness and Feta, and she is absolutely, hands down one of my favorite bloggers. She is extremely honest and down to earth, and similar to myself is not all about just helping you get skinny. . Athena works as a wellness director and group fitness instructor, and I would love to go to one of her classes sometimes! Along with fitness info and great workouts, Athena shares some delicious recipes — I can always count on her when I have a family function coming up and am not sure what to bring.

Since I was only able to secure one blogger to carry on the tour, I’m looking for two more! Please let me know in the comments below if you would like to continue the blog tour next Monday, and I’ll send you the details. Maybe it’s my nerdy side coming out, but I think hearing about people’s how and why of writing is really interesting. :)

ETA: We have a new blogger who will be continuing the Blog Tour! Alyssa, who blogs over at Home Field Fitness will be carrying on the tour with Athena next Monday. Alyssa is a personal trainer who has a special place in my heart because she started out her education/career path in athletic training (what I do!). Check out her blog for some great health, fitness and nutrition info — and keep your eyes peeled for her Blog Tour post next Monday!

Have a wonderful week, everyone!  

Readers: If you blog, where do you draw your inspiration from? Do you find that you write better at the computer or with pen/paper? Please let me know below if you’re interested in continuing this blog tour next week! 

Body Image: What Can We Learn From A Five Year Old?

This past weekend, I drove up to Maine for my nieces’ cheerleading competition. Despite the torture exhileration of being in a room with hundreds of screaming children (screaming in unison, is that worse?), both of my nieces did a wonderful job and I was so happy that I was able to see them compete.

But besides seeing them both out on that floor, beaming with delight as they went through their routines, there was one other thing that really stuck with me after the day was over. When my younger niece, who is 5, was finished with her teams performance, she came back into the crowd to hang out with us in the stands. At this point, she had taken off half of her cheerleading uniform and was just running around in her little “boy shorts”, or hot pants, as I was calling them. And the beautiful thing about it was, she had no qualms about running around in her tiny little shorts — she was just having fun with her friends, and frankly was more concerned with getting some of her sister’s candy than covering up her thighs.

That got me thinking about girls in general, and how most of us feel about our thighs. You couldn’t pay me to walk around in a crowded auditorium in tiny little hot pants, but this little five year old didn’t even give it a second thought. I wondered to myself if I would have felt comfortable doing that at her age, and the truth is, I just can’t remember back that far. But I can remember being about 10 and being embarrassed of my “thunder thighs” and jiggly butt, so what gives? At what age do little girls go from loving themselves to hating themselves, and why does it happen? Will my niece grow up to be a woman who is proud of her body, or in a few years will she end up like most of us, cowering behind cover-ups, hoping that nobody sees her cellulite or stretch marks?

And if little girls can run around without a second thought to what their legs look like in their short shorts, why is it that we, as most adult women, can’t do the same? When do we lose that ability to focus on life instead of a skewed body image?

If I could protect her from falling into the self-hate rabbit hole that many women end up in, I would. The problem is, I don’t have any idea how to do that. With all of social media, the infiltration of what girls “should” look like, I don’t have any idea how to keep the current generation of young girls from falling into the body-hate trap.

Now, true, they probably shouldn’t spend their entire adolescence in tiny hot pants, because that sends a different message after a certain age, and that’s another story all together.  But to teach them to be completely unashamed of their body is a different, and important task. I think that as grown women who have contact with young girls, we have a duty to teach them to love their bodies, their beautiful uniqueness, and how to show them off unabashedly when it’s appropriate to do so.

We must teach them that when they’re teenagers and on the beach with their friends, there is no need to cover up their thighs and belly just because they may look a little bit different from their peers, or their belly may not be quite as flat as it was before they hit puberty. We need to teach them to focus on what’s really important — friends, family and enjoying life — and not what their stomach may look like when they sit in their bathing suit.

It would be a truly amazing thing if when little girls grew older, they did so without developing a keen hatred for their bodily imperfections or self perceived flaws.  What if little girls never lost that mentality of their five year old self when it came to body insecurity? What if they could grow up and continue treating their body as what makes them uniquely wonderful, and not what makes them agonizingly different?

Today, try to live a little bit like the five year old version of yourself. Wear those proverbial hot pants, and wear them with pride (but unless you work at Hooters, you probably shouldn’t actually wear hot pants to work). When we allow ourselves to forget how our thighs look or how our upper arms look, we are able to focus our attention more on the things that really matter. I know we all think that we know better as we grow older, but sometimes I think we really need to step back and realize that maybe the kiddos can teach us a thing or two.

Take Your Workout To The Next Level

As much as I love heavy weight training and feel that it’s something that most people could benefit from, I do have an appreciation for the importance of cardio.

whatdidshesayCardio? 

Now, when I say cardio, please understand that there is a lot more that falls under the broad umbrella of “cardio” than just slogging away on the elliptical or treadmill. As in all types of training, what type of cardio you do really depends on the goals that you have set for yourself. Want to run a marathon? Well, then, you probably should be running, with some speed work and long runs thrown in there. Want to climb Mt. Everest some day? Running stairs, hill training and hiking will probably do you some good. Want to be strong as hell but also lose some body fat? Strength training plus metabolic conditioning is the answer for you.

What is metabolic conditioning? 

Metabolic conditioning, or metabolic “finishers” are fairly short bouts (10-20 min) of non traditional, high intensity cardio that is typically done at the end of a workout — and generally done with body weight or relatively light weight. However, when crunched for time, a quick and dirty MetCon session can leave you gassed after just 10 minutes of work, which is a lovely alternative for those of us who don’t have hours set aside for the gym every single day.

Who can benefit from metabolic finishers? 

Basically, anyone looking to decrease their body fat or increase their cardiovascular conditioning (without logging endless cardio hours). Heck, even steady-state cardio-ers should give these a try – you may not see a ton of results riding the elliptical every day, but add a 10 minute finisher to that workout, and you may notice a difference quite soon. Strictly speaking for myself, I find long, steady state cardio to be absolute torture. I will run a mile or two at a time periodically, but beyond that, I really hate it. And that is an understatement. But adding in a 10 or 15 minute bout of “cardio” to the end of a workout? That I can do, and usually enjoy, especially when it involves fun things like burpees and squat jumps.

Yeah, I kind of have a weird thing for burpees. So sue me.

How often should people add these to their workouts?

As with many tweaks to a training program, it depends on the person and their goals. If you have been doing the same training routine for a while, no matter what it is, and haven’t seen the fat loss results that you want, try adding in 1-2 short finishers per week. I usually stick with two, but will do three on some weeks depending on how I feel. If after adding in one to two you are still not seeing results after a few weeks, add in one more.

Although just be aware that fat loss results do not happen over night, and they also depend a lot on dietary intake (maybe more so than exercise, but that’s a different blog post).  Also keep in mind that you don’t want to burn yourself out. If you’re doing two heavy leg days plus three intense lower body finishers during the week, your legs may not be getting the recovery time that they need in order to get stronger.

What are some examples of finishers?

The possibilities are pretty much endless here, but here are a few examples of things I’ve been doing lately.

1. Plyo Pyramid Set 

PlyopyramidgraphicThis mini circuit looks innocent enough, but it kicked my ass last time I did it with a 14 lb medicine ball. Following up a moderate weight squat day with this circuit left me sore for days, so don’t let it deceive you! 

2. Battle Ropes Finisher 

Battle Ropes Finisher

If you have access to battling ropes at your gym, give this a try! The whole thing will take you less than 10 minutes, but will leave you sweating and with arms shaking. Check out this post for descriptions/video of all of these moves. 

3. 100 Kettlebell Swings for time. This one doesn’t get a fancy graphic because it’s pretty self explanatory, but these should be heavy KB swings, with as little rest as possible. My best time for 100 swings so far is 3:53, and I’m hoping to get it down to 3 minutes! Remember to pay attention to your form with KB swings, and please don’t do these if you are too fatigued to keep proper form. An injury is never worth a few more calories burned! 

Readers: Do you ever do metabolic finishers at the end of your workout or do you tend to stick to more traditional cardio? What is your favorite exercise to include in a quick, high intensity circuit? 

 

 

The Number One Way To Be More Awesome

You’re awesome.

I really believe that.

But I also really believe that no matter how awesome you are, you (and I) can always be more awesome.

There are lots of ways that you can go about doing that, but I think I’m pretty sure I’ve figured out the #1 way to increase your awesome quotient by a significant percentage.

Go outside of your comfort zone. 

Because no matter how awesome your status quo is, it’s just that: your status quo. When we do the same things day in and day out, no matter how impressive or important those things might be, we’re not getting any better (even if you don’t think you need to). But when we go outside of our comfort zone, even just a little bit, it allows us to grow stronger both mentally and physically, and sometimes allows us to see that we can do more than we think we’re capable of.

Yesterday, Will and I went rock climbing for the first time. I have to admit, when he asked me earlier in the week if I wanted to go with a friend of his from work (who is an avid climber), I jumped at the chance but also felt instantly nervous. Not nervous because I thought I’d hurt myself or anything, but nervous because it was something new, something far outside of my comfort zone, and I had no idea what to expect. What if I was embarrassingly bad at it? What if people could tell I had no idea what I was doing?

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But the thing I realized pretty quickly is this: Who cares? Who cares if people can tell it’s my first time, because it was my first time. If you never try something new because you’re afraid of looking stupid, well, you’ll never learn to do anything new. Because in reality, we all have to look a little stupid sometimes, and that’s ok, because that means that we’re challenging ourselves to do better and to be better.

So long story short, when yesterday morning rolled around, I was ready to go, even though I had no idea what I was doing. When we got to the climbing gym, I was a little bit intimidated at first — the harnesses, the special shoes, all of the instructions for us newbies — it was a tiny bit nerve wracking. But as soon as I started climbing, all of that went away. I realized something pretty quickly: I absolutely loved it.

Rockclimb4LOVED IT!! 

I loved the challenge of finding the proper foot and hand-holds. I loved the feeling of making it up to the top of a track that I had failed a few times before. I loved the feeling of being fatigued and sore in a way that I am not used to, and being pretty damn certain that every inch of my body would be sore the next day (yup, I was right).

I’m used to challenging myself in the weight room, and working towards new PRs. I’m used to the feeling of sore hands from heavy deadlifts, and the callouses that I get from the barbell. But this was much, much different. Gripping a bar has nothing on the grip needed for rock climbing, and my hands have never ever been more sore and beat up than they were yesterday afternoon.

Rockclimb1This was bouldering, which I think really did a number on the hands! 

Funny story to give you some perspective on just how tired my hands were: we went grocery shopping after we left the climbing gym, and when I went to pick out some sweet potatoes, I literally couldn’t even grip them to pick the ones I wanted out of the bin. I stood there like an idiot, pushing the sweet potatoes around, pawing at them like an animal, because I could hardly even grip them enough to pick them up and put them in my basket. That is how tired and sore my hands were — and the weight room has never, ever done that to me!

Anyway, I absolutely loved climbing, and now I realize how silly it was of me to be nervous. Sure, I made myself look like an idiot a few times yesterday, but I also was able to accomplish some pretty cool things and did a lot better than I expected. I can’t wait to go back again, and if I think it will only get more fun as I begin to improve my climbing grip!  And as an added bonus, it was one hell of a workout, most certainly a new challenge for my muscles.  And no matter how much you love your workout routine, it’s always fun to throw something new in there, right?

Rockclimb3Here’s Will, kicking butt pretty early on. 

Long story short, I made myself more awesome yesterday, and I did it just by doing something that I was a little bit afraid of. How will you become more awesome today?

Readers: When is the last time you tried something that you were afraid of? Have you ever been rock climbing? What is something fitness related that you’ve wanted to try but haven’t yet?

Athletic Trainers: What Are We?

While this blog is mainly about fitness and nutrition, it’s no secret that I’m just as passionate about what I do for a living –athletic training — as I am about health/fitness. I’ve written here before about why I love my profession so much, and seeing as it’s National Athletic Training Month, I think it’s only appropriate that I touch on this topic again!

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For those of you who aren’t familiar with what athletic trainers do, you can read a little bit more about it here. We are sports medicine specialists who’s job generally falls into a few major categories: injury prevention, recognition, evaluation, and rehabilitation for the active population.  Many of us are certified strength and conditioning specialists, most of us have a Master’s degree or higher, and we’re trained as emergency first responders.  Yes, I think we’re pretty important.

But today’s post isn’t to give you a run down of all of the things that we do. Today I want to talk about AT’s in a broader sense. Yes, we can tell you that you have a torn ACL and we can rehab the heck out of you after you have that ACL reconstructed, but we do a lot more than that as well.  And at the risk of sounding cheesy or over dramatic, it’s not necessarily just about what we do, but about what we are.

So what are we?

  • We are life savers. This is the number one reason– and really the only reason you need–  why every school and athletic program should employ an athletic trainer (sadly, many do not).  Every year there are a handful of stories of athletes who have collapsed on the ice/court/field who have been revived by a fast acting AT. Without proper medical coverage on the sideline, an athlete who suffers from sudden cardiac arrest is going to wait 20 minutes (if they’re lucky) for an ambulance, which is often far too late. An AT on the sideline who is equipped with an AED can, and will save lives. If you think that that type of emergency can’t happen at your school or on your team, please read here, here, and here, to see that it can happen anywhere, any time. (And a quick Google search will give you many more stories just like those!)
  • We are future-preservers. Wait, what? Stay with me here. ATs want their athletes to be healthy so that they can play in next week’s game, or the championship game two weeks from now. But you know what we really prioritize over any game, practice, or playoff berth? We prioritize your long term health, and your ability to live your life 10, 20, 30 years from now. I had a conversation the other day with one of my lacrosse players, in which I told her that yes, I want her to be able to play this season, but I also want her to be able to run around with her kids when she’s 45. A quality AT will preserve both your present and future health as much as we can, even when there is pressure to do otherwise.
  • We are a support system. We do much of what we do in the background, behind the scenes. We are unseen, often unheard, and unfortunately often unmentioned in the world of athletics, but that doesn’t mean that we’re not effective (and totally awesome). Honestly, if someone wants to be a superstar, athletic training is the wrong profession for them — our patients’ health is far more important than the spotlight. We do what we do so that the people who do want to be super stars can shine in the best way possible. What happens when an injured quaterback comes back from surgery to lead his team to a national championship? The athletic trainer is not hoisted upon the shoulders of the team; that honor belongs to the coach and the athletes (and they deserve it!). Athletic trainers are there to support the system, to make sure that all of the cogs in the wheel are running smoothly, to make sure that each link in the chain is as strong as it can possibly be.
  • We are medical professionals.  Many people think of ATs as the person in khakis and a polo on the sideline who squirts water bottles in football players’ mouths. (Let’s not even get me started on how seeing that makes me feel). But the reality is, we are sports medicine specialists. We are the most accessible form of health care for many athletes, and we have an exceptionally broad scope of practice. We specialize in treating the active population and helping to return them to their activity as quickly as possible — and this goes far, far beyond ice bags and ace wraps.

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We are all of these things, and much much more (too much to include in one blog post).  I think my main point here is that while ATs are often thought of as the people who tape ankles, we are a hell of a lot more than that. Do we tape ankles? Thousands of them, yes, and we’re all pretty darn good at it. But when someone asks me what it is that I do, “tape ankles” is never an answer that will come out of my mouth. That is like asking the President what he does, and his answer being “sign papers”. We are a profession of ethics, integrity, and empathy. We are people who care so deeply for the athletes that we work with that we often make sacrifices in our own lives to ensure that they get the best care possible. We are not just here to tape ankles and stretch hamstrings, we are here to give athletes the optimal opportunity to not only be healthy now but to be healthy in the future as well. That is what we do, and if you ask me, I think we do it pretty well.

Happy National Athletic Training Month to all my fellow ATs out there!