Rolling rules! The popularity of self-massage techniques has grown rapidly in the last several years and shows no signs of slowing down. Should you do it? And if you should – then how, when, and for the curious types, why?

Why Roll?

The stresses of any of a combination of hard training, chronic postures, or injuries can create unfavorable changes to your tissues that can make certain movements uncomfortable, limited, and restricted. Massage can play a role in improving this. What’s happening when you massage? There are three main benefits:

  1. Mechanical
  2. Neurological
  3. Hydration

The mechanical benefits of massage relate to actually breaking up adhesions and sticky tissues. Your muscles are meant to slide along each other smoothly. The muscles and surrounding fascia can develop adhesions in a number of ways. Massage actually breaks up those adhesions like getting the lumps out of dough. It’s similar to what happens when you start chewing a new piece of gum.

The neurological benefits happen when sensory organs in your muscles sense pressure and receive a signal from the brain to relax and release tension. This effect manifests when you hold static pressure on a sensitive spot rather than when you roll back-and-forth.

Think of your body like a large skin bag full of water (which is not that far from reality.) When you squeeze any part by putting pressure on it, you force liquid out, just like when you squeeze a sponge. When you release the pressure, new hydration rushes in, again like returning the sponge to water.

How to Roll

In general, there are three main types of self-massage techniques you can use:

  1. Roll and a Hold – similar to Swedish and lighter deep tissue massage
  2. Pin the Tool, Move the Muscle – similar to Thai massage
  3. Cross-Fiber Friction – similar to deep tissue

Roll and Hold – find a sensitive area and roll back-and-forth five times while breathing in and out with each roll. Upon completion of the fifth roll, find a responsive spot for a hold and hold the pressure on that spot to access the neurological benefits. Find a new section of muscle and repeat.

Pin the Tool, Move the Muscle – Hold pressure and create a massage effect by moving the muscle so that it slides over the pressure point. Flex and extend the joint slowly five times.

Cross-Fiber Friction – apply pressure and move the limb or the tool perpendicular to the direction of the muscle fibers (hence the term “cross-fiber”) five times.

Where to Roll

Short answer; anywhere that needs it. When you apply pressure, if it feels sensitive like a sore muscle, that’s probably an area that needs some attention. To get started, try some of the most common areas usually in need of regular massage:

  • Calf and Foot
  • Thigh (especially the outer thigh to inner part of thigh close to front)
  • Glute
  • Rear and Front of Shoulder
  • Upper Back (area surrounding the shoulder blade)

When to Roll

Short answer; whenever you can. At first, you may need daily or twice daily sessions to restore tissue health. This may be when the most sensitivity is experienced, but you’ll also noticed how rapidly the discomfort decreases with regular practice. As to the best specific time of day to do it, you have two options:

  • Prior to workout to prepare
  • After workout (or anytime) to regenerate and recover

There really isn’t a bad time to do this work if it is necessary. Doing it first thing in the morning affects tissues immediately before you’ve done much moving. However, this may not be the most appealing thing to do right after waking up.

If your posture, body alignment, and movement is significantly less than optimal (nicer than saying “you’re a hot mess”), then doing some of this work prior to exercise is, in my opinion, essential as this is when it is most critical to realign the body and restore healthier muscular coordination.

After the workout is can help with circulation to help flush out muscles that were just worked hard.

And if you’re watching a favorite TV show in the evening (it’s okay to admit that you watch TV), spend some time doing some self-massage work to get some physical benefit to your inactive time.

In my experience, there’s no bad time to do this kind of work so can try any and all of the above times and see which your body prefers. Your body is very smart and if you listen to it more and follow the wisdom of your body, you’ll derive more benefit from your efforts and enjoy them more.

What to Roll With

Anything from large rollers down to small balls can be used to provide self-massage. Larger tools like the commonly used large round rollers, cover a large surface area and in general, provide a less pinpoint pressure. Handheld stick-style tools like the Tiger Tail can be useful for hitting many areas without needing to get on the floor. While smaller tools like a tennis ball or similarly-sized massage ball provide more pinpoint pressure from the smaller surface area and can be good for reaching deeper areas or more isolated self-massage to superficial areas. Browse a selection of tools HERE

A couple important tips:

  1. Your veins are a one way street – when using heavy pressure in the legs especially, try to move up the leg if possible. There are valves in your veins to keep the blood moving one way – up – so it’s best to drive blood flow in the direction of the valve flow to minimize chances of venous damage.
  2. It should feel “comfortably uncomfortable” rather than intensely painful. An intensely painful response creates a reaction from the body that causes the tissues to want to recoil. Additionally, a highly unpleasant experience will discourage regular participation in these activities.

It can also be helpful to schedule period regular therapeutic massage – not a pampering, spa massage. The reason is that even with great tools and daily effort on your part, nothing can replace the skilled hands of a massage therapist. Your individual self-massage work can help take smaller steps toward consistent change while your massage therapist can sense what areas need more work and so can likely provide a larger benefit in a single session. By adding some additional self-massage work, you will likely find that those same recurring knots that your therapist works on will start to diminish or may disappear entirely.

Have you ever thought of opening your own small studio or personal training center?  If so, often our biggest fear is "How do I pay for this?"  "Can I afford to purchase equipment and rent a space?"  "How do I pay a staff and purchase a program to make this possible?" This short article may help make your dream come true by describing two complementary debt financing products which can be combined to overcome the financial barriers to launch a new studio!

Equipment Leases – Lease to Own or Fair Market Value (FMV)
Studio owners can finance the purchase of their strength equipment, cardio equipment, security systems, computer hardware & software, flooring, outdoor signage and any other tangible items needed to run your business. The fitness and non-fitness equipment that is being financed is the collateral for the equipment lease.

If you plan to keep the equipment long term such as strength equipment, you should choose a capital lease so you own the equipment for a $1.00 or $101.00 buyout at the end of the lease term. If you are unsure if you want to own the equipment such as computers or cardio equipment, you should choose a FMV lease. The end of term options for FMV leases are to return the equipment, to continue to rent equipment on a month to month basis or to purchase the equipment at fair market value. Most owners opt to finance using a capital lease.

Lease documentation fees range from $95 to $495. Down payments range from 1 payment to 20% of the amount being financed so a lease will preserve your operating capital. The repayment term will range from 12 months up to 60 months. All lease payments are a tax deductible business expense so the payments will lower your taxable income and tax liability.

Small Business Administration (SBA) Express Working Capital Loan

This government backed loan is designed to provide working capital ranging from $20,000 up to $150,000 for start-ups and existing businesses. The main purpose of this loan is to provide the funds necessary to pay your bills until the business becomes profitable. The loan process will require an attention to detail and will take 60 – 90 days to complete before the loan is funded. If the loan is to help finance a new studio, the loan can be approved in advance, however the funds will not be distributed until the location has received a certificate of occupancy. This insures that the money will not be used for build out expenses.

The interest rate is calculated starting with the prime rate published in the Wall Street Journal which is currently 3.25% plus a 2.75% risk premium charged by the bank so the interest rate is 6% at this time. The repayment term is 10 years and there is no pre-payment penalty. The best part of this loan is that the collateral is your business assets… not your home … just your business assets, if any!

The purpose of debt financing is to access Other People’s Money (OPM) at a cost that is less than your projected business net profit percentage. For example, if a $20,000 equipment lease is has a 12% return to the lessor and an $80,000 SBA working capital loan has a 6% interest rate, the business owners will be accessing $100,000 at a 7.2% blended interest rate. Assuming your studio will operate at a 15% profit margin, you are using OPM at a cost that is less than half of your anticipated return on capital! In short, the equipment lease and SBA Express Loan are complementary products that will enable an entrepreneurial personal trainer with good personal credit to finance the opening of their new studio.

Paul Bosley, Managing Member DBA Business Finance Depot
Toll Free (800) 788-3884
Cell Phone (561) 702-5505

By now, you’re fully immersed into your Fall routine and we’ve seen you TOTALLY embracing ROCKtober! You’re fitting in that one extra class at the gym per week, waking up just a smidge earlier to take get some extra me-time in the morning, and you’re hyperfocused and killin’ it at work. So, to accompany your kickass, productive schedule, here’s the easiest and fastest dinner (and lunch!) option that’ll keep you on track in the food department.

2 T extra virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 white onion, chopped
1 medium fennel bulb, chopped
2 sage leave, chopped OR 1 T thyme, de-stemmed
2 small sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
1/2 C uncooked farro, rinsed
4 1/2 C vegetable broth
1/2 t sea salt
large pinch of cayenne — add more if you like it spicy!
juice of 1/2 lemon
3 C Kale, Massaged
shaved parmesan cheese
1/2 C turkey sausage, cooked and chopped (OPTIONAL)

Heat EVOO in a large soup pan over medium heat. Add garlic, onion and fennel. Reduce heat and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring (or until translucent).

Add sweet potatoes, farro, vegetable broth, sea salt and cayenne. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to a simmer.

Add lemon juice and thyme, then cover the pan and simmer for 20-25 minutes.

Once finished, taste and add salt and pepper if needed.

OPTIONAL: After 20 minutes add cooked turkey sausage to soup.

Serve in a soup bowl. Add in a small handful of kale. Mix and garnish with a small sprinkle of parmesan.

"As an owner operator of two upscale boutique health clubs, I know I need to take the time to stay current with fitness trends but also rarely have the time to dedicate to lengthy seminars or travel very far from my facilities.  When one of my trainers came to me with a request to attend DC MANIA® in order to get certified by Abbie Appel in Ballet Barre, I took a look at what else would be offered and instantly wanted to tag along.  There were a few management track topics that interested me and of course I was totally looking forward to taking as many classes as possible, almost like a little vacation!  What I got out of the conference was much greater than what I was expecting.  This seminar helped spark ideas that I have already put into action and will continue to have on my vision board.  The presenters were knowledgeable and well prepared, and the classes were so much fun!  I did not get a chance to tour the expo since I attended back to back classes/seminars, but did get to play with creative new equipment during some of my classes that I plan to order and incorporate into my programs in Baltimore."

“I LOVED everything presented in "Small Group PT: Focus on Females".  So much more than what was expected, this presenter was fabulous.  Not only did she know her stuff, but made me wish there were four more hours of hearing what she had to say.”

“The social media forum Sara Kooperman led was also a big highlight- I have already put into action the idea of interviewing members and staff to post on Facebook to great success!” 

“The 'State of The Industry' panel was also fantastic.  I wanted to hear more about current trends and maybe have some Q&A, but there is just never enough time.  All the panelists were solid and thought provoking, which is exactly why I was there.  Overall, DC Mania was an extremely good experience- even better… I got to connect with Sara Kooperman herself, and I hope to bring some of your team out to elevate the skills of my instructors on site!”

My name is Yury Rockit. I’m a first time presenter at SCW Boston MANIA® this year! I was born in a country which no longer exists, the USSR. Talk about an identity crisis—imagine if the place you were born didn’t exist anymore! … My national identity now—and passport--are considered to be Belarusian (Eastern Europe), which means the “bella” Russia, meaning “white Rusia,” next to what is currently mapped as Russia.

For many years, however, I have been living in Asia (Vietnam and China). I’ve always been attracted to Asian studies, religions philosophies, and food, so I moved there in 2007 to start studying Chinese and Vietnamese.
It was difficult at the turn of the century to find schools and certifications in Southeast Asia, but I temporarily moved from HaNoi to Bangkok to prepare for getting ACE and AFAA certified as a personal and group movement specialist. Subsequently, through conventions, study, and travel, I took teacher trainings and in-depth educational courses in yoga, Pilates, T’ai Chi, and meditation. I also became a certified Life Coach through an American company, doing online live courses in the middle of the night for me in Asia for months.
In Asia, I started teaching English as a second language, got accustomed to getting around on a motorcycle, and completely changed my nutritional plan based on what was available.

When I first came to the USA, I was privileged enough to take a SCW Philadelphia and Atlanta Mania, and got SCW certified in Yoga, Pilates and other disciplines.

I now call Vietnam home in HaNoi for many years. I opened my own mindful studio called KI Studio, became a SCW, ACE, AFAA continuing education provider, and fitness model for BOSU and ACE.

I’m thrilled that SCW Boston Mania 2015 marks my first debut in America as a solo presenter. Many of my sessions are inspired by mind-body disciplines and their fusion. Most of the sessions I’m teaching at SCW Boston Mania are barefoot as a part of my message of balance and proprioception training.

One of my signature sessions that I’m teaching from back home in HaNoi is “Spirited®” and it’s an integrated barefoot fusion of strength, cardio and mind body techniques with a mindful component. We also dance because, when the soul is happy, it is “spirited.” This session is really about how to give people who only do a specific discipline ( to explore the modes of strength and cardio within a familiar, mindful framework. If you aren’t accustomed to moving with the beat, join this session and get “Spirited”.

“Spirited Surf” is an aquatic version of my “Spirited” program because I’m also an aquatics instructor
“Athletes and Asanas” is a perfect class for those who think that may be too easy or too slow, and get more aggressive fitness types into class. Through an exploration of stability and mobility progressions and regressions of some yoga asanas, we will learn how to cross train with yoga, creating more balance between strength and flexibility.

“Animals and Asanas” integrates popular animal primal patterns with lesser-known animal asanas for an integrated approach to bodyweight, mindful core training for personal trainers and group fitness professionals.

“Be Yo-Ga” is a non-traditional approach to a fusion of the music of Beyonce, influences of ashtanga yoga, and vinyasa flow. Perfect for the non-traditional mind-body student, this is a non-purist approach to get those who may otherwise never consider yoga into our classes.

“Introduction to Meditation” is my first SCW kick-off session on Friday morning. This is an introduction to the studies I’ve had as a student of Buddhism integrating meditation and pranayama into all aspects of my physical practice. Whether you meditate or not, you’ll learn some ways to breathe in order calm the mind, enhance the body’s healing parasympathetic nervous system, and just generally increase the overall quality of life.

I’ve brought exciting giveaways from Vietnam for those of you who come to my sessions, and I always pick one MSP, Most Spirited Participant, to get a special gift and pose with me for my Facebook wall.
When I’m not training clients or teaching classes, I take ballet as a way to cross-train, practice yoga, read, volunteer my time working with orphans and children of the street in HaNoi, teaching movement to empower them for posture, strength, and self-confidence.

I look forward to meeting new friends in the USA at SCW Boston Mania. Until then, find me at