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MATRIX Radio Interview Podcast

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If you're having trouble listening, you can find the podcast here or read the transcript below.


Patricia (0:00): Hi everyone, we are back and we are listening to the second hour of the Patricia Raskin Show.  I am very excited about my next guest.  We are talking about how we can improve performance, alleviate pain and improve recovery with Shane Sauer who is the trainer and owner of MATRIX Personalized Fitness.  He specializes in science-based Neuro-Fitness & Rehabilitative Training.  And we’re talking about how he can help clients reshape the way they train and really work with the connection between the brain and the body, because as he says, “it’s more than just your muscles”.  Welcome Shane.

Shane (0:43): Thanks.

Patricia (0:44): Yeah, so tell us, this is a little bit of a different approach to exercise.  Why are you leaning toward this?

Shane (0:53): Well, there’s a lot of people out there who aren’t looking for the boot camp style workouts…

Patricia (1:01): I’m one of them, raising my hand.

Shane (1:02): ...the really beating you up thing.  And that approach can be taken for the people who want it, but we look at things from a brain-based perspective and how your nervous system is responding to the exercises that you’re doing.  So a lot of these programs are about movement; doing reps and moving a lot of weight. We can do some of that, but in addition, we look to see how your vision system is working, how your breathing is working, the sensations through your body, the entire body itself, and then how is your brain interpreting those signals that it’s getting.  And this allows us to take a step back and make sure that every exercise we’re giving you is something that is good for you and taking you in the right direction.

Patricia (1:40): All right, so I have a personal question here…

Shane (1:42): Sure.

Patricia (1:42):  ...because exercise has always been amazing for me in terms of relieving tension and stress, but there’s also the endorphins in the brain, so, I could be having a tough day or difficult situation and my body is tense. And I’ll either swim or whatever it is I’m doing, or riding a bike at the gym, and afterward, Shane, it’s like I’ve taken a tranquilizer. I feel like my whole system is completely different.  My body feels better but my brain is so relieved, it really, it’s like it's a magic pill for me.  So obviously something is working neurologically for me and for millions of people. But explain that?

Shane (2:21): A lot of people say the same thing, it’s very true.  The basis behind it is our brain is always looking for new and improved signaling…

Patricia (2:31): OK

Shane (2:31): ... and we get signals from the body all the time.  When you’re arm is resting on a table, there are pressure signals being sent.  The air currents moving over your arm, temperature, all types of different things like that.  When we exercise we’re up-regulating all of that—we’re sending a whole bunch more signals to the brain, that the brain can then use to begin to understand how the body is functioning, and that in itself is a stress reducer.  The better the information going to the brain, the less stress that it has to deal with.  And then, like you said, the endorphins that are being released during exercise make the body feel better, and the clarity you get from exercise and setting away the other parts of your day, and being able to focus, really allows for a better mental state.

Patricia (3:19): But I also have found that there is a high involved in this, that, I mean even regularly, that I just feel great, but if I’ve had, if I feel a little down or depressed, that it will alleviate it.

Shane (3:32): Again, movement is key in things like that.  The more we sit around and just stay put in one place, that tends to be a little downer.  And when you get up and you start walking, even a simple walk for some people can be enough exercise to give them that feeling of release and overall well-being about themselves.

Patricia (3:56): So, what goes on at MATRIX, what do you do exactly?  Do you work with individuals, do you work with groups, how do you do this?

Shane (4:02): At MATRIX, as I mentioned, we don’t do much of the boot camp stuff. We have one-on-one sessions, we also offer small group which would be 4-5 people tops. For any larger style stuff, it’s going to be more of an educational class.  And the training that we do is Neuro-Fitness and Rehabilitative training.  It has a brain-based focus, so we look at a lot more things than just how many pushups you can do.  We do things like a movement screen to make sure that you are walking well and moving well.  We do coordination tests.  We look at dynamic vision, so it’s not just like going to the eye doctor and looking at an eye chart; it’s about how your eyes move and how they perceive information.

Patricia (4:41): How do you compare this to physical therapy, is it similar?

Shane (4:46): It’s the next phase of it...  

Patricia (4:50): OK

Shane (4:51): ...so as a personal trainer I cannot treat or diagnose things.  But once they have gone to a doctor or through rehab, the next step is to keep moving and make sure that you are moving well and appropriately.  And that’s where the trainer can step in.  On the other side of it, coming to someone like me will also help you prevent having to go to the doctor and to the physical therapist if you can get on top of an injury before it actually happens.

Patricia (5:18): So, you work with different levels. Explain the levels that you work with.

Shane (5:25): One of the bigger ones is people dealing with chronic pain.  So, there are two different types of pain—there’s acute which is “ow, I burned myself on the stove” or “I stepped on a tack” or something like that.  That’s acute pain in which your body is sending a signal saying, “Hey! stop doing what you’re doing, take some time and fix this.”  Then there is the chronic pain which is the pain that comes and goes, it’s lasted over 5-10 years.  And again, in general, pain is an action signal.  In the acute case, it’s about you having stepped on the tack, get your foot off of it and then maybe ice it or put a Band-Aid on it.  In the chronic sense, the pain is a signal for something, but it’s not as clear as to what it is. So, if you had a shoulder injury and 5 years later it’s starting to bug you—the tissues have healed, the joints, the ligaments, all of that, they have recovered, they’ve healed the way they should, particularly if you went to your doctor and did your physical therapy. But now the pain comes back into that area and it’s your brain trying to get you to take notice of something else that is going on. And so it could be that you’re just not moving well in that space anymore, or maybe it has something to do with the in-laws coming over and it’s stressing you out and your brain is trying to say, “Hey, we need to settle down, we need to take action on something.”  

The second group of people that we work with is where you typically think about personal training, and that would be people who are looking to change their bodies—so whether that’s losing weight or just get more fit for something specific.  

And then the final group would be those who are really looking to enhance performance.  So they’re already good at something, or maybe they are elite and competing in it and they want that little extra edge. So by coming and working with the other side of the equation from movement, the sensory information, it can give those people that extra little, I’ll call it a “life hack” or an “exercise hack” to do a little better.

Patricia (7:32): So if they were doing more of the boot camp type—I‘m talking about the athlete or performance person—they could still do that, but work with you to get this extra, as you said, sensory sort of awareness.

Shane (7:45): Absolutely!  So, the brain-based stuff is tough to do in a very large group like that because it does require some personal attention.  While the trainer is learning about the person—the person is learning about themselves.  The neat thing about working with the brain is that when you do something good for it, the response is immediate.  For instance, if you have a limited range of motion at your shoulder, and you do an eye drill that is effective and positive to your nervous system, your range of motion can get better. So that allows you to assess and reassess. So as somebody who comes to me and learns about this, they can say, “all right, well if I do a toe touch, I can go so far, and if I do something that is good for me, I can do a toe touch again.”  So, that’s a half-a-second assessment. And so if they then go off and do their activity or their boot camp, whatever it may be, they can check after one thing and they are aware if it is working for them.

Patricia (8:40): … their body awareness.  Now what about people who are in chronic pain, how do you work with those folks?

Shane (8:45): Well anybody that comes into the studio is going to get a very deep evaluation.  That evaluation is going to include, as I mentioned, vision, balance, sensory input, coordination input, but also very important is we take a personal history, medical and personal, to really find “what happened before what happened,” is a way to look at it.  So, you got injured and now you are having pain, well, what was going on before that to cause you to get injured? And by knowing that kind of stuff, we can then work backward.  For instance, if somebody was skiing and they hit a tree, and now 5 years later, everything has healed, but they still get this back pain that creeps up whenever they turn to the right.  Well looking back, we can say, “oh, when you were skiing and the hit the tree, you were looking over your right shoulder and now that is what I’ll call a “threat” to the brain, being in that body position.”  Now we can start doing simple movements that tell your body that being in this position is safe.  And now once things are safe in that position, the threat goes away and the pain goes away because we no longer need that action signal.

Patricia (9:57): Amazing!  So interesting.

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Patricia (10:00): Hi everyone. We're back and you're listening to the Patricia Raskin Show.

What we're trying to do is help people understand more about exercise, that it's not just about losing weight or burning calories. It's really about preserving your body, and I think, enhancing your joy. I would say that's what I have found...

Shane (10:23): Absolutely.

Patricia (10:23): ... for a lot of people.

Shane (10:24): One of the big reasons I got into this is because I really just want to get people to a fitness level where they can do the things they want to do.

Patricia (10:34): They don't have to be athletes.

Shane (10:36): They don't have to be athletes, although I do consider every person an athlete because we all move and that's what athletes do.

Patricia (10:40): Ok! All right, you are listening to the Patricia Raskin Show and this half hour is brought to you by MATRIX Personalized Fitness, and we are here with Shane Sauer who is the trainer and owner of MATRIX Personalized Fitness. Now, MATRIX Personalized Fitness specializes in science-based Neuro-Fitness & Rehabilitative Training to improve performance, alleviate pain and facilitate recovery from injury. Welcome back, Shane.

Shane (11:06): Thanks.

Patricia (11:07): So, give us an example of someone you've worked with, or more than one person who has been in chronic pain and give us a success story. Why they came in, where they were in the beginning and then where they were as they progressed

Shane (11:24): I had one person who had a chronic shoulder issue, limited range of motion at the shoulder, and when she would do something too quickly, in just kind of weird ways—she didn't know when it was going to happen—she would get sharp shooting pain, and from that she was really becoming limited in the things she enjoyed doing, like her yoga practice. And she was always worried, even opening a car door—is the shooting pain going to come this time? And she did visit some doctors, and did some physical therapy, and had minor results with that. But since I've been working with her, what I try and do is reduce the threat around the pain. So, the first thing is to find her current end ranges of motion and then begin to slowly work past that. And start to build a little bit of strength in that region as well. In addition to that, looking at other things that had been going on. There were balance issues, and so when the balance is—and by balance issues I am talking about the inner ear—not just trouble standing on one leg. So when we look at that and start doing some eye drills and things based on that, it again begins reducing the overall threat in the body and as that threat starts to go down, these chances of poor movement and recurring pain begin to die down as well.

Patricia (12:44): And where is the person now?

Shane (12:45): Currently, I was working with her this morning and the pain is gone, range of motion is back to where it should be.

Patricia (12:51): Really? Great. How long? Months, two months?

Shane (12:56): I've been with her for—we probably started 4 or 5 months ago—but the pain was reduced in the first 3 or 4.

Patricia (13:07): That’s great. That really makes a difference. Now, do you have physical therapists or doctors who refer you as well?

Shane (13:13): I have just opened the business so I am looking to build that network…

Patricia (13:17): It’s really important.

Shane (13:19): I'm looking for doctors who are interested, and I was talking to one chiropractor this morning, also, who sounds pretty interested in setting up that kind of thing.

Patricia (13:26): You know, this is really important because I think sometimes people think about movement and exercise and they freeze. Now most of us don't, but still, there are people that do, particularly people in pain, but yet that’s when you need the movement the most, correct? In most cases.

Shane (13:43): That's definitely when you need the movement the most, it just needs to be intelligent movement.

Patricia (13:48): Right, it can't just be any movement, it has to be controlled and focused.

Shane (13:53): Yes.

Patricia (13:54): And that's what you're doing. So you probably have helped people kind of pick up their own cues so they can help themselves more than they did before. Right?

Shane (14:03): Absolutely. That's one of the big things about working with the nervous system, as I was mentioning before, responses are very quick. It takes diligence and repetition to get those changes to stick, but you can see increases in strength, range of motion, from one simple drill.

Patricia (14:20): Right, but they might not have been aware of this is if you hadn't pointed it out to them.

Shane (14:24): Precisely. So, what we like to do is we like to find something simple that they can do on their own, where they can identify a change. So a good example is, grounding your feet, standing tall and turning side to side. You can notice how far you turn—and then we'll do a drill. Find one that works for you and you'll see that turn increases. So now in the future, in your day-to-day life, whether you’re exercising or something else is going on and you want to know how you're being affected by it, you can do an assessment, a quick turn, do whatever it is you're doing, then turn again and see if it got better.

Patricia (14:57): Do you have your clients, ask your clients to do these exercises on their own? In between the time they are working with you.

Shane (15:04): I love to make that offer for those who are willing to do it. If you want to get results quickly, it's important to be diligent and stay with it. Now a lot of personal trainers would be assigning half-hour workouts to do every day, that type of thing. Of course, if people are open to that, that is what we give them, but more than likely it's trying to find that 5 or 10 second drill that you can do when you're brushing your teeth or when you’re taking your coffee break, so that you can start building on that and get results that way.

Patricia (15:35): This has been terrific. So again they can call you at 401.688.0029, info@matrix-pf.com, and for those of you just tuning in, Shane Sauer is the trainer and owner of MATRIX Personalized Fitness. He specializes in science-based Neuro-Fitness & Rehabilitative Training to improve performance, alleviate pain and facilitate recovery from injury. And so he really works with the connection of the brain and the body. And as you say, your slogan is “It's more than just your muscles.”

Shane (16:08): That's right!

Patricia (16;09): Yeah, which is really great. Well, we really appreciate you coming on the program. This segment has been brought to you by MATRIX Personalized Fitness...

Shane (16:16): Awesome.

Patricia (16:17): ...and it's been great to have you on.

Shane (16:18): Patricia, thanks so much. I appreciate the opportunity.