CornerStone Blog

Month: October 2019

Injuries Can Have An Upside

There’s no predicting when injury will occur.

It happened in about half a second. My knee extended too far forward in a lunge.   Then, I felt a little tug in my calf that quickly gave way to a feeling very much like a ‘charlie-horse’.

Almost an hour later when I went to walk out of class, I knew it was much more than a cramp. Later that afternoon, a doctor in the urgent care told me that I likely had torn my calf. A subsequent MRI showed ‘longitudinal tears in the medial head of the left gastrocnemius.’

Even with this relatively minor injury, I was looking at having to sit out almost 4 weeks of fitness classes. Anyone who knows me will realize that this was a HUGE blow.   The psychological jolt was likely more of a shock to my body than the actual initial injury (I teach or participate in 10+ classes a week . . .) .  I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have some moments of panic.

Injuries can have an upside according to Cornerstone instructor Michael Strouse.

Michael, post-recovery, teaching Group Active in New Hope

Injuries can create fear, doubt and other negative thinking.

“Will I gain weight? Will I instantaneously become less fit? Will my class participants be OK?”    I’m not necessarily saying those moments of panic were rooted in reality. But they were there!  I could have let injuries get me down as I have in the past.  I could have let what I CAN’T do lead the way. I also could have said “well, you can’t spin so working out isn’t possible.”

I am lucky, though, to have access to a great group of fitness professionals.  After talking to a few of them, this injury started to become less of a setback and more of an opportunity. I decided to be my own Wellness Coach and navigate my way to something positive.

Injuries can be an opportunity to turn a negative into a positive.

Instead of focusing on the calories I wouldn’t be burning, I realized I could train in a totally different way. Conversations with my colleague Cameron Crosley (a strength and conditioning trainer) resurfaced in my mind and the plan started to take shape. I have a tremendous amount of cardio endurance, but training cardio consistently can limit one’s ability to build muscle. By taking a break from cardio for a few weeks, I could really dial in a hypertrophic training plan, especially for my upper body.

In addition, I had to look at my diet to make sure it matched this training pattern by supporting muscle growth in addition to fueling (and not over-fueling) my daily activities. While this is something I am always conscious of, a back-to-square-one approach can be both refreshing and eye opening to bad habits that we have allowed to creep into our daily life.

The disruption hasn’t been easy but it’s been helped along, not only by my colleagues at Cornerstone, but also by the members! Because I didn’t let my injury keep me benched, my workouts are accompanied with well-wishes and smiles! It’s more than enough to make me work harder outside of my comfort zone.

Injuries can have an upside according to Cornerstone Wellness Coaches.

Michael in the ‘always welcoming’ New Hope Wellness Office

As a Wellness Coach, I meet with members almost every day who are dealing with injuries or setbacks. By showing up, they’ve made the decision to make a change! It’s my job to connect them to the resources they need for success! Our Wellness program isn’t just for when you join! Wellness at Cornerstone is a resource for all of our members who experience or desire a change! As a true fitness community, we all have the opportunity to contribute to each other’s success. I’m thankful that the community was behind me as I dealt with my own injury, and you should know that the entire Wellness team is behind YOU as well!

Schedule a free appointment with any of our wellness coaches at any time by calling your preferred club location.

Meet one of Cornerstone Doylestown’s seriously strong, and seriously decent, lifters.

Meathead. Lunk head. These are just a few of the pejorative terms used to describe weight lifters.  For many people, the perception of serious weight lifters is based almost entirely on old-fashioned stereotypes – a sense that they are narcissistic gym rats who grunt and groan their way through the fitness floor annoying others by dropping heavy weights and monopolizing certain pieces of equipment. The fact is – weight lifters get a bad rap.  They are no more likely to be rude, inconsiderate of others or full of themselves than any other group of fitness club members – be they long distance runners, soccer players or the casual gym goer.

Connor O'Hanlon

Recently, I sat down with Connor O’Hanlon, one of a group of dedicated weight lifters at our Doylestown location and walked away deeply impressed with this intelligent and serious young man.  Connor graduated from Penn State with a bachelor’s degree in accounting with a Certificate of Real Estate, both from the Smeal College of Business. Currently, he’s a real estate salesperson at J Carroll Molloy and the conveyancer for South Main Closing Services.  He’s also a competitive powerlifter, an Esports Coach at Delaware Valley University and a strength training coach for young people ages 7 through college age.  As if he didn’t have enough on his already full plate, Connor is also running for Township Supervisor in Doylestown.

Connor O'Hanlon

Quite frankly, I was impressed that Connor is able to stick to his fitness routine despite the other demands on this time.  Powerlifting is a serious sport that requires commitment and dedication. Connor competes in the squat, deadlift and bench and trains regularly to remain competitive.   But, as a seasoned athlete (he played football in high school and started competing in powerlifting as a sophomore in college), he’s used to making time for working out. 

Serious Equipment for Serious Lifters

I asked Connor why he chose to train at Cornerstone.  One reason, according to Connor, is that our Doylestown location has made a commitment to serious lifters by investing in the equipment they require to train – specifically brand new power bars, specialized plates that are calibrated to the precise weights required by competitive lifters and a weightlifting platform that softens the sound when weights are dropped after a lift.

Connor preparing to lift in competition.

Camraderie and Support

The second big reason is the camaraderie and support that he’s found among a group of other like-minded serious lifters.  They possess a depth of knowledge that comes with competing that they happily share with each other – and any newcomers who want to learn about power lifting.

Connor at competition.

Connor and his fellow lifters train hard, but respectfully of others, proving that those old stereotypes couldn’t be further from the truth.   


Suzanne Is Living Proof That Age Is Only A Number

“I still love to run even though I’m now in my late 70’s”.

I’ve been an athlete my entire life. It seems unusual, but I still love to run even though I’m now in my late 70s. I bike and do yoga and I truly believe it keeps me young. Many people are surprised when they find out how old I am but I know it has a lot to do with my commitment to health and fitness. As a mother of three, my children are also athletic and they support and encourage me. One of my daughters has run several marathons and is hoping to qualify for the Boston Marathon, which my older brother ran in his 80’s!

Doylestown member Suzanne Nesi, Personal Trainer Tracey Kling and Suzanne’s daughter Anne Kathryn Bromm.

Setting goals, training and persevering are the keys to success.

This month, my daughter asked me to join her in the Philadelphia Rock and Roll Half Marathon, and I accepted the challenge. But I knew I needed to be prepared, which is why I asked my Cornerstone Personal Trainer, Tracey Kling, to help me. Tracey was fantastic; she guided me through a training regimen that allowed me to compete in this race. I’m sorry to say that one day while running early in the morning, I misstepped and fell. Luckily, I caught myself, and the injury only affected my hand.  It was serious enough to require a splint and rehabilitation, but Tracey kept me on track and my training wasn’t interrupted.

Support makes a difference!

September 15 (the day of the half-marathon) dawned bright and beautiful but did get hot, and in all honesty, despite my preparation, it was a challenge. It was tempting to quit. But my daughter ran with me and Tracey came to Philadelphia to offer support and encouragement! I’m proud to say I finished first in my age category and I am so very grateful to Tracey for helping me achieve that feat!

Cornerstone has been a huge source of support and friendship and I am very happy to be a member!

Suzanne and her trainer, Tracey, hitting the road.