By: Dr. Stephanie Duffey
One of the reasons I founded Empower Physio and Wellness was to help improve the quality of life for my clients! That’s why I’m excited to introduce the new “Client Spotlight.” Every other month, I’ll showcase a client I’ve worked with and how together, we’ve help them knock their goals out of the park. I hope this gives you a bit of inspiration—I know it keeps me inspired to keep working hard! Here’s my Q+A with Gabby
What caused you to seek treatment?
I was experiencing outer knee pain every time I ran over four miles, not to mention my back would hurt when I slept in on the weekends. I was worn out, tired of running, and tired of the pain. I was nervous that I wouldn’t be able to continue running and working out the way that I had been, so I sought help from Dr. Steph. In addition to treating my injuries, she’s also helping me train for the Flying Pig Half Marathon in May and live a healthier lifestyle overall.
What did you learn about your injury?
Dr. Steph determined that I had an IT band problem, as well as issues with my core. I described my issues to her, and she told me what was wrong and what to do to fix it. We started out using simple breathing techniques, and have continued to build on that.
What was unique about your treatment?
When we started working together, Dr. Steph immediately understood where I was coming from, being a runner herself. Usually doctors will tell you to stop running, which doesn’t fix the problem, it only avoids it.
Tell us, what’s your favorite thing about Empower Physio & Wellness?
Dr. Steph is very encouraging and helps me improve each week and progress with my exercises. She’s always willing to work around my schedule and you can tell she truly cares about her clients. She does whatever she can to help us live a healthier lifestyle and workout with no pain.
How are you progressing?
Since October, I have no pain in my knee or in my back. Running four or more miles is not a problem anymore, and I feel that running the half marathon will be pain-free. The movements are difficult, but I am continually getting better each time I do them.
What are you looking forward to achieving in the future?
I’m excited to start running greater distances again and look forward to my training. We’re working hard to improve my times for the half marathon and I’m confident I’ll be able to PR.
Would you recommend Empower Physio & Wellness to your friends?
Definitely! Dr. Steph understood my goals and knows what it will take to make that happen. I feel confident that physical therapy with her has improved my mood, my movement and my training. It’s a joy to work with her and see where we are progressing.
Inspired by Gabby's story? Let’s chat about how I can help you achieve your goals!
By: Dr. Stephanie Duffey
Can you believe we’re nearing the end of January!? Hopefully you’ve detoxed from all those cookies you ate over the holidays and you’re making progress on the goals you set. But let’s be real…if you haven’t, that’s OK. I see people go into the new year eager to make changes and honor their “resolutions.” But when the craziness of life sets back in, it’s easy to fall off the wagon. This doesn’t mean you’re a failure, it’s just means you’re human and the good news is, you always have the opportunity to begin again.
If you need help setting goals or just hitting reset for the goals you’ve already set, keep reading because I’m going to break down some accountability hacks that will make you much more likely to knock those goals out of the park!
First things first. If you haven’t yet set your goals for the new year, don’t sweat it…it’s never too late to do something for yourself. Check out my first post, Setting Long-Term Goals (Not Short-Term Resolutions) to get started. The key thing to remember when setting a goal is to break down your large goal into smaller milestones.
For example, if you want to run a marathon, you wouldn’t just go out on day one and run ten miles if you’ve never run before in your life. You’d start small. Maybe you start by running one mile a few times a week. After a few months you can increase your mileage to three miles. As time goes on, you slowly build. It’s the same idea with any large goal—it’s a slow build.
After you’ve set your goal, you must hold yourself accountable so you can achieve it. How do you stay accountable? Here are three easy places to start.
1. Find an accountability partner. This is a person you can check in with monthly or weekly to make sure you’re on the right path. When you have to report your progress to someone else, you’re much more likely to make strides.
2. Get a goal buddy. This is slightly different than an accountability partner. A goal buddy is someone that has the same goal as you. You can work alongside this person (whether it’s a spouse, close friend or family member) to achieve milestones. If we stick with the running example, this would be someone that is running the same race as you, so you plan to go on runs together a couple times per week to keep each other motivated.
3. Treat yo’ self. Give yourself a small reward when you’ve achieved a milestone. This could be a massage after you’ve made it up to 10 miles, a piece of workout equipment you’ve been eyeing, or anything else that allows you to celebrate the progress you’ve made without getting you off-track. Pro-tip: Try not to reward yourself with food unless you can do so mindfully. Non-based food rewards have proven to be more successful in helping people crush their goals, especially if those goals are related to health and fitness.
Whether you’re continuing to work toward a goal, or you’ve just started, accountability is truly the key to success. Need expert help creating an accountability plan? Let’s chat!
By: Dr. Stephanie Duffey
Throughout life, we transition in and out of many phases. These seasons are marked by change and welcoming something (or someone) new into your life. I reflect on this as I am about to enter one of life's biggest transitions for a woman: motherhood.
In October, my husband and I found out that I was pregnant. There were so many emotions that filled our minds and hearts when we first discovered this news--excitement, fear, joy, and overwhelm to name a few. We knew we wanted to start a family, so of course we felt the happy emotions. But when the enormity of how our lives were going to change set in, more of the anxious and fearful emotions followed. All kinds of thoughts raced through my head:
"Oh my goodness, my body is going to change. I've worked so hard to get and stay in shape, and now everything is going to get big and stretched."
"I feel so nauseous and tired, how am I going to find the energy to get through the day and run my business?"
"If I am struggling to get through the day now, how is it going to be with a future pregnancy when we have a young child to take care of as well?" (Can you tell I'm a planner?!)
"Am I going to be a good mom?"
"Thank goodness I have the most amazing husband."
Confiding in my husband paired with a whole lot of prayer got me through these initial hard times. To those who saw me on a daily basis, nothing seemed out of the ordinary because I mustered up all the strength I had to be my normal, cheery, positive self. I even ran the Columbus Half Marathon six days after finding out I was pregnant...and set a personal record. I had been training all summer for a PR, and I do not take big goals like this lightly. That was by far the most nervous I had ever been going into a race. It took all the energy I had and I felt horrible, but I did it. I couldn't imagine not hitting that goal.
I share this with you to convey a very important message, and it was something I needed to fully embrace at that time (though I can't say that I did). Perseverance can get you through anything. I truly didn't know if I was going to hit my time goal, and the thought of not achieving this PR I worked so hard for put a horrible feeling in the pit of my stomach...the stomach that was already nauseous. But I knew that I have always achieved the things I truly set my mind to. As I write this several months later, I truly believe that this journey of pregnancy and motherhood will be no different. I don't know exactly how this is all going to look, but I am determined to be the best mom and wife I can be.
I'm also beyond grateful to have Empower Physio and Wellness. This is the metaphorical baby that I have been growing for over a year now, and there has been lots of perseverance that has helped us get to where we are today. Empowering my clients to feel their best, overcome injuries, and break down preconceived notions of what their bodies can or can't do brings me so much joy. (Like, the kind of joy that has me skipping into the house in the evening with a huge smile on my face). I have never been happier in a "job". If raising a baby brings me half as much joy as building my business, life is going to look pretty darn good.
Thank you so much for walking with me on this journey. I am grateful for each and every one of you!
By: Dr. Stephanie Duffey
It’s hard to believe that the holidays have already come and gone. For most of us it’s back to school, back to work, or just back to the grind. It’s also a great time to start thinking about building a solid foundation for those spring races! Most races take place at the end of April or the middle of May, so there’s no time like the present to get moving so you can feel strong and powerful while preventing injury during your training. Whether you set a goal to run a 5k, 10k, full or half-marathon this year, this blog post is for you.
If you are doing a spring race, this is what you should be doing now:
1. Capitalize on strength. I typically recommend that people start strength training about three to four months before the race. Most online running programs won’t tell you this…but take my word for it. This is your opportunity to lay the groundwork and build endurance. Aim to incorporate strength training at least one day per week, ideally two.
2. Focus on your core, legs and glutes. By strengthening these muscles, you’re building the foundation you need as you increase your mileage. Most importantly, working these muscle groups prevents injury…plus who doesn’t want toned abs, legs and a booty?
3. Slowly incorporate running. In addition to your strength training, you may also consider adding in some light mileage. Shoot for two to five miles a couple times per week, depending on your race distance. Be sure to take your runs at a mild pace when you’re starting out. This means that you could easily hold a conversation with someone as you’re running. Around February, consider upping your mileage and incorporating speed work.
4. Shop for quality shoes. This will get you started on the right path as you build from the ground up (quite literally). Plus, if you were looking for an excuse to go shopping, here it is! A good pair of shoes is critical when running any type of race, and you don’t want to wait until race day to get them. You should train in the shoes that you’ll wear for the main event. If you’ve been wearing the same shoes for a long time (over 300-500 miles) it’s probably time to consider a new pair. Your joints will thank you.
5. Get plenty of sleep. Good sleep is important for your overall health in general, but it’s extra important when you’re in training mode. Getting a full eight hours helps your body recover properly and gives you the energy you need to get through those tough workouts as you build intensity. It’s never too early to start improving your sleep hygiene!
6. Don’t forget about nutrition. While I could write a whole other blog post on this topic, (stay tuned) I’ll keep it brief. Be sure you’re getting a healthy balance of protein and carbs, specifically before and after your runs and strength training exercises.
Best of luck starting your training regimen! If you need help from an expert or want a plan customized to YOU, let's chat!
By: Dr. Stephanie Duffey
With the holidays coming to a close, it’s a great time to reflect on what happened in 2019 and look ahead to 2020. If you’re like me, you probably have a million ideas for what you’d like to achieve in the new year. It’s hard not to get caught up in the idea that you have to make huge changes the second January 1 hits. I’m here to tell you that while I admire your ambition, there’s a better way to achieve what you’ve set out to accomplish. In this post, I’ll outline how to set long-term goals (not short-term resolutions) so you can crush 2020!
One big goal can seem daunting and unattainable. But one small adjustment per month–now that’s more realistic! Consider breaking your large goal into smaller milestones. Weight loss is a common one that I hear about often so let’s break it down using a six-month tracker.
Notice that you can make a huge undertaking feel much more manageable by simply splitting out what you want to achieve into consumable, monthly or daily to-do’s. Much like I recommend keeping a food journal, I also recommend that you track any progress or setback you experience each month. This holds you accountable and helps you understand where you need to continue to make changes, and where you thrive.
Good luck with your long-terms goals this new year and if you want help from an expert, let’s chat!
By: Dr. Stephanie Duffey
The holidays are always a time of year where we spend time with loved ones, bundle up, and of course indulge! We’ve all been at a family gathering where we’ve gone back for a third roll (or dessert), only to regret it later. Often this spirals into the unrealistic declaration that we’re “never touching carbs again.” And then we try…and fail…and the cycle repeats. Sound familiar?
I’ve been there too and my personal philosophy is not about restriction—it’s about balance. What if I told you, you could feel better about the choices you’re making and enjoy that slice of grandma’s famous apple pie? Here are a few of my tips for mindful eating, especially around the holiday season.
1. Focus on a nutrition plan, not a diet
Unless you have a food intolerance or allergy, try not to think about eliminating entire food groups. I hate to even use the word “diet,” because when I think of nutrition, I don’t like to think of cutting things out. A balanced plate is the best kind of plate.
2. Choose minimally processed foods
A great place to start is by reading nutrition labels, or choosing foods that don’t require a nutrition label. For packaged foods, the fewer ingredients, the better. Another tip is to look for ingredients you recognize. Try to avoid labels with overly complex ingredients like monosodium glutamate, sucralose, or other nearly indistinguishable words. Instead, stick to a wide variety of fruits and veggies, lean proteins, and foods as close to the ground as possible.
3. Keep a food journal
I know it sounds tedious but I can’t tell you how beneficial it is to physically track what you’re consuming. Journaling about what you’re putting into your body offers good insights to habits and holds you accountable. It also allows you to easily identify how you feel after eating certain foods. You may start to notice patterns. For example, eating sugar could make you feel lethargic or more prone to headaches. Maybe it will even force you to think twice before eating that sugar cookie.
4. Ensure you’re hydrating (with the right liquids)
Hydrating with the right liquids not only helps curb hunger, but it’s also essential in keeping everything running smoothly in your body. Try to stick to water and sparkling water rather than sugary drinks. If you like coffee or tea, consume these in moderation and be aware that they can cause dehydration when consumed in large quantities. Make it your goal to drink half your weight in ounces of water. So, if you weigh 130lbs, your goal is to drink 65oz of water.
5. Let it go!
This one is really important to remember. The holidays are meant to be fun, so be mindful but enjoy yourself. If you had one roll too many, or that slice of pie you didn’t need, let it go and look at each meal as an opportunity to fuel and nourish your body with care.
I hope you enjoy all the wonderful food and time with your loved ones this holiday season!
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By: Dr. Stephanie Duffey
As a physical therapist, I’m often asked the question, “How do I know when I need to slow down, stop, or keep going?” It’s a valid question, and one that many people struggle to identify. It’s challenging to interpret what you’re feeling in your body, when you can push harder, and when you need to scale back. So, to keep things simple, I came up with a little something I like to call the stoplight method. Let’s break it down.
Green Light: When you’re operating at the green light level, you’re able to exercise with no aches and pains and you may even be looking for ways to intensify your workouts. If you’re a runner, you’d be able to maintain the current pace or distance that you’re following with no discomfort. This is where you want to be (but I know this isn’t always possible or realistic).
What to do: Maintain what you’re doing, or experiment with advancing to the next level. For runners, this means working toward a faster pace or increasing your mileage.
Yellow Light: Signs to look for if you’re approaching the yellow light include light soreness or achiness that persists for more than 24 hours after your run, a small limp when running (but not when walking), and slight swelling of your joints after a run.
What to do: Slow down a bit—this is your body telling you to back-off. Take a rest day and re-evaluate how you’re feeling. Try to recognize patterns. For example, maybe your knees start to hurt when it’s time to get new running shoes, so take a trip to the shoe store! Listen to your body and take action if there’s a behavior you need to change to feel better and enhance your performance.
Red Light: If you’re approaching the red light, you’re experiencing very sharp pain that stops you in your tracks. The pain is debilitating and you are unable to walk without a limp. You may be experiencing intense swelling in your joints and intense discomfort that doesn’t subside after 24 hours.
What to do: It’s time to consult an expert. You may be at risk of a stress fracture or other serious injury. While it’s challenging to seek help and cease physical activity, it’s important to be seen by an expert early, so your injury doesn’t intensify. You may also be able to recover more quickly if you get help for the problem earlier rather than later.
I hope my simple stoplight method helps you identify how to deal with the pain you may be experiencing in your body and the action steps you need to take to feel better.
Need help from an expert? Let’s chat!
By: Dr. Stephanie Duffey
Hi, I’m glad you’re here because I’m thrilled to launch our new blog! In early 2019, I founded Empower Physio & Wellness because I’ve always valued the power of movement and physical activity for overall well-being. I wanted to offer more to my clients while sharing my passion for helping people–especially women, unleash their inner strength.
This is the exciting next step in my journey as a business owner. Whether you’re looking for advice about how to deal with back pain, tips for eating mindfully throughout the holiday season, or how to reach your goals, you can find this (and more) here on the blog.
Leave a comment below and let me know a topic that you’re interested in reading about.
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