Shin Splints

Ouch. You ever get shin splints. The very uncomfortable pain, most commonly associated with your anterior shin bone (tibia). Well, often times people who are de-conditioned and out of shape experience this problem when they:

  • Go from sedentary and inactive to weight bearing and active
  • Go from sedentary and/or walking to linear, multi-directional or stop + start running
  • change running surfaces: grass to turf, pavement, concrete or wood
  • wear improper footwear: old, worn out sneakers or poorly fitting sneakers
  • have poor foot musculature (soft feet as opposed to strong, muscular feet)
  • have weak (lack of stability or loose) or jacked up (lack of mobility or stiff) ankles
  • have weak anterior shin muscles
  • have poor hip mobility (stiff hips)
  • have poor lumbar spine stability (weak core)
  • have poor recovery from activity
  • forgot their shin pads and got kicked by your partner in Krav Maga

Why does this happen?

The most common reason they experience this is because their feet are soft from wearing soft shoes. Their ankles are weak and stiff from previous ankle sprains or sitting too often and for too long. Their calves, Achilles tendon or entire lower leg musculatures are tight from also sitting too often and for too long. They lack mobility in their hips (too stiff, not a good dancer) and their core is probably weak (unstable and soft like a bowl full of jelly). You could go further and say their thoracic spine is stiff (upper back), their scapulo-thoracic joint (shoulder blade) is unstable and weak and their gleno-humeral or shoulder joint is stiff and weak. The whole kinetic chain is usually messed up, but not in all cases.

What do you do?

Here’s an 11 point action plan I use in my Newton (Boston) Change Your Body Boot Camps to correct shin splints for my participants from acute symptomatic treatment of the actual pain on your shins (ouch!) to the long term resolution of your issue, sometimes it’s even instantaneous relief, just ask Flo.

1. Ice massage with an ice cup (paper cup filled with water and frozen) rubbed over pain site for 10min (if cold sensitive, take off and put back on when tolerable)

2. Foam Roll calf and Achilles tendon. Turn foot in & out.

3. Foam Roll peronneals on the lateral aspect of the lower leg. This is the Curt Shilling muscle from the blood sox or sock days of 2004.

4. Foam Roll the shins

5. Lacrosse ball roll on foot

6. 3-Directional Flat Ankle Mobes (straight over 2nd toe, diagonally towards big toe & pinky toe)

7. 3-Directional Incline Ankle Mobes (straight over 2nd toe, diagonally over big & pinky toes)

8. Frontal Plane ankle mobes (pronation & supination)

9. Active Shin Stretch

10. Active Gastrocnemius Stretch

11. Active Soleus Stretch

Give it a whirl and post a comment below to let me know how it works for you.

Your coach,

Mike Alves

Boston Boot Camp

Newton Boot Camp

Change Your Body Boot Camps

Self Image

Self Image

There are 2 areas I am rapidly learning about to help my clients achieve their goals. Nutrition is one and psychology is the other. I’m confident my strength and conditioning programs do what their designed to do and am working to master these other 2 areas.

Nutrition involves building a network of go to experts to send clients to or ask questions of, as well as learning answers to basic questions/problems and creating systems to ensure success.

Psychology is a whole other world. Here I need to get into my clients heads and understand what they’re thinking, why they do or don’t do what they do (wink) and how they see themselves.

I’ve got a handful of self improvement resources I’m utilizing and a current one is a book called Psycho-Cybernetics by Dr. Maxwell Maltz.

Dr. Maltz was an renowned plastic surgeon who was mystified how some patients could have instantaneous personality change after surgery and others would not. The others, would still see themselves as blemished even though the particular area of dislike had been improved. These patients could even view before and after photographs of themselves and still see no change.

Poor Self Image

Dr. Maltz discovered they had a self image problem that plastic surgery could not correct. I’ve only just begun the book (re-reading Chapter 2) so I can’t give a full review, but you may already see what I’m hoping to learn. I’m hoping to learn how to spot people who have a poor self image and learn how to instantaneously change it (or as soon as possible).

Upon dialog with my human blog inspiration client, Lisa, about this topic, I learned about Physiognomy (pronounced with a silent G). Physiognomy is the assessment of a person’s character or personality from their outer appearance, especially the face. The term physiognomy can also refer to the general appearance of a person, object or terrain, without reference to its implied characteristics. Basically not only do people judge themselves, but they also judge other people as well.

You: “Duh, Mike! I could have told you that.”

Me: O.K. You’re right. I guess I wanted to share the new vocabulary word.

Anyways, (I’ll get to the point now), I suspect if you can change a person’s or your own self image, not only will it be easier for you to make and accept lasting physical change, but you could potentially alter an observer’s perception of you.

Example: If your countenance or facial expression at rest is one of a frown, sneer or saddness, people may draw the conclusion that your a walking dark cloud and to choose to stay away from you. On the flip side if your countenance at rest is one of a subtle smile or mysterious look, people may draw the conclusion that you’re a happy, attractive or interesting person and be drawn to you.

Not that you judge (wink), but what is your first impression of these countenances?

So in conclusion.

Sometime in the near future I hope to become excellent at instantaneous and sustainable self image corrections for myself, my clients and people I come in contact with. I hope to use this to alter the physiognomies or first impressions of other people. This combined with superior nutritional, strength and conditioning programs should result in a whole lotta people who love themselves and their new bodies/lifestyles.

Your coach,

Mike Alves

Newton Boot Camp

p.s. Speaking of Love, check out what Flo loves.

Sent: Friday, July 10, 2009 9:42:36 AM
Subject: Yay Boot Camp!

Hey Mike,
As challenging and hard as it is, I LOVE boot camp!…I’m always surprised by how great I feel at the end of the hour, ready to go and energized for the day.

Just wanted to let you know. πŸ™‚


Scary Change = Excitement

Here’s an e-mail I received from a new, Change Your Body Boot Camp client.

Hey Mike,

I just wanted to let you know that after Day 1 of Boot Camp I’m really excited! The workout was hard and I can’t believe how much I’m feeling it today! I think that this change was just what I needed. This really challenges me to do all I can and be the best I can be to keep up with everyone! It’s still a little scary but everyone seems pretty cool and nice so I’m glad I made the change.

I can only imagine how hard tomorrow’s workout will be since my legs and arms are pretty beat up from yesterday!

I hope you have a super day and I’ll see you bright and early tomorrow!


Lisa, I thought you did great and I look forward to coaching you tomorrow.

Mike Alves

I’m a professional, do not try this at home! (wink)

Here’s a fun one for you. I was racking the ‘ol cabeza, literally, to come up with some new vertical push exercises.

Lets see. We’ve got overhead presses, dips, push press/jerks…what about a Hand Stand Push Up?

Can I even do one?

Watch the videos below and find out.

Here is attempt #1. For the record I did 5 or 6 total, though my bro only caught 2 or 3.

I am aware they were not pretty. My hips “sagged” towards the door. What happened to my trunk stability?

Attempt #2, Tripod Push Up. (wanted to correct the sagging hips, so changed direction)

No chance. I think I maxed out on the first set.

Attempt #3, From a Hand Stand again with back against the door.

Nope! Not happening. Have to try again tomorrow.

To my clients. Yup, you know what’s coming. Hope you don’t mind having blood rush to your head. πŸ™‚

Course, I won’t teach it, if I can’t do it, so your safe. For a little while.


Mike Alves

Personal Training, Semi-Private Training & Boot Camps in Boston and Newton, MA

Earn and Burn Baby!

Thanksgiving is upon us and boy am I ready for some cheesecake. Yup, I said it. I heart cheesecake. Now, don’t get me wrong, this is on the “bad” list, its a splurge meal, its part of the 10% cheat meal, etc…, but I know a secret that I’ve shared with my clients and I’ll share with you. It’s called earn and burn. Catchy isn’t it. πŸ™‚

Earn & Burn

Earn and Burn simply means to earn your calories by burning your calories. Create a caloric deficit before, enjoy your meals and expend additional calories after. Get it? It’s simple right? Most people either have never thought about this or if they did, weren’t really sure how to do it.

Enter…the Mastuh Trainuh! πŸ™‚

Here’s what you do. Call your friends, family or loved ones you’ll be spending Turkey day with and ask them if they’d like to join you in an “earn & burn”. Decide what you want to do. It could be a long, looping walk around town, a 5k (3mile) Turkey Trot or a 30-45minute Fat Loss Workout. It can be something else too, just remember it should either be of long duration or highly exertional. If you choose the walk, shoot for an hour looping walk. If you choose the run, have fun and make sure to warm up & cool down. The more calories burnt the better. If you choose a fat loss workout, intensity with minimal rest is key.

What’s a fat loss workout? Great question.

A fat loss workout is a high intensity interval training workout. It can be done anywhere, anytime with most any object.

Wanna see a fat loss workout in action? Click play to watch the video.

Did you see people just like you in the video? Most anyone can do this workout. Use more weight if you’re in better shape, use less weight or none if you’re out of shape. Rest if you need to. Not too intimidating and maybe it even looked interesting or dare I say, “fun”. πŸ™‚

Back to earn & burn.

Next comes the holiday meal we’ve all been waiting for. Mmmmm, mmmm, look at all the good food. Go and enjoy your dinner and your company, savor each forkful and leave room for dessert, if that’s your thing, just don’t eat the cheesecake, I heard it was gross. (wink)

The final burn

After the big meal, go for a “Last Name” family Walk. We do an “Alves Family Walk” and because its New England we’re all bundled up. Doesn’t stop us though. It’s tradition. Sometimes we even do it before dessert, o.k. we maybe did that once, but we tried it. Not every one joins us, but the majority do. We go for a big walk, everyone together, little circles form talking about who knows what. Then we come back and fight over seats on the sofa. πŸ™‚ Sound familiar?

So do you think you can do an earn & burn this year?

Would you like a fat loss workout to do and share Thanksgiving morning?

If you said yes, you’re in luck.

Fat Loss Workout

The Freaky Fat Loss PUMP-kin Workout is finally done and ready to be shared. It was supposed to be a copy and grew to a mini e-book, but its ready and I’m excited to share it with you, free of charge. To receive it, just comment below “More PUMP-kin Workout Please” with your e-mail address written like this: username(at)domain(dot)com. I’ll e-mail it to you asap.

That’s it. No strings, just my way of giving back and fighting fat.

(I’m still hoping to post it for easy download, but all of the pictures, descriptions and content has made it too large to host on my website. E-mail works fine as I’ve already sent it to myself).

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.

Your personal coach,

Mike Alves

PS if you take the leftovers, keep earning & burning through the weekend.

PPS this is my first e-book, so feedback is very welcome.

PPPS Change Your Body Boot Camps begins Monday, December 1st. To learn more visit,