In this edition of ‘In the Spotlight,’ let’s talk with Jessica Mizell. I have been fortunate to work with Jessica for over a year now and enjoy each and every session.
For the past year, Jessica and I have worked to address her daily work routine and towards specific health & fitness goals. Due to a demanding job that consists of re-organizing classrooms, re-locating heavy objects, and/or sitting for an extended period of time completing administrative work, our focus often varies from breathing and stress reduction to movement and lifting. Because we only see each other once a week, it’s important to detail out the most beneficial strategies to complete when we aren’t together. This could range from diaphragmatic breathing on a stressful workday to exercise and strength training throughout the week.
One area that has seemed to be impactful is workplace ergonomics. After recurrent pain at the neck and shoulders, it became evident that looking more closely at the set-up of her desk, computer, and chair was important. I am thankful Jessica took the time to make these changes because too often do people seek manual therapy and corrective exercise without first removing the harmful stimulus which got them into the situation in the first place.
As we get underway in 2019, I am excited to work with Jessica more. And now that I know she likes pushing sleds (see below!) there will be a whole lot more to come!
Without further ado, let’s shine the spotlight on…
Q: Where are you from?
A: “I am from Baton Rouge, La. I’ve lived in the Nashville area for a little over two years.”
Q: What do you do for work?
A: “I work at High Hopes Development Center, a nonprofit inclusive preschool, kindergarten, and pediatric therapy clinic that serves children with special needs and those who are typically developing. About two months ago, I transitioned into a new role, Family Support Services Coordinator. I provide resources and create cost effective programming opportunities for our kiddos and families. For the previous two years, I was the Executive Assistant to the Executive Director, Volunteer Coordinator, and also coordinated the administrative aspects of our kindergarten program.”
Q: When you aren’t working, what are some of your favorite hobbies?
A: I enjoy cooking for family and friends and trying out new recipes. I collect antiques and love hitting the antique stores in the area to find something to add to my collection. And I’m a die hard fan of the LSU Tigers and the New Orleans Saints.
Q: If you could live anywhere in the world where would that be? Why?
A: “I would have house on a lake or river. I love being near a body of water. It’s so peaceful and relaxing.”
Q: When you first started working with Garrett, what were the goals you wanted to achieve?
A: “The goals I wanted to achieve were to lose weight and create healthy habits in my daily routine.”
Q: What motivated you to work with Garrett and/or start making changes in your routine?
A: “I started working with Garrett shortly after I moved to Nashville. I had gained a lot of weight due to an autoimmune condition which caused inflammation and muscle and joint pain. I was off meds and doing better, but I knew I needed to make changes in my lifestyle. I had met with other fitness professionals, but never felt confident in their abilities to adjust sessions based on if I was having joint pain or any other limitations I may have had. Garrett’s background in athletic training is why I chose to work with him. He is an expert in his field and is always super cautious about anything that causes me joint pain. With his guidance, I have worked through lots of limitations and can do many exercises free of joint pain.”
Q: What is your favorite part about the sessions?
A: “I know I’m gonna regret saying this… but sleds are one of my favorite things. I remember the first time Garrett made me push a sled and thought there was no way I would be able to do it. Before my move to Nashville, I worked in college athletics and watched my student-athletes push sleds all the time. It looked intimidating and I never thought there would ever be a day where I would push sleds. Then I did it! It was challenging, but I felt accomplished. And every time I push the sled it reminds me that I can do hard things! And that’s really why I like it!”
Q: What is that one thing you dislike the most but continue to work on because you know it will help?
A: “Step ups!!”
Q: If there is one piece of advice that you could provide to yourself when you first started training with Garrett, what would that be?
A: “Being consistent in the long term is the key to a healthy lifestyle.”
Q: Your job can be very demanding on the mind and body. What strategies have you incorporated while at work to help de-stress and reduce tension at the neck/shoulders?
A: “Garrett has given me lots of stretches and exercises to use throughout the day when I feel tension in my neck and shoulders. It really helps me to get away from my desk for a few minutes when I feel the tension in my upper body. Instead of sending a coworker an email I will get up and go talk to them. Just a little movement helps tremendously. Going through a quick breathing exercise always helps me de-stress and reduces tension. I set an alarm to remind me and use the breathing exercise on my Fitbit.”
Q: Do you have any recommendations for others when it comes to desk and sitting ergonomics?
A: “Yes, for years I’ve had lots of pain and tension in my neck and shoulders. I’ve had lots of manual therapy, but Garrett is the only person who addressed the cause of the problem. I am amazed that making the few simple adjustments Garrett recommended to my office space relieved so much pain and tension. I would recommend checking if the height of your computer screen is too low, if your forearms are supported and being sure both arms are resting equally on the table.”
Q: How do you feel Garrett’s services may differ from other professionals in his field?
A: “Garrett’s background in athletic training sets him apart from other professionals in the field. With his vast experience, he sees things from a different point of view and I feel like I am working with a healthcare provider not a fitness professional. He is an expert in human anatomy and easily adapts exercises around pain, injury, or other health conditions.”
Thank you for reading this ‘In the Spotlight’ segment. And, a big shout out to Jessica Mizell! Please feel free to comment below with any questions or feedback.