Show Notes

Today’s guest, Scott Bottorff, is a former division 1 and minor league professional hockey player, professional bodybuilder and fascia specialist who has an innate desire to understand the true limits of what the human animal is capable of. Since the age of 4, he’s honed his view of athletic performance and what it means to move truly free through a combination of fire, the gym, and ice competing at a national stage by the time he was 15.

His fascination with performance has led him down a path of discovery that included the traditional movement therapies many athletes are already familiar with. Think flexibility training, physical therapy, nutrition, and strength training as examples.

What he’s spent nearly the last decade testing and discovering is the forgotten, overlooked, and perhaps totally misunderstood the power of our fascia which may be the key to unlocking our potential as athletes. From 2010 on, his story reads more like a time traveler than athlete or coach having crisscrossed space and time to understand the intersections of ancient Chinese medicine, eastern philosophy, Tai Chi, Meridians polarity therapy and many other typically fringe modalities on athletic performance.

This knowledge and his ability to produce performance results for himself and his clients have paved the way for his work with elite competitors across the country including NFL players, Olympic athletes, MMA fighters, just to name a few.

Today, we’ll be covering some interesting topics like fascia, the impact of emotional trauma on our bodies, and the importance of recovery for athletes in performance.

 

What is fascia and why should we care about it? [1:22]

  • It’s your body structure. It’s what gives our physical body shape.

 

Connection between fascia and emotions and how it can affect an athlete’s performance. [2:27]

  • The fascia has great force. If it’s emotional trauma, physical, or energetic it’s going to be just like life trauma.
  • The fascia has a great potential to protect us whenever the body is perceiving an event that is either life, death, or survival, which always happens when you’re an athlete.
  • The force of a hit gets stored in the body and it’s paramount to release the fascia after an injury. Otherwise, you’re going to be defined by your previous traumas and that’s how you’ll function every day after that.
  • If we can open up the fascia, we can unwind the tension that was built. Inside those knots, there is cellular data of the event that happened during that time, whether emotional or physical. The fascia has a direct connection to the nervous system; the spinal cord and brain. [6:40]

 

Connection between language and fascia [7:00]

  • The body, and especially the fascia, is the unconscious mind. [7:27]
  • Our nervous system moves everything in the body.
  • Everyone is in fight or flight motion that makes our fascia tense even more. Barely anyone is in a calm state these days. This leads the fascia to keep telling our nervous system that we’re in a risky situation.

Why isn’t recovery a bigger part of the athletic arena? [9:01]

  • The western approach and understanding of the body is laughing [9:40]
  • ‘’When I was in school for PET, they taught nothing about the deep fascia or how the tendons function with it for the 6-year program.’’ In Chinese and eastern cultures, fascia has been apparent for 7000 years.
  • It doesn’t matter how much you train as an athlete. If you have scar tissue in the chest, your VO2 max and endurance will not go up. You must change that tissue.

 

How coaches and athletes can start understand deep fascia. [11:15]

  • A lot of people don’t know about joint awareness. There are different layers of deep fascia that connects at the tendons. It’s very few athletes that unwind their tendons but this is very critical.
  • There are different planes of fascia but symmetry builds opportunity for greater performance.
  • The tendons and fascia are spiral like DNA. They get torqued into the bone and joint and most athletes don’t even know what an open joint feels like because we’re always tensing.
  • Western chiropractic thinks that bones move muscles which is not usually the case. [18:51]
  • Strength training can either help you or destroy you. Lifting heavy can distort your movement patterns unless you’re aware of deep fascia, the tendons, and joint attachment.

 

Total disconnect between the mind and body when someone is lifting. [24:16]

  • Lack of understanding causes people to have a disconnect between the mind and body when lifting heavy.
  • Most athletes are not aware if they’re moving with their fascia scar tissue or with their muscle and what I do is I usually have to introduce the athlete to their body again.
  • To check if your hamstring works as an athlete, you can tell by how the leg moves. Sometimes the leg will kick down and barely move and it will feel very empty. This is an indication that the fascia is so tight that the brain doesn’t even know the hamstring exists anymore.
  • Whenever the air gets blocked off from the fascia being so tense, the brain doesn’t pick up on the hamstring being there and that’s where we get the scar tissue.[27:14]

 

Athletes need to understand how to connect to their bodies [28:11]

  • There are new talents in hockey that are in a level where all other players are not close to simply because they are in touch with their bodies in a way other players aren’t.
  • Connor McDavid has some unreal moves because he is aware of his tendons, joints, and fascia. Whether it’s conscious or unconscious, he’s truly aware of it.
  • In athletic performance, we think about the mind and the body. It’s mind over matter where we push our bodies to the limit. We need to be careful of the feedback that our body is giving us. However, some people get feedback and some people don’t.
  • When an athlete feels pain, it’s automatic for them to fixate on the pain which they need to fix. This approach is not productive. It doesn’t work whether it’s psychologically, emotionally, or physically.
  • In Eastern culture, they view pain as an echo of communication. The fascia has that sensation.
  • Pain is a communication which will turn into a sensation, which will eventually turn into information, then we get understanding.

 

The explosion of awareness that allows athletes to get to the state of performance of being in the zone.

  • ’I’ve worked with a lot of yoga instructors, spiritual energy healers, but everyone the ‘zone’. This effortless calm existence of receiving life but no one tells me how to do it physically.’’
  • Sport introduces the body to the zone but can do the opposite as well. In the East, the wise men, who do the daily practice every day feels his body. He might do only one thing every day that he’s completely mastered and he feels his body in a way that a young talent feels, and more.
  • Over-training can almost hinder an athlete from getting in the ‘zone’. [35:43] many athletes don’t have a relaxed nervous system.
  • If the nervous system is not in a calm, parasympathetic state, the body doesn’t heal despite having the perfect training program.
  • ‘’I always used to get in the zone when I had my best games. One of my games I was playing and I scored 3 goals in 38 seconds. I was so calm and quiet and did no thinking.’’
  • We’re all stuck in our minds and have lost our instinctual body and intuitive body. The key is to be able to calm the nervous system down. The fascia is really the key. If you open that up the body believes that it’s not in the fight or flight state and therefore receives tons of information.

 

How an athlete starts to cultivate a deeper sense of awareness with their body. [39:09]

  • The first thing is to be able to calm the nervous system but most athletes don’t have a practice of this.
  • If you put your legs on the wall and above the head for 5 minutes, that will bring blood to your stomach. This will start to calm down the nervous system as well as open up the valve through the lymph nodes.
  • When you roll the cross ball at the bottom of your foot, there’s a fascia point there and there’s the origin points for all the organs. All powerful points for organs are in the foot. This simple practice sends energy and blood flow to the organs and the superficial fascia starts to release a little bit and people start to feel a spark.

 

What does it mean to be an Omni athlete? [42:51]

It’s a constant learning. It’s like you’re always going to be that diligent student. For me, it’s always pushing the envelope to see what’s possible with the human potential.

 

PULLED QUOTES.

  • The fascia has a direct connection to the nervous system; the spinal cord and brain. [6:40]
  • The body, and especially the fascia, is the unconscious mind. [7:27]
  • The western approach and understanding of the body is laughing [9:40]
  • Western chiropractic thinks that bones move muscles which is not usually the case. [18:51]
  • Whenever the air get blocked off from the fascia being so tense, the brain doesn’t pick up on the hamstring being there and that’s where we get the scar tissue.[27:14]
  • Over-training can almost hinder an athlete from getting in the ‘zone’. [35:43]

 

LINKS MENTIONED IN PODCAST

Learn more about Scott’s work at Aspire flex.life