Li-At Ruttenberg

Recently, Li-At, a Santa Barbara resident, competed against two other contestants in a 12-week Lifestyle Transformation Challenge sponsored by Conditioning Specialists. Before the challenge, Li-At had been searching for a way to have less percent body fat, more cardio capacity, and the tools she needed to continue on this path for the rest of her life. Twelve weeks later she realized she had achieved these goals in ways she never would have imagined.

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Chanda Fetter

Chanda Fetter is the owner of IM=X Pilates, a new studio that opened up on upper State Street last month. Her various programs and facilities offer locals many different ways to benefit from Pilates, whether they seek muscle toning and sculpting to injury prevention therapy. Her goal is to expand her business and continue to open up more studios, providing access to effective and efficient exercise for people of all fitness backgrounds.

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Joe Marso

Joe Marso is a Muscle Activiation Techniques specialist, aiming to alleviate and prevent chronic pain and injury. His background in athletics and expert knowledge biomechanics allow him to help clients of different backgrounds and fitness goals. Learn about how he became a MAT specialist and his advice on stretching and injury prevention!

Occupation: Muscle Activation Techniques (MAT) Specialist, Biomechanics Expert

Resident of Santa Barbara since: August 1968

Favorite Local Restaurant: Opal, Elements, Ca Dario

Music you are currently listening to: The 20’s and 30’s courtesy of “Happy Day’s Radio Show”

Idea of a dream vacation: Fun and laughter 

Where do you see yourself in 10 years? Training others in MAT and traveling to lead workshops on the principles of physics and biomechanics. I really enjoy sharing these principles with my clients during a MAT session

How did you first become involved in the fitness industry? It was over 30 years ago now when I started my first strength training program to enhance performance in my sports. In 1986 I started taking aerobics classes at Gold’s Gym, where just a couple years later I became an instructor. From 1991-1998, I toured as an International Fitness Presenter in Spain, Germany, Luxembourg, and Mexico teaching in three languages. By 2000 I had earned yoga and Pilates certifications.

What made you decide to specialize in Muscle Activation Techniques? MAT is a system of checks and balances that can instantly show someone whether or not his or her exercise program is actually doing what they think it’s doing, or if it’s just reinforcing compensations and inadvertently tearing the person down. With MAT, there’s no guesswork involved. It has over 200 very specific muscle tests that check your reflexes and your body’s ability to react to unexpected loads. During a session, if muscles are unable to respond to a load, one by one they are immediately “jumpstarted”, thus eliminating the need to compensate. Unless compensations are addressed, the strong muscles get stronger and the weak stay weak… and you magnify the imbalance!

What do you love most about your job? I love sharing the unique concepts behind MAT that make it so successful. Seeing the instant gratification and delight on a client’s face throughout a session as muscles, which moments before were inhibited, return once again to full output. There are many rewards that come from helping others.

Why do you think MAT can help anyone in the community? Everyone has some degree of muscle imbalance and positions of vulnerability. MAT will reveal and correct them! Who wouldn’t benefit from increasing their mechanical efficiency? In fact, the more active you are the more important it is to have good alignment and to be “firing on all cylinders”. Try riding your bike with the handle bars loose, bent rims and low tire pressure…you can do it, but it’s unsafe and inefficient!

What do you think is the best way to prevent injury? Three things. First, eliminate asymmetries and compensations in your body. Second, avoid loads that are beyond your bodies tolerance…micro-progress with all your activities. And third, stop stretching now! (that should have gotten your attention!) If you love stretching, find out all you can about it. Passive stretches have a “wonderful” analgesic effect and temporarily (or permanently) weakens tissue. Have you ever wondered why the muscles you stretched are tight again the next day? The central nervous system instructs certain muscles to “tighten up” as a result of weakness and instability sensed around a joint. So, until you address the weakness, the same muscles are instructed to protect the area over and over again. By stretching alone, you are overriding the body’s innate protection mechanism and opening up vulnerabilities.

What advice would you give to people who have chronic pain or injuries? Pain is our body’s way of telling us that there is dysfunction in the system. Just because your left knee hurts, it doesn’t mean that you have a left knee problem. The problem might be in the left hip and/or the foot, or even on the right side! So applying ice, heat, ultrasound, and other modalities to the painful area is often just treating a symptom. If the tires on your car wear out every 3,000 miles, you can keep changing them or find out why. The body will heal itself if you give it an environment to heal in. Therefore, you must find out what is causing the irritation, not just treat the pain. It is MAT’s philosophy to address all muscle inhibitions and imbalances and the pain will fade or disappear.

Rachael Steidi

Rachael Steidl, a mother of three and longtime resident of Santa Barbara, created as a way for families to stay connected with their community through active events, local businesses, and peer blogs. The success of this networking website has inspired Rachael to expand her business nationally and has encouraged mothers to live fit and healthy lives for themselves and for their families.

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Cathi Lamberti

Cathi Lamberti is the inspiration behind Sportwall International, a company providing interactive fitness games for children of all ages that combines fitness with technology and social interaction. Cathi approaches her business with a professional yet fun attitude, conveying to the community that health and fitness deserve camaraderie and entertainment.

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Melissa Mellott

Melissa Mellott is a local author and expert on spa health, with a masters degree from Azuza Pacific. She reveals to us the scoops on how to enjoy a spa treatment without blowing your pay check, how to find the right spa for you, and why spending some R&R time of self-indulgence can help improve your general health.

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Joseph Villano

As an experienced personal trainer, a model, and an educated health professional, Joseph Villano has become a major player in the fitness community over the last several years. He incorporates the important aspects of balance, knowledge, flexibility into strength training workouts and values discipline and body awareness in both his own workouts and with his clients as well.
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Monica Bloch

Monica is a licensed acupuncturist and has studied and practiced natural medicine around the world. Valuing the principles of body awareness and preventative care, Monica helps her patients through noninvasive natural medicine. She fills us in on her future plans, her advice for preventing injuries, and the most rewarding part of her job.

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Teri Coffee McDuffie

Teri Coffee McDuffie is the founder and developer of Santa Barbara Women’s Self-Denfense, a program for women of all ages to become more self-reliant in their own protection. Teri is also a fifth degree black belt with 25 years of training in martial arts.

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Karla Corrales

Karla Corrales is the Gymnastics Director for Girls Inc. of Greater Santa Barbara, an organization dedicated to inspiring all young girls to be strong, smart, and bold. Girls Inc. is holding their annual Family Fun Run/Walk, their biggest yet, on October 20th at the Lemon Festival at Girsh Park in Goleta

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