I recently caught up with my friend Holly Powers-Verbank who owns MakeYourBusinessCook! She trains chefs who want to leave the restaurant grind and go out on their own to become personal and/or private chefs who run their own businesses.

That got me thinking. It’s surprising how much the work of chefs is like the work of athletes

  • Lifting a 5-gallon pot of water is equal to that 40lb medicine ball that professional golfers swing to improve their rotational power.
  • Standing, bending, and stooping during a 12-hour kitchen shift is active motions of a first-baseman during a double-header.
  • Making 100 pizzas demands that chefs work at shoulder level, reaching in and out of an oven hundreds of times, just like a tennis player who strokes ball after ball on the court for hours on end.

These motions wreak havoc on the body, particularly for those chefs who lack training regiment to help them undo the effects of their repetitive motions and correct work-related dysfunction and misalignment.

How do repetitive motions in the kitchen affect the longevity of professional chefs and their careers?

Repetitive motions cause extreme stress on the body, and eventually wear it down. Since the job of chefs is so physically demanding, the median age of chefs is 36 years old. After that age, many chefs suffer injuries and symptoms that are so severe that they are forced to leave the culinary field at the peak of their talents. This leaves personal chefs and private chefs without a safety net for retirement and plagues them with years of suffering from a broken, exhausted body.

What solutions are available to treat repetitive motion injuries for personal chefs and private chefs?

The secret to culinary health and longevity in the field is to treat the chef body like that of an athlete because the demand on bones, muscles and joints is equally strenuous.

Ask any professional athlete if their talent alone sustains their careers.  The responses will be nearly unanimous: it is their off-field dedication that really impacts their longevity.

This includes:

  • Health (hydration, sleep, nutrition)
  • Mobility (flexibility and stability while balancing the body)
  • Strength (upper and lower body power, and control throughout the core)
  • Performance (persistent dedication to your craft at the highest level)

What are the most common injuries for professional chefs?

While burns and cuts are some of the most common injuries for chefs, they effects are temporary. The real game changers are injuries that can take chefs out of their culinary career and leave them broke and broken. 

These life-changing injuries usually result from neglect in the following areas:

Health

Health is synonymous with wellbeing and care. Inadequate hydration makes chefs stiff and tight during work, which stresses the body. Inadequate sleep makes chefs tired, irritable, physically weak and more prone to injury. Insufficient nutrition robs chefs of their energy and stamina, and makes recovery from the workday more challenging. 

Mobility

Mobility combines flexibility and stability so that your body is balanced during work. When it’s not, chefs compensate, which leads to poor form and dysfunction. You may not feel it now, but eventually dysfunction will lead to pain and then injury.

Strength

Strength necessitates power. Chefs with strong and functional bodies have what it takes to move with less effort and more efficiency through their workday. Chefs, who lack strength, must compensate to get the job done. Warning: compensation leads to dysfunction, which leads to injury.

Performance

Performance requires the ability to do what you love, the highest level possible, for as long as you desire!

When chefs take care of these aspects of their health and fitness, they perform at a higher level, with less pain, and a reduced risk of career-altering injuries.

[Watch the Chefs Injury-Prevention Training Session – button -linked to Holly’s URL landing page]

What exercises can chefs do to prevent career-ending injuries?

There are six key exercises professional chefs can use daily to extend their careers and reduce injuries from repetitive motions in the kitchen, at the stove, and in front of the cutting board.

As a professional trainer for athletes, I have teamed up with Holly Powers-Verbeck of MakeYourBusinessCook! to assemble six specific exercises chefs can do in less than 15 minutes-a-day. Chefs can even split this routine between the start and end of their shift, so if you are hurrying to get out the door, you can do one-half of the set and still experience great results!

Watch the Chefs Injury-Prevention Training Session!

Conclusion – If I work as a personal chef or private chef will these exercises extend my culinary career?

Yes!

Whether you work in a commercial or residential kitchen, these exercises will help you. Now you have two super powerful experts in your apron pocket. I’ll help you keep your body fit, flexible, and strong so you can take on the demands of your workday and prolong your culinary career well into your 40s, 50s, and even 60s. Plus,

Holly is ready to help you harness your entrepreneurial spirit to run your own business. If you’re a chef, make sure you join her Facebook group: Holly’s Chefs Who Call Their Own Shots. This is where we originally aired this training and the place where you can get hacks, tips, and tricks for running your own independent chef business.

Grab your chef-specific exercise training session with me by clicking here now. Together, Holly and I are passionate about helping chefs call their own shots and do what they love without ruining their bodies in the process. BAM, chef!

Watch the Chefs Injury-Prevention Training Session!