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Exercise is great, but it shouldn’t injure you!

“Many people trying online routines during the coronavirus pandemic are finding it’s not so easy to do them right.” A recent article in the Wall Street Journal, titled “New Home Workouts Come With New Aches and Pains”, has pointed out an unfortunate side effect of folks exercising at home during the pandemic shelter-in-place order.

They are getting injured.

Social media has been saturated with home-based exercise programs as the fitness industry works hard to get, and keep, individuals exercising during this intense, but temporary, period of partial social isolation and staying at home.

We wish we could tell you that under any and all conditions you should always be pursuing exercise because it is always good for you…

It’s not!

“This is chess, not checkers” —Alonzo Harris: Denzel Washington’s Character in the movie, Training Day

Of course, we commend everyone who has made the wise choice to begin and sustain a regular routine of physical exercise.

Exercise is simple, right?

It looks so easy when the trainer and therapists are doing it on the video.

There is a name for the exercise, there is a way it is supposed to be done, you do it, and it helps you!


Apparently not.

Physical exercise is certainly presented like checkers: a relatively simple and easy game that doesn’t require a lot of skill and deep thinking… some quick fun for the family.

But physical exercise is really more like chess. Chess is a complex game that requires deeper thinking, patience, and skill. So is physical exercise.


Because the human body is really complicated!

Because exercise places stress on your body.

There are hundreds of muscles, joints, tendons, ligaments, nerves, bones, and on and on.

These structures and tissues have varying properties and tolerances for handling stress.

Some are better at it than others. If you haven’t exposed some of them to the demands of the physical stress of exercise in awhile, or you have had surgeries, previous injuries, or diseases that negatively affect some of your body’s tissues then they just might not be ready.

Instead of being a great thing to do to promote health and wellness, physical exercise becomes a process that degrades it.

But there is a solution.

1 Take honest stock of your own body. Ask yourself some questions:

  • How long has it been since I really exercised and moved the way that an exercise is “supposed” to be done?
  • Have I had injuries or surgeries that could have compromised parts of my system

2. Put the ego aside. Expediency is the wrong mindset for exercise. Physical exercise is a long game.

3. Start slowly and do not assume that because an exercise looks easy it will be.

4. Pay attention to body signals. You’re the expert on your bodily experience. Trust that. If it doesn’t feel right to you stop or modify.

5. Take on the perspective of what is the least amount of exercise I need to do to reach my goal, not the most. Overdosing exercise is the problem.

6. Seek professional guidance and support from a qualified healthcare professional and trainer.

  • Get a thorough pre-exercise assessment to identify any areas of your body that need to be shored up prior to engaging in unrestricted physical exercise.

7. Take Dr. Nicholas DiNubile’s Advice: “The managed dose of exercise that will do the most for you – without harming you – needs to be measured out for you alone.” (1)

If you have been injured while exercising, see your physician to make sure nothing really serious has happened that will require medical attention. When the doctor gets done, and there is no serious problem, seek out an Exercise Professional from the MedFit Network to discuss how we can help measure out the right dose of exercise – just for you – so you can exercise safely and effectively for life.

Co-written by Charlie Rowe and Greg Mack.

Charlie Rowe, CMSS joined Physicians Fitness in the fall of 2007 after spending 9 years as the Senior Personal Trainer at Oak Hill Country Club in Rochester, New York. He has also worked within an outpatient Physical Therapy Clinic coordinating care with the Physical Therapist since joining Physicians Fitness. Charlie has earned the Cooper Clinic’s Certified Personal Trainer, the NSCA’s Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, the American College of Sports Medicine Certified Health Fitness Specialist, Resistance Training Specialist Master Level, and American Council on Exercise Certified Orthopedic Exercise Specialist Certifications. 

Greg Mack is a gold-certified ACE Medical Exercise Specialist and an ACE Certified Personal Trainer. He is the founder and CEO of the corporation Fitness Opportunities. Inc. dba as Physicians Fitness and Exercise Professional Education. He is also a founding partner in the Muscle System Consortia. Greg has operated out of chiropractic clinics, outpatient physical therapy clinics, a community hospital, large gyms, and health clubs, as well operating private studios. His experience in working in such diverse venues enhanced his awareness of the wide gulf that exists between the medical community and fitness facilities, particularly for those individuals trying to recover from, and manage, a diagnosed disease. 


(1) DiNubile, MD, Nicholas A. Framework: Your 7-Step program for healthy muscles, bones, and joints, 2005, Page xix.

Eric Chessen 1

When To Pass “Go”: Criteria for Baseline Mastery and Coaching The Neuroadaptive Population

“So every few weeks you change things up, right?”

A common question asked by parents when I begin working with a new athlete in my program. 

“I change the exercises once we see independent mastery. Variety is just variety without pre-requisite skills being developed. So yes, I’ll add some new exercises…when it makes sense.”

If there’s one thing I can’t do it might be avoiding long-winded sentences. 

For the autism and other neuroadaptive populations, developing strength and enhancing motor skills does not come easily. Pre-existing deficits in motor control and stability can present a challenge for engaging in a variety of physical activities. Many individuals with ASD often find physical activity aversive due to myriad factors. Among these are;

  • New/novel tasks and environments
  • Instructions that may be unclear
  • Elevated anxiety and uncertainty 

The pathology behind movement limitations is a combination, mostly a feedback loop, of muscular and neurological impediments. Differentiation in neuronal firing for those with autism causes a delay in neuromuscular performance, often resulting in movement that can be described as “clunky,” “inhibited,” and compensatory patterns are often observed.

Given the importance of fitness, particularly the development of strength and stability for neuroadaptive populations, it is critical to implement programming that addresses strength deficits and contraindicated movement patterns. An effective approach progresses or regresses exercises based on current level of ability.

Criteria for Baseline Mastery (CfBM) is a protocol borrowed from the practice of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA). CfBM provides us a clear description of when a skill is mastered and what the requirements are for that goal. Mastery, in this definition, means that the skill can be performed to a particular level independently. 

In our Autism Fitness™ programs, we use CfBM to set goals, track progress, and provide appropriate progressions and regressions for each athlete with every exercise. With squats, we very often reduce range of motion (ROM) by having the athlete squat to a box or similar stable platform. Depending on trunk stability, an upper body support may also be required. Having the athlete hold onto a band (held lengthwise by the coach), provides additional support. What we’re after is the athlete’s best performance of the squat with a complete reduction of compensatory movement.

Establishing a standard for performance enables us to set both general and specific goals for each athlete. For squats, as with most of our strength-focused exercises, we use 3 sets of 10 reps as our goal. Within those sets and repetitions, we are looking for stability and control throughout the entire range of motion (hips below parallel). While 3 x 10 may initially read like a standard-issue hypertrophy protocol (not necessarily bad, either), there is further reason to embrace this scheme. Three sets provides enough stimulus for the athlete and enough observational opportunity for the coach for integrity or technical breakdown of the movement. If and when the athlete is able to maintain technical control of the squat for 3 sets of 10 reps, it will be abundantly clear that they have mastered the skill, at least to the current level of challenge. 

We use 10 repetitions because it takes us far enough away from maximal loading to be safe (especially for detrained athletes) and an excellent range for improving general strength and muscular development. If an athlete can perform 10 consecutive squats below parallel maintaining rooted foot position and spinal integrity, we have valid claim to progressing the exercise.

For those with neurodevelopmental challenges, it may take months to improve on a particular exercise. Strength and stability aside, proprioception (the real-world “mind/body” relationship) often presents as a particular obstacle. Our athlete may confuse squatting with bouncing or sitting, intentionally or unintentionally rushing through the exercise. 

We have to be careful in assessing the underlying reason for the bounce and/or sit squat. When we consider through the lens of the PAC Profile™, we ask whether this is a physical, adaptive, and/or cognitive concern. For each possibility, we can apply particular questions.

Physical: Is the squat progressed beyond the current capability of the athlete and are they compensating as a result?

Adaptive: Is the athlete sufficiently motivated to complete the exercise at their current level of ability?

Cognitive: Does the athlete understand the expectation for performance of the squat? Are we certain it is clear for them? 

Our goal for each athlete, strictly from the physical perspective, is safe and effective performance of each exercise or movement pattern before adding variety. Building a foundation of strength, stability, and motor planning can have restorative and preventative benefits and enhance quality of life at any age.

Eric Chessen, M.S. is the Founder of Autism Fitness. An Exercise Physiologist with an extensive background in Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA), Eric has coached successful fitness and adapted PE programs for the neurodiverse population over 18 years. Eric is the creator of the Autism Fitness™ Certification and PAC Profile™ Method. He is also Director of Neuroadaptive Programming for Inclusive Fitness. He resides in Charlotte, NC. Go to AutismFitness.com for more information. 


Healthy Aging and You: The Power of Strength Training

I recently thought about why we exercise and what we choose to do first – and it isn’t generally strength training. Why is that? I believe it’s because we feel we CAN’T do something about becoming stronger unless we join a gym – and then we always seem to gravitate to cardio exclusively as if that is all we can do. We want to lose weight, feel better about ourselves, burn stored fat or just increase our energy level, but what if there was a better way?

fitness tracker

3 Pros vs. 3 Cons of Wearable Fitness Trackers – Are Any Right for You?

Fitness trackers are some of the hottest tech gadgets on the market. They can measure your daily steps count, monitor your heart rate, log how many calories you’ve eaten, and even analyze your sleep quality. Some models can read your blood oxygen levels and use GPS technology to keep track of your running, walking, or biking route. Many people swear by making this type of “wearable” technology a part of their daily routines.

But is there any merit to all this hype?

Are fitness trackers a passing trend or a worthy addition to your health and exercise routine?

Why wear a fitness tracker?

We all know that it’s important to exercise regularly, especially as we age. Studies have shown that physical activity can extend longevity, prevent cardiovascular disease and stroke, and combat the onset of dementia. Having a regular exercise routine is an important part of keeping your body feeling young and in shape. The trouble is that many people struggle with keeping up a consistent workout routine. This is where fitness trackers come in.

Fitness trackers are wearable health devices designed to monitor your activity level. They come in all shapes and sizes, from simple models that are little more than glorified pedometers to advanced smartwatches that can track your body’s vital signs in micro detail.

Tracking your fitness activity also can be an important step to taking charge of your health because it makes people more conscious of their health. Having a log of your activity level and vital signs can also be a valuable tool to share with your doctor or personal trainer. Seeing hard data makes it easier to create a sustainable routine you can stick to.

The Pros of Using a Fitness Tracker

Helps build routine

For many people, blindly exercising without any way to track their progress can be frustrating. It can be hard to find the motivation to get moving when you have no way of knowing if your efforts are working. Wearing a fitness tracker allows you to see your progress in real-time and make adjustments. If you track 5,000 steps a day, you can make it a goal to gradually increase to the recommended 10,000 steps per day. It can be motivating to see your numbers improve, which makes it easier to stick to your routine.

Motivates you to move more

Most of us spend far more time than we’d like to on the couch. Sitting too much can be deadly. It’s a good rule of thumb to get up and move for 15 minutes for every hour that you spend sitting down. Many fitness trackers come with built-in reminders for this exact reason, helping you remember to get up and move throughout the day.

Keeps track of your dietary choices

Many fitness trackers offer ways to input your daily food and water intake via the connected apps. Keeping track helps make sure that you’re getting adequate nutrition. Studies have shown that tracking your food intake can lead to weight loss, even without following a specific diet plan. The information can also help a dietitian or a personal trainer get an idea of your daily meal plan. They can use this data to help you formulate a healthy diet, and logging your choices regularly can help you stick to it.

The Cons of Using a Fitness Tracker

Can be overwhelming

Some people may find the amount of data to be overwhelming. Many devices offer far more options than the average person needs, and the high cost of some premium models means they may not be an ideal investment. Those who are less technically savvy may also find the device’s smartphone app frustrating to use, or simply not worth the trouble.

Ask yourself what’s most important to you to keep track of — such as your heart rate, number of steps and estimated number of calories burned — then look for models that only track those features. You’ll save money and save your brain from information overload.

May lead to obsessive behavior

The detailed stats that a fitness tracker provides can be a tremendous motivation for some people. But for others, this may open a gateway to obsessive behavior. Many people can’t help but fixate on obtaining perfect stats, and may push themselves too hard to achieve them. The number on the screen is only a best estimation of your daily activity, not a measure of your self-worth! It’s also worth noting that fitness trackers are not medically accurate with their stats, and there can be vast discrepancies between different models.

Not as useful in the long-run

While a fitness tracker can be a valuable tool to motivate you in the early stages of your fitness journey, they’re not as useful for keeping the weight off in the long-run. Surveys have shown that around ⅓ of people who buy fitness trackers stop wearing their devices after six months. Other studies have found that they’re not as helpful for losing weight as most people would believe. A randomized trial by the Journal of American Medicine found that people who didn’t wear a fitness tracker actually lost around 8 pounds more on average compared to their device-wearing counterparts.

Does that mean that wearing a fitness tracking device will inhibit your progress? Not necessarily. Those in the study who wore the trackers still saw improvements to their body composition and physical fitness thanks to their new diet and exercise routines. That’s because the trick to living a healthy lifestyle is finding a routine that works and sticking to it. If the fitness tracker helps you do this, excellent! If not, another method of motivation might be better for you.

The Best Alternatives to Fitness Trackers

It’s worth noting that shelling out hundreds of dollars for a fitness tracker isn’t the only way to monitor your health. If you want to get an idea of what your heart rate is like while exercising, try this simple experiment: go for a brisk 30-minute walk around your neighborhood. When you get to the halfway point, try singing one of your favorite songs. If you can sing it perfectly without any hesitation, up the pace.

You can also set “stand up and move” reminders on your watch or smartphone. For tracking your food intake, there are a number of apps available to let you log your daily meals. Some people enjoy keeping a physical food journal rather than going with a purely digital route. You can always experiment until you find the right method.

The Bottom Line

When used correctly, a fitness tracker can be a helpful tool that offers detailed feedback on your body’s activity level and other aspects of your health. If you need an extra boost to get moving or want to keep a close eye on your progress, they can be a worthwhile investment. However, if you have a tendency to obsess over small details or don’t need the extensive data that a fitness tracker provides, another option might be better to track your progress. Ultimately, how you choose to track your activity is your choice. Whatever option you choose, the important thing is that you keep moving and stay active at a healthy level.

Originally printed on aviv-clinics.com. Reprinted with permission.

Aviv Clinics delivers a highly effective, science-based treatment protocol to enhance brain performance and improve the cognitive and physical symptoms of conditions such as traumatic brain injuries, fibromyalgia, Lyme, and dementia.

Our intensive treatment protocol uses Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy and cognitive and physical training as well as nutrition management for better brain health. The medical program closely tracks clients’ progress before, during, and after the treatment protocol, using customized tablets and other technology. Based on over a decade of research and development, the Aviv Medical Program is holistic and customized to your needs.

Aaron Tribby, M.Ed is Head of Physiology for Aviv Clinics where he is responsible for managing a team of physiologists, physical therapists, dietitians, and stress technicians at Aviv Clinics – the first hyperbaric medical treatment center of its kind in North America dedicated to improving brain performance. He also oversees the cardiopulmonary exercise tests and CPET in the clinic, responsible for analyzing each test. Leading to Aviv Clinics, his clinical experience is focused on health and wellness, strength and conditioning and nutrition within both the non-profits and private sectors including Mercy Hospital and MusclePharm, respectively.



  • Aviv Clinics – Brain Performance. Aviv Clinics USA. (2021, July 1). https://aviv-clinics.com/hyperbaric-medical-program/.
  • Gartner Survey Shows Wearable Devices Need to Be More Useful. Gartner. (2016, December 7). https://www.gartner.com/en/newsroom/press-releases/2016-12-07-gartner-survey-shows-wearable-devices-need-to-be-more-useful.
  • Jakicic, J. M., Davis, K. K., Rogers, R. J., King, W. C., Marcus, M. D., Helsel, D., Rickman, A. D., Wahed, A. S., & Belle, S. H. (2016). Effect of Wearable Technology Combined With a Lifestyle Intervention on Long-term Weight Loss. JAMA, 316(11), 1161. https://doi.org/10.1001/jama.2016.12858
  • Langhammer, B., Bergland, A., & Rydwik, E. (2018, December 5). The Importance of Physical Activity Exercise among Older People. BioMed research international. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6304477/.
  • Patel, A. V., Maliniak, M. L., Rees-Punia, E., Matthews, C. E., & Gapstur, S. M. (2018). Prolonged Leisure Time Spent Sitting in Relation to Cause-Specific Mortality in a Large US Cohort. American Journal of Epidemiology, 187(10), 2151–2158. https://doi.org/10.1093/aje/kwy125
  • ScienceDaily. (2019, February 28). Tracking food leads to losing pounds. ScienceDaily. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/02/190228154839.htm.
Senior couple on country bike ride

Creating Fit and Functional Older Adults

Beginning in the seventh grade, I became fascinated with age—specifically how our bodies’ functional capacities decrease with the passage of time. When I once shared this perception with my 98-year-old grandmother, she said, “Just wait until you’re 80.” I’m still far from 80, so I can only imagine how difficult it will be then to stand up from a chair or run around the neighborhood.

The biggest factor in the decline in physical capacity with age is level of physical activity. When your clients remain active throughout adulthood, they can retard the aging process and continue to live a life worth living. I know 70-year-olds who are fitter than 30-year-olds.

Physiology of the Older Adult

After age 30, most physiological functions decline at a rate of approximately 0.75 to 1 percent per year. Perhaps the biggest functionally-related physiological change with age is a decrease in muscle mass, called sarcopenia, which is due to a loss of motor units (a motor neuron and all the muscle fibres it connects to) and atrophy of fast-twitch muscle fibres. With the loss of motor units comes denervation of muscle fibres (a lost connection between the motor neuron and the fibres within the motor unit). This denervation causes the muscle fibres to deteriorate, resulting in a decrease in muscle mass, which significantly decreases the older adult’s muscle strength and power, making certain activities of daily living difficult.

Men and women generally attain their highest strength levels between ages 20 and 40, after which the strength of most muscle groups declines, slowly at first and then more rapidly after age 50. Muscle strength decreases approximately eight percent per decade after age 45, with greater strength losses occurring in women compared to men. In both men and women, lower body strength declines more rapidly than upper body strength.

With the loss of muscle mass also comes a loss in mitochondria, which decreases muscular and aerobic endurance. Mitochondria are unique in that they have their own specific DNA, so when older adults lose mitochondria, they also lose mitochondrial DNA. If your clients want healthy functioning muscles as they age, they need lots of healthy mitochondria.

Cardiovascular fitness also declines with age, in part due to a decrease in maximum heart rate and stroke volume (the volume of blood the heart pumps per beat). With a lower maximum heart rate and stroke volume comes a lower maximum cardiac output (the volume of blood the heart pumps per minute), a decreased ability to deliver oxygen to the muscles, and thus a lower VO2max (the maximum volume of oxygen the muscles can consume). VO2max decreases by 8 to 10 percent every 10 years after the age of 30 in healthy, sedentary adults. When maximum cardiovascular functioning declines, so does the workload that can be tolerated at a given percentage of the (lower) maximum. Decreases in VO2max with aging can be variable, particularly if your clients remain active. But if not attended to, a youthful run becomes an aged walk.

Training the Older Adult

Although many physiological factors decline with age, up to 50 percent of this decline is due to deconditioning rather than aging. With proper training, your clients can lessen the physiological effects of aging and remain fit and functional.

Arguably, cardiovascular exercise will always be more important than strength training throughout your client’s life because heart disease is the most common cause of death for both men and women. No one has ever died of a weak biceps muscle. But people die of weak hearts every day. One cannot live very well or very long without a strong heart. Since the risk of heart disease increases as people age, older adults need cardiovascular exercise just as much or even more than do younger adults. Like younger adults, older adults should do at least 30 minutes of cardiovascular exercise on most, if not all, days of the week. The more physically fit one remains, the slower the rate of cardiovascular decline. Maintaining exercise intensity, rather than a higher volume of training, is the key to minimizing the loss of aerobic fitness as your clients age.

Strength training also becomes more important as people age. Given that aging is accompanied by a decrease in muscular endurance, strength, and power, resistance training should take on greater weight (pun intended) when training an older client. I’d even go as far to say that every person over the age of fifty should strength train because that’s about the age at which people start to lose a significant amount of muscle mass. And that loss in muscle mass with age affects your client’s ability to function. If you’ve ever seen a senior citizen try to stand up from sitting in a chair or witnessed how catastrophic a fall can be to a senior, you know how much benefit strength training can have. The positive effects of strength training on bone density, muscular strength and endurance, balance and coordination (which reduces the risk of falling and fractures), functional mobility, physical aesthetics, and self-esteem cannot be denied.

Train older clients with heavier weights and fewer reps per set to target improvements in muscular strength, or with lighter weights lifted quickly to target the fast-twitch muscle fibres and improvements in muscular power. Greater strength gains occur at intensities of 80 to 90 percent of the one-rep max (the maximum weight that can be lifted just once). Although we tend to think of power training as something done to improve athletic performance, it has big implications for older adults, whose muscles lack strength and power. Research has shown power training to be very effective for strength and power development in seniors. Since it takes longer to recover from workouts as people age, give your clients more time between intense resistance and cardio workouts.

If you train older adults with higher intensity, less volume, and more recovery between workouts, not only will they be fitter and stronger, they may even be able to keep up with my 98-year-old grandmother.

From CanFitPro magazine. Sept./Oct. 2017.  Reprinted with permission from Jason R. Karp, PhD

Jason Karp, PhD, is the 2011 IDEA Personal Trainer of the Year, 2014 recipient of the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition Community Leadership award, and creator of the REVO₂LUTION RUNNING™ certification. He has more than 400 published articles in international running, coaching, and fitness magazines, is the author of eight books, including Run Your Fat Off and The Inner Runner, and speaks at fitness conferences and coaching clinics around the world. Get training programs and autographed copies of his books at run-fit.com.

Friendly therapist supporting red-haired woman

The What, the How and the Why of Lifestyle Improvement

Health and wellness folks are sometimes confused about the role each professional might play in helping individuals to live their best life possible. Our clients are seeking to be healthier by losing weight, managing stress, stopping smoking, becoming less isolated, and often, managing a health challenge of some kind. To do so they need excellent wellness information, great treatment (if that is called for) and a way to make lifestyle changes that will ensure lasting success.  So, who is responsible for what?

Fitness trainers, rehabilitation therapists, physical therapists, dietitians, various treatment professionals and health educators can help their clients/patients to know what lifestyle behavioral changes will move them towards improved health and wellbeing. What we often hear from these medical and wellness pros is frustration with a lack of success on their client’s part in making the recommended changes and making them last. The reality is, most people simply don’t know that much about how to change the ingrained habits of a lifetime.  

The physical therapist works with their client in their session and sends them home with exercises that must be done every day. The dietitian creates a fantastic meal plan that their client must put into practice. The fitness professional creates a tailor-made workout plan, but their client needs to exercise on their own, not just in front of their trainer.

Health educators, treatment professionals, etc. provide the
Health and Wellness Coaches provide the
Our Clients find their

Everyone’s challenge is the how. It takes more than willpower and motivation.  What is often lacking is an actual well-thought-out plan that the client has co-created with the help of someone who can provide support, accountability and a well-developed behavioral change methodology. Translating the lifestyle prescription into action and fitting it into an already busy life is often where, despite good intentions, our clients struggle. This is where having a trusted ally in the cause of one’s wellness pays off.

As the field of health and wellness coaching grows, the challenge coaches sometimes face is clarity about their own role. Sometimes the confusion is all about the what and the how. For coaches to be proficient at “writing” the lifestyle prescription they need additional qualifications. It becomes a question of Scope of Practice.

To guide coaches, the National Board for Health and Wellness Coaches (NBHWC) has developed a Scope of Practice Statement. Here is the part most relevant to our question:

While health and wellness coaches per se do not diagnose conditions, prescribe treatments, or provide psychological therapeutic interventions, they may provide expert guidance in areas in which they hold active, nationally recognized credentials, and may offer resources from nationally recognized authorities such as those referenced in NBHWC’s Content Outline with Resources.”  (NBHWC)

If coaches can “wear two hats” professionally they can combine the what and the how. Otherwise, the key is to coordinate with other wellness professionals or work with the lifestyle prescription that their client already has.

Beyond the what and the how is the why.  The “why” of behavior is all about motivation – initiating and sustaining behavioral change efforts by drawing upon the energy and desire to do so. The key here once again is the question of who is responsible for supplying this. People may initiate behavior based upon external motivation – the urging and cheering on of others, the fear of negative outcomes. In order to sustain that motivation, it has to come from within. The challenge here for all wellness professionals is to help our clients to discover their own unique sources of motivation. Seasoned wellness professionals realize they can’t convince or persuade anyone to be well. However, when we help our clients discover their own important sources of what motivates them, they discover their why.  Motivation is fuel. Now with the aid of a coach our clients can find the vehicle to put in. They know what they need to change. Now they have a way to know how to change and grow, and they know themselves, why.

Michael Arloski, Ph.D., PCC, NBC-HWC is CEO and Founder of Real Balance Global Wellness Services, Inc. Dr. Arloski is a pioneering architect of the field of health and wellness coaching.  He and his company have trained thousands of coaches around the world. 

Unknown food

Body Image and Disordered Eating

Nearly 8 million individuals in the US currently have a diagnosable eating disorder. Though that is a big number, it’s not big enough to guarantee that everyone reading this knows someone who is impacted.  

Here’s the thing, that number DOES NOT include those with more subtle disordered eating symptoms. This broadens the scope quite a bit. 

What if we looked at diagnosable eating disorders as the far end of a spectrum?

Let’s call the other end, healthy intuitive eating.  

What does that mean?  Healthy intuitive eating means that you eat when you are hungry.  It also means that you eat what you are hungry for, and you stop when you feel satisfied.  

There are people that fall on that far end. Truly. I have even met one or two!  They are not unicorns- possibly the closest living things though. 

Let’s label everything in the middle as “disordered eating”.  This would include behaviors like overeating, food restricting, skipping meals, over-exercising, overly rigid eating schedules and so many more.

The majority of people, that I know anyway, lie somewhere in that space. Would you agree? Where do you fall?  

The big difference between eating disorders and disordered eating is that the latter is typically not lethal and is not all-encompassing. 

The big similarity is that more often than not, individuals impacted have a poor body image.  

Body image is how you see yourself when you look in the mirror or when you picture yourself in your mind. It encompasses:

  • What you believe about your own appearance 
  • How you feel about your body
  • How you sense and control your body as you move.  
  • How you physically experience or feel in your body. 

Many of us internalize messages starting at a young age that can lead to either positive or negative body image. Let’s clarify what that means.

Positive body image is a clear, true perception of your shape; seeing the various parts of your body as they really are. Body positivity involves feeling comfortable and confident in your body, accepting your natural body shape and size, and recognizing that physical appearance says very little about one’s character and value as a person. 

A negative body image, on the other hand, involves a distorted perception of one’s shape. Negative body image involves feelings of shame, anxiety, and self-consciousness. Those with negative body image are constantly comparing themselves to others without recognizing that they are essentially comparing apples to bananas… oranges aren’t far enough away…  In such comparisons, they determine their perceived self-worth or value.

As with disordered eating, body image concerns can affect most of us. Recognizing the positive in our bodies can have a huge impact on both of these things.  When you are stuck in a spiral of negative self talk, try thinking about things that your body can do.  It is easy to judge your looks by looking through unrealistic lenses, but what if you took a moment to appreciate the amazing machine that you possess.   

Are you a fitness or health professional? Register for Karli’s free webinar, co-presented with Christine Conti, Eating Disorders: What Fitness Pros Need To Know

Karli Taylor is an entrepreneur and leader passionately working to shape the nation’s fitness and wellness industry through innovative programming that can be incorporated into any lifestyle.  Karli has been in the industry for over 20 years. Beginning as a group exercise instructor and personal trainer, she worked her way to an executive position at a fitness chain in the northeast where she worked behind the scenes for 5 years, until her love of teaching drove her to leave the corporate office for the gym floor.  She is the co-founder and creator of BarreFlow, through which she certifies fitness professionals around the globe.




Parkinson’s Symptoms: “OPEN WIDE” – A Trip Down Our Throat

Our throat muscles, through which we speak, sing and scream, give us our signature sound. In many situations, people affected by Parkinsons disease (PD) have diminished voice control. According to Wikipedia, Parkinsons disease can cause changes in speech. The voice may get softer, breathy or hoarse, causing others difficulty hearing what we say. Speech may be slurred. Speech changes can interfere with communication, which can be isolating and harmful.

Other causes of voice disorders include infections, stomach acids that move upward in the throat, growths due to a virus, cancer and diseases that paralyze the vocal cords. Here is a brief understanding of what, how and ways to care for your precious voice.

What Are Your Vocal Cords?

Your voice box sits between the base of your tongue and the top of your windpipe, which is where your Adams apple likes to hang out. (The Adams apple is more pronounced in men than in women.) The vocal cords are two bands of smooth muscle membrane tissue, each covered in a mucous membrane, that stretch across the voice box like the strings on a guitar.

How They Work

When youre quiet: listening, observing, perhaps meditating your vocal cords sit apart, creating a tunnel through which you breathe in. But the moment you begin speaking, they clap together as the diaphragm pushes air up from the lungs. This air causes a buzz sound or vibration and sends sound waves through your throat, nose and mouth, which amplify them. As these humspass through, they are transformed into song or sentences.

Your Sound

Vocal cords vary in thickness and length, which is why each person has his or her unique tune. Think of the singer Barry Whites voice. Deep and strong. Those who have booming voices, such as Barbra Streisand have larger resonating cavities (throat, nose and mouth).

Take Care of Your Cords

Yelling, or screaming can cause inflammation and lesions on your vocal cords. Even a long-lasting cough can do damage. If you are hoarse, rest your voice. Speak softly and try to avoid throat clearing, even if your throat is congested. Drink lots of water to thin excess mucus and lubricate. Menthol and eucalyptus can be irritating.

For those with Parkinsons disease, if you notice your voice is diminished, see a speech-language pathologist (SLPs) specializing in voice therapy. They can assist with diagnosis, assessment, planning and treatment of voice disorders including difficulty with swallowing. Some exercises include moving your tongue up and down, moving it from corner to corner, placing your tongue at the tip of your mouth or smiling and saying EEEloudly. Repeat 10 times, at least twice a day.

Reprinted with permission from Lori Michiel. 

Lori Michiel, NASM, has been assisting seniors in their homes since 2006 with customized exercise programs including those designed to address Parkinson’s, metabolic disorders, arthritis and diabetes. These adaptive programs are specifically designed to improve balance, circulation, flexibility, mobility and promote independence. Lori Michiel Fitness has over 40 certified trainers who are matched with clients in Los Angeles, Ventura and Orange Counties. Connect with Lori at www.LoriMichielFitness.com.


Your Rate of Breathing Can Reveal Your Health!

Minute Ventilation (VE) is the amount of oxygen we breathe in or out over a given period, usually a minute. Hence Minute Ventilation.

Healthy Minute Ventilation is between 5 and 8 liters/minute of oxygen (normally 12-14 breaths per minute).  There are times when Minute Ventilation is increased, for example, during exercise, which is good.  But other times could be an indication of disease.

During exercise, the physiological demands on the body require you to consume more oxygen to offset the lactic acid and CO2 that are byproducts of increased activity. Our respiration therefore increases from 35 to 45 breaths /minute in healthy young adults, to elite athletes which can achieve 60+ breaths per minute.  This is necessary to offset the effects of increased activity. This amazing process continues throughout our lives keeping us in balance!

An interesting recent twist to this is breathing aware athletes have been taking less breaths, utilizing more oxygen, and recovering faster with conscious breathing techniques. The number of breaths per minute now have dropped to the low 20s for intense exercise! Research from Patrick McKeown, the author of The Oxygen Advantage, has shown that controlled nasal diaphragmatic breathing can greatly decrease the number of breaths needed, increase the oxygen uptake, enhancing performance!

Disease states are a different story.  Certain conditions like cardiovascular disease or diabetes require more oxygen to provide the same recovery process that a healthy person requires, therefore putting more stress on the body.

Here are some examples of corresponding disease states and the corresponding oxygen needs at rest:

  • Healthy Subjects ~8 L/min
  • Heart Disease ~16 L/min
  • Diabetes ~15 L/min
  • Asthma ~15 L/min
  • COPD ~15 L/min
  • Cancer ~14 L/min
  • Sleep Apnea ~16 L/min
  • Hyperthyroidism ~16 L/min
  • Epilepsy ~14 L/min
  • Panic Disorder ~13 L/min

Referenced from www.normalbreathing.com

As you can see, disease states put a heavy burden on the respiratory system and have a detrimental effect on overall health. In essence, their bodies are constantly exercising! 

Deep breathing techniques, specifically diaphragmatic breathing are an easy, learnable, and quick way to help offset the burden of disease states on our health. The better you breathe the less you need to!

Conscious breathing along with recognition of triggers of stress (for another blog) can create almost immediate changes in our health.

Take a deep breath!

Reprinted with permission from authors.

Mike Rickett MS, CSCS*D, CSPS*D, RCPT*E is a nationally recognized health and fitness trainer of the trainers, fitness motivator, author, certifier, educator, and the 2017 NSCA Personal Trainer of the Year.  He has been a fitness trainer for more than 35 years. With Cheri Lamperes, he co-directs BetterHealthBreathing.com, a conscious breathing educational program focusing on the diaphragmatic technique to enhance overall wellness.  In addition, he also directs the personal training site ApplicationInMotion.com.