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running-determination

The Moment of Truth

According to the Advanced English Dictionary, © HarperCollins Publishers, “if you refer to a time or event as the moment of truth, you mean that it is an important time when you must make a decision quickly, and whatever you decide will have important consequences in the future. Both men knew the moment of truth had arrived. (As a sentence example)

We all come to crossroads in life when we are faced with a decision that will change our life’s direction one way or the other. You have to make that decision quickly, without procrastination, and decide where you are headed. Sometimes, if you get old enough like me, these times come more than once. They are said to be our “moment of truth”.

In September of 2017, I started a closed Facebook Group called MS Fitness Challenge GYM for those of us with MS who are doing their best to beat MS through fitness. It is a platform for MSers to be educated on exercise, nutrition and mindset in the battle against this disease. It’s also a place where we can interact, share our goals, talk about our trials and victories and be able to connect with like-minded MSers who want to encourage and uplift each other in a positive atmosphere of health. We currently have, at the time of this writing, over 7,000 members.

Every day, I read a post about how hard it is to exercise and follow a strict nutrition plan from the members enrolled. The member’s post about the limitations, pain and issues of their symptoms that make it difficult to follow through with exercise. And, they talk about the mental blocks to sticking with an exercise or diet program.

I know. It’s not easy having MS or any challenge in life and dealing with our ups and downs let alone trying to push ourselves to get to a gym or work-out at home and follow a diet that is ONLY full of great foods and supplements for MS. I get it!

But what I’d like you to look at is the consequence of NOT getting into a regular fitness routine, NOT watching what you put into your body, and NOT setting your mindset to the positive dial. MS will not go away; it’s incurable (right now). And the disease symptoms will not improve unless you take a proactive stance against it. Exercise, nutrition and the thoughts in your mind has been proven, through programs such as my MS Fitness Challenge and many others, to help MSers in one way or another in this battle. You can read over and over again, in a multitude of platforms, the testimonials from MSers who have switched to an MS-based diet and implemented an exercise routine seeing great improvement in their quality of life. We are not talking cure here. We are talking a better day-to-day existence despite MS. And, really, this translates to any obstacle you have in your mental or physical health. The choice is yours. Do you want to choose the road that takes the work necessary to a more fulfilled lifetime, or let whatever your challenge is tell you how to live? This is the moment of truth.

The first step is getting your thoughts, motivation and determination in order. Your body will not go where your mind doesn’t take it. So fitness starts in the most influential muscle in your body… your brain. Getting revved up and ready to take on your barrier through fitness is a choice that has to be made. It is not something that most have waiting to come out. It is a desire found deep in your thoughts and feelings. You have to dig down and pull it out because there is a serious amount of action that needs to be put into play with the reaction of… “I want to beat MS” or “I’m tired of being obese” or whatever your challenge is.  And once you make this choice in your moment of truth, you do not want to look back.

When your choice to overcome your challenge is made, now it’s time to settle in on the exercise and nutrition programs that will kick start this new truth in your life. I understand the confusion of where to begin; what are the best programs for you; who helps you? This is where research and support comes in and why I founded my MS Fitness Challenge charity. We are the MS cause dedicated to educating, training and inspiring people with MS to live a lifestyle of fitness through knowledge.

So, who’s ready to stand at that fork in your road, look at it hard and tell it you are going down the road to fitness?  I’ve been traveling that road my whole life, without MS and with MS and there is no better path to follow. Your moment of truth has arrived…


David Lyons, BS, CPT, is the founder of the MS Bodybuilding Challenge and co-founder of the MS Fitness Challenge with wife Kendra. He has dedicated his life to helping people with MS understand and be educated on the importance of fitness in their lives. He is an author and sought after motivational speaker, dedicated to helping others by sharing the lessons gained from his life experience.  His most recent book, Everyday Health & Fitness with Multiple Sclerosis was a #1 New Release on Amazon at its release. He is the 2013 recipient of the Health Advocate of the Year Award; in 2015, he received the first ever Health Advocate Lifetime Achievement Award, and the Lifetime Fitness Inspiration Award in Feb 2016. In 2017, David received the Special Recognition Award from the National Fitness Hall of Fame.

adaptive-fitness-wheelchair-fitness

The Importance of Exercise for the Disabled or Handicapped

Everyone must remain active. This is only achievable with the help of exercise. Contrary to popular belief, handicapped people also wish to stay fit and healthy. On the other hand, some of handicapped individuals do not realize the importance of it.

Let’s discuss the importance of exercise for handicapped people.

Prevention of Heart Disease

Exercise can help reduce the risk of developing diseases relating to the heart. This includes high blood pressure, heart attack and ischemic heart disease. Furthermore, exercise is essential for preventing various other medical conditions.

Prevention of Comorbidities

Inactivity is a disease in itself. Being inactive makes the body less productive. This makes them more prone to the development of illness, ranging from something as small as flu to as big as cancer. Disabled and inactive individuals have a higher chance of developing colon cancer and diabetes.

Prevention of Anxiety and Depression

Being inactive and indoors can lead to depression and anxiety. You may feel down most of the time. Exercising releases endorphins in our body. These help in regulating mood; those who exercise regularly experience improvement in their moods.

Alleviates pain

Inactivity can cause harm to your bones and muscles as well. The majority of people suffer from pain in joints and other complications. Stiff muscles are also an additional drawback of inactivity.

Handicapped people who exercise more often do not suffer from these symptoms. They report relief of pain. Furthermore, such people also have faster healing of wounds and injury from trauma.

Clears the mind

Exercising not only helps with our physical well-being. It also aids in improving our mental health as well. Brain fog is a real thing; people can be doubtful about the decisions they make. Exercising helps people to think clearly. They can divert their mind from useless jargon to more productive thoughts.

DO NOT LET OTHERS STOP YOU FROM EXERCISING

Being handicapped has a certain societal stigma with it. The perception of people can often stop you from exercising. Always remember that exercising will only benefit you alone. Don’t worry about what others think!

Conclusion

Being disabled can be a hard thing. But, exercise is an activity that will help you to gain self-esteem. You do not need to start with rigorous workouts.

This journey begins with a single step, time will help you get better in the long run. So what are you waiting for?  Start looking for an exercise regimen that suits you best.

Here’s to your health!


Terrance Hutchinson is the Owner of Your Best Lifestyles Fitness and Nutrition. He is a Certified Personal trainer specializing in Exercise Therapy, Corrective Exercise, Sports Nutrition, and Corporate Wellness. He an author of 3 books, he has his own podcast, he has contributed articles to major newspapers and magazines, Terrance has spoken at health events, webinars, seminars, hospitals, schools, doctors offices and has been featured nationally syndicated television platforms. Terrance has clients in many states and counties and is looking to help others bridge the gap between the medical and fitness industries. To learn more about Terrance, visit yourbestlifestyles.com

Senior-and-Trainer

What Does the Future Hold?: Emerging opportunities for trainers and coaches in medically oriented wellness

Four years ago, almost to the day, I made a keynote presentation at the California Clubs of Distinction annual meeting in Palm Springs. It was not long after the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, was approved and launched. I decided to make this presentation because the landscape for medical health was at an all-time high, and the certification organizations knew this as they were all scrambling for their market share of this emerging opportunity.

I was making presentations in healthy aging and how to train elderly people in 2014, joined with and became a master trainer for an emerging group at the time, and got certified in functional aging. I had met with this energetic woman in Orange County who was starting a network for medical fitness — any guesses? Yes, Lisa Dougherty was super passionate about it and was busy enlisting all kinds of groups to collaborate with her. After working for the American Council on Exercise and knowing their interest in this market sector, I too saw an interesting niche in the fitness and health market that was not getting filled. The gap between an allied health care professional’s treatment and true functional health for any individual, but especially an aging one. Phil Kaplan has written and spoken quite a bit on this and labeled it as the “new blue ocean.” As he mentions, it is not a small niche, but a huge market opportunity, and it is driven by people valuing their health and quality of life.

Market Changes: What does the future hold?

Fast forward four years in what will go down in history as the COVID-19 year for the U.S. “We are all in this together” but six feet apart and in our own homes! There is a lot talk out there about what the future holds. Our country has not seen this level of unemployment and losses of income since the Great Depression. Our government is bailing out people and companies to the tune of trillions of dollars. Large companies such as 24-Hour Fitness is considering bankruptcy and has closed all 448 of their gyms. The social isolation has changed the landscape toward medical fitness even further! The other trend it is causing is online services to be popular. The stay-at-home quarantines we all are supposed to obey has meant a huge upsurge for education and training done online or virtually, respectively.

In an interview with Chris Rondeau, the CEO for Planet Fitness, he was mentioning how their facilities were always practicing good cleaning practices but felt the “personal cleaning etiquette” will now likely change amongst members. Thank goodness! No one wants to be on a piece of equipment where another’s sweat was left. This factor and the personal space will likely be in the forefront as the fitness clubs are part of the Phase 1 of the U.S. government’s reintegration policy. He also mentioned how the public understands that fitness is good for the immune system, and the lower price point of the Planet Fitness facilities are something the public will need to consider with the losses of income. He also mentioned how the company’s app and virtually lead fitness is exploding. He called it the digital content consumption and said it is at an all-time high for the company.

So what factors were part of my “perfect storm” as I labeled it? The Affordable Care Act, the baby boomers becoming seniors, people living longer, medical costs going out of control, ROI on preventative services being realized and new opportunities for corporate wellness as well. Now we have a new perspective on staying healthy during pandemics, keeping ourselves and our families away from large crowds, and watching our budget. There has been a shift in society for quite some time now from a “volume incentive” or paying a fee for a service, to a “value incentive” or paying for outcomes.

So several questions the public is asking;

  1. Are the big box gyms doomed? No but they may need to serve the two ends of the spectrum, with clubs like Equinox serving the high-end client and clubs like Planet Fitness serving low-end clients.
  2. Are group classes going to go away? Not likely, but the need to have six feet of spacing and therefore smaller classes are likely to change the way group classes are run, and that is “when” they come back.
  3. Will online or virtual training increase? No doubt they will. This trend was already going strong with Peleton (stationary bikes) and other fitness devices having the virtual coach.
  4. Will wellness and health coaching services increase? Also, no doubt. People, like me, have been not been in a standard gym for almost two months and are realizing the importance of their mental and physical health over just looking fit and trim.

What is next?

It is believed that the fitness marketplace will change over the next decade, and that the pandemic has sped this change along. 24-Hour Fitness was going through financial problems prior to the COVID-19 shutdowns. The evolution of “gyms” becoming “health care” facilities is happening. You should position yourself to either deliver a variety of wellness services or have a network of people you work with who can deliver these services. I believe the future health center will be a place offering several services and most will be proactive in nature.

You will need to join organizations that expose you to people who desire these services, like the MedFit Network. Be sure to take advantage of this “downtime” to “gear up” with education and new business plans that include specialties in disease conditions like osteoporosis, Alzheimer’s disease and obesity. Others like women’s health or cancer or multiple sclerosis are available through MedFit Classroom as well.

This article was featured in the summer 2020 issue of MedFit Professional Magazine. Click to read the latest issue and get your free subscription.


Dr. Mark P. Kelly has been involved with the health and fitness field for more than 30 years. He has been a research scientist for universities and many infomercial projects. He has spoken nationally and internationally on a wide variety of topics and currently speaks on the use of exercise for clinical purposes and exercise’s impact on the brain. Mark is a teacher in colleges and universities in Orange County, CA., where Principle-Centered Health- Corporate Wellness & Safety operates.

Strawberry semifreddo

The Naturopathic Chef: (Easier) Strawberry Semifreddo

It’s hard to believe anything could be better than ice cream. Well, we may have a winner with this perfect Summer dessert.

Take a trip to Italy, when you serve this classic semi-frozen, as the name tells us, creamy dream. The original recipe takes some experience and patience. I’ve found a way to cut a few of the more temperamental steps out. This semifreddo is filled with Summer Strawberries, and all the wonderful ingredients every summer dessert should have. L’estate e qui! Summer’s here!

First, line a loaf pan, bowl, or pretty mold with plastic wrap. Set aside.

*Prepare your whipped cream for the semifreddo first and chill.

Strawberry Sauce

  • 1 1/2 cups Strawberries, cleaned and hulled
  • ¼ cup Agave, Honey, or sweetener of your choice
  • 1 Tbls Lemon Juice
  • 2 Tbls Water
  • pinch of Salt

Put all ingredients in a saucepan and cook 12-15, minutes or until Strawberries are soft and juice is thick. Set aside to cool. Once cool, pour into blender and blend until smooth.

Semifreddo

  • 3 cups Vanilla Ice Cream of your choice, softened (I used Coconut Bliss Vegan Ice Cream)
  • *2 cups Cream, whipped with Sugar and Vanilla (I used Coconut Cream).

Fold whipped cream into softened ice cream and scrape into your prepared pan. Carefully pour the Strawberry Sauce into the cream/ice cream mixture in a pattern or in dots. Run a knife through the sauce and cream to create a beautiful design on and in the semifreddo. Cover carefully with plastic wrap and freeze at least 4 hours.

When you’re ready to serve, temper either in the refrigerator or at room temperature 10-20 minutes. Remove from pan or mold and slice. Use remaining sauce under your slice of semifreddo, for that 5-star effect. Decorate with fresh strawberries and whipped cream.

Tasty Tip: Add leftover Strawberry Sauce to club soda for a healthier spin on canned beverages.

Phyte Bites

Strawberries are a great way to preserve your eyesight. High in Vitamin C, they keep the fluid in the eye healthy and decrease our risk of cataracts.

Strawberries offer protection from UV radiation, as well.

Most of us believe that whipped cream couldn’t possibly belong in the “good-for-us” category, but here’s some good news: cream is high in Alpha Lipoic Acid, a powerful antioxidant that increases the bodies ability to control blood sugar, mood, skin aging, and also improve nerve function, thus decreasing the possibility of Parkinson’s, ALS, and other motor-neuron diseases. If you choose Coconut cream, you’re improving brain health, decreasing your chances of Alzheimer’s, and slowing the aging clock, too.


Get more great recipes from Tina Martini — her book, Delicious Medicine: The Healing Power of Food is available to purchase on Amazon. More than a cookbook, combining 20+ years of experience, along with her love of coaching, cooking and teaching, Tina offers unexpected insights into the history and healing power of clean eating, along with recipes to help reduce your risk of disease and improve overall wellness so you can enjoy life!

Affectionately referred to as The Walking Encyclopedia of Human Wellness, Fitness Coach, Strength Competitor and Powerlifting pioneer, Tina “The Medicine Chef” Martini is an internationally recognized Naturopathic Chef and star of the cooking show, Tina’s Ageless Kitchen. Tina’s cooking and lifestyle show has reached millions of food and fitness lovers all over the globe. Over the last 30 years, Tina has assisted celebrities, gold-medal athletes and over-scheduled executives naturally achieve radiant health using The Pyramid of Power: balancing Healthy Nutrition and the healing power of food, with Active Fitness and Body Alignment techniques. Working with those who have late-stage cancer, advanced diabetes, cardiovascular and other illnesses, Tina’s clients are astounded at the ease and speed with which they are able to restore their radiant health. Tina believes that maintaining balance in our diet, physical activity, and in our work and spiritual life is the key to our good health, happiness and overall well being. Visit her website, themedicinechef.com

Seniors with trainer in gym at sport lifting barbell

Set Yourself Apart: Facing the increasing challenge of competing with underqualified trainers

As a personal trainer, you may find it increasingly difficult to compete in an industry that has no licensure and very little in the way of requirements. As an industry, we let anyone willing to take a two-, four-, six- or eight-hour online course become a personal trainer. This may explain the lack of expertise that is witnessed in so many trainers at gyms across the country. You may find yourself watching them from the sidelines, cringing as you notice the client performing deadlifts with an arched-back; squats with their knees caving in; or any other combination or poor supervision, direction and form.

It’s unfortunate, but the average person has no idea what to look for in a trainer. They don’t know the questions to ask, the accredited certifications and whether or not that trainer is able to work with any pre-existing conditions that they may have. As gyms hire underqualified trainers, underselling those of you who are worth your fee, clients continue to get injured. The client goes to a physical or occupational therapist and tells them they’ve been working with a trainer at X gym. The therapist rolls their eyes, having heard the story time and time again, discrediting personal trainers and the fitness industry as a whole.

If you have put your time in — getting your degree, obtaining every accredited certification you could get your hands on and starting at the bottom of the food chain, scraping your way to the top, you may be feeling frustrated and perhaps a little defeated.

Data from the U.S. Census Bureau shows that there are 76.4 million baby boomers. There were actually a total of 76 million births in the United States from 1946 to 1964, the 19 years usually called the “baby boom.” Based on these staggering numbers, many nationally certifying bodies are realizing the need for medical fitness professionals. They are looking to change the industry, set standards for our fitness professionals, and require advanced education in order to work with any special population. In the next few years, we are going to see the pendulum swing in the fitness industry. There is a movement towards medical fitness and you can get in at the ground level, setting yourself apart from the low-level trainers. You will be able to create a niche market that will open doors in the medical community, increase referrals and increase revenue.

Perhaps you or someone you love has been touched by cancer; there were an estimated 18 million cancer cases around the world in 2018!

  • One-quarter of new cancer cases are diagnosed in people aged 65 to 74
  • Median age at diagnosis is 61 years for breast cancer, 68 years for colorectal cancer, 70 years for lung cancer and 66 years for prostate cancer

In 2018, there were approximately 43.8 million cancer survivors diagnosed within the previous five years. By 2040, the global burden is expected to grow to 27.5 million new cancer cases. During the COVID-19 pandemic we are seeing that cancer patients, as well as others with compromised immune systems, are more alone and isolated than ever. This provides an unprecedented opportunity for you to provide a necessary and life-changing service to those in treatment or recovering from cancer. The Cancer Exercise Training Institute offers an online university fast-track program that also includes business coaching and training to take your business online. In five weeks, you can sit for the exam and, with at least an 80% passing grade, become a Cancer Exercise Specialist.

To some of you, working with what would appear to be an aging or sick population may not be of interest. You need to decide if you want to be like every other trainer, creating beach bodies and six-packs, or if you want to really make a difference in someone’s quality of life, and your success as a trainer. Think outside the box. Beyond the baby boomers, we have athletes and adolescents who have diabetes, who suffer with obesity, have asthma, cancer and so much more. This is a relatively untapped market.

For those of you who are up for a challenge, willing to step outside of your comfort zone and explore a new and exciting avenue in fitness, this offers a tremendous opportunity. There will always be those who want to lose weight, get toned, get ripped and improve sports performance, but after a while you can do that in your sleep. When you have clients that can’t get out of bed, can’t get up and down from a chair or can’t even perform self-care, and you are able to help them to take control of their life and their body in a way they never imagined was possible, it is truly the most meaningful and rewarding part of your career.

As we change the standards in the fitness industry, specialized training will be a requirement and you will be one step ahead of the game. By setting up meetings with nurses, doctors, patient navigators and support groups, you exponentially increase your potential client base. The unqualified trainer will not even be able to get in the door. The medical community will not accept a trainer without appropriate credentials.

As a highly credentialed trainer, you can establish yourself as a blog writer, magazine contributor and speaker. Opportunities may range from speaking to a support group at a local hospital to becoming a keynote speaker at a huge event. You can even conduct local or destination retreats for specific groups (i.e.; breast cancer, diabetes, juvenile diabetes, active aging etc.). The doors will also open up to you at medical fitness facilities and possibly hospitals that are looking for highly credentialed medical fitness professionals.

There are certainly other ways that you can make your mark and create unique marketing opportunities, but many of those will come and go with various trends and fads in fitness. Sadly, we live in a country that believes that “bigger is better” and wants “more for their money.” This has led to an epidemic of cancer, heart disease and diabetes, among other things. People will continue to age and whether it’s through the natural aging process or poor self-care, this is a market that is here to stay.

This article was featured in the summer 2020 issue of MedFit Professional Magazine. Click to read the latest issue and get your free subscription.


Andrea Leonard is the Founder and President of the Cancer Exercise Training Institute. She is a certified as a corrective exercise specialist by The National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM), as a personal trainer by The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM), the American Council on Exercise (ACE), and as a Special Populations Expert by The Cooper Institute. She is also a continuing education provider for the National Academy of Sports Medicine and The American Council on Exercise.

Elder woman training with physiotherapist

Time to Make House Calls?

As more healthcare companies see the benefits, it presents a huge opportunity for qualified medical fitness practitioners

Studies have shown that the number of physicians making house calls is increasing. One of the reasons house calls might be back on the rise is because the senior population of the U.S. is growing at a rapid pace. Years ago, most physicians would make house calls for their patients.

feet sneakers

The Feet: The Body’s Foundation

The feet are one of the most overused and taken for granted parts of the body. Since the feet are the foundation for the rest of the body, it would only be logical to begin developing strong, aligned, and full functioning feet from the start when developing a personalized fitness program. The feet should be a priority for developing sound fitness education in order to prevent injuries. Most fitness and sport injuries usually involve the feet. Even when the injury is to the knee, hip or back it can usually be traced back to a misaligned foot pattern.

In the fitness and wellness world there is hardly ever a designated focus on the feet. Since the feet are involved in almost all fitness activities it would make sense that starting with a careful assessment of a person’s feet would be the best place to start. Observing how a person stands, walks, runs, and moves normally can tell you why a person might have a hip, knee, or lower back problem. People who have difficulty with balance almost always have a foot alignment and gait which cannot support the body in movement. Maintaining and working foot function is crucial for insuring continuous mobility, and independence in populations who are handi-capped, have had strokes, who have M.S. or Parkinson’s, or diabetes.

Feet often are good indicators for what is going on in other parts of the body. Abnormalities or pain in the feet can often be a precursor for more serious health conditions. This means that we as wellness practitioners and fitness experts need to pay attention to the feet so much more than is commonly done today.

As wellness/fitness educators it makes sense to understand the anatomy of the feet. It is easy to understand and be able to explain to clients that there are three posterior muscles which go into the plantar foot, three muscles into the dorsal foot. There are three muscles which attach at the calcaneus stabilizing the ankle, heel and lower leg to knee. Both the tibialis posterior and anterior are major stabilizers and the flexors and extensors can only reach their insertions based on the full function of these two muscles. It is not difficult to give people simple and clear understandings of these basic muscles and how they need to be in balance in order for the muscles of the legs to work correctly.

Throughout the body we train muscle groups and chains to function and support the body in movement. These muscles are largely unrestricted by outside forces. Only in the feet are the muscle insertions cut off and thus, restrict the muscles from their full function.

This means that over time the muscle chains will slowly contract upward from these restricted insertions. Wearing shoes to train restricts full function of the feet and legs. This in no way means you should train people barefoot, however, it does mean that part of each training session should be focusing on the feet without shoes worn.

Here are simple facts about the feet:

  • There are 52 bones in your feet which makes up 1/4 of the bones in your body. This means that it pays to focus on the anatomy of the feet and to best understand how to transfer weight through them.
  • Each foot has 26 bones, 33 joints, 107 ligaments, and 19 muscles and tendons which are supposed to hold the structure and allow it to move the rest of the body. The more you can analyze a person’s gait and standing position and observe which muscles are not being used properly and where weight is impacting and damaging the foot, the easier it can become to correct the problem and prevent injuries.
  • 75% of all Americans will experience foot problems at some point in their lives. This is epidemic. More people are living active lives and more foot injuries are occurring annually. Starting at the feet is essential for avoiding foot injuries.
  • With a foot injury, without education about how to change the way a person is using his feet, the injury will continue to occur and worsen with time. Using orthotics and other devices does not re-educate the feet. They are temporary fixes. Over time a person will continue to breakdown in the same pattern while weight bearing into the orthotic.
  • When walking the feet receive more pressure into them than the actual weight of a person and when running it can be up to four times the weight of a person. Learning how to use the entire foot when walking allows a transfer of weight throughout the foot. This can mean a person stops walking into the same point repetitively breaking down. Weight needs to be transferred equally through the feet.
  • Only a small percentage of people are actually born with foot problems. People blame foot problems on their genetics. Genetics in the feet as well as in any other structural part of the body can be identified and improved upon to avoid repeating the family pattern.

Bringing the Best Foot Practices into the Medical Fitness Community

It is important to bring the feet into your client’s fitness/wellness program. Learn how to break foot education down so it is mindful and allows a person the ability to understand how to use his/her feet. Here are some pointers:

  • Observe how your client stands, walks, and runs to see the most used foot pattern.
  • Observe where this pattern might be repetitively stressing and impacting the joints of the feet and above in the body.
  • Teach a client how to walk and stand in parallel with feet at hips distance a part.
  • Train people how to transfer their weight from the heels, through the outside of the feet, through the transverse arch from lateral foot to medial, from fifth toe to big toe. The knee must stay in line with the middle foot when the big toe presses down into the floor.
  • Explain what pronation and supination are. Explain the difference between pronation and collapsing the feet medial breaking down the arch.
  • Train clients how to activate and strengthen and stretch their toes.
  • If your client is weight bearing into the medial knee, focus on the feet to realign the knees and avoid a knee injury.
  • The more you bring a foot practice into your program, the better your results will be and the less injuries will be experienced.

Learn more from Yamuna on this topic! Register to watch her webinar, Rebuilding Healthy Foot Function.


Yamuna Zake is a visionary healer dedicated to demystifying the body and providing simple, powerful tools that make lifelong fitness and well-being a reality for everyone. She has developed her deep knowledge of how the body works over forty years, starting at sixteen, when she became a certified hatha yoga instructor. She is the founder of Yamuna, a leading source of education for teachers, therapists, and fitness instructors interested in expanding their knowledge in BodySustainability which can enhance their core expertise, and often lead to a longer term interest in becoming a certified Yamuna instructor.

 

References

  • Information taken from Illinois Pediatric Medical association – Simple facts
  • Yamuna Foot Fitness Training Manuals – Bringing best foot Practices
trainer-client-crutches

Closing the Trust Gap: Are personal training certifications failing medical fitness?

For over 30 years, the alphabet soup of letter-bearing personal training certification companies like ACE, NASM, NSCA and ISSA have focused on providing education leading to a fitness certification. While the companies have differing audiences and missions, collectively they have failed to truly make the connection between the fitness industry and the healthcare industry.

Personal trainers tend to be health advocates (and sometimes zealots) who show up as the face of the fitness industry. They tend to actually live and practice the life they espouse. Most leave the industry quickly, but even as they leave personal training and continue throughout their careers they tend to retain their core values around fitness.

Listen to almost any group of personal trainers and you’ll hear them speak passionately about the value of fitness and the ability to help control or eliminate diseases like type 2 diabetes, heart diseases and some forms of cancer. For their more affluent customers, personal trainers are frontline soldiers in a battle for healthier living.

So, how is it that well-intentioned organizations that believe that healthier living improves lives and who have over 350,000 personal trainers working in America alone have been unable to connect those trainers to the next higher level of their mission? What has gone so wrong that the average consumer would more likely connect a personal trainer to an Instagram or social media influencer than to their healthcare provider?

In a recent ISSA survey, personal training buyers were asked what education or qualifications were required to become a personal trainer. Nearly 80% of those surveyed did not know. Fortunately, nearly everyone surveyed believed that some form of education or certification was required. Perhaps consumers would have the same answer if the question was asked regarding nursing or other healthcare positions other than that of a doctor.

In this situation and those like it in America, we are accustomed to trusting the person in the job has the knowledge, skills and abilities to do the job. We may not know how or why, but we have given them the magic ingredient — trust.

In our society, we fundamentally trust that by achieving the title of doctor, the holder will do no harm and will have the secret to curing what ails us. Do we trust that our personal trainer will do no harm and will have the secret to help us achieve our fitness goals? Not so much.

In the same ISSA survey, buyers of personal training were asked if personal trainers could help clients lose weight and 90% answered yes. When asked if personal trainers could help cure type 2 diabetes only 10% answered yes. There was an 80% difference when asked the same question in the context of personal training goals versus medical goals!

It would seem logical that if the same question was asked in the context of knee pain or joint pain and heart disease or blood pressure the results would be the same.

We trust that personal trainers understand how to improve our fitness, but we don’t connect our fitness to our healthcare. This is a trust gap.

This trust gap is the most fundamental issue preventing all of the subsequent steps which need to happen in order for medical fitness to thrive. There can be no insurance reimbursement or physician prescription of exercise as medicine as long as we don’t first believe our health is in our control and that fitness professionals can help their clients achieve results.

Today, even physicians who believe in exercise as medicine are reluctant to refer clients. Despite some of the most forward-looking physicians and groups bringing exercise and personal training into their medical practice, compliance remains spotty and reimbursement varies widely.

A recent study provided insights around prescribing exercise as medicine in the treatment of 26 different diseases: psychiatric diseases (depression, anxiety, stress, schizophrenia); neurological diseases (dementia, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis); metabolic diseases (obesity, hyperlipidemia, metabolic syndrome, polycystic ovarian syndrome, type 2 diabetes, type 1 diabetes); cardiovascular diseases (hypertension, coronary heart disease, heart failure, cerebral apoplexy, and claudication intermittent); pulmonary diseases (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, asthma, cystic fibrosis); musculoskeletal disorders (osteoarthritis, osteoporosis, back pain, rheumatoid arthritis); and cancer.

But, how much of this is studied by medical students and applied by physicians? Why does the majority of our society doubt fitness? Is it because we don’t trust fitness professionals? If so, what is the fitness certification world to do?

If we are to close this trust gap, the industry needs to achieve three milestones:

  1. Personal trainers need to have a common standard of professional knowledge and skill
  2. Required continuing education and training must be in place
  3. We need to have standards of care for fitness programming.

This requires that the industry through leadership such as IHRSA combined with companies like ISSA, NASM, ACSM, ACE and others eliminate the need for individual exams and certifications and move to a common standard of excellence for all.

In the absence of the fitness industry creating an environment where all parties can trust their personal trainer to provide safe and effective training programs, none of us can expect medical schools to teach fitness or doctors to prescribe exercise or insurance companies to reimburse for exercise.

COVID-19 has finally created a broad national awareness of the incredible risks of obesity and underlying medical conditions which largely could be controlled through diet and exercise. Now is the time to take action and help a new generation live healthier lives.

This article was featured in the summer 2020 issue of MedFit Professional Magazine. Click to read the latest issue and get your free subscription.


Andrew Wyant serves as the President of the International Sports Sciences Association (ISSA) after having helped successfully build and grow a series of businesses in a wide variety of industries. Since becoming ISSA’s leader in 2018, the ISSA has grown by over 400% and has become the No. 1 rated and reviewed personal training company in the world. Andrew is passionate about the potential personal trainers have to help improve our world by reducing the rates of preventable diseases. He has been deeply involved in the health and fitness industry since 2011.

meditation

Meditation for a New Normal

Regardless of how you’ve been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and racial justice movement, it’s likely you’ve felt it  in some way. Maybe on a small scale your grocery store trips have become less (or more) frequent. Or maybe you haven’t been able to go to events with friends. Or maybe it’s been further reaching, and your day-to-day work situation is upended. Maybe your financial situation is too. Or maybe you or a family member is sick. And in the past few weeks, glaring racial inequality has caused an awakening to injustice that’s shaken people’s worlds.

There are countless ways 2020 has changed our lives (can you believe we’re only halfway through!?). Amidst the upheaval–  the disruption of routines and habitual ways of thinking also creates an incredible opportunity. For some, this time can be beneficial for introducing practices and habits that can help a person in all aspects of their life. As people spend more time alone, introducing or deepening a meditation practice can be a powerful way to not just survive, but also grow, through this unprecedented time.

Relieve Stress and Improve Health

A new study from researchers at San Diego State University and Florida State University found that in April 2020, during the pandemic, roughly 70% of Americans experienced moderate-to-severe mental distress – triple the rate of 2018. Racial injustice and the disproportionate impact of the COVID-19 pandemic are creating the perfect storm for even more severe mental health disparities.

As people attempt to deal with the real and imagined dangers of their current situations and the unrest in the world, many of us can become filled with anxiety, fear, and insecurity. The resulting physiological effects can then negatively impact our physical health. Meditation offers us the opportunity to better deal with disempowering thoughts and emotions that arise, while also improving physical well-being (Note: sometimes beginning a meditation practice while experiencing intense difficulty or trauma can intensify the discomfort and leave us feeling worse than before. It’s important to find a meditation practice that meets you where you are and supports your needs). 

Many meditation apps and in-person studios have responded by making their offerings more widely available online or curating them for certain groups. Los Angeles-based meditation app Headspace is offering free services and guides to help people cope with stress by introducing Headspace for Healthcare Professionals, Headspace for Work, and Headspace for Educators, in addition to teaming up with the Office of New York Governor Cuomo to offer free meditation and mindfulness content for all New Yorkers. Kaiser Permanente announced that it added meditation app Calm to its digital self-care portfolio, so Kaiser Permanente members can access it at no cost.

Guided meditations through apps are wonderful entryways into meditation for many people. However, they’re also an example of the external stimuli which so many of us have become addicted to. Because of this, it’s extremely beneficial to learn a meditation technique with a teacher. With a teacher, you’re better able to create a sustainable practice that evolves with you and doesn’t rely on external tools. They can also help navigate stumbling blocks. It’s important to keep in mind there are many different types of meditation. Similar to “sports” serving as an umbrella term, meditation encompasses different categories that engage and affect your brain differently. Some also require more mental effort and nuanced practice than others. 

Learn more about different meditation categories and physiological effects in the MedFit webinar “The Meditation Landscape”)

Transform Isolation Into Solitude

Regardless of how deeply one’s mental state has been affected during this time, many people have found themselves spending more time alone. And while physical distancing, by nature, is isolating and can take a toll on one’s mental health, being alone and lonely are two different things. During meditation, when we’re alone and become still, our emotions and thoughts rise to the surface. This can be difficult. By developing a meditation practice, we’re able to cultivate a sense of solitude and deepen our relationship with ourselves. Meditation is a powerful gateway into self-acceptance, stillness, and gratitude.

It’s common for weeks, months, years, and even decades to pass by while being engulfed in the busyness of our lives. The demands and responsibilities can seem endless. It may not feel like there’s time or it’s not the best use of our time to meditate. However, meditation is often most beneficial for those who think they don’t have time to meditate.

It’s by creating the space in our day that creates the space in our minds to pause. And through this brief pause we’re able to develop a more finely tuned awareness of ourselves, our thoughts and emotions, our needs, and our behaviors. We also become more aware of what our priorities are and how we can make adjustments in our inner and outer lives to meet our needs. By becoming more aware, we’re able to cultivate the patience, resilience, and compassion to make better choices.

The extended pause or disruption to our day-to-day lives is a powerful time to adopt or deepen a meditation practice. Many of our current habits are linked to cues from our environment and schedule. So when your life changes, it can be a great time to establish new routines because your environment and schedule are changing anyway. It might feel easier to adopt a meditation practice when it’s moving along with a larger transition, especially when it includes more time alone.

Cultivate Compassion and Deepen Communication 

Even though many people are practicing physical distancing for public health reasons, thankfully social interactions with friends and family can continue. Zoom, FaceTime, and even a quick phone call or text can make a big difference in our daily lives. Meditation gives us the opportunity to not only deepen our relationship with ourselves, but also improve our relationships with one another. As we cultivate a deeper sense of peace, happiness, and compassion within, the people around us benefit as well. 

Meditation can help curb stress, which can prevent negative environments that lead to tension between people. By taking responsibility for and curbing your stress you can also benefit your relationships with others. Certain meditations can even help strengthen feelings of connection. Regardless of the physical distance between people, the feeling of connection and belonging can remain strong.

In particular, compassion and loving-kindness meditations can literally train your brain to feel more compassionate and loving. And research shows that empathy and compassion also have tremendous benefits for health and wellbeing — improved happiness, lower inflammation, decreased anxiety and depression, and even a longer life. 

Meditation for a New Normal

Living through a pandemic and racial justice revolution can bring up a wide range of emotions, fears, and challenges. There’s no right or wrong way to feel or deal with it. If you’re looking for a way to use the disruption to change habits and create a meditation practice, remember that the mind, just like a muscle, can be strengthened. While there won’t be an overnight transformation, you can begin to develop the neurological pathways that will help you now and in the future.

As cities and countries begin to reopen, a push toward the old way of doing things and being in the world arises. Be vigilant and strategic about making room for the things you’ve found and cultivated during this time, such as meditation, so they can become part of your new normal. Old habits and patterns can get locked inside of us. Be clear about what you want to bring into this next phase of your life. What did you discover about yourself or life you want to hold onto? Write them down so you have a place you can come back to and remember. Developing a meditation practice isn’t a sprint – it’s a marathon – so be patient as you discover what works for you in each phase of your life.


Angela Singer has been studying and practicing meditation and mental wellness for 8 years. Through earning meditation and wellness coaching certifications, she’s created a toolbox of accessible mental wellness workouts for all levels. She is the founder of Traverse Meditation Studio, a boutique, virtual studio.

She teaches her students and clients to unlock their natural intelligence and creativity, reconnect to their flow state, and achieve professional and personal resiliency. Through her research of neuroscience, neuroplasticity, meditation, positive and perceptual psychology, and the mind-body connection, she’s found that human beings can have an immense amount of power over how we experience life. When we develop and practice this superpower daily, it can become a habit that transforms how we live our lives.

Among many other things, meditation and mental wellness workouts have helped her step into her expression as a voice actress, painter, and entrepreneur. It brings her so much joy to share these practices with clients to help them experience more of what they want in life.