The rallying cry is, “Let’s change healthcare!” From all corners of the medical universe, there is agreement that change is necessary. The biggest questions are, “What is the change?” and, “Who will make it happen?”
It is well recognized that the population of individuals over the age of 65 in the United States is expanding. With age, comes natural and expected physiologic deficits in the musculoskeletal system that affect the pursuit of exercise and fitness.
The “CORE” — it seems to be our newest buzz word. I know you’ve been thinking about it. You would have to be blind and deaf not to feel inundated by the very word. Every doctor, fitness enthusiast, and…
One of the best things we can do for our bodies is to “get out of the way”! Believe it or not, our body can actually do a great job of healing itself, or functioning quite optimally when it’s allowed to do so. The body does this by reacting to what “stresses” are put upon it and finding homeostasis through temporary changes or more permanent adaptations. Even the brain will make quick reactions to things in the form of neurotransmitters and neural firing or long term adaptations in adopting new ways of perceiving things or hard-wiring changes.
A statement capturing the above sentiment is from Goodheart (1989) on healing, “People are healed by many different kinds of healers and systems because the real healer is within. The various healing modalities are merely different ways of activating the inner healer.” 1
Are you of the Mechanist (Rationalist) or Vitalist (Empirical) Approach?
The standard or “orthodox” medical practice in the U.S. follows a mechanist approach, where symptoms are perceived as bad and should be minimized or suppressed through surgical or pharmaceutical means. This seems great at the surface level. If something is causing me pain or discomfort let me do something to relieve or eliminate that pain. If I am having nausea or diarrhea because of something in my gut, let me take something to stop the vomiting or diarrhea. Underlying this “quick fix” of symptom alleviation is THE PROBLEM. The body is trying to rid itself of the “problem” by expelling if forwards or backwards! There are many medical conditions for which it is okay to consider treating symptoms, and for some this is vital. However, it is preferable for this to be done in conjunction with identifying the source of the problem, so a long-term fix can be explored.
A Vitalist approach views symptoms as part of the healing process, not a problem that should be hidden. Many branches of health care use this philosophy including: chiropractors, osteopaths, naturopaths, and practitioners of Chinese or Indian medicine advocate this Vitalist approach. By suppressing the symptoms, the practitioner may actually be extending the illness or exacerbating the problem. Researchers at the University of Maryland found taking aspirin for the flu may prolong the illness up to 3 days. Acetaminophen (Tylenol) or aspirin interferes with the normal fever response that fights the infection (Burke, 2000).
Listening to the Symptoms tell you Where the Problem Lies
Rather than reducing or eliminating the symptoms, what if we tried to increase our sensitivity to it. For example, if we took antibiotics to fight a bacteria, are we enhancing the body’s immune response to this foreign agent or “giving it” something to help, much like a crutch. A quote from unknown origin:
Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime.
This is at the heart of the Vitalist approach. The body is great at adaptation but we have to let it “learn” to adapt- not “feed” it some drug that forces it to do something. A quote from the Nobel Prize winner, Rene Dubos, Ph.D. remarks, “Good health is a process of continuous adaptation to the myriad of microbes, irritants, pressures and problems which daily challenge man.” This is also at the heart of exercise training. You must “overload” a system in order to get an improvement in function. You literally must stress it, and let it endure that strain in order to get the adaptation. Likewise, by putting your body in destabilized environments, you will gain a better sense of balance, in order to stabilize yourself. Recent evidence has found that anti-inflammatory agents actually weaken the endurance training effect.
Fortunately, medical advances have allowed us to treat many illnesses effectively and safely, and it is always advisable to follow the advice of your doctor. Allowing your body to adapt to certain stresses can be very positive in certain scenarios, but it is important to recognize when this doesn’t come at a risk of increasing morbidity, mortality, or increasing the likelihood of illness complications.
To Drug or Not to Drug: that is the Question
No one likes being depressed. About one in 10 Americans takes some sort of antidepressant medication. It is the most commonly prescribed drug in the U.S. according to a report published in the Archives of General Psychiatry (2009). While the U.S. may not be a Prozac Nation, as popularized in 1994 by the author Elizabeth Wurtzel, the rates almost doubled from 1996 to 2005 (5.84% to 10.12%). A report in the Journal of the American Medical Association found it to work best in only severe cases of depression and exercise had similar effects in the short term treatment and better effects in long term treatment! The difficulty lies in getting someone to exercise when they are depressed. Thus, an integrated approach is often the best, and this includes psychological counseling as well.
Sometimes Less is More
A take away from this article should not be that standard medical care is bad. Far from it. Many M.D.s are very knowledgeable in areas outside of their standard practice and advocate expressive, rather than suppressive therapies. The take away should be to not rush for a drug to hide or mask your symptoms, but focus on what is the root of the cause, and take action to address this. The term iatrogenic is used for the inadvertent problem caused by a medical treatment. In fact, reports estimate it to be the third leading cause of death in the U.S. with 225,000 to 250,000 dying from iatrogenic diseases annually! While it is hard to say how many of these deaths could have been avoided, it is quite obvious that minimizing invasive treatments until they are necessary is the best plan of action.
Complementary or Integrated medicine can possibly have the answer to a majority of the health issues presented. The Medical Fitness Network believes those professionals are the future of health care.
Dr. Mark Kelly Ph.D., CSCS, FAS, CPT has been actively involved in the fitness industry spanning 30 years as a teacher of exercise physiology at academic institutions such as California State University, Fullerton, Louisiana State University, Health Science Center, Tulane University and Biola. He was an exercise physiologist for the American Council on Exercise, a corporate wellness director, boot camp company owner and master fitness trainer.
For many years if not decades, America has struggled with an identity crisis, for whatever reason people could not separate the difference between non-psychoactive hemp products and their evil cousin (LOL) marijuana. . .
Over the past 18 months, I have seen my primary M.D. three times, enjoyed the services of my favorite massage therapist six times, visited my chiropractor nine times, chatted with a local R.D. twice and seen my personal trainer regularly. And not one of them even asked if I was seeing any of the others, much less inquiring what their treatments or approaches to treatments might be. To me, that is like trying to achieve success with a baseball team where the 1st base coach, 2nd base coach, 3rd base coach and pitching coach never communicate with each other.
Success cannot occur in a vacuum, neither can true individual health & wellness, yet for decades these medical, fitness & wellness providers have proffered their services in distinct and distinctly separate spaces.
Even as the internet has made access to information easier and facilitated the sharing of knowledge, including private, HIPAA compliant information, these providers continue to operate in “informational silos.”
It is true that in the past some of these providers may have held less than favorable opinions of some of the other providers, but that is, and certainly should be, a thing of the past. No longer will M.D.’s consider Chiropractors “quacks”, R.D.’s claim nutritionists “just don’t know enough”, and Physical Therapists think of Personal Trainers as ”wanna-be P.T.’s who couldn’t hack the education.” Science, knowledge and time have evolved all these disciplines into valuable, useful and incredibly beneficial specialties, each offering specific training and specific methods to apply to their patients/clients. And all those patients/clients typically can benefit from their combined expertise and knowledge.
No longer is it sufficient to simply treat the symptoms. Real wellness needs to encompass the patient/client holistically… address the symptoms, understand the cause, strengthen the mind, examine the diet, resolve the issue and prevent future occurrences. And isn’t that best accomplished by viewing patient/client wellness as a Team Sport?
Over the years I have had the pleasure of knowing and speaking at length with many of these medical, fitness & wellness providers, and not one of them indicated there is anything in their training that says “Thou Shalt Not Collaborate.”
We are not talking about “asking for help.” Rather we are simply saying to include those other practitioners in the conversation. Instead of the M.D. telling the patient to “walk more to improve cardio health”, why not conference call with the Personal Trainer and discuss the walking program that is most appropriate. Let the Physical Therapist inform the Personal Trainer of any specific issues to address or avoid. Allow the Massage Therapist to work with the Chiropractor to ensure optimum results from both. In other words, (and the simplicity of all this may surprise you), just TALK TO EACH OTHER.
So, let’s start to make that happen. For more than 20 years my company has helped health clubs and fitness centers create mutually beneficial relationships with Physical Therapy practices, Chiropractic offices, Registered Dietitians, Nutritionists and Massage Therapists. Now is the time to extend the conversation, and, to return to my baseball metaphor, get ALL the coaches working together to create truly Championship results.
Join Cosmo for his upcoming MedFit webinar on this topic:
Cosmo Wollan is the Senior Executive at Synergy Cubed, a premiere consulting firm providing customized solutions to the health & fitness, parks & recreation, medical fitness and corporate wellness industries since 1994. His Fitness Industry clients have engaged him as an expert problem-solver in profit center development, retention strategies, customer engagement, sales training, programming design, operational streamlining and health club management.
Have you ever wondered why a particular diet, workout routine or cleanse offers remarkable results for some people, but not others?
It’s because of bio-individuality and Metabolic Chaos®.
When it comes to health, there is no one size fits all! Each person is unique on a cellular and metabolic level. They have their own health strengths and weaknesses, or vital voids as Reed Davis, the founder of Functional Diagnostic Nutrition® calls them. So, instead of treating symptoms, tests and/or assessment results, the key is to assess the specific needs of each person.
Functional lab testing is the best way to analyze a person’s specific needs on a deeper level. The comprehensive data obtained through lab testing can be used to inform and guide a health-building program, to get real results that last a lifetime.
Reed Davis, the founder of Functional Diagnostic Nutrition®, worked for over a decade as a certified nutritional therapist and case manager perfecting lab testing and resources. And now for over 10 years, he has been sharing his knowledge through the FDN course with a mission to empower as many people as possible to help as many people as possible to get well and stay well naturally.
After helping hundreds of clients, Reed discovered that while each was unique in their health challenges, they also had much in common – H.I.D.D.E.N. stressors.
Through clinical work, Reed identified 5 foundational lab tests essential for in-depth insights in order to uncover a client’s H.I.D.D.E.N. stressors and reveal their true healing opportunities to build their health.
Having access to lab testing, knowing how to properly interpret the results and use the data to guide a health building protocol is what makes certified Functional Diagnostic Nutrition® Practitioners so successful in getting their clients real results.
Like you, most of our FDN practitioners started off as health coaches, personal trainers, nutritionists, nurses, homemakers or were in non-health related fields and changed their career because they were inspired by their personal health journey.
No matter what their prior profession was, all of them have these 3 things in common:
- A strong desire to help others on a deeper level
- Willingness to walk the talk and empower others to do the same
- A feeling as if they were missing some very important pieces to the health puzzle.
FDN’s complete methodology has empowered over 3,000 trainees in over 50 different countries to help people get well and stay well naturally.
Join Reed Davis in our upcoming webinar and learn how to get real results for you and your clients, and create a successful business doing what you love while positively impacting others.
Reed Davis is a Nutritional Therapist and has been the Health Director and Case Manager at a wellness clinic San Diego for over 15 years; he is the Founder of the Functional Diagnostic Nutrition® Certification Course.
The Space Between Fitness and Medicine: Where “the Good You Do For Others” Brings the Reward you Deserve | Part 2
In our first part of this three-part discussion, in addressing the topic of financial reward, I asked you to ponder the value of restoration. What, I prompted you to consider, is the value of helping someone who has moved along the dis-ease continuum, gradually leaving health in the proverbial rear-view-mirror back toward divine health?
It isn’t an easy question to answer. We can tackle it by considering all of the dollars those who incur inflammatory issues, chronic challenges, and cellular degradation will have to invest in maintaining function and comfort. We might also attempt to place a monetary value upon lost quality of life. We might even consider the simple question, “what would someone pay to rediscover health” considering their fear and apprehension of the alternative, and from that extrapolate the value.
If you are willing to believe that personal trainers with advanced education and the development of a complementary skill set can have immeasurable impact upon “the unwell population,” one perspective becomes clear.
The trainer versed in restoring health commands a far greater value than the personal training mainstream.
STEPPING UP A LEVEL
As in any field, a specialist with enhanced value will serve his or her marketplace best by finding a direct line of contact with those in need of their specialty.
In the sentence above, “need” is the key word.
While it’s oft been said that personal trainers are a luxury or a privilege, with an appropriate adjustment in perspective, those who have slipped into the largest segment of our adult population, the unwell market, might consider any therapeutic resource, if wellness is a goal, a “need.”
Now that I’ve mentioned it a few times, I’ll provide a general description of the market I’m referring to as “unwell.” Then I’ll help you see the opportunity to step up, to meet this population in an arena where they “need” you. I’, to command a value in line with a well-justified fee, and . . . here’s the biggie . . . to provide them the service they will truly benefit from.
WHO ARE THE UNWELL?
Let’s be really clear here. I’m not suggesting the opportunity lies in training “sick people.” I’m suggesting the largest, most opportune market share is made up of many American adults between the ages of 35 and 65. They aren’t “sick” in a clinical sense. They work. They drive their kids to school. They shop in the malls and grocery stores. They eat in the neighborhood restaurants. They pump gas in the same gas stations you do and they frequent Starbuck’s, Chipotle, and the local pizza place.
They don’t have need for hospitalization or chronic care . . . but they’ve slipped, moved along what I’m calling the dis-ease continuum. They’ve begun a process of maladaptation, a movement away from healthful homeostasis, and while many haven’t yet been diagnosed (many have), their bodies have become imbalanced. Whether it’s a hormonal imbalance, thyroid irregularity, blood sugar elevation, hypertensive condition, hypercholesterolemia, or chronic inflammation of one or several bodily systems, they have moved into a place where innate homeostasis is no longer their “norm.”
Not sick, at least not clinically, but not well. What’s alarming is, I’m describing near 65% of the adult population over the age of 45. Yes, the market is vast.
If the unwell were being cured of their ailments or remedied by the conventions of medicine, I wouldn’t see the “need” as being this opportune. All I need to share is a single statement to help you see why there’s a desperate need for a new type of health practitioner, one who masters the exercise and eating intervention. Here’s that statement.
In a society where chronic disease is most treated with pharmaceutical intervention, there isn’t a single medication that will cure any chronic disease.
Read that again. While there exists a wild array of meds to manage conditions and change biomarkers, there isn’t one that will cure the plight of the unwell.
Conversely, there is an extensive body of evidence to demonstrate the power we have over shifts in blood sugar, blood pressure, and hormonal disruption when we strategically employ a variety of exercise modalities and guidance in the realm of supportive nutrition.
If the demand is great, the “need” remains unfulfilled, and the greatest potential lies in the skill set we, as fitness professionals, have access to . . . our value escalates above virtually any conventional yet impotent “cures.”
THE LEVEL 2 TRAINER AS A CORRECTIVE HEALTH SPECIALIST
If we consider a “Level 1” trainer someone who is qualified, credentialed, and able to provide safe and effective exercise prescription to a healthy population, let’s consider a “Level 2” someone who can effectively target this Unwell niche and deliver improvements in biomarkers, condition, and quality of life.
The Level 2 trainer can identify his or her “ideal client avatar.” Moving forward I’ll refer to the Ideal Client Avatar as an “ICA.”
In establishing a presence and a track record with the Unwell, the enhanced personal trainer (enhanced with a higher level of education than the standard and an ability to implement positive change in the unwell) can justifiably command fees in line with other health practitioners, medical practitioners, and specialists.
In setting a fee structure, there should be a professional standard, a relationship-based fee that is consistent, one that exceeds “an industry standard.” Remember, if you deliver above the standard, you deserve reward above the usual.
HOW DO YOU STEP UP AND CREATE AN AUDIENCE?
Marketing, for the Level 2 trainer targeting this niche is not as haphazard as “pass out cards, talk it up in the gym, and talk to everyone about what you do.”
In order to establish your position, you’ll want to have four. Four strong successes. Four living examples of the value you deliver, and finding those four requires a bit of front-end work. Once you have your four you have a sound foundation upon which to build. The question, therefore, that merits consideration is . . . how do you “break in.” Where do your “four” come from.
I’ll make it step by step.
Note that everything that follows is based upon the assumption that you have received extraordinary training, that you’ve established a level of education complementary to your base credential, and that you’re positioned to initiate and maintain a practice with a revised focus on empowering clients to reverse the imbalances inherent in chronic disease. This is a prerequisite of paramount importance and although I won’t invest any more time in addressing it here, don’t allow my failure to repeat and reiterate this point as an indication its any less than vital.
STEP ONE: Define your Ideal Client Avatar. If you have a personal connection to a given condition or population (i.e. a relative with diabetes, a personal history with thyroid issues, etc.) and you have a passion for helping others who you feel are kindred spirits, that’s where you should best direct your marketing. You can’t “market well” until you define your ICA. This is a “must” in turning your ambition into financial security (and it’s the step most who seek to elevate their careers miss or ignore). Your ICA may not be based on your personal experience, but rather on where you see the greatest opportunity or where you have the greatest inroads. Devote time to getting clear on your ICA. It’s the true key to successfully “Stepping up to Level 2.”
STEP TWO: Determine your fee structure, your promise, and your offer. You don’t want to approach each prospective client with an open negotiation, nor do you want to exhibit uncertainty. As any business owner, design your foundation. What, precisely, are you promising each client? How are you compensated for that? What, precisely, is the person considering retaining you, supposed to do now, as a point of commitment.
STEP THREE: Choose a location, an affiliation, a network, and a social media platform where you can “meet” your ICA and spread the word. This is far simpler than it sounds. In outlining your ICA, simply as the question, “where do I find him (her)?” This is marketing at its core. Don’t think “medical.” Think real life. Where can you do a talk, a workshop, a presentation, knowing your ICA sits in the audience. I realize this is the intimidating step . . . but it’s also the one that brings you to human connection, and ultimately to commitment and money exchange. Perhaps in the future I’ll share an entire article devoted to “finding your ICA in the real world.” For now, accept that you have the answer to the question, you have the ability, and all it takes is a bit of courage and determination.
STEP FOUR: Create your Four. Do your thing. Work your magic. Use your skill set. Bring about change. Documentable change. Once you have your first four successes, you begin to build what I call an Arsenal of Evidence, and from that point on, the marketing challenge is replaced by magnetic appeal.
STEP FIVE: Build your business confidently, massively, professionally, and without limit.
This 3-part piece is intended, not to be a complete primer for business building, but to give you a sense of both the opportunity and your ability.
In creating a distinction between the progressive trainer willing to study, learn, and elevate, I’ve used the term “Level 2,” not to suggest any elite status, but to demonstrate a clear escalation in earning potential. Before I conclude this second part of the piece, I’ll outline a few elements of what I’m calling The Level 2 Trainer.
FIVE DISTINCTIVE ELEMENTS OF THE LEVEL 2 TRAINER
- You are a specialist among a given population
- You command fees above the norm
- You have a consistent promise and offer
- You have a track record and consistently grow a marketing / referral base
- You understand and recognize the value in the potential you have as a guide to empower others to move away from chronic disease and back toward divine health
Is there a level above the Level 2 trainer? Yes. And the sky’s the limit. Literally. More to come in Part 3!
Phil Kaplan has been a fitness leader and Personal Trainer for over 30 years having traveled the world sharing strategies for human betterment. He has pioneered exercise and eating interventions documented as having consistent and massive impact in battling chronic disease. His dual passion combines helping those who desire betterment and helping health professionals discover their potential. Email him at email@example.com
Lately I can’t go to the gym without someone coming up to me looking for advice because in their efforts to remain fit and active they have hit a roadblock. Something hurts- a sore knee, achy shoulder or bad back that goes out more than they do. Ditto for my practice where I have seen a significant increase in exercise related ailments. I should give out orthopedic frequent flyer miles.
I’m an orthopedic surgeon specializing in sports medicine who has also had a life long interest and commitment to exercise. What I have learned over the years is that the far majority of exercise related ailments are preventable with some simple measures. That is why I wrote FrameWork- Your 7 Step Program for Healthy Muscles, Bones and Joints, as well as the FrameWork “Active for Life” series (Rodale Press).
Exercise is essential for maintaining optimal health, and being sedentary is just not an option, yet many individuals run into difficulties in their quest to be fit. Just about anyone can get into trouble, from young, fit and seemingly indestructible, to older and somewhat “beat-up”. We all bring “weak links” to the gym or out on the field. I‘ve learned this from working not only with my sports medicine patients but also athletes at the highest levels, including professional and Olympic. I have also learned the harder way, personally. A high school football injury that came back to haunt me, and a more recent low back issue.
The key is to find those “weak links” before they find you!
The human body does, and will, breakdown, especially when often pushed to the break point. Some of us are more vulnerable than others. And many of our “weak links” are of our own making. Workouts, activities or sports that leave imbalances in your frame, overuse, inadequate recovery, and so much more, mostly preventable factors. Musculoskeletal ailments have surpassed the common cold as the #1 reason people seek medical care in this country. It is no wonder for many, that workouts can be a challenge. Also, as Arnold Schwarzenegger so wisely said in the FrameWork forward, “I have really come to appreciate how the body is a dynamic, ever-changing structure that is different at different times. At 30 you need a different approach to fitness than when you were a teenager”. His workouts have evolved with him and even the Terminator himself has had to visit the repair shop. So, how can you be more durable, with less risk of breakdown? FrameWork offers 7 easy steps that can benefit everyone, young and old.
In FrameWork, I outline a 7-Step comprehensive plan for optimal health and durability. In Step 1, a unique self- test (take the interactive on-line version of the self-test) asks the question “are you built to last?” and finds your individual “weak-links” (we all have them). These “weak-links” or points of vulnerability may be old injuries or ailments, suboptimal nutrition, genetics, lifestyle, workout design, mindset and more. They are like hidden land minds, just waiting to be found, waiting to rear their ugly heads and put you on the sidelines, rather than in the game.
Step 2 thru 7 allow you to customize a program for your unique frame (based on the self-test and your own history) focusing on balanced workouts, frame-friendly nutrition and the important role of recovery and mindset. The program combines healing and restorative methods from the worlds of rehabilitation, martial arts, and yoga in a way never presented before. A “troubleshooting” section teaches you how to prevent, treat and safely work (out) around the “Top 20” sports medicine ailments from tendinitis and knee problems to back pain and pinched nerves. I also offer an insiders view of safely navigating the healthcare system, including a look into the very promising future for those with stubborn musculoskeletal issues. Most importantly, I use stories, drawn from my experience treating many wonderful athletes, entertainers and my many patients to help you better understand, and listen to your body- so that you can extend the warranty on your frame and it will be there for you when you go the distance. Remember, longevity and durability, two sides of the same optimal health and aging coin, are very different. We are certainly living longer and better, but without durability, problems are certain as we age. Fortunately many are preventable!
Find your “weak-links” and get a body that’s “Built to Last”.
Originally published on the Huffington Post. Reprinted with permission from Dr. DiNubile.
Nicholas DiNubile, MD is an Orthopedic Surgeon, Sports Medicine Doc, Team Physician & Best Selling Author. He is dedicated to keeping you healthy in body, mind & spirit. Follow him MD on Twitter: twitter.com/drnickUSA