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The Power of Collaboration in the Quest for Cure

Let’s start with four statements I’m willing to call facts:
1. Chronic disease afflicts the majority of American adults over the age of 45.
2. People with chronic disease choose a visit with an allopathic physician (conventional medicine) as their first course of action.
3. A pharmaceutical prescription is the first course of action after linking symptoms and biomarkers to a commonly diagnosed disease (type 2 diabetes, hypothyroidism, hypertension, hypercholesterolemia, etc.).

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Trainers and Nutrition

It was 1995.  I sat on a panel at the Club Industry conference in Chicago and made a fully convicted argument that “personal trainers MUST talk about nutrition.” I had been told by assorted experts, club owners, and educators that ‘it’s illegal for trainers to talk about nutrition.’ Absurd.

In referencing that event from 20 years ago, I’m realizing how far we’ve come in the field of personal training. I’m also reminded of the Diet Ginger Ale Lady.

I was in the checkout line in Publix supermarket and the woman in front of me had only 3 items. She had 3 cases of diet ginger ale. Period. The cashier eyeballed her purchase and quipped, “you must like diet ginger ale.” The response was surprising.

“No, I don’t like it at all, but it’s a great diet!”

Now the visibly overweight cashier’s ears perked up, “Diet? How does it work?”

“Well, the ginger gives you all the nutrients you need and the carbonation makes you feel full, so for two days you only have diet ginger ale. On the third day you have all the soup and salad you want. You repeat the 2-day 3-day regimen until you’ve lost the weight.”

I was sure somebody was going to show up. Maybe the FBI. At the very least, the local police. After all, if it’s “illegal” for personal trainers to talk about nutrition, this woman had to be committing extreme violation!

No cops came. No SWAT Team or sting operation. The diet ginger ale lady left with her purchase and went on her way.

I share this to make a point. The advice people are receiving related to nutrition runs from relatively sane to outwardly dangerous. If we are going to guide our clients toward health, we have an obligation to help them make better choices.

I understand why some opted to believe that nutritional advice from trainers violated the law. Personal trainers without nutritional credential should NOT be prescribing diets, nor should they be recommending supplements. There are far too many risks, and in that, there have been lawsuits and judgments.

Let’s not, however, go to a full pendulum swing and prevent trainers from speaking truth.

I said earlier we’ve come a long way, and we have, and many trainers have become educated in nutritional practices, have aligned with software programs or continuing education courses, and the stigma is lessened significantly.

That doesn’t mean I believe the entire field of personal trainers should be spewing the nutritional beliefs they most attach to.

While many trainers have become responsibly educated, others haven’t and that presents a challenge.

My anecdotal experience has shown me that many personal trainers with limited education in clinical nutrition, marry themselves to one of two approaches and those approaches become a blanket touching each and every client.

  1. They adhere to the old school teachings of “calories in vs. calories out” and reference mathematical formulas to estimate “ideal” caloric intake.
  2. They profess that a bodybuilding type plan, generous in protein, and ample in both meals and energy substrates, is the way to go, failing to recognize the uniqueness of each client.

Many today scream Paleo, others yell Keto, and there’s very little unity.

Here’s my suggestion. While science will reveal new subtleties in food intake for specific groups, demographics, and performances, and food will continue to change as genetic modification, commercial livestock rearing, and food preservation techniques will challenge nature, the basics of “The Macro” won’t change.

  • Amino acids are the building blocks of tissue and we obtain them from dietary proteins.
  • Essential fats are essential with a host of vital benefits.
  • Starvation is NOT an effective weight loss strategy.
  • Processed foods will disrupt pancreatic hormones and metabolic processes if consumed often over time as staples in a nutrition plan.
  • Sugar intake can lead to a host of chronic and debilitating conditions If it isn’t well managed and kept modest at best.
  • Natural (organic) foods, grass-fed, pasture raised, and wild caught are going to provide more of nature’s “life force” than anything removed from sunlight, anything chemically modified, or anything hybridized for resistance to pests or weeds.

The bullet points are nothing but generalities, and this doesn’t pretend to be a complete list of important points, but a trainer equipped with some consistently valuable guideposts for their clients seeking health and betterment are certainly more powerful than those who avoid nutrition altogether.

Dr. Joel Fuhrman, Physician, Nutritional Scientist New York Times, Best-Selling Author

There are a great many leaders opening new doorways in the field of nutrition. One of them is Dr. Joel Fuhrman. We’re privileged to have him sharing his powerful insights at the MedFit Tour stop in Irvine, CA on February 9. It’s only one of the many reasons you should attend.

Dr. Fuhrman will share eye-opening research about the impact of fruit, specific vegetables, fats, and common foodstuffs on human health. . . and I guarantee two things. One, you’ll be blown away as so much of his study reveals the misinformation that plagues our population. Two, you’ll be far better equipped to deliver thrilling outcomes for your clients, whether you train athletes, regular folks, or the chronically afflicted.

Dr. Fuhrman is only one of a dozen extraordinary speakers slated to share insights in the wide-open and opportune field of Medical Fitness.  It’s the future. It should be a part of yours.

P.S. Here’s a gift, see Dr. Fuhrman live on video for free. Click here to access.

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 phil@philkaplan.com


The Space Between Fitness and Medicine: Where “the Good You Do For Others” Brings the Reward you Deserve | Part 3

If you’ve been following this article/series since Part 1, here’s what you now realize:

There is a massive market of adults in “need” of exercise and nutritional interventions to rediscover the health they’ve moved away from.
Although the conventions of the medical field are poorly equipped to reverse chronic disease, and the conventions of the fitness field primarily offer protocols for training healthy individuals (even the “special pop” certifications address safety more than an aggressive approach toward dis-ease reversal), there is MASSIVE OPPORTUNITY for you to prosper in working with this “unwell” market.


Success in Life & Business… It’s a Matter of Touch

I am sure you would agree that effective communication plays a significant role in relationships with clients, customers, patients, partners, family members, colleagues, friends, etc. But what about when those individuals are away from you? Do you fill that void effectively and systematically or do you leave it to chance?

Maximizing success in life and in business is dependent upon a complete relationship. To optimize your success you must see your time away from others just as important as the time you spend with them.

Let me explain. Your spheres of relationships are continually changing from both your perspective and from the perspective of others. As a result of these shifting viewpoints, the strengths or weaknesses of these bonds fluctuate and unless you systematically inject yourself into the relationship, you leave success and happiness to chance.

So how do you step-up and make sure you are not rolling the dice when it comes to your success? Simply put, by implementing real, honest, and effective “touches” you can maintain your presence the way that you want it to be. These “touches” are small, short, targeted, and balanced communications that fill the relationship gap that will maintain and even grow trust, loyalty and commitment. Found in various forms, these individualized gems can be phone calls, text messages, video calls, written letters, cards, etc. And the frequency? This depends on each situation but I recommend 14 to 21 days as the sweet spot to offer the best balance.

Remember, to maximize your success, “touch” everyone regularly in a way that will positively inject your influence and not allow chance to control of the outcome.

Reprinted with permission from Dr. Steve Feyrer-Melk.

Steve Feyrer-Melk, MEd, PhD, is a powerful, passionate, and trusted authority in Lifestyle Medicine who is bringing an innovative, refreshing, and successful approach to proactive health care. Dr. Steve co-founded the Optimal Heart Attack & Stroke Prevention Center where he crafts and hones real-world programs for immediate impact. Dr. Steve also serves as the Chief Science Officer of Nudge, LLC, a lifestyle medical technology company.

Healing Mind, Body & Spirit

Alone in a Las Vegas hotel room, it happened – a turning point in one’s life that suddenly changes everything forever.

Ray, a 73-year-old retiree, was having a stroke. From his pre-med studies he knew what was happening and what needed to be done. Crawling to the phone, Ray spoke with the front desk staff and requested emergency personnel. When the paramedics arrived, he instructed them on procedure. Later Ray would learn that his stroke was hemorrhagic and had missed the speech portion of his brain by mere centimeters.

After completing physical therapy at St. Jude’s Hospital in Fullerton, CA, Ray wanted to continue exercise therapy. He knew what physical movement had done for him – he felt strong, healthy, and functionally fit. However, at the completion of his program, Ray was turned away. He kept returning, requesting additional exercise therapy, but was told his time there for over because his insurance reached its maximum. Discouraged, Ray found himself in a parking lot where he spotted a business card. The card had the logo for a local community center. Ray called the number and was pleasantly surprised to learn that the center had a personal training staff that worked with clients who survived medical catastrophes, such as strokes and heart attacks.

Ray and I first met in July 2011. He drove a specially designed car and walked with a cane as well as a brace on his leg. One half of his body was rendered completely paralyzed from the stroke. Ray’s gait was extremely slow and he could only walk for a few moments at a time before stopping to rest.

At that initial meeting, I tested Ray’s strength by giving him a light free weight to lift. As he attempted a shoulder press, his left hand shook uncontrollably. For the first several months, Ray and I worked together privately. As the room we were working in was a children’s classroom that contained many toys, we used whatever props were available to improve Ray’s fitness level. Sometimes, I would utilize other objects, such as a small stress ball. We started with basic hand exercises, such as ball squeezes. To improve fine motor skills, Ray picked up small objects with his fingers. As Ray’s motor skills increased, the objects became smaller and smaller, until they were plastic-wrapped caramel candies. Ray reached the point where he was able to unwrap the candies with no assistance.

Ray & JuliaOur exercises also involved hand-eye coordination, such as tossing and catching an under-inflated ball to each other, as I kept running to different parts of the room so that Ray was challenged to located me and then throw the ball in my direction. We also used the under-inflated ball with Ray in a seated position, as he placed the ball between his ankles and lifted it with his legs. Ray was also able to perform basic strength training exercises with free weights, such as bicep curls, hammer curls and chest flys. He was getting stronger and was now able to remove his leg brace and walk for short periods of time. I was amazed at what I was seeing.

After several months, Ray astounded the members when he graduated to the main gym floor and started working out on the machines with the general population. He was now performing leg presses, chest presses, hamstring curls, abdominal curls, lat pull-downs, back extensions, tricep and inner/outer thigh exercises. Ray’s gait had improved tremendously and he now walked all the way into the gym with substantially reduced rest periods.

We were ecstatic on the day Ray had feeling on his paralyzed side for the first time in years. This was a historic milestone and demonstrated the power of healing. Everyone who had seen Ray in his early days were inspired and uplifted as they witnessed a truly remarkable transformation.

IDEA Fitness Journal featured Ray’s story in its November/December 2012 issue.

Ray discovered us by Divine intervention, since physical therapists and allied health personnel do not currently refer patients to Certified Personal Trainers.
Certified Personal Trainers, like many professions, encompass a wide array of specialties. Most people think of us working with the general population, devising exercise programs with goals of weight loss, toning and body building. They know us through aquatics classes, Zumba, yoga, boot camp and Pilates.

What most people do not know is that a significant portion of our client base are actually medical patients who have survived strokes, cancer, heart attacks, polio, joint replacement, Muscular Dystrophy, electrocution, fatty liver disease, diabetes, and lesser known genetic diseases such as Charcot-Marie-Tooth Disease.

Since 2007, the vast majority of my clients have been in this category. With the Baby Boomer generation entering retirement, these trends will continue well into the future. And as the fitness industry moves toward regulation, requiring mandatory certification or professional license, we look forward to the day when we take our rightful place in the healthcare continuum, providing patients with ongoing exercise therapy long after physical therapy is completed. In this way,
clients like Ray, whether mobile or homebound, will receive desperately needed services.

We do not know yet if our titles will be Licensed Fitness Trainer (LFT), Licensed Personal Trainer (LPT), or Licensed Fitness Professional (LFP). No matter what, we will continue to provide necessary and ongoing services to patients who need us the most. Through the Medical Fitness Network, we hope to reach this greatly under-served population. I believe that Ray’s transformation is a miracle. Body, mind and spirit are healed and every day hope springs eternal.

About Julia

julia-lombardoWith a degree in Mass Communications/Broadcast Journalism, Julia has written for national magazines, interviewing actors Tony Danza (Who’s the Boss?), Joe Mantegna (“Criminal Minds”) and Paul Sorvino (“Law & Order”). Julia has written restaurant reviews, cookbook reviews, professional biographies, award show brochures, press releases and promotional pieces. She edited the book “Helping Hilda,” and has written educational columns for a dentist and chiropractor. In the voice industry, Julia narrated books on tape, on-hold voice messaging systems, radio sound bites, and cable television. Her degree in Broadcast Journalism allows her to write scripts as well as narrate them.

Julia started running in 1997 and completed her first marathon in 2000. While spending many hours in several gyms, fellow members approached her with exercise training questions, which convinced Julia to become certified. After much research, Julia chose the American Council on Exercise as her certifying organization, and obtained her ACE Certified Personal Trainer designation in 2006.

Immediately, the Facilities Supervisor for the City of San Dimas called and asked if Julia would develop the city’s first Strength Training Class for seniors. She did, and in 2007 “Strength Training Fundamentals for Seniors,” began, launching her into group fitness right out of the gate. The class, comprised of active, inspired and motivated seniors, was an eye-opener into the generation that survived the Great Depression and would try virtually any exercise until mastering it. The class was so popular that residents were requesting that it be opened to the 30-54 age groups as well.

In 2008, Julia officially earned her ACE- Group Fitness Instructor designation and continued on to provide exercise training services for all ages, in community centers, privately in clients’ homes, and in women’s gyms. Julia has worked with “Medical Fitness” clients more than any other group. They have survived the following medical conditions: Stroke, heart attack, cancer, polio, obesity, Muscular Dystrophy, electrocution, Charcot-Marie-Tooth Disease, Hypertension, Diabetes, Fatty Liver Disease, joint replacement, post-physical therapy patients and more.

“What is incredibly satisfying about working in this field is starting with a client who is severely limited and watching the transformative power of exercise,” she says. Her client, Ray, found amazing success. “Ray had suffered a hemorrhagic stroke and could barely walk. The left half of his body was completely paralyzed. In the beginning, he and I worked in a private room with basic exercises. Ray’s stride improved; his strength and endurance increased. Over time, Ray advanced to the main gym with the general population, who were blown away by his astounding transformation. Ray had feeling on his paralyzed side for the first time in years!”

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7 Simple Steps to Becoming ‘The Biggest Winner’

You may have read Jaclyn’s recent post outlining her thoughts on the television show  The Biggest Loser. Here, she follows up and outlines simple steps you can take to become the ‘biggest winner’ the healthy way, not relying on short term rapid weight loss to reach your goals.

Research demonstrates that rapid weight loss programs are not recommended nor do they support any correlation to long-term success. Follow some of these simple steps to maximize your chances for success in achieving your “healthy lifestyle goals.”

STEP 1: Assess your Readiness for Change

Embarking on something that you are not ready to do could be harmful because an unsuccessful program could impair your self-esteem and dampen future efforts to achieve your healthy lifestyle goals. Before setting any short or long-term goals, it is recommended to take some time to reflect on your reasons for wanting to set these goals and initiate this journey.

senior-yoga-waterSTEP 2: Realize you are an individual

Just as with success, we define what “healthy” means to us. This is an individual aspiration and although our loved one’s can help to motivate us to want to make changes, we ultimately need to aspire to our own picture of “healthy” in order for us to stick with new lifestyle changes. Define what healthy means to you!

STEP 3: Eat real food

Evaluate where you can make minor changes in your dietary intake. Increase fruits, vegetables and water and decrease your intake of sugar and processed food. Eat close to the earth and prepare as much food as possible on your own. But be realistic – don’t expect perfection! You can start by making small nutritional changes that have a big impact on your health! And remember….FIBER is your FRIEND!

Copy of Mixed_Cut_Fruit_iStock_000003017352SmallSTEP 4: Don’t “DIET”

Always remember that a calorie is not just a calorie. Contrary to what we were taught in school many years ago, it is not just as simple as calories in, calories out. Many different factors make up the quality of the calories you take in (or expend). To determine what the best foods are for YOU, it is best to contact a Registered Dietitian or qualified healthcare professional.

STEP 5: Exercise

Choose an activity you enjoy and get some professional advice on the right activities for you and how to do them safely. It should challenge your muscles so you get stronger, but exercise should not hurt. No Pain No Gain does NOT pertain to YOU if exercise is done properly.

STEP 6: Focus on progress

Rid yourself of the All IN or All OUT mentality. Rather than telling yourself “I need to lose X pounds” set small goals toward better health and be proud of your accomplishments in the process. Many times if we set a goal and don’t achieve it, we can give up all together thinking that if we don’t make it to the summit of the mountain, than what’s the point. You still made progress – reward yourself for that and get up tomorrow and do it again. If you fall into old habits, don’t beat yourself up – tomorrow is another day.

STEP 7: Simple Strategies

Switch from drinking soda to seltzer water. Keep raw nuts, carrots and high fiber foods readily available for snacking. Take a therapeutic walk every day. When you’re stronger and ready for something new, challenge yourself a little more with things like roller skating, indoor rock climbing, or setting a goal for a summer hike. If you fall into old habits, don’t beat yourself up – tomorrow is another day.

Everyone has different health goals, and the way we approach them is not a one-size-fits-all process. It’s about more than just numbers on a scale. It’s also about your energy, how you feel, and so many other factors. Health is a journey, and we are all on it together, but in different places. When we understand that, and support ourselves and each other, we all win. And THAT is the message I want my son, and all of America, to hear.

Jaclyn Chadbourne, MA is a Clinical Exercise Physiologist and Co-Owner of the Medically Oriented Gym (M.O.G.) in South Portland, Maine. With a passion for sustainable healthy living and desire to advocate for patient-centered care, Jaclyn works to help the M.O.G. support community resources for all special populations and to implement and oversee clinical protocols. Read more from the MOG on their website, themoggroup.com/blog

Prescription drugs

The Prescription You DON’T Fill at the Pharmacy

Why exactly is “Exercise” considered medicine? Exercise has a difficult task of competing with the 5 seconds it takes to consume a pill, versus the 30 minutes it takes to gain health benefits from exercise. However, since the development of the Exercise Is Medicine Organization, there has been great momentum in the area of implementing exercise prescription as the first line of treatment for patient’s when appropriate.

Results, Results, Results

I have always had a love-hate relationship with exercise.

And while I know that it is very important for my health, it is more challenging for me, because of my medical condition, and I don’t enjoy it.

I was born with cystic fibrosis, a fatal genetic lung disease that makes breathing very difficult and causes excessive coughing.

My doctors have always told me that exercise will help strengthen my lungs and will literally help extend my life, but every time I’ve tried to work out, I have been unsuccessful.  When my health began to decline a few years ago, I decided that it was time to commit to a work out regimen.

IStacy Motenko working with a medical fitness professional was very excited when I found Lisa because she specializes in working with people with chronic illnesses.  Lisa studied my condition and planned out strategic workouts to ensure that our time together is most effective for my health.  She is patient with me but also pushes me to work harder and do more than I ever thought I could.

After working out with Lisa for only two months, I saw dramatic improvements in my health.  My lungs went from 96% to 104% as shown in my Pulmonary Lung Function Test. My doctor was thrilled to say the least.

I still have a long way to go, but I am already feeling better- I have more energy and feel stronger.  I have finally found an exercise regimen that I can stick to.  I am so grateful to Lisa for devoting her time and energy to helping and teaching me.

I know that our work together will result in a longer and healthier life for me, despite my illness.” -Stacy Motenko, 26, with Cystic Fibrosis