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health-wellness-coach-with-client

The Health And Wellness Coach’s Value Proposition

Every potential coaching client is looking to have the question ‘What’s in it for me?’ answered. Every coach needs to be able to succinctly answer that question by conveying what they will provide for their client.

Potential coaching clients are rarely familiar with what a coach, especially a health & wellness coach, can do for them. They are used to dealing with educators and consultants, medical and otherwise, not coaches. Usually clients expect to be directed, educated, and led in the best direction for them. All too often they hear a wellness coach tell them something like:

“I’m not going to tell you what to do. I’m not going to tell you what to eat or how to exercise. You’re the one in charge. You’re the one behind the steering wheel. You’ll be making your own wellness plan, and I’ll help you follow it.”

Why should this person become your client when it appears that they, themselves, are going to be doing all the work? Our client-centered approach to coaching does not mean we are not providing value, however we have to communicate the value of what we offer, and do it very clearly. What will the client gain from coaching?

This is true for the self-employed coach as well as the coach working for a wellness program, a disease management company, an insurance carrier, or any other organization that provides wellness and health coaching. It is about engagement. When coaches are confronted with the “incentivized” client, who is reluctantly complying with coaching in order to get their prize (or much-needed insurance discount), conveying the Health And Wellness Coach’s Value Proposition is more vital than ever.

Here is my way of presenting The Health And Wellness Coach’s Value Proposition. Please adapt to your own words and use it!

The Health And Wellness Coach’s Value Proposition*

“Thank you for your interest in improving your lifestyle and your life. You may be new to coaching, and especially wellness coaching, so let me share with you the value that it brings.

Wellness/health coaching is all about you living the best life possible for you. To do that most people find there needs to be some improvements in their way of living, their lifestyle. Making those improvements, those changes is challenging when you have to do it all by yourself. Perhaps you’ve already had some experience with that.

When I work with someone in coaching I’m here to serve you. You are the one in charge of your life and our work together. It’s your hands on the steering wheel. I’m not going to tell you what to do and give you a pre-maid wellness plan. But, together we can co-create a plan to help you succeed at making the lifestyle improvements that you want to make.

As your coach I will be working with you to get very clear about where you are at with your health and well being right now. We’ll help you take stock of that by exploring together, using some coaching tools that will help give you a more complete picture, and by going over the lifestyle improvement recommendations you’ve gotten from treatment professionals. Then we’ll work together to help you form a clear picture of the kind of life you want to live, your healthiest life possible for you. We’ll compare where you’re at and where you want to be and together form a solid plan to help you get there.

Once we have that plan we’ll work together as allies to help you be accountable to yourself and follow through on the steps you need to be taking on a regular basis to help you achieve the goals you have in your plan. I’ll be with you throughout the journey. I’ll be there to help you strategize over, under, around and through the barriers that come up. I’ll help you with challenges that make it tough for you to live the healthy life you want and together we’ll help you keep on track. Together we’ll help you find and develop the sources of support that will make your changes last. We’ll evaluate our progress and adjust the course along the way as we need to. My goal is to assist you in becoming self-sufficient in your wellness, to be able to live a healthy life in a completely sustainable way.

I bring the value of a professional that knows about succeeding at lifestyle improvement. I bring the value of an ally.”

*Created by Michael Arloski, Ph.D., PCC, CWP. Please adapt to your own words and use it! If used intact you must include authorship credit and contact information (Real Balance Global Wellness Services, Inc, https://www.realbalance.com). 


Originally published on Real Balance blog. Reprinted with permission.

Dr. Michael Arloski is the CEO and Founder of Real Balance Global Wellness Services, Inc. (www.realbalance.com). Real Balance has trained thousands of wellness coaches worldwide. Dr. Arloski is a board member of The National Wellness Institute, and a founding member of the executive team of The National Consortium For Credentialing Health and Wellness Coaches. He is author of the leading book in the field of wellness coaching: Wellness Coaching For Lasting Lifestyle Change, 2nd Ed.

Friendly therapist supporting red-haired woman

The What, the How and the Why of Lifestyle Improvement

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Trainer-with-senior-client-using-machine

The Roles of a Medical Fitness Specialist: Scope of practice, prevention and interprofessional collaboration

Physical activity has been demonstrated to positively affect over 30 chronic conditions and is considered the best deterrent of chronic disease in primary and secondary prevention. The main goal of a Medical Fitness Specialist (MFS) in the healthcare continuum is to prevent the onset of chronic disease and bridge the gap between clinical intervention and conventional fitness programs. This is achieved by developing exercise programs for those who have or are at risk for chronic disease or dysfunction, have health conditions that may be mitigated or managed by exercise and activity, are newly diagnosed with a disease and need exercise guidance, or have completed a medically supervised rehabilitation program and need to continue to progress. A fitness professional versed in medical fitness protocols, such as an MFS, can work with those who are at risk for chronic disease.

Scope of Practice

Scope of practice refers to boundaries set by knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSAs), as well as education, experience, and demonstrated competency, such as a program of study, or an exam to measure proficiency. A basic personal training certification suggests the holder can develop exercise programs for apparently healthy clients. Unfortunately, considering the overweight and obesity rate is near 70%, and 50%-60% of the adult U.S. population has at least one chronic disease, adhering to scope of practice becomes increasingly important, yet at the same time many fitness professionals may be providing services outside their scope of practice, and beyond their level of certification. By accepting a client, the trainer is proposing a safe workout will be developed and implemented, and the client will not be at risk of injury. If advice is given that is not within the trainer’s scope of practice, the trainer and the facility may be subjected to a lawsuit.

An MFS who integrates medical fitness into practice has the KSAs, based on education, experience, and demonstrated competency to conduct pre-participation interviews, perform fitness assessments, and design and implement health and fitness programs for disease management to avoid future injury and to improve activities of daily living. Unlike an MFS, unless otherwise educated, a fitness trainer who promotes medical fitness is not a licensed healthcare provider and does not possess the KSAs to diagnose an unknown condition, suggest supplements, design meal plans, physically touch a client or provide behavioral counseling.

Prevention

In the United States, medical care tends to focus on treatment rather than prevention. Whereas treatment is given for a diagnosed disease or injury, the goal of prevention is to avoid, improve or slow down the progression of a probable or possible disease or injury. Prevention can be categorized as primary, secondary, or tertiary. The goal of primary prevention is to foster a life of wellness and therefore avoid or reduce the chance of disease or dysfunction. Primary prevention includes immunizations, targeted types of exercise, balanced nutrition and wellness, and education programs. Secondary prevention is managing a symptomatic disease in the hopes of slowing down or reversing the progression. Examples include treatment for hypertension, asthma, and some cancer treatments. Tertiary prevention involves the management and treatment of symptomatic disease with the goal of slowing progression and severity, as well as reducing disease-related complications. Tertiary prevention includes treatment for late-stage cancer, coronary heart disease, and some types of rehabilitation to include orthopedic, cardiac, and pulmonary. Physical activity has been demonstrated to effectively treat over 30 chronic conditions, mostly in primary prevention but also in secondary and tertiary, making it the number one intervention against chronic disease.

Interprofessional Collaboration

Due to the growing incidence of obesity and chronic disease, leveraging the skills of various providers who can collaborate to deliver the best possible care, based on clinical needs, is necessary to manage the complex health care demands of a population with an increasing incidence of comorbidities. Due to a worldwide shortage of health workers, in 2010, the World Health Organization (WHO) recognized interprofessional collaboration as means to mitigate the global clinician shortage, strengthen health systems and improve outcomes. Interprofessional collaboration refers to health care teams, made up of trained professionals with various backgrounds, who work alongside patients and their families to provide high-quality care, based on the needs of the patient. Consequently, as medical providers begin to recognize the need to prescribe evidence-based exercise as an intervention in the management of chronic disease, MFSs, who are on the front line of health care, are trained and educated to be part of a clinical team that complements and leverages the strengths of each team member to improve population health. As health science and technology advance, it is imperative for fitness professionals who work with clients who have one or more chronic diseases to remain up-to-date on emerging fitness protocols. An MFS is required to participate in continuing education in areas including cardiopulmonary disease, metabolic disorders, and orthopedic dysfunction.

Although the scope of practice of many allied healthcare fields overlaps, the role of the MFS is to work with the client’s team of other healthcare providers, while staying within the scope of practice, based on KSAs. Regardless of the collaborative health team, the client’s physician is always the center, and as such should be provided regular updates as to the client’s progress.

An MFS is uniquely qualified to work with individuals within the healthcare continuum. Some KSAs associated with MFSs are:

  • Knowledge of basic chronic disease pathophysiology
  • The use and side effects of common medications taken by someone suffering from a chronic disease
  • The knowledge to perform and analyze basic assessments related to movement and anthropometry
  • The knowledge to design a safe and effective workout based on information received via assessment results, and the clinical recommendations from other healthcare providers
  • FITT protocols, exercise progressions, and regressions
  • The implications of exercise and activity for individuals with chronic disease
  • Contraindications of chronic disease, and signs and symptoms of distress related to chronic disease
  • Knowledge of signs and symptoms that require expertise outside of the scope of practice for medical exercise
  • The ability to recognize a medical emergency
  • Current CPR and adult AED are required

Personal Trainers & Fitness Professionals: Prevent & Manage Chronic Disease and Collaborate with Clinicians

Check out MedFit Classroom’s 20-hour online course, Medical Fitness Specialist. This course is designed for fitness and health professionals who want to learn more about using exercise as medicine with clients who suffer from one or more chronic diseases. As a Medical Fitness Specialist, you will be able to prevent and/or manage numerous chronic diseases and collaborate with clinicians.


Dan Mikeska has a doctorate degree in Health Science and a master’s degree in Human Movement, as well as certifications from NASM, ACE, the Cancer Exercise Training Institute and the Exercise Is Medicine credential from ACSM. He currently owns NOVA Medical Exercise and Medical Exercise Academy and is adjunct faculty for A.T. Still University’s Master of Kinesiology program. 

This article was featured in MedFit Professional Magazine. Access past issues or subscribe to read more great content like this!

Senior-Woman-Deep-Breath

Weight Loss Happens On The Exhale… The Nasal Exhale

Every person longing to be slim has heard the same advice forever: Eat less and exercise more. So simple, so logical, so what happened? America is the land of the overweight and the frustrated. For millions of people, every road has led to the same locked door. Until now. I’m going to give you the secret to helping you help your clients reach their weight loss goals in a healthy, lasting and fulfilling way.


For reasons ranging from stress to the influence of advertising, the majority of Americans find it difficult to lose the weight and keep it off. In addition, they are famously sedentary. According to the Centers For Disease Control & Prevention, 70% of adults are overweight or obese, contributing to health risks including heart disease, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, stroke, and more (1). Either for health or vanity reasons, many of these overweight men and women try to slim down and usually gain back at least as many pounds as they lost. The secret to effectively losing weight and transforming patterns of behavior happens with breath. 

How Breath Influences Fat Burning

The way we breathe, fast or slow, mouth open or closed, shallow or deep affects our biochemical, physiological, biomechanical and psychological states of being. Nasal diaphragmatic breathing signals our parasympathetic branch of the autonomic nervous system while mouth breathing signals our sympathetic branch.  The difference determines whether you’re fat-burning or sugar-burning. Can you guess which turns you into a fat-burning machine? You guessed, nasal breathing.

Most of our clients are living in a stressed state (or the sympathetic branch of our nervous system). Not only is this the sugar-burning system, it also leads to abnormally high levels of cortisol. High cortisol levels promote weight gain (2).

In addition, nasal breathing increases oxygenation while mouth breathing decreases oxygenation. The speed at which your body burns oxygen or fuel for fat-burning benefits depends on how well your body utilizes oxygen. As we diaphragmatically nasal breathe, we stimulate the vagus nerve. “The vagus nerve regulates metabolic homeostasis by controlling heart rate, gastrointestinal motility and secretion, pancreatic endocrine and exocrine secretion, hepatic glucose production, and other visceral functions.” (4)

How The Fat Leaves On The Exhale

Fats are large molecules made up of oxygen, carbon, and hydrogen. When the oxygen we breathe reaches these fat molecules, it breaks them down into carbon dioxide and water.  The blood then picks up the carbon dioxide – a waste product of our bodies – and returns it to the lungs to be exhaled.  Therefore, the more oxygen our bodies use, the more fat we will burn.  

Nasal breathing is more efficient than mouth breathing in terms of supplying oxygen to the body as well as the transfer of oxygen and carbon dioxide between the lungs and red blood cells. When performing cardiovascular exercise, it is therefore preferable to inhale and exhale through the nose. (3)

Have you ever wondered where the fat goes? If you’re like most of us, you probably think the majority of fat is excreted through bodily fluids. Surprisingly, it’s not. Based on the research from the British Medical Journal, the majority of fat turns into carbon dioxide which is exhaled when we breathe. (5)

See My Interview With Ruben Meerman

Transforming Patterns of Behavior

The person who’s been sedentary for years won’t suddenly be persuaded to run a marathon. Core changes must come first in order to make everything else possible.  Using “breath as medicine” to improve health and the training experience, we cultivate the “choosing mind,” where we can alter lifelong patterns. 

People become sedentary and develop poor lifestyle patterns based on habit, boredom or emotional triggers.  So, there’s more involved than just losing the physical weight. Our issues are in our tissues. We’ve got to transform the emotional and physiological weight which is embedded in our unconscious and subconscious minds.  

Mindful breathing while exercising is being “neurofit” meaning we’re influencing physiological changes in the brain related to behavior. Life is a sensory experience and the body keeps score. Focusing on the breath allows a person to slow down, unwind and look inward. This is crucial for people whose lives are chronically hectic and stressful, who eat without thought, regardless of hunger. With deep, powerful breathing, they can break old patterns while cleansing internal systems. How does this happen?  By stimulating the vagus nerve (which only happens through nasal diaphragmatic breathing), we strengthen the areas of the brain responsible for emotional self-regulation. (6)

The body always lives in the present. It will never crave a Twinkie because of unrequited love, an upcoming review with a cranky boss, or an unhappy childhood. It cares only about what it needs from moment to moment to maintain homeostasis. The typical brain calls for millions of automatic acts in a day – from adjusting endocrine levels to blinking to deploying white cells for battle. As the connection between body and mind is fortified with breath, the choosing mind emerges reconnecting with our body to hear its’ objective voice which discriminates between emotional reactivity and true desire.

All that from a simple breath. 

Continuing Education: Breath as Medicine

Ed Harrold’s Breath AS Medicine breath coach training focuses on breath regulation concepts & strategies by applying the principles and philosophy of yoga breathing (or pranayama) to improve breathing rates and patterns. Breath AS Medicine is a highly effective modality for both the prevention of illness as well as therapy for managing and/or reversing existing chronic illness.

Click here to learn more about Ed Harrold’s Breath AS Medicine e-learning courses. Use coupon MedFit20 for 20% off either the 15 or 25-hour trainings.

A shorter 6-hour course is also available on MedFit Classroom. Click here for details.


Ed Harrold is an author, inspirational leader, public speaker, coach and educator. Ed’s mastery in the science of mindful breathing has guided him to apply conscious breathing practices in corporate performance coaching, fitness & athletic training, healthcare trainings, stress reduction and overall health and well-being.

Today, Ed blends the fields of neuroscience and the wisdom of contemplative traditions into effective strategies to improve well-being in Corporate America, Healthcare, athletic performance and individual health. Ed’s fluency in mindfulness-based strategies combined with the belief in the human potential gives him the depth and understanding to meet individuals and group needs across industries and platforms.

 Ed is the author of  “Life With Breath” and “BodyMindBusiness”; he is a contributing health & wellness editor for Huffingtpost, Thrive Global, MindBodyGreen & PTOnTheNet. Ed’s Breath AS Medicine Training offers CE in the healthcare, wellness coaching, fitness & athletic training sectors. Ed is a Faculty Member of the Medical Wellness Association. Learn more about Ed at www.edharrold.com

 

References

  1. National Center For Health Statistics, Health, United States, 2015.  Table 53.  https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/obesity-overweight.htm 
  2. Sominsky, L. & Spencer, S. (May 2014). Eating behavior and stress: a pathway to obesity, School of Health Sciences and Health Innovations Research Institute, Retrieved from http://journal.frontiersin.org 
  3. Novotny, S. (2007, February 1). The science of breathing. Ideafit.com. Retrieved from http://www.ideafit.com/ 
  4. Harada, S., Yamazaki, Y., Koda, S., Tokuyama, S. (April 23, 2014). Hepatic Branch Vagus Nerve Plays a Critical Role in the Recovery of Post-Ischemic Glucose Intolerance and Mediates a Neuroprotective Effect by Hypothalamic Orexin-A, Retrieved from http://journals.plos.org/ 
  5. Meerman, A. Brown (December 19, 2014).  When Somebody Loses Weight, Where Does The Fat Go? The BMJ. Retrieved from http://www.bmj.com/content/349/bmj.g7257
  6. Porges SW, Doussard-Roosevelt JA, Maiti AK (1994).  Vagal Tone And The Physiological Regulation of Emotion.  PubMed.  Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7984159 
trainer-resistance-band-senior-woman-client

You Are The Solution

This article is meant to be a wake-up call to the fitness industry. The health of our population and country are at stake. While advancements have extended our country’s overall lifespan, it has occurred primarily through the use of medications and life-saving procedures rather than through lifestyle changes. The stark reality is that the overall health of Americans is declining as evidenced by the $3.5 trillion spent every year on health care expenditures.

Another alarming statistic is that between 1997 and 2016, there were approximately 4.5 billion prescriptions written per year. 70% of Americans take at least one and 20% take five or more prescription medications (Preidt 2017). The majority of these medications were taken to address lifestyle-related diseases and the subsequent impacts of poor nutrition choices and lack of physical activity. Additionally, many prescription and over-the-counter medications are used to treat osteoarthritis, the most common cause of physical disability in the world. While genetics, weight, and age have been considered as underlying factors, the decrease in quantity, as well as quality, of physical activity have been shown to be much greater factors to the onset and prevalence of osteoarthritis in modern society (Wallace 2017, Osar 2018).

While often attributed to causes outside one’s control (i.e. genetics), the fact is that the diseases contributing to the greatest number of deaths (heart disease, cancer, and Type 2 diabetes) and disability (osteoarthritis) are directly related to controllable factors. While each has a genetic component, lifestyle has a much greater impact on the incidence and prevalence of these diseases. One of most important and underappreciated components in the overall decline in one’s physical, physiological, and cognitive health, is the lack of physical activity. Less than 20% of the population meet the daily physical activity guidelines and less than 5% of the adult population participates in 30 minutes of physical activity. Even more disturbing is that more than 78 million U.S. adults and 12 million children are obese.

Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn has been attributed with the quote, “Genetics loads the gun, lifestyle pulls the trigger.” This suggests that lifestyle is as important as genetics in the expression of many chronic diseases. This sentiment is reiterated in a recent study from Bodai et. al (2018). “Epidemiological, ecologic, and interventional studies have repeatedly indicated that most chronic illness, including cardiovascular disease, cancer, and type 2 diabetes, are the results of lifestyles fueled by poor nutrition and physical inactivity.”

The health of our population and country is at stake. This is a call for fitness professionals to step up and recognize that you are the first line of defense against the deleterious impacts of lifestyle diseases. It is your responsibility to educate your communities that lifestyle changes, incorporating proper nutrition as well as increased physical and cognitive exercise, should be the first step in addressing chronic lifestyle diseases. You can continue to change the health of our nation by implementing evidence-based nutrition, exercise, and cognitive training programs. Be the solution your clients, your community, and our country needs by investing in advanced education in nutrition, exercise, movement, and cognitive training. Create relationships with allied health professionals so that we can collectively educate, collaborate, and coordinate the changing of our nation’s health care system.


This article was featured in MedFit Professional Magazine Winter 2020 issue. Subscribe to MedFit Professional Magazine to read more great content like this!

Dr. Evan Osar, an internationally recognized speaker, author, and expert on assessment, corrective exercise, and functional movement. Dr. Osar is committed to educating and empowering fitness professionals while helping them develop relationships with allied health professionals. He is author of the Corrective Exercise Solutions to Common Hip and Shoulder Dysfunction and has developed the industry’s most complete training certification, the Integrative Movement Specialist™. With his wife Jenice Mattek, he created the online educational resource. For more info, visit IIHFE.com.

 

References

Bodai, B. I., Nakata, T. E., Wong, W. T., Clark, D. R., Lawenda, S., Tsou, C., … Campbell, T. M. (2018). Lifestyle Medicine: A Brief Review of Its Dramatic Impact on Health and Survival. The Permanente journal22, 17–025. doi:10.7812/TPP/17-025

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Osteoarthritis. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/arthritis/basics/osteoarthritis.htm

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Leading Causes of Death. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/leading-causes-of-death.htm

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. National Health Expenditure Data. Retrieved from https://www.cms.gov/Research-Statistics-Data-and-Systems/Statistics-Trends-and-Reports/NationalHealthExpendData/NationalHealthAccountsHistorical.html

Osar, E. (2018). The Fundamentals for Training the Older Client with Osteoarthritis. Retrieved from https://www.ptonthenet.com/remote-learning

Preidt, R. (2017). Americans Taking More Prescription Drugs Than Ever. https://www.webmd.com/drug-medication/news/20170803/americans-taking-more-prescription-drugs-than-ever-survey

U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. Facts and Statistics. Retrieved from https://www.hhs.gov/fitness/resource-center/facts-and-statistics/index.html

Wallace, IJ., Worthington, S., Felson, DT., Jurmain, RD., Wren, KT., Maijanen, H. Woods, RJ., Lieberman, DE. (2017). PNAS. 114(35): 9332-9336.

med-fit-client-doctor-exercise

Healthcare Through Fitness

A discussion of medical fitness is rooted in an understanding of the health benefits of fitness and exercise. The documented benefits are endless and include management of chronic disease, management and prevention of osteoporosis, improved mood and sleep disorders, stress relief, management and prevention of obesity.

Health agencies across the spectrum of public health and disease-specific organizations recognize and promote exercise and fitness as an integral part of the management of chronic disease; diseases that include diabetes, cardiovascular disease, Parkinson’s, depression, multiple sclerosis, and arthritis, among others.

If fitness and exercise are well accepted as part of the management strategy for multiple diseases, why is it that access to organized exercise plans, and fitness professionals who can help implement those plans, are not a standard part of the medical treatment paradigm? Why is it not a standard benefit covered by common medical insurance policies?

The reasons are multifactorial and a reflection of the overall healthcare conundrum in our country today. Let’s focus, however, on how to make a change. We need to focus on how to integrate fitness professionals into the medical paradigm. A perfect model for this is an integrative medical fitness center.

What is a medical fitness center? It is a fitness facility with a multidisciplinary staffing approach and has the following characteristics:

  • Regular medical oversight by a medical director
  • Practitioners with nationally-recognized certifications and training in the care of chronic disease
  • Comprehensive health assessments and exercise prescription
  • Exercise classes geared toward specific medical conditions

These centers bring together credentialed staff in a collaborative way to provide exercise prescription plans specific to the needs of an individual with chronic disease.

The concept of the medical fitness center is not new; many currently exist in communities throughout the United States. However, an understanding of their importance in the context of the current healthcare environment has grown. The idea of creating “medical homes” that are collaborative across disciplines and provide a comprehensive healthcare approach is now being recognized to provide a high standard of care while simultaneously decreasing overall healthcare costs. This is true specifically for high-risk individuals who suffer from chronic disease.

Further integration of medical fitness centers, and broad access to exercise and fitness resources, will hopefully become standard of care and widely accessible to all individuals, especially those with chronic disease. This integration will inherently bring fitness professionals into the paradigm of healthcare and promote healthcare through fitness.

This article was featured in MedFit Professional Magazine. Visit medfitpromag.com to read past issues or subscribe for future issues.


Dr. David Kruse attended medical school at UC San Diego, after graduating from UC Berkeley. He holds board certifications in family and sports medicine. He practices sports medicine with the Orthopaedic Specialty Institute, in Orange, CA. Dr. Kruse is the Chief Medical Officer for the MedFit Network and on the Medical Advisory Board for the MedFit Education Foundation. He is currently a Team Physician for USA Gymnastics, Orange County Soccer Club, and Biola University. Visit his website, krusesportsmd.com

Aimee-Carlson-Toxin-Terminator

Toxicity & Detox

When I first began my own personal health journey, I had no idea what a toxin was. Having worked in the automotive business for better than 30 years, I thought toxins consisted of the various chemicals and products we used in that business. I knew we had to carry MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheets) for every product we had in the facilities. I related toxins to workplace environments, and truly had no idea that they were also hidden in our homes!

The automotive industry was highly regulated. In fact, there are several agencies that oversee the practices within automotive businesses, establish the regulations that must be followed and perform on-site inspections. As a mother and a grandmother, I was enraged to find out there were no such regulations on the products that we purchase off the shelves in the stores. I incorrectly made the assumption that these products were safe for me and my family to use.

This is what led me to become The Toxin Terminator. I knew there needed to be a voice in this field. When it comes to being healthy, many people seek out help with how they eat or look at their physical fitness and how they move each day. But they aren’t paying attention to the number one contributor to the symptoms they are experiencing, toxins! In fact, even if they do, it can be such a confusing path to go down. Marketers have learned the terms they need to use to give the illusion of their products being safe. We call this greenwashing. This is one of the reasons why it is so important for people to have a certified person working with them to help them navigate this complex arena and overcome the root cause of their symptoms.

Learning about toxins, the symptoms of toxin overload and where they are, was the first step in my journey of overcoming chronic disease. The toxins are what flip the switches on, and the detox is how we turn those switches off and truly heal the cells, so the body gets well. Through my journey, I have met with hundreds who have also reversed their chronic disease. Through my podcast and masterminds, I have had the opportunity to meet and discuss this topic with top researchers, doctors, coaches, industry thought leaders and people just looking to feel better. I personally became certified as a Toxicity and Detox Specialist so I would be able to help others walk through their own healing journey.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, 6 out of 10 adults suffer from a chronic disease and 40% have two or more. 90% of healthcare dollars in the United States are spent on chronic disease and 70% of all deaths are caused by a chronic disease. These numbers are out of control. It is my mission to decrease these numbers. Last year taught us all too well the danger of these numbers and the importance of our own personal health and reducing our underlying factors.

People are ready to take control of their health and we can do this together!

Join Aimee for a Webinar on This Topic!

Register for this free webinar, Counting Chemicals: Everyone is busy counting calories, when they should be busy counting chemicals!


Aimee Carlson is a lifetime entrepreneur, owning and operating a multi-location national franchise, to a professional network marketer, best-selling author, podcast host of The Toxin Terminator and certified Toxicity and Detox Specialist.

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Understanding Health Coaching – Letting the Client Lead

Health Coaches are trained to take an interesting approach in implementing a plan to help their clients. Successful Health Coaching programs have designs within that let the client set their own path to better health. That’s right. The client is often the one to determine which actions to take in obtaining, or retaining, the next level of better health that they hope to achieve. 

Does this sound crazy? Well, if you think about the way things work in the world of sports, it makes great sense. Coaches coach and players play. The “player” in this instance is the client and the client is playing the game of life. It is their life. It is the client’s game to play. A coach’s role is to prepare the player (or person with the desire to improve their health) for action. A coach is there to guide. A great coach is one that asks the right questions; questions that bring awareness to the client’s needs and ultimately provide answers which will empower the client to proclaim their own path forward.

This is not to say a coach does not have a philosophy to which they adhere, or a knowledge base used to guide their clients. Nor does it mean that a coach will not step in and offer a more sensical path if the client chooses a step that clearly is not beneficial, or worse, potentially harmful. It simply means that the client can take the lead in determining the direction of their greatest gift, their own health. Instead of leaning on the coach like a crutch for support, the “player” stands on their own two feet.

Being told what to do and how to act is not a very effective way for making wholesale lifestyle and/or behavioral changes. The growth must come from within. The client must see and feel the importance of each step for themselves. Empowering the client to be aware enough to see the next possible, available, or achievable step is rewarding and the key to long-term growth.  

It is common for a Health Coach, especially at the very beginning of the coach’s and client’s time together, to ask the client to simply observe their own behavior. As the great Yogi Berra once said, “You can observe a lot by just watching.” Seems simple, right? It is simple. The path to better health does not need to be complicated.

Pay attention to your own behavior and make note of what you observe. Or better yet, write down what you observe.

  • What do you see in your own life?
  • How well do you eat?
  • When do you eat?
  • What do you eat?
  • Do you snack?
  • What do you snack on?
  • When do cravings occur?
  • Do you notice your food when you eat (pay attention to how you see, smell, and chew your food)?
  • How well do you sleep?
  • What is your energy level like throughout the day?
  • Do you notice any sort of “crash” during the day?
  • How often does your mind drift?
  • Are your thoughts generally positive or negative?
  • Do you reach for technology often?
  • What are your relationships like?
  • What is your level of physical activity?
  • How does this activity make you feel – before, during and after?

…And on and on. These are just a few observable daily occurrences that a coach may suggest keeping an eye on to prime the pump, so to speak. 

Asking a client to be a witness to their own life, their actions and how it relates to their current state of health, to be a detective and gather evidence on their own behalf is a sure-fire way to have the client detect their own tendencies, positive and negative, invest in their own progress and unturn areas that can propel them towards improved health. 

Learn more about health coaching… register for Brian’s webinar with MedFit Classroom, What is Health Coaching?


Brian Prendergast is the Founder and Head Coach of High Five Health and Fitness, and Co-Creator/Co-Host of The Two Fit Crazies and a Microphone Podcast. Brian is a Certified Integrative Nutrition Health Coach, Certified Personal Fitness Trainer and Group Fitness Instructor, and USA Track and Field (USATF) Level 1 Coach and Competitive Masters Runner.