Exercise is Medicine by ACSM

May 2021 // Archive

Date based archive
27 May


A career life and the adulthood that goes along with making a living, can correlate with lots of time spent sitting. the hours of being sedentary increase with age and eventually, less time is spent being active and making healthy choices. Between office lunches, entertaining clients and customers, the spread in the breakroom, vending machines taunting in the hallways, and whatever co-workers decide to share, the combination of more time seated with more sugary and fat ridden foods, become a recipe for gaining weight and increase the risk for poor health.

Some of the most common jobs that are prone to weight gain include the following:

1. Software engineer: IT professionals are prone to getting wrapped up in projects that lead to skipping meals and then eating junk food when there’s time to scarf something down. All this while sitting at a computer.

2. Nurse Practitioner: Ironically this profession in the health field that advocates for nutritious eating, is rampant with stress eating.

3. Teacher: Between students, other staff members, parents, and standardized testing, this profession can be stressful. Managing a classroom setting all day then taking homework to grade can lead to stress eating and reaching for whatever is closest and most convenient to eat.

4. Police offer: There are many hours spent patrolling, sitting, and observing. When there’s action this can be very stressful. Dealing with life threating situations does lead to stress and often times comforting foods.

5. Bus driver/ Taxi/Uber/Lyft Driver: Night or day, this job is all sitting and eating on the go.

6. Administrative assistant: This profession requires juggling the lives and schedules of everyone else, leaving little self-time. Often times, this person is the first one in the office and the last one to leave, sitting and working away to help others.

7. Call center or sales jobs: The phone is always in hand and each hour is filled with constant conversation while sitting. Customer service can be stressful, while meeting commissions and quotas.

Stress alarms the body as cortisol levels strike. Feelings of fight or flight lead a person to want to suppress such levels of high emotion with food or drinks. The mind doesn’t always turn off at the end of the day, and poor sleep leads to poor choices. Waking up tired attracts the easy route when it comes to what to wear, what to eat, and this can lead to complete disregard for extracurricular activities like exercise. Even though a person might be sitting all day, coming home and sitting more sounds more appealing then hitting the gym. Suddenly, years have past and pounds have added up. Your I.D. badge depicts an entirely different body shape. Don’t let stress and your career cut years off your life. Don’t work just to use your health insurance later to cover the costs of the damage that has resulted to your body. Find time for health and set the example to your co-workers that quality of life is critical and necessary.

20 May


Our bodies are fascinating functioning entities that are designed to endure and last. Machines don’t always function properly and fine tuning may be needed. If our heart is acting strange, we see a cardiologist. If we are having issues with our feet, we go see a podiatrist. But sometimes the answers aren’t so obvious when we know something just isn’t right. Endocrinology, the study of hormones is only 100 years old so it’s in its state of infancy. Hence, why there isn’t always a direct response from a doctor when it comes to a woman’s inquiry about her sudden weight gain or lack of energy, or a male feeling depressed or sluggish.

Hormones can rule our lives. They turn children into adults, affect or appetites, and affect our passions. We may not think of them in our daily thoughts, but they are part of our daily lives for sure. The earliest example of hormone study was with the famous opera singer of the 1700s named, Ferinelli. He was castrated to keep his opera voice high. As a result, he had many female features. Later, cattle and roosters were the lab rats to be tested on.

In the 1800s, when women were having issues the answer was to remove their ovaries. 150,000 women in Europe were treated this way to address their unsolved womanly ailments. Yet, that just caused early menopause.

Hormones are chemical messengers that communicate much differently than our nervous system. The word “hormone” came from the ever-famous Greek poet, Homer. Cortisol is the stress hormone. Adrenaline is the flight or fight hormone and there are many more. The pituitary gland is the major house of these hormonal operations. It regulates our levels like a thermostat.

Studies of obesity led to the discovery of insulin and leptin. Without insulin, one will develop diabetes and long ago diabetes was a death sentence. Hence, the name “Die” abetes. Sugar passes straight to urine when insulin is not properly functioning. Leptin is the fat hormone and provides feedback to brain about our appetite. More fat leads to more leptin and studies show this is caused by genetics in addition to self-control.

The movie, “The Fantastical World of Hormones”, by Andrew Smith, was very helpful in my research. This is just a synopsis because we know that hormones are not a straightforward answer. On our fitness journeys there may be speed bumps, but the road to your goals will lead you to better health and a better YOU!!!!!

13 May


A diet rich in whole grains, vegetables, legumes, and fresh fruits and vegetables is great for overall health and can even help weight loss. However, this food plan is all about the choices that fall under these categories. Muffins are part of the mistake that can cause weight gain. The average medium sized muffin contains about 430 calories, 18 grams of fat, and close to 60 carbohydrates. This doesn’t include the possible 35 grams of sugar. No wonder they taste so good. For breakfast, as a snack, with tea or coffee, a muffin is a tasty, satisfying food that many approve of. The problem is that a muffin isn’t a nutritionally sound option. Then we to consider the giant muffins from Costco, the ones that taste good from Souplantation, the one’s the vending machine has, and then there’s always 7-11. They taught and tease use because they are a grab and go food. They’re easy and filling.

Just because a muffin has some blueberries, is gluten-free, or made from scratch, doesn’t mean the waistline isn’t going to suffer. Even if just half, only 200 calories, those calories could have better been served with 3 eggs and a banana or ½ cup of oatmeal. More bang for the caloric content, but we don’t always make decisions based on that rationale. Often times a muffin isn’t the main meal either, although could count up to be this.
Muffins date back to the 18th century coming from either the British or Europeans. It is similar to a raised flat bread, shaped like a cupcake. Some even call it a healthy “cupcake”. The main ingredients are flour, vegetable oil, and of course sugar. Flavors range from chocolate to bran and all the types of fruits in between. It is typically eaten for breakfast and enjoyed a mid-morning snack or for brunch.

Let’s take a look at one of Costco’s chocolate muffins just for shock value. This muffin has 690 calories, which if a person is at a 2,000 calorie intake per day, that’s about 35% right there. This makes up 79 grams of carbohydrates and 16 grams of fat. Then there are only 3 grams of fiber and 10 grams of protein. All that considered, that is a lot for one muffin and a lot for just one item. There are other types like banana nut or poppy seed, but these still come in the 600 calorie range. A muffin is therefore an occasional food choice, not one to have with breakfast on a daily basis. As good as they are, there are not good for the body long-term. We all know the derogatory term that can be used for the shape of a persons’ stomach ☹

06 May


Coaching has been an integral part of my life. From having a father who’s a basketball coach, having many people coach me over the years, and then becoming a coach myself, I’d say my world has been pretty impacted by this topic. The foundations for my own practices are rooted in the examples my father has shown me, but there’s a well-known coach whom I have read and learned about and wanted to share with you. Phil Jackson, the infamous Los Angeles Lakers coach, has a style and philosophy I greatly admire. Plus I named my pug after him.

Phil Jackson is widely considered one of the most successful basketball coaches ever in the NBA. The titles speak for themselves and the players he has coached along the way are some of the best. He won 6 NBA titles with the Chicago Bulls and 3 titles with the Los Angeles Lakers. He has coached players such as Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant. What qualities and skills does he possess to be able to accomplish such feats?? The answer to this would be the application of his 11 Principles of Mindful Leadership. He established and published these Principles to share with others.

The major message I received from these Principles is that a leader’s job is to build leaders at all levels (http://www.leadershipnow.com/leadingblog/2013/06/phil_jacksons_11_principles_of.html). The number one principle is to, “Lead from the Inside Out”, which means being true to yourself. Phil Jackson stated, “As time went by, I discovered that the more I spoke from the heart, the more players could hear me and benefit from what I gleaned” (http://www.leadershipnow.com/leadingblog/2013/06/phil_jacksons_11_principles_of.html). Number 2 is to “Bench the Ego” which Jackson describes as “distributing power”, not trying to have the last word, and to always keep the team’s vision in mind. He said,
“If your primary objective is to bring the team into a state of harmony and oneness, it doesn’t make sense for you to rigidly impose your authority” (http://www.leadershipnow.com/leadingblog/2013/06/phil_jacksons_11_principles_of.html).

Number 3 is to “Let Each Player Discover His Own Destiny”. Every player has strengths and weaknesses, and it is important for each player to find out what they can contribute best to the team. This doesn’t always mean points or rebounds. Not everyone looks good on paper, but given direction they can uncover great skills they possess to add to their game and the team. For me, every client has strength and weaknesses and it is important to tailor workouts to both parts. Number 4 is that “The Road To Freedom is a Beautiful System”, which refers to his triangle offense his teams ran. This type of play allowed each player to have a role and the freedom to play within structure that doesn’t restrict the freedom to adjust to the moment. In other words, I’m no drill sergeant and want to create sustainable, realistic, and possible programs for clients. Number 5 is to “Turn the Mundane into the Sacred”. Jackson incorporated meditation into his practices, because contrary to popular belief, playing pro basketball can get mundane and players need stimulation other than just what plays to run. Adding variety to workouts is key to avoid burn out and boredom. Number 6 is called “One Breath = One Mind”, which really highlights his Zen philosophy. He said, “Players “often have to make split-second decisions under enormous pressure. I discovered that when I had the players sit in silence, breathing together in sync, it helped align them on a nonverbal level far more effectively than words. One breath equals one mind” (http://www.leadershipnow.com/leadingblog/2013/06/phil_jacksons_11_principles_of.html).

Moving on, Number 7 says that “The Key to Success is Compassion”. Relationships are important among team members. Building a trusting relationship in a positive environment is critical for client success. Number 8 is to “Keep Your Eye on the Spirit, Not on the Scoreboard”, which involves focusing on the players and their working together rather than what the score is. The scale isn’t the only measure of success. Number 9 is that “Sometimes You Have to Pull Out the Big Stick” which is about preparing players for unexpected situations using methods in practices to make them respond to chaos. We know that life happens, and staying on our fitness journeys when life presents challenges can be difficult. I want to provide the tools for successful adjustments. Number 10 says “When in Doubt, Do Nothing”. He says that some occasions call for no action. Sometimes a plateau just works itself out and the body will respond when it is ready to. He likes the quote from Satchel Paige, who said, “Sometimes I sits and thinks, and sometimes I just sits (http://www.leadershipnow.com/leadingblog/2013/06/phil_jacksons_11_principles_of.html).” Finally, Number 11 is to “Forget the Ring”. No one likes to lose, but all you can do it prepare as best as possible for success and the outcome will be what it will be.

I see my clients as my players and there are strategies I use with each one of them. Like Phil Jackson, I know it isn’t always about X’s and O’s or weight and numbers. The fitness relationship we build is important and helping develop a better attitude and mindset towards health and wellness is what I like to emphasize. We are focusing on lifestyle changes and connecting the mind and body for this journey helps for long term results and success. Having the compassion and the ability to work through chaos are all important tools. We can get to our goals and win titles with the correct approach. Coaching can be complicated dealing with the various personalities and finding what tactic works best for each individual, but that’s what makes the job interesting and entertaining. I may be more perfectionist than Zen like Phil Jackson, and don’t know that we will ever meditate haha, but his Principles are written on my desk on a Post- it note whenever I need to re-visit them.