Exercise is Medicine by ACSM


02 Jul


A wonderful client recommended a great read to me. The book is called, Warrior, written by, Theresa Larson. Her story of sheer strength, struggle, and leadership, was empowering and relatable. So let me share Theresa’s life/fitness journey with you.

Theresa Larson grew up in a male dominant household after losing her mother to cancer at age 10. She was a daddy’s girl growing up in Seattle with her two brothers. They were an active and healthy family, and together they followed a fitness program called Fit Forever. Solid nutrition and exercise were the foundation of this program, with one day to “cheat” or have whatever you wanted. Theresa fell in love with softball and she became an all-star pitcher. She received a softball scholarship to play at Villanova, where she also became a member of their ROTC program. Following in the footsteps of her brothers, who were also military members, Theresa entered the Service.

She had an incredible level of fitness and her work ethic set the bar for her teammates and fellow ROTC members. She could outperform anyone on the physical fitness tasks. All the while, she stuck to the strict restrictions of Fit Forever. But at this point the program wasn’t exactly in line with her lifestyle. Barely eating and exercising for endless hours every day while keeping a perfectionist attitude in all she did, made school a challenge to stay awake during classes. She was wearing herself out. Part of the reason I enjoyed this book was because Theresa was stationed at Camp Pendleton here in Oceanside. She even entered a fitness competition. This didn’t turn out to be an ongoing activity, but she did get up on stage and prepare for the event all while being in the military and following Fit Forever.

Theresa became a Lieutenant in the Marines and she was known for her harsh fitness training with her squad. They were the most in shape group by far. She was deployed to Fallujah and took on an interesting role of being the middle “woman” with negotiations in a country that did not accept women.

Yet, internally, the pressure Theresa was placing on herself was taking its toll. Few people knew that she was struggling with bulimia. Being in a desert country, exercising excessively, and eating very little, added up to a recipe for self-destruction. When she finally went to her Commander, her medical concerns were not met well. In the end, she asked to be sent home and the discharge process was not ideal. She had a real problem, yet, the military wasn’t quite understanding to a condition of this nature. She was given a desk job upon her return to the states and the psychologist in the military she was assigned to knew themselves that this area was out their scope of practice.

Theresa is now a Doctor of Physical Therapy. She especially likes to help wounded veterans. Today, “She is now a Doctor of Physical Therapy and the founder of Movement Rx, a physical therapy and wellness company that offers support to wounded warriors and individuals with health and movement issues. She travels all over the world as a speaker for MobilityWOD and the CrossFit Movement & Mobility Trainer Course. She is a lululemon ambassador, and works with nonprofits including Team Red White & Blue, LinderKids.org, Resiliency Project, CrossRoads Adaptive Athlete Alliance, and the National Eating Disorder Association.”  (http://www.drtheresalarson.com/about/). Sharing her story meant sharing her secrets. This was a great read and Theresa is certainly STRONG both inside and out.

Larson, Theresa. Warrior. HarperOne, 2016.

02 Jul


Don’t forget to take your vitamin. Sound familiar?? From the time I was a little girl I took my Flintstones chewables. The chalky tasting goodness was a daily routine. The world has been swamped with many different brands now and it’s difficult to know exactly what our bodies call for in terms of deficiencies, what we get from foods, etc…. but we are always told to take a multivitamin. So do we really need to take this supplement?? Our pill driven society tells us to do this, but what are we putting in our bodies??

Multivitamins do support our overall health. Studies vary between the benefits and necessity, but in general it seems that having a multivitamin won’t cause a vitamin overdose or negatively impact a person. In summary, “A balanced diet goes a long way to getting the vitamins and minerals you need to feel good and head off health problems. Trouble is, very few people eat right every day.’When we compare recommendations for vitamin and mineral intakes to actual consumption, many Americans do not even come close to getting what they need for several nutrients,’says Meir Stampfer, MD, DrPH, professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School” (http://www.webmd.com/diet/features/making-the-most-out-of-multivitamins#1) .

Most contain some amount of the following: “riboflavin), B3 ( niacin), B6, folic acid (B9), B12, B5 (pantothenic acid), biotin, A, E, D2 or D3 ( cholecalciferol), K, potassium, iodine, selenium, borate, zinc, calcium, magnesium, manganese, molybdenum, betacarotene, and iron” (http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-and-supplements/nutrition-vitamins-11/choose-multivitamin?page=2). Ideally you want 100% of each of the items, and any amount over that might be too much. Asking your doctor which brand he/she recommends is probably your best bet. Our yearly physicals also let us know what deficiencies we have, so your doctor might emphasize one type over the other.

Ultimately, remember that taking a vitamin isn’t a substitute for healthy eating. I like this statement: “That’s because multivitamins lack a number of beneficial compounds for wellness, including phytonutrients, and fiber, found in plant foods. Multivitamins also typically fall short of the recommend daily amount of calcium and other important vitamins and minerals. Think of multivitamins as an insurance policy, but don’t fool yourself into thinking dietary supplements measure up to the benefits of maintaining a healthy body weight, eating right, and getting regular physical activity, Blumberg tells WebMD” (http://www.webmd.com/diet/features/making-the-most-out-of-multivitamins#1) .

We do want to be in tip top health on your fitness journeys so understanding our bodies needs is important for this. Quality always rules out quantity. Better, more informed choices are required for our best results. Knowledge is power so know what you are putting into your body!!!!

12 Mar


After watching a recent Amazon movie called “Loving Large”, I became intrigued with this counter-culture movement of embracing being big. Certain social conventions say that skinny means healthy; skinny means attractive; skinny means “good”. But after watching this documentary, there is another perspective I wanted to share.

We have learned from the media that size matters. Let’s start with fashion. Models are presumed to be very thin. Yet the average woman wears a size 14. I have come to think that clothing sizes are totally distorted. 2010 brought a whole new industry of run-way models. Brands like Queen Grace and Torrid celebrate larger women. The term “plus size” has been replaced by “flattering”. I did find it interesting that these clothes were still tight and form fitting. To me, that’s just uncomfortable no matter what your size and obviously I’m not one at the studio to wear super tight clothes. Fashion is fashion no matter what size and the trends remain the same. Many larger women feel that people use a backhanded compliment telling them they have a pretty face, when they want to embrace their body and be complimented for a cute outfit every now and then.

The world of love is also now trending with some people being attracted to larger individuals. Men might like “fuller” women. Men might be referred to as “chasers” who like a certain weight. One person might become is called a “feeder” in the relationship. Food equates to love. We are attracted to what we are attracted to but sometimes the reason we are with someone can become troublesome. Liking a larger person is fine, but enjoying seeing them become larger despite health risks, is a little disturbing and almost controlling.

I truly wish that we could all see people for people, not size or appearance. The trouble is that in this large culture there are health risks. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) predicts that by 2030, 42% of the population will be obese. Some feel that the standards to be small or in the healthy zones are unrealistic so why try. Questions concerning personal value arise. For example, is Jennifer Hudson a better singer because she lost weight?? Georgia has public service announcements that claim 75% of parents are in denial that their children are obese. 4 year olds are being diagnosed with high cholesterol.

I absolutely hate the stereotypes that revolve around being larger. When did we become so judgmental?? Maybe I’m sensitive to the topic because of my profession. Every BODY deserves to be the best versions of themselves. Body shaming is terrible on every level. We must lift each other up and hey, whether your friend is skinny or large, a true friend speaks from the heart always. I celebrate diversity at the studio as we all continue to learn to grow both personally and physically on our fitness journeys.


Loving Large, Directed by Christopher Hines (2016)