Exercise is Medicine by ACSM

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08 Jan

“Science of Fasting” (2016), Sylvie Gilman, Thierry de Lestrade 

Life expectancy is increasing, but that also means that the number of diseases and illnesses are increasing too. This requires medical attention, which plays into the money-making industry of Western medicine. In the fitness industry, clients ask about fasting for weight loss, but after watching, “Science of Fasting” (2016), this deprivation of food is actually a therapeutic approach to healing.  

Russia’s public health system actually recognizes fasting. It is covered by healthcare. The documentary highlighted one of the Russian clinics where residents come to stay for a supervised program. This is not a DIY (do it yourself) process, which is a popular approach when it comes to internet searched detoxes, cleanses, juicing trials, or fasts. Here, fasting can take place up to a period of 3 weeks, and it’s all about WATER…. just water. The hunger sensation does disappear after a few days. The body is detoxing and living off its reserves. The body at first undergoes a “crisis” period as the impacted organism feeds on itself. So let’s say an alcoholic is trying to reverse liver damage, there could be possible pain the few days in the area. To help with this, patients are given body wraps, colonics and are recommended to exercise.  

Of course this process is scary, because no one can tell how one’s body will react to food deprivation. But the body learns to tap into other energy sources. Our main source of energy is glucose and once the body has used this, it then taps into its energy reserves souring from proteins and fats. Now the body is using ketones for fuel.  Over the years, nearly 10,000 patients have been treated and 2/3 have experienced successful results.  

A physician in Moscow was the first to bring fasting to the medical board for review in 1973. As a physiatrist, he had a patient who refused to eat. So he just let him not eat. By the 15th day, the patient had a better attitude and felt recovered from his mental illness symptoms. Fasting has been shown to improve and reverse symptoms of depression, phobias, obsessions, anxiety, and schizophrenia. At first, not many doctors or the medical world were open to this idea because being hungry has a negative connotation. But this doctor, Nicoliath (possible misspelling), from Moscow has helped over 8,000 people with asthma, arthritis, and eczema.  

Fasting stresses the body. It then has to auto regulate itself. Faced with starvation, hormones start to act and tap into the reserves. For example, this process on a person with asthma would target the black histamine cells in the lungs, cleaning out this area through the fasting detoxification of this organ.  

Fasting hasn’t undergone a great amount of research because the pharmaceutical companies are not encouraging this. If a person is diagnosed with diabetes, that equates to dollar signs for many years of medication. Studies have been done on penguins and rats, proving that these species can live off their reserves for nearly 4 months. This means that fasting is an adaption that body can undergo.  

The concept of fasting ties into many weight loss strategies like the ketosis diet. The body is using other sources for fuel. It is important that this is of course a temporary, short lived approached. I was intrigued by the medical findings and thought of the effects of fasting the body of meat and dairy have which reduce inflammation. Consult a doctor and be sure to have professional supervision if this is something you are considering. To learn more, I would highly recommend watching the moving, “Science of Fasting”.  

01 Jan

Mouth open wide, a loud sigh, and the face stretched to its capacity. We yawn involuntarily, but why do we seem to do it so much during exercise?? I just thought I was boring you.

When we are tired we yawn, so naturally as the body becomes fatigued from exercise, we then start to yawn. According to Livestrong.com (2013), yawning helps to cool down the brain during exercise. Furthermore, in order to cool down our body temperature, our initial reaction is to sweat. If sweating isn’t enough to cool us down, we then start to yawn which, “increases blood flow and heart rate and enables the intake of cool air, all of which may help regulate your brain’s temperature” (http://www.livestrong.com/article/424772-why-do-you-yawn-when-you-exercise/). Yawing brings in oxygen which then can be brought to the blood. During exercise our blood flow is increased, so we require more oxygen to the blood during activity. You will also be happy to know that the abdominal muscles are used during yawing.

The body is undergoing a behavioral change when we workout, so exercise takes us from a normal to more awake state, which then causes yawing. There are other theories as well that might align with why we yawn at the studio or in a gym setting. According to an article by Melanie Radzicki McManus, “Our bodies induce yawning to draw in more oxygen or remove a buildup of carbon dioxide. This theory helps explain why we yawn in groups. Larger groups produce more carbon dioxide, which means our bodies would act to draw in more oxygen and get rid of the excess carbon dioxide” (http://science.howstuffworks.com/life/inside-the-mind/human-brain/question5721.htm).I constantly yawn while exercising, and I was always taught that it’s not polite to yawn in class or when someone is speaking to me. So after learning this information, I will no longer take it personal that you yawn during the workouts. After all, your face and abdominal muscles are being used. I shouldn’t get upset anyways, since this is an involuntary action….but when you yawn, I yawn. It’s a chain reaction that’s contagious.

Well, it’s 8PM, I’m yawning from being tired at this point, so that’s a wrap. Plus, I feel like my English teacher clients would note how many times I used the word “yawn” in this Blog and have re-read this multiple times to try to fix that. See you next workout, and maybe I’ll start tracking your yawn count in your files J

25 Dec

One of the most controversial nutritional elements are carbohydrates. Diets for decades have either ruled them out, praised them, or come up with complicated ratios we should abide by each day. Carbohydrates are an essential component of our daily nutrition, but of course there are choices left up to us as to what we will be consuming and how much we should have. Most people consume between 40 and 60% of carbohydrates each day as part of their total daily intake of food. They are our main source of energy which is derived from the glucose of these foods. As you know, some carbs are better than others. So let’s take a look at the difference between simple and complex carbohydrates in order to provide some guidance for your choices.


The best initial explanation I found was the following: “There are three types of carbohydrates: starch, sugar and fiber. Starches and sugars provide your body with its main source of energy. They’re all comprised of carbon, oxygen and hydrogen, which are organized into single units. Sugars contain just one or two of these units and are “simple,” while starches and fibers have many units of sugar, making them “complex” “ (http://www.fitday.com/fitness-articles/nutrition/carbs/simple-vs-complex-carbohydrates.html). Let’s start with simple then move onto complex.


Simplex carbohydrates are made of one or two sugar molecules. Our bodies digest them very quickly, so they’re an instant source of energy. Some basic examples include table sugar, brown sugar, fruit drinks, soft drinks, candy, jellies or jams, honey, corn syrup, maple syrup, and molasses (http://www.nutritionmd.org/nutrition_tips/nutrition_tips_understand_foods/carbs_versus.htm). Other type would include white products like bread or pasta, baked good made with white flour, and most cereals (http://howtothinkthin.com/instincts2.htm). I would say that 3pm hour is probably the time most folks want that simple carb source.


Complex carbohydrates are the better of the two types. They’re full of fiber and take the body more time to digest, leaving you feeling satiated and fueled for longer periods of time. Blood sugar remains more stable instead of a quick spike from simple carbs for that instant energy boost. They also contain more vitamins and minerals. Examples include green vegetables, whole grain sources from oatmeal, pasta, or breads, potatoes or sweet potatoes, corn, beans, peas, lentils (http://www.nutritionmd.org/nutrition_tips/nutrition_tips_understand_foods/carbs_versus.html). Apples, oranges, grapefruit, and yogurt are other good sources (http://howtothinkthin.com/instincts2.htm).

On your fitness journey, we want to aim to fuel the body as best as possible. I would classify simple carbohydrates as “sometimes foods”. Unfortunately, they are those quick and easily accessible little snacks that make life convenient. However, having complex carbohydrates really isn’t that “complex”. Shoot 7-11 is starting to sell Quest Bars and they often sell fruit, so no excuses. Be an advocate for your health and make the necessary swaps. Not only will you benefit, but the whole family will when you stock your shelves full of better complex carbohydrates sources. Think about it… if the majority of what we eat are carbohydrates then let’s make the majority of our choices that much better. One choice and one rep at a time, we are on our way to being the best versions of ourselves. 

16 Dec

Well, farting is part of life. This socially unaccepted normal occurrence in our bodies isn’t exactly fragrance friendly. And I know you are thinking this is an unexplored topic you didn’t expect me to write about haha. The oldest know recorded joke was about farting. Although a private matter, gas in the body happens to every BODY. But let’s be sophisticated and call it fluctulence 😊In fact, according to Medical News Today, “The average person passes wind between 8 and 10 times a day” (https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/7622.php).It’s simple: when we chew to eat,  we then swallow, and we are taking in air. The digestive system uses nitrogen and oxygen and releases these gases while doing its work. Here’s the catch… the smell. So let’s take a look: “In the process of converting our meals into useful nutrients, these food-munching microbes produce a smelly by-product of hydrogen sulfide gas — the same stench that emanates from rotten eggs” (https://www.livescience.com/32405-what-makes-us-fart.html).Fiber is the common culprit. However, sugars actually produce the most gas and include the following:·         

Fructose — A natural ingredient in plants like onions, corn, wheat and even pears. It’s often concentrated into a sugary syrup for soft drinks and fruit drinks.·         

Lactose — Milk’s sweet natural ingredient, also added to foods like bread and cereal. Some people are born with low levels of lactase, the enzyme that breaks down lactose, a fact that inflates their gassy susceptibility.·         

Raffinose — The secret gassy ingredient in beans, which is also found in broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, asparagus and other vegetables. Products like Beano, designed to reduce gas production, break down the sugar before it can reach eager intestinal bacteria.·         

Sorbitol — Found in almost all fruits, this indigestible sugar is also used as an artificial sweetener in “diet” and sugar-free foods. Yes, sugar-free gum, candy, soda and anything else deceptively sweet can cause gas.(https://www.livescience.com/32405-what-makes-us-fart.html)

Carbonated beverages and gum chewing also involve taking in extra air in the body producing gas. And yes, exercise can produce gas. As we move the body during its digestive stages, we can create air bubbles.Not that I want you to stink up my studio, but I get it…. a little movement might cause some of that fluctuance. But hey did you read that part that says sugar causes gas?? Maybe I found another deterrent for you haha. In other news, let’s hit the gas and become the best version of ourselves.Side note: Interesting Amazon Prime video watch called “Fart: A Documentary” (2016) by Troy Hale

10 Dec

Originally formatted for baby’s sensitive skin, baby oil is a great product. In fact, it is just mineral oil without the smell. It had evolved and changed over the years, and some people even know how to make it at home. This product has many uses and it is no longer (or has it ever been) just for babies, despite the labeling name. There are many personal applicational uses and even home uses that have many people raving over this oil.

Baby oil is made of the following ingredients: mineral oil, honey, aloe vera extract, vitamin A, vitamin E, and sometime other aromatic compounds. Other variations of this product that are not 100% natural might also have carrier oil (such as coconut oil), wheat germ, beeswax to make it thicker, and other essential oils like lavender or tangerine.

Baby oil’s originally intended purpose was and still is to moisturize a baby’s skin. However, kids and adults can also reap the benefits. Here are other uses of this incredible product:

1.       Moisturize hair: This oil can be a treatment to the scalp and hydration to the scalp and hair.
2.       Help with flaky, scaly skin: This might include making the skin of the heels softer.
3.       Help with under-eye skin: This is a sensitive area that is neglected by many, despite its constant exposure to the environment.
4.       Make-up remover: It works well removing the line-up of makeup used for the day.
5.       After shaving oil: It can help add and lock in moisture to the newly exposed pores.
6.       It can be used as a lubricant for machine parts or appliances.
7.       Earwax: It can be used to help remove this.
8.       Stretch marks: It can be applied for prevention.
9.       Polishing: it can make counter tops and stone products sparkle.
10.   Message oil: It is used by many in this industry.
11.   It can help remove temporary tattoos and bandages without pulling to much hair and leaving residue.
12.   It can help un-do a stuck zipper.
13.   Soothe insect bites: It can be used as an anti-inflammatory.
14.   Heel skin rashes: It works well to ease irritation. 


Baby oil is one of the products to keep around the house just in case. This versatile oil is good for so many reasons, that having some on hand as the answer to little issues that arise can help save time, help address the problem faster, and make the pain go away quicker. Most people are advocates of baby oil in adult life and there’s certainly good cause for this.

03 Dec

Being satisfied with appearance can be influenced by social pressures and self-esteem. We desire to meet the acceptance of our peers and to feel comfortable in our own skin. Appearance related social pressures can lead to the development of negative body image, eating disorders, and even depression. Unconsciously or not we do judge others based on appearance. Weight, clothing, piercing, tattoos, height, and other physical aspects are in the forefront of our every day lives. We shop, dress, and choose our appearance based upon our interests, careers, and culture. The way we look communicates something about us. That is why we dress up for interviews, weddings, and special occasions. We might dress down to feel comfortable and relax. The environment and the company we are with influence these choices as well. There is also another form of pressure to look attractive in fear of rejection by the same or opposite sex. We seem to have heightened sensitivity when it comes to rejection based upon appearance. How attractive we feel dictates our self-esteem. There are also media influence

Think of all the adjectives used to describe appearance….. average, beautiful, adorable, cute, handsome, fancy, dirty, ugly, etc. A compliment or an insult go a long way. Encountering and interacting with others can be affected by their opinion of our appearance either good or bad. It is human nature to judge appearance, which sometimes overshadows character. We often times associate class or money with appearance too. Brands and trends are socially influencing the marketing and purchasing choices we are making. To some having high-end is important, and to others second-hand is perfectly fine. Someone we discuss knowing the difference, how much we spent on something, or where we bought it from.

Clothes and shoes cover up what is underneath, regardless of personality. Sometimes personality is also a reflection of these clothes and shoes. The two concepts are interrelated. Have you ever bought something just to fit in? Have you ever spent more than you are comfortable with because of the company you will be wearing it around? Have you ever just thrown on old clothes because you just are tired of caring that day? Have you ever felt out of place or under dressed? These are questions that could be a ”dressed” daily when you select the attire for the day. We have to like what we see and what we wear can make or break our spirits for that day. Even if you are sitting behind a desk all day and no one will see what you are wearing, when you dress down or up, you actually do feel differently about your self-esteem that day. It’s just human nature and physical appearance is an inevitable factor of our lives.

27 Nov

Oh the beloved carb we seem to not be able to live without…. BREAD. It is the most widely consumed food in the world and there are so many types. Bread’s introduction was almost 30,000 years ago, so imagine the number of slices that have been consumed. It was fried on stones. After a long day, when needing an easy option, or just to feel satisfied, most people turn to bread not exactly celery sticks to do the trick. The problem is that this highly refined grain isn’t exactly on the weight loss plan. Whole wheat is the better option as opposed to white products, but in the end, it seems as though the more bread someone has, the more they want.  

That burger is much better with a bun. That sandwich is much better with the toasted outside layer. When dining out, that wait goes by much faster with bread. And what’s a pizza without the crust?? Oh and a PPJ….nothing beats that. If Oprah says she can still eat bread and lose weight, well by gosh it must be okay.  

The trouble is that refined grains raise blood sugar much faster than complex carbohydrates. People with type 2 diabetes should pay particular attention to this. Additionally, when this blood sugar spike happens, it also reverses very quickly which initiates hunger. Then another carb snack sounds good. Most bread has about 12 carbohydrates per slice, which isn’t too bad, but they you double this for the sandwich. Calories and nutritional information varies by brand. Gluten in bread has become a more common problem, especially in people who have Celiac Disease. Bread also contains high fructose corn syrup like most processed foods. Bread contains phytic acid which actually blocks mineral absorption. It’s also a culprit for causing vitamin D deficiency. It has also been known to raise cholesterol. There just aren’t a lot of nutrients in bread which makes its calories pretty empty.  

It is common for people to have toast in the morning, a sandwich for lunch then a burger or even salad with a slice of bread. We don’t even realize it. Brand and grain type of course matter, but overall, the advocacy for bread is a challenge. A bagel here and sandwich there, we know moderation always counts. Health food stores are starting to introduce brands that are certainly an improvement. If you can go without, then I suggest you do. No one ever died from lack of bread. Cut back for a couple weeks and you will see and feel the difference. Your body is more important that your taste buds 😊  

20 Nov

It’s the stuff that made Head & Shoulders famous. Dandruff is that flakey mess on the scalp that nobody wants to have. It’s an uncomfortable secret most people try to hide. This skin condition can be a real self-esteem kicker and stereotyped as being associated with poor hygiene.Well, dandruff is actually the result of skin cells on your scalp shedding more quickly than usual. Skin cells are in constant reproduction and they actually die and shed off of us all the time. Here’s the rundown: “The main cause of dandruff is seborrheic dermatitis, a condition that turns the skin oily, red, and scaly. The white or yellow scales flake off, creating dandruff. You can get seborrheic dermatitis anywhere you have oil glands, including your eyebrows, groin, armpits, and along the sides of your nose” (

https://www.healthline.com/health/skin-disorders/dandruff-vs-dry-scalp#causes). But it is a little gross and sort of making my stomach turn that dandruff is triggered by a fungus called Malassezia. It actually lives on our scalp and having too much of it causes that extra skin to multiply then “flake” off. Malassezia can also be over productive in the face of age, hormones, and stress.There are other causes as well. If you don’t wash your hair enough, more oil builds up, and then the skin builds up and sheds off. This is more common in males, which doctors believe is hormonal. It is also common in people with Parkinson’s disease and HIV due to lower immune system functioning.Treatment would start by washing the hair more frequently and making sure to clean the scalp using your fingernails. This can help unclog the pores on the scalp where oil built up. Certain shampoos are also helpful. According to EMedicineHealth, “The best shampoo choices include those containing zinc pyrithione, selenium sulfide, and tar-based shampoos. Prescription dandruff shampoos such as ketoconazole offer no benefit over over-the-counter brands” (

https://www.emedicinehealth.com/dandruff/article_em.htm#facts_on_dandruff).Self-care is health care on our fitness journeys. As I aim to help every BODY feel comfortable in their own skin, let’s not have it flaking off our scalps 😊 When we sweat we do produce those oils on the scalp, so maybe an extra hair wash or two per week is in need. Hey, I got you covered head to toe, not just Head & (to) Shoulders.

11 Nov

Whatever the reason be it getting busy or forgetting to eat, skipping meals has been a topic of debate whether is good or bad. The bottom line is that the brain’s main fuel is glucose, and not giving the body food is also not giving the brain food. Eating isn’t just about the stomach.

Contrary to popular belief, skipping meals doesn’t equate to weight loss. Most of the time, when a person does not eat for an extended period of time, they end of overindulging later. Hunger levels rise and binging can happen. Overeating out of extreme hunger can easily happen. Blood sugar can also start to drop. This leads to feeling tired and the body is communicating that it wants to shut down until re-fueled. When blood sugar drops, mood also tends to drop. Becoming irritable is common. Sometimes when you finally reach the point that you have to eating something, you ravenously take whatever is available and this might not lead to the best choices. Grabbing what you find first might temporarily solve the problem but can catch up with you later on the waistline.

Skipping meals might seem save like saving calories, but most time overeating ends up happening and more harm then good takes place. Not eating means no fuel in the tank and this means less energy. Less energy usually means less motivation, causing performance to suffer. Skipping meals can lower metabolic rate, which is not conducive to weight loss efforts. Blood sugar and insulin responses also change. Some people start to feel really fatigued and even dizzy.

Weight loss is a tricky game. Food is something we have to think about all the time. All the choices and the free will to have them makes temptation and taste-buds a troublesome combination. Not every day has to be centered around food, but the topic is addressed on a daily basis. The key is finding a healthy relationship with food, planning ahead, and knowing what triggers and environments lead to poor decisions. If we are what we eat, then we certainly don’t want to eat nothing. Our bodies deserve premium fuel, so don’t leave the tank empty and expect great performance. You can only go so far for so long before skipping meals just doesn’t seem to be beneficial in the end. Eat for your nourishment and for your health, not because you are bored, stressed, or just because it is there.  

06 Nov

Juicing has become a popular craze among fitness and nutrition fanatics. Having a juicer at home is just about as common as having a toaster these days. The power of fruits and vegetables does wonders for our internal health and it is unlikely to consume the recommended daily totals (17 each). The reasons one might start to juice include weight loss, lowering blood pressure, or detoxing. It is no healthier than eating the same content, but a popular trend is a trend and jumping on board happens to the best of us.

Personally, I like the texture and chewing action of eating. I feel satiated longer and feel that I’m getting more bang for my buck. Liquid doesn’t fill me up, at least not for long. So if I were to eat an apple vs. drink an apple you can see my point…. 5 min to chew an apple vs. 2 seconds to drink that sip of apple. And I do have to say from my research for this, there aren’t many claims other than being able to consume more fruits and vegetables per day that justify the benefits of juicing. So why so popular??

Adding to this, I watched a documentary called, “7 Days 2 Guys 1 Juicer”. In this film, Chad and Kenny were two obese middle-aged men, who for 7 days were put in a hotel to complete a 7 day juicing cycle. When they arrived the refrigerator was stocked with nothing but fresh produce. Not one item was in the freezer. From the gate, the men noticed how much work juicing really was with prepping the produce and then cleaning up after. This was quite the lifestyle change for them both, coming from backgrounds of fast food, no activity, and very little motivation to be healthy and make changes. Taken out of their environments, the men were forced to follow the plan precisely. They underwent withdrawal, headaches, and hunger pains.

According to the documentary, juicing dates back to the ancient Greeks who used pomegranate juice as a love potion. In the U.S., juicing was introduced in the 1920s when there was a new popularity to be vegetarian or vegan. In the 1970s, Jack Lalanne sold his famous juicer. Today, people in their 20s and 30s have created a $5billion business out of juicing. There’s a status associated with high end juice bars connected to yoga studios.

In the end, Chad and Kenny lost about 9 pounds each. I really anticipated a higher weight loss considering their past, which goes to show that juicing isn’t entirely weight loss oriented and the weight can be gained right back after stopping. Here’s the concept: “Doing the math, on average, an ounce of ‘mixed juice’ contains about 15 calories.  If you need 1,400-1,500 calories daily to achieve weekly weight loss, you could drink a whopping 96 ounces of this juice (about 12 cups) each day and still stay in that calorie range, which should result in weight loss. On this sample juicing diet, you would, however, only be getting 9 grams of fiber (36% of your need) and 25 grams of protein (41% of your need) each day, which is far from ideal.  This unbalanced nutrient intake would result in immediate muscle mass loss and an increase in hunger and food cravings. Other nutrients such as fat, vitamins and minerals would also be severely lacking.  Successful and safe long-term weight loss would not be achievable on such a plan” (http://www.sparkpeople.com/resource/nutrition_articles.asp?id=1800).

Obesity causes over 25 diseases, so we do want to make sure proper nutrition is in place, but the type that is sustainable. In a world that praises fat-free and all natural that comes out of a box, something isn’t right with our food. Fresh is always best. Have a juice here and there to compliment your eating. It can be a nice, cold, refreshing, sweet beverage. Take your fitness journey tips, use them to your advantage, and make those changes the best you can, each and every day!!!!