Exercise is Medicine by ACSM

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18 Jul

Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are an American favorite. They’re found countless lunchboxes of children at school. There is no exact origin, but soldiers during World War II ate them as one of their primary foods. Food was rationed and they could eat these sandwiches quickly. Peanut butter wasn’t invented until the 1920s, the first being Peter Pan and Skippy. For jelly, Grapelade was popular at the time. During the great depression, jelly hit the sweet tooth and peanut butter was a primary source of protein. The introduction of sliced bread at this time really made the sandwich popular. When soldiers came home from the War, they were surprised to see the popularity of the very sandwich they ate under dire circumstances. Whoever actually put these two ingredients together is unknown, but he or she has certainly put many smiles on many people’s faces and pleased many people’s taste buds.

This sandwich is sometimes called PB & J or in the UK and Canada it is called peanut butter and jam. Over the years people have added other ingredients such as raisins, honey, Nutella, or hazelnut. Marshmallows and bananas are also popular. The sandwich can have one or more layers of peanut butter, one or more layers of jelly, and even more than two slices of bread. Sometimes it is eaten open-faced or with one slice of bread. Sometimes it is eaten on crackers or rice cakes. Sometimes it is on a bagel. Some people even toast the bread. It really is a flexible food that can please almost anyone’s taste buds. It is a staple of American childhood, but many adults can’t help but love to eat them too.

It has been said that the average American eats 2,984 of these sandwiches in their lifetime. That’s a stack higher than the Statue of Liberty. It actually used to be a delicacy and high-end sandwich because peanuts were costly. Now they are a staple in most people’s homes. Pre-sliced bread was the game changer because children could start to make the sandwich themselves. They aren’t entirely bad for you and of course label reading when it comes to ingredients amongst the peanut butter, jelly, and type of bread is the key. They now even sell containers of jelly and peanut butter mixed together and frozen sandwiches. The food industry caters to our popular picks. Soggy or toasted, we like our peanut butter and jelly 😊 When was the last time you had one??

09 Jul

Genetics role in that number on the scale

There are a number of factors that influence obesity. These include behavioral choices, environmental circumstances, and genetics. Genes don’t always predict someone’s weight future, but science has shown that genetics play a role in obesity. Genes increase a person’s susceptibility to become overweight, but this is not an isolated causality due to behavior and environment.

Take for instance the number of people living in a certain environment with all the same living conditions. How is it so that in an environment that promotes inactivity and high calorie foods that not all of these people become obese?? Not all these people will have the same resulting health problems or body fat distribution. Even people in the same family, of the same race, and of the same ethnicity, will not all become obese given this environment. The diversity in body types leads one to believe that genetics do play a role in weight.

Genes are what instruct the body. They map out how the body will respond to a given environment. Genes dictate behaviors including a person’s choice to be sedentary, to overeat, and their metabolic functions. Genes tell the body how to store fat and how to use food for fuel as energy. Both hunger and food intake are associated with genes. For example, take two siblings or twins raised in very similar environments, still may not have the same body weight distribution.

For now, science does not have genetic testing which would determine one’s weight future. There is no science that shows a personal diet plan or exercise regimen will result in exact body types. Bardet-Biedl syndrome (BBS) and Prader-Willi syndrome are the only two directly related obesity causing genetic factors. BBS is associated with increased body fat in the abdominal area, poor functioning kidneys, eyes, and genetelia, as well as intellectual impairment. Prader-Willi syndrome is associated with a constant desire to eat. This causes dangerous weight gain, stunted growth, and poor health. Research is still being performed on genetic response to weight gain. Knowing one’s family history won’t change the path to obesity, but lifestyle behavior and environment can be adjusted as a proactive and preventable method. For example, children of obese parents are more likely to become obese themselves due to their lifestyle and environment. Marketing has also become a strong influence for eating patterns.

The finger can’t be pointed at genetics alone for weight problems. However, we do know that even under exact circumstances, two bodies can react entirely different. The research is not entirely there YET, but hopefully in the near future we can have helpful answers to help fight the obesity epidemic.

04 Jul

Our body normally uses glucose from carbohydrates as our main source of energy. Ketosis is a popular word used in the diet and diabetes worlds. Our body goes into a state of ketosis to keep itself working when carbohydrates are lacking. Our body makes ketones when carbs are scarce in order to now use fat as the main energy source. A normal diet doesn’t cause this, but when experiencing a pretty extreme caloric or carbohydrate deficit, the body kicks into ketone mode. This can also occur in diabetics who are not properly using insulin. The problem is that the body is only meant to temporarily perform this function. When asked to do so for prolonged periods of time, those ketones start to really build up in the blood. Now your blood becomes chemically imbalanced, and dehydration can result.

Ketosis hit the diet world by storm when Atkins and Paleo were introduced. The concept of cutting carbs for weight loss had people using protein as their main source of energy instead. This advocacy for protein was that it burns fat and keeps muscle mass. The latest version is the Ketogenic diet that uses fat instead of protein as the main source of fuel. Making a cut down to 50 grams of carbohydrates or less usually puts a person into ketosis a few days from the start. Fasting is another method to jump start ketosis.

This low carb approach is also used for other reasons besides weight loss. Ketogenic diets have been known to reduce seizures. Often time doctors put people with epilepsy on this diet or eating plan. Eating low carb can also help diabetics, lower the risk of heart disease, and help people who are insulin resistant. When cutting carbs, processed food is reduced in the diet which has been shown to improve acne.


 There are a few different versions of the ketogenic diet. The standard is to consume 75% fat, 20% protein, and 5% carbohydrates. You can also do a cycling version which has re-feed days. An example would be eating ketogenic for 5 days and then 2 days of re-feeding which Is raising the carbohydrate count. Some people use their workouts to add carbs in. Others use more protein and do more of a 60% fat, 35% protein, and 5% carbs approach. Most people enjoy that they don’t have to count calories, they effectively lose weight, and they feel a new sense of energy. Sugars, grains, fruit, and alcohol are recommended to be eliminated in this process. More meat, butter, nuts, cheese, oils, and avocado should be consumed.  

Testing your ketones

You can actually self-check your ketone level at home. There are over the counter sticks to urinate on in which the color matches the level. Ketones can also be measured in your blood.

Side effects

Some people initially experience the keto flu which is feeling nauseous, fatigued, extra hungry, and having insomnia. You may need to add sodium and potassium supplements into your day. Once carbs are re-introduced the weight can come back. The ketogenic diet must be kept up in order to achieve long term weight loss results.

Taking it too far

Ketoacidosis is when the ketones have over accumulated in the blood. Your blood becomes acidic and this can lead to a coma or even death. This can occur in diabetics who do not take their insulin. Signs of ketoacidosis include frequent urination, dry skin, feeling very tired, throwing up, confusion, or your breath smelling fruity.

26 Jun

Bursa is a sac that is filled with fluid found between the tissues of the muscles, bones, skin, and tendons. The role of the bursa is to provide lubrication to help reduce rubbing, friction, and irritation between these areas. Bursitis is the inflammation of the bursa. This inflammation can be caused by impact to the area, sudden injury, or overuse repetitive motion (painting, carpentry, throwing, tennis, and golf). This condition is also age related because as we get older, the tendons have been worn which makes them easier to tear, have less elasticity, and less tolerable to stressors. Our kinetic chain is composed of bone on top of bone and joint on top of joint stacked in alignment to produce motion. When a bone or joint is misaligned or not in its proper place, stress can be added to the bursa sac. Risk for bursitis also increases in persons with thyroid disorders, rheumatoid arthritis, gout, and abnormal reaction to a medication. Even leaning on your elbows and scrubbing the floors on your knees can cause this.

Bursitis is more common in persons over the age of 40. The five parts of that body that this condition effects are the hip, elbow, shoulder, knee, and Achilles tendon. Bursitis is painful and gradually builds in severity. Bursitis can be so painful, for example, that the area can become immobile. This is the term for the “frozen shoulder” that can result bursitis pain. The area will actually look swollen and red. Its feels achy and stiff and especially tender to touch.

At the first onset of pain, it is important to stop whatever activity you are performing. A baseball player might keep pitching through the pain for the love of the sport, but bursitis might creep and become unbearable to continue. Upon experiencing pain, the area needs to be given rest. Ice should also be applied. The area is inflamed so anti-inflammatories can be used. A doctor might prescribe corticosteroids (a type of steroid) to help reduce inflammation more quickly. This method calls for an injection at the site of the pain. Injections aren’t meat to be repeatedly used. Physical therapy can also be used. This can help improve range of motion that have been compromised due to pain. Surgery for bursitis is used as a last resort.

It is important to be conscious of your joints. Take breaks during repetitive tasks. Keep a healthy body weight so that extra stress isn’t added to the joints. A physical exam by a doctor will let you know that bursitis has struck when you tell them about the area and pain. Sometimes with what we do daily, we forget that wear and tear accumulate. Don’t tests your joint’s capabilities. Don’t test their expiration date. Pain is never pleasant so keep these precautions in mind and your joints will thank you.

19 Jun

Inconsistency is the difference between attitude and action. Its meaning is associated with instability, self-contradiction, irregular, and unpredictable. Consistency is the desired behavior. An inconsistent person is a sometimes person. For example, sometimes this person offers quality service and effort at their job, while sometimes they call out absent and show up to work late. Being inconsistent is not being reliable or dependable. A bar tender might serve the same drink to you and your friend that placed an order, but the two drinks taste very different. The lines are blurred when it comes to expectation. Therefore, when it comes to one’s fitness journey, inconsistency marks many people’s association with working out and eating healthy. Can you relate??

It is a common trend to be consistent for a duration, but then to become inconsistent once a few mishaps occur. There becomes a start and stop pattern of behavior. As a trainer, my hope is that more often than not, you do your workouts, eat right, and keep this lifestyle as regular as possible. But then the human element comes into play…. holidays, travel, parties, relationships, parenting, and emotion. Somehow priorities shift, food becomes comforting, and the fitness journey takes a back seat with the intention of only being temporary. But how long is temporary?? These bouts of temporary accumulate. The roller coaster continues, and I’m left wondering when the road will be straight and smooth again.

It’s interesting that taking care of one’s health can become inconsistent. Other aspects of life do not allow this such as parenting, your performance at work, or being a good partner/spouse. When we are inconsistent in these areas, we assume that we are affecting other people so we can’t slack. The truth is that poor health does affect other people around us too. Not being able to hold your grandchild, not being able to stand for long periods of time, feeling sluggish…. all of that does go noticed. Sometimes only when the cost of poor health hits does reality set in.

How would you label your fitness journey?? Would you consider yourself consistent?? This is an important chat to have with yourself. Have you ever graded yourself?? What letter grade would you earn. Inconsistency doesn’t equate to results. Be consistent in your efforts and your body will thank you. When your body thanks you, your mood, energy, relationships, heart, and mind will thank you too. So be a regular at the studio and Steve Nash and I will help you reach your goals.

12 Jun

Munchausen syndrome is a mental disorder in which the person deliberately acts as if he or she has a mental or physical illness when in fact, they do not. It is a factitious disorder. This causes severe emotional distress, which is why Munchausen is a mental disorder. This syndrome was named after Baron von Munchausen in the 18th century. He was a German officer known for embellishing his life experiences.

Most people with Munchausen complain of physical illness and say they have symptoms of chest pain or stomach problems. They exaggerate these symptoms, lie about them, hurt themselves to bring upon the actual symptoms, or even find ways to alter tests. They also might refer to their dramatic and inconsistent medical history, constantly speak of going to the doctor and find enjoyment in medical testing and appointments, don’t let anyone else speak to their doctors, have these symptoms only when other people are around, and they have extensive knowledge of medical terms and textbook descriptions for what they claim to be diagnosed with.

There is no exact cause for this syndrome, but there may be a link to biological and psychological factors. It could be linked to childhood abuse or having been frequently hospitalized when younger. Some research is being looked into an association with multiple personalities.

It is difficult to obtain accurate statistics about the number of people who have this syndrome, especially since the entire concept is predicated on lies. However, Munchausen is more common in men than women and usually affects young adults. Diagnosis is difficult because of the dishonesty. Usually, a person is reluctant to seek treatment for this exact condition, although they enjoy going to the doctor for other symptoms. This makes treatment very challenging and the likelihood of recovery very poor. It is important to seek help because the body shouldn’t undergo operations and procedures that are not necessary. The primary therapy is psychotherapy. There are no medications for treatment. Some that might be used for related illnesses such as anxiety or depression might help. Often recovery is dependent upon someone else identifying the behavior and helping the person seek help for this specific reason, not for other medical purposes the person claims to have.

The mind is very powerful, and most people can convince themselves of nearly anything. However, when it comes to medical treatment, this is meant to only be used out of necessity. Otherwise, more harm than good is being done, but that is not the concern of someone who has a mental illness. Munchausen is an interesting syndrome that can be complex and misleading, after all, it is predicated on lies and betraying the honesty of the medical field.

05 Jun

When it comes to your health, margarine comes out on top as the winner versus butter. The key reason is because margarine is made from vegetable oil while butter is made from animal fat. Because of this, margarine contains the good type of unsaturated fats (polyunsaturated and monounsaturated) that lower LDL cholesterol which is the bad type. Butter contains saturated fat. This is not to say that margarine does not contain trans fats, depending on which type you pick or purchase. The more solid the margarine, the more trans fat it contains. This means that the stick type is not as healthy as the kind that comes in a tub or container. The reason we want to limit or eliminate trans-fat is because it can raise our blood cholesterol levels and the risk for heart disease. Eating this type of fat lowers the good HDL cholesterol. Label reading becomes important, particularly looking for margarine that contains less trans and saturated fats. Spreading it on thick will thicken the arteries and waistline.

The Breakdown

Butter is a popular spread and is used in many sauces, as well as for baking. It is a source of milk fat. Starting back in the 1970s, public health authorities realized that butter shouldn’t be used at free will. Butter isn’t all bad. It does contain vitamin K12 which is linked to bone health. Just like milk, the better forms of butter come from the type of cow it is derived from. Grass fed cows provide more nutrients than grain fed cows. One small square or serving of butter(5g) contains 36 calories, 4 grams of fat with 2.5 grams being saturated, 11mg of cholesterol, and no carbohydrates or protein. It is truly just a taste enhancing component of one’s diet. The problem is that just using 5g is a rare occurrence. Margarine is usually dished out of a tub, so one tablespoon is about 14 grams. This has about 100 calories and 11 grams of fat, with 1 gram being saturated, and zero grams of cholesterol.

Butter and margarine aren’t usually toppers for the best items on the menu. They’re spread on breads, melted on pastas, melted on pastries and treats, drenched on popcorn, globed on a white baked potato, and of course used in the baking process of many cookies and cakes. Oh yeah, and don’t forget we put them on top of pancakes. Therefore, the more one limits these sometimes foods, the better off they will be avoiding these heart damaging spreads. Vegetables aren’t meant to have butter on them. The little things add up to big health risks when we chose to opt for taste and flavor instead of remembering the big picture of our health.


There are healthy alternatives to consider when trying to substitute butter. Margarine is the better choice, however there are other healthy choices to give a try. Selecting one of these options still involves portion control and doesn’t make the less calories and less fat equate to as much as you want. Instead of spreading butter on toast or your bagel, try a fruit puree. Not only can you have a variety of flavors such as grape, strawberry, or apple, but you will also reap the benefits of antioxidants. Plenty of fat will be saved trying this option. Applesauce can be used instead of butter when baking and adds a sweet taste. Spreading hummus instead of butter on items is also a healthful choice. Roasted garlic is also another butter alternative. Garlic contains antioxidants, Vitamin C, as well as phosphorus. Different oils can also be used for cooking instead of using butter. Vegetable, olive, coconut, or flax seed are a few types. These also contain the good types of fat for the heart which include omega-3, omega-6, and omega-9.

There’s another twist to types of butter. One can either use salted or unsalted butter. Salted butter of course has more flavor, but also is higher in sodium. Most chefs prefer unsalted butter so that the taste of salt doesn’t affect their recipe. Unsalted butter also creates a better consistency when baking. Because unsalted butter would be the healthier choice, it therefore has a shorter shelf life because it is not packed with preservatives.

Keep your eating clean and simple. Adding butter and other condiments can truly derail your best intentions to eat healthy. Spices are great and even just letting yourself adjust to tasting food as is, is a great way to keep your food clean and your digestion system clean. Keep your butter knifes clean and keep them in the drawer. One small change at a time to your eating can add up to big measures of progress over time.

29 May

Headaches are actually quite complicated and not always a simple answer when it comes to causality. That is why some people continue to suffer from chronic headaches. There are different types of headaches, different reasons why they happen, and different types of treatments. The complexity of headaches lies in the fact that there are over 150 types.

The most common types of headaches include the following:

  1. Migraines: This pounding and throbbing pain can last for 3 to 4 hours or longer. They can also happen up to 4 times or more per month. A person becomes sensitive to light, might feel nauseous, lose their appetite, or become very sensitive to smells.
  2. Tension headaches: This is most common type of headache. They can cause mild to moderate pain and will go away over time.
  3. Cluster headache: This is the most severe type of headache. They tend to happen in groups, hence the name. They can happen multiple times per day and last anywhere from 15 minutes to 3 hours. The person might feel a piercing pain behind their eye with constant throbbing and pounding.
  4. Sinus headaches: The person feels a throbbing in their cheeks, bridge of the nose, and forehead. The person typically also has a runny nose, clogged ears, and a fever. They sinus cavities have become inflamed.
  5. Chronic daily headaches: This type of headache can last 15 days or more. Sometimes they are short and sometimes they can last 4 or more hours.

There are other types of headaches that are less common, but that doesn’t downplay their disruption to someone’s day. Exercise can cause headaches because the muscles in the head and neck and surrounding area need more blood. This can cause a pulsing pain. Post-traumatic headaches can also occur even up to 2 to 3 days after a head injury. Hemicrania continua is an ongoing headache that usually affects the same side of the face and head. Hormone headaches can occur as the hormones are shifting during menstruation or menopause.

The brain becomes overwhelmed by different signals coming from the brain, blood vessels, and nerves. Combine this will illness, stress, genetics, and environment, and one becomes at high risk for a headache. To this day doctors still do not know what exactly causes a migraine, making treatment difficult. Doctors might suggest a CT or MRI. Treatment depends on headache type, cause, and how often. There are of course pain management solutions such as a warm or cold compress, drinking herbal tea, lowering the lights, avoiding looking at screens, exercise, drinking plenty of water, avoiding certain foods, sleeping, massaging pressure points, for some people drinking coffee or soda can help, limiting alcohol, and avoiding certain smells and chemicals. Pressure is always difficult, especially to the head. Be patient and over time you will find an answer and a way to keep the headaches at bay.

21 May

Found just under the liver, sits the gallbladder. This pouch is a storage unit for the liver’s bile. This pear sized balloon is inflated before meals when it is filled with bile. After eating, the balloon then looks flat and deflated. This bile is used to help digests fats. When food is detected, the gallbladder releases bile into the small intestine.  But wait…. don’t some people have their gallbladders removed?? Yes, because even though the gallbladder plays a role in digestion, it is not an essential organ. Once removed, the body seems to still perform its tasks. There are a number of a reasons someone might have this body part removed.

Certain health conditions and risks can complicate the gallbladder’s existence. Gallstones, like kidney stones, can crystalize the bile. When gallstones form, they can be painful, and the person becomes nauseated. Cancer can occur in the gallstones, but this is very rare. An infection called cholecystitis can occur. Gallstone pancreatitis can strike as well, by blocking the emptying ducts of the pancreas. When a person feels pain near their low back or has trouble keeping food down, it is important to find out the cause of their suffering. There are a few different tests a doctor can perform to diagnose gallbladder conditions. The most noninvasive and primary approach is to have an abdominal ultrasound or x ray can be performed. The ultrasound will check for gallstones. An MRI called a magnetic resonance cholangiopancreatography can take high resolution images for the doctor to see. An endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) can be used which requires a tube being inserted into the mouth down to the small intestine. The doctor can see through this flexible tube and inject dye into the bile. A HIDA scan can be used which is when a doctor injects the dye intravenously.

For an organ that doesn’t need to be there, it sure can cause pain and there are a few methods to treat a dysfunctional gallbladder. Antibiotics can be used to attempt to reduce the infection and prevent spreading. Gallbladder surgery, which is called cholecystectomy, can be done to remove the organ. If cancer to the area has occurred, chemotherapy can be used. There is an oral medication called ursodeoxycholic acid which can help dissolve the gallstones. This can also be done by injection of a solvent solution. Gallstones can be broken up using shock wave therapy which is called lithotripsy. Whichever method used, anytime the body communicates pain, there is a reason. When eating becomes difficult and digestion is pain -filled, the gallbladder just might be the culprit behind your suffering.

16 May

Most people at some points of their life have been prescribed antibiotics by their doctor. This medicine helps fight against bacterial infections. They function to either kill or keep bacteria from reproducing. For best results, one should continue the use of antibiotics until the cycle is complete, even if they are feeling better. This medication will not help and should not be used to treat the flu, common cold, soar throat, or for a cough because these are not bacterial infections. The actual word “antibiotic” means “against life”. It is a drug that kills germs. This medication was discovered in the 1920s and prior to that time, people actually died from illnesses like strep throat. By the 1940s, antibiotics became more widely available and used, making surgeries safer and helping people live longer. Now, antibiotics are used to treat skin infections, dental infections, ear and sinus infections, strep throat, bladder and kidney infections, and whooping cough.

Our bodies are full of bacteria, both good and bad. Therefore, sometimes the use of antibiotics can cause digestive problems. The gut contains both the good and bad bacteria and taking antibiotics can cause nausea, abdominal pain, diarrhea, vomiting, and loss of appetite. This could mean that you are allergic to a particular antibiotic. It is also important to note that antibiotics can disrupt the efficiency of those who take birth control. Another downfall of this medication is that they are often readily over-prescribed and overused. Bacteria can adapt and resist this medication over time. It is always important to not skip doses, only take them when your doctor has prescribed them, take them for the full number of days prescribed, and don’t save them for later or lend them to someone else.

There are 7 main types of antibiotics. These include penicillin’s, cephalosporins, macrolides, fluoroquinolones, sulfonamides, tetracyclines, and aminoglycosides. Most of the time they have a trade name and brand name. A doctor will determine which to prescribe based on cost, dosing schedule, side effects, type of infection, and might even perform laboratory tests to decide which is best. Upon picking up the prescription it is important to read the directions and correctly store the medication.

Although antibiotics can do wonders, they are readily overused. The rate of prescribing can be somewhat disturbing. For example, the highest rate of prescriptions is 1.237 per person in West Virginia. In doing so, bacteria are learning how to ward of antibiotics. The CDC has now tracked nearly 20 strains of bacteria that have become resistant. Sometimes we have to let our own body fight the good fight and when symptoms become unmanageable, then the use of antibiotics can step in. The body is resilient and does not need to rely on extra help all the time. We must pick and choose our battles.