Twister… Industry Icon in the Fight of His Life

By Todd Durkin, MA, CSCS

I need to share a remarkable story of a fitness professional in the fight of his life. He is someone I have long admired. Someone I have shared the stage with many times. One of the best presenters I have ever heard. A wildly successful entrepreneur who has earned more accolades in his storied strength and conditioning career than most can dream.

Peter Twist is one of the most successful trainers and performance coaches of ALL-TIME.  His business, Twist Sport Conditioning, is a world-class training & performance facility in Vancouver, Canada, with franchises in the US and Canada.

For eleven years, Pete was an NHL strength coach. And since then, has devoted his life to helping kids and adults become their very best. His passion and energy are infectious, his intelligence is incredible, and his spirit is unbreakable. As a matter of fact, Pete may be in the best shape of any forty-seven year old I know, male or female. With the fitness and conditioning of an elite pro athlete, he looks like he can still suit up and play. And dominate!

But life took a strange turn earlier this year. Out of nowhere, Pete was diagnosed with Stage 4 Nasopharyngeal cancer (head/neck) that had spread throughout his lymph system. He was asymptomatic when he first went to the doctor in January 2011 (just about a year ago), and has been through hell and back since then, fighting one heckuva fight to force this thing into remission. He would tell you himself that this has been tougher than any fight he has ever faced in his long and successful hockey career.

I recently had dinner with Pete at his home in Vancouver. It gave us some quiet time to sit and talk. About fitness. About our industry. And about life. What a conversation it was.

I asked Pete if I could share his story, it truly is inspirational, because not many people know of his battle. As a matter of fact, for four of the hardest months earlier this year, only six people even knew Pete was sick. More know now, but the chance to share Pete’s story here with you is a chance to share some of the most IMPACTFUL words I have ever heard from another person. There are “deep lessons” from Pete’s journey, and I share them with his blessing and his hope that they might empower others in a similar battle for their health or other challenge in their lives.

****

One of the interesting things about Pete’s story is that there were no detectable signs or symptoms when he was diagnosed. He acted on his own intuition that something was wrong and asked to be tested. At first, doctors resisted because “he had nothing wrong.”  His physical appearance, strong vitals, and healthy lifestyle, said (on the surface) that nothing “appeared wrong.”

When the truth of the situation was revealed, doctors found a tumor the size of a baseball located about 2 mm from the brain stem. A thorough diagnosis placed the chance of survival for three-years at 25%.

What followed was brutal. Two months of chemotherapy and radiation at the highest intensity one can receive. When I asked what that felt like, Pete described it as “severe burning of my mouth, face, and neck from the inside out.” Taking in nutrients was next to impossible; requiring “thirty minutes under layered pain-killers to get down a glass of vanilla protein drink.” Knowing Pete, he was probably yelling like a gladiator to get it down and get it done.

I learned that the effects of head and neck radiation continue to accumulate for five to seven weeks post-treatment. That means the side-effects get worse and worse even after treatments stop. Pete said this was one of the most frustrating parts of the entire experience.

From Pete: “My objective was to keep as much strength and physical mass as possible and to do little things HOURLY to deal with symptoms and set myself up to have a little higher starting point when I could manage to start ramping back up. A one percent difference was worth fighting for relentlessly.”

****

We talked about life lessons and as always, his words were deep and introspective.

  • QUARTERBACK YOUR OWN HEALTH AND OWN THE PROCESS” Doctors: oncologists, nutritionists, naturopaths, chiropractors, you name it – all come from different backgrounds, academic paradigms, and philosophies. Many of them do tremendous work, but are often overwhelmingly busy in their day-to-day and guided by the ‘system.’ It is critical that YOU determine what is right for YOU and take charge at each step. Quarterback your health and quarterback the team you assemble for any acute challenge in life.
  • FOLLOW YOUR GUT, FOLLOW YOUR INTUITION. “If you’re strong and healthy, you won’t get looked at the same or as thoroughly by your doctors.  They make assumptions based on fitness, appearance, symptoms, and positive energy. Insist they look deeper.”

Pete went in because of a premonition, a gut-call that something “wasn’t right.”  He really had to press to get the right team together and get the tests done to eventually be diagnosed and then treated because he looked healthy. Had he waited until symptoms appeared, the results may have been….

  • BE PROACTIVE. How you feel, your physicality, your health metrics, your blood work, and lack of symptoms do not necessarily mean you’re A-OK at the cellular level. Pete did crazy research on cancer, and believes, “We all have cancer five to seven times in a lifetime. Most we naturally eradicate from our systems… some we do not.”
  • DON’T PLAY THE VICTIM CARD. It took a tremendous amount of grit and determination for Pete to get this far in the fight. He doesn’t like “wearing the cancer hat.” When going to the hospital for chemotherapy and radiation, he would drive his car “straight to the top” of the roof of the cancer center and park. He did not want to park where it said “PATIENT” painted on the wall. He would enter the parking garage with inspirational music cranked (AC/DC or POD if I know him!) and later would say, “Is that all you got? Give me your best shot!”  After each radiation and chemo treatment, he would attempt to exercise right away, sometimes right in the parking garage. Literally.
  • HEAL FROM WITHIN. Look beyond traditional nutrition guidelines and organic foods and invest in a deeper understanding of all the variables affecting cellular health.
  • WE DON’T “RISE TO THE OCCASION”; WE “SINK TO THE LEVEL OF OUR TRAINING.” This is a message for trainers: Make sure you are ready for a battle and that your clients are too—one day everyone will face an immense challenge. I like what Pete says, “You can’t be your best when your best is needed and you aren’t in peak condition.” He adds, “I believe survival is in part determined by a will to live, a will to love, and a willpower to do the hard things well every minute during challenge, pain, and suffering. Become very passionate about LIFE and engage in activities in a way that grows WILL and WILLPOWER.”

WOW. Don’t wait until there’s a problem to start training like an animal and begin living TODAY like it’s your last day on earth. Powerful words.

  • BREAK ALL THE RULES. “You must be willing to change YOUR rules: to adopt healthful strategies that give you an edge, to step up and break from the traditional medical model, to return to action.”  Pete is an example that we are capable of more than we might be told. Fight to give EVERY effort any moment to build your physiology and physicality. Work at YOUR pace – not the pace of the average sick person. Not the pace expected by the disease model. Be willing to do everything it takes to get back to where you were. Act on your personal pride, conviction, and your will to live “FULL ON” for yourself and all those around you.

Pete’s words really stuck with me. He is an incredible man and truly inspirational. He ended his story with this (and I will paraphrase): Growth comes from challenges and of these, there are very few that will force you to draw upon absolutely one hundred percent  of every single element of your being. One hundred percent of every personal resource within you. When one of these challenges presents itself, it will be an amazing opportunity. After the anger and fear have ripped through you, after you face your sadness and concern for loved ones, be sure to see the amazing opportunity you’ve been given. The battle will become a set of scars you carry with quiet pride and deeper gratitude for the chapters ahead of you. The personal growth is strong and real. Don’t be bound up or held back from the beating you’ll take. Springboard from it and let it ignite every single day for the rest of your life.

****

My evening with Pete ended with some “HEALING FROM WITHIN.” Pete’s diet for this past year has been mostly raw vegetables and a concoction of organic foods, supplements, and powerful antioxidants to fortify his system. So when he asked me if I would like one of his “desserts,” I willingly obliged. It was here I was introduced to what I now call “Twister’s 27-Ingredient Jungle Juice.” This “shake” has so many things in it I can’t remember them all. Three times a day for almost a year: cabbage, broccoli, spinach, raspberries, blueberries, cranberry juice, greens mix, fish oils, and many other “goodies” in it. Sounds disgusting, huh? Pete said, “You think this tastes horrible? Try cancer and then tell me if you like it.” Despite not knowing all that’s in it or if there are really twenty-seven ingredients, by the end, it tasted real good! For me, that night, sharing Twister’s 27-Ingredient Jungle Juice was a spiritual moment.

****

Pete is now almost one-year post diagnosis. He powers UP mountains running and laughs rambunctiously as he races down; he lifts hard and heavy again in his Twist Sport Conditioning Center and does wind sprints like he did when he was competing. He’s teaching again and back in the trenches making a difference. But most of all, he’s enjoying life and is as vibrant and FULL OF LIFE as I’ve ever seen him.

Pete recently developed a CREED for himself, his team, and all the clients they touch.  Think to this as your life motto: “Life is short…LIVE EVERYDAY.  Today I will GIVE everything I have, what I keep inside I will lose forever.”

Thank you Pete Twist for the man you are. The trainer you are. And the friend you are. I hope your story IMPACTS thousands of people to live their BEST LIFE EVERYDAY just as you do. Thanks brother!

**Note: Connect with Pete on Facebook: http://facebook.com/peter.twist13

Todd Durkin, MA, CSCS, is an internationally recognized performance coach, personal trainer and massage therapist who motivates, educates and inspires people worldwide.  He is the owner of Fitness Quest 10 in San Diego, CA, where his wonderful team of 35 focuses on personal training, massage therapy, Pilates, yoga, sports performance training and nutrition to help transform the bodies, minds and spirits of a broad clientele.  Todd trains dozens of NFL and MLB athletes. He is the head of the Under Armour Performance Training Council, serves on the Gatorade G-Fit Team, and is a featured presenter on the Perform Better educational circuit.  He is a two-time Trainer of the Year (IDEA & ACE).  Additionally, Todd provides motivational talks and programs to companies and conferences worldwide.

Men’s Health recently named his gym, Fitness Quest 10, one of the Top 10 Gyms in the US.  Todd has appeared on 60 Minutes, ESPN, NFL Network and has been featured in Sports Illustrated, USA Today, Business Week, Prevention, ESPN the Magazine, Men’s Health, Men’s Fitness, Men’s Journal, Stack Magazine, Self, Shape, Fitness, the NY Times and Washington Post.  Todd has authored 35 DVDs on strength and conditioning, functional fitness, massage/bodywork and business/personal growth.

His new book, The IMPACT! Body Plan, debuted in September 2010 and is a 10 Week program designed to create world-class fitness and life performance.  You can sign up for Todd’s FREE award-winning Ezine newsletter, the TD TIMES, at www.FitnessQuest10.com or www.ToddDurkin.com.

WANT TO USE THIS ARTICLE IN YOUR EZINE OR WEBSITE? You can, as long as you include this complete blurb above with it.  If you would like a Word Document of the article sent to you, please email us at durkin@fitnessquest10.com to let us know and we will be glad to supply it to you.

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Metabolic Primer Part 1 of 3 If You Can Measure It, You Can Manage It

By Pat Jak, BS, CPT, USAC II, USAC Power Based Training Coach

Tell me if this is you: you get frustrated when you hit a plateau?  Do you feel like you are working as hard as possible and yet don’t see any changes. This is often when I hear the following phrases:

  • My metabolism is out of control.
  • My metabolism makes my body want certain foods.
  • I’m getting old so my metabolism is slowing down.
  • I downloaded this app that tells me my metabolic rate.
  • Today I plan on getting a great metabolic workout.

Unfortunately, these phrases are a little misguided and further perpetuated thanks to news articles, morning talk shows, and other media blitzes that hit us daily. To make matters worse, we are told things like “If you’re trying to lose weight, don’t weigh yourself too often.” Or we are told, “good diets are effortless and we don’t have to count calories.” Um, excuse me but if I never weigh myself how do I know if I’ve lost weight? Also, if I’m not measuring how much I’m eating, how do I know I am sticking to my plan?

Diet and exercise changes require a high level of managing because you are trying to force change. And the best way to manage a process is to regularly measure progress. While I understand what people mean when they throw out these phrases, there are better ways we can empower ourselves and make positive changes to our health and fitness. And it comes from understanding a few key things about metabolism and measuring it to manage it.

Try not to get hung up in those over used phrases mentioned earlier because:

  • Metabolism is trainable. It CAN be changed. With exercise, healthy diet, and good lifestyle habits, you can maximize your metabolism!
  • Your metabolism doesn’t want certain foods. It just wants real, quality food. So FEED IT!
  • Metabolism does NOT slow down when we age. In reality, there is only a 2% loss every decade. We simply move LESS when we age. Move more and your metabolism increases no matter how old you are!
  • There is NOT an app for that! When you calculate your metabolic rate estimated by your age, height, weight, and gender, you can have a 1,000-calorie margin of error!
  • ALL workouts are metabolic! When you workout, you impact your metabolism.

Okay, I’ll spare you the detailed exercise physiology, but I do want to share a few key points to help shed some light on the confusion we face with our own metabolisms and how to overcome them to help build a leaner, healthier, happier you.

What is Metabolism?

Our metabolism is a collection of biochemical processes that combine nutrients with oxygen to release energy. This release of energy helps us grow, reproduce, maintain basic life processes, and respond to our environment. Metabolism is as individual as a fingerprint and is based on genetics, lifestyle, training, and nutrition.

Our metabolism will change. This is important because we use our fuel (food) differently when we are exercising and when we are at rest. Normally measured in calories, food and metabolism is simply a measurement of energy. In other words, some foods provide more energy than others and some activities burn more energy than others do. This does NOT mean you can eat whatever you want as long as “calories in” balance “calories out.” It also means you CANNOT exercise however you want and burn calories equally. Quality and type of food matters. Likewise, quality and type of workout is important to consider.

Is This What They Mean By Metabolic Rate?

Absolutely! And you actually have two basic metabolic rates that are most meaningful to your health and fitness goals, your Resting Metabolic Rate and your Active Metabolic Rate.

Your Resting Metabolic Rate

This is the amount of calories you use on a daily basis to maintain basic life functions including brain activity, liver function, lung function, and tissue growth and repair. It actually represents 60-75% of your total daily energy expenditure. The basics do apply. Eat more than your daily requirement and your body will store energy (gain weight). Eat below your daily requirement and your body will reduce it’s energy stores (lose weight).

It is important to note that if you are too aggressive with your daily calculations and fall below the very base resting metabolic number, you will negatively impact your body. This often occurs with crash diets, starvation diets, and insane Hollywood cleanses. But it can also occur when we “get too busy to eat,” skip meals, or only eat tiny portions.

Why should too little food matter? Remember that your resting metabolism is responsible for brain activity, lung function, and liver function. If you don’t feed these organs and allow them to do their thing, you will create catastrophic effects in your body and actually increase the aging process and risk for debilitating disease.

Your Active Metabolic Rate

This is your capacity for work during activities such as exercise. It can be shown through a correlation of three key markers. Among these are your AEROBIC Threshold. Representing the point when you utilize fat as a primary fuel source, Aerobic Threshold is the number you find on a new car’s sticker that shows best MPG.

Another marker is your ANAEROBIC Threshold, which is the point when you lose the ability to utilize oxygen and fat to create energy. Another way to look at it is your “redline.” You will be able to rev your engine at this level of intensity, but probably not for very long.

Finally, the number everyone likes to use to compare ability is your VO2max. While high-level athletes often rely on VO2max to determine competition readiness, it is important to everyone because it represents potential.

How Do I Know What My Metabolic Numbers Are?

There is only one true way. Get tested. If we are all individuals and our metabolisms reflect our individual characteristics and activities, wouldn’t you want to know your numbers? If simple little calculators can be off by 1,000 calories, wouldn’t you want to know your EXACT numbers?

Everyone has a benefit if they are tested regularly.

  • You can establish a baseline or snapshot of you right now.
  • You can identify your individual needs and what you want to achieve.
  • You can create a customized, periodized training plan to be better able to achieve your goals.
  • You can track progress and see how your metabolism changes over time.

A Case Study

Just to give an idea how important it is to test your metabolism, consider the following data from my own test taken last month.

  • Resting Metabolic Rate was ESTIMATED anywhere from 2,730-3,037 calories per day while the ACTUAL was 2,574.
  • VO2max was ESTIMATED at 36.6 mL/kg/min, while the ACTUAL was 67.5.
  • Threshold heart rate was ESTIMATED at 155 beats per minute while the ACTUAL was 160.

Why does this difference matter? If I had relied upon calculators to estimate the numbers that are most meaningful in my exercise and daily calorie intake, I would be spinning my wheels. The estimated versus actual numbers leads to a half-pound to a full pound difference per week. In 12-weeks of training, this is a 6-12 pound difference under or over my goal!

The exercise estimations lead to incorrect training levels and false estimations on how many calories I burn at different levels of intensities. In the same 12-weeks of training, this can lead to a difference of another 2 to 3 pounds. Why would I want to estimate and take the chance of gaining 8-14 pounds in 12 weeks?

Measuring versus estimation is ALWAYS more accurate. And when it comes to your metabolism, never assume. Never estimate. If you want to get on top of your health, fitness, and nutrition, know your numbers. And the best way to know your numbers is to test them. Because if you can measure it, you can manage it!

This is a three part series all about metabolism, how to test it, how to train it, and how to fuel it. Come back next time for Metabolic Primer 2: Using Cardio Training to Effectively Boost Your Metabolism Or…

What You Thought You Knew About Cardio Was Probably Wrong

About Pat Jak

For nearly a decade, Pat Jak has worked with performance athletes, teams, and fitness conscious individuals from all walks of life. With one-on-one consultation and customized training plans, he coaches and trains cyclists, multi-sport, and endurance athletes including beginners, juniors, seniors, and masters, several of whom are World, National and State champions and medallists. His workouts have been featured in Bicycling Magazine and he is currently Director of Metabolic Testing at Fitness Quest 10, Team Coach for the Swami’s Pro Development Team, Head Coach of the UCSD Cycling Team, and Coach for the Challenged Athletes Foundation Million Dollar Challenge.

To learn more, or to schedule your metabolic test, contact Fitness Quest 10.

Remember To Dream

By Todd Durkin, MA, CSCS

His name is Dewey Bozella and he just fought his very first professional boxing match on October 15, 2011. He won. Dewey Bozella is 52 years old.

Yes, my friend, that’s correct. At 52 years of age, Dewey Bozella finally had the chance to live his dream – the dream to be a professional boxer – the dream that kept him going for most of his life. You see, for 26 years, Dewey lived behind bars for a murder he didn’t commit. Several times he was offered a plea bargain. Freedom, if only he would say he was guilty.

According to Dewey, he would rather “rot in jail” than say he did it. More than once, he made the painful decision to refuse the plea. An innocent man in prison for 26 years. No stranger to pain. His father beat his pregnant mother to death when he was only nine years old, and two of his brothers were murdered on the streets of Brooklyn while he was just a teen. This man’s entire life was filled with pain.

Twenty-six years is nearly 10,000 days. All that time Dewey dreamt and worked for one thing: the day he would walk away from prison a free man, and have the chance to fight as a professional boxer. In 2009, justice was served and he did walk away free. He was exonerated of the crime after a quarter of a century spent trying to prove his innocence.

What a path to travel to achieve your dream! Just last month, Dewey Bozella fought Larry Hopkins on the undercard of a Bernard Hopkins (no relation to Larry Hopkins) fight. Dewey won by a unanimous decision and immediately afterward said, “I used to lay in my cell and dream about this day happening. It was all worth it. It is my dream come true. This is my first and last fight…I did what I wanted to do and I’m happy.” He fought. He won. And then he retired when his dream was realized.

My friend, what about you and your dreams? Likely, you aren’t in prison. Likely, you haven’t faced the battles Dewey faced. But each of us has walked a unique path to arrive where we are today. We’ve faced challenges and struggled through adversity. And now, more than ever, our dreams are so important because dreams do keep us alive. They empower and motivate us. They give us purpose and put meaning in every day and every action. Dewey Bozella got up each day for 26 years and lived with purpose. He never gave up and neither should you.

Let your dreams do their magic. Allow them to fuel your day, give you energy, and keep you focused. They’ll do all this and more. It doesn’t matter if it takes 6 months, 6 years, or 26 years to achieve, never give up. You’ve got to make your dreams come true.

Dewey Bozella is an amazing example of someone who very easily could have given up many times. Can you imagine nearly 10,000 days of wrongful imprisonment? He could have lived with rage. He could have lived with anger. He could have lived with hatred. He could have given up on any one of those 10,000 days. But that’s the thing that makes Dewey Bozella so special. He didn’t. Instead, he CHOSE to live with PURPOSE. He chose to DREAM.

What a great lesson this man is for all of us. Regardless of circumstance, hardships, turmoil, adversity, or situation, choose to keep fighting. Choose to keep persisting. Choose to keep believing. And always choose to keep DREAMING.

After all, dreams can come true.

Dream Big!

Todd

The Wonders Of Pilates

Ahhh, the Glorious Gluteus Medius! Such an important yet overlooked and forgotten muscle. The poor little chap is usually lost in the spotlight to its larger sibling Gluteus Maximus :(.  If we just paid this muscle a little bit more attention and gave it a little more TLC, we could not only avoid possible injury to the low back, but also to the knee, ankle and even the shoulder! We could also experience much more strength and fluidity in movement and become much more dynamic and efficient in sports and life in general. Bold statement I know, but I am standing by it.

In my opinion the Gluteus Medius is the most important muscle in the lower body.  The reason that it is so important is because it is one of the main muscles that control rotational forces throughout the hip.  The Glute’s are very important muscles that become weak, and the Gluteus Medius is probably the number one culprit. So many injuries are caused by a lack of controlled rotation and force in the hip/leg.

Why is correct rotation of the hip so important you ask? Well, if you take a look at the lower body you will find that the hip is the main part that wants to and should rotate. The lower back does not like rotation nor does the knee or ankle. In fact if you look at common knee or back injuries allot of them are caused by forced rotation of the lower back, knee or ankle. The muscle that controls that rotation is the Gluteus Medius and some of the other smaller deep hip rotators.

When athletes have a complaint about their lateral knee pain, more then likely this is caused by a tight IT Band (Iliotibial Band). If you have ever used a Foam Roller on the side of your leg then I am certain that you are more then aware of how tight and problematic the IT Band can be. Well, the IT Band is the muscle (or fascia actually) that comes to the rescue of the weak Gluteus Medius. What the IT Band is trying to do is to control the motion of the leg, which is far better and more efficiently done by the Gluteus Medius.

How do shoulder injuries have anything to do with the correct function and power of the Gluteus Medius you ask? Well, if you look at many sports that have anything to do with hitting or throwing a ball (Baseball, Tennis, Football), over 50% of the balls speed should come from the trunk, the back, hips and legs. Let me say that again OVER 50%! This means that before the shoulder gets involved in the throw or hit of the ball, the body from the shoulder girdle down should generate over 50% of the power that gives the ball its speed and force! If your Gluteus Medius is not working to do this then the result can not only be a less powerful movement (pitch, throw or hit). Make since??

If the Gluteus Medius does its job then the shoulder, knee, ankle, back and the WORLD are a much better place!

How can Pilates help?

Pilates will teach and help to create new muscle memory and patterns. Your brain holds onto incorrect muscle patterns that are developed through improper movement and or over use. It is important to teach the Gluteus Medius to get to work and to stop being so lazy. This is done first and foremost by working with its current range of motion and firing capabilities and being able to distinguish and tell when you are using other muscles incorrectly to compensate.

We have allot of fun tricks and methods in the Pilates room at Fitness Quest 10 to help you awaken that Gluteus Medius and turn it into that powerful and functional Hip Rotator that it was born to be!  Hope to see you in there soon!

-Stephanie Scarbrough
Certified Pilates Instructor & Massage Therapist

Stephanie Scarbrough was born and raised in sunny Southern California. She is a Certified Pilates Instructor and Massage Therapist.  Stephanie moved to Salt Lake City Utah after high school to attend the 1,000 hour Massage Therapy Certification Program at U.C.M.T. After graduation Stephanie moved back to California where she continued her nine year massage career mostly in Chiropractic offices focusing on Injury, Deep Tissue and Sports Massage, but has also worked in Spa’s, Private Practice and was an Instructor of Massage Therapy at Concorde Career College in San Bernardino, California.  She discovered Pilates as a form of rehabilitation for her injuries and feel in love with it. Stephanie then attended The Sheppard Method 450 hour Pilates Certification program in Los Angeles California. She is certified in Pilates Mat, Reformer, Cadillac, Wunda Chair and Latter Barrel.

Taste the Healthy Lifestyle. Real Foods For Real Kids

Are your kids “coocoo for Cocoa Puffs?”  Does there breakfast come in the form of pink moons, yellow stars, and orange clovers?  Are they receiving morning nutrition information from a rabbit?  Silly parent!  Trix are for kids!  Unfortunately now, so is obesity, heart disease, and diabetes.  Foods and drinks high in sugar are at the “heart” of the problem, no pun intended.  Unless your child is independently wealthy and has the means to drive to the store to purchase food, you are the nutritional gatekeeper.  It’s not an easy job, but it’s an important one.

The last significant societal decrease in physical activity was around the years of the proliferation of the television (the 60’s).  Since then, we have probably decreased our overall activity, but nothing considered statistically significant.  Despite no significant decrease in activity, we have seen a consistent increase in obesity.  Our bodyweight and bodyfat are regulated by the amount of energy we expend vs. how much we take in.  If we are not expending any more or less energy than we used to, we must be taking more in.  Even worse, in attempt to multiply our food supply, keep food costs down, and keep big food company profits up, there is less “food” in what we eat.  At the end of the day, we are consuming mostly flavorings, colorings, and preservatives with a little bit of wheat, corn, or potato product.  Does this sound like something that is good for us?  If this food was prepared in front of us and not behind well-protected doors at food production plants, would it still be appetizing?  Why do we eat it then?  The answer?  We are addicts that learned at a young age that this is an acceptable form of “food”.

Our “taste” for food is formed at a young age.  If high doses of sugar represent “breakfast” when you’re a kid, that’s probably what it will represent when you’re an adult.  The same goes for a high salt, high fat food representing “lunch”, “dinner”, or “snack”.  The tastes in these high sugar, salt, and fat foods aren’t even real tastes.  They are enhanced so that we will have a more significant taste experience, making us want to buy the product again.  If you grow up on this type of food and then have something homemade with whole food products, it doesn’t have the perfect uniform consistency and taste.  It doesn’t taste like “food” to you.  You eventually go to the doctor and receive your certain death sentence if you don’t change your diet.  Now you must re-train yourself as to what food actually “tastes” like.  Due to the high emotional significance related to food and taste, this becomes a daunting battle for your health, and consequently, your life.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with letting a child have a processed, sugary, fatty, salty treat every once in a while.  The most important intervention with kids however, is to have this regulated by the parent.  Kids can’t make long-term, rational decisions about their health.  Of course a sweet chemical taste is going to seem like a better choice to them. If you fill their breakfast bowl with sugar cereal, their lunchbox with processed lunch items, and their belly with fast food for dinner every day, what are you teaching them?   It’s your job as a parent to teach them that it’s OK to eat that stuff every once in a while, but it’s not actually “food”.  Food is what mom or dad prepares from a recipe and serves at the dinner table.  Try to eat “food” at meals 90% of the time.

Real food can be delicious.  Involve your kids in the process. Take them to the grocery store, especially if it’s a more “adventurous” one like Whole Foods. Let them pick out some crazy looking fruit or vegetable to try. The vivid colors and shapes of most fruits or vegetables are actually appealing to kids if they are properly exposed to them. Show them real food and get them to have an appreciation for it.  Maybe even take them to a garden or involve them in growing a small garden at home.  Spend time when they’re young showing them how to make real food.  Not only do they learn the basics of cooking, they learn that real food is created, not bought in a box.  Finally, when mom and dad complain that real food is “health food,” kids relate “health food” to “tasteless”.  Create a culture of health in the home.

In today’s busy home and work environment, taking extra time to instill better nutrition habits is a challenge.  However, it’s a challenge we must accept.  The alternative is far more inconvenient.  If we continue with our current trend of obesity, our kids that are 5 right now will inherit a trillion dollar health care expense specifically dedicated to obesity related maladies by the time they’re 25.  That’s not to mention the personal impact of poor health.

Create a “taste” for health at a young age to create a future of happy, healthy, pain free adults.

INSPIRE MILLIONS!!

Brett Klika C.S.C.S., Director of Athletics at Fitness Quest 10, is a human performance specialist, motivator and educator. A graduate from Oregon State University, Brett has directed sport camps all over the nation. While in college, amidst playing club soccer and lacrosse, Brett worked with the strength and conditioning department for 3 years. A year long resident sports performance internship at the Olympic Training Center brought Brett to San Diego. Brett’s work with the Olympic athletes, as well as local high school athletes nurtured a passion for creating excellence in individuals.

Mobility Matters – Identifying The Cause Rather Than The Symptom

By Dr. Jennifer Reiner

In the last ten years, the term mobility within the fitness and sports performance community has been pushed to the forefront.  Foam rollers, slant boards, rolling sticks, baseballs, and other torture devices are a mainstay in gyms to improve flexibility and mobility.  As a chiropractor that works primarily with athletes and the active population, I feel the hierarchy of movement begins here.  In school, we spend years understanding the basis of joint movement, how to assess it, and ways to improve upon it.  I hope to provide a little insight from a clinical chiropractic perspective on mobility and perhaps give you a few exercises to add to the toolbox.

A wide variety of philosophies and therefore treatment and assessment protocols exist in the chiropractic profession.  While some are deeply rooted in the older chiropractic philosophy of maintenance care and wellness, others focus on rehabilitating neuromusculoskeletal problems.  To provide a little background into my methodologies and techniques, I graduated from chiropractic school with a focus on sport related injuries.  This led me to a series of seminars, specifically Active Release Technique and Graston.  I spent a three-month internship with the University of Miami and later moved to San Diego to work with the University of California San Diego’s athletic training staff.  A few years of Active Release and manipulations on 300 pound offensive linemen and 6’9” basketball players took its toll on my 5’3,” 115 pound frame.  If I continued at this rate, I knew my career would be short-lived.  It was time to treat smarter, not harder.

I began questioning the soft tissue techniques I utilized as well as my own abilities.  Common areas, such as the IT band or hip flexors, would be resistant to repeated treatments using Graston and Active Release.  I blamed the athlete’s mechanics, the sport, or a previous injury for the recurring issue.  Bottom line, my hands and body were taking a beating only to achieve temporary improvement in the athlete’s condition.  Around this time I returned to my roots of exercise science and obtained my Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist certification.  A plethora of information related to functional movement and corrective exercise existed opening my eyes to many physical therapists, strength coaches, researchers, and other like-minded chiropractors.  Gray Cook, Mike Boyle, Craig Liebenson, Greg Rose, Stewart McGill, and Mike Reinold are just a few whose research, articles, seminars, and philosophies I took interest in.  I believe my “aha” moment came during the FMS/SMFA (Functional Movement Screen/Selective Functional Movement Assessment) seminar when the discussion began on joint mobility and stability.  Finally, objective findings coinciding with our understanding of biomechanics, to effectively provide a rationale for repetitive soft tissue and joint tightness, pain, and/or injury.  It wasn’t so much my treatment techniques that were in question, but rather the assessment.  Evaluating movement in relation to mobility and stability would be the guiding factor as to which area was the weakest link.  As such, treatment directed towards the cause utilizing objective evidence rather than symptoms, would produce long-lasting, efficient, and effective results.

Whether the FMS/SFMA is your evaluation tool or another, mobility limitations must be considered before progressing to motor control problems.  For those unfamiliar with the joint-by-joint approach described by Gray Cook and Mike Boyle, each segment of the body is viewed by its role in providing mobility or stability.  To begin, our ankle, hip, thoracic spine, and glenohumeral joint should be mobile while the knee, lower back, cervical spine, and scapulae should be stable.

The hips can be tricky, however, as this region serves both a mobility and stability purpose.  Based on these patterns, it is no wonder that disrupting the sequence creates compensation elsewhere.  For example, clinicians (me included) can get caught up at the site of the patient’s symptoms.  Insidious onset of anterior knee pain is a great example.  If orthopedic tests fail to reveal instability, compromises in range of motion, meniscal problems, etc., we often categorize the issue as patellofemoral pain, tendonitis, and so forth.  These diagnoses are more of the symptom rather than the cause.  Typical treatment including ultrasound, myofascial release, rest, and non-steroidal anti-inflammatories may provide short-term relief, but often the same issue rears its ugly head a short time later, perhaps even worse.  Well it is time to take a step back both figuratively and literally to view the areas above and below the site of complaint.  It is time to include an assessment of the fundamental movement patterns our patients and athletes are utilizing in their every day activities.  Sure, standard orthopedic tests, isolated muscle strength, and range of motion are integral to each examination, but often these do not provide the rationale for the cause of injury.  A movement screen can provide foreshadowing of a potential problem to come.  Utilizing this information begins to tell the story of the mechanical breakdown producing the dysfunction.

After performing a movement screen or assessment and evaluating your results, addressing joint mobility limitations and/or soft tissue extensibility problems is the first step in treatment.  Let’s get back to the basics, if the range of motion at a particular joint is significantly lacking, the motor control of the muscles surrounding the joint will also be compromised.  Unfortunately, you cannot exercise yourself out of poor movement patterns.  The system must be reset at the most basic of levels.  The lack of mobility may be due to several factors including a poorly managed injury, posture, stress, or inefficient stabilization.  Over time, our body detects the lack of movement and begins to compensate by making up for it elsewhere.  This is our innate ability for survival.  Compensation, however, was designed for short-term management…. i.e. running away from a pack of wolves.  Nowadays, however, when our bodies begin to signal signs of distress by way of pain, tightness, and discomfort, we run for the nearest bottle of Ibuprofen.  Silencing the alarm system leads to ongoing distress at the joint or soft tissue priming us for that disc rupture, ACL tear, meniscal derangement, rotator cuff injury, and the list goes on.

As babies, we are born with ample mobility throughout our spine and extremities.  Personally, I think God was doing us a favor (being a woman that is) providing substantial movement to be able to twist, turn, flex, and extend during the birthing process.  Mobility provides the platform by which we build our stability.   The developmental process involves movement milestones beginning with the mobility of the hips and shoulders and progresses to rolling patterns and core stability.  Therefore, we must address mobility before expecting a new level of motor control in order to overcome movement dysfunctions.

Generally speaking, many of the mobilizations/manipulations I perform are directed towards the ankles, hips, thoracic spine, and glenohumeral joint.  As such, the videos below are examples of a few exercises commonly prescribed to patients.

Whether you are a “top down” or “bottom up” believer, I’m sure we can all agree that limited dorsiflexion of the ankle can produce a number of issues up the kinetic chain.  Many athletes I treat present with low back, hip, knee, and/or ankle issues that relate to the limited mobility of the talocrural joint.  This is a modified hinge, synovial joint, comprised of the talus and distal tibia and fibula.  While the articular geometry of the ankle limits the amount of inversion and eversion, the mobility lies primarily in the sagittal plane (plantarflexion and dorsiflexion).  Dorsiflexion in the non-weight-bearing position is 20 degrees and plantarflexion is 50 degrees.  Perhaps a more functional measurement, closed chain dorsiflexion, is standard at 43 degrees with the knee flexed and 36 degrees with the knee extended (Reischi, Noceti-DeWit).

For many individuals, especially those who have played sports, an ankle sprain is as common as a winter cold.  Left untreated, scar tissue forms around the joint and soft tissues impeding dorsiflexion, an imperative component to shock absorption in running and jumping and in fundamental movements such as squatting and lunging.  Rather than strengthening the supporting musculature and improving the proprioception of the foot and ankle, patients subscribe to heavy taping and ankle braces.  In his book, Movement, Gray Cook reports a direct connection between the stiffness of a basketball shoe and the amount of taping and bracing that correlates with the high incidence of patella-femoral syndrome in basketball players.  Therefore, improving the movement within the sagittal plane improves knee tracking creating less stress at the knee, hip and lower back.  Soft tissue extensibility and joint mobility techniques are both essential for improving ankle mobility.  The video below includes stretches directed towards the flexibility of the lower leg musculature and ankle mobilization techniques directed toward the joint.

For patients presenting with lower back pain, the hip and thoracic spine must be considered.  The lumbar spine is wedged between these two generally stiff joints and is forced to make up for the insufficiency of mobility.  Increased movement at the discs creates shearing forces and aberrant movement at the facet joints.  It comes as no surprise that some of most common spinal regions for disc pathologies and degenerative changes is in the lumbar spine. The body’s natural response to excessive movement at the joint level is to tighten down the surrounding soft tissue, particularly the musculature.  If poor trunk stability is added to the equation, low back symptoms are inevitable.  Here we begin to tap into the cause of chronic mechanical lower back pain and stiffness.  It’s no wonder repetitive manipulation or soft tissue mobilization of the lumbar spine fails to solve the root of the problem.  These treatments are simply addressing the symptoms.   The hip joint is designed for multiplanar movement, as it is a multiaxial ball-and-socket joint.  In a society of chronic desk sitters, many people lack mobility in hip extension, abduction, and external rotation.  Again, where the hips do not move, the low back will.  So, provide that foundational mobility to protect the stability of the lumbosacral spine.  Here are several hip stretches and mobility exercises to improve upon these commonly restricted movements.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), repetitive strain injuries are the nations most common and costly occupational health problem, affecting hundreds of thousands of American workers and costing more than $20 billion a year in workers compensation.  The typical workstation is not ergonomically designed, and even when it is, a conscious effort in correct sitting posture is not at the top of most people’s list.  Poor sitting habits are considered a repetitive stress injury.  Although the amount of stress is minimal (literally the weight of ones head, upper extremities, and torso), the repetition or duration, in this instance, is extreme.  Insistent flexion stress to the spine causes deformation of the supportive anatomy that holds us upright.  This phenomenon is known as creep, a condition where passive, supportive structures such as ligaments and joint structures are stretched.  As a result, the mobility of our spine becomes more limited and the supportive musculature cannot function properly.  Compromising the movement of the thoracic spine only increases the stress to the adjacent joints and tissues.  As previously mentioned with the lack of hip mobility and subsequent stress added to the lumbar spine, the cervical spine suffers a similar fate.  Clinically, in the cervical spine, the most frequent degenerative changes and disc pathologies occur at the mid to lower cervical spine as a result of increased shearing and movement.  Thoracic flexion should measure 20 – 45, extension 25 – 45 degrees, lateral flexion 20 – 40 degrees, and rotation 35 -50 degrees.  Compared to other joints, this is a wide range for accepted movement, so erring towards the higher number is to our benefit.  To quote Mike Boyle on thoracic mobility, “almost no one has enough, and it’s hard to get too much.”  From a chiropractic perspective, I feel joint manipulation is very effective here, particularly at the cervicothoracic and thoracolumbar junction.  Daily mobilization and stretching techniques are just as important and can easily be given to patients/clients for homework.  In fact, most of my patients, whether they are coming in for a shoulder, neck, or lower back problem, will receive a home exercise program including thoracic mobility.

Because shoulder mobility is closely tied to thoracic mobility, I will address the glenohumeral joint here as well.   The shoulder could easily be a whole other article so, to keep it short we’ll discuss it in relation to the thoracic spine.  Before beginning to consider the movement of the shoulder, we must look at the posture and movement of the thoracic spine.  Patients with poor thoracic extension often present with impingement (secondary) issues.  In essence, improving your thoracic spine mobility will also improve shoulder mechanics.  For example, try flexing the shoulder while sitting in a slouched posture and you will experience limited motion and possibly discomfort or pain as you raise the arm.  Conversely, forward shoulder flexion with an extended thoracic spine clears the subacromial space allowing the glenohumeral joint to move freely.  Once this is established, we can move distal to the scapula stabilizers and the glenohumeral joint when considering movement dysfunctions and other pathologies.  Below are some of my favorite thoracic mobility exercises that also benefit the shoulder.

Sometimes clients may reach a plateau in their flexibility and mobility or they complain of pain (not the typical discomfort felt during a stretch).  If this is the case, be sure to refer to a clinician who is licensed to evaluate musculoskeletal conditions.   There are a variety of pathologies, which affect bone, joint, and soft tissue that can underlie movement restrictions and/or produce pain.  There are also a variety of manual techniques to mobilize soft tissue and joints such as Active Release Technique, Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilization Techniques (IASTM), belt mobilization, and manipulation/adjustments that will go beyond self-mobility work.  These can often break through soft tissue barriers including scar tissue and capsular restrictions, which can be resistant to stretching, foam rolling, and the like.

Most importantly, and the answer to my issue of repetitive “tightness,” consider your evaluation process when clients/patients complain of persistent IT band issues or chronic lower back stiffness.  Stop blaming his/her exercise regime or work environment and look deeper into their movement patterns.  Evaluating fundamental movements may actually reveal joint mobility issues or underlying stability problems away from their site of complaint. Your hands and client will thank you when you find the cause of the tightness and offer a solution to their problem rather than continuing to treat their symptoms.

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Cook, Gray. Movement. Lee Burton, Kyle Kiesel, Dr. Greg Rose, and Milo Bryant. Santa
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Magee, David J. Orthopedic Physical Assessment. 4th Edition. Philidelphia: Saunders.
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Reischl, Stephen F.  Noceti-DeWit , Lisa M., Current Concepts of Orthopaedic Physical
Therapy. The Foot and Ankle:  Physical Therapy Patient Manageemnt Utilizing Current
Evidence. Orthopaedic Section, APTA, Inc. 2006.

Sahrmann, Shirley.  Diagnosis and Treatment of Movement Impairment Syndromes. St.
Louis: Mosby. 2002.

Dr. Jennifer Reiner is the chiropractor for Water and Sports Physical Therapy and Fitness Quest 10 in San Diego, California.  She obtained a Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Exercise Science from the University of Florida and went on to pursue a Doctor of Chiropractic degree from Palmer College of Chiropractic West.  As a member of the Palmer West Sports Council, Dr. Reiner focused her studies on sports injuries and rehabilitation.  She is also a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) by the National Strength and Conditioning Association.

She spent five years as the official chiropractor for the University of California San Diego, providing care to a variety of sports including swimming, soccer, volleyball, track and field, tennis, and basketball.  Dr. Reiner is certified in Graston Technique as well as Active Release Technique (ART).  She also holds certifications in FMS (Functional Movement Screen), SFMA (Selective Functional Movement Assessment), TRX suspension training, and K-laser therapy.

The 10 Commandments Of Nutrition

Everyone has an opinion when it comes to nutrition.  What you should be eating, what you should avoid, how many meals you should be eating, whatever.  But when it comes to the 10 Commandments, there is no room for discussion.  You can follow whomever’s advice when it comes to what you should be eating and when, but you need to follow these commandments if you want to get serious about your nutrition.

# 1: Get your motor started. Eat breakfast.  Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.  When you wake up your body is in a fasting state for approximately 7 to 9 hours.  You wouldn’t eat from 9:00am until 5:00pm would you?

#2 : Slow down! We are always in a hurry.  When you apply that to food, too many people are shoveling in too much food way too fast.  It takes the brain 20 minutes to process how much you have eaten, and when you make your food vanish, your brain doesn’t have time to cut you off and you consume far more food then you need.

#3: Fuel up before training.  A high quality workout doesn’t begin with your dynamic warm-up.  The process starts with your pre-workout meal.  This is the first step to getting your body right so it can perform at optimal levels.

#4: Refuel after training.  Your body isn’t built in the gym.  You actually break muscles down during a workout.  Afterward, muscles become sponge like and want to soak up nutrients so they can rebuild themselves strong and leaner while you rest.

#5: Go wild!  Our ancestors had the right idea: fresh food is better.  I’ve never seen an obese person who got fat because they ate too much fruit, salad, and fish.  Eat fresh and wild and you will be eating better!

#6: Remember that supplements are just that – supplements!  A lot of people are looking for a magic pill to change their bodies.  Sorry, folks, the world doesn’t work like that.

#7: Water your body.  Out bodies are about 70% water, meaning we need to hydrate as often as possible. In other words, drink more water.  About half your body weight in fluid ounces daily is the easy rule to follow.

#8: Keep a nutrition journal.  Research shows that we lie to ourselves. A nutrition journal can be crucial to improve your life. You will find out that you will be in more control of what you eat and start to become accountable to you.

#9: Follow the 90-10 Rule.  If you eat the right foods 90% of the time, you are going to be world class and achieve your goals.  The other 10% allow yourself to sample foods you love, just don’t get out of control.

#10: Experiment with the IMPACT menu.  The IMPACT nutrition menu is a no stress approach what allows you to experiment and enjoy a variety of foods from carbs, proteins, and fasts.  I promise you you’ll never eat better.

Todd Durkin, MA, CSCS, is an internationally recognized performance coach, personal trainer and massage therapist who motivates, educates and inspires people worldwide.  He is the owner of Fitness Quest 10 in San Diego, CA, where his wonderful team of 35 focuses on personal training, massage therapy, Pilates, yoga, sports performance training and nutrition to help transform the bodies, minds and spirits of a broad clientele.  Todd trains dozens of NFL and MLB athletes, including 2010 Super Bowl XLIV Champion and MVP Drew Brees.  He is the head of the Under Armour Performance Training Council, serves on the Gatorade G-Fit Team, and is a featured presenter on the Perform Better educational circuit.  He is a two-time Trainer of the Year (IDEA & ACE).  Additionally, Todd provides motivational talks and programs to companies and conferences worldwide.

Men’s Health recently named his gym, Fitness Quest 10, one of the Top 10 Gyms in the US.  Todd has appeared on 60 Minutes, ESPN, NFL Network and has been featured in Sports Illustrated, USA Today, Business Week, Prevention, ESPN the Magazine, Men’s Health, Men’s Fitness, Men’s Journal, Stack Magazine, Self, Shape, Fitness, the NY Times and Washington Post.  Todd has authored 35 DVDs on strength and conditioning, functional fitness, massage/bodywork and business/personal growth.

His new book, The IMPACT! Body Plan debuted in September 2010 and is a 10 Week program designed to create world-class fitness and life performance.  You can sign up for Todd’s FREE award-winning Ezine newsletter, the TD TIMES, at www.FitnessQuest10.com or www.ToddDurkin.com.