Archive for April, 2012

Some Monday Randomness…

Posted: April 30, 2012 in Uncategorized

1) A quick update on my Intermittent Fasting (IF):

  • I still feel great. I am not overly hungry during the day while either fasting or under eating and my energy levels are through the roof.
  • Since I don’t own a scale and have not weighed myself in about a year, I really can’t report if I have gained or lost weight. What I have been keeping an eye on is how my clothes fit, particularly the waistline of my pants and belt. Before I started IF, I was fastening my belt on the 2nd hole. Now 3 weeks later, I am onto the 3rd hole. I think it is safe to say I have lost about a .5 inch around my waist line.
  • People have asked me how sustainable eating like this really is. My answer: Very. Most people are extremely busy during the work day and sitting down to eat a full meal or a few small meals can often be a challenge. IF allows for less worry about food during the work day with more focus on actual work.

2) I just wanted to give a shout out to my buddy John Gaglione at Gaglione Strength. Over the past two weeks, I have been going twice a week for training. Last week, myself and The Prowler had a date for the first time in years.

My only goal was to get through without puking. I am happy to report… Mission Accomplished!!

Does anyone remember the peg boards from gym class? I know I just remember them as the thing that nobody could really ever do.

Well, not much has changed. Gags just put one up at his gym and I spent a few minutes experimenting with it yesterday. You want to talk about some serious shoulder stability, grip strength, and core stabilization along with a bruised ego? Yep, the peg board has it all.

The biggest thing about the peg board is the amount of control you need while stabilizing with one arm so you can delicately place the other peg into the next hole.

For me, it’s certainly a challenge that  I will work towards!

3) You have to feel sorry for Derrick Rose of the Chicago Bulls who had a non-traumatic ACL tear this past weekend in the NBA playoffs. His entire season seemed like a downward spiral with this final injury being the straw that broke the camel’s back.

Check back later in the week for some more thoughts on this topic.

Have a great week!

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I think we have all heard for years how beneficial staying hydrated is for our health. I won’t bore you with the reasons as to why because a quick Google search will give you every benefit known to man.

Additionally, you have also probably read a random fitness magazine,  “3 Hydration Tips.” They usually go something like this…

  1. For every shot you take at the bar, drink a gallon of water.
  2. Take a sip of water every time your boss yells at you.
  3. Every time you go outside for a cigarette break, chug some water.

Ok, it might not have said that exactly. The thing is, you need to do something that is going to work for, well, you.

I’ve also heard of  chugging a half-gallon of water as soon as I wake up in the morning. Maybe that works for some people. For me? I’m lucky if I make it from my bed to the bathroom without tripping over my dirty laundry. Drinking that much water?  It’s not going to happen. I don’t smoke cigarettes either, so that’s a no-go.

But I digress…

As you may or may not have realized by now, I have made a conscious effort to increase my water consumption over the past few weeks. Below are three simple changes (yet groundbreaking :)) I have made that seem to work for me. And more importantly, they seem to be sustainable.

1) Bring water to the gym…and actually drink it– This may seem a little obvious to some people out there, but for me it is only something that I just started doing. I pride myself on getting in and out of the gym as quick as possible mainly so I can get on with my day but also to prevent my eyes from bleeding due to some exercise selections of my fellow gym patrons.

yep, this is one

Also, I’m just not that thirsty when I work out so I never really thought about bringing anything with me. However, since I am now making an effort to consume more water, I always take a few sips after my warm up, at least once during training, and sip water the entire 15 minute ride home. It seems like a small thing, but it certainly adds up.

2) If you take medication, vitamins, or supplements in pill form…take each one individually- How many of you out there who take multiple pills per day throw the entire handful in your mouth and with one swig of water, get them all down? I know for years (actually until about 2 weeks ago) I was guilty of this. I think it makes me feel like a man….or is primal…or Idk, I just did it. Now however, I take each pill individually with a giant sip of water. Don’t get me wrong, this is not easy. I am taking BCAA’s currently and the serving size is 13 pills! That’s a ton of water (over 16 oz.) in one sitting, at least for me.

3) Take a Green Supplement- I know this is kind of cheating, but it adds to the bottom line. After recommendations from all the cool kids, I have added a green supplement to my routine. To read more on the benefits of this, click here. For the purposes of this article, I usually mix a scoop of greens with 20 oz of water. Sometimes, I even take two scoops per day!!

High Five!

 With these three small changes, I have increased my water consumption substantially. Before, I was lucky to get in about 1/4 gallon. Now, I easily drink between 3/4 and 1 gallon per day without blinking an eye.

Again, it’s a few small changes that I can easily stick with over the long haul!

Have a great day!

Some Monday Randomness…

Posted: April 23, 2012 in Uncategorized

1) I’ve had a ton of questions regarding my Intermittent Fasting (IF) experiment, so I figured I would use this post to highlight my experience so far…

  • I thought the hardest part about IF would be the actual fasting and under eating. I was wrong. The hardest part is actually the over eating period. Specifically, trying to get in enough high quality calories in a short amount of time has been a challenge. I have a new-found respect for skinny guys trying to gain weight. As someone who has never had that problem my entire life, I was always jealous of people who could eat however much they wanted and not gain an ounce. But, eating enough high quality calories is not easy! Sure I could go to McDonald’s and get enough calories in two little sandwiches, but to eat clean protein, healthy fats, and carbs is no joke!
  • I have made an effort to drink more water of late (watch out for a post later in the week on how I did so). One observation I have made is that when I drink large quantities of (room temperature) water in a fasted state, it totally screws with my body temperature as I get really cold in a hurry. My buddy Dave Fultz pointed out that room temperature water is still much colder than body temperature but I seem to be much more sensitive to it without food in my system.
  • One of the things I had heard about IF is that you will feel great while fasted. I totally agree! It has almost been a mood elevator for me as I often notice; more energy = better mood. This has probably been my favorite observation so far.
  • During the under eating phase, I started by eating two cups of green vegetables and a baked chicken breast. I did this for two days and realized that immediately after this meal, I felt like I needed to go to bed. I was exhausted. I then remembered the guidelines of the book clearly stating that if you eat too much during the under eating phase you will know it immediately because your body has gone into parasympathetic mode (rest and digest). To fix this, I cut the chicken breast in half. Problem solved.

2) I recently finished reading a book by the guys of The Buried Life. For those of you not familiar with the story, four college age kids from Canada got together and made a simple bucket list. It was titled ‘What Do You Want To Do Before You Die.’ Unlike most of us (myself included), they actually acted on the list. They agreed that for every item they crossed off their bucket list, they would help a random person accomplish a goal of theirs. Some of you may have seen the MTV show (it’s the same guys). 

The book is not a typical memoir that I expected when I ordered it. It is much more creative than that. The guys posted this question online, “What do you want to do before you die?” and chose their favourites (I intentionally spelt that in Canadian in honour of the guys) out of ten of thousands of responses. They then gave the chosen ones to their favorite artist who drew pictures to illustrate each one. Some items on the list are funny, some sad, some inspirational. All in all, it was a great read and something I would highly recommend.

Also, to my fellow colleagues, as I was reading it struck me that this is fantastic book to have in the waiting room of an office. Just a thought.

3) Check this Dwyane Wade video out. He just randomly stopped in SOHO to play a pick-up game on the street. That’s awesome!

“IT’S All IN THE HIPS”

Posted: April 19, 2012 in Uncategorized

If you are anything like me, you may often sit back and wonder how professional athletes do what they do. Whether it’s dunking a basketball or hitting a baseball 450 ft., some of the things we see on SportsCenter every night seem to defy logic. Most times, at least with these two athletic feats, we justify our own lack of manhood by chalking it up to picking the wrong parents (or ‘supplements’).

He is 6’7, of course he can dunk!

or

Look at those forearms! They are bigger than my thighs! If I was built like him, I could hit the ball that far!

Bash Brothers

Also, Bash Brothers

Ok, Fulton and Portman really have nothing to do with this topic. BUT, when I Googled ‘Bash Brothers’ I was pleased to see their picture alongside Mr. McGwire and Mr. Canseco. 

One sport where being physically impressive seems to have little correlation with success is golf. In my humble opinion, I would go out on a limb and  say most pro golfer’s body composition is somewhere between skinny fat and Homer Simpson.

It is for this reason that what pro golfers can do it extremely impressive. These seemingly average sized guys can generate power and hit a golf ball crazy long distances.

What’s the reason? Well, I can tell you it certainly is NOT because of the size of their biceps.

Let’s look at Rory McIlroy. Pgatour.com has him listed at a whopping 5’10 in, 160 lbs. His average driving distance? 292.8 yards! For you guys out there who struggle with math, that’s like three entire football fields!

The point is, it’s really not about size.

What is it about? Grossly oversimplifying it, I would say a large part is about our good buddy, Mr. Hip Hinge. For those of you who forgot, this a video I posted a few weeks back with a simple hip hinge drill.

In fact, Dr. Paul Cheetham, a pioneer of 3D motion-capture technology has done extensive research in order to identify just how much pelvic tilting or hip hinge occurs with a PGA tour athlete.

His results:

  • Most people have about 12-14 degrees of (anterior) pelvic tilt when standing erect.
  • Pro golfers increase their tilt to 20 degrees at setup, creating the hinge or pistol action.
  • During the down swing, this tilt decreases to 5 degrees at ball contact, essentially losing 15 degrees of tilt from top swing to impact. This all happens in 0.3 seconds.

To put a visual to this, here is an analysis of Rory McIlroy’s swing. At about 9:00, the golf pro begins to talk about Rory’s lower half. I’m warning you beforehand, the guy speaking is super boring so I highly recommend going right to the 9:00 minute mark.

As you can see, Rory really engages his lower half at the start of his down swing. With a hip hinge (essentially pushing his butt back without lumbar flexion) and slight knee bend, this action in golf speak, is called compressing. As the gentleman in the video states (if you were still awake to hear) Rory’s head position descends about 6 inches from set-up to ball contact.

Now obviously, I am no golf pro. Also, I do realize (and trust me I DO REALIZE from personal experience) that sequencing, timing, tempo, and not being insane are all key components to driving the ball a long way. That being said, most of you reading this are probably not golf pro’s either. That does not mean you can’t train your golfing clients on the proper hip hinge and have a positive impact on their golf game (on purpose or by accident).

Have a great day!

Some Monday Randomness…

Posted: April 16, 2012 in Uncategorized

1) I’m totally writing this post from the beach right now. And here is a picture to prove it…


As some of you know, my roommates and I are renting a house on Long island one block from the beach. Unfortunately, our lease is up at the end of June because the real beach season starts. Ya know, the one with Ronnie, Sam, and the Situation. This also means the rent increases by like 6000%. I’m sure people who actually have jobs, an income, and full-blown pay checks can afford that.
2) I previously mentioned my interest in Intermittent Fasting(IF). Well, my curiosity won out this time as I will be starting officially today. Good luck to me!
That being said, on John Berardi’s e-book advice, I have been giving it a test run over the last two days.  Basically, I have woken up, drank water (and coffee) the first hour or so and then about an hour later I have a shake with water, green supplement, and 15 grams of protein. I did that again a few hours later. Finally, at about 6 pm, I had my big meal for the day. (I crushed a Chipotle burrito).

One thing I have going for me is that I have never been a huge breakfast guy.  I enjoy it and eat it because I think(thought) it was healthy but  I rarely wake up in the morning hungry and it does not faze me at all to skip the meal altogether or at least push it back a few hours. I actually never really ate breakfast until college because like I said, I simply was not that hungry when I first woke up.
There are a thousand different ways to IF ranging from 12/12 (12 hours fasting/12 hours feeding), to 23/1 (23 hours fasting/1 hour feeding). Since I actually like myself, I will be avoiding the latter for the time being. There are also plans in which you spend one day per week totally fasted. And at this point of my life, I’d rather only do that one day per year( it called  Yom Kippur).

Anywhoo, my first week will look something like this (12 hour fasted/4-6 hours of  under eating/the rest overeating):

  • Pre workout 8 am – Coffee, BCAA’s
  • Post workout 10 am- Banana, greens supplement, 15-20 g of whey protein
  • Under eating (between 1:30pm and 6:00pm ,depending when I have a chance to eat) 1- 2 cups of green veggies and 20 g of protein (Baked chicken)
  • Over eating (7:00pm 10:00pm)- Big meal. About 100 grams of protein and as much veggies as I want either in a salad or cooked. Also on my workout days, I will be consuming more carbs so about 2 cups of mashed sweet potatoes (120 grams) should do the trick. I also may have a small handful of raw nuts and beans. There are still some calculations to be done as I need to see if I am getting in enough protein for the day. If not, I’ll find a spot to add more.

Again, this is my workout day so I will be eating a higher amount of carbs. It is recommended to cycle high/low carb days preferably in conjunction with intense workouts. I am looking to have about 3-4 higher carb days. Also, this is just a brief overview and does not include my full meals or vitamins. If any of you have read Jason Ferruggia’s ‘Renegade Diet’, this may look familiar as I am loosely following it.

3) Coinciding with my IF experiment, I am also returning to my regular workout schedule. Over the past two weeks my exercise included some light circuit training and golf. I know I’m ready to get back to the weights because mentally, I am itching to see/plan what my next phase will be. Being mentally ready to train is just as important as feeling physically ready. I am certainly there.
4) Did you ever wonder how pro golfers hit the ball so far when for the most part, they look like guys you would go drinking with? Me too. Luckily, I will have the answer for you later this week.

Spoiler Alert: Hip Hinge (Yes, again!!)

Until next time…

Do Your Own Work!

Posted: April 5, 2012 in Uncategorized

Do you remember that time in 3rd grade (or college) when the teacher scolded those wondering eyes? I remember it like yesterday, “Keep your eyes on your own paper, do your own work!” Of course, it was never me they were talking to :).

At the time, it was probably just a stupid geography assignment.

And let’s be honest, who really cares what the capital of South Dakota is anyway?

Little did you know, it really wasn’t about the geography assignment at all. It was about a lesson that needed to be learned for those times when it really matters.

Let me explain…

A few weeks back, I spent the day at a chronic pain clinic shadowing and observing the doctors and interns who worked there. The chiropractor at the clinic had an extensive neurology background and probably gave the most thorough neurologic exam I have seen any doctor do in my life. Often, the patients at this clinic are the ones sent by other doctors because they are either too complicated or no other treatment has worked.

Throughout the entire day, this chiropractor would talk about a case, do an exam, and then finish off almost every thought with, “Do your own work!” About two hours into the day, he must have said this 30 times!

Fast forward a few hours when a new patient walked in. She was typical for that office… Been to other doctors, wasn’t getting better, somebody told her to try the chiropractor and on and on. You know how that goes…

After taking a full history (the patient had a relatively straight forward case), the doctor came in to do the physical exam.

The orthopedic exam didn’t really show anything glaring. The neurologic exam was different however. Based on the muscle strength and sensory loss, this patient was showing clear signs of a nerve impingement or cervical radiculopathy (patients know this as a “pinched nerve”). It was clear as day (clear as night? Idk, one of those). Nobody could argue otherwise.

Just as the exam finished, a funny thing happened. The office assistant knocked on the door and brought in this patient’s narrative report from the other doctor she had seen previously. And  there it was, staring at us right in the face,

All neurologic signs are intact. No sign of muscle weakness, decrease reflexes, or sensation loss

What happened? Well, if I had to guess this patient probably reported to the last doctor with generalized neck pain and said nothing that would indicate otherwise. Without actually checking, this doctor assumed that the patient had nothing else going on.

And if we didn’t do our own exam in the clinic that day? We may have just glanced at the report from the previous doctor and come up with a completely incorrect and ill-informed diagnosis therefore rendering treatment that may not have been indicated for this patient.

It all comes back to the same thing, “Do your own work!”

Doctors are human. They miss things. Was this error an honest mistake or a lazy mistake? I’m not sure, and quite frankly it doesn’t even matter.

Whether you are a doctor, strength coach, or personal trainer, never take someone else’s word for it. When a client comes to you, they deserve a full exam or assessment no matter what the person who refered them wrote down.

I have heard stories of personal trainers who had clients refered to them by a doctor because they were “cleared for physical activity.” Upon evaluation, the trainer send the client right back to the doctor because there was no way this person was ready.

In my opinion, the best thing we as doctors/trainers can do is what I like to call intentional ignorance. When a client is refered to us, avoid reading the medical report or making assumptions based on what the previous doctor/trainer may have said. Do your exam, then compare your findings to what was previously reported.

Every person is a clean slate. Don’t let others who came before you influence your assessment. Just because it was written on a piece of paper does not mean it is true.

I couldn’t think of any fancy conclusion so I will end right here.

Have a great day!

1. This weekend I had a chance to attend a strength and conditioning seminar put on by Todd Bumgarder and John Gaglione. As someone who has spent many a weekend at different seminars over the past 3 years, this one was a little different as I was the only (future) chiropractor in attendance. Everyone else was either a personal trainer or strength coach. It was a good change of pace and even better to get out of my comfort zone.

Even though the content of a strength and conditioning workshop seems like it would not translate to a rehabilitation setting, I beg to differ. Check out these videos…  

The first video is the basic hip hinge pattern that I would teach to any patient who walks into my office. This is a classic ‘spine sparing strategy’. It helps when lifting up children, groceries, or anything else we lift everyday. The second video is a conventional deadlift. Hopefully you can see the hip hinge pattern is exactly the same. Other than the fact that deadlifting heavy weights 1) looks cool 2)gets you attention from girls,and 3)gets you a sweet half -hug bro handshake, I hope you can see that a hip hinge is a hip hinge no matter how much weight we add.

2. To stick with the strength and conditioning side of things: I have realized I am not recovering from my training sessions very well. I have been going at it for about 10-12 weeks following a pretty strict program but have really started to notice that after my lower body days, I am sore and tired basically until the next time I train. I realize I am no spring chicken anymore but my God, this shouldn’t be happening. I’m not that old!

Because of this, I am thinking about adding Branch Chain Amino Acids (BCAA’s) to my non-existent supplement list. I guess I am a pure minimalist when it comes to this as my list (if you can call it that) includes protein powder and coffee. Exciting, I know. BCAA’s have been shown to decrease muscle soreness and increase protein synthesis among many, many other things. Enough science though, I just want my legs to feel better!

3. For anyone who follows nutrition, you may have heard of the recent Intermittent Fasting (IF) craze. Anticipating questions from friends, family, and patients I have began to read the current online content put out on the topic. Specifically, I have finished John Berardi’s free E-book which can be found here as well as Jason Ferrugia’s (not) free E-Book which can be found here.

I would certainly recommend both reads if you are interested in the concept but for the less ambitious ones here is a 5 point summary on what I have learned so far:

  1. IF in its basic form involves long periods of fasting following by shorter feeding periods. (I love how they call it feeding periods, it makes us sound like animals) These feeding periods ideally start immediately after a workout.
  2. IF is completely opposite to anything that has been preached in recent times. Eat 6 small meals a day? Laughable. Keep the blood sugar up? Ha!
  3. There are many versions of IF. Some involve complete fasting during the fasting period while some involve minimal amounts of food mainly of green veggies and a super small amount of protein.
  4. IF is certainly more convenient than eating 6 meals a day. Gone are the days of wheeling a cooler of food around all day.
  5. As much as the focus is on calories, carbs, and fats, it seems that the biggest thing that IF does is mess with your hormones (in a good way) which leads to most of the results.

So what do I think? First, let me say I am thinking of trying it because I am curious. Also, it’s hard to have an opinion without throwing myself into the fire. From an advice standpoint, I don’t know what to think. As both gentleman mention in their books, IF is certainly not a place to start. This is for someone who already has their nutrition basics under control but is looking for that next step in fat loss (or muscle gain). When it really comes down to it, if you are following IF, you are probably going to consume fewer calories than normal and be very strict with macronutrient intake. These two things will most likely lead to fat loss, no matter what time of day they are consumed.

Again, I am far from an expert on this topic. If you are really interested in IF, check out the links above.

Happy Monday!