Don’t Take Nutrition or Exercise Advice From Your Doctor

money and stethoscope

The title is a little clickbaity, but it’s a valid point. You see our Medical Doctors still have a revered place in society and when they speak people listen. In most instances this is great, especially if they are talking about things like lab tests or medications to treat a chronic condition, but when it’s nutrition or exercise not so much.

The reason being is they only get a few hours of nutrition education in medical school and virtually none on exercise. Unless they are spending time educating themselves on these very complex topics, they are woefully unprepared to be dispensing such advice, that is unless it’s the obligatory eat more fruits and veggies.

Now most doctors I’ve met are well meaning and truly care about their patients and want nothing more than to help them, but just lack the knowledge to do so effectively with regard to diet and exercise. The current system that educates and trains them to do their job is focused on getting patients better and using medication or other means to do so. It’s a system designed only to touch the patient after there is already a problem, and not before.

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It’s an effective approach most of the time, and the tide is turning towards prevention, but it’s not quickly enough. And even if a doc has the knowledge to give legitimate exercise advice they often don’t have the time to delve that deep into a conversation due to the demands placed on their time in an office visit.

The other problem is the source from which they might get their nutrition and exercise information. Using sources like the USDA’s choosemyplate.gov site are a part of the problem, because it wasn’t until recently that the government has finally admitted, albeit a little sheepishly, that the ban on fat was largely wrong. Quite honestly the recommendations from our government on nutrition and exercise over the past few decades have only served to further confuse us rather than help us get healthier.

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Then you have folks like “Dr. Oz”, one of the worst offenders of not only poor nutritional advice but claims and products that lack any background in science. Dr. Oz is a prime example of a doctor overstepping his boundaries, he’s trained as a cardiothoracic surgeon not a strength coach or exercise physiologist, yet still seemingly talks an awful lot about diet and exercise. He is abusing his status to promote products, all the while selling his audience down the yellow brick road with bullshit miracle supplements that do nothing but empty your wallet.

So what’s a person to do? If the topic of nutrition and/or exercise comes up in your next doctor’s visit ask your doc if they have a recommendation to a nutrition or exercise professional that they trust. I’d also go so far as to say ask them for one that doesn’t dogmatically adhere to any one nutritional paradigm like paleo or low carb. It’s not that there is anything wrong with these approaches; I just think that a middle of the road approach is best, and avoids any possible bias on their part.

I’d also run the other way if your doctor or any nutrition or exercise “expert” starts pushing supplements. Supplements can be effective, although there are far more that are complete crap than those that work, but most people would be better suited focusing on the tenets of healthy eating and getting into and maintaining a regular exercise program first.

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It’s Been a While

It’s hard to believe a year has passed since I last posted something here. Time has a way of getting away from us if we don’t make a conscious decision around how we use it. That along with many other things in my life have resulted in an absence from posting. However I plan on changing that. 

My calling in life started off in the world of fitness and is still very much rooted there. However over the last number of years I’ve learned much more about health and the inner workings of our bodies not solely related to fitness, and plan to use this blog as a way to hopefully pass some of that knowledge onto others. Like anything it will be a continual work in progress, but I’m dedicated to sharing this with others in hopes of helping people live the healthiest life they can. 

In short that means I plan on writing more often and working to empower anyone interested in improving their health. Not sure how it will all work but I’m excited for the journey. Until next time. 

In Strength

Ian

10 Bro Tips To Make You More Hardcore

Boy Silhouette

It’s no secret that every gym has its fair share of bro’s in it.  I workout in a big commercial gym with plenty of bro’s and while I’d like to find a gym with a better atmosphere, this one is close to home and has a few other amenities that our family likes.

However, on a daily basis I have to sidestep the bro’s in order to get in a lift.  I must say though I do get to laugh occasionally at some of the asinine shit they do.  So I dedicate today’s article to the bro’s in the gym and leave you with 10 bro tips that will make you more hardcore.

Bro Tip #1

Be sure and carry around a one gallon jug of water, this is so you can look mega cool and get an extra arm pump when you take a drink.

Real Tip #1

In actuality leave the on gallon jug at home, those are reserved for storing your milk in your fridge.

Bro Tip #2

Make sure to add some sort of fluorescent supplement to the one gallon jug from #1.

Real Tip #2

More than likely you don’t need an intra-workout supplement so cool out and wait until you get home to take your supplements like normal people .

Bro Tip #3

Before you go to the gym be sure and douse yourself with a metric shit ton of axe body spray and/or highly aromatic cologne.

Real Tip #3

Leave the colognes for when your out picking up the ladies or twerking it at the club, but don’t assault someone’s nostrils when they’ve got a few hundred pounds on their back.

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Bro Tip #4

Come up with a lame ass line like “hey you need a spot” in order to chat up some gym bunny.

Real Tip #4

If you really feel the need to bother a lady during her workout, ask her if you can buy her a cup of coffee after she’s done and leave it at that, and be sure and apologize for interrupting her workout.  You’ll likely get much further.

Bro Tip #5

Be sure and load the weight up on exercises like the bench press to show off your manliness.

Real Tip #5

If the weight staples you to the bench if you take the bar all the way to your chest it’s too heavy.  Hang up your ego and take some pounds off and try again.

Bro Tip #6

Get the largest gym bag you can and stuff it with all manner of lifting equipment, it doesn’t matter that you’re doing pull-ups today you still might need your belt.

Real Tip # 6

There is a place called the locker room, and there are lockers in there that you can store your crap in, use one.

Bro Tip #7

Curl in the squat rack as often as possible.

Real Tip #7

As much mileage as this broism has seen on the internet I still see people do this, please just stop.

Bro Tip #8

Stand right next to the dumbbell rack so you can stare at your beautiful biceps while you’re curling, seriously bro rules state you should curl at least 3 times a week.

Real Tip #8

If the weights are that heavy that you can’t take a few steps away from the dumbbell rack, then you probably shouldn’t be using them in the first place.

Bro Tip #9

Also be sure and leave all the plates on the bars on the deadlift platform and the squat rack.

Real Tip #9

Have some courtesy and strip your weights, completely.

Bro Tip #10

Don’t bother wiping up if you use a mat or a bench, people really don’t mind you’re sweat since your so good looking and all.

Real Tip #10

If you wouldn’t leave a filthy sweat stain on your own couch what makes you think it’s ok to do it in the gym, get a rag and wipe up.

These are only a few of the things I see in a given week, but like I said it does make for good fodder.  Tag someone on Facebook with this article and let them know how bro-ey they are.

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Age Is Just A Number

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Seeing as it’s a Friday and right before a holiday weekend, I figured I’d put up something a bit inspirational instead of my normal get your learn on post. First off though, I’d like to thank everyone who is currently or has served our country in the past.

It’s because of great people like you that we get to live freely and pursue life with passion on our own terms.

Speaking of living life on your own terms, one way we can choose to do that, in my opinion, is through healthy living. By actively pursuing physical health through regular exercise and healthy eating, we are able to do amazing things even into what some would call old age.

The short documentary below illustrates that much better than I could ever convey in words. Jim Morris has been an advocate of healthy living for longer than I’ve been alive, and his dedication and passion are obvious.

Now I don’t share the same sentiments about veganism that Jim does, but each person’s journey is their own, and mine does and will probably always include copious amounts of dead animal flesh.

However, the most enlightening piece of the film for me is that we don’t have to deteriorate as we age. The way Jim looks at the age of 78 is a testament that age is just a number and that we all possess the ability to achieve greatness.

So have a wonderful holiday weekend and I hope you spend some time with people you love, I sure plan to.

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Get Your Learn On 5.16

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It’s interesting working in the health and fitness field. Everyday you can count on the fact that there is some new fad or trend that is the next best thing. I can’t help but get a bit frustrated when they emerge, and people start to buy into them.

Seriously the old adage that “If it sounds to good to be true, then it probably is” might be even more true in the fitness industry! Whether it’s so-called medical treatments aimed at “freezing the fat off”, yes this is a billboard ad that is in my hometown, or a program guarenteed to get you jacked in 10 days, they are all preying on your insecurities.

The former apparently works by freezing the fat cells as told by this article and is, this is a direct quote from the article, “ideally maintained by healthy eating and exercising.” I would contend that most people thinking about this option struggle with healthy eating and regular exercise, and as a result will see little to no long term results from this intervention.

Hopefully we as fitness professionals can continue to push back on these snake oil sales gimmicks and really educate people on how to live long, healthy lives.  So in that vain, check out this weeks links from around the web, to get yourself edumucated.

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 Coffee…Upgraded?- Brian St. Pierre

This is one of those fads that I’m talking about.  Bulletproof coffee, yikes.  I’ve not actually heard much about it, but I can tell you Brian and the guys at Precision Nutrition nail hit here. Coffee is coffee, maybe a bit of cream and sugar, but I’d rather not blow 500 calories on one drink during the day, that’s an easy way to sabotage a fat loss plan in a hurry.

9 Counterintuitive Tips to Help You Stay Lean While Eating at Restaurants- Armi Legge

If you haven’t heard much about flexible dieting it really is the best way to lose fat and still eat the foods you love.  Armi gives a couple of great pieces of advice on how to eat out and still keep you on track with your goals.

The Real Reason You Still Have Back Pain (And What to Do About It)- Armi Legge

Another great article from Armi this week.  This is geared more towards fitness professionals that are working with clients with back pain, but still has a great primer on back pain if you want to know more about it.  There is a pretty good chance that you will have some back pain at some point in life, or maybe you have chronic pain, either way this can help shed some light on it for you.

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Lessons Learned From The Iron

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I consider myself to be fairly young, seeing as I’m 32.  Also I consider myself to be in decent shape, as  I’ve been in the gym 3-5 days a week for going on 14 years now.  Lastly, I also like to think I’ve accumulated a fair amount of knowledge about strength.  It’s a funny thing sometimes, strength, as it can be applied to both physical strength as well as mental/emotional strength.

While mental strength may not help you cultivate physical strength, it is my opinion that the pursuit of physical strength can and will do just that for mental strength.  It wasn’t until the second semester of my freshman year in undergrad that I became enamored with the idea of weight lifting.  Forever, seared into my brain is the image of myself as I passed in front of a mirror shirtless in my freshman dorm room.  I was a three sport high school athlete (not very good at any of them but it sure was fun!), and the first semester of college had not been very kind to my physique.

Now this wasn’t the typical freshman 15 weight gain, the change I experienced was in body composition, because the scale remained relatively the same.  Either way I remember thinking I need to do something about this, and off to the rec center I went.  I spent the next few years lifting and enjoying the camaraderie of my fellow gym goers, so much so that I changed my plans of being a radio DJ (whew that could’ve been bad), to focus on a degree in Exercise Science.

To me strength training and the gym is much more than a way to improve health and longevity, it is a metaphor for life.  Many of the important life lessons I’ve learned have come in the gym.  Here are a few of them.

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1) Patience- Nothing will test your patience like trying to add 30 lbs to your deadlift over the course of a year.  You see once you have been lifting beyond 3-5 years, the gains in strength come much slower.  This is the time where your patience will be tested, and nothing but pure grit and hard work will get you to that next milestone.  The same can be said for weight loss.  While you may have those that toil with 12 week quick fix programs, those who show patience, will in the end be rewarded with the goal they seek.

This is dead on with life, because those who are the most successful, are the ones who are patient and continually work towards the goals they set for themselves.

2) Consistency- Piggybacking on the idea that gaining strength takes time and patience, that only bears out if you consistently work towards your goal.  You might be patient, but patience paired with inconsistency will get you no where.  If you plan to set a new squat PR, or lose 50 pounds you can’t just expect to work at it 2 days a week, you have to nail your workouts 4-5 days a week, or execute your nutrition plan 85% of the time.

Same goes for life.  If you want to be the CEO of a fortune 500 company you don’t do that by calling in sick, or bailing early every Friday afternoon.  In order to get promoted you should be consistent and deliver when others will not.

3) Determination- Set your goal and don’t quit until you achieve it.  I’ve had the goal to squat 405 posted on the wall at work for a while now, and it’s going to take a while for me to get there, but I know I will in time.  I’m determined that no matter what, even if it takes me the next 10 years to get there I will.  Having this indeterminable will goes a long way.  You will be tested and want to quit during your journey, it is at those times that you must remind yourself why you’ve started your journey.

Those who are determined don’t take no for an answer.  When someone doubts you or says you can’t do that, use it to fuel the fire that already burns inside you.

These are just a few of the lessons I’ve learned along the way.  If you have any lessons that the iron has taught you leave them in the comments below.

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One Overlooked Aspect of Your Health

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While most of my writing centers around fitness, there are obviously other aspects of our health that we need to be aware of and I was all too quickly was reminded of that this week.  Over the last few months I’ve had to have a few funky looking moles removed, and in that time, one area in particular has been a focus.

I’ll spare you the gory details but it made me realize that number one…I’m an idiot for not having worn more sunscreen (especially when I lifeguarded as a teenager), and two… we really need to make sure that skin care is a part of our prevention.  The first line of defense is really making sure we wear sunscreen (SPF 30) when we plan to be out in the sun for more than 20-30 minutes, and then remember to reapply throughout the day.

I can’t help but think about that damn sunscreen song from the nineties (was that really 15 years ago?!), if only I’d taken his advice.

Now I know you may be saying “But I need the sun to get my vitamin D”, and that’s true but at the very least don’t let your skin burn when you’re out.  And us guys are apparently more susceptible to skin cancers, especially if you shave your face every day (I think the Duck Dynasty guys are in the clear here).  Each morning when you drag that razor across your face you are scraping away that top layer of skin only to expose that fresh new skin, then out the door and into the sun you go.

duck dynasty

Combine that with the fact that guys are terrible about putting on sunscreen and like many things over time that could be a nasty combination.  Trying to be mindful of the environmental toxins and not just wanting to smear any old sunscreen on, our family uses what’s called a physical sunscreen.  A physical sunscreen is one that sits on top of the skin and blocks the harmful rays (think zinc oxide), as opposed to the chemical kind. You can also avoid some of the harmful rays by being mindful of the time of day you’re outside, 10am-4pm is when the sun’s rays are most intense.  These days there is also a lot of clothing that has some sun protection built in, which for the ladies, may be just another reason to go shopping.

However, I’m certain the benefit gained from using sunscreen to prevent those bad burns is far more important than which kind you decide to use. If you want to check out how healthy your sunscreen is then check out this website – http://www.ewg.org/skindeep/ – type in the sunscreen that you use and it will tell you how harmful the ingredients are for your health. The database also has tons of sunscreens that are healthy for your skin.

Along with some of those obvious tips, one of the things that never really crossed my mind was going to see a dermatologist for an annual skin check.  It wasn’t until about a year or so ago that I started doing this and it’s been very helpful.  If you are someone like me who has more susceptible skin then your dermatologist can monitor and take pictures of areas that need to be watched each year.

Then every year you go back, your doc can re-evaluate those areas and look for any changes which could signify a precursor to cancer.  Like many diseases, skin cancers are largely preventable so adding just a few of these tips can have a large impact on your overall health.   Now put on that sunscreen and get outside!

 

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