I never tell people to eat right and exercise. As a doctor, I’m not doing my job if I used such a vague expression. We need to undo the way we’ve been programmed our entire lives – programming that says the ticket to good health or weight loss is to simply eat right and exercise.
About three years ago, I hired a personal trainer. I told her certain things about me that I hoped she would take into account when training me. Unfortunately, she didn’t listen.
She took the exact same approach with me that she took with everyone else. Because I have a weird form of anemia, I ended up getting sick and hurting myself. What happened to the “personal” in personal training?
Obviously, I fired her and found a new trainer.
Exercise is a prescription that needs to be prescribed just like drugs are prescribed. We need to specifically define what approach is best for each of us to reach our own individual goals.
A smart exercise program is designed to avoid injury at all costs and avoid weakening the immune system. Most people know exercise can cause an injury, but not many people realize that the wrong kind of exercise can weaken the immune system. And for those of us who like to work out to relieve stress, the wrong kind of exercise will just make us more stressed. That’s why we need to learn to train properly.
With all due respect to Joey Muscles working part-time behind the desk at the gym and spending the rest of his life trying to bench press 500 pounds, we need to seek the knowledge and education of trained specialists before diving headfirst into an exercise program.
How old is the individual? What does the blood analysis show? What specific factors in this individual’s life must be taken into consideration before prescribing an exercise program?
This is especially true for adults ages 40 and older who might be dealing with Metabolic Syndrome, osteoporosis and other conditions. A one-size-fits-all approach causes a lot of people to actually gain weight when they exercise. They gain weight because they’re stressed out, their cortisol levels are high, and their body’s set point won’t allow them to lose weight.
For example, let’s say a 50-year old woman has a BMI (Body Mass Index: measure of body fat according to height and weight) greater than 35, high lipids and thyroid deficiency. She’s type 2 diabetic and stressed out from raising kids and working 60 hours per week.
First, you can’t gather this information by taking body measurements. Second, this woman shouldn’t be told to get on a treadmill to lose weight.
Someone like this needs to start off simple, perhaps with basic floor activities to gently raise her heart rate and build muscle mass without raising her stress hormone levels. The person prescribing this exercise program must understand what stress hormones are, what proper nutrition is, and how to integrate a dietary protocol with an exercise program.
Biometric measurements must be monitored regularly to see if the individual is improving. Improvement is typically slow out of the gate, and that’s okay. There should be no expectation of radical weight loss. Instead, someone with this type of patient profile should realize a year-long plan may be necessary just to stabilize, reduce the need for medication and repair metabolic damage.
Before you join a gym, sign on with a trainer, or buy a treadmill, ask yourself these questions:
Who’s writing your exercise prescription? How qualified is the person who’s writing it? What factors have been considered when writing this prescription? As a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist and Certified Chiropractic Sports Physician, I know this is a very important part of creating a wellness lifestyle for my patients. Understanding the nutritional, psychological and physical aspect to each individual is critical to achieving individual success.
Dr. James Proodian is an accomplished chiropractic physician and health educator who founded Proodian Healthcare Family of Companies to help people feel better, function better, and live longer. His expertise for the past two decades has been in physical rehabilitation, and he has successfully established himself as a spinal specialist. In his practice, he advocates the science of functional medicine, which takes an integrative approach to treating patients by addressing their physical, nutritional, and psychological needs. Alarmed by the escalation of complex, chronic illness in our country, Dr. Proodian has been speaking to companies and organizations through his “Wellness at Work” program since 1994, motivating thousands of people to make positive lifestyle choices and lead healthier, more productive lives. He can be heard weekly on his radio program, “Proodian Healthcare By Design,” on Tandem Radio.