Friday, January 20, 2017

Can Arthritis Be Reversed?

Last week, we mentioned in passing that arthritis is a reversible disorder.  Many emails and calls were received in response to that comment, that wanted to know just how this could be possible when so many are struggling with arthritic issues.

Val Fiott is PPT's Client Services Director as well as a health coach, exercise scientist, certified fitness trainer and a long-standing subject matter expert for the American Council on Exercise's examinations.  We spoke to Val to get the answers you need for reversing arthritis.

Q:  Let's start with the big question, how reversible is arthritis?
A:  Officially, medical journals say it is not reversible.  However, when you look at all the success stories, see what some really genius physicians are doing, and analyze the science, it's really very reversible under the right circumstances, unless there is an obstruction within the joint capsule. While there are over 100 different forms of arthritis, the joint and nerves are inherently capable of regenerating according to their physiological makeup.

Q:  So what's keeping people from healing arthritis if it can be reversed?
A:  First, nutrition is tremendously important, and I don't just mean the basics that we all hear about.  It starts with organic plant-based foods, but the right amount of quality proteins and fats and the right meal timing can all be critical. Omega-3's, in particular, need to be consumed in the right amounts for tissue repair. For healing, one would need to be consuming a ratio of approximately 1-to-1 or 1-to-2 omega 3's to omega 6's.  Unfortunately, most of the country consumes a ratio of about 1-to-30.

Q:  Wow!  We're getting 30 times more omega 6's than we should be?
A:  Something like that, yes.  The body just isn't set up to be eating the ratios of omegas that most Americans are. So, while the body's intention is to recover its joint function, that recovery is slowed or stopped due by damaging nutrition.

Q:  Do NSAIDs help heal arthritis?  It seems like a lot of people feel relief from them.
A:  NSAIDs, or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, may reduce pain pretty nicely, but the best science that my clinical team and I can find all say the same thing:  They actually make it very difficult for joints to rejuvinate because NSAIDs inhibit proteoglycan production.

Q:  Are we supposed to know what that means? (laughter)
A:  Sorry, I'll boil it down to the bottom line:  Cartilage re-production in the joint probably won't happen if NSAIDs are being taken with regularity.

Q:  So the drugs slow the healing like poor nutrition does?
A:  That's the prevailing view from some of the most successful healers that we've found, yes. There are tons of different studies, of course, but I'd say that this finding stands up to logical scrutiny.  I don't think I've seen too many of our clients recover if they continued to take NSAIDs on a regular basis or in high doses. The successful clients generally didn't take any.

Q:  So, if they change their eating and avoid the NSAIDs then the arthritic joint returns to normal?
A:  Well, there's more to it.  Much of what I've studied and been a part of indicate that the gut conditions have to be right, so digestive enzymes and whole foods may need to be included even when nutrition is fairly strong.  And, sleep factors really need to be optimal. Most data suggest sleeping at around 10:00 or 11:00 PM in total darkness, with absolutely no light to distract your brain and impede tissue reconstruction.

Q:  That's fascinating.  What else is important for healing joints?
A:  Hydration! Drinking healthy, pure water throughout the day is important and there are numbers associated with determining the right amounts for someone based on bodyweight and activity.  Again, for all the joints I've worked with over the years, I don't recall any big success stories that didn't adhere to solid hydration. Essentially, you need the whole body to be very healthy in order to heal.

Q:  One more question for you - how does exercise play into this?
A:  That's the fun one!  The worst thing you can do to a joint with arthritis is to immobilize it or limit its movement.  When people do that, as they're often instructed to, the nerve supply and blood supply are lessened and healing can't happen that way.  That said, it's almost as bad to give it too much movement or use it against too much resistance.  That will just make it worse, potentially.  So, there are happy "mediums", and the body gives us clues as to how to reach those mediums.  You wouldn't want to run on an arthritic hip, for example, but full range-of-motion work with moderate resistance is generally appropriate as tolerated.

Q:  How do you know when too much is too much?
A:  Most Perfect Personal Trainers have a degree in exercise science or a related background and have worked very clinically. We also do a lot to keep our educations developing each week.  So, we understand the mechanisms at a deep level and we use the client's physiological responses to guide our decisions.

Q: This was insightful.  Thank you for talking with me, Val!
A: I'm here to help!  Tell our clients to reach me anytime at (877)698-3648 x 7018 and we'll get them healthier!

Save BIG while you still can!

Discount code HEALTHY2017 saves an additional $100 on any 55-minute or 90-minute Commitment Package when you purchase in full!  HEALTHY2017 expires Friday, January 27th at midnight.  Make your purchase online or print an invoice to send a check!

Friday, January 13, 2017

The Science of Starting Small... And Progressing BIG!

Beginning a new health or fitness program is something to be truly proud of.  Change of any kind can be emotionally difficult, but it can be especially personal when it comes to your body and your self-image. Besides, making physical exertion a regular part of your life is a challenge when you're not yet used to it.

Americans have also spent our lives being inundated with erroneous information:  From "sit-ups burn belly fat" to "arthritis can't be reversed", the major media, the medical world and the fitness industry are all guilty of bad information that's left you misled and less confident.

But here is the good news:

When you're new to something, you need to start small at first.

And, decades of deep study has shown top professionals like those at Perfect Personal Training exactly what "starting small" should really look like in terms of exercise decision-making.  After all, if you exercise too heavily too soon, or if you choose exercises that don't add up properly, then the likelihood of injury is high and the likelihood of success is low.  That's no way to go!

So, while the value of a fitness instructor or health/wellness coach may seem like it's to simply make sure you exercise when you plan to, there is actually much more to the equation for success:

  • We're constantly evaluating each body part's level of fitness and need for programmatic change.
  • We're determining the most appropriate strategies given the time you have.  
  • We're assessing when your joints, muscles and energy systems need new stimuli. 
  • We're modifying movements to correct those little idiosyncrasies that affect your daily living.
  • And most of all, we're listening to your wants and needs.

In a time of year when many are starting small but thinking BIG, we encourage your confidence and assure you that each step you take towards success is a well-crafted one.  Request your free in-home consultation and fitness assessment with a PPT professional in your area and earn the body you deserve!

Questions?  Call Client Services at (877)698-3648 ext 7018.
"We are always here to help!"

Sunday, January 1, 2017

At-Home Tests That Predict Health Outcomes

Setting fitness goals for the New Year?  With so many components to total fitness and health, how will you determine what's most important to your long-term happiness? And, how can you measure progress over time?

Below, we've narrowed down our list to just five of the many at-home field tests that PPT uses to help assess risk for disorders.  These are clinically-based tests used to measure and compare to normative data to predict and improve health outcomes:

We hope this sheds some light on how we'll continue to serve our clients with more accuracy and even more targeted goal-setting in the New Year and beyond!

Shoulder Joint Health Assessment

Methods Used:  
Apley's Scratch Test, Shoulder Pull Stabilization Screen, Flexion/Extension/ROM Assessment

  Risks for reduced spinal posture and shoulder range of motion, arthritis of the shoulder joints, scapular and spinal dysfunction

Comments: These tests are administered with no equipment necessary. Progression or regression is easily measured and documented

Bodyfat Assessments (Body composition)

Methods Used:  Bioelectrical impedence devices, calipers (as shown)

Determines:  Risk factor for all cardiovascular diseases, some likelihood of knee and hip damage or replacement

Comments:  Assessing "weight" won't help you without an accompanying bodyfat assessment

Aerobic Capacity Tests

Methods Used:
  Harvard Step-test, McArdle Step-test, Balke and Ware Treadmill Test, Rockport Walking Test, many others

Determines:  Approximate aerobic capacity and risk for all cardiovascular diseases

Comments:  Aerobic capacity changes fast, with progress or regression happening daily.  Low aerobic capacity is an easily-corrected precursor for heart attack, stroke, and coronary disease

Balance Tests

Examples:  Fullerton Advanced Balance Test, Tinetti Balance Assessment Tool, Stork-Stand Balance Test, Sharpened Romberg Test (as shown), many others
Determines:  Core dysfunction and muscle imbalances, approximate likelihood for falls, may provide evidence for potential back pain

Comments:  Falls in older adults begin with weaknesses and imbalances from decades prior.  Balance testing and correction is vital to reduce risk of falls and injury

Hamstring Length Assessment

Methods Used:  Passive Straight-Leg Raise

Determines: Hamstring length, risks for back pain, knee pain, leg cramps, poor gait/stride length, balance

Comments:  Limited hamstring flexibility can be a slippery slope to functional problems for lower-body mobility

Tell Us About Your Program!

PPT clients, get ready for your best year ever!  Call Client Services at (877)698-3648 ext 7018 to discuss the ins and outs of your program so we can help make it even more targeted to your needs.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

The Heart Wants What The Heart Wants

A common statistic within the fitness industry is the 70% dropout rate by the third month of a lifestyle-change program.  True - most fitness groups see more than two out of every three clients quit within three months.  PPT's numbers are vastly lower, generally seeing fewer than 5% abandon their programs within the first three months.

Part of what makes PPT's dropout rate so much lower than our competitors is that by embracing the science of exercise & lifestyle change, we see far better safety, efficacy and achievement. The way most of our clients see it, it is easy to stay with a program when you look good, feel good and avoid injuries!

In this article, we'll hone in on the specifics involved in building a healthy heart with a minimal risk for cardiovascular disease, America's #1 killer.  In case you're not quite sure what "cardiovascular disease" really is, it is far more than just heart failure or heart attacks.  Stroke, any form of arterial disease, inflammatory heart diseases and many other disorders fall into this category.

Reducing risk is a lot easier than you might think, even if your doctor believes there to be a genetic link.  "The Heart Wants What The Heart Wants", and below we'll outline the 5 key checkpoints that your heart wants from you, and that we can monitor regularly:

#5:  The right cardiovascular training protocol:  We've said it before and we'll say it again - studies show that most people need at least three to five days per week of cardiovascular training at at least 60% of their maximum capacity for exercise, generally for over 20 consecutive minutes.  Diabetics need more; the very athletic sometimes need less.  The bottom line is that without personalized, steady cardiovascular conditioning, your heart and lungs are at greater risk.

#4:  An appropriate body composition:  Easily monitored by your PPT provider, we compare your muscle-to-fat ratio to that of healthy norms for your gender and age.  This is a far more valuable metric than simply assessing height-to-weight, as height-to-weight will count every pound against you - even healthy weight such as bone, water or muscle tissue.  Body composition is a rare form of evaluation but has remarkably strong ties to determining tangible health outcomes for your future, and staying within the healthy range will help to make your heart much healthier than it would be otherwise.

#3:  Quality sleep patterns:  People tend to measure their sleep in terms of hours, but studies on sleep and its value in predicting health show that the depth of one's sleep is more critical than the number of total hours.  Additionally, heart health shows improvements in people who keep to a fairly regular bedtime, usually at approximately 10pm.  While sleep needs vary from person to person based on activity, stress, the environment and other factors, we find that most people need over seven hours per night to maintain healthy hormonal balance and a healthier cardiovascular system.

#2:  Hydration:  Staying hydrated is essential through every moment of your day and night.  There is not one activity that your body can perform without water, and when it has less water than it should, that activity is harder on your body.  Don't wear out sooner than you have to. Keep your heart strong by consuming the appropriate amount of water each day.  (Your PPT Client Services team have your personalized answer.)

#1:  The right meal plan:  Fruits and vegetables (organic preferred) are a big part of keeping the heart healthy, as are appropriate intake of vitamins, minerals, anti-inflammatories and healing herbs.  Your PPT team will provide specific numbers of servings to consume each day based on your weight and activity level, and studies show that the closer you get to these numbers the better off you'll be.  Stay out of the hospital and give your heart the phytochemicals and nutrients to maintain itself well as you age.

There are other critical factors as well, but these five checkpoints are manageable, measurable, and relatively straight-forward.  If you're already a client then please contact Client Services to help you better manage your personalized values so that you can make these checkpoints a reality.  If you're not yet a client, then request to become one in 2017!  Your heart will thank you for it!

Monday, December 5, 2016

Top 3 Health & Fitness Goals for 2017

The New Year is, historically, a time for resolutions, self-promise and new beginnings.

Most of you will set new goals to accomplish and stick to throughout 2017, and you are successfully crafting those decisions with your PPT provider(s).

PPT's clinical health science team has put together three of the most-requested and most-important health-related goals for the prevention of disease and to enhance quality of life.  We're excited to help you achieve these and more!

Body composition:
Your ratio of fat to fat-free weight is referred to as your body composition (bodyfat percentage).  This is a critical factor is predicting your mortality.

Age, gender and race are all factors that determine what your optimal body composition should be for optimal cardiovascular health, and we administer these tests easily right in your home or workplace.  By reaching your personalized target at an appropriate pace, you'll have reduced a major risk factor for stroke, heart attack, and other cardiovascular problems.

Meal structure:
PPT's meal planning gives your body just the right amounts of fats, proteins and carbs at just the right times of day.  While this is sometimes a challenge to adhere to, it has provided incredible results for nearly all who have followed it closely.

Make it your goal to follow your PPT meal plan.  Or, start with smaller goals such as "eat frequent small meals", "reduce sugars", or "stop eating until I am full".

Cardiovascular Norms:
The governing bodies of health science such as The Cooper Institute, the ASCM, The American Council on Exercise, and The World Health Organization have all agreed that cardiovascular exercise is a strong predictor for health outcomes.  Your program should generally entail four or more cardiovascular exercise sessions each week, at a minimum of 20 minutes each and at appropriate intensities for your fitness level and health.  Make it a goal to reach your personalized target every week in 2017 for healthier arteries, stronger heart function, and to reduce any future need for medication.

Reach us today to learn more about health testing and goal-setting.  Existing clients, call Client Services Director Val Fiott at (877)698-3648 ext 7018.  New clients, request your free in-home consultation with a PPT provider by clicking sign up from our website.  We are here to help!

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

3 Easy Steps to Avoiding Holiday Weight Gain

It's easy.

Despite what you hear from other sources, avoiding holiday gains in body fat is no mystery when you take these three simple steps:

1st:  Be sure to be properly hydrated throughout the holidays, especially on days of festive meals.  On non-to-low-exercise days, divide your bodyweight in lbs by two, and then use that number as a minimum number of ounces of water to consume. throughout the day.  Heavy caffeine or sodium users, or those engaging in heavy exercise for over 45 minutes, should consume nearly double that number.  It is also helpful to consume at least 8-10 of those ounces 30 minutes prior to dinner to "feel full" more quickly.

2nd:  Keep track of the foods, drinks, or calories that step outside of your PPT meal plan.  For example, if your target per meal involves 20 grams of protein and you are having extra helpings of turkey, do your best to estimate the amount of excess turkey that you're consuming. Or, if you're indulging in a dessert, spirits, or something entirely outside of your ideal caloric intake, then jot down what you had and keep track of its approximate number of calories.

3rd:  Finally, you'll avoid holiday weight gain by simply burning off the same number of calories that you consumed in excess outside of your regular fitness regimen.  For example, if your tally involves a total of an extra 3500 unplanned calories, then we will devise a plan for you to burn those extra 3500 calories aside from the calories burned in your usual fitness program.  The excess exercise can take the place of longer PPT sessions, more PPT sessions, or a plan that shows you what to do on non-PPT days. (By the way, that extra 3500 calorie example will mean an approximate weight gain of one pound.)

While you might be thinking that these steps aren't entirely "easy", please empower yourself by keeping these in mind:

  • It only takes a moment to drink water, and you can keep track of your intake on your phone
  • If you don't want to look up the calories in your excess foods, then just jot down what you have and we'll determine their caloric content when you're ready to review
  • Your PPT fitness trainer and our clinical wellness team have easy ways for you to know the number of calories being burned through exercise, so you'll know how much extra exercise it will take to return to your former body composition if you indulge beyond what your body needs this holiday season
Ready for more?  For helpful advice that is more specific to staying trim during Thanksgiving Day traditions, we suggest you re-visit this press release article.

Fitness as a gift?  Give the "Perfect" gift of health & wellness to those you love this season. Purchase in-home massage therapy, wellness coaching, personal training, senior balance classes, flexibility programs or nutrition through our easy-to-use website or this shortcut.  There is never a minimum to buy, without sessions offered as low as $47 each in most areas.

We're always easy to get in touch with!  Simply reply to our company emails, comment here, or call us at (877)698-3648.  Our phones and emails will remain monitored this Friday and into the weekend so we can help you make the best decisions for your long-term health & wellness!

Sunday, September 25, 2016

How My PPT Program Saved My Life

Jan Moore first came to Perfect Personal Training in 2013, after a series of life-threatening health problems. If you've ever believed that your mortality is pre-determined, then think again! Jan is a shining example of the power of a top wellness program.

What brought you to ‎beginning your PPT home wellness program?
Health issues primarily motivated my PPT enrollment.  I have had breast cancer, a heart attack and a stroke – the “big three” – so I knew that I needed to emphasize my health if I was to increase my chances of survival.  My cancer was 7 years prior – and my heart attack 2 years prior – but I had just recovered from the stroke when I began PPT.  My godchild had exercised with my PPT provider, Kristin – and highly recommended her for knowledge, technique and motivation.  

Do you mind telling us a bit more about your health conditions?
As referred to previously, I have battled (and won) the “big three” illnesses.  I still have residual pain from the breast surgeries and radiation.  When I began PPT, I was limited on the intensity of my exercise, as my heart still had not recovered from the heart attack.  As a matter of fact, at that time my cardiologist gave me a stress test showing multiple PVCs, which is life-threatening.   (That was also a major motivator for getting my body in better shape.)  Finally, I was still experiencing pain and swelling in my left leg – a residual from the stroke, I assume.  

Were you a regular exerciser before your PPT membership?
As I had not done any type of exercise regimen in years – and never lost the 30 pounds that I gained when I quit smoking – I was in terrible physical shape.  Plus, I was a junk food junkie. In other words, I was doing everything wrong. When I began working with Kristin,  I purchased group sessions so that I could laugh and joke around with my friends.  I was too embarrassed by my poor body shape & lack of flexibility – so I tried to clown around to cover up my ineptitude.  Kristin was incredibly tolerant – and, with her subtle guidance (as well as the realization that the sessions were actually starting to make me feel better), I finally realized that I needed to take my health seriously.  Thus, a couple months after I began, I switched to private sessions – and we began seriously addressing my individual needs. 

Please describe what you like most about your PPT program.
About six months after Kristin and I began the private sessions, I saw my cardiologist again – and my multiple PVCs had been reduced to a single PVC.  So, my heart condition was no longer imminently disastrous.  And, six months after that visit, I had another cardiology checkup which showed no PVCs at all.  So, I suppose the thing I like most about my PPT program is that it saved my life.  Kristin has been the catalyst for not only changing my body shape and flexibility – but also my healthy diet and my total outlook on life.  It doesn’t get better than that.

Is there anything about your PPT program that you do not like or that you find difficult?
Every session, I find the extra reps and new exercises difficult.  But, I know that I will conquer that obstacle – and move onto the next.  Not since I was a teenager (and tried to participate in high school sports) did I actually attempt to push my limits.  I know the workouts are going to be difficult – especially since I am now trying to work with weights to increase my muscle (and fill in some of the loose skin from losing 50 pounds of body fat).  But I also know that I will push past the temporary “plateau” – and it will be worth all the effort.
Does your PPT provider provide homework for days where you are not meeting?
Kristin has been a vital force in my getting out and exercising on a regular basis.  From my first session until now, she has helped me make tremendous strides.  I am no longer a couch potato.  I volunteer at places like the Zoo, so that I will get lots of walking and bending.  In addition, Kristin was the catalyst for my losing 50 pounds – for months, she would patiently go over my daily logs of food & make suggestions.  Finally, healthy eating became second nature – a major accomplishment.  In other words, Kristin has been my life coach as well as my exercise coach – and has been instrumental in turning my life around.  We still make a list of the daily stretches and exercises that I need to do before the next session, but we also discuss the nutritional and well-being aspects of my life that I need to work on.  In other words, yes, there is a lot of homework for days when we do not meet.
Please describe your PPT success(es) so far. How did you feel as you accomplished them?

  • I covered the PVC elimination above – which was the most critical of the accomplishments.  
  • My left leg, which was affected by the stroke, rarely swells and no longer has pain – (there is) another major accomplishment.  
  • My weight has gone down from 187 to 148.  But, an important item to me is that we were able to do exercises that minimized the residual excess skin that covered all that extra fat – so I don’t have huge rolls of excess skin all over my body (since I’m 66 & my skin is not as resilient as it was in my youth).  My measurements at my last assessment showed that I had reduced fat mass from 76 pounds to 50 pounds – and reduced the size of my body 2 inches (arm) to 8 inches (abdomen).  
  • Flexibility has gone from average to excellent – as has endurance.

    Actually, it was a long, hard struggle for me – but Kristin has been my inspiration and encouragement.  With her help, I was able to appreciate even the small steps that I sometimes accomplished – and revel in the large steps that materialized over time.
Jan, were there times that you doubted your ability to achieve your health and wellness? 
Most definitely – I totally doubted my ability to achieve anything when I first began with PPT.  After the news of the PVCs, I was sure I was going to die at any time – but I decided I had nothing to lose if I tried to live a healthier, fitter life in the meantime.  Although I took the whole exercise/fitness/weight idea extremely lightly at first, working with Kristin helped me to realize that there was a glimmer of hope for turning my body and life around.  When I began to take the workouts and advice seriously, Kristin and PPT were able to turn that glimmer of hope into a world of sunshine.  I now dare to look forward to the future with a fitter body and mind.  

That's outstanding!  How would you say your in-home PPT provider‎ helps you most?

What has helped me the most is that Kristin is my life coach as well as my fitness coach.  She has helped me with every single aspect of my life – and has expanded my horizons and enhanced my outlook on life.  Through her encouragement for achieving my exercise goals (both during and between sessions), my nutritional goals and my life goals – I am physically and mentally improved.  Eating habits and outside activities have enhanced the benefits from the regular exercise regimen – so I am achieving a total body and mind makeover.  We’re not there yet – but results so far are extremely encouraging.  

Do you have any message or advice for your peers who may be considering an in-home health and wellness program?
Advice would be for the prospective clients to give the PPT program a try – even if you have doubts about what you might be able to accomplish.  And don’t give up in the beginning, when things don’t move along as quickly as you hoped or expected – you’ll be amazed what a long-term commitment to your health and life can accomplish.  Finally, try to consider the program as a life change, not just exercise – nutrition and attitude are just as important as physical exercise in achieving long-term goals.

Thank you so much for your time and honesty, Jan!  We appreciate you and your telling your incredible story! Good luck to you always!

Not yet a client?  Request your free consultation and begin your own amazing journey!