Wednesday, January 25, 2017

The Scale Can Lie!

Have you ever followed a meal plan, exercised hard, looked better, and then jumped on the scale only to be disappointed?

In fact, just when you think you're losing weight at a rapid rate, you find out you've actually gained weight?

This is all too common, and PPT exercise physiologist Aaron Dunn has simple answers to explain exactly what's going on.

"This can really diminish positive feelings and motivation," begins Dunn. "When someone is inspired to put forth the effort, it's a shame to have that inspiration reduced due to misunderstanding a traditional scale."

But, how can the scale lie?  Isn't weight change a clear-cut assessment of how bodyweight is being affected by exercise and nutrition?

"You'd be surprised by the range of factors that influence your bodyweight," explains Dunn.  "Your water weight goes up and down throughout the day due to drinking water, diuretic medications, bodily exertion and caffeine intake.  Even the amount of food being digested in your belly will stack up against you, as far as the scale is concerned.  These can easily lead to a 2% deviation, which seems like a lot when you're hoping for just a couple of pounds of weight loss."

Client Services Director Val Fiott offered another interesting point of hope:  "It's important to understand that you're not really trying to lose weight. More specifically, you're trying to lose fat!  The scale doesn't report the amount of actual fat that you have, it reports your weight."

But isn't this just semantics? If your fat goes down then shouldn't your weight go down also?

Fiott elaborated:  "Your total bodyweight is made up of two things:  Lean mass, which is everything that isn't bodyfat, and bodyfat itself.  When you lose 10 lbs of bodyfat, for example, you're usually gaining some muscle, bone mineral density, or healthy water weight, too.  Those healthy gains will add to the total equation of your bodyweight, making that 10 lb loss show as much less."

"It's helpful to think about the process," begins Dunn, "When you're making healthy changes to lose weight, those same healthy changes can make make you increase muscle stores or hydration.  To an extent, when you lose unhealthy weight, you're likely to gain healthy weight too."

So how do we avoid the confusion and know what's what?  PPT providers all travel with devices to assess body composition, or bodyfat percentage.  With these tools, we assess just how much of you is fat and how much is lean mass.  This way, they track your specific changes over time and modify your program as needed.

Questions or concerns?  Call or comment below. 
We look forward to your new success!

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.

 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.