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Heart-brain connection: Fitness now protects your brain in your 70s and 80s

Stay fit today; avoid dementia tomorrow

It’s well-known exercise plays a vital role in your physical health, and now studies propose staying fit in midlife may protect your brain as well, avoiding mental deteriation in later years.

A new study, published in Neurology, that followed Swedish women for more than 40 years,  suggests one’s level of physical fitness predicts the amount of protection from dementia decades later.1

Swedish dementia/exercise study began 50 years ago

At the onset of the study in 1968, 191 Swedish women ranging in age from 38 to 60 took part in a vigorous stationary cycling test to measure their exercise work capacity. Based on work capacity, women were split into low, medium, and high fitness categories. The women were followed from 1968 to 2012, and dementia diagnoses were recorded.

The measurement of exercise capacity is an important aspect of the strength of this study –  it was based on the participants’ actual performance rather than relying on participants’ subjective reports of how much, how vigorously, and how often they exercised.

Strong association between fitness and likelihood of dementia decades later

Dementia incidence correlated with fitness level, the greater the fitness level, the less the dementia: 32 percent, 25 percent, and 5 percent of women developed dementia in the low, medium, and high fitness groups, respectively.1 This particular study is one of the longest, following participants for up to 44 years, but shorter studies have come to similar conclusions.2-4

Another very interesting finding: in the subset of women whose initial exercise tests had to be stopped because of issues such as excessively high blood pressure, chest pain, or an abnormal EKG change, almost half (nine out of twenty women) developed dementia. Fit women who did develop dementia did so much later in life. Among the five percent of fit women who eventually developed dementia, the average age of development of dementia was eleven years later compared to the medium fitness group – age 90 vs. 79 – an extra eleven years of dementia-free life.

Midlife fitness also linked to brain volume 19 years later

In another study, the effects of midlife physical fitness on the brain were visualized with MRI. Participants at an average age of 40 performed a treadmill test to determine their exercise capacity. Lower exercise capacity at midlife was associated with smaller total cerebral brain volume 19 years later, suggesting having a higher fitness level helps prevent brain shrinkage with age.5

Diet determines your propensity for fitness

Important to note, one’s fitness level is strongly linked to what you eat.  People who are overweight  as well as those who don’t eat healthfully, do  not have the will, energy or capacity for regular exercise.  When you eat right, you’re more likely to get fit; when you don’t eat right it is very difficult to get fit.

A nutrient-dense, plant-rich diet (Nutritarian) is the most critical determinant influencing whether one gets dementia or not.  When you eat right  you automatically crave exercise and it becomes pleasurable to do so.

This study also demonstrates the wide variety of health benefits, including reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and several cancers when you get fit. Mixing together nutritional excellence and exercise is when the magic happens to protect yourself from the common diseases of aging.  Exercise offers additional benefits to cardiovascular health and insulin sensitivity, as well as some direct effects in the brain, such as the release of protective compounds called neurotrophins.6,7

At any age, fitness is vital for your present and future brain health.

It is never too late to start exercising and you are never too old. Studies have documented cognitive benefits from exercise (strength training and aerobic training) in all age groups, from children to the elderly.6-9  Today is the day to make sure you do both; eat right and get fit.

Originally printed on DrFuhrman.com. Reprinted with permission.

Joel Fuhrman, M.D. is a board-certified family physician, six-time New York Times bestselling author and internationally recognized expert on nutrition and natural healing, who specializes in preventing and reversing disease through nutritional methods. Dr. Fuhrman coined the term “Nutritarian” to describe his longevity-promoting, nutrient dense, plant-rich eating style.
For over 25 years, Dr. Fuhrman has shown that it is possible to achieve sustainable weight loss and reverse heart disease, diabetes and many other illnesses using smart nutrition. In his medical practice, and through his books and PBS television specials, he continues to bring this life-saving message to hundreds of thousands of people around the world.


  1. Horder H, Johansson L, Guo X, et al. Midlife cardiovascular fitness and dementia: A 44-year longitudinal population study in women. Neurology 2018.
  2. Defina LF, Willis BL, Radford NB, et al. The association between midlife cardiorespiratory fitness levels and later-life dementia: a cohort study. Ann Intern Med 2013, 158:162-168.
  3. Liu R, Sui X, Laditka JN, et al. Cardiorespiratory fitness as a predictor of dementia mortality in men and women. Med Sci Sports Exerc 2012, 44:253-259.
  4. Willis BL, Gao A, Leonard D, et al. Midlife fitness and the development of chronic conditions in later life. Arch Intern Med 2012, 172:1333-1340.
  5. Spartano NL, Himali JJ, Beiser AS, et al. Midlife exercise blood pressure, heart rate, and fitness relate to brain volume 2 decades later. Neurology 2016, 86:1313-1319.
  6. Kandola A, Hendrikse J, Lucassen PJ, Yucel M. Aerobic Exercise as a Tool to Improve Hippocampal Plasticity and Function in Humans: Practical Implications for Mental Health Treatment. Front Hum Neurosci 2016, 10:373.
  7. Kirk-Sanchez NJ, McGough EL. Physical exercise and cognitive performance in the elderly: current perspectives. Clin Interv Aging 2014, 9:51-62.
  8. Fiatarone Singh MA, Gates N, Saigal N, et al. The Study of Mental and Resistance Training (SMART) study-resistance training and/or cognitive training in mild cognitive impairment: a randomized, double-blind, double-sham controlled trial. J Am Med Dir Assoc 2014, 15:873-880.
  9. Mavros Y, Gates N, Wilson GC, et al. Mediation of Cognitive Function Improvements by Strength Gains After Resistance Training in Older Adults with Mild Cognitive Impairment: Outcomes of the Study of Mental and Resistance Training. J Am Geriatr Soc 2016.

The Biggest Population in US History

Did you know the Baby Boomers were the biggest population in US history?
Well, that was until their kids, the millennials, came along. Baby boomers were born from 1946-1964 and were 79 million strong. We are now down to about 76 million boomers and 10,000 are turning 65 or 70 every day! The millennials only outpaced them by 81 million, but for some reason the entire fitness industry is competing for their business and their attention and completely ignoring the largest, wealthiest, longest living generation in US history!

The leading Boomers are 63-72 and they are becoming “seniors” in a completely new way. In fact programs like Silver Sneakers, and other “senior” fitness programs, they are not attending, because as they would put it, those are for “old people ”….maybe for my mom or dad, but not me! This entire generation is breaking the mold on aging and is looking for something new, something cutting edge, something to give them a competitive advantage on their next 20-30 years. They want to give the grand kids a run for their money and they are only just beginning to take on new adventures. So they need personal trainers, group fitness instructors and fitness programming to be the best it can be.

If you want to stand out and dominate this market, then you need expertise and credentials that set you apart, because they are not going to just train with anyone.

In 2014 we set out to change the fitness industry introducing the first ever Specialist program based on decades of research and over 2,000 clients. We knew the industry didn’t need just another “senior fitness ” lite exercise course, but rather, one grounded in the science of human function and longevity…..and one that believed people could be vibrant, healthy and fit at any age….up until their very last breath!  We believe there will be hundreds more like Dr. Charles Eugster who decided to take up sprinting and wakeboarding in his 90s…..because it simply looked like a “hell of a lot of fun”!

If you want to be part of the functional aging movement I encourage you to check out the Functional Aging Specialist certification, and join the growing ranks. Save $100 on the certification with code 100OFFMFN. Click here for course details. 30% of proceeds from this FAI purchase is donated to the MedFit Education Foundation!

Dan Ritchie, PhD, has a broad background in the fitness industry including training and management in commercial and university/hospital-based fitness, for-profit, notfor-profit and educational facilities. His primary areas of expertise are in personal training for special populations: athletes, pregnancy, blind, stroke recovery, Parkinsons, multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, Fibromyalgia, Alzheimers, etc.

This article was reprinted with permission from the Functional Aging Institute.

Alzheimer Concept.

Alzheimer’s Disease, Fitness and Exercise

Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) is a neurodegenerative disease that strikes fear and terror into those who are getting on in years and family members who are in line to care for them. According to the Alzheimer’s Disease Foundation, in 2015 it is estimated that 5.3 million Americans have the disease. It is the 6th leading cause of death behind heart disease, strokes, and cancer but it is the only one that cannot be prevented (1) although some experts now estimate that it may be the third highest (2).


Taking it Slow. Not Every Fitness Goal Needs to Be Fast and Hard.

Senior Woman Holding Fitness Sign With Family In BackgroundGo big or go home? We all want to see fantastic results from our hard work and dedication to any fitness program. If we maintain nutrition, eat well and work as hard as we can, we are going to see results: that is inevitable. But, do we have to train as hard as possible each and every time we workout, each and every day? Sure, we fit in a rest day, but what else can we do to make sure we are restoring our bodies and minds?

Fitness goals are most easily reached when they are part of every aspect of our lifestyle and not compartmentalized into a few hours of the day. We have limited energy sources no matter how healthy we are, so it is important to maintain awareness about how each of our decisions and actions influence our wellness and choose accordingly.

From a physical aspect, we can slow down some of our workouts to build strength. This works in a variety of ways. By increasing resistance, continuing muscle exertion over a period of time and working muscles beyond the support of initial momentum, strength can be gained, even with relatively light weights or by using the weight of the body alone. This can be true of some weight training programs and is something you can discuss adding to your fitness routines with a certified personal trainer. It is also one of the key elements of building strength through yoga practice and asanas (yoga postures). An additional consideration from a holistic health perspective is the effects of the stress hormone cortisol on weight loss. By taking part in calming physical activities such as restorative, gentle, yin and meditative yoga practices, it is possible to reduce stress, allowing the body to shed weight, heal and be at top capacity for more intensive strength and cardio training when you are working with your personal trainer or in other group fitness programs. By taking time to slow down, you can actually optimize performance and fitness results.

Nourishing your mind can also come in handy, as a way to promote your health when you are not busy exercising or working. Take time to read, learn, talk with fitness experts, organize your time and plan your meals. A wealth of free information is available online to support you in your fitness goals. Blogs with entries from personal trainers and other fitness experts are a great place to start. Personal trainer certification organizations such as the National Council for Certified Personal Trainers (NCCPT), maintain blogs with a variety of advice for personal trainers and fitness enthusiasts. You may also get inspired and decide to take your fitness goals one step further. Once you get involved learning more about fitness, biomechanics and how amazingly capable your body is, you may even get inspired to become a personal trainer or group fitness instructor yourself!

If you find yourself interested in learning more about how to incorporate fitness into every aspect of your life, maybe even your work, you can find out more from the NCCPT.

No matter where you are at in your fitness journey, don’t forget to take some time for yourself. Slow down sometimes to speed up your progress!

Reprinted with permission from NCCPT.

John Platero is the founder and CEO of the National Council of Certified Personal Trainers (NCCPT) which has certified thousands of personal trainers both nationally and internationally.


Don’t Let Arthritis Stop You: Move On

Arthritis comes in many forms and has many manifestations, affecting almost every joint in the body. We generally speak in terms of the two most-known if not popular forms of arthritis: rheumatoid (RA) and osteo-arthritis (OA.) The essential difference is in the root cause. RA is an auto-immune disease whereby the body, for unknown reasons, attacks itself, particularly in the joints. OA, on the other hand, is often considered the downstream effect of wear and tear, over-use, prior injury, or, as we’re seeing more of as society gets more sedentary, from lack of use. In OA, typically, some insult to the joint disrupts the natural repair processes and further deterioration occurs subsequently.

treatmentDue to their differing causes, there are obviously differing treatments; but the basics of medical management are essentially the same. I am not qualified to address the specifics of the treatments available but, in lay terms, treatment usually entails some version of anti-inflammation and pain-reduction drugs, precautionary movement or positional guidance (don’t do’s, for example), physical therapy to manage pain and inflammation, and therapeutic exercises to support the structures affected as the disease itself causes not just inflammation and pain but damage to the structures that support the joints. Typically we identify arthritis as something that damages cartilage and, in truth, that is often what the standard ‘films’ – X-ray, possibly MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) – show. We now know that the synovial sacs around the joint are also affected and that these and other chemical disturbances affect the muscles and tendons that move and support the joint. In almost all cases of arthritis, pain, inflammation, reduced strength and range of motion (ROM) ensue, diminishing quality of life in many ways and, because some of the drugs used to treat it, potentially reducing quantity of life. (Gastrointestinal bleeding from non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs) or bone loss (osteoporosis) from corticosteroids can lead to fatal outcomes (such as spontaneous fractures leading to falls from osteoporosis) if not treated with other medications.)

When someone is potentially afflicted or actually diagnosed with a form of arthritis, the medical community goes into hyper-drive, encouraging changing one’s habits, be they the types of activities one engages in recreational, competitively, or professionally; or the types of non-activities one currently does, in particular, being inactive. In some cases, dietary advice is offered as we are learning more about foods that are pro-inflammatory and others that have anti-inflammatory benefits. In the former category, we are learning that excessive sugar or simple carbohydrates, including processed wheat products, may exacerbate inflammation while others, such as salmon, dark, green veggies, and certain oils (e.g., olive oil) are capable of reducing the inflammatory elements circulating throughout our bodies and our joints. Furthermore, in more extreme cases, when arthritis becomes very painful and debilitating, over-the-counter and/or prescription-fitted braces may be offered to defer some of the more end-line procedures such as surgery to fuse the joint or replace it with a prosthetic device.

The most common non-pharmaceutical and non-surgical treatment for arthritis of any sort: exercise.

Note that there are several legitimate ways to integrate exercise through resistance training programs that have proven quite effective in arthritis management. Yoga, Pilates (floor or machine based), Tai Chi, Qigong and water-based, or aqua, exercise are all beneficial to many aspects of the overall arthritis program of strength, ROM, proprioception and ultimately function. Since many of these are quite technical and are often done in class formats, one should ask the instructor(s) as to their experience working with arthritis clients.

nonsurgicalAs with any form of exercise, by whatever professional instruction, you should be totally aware of your pain levels as going “through” the pain is not recommended; thus, you must assert control over the exercise sessions. There will be some exercises, however, that are not destructive and may be somewhat painful but must be done in order to maintain reasonable levels of function and independence. So long as the pain subsides within a couple of hours – preferably as soon as you stop – and there is no exacerbation of inflammation the next day, you can assume that the exercise was just enough. If symptoms flare up over the next 24 hours, however, assume you did more than you should have and alert your trainer or instructor so that he/she can avoid doing the aggravating exercise(s) as much or as hard next time. For these reasons, along with all the other recommendations so far as exercise interventions are concerned, it is best to seek the counsel and assistance of a fitness professional with a background in medical fitness. This could be someone with a more advanced academic degree, someone with a license to practice rehabilitation exercise (physical therapist, athletic trainer, etc.), or someone who’s taken several educational programs to have a greater understanding of the variety of disorders and diseases that may benefit from exercise interventions.

Dr. Irv Rubenstein graduated Vanderbilt-Peabody in 1988 with a PhD in exercise science, having already co-founded STEPS Fitness, Inc. two years earlier — Tennessee’s first personal fitness training center. One of his goals was to foster the evolution of the then-fledgling field of personal training into a viable and mature profession, and has done so over the past 3 decades, teaching trainers across through country. As a writer and speaker, Dr. Irv has earned a national reputation as one who can answer the hard questions about exercise and fitness – not just the “how” but the “why”. 

nordic walking picture

Active Living for Seniors and Nordic Walking

Healthcare professionals working with older adults are routinely prescribing walking, as part of rehabilitation and overall health and wellness programs. There are over 100 research studies identifying health benefits of adding specialized poles to any walking routine. Due to the improved balance, posture, reduce impact off painful joints and improved mood and confidence health, this accessible and affordable activity, urban poling, and especially the use of Urban Poling‘s unique ACTIVATOR™ poles, has become a popular choice for persons requiring help with stability and balance, as well as for older or perhaps less active adults. The ACTIVATOR™ poles are the only ones like it available on the market which have been co-designed by an occupational therapist for maximum safety, comfort and effectiveness, as well as reducing the factors related to falls.Dr. Agnes Coutinho

Research Benefits

Evidence based research relating to older adults clearly identify poling, with the proper training, as a healthy activity suited for improving quality of life. Proven benefits include:

  • Increase balance & stability
  • Increase in mobility
  • Improve posture
  • Reduce impact off lower extremity joints
  • Improve gait speed
  • Improve strength (poling can engage up to 90% of your muscles)
  • Increase confidence

Short-term and long-term effects of Nordic Walking training on balance, functional mobility, muscle strength and aerobic endurance among Hungarian community-living older people: a feasibility study. Balance, functional mobility and aerobic endurance significantly improved in the Nordic walking group.  This study showed that Nordic Walking is a simple, well–tolerated and effective physical activity for older people in Hungary.1

Effect Of Walking Poles On Dynamic Gait Stability on the Elderly. Texas Women’s University study, which concluded that walking poles provided increased gait stability at both preferred and fast speed.2

Effects of Nordic walking compared to conventional walking and band-based resistance exercise on fitness in older adults. While all modes of exercise improved various components of fitness, Nordic walking provided the best well-rounded benefits by improving upper-body strength, cardiovascular endurance, and flexibility. Therefore, Nordic walking is recommended as an effective and efficient mode of concurrent exercise to improve overall functional fitness in older adults.3

The effects of pole walking on health in adults: A systematic Review. The effects of pole walking (PW) on cardiorespiratory fitness were most extensively studied. The most frequently examined psychosocial measure was quality of life. All studies reported at least one beneficial effect of PW compared with the control group. The results of this systematic review indicate that PW  programs have some beneficial effects on both physical and psychosocial health in adults with and without clinical conditions.4

Diana Oliver is a dynamic business professional with a extensive background in marketing, sales and fitness. She has a passion for promoting the many health benefits of Urban Poling, which stems from her personal experience. Diana combined Urban Poling with other positive lifestyle choices to regain a healthy weight and improve her cardiovascular health following two strenuous pregnancies. Her positive recovery has instilled a drive to help change the face of health care in Canada.  In 2012, she became a certified urban poling instructor and taught classes in her own Pilates business.  In 2014, became a partner in Urban Poling Inc.


(1) Viraq et al., 2014

(2) Kwon, Silver, Ryu, Yoon, Newton & Shim, 2006 (unpublished)

(3) Takeshima et al., 2013

(4) Fritschi et al., 2012.

The information in this article is not intended to replace existing rehabilitation programs. The testimonials are those of independent therapists and are not a guarantee of results. The consumer should not rely solely on this publication but should also consult their physician or therapist. Urban Poling Inc. and its employees and representatives do not accept any liability for the information contained in this publication or any damages.

urban poling image 2

Getting Active at Every Age and Stage: Benefits of Nordic Walking

With a shocking 70% of children leaving organized sports by the age of 13 and obesity rates on the rise, we know that we need to be introducing our children to activities that they can do across a lifespan, whether they are 5 or 95 years of age!

Join Urban Poling for a free webinar that will walk through some of the most important and challenging stages of life. Learn why Nordic Walking can be beneficial for each age group to ensure longevity and exercise adherence across a lifetime!

Webinar Overview:

  • Shocking Stats & a look into the Sport-Lifecycle Trends
  • What is Nordic Walking?
  • Research supporting Nordic Walking for All Ages and Stages
    • Childhood (3-11 Years)
    • Adolescence (12-18 Years)
    • Adulthood (Pre/Post Natal, Weight Management & Disease Prevention, Pre/Post Hip/Knee)
    • Seniors & Mitigating Falls

This webinar will be presented by Gabriella De Nino, Registered Kinesiologist, CSEP-CPT & NCCP Certified Soccer Coach.

June 26, 12:00-12:45 EST
Webinar Registration ►

Diana Oliver is a dynamic business professional with a extensive background in marketing, sales and fitness. She has a passion for promoting the many health benefits of Urban Poling, which stems from her personal experience. Diana combined Urban Poling with other positive lifestyle choices to regain a healthy weight and improve her cardiovascular health following two strenuous pregnancies. Her positive recovery has instilled a drive to help change the face of health care in Canada.  In 2012, she became a certified urban poling instructor and taught classes in her own Pilates business.  In 2014, became a partner in Urban Poling Inc.


Top Ten Things a Personal Trainer Should Know About Working with Eating Disorders

Having worked as a certified personal trainer and strength and conditioning specialist early in my career, and now as a certified specialist in sport dietetics who specializes in treating clients with eating disorders who are often over-exercising, I feel it is critical for trainers to have some training about how to deal with their clients with these issues because you will be seeing these clients.  Given eating disorders can present as over-exercise and under-fueling, a personal trainer is in a position to be the first identifier of these issues and can be a key player on an eating disorders treatment team.  I often utilize personal trainers to help these clients develop exercise limits, boundaries, or assist with reiterating the “fueling and hydrating” messages the dietitian may be providing the client.  I have helped in developing a new tool available to those who work in the fitness and coaching field called Running on Empty,an online eating disorders awareness and prevention program for coaches and exercise professionals, through a non-profit eating disorders outreach and prevention organization, Eating Disorders Information Network. I have also invited one of our recovery speakers to share her tips in this article. She is both an ACE certified personal trainer and a recovery speaker for EDIN. She, Kristy Wegert, shares her thoughts as a professional who currently treats clients who are on their recovery path.

A key reference on this topic is the new International Olympic Committee’s position statement on RED-S, Relative Energy Deficiency in Sport. Many of us will work with people with sub-diagnostic cases of eating disorders who may present with many of the negative energy balance physical issues discussed in this consensus statement. Working with an exercising population means helping this population stay in energy balance or eating appropriately to fuel for the level of activity in which they are engaging without harming the body because of lack of energy for basic body systems to function.  All body systems are affected when limiting the body to too little energy to function fully, including the systems visually represented below. It is the job of the eating disorders treatment team, including the exercise professionals, to be aware of this set of possible consequences and treat/refer to treatment accordingly.

A sport dietitian’s top 5 tips for working with the exercising client with an eating disorder:

1. Keep your client in energy balance by reminding them about appropriate fueling, recovery, and hydration. Complex carbs rule before exercise. Encourage your clients to fuel on these before they train vs. training on empty. Common “on the go” examples of this can be as simple as a slice of toast or a higher carbohydrate energy bar. Encourage your client to drink hydrating fluids and even an electrolyte beverage during their training session with you. Also, most active clients need to drink 4 oz. of fluids every 15 minutes. Encourage your client to take these breaks.  Encourage your clients to have a protein recovery choice within 15-45 minutes after they finish their workout.  This could be a glass of chocolate milk or a smoothie with protein.

2. Encourage and educate your clients with a non-diet mentality. This means “All Foods Fit” and that there are “No Bad Foods.” All foods have some energy value and can fit into our performance plan. In fact, when we exercise, we have need to eat more energy. If we adapt the mentality that all foods fit, then we will have less chance of sabotaging ourselves with exercise or restriction.  Check out the references Moving Away from Diets by King, Katrina, and Hayes and Intuitive Eating by Tribole and Resch for more on this way of working with clients.

3. Be aware of different types of eating disorders or disordered eating that may present to you. An individual with Binge Eating Disorder may be a common client seeking a trainer’s help for weight loss. Be sensitive to this type of client’s energy needs, orthopedic limitations, and potential resistance to traditional exercise and Health at Any Size®.

4. If you must take any anthropometrics, make sure you discuss amongst the team who is the best person to take those measurements.Often the dietitian is the best fit on the team to do this, to discuss these results, and to comment on realistic body weight ranges and appropriate food intake to fuel activity with a sport nutrition approach in a way that is focused away from calories.

5. Set reasonable boundaries on movement to include at least 2 rest days per week; sessions not exceeding 1 hour in duration; alternate cardio and strengthening to not over-exercise; consider cross training or varying types of activities to lower risk of over-training (such as outside, non-gym activities like road biking, climbing, kayaking, etc.); encourage gentle and restorative activities during the week as well, like yoga, barre, and Pilates; support varying types of classes (dance, kickboxing, karate, etc.) that have appropriate warm-ups and cool downs and are led by a certified instructor; and lastly, exercise with others who have reasonable exercise boundaries to give one appropriate containment and normal exercise boundaries.

A personal trainer’s top 5 tips in working with an exercising client with an eating disorder:

1. Exercise will bring up past trauma in the body. It can get emotional. Be prepared for some distress and perhaps, some crying. Hence, it is important to consult with the treatment team so you are prepared and can offer the appropriate type of support.

2. Don’t assume that a small person is weak; that a larger person cannot move or has never worked out; that someone in a larger or smaller body doesn’t purge. Bottom line…never assume. Check out the Health at Any Size® movement to learn more about this mindset.

3. Offer privacy when possible. Many people in early recovery feel awkward in their own bodies. Try to help them feel as comfortable as they can during a workout. This may mean taking them out of the traditional exercise environment and away from mirrors, or going outside.

4. Get written permission to speak with therapists, doctors, dietitians, sponsors, partners, and parents. People who are in recovery from anorexia, bulimia, binge eating disorder, and OSFED need well-defined, appropriate boundaries and you may need help from the treatment team in determining this. People who are in recovery need a team to help them.

5. Fitness is about function, healthy lifestyle, and feeling good. No matter what the client asks for, focus away from aesthetics. Have fun! Exercise should be a good time for your clients. Help them have a positive experience!

This article was co-written by Page Love, Vice President of the Board for Eating Disorders Information Network (EDIN) and Kristy Wegert, recovery speaker for EDIN. Originally printed on ED Resource Catalog. Reprinted with permission.

Page Love is a registered dietitian, certified specialist in sport dietetics and nutrition therapist, and runs a thriving private practice specializing in eating disorders nutrition therapy, sports nutrition, and weight management nutrition counseling in Atlanta, Ga.  She served as a clinical dietitian for Atlanta Center for Eating Disorders for 20 years and has run ANAD groups in Atlanta for 25 years, and has served as a consultant to The Renfrew Center and Veritas Collaborative.  She has developed materials for the NEDA, Renfrew Center, and EDIN and has been published in the Renfrew Perspectives, International Journal of Sport Nutrition, and International Journal of Sport Science for Tennis Medicine.  She currently serves as the Vice-President of the board for EDIN, Eating Disorders Information Network.  She also serves as a consultant for the International Women’s Professional Tennis Tour (WTA) and the Men’s Tour, Association for Tennis Professionals (ATP), the Atlanta Ballet, The Atlanta Falcons Cheerleaders, and formerly with the Atlanta Braves.  She has recently co-authored Running on Empty, an online education program for the exercise professional working with eating disorders through Eating Disorders Information Network, a non-profit for the prevention and outreach for eating disorders in Atlanta, Ga.

At 40 years old, Kristy Wegert made some decisions that caused a mid-life career change. She decided after some much needed deep thought, that she was meant for the fitness industry. She holds an ACE Personal Trainer Certification. While she was studying for the ACE exam, she decided to get herself into the industry. There was just no point in waiting (and  she was too excited!) so she became a certified Cycle Instructor. (A little back story: Kristy lost 100 pounds after being heavy most of her life and has kept off that weight since 2008). Kristy loves to exercise and loves being an inspiration to others. Her current passion is to help others in a safe, fun way and watch them transform. Her company, My Workout Buddy, embodies everything she feels is important in the fitness industry…rigorous yet fun physical activity, a well balanced lifestyle, and the safety of a properly educated personal trainer at your side.


The IOC consensus statement: beyond the Female Athlete Triad

bjsm.bmj.com › Archive › Volume 48, Issue 7

Running on Empty; A online eating disorders awareness and prevention program for coaches and exercise professionals, Love and Guntermyedin.org http://www.myedin.org/athletes.html

Moving Away from Diets Hayes, Katrina, and King

Health at Any Size Bacon

Intuitive Eating Tribole and Resch

Sports, Cardiovascular, and Wellness Nutrition dietetics practice group of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Practice Manual:  https://www.scandpg.org/e-learning-and-events/a-practice-manual-for-professionals/

American Council on Exercise Podcast on Why We Eat: https://www.acefitness.org/health/resources.aspx

trainer client squat

Squats: Five Things to Consider

The fitness community has some how deemed the squat the king of all exercises. “They” say it’s great for your glutes (Butt), Quads, hamstrings, total body challenge, it’s “functional” weight loss, etc. The list goes on. I’m not saying there isn’t some truth to all those things in the right context. They just aren’t absolute truths like some magazines or trainers may claim. Here’s a list of 5 things to consider when squatting or even deciding if a squat is an appropriate exercise for you.

1. What’s Your Goal? 

What part of your body are you trying or wanting to work?  If you have a specific target area you would like to address, your squat should match that goal. Not every squat is the same or works the same things, especially with each person having different limb lengths (Tibia, femur, & trunk). Picture this, if you squat down and your line of force is further away from your knee joint (Big Moment Arm), you’re mostly working your anterior knee muscles. Conversely, if you squat down and your line of force is further away from your hip joint (Big Moment Arm), you’re mostly working posterior hip/low back muscles. Neither are good or bad, right or wrong. It just depends on your goal.

2. Lever Lengths (Limb Lengths)

Your proportions play a role in how you’re going to squat. If your tibia (shin bone) is a lot shorter than your femur (leg bone), and your trunk (torso) is very long, your squat will look vastly different from a person who has equal length from there tibia, to there femur, and trunk. The goal of the body when it’s standing is not to fall. It’s about keeping your center of mass over your base of support. In order for that to happen, you’re going to have to modify the way you fold up in a squat to not fall over. While you do that, the forces at other joints are going to change, for example hips, knee, spine, etc…  again, what’s your goal?

3. Resistance Profile/ Strength Profile

A squat has a very distinct profile. Relatively balanced at the top of the motion and very hard at the bottom. There are several ways to account for this. Many people think they have to do everything through a “full range of motion”, but you don’t. In a situation like this, you can simply use different loads (weights) at different points in the range of motion to match the profile. For example, at the top of the motion use a heavier weight where your strongest and go down a little bit. Then drop the weight and go down lower where you are weakest with the lighter load. This way you can challenge the full range of motion you have available without sacrificing the load. Your joints will thank you.

4. Holding Dumbbells/KettleBells vs. Bar on Back/Front 

This  is a topic that I don’t think is discussed a lot. If you’re holding a dumbbell/kettlebell while doing a squat, what do you think is going to give out first? Your ability to grip and hold the dumbbell/kettlebell or the tolerance of your whole lower body and spine? Again, it goes back to what’s your goal? If your goal is hypertrophy and/or strength in those muscles then using an appropriate load to challenge them is necessary. I’m not saying you can’t hold dumbbells or kettlenbells, I’m saying this is something to consider. If the bar is resting on your upper back or front, you don’t have to worry about holding it. You just have to balance it.

5. Available Active Range of Motion 

Before you decide to squat, I would suggest checking all the motions of the squat and making sure you have those ranges available to you (Dorsiflexion, Hip Flexion, Knee Flexion, Spinal Flexion, Spinal Extension, Hip Extension, Knee extension, PlantarFlexion). If you see a difference relative to the other side, assuming there is no structural abnormalities, you may want to consider doing an isometric. You can use that as a warm-up. For the isometric, contract into the position of limitation for about five seconds at approximately 50% of effort. Repeat 3-5 times.

I hope these tips will help you, or at least make you think about some things that otherwise you may not have considered.

Dominick Nusdeu has been certified as a Personal Trainer for over 20 years. He holds the distinction of Muscle System Specialist, Resistance Training Specialist, ACE Orthopedic Exercise Specialist, as well formally being one of only 14 Instructors of Muscle Activation Techniques worldwide and was one of only 85 Master Level Muscle Activation Techniques Specialists in The World. Dominick has completed well over a 2000 hours of advanced coursework in biomechanics, exercise mechanics, neuroscience, anatomy, physiology, and muscle function. Dominick is a trainer to the trainers, teaching his highly successful course, “Decision Making 101: From the Table to the Floor.” He currently owns and operates MotionMechanix (MMX), Muscular System Optimization LLC, and MotionMechanix Academy, which was formed out of a need to give fitness enthusiasts and current exercise professionals quality, high level education backed my science, not what’s currently trendy or “cool”.