Everyone is different, this we can all agree on. But take into considerations the nutrient requirements, lifestyle factors, and exercise program variabilities needed to tailor a weight loss plan or reverse chronic health issues, pain or injuries based on gender, height, weight, age, medical history, family history, current health, allergies, medications, supplements, dietary habits, pain conditions, past or current injuries, hormone imbalances, musculoskeletal misalignments, sleep habits, daily schedule, budget, willingness, motivation, stress levels, etc and so on. Every single one of these factors, and more, goes into figuring out how to reverse the problem, which is why a fitness magazine, blog, youtube video or celebrity guru cannot tell you the best way to do it.
Below, for example, is why one supplement, or one cleanse program, or one specific healing modality can not and will not work for every person the same way it may work for a handful of others. This is hands down, without a doubt, the correct way to find out what works for YOU, which is why we don’t leave a stone unturned.
- Health, Lifestyle & Fitness goals Q&A
- Exercise & Lifestyle Interview & Assessment
- Medical history
- Current health & symptoms
- Current medications
- Known or suspected allergies
- Pain & Injury Assessment
- Past injuries and/or surgeries
- Current injuries and/or Pain challenges
- Dental health
- Integrative Health assessment (mental, emotional, physical)
- Risk evaluations on all systems of the body
- Extensive review of correlative symptoms within past 3 months
- Extensive review of correlative symptoms within past 1 year
- Extensive review of correlative symptoms within a timeline of the person’s life
Why is it necessary to provide so much information? It’s important, first, to understand what the main symptom, complaint and/or goal is for the client seeking to work with us. From there we need to have an integrative understanding of our client’s health history, current symptoms and diagnosis, as well as medications, allergies and all current or past injuries because this information gives us the keys to each door that will open even more information.
More information? Yes. It is incredibly important for any provider to have a macro, and micro scope to each individual in order to identify the root causes to their specific challenges. Medications, for example, can affect gut health and hormones which can hinder the body’s ability to effectively mobilize and release fat cells. Allergies can cause inflammation which can lead to higher risks in other areas such as injury, sleep disorders, anxiety, depression or weight gain. Injuries, in and of themselves, as well as surgeries (past or present) can leave scars that inhibit circulation and limit oxygen to critical visceral components, and the results are surprisingly vast throughout the body.
Why is dental health important? For starters, if someone has poor dental health (cavities, hematosis), that tells us that there is likely an overgrowth of bad bacteria not only in the mouth, but also in the gut (think how often you swallow everyday). If your gut is overgrown with bad bacteria, this can lead to poor digestion, cravings and abundance of toxins being stored in the body- and toxins are stored in fat cells. Also, each tooth has nerves that are connected to every organ in the body; yes, every system, every tissue, organ and tooth is connected. Another factor to dental health is mercury. Read here for more on that.
Why is mental and emotional health important? Often the missing link and most weight loss plans, stress can actually cause weight gain or retention due to the hormonal havoc it causes over time. Mental and emotional health is also important in understanding cognitive-behavioral triggers that could sabotage a person from reaching their goals. This portion of work is the most difficult to get through, but hands down the most critical piece of the puzzle. A person can workout 5 times a week, eat 100% clean everyday, sleep well, and drink tons of quality water… but if the mental and emotional bodies of a program are not addressed, then the CBT (cognitive behavioral triggers) will always return and it leads to a return of old patterns which will slowly or quickly land you back where you started (or worse).
Continue reading for information on how we take all of this information to the first appointment and begin mapping an individualized program.
- Height & weight
- Activity/ Fitness level
- 5 Program Factors
These factors are the drawing board for who you are as an individual. Without any other information, these five things tell us the basic foundation for what your nutrition & hydration requirements may be. These will be factored in with all of the information provided from the intakes to fine-tune exactly what should go into a nutrition and lifestyle program. A 29 year old Hispanic female who is taking an oral birth control will need to increase B vitamins significantly as part of the program vs. a 42 year old white male who is in excellent health and fitness condition and absent of any prescription medications. But the 42 year old man may be an athlete that requires a high level of awareness around his nutrition in order to perform. Both will be significantly different, however, this is just a tiny tip of the iceberg.
- Past diets, current diet
- Meal timing, meal size, how many meals per day
- Energy evaluation after meals/snacks
- Current restrictions, if any
- Review food diary
Dietary habits tell me a lot about you and how you can (or can’t) successfully lose weight. Believe it or not, what you have tried in the past can greatly affect your current and future attempts at weight loss. Hcg diets wreak havoc on the hormones in both men and woman, and cause a metabolic uphill battle that can last forever. Starvation diets, eating disorders, skipping meals and/or not balancing daily intake of carbohydrates, protein and healthy fat can lead to severe hormonal disruption, which leads to a sluggish metabolism, if not a full blown thyroid disorder.
- Daily and weekly schedule
- Sleep and wake cycle
- Energy mapping (12 hour, when you feel your best throughout the day)
- Bedtime habits
- Wake habits
How you sleep, when you sleep (or don’t sleep) is very important information for us to determine where you could be metabolically. Your sleep patterns significantly affect your metabolism by either keeping hormones balanced, or by completely disrupting the necessary hormonal rhythm to maintain your very own survival, much less aesthetic goals. If we see elevated risk factors with your hormones or glandular system on any of your intakes, for example, we will immediately look at your sleeping habits and incorporate any changes in this lifestyle area that you may need. Also, specific hormones naturally rise and dip during certain times of the day, so by mapping your energy levels, we can quickly identify which hormone(s) could be off-balance. And again, this is different for every. Single. Person.
Period. (no pun intended)
- Assess physical breathing mechanics
- Sympathetic vs. Parasympathetic nervous system
- Review digestion and circulation scores from Health Assessment intake
Breathing correctly will provide oxygen (life) to every cell in your body. So just think about that. What could be happening if you are not breathing correctly?
That is a very simple breakdown of how we focus on breathing, but doesn’t nearly cover how extensive it actually is. Digestion and circulation are just two things effected by your breathing patterns. Those are usually the first I refer to because it’s almost 100% positive that if you’re not breathing correctly than you are struggling with digestion and circulation, and identifying that isn’t even the end there.
Breathing is the most important autonomic function of a living body. The average human being breathes nearly 26,000 times a day. So, to say the quality of each breath you take has a huge impact on your overall body-mind balance and health would be a huge understatement.
- What kind (if any)
- When, how often, how long
- Energy & recovery capabilities
- Favorite exercises and dislikes
- Review injuries, pain, and musculoskeletal scores from Health Assessment
- Workouts vs. Work-ins evaluation
Not every client trains with us or at our studio. Aside from online/remote clients, even our locals are already members of other gyms or fitness classes. We definitely offer training and corrective exercise coaching on-site, but ultimately chosen exercises are something a person must enjoy first of all, otherwise it will be hard to keep it up. So if someone really enjoys Zumba, they should do Zumba. We are not Zumba instructors. But we support Zumba if it makes you happy, because if you’re happy, then Zumba can and will work for you.
However, if we identify a problem in your current exercise routine, we won’t hold back. Some people really like running, and we support anything you like as long as it’s a healthy form of movement for you. Key word: healthy. If you have highly elevated risk factors in glandular system, hormone system or show signs of repeated “wear and tear” injuries, then sadly, we are going to suggest you lay off the endurance training until you recover fully.
It’s important to find something that works for you based on your availability, capability, and likeability. If you hate it, stop it.
We also need to evaluate how much you are working out or training, verses how much time is put into working in. Without balance in your energy, the cards will fall. No matter how perfect you are in every other area. To be forward, if you are spending more energy than you are restoring, then you are slowly dying. And what good does it matter how lean your abs are if you’re sick or dead?
The following, final – but most important, piece of any program design is probably the most overlooked aspects to health and fitness goals across the board. It is also the most difficult part to make changes in, but keep reading if you would like to understand how and why…
- Stress loads (mental, emotional, physical)
- Lifestyle (career, financial, relationships, family/parenting, hobbies)
- Values & belief systems
- Emotional wellbeing (triggers)
- Cognitive-behavioral patterns
- Review: stress loads, support systems, time management, quality of self-care
Psychological changes cannot be seen, however physical ones can and are. That’s why this part is so commonly overlooked; because we’re eye-ballin’ the mirror, the scale or anything tangible or visible such as lab reports, neuro-feedback or hormone charts. What we can see with our eyes is thing we chase because it’s easy to identify, and easy to receive instant feedback.
Just step on a scale! Done! That number visually tells you whether you are winning or losing.
But what if you could see your thoughts, fears, values and all the stress in your life? What if you could SEE those things in the mirror or weigh them on the scale?
Frightening, right? The fact is, a person’s psychological stress will always weigh more than they do unless the same amount of work goes into shedding back unnecessary layers of the psyche. We all have our own values, and we likely have many of the same values as others, but it is our beliefs (often subconscious) about those values that drive our thoughts, feelings, emotions and thus the triggers that lead to behaviors and old patterns. It’s a journey, but one that cannot be ignored.