Tag Archives: the body lab



Springtime in the Valley of the Sun is ripe with opportunities to indulge in the fun of life. We feel the increased energy as people crowd the valley to partake in nonstop activities in near perfect weather. Many of us feel a revival of our active routines. Gym visits, fitness class attendance, outdoor excursions, and clean eating routines undergo resurgence.

While it’s wonderful to resume our quests for self-improvement, it probably won’t last. Falling back into the same program means falling back into the same end result. Complicate this with the fact that we have changed and may not be able to attempt the same undertakings. It’s time for a little personal spring cleaning and maybe a little self-reflection.

Why does is hurt here? How do I fix this? Why do I feel this way? 

Balance – Nature finds a way

Our bodies are transformable. You want to inflate your muscles? There’s program for that. You want bigger boobs? There’s a procedure for that. You want clearer eyesight? There a treatment for that. You want a stronger mind? I’m sure there’s an app for that. There’s always a cost. Human physiology is more sensitive than we realize.

For over fifteen years of my life I studied and practiced every discipline of weightlifting I could find. Bodybuilding, powerlifting, Olympic lifts, CrossFit – I wanted to master them all. It was fun, I learned a lot, and I forced changes in my body envied by peers. I’m still paying for those changes.

I’ve spent all of last year in physical therapy.

The conditions manifesting in my physique is the cost of altering the God given balance within me. I will never be 100 percent, and I’m happy that way. I got what I wanted and I’m paying the price of obtainment. I’m not trying to relive my former accomplishments. I’m reestablishing my starting point.

An important lesson – the location of symptoms within us is not the source of concern. When a person complains about lower back discomfort we examine what’s happening in their hips and legs. If they have neck pain, we’ll see how the rest of the spine is moving. Shoulder issues? Let’s check out the chest and upper back. Something feel abnormal in your left leg? I’ll bet your right handed.

Why does that matter?

Everything within us is connected and our bodies fight to maintain equilibrium in every way. Pain is often the result of overcorrection. Our habitual natures encourage routines that ignore subtle, but potentially detrimental ailments, while maintaining body balance is key.

Adam2At least twice a week I have a client complain about chronic pain around the hips, shoulders, or spine. These people routinely practice a repetitive activity such as biking, running, tennis or even yoga. The lack of countermovement leads to tightness, overdevelopment and often the opposite in the opposing muscles and connective tissue.

This is a great opportunity to learn something new.

“Switching it up” doesn’t mean just jumping into a new program. Sometimes it’s a matter of realizing that we don’t know what we’re doing. Even seasoned teachers and instructors value continuing education. We should spend the extra time to work with a professional to understand how our body is moving and why a revamp of the routine is needed.

Take a class, go to a workshop, or schedule a private session. Even running is not simply one foot in front of the other. Often, when we don’t like something different, it’s because we don’t appreciate the variances. Maybe we’ve been missing out on our true love.

Let’s listen to our bodies to enhance the enjoyment of our lives without forcing something unnatural. If we’re happy with complacency then let’s die as a beast of burden. As for me, I’d rather be a stallion than an ass.

Exercise Addiction: Do You Know When To Stop?

Exercise Addiction: Do You Know When To Stop?

“Thanks for a great class. I almost threw up! I going to do some cardio now.” Is that really necessary? The first half I take as a compliment — not because I pushed them to their limits, but because I encouraged them to explore their depths. For the latter, I’m discouraged. If I’m teaching people to connect with their bodies, then they’ll have the patience to honor change with time. When you paint a room a new color, you let each coat set. You can’t cram it all on at once or you end up smearing around an abstract finger painting. Congratulations if that’s the look you want. Otherwise, take a step back and examine what you’re doing. Your body responds the same way. It may or may not show on the outside, but it’s definitely not a masterpiece on the inside. But how do you know if you’re an obligatory athlete? How do you know if you have an exercise addiction?

Do you schedule exercise around life or life around exercise? If you never miss a workout, never skip a session, then you’re not living. Do you “work through the pain”? Stop listening to your ego, and listen to your body.

What are you trying to accomplish? I know, sometimes you set periodic goals such as completing a marathon, preparing for beach season, or getting ready for a social gathering. But what about the rest of the time? If you push too hard, the body will resist. Try to restrict too many calories, and your body will hold on to its last bit of fat in “survival mode.” Try to exercise too much, and your body will immobilize you with fatigue or injury. Being sore all the time is not a good thing.

Where is this compulsion rooted? To some degree, we all have addictive personalities. We periodically enjoy a level of competitiveness. I’ll argue it’s ingrained in our humanity as is any emotion. And with every emotion, the intensity varies with individuality. Obsession can turn a good thing bad, and there’s no one competing against you. Are you punishing yourself for no reason? Are you trying to satisfy an emotional void? You might as well iron your clothes while wearing them. It’s never a good idea, and you know better.

Is exercise your “happy hour” to socialize? For those who love to be seen, fitness groups, such as cycling clubs, and community events, such as public yoga, are great. They foster unity, encourage active lifestyles and motivate people to try something new. But again, don’t schedule your life around them. Ask yourself, are you spending more time talking about these events than attending them? Do you feel anxiety or irritability? Or, do you feel depressed if you cannot attend? Are you in touch with the real value of being there or creating your own? Contemplate the genuine purpose of your presence at these occasions.

Do you know what exercise is to children? Play. So, ask yourself — are you having fun? It’s supposed to be a leisure activity, not a task. Our bodies are designed to move. Mentally, physically and emotionally, we all need activity and stimulation. There’s nothing wrong with being habitual, but don’t let it become a fixation. If you’ve crossed the line of commitment and compulsion, then stop. Reduce your fitness schedule. Talk to someone you trust to help you reevaluate. You can’t control life. Love it, one day at a time.

For more information about exercise addiction or The Body Lab, visit thebodylabaz.com.


Pilates Isn't Just For Women: Breaking Gender-Specific Workouts

There are no women’s and men’s workouts.

There’s the body you want and the body you need. You want six-pack abs. You need a strong core. There are the exercises you like to do and the exercises you need to do. You like to do biceps curls. You need to do some squats.

It’s easy to get caught up in trying to achieve the body of the moment. The problem is that you only have it for a moment. Unless your lifestyle is directly dependent upon your physique, there is no long-term gain to looking good. Appearance is not correlated to health and wellness. Focus on feeling strong, feeling healthy, feeling happy, and the look will become a welcome consequence.

Do you keep falling back into the same routine? You start your program, obtain some measurable results, and then take a break. You miss what you had, so you start over again and again. Wouldn’t it be more enjoyable to settle into a routine that you love to maintain consistently? It’s time to try something different.

One of the greatest obstacles is how gender-specific physical disciplines can be. Pilates is for women. Powerlifting is for men. No, they’re for whoever loves to practice them. That’s the key. Do what you love. Who cares if you’re one of the few males or females in class? You’re not there for anyone else, so focus on you. This doesn’t mean you have to completely change your philosophy, just tweak it a little. Many disciplines complement one another and will extend years into your active lifestyle.

Ever read about NFL programs and the U.S. military incorporating yoga and Pilates into the conditioning regiments of their athletes and soldiers? There’s a good reason for that. A high-performance sports car doesn’t ride on three wheels. Everything must be in balance.

The same applies to recreational activities, such as golf, tennis and cycling. Benefits can extend beyond the physical by enhancing mental clarity and emotional understanding. We all have bad days, and a good session will bring levity to your mood.

However, before you begin, ensure that you are physically able to attempt something new. Ask yourself if you feel good. If so, are you happy? Yes. Are you hurt? No. Then keep going. Your body will tell you when it’s time to take a break. When you try something different give it an honest try — not a drive-by. Put full effort and enthusiasm into a session, maybe more than once. If you’re heart is not in it then you have certainty and can move on. It never hurts to know your body and yourself a little better.

For more information about yoga or Pilates, visit thebodylabaz.com.


Which Supplements Work For You?

Sup·ple·ment: Something that completes or makes an addition.

These are food products. These are not medical drugs; these are not designed to replace anything; and, these do not excuse your actions (or lack thereof). Few are truly natural and require some type of processing to produce a conveniently consumable form. Some lack long-term examination and others are based on anecdotal evidence. So what good are they?

Unique individuals have an inability to absorb or retain specific nutrients. For them, supplementation can be crucial. For the majority of us, substantial benefits are rare.

Genetics and lifestyle are factors but the main influence is education. It’s imperative to connect with your body, appreciate how it is distinctive and how the choices you make affect its transformation. A tree does not stand deprived of roots. Give it all the Miracle-Gro® you want, it will fall. If you do not sustain a nutritional foundation of clean eating, then there is little for supplements to support. If that’s the case, then stop reading. You have other fundamentals to comprehend. Otherwise, if you’re prepared to make changes or already on the path, let’s get to the particulars.

I’ve listed the products in order of most to least important. It will take trial and error to determine how well your body will respond to each. This includes dosage strength and nutrient timing as well as the quality and potency of the brand you select. Also, it helps to have input from your primary care physician. A general blood screening will highlight any particular deficiencies, and you need to be aware of possible prescription drug interactions.

Please remember that these are just suggestions. My absolute, essential source for nutrients is real, wholesome food.

Fish Oil

Specifically, it’s the omega-3 essential fatty acids in fish oil that are valuable. There are vegan sources, such as flax seed oil; however, they are not as potent.

These acids are attributed to improving a plethora of physical conditions. Most are related to heart, circulatory, brain functions and inflammation.

Start with a low dose and gradually increase over a two- to three-month period to about 1,000 milligrams per day. Too much too soon can be a shock to your system, and you may suddenly find your intestines purging.

Many of you are concerned with smelling, tasting, and/or burping up something fishy. Quality capsules, such as Barlean’s and Carlson, are odorless and will move past the stomach before releasing to be absorbed through the intestinal wall.

Vitamin D

The “sunshine vitamin” has been neglected, and more convincing studies are correlating the prevalence of chronic diseases and vitamin D deficiencies.

Several medical professionals are recommending between 2,000 to 5,000 IU daily, which significantly higher than doses contained in multivitamin blends. Most labels are listed as D3 and high doses come in very small capsules.


Even exceptional eating plans can fall short of meeting the body’s nutrient necessities, especially with the declining quality of an industrialized food supply. There is an abundance of brands for a lot of different physiques. It’s not necessary to find one with the highest overall doses and variety of ingredients. Efficacy improves with lower doses spread throughout the day, and your body probably only desires the basics. Males need to avoid brands with iron unless you are anemic, vegetarian, or vegan.


There are about seven major trace minerals needed by the body. For instance, most people will benefit from additional magnesium; it is involved with hundreds of biochemical reactions in the body. The majority are associated with muscle, nerve and immune system health. It’s very important to keep the doses low and spread out because magnesium is also a laxative.

There are also about nine trace minerals needed by the body. A little extra zinc couldn’t hurt. Its involved in cellular metabolism and more than 100 enzymes. It’s more commonly known for immune system support and doses are low.


This last category is purely circumstantial. There are not enough medically-supported, long-term studies to vindicate supplementation of herbs. It’s up to you to experiment with herbs. Various cultures have documented the use throughout their history, but none of it is definitive.

Let me preface this first duo by saying that this is not justification to eat sugar or “carb out.” Fenugreek and cinnamon are receiving growing attention for blood sugar support. Studies are focusing around alternative treatments for diabetes. If you have or are working on reducing your refined carbohydrate intake, then these two herbs may assist your efforts by slowing your body’s insulin response to such foods.

Licorice root provides adrenal gland support. This is where the cortisol is produced. Unhealthy levels of this stress hormone can lead to excess abdominal body fat. Milk thistle provides liver support. Our busy lifestyles, poor nutrition and lower food quality taxes the liver to maintain balance in the body. You may not notice any changes in your overall health with any of these, but your doctor will on your next visit. Just pay close attention to how you feel and how your body responds.

For more information on supplements and/or The Body Lab, visit thebodylabaz.com.