I just wanted to thank you for your continued support and continued dedication to the well-being of my business. I purchased your nutrition program and in a very short time (no more than a few weeks) it paid off many times what I paid for it. It has given my business a significant boost by providing not only the best personalized training services but now I can provide each of my clients with an individualized nutrition program. The best thing is it doesn't stop there! It provides me with an ongoing revenue stream from non-clients as well. I have people calling me for the meal planning alone and many of these people even become training clients. Anyone that knows the lifelong value of a client will know that means a lot more money in my pocket. I strongly recommend this software because it is the most complete, professional program available. There truly is no better program on the market. To your health, Lucho. Thanks!

In Health,

Matthew Hickey, CFNS
Motivate, Inspire, Achieve

I want to thank you for your program. I've studied nutrition extensively and you touched on all the important factors that make a proper diet work. I have been giving seminars around the country on these principles with great success. When I started my seminars in 2004, a Doctor on the east coast was in attendance to my first seminar. I was quite nervous because of this. He was a good 70lbs overweight and brought along his wife & sister-in-law. They were active during the seminar by asking questions, taking notice, etc. I could tell they actually cared about their health. A few months later, I got a call from the wife who said she had lost 30lbs, her husband (the doctor) had lost 60 lbs, and his sister-in-law had lost 40lbs. The Doctor's sister-in-law also explained my methods to her husband and helped him lose 50lbs. From this seminar I gave, between those four people, they saw a total of 180lbs lost! This was very gratifying and I started seeing much more business when the doctor started referring his clients to me.

Since then, I've taken my success around the world, working with African Nutritionists and adopting some of their unique practices into my regimen. I have taught people with great success in the Bahamas while living on a small island there. I now reside in Santa Barbara, CA and work with high-end clientele on their nutritional needs. I account all of their success to the ideas and philosophies of Lucho. I have preached his words verbatim with great success. I recently finished holding a "Biggest Loser" contest with a local corporation. The 1st place contestant lost 81 lbs in 3 months, the 2nd place contestant lost 70 lbs in the same amount of time! To this day, I've helped people lose over 5,000 pounds!!!! All in 2 years. Thanks so much. Maybe we can work together on a project some day? I admire your simplistic approach that works so well.


Matt Hackney, CFNS
Personal Trainer
Hi Lucho:

I just received my diploma for passing my Certified Fitness Nutrition Specialist examination. I am beyond proud and excited. Thank you so much for your quick turn around time and for getting it to me so quickly. I have several other Nutrition and Personal Training degrees from national certification boards such as NFPT and ISSA. Needless to say, I have been exposed to and studied many different nutrition programs and publications. Your course materials and your visual presentations and seminars are my favorites by far. You have such a vast knowledge in nutrition, yet you present all the information in such a straightforward, easy to understand and enjoyable manner. I am so impressed that you also include a section on NLP and Hemispheric Integration. Not only is this something very unique for a Nutritionist to possess knowledge of, but I find it to be the thing that will set me apart from other certified nutrition experts. I applaud you for understanding and emphasizing the importance of mastering this aspect of selling and building client rapport as well.

I have used your program on hundreds of people, from world champion boxers to regular "week end warriors". Your program is outstanding and when followed correctly I have found it to be 100% successful!!!

I thank you again and applaud you for your continued commitment to increase the quality of people's lives through health, fitness and nutrition.

Unni Greene,

Fructose and “Natural” is Not Always Good for You!

A favorite saying of mine is “just because its ‘natural’ doesn’t mean that it’s good for you.  Actually tobacco is ‘natural,’ yet Not Good!  Arsenic is also natural, and definitely Not Good!

It is obvious that these things are not good for us (yet some people still choose to smoke).  What may not be as obvious is that fructose, a “natural” sugar found in fruit can be just as harmful when not used correctly: too much at once, with sugar added, any and all fruit juices, late at night before bed, and even throughout the day unless paired with a substantial amount of protein.

The latest research on fructose titled “Fructose, weight gain, and the insulin resistance syndrome,” written by Sharon S. Elliott, Nancy L. Keim, Judith S. Stern, Karen Teff, and Peter J. Havel suggests that in this case, “natural” isn’t always the best choice.  Thanks to the Atkins diet and many other low or no carbohydrate advocates, more manufacturers are making low carb bars and products because they want to prevent our body from secreting too much insulin.  Please note that insulin can be a good thing when manipulated correctly as it will cause muscle growth and definition.

One of the many things that makes fructose (fruit sugar) very different than table sugar as well as all others forms of sugars is that fructose DOES NOT cause insulin secretions.  This means that when fruit sugar enters the bloodstream, the pancreas is not prompted to secrete insulin. Insulin is in charge of storing sugar in our muscle and other body cells and then into fat cells as the other cells become full.  Because fructose does not cause an insulin reaction or secretion, this means that the sugar from fruit tends to hang around in our bloodstream as it is not stored because there is no insulin to cause its storage.  What happens to that sugar, you may ask? Well, it ends up binding to or sticking to our red blood cells or hemoglobin and creating a compound called glycosylated hemoglobin or hemoglobin A1c, one of the markers doctors and dietitians look for to be elevated in diabetes patients.

Another negative factor about fructose is that it skips one of the steps of sugar metabolism in the liver.  This step is a regulating mechanism responsible for sending a message of satiety via the central nervous system.  The same study cited above goes on to show that the use of high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) may be the main reason for obesity in children as well as one of the main causes for type II diabetes in children.  The study states that the fat cells in these children with type II diabetes were saturated with fat to the point where no more fat was being “accepted” by these cells.  This causes fat to circulate in the blood and end up in the pancreas, clogging and destroying beta cells responsible for insulin production.

Those of you that know me, and/or who have been on my customized nutrition program, know that I never recommend fruit juice in any program.  Whole fruit in its original form is the best source of the healthy vitamins and minerals obtained from fruit.   It takes three (3) oranges to make 4 oz. of orange juice.  You are better off eating one (1) orange as it provides the pulp, fiber and an array of vitamins and minerals that juice alone does not.

In closing, for best results and a healthier life, combine protein, fat, and carbohydrates in every meal, stay away from all sources of fructose other than fresh fruit (one serving consisting of 15 grams of carbohydrates or one exchange), and when choosing carbohydrates choose those where sugar is less than twenty percent of the total carbohydrate content of that product.  It may seem harsh to compare fructose to tobacco and arsenic, however the main difference between these is that excessive consumption of fructose will take a lot longer to kill you than tobacco and arsenic.


© 2013 Lucho Crisalle, CEO, Exercise & Nutrition Works, Inc.

WANT TO USE THIS ARTICLE IN YOUR E-ZINE OR WEB SITE? You can, as long as you include this blurb with it: “Lucho Crisalle, CEO of Exercise & Nutrition Works, Inc., internationally recognized expert in the field of nutrition and supplements is the creator of the Certified Fitness Nutrition Specialist program! to learn more and get 20 FREE Videos and your copy of our FREE SPECIAL REPORT “Food for Thought & Money in The Bank,Click Here

Don’t Look Like Santa When the Holidays Are Over!


“Albert Einstein, who discovered that a tiny amount of mass is equal to a huge amount of energy, which explains why, as Einstein himself so eloquently put it in a famous 1939 speech to the Physics Department at Princeton, “You have to exercise for a week to work off the thigh fat from a single Snickers.” ~ Dave Barry, Dave Barry Turns 50

Yes, it is once again that time of year that many people lose their focus with regard to their nutrition and fitness programs, as the holiday food and parties begin to gear up. The National Institute of Health reports that eating over the holidays often results in a gain of a pound or two every year for many folks. Add this up over a lifetime, and that can be a substantial weight gain!


1. No “free pass” for the holidays. You know that holiday mindset you grab onto…the one that says “Oh, well, I’ll just get back on track after the holidays…” Toss it out the window faster than Aunt Bernice’s fruitcake! Moderation during the holidays is a lot easier than all that hard work in the New Year.

2. Lighten up – literally. Don’t set yourself up for failure by resolving to LOSE weight during the holiday season. Be selective as to when to deviate from your healthy meal plan and get right back on track after you do over indulge. When you deviate from the plan, only allow ONE deviation per day, so you get to choose breakfast, lunch, or dinner but not the entire day.

3. Eat a little something BEFORE you go to a holiday party. This is a big one. A great tip is to eat a little protein before you go, or protein first when you arrive at a party. Protein has a higher “satiety value” meaning that it is protein that turns off the hunger button in your brain, so shrimp, smoked salmon, sliced meats… these are the things to enjoy first.

4. Alternate alcoholic drinks with water (preferably Kangen Water & eliminate any chance of a hangover). We forget sometimes how many calories are in each drink. And of course, a few drinks later we forget about calories all together and merrily pig out! Speaking of “calories,” keep this in mind: 1g of carbohydrates AND one gram of protein have only 4 calories each. A gram of fat has 9, and a gram of alcohol 7. To put this into perspective, here are some solid (or should I say fluid) numbers:

  • 5oz wine = 90-105 calories
  • 12 oz beer = 140 calories & “light” beer = 65-90;
  • 1 ½ oz of alcohol = 90 calories 

…and if you mix it with sugary drinks, the calories can skyrocket as will your chances for a hangover. So be sure to drink LOTS of Kangen Water 9.5. An extra benefit of this amazing water is that it is a great hangover preventer!!

5. Really focus on the mouthfuls of great food you eat. How many times do we scarf something down without really tasting or enjoying it? Really savor those special treats, and you will eat less of them, as you are staying mindful of what you are ingesting. Consider yourself a food “connoisseur” and challenge yourself to really distinguish the different flavors, textures, mouth feel, and spices in each bite as this will help you slow down and enjoy each bite to its fullest.

6. Find alternatives you can really enjoy. For example, beware of creamy sauces and toppings. Use low-fat yogurt in recipes that call for cream, and try lighter alternatives to cream where ever you can. And try a pumpkin flan or custard instead of pumpkin pie.

7. Step Away from the Table! When enjoying a buffet style, take what you decide to take on your plate, then “step away from the table,” eat slowly, enjoy it, and don’t go back!

8. Find other forms of fun! So much of our focus is on food over the holidays. How about planning NON food events such as making decorations, or family outings such as playing games, or a walking tour of decorated homes in your area?

NOW is the time to REALLY focus on your goals and take the necessary steps to avoid backsliding too far. Continue to reach for YOUR highest level of excellence – especially during the coming months. Best of luck and ENJOY!

Happy Holidays everyone!

© 2012 Lucho Crisalle, CEO, Exercise & Nutrition Works, Inc. WANT TO USE THIS ARTICLE IN YOUR E-ZINE OR WEB SITE? You can, as long as you include this blurb with it: “Lucho Crisalle, CEO of Exercise & Nutrition Works, Inc., internationally recognized expert in the field of nutrition and supplements is the creator of the Certified Fitness Nutrition Specialist program! To learn more and get 20 FREE Videos and your copy of our FREE SPECIAL REPORT “Food for Thought & Money in The Bank“ click HERE

Are you a Turkey When it Comes to L-Tryptophan?

Here in the U.S., Thanksgiving is the start of the holiday season and most people look forward to the Thanksgiving dinner all year long – turkey, mashed and/or sweet potatoes, gravy, cranberry sauce and of course, pie.  Yummmm.  You could easily consume over 2000 calories in one sitting (without even counting the alcohol calories)!!!

Although turkey is often cited as the culprit in the after-dinner lethargy, is gobbling up all that turkey really to blame?

Well, not exactly.  Turkey does contain L-tryptophan, an essential amino acid with a documented sleep inducing effect.  When we eat foods that contain L-tryptophan, this amino acid travels in the blood from the digestive system and later enters the brain.  The brain then changes the L-tryptophan into serotonin – which calms us down and helps us sleep.  

However, L-tryptophan can really only make a person tired right away if it is eaten or taken by itself without any other amino acids.  And the protein in turkey contains plenty of other amino acids – and that’s not including all the other food on the Thanksgiving table. 

It’s worth noting that other foods contain close to the same amount of tryptophan than turkey (0.333 grams of tryptophan per 100 gram edible portion), including chicken (0.292 grams per 100 gram edible portion), pork and cheese.  As with turkey, other amino acids are present in these foods besides tryptophan, so they don’t make you sleepy either. 

It’s More Than Just Tryptophan

Instead of just turkey being to blame, nutrition experts and scientists believe that one reason you may feel sleepy after your Thanksgiving feast is actually that carbohydrate-rich meal that leads to a much higher serotonin synthesis than does L-tryptophan found in turkey.  Think of all those starchy, sugar-containing foods like bread, yams, potatoes, pumpkin pie, etc. 

You see, these carbohydrates stimulate the pancreas to secrete insulin.  When this occurs, some amino acids that compete with tryptophan leave the bloodstream and enter muscle cells.  This causes an increase in the relative concentration of tryptophan in the bloodstream.  Serotonin is synthesized and you get that sleepy feeling.

And, eating a big Thanksgiving dinner causes increased blood flow to the stomach (needed to help digest the meal) and less blood flow to the brain. 

Not only that, but the fats in the Thanksgiving dinner also slow down the digestive system.  Fats also take a lot of energy to digest, so the body will need to redirect blood to your digestive system to tackle the job. 

And if that isn’t enough, add in the alcohol, which is a central nervous system depressant, and a nap is just around the corner!

You’ve Got That Sleepy Feeling!

When your stomach is full, blood is directed away from your nervous system because it takes such a large amount of energy to digest such a large meal.  So what happens next??  You will want to take a nap after any large meal, particularly if it is high in fats and carbohydrates.  So, it’s really the combination of the type of food, the amount of food, alcohol and the group atmosphere.

A Few Holiday Tips…

So, what can you do to avoid the huge calorie input and the resulting lethargy?  It can be a real challenge if you are watching your waistline as well, so the following are some eating tips to still look good and feel good and be healthier after the Thanksgiving dinner without having to deprive yourself….

•    Eat at least 1 or 2 small meals earlier in the day:  We often eat faster and more when we are hungry – therefore eat a light breakfast and lunch on the day to avoid overeating at dinner time.
•    Try a smaller plate:  If you want to cut calories, choose smaller bowls and plates.  Less food will make its way into your mouth.
•    This is not an all-you-can-eat buffet:  Fill your plate half with vegetables, one quarter with lean meat (turkey breast), and the rest with a starch of your choice.  Eat slowly and stop when you are full.
•    Go skinless:  Choose your 4-6 oz. turkey portion skinless to slash away some fat and cholesterol.
•    Smaller portions:  Along with the smaller plate, go for smaller portions.  Sample the different foods in moderation.
•    Limit high fat items:  High fat food items can be found in fried and creamy dishes as well as cheese-filled casseroles in a traditional Thanksgiving meal.  For instance, mashed potatoes are usually made with butter and milk; green bean casseroles are often prepared with cream of mushroom soup (also high in salt), candied yams are loaded with cream, sugar and marshmallows.  If you cannot control the ingredients that go into a dish, simply limit yourself to a smaller helping size.  Again, moderation is the key.
•    Drink plenty of water:  alcohol can dehydrate your body as can caffeine if you don’t use it regularly.  Drink calorie-free water to help fill up your stomach and keep you hydrated.

If you are cooking Thanksgiving dinner:

•    Substitute high fat ingredients with lower-fat or fat-free ingredients.
•    Leftover Turkey? Instead of turkey sandwiches, use the leftover turkey to make low-sodium soups with lots of fresh, chunky vegetables.
•    Experiment with new recipes:  try substituting 2 egg whites for 1 whole egg; low fat plain yogurt or low fat sour cream for regular sour cream; skim or 1% milk for whole milk; frozen yogurt for ice cream; light butter for whole-fat butter; and low-fat or fat-free cream of mushroom soup for regular cream of mushroom soup (keep the sodium in check here as well).

Most importantly, enjoy your family and friends and have a Happy & Healthy Thanksgiving!!

© 2012 Lucho Crisalle, CEO, Exercise & Nutrition Works, Inc.
WANT TO USE THIS ARTICLE IN YOUR E-ZINE OR WEB SITE? You can, as long as you include this blurb with it: “Lucho Crisalle, CEO of Exercise & Nutrition Works, Inc., internationally recognized expert in the field of nutrition and supplements is the creator of the Certified Fitness Nutrition Specialist program! To learn more and get 20 FREE Videos and your copy of our FREE SPECIAL REPORT “Food for Thought & Money in The Bank“ click HERE

Treats Don’t Need to be a Trick!

Halloween is a favorite time of year for kids and adults alike. Being able to dress up and pretend to be someone we aren’t is great fun. But along with dressing up comes something even scarier than Dracula trying to suck out your blood…candy.

Today’s candy is nothing but sugar, fat and artificial colors. All of which cause nothing but health problems.  To those smart parents who pass out non-food related items, comes scorn and ridicule. Our little goblins gobble down candy bar after candy bar creating havoc in their bodies.

Halloween is the holiday season kickoff. Just as we get over our belly-aches from all the candy we’ve consumed, Thanksgiving is upon us and right after that Christmas and Hanukkah and all the “festivities” around the end of the year.

Everywhere you look we are bombarded with ads, commercials and hidden messages about junk food.  Junk foods disguised as healthy treats are in abundance on the grocery store shelves.

The single largest source of calories for Americans comes from sugar—specifically high fructose corn syrup. Just take a look at the sugar consumption trends of the past 300 years:

  • In 1700, the average person consumed about 4 pounds of sugar per year.
  • In 1800, the average person consumed about 18 pounds of sugar per year.
  • In 1900, individual consumption had risen to 90 pounds of sugar per year.
  • In 2009, more than 50 percent of all Americans consume one-half pound of sugar PER DAY—translating to a whopping 180 pounds of sugar per year!

Sugar is loaded into your soft drinks, fruit juices, sports drinks, and hidden in almost all processed foods—from bologna to pretzels to Worcestershire sauce to cheese spread. And now most infant formula has the sugar equivalent of one can of Coca-Cola, so babies are being metabolically poisoned from day one if taking sugar laden formula.

No wonder there is an obesity epidemic in this country. (i)

Sugar is a master of disguise.

  • Fructose, Sucrose, Dextrose
  • High Fructose Corn Syrup
  • Evaporated Cane Juice
  • Florida Crystals
  • Agave Syrup
  • Molasses
  • Honey
  • Stevia
  • Sugar Alcohol

All of these are a form of sugar in one way or another. What may appear to be healthy actually contains hidden sugars.

When you think of sugar substitutes, think zombies.

There is quite a bit of controversy over the use of sugar substitutes.  These alternatives are chemical abominations.

Plain and simple, it would be healthier to eat sugar than it would to use an alternative. You can find out more about sugars and sugar substitutes (the good, the bad, and the ugly) in our Certified Fitness Nutrition Specialist™ manual.

Aspartame is thought to be linked to migraines. One of its main ingredients, methyl alcohol, once ingested, converts into formaldehyde (a deadly neurotoxin).

Splenda is the trade name for sucralose; a synthetic compound stumbled upon in 1976 by scientists in Britain seeking a new pesticide formulation. (ii)

Sucralose is thought to be responsible for a variety of ailments: headaches, blurred vision, short-term dizziness, and more serious long term effects such as depression and weight gain.(iii)

That information is scarier than the shower scene in Psycho!

To survive the Halloween horrors, some planning is in order.

Here are some tips to get you through Halloween without the fear of sugar monsters attacking you in your sleep.

  1. Eat first! You are less likely to overindulge on party food or trick or treat candy if you have eaten first. So get the family together and have a healthy meal before Halloween festivities begin.
  2. Pass up candy and pass out fun! Instead of candy this year, give out small toys, stick on tattoos, or something else that’s fun.
  3. Roast the pumpkin seeds when you carve your pumpkin for a healthy, yummy snack!
  4. Going to a party? Search the internet for fun, healthy recipes for “scary snacks” for kids and grownups alike.
  5. Be sure to exercise! This time of year it’s even more crucial to keep up the exercise regime and keep down the weight gain.
  6. Practice what you preach. You can’t teach your kids good eating habits if yours are scarier than a horde of zombies chasing you.
  7. When possible, apply the 20 Percent Rule to the foods you eat.
  8. When shopping, remember to stay in the perimeter of the supermarkets; that is where the wholesome foods are found. Sugar is patient, like a spider, waiting to ensnare you in its web.  Don’t stray from the outside of the store and stick to whole, fresh foods.
  9. Water is your sword.  Combat the party foes with at least half of your body weight in water each day.
  10. Have fun! This time of year is all about having fun. And if you’re too busy worrying about candy and weight gain, you just might miss all the fun!



i. The 76 Dangers of Sugar to Your Health, Mercola, 2010

ii. Methanol toxicity from aspartame may cause autism, spina bifida, preterm delivery and more, Natural News, 2012

iii. Is Splenda Safe? Examining the Dangers of this ‘Sugar Alternative’, Natural Society, 2012

© 2012 Lucho Crisalle, CEO, Exercise & Nutrition Works, Inc.

WANT TO USE THIS ARTICLE IN YOUR E-ZINE OR WEB SITE? You can, as long as you include this blurb with it: “Lucho Crisalle, CEO of Exercise & Nutrition Works, Inc., internationally recognized expert in the field of nutrition and supplements is the creator of the Certified Fitness Nutrition Specialist program! To learn more and get 20 FREE Videos and your copy of our FREE SPECIAL REPORT “Food for Thought & Money in The Bank“ click HERE

Real Science Solutions for Low Back Pain, PART II

Statistics indicate that at some point in your life, you will experience a case of severe debilitating low back pain. 

The results of randomized controlled studies are in stark contrast to what most of us have been taught about what causes low back pain.  For example, vertebra out of place, disk degeneration (herniations), short legs, long legs, and arthritis are not the causes of pain as discussed in Part 1 of the Low Back Pain Article

In fact, these supposed causes of pain are found just as frequently in people who have no back pain at all.  Unfortunately, most physicians, therapists, and the public are still being taught otherwise.   

With the unscientific causes of low back discarded, we must now look at what the research says about what treatments are effective in resolving low back pain. 

Randomized controlled studies offer the highest proof of whether a treatment works or not. 

The method of “I tried it once, and it worked for me” is anecdotal evidence that does not take into account variables such as the natural course of history, the placebo effect, or other factors that may influence a studies’ outcome.

An excellent randomized controlled study conducted by Hide and coworkers (1996) in the journal, Spine, evaluated the effects of strengthening the multifidus and other deep abdominal muscles over a 10-week period of time.  One purpose of the study was to determine how the size of the multifidus muscle correlates to the level of back pain a patient experiences.  The other was to examine the long-term effects of multifidus strengthening on patients with back pain. 

  • In a one-year follow-up, only 30% of the patients that exercised their multifidus muscle had a recurrence of their low-back pain, in contrast to the non-exercising group that had an 84% recurrence of their low-back pain. 
  • In a three-year follow up, 75% of the non-exercising group had a recurrence of their pain, while the multifidus exercisers had only a 35% recurrence rate
  • The researchers concluded that patients with low back pain have atrophied (smaller) multifidus muscles, as demonstrated on ultrasound imaging.  Additionally, the mulitfidus can be built up with simple strengthening exercises and future episodes of back pain can be prevented by having a strong mulitifidus muscle.

Additional randomized controlled studies that I reviewed demonstrated similar conclusions.

Acute and chronic low back pain can be reduced by doing back strengthening exercises alone and smaller multifidus muscles (that correlate with pain) can be corrected with exercise.  For more detail and additional studies, I suggest Jim Johnson’s book, The Multifidus Back Pain Solution.

In our clinic, we do add one critical component to the treatment of low back pain that I do believe originates in the multifidus muscle.  For the first 10 years of my practice, I emphasized strength rehabilitation in the treatment of my low back patients.  I wrote my masters’ thesis on the rehabilitation of the spine. 

However my success was limited to a 30% success rate.  Patients complained that they felt painful knots in their back that did not resolve with exercise. 

In 1997, this all changed for me when I began using Active Release Techniques® (ART®) in my practice.  Due to the adhesions that are present in chronic back pain patients, strengthening will not be as effective as when first treated with ART®. 

By removing adhesions, range of motion is restored and more importantly, blood flow is increased which is essential for healing and the next step of multifidus strengthening exercises. 

Our current statistics for successful low back pain treatment are about 90% with most patients requiring between 3-6 total treatments.

If you want to try the exercise on your own, you can go to www.releaseyourbody.com and get Brian Abelson’s Book, Release Your Pain.  Dr. Abelson’s 4-point kneeling exercise (also called bird dog) is the same exercise that was used in the above referenced studies.  This is also the best book out for the public that describes ART® treatment.

If you want to see an ART® provider, go to www.activerelease.com.  Just like all ART® protocols, the treatment for the multifidus muscle is an extremely precise procedure so make sure you have verified the credentials of the provider you choose.

© Ron J. Higuera, D.C., M.S., ART

Dr. Higuera also is the author of the Certified Strength Rehab Specialist™ program available as a home-study course.

To find an Active Release Techniques® provider in your area, go to:  www.activerelease.com                                                                                          


What Does Real Research Say About Low back Pain? PART I

 By Dr. Ron Higuera, D.C., MS ART

Statistics indicate that at some time in your life, you will experience a case of severe debilitating low back pain. When this happens, you will have only one thing on your mind – immediate relief. This desperate situation makes us vulnerable to all kinds of quackery.

Many times, the first source of information comes from well meaning family or friends. “I tried magnets and they cured my problem”. I am not for or against the use of magnets. The point is the source of information comes from anecdotal evidence.

As time goes on and the pain increases, you may turn to advertisements or infomercials that promise results “based on the most recent research.” Others may turn to their primary physician who prescribes non-sterodial anti-inflammatories or pain medication and tells you to take it easy.

The majority of this does work, but what if it doesn’t? What I want to give you is what real scientific research says about low back pain. The answers may surprise you and odds are you will need this information some day.

Before I get into the research, I need to give you a little background information so this will hopefully all make sense.

One of the variables that most of us are familiar with is the placebo effect. A less familiar term that influences research data is what is known as natural history. The natural history of low back pain is what would happen to a person with low back pain that did absolutely nothing.

So if a patient with acute low back pain takes Advil and the pain is gone after 2 weeks, we cannot assume that the Advil had anything to do with decreasing the pain because it is a medical fact that the majority of low back pain resolves within 2 weeks.

The effects of natural history and the placebo effect have been responsible for many unscientific treatments gaining popularity. In his excellent book, The Multifidius Back Pain Solution, Jim Johnson, PT, discusses the methods research scientists use to determine if a treatment is actually doing something or not.

The key term that you need to know when evaluating research is what is known as a randomized controlled study. I know this discussion is getting a little heavy but it can really be very useful. The next time someone throws out the fact that studies have proven that some treatment works, then ask them if the study was a randomized controlled study. If the study is not a randomized controlled study, then the results are not reliable and have proven nothing about the effectiveness of the treatment.

Before we can discuss the solution for low back pain dilemma, we first need to determine scientifically what is causing the problem.

Once again, Jim Johnson helps us out in this area by reviewing a number of randomized controlled studies that tell us what is the true source of low back pain.

The conclusions are quite amazing and contrary to everything most orthopedists, physical therapists, and chiropractors are telling their patients. I know this because the new patients that I see have usually seen 2 or 3 doctors before they end up in my office.

As part of the exam, patients will tell me what the past doctor has diagnosed them with (they still must be in pain or they would not be seeing me). I am not criticizing the diagnosis that may in fact be correct based on X-ray or MRI studies. However what the following research is telling us is that the majority of the time, the diagnosed condition is not what is causing the patient’s pain. Just because a patient has arthritic joints, bulging disks, or a crooked spine does not mean that these conditions are the source of pain!

For example, 24% of patients who have compressed nerves (myelogram test) have no back pain. 64% of people who report no back pain show abnormal disks on MRI exams. X-ray findings like degeneration, narrowed disks spaces, spondylolosis, spondylolisthesis, and bones out of place have little to do with a person’s low back pain.

Other findings that have no correlation to the cause of back pain are as follows – it does not matter how much you weigh, having one leg longer than the other, the curve in your back either too much curve or too little, flexibility of your low back, or having one hip higher than the other.

What is astounding is that research proves that most low back pain can be cured with simple exercises that can be done at home once a patient is properly instructed.

Over the past year in our office, we have combined the use of a few key exercises with Active Release Techniques® (ART®) and have a 90-95% success rate in just a few weeks of treatment. I will present all the supporting research for these exercises in part II of this article.

It is obvious that the public needs to be re-educated about the causes and the treatments for low back pain. I hope this article has sparked your interest in learning more about scientific research that will equip you to be a more informed patient.

Source: Ron J. Higuera, D.C., M.S., ART

To find an Active Release Techniques® provider in your area, go to: www.activerelease.com 

There IS Fit Over Fifty!

I’m sure you’ve heard the saying, “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.”

Ask any dog trainer and they’ll tell you that’s completely untrue.

Ask any fitness trainer and they’ll tell you the same thing applies to people. Just ask Sister Madonna Buder. SISTER MADONNA BUDER, also known as “the Iron Nun,” “the Flying Nun,” and “the Mother Superior of Triathlon,” is a Roman Catholic nun. She began running in 1978 at age 48. She has completed over 325 triathlons including 45 Iron Man distances. In fact, at the 2006 Hawaii Iron Man, she became the oldest woman to ever complete the race, finishing with a time of 16:59:03. Today, race organizers must extend the age limit just so she can compete. (i., ii.)

Now Sister Buder is of course the exception. In the health & wellness industry, we see more golden clients who are coming in after years of being sedentary. They have ailments such as joint pain, osteoporosis and arthritis. They cannot handle a rigorous training session that you would give a 20-something. You have to be very careful not to push them past their limits.

  • Stretching is important at any age, but especially in your older clients. After years of a sedentary lifestyle, they aren’t as limber as younger clients and are more prone to injury without proper stretching and warming up. The key to safe stretching is to FIRST warm up. Imagine pulling on a frozen rubber band… now if you just warm it up, the rubber band becomes more “pliable,” which is exactly the same case with muscles. Regardless of age, one should never stretch cold muscles.
  • Cardio is key to get their heart pumping! But take it easy on your beginners. Keep inclines and speeds lower in the beginning and be sure to monitor them closely while they are on cardio equipment as the older we get, the more “challenging” balance becomes. 
  • Balance Exercises are crucial for your golden clients. One-third of adults over 65 endure falls (and potentially serious injuries as a result) every year, according to the National Center on Physical Activity and Disability. Spot your client closely while doing balance exercises. A few examples of balance exercises:
    • Standing on one leg
    • Sit to stand
    • Tandem walking (one foot directly in front of the other)
    • Walking on heels
    • Walking on toes
    • Strength Training of course is important for muscle mass, and to speed up their metabolism. Be sure and start your senior out slowly and you may have to help them in and out of the exercise machines at first as well as helping them to get started. Remember they aren’t a spring chicken anymore!

While diet plays a role in every life, the general train of thought is to put seniors on a 60/20/20 meal plan. Throw that out the window right now!

Think about it…beginners are coming to you who are most likely not very active. Putting them on a 60% carb diet is a recipe for disaster!

Remember that at Exercise & Nutrition Works, our system is NOT based on calories in-calories out as most are.

You see, the majority of the “nutrition experts” as well as the self proclaimed amateurs, first figure out the “calories” a client needs by using some convoluted formula, and then they pull a number out of…well…mid air to come up with some magical percentage of macronutrients, (usually the very well known and over used 40-30-30 [Zone diet] or the 60-20-20). This means that they are trying to stuff someone into a preset percentage of macronutrients…kind of like shoving a square peg into a round hole.

What we teach instead, is to figure out the RIGHT amount of carbohydrates and protein for the individual client (regardless of their age), and let the grams of carbohydrates and protein dictate the calories, and not the other way around.

We figure these numbers out by determining the RIGHT amount of protein for the individual based on their lean body mass, AND the right amount f carbohydrates is determined by their total body weight (if they’re not obese) or by their lean body mass (if they are obese). As surprising as it may be, the definition of an “obese” individual is any female over 30% body fat and any male over 24% body fat.

Once we have created a customized meal plan for the client by following the above guidelines, we then adjust it based on the clients’ results (or lack thereof) by meeting with them on weekly follow up sessions where their results are determined by their lean mass and fat mass changes, NOT their body weight.

The reason we do NOT look at body weight alone is that a pint of water weighs a pound. So if our client just drank some water, or if they are dehydrated due to a recent airplane flight, workout, or a one too many glasses of wine from the night before, their weight will reflect that.

The reason we DO NOT base things on a “calories in, calories out” way of thinking is that 2000 calories that come from brown rice, chicken breast, and broccoli are NOT the same as 2000 calories that come from glazed doughnuts, fried chicken, fried okra and mashed potatoes with gravy.  

When it comes to food, it is ALWAYS quality over quantity as well as having the presence of mind to think ahead and ask yourself “what can my body use the fuel in this meal for?” if the resounding answer is “to store all or most of it as fat,” instead of “to build and repair muscle,” then you need to make a better food choice.

So when it comes to fitness and seniors, take it a bit easier on them. Remember their bodies have probably endured years of neglect and abuse and it will take time for them to heal.

When it comes to guiding them in making better nutritional choices, be sure to calculate their needs based on them as individuals and avoid falling into the “one size fits all” nutritional way of thinking trap.

  1. http://www.thirdageireland.ie/news/301/friday-inspirational-older-persona-sister-madonna-buder.html
  2. http://authors.simonandschuster.com/Sister-Madonna-Buder/68146324


© 2012 Lucho Crisalle, CEO, Exercise & Nutrition Works, Inc.

WANT TO USE THIS ARTICLE IN YOUR E-ZINE OR WEB SITE? You can, as long as you include this blurb with it: “Lucho Crisalle, CEO of Exercise & Nutrition Works, Inc., internationally recognized expert in the field of nutrition and supplements is the creator of the Certified Fitness Nutrition Specialist program! to learn more and get 20 FREE Videos and your copy of our FREE SPECIAL REPORT “Food for Thought & Money in The Bank,click here

Do Coffee Tea & Soda Hydrate or Dehydrate?

I’m sure you have all heard you shouldn’t count coffee, tea or soft drinks as part of your 8 glasses of water a day. Most of us have assumed this is a fact. In one of our recent articles, we discussed the theory that we need “8 glasses” of water per day. Here’s a reminder: health care professionals are now recommending you drink half your body weight in ounces and all the way up to one ounce per pound of body weight if you are an athlete or work out regularly, as well as for those who live in the desert.

The International Bottled Water Association has called coffee and soda pop “dehydrating beverages” and has warned consumers: “Don’t substitute caffeinated coffees, teas, and sodas for water.” The Water Quality Association, which promotes the sale of home water filters, also cautions that “other beverages… don’t count towards your daily water consumption goal. ”

Not true, say researchers at the Center for Human Nutrition in Omaha. They ought to know. They put a dozen and a half men in their 20s and 30s on various fluid regimens: water only; equal amounts of water and caffeinated soda; or water, caffeinated soda, and coffee. Then they tested urine and blood to check their hydration status. The result: The volunteers remained in the same state of hydration no matter which beverages they drank!

Were these men protected by their relative youth? “I don’t think it is an age-related phenomenon,” says study co-author Kristin J. Reimers, RD, MS. “All fluid counts—plain water, soft drinks, milk, juices—they’re all water sources for our bodies. My grandmother (age 83) drinks coffee all day, and her hydration status is just fine.”

The only people for whom caffeine might cause an unusually high fluid output, Ms. Reimers comments, are those who don’t often drink caffeinated beverages. The body tends to adapt to caffeine over time.

Do keep in mind that for a study to be considered valid, it must have at least 40 or more participants, and this study only had 18. Just as with nutrition, our approach is more of a customized approach than a one-size-fits-all way of looking at things. Therefore, we recommend you conduct your own study and see how you feel by switching between these different fluids. We choose Kangen Water over any and all beverages. Although we still enjoy coffee in the morning and wine with dinner every now and then, Kangen Water is our daily fluid of consumption.

So why do we still choose water? For the simple fact that it is pure, without milk or cream, sugar content, and all the other chemicals present in our caffeinated drinks. There is so much more to health than hydration status.

But all water is not alike. Most people who are really concerned with health do not, of course, drink tap water, with its chlorine content, and its questionable purity. So, we buy tons of bottled water. Do you realize we are spending more per gallon on bottled water than we do on gasoline – isn’t that an eye-opener? Bottled water is well over $4.00 per gallon.

But bottled water is not guaranteed to be pure and healthy, either. A four-year study by the Natural Resources Defense Council shows that one third of the bottled water tested contains levels of contamination which exceed allowable limits. Bottled water can also be slightly acidic, which may affect your body’s pH balance. And of course, the environmental impact caused by the production and disposal of plastic bottles is harmful to our ecosystem.

For the best healthy water available, drink Kangen Water. With its incredible alkalizing, anti-oxidant, and super-hydrating properties, this water is cleansing the bodies of those who seek a healthier lifestyle. Because it creates smaller water molecule clusters, your system is able to become much more hydrated.

And it tastes great!

To find out more about this amazing water and download your FREE EBook Acid/Alkaline Balancing click HERE now!

© 2012 Lucho Crisalle, CEO, Exercise & Nutrition Works, Inc.

WANT TO USE THIS ARTICLE IN YOUR E-ZINE OR WEB SITE? You can, as long as you include this blurb with it: “Lucho Crisalle, CEO of Exercise & Nutrition Works, Inc., internationally recognized expert in the field of nutrition and supplements is the creator of the Certified Fitness Nutrition Specialist program! To learn more and get 20 FREE Videos and your copy of our FREE SPECIAL REPORT Food for Thought & Money in The Bank CLICK HERE

To BPA or Not To BPA?

By: Lucho Crisalle RD

If you have been keeping up with our Ezine and business model, you are most likely aware of the fact that we now only drink and recommend Kangen Water™ for our utmost health as well as for the health of our clients.

We believe in being responsible towards the environment and as such, were very concerned with the plastic containers we and our clients use to drink Kangen Water™. This prompted us to do some research on fact and fiction of what the media was reporting on the alternatives to plastic and here is what we found.

Over the past few years a number of disparaging articles on Bisphenol A (BPA) have appeared in many publications. Let’s see if we can check out the FACTS and set the record straight.

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Terrific Travel Tips: Nutrition on the Road!

While traveling certainly can be a wonderful experience (especially when heading on vacation), it sure can play havoc on our nutrition and diet plans.  High quality food choices out there in the big world can be hard to find, the servings are enormous, and it is often a giant pile of fat and salt!

But there are lots of ways to stay focused and keep on track!

Read the rest of this entry »

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