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Clinic Wellness Team. A key factor to spine or back pain conditions is staying healthy. Overall wellness involves a balanced diet, appropriate exercise, physical activity, restful sleep, and a healthy lifestyle. The term has been applied in many ways. But overall, the definition is as follows.

It is a conscious, self-directed, and evolving process of achieving full potential. It is multidimensional, bringing together lifestyles both mental/spiritual and the environment in which one lives. It is positive and affirms that what we do is, in fact, correct.

It is an active process where people become aware and make choices towards a more successful lifestyle. This includes how a person contributes to their environment/community. They aim to build healthier living spaces and social networks. It helps in creating a person’s belief systems, values, and a positive world perspective.

Along with this comes the benefits of regular exercise, a healthy diet, personal self-care, and knowing when to seek medical attention. Dr. Jimenez’s message is to work towards being fit, being healthy, and staying aware of our collection of articles, blogs, and videos.

Nutritional Mistakes to Avoid for Muscle Building

Nutritional Mistakes to Avoid for Muscle Building

For individuals trying to build muscle but are not seeing results, can knowing factors like what foods to eat, how to work out, and genetics help achieve meaningful muscle gains?

Nutritional Mistakes to Avoid for Muscle Building

Muscle Growth Nutritional Mistakes

Muscle growth is an important element of overall fitness and health. Individuals can make nutritional mistakes like not eating enough protein or carbohydrates and not properly hydrating themselves which can prevent them from gaining muscle. Factors that contribute to muscle building, include:

  • Nutrition
  • Genetics
  • Training

Individuals who want to increase muscle mass more efficiently can rework these issues to maintain consistency and commitment to exercise and nutrition. Benefits include:

  • Building muscle helps strengthen bones
  • Improves balance
  • Decreases the risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

Building muscle enhances strength and speed and can also reduce the risk of injuries or falls as you age. (American College of Sports Medicine. 2017)


Experts point out some common mistakes that can hinder muscle growth, like not eating enough protein, not consuming enough calories, overtraining, or practicing improper form and technique. As everybody is different there is no one-size-fits-all approach to building muscle or hypertrophy. These include:


  • An individual’s genes contribute to how easy or difficult it can be to build muscle.
  • Some individuals have a higher proportion of fast-twitch muscle fibers, which increases growth potential.
  • The natural distribution of muscle and body fat also varies and can affect the rate and location of muscle growth.
  • There are also differences in individual recovery capabilities that can influence the frequency and intensity of training sessions.


  • Nutrition matters when trying to build muscle. Individuals need to eat enough protein for muscle repair and growth.
  • Individuals may need to consume more calories than they burn to create energy stores.
  • At the same time, individuals need to consume enough carbohydrates and healthy fats to fuel workouts and recovery.


  • Gaining muscle requires regular resistance or strength training exercises.
  • These exercises cause micro tears in muscle fibers, which then repair and grow back stronger and larger.
  • Effective resistance training includes – consistency, intensity, recovery, and progressive overload.
  • Progressive overload means gradually increasing the weight, frequency, or number of repetitions in an exercise routine to challenge the muscles.

Muscle Strength for Healthy Aging

  • Research shows that performing exercises that build muscle mass can slow age-related cognitive decline and decrease the risk of neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. (Joseph Michael Northey, et al., 2018)
  • Muscle-building exercise can also improve heart health and lower the risk of cardiovascular diseases. (Johns Hopkins Medicine. 2023)

Nutritional Mistakes

When trying to gain muscle, challenges can affect progress. Some of the most common mistakes that can delay or set back muscle growth and recommendations include.

Not Enough Protein

  • Eating protein like lean meats, dairy products, and seafood, is crucial for muscle repair and growth.
  • Not consuming enough protein makes the body unable to grow muscles, and you’ll see suboptimal improvements.
  • Get enough protein from various sources like beef, lamb, chicken, turkey, fish, eggs, dairy, legumes, and plant-based proteins.
  • However, there is a limit to how much protein the body can use effectively at one time for muscle protein synthesis.
  • It is recommended to distribute protein intake evenly throughout the day, aiming for about 20 to 30 grams of high-quality protein in each meal.

Not Enough Calories

  • Muscles need calories to grow.
  • If the body is in a caloric deficit, the ability to grow muscle is limited.
  • Insufficient calorie intake can create energy deficits, making the body use muscle for energy instead of growing.
  • To fix this, individuals need to consume more calories than calories burned.
  • It can be helpful to track calorie intake with an application to make adjustments as needed.
  • Individuals having trouble increasing their calorie intake or there are questions about what the body needs, consult with a registered dietitian or nutritionist.

Not Enough Carbs

  • Carbohydrates are the body’s main energy source during high-intensity workouts.
  • Not consuming enough can lead to decreased performance and slower recovery.
  • Recommendations include consuming a variety of whole grains and minimally processed carbohydrates, such as brown rice, potatoes, sweet potatoes, oats, and quinoa.
  • For individuals doing regular, moderate-to-intense training, carbohydrate recommendations can range from 3 to 7 grams per kilogram of body weight per day.
  • For individuals doing endurance or intense frequency training routines may need to increase this range.

Not Hydrating Enough

  • Water is necessary for all bodily functions, including muscle contraction and repair.
  • Dehydration comes with symptoms like muscle cramps, fatigue, and decreased exercise performance. (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 2022)
  • For individuals who are not sure how much water they need? Recommendations include using half of an individual’s body weight as a starting point to figure out how many ounces to drink per day.
  • For example, individuals who weigh 140 pounds can set a baseline hydration goal of 70 ounces of water/8 cups per day which can be adjusted according to activities.

Water Intake Recommendations

  • The recommended total fluid intake from food and drink varies by age and sex. The general recommendations are around:
  • 11.5 cups per day for women
  • 15.5 cups for adult men
  • For just water, women need around 9 cups of fluid per day, and men need around 13 cups to replace fluids that are lost throughout the day.
  • However, the exact amount of water needed to stay properly hydrated also depends on an individual’s activity level and overall health. (Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. 2022)
  • To prevent dehydration, sip water consistently throughout the day, especially before, during, and after workouts.
  • Foods with a high water content like certain fruits can help achieve daily hydration goals.

Not Enough Healthy Fats

  • Not consuming enough healthy fats can cause the body to not be able to produce enough hormones that support muscle growth.
  • Relying on supplements instead of getting nutrients from whole foods can also lead to nutritional deficiencies and imbalances.
  • Eating too many protein bars or shakes can also cause gastrointestinal side effects. (National Capital Poison Center. 2023)
  • Recommendations are to add more healthy fats, like avocados, nuts, seeds, fatty fish, and olive oil.

Forgetting Post-Workout Nutrition

  • After working out, the body is ready to absorb nutrients and start the process of muscle repair and growth.
  • The body needs nutrients to activate the recovery post-exercise
  • When the body lacks nutrition after a workout it can slow muscle growth and cause fatigue.
  • Recommendations are to pack a balance of protein and carbohydrates to refuel right after a workout.

Training Mistakes

  • Undertraining or performing low-intensity workouts can also slow down muscle growth.
  • Individuals who are not overloading their muscles – for example, using weights that are too light – will not break them down so they can grow bigger and stronger.
  • A lack of microdamage means muscle growth will be slower.
  • Muscle overload also requires rest.
  • Recommendations are to take at least one day of rest per week and avoid strength training in the same muscle group two days in a row.
  • When creating a lifting plan, be sure to include compound exercises like squats, deadlifts, and bench presses.
  • These exercises work with multiple muscle groups and are recommended for building strength and muscle.
  • A training routine should include a variety of compound movements, like lunges, split squats, leg presses, pull-downs, upright rows, and push-ups.
  • If unsure of which compound exercises to include, consult a personal trainer, physical therapist, or sports chiropractor.

Military Training and Chiropractic Care


American College of Sports Medicine. (2017). Resistance training and injury prevention.

Northey, J. M., Cherbuin, N., Pumpa, K. L., Smee, D. J., & Rattray, B. (2018). Exercise interventions for cognitive function in adults older than 50: a systematic review with meta-analysis. British journal of sports medicine, 52(3), 154–160.

Johns Hopkins Medicine. (2023). Exercise and the heart.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2022). Water and healthier drinks.

Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. (2022). How much water do you need?

National Capital Poison Center. (2023). Do protein bars give you gas?

Turkey Nutrition Facts: The Complete Guide

Turkey Nutrition Facts: The Complete Guide

For individuals watching their food intake during the Thanksgiving holiday, can knowing the nutritional value of turkey help maintain diet health?

Turkey Nutrition Facts: The Complete Guide

Nutrition and Benefits

Minimally processed turkey can be a beneficial source of protein, vitamins, and minerals. However, processed turkey can be high in sugar, unhealthy fats, and sodium.


Nutrition information for a roasted turkey leg with the skin – 3 ounces – 85g. (U.S. Department of Agriculture. 2018)

  • Calories – 177
  • Fat – 8.4
  • Sodium – 65.4mg
  • Carbohydrates – 0g
  • Fiber – 0g
  • Sugars – 0g
  • Protein – 23.7g


  • Turkey does not contain any carbohydrates.
  • Certain deli lunch meats contain carbs as the turkey is breaded, marinated, or coated in a sauce containing sugar or added during processing.
  • Choosing fresh can make a big difference in sugar content.


  • Most of the fat comes from the skin.
  • Turkey generally has equal parts of saturated, monounsaturated, and polyunsaturated fat.
  • Removing the skin and cooking without added fat significantly reduces total fat content.


  • Turkey is an excellent source of complete protein, with around 24 grams in a 3-ounce serving.
  • Leaner cuts, like skinless turkey breast, have more protein.

Vitamins and Minerals

  • Provides vitamin B12, calcium, folate, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, and selenium.
  • Dark meat is higher in iron than the white meat.

Health Benefits

Supports Muscle Retention

  • Sarcopenia, or muscle wasting, commonly leads to frailty in elderly individuals.
  • Getting enough protein at every meal is essential for older adults to maintain muscle mass and physical mobility.
  • Turkey can help meet guidelines suggesting lean meat consumption 4-5 times a week to maintain muscle health with aging. (Anna Maria Martone, et al., 2017)

Reduces Diverticulitis Flare-Ups

Diverticulitis is inflammation of the colon. Dietary factors that influence the risk of diverticulitis include:

  • Fiber intake – lowers risk.
  • Processed red meat intake – raises risk.
  • Intake of red meat with higher total fat – raises risk.
  1. Researchers studied 253 men with diverticulitis and determined that replacing one serving of red meat with a serving of poultry or fish reduces the risk of diverticulitis by 20%. (Yin Cao et al., 2018)
  2. The study’s limitations are that the meat intake was recorded in men only, the intake was self-reported, and the amount consumed at each eating episode was not recorded.
  3. It may be a helpful substitution for anyone at risk for diverticulitis.

Prevents Anemia

  • Turkey offers nutrients required by blood cells.
  • It provides heme iron, easily absorbed during digestion, to prevent iron deficiency anemia. (National Institutes of Health. 2023)
  • Turkey also contains folate and vitamin B12, which are needed in the formation and proper function of red blood cells.
  • Regular turkey consumption can help maintain healthy blood cells.

Supports Heart Health

  • Turkey is a lean alternative to other low-sodium meats, especially if the skin is removed and cooked fresh.
  • Turkey is also high in the amino acid arginine.
  • Arginine can help keep arteries open and relaxed as a precursor to nitric oxide. (Patrick J. Skerrett, 2012)


Meat allergies can happen at any age. A turkey allergy is possible and may be associated with allergies to other types of poultry and red meat.  Symptoms can include: (American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. 2019)

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Wheezing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Repetitive cough
  • Swelling
  • Anaphylaxis

Storage and Safety


  • The USDA recommends 1 pound for each person.
  • That means a family of five needs a 5-pound turkey, a group of 12 a 12-pound. (U.S. Department of Agriculture. 2015)
  • Keep fresh meat in the refrigerator until ready to cook.
  • Frozen pre-stuffed turkeys labeled with the USDA or state mark of inspection have been prepared under safe, controlled conditions.
  • Cook frozen pre-stuffed turkeys directly from the frozen state rather than thawing first. (U.S. Department of Agriculture. 2015)
  1. Safe ways to thaw a frozen turkey: in the refrigerator, in cold water, or microwave oven.
  2. They should be thawed for a specified amount of time using guidelines based on weight.
  3. It needs to be cooked to an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
  4. Cooked turkey needs to be refrigerated within 1–2 hours after cooking and used within 3–4 days.
  5. Turkey leftovers stored in the freezer should be eaten within 2–6 months.

Eating Right to Feel Better


U.S. Department of Agriculture. FoodData central. (2018). Turkey, all classes, leg, meat and skin, cooked, roasted.

Martone, A. M., Marzetti, E., Calvani, R., Picca, A., Tosato, M., Santoro, L., Di Giorgio, A., Nesci, A., Sisto, A., Santoliquido, A., & Landi, F. (2017). Exercise and Protein Intake: A Synergistic Approach against Sarcopenia. BioMed research international, 2017, 2672435.

Cao, Y., Strate, L. L., Keeley, B. R., Tam, I., Wu, K., Giovannucci, E. L., & Chan, A. T. (2018). Meat intake and risk of diverticulitis among men. Gut, 67(3), 466–472.

National Institutes of Health, Office of Dietary Supplements. (2023). Iron: Fact Sheet for Health Professionals.

Skerrett PJ. Harvard Health Publishing, Harvard Medical School. (2012). Turkey: A Healthy Base of Holiday Meals.

American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. (2019). Meat Allergy.

U.S. Department of Agriculture. (2015). Let’s Talk Turkey — A Consumer Guide to Safely Roasting a Turkey.

Acupuncture: an Alternative Treatment for Allergies

Acupuncture: an Alternative Treatment for Allergies

For individuals suffering from allergies, could using acupuncture help relieve and manage symptoms?

Acupuncture: an Alternative Treatment for Allergies

Acupuncture Can Help With Allergies

Acupuncture is becoming a more respected alternative treatment for various medical issues, from anxiety to fibromyalgia to weight loss. There is evidence that acupuncture can help with allergies by alleviating symptoms and improving the quality of life. (Shaoyan Feng, et al., 2015) The American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery Foundation recommends doctors offer acupuncture to patients looking for nonpharmacological treatments for their allergies or refer them to an acupuncturist. (Michael D. Seidman, et al., 2015)


Acupuncture is a traditional Chinese medicine/TCM practice in which extremely thin needles are inserted into the body at specific points, creating a network of energy pathways known as meridians.

  • These pathways circulate vital life energy/chi or qi.
  • Each meridian is associated with a different body system.
  • Needles are placed to target the organs associated with the condition being treated.
  1. Acupuncture can help with allergies by targeting several meridians, including the lungs, colon, stomach, and spleen. These meridians are believed to circulate defensive life energy or a type of immunity energy.
  2. A backup of defensive energy or a deficiency can cause allergy symptoms like swelling, watery eyes, runny nose, sneezing, allergic eczema, and conjunctivitis. (Bettina Hauswald, Yury M. Yarin. 2014)
  3. The objective is to stimulate the points to restore balance in the energies and relieve symptoms.

Scientific Theories

  • One theory is the needles work directly on nerve fibers, influencing messages to the brain or the autonomic nervous system and transmission of signals within the body, including the immune system. (Tony Y. Chon, Mark C. Lee. 2013)
  • Another is the needles influence certain activities of cells, particularly the transport, breakdown, and clearance of bioactive mediators.
  • The combination of these actions is thought to decrease inflammatory conditions like allergic rhinitis – hay fever, in which the inside of the nose becomes inflamed and swollen after breathing in an allergen. (Bettina Hauswald, Yury M. Yarin. 2014)

A 2015 review concluded there have been high-quality randomized controlled trials demonstrating acupuncture’s efficacy in treating seasonal and perennial allergic rhinitis. Smaller studies have shown some preliminary benefits of acupuncture when compared with antihistamines, but more research is needed. (Malcolm B. Taw, et al., 2015)

Treating Allergies

  • Some individuals who choose acupuncture are seeking alternatives to standard treatment like medications, nasal sprays, and immunotherapy.
  • Others are looking for ways to enhance the effectiveness of medications already being taken, such as antihistamines or nasal sprays, or shorten how long or how frequently they are needed.
  • Initial treatment usually involves weekly or twice-weekly appointments over several weeks or months, depending on symptom severity.
  • This may be followed by annual treatments or on an as-needed basis. (American Academy of Medical Acupuncture. 2020)
  1. Most states require a license, certification, or registration to practice acupuncture, but these vary from state to state.
  2. Recommendations are for a practitioner who is certified by the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine.
  3. A medical doctor who offers acupuncture.
  4. The American Academy of Medical Acupuncture has a list of acupuncturists who are also medical doctors.

Improperly administered acupuncture needles can cause serious side effects that range from infections, punctured organs, collapsed lungs, and injury to the central nervous system. (National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. 2022) Before trying acupuncture, consult your primary healthcare provider, allergist, or integrative medicine specialist to make sure it’s a safe and viable option and the best way to integrate it into overall allergy care.

Fighting Inflammation Naturally


Feng, S., Han, M., Fan, Y., Yang, G., Liao, Z., Liao, W., & Li, H. (2015). Acupuncture for the treatment of allergic rhinitis: a systematic review and meta-analysis. American journal of rhinology & allergy, 29(1), 57–62.

Seidman, M. D., Gurgel, R. K., Lin, S. Y., Schwartz, S. R., Baroody, F. M., Bonner, J. R., Dawson, D. E., Dykewicz, M. S., Hackell, J. M., Han, J. K., Ishman, S. L., Krouse, H. J., Malekzadeh, S., Mims, J. W., Omole, F. S., Reddy, W. D., Wallace, D. V., Walsh, S. A., Warren, B. E., Wilson, M. N., … Guideline Otolaryngology Development Group. AAO-HNSF (2015). Clinical practice guideline: Allergic rhinitis. Otolaryngology–head and neck surgery : official journal of American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, 152(1 Suppl), S1–S43.

Hauswald, B., & Yarin, Y. M. (2014). Acupuncture in allergic rhinitis: A Mini-Review. Allergo journal international, 23(4), 115–119.

Chon, T. Y., & Lee, M. C. (2013). Acupuncture. Mayo Clinic proceedings, 88(10), 1141–1146.

Taw, M. B., Reddy, W. D., Omole, F. S., & Seidman, M. D. (2015). Acupuncture and allergic rhinitis. Current opinion in otolaryngology & head and neck surgery, 23(3), 216–220.

American Academy of Medical Acupuncture. (2020). Acupuncture and Seasonal Allergies.

National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. (2022). Acupuncture: What You Need To Know.

Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders: What You Need to Know

Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders: What You Need to Know

Individuals with digestive problems that cannot be diagnosed could be experiencing functional gastrointestinal disorders. Could understanding the types help in developing effective treatment plans?

Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders: What You Need to Know

Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders

Functional gastrointestinal disorders, or FGDs, are disorders of the digestive system in which the presence of structural or tissue abnormality cannot explain symptoms. Functional gastrointestinal disorders lack identifiable biomarkers and are diagnosed based on symptoms. (Christopher J. Black, et al., 2020)

Rome Criteria

FGDs used diagnoses of exclusion, meaning that they could only be diagnosed after organic/identifiable disease was ruled out. However, in 1988, a group of researchers and healthcare providers met to devise strict criteria for the diagnosis of the various types of FGDs. The criteria is known as the Rome Criteria. (Max J. Schmulson, Douglas A. Drossman. 2017)


A comprehensive list as described by the Rome III criteria (Ami D. Sperber et al., 2021)

Functional Esophageal Disorders

  • Functional heartburn
  • Functional chest pain believed to be of esophageal origin
  • Functional dysphagia
  • Globus

Functional Gastroduodenal Disorders

  • Unspecified excessive belching
  • Functional dyspepsia – includes postprandial distress syndrome and epigastric pain syndrome.
  • Chronic idiopathic nausea
  • Aerophagia
  • Functional vomiting
  • Cyclic vomiting syndrome
  • Rumination syndrome in adults

Functional Bowel Disorders

  • Irritable bowel syndrome – IBS
  • Functional constipation
  • Functional diarrhea
  • Unspecified functional bowel disorder

Functional Abdominal Pain Syndrome

  • Functional abdominal pain – FAP

Functional Gallbladder and Sphincter of Oddi Disorders

  • Functional gallbladder disorder
  • Functional biliary Sphincter of Oddi disorder
  • Functional pancreatic Sphincter of Oddi disorder

Functional Anorectal Disorders

  • Functional fecal incontinence
  • Functional Anorectal Pain – includes chronic proctalgia, Levator ani syndrome, unspecified functional anorectal pain, and proctalgia fugax.
  • Functional Defecation Disorders – include dyssynergic defecation and inadequate defecatory propulsion.

Childhood Functional GI Disorders

Infant/Toddler (Jeffrey S. Hyams et al., 2016)

  • Infant colic
  • Functional constipation
  • Functional diarrhea
  • Cyclic vomiting syndrome
  • Infant regurgitation
  • Infant rumination syndrome
  • Infant dyschezia

Childhood Functional GI Disorders:


  • Vomiting and Aerophagia – cyclic vomiting syndrome, adolescent rumination syndrome, and aerophagia
  • Abdominal Pain-Related Functional GI Disorders include:
  1. functional dyspepsia
  2. IBS
  3. Abdominal migraine
  4. Childhood functional abdominal pain
  5. Childhood functional abdominal pain syndrome
  • Constipation – functional constipation
  • Incontinence – nonretentive fecal incontinence


Although the Rome criteria allow the diagnosis of FGDs to be symptom-based, a healthcare provider may still run standard diagnostic tests to rule out other diseases or look for structural problems resulting in symptoms.


Although no visible signs of disease or structural problems may be identified as causing the symptoms, it does not mean that they are not treatable and manageable. For individuals who suspect they may have or have been diagnosed with a functional gastrointestinal disorder, it will be essential to work with a healthcare provider on a working treatment plan. Treatment options can include: (Asma Fikree, Peter Byrne. 2021)

  • Physical therapy
  • Nutritional and dietary adjustments
  • Stress management
  • Psychotherapy
  • Medication
  • Biofeedback

Eating Right To Feel Better


Black, C. J., Drossman, D. A., Talley, N. J., Ruddy, J., & Ford, A. C. (2020). Functional gastrointestinal disorders: advances in understanding and management. Lancet (London, England), 396(10263), 1664–1674.

Schmulson, M. J., & Drossman, D. A. (2017). What Is New in Rome IV. Journal of neurogastroenterology and motility, 23(2), 151–163.

Sperber, A. D., Bangdiwala, S. I., Drossman, D. A., Ghoshal, U. C., Simren, M., Tack, J., Whitehead, W. E., Dumitrascu, D. L., Fang, X., Fukudo, S., Kellow, J., Okeke, E., Quigley, E. M. M., Schmulson, M., Whorwell, P., Archampong, T., Adibi, P., Andresen, V., Benninga, M. A., Bonaz, B., … Palsson, O. S. (2021). Worldwide Prevalence and Burden of Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders, Results of Rome Foundation Global Study. Gastroenterology, 160(1), 99–114.e3.

Hyams, J. S., Di Lorenzo, C., Saps, M., Shulman, R. J., Staiano, A., & van Tilburg, M. (2016). Functional Disorders: Children and Adolescents. Gastroenterology, S0016-5085(16)00181-5. Advance online publication.

Fikree, A., & Byrne, P. (2021). Management of functional gastrointestinal disorders. Clinical medicine (London, England), 21(1), 44–52.

Creating an Effective Workout with the FITT Principle

Creating an Effective Workout with the FITT Principle

For individuals trying to get into a regular fitness regimen, could using the FITT Principle help structure exercise, track progress, and achieve fitness goals?

Creating an Effective Workout with the FITT Principle

FITT Principle

The FITT principle is a set of guidelines for adjusting, revising, and improving exercise workouts. FITT is an acronym for:

  • Frequency
  • Intensity
  • Time
  • Type of exercise
  • Individuals take these elements to create and adjust workouts that fit their goals and fitness levels.

For example, this could be a workout of 3 to 5 days combined with low, medium, and high-intensity exercises for 30 to 60 minutes each session that incorporates cardio and strength training. Focusing on these details and progressing over time helps create an effective program.


Workout frequency and how often the individual is going to exercise is the first thing to look at.

  • Frequency depends on various factors, including the type of workout being done, how hard the workout is, fitness levels, and exercise goals.
  • General exercise guidelines developed by the American College of Sports Medicine offer recommendations. (Carol Ewing Garber, et al., 2011)

Cardiovascular Workouts

  • Cardio workouts are usually scheduled more often.
  • Depending on goals, guidelines recommend moderate cardio exercise five or more days a week or intense cardio three days a week to improve health.
  • Individuals can adjust the exercise intensity level easily on a treadmill to provide excellent and convenient cardiovascular workouts.
  • Individuals who want to lose weight may want to work up to more workouts gradually.
  • However, more is not always better, and recovery time is essential. (Pete McCall. 2018)

Strength Training

  • The recommended frequency for strength training is two to three non-consecutive days a week. (National Strength and Conditioning Association. 2017)
  • Individuals should have at least one to two days of rest and recovery between sessions.
  • Workout frequency will often depend on the type of training sessions being performed as well as health goals.
  • For example, individuals want to work on each muscle group at least two times a week if their goal is to build muscle. (Brad J. Schoenfeld, Dan Ogborn, James W. Krieger. 2016)
  • For individuals following a split routine, like upper body one day and lower body the next, workouts can be more frequent than total body workouts.


Workout intensity involves how hard the individual is pushing themselves during exercise. How it is increased or decreased depends on the type of workout. (Carol Ewing Garber, et al., 2011)

Cardiovascular Workouts

For cardio, individuals will monitor workout intensity by:

  • Heart rate
  • Perceived exertion
  • Talk test
  • Heart rate monitor
  • A combination of these measures.
  1. The general recommendation is to work at a moderate intensity for steady workouts.
  2. Interval training is done at a higher intensity for a shorter period.
  3. It’s recommended to mix up low, medium, and high-intensity cardio exercises to stimulate different energy systems and prevent overtraining. (Nathan Cardoos. 2015)

Strength Training

  • Individual intensity comprises the amount of weight being lifted and the number of reps and sets done.
  • The intensity can change based on health goals.
  1. Beginners looking to build stability, endurance, and muscle are recommended to use a lighter weight and do fewer sets with high repetitions – for example, two or three sets of 12 to 20 reps.
  2. Individuals wanting to grow muscle are recommended to do more sets with a moderate amount of reps – for example, four sets of 10 to 12 reps each.
  3. Individuals who want to build strength are recommended to use heavy weights and do more sets with fewer reps – for example, five sets of three reps each.
  4. Building muscle can be done with a wide range of repetitions and weights. (Brad J. Schoenfeld, Dan Ogborn, James W. Krieger. 2016)


The next element of the plan is how long the exercise will be during each session. Exercise length depends on individual fitness level and the type of workout being done.

Cardiovascular Workouts

The exercise guidelines suggest 30 to 60 minutes of cardio, but workout duration will depend on fitness level and type of exercise. ((Carol Ewing Garber, et al., 2011)

  • Beginners are recommended to start with a 15- to 20-minute workout.
  • Individuals with some workout experience and are doing steady-state cardio, like jogging or using a cardio machine, might exercise for 30 to 60 minutes.
  • For individuals doing interval training and working at very high intensity, the workout will be shorter, around 10 to 15 minutes of high-intensity interval training.
  • Having a variety of workouts of different intensities and durations will provide a solid, balanced cardiovascular program.

Strength Training

  • How long an individual strength trains will depend on the type of workout and schedule.
  • A total body workout can take over an hour.
  • A split routine can take less time by working fewer muscle groups in one session.


The type of exercise you do is the last part of the FIIT principle.
It is easy to manipulate to avoid overuse injuries or weight loss plateaus.

Cardiovascular Workouts

  • Cardio is easy to adjust and change because any activity that increases heart rate counts.
  1. Walking, dancing, running, cycling, swimming, and using an elliptical trainer are a few activities that can be incorporated.
  2. Having multiple cardio activities is recommended to reduce burnout and keep workouts fresh.

Strength Training

  • Strength training workouts can also be varied.
  • They include any exercise where some type of resistance  –  bands, dumbbells, machines, etc. are used to work the muscles.
  • Bodyweight exercises can also be considered a form of strength training.
  • Strength workouts can be changed from total body training to adding, for example, supersets or pyramid training.
  • Incorporating new exercises for each body area is another way to vary the type of workouts.
  • Spending a few weeks working on functional strength movements, then switching to hypertrophy or strength-based training.
  • Each modality includes various alternative types of strength-based exercises.

Using FITT

The FITT principle outlines how to adjust workout programs to achieve better results. It also helps figure out how to change workouts to avoid burnout, overuse injuries, and plateaus.

For example, walking three times a week for 30 minutes at a moderate pace is recommended for a beginner to start out with. After a few weeks, the body adapts to the workout. This results in burning fewer calories, burnout, or weight management efforts, and goals are put on hold. This is where the FITT principles come in. For example, a change-up could include:

  • Changing frequency by adding another day of walking or jogging.
  • Changing intensity by walking faster, adding more challenging terrain like a hill, or jogging at certain intervals.
  • Walking for a longer time each workout day.
  • Changing the type of workout by swapping one or more of the walk sessions for cycling or aerobics.
  1. Even just changing one element can make a big difference in the workout and how the body responds to exercise.
  2. It’s important to change things up regularly to keep the body healthy and mind engaged.

Injury Prevention

One of the best things about using FITT is that it allows individuals to monitor the length and intensity of their workouts. When individuals work out too frequently or don’t get enough rest, they run the risk of overuse injuries, burnout, and muscle strains. The FITT principle encourages adding variety to workouts. When following this practice, it allows the body to rest and recover properly. Because individuals are not working the same muscle groups over and over again, better results are achieved.

Fighting Inflammation Naturally


Garber, C. E., Blissmer, B., Deschenes, M. R., Franklin, B. A., Lamonte, M. J., Lee, I. M., Nieman, D. C., Swain, D. P., & American College of Sports Medicine (2011). American College of Sports Medicine position stand. Quantity and quality of exercise for developing and maintaining cardiorespiratory, musculoskeletal, and neuromotor fitness in apparently healthy adults: guidance for prescribing exercise. Medicine and science in sports and exercise, 43(7), 1334–1359.

McCall Pete. 8 reasons to take a rest day. (2018) American Council on Exercise.

National Strength and Conditioning Association. (2017) Determination of resistance training frequency.

Schoenfeld, B. J., Ogborn, D., & Krieger, J. W. (2016). Effects of Resistance Training Frequency on Measures of Muscle Hypertrophy: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Sports medicine (Auckland, N.Z.), 46(11), 1689–1697.

Cardoos, Nathan MD. Overtraining Syndrome. (May/June 2015). Current Sports Medicine Reports 14(3):p 157-158. DOI: 10.1249/JSR.0000000000000145

Understanding Acupuncture Treatment: A Beginner’s Guide

Understanding Acupuncture Treatment: A Beginner’s Guide

For individuals dealing with pain, inflammatory conditions, and stress issues, could adding acupuncture to a treatment plan help bring relief and healing?

Understanding Acupuncture Treatment: A Beginner's Guide

Acupuncture Treatment

Acupuncture treatment is a traditional Chinese medicine based on circulating the body’s life energy, or qi, with the idea that a blockage or disturbance in the energy flow can cause health issues. Acupuncturists insert thin needles into specific points throughout the body to rebalance the body’s energy, stimulate healing, and promote relaxation. (Johns Hopkins Medicine. 2023) Researchers are not exactly sure how the treatment works; however, theories suggest that it can help release endorphins, as well as influence the autonomic nervous system.

How Does It Work?

Researchers have not been able to understand how acupuncture works fully, but some theories include:

  • The needles stimulate the release of endorphins – the body’s natural pain-relieving chemicals.
  • They can influence the autonomic nervous system, and specific needle placement impacts breathing, blood pressure, and heart rate. (Tony Y. Chon, Mark C. Lee. 2013)


Acupuncture has been useful for a variety of conditions, including (Tony Y. Chon, Mark C. Lee. 2013)

  • Chronic pain
  • Migraines and associated symptoms
  • Sinus congestion or nasal stuffiness
  • Insomnia and sleep-related difficulties
  • Stress
  • Anxiety
  • Arthritis joint inflammation
  • Nausea
  • Infertility – difficulty getting pregnant
  • Depression
  • Skin appearance (Younghee Yun et al., 2013)


The health benefits can vary depending on the individual. It may take several sessions before benefits are noticed. (Tony Y. Chon, Mark C. Lee. 2013) Research is still limited; however, there are some studies that found acupuncture to be helpful for certain conditions.

Low Back Pain

  • A study on non-pharmacological options for lower back pain showed that acupuncture treatment relieved intense pain and promoted better back functioning.
  • However, in terms of long-term benefits, it was not clear how helpful the treatment was. (Roger Chou, et al., 2017)


Research done over a six-month period showed that:

  • Acupuncture was able to reduce the frequency of migraine symptoms by half in 41% of individuals compared to those not receiving acupuncture.
  • Treatment was noted as being helpful as preventative migraine medications. (Klaus Linde, et al., 2016)

Tension Headaches

  • According to research, having at least six acupuncture sessions may be helpful for individuals with frequent head pain or pressure/tension headaches.
  • This study also noted that acupuncture, combined with pain medication, significantly reduced headache frequency compared to those only given medication. (Klaus Linde, et al., 2016)

Knee Pain

  • Multiple studies found that acupuncture treatment may be able to improve knee function short and long-term in individuals who have knee osteoarthritis.
  • This condition causes the connective tissue in the knee to break down.
  • The study also found that treatment was able to help with osteoarthritis and decrease knee pain but was only helpful for the short term. (Xianfeng Lin, et al., 2016)
  • Another review looked at multiple studies that found that treatment delayed and reduced the use of pain medication in individuals who had knee replacement surgery. (Dario Tedesco, et al., 2017)

Facial Elasticity

  • Cosmetic or facial acupuncture is used to improve the appearance of the skin on the head, face, and neck.
  • In a study, individuals had five acupuncture sessions in three weeks, and a little over half of the participants showed skin elasticity improvement. (Younghee Yun et al., 2013)

The Process

Before getting acupuncture treatment, the acupuncturist will ask the individual about their medical history and may perform a physical examination.

  • Thin needles are placed in specific areas to address your concern or condition.
  • The acupuncturist may gently twist the needles to emphasize stimulation.
  • The needles are left in for 20 to 30 minutes, with the total session lasting anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour. (Tony Y. Chon, Mark C. Lee. 2013)

The acupuncturist may use additional techniques that can include: (Tony Y. Chon, Mark C. Lee. 2013)


  • This is the burning of dried herbs near the acupuncture needles to warm and stimulate the points and enhance healing.


  • An electrical device is connected to the needles, providing a gentle electrical current that stimulates the muscles.


  • Glass or silicone cups are placed on the area, creating a vacuum/suction effect, which helps stimulate blood circulation and rebalance the energy. (Johns Hopkins Medicine. 2023)
  • After the treatment, some individuals may feel relaxed, while others may feel energized.

Is It Painful?

Individuals may feel a slight ache, sting, or pinch as the needle is inserted. Some acupuncturists adjust the needle after it has been inserted, which can cause additional pressure.

  • Once the needle is properly placed, individuals may feel a tingling or heavy feeling, referred to as de qi. (National Institutes of Health. (N.D.)
  • Let the acupuncturist know if there is discomfort or increased pain at any point during the session.
  • Intense pain may mean the needle has not been inserted or placed correctly. (Johns Hopkins Medicine. 2023)

Side Effects

As with any treatment, side effects can present in individuals that include:

  • Pain and bleeding from the needle insertion
  • Bruising around the area, the needles were placed
  • Nausea
  • Allergic reaction
  • Skin rash
  • Infections
  • Dizziness (Malcolm W. C. Chan et al., 2017)

In order to reduce the risks, the treatment should always be done by a licensed trained healthcare provider using clean, disposable needles. It is recommended to consult with a primary care physician before getting acupuncture, as the treatment may not be right for individuals with certain health conditions.

Heel Spurs


Johns Hopkins Medicine. (2023) Acupuncture.

Chon, T. Y., & Lee, M. C. (2013). Acupuncture. Mayo Clinic proceedings, 88(10), 1141–1146.

Yun, Y., Kim, S., Kim, M., Kim, K., Park, J. S., & Choi, I. (2013). Effect of facial cosmetic acupuncture on facial elasticity: an open-label, single-arm pilot study. Evidence-based complementary and alternative medicine : eCAM, 2013, 424313.

Chou, R., Deyo, R., Friedly, J., Skelly, A., Hashimoto, R., Weimer, M., Fu, R., Dana, T., Kraegel, P., Griffin, J., Grusing, S., & Brodt, E. D. (2017). Nonpharmacologic Therapies for Low Back Pain: A Systematic Review for an American College of Physicians Clinical Practice Guideline. Annals of internal medicine, 166(7), 493–505.

Linde, K., Allais, G., Brinkhaus, B., Fei, Y., Mehring, M., Vertosick, E. A., Vickers, A., & White, A. R. (2016). Acupuncture for the prevention of episodic migraine. The Cochrane database of systematic reviews, 2016(6), CD001218.

Linde, K., Allais, G., Brinkhaus, B., Fei, Y., Mehring, M., Shin, B. C., Vickers, A., & White, A. R. (2016). Acupuncture for the prevention of tension-type headache. The Cochrane database of systematic reviews, 4(4), CD007587.

Lin, X., Huang, K., Zhu, G., Huang, Z., Qin, A., & Fan, S. (2016). The Effects of Acupuncture on Chronic Knee Pain Due to Osteoarthritis: A Meta-Analysis. The Journal of bone and joint surgery. American volume, 98(18), 1578–1585.

Tedesco, D., Gori, D., Desai, K. R., Asch, S., Carroll, I. R., Curtin, C., McDonald, K. M., Fantini, M. P., & Hernandez-Boussard, T. (2017). Drug-Free Interventions to Reduce Pain or Opioid Consumption After Total Knee Arthroplasty: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. JAMA surgery, 152(10), e172872.

National Institutes of Health. (N.D.) De qi sensation.

Chan, M. W. C., Wu, X. Y., Wu, J. C. Y., Wong, S. Y. S., & Chung, V. C. H. (2017). Safety of Acupuncture: Overview of Systematic Reviews. Scientific reports, 7(1), 3369.

How to Choose the Right Protein Bars

How to Choose the Right Protein Bars

For individuals trying to make healthy lifestyle adjustments, can adding protein bars into their diet help achieve health goals?

How to Choose the Right Protein Bars

Protein Bar

Protein bars provide a quick energy boost between meals that can help curb appetite and avoid filling up on high-fat, sodium-packed snacks for individuals trying to lose weight. They can also increase calorie intake for individuals like athletes trying to increase muscle mass. Protein bars can vary in terms of factors like additives, calories, fat, sugars, and other ingredients. Labels need to be read carefully; otherwise, the bar can be more of a candy bar than a healthy, nutritious mini-meal or snack. It’s important to have a sense of how much protein is really needed each day, and the amount varies depending on individual factors.

How Much Protein Is Needed

Protein is vital to many body functions, but the body can’t produce this macronutrient, and it has to come from food. Dietary protein is broken down during digestion, and compounds known as amino acids are formed:

  • These are the building blocks the body uses to build and maintain muscles and organs.
  • It is vital to the production of blood, connective tissue, antibodies, enzymes, and hair. (Marta Lonnie, et al., 2018)
  • As protein is necessary for building muscle, athletes or individuals with physically demanding jobs are recommended to eat more.
  • The same is true of women who are pregnant or breastfeeding. (Trina V. Stephens, et al., 2015)
  • Bodybuilders eat even more protein than the average person to support muscle growth.

Protein Calculator


The richest sources of dietary protein include:

  • Meats
  • Poultry
  • Fish and shellfish
  • Eggs
  • Milk and other dairy products

Plant sources include:

  • Beans
  • Legumes
  • Nuts
  • Seeds
  • Whole grains

These are foods that are easy to include in a balanced diet, so eating a variety in ample quantities daily will equal the recommended amount of protein. Recommendations are to stick with those low in saturated fat and processed carbs and rich in nutrients. However, eating too much protein can cause kidney problems. Therefore, individuals who are predisposed to kidney disease are recommended to be careful over-protein intake. (Kamyar Kalantar-Zadeh, Holly M. Kramer, Denis Fouque. 2020)

What To Look For

Incorporating protein bars into a diet, either as a between-meal snack, as a grab-and-go option when there is no time for a full meal, or as a part of a weight-loss or weight-gain strategy, individuals need to read and understand the ingredients on the different types of bars to choosing the healthiest options. Some general guidelines to consider:

Protein Content

  • For a between-meal or pre-post-workout snack, look for a bar with at least 20 grams of protein.
  • Meal replacement bars should have at least 30 grams of protein.
  • A less is more approach to these guidelines is recommended, as the body can digest only between 20 and 40 grams of protein in one sitting. (Brad Jon Schoenfeld, Alan Albert Aragon. 2018)

Protein Type

  • The protein usually comes from dairy or plant sources.
  • The most common include eggs, milk, rice, whey, soy, peas, and hemp.
  • Individuals with allergies or sensitivities need to choose a bar that is comprised of a type of protein that is safe to eat.


  • For a bar to eat between meals, recommendations are those with around 220 to 250 calories.
  • A protein bar that substitutes for a full meal can have 300 to 400 calories.


  • Ten to 15 grams of total fat and no more than two grams of saturated fat is ideal.
  • Steer clear of unhealthy trans fats found in partially hydrogenated oils.


  • Fiber is filling, so the more fiber, the more likely it is to keep hunger satisfied until the next snack or meal.
  • It is recommended to choose those that contain more than three to five grams of fiber.


  • Some protein bars have just as much sugar content as candy bars.
  • Some have as much as 30 grams of added sugar.
  • The ideal amount is around five grams or less.
  • Artificial sweeteners like erythritol, sorbitol, and maltitol are not better options as they can cause bloating and gas.

It is recommended to work with a nutritionist to figure out the most effective type so that they can be incorporated into an individual’s diet to achieve and maintain health goals.

Nutrition Fundamentals


Lonnie, M., Hooker, E., Brunstrom, J. M., Corfe, B. M., Green, M. A., Watson, A. W., Williams, E. A., Stevenson, E. J., Penson, S., & Johnstone, A. M. (2018). Protein for Life: Review of Optimal Protein Intake, Sustainable Dietary Sources and the Effect on Appetite in Ageing Adults. Nutrients, 10(3), 360.

Stephens, T. V., Payne, M., Ball, R. O., Pencharz, P. B., & Elango, R. (2015). Protein requirements of healthy pregnant women during early and late gestation are higher than current recommendations. The Journal of nutrition, 145(1), 73–78.

Arentson-Lantz, E., Clairmont, S., Paddon-Jones, D., Tremblay, A., & Elango, R. (2015). Protein: A nutrient in focus. Applied physiology, nutrition, and metabolism = Physiologie appliquee, nutrition et metabolisme, 40(8), 755–761.

Kalantar-Zadeh, K., Kramer, H. M., & Fouque, D. (2020). High-protein diet is bad for kidney health: unleashing the taboo. Nephrology, dialysis, transplantation : official publication of the European Dialysis and Transplant Association – European Renal Association, 35(1), 1–4.

Schoenfeld, B. J., & Aragon, A. A. (2018). How much protein can the body use in a single meal for muscle-building? Implications for daily protein distribution. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 15, 10.