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Five Reasons Why Your New Year’s Resolutions Suck

Written by: Ava Elliott, Marketing Intern and Future Dietitian

Reviewed by: Devon Kroesché, MS, RDN, LDN

New Year’s Resolutions get a bad rap – just because most fail before February doesn’t mean yours has to! Andrew Wade, CEO and Founder of Case Specific Nutrition joins Devon Kroesche, Registered Dietitian (RD) and Marketing Director of Case Specific Nutrition to tell you why your New Year’s Resolution SUCKS, and how to make a better one. Read below for a recap or click here to watch.

 

  1. You view it as a chore.
    • Nobody likes chores.
    • If this resolution should make your life better, why do something that makes you miserable?
    • Instead, choose habits that you enjoy. For example: exercise – movement is the goal of your exercise. How do you like to move? Maybe you go for walks with your dog or play pickup basketball with your friends.
  1. You don’t have a why.
    • Having a good why behind your resolution is a necessity for change.
    • Why are you choosing this goal and how does it make you feel?
    • Is improved health going to decrease your knee pain so you can play catch with your kids?
    • Choose something that is important and do it for you.
  1. It’s too vague.
    • Vague = VAPID
      • Goals are Vague, Amorphous, Pie in the sky, Irrelevant, and Delayed
    • Maybe you are choosing to eat more veggies, but how often? When? Why?
    • Set SMART goals that are Specific Measurable Attainable Realistic and Time sensitive
    • Now to change the “eating more veggies” to be SMART: include veggies at lunch and dinner, daily. This will set a timeline and make the goal more realistic. You can look up recipes to add more veggies to your day.
  1. You don’t have a plan.
    • If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.
    • What do you want to accomplish and how will you look get there? Make a plan.
    • Going back to the goal of exercise, do you have gym membership, or will you go for weekly walks with a friend?
    • SMART goals will help you build a plan.
    • RDs help evaluate their client’s stages of change and assess how ready you are to make a change.
    • Often times, people get stuck in the preparation phase because of a lack of plan.
  1. You have not identified your cheerleaders.
    • Making changes and going against our normal habits of day-to-day life can be a challenge. Identifying your cheerleaders will help you succeed.
    • Professionals, like RDs at CSN, are part of your team.
    • In your house, identify your cheerleaders: spouse, family members, loved ones.
    • In your life, identify your friends and people you spend time with. They are the people you’ll make plans with and will support you to help you stick to your new habits.

 

Those are all five reasons why your new year’s resolutions suck, but let’s flip it around to…the five steps that you need to take to make a New Year’s resolution that will last.

  1. Find something you do not view as a chore.
  2. Find your why.
  3. Make it SMART.
  4. Make a plan.
  5. Identify your cheerleaders.

If you’d like to work with one of our RDs as your cheerleader, please email scheduling@casespecificnutrition.com to schedule an appointment and begin working on your new goals.

 

What to do if you think your child has an eating disorder

What to Do If You Think Your Child Has an Eating Disorder

Co-Written By: Ava Elliott, Marketing Intern & Danielle Marzella MS, RDN, LDN

Reviewed by: Devon Kroesché MS, RDN, LDN & Danielle Marzella MS, RDN, LDN

The prevalence of eating disorders (ED) and disordered eating is still being studied and results vary based on specific types and subtypes of EDs. However, the nationwide prevalence for children with EDs is increasing and can continue into adulthood. It is vital to prevent disordered eating from developing into a clinically diagnosed ED. After speaking with Danielle, who specializes in counseling clients with eating disorders (ED) and disordered eating, we compiled a list of “do’s” and “don’ts” if you suspect your child may have disordered behaviors. Additionally, some general tips on how to proceed with getting professional help.

 

Tips To Do

Make an appointment with a professional. There is no point that is too soon to schedule an appointment with a Registered Dietitian (RD), counselor, or doctor. It is important to get help and establish a path towards recovery. As a parent, be aware of the conversations your children are having with their friends and conversations that occur around your children. Is anything triggering? Is there a lot of diet talk?

Step 1: Express concerns to a doctor and see their opinion.

  • Danielle recommends speaking with a pediatrician or RD who has background knowledge in working with EDs and disordered eating. Look for the Certified Eating Disorders Specialist (CEDS) credentials or a provider with a specialty in EDs. It is vital to work with a professional who is trained and can help your child on the path to recovery. Some RDs and doctors have experience with appetite stimulants, how to manage medications, and can also refer you to another qualified provider.

Step 2: Be an advocate for your child.

  • If you start working with a health-care professional that you do not feel comfortable with, switch to another provider. Children are easily imprinted upon, and you want them to get the best help possible. Speak up to help your child maximize their experience.

Step 3: Support your child.

  • Encourage your child and always support them, but do not force any diet talk. Forcing certain food patterns will create a negative environment around food and you want to create a welcoming environment in your home. All foods fit.
  • Your tone of voice as a parent is vital to support your child. For example, you might say to your child in private, “I’m noticing (behavior) and wondering if you are feeling some type of way? Why don’t we find someone that can help us explain this behavior. We can both learn more together.” Sharing the burden with your child will help them feel loved and supported in this complex environment.

Step 4: Be aware of your tone of voice.

  • Remain inquisitive and supportive.
  • If you are struggling to get your child to attend a meeting, spin it in way that your child needs to hear it. This conversation might look like:
    • “Okay, detective. If you’re concerned, let’s seek help.”
    • “You want to maximize your nutrition and a dietitian can help us with our bodies and nutrition.”
    • “You think nothing is wrong with your habits. Let’s go prove your point and see a professional to provide proof you are right.”
  • Your child may know something is wrong deep down and not want to do anything about their disordered behaviors. Meet them where they are. Remain supportive and you can say, “I want to feel my body too. Let’s go find a dietitian that understands us.”

 

Please, Do Not:

  • Minimize a person’s experience.
  • Say, “just eat it” or “it doesn’t matter.”
  • Do not comment on your child’s food choices, body shape, or size.
  • Do not say foods are “good” or “bad” for you.
  • Do not align morality with food.
  • Do not talk about dieting and expect your children not to diet.

 

Once you and your child are ready to seek help, you want to feel comfortable with your RD and trust them to help your child through this tough time. RDs will work with you and your child to develop a level of care that is most comfortable for both of you. Keep in mind, throughout the process you can evaluate YOU. Are you contributing to triggering thoughts and talking about how foods are good and bad for you? Or are you supporting your child on the journey to create a positive relationship with food and their bodies?

You can be an advocate for your child even outside of counseling sessions. Normalize shutting down body talk and food talk. During the holidays, you can tell your family members, “do not say comments about food in front of my child.” You are their biggest support system. What is your child comfortable with? Make sure you are on the same page with how to handle things in public. If you think your child may have disordered eating and you want to minimize further disordered thoughts, you can schedule an appointment to speak with a dietitian by emailing scheduling@casespecificnutrition.com.

Anti-inflammatory foods

Anti-Inflammatory Foods & Reducing Stress

Written by: Ava Elliott, Marketing Intern and Future Dietitian

Reviewed by: Devon Kroesché, MS, RDN, LDN

I often hear others around me express stress whether involving schoolwork, a job, or personal matters. I get it. I get stressed out too, but how can we reduce daily stressors to prevent our bodies from initiating an innate inflammatory response? I will highlight examples of anti-inflammatory foods and lifestyle changes that can help you reduce stress and inflammation in your life.

First, let’s discuss the inflammatory process that occurs in our bodies. When there is an inflammatory response caused by cell injury, the body sends immune cells to the site of infection/trauma to clear it. The immune cells help return the affected site back to normal and reduce local inflammation. Anti-inflammatory substances released are part of a healthy immune response.

Do you know the difference between acute vs chronic inflammation? Acute inflammation occurs for minutes to hours and is involved with things like wound healing. Chronic inflammation occurs for weeks to months, and sometimes years. It can occur in diseases like rheumatic disorders, autoimmune diseases, and other chronic illnesses. Our bodies are not built to deal with chronic inflammation. Long term, chronic stress can suppress the immune system and lead to complications. By adding anti-inflammatory foods into your diet, you can counteract inflammation.

Nutrition and lifestyle can help reduce inflammation and lessen symptoms. Many phytonutrients and other micronutrients have anti-inflammatory properties. Phytonutrients also have antioxidant properties that help reduce oxidative stress. This reaction is important because damage from oxidative stress can lead to chronic diseases and cause damage to cells. Antioxidants act as a safety net from this damage.

  • Examples of anti-inflammatory nutrients include:
    • Curcumin (in turmeric) and black pepper combined
    • Polyphenols in green tea, blueberries, and capsicum peppers
    • Carotenoids:
      • Lycopene in tomatoes, peaches, watermelon
      • Beta-carotene in carrots, sweet potatoes, spinach, broccoli
      • Astaxanthin in salmon, algae, shrimp
    • Omega 3 fatty acids in foods like olive oil, canola oil, fatty fish (like salmon and tuna), flax seeds, chia seeds, walnuts, fortified foods
    • Some herbs and spices like garlic, cinnamon, rosemary, sage, thyme

As you can see, there are many plant foods that contain phytonutrients that can be beneficial for our bodies and help reduce inflammation. Following a dietary pattern high in fruits and vegetables, eating legumes, sources of omega-3s, low-fat dairy products, lean meats, whole grains, and minimal alcohol consumption can provide our bodies with the essential nutrients it needs. The Institue of Functional Medicine has a great resource of foods rich in phytonutrients displayed by eating a “rainbow.”

As far as lifestyle habits to reduce stress and inflammation, it is important to practice mindfulness, exercise, spend time outdoors, avoid processed foods, drink water, and eat a variety of nutrients (especially fruits and veggies). Other important factors include getting adequate sleep, avoiding foods if you have an allergy/intolerance, and reducing oxidative stress (limit toxins, smoking, and eat your anti-inflammatory foods). If you want to speak with a registered dietitian about incorporating more anti-inflammatory foods and practices into your lifestyle, please email scheduling@casespecificnutrition.com.

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Functional Movement Screen

Posted by: Ava Elliott, Marketing Intern and Future Dietitian

Hess Physical Therapy provides rehabilitation services in the west side of Pittsburgh. Their team of physical therapists uses a science-based approach to provide the utmost care for their patients. The following post is written by Jessica Homer, the Director of Operations, and her colleague about functional movement screening. Their services are similar to what Alex at Case Specific Athletics provides to the east side of Pittsburgh.

THINKING ABOUT YOUR FALL WORKOUTS AND TRAINING PROGRAMS?

THINK ABOUT FMS!

Functional Movement Screen

Written By: Jessica Homer, PT, DPT, COMT, HMS, OCS

Gage Swartz PT, DPT, COMT, CSCS, FMS, USAW

Alex Kalmar, CSCS

 

What is the FMS?

The Functional Movement Screen (FMS) is a screening tool used to evaluate fundamental movement patterns that are necessary for an individual’s optimal performance. The FMS is designed to provide an individual with opportunities to improve movement and maximize their training results.  The screen is a series of movements that highlight dysfunction where stability and mobility deficits exist. Many individuals who perform weightlifting, sports, and other activities at high levels are limited in fundamental movement, thus increasing their risk for injury. The desire to perform quantity over quality results in compensatory movements to achieve or maintain the level of performance required for that activity. The use of compensation during movement will lead to poor biomechanics. This limits gains in performance and reduces the body’s ability to remain adaptable against the risks involved in that activity or sport.

 

Why FMS?

FMS screening will provide an individual with a personalized report on areas of weakness, asymmetries, and movement dysfunction that correlates with their activity of interest. These results will highlight ways to optimize and improve performance, maximize results, and ultimately decrease risk of injury! If you want to learn how to improve your performance, maximize your results and decrease risk of injury, you will want to get an individual FMS score!

 

Summary

FMS is a great tool to observe someone’s movement quality and highlight any asymmetries they may have. A key focus to proper training is to balance out any asymmetries. This helps mitigate compensatory movements due to strength or mobility imbalances, which will hopefully improve biomechanics and limit risk of injury in all populations.

 

So, before you begin developing your workout program, think about FMS! 

For functional movement screening in the North and West Sides of Pittsburgh, check out Hess Physical Therapy and their team at hesspt.com

For FMS on the East Side, reach out to Alex Kalmar of Case Specific Athletics at alex@casespecificathletics.com

 

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Does Cooking Food Make It Lose Its Nutrients?

Written by: Ava Elliott, Marketing Intern & Future Dietitian

Reviewed by: Devon Kroesche, MS, RDN, LDN

 

A common question registered dietitians receive is: does how we cook food alter its nutrient content and absorption? The short answer is, yes – the way food is prepared can maintain or decrease nutrient absorption, and in this article, I’ll explain why. 

The six main nutrient groups consist of carbohydrates, lipids/fats, proteins, vitamins, minerals, and water. All of these nutrients are essential to our bodies, and it is vital to maintain the highest nutrient content during the cooking process.  

Vitamins and minerals function as antioxidants and provide many essential nutrients. Foods with a high vitamin and mineral content include meat, dairy products, egg yolk, fermented foods, and plants. There are certainly many others, so it is important to eat a variety of foods during the day.  

Cooking methods and preparation time are priorities you may have while cooking. Nutrient-breakdown is another important factor to consider during cooking because not all cooking methods are created equal. The goal is to maintain the most nutrients. For a lot of vegetables, it is necessary to cook them to improve digestibility; the softening of cellulose structure increases nutrient absorption (like calcium, magnesium, and potassium.) Boiling and cooking reduces the nutrient content, but about 75% is retained. As you know, cook the veggies until they are softened and have a bright color.  

Keep in mind, the nutrients most susceptible to nutrient loss are water-soluble vitamins. Instead of cooking, you can buy/prepare frozen, canned, and dried fruits and vegetables that retain water-soluble vitamins. If you are trying to shop on a budget, frozen or canned produce are budget-friendly and still provide many nutrients. Frozen fruits and veggies undergo blanching (boiling and steaming for a short period of time) prior to freezing, which helps maintain the vitamin and mineral content. The USDA has a table of Nutrient Retention Factors if you are interested in the exact amount of 16 vitamins and 8 minerals maintained for around 300 foods.  

Other foods like meat and eggs are cooked to eliminate bacteria. Make sure you follow proper food safety methods and cook food to the correct temperature. For example, chicken and poultry should be cooked until they reach an internal temperature of at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit. When frying, roasting, or boiling chicken, 40% of folate is lost. Many other nutrients are retained, so it is not a concern. On the other hand, eggs on the stove (fried or scrambled) lose folate the most from the heat process as well as a few other vitamins like vitamin C and vitamin B12. About 75-85% of these nutrients are retained, however.  

Overall, the cooking process does alter nutrients because of the heat. But, as long as you prepare food safely and for the correct time, you can maintain the most nutrients. If you’d like to speak to a dietitian about the way you prepare your food, schedule an appointment by emailing scheduling@casespecificnutrition.com. 

3 Things Your RD Wants You to Know Before Your First Appointment

3 Things Your RD Wants You to Know Before Your First Appointment

Written by: Ava Elliott, Marketing Intern

Reviewed by: Devon Kroesché, MS, RDN, LDN

It can be intimidating to schedule an appointment with your new healthcare provider. You are wondering what a registered dietitian (RD) can do. Rest assured that the RDs at Case Specific Nutrition (CSN) are here to help. To prepare for your first visit, here are a few things your RD wants you to know:

    1. You are courageous. I’m proud of you for realizing that you can’t do this alone and seeking out an expert health professional, rather than trying the trendy diet you saw on TikTok. It takes bravery to reach out, schedule an appointment, show up and be vulnerable because, let’s face it, food is personal.
    2. You won’t be judged. Dietitians are not the food police. I won’t judge you if you eat fast food every day or even if you want to KEEP eating fast food every day. If you’re not sure if you want to give up your current diet like keto or beach body, I will meet you where you are to help you achieve YOUR goals. I will give you my honest opinion, but you decide where we go from there.
    3. Your life is about to change forever. Once you start working with a dietitian, you’ll relate to food in a whole new way and finally understand the root of your eating behaviors. You’ll have an arsenal of knowledge and tools that you will be able to use to make informed food decisions for the rest of your life!

Working with an RD can be very impactful and bring peace to your body and mind. Whether you are struggling with food intolerances/allergies, disordered eating, or wanting peace with food, CSN has a dietitian that is right for you. If you are interested in scheduling an appointment, email scheduling@casespecificnutrition.com.

Upcoming at CSN…

RDN Devon Kroesché and Dr. Sobel are hosting A Midsummer Night’s Dream on August 11th at 7pm on Zoom! They will be discussing seasonal plant-based meal prep that is both affordable and easy for a busy household. Click the button to join the Zoom.

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Mindful Eating & Slowing Down

Picture from: https://www.ecommunity.com/healthminute/2021/20-foods-your-heart-loves

Written by: Ava Elliott, Marketing Intern

Reviewed by: Devon Kroesche, MS, RDN, LDN

The Oxford dictionary defines mindfulness as “a mental state achieved by concentrating on the present moment, while calmly accepting the feelings and thoughts that come to you, used as a technique to help you relax.” When applying this to the eating process, slowing down and concentrating on the food you are putting into your body can help you connect with your thoughts and bring you peace. Mindful eating can improve mental health by lowering disordered eating thoughts and anxiety, while also improving digestion and reducing overeating. It is important to focus on a few aspects while practicing mindfulness which lead to healthful benefits.

To begin, a few steps that you can take to practice mindful eating include getting rid of distractions. Check in with your senses: chew slowly, remain aware of each bite’s taste and texture, and imagine the food nourishing your body. Also, checking in with your hunger and fullness cues can help keep you satisfied. All these steps can help you slow down and really think about the food you are putting into your body. When you take a bite, do you feel the texture on your tongue? How does it taste? Do you connect with any memories associated with that bite? Are you slowing down?

Slowing down and practicing mindful eating can increase your natural awareness of hunger and satiety. A meal or snack with at least two food groups can help you feel satisfied. Nourishing your bodies with carbs, proteins, and fat will fulfil your appetite and promote satiety at mealtimes. Don’t forget to check in with your thoughts and make peace with food.

Mindful eating is important because we live in such a fast-paced world where everything is available at our fingertips. Some carry that mindset over to mealtime. Maybe you are watching an episode of your favorite show to relax during breakfast. Maybe you have a 30-minute lunch break and eat super quickly so that you have extra time to use the restroom or take a coffee run. Maybe you will eat dinner quickly so you can meet up with your friends in town for a few drinks. All of these scenarios are normal for most people, but peace with food can be lost along the way. By attempting to follow some of the steps I previously mentioned, there can be a positive impact on both your mental and physical health.

If you would like to schedule an appointment with one of our dietitians to talk about mindful eating and making peace with food, please email scheduling@casespecificnutrition.com.

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Why You Don’t Actually Need to Cut Out Carbs

By: Ava Elliott, Marketing Intern

Reviewed by: Devon Kroesche, MS, RDN, LDN

Carbs often get a bad rap. They are described as “unhealthy” or “bad” for you. Let’s clear up this confusion because carbs nourish your body. Read that again, please. Carbs are nourishing to the human body for many reasons. For example, carbohydrates are turned into glucose to use as energy for your body.

It can be misleading on social media or by word-of-mouth when someone says you should cut carbs out of your diet. However, they are one of the five major food groups and an important macronutrient (others include fat and protein). It is vital to balance your dietary intake and eat from all the major food groups. First, I will discuss the distinct types of carbs. Then, I will emphasize the importance of eating the rainbow and having a variety of nutrients in your diet.

 

Types of Carbs

To begin, there are two distinct categories of carbs: simple and complex. Simple carbs consist of sugars, whereas complex carbs consist of starches and fiber.

Sugars

Sugars are simple carbs that include natural sugars and added sugars. Simple carbohydrates break down quickly in the body and give us quick energy. Furthermore, natural sugars include those naturally occurring in whole foods like fresh, whole fruits or in milk. Added sugars are added to foods for flavor and include things like canned fruit or fruit juice, ice cream, and baked goods.

Tip: Limit foods that are refined and high in added sugars from sugar-sweetened beverages, candy, and white flour and instead focus on getting a healthful balance of natural sugars from whole fruits and milk products.

Starches

Starches are complex carbs that include fruits (watermelon, raspberries, apples, etc.), vegetables (corn, potatoes, beets, etc.), whole-grains (oatmeal, whole-grain bread, brown rice), beans and legumes (chickpeas, lentils, black beans, etc). Complex carbohydrates break down longer in the body and provide energy, as well as helping us to feel fuller for longer. Most starches provide vitamins and minerals to our body.

Fiber

Fiber is a complex carb found in whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. Our body can’t digest fiber, but it aids in digestion and regulates blood sugar. Additionally, fiber keeps you fuller for a longer period. The two types of fiber are insoluble and soluble fiber. Insoluble fiber speeds up digestion and soluble fiber gives bulk to the stool. Both types of fiber are found in foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans and legumes, nuts and seeds.

Whether eating simple or complex carbs, they are fuel for our bodies. MyPlate is a great estimate to ensure you are eating enough carbs in a day. This recommendation says to fill half your plate with fruits and vegetables, a quarter with whole grains, and the last quarter with protein. Another tip is to replace half your grains with whole grains each day, to include fiber and complex carbs. Eating should include a balance of foods from all the food groups and nourish your body and mind.

If you have any questions, or would like to get in touch with our dietitians, please email us at scheduling@casespecificnutrition.com to schedule an appointment!

Which Milk is Healthiest?

By: Ava Elliott, Marketing Intern

Reviewed by: Devon Kroesche, MS RDN LDN

The Big 9 food allergens include milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, wheat, sesame, and soy. Many people are either lactose intolerant or have a milk allergy.

A food intolerance occurs when the human body has a chemical reaction and a challenging time digesting certain foods, whereas a food allergy elicits an immune response. With a milk allergy, there is an immune response elicited and a reaction to milk protein occurs. There are many cow’s milk alternatives on the market, and it can be confusing to choose the right milk for your body.

Let us break it down to the basics and learn about the several types of milk and plant-based milk available.

Cow’s Milk

Cow’s milk is a rich source of protein and calcium. Protein is important for growth and repair in the body. Calcium is vital for bone and teeth health, strong bones, and can reduce the risk of osteoporosis and osteoarthritis. Choosing milk with lower milkfat can decrease the saturated fat content.

Soy Milk

Soy milk is a lactose-free dairy substitute that is rich in B vitamins, protein, and omega-3 fatty acids: healthful fats that can help with brain health and prevent certain diseases like cardiovascular disease, arthritis, and some cancers. Look for soy milk that is fortified with calcium to help with bone health. Soy milk is comparable to cow’s milk, but it contains more fiber and has slightly less fat, carbohydrates, and sugar.

Oat Milk

Oat milk is another plant-based, milk alternative. Oat milk has 2 grams of fiber per 1 cup, but less protein than cow’s milk or soy milk. Look for oat milk that has fortified vitamins and minerals like vitamin D, calcium, and vitamin A. Another tip is to look for “unsweetened” oat milk to reduce the amount of sugar.

Almond Milk

Almond milk is another plant-based, lactose-free milk available for those who enjoy a nutty flavor. This milk is rich in magnesium, which is necessary for reactions in the body and can help control blood sugar levels. Look for unsweetened almond milk to lower amount of sugars and carbohydrates. A common tip is to purchase almond milk fortified with calcium and phosphorus to strengthen bones. Almond milk is also rich in antioxidants like vitamin E that help prevent cells from damage and lower the risk of certain conditions like heart disease.

Coconut Milk

Coconut milk is a great source of medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) which increase energy and are a healthful source of fat. Coconut milk contains a small amount of both iron and calcium. Coconut milk contains a higher amount of saturated fat and should be limited in moderation. 

It is important to consider allergies and intolerances when choosing the right milk for you. Some plant-based milks are great for cooking or baking, and others taste great alone or in coffee or tea. Check out the healthful tips mentioned above and the table comparing the nutrients of each milk mentioned above.

Whether you are choosing a non-dairy alternative due to an allergy/intolerance or other reasons, it is important to make sure you are not missing out on key nutrients. This is why working with a registered dietitian is so important! Schedule an appointment with us by emailing scheduling@casespecificnutrition.com.

The Athlete Mindset

Think you're not an athlete? Think again.

By: Jeremiah Rowe, CSCS, CPPS

The fitness industry is inundated with poor advice for lifters of all demographics. You see it when you go to your big box gym; that guy with 5 plates on each side of the bar, quarter-squatting his way to imminent lumbar disk herniations. You see it with the Instagram “influencers” spouting off their supplement recommendations and their promotion for fit teas and Botox. You see it in high school (and COLLEGE) athletics programs where the football coach hands his entire team the same workout plan to be followed, with next to zero oversight, for the next 3 months. The workout will have 12 exercises, each for 3 sets of 8-10 reps, except for bench press, of course. They’ll be maxing out on that every Monday. Perfect.

To paraphrase the great Michael Jordan, “”I take that personally.” That is why, when I was offered the position as head strength coach of Case Specific Wellness Center, I started visualizing what my future days would look like at this dream facility. I could hear the metal weights on the bench press clanging like church bells, calling everyone in earshot to give their attention to this sacred altar. 

I saw the hard-nosed, blue collar, western Pennsylvania football stars pushing a few hundred pounds of steel across the turf, their legs feeling like they’re disintegrating from their bodies, but still somehow finding that inner drive to push their knee to their chest and take another step, one after another. Over here an unassuming freshman girls’ soccer player is about to hit 135 lbs on her trap bar deadlift for the first time, and the rag-tag group of kids from various other teams and sports are encircling her, yelling and clapping as she grinds through her set and lifts two 45lb plates off the floor for the first time.

Yes. These athletes are working hard, but they’re working SMART, too. This idea is what turned my vision from Case Specific Wellness into Case Specific Athletics. I want to provide intelligent strength and conditioning coaching to athletes and general populations who want to work hard, but in a way that is going to train them for performance in life as well as on the field/court/rink/track, you name it. 

I’ve spent years working closely with general populations and their healthcare professionals trying to coach them intelligently in a way that allows them to feel better as much as look better. I love having people come to me with knee pain, unsure that they will even be able to train at all, only to realize 4 months later that they’ve got 100lbs on their back and they are squatting with no pain at all!

Now, the injury and movement impairment rehabilitative side of what I do is one thing, and I feel I’ve proven myself to (most of) my clients to be more than just a meathead gym bro. The issue, though, became this: Would the name Case Specific ATHLETICS turn away those populations who I am able to help move and feel better than ever?

I had one client who, when we were ordering new Case Specific Athletics hoodies with the new logo (see below), was hesitant to buy one because “There’s a weightlifter on it and I’d be embarrassed to wear it because I’m not fit.” This was the same client who, when she first came to our facility, was unsure if she should even bother with a nutrition appointment because “This is a place for elite athletes.” The same client who, a year later, is one of our hardest workers. She is in our gym 2-3 times per week in our B.A.S.I.C. (Building A System of Integral Components) Training classes, kicking the crap out of herself to get into the best shape she can, and pushing the pace of the whole class as she does it.

As adults, many of us lose touch with that youthful athletic drive that we possess through high school and maybe college. Our bodies age, we gain a bit of weight, we start to feel a bit more sluggish in our day-to-day grind. Sure, these are factors of life that everyone has to deal with at some point. I would argue, however, against the easily adopted mindset of “I’m not an athlete.” Do you think a non-athlete could go out and ride a bike through the whole neighborhood with his eight year old after a 10 hour workday? Do you think a non-athlete could be 70 years (young!) and accidentally trip over a crack in the sidewalk and manage to bring a foot through to catch his or herself before hitting the ground and possibly risking serious injury? Do you think a non-athlete could chase a wild toddler around the house all day, making sure the kid doesn’t jump off the couch or try to eat the Yankee Candle off the dining room table. I have a 19 month-old niece and, let me tell you, that girl needs a whole freaking team of people watching her to keep her from mischief.

What else I saw in those visions from earlier were the adults who have found their place among the young warriors. They’ve been intoxicated by this environment of sweat, loud music, and hard work, and they are out there on the floor, working just as hard as the kids. They’re grinding; not for sport, though. They’re fighting and battling this iron enemy for something greater; for life. It’s a life in which they feel comfortable that they can go out and play baseball with the neighborhood kids, keeping up and even “showing them how it’s done.” It’s a life that a dad working at the office isn’t coming home crippled up and sore from a long day of sitting. This is a life where a mom who hasn’t played a sport since high school is able to keep up and not become overwhelmed with the hustle-and-bustle of her three kids playing three different sports that she has to drive them to in between PTA meetings and making dinner. It’s a life where a husband can look at his wife of 15 years and two kids as she gets ready to shower and say “DAMN. I get to spend the rest of my life with THAT?!”

So maybe you don’t play a sport. Maybe you used to in high school and then college and life came at you quick and you lost touch of that athleticism that you used to have. Maybe you never played a sport because you didn’t have the confidence or just plain weren’t interested. That’s fine, but DON’T tell me you aren’t an athlete. You are as much an athlete as any one of those people you watch throw a ball around on TV. That vision that I had for Case Specific Athletics did include YOU. And if you are ready to find your inner athletic potential, reach out to us today and find out how you can get started with a FREE physical assessment or athlete movement screen! I hope that you’ll let me help you change your life forever.

Call 412-593-2048 (option 5)

or email info@casespecificathletics.com