This stems from a former client, now undergoing post acute treatment for cancer.

He once ran with my son in 8K’s for charity as well as to raise community awareness. He recently told me of his lingering fatigue, despite completing the acute phase of his therapy. His current medications have a robust list of side effects; fatigue being the least concerning.

What does this have to do with exercise? Personal training?

He was a client, and we are still close. I can’t imagine not having the energy I enjoy now. Nor can I fathom what I would do if this was my diagnosis. Here’s the point. He told me that when relaying his fatigue to his MD, this was to be expected. And once again, the most innocuous.

Nurses have many responsibilities; administering medications, updating physician orders, overseeing ancillary personnel, depending upon your work setting.

One of our responsibilities which is just as endemic, is that of patient advocate. I told him fatigue is never a problem; as long as it is someone else’s.

My views have long since evolved from the setting of traditional medicine and nursing. That of challenging and patient advocating has not. His? We clash on quite a few things. I’ve worked in a hospital as well as a dialysis setting. I know what it means to discuss side effects as well as expected outcomes of medications. I have witnessed just as much of one as the other, as well as a few outliers in my career. So I’m not just rambling.

When I said to him, that it’s never a problem if it’s someone else’s, he agreed with me. It was a surprise, considering some of our conversations. He felt it was an eye opener, and a different dialogue would be warranted with his MD if it continued.

So bringing it back to exercise as well as activities of daily living.

Let’s skip the exercise for a moment. How do you get through your day, regardless of work schedule or retirement, if you are in a trance? We often take sleep for granted. I’ll catch up later, perhaps on the weekend. However, most of us must be coherent on days besides Saturday & Sunday. Lack of sleep just like chronic pain, can also induce personality changes, which I’ve seen up close & personal. How does this affect you? Those who must interact with you? Has anyone considered that?

We all give up routines in the short term, to achieve a desired outcome in the long-term. Most realize when we embark on a fitness journey or lifestyle modification, these effects will not be seen tomorrow. We may feel better. Or have that post exercise glow. Yet we know there will be many tomorrows before we see what we hope to see.

Likewise, we endure treatment regimes to regain our idea of health. However just as we remember it’s not all about the finish, it’s the same when it comes to our journey towards a betterment of self; however you define health. There’s something in that climb. You may not always enjoy it, and yes it will leave you breathless as well as fatigued at times. At times–just like our side effects, should be the outlier, not the norm.

All for now. Keep up and keep at it.

Like what you read? My e-book will be launched on this site soon. You can check out a free preview next month.

Questions? Comments? Contact me at serrenity.c@gmail.com

Enjoy surveys?  Maybe? Not so much? I get it.  I try to do my part if asked.  As a small business person, I want to help those who are in the same boat.  Now I need a little feedback.  Over the next few weeks, I will be posting survey questions both here & on my face book page. You can shoot me a comment on either site.  Here’s the first few questions:

HEALTH, WELLNESS, & FITNESS are (can tell me what applies to you in your comments)

–very confusing & overwhelming with information online & in print

–not geared towards my age/needs/capacity

–something I incorporate into my life in many ways

–think I got it, but would enjoy learning more

–mainly for those wanting to accomplish goals I don’t have (marathon, vigorous strength training, etc.)

–important but not a priority right now

 

Weight loss isn’t just about MOVING MORE & EATING LESS.  Name 2 challenges you encounter besides wanting the scale to move.

Do you currently have a fitness routine? If so, how many days a week do you engage in it?  Does it change?

That’s all for now.  Really appreciate your help.

Questions?  Contact me at serrenity.c@gmail.com

 

 

In a previous post, I spoke to giving yourself a “break” from the news cycle.  Staying informed is different from donning the uniform of mental miasma resulting in fear.  Where do we go to find relief?  Regardless of where you travel, even if you left the country, it would still be there.  Trails I frequent are more crowded, where they once were sparsely populated.  Depending upon your living situation, you may not want more alone time.  However, sheltering in place with your family may mean to others TIME TO GET AWAY.  What does getting away look like?

We put a lot of emphasis on physical fitness.  What about mental fitness?

The reason for the name change for this blog, was that I wanted to be more than another fitness tip and staying well website.  You can find that anywhere & everywhere.  Now especially, many trainers have gone online or virtual.  If you are feeling not quite yourself and need someone to talk to,  you are not alone.  There are sites equipped to help with that too.

But when you finish your virtual workout, end your TALKSPACE session. and still aren’t feeling connected, where do you go?

You are still faced with yourself by yourself.  You can only feign interest in other’s lives or events for so long.  What about yours?  Would you be sacrificing connectedness if you went your own way?  Let others go theirs?  Yes you would.  But that isn’t such a bad thing.  Sometimes you have to be out on that proverbial limb by yourself for awhile.  You start discover your own niche, and that you can be your own best friend.  Few of us want to feel lonely.  But would it be so terrible to discover what it means to be alone?  With our own thoughts, understanding, as well as fears?  If this seems too much to bear, consider this:  companionship starts with being a companion.  How can you be a companion if it unnerves you to discover who you are?  Without the chatter of those around us defining our interests?

Is this subject a little deep?  I think not.  It’s one of the reasons why PERSONAL TRAINING WITH CRYSTAL is now LIFE TRAINING WITH CRYSTAL.  There’s more to this life than being defined by our mutual fears, tendencies, or capacities.  Discovering your uncommon ground I know is a little scary.  But it’s necessary if you want to come out from under the cloud cover blanketing many.

Whether air travel is frequent or infrequent for you, you are probably aware of cloud cover.  There are many passengers on a plane.  They range from very learned, to those who exercise their stupidity to the fullest.  If you haven’t had that experience in the air, count yourself lucky.  In any case, unless another pilot is traveling other than the ones flying the plane, no matter how learned or simple the passengers may be, no one else has the skill to elevate that plane.  No one else knows how to lift off, elevate the nose, ascend, and eventually transcend that cloud cover.   Few possess this skillset; it has to be developed.  Those that do have a great responsibility on their shoulders.  But for them it may appear as if effortless.

What skills could you hone to elevate?  Lift your nose, ascend and eventually transcend the cloud cover hovering in your life?  For each of us the answer is different.  And it may be a different answer than the year, month, or week before.

In my experience asking questions are just as, if not more important that immediate answers.

They help lift me above the prevailing appearance of darkness.  They raise my awareness and eventually elevate me from the ground.  Yes there are clouds.  And just above them is the sun.

 

All for now.  Keep up and keep at it.

Questions? Contact me at serrenity.c@gmail.com

 

 

Many of us believe we know what PREVENTION is.  I thought I did.  If you look it up, there are many different interpretations.

An interesting post came to me via a friend on FACEBOOK.  His brother is an exercise physiologist.  However he is a teacher at a community college as well.  I actually credit him with suggesting I sit for the ACSM personal trainer certification.  I haven’t really turned back since.

In part, he speaks from a perspective not unlike mine.

Physicians, nurses, as well as other health care professionals take on the task of caring for those in need.  Never mind that need or undoing came from their own negligence of their health.  We as health care professionals still care for them; even under extenuating circumstances.  My role is far different from the nursing career I once had in dialysis. I like to think of myself as working from the PREVENTATIVE side now, as opposed to the CHRONIC or ACUTE side.

Either way, his face book post struck a chord.  He spoke of a respiratory therapist giving breathing treatments to a current smoker.  Now, the therapist knew this patient had no intentions of quitting.  Yet here he was providing a breathing treatment.  We as health care professionals see the END USER effects, of highly preventable CAUSES.  Diabetes & hypertension; both in most cases highly preventable CAUSES of kidney failure, which puts one’s feet on the road to dialysis.

What about other diseases of man’s own making?  That being said, I will be the 1st to admonish those seeking to blame the poor & underserved communities for their plight.  Why?  I grew up in a poor underserved community.  My mother was a single parent which could not afford to keep both me & my sister.  I was raised by my godparents until the age of 11, when they moved to Michigan.  It is a kind of a  “riches to rags” sort of story.  But that’s not the focus of this post.

What is the focus is how much of disease is of man’s own making?  What can we as health care “preventionists’ do to help him out of this spiral?  Everything and nothing.  As a nurse in my former life, I could provide dialysis treatments to help remove some of the toxins that a normal kidney would.  Dialysis is not a cure, and it is not without side effects.  As a healthcare preventionist now, I can guide those through lifestyle modification to a different outcome.

Why do I say everything & nothing?  I can teach, modify, train, recommend, even dictate.  All to naught for those unwilling to avail themselves of my services.  Yet there seems to be money for a new purse, dress, shoes, or all you can eat buffets.  But the type of service I or someone similar provide?  This is what I hear.  “I can do that myself, I don’t need to pay her.  I’ve lost weight before I can do it again.  I don’t need to pay anyone for that.”  Perhaps.  In the words of a TV psych which I really don’t like ” HOW’S THAT WORKING OUT FOR YOU?”

For many, it simply is not.  So again I ask, what can we as health interventionists do?  What can you do especially now?  A lot.

How about starting with skipping the drive thru?  Maybe pick up some fruits and vegetables?  From what I’ve seen, they are rotting on the store shelves, while frozen fried chicken, pizzas, and similar food stuffs are depleted.

Online cooking shows and “how to” guides on preparation abound.  Perhaps start with a simple soup or pasta dish with vegetables if cooking isn’t your forte.   Yes the unfamiliar is intimidating.  But the alternative in the long run isn’t intimidating, it’s scary.

PREVENTION can have many meanings.  Now it has even more.  PPE(personal protective equipment), hand sanitizer, bactericidal cleaning agents all qualify now as PREVENTION.

What about a mindset?  Can that qualify?  More on that later.

 

All for now.  Keep up and keep at it.

Questions? Comments?  Contact me at serrenity.c@gmail.com

 

Life has changed significantly for most of us, since the last time I posted.  We have been ordered to shelter in place, told to social distance, and only go out for necessities.  People are hoarding food from the shelves, and toilet paper is more coveted than a troy ounce of gold possibly.

It is a different life in a world with which we are unfamiliar.  Uncertainty.  This is a word which we want to find our way out of and PRONTO.  I am no exception but I’m going to stay with that word, UNCERTAINTY and more importantly that intangible, uneasy feeling it provides for a moment.

What has come out of that uncertainty?  Fear personified in various forms–liquor & pot sales are through the roof, paper products in high demand, shoppers with carts of full of food stuffs that they may not otherwise purchase.  Is this what we choose to feast on for the time being?  Food, fear, drugs & alcohol–what a combination!  Will we need a virus to sink the ship of mankind?  Not likely. Just keep up with the news cycle, (I’ve termed THE DAILY TERROR REPORT) and we will need no virus to consume us.  We will do a fine job of it ourselves.  Now this got me to wondering….

Are we obsessed with the number of shootings and daily death tolls, as well as the tally from our inner cities?  I see no update or scroll regarding such statistics, do you? I don’t recall seeing any numbers regarding refugees and their plight as well as deaths in Syria, do you?  At best, these are blurbs dwarfed and drowned out by the next story.  You may answer, THIS IS A  PANDEMIC, A DIFFERENT SCENARIO.  YOU would be right TO AN EXTENT.  I will leave it up to you as a reader, to determine that extent & differentiation.  Numbers are available; and I’m not speaking to projections or estimates.

On a more positive note, have you noticed the uptick in creativity?  Memes of a prominent mayor from my state keep popping up in the most unlikely places.  They are quite good–and reinforce our stay at home guidelines.  Type in LORI LIGHTFOOT MEMES if you need a humor escape.  And really, who doesn’t at this point.   Have you seen the creative ways people have developed to stay fit?  From kiddy obstacle courses to juggling a roll of toilet paper by a women’s college soccer team, there is no excuse not to keep your mind & body engaged.  Also if you have XFINITY, THE GREAT COURSES are now on demand & free.

Ok so much for the feast.  It’s time to talk FAMINE.

As I stated earlier, a daily diet or feast of fear will do little to lift our spirits.  Staying informed and updated is different from this daily dose of infection; and I’m not necessarily talking the one you think.   It’s time to inject a little fasting.

Intermittent fasting has been touted as one way to move the scale.  So what about a little intermittent fasting from the TV?  I wonder…what will that do to move the needle–especially away from drugs & alcohol?  Let’s face it, you can only binge on your favorite foods for so long without repercussions.  So the same could be said for the binge on this.  Only one way to find out.

All for now.  Keep up and keep at it.

Questions? Comments? Contact me at serrenity.c@gmail.com

 

 

Most of us have preconceived ideas of how & what an athlete is.  From the bulging musculature of a bodybuilder, to the graceful lean lines of a dancer, we think we know what defines athleticism.

In this, as well as subsequent posts & podcasts, I’m chronicling a journey; not my own, but someone close to me.  I hope it will inspire as well as redefine the definition of discipline, wear withal, and yes–becoming an athlete.

 

Questions? Comments?  Contact me at serrenity.c@gmail.com

 

 

For those who follow me, this is redundant.  For those  who may have been searching for the latest  fitness tips that predicate the NEW YEAR NEW YOU SYNDROME, let me introduce myself.

A FEW DISTINGUISHING CHARACTERISTICS…

I am a registered nurse, as well as an American College of Sports Medicine personal trainer.  There are many  who do the same, BUT I WRITE–a lot.  I’m not a face book fit mom, a mommy blog, nor am I an Instagram/selfie stereotype.  If that’s what you’re into, then this is probably not for you.

But if you are looking for content, and meaty content, read on.   Why do I do what I do?  Simple, well maybe not.

My field of expertise lies in the renal care field, or dialysis, prior to doing what I do today.  What is renal care? Dialysis?  Dialysis in short, is for those who have little to no substantive kidney function.  Your kidneys control your blood pressure, as well as filter toxins.  If they are unable to perform their duties, dialysis is needed.  Dialysis in not a cure; nor does it take the place of your kidneys.  It simply buys time.  Time for what?  Hopefully a kidney transplant.  However that can mean months to years for many.

So…back to why I do what I do.  I tired of working at the “opposite end of the spectrum.”  I no longer wanted to “patch up.”  I wanted to put a road block up to the number 1 and number 2 precursors of kidney failure–HYPERTENSION & DIABETES.   If you are of African American descent regardless of your other ethnicities, these precursors stand in correct order.  If you are Hispanic, Native American or Caucasian, then reverse them.  Either way, they are highly preventable.

That’s it in a semi-coated nutshell.  It is why I left my field to start this business venture.  There are those who believe I must be raking in business as a nurse & personal trainer hand over fist.  I also started taking on clients who are on a plethora of medications, as well as facing a host of health challenges–such as post cardiac rehab.  But this for me is not about money.  If it were, I would’ve stopped long ago.  I do wish business was better.  I do wish I had more clients.  It would be great to have over 20K followers.  But what I may lack in numbers or followers is what I more than make up for in content.

No you won’t see me posing in my sports bra & tight workout gear.  Or shaming those who are not into being a size 4.  What will you see in this coming year?

  1.  Added content–not just “eat this not that” crap.  Content which reflects real life challenges such as cancer and recovery
  2. Added podcasts–I delved into doing podcasts this past year.  Will being upping my game on that
  3. Cleaner layout
  4. More online presence

That’s just a few of the tidbits I have on tap for 2020.  After all, this is supposed to be the year of seeing clearly.  Well, guess it time for me to be seen.

 

All for now.  Keep up and keep at it.

Comments?  Contact me at serrenity.c@gmail.com

 

 

Let me preface this.  I won’t be discussing immunizations against flu or any other host of diseases which we inoculate against.  That is not the topic.  Right now, I think it’s time for a shot which dispels world beliefs.

Whatever side you are on regarding vaccinations; anti or pro, is a personal decision.  And I will not be getting caught up in that debate in this post, or in the foreseeable future.   I do however think it’s time to take the bull by the horns; and discuss beliefs which precipitously act upon us.

I recently found myself in a robust debate (which was not my intention) regarding loneliness.  The topic was Loneliness & Social Media.  And while I do feel that social media creates, perpetuates, and skews reality, so does the world with its belief systems.  Let me illustrate.

The moderator was concerned (rightly so) on how loneliness affects health.  It can influence anything from heart disease to dementia, according to statistics.  Now, as I learned long ago statistics are relative; they can be watered down or built up–depending upon the pet or pet peeve of the researcher.  However, I have no reason to doubt loneliness can cause a host of headaches to heartaches.  I’ve seen it play out on many levels in both women and men.

However, my question or “inoculation” to this dilemma is “Who told you that this is or could be an outcome?”  Most of us will spend a good portion of our lives alone, especially as we age.  Does this mean we lose our mental agility?  Or our hearts will malfunction?  It could, if we let it, or let that belief seep in.  Kind of like cracks in an unstable foundation–our beliefs dictate how strong or firm it is; or how weak and leaky it becomes.  That foundation in order to avoid such a fate, must be built on self-efficacy.

At this time the world tells us “you should be happy and with friends and family around the holidays.”  How many of us are really happy to be around certain people during this time of year?  The world and statistics tell us many things. How we choose to react or believe, is up to us.

Loneliness like joy is a choice.  There are those who have lived alone by choice or not, yet do not feel the least bit lonely.  Likewise, there are those who feel lonely in the midst of a crowd.  There are people living behind bars who are free.  And those who live on the most palatial sprawling estates, who feel imprisoned.  Why?  One of the reasons could be is they refuse the world’s tone; they are tone deaf to what the world says they should be.  Yes it’s a double edged sword cutting its path both ways.  Yet why not make it work for you?

If you are alone, unfortunately, you can’t always cultivate or force people to spend time with you.  Sure you can do your part and make yourself available.  But putting out needy vibes often attract those you may not want in your life. The scent of “needy” to some is like blood to a shark.  Not what you want.  What you can do is refuse to defer to what the world says when confronted with this dilemma.  You don’t have to be a statistic.  You may not be able to control the action, but you can control the reaction.

Want a companion?  Be a companion.  Know yourself.  Then you will know what you want, and equally important what you don’t, when it comes along.

Heart disease? Dementia?  Loneliness related?  Perhaps. Inevitable outcome, statistic or none of the above?  YOU DECIDE.

All for now.  Keep up and keep at it.

 

Get rid of this.  Eat more protein, less carbs.  Cut out soda.  Cut out soy.  Eat soy.  Cut out sugar, switch to a substitute.  No, sugar substitutes are worse for you than the sugar.  Is it any wonder why many just say FORGET IT, PEACE OUT.

I have to give credit where credit is due.  What I’m saying isn’t original, and will post where I derived this idea later.

What you give power to becomes a law unto yourself, your body, and your psyche.  

Consider the foods we eat for example.  Every bite of food we take (or don’t) carries the current conception regarding what we’ve been told.  And with that, what comes out reflects the trend.  We are being told currently that carbs are the enemy.  So for the most part we limit, avoid, or straight up not eat them whenever possible.  Or, we pay the price–fat gain, insulin resistance, etc.  This is essentially what we are being told, for now at least.

You can find a lot out there to support this ideology.  You can find just as much which states this is cherry-picked data and not credible.  Anyone, anywhere, at anytime can hand pick what supports her/his pet project,   Think about when you were in school–whether grammar, HS, or college.  Recall for a moment, that ominous overwhelming paper you had to complete.  I remember mine; it was on renal transplant.  KIDNEY TRANSPLANTS:  ARE THEY FOR EVERYONE?  Kidney transplants are the goal–especially if you are a CKD(chronic kidney disease) patient on dialysis.  After all, who wants to be hooked up to a machine 4-6 hours every other day to filter your blood of toxins (what your kidneys do) until you receive a kidney?  Post dialysis, many become fatigued and must rest for the day.  You certainly, if you are a CKD patient, must limit your fluid intake; from both foods as well as fluids.  So a day in the life of this person can become challenging, and quite jaded.

I recall when writing my paper, citing instances where kidney transplant may not be suitable for all in this predicament.  Why?  What about those who continuously abuse drugs?  Have not received help for their addiction?  If this is how they lost kidney function, why give them a transplant?  Especially with the lengthy waiting list? They would not take care of it I felt.  So why give it to someone who will just repeat the behavior which landed them on dialysis in the first place?  That was my logic, and I had the data and rationale to back it up.  I also posed the question whether age should be a qualifier or disqualifier.  Again, these were questions I raised in my paper designed to test whether transplants were for anyone and everyone on dialysis.  And of course, I could not submit my work without the resources, references, tables, and research to back up what I said.  The paper received high marks, partially because it was unique in questioning prevailing thinking.

And that’s what I’m doing now.  I’m questioning prevailing thought.  If I were to revisit that paper, I’d probably find mitigating factors which would qualify those I thought disqualified, awaiting or wanting a transplant.  The “I” in my ideas has evolved.

That is growth.

We all must come into that season of growth–not just allow mind and body to reflect and regurgitate what we’ve been told.  Do your homework, see what works for you, not a someone somewhere.  Question the data.  If you are not proactive, then you allow mind and body to become reactive.  That could be better today; but what will it be tomorrow?

 

All for now.  Keep up and keep at it.

Questions? Comments?  Contact me at serrenity.c@gmail.com

healthy living waterfall

This is a post which I have republished a few times.  However, with the continuation of high protein diets, I think I need to do it again.

I feel the need to re post, because of the attention and bad press carbs have received.  No, I’m not saying to fill your plate with fettucine alfredo, ask for seconds on the bread basket, or have that extra donut.  Skip the donut–at least for today.

High protein low carb diets are reaching epidemic proportion.  And yes, there is a reason I’m borrowing this phrase.  From sugary snacks touted as “high protein, low carb,” to ridiculous amounts of meat only consumption, it’s time to put forth a few facts.  Then, you decide.

Have to preface this with a disclaimer.

As a former dialysis nurse, I am somewhat reserved and dubious about protein intake; especially HIGH PROTEIN INTAKE. True enough, most reading this are not in renal (kidney) failure. Protein must be moderated for those suffering from renal insufficiency. However, it makes me consider the overly paraded cascade of high protein consumption.

CREATININE

Creatinine is a test used to diagnose renal (kidney) function. It can be increased in those who ingest large amounts of meat. Yes, it is only elevated slightly and can be transient–but my question is this. What happens if it is continually elevated, because that’s the majority of the person’s diet? Can the kidneys keep up with this demand?

BUN

Blood, Urea, Nitrogen (BUN) measures the amount of urea and nitrogen in your blood. So what’s that supposed to mean? Well, urea is the end product of PROTEIN metabolism. During a meal, protein breaks down into amino acids. In your liver, these amino acids are catabolized and free ammonia is formed. These molecules combine and form urea, which is deposited into blood, and given over to the kidneys to excrete (rid themselves of). Again, if this is 60-70% (or more) of a person’s diet, now what?

(Source: Mosby’s Manual of Laboratory and Diagnostic Tests–3rd edition)

QUESTIONING; NOT DEBATING

I did preface this with my bias. Of course protein diets will help with weight loss. So will smoking. For years women swore by smoking to curb their appetite. Many still do. And while I’m really not trying to compare the two, there is an article which does.

http://www.healthline.com/health-news/food-high-protein-diet-increases-mortality-risk-030414

No, I’m not a vegan, nor do I plan to become one. My palate expresses no desire for bean paste or tofu. I love my chicken, ribs, and steak. BUT, this does not represent my primary or elevated intake. Fish? Forget it for me. I hate fish. However, with the advent and subsequent takeoff of high protein diets being touted, it raises questions. Sure there are other sources of protein; never said there weren’t. But HIGH protein with mitigated or very low carb ratio, can and does have consequences. Many of them numerous, and beyond the scope of what’s discussed in this blog. Need a little more convincing? Ok.

http://www.health24.com/Diet-and-nutrition/Weight-loss/The-dangers-of-high-protein-slimming-diets-20120721

What I’ve always taught, both patients and students is this: Be mindful not just of outcome, but of rationale (the “why” and reason behind an action) Rationale for me, must represent all of the following–cause, relationship, and effect. Yes, these diets will cause you to lose weight. Yes, that is your desired outcome. But what of the other components; relationship and effect?

You be the judge.

All for now. Keep up and keep at it.

Questions? Comments? More info? Contact me at serrenity.c@gmail.com