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November 17, 2014

Am I Ready For Hard Exercise Today?

Happy Monday!

I hope you are all happy, well, and living your dreams and your 4 Doctors each day.

Since returning from our very successful HLC1 Course in Toronto where Angie Lustrick and I shared teaching time, I’ve been very busy, which is why I didn’t post a new video blog last week.

I’ve been working around the clock to finish the New HLC2 program, which goes much deeper into the science and practice of using my 4 Doctor model of holistic health to lower a clients stress levels as recorded on their health appraisal questionnaires.

I’m very excited to release the new program, and if I can finish it on time, we will launch it December 3-7, when I teach again HLC2 in Carlsbad, CA.

Angie and Vidya have been working closely with me to get this project done, so we are all excited to share it.

Angie will teach the new HLC2 25 February to 2 March 2015, Lancashire UK. If that is closer for you, by all means, come learn from Angie. She’s an amazing instructor with loads of clinical experience as a licensed Nutritionist, CHEK Practitioner, and shaman.

Sean Croxton’s Digestion Sessions is in full swing! I highly recommend that you head on over and check them out – they are only available for FREE today and tomorrow.

In my blog today, I will share a video blog demonstrating a quick test anyone can use as a tool to determine their readiness to perform intensive/complex strength training or conditioning exercises.

Then I will share an answer to a question from my site regarding the use of isolate vitamins. I think you may find my answer and the resources I’ve suggested very interesting for your own education.

I will share a beautiful testimonial from Sarah Hopkins, HLC3 from Perth, Australia about what has occurred since applying her HLC training in her private practice.

I hope you are all inspired to get into HLC1 and start the journey toward your own holistic healing; who knows, you may become an HLC Practitioner yourself.

Sarah was an accountant when I met her in her first HLC training with me, and now she’s living her dream in a successful HLC coaching practice!

In my career teaching my HLC courses, I’ve seen many people switch professions to become Holistic Lifestyle Coaches through the CHEK Institute because of the joy and health benefits they gained, they realized they had a lot to share with others with poor health and it was much more rewarding to them than to do what they were doing before.

I’ll conclude my blog today with CHEK Course Completions.

Am I Ready For Hard Exercise Today?

When I began lecturing on functional exercise back in the late 80’s and early 90’s at personal training and strength training conferences, the world was still in love with “machine based isolation training.”

When I entered the physical therapy arena in 1988, the grand majority of their rehabilitation exercises were performed using isolation exercises on isokinetic (constant speed) machines; this was the “rich man’s or medical version of modern bodybuilding machines.”

Prior to my entry into the professional physical therapy arena, I was the trainer of the US Army Boxing Team at Ft. Bragg, NC, where I was in charge of the teams nutritional advice, developing and implementing all their conditioning programs, and assisted the team doctor with my services as a massage therapist and caring for acute sports injuries.

The boxing gym was also used for conditioning by all the elite sports teams on our base (which is among the largest in the US with 79,000 soldiers at the time).

When I moved to San Diego, I completed Sports Massage Therapy training and began working with Keith Jeffers, DC, “The Running Doctor”, who was well known as an expert in athletic injuries. I worked with Dr. Jeffers for two years, during which time I successfully applied functional strength training in the rehabilitation of a myriad of athletic injuries.

My approach to corrective exercise was, in general, looked down upon by the physical therapists at large. They thought that my approach was “dangerous” and that it went against everything they’d learned in physical therapy school.

But they had one BIG problem…I was successfully rehabilitating many of the very patients that had failed with their approaches right before their eyes!

The senior Physical Therapist, Chris Siegel, was a very skilled, open-minded therapist, and though she had reservations, she was open to learning my approach. She asked me if I could put a presentation together to help her and the other physical therapists (and surgeons) understand my approach and the science behind it.

That request inspired me to dig deeply into the available science on human movement, motor learning, and strength training to find scientific backing for what I’d learned through clinical/empirical experience and became the basis for my Primal Pattern™ Training system that is used by CHEK Practitioners worldwide today.

Preacher Curl
In a nut shell, what I showed the physical therapists and doctors was that isolation training, particularly if supported by machines or any fixed props, such as when doing a preacher curl, diminished or completely abolished recruitment of the inner-unit (now referred to as “the core”).

Additionally, to the degree that the body is stabilized artificially by external supports, recruitment (and therefore conditioning of) postural muscles diminished respectively.

I became aware of the issue of poor strength transfer to functional work/sports activities by watching as the physical therapists patients (and my patients while testing the isolationist approach clinically) gain as much as a 300% increase in strength on the machines, yet showed little or no improvement in their ability to do functional lifts.

I was alerted to this reality when patients were discharged as “functional”, but soon returned with re-injury. On investigation, I found over and over again, that they were injured performing movement patterns common to all human beings, such as squatting, bending over to put something in the trunk of a car, lifting a suitcase, or pushing a load overhead while putting things away in closets.

By applying specific tests to measure the strength and endurance of their postural muscles, I found that thought they were much stronger on machines, they had no improvement in strength, endurance, nor function of the postural (tonic) muscle system of the body.

Additionally, I identified the fact that traditionally used isolation training in gyms and rehabilitation centers were not effective for improving static (sitting or standing) or dynamic (posture while moving) posture.

CHEK FHP Caliper

I met so much resistance when I shared my observations, I developed calibrated instruments for measuring posture and proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that without highly specific isolation training followed by postural integration training, isolation exercises in general made peoples posture worse!

CHEK Inclinometer

The Ab Roller is an example of an isolation exercise device that commonly results in a progressive degradation of posture the more it is used.

By testing athletes, I found something else that was quite interesting…the more isolation training they did, the worse their coordination, agility, and flexibility in general became!

To address such imbalances, I commonly used Swiss ball exercises, and all my initial research into the use of the Swiss ball for this purpose is what led the production of my Swiss ball training videos.

I share several of the assessment methods I used and developed to come to these conclusions in my DVD correspondence course titled Advanced Program Design.

During all my research and development in this area, it was very interesting to note that athletes that were very muscular and strong, often able to lift much heavier weights than I could on machines, were very week with poor balance and coordination when using Swiss ball exercises.

They were often shocked themselves at how poorly they performed! They were also shocked to see how rapidly their gym and sports performances improved when I taught them how to train functionally and condition their stabilizer/postural system effectively as part of their regular conditioning programs.

I hope you enjoy my video blog, and the rest of my blog presentation (below) today.

Rehabbing Danny Way

Danny Way and Paul

Over 20 years ago, while I was rehabilitating the famous skateboard star, Danny Way from a serious injury to his spine and spinal cord at C1 (atlas) just below his skull where the brain-stem is, I was using a lot of Swiss ball training.

Danny Way air
As his training progressed into functional weight lifting, I noticed that the more training and skateboarding he did between our rehab/conditioning sessions, the more tired he got and the more poorly he did with the Swiss ball exercises that were previously easy for him.

Kneeling on Swiss Ball
One of the warm-up exercises I developed for Danny was simply kneeling on a Swiss ball (not easy when your spinal cord is injured by the way!).

As Danny’s balance and function returned in rehab, he got to where he could do amazing things on a Swiss ball, such as jumping ball to ball while doing a 360˚ turn in mid-air.

He was only 19 years old then, and like most teenagers, he loved to party and enjoy the ladies. Some days, he just couldn’t perform the exercises he could easily perform the previous visit.

I started investigating closely to find out what he’d been doing since I last saw him, and sure enough, I found that he was often up late at night, drinking and partying, and sometimes getting into other physical activities that were not on our scheduled training program.

Intuitively, I thought this should show up as a general deficit in his overall neurological capacity to generate energy, balance, and move quickly, particularly in complex exercise situations as is common on a Swiss ball in advanced stages of rehabilitation or conditioning.

I began testing him at the beginning of each of his training sessions by simply asking him to kneel on a Swiss ball, and I’d time him to see how long he could balance before falling off.

Bicycle Battery Operated Christmas Lights
If you think of the nervous system and brain like an electrical battery that runs muscle contraction (and coordinates all other systems of the body), you can envision the nervous system to be like a battery running the lights on a bicycle; the more lights (muscles) you have drawing energy, the faster the battery runs down and the dimmer the lights get (fatigue).

The less lights you run on the battery (less muscles/simpler exercises), the longer the battery (nervous system) performs optimally.

Sure enough, I found that if Danny was ready for complex training, he could easily stay kneeling on the Swiss ball for 30 seconds without struggling, or falling off.

The shorter the time he stayed kneeling on the ball, and the more he struggled to stay on the ball, the easier I had to make his training for the day to prevent injury and get an optimal training response from his body-mind.

I began testing everyone I could for quite some time and found that the Swiss ball kneeling test worked with anyone and I still use it today.

Cross Fit Workout
The “Danny Way Test” or kneeling on the Swiss ball for 30 seconds as described here is a much more important concept today than ever. 25 years ago when I was traveling the world trying to convince the health and exercise experts to minimize machines (isolation training) and more effectively incorporate functional exercise, there was very little free weight training, kettlebell training, mixed apparatus training, and training systems like Cross Fit and PX 90 types that are “dangerously” popular today.

As these complex exercise systems are used more and more, I’ve noticed a significant rise in injuries, and there is still a huge problem with poor posture and core control among those using them, which, by-the-way, is almost a guarantee someone will get hurt doing things like kettlebell lifts and Olympic style lifting, particularly when such exercises are put into circuits with little or no rest between them!

If you participate in one of these types of functional training systems of use functional training on your own, then the “Danny Way Test” is not only invaluable to your health and performance, it may save you A LOT of money; why buy a new car for an orthopedic surgeon when you could use that money to buy a new home, organic food for a year or two, or a new car for yourself?

I was featured in Waiting on Lightening Movie about Danny Way’s life where we recanted my therapeutic approach that I took to successfully rehab Danny.

If you are going to the gym to train, you can start with the “Danny Way Test”; with stopwatch in hand, kneel on the ball.

Start the watch as soon as you are kneeling on the ball and pay close attention to how much struggle you have staying atop of the ball, and/or how many times you fall off in 30 seconds (Obviously this test shouldn’t be used on someone that doesn’t have the physical ability to perform the test and shouldn’t be trying this kind of a test in the first place!).

To the degree that you are challenged, it is wise to make modifications in your daily training program in the following ways:

1. Reduce the number of complex (multi-joint) exercises.

2. Increase the base of support as needed to reduce reflex postural and general motor control; Kneeling on the ball many be reduced to sitting on the ball with one foot touching the floor for example.

3. Increase the length of rest periods to give the neuromuscular system more time to recover.

4. Make SURE the client isn’t functioning on an empty stomach, because having low blood sugar is very dangerous with complex lifting and/or stability training exercises!

One of the great benefits I saw for the athletes and patients I taught this test to is that they all became much more aware of:

A. How what they did outside the gym (nutrition, hydration, sleep, breathing, thinking and movement) had a DIRECT impact on their workouts the next day, or even two or three days!

B. When they were, and were not ready to execute a training program written for them by another coach/therapist, or designed by themselves.

C. How importance postural training and balance training is to overall athletic performance and injury prevention.

A Common Question That I Receive

Vitamin Complex Blk Board DrawingSHOULD I TAKE NIACIN?

The question below was posted on my channel Sunday. I thought I’d share my response to Raymond’s question because I get this basic question asked of me very frequently.

The public, and professionals in the health care industry are, in general, equally lost and confused, largely due to mis-information from educational institutions that are funded by food and drug corporations.

Physicians get very little if any training in nutrition. Last time I looked into the issue, I found that the average physician receives four classroom hours to training in (traditional this-for-that) nutrition in medical school! I once found a study looking into physician education on nutrition in New Zealand. The study showed that the average New Zealand medical doctor knew about as much as the average single woman on the street, and any woman with one or more children typically knew more about nutrition than a medical doctor.

When you start digging into “who makes the vitamins”, another interesting issue emerges…My research, years ago when writing my HLC programs showed that 90% of all vitamins sold were manufactured by Hoffmann-La Roche
Pharmaceutical company, a Swiss global health-care company that operates worldwide under two divisions: Pharmaceuticals and Diagnostics. I also found that almost all the vitamins sold and consumed worldwide are synthetic (man made) versions of the real molecules produced in nature.

Not only is this a problem for me from an ethical standpoint, it is a problem for me because:

A. Synthetic vitamins can be very toxic to the body and do NOT have anything close to the beneficial effects of vitamins produced from wholefood sources.

If the research say’s otherwise, then look very carefully at who funded the research, and who is paying the scientists!

B. The medical industry has been lobbying to make vitamins controlled substances, only to be prescribed by doctors for some time now. They have made great headway in many countries now.

There are strict limitations on what can be sold to the public in all areas of natural health care support and supplementation in the US, Australia, England, and Europe…and the reaches of the long arms of the drug companies continues ceaselessly to expand it’s control.

C. Physicians in general have been “anti-vitamin”, and only in the past 15 years or so, as research piled high showing their benefits and the drug companies saw “a new market to control”, was there any interest in vitamins by physicians in general.

I find it quite distasteful when one minute physicians are resistant to natural health approaches, and then as soon as it’s profitable, they “switch sides”, and try to own and control all such natural substances and approaches!

I’m all for physicians prescribing “real nutrition/supplements”, but have a hard time accepting the fact that MOST of what they are limiting our access to is “what really works”, and what they are selling are synthetic substitutes that “really don’t work well at all!”

I hope you find my answer to Raymond’s question below helpful and educational. I highly suggest you look into the resources I mentioned for your own awareness and education:

Q: Aye Paul, can you create a video about supplementing niacin and all its benefits, if not can you tell me if its okay to supplement with niacin.

Paul’s Answer:

The real question I’d ask as a therapist is “why”?

There is certainly a time and a place for supplementation with isolates, but they can cause as much problems as good. My suggestion would be to look carefully at the symptoms that have led you to believe you need niacin supplementation, and then look openly and honestly at your use of nutrition (from organic food sources or not?), hydration (quality and quantity), sleep, breathing, thinking and movement to see where there may be patterns or behaviors that are sending you messages through your body that something needs to change.

It may be that you simply need more or less of any one or a combination of these 6 Foundation Principles. It could be that you have a fungal or parasite infection, or a dysbiosis causing too high a level of toxicity for your body to clear and/or the creation of high levels of inflammation in your body, keeping your stress hormone levels too high; this will disrupt balance of your ANS and can cause all sorts of depletion symptoms.

I ask these questions of all my patients/clients/athletes for good reason. 99% of the time, the reasons they give me for wanting to take supplements/drugs turn out to be so they can continue to live against the advice their body is giving them, ignoring the wealth and depth of biological instinctual intelligence being offered them by their symptoms.

Symptoms are often not indicators that they are low on this or that (vitamin/drug), but that the way they are living is causing imbalances. The imbalances can surely be the cause of depletion symptoms, but it is usually the behavioral patterns that have accelerated the body’s need for nutrients that are often not available for absorption form their diet due to poor food quality, quantity, or proportioning choices.

Therefore, it is often a case where someone takes the supplement, feels better, and forever uses that as a crutch to keep living an imbalanced lifestyle.

We must remember “there is no such thing as an isolate vitamin or substance in nature.” Vitamins were shown by Royal Lee to be COMPLEXES, which include fats, proteins, carbohydrates, minerals, vitamins, enzymes, and nutrient co-factors such as phenolics, terpenes and alkaloids.

The vitamin complex is a living molecular structure that functions like a watch; all parts of a watch work together to tell the time moment to moment; no amount of added “sweep hands” will improve one’s ability to tell time…and…when you throw in a bunch of sweep hands (isolates), the body must scavenge all the missing components to reactivate the complex.

This often leads to a strong of other seemingly “different” problems of imbalance. This keeps people forever going to the vitamin stores chasing symptoms, keeping the vitamin companies well stocked with cash.

You can learn more about this by reading the book titled, “The Real Truth About Vitamins and Antioxidants” by Judith DeCava. Very important book!

Niacin is relatively harmless in general, but in adequate doses will create hot flashes. If you go too high, you are likely to experience a burning sensation when you sweat.

Another key point to remember is this: anytime you bring in more isolates of any type than your body can utilize, your organs of detoxification must detoxify them.

I’ve seen MANY people who were literally poisoning themselves with supplements!

OK, that’s my two cents on this topic. I wrote a fairly comprehensive answer because I hope others will read it too. This issue is one that represents a BIG misunderstanding of nutrition and how nutrition works in the human body.

Note that vitamin and related deficiencies are rarely ever seen in animals living in the wild on their natural diets. Only when animals are put into captivity, or infringed upon by human beings do they begin to display such imbalances.

There is a lot of information on this in a book called “The Human Zoo, A Zoologist’s Study of the Urban Animal,” by Desmond Morris.

A Testament To The CHEK HLC Approach To Healthy Living

As a man who has traveled the world teaching Holistic Health, hopping from country to country since 1988, I’ve had the great joy of watching my students grow.

Countless times, I’ve had students show up for entry level trainings such as CHEK Exercise Coach and HLC1, only to show up at the next level of their training completely transformed by living the CHEK Foundation Principles: nutrition, hydration, sleep, breathing, thinking, and movement within the context of my 4 Doctor model.

I’ve watched obese people become slim, firm, and beautiful. I’ve seen sick and diseased people that thought they’d be chained to drugs and doctors for the rest of their lives become completely free of the need of such support and live healthy, abundant lives.

What gives me just as much joy is hearing from CHEK Practitioners and Chek HLC Practitioners and learning of their successes.

Several years ago, while teaching HLC3 in Australia, I met Sarah Hopkins. Sarah was a beautiful, fit woman at the time, but was having some fears about getting into practice.

Sarah was an accountant at the time, and was drawn to my teachings for her own reasons, but decided she wanted to change professions and become a full time HLC Practitioner.

In HLC3, she shared her fears of not being ready to coach people yet. I encouraged her to get out there and get started! I let her know that she was already MUCH healthier than the common HLC client she’d be seeing in practice, and that no amount of study can effectively prepare a person for the practice of coaching.

I encourage all my students to remember that the most important practices that have changed their own health and vitality have been the simple practices taught in my book “How To Eat, Move and Be Healthy!”. Once they understand that, it is just a matter of “sharing what you do for yourself each day to be the healthy person that you are.

Sarah took my words to heart and made the transition from accounting into full time HLC coaching. She recently sent me an email explaining how her practice has been going since I last saw her and I really thought it would be lovely to share it with you.

Many people today need CHEK Holistic Lifestyle Coaching very badly because they are lost in an endless loop of illness, diseases, drugs, and medical doctors…and the world population continues to decline rapidly in health, including the children!

When I get a testimonial like this from one of my students, it makes me feel like all the challenges Penny and I have had to face to run and grow our small institute without corporate funding has been worth it!

Thank You Sarah for living my legacy with me!

Sarah Hopkins
“I am so grateful for everything that you have taught me Paul and you will be happy to know that my holistic lifestyle coaching business is THRIVING.  I am now consistently fully booked and my growing client base comes primarily from referral networks, the best form of advertising.  I am also doing a lot of public speaking and I love it!! So much fun to share the information with a larger audience, I feel this is where my true passion lies and want to continue to grow this side of my business.

I have a very well feathered copy of HTEMBH that I often use to illustrate what I am talking about with my clients.  I have healed all sorts of conditions with my clients from anxiety/depression to chronic autoimmune conditions like MS and fibromyalgia…and everything in between.

I continue to listen, learn and educate myself and sometimes find myself wanting to delve deeper into the science of things and come up with a “diagnosis” but again and again I am reminded by a quote of yours that is really my mantra – “we are all physical, emotional, mental and spiritual beings – no approach to achieving wellbeing can achieve it’s potential unless it is truly holistic”.

There are a few key things that have helped me create successful outcomes for my clients –

1. Taking a holistic approach as per your quote – making sure we explore the emotional side of any condition particularly.

2. Setting goals, exploring the dream (some people are too depressed/sick to articulate the dream yet so more basic goals help) and measuring those against results.

3. Keeping a simple approach.

4. Using my intuition, trusting the process and that I have all the knowledge I need inside (this is still evolving for me).

5. LOVE – this is the most important one for me, I love my clients and try to come from an open loving place and I can feel the space for healing that that provides.

I hope you are so well and that I will get over to Sydney in 2015 so that I can give you a big hug and kiss as well as wash your dishes!


Sarah Hopkins
Mobile: 0400 647 822

CHEK Course Completions

CHEK Practitioner Level 1 November 10-14: Ashley Mazurek, Oceanside CA


Congratulations to our newest CHEK Practitioners! A BIG Leap forward!! And to CHEK Faculty Ashley Mazurek for all her Love!!

I hope you’ve enjoyed my blog today.

I look forward to sharing more with you next week, and hope to see all of you HLC1 Practitioners (and HLC2 and 3 Practitioners that want to learn a more in-depth approach to the 4 Doctors) in the upcoming HLC2 in Carlsbad, CA.

Love and chi,
Paul Chek