Practice What You Preach Part 1 of 2

By Kyle Arsenault CSCS

I am sure that many individuals wonder if the professionals who offer them guidance concerning health, performance, nutrition, injury prevention, etc actually follow the principles they prescribe themselves. And this is for good reason (just thinking about the doctor who tells you that you need to shed a few pounds but are themselves overweight).

I'd be hesitant too

Simply put, if you actually look the part and practice what you preach, you hold more credibility as individuals will be more likely to trust your word. As a “fitness” or “health” professional you should consider yourself a walking example of your work…which may be a good or bad thing for some.

Recently I attended a business function where I had the opportunity to be put to the test whether or not I actually practice what I preach. I was able to have my skin carotenoid levels scored via the The Pharmanex Biophotonic Scanner.

Some Pretty Cool Stuff

Carotenoids are an important category of antioxidants. Antioxidants help protect us from free radicals. Free radicals are unstable molecules that we are exposed to everyday, and when left unchecked, can cause a multitude of health concerns. Again, we are exposed to free radicals everyday, but it is when we are overexposed to them that they cause excessive damage to cells which can lead to a detrimental health effect over time. But what exactly causes free radicals to appear?

Environmental pollution, improper nutrition, processed foods, high body compositions (excess fat), stress (mental and physical), and more. What can we do to help protect ourselves from free radicals?

To protect yourself from free radicals avoid pollution and toxins (smoke as well as 2nd hand smoke, food preservatives, etc), be careful of too much exposure to direct sunlight (some is good for vitamin D levels), utilize proper nutritional practices especially eating a wide variety of fruits and veggies and limiting your intake (and even better, completely eliminating) processed foods and supporting your nutrition with some quality supplements (fish oils, vitamin D, greens, chia seeds).

Taking these factors into consideration, the two ways to help improve your battle with free radicals is to:

A) Reduce your exposure to the NEGATIVES

B) Increase your exposure to the POSITIVES that promote higher levels of antioxidants

And there it is, do I actually practice what I preach and lead a healthy lifestyle based on proper nutrition, performance training and physical activity?

Well, not to toot my own horn (but I will give myself a pat on the back), my score…54,000!

54,000...not too shabby

The average score for other individuals tested was around 15,000. As you can see the 54,000 places me in the top category of the population when it comes to caretonoid levels. What does this mean? I am less likely to experience the negative effects of excessive free radical exposure (cell damage which increases my chances for illness and disease and limits my overall performance). I’ll take that. And all it takes for me to have a better chance at remaining healthy: Following my own advice…

1) Follow healthy nutrition principles and consuming a wide variety of fruits and veggies (much of this was covered in a recent seminar I presented and more will covered in the upcoming seminar. For details check here.)

2) Train / Exercise (performance training to enhance overall physical capacity)

3) Stay active throughout the day (performing needed corrective exercises every hour and walking, etc)

4) Do not smoke or expose yourself to other toxins such as unwanted preservatives and added sugars found in processed foods

5) Try to destress during the day such as a quick 20 min power nap or meditation (meditation could simply mean being quite for 20 mins…I need to get better at this one)

6) Use proven supplements to enhance** the power of your nutritional intake (fish oil, vitamin D, chia seeds)

**supplements are to enhance proper nutritional practices, not replace them

7) Maintain a healthy body composition by consistently implementing the above principles

So there it is. Simple guidelines I follow to remain healthy, lean and performing at my highest levels possible by limiting my exposure to excessive amounts of free radicals (as well as other benefits). A skin carotenoid scan isn’t necessary but, its pretty cool how all this crazy technology stuff works, and even cooler how it reinforces the principles of healthy, performance promoting living.

Keep and eye out for part II…

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