I’m mid-way through my 33rd year on this earth and what I have settled on thus far is, ‘Being a human is an exhausting and exhilarating experience.’ As we move deeper into the 21st century we are seeing the number of daily demands and distractions increase precipitously. Meeting these demands and shielding yourself from distractions is consuming more and more of our bandwidth - this increased energy demand is leading to blind spots in our health and well-being. Throw in a global pandemic and most of us are scrambling to keep the wheels on. This is why I am excited to share my new passion, The Healthy Human Project.
The Healthy Human Project is an amalgam of the education and experience I have gleaned over the years as a college athlete, washed up weekend warrior, coach, Doctor of Chiropractic, and nerd pertaining to all things human condition. I am a firm believer that with better understanding we can make better decisions. I will be sharing my understanding of nutrition, exercise physiology, biomechanics, neurology, and psychology along with actionable steps that we can take to improve these areas of our health and life.
Some background will give you a little context about who I am and why this is an exciting endeavor for me. I’m a former college cheerleader (2010 National Champion at Oklahoma State), Doctor of Chiropractic, and Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS). I studied Exercise Physiology and Nutrition in my undergraduate studies and completed more than 500 hours of continuing education while completing my Doctoral program at Parker University. In those hours I studied Applied Kinesiology, Functional Nutrition, Neurology, and Autoimmunity.
I had a small chiropractic practice in Dallas, Texas where my focus was predominantly Applied Kinesiology and Functional Nutrition. Applied Kinesiology is an approach to diagnosing the root of a specific problem through the use of manual muscle testing - I have a profound respect for this practice, but after 3 years I was not confident that I was having the impact on my patients’ health that I was hoping for. In 2017 I moved to Austin, Texas and joined a sports chiropractic office. While at this office my focus shifted to biomechanics, soft tissue work, and corrective exercises.
In the end of 2019 life threw a curveball that I was anything but prepared for. My brother and I have a saying when we’re mountain biking or snowboarding, ‘Don’t forget your dick size.’ Ya know, remember you’re not in the X-Games and don’t hit that jump you’re not prepared for. Well, my brother wasn’t with me and I forgot… While in Park City, Utah shredding some gnar on the downhill mountain bike slopes I crashed. Hard. I fractured my clavicle, ‘smashed the shit’ (my surgeon’s words) out of my wrist, and had a slew of bruises and cuts covering the rest of my body. Now I am not new to injuries. I blew out my knee as a kid, broke all of my fingers and both thumbs, broke my nose 6 times, dislocated my elbow, and have suffered 3 lumbar disc injuries on 3 separate occasions. Dealing with an injury of this magnitude as an adult was so very different from any other injury I had experienced though.
Recovering from this injury has given me an opportunity to reflect on what I have learned over the past 15 years. I like to tell people that I’m equal parts dumb-jock and doctor. Now what I mean by ‘dumb-jock’ is that when we have goals of performance or aesthetic sometimes we have to make decisions that don’t necessarily align with optimal health. For so many years my focus has been to build as much strength, power, and speed as I can - everything I had learned over the years was viewed through a lens of athletic performance, which means sometimes general health was left behind.
Poor health, optimal health, and fitness are on a spectrum. As we develop specific fitness goals we may be sacrificing areas of our general health.
If we look at that spectrum we are moving some metrics past health and into performance and other metrics may be left all the way back in unhealthy. This means we can use tools generally used for fitness, change the lens which we look through, and use them to develop optimal health. There are a handful of data points that make it possible to build an incredibly effective and efficient program that will lead to optimal health.
When we take a look at genetic information we can get an idea of what a person’s natural strengths and weaknesses are. This means we can lean into areas that will develop quickly. After looking at genetics we take a look at metabolic health; we hook you up to a fancy machine that measures breathing, heart rate, and the amount of work that’s done. An efficient and flexible metabolism is an incredibly important marker when it comes to both health and performance. Occasionally taking a look at blood chemistry can give us great insights into food intolerances, hormone markers, and blood sugar handling. These two or three metrics will give us an idea of what’s possible (genetic) and where we currently are (metabolic/blood chem). Now we need to understand how we’re going to make those changes. A thorough movement screen will give us an understanding of current compensation patterns and what movements will be the safest to perform - when it comes to crushing health goals consistency is key. Keeping training related injuries to an absolute minimum is crucial.
The Healthy Human Project will be going live in March at Move First - Performance Chiropractic. In the meantime I’ll be sharing more details about the program as well as fun facts about our bodies and actionable steps we can take to move our health in the right direction.
If you're looking for a sports chiropractor that understands what you're trying to accomplish on the field or in the gym, follow this link to schedule a visit.