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The Pulse - November 2014

Article – Bring Out Your Inner Superhero

This past Halloween, as costume after cute kid hiding costume showed up at my front door, I started thinking about heart health and this article. Okay, those of you who know me well understand that I’m thinking about stuff like that pretty much all of the time! But in this instance I was particularly keen on how we could all be super heroes when it comes to our heart health. What if we could reveal our insides as if our bodies were the costume? What would we see? Aside from blood and guts I would hope to see a robust heart with excellent pumping ability, highly oxygenated blood, and no signs of excessive blood glucose or plaque buildup of any kind. In this article, I plan to provide all of us a formula for producing this very “costume”. I’m going to start first by sharing some typical changes that occur to our cardiorespiratory systems with age. Then we’re going to take a look at how those standard changes compare to present day past 45 superheroes, the master’s athletes. This will be fun because you will recognize that typical change does not mean mandatory change. Finally I will wrap up with some tangible examples of what an exercise program would look like to bring out your own inner super hero!

I don’t need to tell you that we all age. Unfortunately (or fortunately if you’re frightened by the prospect of being a vampire like me) some of us age much more rapidly due to our lifestyle choices than others. That’s right, lifestyle choices. You know things like staying up way past when your body has requested permission to shut off for the night or choosing to ignore every label and commercial against smoking and choosing to still light up. But did you know that the intensity of your cardiovascular exercise can also have an effect on the rate at which you age?  You see, with advancing age we’re already primed to decline in heart function as well as vascular function. What does that have to do with advancing the aging process? Lots! Declining heart function leads to a lower maximum heart rate (the maximum beats per minute your heart can reach) a lower stroke volume (the amount of blood pumped out of your left ventricle every beat) and decreased cardiac output (how much blood your heart chambers, namely ventricles, can pump out in a minute) leaving you with less wind essentially. And if you have less wind, you will be less inclined to do activities that leave you “winded” thus negating any opportunity for improvement and reinforcing a more inactive lifestyle. And, I did also mention declining vascular function. That is primarily the result of your aorta and its major branches stiffening up due to a more sedentary lifestyle. This void in intensity causes devastating changes like increased blood pressure, stiffening of your chest wall causing your expiratory muscles to get weaker and the work of simply breathing to become increasingly difficult. And, as a secondary adaptation to less wind, our alveoli (Alveoli are tiny sacs within the lungs where the exchange of carbon dioxide and oxygen take place) see a reduction in their surface area causing a reduction in our ability to realize oxygen. Here’s the sobering moment. With decreased heart and vascular function in full bloom you will have less oxygen available to support your muscles so they will also decline, dramatically. In turn, with less strength comes less confidence with navigating once simple obstacles such as steps, curbs, and rocky paths. Less becomes less and mobility declines followed by balance. Fall risk increases and when it happens is unfortunately the leading cause of injury and death among those who are 65 and older1.

Hopefully by now you understand that keeping your heart strong is an integral part of aging on your terms. I know you don’t want to suffer some kind of life altering event simply because you ignored lifestyle factors that you had the control of changing. Now I’d like to share with you the potential you have. And the best way to do this is to revisit heart and vascular function as it relates to the real superheroes, the master’s athletes. Generally speaking master’s athletes have the ability to maintain their physical performance capability quite well to the 7th decade of life and even further so long as joint integrity and mobility are maintained. A look at their training reveals several keys to why this is so. For one, they are very consistent about sticking to their exercise programs. Whether they’re at home or away their routine is a part of life and it gets done no matter what. Master’s athletes are also specific about how they approach their routines. They have a plan for improving their fitness rather than simply going for a walk or pushing start on the treadmill. They train with measured intensity. They also support their physical pursuits with a lifestyle that includes adequate rest, solid nutrition, and lots of social interaction.

Are you feeling inspired? I hope so. You have the choice to realize super hero status or remain as you are. And, if you read this and recognize that you are already a super hero, celebrate! That is awesome and unfortunately not the norm for a greater than 50 person. Wherever you are at this point in our discussion, I’m now going to provide you some information for how you can improve your heart’s function. We’ll start basic and build.

Consistency is the gold standard when it comes to keeping your heart strong. So, if you are someone who is off and on from one week for any number of reasons, STOP! Instead commit to this foundational exercise plan that will improve your heart health measurably. For 16 weeks complete at least 3 and up to 5 cardio sessions of 20 minutes each at an intensity of >60% VO2 max. (Click the link to find your VO2 max)

If you are already consistent at 3 or more times each week, you are ready to step it up and find out how amazing your heart really is. Now, I will tell you that you are going to get out of breath. Don’t be alarmed. In order to get stronger you have to challenge your ability beyond what is comfortable. You will use a scale of perceived effort called the Borg Scale as a tool to measure how much you’re exerting. (Click the link for the Borg Scale) We call it raising your ceiling at BodyBasics. So, with that said, give this style of training a go. On at least 2 and up to 3 days each week challenge yourself to be in the green (12 – 16 on the scale) for the majority of your workout. This can be a traditional cardio workout such as a recumbent bike, treadmill, running/walking outside, hiking…or non-traditional in the form of a circuit training workout such as the ones we do at BodyBasics. You choose. Just be consistent about it each week and adjust your intensity based on your perceived effort. It is important to also bring up that you will do best to ebb and flow your intensity on other days so that mentally and physically you get an opportunity to calm down.

For specific examples of how to create a program for you, call us and make an appointment. We’ll evaluate your heart function as it stands now through a cardiorespiratory tool and then produce the right start point for you.

Whatever you decide, make it a choice that positions you for success. Don’t succumb to the “my fitness is declining because I’m getting older” lie. It is simply not true. Instead, challenge yourself to stretch beyond what is comfortable. I promise you that once you do you will also find out that you too are a superhero!


Welcome New and Returning Clients

Doug Clark referred by Dennis Gillanhaal, P.T.

Marny Wellman – Welcome Back

Paula Kulahjian referred by Kevin Fay @ ProActive Physical Therapy

Rick Steele referred by Eric D’Agati

Genie Gengler – Welcome Back

Tami Korasidas – Welcome Back

Jenny Meyer – Welcome Back

Sherry Hansen – Welcome Back

Shri Venkatram referred by Julie Perkins

Laura Stine – Welcome Back


Honoring Our Veteran’s

Uncle Sam 2


BodyBasics wants to say “Thank-you” to all Veteran’s by offering a special group offer for the month of November.

Join us for 30 days of group training at a special price just for Veteran’s.  Click here for details.



IMG_0844Did you know ~  we have three ladies at BodyBasics who volunteer their quilting skills to Quilts of Valor.  Mary Sciabarra, Kathy Schrode and Carole Brown all volunteer their time to make quilts that are donated to Veteran’s.  They even make quilts for Ronald McDonald House.  These ladies need help!  If you have quilting skills and are looking to give back to our community let us know and we can put you in touch with them.


“Shout Outs”

Shout outs are about us voicing victories we witness you all having at BodyBasics. What you don’t know is that we start every Wednesday staff meeting with our shout outs. After doing this for several months and realizing how many incredible experiences are being shared, We thought it would be excellent to position a place within our newsletter to share also with all of you. We’ll keep it to our top 5 each month.

Elaine Gilvear for getting so strong that she recently hoisted a 40 lb. bag of kitty litter in and out of her car.

Tami Ivy for recently Deadlifting 135 lbs. six times and her amazing dedication despite an often stress-filled full time job.

Anthony Scaramella for dropping his body fat by 4%, losing 15 lbs., and improving his overall fitness dramatically with Myrya’s coaching. He will now be trying out for his high school soccer team.

Abbie Burton for showing amazing pep and only missing 2 workouts all month despite battling cancer.

Dee Fletcher for her recent personal best of 150 lbs. on a racked Deadlift.

Farewell to CarrieCarrie head shot


Sometimes, despite our decided direction, life has a way of changing it.  Unfortunately, we will be bidding a fond farewell to our huge hearted trainer and teammate Carrie.  Responsibilities in her life have promoted this.  I know you’ll agree with me when I say we will miss her compassion and empathy for all of us she has touched.

Please join us Wed. Nov 5th at 1:00pm at BodyBasics to bid Carrie farewell.  Or, bring in a card with your personal message for her and we’ll make sure she receives it.

Upcoming Events

Annual Shoe Drive

This will be the third year BodyBasics and Maximum Impact Physical Therapy have partnered to help kids at Ochoa Elementary school in the Marana School District.  Last year our BodyBasics family donated 204 pairs of shoes! Our goal this year is 210 pairs.

We will be collecting shoes November 1-29,  start watching for those sales!  What we need are new shoes ranging in sizes for kindergarten through 6th grade for both boys and girls.

Gift of Love Tree

The ICS Gifts of Love program is a way to match families in need with donors and groups (faith communities, schools, businesses, civic organizations) who are willing to help meet seasonal needs.

This will be BodyBasics 4th year participating in this wonderful program.  We will start collecting items after Thanksgiving.  For more information on ICS and the Gift of Love program, click here.

Client Spotlight – Chuck WarrenChuck Warren Spotlight 11-2014

Chuck started training at BodyBasics in October 2012 after being referred to us by Diane at Oro Valley Physical Therapy. He had been receiving physical therapy to get rid of hip pain and was given our information upon being discharged from them. He called us up and set up for 2 sessions each week, a schedule that he’s been very consistent with despite long and very stressful hours at work. In fact, he has found that the addition of a consistent exercise program is good for managing his stress. YAY!  Best part, he has other goals besides getting rid of hip pain now because that is no longer a concern. Currently, he is committed to coming in another day each week on his own to do some additional cardio.

Chuck, your mindset toward improving your physical fitness is to be commended. We all love listening to you and Amber hard at work slamming things and pushing your limits. And, we also love your warm morning smile!

Article – Self-Sabotage

Taking a Small Step toward Getting out of Your Own Way

Our brains work in sneaky ways to help us fill subconscious emotional needs that sometimes work in opposition to what we tell ourselves we really want.  So, chances are that at some point in your life you’ve planted yourself smack in the way of your own best interests and were completely unaware that you were doing so.

Consider Carl, who, after years of talking himself out of the idea, finally summoned the nerve to run his first marathon. He trained in earnest for months, and two days before the race, volunteered to help a friend move. While hauling a 60-pound box down a flight of stairs, he slipped and twisted his ankle. No marathon for Carl. While this was disappointing, he was now free from the terrifying possibility of not doing well in the race, or worse, not finishing.

Then there’s Sandra, who was excited to learn about a wonderful high-paying job that seemed tailor-made for her.  After managing to land an interview, she spent hours researching the company, bought the perfect outfit, and carefully mapped her route to the interview site.  If only she’d set her alarm for 6 a.m., rather than p.m., she might actually have made it to the interview.  Sandra was extremely upset, but she no longer faced the possibility of getting the job and failing at it.

mc (2)Often the driving force behind this sort of self-sabotaging behavior is something called core beliefs. These are things we believe to be true about our selves, other people, the future and the world in general, and they are largely based on the messages we receive from caregivers, teachers, coaches, mentors and key events that influence us during our early years. We tend to retain many of these messages and carry them with us through our adult lives, usually without conscious awareness or acknowledgement. If we are told, either overtly or through nonverbal cues, that we are lovable, dependable, attractive and intelligent, this early imprint will influence how we feel about ourselves as we grow. So goes the opposite stream of messaging, too. People who view themselves as losers, failures, inept or stupid don’t come to possess those beliefs without a little help.

While our core beliefs begin to take hold during childhood, they can evolve over time and be reshaped by significant events occurring later in life. We may grow up in circumstances that allow us to feel safe and secure as children, but experiencing a trauma later in life, such as an assault or natural disaster, that can lead to the belief that the world is not a safe place. Similarly, a self-concept developed during early school years that you are “not good at anything,” can be countered in adulthood by a series of professional achievements that lead you instead to view yourself as competent and successful.

Self-defeating beliefs can hold us back in many areas of our lives and keep us from realizing our potential, maintaining good health and fitness, finding professional satisfaction, and developing positive relationships. While Carl and Sandra’s “accidents” had similar outcomes, they may have been rooted in differing core beliefs. Carl was in great shape and well prepped for his run, but the prospect of not doing well, or even worse, not finishing, was triggered by Carl’s core belief that failure is simply unacceptable. Sandra on the other hand, may hold the belief that she isn’t smart or capable enough to succeed at a challenging position, so she does the very thing that will allow her to confirm that belief. “Look what I did! I’m so stupid!”

Changing such self-destructive patterns isn’t easy, even after we’ve come to recognize them because change is a threat to our fundamental beliefs. We’ve all known people who will stay in awful jobs or bad relationships even though they’re miserable with their circumstances. They may be extremely unhappy, but it’s easier to remain in a familiar situation rather than face a significant and uncertain life change, which can cause great anxiety.

Eventually, though, things can reach a point that enough is enough, and you decide to take the plunge and move toward a different life. A good starting point in the process is an examination of the messages and events that helped shape your core beliefs and accompanying inner voice.  Messages From My Past in an exercise that guides you to make a list of those people who influenced you when you were young. Next, try to recall the key messages you received from these people and write them down. You may have had a teacher who often remarked on how bright you were, a coach who marveled at your abilities, or a parent who commended your ability to make friends. Perhaps you encountered the opposite and frequently heard that “you’ll never amount to anything,” or you received subtle cues that led you to believe “no one likes you.” Either way, these messages helped shape your view of yourself.

Key events are important to consider as well. A natural disaster can send the message that the world is not a safe place. A divorce can result in the belief that relationships are not worth the emotional investment because they don’t last. Winning a national spelling bee may lead to the belief that hard work ultimately garners recognition and success.

Getting a grip on self-sabotaging behavior isn’t easy, but for those who have the motivation to tackle the process, the effort can be life changing. Carefully considering messages from your past is a good first step toward understanding your own core beliefs and the thought patterns that are either helping you get to where you want to go, or keeping you stuck in a place that never feels quite right.

Marianne Curtis is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and Therapist with Hillman Curtis Counseling Services, where she and her associate, Tanya Hillman, provide counseling for adults and adolescents.

Recipe – Thanksgiving Side Dishes

Here are a couple tasty and healthier options for traditional side dishes served at Thanksgiving Dinner.

Instead of the gooey sweet potato pie dish, try this:

Scalloped Sweet PotatoesPaleo Sweet Potato Apple Dish


1 large sweet potato, peeled and sliced

1 large apple, peeled and sliced

1/3 cup whole grain bread crumbs

1/4 cup agave nectar

1/8 tsp salt

1 Tablespoon butter

1 Tablespoon chopped pecans


In a greased 1 qt. baking dish, layer half the sweet potato slices, apple slices and crumbs.  Repeat layers.  Pour agave nectar over the top; sprinkle with salt.  Dot with butter; sprinkle with nuts.  COVER (this is important or it will dry out), bake at 400 for 35 minutes.  Everyone’s oven is different — test the potatoes to be sure they are done, if not, add 5 more minutes.

Try these tasty green beans instead of the traditional green bean casserole.
Gingered Green Beans

2 pounds asparagus beans or Chinese long beans, cut into 3-inch lengths, or whole green beansGreen Beans

6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1 teaspoon crushed red pepper

Kosher salt


  1. Fill a large bowl with ice water. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the beans until crisp-tender, about 4 minutes. Drain the beans and transfer them to the ice water to cool. Drain and pat dry.
  2. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil. Add the garlic and cook over moderately high heat until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in the ground ginger and crushed red pepper, then add the beans. Season with salt and stir-fry until the garlic is lightly browned and the beans are tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer the beans to a platter and serve.

This Month’s In Studio Challenge Is… Get Moving!

This month is all about Moving!  The goal is to get moving physically at a minimum 600 minutes this month.  For those of you looking for Super Hero status, the target is 1200 minutes!  Any exercise oriented activity counts; hiking, cycling, walking, running, swimming, rowing, dancing,  and BodyBasics group classes or private sessions are all great ideas!  Be adventurous and try something new.  Details can be found inside the studio at the front desk.  Now here is the fun part – for each 60 minutes of activity you complete you get to add a link to your chain.  The chains are a fun way to show your progress, they will hang around the gym. For those of you who have 20 or more links, you get to celebrate your success in January at a special party!  More details on the party to come.


Video – RIP 1/2 Kneel Flyfisher


Team BodyBasicsstaff pic revised - C (3)


Myrya, Chris, Amber, Zane, Maureen, and Mike

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