Nov/Dec 2018 - The Recovery Issue

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Healthy Sides for the Holidays Rosemary Bone Broth Mashed Potatoes Exercises to Avoid When Recovering from an ACL Injury Recovery from a Silent Killer Your Desk Job

EXPOSURE P H OTO G R A P H E R : MALACHI SALLEE @THEREALMALACHI LO C AT I O N : ROCK ISLAND STATE PARK Send us your hi-res, active lifestyle photos to for a chance to be published.

Content Exposure / 4

#MusicCityFit / 14

Fitness Directory / 56

Publisher’s Letter / 8

New to Nashville / 20

Events + Races / 58

Contributors / 10

The A-List / 24

Discover! / 60




NUTRITION Healthy Sides for the Holidays / 16

WELLNESS Survivor Fitness Foundation / 46 Exercises to Avoid / 48

LIFESTYLE Recovery Series / 26 Methods of Recovery / 38

FITNESS Functional Fitness / 50 Bosu Ball Workout / 52


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THE RECOVERY SERIES We're all battling something. Find courage in their stories. Healthy Holiday Sides / 16

The next big hit at your holiday party.

Functional Fitness / 50 A 77-year-old finds his way to fitness.

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From the Publisher


ast month, the Harvard Business Review wrote an article on self-care and how it’s starting to feel like, well… a lot of work. People have always wanted to feel healthier and happier, they have also always wanted a quick fix to just about all their problems. And as the self-improvement industry has grown to $11 billion, it’s become more rooted in technology to support our constant lack of patience. It seems we have impaired the idea of “taking care of ourselves” to “optimizing” results. As the weather settles in and we turn off our AC to open the windows and breathe in the cold air, we start to feel the effects of gray skies in our bones. Old aches and pains, the absence of bright morning light make it a little bit easier to back off and get cozy in the endless pursuit of our goals. But who says you can’t enjoy settling into a peace of mind for just a bit? Recovering from the long year doesn’t have to mean constantly feeding your muscles (or your ego) with protein shakes. It is just as important to rest your stressful mind. Maybe what we need is a break from goal-oriented and metric-driven thinking. What about cutting ourselves some slack on days we feel slightly less productive? Or reminding ourselves that laughter is healing? Sometimes what we need to feel better is to do less. The Recovery Issue provides an opportunity for us to not only reset and do a self-assessment, but also the chance to make peace and not be so hard on ourselves. It’s been a long year for us all. Nashville Fit Magazine increased it’s issue count to six - hopefully you’ve enjoyed the extra content. I know we’ve enjoyed sharing it with you. From stories of recovery to methods and products you will find of use, this


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issue has a few reminders of why we should listen to our bodies. Recovery is more than mending a wound or resting the muscles - it is ridding yourself of negative self talk and sharing coffee with a friend. Recovery is for the mind, body, and soul and we should never let one bad day, moment, or experience keep us from the pursuit of our goals and overcoming adversity. I believe you will find some of the personal stories printed in this issue more relatable than you might initially think. I’m both happy and sad to say this will be my last Publisher’s Letter. I’m passing the reins to our Editor, Lindsay Miller. An Editor’s role can sometimes be overlooked to those outside of the organization, but her diligent work is never unnoticed by those internally. It’s an honor to “pass the torch” to someone that has, from the beginning, played a large role in the development of this publication and brand. She cares for the well-being of our community and strives to educate and inform our readership. Her vibrant personality is continuously connecting and complimenting the people of Music City as she actively strives to enlighten and learn. Lindsay’s voice will continue to bring innovative ideas and a unique perspective to the health and fitness space in Nashville. As I feel there always should be, there were many firsts this year, both for myself and for Nashville Fit. If you get the urge, I would encourage you to read Lindsay’s 2018 Event Recap article at the end of this issue. It’s a great piece on what we took away from an incredible year and the gratitude we continue to have for this community.

As always, stay Music City Fit,

Ryan Freebing, Owner/Publisher


Thank you to NFM’s contributors who make this magazine a worthy source of health and wellness information in Nashville.

PUBLISHER Ryan Freebing

EDITOR Lindsay Miller



Joan Barker

Tim Danchak

ADDITIONAL CONTRIBUTORS Jarod Carter, Ben Shook, David Leffler, Cara Eplin, Shannon Smith




Dr. Jennifer Hutton

James Owen

Joan Barker Joan is a former track and field athlete, a Barre instructor, yoga

teacher, and a fitness trainer in one. Having a combined 12 years in the health and wellness industry, she has personally helped hundreds of clients through their fitness journey and achieve balance in their lives.

Tim Danchak Tim is a strength coach, wellness instructor, and functional training specialist in North Carolina. His primary focus is working with general and special populations to regain proper movement mechanics and improving total body strength. Tim’s passion is focused on enhancing overall quality of life and pain free performance for his clients.

Dr. Jennifer Hutton Dr. Jennifer Hutton (Dr. J Pop) is a physical therapist at

Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital and lead therapist in their regional hip clinic. Graduating from Loma Linda University with a Doctorate in Physical Therapy, she is a Selective Functional Movement Assessment, Functional Movement System, and a Myodetox Level 1 Certified (manual therapy) provider.

James Owen James P. Owen is an author and speaker who most recently has




1101 18th Ave S, Suite 500 Nashville, TN 37212 Nashville Fit Magazine assumes no responsibility for the content of articles or advertisements, in that the views expressed therein may not necessarily reflect the views of the publisher or any magazine employee or contributor. This publication and all of its contents are copyrighted.

written a book called Just Move! A New Approach to Fitness After 50.



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Happenings WE DARE TO BARE

The Movemeant Foundation has teamed up with Shawn Booth’s Boothcamp Gym to bring We Dare to Bare to Nashville for their firstever pop-up event! We Dare to Bare is unlike anything you’ve ever experienced. On Sunday, November 4th, give yourself the chance to shed your shirt and sweat out your insecurities, all while raising money to give women and girls the chance to build self-worth, positive body-image, and a supportive community through sports and fitness. Join the MOVEMEANT! Get tickets at


The Music City Yoga Festival is happening on Saturday, November 10th at the beautiful event space Rocketown in downtown Nashville. New to this year’s event, Small World Yoga is celebrating not only Music City’s vibrant yoga community but also the fitness community by adding wellness influencers and cycling classes to the schedule. Find more details and grab your tickets today at


Stretch out your weekend on November 17th with yoga and brunch. Join TenneCPY for a FREE all levels Power Yoga class led by CorePower Yoga's own Chelsea Gartner at True Food Kitchen. After you namaste, enjoy 15% off brunch with some of the healthiest (and great tasting) dishes your body can ask for. All you need is a yoga mat! Visit CorePower Yoga's Facebook page for more details


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Follow us on Instagram @NASHVILLEFIT. Tag us or use the hashtag #MusicCityFit for a chance to be featured.











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NUTRITION With the holiday season right around the corner, try these calorie-conscious side dishes that are sure to wow your friends and family. I’ve always been a fan of rosemary, and it truly brings the flavor to party in these bone broth mashed potatoes! The Cranberry Citrus Kale Salad is a great option for making ahead and tossing just before serving for a crisp and fresh flavor. The Toasted Sesame Green Bean Almondine is one of my personal favorites, a modern twist on a classic dish! These dishes are also great to incorporate in your own meal prep. - Will Russ, Owner, Clean Eatz Nashville

Rosemary Bone Broth Mashed Potatoes ---------------------WHAT YOU NEED ½ Cup Fat Free Sour Cream ½ Cup Bone Broth 3 Tbsp of Whipped Butter 2 Tbsp of Chopped Rosemary 1 Tsp of Crushed Black Pepper 5lbs of Russet Potatoes

HOW TO MAKE IT 1) Peel and cut potatoes into quarters, boil in water until tender 2) Drain potatoes and return to pot 3) Add fat free sour cream, bone both, and whipped butter. Blend mixture until smooth 4) Add rosemary and black pepper blend until evenly mixed 5) Transfer to serving dish and garnish with top portion of rosemary sprig



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Cranberry Citrus Kale Salad ---------------------WHAT YOU NEED 6 Cups of Chopped Kale 1/2 Cup of Chopped Walnuts 1 15 oz Can of Mandarin Oranges 1/2 Cup of Dried Cranberries 1/2 Cup Coconut

Citrus Vinaigrette 2 Medium Oranges 3 Medium Lemons ¼ Cup Olive Oil ¼ Cup Apple Cider Vinegar 2 Tbsp of Honey ¼ Tsp of Black Pepper

HOW TO MAKE IT 1) For the vinaigrette: squeeze the juice of two oranges and three lemons 2) Add olive oil, apple cider vinegar, honey, and black pepper to mixture 3) Place kale on your favorite serving dish. Layer walnuts, oranges, and cranberries evenly on top of the kale. Sprinkle coconut on top of the salad 4) Just before serving, drizzle a portion of the vinaigrette over the salad

Toasted Sesame Green Bean Almondine ---------------------WHAT YOU NEED 30 oz Green Beans 1.5 Tbsp Toasted Sesame Oil 1/3 Cup Almond Slivers 2 Tsp of White Sesame Seeds

HOW TO MAKE IT 1) Toss almond slivers and green beans in sesame oil 2) Spread evenly on baking sheet, and cook for 12 minutes on 400 3) Remove from oven and place green beans on serving platter. Spread remaining cooked almonds on top of the green beans. 4) Top with sesame seeds

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o t w ne



4017 Hillsboro Pike #310, Nashville, TN 37215 Atlanta-based cosmetic services studio OVME opened in the heart of Green Hills at the Hill Center in November. Founded in 2017 by S. Mark McKenna M.D. M.B.A., OVME’s modern boutique offers a contemporary and innovative take on the traditional clinical environment. OVME connects consumers with skilled health care providers to deliver curated medical aesthetic services, including neurotoxins, dermal fillers, and Vivace Micro needling, as well as “body” services including laser hair removal, men’s services including PRP for hair loss, and wellness services including precision weight management, vitamin B-12 shots, and hydration therapy. “Our team is composed of creative caregivers who provide solutions for ‘age appropriate’ skin health,” says Dr. McKenna. “We believe the needs of the medical aesthetics consumer have evolved beyond the stale industry landscape.” Aesthetics Nurse Amber Cruth is OVME Nashville’s Lead Aesthetic Provider. Amber is a Registered Nurse, experienced medical injector and cosmetic laser expert. She has over 13 years of medical aesthetic experience. Through an official partnership with the Make-A-Wish Foundation, OVME extends its ethos by donating a portion of proceeds to grant wishes for kids with life-threatening medical conditions across the country. 18

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Crossfit Wilco

116 Seaboard Lane, Suite 110 Franklin, TN 37067 Crossfit Wilco has existed for over a year, but on October 1st they opened their doors to a new facility. With 3,500 square feet of space, they will provide classes such as Crossfit, olympic weightlifting, a women’s only boot camp, BirthFit, yoga, and open gym times for members. They also provide personal training and nutrition programs, strength and conditioning, and a foundations class for beginners. Along with Strongman training through DEUCE Strength, which is a power-based program designed for maximal strength and output. They also give an added option to follow either Crossfit Wilco’s class programming or NOMAD Strength’s daily programming from your gym or home. Amenities include men’s and women’s locker rooms with shower stalls, cubbies in the check-in area, and filling stations for your water bottle. Wilco tracks every time and lift, if desired, in order to make you better than yesterday, believing data is the secret ingredient to successful training. Simply put, Crossfit Wilco’s mission is to help you. They want their members to walk out after a workout and feel like they are becoming a better version of themselves. To them, it isn’t the scientific sum of calories, workout analytics, cutting edge equipment and technology that drives their facility - it is the people that count. Their team cares about guiding and encouraging each and every member to obtain the goals they seek for themselves. Whether you want to run a marathon, lose 100 pounds, climb Mount Everest, or train for the Crossfit Games, the certified trainers at Crossfit Wilco strive to create a roadmap and timeline to get each one of you exactly where you aim to be.

Pure Sweat + Float, Cool Springs

1560 W McEwen Dr #154 Franklin, TN 37067 Pure Sweat + Float Studio just opened a second location, and we couldn’t be more excited to recover, smarter. The new installation of the popular wellness studio (first opening in Belle Meade), is located in Cool Springs, in the same center as Whole Foods and lululemon. It’s the only infrared sauna and float studio in the Franklin area too. Their exclusive Triple Wavelength Infrared Sauna Therapy offers near, mid, and far Infrared wavelengths to warm your body at the cellular level, delivering a deep tissue sweat and advanced healing. This new location has six Full Spectrum Infrared Saunas that include a Deluxe Sauna, large enough for two guests and even hot yoga. If you haven't experienced the power of float therapy, enjoy an experience like none other in a private suite featuring their state-of-the-art Evolution Float Orbs, exclusive at Pure Sweat + Float Studio. Float effortlessly within pristine, warm water mixed with nearly 1,000 pounds of therapeutic Epsom salt, creating a gravity-free healing environment for deep physical recovery and mental relaxation. Combine Infrared Sauna and Floating therapies together for pure body bliss. N OV / D E C 2 0 1 8 • N AS H V I L L E F I T M AG A Z I N E


LIFESTYLE Full Ride Cycling

3 City Avenue, Suite 400 Nashville, TN 37209 What if challenging yourself from the inside out helped to transform the lives of others? At Full Ride Cycling, 5% of net profits are donated to local Nashville charities every quarter. Full Ride classes are 45-minute full body, rhythm based rides that engage the body, mind and soul. Kelsey Cox, voted #1 Best Cycling Instructor 2017 by Nashville Fit Magazine, and Kenzie Todd, the most inspiring newcomer to the Nashville fitness scene, lead the team of instructors that have over 15 years of collective experience. They have come from all over the United States to share their passion for teaching & motivating others through fitness, so you’re guaranteed to walk out feeling better than you did when you walked in. Full Ride is located in the heart of ONEC1TY off Charlotte Ave, an oasis that has everything from local brunch spots, to vegan ice cream and sand volleyball. With a large outdoor deck and Venice beach vibe, the studio is your Nashville beach house; while the dark bike room with colored lights and loud bass is your fitness escape. Never taken a cycle class before? They’ve got you. This workout is for all fitness levels. In line with their motto “Full hearts. Full life. Full Ride.,” this inclusive community will warmly welcome you to the #FullFam the minute you walk through the door. Book your bike online at and be sure to follow @fullridecycling. New riders get 2 classes for $10.

Crane Fitness Equipment

468 Clubhouse Ln, Clarksville, TN 37043 Veteran owned and operated, Crane Fitness Equipment is committed to providing high quality fitness equipment to their customers in the greater Nashville area. Owners, Mark and Katie Crane, have devoted years of manufacturer research, product study and development, and resourcing towards their business and have put their efforts into action. From home gym to commercial gym owners, Crane Fitness strives to provide the most affordable, highest quality equipment to their customers. Today, that vision has manifested. As the most affordable fitness equipment company in the nation, Crane Fitness provides a wide range of inventory to suit all your fitness needs, from resistance bands and chalk to deluxe wall rigs and multifunctioning yokes. Equipment can even be customized to fit your personal brand or business. With their son and daughter, Tyler and Becca, Crane Fitness looks to serve as a unique fitness equipment company for all customers through facility layout and design, delivery and installation, as well as direct customer service. Mention this article and receive 10% off your next purchase. Visit Crane Fitness Equipment today! 20

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At Nashville Fit Magazine, we pride ourselves on being bold, well-researched, and above all, fun. The A-List is a curated list of our team’s favorite products and tips based on personal experience or expert advice. This month features a list of our favorite new products for the holiday season. Freeze Sleeve $60

Freeze Sleeve ( The Freeze Sleeve provides 360 degrees of cold compression therapy and 100 percent coverage to the treatment area. Cold compression therapy has been proven to reduce swelling and helps relieve daily aches and pains. The product slides over the body part in need and delivers cold therapy in a comfortable, easy to use compression sleeve that is child-friendly, non-toxic and leak proof.

PODZ Nutrition Chocolate Protein $50

PODZ Nutrition ( We live in a fast-paced world. Tired of scooping your protein from a tub? What makes PODZ Nutrition stand out is not only that it provides 28 grams of high-quality protein, but it's packaged in water-soluble pods made from 100% food grade ingredients. Convenient and portable. Drop. Shake. Drink.


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Swannies Blue Light Blocking Day Glasses $79

Swanwick Sleep ( The Swannies blue light blocking glasses are designed for those of us who stare into screens for the majority of the day. The lenses are made specifically to block out the blue light that can be harmful to our health. The glasses can help protect eyes, prevent eye strain, reduce headaches and regulate your circadian rhythm.

FerBen Style Botanic Bra and Legging $58 + $85

FerBen Style ( Sleek and athletic, FerBen Style fuses fashion with function. Their clothing is inspired by powerful active people with an exceptional lifestyle. Balancing the trend of athleisure and fitness, their wear matches perfectly with your modern lifestyle. Be comfortable, be functional, and standout with a “gym to street” vibe. This Botanic Bra and Leggings combo adds a dramatic look to any outfit. The leggings have a snakeskin texture and a contrast circular waistband. The perfect fit technology means they won’t lose shape too. Use code “SPICE20” at checkout and get 20% off your entire purchase.

Little Seed Farm Herbal Lip Salves 3 for $21

Little Seed Farm ( These lip salves from Little Seed Farm are hand crafted and made with organic essential oils. Infused with healing herbs like comfrey, plantain, and calendula, they can be used to help keep your lips soft and comfortable. Appropriate for all ages. Pick three for $21.

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ill Bartholomew is one of the rare Nashville natives. He is most commonly known for playing college football for the University of Tennessee Volunteers in Knoxville as a fullback. Beginning in 2001, Will is now CEO of D1 Sports, where today hosts 36 facilities across 25 states and according to sources, brings in $20 million a year in revenue. Although there was a time when Will couldn’t foresee his own bright future, at 22, his plans to succeed in the NFL blocked any view beyond that horizon. When his professional football dreams were crushed, he chose to battle his way back to a slightly different journey - one you might be surprised to know Will accepted with an open mind, but also with the same grit and determination as his rehabilitation required in his playing days. Will attended local high school at Montgomery Bell Academy where he says, “This is where I fell in love with the weight room.” He particularly remembers his strength and conditioning coach playing a large role for his love of the game, especially in high school. “He would quote scripture to me while we worked out together,” Will recalls, “I found a lot of inspiration in those words.” Much of that inspiration would guide him through the following years of rehabilitation, adversity, and recovery. His first true test in playing setbacks faced a young 8th grader with a torn ACL and cartilage. Although, the hardest thing to overcome was the news he wouldn’t play football anymore. Doctors explained the major surgery would be risky, seeing as young, teenage boys are still significantly growing. Nonetheless, after surgery came rehab and so did Will’s lack for any expectation on how the future of his knee would turn out. All he knew was the feeling that “things had been ripped away” from him. With rehab and a lot of extra work, he had years between his injury and college recruitment to safely harbor the recovery process. “Having that injury at that time was a blessing in disguise,” he maintains. It gave him an education in patience, trust for the process, and he learned that working hard could get him back to the game he loved. Will says all he could think about during the recovery process was, “get in the weight room, work hard, and be the strongest most disciplined athlete I could be.” Although the knee injury was nothing casual, occurring at a young enough age gave him time to grow, continue to rehab, and strengthen the muscles around the knee for his future career. He also began to understand the level of dedication recovery requires. He says, “Life has to do with patterns and a lot of them depend on how you respond.” Life will always have obstacles, but how we recover sequentially depends on our outlook and the patterns we choose to repeat. Along with the haunting memories of potentially having it stripped away, he left

his younger days of football with a gracious perspective. The University of Tennessee at the time hosted major talent in every aspect. “My goal was to play special teams,” Will admits, “I didn’t even think I could start.” Not only did he quickly earn his way to a starting position, but he also took on the role of team captain and won a National Championship title. As an undrafted free agent, Bartholomew was set to play in the National Football League for the Denver Broncos. Unexpectedly, Will’s fate circled back to his knee during training camp, when his career looked to be over yet again suffering another injury. This time, the recovery would require multiple surgeries. “At that moment, I thought, ‘How do I respond?’ and I had to go back to that pattern,” he recalls. The approach would need to be in a similar fashion. “I made my response be the same as before - work as hard as I could to come back and be the best athlete I could be,” he remarks. Although, this time, the process of recovery led him to starting D1. He signed a settlement with the Broncos and moved back to Nashville to seriously rehab his knee. He needed a place to train like an athlete - one that had the caliber of resources but could also be ready him for a return to the NFL. He needed the opportunity to reach his goals and he needed them in the shape of a space with coaches and programming like he’d previously known. Instead, he found himself working out at a community center. "I was powerlifting and being loud, I guess, but the general manager asked me to leave,” Will admits. When he realized his available options were not quite up to par, he created his own and named it D1 Training. The vision for D1 Training was to contrive fitness facilities that provide custom sports-based training programs to help people achieve their sports and fitness goals. Lining the walls of all D1 Training facilities are the words that say “Iron Sharpens Iron,” and ring true to create the mentality that one person strengthens another. The D1 environment is meant to support you through the process of recovery or the exertion of elite exercise and along the way, you become stronger because of the people that surround you. A year later, Will had the confidence in his recovery work to return to football. He had a new found strength and new business so he decided it was time to head back to the Broncos. The first thing standing in his way was a mandatory physical. To everyone's surprise, Will was diagnosed with another torn ACL. “Whether I tore it again or it never really healed didn’t matter,” he claims. Something had already shifted in Will’s mindset. “This time it felt more of a confirmation that God wanted me to put my heart and soul into something else,” he clarifies. High-level athletes often come to a point in their career

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when they have to accept the cards they are dealt. Will described the change in mindset as a “stamp on his life” that said, “this is done, it’s time to move on.” He acquired the acceptance of a new process - one that felt similar to healing an injury. “You have to be realistic,” Will says, referring to playing the game of football, but he could just as easily be talking about injury or doubt or hardship. We often forget to remind ourselves that this temporary pain will not last forever. He affirms, “You can always work through it. There will always be a way - even if that means changing your plans.” So while Will was training for his NFL comeback, a bigger plan seemed to surface. He had been pouring his heart and time into the D1 business. “My faith has been my backbone - of the business and me - it’s who I am,” Will describes, “but there is something bigger at play than just my story.” Trusting his faith and choosing to stay on the course of growing D1, his recovery would now focus on being the best in the business. Recovery became less about his knee and more about his life choices. “The one choice you will always have is your outlook,” Will says. This stage of his career would open up new roles needing the same amount of attention his knee had once required. It would still take dedication, but it was nothing he hadn’t gone through before. “It goes back to those moments in 8th grade, doing rehab, sitting there listening to someone else tell me how it was going to be,” Will conveys, referring to the doctors saying he would never play football after his first knee injury. “But that wasn’t what I believed. I believed I would recover and I believed in my mindset.” A positive mindset and overall attitude are some of the few things we actually can control according to Will, and he says, “It translates to business owners too.” In both business and recovery, perseverance, discipline, and work ethic will build character. “You are going to have setbacks,” Will plainly states, “and when you do, how are you going to respond? Will you have that mental fortitude?” Sports psychology is embedded in athletics today and programs recognize the importance of the mental game. Will says, “I think the same thing applies to sports as it does to training as it does to rehab. You have to develop the mental strength because you are going to face adversities.” When we are forced to slow down and are placed in the discomfort of an injury, life, business or whatever it may be, our character carries us through it. Will defines character as our backbone or rather, who we are and what we are made of. In fact, also displayed on the walls of D1 Training is the quote, “Character is who you are when no one is looking.” Through football, recovery, training, family, and business, Will has always managed to have a great outlook on life. He is one to keep positivity at the forefront of his endeavors. “I want to always be working towards progress,” he explains. Through his recovery journey, Will has worked hard to achieve his goals as they have changed over time. “I’ve had massive gains and massive losses,” he admits, “but both have equally helped shape my character.”


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atie Giglio is among the slim 10 percent of people that fully recover from a stroke. At 27 years old, her recovery was never something she expected to share. And although her story may sound like the perfect combination of friends, doctors, drug dosage, timing, and recognition, in reality, it was another combination of things that got her in this gut-wrenching situation that has forever changed her narrative. In 2015, after a Crossfit Open workout, coined 15.4, she decided to join her friends at their usual spot, La Hacienda Taqueria, for a celebratory meal. Little did she know the familiar 10-minute drive would host a plethora of damage to her near future. Katie recalls only a few vivid details of that moment, but she remembers her head feeling weird as soon as she hit the red light outside the gym. Still in route, she missed the turn and recalculated to the restaurant, pushing aside the discomfort. Arriving in the parking lot and somehow managing to park her car, she began to feel her face droop and her left arm and leg lose feeling. When Katie realized she couldn’t sing along to her car radio, the horrifying reality sank in that something serious was wrong. “I heard my own voice and the words sounding slurred, but I wasn’t sure if I was hearing myself right,” she describes. While texting a friend she knew wouldn’t understand her, she attempted to convey her inability to move or exit the driver’s seat. Her friend, already in the


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restaurant, passed the phone to another friend of Katie’s, who happened to be a nurse. Luckily, Melissa Wiley’s specific education - a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) and labeled an Acute Care Nurse Practitioner (ACNP) at the Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC) - prepared her to recognize the typical symptoms and classic indications of a stroke. Wiley’s quick assessment, despite her disbelief, substantially decided Katie’s miraculous outcome. The emergency responders from the Nashville Fire Department arrived within minutes, however, the normal protocol for Katie’s condition was to be taken to the nearest hospital in order for a doctor to determine a diagnosis, once a stroke is diagnosed, the hospital would then decide how to proceed with treatment. But seeing as the VUMC has the highest qualification of stroke care (Level 1), Wiley explained her position with the center as a neurology nurse practitioner, and strongly advised the EMT to take her to “not the nearest hospital” but to the VUMC in order for Katie to receive a dose of TPA within the 3-hour window. TPA is also known as tissue plasminogen activator and is a protein involved in the breakdown of blood clots. This drug, administered within the 3-hour window, would reverse the systems caused by a stroke. Katie was awake during the surgery, as required, however, she felt very little. She says, her feeling went away slowly during the process, but “during the surgery, her feeling came back just as slow.” The surgery and administration of TPA helped to dissipate the blood clot in Katie’s spinal stem and allow the blood to flow freely to the brain again. During a stroke, a blood clot appears to block the blood flow to the brain, usually sitting at the top of the spine, and the brain suffers from a lack of oxygen and various cells begin to die. When brain cells die, multiple abilities controlled by the affected area are lost. But for Katie, the TPA dosage reversed these, otherwise common, inhibiting possibilities. “I went back to the gym after 10 days and one week of that in the hospital,” she recalls.

Katie’s miraculous case was later explained as a result of her on-going stomach issue, known as Ulcerative Colitis. A problem diagnosed in November 2015 that caused inflammation in her colon and flair-ups that caused bleeding. On no medication at the time, the doctors determined this was the perfect storm to lead to a stroke since the inflammation and internal bleeding are root causes for a blood clot. “I was ready to jump back in immediately,” Katie says, but she quickly learned to approach life at the gym with a different mentality. “I had to slow down and remember what my body just went through,” she explains. She had to rework both sides of the body in order to regain simultaneous function. Her left side felt slower so timing was noticeably off on lifting weights and jumping rope. “I felt the only side effects during Crossfit,” Katie claims. Although, correcting her timing and working her full body at an intensified rate, restored her system for everyday life to go on as normal. “I’m a better athlete than I’ve ever been,” Katie says. Her diet became a major influence in athletic performance but had to be controlled in order to not trigger flare-ups. She recognizes her food choices were the main contributor in her Ulcerative Colitis causing a stroke. She explains, “the quality of food plays a large role in my routine now and even though I cannot cure it, I have learned I still have some control of what I feel like.” Katie learned a multitude of lessons that she’ll take away from her recovery story. She says, “Food was the medicine to my recovery and now nutrition is a major passion of mine.” After her stroke, Katie lost weight by simply eating better. It took 9 months to lose 40 pounds, but she has now stabilized her stomach problems and maintained that healthy weight for 2 years. Out of a terrifying experience came positive changes, and Katie’s recovery led to a routine of healthy habits and a life she loves and works hard to preserve.

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orn and raised in Nashville, Chase Akers has a quiet strength about him. On the surface, some might describe him as shy considering he is usually behind the music as a local Disc Jockey. However, his humility is a genuine representation of removing any ego, seeing as he has had his fair share of hardships. “It is me vs. me always,” he asserts. “If I start comparing myself to others, dark thoughts seep in. It’s no longer me against myself and it becomes me against the world - that is a weight too heavy to bear.” Instead, he says to himself, those thoughts are unnecessary and remembers the embrace of love and support. Born three months premature, Chase's neck suffered too much pressure during delivery and caused a stroke. After a month in the hospital, he came home weighing one pound and fitting in his father’s hand. Cerebral palsy (CP) is caused by abnormal development or damage to the parts of the brain that control movement, balance, and posture. For Chase, it was the nerve damage at birth caused by the excessive pressure on his spinal cord. CP varies from invisible to completely immobile and is a permanent movement disorder that appears in early childhood. Chase’s CP was recognized when his parents noticed his inability to crawl during infancy. Often, symptoms of CP include


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poor coordination, stiff muscles, weak muscles, or tremors. While symptoms may get more noticeable over the first few years of life, underlying problems do not worsen over time. Chase’s specific case is called spastic diplegia, a form of CP where muscle tightness is the exclusive impairment and have neuromuscular mobility issues (rather than paralysis). Certain movements or poses will cause spastic episodes that Chase describes as “very painful”. Spastic diplegia is usually in the muscles of the lower extremities, such as the legs, hips, and pelvis, as the case for Chase. “This is why I train in multiple fashions,” Chase explains, “I want to wake up those nerves so they know they can do this.” Although he will always deal with spastic diplegia, at the age of 5 he underwent 8 invasive surgeries. These surgeries would pull and stretch the affected muscles, the bones would be broken and reset, and he was placed in a lower-body cast to allow the extensive process to heal. His muscles were forced to be lengthened and the bones meant to realign in the hopes his lower body function would become manageable in his later years. His recovery consisted of 3-5 years and the entire first year was spent in a cast. The remaining few years of recovery were in multiple braces. “It was nothing to be afraid of,” he expresses, “I am not fragile, just a normal person that had a stroke at birth.” “I grew up thinking, ‘I’ll turn 21 and grow out of this,’ like acne or something,” he explains. “But then I’d wake up and it would still be there.” At 24, Chase came to the unsettling realization that it wasn’t something he would outgrow. He recalls that concrete moment when his retrospect shifted to a positive outlook despite any previous dismay. He woke up from a haze of inhibition and distinguished he was overcompensating his physicalities with an abrasive personality. In his clarity, he no longer felt the needed to be excessive. “I didn't need to be this presence that said, ‘Please validate me!’” he says and thought, “‘Why are you trying to be someone you weren’t made to be?’ There are a million other things I was made to be, so I had to shift my perspective. The things I could be were more important than the things I was not.” He had his body, his mind, and his heart and allowed himself to be weak and vulnerable, but he wanted to be more for himself. “I’m not just someone to embody CP,” he says. Once he discovered this feeling, he says it felt like the world around him supported the effort. It wasn’t optimism, Chase says, it was empowerment. He says, “You can be optimistic about everything in the world but still not feel empowered by community and knowledge,” and elaborates, “The first two steps to any kind of change is community and knowledge.” His first experience with community support started at a college Pilates class. He claims, “I was still chubby and weak, but I forced myself into company so I could learn from those around me.” Here, the instructor would help him move into selective positions and while grimacing from the pain she would say, “I’m proud of you.” It might have ignited those nerve sensors into discomfort, but Chase says it changed various negative thoughts into positive affirmations. His feelings of inadequacy transformed into a new movement with new meanings. Essentially, Chase’s body was recovering through movement, but so was his mind. “I reminded myself ‘I can do all things,’ as my mother told me as a child.” His mother’s biblical reference of Philippians 4:13 would become a mantra in many ways. “When you say ‘I can do all things’, it means I can do all things,” Chase explains. But Chase isn’t referring to skydiving or squatting 200 pounds, “I mean I can feel love - I can look in the mirror and love and accept myself.” He says, “It doesn’t have to mean surface-level things. I can have a community and go to a gym and not be afraid or intimidated. I can love my life and myself for exactly who I am and the things I am

capable of.” This affirmation has now become an everyday approach. As he aged, those words became less biblical and more of a vow he latched onto. “My family didn’t see me as their disabled son,” he notes. Therefore, he learned to see himself as they did. He says, “I was going to do the things I wanted because that is what they wanted for me.” Chase says he is closer to his family because of CP. It was a circumstance they chose to fight together and with that adversity came a special bond. Although, he admits it made him “grow up humble” his stance remains, “My family championed me from day one,” and he believes CP was a driving factor in his biggest support system. “CP doesn’t necessarily get worse, but I do believe it can get better,” Chase says. Most people can rehabilitate whatever the battle may be, but Chase’s disability is incurable. There is no cure for CP and his acceptance of that fact helped in accepting himself - that was and continues to be his true recovery. This is why Chase’s recovery story is a little different from the rest. His journey was finding something he never had. Growing up with a multitude of limiting factors, he had to overcome an implemented mentality. His recovery process is of course physically demanding, but his real recovery is in its mental feat. The dark place was a series of thoughts and phrases that spiraled into depriving his own life and questioning self-worth and ability. His mental battles consist of “what if’s” and negative self-talk, but with the help of a community providing love with no limitations, Chase patrons the healing process. “What makes it more challenging is that I’m recovering from not knowing what I want, who I am, or what I am capable of. I have to keep working to progress my mental challenges while acknowledging the physical ones.” Chase’s recovery is learning how to live with the life he has been given and all of its factors, but still setting himself apart as an individual. Ironically and quite beautifully, Chase gives a lot of this credit to becoming a part of something bigger - his community. Recovering from a disability is unmasking the odds and the person it makes you become. Chase admits, “We spend a lot of time hating ourselves because of limitations. The biggest part of my recovery story is uncovering just that.” We can all relate to finding our way in this world, it’s called growth, but by no means is it easy. It begins with acceptance and continues with overcoming the negative self-talk. Chase replaced his self-deprecations with memories of the words, “I’m proud of you,” and “I can do all things,” and believing them instead of giving into self-preservation. Chase’s message illustrates an invaluable lesson to us all. “Any wall you put up will harm you more than any wall you will ever let down, and the walls of self-doubt will destroy you more than any disability ever could.”

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iobhan Morse is nothing less than a positive bright light in every conversation, but her vibrant personality wasn’t always at the forefront of her life. She has learned to approach life, time and again, from a perspective of gratitude and delight. Although, as it often does, her appreciation for life came at a cost. Siobhan currently serves as a voluntary adjunct for Baylor Medical College and is the division director of clinical services for Foundations Recovery Network, the addiction services division of Universal Health Services. She finished 271 in her age group in the 2018 Crossfit Open, which put her in the top 5 percentile. She is training relentlessly to compete in the 2019 Games and pursues a better version of herself in aspects of fitness, health, and her profession daily. However, she has another consequential reason to celebrate life. Going on 12 years of sobriety, Morse is in perpetual recovery from opioid and stimulant addiction. Born and raised in Miami, Florida she has always been an athlete, particularly in the sport of diving. In her younger days, she recalls being “wild”, but those associative traits eventually took a turn. Forced to deal with adverse childhood experiences like trauma and life circumstances, she recognizes these episodes were affiliated with the conducible habits of her addiction. “Addiction is a progressive disorder,” Siobhan states. And starting in her 20s and dominating her 30s, she lived on the street, homeless, using, and immersed in her substance abuse. At 40, Morse entered a treatment center due to state recommendations. Here she says, “I began to understand the disease concept of addiction and learned to deal with my past.” She was educated on her particular issues, and because of her time at the treatment facility, she grew into a master addiction counselor and was ultimately offered a job leading her to Nashville.


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In Music City for 6 years now, she spent the first 3 earning her position as the division director of clinical services. Before that, she earned a master’s degree in health services administration from Florida International University. While at FIU, she participated in a number of research projects, focusing on the severely and persistently mentally ill. During her time as an adjunct professor at FIU, she taught program planning and evaluation for the College of Urban and Public Affairs. In addition, Morse received her certification as a clinical research coordinator (CRC) from the Associates of Clinical Pharmacology, working with major pharmaceutical companies to investigate new and promising treatments. She holds certifications as an ARISE interventionist and as a master addiction counselor. Morse has several current publications in research journals and has presented at global conferences on substance use and co-occurring disorders. She even wrote the chapter on exercise in recovery that is used today in given treatment centers. “Recovery is recovery is recovery,” Siobhan says, “we are all recovering from something.” Her education might have earned her certifications and degrees, but what it really taught her was how to recover her own identity. “Recovery can cause a lot of shame and guilt,” she admits, “but that was yesterday.” She commonly asks herself, “Who do you want to be today?” and “Can I face my past, make amends, and move forward?” In the process of recovery, we have to understand and accept it is likely going to hurt, but once we get through it we become a better person on the other side. She believes the center of everything is rooted in the recovery process, but the gains illuminate in all aspects of life. “You have to tell yourself that you may have been wrong, but you learned from it,” she explains, “The only way to do that is to accept it and own it - you need to establish your integrity again and again.” Morse also heavily works with Break the Stigma, a movement that connects focus groups and promotes a better understanding of addiction and mental illness. People often think, “Can’t you just stop?” or, “If you didn’t do this you wouldn’t be in this situation,” but Siobhan wants them to comprehend these issues as a brain disorder and sickness, just in a different way. On the outside, it may not look like a broken arm or a fever, but it is an illness nonetheless. She explains, “It is a chronic relapsing brain disorder and I believe people are starting to understand that more and more about mental health.” Everything Siobhan does revolves around recovery. “I do two things in life,” she claims, “help others in recovery through my job, and I do CrossFit for myself.” Beginning in 2015, around the age of 50, she placed well in the 2016 CrossFit open and progressed into an athlete that views her recovery and her chances as a competitor seriously. CrossFit grew to be something different than other sports and today it is where she leaves her heart and her problems daily. She admits, “I'm not a good sit-still mediator, but when I lift heavy weight over my head, I am in that moment.” Siobhan struggles with body image, specifically body dysmorphia, where one sees themselves as the way they use to be when in reality, they have physically and mentally changed. However, she says CrossFit made her feel empowered. She finds the beauty in being surrounded by others

working hard and working to be better, instead of focusing on looking good. It gave her new movements that in turn translated to a new mentality. He describes, “It changed from simply doing exercise to how I looked and felt. Now, more prominently to what this body can do.” After 12 years of realizing the abuse she submitted her body to, she says, “To be where I am now - that is the place where miracles live.” She has learned life can get pretty messy, but you have to move through it, and she is willing to let go of things that hold her back in order to push herself to a positive place. “I am embracing the mess that comes with CrossFit and with recovery,” she says. Although she didn’t know anyone in Nashville prior to moving here years ago, she says CrossFit Old South has become fellowship and family and full of love supporting her everyday intentions. This year, Siobhan has learned another aspect of recovery how her body needs to heal and recover between workouts. Her focus remains on competing every day, but not just for the CrossFit Games. She competes with herself to embrace the lasting issues brought on by her past endeavors and practices that diligent mentality every time she is in the gym, thankful it has translated to her daily responsibilities. The knowledge she gained and the opportunities she received all stemmed from a sickness she was forced to face head-on. She continuously uses that knowledge to educate others, while still celebrating her personal growth.

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Recovery is an essential part of training when it comes to fitness. It may seem counterintuitive, but we grow while we rest, not while we work. When it comes to recovery from your workouts, most of us know the basics. Like getting eight hours of sleep, stretching, foam rolling, massage and, of course, rehydrating and refueling. Aside from the usual suspects, there are beneficial methods that utilize both hot and cold therapy.


f you’re not into juice cleanses, one of the most efficient ways to detox and relax your body these days is to sweat. Sweating is the body’s safe and natural way to heal and stay healthy and has been known to help flush the body of substances like alcohol, cholesterol, and salt. When we sweat, the body releases these toxins by using sweat as the conduit. Although sometimes embarrassing if you’re at school, work, or spending a night out on the town, sweating is a necessary part of protecting ourselves from overheating. The sometimes satisfying drips of perspiration are proof our body has a built-in mechanism for keeping cool, which can help open up and unclog pores. Sweating also increases blood circulation in our body. Heat therapy, also know as “hyperthermic conditioning,” is the practice of heat tolerance via modalities like the sauna, hot water or steam. Heat exposure promotes “healthy inflammation” through increased blood volume and flow to the heart and muscles (i.e. faster recovery as more oxygen fills your cells and tissues). Research reveals that two 20-minute sauna sessions separated by a 30-minute cooling period stimulates growth hormone (for muscle recovery and repair) levels two-fold over baseline. Two 15-minute sauna sessions at an even warmer temperature separated by a 30-minute cooling period resulted in a fivefold increase in growth hormone.


Wim Hof Method


How a simple practice using breath and water can change your life.

1. Get comfortable. Many people sit in a meditation position, others will stretch while breathing.

photo courtesy of


e climbed Mount Everest in nothing more than shorts, ran a full marathon in an African desert without water, and set the world record for the longest ice bath—clocking in at nearly two hours (just one of his 20 world records). While some claim he’s simply supernatural, Wim Hof credits his feats to his namesake method, in which breathing techniques and cold immersion are combined to control the mind. Following the suicide of his wife, Hof began looking for an outlet for his grief. What he created is now a 10-week course that people all over the world are employing to create balance, reduce stress, and strengthen the immune system. The Wim Hof Method focuses on a cycle of deep breathing and cold water immersion. Through rounds of breathing, the body is able to produce noradrenaline and norepinephrine, hormones that have healing agents and can reduce bodily inflammation. The secretion of these hormones in turn affects internal pH levels, and can lead to an alkaline state, in which your body eliminates excess acid and enters a healthier capacity. More, the shock of the cold-water jumpstarts the metabolism, increasing metabolic rate and can lead to fat loss. Yet most shocking, is the method’s ability to allow your mind to actually influence your immune system. Tested by skeptical scientists in 2011, Hof was injected with bacteria, commonly known for causing fever, chills, and headaches.

By pumping out adrenaline, Hof was able to suppress his immune system and control his autonomic nervous system, ridding his body of the bacteria. Still unsure, a group of method practitioners were also injected with the bacteria. All yielded the same results. More than physical health benefits, those who practice the Wim Hof Method experience boosts in their mental health. The deep breathing allows the mind to escape the stressed “fight or flight” mentality and enter a place of resting in the parasympathetic mind. The intensity of the cold water clears a person’s head and permits a break from the chaos of everyday life. The science of cold therapy has even made its way into the treatment of depression. Because of depression’s connection to hormones, cold immersion and deep breathing provide the quickest way, other than drugs, to alter those hormones. Similarly, Hof promises mood improvement and increased energy levels as additional benefits.

2. Thirty power breaths. These are deep breaths and should be audible in short, but powerful, bursts. 3. After 30 breaths, hold your air in on your final inhale. When you need to breathe, release the air slowly and hold again until your gasp reflex forces you to breathe. 4. For your recovery breaths, inhale to full capacity and feel your chest expanding. When you are at full capacity, hold the breath for around 10 seconds and this will be round one. Repeat the full cycle of breathing exercises for three more rounds one after another.

5. When you’ve finished the breathing cycles, take a few minutes to relax before you make the transition to cold water. If you’re just starting out, get your body adjusted with cold showers, beginning with your feet and making your way up to legs, stomach, shoulders, neck, and back. Start with moderately cold water, and each day you practice, make the temperature colder and colder. Hyperventilation is normal, but be sure you have a friend or family member in the vicinity in case you react negatively (passing out). For those wanting to do cold water treatments in a tub, fill with ice and submerge up to your shoulders and sit for one minute.

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f all the cutting-edge recovery methods available today, float therapy might just be the most relaxing. Also known as sensory deprivation therapy, floating is one of the recovery services Pure Sweat + Float Studio offers at its two locations in Belle Meade and Cool Springs. You’ll spend 40 or 60 minutes floating peacefully in its state-of-the-art flotation pod filled with 95-degree water and nearly 1,000 pounds of Epsom salt. The density of the Epsom salt solution makes the water so buoyant that your body becomes weightless, levitating on the surface. To further the effect, Pure Sweat + Float Studio’s contemporary float pods have customizable features to create your optimal healing environment, including ambient lighting, calming music, and an adjustable lid that can remain open or closed. Float therapy relies on the weightlessness created by large amounts of Epsom salt to enhance the recovery process. The lack of gravity and pressure on your joints and muscles provide a therapeutic context for them to rest and relax, while your skin absorbs the healing effects of magnesium sulfate (the ingredients of Epsom salt). It has been shown to reduce lactic acid and inflammation brought on by sore muscles, speeding up recovery time for those aches and pains. Owner of Pure Sweat + Float Studio, Candice Bruder, says “We’ve helped a lot of people in pain. Floating is great to integrate with rigorous training and high impact sports. If you don’t properly recover your body, you can’t sustain the constant workload. It’s essential to performance.” It’s no surprise that float therapy has been growing in popularity among elite athletes. Basketball star Steph Curry is a devoted Floater and Tom Brady even has a pod in his own home. Bruder says, “We’ve welcomed athletes from the Titans to the Vanderbilt Basketball team and even the


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Nashville Ballet. Interestingly, some athletes will float the day before a game. It gives them A-game focus. We also utilize the same float pods as the New England Patriots.” Along with easing tight muscles, one study at UC Irvine confirms that floatation therapy is a “long-lasting and versatile treatment” for chronic tension headaches. The zero-gravity state soothes an array of chronic pain like arthritis, fibromyalgia, back and neck discomfort, inflammation and tendonitis. Dedicating the time to truly rest your full body will decrease muscular tension, accelerate full-body recovery, and potentially boost overall athletic performance. Research shows that floating measurably reduces your blood pressure and heart rate, which will also lower stress levels. Even if you aren’t an athlete and just need to recover from a long day at work, the zero-gravity effect will fight a long list of issues brought on by high stress and anxiety. Lowering your blood pressure also insures significant preventive measures and risk reduction in strokes and heart attacks. One of the most popular experiences of float therapy is the ability to simply R-E-L-A-X. According to the CDC, stress will be the second most debilitating disease by 2020. Numerous reviews of Pure Sweat + Float Studio have expressed their experience as an incredibly effective and accessible way to reduce stress related symptoms. “Everybody has stress, and it’s remarkable how it debilitates our mind, body and spirit,” says Meredith Lile, Owner of Pure Sweat + Float Studio, Cool Springs. “Creating time to remove that stress is truly a necessity for vitality.” In nationwide studies, participants encountered elevated moods, better sleep, and reduced cortisol levels. “It’s like having the feeling and benefits of a deep power nap,” says Bruder. The brain’s response to floating is also quite phenome-

Candice Bruder, Owner Pure Sweat + Float Studio

nal. Our brain waves are in constant motion and continually producing waves at multiple frequencies. Of the five main frequencies, sensory deprivation targets what is known as the Theta state, which is a drastically slower state for brain waves. It is most common during deep meditation and just before falling asleep. It is also the first phase in which we begin to dream. Theta waves are always creative, characterized by feelings of inspiration and usually combined with vivid imagery, very clear and creative thoughts, sudden insights, and feelings of happiness. This is all thanks to the release of endorphins, the body’s natural opiates. Because float therapy is known to stimulate creativity, it has become a common practice for major business owners and artists to accelerate mental clarity and learning. It also provides an avenue for practicing or developing a deep-

er meditation. “Some people, like me, have a hard time meditating at home or even relaxing. When I float, I have no choice but to unplug and let go. I need that context. It’s amazing what we can achieve when we quiet our minds and listen within,” says Bruder. The benefits of floating will help achieve a shorter recovery time from anything performance or injury related, along with issues due to stress. Floatation therapy not only helps you relax, but puts you in a state of mental and physical weightlessness allowing for a ridiculous amount of health related benefits. From lower back pain to writer’s block, a visit to Pure Sweat + Float Studio could very well provide that method of recovery you have been looking for. It’s a quick and easy trip to pure relaxation. N OV / D E C 2 0 1 8 • N AS H V I L L E F I T M AG A Z I N E





eveloped in the 1960s by an osteopathic physician, Myofascial release, is a method of hands-on therapy that releases pain and tension with slow, prolonged stretching to affect a change in the connective tissues of the body, otherwise known as fascia. Think of the fascial system as a giant web internally wrapped around the entire system of the body surrounding every structure. It is one, head-to-toe, continuous unit, existing without interruption that permeates the body and enables all systems to operate in an integrated manner. Myofascial release is unique because many injuries are not necessarily muscular in origin, but are connective tissue injuries within ligaments, tendons, joint capsules, and other fascial structures. These injuries may create pain in the local area or seemingly unrelated areas of your body, known as referred pain, and is commonly thought to derive from trigger points. Trigger points are described as hyperirritable spots in the fascia surrounding the skeletal muscle where it is often difficult to know the exact source of the pain. The goal of myofascial release is to find the source of the pain and treat it with specificity, whether it is a fascial structure or a trigger point, to smooth out tension and restore mobility. New research supports the importance of maintaining healthy fascia in functional training and general exercise, considering it is the governing layer to our muscles. Due to the connective tissue having ten times as many sensory nerve endings as muscle, maintaining healthy fascia plays a major role in the movement, function, and position of the body during physical activity and everyday life. Dr. Steve Kravitz, P.T., D.P.T., C.S.T., owner of his private practice for 20 years, offers myofascial release treat38

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ments that help patients regain function and flexibility along with reducing and treating chronic pain. He says, “We offer a unique form of Physical Therapy by providing a one-hour, hands-on approach that is tailored to the patient’s specific needs.” Dr. Kravitz has also earned advanced certifications in over ten therapeutic disciplines including Myofascial Release and Trigger Point Therapy. He explains, “We pay special attention to the fascial system in each patient, where we identify problem areas and use manual therapy throughout the fascia to treat the whole body as a unit, rather than individual parts like traditional rehab.” As a doctor of physical therapy, certified in therapeutic massage and bodywork, Dr. Kravitz combines many hands-on modalities to provide an effective, lasting, therapeutic, benefit through his progressive approach. Dr. Kravitz and his team of trained and accredited doctors of physical therapy use techniques that aim to mobilize and stretch the fascia in an attempt to free up the whole region of the body that is restricted. This creates greater flexibility, reduces pain, and improves functional and physiological movements. Dr. Gena Thurston, P.T., D.P.T., C.I.D.N., of Steve Kravitz Physical Therapy says, “Myofascial release is an extremely effective way to access any layer of tissue tension. Often times, doctors refer to tight areas as trigger points and use injections with pharmaceutical substances to try and relieve the area.” She has also found dry needling as an adjunct to myofascial release highly effective and says it is a “swift treatment method for reducing these myofascial trigger points,” while avoiding the use of toxic substances. One of the many benefits of Myofascial release is how relaxing the actual treatment can be for the pa-

tient. It is delivered through varying degrees of light touch to deeper pressure, which is highly effective at smoothing out the multiple layers of fascia, muscles, and surrounding structures. Patients often share how thrilled they are, because, during myofascial release, the patient can lie down and be relaxed throughout the entire treatment. The health benefits can be felt for weeks and months while still enjoying a calming restorative experience during the treatment itself. There are a plethora of modalities to choose from when it comes to chronic and acute pain. Most common are chiropractic treatments and massage therapy. Chiropractors mainly use spinal manipulation to restore the mobility of the joints restricted by tissue tensions. While this can be effective at providing temporary pain relief, if the fascia is left untouched it will revert back to its previous state. Myofascial release aims to release these specific governing layers around the joint. This way, the joint and the associated tissue can remold into alignment without adjusting the bones beneath. Although massages can help decrease tension, stress, and pain, these techniques can often glide over the problem spot and sometimes cannot access the deeper layer where the source of the problem exists. Myofascial release therapy aims to specifically locate these problematic areas in the body and release this tissue tension for improving physiological function, decreasing pain and tightness, and restoring optimum health. According to Dr. Kravitz, when pain and tightness occur in the body, it is best to go to a professional to be evaluated and treated. While pain and tightness may occasionally resolve naturally, if the discomfort persists, this can cause long-term issues in the body. Many people feel they can manage with self-care techniques like self-massage, stretching, rest, ice, heat, or pain medications. However, self-care methods may not address the deeper issue. Myofascial release is effective at finding and releasing abnormal tissue tensions to help reduce the chance of long-term dysfunction, repetitive stress injury, and muscular imbalances to help improve overall flexibility, function, and athletic performance.

Dr. Steve Kravitz, Owner Steve Kravitz Physical Therapy

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ou’ve likely seen it on many athletes - the brightly colored tape intricately weaved across different areas of the body - most commonly shoulders, lower back, or knees. It ranges from skin-toned to black to a variety of neon colors. Needless to say, it stands out, however, it isn’t an athlete’s trending accessory. That, my friends, is called Kinesiology tape, otherwise known at K-Tape or KT. The Kinesiology taping method was developed in 1980 by Kenzo Kase, a chiropractor from Japan, who used the KT to help maintain the postural gains of his own patients. It is known as a therapeutic taping technique not only offering added support but also rehabilitating the affected condition as well. KT has been used as a tool in the movement rehab world for years now and in the early 2000s gained mainstream popularity when people noticed popular athletes wearing it during major performances. KT is a definitive technique designed to facilitate the body’s natural healing process. It is meant to provide support and stability to muscles and joints without restricting the body’s range of motion. KT also provides soft tissue manipulation in order to extend the benefits of manual therapy after administered by a trained physician. Thus the tape assists in recovery and healing in three specific ways: managing pain, reducing inflammation and improving body awareness for movement. This tool is used mostly for assisting the recovery of various injuries, especially as the patient begins to enter activity again. Or simply, it can be used to improve your movement patterns. KT gives aid to improving posture and coordination to enhance performance. After all, the more efficiently you move, the less likely you are to deal with injury or re-injuring the same problem area. In order for KT to work, those problem areas are encompassed and positioned strategically in order to provide support. Placed on your skin, the largest organ in your body laced with nerve cells responsible for sensing touch, temperature, and pressure, KT lifts the skin and creates a better environment underneath the outer layer. This helps reduce swelling. When those sensories (nerves) are sparked, they send messages to the brain. The brain takes that information and determines the body’s response. For example, when KT is applied to your skin, the nerve cells attempt to return a message to override the signals causing pain. By targeting different receptors within the somatosenso40

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ry system, KT alleviates pain and facilitates lymphatic drainage by microscopically lifting the skin. This lifting effect forms convolutions in the skin thus increasing interstitial space and allowing for a decrease in inflammation of the affected areas. The nerve cells also determine where a body part is in space, allowing you to move it more efficiently. This also structuralizes some technical cues for safe movement patterns. There are many techniques when applying KT, however, its relevance depends on the condition and the patient’s needs. The most common taping techniques are for knees and shoulders. While tape can be self-applied by anyone, it is always beneficial to be assessed by a movement professional (physical therapist, chiropractor, athletic trainer etc.), particularly if you have inexplicable pain. If you were to self-apply KT, do so with a gentle stretch when placing on the skin. Refrain from excessive stretch in the material in order to avoid possible irritation. For small areas of pain, one strip covering the area is sufficient. It is important to note that KT will not heal an injury on its own - it aids the recovery process by taking pressure off the sensitive site and the surrounding area. It should not be used in place of the potential need for a brace, like strained or pulled muscles and ligaments. Again, it is to reinforce functional movement patterns, reduce stress, and provide a passage for inflammation to either exit or subsidize. And of course, if you have pain that persists with exercises, find your nearest provider for an assessment. KT is safe for all ages, ranging from pediatric to geriatric, and benefits a variety of orthopedic, neuromuscular, and other medical conditions, along with providing positive physiological effects on the skin, lymphatic and circulatory system, fascia, muscles, ligaments, tendons, and joints. It is a helpful source of recovery, specifically for those nagging aches. When applied properly, it promotes the recovery of post-workout soreness and can decrease exercise-related pain. It is a valuable addition to a multitude of other treatments and methods effective during the rehabilitative and chronic phases of an injury as well as being used for preventative measures.


4 PHASE RECOVERY SEQUENCE Designed to expedite the recovery process by down regulating the central nervous system as well as placing an emphasis on reducing muscle tension, improving mobility, enhancing circulation, and increasing flexibility. This sequence is also easily repeatable so you can complete it after every training session so you can maximize recovery and efficiency.



Low Effort Cardiovascular Work

Foam Rolling & Self Myofascial Release Techniques

The intent of completing low intensity cardiovascular work immediately after your main training session is to start pushing the body into a state of recovery. This will initiate the down regulation of vital metrics and increase global circulation. Activities such as walking, jogging, biking, swimming, and other low impact exercises are good choices to keep stress off the joints and intensities in the correct range. Complete your low effort steady state cardio for 10-15 minutes focusing on bringing your heart rate back down to normal resting activity levels.

Applying the use of a foam roller or specific self-myofascial release techniques plays an important role in normalizing soft tissue tone. Think of using this tool to remove the “internal parking break” placed upon the muscles. By placing external pressure on muscle tissue, the receptors in our body are stimulated to release the tension (“internal parking break”) that is restricting better tissue tone and smoother movement. Using a foam roller post workout during the recovery process helps with nutrient exchange, circulation, inflammation reduction, and waste removal in the needed areas. Prioritize large muscle groups, starting at the most distal end of the muscle, and roll slowly towards the most proximal end of the same muscle tissue. By directing the flow of interstitial fluid towards the heart, it will allow for a better opportunity to get put into central circulation to get excreted from the body.



Mobility Sequence

Breathing Practice

This mobility sequence focuses on the most common areas that are in need of more range of motion. Regions include the thoracic spine/cage, hips, and anterior chain. Common lifestyle habits including sedentary positions at a desk, texting, computer and tablet work, and a myriad of other anterior dominant habits cause these areas to become limited and “tight.” Prioritizing these drills will help create a balance throughout the body creating better overall movement and boosting injury prevention.

Recovery breathing is an excellent method to further down regulate the central nervous system returning the body to a more complete rested state. Getting the body into a relaxed position and controlling respiratory rate will help lower heart rate, blood pressure, stress levels, and muscular tension to help reset the CNS and maximize recovery. To properly use recovery breathing, find a quiet place to complete the following practice:

Hip Flexor Stretch with Thoracic Spine Rotation (2x5) Quadruped T-Spine Rotation (2x5) Foam Roller T-Spine Extension (2x5) Toe Grab Hip Drill (2x8)

A) Lay on your back with your feet elevated above the torso with slightly bent legs. B) Position the arms on the ground at your sides. C) Relax your entire body relieving any tension or stress in the muscles. D) Focus on deep diaphragmic breathing (belly breathing) using the following breathing tempo for 2-5 minutes: 1. Inhale for 3-4 seconds 2. Hold at maximal inhale for 2 seconds 3. Exhale 6-8 seconds (double the amount of inhale time) 4. Hold maximal exhale for 2 seconds

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SURVIVOR FITNESS FOUNDATION Beating cancer is just the beginning of their story. by LINDSAY MILLER


cancer diagnosis is difficult news, to say the very least. The struggles for each patient may vary, but are extremely personal and always terrifying to face. Beating cancer is a delicate and challenging journey as well, but for most, it doesn’t end once their treatment is done. Once a cancer patient is told they’ve beaten the disease, there are a lot of questions to face about their health, both physically and mentally. Many have gone through chemotherapy or radiation, in addition to surgeries, and aren’t quite sure where to find the answers. Help is needed to guide them through the next phase of life post-treatment, especially in terms of their health and what the body can now handle. That is where Aaron Grunke found himself after beating testicular cancer at the age of 23. He faced a grim reality in the beginning stages and for 22 months battled to win his life back. “I’ll never forget the day I was diagnosed,” says Grunke. “Fear, anger, disbelief – just to name a few of the emotions I felt.” He made the decision to completely focus on getting well, which included putting college on hold, which is never easy. After an aggressive treatment regimen and three surgeries, Grunke was pronounced cancer free. While this was no doubt an exciting day, it also brought mixed emotions. “Of course I was happy the cancer was gone, but with the excitement came fear and anxiety,” states Grunke. “For almost two years my whole life revolved around fighting cancer, and I won – but what would my post-cancer reality look like?” As many other cancer survivors have recalled, one simply doesn’t transition back to life as it was. The loss of self-direction resulting from decreased mental and physical stamina can heighten negative emotions and an ever-increasing sense of vulnerability. Grunke knew that he had to break through the cycle. He is now the founder of Survivor Fitness Foundation, a 501(c)3 nonprofit located in Nashville that has partnered with a number of gyms 42

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in the area to help cancer survivors successfully navigate a healthy lifestyle after treatment ends. Personally, he turned to the gym for an outlet, but he quickly realized he wasn’t capable of the same exercises he used to easily handle. It wasn’t until working with a personal trainer that his strength and energy began to rebuild, and his anxiety was slowly put at ease. “I thought I knew how to work out,” Grunke recalls, “but my body had been through so much change that what worked for me before treatment wasn’t working after.” Grunke says he was fortunate enough to find a trainer who took interest in his story. His trainer found ways to individualize a program that fit his needs and could have him build successful progression at his own pace. Grunke says, “My trainer understood the challenges and began showing me steps to rebuild my body and my health.” Through this experience, Grunke conceptualized the idea of Survivor Fitness Foundation, a twelve-week program that helps cancer survivors regain their health and wellness through oneon-one personal training and nutritional support. Their mission is to empower cancer survivors to take back their lives with a supportive community and healthy lifestyle choices. With this goal in mind, survivors meet a trainer twice a week, while working out independently once each week. In addition, the nutritional component allows them to focus on the right foods to fuel their body and address any issues they have post-treatment. To date, Survivor Fitness Foundation has helped more than 50 survivors in the Nashville area. Because the program focuses on the individual variances, they have been able to work with all types of cancer survivors, of all age ranges and all levels of fitness.

Survivor Fitness founder Aaron Grunke poses As a 501(c)3, Survivor with fellow survivors after a group fitness class. Fitness Foundation is also making the training and Foundation with giving her life nutrition programs more back. “After cancer, I was eager accessible financially. Considering to feel like myself again. Because the financial strains are costly with of the opportunity to work with medical bills and often a lapse in a trainer, I was able to take back employment, the non-profit charity what three years of cancer had aims to be affordable if not able to taken away from me.” provide scholarship options. The program has proved results After beating lymphoma, Patrick from weight loss, increased musMcNulty found Survivor Fitness cle mass, and reduced fatigue, to Foundation through a friend who lower blood pressure, cholesterol, previously participated in the stress, and anxiety. Participants program. McNulty accounts, “I ran have shown improved emotional a half marathon. Now I continue to state and gained a community of lift or run six days a week. I think support. Programs can be found I’m in the best shape of my life partnered with gyms like Chadand I probably wouldn’t have even wick's Fitness in Cools Springs, tried if not for Survivor Fitness.” Results Music Row and VanderGrunke calls the participants the bilt's Dayani Center. For more true heroes and says, “They are information about Survivor Fitness the ones who show up each week Foundation, to fill out an applicaand work to defeat cancer, again tion for scholarship, or to become and again. Seeing their transa participant, visit their website at formation is both humbling and gratifying.” Leighann McCoy, a colon cancer survivor, credits Survivor Fitness N OV / D E C 2 0 1 8 • N AS H V I L L E F I T M AG A Z I N E






Making a full recovery from an injury to the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is possible. However, a grade 3 ACL sprain, which is equivalent to a torn ligament needs to undergo surgery. The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons specified that it requires a tissue graft, which is usually sourced from a tendon. It's used to reconstruct the severed ligament.


oming back from the injury may take up to six months or more, and physical therapy is prescribed to speed up recovery. Here are two types of exercises that you should avoid at certain stages of recovery from a torn ACL.

Weight-bearing Exercises:

The first few weeks will have you relying on crutches. It will be impossible and/or painful—not to mention ill-advised— to perform weight-bearing exercises. Examples are lunges and squats. You should instead focus on reintroducing range of motion. It's still possible to maintain quad strength by contracting the muscles around the knee (AKA isometric contractions) without moving the injured joint.

Terminal Knee Extension:

The knee is a hinge type joint, which means it can flex and extend. Fitness writer and health buff Jan Millehan explains that terminal knee extension (TKE) is the action of straightening the leg fully to attain the end of range of motion. TKE is not a bad workout per se, but it can exert unnecessary stress on the knee, especially when using resistance bands, cables, or machines. Avoid doing TKE, heel raises, and leg balancing exercises (specifically the ones performed in yoga) until the swelling has subsided post-surgery. Start by doing heel slides where you aim to gently stretch the leg forward while keeping heel contact on the floor. If you want to do cardiovascular exercises, swimming is a good form of workout. You can also experiment with indoor cycling, which Nashville Fit Magazine has labelled a high-intensity low-impact exercise in a recent article. Set the resistance of the bike to low in order to minimize stress on the knees. After doing mobility training and strength 44

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and conditioning, most patients are able to move on to light jogging after 3-4 months. Those who perform high-impact sports such as soccer, football, and basketball are at a high risk of sustaining knee injuries particularly concerning the ACL. In the world of sports, it’s regarded as a career-changer, or even -ender, as many people have experienced. Point guard Derrick Rose, for instance, tore his ACL in 2012, causing him to miss the entire season that year. He was 22 at the time and had a promising career ahead of him. But in the years that followed, he never seemed to return to his full capacity as a basketball player. Assessing an ACL injury is difficult, so seek medical attention immediately if you feel that there is something wrong with your knee, particularly inflammation. This was the case with another NBA superstar, Kevin Durant, in 2017. Yahoo Sports reported that the athlete’s suspected torn ACL was actually a grade 2 sprain to his medial collateral ligament (MCL). His MCL was only partially torn which required a shorter recovery period of 1-2 months. He missed 19 games last year, but came back strong and was instrumental in claiming the championship that season. Kevin Durant is one of the highest earning sports stars in the world with a salary of $54.3m. However, his career remains unmarred by injuries, though things could have been different if he experienced the same situational injury as Derrick Rose. During recovery, Durant reportedly shifted his exercise routine away from his knees, and focused instead in strengthening his quads and hamstrings, which is commonly the same approach to an ACL injury. While you can’t predict what will happen after an ACL injury, you can remain disciplined during your downtime. Even if you aren’t making a career out of sports, avoid situations where you might completely destroy such an important ligament in your knee.




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s a 77-year-old man who found my path to fitness just seven years ago, I’ve got a message for every American: We all get older, but we don’t have to get old. The good news is you can keep living your life and doing the things you enjoy if you know how to be functionally fit. And if you’re 20-, 30-, or 40-something? The same message applies—but with one big difference. You’ve got the next 20 or 30 years to work at getting and staying functionally fit, rather than trying to counteract decades of couch-potato living in a matter of months, like I did. Functional fitness is a straightforward concept, but one I only discovered late in life. It means training your body for the activities of daily life, rather than trying to improve how fast you can run a mile or how good you look in a bathing suit. It’s about being able to handle everyday movements with ease, and without pain or risk of injury. The way to do that is by working on all five dimensions of fitness: core strength and stability, flexibility, balance, muscular strength, and cardiovascular endurance. Being physically equipped for your day-to-day activities may not sound like a big deal right now. When you’re 30 or 40, you can take your body’s strength and suppleness for granted. But trust me, it doesn’t stay that way. Consider, too, that you don’t have to be an AARP member to start noticing some effects of age. Our bodies typically begin losing lean muscle mass and strength sometime in our thirties; that’s one reason the average American gains a pound a year, every year, after about age 25. Then there’s our ability to balance, which typically peaks in our twenties and gradually spirals downward from then on.

Functional fitness isn’t a new idea; physical therapists and a subset of athletic coaches and physical trainers have understood it for years. But training that’s “well-rounded” and “balanced” doesn’t generate the same media buzz as “five moves to make your body bikini-ready.” As a result, many people across all age groups still come at fitness from a relatively narrow perspective. Some are convinced all they need is cardio machines, or a spin class, or a daily run. Others, mostly men, go in for old-school bodybuilding, ignoring how often they get hurt. Still others, often women, swear by yoga and never go near a dumbbell. The hoary notion that strength is “unfeminine” has had surprising staying power. Don’t get me wrong—any kind of physical activity is a good thing. But one-dimensional approaches may not be sustainable over the long haul, and they certainly aren’t enough to keep you young. On a positive note, functional fitness seems to be catching on with this younger generation. Compared with the baby boomers I know, millennials strike me as much more intent on balancing intense career work with vigorous, varied physical workouts, no matter how early they have to get up to do it. A lot of young guys seem smart about strength-training, too, focusing on wholebody movements, endurance, and agility work rather than showing off with heavy weights. I’ve also been impressed by how many young women put into practice the belief that “strong is beautiful.” Do I wish I’d started working out more seriously and sensibly at their age? Of course I do, but there are no do-overs for the last 40 years. I’m just glad I got there eventually and I’m inspired by the upcoming generation’s growing effort to educate and prioritize health and wellness. We can all rest a little easier knowing those that the proceeding age groups have the chance to do better, stay healthier, and learn from their elders’ mistakes.

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Want to bump up your fitness level? The BOSU (both sides utilized) ball can make any exercise extra challenging. With a flat platform on one side and a rubber dome on the other, the Bosu ball adds an element of instability to your workouts, forcing you to use your core to stay steady. Bosu workouts can also help improve your strength and balance, which is important for preventing injuries. Don't underestimate what can sometimes be an overlooked piece of fitness equipment. Give it a try! 48

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SET-UP: Begin standing behind the Bosu ball, hands at your sides. Raise your leg and opposite arm, tap your toe onto the Bosu. As you return your foot to the ground and bring your arm back down, raise your opposite leg and opposite arm and tap the opposite foot onto the Bosu ball. Repeat movement for 30 seconds or until timer stops. ACTION: Keeping your core tight and stable throughout the entire exercise, use your abdominal muscles to raise your knee up and tap your foot onto the top of the Bosu. Engaging the core, quickly return your foot to the ground and raise your opposite knee and tap your toes onto the Bosu. Making sure your body is aligned forward and straight throughout the movement. Don’t allow your foot to rest too long on the Bosu. Keep the movements quick in order to work your abdominal muscles. Muscles worked: rectus abdominals, inner and outer thigh, calves, and hamstrings.


SET-UP: Place the Bosu ball round side up. Step up onto the Bosu one leg at a time, feet hip width apart. Take a breath, slowly bend your knees and push your butt back to come down into a squat until legs are parallel to the ground. Slowly raise back up into standing position. Repeat for 10 reps total.

ACTION: Begin by standing on the Bosu ball, feet hip width apart. Take a deep breath, engaging your core. Bend your knees and lower down into a squat, pushing your glutes out behind you. Head looks straight ahead, chest up, and spine neutral. Come down to parallel position. Using your quads and keeping your abdominals muscles engaged, raise back up into standing position, focusing on keeping your balance on the Bosu. Toes should be pointed forward and squeeze your glutes at the top. Muscles worked: glutes, hamstrings, calves, quadriceps, abdominals. N OV / D E C 2 0 1 8 • N AS H V I L L E F I T M AG A Z I N E



Step 2

Step 1

Step 3

Step 4


SET-UP: Begin in standing position while holding the Bosu with it flipped over so the hard side is facing you. Bend over or squat down and place the Bosu on the ground, jump both feet back so that you’re now in plank position. Jump the feet back in towards your hands, holding the Bosu and return to standing position. Raise the Bosu up over your head into a press and bring it back down in front of you. Repeat for 10 reps total. ACTION: Bosu in hands, flat side facing you, squat or bend down keeping your back neutral and place the Bosu on the ground. Engaging the core and making sure your arms stay locked, jump your feet back into a plank position, using your arms and abdominal muscles to stabilize on the Bosu. Bending your knees and using your core, jump back into a crouching squat. Raise back up into standing position and press the Bosu up over your head then lower it back down in front of you. Don’t let your back dip in plank and look slightly forward to keep a neutral spine. Muscles worked: arms, chest, quads, glutes, hamstrings and abdominals.


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SET-UP: Begin with hands on Bosu ball, round side up, legs straight behind you, feet hip width apart in plank position. Starting with one arm lowered down onto vyour forearm still on the Bosu. Next lower your other forearm down onto the Bosu so you’re in a plank on your elbows. Push up on your left side so your arm is straight, and then follow with your right arm so you’re now on both hands. Maintain a flat back at all times. Repeat for 10 reps total. ACTION: Start in plank position on Bosu ball. Drawing your core in, glutes squeezed and shoulders strong. Drop down onto your forearm not allowing your chest to cave. Next lower onto your other forearm. Keeping the tempo up, come back into full plank position pushing off the Bosu. Don’t allow your hips to rotate and keep your back neutral. Muscles worked: rectus abdominals, triceps, deltoids, biceps.



FITNESS Nashville is home to a number of different health and fitness fields and experts. We’re proud to be your go-to source to help you find the perfect personal trainer, instructor, nutritionist, dietitian, or health coach to fit your daily needs. Stay #MusicCityFit

Shane Bessire Iron Tribe Fitness Lead Coach 615.953.3843 @2shanezzzzzzzz

Beretty Bravo Personal Trainer Health/Life Coach @beretty

Tim Boje Head Trainer Southern Sculpt Fitness 615.592.5045 @timboje_ssfitness

Chris Byford Yoga Instructor/Teacher & Leadership Director @chris_byford_yoga

Eric Diaz ACE Certified Personal Trainer, RN/BSN @ericdiazfit

Dani Dyer Fitness Event Coordinator Personal Trainer @danidfitness1


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Steven Earwood Personal Trainer Health/Life Coach @earwood_fitness

Conrad Goeringer IRONMAN Triathlon Coach @coach_goeringer

Anna Rose Heyman Personal Trainer 615.293.6288 @strength.with.purpose

Erin Judge, RDN, LDN Registered Dietitian Nutritionist 629.777.5672 @judgenutrition

Mitch Kahn NFPT Master Fitness Trainer FAI Functional Aging Specialist @mitchkahnfitness

Andrea Kay MS, ACE, ACSM Health & Fitness Education Power Plate Therapy & Training @additin3

Jill Merkel Sports Dietitian @runeatsnap

DIRECTORY Justin Todd Trainer @jtoddperformance

Angela McCuiston Personal Trainer (NASM-CPT, CES, SFS) @musicstrong_angela

Dylan Murphy, RD, LDN Registered Dietitian 843.847.0466 @dyl_murph

PJ Olsen Fitness & Movement Specialist @peejolsen

Deena Prichard Head Trainer and Owner at Fit3Fitness, Personal Trainer @fit3fitness

Laurie Rice Life Coach @claritycoaching_

Katie Spruell Physical Therapist @missphysiofit


Leigh Valdes Personal Trainer & Fitness Nutrition Specialist @leighvaldes

Joyce Veronica Certified Personal Trainer/ Fitness/Nutrition Coach @joyceveronica

Jeff Waller Personal Trainer 812.568.7890 @helloyeffrey

Kate Wilke Integrative Nutrition Health Coach @meditatekate

Zerian Williams Zenfinite Training Lead Trainer/Founder @zenfinitetraining


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11/17/2018 Yoga + Brunch True Food Kitchen

NOV 11/3/2018 Fight for Air Climb Nashville 505 Church Street

11/14/2018 Above The Fold 2019 Race Launch Party Blackstone Brewing Company

11/3/2018 Yoga Book Club Steadfast and True Yoga

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11/10/2018 Salt Cave Reiki Healing Salt and Soles

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11/10/2018 Yoga + Brews Jackalope Brewing Company


11/10/2018 Goat Yoga Shenanigoats Yoga Studio 11/12/2018 Partner Ninja Warrior Adventure Fitness Tennessee

12/1/2018 Ovarian Cycle Nashville Fundraiser CYCLEBAR The Gulch 12/9/2018 UNPLUGGED IN NASHVILLE Hike + Yoga + Meditation Long Hunter State Park

11/14/2018 Vinyasa & Vino Nashville Urban Winery


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11/22/2018 GraceWorks Turkey Trot 10K, 5K, & 1K Prairie Life Fitness

NOV 11/4/2018 Middle Tennessee Kidney Walk Edwin Warner Park 11/10/2018 Nashville 1/2 Marathon, Marathon, & 5K First Tennessee Park

11/22/2018 Nashville Turkey Trot 8k & 8 Mile Wave Country DEC 12/1/2018 12South Winter Warmup Sevier Park

11/10/2018 Cummins Falls Gobbler 5K Cummins Falls State Park

12/8/2018 Bell Ringer 25K/50K Trail Run Montgomery Bell State Park Burns, TN

11/17/2018 Breathe Deep: Stashe & Lash 5K Shelby Park

12/8/2018 Nolensville Heroes 6K Osburn Park, Nolensville, TN

11/22/2018 GraceWorks Turkey Trot 10K, 5K, & 1K Prairie Life Fitness

12/16/2018 Lock-4 6 Miler Lock 4 Park, Gallatin, TN

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12/29/2018 Frostbite 5K/10K Hendersonville, TN

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ike most of us, back in 2014 Thomas Stephenson was a typical 21-year-old. He loved playing sports and being active, was focused on school, and was anxious to show the world his talents and ambition. In many ways, Thomas had his whole life ahead of him. A cycling enthusiast and triathlon competitor, Thomas was in his final semester at Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green, Kentucky. He had just finished managing a number of political campaigns for the election cycle that November. Despite big plans for a bright future, Thomas’s life would change on December 11th. On December 11th, 2014, Thomas was involved in a fatal car accident when his truck was struck head-on by an oncoming vehicle on I-840, south of Nashville, Tennessee. Thomas’s truck burst into flames and flipped down the interstate the entire length of a football field before coming to a stop. “Clearly in shock but conscious, my first instinct was to check my surroundings and see if I could get myself out of the car. When I tried to move, I realized much of my lower has been crushed during the collision and wasn’t cooperating,” Thomas recalls. A full diagnosis would later reveal Thomas had shattered his spinal column, crushed both feet and ankles, as well as sustained a broken femur, sternum, and clavicle. “Thankfully, a good Samaritan, whom I still speak with to this day, helped pull me from the wreckage moments before my truck was fully engulfed in flames.” At 21 years old, Thomas had suddenly gone from a healthy and active triathlete to a trauma victim. Thomas was immediately transported by LifeFlight to Vanderbilt University Medical Center where he underwent surgery to fuse his spinal column, a separate surgery to put a titanium rod through his femur and subsequent reconstructive surgeries on his feet and ankles. After the sur-


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geries, Thomas was told by his doctors that his life would never be the same. “They told me I would never run, play sports or be active again. It was safe to say my budding triathlon career was over, and I would never be able to cycle again,” Thomas recalls. In the coming months, Thomas’s injuries were so severe that he would struggle to stand or walk. The pain and swelling through his feet and ankles would continue and he would feel excruciating pain when he would sit for extended periods of time. Thomas’s life would be dramatically different from now on, and he would spend the next few months undergoing rehabilitation in the form of physical therapy. While Thomas was in the hospital, his legs had atrophied considerably, so his rehabilitation focused mainly on moving his legs and feet to regain normal levels of muscle mass. Thomas recalls, “I just tried to take it day by day. I remember thinking, ‘Would there ever be a time when I would be back to normal again?’” The stress of the physical therapy would not be the only pain Thomas would feel day in and day out though. Thomas was suffering from emotional trauma as well. “I remember feeling helpless, different, and also hopeless some days. I would feel inadequate at times too. Like things would never be the same again.” To add to an already intense emotional situation, by the time Thomas left the rehabilitation facility and had gotten back home to Bowling Green for his Spring semester, his insurance-paid physical therapy visits were running out. Thomas’s recovery was incomplete, and he had no choice but to pay for the remainder of his physical therapy out-ofpocket. (Left) Thomas in hospital with wife Abby. (Middle) The burned out interior of Thomas’s truck. (Right) Thomas with his “good samaritan” who pulled him from the truck prior to it burning.




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(Left and Right) Thomas crossing the finish line at IronMan Raleigh. (Middle) Thomas and Abby together after the race.

“Luckily, I was blessed with a family that could afford to pay for the remainder of my physical therapy. Not everyone is this fortunate unfortunately,” Thomas admits. “Because my family was somewhat financially stable, I never had to concern myself with the stresses of not being able to pay for recovery. I can’t imagine someone having to go through this, on top of an already emotional situation.” As his physical therapy sessions continued, Thomas continued to progress. He was building back lost muscle and was able to support his body weight, and finally, after countless bouts of hard work, frustration, and determination, Thomas hit his biggest milestone. Thomas was able to stand again. Feeling accomplished, Thomas’s attitude soon changed, and he would go on to progress even further in the coming months, but learning quickly that he needed to begin athletic and strength training to focus on movement, endurance, and flexibility if he was going to see even more progress. Today, thanks to ongoing therapy and strength training, Thomas is even more active than ever and was even able to achieve a life-long goal of becoming an Ironman triathlete in 2018. It takes great tenacity to fight through constant mental, physical, and emotional pain and come out on the right end. Through his fight, Thomas realized that not everyone has the same resources he had access to during his recovery. Wanting to help, Thomas created TENNACITY, a non-profit organization designed to help trauma survivors lead active and fulfilling lifestyles. Thomas knows full well what it feels like to face the reality that your life may never be the same after a tragic accident such as his own, and he’s determined to make sure no one has to feel this type of trauma nor that anyone should have to bare it alone. TENNACITY recently launched and will help facilitate access to physical therapy and strength conditioning for trauma survivors who may not have the financial resourc58

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es or access to recovery. As this article is being written, Thomas and a friend are planning a 24-hour ride through the Natchez Trace Parkway on October 26th. The end of this ride will coincide with a celebration and the launch of TENNACITY at Fieldstone Park in Franklin. This will be Thomas’s first 24-hour ride. “And hopefully my last,” he admits with a laugh. A fitting start to a bright foundation.






2018 EVENT RECAP Our goal at Nashville Fit Magazine is the same goal we each put forth every day - to be better than yesterday. Sometimes we put our head down and go to work, while others feel like a constant struggle, and then there are days we get to tell stories, meet new people, and hang out as we build our community and connections. Those conversations, be in the gym or at a local event, light a fire of energy pushing us to dream bigger and create more. This year we had a number of major events, but I want to touch on four that enhanced my Music City Almost a year ago, we celebrated our 2017 Best Of Awads Party in January 2018 at Crossfit East Nashville. It seems like long ago because we are now looking forward to the 2018 Best Of voting and results. But I have to say - damn! Who knew we all looked so good? Right? We are sure to level up our Instagram every chance we get, but when you take away our filters and posed pictures, the comfy clothes, and stretchy tights, we came alive with real beauty. I am still in awe of the friendliness our community displays and how accidentally bumping into one another winds up leading to all types of relationships. This party, in particular, allowed people to let loose and shake off the stress of the holidays by connecting a group with the same passion. Trainers, coaches, and gym owners got the chance to let go of tactile cues and have a conversation, proving they’ve actually always had a personality. People entered with a tight-knit group of friends and left with new acquaintances. Compliments were passed out like fist bumps and, “You clean up nice!” was the number one pick up line. It was a great time to see everyone out of their element but still so vibrant. Funny how the removal of our comfy athletic clothes pushed us out of our comfort zone. Although given the opportunity for dressier clothes, I’d say we dressed up our attitudes in fashionable style. My particular take away from the Best Of Awards Party was the individuals that make our community and how the irony in that statement rings true. It is each and every one of you that pours out your heart to this purpose and it is each one of you that works tirelessly to be an influencer. However, it is in the entirety of each of you that unites us as a forward-thinking, hard-working circle here in Music City. The 2018 NFM Fittest Games was our first annual competition and it left me with the same recognition of individuals feeding into the bigger picture as our party in January. Although the community is still gaining new faces, the old and new came together for some friendly fire. I’m honestly proud of the participants that signed up to compete - it takes equal part guts as it does humility to stand next to someone in the same field and fight for the same title. The competition took on many forms during the day,


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health and wellness experience. I want to look back on those events with you, our readers, and not only express my gratitude, but also share the take-aways. I thank you all for being a part of our community gatherings, but I also appreciate the minds behind our growing little company that desire to reach a larger fitness realm. These added experiences allow me to reappear with new knowledge, ideas, and inspiration to incorporate and augment within our own community. After all, events don’t end after clean up.

however. Grown men were talking trash before event one but cheering on their new found “teammates” by event five. By the end of Test 10, everyone wanted group pictures for their social media page and gained a few more followers. I watched newcomers screaming and cheering, lined up along side the 40-yard dash. I saw high fives and shirtless chest bumps just about everywhere, but especially after team events (Did I mention it was hot?). Handshakes and major respect passed between folks after the mysterious Mobility Test. There were even diving finishes at the interval sprint for split second times. It felt more like an athlete’s extensive family reunion than a competition floor and the lines between friendships and acquaintances and total strangers were exceedingly blurred in the name of sport. Strongmen, yogis, bootcamp goers and boutique gym members alike came to witness the same thing. We each had our own experience, I’m sure, but every attendee showed up for the same reason. And because of it, we all became closer. I guarantee those moments were shared at the gym the following week and the memories made will last a lifetime - or at least until next year when we make new ones! Nevertheless, this is our goal as a magazine - which I’m sure sounds a bit silly. But honestly, we provide a service, in essence, and that service is to inform. That information isn’t limited to knowledge, however. It is the informative actions that healthy living is meant to be enjoyed, which is exactly why our “services” endorse you to do just that. As we often see in media and politics (especially), we hold the power to twist, highlight, edit and exploit information however we choose. But what we want, here at Nashville Fit Magazine is to unite a community with a trustworthy, unbiased, open-minded, and valued amount of information that leads to enjoyable shared experiences and fond memories. Seeing the cooperation and interactions that day made me feel like I was a part of this family reunion, instead of sitting on the sidelines and watching (as I’m often forced to do). That “healthy” competition surprisingly brought out an extraordinary amount of camaraderie. This, I have to say, deserves a huge thank you to the many generous people that made it possible - you made us feel like we are doing our job.





At this point in my career with NFM, I feel like I have met a good amount of people in the fitness industry. The Expo made me eat those words however. The amount of new faces and fans and vendors made my heart explode with pride. I only made it through one row of booths before the event ended! An obvious testament to how much I talk, but my point remains, our community is still growing. Old faces brought over new faces. Old stories made me new friends. New businesses from already established owners collaborated with new ones. It was all-kinds-of-mixed-up in the best way possible. As a service that wants to provide accurate and unbiased information, that day the service was provided to me. The expo is such a building block to not only strengthening our community but maturing it and reaching elevations of variety and diversity. We are and have always been open-minded, but diversity is something we absolutely strive for given we understand the significance of compassion and tolerance. Just like any new workout, new gym, or new fitness regimen, it encourages you to be vulnerable, because we are all just a little bit uncomfortable doing new and unfamiliar things. Vulnerability is something we don’t address enough, in my humble opinion. It isn’t easy to talk about because it is situated on our feelings. Perhaps, because of that, there isn’t necessarily a need for discussion. What is necessary is to recognize that susceptibility, compelled by fitness, leaves us exposed and often anguished. Thus the beginning of softening edges and the coming down of personal walls. It isn’t an immediate accomplishment, but this is where we grow - just outside our favorite place - the comfort zone. But that, my friends - the place outside the comfort zone - is where our community has bloomed and flourished. Among the topic of comfort zones, I want to share our recent trip to the Reebok Crossfit Games 2018 for a few reasons. First, because it was my personal favorite event this year, but not because we graciously received media passes

to witness the fitness up close. It was because it offered the opportunity of a lifetime for our staff. The Crossfit Games events are made up of a broad range of functional movements. These movements also form the basis of their exercise program, but what you see and do in your local box is not the same. Make no mistake - the Crossfit Games are designed to test, not train, fitness. This was our chance to watch the fittest professionals and one of the biggest competition events unfold. Our professional purpose for attending was to learn from this proceeding in every fashion. We wanted to bring new material back to Nashville and implement the positives anyway we thought beneficial to our own community. We saw good and bad examples of functional space, standards, food service, areas for spectators, and an enormous vendor village. The Crossfit Games had a 20,000 square foot arena dedicated to gym space allotting spectators to get in their own workout. Equipment vendors held mini competitions inside their booths and provided participants with samples to use, awarding winners free products. The village hosted 18,000 in average daily attendance. We learned a lot about timing, announcements, ways to funnel information to the viewers, and a variety of brands aiding pre and post workout nourishment. To say the very least, we learned a multitude of assorted things that will make us better for our own events suited towards the expansion of Nashville’s community. But overall, what did this experience really boil down to? In the midst of the Madison, Wisconsin atmosphere, we discovered a greater distinction of fitness fellowship. Yes, we watched some incredible athletes, who are essentially average humans with a meticulous nutrition and fitness routine, doing superhuman stunts. Over the course of the year, the field had been whittled down from hundreds of thousands of athletes in the Open to the world's fittest 40 men, 40 women, 40 teams, 80 teenagers, and 240 masters. Thus, my own receding thoughts are not aimed to take away from N OV / D E C 2 0 1 8 • N AS H V I L L E F I T M AG A Z I N E






the massive accomplishments or the journey and sacrifices it took those athletes to get there, but looking around the entire venue I realized - everyone here is an athlete in their own respect. Like any event, the stadium was full of fans, but everyone at the Superbowl doesn’t necessarily play football, right? Not everyone viewing the 2018 FIFA World Cup were former soccer players. It blew me away to apprehend everyone at The Crossfit Games were in fact crossfitters themselves. Celebrities, redneck millionaires, affiliate owners, geeks, coaches and members were all alike. There was an absence of hierarchy - no special treatment - same wrist band, same purpose. No one paid more for closer seats. No one sat in an airconditioned, glass box. No-name people had the most well-known face because of Instagram. Well-known faces were passed up as if they were any other spectator. We unintentionally ate lunch with Jason Khalipa because we shared some open seats at our table. We sat a row down from Danica Patrick and watched the events at North Park. We casually walked through the Coliseum with Christmas Abbott and also saw Bob Harper. We passed by Anna Paquin, who was crying because her trainor, Emily Bridgers, suffered a season-ending injury and later announced her retirement from the sport. The way thousands of people were placed on an even playing field, among “celebrities” watching the dominating performances, jilted me to my core. What was it that made everyone here feel equal? The only conclusion I could surmise I summed up in one word - respect. This was a sport that the current spectators experienced as their daily fitness routine. Witnessing that notion on such a highly elevated stage was not only motivating but generated a whole new adoration for the capabilities of the human body. We have all experienced the same feeling of pure accomplishment, pride, adrenaline, and hard work, but all anyone could do was sit back and admire the struggle we each understood in our own approach.


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Throughout our five days at the event, I recognized a few other notable things. For one, any soda product and over-processed food were nowhere to be found. The soda fountain machines weren’t even in use at the concession stands. I also found a new meaning to women empowering women when Cassidy Lance-Mcwherter stepped up to a 225 pound clean and failed. After she waved to the crowd, saying she was finished, too much time remained for Tia-Clair Toomey to accept her graceful attempt at defeat. “You…” she pointed and yelled for everyone to hear, “will not give up!” And Cassidy, wideeyed and likely stunned, walked up to the bar, sat under the load twice her body weight, stood up for her judge to ratify her rep, then threw down the bar and sprinted to the finish line elated to beat the clock. Strong women lift other women. And holy shit are these women strong. Of all the events and memories this year, one moment at The Crossfit Games summed up my passion for this job, community, and lifestyle in full-circle capacity. Josh Bridges is a four-time Crossfit Games veteran and a Crossfit athlete since 2005, he is a former U.S. Navy Seal and stands at a humble 5 foot 5 inches. In the 2018 Games, as a 35-year-old competitor, he was given the choice to enter with his definitive age-group but instead opted to compete in the elite men’s division, knowing full-well it would be significantly harder, heavier, and all-around merciless. He is a crowd favorite and soon-to-be legend in the Crossfit community, not because of his credentials or wins, but because of his character as a man. I’d like to believe he knew his chances of a well-placed finished were out of reach, considering he sat towards the end of the leaderboard going into the last day of events for the week. The final task at hand in event 14 involved five pegboard ascents, 40 thrusters at 85 pounds and ended with a yoke carry that required additional weight every 10 meters. Keep in mind, Bridges weighs-in at 173 pounds. Inevitably, we



watched him repeatedly struggle to move the yoke loaded with 665 pounds to the finish line, just 10 meters away from the end of his grueling week of hardships. In that moment of adversity, he took a step away from his defeating piece of iron. He hardly glanced away from the floor. He did not ask for applause or hype or look for inspiration from the crowd. He simple inhaled heavy breaths and went back to work in his best efforts. Through teary eyes, I watched him cross the finish line, but his celebration wasn’t the usual passion-filled exclamation or chest-pumping glorification. He stood meek and silent with his hands on his hips as he turned to observe the stadium of exhilarated applause. When he half-smiled, I recognized the feeling. It genuinely gave me chills. What is important to me about this moment - and what I want to tell you, as our reader, is that there was never a better reminder than this. Watching that competitor do just that - compete - and with everything he had left, entirely for the sake of competition, is why we care about this industry. He knew he would not be crowned the fittest man on earth long before event 14, 13 and even 12 started. Regardless, he persevered through discomfort and misfortune like so many of us do. Because he loves it. That is passion. That is what we call heart. That is what we reserve our dignity for. Right there on the mats covered in drops of sweat (and probably blood), Josh Bridges, a tiny little ball of muscle, took a full-circle view and said, “thank you” to everyone else for granting him the fortune to do what he loves. He gets to do what he loves and he loves fitness. He gets to workout. He gets to compete on a

professional level for a sport that believes in bettering quality of life and valuing healthy decisions. We are all a part of this community, the one that wants to turn sickness to fitness. The one that says we should take responsibility for the way we treat ourselves and others. One that promotes longevity through a clean lifestyle, mentally and physically. This was my reminder. My reminder that we get to do this and that we choose to be a part of something bigger. We choose to better ourselves through our everyday choices with the support of one another. And through that, we are changing and influencing other people’s choices, all while continuing to grow our own support systems. We don’t just go to the gym - we get to. We don’t just try to eat healthy - we get to. We don’t just instantly change a sick society - we get to...and we’re going to. So thank you Nashville - because I believe you are leading the way. Thank you, again, to all our event sponsors, attendees, and participants. Without you our job and our community does not exist. And although the year’s events have come to an end, our cause does not stop. Our focus as a team here at Nashville Fit Magazine is on you because you make the community what it is. You are the beating heart that pumps life and energy into our daily work. It is because of your endless support that we embrace the love and thank each of you for keeping #MusicCityFit!