Scottsdale Health April 2020

Page 1


SPRING CLEANING Tips to keep your home healthy

EARTH DAY ACTIONS Sustainable eating & the lowdown on recycling



Chris Akard The owner of Akard Fitness Group talks about the evolution of the fitness industry over the past 30-plus years


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content / April 2020

12 e d note 14 health


Canine health, thirdhand smoke hepatitis C screening, DNA in the womb, veggies to prevent stroke, calorie restricted eating for cell heath, diet and anxiety, and sugary drink woes

Chris Akard

The owner of Akard Fitness Group talks the evolution of the fitness industry over the past 30-plus years

16 list

How to keep a healthy home

17 splurge

Hydrow’s immersive experience

18 cook

Carrot cake muffins

20 style

Bold spring hues

22 weight loss News to know


Small Changes for Big Results

Kristen Sharp of Epic Fitness Training




24 solo scottsdale Meet Casey

26 muscle

Lower body burner

28 balance Becoming a selfhealer

30 nutrition Sustainable eating

KERRY ZANG, DPM Diplomat, American Board of Foot & Ankle Surgery Q: What is neuropathy? A: The presence of burning,

Q: What if you’re already being treated for neuropathy?

tingling or numbness often leads

A: If you’re not finding relief

to a diagnosis of neuropathy,

from medication or treatment,

yet in many cases it’s not.

it may be time to consider the

As doctors, we were taught

fact that it may not be neurop-

that neuropathy is neurological

athy. A second opinion may be

condition that only gets worse.

helpful to determine the cause

In recent years, I started to look

of the tingling, pain or numbness

at neuropathy as more of a

in your feet.

vascular disease (related to poor circulation) rather than a nerve condition, but I had no way to prove it.

Q: What has changed in diagnosing neuropathy?

Q: What has been the problem with traditional treatments? A: Just treating the symptoms is my biggest concern with traditional treatments. If we

A: I’m now doing a more exten-

don’t find out what’s causing the

sive exam to evaluate circulation

problem, all we are doing is sup-

in the foot. I also work with a

pressing the symptoms allowing

team of endovascular physicians

the condition to progress. If we

who can evaluate if there are

can increase circulation, oxygen

10555 N Tatum Blvd,

any blockages in the blood

and nutrition can get to the

vessels below the ankle. A block-

affected nerves and regenera-

Ste A101

age affects circulation and, in

tion may occur.

many cases, may be the cause of neuropathy symptoms.

Q: If there is a blockage, what’s next?

Q: When should someone seek help? A: There is no benefit to waiting to see a doctor. I always say it’s

A: Patients undergo a thorough

best to make an appointment at

examination and those that are

the first signs of a problem. But

candidates have a minimally

it’s also never too late seek help.

invasive procedure performed

There are new advancements

in an office setting that basically

and protocols being developed

clears the blockages and allows

all the time, so it’s important to

for better circulation in the

learn if there is another option

affected areas. Many feel pain

available for you.

relief almost immediately.

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content / April 2020

32 48

32 scottsdale soul A recipe for matcha waffles, a book about creating a legacy, virtual gardening classes, a new spa membership, and tips to talk to your child about COVID-19

34 life

CBD water, two new Kaleidoscope smoothies, a desk helper, products from Laura Mercier, Zumba at home, and Face by Olivespa

36 toys, tech & gear At-home gym setup

38 crazy 8s

Facts about recycling

46 relating Switching modes

48 beauty


Prickly pear skin care

50 doctors orders

SPRING CLEANING Tips to keep your home healthy

EARTH DAY ACTIONS Sustainable eating & the lowdown on recycling

Marriage to prevent stroke


51 event

Coyotes Top Golf Classic


Chris Akard The owner of Akard Fitness Group talks about the evolution of the fitness industry over the past 30-plus years


ON THE COVER: Chris Akard, photo by James Patrick, www.




WHERE EXPERT CANCER CARE MEETS COMPASSION At Cancer Treatment Centers of America® we have dedicated teams of experts that work together to provide a personalized, cancer care plan designed to meet your unique needs.

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ed note / April 2020

There may be some uncertainty around the world right now, but one thing is for sure: Chris Akard, seen on our cover this month, is not going anywhere in the fitness industry. A staple for over 30 years, the trainer has grown with the health and wellness world, evolving with it. Read all about his beginnings in fitness, his family values and his one-man show on page 40 The news of the coronavirus has pretty much taken over my life this past month – as I’m sure it has yours and practically everyone around the world. If you’re unsure how to talk to your children about what’s going on, you’re likely not alone. Page 32 features three tips to help parents explain the situation to their kids. If you’re working out from home right now and need some inspiration, turn to page 17 for a realistic rowing machine, page 26 for a workout that can be done anywhere that only requires one kettlebell, and page 36 for everything you need to create an at-home gym, minus the equipment. In honor of Earth Day, page 38 has crazy facts about recycling, page 30 talks about sustainable eating, and page 48 highlights a desert plant found in Arizona that is being used in skin care products. Would you be surprised to know that being married may help your chances of living through a stroke? Page 50 has the lowdown on why. Also in the name of love, page 36 shares five questions to ask your spouse at night to help you connect and switch from work to relationship mode. Other highlights this month include tips to becoming a selfhealer (page 28), a gluten-free carrot cake muffin recipe (18), ways to keep a healthy home (page 16), and bright athleisurewear (page 20). While we all may be spending much more time at home these days, I advise you to try to enjoy the little things, like getting to start a new book, spending more time with your family, or even hearing the birds chirp and getting some fresh air when you leave the windows open Stay healthy, Gabby Leighton Editor-in-Chief Find our magazine on Facebook!







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unprecedented level of healthcare. The future of wellness has come to Arizona, with the goal of preventing acute and chronic diseases one person, one neighborhood, and one community at a time. The Prevene™ difference is evident from the moment you step through the door; its setting is casual, not clinical. You will find no sick patients, no prescription medication influences, only a holistic approach focusing on your lifestyle and your health. Best of all, you don’t have to fork over the extra cash to get the cutting-edge preventive care you deserve – it’s billed to your insurance just like an annual physical or a regular office visit would be. The healthcare paradigm is shifting its focus from treatment to prevention, and Prevene™ is at the forefront. “It’s time for preventive healthcare to become its own specialty, set apart from the primary care offices that are already overburdened with sick patients,” says Dr. Rotella. In a blind review, with an overall 4.95 star rating, the majority of patients stated they preferred a separate location from the busy, crowded doctor’s office – a testament to the need for programs such as Prevene Wellbeing®. Experience for yourself the amazing feeling of understanding your entire body as it relates to the future of your health with Prevene™. Your insurance plan covers your preventive healthcare, so why not take advantage of the benefits and biohack your way to a better you? Your body – and your mind – will thank you. Why hasn’t anyone thought of this before?

BETTER HEALTH THROUGH BIOHACKING What if you could change your physiology and optimize your body’s performance through cutting-edge preventive care? For residents of the Valley and beyond, Prevene Wellbeing® is doing just that.

Gone are the days of traditional physical exams consisting of a height and weight check, a quick once-over, and a lab order; with Prevene Wellbeing®, you’ll learn more about your body than you ever thought possible, and “biohack” your way to optimal health using a customized plan. Prevene™ utilizes advanced 3D body scanning technology which provides you with a comprehensive look at your physical makeup, allowing you to see your body in a whole new light. Afterward, Prevene Wellbeing®’s program can use the results of your physical to formulate a thorough wellness plan, and you have 24-7 access to the free Prevene™ app: containing helpful nutrition and

workout plans and direct support, it’s a tool for ongoing success right at your fingertips. “We are seeing an overall greater need in prevention, and studies show that there is not enough time for it to be done in an overcrowded traditional treatment-based clinic,” states Joseph A. Rotella MD, DC, creator of the Prevene Wellbeing® program. Today’s patients are eager for a personalized focus on wellness, early detection, health screenings, mental health, nutrition, and an appropriate diet and exercise program for their lifestyle. Biohacking is the next wave of wellness technology, and it’s all possible with Prevene Wellbeing® — an innovative and

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/ by Lisa Kasanicky

Hound Health

Have you ever found yourself wondering, “Is my dog’s heart rate normal? Is he/ she breathing OK?” If you have, there may be a new answer to your questions. A team of researchers from the department of bioengineering at Imperial College London recently developed a wearable sensor that can track and monitor vital signs through fur and clothing. The device is designed as a composite material that includes a stretchable silicone membrane that encapsulates water or hydrogels. This will allow humans to get real-time stats of their dogs’ vital signs. Source:

The Inescapable Exposure A new study out of Yale University found that thirdhand smoke, the tobacco contaminants that adhere to walls, bedding, carpet, and other surfaces, can cling to a smoker’s body and clothes as well. Those potentially toxic chemicals, including nicotine, can then be released into environments where smoking has never occurred, like a doctor’s office. These chemicals can add up to “smoking” one full cigarette within a day.

A New Screening It’s time to add one more screening to your to-do list! The US Preventive Services Task Force now recommends screening for hepatitis C in all adults ages 18 to 79 without known liver disease, regardless of their risk. This updated recommendation expands the task force’s previous 2013 guidance, which was to only screen adults born between 1945 and 1965 and others at high risk of infection.

Altering DNA As sci fi as it may sound, researchers from Sweden uncovered that DNA alters in babies each week of pregnancy, and the length of a pregnancy alters a child’s DNA. They did this by mapping the relationship between length of

Source: www.cnn. com.




gestation and chemical DNA changes in more than 6,000 newborn babies. For each week’s more prolonged pregnancy, DNA methylation changes in thousands of genes were detected in the umbilical cord blood. Between 5% and 10% of all children

in the world are born prematurely. Most children will develop and grow normally, but premature birth is also linked to respiratory and lung disease, eye problems, and neurodevelopmental disorders. Source: www.

Source: www.cnn. com.


Preventing Cell Aging If you want to reduce levels of inflammation throughout your body, delay the onset of age-related diseases and potentially live longer, eat less food. A study conducted by scientists from the US and China, published in the journal Cell, recently provided the most detailed report to date on the cellular effects of a calorie-restricted diet. The experiment compared rats who ate 30% fewer calories with rats on regular diets. The animals’ diets were controlled from age 18 months through 27 months. Many of the changes that occurred as rats on the proper diet grew older didn’t happen in rats on a restricted diet; even in old age, many of the tissues and cells of animals on a diet closely resembled those of young rats. While the benefits of caloric restriction have long been known, the new results show how this restriction can protect against aging in cellular pathways. Source: www.

Preventing Stroke It’s time to up your vegetarian diet game in the name of lowering your stroke risk. A recent study published in the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology found that people who eat a vegetarian diet rich in nuts, vegetables and soy may have a lower risk of stroke than people who eat a diet that is heavy in meat and fish. In the experiment, both groups consumed the same amount of eggs and fruit. Vegetarians ate more fiber and plant protein, and also ate less animal protein and fat. The study found that the vegetarian group experienced .5% fewer strokes as a whole, versus the meat eaters of the group. Source:

Sipping on Sugar Do your heart a favor and step away from the sugary drinks. New research published in the Journal of the American Heart Association reported that adults who drink at least one sweet beverage a day compared to those who don’t have a greater risk for developing dyslipidemia, or higher levels of unhealthy fats (like LDL cholesterol or triglycerides), which can increase the risk of heart disease. The study participants were drawn from the Framingham Heart Study, a study focused on discovering common factors that contribute to heart disease. Nearly one-third of US adults already have high cholesterol and increased heart risk.

Diet and Anxiety What does your diet and have to do with your anxiety? It turns out, more than you may think. When analyzing the diet data of 26,991 study participants who took part in the Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging between 2010 and 2015, researchers found that individuals who did not eat as many fruits or vegetables were more likely to have an anxiety disorder than those who ate more fruits and vegetables. They found that having a balanced diet will keep inflammation down, which may contribute to anxiety. The report concluded that contributing factors for anxiety include income and other health conditions. Source: www.


04/20 ScottsdaleHealth



/ by Erik Bryan

5 Ways to Keep a Healthy Home Could your home be making taking a toll on both your mental and physical health? Toxins, pesticides, gases and molds are everywhere, including your home. Many homeowners often overlook their living spaces when trying to get to the root of health problems. Take advantage of the spring cleaning season by evaluating the status of your house’s health. Every home’s foundation is different, but the following five tips can help improve the conditions of any living situation and avoid environmental health risks. 1. Schedule Annual Services The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality reports that carbon monoxide poisoning kills more than 4,000 Americans each year. It is an invisible gas that is colorless, odorless, tasteless, non-irritating, and can be fatal. The simplest way to prevent CO poisoning is to have your heating system, water heater, and any other gas, oil, or coal burning appliances serviced by a qualified technician.

2. Clean Windows and Use AC Mold and pollen in the house can make you sick, especially if you have allergies, and it can cause irritation to your throat, lungs and eyes. To combat this, be sure to close all the windows in your home and rely on air conditioning during pollen seasons. Additionally, every month you should do a deep clean of all window frames and sills to get rid of any mold and condensation.

3. Use Proper Ventilation Everyone is a fan of a hot, steamy bath or shower, but this can also create excess moisture in your bathroom. Have you ever noticed a foggy mirror post-shower? Extreme moisture is a breeding ground for mold, which is why you should run your ventilation fan in the bathroom for 20 minutes during and after your shower. This will also help avoid damage to fixtures and surfaces.

4. Watch Air Quality Dirty air filters can irritate your lungs, and when air conditioners get turned on, they circulate stale air throughout the home. Therefore, it’s important to make sure your filters are clean and you change them out frequently. Another solution is to use a dehumidifier to combat mildew and mold while also ridding your house of any musty smells. Other signs your home needs a dehumidifier include water stains on walls or ceilings, condensation on windows, black spots on walls and rooms with poor ventilation. 5. Clean Ducts When air ducts aren’t cleaned properly it creates a buildup of pet dander, pollen and dust, creating hidden allergens. Be sure to give it a deep cleaning vacuum and wipe all ducts down with a damp microfiber cloth.

Erik Bryan is the owner of Precision Air & Plumbing, a local and family owned air conditioning, heating, plumbing and home performance company providing quality home services across the Phoenix Valley.





An Immersive Experience

Stunning visuals and a team dynamic make up Hydrow

Founded by Bruce Smith, a lifelong rower and former coach of the U.S. National Team, Hydrow brings the feel of being out on the water to the comfort of your own home. It’s much more than a workout (though there are hundreds of live and on-demand rows, with new workouts filmed daily), with stunning, live outdoor visuals, real sounds and an interactive team dynamic. Designed for optimal performance, the sleek machine has an aluminum frame and an ergonomic, frictionless body as well as a 10-roller system seat for support and comfort. The 22-inch HD sweat- and dustresistant touchscreen provides users with a

multisensory experience. The front-facing speakers project instructions from the world-class athletes who are leading the classes and high-energy music, with the sound of every stroke, wave and splash coming through. $2,199 (membership sold separately) at Hydrow, www.

04/20 ScottsdaleHealth



/ recipe and photo by Erica Ptak


Erica Ptak is the creator of Founded in Flavor, a local food blog devoted to healthy, indulgent recipes. For more information on her blog, visit or visit her Instagram at @foundedinflavor.

SERVINGS SIZE: 5 servings 2 tbsp flax meal ¼ cup olive oil cup mashed very ripe banana ¼ cup agave nectar ½ cup unsweetened applesauce ½ cup brown sugar ½ tsp sea salt 1 ½ tsp baking soda ½ tsp ground cinnamon ½ cup almond milk 1 cup grated carrot cup gluten-free rolled oats ½ cup almond meal 1 cup gluten-free flour blend OPTIONAL ¼ cup chopped raw walnuts for topping

FLAX EGG INSTRUCTIONS: Prepare 2 tbsp flax meal in a mixing bowl. Add 5 tbsp of water and stir until combined. Let the mixture sit for 5 minutes to thicken. TO MAKE MUFFINS: Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Prepare muffin tin with liners or lightly grease. In a large mixing bowl, add flax egg mixture, mashed banana, agave nectar, olive oil and whisk to combine. Next add applesauce, brown sugar, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and whisk to combine. Add almond milk and grated carrot and stir. Finally, add oats, almond meal, and gluten-free flour blend to the mixture and stir. Divide evenly among 12 muffin tins, filling them all the way up to the top, and top with optional crushed walnuts. Bake for 30-35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.





A revolutionary new way to achieve your best smile! BEFORE A University Study revealed that 89% of patients over 20 years old have gingival recession. Receding gums can be caused by gum disease or because of excessive brushing, certain medications, clenching or grinding, or smoking. Not only are receding gums painful and unattractive, but the actual bone underneath is being lost, leading to tooth loss. The Pinhole Surgical Technique is a revolutionary procedure that solves the problem of receding gums. PST offers natural-looking, long-lasting healthy smiles to those suffering from receded gums, giving patients a beautiful new smile in as little as an hour. Since nothing more than local anesthesia is needed, patients can return to work after their appointment. The Pinhole Surgical Technique takes the place of traditional gum grafts, with minimal discomfort or pain. In fact, recovery time is virtually nonexistent with PST. The results are more predictable, less noticeable, and will last as long as any other gum correction procedure. Stunning new smiles can be seen immediately. Dr. Erik Svans, DDS was among the first dentists to study the Pinhole Surgical Technique under its inventor, Dr. John C. Chao, DDS in 2014. Since introducing

AFTER PST to his practice, Dr. Svans has seen very predictable and reliable long-term results. There is no scalpel, incision, or stitches with PST, making it virtually painfree. This innovative procedure uses a .1 inch “pinhole” opening to reposition a patient’s receded gumline to its healthy, natural location. After repositioning the gum tissue to cover the exposed root surface, Dr. Svans strategically places collagen through the Pinhole to stabilize the tissue in place. The collagen resets the gum tissue and makes it stronger than before. Patients can return to normal eating that very night.


Previously, treatment for receded gumlines was very painful and required cutting donor gum tissue from the roof of a patient’s mouth. The donor tissue was then stitched to the receded site, which had also been cut or “flapped” in preparation for the graft. Recovery for this traditional surgical technique requires two to three weeks with prescription pain medicine. In contrast, PST is a kinder, gentler procedure since it only requires a repositioning of existing gum tissue over the exposed root surface. With PST, Dr. Svans can treat one to all teeth in one visit, in as little as 30 minutes. Patients are amazed with the results, instantly falling in love with their healthy, beautiful new smiles. If you’re ready to stop living with the pain and embarrassment of recessed gums, the Pinhole Surgical Technique may be right for you! Schedule a complimentary consultation by calling Dr. Erik Svans at 480.219.8760 or visit

AFTER Follow us at:@pinholedentist

Svans Dentistry PLLC

7400 E Pinnacle Peak Rd, Suite 200, Scottsdale, AZ 85255 • (480) 219-8760

Erik P. Svans DDS

style / by Gabby Leighton

Be Bold The spring activewear color palette

Blue colorblock crop top, Madewell x Outdoor Voices, $45 at Madewell, Neon pink strappy sports bra, $49 at Onzie, www.onzie. com. Coral mesh belt bag, Nike, $30 at Nordstrom, www. Yellow pullon shorts, FP Movement, $68 at Saks Fifth Avenue, Purple running shoes, Asics, $99.99 at Dick’s Sporting Goods,




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weight loss news / compiled by Kelly Potts

Snack Attack It’s been widely agreed upon that it’s more about what you eat versus the amount of exercise to aid in weight loss. However, another critical factor is often neglected – it’s not just how many calories you eat, but when you eat them that will determine how well you burn those calories. A study published in PLOS Biology dove deeper into this idea, reporting that your daily clock and sleep regulate how the food you eat is metabolized, and then the choice of burning fats or carbohydrates changes depending on the time of day. Your body is programmed to burn fat when you sleep, so when you skip breakfast and then snack at night, you delay burning the fat. Stick to a good breakfast, versus snacks. Source:

Follow Your Gut When eating for health, do you think about your gut? A five-country study recently published in the journal Gut concluded that eating a Mediterranean



diet for one year boosts the types of gut bacteria linked to “healthy” aging, while reducing those associated with harmful inflammation in older people. They found that partici-


In the Zone Are you looking to reduce inflammation and encourage healthy insulin levels? It may be time to check out the Zone diet. The new diet encourages people to consume healthy fats and antioxidants, including omega-3 fats and polyphenol antioxidants in supplement form. Supporters say it can help a person lose weight, enhance their mental and physical health, and slow aging.

pants who stuck to the Mediterranean diet for one year experienced beneficial changes to the gut microbiome. The diet was related to stemming the loss of bacterial diversity, an increase in the types of bacteria previously associated with several indicators of reduced frailty, such as walking speed and handgrip strength, and improved brain function, such as memory; and with reduced production of potentially harmful inflammatory chemicals.

The Zone diet involves a few basic guidelines: • Eat a meal or snack within one hour of waking up. • Start each meal or snack with a low-fat protein, followed by foods containing healthy carbs and fats. • Eat small, frequent meals during the day, every four to six hours after a lunch or two to 2 1/2 hours after a snack. • Consume plenty of omega-3 and polyphenols, for anti-inflammatory properties. • Drink at least eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day.

Source: www.

Source: www.

Ditch the Diet It might be time to ditch the diet sodas. According to a new study conducted at Penn Medicine, drinking diet sodas can hinder your weight loss goals, but not for the reasons you may think – it’s not the actual soda, but what a person eats with when they drink it. Diet drinks are packed with non-nutritive, sugar-free sweeteners and may trick a person’s brain into craving foods that could lead to weight gain. Source: www.



7293 N. Scottsdale Road | Scottsdale, AZ 85253 |

solo scottsdale by Gabby Leighton / photo by Mark Morgan

Each month, Scottsdale Health features one local single. This month, meet…

Casey AGE: 36 ABOUT ME: I’m currently in love with the Wild West of Arizona! I’ve restarted many chapters for hope, adventure, love and opportunity – from Mississippi to Virginia, Pennsylvania, New Mexico, California, Washington, D.C., New York, the United Kingdom… and back again. Hot yoga is my jam and my therapy. My pup, Penny Lane, is my best friend. I am a district manager for professional stretch facilities in the Valley called StretchLab. Being a part of something that is so profoundly helping someone else’s journey and growth in any way is what fills my cup. I live for connection to myself and others. I am aggressively fighting for the better version of me. I’ve seen a lot, done even more, and feel like I have just begun. MY FAVORITE BOOK IS: One of my classic favs is The Alchemist. When I was living

Interested In Meeting Our Single?

Email her via Please put “Casey” in the subject line.




in London, there was a classic bookshop across the street from the studio I worked at. I’d sneak in there on rainy days and choose a book to read in the parks. This one grabbed me and its message continues to give me direction on the challenging days. WHAT I’M LOOKING FOR IN A SIGNIFICANT OTHER: A partner to fearlessly stand beside to co-create and figure out this life with. I gravitate toward those who are also digging into their self-journey. THE MOST IMPORTANT QUALITIES TO ME ARE: Kindness, sincerity, presence, ambition, empathy, bravery, honesty, loyalty, selfawareness. THE LEAST IMPORTANT QUALITIES TO ME ARE: Fame is low on my list of necessities, because I like my privacy. I also dislike anyone who is negative and narcissistic.

Interested In Being Our Next Solo? Send an email with your name, age and a recent photo for consideration to the same email, with “Solo” in the subject line.

Driving on the course, fun. Driving to the cleaners, not so fun.

Specializing in premier quality dry cleaning and professional wet cleaning, with complimentary pick up and delivery to your home or office for your convenience. We pride ourselves on focusing on high quality pressing, being tough on stains, but eco friendly, using only organic, non toxic, dry cleaning solvents and professional wet cleaning. Your garments will last longer and look exquisite!


480.951.2206 We offer same day service at any location before 9:00 am Monday through Friday.

Monday-Friday: 7 am-7 pm Saturday: 9 am-5 pm Sunday Closed for maintenance

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/ by Jeremy Scott / photos by James Patrick

Jeremy Scott is an expert advisor for Olympian Labs Nutrition and Reebok. He owns and operates Jeremy Scott Fitness, located at 7750 E. Redfield Road, Suite D106. For more information, call 605.481.2611 or visit

Lower Body Burn Three strengthening kettlebell movements

Kettlebells can be a great way to squeeze in a weighted workout for those who don’t have a ton of space to work with, such as a home gym. Typically workouts using kettlebells, including this particular routine, require minimal space and only one piece of equipment. For this 20-minute lower-body workout, complete as many rounds as possible of the following three movements. Remember to focus on the quality of the reps, not just how many you can fit in the time frame.







40 Reverse Lunges (20 per leg) Grip the kettlebell in the goblet position with your hands packed tight to your chest. Stand with feet about shoulderwidth apart. With your left foot, step back into your normal lunge stride length, landing toward the front of your foot with your heel up. Lower the back leg straight down until it gently taps the floor or your full range of motion, in turn creating that 90-degree angle in the front leg. Drive through the heel of the lead leg to return to the starting position. Repeat on the right to complete another rep, and continue switching back and forth until you get to 40 total lunges.

30 Swings Stand tall up top with soften knees; shift your bodyweight into the heels, shooting your butt and hips back toward the wall behind you. Drive through the heels; explode through hips to send weight swinging forward. Ideal would be about chest height, with arms extended. The key is to thrust the hips through while squeezing the glutes in the finished position. Repeat backward and forward, driving through the heels and the hips until you hit 30 reps.

20 Bottom Loaded Squats Grip the kettlebell, with arms hanging in the bottom hand loaded position. Standing tall up top, shoot your hips back pushing the weight to your heels as you drop into a squat position until the KB taps the floor. Once you hit full range of motion at the bottom driving through the heels again, push back to the starting upright position to complete one repetition. Complete 20 total reps.

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balance / by Taylor Stone

Taylor Stone is an energy healer, spiritual mentor, holistic nutritionist, former NFL Cheerleader and owner of Inner Goddess Health. She is the host of the top rated podcast Vibe Higher.

Becoming a Self-Healer Three tips to tap into your innate ability

At our core, we are all healers. We’re all equipped to heal ourselves on a mind, body and soul level and it comes from within. This is something we’re born with and isn’t something we’re gifted with and always have access to. Hundreds of years ago, we were all aware of our gifts and our abilities and realized how powerful we were. We didn’t question ourselves and our capabilities and only embraced them. Over time we’ve forgotten our innate abilities and sought out information and healing outside of us, convincing ourselves that we weren’t powerful enough to reprogram our mind, change patterns, break habits, release a victim mentality and ultimately transmute and transform anything that wasn’t serving us. Here are three ways to become your own self-healer and guru of your own life.




1. Change your language and the words you are speaking Words hold a charge and a vibration and are prayers to the universe. When you shift your language and become more conscious of your thoughts and the words you speak, not only will your body and mind begin to heal itself, but your life will also shift. Suddenly life may

feel more flowy and less chaotic. Opportunities begin to show up for you, your relationships improve and you aren’t thinking negative thoughts and you stop judging yourself and others. Dr. Masaru Emoto, a well-known Japanese scientist, proved that the words you speak have either a positive or negative effect on water. If the human

body is over 70% water, this means that the words you speak are affecting a majority of your body – speak love into existence which will start to heal your life. 2. Audit your environment Epigenetics has proven that your environment and who you choose to surround yourself with will either heal or create disease within the body and the mind. Human DNA can be altered by the people, places and foods it is exposed to. When you understand that your well-being is determined by your environment, this no longer becomes an option to audit your environment and critical to create a thriving life. It’s necessary to be selfish when it comes to your mental, emotional and physical wellbeing. Crowding out what isn’t serving your highest good will bring more joy, abundance and bliss to your life, not to mention add years onto it. 3. Practice meditation and visualization Your body doesn’t know the difference between a vision that’s real and a vision that’s been created in your mind. It doesn’t know that you’re laying down and visualizing your future life or that it’s happening in real time. Meditation and visualization are powerful tools to envision the healing and life you desire without having any evidence of it already occurring. This doesn’t

mean sitting in the om position for an hour or taking a meditation class. You can do this laying down, walking, driving or right before you go to bed. Start by being grateful for the things you already have to truly open up your heart chakra and connect with the quantum field. This tells your body you are safe and also opens you up to receive. Once you’ve done this, start to see your life the way you desire and envision your body healed. How does it feel to be free from any ailments you have? What does it look like to not have the anxiety and stress you’ve been experiencing? And what new experiences are you having because you no longer have to give your attention and energy to your health? When you repeat this over and over, suddenly your genes begin to heal. Your parasympathetic nervous system begins to be at ease and your hope gets stronger. Suddenly you will hopefully realize you have the power inside of you to heal and become a self-healer. You can heal yourself through the mind and body connection when you start paying attention to your daily decisions. You hold the power to completely transform your mental, emotional and physical wellbeing and you hold the answers inside of you. In life threatening situations, seek medical attention.

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nutrition / by Gillean Barkyoumb

Sustainable Eating

Gillean Barkyoumb, MS, RDN is a registered dietitian and owner of Millennial Nutrition, LLC where she shares tips to make nutrition “doable” for millennial women and moms.

4 ways to help the planet through food

A FEW OTHER QUICK TIPS TO LIVE A MORE SUSTAINABLE LIFESTYLE: Shop using reusable grocery bags rather than plastic. Commit to swearing off plastic water bottles and use a reusable bottle instead. Store leftovers in aluminum foil rather than plastic sandwich bags. (Be sure to wash off the foil before throwing it in the recycle bin)

An estimated 1.3 billion tons of food is wasted globally each year – that’s one-third of all the food that’s produced. More of us are becoming aware of just how damaging our eating habits can be for the environment – not to mention to our health – and are searching for ways to eat more sustainably. To celebrate Earth Day (April 22nd), we are sharing four ways you can be a more sustainable eater for a healthier you and a healthier planet.




1. Grow something It’s time to try out your green thumb! Growing your own food can help reduce the food mileage you imprint on the Earth as well as all the resources it takes to mass produce food. This doesn’t have to mean you are tilling the land at the crack of dawn every morning. It can be as easy as growing a tray of microgreens on your windowsill. (Extra bonus: microgreens require no soil to grow!) Microgreens are nutrient-dense and can be sprinkled on top of anything – eggs, avocado toast, salad, baked chicken. Or if you want to take it a step further, add a few tomato plants to pots in your backyard. If you’re in the city and low on space, consider joining a community garden or CSA (community-supported agriculture) where you can sign up to get regular deliveries of local produce.

2. Eat seasonally Yes, you can get blueberries any day of the year, but it wasn’t always that way! Foods grow in seasons, but thanks to technology and partnerships with farmers around the world, you can have blueberries on your cereal every day. While this growth and collaboration is praiseworthy, it means that extra work has to go into growing or transporting those foods that aren’t in season. Not only does seasonal produce require less artificial help in growing, it’s also more nutritious and delicious! 3. Read food labels Do you check the dates on foods before the first bite to make sure they haven’t gone bad? Do you know the difference between “sell-by, “use by,” and “best if used by” dates? A significant amount of food waste is due to mis-

If you’re looking for a baby step, try to eat one plant-based meal per day.

read food labels. The timeline for foods to still be good based on a “sell-by” date varies, but in general, you have about two to three days beyond the sell date to eat it. And the same goes for “best if used by” dates. The food quality may start to decline, but that doesn’t always mean it will make you sick. Throw any deteriorating produce into a stew, soup or stir-fry. You can also freeze fruit – strawberries, bananas, avocado – before it starts to go bad and use to make nutritious smoothies. 4. Cut back on animal products Avoiding all animal products for just one day exponentially helps the planet, even more so than eating locally seven days per week. Going vegan cuts

your carbon footprint in half since producing meat products requires an immense amount of natural resources. If you’re looking for a baby step, try to eat one plant-based meal per day. A plant-based diet has been shown to support the immune system, reduce inflammation, and reduce risk for chronic diseases like heart disease. And if you’re thinking that a plant-based diet means you’re chomping on raw carrots all day, think again. There are so many delicious and nutritious vegan recipes along with many meat substitutes – you may be shocked by how tasty they are!

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soul how it spreads, use words that they can understand and be prepared to repeat yourself if needed.

Live Your Legacy Released this February, Everyday Legacy: Lessons for Living With Purpose, Right Now by Cody Shewan is about shifting to the idea of living – not leaving – a legacy. Shewan is a soughtafter motivational speaker who travels the world encouraging people to live life more purposefully. In the book, Shewan shares vital lessons for living, backed by the wisdom he learned from spending decades coming face to face with the reality of death as a funeral director. From tales of unexpected friendship as a young volunteer in palliative care, to what he learned through his estranged father’s funeral, Shewan’s lessons are all about living in the now. Available on Amazon. For more information, visit www.

3 Ways to Talk to Your Child About COVID-19 / by Lauren Katz

With the national emphasis on keeping families and children safe and healthy from COVID-19, parents must also find a way to talk to their children about this coronavirus. With constant information coming out about the virus, it isn’t unusual

for kids to feel anxious or uncertain about all of the information they are hearing and seeing. Washing your hands and exemplifying good hygiene is a great starting point to keep your child safe, but it is crucial

to check in with your child about how they may be feeling. Here are three ways to keep the conversation going when kids ask us the big questions. 1. Validate Your Child’s Feelings Provide a safe and open environment for your child to ask questions about what is currently going on. By encouraging your child to wonder and be curious without pushing them to talk, they will be more comfortable opening up about the situation with you. It can be helpful to ask them questions and find out what their understanding is; what have they heard so far that they have questions about? To help your child better understand what the virus is and

2. Make Them Aware of Others Many kids are seeing this “break” as time to play with their friends. It is important to stay calm when telling your child that they need to stay inside. By helping your children understand that other people can get sick or may have a higher risk of getting sick if they interact with one another, they can better realize why it’s important that they are not playing with friends as much. Let them know that there are also people out there working to help those who are sick and find an answer to make them better. Children follow their parents’ cues. If you stay calm, they are more likely to as well. 3. Be Reassuring but Be Honest It is important for everyone, especially children, to be aware of the virus. Be honest with your child about the current situation but reassure them that by practicing good hygiene and staying inside they are doing their part to make everyone safe. It is also important to make sure that what they are watching, or hearing is not too graphic or sensationalized. Using these tips make navigating this topic a little easier. Remember, they are looking to you for guidance.

Lauren Katz is the Director of School Counseling for Great Hearts Academies, a network of non-profit charter schools located in Arizona and Texas. Visit for more information.




Spa Subscription Away Spa at W Scottsdale recently introduced a new monthly self-care membership program. People who join will receive 600 minutes of treatment, which can be used restriction-free toward any spa or beauty service, regardless of duration, throughout the calendar year. The membership minutes can be applied to everything from eyebrow waxing to full-day wellness journeys featuring multiple services, ensuring members can personalize their self-care. The annual membership also includes a complimentary cocktail and valet parking with every spa treatment as well as insider access to parties and events at W Scottsdale. The discounts include spa merchandise and additional spa services as well as a 25% discount on hotel rooms at W Scottsdale and 10% off dining at the hotel’s Sushi Roku restaurant. Members will also receive 20,000 Marriott Bonvoy Reward points as a signing bonus, plus additional points earned on all treatments. $999 per year for membership.

Matcha Waffles Recipe from Love Your Body, Feed Your Soul by Summer Sanders of Local Juicery, Serving size: 8 waffles 2½ cups almond flour Gardening Guidance The Urban Farm recently started offering free daily online classes. Each weeknight at 5 p.m. through April 17, farmer Greg Peterson will present an hour-long lecture followed by a Q&A session. Topics will include Jump Start Your Spring Garden, Introduction to Permaculture, How to Grow Great Soil, Edible Weeds 101 and more. There will also be movement, yoga and breathing techniques offered throughout the month. The Urban Farm U chat room will be open to connect with people from around the world who are also learning. The Urban Farm podcast also offers over 550 interviews with experts that are free to listen to and explain how to grow everything from apples to zinnias. Visit for the free online daily courses. Visit for more information.

1 cup brown rice flour ¼ cup arrowroot 1 teaspoon baking soda

4 eggs (for vegan version, swap for 4 tablespoons chia seeds) 1 teaspoon salt ¼ cup maple syrup

1½ cups almond milk 1½ cups spinach, packed tightly 3 tablespoons matcha powder

cup coconut oil

In a bowl, combine almond flour, brown rice flour, arrowroot, and baking soda. Stir well and set aside. In a Vitamix or other blender, combine egg or chia, salt, maple syrup, coconut oil, almond milk, spinach, and matcha. Blend well until very creamy. Pour wet mix into reserved dry mix. Whisk until combined. Heat waffle iron, then pour in ½ cup (or suggested amount) of batter per waffle maker instructions until cooked. Top with your favorite toppings and enjoy.

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Move to the Music

Looking for an at-home workout that gets you dancing? Zuma Burn it Up! will bring some fun to fitness using the Nintendo Switch. Designed for all ages and levels, users will enjoy high-energy choreography of various dance styles to over 30 songs. Dancers will follow Zumba instructors on-screen across three game modes: Single Song, Full Class (offered at short, medium and long sessions), and Fitness Party, accommodating up to four dancers in Single Song and Full Class. Dancers can set personal goals and share achievements with friends. $39.99 at Zumba,, or 505 Games,

Zen-ify Your Workspace Working from home may mean adjusting to a smaller space than at the office, meaning staying organized is more important than ever. FluidStance, the company behind numerous award-winning eco-friendly and health-promoting balance boards, recently launched Slop: its first ergonomic personal desktop whiteboard designed to reduce paper waste and modernize your desk setup. Slope is a personal desktop whiteboard made completely of steel – Earth’s most recycled material with the ability to be reused infinitely – and powdercoated using a low emissions process. Slope offers a gentle angle for writing and its raised surface acts as the optimal storage space for a keyboard underneath, designed to fit perfectly in the space between your keyboard and monitor. In addition to a dry-erase surface, it also features a phone dock that allows the perfect angle of view, with a dedicated space for charging cables, dry-erase markers and other tools. FluidStance, based in Santa Barbara California, has committed to planting one tree for every Slope sold. $59.




H20 Meets CBD The only beverage that is manufactured in an FDA certified facility, VAI CBD Water from VAI Wellness is a tasteless, odorless and colorless way to get 25 mg of CBD. Based in Scottsdale, the company uses proprietary nanotechnology combined with an electrical charge that binds Cannabidiol molecules to hydrogen molecules, allowing both the Cannabidiol and hydrogen molecules to remain active and work to diminish the degradation of the CBD potency within the water. Using this method, the CBD absorbs directly into the bloodstream with the water itself when it is ingested. The water is for pre-workout, postworkout, and during workouts. It can be used in coffee, protein shakes and more, and works to hydrate, restore and revitalize the mind and body. $49.99 (12pack). VAI Wellness, www.vaiwellness. com.

Face Care Olivespa is a line of all-natural skin care products created by Queen Creek Olive Mill owner Brenda Rea. Located on-site at the Olive Mill in Queen Creek, the products utilize olive oil in their recipes. Face is the newest line from Olivespa, featuring a variety of items made for the face. Products include a cleansing face wash, a hydrating face toner, nourishing face oil, a detox face mask, and a refresh face mask. The products can be purchased separately, and the company also sells a Face Love gift basket, which features some of the products along with an aromatherapy candle, a botanical steam and a detailed instruction sheet for doing an all-natural at-home facial using each of the items in the basket.

Sweet Treats Kaleidoscope Juice recently introduced two new smoothies to the menu for those looking for something nutritious yet delicious. For a fruitier take, the strawberry shortcake smoothie includes frozen strawberries, a pitaya drizzle, ground flax, sprout living protein, cashew butter, vanilla and coconut milk. For the chocolate lover, the keto cookies n’ cream smoothie has frozen coconut meat, monkfruit, maple syrup, sprout living protein, cacao nibs, cacao powder, coconut butter, cinnamon and macadamia nut milk. www.

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toys, tech & gear / by Gabby Leighton

Everything but the Equipment Creating an at-home gym

Though you can work out from anywhere with or without equipment, dedicating a room or area at home can be an inspiring way to get active. Beyond the weights and machines, here are some functional items to transform your space.




Fitness Gear 16 Square Foot Dual-Density Floorguard Whether you’re bringing in some heavy equipment or ready to do some aerobic movements, add a gym-like feel and protect your joints and floors with these puzzle-shaped interlocking foam tiles. Designed to make floor-bound exercises more comfortable, they give a gym-like feel and durability while preventing slips. Simply connect the pieces to create a smooth surface in any room. The rubber pieces measure 16 square feet when connected. They are non-skid and waterand noise-resistant with faux wood grain laminate. The easy-to-install tiles are three-forths of an inch thick. $59.99 at Dick’s Sporting Goods, www. dickssportinggoods. com. Pottery Barn James Wood Floor Mirror Whether you want to make sure your form is right during weightlifting, or you’re looking to add some dimension into your at-home gym, a mirror is always a good choice. The natural oak frame features a gold finish, lightening up the space while adding a touch of glam. It has a glass mirror and MDF backing

and comes with an anti-tip kit. It weighs 41 pounds and measures at 74 inches high. $699 at Pottery Barn, www. USA Timer Pro Garage Edition Wall Timer You know those cool clocks you see at fitness classes? There’s no reason why at-home gyms can’t have them, too. This small, sleek timer comes with access popular fitness interval preprogrammed timers and can easily be programmed with custom intervals. This allows users to focus on their form instead of timers on their phone that have to be closely monitored. The metal frame provides secure rugged housing for the clock, and the numbers are highly visible in the form of two-inch LED lights. There is an audible beep to begin and end cycles, as well as a wireless remote to control it. The product can be mounted on the wall – bracket included with purchase. Functions include a classic time clock, the ability to count up and down, a stop watch and custom intervals, with all functions beginning with a 10-second countdown. $119 at X Training Equipment, www. xtrainingequipment. com.

B-Air Firtana-20X High Velocity Electric Industrial and Home Floor Fan Keep cool with this 20-inch fan, which provides powerful air circulation and even some white noise. The fan has three speed settings, is tilt adjustable and has a portable handle. The UL certification is put in place to keep users safe, and the fan can either be kept on the floor or hung on the wall. It is made of heavy duty metal and is easy to assemble and take apart. $49.99 at Amazon, Body Solid GDR363 3 Tier Horizontal Dumbbell Rack It’s not safe or organized to have your weights piled in a corner, so get the gym vibe with a weight rack. This three-tiered option will create a clean workout space and quickly allow you to find the pair of weights you’re looking for. The four-sided welded construction provides stability and durability, and the rack holds one pair of dumbbells each for weights ranging from five to 50 pounds. It is deburred inside and out for optimal safety. $175.99 (weights sold separately) at Dick’s Sporting Goods.

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32687 N Scottsdale Road | 480.575.7505 7679 E Pinnacle Peak Rd #110 | 480.689.5997 *Offer valid with a minimum 12 month membership agreement at participating locations only. Training sessions to consist of 2-3 members. Terms and conditions may vary based on applicable state laws and regulations. Monthly dues still apply. Each location is independently owned and operated. Expires March 31st, 2020 ©2019 Anytime Fitness, LLC

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crazy 8s

In honor of Earth Day (April 22), we’re talking all things recycling. For those looking to help protect the environment and conserve the finite natural resources of our world as the population continues to grow, consider these facts.

1. Look within for the answer. The average person generates over 4 pounds of trash every day and about 1.5 tons of solid waste per year. 2. Employment facts. The recycling industry creates jobs – over 750,000 to be exact. 3. Plastic, please. Recycling one ton of plastic bottles saves the equivalent energy usage of a twoperson household for one year.

Crazy Facts About Recycling 38



4. Disposal sites. There are over 2,000 landfills (aka waste disposal sites) in the country. Over 11 million tons of recyclable clothing, shoes, and textiles make their way into landfills each year. 5. You CAN do it. Aluminum cans make up less than 1% of waste in the United States because they are the most recycled item in the

country. If you throw away your aluminum cans, they can stay in that can form for up to 500 years or more. 6. Missed opportunities. The United States Environmental Protection Agency reported that an estimated that 75% of the American waste stream is recyclable, but we only recycle about 30% of it. 7. A quick turnaround. A glass container can go from a recycling bin to a store shelf in as few as 30 days. 8. Nature woes. Due to the fact that people aren’t recycling as much as they should, the rainforests are being cut down by about 100 acres a minute.


Dr. Bryan Geier talks a new treatment for pain management Wouldn’t it be great if you could treat the majority of all pain related symptoms with a non-invasive approach? Now, you can. As a Chiropractor, my education and training was focused on relieving pain by influencing the nervous system through the use of spinal manipulation. However, in my practice I intently focus on the myo, which is the Latin term for muscles and connective tissue called fascia. Here in lies the term Myofascial therapy. When treating pain, I chose to focus on the myofascia of the body because this is the most important component to influencing the Central Nervous System to decrease pain, specifically honing in on treating this pain by taking an alternative, non-invasive approach. Unfortunately, myofascial therapy receives little attention as a major source of pain and is seldom taught in modern medical school training. Even more unfortunate is the lack of insurance reimbursement for this important therapy. So, let’s dig into the topic a little deeper.

running through, around and crisscrossing every inch of your body including muscle, organs, blood vessels, nerves, spinal cord, brain and skin. The central nervous system receives its greatest amount of sensory nerves from myofascial tissue. This means that the fascia is as important or more important than muscle in sensory input delivery. The key to this statement is that your myofascia becomes the byproduct of your environment without you even realizing it. It experiences stress, memorizes chronic poor posture, feels the weight of your head sitting at the computer all day, and permanently holds onto old untreated injuries. As a result of never ending signaling to the brain, the body develops symptoms like pain and endocrine dysfunction like adrenal fatigue, dysfunctional mood and brain fog, to name a few. If the fascia controls the information that can influence the brain, then this is the first step to calming down the body’s pain response and also improving overall global body function.

THE SCIENCE BEHIND PAIN AND MYOFASCIA The muscular system is the largest sensory organ. Approximately 50 percent of your body weight is made up of about 400 skeletal muscles. Your fascia is actually one giant interconnected web of connective tissue

WHAT IS MYOFASCIAL THERAPY? It is a deep tissue treatment involving the breakdown of fascial adhesions known as trigger points. These trigger points ultimately create a permanently shortened muscle, resulting in pain and muscle dysfunction and, in turn, weakness and uncoordinated movements. Myofascial therapy can be performed in many ways including by a practitioner’s hands, using tools that break down adhesions and stretching. This therapy proves to be a very efficient and effective therapy for pain management, improving athletic performance and reducing cellulite.

COMMON INJURIES RELATED TO MYOFASCIAL TRIGGER POINTS • Pain or stiffness in your neck, mid- or lowback • Headaches or jaw pain • Sciatica and other nerve related symptoms like numbness and tingling • Tendonitis, Bursitis and Plantar Fasciitis • Joint pain especially in your shoulder, knee or wrist • Generalized dull, achy pain • Athletic performance issues

HOW DOES HEALTHY FASCIA BECOME UNHEALTHY FASCIA? This happens when extra layers of fascia grow due to stress, trauma, repetitive motions, dehydration and inflammation. Inflammation comes from repetitive working out or even eating inflammatory foods such as (but not limited to) sugar, fried food, certain oils and processed wheat.

CALL 480.800.4924 AND MENTION SCOTTSDALE HEALTH MAGAZINE TO RECEIVE 20 PERCENT OFF A PACKAGE OF THREE VISITS, EQUALING $179. Dr. Geier is located inside Jewish Community Center (JCC). A JCC membership is not required to be treated. Sign up to see Dr. Geier and also receive a one week pass to the JCC!




/ by Elizabeth Liberatore / photos by James Patrick

Chris Akard, owner of Akard Fitness Group, has over 30 years of experience in the industry and he’s not slowing down anytime soon

Chris Akard, owner and operator of Akard Fitness Group, started getting serious about fitness in the 1980’s at age 18. That was before boutique gyms and newfangled terms and techniques like vitamin IVs, CrossFit and intermittent fasting became popular. In the 1980’s, the fitness community was much simpler. Fitness participants, like Akard, were just excited to dive in, lose weight and feel great. Fast forward to 2020, Akard, now 52, is entering his 32nd year as a fitness professional, and has witnessed firsthand the industry’s evolution.

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“I ended up on the first-ever Personal Training Summit brochure by IDEA Health and Fitness Association, now known as The American Council on Exercise (ACE) — the largest association for fitness professionals in the world,” he says. “They used a photo from my fitness modeling shoot. I’m not sure how they got it, but there I was!” Akard begrudgingly left his Andre Agassi shoes, scrunchy socks and black Hind tights in the ‘80s – “I had no problems with the fashion world of fitness then!” – to pursue bigger and better things for his career in the decades that followed.

Arizona Accomplishments

Trailblazing in Modesto Akard was born in Tennessee and raised in Modesto, California. Always an active kid, he recalls BMX racing, basketball and waterskiing being a few of his favorite sports growing up. He also remembers accompanying his parents on trips to their health club and loving it. “I thought the folks working in the health club were cool, but I never dreamed I’d be doing that for my career,” he says. One thing led to another and Akard became one of those cool folks he once admired as a youth. It all began at age 18, when he was working at a health club and taking aerobics classes on the side. By 19, he was promoted to the title of fitness instructor and promoted again to an aerobics instructor. “I was in a unique position because I would be in the weight room with the big boys but also dancing away in the aerobics class,” Akard says. “There wasn’t a lot of crossover like that back then.” Personal training wasn’t mainstream in the ‘80s either – it was only ever heard about in the news and in regard to celebrities. Akard decided to change that. In 1988, he began training clients one-on-one as a way to earn a little extra cash and make the intimate style of exercise accessible to all. He became Modesto’s first personal trainer. He also did some fitness modeling as a teen through his 20s. 42



Arizona became Akard’s home – this November will be his 30th year as a Valley resident – in the early ‘90s. The Valley has treated him, his wife and their daughter well over the years. It has especially been a great place for his career. Since relocating to the Southwest, Akard has helped launch corporate wellness programs for big local brands like Cox Communications in Arizona and Vi at Grayhawk, a retirement community. He’s also led wellness public relations campaigns for Bashas’ grocery stores and Hickman’s Eggs. But KTVK News Channel 3 is really what elevated his fitness career to the next level. In 1995, he started doing four- to five-minute, biweekly on-air fitness segments for KTVK News Channel 3. He brought in props, equipment and other exercise participants to help showcase the work out or topic. He even did a segment on golf fitness and nutrition leading up to the Waste Management Phoenix Open. Akard was KTVK’s on-air fitness specialist for 19 years. “When I first became a regular on KTVK, my phone was ringing off the hook,” he says. “The station would put my phone number on the screen, which is something you’d never see now. People would ask where I was located and I was like, ‘... Ah, I do in-home training.’ Callers wanted to know where I was, so I pulled some resources together and opened Akard Fitness Group in April 1998.” Since its founding year, Akard Fitness Group’s mission has remained the same throughout time, that being it seeks to help a variety of people of all ages in their goals for sustained high-level fitness and nutrition. From young adults to seniors to people with injuries and surviving neurodegenerative diseases, Akard’s clientele is as diverse as it gets. The services he offers include in-studio private and semiprivate training, virtual training, in-home training and nutritional counseling. Akard will hire fitness contractors if demand calls for it. Typically though, Akard Fitness Group is a one-man show where clients get to work with the founder himself. And Akard is the kind of coach one wants, as he is results-driven while remaining mindful of a client’s limits. “While I push hard, I never do it to the point of producing too much inflammation. Avoiding joint strain, injury and promoting longevity is key. Pushing my clients to awesome results, while also giving them balance in their lives, is what I’m all about.” On top of being a certified personal trainer, Akard is

a certified life coach with a small clientele developing at Plumbline, a Christian wellness and weight-loss program he coowns with Jennifer Cecil, a licensed professional counselor. And harkening back to his aerobic days, Akard also teaches hip-hop classes at EOS Fitness. “I’ve had the privilege to work rather intimately with people on their vision and dreams for improvement throughout the years. That is very fulfilling and why I’ve stayed in this industry for as long as I have,” Akard says.

Family Values and Fitness After 50 Family is everything to Akard. His wife of 15 years, Jena, and their 8-year-old daughter love spending time outdoors together when the weather permits. “We do the horse trail on Tatum [Boulevard] together. My wife and daughter will bike on the trail, while I like to run. It’s probably my hardest workout trying to keep up with them! I never do, which they think is funny,” he says. Akard is also an avid tennis player and, as he says, “addicted to golf.” When he feels overwhelmed or temporarily unfocused, he’ll turn to prayer, as faith is everything to him, or golf, describing the sport as “mentally therapeutic.”

Two years ago, Akard turned 50 – a milestone he called the most challenging part of his fitness career. He recalls being somewhat blindsided by all the body changes he recently went through. “Your body changes so much in the years between 40 and 50. When I turned 40, I was training almost exactly like I did in my late 20s. There may have been a few adjustments, but even my running pace was better than before. However, in the next decade your metabolism and hormone response to food changes dramatically.” Now, Akard finds it’s more difficult to get the results he got ate a younger age with both his fitness routine and nutrition. There’s no slowing this fitness pro down, though, as he is tackling age with grace and persistency, and is ready for all that the future will bring. “At this point, it is certainly about looking and feeling good, but it’s also about still training and functioning at a high level for the next 20 years and beyond, which will have even greater challenges I’m sure,” he says. “I want to keep my back, knees and body balanced and ready for the next 50.” To learn more, visit or follow him on social media at @akardfitness.

04/20 ScottsdaleHealth


/ by Heather Lynn Horvat / photos by James Patrick

Kristen Sharp is taking Epic Fitness Training to a new level

Kristen Sharp is a personal trainer, a health coach, and the owner of Epic Fitness Training, which aims to make health and wellness convenient by providing one-on-one training, group fitness classes, and corporate wellness programs to people around the Valley. Founded in 2004 by Kyle Brayer, Epic Fitness is known for having some of the best trainers and instructors in the area. Sharp and her husband took over the company two years ago after Brayer was killed in downtown Scottsdale. Prior to that, she had been helping Brayer run the company since he worked full-time with Tempe Fire Medical Rescue Department. “Kyle and I had the same vision for the company so that is what I intend to do. That vision is probably what I love most about owning the company. Kyle meant so much to my family that we have a drive and motivation that no one can compete with,” Sharp says. The Epic Fitness team is extremely knowledgeable and professional, demonstrating Sharp’s high standards. “Every person is different so the same fitness and nutrition plan will not work for everyone,” she says. “We get to the root of what’s holding them back and get a plan in place that they can stick to for the long haul.”




Maintaining Balance Being active was always part of Sharp’s life, having grown up playing sports. But it wasn’t until she became pregnant her senior year of college that fitness and wellness became a part of her lifestyle. “My mindset had changed, and I knew that what I had been doing before wasn’t the healthiest, so I had to make a change for my daughter,” she says. Now she is mother to three beautiful daughters and works out at home to accommodate her motherly lifestyle. Her weekly workout routine includes weightlifting four days, one long run day, and a day of indoor soccer. She loves running and even participated in the 2018 Boston Marathon while seven months pregnant. “I take one or two rest days a week depending on my schedule, and even then, those days are not me sitting on the couch. I still try to move around and get my steps in. With two of my kids under the age of 5 that is not hard for me to do,” Sharp says. As for her diet, the fitness professional lives by the 90/10 rule – eating heathy 90% of the time and indulging 10% of the time. “I don’t believe in ‘cheat’ foods. ‘Cheat’ has a bad connotation, so I try not to use that word,” she says. “I just believe in moderation and balance. If I want to eat pizza, I eat pizza. If I want to eat ice cream, I eat ice cream. I just try not to overindulge or eat it all the time. I will say, however, my favorite indulgence is cookies. I love and make a pretty good chocolate chip cookie.” Wellness Delivered Since 2010, Epic Fitness has partnered with Valley luxury housing communities to offer on-site personal training and group fitness classes. “Originally, Kyle saw a need in Tempe in the student housing complexes and it grew from there. The relationships he built are still holding true today because I am getting calls from new apartments to get our services. It is a way to set apartment complexes apart and attract more residents,” Sharp says. Epic Fitness also offers on-site workplace wellness programs bringing certified coaches directly to Valley organizations. No on-site gym or equipment is necessary. “We can use any space and bring equipment if necessary. All we ask is that employees wear the proper attire and bring their own yoga mat to all the on-site classes.” Wellness classes include the yoga, Pilates, and total-body fitness, as well as off-site fitness classes like run clubs and hiking clubs. “Since beginning the corporate wellness program in 2016, we know more than ever this is what we are supposed to do. Because of our resources, we can pretty much accommodate any request. The program is totally customizable so that we can really help employees make changes,” Sharp says. Epic also recently launched meditation classes and cognitive behavioral therapy workshops and lectures so clients can strengthen their mental health in addition to their physical health. “We believe that health and wellness is about treating the whole person and believe that mental health is more important than ever,” she says. “We also have a nutritional piece to our program which includes cooking classes, meal prep classes, and nutritional workshops and lectures.” The wide variety of connections and resources that Epic Fitness has to the wellness community allows the company to fully customize programs for each of client’s individual needs. In fact, Epic Fitness will soon have a financial expert to offer financial wellness workshops and lectures. “It’s the little habits that we do every day that effect our health and wellness. If you change those little habits, you will start to see big results,” Sharp says. For more information, visit

04/20 ScottsdaleHealth



/ by Jocelyn and Aaron Freeman

Switching Modes

Go from the work to relationship mindset by asking your spouse these five questions The connection in your relationship is not reliant on the quantity of time you have together, but instead the quality of the time you have together; more specifically, the quality of your conversation together. Here’s the reality of modern life: by the time you stop working, spend time with your kids, cook dinner, and walk your dog, you likely feel like you haven’t really connected with your spouse before you head to bed. Regardless of whether you both work full time or one of you manages the busy home life, it can be difficult to “turn off” the pace or mode you operate in for the majority of your day. Questions like, “How was your day?” and “What show do you want to watch on TV?” are unlikely to lead to the sense of intimacy that you desire in your partnership. Since you might not be able to find hours of extra time, there’s still a way to make sure that your limited time together is nurturing. It comes down to asking better questions in your conversation with your spouse – even if it’s only 15 minutes in bed before you fall asleep. Here are five questions to ask your spouse at night to connect even deeper.

1. What was your favorite part of the day? Asking a question like this is a great alternate option to the standard, “How was your day?” because it’s more specific and provides insight into what brings them joy and happiness. Additionally, it even helps your partner reflect in a positive way and focus their mind more on what is fulfilling. It’s always helpful to end the day and go to sleep on a positive note. 2. Is your “cup” full? How would you like to fill your cup tonight? You can only give from the “overflow” of your cup, and not from an empty cup. This question not only shows that you care about their energy, but will also prompt them to consider rejuvenating activities you can do as a couple. If they aren’t sure, you could suggest ideas like sitting outside with the family, going on a walk to the park or going to a fun dinner together with no phones. 3. What goals could we work toward as a couple right now? This is a great question to get insight into what is motivating your spouse and what’s

important to them. You can then find ways to create goals together, so it doesn’t feel like you’re just two separate individuals doing your own thing. You’ll feel even more of a sense of teamwork in life. 4. How can I support you even more tomorrow? You don’t know what your partner needs unless you ask. Find out even small ways that you can cheer them on our set their day up for success. 5. Did you feel my appreciation and love for you today? Every person receives love in different ways, so this is a great question to ensure that your actions are aligned with what works best for your partner. Just remember, you don’t have to have a ton of time with each other to feel connected. Spice up the conversation by asking each other better questions over dinner or in bed before you fall asleep. You might even want to add in “no tech times” in each evening so that you have an hour, or even just 30 minutes, with no TV or phones and can focus on each other. You’ll feel even more connected when you focus on better conversation.

Jocelyn and Aaron Freeman are your go-to marriage coaches to learn the relationship skills no one taught you in school. The Freemans are published authors, public speakers, and lead couples workshops in the Valley. For more information, visit





/ by Christy Hall

Christy Hall is a board certified Physician assistant, specializing in nonsurgical facial rejuvenation and owns a premier medical aesthetic practice in Tucson, AZ. She is founder of Mikel Kristi Skincare, an eco-lux skin care line with innovative formulations designed to help achieve your best skin and is author of “Your Beauty Advocate, A No-Nonsense Guide to Age Defying SkinCare.”

A Desert Gem

Arizona’s own prickly pear is a must-have skin care ingredient If you follow skin care trends, you have probably heard all about plant-based products lately. But the truth is, these trendy sounding ingredients are nothing new. They have been used for centuries to care for the skin and body – and with good reason. Since plants are stationery and cannot move away from danger or environmental threats, they adapt and develop unique qualities to ensure they will survive the elements. Many of the most effective skin care ingredients come from plants that have evolved to survive in the harshest of environmental circumstances, and desert plants are some of the best examples of that. With an unrelenting climate, arid soil, very low humidity, high UV radiation, and intense heat, cacti are some of the most hearty and resilient plants found on Earth. One such cacti, the opuntia ficus-indica cactus – otherwise known as the prickly pear cactus – is currently one of the most sought-after, plant-derived, game-changing skin care ingredients. The stem of the prickly pear is actually where the most potent part of the plant can be found. These adaptive cacti can be found all over the Grand Canyon State, and what better ingredients to use for effective skin care than one that can defend against a myriad of environmental stressors?




Why Prickly Pear The prickly pear cacti have developed highly effective moistureretention abilities and resistance to UVA rays, which are characteristics that are incredibly beneficial for the skin. Prickly pear stem extract is made from extracts of the prickly pear fruit and stem, and it has been found to be an extremely effective ingredient for skin hydration, nourishment, and protection. These antioxidants, minerals and vitamins help to protect, soothe, and moisturize the skin. They also protect against environmental stressors that we are bombarded with every day.

Skin Benefits So how does it all work? How does it go from a prickly pear plant to an effective ingredient penetrating our skin? Well, the stem extract provides your skin with vitamins A, B, and C and vital nutrients like calcium, magnesium, and potassium. It also has a high concentration of piscidic acid, which is a potent antioxidant that plays a role in UV protection. It has also been reported that the stem extract helps to soothe, firm, and hydrate the skin.

Rachell Hall’s Permanent Makeup

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Whether you are challenged with short, sparse, or thinning eyebrows, Rachell Hall’s 28 years of expertise in makeup artistry, custom color blending, art and science will be your perfect solution plus... Remember, discounted prices are not an indicator of value in permanent cosmetics. Trust YOUR face only to the very best. For over 20 years Rachell Hall has eased the makeup woes of an international clientele with her exclusive perfected signature procedures. Be beautiful at breakfast and still look fresh at four! Work out or go out your permanent make up will be perfect! Save time with any procedure. Always natural, always pretty, always perfect. Don't you deserve wash and wear beauty? • Powder soft eyebrows create the illusion of fullness, frame your eyes with the perfect arch, and of course save all that time in the morning! • Smokey eyeliner, never smears, enhances your lash line and eliminates daily tugging at delicate eye tissue • Custom contoured lips- naturally full and blushed lips with contour and colors blended just for you! • Restores lip fullness without the "duck lip effect" and eliminates lipstick bleeding into fine lines • Breasthetics, 3-d nipple areola restoration post mastectomy

"My motto is Classic Beauty, nothing trendy. Nobody wants to look like they had their makeup tattooed on! That’s why all my signature treatments are designed to look soft and natural. Remember you can always add more! My clients never wake up Wednesday morning with Saturday night makeup! Classy, classic and conservative is my specialty look.

REFERRED BY THE VALLEY'S FINEST PLASTIC SURGEONS AND ESTHETICIANS Make your life simply beautiful! CALL FOR A FREE CONSULTATION 8075 E. Morgan Trail, Suite 6 | Scottsdale, AZ 85260 | (Off Hayden, between Mountain View and Shea)


doctor’s orders / by Kara Sands, MD

SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF A STROKE When someone has a stroke, seeking medical help as soon as possible is the key to preventing damage to vital neurons. If you believe your loved one is experiencing a stroke, remember to B.E. F.A.S.T.: Balance: Watch for sudden loss of balance or a bad headache with nausea or vomiting that comes on like a thunderbolt. Eyes: Check for vision loss or double vision.

A Healthy Marriage

Having a spouse may help during a stroke When couples get married, they take an oath to stay together in sickness and in health. But by exchanging your “I do’s,” you could actually be protecting each other’s health. Being married may prevent complications from cerebrovascular diseases, which affect blood flow to the brain. One of the most deadly and debilitating cerebrovascular diseases is a stroke, which occurs when blood flow to the brain is reduced or interrupted, or when the brain is getting too much blood. A Mayo Clinic study revealed that married people seek care faster compared to single people, possibly preventing extensive brain damage. This is especially true of married men, who were found to call faster 911 faster than married women. In fact, the study showed that married men called nearly 40 minutes sooner! When it comes to stroke, time is brain, and 2 million neurons die every minute during a stroke.

Kara Sands, M.D., is a neurologist and stroke medical director at Mayo Clinic in Arizona.




Face: Check if one side of the face droops. Arms: Ask them to raise their arms. Are they unable to lift one arm or is one arm drifting downward? Does one side of the body feel numb? Speech: Is your spouse’s speech slurred, incoherent, or not making sense even when repeating simple phrases? Time: If your loved one has any of these signs, call 911 and seek emergency medical help immediately, and make a note of what TIME these symptoms started. There are “windows of opportunity” when it comes to acute stroke treatment.

Why time matters When the brain is deprived of the blood flow it needs, neurons will die. These are the brain cells that make us who we are. When it comes to stroke, it’s ok to “overreact” because every minute lost means brain cells lost. The faster a stroke is identified, the faster your loved one receives the most appropriate treatment, and the better their chance at a good outcome and meaningful quality of life. Though the exact reason why married folks call sooner than singles is unknown, it is safe to say that marriage betters your odds against a stroke.

event / by David Apeji

Joe Trombley, Monique Roman, and Jason Demars

Jaime Cerreta and Bobbi Jo Kelly

Jennifer Swanton and Teaya Vicente

Coyotes Top Golf Classic Guests gathered at Top Golf Scottsdale to hit golf balls, play yard games and mingle with Arizona Coyotes players. Proceeds from the family-friendly event went to the Arizona Coyotes Foundation, which funds charities that help kids and first responders in the community.

Casey Wythers, Tom O’Brien, and Megan Mayhall

Oliver Ekman-Larsson and Anthony Iwan with Gavin

Mike and Alyssa Adams

Megan Tauer and Tanya Tauer

Steven Stralser and Michael Grabner

04/20 ScottsdaleHealth


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