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It’s Hot! Preventing Heat Related Illness

Well it’s not quite June 21st but with record highs across the country, summer is here. With that summer heat comes a whole slew of potential heat-related illnesses: hyponatremia, heat stroke and heat exhaustion,  all of which are serious and can be life threating. As an EMT, I have treated all of these, and as a Marine I suffered most of these and have seen them all many, many times. I’m going to throw at you some signs and symptoms as well as some quick tips to avoid them.

Hyponatremia: everyone really knows about dehydration, but few people have ever really heard of hyponatremia. What is it exactly? Hyponatremia is a metabolic condition in which there is not enough sodium (salt) in the body fluids outside the cells. In simple terms, you drank so much water you have flushed your system of needed nutrients. This can happen when you consume large quantities of water without eating regularly and with no other food inbetween meals. Although it is more common in endurance athletes, everybody is at risk. A person suffering from this will appear intoxicated, woozy and stumbling and possibly even slurred speech and disorientation. If you believe that you or someone around you is suffering from this call 911. This is really dangerous, so sit them down in the shade and give nothing to drink. You can avoid this by eating regularly, salt food to taste, and I always had sunflower seeds as a snack. They’re high in sodium and will help prevent this from happening. Also try drinking a little Gatorade with your water.

Heat exhaustion: this happens when your body isn’t able to regulate temperature. We all have experienced this before. This is not good, but that serious however it can lead to more serious things. How it happens is your outside without taking brakes and without continually hydrating. Signs and symptoms include light headedness, cramps, cool clammy skin and just overall exhaustion. Treatment is get out of the sun, get inside, and hydrate. To avoid this,  for every 30-45 minutes of work you do outside take a 10 minute break where you resupply what you have lost with water and a snack.

Heat Stroke: this is the most serious of heat injuries. Eventually you are baking yourself! In particularly your brain! Defined as a body temperature of greater than 40.6 °C (105.1 °F) due to environmental heat exposure with lack of thermoregulation.  Your body sits naturally around 98.6, but when you’re dehydrated and have been working out in the sun your internal temp will raise sharply. Your body combats this by sweating which cools off your body. However if you have pushed yourself for a long duration of exercise, your body will not have sufficient fluids to sweat and your internal temp starts to rise. Signs and symptoms are hot, red and dry skin. It is also common for the person to become unconscious. The treatment for this is call 911, move to shade, remove all tight fitting clothing and douse with water. If you have ice available put in their arm pits, under their neck and in the groin region. You want to place it here because these are 4 places where the body can lose the most amount of heat as quickly as possible. I cannot stress the urgency of calling 911 with this one; brain damage can set in very quickly and is permanent.  The elderly and young are particularly susceptible to this. Avoid sugary sodas and drink plenty of water before during and after exercise.

With summer comes many outdoor activities and a desire to get out and exercise. Take into consideration the dangers of heat and make sure to prevent them!


7 Quick Takes from ACSM

Last post about the conference, I promise! 🙂

Since I spent last week at the National American College of Sports Medicine Conference, I thought you all might like to learn a little bit about some of the latest research that’s being discussed! Rather than elaborate on for several blogs, I thought I’d give you the top 7 things I learned at the conference. Let me know if you want any more information!

1. Sanjay Gupta is quite good-looking up close. 🙂 Just had to throw that in there! (Sorry honey) Dr. Gupta came to the conference to speak about health and social media, and though he seemed to be a bit confused about who his audience was ( he thought most of us were medical doctors instead of researchers), he really was entertaining to listen to. He spoke about changing behaviors and how as a society it’s important that we reward healthy choices. The photo below is Dr. Sanja Gupta, Dr. Lustig and Diana Nyad.

2. Diana Nyad is phenomenal! If you don’t recognize the name, she is the 60+yr old woman who made a serious attempt last year at swimming from Cuba to Florida. She spoke about living life to the fullest, having big dreams and focusing on what really matters. While she didn’t present any research or novel ideas, her energy and passion were incredibly contagious. After listening to her speak, Kevin and I went on an 8 mile run. If you ever have a change to hear her speak, don’t pass it up!

3. Learned a new catch-phrase: 5,2,1,almost none. Have you guys heard about this? It’s a quick way to help parents keep their kids healthy without making things too complicated. Every day kids should have 5 servings of veggies/fruits, less than 2 hours of total screen time, at least 1 hour of activity (for kids, playing counts as exercise!), and almost no sugar. While this catch-phrase is technically aimed at kids, if we all lived by these simple rules, we would be much healthier!

4. The old manta “a calorie is a calorie” is most definitely on its way out. I had the interesting pleasure of hearing Dr. Robert Lustig speak about obesity and sugar. If you haven’t seen his youtube video, you should check it out. He gave a 90 minute lecture on the evils of sugar and crazily enough, the video has gone viral. Dr. Lustig has gotten so much attention in part because of the tenacity and bluntness with which he speaks. He has no problem calling sugar “evil” or calling people “fat” right to their faces. While his views are definitely controversial, he does make a very interesting case for the negative effects of sugar and warns that regardless of calorie content, sugar is harmful and can lead to weight gain. This link is from 60 minutes is has both Dr. Lustig and Dr. Sanjay Gupta this is the same information they shared with us at the conferance

5. I learned a little more about high fructose corn syrup; one group of researchers put mice on a high fructose diet and monitored their insulin sensitivity (if you have low sensitivity, you are at risk for diabetes). The high fructose diet significantly lowered insulin sensitivity (bad), but when the mice were put on a regular exercise routine, their insulin sensitivity went back to normal.

6. For those with diabetes, another group of researchers tracked insulin sensitivity 48 hours after a single exercise session and found that just one bout of exercise improves sensitivity for at least 24 hours. The effect doesn’t last much longer than that, which is why diabetes are recommended to exercise 5-7 days a week if they can.

7. Lastly, the research I presented! I found that the flavonoid quercetin, found in fruits and veggies with dark red colors, may help alleviate fatigue induced by chemotherapy. Almost everyone who has cancer and undergoes cancer treatment reports a significant, debilitating fatigue, and I hypothesized that inflammation might play a role. Quercetin is a natural anti-inflammatory, and when fed to mice at regular intervals, the mice experience less fatigue following chemotherapy treatment.

Hope you learned something!


walk a mile in my shoes

SO, as you saw, my wife and I spent the last week in San Francisco at a conference and I realized that being married to an exercise scientist means that my vacations are pretty different than most. My wife Sara and I met and dated when we were 16…. I am about to turn 28, so we have known each other a long time. Over this past decade I have had some time to sit back, relax and reflect on where my life was and now is. People often ask me what it’s like being married to an exercise scientist; well, please allow me to enlighten you.

 When you go on vacation it’s probably to get away and relax, lie around, and sun tan. But, if you are married to an exercise scientist you go on vacation to take a four hour drive to hike 7 miles up a mountain. The next morning I was treated with an 8.5 mile run. Lunch was truly interesting; we went to a juice bar, where I drank something that resembled the slime that mutated the ninja turtles.



Normal people go out for hamburgers and they are looking at downing a double with extra cheese and bacon. I have fantasies about those from time to time but every once in a while I get a hook up. ok i cant find my photo but the pickle chip that comes on top is as big as the burger its self. Not to take away from the burger it was delicious….Grass fed beef of course. That thing wouldn’t have satisfied a smurf!

Most people use the weekend to catch up on sleep and relax me, no not so much I wake up early and go on long runs and head to the gym, and for a real treat I get to head to whole foods to get cold pressed wheat germ for our morning shakes.


Most people fill their dog’s bowl with food and water; being married to an exercise scientist even my dog is on a strict diet and exercise regimen. My dog looks up at us every time he sees the amount of food in his bowl like he is in the animal abuse commercial with Sarah McLaughlin.


Being married to and exercise scientist, certainly has its ups and downs. In the end it’s all for my own health and benefit and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Adventures in Yosemite!

So, I know it’s been a little while since we’ve posted, but that’s because we’re in California! Kevin and I are spending the week in San Francisco for the American College of Sports Medicine conference. I presented some research yesterday, and now we’re exploring the city and of course, learning new stuff at the conference. I’ll put up some of the newest and most exciting research tomorrow! We wanted to show you guys our epic trip to Yosemite. I’ve never been there before and growing up in Illinois, I’m always so amazed by the splendor of mountains.

This was on the drive up. Gorgeous rolling hills!

Down in Yosemite Valley, just a short walk to the trailhead


Yosemite Falls. We climbed all the way to the top! It was gorgeous but arduous.

Endless stairs to the top of the falls

































Lower Yosemite Falls
































Halfway up. Can you believe this view?

Only a few feet from the top!



Top of Yosemite Falls

At the top with the North Dome in the background


































It was such an incredible climb and definitely made me want to move to Cali! We’ll blog again soon, but in the meantime, enjoy the pictures!

-Sara and Kevin


Exciting news! I (Sara) was featured as an expert source on! Come check it out! (Just FYI, the picture in the article of the incredibly ripped looking girl is definitely NOT me… too bad.:) )

Don’t forget to stop by amazon and check out our ebook! We really appreciate your support.

Rattlesnake Round-up!

If there is one event that could truly sum up the essence of South Texas, we have found it: Rattlesnake Round Up!!!!!!!!(You should read this with a monster truck announcer them in your head by the way)In the year that I have lived in South Texas, I have come to understand that there are 3 pillars that make up what Texans call a good time.  The first and probably most important one is beer, the colder and cheaper the better. Beer works as a social lubricant that ties together Latino and “’Merican” culture.  For example, take brisket; a fine cut of beef that Texans love to cook slow and low. Now, take a taco; a true staple in Latino food. Blend them together and you have a south Texan original. The second pillar is Texas Country music, which is not this high polished tight jean wearing stuff we all think of. It is completely normal for the music down here to be a blend of Mariachi and country that somehow flows together quite well. The last pillar that is a true necessity to get people together down here is pure danger.

The Rattlesnake Round up in Freer Texas is a quintessential example of a good time down here, and we loved every minute of it. It was about an hour and half from where we live. One of the best parts of taking a road trip in South Texas is the fact that most of land is divided into hunting ranches, which by themselves is nothing exciting but many ranchers down here fly in large African game to their private ranches, which adds a safari like quality to your road trip. It is quite normal to see gems brook or kudu while driving around, this trip was no different.

When we finally arrived, we pulled into a large dirt lot. As always the wind was gusting up to 30 miles an hour, so the air consisted of a nice brown tinge that immediately covered you in a fine layer of sand and dirt. We heard gun fire as soon as we opened our door. Shocked by this we made our way through the parking lot, paid an entry fee and went to see all of the commotion. It was a Wild West reenactment, with hard looking men wearing some serious mustaches shooting at each other with blanks (pillar 3). We met our friends, by the entry gate they had drinks in hand (pillar 1).

We went straight to the rattle snake pit. Inside this pit of doom (at least that’s what I call it) were about 30 rattlesnakes that ranged from 1 to 4 feet in length. You might be thinking in your head HAHA! Pillar 3 but no, sadly that was not the dangerous part. Pillar 3 was the fact that the men inside this pit would grab random pissed off rattlesnakes (their demeanor was quite evident by the rattling) by their head and tail and would drape them over little children for their parents to snap a quick photo (pillar 3). Call me crazy but growing up in the suburbs of west Chicago, if someone saw a man who looked fresh out of Deliverance wrap your small child in a rattlesnake and you smiled and took a photo, there is little doubt in my mind that child protective services would be on speed dial somewhere.

After about ten minutes of staring in utter disbelief, we made our way to the rest of the festival. I know you are all wondering if we had a snake wrapped around us for a photo, but sadly we did not.  This seemed to be a privilege reserved for the youth…..after all a rattlesnake bite is only mildly life threatening to an adult the true danger lies with the children! Past the snake pit was a flea market filled with wonderful trinkets, rattle snake belts, wallets, key chains with rattle or head your choice, hair clip, bracelet, boots, note pad cover and just your good old snake head in alcohol. Nothing really jumped out to me or Sara as being our style so we just passed on by.

At the end of flea market was a crowd gathered of mostly children clapping. Deep down inside of me I knew something truly unique and strange was coming my way, disappointment did not follow. There was a monkey, the same kind you see in outbreak (pillar 3). He was on a chain, wearing a banana coat with a sombrero, and for only 1 dollar (which the monkey would collect from you) you could allow your child to step into the ring with the monkey and he would climb up your kid sit on his or her shoulder and you could again take a photo.

We made our way to the beer tent (pillar 1) by the stage, where some country band was in a full on jam session (pillar 2) then to the food tent where I was enlightened on a new favorite food, the brisket taco covered in Pico de gallo. As I sat down eating my meaty treat, I looked around and took in the environment as a whole. Kids running around throwing fireworks at each other (pillar 3….again), dancing, eating and drinking, throw in a shady looking carnival in the background (my wife and I rode the Zipper, and if you have to ask just what that ride is, you have truly never lived….or almost died). It was really just a good ol’American shindig and we loved every minute of it!

Do you guys have any crazy festival stories? (or texas stories? 🙂 )


We’re Publishing an eBook!

Over the course of the past few months, Kevin and I have been working on an ebook, and we’re so excited to share with you that it’s almost done! The book is called “Honey, Do I Look Fat? How to Successfully Lose Weight While in a Relationship.”  It is composed of three sections; effective communication, motivation, and an exercise plan.  We wanted to tell you all about the book before it’s published because we would love your input. We still have time to add a few things, so we’ll give you an outline of what’s in it and we would love any suggestions! Let us know if there’s something you want to know more about or if there’s a section you’d like seen included in the book.

In the effective communication section, we first teach you some self-assessment techniques to determine how your health and fitness compares to the norms.  Then you’ll learn about the Stages of Change model which will help you determine how receptive your partner is to making a change in their diet and exercise habits. We also teach you how to avoid the 4 big mistakes couples make when having discussions, and we teach you how to be an effective listener. We also include some tips for initiating a conversation about diet and health with your significant other.

In the motivation section, we teach you about goal setting, and how to overcome some common excuses for not exercising. Then we give you some tips on how to get out the door and get started. The book ends with a 2-level exercise plan (for beginners and for more advanced exercisers) which includes both cardiovascular exercise and resistance training.

Please let us know if you have any suggestions! We’d love to hear from you!

The book will be published within the next two weeks and it will be available on the Amazon kindle and through amazon online. We’ll post a link as soon as it’s up!

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