SCW Spotlite: Issue 66

January 20th, 2023
Enjoy the monthly buzz about all things fitness. Fitness Pros are always on the go, so we’ll leave the “Lite” on!

What is an “Ideal” Static Pelvic Posture?

by Ryan R. Fairall
Courtesy of NASM

One of the most important things a certified personal trainer can do is build out their new clients’ unique workout and training programs before diving in. These assessments help the trainer seek out opportunities for growth while also understanding their clients’ limitations at the moment.

Certified health and fitness professionals who want to effectively design individualized exercise programs for their clients, athletes, and possibly patients (with medical clearance), must first perform a detailed health and fitness assessment. These assessments often test the five most common components of health-related physical fitness: body composition, flexibility, muscular endurance, muscular strength, and cardiorespiratory endurance (American College of Sports Medicine, 2022).

However, other components have become much-needed additions to health and fitness assessments, such as muscular power (e.g., various jumps and throws), speed, agility, and quickness or SAQ (e.g., 40-yard dash, LEFT test, pro agility test, etc.), as well as various postural and movement assessments (e.g., static, transitional, and dynamic posture assessments).

One of the components of health and fitness assessments that has become increasingly popular over the last decade or so, has been the assessment of posture. Posture may be defined as “the relative disposition of the body parts in relation to the physical position, such as standing, lying down, and sitting” (National Academy of Sports Medicine, 2022a).

The assessment of posture utilizing these assessments and tests can be very subjective, specifically between certified health and fitness professionals, questioning the inter-rater reliability of some of these assessments and tests. One assessment that can sometimes be very subjective is that of static posture. 

PERFORMING A STATIC POSTURAL ASSESSMENT

Health and fitness assessments commonly begin with the collection of valuable subjective information from clients, athletes, and patients utilizing forms like the PAR-Q+ and the Lifestyle and Health History Questionnaire, as well as important objective measures, such as vital signs and body composition. 

However, the next piece to the health and fitness assessment puzzle is often the assessment of posture, specifically static posture. Static posture may be defined as “the positioning of the musculoskeletal system while the body is motionless” (National Academy of Sports Medicine, 2022a).

Static posture is commonly visually assessed in a relaxed standing position with no shoes, from an anterior, lateral, and posterior view (Figure 1). The five kinetic chain checkpoints (i.e., feet and ankles, knees, the lumbo-pelvic-hip complex or LPHC, shoulder complex, and the head and neck) are assessed from the three views, as the certified health and fitness professional attempts to witness any deviations from optimal or ideal posture in the standing position.

Three common postural distortion patterns that certified health and fitness professionals look for are pes planus distortion syndrome, lower crossed syndrome, and upper crossed syndrome (National Academy of Sports Medicine, 2022a). Any deviations from an optimal or ideal posture that may be witnessed could suggest the presence of possible muscular imbalances that may increase the risk of and eventually lead to both acute and chronic musculoskeletal conditions and pain for the client, athlete, or patient (Figure 2).

Figure 1. Static Postural Assessment (anterior, lateral, and posterior views)

   Figure 2. Muscle imbalance

VISUALLY ASSESSING STATIC POSTURE OF THE LPHC

The reason that the visual assessment of static posture may be considered subjective, and therefore possibly invalid, is that it can be very difficult for the certified health and fitness professional to detect possible postural deviations from what is optimal or ideal static standing posture. One of the areas of the static postural assessment that can be particularly difficult for certified health and fitness professionals to assess is the LPHC from the lateral view.

Attempting to visually assess the level of the anterior superior iliac spine (ASIS) in relation to the posterior superior iliac spine (PSIS), as well as the lumbar spine, may be difficult when clients, athletes, or patients are wearing loose-fitting clothing, or the certified health and fitness professional may not be well-versed in locating the ASIS and PSIS bony landmarks.

Even when the ASIS and PSIS bony landmarks are properly identified, visual assessment has shown poor inter-rater reliability among various health care professionals (i.e., chiropractors, physical therapists, physiatrists, rheumatologists, and orthopedic surgeons) (Fedorak et al., 2003).

This issue of invalid results may be significant considering postural deviations at the LPHC (e.g., lower-crossed syndrome) may lead to other postural deviations above (e.g., upper crossed syndrome) and/or below (e.g., pes planus distortion syndrome) the LPHC and common acute and chronic musculoskeletal conditions, such as neck and upper back pain, shoulder pathologies, various knee pathologies, shin splints, Achilles tendinopathy, plantar fasciitis, etc. 

WHAT IS AN “IDEAL” STATIC PELVIC POSTURE? IS THERE ONE?

Neutral position while in a static standing posture, is when the ASIS is in the same vertical line as the symphysis pubis (McKendall, et al., 2005). However, humans should naturally possess an anterior/lordotic curve and extension in the lumbar spine, but the curve should not be excessively beyond neutral position.

Within this posture, the ASIS may in fact be slightly inferior anteriorly when compared to the PSIS posteriorly, resulting in an anterior pelvic tilt. This has been demonstrated through multiple research studies showing various degree averages and ranges of an anterior pelvic tilt (as great as 27°) within normal asymptomatic individuals (Suits, 2021).

As seen in Figure 1 within the lateral view, when the ASIS and PSIS are level on the same horizontal line, the normal anterior/lordotic curve in the lumbar spine may be decreased, presenting an almost flat-back posture (i.e., the belt line being horizontal to the ground and the lumbar spine flattening).

When assessing static posture of the pelvis from the lateral view, the certified health and fitness professional is checking if the pelvis is in a neutral position, anteriorly tilted, or posteriorly tilted. As previously stated, according to McKendall, et al. (2005), the pelvis is in a neutral position when the ASIS is in the same vertical line as the symphysis pubis.

The pelvis is in an anterior pelvic tilt if the ASIS is anterior to the symphysis pubis and posteriorly tilted if the ASIS is posterior to the symphysis pubis (McKendall, et al., 2005). Considering that it can be easily viewed as more difficult to assess the ASIS and the symphysis pubis along a vertical line, as opposed to the ASIS and PSIS along a horizontal line, what are certified health and fitness professionals to do when attempting to assess the LPHC and determine pelvic posture?

TRUSTING THE ENTIRE ASSESSMENT PROCESS

First, it is important that certified health and fitness professionals understand from the research that normal asymptomatic individuals may very likely present an anterior pelvic tilt, even when using the measurement of the ASIS and PSIS along a horizontal line to determine pelvic posture (Suits, 2021). 

Secondly, when assessing static posture, certified health and fitness professionals must look for obvious deviations from optimal or ideal static posture. For example, an exaggerated anterior pelvic tilt, excessive lumbar lordosis, and flexed hip joints, as with lower crossed syndrome (Figure 3).

When certified health and fitness professionals attempt to look so closely to determine if there are any static postural deviations, they are much more likely to find something, even if the deviations are in fact insignificant. Therefore, lastly, it is essential that the certified health and fitness professional look at the static postural assessment as simply a teaser for the rest of the assessment process. 

Figure 3. Lower Crossed Syndrome

The certified health and fitness professional must allow the results of subsequent parts of the assessment, such as the overhead squat assessment, single-leg squat assessment, pushing, pulling, and pressing assessments, and mobility assessments, such as those covered within NASM’s Corrective Exercise Specialization (CES), to verify the presence of possible muscular imbalances that may have been suspected while performing the static postural assessment.

If there are any possible muscular imbalances associated with static postural deviations (e.g., an excessive anterior pelvic tilt and lumbar lordosis), the certified health and fitness professional must feel confident that these deviations will become much more apparent when the client, athlete, or patient performs subsequent assessments.

REFERENCES:

  • American College of Sports Medicine. (2022). ACSM’s fitness assessment manual. (Y. Feito & M. Magal, Eds.) (6th ed.). Wolters Kluwer.
  • Fedorak, C., Ashworth, N., Marshall, J., & Paull, H. (2003). Reliability of the visual assessment of cervical and lumbar lordosis: How good are we? Spine, 28(16), 1857–1859.
  • Kendall, F. P. (2005). Muscles: Testing and function with posture and pain (5th ed.). Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.
  • National Academy of Sports Medicine. (2022a). NASM essentials of personal fitness training. (B. G. Sutton, Ed.) (7th ed.). Jones & Bartlett Learning.
  • National Academy of Sports Medicine. (2022b). Nasm essentials of corrective exercise training. (R. Fahmy, Ed.) (Second). Jones & Bartlett Learning.
  • Suits, W. H. (2021). Clinical measures of pelvic tilt in physical therapy. International Journal of Sports Physical Therapy, 16(5), 1366–1375.  

About the Author: Ryan R. Fairall

Ryan R. Fairall, PhD, CSCS, ACSM-EP, NASM-CPT, CES, PES is an Assistant Professor of Exercise Science at Catawba College in Salisbury, NC. He has worked in the fields of health/fitness and sports since the year 2000, has been a certified personal trainer since 2003, and has instructed in higher education since 2015. In his free time, Ryan enjoys being physically active lifting weights, playing sports, kayaking, fishing, going on walks with his female Shih Tzu named Bledsoe, and watching his hometown Philadelphia sports teams.

Health Benefits of Protein Bars

by Jillian Kubala, RD
Courtesy of Health.com

Protein bars are a staple in many people’s diets due to their convenience, portability, and nutrition. In addition to providing a quick snack option, protein bars may benefit health in a number of ways, from supporting weight loss to improving nutrient intake. However, they can also contain ingredients like added sugar and artificial additives. 

Here’s what you need to know about protein bars, including potential pros and cons, nutrition facts, and how to choose the right protein bar for your dietary preferences and health needs.

1. May Support Weight Loss

Adding more protein to your diet is an effective way to promote weight loss. Protein is the most filling macronutrient—a nutrient your body needs in large amounts. It helps slow digestion and increases levels of satiety (fullness) hormones like peptide YY (PYY) and glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1)

Eating protein-rich meals and snacks can help you feel more satisfied after meals and may help you eat fewer total calories, which can help promote weight loss. For example, one small 2020 study found that when participants consumed a high-protein, high-fiber bar before a meal, they felt significantly fuller and consumed 16% fewer calories compared to when they consumed water before a meal.

Many other studies have shown that high-protein diets are effective in enhancing fat loss and improving body composition.

2. Could Help Improve Nutrient Status 

In addition to protein, protein bars usually contain other nutrients like vitamins, minerals, healthy fats, and fiber. Ingredients in protein bars vary widely, but many contain nutrient-rich ingredients like nuts and dried fruits.

Many protein bars are made with added nutrients, including B vitamins and fiber powders. Vitamin B12 is commonly low in many populations, such as older adults and people following restrictive diets like veganism.4 Protein bars can be an easy source.

Fiber is a nutrient that plays important roles in satiety and gastrointestinal health. Many people consume low-fiber diets, which can increase the risk of health conditions like colorectal cancer and type 2 diabetes (a chronic condition that occurs when your body can’t properly use the hormone insulin).

Protein bars can be an effective way to increase your consumption of important nutrients if you can’t tolerate swallowing supplements in pill form or if you want to boost your nutrient intake.

3. A Convenient Source of Protein and Calories

Protein bars provide a convenient and portable source of protein and calories. They can be a helpful option if you don’t have the time or resources to prepare filling snacks or meals. Protein bars are more nutritionally complete than many other convenience foods like chips and cookies. In addition to helping you feel full, protein helps slow the absorption of glucose into your blood, which can help support healthy blood glucose levels.

In the United States, the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for protein is 0.8 grams (g) per kilogram of body weight, or 0.36 g per pound. This is the minimum protein necessary to prevent muscle loss. However, many people require more than that to maintain optimal health.

Some protein bars are formulated to be higher in calories and protein so that they can be used as a meal replacement when preparing a meal isn’t an option. They can be especially helpful for those with increased calorie and protein needs, such as athletes and growing teenagers. You can keep protein bars in a gym bag, backpack, or locker for a convenient source of nutrients when hunger strikes.

Higher-calorie protein bars can also help people gain weight and muscle mass. People who have lost weight due to a chronic illness and people trying to gain weight for body composition purposes typically need to eat every few hours to ensure they’re consuming enough calories to support weight gain. Higher-calorie protein bars are often recommended as a quick source of nutrition because preparing multiple meals and snacks can be overwhelming and time-consuming.

Nutrition of Protein Bars

Protein bars are made with different ingredients and are formulated for different purposes, which means their nutrition content varies considerably. For example, protein bars meant for weight gain or meal replacement are generally much higher in calories and macronutrients (measured in grams) compared to protein bars that are meant to be consumed as a snack.

Protein, fat, carbohydrate, fiber, and vitamin and mineral content also depend on the addition of ingredients such as protein powders, nuts, whole grains, fiber powders, and added sugars.

Reading nutrition labels is the only way to know what’s in your protein bar and which nutrients it provides.

Here is the nutrition breakdown for a Chocolate Chip GNC Lean Bar:

  • Calories: 170
  • Fat: 6 grams (g)
  • Protein: 15 g
  • Carbohydrates: 21 g
  • Fiber: 7 g
  • Added sugars: 5 g
  • Folate: 95 micrograms (mcg) or 25% of the Daily Value (DV)
  • Biotin: 43 mcg or 140% of the DV
  • B12: .8 mcg or 35% of the DV

Most protein bars contain at least 10 grams of protein per serving. However, the protein content of protein bars varies significantly—from less than 10 grams of protein per bar to over 30 grams per bar. Some bars are also higher in fiber, carbohydrates, and fats. For example, protein bars created for specific dietary patterns, such as low-carb diets, are usually much lower in carbs and higher in fat.

There are also considerable differences in sugar content. Many bars pack several teaspoons of added sugar per serving, while others are sugar-free or sweetened with sugar alternatives like monk fruit or sugar alcohols. Some bars contain dried fruit and no added sugar.

It’s important to pay attention to ingredients and nutrition labels, especially if you’re shopping for a protein bar to suit a specific need, such as supporting weight gain or weight loss or aligning with a particular diet.

Risks of Protein Bars

Protein bars are generally safe for most people and come with few risks. However, they are made with a variety of ingredients, some of which can negatively affect health if overconsumed. For example:

  • Sugar: Some protein bars can contain as much sugar as a candy bar. Consuming foods and drinks high in sugar too often can lead to health conditions like elevated blood glucose levels and fatty liver disease (excess fat build-up in the liver).10
  • Artificial sweeteners and colors: Some people prefer to avoid these ingredients.
  • Common allergens and irritants: Allergens include wheat, soy, eggs, dairy (for example, whey protein powder) and nuts. Ingredients that may cause gastrointestinal distress in some people, such as added fibers and sugar alcohols.

Lastly, protein bars vary in calorie content. Protein bars meant to be used as meal replacements can be high in calories. Although higher-calorie bars are appropriate for a hearty snack or light meal, eating higher-calorie bars can lead to unintended weight gain over time if you don’t consider how those calories fit into your diet as a whole.

Tips for Consuming Protein Bars

There are many things to consider when shopping for protein bars, including protein content, added sugars, and calories.

  • Protein content: Look for protein bars that contain at least 10 grams of protein per serving. This can help ensure the bar will keep you satisfied until your next meal or snack. 
  • Added sugars: The American Heart Association recommends limiting added sugars to no more than 6% of calories per day. Look for bars that contain no more than five grams, or 1.25 teaspoons, of added sugar.
  • Calories: Most protein bars made for snacking contain about 150-250 calories, but meal replacement bars typically contain 300 calories or more. Choose a bar that contains adequate calories if you’re eating it as a meal replacement. You might need to pair a protein bar with foods like fresh fruit or yogurt, for a more complete snack or meal. 
  • Ingredients: Always read ingredient labels to ensure a product is appropriate for your needs. This is especially important if you have a food allergy or if you’re following a specific diet. 
  • Taste: Protein bars come in a variety of flavors, and many are available in sugar-free versions. You might need to try several flavors before finding one that you enjoy.
  • Price: Protein bar prices can vary considerably. Choose protein bars that align with your budget, especially if protein bars are a regular part of your diet. You can sometimes buy them in bulk for a lower cost per bar.

A Quick Review

Protein bars provide a quick and convenient source of protein and calories and can help increase your intake of essential nutrients. They can be a more filling alternative to less nutritious snack foods.

Protein bars might also help support health goals and improve nutrient intake. They’re often a valuable option for people with increased nutrient needs and people who don’t have time to prepare well-rounded snacks and meals.

Protein bars contain a wide variety of ingredients—some of which you might want to limit or avoid. Make sure to read the nutrition facts and ingredient labels of protein bars so you can narrow down the best options to fit your specific dietary needs, preferences, and health goals. 

About the Author: Jillian Kubala, RD

Jillian Kubala, MS, is a registered dietitian based in Westhampton, NY. Jillian uses a unique and personalized approach to help her clients achieve optimal wellness through nutrition and lifestyle changes. In addition to her private practice, Jillian works as a freelance writer and editor and has written hundreds of articles on nutrition and wellness for top digital health publishers. Jillian and her husband have a backyard farm where they grow their own food and keep chickens. She runs a small cut flower business specializing in organically grown dahlias.

What’s the Best Time of Day to Exercise?

by Annabel Bourne
Courtesy of BBC.com

There is growing evidence that the time of day we exercise makes a difference to our performance and health, but can we train our bodies to peak at different times of the day?

In a few months, the world’s top athletes will gather in Paris to compete for the ultimate prize in sport – gold at the Olympic Games. For those hoping for a chance to enter the history books with a record-breaking performance, they might want to look at the hour on the clock before they settle into the starting blocks.

At least the swimmers might, according to one scientific study. Across four Olympic Games in Athens (2004), Beijing (2008), London (2012) and Rio (2016), the swim times of 144 medal-winning swimmers were found to be the fastest if they were competing in the early evening. Specifically, around 5:12pm. It is part of a growing amount of evidence suggesting that physical performance is affected by the time-of-day.

The phenomena is not just found among decorated Olympians – recreational cyclists complete faster time trials in the evening. Resistance exercise is particularly susceptible to time-of-day effects, with performance nearly always peaking between 4pm and 8pm. The time-of-day seems to also lead to affect men and women differently when they exercise.

But what if your schedule means you only have time to exercise at 7am? There are some indications it may even be possible to adjust your peak time for athletic performance.

One can maybe fine-tune the metabolic outcomes of the exercise based on when you exercise – Juleen Zierath

At the root of the differences in how our bodies perform and respond to exercise are our circadian rhythms – the body’s molecular clock responsible for regulating behaviours such as sleep and appetite throughout the 24-hour period.

A central clock located in the hypothalamus of the brain responds to light exposure via signals from the optic nerve. The suprachiasmatic nucleus, as this circadian pacemaker in the hypothalamus is known, in turn sends signals to peripheral clocks in other organs, muscle tissue and fat tissue, keeping the whole body in sync. These peripheral clocks, however, can be adjusted by other cues such as when we eat or perform certain activities. The “skeletal muscle clock” responds in this way to exercise, and so can be tuned by exercising regularly at different times.

But while this can affect performance, it can also alter the effect exercise has on our health, too.

Juleen Zierath, an exercise physiologist at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden, has been researching the interaction between exercise and the circadian system. She and her colleagues found mice that exercised in the morning burn more fat. Zierath says the findings suggest that exercising at an optimal time-of-day could maximise the health benefits of exercise for individuals with metabolic diseases, such as type 2 diabetes and obesity.

“Everybody agrees that exercise is good, irrespective of time-of-day, but one can maybe fine-tune the metabolic outcomes of the exercise based on when you exercise,” says Zierath.

Their findings reflect a recent study in humans that showed performing an exercise regime of resistance training, interval sprints, stretching and endurance for an hour one day a week in the morning can reduce abdominal fat and blood pressure in women. Interestingly, when women did the same exercises in the evening, it enhanced their muscular performance.

For men, evening exercise helped to lower blood pressure and stimulates the breakdown of body fat.

But research in this area is still evolving and some recent analyses of previous studies suggests the evidence is somewhat inconclusive for an advantageous time-of-day effect upon exercise performance or health benefits.

You might find your performance during resistance exercise such as weight lifting will be better in the evening than the morning (Credit: Getty Images)

One reason for this is almost certainly the differences that exist between individuals. For example, the time of peak athletic performance differs among individuals with early chronotypes and individuals with late chronotypes, also known as morning larks and night owls.

“There are variations in the timing of our clocks,” says Karyn Esser, a physiologist at the University of Florida in Gainesville in the US. “Those of us that are larks have a clock that likely runs a little bit less than 24 hours, and those of us that are owls probably have a clock that runs a little bit more than 24 hours.”

But if you find your own circadian rhythms don’t quite allow you to give your best performance at the times you have available, exercise may also help to “reset” your muscle clock.

A group of researchers led by Esser, found that consistent endurance running training among mice in the morning can cause the rodent’s bodies to adapt to the new exercise regime. The exercise appears to shift the molecular clocks in their skeletal muscle and lung tissues to an earlier time-of-day.

Swimming in the morning might be refreshing, but you are less likely to break any records 

The team’s latest study, which has yet to be published in a peer-reviewed journal, found that the magnitude of adaption in performance was greater in mice trained in the morning, compared to those trained in the afternoon. After six weeks of training, both morning and afternoon mice achieved the same maximum endurance performance.

The researchers suggest that if a similar effect is found in humans, it might be possible for athletes to recalibrate their internal “muscle clocks” with the right training. There is some preliminary evidence that exercise can shift circadian rhythms in humans, making it perhaps useful for those adjusting to shift work or jet lag

“The simple notion here is that the clocks in our muscles are actually paying attention to when we train,” says Esser.

Routine appears to be key – our body adapts better to training when it is performed regularly at the same time of day.

“If you’re in the general population, or even an elite athlete, and you plan to compete, you should try to have a race-day-specific training,” says Zierath. “Time your training bouts so that they are consistent with the time that you’re going to have to be performing or competing at your peak.”

Most researchers are keen to point out, however, that exercising at any time is beneficial. But, if do you find a time that works and stick with it, your body may just adapt to give you an extra edge.

Release-Stretch-Contract: Gastroc/Tibialis

Courtesy of MesoFit

When the foot and ankle are off balance it provides ample evidence that dysfunction looms above. The footpad, or bottom foot, is rich in nerve endings that send proprioceptive feedback to the brain with details of the terrain. Simply put, the brain is very interested in hearing where the foot stepping and landing.

Paved roads and walkways, and consistent step-height, pose significant threats to ankles designed over millions of years to cope with multiple changes in pitch and texture from one step to another. It is questionable whether any intervention applied to dysfunction above these two structures can be fruitful without simultaneous correction of issues in the foot and ankle. Tight gastrocs, or calf muscles, restrict the ankle and create imbalanced arches in the foot. This leads to power loss, overuse injury, and compromised gait (walking).

Creating more balance between the arches starts with following the Release-Stretch-Contract protocol below because the arches play a major role in all movement including but not limited to:

  • Supporting all bodyweight
  • Balance
  • Absorbing shock
  • Transferring ground reaction forces
  • Compensating for malalignment

The musculature between foot and ankle, ankle and knee, and knee and hip, function together to provide shock absorption and critical balance to the rest of the system. Instability in the ankle points to imbalances in the calf muscles, and the opposing muscle, the tibialis anterior. When the calves shorten due to over plantarflexion, the tibialis anterior is weakened. The calves need to grant extensibility in order to get the tibialis anterior to contract and balance the delicate foot equation that doesn’t end there.

For now, we’re just concerned with creating greater dorsiflexion.

(In later posts, we’ll explore other imbalanced equations such as long, over-stretched lateral gastroc and peroneals, and short and tight medial gastrocs, that also create instability in the foot and ankle.)

Protocol: Perform three rounds of each, aiming for increases with every round.

RELEASE: GASTROC: The idea is to place the meatiest part of the calf on the stick, find a tender spot, pause, relax, breathe, and move slowly from dorsiflexion (where the calf is forced to lengthen), to plantar flexion where a short and tight calf will find relaxation, or the least amount of residual tension. Find 3 different spots in the calf that feel tender and perform 10 pull and points of the foot (dorsi-into-plantarflexion).

STRETCH GASTROC: Because you stand into this stretch, some measure of bodyweight might get dumped into the other leg, be sure the heel always remains in contact with the ground. Advance the foot forward as the muscles and fascia begin to relax and be conscious of any flexion occurring in the hip and/or knee that result from over-stretching the calf. This takes time, patience, and frequency to see changes above and beyond what is achieved during a session.

CONTRACT INNER ARCH: Slanted Calf Raises- Lift the heel only as high as perfect form dictates. Any rotation or bending of the knee is a compensation and needs to be controlled.

CONTRACT TIBIALIS ANTERIOR– Pull the foot as evenly and as far into dorsiflexion as possible while maintaining good form.

Is Your Microbiome Controlling Your Behavior and Cravings?

Courtesy of NutritionFactors.com

In the intricate world within your gut resides an ecosystem teeming with billions of health-promoting and essential bacteria. This inner garden, the microbiome, is a critical player in immunity, weight control, and overall well-being. Each person possesses a unique microbial fingerprint, shaping the world within. 

This microbial ecosystem doesn’t operate in isolation; it communicates with neighboring bodily systems, creating a network that profoundly influences weight, behavior, and overall health. However, it’s not all harmonious—certain strains of harmful bacteria can disrupt this delicate balance, wreaking havoc on your health and potentially leading to weight gain.

Certain strains of microbes can either promote health or terrorize the gut and cause poor health. Let’s briefly examine some bacterial strains that can affect weight loss, weight gain, and overall health. Each microbe plays a specific role in well-being. 

Good Gut Bacteria

Your gut is a bustling ecosystem, teeming with beneficial bacteria that contribute to your health in myriad ways. Let’s spotlight some of these good bacteria:

Lactobacillus Strains:

Lactobacillus gasseri and Lactobacillus rhamnosus have been studied for their potential in weight management, influencing fat metabolism, and reducing abdominal fat. These bacteria are like guardians of your gut, working to maintain a healthy balance.

Bifidobacterium Strains:

Bifidobacterium breve and Bifidobacterium animalis subsp. lactis are allies in your quest for wellness. Research suggests they may play a role in weight management, supporting a healthier body weight and metabolic profile.

Akkermansia muciniphila:

Meet the champion of a leaner body type. Akkermansia muciniphila is associated with improved insulin sensitivity and reduced inflammation, contributing to a healthier metabolic profile.

Christensenellaceae:

Identified as a potential “lean” microbe, Christensenellaceae may act as a natural defense against weight gain. Embrace the presence of these beneficial bacteria for a resilient gut.

Not-So-Friendly Residents

Now, let’s shed light on the less favorable inhabitants of your gut—the harmful bacteria that can disrupt the delicate balance:

Firmicutes:

Some studies link higher levels of Firmicutes to weight gain. These bacteria are thought to extract more energy from food and promote fat storage, potentially contributing to unwanted pounds.

Bacteroidetes:

A decrease in the abundance of Bacteroidetes is associated with obesity. These bacteria are crucial in breaking down complex carbohydrates and regulating energy metabolism.

Pathogenic Microbes:

Clostridium difficile, Salmonella, Escherichia coli, Helicobacter pylori, Campylobacter, and Shigella, are the troublemakers causing infections, diarrhea, inflammation, and more. Maintaining a healthy gut balance helps keep these pathogenic microbes in check.

Yeast

Candida albicans, a yeast naturally present in the body, can become problematic when it overgrows. Candida overgrowth may lead to candidiasis, contributing to digestive issues, fatigue, and skin problems. 

Strategies for a Healthy Gut Garden:

Dietary Choices

Embrace a fiber-rich diet, fermented foods, and prebiotics to nourish your beneficial bacteria. Avoid pro-inflammatory foods that can disrupt the delicate balance.

Probiotics:

Consider incorporating into your routine probiotic-rich foods and supplements containing beneficial strains like Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium.

Limit Antibiotic Use:

Use antibiotics judiciously, as they can disturb the balance of your gut microbiota.

Looking for a New Job? SCW Can Help!

Facilities need you! Whether it’s Teachers, Trainers, Directors, or Managers, SCW’s new FREE JOB BOARD is supporting the industry’s need for qualified fitness pros.

We post openings in all three of our monthly e-newsletters: Spotlite, Health & Fitness Business News, and Tidal Waves which are emailed out to tens of thousands of fitness professionals teaching and training in all formats along with managers and directors at all fitness facilities: big box, gyms, boutique, studios, not for profits and independent centers. 

Social Media Assistant

SCW Fitness Education – Remote

This part time virtual Social Media Assistant is responsible for managing the SCW social media for MANIA, WATERinMOTION, SEAT Fitness and Sara Kooperman.  This is a 10-20 hour part-time position that is responsible for instagram, facebook, linkedin and tik tok. 

Aqua Fitness Instructor

Midtown Athletic Club – Bannockburn, IL

Midtown is searching for Aqua Fitness Instructors to teach and motivate our members to achieve their goals through classes in the Pool at Midtown!
Must have AM availability.

Aqua Instructor

Central YMCA – Arlington, TX

We are looking for passionate certified aqua instructors for our summer outdoor pool classes.  The class schedule begins the end of May and runs through early September and the class times are 7:15a and 8:15a.  

Exercise Physiologist

Woman’s Center for Wellness – Baton Rouge, LA

Conducts 1-on-1 and group training exercise sessions with cancer survivors, bone health sufferers, and other related diagnoses. Other duties include exercise testing and evaluation, and the development of appropriate exercise programs. Performs other duties assigned by department management. Must be knowledgeable of exercise standards and guidelines established by the ACSM.

Wellness Specialist

Orange County Sheriff’s Office – Orlando, FL

Functions as a trained subject matter expert in the area of fitness and wellness by developing programming and providing instruction, education, coaching and encouraging individuals to adopt personal healthy lifestyle habits and behaviors by performing the following duties.

Group Exercise Instructor

Woman’s Center for Wellness – Baton Rouge, LA

Candidate will instruct fitness classes, such as Yoga, Indoor Cycling, Aqua, Mat Pilates, Zumba, strength training, etc.

Candidate must have group exercise certification, professional liability insurance and CPR/AED required; specialty certification in Yoga, Indoor Cycling, Aqua, REFIT, HIIT, Mat Pilates, Zumba, strength training and/or circuit preferred.

Group Fitness Instructor

F45 Training Longmont – Longmont, CO

We’re looking for personable & high-energy coaches to deliver a top-notch studio experience for our group training HIIT workouts. The people we’re looking for:

  • Have a growth mindset and want to be part of a professional team.
  • Thrive in a fast-paced environment.
  • Come alive in front of a group!

Assistant Director, Fitness

Leonard J. Kaplan Center for Wellness – UNC Greensboro

The Assistant Director, Fitness is responsible for the overall design, management, and implementation of a comprehensive fitness program for the students, faculty, staff and UNC Greensboro community. This includes leadership of two professional positions and a graduate assistant as well as student employees.

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