<![CDATA[The Primal Pharmacist - Blog]]>Tue, 16 Feb 2016 13:04:04 -0800Weebly<![CDATA[Motivation after Setback]]>Mon, 08 Feb 2016 21:07:17 GMThttp://www.theprimalpharmacist.com/blog/motivation-after-setbackInstead of sticking with the theme of supplements presented earlier, I want to focus this week’s post on a more personal matter. Over the past few years, I have been battling with lower back pain and range of motion issues stemming from a Lumbar disc 5/Sacral disc 1 Spondylolisthesis. The cause of this injury is usually an athletic injury sustained as a child that doesn’t present until later in life, and since I’ve had my fair share of such injuries from martial arts, mountain biking, and other sports, this isn’t terribly surprising. This injury has caused or was compounded by a recent SI-joint diagnosis that has sidelined me from both Olympic lifting and coaching CrossFit. Suffice to say, this setback was probably the most depressing event that has occurred in my life in memory; exercise and staying fit are such an integral part of my life.

As the days went by, I attended an ongoing pity party of one and stopped doing any exercise. As so often happens any time I stop working out, I started eating poorly. I’ll admit I am an emotional eater at times, the realization of which started me down the health and wellness path in the first place. As time went on, I quickly saw my weight plummet and my body fat slowly creep up. I could literally feel my strength and conditioning seep away. As a trainer, I’ve seen this happen to other people and knew the how and why of what was going on, but still could not obtain the gumption to get myself moving in the right direction.
Finally, I took stock of my situation and decided to put the proverbial pen to paper to get my thoughts in order. I’ve found that writing down thoughts and goals helps me focus and increase success at achieving said goals. Through my writing, I identified what I feel are the three most important tools I utilize to help me gain the motivation to overcome a major setback. You may find these tools help you not only in overcoming injury, but also any time you “fall off the horse” and act in a way not consistent with your goals.

First, surround yourself with people that are of a like mindset. This is pretty common advice that is uncommonly followed. Associating yourself with others that live their life as you strive to provides you with numerous people to both emulate and commiserate. It is especially helpful if you can get your significant other on board—you will never have a better advocate and drill sergeant in one. They will keep you on track for rehabilitation and support you when you slip up.

Second, as I’ve said, write your goals down. Aim for small, measureable milestones for yourself on the way there, and when you achieve them, celebrate them! Any injury or break in your fitness regimen can cause you to be mentally deflated, and these small goal points are a great reminder that you are on the right path. Your previous or new state of fitness will come—just give it time and effort.

Third, don’t wait. We are here for a finite amount of time and every moment is precious. The time to start working towards your goals shouldn’t be just at New Year, springtime in preparation for the beach, or months before a wedding. Instead, start your path to your goals now. A longer, active, functional life did no one any harm.

Always remember that you are capable of anything. Your mind and body can be honed to achieve any goal you set for yourself. These three tools can offer a way for you to overcome those obstacles in your path. In officer training we are told to “seek responsibility and take responsibility for your actions”. This phrase has taken on greater meaning for me over the years, and I believe it applies to the world of health and fitness as much as that of leadership. Carry on.

Always Evolving,
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<![CDATA[Choosing the "Right" Supplement]]>Mon, 25 Jan 2016 16:45:39 GMThttp://www.theprimalpharmacist.com/blog/choosing-the-right-supplement

How to pick the right supplement is a question that I get both as a pharmacist and as a trainer. This article will start off a series on specific performance-oriented supplements, but first we have to run through some basic guidelines when looking through the plethora of available products.
The word “supplement” by Food and Drug Administration (FDA) definition is any product that is “intended for ingestion that contains a dietary ingredient intended to add nutritional value to the diet”. This is quite the umbrella to throw items under, so just about every vitamin, mineral, herb, or protein that you come across in the store will fall into this category.

Now that you’ve found yourself in the supplement aisle of your local health food store or pharmacy, what do you look for? Beyond the particular ingredient you may have looked to find, there are my three general rules to keep in mind when looking for a product:

1) The two labels I tell people to look for are the seal from the United States Pharmacopeia (USP) and the National Sanitation Foundation (NSF-For Sport). These two organizations have a proven track record and thorough quality assurance processes that can help to ensure you are getting a safe and effective product, despite not being evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

2) When looking at the label, try to minimize the quantity of ingredients if possible. If you are looking for a particular supplement, many companies will add others to try and get their product to stand out. Avoid being sucked into this tactic unless you know that the additional ingredients are necessary.

3) If you are unsure at any point about your product, head on over to the pharmacy counter if there is one in your store and ask the pharmacist. The vast majority of us will be glad to spend a few minutes helping you find what you need and address any questions you may have about a supplement. It is crucial that you to tell them what prescription medications and other supplements, herbals, and over-the-counter (OTC) medicines you may be taking as there can be an interaction with even the seemingly most innocuous of supplements.

So now that you’ve got an idea on what to look for in a supplement when you head out to your local store, the next question to address is what kinds of supplements do you really NEED for optimal performance? The literature on this is as varied as the number of options in the store. Keep in mind, these guidelines are quite generalized, but for the majority of people, a quality whole food approach (little to no supplementation) is enough to support both general health and athletic performance.

While the whole food approach is more often than not the best option, we all live in a rather busy, high-paced world where convenience often trumps quality. To this end, choosing a supplementary vitamin, protein, or complete meal/snack becomes necessary. For those focusing on general health and fitness, there would be three supplements that I would encourage individuals to look at, which we will look at in depth in future articles. If you work out at a high intensity at relatively frequent intervals, say more than three times a week, I would add two more to your regimen.

1) Fish Oil
2) Whey Protein
3) Multivitamin

For High Intensity or High Volume Athletes: In addition to the previous three
4) Creatine
5) HMG

Over the course of the next couple months, I will be going into more detail about each of these five supplements, including discussion of both their strengths and weaknesses and who would best benefit from them. I encourage you post a comment about this article with questions about these five kinds or supplements, as well as any others; also, please let me know what topics you would like to see covered on the site in the coming months.

Always evolving,

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<![CDATA[What's In A Name?]]>Sun, 17 Jan 2016 23:10:28 GMThttp://www.theprimalpharmacist.com/blog/whats-in-a-name
The name “The Primal Pharmacist” can conjure a lot of different preconceived notions about what I am here to offer, so I’m going to lay a few ground rules to clarify what is to come. First, I’m a Doctor of Pharmacy who enjoys educating people about fitness and performance nutrition. Second, I chose to use the word “primal” because I believe it incorporates many of the fundamental themes I teach in optimizing an individual’s lifestyle. Using this word does not mean I am a strict Paleo or primal eater, and it does not mean that I exclusively exercise in a loin cloth…although on second thought, summers in Virginia are pretty hot.

I do, however, enjoy the primal mentality’s simplicity and efficiency. The diverse challenges that our ancestors faced created an ever-adapting and evolving individual which I hope to help foster in the modern human. Challenging ourselves, whether physically or mentally in today’s society, pushes us to adapt and grow as individuals.  
Expect me to challenge myself and my readers to look at the current health trends with a scientific eye. Expect me to assess new literature on diet and exercise to better understand how we work and how we can make ourselves better.

Expect me to ask the most of my readers by encouraging you to challenge me with questions and comments.
We live in a time of fantastic information exchange and medical knowledge growth. I hope to help people capitalize on that and together we can grow to be healthier and stronger people.

At the end of the day, this website and blog is chiefly about me reaching out and helping people. Whether you have been working out for years and train others or are just trying to figure out your best path to wellness, I hope I can contribute to your growth. ]]>