My clients benefit from knowing that I'm obsessed with learning, understanding and using logical, honest health research. I can't and won't lie to them, they get told everything I know and probably too much detail at times. I have Asperger's which isn't really a disorder, more of a difference in the way my brain functions. I'm not great at social gatherings, class room situations and am probably the last person you'd want at your party. People with Aspergers tend to have areas of special interest, or obsessions with particular topics. This could be dinosaurs, cosmology or nutrition and health like it is for me. When I see someone eating a packet of crisps or a sandwich I struggle to understand why they would do it. At our recent wedding my wife made sure the Chef knew what I needed so I could enjoy my day. At our neighbors recent wedding I sat there unable to eat, enduring questions about why I didn't eat the food from a man eating bon bons and complaining about his urgent need for dental treatment due to being in pain. In my brain that just doesn't compute that someone can not understand the links. I'm all to aware nowadays that I can lecture people about nutrition and go slightly overboard in the detail, facts and figures I give them so I remained tightlipped and just stuck to the premise that I had a sports event the next day so was on a specific diet. The food didn't go to waste as the people next to me were more than happy to eat my share. The point is, its not that I won't alter my routine, I just can't. Its what I study, what I believe and as such I cannot and will not veer from the path which I study.
I have an overwhelming desire to know everything their is to know about human nutrition, I hated the dietics degree I almost started due to its industry funded foundations. Plus the woman discussing it was severely overweight yet was allegedly going to teach me about nutrition and help me put my "unorthadox" methods behind me. We're here to create a legacy, to leave something behind and I truly believe mine is to educate people to understand their own reactions to the foods they eat. I see people with blocked noses, mouth breathing, asthmatics, arthritic joints, obesity, and kids that are jacked up on sugar. I see protruding teeth, odd postures, childhood diabetes, and many many other issues which are all avoidable. While I see that others see food as "fun" and "social", I'm often I'm the bad guy spoiling their fun. As part of my legacy I see it as important to fully understand the requirements that the human body requires so that I may pass that knowledge onto any children I may have. A true legacy, whilst I may not be able to teach them the art of social interaction or how to enjoy being in the company of others, I will be able to show them how to stay healthy and avoid the perils of disease which hopefully will be of huge benefit to them and the future human race.
I've learned a great deal from many pioneers, including Price, Pottinger, Steiner, Chek, Oliver, Farris, Keys and many many others. Right now I'm learning from Josh from the CHEK faculty who is helping a lot of people understand the work of Peat. His work is pretty indecipherable to most and is defiantly hard going but well worth the effort. Do not buy his books unless your sure you can deal with it. If you want to dip your toe in the water try listening to the East West Healings Blog Talk Radio Show and their regular interviews with Ray. It will challenge the very nature of what you do, especially if your a PT or fitness professional. It came to my attention through Ray's work that their is a correlation between thyroid function and the speed of tendon reflexes. In 1924 Chaney showed that Achilles reflex was directly linked to hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism. Aging, diabetes mellitus and obesity are also are associated with the speed of relaxation, so its a useful diagnostic tool which should not just be limited to thyroid function only. Ray Peat himself states that "The T wave on the electrocardiogram, and the relaxation rate on the Achilles reflex test are useful."
Over recent weeks I have been correlating data from my last 10 years as a fitness professional. In particular the early years when I was fresh out of personal trainer brainwashing school. I worked for virgin active, a big corporate globo gym, the type seen in dodgeball. Due to my cycling background I ended up teaching spin classes. They quickly became known as the toughest spin classes in the gym as I didn't teach the standard "spinning" technique with no resistance, preferring to stick with high resistance hill climb and sprint work (I never do anything like they tell you in a manual). I taught on average 4 times a week, I also trained 3 times a week, and continued to compete (motorcycle trials) every weekend. I used to monitor my pulse rate religiously and it tended to be around 30 beats per minute (BPM) which according to my education (brainwashing) put me in the realms of an elite athlete.
It was around this time that I realized I felt awful and started to look for answers. Given the option I would fall asleep at lunchtime. I only stayed awake because I needed to, and because I kept myself topped up with carbs to keep my blood sugar high. As soon as I got home in an evening I could barely make it through my dinner before falling asleep on the sofa. In the mornings I felt like death, despite the early nights I simply had no energy. I couldn't understand why despite eating a supposedly healthy calorie controlled low fat diet, undertaking regular strength and cardiovascular training, my blood sugar was unstable and my cortisol levels were so high. I also suffered very badly from cramp (I still do after a hard competition but no where near as bad as I did back in 2002-2004). Which is why I became so interested in what Ray mentioned. Once again the knowledge I'm absorbing fits in perfectly with my personal experiences and it becomes clear that due to poor diet, too much exercise I was suffering blood sugar issues, raised cortisol profile due to thyroid function problems.
Around 2003/2004 the Paul Chek articles on health and nutrition started sinking in and my asperger (I didn't know back then) brain loved the logical answers and the common sense he talked about. For me everything changed and I became that passionate about true health that I changed everything over night. I now fully admit that this was a true moment in which my asperger's helped me as I went from being training and eating as instructed, to having a true passion for understanding how my (and my clients) physiology altered as an effect of how we eat and train.
I started eating for my metabolic type and instantly my blood sugar became more stable, I no longer constantly felt hungry and could make it through more than one hour without eating. I went from a state of chronic fatigue, in which I was falling asleep anytime I got chance to relax, to a state in which I felt vital and energised. As you can imagine this had a great effect on my work and I wanted to share the new knowledge I had with the whole gym. Sadly they weren't keen on having a personal trainer within their midst that wasn't "pushing" people to their limits. I now have a diagnosis of asperger's, so fully understand that while I was obsessed with the new revelations and research that I had found, it probably wasn't as fascinating to the other staff. One PT had been caught using drugs, another used multiple supplements to take short cuts and a fitness instructor insisted their were zero calories in celery because she had read it in readers digest.
My new way of working, teaching clients about how to assess true health and alter it through correct diet and lifestyle modification, avoidance of the excessive gym sessions, and the need for natural foods didn't go down well. At the time I simply couldn't understand why I got in so much trouble, my job was to help people get fit and healthy. My clients were canceling their memberships in droves upon my advice, I was making them skip aerobics and avoid the toast, cookie and cake filled cafe like the plague. Doing some muscle testing with a member in the cafe using a blueberry muffin went down like a lead balloon. In my head I assumed the gym would revamp the menu and champion my advice. In reality they wanted me out by any means possible and I faced several disaplinaries for failing to train enough people and telling them that they didn't need cardio machines. They weren't happy with me for assessing members and concluding they needed to focus their efforts on nutrition and rehabilitation techniques in order to get to their goals. The gym wanted me to stick them on machines and tell them lies and take their money off them.
So I left to work on my own in a space where I can tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. So, 10 years on from when I first took an interest in health the journey continues along the never ending road of continues.
Where are we (you, me and my clients) now? In the depths of a journey of discovery to learn about the thyroid. It won't be the end, it might not even be the middle. You'll probably be able to come back here in another 10 years and find that I'm even further down the rabbit hole.
So, the final bit of my picture (for now anyway). Why do cells struggle to re-polarize (or relax) leading to cramps? In the words of Ray Peat "because of a low metabolic rate, they don't easily return to their thoroughly energized state after they have been stimulated, they tend to take up water, or, in the case of blood vessels, to become excessively permeable. Fatigued muscles swell noticeably, and chronically fatigued nerves can swell enough to cause them to be compressed by the surrounding connective tissues. In nerves, as in other cells, the ability to rest and repair themselves increases with the proper level of thyroid hormone. In some cells, the energized stability produced by the thyroid hormones prevents inflammation or an immunological hyperactivity."
So, because of my low pulse, low temperature (low metabolic rate) I suffered with altered cortisol patterns and blood sugar issues. The cortisol in particular was trying as hard as it could to push my pulse back up to a safe level. Due this my cells aren't able to return to their original state (repolerization) so I suffered cramps, particularly at night and after training/riding.I huge topic, and below is some of the articles I've read or am reading. Rest assured, I will be simplifying it into normal language in further blog posts. Read, digest, read some more, and hopefully we'll all learn how best to ensure our genetic make up continues for future generations.
- AVERA JW, OVERHOLT BM. Achilles tendon reflex relaxation time (as measured by photomotograph). Am Pract Dig Treat. 1962 Apr;13:251–254. [PubMed]
- BEARDWOOD DM, SCHUMACHER LR. DELAY OF THE ACHILLES REFLEX IN DIABETES MELLITUS. Am J Med Sci. 1964 Mar;247:324–327. [PubMed]
- BROWN HB, WESTERMEYER VW. The clinical use of serum iodine determination. Cleve Clin Q. 1955 Apr;22(2):61–65. [PubMed]
- CHANEY, W. C. (1924): Tendon Reflexes in Myx- oedema: Valuable Aid in Diagnosis, J. Amer. med
- Ass., 82, 2013.de GENNES, DESCHAMPS H. [Achillian reflexogram: test of thyroid function.] Presse Med.1961 Jul 15;69:1543–1545. [PubMed]
- ENGSTROM WW, MARKARDT B. Influence of estrogen on thyroid function. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 1954 Feb;14(2):215–222. [PubMed]
- FOGEL RL, EPSTEIN JA, STOPAK JH, KUPPERMAN HS. Archilles tendon reflex test (photomotogram) as a measure of thyroid function. N Y State J Med. 1962 Apr 15;62:1159–1168. [PubMed]
- FREEDBERG IM, HAMOLSKY MW, FREEDBERG AS. The thyroid gland in pregnancy. N Engl J Med. 1957 Mar 14;256(11):505–contd. [PubMed]
- GILSON WE. Achilles-reflex recording with a simple photomotograph. N Engl J Med. 1959 May 14;260(20):1027–1028. [PubMed]
- HILL SR, Jr, REISS RS, FORSHAM PH, THORN GW. The effect of adrenocorticotropin and cortisone on thyroid function; thyroid-adrenocortical interrelationships. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 1950 Nov;10(11):1375–1400. [PubMed]
- KYDD DM, MAN EB. Precipitable iodine of serum (SPI) in disorders of the liver. J Clin Invest.1951 Aug;30(8):874–878. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
- Kydd David M, Man Evelyn B. PRECIPITABLE IODINE OF SERUM (SPI) IN DISORDERS OF THE LIVER . J Clin Invest. 1951 Aug;30(8):874–878. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
- LAMBERT EH, UNDERDAHL LO, BECKETT S, MEDEROS LO. A study of the ankle jerk in myxedema. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 1951 Oct;11(10):1186–1205. [PubMed]
- LAWSON JD. The free Achilles reflex in hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism. N Engl J Med.1958 Oct 16;259(16):761–764. [PubMed]
- MEYERS JH, MAN EB. Artifactual values of serum precipitable iodine after clinical intramuscular injections of mercuhydrin. J Lab Clin Med. 1951 Jun;37(6):867–869. [PubMed]
- MILES DW, SURVEYOR I. ROLE OF THE ANKLE-JERK IN THE DIAGNOSIS AND MANAGEMENT OF THYROID DISEASE. Br Med J. 1965 Jan 16;1(5428):158–161.[PMC free article] [PubMed]
- Miles DW, Surveyor I. Role of the Ankle-jerk in the Diagnosis and Management of Thyroid Disease. Br Med J. 1965 Jan 16;1(5428):158–161. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
- MOULOPOULOS SD, KOUTRAS DA, KRALIOS AC. A SIMPLE INEXPENSIVE METHOD FOR RECORDING ACHILLES TENDON REFLEXES. Lancet. 1964 Jan 11;1(7324):85–86.[PubMed]
- MULDER DW, LAMBERT EH, BASTRON JA, SPRAGUE RG. The neuropathies associated with diabetes mellitus. A clinical and electromyographic study of 103 unselected diabetic patients. Neurology. 1961 Apr;11(4):275–284. [PubMed]
- NUTTALL FQ, DOE RP. THE ACHILLES REFLEX IN THYROID DISORDERS; A CRITICAL EVALUATION. Ann Intern Med. 1964 Aug;61:269–288. [PubMed]
- POCHIN EE. The iodine uptake of the human thyroid throughout the menstrual cycle and in pregnancy. Clin Sci. 1952 Nov;11(4):441–445. [PubMed]
- SHERMAN L, GOLDBERG M, LARSON FC. The Achilles reflex. A diagnostic test of thyroid dysfunction. Lancet. 1963 Feb 2;1(7275):243–245. [PubMed]
- SIMPSON GM, BLAIR JH, NARTOWICZ GR. Diagnostic limitations of Achilles tendon reflex in thyroid disease. N Y State J Med. 1963 Apr 15;63:1148–1153. [PubMed]
- SMART GA, ROBSON AM. Asimple method for recording Achilles tendon reflexes. Lancet.1963 Feb 16;1(7277):363–364. [PubMed]
- WAYNE EJ. Clinical and metabolic studies in thyroid disease. Br Med J. 1960 Jan 2;1(5165):1–11. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
- Wayne EJ. Clinical and Metabolic Studies in Thyroid Disease—I. Br Med J. 1960 Jan 02;1(5165):1–11. [PMC free article] [PubMed]