Exercise is a cleansing mechanism for the body and brain. We touched on this on the previous question. The benefits of exercise are as such if it were a pill it would be the most widely prescribed a pill on the planet. There’s not a system in the body that doesn’t function more effectively with exercise. It helps preserve joints. It helps our spinal disks get nutrients in and waste products out. After the age of 18 our spinal discs no longer have a blood supply. The only way the disc gets its nutrients is through subtle motion and osmosis. Movement is essential for the life of the disc. Exercise revs up the metabolism of all the cells in your body. That means the increased chemical processes that take place inside the cell consume more energy. That energy that is burned are either fats, carbohydrates or proteins. We want to burn stored fats. We want to burn stored carbohydrates called glycogen. We would like to spare our proteins. That’s why we need to eat properly.
As a part of my series about “5 Lifestyle Tweaks That Will Dramatically Improve One’s Wellbeing”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Dr. Jeff Fishel. Dr. Fishel has a Masters of Sports Science (MS), Doctorate of Chiropractic (DC), and over 300+ hours of post doctorate work in neurology and rehabilitation. Dr. Fishel also holds a Patent on Spinal Rehabilitation and Exercise Equipment.
Thank you so much for doing this with us Dr. Fishel! Our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you share with us the story about how you first got involved in fitness and wellness?
Ifirst got involved with fitness and wellness at the early age of about 12 years old. I went to a nearby town with my mother. While she was shopping, I wandered off into different stores just browsing and killing time. It was earlier in the day and there was not a lot of foot traffic or people out and about. I wandered into this new building downtown that had sign — “Nautilus.”
It was during the summer and the door was wide open, so I walked in just to check it out. As I walked in there was this big muscle guy doing pull ups one-handed. I vividly recall him doing several with his back to me. As he finished, he turned around and said hello and introduced himself. His name was J.D. Williams. Mr. Williams, who later became Dr. Williams, was a Vietnam vet (Marine) who was currently an undercover narcotics cop. He opened the gym to me and became a major influence on my life. That was in the early 70’s and for the exception of a few hospital stays in rehabilitation from a broken back and two broken legs, I’ve been training ever since.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career?
I’ve been practicing chiropractic medicine in private practice since 1991 and I’ve had many interesting events during that time frame. I’ve had the privilege of working with several coaches and world class athletes in track and field. I’ve worked with world champions. But one of the most impressive stories or cases that I’ve had the privilege of working with was a young man who was injured in a car accident with a severe head injury that left him in a wheelchair for over 10 years. There was a series of events that took place to allow me the opportunity to work with this young Amish gentleman. I am from a rural farming area that has an Amish community. I witnessed this young man, by the grace of God, strong faith and determination, exercise his way out of the wheelchair, to a walker then to canes and currently able to walk unaided. I certainly do not take credit for this, but I was fortunate enough that God used me as an instrument to facilitate this process.
Can you share a story with us about the most humorous mistake you made when you were first starting? What lesson or take-away did you learn from that?
When I first started in practice, I wanted to save a few dollars because student loans were so high that I rented space in the back of a restaurant. I used a portable table and my surroundings were quite primitive. I was treating a patient who happened to be a family friend. I knew that she had a great fear of mice. She was face down on the table and as I am working on her, a bold mouse came out to visit me. Since she was face down on the table, she couldn’t see it. I was trying to scare off the mouse to go back where it came from, but unfortunately it had other ideas. As I switch sides of the table to scare it away it ran underneath the table. At that time, I did not have face paper but instead sterilized the table and washed it down between each patient. Really what is the odds the mouse would run right underneath the table where she was looking? Based off her reaction there was no question she saw the mouse. I quickly learned what “a foolish savings” meant. It was not long after that I relocated my office and bought face paper!
Can you share with our readers a bit about why you are an authority in the fitness and wellness field? In your opinion, what is your unique contribution to the world of wellness?
The reason why we exercise is to make our bodies, mind and overall health better. There are many exercises and exercise machines that compromise and actually are damaging to the spine. Many different exercises bio-mechanically put great loads on our disks and low backs unnecessarily. I have a patent on a simple machine called the Core Activator that takes pressure off the spine/disks. It can be used by someone 10 years old to 90 years old. It is beneficial for Olympic athletes, professional golfers and baseball players, geriatric population, the weekend warrior, or the couch potato. If used correctly, it activates the core muscle belt that protects our spine. The Core Activator may be purchased through Rykr Roll products.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
My grandfather was a small town medical doctor who did house calls and delivered over 2,000 babies. When I was young boy, he would take me on some of his house calls and his patients would feed me. I’m very grateful to family and friends and God allowing me to participate in the healthcare and lives of many people in my community. From coaches, friends, family, instructors, professors etc. The list is long who helped shape me. And quite honestly, I truly learned more from my patients than they have learned from me. I do try to continue to study, learn and read. That’s why they call it practicing medicine!
Ok thank you for all that. Now let’s move to the main focus of our interview. We all know that it’s important to eat more vegetables, eat less sugar, exercise more, and get better sleep etc. But while we know it intellectually, it’s often difficult to put it into practice and make it a part of our daily habits. In your opinion what are the 3 main blockages that prevent us from taking the information that we all know, and integrating it into our lives?
1. Prioritize — List 3 to 5 things that are most important to you or your goals.
2. Strategize — Set up a strategy for those goals or objectives. Identify things that will keep you from obtaining your objectives.
3. Identify — Change your environment, this is part of the strategy to obtain your goals. You must create a winning environment.
Each case and each person is unique. Our circumstances are also unique. But if we are going to make lifestyle choices and changes, we must be able to identify we need to change our immediate environment. If you have junk food at home, you’re going to eat it. Don’t buy it! Don’t bring it home. Don’t eat it in your car. Identify your weakness and substitute things that may be trigger reasons for not sticking with a plan. If substitutions don’t work, eliminate what keeps you from maintaining your focus and goals.
Can you please share your “5 Non-Intuitive Lifestyle Tweaks That Will Dramatically Improve One’s Wellbeing”? (Please share a story or an example for each, and feel free to share ideas for mental, emotional and physical health.)
God made our bodies to move. Total well-being and optimal health is all tied together with mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual health. It’s incredible how complexed the human being and all the systems are. It is incredible how they work together and how they want to work together.
The human being is made of 50 trillion cells. Each cell must get rid of waste. Each cell must get nutrients. Quite simply, this process happens far more efficiently with movement. We often look at vitamins and supplements or herbal cleanse and detox programs and ignore exercise. I’m not saying these things are not important, but I am saying that one of the best liver detox is exercise.
Mental health — it is known that as we stimulate the peripheral nervous system with movement and exercise that we are stimulating our cortex. As we exercise, we are giving our brain fuel and activation which makes it healthier. The chemical compounds that are released during and after exercise have been found to be beneficial for fighting depression and anxiety as well as different forms of dementia and Alzheimer’s.
Emotional health- this directly relates to hormonal, endocrine, neurotransmitters. The cells that make up the specific organs that release hormones, and neurotransmitters perform more efficiently with increased circulation found with exercise. The science is indisputable.
Physical health — this speaks for itself. However, to maintain these bodies for a long period of time as we get older, we need to train smarter not necessarily harder. If you haven’t been exercising for quite some time, it’s a good idea to have an exercise specialist or a physician give recommendations. Most people think they have to go to a gym and sweat for two hours to get any benefit, this is a myth. Each day become a little bit more active, move more than what you normally would the day before. Small bouts of activity a few times a day may be your starting point. That’s great, nothing wrong with that. Your car needs fuel and gas to move. As your car moves it consumes fuel. We are no different in many ways, as we move fuel is consumed. Some people are Ferraris, some people are Mac trucks and some people are extremely energy efficient vehicles. This can be frustrating, but the bottom line is movement consumes energy. If you’re not reaching your physical goals from doing cardiovascular exercise, add musculoskeletal exercise with it. Do circuit training, do interval training, start light and increase.
As an expert, this might be obvious to you, but I think it would be instructive to articulate this for the public. Aside from weight loss, what are 3 benefits of daily exercise? Can you explain?
Exercise is a cleansing mechanism for the body and brain. We touched on this on the previous question. The benefits of exercise are as such if it were a pill it would be the most widely prescribed a pill on the planet. There’s not a system in the body that doesn’t function more effectively with exercise. It helps preserve joints. It helps our spinal disks get nutrients in and waste products out. After the age of 18 our spinal discs no longer have a blood supply. The only way the disc gets its nutrients is through subtle motion and osmosis. Movement is essential for the life of the disc.
Exercise revs up the metabolism of all the cells in your body. That means the increased chemical processes that take place inside the cell consume more energy. That energy that is burned are either fats, carbohydrates or proteins. We want to burn stored fats. We want to burn stored carbohydrates called glycogen. We would like to spare our proteins. That’s why we need to eat properly.
For someone who is looking to add exercise to their daily routine, which 3 exercises would you recommend that are absolutely critical?
It’s always recommended to consult your health professional prior to embarking on a new exercise program. Things to keep in mind are to start slow. You want to be in it for the long-haul.
Three main categories — (1) cardiovascular — start a walking program a few minutes a day or bike ride a few minutes a day. (2) muscular skeletal exercise — this can be as simple as using dumbbell weights at home working all the major muscle groups as well as doing floor or wall planks and body weight exercises, all depending on your fitness level. And (3) core exercises — as you strengthen your core you decrease the risk of injury to your back as well as your extremities.
The key is to work your core muscle belt and to abdominally brace while performing the exercise.
In my experience, many people begin an exercise regimen but stop because they get too sore afterwards. What ideas would you recommend to someone who plays sports or does heavy exercise to shorten the recovery time, and to prevent short term or long term injury?
Hydration and supplementation may be critical factors on post exercise soreness. A good warm-up and cool down can also help. Muscle flushing and myofascial work with foam rollers and Rykr Roll tools certainly can be great aids to help combat exercise soreness. These tools may also benefit injury prevention. Myofascial work is critical for anyone wanting to reach optimal efficiency of the muscle and its performance.
There are so many different diets today. Can you share what kind of diet you follow? Which diet do you recommend to most of your clients?
This is a great question but too many variables to give it justice. Each person has different circumstances, different metabolisms, muscle fiber typing, strengths and weaknesses. The type of training in rotation of varied intensity within a program needs to reflect the nutritional demands. We all need carbohydrates, fats and proteins. They should be clean carbs! They should not be trans-fat. They should be clean fats! Proteins also should be high caliber sources. Where most people go astray is they don’t eat enough good fats, and they eat or drink the wrong kind of carbohydrates.
But general guidelines I give my patients is I want them consuming at least 1200 calories a day. We discuss nutritional issues about good quality proteins, fats and carbohydrates. I want them to be consuming clean nutritious food. I would like them to stay away from typical fast food and packaged food. (But I should note a lot of fast restaurants are now bringing on better selections and healthier choices for people.)
Is there a particular book that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story?
Guyton-Textbook of Medical Physiology
I was blessed to have a professor that was a cardiovascular surgeon and PhD in physiology.
He also discovered ATP in cardiac muscle. His name was Dr. Thomas Forrester.
He was also Arthur Guyton’s roommate. Dr. Forrester made this my favorite book!
You are a person of enormous influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
First of all I would change the way a lot of exercise machines are made. Many of these machines compromise the spine and have poor biomechanical design.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Do you have a story about how that was relevant in your life?
PMA (Positive Mental Attitude)
This was a concept driven deep in my cortex at a young age!
– Thanks Dad
We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them 🙂
Quite honestly, I have no idea. I’m a small town doctor in a rural community. Monday — Wednesday -Friday and Saturday mornings I do house calls because it’s easier for me to get to them than vice versa due to lack of transportation or injury.
A former business partner, Pete Gavankar passed from cancer a few years ago and the business marketing, etc. was what he did best. He had taken many products to grand levels. He was a very impressive man! Young India immigrant that came to this country at 14 years old and made it to Marquette University with full ride graduating with engineering degree.
He perfected soft serve ice cream for Ray Crock (McDonalds). Pete also made the first electronic coffee maker for Mr. Coffee which was one of many inventions. Pete was the engineer for NASA that invented the first remote control Rover that picked up moon rocks.
This wise successful man saw my patented Core Activator in a chiropractor’s office and wanted to meet me for a 15 minute discussion. We met, and that meeting turned into 2 days.
I guess I’m looking for another Pete Gavankar to have lunch with, he was certainly a rare unique person.
What is the best way our readers can follow you on social media?
I currently do not have any social media accounts that are up to date.
Thank you for these fantastic insights. We wish you only continued success in your great work!