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Michele Ackerman Interview

Michele Ackerman Interview

Intolerance Testing for the Elite Over 50 Club

I recently had the privilege to talk to a wonderful women by the name of Michele Ackerman. Michele has been in the fitness world for over 20 + years. As she is currently now in the elite over 50 club, she is the living testament that you are never to old to take your health, nutrition, and fitness to the next level.To many people think they are doing just great on their own and are eating healthy and clean diets along with training and muscle building. However, as we should all know by now, eating healthy is individually subjective! That is where having an open mind comes into play and Michele is that kind of women. She is always looking for ways to better herself. She found our testing process and is so enthusiastic about the benefits of implementing the results that she has now joined the team and will be sharing and selling the product to friends, family, and other people in the fitness world.

 I would like to share an interview with Michele to share some of her personal information and what she thought about taking the test. I hope you enjoy the information and can learn from her. I know that she has given me motivation to jump back into exercise again!

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Elaine: Michele, Can you tell me how you got started in fitness and competitions?

Michele: I competed in my first physique competition in 1993 when I was 30 years old, as a bodybuilder. It was a dismal failure. After employing the keto diet typically used by bodybuilders, my 5’ 7” frame weighed a mere 112 pounds, not the kind of physique that wins bodybuilding shows.

I assumed physique competitions were out of the picture for me until this thing called “figure” came along about 10 years later. The ideal appearance is athletic — not too much muscle and not too lean. Friends from the gym convinced me to give it a try. So, at 41 years of age, I took the stage again as a figure competitor in 2004 at the National Physique Committee (NPC) Peggy Sue Classic.

This past year, I transitioned from figure to the “bikini” division. Though my physique has changed very little over the past 15 years, the sport has. Every division — women’s physique (formerly called bodybuilding), figure and bikini – has become more muscular in appearance. I believe I can now be more competitive at a higher level in the bikini division than figure.

Elaine: How many competitions have you competed in and how did you place?

Michele: I have competed in about 20 different shows in several bodybuilding federations over the years. Most of my competitions have been in the NPC, but I have also competed in the National Gym Association (NGA) and the Drug Free Athletic Coalition (DFAC). I have competed in primarily regional shows, but also competed at the NPC Masters Nationals in 2016.

Some of these shows are tested for performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs); others are not. NGA and DFAC use urine tests and polygraph to ensure athletes are clean. I have taken a hard stance on PEDs from the beginning. I want people to get a realistic impression of what the human physique can be, without the use of drugs.

Regarding placings, I always say: if you compete long enough, you’ll stand at the top of your class and at the bottom, especially if you stretch yourself and move to the next level. Often, I learn the most from my disappointments. I have yet to tie it all together and present my perfect package. But I learn every time I step on stage and am getting closer!

I have won classes at the NPC Natural Cincinnati (2014), NPC Natural Northern (2015), DFAC Cardinal Classic (2015), NPC Natural Kentucky (2017), NPC Elite Physique (2018), NPC Natural Northern (2018) and NGA Monster Mash (2018)

Elaine: How did you hear about our Intolerance Testing?

Michele: I heard about Intolerance Testing from a fellow bikini competitor who had worked in the Intolerance Testing booth at the Arnold Classic in 2018.

Elaine: What made you decide to try our Intolerance Testing? 

Michele: My friend was very successful in reducing core inflammation after she made diet changes based on her Intolerance Test results. I knew the primary change for her prep this year was diet and was amazed at the changes in her physique, so thought I’d give it a try.

As well, I was having challenges losing weight during competition prep and suspected foods I was eating before my competitions contributed to bloat on stage.

Elaine: What did you think about the test results?

Michele: The test is one of the best investments I have ever made in my health, not just for physique competitions but for my overall health too. I consider the results to be Michele Ackerman’s specific blueprint for better health. I will retest again in about nine months to assess how changes in my diet impact results.

Elaine: Was it difficult to implement in your routine?

Michele: It was not a challenge for me to implement a new routine, largely because of my stance on food and because I have been meal prepping as part of my routine for many years. I view food first and foremost as sustenance and then as pleasure. Sure, I want to eat food that tastes great, but it needs to meet goal-one first.

My strategy was to take out everything — and I mean everything — on my list and see where I stood five weeks out. It took me about 10 days to phase out every “no” on my list (level 3, level 2 and level 1). I frequently visited the Intolerance Test website to determine what foods were tested and could be in my diet and learn where food additives (E series) are commonly found. I developed a grocery list of can-do foods to help with shopping.

I also switched up my supplement program. I stopped taking a multivitamin because I was deficient for some nutrients (vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin B7 and others) and near toxic for others (iron, magnesium). I now purchase vitamins and amino acids of which I am deficient separately and try to address deficiencies naturally through food in hopes of better absorption. I also stopped eating food packaged in tin because tin was listed on my heavy metals test.

Elaine: Do you have any tips to offer?

Michele: For this to work, I feel you need to be open-minded. When I sent off my hair samples, some asked, “What will you do if you find your favorite foods on the list?” I told them I would be thrilled to find suspect foods. What I did not expect was the extensive list I got. Though my diet was squeaky clean by most standards, nearly two-thirds of what I was eating was being rejected by my body – solid, nutritious foods, just not ideal for me and likely over-consumed.

So, some of my favorites had to go (wheat, oats, pineapple, apples, whey protein, citrus and sugar of ALL forms and more). But, there are tons of foods I CAN eat (peanut butter, dates, peaches, pears, rice, chicken, cheese, eggs and more). I didn’t mourn the loss of some of my favorite foods, but rather celebrated the fact that I have a tool that can help me develop my own plan for better health.

Another aspect of test I appreciate is that it doesn’t throw the baby out with the bath water. Often people assume they are gluten or lactose intolerant. For me, the test revealed specific dairy foods and grains that are problematic. Though I am sensitive to cream, sour cream, whey and butter, I can tolerate milk and cheese. I have substituted spelt and rice flour for the wheat and oat flour I had previously used in baking.

Some also ask if I will be adding foods from my no list back into my diet when I’m not competing. Not a chance! I feel so much better that I have no desire to put them back in.

Elaine: Did the test results help you to feel better and did you see any results?

Michele: By making changes in my diet, I feel “lighter” overall, with less bloating in my abdomen and less inflammation in a knee that has caused me problems over the past two decades. I also lost a couple pounds when I made changes initially.

As well, for the first time since I have been competing, I am able to see my oblique muscles run the entire length of my mid-section. I attribute this to diet changes since this was the single biggest change I made this year.

Elaine: Do you think the Intolerance testing will help other people in the fitness world?

Michele: I believe the Intolerance Test can help others in the fitness world. It often takes multiple shows, testing different diets and foods to determine the best way to “peak” for a show. Everyone processes foods differently, and even the same person can process foods differently from show to show. In the years since I first competed, I have learned the keto diet is a no-go for me. I also learned that I can lose muscle mass eating tons of protein. I keep notes from season to season and consult them frequently in hopes of getting it perfect at some point.

Striking the right balance of protein, carbs and fat in the right amounts with the right level of activity is the challenge for each of us that steps on stage. Though there are dozens of different theories on pre-contest diets, I think the test can help to eliminate problematic foods from the onset. It can also help to address deficiencies, so an athlete can be running on all four cylinders.

No Sleep Today-It's Pajama Day

No Sleep Today-It’s Pajama Day!

Many of us lead very busy lives so it is important for us to get a good amount of quality rest every night. Sleep allows our bodies to recuperate and recover from our day. When we deprive ourselves of quality sleep, it inhibits our bodies to be at maximum efficiency the next day. Many of us are unable to either get the proper amount of rest, find it hard to get to sleep or find it difficult to stay asleep. Getting quality sleep is vital to our well-being for various reasons but many of us do not take the time to make quality sleep a priority in our daily routines.

In the article, Sleep Deprivation and Deficiency (n.d.), it lists several reasons why getting good, quality sleep and getting enough sleep is vital to our health.

Benefits for getting enough quality sleep:

  • Promotes energy throughout the day
  • Helps elevate a healthy mind and memory
  • Reduces the number of times you get sick and the duration of time you are sick
  • Lowers the risk for serious health issues
  • Helps you maintain a healthy weight
  • Aids in physical and mental recovery

These are but a few benefits for why getting enough sleep and getting quality sleep are important, but sometimes we do not know the right amount of sleep we should be getting. From infancy to adulthood, our bodies undergo various changes and types of development, so we require different amounts of sleep at different ages. Typically, the younger we are, the more sleep we need for our growing bodies. Of course, you have to take other factors into consideration like one’s daily physical activity, health factors, etc., but the following list from Sleep Deprivation and Deficiency (n.d.), is a general guideline of the amount of sleep we need at different ages.

How much sleep is enough?

  • Infants aged 4-12 months 12-16 hours a day (including naps)
  • Children aged 1-2 years 11-14 hours a day (including naps)
  • Children aged 3-5 years 10-13 hours a day (including naps)
  • Children aged 6-12 years 9-12 hours a day
  • Teens aged 13-18 years 8-10 hours a day
  • Adults aged 18 years or older 7–8 hours a day

Unfortunately, many of us do not get this amount of sleep and if we do, it is not quality sleep. I know for me, I sometimes have trouble going to sleep, staying asleep or both and I wake up tired as if I didn’t just get any sleep. Fortunately, there are some tips and techniques we can use in order to wind down for bed so we get the right amount of quality sleep. Here are but a few tips that we should try to incorporate into our bedtime routine:

Tips for getting enough sleep:

  • Have a Sleep Schedule. Wake up and go to bed around the same time every day (weekdays AND weekends). Limit the time difference to no more than an hour.
  • For kids, have a set Bedtime and Routine. Do not use their bedroom for timeouts or punishments because they may not be able to mentally block that out at night and be fully comfortable in their room.
  • Avoid Eating, Reading, or using your Phone (talking or texting) in bed. This will train your brain that your bed is only for sleeping and intimacy, so it will not be wide awake when you are in bed.
  • During the day, spend time outside and try to be more physically active. When your body works hard and gets sunlight and fresh air, it will need to recover and will likely be more prepared to rest at night.
  • Keep your room cool, dark and quiet. When we get hot, we typically do not sleep well. Having your room dark and quiet invites peace and allows your mind to wind down. Getting light-reducing or blackout curtains will help your room stay dark.
  • Wind down an hour before bed. Avoid artificial light (phone, TV or computer) and strenuous activity as these things may wake your brain up.
  • Take a hot bath/shower and use relaxation techniques. Easing your body with a hot bath/shower will help your body and mind relax. Breathing techniques or meditation allows for our body and mind to relax as well by relieving tension and the weight of day’s activities.
  • Avoid heavy and/or large meals, drinking caffeine and alcohol, and having nicotine. When you are full, your body has to work to digest that food and therefore cannot fully rest. Caffeine and nicotine are stimulants, and alcohol will not allow your body to rest.

They say, “work hard, play hard”, but we should start focusing on “work hard, sleep hard” and create an effective sleep routine that we stick to every night. Because many of us are always on the go every day, we owe it to ourselves to get the right amount of good, quality sleep every night. Start off with a few adjustments from these tips and gradually incorporate more of these tips until you are getting the optimal amount of quality sleep. Remember that you work hard, so allow your body to recovery by getting the best rest it can have!

References

Sleep Deprivation and Deficiency. (n.d.). Retrieved April 3, 2019, from

https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health-topics/sleep-deprivation-and-deficiency

Written by Yvonne Sims

Dog-aggresion

Giving it a “SHOT” at Dog Behaviors

We all love our dogs and want the very best for them. We try to feed them the best pet food, shower them with lots of love, and make sure they get the best medical care that we can afford. Unfortunately, some of the vaccinations that are given to our pets are not the best thing for them or they are administered too often or too carelessly to your pet. One of these vaccinations is the Rabies shot.

Rabies shots can have adverse side effects that we are sometimes not informed about. Stated in an article entitled “Dog Behaviors After Rabies Vaccine”, there are three side effects your dog could experience after they are given the rabies vaccination including “allergic reactions, itching at the injection spot, or aggressive displays of behavior”. Some dogs who have aggressive behavior could be experiencing a condition called Rabies Miasm, in which the dog’s behavior after given the rabies vaccination mimics the behavior of a dog who has contracted rabies. After the shot, the dog could be overly aggressive to both humans and animals like wanting to bite, snarling of the teeth, and sudden and unprovoked attacks (Rabies Vaccination And Aggression In Dogs, 2019). Other behavioral changes are involuntary urination, lack of affection, tail chewing and destructive behaviors.

My dog actually showed some unprovoked rage after being vaccinated just last year. At first, my husband and I were shocked because he’s normally a playful, loving dog, and we were unsure as to why he could be acting so ferociously. He was growling at my husband, showing his teeth and constantly trying to bite him and one time he actually bit him! We weren’t really sure what to do so since we are crate training him anyway, we just kept him in his crate until these behaviors subsided after a day or two.

However, if your dog does experience these aggressive, unprovoked behaviors, be sure to treat this as an emergency and contact your local vet. If your vet does not treat this as an emergency, then take your dog to a vet who will. Be sure to monitor your dog’s behavior over the next few days to ensure that these negative side effects dissipate. Also, be sure you are fully aware of the vaccinations your vet is giving your dog at every visit. We all love our dogs and want the very best for them so be sure to be attentive to their needs and their behavior on a daily basis and they will continue to treat you as their best friend.

References

Dog Behaviors After Rabies Vaccine. (2018, January 15). Retrieved March 12, 2019, from

Rabies Vaccination And Aggression In Dogs. (2019, January 10). Retrieved March 12, 2019,

from https://www.dogsnaturallymagazine.com/rabies-vaccination-and-aggression-in- dogs/

Written by Yvonne Sims