All you had to say was “No”

Its close to 10:30 on a Sunday morning and I’m still laying in bed. Totally comfy buried under the covers. House is quiet and just the perfect temperature where it’s slightly chilly but not freezing. I finally persuade myself to get out of bed and I make myself a bath. (Insert deep long sigh)… Totally relaxed. Its at this point it hit’s me…

“Why has it taken me this long in life to say NO and leave the weekends for me?!”

Can you relate?

I was in the habit of filling my schedule up with work, meetings, lunches and coffee dates with friends, which meant wasting time in traffic. Spending way too much time on social media, Netflix, driving my daughter to and from her Dad’s house, and then focusing on whatever hobby I chose to learn for that week. Not only did I create this vortex of chaos during the week, I let it trickle into my weekend as well. I was never content with just sitting at home and giving my brain and body the much needed rest it deserved. I would start Monday feeling just as tired as I did on Friday. I never took the time to organize my time, establish what my priorities were, I was hardly moving with purpose or focus. I was stressed, frustrated, and impatient most of the time. I felt stagnant in my work, missed deadlines, and didn’t have clarity in what I wanted for me and my daughter’s future. Not to mention my health was taking a beating in the process.  Can you relate?

“Just say NO.”

Unfortunately, I’m someone that needs to learn the hard way. I had to get to the point what I view as unhealthy and unhappy to finally be ok with changing my lifestyle. Excepting change is what I needed and more importantly, its what my daughter needed. Change has never come easy for me, I used to be an “all or nothing” type person. I felt I had to change the way I thought, felt, and believed all at once to be successful.


I finally got wise and reached out for help. I got myself a mentor and really listened to what he said. What I mean by listened is that I heard what he said and then acted on it. My mentor helped me by putting a mirror in my face and helped me see reality. He showed me why I would start something and quit, why I was living in chaos and why my lifestyle was keeping me from being the example and leader I want to be for myself, my daughter, and for my clients. He gave me tools that I could use for when I would catch myself back in the same pattern. Most importantly, he taught me how to say NO.

You’re probably assuming that what I’m talking about is saying no to others. What I’m talking about is telling myself no.  I’m a very extraverted and social person. I love being around my friends, engaging in good conversation with plates of good food in front of me. I’m typically someone who doesn’t prefer to stay at home. I like to be out meeting friends, hiking, playing with my horse, and being active. Let me be clear in saying there is nothing wrong with this type of lifestyle, but what I lacked was balance. I tried to mix work, pleasure, responsibilities, all in one day. I was not living realistically, what would happen is I would just focus on the pleasure part. I was having a hard time getting my responsibilities done, I lacked the experience of knowing what staying focused and accomplishing good quality work felt like.

When I would get the urge to start filling up my day with just fun, i’d have to stop and ask myself a few questions.

  • Should the activity I want to do take priority over the things I need to get done at work or home?
  • Will this decision help me be the best version of myself?   

Creating the habit of stopping and asking questions and thinking of the good and bad consequences of my decisions led me to start saying no to things I should.  I started saying no to going out as much, putting the phone down, I got rid of cable, I got better at not getting distracted.

In time my house became more organized, work and my clients were becoming more productive, I had more time for prepping my meals for the week. My health started to improve as well as my daughter’s. I was getting more and more clarity in who I wanted to be and where that would take me. Most importantly, I was less stressed and happier.

How about you?

  • Is saying NO difficult for you?
  • Are you always stressed?
  • Do you feel like you go to one stinking event to the other?
  • How is your relationship with your family?
  • Are you proud of your home? Is it clean and organized?
  • How is your sleep?
  • Is your health where you want it?
  • Do you have clearly set boundaries for you and others?
  • Are you happy?

Growth and happiness.

Its takes strength and maturity to say no and actually make the changes needed. It’s not easy at first, so surround yourself with supportive people. Find people that have or live the life you want, reach out to them. It’s worth it!

As a result of my growth, I can enjoy peaceful Sunday’s in bed and a bath. I’m happier now and enjoy the journey of becoming healthier. Instead of focusing on who I will be hanging out with next and filling my schedule up with activities, I’m reading more, being productive with my time, and I live more in the moment.

I encourage you reader to ask yourself the questions above and not feel bad about telling you or others no, maybe give your child a new experience by getting rid of cable and for him or her to learn how to play puzzles, read, use their imagination. To set up days where the family cleans the house together and then afterward goes on a hike.

Get out of the vortex of chaos and enjoy lazy Sunday’s again!


Why am I still in pain?!

Why am I still in Pain???

Are you still in pain even after taking medications and have gone the surgery route? Why does this happen to so many people?
Even though our understanding of pain and how the brain processes pain has improved drastically, certain treatments are still based on old, and outdated information or models. For example, the Cartesian pain model, and the belief that our brain is hardwired.

Usually therapists have an understanding of “pain fibers”. A person sprains his or her ankle, and the “pain fibers” send “pain messages” to the brain, then pain is perceived by the brain and the person will do something to help the ankle. But how does this explain the reason for pain when there is no injury? How does this explain phantom limb pain? Or explain how Kerri Strug in the 1996 Olympics was able to pull off a faultless vault performance? Her ankle injury was so severe her coach had to carry her to the platform. Truth is, it doesn’t explain, hence why the medical profession needs to update their information about pain.


The Old School Train of Thought: The Cartesian Model

The Cartesian Model could be the reason for the misunderstanding about pain and where it starts. This model comes from Renè Descartes. (1596-1650) Even though this model is extremely outdated, its theory of pain is the backbone of the way doctors approach pain issues today. This model basically says if you were to put your foot either in or near fire, that a message is sent to the brain via pathway or wire. When the message hit the brain it would result in a ringing of a bell producing pain. Not only is this idea extremely simple it’s incorrect. Therefore, if the teaching is overly simple and incorrect, the treatment will be as well.

(Little known fact: Descartes believed that nerves were hollow tubes and that spirits flowed up and down them).

When looking at the Cartesian model you’ll see that to treat a person in pain, several options show up.

1. Remove foot from the fire.

First, the person can take his foot out of the fire, but what about the persistent pain that exists afterward? This also doesn’t account for the instance of pain triggered by emotion. For example, fear of being burned while standing by the fire can cause pain or evoke the sympathetic nervous system. The sympathetic nervous system is our flight/fight/freeze mechanism.

2. Dousing the fire.

Second, you can douse the the fire with a bucket of water. Looking at the modern approach, “dousing the fire” would be pain medicine or injections. However, Medicare in the U.S. has had a 629% increase in expenditures for lower back pain over the last five years (Deyo, Mirza et al.,2009), yet pain rates are increasing, not decreasing. So logically, you can say “dousing the fire” doesn’t work.

3. Cutting the wire.

Third, and more severe approach to the Cartesian model of getting rid of pain would be to cut the wire. This would severe the message even getting to the brain, so if the brain can’t receive the message, pain will not exist. This modern approach would be surgery. If the Cartesian model was correct than surgery would be 100% successful. However, “20% of lumber discectomy patients have the same if not worse pain after surgery. (Ostelo, Costa et al., 2004); Lumbar fusions, in general, only have a 50% success rate in decreasing pain (Deyo, Nachemson et al.,2004; Deyo Gray et al., 2005).

More than 360 years after Renè Descartes death, this model continues to have influence on the way doctors and therapists think of pain.

Incorrect assumptions.

As a result of the outdated information, when you go to a therapist or doctor you might be introduced to some inaccurate assumptions. For example:

There is a direct link between the amount of tissue damage and the level of pain that you feel.

  • All pain is caused by an injury and if there is a increase of pain it must mean more tissue damage.
  • If you are dealing with chronic pain, under the Cartesian model, this means that the tissue isn’t healing and the damage is still going on.
  • Pain is an input driven system.
  • The nervous system is simply built for conduction (a wire).
  • However pain is just way more complex.

Pain fundamentals.

As mentioned above, its been a belief that our brain plays a role when we experience pain. The idea was that there was a specific area in the brain, like a “pain center.” However, science today has proven that there is not a specific spot in the brain that deals with pain. In fact, their is many areas of the brain that are involved when we are in pain. So when looking for answers on how to treat your pain, understand that there are more than a few ways to fix it.

Pain is actually an action signal. The brain makes a decision based on its perception of threat. For example: someone hurts their ankle, and is crossing the street. They see a bus approaching them very fast. The person now runs across the street with no pain in their ankle. As soon as the person calms down their ankle pain comes back. Why did the pain go away? The brain perceived that the bus was a greater threat to your survival, so no pain was produced to protect the ankle, allowing the person to get out of harms way.

Pain is part of the survival system. This means that if your brain views something as a threat, it will create pain.

Pain is also individual. This means that two people can be hurt in the same way, and have two different pain experiences.

Pain is a multi-system output event. This means again, since survival is of upmost importance to the brain, pain will influence body-wide changes in order to help us handle the threat that has presented itself.

What all these fundamentals of pain boil down to is the most current view of pain. Science is now calling it the neuromatrix. The neuromatrix highlights the fact that its not one thing that causes pain, you need to take a persons background, emotional state, physical state, etc into consideration.


If you are someone who is still in pain after medication and surgery, I encourage you to look at your life, and see where there may be something your brain is viewing as threatening. This can come in ways of eating inflammatory foods or not enough food, poor sleep, lack of movement, and a stressful job.

How to get out of PAIN!

If you’re in pain and you’ve tried everything to fix it, you need to watch this video to get a better understanding of what pain REALLY is!   

We help people get rid of nagging pain every day.  It’s one of our specialties.  No, we’re not physical therapists or doctors.  In fact, pain rehabilitation and performance training are actually the same exact thing!  That probably sounds odd to you, but it’s the truth.  The same exact style of training that gets a person out of years of pain is also what takes an elite athlete to their peak performance.  

The First step to getting out of pain:  UNDERSTAND WHAT PAIN IS.

It all comes down to understanding the nervous system and how it uses pain to protect you.  Here’s the best part…  It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been in pain, how bad the pain has gotten, or how many times you’ve tried and failed to relieve it.  You can still be rid of pain.  You just have to fully grasp its function in the body.

Types of pain we help people remedy:

  • Back
  • Sciatica
  • Neck & Shoulder 
  • Joint
  • Arthritis
  • Migraines and Head Aches
  • Old Injuries and Surgeries

The Next Step:  Let us help.

Watch Peter’s video above to take the first step in getting out of pain.  If you need more help reach out by calling us at 702-220-8222 to schedule a FREE, no-obligation neuro-evaluation.

Call Me a Liar #1: Lose Weight Fast (Warning!)

“Call Me A Liar” #1:  Rapid Fat Loss (Warning!)
Understanding Metabolism.  It’s not exactly what you think it is. 

If you want to lose weight fast, and I mean really fast then you NEED to read this!

Let this serve as a friendly warning to those seeking rapid weight loss.  Please before you decide which path you’ll travel to get health, lose weight, speed up your metabolism or reach any other health and fitness goal take this information I’m about to present to you into consideration before moving forward. 

Everyone refers to weight loss as a means of getting healthy.  IT IS NOT!  Look, I’m not telling you you have to be happy with the fat that you’ve accrued over the years, I’m just saying you’re placing blame in the wrong spot.  It’s confusing because we have been told for decades that in order to be healthy we must maintain a certain body fat percentage or BMI (body mass index).  Even as a country we have declared war on obesity.  We listen to the evening news anchor reporting the new highs the our country is hitting as the sickest, fattest country in the world while displaying clips of crowds of fat Americans from the neck down walking down the sidewalks.  
You know the one’s I’m talking about…
obesity on the street

image source

Now here’s an interesting statistic.  The based on consumer reviews the US is on of the most health conscious countries in the world.  In 2009 over 75% of americans were more concerned about their health when purchasing foods compared to poles in 2007 and it’s only been growing since.  We’ve also been battling Mexico for the #1 spot for the fattest country in the world.  So how does one of the most health conscious countries in the world maintain a status as one of the sickest, fattest countries in the world?  That answer, in my opinion, is pretty simple… WE’RE DOING IT WRONG! Guys, really… we’re doing it wrong.  We’ve being targeting fat as the enemy for years and it’s not.  Fat is a symptom of metabolic disfunction, like low energy, hair and skin problems, and constipation.  If we just focus on the fat, if we only focus on losing weight as the end-all way of measuring how healthy a person is we degrade the quality of our lives far more than you could ever expect.  Fat is the result of when your day to day bodily functions are being fueled improperly and therefore your metabolism has to literally rescue you from malnourishment and low blood-sugar levels.

What is metabolism?
Your body is a giant ball of energy.  How efficiently your body creates energy on a daily basis is what determines whether you’re benefiting from a fast metabolism or suffering from a slow one.  When most people think of metabolism they think of calories in, calories out or displacement of water, etc.  And when these so-called “fitness professionals” discuss metabolism they do so by describing short and easy ways to boost your metabolism.  For example…

“Drink 20oz of ice cold water first thing in the morning and you’ll boost your metabolism by blah-blah percentage for the next 24 hours!”

“Fasted exercise before eating breakfast can speed up your metabolism by over 30% each day”

“Drink green tea and lemon juice by the bucket!”

These methods can be effective in your efforts to lose weight, but here’s the thing… they are also very effective methods of stressing your body out,  driving your metabolism into the ground, forcing you into the dreaded “yo-yo” pattern, and causing long term health problems.  That’s not how your metabolism works!
In the graphic below (fig 1) you’ll see the two means in which your body makes energy.
The 1st and most efficient way your body makes energy is through what’s called oxidative metabolism. Your body uses glucose (sugar) within the cell, combines it with oxygen and so begins the process of glucose oxidation.  The result of this is energy production and carbon dioxide.  It is this process that allows us organisms to co-exist so well on this planet.  We inhale and utilize oxygen to create energy and exhale carbon dioxide which then plant life consumes and through the process of photosynthesis results in oxygen production.  It’s a nice planetary balance we’re able to maintain.Metabolism graphic
When your body experiences stress (which is described in greater detail in another article in this series) the requirement for energy production increases.  Your body will rapidly burn through glucose in your blood stream causing low blood sugar which the medical community refers to as hypoglycemia.  If your blood sugar gets too low you can pass out, go into shock, and possibly die.  Luckily for us we have a back-up system for this.  Your body can actually break down pieces of itself to create more of the nutrients our cells need to replenish sugars in your blood stream and continue making energy.  Most of us know this, yet we take for granted the reality of this degenerative process if we rely on it for long periods of time.
Let’s talk about this degenerative, yet life saving process.  We call it “gluconeogenesis”.  GLUCO = sugar,  NEO = new, GENESIS = creation.  There is a sea-saw like balancing act your body is able to maintain going back and forth between oxidative metabolism and gluconeogenisis.  The problem lies in how much stress we present to our body on a daily basis by eating the wrong types of foods, not eating enough food, eating foods in the wrong macronutrient (protein, fat, carb) ratio, or just not eating frequently enough throughout the day.  Instead of maintaining a happy balance in your energy production your body has to hormonally regulate your blood-sugar. Here’s the process:
Your blood sugar begins to run low and you begin to make the following hormones:
1. Adrenaline – this hormone references your liver for glycogen (back-up sugars).
2. Cortisol – breaks down tissue in your body like muscle and fat to bring them to the liver which acts like a magic machine turning them into sugar.
  • The following hormones, just to mention a few, are designed to inflame and steal nutrients like vitamins and minerals to keep the energy process going:
    • Estrogen
    • Aldosterone
    • Serotonin
    • Prolactin
3.  Parathyroid Hormone – breaks down bone in order to get calcium out of them.  Calcium is also an important piece in cellular metabolism.
Now call me a liar, BUT… if you look up “effects of prolonged, excess (fill in the blank here with any of the above mentioned hormones)” you won’t find many positive symptoms.  
So here’s the moral of the story. 
The rapid fat loss tips people are being fed by these self proclaimed fitness gurus are forcing you into hypoglycemia resulting in the secretion of a boat load of hormones which break your body down.  You’ll lose weight alright, but at what cost?
Think about it.  Just about any method a person uses to lose weight fast is just a series of different ways to make you drop in blood sugar so their body has to compensate by eating itself.  Drinking ice cold water first thing in the morning before you eat breakfast for instance adds stress on your body by making it work hard to warm up the water in your stomach before you can utilize it.  Then take into consideration that you haven’t eaten anything for the last 6 to 8 hours and you have a situation where you have an increased need for energy production (draw blood to your stomach to warm the water) and a decrease intake of fuel (sugar from foods).  Fasted exercise in the morning achieves the same thing.  Eating low carb achieves the same thing.  Eating a diet high in polyunsaturated fat achieves the same thing.  And people do practice such habits to months and even years in belief that they support a healthy lifestyle.  Over time it stresses your metabolism out so greatly that your body’s response to all the stress is to slow down the speed at which is operates.  This is what we call hypothyroidism, or low metabolism. 
How do you know if this has happened to you?  Well here are a few of the symptoms of a low metabolism:
  • Low body temperature (lower than 97.9 F in the morning and below 98.6 mid-day)
  • Low pulse rate (below 75)
  • Feel cold often.  Cold hands, fee, or nose.
  • Low or dragging energy.  Energy highs and lows.  Mid-day energy crash. Tired, but wired at night.
  • Chronic thirst
  • Urinating often (if you’re peeing more that 4 or 5 times per day, it’s a problem, especially if you’re waking up to pee in the middle of the night)
  • Constipation, bloating, gas, diarrhea (1-3 bowel movements per day is healthy)
  • Sleep is restless, interrupted, feel exhausted when you wake up
  • Low libido, lack sex drive
  • Overwhelming PMS symptoms
  • Infertility
  • Get sick often (suppressed immune system)
  • Never get sick (overactive immune system)
  • Skin problems like eczema, psoriasis, rashes,Hair thinning, falling out, brittle nails, slow growing
  • Anxiety, depression, irritable, sad
  • Gain weight easily
  • Edema, swelling, inflammation issues
  • Difficulty losing weight even with diet and exercise
I don’t know about you, but knowing this makes me mad.  I mean really MAD!  To think that you may have paid someone to teach you how to slowly murder your metabolism… it’s infuriating!  
You’ll only be able to keep this stuff up for so long.  We all know that when we are young our youthful metabolism is very resilient.  What we don’t realize is that our resiliency begins to crap out on us around 25 years old or so; especially if we’re stressing our bodies out from an early age with bad foods, overtraining, lack of sleep, and so on.  
The signs of a healthy and high metabolic rate are:
  • Feel warm all day (not hot)
  • Pulse rate between 75-90 bpm
  • Good energy consistently throughout your day
  • Restful, interrupted Seep
  • Healthy skin, strong nails, shiny hair
  • Healthy sex drive, no PMS, fertile
  • Regular bowel movements
  • Urinating 4 or 5 times per day, not at night
  • Maintain weight with exercising and dieting like crazy
  • Feel calm, happy, relaxed, focused
“So what do I have to know about my IMG_1519metabolism???”
The healthiest way of thinking about metabolism is by asking yourself, “Am I giving my body the right amount of materials, specific to me, that it needs to go through the many processes of metabolism?”  If you’re not, you’re likely on a path of illness, a laundry list medications, and pain problems for the majority of the second half of your life.
Keep this stuff in mind in the following articles.  This is the platform from which we’ll be discussing everything nutritionally.  Whenever we talk about food types, ratios of macronutrients (protein,fat,sugar) or frequency of meals look at it from a perspective of whether or not you’re giving your body the materials it needs to function optimally.  Optimal function may not mean rapid fat loss in the beginning for most people due to the years of damage done to their metabolism so don’t look at it from a weight loss perspective at first.  Depending on the state of your metabolism you may need to do some repair work, but think about it for a second.  What if your were able to have and maintain a youthful, protective metabolism through most of your life?  In a sense just by using food, sleep, and the right amount of exercise you become more effective than your physician at keeping yourself healthy, happy and mobile.    
Main points to take away:
  • 2 Methods of Energy Production:
    • Oxidative Metabolism = efficient/regenerative
    • Glycolysis & Gluconeogenesis = very inefficient/degenerative
  • In the efficient means of making energy your body maintains level blood sugar throughout the day avoiding the overproduction of degenerative (but lifesaving) hormones.
  • Rapid fat loss methods used by trainers far and wide are really just ways of forcing your body into hypoglycemia resulting in loss of tissue to include fat, muscle and even bone density.  THIS IS NOT HEALTHY WEIGHT LOSS!
  • Figure out whether or not you need to repair your metabolism before setting out to lose weight.

Training Your Eyes to Reduce Pain and more

Eye Drill Semi private classAt FitLife Fusion we do a lot of things that most would consider… well, um… weird, I guess.  Some of the movement exercises we choose for our members are definitely out of the ordinary, but they have their purpose and they’re usually just the thing a person needs to reduce pain, move better, get stronger, and feel better.   In this blog we’re going to discuss the visual system, your eyes.  Training your eyes could be the missing link to all of your fitness goals.  We’ve seen people who are stuck in plateaus break those pesky plateaus with visual training.  So let’s discuss the visual system, its role in your fitness goals, and a few ways you can train your eyes to break through your plateau.

First off, you have to have basic understanding of what pain is and how it comes to be in your body.  Pain is manifested in the brain.  It is not a physical things.  Although pain can occur in response to physical damage in your body, there doesn’t need to be an injury for pain to exist and nag at you from time to time.  Pain is described as an “action signal” in the world of functional neurology.  It’s your brain trying to get you to change your behavior because it doesn’t feel safe about what your doing (or about to do).  If your brain doesn’t feel safe with a specific movement it will do one of 3 things:

  1.  It will shut strength off in attempt to keep you from moving in a “threatening” range of motion
  2. It will create tension in attempt to limit degrees of freedom in any given joint.
  3. And finally it will send pain signals to prevent you from moving in a way your brain thinks is dangerous.

The amount of neurological threat your body experiences at any given time depends on how well informed your brain is of where you are in the world around you.  You see, within your brain there is a 3D map of your body. It’s being fed information from all of the sensory systems within your body, i.e. movement information, touch/feel, what your eyes see, etc. The more information your brain gets from all of the sensory systems within your body, the safer your brain feels about movement and the less pain, tension, and weakness you experience.

So what are these sensory systems?

You have 3 main sensory systems within your nervous system.  They’re listed below in order of priorityNeurological Hierarchy pyramid to the brain.

  1.  The Visual System – Your eyes
  2. The Vestibular System – AKA “The Inner Ear”
  3. The Proprioceptive Map – All the other information fed to your brain from the nerves that stretch throughout your body.

Your visual system is made up of a bit more than you’d normally think.  Your brain isn’t just getting information from what your eyes see.  Your brain is also getting info based on eye position and eye muscle contractions.  Your eyes work in concert with the other sensory systems to keep you balance and to aid in movement.  For example, eye-muscle contractions are wired neurologically to prime specific muscles for movement.  When our eyes lock on a target our body reflexively begins to follow our eyes.  So, when you look up with your eyes your brain turns on extensor muscles to bring your head up and erect your spine.  When you look down your brain turns on flexor muscles to bend you forward.  While this is happening your vestibular system (inner ear) is telling your brain which way UP is and which way your going in order to adjust muscle tone so you don’t fall over.  It’s a pretty intricate process, but when communications are running smoothly so are your movement and balance.   When communication between systems isn’t running smooth you deal with what we call “sensory mismatch”.  This is no good.

When your eyes tell your brain your in one place, your vestibular says another and your peripheral nerves everywhere else in your body disagree with both of them this is what we call Sensory Mismatch.  If your experiencing this you will always incur some degree of weakness, tension, or pain… in fact usually all of them!  Sensory Mismatch can occur as a result of trauma, concussion, too much computer time, and times of extra stress, amongst other things.

What am I supposed to do if I’m dealing with Sensory Mismatch???

Great question.  We almost always start with the eyes after evaluating people who come to our facility.  The eyes are at the very top of the Neurological Hierarchy.  About 70+ percent of everything is affected by your eyes hence why the information your brain receives from them is so important.

Here are 3 exercises you can do to exercise your eyes.  Before performing any of them it would be a good idea and test a few different ranges of motion to use as measuring points for the drills your about to perform.  Check things like forward bend, shoulder flexion, neck rotation or flexion, and trunk rotation.  While trying out the drills listed below check in periodically and see if you are gaining or losing range of motion.  If your gaining some flexibility that’s a good sign!  If you become stiffer, then that may not be a drill or position your body is ready for.  The eyes drills below are listed from easiest to hardest.

Exercise #1.  Gaze Stabilization

Gaze stabilization is exactly what it sounds like: the ability to keep the eyes still or fixed on a target.  Holding a target in your hand, like the tip or cap of a of marker or pen, hold the target for 10 seconds in each in the 8 directions of the compass.

Eye Positions

Exercise #2:  Smooth Pursuit

Visual Drill gazeSmooth pursuit refers to your eye ability to smoothly track a target in motion without moving your head.  Again you’ll start with a target in your hand centered in front of you.  Then move the target slowly in a straight line in each of the 8 directions of the compass.  Your objective is to smoothly pursue the target with both eyes keeping it in focus.  If you tend to lose focus or in a certain direction or if your eyes begin to tear up, take note of that direction as you’ll probably need more practice with it.

Exercise #3:  Full Eye Circles

Move the target in a circle along the outer limit of your visual field.  Follow the target without moving your head.  Try doing about 5-10 circles in each direction, clockwise and counter clockwise.  This is the most difficult of the 3 drills.

***A couple things to be aware of…

Tearing up or getting slightly dizzy are up signs of fatigue.  Don’t push yourself too hard with these eye drills.  If either of these occur while doing the drills, stop and rest a bit.  Start slow and just perform a few reps here and there.  Work to increase you stamina over time.  If you over do it you could end up nauseous or with a pretty bad head ache, so overtraining doesn’t pay off in this instance.

So try it out and let me know how it goes!  People are blown away by how BIG of an impact eye exercises can have on their strength, flexibility, and pain levels.  And, of course, if you have any questions just reach out to me at

If you’re in pain or dealing with nerve issues or neuropathy and you’d rather have a FitLife Professional evaluate you to don’t hesitate to schedule a free consultation.  We’d be happy to help.  Learn more about our evaluation process here.

Keep moving!

The Vestibular System

The Vestibular System

By Jennifer Davis

image from Science is beauty; tumblr


What is that?!

This is your vestibular system. Still confused? This very small but extremely important system supports us in everything that we do. It basically keeps us upright. Let me break it down for you.

Where is it located?

The vestibular organs are embedded in bone deep inside the skull.

Image from www

Anatomy of the Vestibular System

  1. Semi-Circular canals (Horizontal, Superior, Posterior)
  2. The otolith organs (Utricle, Saccule)
  3. The vestibulocochlear nerve

Its Job

1. To let us know which way is up and

2. To let us know which way we are going

So we know the vestibular system exists to tell us where we are in space. It tells us which way we are going. It
helps us keep our balance and communicates with our postural muscles so they know what to do whether that means to relax or to tense up.

The vestibular system is so important that it is the first system to develop for a baby when it is still in the womb.

Semi-Circular Canals

You have three of these canals as a part of each inner ear. Each canal has a name based on its position in relationship to the other two canals:

1. Horizontal

2. Superior/Anterior

3. Posterior

These canals are oriented at 90° to one another. As a result, they can signal head movement in any plane or combinations of planes.

These Canals have an important job
1. They Sense Head Motion and how fast the head is moving

2. Enable the VOR (Vestibulo-Ocular Reflex)

(if you are a client at the fit life fusion gym you are familiar with us having you do drills that involve gaze stabilization. We are checking your VOR.)

Did you know that the function of your eyes is closely connected to the function of your inner ear and vice versa? So poor visual skills or function can be damaging to inner ear function while inner ear injury or poor skills can be damaging to your eyes.

3. Each canal is formed by bone and filled with a thick gel something like Jell-O called endolymph. At the bottom of each canal, because they form a loop, there is an bulb called the ampulla. Sitting inside the ampulla is a sail shaped structure called the cupula. Attached to the bottom of the cupula is a nerve. When the head moves, this causes the fluid in the ear to bend the sail in one direction or the other. Depending on which direction the sail bends, the nerve either fires with greater or lesser frequency.

No single canal is designed to work alone. They all have partners on the opposite side of the head, and they work in what is called a PUSH/PULL arrangement.

  • Horizontal Canals: when we turn our head from Left to Right.
  • Left Anterior and Right Posterior Canals: When we move our head down and to the left diagonally.
  • Right Anterior and Left Posterior Canals: When we move our head down and to the right diagonally.So this is what happens when we rotate our heads.
  1. If you turn your head to the right, the fluid in your RIGHT HORIZONTAL CANAL bends the sail (cupula) in a direction that INCREASES the firing rate in the RIGHT vestibulocochlear nerve.
  2. At the same time, the fluid in your LEFT HORIZONTAL CANAL bends its sail in a direction that DECREASES the firing rate in the LEFT vestibulocochlear nerve.
  1. Your brain INTERPRETS this change in signaling from each ear as, “I just turned my head right.”
  2. Your brain will ALSO COMPARE this vestibular input with input from the visual and proprioceptive systems to make sure that all three are saying the same thing.So why is this information important for you? Let’s say you have had small injury (even if was extremely small) to your right inner ear. The injury causes the firing rate to be CONSTANTLY DECREASED. What this would mean over time is that the brain would be getting mixed signals and your brain now is viewing a natural movement that should be easy to do as a threat. As a trainer I will see decreased range of motion, lack of strength, issue in watching your gate, and very common enough you might be feeling pain somewhere.What if you don’t notice some of the symptoms mentioned above… Have you ever dealt with Vertigo, Motion Sickness, or maybe you notice you like to walk on your tippy toes a lot. These are some of the signs of a vestibular issue. In my next blog I will be doing a video showing certain drills that we like to use at the #FitLife Fusion gym that will fix vestibular issues. I hope this Blog was educational and interesting for you, please feel free to e-mail me with any comments or questions you may have about this blog.

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