Tag Archives: health

There is Always a Reason


Our sudden journey with Autism and alternative medicine

There is always a reason. You do something and there is a consequence. You speed, you get a ticket (or wink and smile). You eat too much and you feel sick. You drink too much and you act like a jerk. Same goes for injuries. You fall, you sprain your ankle or break a bone. These things don’t just occur. You don’t wake up one day and have a broken leg or are suddenly drunk. Ridiculous, right?

As you know there are reasons for internal issues in your body too.  Heart disease, diabetes, autoimmune diseases, cancer…anything and everything.

And there are reasons for behavioral/emotional and psychological disorders as well. Why shouldn’t there be? This is what most Autistic children are up against. Most doctors, specialists and even families have no clue that there are in fact reasons, real reasons for their child’s obscure behaviors. In fact, most of the behaviors that Autistic children display have very clear reasons.

We talked about low levels of zinc and magnesium and how it can disregulate the system causing sensory issues and bathroom issues. We talked a lot about food and its effects on the body and especially behavior.  We talked about yeast overload and bacteria and the changes that can take place as a result in the body. And of course we talked about the “leaky gut”. This causes incredible behavioral changes and dysfunction. There are reasons for everything. It’s not magical, or invisible and should never, ever be dealt with in that matter. Somebody needs to carefully dissect the behavior to determine what went wrong in the machine we call our body.

We aren’t robots, I know that.  We shouldn’t all be perfect. We all have personalities, similarities, differences…things we don’t necessarily need to change. But, when something goes wrong or deviant trying to figure it out instead of covering it up with medication should be the first line of defense. Why do we settle when we know that something is wrong. Much like a serial killer. This is not “ok” behavior. We all know this. Doctors/specialists/investigators have been trying to figure out the difference in these people for years…an extra chromosome, an abnormality in the brain, too much of one hormone and not enough of another.

Two weeks ago Liam started displaying some very strange, out of character behaviors at school and at home. We were completely stressed about it. It was scary and awful. Liam has always been a love. Sweet, kind, affectionate and generally obedient.  He is a really good listener and aims to please. But, suddenly things changed. The school, friends and even we didn’t know what happened? “Everyone changes”, people said. Maybe he is just “fed up” with listening to everyone that he is protesting? Maybe he’s bored or trying to get out of work….

I emailed our Nutritionist thinking maybe she would know if something had gone wrong with his diet or he is deficient in a vitamin, or has another parasite…she said that there is“always a reason for behavior”. I knew that. Of course there is. But, when you are in the thick of it and the people around you have little to no schooling in this philosophy it’s difficult to be the one, the brave soul to act on such radical thinking.

We went to see our Nutritionist a week after all of these “crazy” behaviors started and sure enough Liam had two types of yeast that were extremely high in his body. She named the 5 most common behaviors seen in Autistic children with high levels of yeast. Liam had all 5 of them. She gave us a new probiotic which helped both types of yeast and anti-fungal yeast drops to take twice a day. Three days after we started both remedies Liam stopped these behaviors. There is no amount of behavior modification,  ABA, or consequences that would have stopped these behaviors in three days!!!

I can’t help but think about many other Autistic children displaying “obscure” behaviors due to internal problems in their bodies.                                                                     Behaviors including:  self injury, crying and screaming out , tantrums, hurting others, loss of language and other skills like potty training . The list goes on.  It’s heartbreaking. Imagine that is your child. Just for a minute. And you could help them. Wouldn’t you? We can change the fate of our children. Good or bad. Many families have no idea that this is possible. They are told, to this day, that they should “accept the fate of their child and to move on”. We were told this…..only 10 months ago.

If I would have brought Liam to the Doctor or Specialist when he started these behaviors do you know what would have happened? We would have been sent home in tears thinking that this is “our new normal”. To readjust our expectations and to move on. That just infuriates me. It’s not ok!

I guess the moral to this story is to always do your own investigating. Don’t let others choose the fate of your child. If you see something “off”, different or wrong do your research. Look very closely at what has changed. Don’t accept this as your “new normal” or a phase until you are absolutely sure that everything is working properly inside. There is always a reason.

Please pass this one along. I wish I wrote this as my very first post. I think it’s more important than anything else I have written.

Thx for reading

The author, Erin Turner is the sister of Excel Fitness trainer Ilicia Balaban. For more information on Autism and alternative treatments, please visit www.liamsjourney.net or speak with Ilicia who can put you in touch with Erin directly!

Health Benefits of Herbs and Spices!

Did you know that some herbs and spices have more disease-fighting antioxidants than most fruits and vegetables?


Can lower blood sugar, triglycerides, LDL, and total cholesterol in people with type 2 diabetes. Try for one-fourth to one-half teaspoon of cinnamon twice a day.


Contains curcumin, which can inhibit the growth of cancer cells. Try to have 500 to 800 milligrams a day.


Stops gene mutations that could lead to cancer and may help prevent damage to the blood vessels that raise heart attack risk.


Destroys cancer cells and may disrupt the metabolism of tumor cells. One or two cloves weekly provide cancer-protective benefits.


Contains capsaicin, whose anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects may lower the risk of cancer. There’s no specific recommended dose, but moderation is probably the best way to go.


Can decrease motion sickness and nausea; may also relieve pain and swelling associated with arthritis. Doses used from 500 to 2,000 mg of powdered ginger.


A study found that, gram for gram, oregano has the highest antioxidant activity of 27 fresh culinary herbs.

Adding more herbs and spices to your diet can help reduce the risks of certain diseases.

For more information on how increasing your daily intake of certain foods can change how you approach health and fitness, as well as jump start weight loss and muscle development, schedule an appointment with one of Excel Fitness’ Certified Personal Trainer today. Call (860) 523-8167 or email info@excelfitnessct.com

By Chris Caruso, C.P.T.


What Is The Paleo Diet?

The Paleo diet is the healthiest way to eat because it is the only nutritional approach that works with the individual’s genetics to help promote lean mass, increase strength, and retain energy! Research in several different scientific disciplines, including exercise science indicates that our modern diet, full of processed food


high in gluten, preservatives, trans fats, and sugar, is at the root of degenerative diseases such as obesity, cancer, diabetes, heart disease, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, depression and infertility. Those who have tried the Paleo diet know that it delivers the best results, including:  improved blood lipids, weight loss, and reduced pain from autoimmunity. The Paleo diet may seem like a dramatic shift (not unlike the shift to the Atkins carb-free diet) but it is not as challenging as some may think. The Paleo diet provides simple solutions to remove the foods that are at odds with our health (grains, legumes, and dairy) and also increase our intake of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.

Lean proteins

Lean proteins support strong muscles, healthy bones and optimal immune function. Protein also makes you feel satisfied between meals.

Fruits and Vegetables

Fruits and vegetables are rich in antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and nutrients that have been shown to decrease the likelihood of developing a number of degenerative diseases including cancer, diabetes and neurological                                                                                                            decline.

Healthy fats from nuts, seeds, avocados, olive oil, fish oil and grass-fed meat

Scientific and epidemiological studies show that diets rich in Monounsaturated and Omega-3 fats dramatically reduce the instances of obesity, cancer, diabetes, heart disease and cognitive decline.

For more information on how the trainers at Excel Fitness can assist you with your health and weight loss goals please call today (860) 523-8167 to schedule a complimentary consultation!

By Chris Caruso, C.P.T.

Vitamin Z

Welcome to that special time of year, best characterized by the sniffling, sneezing, coughing, sore throat, body ache…FLU SEASON (among other illnesses)!!!!! Year after year we hear: “This is the worst flu season ever!” Ads from various drug stores and doctor’s offices urge the young and old to get their flu shot; while the shelves are routinely overstocked and repeatedly barren where the OTC analgesics reside.  There are many GOOD ways of protecting yourself from other people’s illness and amping up your immune system to handle any wayward germs that may make it past your best efforts:

To name a few:

  • Drink lots of water (64+ ounces/day)
  • Wash your hands every hour or more in hot water with anti-bacterial soap
  • Avoid sharing food, beverages, or other items that could be infected
  • At the gym, wipe down equipment before and after each use
  • Increase intake of vitamins A and C

This week I had my own bout with a particularly harsh stomach virus that left my so dehydrated after 10 hours that I ended up in the Emergency Room receiving 2 liters of IV fluids to replace what I had lost. I was told in the ER that I would probably feel sick for 4-5 days but after 48 hours, if a-symptomatic, I could return to work without fear of contaminating anyone else’s space.

I proceeded to doze in and out for the next 36-of-48 hours, which brings me to my point:


I promise, you can take all the Airborne, EmergenC, Multi-Vitamins, etc. you want to keep your immune system strong, but at the end of the day, SLEEP is the single best thing to boost your immune system and keep your body strong enough to fight off the crap Mother Nature continues to send our way!

If you do get sick: in addition to increased sleep, think protein and veggies! The same stuff that keeps you slim will keep most viruses and colds away. These “bugs” live on sugar (all carbs, especially wheat turn to sugar in your mouth). The more you can stay away from the “comfort foods” and stick to lean meats and veggies the quicker you will be back on your feet!

For more information on keeping yourself and loved ones healthy this Winter please speak with any of our Excel Fitness certified personal trainers (860) 523-8167.

By Ilicia Balaban, C.P.T.

Are You on a Healthy Diet?

Millions of people in the United States are considered to be overweight, and many of those who are overweight are actually obese. Carrying excess weight often leads to a whole list of health problems, including: heart disease, kidney disease, and diabetes among others. Weight loss isn’t easy, and for many of us it’s a battle just to maintain a healthy weight, let alone lose the extra weight that’s making us sick and keeping us unhealthy.

Finding the right diet for you can be a challenge on to itself. Conflicting messages in the media tend to lead us in many different directions, making it hard to know what information to trust or which diet plan will be most successful for our unique body. I mean every day you hear about some new fad diet, which is guaranteed to lose weight fast. Okay, some of these diets do that, but they are extremely low calorie diets, and as soon as you go off the diet and eat regular foods again, you will see the weight you lost come right back. The best way to lose weight and keep it off, is to follow a healthy diet that has all of the nutrients we need to stay healthy, and make sure that you are eating enough so that you do not feel hungry. Make sure that when you are on a diet, that you allow yourself the occasional treat. This will help to keep you from binging, which often happens to those who are on extremely low calorie weight loss diets.

For more information on proper nutrition for weight loss or exercise, schedule a complimentary consultation with one of our Excel Fitness certified personal trainers today!!! Stop by the gym, call (860) 523-8167 or email info@excelfitnessct.com.

By Chris Caruso, CPT

The Gym Membership Contract


A sad truth in the fitness industry is that from a purely monetary prospective, the best members are the ones who never show up. Places like  Planet Fitness and W.O.W. really have this strategy nailed down: plan on the fact that you won’t show up regularly (thereby lowering their operating costs), charge a low enough fee that you don’t really complain when you see it every month in your statement, and rely on the psychological deterrent of “cancelling your gym membership”. Because as long as you have a membership that means you can go, even if you don’t. But if you cancel, which is a pain in the butt, it sends a clear message that you in fact have thrown in the towel.

Once you’re a paying member they have you, with psychology and probably by a contract termination penalty, by the proverbial balls. The only missing link is ensuring that they close the deal once they have you in their clutches, and most gyms have the gym membership “closer” guy. I’ve seen personal trainers do it as well, essentially guilt tripping you into paying more money.

Why This Bothers Me So Much


Fighting back the sedentary life of a non-physical culture is hard. Walking into a gym that you don’t feel comfortable in, probably in a body you don’t feel comfortable in, and perhaps dealing with meatheads or at least people in far better shape than you, is not comfortable. At all. It is down right intimidating, scary, and unwelcoming.

Anyone out of shape who can walk into a barbell room and learn how to squat properly, especially by them self, deserves a golden trophy encrusted in diamonds. If that person is deconditioned, alone, and the gym is crowded, the trophy should also have little rocket boosters on the bottom so it can follow them around.

The membership guy isn’t the devil, of course. He’s some guy who needs to make money and it’s his job to sign you up, and he’s probably primarily on commission anyway. Certainly his performance is judged by the amount of people he or she is getting onboard. However, and there are books written about this very topic, the membership dude and his boss are both wrong.

Just Say No To Stupid Gyms

Give your money to a gym that puts fitness first, and relies on happy customers who are achieving their goals. The pressure sales tactics so commonly used in the fitness industry are, quite frankly, shameful. I have people who want to workout with me because they know I care about fitness and take it (and theirs) seriously. Look around for it. It probably won’t come in a glossy membership pamphlet and the gym might not have a lot of fancy gear, but I can promise you that a glossy brochure and an elliptical machine have zero bearing on you achieving your fitness goals.

For more information on the variety of personal training, health, and fitness services Excel Fitness has to offer please stop in or call one of our certified personal trainers to schedule a complementary consultation.

By Gary Maher, B.S.


2nd Annual Excel Fitness Wine Tasting and Open House!

We are gearing up to kick off fundraising for Making Strides Against Breast Cancer 2012!!! Last year we raised over $8,000 for the cause. Come celebrate and support a great cause again this year and bring your friends and family along with for the fun!

Wine donated by Wine Cellars Rt. 4. Snacks from Hartford Baking Company.

Over $1500 in door prizes from local businesses…Silent Auction and Raffle!  

All are welcome…bring your friends and family!!!

Thursday August 23rd 6:30-8:30pm

Auction Packages Include:

Fitness package:  3 personal training sessions, Excel Fitness t-shirt and water bottle!  $350 value!

Spa Package: Massage from Nurturing Hands, $100 gift certificate to United Artists Hair Salon, and spray tan from Tan Lines! $250 value!
Mind/Body Package: Gift certificate to Lucy, 5 Pilates group matt classes, 2 private dance classes at Arthur Murray Studio and dinner @ Arugula!  $275 value!

Metabolism; Use it or Lose it!

Metabolism; Use it or lose it!

Jeff Roux B.S. Exercise Science 5/4/2011

You’ve probably heard it before, “as soon as I turned 30 my metabolism slowed down and I can’t seem to lose weight.”  You may have also heard, “it’s easier for men to lose weight.”  Oh really, why?

Here is my myth-busters enlightenment on these subjects.  Firstly, slower metabolism due to decreased muscle mass and increased body fat in males and females is most likely attributed to inactivity rather than to any aging effect.  Secondly, lean mass the primary determiner of metabolism or resting metabolic rate (RMR) is scientifically not different between males and females, only the amounts of mass differ.  An adult male and female with like lean mass and body fat contents could have the same RMR’s providing that they have similar exercise and nutritional habits.

Fact; we do tend to lose about 1% of our strength per year after the age of 30 and at age 50 about 1.5% and 2% after age 70.  The loss of strength is due to the loss of lean mass and neural muscular facilitation (coordination and synchronization of muscle fibers and contractions) hence the decrease in metabolism.  Again, however; the loss of strength can be attributed to INACTIVITY not aging.  There is considerable evidence that shows an intense (>80% 1RM, repetition max) resistance training program increases both muscle mass and strength in 60-96 year old individuals.  These training programs resulted in increases of up to 30% muscle fiber area and up to and over 100% in 1RM Strength.  Increasing your lean mass through resistance exercise training at any age will directly increase your metabolism.

Male or Female you can no longer use your age or sex as an excuse, only your lack of motivation and resistance to resistant training.  To learn more about safely incorporating weight training into your life contact the professionals at Team Excel Fitness.

E. Howley, B. Franks, 2007 Health and Fitness Instructors Handbook, Human Kinetics, IL. pg 282,283

“Transcending Health”

Transcending Health will be a new reoccurring addition to the Excel Fitness Blog.  Transcending  is defined by Merriam-Webster Dictionary as “to rise above or go beyond the limits of” and “to rise above or extend notably beyond ordinary limits.”

The purpose of this new segment is to demonstrate how Health and Fitness transcends beyond the act of exercising properly and eating well.

Hope you enjoy this segment and the many to come.



(too easy, the term has health in it already)

by Jerry Stien, DDS

The mouth is the opening to the human body. Can you imagine a person with missing teeth, decay, discoloration, and swollen red gums ?

We all know how important it is to stay in good shape through daily exercise and a healthy diet. It is also essential to keep the teeth and mouth clean and free of disease.

Missing teeth can cause shifting of the remaining teeth, thus causing pain in the hinge joint of the lower jaw bone, which can quickly intensify with constant opening and closing. Decay can cause bacteria to enter the nerve tissue of the tooth, resulting in extreme pain and swelling, thus necessitating either root canal therapy or extraction of the involved tooth or teeth.

Built up of food or plaque around the tooth has been found to be more harmful than previously believed. Without routine dental appointments and daily care, this plaque can build up and destroy the bone holding the tooth in its socket. If it progresses to an extreme, it can cause bad breath,and loss of teeth. More importantly, the bacteria present in this area between the tooth bone and gums can get into the blood stream causing systemic disease, heart problems and, in some cases, even death.

In the long run, by taking care of your mouth, teeth, and gums along with regular physical exercise and a healthy diet, the average individual can count on a longer life, less stress, and a more positive personal image.

Exercise has medicine-like effects on mood?

By: Shawn M. O’Brien, M.S.

Our delicate human bodies were meant to move (i.e.- run, lift, protect, hunt, gather, etc), but there are various other reasons why one should consider to “exercise” or participate and be consistently active in exercise programs like; running, weight training, yoga, dancing or organized sports.

Reasons to exercise can be as simple as increasing one’s self confidence/self worth or the reasons can be as important as decreasing incidence of cardiovascular disease, manage diabetes and/or increased quality of life.  Exercise, of numerous varieties, result in “significant reductions in a depressed mood, fatigue and cortisol levels, as indicated in a study of rowers on a workout protocol compared to those in a control group” (Perna, 1998).  Cortisol is a stress response hormone, which causes specific hormones to flood your body which causes your mood changes.  Without this bio-feedback system we couldn’t live, but when cortisol levels rise to dangerous levels, development of physical and mental disease and conditions can be brought on by chronic stress (Leland, 2010).

Varieties of exercise can be used to improve one’s emotional state, which will decrease cortisol levels and increase endorphins (hormones produced by the pituitary gland and the hypothalamus produced during exercise to give a feeling of well being).  Not only do rowing, running, yoga and weight training produce significant levels of endorphins, they also aid in the reduction of cortisol, decrease appetite, decrease depression and increase levels of happiness. For example, a group with the regular habit of doing yoga with a method of meditation, breathing and self-guided imagery showed lower scores of negative mood scale and higher scores of positive mood scale, lower levels of s-cortisol compared to the group without this regular habit (Watanabe, E, 2002).

Want to have a better workout? Consider a program consisting of yoga, stretching, cardiovascular training, weight training, recreational events and meditation can have long-term benefits for not only your mental health, but your physical health.  A variety of these activities performed 4-7 days a week with variations of intensity will be best.  Please see your doctor for clearance and visit a reputable personal trainer for further exercise programming. 

Look Good. Feel Good. Play Good.

Leland, Kevin, “The Effects of Stress, Cortisol, Serotonin and Exercise,” STRESS, 2010.

Perna, FM, “Cognitive-behavioral intervention effects on mood and cortisol and during exercise training.” Annual Behavior Medical Journal. 1998 Spring:20(2):92:8.

Watanabe, E, “Altered Responses of Saliva Cortisol and Mood Status by Long-period Special Yoga

Exercise Mixed with Meditation and Guided Imagery.” Journal of International Society of Life

Information Science. 20, pg 2, 2002.