Daily Question July 1st 2008

Today’s daily question(s) relate to credit card use.

How many credit cards do you have?

What are their balances?

What do you use them for?

What’s the highest interest card?

Thanks and be sure to leave a comment

Personal Training

Brandon’s last post (which is a great one) inspired me to talk about my job as a personal trainer – the benefits and detriments. Personal training is a great job! The hours are flexible, the pay is generous, and the “miscellaneous perks” are rewarding. As always, I am happy to answer any questions you may have!!!!

I can set almost any hours I choose, which is good for me, because I have two other jobs. Fortunately, one of the other jobs is located within the gym – this is my job at the physical therapy clinic. My other job, playing classical/Spanish guitar at weddings, usually takes up my time on the weekend.

The pay is phenomenal. At my location, trainers are paid 35-50/hr depending on the package that the client has purchased. This is really unbelievable when you think about it. This is equivalent to the hourly rate of someone who makes 70,000 – 100,000 dollars a year!!!! We’re talking physical therapists, physicians’ assistants, and accountants – jobs that require much more education.

As a trainer, you also have a great opportunity for networking!! People who purchase training packages are usually paying between 60-100/hr for personal training. It is safe to say these folks are somewhat successful. I train at least two multimillionaires (one may be a billionaire – no exaggeration) both of whom also happen to be great individuals who are willing to give me little tips and advice. Some even help network my guitar performance career – I was fortunate enough to play at a Nancy Pelosi event just a couple weeks ago. Regardless of your political standing, you can’t deny that that was a great networking opportunity – several people took my card!

But what about the detriments?

There is some job insecurity. For example, my gym has had a drop in membership due to the recent economic lull. Trying to train full time would come with some anxiety because you never know how many clients you will have. It is possible you could go through times without having any clients.

Also, the people you work with – your fellow trainers – can tend to have a little attitude. Many trainers, I think, get by on their genetic predisposition for looking good – not on having a firm grasp of physiology. A lot of times this is ok, especially if their clients are resilient without previous injury. Sometimes, it is horrible, especially if they have an older client with an undiagnosed disk bulge! Or an unconditioned rotator cuff! This situation has BAD NEWS written all over it.

Don’t get me wrong – there are some great trainers out there!! In fact my boss, our head trainer, is phenomenal, but there are some bad apples to watch out for.

If you are interested in a career as a personal trainer, I would be happy to answer any questions you might have.

Also, I am very interested in any experiences you may have had with your own trainer, good or bad!

Options are a good thing (Part 1)

I’m a firm believer that options are a GREAT thing. I’m completely satisfied with my current job. I don’t make a ton of money, but I never work over 40hrs/wk, and have a bunch of other awesome benefits (company paid internet bill, company car, work from home, etc). Just to be clear I really enjoy my job and am completely satisfied with my career, especially for being one year out of college. But, and there is always a but, I’m always networking and expanding my potential career paths.

I have mentioned in my previous posts that I tutor high school students for a little extra income each month. Tutoring for me has two HUGE benefits…extra money and networking with some extremely successful people. Every family I tutor is worth millions of dollars, all the dads own successful companies, and almost all the moms are stay at home moms. Needless to say, the are all very well off financially. After one of my tutoring sessions I was chatting with the mom about her real estate business.

Let me give you a little insight about this family. The dad owns a construction company and designs/builds homes. The mom is a passive real estate agent that sells when she wants or when it’s convenient for her. They own 15 homes in a VERY nice part of San Diego and are amazing people with great hearts. Anyways, after tutoring the mom told me she is pretty busy because her real estate business is booming. She went on to make subtle comments like “My husband and I need to hire someone to help us out, but I’m just too much of a control freak.” She told me I should get my real estate license so I can sell houses with her. I have flirted with the idea of getting my license before, so when she said this my eyes lit up. I told her I would definitely look in to getting my license.

Here’s my thought process. I love interacting with people, the idea of selling homes is very appealing, possibility of big income, and getting to work side-by-side with a super successful realtor all make this potential career path very exciting to me. I’m not putting all my eggs in one basket. I’m not going to quit my job assuming I’ll get my license and sell a million homes. I know real estate is a shaky industry. BUT, like the title of this blog, I believe options are a good thing. I begin my real estate classes in a month and will begin to open more doors for my future.

Wish me luck,

Read on for part 2 here

Eustress and Distress

The following is one of the most important guidelines when in comes to exercise. So important, in fact, that it applies to every workout you will every do.It is the concept of distress and eustress. Distress is negative stress such as being sick or going through a painful breakup. Eustress is positive ‘stress’ such as accomplishing a goal, being particularly excited about something, or being in a loving relationship. Distress and eustress can come from all parts of your life. Your job, diet, relationships, etc…can all add to your total stress level (positive or negative). Exercise is actually a mix of distress and eustress – but the most immediate effect of a reasonable demanding workout is distress. Each time you plan a workout routine, or begin a workout session, you need to take into account your overall stress level. For example, if you do not have to work very many hours, have access to a great diet, are in a wonderful loving relationship, and are getting plenty of rest every night, you may be able to handle a workout routine consisting of 2 workouts a day – five days a week. If you have a physically demanding job, at which you work long hours, and are going through a ‘tough time’ personally, then the best routine for you may consist of only two workouts a week.

This concept is very important and easily illustrated in the following real life situations.

Situation #1 When I was a junior in college, around the beginning of the year, I had a somewhat demanding workout regimen – I lifted weight and ran 5-6 days a week – and I did all these at a high intensity. I was getting good results, I wasn’t huge, but I was really cut. Unfortunately I also had a demanding school load and I was right on the brink of over training (a lot of distress). Then it happened – I had a dose of personal stress, and it was enough to throw me over the edge. I became sick and had almost zero energy for a couple weeks to a month.

Situation #2 I was studying abroad in Spain. Classes were short and easy. Everyday life was fun and relaxing; I also had good nutrition. I had a good supply of eustress. I lived near gym and trained consistently 4-5 days a week. The training was great; I made gains, and never felt over trained or exhausted.

Situation #3 After leaving Spain, I moved back to San Diego. In San Diego I began training very hard. Life was not the stressful outside of training – but the exercises I was doing were very hard on my body and was not giving myself enough rest. I eventually injured my shoulder. My shoulder joint basically had much more distress then eustress (in the form of giving the muscle a break and chance to heal).

Situation #4 (The current situation) I have a very busy, yet somewhat irregular work schedule. Because of the irregularity, some weeks are harder then others. Because of this, and my experience with over training, I know that some weeks I can perform five to six workouts and some I can only perform two. My results are good so far. I have avoided overtraining, but am still making gains. All in all, I am very happy.

So, before your next workout or before planning your workout schedule, take some time to think about the sources of both distress and eustress in your life and how they may affect your available energy for exercise.

This article was featured in the weight managment and fitness forum carnival.

Parkinson’s disease and pesticide exposures – part 2.

The following is brief review of a literature review published in the British Medical Bulletin in 2006 (1). A literature review is a paper that reviews a great number of published studies on a specific topic. This review looked at published articles dealing with the topic of Parkinson’s and pesticide exposure. The review concluded that many studies have shown an association between pesticides and Parkinson’s disease, however; no one pesticide as been consistently identified. The pesticides that have shown a correlation include organochlorine insecticides, maneb and paraquat. (more on these pesticides and where they are used later). One reviewed study showed an almost doubling of risk in individuals exposed to Pesticides! The researcher also notes that it is difficult to single out a specific pesticide because individuals who are exposed are often exposed to several. The current body of evidence indicates that pesticides are associated with Parkinson’s disease, but, as of 2006, more research is needed to improve techniques for estimating specific pesticide exposure.

The next steps in this blog series are to, 1 identify where the previously mentioned pesticides are used, 2 look at studies identifying additional pesticides, and 3 look at studies that have researched specific pesticide effects on animal neurons.

Also – Parkinson’s disease anatomy fact #2 ( the first was the substantia nigra); The basal ganglia is the portion of the brain that contains the substantia nigra. The basal ganglia is interconnected with the cerebral cortext, thalamus, and brainstem. The substantia nigra is Latin for “black substance.”

Substantia nigra also plays a role in addictive behaviors because some drugs, such as cocaine, prevent the reuptake of dopamine, effectively increasing the amount of dopamine in the brain. However, the addiction has more to do with the mesolimbic pathway then the substantia nigra, which is part of a different dopamine pathway.

Disclaimer: I am currently in the process of researching this issue – so there is definitely a chance I may post corrections in the future!!!! But am doing my very best to report accurate and concise information.

1. Dick FD, Br Med Bull. 2006;79-80:219-31. Epub 2007 Jan 22.

Pesticides and Parkinson’s

Parkinson’s is a disease characterized by degeneration of dopamine producing neurons in a portion of the brain called the substancia nigra. The reduction in dopamine results in loss of motor control and tremor.

It is known that pesticide and fungicide exposure increases risk of developing the disease. This has been shown in several studies. A study of the small farming community of Fairfield, Montana, revealed that the rate of Parkinson’s in older inhabitants is 1 out of 60, while the national average is about 1 in 272. Further studies have shown a direct relationship. I thought about reviewing several of the studies in this blog, but, to be honest, it would be easy for anyone reading this to google the words “Parkinson’s” and “pesticides” and peruse the results. The point is that we should all think about the contact we have with pesticides. Think about the food you eat, were pesticides used on or around it? Or think about the gardening you may do – what chemicals are you using – what about fungicides – are they used in your home or place of work? What about the house cleaners you use.

I personally have a friend with Parkinson’s and it is a debilitating horrible disease – other neurological disease, such as Alzheimer’s, are equally devastating. It is likely that the neurological damage that characterizes these disease is caused by several factors – but one cause is definitely the environment we live in and are exposure to certain things in the environment – such as pesticides.

I don’t want everyone to be scared, but aware.


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