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Why My Daughter Harlow Sees a Chiropractor

Many people come in and out of the office, and one thing they see that surprises a large number of them is just how many babies and children are getting adjusted. 

Is a baby or child adjustment the same as an adult adjustment? No way! There is very little force, if any, but the goal is the exact same. The goal is to protect the brain and spinal cord and make sure there is no pressure, allowing the body to perform at 100%. The aim is to do this from birth so they can experience what it is like to be at their healthiest without pressure on their nervous system while growing up. IMG_5484

We have been taking our daughter Harlow to a pediatric chiropractor, Dr. Savy Irby in Atlanta, since birth, and her progress has been amazing. Harlow never had any symptoms of anything wrong when she started, but our goal is to keep it that way. 

Fortunately, she has never had an ear infection, been colicky, sick for more than 24 hours, or had any digestive problems including acid reflux. We take her to get adjusted between 2 – 4 times a month depending on many factors, but instead of waiting for something to be wrong we want her to experience her truest health potential from the beginning. 

One thing that’s awesome to see when parents bring their children in early is how their health transforms, and how less sick and happier they become. I have seen kids with chronic ear infections who have been through surgery get help, babies with acid reflux feel better, and colicky babies get adjusted and instantly calm down. 

The spine is delicate when growing up, and the amount of falls Harlow will have while learning to walk will be in the thousands. Also, the birthing process itself is extremely stressful on the body, whether it’s done by cesarean, with drugs, or all natural. IMG_3546

Our family’s philosophy when it comes to health is to always be proactive and never wait for problems to happen before taking care of ourselves, but doing so before something is wrong. I have seen too many people get sick or pass way with no warning signs and our families philosophy is to do everything to be our healthiest. 

Many people live reactively, which means they wait until a problem exists before they see somebody or do something positive for their health. 

I talked last week about having a Lifestyle Team of people who care for you regularly, and these are people you see while you feel great. I talked about how amazing medical doctors are, but they are there for when we have a problem, and so it’s up to us to create better lifestyle patterns to prevent us from needing to see them.

I know my daughter will grow up in a world of lots of sports activity, tons of texting, and frequent computer usage, so our goals right now are to give her the winner’s edge to be her healthiest from birth. 

If any of you have any children you would like us to check then please reply, as this Saturday, October 31st, Dr. Savy has blocked off her entire schedule to assess kids complimentary for newsletter readers. 

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How to Assemble Your Healthcare Team

If there is one thing I have learned over the past 10 years of being submerged in the healthcare world, it’s that in order to be healthy there is only one person responsible, and that is YOU. 

I see many people day in, day out who think that because they have the “greatest”doctors, that those doctors are responsible for their health. Wrong! 

Those doctors are the best and there for you in crisis situations, but they are not there for you and your lifestyle problems. For example, if you eat doughnuts, ho-hos, and drink diet colas all day and go to your doctor for high cholesterol, then their responsibility is to treat your high cholesterol. Is it their responsibility to sit down with you and ask you about your diet, then put you on an anti-inflammatory diet including a high omega-3 cycle to raise HDL and lower LDL? No. You created a problem from your lifestyle, and your medical doctor’s only job is treat your problem, not look at the cause unless they are integrative medicine, which is not the norm. 

This is why myself and my family have made it a point to not only have good medical doctors on the sidelines in case something goes wrong, but more importantly to have good lifestyle professionals. We want people on our team that play the game of life with us and keep us healthily living out our potential. By seeing these professionals I am able to hopefully prevent myself from being forced to visit my medical doctor, because I am working on my own health and taking responsibility. 

We call these people our Lifestyle Team, and if you look at our credit card bills you won’t find a lot of retail shopping, going out to bars, or high cable/internet bills, because our values lie in our health. We don’t find value in shopping, going out for drinks, or having the platinum Comcast plan, but rather in taking care of our health because we know it’s the only one we will get. 

Many of you will say “It’s too expensive to do all those things,”but if you really looked hard at where your money went you may realize that there is always extra to put towards a Lifestyle Team. Check your cable bills, bar tabs, restaurant bills and shopping statements, and usually you will always find enough for the best investment, which is the investment in your health. 

Our Lifestyle Team

1) The first one is hopefully obvious, and it is that my family and I (including my baby Harlow) get adjusted regularly at least 2-4 times a month. We see a chiropractor as well to keep our nervous system clear of interference, allowing our bodies to function at 100%.Health

Fortunately my daughter has not been sick nor had any ear infections, colicky, or acid reflux, and we attribute that to her regular adjustments of keeping her spine clear.

Many of you know how aggressive I am with working out and training, and fortunately I can say I have been injury free and able to do the things I want without limitations because of chiropractic.

My wife post-baby has been feeling great and really enjoys chiropractic as a way to get her body realigned so her spine and hips don’t become issues in the long term. 

2) The other key player on my Lifestyle Team is my massage therapist, who I see twice a month. As stated earlier, I put my body through the ringer and work it pretty hard, so making sure my soft tissue and muscles are activated and flushed of toxins is extremely important for me to feel my best.

Massage is also a rare time when I get 90 minutes to think about nothing, do nothing, and become aware of my body. It helps to check in and see where am I working out too hard or where there could be muscle imbalances. 

3) A player who I have had on my team for 2 years and who I unfortunately took some time away from during Ironman training is my acupuncturist. I usually go once a month to balance my energy and when I walk away I feel extremely relaxed. Acupunc

People always ask me “Do you feel a big difference?”, and the honest answer is “not really”, but it’s one of those things that I know is good for my body. Many of us take supplements, and do we feel a difference? No, but we know that it is good for us and the right thing to do. Acupuncture has been around for thousands of years, and some of the healthiest cultures in the world use this as their primary provider. My philosophy is, success leaves clues, so follow what the super healthy are doing and jump on the bandwagon. 

4) The final player on my team is my nutritional advisor, who fortunately works in my office. She not only gives me guidance on certain foods to eat, but uses muscle testing to determine if the supplements I take work with my body or against it. She has me on a regime protocol of supplements to heal my body from the undue stress I put on it day to day. 

I know our society is used to seeing doctors when something is wrong, but your Lifestyle Team is there to help you be preventive while everything is right. This mindset is completely different thinking, but I see these results every day, as my patients who are more proactive with all areas of their health are much healthier than the reactive ones.

The fact is that ALL of us will get only one life on this earth, so why not be proactive and live it to the max? If doing these things can have me playing with my daughter when I am 70 years old, then it was all completely worth it. 


How I Stopped Craving Sugar in 2 Weeks

On September 27th, 2015 I completed Ironman Chattanooga, and since that moment I feel like I have gotten so much of my life back.

One of the biggest gains is getting back to doing the things that made me super healthy and fit, which included both CrossFit and Paleo.IMG_3409

I started back at CrossFit on October 4th and went 5 times last week, going 3 days on and 1 day off to recover. I can already feel some of the gains physically, although I know that getting my strength back will be a journey as I lost roughly 25% on many of my 1-rep maxes.

The other change was going back to eating a diet that is 85% paleo.

From 2010 – March 2014 I ate roughly an 85% paleo diet which helped me put on 20 pounds of pure muscle and reduce my body fat percentage to 5 – 7%. It felt amazing to be that fit, but my body also never craved crappy foods, and when I would eat too much gluten I could feel it in my stomach. The reason I was not eating 100% paleo was because my protein powder was whey, which is dairy, and 1 – 2 times a month I would eat pizza (my vice). As far as alcohol consumption, I am not a big drinker, consuming perhaps 1 – 2 beers a week, but never more than 2 or any hard liquor.

Once April 2014 happened I began training for Ironman competitions and my paleo diet dropped to 50%. I was occasionally drinking Gatorades, natural colas, Cliff Bars, and other snacks that would help me survive my long endurance workouts. I ate for fuel and made sure my body had good stores of sugar in place for the amount of hours I was putting into my training.

Now, over the past 2 weeks I have been back to eating 85% paleo and have lost all of my sugar and grain cravings. Were the first couple of weeks difficult? YES!

My body craved the sugary foods the entire time, but I knew that if I stuck to my high protein and high fat diet then eventually my brain would lose those cravings. Sugar is highly addictive (proven by research), which is why our daughter has not had any sugar-laden drinks or foods as well as grains, which are converted into sugar and spike blood sugar. Indeed, the more you eat those kind of foods, the more your body will eventually crave them.

It feels so great now to be 2 weeks in eating 85% paleo and I finally feel like the cravings have subsided, although I was definitely tempted this weekend at numerous parties. If I went to those parties during my Ironman training then I believe I would have eaten those sweets, but now that I am losing the addiction my body is finally adapting, with the cravings fast disappearing.

You can all do the exact same thing I did, but the key is sticking to mostly good fats and good proteins and staying away from sugar or grains. Your body will definitely crave them for the first few days like mine, but stand your ground and know eventually that all cravings will subside.

Here is the food pyramid I follow for those of you looking to eat the same way I do:
—-Nuts and Seeds

———Fruits and Vegetables

————–Grassfed beef/Pasture Raised Chicken/Wild Fish


Ironman Chattanooga 2015 Report: A Churn in my Stomach

It was 4:45 AM on race day and somehow I got one of the best night’s sleep of my life. 

My wife Shira and I went to bed at 8:30 PM, and for the first time before a race I didn’t keep waking up throughout the night. I have been getting very good sleep recently, and this is mostly because a few months ago I began taking Natural Calm Magnesium, which I talked about a couple of weeks ago

The first thing I did when I woke up on race day was put my Zoot tri suit on as well as my t-shirt and sweatpants. My goal was to stay as relaxed as possible throughout the day, so being comfortable for the race was important. 

For breakfast I ate 4 hard-boiled eggs, a Perfect Bar, energy chunks from Whole Foods, and drank a Gatorade. I brought another Perfect Bar with me as well as a pre-workout drink called Push from Stronger, Faster, Healthier. 

My dad took me to the race at 5:00 AM for body markings and to check on my bike. I froze 2 bottles of Gatorade the night before so they’d be refreshingly cold on the bike (this hurts me later), and put those in the cup holders. I also made sure to turn my GPS tracker on, which was in my bike bag, so it would be one less thing to think about in transition. 

At 5:30 AM, I was shuttled in a school bus 2.5 miles up the riverfront to get in line for the swim start. At this point I was still undecided about wearing a wetsuit as the people on the bus said no, but the people in transition were saying yes. 

When I got in line for the start of the race I ended up talking to two very nice gentlemen doing the race who were both Kona qualifiers and said “wear the wetsuit.” They knew I did not have a goal of going to Kona, and since the water temperature was 77.1 not below 76.1, wearing a wetsuit would disqualify me from Kona qualifying. They said, “If you’re not going to Kona you might as well wear the wetsuit and go faster and save your energy.”Well, they sold me and thankfully I wore my new full-length wetsuit. Photo

At 7:20 AM, the gun went off and they sent the professionals in the water to go first. At 7:30 AM they began sending the 2800 age group competitors who chose not wear wetsuits in. By about 7:52 AM, all of the non-wetsuit athletes were in the water and I could finally see the dock where I would jump off to begin the race. The past 18 months of training was culminating in this one moment, and I knew I was about to begin a day of 12-14 hours of working out. At 7:54 AM I jumped in the water and began my swim downstream for 2.5 miles to Ross’Landing, where I would transition onto my bike. 

The swim course was amazing and rarely did I run into anyone as the spacing was perfect. Only about halfway through the swim did I begin catching up to the non-wetsuit racers and at a couple points the congestion built up, but it would spread out pretty fast. I finished the swim with a great time of 1:04:53, which put me in the top 32% of all racers. 

I decided that I was going to change into a completely new outfit for the bike, so my transition time was 7:37. 

I doused my legs up with magnesium lotion, took 8 amino acids, and loaded up my ‘area’with chamois cream to prevent as much chaffing as possible. 

I started the bike feeling amazing and my bike was moving faster after an awesome tune-up at Atlanta Cycling. They got me a new chain and drivetrain, which was essentially giving me a new bike as my old one was completely worn and beginning to rust. The first 30 miles I was warming up and averaging a 16.48 mph pace. I was feeling great at this time, drinking my Gatorades, eating my Perfect Bars, and taking in nutrition from the aid stations. For the next 20 miles I was going even faster, averaging 19.2 mph and feeling amazing in my legs and body. 

As I got to my bike special needs around mile 55 I was feeling really good, and then there was mile 60. 

At roughly mile 60, my stomach completely gave out and gave me some of the worst pains I have ever experienced. By this point I knew I screwed up my whole nutrition plan by taking in too much Gatorade and eating too many crappy bars. My pace dropped to an average of 13.5 mph for the next 60 miles as my legs felt fine, but peddling fast would hurt my stomach. 

For those final 60 miles of the bike I only drank water and even had another racer let me borrow 2 Tums, which barely did anything. All I could think about was getting off the bike and onto the run so I could get this gut issue to go away. 

Finally, after 116 miles of biking, I reached the end and was moving towards the second transition with the same stomach pains as mile 60 on the bike. 

Once again I changed my outfit completely and it took me roughly 5:04 to get out of transition and onto the marathon. 

The first few miles were the roughest with my stomach pains as my first 3.6 miles I only averaged 12:29/mile paces, which was extremely slow for me. I began drinking coke and eating oranges on the run, and slowly my stomach pain began calming down. The next 3 miles I was able to get to a 11:24/mile, then dropped to 11:11/mile. The run was great with all of the people along the sidelines, especially around Barton. I don’t know if people understand how much it helps to have them on the sidelines, but sometimes it’s the comments complete strangers say that motivate me the most. IMG_7030

As I saw the mile 24 sign I could feel the energy and knew how close I was to accomplishing this bucket list item. By now, I could hear the announcer telling people “You are an Ironman,”and this helped to bring my pace down to a 10:35/mile, which was my best 3-mile split the whole race. 

The final mile is one of my favorites because this is when my mind starts thinking about all the sacrifices I made for so long. I began thinking about my family and how supportive they have been by giving me the freedom to train. I thought about my daughter and how much training I had to do which meant that I missed so many nights she went to bed. I thought about my employees and how so many times I had to sneak out early to train before dark while they were still there doing work and picking up my weight. That final stretch is the most emotional and everything that every triathlete lives for. 

I finished the race with a time of 14:02, which was an hour over my goal time, but I was still proud to have finished and stayed mentally focused throughout the gut pains.


Thanks again to everyone for all the love and support. For now, my bike has been retired for a pretty long time. 


What I Am Getting into Post-Ironman (May shock some of you)

I am now only 1 week out (September 27, 2015) from completing Ironman Chattanooga, which has been a journey of intense training for the past 18 months. 

This dream of competing in endurance races has been back and forth for almost 10 years, and it is crazy to think that in 2006 I did my first marathon. This chapter of extreme long-distance endurance races is most likely over for the foreseeable future, but there may be some minor races in the interim. The endurance races are a love-hate relationship as the training and figure my body turns into is not the most desired, but the discipline and commitment it takes to accomplish one of these races is my favorite test.

The weeks of 10-14-hours of training and spending each weeknight doing 2-hour workouts while using Sundays to bike for 4-6 hours is finally done. The toll this took on spending time with my family was very challenging, and I cannot wait to sleep in on a Sunday, play with my daughter, then go to brunch and hang out with my family for the day. I feel like it has been forever since we were able to do that, and I cannot believe that this will be coming up in less than 1 week. 

When I started training for my first Ironman in 2014, I weighed 185 pounds and was 5-7% body fat. Since April 2014 I have dropped down to 168 pounds and would guess that I am at a #Instacollagebody fat percentage of 15%, as I have lost much of my muscle definition from weight training. Once this race is over I cannot wait to get back to weight training and doing CrossFit again with all of my friends. My goal is going to get even stronger than I was in 2014 and work on making it to 190 with the same body fat percentage of roughly 7%. Some of this may change depending on whether I get accepted into the Escape From Alcatraz Triathlon, but that race is a much shorter distance and the hardest part of it is the swim. The current is extremely tough, the water temperature is in the 50’s, and the worry of getting eaten by a great white would cross my mind but make me swim faster. However, I won’t know about that until November, so for now my concentration will be weight training and hiring a coach to program my weekly workouts. 

Along with spending time with family and putting on muscle, I plan to take my health to unreached heights. In October I will be undergoing lots of blood, urine, stool, and hair testing to analyze many biomarkers in my body to see just how healthy I am. I don’t go to medical doctors on a yearly basis for checkups, but I will be doing my own blood work and getting it assessed by integrative doctors who specialize in keeping people healthy. This way I can track many of the tests that most doctors don’t look at, but are some of the most important and don’t sway easily based on the days before diet and stress. Some markers I plan to track are: 

* Homocysteine
* Bacteria in gut from stool
* C-reactive protein
* Glutathione
* Liver enzymes
* Vitamin D levels
* Testosterone
* Cortisol
* Particle sizes of cholesterol
* And much more.

Finally, as far as business I will allocate an increased amount of time to setting up more Corrective Chiropractic offices and completing my book in early 2016. Beyond the time it takes to train for one of these races, there is a component to emotional and physical stress that is difficult to explain unless you’ve been through it. When you train at this level your body’s hormones are completely out of balance and the body lives in a state of stress. As I get my body regulated again and back in balance, it’ll be nice to have that energy and oomph back to making Corrective Chiropractic even more of a powerhouse in Atlanta than it already is. My book, which has been a journey over the past 2 years, is about to go through the final editing process and will be a guide for anyone looking to take their fitness to the next level, with tons of tips and strategies.  

Thanks so much to everyone for all of their support throughout the past 18 months, as there is no way I could have done this without a team. My wife has been the most patient and completely supportive of helping me achieve this goal. My staff have had to deal with me leaving early at night and coming in fatigued after many days of intense training, but they have undoubtedly been the best staff an employer could wish for. 



Workout regularly? Make Sure You are Sufficient with this Mineral

For the past 18 months, I have lived and died by this mineral. Fortunately, I found plenty of ways to get this into my body. In fact, if I hadn’t found this mineral, which I have talked about in previous posts, then this week could have been hell for me. This was one of the toughest workout weeks of my life. The following was my schedule: 

Tuesday – Swim 2 miles, then bike 15 milesIMG_3309IMG_3310

Wednesday – Bike 27 miles

Thursday – Swim 1.2 miles

Friday – Run 30 minutes

Saturday – Bike 100 miles

Sunday – Run 15 miles

With just two weeks to go for my race, the Ironman Chattanooga, I am making sure I am doing everything possible to stay healthy, recover fast, and keep my mineral balance in check. 

Would you like to guess the mineral – if you are a regular blog reader??? M______________

If you said magnesium, you are absolutely right. I make sure to constantly get this into my body. On Saturday, when I did my 100-mile bike ride, I put magnesium lotion on my legs before and after my ride, and then took a 20-minute magnesium salt bath after my ride. Before I went to bed, I dissolved a spoonful of natural calm magnesium in a cup of water. 

When I woke up on Sunday to run 2.5 hours, I felt great and ready to move. 

Magnesium is a mineral NOT produced by the body, which is why it’s so important to get an abundant amount, especially for those who regularly workout. Magnesium helps with many processes within the body and by being deficient can create a slowed down response and decreased muscle performance. 

Research has shown that 70% of people are deficient in magnesium, which is why it’ll be important to begin loading up on it. 

Here are the sources I use for magnesium and the bath flakes. I use it in my daughter’s bath as it helps her relax before bed, and calm’s her muscles. 

1) Ancient Minerals Magnesium Spray

2) Life-flo Pure Magnesium Flakes

3) Natural Calm MagnesiumIMG_3314

If you are looking for food sources, then check out the following (with the suggested amounts): 

Magnesium-Rich Foods

Pumpkin seeds (roasted)- 532
Almonds – 300
Brazil nuts- 225
Sesame seed – s200
Walnuts – 158
Spinach – 80
Broccoli – 30
Banana- 29
Note: (Milligrams per 100 grams).

* Source: USDA nutrient database.


My 2 Back Stretches I Do Every Morning (and you should too)

Based on lifestyles in today’s world, it’s important we become more aware of and diligent about taking care of our bodies. People are physically less active, sitting for longer periods, and doing things that compromise the integrity and structure of their joints.

For me, I adjust lots of people 5 days a week and then train hard, whether it’s competing in an Ironman or doing CrossFit. I put my body through the wringer and because of this I take extra special care of it. This is similar to how hard you can drive a car depending on how well you maintain it; for some of you, you take better care of that machine than the one that allows you to live your life.

My goal is that when I am in my 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s that I am still able to play and do activities with my family. I see too many people every day living a life of being reactive and waiting until a problem arises before taking care of themselves.

I have 2 morning routines outside the million other things I do for self-care, but I wanted to share these as they have proven to be of benefit.

The first thing I do either before or after my shower is lay upside down on my inversion table. I went on amazon.com and bought the “Ironman Inversion Table”, which has been a game changer.FullSizeRender

I do this for roughly 3-4 minutes, as it takes my body off gravity and I can feel it opening up the spine. My discs (the space between each vertebrae) take a bunch of stress due to my lifestyle, so I know how thankful they are when they get to relax from me hanging upside down. Studies have also shown that astronauts are taller in outer space due to the fact that there is no gravity, which means that there’s no stress loading on the spine.

When you see people get older and shrink, usually the reason is because of the dehydration of the disc spaces. Lying upside down on an inversion table helps to hydrate the spaces and being well aligned through chiropractic helps to ensure that.

The second thing I do is perform a cat-cow stretch to wake up the spine due to the past 8 hours of immobility. The spine, also known as your “lifeline”, needs movement and motion, so for those who are super active like me or even those who sit all day, waking up the spine will be an important habit. The absolute last thing you want to do is wake up, not move your spine, then go sit at your desk for 8 hours that day. This move is easily performed and I will get a good 20-25 reps in before leaving for the office.



“Jersey Shore” was Right, Fist Pumping Can Make You Stronger!

Let me start off by being honest…I have lied!

For the past 6 years I have been working with people to develop a 5-minute plank hold. I would have them set up in plank and see how many times they needed to break or go to their knees while accumulating 5 minutes of holding a plank position. I always thought this would be the best way to develop a strong midsection – but I was wrong!

New research and 21st-century fitness is pointing to doing plank holds for shorter durations but contracting more muscles. RKC (Russian Kettlebell Club) suggests starting with 10-second holds (working up to 30 seconds), but contracting your fists and making all muscles activated except the neck. The goal is to make fists, contract your arms, contract your legs, and squeeze your legs together. 

This video below gives a great demonstration, but for those looking to create a strong midsection this would be a great 2-to-3-minute workout. With the abundance of sitting in today’s world and the weakening of most peoples’ midsections, this meets their goals of building strength while meeting their goal of not taking up much time. 

When it comes to weightlifting, utilize the same concept and squeeze the bar tight. Squeeze the bar extremely hard, so much so that you notice a discoloration in your knuckles, especially when going for 1 rep maxes. Some coaches say that you want to grip the bar so hard you feel like you are going to make an imprint in it. 

Find what your 1 rep max is now in many lifts including bench press, then retest while squeezing the bar tight and watch the PR climb. 

Who says that “Jersey Shore”brought no value to our lives and health?



3 Snacks Every Athlete Should Have in the Kitchen

A common question I receive at every seminar I do and also on my Instagram account (@draustincohen) is, what snacks would you recommend?

Therefore, I will share with you my top 3 snacks, as these are staples in my diet and work on different goals for my daily living.

1) Bulletproof® Collagen Bars – (BREAKFAST SNACK)

This is my go-to breakfast snack that I eat first thing in the morning before I have my main meal.  This snack contains cashews, coconut oil, vanilla extract, and Bulletproof’s®proprietary blend of Brain & XCT oil. 

For those looking to get their brain in full gear and started for the day, these bars will be a game changer. They also taste extremely good on top of all the healthy benefits they provide. 


2) Organic Pickles – (POST-WORKOUT SNACK)IMG_1977

Every athlete that works out to a high degree should add this and make it a staple in their diet. When I spend an hour knocking out some intense CrossFit workout or 4 hours hammering out a long bike ride, my body becomes deficient in sodium. 

Eating a pickle post-workout has been an important part of my nutrition recovery and kept my sodium-potassium pump in balance so I don’t become dehydrated. 

3) Trail Mix – (DAILY SNACK)

This is one that is easy to make and can keep your body’s hormone balance in check, as it will never leave you hungry. I eat this throughout the whole day, and when you get bored it is something that you can simply change up the contents,. I change up my contents pretty regularly, but for now here it is:

* Raw Almonds
* Raw Pumpkin Seeds
* Raw Sunflower Seeds
* Shredded Coconut
* Fair Trade Chocolate Chips
* Raw Walnuts


If I Was Dave Castro, Here’s What I’d Change to the Reebok CrossFit Games

Almost every day since the 2015 Reebok CrossFit Games, people have been asking me my opinion on the programming and whether or not it was too hard. 

Instead of saying whether I agree or disagree with the programming, here are 5 things I would do if I were Dave Castro: 

1) Food Tent for all Athletes

Any time you run a marathon or long endurance race, there are aid stations at every mile with water, gatorade, bananas, and other items to help you keep your body from breaking down. As the distances get longer—such as ultra-marathons or Ironman competitions—you begin to notice different food items such as chicken soup broth for sodium, preFoodTenttzels, salt tabs, and soda for pure sugar rush.

If I ran the CrossFit Games, I would have a tent specifically designed for nutritional purposes, and I would be sure that all athletes knew about this tent. One of the reasons so many athletes got hurt is most likely due to a mineral or nutrition deficiency. If they had more sodium in their bodies, perhaps their cramping and injuries could have been prevented. I am sure some athletes already had pre-existing conditions or overuse injuries, but a majority of them could have been helped had they tracked their nutrition intake from calories, protein, carbs, and sodium. 

For example, when I was watching Annie Thorisdottir struggle to run, I thought that there should have been someone there to load her up with salt tabs. Kara Webb passed out and was carried off in a stretcher likely due to working out so hard in the heat and being deficient in nutrients. 

Any professional sporting event has food tents filled with foods for athletes to have regularly. If I ran the CrossFit Games I would not make it the athletes’ responsibility to provide their own nutrition—we would have plenty of it onsite. 

2) Saline IVs

If I were in charge of the CrossFit Games, after each workout, all the athletes would have access to nurses who could hook JFrancisthem up to IVs that would pump saline and other B-vitamins into their bodies. Once again, many of these athletes were completely deficient in nutrients; by pumping saline and vitamins into their bodies, there might have been a lower dropout ratio. 

I wouldn’t simply make the IVs available to some of the athletes. That care should be available to all of them, along with education on why it is so valuable to make that step a part of the routine. 

3) Program Differently 

Here’s one thing I will say about the programming: doing Murph in 90-degree weather with the sun baking down may not have been the smartest move. If there was one workout that trashed the athletes for the weekend, it was that workout.

If I ran the CrossFit Games, a workout like this would have taken place in the morning or on a day with no other workouts. For those unfamiliar with CrossFit, Murph consists of the following: 1-mile run, 100 pull-ups, 200 push-ups, 300 squats, 1-mile run. All of these steps are completed in a weighted vest (14 lbs. for women, 20 lbs. for men).

Also, was there any purpose to doing heavy or double DT? Why not just DT?

4) Increased Biomarker Testing 

One of the biggest changes I would integrate would be to track biomarkers of the athletes. In any professional sport, there are doctors on staff to check and see how healthy a player is before returning to the sport. If a football player supposedly has a concussion, then there is a series of tests he goes through before being placed back on the field. 

If I ran the Games, I would have 100% testing. In particular, I would have checked the men and women who did Murph that day to see if anyone had rhabdomyolysis. I would have done blood work on all of them and tracked their Creatine Kinase and liver enzyme levels to make sure that they were healthy enough to compete. There are lots of other tests to track as far health, and beyond these levels I would have also looked at HRV (Heart rate variability). 

Of course, CrossFit may not want to be responsible for someone by diagnosing them, but the health of the athletes should be the #1 priority. It was tough watching some of the men and women compete when you could see how injured and hurt they were. 

5)  Personal Providers

I would allow all the athletes to have their OWN providers to be there with them and care for their bodies. Whether it’s the chiropractor, PT, or MD, it would be beneficial for all athletes to have their own staff. 

Any professional team has its own providers, and those providers know everything about the athletes. Currently there is the Airrosti staff, but that is only a group of doctors who come because their corporate company puts up enough money to be a sponsor. I would let the Airrosti providers be there for people who don’t have their own providers, but I know my athletes better than any provider who volunteers and sees them once a year.IMG_2902

Each athlete should be able to have his or her providers backstage to care for them and help them, as they know their bodies the best. 

I am sure CrossFit learned a lot this year about the Games, and beyond these 5 recommendations, everything else was great: the timing of the workouts, efficiency of staff, help from the volunteers, and beyond. However, I believe that the Games should seriously consider implementing the 5 tips I have shared here. 

I would love to hear your comments below about things you would like to see done differently. If you ran the CrossfFit Games, what would you add or change?