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Posts Tagged ‘Rehabilitation’

Brandon Alleman Interview

Monday, November 1st, 2010

TG: Hi Brandon, thanks for being interviewed. Could you start out by telling us a little about your background in the wellbeing industry?

First, I would like to say thank you Tom, for the opportunity to share with your audience. I really appreciate that.
To answer your first question, I was very athletic growing up and was always interested in sports and physical activity. I was actively engaged in just about all sports and settled into basketball, track and field, and boxing competitively throughout my teenage years.

When I was 17, I suffered a back injury that would change things for me from that moment on. I had a hard time overcoming the injury with conventional methods of treatment (i.e. – physical therapy, etc.) so I decided I would take matters into my own hands. I read my first orthopedic and rehabilitation text at that time and was fortunate enough to rehabilitate myself and get back to my old “young” self again.

From there I decided to pursue a career in the health, fitness, and rehabilitation industry. I began working with clients professionally immediately out of high school and accumulated several certifications. Roughly a year later in 2000, a colleague turned me on to the CHEK Institute, Paul Chek, and the CHEK Certification Program. I took my prerequisite courses and completed my Level 1 training in 2001. From there, I immersed myself in the CHEK Certification programs and all that they entail and I moved from my home state of Louisiana to Rhode Island to be part of a very elite group of rehabilitation professionals. I worked there for 2 years heading up the clinical and corrective exercise for the facility prior to returning home to start a clinically based holistic health and corrective exercise practice that I run today.

TG: How important do you feel it is that individuals take responsibility for their own health?

This is one of the most critical aspects of attaining ideal health and wellness. As someone who has been in this field for a while now yourself, you are very familiar with the fact that many people believe that when it comes to their health and wellness, that “life is doing them.” They are a victim of poor genetics or some other “cause” of ill health. Taking responsibility for where one is in life, whether that be in terms of health and fitness or otherwise, is a necessary first step in “turning the ship around” so to speak.

I do feel that we, myself included, overuse the word responsibility. The word itself is very punitive and sort of has a stigma of blame attached to it – “Who is responsible for this mess?” I prefer to teach my clients that they are the co-creator/architect of their own health. There is no one or no “thing” to point the finger at for why you are where you are. I am personally a huge believer that 99% of the things that happen to us in our lives – we create. That is not always easy to accept, but for me, true nonetheless.

Health, fitness, rehabilitation, performance enhancement, etc., are not things that can be done “to” someone. An individual has to want to be healthy or fit more than the trainer, coach, or whoever, they are working with. If this is not the case, results will likely not manifest in a timely manner, if at all. So taking on the self-responsibility of creating more health and vitality in one’s life is an absolutely essential step to long-term success in my opinion.

TG: In what ways can people do this?

I feel one of the first ways this can be achieved is through attaining an awareness of the consequences of the choices we all make on a daily basis. For example, everything we choose to eat or not eat has a physical, mental, and hormonal consequence to it. Knowing what those consequences are, at least for some, may help to steer them in the right direction. I am of the opinion that the more you know about a given topic, the easier it becomes to make a better decision.

I also like the Ericsson Theory of Deliberate Practice. The main point of this theory put forth by K. Anders Ericsson, PhD, is that in order to achieve expert performance in any endeavor, one must engage in deliberate practice with the explicit goal of constant improvement.

There are four basic steps to Deliberate Practice and they are as follows:

(1) Practice

(2) Break the goal down into small, manageable components

(3) Enlist the help of a coach and be coachable

(4) Be prepared for setbacks.

In terms of applying the Ericcson Theory to taking responsibility for one’s health, one first has to make the conscious choice to improve his/her current state of health. Then they can choose to find a coach, someone like you or myself as an example, who will help them break that goal into small parts (what to eat, when to eat, lifestyle modifications, and on and on). Next, they have to practice implementing those small action items on a day-to-day basis and finally, they must be prepared for the occasional setback and be aware of how to respond if and when they occur.

TG: You are a CHEK Practitioner. What special skills has this given you?

That is a great question. The training that I have received as a higher level CHEK Practitioner has proven for me to be invaluable. I suppose the biggest take-away that I have received to date is the ability to accurately assess my clients on all levels – physical, mental, emotional, chemical, and even spiritual – to identify the root cause of their issues. Integrating this information into total wellness program design in order to give my clients whatever tools they need to foster health and well-being is what I consider to be my greatest ability as a CHEK Practitioner. The CHEK Program has been the catalyst that has helped me to help individuals who would be considered “challenge” cases. To anyone who has a passion for living a life of health and helping people overcome chronic pain and ill health, I recommend the CHEK Institute Programs without reservation.

TG: How important is the connection between body and mind?

Well, the two are inseparable. Without the mind, the body would not survive and vice versa. There is no body and no mind – there is only a body-mind. So from that standpoint, it is hard to overstate the importance of the connection. One thing that is very interesting is that if you look at the research that has been done on individuals with multiple personality disorders you find that one personality is near-sighted and another personality is far-sighted! One personality will be allergic to cats and another personality loves cats with no ill effects. It is the same body, but a different mind controlling that body.

By the same token, it takes a healthy body to support a healthy mind. I believe it was Socrates that would have his students practice with wrestlers because as he stated, and I may be paraphrasing here, “You have to be in shape to think!” Whatever it is that the mind conceives the body has to have the ability to support that idea for it to manifest. For example, my mind may hold the idea of running a marathon. But if I have spent the last 15 years living a completely sedentary lifestyle, I will probably run about 800 feet and then I will either pass out or vomit – or both!

I encourage creating a lifestyle that integrates mind and body to foster well-being. Many of the Eastern Philosophies do a great job of this. Meditation, Tai Chi, Qi Gong, Yoga, and all of the cultivations sciences are excellent additions to a really sound exercise program – provided they are executed in their truest form of course.

TG: What does your consultation process involve?

Well I usually have potential clients fill out an extensive array of paperwork prior to their Initial Consultation in order to maximize time during the consultation process.

Typically, I review past and current lifestyle factors, past and present medical and injury history, review any medical tests/imaging studies the client may have, set an overarching goal, address any questions that the client may have about the healing process, investigate financial and temporal resources available for healing, and establish the short and long-term commitment options.
From there, my clients are scheduled for their physical evaluations and we move forward based on those results.

TG: What are your top 3 tips to achieve weight loss?

My first tip is always to develop a healthy relationship with food. Many people view food as an inconvenience and do not realize that that attitude towards food has physiological consequences which can set them up for fatigue, weight gain, sleep issues, and a host of other problems.

Far too many people try to rely on their exercise programs as the primary tool for weight loss, when the focus should be on their nutrition. You will never out-train bad nutrition. How many times per week can someone exercise? Now, how many times do they typically eat? So where is the priority – the answer is obvious.

My second tip is to eat whole, real food and avoid foodstuffs that are processed, enriched, and/or fortified. It takes life to give life – that is the bottom line. The further from Nature your food is, the more difficult it will be to lose weight. The longer the shelf life – the worse the food is for you. Two very basic rules of thumb that I give my clients is that (1) If it was not here 5,000 years ago it will detract from your health not contribute to it and (2) If it has more than a handful of ingredients, or words on the food label that you cannot pronounce – do not eat it. That’s pretty much it from a very basic level.

I suppose my third tip would have to be to listen to your body. Our bodies are constantly sending us signals and communicating with us. We have to be still enough and have an awareness to listen and interpret the signals accurately. Headaches, pain, digestive problems, fatigue, sleep issues, and on and on – all of these are the body’s attempt to let you know to change your current habits because they are not serving you. If you continue to ignore the body’s signals, it will be increasingly difficult to achieve any health or fitness related goal you may have – or any other goal for that matter.

TG: What part do you feel nutrition has to play in overall wellbeing?

Hippocrates stated very clearly, “Let your food be your medicine and let medicine be your food.” Nutrition is your acquired life-force, or energy. It is an extension of energy from the Divine, or that which you feel created you. It is necessary to provide the body with what it requires to be healthy.

If you stop eating right now, you may live only 2 weeks –depending on your body fat levels. As I mentioned earlier, everything we choose to eat has a physical, chemical, and hormonal consequence to it. Unfortunately, we have added over 10,000 man-made chemicals to our food supply in the last 100 years, and very few (I believe it is less than 3%) of them have ever been thoroughly tested in any quantity.

Here in the United States, we have a very interesting silent experiment running and if I were to title that experiment it would sound something like this: “The negative health effects of feeding a healthy population of people overly processed and fast foods over an extended period of time.” The results are pretty clear so far – they get sick – very sick. Over 90% of the money spent on food in the US is spent on fast and/or processed foods and we have more disease of every kind per capita than ever before in history. This is not a coincidence.

If the quality of your nutrition/food is poor – so will your health be.

TG: Tell us a bit about what the future holds for you.

The future is very promising. I am currently in the process of re-branding my company and I am writing an e-book which is at the present moment untitled. I am currently integrating a fair amount of Functional Lab Assessment into my practice and am also studying Traditional Chinese Medicine Food Cures and slowly integrating these into my practice where applicable. As well, I am designing a several 4-6 week presentation series on various topics such as fatigue, chronic back/neck pain, and weight loss to name a few. I plan to begin these presentations within the next 6 months.

On the educational front, I plan to continue to work towards my Level IV CHEK Certification and position myself as an Instructor candidate for the CHEK Institute.