Does YOUR Doc or Nurse even Lift??
We are looking to share short bios of docs, nurses and other health professionals who preach and practice exercise (and overall lifestyle) as medicine. Help us spread the emphasis and have some fun celebrating health care professionals who are good role models. If interested, please share a one page story of what you do, how you got into what you do, and how emphasizing lifestyle as medicine was molded in your life and any tips for patients you have. Share your links, a headshot, and perhaps an action shot of working out or cooking, etc. I want it to be similar for something I did for Endocrine News but personalize it!
Amanda Deniger is a Nurse Practitioner in Internal Medicine in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
I had a very active childhood growing up in South Florida with a large family. My parents chased us out of the house and we would swim, ride bikes, and play outside hanging from trees or kicking a ball around for hours each day. In high school, I ran track, swam, and was on the dance team. I went to college to study nursing (taking after my mother who was a RN) and consistently worked out to stay in shape.
After graduating from college, I married an Army officer and my fitness took off from there. My husband had to stay in shape, so I thought I better as well. I started running more regularly and signed up for races to hold myself accountable. I’ve run 5ks to a full marathon and several triathlons, placing in the top 5 in several races and qualified for the USA Age Group Triathlon Championship (I was unable to participate in as we were moving for the military). Around this time, I was starting to get bored with my routine, so my husband suggested I try out CrossFit. Man, was I hooked. I couldn’t believe how strong the women were and here I thought I was in good shape! It made me realize I had no idea what I was doing when it came to lifting!
I started to learn about lifting correctly from the help of my husband, reading magazines, books and online research about weight lifting. We built a garage gym to lift at home to work more intensely on weight lifting and also continue to do CrossFit workouts. I changed my diet to counting macros see if it would make a difference in my physique and performance–and the hard work paid off months later.
Diet plays a huge role! It has been a learning process, but a good one because I can understand how patients struggle with weight loss and help them stay on track with my own helpful tips from personal experience. At work, my coworkers like to tease me and ask me to “flex” my arms. So many want to know what my “secret” is but honestly, it is a lot of consistency, sacrifice, and hard work! I believe in leading by example and practicing what I preach to my patients. Why should I tell someone to exercise and eat right if I don’t do it myself? I strongly believe exercise is medicine and the best one we have! I enjoy talking about my own exercise habits with patients and feel they appreciate a provider who understands mechanism of injury from an exercise or what CrossFit actually is, or how devastating it can be when injured and can’t participate in the sport you love. My favorite question is, “What do you enjoy doing for exercise,” in which I always get an interesting look back as it doesn’t seem like a routine question asked at visits.
As a family, we have adopted exercise and healthy eating into our lifestyle. My husband and I meal prep on Sundays, preparing breakfast and lunches for the week. Suppers are planned out at this time as well. Weekends we spend together as a family at parks, playing soccer, swimming, or running around the track at the gym. Our children see that exercise is important to us and routine. They now want to join us doing pull ups, sit-ups, jumps, or running and are active kids as well. By having the whole family invested in exercise and healthy eating, it naturally becomes a lifestyle for all of us!
Christy Blankenship is a Registered Nurse at a small hospital in Missouri.
I have been in the healthcare field for about 12 years. I have worked in the state’s largest hospital & in a variety of specialties. One thing that is common among every hospital, every location, every patient population, & co-worker environment is the epidemic of obesity and chronic illnesses. There is SO much misinformation out there that I decided I wanted better… Better for myself as a mom, wife, & coach but ultimately better for my patients. I started to incorporate strength training into my life just over 3 years ago and then fell in love with nutrition.
I now feel the best I ever have but also can be an example to others and share life changing education with my patients to begin a healthy and fit lifestyle!
Dr. Kris Hunt is an Emergency Physician practicing in Indianapolis, IN. He is a 2004 graduate from Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology with a Mechanical Engineering degree, a 2008 graduate from Indiana University School of Medicine, and a 2011 graduate from an Emergency Medicine residency from Beth Israel Medical Center in Manhattan, NY. While completing his residency, he was elected to Chief Resident and completed a study on creatine which was named one of the “most newsworthy” studies at the American College of Emergency Physicians national conference in 2010. He is presently the Therapeutic Use Exemption committee chair for USA powerlifting as well as Sports Medicine director.
Dr. Hunt has been a competitive powerlifter for over 17 years, competing at the national level for the last 12 of those. He holds the retired American Record in the raw squat with 622lbs at the 198lb weight class. Most recently, he won Best Lifter of all weight classes at the USAPL Midwest Regional Championships in Columbus, OH with a 650lb raw squat, 370lb raw bench, and 650lb raw deadlift at the 205lb weight class.
Dr. Hunt is extremely interested in the advancement of drug-free strength sport, as well as improving the process by which supplements are screened so that honest athletes can remain clean.
Joseph Zucchi is a Physician Assistant student at MCPHS in Manchester, NH. He graduated from St. Anselm College and has a BA in Natural Science.
I am also an ACE-certified personal trainer and the owner of JPZfitness.com where I offer online fitness and nutrition plans to clients across the world. I have experience working as a fitness and nutritional advisor of a medical weight loss center and also as a research coordinator at the Nutrition, Exercise, Physiology & Sarcopenia laboratory at Tufts University. I look forward to completing my studies and becoming a PA-C with dreams of working in the field of bariatrics and endocrinology. Fitness and nutrition are two of my passions and I enjoy bodybuilding, lifting weights, and playing tennis. I strive to promote exercise as one of the best forms of medicine and hope to inspire my patients to become the best that they can be!
Christina Holzwarth currently works as a registered nurse in the cath lab at the Mayo Clinic. Earned her bachelors of Science in Nursing degree from Grand Canyon Univery in Phoenix, Az, in 2012.
Soon after graduation from nursing school, I passed my state board exam and became licensed as an RN and went on to specialize in cardiac care!
I began my fitness journey as a night RN who had been functioning on little to no sleep, lots of stress as I was a new nurse, & eating habits that were very poor. Knowing that I needed to make a change to my habits I signed up for a challenge a personal trainer was promoting! Fast forward 3 years later and I own a meal prep service called Alphafoodsaz, I’ve become an online coach with Northington Fitness & Nutrition, I competed in my first bikini bodybuilding show, & I still work as an RN! I lift weights 5-6 times a week; all types of deadlifts and shoulders are my favorite training sessions and I really enjoy spin class or HIIT as my cardio!
I believe mental health is just as important as physical health and I strive for my clients and patients to focus on habits, goal setting, and behavior changes. Being flexible with foods and experimenting with workouts they truly enjoy so this lifestyle can be sustained for the long-term! My coaching method focus’ on personalizing a plan that my clients can adhere to and making changes as needed to make this lifestyle transition possible!
Tips for patients and clients: decide on a goal and implement small changes so you don’t become overwhelmed and give up. Maybe make it a point to hit a certain amount of steps per day, or going for 2-3 walks a week, finding new recipes to try and meal prep instead of eating out for the work week. Don’t restrict your favorite foods, instead, monitor the portion size and incorporate your favorite donut into your diet plan, in moderation. Most importantly – be nice to yourself, don’t beat yourself up or give up on your goals if you over ate or missed a workout. We are human and we are all trying to do our best! Just pick yourself up and get right back on the plan! Make this process fun and you will stick with it – if you are really lost – hire a coach! It’s their job to design a plan specifically for you and help you along your fitness journey!
My name is Ryan Bergren I am currently a PGY-2 MD resident in psychiatry. I have a long history of athletics through high-school and then began recreationally lifting in college. I became more serious with this towards the end of undergraduate studies. I started to learn as much as I possibly could about lifting and nutrition. This did not stop when I entered medical school. I found we are not well trained formally in nutrition for health or for nutrition and exercise for weight loss. Luckily I had plenty of learning on my own but I felt my profession lacked this foundation and constantly hear bad advice given to patients. So, at the end of my 3rd year of medical school, I created a website (www.TheWhiteCoatFitness.com) to help disseminate information that I feel is more accurate and more research driven so that when I asked by my colleagues I have a resource for them. I continue to lift and train 5-7 days a week and now I also train, for a fee, some of my co residents on the side either making them workout programs or helping them with diet. I also do this for medical students or anyone else who is interested. It is an area I look forward to expanding.
Dr Hawkes did undergraduate training at Brigham Young University (Provo, UT), medical school at Ross University SOM (Dominica, West Indies), and residency at University of Utah (Salt Lake City, UT). Currently licensed in Nevada, Idaho, Utah, and Montana. Board certified in internal medicine and diplomate of the American Board of Obesity Medicine.
Dr. DonDiego is board certified in Family Medicine and as a diplomate of the American Board of Obesity Medicine. She graduated from Florida State University with a BS in biology (2007) then earned her osteopathic medicine degree from Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine in 2013. She also received her MBA in 2013 simultaneously. She completed family medicine residency through Memorial University Medical Center, Savannah, Ga in 2016 and passed her obesity medicine boards that same year. Follow her on Facebook or Instagram and she is available via SteadyMD.
I am a board certified Family Practice physician specializing in Obesity Medicine in Savannah, GA. I grew up an athlete playing competitive sports such as track, basketball, soccer and even earned my Black Belt in Tae Kwon Do. I played competitive club volleyball throughout college, then moved on to lifting weights and bodybuilding. I promote lifestyle in my medical practice to prevent and treat disease every day. Not everyone has to be a competitive athlete to live a healthy life, and I try to show patients how to incorporate lifestyle changes to prevent disease and live a less medicated life without feeling intimidated by the fitness industry.