Archive for tag: chicago

Dropping Some Knowledge

Hey, everyone! 

Hope everyone had a great week. I thought I'd drop some random city adventure tips as well as some school/career tips. When I was going/got to school, I sought out people that gave great perspectives and fun tips from the locals. Thought I would pass them on. :)

Museums in Chicago

Do you have a Bank of America card? Did you know you can get into any museum in Chicago for FREE the first weekend of every month! Holy Toledo! The Shedd Aquarium and Museum of Science and Industry are my FAVORITES. I was raised right by the ocean and I love all things related to water, so Shedd was extremely cool. This past weekend I ventured to the science and industry museum. It's south of the city a couple miles and it's loaded with visually intriguing displays and mind bending science.

Me in a mini tornado at the Museum of Science and Industry.

Fun tip: There is a parking lot not associated with the museum right off Lake Shore Drive that is $5 instead of $20 that the museum lot brings in. Winning.

Lastly, the Lincoln Park Zoo is fantastic and its FREEEE. You can park there for 20 bucks or you can somehow get there another way (cab, El, bike, it's too far to walk from the Metra). I went there with my sister in August and the animals were great and the views of the city were profile pic worthy!

Willis (Sears) Tower vs. Hancock Tower

So you want to see the big city views? The Willis (Sears) Tower is $16 to go to the sky deck, which I've heard is pretty awesome. An alternative you ask? The Hancock Tower. Go to the 96th floor and there is an epic view that you can enjoy almost equal to the Willis (Sears) Tower. All you have to do is order a drink or appetizer and sit at a nice little table with amazing views of the city. The cocktails are steep ($11-$15) but just go for one drink and enjoy a unique experience in Chi Town!

Adjusting at National

Just in case you didn't're going to be a chiropractor. Chiropractic means "done with HANDS." Please, please, PRACTICE adjusting and palpating. I am constantly surprised at how many people let this critical piece of their education go. The ONLY bad thing about National is you can get through the program without being an exceptional adjustor. I understand they can't hold people back and that students need to take it upon themselves to refine and improve, but hey, let's get better with our hands, okay? Just think about what the public expects of you: ADJUSTMENTS. At NUHS we obviously learn A LOT more, but our basic toolset is the art of adjusting.

Tip: Find upper classmen that can adjust everything and everyone (you'll know who they are) and constantly pick their brains on how they set up, thrust, practice, etc. Even consider asking them to tutor you weekly. If you're going to spend money on tutoring for all these academic classes why not pay someone to teach you how to adjust? Which do you think will have a bigger payoff for your practice? Yup.

Tip: Don't feel bad if it doesn't come naturally. It's hard. But it's learnable! Also, do NOT let your ego prevent you from setting up and adjusting people for fear they think you'll stink. Do it anyway; it's better to mess up now with students than on your patients!! Hah   

Tip: Go to CLUBS. Go to Clubs. Go to Clubs. AK, Motion Palp, Sports Rehab. Your face should be in there. Period. ;)      

Public Speaking

Here's a shocker - LEARN IT. Across all the docs I've spoken with, the overwhelming biggest thing they did to build a practice was learn to effectively communicate and speak to people. You think you'll just throw a sign of "chiropractor" up and they'll pour into your office knowing everything you're capable of? Negative. Get out there and constantly get used to being uncomfortable. How do you know you're making progress? When you are terrified! That means your pushing the envelope and expanding your bubble. How you do you when you are moving forward? When you are less and less nervous speaking in situations that used to scare you to death. Do it. Get uncomfortable!

Tip: Toastmasters is a great organization to check out for local public speaking practice around the country.

Tip: Always offer to present whatever class project you're involved with. Little wins. Big leverage.

Stay Classy,

My Sister Came to Visit

Hey Everyone,

Wow! What an AWESOME weekend! I am so exhausted writing this in class today (don't tell Dr. H lol). My sister, Eliza, came to visit Friday morning and stayed until Monday morning. We made an epic Bucket List and went on adventures galore! Details below: 


Eliza and I went to the Lincoln Park Zoo! In case you've never been there, it is FREE! We drove into the city (fun on its own!) and basically parking is the only fee ($20 for 3 hours). There were a lot of animals and I was impressed for a park that is free to the public! My favorite animal, if you can guess, is the LION! But he was sleeping on the rocks and wasn't too animated to see me (how dare he!) The most animated animals? A tie between the camels and the monkeys. The gorillas were pretty awesome as well. Right on the edge of the zoo there is an EPIC view of the city skyscrapers (see picture), a nice bonus!


Later on that day was the Frat Party. We inducted the newbies, gave them some ridiculous "bro names" and had a grand time. The party took a turn for the legendary when the slip 'n slide got set up! We added baby oil and dish detergent for extra 'slip-a-bility' (real word?) that resulted in NUHS' first ever slip 'n slide bash! Many people thought this would be a bad idea until they saw how fun it was. I myself still have some scrapes on my stomach but it was...WORTH IT! Let's be honest, I'm a kid at heart!


Saturday we ventured into the city and knocked out the Navy Pier, Millennium Park, The Bean, the new Batman movie (my new favorite movie ever), and fireworks! We almost made a comedy show, but time and a misunderstood public transportation schedule were the true culprits.



Sunday was one of the greatest days ever. Kendall let us borrow his bikes and Eliza and I took them onto the train and then biked around the city. This is something I've wanted to do since I got to NUHS two years ago. This was a BLAST to ride on the bike trails right along the water overviewing the tall city buildings! We biked over to a dock and walked to the end and had lunch (cool find), and then biked over to the beach and did flips into the water from the side docks. Then we biked up to the end of the beaches just north of the city and had some really unbelievable views of Chicago. Next, was the most EPIC thing I've done this summer. We rented JET SKI'S for an HOUR! It was AWESOME! 55 mph, big waves, splashes galore, city views in Lake Michigan…pretty remarkable. My sacrum needs an adjustment for the beating we took trying to jump the waves! We finished with some Chicago-style deep-dish pizza and the Olympics at a nice location downtown.


All in all--an unbelievable weekend.

I'll leave you with this. NUHS has an edge over many other DC schools because of its location. Does Logan have a little bit newer facilities? Sure. Does Palmer draw you enough to be in bum-stunk Iowa for years? I hope not. Chicago is where it is at. It's an excuse to live in a part of the country I would never get a chance to live in ever again and experience the local fun in a way I'd never do as a tourist. Love the workload or hate it (mostly hate it), the weekends you have to take a breather and I recommend my new favorite city in the world--Chicago. If you're on the fence, choose NUHS (and they don't even pay me to say this!...well sorta ;)


JMU and Chicago Bucket List

Hey, Everyone! 

This past Memorial Day weekend my best friends and college roommates came to visit me in Chicago! They got in on Friday and we rounded up an epic weekend bucket list of items we wanted to cross off before they left on Monday. They've never been to Chicago and may never have a chance to come back so we wanted to do a fun mix of touristy and shenanigan-filled adventures.

2012-05-31_friendsOur List Looked Something Like this:

  • Visit the Bean
  • Navy Pier
  • Eat Gino's East deep dish pizza
  • Ride the Metra and L
  • See a White Sox Game (the Cubs weren't in town)
  • Go to Wrigley (to at least see the historic stadium)
  • Go to North Ave. Beach on the 97º Sunday and swim
  • Laugh copious amounts
  • Bonfire and catch up on life
  • Smoke a Cuban cigar (my friend gave me one)
  • Watch the Celtics game 7 and eat bar food in Wrigleyville
  • Go right next to the Sears Tower and look straight up
  • Go to a Redneck Party (my friend was hosting one)
  • Reminisce about old JMU shenanigans

WHEW! We were EXHAUSTED come Monday morning… So much traveling (we don't believe in cabs)... So much walking... So much FUN! My stomach hurt from laughing so much. It was a great weekend and definitely filled my "JMU friends" tank as I hadn't seen these characters in 13 months and they are like my brothers after living together all 4 years of college. Fun Fact: Luke was my random assigned roommate freshman year and Faraaz was our suitemate. Total Chance. I'm very thankful for meeting great people and having them as friends years later.


NEVER, NEVER, NEVER TAKE TYLENOL AFTER DRINKING. NEVER. The liver needs to use the same enzymes to break down both the alcohol and the drug and it can cause the liver cells to lyse (think: blow up/die) and that is BAD! Tens of THOUSANDS of people are hospitalized because of Tylenol toxicity yearly and this can be PREVENTED with a little education. So, I'm doing my part. If you really need to relieve that hangover headache take IBUPROFEN, it's easier on the liver. NEVER TYLENOL. Unless, in Dr. McRae's words, "You want your liver to look like chocolate pudding at autopsy." Yeah, how's that for a visual! HA HA.

Peace out Lions,
Christian the Lion

Adventures When JMU Comes to Chi-town

It was Friday afternoon when I picked up my two JMU buddies (Astin & Shawn) from O'Hare airport. They immediately jumped in and made a viral YouTube video joke. The laughter didn't stop until Monday afternoon when I dropped them off for their flight back to Washington D.C. What a weekend! 

Astin Christian Shawn -bar

We started the shenanigans by going out to watch the Bruins game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals with about 10 other NUHS students. They, of course, had to try the deep dish pizza and the coined phrase, "When in Chicago..." was used frequently those 4 days. Thank God the Bruins won! We are going to the STANLEY CUP FINALS ...YEA!

Astin -Shawn -Wrigley _web

Our Saturday was easily the most ridiculous day I've ever been a part of. For reasons different than this blog's policy, I will merely give you a small recap. Astin and Shawn are huge baseball fans so one of the bucket-listed items on their Chicago trip was Wrigley Field, of course. We crossed that off Saturday. I've never been to Wrigley and I must say it rivals Fenway Park (my hometown's historic ballpark) in its uncanny ability to make you feel a part of its storied history. Another small perk was that the tickets were a heck of a lot cheaper than Fenway tickets because the Cubs are abysmal. They lost 10 to nada at the hands of the just-better-than-awful Pitt Pirates. Somehow in the midst of it we witnessed the Cubs get held to a complete game - 3 hit shutout by a mediocre Pirates pitcher.

Wrigley _web

After the game we met up with National students in Wrigleyville (who also had friends visiting) for some post-game festivities. There's plenty more to the story but we'll leave that out for now.

All in all, the weekend was extremely fun and recharging (well, kind of) for me. I got to see a few faces I haven't seen in over a year, witnessed my first Wrigley game, saw the Bruins advance to the Stanley Cup for the first time in 21 years, got fried like a lobster at the pool, finalized a deal with Ori Hofmekler (more on this in later posts), got some good PubMed research for my new case study experiment, and am ready to start ramping up studying for midterms.

Did I mention the shoulder seminar is next week in St. Louis? So pumped. We'll talk seminar next week.

Take Care,

Happy St. Patrick's Day! + Muscle Myth Exposed

Top -stpat

Happy St. Patty's Day!

Depending upon when you're reading this article, I'd like to wish you happy Irish Appreciation Day lol. My friends and I ventured into Chi Town for an epic day of fun this past Saturday. We all agreed to take the 9am train in so we could have as full a day as possible. We ventured all over the city and to be honest a few of the places were a little cloudy to recall  The best part was we rolled to each new bar with like 15 of our friends, so it didn't matter where we went you know we had a good time and plenty of laughs.

I don't live with too many regrets but the one I had was I didn't get a picture of the green-dyed Chicago River. Our early city travels put us at the river at 10am and apparently they started dying it at 11am. By the time we got back to another place where the river was visible it was dark and you couldn't tell the contrasting green. Oh well! All in all I have to say my friends, a new city adventure, and Irish beverages made Saturday one of the best I've had.  

John _3Girls John _Friend

Muscle Myth Exposed

The extent of most people's 'gym IQ,' as I call it, is a culmination of this rudimentary (and made up) equation: Experience + Untested Water Cooler Myths + Science = Gym IQ. 

The problem is that most people don't ever take the time to track what changes produced the best results. And why should they? They get good enough results not to question the protocol but almost never poor enough to inflict enough self-doubt and confusion to switch up their routines. They keep trying the same things over and over and expecting better results. Einstein's definition of insanity anyone? 

I'll illustrate with own my college gym experience. Two years ago in my junior year in college, my roommate Faraaz and I decided to hit the gym hard for five-six months. I started at 180lb max on the bench press and finished six months later at my all-time best 205lb max! I was euphoric! That was the definition of good enough not to complain but not poor enough to complain and change routines. Does that make sense? 

From observations, most people lump in their three sets of eight reps for a few exercises and go home and slug a protein shake and think that this is the proven formula. Here's the tricky part: IT WORKS! It definitely works and actually if you look at the literature the 'science' supports post-exercise intake of protein up regulates muscle protein synthesis and increases muscle strength. On top of that our bodies are soo stinking good at adapting to stimuli that if you lift practically anything your body will get stronger and your muscles will grow!  

The other piece of knowledge that EVERYONE seems to agree with is:  Water Cooler Muscle MYTH: To increase the strength of a muscle group you have to work it through the full range of motion. Here's the tricky part: IT'S SO LOGICAL. I mean anybody in their right mind would look at that statement and agree. I do for the most part, but I decided to test it and put that water cooler myth to the test.  

The BENCH PRESS MAX Experiment

My test baseline was the full rep max on bench press. When I started my lifting experiment eight weeks ago, I maxed out at 180lbs (I hadn't seriously lifted in eight months), which is by gym standards unimpressive. I've always had shoulder problems so the idea of lowering heavy amounts of weight into my shoulder's weakest range of motion and instability wasn't my idea of a good time. So I decided to complete Isometric Static Contractions developed by Pete Sisco where you set the weights up in a cage with stoppers and do as much weight as you can hold in the strongest range of motion for that muscle (for bench its two-three inches below elbow lockout). 

To give you an example of how much more weight you can do, I STARTED with 350lbs for seven seconds of hold time to failure. After just four weeks, I completed a 585lb hold at six seconds to failure. So my total range of motion was three inches. Following the isometric hold to failure, I completed one set of six-seven reps to failure through the end half range of motion. So basically I lowered the stoppers down to what I deemed a 'half press' or about half of the range of motion below lockout. Again, total range of motion about 12 inches. I started at 165 and finished at 215 four weeks later. The following month I had to stop because we were trying to figure out the blood tests and I was limited to lift four times. I did the same one set of 7 '1/2reps' to failure on decline bench starting at 225. After my fourth workout at the end of four weeks, I did 275 to failure. Again range of motion: Half a rep at most.  

The truly interesting part comes with the final test. What most trainers and PTs will tell you is that you will only increase strength in the particular degree and range of motion and your full reps won't improve that much. So how did I do? I just crushed 235 lbs on a full rep max on bench press! My spotter and buddy, Nick, was shocked that I was able to do that after only eight weeks and just 12 total workouts without a single full range rep. The weird part? It made NO sense! How is that possible? You do full range of motion lifts for six months and gain 25 lbs on your max and then you do just eight weeks of lifting two years later and gain 55 lbs? That's 120% better performance in 33% of the time frame? The cool part is that I think that water cooler myth is officially BUSTED (in my best Jamie from Mythbusters voice)! 

Moral of the story: You don't have to necessarily do full range exercises to stimulate muscle growth or strength. My advice? Eat like a horse and rest more than you think. If you aren't increasing your lifts every week you aren't eating enough quality food or you aren't giving yourself enough recovery time between lifts. 

John -Chicago _train2

Enjoy the rest of the week!