Here is the table of contents, and introductory chapter. Let's try to make the book as fitting to this as possible.
Exercise and Nutrition for Mental Health
Table of Contents
Exercise for anxiety
What is anxiety (diagnostic criteria)… What’s better – cardio or strength training?... Why exercising with high intensity might actually make your anxiety worse… The least amount of exercise you can do and still experience anxiety relief… The number of days per week necessary for exercise to work to reduce anxiety… exercise vs. medications – what works better?... 4 mechanisms by which exercise decreases anxiety… How to figure out what works FOR YOU
Exercise-induced panic attacks
The surprising similarities between exercise and panic attacks… 5 strategies to reduce or avoid panic attacks during exercise… How to warm up properly for people suffering from exercise-induced panic attacks (and how it’s different than for people who don’t have it)…Two simple (but effective) questions that will take the “edge” off future panic attacks… How to reduce your panic attacks 5 minutes at a time
Exercise for depression
What is depression (diagnostic criteria)… What’s better – cardio or strength training (hint: it’s not the same as for anxiety)… How many days per week you need to exercise for depression relief… The necessary intensity of exercise for improvements in depression… Why the length of time that you exercise isn’t that important, and what is important… How exercise compares to medications… 3 strategies to get a depressed person to exercise in the first place
Exercise for PTSD
The exercise prescription for PTSD – type (cardio vs. strength training vs. stretching), duration, and frequency
How to individualize (questionnaire)
The 30-second questionnaire that will help you figure out the perfect exercise prescription FOR YOU… the importance of testing different forms of exercise… How to systematically test different variables (intensity, duration, type, etc.) to figure out what’s right for you.
7 ways by which exercise improves mental health
Nutrition for anxiety
The 2 most common conditions confused with anxiety – are you getting the wrong treatment?... Is your thyroid health undermining your mental health?... Why low blood sugar may sometimes be confused for anxiety… Why it’s so hard to diagnose low blood sugar… Is your coffee addiction contributing to your anxiety?... Could this common artificial sweetener be making your anxiety worse?... Are your “gut bacteria” anxious?... How to figure out if your mental health issues are related to poor digestion… The 4R program to improve digestion… The inflammation connection… How inflammation affects the brain, to cause anxiety… 4 strategies for reducing inflammation… 4 supplements that may improve your anxiety
Nutrition for depression
The 2 most common conditions confused with anxiety – are you getting the wrong treatment?... Is your thyroid health undermining your mental health?... Why low blood sugar may sometimes be confused for depression… Why it’s so hard to diagnose low blood sugar… The difference between food allergies and food sensitivities… how food sensitivities can contribute to depression… The inflammation connection… How inflammation affects the brain, to cause anxiety… 4 strategies for reducing inflammation… Why alcohol makes depression better in the short term, but worse in the long term… How MSG sensitivity can make depression worse… The 3 supplements that can improve depression… The 2 nutrients that if they’re deficient can cause depression-like symptoms, and supplementing with them will remove those symptoms
Conclusion and Quick Reference Guide
Go here if you don’t want to read the theory, and just want to be told what to do
You probably picked up this book because you’re struggling with mental health. Maybe it’s anxiety, maybe it’s depression, PTSD, or something else. Or perhaps, you have friends or family members with these conditions. Or perhaps you’re a health/fitness professional, wanting to help your clients or patients.
If so, then this book is for you.
You, your friend, family member or client(s) has been struggling with a mental health issue, and you keep hearing that “exercise is good for you.” But you’re not really sure exactly what to do.
I mean, when a doctor prescribes a medication, there is a lot of precision behind it. You know:
• The name of the medication.
• The dosage.
• Whether it should be taken with food or without food, and
• Whether it should be taken in the morning, noon or evening
But when the doctor recommends exercise, well, the recommendation is vague. You don’t know exactly how to do it. You need the exercise prescription for different conditions. To know the exercise prescription you need to know:
• The type of exercise, such as: cardio, strength training, or stretching
• The frequency: how many days per week you should exercise. It’s not always a “more is better” type of scenario. With some things there’s a “sweet spot”, where too little is not stimulating, and too much is implausible. The “sweet spot” varies condition-by-condition, and person-to-person
• The duration: how long you should exercise for
• The intensity: at what percent of your maximal effort do you exercise?
Just as a doctor does not prescribe the same medication for different conditions, nor does it make sense to do the same exercise for different conditions. What’s good for depression may actually make anxiety worse (you might be wondering “I have BOTH anxiety and depression. What do I do???” Don’t worry my friend, I won’t leave you hanging. We’ll cover that in the chapter on “how to individualize”). What’s good for one condition may not be good for another.
So who am I, and what qualifies me to write about exercise and nutrition for mental health?
I’m Igor. Hiya.
I have a degree in kinesiology and health science, as well as multiple diplomas in clinical nutrition. I was selected as one of the top 5 personal trainers in Toronto by the Metro News newspaper, written 4 other books besides this one, as well as over 400 articles (at the time of this writing) on my blog (FitnessSolutionsPlus.ca/blog). I’ve been hired by some of Canada’s largest corporations to speak on the topic of mental health, and have done approximately 50 speaking engagements per year for the last 8 years.
But on a more practical level, the more I spoke about mental health, the more clients I got who had mental health issues. They didn’t exercise for weight loss, toning or athletic purposes, like I was used to in the beginning of my career. No. They came because they wanted better mental health. Whether it was less anxiety, less depression, better mood, etc.
Of course, I pride myself on individualizing clients’ exercise and nutrition programs, but I was never trained on how to modify a program when a person’s main goal is improving mental health. My education involved learning how to train clients who want to lose body fat, get more toned, decrease back pain, recover from injuries and improve athletic performance. But not expressly on mental health. None of my personal training colleagues had any training on that, either, so I couldn’t ask them.
No certifications or workshops existed on those topics, and no books had been written at that time. However, mental health was such a big issue that more and more companies started requesting that I speak on that topic, compared to my usual topic, which is STOP EXERCISING! The Way You Are Doing it Now (the title of my fourth book).
Exercise for mental health has remained largely an unexplored territory, so I had to do the research myself – on the exact exercise prescription for those conditions. And what you are reading about in this book is the compilation of years of research, and hundreds of studies perused.
But to bring the point home – the end results to the clients are often nothing short of life-changing.
As a result of using the right exercise and nutrition prescription, clients have:
• Reversed their conditions
• Improved their performance at work
• Been able to focus better
• Started new relationships that were personally satisfying
• Gotten off their medications (with their doctors’ help)
• Lost weight
• Got more toned
• Had more energy
• Slept better
• Achieved mental clarity and a peace of mind
…and lots more.
And I hope this book brings the same benefits to you, the reader.
I’ve written the book to be as thorough as possible, but I know that with all the details, it can get overwhelming. That’s why in the conclusion of this book, you’ll find a quick reference guide. No theory, just practice. If you don’t want to learn about the physiology behind mental health, and you’re more of a “just tell me what to do” kind of person, just flip to the conclusion, and follow the recommendations in there. It will take you less than 5 minutes to get through that.
If anyone can create a graphic representation of the word "exercise prescription", that would be good.