The Fitness Principle

The Fitness Principle with Mackie Shilstone
Written by Health & Fitness Magazine   

By 2000, Mackie Shilstone had already had a tremendously successful career for almost 20 years as a sports performance and lifestyle management expert. He had consulted for countless sports teams, among them the San Francisco Giants, the New Orleans Saints, the St. Louis Blues, and the Indiana Pacers. On an individual basis, he has worked with over 3,000 pro athletes such as from the NFL, Morten Andersen and Lomas Brown, from MLB, Hall of Famer Ozzie Smith and Will Clark, from the NBA, Jonathan Bender and Baron Davis, from the NHL, Brett Hull and Curtis Joseph, and from boxing Roy Jones, Jr. and Bernard Hopkins, just to name a few.

In 1999, he was in Las Vegas working with Steve Wynn, the brilliant casino and real estate developer, who wrote the forward to his third book, Maximum Energy for Life. While talking to Wynn, Shilstone confessed that he had reached a point in his career where he was uncertain of what to do next. He could feel himself beginning to burn out.

Wynn pointed Shilstone in the direction that would reignite his passion for his work. Wynn told him, “Don’t leave what you’re doing - take it and expand it to everyday people.” Wynn said he could travel anywhere in the world he wanted to, but he could not buy his health. And so Shilstone strove to take the services he’d been providing to pro athletes and introduce them to average Americans to help them lead healthier, happier lives.

The more Shilstone thought about it, the more he realized this was the right path. Lots of Americans focus on everything except their own health. Shilstone uses a travel analogy to describe this phenomenon. During the pre-flight safety demonstrations, flight attendants tell passengers that if cabin pressure is lost to put oxygen masks on yourself first before putting it on the person next to you. In short, when it comes to personal healthcare and health maintenance, many people will focus on anything and everything except themselves. “You need to stop renting your health,” Shilstone said.

Since then, Shilstone has had five books published nationally, about one every two years. His titles include Lose Your Love Handles (Putnam Perigee), Maximum Energy for Life: 21 Day Strategic Plan to Feel Great, Reverse the Aging Process, and Optimize Your Health (John Wiley and Sons), The Fat Burning Bible (John Wiley and Sons), Lean and Hard: The Body You’ve Always Wanted in Just 24 Workouts (John Wiley and Sons) and Mackie Shilstone’s Body Plan for Kids (Basic Health Publications). In addition to his writings, Shilstone, a New Orleans native with family roots in the city dating back over 100 years, in 2007 became an East Jefferson General Hospital team member. The outcome was the creation of The Fitness Principle with Mackie Shilstone. Here, he takes a multi-faceted approach in tackling his clients’ health and performance deficits. It is considered the premier program of its type in the United States.

A unique aspect of Shilstone’s approach to his Comprehensive Weight Management Program, which is one of 31 programs offered at The Fitness Principle, involves measuring the clients resting metabolic rate. “We can not only measure the number of calories burned at rest, but also the type of calories,” Shilstone said. Calories burned at rest account for roughly 65% of the total calories expended during a 24-hour period.

His program also can measure the clients’ respiratory quotient, which factors in the body’s source of energy. Often, when evaluating post menopausal women, it is not uncommon to discover that the client is using energy from carbohydrate stores roughly 70% of the time, which means that fats are effectively used only 30% of the time at rest. As a result, the clients’ body is learning to store excess body fat, as opposed to using it for energy, which can result in weight gain.

Another cornerstone of The Fitness Principle’s Comprehensive Weight Management Program is to address Metabolic Syndrome. Metabolic Syndrome is a cluster of symptoms where, if a person has three of the five strikes, it may indicate a strong likelihood of the potential for future diseases, such as type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. The symptoms include the following: elevated blood sugar (but not yet diabetic), elevated blood pressure (but not yet hypertension), high triglyceride levels, low levels of the good cholesterol (HDL), and a waist size greater than 35 inches for women and 40 inches for men. If a patient has three of those five strikes, then it poses a higher risk potential for more serious health problems, including weight gain.

Waist to height ratio is another innovative measurement that Shilstone incorporates into his evaluations. Body mass index is a traditional measurement, but it is not necessarily accurate. For example, many football players may have a high body mass index, even though they may also be at a low body fat level, which means that the BMI could be skewed.

Waist to height ratio divides the waist size by height, taking gender into account. A score of 53% to 58% is considered overweight for a man, while a score of 49% to 54% is considered overweight for a woman. “As an adult, you can not change your height, but you certainly can modify your waist size to reduce your risk to excess accumulation of deadly visceral adipose tissue,” Shilstone said.

Women with a waist size of above 35 inches and men with a waist size above 40 inches carrying it into their fourth decade of life are taking unnecessary risks with their health. Shilstone compares it to holding a live grenade in one hand and the pin in the other. “They’ve got their health literally in their hands,” Shilstone said. “The key is to put the pin back in the grenade, before it’s too late,” he added.

While he works very hard with the Fitness Principle, Shilstone is never one to slow down. Among other notables, he is currently working with tennis champion Serena Williams, New England Patriots tight end Alge Crumpler, and actor John Goodman.

He also has six GNC franchises located in the Greater New Orleans and St. Tammany Parish area, and he is the largest GNC franchisee in the state. Aside from working with adults and athletes, he has also directed his efforts towards combating the childhood obesity epidemic with his www.bodyplanforkids.com website, featuring a number of useful tips for parents looking to keep their children healthy.

In all of his pursuits, Shilstone is driven by a passion to be the best he can be. Being good simply isn’t enough; he strives to be the best every single day he goes to work. “Passion is the life force that allows you to reinvent yourself on a daily basis,” Shilstone said.

And Shilstone remains grateful and happy to work with the team at East Jefferson General Hospital. “East Jefferson allowed me to have a legacy and I’ll never be able to repay them for that,” Shilstone said.

For more information about The Fitness Principle with Mackie Shilstone at East Jefferson General Hospital, call (504) 457-3100, email at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or visit the website at www.ejgh.org/thefitnessprinciple. For more information about Mackie’s programs, visit his other websites at www.mackieshilstone.com and www.bodyplanforkids.com.

 

Mackie Spotlight

EJGH’s very own Mackie Shilstone, Executive Director of the Fitness Principle, is in New York working with Serena Williams as she goes for another U.S. Open title. As Williams’s Fitness Coach, Mackie will be part of the team preparing her for matches throughout the tournament. To give everyone a behind-the-scenes look at how Williams prepares for every opponent, Mackie is writing a daily postcard for Nola.com detailing all the day’s happenings. Check back daily for updates. 

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