Train Like an Olympian with Amanda Russell

Being an Olympian might be the highest badge of honor bestowed upon an athlete. It signifies much more than just talent (though there’s no denying that’s a key component), it represents perseverance, commitment, and sacrifice.

When my own Olympic aspirations were cut dramatically short by a devastating and career ending injury it wasn’t athletic ability that brought me back to fighting form, it was the mental conditioning I’d been developing from my very first race in my home country of Canada to my last time competing on the world stage.

It’s this “take no prisoners” attitude that you…yup, I’m talking to you: the sisters, the best friends, the girlfriends, the fashionistas, the leaders of today and tomorrow…can apply to your own training and fitness regime.

Using the worldwide energy and excitement, only present during the Olympic Games, for inspiration I have created the Train Like an Olympian Workout. This workout is designed to get you into serious shape while instilling in you the mental focus needed to achieve your personal fitness goals. Because, the old adage is true: it’s 90% mental. Together we’ll become stronger, leaner, and healthier. All you need is 20-minutes and a can do attitude.

The Train Like an Olympian features step-by-step instructions to every exercise ensure you’ll get the maximum benefit and really feel the burn – nothing better than a little day after workout soreness!

Leave your comments, questions, and challenges on my Facebook or shoot me a tweet @arfit…because we’re in this together and I want to make sure you’re getting the most out of your workout experience. Checkout my PokitDok page for other workouts and some great offers to help you get in and keep in killer shape!




The XX Factor: What it Means to be Women in Healthcare

Health. There is no topic more personal, more influential, or often, more baffling in life. But, it is above all the great equalizer. Lisa Maki, the CEO of PokitDok and Lydia Genner, PokitDok’s Director of Marketing share their personal journeys and the role women are playing in shaping the modern face of Healthcare.

Lisa’s Story

I’ve always been healthy, really healthy. I’ve competed in sports forever and even took time off in the middle of my career to live in Utah, teach snowboarding, and mountain bike.  The only serious medical issue I’ve faced was a blown out ACL.  Then, just a few years ago, it felt like the wheels came off.

In 2007, chronic lower back pain became so severe I couldn’t make a bed without resting halfway through.  I saw GPs, PTs, and pain specialists and no one knew what was wrong.  Finally, an MRI revealed a large synovial cyst on my lower spine and an orthopedic surgeon removed it.  There’s nothing like waking up from anesthesia and willing your toes to wiggle.

After two months of bliss the pain was back and so were the cysts.  The surgeon said my only recourse was to have rods inserted to support my spine ending my active life, as I knew it, forever.  I postponed, (ok, I panicked) and researched other options.  A few months later, at a loss, I posted a plea for information on Facebook and got a referral for a chiropractor who suggested a nearby study using HGH.  The physician conducting the study was in the same hospital—two halls over—as the surgeon who’d told me I needed the rods.  It had taken me six months to go 100 yards.

Another six months, three rounds of HGH injections and a lot of functional movement training later I was pain free and have remained so.  Neither the treatment nor the training was covered by insurance.  My path to that outcome was long and full of mountains of information, a lot of dead ends, and finally one random Facebook post that led to the answer that was right for me

My co-founder, Ted Tanner, watched me go through this ordeal and suggested we try to make it easier.  As a technologist, he knew it was possible to make the path to health I’d taken shorter but that the data we needed was contained as much in my social interactions as it was in the available clinical evidence.  With my experience as our guide we built a very different health site called PokitDok that uses the powers of social commerce to help people like you and me find options and make health choices.

In PokitDok you can ask questions of the community, get professional information as well as community experience and find out how much a treatment or product will cost, and even purchase it, often at a significant discount. PokitDok is what I wish I’d had; now, I hope it helps you.

Lydia’s Story

Healthcare has always been one of those topics that I know I should pay attention to…I really should…but it’s all just so complicated, and a little boring, not to mention discussed using words I haven’t heard since the SAT exam. I’d much rather surf the internet in the direction of than the Mayo Clinic. After all I’m young, how much does it really matter right now?  I have plenty of time to figure out what those cholesterol numbers really mean, right? At least that’s how I felt until the day I noticed a highly suspect mole on my back.

Suddenly healthcare was not boring. It wasn’t boring at all. In fact, it was downright riveting. I found myself spending long hours researching the various medical terms my doctor was throwing around during my steady stream of appointments and before I knew it I was down the rabbit hole emerging the only place any medical condition on the internet leads…cancer.

Sufficiently scared, I did what any rational 30-year old would do, I curled up on my couch eating ice cream and mentally finding new homes for all of my shoes. And then I got the biopsy results. Negative. Phew! What a relief.  I was free to go about my business. But then my doctor started talking about mole mapping and semi-annual body check I felt the anxiety rising again. There’s got to be someone, somewhere that I could go to discuss all of this that wouldn’t leave me feeling like it was time to tell my mom I love her.

It was about this time that I reconnected with Lisa Maki and she told me about her latest venture. It was so simple and so obvious it made me sit back and think surely someone has already done this…I mean aren’t all the good ideas already taken? But it wasn’t. It was for grabs and Lisa and Ted were making it happen.

Women and Healthcare


Over 90% of women between the ages of 25 and 34 research health related topics on the internet at least once a week. Fifty percent of these women are searching for information for someone other than themselves. Women care about health. Period. And who understands the way women do things better than other women.

Women led health businesses asuch as PokitDok are revolutionizing the way health is researched, discussed, and purchased.  Leading the charge are women like Lisa Maki and Lydia Genner who want to see health become less of a dictatorship and more of a collaborative open forum where personal experience is held in the highest regard, practitioners have a safe way to connect with and inform us, and it’s possible to get as least as much information before making a health choice as you do before  choosing a pair of shoes. The goal of making healthcare accessible, understandable, and affordable is not a pipe dream; it’s within everyone’s grasp.

Behind Closed Doors: Inside the Operating Room with Dr. Jeffrey Swisher

Welcome to my first post for PokitDok! Despite having a sister who is of one of the most prolific tech journalists on the net, I am a first time blogger. But bear with me, perhaps this is genetic, so I will give it my best shot. When Lisa Maki, my old college and Stanford Sierra Camp pal tracked me down after many years to invite me to be part of her new health/medical information venture “PokitDok”, I was intrigued. I also couldn’t get the image out of my mind of those little pastel colored sugar candy dots glued to the roll of three-inch wide ticker tape. I think they were called Candy Buttons, but I called them “Pocket Dots”. They were the perfect “pills” for playing doctor, and undoubtedly launched me on my career as a physician.

Lisa and I talked over the course of a long hike in the canyons of Mt. Tamalpais near my home in Marin. Our discussion ranged widely, and as is typical for Lisa, was engaging and insightful. We caught up on our respective lives and careers, our health issues that invariably ensue as you hit middle age, and our mutual fascination and frustration with the complexity, politics, and economics of health care delivery in our society.

I am an anesthesiologist who works in a large tertiary care hospital in San Francisco. My group of 53 physicians provides comprehensive anesthesia care for a wide variety of medical procedures and surgeries. From epidurals for relief of labor pain, to surgeries on tiny premature babies, to liver and heart transplants, and the whole range of surgeries and procedures in between, my practice is interwoven with the complex tapestry that is modern medical care. And believe me, “complex” is an understatement.

It is said that one should befriend a sharp accountant, a trustworthy mechanic, a relentless attorney, and a good butcher. I would add a well-trained anesthesiologist to that list. There are few doctors who are as present and responsible and as little known about as
anesthesiologists. Prior to your operation, we review your health history and current medical issues, as well as your medications and their various interactions. We perform a rapid and comprehensive physical exam, explain the myriad risks and benefits of the anesthetic procedure tailored specifically for you, then put you to sleep using powerful sedatives such as propofol, the “Michael Jackson” drug.

Or we can render parts of your body numb with local anesthetic drugs injected through precisely placed needles in your back, or arm, or leg. And then we stay right next to you for the entire duration of your procedure, watching you. We carefully monitor your vital signs, and oxygen, carbon dioxide, and anesthetic gas concentrations using complex machinery, tweaking here, and adjusting them as needed. We tally and replace fluids and blood loss. The latter surprises a lot of people. “You give blood during surgery?!” As opposed to whom, the blood fairy perhaps? We keep you stable, and alive, in a state of suspended animation while the surgeons do their job. Then we bring you back. Putting you to sleep is only a small part of what we do. It’s keeping you there and then getting you back—awake, safe sound and comfortable—that’s tricky.

What’s unique about anesthesiologists aside from our particular expertise, and good looks, is that we are always in the middle of things. We meet a lot of people, we listen a lot, and we have a lot of time to ponder. Operations are often long affairs involving a wide variety of folks: surgeons, nurses, scrub-techs, physician assistants, equipment reps, etc., all confined to the small space of the operating room. Conversations are lively, often about politics, economics, and the modern realities of medical care. We talk about Obamacare, death panels, HMO’s, PPO’s, mandated insurance, rising costs, decreased reimbursements, drug shortages, the list of new topics continues to grow.

So, exclusively on PokitDok, I will share with you medicine from the inside of this small room - conversations and stories accumulated over the years from encounters with my patients and my colleagues. Stories that highlight many of the issues we are all facing today with our new world of decisions and choices we must make about our health and our medical care.

Jeffrey L. Swisher, M.D.

San Francisco, CA