Nutrition, fitness & executive health: Lifesaving checkup
An executive physical allowed the Magic’s Pat Williams to get on top of some bad news.
When the Orlando Magic decided to send its executives for an annual physical in 2011, Pat Williams was the first on the list. “I didn’t want to do it,” the NBA team’s senior vice president recalls. “It required getting up before dawn and being out there at 7 a.m. with no breakfast.”
Looking back, he’s glad he went. After a full day of testing at Florida Hospital Celebration, a physician told him that something didn’t look quite right with his blood work and “probably should be checked.”
Williams didn’t think too much about it at the time — he was more focused on running the Disney marathon, his 58th race, that following Sunday. But when he woke three days later “to the most excruciating back pain imaginable,” he knew something wasn’t right.
More tests revealed that Williams, then 70, was suffering from multiple myeloma, a rare cancer of the blood.
Today, Williams’ cancer is in remission, following a 2012 stem cell transplant and chemotherapy, which he’ll have to receive indefinitely. Notably, Williams wouldn’t have been able to receive the stem cell transplant if he hadn’t been exceptionally fit. The typical “cutoff” age for the challenging procedure is 65.
The longtime NBA executive has since written a book about his cancer battle called “The Mission Is Remission,” and he encourages all men to get a yearly physical.
“One of out two men will deal with cancer at some point in their life — and one out of three women — but for men, it’s a 50-50 proposition,” he cautions.
“My main message to men,” he says, “is do not neglect your yearly physical, which many men will do because they don’t like doctors and they don’t want to do it. If you jump on this cancer stuff early, you’ve got a much better chance. If you’re late, it’s a lot harder.”
30% The percentage of S&P 500 companies that provided executive physicals as a perk in 2015. The median cost was $3,000.
“Stay in shape!
Even if your busy travel schedule takes you away from home, continue your exercise routine on the road and try to eat healthy. At the very least, do the seven-minute workout in the hotel room and avoid fast food.”
Dr. Stephen Avallone, medical director, Huizenga Executive Health Program, Cleveland Clinic Florida
“Some business executives don’t sleep very well.
Many times, there’s an underlying medical disorder, like sleep apnea. Any time executives are busy, working a lot, they take all that anxiety and stress home with them, and when they try to sleep, it affects their sleep and ability to function throughout the day as well. We talk about the importance of sleep, stress management and resiliency management.”
Dr. Stephanie Hines, Mayo Clinic Florida
After Manning Summer broke his back playing football in high school, doctors said he’d never play sports again. He came back from the injury and accepted a preferred walk-on spot at Auburn University in 1996 — but a second back injury his junior year forced him to “give up that dream and start another one.”
Today, Summer, 39, runs a gym called Legacy Fit in the Edgewood neighborhood of Miami, where he trains both pro athletes and the general public. His high-intensity boot camps are so popular that Legacy offers eight per day, and he’s turned it into a franchise.
Summer describes his 20-station circuit as a “cross between resistance training and high-intensity interval training.” Clients might move from doing push-ups, to TRX pull-ups, followed by a 20- yard sled push, then a brief period of rest before another set of “push-pull” movements and more intense cardio.
His nutrition advice is less regimented. “I talk more about how to make their nutrition habits fit their lifestyle. If you have someone who works a lot and is always eating out, maybe doing meal plans. If somebody likes structure, we talk about meal prepping. If someone enjoys going to restaurants, we discuss how to order and what to order.”
39% Growth in the number of health and fitness clubs (from 1,632 to 2,261) in Florida between 2011 and 2015.
“We’ve actually had someone with very tight coronary artery stenosis, left main artery issues, like 95% to 96% (blocked), unbeknownst to them — the kind of thing they call the widow maker, where someone could just keel over and have a sudden cardiac arrest. We’ve found several of those through the years. With cardiac intervention and stent placement, we’ve been able to avoid a real catastrophe for that patient.”
Dr. Louis Saco, CEO, Watson Clinic
Executive Health Programs
Baptist Executive Health,
Baptist Health South Florida, Miami
The $1,300 basic package includes an ECG, vision and hearing screening, chest X-ray, health and lifestyle assessment and an array of lab work. Additional testing, depending on age, gender, symptoms and other factors, may include a cardiac stress test, 3-D mammogram, abdominal aortic ultrasound, colon cancer screening and bone density screening. Optional wellness services include nutritional counseling, a fitness assessment, a massage and stress management consultations.
Watson Clinic Executive Wellness Program, Lakeland
Basic packages cost about $620 and include a physical exam, chest X-ray, ECG, comprehensive blood tests and PSA screening for men. More extensive exams such as a cardiac evaluation that includes a treadmill test are about $1,600. A cardiac CTA scan of the coronary arteries can be added for $867. Patients get VIP treatment — escorts throughout the facility, no waits and use of an executive lounge, where they can use computers, eat breakfast, send faxes, etc.
Cleveland Clinic Florida Huizenga Executive Health Program, Weston
For patients under age 40, a typical visit costs about $2,000 and includes a head-to-toe exam, labs, fitness assessment, retinal imaging, ECG, pulmonary function test, a nutrition consult and an audiogram. The plus-40 crowd will pay more than $2,000 for those services plus a chest X-ray, ECG, stress test, pulmonary function test and mammogram.
USF Health Monsour Executive Wellness Center, Tampa
Concierge-driven physicals with same-day results range from $1,450 to $3,750. Exams are customized to meet patients’ needs, but typical tests include an EKG treadmill stress test, imaging, ultrasounds, dermatological exam, blood work and a dilated eye exam. A massage is also included.
UF Health Douglas Williams Executive Health Program, Gainesville
Age-based packages range from $2,600 for those 39 and younger to $2,800 for those aged 40 to 60 and $3,000 for those 61 and older. All packages include a comprehensive physical, a resting EKG, consult with a registered dietician, treadmill cardiac stress test, body composition testing, metabolic analysis, hearing and vision screening, pelvic exam for women (with pap smear and breast exam), lab work and an assessment by an athletic trainer. Additional labs/tests are included in packages for older individuals.
Florida Hospital Celebration Health Assessment, Celebration
A one-day visit accomplishes the equivalent of nearly a dozen medical appointments in a resort-like atmosphere. The various classic, essential and elite packages cost $3,989, $5,500 and $7,000, respectively, but packages can be customized depending on needs. The classic package includes a range of heart tests, cancer screening, fitness and nutritional evaluations and numerous other tests and consultations. Amenities include meals, a three-month membership to the fitness center and day spa, discounted spa services and quarterly body composition testing for one year.
Mayo Clinic Executive Health Program, Jacksonville
Mayo’s exam includes screening tests for cancer, heart disease and other serious conditions. Comprehensive blood tests, a urinalysis and a treadmill stress test are also included. Other tests, services and consultations may be added depending on the patient’s medical history, symptoms and other risk factors. Pricing is based on age and gender, but Mayo works with patients and companies on direct-billing arrangements and filing insurance claims.
The Right Routine
About a year ago, Jason Caras, CEO of IT Authorities in Tampa, hit a fitness plateau. “I was at 21% body fat and couldn’t get beyond that,” he says. Then he started training with Elizabeth Wilson, a registered dietician and personal trainer at Life Time Athletic and LifeSpa in Tampa.
First, Wilson tweaked his diet. Caras, 46, now starts his day with a meat or other protein and a healthy fat, such as avocado or nuts. Wilson also designed a workout for him that optimizes fat-burning, including a “metabolic warm-up,” an eight-minute run with increases in intensity every two minutes and a “German Body Comp” regimen that triggers rapid fat loss by combining upper and lower body exercises with brief rest intervals of 30 to 60 seconds.
Today, Caras is down to 15. 1% body fat and working to “lean out a little more” and increase his muscle mass. He says he’s never felt better. “The entire reason I’m doing this, yeah sure it’s for physique, but it’s for the energy level.”