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Clockwork Precision in Athletics Unlocking Doors to Wellness Part 4

  July 02, 2016

By Alexander Germanis

Keys—whether grooved and notched metal or encoded magnetic cards—all serve the same purpose: to allow us to access locked objects. And for all the myriad locks that exist, there are just as many different combinations of complex human health problems. For instance, two people may both require total knee replacement surgery, but the extent of their injuries and the recovery times each person needs may differ drastically. Every individual is different, so each ailment and each injury is a different lock for which there is a different key.

Dr. Joseph Norris, a McLean County Orthopedics surgeon and founder of Method Sports Performance, believes each individual’s metabolic fingerprint can be that key to unlocking the various health and injury-related problems of the human body. The metabolic fingerprint, boiled down to its simplest terms, is a correlation of an individual’s heart rate range and their lactate range, resulting in an optimal heart rate an individual needs to maintain in order to burn the proper fuels.

The production of lactate signifies the use of glycogen or carbohydrates as fuel on a cellular level when there is no oxygen available. Normally, when oxygen levels are proper within the cell, carbohydrates are broken down into water and carbon dioxide. Lactate, a form of lactic acid, is a byproduct of muscle and red blood cells metabolizing carbohydrates when the oxygen level in the cells is too low. Too much lactate can lead to a condition called lactic acidosis, which has a slew of symptoms: profuse sweating, intestinal pain, nausea, confusion, and even coma. Knowing one’s metabolic fingerprint can not only help one avoid this pitfall, it can also be used to determine the best level of exercise for someone wishing to avoid surgery or properly rehab if surgery is necessary.

Dr. Norris explains: “A patient could come into my office and say, ‘I don’t want surgery. I know I could lose weight, and that would help my knee pain from osteoarthritis, but I don’t know what to do.’ We can give them a self-prescribed workout plan for people with knee arthritis.” Dr. Norris adds that the plan may be tailored differently for that individual, taking into account factors like  cardiac disease and lower back pain.

“The person would then be given a low-impact exercise routine with metabolic monitoring that should get that person results and avoid surgery or optimize them if surgery is necessary,” the doctor continues. “They have scientifically-driven direction and structure of someone or something telling them what to do, how to do it, when to start, and when to stop.”

The metabolic fingerprint also acts as the key to avoid injury. “For instance, in physical therapy, if we know your performance in a healthy state—digitally tracked with our platform—this can then help us track you for a return to play if you get injured. [Having that metabolic fingerprint will help you] to get back to a metabolic, as well as functional, strength-monitored view to know when you’re ready to get back in the game and when you’re ready to start practicing.”

Having that “consistent thread of metabolic tracking,” as Dr. Norris calls it, will prove beneficial for anyone, whether they are an athlete wanting to boost their performance or an injured player returning to a prior performance level, a person wishing to avoid certain surgeries or just someone who wants to lose weight in the most efficient way possible.

Although an individual’s physical problem may be as distinctly different as a lock, that person should be able to find the key to that problem in their unique metabolic fingerprint.

To learn more about how the metabolic fingerprint know-how is going to be implemented presently and in the future, please read “Clockwork Precision in Athletics, Part 5” in next month’s issue of Healthy Cells Magazine. If you missed the previous articles in this series, you may read them online at or contact Cheryl at 309-664-2524.

Method Sports Performance, developed by Dr. Norris and Dr. Newcomer, will be opening later this summer as part of the Integrated Center for Wellness. Method Sports Performance will offer a science-based approach to improving the performance of athletes of all ages. For more information, you may contact Dr. Norris at

Photo credit: gilaxia/iStock Back to Top

July 02, 2016

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