Bloomington / Normal, IL

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Pay it Forward

  June 02, 2017
By Alexander Germanis

A saying that has become part of our cultural lexicon in the last decade or so is “paying it forward.” The meaning is simple enough: to take something good someone has given you and pass that goodness on to someone else.

Dr. Joseph Norris, founder of Method Sports Performance in Bloomington and a surgeon at McLean County Orthopedics, is a firm believer that metabolic monitoring is the first step in paying it forward in a very interesting way.

As described earlier in this series, metabolic monitoring involves regular cellular respiration analytics (CRA) testing. CRA’s keep track of how efficiently the cells in the body use up their supply of oxygen. The CRA testing as well as the individual’s metabolic fingerprint — a person’s unique number based on their heart rate and lactate ranges — combine to form a longitudinal record of that person’s exercise performance.

It is more than just a record of exercise; it is, as Dr. Norris points out, a prescription. “There’s a big push in primary care for ‘exercise is medicine,’” he says. “An exercise physiologist can prescribe exercise and a metabolic test; you can have a prescription for exercise. I would argue almost everybody needs a prescription for exercise equal to their ‘script for blood pressure medicine or diabetes pill or cholesterol medicine.”

That prescription for exercise, along with the metabolic fingerprint, are part of what the Method application will keep track of for the individual. To have that sort of information at hand all the time is more important than one might think. “Everybody says ‘you need to lose weight,’ but they don't give any structure around it,” Dr. Norris says. “I think the realm of the Method application is important, especially when you also integrate medical doctors. You always have direction and structure.”

While such a record is certainly beneficial to the individual who has formed it, Dr. Norris points out that that information has far-reaching applications. “You, as an individual participant, are paying it forward — to yourself, to your kids, to anyone else — because of the data you create,” he explains. “And the performance and improvement you create will then be monitored and utilized to know how to do it better the next time. That is the application: the collection of data, the prescription of exercise.”

“There are so many applications,” he continues. “It’s not just for young kids to get division one scholarships. You should also think, ‘I need to do that. And my friend who is overweight, I want to tell them about this because they're struggling and they need direction. Utilizing the application to its fullest gives us a much bigger opportunity to help more people.”

Perhaps one of the best aspects of the Method application is that it has the potential of becoming an international phenomenon — a phenomenon getting its start in Bloomington/Normal.

“And this is going to continue to evolve,” Dr. Norris says. “Someone in Sunrise Rotary said, ‘We’re going to be the healthiest community in the United States.’ I think it’s a good goal to have, because we have the tools to do it.”

For years, doctors have been advising their patients to take care of themselves, if not for themselves, then for their children. Now that advice has scientific evidence to support it.

“Paying it forward” is not just an exercise philosophy, it is why physicians like Dr. Norris are in the business of wellness in the first place. “That’s what I care about the most,” he insists. “If you can give five people who have struggled with their weight their entire life direction, keep them on task, and change their outlook and outcome with life, that’s the game changer.”

If you missed the previous articles in this series, you may read them online at or contact Cheryl at

Method Sports Performance, developed by Dr. Norris and Dr. Newcomer, is now open as part of the Integrated Center for Wellness, located at 1111 Trinity Lane in Bloomington. Method Sports Performance offers a science-based approach to improving your health as well as athletic performance of athletes of all ages. For more information, you may visit their website, call 309-433-9355, or contact Dr. Norris at

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June 02, 2017


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