Talk To The Pharmacist

My Grandpa was a pretty anti-doctor kinda guy. As I’ve said before, he grew up tough in an orphanage in Chicago during the depression and was treated with Polio while there. Instead of folding his cards and deciding to be a ward of the state for the rest of his life like to many are doing today, he fought to survive and strived to always be self-sufficient.

Most illnesses were treated by a heavy dose of YBF. All headaches were “all in your head.” Heh. For realz. But if there was really something that wasn’t going away, he wouldn’t go straight to the doc… but he WOULD go straight to his pharmacist. Should he take something or will it go away? I don’t remember exactly if the pharm guy ever told him to actually go to the doctor but Grandpa was happy with his program. After all, the pharmacist understands the drugs FAR better than the doc who prescribes them depending on how many kickbacks they get. Yes? Yes. (I know, I know, I’m jaded. If there are any doc’s out there all offended now, shut up. You know at least part of that statement has merit.)

The good pharm’s have enough experience to recognize pros and cons to medicine along with possible natural supplements that can be tried prior to chemically altering your body make-up with shit that puts another billion in a pharmaceutical president’s pocket. Many also have an understanding that a diet change can profoundly impact a potential patient to the point of getting them out of their diseased state.

I’m lucky enough to have one come to tosabarbell three times a week and train. So when health declines of our loved ones is found out, he’s my go to guy for possible medicinal fixes. More importantly, he gives expert advice on which medicines to stay away from and why. It’s quite fascinating…having medical professionals in the Bigg guy’s family whose advice may directly conflict with the guy who has spent his life dedicated to knowing exactly how drugs prescribed can either help or hurt a patient.

A simplified view of the current medical field is very similar to coaching barbell lifts. We hit the big stuff first; bottom position on the squat, starting position off the floor in a clean, squeezing the chest up in the deadlift to set the hamstrings. Big stuff first. As we go on, we’ll start nitpicking and taking care of details. So it goes with the doc’s. Symptoms are described, they’ll reach for the most common answer first and see what should be prescribed to fix that problem. Didn’t work? Cross it off (just like certain cues don’t work for some people…cross it off the list.) Narrow the diagnoses…prescribe something different or a different dose. (God forbid they tell people to change their diet, that doesn’t get pharm exec’s their Jet Stream for another year.) Patients can go weeks, months, even years feeling like crap while trusting their doctor. I find that completely unacceptable (I have lots of Grandpa in me.) I don’t want chemicals in my body (barring catastrophic disease) if I can help it. But our medical profession has morphed into an accepted version of the street corner keeper of the drugs. Prescribe, prescribe, prescribe.

Oh sure, there are good ones out there. I personally really like my doctor and if I had anything that needed to be checked out I would trek back to Minnesota to see him. But if drugs are prescribed, I’ll talk to the pharmacist before I take them and first ask what else can be done to battle whatever I’m battling. I’ll also do a little google checking and if I find out that the drug prescribed is in the top five drugs sold in our country, peace out dude. Fok that. I’m not obligated to keep drug companies rich, that’s the government’s job.

When discussing the disease of a loved one last week with someone, the following comment was made (not by me.) ‘Well what does a pharmacist know?’ Actually, they know a lot.  In fact, they’re the ones I’d go to first. Oh ya, I don’t have to go anywhere, I’ll just wait till they come train.

Yeah me.

Training Log

About tosabarbell

For training opportunities at tosabarbell, call or text Juli at 320-296-9313. e-mail to At tosabarbell, I build relationships cultivated in a strength and learning environment. There is no 12 week magic pill program to strength but rather a lifetime commitment to be the very best and most useful human you can be. tosabarbell is a private, home grown gym with three lifting platforms; squat rack; prowlers; throwing implements; bars, bumpers and everything else needed for an effective strength and conditioning program. Straightforward barbell programming including the Olympic lifts; sound (read: not fancy bullshit) diet advance for weight gain or loss; and strong coaching will ensure you will meet your goals such as becoming stronger, more explosive, and better conditioned. I have been coaching teams and athletes for over 30 years. I grew up participating in various sports at various levels but was always drawn to those that require strength training. I have multiple local, national, and world records in the sports of Weightlifting and Highland Games Heavy Events as well as a combined total of 5 World Championships. My 5 years of training and coaching under Mark Rippetoe provided a wide range of influence from some of the top strength & conditioning and throwing coaches in the country. I will strongly encourage tosabarbell athletes to compete (and prepare you to do so.) However, tosabarbell is also for those who wish to be stronger and go through life feeling better. Matt WanAt is a retired Professional Strongman who competed frequently with Strongman Champions League in Europe. He played a year of D1 football with Iowa before concentrating on his Chemical Engineering degree in Iowa City. He is a native of Wauwatosa and still remains a staunch supporter of Tosa East. This blog will be a mixture of strength notes, coaching and nutrition tips, personal shit; bacon delicacies, and a whole lot of fun.
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