I’m joined today by Dawn Nasta, a hypertrophy and rehabilitation specialist in the Phoenix area. Dawn’s understanding of the nervous system has enabled her to not only get her clients out of pain faster than traditional therapies, but also enabled her to produce champion athletes in the extremely competitive arena of physique sports. She shares insights into how she’s been able to help these athletes, including the incredible story of how she helped Ms. Fitness Olympia Whitney Jones avoid surgery and defend her title. Listen in as Dawn describes how mastering the nervous system can unlock potential for everybody from novices to professional athletes.
I am very excited to welcome Don Nasta. We are here in person, she’s in Austin this weekend from the Phoenix area, helping us with our hypertrophy course. So we have a brand new, really exciting module in our continuing education library here that we’re filming this weekend. It’s going great. And I’m excited that we get to take this little break from filming to, I guess, do some more filming. So a little bit on don has a very interesting and diverse background. She has been working for the last decade-plus in a very interesting high-end medical facility there in the Phoenix area where they use a lot of very advanced modalities combined with a functional medicine approach. So she’s been doing everything from colon hydrotherapy and massage therapy to some of these other more advanced modalities. And now for the last couple of years, we’ve been working together, she’s been using the Nuby in some really interesting ways. So we will get to dive into your story. Here are some of your experiences. But first,
[Down Nasta] 1:53
Welcome. Thank you, thank you. I’m grateful to be here. I mean, the new fit has been such a huge contribution to my life overall, both personally and professionally. I love the culture of the company. I love the energy, it’s so appropriate that it energy focused. And I mean, I’m just such I’m so grateful to have such a great team and such a great device as part of my life and part of my practices. Awesome.
Thank you. That’s wonderful. Thank you so much for being here. This weekend has been fabulous. It has
[Down Nasta] 2:23
been it has been I’ve learned a lot from you and a lot from Brad it’s nice to collaborate, exchange some of that information and work on wonderful things coming in the future,
Your career, because along the way, you got into bodybuilding, competed in bodybuilding for several years, and then started having some health challenges. That was one of the catalysts for us connecting So can you just share a little bit of your experience in that in that bodybuilding realm and some of those challenges you faced?
[Down Nasta] 2:52
Absolutely. So when I first started competing, it was really to help me get comfortable in my skin and it was more of a mental exercise than through my first competitions, I enjoyed it. But during my first prep, I only utilize Bikram yoga as part of my process. So at about 16 weeks out, I started doing Bikram yoga once a day ended about eight weeks out, I started doing Bikram yoga twice a day. And I didn’t know what I was doing. I just knew I had some friends who were bodybuilders and Olympians and clients who were coming in and I thought it would be exciting to kind of challenge myself. Well, I won my show. And so then I was qualified for nationals. And I had no idea what I was doing. I hadn’t worked with a coach. So I decided to look and see what the girls looked like and started to work out well. I have a naturally high testosterone level, and I have PCOS, which can give you an abnormally high testosterone level.
[Down Nasta] 3:54
So I put on an acronym for this. It’s polycystic ovary syndrome. So basically, you develop cysts on your ovaries stead of ovulation at times. And there, it can just cause a little bit of a hormonal imbalance. So as soon as I started to get under weights, I started to develop muscle pretty quickly. So when I went to Nationals, the feedback that I got was that I was just too muscular for a bikini, and maybe I should move up to the next division, which is figure. So I did that. And I competed in that division for about a year. And again, they told me I should probably consider going to the next division, which is physique and it’s more muscular, and I, really, really fell in love with that division. It was just it fit me there’s more of a routine you get to show more body parts. It’s just a different division. And each one has their own positive and you know, their positive benefits, according to that, but then that division and some of the standards and criteria started to change.
[Down Nasta] 5:01
So they wanted me to be more muscular. So that was a challenge for me naturally. And so I had to try to exercise more so or utilize some of my recovery capabilities more. So otherwise, just the other side of it is that there is a nature of trying to supplement in ways that, you know, I was very conscientious not to because I didn’t want there to be any irreversible side effects. So the way that I could overcome that is being very, very diligent about my exercise and training and intensity level, as well as my nutrition and trying to recover. And during that process, I just had trained too hard, because I knew that I had tried to get somewhere I had a certain goal in mind. But during that process, I had breached that line of healthy fitness and a sacrificial sport.
[Down Nasta] 5:56
And that is one thing that I’m very fortunate with having Dr. Robot as my mentor at the BioMed Center that impressed upon me that you have to recognize as an athlete, that there’s a very specific boundary. And at some point, it’s health and fitness. And then you get to a place where it’s a sacrificial sport. And the more that you’re sacrificing for that sport, the more you need to focus on performance and recovery. Because otherwise, there are going to be long-term consequences, longevity is not going to happen, injuries are going to be more prone. And so
He was trying to coach you to stay as close to that, you know, healthier side as possible. But eventually, things going to cross over. Right?
[Down Nasta] 6:37
Yeah. And I’m very fortunate because even from the beginning, I monitored, I’m kind of a nerd in that sense. And I love it. I love research, I love data. You know, I’m probably not a very great client on the bodybuilding side, because I want to know why, why am I doing this, it’s my body, I have to live in it, I have to kind of deal with the consequences. So I want to know what’s happening. So there’s a lot of why’s, but in that process, I decided I want to work with a doctor, I want somebody to look at my levels, and I want to know how my body is responding.
[Down Nasta] 7:06
So I was much more disciplined in that respect. And I did blood work every four to six months. So when I started noticing my metabolism was not functioning as well as it once was. And I was not sleeping well. My digestion wasn’t operating as well as it had been in being a colon hydrotherapist, I was very astute about what that was. And I talked to drove out and I was three weeks out from a show. And he said you need to run your hormones. I said I don’t have time, nothing’s gonna happen between now and three weeks. And he’s like, well, you know, you probably should, and I didn’t. And when I got done, and we did run my hormones, we could see what had started to happen.
[Down Nasta] 7:48
And he showed me he said, You know, I want you to see right here, this is exactly what professional athletes have happened when they breached, to that point of it being a health and fitness perspective, and now become a sacrificial sport. At that point, he actually, owe a large amount to him, me coming into contact with the new fit. Because our goal was how do I find a way to either take some of the pressure off my nervous system, or have to do something more biochemical because his thought was, and his explanation and the research he showed me was that my nervous system had just been so sympathetic for so long, that I wasn’t quite able to get into a space of recovery or even proper digestion. And you know, we talk a lot about nutrition. But nutrition is nothing if there isn’t assimilation of those nutrients and being able to utilize them effectively. And if your nervous system is at its brink, and it can’t function, then it’s not giving the energy necessary to digest those foods. It’s been an interesting experience to that effect.
So I think there’s a lot of wisdom there. And thank goodness that you were so diligent about keeping track of your metrics, paying attention to how you are responding, and you’re in this wonderful facility and have a great mentor and colleague looking after you and helping to coach because I know it’s sometimes it’s hard for us to do those things for ourselves. Sometimes you need to have that outside perspective. Absolutely. So you became a PE or have been all along and also becoming a patient of the BioMed Centre. Can you tell us a little more about the types of modalities and the types of work that you do there at the BioMed center?
[Down Nasta] 9:43
So the BioMed Center is the most comprehensive Biomedicine center outside of Europe.
And so what is Biomed? I mean, what we think medicine always deals with is biology, what does that mean? Biomed before we get into it, just like what is what’s in the name.
[Down Nasta] 10:01
So within biological medicine, we’re trying to optimize the body’s biological functions. And so that’s predominantly where that name comes from, through that we look at the body as a whole, and we help the body function optimally as a whole. So that’s where there’s a very functional medicine benefit. However, we do focus strongly on diagnostics. And a lot of those diagnostics are directly related to the nervous system. So that’s one thing that is very synergistic between new fit and the Biomedicine center as a whole, is its functioning on how does your body’s energy and nervous system work and how is that directly correlating to the health of the other organs and systems?
Okay, so a very integrative holistic, correct approach is a big, big part of it. They’re
[Down Nasta] 10:46
Correct. And the Biomedicine center was founded by Dr. Dixon, Tom, and Dr. Jeff’s robot, and both have very elaborate experiences and education. However, they also have very different focuses and functions. Dr. Joe Biden and Dr. Tom just had very different focuses, Dr. Tom has been in the field forever. And he educates a lot on fundamentals and chronic illness and along the way Dr. Drogba with his experience with athletes and different athletic organizations, and, you know, professional teams, really delved into the performance and the recovery. And for me, it was optimal, because I love to help people and help them feel better.
[Down Nasta] 11:31
However, as an empath, I have to be cognizant, because I don’t constantly want to be around people who are ill, and chronically ill either because that harms me. So for me, it’s perfect, because, and again, new fit, just kind of pulls that all together, I can work with people who need improvement who are in pain who have an injury, but then again, once we get them to that place, it’s not like we stop there, we can continue to improve and optimize and just help enhance their overall improve performance and quality of life. So
That’s awesome. So I got to visit, I’ve been to the BioMed center, and I was impressed with all the different modalities, the different light therapies, other you know, I guess what we would call energetic medicines and other therapies and, and it’s cool. So you’re able to play to the chronically ill people know, for whom some of these new, more in-depth treatments might be their last hope. And then the professional athletes, I know you work with the Cardinals, the coyotes, NFL NHL team, they’re in Phoenix. So it’s a cool blend. And can you talk about it? Well, I know you’ve been using the newbie in two places there. And then also in the kind of satellite office on pro physiques. And so we’ll talk about both of those. First, how have you been implementing it within the BioMed center, then what are some of the main ways that you’ve been able to use it in that in that setting?
[Down Nasta] 13:03
So one thing that fits very well, within that business model is the master reset protocol. And as you know, we’ve begun some preliminary biometric measurements on it showing the efficacy. And, you know, if you can get the body and the nervous system into homeostasis, then it is capable of doing all of its responsibilities and jobs. And that’s one thing that drove out has focused on and educated a lot of his patients and even myself on over the years is, you know, when we deal with a lot of these autoimmune illnesses, a lot of it is relative to what he calls chronic immune dysfunction relative to the nervous system. Imbalance, right? So if you are operating at 100%, all the time, and you don’t know how, and I, I was, I am guilty of that, where I don’t, I’m super Taipei, so physiologically, I didn’t know how to calm down. And so we do have a few modalities there we have the zone, which helps do that. And we do have something called it’s a Vibro acoustic bed called the sound bed. But what we have found with what the master reset can do is incredible.
[Down Nasta] 14:17
So that was that’s one way to serve a nose if you’re if you don’t have your newbie yet. The Master Reset is our protocol where we’re stimulating the vagus nerve sending a fairly mild dent, fairly gentle, but still significant currents through the body to increase parasympathetic nervous system function and help the body get out of the fight or flight state more into that rest and digest state. So that’s the master resets, please continue.
[Down Nasta] 14:42
Right. Absolutely. And I think that that’s one thing just as a culture, and as you know, as a society, we keep thinking, we have to do more, do more, do more, do more and again, something I’m incredibly guilty of, but the truth is our body needs to get into that space of parasympathetic, nature and homeostasis. So for it to, you know, digest our foods and help us sleep and help our body heal and repair. And then on the other end, we have it where the Biomedicine Senator has a huge focus right on overall health and, if necessary, utilizing pharmaceuticals, but pharmaceuticals more as a secondary course of action.
[Down Nasta] 15:24
So this is great for people who have pain and injury for an extended time, I’ve as a colon hydrotherapist, I get exposed to a lot of people who are on oxycontin or pain medications. And this helps alleviate some of those painful symptoms. So they don’t have to utilize the pain medications as much, which then eliminates the issues of them being extremely constipated, which affects their whole body. So the master reset, and then again, any of the pain management protocols are extremely helpful. And then we have the athletic side there, which is something that’s, again, completely different. Where with the neuromuscular re-education component, any of our athletes who are trying to use repetitive motions, can help optimize those repetitive motions by tapping into the neurological signal while doing their sports-specific exercises. So that’s a whole nother end that kind of gives the athletes a different edge.
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That’s awesome. I love that. And I saw where you had built out that room, you know, there’s more traditional treatment exam rooms and rooms with these modalities, then almost like, you know, double or triple size treatment room, but with, you know, with some exercise equipment, and the newbie and stuff in there. To see that, it’s just cool to see that truly all-in-one-place type of arrangement there. So it was cool.
It’s amazing. And you know, and that’s one thing, again, that it is in alignment with like who Knuth it is as a company and who you are as a person, you know if we all collaborate, we can all come together. And we can all share those different strengths exponentially, we can just do so much more than trying to do it on our own. So it feels good. And it’s not fun to do it alone.
And thankfully, there’s a happy ending to this chapter of the story, because you were able to come with some of your health and hormonal challenges. Yes. Now, I can do more consistently in that recovery state. Right. So
[Down Nasta] 17:56
Absolutely. And which is great, which is kind of a good segue. So even though I’m not able to, or I’ve chosen at this point, to not compete, and again, I’m 42 years old, so it’s slightly different, I’m at that space as well, where I want to be a little more cognizant of where my hormones are anyhow. And, you know, I love what’s happening with the new fit and all the positive things on the horizon. So, you know, to have energy for that, I don’t want to have to go into a state of depletion with nutrients as well. So I was able, you know, through some of my network and friends to be able to still put that in place with those types of athletes and overcome a lot of challenges and see some of my favorite people, like utilize it to their benefit and it makes a huge impact on their lives. So that’s exciting. And that
Plays into the or Yes, as you said, segues beautifully into the satellite location. Another office that you have at AT Pro physique is also there in the Phoenix and Scottsdale area. Yes. And so you’ve been working a lot with the bodybuilding population. That’s the topic of the continuing education course we’re filming here in Austin this weekend. Training for hypertrophy, helping them build muscles helping these Is it mostly are all female competitors, this team that you’re working with,
[Down Nasta] 19:24
It’s probably 80% females. So it’s high it’s a high population of females. So helping
Mostly female competitors, certainly with hypertrophy, helping them build muscle, sometimes whole body in areas where they may perceive that they’re lagging and need to build up certain areas and then also working on those same recovery components. So you can help them they can have that foundation of health that will support them and have success in their competitions in their journey. So can you speak to how you’ve been implementing the newbie there with the pro physique team and with those bodybuilding athletes?
[Down Nasta] 20:03
Yes, absolutely. And I will say that as the original intention was for pro physiques to be somewhat of a satellite office with the nature of the world and the things that have happened and the things that have changed, it’s become at least 50%, or more of my focus, just because of the amount of because of significant results we can get by including the new fit in protocols and systems that we’ve already done. So quite a rocket ship, it has. And, you know, again, I’m, I’m personally, a big believer in, you know, I don’t believe in accidents, I think, you know, as long as we’re focused on something larger and larger than ourselves, and more positive that we kind of attracts those things into our lives.
[Down Nasta] 20:50
And as soon as I got back from the training, I immediately thought of Whitney Jones and Whitney Jones is by far the one female in the bodybuilding community that I have looked up to, and that I will always look up to who I believe she makes such a significant impact on the sport. I’ve never seen one woman support and build so many other women, women, and it’s not exclusive to women in my life. So I knew that she over time has had to try to overcome some of her injuries. By being a fitness competitor. She not only has the demands of the training and the nutrition, but she has an entire fitness routine. So that means she’s doing skills, you know, 234 days a week as well to develop these fitness routines. On top of that, she runs a gym, has, and has a whole line of attire. And then she choreographs and teaches and trains all of these upcoming fitness competitors as well.
[Down Nasta] 21:52
So as soon as I was able to conceptualize what the new fit could do, I reached out to Whitney and said, Hey, I think this could help you and she was only a few weeks out from a very big competition from the Arnold and she said, you know what? Why don’t we take a few seconds and think about this? I’m going to talk to Damien I don’t know if he’s going to go for it. It’s close to Arnold and Damian Segovia is the pro physiques coach, one the pro physiques coaches, and he and Whitney are the founders of pro physiques. And he is, you know, an amazing coach as well at Whitney as a coach and handles a lot of the fitness and bikini. And then Damien, on the other hand, do, you know, a myriad of the divisions as well.
[Down Nasta] 22:38
But he is Whitney’s coach, in fact, so she reached out to him. And I think he wanted to wait for some time. And whether it was unfortunate timing, or fortunately for me, she went through a labrum tear. And she wasn’t she was only a short period out from defending her title and Olympia has a labrum in her shoulder. Yes, yes. And she couldn’t train. And so they were kind of in dire straits. And Damon said, Okay, well, let’s try to see what happens. And so she came in, we were able to do some rehab, we were able to do some recovery, and we could get her to train on it. And so we thought that she had done well. But as soon as she had tried to do another shoulder day on her own without the device, that pain signal and that neurological signal was so long, it was just, it was so strong, it just started her right away. And so at that point, we recognize the only way we’re going to be able to complete this training for Olympia, was to specifically train her on the new fit for her shoulders at all times. So we did and by doing that, Damien is an amazing coach. It’s very funny. He’s somebody I respect greatly.
[Down Nasta] 23:50
He’s very behind the scenes. So he’s not somebody who’s out on social media a lot or brags about himself very much. But he goes very much out of his way to seek out the very best professionals, to give his athletes the very best, and take as much stress off of their plates as he can. And so once he could see that I had proven and he is seen makes you kind of prove yourself, which I don’t think is a negative thing. But once he saw that, that was proven. He then started to allow me to work with more and more of his athletes. And as that time went on, he trusted me more and last year, he allowed me to work on 11 of his Olympians as we went into Olympia, one of them being for a time, Miss Figure Olympia said, one being sibilant.
[Down Nasta] 24:40
And she and then Whitney, and we have Alex and Sally who’s fitness. So we have a whole team of amazing Olympians and I’m leaving people out. So I apologize for that. I just didn’t want to carry on and on about that. But it’s been extraordinary and in that gym specifically, it’s, I mean, I have all with the combination of that gym and the new fit. It’s just the results that I can provide are amazing. It’s designed for shoulders and glutes and is like overall body sculpting for females. And once you tap into the neurological signal, and you can enhance the capability and the efficacy of the workouts, it’s a no-brainer. So the results we’re getting are incredible.
That’s, that’s awesome. So in terms of the results you’re getting, we’ve already talked some in this conversation about recovery. And we know you’re also implementing that with pro physique athletes, to help them stay healthy and, and keep up with the rigors of training and what they have to put themselves through. We talked about the rehabilitative component, and you mentioned, you know, with Whitney, helping her work through that shoulder labrum injury, just in several ways to not only help her heal and recover but be able to continue training to create enough functional load on her shoulders that she could participate in the Olympia when that was interesting.
So she kind of went
Back and in a row, yes. And she, I know she couldn’t even lift like a five-pound dumbbell, and all of a sudden, you’ve got her lifting that so there’s a rehabilitative and then let’s talk again since that’s the theme of this weekend, talk a little bit please about example, or two of the hypertrophy or muscle building component about how when you use that neuromuscular re-education to train muscles to recruit more muscle fibers to get more load on the muscle, how that creates this opportunity for hypertrophy? Can you share maybe an example or two of that just to kind of round things out?
[Down Nasta] 26:44
Absolutely. Absolutely. So in training or life, right, I mean, we’re very fortunate, our bodies are designed to protect us. And when our bodies start to get, you know, imbalanced certain things want to do the job for those things that are supposed to do the job. So in theory, it’s all protective for our benefit. However, in training, there are many times that we start to compensate with muscles that we don’t intend to, a lot of things are just, you know, poor, repetitive movements, like sleeping or sitting too much or standing the weight, the wrong way to matures. You know, a lot of kyphotic nature, you know, especially I see that a lot with health care workers, you know, they’re having to lean forward a lot or when we’re on our phones a lot. So with the neuromuscular re-education, we’re able to help remedy those muscles that are trying to do the job, and that are overworked for the muscles that we’re trying to isolate.
[Down Nasta] 27:43
So, for example, like with shoulders, and the combination of therapies, utilizing the new fit, we’re able to round out the shoulders help with asymmetries, a lot of people with frozen shoulders who are not able to build or get that rotation back can do so because we’re able to diffuse those muscles, through the neuromuscular re-education that have been overcompensating, and then with the different frequency and hypertrophy patterns elicit different muscle fibers to fire. And, as you know, but everybody else needs to know, we’re able to isolate and contract the muscle much more intensely and much more effectively than we are with our mental capabilities. And so, a lot of the time what it is, is we just don’t know what we don’t know. And what we think is right is actually what’s comfortable. And it’s kind of again, one of those theories that we kind of hear repetitively in life, or even in bodybuilding, that, you know, nothing happens in that comfort zone.
[Down Nasta] 28:47
So it’s optimal to be able to show people because if you know what you don’t want, or you don’t want to do, that’s not as helpful as actually knowing what you do want to do or what you can be doing or what you should be doing. So that’s a huge benefit when you’re not able to know that your glute is firing, and you can’t tell the difference because you sit so much, and you don’t know if it’s your QL and your glute because of the proximity. I mean, you it’s very hard to conceptualize that. So that’s one of the huge benefits and one of the biggest benefits that I’ve seen and it’s contributed to a huge amount of the results is just helping people get that mind-body connection, because once you can feel that sensation, once you know this is what a lateral raise should feel like a few times. And combined with the actual neurological connection that the new fit can provide. It helps to just get those results that you need much better. So that’s, that’s one of the main ways, and then on the other end, there’s the rehab side. And, you know, as we know, things get tight whether it’s coming in here in the bodybuilding We’re all we do a lot of squeezes back the world, things seem to kind of get congested, you know, we can go through with that 500 pulses per second and allow things to relax. And that’s one of the things that set this apart from anything, you know, out there is that combination of you know, that performance and that recovery capability.