The newest addition to our staff is Grace Rash PA-C, and we are delighted to have her with us!
Gracie grew up in a medical family. She completed Physician’s Assistant training at Lincoln Memorial University in Harrogate, Tennesse.
She will be assisting me in the surgical care of our patients both in and out of the operating room, but one of the things we are really excited about is her background in health and fitness.
We first met Gracie as a spin instructor at Turbospin, just down the street from us. Gracie has always been involved with fitness (as has her mother who taught a spin class the day before she delivered Gracie!). She started teaching classes early in her college career. She is certified both as a fitness instructor and as a spin instructor. Speaking as someone who has taken her spin classes on numerous occasions, she’s tough!
Gracie brings significant knowledge in fitness, exercise physiology, and nutrition to our practice. We are very much looking forward to tapping into her expertise as we work with our patients. Recently I sat down with her to discuss this.
So Gracie, you grew up in a family where fitness was pretty important didn’t you?
Absolutely. My mother was a competitive gymnast and went to the Olympic Trials; unfortunately she suffered an ankle injury and had to retire.
Wow. What Olympics would that have been?
1980. She continued her love for fitness and became an instructor in her early 20’s and she is still continuing that. She would kill me for saying this, but she is 55 now and she is still teaching probably four to five classes a week. So she is the one who inspired me to jump on the fitness bandwagon.
It has really been a part of your life from day one.
Absolutely. I was a gymnast myself for many years. I had to quit due to some back injuries when I was about 12, so I started soccer, and then played in high school. When I got to college I was looking for some sort of activity to do partially to fight off the “Freshman 15.” So I started taking group fitness classes and after taking so many classes I thought to myself, “Hmm, maybe this is something that I could do. I enjoy taking classes, so why not teach them and get a little extra money for it.” That was in 2010 and I have been teaching ever since.
So you have had about a good six years of teaching.
Good six years of teaching, yes.
Okay. So you started off with general fitness and then you moved into becoming a spin instructor?
Which is where I first met you.
Yes! Initially I started teaching step and kickboxing classes and I actually was coerced into substitute teaching a cycle class. I never wanted to do cycling. I thought this is just a lower body workout and I was really into getting my cardio in, so I ended up teaching the class, subbing it and fell in love with it. Now I have been teaching for about four years total and a year and a half at TurboSpin.
That’s great. In addition to growing up in a family where fitness is important, you also grew up in a house of medicine so to speak; your father is a doctor, correct?
Yes. My father is a dermatologist, of course our last name is Rash, so it works out.
It has been nice growing up to have the holistic aspect of medicine from my mother as far as fitness and dieting goes and then the medical aspect from my father. So it has been a good balance.
Why did you choose to become a Physicians Assistant; what drew you down that pathway?
With my father being a physician, I was always in and out of his office. I worked summers there, and I was always intrigued by medicine and so that honestly is what inspired me to go the medical route. My father recommended becoming a PA or nurse practitioner and for some reason my gut told me to go the PA route. And here I am.
That’s great. We are looking forward to having you as part of the practice as a physician assistant in the operating room, but also I want to tap into your expertise in exercise, exercise physiology, nutrition, fitness, and so forth… how do you see combining this for our patients?
I think it’s a lifestyle. As far as eating habits and exercise it absolutely takes a lifestyle change. It’s not something that you can do for a few weeks here, a few weeks there. So it is a big commitment. But overall it’s definitely a good one.
If you were trying to convince somebody who has had a hard time getting into a good exercise routine and they were to say to you, “Why should I do it, what’s in it for me?”
Well, it is very important not only for the individual, but most of us have families and people out there that want us around and depend on us. Being healthy and fit is not only for them, it is important to the ones that care about them.
Yes. I really believe it has an important impact on the entire aging process.
I think particularly for women who can get into issues with bone strength later in life. Of course fitness and strength training is very much a part of that.
Yes, I completely agree. You know, cardio is obviously good for cardiovascular health and then weight training is good for increasing bone density and helping to prevent osteopenia or osteoporosis.
So if you’re taking somebody whose never really done much exercising and may be carrying a little more weight than they want and they say to you, “I’m clueless. I’ve never done this. How do I start?”
Sure. I think group exercises classes are actually a great way to slowly work into fitness because you are surrounded by other people who are in the same boat. People go there with the same goals in mind. A lot of times there are beginner’s classes and instructors are typically good about walking you through the class and being very understanding and compassionate. So I’m a big fan of group exercise classes for the morale and the cohesiveness.
That’s great. Well, I like what you said about focusing on fitness and diet is really a lifestyle change. I couldn’t agree more. We are very excited about incorporating that into our practice because as you and I know in the operating room we can do a certain amount, but how things go after that will have a lot to do with somebody’s lifestyle.
Totally. The surgery is a great jump start, and then from there it is maintenance. Developing those lifestyle changes as far as not smoking and adding exercise and healthy eating habits is going to be a great way to keep the fabulous results from their surgery and also CoolSculpting.