Bodies In Motion: Dr. Pietro Baio D.C. By Judi Abate
Photo credit: Pietro Baio
Boxing fans love a good fight. The electricity, anticipation, excitement, the battle and hopefully victory for their favorite fighter. How little do fans know of the physical and mental preparation which comes before those 12 rounds or the rehabilitation that can come afterwards. Dr. Pietro Baio is a certified chiropractor whose specialty is sports rehab and exercise physiology. His present client list contains professional boxers, mma fighters and numerous other athletes. Dr.Baio is always searching for ways to make an athletes performance the best it can be while at the same time keeping them pain and injury free.
A body in suspended animation is one of the most beautiful sights to be savored and appreciated. Dr. Baio can be described as a dedicated professional who loves what he does and whose passion is the sport of boxing. Speaking with Pietro opened my eyes to another side of the intense training and sacrifices a boxer or mma fighter must endure to be competitive in their sports as well as to keep their bodies in optimum performance capacity. It's not all about massages, saunas or whirlpools.
Dr.Baio explained what he prescribes when dealing with various athletes and their injuries to muscles, joints, tendons and bones in such a way that it made a very complicated medical discussion seem unthreatening, informative and enjoyable. That is a gift that many doctors today do not possess.
I'm sure Dr. Pietro's bed side manner must be rated 5 stars because his sincere, caring and charming personality comes flowing outward when he speaks about his chosen field of study and the clients who become like family to him. Let's speak with Pietro and find out more about chiropractic medicine,sports rehabilitation,exercise physiology and bio-
mechanics. Here is what we discussed:
JA You're my first ever medical interview so this should be very informative. What type of doctor are you?
PB Doctor of Chiropractic Medicine
JA How did you get interested in chiropractic medicine?
PB When I was in high school I wrestled. I always wanted to be the best I could be. In college I took exercise science because it was something I was interested in and would help me to be a better athlete and from their I became a chiropractor.
JA What do specialize in?
PB Sports rehabilitation and exercise physiology.
JA Define sports rehabilitation in your own words.
PB Sports rehabilitation was originally thought of as rehab for athletes taking into account the motion and forces which caused an injury. Think more unconventional exercises: balance balls and discs, core stability exercises,etc. Today I consider everyone an athlete. Everyone has a goal when they come in. Punching harder, running faster or maybe making groceries easier to carry, no pain climbing up stairs.
JA What does sports rehab entail?
PB Evaluation of the injury ( how it occured), a physical ( range of motion) testing the muscles, assessment, then treatment and rehab.
JA What is exercise physiology?
PB Study of the body in motion. Observing different things while a person is working out.( strength, speed, range of motion, and blood chemistry) It is all about the muscles.
JA Who are your cliental?
PB Right now I have 5 pro boxers and 2 MMA fighters also other various athletes.
JA What is bio-mechanics?
PB The physics of sports. It's major concern is performance.
JA How does Chiropractic help boxers?
PB Chiropractic focuses on the spinal cord and the nervous system. Through chiropractic adjustments I free up the nervous system to work more efficiently. Leading to increased Range of motion in all joints and more relaxed muscle movement.
JA What makes you good at what you do?
PB I'm always reading new and improved methods for my field and others. I do a great deal of talking with boxers and trainers.. You have to enjoy what you do and I love what I do.
JA How would you describe your bedside manner?
PB I've been told it's pretty good. I have experience working in the food industry and that has helped groom me to deal with people. My old boss told me to treat the office like a restaurant the customer comes first. Keep people happy but if you can't deal them (and their needs) be nice and suggest they see someone else who can provide what they are looking for.
JA Do you use a holistic approach in your work?
PB Very holistic. There are no drugs involved with chiropractic medicine. We deal with injuries naturally (chiropractic adjustment,nutrition,and exercise) .
JA What is your ultimate career goal?
PB I would love to have a boxing/mma gym where it is easier to keep an eye on every boxer I work with. I would love to write a book down the line on boxing injuries and rehab. Maybe open a place in Montana so I can live my dream and boxers can train in peace. Life is about learning and sharing. I plan to give what I have and learn from all my patients, their trainers,cut men, and ring doctors.
JA Difference between a strength and conditioning coach and a personal trainer?
PB There is a very fine line between the two. A personal trainer uses aerobics, pilates,nutrition and weight training. A strength and conditioning coach is more sports oriented. They blend so much it's hard to separate them.
JA How much of boxing is psychological and how much is physical?
PB In my opinion, 80 percent psychological and 20 percent physical. A complete boxing team should include a sports psychologist. The mind set of any athlete is very important to his success and well-being.
JA Which is worse over-training or under-training?
PB Over-training. Over training leaves you with little energy and exhaustion. Over-training in a sparring session for example can cause more injuries due to the decrease of energy. Your more likely to throw sloppy punches or take a wrong step when fatigued/overtrained.
JA What injuries do you see and treat most in your boxing clients?
PB Shoulder injuries, Brachial plexus syndrome, hip and back pain, hamstrings.
JA Which sport has more injuries boxing or mma?
PB Every sport has their own group of injuries, MMA-ankles,knees and hands. Boxing- muscles,shoulders, jaw, and hands.
JA Where do most sports injuries occur and what is the biggest concern inside the ring?
PB Actually most injuries happen in training and the biggest concern inside the ring is a concussion.
JA Is massage an important element to a boxer's training?
PB Yes. Massage speeds up healing. It's important to relaxation, helps you to think better and makes your performance better.
JA How can trainers and boxers prevent injuries during training?
PB The trainer needs to keep his athletes physical ability in mind and know his level of training skills and be careful not to over train. To keep an eye on his nutrition.
JA How serious a problem is dehydration in athletes especially boxers?
PB Very serious. It can affect heart rate and blood pressure. You don't want that to happen because that can lead to heart attacks.
JA Do you also work with women athletes?
PB I have soccer players, kick boxers and volleyball players. I treat them just like I would a male athlete. I do have to be aware of hormones because that is apart of the female make-up.
JA How important is warming up before a work out?
PB A good warm up is very important. You use the warm-up to increase blood pressure,heart rate and body temperature which will help with the activity you have planned. You should warm-up for at least 10-15 minutes.
JA What is the safest way to make weight/or loose weight before a weigh in?
PB Every boxer is different but the most effective way is to change diet. I suggest a detox diet which is high on veggies, fruit, brown rice and including fish,chicken and pork.
JA The biggest mistake in training sessions today?
PB Over-training,lack of focus and dehydration. 75-80 percent of injury happens at the end of a workout.
JA Favorite boxers past and present?
PB Duran, Vladimir Klitschko, Manny Pac.
JA Ever consider becoming a boxing trainer?
PB It's possible. I've already been asked to be a ring doctor,cut man,press guy, etc.
JA What fight would you love to see happen?
PB Vitali versus Lennox rematch.
JA Who would love the chance to work on?
Pb Vladmir Klitschko
JA Do you see most athletes before or after their fights?
PB I would say it's 50/50.
JA Should boxers lift weights during training?
PB Yes. Boxers should lift weights but the workout needs to be tailored. What is the boxer looking to get out of the weight lifting program? Gain muscle,get stronger or prevent injury.
JA Do you use any Asian inspired elements in your practice and are your clients receptive to it?
PB Yes. Chiropractic medicine deals with energy flow. You take the energy from your environment. Chi, breathing exercises and yoga all help to increase energy flow.
JA Now for some random things about you to share with our readers.
Favorite food- Steak, potato and a glass of red wine. Pizza.
Favorite snack- Fruit (watermelon)
Favorite dessert-Key lime pie
What makes you special? Just being me not one thing, strong morals and my faith.
What are you afraid of? Heights
3 words to describe you: spirtual,strong and knowledgable.
Best part of your body? My back.
Hobbies? I volunteer for a lot of groups. Weight training, kick boxing, therapeutic horse back riding.
If you were an animal what would you be? A horse.
Your dream vacation? Colorado or Montana someplace where you can drive a car really fast, take an ATV for a ride, go horse-back riding, A place where you can find tranquility.
Best quality- Kindness
Worst Habit- Nail biter
Pet Peeve- Ignorance
If you were a car you would be...A Porsche
If you were a breed of dog...Victorian bulldog
If you were a candy bar...Almond Joy
JA How can we keep boxing strong?
PB The biggest problem is there are to many championships. The best fighters need to fight the best. Boxer,manager,promotes all need to be on the same page. Fighters need to fight for real belts.
JA Any words you would like to say in closing?
PB If I can help a little bit and be some part of making a champion that would mean alot to me. I want to show a positive example not only as a doctor but as a human being.