My Carolina Experience: Spencer Nadolsky
By Zoya Johnson, GoHeels.com
Spencer Nadolsky may be a proud Tar Heel but he did not start out his college experience at Carolina. The young Nadolsky first committed to Michigan State University for both football and wrestling.
He red-shirted in his freshman year for both sports and in his red-shirt freshman year he was converted from fullback to linebacker after MSU had made a change in head coaches. Nadolsky was uncomfortable with the change and thus decided to focus on wrestling that year while he made the decision to look elsewhere for the rest of his undergraduate career.
After visiting his aunt in Greenville, N.C., Nadolsky says he fell in love with the state and decided to narrow his decision down to the three ACC schools in the Triangle. However, upon visiting Chapel Hill, the young talent deemed any other trips unnecessary and cancelled his visits to both Duke and NC State. Commenting on the experience Nadolsky says, "Chapel Hill was just beautiful. When I went on the recruiting trip, the whole experience sealed the deal - the climate, the amazing education, and the beautiful campus. It also may sound ridiculous, but the Carolina Blue swayed me quite a bit as well."
When Nadolsky arrived at UNC, he already knew he wanted to be a doctor, however it was Carolina's exercise and sport science department that helped to solidify the main principle of his practice which is that "Exercise is medicine."
"My father was a biology teacher and also the wrestling coach at the high school, so I always loved science and health, exercise, and nutrition. The exercise and sport science department at UNC viewed exercise not as a meathead or jock subject, but as a very important health subject. I always wanted to use exercise as medicine but UNC cemented it with my professors being very passionate about the science behind it."
As a student-athlete who already knew what he wanted to do with the rest of his life, Nadolsky came in with a very determined, driven and persistent spirit that allowed him to prioritize while getting the most out of his experience. He fully appreciated all that he could: everything, that is, except the non-science classes.
Nadolsky considered himself a science fanatic and was quite upset about having to take anything that was not centered on that subject matter. "I didn't do well in those classes but I actually use a lot of the principles I learned in those exact classes every day. The crossover into real life has been ironic given my initial thoughts."
Although Nadolsky's goal of becoming an All-America wrestler was not met in his three years at Carolina he enjoyed considerable success as Carolina's starting heavyweight. He holds the record for winning the third-most bouts in a single season in Tar Heel history and at one point was ranked in the top four of the nation at his weight class. Along with his athletic accolades, Nadolsky was named to the Dean's List and the ACC Honor Roll every year he was at Carolina and also achieved Academic All-America status.
After graduating from Carolina, Nadolsky studied medicine at The Virginia College of Osteopathic Medicine. There he pursued his passion to practice family medicine and met his wife Jenna who was studying pediatric medicine.
Nadolsky now practices Osteopathic Family Medicine with the philosophy that one should push for a healthy lifestyle before depending on drugs. The most inspirational part of his practice is that he not only recommends what he preaches to his patients, he practices it to the greatest extreme, records it when he can, and allows anyone to learn from his personal experiences. He uses his blog and newsletter each month to be able to get this information out to his patients and anyone who is interested.
When a person subscribes to Dr. Nadolsky's newsletter they are getting interesting, thought-provoking and potentially life-changing information from a practicing physician who is more than willing to put his money where his mouth is. Through his blog, his role as the medical editor for Examine.com and as a contributing source for articles and conferences all over the country, Nadolsky has made it his duty to be the change he wants to see in the world of medicine. If all of those things are not inspiring enough, Nadolsky is also an aspiring competitive body builder.
Through his YouTube channel, patients and subscribers have been able to follow Nadolsky's journey from exercise enthusiast to competitive body builder. Scrolling through the archives of Nadolsky's channel a viewer will find videos on everything from workout routines to things like posing and packing a healthy picnic.
One method of building a healthy body he decided to try out was CrossFit. Nadolsky took a certification course to see if all the recent bashing of the craze was warranted and then reported back to his subscribers. His conclusion was that CrossFit, like most exercise crazes, has it benefits and its downfalls. The new craze is addicting and very beneficial when your instructors are knowledgeable, and as long as the participant pays attention to their body. It is even more beneficial when the instructor can help their student cater to their individual needs. Dangers arise when things like age and ability are neglected for the sheer purpose of result and that is a risk that comes with all exercise programs and crazes alike.
Upon scrolling further down the page, visitors to DrSpencer.com find posts about nutrition, how to videos on healthy meals as well as more science based subjects like testosterone levels and the correlation between that and a person's ability to build muscle. As a whole, his blog and all of the articles Nadolsky writes for various sources all tie together in conjunction with his practice and lifestyle in order to help encourage, educate, and entertain his patients as well anyone who wants to become leaner and healthier.
This successful doctor may have an unorthodox practice but it is slowly finding its way into greater popularity. In today's image driven society it is comforting to think there are people pushing to educate others on natural and more holistic ways of achieving bodies they can be proud of and happy in. It is even more exciting to think one of the people at the forefront of this movement is a Carolina alumnus who continues to take great pride in the time he spent at UNC and the education he received here.
For student athletes looking to follow in his footsteps Nadolsky had these words of advice, "Anything and everything that you could want to do at Carolina is possible. Athletics, academics, socializing - it's all here. Honestly, I think the recruiting trip with the experience does more than any words can say, but I would also say when people ask me where I went to school I say proudly - "UNC! Chapel Hill!" - with a big grin on my face, because I know that they know it's an awesome school."