Training Table 101: Protein and Complex Carbs

26 Jul

steak21[1]Fall sports season is just around the corner, which means training camp time for football, soccer, and volleyball players, among others.

For most of these athletes, August will be the most active and physically demanding few weeks that they have.  One of the challenges facing these athletes is that many of them have not maintained healthy eating habits needed to complement their energy expenditure.

During training camp, many players actually struggle to keep weight on, rather than off.  Understanding the importance and impact of appropriate calorie consumption — as well as specific intake of fats, carbs, and proteins — is a must.

Basically, calorie consumption should take (at least) two factors into consideration: Body weight (desired) and physical activity (duration, frequency, intensity level, ambient temperature).

A typical meal or snack should be pretty simple:

  • Protein, such as steak, chicken, or fish
  • Vegetable
  • Healthy starch, including sweet potato, brown rice, whole grain pasta, etc.

The focus should be on protein and complex carbohydratesAdditionally, adequate fluid intake — before, during, and after physical activity — is critical to prevent dehydration.

Athletes burn a lot of energy during training camp.  Most of these players have invested considerable time and effort training during the off-season to prepare themselves for the rigors of the upcoming season.  Proper nutrition is important to prevent weight loss, and loss of muscle mass.

Your thoughts?

WE WILL HELP YOU BECOME A BETTER ATHLETE!

We provide motivated athletes with a simple, customized training plan to help them improve performance and reduce injury risk.

Give Your Brain a “Spark” with Exercise

19 Jul

mental-training[1]In his book, SPARK — The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain, author John J. Ratey, MD discusses how exercise can “supercharge your mental circuits to beat stress, sharpen your thinking, lift your mood, boost your memory, and much more.”

Ratey offers incontrovertible evidence that aerobic exercise actually “physically remodels our brains for peak performance.”

SPARK provides research to prove that exercise is truly our best defense against everything from mood disorders to Alzheimer’s to ADHD to addiction.

The author also explores, comprehensively, the link between exercise and the brain, and a simple, targeted regimen to get your body moving and your mind in peak condition — growing your brain cells and building your brain in the process.

If you have even a passing interest in exercise and fitness, I would highly recommend and encourage you to check out this fascinating book.

Your thoughts?

WE WILL HELP YOU BECOME A BETTER ATHLETE!

We provide motivated athletes with a simple, customized training plan to help them improve performance and reduce injury risk.

Dream Big

12 Jul

10563499_10203763625703528_632803915_n[1]Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.” – Norman Vincent Peale

First of all, I’ve got to thank my cousin, Vince, from whom I borrowed this picture.  He posted it on Facebook, I thought it was pretty cool, and it started my thought process.  Thanks, Vince!

For twenty years, I worked in the pharmaceutical industry, mostly in the training department.  I had a great job.  Basically, I had a hand in creating my own job description.  I was involved in the creation, development, and implementation of training programs — initial sales training; product training; disease state training; technical training; skills training; and management and leadership training and development. I was involved in virtually every facet of training and development, but my favorite area was being in front of people — teaching, training, coaching, and developing.  That’s my passion.  Great opportunity, great compensation, and great job satisfaction (most of the time).

But my dream was bigger than that.  I wanted to (help) build the best training department — and training experience — in the pharmaceutical industry.  I wanted every participant in our training and development workshops to leave feeling that they had just experienced a “best-in-class” training program.

Then, in 2007, I learned my job (and most of my department) was being eliminated.  For years, the entire pharmaceutical industry had grown faster than it’s infrastructure could support, and now the pendulum was beginning to swing in the other direction.  My severance was at the forefront of what would become a massive downsizing, both in our company and the industry.  It was time to move on.

Then, the dream process started again.  Long story short, I took a severance package and started my own business — Athletic Performance Training Center — in April 2008.  I had been developing this vision for years (and, sort of doing it “on the side,” in my basement and elsewhere, with my kids and some of their friends and teammates) but, I must admit, losing my job forced my hand.  And, although there have been some “speed bumps” along the way, I haven’t looked back since.

My undergraduate background is science based, and I completed post-graduate work in Exercise Science and Human Performance, and earned two certifications, with distinction, through a highly respected, accredited organization – the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA).  With the help of a few other local small business owners, I developed a business plan.  I enlisted the help of an attorney (a neighbor and family friend) to ensure my business was set up legally, professionally, and registered with the state.

Then I went to work networking with, and learning from, some of the brightest, most-respected, well-known names in the field of strength and conditioning.  I still try to learn something new, every single day, that  makes me better at what I do, and improves me as a resource to my clients.  I never want to stop learning.

Although my endeavor is categorized as a “small business,” my vision — my dream — is anything but.  I have been dreaming big since opening my doors over six years ago.  I want to reach everyone, and help them work toward and achieve their athletic performance, strength and conditioning, and fitness goals.

We currently collaborate and partner with dozens of clubs, schools, teams, groups, and organizations.  Additionally, I spend some time every day contacting coaches, athletic directors, administrators, employers, businesses, corporations, and program directors in hopes of discussing with them how we can be a resource to their constituency.

Obviously, I publish this blog, but I also write for a handful of other publications, including STACK Media.  I hope to reach and positively impact as many people as I can, on a national (and international) level.

Another of my passions is public speaking, and I have been fortunate to have the opportunity to speak at several grade schools, middle schools, high schools, colleges, and other organizations.  I have also had the privilege of speaking at local and regional NSCA sponsored events.  My dream, however, is to broaden my scope and speak more at the national level.  I have recently been added (after much legwork) to a few national speaker’s bureaus, which have the potential to increase my exposure.

Last May, I brought on an associate.  Ciera Koons is a wonderful young lady whom I had the pleasure of training throughout her stellar high school and college volleyball career.  We still hire contract help and provide internships for college students, but I couldn’t ask for a better colleague than Ciera.  Having her associated with my business, on a full-time basis, is awesome!

My point is this:  DREAM BIG!  Don’t aspire to make 50% of your shots (even though that’s a solid field goal percentage), aim to make all of them.  Dream of a 1.000 batting average; a 100% free-throw shooting percentage; a 100% passing completion rate; a 4.0 grade point average.  But don’t stop with the dream.  You can’t just dream big and expect good things to happen, you’ve got to do something about it.  Develop a plan of action, then work to make it happen.  Do something, every day, to move yourself closer to your dream or goal.  Surround yourself with people who believe in you and encourage you and, most importantly… BELIEVE IN YOU!

I may or may not realize all my dreams but, if I don’t, it won’t be because I didn’t dream big, or for lack of effort.

My dreams are still bigger than my achievements but, hey, that’s how it’s supposed to be… right?

Your thoughts?

WE WILL HELP YOU BECOME A BETTER ATHLETE!

We provide motivated athletes with a simple, customized training plan to help them improve performance and reduce injury risk.

Remembering Dad

5 Jul

fatherson[2]This week marked what would have been my Dad’s 86th birthday and, sadly, 28 years since he passed away.  I also lost my Mom, 13 years ago this month.

My Dad never got to see most of his nine grandchildren, including 3 of my four.  But, for a short time, he sure did love and dote on the grandkids he was able to see.  I often think about — and talk with my kids about — how much I imagine he would have enjoyed watching them grow up.

In his younger days, my Dad was a pretty fair athlete, having been an all-state caliber high school basketball player and minor league caliber baseball player (athleticism that obviously skipped a generation).  Given my kids’ involvement in sports, I imagine him taking great pleasure and pride in watching them progress as athletes.

My Dad loved sports, and would watch almost any sporting event.  But what I remember most about him was his knowledge of sports.  He was a real student of the game, and had an encyclopedic knowledge and memory of the history of the game, regardless of the sport.

My Dad had a unique sense of humor, and always enjoyed a good prank or practical joke.  When he wanted to, he could be very engaging and entertaining.

My Dad wasn’t very good with names, which is why he referred to just about everyone as “buddy,” “pal,” “babe,” or “honey.”

My Dad loved to do the daily crossword in the local newspaper.  I can remember him sitting in our living room — pen in hand — almost every day after work, when he had finished dinner, working on that puzzle.

My Dad was also pretty good at imparting life’s lessons.  He had a way of communicating his point that was candid and sometimes a little harsh.  But he always got his point across, loud and clear.

I’m sure I could ramble on for a good while about all the memories I have of my Dad.  Mostly I guess I’m just thinking about him and missing him this week…

The Most Important Game Is Your Next Game

28 Jun

How did you play in your last game?  Did you play as well as you wanted?  Did you play as well as you expected?  Did you play as well as you are capable?

Maybe you played with aggressiveness, or maybe you weren’t aggressive enough.

Maybe you played with confidence, or maybe it was lacking.

Maybe you brought energy, or maybe it just wasn’t there.

Well, here’s the deal:  There’s nothing you can do to change your effort or your performance now.  The game is over.

The key is to analyze and understand your performance — what happened and why it happened — and use that analysis and understanding to gain a competitive advantage… to improve upon your last game.

If you played a great game, work on further improving and reinforcing the things you did well.

If you played a not-so-great game, don’t dwell on it — it’s over.  But make sure you learn from it, and do your best to apply what you learned to your next game.

Because now the only game that matters is your next game.  It’s the most important one, because it’s the next game you can impact.  You can’t play any of the games after the next game until you play the next one.  Do your best to make it what you want it to be.  Make it happen.

Your thoughts?

WE WILL HELP YOU BECOME A BETTER ATHLETE!

We provide motivated athletes with a simple, customized training plan to help them improve performance and reduce injury risk.

Build Explosive Power with this Medicine Ball Exercise

21 Jun

2sb0251bx-medicine-ball[1]

Medicine ball throws are great for developing explosive power, and can be used as an alternative to Olympic lifts.  These exercises strengthen and stabilize the core musculature, reinforce the biomechanics of force generation, reflect the demands and movement patterns of many sports, and can be performed in virtually every plane of motion.

Here’s one of the total-body exercises we use with our athletes to build explosive power.  This triple extension exercise is basically a heavy medicine ball clean and jerk, immediately followed by a forceful vertical or horizontal push/throw.

In the first video, Julianne — one of our high school basketball players — demonstrates the exercise with a 25 lb. medicine ball and a vertical throw, pushing the ball as high as she can.  Note how she uses her hips and legs (with minimal bend at the waist and back involvement) to get under the ball and generate force.

In the second video, Julianne uses the same medicine ball with a horizontal throw, pushing the ball as far as she can.  Mechanics and technique — hip and leg drive — are similar to the first exercise.

We have our athletes perform 3 sets of 4 repetitions, with a one minute rest between sets.  Typically, these types of (power) exercises are placed at the beginning of a workout, following an appropriate, dynamic warmup.

Your thoughts?

WE WILL HELP YOU BECOME A BETTER ATHLETE!

We provide motivated athletes with a simple, customized training plan to help them improve performance and reduce injury risk.

3 Essential Steps to Build Muscle Strength and Size

14 Jun

rosie-chee_training-deadlift-1[1]The fastest way to build muscle strength and size is good old-fashioned strength training, done right. Over time, strength training challenges your muscles by breaking them down so they repair and recover bigger and stronger than before.

To be optimally effective, strength training must be combined with proper nutrition and rest. Although there are some strategies to accelerate the process, there are no shortcuts. You have to do the work and follow the plan.

Nutrition

Without proper nutrition, you will compromise any muscle strength and size gains you hope to achieve. Simply stated, your body needs the raw material that food provides for growth.

It’s essential to eat sufficient calories, as well as carbs and protein, 30 to 90 minutes before and after working out. For every pound you weigh, aim for 0.8 grams of lean protein per day; whole grain and high fiber carbs; and healthy fats, like those found in olive oil, nuts, and salmon.

Weight Lifting

You’ll need to work out three or four days per week to reach your goal. Here are some guidelines to get you on your way:

Favor compound movements over single-joint movements: compound exercises, like Squats, Deadlifts, Bench Presses and Inverted Rows, involve more than one joint and engage multiple muscle groups. Triceps Extensions and Biceps Curls are single-joint isolation exercises. Compound exercises require greater muscle activation, recruit larger muscle groups, and stimulate strength and size gains.

Lift heavy weights: if you want to build muscle fast, you need to push your body to use as many muscle fibers as possible during exercise. Lifting heavy weights allows you to challenge your muscles, which is the key to making strength and size gains.

For any given exercise, build strength and power by using a weight that you can lift no more than 4-6 repetitions per set; build muscle size by using a weight that you can lift 8-12 reps per set; and build muscle endurance by using a weight you can lift 15+ reps per set.  If you can perform more repetitions than that, the weight is too light and you will fail to make gains.

Try supersets: we emphasize supersets at Athletic Performance Training Center. By pairing push and pull exercises, you are able to work twice as many muscles in a time-efficient manner to help build overall muscle strength and size.

Rest

Several different rest factors must be considered in your training:

  • Get a good night’s sleep, seven to eight hours each night.
  • Do not rework a muscle group until it has the chance to recover for 48 hours.
  • Rest between sets to allow your muscles to recover so you get the most out of each set. As a general rule, the higher the intensity of your workout (the more weight you lift) the longer your rest interval should be.

Your thoughts?

WE WILL HELP YOU BECOME A BETTER ATHLETE!

We provide motivated athletes with a simple, customized training plan to help them improve performance and reduce injury risk.

Slow Progress Is Better Than No Progress

7 Jun

tortoise_hare[2]We all have aspirations, dreams, and goals.  And sometimes it can be frustrating when our progress toward those goals moves more slowly than is consistent with our expectations.  How do you handle those situations?

As it relates to exercise, I occasionally have clients and friends tell me that they simply don’t have time to workout.  Given the choice between a short but effective workout and doing nothing, they would choose the latter.  If they can’t set aside 45-60 minutes for exercise, they’d rather not do it at all.  That kind of convoluted logic makes me crazy.

Ultimately, everything is a process — fitness, sports, school, work… life.  Slow and steady is the way to go.  In the long run, consistency wins the prize.

Quantum change usually does not reflect reality.  Incremental change, over time, can make winners of us all.

Early last year, I published a blog post titled, The One-Percent Rule.  The 1% rule is all about self-improvement.  It means you should try to be 1% better today than you were yesterday — in the gym, at practice, as a competitor, at work, at home, and in life.

Do something — anything — today that moves you closer toward one of your goals.  Don’t get caught up in how much or how little you are able to do.  If you’re willing to do something, you’re halfway there.

Keep moving forward.

Carpe diem!

Your thoughts?

WE WILL HELP YOU BECOME A BETTER ATHLETE!

We provide motivated athletes with a simple, customized training plan to help them improve performance and reduce injury risk.

Make Waves to Get Stronger

2 Jun

Battle-ropes[1]At our facility, the goal is always the same — improve athletic performance and fitness through the development of strength and conditioning.  But we use a wide variety of tools to help our clients work toward, reach, and exceed their goals.

Heavy ropes are one of the tools we use to improve strength, muscular endurance, and build lean muscle mass.  They work each arm independently, eliminating strength imbalances, and provide a great cardio workout in the process.

Heavy ropes are available in a variety of lengths and thicknesses, but a 50-foot, 1 & 1/2-inch-thick rope tends to work best for most people.  You can purchase them from a fitness retailer or website, or make your own.  To anchor it, just loop it around a pole.

Here are some heavy ropes training tips:

  • Don’t just wave the ropes up and down.  Different motions will work different muscles and skills.  Swing the ropes in circles, side-to-side, or diagonally.  Alternate between simultaneous and alternating swings.
  • Use the ropes anytime during your workout.  Battling ropes can be used for a dynamic warmup, finisher, or an entire workout in and of themselves.
  • Adjust the resistance by moving closer to or farther away from the anchor point.  The amount of slack in the rope determines the load.  Moving toward the anchor point (more slack) increases the intensity.
  • Switch your grip.  Hold the rope underhand, overhand, or double (fold over) the ends.
  • Keep both feet flat on the floor, shoulder width apart; to start, hold the ends of the rope at arm’s length in front of your hips; knees bent, hips down and back, chin up, chest up.

Your thoughts?

WE WILL HELP YOU BECOME A BETTER ATHLETE!

We provide motivated athletes with a simple, customized training plan to help them improve performance and reduce injury risk.

What’s More Important — Diet or Exercise?

24 May

hiit-high-intensity-interval-training-work-out-cover[1]Your genetic “blueprint” dictates a lot about your fitness, health, and wellness.  But we all have a window of opportunity within which we can have an impact.

And, while diet and exercise are both significant contributors, you can impact your metabolism to a greater extent through exercise.

Simply stated, pound-for-pound, muscle burns more calories than fat.

The best way to build muscle and burn fat is high-intensity interval resistance training (HIRT).  HIRT continues to build muscle and burn fat even after you have left the gym.

In one recent Italian study, lifters doing HIRT burned 18% more calories 22 hours after exercising than individuals who did traditional strength training.

Next time you’re in the weight room, try this approach:  Choose three exercises.  Start with the first exercise and, using 80-85% of your 1 rep max, do 6 reps and rest 20 seconds; do 2-3 reps and rest 20 seconds; do 2-3 reps.  That’s one set.  Do 7 sets of all three exercises.

Your thoughts?

WE WILL HELP YOU BECOME A BETTER ATHLETE!

We provide motivated athletes with a simple, customized training plan to help them improve performance and reduce injury risk.

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