Tag Archives: fatigue

You Can’t Train a Skill to Fatigue

8 Jan

“Fatigue makes cowards of us all.” – Vince Lombardi

Whether you’re practicing a sport-specific skill or performing speed and agility drills, fatigue will adversely affect your performance.  Adequate rest and recovery are necessary to perform at 100% effort (or close to it) and with optimal technique.

In short, optimal performance requires adequate rest.

“Don’t practice until you get it right. Practice until you can’t get it wrong.” – Unknown

Success results from the ability to repeat maximum effort many times.  In order to perform with maximum effort and technically correct form and mechanics, you must allow adequate rest intervals between repetitions and/or sets.  As a general rule, there should be a correlation between the intensity level of the activity and the associated rest interval, with higher intensity exercises and drills followed by longer rest intervals.

I’ve seen drills at basketball practices where players run high-intensity sprints or shuttles followed by free-throw shooting, to simulate game conditions, when they must be able to make foul shots when fatigued late in games.  While there is merit to these drills, players must master the skill —  in this case, free-throw shooting — and develop appropriate muscle-memory before progressing to game-like situations.  Same goes for any other sport-specific skill.

Please note that this strategy does not apply to conditioning, which is another activity, altogether.  If you are performing high-intensity exercises and drills without allowing adequate rest between repetitions and sets, you are not doing skill development or speed and agility training.  There’s nothing wrong with conditioning, as long as conditioning is your goal.

Remember, fatigue prevents skill development.  Learn the skill. Practice the skill with technically correct form and mechanics. Develop the appropriate muscle-memory. Master the skill. Once you’ve accomplished this, then it’s time to progress to game-like simulations and situations.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

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Eat Greens for More Energy

15 Mar

Eating more green vegetables can help athletes improve endurance, energy level, and delay fatigue during exercise and athletic activity.

Low energy, muscle weakness, and fatigue have long been associated with iron deficiency anemia. However, a study published in the British Medical Journal suggests that these symptoms may start well before low iron leads to anemia.

Low iron can result in a lack of energy, so athletes should eat plenty of foods that provide a healthy dose of this essential nutrient to ensure that energy levels remain high. Broccoli, spinachkale, and other dark, leafy green vegetables are excellent sources of iron. Additionally, because these foods all contain vitamin C, they provide a healthy dose of antioxidants that will help you to stay strong and healthy which can also have a positive effect on your energy levels. It’s easy to fit these foods into your meals by adding them to pastas, salads, soups, and casseroles.

Try adding a handful of spinach into a blender with your usual protein shake ingredients.  You won’t even taste it.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

Ladies, Check Your Iron

28 Jan

220[1]Ladies, if you’re experiencing excessive or unusual fatigue and lack of energy, low iron could be the cause.

This one hits a little close to home.

First, some history:  My youngest daughter is a junior basketball player at our local high school.  After getting off to a pretty good start, last (2014) AAU season, she seemed to “run out of gas” toward the end of the season (mid-summer).  I attributed it to long high school and AAU seasons, and figured she just needed a break.

During the fall (2014) season, my daughter seemed to lack her usual energy.  Although she rarely complains about anything, she talked with me about “feeling tired all the time.”  Historically, she has always had very good cardiovascular endurance, and is very fast.  She seemed to lack her usual energy, speed, and quickness.  As the fall season progressed, she also experienced shortness of breath during her games, which led to a diagnosis of exercise-induced asthma, and a prescription for an inhaler.  The inhaler helped her feel a little better, but didn’t change much regarding her energy level, based on her feelings and my observation.

Fast forward to the high school season:  My daughter continued to use her inhaler, but also continued to describe a feeling of constant fatigue.  She has started and played big minutes, and helped her team to a pretty good season, so far.  Still, I know my kid, and she has not played with her usual energy, all season.

Finally, last Monday, my daughter had a blood test (something we should have done months ago), and the results were shocking:

  • Hemoglobin (transports oxygen in the blood) = 7.7 (normal range = 12-16)
  • Iron (carries oxygen to the tissue) count = 13 (normal range = 30-140)
  • Ferritin (stores iron in the tissue) level = 3.7 (normal range = 9-150)

Clinically, she has been diagnosed with what her physician thinks is probably iron-deficiency anemia (her other blood test parameters were normal).  Her physician is astounded that she can function with any semblance of normalcy (in the physician’s words, “stand up without falling down”), let alone play basketball.

My daughter has started taking an iron supplement and, although her diet is pretty good, she will also increase her consumption of iron-rich foods (e.g., red meat; pork, poultry; seafood; beans; dark leafy green vegetables, such as spinach; dried fruit, such as raisins and apricots; iron-fortified cereals, breads, and pastas).  There are no medical limitations or restrictions on her activity, and she can continue to do everything she has been doing.  Her condition is probably also responsible for her shortness of breath and, once her iron level is normalized (which will take a few weeks), the need for an inhaler will probably be alleviated.  As her blood levels of hemoglobin, iron, and ferritin increase, her energy and endurance should return, as well.

I post this blog as a public service and — hopefully — as a way to increase education and awareness, especially since we train hundreds of female athletes and fitness clients.  If you or someone you know are experiencing excessive or unusual fatigue and lack of energy, please talk with your physician or encourage them to do the same.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

You Can’t Train a Skill to Fatigue

28 May

FF-Exercise-Fatigue1[1]“Fatigue makes cowards of us all.” – Vince Lombardi

Whether you’re practicing a sport-specific skill or performing speed and agility drills, fatigue will adversely affect your performance.  Adequate rest and recovery are necessary to perform at 100% effort (or close to it) and with optimal technique.  My friend and colleague, Megan Osysko, recently addressed this issue in her blog post, The Importance of Exercise Rest and Recovery.

In short, optimal performance requires adequate rest.

“Don’t practice until you get it right. Practice until you can’t get it wrong.” – Unknown

Success results from the ability to repeat maximum effort many times.  In order to perform with maximum effort and technically correct form and mechanics, you must allow adequate rest intervals between repetitions and/or sets.  As a general rule, there should be a correlation between the intensity level of the activity and the associated rest interval, with higher intensity exercises and drills followed by longer rest intervals.

I’ve seen drills at basketball practices where players run high-intensity sprints or shuttles followed by free-throw shooting, to simulate game conditions, when they must be able to make foul shots when fatigued late in games.  While there is merit to these drills, players must master the skill —  in this case, free-throw shooting — and develop appropriate muscle-memory before progressing to game-like situations.  Same goes for any other sport-specific skill.

Please note that this strategy does not apply to conditioning, which is another activity, altogether.  If you are performing high-intensity exercises and drills without allowing adequate rest between repetitions and sets, you are not doing skill development or speed and agility training.  There’s nothing wrong with conditioning, as long as conditioning is your goal.

Remember, fatigue prevents skill development.  Learn the skill. Practice the skill with technically correct form and mechanics. Develop the appropriate muscle-memory. Master the skill. Once you’ve accomplished this, then it’s time to progress to game-like simulations and situations.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

Eat Greens for More Energy

18 Nov

Dark_Green-Vegetables[1]Eating more green vegetables can help athletes improve endurance, energy level, and delay fatigue during exercise and athletic activity.

Low energy, muscle weakness, and fatigue have long been associated with iron deficiency anemia. However, a study published in the British Medical Journal suggests that these symptoms may start well before low iron leads to anemia.

Low iron can result in a lack of energy, so athletes should eat plenty of foods that provide a healthy dose of this essential nutrient to ensure that energy levels remain high. Broccoli, spinachkale, and other dark, leafy green vegetables are excellent sources of iron. Additionally, because these foods all contain vitamin C, they provide a healthy dose of antioxidants that will help you to stay strong and healthy which can also have a positive effect on your energy levels. It’s easy to fit these foods into your meals by adding them to pastas, salads, soups, and casseroles.

Try adding a handful of spinach into a blender with your usual protein shake ingredients.  You won’t even taste it.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

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