Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Good video on complexes

One of my mentors, Coach Robert Dos Remedios, recently created this video of his soccer players. In it, the athletes are demonstrating "complexes," where a traditional strength movement is followed by a power movement involving a similar muscle group/movement pattern. A couple examples of complex training could include the following:
  • Push-ups followed by Linear Med. Ball throws
  • Squats followed by Squat Jumps
  • Chin-ups followed by Med Ball Slams
Complexes are both challenging and fun. Give them a try.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

The Tabata Method- Perfected

Great article by Dan John:


A Formula for Happiness

Work can bring happiness by marrying our passions to our skills, empowering us to create value in our lives and in the lives of others.

Check out the full article here: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/15/opinion/sunday/a-formula-for-happiness.html

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Eating for Injury Recovery

Eating For Injury Recovery John M Berardi, PhD, CSCS Ryan Andrews, RD, MA, MS www.precisionnutrition.com
To most sport and exercise professionals, the idea that nutrition can play a powerful role in injury recovery makes perfect sense. However, when injury strikes, very few individuals know just how to put nutrition to work for their clients and athletes. So, in today’s article we’ll review the best practices for using nutrition to dramatically speed up the injury recovery process.
Injury Recovery Step By Step
Although injuries can feel disorganized and chaotic, the body’s road to recovery represents a highly organized and well-coordinated physiological process. And, by understanding the steps in the recovery process, nutritional targets can more easily be identified.
Step 1 Inflammation [lasts up to 4 days post-injury]
Immediately after injury strikes, the earliest response is inflammation. Damage has occurred. Injured tissues are deprived of their normal flow of oxygen and nutrient-rich blood. And cell death is initiated. Of course, during this phase, pain, swelling, redness and heat are common.
Step 2 Proliferation [lasts from 4 days to 21 days post-injury]
Once inflammation is dampened down, the damaged tissues are removed and new vasculature is developed. Further, scar tissue is laid down to support the site of injury.
Step 3 Remodeling [lasts from 21 days to 2 years post-injury]
The scar tissue that formed several days after the injury is degraded and replaced with stronger connective tissue. With appropriate therapeutic and nutritional intervention, this area can be as strong as the original, un-injured tissue or even stronger.
Dietary Fat and Inflammation
As the first step in the recovery process is the inflammatory stage, let’s begin with a discussion of the nutritional management of inflammation.
It’s well known that trans-fats, omega 6 fats, and saturated fats promote inflammation in the body, while monounsaturated fats and omega 3 fats inhibits inflammation. This means that during injury recovery, it’s important to achieve a better balance of omega 6 to omega 3 fatty acids. By eating fewer omega 6s and more omega 3s, excessive inflammation is dialed down and collagen production is better supported. An ideal ratio is about two or three omega 6 fats to every omega 3 fat consumed. Unfortunately, the typically North American gets about ten to fifteen omega 6 fats to every omega 3 fat consumed.
Rather than getting out your calculator to determine the ideal fatty acid balance, it’s actually best to focus on specific food choices. To this end, it’s important to increase the intake of: olive oil, mixed nuts, avocados, flax oil, ground flax, and other seeds. It’s also important to supplement
with 3-9 grams of fish oil per day. Finally, it’s a great idea to decrease the intake of corn oil, sunflower oil, safflower oil, cottonseed oil, soybean oil, and other oils high in omega 6 fats.
Dietary Herbs, Spices & Flavonoids for Inflammation
Herbs can also be valuable in the management of inflammation, especially during the first stage of recovery, reducing dependence on anti-inflammatory pharmaceuticals like NSAIDs. The following are useful anti-inflammatory agents for the first few weeks post-injury.
Curry powder/turmeric this member of the ginger family has long been used as an anti-inflammatory and for wound healing. The active ingredient, curcumin, is likely responsible for the effects. Adding curry in the diet is good, but a turmeric supplement might be more effective since the dose is concentrated. Aim for 7tsp per day of the powder or 400-600mg per day of the supplemental form.
Garlic has been shown to inhibit inflammatory enzymes and increase the function of macrophages. Adding it to the diet is helpful, but a supplement might be even better. Aim for 2-4 garlic cloves each day or 600 to 1,200 mg of aged garlic extract.
Pineapple contains bromelain, another anti-inflammatory plant extract that’s great for digestion and for inflammation/pain relief. Aim for 2 cups of pineapple per day or 500- 1,000 mg in supplemental form.
Cocoa, tea and berries these help manage inflammation through antioxidant activity and influence cell growth/new capillary development during tissue regeneration. While eating more flavonoid rich foods would likely be of benefit during times of acute injury, nutritional supplements containing blueberry or grape extracts, green tea extracts, citrus extracts (hesperedin, naringin, etc), and bioflavonoid supplements containing quercetin/dihydroquercetin and rutin may lead to more marked anti-inflammatory effects.
With all of these supplements, it’s important to remember that we don’t necessarily want a full suppression of inflammation. Indeed, an appropriate inflammatory response guarantees a better recovery response. However, sometimes the response can get too aggressive, damaging surrounding tissues. And that’s why we’re looking for inflammatory control instead of suppression.
Energy, Macronutrients and Remodeling
Let’s now move onto the next stage of injury recovery – proliferation and remodeling. Whenever tissue remodeling and repair are taking place, there is an extra demand on the body.
During injury repair, metabolic rate can increase anywhere from 15-50%. While this sounds high, calorie demands will actually be lower than required during sport training. Here is an example of the energy demands of an 24 year old male who’s 5’9” and 180 pounds
Basal Metabolic Rate:
1,826 kcal/day
Energy needs when sedentary:
2,191 kcal/day
Energy needs with daily training:
3,104 kcal/day
Energy needs post-injury:
2,629 kcal/day
Eating too few calories during the recovery period can prevent full and adequate healing. And, unfortunately, the drastic reduction in physical activity during injury periods can lead to a natural reduction in appetite and food intake. So it’s important to make your athletes aware of sound eating habits and patterns in order to provide enough total energy for proper repair.
When it comes to the macronutrients, generally, during injury recovery, protein intake should be maintained in the 1g/lb range. About 1/3 of one’s dietary fat should come from each type of fat (i.e. 1/3 from saturated fat, 1/3 from monounsaturated fat, and 1/3 from polyunsaturated fat). And, although there’s no requirement for carbohydrate during recovery, it’s important to include enough carbohydrate to support brain function and provide adequate micronutrient intake.
Micronutrients and Remodeling
Vitamins and minerals are nutrients required by the body in small amounts for a host of metabolic reactions. And since the injury recovery process relies on many metabolic reactions to proceed, vitamins and minerals can play a key role. The main players in proliferation and remodeling are:
Vitamin A - enhances and supports early inflammation during injury, reverses post- injury immune suppression, and assists in collagen formation. Supplementation with 10,000IU daily for the first 2-4 weeks post-injury is likely a safe approach, although beyond that, the supplement should be removed to avoid toxicity.
Vitamin C - enhances neutrophil and lymphocyte activity during phase 1 of acute injury. Plays an important role in collagen synthesis. Supplementing 1g-2g/day during the first 2-4 weeks post injury is recommended.
Copper - assists in the formation of red blood cells and acts in concert with vitamin C to form elastin and to strengthen connective tissue. Supplementing 2-4mg/day during the first 2-4 weeks post injury is recommended.
Zinc - plays a critical role in tissue regeneration and a deficiency has been associated with poor wound healing. Supplementing 15-30mg/day during the first 2-4 weeks post injury is recommended.
Super-Recovery Nutrients
Keeping with the theme of supporting proliferation and remodeling, there are a host of recovery nutrients that have been shown to have excellent restorative effects during injury recovery. They are:
Arginine - this may stimulate insulin release and growth factors which assist in protein synthesis and connective tissue deposition. Its role in stimulating nitric oxide production may increase blood flow to the injured area and activate macrophages for tissue clean-up. Arginine may also promote the conversion of ornithine to proline. Human doses range from 15-30g per day.
Ornithine - this can improve protein metabolism, shorten healing time, increase healing strength, and increase nitrogen retention. Also, ornithine can be converted to proline, which is essential in collagen deposition. Dosing has been in the 20-30g per day range (10g 2-3x per day).
Glutamine - this is essential for the metabolism of cells that have rapid turnover, such as lymphocytes and enterocytes. During times of stress glutamine needs increase. It's been speculated that glutamine may help speed up wound healing.
HMB - this metabolite of leucine has been shown to inhibit muscle protein breakdown and increase protein balance, leading to potential increases in muscle. HMB may also increase collagen deposition and improve nitrogen balance.
14g arginine, 3g HMB, and 14g glutamine in two divided doses (two doses of 7g arginine, 1.5g HMB, 7g glutamine per day) has been shown to improve recovery time and we recommending including these three nutrients during injury recover.
Of course, all supplements should be purchased from companies that regularly screen for contamination with banned substances. Products that have been screened using NSF (USA) and HFL (UK) technologies have the highest likelihood of being free of banned substances.
Nutrition During Injury Best Practices
Of course, it’s always better to focus our nutrition advice on practical habits vs. impossible to follow mathematical calculations. To this end, and as a summary, here’s a list of best practices for your injured clients and athletes.
  1. Eating frequency - During injury recovery, it’s best to eat every three hours or so.
  2. Protein foods - Each meal should contain protein foods, including lean meats, beans, eggs, soy, and/or a protein supplement. For men, the amount would be two protein portions and for women the amount would be one protein portion. In general, a protein portion is about the size of your palm.
  3. Vegetables & fruit - Each meal should contain one to two servings of vegetables and/or fruit. In general, a veggie/fruit serving is between 1⁄2 - 1 cup of fruit or vegetable.

  1. Whole grains - Minimally processed sources like whole oats, whole grain rice, sprouted grain breads and quinoa are best during injury recovery. Generally, we recommend more carbohydrates while training and fewer while not training.
  2. Nuts/seeds/oils - To achieve a better fat balance, every day, include olive oil, mixed nuts, avocados, flax oil, ground flax, and other seeds. Supplemental fish oil should also be included at a dose of 3-9g per day. It’s also best to cut back on corn oil, sunflower oil, safflower oil, cottonseed oil, soybean oil.
  3. Herbs and Phytochemicals For the first 2-4 weeks post-injury, the inclusion of turmeric, garlic, bromelain, and flavanoids from cocoa, tea, and blueberries can help manage inflammation.
  4. Vitamins and Minerals For the first 2-4 weeks post-injury, the inclusion of vitamin A, vitamin C, copper, and zinc can assist in the proliferation and remodeling stages of recovery.
  5. Super-Nutrients The inclusion of arginine, HMB, and glutamine can also help during the proliferation and remodeling stages. Just be careful with nutritional supplements, using products that are guaranteed free of banned substances.
By putting these nutritional strategies to work for you and your athletes, not only will you see speedier returns to function, you’ll also see more complete healing and less frequent injury recurrence.
About The Authors
John Berardi and Ryan Andrews are part of the world-renowned Precision Nutrition team. And their work is responsible for bringing elite-level nutrition advice to both high-level athletes and recreational exercisers around the globe. For more great nutrition from Dr Berardi and Ryan Andrews, visit www.precisionnutrition.com.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

The Pareto Principle

I've come across several versions and explanations of the Pareto Principle, but I like how strength coach Alwyn Cosgrove explained it best on his blog recently:

"The Pareto principle (also known as the 80-20 rule and the 'law of the vital few') states that in many things, 80% of the consequences come from 20% of the causes.Vilfredo Pareto, an Italian economist is credited with it's discovery. He observed that 80 percent of the wealth in Italy (and every country he subsequently studied) was owned by 20 percent of the population. After Pareto made his observation and created his formula, many others observed similar phenomena in their own areas of expertise. Quality Management pioneer, Dr. Joseph Juran, working in the US recognized a universal principle he called the "vital few and trivial many" and reduced it to writing. These two studies have generally been combined and become nown as the Pareto Principle.
Over the years, many others observed this rule in action in very different areas - yet the 80-20 rule appeared to hold true.
The 80/20 Rule means that in anything a few (20 percent) are vital and many(80 percent) are trivial. You can apply the 80/20 Rule to almost anything, from the science of management to the physical world.
Some examples:
Relationships: Twenty percent of the people you know (friends, colleagues, family) provide you with 80 percent of nurturing support and satisfaction.
Productivity: Twenty percent of your activities will account for 80 percent of your success.
Business: Twenty percent of customers will account for 80 percent of profit (and 20% of your customers will also cause 80% of your problems!
Gardening: Eighty percent of garden peas are produced by 20 percent of the peapods.How can we use the Pareto Principle?
The Pareto principle is great to increase focus. Don't try to do more. Just do more of the right things.
For example, out of all of your negative behaviors, twenty percent of them will contribute to 80 percent of all of your hardship and misery. So working on just these 20 percent can greatly contribute to our personal growth.
Time management is another area where the rule can be very effective. If you have a lot of work to do, break it down to specific activities and figure out what twenty percent of the tasks listed contributes to eighty percent of the results you seek. Second, give your maximum concentration to those 20 percent tasks.
Also recognize that the numbers don’t have to be “20%” and “80%” exactly. The key point is that most things in life (effort, reward, output) are not distributed evenly - some contribute more than others. In fact most things are not 1:1, where each unit of “input” (effort, time) contributes exactly the same amount of output. But what about fitness training? How can we use the Pareto Principle?
Understand that training methods and exercise selection fall under the same rules - 20% of your activities are responsible for 80% of your results.In other words - if you did ten sets of deadlifts - it's likely that you would get 80% of that benefit with only two sets - the law of diminishing returns.
Big, compound exercises recruit more muscle, allow you to use more load and burn more calories than isolation exercises - build your program around them. Identify the effective 20%. For example - Rep for rep - a deadlift or a squat out-performs most other exercises - make sure they are in your program first.
A 30 minute full-body workout performed three times per week - that includes squats, deadlifts, presses and rows will easily be 80% as effective as any other routine that you can think of.
If you keep rest periods short during resistance training- the body doesn't really know that you're not doing cardio. 60s rest periods with full body workouts can reduce the need for direct cardio work.
If you do want to add cardio -minute for minute - interval training burns more calories, increases masimum oxygen uptake and increases EPOC more than steady state work- build your cardio program around interval work.
Lastly however, don’t think the Pareto Principle means only do 20% of the work needed and be happy with 80% of the result.
It may be true that 80% of a bridge is built in the first 20% of the time, but you still need the rest of the bridge in order for it to work--The Pareto Principle is an observation of effectiveness, not a law.
When you are seeking top quality, you need all 100%. When you are trying to optimize your bang for the buck however, focusing on the critical 20% is an excellent tool. See what activities generate the most results and give them your appropriate attention. With a little effort, and the application of the 80-20 rule, we can save a lot of our emotional and physical energy and concentrate on stuff that really matters."