Making Progression Through Strength

Recent Posts

Getting Lean(er) Starts in the Kitchen

Getting Lean(er) Starts in the Kitchen

You’ve been on the right path for a while now especially if you’ve read my article 5 Reasons You’re Not Lean(er).The only thing missing now is putting it all into action. Besides, how do you finish the job without the right tools? Never go into […]

Must-Read Fitness and Nutrition Articles from Feb-April 2015

Must-Read Fitness and Nutrition Articles from Feb-April 2015

The past few months have been BUSY so I’ve been slacking on my personal web content. HOWEVER, it doesn’t mean I haven’t kept up on my regular reading of awesome fitness and nutrition articles & videos. Here are the ones I thought were worthy of […]

Strategies in Addressing Knee Pain: Part 1

Strategies in Addressing Knee Pain: Part 1

Let’s face it: the muscles of the lower body get WORKED on a daily basis. Whether or not you are an elite athlete or an average Joe (or Jane) riding the keyboard, your quads, hamstrings, and glutes are carrying a lot of stress and tension. This tension can result in knee discomfort or pain over time especially if you do not regularly participate in any form of stretching, mobility work, or calisthenics.

A question I get from my private clients and online clients is how to address knee pain (because most of them squat a often). If you squat often or sit for prolonged periods of times, chances are you’ve experienced some knee discomfort at some point due to global stiffness in the large muscle groups such as the quads. There are a lot of ways to alleviate the discomfort and potentially prevent injury.

I always give credit where credit is due so with that being said, the information i’m relaying to you comes from Kelly Starrett, DPT and his book, Becoming a Supple Leopard. This book has been a PHENOMENAL resource to myself and my clients for helping to address issues with pain, preventing injury, and optimizing athletic performance.

Today’s video is going to show you several ways to attack that knee discomfort so you can get back to business.

According to Kelly, there are three ground rules to follow:

  1. When dealing with stiff fascia make sure you take your time and put quality effort into your soft tissue work to get the most out of it. Use techniques such as contract and relax, smash and floss, and pressure waving.
  2. Dedicate ~10 minutes per muscle area to clear out any stiffness or pain before moving on to the next area. It’s all about creating change and normalizing the function of the given muscle group.
  3. Utilize a mobility tool that will supply sufficient pressure such as a foam roller, lacrosse ball, softball, tennis ball, PVC pipe, or a barbell. Make the pressure relative to your body size i.e. soft foam rollers for beginners, dense ones for larger individuals with a lot of lean body mass.

 

 

 

References:
Starrett, Kelly, and Glen Cordoza. “The Systems: Area 7 – Anterior High Chain.” Becoming a Supple Leopard: The Ultimate Guide to Resolving Pain, Preventing Injury, and Optimizing Athletic Performance. Las Vegas: Victory Belt, 2013. 322-29. Print.
Cost Effective Pre-Workout!

Cost Effective Pre-Workout!

When I posted THIS to Facebook, I think some people had really never thought of this before! It’s such a simple go-to when you’re in need of a high-protein meal snack while also looking for an energy boost. Optimum Nutrition (one of my favorite brands) […]

Must-Read Fitness and Nutrition Articles from January 2015

Must-Read Fitness and Nutrition Articles from January 2015

If you’re as passionate or interested in learning as much as you can concerning fitness and nutrition, here are just a few of the outstanding articles I read in January to expand your knowledge that aren’t overly heavy on the science. Definitely give these a read when you […]

Should You Train During Illness?

Should You Train During Illness?

It’s a new year, it’s a new you.

When 2015 arrived, you made a promise to yourself that you would train relentlessly and consistently to reach your aesthetic goals and improve your health.

But what if you became ill from all of the holiday traveling, feasting, drinking, and stress? You told yourself you would get back to the gym after the holidays and hit it hard to make up for the lost time from all of the holiday festivities.

It all started with the sniffles but you managed to keep it at bay for weeks. All of a sudden it became a full-blown cold or even worse the flu. Does that mean you’re training regimen should take a backseat?

Q: To train or not to train? That is the question.

You may not be feeling 100% which may cause you to second-guess whether or not you should train. Your symptoms along with the severity of illness will determine whether or not you should hit the gym or take some time off.

For example, if you’ve been hit with the common cold and are experiencing minor symptoms such as a runny nose, congestion, mildly sore throat, and a little bit of a cough, then you are likely fine to proceed with the work out.

The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) suggests that any mild to moderate symptoms from the neck up are fine to continue exercising with. There is even research that points out that training with mild cold symptoms may even be beneficial to your recovery.

Use common sense and try not to go hard in the paint like Scottie Pippen driving to the basket when you’re not feeling 100%. Scale back on the intensity of your training sessions by gradually increasing the effort until you’re feeling back to normal. A rate of perceived exertion (RPE) of approximately 65% to 75% (both cardio and weight training) should suffice and may prevent exacerbating your current symptoms.

Dealing with fever or flu-like symptoms is an entirely different story. It is not recommended to engage in any exercise when experiencing fever or flu like symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, stomach bug, increased body temperature, fatigue, muscle aches, and swollen lymph glands.

Any flu-like symptoms make you contagious to others in the initial stages not to mention that you’re also putting yourself at risk. If you are experiencing any of those symptoms, take 1-2 weeks off until all symptoms reside and you feel closer to 100%. Generally speaking, symptoms from the neck down should be taken more seriously.

Q: How do I beat the cold or flu so I can return to training?

There are measures you can take to battle the cold and flu to keep your immune system fighting hard and at full potential. Some factors are controllable while others are not.

The things you can control would be to get adequate sleep, decrease mental stress, eat a well-balanced diet, and avoiding chronic fatigue. These are all factors that weaken the immune system which can lead to an increased chance of infection.

ACSM also points out that if you’re restricting calories for dieting purposes or going through a phase of rapid weight loss, then that could also leave you more prone to infection due to a possible lack of nutrients from food restriction.

Utilizing non-prescription medications may help to relieve symptoms to make you more comfortable. While they are no cure, they should aid in the resting and recovery process needed to get you back to normal.

Q: Are there supplements I can take to boost my immune system or help me recover sooner?

Yes, there is.

Most people tend to be deficient in the mineral zinc, which has been proven to help boost the immune system and fight off the common cold.

Oral and lozenge zinc supplements such as Cold-Eeze can help stave off the common cold at the first sight of symptoms and may prevent current symptoms from progressing. Follow the directions on the package of taking lozenges severals times a day and you should be well on your way to quicker recovery and/or preventing the onset of a cold.

Taking 1000mg-12000mg of Vitamin C can help reduce the duration of the common cold in physically active people and is a great daily preventative to prevent the common cold. Inactive individuals may not get as much benefit from Vitamin C supplementation as those that are very active.

Being stuck indoors too often also means you’re not getting enough Vitamin D, which is produced naturally in the skin when exposed to sunlight. Regular supplementation of Vitamin D3 taken in dosages of 2000IU daily with food may provide a laundry list of health benefits. It has been shown in research to help boost immunity by aiding in the formation of T-cells which help to fight off infections.

Take-Home Points and other recommendations:

  •  Don’t train if your symptoms stem from the neck down and are flu-related.
  • If deciding to train with a cold, make sure to bring a towel to the gym and wash hands frequently.
  • Make sure to spray and wipe down all equipment after each use to prevent the spread of germs.
  • Keep exercise intensity scaled back if dealing with mild cold symptoms.
  • Consume a well-balanced diet consisting of plenty of lean proteins to spare muscle wasting and also veggies and fruits for their micronutrient content.
  • Get quality sleep and ample amounts of it along with avoiding stress as much as possible.
  • Consider supplementing with Vitamin C, Vitamin D3, and Zinc to help prevent illness and speed up recovery time

 

 

 

 

References:

1. Nieman, David C., and Tom Weidner. “Exercise and the Common Cold.” ACSM Current Comment (n.d.): n. pag. American College of Sports Medicine. Web. <https://www.acsm.org/docs/current-comments/exerciseandcommoncold.pdf>.

2. Nieman, David C. “Upper Respiratory Tract Infection Is Reduced in Physically Fit and Active Adults.” British Journal of Sports Medicine. N.p., 1 Nov. 2010. Web. 06 Jan. 2015. <http://bjsm.bmj.com/content/45/12/987>.

3. Orwell, Sol, and Kurts Frank. “Vitamin D – Scientific Review on Usage, Dosage, Side Effects.” Examine.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 06 Jan. 2015. <http://examine.com/supplements/Vitamin+D/>.

4. Orwell, Sol, and Kurtis Frank. “Vitamin C – Scientific Review on Usage, Dosage, Side Effects.” Examine.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 06 Jan. 2015. <http://examine.com/supplements/Vitamin+C/>.

5. Orwell, Sol, and Kurtis Frank. “Zinc – Scientific Review on Usage, Dosage, Side Effects.” Examine.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 06 Jan. 2015. <http://examine.com/supplements/Zinc/>.

Evolution of A Personal Trainer: Part 1

Evolution of A Personal Trainer: Part 1

This topic of discussion spawned from a recent conversation with a friend that has been working with a personal trainer for quite some time at a corporate facility. Her description of her experience with the trainer is one I often hear. This is not a […]

How to Train and Eat for Optimal Endurance: Interview with Dr. Mike Ormsbee

How to Train and Eat for Optimal Endurance: Interview with Dr. Mike Ormsbee

This past summer, I had the pleasure of  attending the International Society of Sports Nutrition Annual Conference in Clearwater Beach, FL where the brightest minds in Sports Nutrition gathered to display some of their latest research. Out of all of the presentations, one stood out the […]

Deadlifts > Everything

Deadlifts > Everything

The deadlift is one of the best exercises of all time! As a matter of fact, if I had to choose one exercise to perform for the rest of my life, it would definitely be the barbell deadlift. My job as a strength & conditioning specialist is to effectively and properly get you to perform better while staying injury-free. I’d be glad to show you HOW to deadlift in person or via my Online Training. But first, let’s talk about WHY the deadlift is so gnarly.

Motions Involved

Deadlifts work just about every muscle in your body from your toes to your dome! For those of you that have performed heavy, single rep deadlifts, you may know the feeling of seeing stars, spots, or brief flashes of white. Shit gets righteous real quick!

Here is a full movement analysis of the lifting and lowering phase of the deadlift:

Screen Shot 2014-10-30 at 1.09.20 PM

For those of you that are familiar with exercise science terms, you know that there is A LOT going on there in both the lifting and lowering phase of the deadlift. Eccentric muscle contractions are those that put the muscle in a lengthened/stretched position while under tension or load. Conversely, concentric muscle actions are those that place the muscle in a shortened position while generating force.  Hip extension is absolutely paramount for every sport or athletic endeavor. Unless you want to suck at sports, then i’d suggest you start picking up that bar!

Since the trunk is maintaining an extended position fighting the shearing force of the load during an isometric contraction, the end result leads to building a backside that looks like that of a Roman God! Strengthening the muscles of the spine that hold us erect will not only give you a sturdy posture but will likely prevent and/or resolve signs of back pain.

Again, you should immediately start deadlifting. Here’s a list of all the muscle groups involved:


Screen Shot 2014-10-30 at 1.27.32 PM

Sequence and Execution

Let’s make one thing clear, not everyone possesses the hip, thoracic spine, and ankle mobility to set up properly for the deadlift. This is where regularly incorporating mobility and flexibility training may help out in pulling that bar off the floor like a boss!

The deadlift is all about setting up to find the right amount of tension in your posterior chain (neck, back, glutes, hamstrings, calves) all while maintaining a stable lower back position to reduce to risk of injury. Upon lifting you should look like the picture on the left and NOT the right:

Screen Shot 2014-10-30 at 1.47.32 PM
Avoid flexing (rounding) your lower back at all costs! This could lead to serious injury of the spinal discs in your lower back which could take you out of the game for weeks if not months. Lift smarter, not harder.

Screen Shot 2014-10-30 at 1.50.55 PM

Make sure at the set up your shoulders are directly over the bar with your lats and hamstrings loaded with tension. Maintain a stable, minimally arched lower back. Remember, it’s all about tension! Imagine you have sheets of paper under your armpits that you are trying to pinch there and not let go. You should feel like your hamstrings are in a stretched position. Take a deep breath, squeeze your core muscles as if you were about to take a punch in the side. From there, rip and grip!

Here are some other tips and visuals for  a more detailed description:

Screen Shot 2014-10-30 at 1.55.12 PM

 

Overview

Whether your goal be putting on muscle, getting leaner, or not sucking at sports, then i’d highly suggest you start deadlifting and doing it OFTEN! The amount of benefits far out weigh the negatives (if there are any). You can build a lot of power, speed, and strength that will translate to other activities while also reaping the benefits of testosterone and growth hormone spikes from pulling heavy ass weight if your goal is to get yoked!

Dean Somerset wrote a fantastic article titled “55 Reasons Why the Deadlift Exercise is the Best of All Time” which I couldn’t have written any better. It’s a priceless piece that will teach you a lot while also making you LOL.

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Performing the deadlift in a proper biomechanical fashion is critical not only for exercise efficiency but for your own safety. Improper movement patterns such as rounding of the lumbar spine can place a great deal of compressive stress, increasing the chance of injury.

As trainers or coaches, we should all watch for this with our clients or athletes to prevent serious injury. Make sure to watch the order in which the joints move starting at the knees, then the hip joint, and making sure the arms remain fully extended.

Enough talk. Who’s ready to lift some heavy stuff?!

 

Got Macros? All About Protein: Part 3

Got Macros? All About Protein: Part 3

This is a three-part article series where in Part 1, I answered the following questions: What is protein? What are great sources of protein? How much protein do I need? Is more protein safe? In Part 2, I discussed how dietary protein intake can largely […]