A few scattered thoughts pertaining to success in athletics and general well-being for you on a Sunday where (for most of you) your New England Patriots are about to battle my Philadelphia Eagles...
- With performance training it is important to remember that all development is incremental, and thus takes a prolonged period of time to truly make an impact on your overall athletic future.
Think of it like the stock market, there are times where prices increase dramatically and others where it sort of just meanders for awhile, but you need to stay in the game over the long-term to reap the full benefits. The ones who stick with it when everyone else bails are the ones who get the greatest reward.
Hang in there, especially when it is challenging, and you'll likely be outperforming the kids who gave up when they 'got busy' in another year or two.
- One emerging trend in nutrition science over the last 10 years is the value of gut health and it's impact your energy levels and health (both short-term and long-term).
I'd recommend that if you feel sluggish and/or unhealthy too often this winter that you begin to tinker with removing one food at a time from your regular diet and replace it with something healthier. There could be one or two things that you consume regularly that is causing a disproportionate amount of problems for you.
- A simple way to gauge your potential risk for knee injuries is to perform a slow, controlled 1 leg squat to the lowest depth possible. The lower you can go without losing your balance and/or having your knee begin to drift inward, the lower your likely risk for knee problems.
The depth you can fully control on a 1 leg squat is about the same level of depth you can control on that leg when making cuts or coming to a full stop in your sport. At any point during competition when you must get to a lower position on that one leg than you could control during the 1 leg squat test, you are at risk for a knee or ankle injury.
- Once upon a time the barbell overhead press was the true measure of upper body strength. Now, thanks to bodybuilding culture, it is the bench press. I'd love to see our field transition back to using the overhead press as the real indicator of upper body strength, because it also incorporates core stability, hip stability and shoulder mobility on top of measuring your arm strength.
An athlete who can do a strict overhead press with 150 lbs gets far more transferrable strength to athletics than a 300 lb bench press.
- While I'm on an angry old man rant, why aren't we using jump ropes more in physical education classes and for team practice warm ups/skill time? There's no better tool to build coordination, ankle rigidity for sprinting, and quickness.
And oh yeah, it also requires focus on the task at hand for a sustained period! Sure there's a learning curve at first, but with a little persistence it's a cheap and effective way to build more athleticism.
- Precision Nutrition is an outstanding organization that provides practical tips for eating healthier. One of their cardinal rules is to only eat when you're hungry, not just when you're supposed to or any time food is available. Simply let your body tell you when you need nutrients.
That is A LOT harder to do than you'd think!
Working off of that rule as a baseline, those wanting to build muscle should add about 500-800 extra calories per day beyond their base requirements. Those seeking weight loss should eat 500-800 calories less. Muscle builders need to learn to get comfortable being slightly more full than they're used to, weight loss people need to learn how to deal with slight hunger.
- Can Brady, Belichick & co get revenge on my Eagles today?
The oddsmakers say that they will. Wouldn't it be a shame if they were upset twice by a supposedly inferior team?
Good luck Pats fans, looking forward to a fun week of banter one way or the other...