Posts Tagged ‘healthy’

Foam Rolling – The Basics

By Nicole Drummer

As a coach, I encourage all my athletes to utilize a foam roller in their training — the recovery part of training. Many of you have probably heard of foam rolling and have certainly seen these dense foam cylinders in your favorite running or cycling store, and perhaps also at the gym. This article will take a quick look at the purpose of foam rolling and how a triathlete can use it to aid in recovery. Let’s start with the basics:

What is a foam roller?
A foam roller is a foam cylinder, approximately 6 inches in diameter. They vary in length and density. They can be purchased online or at running/cycling/tri or other sport specialty stores.

Why do you want to foam roll?
Getting a regular massage is something a lot of us know we should do, but don’t. Foam rolling is an inexpensive way to provide self massage. It’s not as good as a “hands-on” massage from a  licensed massage therapist, but proper utilization of a foam roller to break up adhesions in the muscle tissue and/or fascia can help you recover faster and keep your muscles ready to train. In layman’s terms, breaking up the adhesions in the soft tissue aids in decreasing trigger points from forming and brings blood flow to the area. Increased blood flow will bring nutrients and assist in repairing damaged muscle that your last workout may have caused.

How do you foam roll?
There are several methods to foam rolling – you can find a trigger point (tight, painful spot) and just apply pressure there, or you can roll along the muscle (like the sweeping strokes of a massage therapist). You can also do a combination of the above. One thing to note — don’t foam roll joints or injured tissue.

How often should you foam roll?
Athletes training 5-6 times a week can probably foam roll daily, and right after a workout if possible. If you can spend 15-20 minutes foam rolling and 10-15 minutes stretching before bed, you’ll probably sleep better, feel better and recover faster, which means your next workout will be more effective. Note: foam rolling might be painful on chronic tight spots, but listen to your body as it shouldn’t feel like injury pain. If it does, go see a physical therapist!

Now that the basics are covered, here are some major muscle groups triathletes should consider foam rolling:

 

 

Glutes: One of the largest muscle groups and a primary driver in our sport, having a healthy gluteus maximus, minimums, medius is important.

This position helps isolate the piriformis.

 

 

 

IT Band: While Illiotibial band (a thick section of fascia from the hip to knee) issues usually stem from a muscle imbalance somewhere, keeping the ITB and the muscles around it loose is quite helpful to our running and cycling performance.

 

 

 

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hydration Sports Nutrition Tips to Help You Lose Weight and Perform Better

The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) is the world’s largest organization of sports medicine and exercise science professionals. At ACSM’s annual meeting in Denver, more than 6,000 exercise scientists, sports dietitians, physicians and other health professionals gathered to share their research. Here are a few of the nutrition highlights.

• Looking for a way to get fit quickly? High intensity interval training (HIIT) is effective, though it’s hard work. Once you are fit, you can then reduce the exercise intensity to a more enjoyable (sustainable) level. Dr. Martin Gibala of McMaster University in Ontario does not believe HIIT is a heart attack waiting to happen, but recommends untrained people first get a proper medical check-up.

• HIIT can be an effective part of a weight reduction program. Overweight men who did 20 minutes of HIIT (8 second sprints with 12 seconds recovery) three times per week for 12 weeks achieved a 7 percent drop in body fat. In another study with untrained, slightly overweight women ages 30 to 45, those who did high intensity exercise lost more weight and body fat than those who did lower intensity training. One benefit of high intensity exercise is it can suppress the appetite (temporarily) compared to lower intensity exercise.

• HIIT can create a significant afterburn. Men who expended roughly 500 calories during 47 minutes of vigorous exercise continued to burn 225 extra calories in the next 18.5 hours.

• When athletes lose weight, they lose muscle as well as fat. For example, soldiers during nine weeks of combat training lost 9 lbs (4.2 kg) body weight, of which one-third was muscle loss and two-thirds fat loss. They consumed about 15 percent fewer calories than required to maintain weight.

• Even bodybuilders and figure competitors do not lose just body fat when they “lean out.” In the 12 weeks pre-competition, male bodybuilders lost about 4 lbs (1.8 kg) lean body mass and 11.5 lbs (5.2 kg) body fat. The female figure competitors lost about 5.5 lbs (2.6 kg) lean and about 6.4 lbs (2.9 kg) fat.

• Why do women struggle harder than men to lose undesired body fat? Perhaps because they are women. In the animal kingdom, female animals generate less body heat after overfeeding compared to the males. Research with humans suggests similar energy conservation. When four men and four women were overfed ice cream for three days (150 percent of energy balance needs), the men burned off some of the extra calories while the women conserved energy.

• Should you believe the calorie estimates displayed on exercise machines? Not necessarily. The Precor EFX556i overestimated energy expenditure, particularly with women.

• A novel way to burn a few extra calories is to sit on a stability ball while you are at work. At a call center (where 90 percent of the time is spent sitting), employees who sat on the stability ball for five hours during the workday burned about 260 more calories per eight-hour shift. Theoretically, that could lead to loss of 26 pounds in a year! They burned about half a calorie more per minute sitting on a stability ball than sitting in a chair. The biggest barrier to using the stability balls was aggravation of pre-existing back pain.

• Trained cyclists who consumed equal calories of either a sports drink or banana chunks during a 75-kilometer cycling time trial performed similarly. The banana, however, offered a beneficial anti-inflammatory response. Natural foods generally offer more benefits than engineered sports foods.

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New Food Icon, MyPlateThe federal government’s new food group symbol, MyPlate, will replace MyPyramid. It will help consumers think about their food choices by building a healthy plate.

Balancing Calories

● Enjoy your food, but eat less.

● Avoid oversized portions.

Foods to Increase

● Make half your plate fruits and vegetables.

● Make at least half your grains whole grains.

● Switch to fat-free or low-fat (1%) milk.

Foods to Reduce

● Compare sodium in foods like soup, bread, and frozen meals ― and choose the foods with lower numbers.

● Drink water instead of sugary drinks.