Tag Archives: Recovery

Training Optimally and Recovering Efficiently

In one of my recent blogs, I touched on understanding the basics of a training program. I discussed the areas of main movements, assistance work, accessories, volume, and intensity. Today I’m going to dive in a little bit deeper and go over a few more areas that will have a major impact on the overall success of program.

 

With any training program, the goal should always be to train optimally. This means that we are always looking to do the correct amount of work in order to produce the stimulus necessary to make progress, but without doing so much that we risk stagnation or injury. The biggest area that has an affect on this is our ability to recover from our training sessions. With recovery, there are many things that need to be taken into consideration. Things such as nutrition and hydration, sleep, stress, stretching, and mobility work are all essential to focus on outside of the gym in order to recover properly and continue to make progress.

 

However, when we consider our physical presence inside of the gym, we often overlook aspects of our training sessions that play a major role in how well we do or do not recover. The first is our training frequency. Frequency refers to how often we are performing a given workout, exercise, or movement throughout the training week. There are many different philosophies when it comes to this. Some people have great success with performing a particular session only once per week, while others prefer 2-3 times per week. Either way, it’s important to take all factors into consideration when deciding training frequency. If your life outside of the gym is hectic, then you may not be good with a higher frequency. If you are managing your time with proper sleep, nutrition, etc., then a higher training frequency might suit you well. 

 

The second thing to consider is your training duration. This refers to the amount of time that you are physically performing each training session. Depending on your goals and level of experience, your training session can be anywhere from 30 minutes to 3 hours. The thing to remember is that you want your sessions to be as efficient as possible. You should only be taking as much time as needed to complete your exercises and sessions. The longer that you are in the gym, the more time you are taking away from your recovery, and giving less time to things such as nutrition, relaxation, sleep, etc.

 

The third area to consider is your training intensity. This is something I touched on in my last blog, but today I’m going to explain it in terms of RPE or “Rate of Perceived Exertion”. When incorporating RPE into your training, it is portrayed in the form of a 1-10 scale in order to measure overall difficulty of the previously performed set. For example, an RPE of 10 would mean maximal effort, and no more reps could have been performed. An RPE of 9 would mean that one more rep could have been performed, and 8 would mean that 2 more reps could have been performed, and so on. Although tracking RPE is not absolutely necessary, it is a very easy and beneficial way to track the difficulty of each movement and exercise within a training session, and can help you understand the balance needed within each program. Your intensity or “RPE” should be optimal for your specific goals. If you are always pushing the limits, then it will become harder to recover, and you risk the chance if injury. Frequency, duration, and intensity all go hand-in-hand and play a major role in overall performance. Putting a little extra emphasis on these areas will help to keep you strong, healthy, and progressing within your program.

It Goes Beyond the Gym

You’ve probably heard it before, “ you can’t outwork a bad diet.” I mean you can try but at some point you’ll either hit a plateau with your goals or you’ll start feeling “blah” and those are things that happen when either you’re not eating enough or you’re not fueling your body with the proper nutrients it needs to perform simple daily tasks.

 

If you’re an athlete within your respected sport or a member of Union Fitness coming in at 5:30PM to get bumpy with CJ in #Powerful, you’ve probably more than likely heard someone or our staff briefly mention anything in regards to nutrition. Not only do we want our clients to perform to the best of their abilities but we also want them to feel good in their everyday life. This all starts and ends with the basics of good nutrition. Good nutrition can be defined as eating whole and nutrient dense foods. Generally in a good diet we want to look for foods that contain vitamins, minerals, complex carbs, lean protein and healthy fats. These foods include, vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans, nuts and seeds, and lean protein (when prepared with little to no saturated facts or added sugars/sodium).

 

So back to the all defining phrase, “you can’t outwork a bad diet.” For example, let’s use an early 30’s female, who works a full-time job, eats out a lot, workouts 1 hour a day and likes to enjoy a glass of wine before ending her evening – This would be what her day looks like.

 

6AM Wake-Up

 

Breakfast: breakfast sandwich from fast-food chain + coffee

Heads into work for 9AM

Lunch: chicken salad with ranch and a diet soda

Afternoon snack: greek yogurt with granola + water

Leaves work at 5PM

Takes CJ’s 5:30PM #Powerful

Dinner: burger and fries + glass of wine

 

Now let’s break this down a little, overall she’s not eating terribly but we can nit pick at a few things. First, she’s not eating enough and more specifically she’s not eating enough whole and nutrient dense foods. Secondly, her fast-food breakfast sandwich, diet soda and a burger/fries will eventually leave her feeling the “blah” sensation at some point (if her eating is consistently like this). Her water intake is also very low and my overall observation is she just needs to replace a few things that would fuel her body better.

 

Let’s take a look at the same woman but with a better understanding of eating well.

 

6AM Wake-Up

 

Breakfast: glass of water, breakfast wrap (homemade) + coffee

Heads into work for 9AM

Snack: greek yogurt with granola/blueberries + water

Lunch: glass of water, chicken salad with balsamic dressing and a soda water

Afternoon Snack: Protein bar, banana + glass of water

Leaves work at 5PM

Takes CJ’s 5:30PM #Powerful

Post-Workout: Protein shake + granola bar

Dinner: Seafood pasta + glass of wine

 

After she has learned the basics of good nutrition she implemented a few things, increasing her water intake, increasing her protein intake, choosing drink options that are healthier and making sure her meals are portioned and opting for more homemade meals and whole foods. She is eating more and fueling her body for the simple things like daily tasks whilst getting the nutrients she needs to help her get through a PM workout.

 

The goal here is to understand that regardless if you want to gain muscle or lose weight, you’re going to need to eat but what your nutritional plan looks like is going to be specific to your own goals and your genetic makeup. While we’re at it too, diet culture has long engrained in us that we need to eat less to lose weight and thats not necessary the case (but thats another blog post for another time).

 

It all comes down to fueling your body for daily life and working out. So, whatever your goals may be keep in mind whole and nutrient dense foods are the answer, shop the perimeter of your grocery store and allow yourself to eat the things you love in moderation.

 

Much love,

 

J

Four Pillar’s: Nutrition

Nutritional deficiency: an inadequate supply of essential nutrients (as vitamins and minerals) in the diet resulting in malnutrition or disease.

 

Nutritional deficiencies are common among most people. In the first link below Dr. Rhonda Patrick talks about how people who don’t take a multivitamin have inadequate vitamin D, vitamin C, vitamin E, and vitamin A. I am not prescribing vitamins but I want to give you an idea of how common it is to be deficient. She goes on to discuss that people who take a multivitamin can still be deficient in these vitamins.

 

If you remember in my last article I talk about optimal levels. I talk about how you don’t have to be deficient in something to feel the symptoms of not being at optimal levels. Now, the best way to know what your levels are at, of anything whether it be hormones or vitamins, is to get blood work. But once you get blood work done you are probably asking “what is an optimal level?” This is where I believe a dietitian can play a huge role. There are many experts online that give free info on such things. My favorites on nutrition are Dr. Rhonda Patrick, Dr. Eric Serrano, and Stan Efferding. Playing with your levels, to a degree, shouldn’t be harmful. I HIGHLY RECOMMEND GETTING YOUR VITAMINS FROM FOOD FIRST! Meaning if you are low in a vitamin try to consume the food that has an abundance of it before mega-dosing with a vitamin supplement.

 

Let’s talk about absorption. Many people like to go out and buy a multivitamin that has every vitamin and mineral. Getting the multivitamin that has 3000% of each thing. Don’t do this. Please. Certain vitamins inhibit other vitamin absorption so you might as well throw that pill into the toilet and save some of your time. Calcium is notorious for this. Calcium is known to inhibit iron and zinc. So if you are taking one of these I would avoid taking them with foods that are high in calcium such as dairy unless prescribed by a doctor or dietitian. Now there is also the opposite, certain vitamins increase absorption. For example, Vitamin D helps calcium absorption. Keep this in mind when taking certain supplements or about to buy some multivitamins that guarantee everything in them.

 

 

I am sure you are reading this saying “well I eat healthily and take a multivitamin so I am probably at optimal levels let alone deficient in the vitamin.” For that reason, Let me share my experience with vitamin deficiency. When training more constantly I would eat red meat as my main source of protein, for more than half my meals. But during this time I was becoming chronically tired, yawning throughout the day, not recovering from workouts, and craving ice-cold water constantly. When I say poor recovery, I mean it once took 7 days to recover from a hamstring workout. I first tried to increase my sleep time from 7-8 hours to over 9 hours; it didn’t work. I started increasing some anaerobic training thinking this would assist in recovery; now I wasn’t recovering from the anaerobic training. I finally reduced my time lifting weights: which made a moderate difference but decreased my progression.  I finally spoke to two different nutritionists. One recommended B vitamins supplement (which I was already taking) and the other recommended an adrenal cleanse. Both did not work. Finally, I had a blood test that showed I was deficient in Iron. Now, if you are thinking this makes no sense considering the amount of red meat I was eating you would be spot on. But then I had another that showed the same results. I started supplementing with 15 mg of iron and after 2 days, my energy levels increased to the equivalent of feeling as though I drank 3 cups of coffee. My workout recovery improved, naps during the day were no longer necessary, and I barely yawn now. It also resulted in drinking far less caffeine. This could be from multiple factors but either way, it’s important to check what you might be missing.

 

By the way, your fancy pre-workout is not going to fix your vitamin deficiency but it will mask it.

Dr. Rhonda Patrick

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o0u8UdZeOhc&t=158s

Calcium and Iron 

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21462112/

Calcium and Zinc 

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/9174476/

Vitamin D and Calcium 

https://www.endocrineweb.com/conditions/osteoporosis/role-calcium-vitamin-d-bone-health

Examples of Combinations of Vitamin’s 

https://www.health.harvard.edu/newsletter_article/Nutritions-dynamic-duos

Improve Your Sleep

Do you ever wake up from a night of sleep or a quarantine nap and swear your body secretly did a super intense workout? A lot of factors can contribute to your quality of sleep, but one somewhat simple solution could be due to your sleep position. Now of course, altering your position won’t help you fall asleep quicker or ensure a deeper sleep, but it will help your body feel better in the AM.

 

You’re probably wondering “what is this magical sleep position”? You might also be wondering how am I supposed to monitor this if I am asleep? The good news is that however you choose to sleep right now might be okay with only small adjustments. The bad news is that you can’t watch, you’ll have to pay someone to stay awake and splash water on you every time you move. Just kidding, thankfully.

 

So, here is the simple answer. The spine needs to remain neutral and what that means is that all three curves of your spine need to be aligned. This includes your cervical (neck), thoracic (mid back), and lumbar (low back hip area). With that said this does eliminate certain positions but still leaves you with probably your most favorite. Here’s a breakdown of a few tips:

 

Sleeping on your side: This position is one of the most popular and while it is good for pregnant women, it’s still a valid option for others as well.

 

The downfall: your upper leg will stay in hip adduction and internal rotation pulling the lumbar spine. Your bottom arm may also become numb which can lead to impingement. If sleeping on your side with your knees also bent in fetal it can cause shortened hip flexors which can affect the position of the pelvis.

 

The fix: place a pillow between your knees to prevent your top leg from pulling on your spine. A little bit trickier considering you are asleep, but try to rotate sides throughout the night or at least every night to avoid the same arm being on the bottom. Finally, stay on your side if you’d like, but try to keep your legs straight rather than bent.

 

Sleeping on your stomach: Also a comfortable position and may help ease snoring.

 

The downfall: Your head may be turned for breathing, your arm may be overhead, and the cervical and lumbar spine may be more elevated than the thoracic.

 

The fix: Sleep with your face flat down on a pillow by placing your forehead on the pillow allowing you to still breathe but better align your spine. You can also add a pillow under your stomach to raise that to a neutral position. It would also be beneficial to keep your arms by your side.

 

Sleeping on your back: The position commonly known as “the best”, but it still has its own advantages and disadvantages.

 

The downfall: It may aggravate low back pain or sleep apnea. Pregnant women should also avoid this position, at least towards the end. The positive side is that your spine is in a neutral position. There is not necessarily a fix given your spine is already neutral; however, if you suffer from sleep apnea or low back pain it may not be the best choice. When it is all said and done, the most important factor to keep in mind is that your spine remains neutral, no matter the sleep position you choose. It’s a nice treat to know that you still have the ability to choose a favorite way to sleep while also helping you feel much better when you wake. So, grab a few extra pillows and play around with the way you sleep. Your AM self will thank you. 🙂

 

 

Salutations Sultans and Sultanas of Swing.

Today we are going to play a game to help us understand and know the difference between Sprains, Strains & Tears on this episode of Know…Your..Lingo! (Audience participation and applause)

 

Let me lay down the terms and facts about them first. You will be tested on this so bust out your writing utensils, be it quil, dip pens, ballpoint or #2, and paper, parchment, or clay tablets and toss that thinking cap on, even you back there Billy!

 

Sprains go down when a joint (ankle, knee, wrist, shoulder, ect) is forced into an awkward or unnatural position. Sprains are the overstretching or tearing of ligaments. Think of a ligament as a fibrous connective tissue in the body that connects bone to bone to help stabilize them together. A scenario this could happen is when you are walking on an uneven surface and then your ankle turns/twists one way. People often say twist when they refer to sprains.

 

Strains materialize from repetitive movements over a long period of time or from a single incident, where overstretching or tearing of the muscle or tendon occurs. Muscles and tendons are fibers that connect muscles to bones. A chronic strain would be from repetitive movements overtime whereas an acute strain is a single instantaneous stretch or tear. A scenario this could happen is when you are picking up a heavier box from the floor and feel a “pull” in your lower back. People often say pull when they refer to strains.

 

Tears stumble into existence from the ripping of ligaments, muscles or tendons from related actions that would cause those fibers to overstretch and is far  more serious and could take months to heal. Tears could mean surgery or rehabilitation depending on the severity. You may see a tear happen in sports, one of the most know tears would be at the knee more commonly thought of as an ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) tear.

 

Fill in the blank Test.

(Sprain Strain Tear)

Select the correct term above to fill in the blank. 

 

1. Todd was frolicking down Penn ave listening to Hatebreed when he awkwardly stepped in a pothole and _______ his ankle.

 

2. Big Curt has been throwing fast balls all season for UF’s baseball team, but after throwing the game winning pitch in extra innings he felt a pulling sensation in his shoulder muscles. Big Curt believes he _______ his shoulder.

 

3. During the Wizard’s Powerful class one of the members crushes a lift and hits a new PR. Upon celebration the Wizard performs his special PR dance and then magically goes down gripping his knee. Upon further review is appears the Wizard has suffered a ________ at the Knee

 

4. When Sky’s favorite gym reopened (UF) she was thrilled to go train. So elated, that she jumped on the deadlift platform, loaded the bar to 500lbs and gave it the old fashioned college try. About halfway up on the lift she feels her low back get tight and drops the bar. The crowd grumbles and rumbles, saying she must have ______ her low back.

 

5. Mr. Rogers was leaving his television station WQED on a cold Pittsburgh winter day. As he was walking down the stair he slipped on some slippy ice and caught his fall by extending his arms and landing on his writs. He felt like his wrist was jammed or twisted and said “Awe shucks I ______ my wrist.” He immediately healed because he is Mr. Rogers.

 

Thank you for learning and playing on today’s episode of “Know Your Lingo”. Tune in soon for more fun and as always Stay Bumpy my friends.

Cheers,

-CeJ

Answers: 1) Sprain 2) Strain 3) Tear 4) Strain 5) Sprain

Benefits of Massage Therapy

Gone are the days where massages are only available in luxury spas, resorts, and in NFL locker rooms. Many people are realizing the benefits of massage therapy for not only athletes, but for everyone! According to the American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA), massage acts to improve performance, reduce pain, prevent injury, encourage focus, and shorten recovery time. In a 2016 AMTA consumer survey, 78% of individuals surveyed claimed their primary reason for receiving a massage in the previous 12 months was medical (50%) or stress (28%) related. Perceptions on the reasons for massages are also changing. 71% of consumers agree that massage therapy should be considered a form of healthcare, not just a pampering perk for the rich and famous.

Sore from one of our classes? Good, you should be! Thanks to the benefits of massages on the muscular system, your body can actually recover faster. Massage affects the cardiovascular system by dilating blood vessels helping them work more efficiently to boost circulation, resulting in an increased flow of fresh oxygen and nutrients being delivered to your muscle tissue. This helps relieve tension and reduces soreness.

Studies show that massages are an effective treatment for reducing stress. Massages reduce levels of the stress hormone cortisol, resulting in lower blood pressure. Regular massages can help you manage anxieties and stress allowing for relaxing me time. According to the annual stress survey commissioned by the American Psychological Association: 25% of Americans surveyed experience high levels of stress. 50% of Americans surveyed report moderate levels of stress. That means that 75% of the individuals surveyed are chronically stressed out!

Insomnia knocking on your door? Believe it or not, massages can actually improve sleep. Studies have found a link between massages and healthy sleep. The common denominator? Delta waves. Delta waves are the brain waves connected to deep sleep. Massages increase delta waves, helping you to relax and fall asleep, without having to count sheep.

Did you know that Union Fitness has a massage room with a trained professional on staff? Marco Rigazio MS, LMT has been in the health and fitness industry for over 30 years! Marco has a Master’s degree in Exercise Science from California University and is a licensed massage therapist with a special interest in neuromuscular therapy, deep tissue, and Swedish massage. Working with chiropractors and physical therapists, corrective exercise and tissue therapy has been a mainstay for the last 6 years.

Give us a call or send us an email to schedule a massage with Marco!

Sources:

http://www.apa.org/, www.amtamassage.org, www.livestrong.com, www.nccih.nih.gov, www.time.com, www.huffingtonpost.com, www.healthfitnessmag.com, www.cnn.com