How Exercise Helps with Cravings

If you've ever tried to lose weight you know how important nutrition is in terms of the result achieved. Part of the challenge is that nutrition may be confusing for many.  How many calories should you eat? Should you go keto? Or low-fat? Will intermittent fasting help?  And if all the different approaches aren't confusing enough, add to ...

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9 Ways to Increase Vagus Nerve Tone

If you're a sports fan you'll recognize the names Michael Phelps, Simone Biles and Naomi Osaka. Phelps is the the GOAT of swimming and the most decorated Olympian of all time. Simone Biles is tied as the most decorated Olympic gymnast of all time. And Naomi Osaka is a former world number one tennis player with four grand slam titles to her cre...

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Specific, external cues work better for velocity-based training

Have you ever had a training session when you've surprised yourself? Maybe didn't have the motivation to train but as the workout unfolded, you kept hitting your numbers and completing all your reps. And we all know it can go the other way as well. For example, there are times when you're looking forward to training. You're well rested and fueled. ...

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Lower Body Strength Maintained Longer Than Upper Body Strength

Have you ever gone back to a sport after an absence? Depending on your age, the highest level you've achieved in the sport and the amount of time away, would determine the extent to which the skill comes back to you. For example, a retired NHL hockey player would probably always be able to lace up the skates and feel comfortable heading out on the ...

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Exercise Is Harder for Inactive People

Have you ever heard the expression, 'If you want something done, give it to a busy person'? In other words, it seems that those that do more, can do more. It makes me think back to when I was in university. It seemed like the busier I was with the academics, the better my GPA. But when I took a lighter class load I didn't do as well. Looking back t...

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Exercise Intensity Matters with Managing Pain

Recently my wife and I watched Dopesick which is a show on Disney Plus. The show is a 7 part series about the narcotic painkiller Oxycontin. I couldn't say how fictionalized or accurate the story is but it does may make for an interesting 7 hours of viewing.  From the various lies of the pharmaceutical company, to the addictiveness of the...

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Why Swimmers Need to Train the Core

Many athletes will identify a stronger or more stable core as something they want to improve to enhance their performance in sport. And swimmers are no different. But while many swimmers may know the importance of training the core, few understand why. The following is a recap from the book Developing the Core which talks about 6 reasons this matte...

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How Runners Should Add Pylos to Their Program

Certain sports have always looked at strength and conditioning as ways to improve sports performance. Football is a perfect example of this as Boyd Epley is widely recognized as the first to introduce a s&c program to the University of Nebraska in the late 1960s. Other sports, particularly endurance ones, have been slower to look to the weight ...

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Intense Exercise More Effective with Chronic Anxiety

Early in my career as a strength and conditioning coach I believed my job was to help people play, feel and look better. We helped athletes attain their highest levels of performance. We helped those with chronic pain and health issues live better lives. And we helped a number of other people shed some pounds, add some muscle and improve the c...

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3 Takeaways from Burn

At the checkout of any supermarket, we see the headlines of a variety of magazines telling us how to shed the pounds. The advice ranges from: * keto * paleo * vegan * intermittent fasting when it comes to nutritional approaches and in terms of exercise our options include: * HIIT (high intensity interval training) * traditional cardio (running, swi...

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How Exercise Helps the Brain

We've known for a while that exercise is good for the brain. For example, I remember reading a while back how exercise led to the increase in BDNF (brain derived neurotropic factor) which helps students perform better in school. BDNF is like miracle grow for the brain.  But exercise can also help with slowing the ageing process and c...

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How Exercise Can Help with Arthritis

When it comes to knee pain, this is something I can relate to and know a little bit about. I've torn both my ACLs and had both surgically reconstructed. Thankfully both surgeons did great repairs and I was on top of my rehab to be able to return to full sport and activity. More recently there are some people who suffer from knee pain and use CBD pr...

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9 Things That Prevent the Best Training Results

When we go to the gym and train, we do so with a specific purpose and goal. Some will be looking for better health, others to shed some extra weight and more still to enhance sports performance. But even though we may already be training, we may be leaving results on the table. Below are 9 things that may help you to get a better result from your t...

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Strength and Size Gains from Blood Flow Restriction

When we perform resistance training, we have a lot of options available to us. And I'm not talking about exercise choice or which tool to use. Instead I'm referring to how many reps we perform, how many sets we do, what tempo we use and how long our rest breaks will be.   From the table below we can see how the various rep ranges are repr...

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The Best Exercise for Glute Activation & Sprinting

With training we have a variety of exercises to choose. And usually our choices are related to our goals. For example, if you wanted to achieve activation of the gluteus maximus as well as horizontal and vertical forces during sprinting, which exercises would you select? The back squat has a lot of research demonstrating the benefits for jumping an...

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Muscle Damage and Inflammation After Running a Marathon

Running a marathon can be a very stressful physical task. Unlike other sports like cycling or swimming, the impact on the body can be much more severe. In cycling, the bike is the physical contact with the ground and almost all the effort is concentric. And in swimming all the muscular actions are concentric, except for the turns. So it should...

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Hold My Beer, I Need to Floss

If you wanted to gain muscle mass, what would you do? For many the prescription might be to eat more and lift weights. And for the right individual at the right time in their life, i.e. a teenage boy, this could be the perfect formula.  But what if you're not a teenage boy? And you'd still like to put on muscle mass, to get stronger and m...

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Meet OPP Intern Tasha Reiter

A new school year means new students. And more specifically to OPP, new student interns.  You may have recognized some new faces around the gym the last couple of weeks and we'd like to introduce to you some of our interns. Today we'd like you to meet Tasha Reiter. Hello everyone! My name is Tasha and I am from the small town of Picture Butte ...

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Training to Failure

Resistance training is typically geared towards achieving one of two goals. We're either looking to get bigger, or stronger, or both. But how hard should we train? How hard should we push ourselves? And should we train to failure? If we look at those who make a living training for size, i.e. pro bodybuilders, it seems pretty clear what the ans...

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Power Athletes Should Warm Up

When you train, what do you do to warm-up?  Do you ride the bike or get on the treadmill? Do you have some stretches or mobility drills you go through? Or does your warm-up consist of doing a few extra sub-maximal reps of your first exercise? When we're pressed for time, the warm-up can  be the part of the training session that gets trimm...

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Auto-Regulation for Better Results

If you asked anyone that goes to a gym the following question, many would get it correct. And the question would be a fill-in-the-blanks. _____ sets of _____ reps What would you answer? If you said 3 sets of 10 reps you'd be correct in terms of choosing one of the most popular rep and set schemes. 10 reps won't be overly heavy nor too light. And 3 ...

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Getting Lean: Harder for those that need it most

Life is not fair. We hear stories where a wealthy person wins the lottery. Or of a gainfully employed person is presented with multiple job offers. Aging quarterbacks move their supermodel wives and families to a new team and win the Super Bowl in the first year. And other times there are stories of someone who is trying to do the right t...

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Develop Speed as a Young Athlete

Growing up we played sports to develop our fitness and athleticism. We weren't aware of LTAD, the risks of early specialization and the benefits of being a multi-sport athlete. We played football at school, swam competitively, rode our bikes in the summer and skied in the winter. And for the most part this worked pretty well based on the fact we pl...

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Good News Olympic Stories

The Olympics wrapped up a little more than a week ago. And we're aware of all the medallists and final placings for each country. But some impressive things that happened at the Olympics didn't garner headlines and are worth mentioning. Below are 7 good news Olympic stories you may have missed. 1. Moms Competing in Hurdles Qualifying for the Olympi...

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The Advantage of Constraints

When we first opened Okanagan Peak Performance Inc we put in a big order for all our equipment along with a 50% deposit, with the balance due upon arrival. We placed this order in April, in time we thought, to be able to train all of our athletes that summer. Our equipment was delivered on August 23rd. We never expected our equipment to take 5 mont...

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Focus on the Process for the Best Results

I've been in the strength and conditioning industry for over 20 years. And on average I'll meet with 20-30 people per month to learn about their goals, to explain how we would help them achieve their goals and ultimately to see if working together would be a fit. When we take some time to identify goals we will hear the following: * Improved sports...

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Canada's 1st Medal! Congrats Taylor!

Hi Peak Performer! Are you watching the Olympics? If you are, you'll know Canada is getting it done in the pool. And the women are leading the way with a silver in the 4x100 m free relay including Taylor Ruck. What an anchor leg by Penny Oleksiak? Amazing! This was followed with a gold by Maggie Mac Neil in the 100 m fly. She was 7th at the turn an...

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Clue, Plant-based Diet and an Olympic Party

Hi Peak Performer! I've got a question for you and it's if you had a great weekend? Because we sure did. And what made is so great? Well, it's because we had so much quality family time and some great meals. Some of the fun things we got up to included going to the beach on Saturday for a swim followed by dinner and ice cream with some friends. And...

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Tips for recovery, protein recipes & view party

Hi Peak Performer! I've got a story to share with you. And it goes back to when Alexandra and I were engaged and planning out our wedding. First we had to decide on a date. Since we were having a traditional church wedding and Kelowna is pretty incredible in the summer we wanted to pick a date that would allow as many as possible to attend. It's ki...

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Higher Quality Diets Lessen Chance and Symptoms of COVID

In the past year, there have been a number of things we started doing to lessen our chance of catching COVID. These include limiting our social bubbles, wearing masks, washing our hands, sanitizing surfaces and social distancing. But what we don't hear a lot about from our health authorities and governments is the value of exercise and nutrition. We've written previously here about the benefits of exercise as it relates to COVID. Sleep has always been known to be highly correlated with how effectively our immune system functions. And now new research is showing that healthy eating plays a huge role as it relates to the coronavirus. A joint study between King's College in the UK and Harvard University looked at the nutritional habits of 600, 000 participants during the pandemic. The study had participants fill out questionnaires about the quality of their nutrition, whether the contracted COVID, and if so, what their symptoms were like. The investigators defined higher quality nutrition as that which includes eating larger amounts of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, oily fish and fewer processed foods and refined carbohydrates. Study subjects that ate a higher quality diet were 10% less likely to catch COVID compared to those eating the lowest quality nutrition. Of all 600,000 involved in the study almost 19% contracted COVID. As well, those eating higher quality nutrition were 40% less likely to become severely ill. Lastly, consuming a high quality diet was associated with healthier and more diverse bacteria microbes in the gut, lower inflammation, lower body fat and improved blood fat and blood sugar. Researchers aren't sure what accounted for the difference in lower risk and lessor symptoms when eating a higher quality diet. They speculate that it is related to the level of inflammation in the body and this may play...

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Olympic Viewing Party (you're invited)

Hi Peak Performer! We're one week from the opening of the Tokyo Olympics. What do you think about that? There are a variety of opinions on this. Some huge supporters of sport are not sure the Games should go ahead. They cite the state of emergency in Japan and the fact that many countries are still recovering from the pandemic. And I get that. At t...

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What a Pro Soccer Player Eats on Game Day

Do you remember when Michael Phelps was competing and there was an article that came out about him eating 12,000 calories per day? There were some that said there's no way this could be and was all made up. And others were saying they heard he liked to eat McDonald's and therefore it was very reasonable that he could eat this much. And then a metabolic specialist did the math and looked at Phelps's size (he's 6'4"), his training volume (swimmers can do up to 100 km a week in the pool), his age (he was 30 years at the time) and did the math to see if this amount of calories was reasonable. In the end they did deem this to be a possible (although not regular) caloric intake due to the fact that being immersed in and surrounded by water causes the body to expend more calories to maintain a normal temperature. And whether it's Phelps or any of our sports heroes it's always interesting to learn what they do. While we not be able to match the God-given talents many of them possess, we can certainly mimic the positive habits that allow them to be great. A recent paper looked at what a professional soccer player eats on game day. Here's what they found. 1 - They eat 6-8 grams of carbohydrate per kg body mass Portuguese soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo tips the scales at 83 kilograms which means on game day he will consume 498-664 grams of carbohydrate on game day. If he eats three meals on this day this works out to 166-221 grams per meal or 100-132 grams per meal if he eats five times per day. The take home message is that carbs are crucial to fuel top level soccer performance. Low-carb and keto...

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Spotlight on Mike Lee

Nothing makes us happier as coaches to see one of our clients achieve the results they are seeking. Coach Trevor has been working with Mike Lee over the last year and wanted to share some of his successes. Take it away Coach Trevor! Hello! I’d like to present to you Mike Lee. Mike is a sommelier who recently wrapped up an 8-year career at Quail’s Gate winery. He spent an additional 3 years at Mission Hill prior to Quail’s Gate and originates from the UK. Mike is a skilled golfer who plays about 2 times per week at the Bear and Quail and enjoys his free time cooking and going for walks with his girlfriend Deb. His favourite show is Seinfeld, and he loves a glass of white wine with a side of olives. Currently, Mike is a part of Fine Vintage Ltd where he gets to share his passion and educate others on how to master the world of wine. There is no question Mike enjoys this culture, but he possesses the same passion for his own health and fitness. He gets himself to the facility 3 times a week with additional days to warm up for golf. Mike enjoys going to the cabin and getting out for some fishing. About a year ago Mike had injured his back on the golf course. He wobbled in one day and met with Chris. Together, they were able to relieve the pain and start picking up weights within a month or two. I think this was a turning point for Mike, as he saw results through his commitment and hard work. So where is he now? Mike is currently eating 5 heads of lettuce every two days and has dropped 25 lbs in the last 5 ½ months. He is moving better...

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3 OPP Athletes to Compete in Tokyo Olympics

Three Okanagan Peak Performance Inc athletes will compete next month at the Summer Olympics in Tokyo, Japan. Kierra Smith and Taylor Ruck will compete in swimming with Malindi Elmore joining them for the marathon in track and field. Tokyo bound Canadian marathon record holder Malindi Elmore. Kierra Smith (2nd from left) and Taylor Ruck (right) heading to Tokyo for swimming. And while their stories are all a little different as are their sports and events, there are a few things they share in common. 1 - They chose well in university Kierra studied communications. Malindi did a double major in French and International Relations. Taylor was undeclared in her first year at Stanford (where Malindi was as well btw). But it wasn't the choice of major that I'm referring to but where they put their time and attention. In university there are three things you can do including academics, athletics and partying. And you can do two of these things really well. These three women chose well and worked hard in the classroom, the track and the pool. Take home message: There are a lot of options, and distractions, in life. Success comes from putting in the work and turning down opportunities and fun times occasionally. 2 - When it's time to be all-in, they're all -in At the top levels of any sport, everyone is talented. What distinguishes the good from the great is the commitment to the process, day in and day out. They get the sleep they need. They eat the foods to fuel training and enhance recovery. They take care of their bodies and make decisions which move them closer to their goals. I remember Kierra sharing a story after the end of a season at Minnesota. She finished last at the NCAA championships. This wasn't what...

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Another Reason to Eat Breakfast

  'It's the most important meal of the day.' 'I fast and don't eat until noon.' 'I'm never hungry when I wake up.' 'I train in the morning and feel nauseous when I eat before.' 'I'm so rushed in the morning I don't have time to eat.' Maybe you've heard, or used one of these before? Because when it comes to breakfast there are more options and opinions compared to lunch and dinner. Breakfast is kind of in a category by itself. But may it deserves a little more attention and priority. We've written previously here how nutrients are used differently in the morning compared to the rest of the day. We are also more likely to overeat at dinner compared to breakfast. And those that lose weight, and keep it off, are more likely to eat breakfast. And now a new study suggests skipping breakfast may leave us lacking in certain nutrients. The study looked at the diets of 30,000 Americans and found them to be missing the calcium in milk, the vitamin C from fruit, the vitamins, minerals and nutrients in fortified cereals, and were never made up during the day. So when you don't eat breakfast, you miss out on certain nutrients, which you don't get later in the day and this creates gaps in the nutritional profile. Low levels of calcium, fiber, potassium and vitamin D, as well as iron for expectant mothers, can lead to health problems including weak teeth and bones, digestive issues, cramps and anemia. For children, nutrient deficiencies can impact cognitive function, concentration and lead to behavioral issues. In this study a little over 15% of participants admitted to skipping breakfast. Missing this meal meant lower levels of folate, calcium, iron and vitamins A, B, B2, B3, C and D. And breakfast skippers...

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The Bachelor and Your Fat Loss

Do you watch The Bachelor? If you're not familiar, this is the ABC show that involves a young bachelor dating 25 young women to find his future partner. And there is a comparable franchise, The Bachelorette, where the set up is the opposite and the 25 suitors are men vying for the hand of one fair maiden. Contestants on the show spend six weeks living in a mansion during which time there are a variety of challenges, dates and other opportunities to compete for an engagement ring at the end. There have been over fifty seasons of this show since 2002. And although the goal at the end of each season is to have two young people get engaged, the long term success of these couples is about 10%. Shocking, right? While on the show contestants have time off from work and family commitments, they are whisked around the world on private jets, staying in luxury resorts, enjoying gourmet meals all while living in a mansion in Southern California staffed with chefs, maids, chauffer and stylists. Once the show ends all of these amenities and perks end. The clock has struck midnight for Cinderella and the day-to-day grind resumes. Is it any surprise 90% of these relationships fail? This is completely ignoring the fact that the best relationships take time, and not just six weeks, as is the time frame for this show. The Bachelor relationships fail because: All stress is removed from the individual's lifeThe end goal is fast-trackedContestants focus on the end goal of getting a rose and then a ringAll the experiences during the show are the best you'll have in lifePeople act differently in front of the cameraEveryone shows their best side and tries to hide their wartsAlcohol typically worsens decisions and relationships The reason The Bachelor...

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Relief of Morning Back Pain

There's a story I heard about a special family pot roast recipe. And the recipe would include the type of meat required, the ingredients needed, how long to cook the meat and at what temperature. And one of the steps involved cutting six inches off the end of the roast before placing it in the roaster. Every family that had a copy of the recipe for this special meal would follow the instructions to a tee. It was such a delicious and memorable meal to enjoy that no one dared making any changes or substitutions. One year when the family had gathered for a holiday meal the question was posed to grandma, ' why do we cut six inches off the end of the roast?'. And grandma's answer was that otherwise the meat wouldn't fit into the roasting pan. There can be other things in life where what we've been told or always believed isn't actually the case. Or sometimes not even necessary. For example, think about what you've been told about low back pain. It used to be we were supposed to spend the day in bed and not move. And once we were able, we were then encouraged to do some stretches to prevent a future occurrence. Neither of these are the best plan to help with low back pain. More specifically, a number of people may have back pain in the morning. This can happen because we've been in bed for up to 8 hours and the vertebral discs are unloaded and not subjected to the same vertical force of gravity. Without the vertical loading on the discs while sleeping the discs can accumulate fluid and swell, increasing their size. A larger disc then has less physical space to the adjacent vertebrae. With less physical space between the...

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Running Out of a Rut

Even athletes will sometimes find themselves in situations when they don't feel like training. This can be after a long playoff run. It could be during the rehab of an injury. Or it could near the end of a career when the drive just isn't the the same as it once was. So what do you do to overcome a rut? How do you get going when you have no momentum? What helps you develop inertia to fuel future efforts? Sometimes it's as simple as taking the first step. And trail running offers a great analogy to help us get going. Here's how.   1 - The Arms Are the Drivers If you're a runner you'll know how important the arms swing is for success. The arms help propel us and help us maintain balance. And because the arms don't have to overcome the same resistance to gravity and are shorter levers than the legs, they can dictate the cadence of our stride. What this means is that our legs will follow the speed of our arm swing. Want to move your legs more quickly? Swing your arms faster. This is a great technique when climbing hills and near the end of races when fatigue may limit how quickly we can turn over the legs. There will be something health-wise that comes easier to you than most. Maybe you are really good at meal planning. Maybe you are good at getting yourself to sleep on time. Maybe you are always punctual. Maybe you are good at keeping notes and journalling. All of these things lead to success. The key is to do what you're good at to start. Other positive habits will spin off from the good effort you are making in another area of your life. 2 - Lean Into...

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5 Ways to Get Lean - With No Dieting or Exercise

Abs are made in the kitchen. You just to need to move more. Weight loss is 90% nutrition. Consistency is key, don't skip a workout. You can't out-train a poor diet. Maybe you've heard some of these sayings before. And maybe you know a few others. We hear them all the time, don't we? And the truth is that in order to get lean, exercise and nutrition matter. But sometimes we're making consistent, intense efforts and yet the pounds don't melt off. This is when we tend to hear a number of the other comments including: I have a slow metabolism. I have a thyroid condition. It's my genetics. And for some, these may apply. But before we throw our hands up and wave the white towel we should know that while exercise and nutrition are important for weight loss they aren't the only players in this game. Visit healthyw8 and use the body fat calculator then check below five more things to try if achieving a lean physique is your goal. Reverse Your Eating Schedule Do you eat breakfast? A number of people will say no to eating in the morning and cite no appetite, no time or that they use intermittent fasting. The truth is that those who lose the most weight eat breakfast. And they eat more protein at breakfast. More interesting still is that we're starting to understand our chronotypes and circadian rhythms. Our bodies use and store nutrients and calories differently depending on the time of day. In the morning, our bodies convert calories from food to glycogen for use right away. And we are more likely to burn these short term energy stores during the work to come. At night however we are more likely to store these calories as fat rather then burn them....

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The Case for Strength - Sprinting and Vertical Jump

Sprinting and vertical jump performance are important skills in the game of soccer. In terms of sprinting, a soccer player will sprint every 90 s during a match. These sprints average about 2-4 seconds and can account for up to 11% of the distance covered during a match. And with vertical jump performance think of all the times a player will go up for a header, off a corner or as a keeper exploding up to deflect a ball over the cross bar. So while intuitively it makes sense that sprinting and jumping are important in soccer it would be beneficial to know how important they are. And from a strength and conditioning perspective, how important is a strength exercise like the back squat, to improving these qualities? A group of researchers looked to answer these questions and called upon a Norwegian pro soccer club to participate in the study. 17 male soccer players from Rosenborg FC, average age 25 years, were put through a number of performance tests to see how what the relationship was between the 1 RM half squat with sprinting and jumping. Rosenborg FC is a top flight team in Norway having won their league a number of times and participating in the Champions League. For the 1 RM back half squat players did barbell back squats to 90 degrees of knee flexion, adding load until a 1 RM was determined. Once they were warmed up, most players took three to six sets to determine their 1 RM. For the sprint test, players ran from 0-30 m with photocell timing gates. Splits were recorded at each 10 m and the players rested 5 minutes between the two attempts. The best sprint time was included in the data presented. And for the vertical jump a force platform was...

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The Case for Strength: Level & Playing Time

I remember back in high school playing basketball. And we had a coach that tended to go with the older players as starters and bring in the underclassmen as subs. Looking back our coach probably had his reasons for his line-up. Older players would graduate soon and this would be their last year to play high school ball. Or maybe the older players had more experience and a longer relationship with the coach. And it's possible that the older players were simply bigger and stronger and got more playing time as a result. Seeing as how a year later, when I graduated high school, tipping the scales at a buck fifty, I wasn't going to be intimidating anyone on the court with my physical presence. But this didn't help my competitive nature and desire to be a starter and on the floor getting more playing time. Maybe if I were a little more on top of the literature back then I could have advocated for myself by hitting the weight room a little more frequently. Actually, who's kidding who? I never hit the weight room at all as a high school athlete. But I probably should have. Because the truth is that stronger athletes: play at a higher levelget more playing time But this isn't just an opinion but findings from a research study by Fry & Kramer (citation below) that looked at a number of performance tests of American college football players playing NCAA Division I, II and III. In total 19 NCAA programs participated in the study involving almost a thousand players (n=981). The authors of the study looked at five performance tests and compared this to level of play (i.e. Division I, II or III) and playing time (starter v. non-starter). The performance tests they looked at included:...

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Exercise Adds Years & Purpose to Our Lives

We're well aware of the many benefits of exercise which include better health, improved sports performance and stress reducer. And now we can add one more the list. And that's that exercise helps give purpose to our lives. A recent study from Harvard University observed over 14 thousand adults over 50 years for a four year period. What they found was that those that exercised more had: more purpose to their livesmore meaningful livesmore happinessmore years i.e. longevity How much and how frequently the subjects exercised was correlated to feelings of purpose. And those with purpose was associated with doing more exercise. This makes me wonder if this a 'chicken & egg' type of scenario? Does exercise lead to purpose? Or does having purpose in your life cause you to want to exercise? When exercise is lacking from our lives we have a decreased sense of purpose later in life. And with less purpose we are less likely to engage in physical activity. So what we do we mean we speak of purpose? I remember hearing this described as belonging to something bigger or greater than ourselves. Maybe this is being a part of a church community, going on mission trips to under-developed countries or volunteering for a charity. What we may forfeit in terms of reward in these types of situations is replaced by a sense of purpose. And when we have a stronger purpose in life we: live longerhave less heart diseaseare better protected against Alzheimer'shave better pain management Maybe you are not in a health crisis and are able to manage a healthy weight. But you sometimes wonder what you are supposed to do with your life and how to figure this out? The solution may be to get back into an active lifestyle to realize your purpose...

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Exercise is the best prevention to COVID-19

We've known for a while that exercise is good for our immune system. Active individuals are less susceptible to viral infections and inflammation. A recent study looked at how COVID-19 affected adults based on their pre-existing levels of physical activity. The study included 48,400 adults in Southern California that tested positive for COVID-19. The patients were assigned to one of three groups based on how much exercise they got each week. The first group would get 150 minutes, or more, of exercise each week. The second group was inactive and got from zero to ten minutes of exercise per week. And the last group was right in the middle getting between 11 and 149 minutes of exercise per week. Each group was then tracked based on whether they were hospitalized, admitted to the intensive care unit or died. What they found was that the individuals getting no exercise, i.e. 10 minutes or less, were 2.26 times more likely to be hospitalized compared to the group getting the most exercise. And for those in the middle group of exercise, i.e. 11-149 minutes, they were 1.89 times more likely to be hospitalized than those getting at least 150 minutes per week. So that does 150 minutes of exercise per week look like? This is 30 minutes per day on weekdays. This would be similar to going for a run over the lunch hour for half an hour. Of the 48, 440 patients that tested positive for COVID-19, only 6.4% got this much exercise. 14.4% of patients did no exercise, or up to 10 minutes, each week. This leaves about almost 80% of patients that get 11-149 minutes of exercise per week. Perhaps the most interesting finding of this study was the fact that physical inactivity was strongest risk factor with how severe COVID-19...

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Anti-histamines and the Impact on Exercise

It's that time of year when golf courses are open and home owners are tending to their yards and gardens. And nothing could be worse for the allergy sufferers that have to deal with congested airways, itchy throats, watery eyes and constant sneezing. Fortunately there are over-the-counter products that help deal with the histamines that cause many of these symptoms. But as with many medications there can be side effects beyond the relief of symptoms. A recent study looked at how anti-histamines blunt the benefits of exercise. Histamine function is vital to the short and long term benefits of exercise. However when the body has a reaction to dust or pollen the immune system stimulates the release of anti-histamines to deal with this. But when it comes to exercise histamines play an important role in circulation, capacity and glycemic control. The researchers wanted to know what impact anti-histamines would have on these areas of our health. For the study healthy male participants were assigned to a control group that would receive a placebo or anti-histamines. The subjects then followed a six week exercise program to assess the impact of anti-histamines on circulation, exercise capacity and glycemic control. These areas are directly related to overall health, performance and disease i.e. diabetes. The researchers noticed the following results: the group taking the anti-histamines had 35% lower muscle perfusion post-workout i.e. less circulationtime to exhaustion increased 81% for the placebo group versus 31% for those taking anti-histaminespeak power increased 12% for the placebo group versus 7% for the anti-histamine groupfasting blood glucose levels decreased only with the placebo groupinsulin sensitivity increased 26% for the placebo group but only 1% for those taking the anti-histamines The take home points: The study involved only healthy males and and results may not be replicated for other groups...

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The Effect of Exercise on Nutritional Choices

After you train what is your plan for nutrition? For some, they don't want to think about eating anything for a while. Their heart is still pumping. Their temperature is up a bit. And there may be a bead of sweat on their brow. All of these may result in the individual not having a huge appetite post-training. A recent study looked to see how exercise influences our nutritional choices. The timing of this study is interesting as with COVID more gyms are closed and therefore more of us are more sedentary and consequently have put on a few pounds as a result. For this study researchers had 41 individuals made up of 23 women and 18 men divided into one of two groups. The subjects ranged from 18-29 years and had an average BMI of 23.7. A BMI of 25 is considered overweight. One group would perform 45 minutes of exercise and the other group would rest. For the following visit the two groups would switch and do the other condition i.e. rest or exercise. Before the visit the participants would fill out questionnaires asking them how hungry or full they were, the preferred amount of food they would want to eat and how long they would wait until they ate. What they found is that exercise resulted in a greater amount of food to be eaten post-exercise, both immediately and 30 minutes post exercise. As well, after exercise there was an increased preference for immediate consumption of food. Takeaways from this study: None of the subjects were above 30 years. How closely would the results match for a study with subjects over 30?The exercise in the study was 45 minutes on a stationary bike at 60% of VO2max. Would the same results be expected for exercise of different duration,...

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Exercise and a healthy diet as children pays off as adults

Do you ever think about the things you had to do as a child? I mean when we were kids our goals were to play with our friends, have fun and eat candy. And our teachers, parents and priests were there to help us with the ABCs, to make sure we ate some fruits and vegetables, that we got to bed on-time and learned how to be helpful functioning citizens of society. And we would give push back from time to time on the different things that were expected of us. We would question when we would ever have to calculate what time a train would arrive that travelled at 95 km/hour and left the station at 930 am. We now have google for that. But if your parents encouraged you to play sports and eat your broccoli you probably owe them a thank you. Because new research shows that the healthy choices made in the early years help us later on. As a parent, it's advisable to encourage your children to exercise and play on this solid wood playhouse to promote their health. Researchers at UC Riverside (California) put young mice into 4 groups. One group did exercise, another did no exercise, a third was fed a healthy diet and the fourth was fed a typical Western diet. The Western diet was higher in fat and sugar. These protocols for each group were followed for 3 weeks which is when mice reach sexual maturity. All mice were then fed a healthy diet for 8 weeks. The researchers then measured aspects of behaviour, aerobic capacity and hormones. What they found is that the mice that exercsed or were fed a healthy diet were less anxious as adults, they had greater muscle mass and brain mass. Those that were fed a Western...

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Meet Coach Emily

Some of you may already know Emily Epp, one of our student interns. But do you know Emily's story? Read on to learn about her story including training for and completing swimming across the English Channel. HOW IT BEGANWhen I was 10, I told my parents that I wanted to swim the English Channel. To be honest, I do not remember if I was joking at the time, or if I legitimately had the Channel in my sights. Everyone around me thought it I was being a cute kid spewing out unrealistic goals and they found it funny. Around 3 years later Brent Hobbs (who swam the English Channel in 2012) approached me and asked if I still wanted to do the swim. At that point I had developed a love for open water swimming and agreed to try and see if I liked it. That summer I attempted my first lake swim of 4 hours, barely. The water during that swim was 18 degrees C and I was freezing. From looking back at my journal, at about “ half way through the first hour I was so cold my hands and arms were frozen and my goggles were too tight.” I was in a bad mood. We had a long way to go if I planned on swimming the Channel.  TRAININGFrom that point on training became more serious. I was already a very active and competitive swimmer in the pool training nine-two hour practices a week with the Kelowna Aquajets Swim Club. But training to swim in the cold water (under 15 degrees C) for many hours was something that had to be done in the lake. We started with 2 hour swims on the weekends in the lake continuing into the fall until the water was under 10 degrees...

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Strength Training for Running - How and When it Helps

Do you consider yourself healthy? Or more specifically, do you consider yourself athletic and in-shape?If so, how do you measure your fitness or athleticism? The bodybuilder might consider their success by the circumference of their biceps. The powerlifter might base success on what they can deadlift, squat and bench. And the non-athletic person might claim to have had a perfect physical the last time they saw their doctor. Depending on which group you identify with will determine which metrics you consider important. There's no denying that running is a great measuring stick of our health and fitness.  Running is basically jumping from one leg to the next. Running fitness is associated with longevity. And when we are better at it, i.e. a faster runner, we tend to do better in sports. So if we can agree on the importance of running we should want to do the things that help us run faster. For a while now we've known that resistance training helps our running performance.  But how effective is it? And when does it pay dividends during a race?A 2015 Brazilian study looked to answer these questions.  What did they do?18 runners (average age 34 years) were divided into 2 groups for 8 weeks. Race times for these runners ranged from 35-45 minutes for a 10 km race. One group of 9 did strength training whereas the other 9 did no strength training. None of the participants had done strength or plyometric training previously. Below is a table showing the exercises performed over the 8 weeks as well as the sets and reps performed. All of the exercises were for the lower body with an emphasis on the leg extensors i.e. the quads. ExercisesPhase (weeks)VolumeHalf-squat, leg-press, plantar flexion, and knee extension1–23 series 8–10 RM 3–4 3 series 6–8 RM 5–6...

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Anterior Pelvic Tilt and Hip Mobility

There's no denying the importance of the hips in sports performance. The high degree of mobility at this joint allows us to sprint, cut, change direction, raise or lower our center of mass and jump with as much force as we can produce. But before we get started on increasing the mobility or sttrength of our hips we should make sure the hips and pelvis are optimally positioned for our posture. Sometimes the analogy of a bowl of water is used to convey the concept of the positioning of the pelvis. When we have anterior pelvic tilt we can imagine water spilling out of the front of the bowl. The opposite is true of posterior pelvic tilt. I'm not suggesting we should all have a neutral pelvis but instead we should be aware of our posture and how this can impact our movement. A 2014 study (reference below) looked at how our hip mobiliy is influenced by anterior, neutral or posterior pelvic tilt. The researchers examined the hips of 48 subjects that had surgery due to femoral acetabular impingement (FAI). The various positions of anterior pelvic tilt (10 degrees), native (no tilt) and posterior pelvic tilt (10 degrees) were analyzed in terms of hip flexion, hip internal rotation, hip adduction and the position of osseus (bony) contact (impingement). What they found was that anterior pelvic tilt was associated with lower hip flexion (6 degrees), lower internal rotation (15 degrees), lower hip adduction (8.5 degrees) and increased contact at positions of impingement. When the subjects were positioned in posterior pelvic tilt these three ranges at the hip increased and there was decreased inpingement. So for the following athletes this would be a concern for : The sprinter because speed = stride rate x stride length. Less hip flexion may result in a...

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Built for Show - And for Go

There seems to be a school of thought when it comes to resistance training that you're either training for performance or for aesthetics. It's either bodybuilding or strength and conditiong. Built for show or for go. It was as though the two goals were mutually exclusive and could not overlap. Meatheads would mock those who couldn't build 20 inch arms. And athletes would point out all the gym rats that trip over their own feet during a game of football. But is that the case? If you train for hypertrophy i.e. size, does that mean you'll be useless on the playing field? New research says that's not the case. The study look at muscle volume and strength and compared this among three groups 1) elite sprinters n= 5, 2) sub-elite sprinters n= 26, and untrained controls n=11. All study subjects were male. Elite sprinters were defined as though that could run a 10.10 second 100 meter and sub-elite as though that could run the 100 m in 10.80 seconds. To put in perspective how fast a 10.10 second 100 metre is, only four Canadians have ever run a sub 10 second 100 m including Olympic champion Donovan Bailey and Olympic bronze medallist Andre De Grasse. The study subjects underwent MRIs to determine muscle volume of 23 lower limb muscles and 5 functional muscles. These were then correlated to 100 m times and isometric strength. What they found was that the muscularity of elite sprinters was greater in elite sprinters than sub-elite and both were greater than the controls. In particular the hip extensors showed the biggest difference among the groups and this accounted for 31-48% of the variability in 100 m times. Of the hip extensors it turns out the gluteus maximus alone accounted for 34-44 % of variance in 100...

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