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HYDRATION MYTH

Life is full of daily challenges, staying hydrated should not be one of them. There are many myths about dehydration and how to avoid it. Whether you like drinking water or not, it accounts for about 60% of your body weight, and plays a pretty darn important role in making sure your body functions normally. There is a lot of conflicting advice and confusion when it comes to what, when and how often to drink. Here, we bust some common hydration myths:

Myth: by the time you feel thirsty, you’re already dehydrated

Truth: feeling thirsty is the body’s way of telling us to drink. If you listen to your body, you’ll know when to drink and exactly how much to drink so you’re optimally hydrated, says Dr John Heiss, director of sports and fitness at global nutrition company Herbalife.

“Our bodies evolved over millions of years to accurately let us know when we’re thirsty,” says Heiss, a former competitive downhill skier, cross country runner, and cyclist. “If you drink according to the body’s thirst indicators, you’ll be in pretty good shape.”

Myth: you are not hydrated unless your urine is clear

Truth: clear pee is actually a sign of overhydration, says Heiss, and this can lead to serious complications. If you are hydrated, your pee should be straw-coloured to transparent-yellow colour.

Drinking too much can cause dangerously low blood sodium levels, a condition known as hyponatremia or water intoxication. Sustained, excessive intake of water, sports drinks, or other fluids – exceeding the body’s ability to eliminate fluids in the form of sweat and urine – is the major risk factor for exercise-associated hyponatremia (EAH).

Symptoms typically include headache, vomiting, confusion and seizures, resulting from swelling of the brain (cerebral edema). Without immediate treatment, severe hyponatremia can be fatal.

 

Myth: staying hydrated eliminates your risk of heat stroke

Image result for staying hydrated eliminates your risk of heat strokeTruth: Heat stroke is a life-threatening condition where your body temperature rises above 104 degrees. Dehydration can make you more prone to it. “People who are dehydrated are hotter,” says Casa. In fact, in a study published in the Journal of Athletic Training, Casa determined that for every one percent of body mass lost through sweat, your body temperature increases by half a degree, “which makes hydration hugely important for preventing heat stroke,” he says.

But there are still a number of other factors that play a role. Body size, exercise intensity, fitness level, and age as well as humidity and air temperature can affect who does or doesn’t develop heat stroke, says Casa. Certainly staying hydrated is a good call and can reduce your risk, but paying attention to the whole picture is a better predictor.

Myth: sports drinks are healthy

Truth: if you exercise at a high intensity and/or for sustained durations, sports drinks can help boost performance. But if you don’t do sports, you don’t need a sports drink.

A sports drink and soft drink contain similar amounts of sugar, so it is probably inappropriate if you’re drinking either without doing any exercise.

Studies have also shown a link between consumption of sports drinks and irreversible damage to the teeth – the high acidity levels in the drinks erode tooth enamel, the glossy outer layer of the tooth. So, drink with purpose and in moderation.

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Myth: you need to drink eight cups a day

Truth: You do need a healthy dose of hydration daily, but how much is an individual thing.The truth is, your actual needs can be more than 8 glasses, or less than 8 glasses. There’s no magic number, and the amount changes every day, depending on your size, weight, ambient temperature, daily activities, and, more significantly, your food.

So how do you know how much water you should drink? Before all this science, people relied on a pretty fine-tuned, reliable mechanism to make sure they were getting enough water. It is called thirst, and you may have heard of it. Drink enough to satisfy your thirst, and that is good enough.

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PROTEIN FOR VEGETARIAN AND VEGAN ATHLETES

Can you be a vegetarian or vegan athlete and meet your protein needs? It is an outdated myth that it is difficult to meet protein requirements from plant sources. Choosing your individual approach to eating needs to fit your lifestyle, whether that’s for your individual health needs or other personal reasons. Additionally, your eating preferences do not need to be labeled. Everything in moderation, right? 

No one right way to eat.

The next diet fad may seem enticing but over all nutrition is individualized and there is no one right way to eat for everyone. Always take into account your personal food preferences, health needs, activity level, cooking skills, schedule, and allow the experience of eating to be enjoyable as well. If you have been considering eating a plant-based diet, just as your physical training needs a plan to best meet your goals, so does your eating plan. Meal planning can be a challenging task because eating is an ongoing and constant need. We cannot just go to the grocery store once, cook one meal, and eat one time. Whether omnivore, carnivore, or herbivore, nutrition is about meeting your individual needs. Planning is required for any individual’s dietary intake and going the vegan or vegetarian route does require some extra consideration for meeting protein needs.

What is protein and why is it needed?

Protein is one of the most abundant substances in our cells after water, and has almost endless functions in the body. They account for the tough fibrous nature of hair, nails, and ligaments, and for the structure of our muscles (including our heart). Protein functions to build and maintain body tissues and structures and is involved in the synthesis of enzymes and hormones.

The greatest amounts of protein are needed when the body is building new tissue (increasing muscle mass) and when loss of protein occurs from injuries, infections or other causes. In addition, proteins are needed for forming antibodies that will protect the body from harmful infections.

Amino acids are the building blocks of protein. The body uses 20 amino acids to build the proteins it needs. There are 9 essential amino acids (our body can not make them so must consume them from food) and 11 nonessential (our body is able to make them). (Note: Sources can differ on how many of the amino acids are considered essential, ranging from 8-10, based on factors such as age or health status.) The endless combinations of amino acids make up thousands of different proteins in the cells of our body.

How much protein is really needed?

Well, that depends. There is no research that a vegetarian or vegan athlete has higher protein needs than someone consuming a mixed diet. However, consuming the variety of foods, complementary proteins, and essential amino acids must be taken into account for an overall balanced intake. According to the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA), the average person needs 0.8 grams/kilogram a day of protein.

An active individual has increased protein needs. Exercising or training five or more days per week requires 1.2-1.7 g/kg per day. With higher intensity exercise there isincreased protein utilization for protein development and tissue repair. This roughly equates to 82-116 grams of protein per day for a 150-pound person.

There has to be adequate carbohydrate and overall calorie intake for the muscles to utilize protein as well. Not consuming enough carbohydrate and fat will also force the body to break down protein for energy. However, protein is not our bodies preferred energy source and should be reserved for its main functions of building and repairing tissues.

If too much protein is consumed, as with any other nutrient, the excess is stored as fat. It is not about one nutrient but the whole picture of our intake. Consuming extra protein does not allow the body to store more protein. All extra amounts of food (more than needed) are stored as fat regardless of the nutrient it is consumed from.

Can I get enough protein from plants?

An emphatic YES! Protein deficiency is rare in the average American population. Vegetarian and vegan athletes can consume adequate protein intake through consumption of a variety of foods such as beans, legumes, nuts, seeds, whole grains, and soy products.

The bioavailability of protein (lower in essential amino acids) may be lower in some plant foods such as cereals versus beans and soy foods. Encouraging a variety of sources for protein intake, as with any diet, is key to adequately meet dietary needs.

We previously believed that in order to get adequate amounts of protein from a plant-based diet that complementary proteins (pairing of foods that made up all the essential amino acids such as rice and beans) needed to be consumed. However, as research has advanced that is not the current case. Consuming a varied diet throughout the day and evenly spreading protein between meals and snacks will allow for adequate protein intake.

Plant-based Protein Foods

  • Legumes (beans, peas), ½ cup           7 grams
  • Tofu, 1 cup                                            20 grams
  • Edamame, ½ cup                                 8 grams
  • Tempeh, ½ cup                                     15 grams
  • Rice, ½ cup                                            2-3 grams
  • Quinoa, ½ cup                                      4 grams
  • Most nut butters, 2 TBSP                    8 grams
  • Hemp seeds, 2 TBSP                            7 grams
  • Most nuts, 2 TBSP                                7 grams
  • Steel cut oats, ½ cup                            4 grams

 

Planning 

As a registered dietitian, I encourage people to eat food. Explore your tastes, how a food smells, the level of energy you feel after consuming it, and do so without guilt. Get away from focusing on the numbers and enjoy your food. As with any eating style, some planning is needed. This is especially true for those pursuing plant-based diets.

Keep it simple. If you already consume a plant-based diet then build your variety and explore new recipes. If you are thinking of incorporating more plants into your diet then you do not have to go all in at once. Small steps make the biggest impacts. Beans and legumes are a great place to start. Swap one meal a week and go with what you already know, like, and are comfortable with cooking. Try swapping your taco meat out for beans and lentils. Keep all of your yummy sides of avocado, salsa, peppers, tortillas, and leafy greens for a tasty, satisfying, and nutritionally balanced meal.

Vegetarian and vegan athletes, like any athlete or individual, would benefit from working with a registered dietitian to be educated on consuming a variety of foods to meet their needs (lifestyle, preference, health, activity, and cooking skills). To find one in your area visit EatRight.org.

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What is Knee Valgus?

Knee valgus is a very common occurrence in the weight room. It’s also common in sports. Hell, you can even go to a public place and examine people’s walking form and detect knee valgus in a minority of individuals. In this blogpost, I am going to teach you all about knee valgus and how to go about correcting it.

What is Knee Valgus?Knee Valgus

Knee valgus is also referred to as valgus collapse and medial knee displacement. It is characterized by hip adduction and hip internal rotation, usually when in a hips-flexed position (the knee actually abducts and externally rotates). It can also be thought of as knee caving as you sink down into a squat or landing. When standing on one limb, the opposite side pelvis will usually drop during valgus collapse as well.

Why is Knee Valgus Dangerous?

Knee valgus can lead to patellofemoral (knee) pain, ACL tears, and iliotibial band syndrome. It can also lead to ugly squat syndrome.

When Does Knee Valgus Typically Occur?

Knee valgus most commonly occurs during upright ground-based activities that require eccentric action of the hip extensors. Essentially, gravity acting on the body induces large adduction and internal rotation torques on the hips while the hips move into flexion. The hips must absorb and reverse the sagittal plane flexion torque while stabilizing the femur in the frontal and transverse planes so the knees track over the toes. For many individuals, this is easier said than done.

You’ll commonly see valgus collapse rearing its ugly head during squatting, lunging, jumping, landing, climbing and descending stairs, and even during gait/running.

While you won’t see many instances of knee valgus during hip-hinging motions such as conventional deadlifts or good mornings, it does occur on occasion. I’ve actually trained a few clients that were so weak and deconditioned that their knees caved inward when performing a body-weight Romanian deadlift (simple hip hinge task with no load). This is rare, and it typically occurs with individuals who experienced a lower body injury and never rehabilitated it properly. You won’t see knee valgus occur very often during hip thrusts  either, but if you do it’s much more easily correctable compared to knee valgus during squatting due to the lesser adduction/internal rotation torques and lesser hip flexion ROM.

q angle men vs women

Are Women More Prone to Exhibiting Knee Valgus?

Yes. Women are more prone to experiencing knee valgus due to their proportionately wider hips, increased Q-angles, diminished hip strength, and in my opinion from being taught to “sit like a lady” (along with reinforcing that movement pattern repeatedly throughout their lives).

Why Do My Knees Valgus Collapse?

Although valgus knee collapse is more common in women (due to a wider pelvis relative to knee positioning), it affects men too. I see it a lot, and have to work on this myself too (especially if I become less active through injury). If you don’t correct it, you can end up with (patellofemoral) knee pain, IT band syndrome or even a dreaded ACL tear. So a buckling knee doesn’t just look ugly, it’s trouble waiting to happen. There’s more than one reason why your knees cave in under load, and more than one of them may affecting you.

1. Firstly, poor hip strength or activation will let your knees wander around. That ball and socket in the hip needs its muscles to do a good job of stabilising a joint that allows a great deal of movement – especially for fighters that can kick head height. In particular, if your glute medius muscle is weak or underactive, you’ll find it difficult to track your knee correctly and it’ll tend to buckle inward when ‘surprised’ by load. Just take a look at the difference in the two girls ‘tuck jumping’ in the montage image at the top of the page.

2. Secondly, you may have poor range of motion in you ankles. If you can’t keep your (bare) foot flat on the floor while flexing your knee beyond your toes by at least 125mm (5”) then you need to work on improving that.Ankle range of motion test

3. Thirdly, your ankle mobility and hip strength may be good, but you’re just not coordinating the movement properly and allow your knee to drift inward. This is a bad habit that needs conscious effort to re-pattern and correct, demanding repetition with good form.

Improving Hip Strength and ActivationImage result for Resistance band squats and hip bridges, and Side Lying Clams

When it comes to general athletic training, we like to use muscles in coordinated patterns of movement, because that’s how you use your body in real life. However, when there’s a muscular imbalance, lack of activation in a specific area or an injury for example, we often opt for a more isolated approach to get the lazy bit to ‘tow the line’. The following exercises go at your glute medius and shout it to attention!

Resistance band squats and hip bridges, and Side Lying Clams are good strengthening and activation exercises to prevent valgus knee collapse, as they operate in a deeper flexed position – where the collapse tends to happen, so are more specific.
Image result for Resistance band squats and hip bridges, and Side Lying Clams

 

Improving Ankle Mobility

Foam rolling can be used for self-myofascial release, improving the extensibility of the calf, giving you an increased range of motion. When foam rolling to improve mobility, move your foot at the ankle (point and flex, or make circles) as you roll to get an even better release. Mike Reinhold’s video below also shows rolling the arch of your foot with a ball to also release the plantar fascia, which can also help increase ankle mobility.

Stretching the calf both in a knee-bent and straight-knee position will make for the best progress. Although, the bent-knee stretch is the priority as it’s more specific to the action we need to replicate. Hold each stretch for between 10 to 30 secs (hold the longer time if you’re particularly tight).

Mobilisation involves moving the joint through a full range of motion dynamically in a controlled manner. If I had to choose between stretches (where you hold an extended position statically) and mobilisation, I’d go for mobilisation every time. I like the ankle self-mobilisation drill against the wall, heel drops from a step, and knee flexing with your foot on a step – one I call ‘knee breaks’.

Ankle self-mobilisation against the wall – aim to eventually have your toes (barefoot) at a distance of 125mm or more from the wall, and touching you knee to the wall with your heel down.

Improving Coordination

If you’re hips are strong enough and your body knows how to activate the right muscles, you now need to build the habit by practice during ‘live’ movements.

You body learns movement habits. If you’ve allowed lazy valgus knee collapse for 1000’s of repetitions, that’ll happen when you’re not thinking about it. To correct a bad habit typically takes 3000-5000 repetitions of deliberate practice – with your knees out. You can achieve this with constant coached cuing “knees out” during lower body exercises.

I hope that helps you sort out your valgus knees, and gives you an appreciation of how you can target your supplemental strength and conditioning training to improve your athletic potential and reduce injury. It’s not just about how much you do in training, it’s more about what you do. Think quality not quantity and you’ll get better much quicker, and stay in the game longer.

 

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Correcting Upper Crossed Syndrome

UCS

Sitting up tall is a hard habit to learn. If you tend to round your back forward, a variety of postural issues can affect your musculoskeletal system, as seen with upper crossed syndrome. Whether you are sitting at a desk, driving your car, or texting on your phone, it’s always ideal to focus on lifting your chest toward the sky to help align the vertebra. This stacking of your spine will help the other pieces of your kinetic chain fall into place. Yoga’s many benefits include helping your body align while also bringing an awareness and mindfulness to your body as a whole integrative system. Try on these poses and notice how open and upright you feel after.

What is Upper Crossed Syndrome?

upper-crossed-syndrome2

Upper crossed syndrome is characterized by rounded shoulders and a forward head posture. Tightness. In Upper Crossed Syndrome, tightness of the upper trapezius and levator scapula on the dorsal side crosses with tightness of the pectoralis major and minor. Weakness of the deep cervical flexors ventrally crosses with weakness of the middle and lower trapezius. This pattern of imbalance creates joint dysfunction, particularly at the atlanto-occipital joint, C4-C5 segment, cervicothoracic joint, glenohumeral joint, and T4-T5 segment. Which means that when 4-5 muscle groups get too tight it can lead to a chain of events that can create shoulder instability, dysfunction and eventually pain and injury. This pattern is common in individuals who sit a lot or who develop pattern overload from one-dimensional exercise.

  • Shortened muscles: Pectoralis major and minor, latissimus dorsi, teres major, upper trapezius, levator scapulae, sternocleidomastoid, scalenes
  • Lengthened muscles: Lower and mid-trapezius, serratus anterior, rhomboids, teres minor, infraspinatus, posterior deltoid, and deep cervical flexors
  • Common injuries associated with upper crossed syndrome: Biceps tendonitis, headaches, rotator cuff impingement, shoulder instability, and thoracic outlet syndrome

How to Treat Upper Crossed Syndrome?

There are many good exercises and frills you can use to correct upper crossed syndrome, it is as wide as requiring chiropractic intervention, myofascial release, trigger-point therapy and/or a wide range of exercises and mobility drills, I have found that a more straightforward approach is also effective. Below is the 5-step plan for treating Upper Crossed Syndrome.

  1. Learn how to “set” the shoulders and tuck the chin 

    Many with UCS don’t know how to correctly retract their scapula and pull their shoulders down, so the first step when correcting this muscle imbalance pattern is to learn to “set the shoulders.”
    A) In a standing position, tuck your chin and pull your shoulders down and back by thinking about sticking your shoulder blades in your back pockets.
    B) Performing scapular retraction in a push-up position (pinch the shoulder blades together) or standing position with hands against the wall (think about pushing the wall).chin-tuck-scapular-retraction

    Some people have to stay on this step for a while before they get it, while others get a grasp of things quickly. It’s important to memorize this movement, as it lays the basis for correcting Upper Crossed Syndrome.

  2.  Strengthen the weakened musculature 

    Once you have learned how to “set” the shoulders, the next step is to perform this movement with added resistance. There are many good exercises for achieving this, but I have found seated cable rows and face pulls (begin with a band or use light loads on the pulley machine) to be especially effective.
    Don’t go heavy in the beginning — do sets of 10-15 reps, and make sure you’re pulling the shoulders down and back. Hold the contraction at the midpoint for 1-2 seconds (when you’re squeezing the scapulae back/down). When correcting Upper Crossed Syndrome, it’s generally best to avoid too much momentum on these exercises. Instead focus on setting the shoulders.face-pulls

    Although it’s generally a good idea to never go too heavy on these exercises, you should be training to near failure as soon as you master the technique. As with resistance training in general, focus on progressive overload (e.g. by increasing the load every time you reach your desired rep target).

  3.  Stretch the tight musculature 

    I have found that strengthening the posterior musculature is generally more important than stretching. However, stretching is not a waste of time, and it’s easy to perform both at home and at work. Make sure you’re warmed-up, and then perform either static or dynamic stretches for the tight anterior musculature. While there are many different types of mobility drills you can use when correcting Upper Crossed Syndrome, I’ve found that spending too much time on this step is unnecessary. As such, I tend to favor some basic pectoral stretches.pec-stretch

  4.  Set your shoulders correctly when lifting 

    As mentioned, people with Upper Crossed Syndrome generally display poor technique in a wide range of a exercises. Why? The postural deviation makes it had for the trainee to get into apposition to lift correctly (e.g. inability to set the shoulders in the bench press), and the muscle imbalance pattern often leads to compensation patterns during lifting.In other words, it’s not enough to target the muscles involved in Upper Crossed Syndrome through specific exercises, you also have to pay extra attention to your exercise technique. Once you’ve worked on the three previous steps for some time, you should now have a good understanding of how to “set” the shoulders. This is something that transfers into many other exercises you’ll be doing at the gym.

  5. Pay attention to posture, and incorporate some mobility drills and corrective exercises 

    Although you can achieve a lot by having a workout program that’s specially designed to correct Upper Crossed Syndrome, paying attention to your posture – both when sitting and standing – is an important part of treating Upper Crossed Syndrome.Also, if you sit for prolonged periods of time each day, taking a break here and there to perform some upper back exercises, mobility drills, and stretches is a good idea. Have a band or rope available when you’re at your desk, so you can perform some simple exercises every now and then.

Spend 10-20 minutes where you perform simple retraction exercises, stretches, band face pulls, etc., and then move on to several sets of seated rows, cable face pulls, and other exercises that specifically target the weak posterior musculature.

Remember, it’s not just about what you do in the gym. Pay attention to your posture throughout the day, and try to make time for some simple exercises (e.g., scapular retractions, face pulls with band) every now and then.

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UNDERSTANDING AND PREVENTING ANKLE SPRAINS THROUGH CORRECTIVE EXERCISE

 

Don’t let a sprained ankle derail your trail!

Ankle sprains are one of the most common injuries among physically active people accounting for an estimated 23,000 sprains — daily –that are attributed to athletic activity. (1) Basketball players suffer the highest incidence rate among sports (41.1%) followed by football (9.3%), soccer (7.9%), running (7.2%) and volleyball (4.0%). Unlike the knee and ACL injuries there is no predilection to females over males with ankle sprains occurring 50.3% and 49.7% respectively. (2) Nearly 30% of first time ankle sprains will cause chronic ankle instability (CAI) which has also been reported as a contributing factor to the early onset of osteoarthritis. (3) The effects of CAI are also seen beyond the local area of injury as altered pelvic stability. Although ankle sprains are typically treated in the physical therapy setting there are many things a personal trainer can do to help restore full function and also prevent future injuries.

A history of a previous ankle sprain is the most common predictor of this type of injury, with an incidence rate of 73%. This injury most often occurs when landing either on the ground or on another player’s foot. (4) Other causes include a sharp turn or twist, collision, fall or sudden stop. This results in functional deficits including range of motion, limited ankle dorsiflexion, impaired proprioception and balance control, and increased pelvic neuromuscular reaction time. (5,6)

Ankle Sprain

In order to understand what exercises would be best, a brief review of the anatomy is necessary to understand the structures involved with this type of injury. Since 70% to 85% of ankle sprains occur to the lateral side of the ankle this article will focus on exercises based around this location. (7) The most commonly injured ligaments consist of the anterior talofibular, calcaneofibular and posterior talofibular ligaments which connect the talus and calcaneus with the fibula. (17) The tendon of the peroneal muscle, which is responsible for foot eversion, is also commonly strained with inversion injuries as it runs superficial to the posterior talofibular and calcaneofibular ligaments.

Before starting an exercise program it is important to determine what type of functional ankle instability issue your client may have. This can include ligamentous laxity, decreased dorsiflexion, or proprioceptive, balance or strength deficits.

In order to determine if there is ligament laxity, passive range of motion is a simple way to assess this. To perform, begin with the client in a non-weight bearing position in order to eliminate any muscular influence, then move the ankle through all ranges of motion including plantar flexion, dorsiflexion, inversion, eversion, internal rotation and external rotation. Perform bilaterally noting any differences from one side to the other.

AK5252_1AK5252_2

Dorsiflexion Assessment

Next assess dorsiflexion as this has been reported as a potential risk of re-injury. It affects how your client walks, jogs or performs other functional and daily activities. (8) The normal range for dorsiflexion is 20 to 24 degrees. A simple way to assess if your client is within this range is to have them get into a half kneeling position with a dowel perpendicular to the floor, four inches in front of their great toe. Have them glide forward while keeping their heel firmly on the floor and measure how close their knee comes to the dowel. Repeat on the opposite side to compare the results.

Once a baseline has been established this assessment can also be used as a method to help improve posterior talar glide and dorsiflexion. Vencenzo and colleagues demonstrated an increase in dorsiflexion range of motion after a series of mobilization exercises, one of which is similar to the above. (18) Perform 3 sets of 12 repetitions 2-3 times per day.

It is well established in the literature that proprioception is affected after ankle sprains, impairing joint position sense, predisposing one to re-injury. (10) This can be caused by either an unanticipated foot position when stepping on an uneven surface or as a result of improper foot positioning in space prior to ground contact. An easy way to assess this is to perform a single leg balance test with eyes open and then again with eyes closed, comparing bilaterally. The chart below provides the normative values for each age group.

AK1118_1AK1118_2

Single Leg Balance Assessment – Bend one leg at the knee, lifting the foot off of the ground. If necessary, grasp chair for additional stability. Attempt to balance for 30 seconds. Note the time and any differences between sides.

Age  Eyes Open  Eyes Closed 
20-59 25-30 sec. 21-28 sec.
60-69 22 sec. 10 sec.
70-79 14 sec. 4 sec.

Single Leg Balance Test Normative Values (11-15)

As with the previous assessment, this can also be used as an exercise to improve your client’s balance. After they are able to balance at the time values indicated above, they can be progressed to a balance board, which has been shown to be effective in ankle rehabilitation. Verhagen and colleagues demonstrated that balance board training was effective in preventing a recurrence of ankle sprains with Dutch volleyball teams who performed a series of exercises over the course of the season. Balance board exercises can also be progressed by adding a medicine ball toss.

However, specificity should also be considered before the athlete returns to their sport as some authors suggest balance assessment and activities that are task specific to their activity should be performed. (16) An example of this would be to have a gymnast assess on the balance beam or other activities specific to their sport.

AK4244_1AK4248_2

Balance Board Training – Begin standing with two feet on a balance board. Activate core as you raise your opposite foot so you are balancing on one foot not letting the edges of the board touch the ground. Hold for up to 30 seconds and repeat 3 times.

Although the literature is unclear to what degree strength is affected by chronic ankle instability it would be prudent to include a simple peroneal strengthening exercise given these tendons are commonly strained with inversion injuries. (21)

AK3105_1AK3105_2

Ankle Eversion with Resistance Band – Begin seated in a chair with a resistance band around forefoot (opposite end of resistance band anchored to a firm, non-moving, structure). Knees should also be at 90 degrees. While maintaining the alignment of the kneecap and second toe, lift forefoot off the floor and move outward in a scooping type motion against resistance band. Slowly return to start position and repeat without resting foot on floor. Perform 3 sets of 12 repetitions.

Pelvic stability is also influenced by chronic ankle sprains as Friel and colleagues demonstrated in their study. Evaluating individuals with a history of at least two (2) ankle sprains, but not experiencing symptoms at the time, they found the strength of the hip adductors were significantly weaker on the side on the ankle sprain.

Another study, by Beckman and Buchanan, showed increased neuromuscular reaction time of the hip abductors. Their research demonstrated latency differences in the gluteus medius on the side of ankle hypermobility in subjects. (20) These concomitant factors in turn change the position of the pelvis during gait and subsequently require the body to develop compensation strategies. This leads to alteration in the lower body kinetic chain that at some point will break down.

To help prevent or avoid this break down hip adductor and abductor exercises are recommended. The side lying hip adduction is a good starting point to isolate the adductor muscle group.

HP1104_1HP1104_2

Side Lying Hip Adduction – Begin lying on side with hand supporting head. Bottom leg is straight, top leg knee is bent and placed behind straight leg with foot flat on the floor. Activate core muscles. Lift straight leg upward six to eight inches and slowly return to start position. You should feel the muscles of the inner thigh working. Perform 3 sets of 12 repetitions.

Activating the gluteus medius can be performed in a similar side lying position or in an upright functional position using a resistance band.

HP3111_1HP3111_2

Lateral Band Walk – Begin standing with feet shoulder width apart and resistance band around ankles. Knees should be slightly flexed in an athletic stance. Activate core muscles. Take a side step with one leg. Trailing leg should follow to attain shoulder width stance again. Maintain resistance band tension throughout the exercise. Repeat in one direction for 5-10 steps. Return in the opposite direction and repeat 3 times.

Considerations for exercise programming
It is of utmost importance that clients with a history of an ankle sprain be cleared by their physician before starting an exercise program. If the client has completed physical therapy, you can use the exercises that they have learned during their sessions as a good starting point and base for progression or refer to the NASM Essentials of Corrective Exercise book for recommendations.

Here are some general guidelines for working with clients with previous or existing musculoskeletal conditions (21):

  • Never exercise through pain.
  • Groove appropriate and perfect motion and motor patterns before adding load or other challenges.
  • Start by taking gravity out of the equation; start supine or prone, quadruped, kneeling then standing.
  • Increase intensity or time, but not both.
  • Intensity can be increased by changing either resistance or changing stability.

If the client is ready to be progressed, the following guidelines will help you do this safely and effectively (22):

  • If the client is still making progress then continue with the current workload.
  • If the client is at plateau then progress at a 2-10% increase.
  • If the client experiences a flare-up then decrease volume.
  • When working with novice and intermediate clients the recommended volume is 8-12 repetitions for 1-3 sets using 70-85% of 1RM.

As with all exercise programs, long-term adherence and exercise execution on a regular basis are important to achieve satisfying results. After your clients have mastered the movements and are able to maintain good form, you can provide them with short at-home protocols that they can do without equipment to establish regular activity patterns and thus increase their results.

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What happens when you eat 3 whole eggs every day? You’ll be surprised what It does to your body

Eating whole eggs is vital: the goodness of eggs is found in the yolk (containing over 90 percent of an egg’s calcium and iron) and the white (containing almost half the egg’s protein). If you’re not eating eggs regularly, here are ten reasons why you should.

  1. Eggs help to improve performance

Eggs have a high satiety index, meaning they make you feel full for longer. One large egg supplies 6g of high-quality protein and a large variety of essential nutrients, with the exception of vitamin C. This is why teaming up a fruit or orange juice with an egg and whole-wheat/low GI bread provides the perfect breakfast to perform well in a challenging environment.

  1. Eggs can help to iron out problems

Many people with mild iron deficiency experience vague symptoms of tiredness, headaches and irritability. Iron is the carrier of oxygen in the blood and plays an important role in immunity, energy metabolism and many other functions in the body. The iron in egg yolk is in the form of heme iron, the most readily absorbable and usable form of iron in food and more absorbable than the form of iron in most supplements.

  1. Eggs improve nutrient adequacy of the diet

The nutrient density of eggs makes them a valuable contributor to a nutritious diet. A study among egg vs. non-egg consumers revealed that the diets of the non-egg consumers were more likely to fall short of vitamins A, E, and B12. Eggs contributed 10-20% of folate and 20-30% of vitamins A, E, and B12 among egg consumers. This study demonstrates the important role one food can play in ensuring nutrient adequacy.

  1. Eggs do not increase blood cholesterol

In the 1990s, eggs received a lot of bad publicity due to their cholesterol content of 210mg per egg yolk. Numerous studies have clearly demonstrated the lack of a relationship between egg intake and coronary heart disease.

To put things into perspective, it is important to realise that foods high in fat, especially saturated and trans fatty acids have a far greater impact on heart health than cholesterol in food. Eggs should be recognised as an inexpensive, versatile and easily digestible source of protein.

  1. Eggs can help to promote weight loss

Eggs with toast have a 50% higher satiety index than regular breakfast cereals. Several studies have reported that starting the day with an egg breakfast increases satiety in overweight people and may help with weight loss.

 

  1. Eggs help to promote brain health

Choline is a nutrient that facilitates brain development in the foetus and newborn as well as memory function even into old age. Eggs are an excellent dietary source of choline, and one egg per day will provide 28% of a pregnant woman’s choline requirement.

Choline is of extreme importance during pregnancy and lactation when the reserves can be depleted. At the same time, it is the critical period for foetal brain development and lifelong memory enhancement. In experiments with rats, memory function in the aged rat was in part determined by what the mother ate. Mothers, the message is clear – make a lifelong investment and eat your eggs!

  1. Eggs help to prevent cataracts and to protect eye -sight

A good dietary intake of eggs, spinach, and broccoli is associated with a significant decrease in cataracts (up to a 20% decrease) and age-related lens and retinal degeneration, the leading cause of blindness in the elderly (up to a 40% decrease).

Eggs are a good source of the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin, which play an important role in keeping the eyes healthy. It accumulates in the eye where these nutrients protect against some types of harmful, high-energy wavelengths of light. Getting enough lutein and zeaxanthin is therefore very important from childhood onwards throughout the life cycle.

  1. Eggs provide the best quality protein

Protein is one of the most important elements of our diet. Our bodies use protein to build new and repair old tissue. Eggs are champions at providing high-quality protein. Amino acids are the building blocks of protein. Nine of these amino acids cannot be manufactured by the body and must be derived from the diet. A complete protein food contains enough of these nine essential amino acids to promote growth and maintain body tissue.

Egg, milk and meat (including poultry and fish) proteins are all complete proteins, but egg protein is of the highest quality, with a rating of 100. Compared to eggs, milk is rated at 93 and fish and beef at 75. One egg has approximately the same protein content as 30g cooked meat, fish or poultry. And apart from being the most versatile and best source of protein in our diet, it is also the least expensive.

  1. Eggs can help to protect our bones

Eggs are one of the few natural food sources of vitamin D, our sunshine vitamin. Vitamin D is essential for calcium absorption and for maintaining optimum bone health. Eggs, therefore, play a supporting role in the prevention of osteoporosis together with dairy products, our main source of calcium.

  1. Eggs promote healthy hair and nails

The hair and nails reflect many biochemical imbalances and shortages in the body. Eggs can help to promote healthy hair and nails because of their high content of sulphur-containing amino acids and the wide array of vitamins and minerals.

Many people report faster-growing hair after adding eggs to their diet, especially if they were previously deficient in foods containing zinc, sulphur, vitamin B12 and vitamin A.

Nobody can afford not to have an egg a day!

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5 YOGA POSES FOR OPENING THE HIPS

WHY DO WE NEED HIP OPENING POSES?

Most of us sit…a lot. We sit when we drive to work, we sit at a desk, we sit at home. Even cycling, or at the gym with certain ab and weight training exercises, our hips are flexed and can become tight. It doesn’t matter whether the movement is when you are exercising or at rest. Excess hip flexion increases tension in your hip complex and the less active you are (the more you sit) can mean your muscles are short and weak. Yoga is a great way to build balance in your body as well as releasing tension. There are so many benefits to the practice of yoga. Its all encompassing nature and time tested success, with over 5,000 years of refinement, has made yoga a transformative practice that continues to gain in popularity.

In order for your body to be balanced and to feel and move well, you must stretch and strengthen opposing muscles. This should be a regular practice so that your musculoskeletal system will remain balanced over time. Many of us carry tension in our body that is difficult to release. We spend much of our time flexing or stretching our muscles, but many of us, including those with chronic pain, do not get the release needed to reset our movement patterns. Yoga focuses on breath and mindfulness, giving this practice the power to really transform the body’s potential. After doing the hip opening poses in this article, you will begin to transform hip tension into relaxation and ultimately create balance in your structure.

GENERAL ANATOMY OF THE HIPS

Many times when you hear the word hip opener in yoga people think of the front or sides of the hip because they tend to be the tightest. But there are actually four groups of muscles that make up the hip complex: the iliopsoas (hip flexors), the external rotators of the hip, the glutes and the adductors. The iliopsoas group is comprised of the psoas muscle and the iliacus. The external hip rotator group is composed of gemellus superior and gemellus inferior, obturator internus and obturator externus, piriformis, and quadratus femoris. The gluteal group is made up of the gluteus maximus, gluteus medius, gluteus minimus and tensor fascia latae (TFL). Finally we have the adductor group which is a combination of adductor brevis, adductor longus, adductor magnus, pectineus and gracilis.

When your hips are balanced you will feel more mobile and will likely have less pain, which leads to increased happiness and wellbeing. Discomfort or pain associated with tight hips not only includes outer hip and front of the hip pain, but it also affects your low back (such as nerve compression and sciatica) and can lead to other kinetic chain issues. The two most common tight hip groups are the iliopsoas and external hip rotators. When hip flexors and external hip rotators are tight, the next closest place of mobility will be sacrificed, usually the lumbar spine. This can lead to an increased arch in the low back, which means a shortening of the back extensors and the potential risk for disc issues or lumbar spine compression.

While all of the hip openers below are focused on these four muscle groups, the surrounding muscles of the trunk and lower body will also experience some benefit.

HIP OPENERS

1.) HALF PIGEON POSE

From Downward Facing Dog, reach your right leg high, then draw your right knee behind your right wrist. You can flex your right foot or press the top of your foot into the ground to help support your knee. Walk your hands back by your hips and take a moment to square your hips forward. If your right hip is lifted off of the earth, place a block or towel under to support your hips. Slowly lower your torso toward the earth. You should feel sensation in your outer right hip. If you feel this in your right knee come out of the pose. Flip over onto your back, bend your knees, place your feet on the ground and cross your right ankle over your left thigh. Press your right hand into your right thigh to increase sensation.

Targeted Muscle Group: External Rotators of the Hip and Gluteals

Downward Facing Dog
Downward Facing Dog
Half Pigeon
Half Pigeon

2.) COW FACE POSE (GOMUKHASANA) SUPINE VARIATION

Lay supine with your knees bent and both feet on the earth. Cross your right knee over your left and grab your ankles or feet. Try to keep your sacrum down on the earth and hug your knees toward your chest. You can adjust the height of your feet to access more sensation.

Targeted Muscle Group: Gluteals and External Hip Rotators

Cow Face Pose
Cow Face Pose

3.) RUNNER’S LUNGE

From Downward Facing Dog reach your right leg high, then step your right foot forward and to the outside of your right hand, bringing your palms to the inside of your right foot. Reach your heart and hips forward and then lower them toward the ground (option to drop your back knee down). Make sure your right foot is under your knee or slightly in front of it. You should feel sensation at the front of your left hip.

Targeted Muscle Group: Gluteals and Iliopsoas

Runners Lunge
Runners Lunge

4.) HALF LORD OF THE FISHES POSE (ARDHA MATSYENDRASANA)

Start seated with your legs extended out long in front of you. Step your right foot outside of your left hip and draw your left heel toward your right hip. Sit up tall. Place your right hand behind your hips and hook your left elbow to the outside of your right thigh. (Opt for a straight leg if it’s in your practice.)

Targeted Muscle Group: External Hip Rotators and Gluteals

Lord of the Fishes Pose
Lord of the Fishes Pose

5.) CRESCENT LUNGE (ANJANEYASANA) VARIATION, LATERAL BEND

From Downward Facing Dog, lift your right leg high, then step through into a low lunge, and lower your back knee onto the ground. Stack your left knee, hips and shoulders. Lift your left arm high and then laterally bend to your right. You can push your hip slightly left to deepen the stretch.

Targeted Muscle Group: Gluteals with an emphasis on the TFL

Crescent Lunge Variation with Lateral Bend
Crescent Lunge Variation with Lateral Bend
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Importance of Anti-Rotational Exercises

In the past, twisting crunches and Russian twists were used to train the obliques, but we now know that these types of exercises do more damage to the spine than good. Anti-rotation exercises should prevent your spine from rotation or twisting, which is especially important for your lower back. Anti-rotation exercises train core stability without rotating the torso.

 

It builds stability and strength to prevent rotation, which your body is able to resist forces acting upon it that may try to rotate or move it in a way and direction that it cannot move safely.

 

If you are shoved, trip, slide on ice or are simply carrying something that is an uneven weight and awkward, Anti-Rotational Exercise can make your body strong so that your core can handle the torque without leading to pain and injury.

 

Below are some great Anti-Rotational Moves to help you build your core strength and stability to prevent injury so you can move better in everyday life.

Anti-Rotation-Exercises-1The Pallof Press is one of the first anti-rotation exercises I teach beginners since it is very simple to execute, but can be quite challenging for all levels.

Position yourself perpendicular to a cable column (or where you are using a band) and move a couple feet away to allow for tension on the cable. The cable should be aligned with your mid-section.

With your stomach tight, chest tall, and shoulders back, slowly control the cable away from your body staying in-line with your sternum until your elbows are almost locked out. Pause for 2-3 seconds and return to start.

Return to start and repeat for 10-12 repetitions. Make sure you focus on remaining tight throughout your core and controlling all motion.

There are many ways to execute a Pallof Press (e.g. Half-kneeling, standing, lying on your back, etc) but one of my favorites is in the tall kneeling position as it forces you to engage your glutes to remain tall.bodyweight-single-leg-deadlift-e1422053615490

Single Leg Romanian Deadlifts are a great Anti-Rotational Movement because your core has to work to keep your hips level and your body balanced as you hinge over and stand back up. You should not rotate when doing this movement, which requires core strength and stability, especially as you add weight.

Plus this move works one of the biggest muscles in your body and an important muscle of your core –  your glutes! Strong glutes can help protect your low back from pain when you do rotate and even help you rotate correctly.

Start standing up nice and tall. Then shift your weight so that you are balancing on your right leg with the knee slightly bent and your left toe is lightly touching the ground. Let your arms hang down by your sides.

Then hinge over at the hips, sitting your butt back as you lift your left leg back toward the wall behind you. Keep your back flat as you hinge over and you can extend your arms down toward the ground.

Make sure to sit your butt back as you hinge over and not simply lean forward. Think about reaching your butt back to the wall behind you. This will mean you may need to keep your knee soft. Do not actively bend your knee but bend it enough you can load your glutes. Also, keep your hips square as you hinge over.

Do not let the hip of the raised leg rotate open toward the ceiling. Also, do not reach your arms toward the ground and let your back round. It doesn’t matter if you touch the ground, just extend your arms down toward it as far as you can without rounding.

Hinge over as far as you can with good form and then drive through that standing heel to come back up to standing. Feel your glutes work to bring you back up nice and tall. Even squeeze your glutes at the top before repeating, hinging back over on the same leg.

You can even up the anti-rotational challenge by unilaterally loading down the movement.

 

plank-shoulder-taps-e1442545959609

If you’ve ever had a shoulder injury and want to rebuild your shoulder stability while also strengthening your core, then you need to include Shoulder Taps in your routine.

This looks like an easy movement, but if you really fight the urge to rotate and move slowly, it is incredibly challenging.

set up in a high plank position from your hands and toes (advanced) or hands and knees (beginner). You want your hands to be under your shoulders but closer together and your feet or knees should be wider apart to provide a more stable base. Bring your feet or knees together as the move becomes easier. Also, by having your hands closer together and more centered under your chest, you will provide yourself with a more stable base.

It is very important that you remain stable with this move or you can stress your shoulder. Brace your abs and engage your glutes so that your body is in a nice straight line.

Then from this plank position, lift one hand up off the ground, moving it slowly to touch the opposite shoulder. Keep your hips square to the ground and do not rotate. Also, do not let your butt go up in the air or your hips sag toward the ground.

Touch your opposite shoulder than slowly place your hand back down on the ground. You want to move at a very controlled pace.

Then lift the other hand and tap your other shoulder. Do not rotate as you lift. Try to keep your body still and simply lift the hand to touch the opposite shoulder.

Hope you enjoy giving them a try!

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Slipped Disc Awareness

large_disk_hernia_symptoms_01When people say they have a slipped disc, they are often using a general term for back problem. Indeed, many may be unaware that the term “slipped disc” can refer to a range of medical problems.

 

Slipped disc occurs when the circle of connective tissue surrounding the disc breaks down. This allows the soft, gel-like part of the disc to sell and protrude out. It is not always clear what causes the connective tissue to break down. However, slipped disc is often the result of increasing age. As you get older, your spinal disc start to lose their water content. This makes them less flexible and more likely to split

 

Various combinations of pain in the lower back, buttock, groin or leg can arise either from irritation within the disc itself, or when the disc causes irritation of the adjacent nerves. Most people with a slipped disc experience pain on one side of the body that starts slowly and gets worse over time. The pain when a disc presses on a nerve is often worse when you put pressure on the nerve.

 

Slipped disc can happen in any part of your spine, from the neck to the lower back. While the lower back is the most common area for slipped disc.

The symptoms of a slipped disc included:

  • Pain and numbness on one side of the body, the pain extends to the arms or legs.
  • Pain that extends to the arms and/or legs
  • Pain that worsens at night
  • Pain that worsens after standing or sitting
  • Pain when walking short distances
  • Unexplained muscle weakness
  • Tingling, aching, or burning sensations in the affected area.

 

The types of pain can vary from person to person. See your physician if your pain results in numbness or tingling that affects your ability to control your muscles.

 

It may not be possible to prevent a slipped disc. You can take steps to reduce your risk of developing a slipped disc. Those steps includeTo avoid back pain and help prevent a slipped disc, you should keep mobile, exercise regularly, maintain good posture and lift heavy objects correctly. :

  • Use safe lifting techniques; Make sure you can manage the weight, bend and lift from your knees, not your waist.
  • Always keep a good posture, and maintain a healthy weight.
  • Make sure your seat is comfortable and supportive if you are sitting for long period; get up walk around and stretch periodically.
  • Do exercises to strengthen the muscles in your back, legs and abdomen.
  • If you are recovering from a slipped disc, avoid high-impact activities, such as running and aerobics.

 

Treatments for a slipped disc range from conservative to surgical. The treatment typically depends on the level of discomfort you are experiencing and how far the disc has slipped out of place. In most cases, slipped disc will slowly improve with rest, gentle exercise and medication. It can take up to four to six weeks to recover from a slipped disc.

 

Exercise is a common component for slipped disc treatment. Taking a proactive approach to your recovery with physical activity will reduce the pain and help ensure the long-term health of the back. A Slipped disc may require 1 or 2 days rest to ease down the pain. However, you should resist the temptation to lie in bed for days at a time because your muscles need conditioning to aid the recovery process. If you forgo exercise and physical activity, your body may not respond to treatment as well as it could.

 

Besides that, you may need to refer to a physiotherapist if there are no improvement after rehabilitation exercise. A physiotherapist will be able to draw up an individual tailored exercise plan for you. This will keep you active, minimize pain and help prevent any further damage to your back. You may also choose to try osteopathy or see a chiropractor.

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I was introduced to the NASM course by Jeremy from PFC studio. NASM provides me with the deep knowledge on how a Basic Human Body movement. Equipping with these knowledge, every movement and body workout seems to serve a purpose and this helps me tremendously.

13231016_10207962666816693_1668627287_nIn my early years, I have always been intrigued by healthy living. Due to my previous job, My lifestyle has gone bad to worst. This has spurred me to pursue different healthy lifestyle and workouts.

Similar to others, I constantly seeking a better workout through materials and internet. Over the years, I felt that bI am not getting anywhere. I focus a lot on “how to” but never pay much attention to the “why” or “purpose” I am doing it and how it could benefit me.

I was introduced to the NASM course by Jeremy from PFC studio. NASM provides me with the deep knowledge on how a Basic Human Body movement. Equipping with these knowledge, every movement and body workout seems to serve a purpose and this helps me tremendously.

In addition, NASM is a systematic approach to a better understand body movements and these knowledge is important for every fitness trainer. NASM course is flexible and can be achieved via self pace learning. The NASM apps and the unlimited attempts for the practical exams on the NASM website have helped me a lot. NASM has indeed elevated my understanding on the human body and this helps me understands my client needs and how to address them.

Obviously, personal training is more than lifting weights and counting reps and sets, so I wanted a well-rounded certification that would prepare me for all parts of the personal training process—from knowing and understanding movement science and physiology to performing functional assessments and creating individualized training programs for clients. I wanted a certification that was the whole package.

I love that NASM offers other certifications and tons of continuing education courses and workshops to keep growing my knowledge in the field. I’m actually considering their Corrective Exercise Specialist (CES) certification in the near-ish future. NASM is great for both with or without fitness background individual; Either for own personal knowledge or being a personal trainer itself will definitely benefits you.