Crossroads

You can find yourself at a crossroads in any area of your life.  It happens to all of us at some point.  It is something inside of us that speaks to us that says “It says it’s time to change.”  It is a challenge to leave something that is known and go into the fear of the uncertainty.  It takes courage to take the road less traveled, it will uncover your true potential. It is an opportunity to ask and explore your next level.  During training there is at some point you will find yourself at a crossroad.Dig deep,try a little harder,and get that extra rep trust me it’ll be worth it.
A nice poem by Robert Frost “The Road Not Taken” summarizes this point

Photo courtesy of Ash Morgan

Photo courtesy of Ash Morgan

 

Eliminating Holiday Water Weight

The key is sodium control.

To really enjoy the holidays it’s nice to be able to eat whatever you would like. Right!?

I don’t know about everyone else but when it comes to holiday meals nothing holds me back. I take it farther than just a cheat meal, I eat like a bear getting ready for winter. Once and awhile it’s all fine and dandy and we can get away with these meals every so often. But what if you find yourself eating like this every weekend for the whole month of December?

Don’t worry your not screwed you just have to focus during the week and go ahead and binge on the weekends, but only for December.

I put together a mock meal that is literally straight out of a food store and similar to what a holiday meal consists of. The focus is the amount of sodium consumed in only one sitting.

Food Serving Size Sodium
Roast Turkey Gravy Mix 1/4 cup 340 mg
Whole Berry Cranberry Sauce 2 tablespoons 5 mg
Stove Top Turkey Stuffing Mix 1/2 cup 420 mg
Frozen Corn 1/4 cup
Green Bean Casserole made with Cream of Mushroom Soup 1/2 cup 353 mg
Mash potatoes made with butter and milk 1/2 cup 315 mg
Roast Turkey Breast 2 slices about 300 grams 47 mg
Dinner Roll 152 mg
Pumpkin Pie 1/8 of 10 inch pie 260 mg
Light whipped cream 2 tablespoons 5 mg
GRAND TOTAL 1897 mg*

*This does not include the addition of condiments and don’t forget alcohol consumption.

The Recommended Daily Intake (RDI) for sodium is roughly 2400mg

A holiday MEAL can have up 1897mg of sodium (above) almost your whole allowance for the day!!

 

I followed a strict diet and exercise plan after Thanksgiving  and have managed my weight very well.

Morning of Thanksgiving: 221 lbs

Morning after: 232 lbs

After 1 week of training: 219 lbs

Check it out Holiday Water Weight Managment

What’s With All The Jump Rope?

Jumping rope should be the most consistent component to all training programs. If you walk into a training facility and notice that everyone is jumping rope like Ali then your probably at the right place. Rope work, as we like to call it, produces some of the most important physical and mental attributes such as:

Improved foot speed

Improved cardio efficiency

Improved balance

Improved Posture

Increase work capacity (next week we will explain this)

Enhanced motor skills

Improved lower body joint integrity

Reduction of body fat

Timing and Focus

 

Cool fact from Buddy Lee:

Jump rope for 10 minutes at the rate of 120 turns/min. burns 120 calories (based on a 150lb. person) and provides the same cardiovascular fitness as:

Swimming 12 minutes

Running 1 mile in 12 minutes

Tennis 2 sets

Jogging 30 minutes

Fall Asleep Faster Naturally

How often do you come home from work and just can’t slow your head down? It’s almost like your brain is strapped to stability ball that is being kicked by the most hyped up 12 year old. Then, when it’s time to fall asleep the kid decides to invite his friends over to kick your brain which is still strapped to that big green stability ball.

Most people deal with this on a daily basis and turn to substances and methods that force them to deviate from a healthy lifestyle. For example: drinking alcohol in excess, taking sleep aids, and gorging on sugary foods.

 

JP Sleeping

 

#1 Two hours before bed shut off anything with a screen. This includes TV, Cell phones, Tablets, etc. Dr Guy Meadows, clinical director of The Sleep School, a West London clinic, says: ‘We’re designed to sleep in the dark. When the sun comes up, the light receptors in the retina at the back of the eye tell us it’s time to wake up by inhibiting the release of melatonin, the hormone that makes us sleepy. The reverse happens at night, so it’s ideal to dim down the lights as bedtime approaches as sleep is vital for the regulation of our mood.” So next time your good friend or loved one is cranky the next morning ask them, “Did you fall asleep with the TV on again?” If you need to leave your cell phone on for an alarm make sure it’s on airplane mode and at least plugged in on the other side of the room. 

 

#2 Create a routine before bed to adjust your body for sleep. This can include meditating, breathing techniques or having a quite study. Your body will eventually recognize the routine which can help in releasing sleep hormones such as melatonin.

Try this breathing exercise to help alleviate anxiety and relax.

Breathe into your belly 4 sec.

Hold your breath 4 sec.

Relax shoulders and slowly exhale.

Repeat as needed.

 

#3 Read something boring. Yes, it sounds strange but it works. I pulled out my old econ 101 book and it put me to sleep in about 40 seconds. Make sure the TV is off and your cell phone is put away for the night. 

 

#4 Eat a couple of hours before bed. Don’t eat too much and make sure it’s nutrient dense. Also try not to have a lot of fluids. This will prevent frequent bathroom trips that can interrupt sleep. The overall amount of sleep is important but uninterrupted sleep has a much higher value.

 

#5 Don’t delay bedtime, just go to bed already! It’s Thursday night and the weekend has pretty much started. Or so we think. There are numerous occasions that we fool ourselves in staying up later to fulfill what we enjoy. Ask yourself this, will starting the weekend on Thursday really make me happier? HELL NO! So, next time your favorite show is on until midnight or a couple of friends are heading to the local pub JUST SAY NO!

 

 

 

J.P. Van Alstyne
Head Strength Coach at F.A.S. Training Inc.
J.P. has his Bachelor of Science degree from University of Rhode Island where he primarily focused on exercise science and sports nutrition. He is also a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist by The National Strength and Conditioning Association. His athletic background ranges from high school track and field to collegiate rugby where he was the URI Men’s Rugby Captain.



He has trained many different clients ranging from youth athletes, Division 1 athletes, amputees, military personnel and fitness enthusiasts. He has mentored under Dr. Frank Welling training philosophies at F.A.S. Training Inc. and now is full-time strength coach. He has also shadowed physical therapists and has been to multiple seminars to stay in touch with the evolving fitness industry. His main goal in training others is to give them an advantage among others in work capacity, mental toughness, nutrition and how to apply it to every aspect of life.



J.P. strongly believes that knowledge is gained from experience and to truly master something you must live it. Living by this code he has competed in multiple races such as The Toughmudder, Spartan Beast, GoRuck Challenge, 50 Mile Gore-Tex North Face Endurance Trail Run, Rev3 26hour Adventure Race in the Shenandoah Mountains, NYC East River Swim and trekked Mt. Elbert (14,439), Colorado in December during a blizzard.

 

Movement of the Week – Rotational Med Ball Slams

Similar to OH Med Ball Slam, this exercise is excellent for core and functional strength. It has an emphasis on rotatory stability/strength and can also be used help activate an athlete’s core during movement preparation. Athlete’s that are involved in sports such as, Baseball, Hockey and Basketball can benefit by performing this exercise in a conditioning program.

 

 

How to execute: 

  • Choose a hip to start from, simultaneously raise the ball overhead to the opposite while pivoting your foot.
  • Make sure to raise the ball as high as possible, keep your opposite foot pointed forward.
  • Once the ball is completely overhead violently throw the ball down using  your hips, arms and core.

Movement of the Week – Forward Rolls

Tumbling or Forward Rolls is an excellent way to improve body awareness, control and balance. When incorporating forward rolls to a training session a person will achieve enhanced range of motion. Check out the video below to see what it looks like.

 

Tumbling is a fundamental movement that every athlete should perfect along with jumping rope. There is no sense in having an athlete perform strength training without being able to tumble or jump rope. Tumbling should be a regular part of a training regimen.

Suggested implementation for tumbling during a warm-up:

3×5 Forward Rolls with 60 sec of Jump Rope after each set

Here’s how it’s done: 

Standing in front of a mat, squat down and put both of your hands onto mat. Tuck your chin to your chest then begin leaning forward. Touch the back of your head to the mat then push off gently starting the forward roll. Curl your entire body as you fall forward, follow all the way through so you produce enough momentum to stand on your feet and jump. When you jump make sure to push your hips forward into full extension. Finally, land softly as though you were finishing a squat jump.

 

We Are Jenga Towers

We are Jenga towers.

 

Training is like trying to win at Jenga.  Continually building while maintaining a good foundation and not degrading any gains already made.  In a game of Jenga we take one piece out at a time from the bottom of the tower and place the miniature brick at the top to build the tower up but sacrificing stability near the foundation of the structure.  If we do this carefully and accurately as we stack each brick then we have a better chance of finding symmetry, keeping constant, and not letting the tower crash.

Think like our body is the Jenga tower and all the pieces crashing is an injury or our body triggering a pain response.

 

A brick that is immovable is similar to stiffness (which is not necessarily a bad thing).  That immovable brick is playing a pivotal role in maintaining stability in that place in the tower and more so the whole balance of the structure.  The anterior hip is a good comparison (think iliacus, illiopsoas; hip flexors)where most chronically active people (i.e. athletes) have compromised the integrity of those tissues and the head of our femur cannot sit in our hip (acetabulum) correctly.  Since the femoral head rarely takes advantage of the space near the back to of the hip (posterior capsule, especially on the left hip) the “ball”  is not approximated in the “socket”  to its correct position so our body compensates.  It compensates in many different ways.  What is one thing that can happen in this case?  Our hip flexors get “tight” or “stiff”.  Well of course they do! Something has got to keep that thing in place!  Is that the best stabilization strategy your body can come up with?  I don’t think so but given what we have done to our hips that’s what can happen.  So go easy trying to stretch those babies out all the time.  Instead make hip hinge patterns a priority.  Driving proper hip extension with a stable pelvis and lumbar spine are the money maker exercises.

 

Second, a brick that is loose and easily taken out and moved around, you know the one you get mad at the person who pulled it out right before your turn…Think of that brick as ligament laxity.

 

 

Well if you have an immovable brick then something has to balance out right? Just like how the body compensates.  In low back and/ or neck pain and you can palm your hands to the ground during a toe touch?  Or maybe no pain and you can bring your thumb to your wrist?  Look at gymnasts, I would love some of that mobility but then again we might have to spend a lot of time stabilizing all that range of motion.

 

If we cannot maintain fundamental movement as we progress with our training that is the equivalent to building an unstable tower.  How some of us tend to train is like playing Jenga with a hot glue gun.  We build the tower higher and higher (gaining strength and endurance) but sacrifice mobility, stability, and basic fundamental movement.  So we force more stability on our body (via the hot glue gun) and we build the tower higher.  But at what cost is making the tower taller? Eventually we are taking out too many bricks and having to glue in odd places and overall building and asymmetrical, unreciprocal, inefficient structure.  The tower will still fall and then we have to clean up the mess from all this glue.  Then we find ourselves still having to unglue things just to build them back up.  For example being in chronic neck pain; a good therapist may tell you, your neck is not the culprit, it is the lack of dorsiflexion in your ankles.

Or it could be similar to adding 40 pounds to a deadlift all the while not being able to touch our toes; strength on top of hypertonicity (stiffness).  Or running 10 plus miles a week when you cannot adduct a hip.  What the hell does that mean?  Better yet you keep running and getting really sore on the front of your shins but its okay because you always felt it there…bring on the glue.

hot glue meme

How do we know when we have tipped the balance of risk and reward when training?  When you are training properly it is like cheating playing Jenga.  We use our hands to pack the stack tighter and more symmetrical so there is less of a chance for a collapse or in comparison (pain, dysfunction or injury).  Training is like playing Jenga and the table is constantly being shaken.  So if we don’t straighten out the stack regularly we are not going to be able to make efficient, long lasting gains on top of a brain and body with sound fundamental function before we have to start all over.

College Nutritional Survival Guide

 7 to Heaven & 3 to YOU!   

A quick guide to help you stay on track during college

 

Here are 7 dieting tips that can help you stay lean! And 3 things you should watch out for!

 

 

  1. Drink plenty of water throughout the day! This should be obvious! Do you really do it though?
-It is very important that you prevent chronic dehydration. Just being 2-3 percent dehydrated can affect performance. Think of this, a hydrated muscle is a grape and dehydrated muscle is a raisin. Which one do you think will perform optimally?
  1. Eat 4-6 small meals a day that are nutrient dense!
-Nutrient dense means there are more nutrients and fewer calories. For example a donut vs. a bowel of spinach, spinach wins. Try not to eat 2-3 large meals a day too. This will cause your blood sugar to do all sorts of crazy things including making you feel like a zombie at times. Keep the meals small, consistent and nutrient dense.

zombie

 

  1. Avoid foods that are immediately satisfying then make you crave more! Ramen, PUKE!!! Cookies, OK sometimes.
-Ramen consists primarily of salt, salt more salt and some carbs. How is this going to satisfy your hunger? NOT A CHANCE. Foods with high fructose never give you a prolonged feeling satiety either. Try eating nuts or something with fiber like an apple.
  1. Make sure every meal is a balance of macro nutrients! Carbs, Proteins and Fats! (Sorry Beer and Fireball are not included)
-This can get tricky because your sport or training regimen might demand more of a specific macro nutrient. Use common sense! If you run XC you might need more carbs, but if you’re a gym rat late night calzones will kill your progress. The only marco nutrient that should be included in every meal is protein.
  1. A post-workout meal is vital in optimizing your training!
-Don’t deprive yourself of nutrients after a training session. Ask any ripped guy or gal, they eat! Make sure you have an adequate carb/protein shake or meal after a training session. Otherwise you will look like this…

JP Run

  1. All the crap and poison in a food store is located in the middle. Shop in the perimeter!
– Martin Rooney, an elite strength coach, had some awesome advice in his Training for Warriors book (see our store). All of the whole foods such as fruits, vegetables, meats, eggs and poultry are located on the perimeter of a food market. So guess how you should go food shopping?! THE PERIMETER!
  1. Treat food as a source of energy! And stop eating based on your mood!
-There are times we deserve treats. But what we really deserve is to be healthy and eating like crap is going to make you feel like crap. If you’re going to have an over the top cheat day, help yourself out by having an over the top fast day.

 

Now, I am sure we have heard most of these before. The question is… You gonna do it or what!? Get it done and stop making excuses!

 

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