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Thursday, July 19, 2012



Come on people!... This just in:FLASH: you cannot lose fat weight running in 100 deg heat!!
Man, does it drive me crazy seeing people running in this oppressive heat! There is nothing but BAD that comes of this and I will explain in brief, yet, vivid details what is happening to the you boil it by driving up core temperatures to dangerous levels. Folks, heat does not  burn off fat!!! It boils at 360 degrees!

The purpose of sweating is to cool the body. It does this by dilating the blood vessels just under the skin so the blood can get to the surface to cool off. That 'blush' you see on most people is the blood cooling the surface via evaporation. This is very important to prevent overheating which can lead to heat stroke where you stop sweating, but are hot to the touch. This is NOT GOOD. Most of the water from sweating comes from the blood. Lets say you are out for a run and your sweating like crazy. The heart begins to pump harder to cool the other organs but as you begin to exercise vigorously the blood gets warm which ultimately starts the sweating mechanism.

Now the sweat collecting on the skin now gets cooled through evaporation. So as soon as sweat hits the skin surface the blood gets cooled; you feel this  when there is no humidity and the sweat can evaporate pretty easy. However, when the humidity is high the evaporation rate slows down due to the excess moisture already in the air making it harder for the sweat, now sitting on the body, to evaporate. Get the picture?!

So lets say that you keep running, pretty soon the blood gets 'sludgy' because you continue to sweat as more water is drawn from the blood in an attempt to cool the body. Nevertheless, the body core is increasing and as the blood goes to the lungs to pick up oxygen, it does not deliver it to the muscles efficiently enough. Next thing you know you are feeling  clumsy and disoriented. STOP. This is 'true' dehydration! To ensure that blood gets to the muscles in your dehydrated state the flow of blood to the skin decreases and sweating diminishes in order to conserve water. This drives up the body core temp which leads to the dreaded heat exhaustion or heat stroke.

Unfortunately, this chain of events happens often during August when football teams, especially,gather to begin preseason training. Often kids come to these preseason practices overweight and outta shape. So they will attempt to cut weight by 'layering' clothes to increase sweat output thinking it will cause weight loss. True: weight loss in water form NOT fat form!! Sadly, the result has been death in some cases.

My recommendation to prevent the deleterious of effect of training in the heat is simple. DON'T RUN WHEN IT IS 95+ DEGREES AND THE HUMIDITY IS HIGH! Duh!! There is NO evidence to support this training method. N-O-N-E. Now before you think I am an alarmist I want to stress I am talking about the brutal heat wave washing over the city these past few weeks. Otherwise, unless you will be competing in arid conditions and you must acclimate,then by all means go for it. For most of us though it is senseless. Swim laps in a pool if you want to do cardio!  if you have read my other blogs, I under rate running as the only method of weight loss. Instead, go to an air conditioned gym and pump some iron to maintain good core posture and lower extremity stability.


UPDATE TRAINING WEAR: Cotton is dead!!! Buy dri-fit. Dri-fit is a 'wicking' fabric that keeps the body cool. I am still amazed at the number of clients that still wear cotton. We take notice when we see they are struggling through a session especially if it is their 4 one. I will often take note of what they have on. Often times it is layered!! two cotton shirts and it is soaked with sweat! Remember we want the body cooled by the sweat via evaporation. Dri-fit facilitates that and can be found in any sport goods store ie. Dicks, Dunhams, ect.

ACCLIMATE! ACCLIMATE! ACCLIMATE!: I only use air conditioning at home. No matter how hot it is I don't turn on the AC in my car, unless my darling wife is with me! Don't spend too much time insulated from this climate then boldly go out and train in it! I am suggesting you try not using the car AC ALL the time.  I encourage our young athletes to do this because I know they are inside all day in AC.  My son has been doing this since he started playing sports and he is glad he does. He often sees his lacrosse teammates having a hard time adjusting due to this 'insulation' effect and understands the benefit and adaptive effects of acclimating. You to should 'feel' the heat and when you do this you will be surprised how cool 85 degrees is from 102 degrees. ACCLIMATE!!!

HYPERHYDRATION AND EUHYDRATION: The first term, hyperhydration is consuming liquids before training. I suggest 1 hour before training to consume a 160z gatorade type drink.  Drink, euhydrate, throughtout your training every 15 minutes or depending on conditions. This is highly recommended especially if you will be training more than 90 minutes. If you read my previous blog then you know what to consume after training! If you are training less than one hour then water is sufficient. There is water in food too, so you are getting your share hydration there especially if your training diet is solid.

WATER FOR DOUSING: I have what I call a 'hot head'bottle for clients who need to cool off quick. We have a water spicket on our building. We simply have our client fill it (water bottle) and douse their heads with it. Great relief. Sometimes better than the cold water for instant cooling! This method increases cooling due to evaporation. So if you are running take enough to consume and douse!!

SAFETY ROUTE: If you go out at least make the destination a 'cooling station' or safety route. It can be the library for instance where you can literally chill and get water or my fave, a 7-11store  where its always a brisk 50 deg in the summer time! Damnn its chilly in there..and don't get me started on the Slurpee's..

DON'T GO OUT: Common sense is under rated so I m not going to say much here.
*if you are experienced this may not matter to you. More for the neophyte.

Follow these tips and you will find the challenge of running in this heat not  so insurmountable. However, my recommendation is to redesign your training day to stay inside or go early in a.m. or later p.m. 

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Chocolate milk is the real deal!!...low fat at that!!

Well research is finally confirmed: Chocolate milk(CM), low fat even, is a great substitute for a recovery drink! That is great news for parents who are concerned about what is a healthy supplement that is not harmful. Well chocolate is as tame as it gets and here is why.

CM actually has more restoration components than other commercial flavored carbohydrate drinks (Gatorade, Acclerade etc). Check out the differences in nutrients offered in a 240 ml(1 cup)  drink:                          
Nutrient                         Low fat milk           Gatorade
Energy(Kcal)               160, 669                     50,2009
Protein (g)                    8                                            0
Fat (g)                          3                                            0
Carbohydrate(g)          27                                         14
Calcium (mg)              300                                         0
Sodium(mg)                240                                     110

We train a lot of young athletes and we know they eat just about anything! But what is even more crucial is what they do in between preseason workouts. Many athletes are now or will be engaged in intense summer 2 a day workouts. It is crucial that recovery BEFORE the next session is attained. Low fat chocolate milk is the perfect antidote!

Although the mechanisms are not completely clear, the combination of carbohydrate, milk protein, fluid and electrolytes may improve muscle glycogen resynthesis(producing more glycogen, the muscles key element for sustaining contractions), and rehydration to speed recovery between exercise sessions.
The fat in the milk helps delay glycogen depletion. One of the biggest secrets in maintaining carbohydrate stores is consuming healthy carbohydrates all day, everyday, during these preseason practice weeks that usually last two weeks,  especially at night ie. dinner time.

I suggest drinking low fat chocolate milk immediately after exercise and throughout the recovery period in a volume that will help athletes obtain about 1g carbohydrate per kilogram of body weight per hour.(To convert to kilograms take your weight divide it by 2.2). Now the kids don't care about all the science they just know that it taste good!  

Finally, low fat chocolate milk is a great recovery drink especially if you are engaged in 2 a day practice sessions. It appears CM helps provide more glycogen and more electrolytes that other popular carbohydrate drinks do not. Fat in these drinks actually appears to help reduce glycogen depletion. You should consume CM immediately after the first session and continue to consume a carbohydrate every hour up until you return for the second. The Carbohydrate does not have to be just CM by the way. Fruit, yogurt, bagels and chicken or turkey sandwich.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

"I pulled a hammie'. I know what I'm about to say is cliche as all get out but, if I had a dollar every time I heard that I'd be living next to that Facebook kid! I would have even MORE than that if you could see the looks on those same faces when I say your hamstring(Hs) is fine: Priceless!! Allow me to explain.

The Hs does more than bend the leg. It also controls rotation of the tibia(lower leg) every time we take a step. This is even more important when you accelerate the stride frequency; sprinting. The Hs is comprised several muscles that originate behind the gluteus maximus(you sit on both). They travel the length of the leg towards several attachment sites behind, and on both sides of the knee. When I show this to people with Hs  injuries they are shocked at how long it is and where it attaches. Because of its complex network of muscles the Hs controls rotation of the femur as it sits on top of the tibia. This relationship has far reaching influences on the ankle and foot.  Mind blowing  I know. Now while you are wrapping your brain around that, consider how the Hs can get 'hurt'.

The upper body and lower body are inextricably linked to lower body locomotion. In fact, running  speed depends a great deal on the mobility, joint timing(coordination) and power of the shoulders, trunk and hip complex! So when you suffer a hammie pull I can guarantee you that you lack proper mobility in those areas.

When we are training athletes at BSI to improve  mobility, power and stability. we won't focus on strength of the hamstring,  directly, but we work from the 'top down'.  Therefore we address how to engage  lower quarter joint timing as it relates to the shoulder, trunk and hips. These are the true drivers of running. NOT the legs. If you are not convinced then try running  with your arms across your chest. We will often do this in our training to help engage trunk power, postural stabilty/balance and demonstrate how important the upper body is in running. Attempting to strengthen the Hs using resistance machines is a waste of time. It simply is not effective enough especially if you are engaged in athletics.

Finally,  the Hs works in concert with the upper and lower body. When you sprint the implications are far reaching.  The orchestrated contraction of muscles from the shoulders to the hip and finally into the lower leg are paramount for protecting the Hs from injury. So if you are suffering from chronic hamstring pulls, but you keep doing hamstring resistance curls at the gym, I would STRONGLY recommend starting from the 'top down'! Doing resistance training for the Hs is a waste of time and counter productive!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Did you see that?!
Rewind that!"

 Those words fittingly describe the Olympic trials that took place this weekend. The Olympics, if you just crawling from under that rock, are slated to begin July 27, 2012 in London, England. You gotta love the intensity of the performances and the unbridled passion only found at the Olympics. 
The training is arduous and long.  Injuries can occur that can shatter a dream in a matter of seconds . Hours of training gone down the drain. The real 'agony of defeat'. Some of you know injuries, are a specialty of mind, sport orthopedic injuries to be exact. You may find what I am about to say morbid, but I am fascinated by the injuries and how I would have prevented and how I would manage them.

Injuries at this level I refer to as disease of excellence. I am often asked how can injuries occur at this level. The answer is simple: why wouldn't they occur at this level?  I often get the same question regarding professional athletes. Injuries have symptoms that lead up to the injury that puts an athlete out of play. Many athletes ignore the symptoms. You would be surprised  at some of the popular yet dated training methodology that can predispose an athlete to injury. I had an opportunity to work with Olympic athletes and you would be surprised at what they don't know regarding injury prevention and training to reduce the risk of injury.

Back in grad school I presented a paper discussing the tensile capacity of muscle, ligaments, bone and tendon. These structures molecular composition give them the characteristics to absorb and distribute energy commensurate with the amplitude(stress via weight training, running, landing, etc) applied at any given moment. Now, unfortunately these structures are NOT designed to tolerate such 'capacities' and high frequencies. High impact events like gymnastics are a good example of this(you will notice the taped ankles and knees). Nevertheless, they compete and push themselves to the brink for a chance to be on that podium.

Finally the Olympics is a moment to observe prodigious and extraordinary athletic feats. Many of these athletes have logged thousands of hours of demanding training regiments , mind numbing drills to perfect 'the' technique, and a limited social life all for this one glorious moment to see if they got what it takes to be an Olympiad. Injuries or not there will be moments that will inspire us to do better, push harder, run longer and never quit no matter what the odds are. USA! USA! USA! USA!.......