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Strength Training for Endurance Athletes Part I:

By Jacob Goodin 

The law of specificity states that to get better in any activity, you must practice precisely the skills that apply to that activity.  So for us endurance types it only makes sense that to accomplish our competitive goals we must spend a great deal of time running, riding, or swimming.  The more time we spend on each activity, the better (read: faster) we become, and it continues on in a predictable linear ascension forever, right? 
Cruel reality has taught us that these naïve expectations are idealistic at best.  We pull hamstrings and endure shin splints and patellar tendonitis, all of which can set back the training calendar for weeks, months.  Some of us spend more time rehabbing and cross-training than actually doing our sport. 
So what is missing?
The endurance athlete’s body can be seen as a marriage of two inter-reliant types of components: the mechanical—muscle, cartilage, and bone; and the physiological—heart, lungs, and blood vessels.  The mechanical components are responsible for forward propulsion, while the physiological components serve as the engine that drives that propulsion.  Fortunately, it is much harder to injure or overuse most of our physiological workings.  I’ve yet to hear anyone say “Man, I think I strained my capillaries on that last interval.”  We all are physiologically capable of lacing up and hammering hard ten-milers a couple of days in a row, maybe even three.  But your achilles tendon isn’t.  Or maybe it’s your hamstring.  Either way the weak link is bound to be muscle, tendon, or bone, not pericardium.
The mechanical components of our bodies take much longer to respond to the cycle of stress and recovery than do the physiological.  What then, can we do to bring our soft tissue and bone to the same level of fitness as our heart and lungs?  What, as I asked earlier, is missing?
A balanced, periodized general strength program.  Resistance training is the best way to improve the quality and strength of the body’s mechanical systems.  Think of it as insurance against injury.  A good strength program will weed out inefficiencies and target imbalances, raising the durability of the athlete.
There are those coaches or athletes who claim that strength training is unnecessary for endurance athletes because it makes them “bulky” or is just a waste of time.  We wont address the first myth (protein turnover is too high for much hypertrophy), but would counter the second by saying that although general strength training isn’t sport-specific, it allows the endurance athlete to spend more time training in a sport specific way by preventing injury.  If the hamstrings and calves are well-conditioned through eccentric strengthening, then risk of hamstring strains and achilles tendonitis drops dramatically.  If the four quadriceps and three gluteals are strong and the motor programming and coordination to use them well has been trained, then patellar tendonitis will often subside and go away all-together.
To recap, non-sport-specific strength training helps endurance athletes by allowing them to stay injury free and thus handle a greater load of endurance-specific training.  We must keep our mechanical systems two steps ahead of the physiological systems, and strength training is the best way to do this.  Part II of this article will discuss strength training as it affects the primary determinants of distance running performance.
*A couple examples of professional coaches and collegiate runners who utilize general strength training.  
Cavanagh PR, Kram R. Mechanical and muscular factors affecting the efficiency of human movement.
Med Sci Sports Exercise 1985; 17 (3): 326-31
Dolezal BA, Potteiger JA. Resistance training for endurance runners during the off-season. Strength Cond 1986; 18 (3): 7-10
Rutherford OM, Greig CA, Sargeant AJ, et al. Strength training and power output: transference effects in the human quadriceps muscle.
J Sports Sci 1986; 4: 101-7
Tanaka H, Swensen T. Impact of resistance training on endur- ance: a new form of cross training? Sports Med 1998; 25 (3): 191-200
Paavolainen LM, Nummela AT, Rusko HK. Neuromuscular characteristics and muscle power as determinants of 5-km running performance.
Med Sci Sports Exerc 1999; 31 (1): 124-30

Winter Nutrition

By Sarah Schutzberger, RD, CSO, Nutrition Specialist

Why am I hungrier in the colder weather? It’s common to get the munchies when the temperature drops. Eating is one way that your body can warm itself. Remember the definition of calories is energy given off as heat. So when you’re eating, you are providing your body with “heat”. Now is it starting to make sense?
To stay warm doesn’t mean you need to load up on the calories. However, if you start shivering, by all means grab a snack. (Shivering can burn up to 400 calories an hour.) But for those who enjoy exercising outside, this is one way to give your calorie burn a boost. According to experts, your body burns up to 13 percent more calories in colder conditions. For instance, if you burn 500 calories during your morning run in the spring, you can expect to burn about an additional 65 calories in the cold.
To help control your cravings during chilly weather and workouts, dress warmly, spread your meals evenly throughout the day, hydrate, and remember to eat before and after your workout.

Thank You

By Chris Ecklund,MA, CSCS

The Thanksgiving season has become one of my favorite holidays and times of year. The older I’ve gotten, the more I’ve realized how meaningful, timely and important it has become in my life. I could most likely go on and on enumerating the reasons, but let me simply point out a few:
1.     It reminds me to be Thankful: simple I know, but I am not, by nature, a grateful person.  I’ve been around those people…I love being around those people.  I’m just not one of them.  It’s something I have to work at, and having this holiday helps put things in perspective every year.  I have so much to be thankful for, it’s absolutely silly if ever there is a day or time when I should lose sight of that.
2.     It’s not, as of yet, an overly consumerized (can I use that a word?) holiday.  I LOVE the true meaning of Christmas but struggle every year as it gets more and more centered on buying (as is evidenced by the Christmas décor on sale long before Thanksgiving nowadays). 
3.     I get to be with my family.  I have a great family.  I’m blessed.  It’s a gift.
4.     Prevail Conditioning Performance Center opened right after Thanksgiving 2 years ago.  It is another reason for thanksgiving and affords me an opportunity to thank those who invested so much in Prevail as well as those we’ve been blessed to serve.
So let me use this as a segue to do exactly that. 
It is, of course, difficult to include everyone who has been a part of the process or contributed in some fashion to what Prevail is and what it has become.  So let me apologize at the outset to those I may leave off or miss by name and please know that you are appreciated.
I must start with my team.  Wow.  What an outstanding group of people.  So many trials and struggles come with the territory of a new business.  And, in training/fitness/wellness there is typically a high attrition rate.  In the midst of these realities, my team has simply been…well…that.  An amazing team.  Kim Clark, Juliann Boubel, Will Hughes; you have all been with me since the beginning and such a huge blessing to myself and become part of my family. 
Jade Mundell, our Office Manager, you have been such a tremendous value to us this past year.  Providing balance to my skewed and crazy personality, offering wonderful insight and organization and taking us to a new level of administration. 
Certainly I am so encouraged and excited about our new additions this year and what lies ahead for what is (in my humble opinion) Santa Barbara’s top Performance and Fitness Center.  With the addition of …
Two of Santa Barbara’s top Physical Therapists: Tom Walters and Brook Phillips Santa Barbara’s best Athletic Trainer:  Diana Palmer
A Registered Sports Dietitian: Sarah Schutzberger
Long time friend and top-notch strength coach: Peter Blumert
One of Westmont’s best and brightest recent Kinesiology grads: Jacob Goodin
And A Wonderful Massage Therapist: Larry Rodriguez.
…Prevail Conditioning is poised to offer the Santa Barbara area the highest level of holistic performance and fitness that has ever been offered.  I am so thankful for the new members of our team over the past year.  It is not often you come across a group so willing to invest themselves into a team.  What a blessing and pleasure it has been (and continues to be) to work with this group of people.
Finally those that have done all the “extras” for Prevail.  Emily Canfield is our amazing social networking guru so many have benefited from (all our Facebook and Twitter friends).  She has done so much more as well and donated every bit of her time so graciously.  My business Advisers, Fred Fisher and Peter Miko…you continue to offer wisdom that I am forever grateful for.  “Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed.” (Proverbs 15:22)  I hold this Proverb dearly.  To my dear friends and prayer warriors (including my small group and homegroup), thank you for your ever-present battle and support through prayer.  It has been immeasurably valuable. 
And to my mom and dad (Harry and Kathy Ecklund) and my sister and family (Michelle and Chris Edwards, Kyle and Kelly), your support in every way imaginable has sustained me.  I am so blessed to be part of such a wonderful family that loves and cares deeply for one another.
And most importantly, I am thankful to God and for the continued support, guidance and direction that He has granted for this ministry of Prevail Conditioning.  Simply stated, without His direction I would have never opened Prevail Conditioning. 
Thanks as well or our wonderful clients and patrons.  We are so grateful for the opportunity to serve you and be a part of your lives and goals of performance and wellness. 

Low Back Pain: When is Medical Imaging Necessary?

By:  Tom Walters, DPT, OCS, CSCS

Are you now or have you experienced low back pain (LBP) in the past?  I would feel fairly confident in betting that the majority of people reading this article would answer “yes”.  In fact, a recent article from the Journal of Sports & Orthopaedic Physical Therapy stated that 25% of Americans reported having LBP for at least one full day in the last three months.1  LBP is the most frequent problem managed by physical therapists and accounts for 2% of all physician office visits. 1  In 2005, approximately 85.9 billion was spent in the United States alone to manage this disorder. 1  These facts raise many questions about how LBP is managed within our healthcare system and leads one to wonder if there might be a better way.
Diagnostic imaging (MRI, CT scan, X-ray) is often a major part of the clinical examination and is commonly used to determine the most appropriate course of treatment for many disorders.  LBP is no different as many individuals suffering from this complaint undergo imaging studies such as MRIs and X-rays.  Being that these tests can be very expensive and expose the patient to varying amounts of radiation, one must ask, when are these tests appropriate.  In 2007, The American College of Physicians and The American Pain Society published guidelines related to the appropriate use of diagnostic imaging.  These guidelines stated:
  1. Clinicians should not routinely obtain imaging or other diagnostic tests in patients with nonspecific low back pain. 
  2. Clinicians should perform diagnostic imaging and testing for patients with low back pain when severe or progressive neurologic deficits are present or when serious underlying conditions are suspected. 
  3. Clinicians should evaluate patients with persistent low back pain and signs and symptoms of radiculopathy or spinal stenosis with MRI (preferred) or CT scan, only if they are candidates for surgery or epidural steroid injection.
Even with these guidelines, medical imaging continues to be ordered inappropriately.  The Journal of the American College of Radiology recently published an article that reported that 26% of all medical images ordered secondary to LBP were inappropriate. 
So, what’s the big deal, you might ask.  Well, besides exposure to potentially harmful doses of radiation and the costs associated with excessive ordering of medical imaging, these tests can be detrimental in other ways.  In cases where medical imaging was not necessary, but was ordered anyway, studies have shown that simply knowing the results of such a test can negatively affect a patient’s recovery.  In one study by Ash and colleagues, 246 patients with LBP and/or sciatica underwent MRIs and were randomly split in to two groups.  The first group received the results of the MRI, whereas, the second did not.  At a 1-year follow-up, both groups showed similar clinical outcomes, but the group that had received the results of the MRI demonstrated significantly lower values of self-rated general health.  As a physical therapist, I see this in action on a daily basis.  Patients are constantly concerned about the results of their diagnostic imaging studies and often have a difficult time getting past these findings.  In these cases, much of the physical therapist’s duty is to explain to the patient that the results of a diagnostic imaging study do not predict the level of severity of a problem or describe which tissue is causing the symptoms.
Take home message:  Medical imaging is without a doubt a valuable tool in the diagnosis of low back pain, when ordered appropriately.  However, when ordered inappropriately, diagnostic imaging can become a burden on the healthcare system and can negatively affect an individual’s perception of their overall health.  The results of such tests must be taken with a grain of salt, as imaging findings do not determine the extent of pain or physical limitation that an individual may experience.  The results of medical imaging represent a single point in time and in no way predict permanent impairment or disability.
1.  Flynn T, Smith B, Chou R. Appropriate Use of Diagnostic Imaging in Low Back Pain: A Reminder That Unnecessary Imaging May Do as Much Harm as Good. Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy. 2011;41:838-846.

Herbal Cleanse Muffins

If you struggle to drink the cleanse, here is a great muffin recipe that will get you the same results:

6 packages Fiber (from box)
1 3/4 cup Whole Wheat flour
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
Dash of nutmeg
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
Mix dry ingredients together.
1/3 cup honey
1 cup applesauce- the kind without sugar added
2 egg whites
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup soy milk- can substitute milk
Stir this into the dry ingredients and blend together.
FOLD IN 1 large chopped apple. Spoon into muffin tin sprayed with non-stick spray. This makes 12 muffins, and you may pile the batter up as they do not raise much.
Bake at 350 for about 20-30 minutes.
Cool muffins.
Place 6 muffins in bag and freeze for the last 3 days of your Herbal Cleanse.
Eat 2 muffins a day for the first three days and 2 muffins a day for the last 3 days.


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