What You Have in Common with Professional Athletes

What You Have in Common with Professional Athletes

Decrease the 40 by .25 seconds
Increase the vertical Jump by 7 inches
Add 25 pounds to the bench press or
        5 reps to a 225 lb. bench press
Decrease the Pro Agility by .2 seconds
While those may not be goals you’ve ever aspired to (or even considered)…
You’ve got a lot more in common with
professional athletes than you think!
Professional and amateur athletes often walk through our door looking to maximize performance for their respective sports and reduce their risk of injury to prolong their careers.  While their goals are sound and intentions good, we often find that what they have been doing (or want to do) and what they actually need to do are two very different things. 
We find that time and time again that our professional athletes are masters of hiding their deficiencies through emphasizing their motor genius in other areas.  It takes a trained eye to draw out those movement errors, but they are there in plenty.  Often, their current programs (i.e. Strength Training and Power Training) or desires are leading down a path that is taking them directly away from where they want to go.  Instead of improving performance for the long term and prolonging their careers,
they are literally running or training
themselves into weaker, injured bodies!
Ultimately we have to backpedal a bit and address foundational training concepts and needs as either their foundations have never been formed or have simply been lost following excessive sport specific training methodology. 
Here’s a list of what our Professional athletes often have injuries related to…
*Asymmetries in strength or movement patterns
*Deficiencies with Ankle mobility or flexibility
*Weak or unstable feet
*Weak Hips (glute medius) and Posterior Chain (hamstring and glute maximus)
*Deficiencies in Hip mobility
*Unstable Spines
*Deficiencies in Thoracic (upper back) and Cervical (neck) Spine mobility
*Deficiencies in Scapular and Shoulder Mobility and Stability
*Chronic overuse injuries
…So how does that relate to you?  Guess what injuries our Fitness and Post Rehab clientele have…yep…exactly the same list.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had conversation with our Physical Therapists and we lament how we could literally make a video of the information and education we give our clients related to injury and corrective work needs.  It is the same thing day after day.  It’s the same message day after day.  Pro athlete or CEO or Office Manager. 
How can that be?  

Three Reason:

1.     Societal norms: What text plan are you on?  Unlimited yet?  What I’m saying here is most populations in the U.S. have similar day-to-day activities.  Much of them involving overuse patterns.  Sitting, typing, texting, talking on the phone, reading, looking at a computer screen, driving.  All of these patterns are postural nightmares.
2.     Overuse Patterns:  Your body is a machine.  And though it’s a highly efficient, amazing, adapting machine…it still has similarities to a machine.  One similarity is that it will break.  If you drive your car long enough, it breaks.  If you sit at a computer all day or work on your long jump all day…your body will break.  It just tends to break in different ways based on your activity, lack thereof, or asymmetry.
3.     Weak links:  everyone has them.  For some it’s flexibility or mobility.  For others it’s stability.  For still others it’s simply strength.  The reality is, whatever your weak link is, it will most likely necessitate lifelong attention.  What do most of us do?  Train that weak link until we get good enough to get out of pain and then stop (until the pain comes back, that is).
It’s a process.  There’s no quick fix…just work.  Good quality training programs simply help that work become more and more efficient.
Don’t be discouraged.  Whether Pro Athlete or CEO or Stay at Home Mom…everyone has to deal with this stuff.  Be committed to the plan.  It will take time and effort.  Some times it will be painful, and other times it gets really fun.  But…you will get there.

By:  Chris Ecklund, MA, CSCS, USAW

What is UCAN?

By Peter Blumert, MS, CSCS, USAW

For those of you who have visited Prevail in the past month, you may have noticed a new product in shiny blue and gray packaging next to the Advocare products. Many of have asked, “What is it? What does it do? Would I benefit from it?” Here are the answers.
The primary ingredient in UCAN is cornstarch. If you search your kitchen cabinets, you may find that you already have some. You may be thinking, “I’ll just mix it with my chocolate protein shake and get the same benefits.” I’m sorry to say that the only thing you’ll get is chocolate protein gravy. The difference with the cornstarch in UCAN, superstarch, is that it has been modified through a specific heat-moisture treatment, which alters the way it gets used by the body. Because of it’s unique genetic make-up, superstarch empties from the stomach very quickly, but is absorbed very slowly by the small intestines and then eventually into the bloodstream.
Superstarch was originally created for the treatment of a genetic disorder called glycogen storage disease. People with this disease are not able to convert glycogen (stored sugar) to glucose (usable sugar) in the liver and muscles. If they are not fed a carbohydrate source every two to three hours, they run the risk of becoming hypoglycemic, which if severe enough, could lead to death. The addition of superstarch to their diets allowed for the release of glucose for up to 10 hours. This allowed them, for the first time, to sleep through the night without having to wake up and eat something!
So how can this benefit you? Now we are getting to the good part!
After the extreme success of superstarch, the developers were curious as to what other areas it could be of great benefit too. Due to its slow, sustained release of energy, the arena of athletics seemed like the perfect fit to compare it against other popular sport drinks. The resulting difference on blood sugar after ingestion of maltodextrin (commonly found in popular sports drinks) and superstarch was quite astounding:
Typical results of sports drinks comprised of carbohydrate sources similar to maltodextrin are:
·       High osmotic stress (leaves stomach slowly, higher potential for gastric distress)
·       Rapid increase/rise and decrease/fall of energy levels
·       Prevents fat from being used to recover from exercise
Alternatively, superstarch promotes the following:
·       Low osmotic stress
·       Longer, more evenly sustained energy levels
·       Encourages fat breakdown and usage during recovery from exercise
As you can see, UCAN is a more effective and healthier alternative to typical sports drinks, which contain sugar-based solutions.
In the next couple installments I will address how to best utilize UCAN depending on the duration of your workout or competition, how UCAN can assist in your attainment of better health by helping to improve your body composition, and different recipe ideas to experiment with the superstarch.
Due to UCAN being a starch, it can have a thicker consistency and a little “chalkier” taste than what you may be used too. Blending the product with 16 ounces of water can be used to counteract this potential side effect. For best results, consume UCAN approximately 30 to 45 minutes prior to your activity.
If you are interested in finding out more about Generation UCAN, please refer to the following video or their website below:
http://www.generationucan.com/home.html

Fructose: Friend or foe?

By: AdvoCare Scientific & Medical Advisory Board Members Dr. Leanne M. Redman & Dr. Sid Stohs
 
Fructose, the most common sugar found in fruits, vegetables and other foods, has received a bad rap recently for its association with close relative, high fructose corn syrup (HFCS). Many studies have related high fructose corn syrup with the obesity epidemic in the US as its increasing amount in our diet has been linked to the rise in obesity in adults and children.
HFCS is derived from cornstarch and is a mixture of fructose and glucose. The amount of fructose in HFCS varies from 42 – 55%, the remaining sugar being glucose. Therefore, HFCS has the approximate composition of glucose and fructose that occurs in table sugar (sucrose) which are present in a 50:50 ratio.  HFCS is the major sweetener in our diet and is also a major source of added calories. HFCS is used extensively to sweeten soft drinks, fruit drinks, sports drinks, teas and other processed drinks. It is also used in baked goods, jams, yogurts and other sweetened foods. HFCS is used because of its availability as a liquid and the ability to readily blend with food aand beverage constituents.
A recent paper has been published in the Annuals of Internal Medicine dispelling the myth that fructose in our diet contributes disproportionately to weight gain. In this paper, the results of 31 studies in 637 individuals were combined to determine the role of fructose in the diet on body weight changes.  People in these studies ate diets that were matched for the number of calories but that differed in the amount of fructose. This important paper shows that when the calorie levels of the different diets were identical, there was no preferential effect for fructose to produce weight gain. A careful look at only those studies reporting weight gain with fructose intake identified that these diets while different in the amount of fructose, were not matched for calories. Weight gain occurred with diets that provided more calories, which makes sense. Fructose could not be solely blamed for the weight gain, because the fructose diets provided more calories.
In summary, fructose is a type of sugar that is found widely in fruits and vegetables as well as in HFCS. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010 suggests that sugar, especially refined sugars should be consumed in moderation. Fructose, like all sugars can become a problem for weight gain when it is eaten in excess. So the mere presence of fructose, say as HFCS, does not dictate a health problem or weight gain, but like other sources of calories if it is consumed in excess then issues may arise. Specifically, the consumption of a diet high in fructose promotes the development of three of the clinical features associated with metabolic syndrome, namely, hyperlipidemia (excess fat in the blood), visceral adiposity (abdominal fat) and insulin resistance.

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