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WELCOME JOANNA AMSTEVEEN, MS, RD, CSSN, LDN

WELCOME JOANNA AMSTEVEEN, MS, RD, CSSN, LDN

Joanna Amstelveen and WPT are partnering to offer a full service solution for clients and athletes to have the elite expertise in training and nutrition to help maximize fitness and performance.

It is safe to say that nutrition plays a vital role in your body composition goals, as well as your performance goals. How you eat, train, and recover are the determining factors for your success.

With so much misinformation out on how to diet, and “what you should be eating”, it is easy to get lost in the noise. Education is key.

This is where Joanna comes in.

A former FIU classmate who currently resides in North Carolina, Joanna’s extensive experience and education in nutrition and sport has helped catapult her into a TRUE nutrition expert and powerful resource.

We will be partnering virtually through the WPT training app where, as well as virtual workshops, blogs, scheduled Q and A sessions for YOU, and extending her services to WPT clients and athletes as needed.

We are very excited about this step and what the future holds.

Joanna Amstelveen bio:

Joanna Amstelveen is originally from Jacksonville Florida where her family still resides. After obtaining her Bachelors of Science Degree in Dietetics and Nutrition from Florida International University in Miami, Florida, Joanna was hand selected for one of two available positions within the United States Air Force Dietetic Internship Consortium. This two-year program provided Joanna with not only her required Dietetic Internship, but allowed her to receive her Masters of Science Degree in Nutrition from Baylor University. Her dietetic internship provided her with a vast range of dietetic experiences while working at Brooke Army Medical Center, San Antonio Texas, the Army’s largest medical center. After her internship, Joanna worked as a Registered Dietitian (RD) at the outpatient clinic and was given the opportunity to run with the Fort Sam Houston Army 10 Miler team in Washington, D.C. As a result of her hard work and dedication, Joanna was later promoted to Assistant Chief of Clinical Nutrition of a 320-bed hospital, where she oversaw 6 civilian and 1 military RD. As her career progressed, she became Flight Commander of the Nutritional Medicine Flight and was responsible for 41 enlisted members and 1 newly commissioned officer.

After Texas, Joanna began working as the Nutrition Program Manager at Spangdahlem Air Base in Germany where she was the only dietitian on base. During this time, Joanna worked with the community to promote healthy eating on base while seeing patients individually. She also completed regular segments on the Air Force Radio to promote nutrition and health. Joanna provided one-on-one counseling, nutrition education and group classes to military members and beneficiaries in the areas of weight loss, weight gain, picky eating, fad diets, performance nutrition, energy drinks and caffeine, and supplements. In February 2018, she passed the exam to obtain her board certification as a sports dietitian. From Germany, Joanna moved with her husband to Fort Bragg, NC where she currently resides.

 

As an Air Force veteran and Army wife, Joanna has a passion for helping people eat well and feel their best. She opened a private practice in September 2019 to provide individual counseling and group education to children and adults. Joanna provides nutrition education on many topics to include weight loss or gain, child nutrition, vegetarian or vegan nutrition and specializes in performance nutrition as a Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics (CSSD).

Thank you for partnering with us and offering your expertise in nutrition and health.

 


5 Tips to Help Beat Sugar Cravings (Video)

5 Tips to Help Beat Sugar Cravings (Video)

We all get them at some point (at least us normal people).

You all of a sudden crave chocolate, or that piece of leftover cake, heck maybe even a pack of sour skittles or a bowl of cinnamon toast crunch. Ok that’s me.

Either way it happens, and there are ways to better manage it.

Check out the 5 pieces of advice in this short info video on how you can help to overcome your sugar cravings.

 

 


The Kiro Core: A Powerful Tool to Create Better Athletes

The Kiro Core: A Powerful Tool to Create Better Athletes

Chances are, when you think of the words “Core Training” one of the first thoughts that come to mind is sit ups and planks.

Not bad exercises to do to “strengthen” your core, but definitely not the only exercises for “core” training. These focus on just a single aspect of true “core”strength.

On that note, let me briefly explain why I use “” around the word “core”.

Most people link “core” with having a 6-pack, assuming that if you actually have a 6-pack, you must be strong in that area.

On that same token, if you ask 10 people as to what constitutes the core, you may actually get 10 different answers (ok maybe 2-3 answers will be the same), with people mainly insinuating that strong abs equals a strong core.

While the simplicity of seeing abs makes for a convenient answer, the core runs deeper than this and includes an intricate network of muscles that work in sync to create a strong body and movement.

The core moves laterally, flexes and extends forward and backward respectively, and also rotates.

Each of these motions involve more than just abs. They include lower back, hip, glute, obliques, and you can even say quad and hamstrings to an extent.

Hence, when I put “core” in “”, I’m just trying to simplify and use a term commonly used amongst the populace.

In Comes the Kiro Core

 

Good friends Kika and Roberto Mela of Mela Therapeutics located in South Florida are 2 of the top Sports Therapists in the entire country.

Having extensive experience working with multiple 1st round NFL drafts picks (every year might I add), to elite athletes in the NBA, NHL, MLB, MMA, Tennis, Kika and Roberto are experts in their field, applying precision techniques to recalibrate the body, get muscles innervated and firing correctly, and position athletes to perform at their peak.

Through years of working with elite athletes and clients, the Melas recognized a need in performance world for a versatile tool that could better isolate core motions and apply a dynamic resistance throughout the multiple planes of motion.

The goal was to also be able to train these motions without compromising spinal and joint integrity, and not veer too far from actual human and elite athlete movements, like traditional “core” exercises can sometimes do.

Hence, they invent the Kiro Core Harness.

Designed to specifically provide multiple levels and angles of resistance for the core, and scapula, it pinpoints the angles and movements necessary for true core strength and movement. With sliding rings built in, the different levels of attachment allow increased resistances from several angles.

We use the Kiro Harness for general strength training, speed training, rehab and spinal stability strengthening, football and baseball specific skill development, rotational strength for throwers, core endurance through pulling a sled at various angles to challenge spinal erecters and rotators (as seen in the above image), and also for our “older” population of clients needing to stay strong without overdoing it.

Because the harness is able to engage more muscles while moving in different directions and provide rotational resistance, you are able to create stronger, more efficient movement at the trunk and spine.

For someone coming back from an injury, the harness allows us to train the same muscles used to sprint, without actually sprinting, positioning the athlete for a stronger return to play once medically cleared.

This is actually a great tool if you are a practitioner, chiropractor, or sports therapist looking for a solution for patients to get stronger without overloading the joints.

Below are 5 Kiro Core exercises we use for our athletes and clients.

1.) Trunk Rotation:

The purpose is to Train the back rotator and back extensors. Note her controlled movement. A slower eccentric, isometric, and concentric motion allows for better control and strength. Even though not actually running, we are training the same muscles involved in transferring forces while running. Great for ANY fitness or athletic level.

2.) D Line Get Offs

A more advanced and specific movement here. Applying an anti rotational concept to the defensive end position, creating core resistance while taking off. Very much applicable for this specific athlete as he must bend, turn, and RESIST getting turned all while moving upfield. The intention is to increase the threshold of the rotators in game situations, and increase punching power.

 

3.) Anti Rotational Split Jumps

Applying the same concept here of resisting rotation, keeping stable at the trunk while performing explosive split jumps. Here there is a focus on the erectors and rotators. While this movement is not specific to a particular sport, there are multiple spors that involve hip separation, rapid deceleration and reacceleration. Training the core to remain stable during such movement allows for more efficient movement into and out of these positions. For this particular drill, there is also an endurance component involved to increase work capacity over time.

 

4.) Tempo March

Note here the controlled limb speed. The intent here is train single leg strength at the hip, glute, ankle, and knee while resisting rotational forces. In this case we are facing away from the resistance, and targeting more the rotating abdominal. Client here is coming off of 2 knee replacements, and gaining movement integrity is a key goal.

5.) Scapular Elevation

Here the empahsis is to elevate and depress the scapulars of the shoulder. Note that since it is hooked to a single side, we are also working anti rotational forces. Great exercise to strengthen the shoulder for rehab, and also for throwing athletes to better stabilize the shoulder and rotators.

We typically complex these exercises as a part of a strength or power circuit, or perform a Kiro Core Complex to prep the trunk for an intense loaded exercise.

******

Whether a Lacrosse player, a sprinter, a lacrosse player TRYING to sprint faster, a baseball athlete wanting to increase throwing speed, a basketball athlete, football athlete, a tennis player trying to improve your serve, or just someone wanting to be stronger and reduce pain, the Kiro Core Harness is a great tool to have in your arsenal to help improve theses areas.

With so many intricacies of movement involved in motions that we do on a daily basis, and that athletes do day in and day out, having a way to better specify angles of resistance to increase strength and efficiency of core motion is a game changer.

Great work Kika and Roberto!


32 Quick Things You Should Know About Your Body, Water, and Staying Hyrdated

32 Quick Things You Should Know About Your Body, Water, and Staying Hyrdated

You have probably heard that it is very important to stay hydrated. Whether you exercise strenuously or not, keeping fluid in your body at all times is crucial for your everyday performance and function.

Here are some interesting facts that will give you some insight on some of the roles water plays in AND for your body:

  1.  75% of people are chrinically dehydrated
  2. Humans are made up of about 60% of water
  3. Fat tissues are around 25% water
  4. Brain and Muscle tissue are 75% water
  5. Blood is around 83% water
  6. Eyes are about 95%
  7. Water in the body is responsible for transporting and dissolving substances, temperature regulation, lubricating tissues, starting chemical reactions, provides minerals
  8. We get our fluids from food, drink, and also through our skin
  9. On average we get about 4 cups of water from the food we eat
  10. We crave water after eating something salty
  11. We crave water after drinking alcohol
  12. There is a slight lag time between losing fluid and being thirsty
  13. The average adult needs about 12 cups of water (minus 4 since it comes from food)
  14. Babies and children dehydrate faster than adults
  15. Larger people require more water
  16. If you are sick, you need more water and electrolyte replenishment
  17. If you exercise or train hard, you will need up to 24 cups of water per day
  18. The general rule of thumb for hydration is to drink 30-40 mL of water for every kilogram of body weight
  19. We lose .4-.5 mL of water per kilogram of bodyweight through our skin daily
  20. We lose about .5-2 mL of water per kilogram of bodyweight through sweating during exercise
  21. We lose water through feces and urine
  22. Taking in more water than we are losing is called hyponatremia
  23. Losing as little as .5% of water during exercise puts a strain on the heart
  24. Losing 1% reduces aerobic endurance
  25. Losing 3% reduces muscular endurance
  26. When you’ve reached 4% water loss during exercise, you’ve reduced muscle strength, reduced motor skills, and face heat cramps
  27. 5% water loss you face heat exhaustion, cramping, and fatigue, reduced mental capacity
  28. At 6% water loss, you face physical exhaustion, heat stroke and coma
  29. Anywhere over 10-20%, facing death
  30.  Allergies and asthma can be linked to dehydration
  31. We don’t usually notice thirst until about 1-2% of body water is lost
  32. We lose more water when we eat more protein through urea (byproduct of protein break down) removal.

How much water are you drinking daily?


Food for Thought...and Injury

Food for Thought…and Injury

Injuries happen. It is one of those things in life that is inevitable.

You could be a football player who tears his ACL during a practice, OR you could be corporate employee who blows his ankle out going up the stairs while headed in the office.

It happens.

Now, the obvious thing to do is get the injury medically treated as fast as possible.

You have probably heard of the term R.I.C.E. (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation)?

This strategy is put in place to help the affected area heal more quickly.

Your doctor might give you some meds to take to reduce inflammation depending on how severe the injury, but in the end its about taking measures to ensure that you heal as quickly and efficiently as possible.

But have you ever thought if you should be eating different when overcoming an injury?

One overlooked component to speeding up the healing process of an injury is your diet.

Nutrients play a critical role at the cellular level, and at a point and time where new cells are being formed to help repair damaged tissues, muscles, or ligaments, the production quality of those cells can make a difference in the healing process.

The vitamins, minerals, and proteins from food will help deliver and enhance healing.

With that said, there are 6 things to remember when recovering from an injury, but before delving in, here are 3 stages that happen within the body when an injury occurs:

Step 1: Inflammation.

This is stimulated by the increase of movement of inflammatory and immune chemicals into the injured areas. It is the first step in the process for removing damaged cells. This is the part of the injury process where swelling, pain, redness, and even heat to the affected area occur.

Step 2: Proliferation

In this stage, most of the damaged tissues and cells will have been removed from the injury site, and new blood vessels have developed.

This allows oxygen and nutrients to start getting through again, while proteins like fibroblasts and collagen are laid down to develop new tissues (scar tissue).

The scar tissue will contract and shorten as time goes, ultimately reducing the size of the injury.

Step 3: Remodeling

In this stage, old collagen is slowly removed, new collagen begins to get laid down in its place becoming a permanent part of the new structure.

It’s important to highlight what happens during an injury so you can get a better understanding of what happens at a cellular level and understand that WHAT and HOW you eat can affect it.

Proper eating supports:

-Inflammation control

-Immune function

-Repair and rebuilding

Here are 6 nutritional steps you can take if you are going through a significant injury that will help you heal more efficiently, potentially faster, and come back stronger than before.

1.) Delay taking pain relievers (unless otherwise directed) for 3-5 days after an injury and avoid anti-inflammatories for the first 1-2 days. Medicines like Advil, Ibuprofen, Tylenol and other anti-inflammatory drugs can reduce pain and swelling, but also slow down healing.

2.) Eat more anti-inflammatory fats. The fat can influence recovery and help manage inflammation. Naturally occurring fats like Omega-3 fatty acids found in fish, flax, chia, hemp are the most ideal place

3.) Reduce processed carbohydrates. Refined carbs and sugars can increase inflammation and slow down the healing process.

4.) Increase your fruit and vegetable intake. Eat 1-2 servings of each at every meal. Aim for fruits and veggies that are rich in Vitamins A (carrots, sweet potato spinach), Vitamin C (broccoli, oranges, berries, bell pepper), Zinc (mushrooms, spinach, baked beans). Fruits and veggies contain the nutrients that will ultimately get delivered to the new tissues.

5.)Increase protein. Make a super shake to help you get more if you can’t or don’t have the necessary time to prepare the foods that contain it. Make sure if you use a protein powder, that it is high quality and well researched. Here is what I recommend.

6.) Take a multivitamin and mineral support that contains Vitamins A, D, C, copper, and zinc. The Vitamin A supports early inflammation during injury, helps reverse post-injury immune suppression, and aids in collagen formation. Studies have shown that collagen cross linkage is stronger with Vitamin A supplementation and repair is quicker.

As you can see, treating an injury is more than about rest and icing the area (even though it certainly helps if needed). What you eat plays an important role in the healing process, even to the point that if not done well, can slow the process down.

Solid nutrition practice will help not only if you are injury free and need want to be healthy, but also when you are overcoming injury. So parallel to the medical treatment that you undergo for your injury, whether just a small band aid, or a cast post-surgery, make sure to take the nutritional measures necessary to help you come back even stronger.

And if you feel like you aren’t getting the nutrients necessary, or struggle with eating your fruits and vegetables like you should, let’s hop on a short call and see how we can help.

 


In Season Training: Undervalued and Misunderstood?

In Season Training: Undervalued and Misunderstood?

 

“The benefits of strength to athletic performance are experienced as long as the neuromuscular system maintains the cellular adaptations induced by training”

There are 3 Phases to an annual cycle for any athlete:

Off season. Pre season. In season.

No matter when the actual season is for the sport, the in season performance is a direct result of preparation during the “off season” and the “pre season”.

Athletes who partake in a well-structured periodized strength program during off season can spend months accruing the required strength and foundation to maximize their performance during the actual season.

However, no matter how long an athlete prepares for the season, research shows that all strength and power gains can start to diminish in a matter of 2 weeks if strength training ceases.

When training stops, the newly developed contractile properties of muscles also start to diminish.

Unfortunately, as the season approaches, there is a significant portion of coaches and parents alike who tend to overlook the importance of strength maintenance mainly because 100% of the focus shifts towards only practice and games.

The bottom line is that a lack of strength training will cause a decrease in performance as the season progresses.

During the early part of the season, while strength training is still in effect, athletes will perform as expected. However a lack thereof of training reduces the muscles ability to powerfully contract, negatively affecting performance as the season progresses.

A Break Down On The Necessity Of Strength

First and foremost, do not confuse “strength” with maxing out everyday in the weight room pushing as much weight as possible.

Muscle has certain contractile properties that can and should be enhanced through proper training methods. Strength is involved in developing these properties and enhancing the nervous system to help fire muscles and improve intramuscular and intermuscular coordination.

In terms of sports where power and or speed, even muscular endurance are involved, strength is the foundation as power is directly proportional to strength. Speed is directly proportional to power. And for sports that involve extended OR intermittent spurts of speed and power, strength is the ultimate determinant.

Increased strength means more applied force, which is a characteristic necessary in the majority of sports.

A solid strength base prepares the body for the demands of the season.

And a season that last for several months, especially on sports where competitions occur multiple times per week, like Lacrosse, in season training is especially important, even if done 1-2 times per week.

In season training is about maintaining the strength, speed, and power attained during the offseason.

The Misperception

Unfortunately, the common perception of training during the season, especially at the high school level, is that it will be too much for the athlete to handle with the demands of the sport.

However the more appropriate concern should be “How can the athlete maintain what they worked so hard to gain, throughout a 3-5 month long season?”

While being concerned with the physiological and psychological loads of a young athlete does have merit, this becomes less worrisome so long as the strength program is well planned and understood. If it is, not only is the athlete not overwhelmed, but he or she is stronger and more powerful throughout the season, helping to have an edge over competition as well as reducing risk of injury*

*there is bigger potential for injury without in season training as a lack of stimulation for muscles can cause them to shut down faster from fatigue which can lead to pulls, strains, even tendons strains or tears

Training Variables to Consider

Obviously, the structure of inseason training varies from preseason and offseason training by a few ways:

1.) Intensity

2.) Volume

3.) Exercise Selection

4.) Session Duration

The intensity, or resistance used during the season to maximize performance during the season can be reduced up to 60 percent or even more depending on sport, the athlete, and the spread of matches.

The volume, or the amount of reps performed should also be reduced in order maintain strength, without fatiguing the athlete.

Intensity and volume can undulate depending on how much time off and feedback from the athlete. For example, a day or two should be taken off after a game, with a moderate intense session happening the furthest from the match, and a lesser intense one days before.

It is also important to uses exercises that train the prime movers of the sport as they are heavily utilized and need to fire accordingly to stay strong throughout the season.

Session length should also be reasonable so as to not tire the athlete and allow enough time for recovery.

Conclusion.

“The longer the competitive phase is, the more important it is to maintain power”

As mentioned earlier, power, speed endurance, and agility are all proportional to strength.

Strength gains can be lost in a matter of weeks if not maintained properly or training completely ceases. If strength decreases, then so do the aforementioned qualities of speed and power which are tantamount during the season.

The saying goes that an athlete does not get stronger or faster playing sport, they get stronger and faster preparing for it.

And to go even deeper, those gains are only maintained through continuous, WELL PLANNED training.

If the goal is superior performance, then essentially it is contradictory to completely cease training during the season, and compromise any gains made previous to the season.

Peak performance means using a proper training strategy to bring out the absolute best in the athlete throughout the entire year.


5 Tips For Elite Athletes Trying to Balance School, Sports, and Training

5 Tips For Elite Athletes Trying to Balance School, Sports, and Training

You are a junior or a senior in high school.

You kept hearing all throughout your freshman and sophomore year that your junior year is supposed to be the most academically challenging year of your high school career.

You are pretty “advanced” in school, and are taking multiple AP classes, on top of a rigorous practice schedule that lasts several hours per day.

Classes are loaded, you have tests and assignments it seems every other week big with assignments due.

As soon as school is done, now it’s time for a practice and the coach expects you to be at the top of your game every single day. You are already beat from school, you may have some great practices, but you have to pull every ounce of your energy to make it happen.

After an hours long practice, now you must go home, and study for a few more hours for that AP exam coming up, keeping you well up past midnight, only getting a few hours of sleep only to repeat the cycle the next day.

You feel burned out.

Sound familiar?

Here are few tips to help you be at your strongest mentally and physically during the process:

1.) Eat Breakfast: For some reason or another, a lot of teenagers forgo breakfast, starting the day already on a depleted energy system. DON’T DO THIS! Your brain is a muscle that requires that energy to be as efficient as possible. On an empty stomach, you are not as mentally sharp. Even if it is something like a yogurt, granola, trail mix, fruit, make sure to eat something before starting the day so you can be sharp for the test, and sustain energy that will last you until your practice

2.) Maximize your Sleep: Yes not every night you will be able to get in bed at a decent time. When you do finally hit the hay, make every hour count. One way to do that is to eliminate screen time at least 30 minutes prior to bed. This way, you won’t stimulate your brain as much, and you can get to sleep faster, AND get into a deeper sleep, which promotes better restorative sleep.

3.) Increase Protein intake: Going to school, learning, test anxiety, stress, practice, working out, all put wear and tear on the body. Your muscles get broken down faster than they are getting built up. A lack of protein in the body will slow down the recovery process. Increasing protein intake through foods, or additional supplementation will aid, even speed up the recovery process. Eat more lean meats, take a high grade, research backed quality protein throughout the days. Specifically, immediately after intense activities like practice and or workouts.

4.) HYDRATE!!! Do not forget to nourish your body with it’s most basic need. Water. You might not feel it throughout the day, but when you are not drinking enough water, muscle performance starts to decrease. In a sense, when you are NOT hydrating, you are dehydrating yourself. This will affect your physical and mental performance. Keep a bottle with you throughout the day and set reminders to drink at set times. Make sure to be replenished before practice and immediately after.

5.) WORKOUT: Even if it is for only 20 minutes, try and get in some form of strength training. Stress from school and practice increases hormonal activities that break down muscle strength. Resistance training will not only slow down the process but MAKE you stronger. This should be a goal especially of you have maintain a high performance for sports as well. Try to make time for it. You will unfortunately feel the effects of NOT doing it once your season hits, and you aren’t able to maintain high performance throughout the season. Make sure to follow a structured system that progressively builds you up rather break you down EVERY time.

Try implementing these 5 strategies in your daily or weekly regimen so that you can maintain peak performance in the classroom, AND on the field without feeling worn down all the time because of a demanding high school schedule. If you would like additional specific advice from me, I’d love to help. Let’s set up a short call here and hop on the phone, and I will answer your questions.


Are Kids Specializing in Sports Too Early?

Are Kids Specializing in Sports Too Early?

Today’s sports are more competitive than ever, with youth athletes devoting their lives to a sport as young as 5 years old, on occasion with pressure from parents.

But does specializing this early in a sport give a child a competitive advantage in both the short and long term?

The latest research proves that there is more downside than upside.

The Consequence of Specializing Too Early

Even though focusing on a single sport develops the skills, coordination, and sport specific conditioning for doing well in that sport in the short term, the athlete is limited in building transferable sport skills.

Increasing transferable sport skills allows the athlete to participate in a variety of sporting and social situations which increase the likelihood they will have a positive experience in their sport life according the Long Term Athlete Development Principles.

Some of the negative consequences of specializing are overuse injuries and chronic injuries such as rotator cuff injuries in throwing sports, tennis elbow, stress fractures, and acl injuries.

From a psychological standpoint, young athletes face pressure from coaches, parents, and themselves, stressing themselves to always do well and emotionally devastated if they fail having to face their parents and coaches.

They may become obsessed with just winning and overly frustrated when they don’t (even though who wants to be satisfied with losing.)

This typically leads to an unbalanced lifestyle in which social and personal life is compromised for the sake of competition, inevitably detracting the ability to build the true social skills necessary in building a successful life outside of sports.

“Specialization in one sport leads to a progressive loss of freedom in exchange for increased excellence and precision”

Ultimately, specializing in sport too early that requires a year round commitment can lead to psychological burnout.

Such busy lives can make a youth athlete feel as if they have no control over their own lives, which can lead to depression, chronic fatigue, and even eating disorders.

The initial intention of trying to create a high caliber athlete can ironically lead to an athlete who burns out and drops out due to the anxiety.

Specializing at the Right Time

A study conducted by Naker, Côté, and Abernathy (2003) demonstrated the importance of youth athletes playing multiple sports.

The finding showed a positive correlation between athletes who played multiple sports growing up and their chances of succeeding and becoming an elite athlete.

This is most likely due the development of a broader range of movement skills and decision making skills.

Youth athletes who try a number of different sports and specialize at an older age reach higher performance levels than those who specialize too early.

They are less likely to burn out and not develop the perfectionist mentality typical of early specialization.

It should be understood that unless a sport like gymnastics that does require early specialization, committing to just a single sport too early is not the ultimate determinant of athletic success.

Developing physical literacy and specializing at the right time is.

It is unfortunate that younger athletes face such pressures. It is vital that parents coaches and even the athlete is aware of the consequences both mentally and physically of committing to a single sport to early.


Coach Willis Invited to Meet the Hungarian National Football Team

Coach Willis Invited to Meet the Hungarian National Football Team

While I was recently on vacation in Hungary with family, I had a tremendous opportunity to meet the Hungarian football team that will represent the entire country in next year’s International tournament, where they will face teams from the USA, Mexico, Canada, and several others.

In the midst of their first week of training camp, I got to meet the coaches, put the entire team through several warm up drills, look on as they executed practice and offer some insight to the coaches and players as needed, and share some words about my personal journey with football and inspire some of the players.

I was literally honored to have been invited to meet the team and even more impressed at the culture of football that they are building not only in that city but in the country. American football is not necessarily the most watched sport there, but they are building a great foundation for the future. I look forward to a continued relationship with the coaches, team, and staff, and bringing the WPT philosophy global.

I apologize for the vertical horizontal video 🙂

 

 

 


Is Stretching Really Good Before Working Out?

Is Stretching Really Good Before Working Out?

We have all experienced at some point tightness. Whether it be from a previous workout that has made you sore, or just naturally lacking “limberness”.

However, for a long time there has been the adage that you should be stretching before workouts, but what you will see most commonly are people holding static stretches before activity as a part of their warmup.

But is this really good?

Before delving into the question it is necessary to get a better understanding of exactly what flexibility means, the different types of flexibility, and the anatomical components that collectively make up flexibility.

The Anatomy

In simple terms, flexibility is the gross range of motion across a joint. However there are multiple factors that contribute to being flexible. One is basic joint mobility which plays a significant role in flexibility.

Joint mobility is heavily dependent on joint capsule integrity and the corresponding ligaments of the capsule.

The capsule surrounds a synovial joint and is comprised of two layers, with the innermost layer being the synovial membrane.

Capsule mobility will adapt based on an individual’s activity and is a necessary response to capacitate the demands of activity, especially for athletes.

Another factor is muscle length and tone. Muscle is a contractile tissue also significantly involved in flexibility.

Within each muscle are sarcomeres that contain proteins called actin and myosin that slide past each other during contraction. Through different chemical reactions, these proteins bind to each other causing contractions and relaxation of the muscle.

Thus, optimal contractile ability ultimately depends on the length-tension relationship of the muscle and muscle cells, including the sarcomeres. The overlap of these protein filaments in a lengthened or shortened state are less efficient than when in mid-range, thus bringing into question the benefits of static stretching before explosive activity.

Another component to flexibility is fascia mobility. The glue that holds all other tissues together, the fascia is made up of adjacent layers of collagen fibers, intertwined with elastic fibers and layered with adipose tissue.

Its composition of collagen and elastic fibers makes it resistant to traction, but adaptable to stretching. Thus fascia is extremely pliable and resistant, and almost inextensible.

This rare physiological makeup makes the fascia interesting in its role in flexibility and the techniques to stretch it as research continues to discover it’s full capabilities.

Anatomically, these factors collectively contribute to overall flexibility.

So Is Flexibility a Benefit To Overall Performance?

Research on this topic has been contradictory with parties divided saying both yes and no.

Some studies have shown that the acute effects of stretching can be detrimental to performance and static stretching can reduce muscle stiffness, reducing its ability to quickly contract.

To better understand, we have to consider the basic physiology of the muscle and the sliding filament theory. This is where actin slides across myosin, grabbing it to create muscular contraction. When the muscle gets to stretched out, those actin fibers get far apart from each other, making it less efficient to grab the myosin filament decreasing the muscles ability to contract.

If a muscles’ contractibility has been compromised, then its strength and power generation potential decreases having a negative impact on performance.

Dynamic vs Static Flexibility

Research has however proven that there is a clear advantage in doing Dynamic stretching versus static stretching before performance and training.

Dynamic stretching involves more movement of joints, muscles, and tendons preparing the body for specific movement as well as elevating internal temperature.

Dynamic, or active stretching has been shown to improve immediate power and agility as long as it is performed within 60 minutes of activity.

Static flexibility (standing still and touching your toes) has been shown to have negative acute effects on performance, but beneficial long term effects on overall flexibility and joint health.

Static, or passive stretching reduces rate of force development by compromising the viscosity of muscle tissue, furthering the argument on its effectiveness immediately to performance.

For this reason it is recommended that static stretches be reserved for post workout cool down and done on off days.

So is flexibility beneficial?

While research is still ongoing, the short answer is yes depending on your lifestyle.

For the active person or athlete, dynamic stretching is more appropriate immediate to performance and activity while passive stretching better for afterwards or off days because of the physiological properties of muscles.

Both provide benefits both short and long term when used accordingly.