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Take Time For You!

Take Time For You!

There is a little phase of training that we always incorporate in our programs for athlete and fitness clients after going through several weeks of “intense” training.

A typical phase may consist of training for maximal strength for 4 weeks at a time, and then on the 5th week, we take what’s called a de-load week, where the focus is on lightening the loads so the joint, muscles, and nervous system can recover and be ready for the next phase.

Though this particular phase does not last as long as the one that precedes it, the de-load week(s) are probably one of the most important weeks throughout the training cycle.

When you are training for strength, there is a constant stress being put on the body. Lifting heavy weight 5 days per week technically is breaking down the muscle, which, yes is necessary for the growth.

It takes time for the muscles to repair after a training session so that they are not only restored, but stronger and more receptive to more intense loads in the future.

Not taking any breaks will not only ultimately fatigue the body past a certain point but will also cause a plateau and potential injury. Hence why de-load week are crucial for restoration.

Taking that week is essential in allowing the body to repair itself, so that it will super compensate and be ready to take on even more intense loads when the recovery week is over.

You literally come back stronger.

We need to time take off from the stresses that we put on our bodies so that we are more prepared for the newer stressors that come later.

Even though we are talking about training in the gym here, the same can easily be applied to life.

We get so easily caught up in the daily grind of work, life, business, etc., but forget to take the time off in order to take care of our most important asset. You.

Initially you might feel that you can’t afford the time off, or that if you take the time off, you will fall behind.

But instead of thinking of how you might “fall behind” from taking the necessary time off, maybe you should think about how much more ahead you will be able to get with renewed energy.

Whether it be just for a weekend, a few hours, a week, it doesn’t matter.

Just like how lifting heavy weights for weeks at a time taxes the muscle, joint, and nervous system, working nonstop and getting little rest taxes you psychologically, emotionally, AND physically.

Take the time off for you so that you can recover and come back not only physically, but mentally and emotionally more ready than before.

Incorporate time off for you.

 

 


Old School Mentality: Destroying Athletes Before Building Them Up

Old School Mentality: Destroying Athletes Before Building Them Up

Not too long ago during one of our Saturday athlete training sessions, one of my athletes approaches me before the workout to let me know that she had been dealing with shin splints and was in a boot temporarily.

I asked her if she had ever dealt with shin splints before and she tells me no not really.

Injuries happen. There is no way around them when you are an athlete.

If you are well trained, and lucky, you can minimize your chances of getting hurt, but you will never eliminate them.
HOWEVER, a good amount of injury is preventable with proper training and coaching protocol.

Soft tissue injuries and non-contact injuries account for a large amount setbacks that occur at the high school level.

When I spoke a little but more with this specific athlete, she told me that she had informed her coaches that she had been having serious pain in her legs, but they did not listen and told her that she needed to push through.

A few weeks later she is in a boot.

Her case seemed like a clear case of overuse.

Cases like this occur too frequently at this level.

A Culture of Negligence

Before going on, I do want to point out that not every high school program is like this, and that there are some exceptional coaches who actually take their athletes physical well being into consideration and understand the necessary times to push the envelope with an athlete’s training.

Unfortunately, these coaches are few and far between, and the fact of the matter is that most of the coaches who are put in position to train* the athletes don’t spend the time educating themselves on the proper ways to really develop the athlete.

I hear too many times from my kids when they come in to the facility to work out, the kinds of off season training and running that the are required to do to “prepare” for the season, and hear about injuries ranging from sprained knees, back muscles, hamstrings, debilitating shoulder injuries, shin splints, hip flexor pulls, etc.

The training volume (amount of work the athlete is putting in) far exceeds the amount of recovery they are given.

Add this to a system that lacks a true biomechanical assessment to even determine if an athlete is physiologically ready for the types of loads given is a recipe for disaster.

By not truly paying attention to where an athlete is on the physiological continuum of development, you turn a blind eye to what could be best for the athlete and open the door for higher incidence of injury.

*for the purposes of understanding this read, train would indicate being in charge of an athlete’s strength training, and conditioning for sport. That could be the sport coach, or a designated coach

The Scenario

You walk into the high school weight room, and you see a line of squat rand dumbbell racks, maybe with a few medicine balls dispersed throughout the area.

You might see a few athletes in their solo working out, loading a lot of weight using form that even to the untrained person does not look safe (should make any parent cringe.)

At some point, you will also see on a wall somewhere a big whiteboard with a workout written on it that looks along the lines of this:

BENCH PRESS 3 SETS OF 10 (90%)
POWER CLEAN 3 SETS OF 5 (90%)
SQUAT 3 SETS OF 5 (100%)
BICEP CURLS
CRUNCHES

Very basic. A lot of work. A lot of heavy lifting.

I am going to point out that while this workout is not 100 percent bad, it is just not suited for the majority of the prepubescents circulating through the gym.

I can almost guarantee you that if you ask a high school athlete what they did in their weight training class, their workout will look somewhere along these lines.

Parallel to the workout board, you might see another white board, or chart with a list of the “strongest” athletes at the school.

You will see columns of current or former athlete’s names with weights next to their names indicating how much weight they were able to bench, power clean, and or squat.

It is almost the pinnacle of adolescent weight room accolade to get on the board.

So much so that sometime integrity of form is compromised during the actual lift just so their names can grace the board, and acceptance from peers and coaches goes up.

Music blasting, athletes yelling at each other to motivate, coaches (often the football coach or assistant coach) facilitating it, and weights clanking.
*******

Bottom line, with the different stages of growth that occur during prepubescence, and the different stages of mental maturity, these types of workouts are more geared towards those elite varsity athletes (predominantly football) who have gone through these stages and are physiologically capacitated to handle these loads, on top of a rigorous running (conditioning schedule).

Those athletes who aren’t developmentally sound, not on the varsity football team are doing these same workouts on the boards that are not geared towards them.

This would include Cross country runners, baseball players, softball players, lacrosse athletes, and the other “periphery” sports that come second to the football dominant culture.

The reality is that most of the athletes that flow from sports other than football, are not as fundamentally developed physiologically to be doing the same sorts of loads.

So what happens?

Injuries increase because they weren’t structurally or mechanically ready.

Old School Mentality

One thing that has proven effective over the past decade is using science itself in training.

Research continually comes out year after year about precision methods on how to properly train, assess, and prescribe programs to athletes at EVERY level. SAFELY.

There are proven training protocols to take IF you want your athletes to get stronger, get faster, have less injuries (like shin splints sometimes).

What we have prevalent in most schools are assistant coaches taking over the strength programs and conditioning for multiple sports not investing in the education and science of training to really help kids.

We have coaches with the Old School mentality of lift as much as you can, run until you throw up, fight through the pain so that you can build mental toughness.

If I had to question every single coach who uses this approach, I would ask

“Well, how has that been working for you?”

At the elite collegiate and professional levels, organizations invest millions into developing legitimate strength and sports science staffs to improve performance for their athletes.

Obviously not every high school will have the funds for such things, but it doesn’t cost much to go to a few conferences, read a few books, learn how to assess your athletes, listen to you athletes, or to look at the injury rate of the team and deduct that it is time for change.

High school athletes need the expertise the most.

When you are a teenage female facing hip replacement surgery, or your third shoulder surgery, or a nagging hamstring pull that is preventing you from performing at your best, you are hurting your chances of that potential scholarship you are striving for.

You are taking their money. Parents have to deal with doctors (and potentially foot the medical bill).

Teenage athletes are having to deal with the emotional toll of “pushing through” because the coach alienates them if they don’t.

It’s vicious. It’s old school.

They are being destroyed before ever being built up.

Is there a Solution?

In short, yes.

It is multi-faceted, and it will take time and dedication.

There must be a shift in coaches train of thought pertaining to the right way to train athletes in the high school setting.

This issue right now is that most current high school coaches who are in charge of athlete’s strength training and conditioning programs are behind the applicable science curve.

Yes. Running the athlete into the ground until they are no longer able to run can potentially get them in shape, but only to an extent.

However, learning how energy zones work and how they are actually utilized in the athlete’s sport will not only get the athlete in the best shape possible for his or her sport, but can also reduce injury.

The unfortunate corollary of the old school mentality is not really knowing the physiological limits of the athlete. Not knowing the limit pushes the athlete beyond their thresholds, stressing muscles tendons and joints too hard, causing compensatory patterns, and then injury.

It just becomes guesswork instead of calculated programming.

It’s the athletes who suffer.

If an assistant football coach is going to take over the entire strength program for every sport at the school, then it is his obligation and duty for the athletes and parents to pay his due diligence in learning the art and science of coaching.

The science is necessary so that training can be approached objectively, and not executed based on what the coach “thinks” is right as opposed to what has been proven “right”.

It’s an art because essentially it is a culmination of knowing the athlete, knowing WHEN to use certain measures, and creating a program that challenges the athlete, but keeps in fun.

Chances are, wherever you find a program where preseason conditioning is nothing but running, the weight room portion is predominantly Olympic Lifts (which aren’t bad, just not good with poor technique), you will also find a kid who is complaining of back, knee, lower leg pain, even shoulder pain.

You will see kids who aren’t ready for that kind of volume physically having to take it head on.

If I am a parent, I am asking the coach what his or her assessment protocol is, how they put together the program, and how many injuries do they have right now.

In NOT investing time to actually learning how to coach proper training routines, you do a huge disservice to the athlete, putting not only their future athletic careers in jeopardy, but also setting the foundation for diminished confidence because of the emotional toll it has on the athlete.


3 Things to Consider When Starting Your Training Program

3 Things to Consider When Starting Your Training Program

Before beginning your fitness training plan, there are a few things to ask yourself in order to really make the most of your journey. Pinpointing the answers to these few questions will you to create more crisp goals, while sharpening your strategies to get there.
1.) MAKE CONCISE GOALS!
Are you trying to lose weight? Get stronger? Trim? All of these.What you do and the amount you do ultimately is dependent on what you are trying to achieve.If your goal is to just have more energy, but all you do is run run and run, then you won’t have the most amount of energy you can have.

Even if your are trying to lose weight, resistance training is necessary to stimulate muscle growth.

Muscle growth means more lean mass. More lean mass equals a higher metabolism. Higher metabolism promotes better weight loss.

So, when trying to decide which is better, figure out what it is EXACTLY you are trying to do first.

For the most part, you should incorporate both for a balanced program.

2.) How Much Time Are You Willing to Make to Workout?

No matter what your fitness goals are, at the end of the day, it is about making the time to reach them.

The most common reason people have for not making it to the gym is because they did not have the time.

Rather than just highlighting the fact that you make time for what matters to you, I’ll iterate that workouts don’t have to be hours long to be productive.

You can have effective workouts right from your own bed room in just 15 minutes per day that will get you stronger and losing body fat, with minimal to no equipment.

So when it comes to time, you have shift your frame of mind in terms of how you view the required time to actually workout. It doesn’t have to be long.

3.) Understand There Really Is No Single BEST Way To Train 

With so many different methodologies and philosophies floating around, it can be tough to decide what is the BEST way to train for you.

Should you do High Intensity Interval Training?

Should you have a split routine only working certain body parts everyday?

Should you only do cardio?

Do you only do spin class and yoga?

CrossFit? Orange Theory?

Strength Train?

Each of these training modalities have their benefits while also having their weaknesses.

It again all depends on what your goals are.

I am a firm believer in having a balance between different types of training.

While I believe strength training is essential for any athlete OR fitness enthusiast, cardio is also important as it trains a different energy system necessary to recover.

High intensity interval training is effective, maybe just NOT on a daily basis. HOWEVER, if you are trying to get results quicker, doing it frequently can be beneficial.

One common theme I come across from people is having split routines where you train arms one day, back and biceps the next, quads and calves the next.

This isn’t necessarily the best way for everyone, but it does have its strengths as it allows for better recovery between muscle groups. However, this routine is best for body builders and physique competitors, BUT still can be cycled in to a general fitness program.

The keys are to have a balanced program that gives you the right doses of everything you need to sustain long term gains, and accelerate short term goals when and where necessary.

Always remember to be clear on your goals so you know not only how to steer the ship to get there, but also what kind of boat to use in the first place.

Carve out the necessary time to work out, even if it is just for 5 minutes. It’s easy to come up with reasons why you can’t train, but it’s also harder to start doing something the longer you put it off.

Have a plan. Be consistent. Finish what you start.

What Do Collegiate Coaches Look For: Questions Answered by Elite Level Coaches

What Do Collegiate Coaches Look For: Questions Answered by Elite Level Coaches

Aside from the obvious trait as to whether or not you can actually play and excel at your respective sport in college, what other traits do collegiate coaches look for when they are recruiting?

For those of you athletes who deeply aspire to play competitively at the next level and are willing to do what it takes to get there, you will actually increase you odds of getting that opportunity if you have an idea of what coaches are looking for.

Do coaches look for ONLY talent?

How much does work ethic matter?

What kind of shape do you need to be in leading up to your freshman year from high school?

How much do your academics matter?

How much does social media matter?

How about Sport IQ?

Grit?

Communication?

All of the above??

In coming to contact with high school athletes on a daily basis and having had to go through the very trying process of walking on at the Division 1 level, I always jump at the opportunity to help an aspiring athlete in any way possible to help them get that chance, if they are willing to work.

Over time, I have gotten a solid feel for who really understands what it takes, and who THINKS they know what it takes.

To help provide even more perspective on what it takes, and what coaches are looking for, I created a survey and asked my close friends, former coaches, and contacts who are elite collegiate coaches and former recruiters what they look for in athletes when they recruit.

From top Division 1 football programs like Penn State, to top Top division 1 volley ball programs, to University of Miami and FIU former recruiting coordinators, the feedback that they provided is invaluable, especially to those of you looking for that opportunity.

Over the next several weeks I will be sharing what these coaches answered in the survey, and how you may be able to get a jumpstart, and maybe a reality check.

In our second post on the series, we will hear what former Penn State assistant coach, now New Orleans Saints assistant coach Phil Galiano has to say about his recruiting process:

What traits do you look for when recruiting high school athletes?

Overall athleticism, strength, speed, being coachable, natural talent, work ethic, drive, perseverance, Sport IQ, Strong Academics, and Body type.

What would be the top 3 you choose of these traits?

Talent, work ethic, athleticism.

When do you typically begin the recruiting process?

Freshman year of high school.

How long does the recruiting process last?

4 years.

What is typically the biggest adjustment that incoming freshman struggle to make on coming in to your program, that you have seen?

Adjusting to not being able to be successful just because of talent. Everyone in our program is talented. Also time management skills. Adjusting to college life.

What are 2 important things that high school upper classmen should focus on if they want to increase their chances of getting recruited to your program? 

Coming to camp and being the best player on the field in their high school games.

What advice would you give an athlete who is trying to walk on to your program?

Come to camp, be an excellent student, demonstrating quality that separates you as a guy we want on our team.

Do you follow your recruits on social media?

Yes.

On a scale of 1-10, how much does social media affect the decision making process to recruit and offer a scholarship into your program?

TEN!

What should a high school athlete steer AWAY from that will for sure hurt their chances of getting recruited into your program?

Any actions that would be viewed as embarrassing to himself, his family and his team.

What is typically the best way for an athlete interested in your program to get your attention and draw interest if you were not recruiting them? (e.g. phone call, email me with their high light, visit in person etc) *
Coming to camp and then a game.
Why? *
Want to work with the athlete in person and then want to get to know the type of kid he is.
What kind of training do you recommend graduating athletes partake in before coming in to your program? *
Play as many sports as possible. We want guys who compete in everything they do.
How important are power clean, bench press, squat maxes, etc to you *
Very Important. If numbers aren’t good we won’t recruit them.
How important are academics when recruiting an athlete?
Extremely important.
What additional comments, if any, would you like to leave? *
Many guys have unrealistic opinions of themselves. Playing at Penn State is not easy to do. If you are clearly not the best player on the field every week in high school then you probably will not play here.
*******
I’d like to thank Coach G for taking the time and helping me get useful information.

1.)    Let us help you transform into an all-around better athlete.

Our Athlete Development Program has literally helped thousands of athletes from the middle school, to the elite collegiate level excel on and off the field/court.

Every single athlete that comes through the program gets 100 Percent custom programming based on individual needs, goals, and their assessment. We take pride in the culture of hardworking athletes we have and make sure we develop you all around. We know what you need, and what coaches specifically want developed at the next level.

This program is a great fit for you if you are in the Marietta/Kennesaw/Paulding/Acworth area, in middle or high school and want to play at a higher level, you are seeking better coaching than you currently get, you want precision training and the best support system possible from experienced coaches. Fill out our athlete form here, and your coach will reach out to you.

2.)    Join our Virtual Athlete Development Program for athletes.

Not in the area? No problem.

Our Virtual Fitness Development Program is an extension of our training systems and coaching support systems.

You will get virtually assessed through our mobile and desktop app, and a custom training program is created for you by one of our highly experienced coaches, and it doesn’t stop there.

Your performance and development does not just happen in the weight room or field. How you eat, sleep, deal with stress are all considered. We create highly individualized accountability systems to keep you on track and maximize your results, all done from the palm of your hand.

This is a great solution if you are out of the immediate area of our training facility, want custom programming that you can do on your own time, you want guidance from a truly experienced coach, in high school but need something more than a lazily put together program from a volunteer coach, and need a support system. Find out more about Virtual Fitness Development here.

3.)    Download Our Free Guide on How to Email Coaches the Right Way

Download a guide I created to help high school athletes and parents looking to get a one up on the recruiting process. Learn how to structure emails, create the right content, and map strategies on how to reach out. NO matter the sport. Get it here

 

 


An RPR Case Study: Setting a New Best Time Despite Plantar Fasciitis

“Coach, I ran my 5k over this past weekend, and I got my fastest time that I have gotten in over a year. And not only did I get my fastest time, my heel was not nearly in as much pain afterwards as it had been before. Wow. I am a believer”

A great thing to hear as a coach.

But lets rewind to one week prior…

One evening Coach Josh, brother of Blaze Fit owner Jonathan Walker, taps me on the shoulder as I am finishing up a great session with a few of my athlete.

Walking bashfully behind him, exhausted from her workout is one of his fitness clients Laura.

Well in to her 50’s, Laura is an avid gym goer and even more serious runner, eating 5k’s like birthday cake, literally travelling all across the world to run them.

“Armond, I was telling Laura here about your RPR, and she was curious and wanted to know if it could help with her plantar fasciitis”

“It definitely could not hurt” I said. “What do you have going on?”

Laura goes on to tell me that her plantar fasciitis has been flaring up pretty bad in her foot over the past few weeks, and she has not been able to run or work out as thoroughly as she could be.

She informs me that she has been going to the doctor and therapist for the past couple of weeks and it has slowly gotten better, but in a slight desperation, was open to trying anything that could possibly help.

Of course, I let her know as great as RPR is, it is no substitute for a doctor or therapist’s advice, and whatever they tell her, to do it.

However, I also knew (after having great relationships and dialogues with some of the best therapists and doctors in the nation), that plantar fasciitis is often the result of some other disfunction going on in the body.

Hence, I ask a little bit more about her lifestyle.

Does she sit down often?

How far does she usually run in a week?

Any low back or hip issues?

Knee?

Tight calves?

After a brief discussion on the training floor, I discover yes that she does run quite a bit, and the gait common in distance runner cause a lot of pounding on the heel, which overtime the impact can cause issues.

I told her if I had to guess, that she most likely have a “tight” calf and that most likely is a significant chunk of the problem.

Fast forward to the next day after her next training session at Blaze Gym, she finds me and lets me know that her therapist said that she had an extremely tight left calf muscle, and it needs to be loosened up.

Eureka!

I let her know that I would send her my RPR schedule and that I would show her how to perform resets for her, and get some of her muscles turned on.

Excitedly, she agrees and books a session a few days later.

The Session:

For the initial RPR session, I tested the responsiveness and range of motion of pretty much all of her major joints and discovered a few areas that either lacked range of motion, or where the muscles were completely turned off and not even working.

Hip Flexors

Left Glute

Calf (Obviously)

Trunk Rotators

Despite these 4 areas showing some notable disfunction, I taught her the entire reset drill protocol.

We tested.

We reset.

We re-tested.

Immediately she felt and saw improvement that she had not been able to achieve in months.

Like everyone else who goes through a full RPR session, she was amazed and at a loss for words.

By simply finding her reset points and stimulating the muscle through simple touches, her muscles started to work. Not to their fullest potential just yet, but a significant difference in her range of motion and reflexive strength. Instantly.

After our session, I instructed her to try the resets points before her workouts, and before her runs. Which she did.

The following week, as I am prepping the floor for my next gang of athletes, Laura comes behind me, taps my shoulder, and when I turn around she is grinning like an excited kid from ear to ear.

“Coach, I ran my 5k over this past weekend, and I got my fastest time that I have gotten in over a year. And not only did I get my fastest time, my heel was not nearly in as much pain afterwards as it had been before. Wow. I am a believer”

Then a grin birthed from satisfaction swiftly ran across my face. These were her exact words.

*******

So what is RPR?

It’s definitely not magic, but certainly works like magic.

RPR is a different approach to optimal movement. Beyond the muscle. Beyond myofascial. Beyond the joints themselves.

It is a nervous system approach that provides the electricity for the machine.

In Laura’s case, did she have a tight calf? Yea.

Did she most likely have other causes that contributed to her condition? Yea.

However, what we should be aware of is that when muscles are not properly “woke”, other ones tend to pick up the slack. And in these cases, compensatory patterns happen, creating the perfect conditions for soft tissue injuries like plantar fasciitis.

Restoring function to these areas immediately restored function for Laura, and perhaps helped fix those energy leaks she had in her kinetic chain.

It’s simple. And it’s a quickly developing science.

And as Reflexive Performance Reset continues to create believers, those who may have been struggling with naggin injuries in the past, may have found a viable solution to supplement the recovery protocol. Just like Laura!

RPR.


A Visit to the Atlanta United Facility: 3 Takeaways

This past fall, I had the privilege to meet with Ryan Alexander on site of Atlanta United FC training facility to learn more about how the organization uses technology and analytics to guide training and make informed decisions.

I first heard Ryan speak at a Strength and Conditioning Conference at Kennesaw State Back in 2017.

It was perfect timing for me as I was looking for more precise ways to be able to track my athletes’ activity away from the gym with me.

How much energy were they burning during practices?

How are they recovering between practices and games?

How could I use this information to better my program and still get intended results without “burning out the athlete?”

Each of these questions was answered during Ryan’s lecture, and peaked my curiosity enough to make the investment in to GPS tracking for my athletes.

Here are 3 big takeaways I got from my very educational visit to the Atlanta United Training facility:

  • Metrics are objective and reveal everything

From how many passes an athlete made during practice, to how far each one of those passes were, they get tracked and recorded.

On a white board directly next to Ryan’s desk, is a color-coded lineup of numbers and symbols that looks something close to what you might see at NASA.

Couple that with excel spread sheets that look almost like something out of an MIT statistics doctorate class, and you get a compilation of impressive statistics that leave a revealing blueprint.

Only the trained eye would be able to understand.

As cryptic as the concert of symbols and numbers were, each stat line had a purpose that revealed predictive trends that could enhance an athlete’s career and health.

Knowing how many sprints the athletes took during practice, how many calories they burned during a game, having knowledge of how deficient in strength one leg is in comparison to the other, allows the sport scientist, strength coach, and the head coach to make informed decisions on an individual basis on how to structure practices, nutrition, and training programs so that the player can optimize their own performance and reduce injury risk.

The collective metrics taken create the blueprint on how to refine and peak the elite athlete and guide the organization.

In a way, these variable statistics provide a daily assessment for coaches to evaluate to determine what the best move should be. Determinants are no longer black and white but part of a complex system that make up a holistic approach to more informed decisions for precision results.

  • In establishing peak performance, you must take a holistic approach

As I chatted with Ryan more, I found out how much each player’s lifestyle factored into their programming and coaching guidance.

How did this athlete eat this week?

Logistically, how long does it take to get to practice?

What kind of effect does the type of turf or grass have on player performance?

What other stresses might be going on in the athlete’s life?

What is the best way to coach a professional athlete who is only a teenager?

So while it is important to know tops speeds, total distance, and the typical GPS statistics, it is also important to know what other potential limiting factors can affect the desired outcome for each athlete.

A player who might have gone out the night before may require a different training strategy to accommodate his lack of recovery.

An athlete who constantly eats fast food on the way home from a training session unintentionally increases his body fat, thus having an effect on his top speed and power output.

Each day athletes have to get surveyed so that every variable can be taken into consideration when appropriating a program.

At the end of the day, the coach must ask 2 important questions:

What caused this great performance?

What caused this not so good performance?

Sometimes, it can be outside factors.

  • It takes a team of professionals working collectively to WIN

Everyone from the receptionist at the front desk, to the head chef in the cafeteria, to the head coach, the athletic trainers, the fitness coach, to the sport scientist; each of these people play a role in the success of the team.

Ryan, the sport scientist collects the data.

He and his team compile it, daily, and presents this to the coach in an understandable fashion. They each then meet with the fitness coach to see exactly what interventions to take so that the team is in the best shape possible to excel in the teams playing scheme.

They then consult with the nutritionist and chef to make sure that their nutritional needs are met to properly fuel their bodies to handle the demands and enhance recovery.

Everyone HAS to be in sync so that the needs of every single athlete can be met, and the coach’s schemes can be fully realized through athletes primed and ready to go on a physical and mental level.

Atlanta United is a World Class organization, and that was evident in just my first visit there with an extremely knowledgeable and passionate leader at the helm of their athletic development.

After only a few years in the MLS, they have already made their mark as longtime contenders in the league. From the way they run ship, it is no surprise that they took home the MLS Cup at such a young age.

The technology has definitely made a difference for my programming and training my athletes!

 

 


3 Important Things to Understand When Trying to Find “The Right Diet”

As a strength and performance coach, literally every other day I am asked “What kind of diet” should I be doing to a.) Lose weight b.) get a six pack c.) Get more muscle…

And my answer most all of the time is never really satisfactory: It depends.

Despite the dogmatic articles and misinformation, there is no one diet for every person. There are many factors involved such as age, activity level, goals, lifestyle, home environment, sleep patterns, the list goes on.

Each of these factors vary per individual, and a good coach is going to take these into consideration before just handing you a few sheets of paper that say eat brown rice and chicken breast everyday for a month, and look like they look.

Anything worth working for will take careful planning, consistency, and a systematic approach.

Here are 3 Important things to remember when attempting to discover the “right diet” for you:

  • Good dieting involves solid habit management. The best step to take is to do a self-assessment and determine HOW you are currently eating and identify gaps there. Once those gaps, or deficiencies so to speak, are identified, then you can start creating the habits necessary to fill those gaps. These can be as small as drinking one more glass of water every day, to eating fast food one less day a week and go from there. The quickest way to failure is trying to overhaul what you are currently doing too fast, rather than systematically.
  • Keep a simple food log. This alone will help bring awareness to how you are eating and urge you to make positive changes. No counting calories, just writing down what you eat. Simply seeing on paper how you eat will prompt you to make a change if you are serious.
  • Any worthwhile dieting change is going to take patience. Dieting should be about making long term change for your health, unless an elite athlete or competitor and you are in training for a specific season or event. Diet is not an end result but a process compiled of making consistent good choices on a daily basis. You will not have the smoothest experience in making that change, but it is apart of the process. Be consistent. Be patient.

Now, I know this blog did not say anything like “Make sure to eat green leafy vegetables every day” or “Eat 30 grams of protein and 10 grams of fat per day..” and there is a reason for that. Unsuccessful diet strategies are typically too rigid and tough to follow. Successful diet management is flexible and integrates with the individual’s preferences, lifestyle, goals, and realistic.

People know what they should and shouldn’t be doing already. The real magic is guiding people to make the best choices for them and there goals, and a good way to start is by understanding what and how these 3 principle work for you!


3 Things TO Focus on for the “Overlooked” Athlete Trying to Make It.

Most every kid who plays at a competitive level in high school no matter the sport has the ultimate ambition of playing at the elite collegiate level.

However, some of you may not be getting as highly recruited as your teammate next to you.

It’s frustrating. Especially when you feel you put in just as much work as the next guy, but have not elicited the same collegiate demand as them.

You go to practice, give your all, and feel like you might not be getting the return on your physical investment to your sport.

Unfortunately, sometimes the right players get overlooked because of limited exposure, or being in the wrong type of coaching and support system.

Take it as an opportunity to get better regardless.

Be proactive and make a shift from the mindset that opportunity at the next level will fall into your lap…because it won’t.

If you are a junior or a senior and might be going through this experience, here are 3 things that you should focus on to better to take full advantage this situation:

  • Understand that not everything will be in your control, so just focus on what you can control. You might not be getting he reps you want at practice because your coach has his eyes set on someone else at your position. It sucks. It really does. You may have tried to talk to him, but his actions say he didn’t listen. Despite this, continue to focus daily on things you can do to improve your game. Everyday, before you hit the practice field, ask yourself, what is one thing I can get better at today. Your improvement is up to you

 

  • Don’t sulk in your own misery and complain about how schools are not reaching out to you. Start reaching out to them. You can really sharpen your grit, go out, be proactive, and get the attention of schools on your own. Its obvious that your coach is not helping you like he should, so now YOU must actively outreach to coaches, schools, go to camps, and follow up. You would be surprised at how much sending an email on your own to a coach can do. List out schools you’re most are interested, at least 20-30, and reach out.

 

  • Keep friends and people in your circle who believe in you and reinforce positivity. Again, I know from personal experience how much of a lonely island it can be when your own team coach does not believe in you, and you feel alienated from your teammates because you feel like you are the laughing stock and not taken as seriously as you should be. Don’t deal with this on your own. Keep real ones in your circle to keep you encouraged. Eliminate those in or around your circles who detract from the big picture. Find a coach outside of your school who believes in you and stick to him or her. The encouragement and positive reinforcement goes a long way.

Understanding and applying these principles in your battle to the next level will not only work out in your favor athletically, but in life. The valuable lesson in situations like these are taking the hand you are dealt, and still coming out strong despite circumstance. You learn to not give up and persevere. This is an intangible trait the many coaches appreciate, and commands respect throughout life.

P.S. If you are one of those athletes who want to do what it takes to get an opportunity to player at the next level, I have put together a free guide on how to email prospective schools and coaches and start lines of communication. You can download it for free here


From Boy to Man-Boy: Exacting Jacob’s Performance

“Coach I think I played the best all season tonight individually. I did my RPR drills before the game and I was feeling it. Can’t wait to see what the POD says”

It was Monday night. I was getting ready to wind it down for bed. And this is the message get from Jacob Lee, excited about his personal performance his game that night.

For the past 10 months, Jacob has been one of the most outright and dedicated athletes at WPT.

He comes in one day late Spring of 2018 at 151 pounds with an ambitious goal of getting to 190 pounds by the fall, and wants to get faster.

By the time October hits, Jacob is weighing in at 193 pounds, moving faster than he ever has. And we had the numbers to prove it.

Back to the Monday night lacrosse game against River Ridge.

What is RPR?

What pod is he referencing?

And the personal question that I have is how could we keep Jacob in the state of flow that he was in for his Monday game?

In Season Lifting

I would say I don’t preach this to athletes (and parents), but if I did, I would be lying.

Making time and training during the actual sport season is one of the most important things an athlete needs to do in order to maintain gains made during the off season, such as strength and speed, but also prevent injury.

Lifting APPROPRIATELY throughout the season keeps the synchrony between the nervous system and muscles efficient and ensures that the athlete is firing on all cylinders.

This is a strategy that Jacob has taken full advantage of to maximize on his performance.

2 Days before the game on a Saturday, Jacob comes in to the facility for his weekly in season training session. The amount of weights and loads he lifts, including the exercises, are extremely calculated so that he will be super compensated for the game.

We lifted very low reps with a heavy load and complexed them with Lacrosse specific explosive exercises to really stimulate his nervous system, so that 2 days later, he would be super compensated for competition. In other words, because his nervous system was taxed pretty intensely and would for a short time be in a recovery state for a day, 2 days later his nervous system would be above its baseline levels and firing.

This is why in season lifting matters. He went into that game in a great physiological state.

The RPR?

As of lately, we have also been implementing on a consistent basis Reflexive Performance Reset techniques for our athletes and fitness clients to further enhance muscle recruitment. You can read a little bit more about what RPR is here.

In short, it is like putting in cheat codes to self-activate and wake up muscles throughout the body.

Jacob has been taught to reset his muscles before practices, training sessions, and games to stimulate his nervous system and getting his muscles to fire, and most importantly, reduce and soft tissue injuries.

It’s now a part of his routine since March.

The POD

So that I can get further insight into how much activity a select few of my athletes endure during practices and games, I have them put on wearable GPS technology that maps out numerous stats for me to see.

See How the Program Works

They wear during games, upload to the cloud, I review, and see if training is working and if they have been overloaded.

Not coincidentally, Jacob was absolutely right about his performance that Monday. He knew it before even seeing his uploaded stats that he moved great.

It turns out that he ran his fastest since the first game of the season, produced one of his highest power scores yet, on top of one his highest power play games.

You can see his GPS uploads on that actual game day, as well as throughout the season in the second picture where the peaks are.

 On a side note, I vertical test my athletes almost weekly using a virtual jump mat that gives me an indication of an athlete’s readiness and keep tabs on their lower body power.

Jacobs vertical power has increased throughout the season, another good sign.

Tying It All In

Firstly Jacob’s work ethic and dedication is second to none. He is hungry and does what it takes, and this is really the basis for his own athletic transformation.

Second, his Monday night breakthrough highlights the importance of having a good off season, the importance of training correctly with evidence to back it up, how GPS tracking helps guide his actual training, and also the effectiveness of RPR.

He has done an amazing job over the past year and is having his best season yet. Glad that he is a part of the program.

To ALL of my athletes, great work!

 

 


Reflexive Performance Reset: A Instant Gamechanger for Our Athletes and Clients

So what in the world is Reflexive Performance Reset?

Some day you might walk in my gym, and see me standing in front of a small group of athletes, and you see them scratching themselves silly like they just walked through a bush of poison ivy.

Or you might see them rapidly rubbing the back of their heads with their thumbs, looking like they were born and raised in a jungle.

In reality though, what they are doing are activating their muscles through Special Reset Points throughout the body, which is the cornerstone of the RPR science.

The science is amazing, but yes does look like voodoo.

I found out about RPR through another well known trainer and got curious to find out more about how it works. As I read on, I found that it is at the bleeding edge performance of immediately unlocking athlete and client movement potential.

If you take another look at the picture in this article, with the young lady doing a leg raise, notice how much increased range of motion she was able to achieve in the connected photo.

This was literally done in seconds after resetting her hamstring through her body’s reflexive points.

As a performance coach, I hear so much from athletes and parents alike about having “tight” hamstrings, or strained backs and shoulders.

The immediate solution: Just stretch them and make them more flexible.

However, the majority of the time, soft tissue injuries can be attributed to poor compensation patterns that have affected the body’s nervous system’s ability to “wake up” the muscles.

RPR is a tool to better enervate the muscles, and immediately get them to work.

Not only have I been able to witness an immediate difference in an athletes active flexibility from pre and post tests, but also have seen IMMEDIATE increases in power and strength using technology to measure power output in the gym.

On the other end of the spectrum, RPR has had the ability to help adults who may suffer from everyday back pain, headaches, and maximize their time in the gym. Give them energy between sets (sometimes not even realizing it has), and experience the best workouts they have ever had.

I have received text messages from people, after having done an RPR session excitedly saying how it is the best they have felt in months, whether because of neck pain, back pain, or headaches.

Athletes across the board have text me from their schools saying that they performed their reset drills during games, practices, track meets, and have hit new personal bests.

Simply put, I wanted a way to help reduce injury, and find a way that could help my athletes and clients alike immediately restore function, improve performance, and reduce injury.

Reflexive Performance Reset has been an integral piece to achieving this goal for both coach and client. More to come on this.