Sunday, February 27, 2011

Friday, February 25, 2011

Why Older Adults Need to Train for Power

From BSP Training

Training for power is imperative as we age. In fact it is the first thing we lose as we get older. However there is a bright side. This is a quality that can be retained from proper training, and being to maintain it or at least drastically slow down its loss our quality of life would improve drastically.

(this is a 68 year old CP client whom I had the privilege of training many times)

Lets back up for a second though and actually define power. Power is Force x Velocity.

In terms of exercise the force is your strength, so strength training will most definitely help you to maintain your power output. However people not only lose their strength, or ability to produce force, they lose their ability to produce this force with any type of explosiveness, or velocity.

These combined losses drastically reduce our power output and reaction time as we age, and we lose our athleticism and ability to perform previously simple daily tasks. I don’t know about you, but I want to be able to run around with my grandkids. While this is certainly many years (a few decades really) away for me, I still think it is important to train these factors.

Not only would training for power improve athleticism and ability to perform activities of daily living, it has also been shown to prevent sarcopenia, the age-related loss of skeletal muscle. This is another factor in our ability to function well, as maintenance of fat free mass and bone density will tremendously improve quality of life as we age.

So training for power sounds great, but how do you do it? Well that all depends on how old you are and how well trained you are, but some simple examples would be trying to lift more explosively (though safely and with good form), medicine ball work, box jumps, band resisted broad jumps and other low-force plyometrics along with a sound strength-training program and an adequate diet. Hiring a qualified professional, even just for a limited time, can help to teach you ways to maximize your power and age more gracefully.

I would also be remiss not to point out that research has also shown that the elderly actually have higher protein needs than us young folks, and that consuming somewhere in the neighborhood of 1.2g/kg (or more) of bodyweight of protein can also help to prevent the dreaded sarcopenia.

In the end don’t just think that your power walks or yoga are going to be your golden ticket to optimal aging. They are two great tools, but they are not an entire toolbox, not even close. Proper strength and power training in conjunction with those two tools (or whatever cardiovascular-specific work you do) would be your best bet in the fight against aging and sarcopenia. Good luck!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Use coconut oil to fight colds this season

by: Elizabeth Walling

(NaturalNews) Coconut oil has been used by many people in all parts of the world to alleviate symptoms of the common cold. Coconut oil originally had a bad reputation because it is a mostly saturated fat, but today it is gaining the popularity it deserves for being a truly nutritious food. This cold season might be a good time for cold sufferers to give it a try.

Extracted from the nut of the coconut palm tree, coconut oil contains a fatty acid called lauric acid, which has anti-bacterial, anti-microbial, and anti-inflammatory properties. It also has anti-viral properties which make it perfect for fighting winter colds. Studies have shown that coconut oil can bolster a weakened immune system by improving white blood cell counts, which helps the body directly fight viruses and infections.

Preventing Colds with Coconut Oil

To prevent colds, adults can consume 3-4 tablespoons of coconut oil per day. This can be added to other foods or used in cooking. Some people like the flavor so well that they can eat it right out of the jar. You can also drink coconut milk or eat the meat of this nutritious nut to harness the power of coconut`s fatty acids. But most health benefits can be found right in the oil, and regular consumption can build up the immune system so it has a better chance of fighting colds before they ever start.

Treating Colds with Coconut Oil

Once a cold has been contracted, however, coconut oil can help alleviate many of its symptoms and even shorten the duration of the cold. In order to help clear sinus passages, an ill person can rub organic, cold-pressed coconut oil with a couple drops of peppermint or eucalyptus essential oil on his or her chest. It should be massaged into the upper back and the head as well. Being able to breathe more easily will allow the sufferer to sleep better, and a good night`s rest is important to the healing process.

Melted into tea or a broth, coconut oil can gently soothe a sore throat and ease coughing in addition to boosting immunity and fighting the virus directly. It can also be mixed with oatmeal and other warm cereals. Or you can try coconut milk in a smoothie. All of these options may appeal to someone who is sick and may not feel like eating heavy foods. However if it is consumed, coconut oil will provide many benefits to cold suffere

Friday, February 18, 2011

Yoga for Runners

Give it a try after your next run its only 10 mins

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

How much compression do socks need?

Over the past few years, there’s been a ton of research into the effects of various types of compression gear, with conflicting results. Some studies show improved performance, others don’t; some studies show changes in physiological markers, others don’t. One of the big problems is fit: no one really know exactly how tight the garments should be.

A study from researchers at Massey University in New Zealand, which appeared online in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research last week, attempted to answer this question. They had 12 well-trained runners complete four 10K time trials on the track wearing four different socks: a non-compressing control, one low compression (12-15 mm Hg), one medium compression (18-21 mm Hg) and one high compression (23-32 mm Hg). All the socks had graduated compression, with maximum compression at the ankle tapering to no compression at the knee.

The results: no significant difference in 10K time, pre- or post-run lactate, heart rate, or several other measures. Now, I have my doubts about the statistical power and repeatability of a 12-person study with four 10Ks over the course of eight weeks, but take it for what it’s worth.

We’re looking at the change in “countermovement jump height” from before the race to after the race. The low compression sock shows a significant improvement compared to the control, and the medium sock has an even bigger improvement, while the tightest sock is roughly the same as the control. This test is basically a measurement of leg power, so the researchers speculate that it’s possible that the subjects might be able to produce a faster finishing sprint in the low and medium socks, though it’s not something they measured. I’m fairly skeptical — I never really had the sense that explosive leg power was the limiting factor in the final stretch of a 10K race. But who knows?

In the end, the study is a perfect microcosm of the greater body of research in this area: it shows that something happens when you put properly fitting socks on, but we still don’t know exactly what and we certainly don’t have evidence that it actually makes you faster. But in other ways, the study is a big step forward, in that it makes a serious attempt to determine what a “proper” fit is — at this point, 18-21 mm Hg is looking pretty good. More studies like this will be needed. And one addition that I would really like to see is a placebo compression sock — perhaps something with non-graduated compression that subjects can’t necessarily distinguish from the “real” socks.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Why Masters Runners Should Stay Lean

By Pete Magill

The average American male gains a pound a year from age 35 to age 60. Proportionally, women gain even more. We'd like to believe that this weight gain represents increased muscular strength. Or at least excuse it as a byproduct of decreased metabolism. But there's no denying its impact on our running performances.

"Adding weight for running is normally counterproductive," says coach and exercise scientist Tom Schwartz. "A 45-year-old male who adds 10 pounds to his 142-pound frame will lose about 1 minute on a 17:30 5K time."

But don't take Schwartz's word for it. Just watch the finish line of any masters championship race.

At the national masters 5K road championship last October in Syracuse, N.Y., 59-year-old Kathryn Martin ran 19:02 to take the age-graded title for top performance of the day. When quizzed on the topic of weight gain, the ever-slender Martin doesn't hesitate. "Running heavier slows me down," she says.

In the same race, 51-year-old Carmen Ayala-Troncoso ran 18:02 to win the women's 50–54 championship. "I feel better and race better when I'm the same weight I was when running my best," says Ayala-Troncoso, referencing the years between 1988 and 2002, when she was a four-time member of the U.S. team for the world cross country championships and a four-time qualifier for the Olympic trials. "Even three pounds makes a difference."

Masters road ace Dennis Simonaitis (30:08 10K at age 45) runs at his college weight. Nolan Shaheed, the first 60-year-old to break 5:00 for the indoor mile, runs at his high school weight. And the men's age 55–59 world record-holder in the mile, Rich Burns, declares, "I normally race about 5 to 8 pounds lighter than when I was in college."

Of course, some of us would argue that we've become more muscular as we've aged. Three things: We lose muscle as we age, we don't gain it; absent resistance training or its real-world facsimile, increased muscular size is probably due to the burden of carrying around extra fat; and, finally, we simply don't need an abundance of muscular strength to be good distance runners.

"Once a sufficient amount of general strength is achieved," says Schwartz, "no additional strength will improve performance."


So let's be honest about age-related weight creep. When it comes to running our best, it doesn't matter whether we've added a veneer of muscle or strapped on a weight belt of Dunkin' Donuts. Extra pounds equal extra seconds (or minutes) tacked onto our race times.

But before we masters runners staple our stomachs or fill our refrigerators with Jenny Craig, it's important to remember two things: First, we're not all training to set records or win national championships. Second, we can continue to train and meet more modest race goals without sacrificing the chicken wings and Skittles.

"If you're maintaining performance [at increased weight]," says Jonathan Dugas, Ph.D., co-author of The Runner's Body, "then you're becoming more economical. You can carry more mass and still run a good time." Dugas also warns against trying to combine dieting with hard training. "If you try to train and lose weight at the same time, it's a disaster," he says. "It doesn't end well. And if you're already lean," he says, "don't try to lose weight. You're not going to lose weight without losing muscle mass."

Perhaps the most sensible approach is that of 48-year-old multiple-times masters champion Lorraine Jasper. "If you put on weight and get slower," she says, "lose it! If your times get better, then you have your answer. Too fat or too thin is just stupid. Everyone should do what works best for them and not try to fit into a mold."

The decision to lose weight in pursuit of better race performances comes down to each individual. How important is the race goal? Is the added stress worth the subtracted minutes or seconds? Do we possess the patience and know-how to fuel our body adequately on reduced calories?

Monday, February 7, 2011

Again the Pacing Thing!

by Joel Friel
It seems I need to repeat this topic several times a year. I suppose that’s because it’s so hard to learn this lesson. It’s really difficult to keep our emotions in check, I guess. Or perhaps it’s because we believe that some sort of miracle has occurred and we are suddenly capable of doing things we have never done before.

Miraculous things.

Like running a 10km race three minutes faster than ever before. Or doing 20-minute threshold intervals at 30 watts above what was manageable just last week. Or swimming 500 meters at the same pace as a best-ever 100 meters.

When we start a race or an interval it’s easy. Right? For 20 seconds or so it feels almost effortless. So what do we do? We go fast. Faster than we are capable of maintaining based on previous experience. But it feels so easy! And when it’s a race or we’re training with a group we’re excited. They’re all going fast, too. They must be right. The excitement makes it feel even easier than if we were alone.

So we do really stupid stuff.

And a few minutes later we begin to pay the price. What happens? Acidosis sets in. Within a few minutes our muscles are drowning in acid. They’re screaming for relief. Breathing is labored panting. So we slow down. We have no other recourse. When everything starts feeling a bit better we try to go hard again. This time it’s only a few seconds until we know it’s over.

We limp in. The intervals, workout or race won again.

Do you do this? If not you’re definitely in the minority. Almost everyone does it. But it’s so easily fixed.

By this time you should know yourself well enough to what you are capable of doing. Then simply be determined to do it at the start of the race or workout by using your head rather than letting your emotions run wild and ruining things yet again. Just because the others are going too fast doesn’t make it right. Be strong-willed enough to think and act for yourself.

Pacing is critical to performance in all types of endurance sports from the 800m run on the track to the 45-minute bicycle criterium to the Ironman Triathlon to Race Across America. Pacing is the key. Work on it training. If you can't do it in a workout you certainly can't do it in a race. Learning this skill will pay off big time in your 2011 race performances.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Eating for Muscle Growth

When you think about managing body weight and composition for endurance performance, you probably think about reducing body fat levels. But there are some circumstances in which individual athletes need to gain muscle to perform better. It’s not muscle growth per se that they need; rather, it’s increased muscle strength and power. But muscle strength and power are closely correlated with muscle cross-sectional area. Thus, muscle growth and increased strength and power go hand-in-hand.
There are two main requirements for muscle growth: resistance training and eating habits that support muscle protein synthesis. Endurance athletes who seek muscle growth must be especially careful to eat in a manner that promotes muscle protein synthesis without also increasing their body fat stores. There are five specific dietary measures that will help you gain muscle without putting on a bunch of extra fat.

Maintain a caloric surplus

Research has shown that the most important dietary requirement for muscle growth is a caloric surplus. It is next to impossible to gain muscle mass if your body is burning you calories than you consume. This surplus need not be large, as muscle protein accretion is a slow process, and indeed your caloric surplus should not be large, but a largely daily excess of energy intake will cause more fat storage than muscle gain. A surplus of 100 calories a day is plenty.

Eat animal foods

Animal proteins are more conducive to muscle growth than plant proteins, for a few reasons. First, they are complete proteins, meaning they contain all of the essential amino acids that the body cannot synthesize for itself, whereas proteins from plant foods are not complete. Second, animal proteins are more bioavailable than plant proteins, meaning they are more readily incorporated into the cells of the body.

Consume carbs and protein after workouts
The timing of protein consumption has a significant effect on the rate of muscle protein synthesis. Research has shown that protein consumed immediately before, during, and immediately after exercise causes more muscle protein synthesis than equal amounts of protein consumed at other times.
The optimal amount of protein consumption after exercise is 20 grams. Consuming protein with carbohydrate after workouts is proven to result in even greater amounts of muscle protein synthesis. This is because carbohydrate stimulates the release of insulin, which in turn transports the amino acids from dietary protein to the muscle cells and initiates muscle proteins synthesis