For this article, I wanted to speak about the philosophies of The Strength Feed and about how these were developed with the betterment of our clients in mind.
First and foremost, The Strength Feed is a teaching gym. What does that mean? It means that we are not only here to tell you what to do, but also to teach you the “why” behind it. Each of the coaches here was selected to directly benefit the client in a specific way. If you take the education of our five coaches, we have a combined 25 years of college education, two of those coaches with their master’s degrees. This education is spread across two decades, giving us insight in the vast changes that have occurred in the fitness industry. On top of this, the coaching staff has spent many years training for their own development, experiencing the effects of resistance training on themselves. This, coupled with our training for sport, allows us to have advantages that some other personal trainers do not. We try to reciprocate this knowledge and our general experience to provide the best training experience for our clients.
Every year new information is put out in to the fitness industry, whether it is new training philosophy or technological advancements. While many of these have a place in training, we evaluate these by using past experience and education to determine the direct effect that it would have on our clients.
With that being said, you need a constant goal to be working towards. This allows you to stay focused and keeps you from drowning in new information or trends. At The Strength Feed constant goals will always be the same: to build strength, not just by mass, but tensile strength and cross sectional area of muscle fibers; continue to maintain a general level of aerobic capacity in one form or fashion, this doesn’t necessarily mean running marathons; and to always have a focus on mobility using full ranges of motion. Priorities during a training year may shift, with minor changes in your current short-term goals, but these pillars of training will never change. These roots will lay the best foundation for a healthy life and longevity of joints and muscles as you age. It will keep issues like obesity, heart disease, arthritis, atrophy and mental health at bay for the many wonderful years of your life.
These pillars were created over time by sticking to the factual, evidence based research findings that have been consistent throughout the history of Strength and Conditioning. These ideologies have then been tested by the coaching staff on themselves or clients, and have proven affective repeatedly. The Strength Feed coaches spend ample time talking ad nauseam about training principles and philosophies to challenge each other’s beliefs. This keeps everyone here fresh, up to date and gives us a stronger leg to stand on when teaching these pillars. These pillars enable us to facilitate all of our clients heading in the same direction of betterment.
These pillars include:
No matter what we change or what we do in this industry these pillars will never change. They have been practiced for hundreds of years and will continue to be practiced for hundreds more.
What seems to be happening in the industry though, with the influx of new information, is that many Strength and Conditioning Coaches are straying from these pillars.
In today’s society everyone is looking for the next quick fix. Technology has given us more power at our fingertips than ever before. It has also led us to be impatient. Every time I open Instagram or scroll through Facebook I see “get lean in 6 weeks” or “3 week weight loss challenge”. We understand the marketing push behind these ads, but we have a hard time tarnishing our integrity and belief in training correctly just to appeal to the masses. We need members and we are absolutely nothing without the people that walk through our door every week. But that is exactly why we value long-term training and take the time to generate corrective movement patterns. The issue that we take with these “quick fix” programs is that rushing through reps with the only goal to lose weight, actually can lead to an increased risk of injury.
The second issue that stems from these get fit quick programs is that these changes will not remain constant. It is difficult for anyone to stick to massive lifestyle adjustments. There is tons of research out there about attrition rates from people making huge changes to diet, frequency of working out, etc. Companies and facilities that push these programs are looking to lure clients in and are hoping to keep one or two of the clients in the class. If you just run a different program every 10 weeks then you don’t have to worry about turnover. You just get the next group of challengers through the door and that becomes your cash cow. Even the big cooperate gyms do a similar thing. They hire low experience, low education coaches that they can pay cheap and focus on turnover. They don’t preach longevity and they don’t give you the tools to continue on without them because they don’t WANT you to continue on without them. Not to mention, they probably don’t have the knowledge to enable you to be independent in the gym.
So how do you avoid becoming someone’s one and done cash cow? Find a different type of Strength Coach. Find one that will not only use the education he or she has to better your life, but one that will teach you how to make consistent lifelong changes. Find a coach and a gym that will enable you to feel comfortable enough to take over your own training safely and effectively. Find a gym with values and one that will facilitate your growth.
The Strength Feed will always stick to its roots, the pillars of strength and conditioning, and is the only gym in Raleigh with a goal to have life-long clients.
The first time we visited this topic; we addressed coaches in the field who “do too much.” In my experience, this pertains to a vast majority of coaches, especially at commercial gyms. This isn’t saying there are not good coaches out there, but I have yet to see one at our local Raleigh gyms like Lifetime, O2, and Fitness Connection. What you do see is ridiculous programming (if any at all), poor exercise selection and a general lack of understanding of the specific needs of said client. This can even be true at some private facilities in the area.
Now, we come back to you as your strength coach asking, “Are you doing too much as a client?”
With 2018 beginning, this couldn’t be a better time to talk about resolutions, what you have been doing this year, and what you plan to do in the New Year.
I will always advocate for doing something active everyday. But only if you make sure you are fueling your body properly. If you are not getting adequate calories you will be spinning your wheels. This pertains to people of any body type. I will give multiple scenarios to show you how this can pertain to you.
Person A is overweight. They are currently workout out 3-5 days a week and haven’t seen any progress recently. The next decision they make is to add and additional 2 workout days and drop calories by over 1000 a week.
What happens next is their body goes into “starvation” mode. By using hormonal signals your body is now fighting to store more fat to use for energy. At this point, what do you do next? You can’t add more days. You also can’t physically imagine eating less. So now you’re hungry and stuck working out almost every day of the week to no ends.
My advice: Don’t do too much. Slowly make changes. Slowly take calories away, and then wait. Let you body adjust to changes before making bigger or further changes. Remember the smaller more consistent changes lead to a higher retention rate.
Person B is small, meek, and frail. They have a membership to every gym and do as many classes as they can. Cardio, group circuit training, running, yoga, Pilates, they hit them all in a week. Most people would see this person as “in shape”. What they don’t see is the underlying issue of nutrition and strength. With activity level that high and poor nutrition to boot; it could lead to a myriad of problems.
What we see most is joint injuries. Most if not all of these types of exercises tend to be very anterior dominant. What does that mean? Well it means that without proper stimulation of your backside it leads to hip, shoulder, knee injuries and pain. Remember your joints move with assistance from the muscles that attach to them. For example; imagine all you do is flywheel. Cycling is a fantastic form of exercise and possibility one of the best supplements to strength training. It also will stimulate a lot of hypertrophy in the quads. That constant pull from the quad and patellar tendon will lead to knee pain if your hamstrings are not strong enough to counter the pull coming from the quads. The same happens with the shoulder and hips.
I’ll break this down one more time to help further understanding. Let’s consider the “programming” at Heat. HIT training is what they offer and a fantastic supplement to strength training when needing to loose body fat. Lunges, burpies, push ups, planks etc. are all wonderful exercises and I frequently program them with my clients. But that’s a lot of pushing and not enough pulling. Sometimes you might see a TRX row mixed in there but the stimulus is not great enough to counter an already overworked front side. A lack of balance between your anterior muscles and posterior muscles is one of the leading causes of joint pain, including back pain.
My Advice: Don’t do too much. Now I am not telling you to drop everything your doing and come train at The Strength Feed four times a week, even if I think it’s the best! I am saying to optimize your performance at the other venues you workout at, you need to include real strength training. This doesn’t mean hire some trainer who is going to make you DB press while you’re on a leg extension machine (I have actually seen this at O2). It means you need simple teaching of proper motor patterns and a basic liner periodization model to follow.
I could list 20 other examples of people trying to do too much, but I will leave you with those two. The goal at the Strength Feed is to pass on knowledge. We are Raleigh’s only teaching gym. We not only have research backed training methods, we have a combined 40+ years of anecdotal evidence between all of our coaches that back what we do. We are not here to train our clients to be the next great powerlifter, we are here to build a solid foundation of your body and your mind that you can build off of in whatever direction you choose.
My overall advice for 2018 for everyone reading would be to learn and don’t do too much. Make small changes to elicit a response and gradually over the course of months continue to make changes. This way these habits will stick with you for the long haul. Ask professionals what you can do to optimize your performance. Take what they say and mold it to fit your needs. The staff at the Strength Feed is always willing to sit down and share our opinion even if it doesn’t lead to you signing up. We will always lead you in the correct direction because building a better more knowledgeable lifting community is our #1 goal.
Coaches: Are you doing too much?
Lifting will forever be evolving with new techniques, changing modalities, and cutting edge equipment. While it is great to see all of this development and innovation in the field of strength and conditioning, have some of these transformations stemmed too far from the basics, that it is actually hindering strength? Think about how many athletes or lifters you see who are doing an advanced movement or using the newest speed or strength training device, yet they can’t squat or have bad movement patterns. This happens all the time.
I think this stems from two prominent issues: coaching mentalities and mental toughness.
Strength Coaches are always looking for their claim to fame. They want to be looked at like Bill Kazmier, Louis Simmons, or Ed Coen. They want people to come to them for advice and be a leader in the strength community. While that is noble and ambitious goal, it can lead to over evaluating every microscopic nuance in a movement pattern. They then find a particular issue within a movement pattern that seems to be prominent in a sample size. With this type of critique, coaches say that the majority of all athletes have this particular issue. Taking this small problem, coaches then try and create something that fixes this one hitch. While this may be great for some who are at an elite level of strength, people who are more inexperienced athletes may be missing out on basic training. By focusing in on minor details, the athletes are missing what will help them on a broader spectrum.
The second issue is that some athletes don’t have the same mental stamina to get strong and complete workouts daily. While Strength Coaches have some responsibility to keep the athletes interested, there is a point where the athlete needs internal motivation and drive to be there. We can’t be they hype man for every single lift. As much as we want to, you can’t teach athletes the want to always be improving themselves, that is something they have to come with.
One of the ways that coaches get athletes to work harder every workout is through exercise variation. We trade in what we know is going work, linear progressions of movement patterns, to try to allow for them to be in a more fun environment.
Half Kneeling DB Press -> Tall Kneeling DB Press -> Seated BB OH Press -> Standing BB OH Press -> Push Press
(Example of Linear Progression of a Movement)
Stay away from gimmicks and push towards proper training. Block out the other noise and keep your standards high. Confidence breeds success, but success breeds confidence. Hammer home the basic movements and your athletes will be more successful at the complicated actions.
Head Strength Coach
The Strength Feed
As 2017 wraps up I wanted to take a second and use this holiday and this platform to thank everyone that has helped me through this year. I hope you treat this post as an open letter to all that helped.
This year has held the wildest up and downs I have ever seen. I lost my best friend, and my grandmother this summer. I quit a job that was poisonous, I bought a new house with my wife, and I outfitted and opened a new gym. When it rains it pours. I have had days that I didn’t think I could get through and it was only with the help of my family, my friends and you clients that I achieved my goals and went around the many obstacles I faced along the journey.
Your understanding and patience with me has been unbelievable. I do not have the words to thank you enough. I hope that our hard work to provide you with a gym that meets all your needs and our undivided attention to you and your goals is thanks enough.
All of this cumulated to one of the happiest moments of my life. The clients I have been working so hard for came to greet me with a present. I wish I could explain how I felt but I bet I can set it up well. I had about five days to get the gym set up. I had just completed moving out an entire gym in two 42’ trucks. I was absolutely wiped, soaked through two shirts and a pair of jeans. On top of it all, my ingrown toe was throbbing against my steel toe boots. We just finished unloading the last truck and getting the floor delivery when clients started pouring in the gym. I was dehydrated, hungry and confused that they didn’t come sooner to help. As soon as I started thinking that a truck pulls up and on top of it is a brand new custom “Strength Feed” deadlift platform. It was not only the nicest platform I have ever seen they built it themselves. New clients and old clients banded together to design, build and stain this beaut. It was one of the best feelings I have ever received. It was their way of thanking me after a summer of grueling work and more days ahead, it completely changed my outlook of the remainder of the workdays and leading into business running full. It finally felt like I accomplished something.
With all this in mind I want to say; be grateful for the things you have and the goals you are working towards. For you will never know when that hard work will pay its dividends. It could be an immediate return or it could be in ten years, but when that day comes and that hard work pays off, there is no better feeling.
Owner and Operator of the Feed
(but only because of you!)
Thanksgiving often signifies not only a change in season toward winter and holiday cheer but often a shift in mindset and behavior as we finish out the year. With just over 5 weeks left in 2017 and 2018 on the horizon, there’s no better time to reflect and crystallize your goals and visions for the New Year.
While the holidays can certainly provide a time of rest and indulgence be mindful that there are 39 days (read as: over 4 weeks of a training cycle or nutrition program!) where you can still make progress towards your goals both inside and outside of the gym. Having a few treats or practicing moderation on Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukah, New Year’s Eve or the Santa Squat party is perfectly acceptable, but maintain the perspective needed to preserve what you have worked so hard for, and what you aim to accomplish in 2018.
Here are some quick tips on how to feed your wolf and stay balanced this Thanksgiving:
As the seasons change one last time in 2017, I can't help but to think of how much has changed for me since this time last year! If 2017 taught me anything, it is to never settle or sell myself short. I went into 2017 knowing that I wanted to travel down a completely different career and fitness path than I was currently on. I remember thinking my 'fed up' mindset seemed broad, impossible, and more of a “wish” than a mission. Yet, I stayed focused, patient, and consistent. Actions turned into habits and within this year I have achieved what I originally set out to do.
This time of the year often signifies personal reflection and change.
What makes you proud of your 2017?
What goals did you meet?
What do you wish you did differently?
How have you grown as an individual this year that will set yourself up for an even more successful 2018?
And last... what will you accomplish in 2018?
Yes, setting goals can be tricky and nerve-wracking! You often find yourself listening to that little devil on your shoulder that you aren't "there" yet or it can wait. But guess what? It can't wait anymore. You are fully capable of being that person you tell yourself you want to be! Whether your goals are fitness, nutrition, lifestyle, or career, related. There is no reason that you are not ready! Time to stop believing anything otherwise. All of us here at The Strength Feed have all gone through our own unique journey and are eager to help you continue to build your wolf.
North Carolina State University, 2015
CALS, Nutrition Science- BS
Well, I did it. I ran 26.2 miles.
26.2 miles doesn't come naturally.
Especially for someone who hasn't been able to run since 2012. The doctors continuously told me, "No, you need xyz operation and injection," after a while I definitely learned to believe them. Because if I ever rebelled and bothered to try to run, I'd end up bedridden for a month with a swollen knee. So, over time, I just kind of let myself forget about running. I guess I just accepted the fact that for the rest of my life I would never run again and I'd always be 'that injured knee girl.' While I say I became comfortable with that identity... I clearly wasn't. Because it was not until I crossed that finish line that I felt like an athlete again.
By not a single physician's advice but a COACH, I spent a solid year (2016) solely focusing on making strength, muscle symmetry, and correct movement patterns a top priority. I stopped thinking about everything I could not do and just focused on the things I could do correctly. I built myself back up- brick by brick. Then to my surprise, there came a point where the days began to add up where the pain in my knee was nonexistent. I was moving in ways I had not done in years. So January of this year, I got that itch to give running another try. Only this time, it resulted in no pain. So I tried it again. And again...no pain. Shortly after realizing that I eradicated my 6-year knee problem, I decided to set myself a goal. A goal of completing a marathon. (*Cue the moment that every doc, physical therapist, and close friends and family scold me with their concern and doubt*)
So, given the massive chip on my shoulder, I wouldn't call my months of training 'easy'... but I definitely had a serious 'I'm doing this' advantage. I was so grateful for every step I took that the demanding hours of training didn't grow too weary on me like they do others.
However, what did become challenging was the nags, pains, and health effects everywhere else that came along with it. I was not used to running being in my regular workout routine! I did everything I could to still get gym workouts and yoga in (the things I enjoy), but as my mileage began to creep up (this conveniently also lined up with a very big stressful job transition), I could feel the negative effects all of this 'activity stress' was having on my body. All ego aside, trying "to do it all" will land you in over-training territory much faster than you think! I did not want to accept it, but I began experiencing symptoms like restless sleeps, mood irritability, out of whack appetite and digestion, lack of recovery, my performance suffered, hormone imbalances...it started getting messy. Before things got out of hand, I made the hard decision of choosing to listen to the signals my body was telling me and I took quite a few weeks before my race really, really easy. Biggest rookie mistake I made was ignoring that cold hard truth-- Sometimes doing LESS is MORE. I was not about to let myself miss out on reaching this goal. I altered my routine by making recovery, wellness and proper diet my #1 priority and put exercise in the back seat. Because again, my goal was just to complete a marathon... not win it. And by this point I had enough of an endurance base and muscle strength that, in theory, "I could do it" it was just a matter of making sure I did not cause more harm than good.
Even though dialing it back was 'the right thing to do'- coming to this point was uncomfortable for me. I definitely was not my happiest self only focusing on what's best in order to be a successful runner. I felt like I was in time-out! And it definitely made me nervous scaling myself back so much from physical activity far out from my race.
However, post race, I can say with certainty that this was the smartest decision I made in all of my training.
My goal going into this was just to complete the race, no time expectations... just finish. I had only been seriously running for under 4 months. But not only on race day did I end up RUNNING from start to finish, but I placed under top 20% overall with a time of 4:24:24. This race had over 600 participants.
I have trouble putting into words how incredibly rewarding this experience has been for me. I do not think in my lifetime I will ever go through something as self gratifying, life changing, and encouraging as the moment crossing that finish line was for me.
Since the day I committed to take on this beast, there was a fire lit inside of me like I had never had before. I knew before I even began my training that completing this race was going to mean SO much more to me than just a distance. I didn't set out to do this just to check it off my bucket list, I set out to do it to prove to myself that I am more than my past says I am.
And It all started with setting a goal. I stopped looking back at my life and chose to only look forward. I did whatever it took. Where there is a will, there is a way.
This is me sharing my story of how I conquered my impossible. I want all of you to never, ever sell yourself short of anything. Build your house brick by brick- just like I built mine. Set your goals. Believe in yourself. And go crush your impossible. I promise you... there is truly no better feeling in the world.
I want to take a second to thank all of our current clients for welcoming me into The Strength Feed community. You all made my transition to moving and working down here a smooth as possible and I am grateful for it.
Transitioning into the private sector after spending almost five years in the collegiate field was nerve racking. It is a completely different dynamic and I was worried that doing it wouldn’t be as rewarding. My whole life I had always been involved with team sports, whether I personally was playing, or I was coaching. To be converting from coaching in a team setting to a more individualized setting made me worried about missing the team dynamic. There is something about working with players, and trying to win a championship that makes you hungry and strive for greatness.
When I started working at The Strength Feed, there was culture shock. The pace of the weight room is much slower. I don’t mean that as an insult to private training, I am just used to having 50 kids in the weight room at a time. You hardly have time to breathe between coaching cues, loading plates, or directing athletes where to go. Lower that number down to 12 and add another coach, your job becomes a lot less hectic.
At first, I missed that rush. Yet, as the more sessions I coached, I realized the beauty in being able to really breakdown a movement with someone. Spending the additional time to evaluate people’s movement patterns and imbalances took me back to my time working as an Athletic Trainer and as a Physical Therapy assistant in high school and college. During my time spent working with physical therapy patients, I struggled with an internal conflict: why are we waiting for someone to get injured? There had to be a better way. That’s why I got into strength in the first place.
Another aspect of the private sector that is different from collegiate coaching is the attitude towards lifting. I have had so many athletes over the years that weren’t interested in lifting. They hated the weight room. I would have to put in so much energy every day convincing them why they needed to be there or why they needed to do a movement a specific way. That’s not to say that there weren’t kids interested in learning. Some athletes were extremely passionate about getting stronger and improving their performance in the sport. Working in the private field now, it seems like everyone is there because they want to be there, not because it is a requirement. Everyone knows the benefits, they know they are there to learn, and are motivated people.
I can’t wait to see the strides that our clients will make as we continue to push forward in our training. Some have already made great improvements in medical and physical ranges that are absolutely stunning and exciting. I am sure more and more will come as our Strength Feed family continues to grow, and I am so excited to be a part of it.
Win The Day,
Greetings, to all who follow The Strength Feed. This will be the first installment from the new facility we just opened September 9th. It has been a crazy whirlwind of a summer but I am happy to say that we are currently putting the last couple pieces together to provide the best gym in Raleigh for our clients. Our open house “pull party” was a huge success and we plan to make this an annual event.
For those of you that follow us on IG and Facebook, I spent five weeks this summer doing exactly what I prescribed for my clients. As most of you know for the continuous goal of building strength, packing on muscle and dropping body fat we coaches recommend to train at least four days a week. If your goal is to get leaner we recommend making changes to your diet and adding in additional cardio. This can be accomplished in our GPC classes (general physical conditioning). As well as our nutrition program ran by Karri Owens.
So this is where #practicewhatyoupreach came to play. I had just finished a powerlifting meet; I was without a program and a little beat up from training. I knew I had a lot on my plate leading up to the opening of a new gym and didn’t want to take on the additional stress of a serious powerlifting program. The program on the board is made to be accommodating to everyone who walks in the door and joins our strength classes. Hence the term customized group training. Click on the button below to read more about what I learned from the clients that learn so much from us.
The first thing about the program I learned is, it is tough. I don’t want to dwell into the science behind it but our pressing and pulling volume is very high. We also squat a great deal, so I was constantly sore. The goal was to complete the workout in an hour, the same amount of time I give the clients. This mean I had to cut the weight down a bit or cut the sets down to accommodate for the time allotment given. I alternated each day depending on how I felt; if I felt good I would load up the heavy weight and cut a set or two. If I was a little sore and the weight wasn’t moving smoothly I dropped weight, completed my sets and spent the extra time I had concentrating on my supplemental lifts.
The second thing I learned is our client work capacity is through the roof. I was astounded how tough it was to get through some of the days. The main lift prescribed workload was similar to what I was used to (3x5, 4x7, 5x5 etc.) but with the addition of lots of mobility work and concentric training (sled pushing, pulling shuffles). It took a couple weeks for me to adjust. You basically don’t rest.
Lastly, seeing what the clients see through my own eyes really helped me coach better. I am able now to change things on the fly much better to accommodate everyone in the classes. Each person has different levels of soreness, problem or tight areas and vastly different levels of conditioning which showed itself when I was able to speak and talk things out with them. The information I received back from them was able to directly affect my changes to the program because I understood what they were saying.
The end result was very pleasant. I dropped two pounds in 5 weeks as well as getting in lots of mobility work and highlighting movement problems I have myself. I was able to find drills and exercises that work to fix those imbalances. I also was able to hit some rep PRs during the five weeks. Some of those included 405 for 5 low bar squat (I tend to squat high bar and am pretty accomplished at it) 365 for 16 reps on my sumo deadlifts, and 275 close grip for 10 reps on bench. These numbers aren’t terribly impressive but felt very good for I am not as accomplished at these movements as I am their counterparts (conventional deadlifts, high bar squats and normal bench).
I value all my clients and the information they bring to me from their experiences here at The Strength Feed. As the days and months of training continue I encourage them to bring to me all the feedback as it will make me a better coach and help me build a better program for all to come.
Hello Strength Feed members, my name is Sam Miller and I am the Owner of Oracle Nutrition and Adaptive Wellness based in Raleigh, North Carolina. I work to improve the performance of individuals while positively impacting their quality of life through health and nutritional science.
We've all heard from a young age that sleep is an indispensable optimal health and wellness tool. Recovery, restoration and overall mental and physical improvement occur during our daily sleep. Without enough hours of deep sleep your muscle gains and workout performance will suffer. You will also notice the detrimental impact of lack of sleep at work and at school. In today's blog I will be giving you some statistics about sleep, the negative effects from lack of sleep and some tips to improve your sleep.
“Sleep America” polls have evaluated sleep deprivation in the general population:
• 66% report experiencing sleep problems at least a few nights a week
• Nearly 50% report waking up feeling “unrefreshed” at least a few nights per week
• 42% are awake “a lot” during the night
• More than 25% say they wake up too early and couldn’t get back to sleep and/or have difficulty falling asleep at least a few nights per week
Given that sleep deprivation leads to greater risk of mortality from all causes, the downward trend in total sleep is alarming. A quality night’s sleep is also a necessity for proper brain function, memory formation, and the retention of information. Poor sleep is also correlated with obesity, so sleeping well is one of the most efficient ways to lose weight! Getting just 30 more minutes of sleep each night can be the equivalent of 8 days of additional sleep per year!
The key to improved restful sleep is recognizing the barriers and environmental stimulus that exist around us. To achieve our much coveted sleep be sure to be mindful of your body temperature, the amount of lighting present in your bedroom, and your pre-bed routines:
· Bedroom should be as dark as possible
· Avoid artificial light from TV screens, cell phones, tablets, and computers
· Set your thermostat to support a cooler than normal 8-10 hour cycle in the evening
· If the above temperature is not achievable be sure to utilize a fan or similar device to optimize air flow and keep your body temperature as cool as possible
· Create a daily book-end relaxation routine during your last 15-30 minutes of the day to help your brain and central nervous system reach a calm and relaxed state
· Avoid alcohol consumption within 2 hours of bedtime. Alcohol is diuretic (water flushing substance) and waking up to go to the bathroom mid sleep can sabotage your sleep cycle. Alcohol often results in an elevated body temperature, which further disrupts sleep even more. If you are going to have that glass of wine, have it earlier!
The above strategies should help immensely in improving your daily sleep patterns and ensure that the hours of sleep you do get will be more meaningful. Re-establishing a healthy circadian rhythm can make you feel more in stride in all areas of life like setting PR's in the gym, at home and at work. For more information on nutrition, sleep, and supplementation continue to follow The Strength Feed blog and The Strength Feed on Facebook.
Hello, I am Erin Bratcher. I currently play professional basketball in Germany. I have played sports at a high level for many years now. I am what you consider highly athletic and on the verge of highly trained. All my workouts and work load over the past 8 years have been very specialized for basketball. This is from the start of college into my years in the pro's. My experience before college in training was to get the most adaptation to prepare me to play at a high level. So in short words NOT to specialize. My training at a young age included playing many sports and well as many athletic activities that didn't relate to basketball. I see more and more kids these days playing a singular sport at a younger and younger age. Continue reading to find out why you're setting your child up for burnout or even worse overuse injuries.
Specialization in Sport
Athletics are changing with the times, and we are seeing new trends; some good, some bad. One in particular is the idea of specializing in a single sport.
People might think if they focus on only one sport and dedicate themselves to it, their athletic ability overall will improve. Parents may think this of their children. But in truth, it is better for an athlete to play multiple sports, because doing so produces greater athletic development and a much higher adaptation to the motor recruitment patterns of athletics. Eighty-eight percent of all college athletes, for example, come from a multi-sport background. If you recall a statistic from this past years super bowl, nearly 75% of the athletes on the field played more than one sport throughout high school. Examples of these athletes today would be Steph Curry (web.com golf tour, NBA superstar), Julius Peppers (collegiate basketball and football player), Aaron Judge (Current rookie MLB home run leader, all state in basketball and football in high school).
Keeps the Body and Mind Guessing
As with most things, when you do something the same way often enough, habits form and the mind doesn't have to work as hard. Think of riding a bike; learn the skill, and it stays with you forever. But in some cases, lack of variety can cause the body and mind to disengage, and when that happens you can lose your creative edge. When your mind is actively involved with the athletic process, you inevitably get more out of it. Think of it as hammering a bent nail into wood. If you keep driving it from the nail head, it will not go in straight. But if you continuously tap from all sides as you're driving the nail in, you can get it in straight.
Interval training is a well-respected, proven method of strength training involving various stages. The athlete works through one stage for X number of weeks (typically four), then moves to a different stage and different level of cardiorespiratory and RPE. The switch in levels forces the athlete’s body to adapt, while giving other areas of the body time to rest and recover. This same concept can be applied to playing multiple sports. The athlete is able to engage areas that may have been dormant and rest others that may be over-stressed. Statistics back this up. Kids who specialize in one sport are up to 93% more likely to become injured, and these injuries are most often due to overuse.
When you are designing a college strength program you work through micro cycles that develop different metabolic adaptations. These periods or micro cycles usually last about 6-weeks before moving on to something different that requires your body to adapt.
In high school, I played softball and basketball. Basketball was tough, especially on the ankles, knees, and hips from all the jumping, cutting, and sprinting. Softball wasn’t so physically taxing, which meant I was able to concentrate on other areas of the game. I played shortstop and caught with my left hand, which in turn, helped me dribble the ball better in basketball. In softball, I learned how to slide and dive for the plate, and that rugged play helped toughen me on the basketball court. Softball was also a lot of fun to me. I earned All-State player honors and was awarded Player of The Year in both sports. Later, when I focused on basketball in college, my softball days spent in the dirt weren’t wasted. They proved to be a beneficial training tool I carried with me.
Eliminates Boredom and a Plateau
When routine takes over and there is little or no variation, an athlete’s performance will tend to plateau. Less challenge often means less competitive edge—and athletes need that edge to push them to perform at a higher level. Athletes can get “burned out” at a young age, but with the variety that comes from multiple sports, burnout is less likely. Granted, in some cases athletes could spend all day every day playing their respective sport and never get bored. Even in these cases, however, variety benefits their overall performance. At times, I would get wrapped up in basketball, constantly working on my shot, grinding day in and day out, and it was during these times I would develop bad habits without realizing it. I would start to drift, fade, and make mistakes. But stepping away from a sport, even briefly, and then returning to it can actually help prevent mistakes. The mind and attitude are refreshed, and progress is attainable in a more productive way.
Brings Back the Fun in Sports
Enjoying what you do is the key to success in any endeavor. So often, kids and parents alike put pressure on themselves or each other to succeed in sports, to break records, earn that scholarship, get their name in the paper—and these goals can overshadow the fun factor. At any age, fun must be the priority. Yes, you have to take yourself seriously in practice and exert all your effort, but you also have to feel grateful to do what you do and appreciate the fun. Taking a moment to breathe in the external forces of the nature of sports is important, but with so much pressure on performance, this can be hard to do. Taking a step back into a less serious situation is one way to find this crucial peace of mind and to remind yourself it doesn't always have to be so serious.
Being a true athlete goes well beyond your one field of play. While developing skills in another sport may not seemingly apply to your main sport, they can in fact help you become a well-rounded athlete. There are often unpredictable things that happen in games. When true athletes are put in these situations, not only are they able to respond and react to the situation better, but they are at much lower risk of injuring themselves—and ultimately, that is the most important element.
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Hi, I'm Karri Owens. I was born and raised in Raleigh, North Carolina.
Exercise and sports are two of my favorite things about life! Any free chance I get involves some form of physical activity. I come from a very active upbringing and have always lived a lifestyle surrounded by fitness and health.
I attended North Carolina State University, which awarded me a four-year athletic scholarship in soccer. I played on the Wolfpack's varsity team but unfortunately suffered some serious injuries.
For example, during just the third game of my freshman year, I blew out my right knee. That injury significantly affected the rest of my playing career. I spent the next four years undergoing multiple ACL reconstructions, bone transplants, and other major surgeries to my right knee.
Although these were obvious setbacks, it was those struggles that propelled me into a new life. The hardships I experienced gave me a different perspective on what it takes to be the best version of myself inside and out. I graduated from NC State in 2015 with a degree in Nutrition Science, having developed a passion for living optimally and moving correctly.
I am a certified EXOS performance coach and am pursuing my CSCS. I hope to share my knowledge and experiences with others so that they can be the best version of themselves as well!
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