Archive for April, 2012

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Posted: April 27, 2012 in Uncategorized
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Human Energy Systems & Metabolism.

Macronutrient Energy Systems…

Energy can be derived from three major food sources, commonly referred to as Macronutrients- Proteins, Carbohydrates, and Fats (lipids). Energy can also be derived from Alcohol…as well as, increased estrogen levels in men coupled with elevated aromatization, specifically at androgen receptor sites, sclerosis of the liver, crazy fluctuation of Insulin levels, not to mention a cascade of catabolic processes that are set in motion. Generally (minus a couple rare extenuating circumstances), one gram of each of the three nutrients (plus Alcohol) yield the following calories:

1 gram of Protein = 4 calories
1 gram of Carbohydrates = 4 calories
1 gram of Fat = 9 calories
1 gram of Alcohol = 7 calories

For all intents and purposes, the calories in food represent a form of potential energy for our bodies to produce heat and to work. Knowing how many calories (i.e. energy) are in the foods consumed can reveal how much we need to perform the work inside our bodies as well as all our movements (e.g., Gain Weight). Conversely, if we eat less than we need, the body will draw on it’s stores for energy (i.e., lose fat/weight).

Human Energy Systems…

Our bodies must take the energy stored in foods (macronutrients) and transform it into an energy form our cells can use immediately and/or store for future use. Energy in the body is available for immediate use in the form of Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP). It is a complex molecule constructed with high-energy bonds which, when split by enzyme action, releases energy rapidly for a number of body processes including tissues in small amounts. Another related high-energy phosphate compound, phosphocreatine (CP), is also found in the tissues in small amounts. Although it cannot be used as an immediate source of energy, it can rapidly replenish ATP. ATP can be formed from protein, carbs, and fats.
Metabolism; Human metabolism represents all physical and chemical changes that take place in the body. Metabolism involves two fundamental processes: Anabolism and Catabolism. Anabolism is a building-up or constructive metabolism. Catabolism is the tearing-down process involving the disintegration of body compounds into their simpler components. The breakdown of muscle glycogen to glucose and eventually CO2, H20 and energy
is an example of a catabolic process. The energy released from some catabolic processes is used to support the energy of anabolism. Therefore, metabolism represents human energy. The metabolic rate reflects how rapidly the body uses it’s energy (calories) stores. Many factors affect this rate but none so much as lean body mass (LBM) and exercises.

Basal metabolism or Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) represents the energy (calories) required for fundamental life functions at rest, not including digestion of food. Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR) is the BMR plus the additional energy expenditure needed to digest food. RMR is typically 5-10% higher than BMR. If we can estimate our RMR and add our daily activity energy needs, we arrive at an estimate of our daily total energy (calorie) requirements. This is our caloric maintenance level. In other words, our body fat or weight remains stable when consuming this amount of food. A favorable or unfavorable body composition change results from a disruption in a caloric maintenance or energy balance.

I Have a Message….Go Get a Massage!!!.

As athletes we put our bodies through such a great amount of physical abuse from vigorous training regimens, long, hard fought games, and hours of intense practice.  In my experience it’s amazing how little athletes do to repair their bodies from this abuse.  Remember, the body is a kinetic chain, all components of this chain exist interdependently.  If one segment is not functioning efficiently, then the other components must compensate, leading to tissue overload, fatigue, and faulty movement patterns.  In order to truly get the most out of one’s physical abilities, it’s vital to be at 100% or as close to it as possible going into every game, practice, or training session.  I’m a firm believer it’s not practice that makes perfect, rather perfect practice makes perfect.    I want to highlight several ways to help athletes competing in any sport to assist their bodies recovery processes in quest of Ultimate Human Performance.
It’s no surprise to me that massage therapy techniques are being incorporated by athletes at all levels of competitive sports.  Massage therapy is so widely respected in fact, that in 1996, it became an official part of the medical services provided for the athletes during the Olympic games in Atlanta.  The benefits of massage therapy are vast.  Here’s a few analogies that may help to better understand how massage can be advantageous to any athlete.  Your car gives off carbon monoxide as a waste product of running, when we exhale we breathe out carbon dioxide as a waste product of respiration, when we train and play sports our muscles produce waste products in the form of acids and unwanted stress hormones( most notably lactic acid and cortisol).  Massage therapy is an excellent way to directly create circulation within the target muscles.  This increase in blood flow is great for removing these toxins from the muscles which are ultimately eliminated (or neutralized) from the body creating a more preferred environment for growth and recovery.  Massage involves applying mechanical pressure to the soft tissues, and this is believed to result in improved muscle flexibility, increased range of motion in the joints, and decrease muscle stiffness.  Also through massage therapy we can increase the temperature of the muscle, as well as a reduction in heart rate and blood pressure.  Many athletes report feelings of relaxation, reduced anxiety, and improved mood as a result of massage therapy.  Indeed, many athletes do find an edge as a result of these psychological benefits (physiological benefits are the aforementioned advantages).  In my opinion, the most overlooked and under appreciated aspect of massage therapy is the mind/muscle connection that is created by the neuromuscular re-education that occurs during deep tissue work.  It can become a little painful at times, however it’s an integral part of the recovery process for any athlete to regain balance, rhythm, and flexibility or you won’t be as quick and responsive on the field the next time out.  Thus far I’ve been referring to the benefits of massage therapy as it relates to a healthy, injury free athlete.  It’s important to note that the injury healing properties of a deep tissue massage are invaluable as well…simply put, massage therapy allows copious amounts of nutrient laden blood to saturate an effected area therefore decreasing healing time immensely.  **I purposely did not get into the affects on the Lymphatic system, I am however currently working on a future, in depth article on Lymph, Lymph Nodes, essentially the entire Lymphatic System!
Those who don’t have access to a good massage therapist, or just don’t have the extra money for a massage can still get many of the benefits of a deep tissue massage through techniques referred to as, self myofascial release and trigger point therapy.  Fascia is a seamless web of connective tissue that covers and connects the muscle, organs, and skeletal structures in our bodies.  Fascia is located between the skin and the underlying structure of the muscles and bones.  Muscle and fascia form the myofacia system.  Muscle fascia can be manipulated either directly of indirectly, allowing the connective tissue fibers to reorganize in a more flexible, functional fashion.  One of the most effective times to incorporate deep myofascial stretching is in between your sets while training.  Stretching the muscle fascia during bouts of hypertrophy can cause a cascade of anabolic activity within the body. This is great for maintaining the elasticity to the muscle and creating greater blood volume to the training muscles, not to mention the injury prevention aspect of this principle.  Remember, more blood to the muscle means more nutrient delivery.  Think of it like this, if you put an iguana in a restricted size habitat the animal is limited on how large it can grow.  If you allow it to develop in an open environment with plenty of space, it’s growth potential is inherently maximized.  The muscles are no different, think of the fascia as a housing structure for your muscles, the more you can stretch and expand the “cage” of the muscle fibers, the more you increase your bodies potential for growth and development.  Trigger Points are simply what we refer to as knots in the skeletal muscle.  Generally they are hyper-irritable spots associated with distinct nodules in taut bands of muscle fibers.  I believe that trigger points are a form of our bodies natural defense system.  For example, when we have any type of nerve impingement or a minor strain(which is not uncommon in sports) our bodies have a defense mechanism to lock around the injury as a protective measure.  Your probably asking yourself, what avenues can I as an athlete take to combat this and what role do I play in self myofascial release?  My personal favorite apparatus for self massage is any old rolling pin, simply put a good amount of pressure with the rolling pin on the muscle or muscles your targeting and roll it up and down as well as side and side.  Keeping in mind to stretch the muscle during and after the self massage.  Another household object I like to use is a golf ball.  You may either lay on the ground or use a wall to place the ball around the trigger point and by allowing your body weight to press against the golf ball you can really dig into the effected area.  With the golf ball therapy it’s not necessary to use any more resistance that your own body weight, press the ball into the knot for approximately 10 sec before releasing, then repeat several times before moving to another area.  Ideally you want to target each area for anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes followed of course by deep stretching, this goes for the rolling pin concept as well.  If you attend a gym or health club you have probably seen long cylindrical foam rollers, they can be used in the same way as the rolling pin and golf ball, however the foam rollers do allow a little more versatility and has a larger surface area, which can be useful for larger muscle groups.

Who Said That?…...

The following are random quotes (Yes, they happen to be ones I particularly like), some are more recognizable then others.  See how many you can correctly match with the individual who made the statement.  **Hint…There is a Theme, which also is a hint that there are more to come, and yep, there will also be Theme’s to those lists!

Quotes:

  1.     1)    “All that I am, or hope to be, I owe to my angel mother.”
    2)    “Common sense is the collection if prejudices acquired by the age of Eighteen.”
    3)    “I never looked at the consequences of missing a big shot…when you think    about the consequences you always think of a negative result.”
    4)    “Most people have the will to win, few have the will to prepare to win.”
    5)    “Mental focus is to physical, as four is to one.”
    6)    “Success requires singleness of purpose.”
    7)    “It’s the details that are vital.  Little things make big things happen.”
    8)    “Talent is God given,  Be Humble.  Fame is Man-Given, Be Grateful.  Conceit is Self-Given, Be Careful.”
    9)    “Things turn out best for the people who make the best of the way things turn out.”
    10)    “Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection we can catch Excellence.”

Quoted:

  1.     1)    Abraham Lincoln (16th President)
    2)    Albert Einstein (Nobel Prize winning Physicist)
    3)    Michael Jordan (Widely considered the Greatest Basketball player of all time)
    4)    Bob Knight (3x NCAA Champion Basketball Coach)
    5)    Bob Knight
    6)    Vince Lombardi (Original Coach of the Green Bay Packers)
    7)    John Wooden (Widely considered the Greatest Head Coach of all time)
    8)    John Wooden (Coach UCLA to 11 straight NCAA Basketball Championships)
    9)    John Wooden
    10)    Vince Lombardi

You’re Being Lied To…By The Scale!.

    One of my early mentors in bodybuilding used a phrase to explain ones relationship w/ the scale.  “The scale doesn’t lie, but it sure don’t tell the truth!”  How is that possible!??  Allow me to start by tackling the age old question- “What’s the difference between losing weight and losing fat?”  The common belief is that if you simply reduce your caloric intake you will lose weight and change your body composition.  This approach becomes flawed very quickly!

“Action is the fundamental key to all success.” -Pablo Picasso

    When the body experiences a continual decrease in caloric intake, it will lose both fat and muscle.  As a result, the numbers on the scale will drop twice as quickly.  However, muscle comprises a machinery necessary to burn fat.  If you lose this fat burning machinery, your body will not be able to maintain the weight loss (less muscle = fewer calories burned).
When attempting to lose “weight” the primary goal is the retention or increase of the present lean muscle tissue, which will enable you to burn more fat and eat more food.  Typically, when designing a weight loss program often times people initially state that they won’t be able to consume the amount of food recommended.  However, it generally does not take long for most clients to become accustomed to, and enjoy the quantity of food.  Additionally, the elevation in caloric intake becomes necessary in order to increase lean muscle mass.  As previously stated…by increasing your lean muscle tissue this will increase ones ability to burn fat!

“Believe in yourself!  Have faith in your abilities!  Without a humble but reasonable confidence in your own powers you cannot be successful or happy.” -Norman Vincent Peale

Bottom Line…
Accomplishing muscle hypertrophy and/or body fat reduction requires continual manipulation of food consumed (potential energy measured in calories) and food used (work measured in calories).  When these two factors are equal (energy balance), there is no change in body mass.  This is also the state the body constantly strives to maintain.  In other words, every time the human body experiences an energy imbalance (mandatory for body mass change) it’s job is to bring the energy back into balance.  The body accomplishes this by adapting to the exercise and/or energy input (diet) and ultimately reaches a plateau.  At this point, an adjustment must be made in the energy output (exercise) and/or energy input (diet), if progress is desired.  The bodies obligatory response to energy imbalance creates the need for continual manipulation of food and work in order to achieve continuous progress.
The key to favorably altering body composition is to direct the body to use it’s stored fat to supply the extra calories needed to sustain or build muscle, therefore, simultaneously reducing the fat stores.  This is building or sustaining muscle at the expense of body fat.  This is the art and science (the fun stuff) of favorably altering body composition until you reach your goal.

People Don’t Plan to Fail… They Fail to Plan!.