It’s not whether you win or lose that’s important, but how you play the game! Although my competive nature has a bit of a problem with that, being it’s more fun when you winning! I’ve developed a new found respect for the nuances of losing. This was to have been written weeks ago after a second loss of a one win season in football. It culminated in the biggest win of the team’s history, in the play offs, over a team that has never lost to this school. Conversely after that high we lost in the semis, and did not play nearly as well as we were capable of. Out of this comes the following reasons you need to lose.
1. It keeps you Humble!
If you’re constantly on the winning side, never feeling the biting sting of a loss, you will feel invincible. When you lose it affords you the time to let the emotions out, to look at things objectively, and realize there is always someone out there that can rain on your parade. How can you win all the time and feel pain? You can’t! Pain and anguish is a necessary process of life that in the end builds a better you! Now the heat is off you and you can concentrate, on what needs to happen from this point on. This leads to the next one…..
2. You learn what you need to work on!
Hindsight is a wonderful thing, especially when you pop the tape in and watch what just happened to you. Tape is the greatest invention known to the athletic kind, and it does not lie! You friends will tell you what you want to hear, tape will tell you what you need to hear! If you’re a serious athlete, you will put film study into you weekly schedule so you can break down any deficiencies you need to give extra effort to. Having you practices taped is also a good idea, because you play like you practice. Also asked trusted advisors, someone who will tell you straight, where your weaknesses are and what you need to do to correct them. If you take on honest look, you will eventually find the kinks in the armor of the dream team! Put all the data together, and add it to you practice plan, until it is no longer a point of discussion.
3. It get’s the butterflies out of the way.
When you play the number one team, or go up against the number one athlete, you know the anxiety that situation brings! You can’t sleep, eat, and you have knots in your stomach, about being “posterized” after being schooled by said superstar. After the game however, you realize you didn’t get beat as bad as you imagined, but realized they are human like you, and can make mistakes also. Now you have a bit of an edge, why? Because there larger than life persona, has been reduced by realizing you can play the game to! The stars have the same anxieties, fears, and deficiencies we all do, they are just better at hiding them!
4. It boost you opponents confidence!
What!?! You saying I’m out of my mind! Why would I want to boost the confidence of a team that’s already better than me? Think about it you, are a non-factor, and have no credibility in the eyes of your opponent, you’ve completed phase one of training! Being underrated is the perfect scenario to be in, when you are number 1, there is only one place to go! Let that marinate in your grey cells for a moment………………………………………… Finished? Good. You have nothing to prove, and everything to gain. Remember pride goes before the fall, and I don’t need to give you specific examples, except for one word… Goliath!
5. You get to meet them again!
That’s what I love about competitive sports, its one big battle that usually puts you up against familiar foes. Remember the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting different results. Especially in team sports, rarely do the teams that are annihilating their opponents change their tendencies. Even in individual sports, if you study you rival long enough, you will be able to get inside their head.
This is an article that was tweeted to me from Mike Boyle, and I found it a very intresting read.
“MMA training for an NFL athlete does not only NOT make sense, but would simply be counterproductive. The demands of the two sports clearly could not be any more different from each other. It makes as much sense as choosing to going to chemo therapy because you are sick of shaving your head (Michael Jackson’s doctor said that line, I believe). Taking a multi-million dollar athlete and having him train in such a nonsensical way is foolish and irresponsible… and please realize I am an MMA coach.” Dewey Neilsen, Nationally Recognized MMA Strength and Conditioning Coach
A couple of NFL strength and conditioning coaches have written to ask about NFL athletes using MMA training techniques to train in the off-season. I guess my reputation as a person with an opinion is following me. I can start the controversy right off. In my mind it is foolish and short-sighted for an NFL player to train like a mixed martial arts fighter. I watched a recently released NFL quarterback on Youtube engage in a sparring session with an MMA trainer. Trust me, I don’t want to get beat up by an MMA trainer, but I don’t think this is a good idea. The only guys on the field who really can’t operate without their hands are quarterbacks and receivers. If I’m paying a guy a few million dollars, I would really prefer he doesn’t punch anything. I was really surprised that one NFL GM actually endorsed the idea. Seems crazy to me.
To further draw on the controversy, let’s ask ourselves, what is MMA training? The majority of what we see on the web as MMA training seems to be muscle endurance stuff that doesn’t appear to be good for anyone except combat athletes, and certainly does not seem appropriate for an NFL player. I’ve seen guys training with snorkels in their mouths for oxygen deprivation; I’ve watched a guy literally throw rusty barbells in a field. So I will qualify myself and say that if we view MMA training primarily as sparring with mitts or kicking, I still can’t see how it has a place in training for a football guy.
Let’s look at the basics. A football play lasts approximately five seconds. An MMA round lasts five minutes. Right away, do you see a problem? The rationalization I listened to in the Youtube interviews revolved around the mental toughness developed in pushing through fatigue. I do not doubt this type of training is difficult, however what they are describing never happens in football. Plays last five seconds and the rest lasts about 30 seconds. This in no way resembles anything in the martial arts.
Moving on from the obvious energy system issue, an MMA fighter wears almost zero equipment and is able to punch and kick his opponent. An NFL player wears pads on most exposed bodyparts, and it is basically illegal to punch and or kick an opponent. Running is a huge part of football; in MMA, running will not win many matches and too much running will damage an athlete’s reputation as a willing opponent.
To add even more complexity, the best MMA strength and conditioning coaches probably train their fighters more like NFL players than the opposite. Jon Chaimberg’s and Dewey Neilsen’s MMA programs are not typical MMA programs. Instead, they are scientific programs based on the current science of performance enhancement. If an NFL guy told me he was going to train with Jon or Dewey, I would endorse it wholeheartedly. However, what they would do is train like a football player. The best MMA strength coaches realize their athletes get plenty of work with their MMA coaches. Much like NFL strength and conditioning coaches, the good MMA strength and conditioning coaches spend lots of time on basic strength training and power work.
The truth is, training like an MMA fighter is cool and trendy and might get a player featured on ESPN. What it might not be is intelligent or effective for conditioning for football. Football players and MMA is a lot like athletes and actors. MMA training means ringside seats at fights, pretty girls, nights out in Vegas. Sorry, it still doesn’t makes sense for highly paid athletes who participate in a physically violent sport six months out of the year.
If I’m an NFL strength coach, I’m not happy if my guys are missing workouts for sparring sessions. I’m less happy if they are using this type of training instead of the football specific routines I have taken years to develop. If you are an NFL executive, you are undermining the credibility of your strength and conditioning staff, and pretty soon your off-season program will be an MMA free-for-all you’ll need to rein in. I know I’ll get some negative feedback on this, but I owe it to my NFL colleagues to state an opinion that they can’t.
Look at it this way: How would position coaches feel if a player said he wanted to skip practice to go to MMA? The position coach’s feeling is, “This is my time with you—we need this time to get better.” The strength coach feels the same way. The off season is his time to do his best work. If a player is off sparing in an MMA gym, that is time away from the important things that really need to be done.
Recently, 10 healthy male college students filed into an exercise laboratory at Brigham Young University in Utah to drink pickle juice. Many people involved in sports are convinced that the briny fluid combats muscle cramping. In a 2008 survey, a quarter of the athletic trainers interviewed said that they regularly dispense pickle juice to cramp-stricken athletes. Many also report that, in their experiences, the stuff quickly brakes the cramping. The athletic trainers have told researchers that they believe the pickle juice must be replenishing the salt and fluids the athletes had lost to sweat. But no laboratory science had verified that theory. Read more.....
Q: I’ve heard that eating more frequently will increase my metabolism and help me lose weight? Is this true and how does this happen? I thought you had to eat less to lose weight.
A: You’ve probably heard this advice from many different places: personal trainers at your gym, online weight-loss websites, and popular diet books. Even though it has some merit, it may not be entirely correct, especially if your physical activity levels are low or non-existent.
The suggestion to increase your eating frequency, meaning going from eating three square meals a day to six smaller meals and snacks, stems from both research and anecdotal findings. Some of the benefits attributed to eating more often include reducing hunger and caloric intake, boosting your metabolic rate, and controlling hormones that increase your desire for food. For some people this is true, for others, not so much.
In the research world, scientists have shown certain benefits from eating more often compared to less:
• By eating the same amount of calories in several meals spread throughout the day there’s a suppression of free fatty acid release from adipose tissue, which enhances your ability to use glucose (from carbohydrate foods) as fuel
• The amount of insulin secreted from your pancreas to help you use the nutrients you’re eating is reduced, so there is less potential for those nutrients to be stored in fat cells. Instead, the insulin that is released sends those calories to your needy muscle cells where they’re used to provide energy for daily movement
• Your stomach is stretched less with smaller meals, which slows the rate at which food is delivered to your intestine, and in turn, your blood stream. This creates a consistent flow of energy to your body rather than one fast, large dump of nutrients
• Blood total and LDL-cholesterol levels in your body are decreased due to less cholesterol synthesis and increased cholesterol removal
Despite these findings, reviews of all the scientific investigations looking at the effect of increased eating on weight loss have not shown that eating more often reduces body weight. The recent review by Palmer and colleagues in 2009, and the ones by Bellisle and colleagues in 1997 both found this same result; eating more often does not seem to decrease body weight in every person. Explanations for this finding includes the fact that the energy density of our food has increased over the years, even though we’re evolutionarily meant to be “grazers”. Even with lower calories, eating more frequently does not help decrease the numbers on the scale by itself.
For body composition, some observations of people that eat more rather than less show that their body carries less fat. However, research investigations have not shown that just going from eating less to eating more magically lowers body fat. Those people that eat more may simply burn more calories naturally during the day, or expend more calories in movement. Then there are those people that never gain fat no matter how hard they try (not the norm nowadays though).
However, there are clear benefits to eating more often:
• You stave off hunger before it sets in and pushes you to overeat
• You give yourself more energy to exercise harder
• You prevent swings in your blood sugar levels which can make you cranky, unhappy and lethargic
As far as increasing your metabolism, eating more often can potentially increase the amount of calories you burn in a day, by a mechanism known as the “Thermic Effect of Feeding”. However, this effect is relatively small and can be made easily obsolete with poor food choices and excess caloric intake.
It is true though that when you eat more often rather than less, you’re more likely to meet your exercise goals instead of not having the energy to even begin to do anything. Then, when you exercise more, especially a combination of weight training and cardio, you can increase your muscle mass and lower your body fat, which makes your body look tighter and fit better in clothing. And who doesn’t want that?
However, eating more often doesn’t work for everyone: If you’re not exercising, eating more will definitely cause fat gain – those calories have no where else to go! And, when you eat more you still have to make good food choices and balance your intake of protein, carbohydrates and fat; eating more chocolate and soda will not help your metabolism at all. Considering that most “snack” foods are based off sugar and starchy carbohydrates (crackers, granola bars, etc), it’s really easy to over-consume carbs and miss out on important proteins and fats.
Bottom line: Eating more can help meet your body composition and weight goals if you’re selecting your nutrients wisely and using them to help you exercise consistently.
Palmer MA, Capra S, & Baines SK. Association between eating frequency, weight, and health. Review
Nutr Rev. 2009 Jul;67(7):379-90
Bellisle F, McDevitt R, Prentice A. Meal frequency and energy balance. Brit J Nutrition. 1997;77(Suppl 1):S57–S70
Jenkins D, Wolever T, Vuksan V, et al. Nibbling versus gorging: metabolic advantages of increased meal frequency. N Engl J Med. 1989;321:929–934
Frequent Eating Associated with Lower Lipid Concentrations. JWatch General. 2002: 3-3
Farshchi HR, Taylor MA, Macdonald IA. Beneficial metabolic effects of regular meal frequency on dietary thermogenesis, insulin sensitivity, and fasting lipid profiles in healthy obese women. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2005;81:16-24
Ruidavets JB, Bongard V, Bataille V, et al. Eating frequency and body fatness in middle-aged men International Journal of Obesity. 2002; 26: 1476-1483
Most of us don’t just want to lose “weight”. We want to lose body fat. This is what really concerns us, cosmetically speaking, at least.
Body fat, referred to by scientists as adipose tissue, is the stuff that can hide shapely, defined muscles from view, make your bikini fit awkwardly (or not at all), put rolls on your belly, and so on. To lose body fat and prevent it from finding you again, you must burn more of it than you store. When you achieve this scientists say you are in negative fat balance, and it can be a very positive thing. Indeed, if you stay in negative fat balance long enough, then you will unquestionably lose body fat.
The supermarket is a great place to go for things that can increase body fat. But it’s also home to some of nature’s most powerful tools for helping you lose it. In this exclusive report we reveal 4 natural “slimming secrets” that can immediately increase your calorie-burning rate, the first and most critical step toward achieving a negative fat balance and fitting into your swimsuit properly again.
1. Coffee (caffeine)
While the proportions may shift from moment to moment, your body always burns a mixture of three fuels: carbohydrate, fat and protein. Thus, if you increase your overall calorie-burning rate (a.k.a. metabolic rate), it’s pretty much guaranteed that your fat-burning rate will go up, bringing you that much closer to the negative fat balance territory where real slimming occurs.
About 75% of the caffeine consumed in the United States comes from coffee, a product that no supermarket can be considered complete without. Caffeine is recognized worldwide for its ability to enhance alertness and performance. However, it also displays fast-acting calorie-burning properties. For instance, a study involving lean and overweight (obese) subjects reported that a single 100-mg dose of caffeine (equivalent to a little over 1 cup of coffee) was enough to raise their calorie-burning rate by up to 4% for 2.5 hours.
While a 4% increase may not seem like a big deal, it can turn into one. The scientists who conducted the study explain, “…if it is assumed that there is no compensatory increase in food intake, the increase [in calorie-burning rate] after caffeine would represent an energy deficit of 75-110 kcal/day. These changes may be small but over several months could accumulate and lead to substantial changes in body weight.”
But wait. Regular coffee drinkers know all too well that you can become tolerant to its energizing effects over time. Won’t the same thing happen here? Fortunately, evidence suggests that caffeine’s calorie-burning effects persist with repeated exposure. Case in point: The subjects in the above study were all mild to moderate consumers of caffeine, consuming anywhere from 250-500 mg per day, equivalent to ~3-6 cups of coffee. Yet they all enjoyed a calorie-burning boost from the relatively small dose given to them.
2. Hot Pepper (capsaicin)
The waiter places a delicious meal in front of you that includes a spicy curry sauce. You devour it. For the next 30 minutes your calorie-burning rate is cruises at 10% above baseline, equivalent to burning an additional 129 Calories per day, or 27% of the caloric value of the entire meal. Sounds too good to be true? This fictitious scenario became a reality at Kyoto University in Japan when scientists gave young women a 481-Calorie meal consisting of a yellow curry sauce containing 3 mg of capsaicin.
Capsaicin is the compound responsible for the sharp, and for some of us, intolerably painful, sensation produced by eating hot red peppers. It’s also to blame for the beads of sweat that appear on your forehead as you do so. Thus, it may come as no surprise to learn that deep inside the body capsaicin can increase your calorie-burning rate by stimulating a process known as thermogenesis. Thermogenesis essentially involves the release of calories in the form of heat. Once released, they can no longer be stored as body fat. In addition to increasing thermogenesis, capsaicin has been found to improve meal satiety (i.e. how full you feel after eating), thereby reducing your risk of overeating. In animal studies it has been reported to increase calorie-burning rate and reduce body fat.
Of course, the single most powerful way to increase your calorie-burning rate and get into negative fat balance is to exercise. Here, too, capsaicin may boost your slimming efforts. When scientists gave healthy subjects capsaicin an hour before performing low-intensity exercise (stationary cycling), they burned more fat. The increase was impressive enough that the scientists suggested capsaicin be used as an adjunctive therapy in the treatment of elevated blood lipid levels and/or obesity.
Cinnamon often serves as a flavorful addition to carbohydrate-rich meals. How great is it, then, to learn that it may help “push” more of those carbohydrates into lean muscle and away from fat cells (adipose tissue)?
Most of the carbohydrate calories you eat are eventually converted into glucose (a.k.a. blood sugar). The hormone insulin helps direct glucose into your body’s cells, including muscle cells. The more sensitive your muscle cells are to insulin, the more efficiently they can scoop up glucose and store it for later use, such as providing your muscles with energy during exercise. All other things held constant, this leaves less glucose available for your fat cells, which might otherwise use it to make body fat.
Of the many plants studied to date, cinnamon has been reported to be among the most powerful in terms of its ability to enhance insulin sensitivity and keep blood glucose levels in check. When added to a carbohydrate-rich meal, it reduces the rise in blood glucose normally experienced afterwards. While the effects on insulin sensitivity may take a couple of weeks to manifest, the improvements in blood glucose control appear virtually immediately.
So cinnamon increases insulin sensitivity and improves blood glucose regulation. Great. However, does this mean it can help you lose body fat more quickly? In fact, this ancient spice might help you do more than that. Dr Richard Anderson (Ph.D.) at the US Department of Agriculture has conducted numerous studies on cinnamon. He says that if cinnamon is consumed long-term, it can enhance lean body mass (this includes muscle) and reduce body fat, something he and his scientific colleagues demonstrated in a study performed in 2006.
4. Green Tea
White, green and black varieties of tea all contain caffeine (anywhere from ~14-61 mg per 6-8 oz serving). But it’s green tea that seems to get the most attention from scientists when it comes to burning fat. And its fat-burning effects are due to more than its caffeine content.
In one frequently cited study, healthy young men were given a green tea extract three times per day. Their 24-hour calorie-burning rate was 3.5% higher than that of subjects taking a placebo. This was equivalent to burning an additional 200 Calories per day -more than enough to eventually produce substantial weight loss and reductions in body fat.
Not only did green tea cause the subjects to burn more calories, but a larger proportion of the calories burned were determined by the scientists to have come from fat. That is, green tea was pushing them closer towards negative fat balance territory, if not pushing them right into it. Based on the scientists’ comments (they used the term “remarkable” to describe green tea’s effects), they seemed to be quite impressed. Indeed, green tea’s thermogenic effects in this study were as powerful as much larger doses of caffeine.
Summary: The “Top 4” REAL Slimming Secrets
Nothing worthwhile comes without hard work, and that includes building a swimsuit-ready body. That’s why it’s important to make use of whatever tools nature has available to help you safely and effectively lose body fat and avoid regaining it. There may be more “slimming secrets” out there waiting to be discovered, but the top 4 revealed here –coffee (caffeine), hot red pepper (capsaicin), cinnamon and green tea are among the most powerful studied to date. Individually, their calorie-burning effects are virtually immediate. Combined, they may greatly simplify even the most formidable of fat loss challenges.
The proper way to train any muscle is to train it in the direction of its use. If you take a look at a good anatomy chart, you can usually see the direction the fibers of the muscle travel. Since muscle contracts in a straight line, they often give you clues as to which exercises may have themost effect in your training program.
The core is particularly problematic, since most trainees use exercises that train one, maybe two movements when they exercise. Think about it? When training the “core” most athletes perform endless numbers of crunches. Forgetting the muscle is segmented, and not continuous, meaning if the abdominals were for flexion only, we would have two hamstring- like muscles running along the front of our body. You might see someone also twisting in some manner with a stick on the shoulders, or a med ball in hand. Almost getting there but you’re still missing key elements that all core related training should have.
If you look at the major muscles of the front side core, they contract in 4 different directions. Pay attention to the actions the muscles produce.
In the 3 Tips for 3D Training article, we discussed looking at your body as a whole. Your goal is to work the length, width, and breadth of the muscle in a 3 dimensional manner. Having said that are we missing something when we are addressing our core? Once again let’s look behind us and concentrate on the forgotten muscles that also assist the human straight jacket to do its job.
As you can see, there are a number of key muscles that will assist the front side muscles that are rarely worked on by athletes today. Often when athletes have lower back pain, this area is not taken into account by their training plan. In order to minimize the imbalances and decrease the chances of injury, you must include exercises that incorporate all the movement elements at least once a week.
So what can we take from this? In your program you must incorporate exercises that include
Mon: A) Front Planks 3 x 30 seconds
B) Stick Crunch 3 x 15
Complete exercise A & B then rest for 1:30 s
Wed: A) Side Planks 3 x 30 s (L & R side)
B) Diagonal MB Wood Chops 3 x 15
Fri: A) Landmine 3 x 10
B) Multifidus Hold 3 x 30 s
There are many other exercises one can choose, and you can vary them to alleviate boredom. But remember, if you cover the four movements above, you’ll be able to minimize the extreme rotational forces placed on your body, thus decreasing the potential for injury.
Next up hips and legs, the pillars of 3D strength!
I went to the store to take a look at the new 3D TV that has recently come on the market. Visually stunning is all I can say! There was depth as well as items simultaneously jumping out at you, giving you a much more satisfying movie viewing experience. As I was driving back home, my thoughts turned to 3D training.
What is 3D training you ask? Good question! Have you ever met an athlete or bodybuilder with great mirror muscles, chest, shoulders, arms, and abs? These are primarily the muscles you see in the gym, and remember most mirrors go down to waist height, because there is usually a dumbbell rack or other pieces of equipment in front. They often forget there is a whole new world behind them waiting to be discovered. Or the guy with a great upper body, whose legs have never seen the light of day, being constantly covered with baggy pants.
3D training means, to borrow a bodybuilding term, symmetry. The upper and lower body are balanced, your front and back have even depth, and finally your left and, right side look like mirror images. Of course nobody can guarantee perfect balance, but you should strive to make sure your program works the necessary muscles for your sport, and the antagonist, (opposite) muscles as well. This will help to decrease the chance of injury by making sure you keep the strength ratios within a safe limit.
Take photos of yourself, that will help you spot imbalances
Familiarize yourself with anatomy, to ensure that a balanced approach to training is covered in your training plan
Don’t fall in love with your favorite lifts, or your best body parts, make sure you train the areas you hate to do.
Be as pleasing to the eye as the new TV’s are, while being able to perform like the athletes’ that are on them!
I’ll cover more 3D training, starting with the core in another post.